Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 17, 2014

Ukraine: Wet Noodle Sanctions And Pressure For Constitutional Reform

As documented yesterday the "leaked" Russian non-paper which demanded constitutional reform in the Ukraine and more autonomy for its regions was at least partially accepted by Secretary of State Kerry:

In a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, their second since unsuccessful face-to-face talks on Friday in London, Kerry urged Russia "to support efforts by Ukrainians across the spectrum to address power sharing and decentralization through a constitutional reform process that is broadly inclusive and protects the rights of minorities," the State Department said.

That Kerry "urged Russia" is just a silly diversion. The idea of such changes in the Ukrainian constitution clearly came from the Russian side and were already part of the February 21 agreement which the U.S. supported coup government broke.

The Kerry call with Lavrov was followed by one between Putin and Obama. The White House readout of that call also mentions the constitution issue.

[President Obama] noted that the Ukrainian government continues to take concrete steps that would allow for the de-escalation of the crisis, particularly as it prepares for elections this Spring and undertakes constitutional reform, ...

Using that acknowledgement of the Russian plan the Kremlin increased the pressure and went public with its demands:

Moscow, meanwhile, called on Ukraine to become a federal state as a way of resolving the polarization between Ukraine's western regions — which favor closer ties with the 28-nation EU — and its eastern areas, which have long ties to Russia.

In a statement Monday, Russia's Foreign Ministry urged Ukraine's parliament to call a constitutional assembly that could draft a new constitution to make the country federal, handing more power to its regions. It also said country should adopt a "neutral political and military status," a demand reflecting Moscow's concern about the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO.

Russia is also pushing for Russian to become Ukraine's state language.

In Kiev, Ukraine's new government dismissed Russia's proposal Monday as unacceptable, saying it "looks like an ultimatum."

The Ukrainian puppet government still has to learn the business. As Kerry and Obama already conceded "constitutional reform" in the Ukraine there will be no way for the puppet government to get around this. It urgently needs money and those who could possibly pay, the IMF, the U.S. and EU, will make their demands heard.

Russia could also easily escalate and help the eastern and southern regions of the Ukraine to create their own state independent of Kiev or the seek, like the Crimea, incorporation into the Russian Federation. The Ukrainian government is right to call the Russian demand an ultimatum. It is exactly that and it will have to submit to it.

But that is not yet understood. The Ukrainian parliament, those now 300+ left from 450 original lawmakers after the others fled under threats of violence, decided to mobilize the Ukrainian military and moved a whooping 12% of its total budget into reestablishing some military force. But the Ukrainian military has been neglected for over 20 years:

“It is absolutely not a combat ready force. It’s sharply underfunded, and they don’t have any real air or surface to air or capacity compared to what Russia can deploy — even though Russia is no paragon of military readiness either,” Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told FoxNews.com.

The Ukrainian troops are still mostly conscripts and the professionals are paid only half of the average Ukrainian wage. How loyal this military will be to the coup-government is yet to be seen. I do not expect it to play any significant role.

Meanwhile the U.S. as well as the EU introduced some sanctions on some Russian and Ukrainian individuals though the White House "Fact Sheet" does not even say what those sanctions are:

In response to the Russian government’s actions contributing to the crisis in Ukraine, this new E.O. lists seven Russian government officials who are being designated for sanctions. These individuals are Vladislav Surkov, Sergey Glazyev, Leonid Slutsky, Andrei Klishas, Valentina Matviyenko, Dmitry Rogozin, and Yelena Mizulina.

There seems to be no real idea why (and with what) these individuals would be sanctioned. Does it make sense to sanction people because of their "status"?

  • Valentina Matviyenko: Matviyenko is being sanctioned for her status as Head of the Federation Council
  • Dmitry Rogozin: Rogozin is being sanctioned for his status as the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
  • Yelena Mizulina: Mizulina is being sanctioned for her status as a State Duma Deputy.
  • ...

The sanctioned Russian people are all officials who are not even allowed to hold foreign assets. What is the U.S. going to do about them?

One paragraph in the "Fact Sheet" is a threat to Russian businessman and oligarchs:

The United States also will seek to hold accountable individuals who use their resources or influence to support or act on behalf of senior Russian government officials. We recognize that the Russian leadership derives significant support from, and takes action through, individuals who do not themselves serve in any official capacity. Our current focus is to identify these individuals and target their personal assets, but not companies that they may manage on behalf of the Russian state.

