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It's becoming very fashionable to blame the policies of the USA and the NATO countries for what seems like the early tremors signaling a renewed Cold War. I find that those who support Chavisimo in Venezuela, who oppose Israel or at least Israel's current Zionist vision and policies, are far and away the most likely to speak almost in defense of Russia, blaming the West for whatever Russia is doing in and around Ukraine. Perhaps that's a bit of a digression, but I see this line of thinking as part of a knee-jerk, blame America first groupthink that flies in the face of common sense on this point.

There is an excellent diary by Richard Lyon, reviewing the history of NATO and pondering the future in light of the new situation with Russia. One comment in the diary notes the prediction by America's most famous diplomat -- and author of the containment policy that defined US Cold War policy for 40 years -- that the expansion of ATO to the nations of the former Warsaw Pact would provoke Russia, and slowly push the country down a path that would eventually create a new cold war.

I don't disagree with Kennan's observations, but I don't think that the USA or the West can be blamed for Russian actions that violate basic principles of national sovereignty and threaten the peace and stability of the post-war (WWII) (and post-Cold War) legal order. O do think what has happened in Russia was largely predictable, but I think it's a fallacy to finger the policies of the US and NATO for having any real responsibility.

The fundamental question for me is whether anything would have been different regarding Russia today if NATO had not been expanded in the 1990s into territories once controlled by the USSR. The answer to that question, it seems to me, is a resounding "no!"

Yes, the NATO expansion and the plan to put ABMs in eastern Europe were all actions that fed the narrative about Russian paranoia. If you accept the truth of this narrative about a national Russian paranoia, it may eve be true that these actions did actually feed into that paranoia. That, however, really doesn't mean that Western nations are somehow responsible for Putin's misadventures and the re-opening of the Cold War.

There really are two questions that emerge from this observation.

First -- the question I posed in the introduction: Would anything have been different if NATO didn't expand? Would someone like Putin have emerged anyway to lead Russia -- probably Putin himself? And, if Putin would still have been the successor to Yeltsin, then what would have been different?

Would Russia be more than the kleptocracy it is now, run by mobsters and KGB apparatchiks? Or, would it have travelled the same line? What would have happened in Chechnya? Dagestan? Georgia? Would any of that have been different?

Most significantly, where would that have left Ukraine? Would Ukraine have travelled the same history, with the push/pull of Russia and Europe? Would the apparatchiks not have poisoned a Presidential candidate who wanted to escape Russian blackmail? Would we not have had Yanukovich and his corrupt regime? Would we not have had the Maidan movement and then the Russian move in Crimea?

The point being -- could any of this have turned out differently? Or, does Kennan's point about NATO expansion really just give Putin and his apologists a convenient excuse? Are we pointing the finger in the wrong direction, if we point to the West for the current situation?

If you want to argue that western policies are to blame and that Russia is merely being reactive, the burden is upon you to prove that is true. Is there anything about Russia, or Putin, that would be substantially different, if the West hadn't pursued -- or agreed to NATO expansion (since the pressure for NATO expansion largely came from nations outside NATO's umbrella)?

Along those lines, what about the view from the countries who were thrilled to escape the yoke of Russian/Soviet oppression? Were they wrong to fear the Russians as a long-term threat? Did they create this threat as a "self-fulfilling prophecy" or was the return of the threat inevitable anyway?

Think about Russia and Russians then -- and now. Sure, there are educated Russians who aren't ant-Semitic, homophobic, racist, fascist hooligans...but there's a sizable group who are...and they have served as the shock troops for Putinism. I am loathe to suggest that there is something as stereotypical as a "national character" -- but, the majority of Russians have attitudes that those in the West would find troubling. They are far less committed to democracy -- far more invested in a national ethnic identity -- and, consequently, are far more likely to support the expansionist moves that Putin has been orchestrating. Or, at least, that's how they are perceived abroad. Small wonder that Russia's neighbors fear their big neighbor -- whether or not their fears have become self-fulfilling prophecy, they don't seem outlandish or baseless.

Whether or not you perceive some defect in Russia's national character or in the character of the nation's leaders, I think it's totally fair and reasonable to ask if Russia's trajectory would have been any different if the West refrained from expanding NATO. Moreover, if the answer is no, one must consider the possible wisdom in expanding NATO at a time when Russia and NATO were not openly hostile.

If the threat to Eastern Europe was going to return regardless of what the West did in terms of NATO, then aren't we in a much better, safer position now? Imagine the clamor we'd be hearing now from the former Warsaw Pact nations, insisting on joining the alliance now for protection from Russia. Then, imagine the depth of the response that would provoke in Russia now. If you think they see the world as lined up against them now, imagine how they'd see an expansion of NATO that occurred in response to the annexation of Crimea.

I might add, that there were other reasons for expanding NATO. It's the European security alliance. It's quite appropriate to attempt to include all the nations of Europe, as the other collective regional security organs are pretty inclusive, too. What would have been accomplished by not expanding NATO? There are all sorts of benefits by bringing numerous nations into the more democratic, liberal cultures of the European Union and NATO.

Perhaps Russia might also have been brought into this liberal, democratic vision of Europe, but I have my doubts. They didn't have the same fear of an imperialistic neighbor pushing them in that direction. Few countries in the former Warsaw Pact are nostalgic for those days. Russians? Not so much.

As simple as it might be for a lot of liberals to want to blame imperialistic American policies for all the ills of the world, this is one situation where the glove clearly does not fit. We're not to blame for Russian actions that are wholly unjustifiable. Whatever historical claim they might have to Crimea, Russia's moves to seize the territory by force are a serious threat and should not be excused in any way. Moreover, there's a considerable likelihood that they will be repeated elsewhere..and that's a big problem for everyone. If anything, Germany's expansionist demands in the 1930s seem more reasonable -- more based in in real grievances. Even if Russia isn't the same as Nazi Germany and Putin isn't Hitler, this is a significant challenge to maintaining international peace. Like it or not, we cannot pretend that this isn't a big deal.

I don't have a magic answer as to what our response should be (personally, in addition to other sanctions, I've got my eyes on taking away the 2018 World Cup from Russia  -- giving it to the USA or England would be problematic, but maybe Australia would fly? I know this is a FIFA issue, but a re-vote can be arranged) -- but it can't be to blame our own past policies and give Russia a pass. This is a threat the world cannot ignore, because it will only grow.

Originally posted to FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is a very good continuation of the discussion (12+ / 0-)

    It is very easy and tempting to reduce a complex and dangerous crisis to a simple question of whose fault is it. That can make a jumping off place for a lively argument, but it is unlikely to get at the underlying reasons much less provide a map for a way out. There are people who want to put all of the blame personally on the shoulders of Valdimir Putin. Some of the people of the people who are talking about the impact of the post USSR path of NATO, etc are attempting to broaden that focus. Others are just enjoying a good fight on Daily Kos.

    Western history has several notable points where an attempt was made to find a balancing point for international security. Those usually came following major wars. Major ones were the Congress of Vienna, the Congress of Versailles and the UN Conference in San Francisco. None of those developed a system that was perfect and it always had to be redone at a later point.

    The dissolution of the USSR represented that kind of security destabilization. Unlike prolonged wars, it caught most of the world by surprise. The US government was not anticipating it and had no plans developed for how to deal with it. Things were improvised on the fly. What we are seeing now is cracks on those arrangements that have been there for some time. It is still possible that Ukraine will somehow pass over as a modest crisis, but I think it is entirely possible that it will be messier and more enduring. It may be that this will be another one of those historical re-balancing points.  

    •  richard lyon -- i am one of those "people who want (5+ / 0-)

      to put all of the blame personally on the shoulders of valdimir (sic) putin."

      if he didn't like what happened in kiev & the rest of ukraine, he had other options available -- like the un, where he could plead his case before an international audience -- rather than the course he elected to pursue.

      putin's nothing more than a(nother) vertically-challenged megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur -- & one who happens to have a gross over-estimation of his abilities, political, & otherwise.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

      by bluezen on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:00:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That plot might make a good TV movie (7+ / 0-)

        but it isn't going to do anything to unravel a complex international crisis.

        •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mindful Nature

          This is not complex. Russia invaded another nation. That's it. If Ukraine wanted to be come a part of the UN or not is not germane to the discussion. I can sympathize with Russia being wary of that senario but that doesn't justify Russia's actions. Nor does it add in the slightest to the situation.

          Der Weg ist das Ziel

          by duhban on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:31:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's possible for more than one of these (10+ / 0-)

        issues to be true at the same time: that Putin could be a megalomaniac and that there are broader issues at play that have to be taken into consideration.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:57:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  agree (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, Kevskos, koNko, pico

          The issues are very complex -power, security, ethnic idenity, economics.  And then there's Putin, who is as graceful with some of these complexities as a bull in a china shop.

        •  If that case holds (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos, koNko, kdnla, pico

          then it is plausible that the problems would not be resolved simply by getting rid of Putin. Iraq was supposed to become a paradise by getting rid of the evil Saddam. It didn't work out that way.

        •  Almost certainly. (3+ / 0-)

          And it's also possible events in Ukraine itself, and in the West which has not been at all shy in pushing NATO eastward at every possible opportunity, contributed to the circumstances that handed Putin an opportunity for skullduggery.

          Now someone is going to call me an apologist for Putin and an America hater, against Israel, and probably a troll taking this thread off-topic, because such is the mind-set of some people on this site these days.

          And they will be totally mistaken.

          I believe Putin is a very clever, sociopathic tyrant who knows an opportunity when he sees one, and gamed the West.

          I also believe the Ukraine had problems with deep ethnic divisions and a sting of kleptocrats that lead it down road where it would have been remarkable if it had held together as a nation, Putin or no Putin.

          Furthermore, I believe Western nations have their own interests that factored (e.g., the kleptocratic IMF) and some delusional ideas about the inherent goodness of some of their own institutions.

          Oh, and I believe Israel is on the wrong path, which has absolutely nothing to do with any of the above.

          The world is that complex.

          No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

          by koNko on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:30:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The fact is (0+ / 0-)

            NATO expansion doesn't justify this invasion. In fact the invasion shows the expansions was justified in the first place

            However, pivoting to Richard's point it looks like the world is more or less prepared to accept the annexation with a slap on the wrist. Resolving this probably amounts to threatening some stiffer sanctions and hoping Putin is done making his point that countries that happen to be near Russia and aren't in NATO can't expect to have independent policy or actual autonomy.

            I'm not sure how much more crisis there is to be had here

            •  That is not fact --that is opinion. Of someone (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              native

              who is not a leader responsible for ensuring his country is protected from threats.  And probably of someone who has never been on a military base or seen the effects of war.

              John F Kennedy was ready to initiate nuclear war when the Soviet Union tried to install missiles in Cuba in the 1960s.  Reagan invaded Grenada.

              The unanswered question in all this is WHY are we risking nuclear war -- or a restart of the expensive Cold War -- over  a bankrupt country 4500 miles from the USA.  

              What value does Ukraine have to us --other than as a base from which to attack Russia?

              •  The fact is (0+ / 0-)

                There is no principle in international law that justifies country A invading country B because country Adislikes the foreign policy of country C.  That is even more tenuous than Bush's justification for invading Iraq as posing an imminent threat to the US.

                Hyperventilating about risks of nuclear war aside, I think you answer is that there is an old fashioned notion that international norms should be respected and those who  don't should face penalties from those who do.  Obviously many people here do not beleive that (which makes me wonder if Bush has now a blossoming of support here for the Iraq War post facto now as a consequence)

    •  Putin's Victim Card. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, Mindful Nature

      Putin blamed the West for Russia's Time of Troubles. When Tsar Ivan IV, "the Terrible" died, his son Fyodor was sickly, and didn't leave any heirs. After Tsar Fyodor died, Boris Godunov and Vassily Shuisky took advantage of the situation by foisting a series of impostors the"pseudo-Dmitris" on Russia. It was wrong for Poland to get involved, but the problem was domestic.

      In a recent speech, Putin said that for 300 years, the West was trying to isolate Russia. The start of that period was the Great Northern War (1700-1721). The kings of Denmark and Saxony feared the rise of Sweden, so they got Pyotr the Great to attack. Russia won that war, and Pyotr started building St. Petersburg before Sweden officially surrendered the land it was built on.

      The wars of Spanish Succession (whether a Bourbon could be King of Spain) and Austrian Succession (whether a woman could be Holy Roman Empress) didn't involve Russia that much, and the Seven Years War had a North-South split--France, Austria, and Russia against Prussia and Britain.

      The Partition of Poland (1772-1795) involved Russia, Prussia, and Austria. I suppose Putin could argue that without the two German powers' involvement, Russia would have taken all of Poland, but that hardly makes Russia a victim.

      The Napoleonic Wars saw France take on the rest of Western Europe. After those wars were over, Russia was an essential part of the Concert of Europe.

      The Crimean War was one where Russia can legitimately say it's the victim. The Russian Civil War also saw the World aligned against Russia, but that was more ideological--if Tsar Nicholas II or the Kerensky regime had survived, there would have been no cause for the outsiders to invade.

      So the reality is that from the end of the Great Northern War to the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia was a respected member of the Western World.

      Putin doesn't respect that verdict because he  can't conduct his war policy unless he plays the victim card.

      Freedom's just another word for not enough to eat. --Paul Krugman's characterization of conservative attitudes.

      by Judge Moonbox on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:19:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Valtin

        Re "Russia was a respected member of the Western World" you do know that the USA INVADED Russia?  TWICE.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        •  I know we were in Russian Civil War. (0+ / 0-)

          (My source for that also notes that the RCW is the first war we lost, not Vietnam.)

          What was the second time the US invaded Russia? (I don't think that under international law, sending spy planes constitute an invasion--and the USSR sent their spy planes over the US.)

          And how does this invalidate the argument that Russia was at least as respected during the Concert of Europe as it was dissed for being Russia during the Communist era?

          Russia has suffered under foreign interventions, but not on the scale that would justify Putin's 300 year claim. If you can't justify the "300 year" business, don't use such angry words to nitpick.

          Freedom's just another word for not enough to eat. --Paul Krugman's characterization of conservative attitudes.

          by Judge Moonbox on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 08:36:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The two times I referred to were circa 1918-- (0+ / 0-)

            we invaded Russia in the North around Archangel and a second expeditionary army invaded it on the eastern Pacific coast, as noted in my links above.

            1) I hardly think someone who lost 24 million people to an invasion from the west in WWII is "playing the victim card".
            The US only lost 418,500 and part of that was in the Pacific.

            2) Nonetheless, we were drawing up plans to nuke our Soviet ally even before WWII was over.   Something Stalin's spies probably told him of -- plans that were deferred once  Russia got the bomb.

            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            Yes -- there are some things left out of our K12 history books.

          •  I'm sorry... but... (0+ / 0-)

            you just don't know what you are talking about.

            Russia has suffered under foreign interventions, but not on the scale that would justify Putin's 300 year claim.
            GERMANY is part of the West. On June 22, 1941, a gigantic invasion force from Germany invaded the USSR. Four years later, the Russian/Soviet dead would total in the tens of millions!

