Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Trolls

Trolls are not just characters in fairy tales and Tolkien novels.  And trolls are not accidental.  To anyone who is ever online as either a political activist or even just in search of honest political information, the article below is "must-read". 

Do you ever notice how on the internet that when a group starts to gather or inform others and call for change, that suddenly there are a bunch of very negative and argumentative people on that website or facebook thread?  Its not an accident.

Tell me, do you like to spend your day going to the websites and conversations of people who have the opposite views than you and then heckling and arguing with them all day long?  Maybe its just me, but that's not a pleasant way to spend a long period of time.  I'm sure there might be a few who could do that.

But compare that to the sheer volume of people who constantly show up and argue with almost anyone online who's talking to three other people about being for instance anti-war or against the idea that the entire economy should be controlled by bankers for the benefit of bankers.   From the internet, it would seem there are legions of people who just have nothing better to do all day long but to reinforce the government and corporate propaganda and basically try to  shout down anyone who might possibly think that a life controlled by generals, bankers and prison guards may not be the highest ideal to which humankind might aspire.

I suppose its possible to believe that there are legions of nasty jerks out there who think that life is only for working overtime to make bankers rich with just enough time left over to create a few children who can go die in the latest war that we just have to fight.  But, its wise to be aware that there are both public agencies and private firms who pay people to sit in front of a computer and do their best all day long to make sure its hard for you to educate yourself and organize.

http://proparanoid.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/how-social-network-trolls-target-track-and-psychologically-profile-you/



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Perspective


The Crimea became a part of Russia in 1783.  

To put that into perspective for Americans suffering from an overdose of propaganda, the United States Constitution was proposed in 1787, and wasn't ratified until 1788.  Thus, the Crimea became a part of Russia before George Washington became President in 1789. 

Since the current United States government wasn't formed until the ratification of the Constitution, it can truthfully be said that the Crimea has been a part of Russia longer than Massachusetts has been a part of the United States of America.

What would you think if you heard the President of some foreign country complaining about America 'invading' Massachusetts?

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Different away from US media

In the US, it has become such a concentrated propaganda barrage that one often sees opposition voices that have swallowed the propaganda along with the Kool-Aid.  They tend to accept very basic principles of US propaganda that the Russians "invaded the Ukraine" and that Putin is some sort of mad tyrant, even while arguing against aspects of the policy.

I went to a UK paper to read a columnist of theirs, and was struck to see rational and thoughtful analysis about the situation in a different article by Mary Dejevsky.
From the Kremlin, the picture, and the options, will look very different. A common view from abroad is that Putin runs Russia single-handed, as a latter-day tsar, and indulges his own caprices. As a footnote, it has been suggested that the success - or at least non-failure - of Sochi might have emboldened him to show (even) more assertiveness in the neighbourhood. Such views disregard both the continuing weakness of central power in Russia and the extent to which any Russian leader now must take account of public opinion.
Within Russia, the popular pressure on Putin will not be for restraint, but for action. His stance reflects a domestic consensus that, while Ukraine may be independent, its natural place is within Russia's orbit and Moscow cannot just stand by while the West conspires to snatch it away. "Who lost Ukraine?" is a question that has real potential to erode Putin's power.
Which is why, more remarkable than Putin's current threat to use force was the relative calm with which he initially responded to the Kiev protests and the collapse of the Ukrainian administration. He even sent an envoy to join the EU foreign ministers brokering a deal between Yanukovych and the opposition, and looked ready to accept the outcome.
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Crimean resolution I'd like to see

I'd love to see the legislature of the Crimea pass something like the following resolution and see what Obama has to say about it ...

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We, the people of the Crimea, hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among  the people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."


The people of the Crimea want to hold a referendum to decide if remaining in the Ukraine is the course most likely to effect their safety and happiness.  Thomas Jefferson would understand, even if Barrack Obama seems to be reading King George III's lines in this version of the play

Friday, March 7, 2014

Ukraine

The last few days I haven't been writing as much about the Ukraine, as the rest of the alternative media seems to have woken up.  When I started writing these posts, it felt like I was seeing a lot of garbage coming even from alternative and opposition voices, and the articles I was finding that seemed to make sense seemed rare and worth passing along.

