From the Hundred Year War to the Crimea

I’m interested in what’s going on in Ukraine, admittedly partly because I’m listening to Anna Karenina on books-on-tape right now, but….just how bad is the derp going to get?

Does what’s happening in Ukraine show that Obama is weak (presumably, the answer is yes)? Does it show that Putin is the planet’s only real alpha male? Does it show that freedom is God’s gift to humanity?

Or will it be ignored enough by CFR, Brookings, Tom Friedman, and Sunday Mornings With John McCain that I can safely read about it online?

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197 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Well, Tom Friedman already (apparently) yapped about it, and John McCain will, of course, be on TV yapping about it (it is a Sunday, you know) but you can safely ignore what they have to say.

    A good English-language source is The Interpreter http://www.interpretermag.com/. Also follow the Twitter feeds of David Herszenhorn of the NYT, and a couple of more or less freelance guys like Max Seddon or Maxim Eristavi. From their feeds you can pick up a few others.

    The events of the last few days prove what you learned in high school — that the bully can bully until people see that he can’t, and then he collapses very quickly.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    Undoubtedly he’s as weak a president as we’ve had since Jimmy Carter. But take into account our interactions with Syria, Iran and now Crimea and it’s inescapable that Obama may also be our most naive president in this nation’s history.

  3. 3
    slippytoad says:

    How WaPo explains Crimea: “It was the site of much of the fighting in the Crimean War.”

    Everywhere these people go,, low standards and stupidity follow.

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    The events of the last few days prove what you learned in high school — that the bully can bully until people see that he can’t

    Who is the bully in your formulation?

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    We are all Ukrainians now.

  6. 6
    Botsplainer says:

    Does what’s happening in Ukraine show that Obama is weak (presumably, the answer is yes)? Does it show that Putin is the planet’s only real alpha male? Does it show that freedom is God’s gift to humanity?

    There’s nothing that can’t be solved by a President talking tough. Reagan’s quavering “Tear Down This Wall” old man command (not unlike “get off my lawn”) led to Gorbachev quaking in his boots.

  7. 7
    slippytoad says:

    @Corner Stone:

    In this context, I take it naive would mean “unwilling to hamfistedly stumble into war for the benefit of the military industrial complex?”

    I like my Presidents naive then. The “experienced” ones cause gouts of blood and gore and death and misery whenever they squint wrong over breakfast.

    And curiously enough, they seem to have by and large avoided that same experience when it was made available to them.

  8. 8
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: Yanukovych.

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    It [Crimea] was the site of much of the fighting in the Crimean War, for example.

    You don’t say.

    It’s up to Ukraine and Russia to sort out their borders and decide which regions belong in which country — mostly Ukraine in this case, because Crimea is currently in its sovereign territory. The US should stay the hell out of this, until and unless any related dispute comes before the UN Security Council.

  10. 10
    Jeremy says:

    They act like the U.S can control what is going on in the world. The president is taking the right approach.

  11. 11
    So the story goes. says:

    The WaPo can only be as informative as the people who read it can handle. I believe in the market. Dumbcunts like Dougj collectively are responsible for what is on the pages of the wapo.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: Incidentally, and as added evidence of why so many people hated him so much, here is a photo from inside one of the Yanukovych family garages. https://twitter.com/mefimus/status/437507216938397696/photo/1

    What I find fascinating is that when they breached his palatial compound, nobody vandalized anything. People were astonished, they went there with their kids to gape at it, but nobody set fire to anything, nobody tore anything down, nobody spray-painted anything. They just wanted to see for themselves.

  13. 13
    Amir Khalid says:

    Any display of American power abroad means only that Obama is trying to distract people from some weakness at home. As I recall, the same was true of Bill Clinton; why, Hollywood even made a movie to illustrate the idea, titled Wag The Dog.

  14. 14
    Botsplainer says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    My understanding is that the property is all personally his, the product of massive graft, unlike residences provided to POTUS, the Brit PM, etc.

    It’s the extent of the graft that Ukrainians are outraged about.

  15. 15
    Chris T. says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Wow, and I thought I had a nice garage. :-)

    (I actually do have a nice garage. We call it the “Garage Mahal”. But it’s nothing like that.)

  16. 16
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: So the man isn’t very creative when it comes to car collections and style. Is that so wrong?

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    BZZT! BZZT! WARNING! High troll-to-human relative density factor has been detected!

  18. 18
    Petorado says:

    @MattF: Just saw this article about trolls – “There is now scientific evidence that Internet trolls are indeed just as mean in their private lives as they are in their digital ones, and it appears the driving force behind their trolling is good old-fashion sadism.”

  19. 19
    Botsplainer says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Dude loves dark rides, and modern styles. If I had that kind of “fuck all y’all” money, my collection would be a lot more interesting.

  20. 20
    Jay C says:

    To try to answer your questions by pulling opinions out of my ass with some considered, if amateur, analysis:

    1. It CAN get very bad indeed: though at the moment things seem to be quasi-under-control: President Yanukovych is history: he was chased out of office by the mobs, and their Parliament is, AFAICT, reorganizing the government without him. The major problem, as I see it, is that even with a “new” (actually old) Constitution, and a new legislature and President (assuming the May elections come off without trouble), Ukraine will still have all its same old issues to confront: and it’s a long-odds bet that a new set of folks will be much better-equipped to deal with them than the current lot. Fun times ahead.

    2. Of course President Obama will be “blamed” for something re Ukraine – any critique will do: I’m sure the right-wing/Republican/neocon crowd will be all over the Sunday gasfests (to which they will always have an obscene amount of access) sputtering away about FREEDOM and RESOLVE and LEADERSHIP, etc: all of which is just so much bullshit to cover up the fact that we really can’t, practicably, do a damn thing about events in Ukraine except shoot our official mouths off. The war-freak crowd will carp about any response the Obama Admin makes: talk or silence: carping is what they do.

    3. Myself, I think Russian President Putin is probably likely to want to stay the hell out of Ukrainian problems as much as possible – mouth-shooting-off notwithstanding: the Russians have a hell of lot more leverage there than, say, the US does; but short of an actual military intervention – which I don’t think he is likely to try (YET) – there’s a limited range of options for him to influence things. Not that he won’t try, I’m sure….

  21. 21
    KG says:

    @Jeremy: don’t you remember that as an empire we create our own reality? And in that reality, being elected president is equivalent to eating ambrosia allowing the president the ability to interfere in the affair of man regardless of whether they want said interference or not

  22. 22
    beltane says:

    Like Syria, Ukraine presents a situation where the bad guys on both sides seem to greatly outnumber the lovers of freedom, tolerance, etc. The more I read of the history of this country, the more it looks to be the Rwanda of Europe, making the former Yugoslavia seem like Switzerland in comparison.

  23. 23

    Earth to McCain. Just like the planets don’t revolve around the earth, the world does not revolve around the United States. We were all Georgians before, are we all Ukrainians, now?

  24. 24
    BGinCHI says:

    I think it’s time we started blaming Michelle Obama. For obvious reasons. You know.

  25. 25
    maya says:

    Oh Crimea river….

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jay C:

    but short of an actual military intervention – which I don’t think he is likely to try (YET)

    So when exactly are the Sochi Games closing ceremonies, anyway?

  27. 27
    beltane says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Of course the world doesn’t revolve around the United States. As everyone knows, the world revolves around John McCain’s large, yet fragile, ego.

  28. 28
    LAC says:

    @Corner Stone: says this site’s boozed up bully. I wonder if you ever take a break from letting us know your opinion about anything? Or is this your sledgehammer attempt at sarcasm?

  29. 29
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: That was presumably the black-car-only garage. Another had more vintage autos, and in other colors.

  30. 30
    gogol's wife says:

    It should be pointed out that not all of the Crimean War took place in the Crimea. I’m detecting some misplaced snark here.

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone:

    For the sake of world peace, the IOC has declared that the Sochi Olympics can never end.

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Great song.

