Ukraine Update

I guess watching the Russians do what they want in Ukraine is how the rest of the world felt when we invaded Iraq. Not much we can do. In our defense, at least we had fancy terms like coalition of the willing and had the backing of Tonga, Moldava and other powerhouses. As to what happens next, this is pretty much accurate:

I checked the cable news networks, and none of them have a fancy CRISIS IN UKRAINE logo and special dramatic music, so I am assuming no shots have been fired yet.

220 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    WE MUST DO SOMETHING!!!!
    MUST!
    WE MUST DO IT!
    SOMETHING!
    NOW!

  2. 2
    Lolis says:

    What color should we change the site to? I vote for purple.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    Dana Milbank = stopped clock

    Bush was also able to procure UN approval for Iraq thanks to Secretary Powell, IIRC.

  4. 4
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Lolis:
    Royal blue and yellow, of course, like on the Ukrainian flag.

  5. 5
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Baud: Eh?

    Any UN approval was after the fact – basically giving us responsibility to run the place after we were there.

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  6. 6
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    I checked the cable news networks, and none of them have a fancy CRISIS IN UKRAINE logo and special dramatic music, so I am assuming no shots have been fired yet.

    They can’t run anything until the intern finds the Crimean Peninsula on Google Maps.

    Don’t see The Shocked and Horrified World doing much to keep Putin from planting a flag on something he already effectively controlled.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    Ah. Faulty memory then. Thanks.

  8. 8
    beltane says:

    The United States will react to the Russian intervention against Ukraine the same way it reacted to the Russian intervention in Hungary in 1956, with a lot of tut-tutting and nothing else. It would seem that the old notion of “spheres of influence” is still alive and well.

  9. 9
    Greg says:

    Over at NRO comments they are already shrieking that Obama’s decision on the Ukraine proves that he is the worstest President ever. Since, as far as I can tell he hasn’t made any permanent decision, I think this pretty much proves that they have already made up their minds in advance that whatever he does will be wrong. Oh, and it’s just like Benghazi except 60-eleven times worser. Seriously, I only read the comments over there to laugh. They are complete children.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @beltane:

    Ike was clearly a weak president compared to FDR.

  11. 11
    Ecks says:

    10> PRINT “OBAMA SHOWED WEAKNESS WHEN HE “;
    20> ACTION = [Whatever Obama did];
    30> IF ACTION == NULL THEN PRINT “DID NOTHING!”;
    40> ELSE PRINT ACTION;
    50> PRINT “!!”;
    60> GOTO 10;

  12. 12
    Violet says:

    Maybe we should put yellow and blue ribbons on our cars and go shopping to show our support.

  13. 13
    gbear says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor:

    Don’t see The Shocked and Horrified World doing much to keep Putin from planting a flag on something he already effectively controlled.

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

  14. 14
    Nemo_N says:

    “Putin’s Harshest Critics Accuse Him of Being Hot and Dreamy”

    Also, apparently Ukraine must be defended as to avoid high gas prices. You know what else would help with high gas prices? Better wages and more jobs.

  15. 15
    beltane says:

    @cleek: I don’t know about you, but I’m going to protest Russia’s actions by hopping around in my living room on one foot. This will be every bit as effective as all the jaw movements of the Village gasbags combined.

  16. 16
    JGabriel says:

    beltane:

    It would seem that the old notion of “spheres of influence” is still alive and well.

    Why wouldn’t it be? I’m pretty sure the US still stands behind the Monroe Doctrine.

  17. 17
    beltane says:

    @Baud: Not to mention Truman who approved nuclear strikes against Japan. WHY ISN’T OBAMA BOMBING JAPAN??

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @beltane:

    Probably more so, as the vibrations might give Vlad pause.

  19. 19
    Keith G says:

    Well the good news is that if there were any left who did not understand the need for building strong alliances and agreements for cooperation to hem in Russia’s appetite for dominance, the veil has been lifted.

    For Putin, this seems like a short term game with the real possibility for medium and long term blow back that might be costly for the Russian state.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Greg:

    I think this pretty much proves that they have already made up their minds in advance that whatever he does will be wrong.

    This is, of course, correct.

    There is nothing Obama can do that they will approve of. Because, you see, he’s near.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Keith G:

    CONTAINMENT!

    Are you actually George Kennan or something?

  22. 22
    beltane says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Who do you think I am, Chris Christie?

  23. 23
    IowaOldLady says:

    I’m waiting to hear what Gramps McCain says tomorrow so I know what to think.

    Oh wait…I already know and I don’t think we should bomb the hell out of anyone.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @beltane:

    No, of course not. Even the vibrations of Twiggy hopping around on one foot would be more noticeable to Vlad than the bleatings of the vermin of the Village.

  25. 25
    elm says:

    The proper answer is always WAR! BLOOD FOR THE BLOD GOD! TIRE RIMS AND ANTHRAX FOR EVERYONE!

  26. 26
  27. 27
    dmsilev says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor:

    They can’t run anything until the intern finds the Crimean Peninsula on Google Maps.

    Never mind Google maps, the intern will be instructed to Google ‘Crimea’ and ‘war’, and we’ll be treated to umpteen references to the Charge of the Light Brigade. I’m sure the wingnuts will blame Obama for gutting the US Army’s horse cavalry capabilities (indeed, he boasted of our weakness in that crucial segment in the last Presidential debate. Impeach!)

  28. 28
    Laertes says:

    Are wingers seriously going to complain that Russia invading Ukraine is totally different from the US invading Iraq because…because the UN?

  29. 29
    beltane says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: If the Villagers want to do something useful they should form a drum circle and send positive energy over to Ukraine and Russia.

  30. 30
    Hungry Joe says:

    If Obama sends troops, he’s a warmonger. If Obama does not send troops, he’s a coward. Whatever Putin does, he does it because Obama is weak.

    Shoot, this is EASY. The trick is never to say “Obama should do X,” because then, if he does X, you’re screwed.

  31. 31
    Jeff( the other one) says:

    @Greg: Over at the GOS the quality of the commentary is not much better, with some commenters already seeing Putin leading a column of tanks on the outskirts of Paris.

  32. 32
    Elmo says:

    had the backing of Tonga, Moldava and other powerhouses.

    You forgot Poland.

  33. 33
    gnomedad says:

    In the little box to the right:

    “Conservatives Question Obama’s Ukraine Stance”

    So “stance” (wide or otherwise) is back in the news. Also two links about “Son of God”, which I guess is some kind of movie. I wonder what it’s about.

  34. 34
    efgoldman says:

    @beltane:

    It would seem that the old notion of “spheres of influence” is still alive and well.

    Excellent series of maps from TPM, showing that “sphere of influence” might be understating things.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/c.....he-ukraine

  35. 35
    Cermet says:

    @Keith G:

    Well the good news is that if there were any left who did not understand the need for building strong alliances and agreements for cooperation to hem in Russia’s appetite for dominance, the veil has been lifted.

    WTF?! You are posting on the right site and haven’t mixed up your med’s, have you? Lifted the veil? Wow, that is really old theocon school (lol.)

  36. 36
    Cermet says:

    @Keith G:

    Well the good news is that if there were any left who did not understand the need for building strong alliances and agreements for cooperation to hem in Russia’s appetite for dominance, the veil has been lifted.

    WTF?! You are posting on the right site and haven’t mixed up your med’s, have you? Lifted the veil? Wow, that is really old theocon school (lol.)

  37. 37

    Neville chamberlain or Napoleon?

  38. 38
    Anoniminous says:

    @gnomedad:

    If I had to guess: Thor, Horus, or Apollo.

  39. 39
    Thlayli says:

    I saw a Facebook commenter call another commenter “Neville Chamberlain”.

    Presumably the first commenter is annoyed that the 82nd Airborne isn’t boarding the assault craft at Rammstein as we speak.

  40. 40
    gf120581 says:

    @Jeff( the other one): Probably in person, atop the first tank, with his shirt off, right?

    Putin’s conservative fans are probably so torn right now. He’s acting like a commie, but oh those muscles and gay-bashing!

  41. 41
    Cervantes says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: Yes, although people might be thinking of Colin Powell’s speech at the UN on February 5, 2003, which is not included in that table.

  42. 42
    Heliopause says:

    I guess watching the Russians do what they want in Ukraine is how the rest of the world felt when we invaded Iraq

    Not a very good analogy. Iraq is half a world away from the U.S., Kiev is less than 500 miles from Moscow. A better comparison would be the observation that Russia feels roughly the same about the violent overthrow of a pro-Russian government in Ukraine as the U.S. felt about Castro’s revolution in Cuba.