There definitely was a stretch where some of  the American opposition appeared to back the Ukrainian protestors simply because they back any protest group fighting any government anywhere.  There didn't seem to be an understanding that street groups overthrowing an elected government could indeed be making things worse.  When the overthrow of that government seems to unleash the nazi genie from the bottle in which it had been imprisoned, sometimes just cheering for riot porn because you like seeing people fight cops isn't a good idea.

However, in the last few days, more of the opposition voices seemed to have become more enlightened as to what was going on.  Perhaps seeing leaders who honor world war II war criminals and then send their thugs out with hammers and clubs to intimidate political meetings opened up a few eyes. 

Anyways, I haven't felt the need to write as it seems I've been joined my more voices trying to raise the truth about what is going on.

At this point, the key place to watch is the eastern Ukraine.  Listen for names of cities like Donetz and Dnepropetrovsk.  All the news is about the Crimea, but the Crimea is over and settled.  Traditional American policy is going to prevail there, and not the Obama/Kerry heresy of late.  By traditional American policy, I mean the following.
We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security
So, in the Crimea, it now seems very likely that we'll get a government that the people of the Crimea feels is 'most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness'.  In other words, they won't be ruled by Svoboda and the Right Sector from Kiev.  An outcome Thomas Jefferson would be very happy with, even while it appears to massively piss off this era's King George, Barack Obama, and his foreign minister Kerry, the Earl of Ketchup.

The eastern Ukraine is where to watch.  The situation is similar in that these are cities that are historically Russian and that supported President Yanukovych in the last elections held in the Ukraine.  These areas are showing strong opposition to the idea of being ruled by oligarch's appointed as governors by the revolutionary government in Kiev.   Like Mr. Jefferson in a previous era, they want to have a new government that they feel will better effect their safety and happiness than being ruled by parties in Kiev who honor Nazi war criminals.

Yet, while this area was another historically Russian area, it doesn't have the special autonomous status the Crimea always had in the Ukraine, and there are no treaties that allow Russian soldiers to be there.  That doesn't mean that Russia won't intervene to protect Russian people from abuse.  In fact, I'd say that if images start appearing on Russian TV of Ukrainian Russians be attacked or oppressed, then the outcry in Russia will be so large that no Russia leader could do anything other than to respond.

To try to put this in terms an American can relate to, imagine if Texas had once again gained its independence from the US.  After the last election, there were petitions to do just that.  Then imagine that street mobs with strong Al-Qaeda ties had just overthown the Texan government, and now we were seeing on American TV people who look American, sound American, and act American but who live in Texas being attacked by Al-Qaeda leaning street thugs who've seized the government.   Imagine what reaction that would get when those images were on American TV.  We'd be sending troops to Texas to protect the Americans there in a heartbeat.  So, don't imagine that the Russian people won't demand the same response from their government if they see Russians on TV being attacked by Nazi-leaning street thugs.

The last legal government of the Ukraine, President Yanukovych, has already officially requested assistence from Russia.  And Russia's legislature has already given Mr. Putin the authority to use Russian troops to protect Russians in the Ukraine.  And make no mistake, while so far Mr. Putin is sensibly holding back and trying not to escalate the situation further, if forced to intervene by attacks on Russians in the Ukraine, its a sure be he will do so.  And undoubtedly will do so decisively.

So, watch the eastern Ukraine.

Monday, March 3, 2014

History

A bit of history, in case you aren't sure why the Jewish population of the Ukraine is worried and talking about fleeing.

Ukrainian collaborationism with the Axis powers

Some Ukrainians cooperated with the German occupiers, participating in the local administration, in German-supervised auxiliary police, Schutzmannschaft, in the German military, and serving as concentration camp guards. Nationalists in the west of Ukraine were among the most enthusiastic early on, hoping that their efforts would enable them to establish independent state later on. For example, on the eve of Barbarossa as many as four thousand Ukrainians, operating under Wehrmacht orders, sought to cause disruption behind Soviet lines. After the capture of Lviv, an important Ukrainian city, OUN leaders proclaimed a new Ukrainian State on June 30, 1941 and were simultaneously encouraging loyalty to the new regime, in hope that they would be supported by the Germans. Already in 1939, during the German-Polish war, the OUN had been “a faithful German auxiliary”, according to[4]
Professor Ivan Katchanovski of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Harvard University writes that during the war the leadership of OUN B and UPA was heavily engaged in Nazi collaboration - at least 23% of its leaders in Ukraine were in the auxiliary police, Schutzmannschaft Battalion 201 as well as other police formations, 18% took part in training in Nazi Germany's military and intelligence schools in Germany and Nazi-occupied Poland, 11% served the Nachtigall and Roland Battalions, 8% in local administration during the Nazi occupation, and 1% in the SS Galicia Division;according to Katchanovski the percentage of Nazi collaborators among the OUN-B and UPA leadership is likely higher than those numbers, as much data from early occupation is missing[5]