Whatever. Putin has some 70% of the Russians in favor of him. He does not have to be considerate of this or that oligarch. The Russians are laughing off this wet noodle assault. None of these sanctions will influence their decision making. They will publish a retaliatory list and equally meaningless sanction some U.S. and EU officials and that will be it.

The U.S. now has the unpleasant task to silence the blowhards and fascists in the Ukrainian puppet government and to push them to accept some meaningful constitution creating process. The Russian government will keep all options open in eastern and southern Ukraine until a new acceptable Ukrainian constitution is done and in place. It can for now sit back and amuse itself about the empty blustering coming out of Brussels and Washington DC.

Posted by b on March 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

Comments
next page »

Boy west are stupid
but that west had taken off as claimed on this blog the other day was obviously not correct.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 17, 2014 11:46:30 AM | 1

Very nice. One question, and maybe Pragma is the best authority on this: who is Putin grooming to take on his mantle once he leaves the stage/if something should happen. As the war criminal Americans amply demonstrate over and over again, there is no shortage of like-minded amoral midgets - from both fake parties - to take up their criminal cause but how deep is Putin's "talent" pool and can they be trusted to not be Nulanded at some point down the line? Obviously, I'm sure there are many such people but I don't read Russian and the propaganda in the US is so thick - hey, let's read another expose on Navalny, ffs - it's not that easy to get good info. thnx

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 17, 2014 11:53:47 AM | 2

Here is a list of Americans whom Russia might sanction: The Koch brothers. Everyone in a business relationship with Mitt Romney. Jeff Bezos. Dick Armey. The Board of the Federal Reserve. Ahhhh, dream on.

Posted by: georgewiley | Mar 17, 2014 11:56:05 AM | 3

Excellent post, b. It looks like the sanctions will be cosmetic, meant to provide fodder for the Western media maintaining the hallucination of U.S.-dictated "international norms."

Supporting the idea that sanctions will be windrow dressing, there is a quote in the NYT of an Austrian official saying Gazprom is off-limits:

One of the ministers attending the Brussels meeting, Sebastian Kurz of Austria, gave a strong indication that the punitive European measures would not initially reach into the highest echelons of Russia’s powerful energy companies, which are close to the Kremlin.

In a radio interview, Mr. Kurz said the referendum would trigger an array of measures including visa bans and the freezing of assets held by political and military figures who orchestrated Russia’s intervention in Crimea, Reuters reported.

Asked whether the list would include the heads of the energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft, as reported on Friday in Germany, Mr. Kurz replied: “This is not expected at this time.”

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 17, 2014 11:58:44 AM | 4

@JSorrentine: my money in in Shoigu, the most popular minister in government. (currently Defense, previously Emergency Situations)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Shoygu

Posted by: z | Mar 17, 2014 12:26:57 PM | 5

Sure, the performance of Russian forces against Georgia in 2008 deserves comparisons to US operations in Grenada and Panama, in terms of exposing preparedness issues, but you can be sure they've improved upon them since then.

Correct me if something's changed, but the Russian military is supposed to be moving away from conscription in favor of an all-volunteer professional force, with a target date of 2020.

Posted by: Jon Lester | Mar 17, 2014 12:28:55 PM | 6

I guess this settles the question then how keen Putin and the Duma are on welcoming back the Crimea.

Legal decisions on Crimea’s accession to Russia will be ready promptly — official

MOSCOW, March 17. /ITAR-TASS/. All legal decisions necessary for Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation will be adopted promptly, Deputy Speaker of the Russian State Duma Sergei Neverov told reporters on Monday.

“All necessary legal decisions following the referendum [in Crimea] will be adopted the most promptly,” he said.

“Results of the referendum in Crimea have demonstrated clearly that Crimea’s people see their future only with the republic being a part of the Russian Federation; the people have voted for the reunification of the people who have always lived in one country," Neverov added. [...]

Congrats to Russia's leaders, a Olympic gold medal performance. This Crimean gambit will go down as one of the most intelligent moves in Russia's modern history, both in a foreign policy as well as national security sense.

As far as foreign policy goes, Russia has impressively demonstrated that any opponent choosing to mess around on Russia's home turf will end up regretting the day they came up with the idea.

And in terms of national security, having its black sea fleet base firmly back on Russian territory, regardless of what the future holds for the rest of Ukraine, is priceless.