  43. 43
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Cervantes: True, Powell gave a speech and presentation, but the UN didn’t approve the resolution to invade. IOW, Bush had Powell give it his best shot, and he came up empty. That’s why it’s not in the list at Wikipedia.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  44. 44
    Chris says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    No you’re not. Just deny everything and say that Obama did it the wrong way or that since he’s a weak effeminate man-child (their latest euphemism for “boy”), the effect isn’t the same. The Village will back you up.

  45. 45
    elm says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: In fairness, Powell’s speech was a bunch of lies.

  46. 46
    Baud says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    But that was probably the source of my bad recollection.

  47. 47
    lamh36 says:

    Posted this to the previous thread, but it definitely fits better here.

    @NerdyWonka 7m
    Need an explanation for why @TIME is beginning to fade into obscurity?

    Here is your answer from @CrowleyTIME.

    https://twitter.com/CrowleyTIME/status/439827224167211008

    @CrowleyTIME 1h
    not a character judgment, but this does kind of capture the moment pic.twitter.com/aTTUVRLYqu

    Crowley posted a the pics of Obama riding a bike w/helmet and that shirtless Putin on a horse pic.

    When people called him on being an idiot, Crowley tweeted this explanation:

    @CrowleyTIME 1h
    The point of that pic being that Obama’s foreign policy is cautious, risk-averse. Putin’s more about “strength,” swagger, pride/ego.

  48. 48
    Roger Moore says:

    @Nemo_N:

    You know what else would help with high gas prices? Better wages and more jobs.

    And conservation and alternative energy.

  49. 49
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Jeff( the other one): You say that like that’s a bad thing. He’d be freeing them after all from the yoke of German-imposed austerity, iron grip of international banksters, and that neo-Nazi, Merkel.

  50. 50
    beltane says:

    @Heliopause: And the United States has not exactly taken a laid-back approach towards any Latin American government it perceived as being even slightly warmly disposed towards Moscow.

  51. 51
    Chris says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Why can’t we have a Daughter Of God movie? Athena was such a badass goddess.

  52. 52
    Ben Franklin says:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/C.....280214.htm

    “dancin’ your troubles away at carnival in Rio – or New Orleans, or Venice, or Trinidad and Tobago – your brain will have registered that NATO’s ultimate wet dream is to command a Western puppet Ukrainian government to kick the Russian navy out of its base in Sevastopol. The negotiated lease applies until 2042. Threats and rumors of reneging it have already emerged.”

    Neonazis notwithstanding, there are a lot of regular folks who made up the bulk of the protestors. Svoboda seems like the Tea Party, and I agree Marcy, their squeaky wheel is the loudest.

    I believe a crucial Syrian port also figures into the geography.

  53. 53
    Keith G says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: It worked then. Of course times have changed and that specific set of behaviors are no longer possible or desirable. With creativity will come options.

    @Cermet: Certainly not. In the international community there were those who seemed to think that Putin was just another leader who could be reasoned with and treated, and believed, just like the rest – with the right inducements, he would move toward “enlightenment.” The IOC felt so.

  54. 54
    Roger Moore says:

    @Laertes:

    Are wingers seriously going to complain that Russia invading Ukraine is totally different from the US invading Iraq because…because the UN?

    Of course not. They’re going to argue that it’s totally different BECAUSE SHUT UP, THAT’S WHY!

  55. 55
    Cervantes says:

    @John Cole:

    I guess watching the Russians do what they want in Ukraine is how the rest of the world felt when we invaded Iraq.

    Just as it wasn’t only people in “the rest of the world” who felt that way when “we” invaded Iraq, can we not confuse Putin and his thugs for “the Russians”?

  56. 56
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Elmo: win.

  57. 57
  58. 58
    DaveinMaine says:

    Isn’t much we can do. Russia has a disproportionate amount of influence in the region relative to us or the EU. And if there is a “red line” for Russia when it comes to the West and their influence, it’s Ukraine. It has their only warm-water naval base and if it is pro-west it forms a dagger (in their eyes) right into the heart of Russia.

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    Milbank is on a troll:

    Leading from behind? Or using military action to distract from Obamacare? Place bets now.

  60. 60
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Thlayli: Then he’s going to keep being annoyed because the 82nd ABN isn’t in Germany. They’re in North Carolina, where they’ve been for about 70-odd years.

  61. 61
    Baud says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    So does that mean we can invade North Carolina?

  62. 62
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Baud: Couldn’t hurt.

  63. 63
    Ben Franklin says:

    @DaveinMaine:

    A legion of issues abounds. Even if the european imported nazis do not press their rights against the majority, the disparate interests will make the Ukraine another Lebanon.

  64. 64
    Cervantes says:

    @Baud:

    But that was probably the source of my bad recollection.

    Yes, I figured.

    (A nickel for each thing I’ve forgotten would net me untold wealth.)

  65. 65
    Anoniminous says:

    @Chris:

    Because half of the time it ends up with an orgy.

    (The sluts.)

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    More Noisemax stupidity:

    ‘Son of God’ Earns $1.2 Million in Late-Night Debut

    This reflects the Thursday night premier, based on group tickets sales.

    Meanwhile, outside the dumbshittisphere:

    Actual box office estimates from IMDB:

    Box Office
    1. The Lego Movie $31.3M
    2. 3 Days to Kill $12.2M
    3. Pompeii $10.3M
    4. RoboCop $9.81M
    5. The Monuments Men $7.91M

    Don’t see “Son of God” anywheres in there. Apparently the mass ticket purchases weren’t enough to get it into the top five for Friday.

    Or the Jew/Liberal controlled Hollywood press is suppressing the news.

  67. 67
    Roger Moore says:

    @Baud:

    So does that mean we can invade North Carolina?

    You’re about 150 years late.

  68. 68
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @DaveinMaine:

    Russian history magical answer to any question:

    “Warm water ports”!

  69. 69
    Cassidy says:

    STOP LOOKING AT MY DICK!

    Sorry, wrong thread. Carry on.

  70. 70
    Citizen_X says:

    @lamh36:

    Obama’s foreign policy is cautious, risk-averse

    What a tool. Again, Crowley looks young and healthy enough. Either head on down to the recruiting center, bucko, or STFU.

  71. 71
    Russ says:

    “Ukraine will be Obama’s Beirut”

    you know someone will.

  72. 72
    Baud says:

    @Cervantes:

    In my defense, the whole thing was so horrible that I haven’t done my due diligence to go back and read about the history of what happened. Maybe I should watch the special Maddow has on Iraq this week?

  73. 73
    jl says:

    @Ecks: I guess they use antique code too. I’d never have a ‘go to’ statement in there.

  74. 74
    Anoniminous says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    As much as I dislike to puff crappy movies (and everybody I know in WhollyWeirdLand is saying it’s a crappy movie) it’s in the Top 3 with $9.4 million.

    ETA: Re: crappy movie.

  75. 75
    Baud says:

    @Citizen_X:

    The people in the Capital watch the Hunger Games — they don’t play in them.

  76. 76
    Joel says:

    When did Dana Milbank transition from insufferable douchebag to above average pundit?

  77. 77
    TR says:

    Obama should announce he’s circumventing the UN and sending in ground troops.

    The ODS crowd will denounce both moves and demand he does the opposite, so he can then do just that.

  78. 78
    Rob Wolfe says:

    One of my right wing friends is currently complaining on FB that the left wing media is not spending sufficient time talking about Ukraine and instead is all about the Academy Awards.

    As an added bonus in the lack of self awareness area, he is a radio DJ. I asked him if he is just going to play a live feed from Ukraine for his next shift instead of music. He didn’t seem to get the point.

  79. 79
    Baud says:

    @Joel:

    He’s still an insufferable douchebag. He’s just more above-it-all than ideological.

  80. 80
    Anoniminous says:

    Holy sheeeeeeeee-it. It gets more weird:

    One of the most iconic images of today, of the placing of a Russian flag on top of the city hall in Kharkiv, may have been staged not by ethnically-Russian or pro-Russian Ukrainians, but by Russian Federals (a Russian from Russia) themselves. Furthermore, the claim is that a Russian-Federal neo-Nazi (there are many) is the one who put the flag up

    The source goes on to say, “We’ll see if we can confirm this report.”