            Can you wrap your head around that? Imagine 9/11 times about one hundred thousand. Can you even think, or imagine what kind of insanity would reign in this country in the aftermath of such an invasion?

            It is not hard to understand the "paranoia" of Russia or Putin. Let's not forget, either, that the "West" spent billions of dollars in proxy wars and covert interventions post-WWII aimed, too, at Russia/USSR. Even after the USSR collapsed, the U.S. and NATO, aimed at bringing their Cold War military coalition forces ever nearer to the prostrated Russian state... and this even as the Warsaw Pact itself dissolved.

            I'm sorry for the strong condemnation of your comment. But realize that in your casual toss of about no intervention by the West in Russia, you might as well as spit on millions of graves.

            War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

            by Valtin on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:55:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm talking All The Time. Anti-Russianism wasn't. (0+ / 0-)

              Russia was at war with western countries in the Great Northern War (1700-1721), the Crimean War (1854-56), and the Russian Civil War (1918-1920). They were invaded by one Western Power and aligned with other Western Powers during the Napoleonic Wars (Started 1792, Russsia invaded 1812, ended 1815), World War I (1914-1918) and World War II(started 1939, Soviet Union invaded 1941, ended 1945). They were involved in the Seven Years War, but I didn't see that Frederick the Great doing that much damage to Russia.

              Although Western powers hadn't fought in the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78), they did impose a peace treaty that denied Russia the fruits of its victories, so I'll throw that in as well.

              I'll keep a separate tally of the attempts at containment between the World Wars (actually from the end of the Russian Civil War, 1920 to 1939) and the Cold War (1945-1991).

              So you have 25 years where Russia fought the West alone; 33 years when they fought an existential struggle with one Western power and allied with others (only 7 when Russian territory was under attack), and 2 years of war where the West overturned Russian efforts.

              55 years of a struggle that can be called a cold war.

              You do have to include the Concert of Europe (1815-1848) and the years the Dreikiaserbund (Three Emperors' Alliance, 1870-about 1905, IIRC) which they dropped in favor of the Triple Entente (until 1914) when they were courted by Western Powers. Similarly, for much of the 18th Century, Russia was respected by the West, but I can't get dates on real accord versus grudging respect.

              So, out of 314 years, you have 115 years of West vs. Russia (If I wanted to count actual months when Russia was under attack, that would be a lot less) and at least 73 years and when Russia was officially courted by the West and informally for probably more than the 42 years that you need to make up the difference.

              If you want to disprove my argument, you have to understand it, and your finding exceptions--major as they are--doesn't do that.

              Freedom's just another word for not enough to eat. --Paul Krugman's characterization of conservative attitudes.

              by Judge Moonbox on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 06:21:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Does one mean to insinuate (0+ / 0-)

        . . . that suppression of communism was legitimate cause for the West to invade Russia?

  •  Kennan's comment is interesting (7+ / 0-)

    although at some level it amounts to deciding to let Russia have its empire in peace.  It certainly will be worth watching to see whether NATO in fact defends all its members going forward and what form those security guarantees take.  I agree that much of the impetus for expanding NATO was to allow the new members into the European Club, much as EU membership is used to inculcate western governmental approaches in countries such as Turkey.  Clearly, though the new members had actual security guarantees foremost in mind.  

    I imagine that viewed through a prism of pure national self-interest there is, as Kennan says, no reason to extend security guarantees to eastern Europe, simply on a theory that in fact the US doesn't gain all that much from a stable international political system in that region of the world.  It just isn't valuable enough for the US to trouble itself over.  Even today, probably a majority of Americans don't think that Ukraine is important enough to be worth a second thought, much less taking action.  Maybe the cynical view is correct.

    I do think that you are correct that the clear boundaries set by the NATO expansion does leave us more secure.  Right now, most can feel confident that Putin's expansionism will not proceed past the Ukraine.  Imagine if we were sitting here wondering if Putin would also launch wars on the Baltic States and Poland.  After a few more of these exercises, I believe the risk of a major, major war would be incalculably greater.  As it stands, NATO operates as a firewall against a wider regional set of conflicts.  

  •  I agreed w/ Romney when he called Russia a strong. (0+ / 0-)

    .enemy of the US.

    And I also believe that there are Fascists trying to undermine a democratically elected government in Venezuela.  And if the fascists did in the US what they have done in Caracas (blocking highways, burning trash outdoors), they would have been immediately arrested for terrorist-like activities.

    Who's to blame for Crimea?

    I place much blame on a certain political element in the continent of Europe that abhors base power (nuclear, natural gas fracking).

    If Germany didn't depend on Russia for 75% of its natural gas and oil, Putin would never have taken Crimea, for he would have feared devastating economic sanctions.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:49:54 PM PDT

    •  I place the blame for Crimea with geography and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rbird, HiKa, Kevskos

      Putin who wants to restore Russia to great power status.  

      He needs a port city near the Mediterranean for his Navy.  Having a long term port contract with another country is not the same as being part of Russia.  The ethnic composition makes it all the easier.

      The only thing left for Putin to get is an expansion of Russia, so there is a land connection - sorry Ukraine.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:09:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is the historic connection of Russia and... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EastcoastChick, HiKa, Kevskos, Azazello

        the Ukraine. It was firmly in the orbit of Russia until the end of World War I. Stalin's actions in World War II turned the clock back to the Tzars, regaining much of the empire that had been lost. Then, once again, the collapse of the Soviet Union broke up the old Tzarist empire reconstituted by Stalin. Now Putin is putting some of it back together, or trying to.

        I'm no friend of Putin, in fact I should be on his enemies list. He's a fucking tyrant. Bad things should happen to him for the murder of Anna Politkovskaya and a host of other brave journalists.

        But given the large numbers of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and the Crimea, even if Putin were not in control, there would be movements to restore these area to Russia. So I see no solution to this. Remove Putin and the world would be blessed, but the problem would remain. I hope that the eventual solution will be non-violent, whatever that solution will be.

        This isn't the only place on the Earth where such things have happened. This crisis reminds me of the changing fortunes of the province of Alsace-Lorraine.

        Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

        by rbird on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:49:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "if the fascists did in the US what (5+ / 0-)

      they have done in Caracas"??

      Y'mean, like suppressing the vote, shutting down women's health centers, denying science, enabling unrestrained handgun carry, denying tens of thousands expanded Medicaid, refusing to act on immigration reform, enabling and supporting the Koch brothers (talk about Fascist!)... y'mean like THAT?

      THOSE "fascists"?

      Should THEY be "immediately arrested for terrorist-like activities"?

      Romney's a corporate dolt who's had nothing to say about the war criminals in his own party who lit up an already unstable Mideast, an accomplishment that'll suck us dry and pose a direct security threat for decades to come.

      THAT Mitt Romney? The international scholar with the car elevator?

    •  That's not the only instance. (0+ / 0-)

      You also seem to agree with Romney on the environment, taxation, China, and heaven knows what else.

      The good news is he still seems to be contesting the 2012 election, don't give up hope.

      No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

      by koNko on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:32:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Abhors base power? (0+ / 0-)

      If you're talking about the oil and natural gas industries, they love Putin and Venezuela's Moreno the Oil Oligarchs more than they hate them for any ideology.

      If it were up to these base power haters they would have given Western Europe the solar and wind energy that they wouldn't have to depend on Russian gas.

      Freedom's just another word for not enough to eat. --Paul Krugman's characterization of conservative attitudes.

      by Judge Moonbox on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:46:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I simply do not buy the frame you are selling. (23+ / 0-)

    You left out:

    1) The US "shock therapy" after the fall of the USSR, which resulted in the impoverishment of the majority of the country. It led directly to the looting by the oligarchs.

    2) The US loved the corrupt Yeltsin regime and used its incompetence to further weaken Russia.

    Both of those are examples of Western financial and political aggression against the PEOPLE of the FORMER USSR.

    Perhaps, absent this aggression, Russia would not be run by gangsters and oligarchs. Perhaps, absent this aggression, the Russians would not elect and respect a former KGB agent who promises them that Russia will not be pushed around.

    You say:

    If you want to argue that western policies are to blame and that Russia is merely being reactive, the burden is upon you to prove that is true. Is there anything about Russia, or Putin, that would be substantially different, if the West hadn't pursued -- or agreed to NATO expansion (since the pressure for NATO expansion largely came from nations outside NATO's umbrella)?
    I just gave you two reasons that started well before the NATO expansion. Here's a third:

    3) The NATO expansion, in itself, violated VERBAL agreements that led Premier Gorbachev to agree (in 1989) to the re-unification of Germany in exchange for NO NATO expansion. Maybe history would have been different if Germany were kept divided. That's a pretty big if you leave out of the frame.

    But, when all is said and done,

    It is only YOU who say that the burden of proof is on ME. This is yet another assertion without any logical grounding. You arbitrarily make up a story that begins with NATO expansion and leaves out the royal screwing we gave to the post-Communist remnants of Russia - ten years of people going hungry, losing their life savings, seeing a bunch of parasites steal the country out from under them. All greenlighted by Washington.

    Where you begin the story is very important. You only record the response to many punches to Russia's face.  You only care about Russia when it stands up to the West. When the West trashes their economy, you don't want to hear about it.

    ----

    Next, I want to address the character assassination you ascribe to an entire country.

    Sure, there are educated Russians who aren't ant-Semitic, homophobic, racist, fascist hooligans...but there's a sizable group who are...and they have served as the shock troops for Putinism. I am loathe to suggest that there is something as stereotypical as a "national character" -- but, the majority of Russians have attitudes that those in the West would find troubling. They are far less committed to democracy -- far more invested in a national ethnic identity -- and, consequently, are far more likely to support the expansionist moves that Putin has been orchestrating. Or, at least, that's how they are perceived abroad. Small wonder that Russia's neighbors fear their big neighbor -- whether or not their fears have become self-fulfilling prophecy, they don't seem outlandish or baseless.
    How Ciceronian of you to "not talk about" the Russian national character. LOL.

    And, what a broad brush you paint with. I could make up some equally insulting screed about the US. After all, we are on our way back to open racism, open second class citizenship for women. Open disenfranchisment of blacks, hispanics, and the poor. Half our country lives in poverty, and is stupid enough to blame "liberals" for that. We have the worst health care in the first world, but fixing it is "socialism". The GOP here wet their pants when Putin attacked the gays. Many people around the world find the US to be a bunch of trigger-happy rednecks convinced they are on a mission from God.

    But, far be it from me to talk about the US national character. :sarcasm:

    ----

    So, all you have here is a nice piece of propaganda. Never once do you mention what a bunch of scum we have empowered in the Ukraine. How do you like the Right Sector video? How about Yulia Timoshenko calling for Russians to be shot?  I'm sure you will tell me these clips are fake. But, is the stuff our corporate media feeding us any better than "the Germans are bayonetting Belgian babies"?

    Perhaps the message is that it's true that she's really a murderous oligarch - but she is OUR oligarch.

    I simply reject just about every "point" you made.

    For an alternative point of view, see my reply to my own post. (Separate to keep things vaguely compartmentalized.)

    •  The silence about the authoritarian thugs we... (21+ / 0-)

      have put in power since WW2 is a huge part of the frame you left out. Oh, the US has no history of staging coups, using rightwing mobs run by US embassy staff and NGOs. Right.

      The list of  authoritarian assholes we have supported is endless:

      -  The Shah and his SAVAK secret police
          (trained by Norman Schwartzkopf, SENIOR),
      -  General Suharto (murdered 1 million Indonesians),
      -  Colonel Ky (drug lord),
      -   Lon Nol (the fool who staged a coup against the neutralist Prince Sihanouk, thereby handing Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge.),
      -  General Pinochet (fascist murderer) and Operation Condor,
      -  Rios Montt (the messianic nutcase who ran a genocide against the native Americans in Guatamala)
      -  Contra cocaine dealers backed by Cuban exile spooks like Felix Rodriguez,
      -  mujaheddin fanatics (the ultimate blowback - we supported Bin Laden vs the Soviets),
      -  Saddam Hussein (we supported him against Iran before we killed him),
      -  General Noriega (another Bush drug buddy),
      -  (Russian) Georgian neocons,

      and now these corn-fed Ukrainian anti-semites and skinheads. ( You don't even notice the Right Sector is being run by the neocon NED, which is also busy starting similar astroturf riots in Venezuela.) What a narrow frame you have.

      What a fine bunch of people America's foreign policy (read the spooks in the CIA) have been supporting for the last 60 years - NOT.

      The whole Kiev circus stinks of covert ops. Vikki Nuland is married to a charter member neocon. She personally and publicly sabotaged democratic negotiations of a legitimate government and annointed another IMF-loving bankster to loot yet another third world shithole. See all the columns on how the austerity has already benefited the banksters, and will reduce Ukraine to Greek-style penury.

      Ukraine is so poor that those who want to secede from Ukraine think Russian pensions are luxurious. That is so free market; but hey, ideology trumps the free market anyday.

      The US has no moral standing in the world because of covert ops bullshit like the Ukraine. No one trusts our journalists, our NGOs, our corporations - because, in the third world, the US just wants profits and they don't care who they hurt to get them.

      But Putin is the 100% bad guy here, and we are the 100% good guy. Not one word of the latest coup by our spooks and neocons, who are incestuously inter-related since Bush ran the CIA.

      Geez. Is anyone here capable of recognizing CIA propaganda, even when its the same scenario being replayed for the 20th time?

      •  Been reading Chomsky, eh? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duhban

        And no, nobody ever sees through propaganda fantasies. And history doesn't exist. And the Gators are going to lose again at the Elite 8 round of the NCAA basketball tournament....

        "Covert ops" might be a step too far describing the Maidan fiasco. Just a step. Well, a half step.

        Amazing what a little money can do.

        As to Putin, you have to look at the map and the demographics. Kerch.... And as for Putie, he didn't get Mila Kunis in the deal, so get a life!

        "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Paul-Koch Ryan

        by waterstreet2013 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:52:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Everyone should read a little Chomsky (3+ / 0-)

          His frame of reference is a healthy challenge to the worldview drilled into Americans by the established media and the schools.

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:37:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Chomsky is a fool (0+ / 0-)

            Occasionally he's right but that's more an accident than a feature.

            Der Weg ist das Ziel

            by duhban on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:34:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Apparently your arrogance and idiocy knows no... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              waterstreet2013, ZhenRen

              bounds.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/...

              The link isn't for you, drache/duh, but for all the readers who might not know who Chomsky is (likely very few, but still it will serve to illustrate what a troll you are).

              Please show with links Chomsky's most recent mistake. It should be easy since you claim that he is only occasionally, accidentally right.

              •  :chuckles: (0+ / 0-)

                you might not get this but Chomsky  writes pretty much pure his opinion. And I hope people read Chomsky that way  everyone can decide what their opinion is.

                Mine is and almost certainly will always be that Chomsky is a fool.

                Der Weg ist das Ziel

                by duhban on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 10:50:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hey (1+ / 0-)

                  it's you.

                  :chuckles:
                  I'd love to see your list of people who you deem not to be fools, since you place your own opinions on such a high pedestal that you think you can dismiss a scholar like Chomsky as a mere fool.

                  Outside of the politically ignorant US (you are included in this group), Chomsky is very much read and respected. In Europe he has a wide readership.

