But Who Will Feed the War Pig?

mccain-strangelove

Looks like kicking Putin in the wallet is perhaps showing some dividends:

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia called President Obama on Friday to discuss a proposal by Mr. Obama for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, and the two leaders agreed that their chief diplomats should meet soon to explore it, the White House and Kremlin said.

In a statement from the White House, officials said that the telephone call from the Russian president followed a proposal presented by Secretary of State John Kerry to Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, during talks at the Hague earlier this week.

While there was no immediate indication that either side was prepared to give ground, Mr. Putin’s telephone call in itself appeared to represent a shift in tone aimed at defusing a serious rupture in relations and Russia’s increasing isolation.

I’m sure Johnny MCCain will be on Beat the Press on Sunday to be fellated by Dancing Dave and bleat about bombings, but looks like cooler heads are once again prevailing.

Seriously, can we go all FDR and elect Obama a couple more times? Although he’s probably smart enough to say fuck that.

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166 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Obviously, Putin’s outsmarted Obama again. That’s what you’ll see in the Sunday shows.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    Your buddy Pat Lang and his cronies disagree.

    “Playing with fire, the vainglorious ass, Obama, has derided Russia by calling it merely a “regional powerWell, maybe, but it’s a mighty damn big “region” and a well-armed “regional power” that has had a belly full of being pushed into a corner by ahistorical Jacobin asses such as our Maximal Leader. Great thumping words, President Obama, you posturing fool. “

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    @raven:

    That just oozes credibility.

  4. 4
    raven says:

    @Baud: Yea, he is furious that Obama is “playing with fire” and “poking the bear” and , at the same time talking about how no one listen to him.

  5. 5
    trollhattan says:

    @raven:

    Jesus, who’s that jackass? Wait, don’t think I want to know.

  6. 6
    raven says:

    @trollhattan: He’s just to your left on the blogroll. I bitched for a year to get him off there but I gave up.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    dupe

  8. 8
    Suffern ACE says:

    I’m more of a historical jacobin. That makes me 10x more dangerous.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    @raven:

    Another example of Obama the Bellicose Appeaser, eh?

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    Who woulda thought that hurting their economy might cause akimbo boob man to cry uncle. This is good news for Christie because the Sunday talk shows might not spend time discussing his future.

    also.. thank you Jon Stewart for the new phrase

  11. 11
    raven says:

    @Baud: I must make a correction and say that quote is from one of Lang’s FP’gers.

  12. 12
    Judge Crater says:

    Good Christ, when are we going to grow up as a nation? We are ruled by school-yard anxieties and pre-pubescent notions of manhood. Bush 43 strutting across a carrier deck with his helmut under his arm is the metaphor for our national delusions.

    Enough.

  13. 13
    Suffern ACE says:

    I’m not certain though that it is our sanctions that are causing the outreach. I’d talk now, too. It’s fairly clear that the key NATO and EU powers are not convinced by the Administration, so might as well talk now before they change their minds.

  14. 14
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Judge Crater: truthfully we won’t. Obamas foreign policy polls are pretty crappy right now, even though he is doing exactly whatnpublic opinion says it wants. Because we want the world to follow our orders without having to commit any resources. The public wants to rule the world through magic, basically.

  15. 15
    Poopyman says:

    The Newsmax headline tells me Chuckles isn’t happy:

    Krauthammer: Obama Outmatched by Putin

    Wait, maybe that means Chuckles is happy. Even while he’s wrong.

    And while we’re on the Newsmax headlines …

    Cheney on Torture: I’d Do It Again If I Had To

    Unapologetically using the “T” word?

  16. 16
    Suffern ACE says:

    @raven: yeah. Because the Russians have been so polite. I believe Pravda referred repeatedly to our SoS as a Pig Face.

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Because we want the world to follow our orders without having to commit any resources. The public wants to rule the world through magic, basically.

    At least our domestic and foreign views are consistent.

  18. 18
    Ash Can says:

    Sounds like the oligarchs propping up Vlad the Runt’s administration may have sent their Cousin Igor over to have a few words with Vlad’s kneecaps.

  19. 19
    srv says:

    Putin just called to accept Obama’s terms of surrender.

  20. 20
    Poopyman says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    The public wants to rule the world through magic, basically.

    Yes, and the Republicans campaign on magical governance and continually win. Hard to beat them with logic. Just ask Al Gore. Dems could try campaigning against them with our own magical governance but, well, we don’t have any, and most Dems aren’t really good at slinging fact-free bullshit.

  21. 21
    Ian says:

    Seriously, can we go all FDR and elect Obama a couple more times?

    We have a longstanding tradition, followed by a constitutional amendment after FDR’s death, strictly against this.
    Wanting a president for life is kind of like a monarchy.

  22. 22
    jl says:

    @raven: Lang is raving so much these days that I stopped even looking at his blog. Sad, since he does have lots of useful knowledge of military and covert action stuff.

    Anyway, the Russian overture can’t be happening, since Roger Cohen, some foreign affairs pundit, just wrote that Obama was being weak again this week, and surrendered some magic credibility chips to the Russian Bear, who Is On the Prowl!

    I am not surprised that Putin is making overtures about finally going for some diplomatic solution. Just taking over shit militarily in other countries, whether on a completely bogus pretext or out of some legitimate concern, is going to be problematic these days long term, for all sorts of financial, economic and social reasons, not just sanctions.

    For one thing, Putin probably knows very well that his pro-Russian flunkies in Crimea produced a bogus election, and knows that many pro-Ukrainians sat out the election, and knows that it is not true that 92 or whatever percent of the Crimean population is all warm and fuzzy about being just sucked up into Russia, and some of them will get restless. And I read that Turkey is making noises about they can play the kindred ethnic community interest game too, and they might just not let Russian ships through their straits if they are displeased. And Putin does not want to worry about all that stuff if he doesn’t have to. Probably now that he has his military bases secure and can keep them if he does not like any deals on the table, he is willing to talk about more reasonable solutions to his supposed worries about Ukraine, and what are probably real worries about the long term status of Russian bases in Crimea.

    So, what was all the huffing and puffing about magic geopolitical credibility chips, manic and creepy long distance psycho-sexual analysis of Putin and what goes on in his head, and cynical partisan GOP war grumping, worth in the end? Not one damn thing.

  23. 23
    raven says:

    @Suffern ACE: That is nothing compared to what Lang calls him.

  24. 24
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Suffern ACE: the key NATO and EU powers are not convinced

    They are not convinced by the US administration, of course. They are convinced by the price of gas (Germany), the price of Mistral-class helicopter carriers (France) and the price of real estate (UK).

  25. 25
    jl says:

    @raven: Lang calls Obama the ‘N’ word! (Narcissist). As I have said before, I do not understand at all how that aspect of Obama so unbearably grates Lang and his crew after Bill Clinton and (especially) GW Bush and most of his crew. Maybe some subliminal racial angst on Lang’s part?

    Lang says he voted for Obama twice. So, I think Lang got the lesser narcissistic evil twice (instead of McCain and Romney) but he is still very unhappy. Sad day for him.

  26. 26
    JPL says:

    OT.. But what an interesting two minutes in the Michigan /Tennessee game.

  27. 27
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @jl: what are probably real worries about the long term status of Russian bases in Crimea.

    Real worries? He re-signed the lease agreement for those bases in 2010, lasting for at least another 30 years. They were under no threat from either any previous or the current Ukrainian governments, which could use the lease payments. Now maybe he no longer wanted to pay the rent, but that doesn’t fall under “real worries.”

  28. 28
    raven says:

    @jl: He’s fucking racist pig. I had several race related disputes with him, i was always right and he just kept it up. The last straw was after Newtown. I was trying to talk about some way for people to discuss the gun situation. I said “as a gun enthusiast” and he went fucking banana’s, He’s also one of those ” a hippie spit on me in the airport” douchebags.

