The Boy Done Wrong Again

Hang your head in shame and cry your life away:

To the Russian national anthem, Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty on making Crimea part of Russia.

As usual when one of these international crises crop up, Larison is a voice of reason, including this gem, Thank Goodness Romney Isn’t President:

[…] All that Romney demonstrated as a candidate was a knee-jerk hostility to Obama’s policies and equally reflexive hostility to improving relations with Russia. To the extent that he had a coherent idea for how to approach Russia differently, he thought that Russia should be provoked at every turn and that cooperation should be avoided. This approach was rightly mocked during the campaign, and one can only imagine how much more poisonous relations with Russia would be now if it had been official policy for almost five years before the crisis in Ukraine. Had Romney been carrying out his preferred policy towards Russia over the last year, relations would be considerably worse, and we would be saddled with an administration that would go out of its way to clash with Russia on every issue. […]

The only thing I can add is that McCain would have been worse. A few non-crippling sanctions and some even less crippling harsh words are a reasonable response to this unfortunate event over which we have no control and precious little influence.






210 replies
  1. 1

    I don’t think Putin is going to stop with Crimea or even Ukraine. I also agree that right at this moment United States can’t do much more practically than what Obama Administration has proposed. But this is very troubling. Putin is out of control and has nuclear weapons.

  2. 2
    rk says:

    I don’t understand republican bitching about lack of action on Russian aggression. This isn’t Iraq. The US is used to lobbing bombs at people who can’t lob any back. Russia is a whole different ball game. Have these morons forgotten that Russia has nukes pointed at US cities. I swear to god some days I wish the war whores get what the want and I’d love to see the expressions on their idiotic faces when some US city is reduced to rubble Hiroshima style. Except we’d all pay a terrible price.

  3. 3
    Schlemizel says:

    BUT LOSS OF FACE!!! We are the USofA we HAVE to do something!!! Oy

  4. 4
    Keith G says:

    Reworking a thought from last night…Unfortunately for Russia, Putinism is not only failing to address many of Russia’s important problems, it’s adding a whole host of it’s own. (Note post-Chavez Venezuela).

    Obama has his faults, but recognizing the above is not one of them. In a short term isolated view of this crisis, Putin may well look like he put one over on the west (and in a very narrow sense he has). Alas for the Russians, the afterglow of this ordeal won’t last for very long. Real problems remain and build.

    The best thing that the US could do for Putin is stoke the Great Russian Paranoia by going beyond assertiveness and becoming belligerent. – ala McCain and Graham.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: What do you think Putis is going to do? He won’t invade a NATO country. Do you think he is going to try to expand South East into the ‘Stans?

  6. 6
    some guy says:

    in 1991 93% of the people of Crimea voted to rejoin Russia. In 2014 93% of the people of Crimea voted to rejoin Russia.

    Democracy, history’s greatest evil.

  7. 7
    Chyron HR says:

    “Putin annexed Crimea” is just the new “Saddam eats babies”. I won’t let you American warmongers fool me again.

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Keith G: Exactly right.

  9. 9
    some guy says:

    can’t we just get back and focus on something America is good at, like helping Al Qaeda overthrow secular regimes, or assisting coup plotters in Caracas or Kiev… oops. sorry,

    something we are good at, like keeping monarchical theocrats in power in the Gulf. there, I feel better already.

  10. 10
    some guy says:

    deleted for doubleplusgood snark repitition

  11. 11
    Tractarian says:

    Belle & Sebastian shout out

  12. 12
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @some guy:
    I don’t know if this is snark or not.

  13. 13
    Redshift says:

    Since I know people in Ukraine, I wish we could do something. Unlike the warmongers, I’m not dumb enough to think that means we *must* be able to do something

  14. 14
    JPL says:

    What does Angela say? She probably read Mitt’s latest oped and wiped sweat off her brow, since Russia is Germany’s trade partner.

  15. 15
    some guy says:

    @A Humble Lurker:

    sometimes the truth is both truthful and snarkalicious. helping the monarchical theorcrats remain in power in places like Bahrain and UAE helps our ally Saudi Arabia. Supporting Juhbat al Nusra overthrow a secular regime in Syria helps our ally Saudi Arabia. two birds, one stone.

  16. 16
    g says:

    It was pointed out elsewhere online (Crooks & Liars?) that McCain is criticizing Obama today for doing exactly what McCain last week insisted he do.

  17. 17
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Now if we can figure out how to get Texas to rejoin Mexico..

  18. 18
    danielx says:

    The best thing that the US could do for Putin is stoke the Great Russian Paranoia by going beyond assertiveness and becoming belligerent. – ala McCain and Graham.

    Hey, for those guys – not to mention a lot of others *cough Bill Kristol Elliot Abrams the Kagans John Bolton Max Boot etc etc etc* – the Cold War was the best of times. A nice neat binary world with an easily delineated enemy against whom we had to spend billions on military hardware but who we didn’t have to actually fight – a win-win! It’s just like being a neocon during the Clinton administration, but better!

    I keep seeing these guys in my mind with a single thought bubble above each of their heads:

    We’re getting the band back together!

  19. 19
    Belafon says:

    @some guy: Did the 1991 ballot say

    [ ] Become an independent country
    [ ] Join the Russian Federation
    Stay with Ukraine

    Where the last has no check box.

    @schrodinger’s cat: The difference is that the Russian army can’t spread itself out like it could have 30+ years ago.

  20. 20
    hoodie says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: My guess is that his goal is limited to making the West lose face in the eyes of the near regions, which makes me think he’ll stop at Crimea. Putin is trying to prop up his image as a tough guy who will stand up to NATO expansionism. Crimea is symbolically important to Russians but otherwise strategically worthless and a low hanging fruit for Putin to achieve his limited goals (the Ukrainians didn’t even fight for it). Maybe he is envisioning building on expansion into Crimea but, even if he wanted to return to the glory days of the old Soviet Union, Putin doesn’t have the ideological fig leaf of socialism liberating the oppressed masses from capitalist overlords. In fact, he’s creature of a global corporate economic system that won’t tolerate too much expansion without tanking the oil revenues and western banking and technological resources Russia’s oligarchy relies on (Maddow had a piece last night on Exxon/Rosneft joint venture). I’ll believe he intends to reconstitute the USSR when he dons a uniform and starts talking about the dictatorship of the proletariat. He’s already alienating the Chinese, who will not feel comfortable with Russia doing much more than settling a few old scores and who will not like Putin threatening one of their biggest customers.

  21. 21
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Well, Turkey has said that if the Crimean Tatars (who overwhelmingly did not vote, as they wanted, also overwhelmingly, to stay with Ukraine) are endangered, then Turkey will close the Bosphorus to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. That could get interesting.

  22. 22
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @some guy: And Kim Jong Un got 100% of the vote, in a 100% turnout in his constituency. The North Koreans apparently love themselves some democracy, too.

  23. 23

    @Belafon: It is difficult to predict what Putin would do, the man is loco. As for the referendum it was a complete sham.
    I have no idea what he will do, one guess;
    @Omnes Omnibus: He will try to destabilize what is left of Ukraine. He is trying to rewrite history.

  24. 24
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I can accurately predict the future. On Sunday, March 22nd, 2014, John McCain will appear on at least one Sunday talk show and assert that if Obama had only invaded Iran, Putin would not have grabbed Crimea.

  25. 25
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @hoodie: I wouldn’t say strategically worthless. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is important, so its bases are, in fact, strategic (unless Turkey turns the Black Sea into a lake.) Economically, however, Crimea is another story for Putin, and not a good one. It’s like one of those red states in the US that draws a lot more than it produces. Lots of retirees, so you have to pay pensions, not much agriculture, very little fresh water and not much electricity-generating capacity, so it will be a net importer of food, water and electricity.

  26. 26
    Morbo says:

    @A Humble Lurker: Just useful idiocy.