The Infamous Ukrainian Waffen SS Division

July 1944 saw the Battle of Brody (close to Lviv in Western Ukraine), a clash of arms that was to be the first serious test for the highly controversial SS Galicia division, a branch of the German war machine manned exclusively by Ukrainian volunteers. This SS group was one of a number of international battalions recruited during WWII by the Germans and was seen by nationalist forces at the time as the first step towards creating an independent Ukraine.

The Holocaust in Ukraine

The most notorious massacre of Jews in Ukraine was at the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev, where 33,771 Jews were killed in a single operation on September 29–30, 1941. (An amalgamation of 100,000 to 150,000 Ukrainian and other Soviet citizens were also killed in the following weeks). The mass killing of Jews in Kiev was decided on by the military governor Major-General Friedrich Eberhardt, the Police Commander for Army Group South (SS-Obergruppenf├╝hrer Friedrich Jeckeln) and the Einsatzgruppe C Commander Otto Rasch. It was carried out by a mixture of SS, SD and Security Police, assisted by the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police

Ukrainische Hilfspolizei

Professor Alexander Statiev of the Canadian University of Waterloo writes that Ukrainian Auxiliary Police were the major perpetrator of the Holocaust on Soviet territories based on native origins, and those police units participated in the extermination of 150,000 Jews in the area of Volhynia alone.[16] German historian Dieter Pohl in The Shoah in Ukraine writes that the auxiliary police was active during killing operations by the Germans already in the first phases of the German occupation.[17] The auxiliary police registered the Jews, conducted raids and guarded ghettos, loaded convoys to execution sites and cordoned them off. Some 300 auxiliary policemen from Kiev helped organize the massacre in Babi Yar.[17] They also took part in the massacre in Dnipropetrovsk, where the field command noted that the cooperation ran "smoothly in every way". Cases where local commandants ordered murder of Jews using police force are known.[17] In killings of Jews in Kryvy Rih the "entire Ukrainian auxiliary police" was put to use.[17]

Sunday, March 2, 2014

More on the Ukraine

Some articles about the Ukraine from people who see things differently than the full scale propaganda blast coming from the US corporate media.  I added a few thoughts of my own after I made the awful trip to CNN (for research purposes only) and was exposed to their toxic propaganda on this crisis they seem intent on creating.  Remember, the politicians and media who lied the US into the war with Iraq killed more Americans that Osama Bin Laden.  I can't help but wonder how many people are going to die because of today's lies?

Mike Whitney has another excellent article about the current situation in the Ukraine.  And the article from Mr. Ray McGovern I linked to in my first post of the day below is one of the best analysis of the Ukrainian situation that I've seen.  No surprise of course coming from a veteran intelligence analyst like Mr. McGovern.  Don't forget to scroll down that far, as its been a busy and still rather scary day in the world.

Obama’s Dumbest Plan Yet, by Mike Whitney


In order to topple Yanukovych, the US had to tacitly support fanatical groups of neo-Nazi thugs and anti-Semites. And, even though “Interim Ukrainian President Oleksander Tuchynov has pledged to do everything in his power to protect the country’s Jewish community”; reports on the ground are not so encouraging. Here’s an excerpt from a statement by Natalia Vitrenko, of The Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine that suggests the situation is much worse than what is being reported in the news:
“Across the country… People are being beaten and stoned, while undesirable members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are subject to mass intimidation and local officials see their families and children targeted by death threats if they do not support the installation of this new political power. The new Ukrainian authorities are massively burning the offices of political parties they do not like, and have publicly announced the threat of criminal prosecution and prohibition of political parties and public organizations that do not share the ideology and goals of the new regime.” (“USA and EU Are Erecting a Nazi Regime on Ukrainian Territory”, Natalia Vitrenko)
and ...