Putin's strategic planning team has shown its western counterparts that Russian blue prints for dealing with geopolitical what-if scenarios more likely than not correctly predict her opponents moves, and are designed to use NATO's forward attacking energy to Russia's advantage. Best done by employing techniques NATO leaders can't effectively defend against without immediately exposing themselves as the bunch of hypocrites they are.

Both sides have learned something here. Russia's firm stand on this issue has forced western leaders to reveal which pressure points they would consider in future confrontations, and NATO leaders have gained valuable real life insights into just how strong the headwinds are facing their ideas of economic sanctions whenever they dream of picking on someone their own size.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 17, 2014 12:31:56 PM | 7

thanks b. i have been away this weekend!

regarding the fact sheet quote- switch out russia for the usa.. they'd be much better served doing that! i have re-quoted it below..

"The United States will seek to hold accountable individuals who use their resources or influence to support or act on behalf of senior US government officials. We recognize that the USA leadership derives significant support from, and takes action through, individuals who do not themselves serve in any official capacity. Our current focus is to identify these individuals and target their personal assets, but not companies that they may manage on behalf of the United States."

Posted by: james | Mar 17, 2014 12:38:16 PM | 8

Juan Moment: Russia has learned bc Russia is capable of learning. I really wouldn't assume the US -- or NATO, to the extent that it is run by the US -- has learned a thing. I mean, really, who would have done the learning? It's kind of like the Rethugs on Obamacare: defeat after defeat doesn't mean they haven't stopped trying or lying. American Exceptionalism apparently means there's never a need to re-evaluate or reassess... anything, ever. Tinker around the edges maybe (sanction who?), but how much of the "color revolution" programme will get redesigned after this fiasco? Nothing significant is my guess.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 17, 2014 12:44:13 PM | 9

Breaking News! A dangerous escalation to the Ukraine crisis: Putin has announced sanctions for Barack Obama's dog Bo as a retaliation for the US sanctions!

Posted by: s | Mar 17, 2014 12:52:11 PM | 10

@ 10

No more Black Caviar for the dog?

Posted by: Solerso | Mar 17, 2014 12:56:33 PM | 11

Nora @9 makes a good point, it is exemplified by the incredible fact that neo-cons such as Mr and Mrs Nuland-Kagan are still entrusted with foreign policy assignments.

If, like generations of British aristocrats holding government offices, they were brain dead or completely uninterested they would do a better job. Unfortunately they are ideologues defying Einstein's famous definition of madness.
What beggars belief is that those in the passenger seats of this bus being driven by drunken drivers neither protest or even question the right of scheming careerist mediocrities to plunge the world, every few weeks, perilously close to the abyss.

Peter Lee has a slightly different take on the sanctions:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/17/americas-oligarch-strategy/

Posted by: bevin | Mar 17, 2014 12:59:57 PM | 12

Russia 2 - USA 0

Posted by: Gregg | Mar 17, 2014 1:00:35 PM | 13

Jay I think, uh, will be available for questions. Thank You." And then Obama and Jay leave the room.
http://representativepress.blogspot.com/2014/03/jay-i-think-uh-will-be-available-for.html
Obama pulled the same stunt the last time he was in the press room talking about Ukraine: http://youtu.be/FL6D375-qAI?t=1m50s

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Mar 17, 2014 1:04:39 PM | 14

Executive Order -- Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine

EXECUTIVE ORDER

- - - - - - -

BLOCKING PROPERTY OF CERTAIN PERSONS CONTRIBUTING TO THE SITUATION IN UKRAINE

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, find that the actions and policies of persons -- including persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine -- that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat. I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:

(i) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or indirectly, any of the following:

(A) actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine;

(B) actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; or

(C) misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine or of an economically significant entity in Ukraine;

(ii) to have asserted governmental authority over any part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine;

(iii) to be a leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in subsection (a)(i) or (a)(ii) of this section or of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;

(iv) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any activity described in subsection (a)(i) or (a)(ii) of this section or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(v) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.

Sec. 2. I hereby find that the unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in subsection 1(a) of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of such persons. Such persons shall be treated as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).

Sec. 3. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

Sec. 4. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:

(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and

(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec. 5. (a) Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 6. For the purposes of this order:

(a) the term "person" means an individual or entity;

(b) the term "entity" means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and

(c) the term "United States person" means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.