  27. 27
    EconWatcher says:

    Russian society would be on the verge of collapse already if it weren’t for a decade of sky-high fossil-fuel prices that hid the problems. Now that demand is levelling out and new sources of supply are emerging, that country is headed for deep, deep trouble. The only question is how many people will be pulled down with it. I hope the EU can save Ukraine and others by pulling them out of the Russian orbit.

  28. 28
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Gin & Tonic: How did the referendum vote for statehood in Hawaii go back in 1948?

  29. 29
    Hawes says:

    What do you mean “little control and little influence”?

    We are all Crimeans now! Didn’t you vote on Sunday?

  30. 30
    Belafon says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I’m not saying he won’t try – I don’t know exactly what’s going on in his head, other than it seems he would love to be the head of the Soviet Union again – but I don’t see the Russian army being able to stand the kind of fighting it would actually have to go through to regain all of the former Soviet lands, and that’s without NATO supporting those countries.

  31. 31
    the Conster says:

    Slightly OT but if Glenn Greenwald won’t denounce Putin’s freedom agenda then how can us lowly liberals pass judgment when there is police corruption in Peru? Answer me that Obots.

  32. 32
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @some guy:
    But isn’t that a moot point given that the Crimea vote was fixed? You know, what with the aforementioned 93%, the one area having a 121% turnout and the Russian soldiers being in the neighborhood and such.

    ETA: Pretty much what at least three people already said.

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Robert Sneddon: 1948? Also, given that Hawaii was already a US Territory, the choices of remain at territory or become a state is a bit less apples to apples than you imply.

  34. 34
    Belafon says:

    @the Conster: Boy, Snowden hasn’t aged well at all based on that picture.

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I don’t see what he does more than this. Worst case scenario is that he occupies all of Ukraine. He’s not about to piss off NATO by invading members like Poland or the Baltic states. It would suck balls for the Ukrainians, but from the Western perspective, there’s really not that much of a threat there.

    He could try reasserting Russian power in other parts of the former Soviet Union, like the Caucasus and Central Asia, but it’s not like Russia isn’t already the top player there.

  36. 36
    SatanicPanic says:

    Worse than BENGHAZI!

  37. 37
    Hawes says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I don’t know if the referendum was a “complete” sham. Crimea is largely Russian. A lot of ex-governmental and military types live there. Crimea was only “given” to Ukraine out of geographical convenience.

    The election was undoubtedly fraudulent and dissenting voices probably didn’t vote. But I bet annexation by Russia is a majority opinion in Crimea and probably by a lot.

  38. 38
    The Dangerman says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I wouldn’t say strategically worthless. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is important…

    Pretty much this … thinking of this from the Russian perspective, Ukraine was a festering boil that couldn’t be lanced earlier because of the Olympics. Putin was hamstrung because of Sochi, there was agitation from the West in Kiev, and now we are where we are…

  39. 39
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Robert Sneddon: I have absolutely no idea.

  40. 40
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Hawes: Annexation may very well be majority opinion, but it is also unconstitutional.

  41. 41
    Ash Can says:

    @EconWatcher: Ukraine itself has been running, not walking, as far out of the Russian orbit as it can get. That’s what started all this ruckus in the first place. The concern is that Putin, with all his rhetoric of how “Ukraine belongs to Russia” and all his military amassing on the Ukrainian border, will try to grab the rest of Ukraine next.

    @some guy:

    in 1991 93% of the people of Crimea voted to rejoin Russia.

    False.

    In 2014 93% of the people of Crimea voted to rejoin Russia.

    Let me tell you about this idea I have for getting ridiculously wealthy off of underwater real estate.

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    @rk:

    I don’t understand republican bitching about lack of action on Russian aggression.

    “Tellarites do not argue for a reason. They simply argue.”

  43. 43
    Keith G says:

    @the Conster: Ricks makes money by a process that includes being relevant enough to still get booked as a talking head. I view his tweets as a way to raise the stakes and say, “Hey. look at me!” That, I understand. What I don’t understand is TPM’s decision to lead with that story for a while yesterday.

  44. 44
    aimai says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: He’s not crazy at all. That’s a weird thing to assert. He’s is the leader of a country which he feels has lost face and power as it has lost control of its satellites. And he wants that power back. Everything he’s ever said and done indicate these are fairly fixed and mature beliefs backed up by a standing military and nuclear weapons and a willingness to kill people. There’s nothing crazy about that. Its just politics.

  45. 45
    Belafon says:

    @Keith G: Then he and Greenwald ought to be eating up Twitter. I do agree with Ricks that Greenwald’s silence in this instance is telling. Exactly what it’s telling, I’ll leave that up to others.

  46. 46
    Ash Can says:

    @Keith G: It’s because more and more people are raising the question of why he won’t say anything at all critical of Putin’s press and internet restrictions, even when directly asked about it, when he insists that his agenda is all about freedom of information above everything else.

  47. 47
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @The Dangerman: The “agitation” was home-grown. The West (meaning the EU/US) may have jumped on board that train, but it had already left the station and was picking up speed before they did. People in the US who tuned in to this show in February grossly underestimate how fed up many of the Ukrainian people, especially the young, were with the Yanukovych syndicate by the time he pulled the plug on the EU accession agreement in November.

    Many people in the US (and some in the EU) love to talk about nationalists and neo-Nazis while ignoring the years and years of kleptocracy and corruption at every level. The young, kids who have no memory of Soviet times, but possibly were aware of the 2004 orange revolution and the missed opportunities of that time, look at Europe, look at Russia, look at Yanukovych-era Ukraine, and their choice is clear. They say: we don’t have to live like this, and we won’t make the mistakes of 10 years ago. Now, maybe they will make those mistakes in the end, but for now, at least, all they want from their leaders is some level of honesty and probity. The symbolism of Acting PM Yatseniuk flying economy-class to DC is not lost on anyone.

  48. 48
    Botsplainer says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I don’t think Putin is going to stop with Crimea or even Ukraine. I also agree that right at this moment United States can’t do much more practically than what Obama Administration has proposed. But this is very troubling. Putin is out of control and has nuclear weapons.

    I always felt like it would have been smarter to let NATO wither away with the collapse of the USSR, I thought it was a huge mistake to expand it as far east as it now spreads, and felt it catastrophic to woo Ukraine and Georgia.

    Frankly, we needed to completely rework international security.

  49. 49
    Chris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Do you think he is going to try to expand South East into the ‘Stans?

    Well, if he does, I wish him luck juggling all the islamist insurgencies eager for a 2.0 of the 1980s Afghanistan War.

    Hell, the cold hearted West-centric Realist in me kind of hopes he does.

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    Can we at least all agree to go back to calling it the Ukraine now?

  51. 51
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G:

    Ricks makes money by a process that includes being relevant enough to still get booked as a talking head.

    Ricks makes money by access “journalism”, de facto stenography.

  52. 52
    boatboy_srq says:

    Has anyone mentioned that a Rmoney pResidency would have had the US so involved in Iran and Syria by now that any action against Russia would have meant moving to a full-scale war economy, military draft and/or widespread use of nukes? Rmoney’s anti-Iran rhetoric would have led to instant involvement in Syria, with a massive deployment and/or major engagement in Iran itself: more than likely that action would have been a bigger green light for Putin to operate freely in the Russian sphere than the situation we have now, regardless of what the WH did.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    It is difficult to predict what Putin would do, the man is loco.

    Has he started throwing babies out of incubators yet?
    Holding the assumption that Putin is “loco” leads down a dangerous path.

  54. 54
    Belafon says:

    @Botsplainer: Yep, because 30 independently acting armies in Europe would have been awesome. I don’t think you could have dissolved NATO unless Russia had become a stable European economy, which it obviously hasn’t become.

  55. 55
    Keith G says:

    @Belafon: @Ash Can: Because of the way that it is usually abused, “proof” by absence of an action is less compelling to me than actual assertive, tangible evidence.

    I have heard too many wingnuts say stuff like, “Why hasn’t Obama condemned…? That means he must….”

    I am not going to play that game or take seriously other who do.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    Man, President Obama had better invest in a few GPS tracking devices he can start chipping countries with.
    So far he’s lost Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Georgia, Vietnam, and now the Ukraine. He loses anymore and we’re going to need a new globe, people!