Naturally, Russia is worried about developments in Ukraine, but is unsure how to react. Here’s how Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev summed it up the other day:

“We do not understand what is going on there. A real threat to our interests (exists) and to the lives and health of our citizens. Strictly speaking, today there is no one there to communicate with … If you think that people in black masks waving Kalashnikovs (represent) a government, then it will be difficult for us to work with such a government.”

Seriously, what?! Kerry tells Russia 'you don't invade a country on completely phony pretexts' - from RT News

The US Secretary of State spoke today of the unacceptability of invading a sovereign country on phony pretexts in order to assert one’s own interests in the 21st century. But no, he was not speaking about the United States, as one might have thought.
“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” John Kerry said during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behaviour in the 21st century.”
... Although Kerry was never challenged by the interviewer to comment in terms of that statement on Washington’s own constant threats to use force and military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who watched the interview immediately smelled the hypocrisy.
“Since when does the United States government genuinely subscribe and defend the concept of sovereignty and territorial integrity? They certainly are not doing that at the moment in Syria,” Marcus Papadopoulos, commentator for ‘Politics First’ told RT. “They certainly did not do that when they attacked Libya. They certainly didn’t do that when they invaded Iraq. They certainly didn’t do that when they attacked Serbia over Kosovo and then later on recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. The United States government merely pays lip service to sovereignty and territorial integrity, it picks and choses.”

Ukraine Revolt's Dark Side, by Conn Hallinan

While most of the Western media describes the current crisis in the Ukraine as a confrontation between authoritarianism and democracy, many of the shock troops who have manned barricades in Kiev and the western city of Lviv these past months represent a dark page in the country's history and have little interest in either democracy or the liberalism of Western Europe and the United States.
"You'd never know from most of the reporting that far-right nationalists and fascists have been at the heart of the protests and attacks on government buildings," reports Seumas Milne of the British Guardian. The most prominent of the groups has been the ultra-rightwing Svoboda or "Freedom" Party.
and ...
The current situation is dangerous precisely because it touches a Russian security nerve. The Soviet Union lost some 25- to 27-million people in World War II, and Russians to this day are touchy about their borders. They also know who inflicted those casualties, and those who celebrate a Waffen SS division are not likely to be well thought of in the south or the east.

Ukraine nationalist leader calls on 'most wanted' terrorist Umarov 'to act against Russia' - from RT News

A leader of the Ukrainian radical group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Yarosh, has called on Russia’s most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov to act against Russia in an address posted on Right Sector’s page in VKontakte social network.
The statement points out that “many Ukrainians with arms in the hands” supported Chechen militants in their fight against Russians and “it is time to support Ukraine now.”
The message, signed “leader of Right Sector Dmitry Yarosh” then calls on Umarov “to activate his fight” and “take a unique chance to win” over Russia.
This last one is stunning.  The Right Sector is one of the major groups in the Kiev revolution.  Since the street protestors rejected the 'moderates' agreement for compromise and instead joined the Right Sector in attacking the government, its not entirely inaccurate to say the Right Sector is one of the leader forces in this revolutionary movement. 

And the leader of the Right Sector just called on the most wanted terrorist in Russia to attack Russia.

The only American equivalent I can think of is if Texas tried to secede from the Union again, and then a leader in that Texan movement called on Al-Qaeda to attack America in support.  Wow.
----------------------
Went to CNN to check out their 'coverage'.  Its amazing how bad and slanted it is.  The main news story on the front page is entirely sourced from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and US and NATO officials.  Its a long article that completely manages to avoid ever putting forward Russia's position.  It has one quote from the Russian FM's 'blog' that seems a bit dated.  Obviously no attempt to get a comment from Russia on this issue.  Absolute pure propaganda.  Look at the sources their 'reports' are coming from, and you can obviously see that its one-sided junk.  If anyone you know is getting their news from CNN, they need to have their mind washed out with soap.

I know the RT website is slanted in the Russian direction.  But CNN is acting like the press office of the Ukrainian nazi street mobs.  And in general, if you had to pick which one tends to be right in hindsight, so far RT is leading in that gold medal category.  Read RT today and it seems to provide pretty good insight into what will be occurring in the next couple of days.

That makes sense with the various analysis from people like Mr. McGovern that says that Russia holds all the strategic cards in this crisis.  PM Putin is playing with a handful of aces, and the west seems to be bluffing.  Therefore, it makes sense that RT might give a better guide to the future than the western fake news channels because if RT is putting forward the Russian government point of view, which it does, then since the Russians hold all the cards then it makes sense that RT is going to better at helping to understand what's going on.