Sec. 7. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.

Sec. 8. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.

Sec. 9. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit the recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).

Sec. 10. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

BARACK OBAMA

Posted by: William Bowles | Mar 17, 2014 1:05:27 PM | 15

@ #9 & #10... Pretty damn funny );>)

Posted by: Colinjames | Mar 17, 2014 1:10:01 PM | 16

JSorrentine (2)

One question, and maybe Pragma is the best authority on this: who is Putin grooming to take on his mantle once he leaves the stage/if something should happen.

Thanks. And yes, actually Pragma had some educated and facts based guess to offer. But Pragma is not in the mood to "disturb" discussions on a blog that puts knowledgable contributors in one line with distractors who successfully explode discussion with their zionist propaganda. Neither is Pragma in the mood to be shouted at nor in the mood to comment, Pardon me, blog entries that basically just summarize what is common knowledge anyway (It seems b can do only one of two on a given day; either shouting and mixing up contributors with distractors - or - write good articles. Usually it's the latter).

Ask bevin. He will doubtlessly offer some nicely worded phrases. After all, he is the famous Russia expert beloved by b.

(No, this is by no means directed against you, JSorrentine).

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 17, 2014 1:16:24 PM | 17

I just can't get over how Putin and Co. are out maneuvering the Obama administration.
This is like me trying to go one on one with Kobe Bryant, no match up all.

Putin's victory in Crimea is small potatoes next to the constitutional reforms which will deny NATO deployment, deny US missile bases, and probably eradicate the Nazi element through some sort of electoral process.

What can Obama do, defend the right s of Nazis to be in the government.

I remember the days when the Kremlin was loaded with boneheads, but these guys are smart cookies.
Booyah Putin...you da man!

Posted by: Raskolnikov | Mar 17, 2014 1:19:39 PM | 18

# 17: Please, Mr. Pragma. There are a lot of us here who deeply value your what you know and the way you put things together!

Posted by: Nora | Mar 17, 2014 1:32:02 PM | 19

@5

thnx, will read up on him and follow links that I find.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 17, 2014 1:33:08 PM | 20

@17

No worries, man, I got it. When and if you have the chance, though, your thoughts would be appreciated.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 17, 2014 1:35:44 PM | 21

JSorrentine (20)

Waste of time.
Schoigu is a smart, loyal, capable, and generally well liked man but neither the kind of "material" a Russian president is made of, nor has he been or is he groomed.

(A special for JSorrentine who has earned it)


Nora

Thanks so much. But b's behaviour has left me thinking. One of my professors once put it nicely: "I know what I know - with you or without you. I'm willing to share but I won't pay for it".
If the result of my many contributions is b shouting(!) at me and mixing me up with zionist distractors then leaving may be more attractive than continuing. Still thinking ...

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 17, 2014 1:43:40 PM | 22

On Tuesday, Putin will address an assembly of both houses of parliament, as well as heads of regions and representatives of public organizations, about Crimea’s reunification request. (RIA Novosti)

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Mar 17, 2014 1:50:16 PM | 23

Mr P: if you leave, they win. Please don't let that happen.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 17, 2014 1:55:42 PM | 24

in brief, i hope russia, having gracefully worked here, that she does not put crimea, which was my inference of you post last night b, - not by you - but other exigencies

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Mar 17, 2014 2:17:22 PM | 25

Mr.Pragma!

Do not leave, your a breath of fresh air around here! We need more independent thinkers, people who can think outside of the box and do not give a rats a*s about PC!

I do not always agree with your viewpoints but I certainly enjoy your posts!
Nora is right, if u just leave, they win. If u do choose to exit MoA though, could u tell me if you post in English(cannot read Russian.yet) anywhere else?

Best regards

Posted by: Luca K | Mar 17, 2014 2:19:02 PM | 26

The sanctions the west is imposing on Russians are not a "face saving" cover for the west "backing down", they are evidence the western poligarchy is not backing down at all. At most, they are changing gears. Much is made of the fact these sanctions are mostly symbolic, but that is the main point of them. They don't want sanctions that bite, because such sanctions would cause dissension by both business interests and people in the west. At the same time, they need to keep people thinking the Russians are "the bad guys". Symbolic sanctions serve that purpose (one doesn't sanction "good guys"). Why do they need the Russians remaining the "bad guys" in the public's eye? Because the west is not backing off and is planning much more aggression against Russia, and also China and those countries aligned with them.