  57. 57
    Gin & Tonic says:

    So when does Kaliningrad get its referendum?

  58. 58
    GregB says:

    If only John McCain were President he would tell the Russians and the Ukrainians to knock this shit off.

  59. 59
    Belafon says:

    @Corner Stone: Nope. I finally got “Ukraine” without “the” sounding right in my head. Here’s a compromise: We’ll all say “the Crimea.”

  60. 60

    @Hawes: I am referring to the way it was conducted, under the shadow of Russian goons, in a hurry and without an option to stay with Ukraine. Doesn’t exactly scream, free and fair to me.

  61. 61
    Cervantes says:

    @Ash Can:

    It’s because more and more people are raising the question of why he won’t say anything at all critical of Putin’s press and internet restrictions, even when directly asked about it, when he insists that his agenda is all about freedom of information above everything else.

    Probably before you’d ever heard of David Frum, in 1988, he asked someone the same sort of question you’re asking.

    Trust me, the question was already redundant even then, and that’s the kindest thing I can say about it.

  62. 62
    Belafon says:

    @Keith G: Yes, but you don’t often hear it from Obama about Republicans. Part of the issue with Greenwald, in this case especially, was the insistence that everyone involved condemn his pet issues, and his hiding behind the “Well, you didn’t condemn the bad chocolate pudding in the cafeteria.”

  63. 63
    Chris says:

    @aimai:

    I would tend to agree. I don’t know where this sudden “Putin’s crazy” meme has come from. Utter bastard, yes, but how was invading Ukraine crazy? It’s no different from our long history of military interventions in Latin America – screw over a small country because 1) it’s “our” “back yard,” 2) we can and 3) neener neener. It’s standard great power behavior, and on a scale of one to invading Afghanistan, really not crazy. (Whether it’ll do him any good in distracting the public from Russia’s real problems is another matter).

  64. 64

    @aimai: Ok then tell me what his endgame is? How is making enemies out of the US and the EU, not to speak of his nearest neighbors a wonderful thing for Russia?

    ETA: If not crazy it is extremely short-sighted.

  65. 65
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a point.

  66. 66
    Someguy says:

    After the US went around willy-nilly invading anybody that looked at us funny from 2001 to 2012, and since we’ve tampered with other countries internal politics constantly since 1945, we really don’t have any moral grounds to oppose Russia.

    Plus it’s Europe – it doesn’t really matter what happens there. Putin can head West until he hits Greenland, for all I care. Not our concern.

  67. 67
    Ash Can says:

    @Keith G: And I am not going to take seriously someone who presents himself as a champion of a free press who won’t even go so far as to say, “Sure, Russia isn’t perfect, but the US is worse.”

  68. 68
    muricafukyea says:

    Why no “Snowden is my hero” posts lately? Why has your hero Snowden not denounced Putin? Why are you not questioning that?

    I already know the answer, you’re just a kid, you don’t have any clue what you are talking about. Now you are suddenly all concerned about Putin. Why were you not concerned with Putin decided to use Snowden as a propaganda tool?

  69. 69
    feebog says:

    I don’t think Putin will try to put all of the Ukraine back under Russian influence via a full scale invasion. Don’t be surprised however, with him trying to pick off the Eastern third of the country and annexing it just like Crimea. He wants a buffer state between Russia and the Baltics, and if he has to carve up Ukraine to do it, well you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

  70. 70
    HinTN says:

    @SatanicPanic: A Republican (that’s almost a tautology given the balance of power here) State Senator yesterday invoked the dreaded Benghazi while arguing against data collection of student info in the Common Core testing program. Dead red here in the great state of Tennessee.

  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @A Humble Lurker: And how do you feel about broccoli?

  72. 72
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    1948? Also, given that Hawaii was already a US Territory, the choices of remain at territory or become a state is a bit less apples to apples than you imply.

    1959. It’s an interesting comparison, not as clear-cut as it may seem 55 years later.

    Hawaii was a US territory, yes, but there were obligations under the UN Charter that we did not meet, and the choices available to Hawaiian voters were unfairly constricted.

  73. 73
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Let me see if I have this right:
    The UN is out because Russia has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
    NATO is out because the EU is Russia’s largest trading partner.
    Global thermonuclear war would be out for obvious reasons.
    Invade Crimea and/or Ukraine. See above.
    Trade sanctions. The US is Russia’s fifth-largest trading partner. It follows the EU, China, Ukraine, and Belarus so not too effective.

    So Obama can do exactly what to materially affect the situation in Crimea?

  74. 74
    El Caganer says:

    Ukraine’s economy is in pretty bad shape; I don’t think the Russians would be doing themselves any favors by trying to take control of the whole country.

  75. 75
    Cervantes says:

    @Corner Stone: Why, has broccoli not criticized Putin yet?

  76. 76
    Eric U. says:

    I figure rMoney would have walked back his antagonistic talk regarding Russia by now. When there is a Democratic President, I occasionally feel embarrassed for my party, when there is a Republican President, I often feel embarrassed for my country. Actually, with Obama, I can’t really remember a time I was embarrassed for my party, he’s no Clinton

  77. 77
    ruemara says:

    @Keith G: lawl

  78. 78
    Ash Can says:

    @Cervantes: Baloney. Someone who rightfully has made a splash in the journalistic community as being its most vociferous proponent of freedom of speech and of the press, and is recognized as such, is asked about his opinion of press restrictions in Russia and all he can do in reply is mock the questioner? That’s called a red flag.

  79. 79
    ericblair says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    ETA: If not crazy it is extremely short-sighted.

    I think the major concern from the western viewpoint is that Putin has a very small inner circle where all decisions are made, where dissenting voices have already been tossed out, and everything else like the Duma, foreign affairs, and the military are rubber stamps. There’s been a bunch of noise about how little our intelligence has been able to figure out what’s been going on in Russia, but it’s really really hard if nobody but the few top dogs have any clue themselves. So it doesn’t look like a lot of the problems have been gamed out by the Kremlin, and shit can get out of hand easily this way.

    So Putin’s got his military bases safe in Crimea which were pretty safe in the first place, he’s got a net drain on the economy since the military is the only significant economic activity there these days, and we’re going to see ethnic cleansing of the Crimean Tatars which will be an ongoing diplomatic problem. This looks like a quick, emotional decision that doesn’t get him very much in the long term.

  80. 80
    El Caganer says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: I don’t think there’s much he can do beyond what he’s already done. He’s certainly not going to listen to an idiot like McCain.

  81. 81
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Chris: what he will do is in whatever it takes to install a friendly government in Ukraine. He will also probably do the same in one of the baltics to see if he can start breaking down NATO. Since the point of NATO at this juncture is the anti russian / oil supply maintenance alliance, he will probably do something to separate those two groups.

  82. 82
    Ash Can says:

    @Someguy: OK, now I understand where you’re coming from.

  83. 83
    Cervantes says:

    @Belafon:

    Part of the issue with Greenwald, in this case especially, was the insistence that everyone involved condemn his pet issues, and his hiding behind the “Well, you didn’t condemn the bad chocolate pudding in the cafeteria.”

    What are “his pet issues”? Perhaps if we could examine a list, there might be some way of understanding his point?

    Or we could just make fun of cafeteria food. That works, too.

  84. 84
    Cervantes says:

    @Ash Can:

    Baloney. Someone who rightfully has made a splash in the journalistic community as being its most vociferous proponent of freedom of speech and of the press, and is recognized as such, is asked about his opinion of press restrictions in Russia and all he can do in reply is mock the questioner? That’s called a red flag.

    Who is it that you think did nothing but “mock the questioner”?

  85. 85
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Someguy: I think you should probably get concerned at Iceland. If you must have a red line, I think Greenland is ludicrously late to start preparing for battle. Once you lose Greenland, you don’t get five extra armies. Stop them in Iceland.

  86. 86
    Belafon says:

    @Cervantes: did you read the article that was originally linked to?