                  In calling Chomsky a fool, you really exhibit a conservative slant. Most who might disagree with Chomsky, if they are on the left, wouldn't call him a fool.

                  And that's my opinion.

                  "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                  by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:07:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  in general or political theory? (0+ / 0-)

                    And your opinion is rubbish. One can dislike Chomsky while  also disliking the war fetish of the right.

                    Der Weg ist das Ziel

                    by duhban on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:13:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Let's see your list of people (1+ / 0-)

                      who are not fools. Name some socioeconomic or political thinkers you think to be worthy of your respect.

                      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                      by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:19:22 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  okay (0+ / 0-)

                        Locke
                        Hobbes
                        Voltaire
                        Plato
                        Keynes

                        That's a start and before you try and nitpick I'm not saying I agree with any of them completely. I just have more respect for them them Chomsky whom I regard as a massive hypocrite.

                        Der Weg ist das Ziel

                        by duhban on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:21:18 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  can add (0+ / 0-)

                          Kant
                          Nietzsche
                          Stuart Mill
                          Paine
                          Thoreau

                          Der Weg ist das Ziel

                          by duhban on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:23:23 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Thoreau (1+ / 0-)

                            is much closer to Chomsky than you are to Thoreau.

                            Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was an important early influence in individualist anarchist thought in the United States and Europe. Thoreau was an American author, poet, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. His thought is an early influence on green anarchism but with an emphasis on the individual experience of the natural world influencing later naturist currents,[5] simple living as a rejection of a materialist lifestyle[5] and self-sufficiency were Thoreau's goals, and the whole project was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy. "Many have seen in Thoreau one of the precursors of ecologism and anarcho-primitivism represented today in John Zerzan. For George Woodcock this attitude can be also motivated by certain idea of resistance to progress and of rejection of the growing materialism which is the nature of American society in the mid 19th century."[29]

                            The essay Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government) was first published in 1849. It argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican-American War. The essay later influenced Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Buber and Leo Tolstoy through its advocacy of nonviolent resistance.[91] It is also the main precedent for anarcho-pacifism.[91] The American version of individualist anarchism has a strong emphasis on the non-aggression principle and individual sovereignty.[92] Some individualist anarchists, such as Thoreau,[93][94] do not speak of economics but simply the right of "disunion" from the state, and foresee the gradual elimination of the state through social evolution.

                            Nietzsche too.

                            And about John Stuart Mill:

                            Then there is John Stuart Mill who recognised the fundamental contradiction in classical liberalism. How can an ideology which proclaims itself for individual liberty support institutions which systematically nullify that liberty in practice? For this reason Mill attacked patriarchal marriage, arguing that marriage must be a voluntary association between equals, with "sympathy in equality . . . living together in love, without power on one side or obedience on the other." Rejecting the idea that there had to be "an absolute master" in any association, he pointed out that in "partnership in business . . . it is not found or thought necessary to enact that in every partnership, one partner shall have entire control over the concern, and the others shall be bound to obey his rule." ["The Subjection of Women," quoted by Susan L. Brown, The Politics of Individualism, pp. 45-6]

                            Yet his own example showed the flaw in liberal support for capitalism, for the employee is subject to a relationship in which power accrues to one party and obedience to another. Unsurprisingly, therefore, he argued that the "form of association . . . which is mankind continue to improve, must be expected in the end to predominate, is not that which can exist between a capitalist as chief, and workpeople without a voice in management, but the association of the labourers themselves on terms of equality, collectively owning the capital . . . and working under managers elected and removable by themselves." [The Principles of Political Economy, p. 147] Autocratic management during working hours is hardly compatible with Mill's maxim that "[o]ver himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign." Mill's opposition to centralised government and wage slavery brought his ideas closer to anarchism than most liberals, as did his comment that the "social principle of the future" was "how to unite the greatest individual liberty of action with a common ownership in the raw materials of the globe, and equal participation of all in the benefits of combined labour." [quoted by Peter Marshall, Demanding the Impossible, p. 164] His defence of individuality, On Liberty, is a classic, if flawed, work and his analysis of socialist tendencies ("Chapters on Socialism") is worth reading for its evaluation of their pros and cons from a (democratic) liberal perspective.

                            Like Proudhon, Mill was a forerunner of modern-day market socialism and a firm supporter of decentralisation and social participation. This, argues Chomsky, is unsurprising for pre-capitalist classical liberal thought "is opposed to state intervention in social life, as a consequence of deeper assumptions about the human need for liberty, diversity, and free association. On the same assumptions, capitalist relations of production, wage labour, competitiveness, the ideology of 'possessive individualism' -- all must be regarded as fundamentally antihuman. Libertarian socialism is properly to be regarded as the inheritor of the liberal ideals of the Enlightenment." ["Notes on Anarchism", Op. Cit., p. 157]

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 03:02:01 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh my... (1+ / 0-)

                          Hobbes.

                          No wonder.

                          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                          by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:23:52 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  hobbes work on social contract (0+ / 0-)

                            was incredibly important to our modern world and while ultimately wrong on his views on the absolute monarch at least it was self consistent.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:30:29 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  more over Hobbes pushed some very liberal views (0+ / 0-)

                            espeically the idea that the law must forbid and not be some catch all and the idea that laws must come from a representative body.

                            I'm not sure what you hope to gain from insulting Hobbes other than for me to question your understanding of his work.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 02:32:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  utterly incoherent. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        •  No. Only history books. Nice smear, tho. n/t (2+ / 0-)
          •  I just wanted to see what would roll in (0+ / 0-)

            with the comments. And yes, it's pretty much incoherent.

            Gawd what fun..........

            This account "duhban" says that Chomsky is a fool. I'm still laughing at that one. Sometime tomorrow it'll be a chortle.

            Perfect Intertubes comment. Matches the bloody head-banger GIF.

            "duhban" could also be D'oh-ban, not lose a stitch.

            "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Ryan-Paul Koch

            by waterstreet2013 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 03:39:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  We didn't empower anyone in Ukraine. (9+ / 0-)

      It's simply not true. The Ukrainians took power themselves, and in upcoming elections they will decide who represents them. If we had our way -- we being the EU and the USA -- then Yanukovich would still be in power and probably setting up a campaign for re-election in line with the agreement reached in February before he decided to flee, presumably because protestors rejected the deal.

      You can weave all your conspiracy tales, but this one has no connection with what really transpired on the ground.

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:49:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Complete humbug. (18+ / 0-)

        Nuland herself claimed (and later retracted) that we had spent $5B bringing "Democracy" to the Ukraine. Nuland herself brought cookies to the street gang rally. John McCain fronted for a terrorist who blew up stuff in Russia.

        What are you talking about "we and the EU"? Nuland said "Fuck the EU." That's because Nuland is a neocon thug.

        She was leaked dictating who would be in charge, post coup. Not the popular, ex-boxer Klicho?; but rather some IMF banker shit who couldn't sign the company up to be looted fast enough. And that's how it went down.

        The NED is notorious for destabilizing governments under the guise of "bringing democracy".

        But, no, we didn't empower anyone. Do you know how ridiculous your statement is.

        •  $5 billion over 10 years . . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Swig Mcjigger, killjoy

          including organizations that help Ukraine establish democratic institutions from zero -- because the Russians certainly don't have much experience with developing free government or societies.

          Compare that to Russian hard and soft influences in a place like Ukraine and its a drop in the ocean.  Putin and his buddies wrote a $1 billion check and the Yanukovych went on a two day killing spree of Ukranians, there's the Russian ties to the secret police, and then of course there's the reality of the Russian invasion.

          I'd take a little "soft power" and soft persuasion any day over Russian thuggishness.

        •  There's nothing in Ukraine to be looted. (0+ / 0-)

          "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Paul-Koch Ryan

          by waterstreet2013 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:54:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Victoria Nuland said otherwise: (18+ / 0-)

        1) Here is Vicky choosing the next leader of Ukraine -- several weeks BEFORE the Maidan gets the word.  And read the transcript --does that sound like she's making a tentative suggestion for debate on the Maidan?

        http://www.bbc.com/...  

        2) Do you think State gives $35 billion aid packages away with no strings attached -- and that Congress appropriates such?

        3) Here is Vicky stating in Dec 2013 that the US has dumped $5 Billion into Ukraine already:
        http://www.usukraine.org/...
        Scroll down to her speech and move cursor forward to time 7:30.

        4) Here is what Dennis Kucinich talking about USAID and NGO National Endowment for Democracy (NED)  funding subversion in Ukraine:
        http://www.youtube.com/...

        5) Here is NED's website:
        http://www.ned.org/...

        6) But, hey, maybe this is like those Democracy for American courses I went to.  You know --where they taught us to go door to door and give a fair,  objective, even-handed presentation of both the Democratic AND Republican arguments so that the voters could decide for themselves who to vote for.   The Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.  Fair and Balanced.

      •  the take over of western ukraine (10+ / 0-)

        was coup 101, it has been a formula used by the US covert operations many times

      •  Who tells you these lies, and why do you repeat (4+ / 0-)

        them without questioning or examining?

        Your version of history is entirely false. Entirely. Pure propaganda.

        Ukrainian president and opposition sign early poll deal
        Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders have signed a deal to try to end the political crisis in the country.

        Under the agreement, a national unity government will be installed and a presidential poll will be held by the end of the year.

        The deal, reached after mediation by EU foreign ministers, also sees electoral reform and constitutional changes.

        Ukraine's parliament has voted to reduce the president's powers.

        It also approved laws which could see the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

        The deal follows hours of talks and months of demonstrations on the streets of Kiev and other cities.

        The nazis didn't like the deal and began major assaults on government buildings. This is just bloody fucking out in the open history. (Oh, right we're not supposed to call the people who praise Hitler, fly the swastika, and fiercely advocate racialist-eliminationist doctrine 'nazis' -- they're 'nationalists.' And if they called themselves 'Happy Daisy Bagels,' that's what we'd have to call them.)

        As to conspiracy, read the very words of the neo-Con's actor in all this as transcribed from her phone conversation. (US Asst. Sec. of State Nuland, wife and in-law to the leading neo-cons who formulated the 'surround Russia' strategy).


        Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

        by Jim P on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:11:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow. Nice talking points (0+ / 0-)

          It's like you're all working off the same memo. Y'all need to coordinate better.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:36:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're the victim of a conspiracy, then? (3+ / 1-)

            Seriously, look at how pathetic your response is.

            You claim the deposed leader refused to come to a compromise. I give you a mainstream report on the compromise negotiated.

            The follow-up rejection and overthrow of the government through force of arms was spearheaded by self-admitted racialist-eliminationist elements. Who did not respect the democratic elements of the protesters. These are people who said the first order of business when they have power is the elimination of the intellectuals of their racial enemies. This is on their own websites. These are not the same people who started the protests. Why can you not tell the difference?

            You claim we had no hand in the coup. I give you the actual conversation where we are planning the post-coup government.

            The reason you don't rebut the actual facts is because you are wedded to the lies. Address the actual historical record or admit your primary interest is in something other than reality.

            Further silence or dodges will confirm, without question, that you are here to push lies, for whatever reason you choose to do that.

            Or tell us more about your conspiracy theory, that has so many people referring to openly published, and widely distributed facts.


            Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

            by Jim P on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:58:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ???? (0+ / 0-)
              "You claim the deposed leader refused to come to a compromise."
              No, I didn't. I never said anything even remotely resembling that proposition. I only mentioned him in connection with the February agreement and then his fleeing after the protestors rejected the deal.
              "The follow-up rejection and overthrow of the government through force of arms "
              No, it wasn't. Dude just up and left. People woke up and he was gone.

              "You claim we had no hand in the coup. I give you the actual conversation where we are planning the post-coup government."

              Again -- no , I didn't -- but, I suppose it depends on how you define "a hand" in the affair. We offered material support in addition to considerable moral support of the protests. And, when it became fairly apparent that the regime wasn't going to hang on -- that there would at least be early elections and possibly some agreement first on an interim government, an American diplomat actually offered conjecture on who should head that government.

              There's a vast chasm between that and actually planning a coup and its aftermath. But, enjoy your conspiracy theory. It's much more intriguing -- it's all James Bond-y and stuff. Much more interesting than tens of thousands camping out in frigid temperatures for months to protest and force their government to respond to the people's will.

              "Further silence or dodges will confirm, without question, that you are here to push lies, for whatever reason you choose to do that"

              Not. Nyaahhh nyaahhh, You can't touch me. Sticks and stones can crush my bones, but immature, bizarre ravings can't hurt me.  

              "here to push lies"??? Seriously?? Get effing real. You want to have a conversation, we can have that. If you're going to plunge deep into fevered conspiratorial nonsense, there's no discussion to be had.

              Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

              by FischFry on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:07:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're the one who claims there's a conspiracy (0+ / 0-)

                to organize talking points. Then you throw out that others are pushing conspiracy?

                The former leader left after there were armed attacks lead by Right Sektor on government buildings. That's history. Protest: concessions: protests: signed agreement to demands: Right Sektor attacks.

                THE PEACEFUL PROTESTORS DID NOT KILL POLICE NOR ATTACK GOVERNMENT BUSINESS. The nazis did. Where's the tricky bit?

                If you need to claim 'CT' to make the US role in the coup not exist, well, there you go. Maybe you aren't here to push lies, but you are certainly not here to deal with reality.


                Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

                by Jim P on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 09:46:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ummm...again, no (0+ / 0-)

                  I noted it was obvious that you were all replying off the same talking points and suggested you ought to coordinate. That would be the opposite of saying there is a conspiracy.

                  "THE PEACEFUL PROTESTORS DID NOT KILL POLICE NOR ATTACK GOVERNMENT BUSINESS. The nazis did. Where's the tricky bit?"
                  What? Are you responding to something I said? I haven't a clue -- I'm not even sure if you're stating that or ridiculing something someone else wrote.

                  I have no idea why you think that your statement is responsive to anything I wrote, but all I'd say is that your statement is obvious. Peaceful protestors did not kill police. Duh. Anyone who did kill police was not a peaceful protestor..or, at least, ceased to be at that moment. What's your point? There were peaceful protestors, and there were others who were more determined to confront and fight police. So? The majority certainly did not kill police. Otherwise, there would tens of thousands of dead policemen. So, again, what's your point? Because I don't see it.

                  Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                  by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:00:53 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What talking points? Quoting the BBC news reports? (0+ / 0-)

                    Quoting stories which appeared in the mainstream press?

                    When did quoting reality become merely 'a talking point'? When it's inconvenient to a point of view, it becomes just saying stuff for no reason?

                    As to conspiracy charges you've been throwing them out often enough. Here's what you've said in this very thread:

                    You can weave all your conspiracy tales
                    It's like you're all working off the same memo.
                    English is English, and you've charged people with conspiracy.

                    You also said:

                    The Ukrainians took power themselves, and in upcoming elections they will decide who represents them. If we had our way -- we being the EU and the USA -- then Yanukovich would still be in power and probably setting up a campaign for re-election in line with the agreement reached in February before he decided to flee, presumably because protestors rejected the deal.
                    You conflate the peaceful Ukrainians with the racialist-eliminationist Ukrainians. It was not the peaceful Ukrainians who stormed government buildings. Why you are unwilling to recognize the distinction; that leftist Ukrainian protestors were intimidated and beaten by the nazi-type, I don't understand why you persist in ignoring the real world.