    @Amir Khalid: There is no way the US gets involved in this, unless it is asked (and it won’t be) to help broker a resolution. Troops, air support or armaments to any side in the fight aren’t going to happen.

  33. 33
    Randy P says:

    @Amir Khalid: Strong and smart foreign policy (domestic policy too, come to think of it) is based on “whatever a liberal says, do the opposite”. So for instance, when outgoing Clinton staffers briefed the incoming security people about the dangers of Al Qaeda and the Bin Laden guy, the smart thing to do was to ignore him.

  34. 34
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Botsplainer: The *property* is (was?) his personally, yes. Mezhyhirya is not equivalent to the White House or #10. But the property, in the sense of the land it was built on, had been part of a national park, and was “privatized” by Yanukovych, so the people are now saying it should be returned to use as a national park.

    As to whom the cars and stuff belong to now, isn’t there an old saw about possession being 9/10 of the law? He left the place, and left nobody there to take care of his stuff. Bad planning on his part.

    Oh, and he didn’t destroy most of the files there, either. One of the things I saw a photo of yesterday was a signed receipt (not clear to/from whom) for delivery of US$ 12 million, in cash.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Hard to tell what a couple in back are from the pic (there may be a listing somewhere I am unaware of), but just from what I can see if I offered him $800K for all of them in the Black Garage he’d probably laugh at me.

  36. 36

    Saw an interesting map of all the Russian gas pipelines running through Ukraine. It’s like … they’re everywhere. Wish we were getting better discussion about how energy is affecting this situation, I suspect we’re really looking at yet another resource war.

    In other news, the Winter Olympics sucked this year.

  37. 37
    Randy P says:

    @beltane: I’m ashamed to admit how little of the history of the region I know, despite family connections. My grandfather was a Russian Jew who lived in the Ukraine (oh, sorry, I guess I’m supposed to say just “Ukraine”). Whenever I mention to a Russian or Ukrainian that he lived in Poltava, they immediately say “Oh, dere vas a GREAAT battle dere”. But I have no idea when or why that great battle was.

    I know he eventually left after the Soviet Revolution because of the Cossacks. I have no idea why it was the Cossacks causing trouble.

  38. 38
    gogol's wife says:

    How do you like Anna K.? I’m doing her after spring break. Right now I’m plowing through War and Peace. Not liking it as much as I used to. I hope that changes or it’s going to be a long few weeks ahead.

  39. 39
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I would support sending McCain in as a one-man Rambo unit. I’d even let him choose which side to fight for.

  40. 40
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @beltane: around John McCain’s large, yet fragile, ego.

    Heh. It is indeed a marvel of psychological physics that something so massive can be so fragile. Whose Daddy issues is Gampy McPalin playing to this fine Sunday morning?

    I did see a blurb from Kelly Ayotte, the genius who thought replacing Lieberman as the third Neocon Stooge was the path to the White House, that Obama needs to “step up his game”. Once again, as with “naive”, what the fuck does this even mean? /rhetorical

  41. 41
    GregB says:

    Looking forward to 3 million dollar campaign ad buy from Americans for Prosperity titled:

    Obama Lost the Crimea.

  42. 42
    piratedan says:

    well it’s getting a damn site more consideration than Venezuela is and I find that strange since Venezuela is a damn sight closer and has more potential economic ties with this country (oil, oil and oil) with the added spice of the nation possibly veering into a more pro-USA stance than it previously held (considering it was just this side of Cuba and North Korea with the last “President” that they had).

  43. 43
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Randy P: 1709.

  44. 44
    Baud says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I’m doing her after spring break.

    That’s what he said.

  45. 45
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: We’re at a point that no soft power options for the US actually exist, IMO. It’s all talk, and hopefully very little of that.

  46. 46
    DougJ says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I like Anna K a lot. The narrator isn’t great though.

    I had just listened to Bill Hurt do The Sun Also Rises, and he fucking killed it. I never knew he had so much talent.

  47. 47
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @GregB: Obama Lost the Crimea.

    Which 80% of FoxNews viewers will say is a very important city in Kenraqya, with massive oil reserves that Jesus wants Exxon to have

  48. 48
    gogol's wife says:

    @DougJ:

    I guess by narrator you mean the person who’s reading it. I think the narrator in Anna K is wonderful. Who’s reading it?

  49. 49
    DougJ says:

    One embarrassing admission on Anna K: I had read almost nothing by Tolstoy before. I was shocked to learn that he’s a lefty icon…I had assumed he was a right-wing anti-Semite like the other Russian writers.

  50. 50
    DougJ says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Some British person is reading it, I don’t know her name.

    The person reading it makes such a big difference.

    The book is brilliant, though, I love it. The psychological depth of some these 19th century Russian novels is amazing.

  51. 51
    Cervantes says:

    @slippytoad:

    How WaPo explains Crimea: “It was the site of much of the fighting in the Crimean War.”

    Everywhere these people go,, low standards and stupidity follow.

    Not great writing there, I agree, but Taylor’s point was that “the strategically located region has been conquered and fought over many times.” Plus he said a lot more about the situation that Kendzior did not mention in her cheap shot.

    No surprise she’s writing for Politico now. (And there’s my cheap shot.)

  52. 52
    OGLiberal says:

    One thing that concerns me is that Kerry’s top person in the region is Victoria Nuland, a GWB holdover and the wife of Robert Kagan. Not crazy about a neo-con being so close to the driver’s seat. (she was the one caught on the hot mic recently)

    Also, in the WaPo story, it describes some of the folks in Crimea calling the opposition folks “fascists”. There is some evidence that some of the opposition elements are fascists and some have a little bit of a Jew problem.

    Yanukovych appears to be a bully and a not-so-nice fellow. Just not quite sure how much better the opposition leaders are – best we avoid leaning to strongly to one side or another. (advice Nuland appears not to be following)

    And here’s some bi-partisan fascist embracing…

    http://5dias.files.wordpress.c.....-nazi1.jpg

  53. 53
    Randy P says:

    @Gin & Tonic: And who was fighting whom in 1709, over what?

    Speaking of Cossacks, I see “Cossack paramilitary police” mentioned here. (Thanks for your link to The Interpreter).

    I always thought of the Cossacks somewhat vaguely as a tribe of wild horsemen who were more or less independent. Where exactly do they fit into the Russian government or culture? Why are they beating up P***y Riot and why were they killing people in my grandpa’s Jewish village?

  54. 54
    NotMax says:

    @DougJ

    I never knew he had so much talent.

    Sometime, watch Dark City.

    One of barely a handful of films he’s been in in which Hurt deigns to act rather than sleepwalk through his role.

  55. 55
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @DougJ: You didn’t see The Last Station? It had Helen Mirren in it. You’re gonna lose your Tote Bagger card.

  56. 56
    DougJ says:

    @Cervantes:

    All in all, it was a good article. I just thought that was funny.

  57. 57
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Randy P:

    I know he eventually left after the Soviet Revolution because of the Cossacks. I have no idea why it was the Cossacks causing trouble.

    The czars used the Cossacks as their shock troops, especially against Jews or any other “non-Russian” group. Pussy Riot is only the most recent example.

  58. 58
    GregB says:

    Speaking of atrocities, let us not forget that Ukraine was the place where opposition leader Vitkor Yuschenko was poisoned and disfigured by dioxin during his campaign in 2004.

    So yeah, it seems like a pretty rough neighborhood.

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    @DougJ:

    I’ve never read any of the Russian greats. Every time I think of starting, I get intimidated by the length.

  60. 60
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Randy P: Russia against Sweden. Russia won. It was part of the Great Northern War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Northern_War (too much history to summarize in a blog comment.)

  61. 61
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Randy P:

    It was the Great Northern War. Peter the Great defeated Charles XII of Sweden at Poltava, causing Charles to flee to the Ottomans. The battle marked the end of Sweden as one of Europe’s great powers. The war continued for another eleven years, but mostly in Swedish territory.