    After initially referring Ricks to Snowden’s representative at the ACLU, Greenwald asked Ricks if he had any comment on “Peruvian police corruption,” “corporate waste dumping in E Africa,” or a U.S. drone strike from last year that killed 13 people en route to a wedding party in Yemen.

    The next day, after he evidently didn’t get the response from Greenwald that he was looking for, Ricks took to Twitter to denounce “Peruvian police corruption and US drones that kill innocents.”

    “Now [your] turn to discuss Putin,” Ricks said to Greenwald.

    After directing everyone toward a quote from Chomsky about only caring about corruption at home, Greenwald said:

    “Tom Ricks hasn’t condemned corporate waste dumping in East Africa; by his standards, this means he’s probably in cahoots with the polluters and profiteering off of it,” Greenwald said in an email.

    So, total avoidance by Greenwald on anything about Russia. And if he’s so worried about corruption at home, why doesn’t he talk about the problems in Brazil?

  87. 87
    JPL says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: The US needs to put up a missile defense system in Poland and let the 1 percent pay for it. Actually the right will want to pay for it but taxing those 47 percent moochers. Of course, that will not provide any actual security but it will allow McCain some happiness in his old days.

  88. 88
    Ash Can says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: In the long run, pretty much this. Putin’s adventurism is already costing Russia, but whether it all ends up costing his nation a sum of any importance is another matter entirely. If the West doesn’t want to — or can’t — impose sanctions that really make a difference, then this all ends up being a tempest in a teapot.

  89. 89
    Mike in NC says:

    President Rmoney would have threatened to invade and occupy Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, and Botswana if they failed to welcome a battalion of Mormon missionaries each led by one of his strapping young buck sons.

  90. 90
    Ash Can says:

    @Cervantes: Read Glenn Greenwald’s tweets.

  91. 91
    Belafon says:

    @Someguy: I will condemn our actions in Iraq, but could you please list me some other countries we invaded for looking at us wrong? As for the “moral authority” argument, that’s a rhetorical fallacy that means nothing other than an attempt to end a conversation.

    Also, ignoring Europe worked so well for the world over the last few hundred years, hasn’t it?

  92. 92
    Keith G says:

    @muricafukyea:

    Why no “Snowden is my hero” posts lately?

    Thus far on this thread (85+ comments), there have been no “Snowden is my hero” posts, but there has been a handful of de rigueur attacks. So be it. Folks need a hobby.

  93. 93
    Corner Stone says:

    “Pathology: It’s Not Just for Dinner Anymore!”

  94. 94
    daveNYC says:

    The fun thing about this situation is that it’s probably going to make the rest of Ukraine be really really interested in joining the EU/NATO or anything else that might possibly gain them any sort of security against Russia deciding that Crimea was a warm up act. Now the powers that be might be somewhat interested in doing something that would prevent Russia from gobbling up additional territory, but they’re going to have zero interest in onboarding a new member who is involved in an active territorial dispute with Russia.

    So potentially we (or some other group of powers) could sign on to back Ukraine’s current ‘non-invaded by Russia’ status, but it’d be a strange thing because it’d probably have to be done in such a way to avoid initiating a conflict over the Crimean situation.

    Seriously fun times.

  95. 95
    Ash Can says:

    @Belafon: Hell, I don’t even care if he talks about Brazil or not. It’s the refusal to answer questions about Russia that gets me. The most charitable thing I can think of in that regard is that he wants to keep mum on the subject out of concern for Snowden’s welfare. If Snowden is in fact on tenuous ground in Russia and Greenwald is genuinely concerned about him, it would certainly be the responsible thing to avoid controversy. But if that were the case, Greenwald is going about it strangely. He’s a good writer and he’s not stupid. You would think that he would figure out a way to word his responses in a way that deflects attention from the subject, rather than drawing more of it.

  96. 96
    Belafon says:

    @Keith G: I thought about asking if that was Cassidy.

  97. 97
    ericblair says:

    @Belafon:

    I will condemn our actions in Iraq, but could you please list me some other countries we invaded for looking at us wrong? As for the “moral authority” argument, that’s a rhetorical fallacy that means nothing other than an attempt to end a conversation.

    Just about anyone around the world who isn’t a dyed-in-the-wool neocon will condemn the US invasion of Iraq at this point, considering it anywhere from a colossal incompetent fuckup to a war crime. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the current US President opposed it. So trying to compare Russia’s actions in Ukraine to US actions in Iraq doesn’t seem to help Russia’s cause too damn much. However, it does make sense to the Kremlin as an argument of pure nationalism: the West got to screw with Kosovo so we get Ossetia, and the US got to invade Iraq so we get Ukraine.

  98. 98
    Belafon says:

    @Ash Can: And that compromise will keep on hurting Greenwald if he’s put himself in that position.

    Yes, my comment about Brazil should have been left out.

  99. 99
    Belafon says:

    @ericblair: And Russia can try to make those arguments, as lame as they are. They shouldn’t happen here, though, unless NotPutin shows up. (Just to be sure, I’m not accusing you of making them.)

  100. 100
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Keith G:
    So even just considering the idea that Glenn might not be as pure as the driven Snowden is an attack now?

    I don’t get that. This place is the home to rusty pitchforks and skull-fucking kittens. Considering that, Greenwald has, as far as I’ve ever seen here, been treated with the near softest of kid gloves by both the posters and commenters. The most I’ve ever seen is folks tentatively doubting his integrity and than being shouted down by posters who mysteriously appeared to apparently just do that and then never post again.

  101. 101
    Corner Stone says:

    @daveNYC:

    The fun thing about this situation is that it’s probably going to make the rest of Ukraine be really really interested in joining the EU/NATO

    OhGodPleaseNo.

  102. 102
    ruemara says:

    @Ash Can: I know, this is classist of me, but I cannot fathom someone as smart as Greenwald hanging out so much on Twitter. Much less his social butterfly/leadership syncretion level of presence.

  103. 103
    Corner Stone says:

    A few non-crippling sanctions and some even less crippling harsh words are a reasonable response to this unfortunate event over which we have no control and precious little influence.

    I suggest the best thing President Obama could do at this point is to look forward, not backward.

  104. 104
    Ash Can says:

    @Belafon: That guy is the assface who sticks his nose in between two people fighting, and gets punched simultaneously by both of them.

  105. 105
    ericblair says:

    @Belafon:

    They shouldn’t happen here, though, unless NotPutin shows up. (Just to be sure, I’m not accusing you of making them.)

    Heh, fuck no, but historically this is the way the Kremlin thinks about things. It’s about ethnic Russian nationalism: Putin’s respect for regional minorities and rights of self-determination doesn’t seem to extend to Chechnya and Dagestan, for example.

  106. 106
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: Much of Ukraine was already interested in closer association with the EU. Putin is doing more to consolidate that view than any Ukrainian politician has been able to in recent months.

    Everyone in Ukraine knows that NATO is a different story.

  107. 107
    Ash Can says:

    @ruemara: I think that especially with his new gig, online communication is his livelihood. I don’t think there’s anything surprising or sinister about that.

  108. 108
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @ericblair: On respect for regional minorities, Putin is the direct intellectual descendant of Josef Stalin.

  109. 109
    MomSense says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    FTW!!

  110. 110
    Chris says:

    @daveNYC:

    The fun thing about this situation is that it’s probably going to make the rest of Ukraine be really really interested in joining the EU/NATO or anything else that might possibly gain them any sort of security against Russia deciding that Crimea was a warm up act.

    Yes, but conversely it’ll also make the EU and NATO more wary about accepting Ukraine (and other ex-Soviet republics in general) into their alliances, for fear of provoking Russia.

    IMHO, best case scenario for what’s left of Ukraine is that it ends up as a neutral zone/buffer state between Russia and the West, same as, say, Siam used to be between the French and British empires.

  111. 111
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I vigorously denounce Stalin!
    But not broccoli, fuck the haters.