  81. 81
    jl says:

    @Keith G:

    ” Well the good news is that if there were any left who did not understand the need for building strong alliances and agreements for cooperation to hem in Russia’s appetite for dominance, the veil has been lifted. ”

    It may not be a good idea to build strong military alliances with a country that so split that it has to have various social revolutions every three or four years, and cannot hold an election where the winner is accepted by half the country.

  82. 82
    thrasycon says:

    There are no neonates in Kiev.

    http://tinyurl.com/mpzbyo7

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jl: So you are suggesting that alliances with the US are a bad bet?

  84. 84
    Cervantes says:

    @Baud:

    Maybe I should watch the special Maddow has on Iraq this week?

    Not a big fan of Maddow’s approach. Instead, because you’re asking, I’ll recommend this instead. (The folks at Frontline have done many fine programs on Iraq, the so-called “War on Terror,” etc., starting in 1996. Not all are viewable on line at this time.)

  85. 85
    Baud says:

    @Cervantes:

    Thank you.

  86. 86
    gene108 says:

    Remember when we had a real President?

    The Russians never invaded and occupied another country when Ronald Reagan was in the White House. They wouldn’t have dared. They knew Reagan would stick by his allies.

    I believe the above theme will hit many an op-ed page in the near future.

  87. 87
    Keith G says:

    @Joel: He is the same writer. When he is complimentary of the Prez he is an okay dude, but when he sees a reason to be critical of an Obama action he becomes a crap-filled villager.*

    To be fair, for some all it take is one Obama criticism, and a writer will be a crap-filled villager for life,

    *The same applies to Klein, Drum, Dionne, Fallows, Page, et. al.

  88. 88
    Jay C says:

    @lamh36:

    The point of that pic being that Obama’s foreign policy is cautious, risk-averse. Putin’s more about “strength,” swagger, pride/ego.

    So invading neighboring countries to prop up your puppets/punish non-puppets is just fine and dandy? As long as it displays “strength” and “swagger”??

    Come to think of it, that WAS pretty much the Village Media’s response to Iraq, why would they change their tune just because it’s Russia this time…..?

  89. 89
    sacrablue says:

    @Anoniminous: That is because the megachurches bought all of the opening day tickets and convinced the local multiplex owners to run it on all screens for opening night. They made it a major outing for the churches.

  90. 90
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Jay C: Hitler had swagger.

  91. 91
    jl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    ” So you are suggesting that alliances with the US are a bad bet? ”

    Let the chips fall where they may.

    But the US is ‘maintaining’ better than other countries so far.

  92. 92
    Keith G says:

    @Cervantes: I donno.

    Maddow’s show can fall into some “we are too comfortable with this” pitfalls, but in the past, her long form reporting has been insightful and interesting to watch.

    Ya might want to give it a watch before judging. Her last long form was repeated on the network several times so It will be easy to catch.

  93. 93
    jl says:

    ” I checked the cable news networks, and none of them have a fancy CRISIS IN UKRAINE logo and special dramatic music, so I am assuming no shots have been fired yet. ”

    I think this sad lack is because there are no obvious vital, or even particularly important, US interests at stake, and the U.S. administration hasn’t told the US corporate media what to think yet.

  94. 94
    Morbo says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I guess when the boots are put on the ground one has to pivot from “there is no such thing as Russian imperialism” to “Russian imperialism is a good thing though.”

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: I always thought the reason people started viewing Milbank as a douchebag was because of his Hillary Clinton mad bitch beer comments. But feel free to filter things as you choose.

  96. 96
    jl says:

    I think Josh Marshall has a good commentary at TPM

    Thoughts on the Ukraine Situation
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/e.....-situation

  97. 97
    jo6pac says:

    Yep, Amerika set the trap only to find Amerika in it.

    A great piece by Pepe Escobar.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/C.....80214.html

  98. 98
    Keith G says:

    @jl: You added two points to my comment that I was purposefully flexible/vague on.

    1) Military
    2) Unstable states.

    I was thinking more about economic and trade agreements among the EU and other sympathetic stable states.

    Obviously, we are not going to war over this or like behavior. Obama said that misbehavior on the part of Russia will have costs. I assume that means finding ways to hurt their bottom line and/or isolate them diplomatically.**

    I do hope Obama does have something in mind this time should it be necessary.

    China is watching.

    **Interesting to think how this impacts Iran and Syria. Putin is probably planning on getting a pass on roughing up the Ukraine since he is needed by Obama elsewhere.

  99. 99
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t view deadline writers as either sinners or saints based on individual columns or posts.

    Back in the day, I loved me some Jack Anderson, but even he could misfire. I try to look at the accumulating body of work…Is it coming from a good place….are they giving me a value-added product?

  100. 100

    **Interesting to think how this impacts Iran and Syria. Putin is probably planning on getting a pass on roughing up the Ukraine since he is needed by Obama elsewhere.

    It makes it more difficult for President Obama will be able politically to participate in talks that include Russia, and it makes war far more likely should a GOP candidate come to power in 2016.

  101. 101
    sm*t cl*de says:

    @CrowleyTIME 1h
    The point of that pic being that Obama’s foreign policy is cautious, risk-averse. Putin’s more about “strength,” swagger, pride/ego.

    It’s not as if Putin’s policies are any riskier than, I dunno, invading Grenada.

  102. 102
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @efgoldman:

    Those are absolutely fascinating. Bookmarked and saved. Thanks for the great link!

  103. 103

    @Ecks: Let’s see one in 370XA assembler! It’ll run faster!

  104. 104
    jl says:

    @Keith G: Fair enough.

    But in this case, Ukraine seems to be in such delicate shape as a unified society that discussion of trade agreements and economic associations are enough to tear it apart (at least in the sense of one party or another forcing new elections or turning out onto the the streets).

    So, if you are talking about economic alliances and trade unions, I’m not sure that would work in this case.

    And to be honest, I am not sure places like Ukraine have a good chance for happy peaceful progress at this time. The immediate choice seems to be between to unattractive alternatives. On the one hand, a nice fat loan and economic support from Russia in return of putting up with a thuggish authoritarian quais-democracy. On the other hand, association with EU, which promises at first, a more open society and democracy, but at the cost of economic austerity policies that have not shown really any usefulness at all. And what will happen to open democratic society in the face of austerity that benefits no one but the western, and admittedly more sophisticated and subtle, version of Russian oligarchs? What is happening in Hungary is a cautionary tale.

    But, I am an economist, and believe that economics trumps foreign policy and geopolttiical hocus pocus. Societies have to reform themselves and be able to produce a social and economic system that benefits its citizens. Western European systems have a better chance of doing that Putin’s idea of how Russia should work. So, in the long run, Western Europe will win out, both economically and geopolitically until Russia can reform itself. All the talk about Russian imperialism and whether Putin looks tough and who gains the most credibility bitcoin is ephemeral and imaginary BS nonsense compared to that.

  105. 105
    jl says:

    @sm*t cl*de:

    ” It’s not as if Putin’s policies are any riskier than, I dunno, invading Grenada.”

    Or the Bay of Pigs, for that matter, which IIRC was planned and executed by presidents who would be considered wimpy girly men commies by today’s GOP.

  106. 106
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Baud:

    Milbank is on a troll:

    What you did, it has been seen.

  107. 107
    Keith G says:

    @jl:

    On the one hand, a nice fat loan and economic support from Russia in return of putting up with a thuggish authoritarian quais-democracy. On the other hand, association with EU, which promises at first, a more open society and democracy, but at the cost of economic austerity policies that have not shown really any usefulness at all. And what will happen to open democratic society in the face of austerity that benefits no one but the western, and admittedly more sophisticated and subtle, version of Russian oligarchs?

    So you are saying that Ukraine might have a choice over which direction to import a ruling kleptocracy from…East or West.

  108. 108
    Gravenstone says:

    Is Milbank actually that self aware to recognize that his (and much of the MSM’s) schtick has been solely to criticize whatever the president does?

  109. 109

    It’s over, folks. Move along. The Eastern Ukraine/Crimea will get a new name, Greater Russia or something, and Western Ukraine will forever be freed from Moscow’s evil grasp. The EU won’t allow full membership because the last wave of Ukrainian migration wasn’t well-received in Germany or Britain.

    Did anyone see “Mind Games”? I found the characters yelled too much.

  110. 110
    Baud says:

    Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 27s

    In 90 Minute Call, Obama Urged Putin To Withdraw From Ukraine

    Apparently, Obama called collect.