  29. 29
    efgoldman says:

    Hey Cole!

    I’m sure Johnny MCCain will be on Beat the Press on Sunday

    “Beat the Press” is a real Friday night half-hour on local (Boston) public TV. They get a little totebaggery sometimes, but they provide some valuable insight into what’s going on in journalism.
    http://wgbhnews.org/post/whats.....y-march-28

  30. 30
    raven says:

    @efgoldman: Beat the press is what Michigan just barely did.

  31. 31
    John M. Burt says:

    @Suffern ACE: We expect the world to bend to our will in memory of what we were able to do in the 1950s, just as we are assured that corporations will never betray non-union workers in memory of what unions were able to do in the 1950s, so no need to actually form a union today.

  32. 32
    Baud says:

    TPM

    The vice mayor of Maricopa, Ariz. apologized Tuesday for praising the late founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in a Facebook post.

    The Maricopa Monitor reported that Vice Mayor Ed Farrell on Monday shared an obituary for Fred Phelps, the former leader of the church organization known for its “God Hates Fags” slogan and its protests at military funerals, with the caption “We need more Fred Phelps in this world. May you rest in peace sir.”

    But that obituary was published by the satirical website The Onion, according to the newspaper, and several commenters criticized Farrell’s praise for Phelps.

  33. 33
    efgoldman says:

    @Baud:

    But that obituary was published by the satirical website The Onion, according to the newspaper, and several commenters criticized Farrell’s praise for Phelps.

    In case anyone needed a clarification for “derp.”

  34. 34
    jl says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    The protesters tried to nix the deal the Ukrainian government made to prop up Yanukovych for another umpteen months. And whatever happened afterward, it could look like to some that the protesters got their way. What would the next batch of protesters unhappy with whatever in a few years try to dictate? And would things fall out so that they got their way? I think those are the questions Putin was thinking about, and he wanted to establish a good and very solid status quo for his bases before he thought about a long term solution. Not saying I approve of what Putin did. But then I don’t particularly approve of the EU and US approach to geopolitical and economic game playing in Eastern Europe either, though their approach is much more smooth and civilized than rolling in the tanks.

    I’ve read that Russia is pissed because they feel the US went back on some promises made back in the early nineties about expansion of NATO. I don’t know enough about it to know for sure, but think they might have a case.

    People talk about going back to the Cold War, It seems to me that, we have never left Cold War thinking in terms of economic, financial and geopolitical rivalries. Just the military stuff has been toned down, mainly because Russia, in fact, is just barely a regional power now. But, it makes me very cynical about these crises. Too bad the country you came from has gotten part of it sliced off in one of these dramas.

  35. 35
    Hill Dweller says:

    Just watched Babette’s Feast. Big Night is coming up next on TCM.

  36. 36
    Cassidy says:

    You can’t start a war in the middle of a downsizing. Service members with tattoos would be getting mixed messages.

  37. 37
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    While Obama plays chess, Putin is playing Risk.

  38. 38
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Ash Can: Especially since The USSR is no longer, and Russia actually trades with the outside world-and as much as banks got away with wrecking the economy, the last thing they want now is to be seen dealing with any of the Russian oligarch’s now placed on OFAC‘s SDN‘s.

  39. 39
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: Good thing that chess requires actual skill, whereas your fate in Risk is largely tied to how the dice falls.

  40. 40
    Bob In Portland says:

    First, if anyone thought that the US could overthrow the elected government of Ukraine and replace it with a coalition of fascists and oligarchs antithetical to Russians and that Russia wouldn’t react, they must be licking their wounds by now. That is, if they notice what is happening.

    Until 1954 Crimea was part of the Soviet Union. Krushchev, a Ukrainian, gave it to the Ukraine, undoubtedly in the hope that if you have enough Russians in the Ukraine that they wouldn’t drift back to their fascist, Nazi past. Didn’t work, especially after America’s diddling there, so now Russia is essentially taking back those parts of Ukraine that are largely Russian.

    This is what I suspect Putin was offering Obama: A loose, Finlandized, federation of the territories of Ukraine which will not be a threat to Russia, and enough independence for various regions so that Russians living in eastern Ukraine aren’t threatened by the ultra-rightists in the streets of Kiev.

    He probably also gave Obama a deadline.

    Here’s Obama’s problem: He can’t agree without getting crap from the right, including the right-wingers in Ukraine. But if he doesn’t agree, then Russia will seize Donetsk and maybe a few other cities in the east and the fascists in Kiev will howl.

    Anyone who thinks that Putin is playing with a weak hand isn’t very well informed. Europe, especially Germany, can’t afford to stop using Russian oil and gas. Nor can South Korea and Japan and China, who all rely on it. All of those countries face creating a worldwide depression over keeping the Russians in Donetsk from being reunited with Russia.

    This has been essentially Cold Warriors in the permanent government who overstepped themselves. This outcome seems so obvious that I wonder if this is a little sabotage of Obama by them for not going to war against Iran and Syria.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Oh, fuck Gramps Walnuts with Paul Ryan’s dick.

  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @efgoldman: Derp indeed. This Farrell clown probably also thinks that Colbert is on his side.

  43. 43
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    This is what I suspect Putin was offering Obama

    According to the White House, Putin called to talk about an American proposal “for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis” and the two presidents agreed that their respective top diplomats “would meet to discuss next steps.”

    Europe, especially Germany, can’t afford to stop using Russian oil and gas.

    A trans-Atlantic free trade deal would allow the European Union to reduce its dependence on Russian energy and strengthen its ability to stand up to Moscow on issues like Ukraine, U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
    __
    Several of the 28 EU nations regret their heavy dependence on Russian gas now that they are seeking to punish Moscow for its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
    __
    Obama showed his willingness to help with the EU’s energy quandary. “Once we have a trade agreement in place, export licenses for projects — for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe — would be much easier, something that’s obviously relevant in today’s geopolitical climate,” Obama said.

  44. 44
    gnomedad says:

    @raven:
    That wimp Obama needs to get tough with Russia, but in a respectful way.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ian: The Rethugs really kicked themselves all over the place for being so in favor of the 22nd Amendment when in 1985 they realized that President Reagan could not be transformed into King Ronaldus Magnus

  46. 46
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud: Dumbledore can only shake his head in bemusement from beyond. Silly Muggles.

  47. 47
    amk says:

    he’s probably smart enough to say fuck that.

    of course, he is. A raygun loving and dumbya voting country with a teabaggers congress is not worth his time anymore.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Suffern ACE: Jacobins got a real bad rap from a few bad actors during The Terror. Fortunately, Napoleon fucked everything up with his Imperial Empire overextension shit.

  49. 49
    p.a. says:

    @Bob In Portland: well, he will get shit from the right no matter what. If he waves the Elder Wand and puts Putin into retirement while turning Russia into Periclean Athens they’ll say it took too long, cost too much, and Russia still allows contraception. And the Fox news mooyuks will nod in agreement.

  50. 50
    p.a. says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: No True Jacobin…

  51. 51
    kdaug says:

    Precedent, my friend. A slow drip on the rock. Give it time.

  52. 52
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Krushchev, a Ukrainian . . .

    This is false; Khrushchev was born in the Kursk oblast to Russian peasants. Your comment doesn’t get any more accurate from there.

  53. 53
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I’m delighted to learn that, after 60 years, the fascists are no longer in control of the formerly Autonomous Republic of Crimea (how’s that autonomy now?). That makes the ethnic cleansing of non-Russians so much more palatable, politically. Who’s threatening whom, now?

  54. 54
    inkadu says:

    @Ian: Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton… Is there a form of monarchy shared among a few families?