  112. 112
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Gin & Tonic: which is why I think this is gonna get ugly, fast, for a whole lot of people, including Putin

    Retweeted by Simon Shuster
    Sabine Freizer Gunes ‏@ SabineFreizer 5h
    It starts: Tatar activist Reshat Ametov found tortured + killed in Crimea. @ HRW urges immediate full investigation

  113. 113
    Epicurus says:

    Please enjoy “President” Romney’s brain droppings on the WSJ :Propaganda Page this morning. I frankly don’t have the stomach for it, having a delicate constitution. I’ll just bet it’s packed with gems like “Obama should be tougher” and “Why doesn’t the President DO something??!?” I’m so glad that robot was not elected to the White House; I suspect we would be near to a state of war today. Good grief.

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ash Can: FWIW I believe that “Someguy” and “some guy” are different commenters.

  115. 115
    Keith G says:

    @Belafon: I am curious about a standard applied to GG.

    He is seen to be a flawed person by a number of folks. Personally, I do not know what his flaws truly are or how problematic they might be. Speaking as a flawed person, I am not sure how much it matters.

    I became aware of GG in his career as a polemicist. I found his output mixed, but on occasion he did seem to take on good fights that were not being picked up by other. My thoughts, “Hard to read, but good on him.” Important information coming from a less than perfect vessel.

    Cut to today. Important information coming from a less than perfect vessel. Redux.

    I have tried to be agnostic about the Snow/Green info as it is released, and have waited for a vetting process to do its work. From what I have seen, there is much important information coming from less than perfect vessels.

    To me that effort stands on its own. It is either largely fact-based or it is not; it is either useful for our society’s striving for a better democracy or it is not.

    I have voted for effective politicians who I knew were shitheads because I felt there was important work that they could do. I well might read a investigative essayist even if I have some problems with some of these ideas.

    GG has played a role in a very important process for this society. Good for him. If his polemical output changes to purely screed-based, fact free diatribes, then his usefulness will be at an end and I won’t pay attention to anything attributed to him – much like I do to, say, Charles Krauthammer.

  116. 116
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m not sure why the EU would even consider bringing that destabilized economic goatfuck in, but I am 1000X more scared to death any warmongers suggest a NATO or NATO-like alliance with the Ukraine.

  117. 117
    Cervantes says:

    @Belafon:

    @Cervantes: did you read the article that was originally linked to?

    Tom Kludt’s article on TPM? Yes, I looked at it yesterday.

    So, total avoidance by Greenwald on anything about Russia. And if he’s so worried about corruption at home, why doesn’t he talk about the problems in Brazil?

    I imagine that Greenwald’s point is this: people should actively monitor and criticize their own governments, especially when they are tacitly (or actively) choosing or funding — or profiting from the actions of — those governments. It’s a very simple moral argument and it applies infinitely when one’s own government happens to be a “superpower.” You may recall that other people have made this and similar arguments; Dwight Macdonald, for one. (If need be, you can look it up; or I’d be happy to provide an excerpt.)

    So does Greenwald focus on the actions of the US government? (Is that his “pet issue,” his “bad chocolate pudding”?) If so, is it because of the argument I outline above? I’m not sure; you’d have to ask him — the way Tom Ricks could be doing, instead of trading on innuendo.

    As for Brazil, I have no idea what connection Greenwald has to that government, or what civic obligations he thinks he has while living there, or what he’s said on the subject. Feel free to educate me.

  118. 118
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Belafon: Cuba and the Phillipines. There’s also Panama back in the day when only White Men could be relied on to keep the Canal safe for White Men’s business. Libya got a kicking any time Reagan wanted a distraction from, say, Iran-Contra or the fuckup in Lebanon without actually committing boots-on-the-ground. Exactly how Hawaii, previously about 2000 miles from anything you might want to consider a United State, got to be a giant military base, a “possession” and finally subsumed into the Borg in ’59 is of course not to be questioned because, ummm, U. S. A! U. S. A!

    You guys went all the way to Empire without calling it one, a bit like the latter days of the Roman Republic which maintained the pretence of being meritocratic while ruling pretty much everything from Britain to the Baltic to Egypt as vassal states.

  119. 119
    Botsplainer says:

    @Cervantes:

    Probably before you’d ever heard of David Frum, in 1988, he asked someone the same sort of question you’re asking.

    Chomsky was in fact a doucheknuckle. Still is. A legend in his own dumbassed mind.

    I classify him the same was as I classify lifetime government dependent Paul Ryan, just in reverse.

  120. 120
    hoodie says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The Black Sea is a lake. Turkey has an islamic government now and won’t be happy about Russian expansionism into islamic regions in Central Asia. Hell, we can make the Black Sea a lake with a few well placed cruise missiles or a couple of attack subs. Putin knows all of that and is not stupid or crazy enough to risk it. Taking Crimea is potentially destabilizing, but it looks to me more like a calculated risk Putin took, knowing it might appease revanchist elements at home at a time when oil revenues are falling and potentially exacerbating social divisions. An occupation of Crimea is something he could pull off without encountering a bloody mess and anything other than futile outrage from the West. People who are ginning this up as a gigantic threat to world peace are really jumping the gun. It can be seen Putin’s equivalent of Granada or Panama, with fewer casualties. We have to make noise about it just to make clear this really is not the way to go about things, but don’t panic until he invades Ukraine.

  121. 121
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Epicurus: oh. There’s the insight that we don’t have good choices now and somehow we need to find good choices.

  122. 122
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: I don’t see any upside for NATO for bringing in Ukraine.

  123. 123
    Keith G says:

    @A Humble Lurker: Depending on context, it can be. Often as not, that observation is inserted as a veto on the merits of the NSA document release. I bet you realise that.

  124. 124
    Cervantes says:

    @Ash Can:

    Read Glenn Greenwald’s tweets.

    Sorry, I don’t “read” anyone’s “tweets.” (As it happens, I am reading What the Robin Knows, by Jon Young, and I would recommend it to you, except that it does not criticize Glenn Greenwald and must therefore be morally flawed, to say the least.)

    Anyhow, my response to your (redundant) question is above. If you wish, you can let me know when you have heard it. There’s also a shorter version of it.

  125. 125
    Botsplainer says:

    @Keith G:

    I do not know what his flaws truly are or how problematic they might be.

    Other than the fact that he’s a lying, manipulative polemicist and lousy lawyer who routinely acts as a shill for violent white supremacists, fascists and glibertarians while pretending that he’s all about freedom, he’s an awesome guy.

    Somebody needs to remind him how Ernst Rohm’s story ended.

  126. 126
    Belafon says:

    @Robert Sneddon: He listed 2001-2012.

  127. 127
    Cervantes says:

    @Botsplainer: That is a concise and definitive refutation. Thanks. Feel free to go back to sleep.

    (You’re right: it may have been unfair of me to assume you were awake when you wrote it.)

  128. 128
    Ash Can says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Thanks for the tip.

  129. 129
    Cacti says:

    Putin is the poor man’s Stalin, trying to reconstitute a poor man’s Soviet empire. The majority of the former Warsaw Pact nations astutely made their way into NATO after the collapse of the USSR. So, his eyes will remain on those who didn’t make it into the club.

  130. 130
    Mike in NC says:

    @Epicurus: I’m quite certain that the Mittster’s beef with Russia had everything to do with their unhappiness with “foreign religions” coming inside their borders, and Mormon missionaries in particular. If we learned anything during the 2012 campaign, it was that he was nearly as devoted to his cult religion as he was to his bank account.

  131. 131
    Ash Can says:

    @Keith G: It’s not the information, it’s the pattern. The hole in Greenwald’s polemics is all the more noticeable because of the vigor of those polemics. That’s what has people scratching their heads and asking questions — questions that apparently make GG uncomfortable.

  132. 132
    Ash Can says:

    @Cervantes:

    Sorry, I don’t “read” anyone’s “tweets.”

    Then you’re missing the whole point. It’s left you defending the indefensible.

  133. 133
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Keith G:
    I have no idea what you just said.

  134. 134
    the Conster says:

    @hoodie:

    That’s the argument that Nina Khruscheva was making last week – Crimea is the pearl that Putin has wanted all along and took advantage of any pretext to claim it, but if he’s stupid and overreaches he will choke on Ukraine.