  62. 62
    aimai says:

    @Randy P: Jeebus, as another descendant of Jews from the Ukraine can I suggest you use the google? Of course the Cossacks were used as the Czars’ military police and were traditionally the people who beat, whipped, and pogrommed the hell out of our ancestors at the behest of the Czars or local authorities.

  63. 63
    Botsplainer says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Oh, and he didn’t destroy most of the files there, either. One of the things I saw a photo of yesterday was a signed receipt (not clear to/from whom) for delivery of US$ 12 million, in cash.

    That explains why he’s holed up in Kharkov, unable to get an asylum/exile offer from anybody from the parts of the world he’s interested in living in.

    I’m guessing that his best bets now are a buy-in somewhere in the direction of the UAE or someplace south of the Equator.

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: They certainly don’t exist in and around Ukraine.

  65. 65
    gogol's wife says:

    @Baud:

    They’re soap operas, like Downton Abbey!

  66. 66
    NotMax says:

    @Baud

    Might suggest reading some of Chekhov’s short stories or plays as a way to ease into it.

  67. 67
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Randy P:

    I always thought of the Cossacks somewhat vaguely as a tribe of wild horsemen who were more or less independent. Where exactly do they fit into the Russian government or culture? Why are they beating up Riot and why were they killing people in my grandpa’s Jewish village?

    They were used by the czars as shock troops against Jews or whoever was on the bad list, which is one way they bought/maintained a bit of that independence. The other reason is as a group, that whole warrior-for-hire thing worked out for them in terms of money, power, and appealing to their existing prejudices.

  68. 68
    Tokyokie says:

    I’ve been following events in Ukraine via the Guardian, and other than a demonstration of support for Yanukovych in places like Sevastopol and Simferopol, I’m not seeing much going on right now in regards to the Crimea, which is more than 50% ethnic Russian. There have been some clashes today in Odessa, which is near the Crimea but not has heavily Russian, between pro- and anti-Yanukovych forces, but nothing as dramatic as what has been happening in Kyiv. Give things another day or two, and Yanukovych, whose party has denounced him and who has apparently fled the country, will no longer be a rallying point for the ethnic Russian community. Somebody else will certainly fill that void, but right now, the leadership battle would appear to be among ethnic Ukrainians.

  69. 69
    Botsplainer says:

    @aimai:

    Of course the Cossacks were used as the Czars’ military police and were traditionally the people who beat, whipped, and pogrommed the hell out of our ancestors at the behest of the Czars or local authorities.

    Yup, the Cossacks were generally all-around dicks, which is why American conservatives tend to romanticize them; they tended also to be the collaborationists during Hitler’s invasion of the area during WWII.

  70. 70
    Baud says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Soap operas are hard for me also!

    @NotMax:

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  71. 71
    gogol's wife says:

    @DougJ:

    Well, he wasn’t an anti-Semite. But he’s a strange lefty icon! I guess pacifism and vegetarianism gets him that.

  72. 72
    Botsplainer says:

    @NotMax:

    Might suggest reading some of Chekhov’s short stories or plays as a way to ease into it.

    Spoiler alert on the plays: somebody dies/commits suicide in every one.

  73. 73
    MattF says:

    @gogol’s wife: Pretty famous Orwell essay about Tolstoy:

    http://www.george-orwell.org/L.....ool/0.html

  74. 74
    beltane says:

    @Randy P: The Cossacks were considered to be first rate soldiers and horsemen and were thus used as elite troops by the Russian military and police forces. In the mythology of the American Jewish community, “Cossack” seems to have become a generic word for antisemitic rioter. The Jewish part of my family is mostly from the SW quadrant of Ukraine. The history of that blood-soaked piece of land from the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire to its absorption by the Soviet Union is the stuff of nightmares.

  75. 75
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Botsplainer: Another interesting story I read yesterday, seemingly pretty well-sourced, is that there was a charter aircraft trying to leave Donetsk, which the border control people stopped because it didn’t have the required documentation. Two armed men came up to the border guys and offered some sum of cash to make the problem go away. The border guys declined the offer, whereupon some calls were made and an armored limo drove up to the plane and Yanukovych disembarked and rode away.

  76. 76
    Jay C says:

    @Randy P:

    Battle of Poltava June/July (depending on which calendar you use) of 1709. A big deal in the area, since it resulted in a Russian army commanded by Tsar Peter the Great crushing a Swedish force under King Charles XII – it booted the Swedes out of the region, ended their ambitions of extending their hegemony, and ensured that the Ukraine would be in the Russian sphere of influence from then on.
    A major battle, to be sure: still weird that it would be remembered so vividly 250+ years on.

  77. 77
    Ruckus says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    I understood that the world revolved around the stick stuck up jonnies butt.

  78. 78
    Mike in NC says:

    @Randy P: The Cossacks were traditionally supporters of the Czars and were frequently employed to keep the serfs and others in line. During WW2 some of them volunteered to serve the Third Reich. Stalin shipped entire communities he didn’t trust to Siberia.

  79. 79
    Tokyokie says:

    @Mike in NC: Of course, Stalin chose to impose famine on Ukraine in the early 1930s (Ukrainians these days call it genocide), I guess because there were too damn many of them to ship to Siberia.

  80. 80
    Ruckus says:

    @DougJ:
    The long winters give time to think things through.

  81. 81
    Mike in NC says:

    McCain was on TV this morning blubbering about how we still don’t have several divisions stuck in the wastelands of Iraq. What an imbecile and warmonger.

  82. 82
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mike in NC: Trouble is, more or less anyone could appropriate the term. The origin, though, is from the name in the steppes for an unaffiliated warrior horseman, dating back many centuries (first mentioned in “The Secret History of the Mongols”). In the 15th through 18th centuries there were various groupings, and only in the early 18th century did they start to be incorporated into (or at least ally with) the Russian monarchy. But they hold a semi-mythical place akin to the US-American “cowboy”.

  83. 83
    MattF says:

    @Tokyokie: Just the well-known phase of making an omelet where you break eggs and then go on to break everything in sight, just in case the eggs start getting resentful.

  84. 84
    Randy P says:

    @aimai: But there were no Czars at the time Grandpa decided it was time to leave. This was AFTER the revolution. So apparently Lenin was happy to continue persecution of the Jews, and the Cossacks were happy to continue killing Jews on his behalf.

    I guess that goes along with the whole mercenary “we are loyal to whoever signs the checks” thing.

  85. 85
    Tripod says:

    @Randy P:

    In a multi-ethnic empire, it’s optimal to have a non-aligned third party for skull cracking.

  86. 86
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Randy P: Anyone calling himself a Cossack in the 20th century was more like a Blackwater goon than like a 16th century warrior horseman.

  87. 87
    Anoniminous says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Don’t forget the ecocide of cherry orchards!

  88. 88
    beltane says:

    @Randy P: The Cossacks were not allies of the Soviets. Perhaps your relatives were persecuted by either communists or by White Russian anti-communist paramilitaries? I have learned to take family history with a grain of salt as it often tends to be a garbled version of events.

  89. 89
    Tommy says:

    I really got no clue what is going on. I just think to like Egpyt or Syria and recall kind of pulling for the protestors. Then they took power and maybe they were not really the “nicest” people either. Wonder if that might be happening again.

  90. 90
    monkeyfister says:

    I really do not believe the good guys won here. I think we saddled the absolute wrong horse. Bad people have the reins of Ukraine, now. Don’t think this is going to really end well. Give it another three months, and we’ll see the actual face of all this. I suspect it won’t be pretty.

  91. 91
    aimai says:

    @DougJ: There’s a left and a left and a left.

  92. 92
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @monkeyfister: Which was the right horse, then, in your view?

  93. 93
    agorabum says:

    @Botsplainer: a real man would have just torn down that wall, not simply asked a commie to tear the wall down at his lesiure. Talk is cheap.