    There will be costs.

  111. 111
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I propose a new unit of measurement, the KPH or Kilo Pearl Harbor, to be used to describe president Obama’s foreign policy failures. One KPH is equal to 1000 Pearl Harbors.

  112. 112
    Gravenstone says:

    @Elmo: Everyone always forgets Poland.

  113. 113
    Anoniminous says:

    @sacrablue:

    At 3,000+ screen opening The Adventures of Barfy the Wonder Clam would rake in $9.4 million. I was puzzled why it got 3,000+ screens. I didn’t know the megachurches organized outings so thanks for clearing up that mystery.

  114. 114
    Baud says:

    If anyone is interested the White House statement on Obama’s call with Putin, it’s here.

  115. 115
    COB says:

    Yup, that’s about right. We abandoned any moral authority to judge other nations under the Bush regime – opportunistic war, torture, imprisonment without trial – it was all good.

  116. 116
    jl says:

    @Keith G:

    ” So you are saying that Ukraine might have a choice over which direction to import a ruling kleptocracy from…East or West. ”

    Not really, at least not in a world where voters always take the long view, and resist dangerous nationalistic and reactionary temptations at election times. Ukraine should go with the EU.

    But, sadly, gosh darn it, voters don’t always take the long view, and can vote in dangerous people who take liberties with power. So, I am being a realist here. I worry about what might happen in Ukraine under EU’s and IMF’s misguided austerity demands, that would be similar to what happened in Hungary, and what Poland flirted with for awhile (though I have not read up on Poland for awhile).

    And anyway, Ukraine does not seem unified enough to even make the choice. One half the country won’t accept whatever choice is made, so IMHO the very question of what choice Ukraine should make is kind of academic. It can’t make any choice that half the country accepts.

  117. 117
    Cervantes says:

    @Keith G:

    Well the good news is that if there were any left who did not understand the need for building strong alliances and agreements for cooperation to hem in Russia’s appetite for dominance, the veil has been lifted.

    Historically, did “strong alliances and agreements for cooperation” hem in the USA’s “appetite for dominance”? How do we tell these two cases apart?

    For Putin, this seems like a short term game with the real possibility for medium and long term blow back that might be costly for the Russian state.

    Yes, I do wonder if Putin has read Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, by the late CIA consultant and academic, Chalmers Johnson.

    (Incidentally, the first time I recall seeing the use of the term “blowback” in this context was in a 1953 CIA analysis asking this question: Now that we’ve destroyed the democratically elected government of Iran, is there a way to predict what terrible things are going to happen to us as a result?)

  118. 118
    Cervantes says:

    @Keith G:

    Maddow’s show can fall into some “we are too comfortable with this” pitfalls, but in the past, her long form reporting has been insightful and interesting to watch. Ya might want to give it a watch before judging.

    Yes, if possible, I will — but as a mortal, I can only do what time and priorities allow.

  119. 119
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I wonder if anyone else has noticed that we have now have conclusive proof of time travel. Keith G has obviously arrived fresh from some time during the Cold War.

  120. 120
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Baud: Thanks muchly.

    There’s lots of good, sensible statements there. Here’s hoping that Putin takes the advice.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  121. 121
    Cliff in NH says:

    @efgoldman:

    where are the pipeline maps?

  122. 122
    sacrablue says:

    @Anoniminous: I’m only aware of the megachurch story because one of the local tv news programs ran a report on it. I happened to see a promo for the story and I wasn’t interested in the details. It was just enough info to make me change the channel.

  123. 123
    AdamK says:

    Build the dang fence, I say.

  124. 124
    Cervantes says:

    @COB:

    We abandoned any moral authority to judge other nations under the Bush regime – opportunistic war, torture, imprisonment without trial – it was all good.

    Exactly how much “moral authority” do you think we had before the Bush regime?

    Did we award it all to ourselves?

  125. 125
    jl says:

    @Cervantes:

    A commenter above said that the Soviet Union did not make any imperialistic advances during the reign and Zombie Godhead St. Reagan. I looked up some timelines, and that seems to be true. But the Soviet Union did invade Afghanistan at the end of 1979, and Reagan did little about that other than providing aid to the resistance.

    I read some articles with interviews with Russian speakers in Crimea. They said that they were glad that Russian forces had secured the area, since they were afraid of violence and take overs by murky obscure operators. But they said they did not want to live like Russians. So Russia might have serious trouble even in the ethnically and linguistically Russian half of Ukraine, let alone the western half.

    Russia should have a very vivid memory of blowback from its own recent occupations and invasions. Which I’ve read played a significant role in the demise of communism and the disintegration of the USSR, BTW. Which was worse blowback than the US experienced.

  126. 126
  127. 127
    Anoniminous says:

    From The Interpreter:

    The UNSC meeting is now closed – A quick analysis — Russia has finally spelled out exactly what its given justification for invading Crimea is. According to their logic:

    The EU, the UK, and the US incited the protests and fueled the revolt.

    Yanukovych signed a deal with the opposition politicians that would keep him in power until, at least, early elections in December.

    The “armed militants” broke this agreement by taking over government buildings, therefore:

    (a) Yanukovych is the legitimate leader of Ukraine and the people in charge are radicals

    (b) “Kiev,” the catchphrase for these radicals ho are now running the country, is sending provocateurs to takeover government buildings in Crimea (interjection — there is literally no evidence that this is true).

    Therefore:

    (a) The government of Crimea has asked Russia to send troops to restore order, and Russia has done so unilaterally because the West helped conspire to remove a democratically-elected government and put these radicals in charge.

    (b) The bottom line: the international community needs to help remove the radicals and enforce the February 21st agreement (which, by the way, would require reinstating Yanukovych back as President).

    If this is not done, Russian troops will defend Crimea, and possibly attack Kiev to make it happen.

  128. 128
    NotMax says:

    I don’t watch the Sunday preenfests, but bet that one could get more than a good buzz going if playing a drinking game involving the words “Chamberlain” or “appeasement.”

  129. 129
    Ecks says:

    @jl: Antique? heck, this is an innovation for them. They haven’t updated their programming in 70 years.

  130. 130
    Anoniminous says:

    @sacrablue:

    I was mildly interested in why it did so well … so you saved me the bother of finding out.

  131. 131
    NotMax says:

    @aninimous – @sacrablue

    Does that include revival shows after three days?

  132. 132

    @Cervantes: Christopher Simpson’s BLOWBACK is more to the point on the instant case. You can pick up a used copy for five bucks. Worth it.

  133. 133
    Cassidy says:

    The UNSC

    Whoa! We’re getting Master Chief out of this? Putin, you sly gamer dog.

  134. 134
    celticdragonchick says:

    @elm:

    The proper answer is always WAR! BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!

    Skulls for the Skull Throne! All hail Lord Khorne.

    I swear that life today is becoming a Warhammer 40K parody…

  135. 135
    srv says:

    Well at least Bush had a liberation plan, even if it ended at Phase III. Or maybe it’s just a trap, we cant turn western Ukraine into Syria and export some jihadis to help out the Tartars.

    I’m sure the neocons would approve.

  136. 136
    Baud says:

    I’m watching Red Dawn to show my solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

  137. 137
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Baud:

    I would rather you didn’t…

  138. 138
    Cervantes says:

    @jl:

    A commenter above said that the Soviet Union did not make any imperialistic advances during the reign and Zombie Godhead St. Reagan. I looked up some timelines, and that seems to be true.

    Yes, that’s true if we take the Soviet Union on its own terms. But why should we? If we look at it as a de facto Russian empire, there was a certain amount of “imperialistic” advancing and retreating going on “internally” even then.

    But the Soviet Union did invade Afghanistan at the end of 1979, and Reagan did little about that other than providing aid to the resistance.

    And we’re still living — and dying — with the consequences of his “aid to the resistance.”

    I read some articles with interviews with Russian speakers in Crimea. They said that they were glad that Russian forces had secured the area, since they were afraid of violence and take overs by murky obscure operators. But they said they did not want to live like Russians. So Russia might have serious trouble even in the ethnically and linguistically Russian half of Ukraine, let alone the western half.

    Yes, it’s a long story and this chapter has only just begun.

    Russia should have a very vivid memory of blowback from its own recent occupations and invasions. Which I’ve read played a significant role in the demise of communism and the disintegration of the USSR, BTW.

    We can hope that’s how Putin looks at it.

    Which was worse blowback than the US experienced.