  135. 135
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ash Can:

    That’s what has people scratching their heads and asking questions — questions that apparently make GG uncomfortable.

    Just as for some rightwingers it is always back to BENGHAZI!!, for some commenters here everything always comes back to Greenwald.

  136. 136
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cacti:

    Putin is the poor man’s Stalin

    I vociferously denounce Stalin!

  137. 137
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @hoodie: it might appease revanchist elements at home

    The video of the reaction to Putin’s speech in the Duma (sorry, can’t find a stored version of that right now) is frightening. Those who have criticized Ukrainian “nationalism” need to watch that.

    And what continues to strike me, as I have mentioned, is that Putin continues to campaign against the ghost of someone whom the KGB assassinated over half a century ago. Really odd.

  138. 138
    Corner Stone says:

    @Botsplainer:

    I classify him the same was as I classify lifetime government dependent Paul Ryan, just in reverse.

    So Paul Ryan is a douchenuckle in his own dumbassed mind, but is in fact, a legend?

  139. 139
    Corner Stone says:

    Someone please tell me there are no Austrian Archdukes on a diplomatic mission visiting Ukraine.

  140. 140
    Cervantes says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    Cuba and the Phillipines. There’s also Panama back in the day when only White Men could be relied on to keep the Canal safe for White Men’s business. Libya got a kicking any time Reagan wanted a distraction from, say, Iran-Contra or the fuckup in Lebanon without actually committing boots-on-the-ground. Exactly how Hawaii, previously about 2000 miles from anything you might want to consider a United State, got to be a giant military base, a “possession” and finally subsumed into the Borg in ’59 is of course not to be questioned because, ummm, U. S. A! U. S. A!

    You guys went all the way to Empire without calling it one, a bit like the latter days of the Roman Republic which maintained the pretence of being meritocratic while ruling pretty much everything from Britain to the Baltic to Egypt as vassal states.

    Repeating your answer because it’s … accurate as far as it goes (not far enough, you slacker).

    The question, however, was about countries we invaded “because they looked at us funny” or some such thing. Your answer shows that, on the contrary, we attack and invade for reasons that are logical and understandable once our “national interest” is suitably defined by the powers that be.

    Not news to anyone here, one would hope.

  141. 141
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: GREENGHAZI !!

  142. 142
    Cervantes says:

    @Ash Can:

    Then you’re missing the whole point. It’s left you defending the indefensible.

    I don’t think so.

    Why don’t you let me know when you’ve heard or read or understood my response(s) to you (and Belafon)?

  143. 143
    Cervantes says:

    @Corner Stone: I do have a costume I could lend you. (I’d have to find it first.)

  144. 144
    Belafon says:

    @Corner Stone: Actually, this particular subthread started with Greenwald.

  145. 145
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: Is Franz Ferdinand on a European tour?

  146. 146
    Cervantes says:

    @Belafon: Yes, that’s true also.

  147. 147
    Corner Stone says:

    @Belafon: In what way, exactly? In what way was Greenwald even tangentially relevant in this matter? He wasn’t, that’s how.
    Then the Conster dropped the Ricks pile at #31 and led yourself and Ash Can to make this thread about Greenwald. Kind of illustrating the point that for some here, it’s always GREENGHAZI!!

  148. 148
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: Yes, but they don’t seem to be going east of Wiesbaden. Not sure if that works.

  149. 149

    @Cacti: Stalin without the mustache of fear?

  150. 150
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: Hmmm, it seems they be from Scotland, so maybe not a prelude to WW3.
    However, they do have 71K+ followers on Google+, so we could still be looking at some riotous tension if anything were to happen to them in the lower Serbian region of the Crimea.

  151. 151
    Corner Stone says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Stalin without the mustache of fear?

    He’s been denounced! I denounce him!

  152. 152
    Belafon says:

    @Corner Stone: Conster did say it was OT. That’s why i said subthread.

  153. 153
    Corner Stone says:

    @Belafon: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

  154. 154
    Cervantes says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Or Syria — would you accept Syria?

  155. 155
    Mandalay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’m not sure why the EU would even consider bringing that destabilized economic goatfuck in

    They won’t. Becoming part of the EU is not a piece of cake. Current EU members must unanimously agree to any application. Turkey, a country with much stronger economy and closer ties to the rest of Europe, has been told to wait forever. Scotland has been told that becoming part of the EU would not be a formality if it votes for independence. Ukraine has no chance.

  156. 156
    Belafon says:

    @Corner Stone: Wow. What. A. Comeback.

  157. 157
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Cervantes:

    I’ll take Syria for 2000 American dead and 110,000 Syrian civilians killed, Alex.

  158. 158
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Reminders:

    1) RE: UN/NATO: this is why Shrub went the Coalition of the Willing route to Baghdad. Without the major treaty players willing to play, there’s precious little left except the “with us” portion of the global community.
    2) RE: Global Thermonuclear War / Troops in Ukraine/Crimea: to the hawks and neocons, these are ALWAYS on the table. Half of their whinging is that the US doesn’t invade/bomb/nuke enough.

    A Rmoney pResidency would have mobilized the entire US by now to deal with this “existential threat,” and anyone who thought that maybe risking global immolation might possibly be a bad idea would be quietly whisked off in a boxcar headed for a FEMA camp. Doubly likely if McCain or Bolton had any position of power in that WH.

  159. 159
    Mandalay says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Chomsky was in fact a doucheknuckle. Still is. A legend in his own dumbassed mind.

    Well not just his own mind. Apparently he has managed to fool everyone except you:

    Chomsky has been a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the National Academy of Sciences. Over the years Noam Chomsky has been invited to numerous major universities all around the globe. He has received at least ten honorary university degrees from around the world. In 1988, Japan awarded him with the Kyoto Prize for the Basic Sciences category. In terms of its prestige, its intent, and its monetary value ($350,000), it is very similar to the Nobel Prize. He has been the eighth most cited intellectual in the scientific literature for a long time and was identified in 2005 by the British magazine Prospect as the most influential living scholar in the world. Indeed his influence extends beyond that of science and in 1992 The Arts and Humanities Citation Index recognized Chomsky as being cited more than any other living scholar in the eighties and early nineties. Indeed, with William Shakespeare, Karl Marx and the Bible, Chomsky is apparently one of the top ten most cited in the humanities.

    Thank God you are here to expose that doucheknuckle!

  160. 160
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Several reports that at least one Ukrainian soldier has been shot and killed by Russian troops in Simferopol.

  161. 161
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Corner Stone:
    While I’ll admit that’s some fine hammering there, how’s Glenn going to get down from that cross you’re helping him nail himself to?

  162. 162
    Ash Can says:

    @Cervantes: I’ve read it and I understand it. What you don’t understand is that it’s irrelevant to the point, because of your own refusal to read the facts at hand.

  163. 163
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    I’m floored at the number of Juicers who seem to have forgotten that Russia is a superpower, a vast and wealthy country and one with a military at the least equivalent to ours in both size and capability.

    You’re not going to tell them what’s “right” or “legal”. They’ll figure that out for themselves and you can figure out how to deal with what they’ve decided, but you’re not going to tell them how to conduct their business.

  164. 164
    Cervantes says:

    @Ash Can:

    I’ve read it and I understand it. What you don’t understand is that it’s irrelevant to the point, because of your own refusal to read the facts at hand.

    I read Kludt’s article. I gave you Frum’s question, similar to the one Ricks is asking; and I gave you the response to Frum’s question. I don’t think any of that is irrelevant — but you think it is. Should it not be a simple matter, then — the work of a moment — for you to tell me why it’s irrelevant? (Thanks.)

  165. 165
    Campionrules says:

    @Mandalay:

    Anyone who couldn’t get the balls of the Khmer Rouge out of his mouth is a doucheknuckle regardless of how many times he gets cited.

  166. 166
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @A Humble Lurker: Why the fuck is this thread even talking about Glenn Fucking Greenwald? Whatever one thinks of him, international relations and politics of former Soviet Bloc are not his usual area.