  94. 94
    Tommy says:

    Tom Clancys most recent book, Command Authority, is pretty much based in the Ukraine. Now I realize it is a work of fiction, and not a history book, what I really wonder if some of the things he talked about are true. Often there is more then a little truth in his books. One of the things that happens is Russia invades the nation. They do so after offering up many Russian passports/citizenship to Ukraine citizens over the years, and they say they are coming to their aid when protests break out.

    Then you have the natural gas pipeline they shut down.

    Again I know this is a work of fiction, but so many things that are playing out in reality happened as a story line in a recently published book I wonder if some of it was maybe more “real” then I thought while reading it.

  95. 95
    Botsplainer says:

    @monkeyfister:

    I really do not believe the good guys won here. I think we saddled the absolute wrong horse. Bad people have the reins of Ukraine, now. Don’t think this is going to really end well. Give it another three months, and we’ll see the actual face of all this. I suspect it won’t be pretty.

    Glorious. You should have been talking to David Gregory or writing a major opinion piece for WaPo, the NYT or McClatchy this morning instead of sitting around in your robe, sipping coffee and lamenting how you don’t make seven figures as a prominent national pundit.

  96. 96
    monkeyfister says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’ve yet to be told how this “revolution” comprised in-part of actual neo-nazis was the RIGHT horse to back.

    Explain to me how things are going to be AWESOME in Ukraine, now. Who benefits? Will the Unicorns fly again with Natural Gas powering their wings?

  97. 97
    Tokyokie says:

    @monkeyfister: Yanukovych was definitely a bad guy kleptocrat. His opponents include some anti-authoritarian types (call them good guys if you want) as well as some folks who want to impose a different style of authoritarian regime and/or yearn to be kleptocrats themselves. And I have no idea how things will turn out, but at least with Yanukovych gone, a good result is now possible. And as this article points out, Yanukovych and the Russian Foreign Ministry was terming the opposition as “fascist” for foreign consumption, but using anti-Semitic and anti-gay rhetoric against it for domestic purposes.
    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....insrc=hpss

  98. 98
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    Well, Tom Friedman already (apparently) yfapped about it, and John McCain will, of course, be on TV yfapping about it (it is a Sunday, you know) but you can safely ignore what they have to say.

    FTFY.

  99. 99
    monkeyfister says:

    Just saying that giving neo-nazi nationalists a share of the power is never a good thing. They deserve shunning and the boot to the head, not a piece of the pie– ever.

  100. 100
    pluege says:

    WaPo: water is the liquid that is watery.

  101. 101
    Origuy says:

    According to legend, King Canute gathered his courtiers at the seashore, walked to the edge, and ordered the tide to halt. He did this not out of arrogance, but to show his courtiers that the power even of the king of three countries (England, Denmark, and Norway) had its limits. He would have to drag today’s media courtiers into the water and hold their head down to get the message across.

  102. 102
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Origuy: Oddly enough, some chroniclers report that a bitter little old man named Jehan of M’khayn was on the shore jumping up and down yelling that Canute didn’t show the tide enough resolve and firmness.

  103. 103
    Amir Khalid says:

    OT: The BBC tells us, it’s no bed of roses being Saddam Hussein — even in 2014.

  104. 104
    JoyfulA says:

    @OGLiberal: I had seen elsewhere a McCain publicity photo from his Ukraine Freedom tour, where he posed next to a man said to be head of a fascist, anti-Semite party that is nearly neo-Nazi. Your picture suggests we can drop the “nearly.”

    Interesting that people still think McCain knows anything about foreign affairs after his photo-op with the Syrian Freedom fighter from an al Qaeda group.

  105. 105
    NotMax says:

    @Origuy

    Even then, a subset of those with sodden heads would insist that if he showed more “leadership” and made nice with his antagonists (by acceding to their policies without question), the tide would screech to a stop.

  106. 106
    dr. luba says:

    @OGLiberal: Tymothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands, has written a good piece on this for the NYRB. YOu can read it here. Whole article is good.

    “The protests in the Maidan, we are told again and again by Russian propaganda and by the Kremlin’s friends in Ukraine, mean the return of National Socialism to Europe. The Russian foreign minister, in Munich, lectured the Germans about their support of people who salute Hitler. The Russian media continually make the claim that the Ukrainians who protest are Nazis. Naturally, it is important to be attentive to the far right in Ukrainian politics and history. It is still a serious presence today, although less important than the far right in France, Austria, or the Netherlands. Yet it is the Ukrainian regime rather than its opponents that resorts to anti-Semitism, instructing its riot police that the opposition is led by Jews. In other words, the Ukrainian government is telling itself that its opponents are Jews and us that its opponents are Nazis.”

    And there were rabbis and imams, along with christian clergy, leading prayers on the Maidan, and a Jewish brigade helping protect the Maidan.

    ETA: I see Toyokie beat me to the link. Deserves emphasis.

  107. 107
    Tommy says:

    At times I can have some issues with Obama, but my gosh I am happy he was in the White House when Egypt, Syria, Libya, and now the Ukraine went down. That we didn’t put any boots on the ground. I am watching a special on MSNBC by the Wounded Warrior Project and it is so heartbreaking I don’t have words for it. Thank god we didn’t start another war!

  108. 108
    gogol's wife says:

    @beltane:

    Some Cossacks fought with the Red Army in the Civil War and after. See Babel, “Red Cavalry.” And he shows them engaging in pogrom-like behavior.

  109. 109
    SuperHrefna says:

    @Amir Khalid: I have a lot of sympathy for them. I have a family friend whose initials spell out JIHAD, a cute idea for a name back in the seventies but not so easy to live with now.

  110. 110
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @monkeyfister: Since you are clearly so knowledgeable, which party/faction should the US/EU have backed?

  111. 111
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Tommy: The NYRB is running a series of articles looking back on the Rumsfeld era, in conjunction with a new Errol Morris documentary. IANA shrink, but if that man’s not a sociopath, he’ll do till one comes along. I could only bring myself to read one of the articles– so far– cause looking back at that time rekindles all my old rage.

    Apparently David Brooks has some wankery out about how we need more “grace and forgiveness” in our politics. I think one of our biggest problems is a total lack of accountability, from the absurd– Paul Ryan and others being treated as “fiscal conservatives” when they put two wars on the national credit card– to the tragic– the dim-witted old warmonger McCain being treated as a foreign policy wiseman.

  112. 112

    @monkeyfister: 3 months only? Half of a Friedman unit.

  113. 113
    monkeyfister says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Neither.

    Now please explain why this is a happy ending.

    All you’ve done is troll the shit out of these discussions without once ever explaining your views. I am anti Fascist, and anti Nazi– sound, Just positions.

    Why is this ending GOOD? Explain yourself.

  114. 114
    monkeyfister says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Establishing governance and policy takes time. Just being generous. Could say three weeks.

  115. 115
  116. 116
    Tommy says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I just had to turn off that show I was watching. The poor man was in a coma for four months. Lost a leg. An arm looks like it was put through a meat grinder. The VA cut off his physical therapy after two years. Him and his parents are paying for it. OK that mini-rant ended.

    I totally agree with you about accountability. I am stunned folks like Dick Cheney (to name just one) appear on my TV screen and people we should listen to. IMHO they shouldn’t be allowed in polite circles.

  117. 117
    dmsilev says:

    @Gin & Tonic: It’s propaganda not documentary, but Eisenstein’s _Battleship Potemkin_ features a pretty graphical example of the interaction between the Cossacks and the general Russian citizenry:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps-v-kZzfec

  118. 118
    NotMax says:

    @Tommy

    Obviously simplifying here (and strictly my opinion), but the ongoing conflict in Syria (at its core, although such clashes and local allegiances can and do mutate and expand in unexpected ways) represents a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Not at all uncommon for such opportunistic tug-of-war hostilities to drag on for a decade or more.

  119. 119
    dr. luba says:

    @Tokyokie: Crimea was not historically Russian, but like Donetsk and the Sochi region, became that way because of Russian genocide.