    So far, you mean? Or do you mean this particular story is over and done?

  139. 139

    @Anoniminous: I saw a report elsewhere that pro-Russians kicked out the Svobodans who had taken over the government buildings in Kharkov and that a group of a thousand Svobodans was gathering to retake those buildings. That’s the kind of thing that won”t end well.

  140. 140
    NotMax says:

    @celticdragonchick

    Not too late for FOX to drag Rumsfeld onstage to intone that we need to “go with the Nazis we have, not the Nazis we wished we had.”

  141. 141
    Baud says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    Would you not greet us as liberators?

  142. 142
  143. 143
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Baud:

    Depends on what you are wearing and which night club it was suitable for…then again, the local selection here in Greensboro has declined as of late. :)

    A couple of the clubs on Elm Street really do need to be liberated. Too much gunfire on Saturday night and the music sucks.

  144. 144
    Cervantes says:

    @Baud: I look forward to Ken Adelman’s columns: “Cakewalk in North Carolina” and “‘Cakewalk’ Revisited.”

  145. 145
    jl says:

    @Cervantes:

    ‘ “Which was worse blowback than the US experienced”.

    So far, you mean? Or do you mean this particular story is over and done? ”

    I don’t know.

  146. 146
    kindness says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    Neville chamberlain or Napoleon?

    Hitler. Always Hitler.

  147. 147
    Chris says:

    @jl:

    A commenter above said that the Soviet Union did not make any imperialistic advances during the reign and Zombie Godhead St. Reagan. I looked up some timelines, and that seems to be true.

    IIRC, by the time Reagan took office, Brezhnev was about as healthy as Saint Ronnie would soon be. His successors weren’t much better, Andropov and Cheryenko both died soon after taking office. Other important leaders died during that era too, like ideologue-in-chief Suslov and defense minister Ustinov. In other words, during the first half of Reagan’s time in office, the Soviet government was paralyzed by a procession of leaders who were either senile or dead (usually one and then the other), so I imagine imperialist ventures would’ve been a lot harder to plan than in previous years. Though of course, the amount of resistance they faced from Afghanistan probably gave them pause too.

    After that, of course, there was Gorbachev.

  148. 148
    David in NY says:

    @COB:

    Yup, that’s about right. We abandoned any moral authority to judge other nations under the Bush regime – opportunistic war, torture, imprisonment without trial – it was all good.

    And stuff like Granada, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and the first Gulf War set the stage. Maybe we could some Mujahideen to go to Ukraine and kick the Russians out, like in Afghanistan. What could go wrong?

    ETA: Wish to make clear my complete agreement that prior administrations completely fucked up any notion that we had “moral authority.” Is the EU, which does have some, agonizing about this?

  149. 149
    celticdragonchick says:

    @kindness: We are all Sudetenlanders now.

  150. 150
    KG says:

    @Baud: I’m pretty sure the troops positioned in NC are there in case we need to invade South Carolina (again) because they get stupid (again) and decide to secede (again).

  151. 151
    Librarian says:

    @NotMax: Also, expect mention of Yalta- especially since that city is right there in the Crimea.

  152. 152
    jl says:

    @David in NY:

    ” Is the EU, which does have some, agonizing about this? ”

    No, I think they are calculating about what to do next. I think the U.S., the EU, and Russia all ‘meddle’ (if you use a finicky definition of ‘meddle’) in internal affairs, and use pretexts to gain advantage in smaller countries.

    A bottom line here is what can the U.S. do in this case to stop Russia from doing what it wants to do? Probably about has much as Russia could do to stop the U.S. from doing what it wanted to do in Central America when people we didn’t like took over there.

    I think ‘moral authority’ is too vague a term and used to cover two different things. There is moral authority in how countries respect human rights, electoral democracy, and manage to solve serious disagreements within their own borders. There, I think the U.S. and EU have far more moral authority than Russia or China.

    But then there is moral authority in terms of how countries deal with less powerful neighbors who do behave as desired. There, not so much difference as we would like.

  153. 153
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Morbo: I’m not the betting type.

    Putin isn’t stupid. Russia’s economy isn’t expected to grow much this year. Risking reduced trade and other sanctions isn’t in his interest, it seems to me.

    He’ll push to get what he can, no doubt. But I doubt that Putin wants full responsibility for Ukraine’s basket-case economy along with reduced participation in the world economy.

    As others above have said, it may look like Putin has all the cards here, but he should be careful. Winning Ukraine may end up being very, very expensive.

    FWIW.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  154. 154
    jl says:

    @jl:

    Meant to type:

    But then there is moral authority in terms of how countries deal with less powerful neighbors who do NOT behave as desired. There, not so much difference as we would like.

  155. 155
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    Winning Ukraine may end up being very, very expensive.

    How bad would it have to be to cost Putin his job? How bad would it have to be to cost Putin his head? Who’s situated to relieve Putin of either? And how bad was it within the memory of most Russians living?

    I think he’s got plenty of cushion….

  156. 156
    jl says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Russians who got to enjoy Afghanistan are in their 40s now. So, for military occupation, not that long ago.

  157. 157
    Amir Khalid says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:
    One setback won’t be enough to dislodge Putin from power. It’ll take a string of big-time fuck-ups to do it, and we don’t even know yet if this Ukrainian adventure will play in Russia as a fuck-up. If Putin puts Yanukovich back in power, and keeps him there as a useful puppet while keeping Ukraine from the EU’s clutches, public opinion in Russia might even call it a win.

  158. 158
    Baud says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    One setback won’t be enough to dislodge Putin from power

    True, but this is coming on the heels of the Olympic ring not opening, so I’m not sure how many chances Putin has left.

  159. 159

    So much for those predicting the end of history after the Soviet Union collapsed.

  160. 160
    srv says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Why would we want him out? We should be happy to just bleed Russia. I wonder how many bridges there are across the Dnieper.

    We might even be able to bleed the EU enough if the gas gets shut off. I wonder how much we or the ME can export to fill the gaps. You know, that’s really how the Cold War was won. We cut off the Soviets’ cash:
    undercut their arms exports business, kept gold low, Iraq/Iran war gave us $15/bl oil and we pushed them into an arms race.

    I hope Obama takes a lesson from Reagan.

  161. 161
    Amir Khalid says:

    @jl:
    A Russian soldier who was part of the initial invasion in 1979 at the age of 18 would be the same age as me — approaching his mid-50s.

  162. 162
    Cervantes says:

    @jl:

    A bottom line here is what can the U.S. do in this case to stop Russia from doing what it wants to do? Probably about has much as Russia could do to stop the U.S. from doing what it wanted to do in Central America when people we didn’t like took over there.

    Well, in Cuba, there was that thing the Russians tried with missiles and such.

    (We won’t speak of Turkey.)

    I think ‘moral authority’ is too vague a term and used to cover two different things. There is moral authority in how countries respect human rights, electoral democracy, and manage to solve serious disagreements within their own borders. There, I think the U.S. and EU have far more moral authority than Russia or China. But then there is moral authority in terms of how countries deal with less powerful neighbors who do behave as desired. There, not so much difference as we would like.

    By “do behave” did you mean “do not behave”?

    And how do you define “neighbors”? Nicaragua was famously “only 2,000 miles from the Texas border” — our neighbor? And how about Chile? A mere 4,000 miles? And then there was Vietnam, what was it, barely 8,000 miles away?

    Was there some God-forsaken corner of the Earth that was not our, um, “neighbor”?

  163. 163
    jl says:

    @Morbo:

    thanks for the link to the Julia Joffe article. I gets that she hates Russia and Russians, and seems a tad excitable and opinionated. I am glad the place in Ukraine she visited recently seemed calm and nice.

    But her line that everything it peaceful and honky dory in Eastern and Southern Ukraine seems doubtful. And her line that any and all pro-Russian agitation is due to a few provocateurs planted by Putin seems even more doubtful. Unless of course she thinks regional governors and substantial parts of the regional governments in the Russian speaking parts who want to set up autonomous regimes are a few Russian provocateurs.

    Josh Marshall at TPM just posted a piece that pointed out that Ukraine really has not functioning country-wide government right now. It has an interim government in Kiev until the newly called elections, is all. So, I did some reading to see whether Marshall made a good point, and I think he did.

    A summary of the chaotic events is here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2.....revolution

    I saw a link to a pro-reform editorial in the English language Ukrainian press (that I can’t find now) that said that disbanding the Ukrainian internal security forces (apparently pro-Yanukovych ) was a mistake and people were worried about what these ex-security personnel were up to.