                    You also ignore the reality (as documented by the BBC among others) that a) the protestors accepted the deal, b) except for the Nazi part of the protestors who then launched organized attacks on government buildings. Then you 'presume' that violence aimed at government officials had no role in Yanukovich's fleeing. When he himself had been literally targeted for death by various nazi factions.

                    Do you know who is in charge of the removal of 'undesirables' from Ukrainian government? As to coming elections, who will be counting the votes? Who will provide 'security' for voters to see as they go to vote? Maybe not the Nazis. May be.

                    Actual history: Peaceful protests. Government yields, agrees to demands, including new elections, attaining protestors goal. Nazi element of protestors rejects agreement, begins organized assault on government. Coup follows. Nazis given ministries of Security, Justice, and forming of new state militia.

                    As to the US role: why have we spent $5B 'to help democracy in Ukraine?' That would be to get Ukraine closer to Russia, do you think? Are you completely unaware of the US role in both the Orange Revolution and the US-backed NGOs in Ukraine? Really? Never happened?

                    You seem to think that US citizens are not routinely propagandized by our own government. Especially on international matters. I surmise this based on your proclivity to repeat everything you've heard without bothering to think critically about it, and to dismiss out of hand any reality-based counter-evidence.

                    What's the point of our black-budgets -- $56B in 2013 alone, do you suppose? NOT to influence foreign affairs? And with complete indifference to an area of the world defined by Brzezinski and most of our policy established as one of the key 'swing regions' of the world in the struggle against what is considered one of the chief obstacles to US global hegemony?

                    Really, we have no geopolitical strategy which sees Russia (and China) as our future enemies?

                    I understand that you'll likely respond with something dismissive and avoid dealing with any point raised here or any question raised. But please stop pretending that the US is some kind of innocent, indifferent, bystander in the coup d'etat. It's simply not possible.


                    Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

                    by Jim P on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:40:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Reality? You keep making shit up (0+ / 0-)

                      I'm guessing you're not totally dense, but your comment has me wondering.

                      You've taken two completely unrelated comments and woven them into one nonsense thread.

                      "You can weave all your conspiracy tales"

                      I'm not saying you're part of a conspiracy, d@mb*ss. I'm saying you're weaving a tale regarding some supposed conspiracy in Ukraine that you're --imagining-- seeing. Not that you're part of conspiracy -- not a conspirator, but a conspiracist...someone who sees conspiracies as neat way to explain events because they won't accept that some things just fucking happen, without some nefarious cabal of neocons or Jews or whatever your personal bugaboo happens to be, controlling everything.

                      "It's like you're all working off the same memo."
                      Yes - when multiple replies to my post make exactly the same points, citing the same comments -- it seems you're all working off the same memo. Y'know, when I saw shit being posted by Sandy Hook deniers -- and they all make the same points about meaningless shit and make ridiculous assertions about the same misdated pdf -- I think it's reasonable to say they've all been looking at the same crazy source. That they are, to use a phrase, "working off the same memo."

                      They aren't conspirators -- they're crazed conspiracists. All parroting the same sources in the deluded belief that if enough people keep making the same points, citing the same sources, across the internet, then they take on some truth and powerful insight that they really don't warrant.

                      --

                      " It was not the peaceful Ukrainians who stormed government buildings. Why you are unwilling to recognize the distinction?"
                      Again, you're making shit up. I never said peaceful Ukrainians stormed government buildings, and I never said there weren't protestors who weren't peaceful. In fact, until you started ranting about it, I didn't say shit about the protestors -- other than to note their numbers and desires/demands.

                      Asa for the US spending money to support Ukrainian democracy -- why does this make for some nefarious conspiracy? It's one of the better things we've done over the last decade or so. Did that upset the Russians who were trying to squelch that movement and install their own anti-democratic puppet? Probably did. Crocodile tears. I'm OK with supporting people power.

                      Did it all work out as we hoped? Of course not -- the Russians pumped in more money and maintained the corruption that feeds their system. I'm thrilled the Ukrainian people keep rising up to resist it. I hope someday that the Russian people do the same, even if that's what Putin fears most. If we offer more than just encouraging words, I'll be cool with that -- in fact, I'd be embarrassed I'd we didn't do more.

                      One of the great failings of the Obama Administration's foreign policy may have been to not do anything to support the Iranian Green revolt. Perhaps, they simply saw no way that movement could succeed, so they decided it was wiser policy to stay out so that we could work with the regime later. Even still, it's a little disappointing -- and we let down thousands of brave protestors who were beaten or killed as a result -- people who stand for the ideals we supposedly believe in.

                      As for the makeup of the coalition in charge now in Kiev -- revolutions are always messy. Guess what? Our freedom-loving freedom fighters made common cause with slavers. Perpetrators of one of the most despicable abuses of humans ever perpetrated in human history. Some of those dudes are even huge heroes in our hagiography of the era. They got invited into government, too.

                      I'm willing to let the Ukrainians sort that out. If they go the wrong way and elect Nazi-types to lead the government, I would say we might want to reconsider supporting that government...but not the Ukrainians right to choose it.

                      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                      by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 12:53:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  One more point about Ukraine... (0+ / 0-)

                        You seem really bothered that the government buildings were attacked by the right-wing groups being labelled Nazis and/or ultra-nationalists.

                        Without getting into a debate about who these groups are -- often, ultranationalists are groups of soccer fans who call themselves ultras in a totally apolitical sense...and they can be cryptofascist shock troops like the ones Serbia relied on to fight the wars in the 1990s and terrorize locals...or, they can be over-simplistically identified as such. I don't really know enough about these groups to say -- except that I know that supporters of Shaktar Donetsk were attacked by pro-Russian groups the other day, so, they may be victims as well as perpetrators -- again, I don't know, and I would expect you don't know either...and if you're relying on one or two sources, you're not getting the full story any more than anyone else. I do know that the new PM is Jewish, so I'm not as troubled by having so-called Nazis in the gov't as I might be otherwise.

                        Anyway -- you're troubled that these ultras were the spear and that their violent response may have been an impetus in the leader's decision to flee. I guess we should be disappointed that the more progressive peace-loving protestors were just so damn peace-loving. If they'd taken up arms and driven out Yanukovich, you couldn't be complaining about the dudes on the right who did that.  Having said that, I continue to dispute your take that the end of the regime wasn't down to the determination of the more peaceful protestors, who booed the deal that would have preserved Yanukovich's rule.

                        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                        by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 01:12:03 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Finally... (0+ / 0-)

                      Please stay out of my diaries or replying if you are gonna keep posting contemptuous, dismissive bullshit like this:

                      "I understand that you'll likely respond with something dismissive and avoid dealing with any point raised here or any question raised. "

                      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                      by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 12:56:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Too bad. Get used to open discussion. (0+ / 0-)

                        I'll comment wherever I feel like, as will you.

                        And in reality you made two separate charges of "conspiracy." In the very same thread. I didn't read the rest of your diary, maybe there's more. Yet you claim you didn't!!!? I mean, you really think people are stupid. You throw out 'this is conspiracist' and then you throw out 'all get together' and then want us to believe you aren't trying to smear people.

                        Transparently ridiculous.

                        I'm unconvinced that the grassroots protest is in charge of the direction of the new Ukraine government, whatever your faith on the subject might be. Fact is leftists are getting the shit beat out of them, both during the beginning protests and through now.

                        As to revolutions being messy: fuck yeah, so was Hitler's and Mussolini's and the Bolsheviks'. What you keep skipping over is historical reality: it got really messy AFTER... AFTER a peaceful agreement was reached.

                        Without Right Sektor (and they've been training for the violent overthrow of the government for two years now) there would have been a) no more messy, and b) no putschist government of the 1%ers with their nazi ministers in the key offices.

                        When there could have just been elections already (or shortly, I can't recall the date offhand) with the result the people -- and I really don't take your repeated claims you care about the ACTUAL people in Ukraine seriously, just some media version of the people -- would actually have a say in their government.

                        Heh. Just saw that the coup government is transferring all its gold to the US. As security for the new IMF loans. Which will be a basis for taking ownership of Ukraine's Agriculture and Ports.

                        Wow. I'm sure that happened spontaneously with no forethought, eh?

                        PS: The $5B did NOT end with the Orange Revolution of so long ago. It ran right through the coup d'etat.

                        You throw out the charge that I'm dense, yet you yourself refuse to look widely reported facts. You claim you aren't trying to smear people as conspiracists when that's PRECISELY what you do.

                        You want to promote propaganda, go ahead. In a public space you'll be challenged. Although I appreciate that the Authoritarian mentally hates to be challenged as just wishes (sniff) that they'd all just go away (waaaaah).


                        Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

                        by Jim P on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 01:27:12 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  In short: the people of Ukraine are in the process (0+ / 0-)

                          of getting royally screwed, not liberated. But you'll know this in a couple of months I suspect, and then you'll publish your "I was wrong" diary. Maybe.


                          Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

                          by Jim P on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 01:34:51 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Umm. No. (0+ / 0-)
                          "you made two separate charges of "conspiracy."
                          It doesn't become true just because you keep repeating it.

                          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                          by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 01:37:41 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't give a shit about me or you or who (0+ / 0-)

                            did what tacky thing (although smearing people is tacky.)

                            Can you not sidestep the issue anymore: Which is more likely? The Ukrainian people will be liberated; or the 1% and their thugs will rape and pillage both the resources and the people of Ukraine?

                            It's a simple question and only two possible outcomes. Go on record. I am.


                            Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

                            by Jim P on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 03:30:32 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  OK. The former is more likely (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Jim P

                            Fin.

                            Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                            by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 06:28:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

                            I hope you can reflect that people can legitimately feel as I do; that the dreadful alternate is a plausible outcome based on the evidence. Pray God I'm wrong.


                            Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

                            by Jim P on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 07:06:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  I did call people conspiracists. (0+ / 0-)
                          You claim you aren't trying to smear people as conspiracists when that's PRECISELY what you do.
                          Again, you're making stuff up. I did smear people as conspiracists. I smeared you as a conspiracist. I never claimed otherwise. I only disputed you're saying I was calling you conspirators. If you don't understand the meaning of the terms you could look them up. One believes there are conspiracies (presumably working against that person's interest) and the other is part of one such conspiracy.

                          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                          by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 01:42:25 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Ah. What's this? (0+ / 0-)
                            It's like you're all working off the same memo. Y'all need to coordinate better.
                            Riiiiiiiight. You only 'intimated' a conspiracy. Huuuuuge difference.

                            But at least you admit, finally, that you used the intellectually dishonest tactic of 'the smear' to avoid dealing with evidence.


                            Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

                            by Jim P on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 03:15:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  No need to coordinate reality, troll. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)
        If we had our way -- we being the EU and the USA -- then Yanukovich would still be in power
        If, for the sake of argument, we accept this statement as true, then was Victoria Nuland, in her public undermining of the former Ukrainian government, implementing official U.S. policy, or was she acting on some personal agenda outside the parameters of that policy? Or in other words, was she a loose cannon?

        I daresay that the more logical explanation is that the U.S. wanted the Yanukovich/Party of Regions government out & a pro-western government installed in its place.

    •  Thanks. (15+ / 0-)

      I was shocked when the diarist made that comment about national character.  How ridiculous.  What's next, calling Russia an evil empire?

      The whole piece sounded like something Kissinger or Wolfowitz or Jeanne Kirkpatrick would write, or something the entire Reagan administration would say.  

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:11:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My point was this is how Russia's neighbors see it (0+ / 0-)

        I specifically said I wasn't going to attribute a "national character" -- but that Russia's neighbors fear Russia and Russians alike. After the USSR fell, there was a reason why they sought out membership in NATO. What I referred to was Putin supporters who are thugs acting as shock troops for Putin and his party, roughing up protestors, intimidating opponents, etc. (not to mention the new trend of attacking homosexuals). This is political violence. This is a group that literally beats up and even kills reporters who don't tow the party line.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

        by FischFry on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:15:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is a rather obvious lie (4+ / 0-)
      3) The NATO expansion, in itself, violated VERBAL agreements that led Premier Gorbachev to agree (in 1989) to the re-unification of Germany in exchange for NO NATO expansion.
      Does anyone really believe that great powers make decisions based on verbal promises by the current leaders that they are negotiating with?  

      The rather obvious reasons why they do not are:
      o Even with the best faith in the world, anything verbal may be understood or remembered differently by the two parties
      o You are trusting in the good faith of whoever made the agreement.  Even if you are stupid enough to have such trust (remember Bush, looking into Putin's eyes?), what happens when that person is no longer in the government?

      My personal opinion is that the most Gorbachev got was a personal political prediction that NATO would not expand eastwards.

      Maybe history would have been different if Germany were kept divided.
      And how would that have happened?

      Are you suggesting that even after the Soviet Union collapsed Russia should have somehow continued to occupy  East Germany?

      Or should the US have stepped into the Soviets' shoes and used military force to block the East and West Germans from reunifying?  Perhaps we should have defended the Berlin wall or rebuilt it after it was knocked down?

      Ludicrous.

      •  Nonetheless, the verbal agreement happened. (3+ / 0-)
        After the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO as an entity has never given Russia cause to view it as a friendly organization. According to the former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, NATO leaders broke a verbal agreement with him not to hold back from enlarging NATO, in exchange for the removal of Soviet objections to the reunification of Germany.

        In any case, NATO’s enlargement delivered a serious blow to Russian reformers and supporters of democratization, and provided additional arguments to those Communist and nationalist forces which maintained that the West has always been a hostile force and was trying to encircle Russia. At the same time, originally pro-Western reformers felt betrayed.

        When they came to power immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 they pursued a policy of close cooperation with the West, fulfilling Western recommendations and requests both in foreign and domestic policy in anticipation of joining the Western family of nations.

        This policy led to an economic catastrophe, weakening Russia’s position in the world and revealing a scornful, almost colonial attitude of the Western capitals towards Moscow. As a result President Yel’tsin, who began as a idealistic pro-Westerner, had to adjust his policy to make it more cautious and protective of Russia’s own interests.

        NATO’s aggression in Yugoslavia has played a fundamental psychological role in the development of Russian public opinion. During the Soviet period, especially in the post-Stalin era, many opposition-minded Russians saw through the massive official anti-Western propaganda and viewed Western society as an ideal for Russia. Western leaders were viewed as politicians who sincerely fought for peace, prosperity, freedom and democracy in the world.

        During the years of Gorbachev’s perestroyka this belief spread to the broader mass public. The unsuccessful reform attempts by Yel’tsin’s pro-Western governments were the first serious blow for the "true believers" in Western justice. But it is NATO’s policy in Yugoslavia that has delivered a crippling blow to Russia’s romance with the West. NATO’s aggression is seen from Russia very differently than from the leading countries of the alliance.
        http://www.diplomacy.bg.ac.rs/...


        Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

        by Jim P on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:22:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your source does not support your subject (0+ / 0-)
          Nonetheless, the verbal agreement happened. (0+ / 0-)
          After the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO as an entity has never given Russia cause to view it as a friendly organization. According to the former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, NATO leaders broke a verbal agreement with him not to hold back from enlarging NATO, in exchange for the removal of Soviet objections to the reunification of Germany.
          You have only provided evidence that Gorbachev made such a claim.

          "NATO leaders" - what a curious turn of phrase.  What does that mean?  Presumably not the heads of state of NATO powers - if Gorbachev had a commitment from Bush and Thatcher he would have presumably used their names.  Perhaps he meant the Secretary General of NATO?  But that position is a diplomatic and administrative one - the Secretary General executes policies agreed on by the member governments, he does not set them, and he has no power to make binding commitments for the alliance.

          It is also worth noting that Gorbachev signed an agreement allowing reunification and for Germany to join NATO - thereby agreeing to at least some eastwards expansion.

    •  The US didn't impose "shock therapy" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Swig Mcjigger, FG, JackND

      The Soviet system flat out failed because of its own opacity and corruption.  The oligarchical approach was just a continuation of a system that has existed in Russia for centuries.

      If anything, the oligarchs in Russia have been negative role models for American plutocrats.  It's a two way street.

    •  Jerry Brown's campaign team helped Yeltsin (0+ / 0-)

      win reelection. But that's hardly a grand geopolitical scheme to weaken Russia.

      Nobody knew that Yeltsin was a drunk and pretty much bad at everything.

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Paul-Koch Ryan

      by waterstreet2013 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:22:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was pretty well known (0+ / 0-)

        in the 90s that Yeltsin virtually required an IV Russian vodka drip to function.  As a result he had a passivity that the west adored, since it enabled application of the Shock Doctrin in Russia.

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:44:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why did the same 'shock therapy' work much (0+ / 0-)

      better in Central Europe? In fact, it was applied more consistently there. Decline in the 90s happened for a variety of reasons (broken logistics networks, inefficient Soviet economy, etc) that don't have much to do with shock therapy. Claiming that US forced Russians to elect the leaders they did is a good example of American exceptionalism that denies agency to anyone else.

    •  I am curious (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      seancdaug, cville townie

      By what right does Russia get to determine whether Germans want to live in a unified country?  What right does Russia have to dictate whether Poland wants to join NATO?

      Funny how people here apparently dislike American imperialism and decry US interference in the internal affairs of other countries but are quick to support Russia doing these same things

      So which is it?  Is imperialism bad or is it not?

  •  Americans are shortsighted about NATO. (5+ / 0-)


    The mainstream American view is that NATO serves only as a bulwark against Russian expansion to the west.  By all means, NATO does that, but it also keeps its members from tearing into each other.  

    Should Germany have redeveloped an appetite for Alsace-Lorraine, NATO is obligated to tamp it down.  If Italy wants Nice back or Slovenia wants Trieste back, NATO will tamp it down.  Greece and Turkey had little love for each other before the outbreak of seismic diplomacy during the late 1990s:  partitioned Cyprus makes for a very nice fuse as do the Aegean Islands.  

    Without NATO, the nations between Estonia and Hungary would have sought nuclear weapons to protect them against Russia to the east and Germany to the west.  It's also quite possible that the Warsaw Pact without Ukraine, Belarus and Russia but with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania would establish its own defensive alliance, complete with nukes but without the institutional experience of the USSR and the USA at not launching missles when things get scary.  

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:28:27 PM PDT

  •  Clinton inflicted enormous misery on Russia via (14+ / 0-)

    Yeltsin and Larry Summer's economic policy.

    1) That is not just my opinion -- it is the opinion of Joseph Stiglitz:

    https://www.progressive.org/...
    (scroll down to "How did US Russia policy develop"?

    "Q: What effect did the policies pushed by the United States and the IMF have on the Russian people?

    Stiglitz: Both GDP and consumption declined. Living standards collapsed, life spans became shorter, and health worsened. Russia achieved a huge increase in inequality at the same time that it managed to shrink the economy by up to a third. Poverty soared to close to 50 percent from 2 percent in 1989, comparable to that of Latin America--a remarkable achievement in eight years."

    2) It is the opinion of Naomi Klein -- read chapter 11 of her book "The Shock Doctrine".    Clinton used Yeltsin like Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger used Pinochet in Chile.
    Anybody remember those tanks blowing holes in the Russian Parliament building?

    3) It was the opinion of the  House of Representatives  in 2000 -- albeit one controlled by Republicans .   See their scathing report "Russia's Road to Corruption" at
    http://www.pipelinenews.org/... --
    esp the Executive Summary.

    4) See "How Harvard Lost Russia" at
    http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/...  

    5) I cracked up laughing at a recent news article that said Putin is deeply cynical re the West.   He has a lot to be cynical about.

    •  I believe a lot of that is true... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, debedb, ozsea1

      Except for the nonsense from Naomi Klein.

      We do bear some responsibility for the rise of the Russian mob -- but, we didn't invent them. We just greased the wheels for the complete takeover of the Russian economy by the mobsters and corrupt oligarchs.

      However, I was mostly making a very different point -- about Russian foreign policy. Yeltsin installed Putin -- and he would have done so, regardless of what US economists might have done to the Russian economy. And, Putin is Putin -- that is to say, I believe his approach is an artifact of his formative years and his personality, rather than anything that happened since the fall of the USSR.

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:55:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Naomi Klein provides lots of citations for her (7+ / 0-)

        assertions -- 98 in Chapter 11 on Yeltsin's Russia.  You can question her overall thesis (Shock Doctrine) or her specific judgments --but  to question her facts you need to either show she misrepresented her sources  or come up with better ones.

        I concede that Americans outside the intelligence community would have only an incomplete picture of what happened.   (And even the CIA has deep gaps in its vision.)  But the US did have enormous influence due to Russia's need for IMF loans, the oligarchs did steal everything not nailed down, the Russian people did suffer grievously, and multiple reputable sources denounce how we handled the situation.   Oh -- and Harvard did agree to pay $26.5  million to the US government to settle a lawsuit over how Larry Summer's protégé Andrei  Shliefer managed the Russia Project (Shliefer and his financier wife had to pay about $2 million, if my memory is correct.)

        •  Klein gets Russia completely wrong. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1

          It's not an area of the world she understands very well, and one of her sources took her to task for completely misrepresenting events.

          I think even people with tentatively good things to say about Shock Doctrine tend to brush off her discussion of Russia, which is not very good.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:32:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh,bullshit. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1, Kevskos

            Kaplan does not say Klein got Russia completely wrong and he does not say she "completely misrepresented" events.   He quarrels with her over the characterization of the Parliament as democrats versus hacks but even that dispute is false.   She does not say that the Parliament was made up of Thomas Jefferson advocates for freedom -- she does say that the that Western news media went out of its way to characterize the members as "antigovernment" even though they were part  of the government and had helped Yeltsin with his earlier revolution.

            She also notes that they were resisting the radical economic changes Yeltsin was pursuing -- the changes that created the oligarchs and inflicted such misery on the average Russian.  That was why they had to go.   That is why Yeltsin had tanks blow holes in the Parliament Building and kill Russian democracy in the crib while Clinton handed him another bottle of vodka and cheered him on.  

            https://www.youtube.com/...

            Her source  agrees with Klein more than he disagrees.

            Was Klein's citations of the Washington Post and other western papers  urging Yeltsin to pursue the "Pinochet Option" wrong?

      •  If not for Putin, oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler, chuckvw

        would still be in charge  -- instead of ..er..dead or in exile.  Some of them.  Although who knows what is in Putin's bank accounts.

        After the 1998 crash, a scared Yeltsin and the oligarchs put Putin in charge for protection -- so that they wouldn't  be swinging from the lampposts before sunset.  Putin turned on them, heh heh.  

        Let Boris describe it:
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

        •  you do realize (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NotGeorgeWill

          putin is a berezovsky creature

          right?

          •  It's in the Dailymail article (0+ / 0-)

            The article stated that as Yeltsin, Berezovsky's choice for president, became more undependable ("in a state of drunken  collapse, unreachable for days at a time") he turned to a young bureaucrat named Vladimir Putin.

            "Wincing at the recollection, Berezovsky claims it was he who was responsible for persuading Putin to be Yeltsin’s successor."

            Berezovsky "threw his money into building him a political party"

            But then they had a falling out. "In the weeks after the inauguration, the new president snarled over the radio: ‘There will be no  oligarchs or the like as a class.’"

            Berezovsky and Putin had an argument, and Putin stormed out of the room. Six week later, Berzovsky fled the country.

            TL;DR: Berezovsky funded Putin's road to the presidency. But once in power, Putin turned on Berezovsky and other Russian oligarchs.

    •  Thanks for more detail than I had at hand. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler, caul
  •  I don't like your Manichean thinking (17+ / 0-)

    Why does questioning our motives in Ukraine automatically place someone in some kind of negative category?(Putin apologist, aparachnik, Rethug) Why does questioning the official story mean that somehow we're on the "wrong" side?.

    I find the assumptions about Venezuela and those of use who see classic US/CIA maneuvering behind it even more  disturbing. Again, depart from the administration's or the NY Time's version of the story, and we're in some kind of apologists for some bad guy. For Venezuela, I refer you to this article by Mark Weisbrot of CEPR, who knows a hell of a lot more about the situation than you do.

    Frankly, I think you are just promoting another kind of group think without even knowing it.

    Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap.

    by betson08 on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:32:12 PM PDT

  •  Did NATO expand or did Eastern Europeans want to (8+ / 0-)

    exist in sovereign nations with self-determination, or a little of both?

    Does the statement released jointly by four Eastern European countries a few weeks ago provide any insight?

    The Visegrad countries believe that the recent military actions by Russia are not only in violation of international law, but also create a dangerous new reality in Europe. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are appalled to witness a military intervention in 21st century Europe akin to their own experiences in 1956, 1968 and 1981.
    There was domestic politics in play as well in the districts where there's a substantial number of voters with Eastern European heritage. They've been hawks on Russia my whole life.

    Liberal progressive Democrats don't know what to make of Russia and Ukraine's dispute. The left in America lost its guiding principles long ago. All it can do is react to the opposition which criticizes Obama for being weak and indecisive (McCain) while it simultaneously adopts a pose of the anti-war dove (Paul). On top of that, the Democratic party painted itself into a corner with HRC, who, as Secretary of State did exactly what to promote good relations with Russia?

    Russia has its own reasons for what it does. Competition and security is only part of it. The primary reasons for its actions are inside Russia.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:43:39 PM PDT

    •  Eastern Europe is happy to exploit the US military (9+ / 0-)

      Poland was kicking the shit out of Ukraine several hundred years ago.   And would probably be happy to do so again if she had the power.

      Russia has a GDP of $2 Trillion.   EU has a GDP of $17 Trillion.  US has a GDP of $17 Trillion.   US military budget is $682 billion --Russia's is only $91 billion.

      Russia is reacting in DEFENSE.   The only people who thinks she threatens Poland or Germany are humanities majors spinning fictional narratives who can't count.

      •  One minute they're getting screwed by the IMF (6+ / 0-)

        and the World Bank, and the next they're the ones who are exploiting the US military.

        There's no Progressive values here. That's why it's all inconsistent.

        The statement I block quoted was from the Prime Ministers of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. There's a link above it for you to check. You can go argue with them about it if you think you know more about it than they do.

        Why don't you ask them about their educational credentials too while you're at it? If you want, you can ask them politely to compare dick sizes too. It's just as irrelevant.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:07:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re "The statement I block quoted was from the (0+ / 0-)

          Prime Ministers of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia."

          Oh --moral demigods who would never lie to promote their own agendas --excuse me, for the good of their countries?

          I thought that was what Prime Ministers were for.

      •  Yes I agree -- Russia's current posture (0+ / 0-)

        is primarily, and obviously defensive. Why this is so commonly misread as being a threat to NATO allies, I don't know.

    •  Sovereign nation? (4+ / 0-)

      The Ukraine is an economic basket case. It is split 50/50 along hostile ethnic lines.

      It is criss-crossed by oil pipelines connecting Russia and the EU.

      And you think it is possible that they could have self-determination.

      Wow, move over, Dale Carnegie.

    •  Both. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Lippman

      States do not grant NATO status to themselves.

      And, yeah, Europe and Asia are old civilizations that are sometimes hard to understand.

      No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

      by koNko on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:40:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's a lot there to agree with. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Lippman

      The left always finds US foreign policy to be deeply troubling -- it's become part ofthe culture in the community. Even when we should be applauding, those on the far left make everything out tobe part of nefarious dealings by the US.

      Case in point -- Panama. Did we help install Noriega? Sure. That shouldn't be the basis for criticizing our move to remove him when he turned the government into a criminal enterprise. If anything, we owed the Panamanians some help in correcting our earlier mistake.

      In Ukraine, our diplomats supported courageous protestors putting everything on the line to move the country towards liberal European democracy. The protestors should be lionized and the diplomats lauded for their forthrightness and principled work. Instead, we're told they were involved in a conspiracy orchestrating a coup against a rightful and I guess righteous leader -- never mind that his team had poisoned the opponent in a prior election, never mind the billions he had appropriated to build palaces in Ukraine and throughout Europe for his benefit....

      I consider myself as being a progressive -- at least left of center if not as far left as some. I'm proud to say I'm on the left -- until moments like this.

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:31:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ????? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native

        You seem to have Panama all wrong. The US knew how corrupt Noriega was before he even got into power. He didn't just all of a sudden flip. He was a CIA asset for years. I've seen pictures of him loading drugs unto CIA planes. It wasn't a US mistake to help Noriega, we did it on purpose and when he gave the US the finger, then we took him down. Same thing as Saddam.

        In Ukraine, it's one thing to give verbal support to protesters. It's another to be on the lines with the protesters and handing out cookies. Nuland should have been fired over that as she represents the Obama admin. What McCain does is whatever since he's a senator and not on official US business.

        When you recognize a coup, you just empowered it whether you had a hand in other operations or not. It's that simple. When the new leader of Ukraine that was not voted in is in the White House shaking hands with Obama, you own it.

        You maybe a social progressive, but your diary screams Neocon foreign policy. I hope your next diary is about how IMF austerity will be good for Ukraine.

        •  2 points (0+ / 0-)

          I never suggested that the US was ever naive about Noriega. That doesn't make it any less of a mistake to help his coup.

          In Ukraine -- yes, it is different to actually offer more than just words of support. Standing with the protestors took a lot more courage and principle than we expect from our diplomats. I applaud Ms. Nuland.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:04:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What is your principle? (0+ / 0-)

          You're critical of the back-room machinations by our leaders that helped install a military junta by a venal thug like Noriega, but you're also saying it should be a firing offense for a US diplomat to publicly stand with tens of thousands of supporters rallying for a democratic opposition to a corrupt Moscow-stooge?

          The only discernible principle there would be just anti-Americanism. Which is why I am embarrassed by the far left's reaction to events in Kiev. You can't have it both ways.  You can't want the US to stand for something better than the corruption that fueled the Panama policy and simultaneously rail against a diplomat who put herself out here in standing for people power.