    Crimea was populated, up until WWII, primarily by Tatars, a Turkic people. They were the majority in Crimea until Stalin deported almost 200,000 of them, and half died either in transit or shortly thereafter in their exile. They were only allowed to begin to return after Ukrainian independence. Do they not have the right to their native land? They are 100% in support of staying in Ukraine.

  120. 120
    p.a. says:

    Crimea may thoroughly discombobulate the Beltway elites and neocons: all sides equally light-skinned and no Muslims. May be time to consult with Bibi; find out what to do.

  121. 121
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @monkeyfister: I don’t know if it’s a happy or unhappy ending. Time will tell. I do know that people are no longer being gunned down by snipers, nor being beaten by riot police or paid thugs. I do know that a significant majority of a duly-elected Parliament is taking concrete, legal steps to address many of the issues that people were in the streets about. I do know that the capital is quiet and peaceful, as a civic responsibility, not as a police action. I do know that the thug-in-charge is gone, and his power base is significantly diminished. I do know that the EU, an object of derision in much of the EU, but an object of desire to very many ordinary citizens, is maybe an inch closer than it was a week ago. It’s not a happy ending, but it will do for now.

  122. 122
    Tommy says:

    @NotMax: I will simplify as well, but I tend to agree with you. It is a regional power struggle we have no business getting involved in. Look I wish I could wave a magic wand and have world peace, but that isn’t reality. I can’t see how putting US troops on the ground will help anything. I mean recent past performance shows nothing good will come from it.

  123. 123
    monkeyfister says:

    @Gin & Tonic: So you don’t know shit. But trolled the fuck out of everyone, none the less.

    I’ll stick with my anti-neo nazi stance, then, thank you very much. Allowing them onstage is the wrong move every time.

  124. 124
    Keith P says:

    I predict that John McCain will say that it is the most something he’s ever seen.

  125. 125
    dr. luba says:

    @monkeyfister:

    Bad people have the reins of Ukraine, now.

    Now? Please explain how Yanukovych was a good guy.

    An interesting note: Yanukovych has now been deposed twice by popular revolution. Is there any other political figure of who that can be said?

  126. 126
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Are the Cossacks from Kazakhstan?

  127. 127
    Tommy says:

    I am watching a replay of MTP. My gosh Susan Rice has a terrible job. She was actually asked if what is happening in Ukraine is a good thing? Wish she could say “what a stupid fucking question!” What stuns me is how these talking heads seem to think the world is a simple place. Everything is cut and dry. Yes or no. My experience is that is NEVER the case.

  128. 128

    @OGLiberal: The last time these folks were in control they killed a million Jews.

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-.....s/1.575732

    No, a significant portion of the opposition are stone fascists and anti-Semites. Two things can be true at once. The President/former President can be corrupt, and the folks in the street can be a worse alternative.

    I just wonder how all the TV cameras failed to capture all those “wolf’s angel” armbands.

  129. 129
    Cervantes says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Some Cossacks fought with the Red Army in the Civil War and after. See Babel, “Red Cavalry.” And he shows them engaging in pogrom-like behavior.

    That’s right.

    Babel, himself a Jew, was part of Semyon Budyonny’s largely Cossack 1st Cavalry Army — a major force that fought the White Russians and Poles in Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea. Red Cavalry is nominally fiction but Babel’s diary from those years is, miraculously, available (in part). Here is an excerpt:

    July 19, 1920. Berezhtsy. Sienkiewicz. I lie on a spring mattress drinking tea infused with cherries. Next to me, a child is gasping. I fall off dozing for an hour or two. […] At night we ride back to Smordva, to the edge of a forest. The night journey, the moon, the squadron somewhere in front […] I hear sounds of battle: the wounded & the dead. I fall asleep beside a church fence. A brigadier is sleeping across from me with his head on some girl’s belly.

    A hut in the forest. […] An unusual scene: the squadron is asleep around me, everything is dark, you can’t see a thing. Cold bubbles out of the wood. I trip over horses. […]

    Boratyn. […] A beautiful day. My interview with Konstantin Karlovich. What kind of a man is this Cossack of ours? Dirtiness, shabbiness, bravery, professionalism, revolutionary fervor, bestial cruelty. We are the advance party: the people are expecting salvation, the Jews are expecting freedom, & what do they get? Cossacks.

    Each house is still engraved in my heart. Jews. Faces, here’s the ghetto. An ancient race are we, the tormented ones, not yet devoid of strength. A shop: wonderful, I drink the most wonderful coffee. I comfort the shopkeeper but his mind is on the chaos in his shop. The Cossacks are shouting & swearing, climbing onto the shelves in this poor shop with its sweaty Jew with his red beard. […] An old Jew — I like talking to my own people — they understand me.

    (My translation, with apologies.)

  130. 130
    DougJ says:

    @monkeyfister:

    I don’t know much about this, but I was also disturbed by the nationalism of the opposition.

  131. 131
    Cervantes says:

    @FlipYrWhig: It’s a complicated and freighted question. The answer depends on whom you ask. (It’s sort of like asking where “Macedonia” is.)

    The name “Cossack” stems from an old Turkish word for guerilla.

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ruckus:

    There’s a reason Russians are famous for their long novels and Californians are famous for their short stories.

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Did we back a faction at all?

  134. 134
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Someone seems to think so:

    I think we saddled the absolute wrong horse.

    (I guess I could be mis-reading the metaphor.)

  135. 135
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @monkeyfister: I know lots, thanks. Just choose not to reveal everything.

  136. 136
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The US diplomats in Kyiv were pretty obviously anti-Yanukovych, as was their boss, Kerry.

  137. 137
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Bob In Portland: Curious how you omitted this part of the Haaretz story:

    Correction (Feb. 22, 4:20 P.M.): An earlier version of this report incorrectly described Rabbi Azman as the chief rabbi of Ukraine. Azman is not the country’s chief rabbi, but one of two rabbis challenging the official chief rabbi, Yaakov Bleich, in Kiev, and like most Chabad rabbis, is aligned with the Kremlin.

  138. 138
    Cervantes says:

    @Randy P:

    But there were no Czars at the time Grandpa decided it was time to leave. This was AFTER the revolution. So apparently Lenin was happy to continue persecution of the Jews, and the Cossacks were happy to continue killing Jews on his behalf.

    Yes, the Bolsheviks’ 1st Cavalry Army was largely Cossack at its origin. See above for a relevant diary entry.

  139. 139
    dr. luba says:

    @DougJ:As someone noted on my Facebook feed:

    “Ukraine now has an Evangelical minister as its acting President, a part Roma acting Defense Minister and a Russian as Interior Minister. The President was born in Dnipropetrovsk, the head of the Security service in Zaporizhya, and the Interior Minister in Baku.

    “Yep, those nationalists from West Ukraine are taking over!”

  140. 140
    dr. luba says:

    @p.a.:

    Crimea may thoroughly discombobulate the Beltway elites and neocons: all sides equally light-skinned and no Muslims. May be time to consult with Bibi; find out what to do.

    The Tatars of Crimea are dark-skinned Muslims, and allied with the Maidan. And Maidan is an arabic word. So this should be an easy choice for the neocons.

    One thing I’ve never understood is all the Putin-love on the right. Is it just that he is the “enemy” of Obama, or is ti that manly, muscular, topless, autocratic image that they admire?

  141. 141
    Bargal20 says:

    @Gin & Tonic: No car elevator. He’s obviously not US presidential candidate material.

  142. 142
    Cervantes says:

    @dr. luba: The Roma thing — if I can put it so indelicately in a hurry — is really amazing and good news.

  143. 143
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Bob In Portland: Here’s an interesting take on the “anti-Semitism” angle. http://littlegreenfootballs.co.....ing_Points

  144. 144
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The protests went on long enough that they formed their own government, kind of like Occupy. So, validating claims of academic anarchists, but kind of not, also, that is, people in groups can and will pick up and create their own organizing structures. I think anarchy emerged politically in reaction to monarchist/state religious claims that people couldn’t be trusted and need the guidance of elites.