  55. 55
    Bob In Portland says:

    @🍀 Martin: Mighty long pipeline. And if you stop using Russian gas and oil now, how long until you get all that fracked stuff from the US? How long can you shut down factories in the EU without causing a depression? A month? A year? A decade? How much more will natural gas from the US cost than what Russia has? And this would be for keeping the Russians in Donetsk, who don’t even want to be in Ukraine, from being in Russia?

    You can call the diplomatic proposal American, American modified by Russia, or whatever you want, but you can be sure that Russia wants to permanently defang the fascists and offer protection for the Russians in the east. I’m guessing that Crimea is off the table. It’s back in Russia.

  56. 56
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): He rose up in the Ukrainian Communist Party. I guess blood is important in a region where people are rounded up and killed because of their alleged DNA. Dismiss what you will. Russia is doing what Russia could have been predicted to do in reaction to the coup that five billion of your tax dollars brought, overthrowing an elected government and replacing it with fascists.

  57. 57
    inkadu says:

    @jl: If I were Putin, I would think I could annex Crimea without any real consequence from the global community. They bombed the fuck out of Georgia and nobody complained. This Crimean business is really a stroll in the park. And the Crimean vote might be overstating Russia’s popularity, but the demographics support Russia’s argument.

    Putin probably sees that the West is serious (this time) and is recalculating the value of his move. There’s the official sanctions, loss of prestige and diplomatic power, but there’s also the sobering fact that Europe will be spending the next 20 years on a full-time society-wide effort to get off Russian gas. And without natural resources, Russia has nothing.

  58. 58
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’ve heard that Russia offered that Ukrainian officers in Crimea can keep their ranks if they join the Russian army. Since Russia pays around four times what Ukraine pays its officers, and since a lot of those officers have their families there, it isn’t a surprise that roughly 80% of them have accepted that offer. Not quite ethnic cleansing.

    I should say “allegedly” since I haven’t seen this reported in the western press and if it isn’t reported in the western press then it can’t possibly be true.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    I guess blood is important in a region where people are rounded up and killed because of their alleged DNA.

    You mean like the Holodomor? Or was that justified because the people who were murdered had Ukranian DNA?

    But, hey, what’s 1.8 million dead Ukranians between friends, right? No reason for the Ukranians to still be pissed off at the Russians.

  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Bob In Portland: When Putin gets serious about the remaining Tatars, then we can talk about some ethnic cleansing.

  61. 61
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Bob In Portland:
    Shouldn’t you be out buying your boss a shirt?

  62. 62
    burnspbesq says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    the US could overthrow the elected government of Ukraine and replace it

    What the FUCK are you talking about, you moron? Do you seriously believe the crap you’re spouting?

  63. 63
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Oh, the charms of the Internet, where somebody who doesn’t speak Russian and has never set foot in Donetsk can spout off on what the Russian-speakers in Donetsk might want.

  64. 64
    Mike in NC says:

    @Bob In Portland: Bobsky in Portlandsky will never stop being Putin’s bitchsky.

  65. 65
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    He rose up in the Ukrainian Communist Party.

    And the Ukrainian Communist Party so clearly had the interests of Ukrainians at heart.

  66. 66
    Waynski says:

    Short McCain, “We didn’t all this way to drop this thing in the drink!”

  67. 67
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Bob In Portland: Germany uses 4m bbl of oil per day. They get ~1.5m bbl per day from Russia. One large tanker every 3 days would cover that. Shipping by tanker costs about $.03/gal more than by pipeline. Takes about 12 days for a tanker to cross the atlantic, so 8-10 tankers running continuously keeps them in business.

    We seem to be exporting about 1m bbl/day now and that’s expected to double by the end of the year. So we could make up a decent bit of their shortfall, but not quite all of it. We could easily meet their needs in nat gas.

  68. 68
    Bill Arnold says:

    @🍀 Martin:

    According to the White House, Putin called to talk about an American proposal “for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis” and the two presidents agreed that their respective top diplomats “would meet to discuss next steps.”

    Any speculation (besides BIP’s) on what this proposal might be?
    (An illustrative guess: something like forgiving Ukraine’s gas debt, Russia keeps Crimea (maybe with some limited “autonomy”), sanctions dropped, coupled with assurances/clarifications on both sides about side issues, such as military and natural gas.)

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    Speaking of things that involve Russia, I heard part of an interesting story on NPR when I was driving home tonight about Iran’s waning support for Syria. Short version: since Iran is to chemical weapons what Japan is to the atomic bomb, a lot of Iranians are becoming more vocal in saying Iran needs to stop supporting Syria because of Syria’s chemical weapons use.

  70. 70
    Cervantes says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Khrushchev was born in the Kursk oblast to Russian peasants.

    Yes.

    His birthplace, Kalinovka, was very close to the border with Ukraine. His parents were indeed Russian but he moved across the border to Ukraine as a kid and lived and worked there for years — and, if memory can be trusted, married there as well. And for what it’s worth, it’s also true that he “rose up in the Ukrainian Communist Party.”

    Given all that, Bob In Portland may say Khrushchev was Ukrainian — but the Ukrainians around him in those years would not have agreed: they called him кацап (katsap), which is sort of an ethnic slur Ukrainians use(d) against Russians.

    In any event, whether Khrushchev was Ukrainian or Russian or Burmese or Bengali, he did what he did decades ago. What Putin did in Crimea last week is not right. Yes, there are many wrongs in the world; this was one of them.

  71. 71
    chopper says:

    Obama’s just itching to invade. swinging dicks, boots onna ground, etc etc. gotta feed the MIC, amirite?

  72. 72
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Bill Arnold: Yeah, probably something along those lines. Given where we’re headed on oil exports, the free trade deal with EU would be pretty damaging to Russia. And Germany (like us) is reducing oil consumption, so that deal only gets easier to implement. So, we really do have something to negotiate with here.

  73. 73
    Cacti says:

    @raven:

    “Playing with fire, the vainglorious ass, Obama, has derided Russia by calling it merely a “regional powerWell, maybe, but it’s a mighty damn big “region” and a well-armed “regional power” that has had a belly full of being pushed into a corner by ahistorical Jacobin asses such as our Maximal Leader. Great thumping words, President Obama, you posturing fool. “

    Pfff.

    The Russian Federation would be hard pressed to win a conventional war with Turkey.

    It has less than half the population of the Soviet Union in 1989.

    Its navy has 1 aircraft carrier.

    Its GDP is smaller than Great Britain’s.

    Paper tiger? You betcha!

  74. 74
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Bill Arnold: Go to the source.

    Read it carefully. It may show up in the New York Times or WaPo in the next week.

  75. 75
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Cervantes: What did you say about Kosovo?

  76. 76
    Cassidy says:

    @chopper: Just like Syria.

  77. 77
    AxelFoley says:

    Seems like this Obama guy knows what he’s doing.

  78. 78
    ruemara says:

    @Bob In Portland: Russia Today? That’s your source? Oi.

  79. 79
    Cacti says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    What did you say about Kosovo?

    Bob-O the clown had his-self a big old sad when he learned that there wouldn’t be any more massacres in Prekaz or Drenica.

  80. 80
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Cacti: WTF are you talking about. They now have an elite dolphin combat unit.

    They will fuck you up with their dolphins, man!

  81. 81
    Cervantes says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    What did you say about Kosovo?

    “Nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there”?

    What is the import of your question? I have no idea.

  82. 82
    Cacti says:

    @🍀 Martin:

    WTF are you talking about. They now have an elite dolphin combat unit.

    They will fuck you up with their dolphins, man!

    Has Putin heard that dolphins can be gay?

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob In Portland: I say the massacres in Kosovo wouldn’t have happened if we has intervened in Bosnia in a timely manner. Of course that has nothing to do with what is going on in Ukraine.