While the west may negotiate, and even make solid agreements about Ukraine's future, their operations on the ground will continue as before. And when the disparity between what they say, and agree to diplomatically, differs so much from their actions on the ground, that they cant hide it any more, they'll again blame the Russians for it.

The Russians know this, and while they do the diplomatic tango with the west, they know it's all for image, and that the only way to stop western aggression is by effectively countering their moves on the ground. This is what they are doing in the Ukraine.

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 17, 2014 2:49:00 PM | 27

Uh whats going on now?

Russia recognice Crimea as a "independent statehood"?
http://rt.com/news/russia-recognize-crimea-independence-410/

So its not going to Russia?

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 17, 2014 2:54:39 PM | 28

Mr Pragma do stay. Your insight is very intelligent and logical. My blood is curdling reading and trying to make sense of our mainstream press (western)......

Posted by: georgeg | Mar 17, 2014 2:57:40 PM | 29

The Russians know this, and while they do the diplomatic tango with the west, they know it's all for image, and that the only way to stop western aggression is by effectively countering their moves on the ground. This is what they are doing in the Ukraine.

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 17, 2014 2:49:00 PM | 27

Yes. I guess Russia applies Syrian lessions. So in Ukraine, there were civil self defense groups immediately.

Putin recognizes Crimea as independent state formally avoiding the accusation of annexation. South Eastern Ukraine now can do the same.

Western Ukraine, the Kiew government now can decide if they wish to fight. Down that road is World War III.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 17, 2014 3:06:06 PM | 30

Another factor in these sanctions against Russian government officials that I forgot to mention is they will be used to hamper diplomacy, not as a "face saving" cover for diplomacy. It's to restrict movement by officials of the targeted governments. Look at all the childish games the U.S. has been engaged in with diplomats from Venezuela and Ecuador recently, or Nicaragua back in the 1980's. It's a form of harassment, an annoyance factor used to make it more difficult for the sanctioned people to work outside their own country's borders, so making it more difficult for the country to maintain relations with others.

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 17, 2014 3:06:28 PM | 31

@17 Mr. Pragma

I went on the previous thread and saw how you handled that sniveling, condescending weasel who's no doubt really with the zz(I’m sure you get the drift) using the poor-me-poor-us-everybody-hates-us, pity-me disguise to distract, divide and sow conflict and then going on a German spam-tirade against the use of MoA and throwing up every gripe that was splitting his spleen. Thankfully, you saw right through him and cut him down to size with the sharp, unapologetic smackdown he had coming.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 17, 2014 3:11:16 PM | 32

Mr Pragma,

As an "Avid Lurker" I focus on three posters routinely. You, JSorrentine, and DebsIsDead. Period. This is my second post. You rock. Please stay.

Posted by: Avid Lurker | Mar 17, 2014 3:11:25 PM | 33

Somebody

"Putin recognizes Crimea as independent state formally avoiding the accusation of annexation. South Eastern Ukraine now can do the same.

Western Ukraine, the Kiew government now can decide if they wish to fight. Down that road is World War III."

I guess you are right, thats a pretty smart move that most people never thought of, although we dont know if theres another step later on...

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 17, 2014 3:11:49 PM | 34

Dear Luca K @26,

you also are not allowed to use this smear words like rats ass against people you don't even know anything of on a MoonofAlabama blog, it's totally against the spirit of people like B.B., Kurt Weill, Jim Morrison and other barflies around here and in heaven. It's also against the spirit of ca. 5 million Alabamens who love their moon over Alabama, incl. myself who is a frequent traveller to Mobile, Daphne and other nice A. cities and regions.

Is it really so difficult to behave like civilised people and respect the other person incl. his / her opinions?

Posted by: thomas | Mar 17, 2014 3:15:26 PM | 35

28

President Vladimir Putin has signed an order that Russia recognizes Crimea as a sovereign and independent state.
(Source: inter alia the link provided by Anonymous)

As I said. It's content that carries weight - not nicely worded phrases.

And the guy that offered as educated guess what's officially edicted now by pres. Putin has been ridiculed for his bad english, has been called an idiot, and has been shouted at by the man who honorably mentioned the guy who offered very nicely worded phrases with no or wrong content.