At this point, I'm wondering ...
1)  Is Washington governed by madmen who are willing to start world war III?
2)  If Washington is at a strategic disadvantage, will Washington be able to admit
defeat at some point?
3)  If Washington isn't willing to admit defeat, and little in recent history says it can, is Washington willing to start WWIII to avoid having to admit defeat?

The computer programmers among you see how this loops.  Fatal error at some point unless someone in Washington is brave enough at some point to back down and admit defeat.  If Russia and Prime Minister Putin hold every strategic advantage, and if they aren't willing to fold, then at some point President Obama and the west have to either admit defeat or start a major war from a position of disadvantage.

Since I live in a country stupid enough to go to war as an invader in Afghanistan without knowing anything about Afghanistan's history of fighting off foreign invaders, perhaps I should mention what happens to countries and leaders that have taken Kiev away from the Russians.  Emperor Napoleon took Kiev from Czar Alexander, and Chancellor Hitler took Kiev from Chairman Stalin.  Does anyone need a reminder of how that worked in the long run for Napoleon and Hitler?

In other words, this is a really stupid place for the west to start a major conflict with Russia.  They can not win.  But reality seems to matter less and less to Washington's political leadership.  They seem desperate to start a war some place.  If they couldn't make their bloody dream of a Syrian war into reality, now they seem to be doing everything they possibly can to cause death and destruction in the Ukraine.  What on earth is going on with these people?

Meanwhile, SOS Kerry is flying to Kiev.  I wonder if he's going to get his picture taken with the Nazis?


Ukraine: One "Regime Change" Too Many?

Ukraine: One "Regime Change" Too Many?

by Ray McGovern

Excellent analysis on the Ukraine situation by Ray McGovern.  For those that don't know, Mr. McGovern is a former military intelligence and CIA analyst with 27 years experience in those roles.  He now works with an inner-city ministry in Washington DC, and also tries to share his experience by writing informed articles on American foreign policy and spying.  This article is definitely worth reading in full in these dangerous times.


Is "regime change" in Ukraine the bridge too far for the neoconservative "regime changers" of Official Washington and their sophomoric "responsibility-to-protect" (R2P) allies in the Obama administration? Have they dangerously over-reached by pushing the putsch that removed duly-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych? Russian President Vladimir Putin has given an unmistakable "yes" to those questions -- in deeds, not words. His message is clear: "Back off our near-frontier!"
and shortly further into the beginning of this piece ....
Unless Obama is completely bereft of advisers who know something about Russia, it should have been a "known-known" (pardon the Rumsfeldian mal mot) that the Russians would react this way to a putsch removing Yanukovich. It would have been a no-brainer that Russia would use military force, if necessary, to counter attempts to use economic enticement and subversive incitement to slide Ukraine into the orbit of the West and eventually NATO.
This was all the more predictable in the case of Ukraine, where Putin -- although the bête noire in corporate Western media -- holds very high strategic cards geographically, militarily, economically and politically.

What still amazes me is that the US and its allies/partners/puppets just won't stop.  It seems there are daily provocations coming out of both Washington and Kiev.  It strangely sounds like Washington wants a war over the Ukraine.  Which seems insane in any geopolitical or strategical sense.  It might have made some strategical sense to be messing around politically in the Ukraine, if pulling the tail of the Russian bear was deemed to be an appropriate American strategic goal.  But it makes no sense at all to try to escalate this situation into a conflict.

The Ukrainian military is doing exactly what you'd expect a nation's military to do when that nation seems to be splitting apart into a potential civil war.  That is, the Ukrainian military itself is splitting.  We are seeing resignations from Ukrainian officers saying they will instead serve the Crimea.  This should surprise no American who paid enough attention in high school history to know that officers like Robert E. Lee resigned their commissions in the US Army when their states succeeded from the Union.  The same thing is happening in the Ukraine.  Its absurd to think that officers in the Ukrainian military from the southern or eastern parts of the Ukraine would stay in the Ukrainian military to fight against their own neighbors, friends and families.  Thus, the news reports that the Ukrainian military is splitting are entirely expected.

So far, its Russia that is showing restraint.  The Russians are only talking about entering the Ukraine to defend the Russian speaking and historically Russian populations that fall within the Ukraine's current borders. 