    So, Joffe’s claim that there is no reason to think about disruptions, provocative acts, and pretexts from internal Ukrainian elements, and that no one is worried about seems misplaced as well.

  164. 164
    jl says:

    @Amir Khalid: Not sure what your point is. They would be between early 40s and mid-50s depending on what part of the occupation you want to talk about.

  165. 165
    jl says:

    @Cervantes: I was making a conservative case. Bay of Pigs was a year earlier than Cuban missile crisis, so not sure what argument you are making there.

    I have to go, so you kids will have fight amongst yourselves without me.

  166. 166
    jl says:

    @jl:

    I think the editorial was in the Kiyiv post. Still can’t find the specific editorial. Anyway, the writer said that the dissolution of the Berkut (Ukrainian internal security forces) was a blunder comparable to Bush II dissolving the Iraqi army and security forces after the invasion of Iraq. That statement made me gulp.

    http://www.kyivpost.com/newspaper/

    And finally, I misspoke in an earlier post. I don’t know whether Kiyiv Post is a pro-reform newspaper. But the editorial, or opinion piece I read was definitely pro-reform, and seethed with as much hatred and contempt for Putin as anything Joffe could display. Except, it had, far more reliable factual (edit: at least that I could check from some quick internet searches) information, and logical argument therefrom, in it.

  167. 167
    Cervantes says:

    @jl:

    I was making a conservative case. Bay of Pigs was a year earlier than Cuban missile crisis, so not sure what argument you are making there.

    Nothing much — just noting an extreme example of what Russia once tried to do in this hemisphere.

    (Had not intended to imply any comparison to the Bay of Pigs invasion.)

    Thanks.

  168. 168
    Cervantes says:

    @jl:

    I don’t know whether Kiyiv Post is a pro-reform newspaper.

    How would one recognize a pro-reform newspaper in Ukraine? Here’s an excerpt from one of their recent editorials:

    Viktor Yanukovych has triggered both of Ukraine’s two revolutions in the last decade. In the first peaceful one, the 2004 Orange Revolution, the public stopped him from claiming the presidency in a rigged presidential election. Neither he nor his accomplices were ever punished.

    The second one, the ongoing 2013-14 EuroMaidan Revolution, was much bloodier but succeeded in overthrowing Yanukovych on Feb. 22. However, it’s still not clear whether he will be punished for any crimes as he remains a fugitive from justice, promising a press conference in exile from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Feb. 28 to reassert that he is president.

    Ukraine, still reeling from the shock of having nearly 100 people killed in violence that Yanukovych allegedly orchestrated with other top officials, got more shocks on Feb. 27. That’s when newly minted Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk announced that Yanukovych and his cronies had fleeced the nation for up to $70 billion in the last three years, in one scheme after another. That averages to be more than 10 percent of the nation’s annual gross domestic product in each of those three years.

    No wonder this is a nation of Mercedes and mansions for 1 percent of the population and grinding poverty for most of the remaining 45 million people.

    […]

  169. 169
    dr. luba says:

    @thrasycon: Beware the haze of propaganda. Timothy Snyder in the NYRB writes:

    Has as it ever before happened that people associated with Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian, Armenian, Polish, and Jewish culture have died in a revolution that was started by a Muslim? Can we who pride ourselves in our diversity and tolerance think of anything remotely similar in our own histories?

    ……Whatever course the Russian intervention may take, it is not an attempt to stop a fascist coup, since nothing of the kind has taken place. What has taken place is a popular revolution, with all of the messiness, confusion, and opposition that entails. The young leaders of the Maidan, some of them radical leftists, have risked their lives to oppose a regime that represented, at an extreme, the inequalities that we criticize at home. They have an experience of revolution that we do not. Part of that experience, unfortunately, is that Westerners are provincial, gullible, and reactionary.

  170. 170
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Cervantes:
    Similar time zones. (OK summer time in chile). (This matters in the business world at least.)
    Agreed otherwise.

  171. 171
    different-church-lady says:

    Milbank’s an idiot: This is the point in an international crisis when we all predict what Obama will do, call him either idiot warmonger or a spineless weakling because we know he’s going to do it, and condemn him because the reason he’s going to do it is he wants to do the worst thing possible.

    This is one of the only times I’ve ever wanted to be on Twitter, just so I could actually sent this reply to him.

  172. 172
    Cheap Jim says:

    I am sure others have pointed it out, but I would like to reiterate that Dana Milbank is a useless piece of shit.

  173. 173
    Tehanu says:

    @Baud:
    Tom Lehrer, prescient back in the Sixties:

    When someone makes a move
    Of which we don’t approve,
    Who is it that always intervenes?
    U.N. and OAS,
    They have their place, I guess,
    But first send the marines!

    We’ll send them all we’ve got,
    John Wayne and Randolph Scott,
    Remember those exciting fighting scenes?
    To the shores of Tripoli,
    But not to Mississippoli,
    What do we do? we send the marines!

  174. 174
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @jl: And anyway, Ukraine does not seem unified enough to even make the choice. One half the country won’t accept whatever choice is made,

    In contrast with the US, of course, where popular vote margins are typically 65-35 or 70-30.

  175. 175
    jl says:

    @Gin & Tonic: It seems to me it is a question of whether the losing side will accept election results or decisions of the winning side, whether the results are 49 to 51 or 73 to 27.

    If our famous 27% was upset enough to take action over all their rebellion talk, then the US would be in the same boat right? And the situation would be very murky.

    Edit: the main difference would be that we would not have thuggish more powerful neighbors next door with reasons and excuses to manufacture pretexts out of the murk.

    Edit: but, giving Canada, which is ‘bigger’ the benefit of the doubt, there.

  176. 176
    jl says:

    @Cervantes:

    ” How would one recognize a pro-reform newspaper in Ukraine? ”

    I decided I could not recognize one from one or two opinion pieces and editorials. The paper does not like Putin, that is a constant theme.

  177. 177
    Bob In Portland says:

    @dr. luba: No, they are fascists, they seized control of the government and deposed the elected leader. They have been cultivated by Gehlen and the BND and the CIA and our State Department since 1945 and now their nationalist myths are bumping against reality. It will be as ugly as they want it. The Russians have all the cards. The Ukrainians’ choice is simple: fight the Russians and lose, or accept that the glory of Ukraine is not what they thought it would be.

  178. 178
    jl says:

    @Gin & Tonic: You have some sources. what is your opinion? Do you have any word from your connections in Ukraine? As of now, I would trust you more than the New Republic journalist a commenter above linked to.

  179. 179
    muricafukyea says:

    That is soo true wr0ng way Cole. Please let us know when Griftwald writes his Obama hit piece on the Ukraine situation mmmkay.

  180. 180
    Bob In Portland says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I don’t think Putin has any desire to touch the western half of Ukraine. But I don’t think that Europe necessarily wants to shut its factories to prove something to Putin and Gazprom.

    This is what would happen if Ukraine reactionaries took over and started screwing with the ethnic Russians. They got what they wanted. Self-righteousness goes only so far.

    Can’t wait till “True Detective” comes on tomorrow night.

  181. 181
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Bob In Portland: The elected leader fled. If he was confident in his ability to lead he would have stayed. Once there was a vacuum, the elected Parliament took steps to stabilize the situation, with many defectors from the PR joining.

  182. 182
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @jl: Of course I have word. That’s what I’ve been doing most of the day. People are very concerned. Their country was invaded by a foreign military force, and they are wondering why the Budapest Memorandum seems to mean nothing.

    Speaking of democracy and elected leaders, the currently-installed “PM” of Crimea is from a political party (Russian Unity) which got a whopping 4% (in Crimea, not countrywide) in the 2010 elections. So his views represent quite the majority, n’est ce pas?

    I’m far too tired to go into much more now.

  183. 183
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Bob In Portland: Funny, on the one hand some guy commenting on a blog, who doesn’t read any of the local languages, and on the other a tenured professor at Yale who’s written five books, can speak five languages and read another four, and has been in the country numerous times. Which to believe?

  184. 184
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Bob In Portland: I doubt that Putin wants Ukraine to be partitioned. Consider:

    The rapidly unfolding chain of events began Saturday morning after Crimean Prime Minister Serhiy Aksyonov asked Russia for help to ensure “peace and tranquility,” saying that the government in Kiev was unable to keep order.