If I was an idiot then because I was friendly enough to argue with and explain to, uhm, people whose english is better than mine. And because I defended a man who put me in one line next to zionist distractors.

Well done!

So, b, still sure that I should be put next to zionist distractors and being shoutet at by you?

(Btw. I expressis verbis interdict counterpunch to quote me or publish blablabased on my interpretations, prognosis or educated guesses!)

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 17, 2014 3:15:39 PM | 36

#28 The wording is totally ambiguous for a reason: what does "statehood" mean? I think Russian is still trying to find a solution along the lines of multiple "federated" states inside Ukraine that b has been describing. I also suspect they want Crimea to be one of those federations inside Ukraine. If Ukraine were to split along the Dniepr River (with the three Southern districts going to the pro-Russian side) the Western Ukraine would be free to join NATO. This is not something Putin would want.

I am not sure these negotiations between Lavrov and Kerry are going to succeed since neither side controls political passions inside Ukraine. Those will be creating there own dynamics. Also can the current Kiev regime control the neo-fascist forces that control the street and have major figures in internal security and defense? These sanctions, even if they are currently a wet noodle, are also going to up the temperature making negotiations even more difficult.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 17, 2014 3:16:32 PM | 37

Let's not forget about Russia still recognizing Yanukovych as the only legal president of Ukraine and demanding fulfillment of the Feb 21 agreement. "Russia's Foreign Ministry urged Ukraine's parliament" does not mean that the putschists have a say in the presented plan - they are still formally not recognized by Russia.
Maybe it's obvious but I wanted to point that out.

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 17, 2014 3:20:33 PM | 38

Hello, I also have to join the "pro-pragma" petition! I am not posting often, but a few questions I had were answered by Mr.Pragma. He is/was a very coherent contributor to the Syrian crisis (as for the whole Ukraine hold-up), and always argued with logic, avoiding the usual emotional "foam talk" which for me is the first criteria to discern free thinkers. It would be a pitty if we lost this contributor. Schöne grüße aus deutschland!

Posted by: kal | Mar 17, 2014 3:26:36 PM | 39

Good to finally see awakened people in the US American Anti-Maidan


The Answer Coaltion held a meeting in front of the White House under the slogan «No Funding for Neo-Nazis in Ukraine!» (1) on March 12, just prior to the meeting between President Obama and Ukraine's new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The organization has launched a new campaign to flood Congress and the White House with thousands of emails demanding that not one cent of taxpayers’ money be spent for the new Ukrainian government where neo-Nazis and semi-fascists hold many of the most powerful Cabinet positions including the Ukraine’s military. The organization’s website makes public concrete data on the new Ukraine’s regime personalities and offers strong judgments on antinational and fascist in nature putsch staged in Kiev…

Justin Raymondo, an Answer coalition activist and editorial editor of popular Antiwar.com, has gone farther than that by posting detailed information on neo-Nazis in Ukraine’s «interim government». He asks why Washington and Brussels turn a blind eye on the fact that the Ukraine’s junta has a fascist taint. In his article What Color is Ukraine’s ‘Color Revolution’? Washington whitewashes Ukraine’s brownshirts Raymondo writes that «as the real nature of Ukraine’s «democratic» and allegedly «pro-Western» opposition becomes all too apparent the pushback from the regime-change crowd borders on the comic. The War Party is stumbling all over itself in a frantic effort to cover up and deny the frightening provenance of the neo-fascist gang they’ve helped to seize power in Kiev». He cites sententious utterances by Amelia M. Glaser, associate professor of Russian literature at the University of California, San Diego, published by the New York Times, «The past decade has been a time of significant rapprochement between Ukrainian Jews and their countrymen, particularly among cultural and intellectual figures». Justin Raymondo sarcastically comments on what the pundit-lady says, «Well, that’s a relief: I was afraid all those white power symbols – including Confederate flags – adorning Kiev city hall and anti-Semitic rhetoric from Svoboda and Right Sector, was a sign of a neo-Nazi resurgence. I wondered whether Svoboda – which idolizes Stepan Bandera, leader of an armed gang that collaborated with the Nazis – and its torchlight parades signaled trouble».