  84. 84
    jl says:

    @inkadu:

    It also occurred to me that, from what I see in the news, the Russian ethnics in eastern and southern Ukraine have not been out in the streets in masses demanding protection from Russia, and the Russian agents, or small groups of Russophiles, or whoever they are who are making trouble have not managed to to stir up much sympathy among most of the Russian ethnics.

    So, maybe it is dawning on Putin that if he is to have any influence at all in the Ukraine, and wants to keep it in the old Soviet sphere of influence, he will have to change tactics, unless he is willing to influence the country at the point of guns and tanks.

    People seem to forget that that in the big picture, as opposed to who ‘won the morning’ in the news, Putin has still suffered a massive set back and humiliation compared to where he was in Ukraine a year ago. His Russian ally in Ukraine turned out to be an inept, murderous, cowardly, corrupt fool. Putin lost his trade deal with Ukraine and there is no way that is coming back soon. His actions have driven Ukraine into the EUs failed, and miserably counterproductive discredited neoliberal Wasnington consensus economic embrace. Why the EU can work miracles, I am sure, and soon Ukraine can be like Ireland or even Spain! Whoopee. But nevertheless, Putin and Russia are cut out, unless they want to blow up stuff and kill people, which is a loser in the long term.

    Yet, I read about how Putin is sitting on the top of the world and is a winner! The wise U.S. foreign affairs and political pundits tell me so.

  85. 85
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Mnemosyne: I wasn’t limiting my comment to the nationalist Ukrainians. The Russians then the Soviets did a lot of killing. The Hungarians up the road, with their Green Arrow, were good at it too. I’m guessing every ethnicity in the region, if given their shot, took it.

    Here is an interesting piece by an Irish journalist who just spent a little time in Ukraine. Does not sound like things are moving in the right direction. Maybe the far-right direction, though.

    So just imagine what Ukraine is going to be like when the IMF clamps down hard in a few months. You think Donetsk will want to be in Ukraine in 2015?

  86. 86
    Bob In Portland says:

    @🍀 Martin: Okeydoke.

  87. 87
    🍀 Martin says:

    Just had an earthquake. Not very big. Mid 5s a bit away, my guess.

  88. 88
    🍀 Martin says:

    Hmm. Can’t load the earthquake data site. Maybe it was bigger than that.

  89. 89
    🍀 Martin says:

    5.3 in LaHambra.

    Damn, I have a well-calibrated ass.

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🍀 Martin:

    Damn, I have a well-calibrated ass.

    This brings questions to mind. Perhaps they are better left unasked.

  91. 91
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Word.

  92. 92
    Ian says:

    @Bob In Portland:
    These claim’s lack evidence, knowledge of current affairs, and contain a very binary black/white worldview..
    Also it seems that you view this as a US/Russian conflict, with little regard for Ukrainian interests or Ukrainian motives.

  93. 93
    Bob In Portland says:

    @jl: Russia would prefer a neutralized, neutered Ukraine over possessing Donetsk et al with Kiev run by the current fascists. Don’t you think?

    And actually, some cooler heads in the West would probably prefer it too. What do you want? Russia in a hot war with our stand-ins in Ukraine?

    I hold out three possibilities. Obama was onboard with this idiocy of overthrowing the elected Ukrainian government (which goes back to the Treaty of Fort Hunt and Gehlen’s Org), it was the work of the permanent government (Kagan, spouses etc.) in and around Foggy Bottom as payback to Obama for not bombing Syria and not pushing Iran to the brink. Or did Merkel pull an okeydokey on Washington to firm up Germany’s place in the world, post-American empire?

  94. 94
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cervantes:

    What is the import of your question?

    Kosovo is the big excuse for the Russian invasion of Crimea. The idea is that the US sanctioned splitting Kosovo from Serbia, so it must be fine for Russia to sanction splitting Crimea from Ukraine. They’re almost identical, provided you ignore that the Serbians were trying to massacre the Kosovars and that Russia immediately annexed Crimea.

    OT: We just had a nice little shake here in Southern California. Estimated 5.1 magnitude quake near La Habra. Enough to scare the cat here in Pasadena, but not much more than that.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob In Portland: Not everything is a conspiracy.

  96. 96
    Cacti says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    I hold out three possibilities. Obama was onboard with this idiocy of overthrowing the elected Ukrainian government (which goes back to the Treaty of Fort Hunt and Gehlen’s Org), it was the work of the permanent government (Kagan, spouses etc.) in and around Foggy Bottom as payback to Obama for not bombing Syria and not pushing Iran to the brink. Or did Merkel pull an okeydokey on Washington to firm up Germany’s place in the world, post-American empire?

    But what do the voices in your head say?

  97. 97
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cacti:

    But what do the voices in your head say?

    I’m sure they’re speaking in Putin’s voice.

  98. 98
    jl says:

    @Bob In Portland: I’m not sure what to think. I hope that all those Russian troops along the Ukrainian border are just some kind of insurance policy against anything unexpected happening.

    Seems to me that in only one way, and the short term, Putin is ‘strong’ or ‘in command’: he can blow stuff up, kill people and occupy territory. But I don’t see what good that does him or his grand plans for a more influential Russia in the long run.

    As I said, I am very cynical about US, EU and Russian motives in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. I hope whatever deal is struck promises the Ukraine a better chance than crappy and failed EU economic policies or Russian gangster capitalism. Either would encourage unsavory elements in Ukrainian politics.

  99. 99
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Ian: What claims? Did the US aid in overthrowing the elected government of Ukraine? Yes, the leaked Vicky Nuland phone call pretty much fleshes it out. That Russia would react? Well, only if you contend that Russia’s takeover of Crimea has no relationship to what’s been going on in Kiev, and to do that you’d have to ignore the Russians.

    The paragraph mentioning Krushchev wasn’t about his ethnicity as per the Bandarists in Lemburg. It was to say that Crimea had been part of Russia until 1954. Wild claim?

    About what Russia wants, i.e., a loose federation in Ukraine? Well, after I wrote that I came across a link to Russia Today where that’s pretty much what the Russian UN diplomat said.

    So I’m not sure what you consider a claim or a suspicion or my view of what is happening between Russia and the US and its lackeys in Kiev.

    I’m not sure why you’d accuse me of having a black-and-white view of the events, considering that this could be the last hurrah (but probably not) of the Cold War. Since the coup what has the American press given us but cheerleading for a revival of the Cold War? If you don’t recognize the history of the last seventy years and you don’t attempt to understand Russia then you will forever be surprised or infuriated or whatever the day’s propaganda wants you to feel.

    What do you disagree with, Ian?

  100. 100
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    About what Russia wants, i.e., a loose federation in Ukraine? Well, after I wrote that I came across a link to Russia Today where that’s pretty much what the Russian UN diplomat said.

    See, what’s funny is that you seem to have no awareness that Russia Today is the propaganda arm of the Russian government. It’s like quoting Pravda in 1984 and insisting that what they said was the whole truth.

  101. 101
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Bob In Portland: I don’t know about Ian, but what happened in Kiev wasn’t a coup and you have an incredibly tendentious reading of the U.S. diplomatic cables.

  102. 102
    El Caganer says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Huh? The guy that got dumped had already agreed – under EU auspices – to early elections, and the government got taken over from the street. That’s not a coup? And I wasn’t really thrilled that the President told the Euros that we were more justified going into Iraq than the Russians were going into Crimea.

  103. 103
    Bob In Portland says:

    @jl: Putin isn’t going to capitulate Crimea just because VISA just cancelled his card. That’s over. Crimea is back to being part of Russia. And I think that one of Putin’s intentions in taking Crimea was to send the message to Kiev that this was the end of the Greater Ukrainian Empire. I’m not sure that they got the message.

    As far as Putin’s position in Russia, they love him. It worked for Dubya with Iraq, why shouldn’t Moscovites be allowed to wear a flag every once in awhile. Putin’s position as a Russian politician has never been better. Meanwhile, Obama can’t get the rest of Europe to go along with sanctions that are going to hurt them as much as it will hurt Russia.