  145. 145
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Also Chabad was feeding Kremlin-line misinformation, dunno if you caught that Haaretz correction. Disgusting.

    ETA: Holy shit, that reads almost word for word like the story of how that horrific central asian dictatorship (in Uzbekistan) was buying influence in the US. Right wing losers will swallow ANYTHING. Wow!

  146. 146
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Jay C:

    Myself, I think Russian President Putin is probably likely to want to stay the hell out of Ukrainian problems as much as possible – mouth-shooting-off notwithstanding: the Russians have a hell of lot more leverage there than, say, the US does; but short of an actual military intervention – which I don’t think he is likely to try (YET) – there’s a limited range of options for him to influence things. Not that he won’t try, I’m sure….

    Russian influence in Ukraine, according to my reading in the last weeks, is like GOP influence in the US–it has a demographics problem.

    All young people in Ukraine are being taught Ukrainian language. So memories of Soviet rule and Russian dominance are aging out.

    Tatars are repatriating to Eastern Ukraine, which is where most Russian ethnic/Russian speakers live. Russia had forcibly moved them far, far away in the early 20th century.

    I’m talking about soft influence. Of course there are economic/financial issues which have not been solved at all. But people who talk about this as if it’s everything perhaps missed the part where Yanukovych banned political protest and, at the end, was trying to get the army to roll on protesters. He hired goons to shoot people (titushkis). This is a big victory for civil society and democracy.

    US went through the Great Depression without turning into a fascist hell hole, so, let’s give other peoples some credit when they stave off the same beast.

    We’re too eager to label other countries irredeemable shitholes. Maybe it makes our enormous poverty and third world pockets burn our eyes less?

  147. 147

    @Gin & Tonic: Which means what? When a leader of the Svoboda Party calls Mila Kunis a “dirty Jewess” that it’s just a criticism of her film work?

    I’ve got plenty of links about the fascists if you want to see them.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/j.....aine-jews/

    http://www.ibtimes.com/euromai.....ts-1556654

    http://www.israelnationalnews......wpayv2whaE

    http://rt.com/op-edge/ukrainia.....olice-888/

    http://www.channel4.com/news/k.....iot-police

  148. 148
    Josie says:

    @Tommy:
    I am reading that book right now, and I told my son this morning that it is kind of spooky how many of the things in the book have parallels in what is happening. I guess he has kept up with the history of that part of the world and is pretty good at predicting events.

  149. 149

    @dr. luba: Please just tell us that the Jews are lying.

  150. 150

    @Bargal20: His royal house is nowhere as big as the one built by the owner of Papa John’s pizza.

  151. 151

    @Bargal20: And his car collections sucks compared to Jay Leno’s.

  152. 152
    Chris says:

    @Tommy:

    Tom Clancys most recent book, Command Authority, is pretty much based in the Ukraine. Now I realize it is a work of fiction, and not a history book, what I really wonder if some of the things he talked about are true. Often there is more then a little truth in his books.

    Having read most of Tom Clancy’s books (was a sucker for these kinds of technothrillers as a teenager), I think their ties to the real world are best summarized as “an alternate reality universe in which events reminiscent of those in real life unfold in a way that vindicates Tom Clancy’s ideology and his side of the aisle.”

    Last time I flipped through one, part of the backstory was that George Bush Jack Ryan left the country in fine financial form and the current economic bad times only happened because his successor Barack Obama Ed Kealty raised taxes, and the villains’ plot is to provoke the U.S. into invading a Middle Eastern country so they can profit from the chaos (it’ll work, we’re told, because the liberal president is so inept and irresponsible).

    Haven’t read the last one, but I would tend to take it with a grain of salt based on past experience.

  153. 153

    Some notes on the situation, with links. Go there and read the links; the pieces by Afinogenov and The Blog Fodder are especially worthwhile.

    There seems to me a risk of Russian invasion, or Russia simply cutting off the fuel next winter. How will the world react?

  154. 154

    @Tommy: That’s basically a rehash of the war in Georgia a few years ago. When the Russians bombed Georgia during that brief war dropped bombs very near, but not on, the pipelines that run across Georgia. It was their way of saying, “Keep fucking with us and see what it gets you.”

    Ukraine is in a similar position. There are a lot of ethnic Russians in the east and south who consider themselves closer to Moscow than the hayseed racists in the western half of their country. If there’s a permanent seizure of power by the ultra-right then they will in one way or another throw in their lot with the Russians. Joint security pacts. If you lived through the Cold War you know the drill.

    And then the fascists, without Russian oil and natural gas, will become another Greece for Germany. Fertile ground for growing fascist cannon fodder, but relatively useless to their greater economic goals.

    Did Clancy mention the neo-Nazis in his book?

  155. 155
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @dr. luba: Exactly. You can either follow twitter from inside Ukraine and have some clue what was going on, or buy Russian and Party of Regions propaganda storm which was continually lies, misrepresented photos, and DARVO. A bunch of opposition leaders were Jews and the party in power was screaming “Jooooooo! Jooooooo!” but they planted a story that the opposition has been taken over by Golden Dawn style fascist thugs and people just eat that shit up. Did everybody forget the last two years of news about Yanukovych? I mean, wow.

    TPTB lied constantly about Occupy–I mean, show some skepticism for once.

  156. 156
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @dr. luba: I think it has to do with his alliance with the Russian Orthodox Patriarchy, actually. He has rolled back separation of church and state and they are fapping like mad.

  157. 157
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Bob In Portland: Really? Why are Ukrainians hayseed racists? Sounds like DARVO to me. Western media interviewed Russian nationalists in Crimea who were keeping the flame alive and they sounded like 1930s Bund members in the US. Just a bunch of bitter old racists. Didn’t you read what they said about Tatars who are returning to Crimea? So who is really the racist?

    It’s like calling Irish racists because they teach Irish in Irish schools instead of continuing the English-only schooling programme that the British had instituted. Give me a fucking break. The British called Irish hayseeds and religious fanatics too, but when I see an “Irish” character on 1970s British TV I see only one arrow of directionality in the racism. Smacks of RW white nationalists obsessed with the Committee of La Raza. They constantly call them racist online. But DARVO doesn’t make it so.

  158. 158

    @Gin & Tonic: Gin, I provided a link. Are you too now saying that the Jews are lying to us?

  159. 159
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Bob In Portland: So you have your phasers set to “dishonest” today, and don’t care who knows it, then?

    Are you a ChaBaDnik, Bob? Is there a reason you are lying for them?

  160. 160
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Are you too now saying that the Jews are lying to us?

    Er, which Jews? I can see at least two separate groups in your links: Israelis, and Ukranian Jews. Haaretz has already had to correct information they were given because the Chabadists in Ukraine were claiming power they didn’t actually have.

  161. 161
    dr. luba says:

    @Bob In Portland: And G&T provided the rest of the link. Context is important.

    As for anti-semitism, have a look at all this anti-semitic propaganda……

    Oh, wait, that is from the pro-Yanukovych Berkut facebook page.

    The Party of Regions have long been calling out Tymoshenko and Yatseniuk as Jews, because they have Jewish ancestry. I’m sure that was purely in admiration.

  162. 162

    @Another Holocene Human: Racism, as practiced in the streets, is much like the Klan here. Hayseed, because the western part of Ukraine, where this uprising is centered, has little industry and it mostly farming. Maybe they’ve got a VW factory thereabouts.

    But asking questions presumes an open mind, so why don’t you read about the Svoboda Party and the Homeland Party?

    By the way, their political wants could have been lifted from the Republican Platform. Stop immigration, restrict civil service jobs to ethnic Ukrainians (which would eliminate the half of the population that are ethnic Russians), make abortion illegal. There was a crazy speech I saw somewhere where the guy was spouting about the sacred eggs and sperm of Ukrainians.