Booed by American Protestants, Arseniy Yatsenyuk got warm reception at the Atlantic Council, a leading US conservative think tank. An ardent supporter of «Ukraine’s territorial integrity» he was spared from being reminded that in 2007 in Pristina he fervently called for the separation of Kosovo from Serbia and creating a militants’ enclave in the heart of Europe. Yatsenyuk never made precise what exactly kind of enclave the Kiev junta plans to create now in the vicinity of Russian border. Bombarded by questions on neo-Nazis, Pravy Sector and anti-Semitism, he evasively said that «a deputy prime minister in the new government «represents the Jewish community». The junta’s spokesman avoided the details about himself and other members of cosmopolitan oligarchy appointed to feed at the trough at the expense of south-eastern regions.

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 17, 2014 3:26:52 PM | 40

@Mr. P,

What Nora said...

Posted by: b4real | Mar 17, 2014 3:37:42 PM | 41

ProPeace #40: Here's hoping Raimondo and A.N.S.W.E.R. have better luck this time than they did vis-a-vis Iraq. They got it (both senses of the word) then too -- but I'm thinking there were more of us against that venture than this one, by a couple orders of magnitude. More than likely bc our forces aren't officially involved. So I'm afraid the American public -- or at least that portion that can wake up -- hasn't yet. Some people's eyelids may be beginning to flutter though -- even on DailyKos there have been more posts with some awareness. Accompanied of course by the requisite number of trolls, paid or otherwise.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 17, 2014 3:44:33 PM | 42

Pragma @36: No, things haven't settled but it looks like your actual prediction was wrong:

Crimea will either become part of Russia or - preferably - the core of a new state with the southern/eastern region around itself, and a state, one might add, that would basically be part of Russia in all but formal name.

So Crimea becoming a stand-alone state was not your prediction, at least not the one you made yesterday. And it looks like Crimea will not become "the core of a new state with the southern/eastern region around itself," because the Russia proposal is for the remaining Ukraine to become a loose federation. I think the key difference for Russia is, as I commented a few threads ago, southern and eastern Ukraine although mostly Russian-speaking are ethnically mostly Ukrainian, whereas Crimea is 60% Russian ethnicity. And so there simply isn't an overwhelming majority in that region in favor of breaking completely with Ukraine.

Good luck to an independent Crimea!

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 17, 2014 3:52:26 PM | 43

Some stupid shithead just can't let go ...

a) A main point of me was that Putin is *not* wanting Crimea as part of Russia. More than one relentlessly opposed my pov and was, oh sooo sure, that Putin will "grab" Crimea (which was an idiocy anyway)

Well, that's officially settled now. And I was right and wide and far the only one predicting that.

b) What happened in just 1 week was a lot. But sill, such things don't happen overnight.
Give a little more time. Wait and see.
Or, in other words: Don't judge a soup before the cooking is done.

Anyway. While some (like, to name just 1 example) Juan Moment disagreed with me, they clearly showed some reflection and interest in the matter. You however, didn't get anything, knew nothing and are generally just farting propaganda, and with a zionist smell.

Again: If b is now unhappy with me because I talk clearly and without undeserved politeness with zionist distractors then I'll accept that as the final momentum needed to make me leave.

I'm having the good will to just ignore those assholes but if they bark directly at me they'll get the proper treatment.

And btw: The rules here are still made by b - and not by you or thomas or other zionist low end tools.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 17, 2014 4:08:02 PM | 44

For the record, the 'extreme federalism' solution seems to have been first publicly proposed by Putin adviser Sergei Glazyev on February 6:

Russia, [Glazyev] said, was concerned that the country should not split apart. But he suggested that a form of federalism be introduced to give regions substantial powers – including over their budgets and even international relations.

Citing the example of Greenland, which enjoys substantial autonomy from Denmark and unlike the Danish state is not part of the European Union, he said western and eastern Ukraine could have different economic relations with the EU and Russia.

‘Today, economic, cultural and human ties between the regions of eastern and western Ukraine are less than the links between southeastern Ukraine and Russia and between the western regions and the EU,’ Glazyev said, suggesting eastern regions might want to join a customs union that Putin favours.

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 17, 2014 4:08:23 PM | 45

@35 thomas

you also are not allowed to use this smear words like rats ass... So now even I don't give a rat's ass! is verboten?

Wow! I got you pegged:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Censorship.svg

I think Jim meant 00:54/55 for YOU!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCv5TbxUUQw

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 17, 2014 4:11:03 PM | 46

Wouldn't Putin have to recognize Crimea as an independent state before he could legally entertain their desire to become a part of Russia? This nixes the annexation of Ukrainian territory argument by acknowledging they are no longer a part of Ukraine.