    Russia, long-term, has the same problems as any country whose economy is based more on supplying raw materials than manufactured goods.

    However, Europe’s best economic interests, that is, running their factories, aligns more to Russia and its natural gas. The EU will not get onboard for any sanctions that actually mean anything. Japan gets a lot of natural gas from Russia. So does China.

    So who’s going to whup Russia with sanctions and moral suasion? The US? It ain’t gonna happen, and we’re not going to nuclear war over whether the Russian majority in Crimea who want to be part of Russia rightfully belong to the people in Kiev who hate the Russians.

    So Crimea is over. It’s done. If it offends you just think how Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya et al have offended others in the world. And while America doesn’t pretend to make any of these countries part of the US, they certainly aren’t pretending about making their oil part of the profits.

    I hope that the troops on the Russia-Ukraine border are a negotiating tool, although if this doesn’t resolve I suspect more will happen.

  104. 104
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): So when Vicky Nuland said that they would want “Yats” as the first guy to bat, that was a lucky guess on her part? That wasn’t a diplomatic cable, that was a tapped phone call.

    Are you saying that the overthrow of the elected President of Ukraine and his replacement by Nuland’s pick was just the way that democracy is? Well, I kinda agree with you, but it still was a coup.

  105. 105
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @El Caganer: The government didn’t get taken over from the street. Yanukovych fled but it wasn’t from a coup; it was from impeachment proceedings. The motion to impeach was filed on 21 February. Yanukovych flew to Kharkov that night. The next day parliament voted 328-0 in favor of impeachment.

    That’s a completely legal process.

  106. 106
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Bob In Portland: Yeah, the U.S. had a preference as to who became president, but it wasn’t exactly a shot in the dark. After Parliament legally impeached Yanukovych, who did you think was going to get the job?

  107. 107
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @El Caganer: There is a difference between a coup and a popular rebellion.

  108. 108
    El Caganer says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Yep, 328-0. That really says it all, doesn’t it?

  109. 109
    El Caganer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Don’t you wonder at all why, if early elections were called (with the EU helping the process along), that there was a necessity for a popular rebellion? And why, after the government agreeing to this, that it would suddenly unleash snipers on protesters? The whole thing stinks. The Russians are certainly no heroes in this – they’re paranoid assholes. I think our neocon contingent has already done enough damage over there and we need to STFU at this point.

  110. 110
    Ian says:

    @Bob In Portland:
    Lets start here

    the US and its lackeys in Kiev.

    Lets ignore the fact that the current parliament is from the last election in Ukraine, and it contains a small amount of the nationalistic Slovoda movement you like to harp on. Lets just look at the actions of the government to see if they are ‘US lackeys’
    This parliament was willing to receive 15 billion dollars in aid from Russia. The rejection of the EU deal in favor of the Russian deal is largely what sparked the protests. The 5 billion dollars you repeatedly mention we gave to Ukraine is over a 23 year period. That is significantly more money from Russia than the US. But I guess our money goes further, or something.

    Next lets look at Ukrainian actions. The PM of Ukraine (Yatsenuk) has been in the US criticizing us for failing to uphold the nuclear disarmament treaty. The PM is calling out our nuclear proliferation strategy a joke. Our ‘lackeys’ sure are being critical of their ‘masters’

    Additionally Ukraine is doing everything it can to avoid initiating a conflict with Russia. Troops have been extremely careful not to start shooting. Even the death of a naval officer hasn’t started open war. That is because the Ukraine is acting in the Ukraine’s best interest, not ours.

    Next lets talk about this

    About what Russia wants, i.e., a loose federation in Ukraine?

    Russia wanted what it had a year ago. It wanted a leader in charge of the Ukraine who would move into Putin’s anti-EU economic union. He was getting what he wanted a year ago. Breaking up the Ukraine is not a best case scenario for him in the Ukraine, it is a worst case salvage of the wreckage. Even at the beginning of the Crimea crisis Putin wanted Yanukovich back into power in Kiev. Using the Russian Times as the moving goalposts of what Russia wants is kind of a guaranteed way to say Russia wins. It’s like getting Bill Kristol to write about the Bush years.

    Anyone who thinks that Putin is playing with a weak hand isn’t very well informed. Europe, especially Germany, can’t afford to stop using Russian oil and gas. Nor can South Korea and Japan and China, who all rely on it. All of those countries face creating a worldwide depression over keeping the Russians in Donetsk from being reunited with Russia

    This is a double edged sword. So Germany et all can’t do anything to Putin because he will shut off their gas? Russia would collapse overnight if it stopped selling energy. Putin has an extremely weak hand, notably that his geo-political adversaries can afford the sanctions ratchet up much more than the Russian economy can. Russia has already seen the backlash to the seizure of Crimea, and the oligarchs who saw stock market tank would be very upset if it happened again.

    That would be a start to my criticism of your Ukraine posts.

    Edit-the message to Kiev that this was the end of the Greater Ukrainian Empire

    And there goes another one

  111. 111
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @El Caganer: There were a bunch of abstentions, as there are 450 seats in the Ukrainian parliament. However, his own party pretty clearly abandoned him. It’s also worth noting that Yanukovych never actually signed the deal that other parties are accused of breaking.

  112. 112
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Mnemosyne: Of course, it is, Mnem. But you act like your media isn’t a propaganda tool of our government. You think that the WaPo and the NY Times haven’t been feeding us exactly what the Mighty Wurlitzer wants us to hear?

    By the way, reading the RT article that quotes Putin and the Russian UN ambassador on what they are asking for in negotiations as a confirmation of what I previously suspected in an earlier post that Russia wants is not falling for propaganda unless you believe that RT, in quoting Putin et al was not really quoting Putin, or Putin was lying to RT, or they both were lying to the English-speaking world because they don’t really want the world to know what they really want.

    For the purpose of understanding what someone wants, how is reading a quote by the person saying what he wants not a good thing? Was I being unpatriotic?

  113. 113
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @El Caganer: All I said was that there is a difference between a coup and popular rebellion. I also don’t know why, since the States General were meeting in 1789, the people stormed the Bastille. Peoples is weird as shit.

  114. 114
    jl says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    ” So Crimea is over. It’s done. If it offends you just think how Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya et al have offended others in the world. And while America doesn’t pretend to make any of these countries part of the US, they certainly aren’t pretending about making their oil part of the profits. ”

    Not sure what brought on that rant. No, what Putin did does not offend me, whatever that would mean, the US has no immediate interest in the matter. It is what it is. And I do think it is on a par with stuff the US has done recently. Hey, what kind of geopolitical BS thuggery could match the US invasion of Iraq?

    What I was trying to reason through was, how can Putin salvage the complete disaster of the Yanukovych regime in his project of keeping Ukraine out of the EU and NATO sphere of influence and in Russia’s? And how can he do that after taking actions that make Ukrainians much more wary of Russia? Sure he can do it with guns and tanks, maybe on the pretext of danger to Russian ethnics in the S and E of Ukraine, but so what, in the long run? And would he be willing to try to take over the whole thing? That would be long term mess. But if he does not take over the whole thing, he has a split country, and lots of unrest and trouble along the border. And surely taking over other parts of Ukraine, even with lots of Russian ethnics would not be popular at all in those areas, which would be more headache.

    Sure, after EU economic BS policies cause unrest in Ukraine, there might be another shot, but the political and security risks from that unrest would be threatening to Putin.

    So, seems to me that Putin has his military and security interests in Crimea on lock-down, now he can think about how to recover some lost ground from the disaster of Yanukovych.

    Unless Putin wants to go down the GW Bush road (which he might, who knows?). I think the French president warned Putin against invading all of Georgia in 2008 and stringing up the Georgian little Napoleon Sakashvili by his balls by asking whether he wanted to end up like Bush. And Putin said that was a good point.