  167. 167
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    Global Thermonuclear War / Troops in Ukraine/Crimea: to the hawks and neocons, these are ALWAYS on the table.

    Too true. It seems that the Republicans’ embrace of ignorance has extended to being ignorant of the consequences of slinging around nukes. And while I’m certain that Congress, as it always does, has taken great pains to ensure that it suffers none of the consequences of its actions in this instance those who survive the initial exchange will wish that they hadn’t.

  168. 168
    Mandalay says:

    @Campionrules:

    Anyone who couldn’t get the balls of the Khmer Rouge out of his mouth is a doucheknuckle regardless of how many times he gets cited.

    I was actually referring to the allegation that Chomsky was a legend in his own mind.

  169. 169
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Because Greenwald’s source Ed Snowden is currently living in Moscow, that bastion of freedom and the free press, after fleeing the oppressive United States.

  170. 170
    Cervantes says:

    @Campionrules: Your eloquence is overshadowed only by, well, never mind what it’s overshadowed by. Here’s Ed Herman on that episode:

    An important operational characteristic of the [propaganda] system, which facilitates general adherence to the party line without overt coercion, is the assurance and speed with which the line is established as a consensus truth, so that deviations and dissent quickly take on the appearance of foolishness or pathology, as well as suspiciously unpatriotic behavior. Noam Chomsky and I found that the very asking of questions about the numerous fabrications, ideological role, and absence of any beneficial effects for the victims in the anti-Khmer Rouge propaganda campaign of 1975-1979 was unacceptable, and was treated almost without exception as “apologetics for Pol Pot.”

    If you have looked into it and do not agree, that’s fine for now.

  171. 171
    Cervantes says:

    @Mandalay: You expect literacy from these clowns?

  172. 172
    Cain says:

    From what I understand, Crimea is going to be a complete burden to Russia. For the residents, teh move is only symbolic as their entire infrastructure depends on Ukraine. So that means that Russia will have to spend billions to move the infrastructure to them and otherwise pay Ukraine.

    So basically, Russia is going to be paying a lot of money for a region that has little strategic value other than to give the impression of a strong Russia. So basically short term thinking. That’s gotta suck. The russians are goign to be pissed when they see all this money going to Crimea and there still a lack of services. From what I can determine, the citizens of Russia aren’t particularly pleased by this either.

    So to recap:
    * Russia has to pay to mvoe infrastructure to support Crimea to them, while paying Ukraine to support Crimea while they do that.
    * Russia gets zero benefits from taking on Crimea other than historical support and also a chance to get back some of their military bases that they have estabilished there.
    * Russia looks good short term, but are kinda fucked long term
    * Their agression has caused EU to distrust them and cause them to look elsewhere for other sources of energy. So for the long term, Russia might be seeing less revenue

    Yeah, great job, Putin.

  173. 173
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mandalay: You have to split the man in two. In linguistics, his work was revolutionary, and is cited pretty much everywhere, although more recently there have been contentions that he aggressively purged anyone who had fundamental technical disagreements with him, and some of his theories have more detractors now than they did early on. But his serious work was a half-century ago.

    His writings on politics and international affairs are, of course, a lot more contentious, and probably lead to the “doucheknuckle” sobriquet. Influential? Perhaps, in some circles. Widely accepted? Certainly not. Would he still be spending so much time and energy on the politics “half” if he didn’t have the comfortable sinecure at MIT? You tell me.

  174. 174
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: That honestly makes no sense to me at all.

  175. 175
    Cervantes says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Trust me on this: MIT does not do “sinecure.”

  176. 176
    Cervantes says:

    @Cain: You make a number of good points but you may want to re-examine this one (at least, from Putin’s perspective):

    So basically, Russia is going to be paying a lot of money for a region that has little strategic value other than to give the impression of a strong Russia.

    Plus if you have not taken the precedent of the thing into account, you may want to.

  177. 177
    Cervantes says:

    @Ash Can:

    I’ve read it and I understand it.

    By the way, how did you read an audio recording?

  178. 178
    Someguy says:

    @Belafon: I will condemn our actions in Iraq, but could you please list me some other countries we invaded for looking at us wrong?

    Libya, tampering in Egypt, Kosovo, Sudan, Somalia, Nicaragua, Panama, Lebanon, Greneda, Cambodia, Laos, VietNam, Cuba, Lebanon again, Dominican Republic, Sinai… As for election tampering, Italy, Australia, most of Africa. That just goes back to 1956 of course.

    You can hate on the “we lack moral standing” argument all you like. But do you not think hypocrisy prevents us from building up any sort of plausible alliance to fight the Russians anywhere east of, say, Portland, ME?

  179. 179
    Someguy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @Ash Can: FWIW I believe that “Someguy” and “some guy” are different commenters.

    That is correct. I (someguy) am merely an asshole. Some guy is a fuckin’ Trotskyite revanchist. Punctuation matters: that space makes all the difference.

  180. 180
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Someguy: You gave a timeframe of 2001-2012. Which of these fit that timeframe?

  181. 181
    Cacti says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    I’m floored at the number of Juicers who seem to have forgotten that Russia is a superpower,

    In what sense of the word superpower, Charlie?

    The Russian federation has a GDP smaller than that of the European Union or United States by a factor of 8.

    Individually, their national economy is less than half of China or Japan’s, and is also smaller than those of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Brazil.

    with a military at the least equivalent to ours in both size and capability.

    And, again, no.

    The total Russian federation military budget is around $90 billion usd.

    Their Navy has 1 aircraft carrier FFS.

  182. 182
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Really? I think the best construction people have put on it is that Greenwald doesn’t want to publicly say anything against Russia that might spur them to eject Snowden since they’re really only sheltering him as a “fuck you” to the US anyway. Others have noted that it was a Russian bajillionaire who financed Greenwald’s latest media project.

    And, yes, some people find it hypocritical that Greenwald bitches about the invasive police state that is the United States and doesn’t say a single word about Russia invading another country and forcing a referendum on them. YMMV, of course.

  183. 183
    Cacti says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And, yes, some people find it hypocritical that Greenwald bitches about the invasive police state that is the United States and doesn’t say a single word about Russia invading another country and forcing a referendum on them.

    And actively censoring opposition media during the 2-week run up to the “referendum” there.

  184. 184
    danielx says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    You’re not going to tell them what’s “right” or “legal”. They’ll figure that out for themselves and you can figure out how to deal with what they’ve decided, but you’re not going to tell them how to conduct their business.

    Hey, WE are the only country that gets to do that! Because we’re the only ones that know what’s good for everybody. Also too, because…er….um….America fuck yeah!

  185. 185
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: This thread was about Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea. How is Greenwald relevant? Because Snowden is in Russia? If there is a post on the Bolshoi, is Greenwald relevant?

  186. 186
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cervantes: An 85-year-old holding an Institute Professorship? How heavy is his academic workload, pray tell?

  187. 187
    johnny aquitard says:

    Another of Larison’s posts, ‘Almost All Sanctions are “Unserious”‘, had this interesting observation:

    These tactics almost never work, but Westerners keep trying them out of a misguided belief that anything that the other government dislikes must be the right and the smart thing to do.

    It’s Cleek’s Law again:

    Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.

    And of course the WSJ article that called the sanctions unserious because it doesn’t piss off the Ruskies enough, ends with the real criticism of Obama’s insufficiently draconian sanctions: “The sanctions Mr. Obama announced are worse than useless because their main impact will be to make America look weak.”

    Its always about how it makes America look, which is of course is just an extension of themselves. It’s always about appearances with conservatives.

    They’re like a bunch of bulimic primadonnas, always trying something on and looking in the mirror and wondering if it makes them look fat.

  188. 188
    Cacti says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    This thread was about Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea. How is Greenwald relevant? Because Snowden is in Russia?

    Well, considering he heads up an org. called the Freedom of the Press Foundation that describes itself as…

    a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping support and defend public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government.

    And can’t be bothered to at say boo about the ruthless crackdown on press freedom, accompanying an unlawful military occupation of Crimea by the Russian federation, a reasonable person can surely wonder why it is so.