    Considering that on Holocaust Remembrance Day the “freedom fighters” had a parade honoring Stepan Bandera, I should tread lightly when I use the word “eliminate”.

    As for the racial purity angle brought up above, let’s say that it’s always been a lousy scientific theory, and allies can be rationalized and justified when necessary and then discarded later. Even Hitler had a few rich Jews who were honorary Nazis. And as far as Tatars being “dark-skinned”, google some pictures. The ones I saw could very well be giving commencement speeches at the local Klavern.

  163. 163
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Bob In Portland: Oh, now “hayseed” is not derogatory, it is a term of art. I don’t have to read any further–unless you are a nymjacking troll you have lost all credibility with me, Bob. Too bad.

  164. 164

    Here’s what I don’t get from the Gin & Tonics and Dr. lubas here: The US backed the Diems in Vietnam. They had been collaborators with the fascist Japanese. So were the South Koreans who we backed. Kissinger backed just about any fascist that crawled out from under a rock in Latin America. Remember Pinochet? Remember El Salvador? Nicaragua? Panama? How about the freedom fighters we backed in Afghanistan against the Russians. How about the al Qaeda freedom fighters in Syria?

    When crowds are marching in the streets of Kiev talking about national martyrs and taking back their country from the Jewish mafia and wearing “wolf’s angel” armbands, modified swastikas, how do you continue to be so blind?

  165. 165
    dr. luba says:

    @Bob In Portland: Homeland Party? You mean Batkivshchyna? Whose two main leaders are Jewish?

    Yes, anti-semites, all of them.

    And

    By the way, their political wants could have been lifted from the Republican Platform. Stop immigration, restrict civil service jobs to ethnic Ukrainians (which would eliminate the half of the population that are ethnic Russians), make abortion illegal. There was a crazy speech I saw somewhere where the guy was spouting about the sacred eggs and sperm of Ukrainians.

    That makes the GOP Nazis?

  166. 166

    @dr. luba: So you want to see Ukraine ban abortions, gays and Jews?

    Can you give us a short history of the Nightingales? Please, Luba, what does that “wolf’s angel” look like to you? What do you think about Mila Kunis? Do you call her a “dirty Jewess”? Or do you consider her a very pretty Jewess?

    Well, we won’t have to wait long. Then you can change your name and come back here bemoaning the tragedy in Ukraine.

  167. 167
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    So you want to see Ukraine ban abortions, gays and Jews?

    That’s exactly what will happen if they continue to be under Russian influence. If you’re not familiar with Neiwert, he’s been writing about this stuff for years, so if he’s worried about Russia edging towards classical fascism, you should believe him.

    Basically, your argument right now is that both sides are fascists, the pro-Russian and the anti-Russian. So which side are we supposed to be supporting, again?

  168. 168

    @dr. luba: McCain was on a platform a few weeks ago gladhanding Oleh Tyahnybok.

    Maybe by the two “Jewish” leaders you meant this:

    During Ukrainian elections candidates like Yulia Tymoshenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk have been “accused” of being Jewish, in what appeared to be smear campaigns.[25][26][27][28] The 2010 presidential elections involved Jews, Israel, and anti-Semitism becoming a “major motif,” as some officials made anti-Semitic statements, and others condemned these statements. Some candidates, which include a Jew and a person whose rivals claim is Jewish, blamed fellow candidate Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for bringing anti-Semitism into the race.[29]
    More recently Jewish organizations in and outside of Ukraine have accused the political party “Svoboda” of open Nazi sympathies and being antisemitic.[30] In May 2013 the World Jewish Congress listed the party as neo-Nazi.[31] “Svoboda” itself has denied being anti-Semitic.[32] In the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary elections “Svoboda” won its first seats in the Ukrainian Parliament,[33] garnering 10.44% of the popular vote and the 4th most seats among national political parties.[34]

    Yeah, another far-right party candidate accused them of being Jews. And one of those “Jews” accused a political opponent of being Jewish. That’s your proof that anti-Semitism in Ukraine is a hallucination?

  169. 169
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    That’s your proof that anti-Semitism in Ukraine is a hallucination?

    No, that’s her proof that your assertions that the current riots are being driven by anti-Semitism are a hallucination.

    There are multiple rationales for the current political situation and multiple groups involved. Svoboda is the fourth-largest party in the current Ukranian parliament, and yet you have promoted them to being the biggest driver behind the riots. After reading all of your links, the most that can be said is that Svoboda is heavily self-promoting and making a lot of claims that don’t seem to be borne out by the facts.

  170. 170
    dr. luba says:

    @Bob In Portland: I did not say that anti-semitism in Ukraine is a hallucination. I do say that it is not limited to one side, as you seem to think.

    You imputing what are the views of a small minority onto all of the opposition.

    Let me know when the pogroms start.

  171. 171

    @Mnemosyne: I agree that Russia is essentially fascist. Communism in the Soviet Union evolved, especially under Stalin, as a totalitarian state, albeit with the industry controlled by the government versus classical fascism where industry controls government.

    But here’s the problem: What fascist do you want to back, and for what reason? And where will you be when the synagogues in Kiev go up in flames?

  172. 172
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    And where will you be when the synagogues in Kiev go up in flames?

    Uh-huh. You might want to back away from the crack pipe for a few minutes.

    ETA: After reading all of your articles, the huge outbreak of anti-Semitism seems to be the possibly related beatings of two (2) people. In the entire country. I don’t think there will be many organized synagogue burnings anytime soon.

  173. 173

    @Mnemosyne:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/j.....aine-jews/

    “Recent events have shown that we must strengthen these institutions’ security measures. We have a moral responsibility to ensure the safety and security of Ukraine’s Jews,” said Sharansky.

    Earlier on Saturday, President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev after months of violent protests, and the Ukrainian parliament announced new presidential elections would be held in May.

    Ukraine is home to an estimated 70,000 Jews.

    Freed opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenka announced after her release from prison that she would run for the presidency.

    Sharanksy said the Jewish Agency was following events in Ukraine and was in contact with the leadership of the Jewish community there.

    “The Jewish Agency’s assistance aims to increase security at Jewish communal institutions in Ukraine,” he said.

    A Jewish Agency spokesperson said it was not yet clear how much monetary aid would be provided to the Ukrainian Jewish community at this point.

    The immediate financial assistance will come from the Jewish Agency’s Emergency Assistance Fund for Jewish Communities, which was established after the 2012 Toulouse shooting.

    Misha Galperin, CEO of Jewish Agency International Development, said in a statement that the organization “was seeking to replenish the fund now in order to extend additional help to the Ukrainian Jewish communities and strengthen their safety and security measures.”

    Ukraine has witnessed a spate of anti-Semitic attacks in recent months. Two Jewish men were attacked outside a synagogue in Kiev last month in separate incidents.

    Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in January that Ukrainian government and opposition tolerance of anti-Semitic statements gave anti-Semites free reign to attack Jews. He called on the government to protect Ukrainian Jews and decisively quash anti-Semitism.

    You may wonder where the million or so Jews who used to live in Ukraine went. Google “Nightingales”.

    Any more ad hominems, petty fuhrer?

  174. 174

    @Mnemosyne:

    You think they’re so dumb, you think they’re so funny,
    wait until they got you running to the night rally.

  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    You may wonder where the million or so Jews who used to live in Ukraine went.

    Given that Ukraine was occupied by the Nazis, I don’t think you wonder. Still waiting for you to prove that a few loudmouthed anti-Semitic politicians are the exact same thing as a Nazi occupying force.

  176. 176

    @dr. luba: I thought Maidan was Farsi, its also a word in many Indian languages, including Hindi. It means an open field, or a playground.

  177. 177
    Josie says:

    Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in January that Ukrainian government and opposition tolerance of anti-Semitic statements gave anti-Semites free reign to attack Jews.

    Note that this says “government and opposition.” It seems that, according to the rabbis, the blame falls equally on both sides, which is probably why we should not choose sides but warn both to avoid anti-Semitic propaganda.