    Then the Russian Foreign Ministry asserted that “unidentified gunmen directed from Kiev” had tried to capture the Crimean Interior Ministry headquarters overnight.

    “As a result of this treacherous provocation there were casualties,” the ministry said in a statement. “With decisive action, the attempt by vigilante groups to seize the Interior Ministry building was averted. This confirms the desire of prominent political circles in Kiev to destabilize the peninsula. We encourage those who give such orders from Kiev to show restraint. We believe it is irresponsible to continue whipping up the already tense situation in the Crimea.”

    That account was disputed in Simferopol, the Crimean regional capital. Igor Aveytskiy, who was named by the Kiev government to serve as chief of Crimea’s national police, said in an interview that “all was peaceful” at the building overnight.

    That doesn’t sound to me like they’re contemplating walking away from Kiev / Kyiv. It sounds like they’re laying an explicit foundation for action in Kyiv and the rest of the country.

    I think Putin and the Russian leadership want to reinstall Yanukovych as president if at all possible. They haven’t yet given up on that (but they must see that it is extremely unlikely). Whatever the outcome, they’re not going to walk away from Ukraine or let it join the EU without getting something in return. There’s too much history and too much prestige involved for Putin to let 3/4 of Ukraine split off out of Russia’s effective control – at least that is how I think they see it.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  185. 185

    Not saying we should intervene in Ukraine but I kinda remember Obama getting a big fat nothingburger from Congress when he asked about authorization to intervene in Syria so pretty sure whatever Obama did would get the same shoulder shrug now. And pretty sure Putin knows that Obama doesn’t have Congress’ support.

  186. 186
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    in the 2012 election, 122,ooo votes were cast. 100,000 eligible voters did not vote.

    Presumably, 66 million voters generally support the president’s agenda, 61 million voters oppose the presiden’t agenda, and 100 million can’t be bothered to care.

    @Derp:

    hat is soo true wr0ng way Cole. Please let us know when Griftwald writes his Obama hit piece on the Ukraine situation mmmkay

    Herp, derp.

  187. 187
    David Koch says:

    @muricafukyea: He can’t. Griftwald’s boss engineered the Ukraine coup

    Good times.

    though, surely Snowden will repudiation Putin, right?.

  188. 188
  189. 189
    Cervantes says:

    @David Koch:

    Griftwald’s boss engineered the Ukraine coup

    And he isn’t stopping there, either:

    September 15, 2011, LONDON and REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Omidyar Network announced today its intent to grant up to $3M to six leading organizations focused on advancing government transparency and accountability. The organizations are: Association for Democratic Reforms (India), Co-Creation Hub (Nigeria), Fundacion Ciudadano Inteligente (Chile), Mideast Youth (Bahrain), Centre UA (Ukraine), and Open Knowledge Foundation (United Kingdom).

    One down, five to go, eh?

    And by the way, Omidyar is a sneaky guy. Instead of hiding his effort to foment these coups, he announced it in a press release way back in 2011!

    The beginning of the press release is above. Here’s more:

    Through its Government Transparency initiative, Omidyar Network invests in organizations that use technology and media platforms to provide access to information and tools necessary for citizens to participate in the governing process and hold governments to account. Over the last two years, the firm has invested over $40M in transparency efforts across the globe, including organizations such as mySociety in the United Kingdom, Ushahidi in Kenya, Janaagraha in India, and Sunlight Foundation in the United States.

    Oh-oh.

  190. 190
    David Koch says:

    These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless.

    By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world.

    Ed Snowden

    {golf clap}

  191. 191
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Oh for fucks sake, can’t people just leave Snowden out of it?

  192. 192
    David Koch says:

    @Cervantes: It’s hilarious. When the uprising occurred 10 days ago, conspiracy theorists like Wheeler started posting it wasn’t an organic protest but a US coup.

    There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness.

    Yesterday, Pando posted financial documents saying it was a US coup, but not the government, rather it was Wheeler’s boss.

    Wacky Wheeler then began furiously trying to spin and retract her CT.

    Wheeler has responded on Twitter to say that her Tweets were taken out of context, but would not give specifics.

    Serves Omidyar right. When you release the dogs of paranoia, sometimes one of dogs will bite you.

  193. 193
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Cervantes: weird. I thought Chile and the UK already had them some democracy.

  194. 194
    Cervantes says:

    @Suffern ACE: But not India?

  195. 195
    Suffern ACE says:

    @David Koch: also it is funny that they want this so badly to be orchestrated by the US. I would not be surprised if we were, but how did we manage to get members of parliament so riled up that they voted to push him out? Where was the violence there?

    At some point two weeks ago, there was a truce and someone broke it. I would not be surprised if it were Russia, but clearly the objective of reporting is to accuse one government of interfering while letting Russia’s claim that it is innocent go univestigated.

  196. 196
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Cervantes: oh, I’m only listing countries where I think there could be a coup. I could see the UK. India? It would be so hard to tell if one had occurred. The new government would we formed, but no one would listen to it anyway.

  197. 197
    Cervantes says:

    @David Koch:

    Yesterday, Pando posted financial documents saying it was a US coup, but not the government, rather but Wheeler’s boss.

    Omidyar announced his contribution to CentreUA in 2011 (see above). Pando helpfully told us about it yesterday? I see a Pulitzer in someone’s future, don’t you?

    Wacky Wheeler then began furiously trying to spin and retract her CT.

    Wheeler has responded on Twitter to say that her Tweets were taken out of context, but would not give specifics.

    Serves Omidyar right. When you release the dogs of paranoia, sometimes one of dogs will bite you.

    Sorry, I have no idea what you’re trying to say here. Let me see if I’m following your train of thought: (1) Omidyar is ruing the day he hired Wheeler because (2) she said she thought there might have been a coup and … (3) Omidyar does not want us to know he helped fund CentreUA … and yet (4) in 2011 he freely told the world that he was helping to fund CentreUA … and (5) what?

    When you release the dogs of paranoia, sometimes one of dogs will bite you.

    Also applies to the dogs of silliness and the dogs of Mr. and Mrs. Dearly but, mysteriously, not to the dogs of Nathan’s Famous.

  198. 198
    Cervantes says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    oh, I’m only listing countries where I think there could be a coup.

    Your lack of faith in Pierre Omidyar’s master plan is distressing — and has been noted.

  199. 199
    xenos says:

    @NotMax: Revival after three days? That was Thursday.

    Now we just need to produce the prequals about Mithras, Osiris, etc.

  200. 200
    xenos says:

    @NotMax: Revival after three days? That was Thursday.

    Now we just need to produce the prequals about Mithras, Osiris, etc.

  201. 201
    xenos says:

    The key thing is the state of fracking in the EU;

    There is huge resistance to it going forward in the UK, France has banned it outright, Germany may well do the same.

    So where are the big natural gas reserves that can give the EU the ability to ignore the Russians?

  202. 202
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @xenos: Shouldn’t the revival be in about 48 hours? From let’s say Friday to Sunday?

  203. 203
  204. 204
    David Koch says:

    @Cervantes:In knee jerk fashion Wheeler says it’s a coup, offering no evidence. That prompts another news site to say yes Wheeler is right, but it’s Wheeler’s employer who’s behind the coup, based on his open contributions to NGOs. I doubt Omidyar appreciates being accused of overthrowing a government (who would), especially when the baseless theory was fomented by one of his employees.

  205. 205
    David Koch says:

    @Suffern ACE: I don’t think the US had any involvement because Obama’s focus has been on nuclear arms reduction, and he can’t get another agreement ratified if Putin’s tanks are rolling into another country.

  206. 206
    Suffern ACE says:

    @David Koch: it’s a tough call. However, if we weren’t involved, we’d probably be hearing more about those lazy Ukrainians who are trying to welch on their debts, the way the Greeks were portrayed.

  207. 207
    jl says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    ” At some point two weeks ago, there was a truce and someone broke it. ”

    From what I followed in the news, there was a truce between the Yanukovych government and the protesters, which led to a brokered deal between the opposition and ruling parties in parliament, which the protesters nixed. Some of the protesters threatened that there would be a military coup if Yanukovych did not resign, but the military just said it would not fight against the Ukrainian people. The Wikipedia article on the 2014 Ukrainian revolution contains a sourced report of a coup threatened by members of the opposition and the protesters, but I have no idea whether that was just talk or a real threat backed by the military.