This would be a non-issue if the revolutionaries in Kiev had enough sense to stop and realize that they have already won all that they could possibly win here.  They are in control of the western parts of the Ukraine and the city of Kiev.  They are now massively overreaching is saying that they have the right to dictate to the rest of the Ukraine.  They are overreaching when they try to change laws to insist on banning Russian as a public language. They are overreaching when they try to insist that these regions are theirs to control.  And they've certainly been overreaching when they tried to send detachments out to these areas to assert their control.

These overreaches had the expected outcomes.  'Self-defense' forces, which were quite possibly Russian military in unmarked uniforms, blocked the Kiev revolutionaries attempts to seize airports and government buildings by force.  And now both the Crimea and the major industrial city of Donetz are planning to hold votes on whether to be ruled by a Kiev government that just violently overthrew the elected government they had voted for.  The results of these votes will certainly be the expected results of rejecting the Kiev government and voting for self-rule.

Right now, its the US/EU/neo-nazi grouping that is forcing the issues and trying to escalate the conflict.  Russia is merely using its military in a defensive role to protect the historically Russian populations in the Ukraine.  The Russian people were never going to sit by and watch other Russians be abused by a nazi-like government in Kiev.  Its the Kiev government that is acting aggressively to try to conquer parts of the country where it has very little support.  And its the 'diplomats' from the US and the EU that seem to be threatening war if Russia dares to protect Russians from the United States' latest favorite bunch of Nazi-wannabees.

Thus, the question is whether the US has enough sense to just stop.  The last decade or more of US foreign policy seriously questions whether the US has any sense.  Can the US see that starting a war on the frontiers of Russia is not going to go well?  Militarily, the US and EU can't possibly muster the military muscle in the Ukraine that Russia can from just next door.  The Ukrainian military was no match for the Russians even before it began its natural process of splintering apart the way the entire current nation of the Ukraine is splintering apart.  The US can't possibly win a fight here. 

All the US can do is ensure Russian enmity for at least a generation to come.  The US is making it very, very certain that no Russian politician will be able to take any positions except those of opposing the US whenever and whereever it is possible.    That's because after this, the US is going to be known in Russia as the nation that once again has tried to turn loose the Nazis on the Russian people.  I seriously doubt the Russians have forgotten the 20 million people who died the last time they had to fight off a Nazi-led government.  Just recently the Russians memorialized the anniversary of the horrible siege of Leningrad.  They have not forgotten.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Worried


I have to admit that for the first time, today I'm worried about what's developing in the Ukraine.  Oh, I know there's been voices on the internet for awhile now comparing this to the start of WWI and saying that WWIII is bound to start because of the Ukraine.  I just hadn't paid them a whole lot of attention.  Those voices are always there.  Just a few months ago these voices were saying that it would be Syrian civil war that would launch WWIII.  To me, these voices are like the people on the internet who claim that every comet or asteroid is really a super-dense neutron star that's going to destroy our solar system.  Or like the people who say that Yellowstone is on the edge of erupting any day now and destroy the city where I live.  Those people are always there.  The sky is always falling somewhere.

But, while reading today's news dispatches from the region, I have to admit that today I did begin to get worried.  The Ukraine now has the feel of a situation that is getting out of control.  The Ukraine has always been a situation which directly impacts and threatens key Russian strategic interests.  Surely this must look from Moscow about how it would look from America if we saw either the Canadian or Mexican government being overthrown by violent gangs with ties to Al-Qaeda.  And remember, Al Qaeda only killed 3000 Americans.  I say 'only', because the Nazis killed 20,000,000 Russians during WWII.  Seems logical that a government on Russia's borders with Nazi affiliations would get the Russian people and government's attention even more strongly than a government in either Mexico or Canada with Al-Qaeda ties would get America's attention.

For a few days there, I thought the situation in the Ukraine was at a point where things could settle down and reach some sort of relatively peaceful resolution from here.  The rebellion has been apparently victorious in Kiev and points west.   The eastern and southern parts of Ukraine are historically Russian and were only added officially to the Ukraine in the 1950's by Khrushchev as a symbolic gesture at the time of the 300th anniversary of the Russian - Ukrainian 'union'.   Since the Ukraine was then firmly a part of the Soviet Union, adding them to the Ukraine was like changing a state boundary without changing the national boundary.  Now, those historically Russian areas (they conquered them fair and square centuries ago) are a part of the Ukraine. 