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    they both were lying to the English-speaking world because they don’t really want the world to know what they really want.

    And this is impossible, why, again? You may want to refresh your memory as to the definition of “propaganda” if the question confuses you.

  116. 116
    jl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    ” All I said was that there is a difference between a coup and popular rebellion. ”

    But they do have some things in common, especially when murky things that might one thing or the other seem to happen in a country on a regular basis. They have unpredictable results, and hard to know what long term commitments will be honored by what emerges from the murk. I think that is what drove the Russians into thuggishness and apeshittery over the abject failure of their miserable excuse for an ally in the Yanukovych regime.

    I cannot believe that Putin or his people really believe there was a coup. I can believe that whatever happened, they honestly do not want to deal with that stuff anymore in a country on their border that contains important military bases. Was it BS, and ugly, and unacceptable? Sure. Like a lot of what the U.S. has done recently. What is anyone going to do about it? Not much.

    But if the Russians want to go GW, the real costs will not be from economic sanctions, even if the US can get the EU to go along with strong ones, it will be from the unavoidable consequences of committing stupid and rash acts with irreversible consequences. IMHO.

  117. 117
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Also, this:

    But you act like your media isn’t a propaganda tool of our government. You think that the WaPo and the NY Times haven’t been feeding us exactly what the Mighty Wurlitzer wants us to hear?

    You seem to think that the Mighty Wurlitzer speaks in the voice of whatever the current US government is. Tell me, have the WaPo and the NY Times been propagandizing in favor of Obamacare? Have they been supporting the Obama administration in refusing to take direct military action in Iran and Syria, or have they been undermining the administration?

    Oh, wait, I know what your answer is going to be: the WaPo and NY Times are saying what the Obama administration really wants to say, and Obama refusing to bomb Iran is just a facade because otherwise you have no way to make sense of a world where the WaPo and NY Times propagandize against the current government.

  118. 118
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Ian: The parliament seems to be somewhat irrelevant in the scheme of things. Need someone impeached? Okay. Ban Russian language? Okay. Unban the Russian language? Okay. Is that Confederate flag up there by the swastika hanging a little crooked?

    And you confuse who the fascists in Kiev are lackeys to. Not to Obama. No, to the permanent government that has been preserving and financing Bandarites since Gehlen said to. Since Ronald Reagan was making speeches on behalf of the Congress For Freedom. Way back then, through the cocaine coups and all the oil wars over the years.

    And Ian, if you think Russia wants what it had a year ago, then you haven’t been paying attention. Read for yourself what Putin and Churkin are saying. LOOSE FEDERATION. REAL LOOSE.

    For the life of me, I don’t get why everyone gets so upset about what I write about Ukraine. It’s my opinion. It’s like people here feel the need to diminish me for not believing the US party line. If anyone here has been happy with the US’s foreign policy over the past few decades, then I am the least of your problems.

  119. 119
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jl: Okay, fine. I made a very limited statement. Was it wrong?

  120. 120
    El Caganer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well, at least we agree on that – it is a mystery!

  121. 121
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob In Portland: Dude, the problem people have with you is that you really seem to believe that there is a CIA/Gehlen Org/Illuminati group out there controlling everything.

  122. 122
    jl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    No what you said was not wrong. And I agree with you that what happened was not a coup.

    But, I think in the context of the situation, the similarities between a coup and a rebellion are more important than the differences.

    And the context is one of a big country getting pissed off at a small country on its border for causing trouble and being unacceptably unpredictable, and the big country decides to do what it wants to preserve its interests, no matter how thuggish. And one one else in the world has the ability or interest to do much about it. So legal niceties like differences between coups and rebellions, and violent street protests don’t mean much.

    So, that was my point.

  123. 123
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, Mnem, why would Putin and his ambassador lie to the world about their intentions in the negotiations? So we don’t notice when they send in the troops?

    Who are we to rely on as to what their intentions are if not them? The only thing we’ve been getting in the US press is that Putin is crazy. I haven’t seen any representation of what the Russians want in the MSM. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week.

    The fact that Russia wants a loose federation in Ukraine will be a disappointment to those boys with the armbands out in the streets who are looking for greater glory, but not so terribly upsetting for the man in the street in London, or Berlin or Omaha. Maybe that’s why I haven’t seen much about Russia’s desires/intentions/goals for negotiations in the Western press. Not much about the negotiations other than Obama talked on the phone to Putin.

  124. 124
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: What’s your point? Gehlen existed. Read about it. The CIA exists. I never mentioned Illuminati. You did in effect try to bad-jacket me there.

    So let’s translate your post:

    Dude, the problem people have with you is that you really seem to believe that there is a CIA/Gehlen Org/Illuminati group out there controlling everything.

    What you mean is this:

    Dude, the problem people have with you is that we refuse to believe that consequences flow from our government’s seventy-year relationship with Nazis and fascists.

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Well, Mnem, why would Putin and his ambassador lie to the world about their intentions in the negotiations?

    Off the top of my head: to make themselves look better after several unofficial boycotts and economic sanctions, including the sharp drop in their stock market. To pretend they want to negotiate while they prepare for a further invasion. To make themselves look good on the world stage while they prepare to walk out of the negotiations in a huff so they can claim that the US wasn’t willing to negotiate.

    You really can’t see any reason at all why Putin would want to make himself look better to the English-speaking world? Not one?

  126. 126
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): And Vicky Nuland is psychic.

  127. 127
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob In Portland: Controlling.Everything. That’s the part I don’t buy.

  128. 128
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Bob In Portland: It takes amazing powers to predict that the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the coalition is going to become the acting prime minister.

  129. 129
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob In Portland: How much of your income do you give to Larouche?

  130. 130
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Mnemosyne: None of the things you suggest make sense or rely on how it would serve Russia’s negotiating position in world opinion. All the motives you describe aren’t relevant to Russia’s position should there be more skullduggery in the works. In fact, other positions, like a more bellicose one indicating an invasion, would better serve another invasion. It’s not like we’d be fooled.

    So if, as Putin and Churkin say, Russia wants a loose federation, why is that not a logical negotiating position for the Russians? Instead of Ukraine being thorn in Russia’s side, it could be a… pillow.

    And a loose federation would mean that the Russian-speaking people of Donetsk could cuddle a little closer to Russia while still being officially in Ukraine. And the streetfighters in Kiev can cuddle a little closer to 1943.

  131. 131
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob In Portland: Wow, you really are an asshole with no historical knowledge.

  132. 132
    David Koch says:

    Seriously, can we go all FDR and elect Obama a couple more times?

    but, but…. telephone metadata!

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @David Koch: You are a dipshit.

  134. 134
    Ian says:

    @Bob In Portland:
    I dont have a problem with you. I have a disagreement with your positions on Ukraine/Russia and the way you present them. Difference.

  135. 135
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): no. We need to pretend that no one heard of our “puppet” until last month.

  136. 136
    Cervantes says:

    @Bob In Portland: You asked me what I said about Kosovo. I asked why, you did not respond. But here’s why you asked according to Roger Moore:

    Kosovo is the big excuse for the Russian invasion of Crimea. The idea is that the US sanctioned splitting Kosovo from Serbia, so it must be fine for Russia to sanction splitting Crimea from Ukraine. They’re almost identical, provided you ignore that the Serbians were trying to massacre the Kosovars and that Russia immediately annexed Crimea.

    Do you really think the two cases are comparable? And even if they are somehow comparable in your mind, why would we defend someone’s action simply on the basis that the US did it first? Do you know the history of US action abroad? What kind of argument is based on that?