    Then the parliament voted Yanukovych out of office.
    (Edit: I think this was after Yanukovych went into hiding, sensing his support was collapsing)

    From what I followed in the news and read, there was no coup. But there were threats of a coup, but whether those threats meant anything, how would anyone on the outside know?

    With extreme social and political unrest, as in war, there is a lot of murk and fog, and people with axes to grind can gin up all sorts of arguments that whatever happened is obviously this that or the other thing, and only a fool or a knave would say otherwise.

  208. 208
    Bob In Portland says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I hadn’t seen that story.

    If Putin can put Yanukovich back in power over all of Ukraine it would only be a matter of time before the opposition takes control again. And I’m not sure Putin can do that as long as the capitol is in Kiev. I could see Putin reestablishing Yankovich in the eastern, Ruissified section of Ukraine.

    The US/EU don’t have any leverage here.

  209. 209
    mike in dc says:

    Well, the US and Western Europe could lend the Ukraine 100 million liters of gasoline and jet fuel, and enough money to pay their army and ramp up mobilization. And they could sanction Russia in some ways. That’s about it. I think they should let the Russians occupy/annex Crimea, so long as they don’t start oppressing non-Russians there. While they’re letting them do that, Ukraine can vote to join the EU and petition to join NATO. Because Fuck Putin, that’s why.

  210. 210
    danielx says:

    @beltane:

    . It would seem that the old notion of “spheres of influence” is still alive and well.

    Damned right it is. I have derived some amusement from the thought of Russia getting pissy with the US in the event of a US/Mexico dispute.

    US reaction in that event = This is none of your fucking business. Go away.

  211. 211
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Anoniminous:

    This is why half the commentary on Ukraine for the past week has been as follows:

    Bob in Portland: OMG! The opposition movement is full of neo-Nazis!

    Gin & Tonic and other sensible folks: So is the current pro-Russian government. There are neo-Nazis on both sides of the conflict.

    Bob in Portland: LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!

  212. 212
    xenos says:

    @Bob In Portland: Actually the US and the EU have most of the leverage, but their power is soft, indirect, and based in the long term. We can not stop the Russians, but they can not prevail in the long term.

    Things both sides need to recognize:

    1. Ukraine is a failed state with collapsing demographics and seriously poisoned heartland. All the Western support possible will not not make a success of it as it is presently constituted;

    2. Crimea belongs to Russia – they stole it fair and square from the Turks. To the degree a modern Ukrainian state has ever existed it has no historical right to Crimea, the Soviets just screwed up when they gave it to them;

    3. The Western half of Ukraine, the part with Ukranians in it, will never be integrated into the Russian sphere. It will be the EU’s basket case to manage, just like Eastern Ukraine will never be integrated into the EU and will be Russia’s basket case to manage.

    4. Russia is doing some unacceptable things here per international law, which is because what it is doing is better than the alternatives available to it. Like the EU and the US, it is not in control of what is going on but is reacting and looking for a way to salvage the situation.

    5. The US approach is limited to indirect action. Saving some Russian prestige and face and securing the strategic needs of the Russian state has to be part of any solution that the US works for, so Obama and Kerry need to bitch and moan about the law and be ready to cut some realpolitik deal here.

    6. The Neocons, Republicans, and assorted wingnuts are WAY out of their depth here, and should be ridiculed when not simply ignored on these issues.

  213. 213

    […] I guess watching the Russians do what they want in Ukraine is how the rest of the world felt when we… […]

  214. 214
    Cervantes says:

    @David Koch:

    In knee jerk fashion Wheeler says it’s a coup, offering no evidence. That prompts another news site to say yes Wheeler is right, but it’s Wheeler’s employer who’s behind the coup, based on his open contributions to NGOs.

    I’m still not following the subtleties of your argument. Marcy Wheeler tweeted the following:

    There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is.

    Isn’t this simply an off-hand comment, devoid of evidence, like virtually every other tweet ever? What is “knee jerk fashion” about it? Does Wheeler have a habit of reflexively seeing coups where none exist? Are you complaining that she hasn’t followed up with reams of evidence in a long-form article or report? Maybe she will, or maybe she has changed her mind about the facts? If she has changed her mind, I don’t see what the big deal is. You may be omniscient but it has not been easy for the rest of us to figure out what’s happening in Ukraine.

    Yes, an intrepid writer (Mark Ames) at another news site (Pando) belatedly “revealed” Omidyar’s open contributions to NGOs; but that writer says it’s not a coup:

    This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.

    So, contra you, Ames is not saying “it’s Wheeler’s employer who’s behind the coup.”

    And then you conclude:

    I doubt Omidyar appreciates being accused of overthrowing a government (who would), especially when the baseless theory was fomented by one of his employees.

    In that tweet, Wheeler did not accuse anyone of overthrowing a government. Did she do so elsewhere?

    As I said, I’m still not following the subtleties of your argument.

  215. 215
    Cervantes says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Christopher Simpson’s BLOWBACK is more to the point on the instant case. You can pick up a used copy for five bucks. Worth it.

    I don’t know that it’s “more to the point” but I agree that Simpson is a bona fide journalist whose work should be taken seriously. Blowback details how some Nazis at the end of WWII were “hot commodities” sought by each of the victorious Allies. And it goes on from there. Some people criticize Simpson’s tone as being “shrill” — but so what? There are other books on the subject one can read instead.

    @Tehanu: Here’s another Tom Lehrer classic:

    And what is it that put America in the forefront of the nuclear nations? And what is it that will make it possible to spend 20 billion dollars of your money to put some clown on the moon? Well, it was good old American know-how, that’s what. As provided by good old Americans like Dr. Wernher von Braun.

    Gather ’round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun,
    A man whose allegiance
    Is ruled by expedience.
    Call him a Nazi, he won’t even frown.
    “Ha, Nazi Schmazi,” says Wernher von Braun.

    Don’t say that he’s hypocritical,
    Say rather that he’s apolitical.

    “Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
    That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun.

    Some have harsh words for this man of renown,
    But some think our attitude
    Should be one of gratitude,
    Like the widows and cripples in old London town
    Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braun.

    You too may be a big hero,
    Once you’ve learned to count backwards to zero.
    “In German oder English I know how to count down,
    Und I’m learning Chinese,” says Wernher von Braun.

  216. 216
    Cervantes says:

    @xenos: Just wanted to say that I think your six points can be useful as a way of organizing the data — so thanks.

  217. 217
    Cervantes says:

    @mike in dc: Joining the EU entails meeting some criteria, including economic ones, that Ukraine is simply not in a position to meet at this time.

    Worse, it’s not even clear at this time what or exactly where “Ukraine” is.

  218. 218
    John says:

    @Laertes:

    Sadam Hussain murdered 10’s of thousands of his own people. With chemical weapons. He had the 4rd largest army in the world.
    You forget he got very cocky and made many insults and threats.

    In the End they did not find his weapons of mass destruction because he trucked them out to Syria so no evidence would be found and the US would get the Blame. ( that is why Syria has such a large stockpile of chemical weapons now.)
    After all the hundreds of billions of US tax dollors spent on Irak. What did US get or take? nothing. ( every body twisted it out of shape. )
    Sorry all the extremists said US wanted to steal all the oil ? Funny China , Russia and France control 80+ % of the oil contracts in Irak now.

    There is no comparison between Ukraine and Irak( sorry lefties) US did not take over any land in Irak. Russia has a history of Taking over countries and killing millions. Aka Soviet Union. Or maybe the lefties can some how say that was a conspirisy and Blame the US.
    The Ukranian People want Freedom and now the right to bear arms. Just like the US is now fighting to keep.
    America has to stay strong and fight back to keep her freedoms or we will all fall one after another.

    Be warned all the special interests etc would be silently taken care of
    and or eliminated. And no the lawyers will not help you then.

    Yes the US is NOTperfect, but it has given many who work hard a better life and helped transform the living conditions to a much better state then before in many countries of the world. That is what Ukraine wants FREEDOM from Tryrants.

    ” Do not ask what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your Country.”
    JFK

    God Bless America and forgive her mistakes and give her new strength.
    People Be tolerant with each other and work for the common good.
    Divided we fall (both side’s lose) together we stand.

  219. 219
    RH says:

    @Baud: Ike kept this country out of war for a peaceful 8 years you jerk. FDR secretly plunged us into war knowing the Japs were going to bomb Pearl and doing nothing to get our boys and ships out of harms way so we could help Britain. I support what he did, it was how he did it I don’t.

  220. 220
    Davidseattle says:

    @Jeff( the other one): He’d probably like to

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