          As for Nuland herself, her mistake was only in using indiscrete language in a phone call that she might have expected to remain private. Yeah -- maybe she shouldn't have so blunt and opinionated in her assessment of Klitschko and in her assessment of wobbly Western European leaders who were more concerned with managing the situation than in the legitimate aspirations of the protestors. My guess would be that you were probably critical of the Administration for being too tentative in support of the protests in Egypt against Mubarak. If so, can you not see the contradiction in criticizing the same Administration for finally taking a stand for people power?

          Sure -- there's been blowback, but life's a bitch that way. Better to have been on the right side than sitting on the fence.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:45:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What are you talking about? (0+ / 0-)

            You seem to be in some US fantasy land. Since when has the US been interested in installing democracy? The US installs and backs puppets that tow their line.

            I know of 2 places the US installed democracy. Iraq and Afghanistan. Both failed states. The rest have been dictators. Panama was installing a dictator that the US trained at the School of the Americas and backed. When he got all uppity, he got put down. You might try to include Panama as they have been a democracy yet every leader runs on an anti corruption platform. The names change but the corruption stays the same.

            Don't pull the anti-american card. That's a weak defense and very GOP like. Which btw, any Neocon could have written your diary.

            As for Egypt, the US was pretty dam silent on that protest weren't they? Not really interested in democracy there. Then again, it only lasted about a year when the wrong guy was elected. Back to military junta they go. Where's the US stand on that one? Hmmmm, crickets.

            I guess we need more ambassadors like Nuland then. Anytime a government pisses the US off and the people protest then we should be on the lines with them handing out cookies. We'll call it cookie diplomacy.

            Until the people of Ukraine elect a new leader then their government is illegitimate. Period. They don't deserve recognition of a coup. Then again, when Chavez was briefly disposed in 2002 in a coup, the US was right there giving the right wing leaders a high five and calling them a legit government. Looked like idiots when the people put Chavez back in power though.

            It seems to me you've been pretty anti democracy. But as long as it serves your agenda, all good then. I guess that what it means to be pro american. But let's not pretend that pro american is pro democracy. History says that line is full of shit and everyone knows it.

        •  On Ukraine.... (0+ / 0-)

          " When the new leader of Ukraine that was not voted in is in the White House shaking hands with Obama, you own it."

          First off, he was voted in by a constitutionally constituted, elected Parliament.

          Second, "you own it"? What the hell does that mean? Obama shakes hands with lots of world leaders? He "owns" them? Because he publicly recognized them? I'm glad he did, but what that has to do with "owning" the new government?  Public support? Shaking hands? Did you ever speak in support of Obama's presidential bids? Heck, did you ever get to shake hands with him at a rally? If so, you "own" him. Don't like Larry Summers as an economic adviser? Too bad, you own him.  Don't like US policy in Ukraine? Too bad -- you own it.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 12:15:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Meaning... (0+ / 0-)

            Pretty sure Ukraine elects their president by a vote of the people, not Parliament.

            You own it means when you recognize a leader from a coup, you have empowered that coup. See above regarding Venezuela.

      •  The road to hell is paved with good intentions. (0+ / 0-)

        If you like to laud our diplomats for championing a noble cause, go right ahead. The original protesters in Syria likewise had very good intentions, but things don't always work out the way you had them planned.

      •  Courage! Stephen Cohen, an academic who teaches (0+ / 0-)

        Russian studies at New York University, launched the conspiracy theory claiming the Obama administration was "plotting a coup d'etat against the elected president of Ukraine." I posted a diary here, Feb 20,  the day he appeared on Democracy Now! spouting his nonsense. Cohen is married to Katrina vanden Heuvel who edits The Nation.  His evidence was the recording of Victoria Nuland's intercepted phone call with Amb. Geoffrey Pyatt. I posted a diary about that too on the day the story broke.

        I might have believed him but I've been writing about Russia for a long time, including diaries posted here.

        1.  Yanukovych had just offered Yatsenyuk a position in his government as Prime Minister. "He didn't acknowledge it or respond publicly. In that context, Nuland was briefing Pyatt on the State Dept.'s endorsement of the idea.

        2. Later in the call, Nuland says that Ban Ki-Moon and Robert Serry from the UN would travel to Kyiv to help "glue" the situation. Cohen conveniently ignored that because it contradicts his theory.

        3. He also ignored Pyatt's suggestion that Yanukovych would need to be contacted as well. How could this conversation be about a coup?

        If you're interested, here's the interview with Stephen Cohen and Amy Goodman. It even mentions the parts that refute Cohen's theory.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 07:48:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  US in Ukraine threatens Russia's nuclear deterrent (10+ / 0-)

    1) I have explained this before -- many of Russia's ICBM sites are close to Ukraine's borders and could probably be destroyed by our stealth fighters in a single, surprise strike --with no warning-- if launched from the Ukraine.
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    2) Her submarine nuclear deterrent has declined to seven old Deltas that are usually tied up at the dock.  Her new generation of subs have not been commissioned yet due to problems.

    3) Why else is the US funding subversion in a bankrupt country 4500 miles from the USA and trying to push NATO 500 miles forward?   The US has been courting Ukraine for NATO for years --as the NATO site itself acknowledges.

    4) When Khrushchev tried this shit in Cuba in the 1960s , Democratic President John Kennedy was ready to wage nuclear war.   Why does anyone thinK Putin will react less strongly to this threat?

    5) Why has NO ONE in US politics or the news media explained WHY provoking this fight in in the best interest of the American People?

    •  "Why else is the US funding subversion in..." (9+ / 0-)
      Why else is the US funding subversion in a bankrupt country 4500 miles from the USA and trying to push NATO 500 miles forward?   The US has been courting Ukraine for NATO for years --as the NATO site itself acknowledges.
      Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner.
    •  It's more a matter of national pride plus the need (3+ / 0-)

      for a buffer zone.

      Any first strike attack must get ALL the ICBM's. An absolute impossibility due to the size of Russia, the strength of the sites/defense systems. Any surprise first strike on Russian home territory by the US would be responded to in kind.

      Her new generation of subs have not been commissioned yet due to problems.
      The Yasen Class Severodvinsk is now in service. Two more are under construction.

      Several Borei Class nuclear-powered submarines are in service.

       Russia just recently launched a RS-12M Topol [YouTube] mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. The world's fastest ICBM.

      Russian missile engine technology is very advanced. The last fifty AtlasV US satellite launches used Russian made RD-180 rocket engines. There are 45 more scheduled into 2019.

      Seeing as you have gone to the trouble of listing the ICBM sites, I've compiled a list of the defense systems the US would have to overcome. The first link show typical fixed missile sites. But Russia put considerable effort and money into mobile systems, including ICBM. Russia is listed as #2 in military defense. The US may be more powerful, but the Russians can take a lot more pain.

      Soviet/Russian SAM Site Configuration Part 1: S-25/SA-1, S-75/SA-2, S-125/SA-3 and S-200/SA-5

      Soviet/Russian SAM Site Configuration Part 2: S-300P/S-400 / SA-10/20/21, S-300V/SA-12, 2K11/SA-4, 2K12/SA-6, 9K37/317/SA-11/17

      The Russian Philosophy of Beyond Visual Range Air Combat

      Almaz-Antey S-300PMU2 FavoritSelf Propelled Air Defence System / SA-20 GargoyleСамоходный Зенитный Ракетный  Комплекс С-300ПМУ2 «Фаворит»

      SAM System Mobility Russian and PLA Air Defence System Vehicles

      Russian / PLA Low Band Surveillance Radars(Counter Low Observable Technology Radars)

      S-300P/S-400/S-500 Air Defence System Vehicles

      Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback Russia's New Heavy Strike Fighter

      Soviet/Russian Tactical Air to Surface Missiles

      •  If Russian air defenses are effective against (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Subterranean

        1) stealth fighters,  then why did we spend
        $67 billion to buy 187 hugely expensive F22s that carry far less armament than nonstealth
         fighters like the F16?s
        ( F22 missiles etc  have to be carried internally --lose stealth if you attached them to the wings.)

        2) Why are we spending $857 BILLION to buy 2400 hugely expensive F35 Joint Strike Fighters
        that carry less armament than the F15s?

        3) I welcome this discussion.  But why the hell are the Washington Post, the New York Times and
        the 4 major TV networks ignoring the whole subject?  Or should I say --suppressing it?

        •  The Ukraine conflict is a blessing to the MIC and (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barkworsethanbite, native

          to the oil/gas companies if it can heat up the Cold War.

          Don't expect cuts in the defense budget this year. In fact, Congress may just increase it by 10%. I have a link in one of responses below for one of the reasons.

          DOE approves Oregon natural gas terminal

          “The Energy Department conducted an extensive, careful review of the application to export LNG from the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal,” the agency said in a statement. “Among other factors, the department considered the economic, energy security, and environmental impacts,” it added, saying that approval of the terminal “was not inconsistent with the public interest.”

          Watch Obama fast track LNG terminals and more pipelines. He's going to wrap the American flag around this one.

          Get prepared for "Freedom Fracking" to supply Europe with "Liberty Gas".

          The Keystone XL can soon become a national security priority.

      •  Re Russian Mobile ICBMs, the HUGE benefit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, Subterranean

        that Ukraine bases would provide to the USA is that
         stealth fighters launched from there could find the current location of a mobile ICBM and constantly follow it until the designated moment of attack arrives.  

        ICBMs launched from the USA targeted to the last known location of a mobile ICBM --gained from recon satellites
        several hours earlier -- can't do that.

        •  The US could only take out a small fraction of the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          native

          mobile ICBM's before there was a massive retaliatory response.

          constantly follow it until the designated moment of attack arrives
          Nonsense. There's too many targets, plus decoys to follow and you have to find them first. Just look at how long it took for the US to gain full military control over crappy WWII era Iraqi and Libyan air defenses.

          I've linked to many reports about the extensive Russian radar/missile defense systems and air capabilities to show how difficult your proposal would be.

          ICBMs launched from the USA
          ICBM's are not tactical weapons. They are strategic. The moment ICBM's are launched from either country, you can bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.
      •  And the bases of the mobile ICBMs were on the list (0+ / 0-)

        I provided.

        •  Once deployed, mobile ICBM's don't have a base (0+ / 0-)

          That is their strategic importance. They can travel hundreds of kilometers in a day.

          •  because they are mobile, right? (0+ / 0-)

            The missiles, launchers and support vehicles all require maintenance so the mobile ICBMs do have maintenance facilities and garages --i.e,. a base.   See  pages 78-79
            of this:
            http://unidir.org/...  

            Or did you think they called AAA when that SS-25 broke down?

            While they are mobile they are restricted in deployment areas and movements so that we can count them and verify Russia has not exceeded the arms limitation limits.

            I don't understand what you mean by "decoys" -- what decoys?   If they used decoys we would think they had violated the arms limitation treaties.

            •  Main bases would have hardened bunkers that could (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              native

              not be taken out by (non nuclear) cruise missiles and would require heavy B2 bombing raids (like in Iraq and Syria).

              While they are mobile they are restricted in deployment areas and movements so that we can count them and verify Russia has not exceeded the arms limitation limits.
              They have the ability to disperse them very rapidly in the event of an attack. It would take many thousands of sorties to destroy Russia's defense system At this point, all treaties are no longer applicable.
              I don't understand what you mean by "decoys" -- what decoys?   If they used decoys we would think they had violated the arms limitation treaties.
              Moving empty canisters around. The moment a US plane or cruise missile is launched against Russia, all treaties are garbage.

              The US simply cannot destroy enough of the Russian defense system to prevent a massive retaliatory strike.

              Also, the US stealth aircraft are not as stealthy as is made out to be.

              •  I concur they can take measures if they have (0+ / 0-)

                warning -- however, the issue is what happens if they are attacked with NO warning.   I.e, the stealth fighters drop their bombs all at the same pre-determined instant.  
                That is what a First Strike is.

                Which obviously requires staging takeoffs in Ukraine so the fighters attacking more distant targets have time to get there while fighters attacking targets closer to Ukraine take off later.

                If recon sats could identify where a mobile ICBM was  an hour ago, then the area a stealth fighter would have to search from there would be pretty small.  I assume we have some way to locate/identify/count them or the arms limitation treaties wouldn't work.  Plus if you look at their transporter, they obviously are tied to mostly paved roads.
                (Some types may still be carried on railroads -- I would need to check.)

                I need to check into your reference re our stealth fighters vulnerability to Russian radar .   Again, why are we spending almost $1 Trillion for them if that is true?  Capability wise, they carry less armament than current non-stealth fighters.

                •  The US has twenty B2 stealth bombers. (0+ / 0-)

                  Some were used in Libya. The following shows what is required to destroy one airfield with hardened bunkers. This airfield was next to the coast.

                  If you have Google Earth enter "Ghardabiya, Libya" and have a look at the hardened bunkers surrounding the airfield.

                  Bombers Over Libya

                  A quick symphony of planning allowed USAF’s heavy bombers to strike 150 targets in Libya.

                  On March, five Air Force bombers—three B-2s and two B-1Bs—attacked targets in Libya as part of NATO’s mission to protect civilians from government attack in that country’s uprising and civil war.

                  On the first night of the operation, March 19, three B-2s of the 509th Bomb Wing struck 45 targets at an airfield in Ghardabiya, Libya. Photos of the airfield released by the Pentagon the next day showed hardened aircraft shelters at that base struck with great precision. All were collapsed or showed blackened trails emanating from their entrances, confirming that whatever was inside exploded and burned.

              •  PS Penetrator version of GBU-24 bomb -- the (0+ / 0-)

                BLU-116 --can penetrate 11 feet of reinforced concrete.

                 http://www.globalsecurity.org/...

                With laser guidance , the accuracy of the GBU-24 is 3.5 feet.

                BLU-116 should be capable of penetrating an ICBM silo door:

                http://warcyb.org.ru/...

      •  Re Russian submarines, the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Subterranean

        Yasen Class are ATTACK subs --they can't launch
        nuclear warheads at the USA.

        There are two Borei class subs --but they have NOT been commissioned into service because there are problems with the intercontinental missiles they launch.

        See http://defensetech.org/...

        and
        http://blogs.fas.org/...
        http://russianforces.org/...  

        •  From your link (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bmastiff

          The current  416 nuclear warheads on subs are a considerable deterrent. Russia has a total of 69 operational subs of which 10 are "strategic" in that they can hit the US directly.

          Russian strategic nuclear forces

          As of January 2014, the Navy included 10 strategic submarines of three different types, of which 7 had missiles on board. The operational submarines carried 112 sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with 416 nuclear warheads.
          ...
          In 1996 Russia began construction of a strategic submarine of a new class, Project 955 (also known as Borey or Yuri Dolgorukiy). Construction of a second submarine of this type, Aleksandr Nevskiy, began in March 2004, and the third, Vladimir Monomakh - in March 2006. The new submarines will carry 16 launchers of a new missile, known as Bulava. Subsequent submarines, known as Project 955A, will have 20 Bulava launchers. The first two Project 955 submarines - Yuri Dolgorukiy and Aleksandr Nevskiy - were accepted for service in 2013. However, the submarines do not have missiles on board.