    And now I have a new question for you. You (rightly) speak about the dangers of fascism. But what are your thoughts on the dangers of fascism in Russia? It’s there. It’s a force to be reckoned with. You must know about the annual marches it inspires. You must know about the people, including Putin, who have tried to channel it while ostensibly controlling it. You must know that there have been — and probably still are — fascists inside the Russian government. Consider the following:

    [Having considered Vladimir Zhirinovsky and his party, other] right-wing organizations that appeared in the nineties were even more threatening. An extreme example is the disbanded Russian National Unity, which was the closest group that post-Soviet Russia has seen to a true fascist paramilitary group. Its members adopted a modified swastika and other Nazi symbols, while simultaneously portraying themselves as marching in the footsteps of the Black Hundreds, the pre-1917 monarchist and Orthodox reactionaries. The ethno-racial nationalist ideology of the RNU appealed to mostly unemployed and working-class urban youth who had experienced the social disintegration of the Gorbachev and Yeltsin years. Formed in 1990, the group grew rapidly in size, and although membership estimates ranged from 15,000 to 50,000 according to different sources, it is known that it infiltrated high ranks in certain government agencies, most notably the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

    That’s recent history, at best. Here’s another summary:

    Russian Democracy [1991-2011] has exhibited many authoritarian characteristics. These have influenced an emerging generation of fascists who demand more extreme legislation. In recent years, the Russian skinhead movement, once a subculture, has imbued mainstream contemporary political discourse with an increasingly racist/xenophobic tinge. The skinhead platform has been adopted by a significant section of the Russian population and zealous promulgators have used it for political organizing. Even mainstream political parties have begun to pander to the sentiments of these fringe groups. Recent developments have shown that there is growing unease among members of the administration about the threat that this movement poses to Putin’s monopoly on power. The very tactics Putin used to maintain his power have in fact destabilized it more than ever. […] Russia’s future will be defined by how ideas identified with this fascist youth movement are transferred to the next generation.

    That’s from Peter Worger. Further:

    This paper deals with the emergence of skinhead groups in Russia and the extent to which this subculture has influenced and been influenced by political developments in the country. The research builds on a wide variety of sources in order to explain the complex processes at work that have led to this social phenomenon. I intend to show that these groups signify a fundamental trend in Russian political culture rather than operating on the margins of it, and that they are the result of political reformations in the country and the spread of global capitalism.

    This paper, “A mad crowd: Skinhead youth and the rise of nationalism in post-communist Russia,” appeared in Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 45:3-4 (September-December, 2012), pp. 269-278.

    Leaving aside Ukraine for a moment, do you worry about fascism in Russia? What should “we” do about it?

  137. 137
    JoyfulA says:

    @Cervantes: My brain’s full just worrying about fascism here in the US.

  138. 138
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: He certainly sometimes plays one on the internet…

  139. 139
    Robert Sneddon says:

    More good news for Germany with regards to its dependence on Russian gas… one of Germany’s nuclear power plants at Grafenrheinfeld will be shutting down earlier than expected, in May next year rather than the government-mandated December 2015 deadline. Basically the operators needed to refuel the reactor in about a year’s time but given Germany’s swingeing taxes on nuclear fuel it’s not cost-effective for the operators to restart the reactor to only run it for another few months. That’s another 1200MW of carbon-free generating capacity that will be replaced by coal and gas as well as a major loss of tax revenue that goes in part to subsidise solar and wind generation operators there.

  140. 140
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: And yet this morning the NY Times confirms what I said last night.

    I find it pitiful that people who are so fearful of Russian propaganda have no clue about US propaganda.

  141. 141
    ThresherK says:

    @efgoldman: Beat the Press is also a left-journo thing from CEPR, which I think went back to the pre-internet days at FAIR (the media ones, not the anti-immigrant ones) http://www.cepr.net/beat-the-press/.

    WGBH’s BTP really does gets too totebaggy at times.

  142. 142
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Here’s today’s massive pro-Russian rally in Donetsk.

    Although this captures the atmosphere better, I think.

  143. 143
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Always somewhat fascinated by these brief excursions to up-is-down Bobworld, where a legal action taken by a duly elected legislature in Kiev in response to the abdication and cross-border flight of a President is a fascist coup, and the takeover (at gunpoint) of a legislature by a foreign citizen (whose party polled under 4% in the most recent elections) with the backing of foreign troops is democracy in action.

  144. 144
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cervantes: do you worry about fascism in Russia?

    Apparently not.

  145. 145
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @jl: This is just arrant BS. During the crisis, the Rada voted to uphold the agreement with Russia in regards to its Crimean bases, very clearly to prevent the kind of aggression they suffered only a few days later at the hands of the Russian state.

    It also seems like you aren’t paying any attention to journalists in Ukraine who have been identifying who was involved in violence and provocations, and it definitely wasn’t some Russian propaganda CT nonsense about American snipers in the labor union building, which, btw, Yanukovych’s thugs burned right before he bravely ran away.

  146. 146
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @ThresherK: I remember Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. I used to be on their email list, back when you used to sign up for email lists! Too bad the asshats stole their name.

  147. 147
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The people have spoken!

  148. 148
    mike in dc says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Good to know. Going forward, we should just lead off the responses to Bobbo with “What is Putin doing to fight fascism in Russia itself?”

  149. 149
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Gee, where’d you get the photo?

  150. 150
    jl says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    ” This is just arrant BS. ”

    I guess it’s arrant BS if you decide to completely ignore the point I was making. Who gives a damn what the legislature does on a given day if it can vetoed by violent protesters in the street on the next?

  151. 151
    jl says:

    @Another Holocene Human: BTW, I also in my comments above specifically referred to Russian agents as provocateurs. And when did I say anything about snipers.

    So, go ahead and pleasure yourself in public, but don’t try to shove your BS into my mouth, OK?

  152. 152
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Who said everything? How about lots of things?

    Do you not think that seventy years of the US intelligence supporting the Banderites might lead to something? I doubt that Nuland’s five billion is a full accounting of what the US has spent over the last 70 years in Ukraine. We have Ukrainian communities who were imported to the US after WWII (read Christopher Simpson’s BLOWBACK). I’m sure that one or two commenters here have learned to speak Ukrainian at schools funded by CIA money.

    Look at the history of post-WWII and its sponsored coups. That Nuland’s phone call was leaked prior to the coup suggests that Russia knew precisely what the US was doing.

    The question now is what does the US do? It’s a pipedream to think that Europe and Asia will sacrifice their economies for having NATO roll up to Russia’s borders. This will certainly help the Cold Warriors in DC to ratchet up budgetary supplements.

    But Russia’s position as stated yesterday is not entirely unreasonable. It wanted Crimea back, it took it back, most people in Crimea want to be part of Russia. Russia is paying Crimean military officers much better pay to join the Russian military and most of them are taking up the offer. Russia is guaranteeing public employees’ pensions in Crimea while the folks in Kiev are contemplating cutting pensions in half for the upcoming IMF austerities. How do you think the Russian-speaking people in Donetsk will feel when their pensions are cut and their governor is an oligarch appointed out of Kiev?

    Russia’s solution is to Finlandize Ukraine. Make it a loose federation where it is never a military threat to Russia and where Russian minorities are protected from the historical fascist elements in the east.

    What will the US do to counteract this? It seems that the US media hasn’t quite figured out yet how to deal with the offer. Increasing sanctions against Russia doesn’t seem productive and as far as Europe is concerned is counterproductive. France is going ahead with a joint oil shale deal in Russia. Will it encourage more saber-rattling from Kiev? Gangs with baseball bats may intimidate the average Ukrainian but would be useless against Russia and would only enhance the Russians’ propaganda regarding the fascist nature of the coup.

    Meanwhile, the new regime has turned its back on discounted gas from Russia and has embraced EU/IMF sanctions. How do you think that will play out with the hoi polloi? It’s highly unlikely that the EU would ever grant Ukraine full EU stature because the last time it opened the gates to Ukraine a lot of complaints came from the countries about the overflow of poor and criminal Ukrainians into Germany et al.