I was listening to Prof. Cohen in a radio interview from this last weekend.  Its a great piece if you what thoughtful, informed and downright intelligent conversation on the crises in the Ukraine.  That was the first piece, followed by others on the internet, that gave me the impression there was a chance it could stop here.  If  the revolutionaries accepted their victory, and were content to control Kiev and parts west, then a deal could be reached.  Perhaps a 'federated' system in the Ukraine where the two parts agree to be relatively independent of each other.  Or maybe even an outright split with the traditionally Russian parts of the Ukraine going back to being a part of Russia like they have been for the longer than Massachusetts has been one of the United States of America.

Then the worrying news came in.  First I saw reports where the revolutionaries in Kiev were now insisting that the country remain unified, and of course under their complete control.  One of the first acts of the new self-declared government in Kiev was to threaten to arrest anyone opposed being armed by a government formed by armed mobs in the streets of Kiev.

"Ukraine’s acting president Aleksandr Turchinov said there were concerning "signs of separatism" in the mainly Russian-speaking Crimea.Turchinov warned against threat’s to the country’s territorial integrity, saying anyone engaged in separatist activities would be punished. Protesters on the southern peninsula have held rallies since President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted." - RT-USA
Its one thing for armed groups and street protests that represent the majority of the people in a region to take power.  As an American, that belief goes back to the core, fundamental concept of America itself that the people hold the true sovereign power of a nation.   Thus, I have at least some sympathy when the majority of the population in a region stand up to say they don't like the way they are being governed and to demand changes. I may not like what I see from afar, but as an American patriot who holds dear the basic fundamental principle of America , I can have sympathy with the belief that they want to rule themselves in a manner that 'shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness'.

But, its a completely different story when armed gangs from one part of a country start saying they now have the right to dictate to people in regions where the majority of people do not support their rebellion.  The Crimea and the older industrial regions of the Dnepr Bend region are of Russian ethnicity, have historic ties to Russia, and were the basis of the majority that elected the President who has now had to flee Kiev.  To the people in these regions, the armed street mobs in Kiev just overthrew the democratically elected government that they had voted for. In other words, they probably feel towards the demonstrators in Kiev the way American Democrats felt towards Bush after the Supreme Court selected him to be the President in 2000. 

If I believe that the people of the western Ukraine have some basic right to rise up and demand a government that suits them, then one also has to grant the same rights to the people of the eastern and southern regions of the Ukraine.  If they feel that a government in Kiev formed by armed street mobs doesn't represent them, then they have the same rights to stand and demand a government that represents them.

Now, not only are threats coming from Kiev out to these region, not only is the new 'liberated' and 'freedom-loving' government in Kiev threatening to attack and arrest anyone who speaks against them, but there is now rioting in the Crimea and reports of trains full of armed revolutionaries heading south from the Kiev area.

"Demonstrators from Russian-dominated Sevastopol, the largest city in Crimea, are arriving at the region’s capital Simferopol, in the center of the Crimea peninsula, to support thousands of Russian nationals rallying against the new authorities in Kiev.

Right-wing leaders threatened earlier that they would send to Sevastopol the so-called “trains of friendship,” which are, in fact, groups of armed radicals, RT correspondent Egor Piskunov reported from Simferopol. Additional checkpoints have been set up on the main roads leading to the city to prevent any possible provocations, he said." - RT-USA
So, at a point where it appeared that the situation might have a chance to settle down, take a breath and calm down, instead the revolutionaries in Kiev are escalating the whole situation further by escalating fights in the Crimea.  Instead of a stretch of peace where people might be able to reach an agreement on some sort of federated Ukraine that could respect everyone's wishes, the situation is being escalated in the Crimea.

One wonders if the EU and the US are instigating any of this?  Are they the voices in the ear of the Kiev revolutionaries saying they have to attack now to keep the more industrialized sections of the Ukraine under their control?  We'll have to wait for Wikileaks to report to us on what the diplomatic cables are saying right now. 

What is scary is that it may not matter.  Prof Cohen says (in the radio piece linked above) that the EU and US diplomats thought they had negotiated a deal with the 'moderate' leaders of the rebellion.  Yet, when those 'moderate' leaders return to the people in the street to report their successful negotiations, they are heckled and rejected by protestors who then launched armed attacks on the government buildings.