          It's only a matter of time before the Bulava missiles are fully operational. The Bulava can carry up to 10 warheads. The Borey-class can also carry nuclear tipped cruise missiles.
          Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine Yuri Dolgorukiy will provide Russia with effective nuclear deterrent

          Built using the most sophisticated technology, the vessel is equipped with 16 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and six RPK-2 Viyuga cruise missiles, with a 5,000 mile range.

          Professor Fedyszyn suggests that such technical and military characteristics make the new submarine an effective nuclear deterrent. According to the expert, “the Borey class will possess characteristics that will more than enable it to perform its mission of open ocean deterrence patrol. Compared to previous Russian-designed SSBNs it will be quieter in the open ocean”. As a consequence, “it will be very difficult for anyone to locate the submarine at sea” which will enable “its missile to be a relatively invulnerable second strike weapon: the most ‘stabilizing’ portion of the nuclear deterrent”.

          Yasen Class are ATTACK subs --they can't launch nuclear warheads at the USA.
          NEVER underestimate the enemy.

          The super quiet Yasen class submarines can carry 8 nuclear-capable cruise missiles having a range of 3,100 miles. They could hit any target in the US.

          Could the U.S. Face a Cruise Missile Threat from the Gulf of Mexico?
          March 21, 2014

          The United States is puzzling over how to block cruise missiles that theoretically could be launched from the Gulf of Mexico, even after throwing some of its most advanced technologies at the problem.
          ...
          A 2013 military exercise pitted systems such as Patriot interceptors, Aegis warships and combat aircraft against potential cruise-missile or short-range ballistic missiles fired from the Gulf. But the drill highlighted a particular vulnerability to cruise missiles lobbed from that region, U.S. Northern Command head Gen. Charles Jacoby indicated in congressional testimony last week.
          ...
           The Kremlin has armed its bomber aircraft with cruise missiles for decades, he noted.

          "They also are capable of introducing cruise missiles into a theater from submarines," said Jacoby, without elaborating on the specific regions to which these vessels could deploy. "They've just begun production of a new class of quiet nuclear submarines specifically designed to deliver cruise missiles."

          One 2012 news article quotes U.S. government insiders asserting that a Russian submarine equipped with cruise missiles had evaded detection for weeks in the Gulf of Mexico. However, the Defense Department denied the contentions described in the Washington Free Beacon report.
          ...

          •  To attack the US they would have to get close to (0+ / 0-)

            the US coast --ever hear of something called SOSUS?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            P3 Orions?  P8 Posidons?

          •  Only 7 had missiles on board (0+ / 0-)

            Those are the 7 old Deltas I referred to.  The ones that are often tied up at the dock.   In the submissive position.

            •  Care to give a link to back up your comments? (0+ / 0-)
              The ones that are often tied up at the dock.   In the submissive position.
              •  Here (0+ / 0-)

                http://blogs.fas.org/...

                And note that they only have missiles on 7 --not 9 --Deltas now.

                •  They are still a viable deterrent threat (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  native

                  From the chart on the link, there are three Delta III carrying 144 SS-N-18 with range of 6,500km and 6 Delta IV carrying 384 SS-N-23 with a range of 8,500km. That's over 500 nuclear warheads that the US would have little ability to intercept once launched.

                  Any major attack on Russia could escalate and mean the complete annihilation of many American cities - an unacceptable loss. Russian ICBM's are too widely dispersed over such a huge area that there is no possible way the US could destroy more than a small percentage as a first strike using tactical weapons.

                  MAD is still in effect.

                  As far as Crimea is concerned, the dogs bark but the caravan goes on.

                  Putin is not going to attack the Ukraine. He will sit back and watch the EU and US stew in the juices of their own making.

                  The stew pot begins to simmer:

                  Ukraine far-right leader Muzychko dies 'in police raid'
                  ...
                  Oleksandr Muzychko, better known as Sashko Bily, died in a shoot-out with police in a cafe in Rivne in western Ukraine, the interior ministry said.

                  He was a leader of Right Sector, a far-right group which was prominent in the recent anti-government protests.
                  ...
                  A Right Sector organiser in Rivne has now threatened revenge for the killing of Muzychko, saying he had not been summoned by investigators.

                  "We will avenge ourselves on [Interior Minister] Arsen Avakov for the death of our brother. The shooting of Sashko Bily is a contract killing ordered by the minister," said Roman Koval of the Right Sector in Rivne region, quoted by the Ukrayinska Pravda website.

                  •  "If they are launched" is the problem (0+ / 0-)

                    1) Seven Deltas sitting at the dock can be sunk with seven surprise attacks --in which case it doesn't matter how many missiles they are carrying.

                    We have 100 F35s at the moment --Pentagon plans to buy 2400.   How can Russia with a $2 Trillion GDP survive in the long run in competition  with the US ($17 Trillion GDP) and EU ($17 Trillion GDP)

                    2) Look again at the link I gave above --how far do Deltas go even when one of them can  leave the dock?

                    "Unlike U.S. SSBNs, which can patrol essentially with impunity in the open oceans, Russian deterrent patrols are thought to take place in “strategic bastions” relatively close to Russia where the SSBNs can be protected by the Russian navy against the U.S. and British attack submarines that probably occasionally monitor their potential targets.

                    3) The Russian navy remembers all too well the 1980s when the aggressive U.S. Maritime Strategy envisioned using attack submarines to hunt down and destroy Soviet SSBNs early on in a conflict"

                    4) Plus we haven't even talked about Space:
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                    •  IF a decapitation attack can be mounted is the (0+ / 0-)

                      problem.

                      1) They are deployed at several bases. Several are on patrol at all times.

                      The F-35 does not stack up well against adversaries. It loses any stealth to armaments and fuel tanks.

                      Joint Strike Fighter

                      The JSF Program and resulting aircraft designs have, since the very first days of the program, been burdened by fatal optimism, a total indifference to what is real, placement of form over substance, the acquisition malpractice of concurrency and the fact that the STOVL F-35B is the baseline for all three variants, having dictated and constrained most if not all key aircraft parameters in the definition and resulting design of the other two JSF variants.

                      The F-35 JSF aircraft designs will not meet specification nor the operational requirements laid down in the JSF JORD (Joint Operational Requirements Document) by significant degrees, noting that these operational requirements and resulting specifications, themselves, were predicated on the capabilities of reference threats from an era past and subsequently subjected to the illogical and deeply flawed process known as CAIV (Cost As an Independent Variable).

                      The designs of all three JSF variants are presenting with critical single points of failure while even the most basic elements of aircraft design (e.g. weight, volume, aerodynamics, structures, thermal management, electrical power, etc.) will almost certainly end up in what Engineers call "Coffin Corner".

                      2) They don't need to go far. The US and Europe are all within range from the Arctic Ocean.

                      3) That's why Russia opted for substantial and robust defense systems. Any decapitation attack has to take out all defenses during the first sortie.  

                      4) That has to be the stupidest thing the US could ever do (and they've done some pretty stupid things). The moment the US militarizes space it will become a rogue nation. Space planes used for military attacks will be destroyed which will end up putting so much debris in orbit that the entire world would lose access to space for decades if not more.

                      Here's a link to various reports concerning US, Russian and Chinese military defense capabilities. Includes armaments, radar, missiles and fighter jets.

                      http://www.ausairpower.net/...

  •  Neither Russia or the USA is entitled to an empire (3+ / 0-)

    Using military and economic power to bully other countries into submission is just plain wrong, whether the bullies speak Russian or American English. It's time to dismantle all empires once and for all. They are just too costly in lives and resources.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:35:02 PM PDT

    •  I don't agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alhambra, bmastiff, ozsea1

      Entitlement isn't the right word since it isn't something either the US or Russia would have today or even sought before WWII.  Both Russia and the USA won WWII, in the process either directly conquered or diplomatically absorbed all -- that's right, all -- of the colonial era empires of the entire rest of the world, including Germany's European expansions, the Japanese Empire, and the British, French, Belgian, and Dutch colonial empires, and they reorganized the world into the much different system we see today during the security-minded process of the cold war, establishing a new set of institutions for international governance to replace the colonial imperial ones of the previous century.  And all of it was by "right" and responsibility of having won WWII and the physically devastated world that remained in its aftermath -- the only two major powers that can really be said to have done so.  

      As a result, we have no colonial empires left in the world today.  The international system is predicated instead on a system of independent, self-determining nation states organized along the principles of the UN charter with other institutions such as NATO, the WTO, and various regional trade, diplomatic, and security institutions providing regional frameworks for international governance, only one of which operates outside of US dependence -- the Russian Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  All of the US dependent international governance institutions (including attempts at independence such as UNASUR) rely to a very large extent the global dominance of the US Navy or other military presence (WTO and the EU, for instance) and on direct US diplomatic participation or at least acquiescence.

      The result has been an era of unsurpassed globalization in international commerce, communication (the Internet, for instance), migration, investment, and travel.  An international governance order -- what is generally what gets derided as "empire" -- provides the institutional framework for global relationships to develop where national or ethnic borders would otherwise prevent it.  

      DIsmantling the US or Russian "empires" is therefore much more complicated and risky than it might sound and entails a lot more than merely getting rid of authoritarian or national security-oriented mindsets.  

      •  There are no colonial empires.... (0+ / 0-)

        ....but there are empires dominated by economic and military power. Just count up the number of invasions and interventions in the post WWII period, most of them by the USA. There are a number of international bodies for "governance", but Washington is still the dominant power.

        "Don't believe everything you think."

        by BobboSphere on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 05:04:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, I guess Jack Matlock is a chavista (10+ / 0-)

    It is ridiculous to blame "the left" for suspicions that the US bears some responsibility for events in the Ukraine. We have, after all, spent many tens of millions of dollars to influence events there.

    Jack Matlock,a Reagan appointee:

    JACK MATLOCK JR. [the last ambassador to the USSR]: Well, I think that what we have seen is a reaction, in many respects, to a long history of what the Russian government, the Russian president and many of the Russian people—most of them—feel has been a pattern of American activity that has been hostile to Russia and has simply disregarded their national interests. …how would Americans feel if some Russian or Chinese or even West European started putting bases in Mexico or in the Caribbean, or trying to form governments that were hostile to us?

    …in the Orange Revolution in Kiev, foreigners, including Americans, were very active in organizing people and inspiring them. Now, you know, I have to ask Americans: How would Occupy Wall Street have looked if you had foreigners out there leading them?

    …if you really look at it dispassionately, Ukraine is better off without Crimea, because Ukraine is divided enough as it is. Their big problem is internal, in putting together disparate people who have been put together in that country. The distraction of Crimea, where most of the people did not want to be in Ukraine and ended up in Ukraine as a result of really almost a bureaucratic whim, is—was, I think, a real liability for Ukraine.

    …I just hope everyone can calm down and look at realities and stop trying to start sort of a new Cold War over this. As compared to the issues of the Cold War, this is quite minor. It has many of the characteristics of a family dispute. And when outsiders get into a family dispute, they’re usually not very helpful.

    …fundamentally, it’s going to be the Ukrainians who have to put their society back together. It is seriously broken now. And it seems to me they could take a leaf from the Finns, who have been very successful ever since World War II in putting together a country with both Finns and Swedes, by treating them equally, by being very respectful and careful about their relations with Russia, never getting into—anymore into military struggles or allowing foreign bases on their land. And they’ve been extremely successful. Why can’t the Ukrainians follow a policy of that sort? I think, for them, it would work, too. But first, they have to find a way to unite the disparate elements in Ukraine; otherwise, these pressures from Russia, on the one hand, and the West, on the other, is going to simply tear them apart.

    …I would say that I think Russian media have exaggerated that right-wing threat. On the other hand, those who have ignored it, I think, are making a big mistake. We do have to understand that a significant part of the violence at the Maidan, the demonstrations in Kiev, were done by these extreme right-wing, sort of neo-fascist groups. And they do—some of their leaders do occupy prominent positions in the security forces of the new government. And I think—I think the Russians and others are quite legitimately concerned about that. Therefore, you know, many of these things are not nearly as black and white, when we begin to look at them, as is implied in much of the rhetoric that we’re hearing. And I do think that everybody needs now to take a quiet breath to really look at where we are and to see if we can’t find ways, by keeping our voices down, to help the Ukrainians in present-day Ukraine to get to a road to greater unity and reform that will make them a viable state.
    Russia's incursion into Crimea is illegal. Yanukovich was corrupt and his order to shoot at civilians is a crime. But some quite sober people believe the US has been stirring the soup.  Others say that tons of oil and ag money has been used to influence events.

    This could have been a worthwhile diary. By framing it in terms of who thinks that the US is engaged in a coup rather than considering both sides disqualifies it.  It's especially laughable that the author says that there are lots of "ant[i]-Semitic, homophobic, racist, fascist hooligans." True. The same can be said of Americans, the French, and--most important--those people in Maidan from Svoboda who were engaged in extreme violence.

  •  To paraphrase another current (6+ / 0-)

    movement;
    They only call it a cold war when Russia's fighting back.
    I noticed a lot of would-it-have-been's about Russia in your essay here, and nothing about recently-factually-have-been's about The US actions "threatening the established world order" or something-something. Hypocrisy is thy name, even when published on Dailykos.

    Dissolve Israel; stop distinguishing between jew and non-jew in Palestine.

    by high5 on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:51:17 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, you're basically correct: (9+ / 0-)

    Putin's been increasingly exploiting a kind of nostalgia for the old empire: when he famously called the dissolution fo the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century" (and later clarified that he did so, try not to snicker, because he was thinking first and foremost "of the humanitarian component"), he wasn't doing it because of NATO or U.S. intervention.  He's been far savvier in using Russia's economic clout to put pressure on former satellite states, though we mostly talk in this country about his blunter actions.  Still, he's made it an important part of his platform: memories of a happier time, when the different nations under Russia's flag didn't think of themselves as separate peoples (seriously: see that second link), and Russia's only there to be a beacon of hope for its wayward people.  Etc.

    Neither NATO nor the United States are necessary components of this platform: it's a Russian issue, pursued in a very Russian way.  And a great deal of what happened in Maidan happened precisely because that subset of Ukrainians were trying to build a wall between Ukraine and Russia, for exactly these reasons.

    Also, try not to take the comments here too hard.  I've grown numb to some of the users here, who've never found an issue they couldn't try to squeeze into their basic frameworks, facts be damned.  It doesn't matter how many times you try to explain the lay of the land: if you're not going after neocons and Nuland and fascists, you've simply failed to understand the issue.  *shrugs* Not much you can do about it, but thank you for the diary - I don't agree with all of it, but it'll help keep people who are interested in the topic chewing on different angles, and that's the best we can do here.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:55:33 PM PDT

  •  well, there's always (0+ / 0-)

    a snuffbox...

  •  I'd go a step further, although I respect that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1

    most people on this site will disagree with me.  The Baltic states, where Russia can allege similar historic "grievances" (pick your faux outrage of choice), which have joined NATO, are not seriously threatened by Russia, despite being even smaller and less well-equipped to handle the sort of incursion that Russia is capable of.  The reason is that NATO means that they wouldn't only be facing ill-equipped Estonian soldiers - they'd be facing down the French Foreign Legion and the Green Berets, and that's a decidedly unappetizing outcome for Russia.