  178. 178
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob In Portland: Given that no one appears to be denying that Ukrainian anti-Semites exist and have existed, how does this have anything to do with either side in the current civil war?

  179. 179

    @Mnemosyne: Okay, that great “heroine” of this revolution who was freed was accusing a political opponent of being a Jew. Someone accused her of being a Jew. Maybe the “wolf’s angel” armbands are a coincidence. Maybe the anti-Semitic namecalling is just harmless pranking. Maybe the Jews in Israel who are sending aid to protect the synagogues in Ukraine are just “conspiracy theorists”.

    Quite honestly, you and I are not going to change what is going to happen in Ukraine. I could predict what was going to happen after Pinochet took power, after the generals in Argentina took power. When we invaded Iraq, many, including me, predicted how the country would fracture along ethnic lines.

    When the Nazis took over, these were the people who volunteered for the Einsatzguppe, the mobile killing units that drove over the Ukraine to kill the Jews. When Yuschenko came to power Stephan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych were named heroes of Ukraine. Shukhevych actually ran the killing units for the Nazis.

    It doesn’t take any mysterious powers to suggest that people who celebrate the man who killed a million Jews as a national hero may have a streak of anti-Semitism in them.

    But maybe you’re right. I don’t want to be associated with neo-Nazis. You don’t seem to mind. Your choice. You’re over here so you don’t even have to live with the consequences.

  180. 180
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob In Portland: Maybe I missed it, but could you point me toward the comment/s where Mnem picked a side in this fight?

  181. 181

    @Omnes Omnibus: Just peel the onion a little bit. Have you followed the links to the Fatherland Party or Svoboda? Or the twenty-odd political parties to the right of them? Have you googled the “angel’s wolf” armbands?

    I don’t know how closely you followed invasion of Iraq but did you hear about the power-drill-to-the-head thing that the Shia were doing to the Sunnis as payback? You hear about the al Qaeda wiping out Christian villages in Syria? How are our buddies who were freedom-fighters against the Soviets in Afghanistan?

    When you overthrow a government you have a moral responsiblity for what happens next. Our ambassador’s tapped call revealed we’ve spent five billion destabilizing Ukraine since 1991. Who do you think got the money? Is there a logical middle ready to step up? Where?

    Now, maybe the neo-Nazis in Ukraine don’t own power drills. Maybe it’s only John McCain who stands on a stage with the man who gives the Nazi salute to his followers and blames Ukraine’s economic problems on the Russian Jewish mafia. Maybe the Jews are silly worryworts for thinking that what happened the last time could ever happen again. Right? You’d notice, right?

    I say that this is an extreme right-wing movement with some very bad signs. They held a parade on Holocaust Remembrance Day to celebrate Stephan Bandera, for god’s sakes.

    I’m telling you I told you so before it happens again. You can gloat when pure capitalism and the German bankers give nice big loans to the Nazi residua. In a year or two it’ll be another Greece!

  182. 182
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Okay, that great “heroine” of this revolution who was freed was accusing a political opponent of being a Jew. Someone accused her of being a Jew.

    Actually, I don’t see that Tymoshenko accused anyone of being a Jew, though she herself was accused of being one. There was definitely anti-Semitism in the 2010 election, which probably helped Yanukovych — you know, the guy who was just thrown out — be elected.

    So, your claim is that we should have stayed with the anti-Semite we know, Yanukovych, rather than let the other anti-Semites throw him out?

  183. 183
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Bob In Portland: Doing other stuff all afternoon, probably for the best. You have evidence you’ll share, I assume, that Shukhevych killed a million Jews?

  184. 184

    @Omnes Omnibus: Telling me I should back away from the crack pipe seemed to be an attack on what I was saying. Then again, I don’t know what Mnem’s drug habits are. But it sounded like this year’s “tin foil hat” reference that all rationalizers seem to resort to when they don’t confront differing opinions.

    There was a book called THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE FREE which goes into how it was being a liberal in Germany as the Nazis took over. If you spoke out against it you were called “an alarmist”. I am proudly an alarmist.

  185. 185
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Maybe you should just follow some of the information about Yanukovych, who won by using anti-Semitic slurs against the great “heroine”:

    The anti-Semitic campaign against Tymoshenko presented more of a threat. I witnessed anti-Semitic leaflets distributed throughout Galicia during the last week of the second round that called upon Galicians to not vote for Tymoshenko as she is allegedly Jewish. Such spurious allegations had been around for the last 2-3 years and surfaced in the 2010 elections with the support of Yushchenko. His allies in Lviv had openly described Tymoshenko as the “Jew in the braid.”

    So we should have pushed to keep anti-Semite Yanukovych in power over the other anti-Semites because why, again?

  186. 186
  187. 187
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    As far as I can tell, in Ukraine it’s anti-Semites all the way down. Everyone accuses everyone else of being secret Jews and it’s still a very effective slur.

    I’m still waiting for Bob in Portland to explain why the recently ousted Yanukovych was a good anti-Semite who shouldn’t have been removed from power and Yanukovych’s opponents are bad anti-Semites who shouldn’t be supported.

  188. 188

    @Mnemosyne: You know, you keep reading and your question will be answered. Or wait. That’s even easier.

  189. 189
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    That’s not a quote, that’s a paraphrase with no reference:

    Some candidates, which include a Jew and a person whose rivals claim is Jewish, blamed fellow candidate Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for bringing anti-Semitism into the race.

  190. 190
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Are you getting confused between the players here?

    Yanukovych was elected in 2010 using anti-Semitic slurs against Tymoshenko.

    Yanukovych is the guy who was just thrown out of office a few days ago.

    Your claim is that “heroine” Tymoshenko is also anti-Semitic, which in Ukraine politics seems to be like saying water is wet. “Jew” is the “nigger-lover” of Ukranian politics, as far as I can tell.

    So, again, your claim is, what, that Yanukovych is a “good” anti-Semite who should have been allowed to stay in office and Tymoshenko is a “bad” one?

  191. 191
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob In Portland: Asking that question makes me some one who gloats about neo-nazis getting loans from Germany? I think you should take a breath before going off on people. Are you really prepared to say that the rebels have a monopoly on anti-semitism in Ukraine?

    BTW I haven’t picked a side. Both seem unpleasant. I have my doubts that a liberal democracy is going sprout in Ukraine in the near future whichever side wins.

  192. 192

    @dr. luba: I never said it was limited to one side. I said one side is a lot worse.

  193. 193

    @Gin & Tonic: Go here:

    http://www.academia.edu/536217.....larus_1942

    Hey, Hitler didn’t kill all those Jews. I bet he personally didn’t kill one, which would actually be better than Shukhevych. And he’s a hero of Ukraine.

  194. 194

    @Omnes Omnibus: Then apologies to you. I’m on the side in favor of less holocausts.

  195. 195
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Wikipedia has a decent article, but basically Shukhevych was a pro-Ukraine terrorist who didn’t care whose side he fought on as long as he could “cleanse” Ukraine. When Ukraine was part of Poland, he murdered Polish officials; when it was occupied by the Nazis, he worked with the Nazis.

    Sort of the Ukranian version of Nathan Bedford Forrest, if that helps you place why it’s bad for the Svoboda party to be marching in his honor.

  196. 196
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mnemosyne: I know very well who he was.

    Events in central and eastern Europe and Russia in the first half of the 20th century were very complicated. Events in the area of the former Austro-Hungarian empire were even worse. I know many people who had to make bad and complex choices; from the comfort of late 20th and early 21st century America I try not to pass judgment on many of those choices. If you are 18, or 21, and your family has been killed and your town burned down, you don’t have the widest moral compass to choose from. Some people behaved admirably, some abominably, most were somewhere in between. Sitting in the US 70 years later and saying “here’s what you should have done” is odious, in my view.

  197. 197
    EthylEster says:

    re: anna karenina

    this was quite good…long but good.

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