    A little more likely is the possibility is that Ukraine might get some NATO status, but that would only serve the Cold Warriors, not the Ukrainians themselves.

    All told, it appears to be an overstep by State Department Cold Warriors.

  153. 153
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Why no mention of the Right Sector’s takeover of the legislature a couple days ago? Doesn’t fit in with your narrative?

  154. 154
    Cervantes says:

    @jl:

    Who gives a damn what the legislature does on a given day if it can vetoed by violent protesters in the street on the next?

    One person’s direct democracy is another person’s mob rule? Violence distinguishes one from the other?

    @jl:

    And I read that Turkey is making noises about they can play the kindred ethnic community interest game too, and they might just not let Russian ships through their straits if they are displeased.

    Do you recall where you read about this? (Thanks.)

    My impression: The Turks talk a good line but value their relationship with Russia quite a bit. Recall how they played their cards when Georgia was having difficulties. Re the current unpleasantness in Ukraine, not only are there Tatars in Crimea, there are also Tatars in Turkey — where elections are coming up. If Putin can be convinced to cooperate, the government is more likely to be re-elected.

  155. 155
    Bob In Portland says:

    @mike in dc: I could publish a long list of the many fascist movements around the world. I could also give a good list of books about fascist organizations around the world, to include the US. There is a reason why fascists put up a Confederate flag next to the swastika in Kiev’s city hall.

    And really, supporting fascists in Ukraine is no different from the US support of many fascist regimes around the world after WWII. Who were the post-war governments in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam? How about all those coups in Latin America? How about the folks who’ve been stacking up bodies in Guatemala all these years? How about those mass graves in El Salvador? Chile, anyone?

    No, at the end of WWII the military-industrial complex, to include international corporations, the military and the growing intelligence sector, was a distinctly fascistic enterprise. It still is.

    Does that make the Russians immune from fascism? If Americans aren’t immune (and the Republican Party is an essential equivalent to Mussolini’s Fascist Party now) why should the Russians?

    At some level, from what I gather from friends who’ve spent time there, there is at least some kind of nostalgia in the public and within the government for beneficial socialist programs like pensions, healthcare, housing, etc. Take a look around the US for comparison.

  156. 156
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Cervantes: Did you see the story about the Right Sector seizing the legislature the other day? Sort of like Code Pink standing up in Congress?

  157. 157
    jl says:

    @Cervantes:

    I forgot where I saw the original story the Link below is very similar to what I read earlier, except that the story I remember mentioned that an ethnic Turk was killed in Ukraine, and that prompted the warning.

    Turkey Warns Russia it Will Blockade Bosphorus if Violence Occurs
    http://ukrainianpolicy.com/tur.....bosphorus/

  158. 158
    mike in dc says:

    @Bob In Portland: Bob, American fascists don’t hold 56 seats in Congress. By the way, Bob, your response is classic “look over there”-ism. The fact that Russia tolerates fascists in their own government is strong evidence that their stated concern about fascists and far-right elements in the new Ukrainian government is disingenuous, to say the least. It wouldn’t matter if they were all card-carrying Swedish-style socialists, Putin would still be calling them dangerous radicals, and he still would have invaded Ukrainian territory and disregarded their national sovereignty.

  159. 159
    Bob In Portland says:

    @mike in dc: I’m not sure what your definition of “fascist” or “fascism” is, and since the advent of the concept of “liberal fascism” things have gotten more confused, but the post-WWII the definition of fascism included “dictatorship of the extreme right” and “the merging of state and business leadership”. These two elements have been dropped in more recent definitions, for good reason.

    The Republican Party fits nicely into that definition, as well as the DLC wing of the Democratic Party. So, yes, the fascists control the House of Representatives and have effective control of the Senate. Large elements of our permanent government, to include our military and intelligence services, are not only fascist but promote fascism throughout the world.

    If your concern is that there are fascists in Russia and yet you have no concern about your own country you are at best a fool.

  160. 160
    Bob In Portland says:

    @mike in dc: I’m not sure what your definition of “fascist” or “fascism” is, and since the advent of the concept of “liberal fascism” things have gotten more confused, but the post-WWII the definition of fascism included “dictatorship of the extreme right” and “the merging of state and business leadership”. These two elements have been dropped in more recent definitions, for good reason.

    The Republican Party fits nicely into that definition, as well as the DLC wing of the Democratic Party. So, yes, the fascists control the House of Representatives and have effective control of the Senate. Large elements of our permanent government, to include our military and intelligence services, are not only fascist but promote fascism throughout the world.

    If your concern is that there are fascists in Russia and yet you have no concern about your own country you are at best a fool.

  161. 161
    mike in dc says:

    @Bob In Portland: Again, you are ducking the question. Is the Russian “concern” about “fascism” in Ukraine sincere or not? Evidence suggests it isn’t. So why bother harping on it? It’s not why the Russians occupied portions of Ukraine. If the fascists had rejected the EU and reified the proxy/puppet/satellite relationship with Russia, references to “fascism” would vanish from RT overnight.

  162. 162
    Cervantes says:

    @mike in dc:

    The fact that Russia tolerates fascists in their own government is strong evidence that their stated concern about fascists and far-right elements in the new Ukrainian government is disingenuous, to say the least.

    Actually, it may be worse than that: some accuse the West of supporting the fascist element in Ukraine, but it’s also possible — there are indications but not yet what I’d call good evidence or proof — that those Ukrainian fascists were (and are) supported (or also supported) by certain Russian entities.

    @Bob In Portland:

    If your concern is that there are fascists in Russia and yet you have no concern about your own country you are at best a fool.

    I agree. There’s absolutely no excuse for sheltering American fascists or giving them a pass — they should be exposed and humiliated — but their existence does not excuse anything else, either. I’m certain you agree. Thanks for your comments.

  163. 163
    Cervantes says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Did you see the story about the Right Sector seizing the legislature the other day? Sort of like Code Pink standing up in Congress?

    Droll.

    Pravyi Sektor is a threat to decency, democracy, and human rights generally. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Other than that, what’s your point?

  164. 164
    Cervantes says:

    @JoyfulA:

    My brain’s full just worrying about fascism here in the US.

    Yes, I know what you mean. Not all fascists wear Nazi regalia. Some are a little bit more devious and others have no idea about the pedigree of their ideas.

  165. 165
    Cervantes says:

    @jl:

    I forgot where I saw the original story the Link below is very similar to what I read earlier, except that the story I remember mentioned that an ethnic Turk was killed in Ukraine, and that prompted the warning.

    Thank you.

    I know that a Crimean Tatar was murdered some weeks ago. His name was Reshat Ametov. He was a family man but also a sort of Tatar activist, last seen alive at a protest in Simferopol, in Crimea.

    Footage from ATR [a Crimean television channel] shows two men in green uniforms and one in a black uniform, all without insignias, leading Ametov away from the square.

    His body was found some days later. I doubt anyone will ever be held responsible.

    I asked about your comment in case you were referring to something more recent. You read that an “ethnic Turk” was killed in Ukraine? Not Ametov?

    Turkey Warns Russia it Will Blockade Bosphorus if Violence Occurs
    http://ukrainianpolicy.com/tur…..bosphorus/

    Yes, the conversation occurred two weeks ago. Erdogan spoke to Putin on the phone.

    According to the Montreux Convention (1936, but still in force), Turkey does control the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. It’s a very sore topic: the Soviets, and now the Russians, have long wanted to, er, torpedo the convention.

    Thanks again.

  166. 166
    Tom in Dallas says:

    @Bob In Portland: Fascinating political explanation of why Russia gave Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (“The Wilson Center”). http://www.wilsoncenter.org/pu.....-years-ago

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