Lets just say hypothetically that someone in the US government has a flash of reason and realizes that the situation in the Ukraine needs to be calmed down for awhile before the whole thing explodes.  Who in the Kiev government would they talk to about this need?  The moderates who would talk to the diplomats and reach a deal have been discredited by the street protestors.  The street protestors clearly said that these 'moderate' leaders don't represent them when they rejected the negotiated peace deal last weekend and instead attacked.

So, even if the US has a flash of sanity and tries to calm the situation down, the people who have the actual power in the protest government don't seem to be listening.  The people who are willing to make deals don't have the power. 

Does anyone notice a bigger pattern?  In both Syria and the Ukraine, the American people are told we must support 'moderates'.  Yet, in both cases the moderates are revealed to have no real power, and instead the US policy ends up putting radicals in power who goals are antithetical to US interests.  The rebellion in Syria that the US has supported and fueled, along with the Saudis and the gulf oil states of course, has turned into a armed Sunni rebellion in Iraq that the government that the US spend hundreds of billions of dollars and 4,000 plus American lives to put into place is now fighting to put down.  The US policy of supporting 'moderates' in Syria has now led to the US being asked to send more arms and munitions to Iraq to fight the rebels there who are armed with arms and munitions supplied to the rebels in Syria by the US\Saudi\Gulf States coalition. 

Amazing the power that the line that Sykes and Picot drew in that if a man with a gun crosses that imaginary line in the desert he transforms from freedom fighter and terrorist.  I can picture someone hoping back and forth over that line in the sand saying 'freedom fighter' as a foot lands on the Syrian side, and 'terrorist' when a foot lands on the Iraq side.  And perhaps a very confused drone operator somewhere who believes for an instant he's got a legitimate signature strike target of a terrorist, but then has to stop the impulse to kill him (and anyone near him) when the foot lands on the Syrian side of the line and he's instantly transformed into a freedom fighter fighting to liberate his nation from the evil Assad family.

And now, in the Ukraine, supposed support for 'moderates' in Kiev has turned into a rebellion that has a dangerous set of Nazi tendencies to it.  And, regardless of the accuracy of that impression, it has turned into a rebellion which is now apparently completely out of control.  It has turned into a rebellion which now seems that its out of control actions will escalate and inflame the situation further.

Take note of one thing.  The Olympics are over.  Putin was never going to launch a move to support Russian leaning citizens of the Ukraine while the Olympics were going on.  But the Olympics are over now.  And Putin just ordered 'defense readiness drills' for the Russian military in regions around the Ukraine. 

That can be seen as anything from a saber-rattling warning to basic prudence.  If Mexico or Canada had just had their government overthrown by rebels with Al-Qaeda like tendencies, and if the situation seemed to be escalating further out of control as those rebels seem to bypass chances where a peaceful settlement could be reached, then it might be reasonable to think that doing 'defense readiness' checks on this side of the border might just be a very prudent thing to do.

Perhaps the sight of the Russian army checking its weapons for readiness might get some people in Kiev to calm down right now and listen to reason?  Listen to the 'reason' that says they should celebrate their victory and begin to put their region back into order instead of starting the next round of fighting.  AIf it doesn't, then this is starting to look like it could continue to spin so far out of control that the Russian army might need those weapons soon and only a fool wouldn't be checking to see if they are ready.

If Russian speaking protestors in traditionally Russian parts of the region are being attacked in the streets by armed revolutionaries from Kiev, then there is going to be a very strong reaction in Russia that they should help the Russians they'll see being attacked on their TVs.  That feels like one of those points of history where a leader, whether Putin or anyone else, might have no choice but to respond to that rising national feeling  In other words, pretty much the same situation the Czar felt when a rising tide of feelings of slavic brotherhood with the Serbs meant that Russia in 1914 had little or no choice but to give its support.

It all has the feeling of getting out of control now.  The people who've really been in control of Kiev for the last week have been the right-wing leaning protestors who ignored the peace deal and attacked the government.  Russia seems to be getting pushed into a corner where it will have no choice but to respond.  I read history, and the start of World War I is a fascinating period for me.  Perhaps I'll write about why that is on some other early morning.  But for now, its enough to say that for the first time this situation in the Ukraine is really starting to worry me because it looks like its all getting out of control in some pretty dangerous ways.  And when a situation seems out of control, that should worry a lot of people.







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