    Did the expansion give reason for Russia to scream?  Sure.  (There are some who are saying that the promise is apocryphal, see e.g. a Der Spiegel article that discusses but ultimately refutes said claim, but I have no way to analyze that claim).  But I find myself wondering if it's a good idea to rapidly expand NATO to Ukraine as well, with a clearly-written understanding that Article 5 (really, the whole treaty) doesn't apply to the lands de facto lost to Russia as of right now (basically, Crimea and a couple utility stations across the straits to the north).  Russia's still not going to face down the armies of Western Europe and the US and Canada, no matter how loud Putin screams, and it would at least end this absurdity and restore peace to the Black Sea region.

    In the near term, negotiating with Putin will accomplish nothing.  I'm not saying that we shouldn't try - contacts helped avert a nuclear war over Cuba, of course.  But we need to be clear-eyed about what's going on right now.  So the pragmatic answer is to try to find a way to end the present hostilities and ensure that everyone remains where they're supposed to be :).

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 01:43:36 AM PDT

    •  I think it's important to take everything into (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NotGeorgeWill, ozsea1

      consideration and to have solid factual information.

      Ukraine announced more than once that it wasn't going to join NATO.  If you use the link to the NATO website and expand the Evolution of Relations section at the bottom of the page, you'll see it.

      In 2010, the newly elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych made it clear that while it was not presently pursuing NATO membership, it wished to maintain the existing level of cooperation with the Alliance and to fulfill existing agreements.
      http://www.nato.int/...?
      Since 1997, The NATO-Russia Council coordinated many cooperative activities and this link has info on that. There's also a link to the Council's own page from there.
      http://www.nato.int/...
      To understand Putin, I just read the transcripts of his meetings, interviews, press conferences, and speeches. I posted a diary here a few days ago with quotes from 2007-2014. There are a few narratives that show up when you read his words in meetings with Medvedev, Yanukovych, others, like the Chairman of Gazprom. From reading Putin's own words I don't think many people have a realistic idea who he is.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 03:35:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ukraine did NOT announce it wasn't joining NATO (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, Subterranean, Azazello

        From the very page to which you link (click on evolution of relations.)

        "Steps were taken to deepen and broaden the NATO-Ukraine relationship with the adoption of the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan in November 2002, which supported Ukraine’s reform efforts on the road towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

        In the wake of the "Orange Revolution", newly elected President Viktor Yushchenko was invited to a summit meeting at NATO Headquarters in February 2005. NATO leaders expressed support for the new President’s ambitious reform plans for Ukraine and agreed to sharpen and refocus NATO-Ukraine cooperation in line with the new government’s priorities.

        Two months later, at the NUC meeting of foreign ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania, in April 2005, the Allies and Ukraine launched an Intensified Dialogue on Ukraine’s aspirations to NATO membership. They also announced a package of short-term actions designed to enhance NATO-Ukraine cooperation in key reform areas.

        At the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, Allied leaders agreed that Ukraine may become a NATO member in future.

        In August 2009, a “Declaration to Complement the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine” was signed. It gives the NUC a central role in deepening political dialogue and cooperation, and in underpinning Ukraine’s reform efforts pertaining to its membership aspirations."

        It was only in 2010 that Viktor Yanukovych halted Ukraine's progression to NATO membership.  

        But in case you haven't noticed, Yanukovych has just been driven out of his country by a howling mob financed by the US Congress care of Freedom House and National Endowment for Democracy.   A job we used to give the CIA but they didn't have the stomach for it.

        Shooting Yanukovych's aide in the leg was a nice touch.

        •  It's on the page in two places. Why can't you find (0+ / 0-)

          it?

          In 2010, the newly elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych made it clear that while it was not presently pursuing NATO membership, it wished to maintain the existing level of cooperation with the Alliance and to fulfill existing agreements.
          2010: In February, the new Ukrainian government under President Viktor Yanukovych decides to continue present cooperation with NATO, but takes Alliance membership for the country off the agenda.
          http://www.nato.int/...

          Yatsenyuk just announced it again a week ago.

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

          Yeah the mass murderer made a run for the border. He's wanted for crimes against humanity. About the funding issue, you call your House rep for that.

          (202) 224-3121

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:00:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, you overlook the primary point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            native

            When US allies were in power in Ukraine, Ukraine was moving toward NATO membership.   When Yanukovych  won election  he halted that movement.   But he is out of power now because of an insurgency we funded.  So
            Yats can restart Ukraine's progression to NATO membership.

            NATO weapons and Russian weapons are not compatible.  Ukraine has to choose one alliance or the other --unless USA accepts Russia's proposal that Ukraine stays neutral.  Which the US shows no sign of accepting.

            •  That won't happen. (0+ / 0-)
              unless USA accepts Russia's proposal that Ukraine stays neutral.  Which the US shows no sign of accepting.
              There will be no negotiated end to the current stand-off over Ukraine. For the U.S. to "accept" such a proposal from Russia would be tantamount to recognizing Russia as a co-equal power in that region. Which will never happen.

              This gets to the reason why the Crimea action has policy heads spinning in the West. It is a direct Russian challenge to the post-Cold War, U.S.-led world order.

          •  And leaders of bankrupt countries don't get to (0+ / 0-)

            decide if they will join NATO or not.     Besides,
            Yats won't be in power for long as he has acknowledged--acceptance of IMF conditions will make him political
            Kryptonite.

            Putin knows that if Ukraine is  intertwined within
            the USA's  economic tentacles it will be joining
            NATO within a decade due to the coercion of
            economic pressure.   Look at what is being done
            to Russia now.

  •  What about defending Moldova? Estonia? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013

    If, as the NATO commander recently warned, Russia invades Moldova the US will not be obligated to start World War III. It's a neutral country and simply protesting and calling for more sanctions will be enough.

    However, if Russia invades Estonia, a NATO member, the US and its allies are committed by treaty to go to war in its defense or see NATO dissolve. And the Putin whom we are told is such a madman does control a huge nuclear arsenal in case the US chooses the first option.

    And maybe this is why I find the otherwise loathsome Rand Paul to be so reasonable when it comes to US foreign policy?

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:12:18 AM PDT

  •  Please, please, please look at the map. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, Dr Swig Mcjigger, Azazello

    Crimea is effing Russia, not Ukraine.

    Wiki reporting the 2001 census:

    -- Russians:1,450,000 (60.4%),
    -- Ukrainians: 577,000 (24.0%),
    -- Crimean Tatars: 245,000 (10.2%),
    -- Belarusians: 35,000 (1.4%),
    -- other Tatars: 13,500 (0.5%),
    -- Armenians: 10,000 (0.4%),
    -- Jews: 5,500 (0.2%).

    On top of which "77% of Crimean inhabitants named Russian as their native language."

    That's versus 11% for Crimean Tatar and a mere 10% for Ukrainian.

    Are we done here ????? The Crimeans were going to break off from Kiev no matter what Putin did. They've got first rate tourist money coming in and they don't want interference from the north. Note that half the Ukrainians in Crimea speak Russian as their first language.

    As to Ukraine generally, EU is likely to get 96% of the country. Russia gets 4% of the country.

    That's compared to Yanukovich moving 100% of the country to a dependent alliance with Russia as recently as 3 months ago.

    Yeah, Putie's losing the weakest poorest 96% of Ukraine. And between Washington and EU there's a $50-billion bill to be paid over the next decade. (Ouch!)

    Putie's not getting off free. The Kerch Bridge-Tunnel is going to end up costing $10-billion. The first $345-million was signed off two weeks ago and is already being spent today. That links the east end of Crimea with Russia -- similar project to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

    Ukraine ??? They're losing one big bunch of Russians. A major retiree population included.

    If you're into head-knocking politics, EU wins. If you're into accounting, Crimea wins big-big-big. Ukraine wins not quite as big.

    Long term? We got Mila Kunis.

    D'oh!

    "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Paul-Koch Ryan

    by waterstreet2013 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:27:19 AM PDT

  •  Yes, NATO has been nothing but 100% consistent (0+ / 0-)

    and stable. Reacting only to real threat of ongoing/imminent violence.

    Russia/USSR could not have asked for a more predictable stable logical and respectful adversary.

    This latest idiocy is 100% Putin being a dick, all for domestic consumption. He would use whatever he had to as an "excuse" for his moves.

    If he goes off the rails, grabs eastern Ukraine, we will have to rethink just how we want to handle things into the future. If Putin is losing it, I mean mentally going insane, we may need to take him out.

    Hopefully the CIA can be competent for once and figure out how to frame Islamic terrorists for it ... make it a win win.

    •  A truly bizarre comment (0+ / 0-)

      The Jester says,

      If Putin is losing it, I mean mentally going insane, we may need to take him out.

      Hopefully the CIA can be competent for once and figure out how to frame Islamic terrorists for it ... make it a win win.

      So, murder and false accusations are to be our foreign policy?

      How far we have fallen.

  •  The reason a male dog licks his genitals.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, Kevskos, koNko, joe from Lowell

    is, of course, because he can. Which is the same reason that Putin invaded Crimea. The same reason that GHWBush invaded Panama. And the same reason, codified by "the Monroe Doctrine", that has justified every POTUS' regional intervention since Monroe himself.

    These nations are geopolitical powers. They will intervene regionally they want to, and will feel justified in doing so because of their self-identification as a "power". After, what's the point of being a "power" if you don't use the power?

    All this speculation is, IMO, foolish intellectual masturbation that's being opportunistically used to advance an existing political prejudice (e.g., "Obama's weak"). Putin saw a huge opportunity that was worth all the conceivable risks. Even in the height of the Cold War--when the Western military apparatus was in place and presumably ready to go at any time--there was no meaningful response to the Soviet Union for invading the indisputably "sovereign" nations of Hungary or Czechoslovakia. Compared to those interventions, the Crimea is a family squabble.

    Battling psychiatric myths with sensible skepticism at www.makingsenseofpsychiatry.com

    by candid psychiatrist on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:26:53 AM PDT

  •  So America should be good with ICBMs in Cuba? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CharlesII

    Because that is basically how Russia sees it.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:24:36 AM PDT

    •  No that isn't how Russia sees it. April 8 2010 (0+ / 0-)

      there was a signing ceremony in Prague for the New Start Treaty. Obama signed for the US and Medvedev signed for Russia. Both countries ratified it and there are inspection provisions in it. All the ICBMs both countries have are counted. ICBMs wouldn't be deployed in Ukraine anyway, even if there was no treaty. (The I and the C stand for InterContinental.)

      It's nonsensical hysteria to claim that proximity could make Ukraine an unprecedented danger to Russia.

      Find a map. Look at Norway. The northern part of its territory wraps around to the east and, OMG, it has a border with Russia. Norway is a close ally of the US and it is a member of NATO. It gets all kinds of weapons from the US. In fact, it was just approved for a sale of air-to-air missiles. Nobody ever loses sleep about Norway attacking Russia. I haven't heard a word about the threat of an armed Norway on Russia's doorstep. If anybody wanted to attack Russia, they don't need Ukraine to do it.

      There's something else in play here.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 10:24:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wrong counterfactual (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native

    You present a very interesting argument.  It's a counterfactual one -- what if NATO did not expand aggressively as it did to formally provide military guarantees to countries whose new political leaders were trying to flee the Warsaw Pact regime of the previous 40 years?  Would Russia have done any differently today in the Ukraine and Crimea?

    You argue that no, Russia's security interests would still lie in the Ukraine and Crimea regardless of whether NATO had expanded its military commitments further east. And there is a lot of truth to that conclusion.   As I have said elsewhere in comments on other diaries, the Ukrainians, despite the minor language differences, are a lot more like Russians than, say Texans are like Americans.  Their shared history going back a thousand years has been well documented.  Russia would always be interested in political, economic, and security unity with the Ukraine in some way or other regardless of what NATO did.  

    However, the right counterfactual for NATO expansion is not that NATO would remain at its Western European borders.  Rather, when Kennan (and even Kissinger too) wrote of his concerns regarding NATO expansion, the alternative on the table which Russia had wanted was to disband NATO altogether and create a new security alliance which would include Russia as a member as well as the US and the original NATO members, something all US administrations have opposed since the fall of the Warsaw Pact.  

    But if that new North Atlantic-Eurasian alliance had been established by the US instead of the expansion of NATO, Russia would now be an ally and engaged as a partner in our Pax Americana project instead of as a rival and, increasingly, as an opponent.  And in that situation, Russia's territorial and cultural interests in the Ukraine, including Crimea, would be much different today than the military brinksmanship we are now witnessing.  The Ukraine would likely be under political leadership much closer to Russia, but Russia itself would be much more open and engaged with the West and less worried about its own security and threats from Western Europe as it is today.

    So, yes, the actions of NATO during the breakup of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact are to blame for Russia's actions today.  It was missed window of opportunity for world peace and democratic governance, and we are now seeing the cost of the lack of imagination on the part of our elected leaders at the time.

  •  Without the West helping Yeltsin to overthrow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, native

    the just-born and quickly murdered Russian Democracy, there would be no Putin dictatorship. Yeltsin helped siphon Russia's wealth off to Western Bankers. You know, that Organized Crime outfit that is out to destroy nations so they can get more wealth during the break-down.

    Just 'cause you're paranoid doesn't mean someone's not out to get you.


    Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

    by Jim P on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 10:51:53 AM PDT

  •  Wheneer there's an international crisis, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native

    we can always expect apologists for aggressive action, such as the diarist, to trot out straw dogs, like progressives' "knee-jerk, blame America first groupthink", without citing a specific advocate of such supposed view points.  

    As is true in this instance, the continuation of this kind of slander is frequently indistinguishable from a Bush/Cheney kind of jingoism, complete with a demonization of the enemy du jure.

    Play chess for the Kossacks on Chess.com. Join the site, then the group at http://www.chess.com/groups/view/kossacks.

    by rhutcheson on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:23:59 AM PDT

    •  Indistinguishable to whom? (0+ / 0-)

      Having done what you don't seem to have done, and kept an eye on the diaries that have blamed the crisis in Ukraine on American action, I don't have any trouble whatsoever distinguishing the jingoism of Bush/Cheney from the author's accurate depiction of those arguments.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:56:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's ultimately an exercise in self-centeredness. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, seancdaug

    The mindset that attributes everything in the world to American actions, leaving only room to work out how any particular situation is a consequence of American actions, is a consequence of viewing the world primarily as a place that revolved around America.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:55:26 AM PDT

  •  The USA lost the Cold War. (0+ / 0-)

    The USA lost the Cold War.
    China and Russia are the prime benefactors of the insane economic/political policy called Globalism.
    U.S.  is the first county in history to literally throw itself away….
    America is trash running out of cash!

  •  Say what you want (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmastiff

    But it was bloodless, unlike a certain invasion of a certain Middle Eastern oil producer by a certain "coalition" of oil consumers.

    They tell me I'm pretty amusing from time to time working with 140 characters or less.

    by CharlieHipHop on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:48:51 PM PDT

    •  Now now . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CharlieHipHop

      You just might get slammed for "moral equivalency". Invasions, wars, coups & subverting elected governments aren't the same when the U.S. does it, because we are good & they are bad. We are EXCEPTIONAL, dammit. To suggest otherwise would be "anti-Americanism" or "blaming America first".

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