    Is he compromised by the presence of his most famous source being in Russia? Does he just not care? His silence and evasiveness on these questions, suggest that his commitment to press freedom is selective rather than universal.

  189. 189
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Keith G: B/c Greenwald showed out like a fool on twitter and yes, it does raise some serious questions.

  190. 190
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @johnny aquitard: Sanctions don’t make the US look weak. Sanctions ensure that there are consequences for violations of international law. The country being sanctioned can decide that the sanctions are worth it. Is the juice worth the squeeze?

  191. 191
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Eric U.: Right on!

    I got so mad at a friend of mine a month ago for slagging on Obama. I was all “Don’t you remember Clinton’s 2nd term?” — “Well, no.” — “Well, there’s your problem–he was terrible!”

  192. 192
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Cacti: Especially when he and his buddies through the Grauniad are in the midst of full bore attack mode at the UK over David Miranda’s detention several months ago, calling it a war on journalists and so on. But total silence about Russia’s shutting down of news sources in Russia and Crimea.

  193. 193
    Corner Stone says:

    In case anyone missed it, I just wanted to reiterate that I loudly and repeatedly denounce Stalin!

  194. 194
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cacti: I’m sorry; I guess I am odd in that my first reaction to an international crisis is not to wonder why GG has not spoken out about it. It seems to me that some commenters thought processes went Russia -> Snowden -> Greenwald.

  195. 195
    Cervantes says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    How heavy is his academic workload, pray tell?

    You don’t know the answer? No problem, but then why choose the word “sinecure”?

    An 85-year-old holding an Institute Professorship?

    Emeritus, actually.

  196. 196
    Suffern ACE says:

    @johnny aquitard: I think the opposite of weak is “batshit insane.” I think that’s what the hawks would like. Batshit insane responses to all crises, big or small.

    I say we place 100% tariffs on vodka until there is a regime change.

  197. 197
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Suffern ACE: I’m already boycotting because homophobia.

    Polish vodka is superior anyway.

  198. 198
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Gin & Tonic: “And what continues to strike me, as I have mentioned, is that Putin continues to campaign against the ghost of someone whom the KGB assassinated over half a century ago.”

    Really, in a country full of fuckwits with college degrees who go on TV and wonder aloud if they are witnessing Munich 2 every time there is an international situation, you are surprised to find that Russians act out morality plays, too?

  199. 199
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cervantes: I choose my words carefully.

    At MIT, Institute Professors are granted a unique level of freedom and flexibility to pursue their research and teaching interests without regular departmental or school responsibilities

  200. 200
    Cervantes says:

    @Gin & Tonic: You may choose your words carefully, but apparently you did not understand this word: “Emeritus.”

    As for how any of this affects the validity of the response to Frum in 1988, I’m sure we’re getting to that. Right?

    By the way, were you suggesting that, at MIT, “Institute Professor” is a sinecure?

  201. 201
    PJ says:

    @some guy: According to Wikipedia (yes, I know), the vote in January 1991 was to become an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, not a part of Russia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....ndum,_1991 There was no independent Russia at that time. The following year, the ASSR voted to become part of Ukraine.

  202. 202
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cervantes: I take no position on the Frum response. This devolved from some disagreements above about Chomsky, with Mandalay defending his “legendary” status by pointing to what was solely a result of his academic work. I pointed out that most of the disagreements with the man are about his extracurricular work, which is, arguably, “legendary” for other reasons, but which he was free to pursue with great vigor due to his having (since 1976) a very well-paying lifetime position with no actual academic responsibilities. But you knew that already.

  203. 203
    PJ says:

    @Botsplainer: You may feel that way, but I bet that right now every one of those Central and Eastern European countries is even more thankful they joined NATO.

  204. 204
    Someguy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @Someguy: You gave a timeframe of 2001-2012. Which of these fit that timeframe?

    If you want recent, our tampering in Libya is a start. The buildup of major bases in Africa for incursions into the surrounding areas, our troop presence in the Phillipines (because beating the Moros is like beating the Cowboys, you need to do it twice a year for it to feel legit), and then there’s the little matter of drone strikes in Yemen, Kuwait, Pakistan, and gaia knows where else.

    Point being we have a 75 year old pedigree of shitting on other nations’ sovereignty. It leaves us in no position to criticize Russia’s actions.

  205. 205
    Cacti says:

    @Someguy:

    Point being we have a 75 year old pedigree of shitting on other nations’ sovereignty. It leaves us in no position to criticize Russia’s actions.

    And what position were any of the Allied nations in to put Axis leaders on trial for crimes against humanity following WWII? The US, British Empire, and USSR most assuredly did not have clean hands on that score.

    “I know you are but what am I” might be emotionally satisfying, but it’s fairly useless as a basis for international policy.

  206. 206
    PJ says:

    @Someguy: You keep comparing the actions of a state to those of an individual, as if the US were a convicted felon and therefore somehow disqualified from protesting the bad actions of another citizen. There is no moral comparison. Pretty much every state that has had the chance has engaged in “shitting on other nations’ sovereignty,” which, in your eyes, makes them unfit to criticize any other state’s actions. If this were the standard, then no state could ever protest or act against the bad actions of another state, even when the security of their own state is threatened. Under your morality, Britain and the USSR, which had killed more people in the name of their empires than the US has, should have just let Germany conquer all of Europe without a peep.

    States are not individuals, but organized masses of individuals. They act in their perceived self-interest. As part of this self-interest, a complex body of international law has grown up over the past couple of hundred years to constrain the actions of states – including the protection of basic human rights – because signatory states at least nominally believe that respect for these laws improves the well-being of everyone. If states were not allowed to protest violations of these laws, it would be as if they never existed. In the kind of world you’d like to live in, law – and the morality expressed by the law – would play no part whatsoever in international relations.

  207. 207
    Cervantes says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I take no position on the Frum response. This devolved from some disagreements above about Chomsky, with Mandalay defending his “legendary” status by pointing to what was solely a result of his academic work. I pointed out that most of the disagreements with the man are about his extracurricular work, which is, arguably, “legendary” for other reasons, but which he was free to pursue with great vigor due to his having (since 1976) a very well-paying lifetime position with no actual academic responsibilities. But you knew that already.

    Two things above that I did not know: one, that you take no position on the response to Frum — but that is fine by me. And two, I did not, and still do not, “know” what’s bolded above — but you are (obviously) free to believe it if it pleases you to do so.

    To get back on track: it’s not easy to see what should be done about Putin, but I am sure that Greenwald’s condemning him or his actions would have absolutely no useful effect.

  208. 208
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cervantes:

    but I am sure that Greenwald’s condemning him or his actions would have absolutely no useful effect.

    Ah, but the implication by innuendo is that Ricks says, “I am beginning to believe the worst about them.”
    Now, what that “worst” may be is left to the reader. But it’s clearly something nefarious and detrimental to humanity.

  209. 209
    Cervantes says:

    @Ash Can:

    It’s not the information, it’s the pattern. The hole in Greenwald’s polemics is all the more noticeable because of the vigor of those polemics. That’s what has people scratching their heads and asking questions — questions that apparently make GG uncomfortable.

    Here’s a (not necessarily mine, but one) counter-theory: it’s just easier to scratch one’s head portentously about Greenwald-related irrelevancies than it is to deal with the unpleasant reality he is writing about — especially because people we admire are among those implicated in that unpleasant reality.

  210. 210
    johnny aquitard says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:No, I’m not saying sanctions are weak, the WSJ is. The WSJ piece linked to in the Larison post I linked to goes on about how its all weak sauce, obummer’s feckless, makes US look weak, yadda-yadda.

    Apparantly real leaders make ultimatums and drop bombs. On a country with an arsenal of nukes pointed at US cities.

    If the sanctions are a rebuke, they are demanding a boot to the groin.

    They insist on doing whatever pisses off their opponent most, regardless of whether it is stupid and harmful to their own interests in the long run, updated daily. In this the WSJ has expressed a restatement of cleeks law.

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