Posted by: b4real | Mar 17, 2014 4:22:04 PM | 47

.
.
.
.
Shit hoarders and individualists
Drag strip officials
Tight lipped losers and
Lustful fuck salesman
My militant dandies
All strange order of monsters
Hot on the trail of woodvine
We welcome you to our procession
.
.
.
Jim Morrison, from Curses, Invocations - An American Prayer

I'm happy to be included here, Kalithea ... but tell me, why your insatiable demand to try to smear totally unknown people???

Posted by: thomas | Mar 17, 2014 4:44:05 PM | 48

Bevin @12 and Nora everywhere

It has been said and needs to be re-said: the United States do not have a real foreign policy. They have a public relations policy. I am not denying the deep imperialist aim, but the tactical implementation is completely Madison Avenue. The only part of the government that has something like a strategic vision is the military, and the only reason for that is to move up in the military under up or out you have to kiss a lot of ass, and some of the shit sticks.

Posted by: Knut | Mar 17, 2014 4:48:44 PM | 49

Some related financial news:

"Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov sold shares in Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. (FB) and bought into technology investments such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in China, one of his advisers said.

“Chinese companies account for about 70 percent to 80 percent of the portfolio of our foreign Internet investments,” Ivan Streshinskiy, head of Usmanov’s asset-management company USM Advisors LLC, said in an interview on March 14 in Moscow. Most of the investment is in “Alibaba, JD.com and some other companies with great potential,” Streshinskiy said.

Usmanov’s Metalloinvest, Russia’s largest iron ore producer, may switch to shipping to China and other markets should Europe apply sanctions on its exports due to the crisis in Ukraine’s Crimea region, Streshinskiy also said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week threatened sanctions against Russia if President Vladimir Putin doesn’t halt efforts to seize Crimea.

“We are concerned with the possible sanctions against Russia but don’t see any dramatic repercussions for our business,” Streshinskiy said. “China is unlikely to impose any sanctions. So, we will be trading in rubles, yuan, Hong Kong or Singapore dollars.”

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 17, 2014 4:50:27 PM | 50

I do not think Russia will level any sanctions on Westerners. The measured and equal response is here:

Putin signs order to recognize Crimea as a sovereign independent state

The order comes into force immediately.

Anonymous at #28 asks So its not going to Russia?

The independence declaration is simply a requirement of the present Russian law on "annexations". Only independent states can became subjects of the Russian Federation. The draft law that would allow for parts of independent and recognized states to be annexed will not be approved in the Duma before April (if ever).

The current plan, according to what the Chairman of the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin said in a TV interview on Saturday is as follows: (source in Finnish)
1) Russia and Crimea sign agreement.
2) Putin sends issue to the Constitutional Court of Russia, court approves.
3) Duma approves
4) Constitution is amended.

My advise to Putin was not to get Russian politicians involved, and simply let the Constitutional Court annul Khrushchev's illegal and unconstitutional decision from 1954 to transfer Crimea to Soviet Ukraine.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Mar 17, 2014 4:51:41 PM | 51

b4real (47)

No.

Legally he has to accept their desire. It's up to them, however, to make the decision to leave ukraine.

Don't forget: It's not Russia who wanted, wanted, wanted to somehow get hold of Crimea. The basis was that Crimea did not want to be part of ukraine any longer. Only then came the situation for the question up "Do we want to be a state by ourselves or do we want to be part of another state" (which, of course, would have to accept that).

Putin did btw. not lose anything with todays statement. If Crimea wants to join Russia later they can still do that and Russia can still accept that.

I'm standing with my prognosis that is, that Putin is - be it by pragmatism or by calcule (I think it's pragmatism) - aiming for a new state ("country") for all or most southern/eastern regions with Crimea as the oysters core.

I think that's not even intended as a warning shot (against the wezt) but merely logical considering how zusa/zeu will, beneath a thin veil of diplomacy, talks, and other blabla, really act and continue their dirty game.

As a possibly interesting side remark, this shows quite nicely how different they systems are. While the wezt is basically centered around show, image, PR, blabla and dirty little tricks, Russia is centered around content, facts, and pragmatism. Russia, unlike the wezt, actually caring about the people, is bound to win and to win more and more support and respect even in weztern countries (with the people, not the polit gangs).


@JSorrentine

I think there is no grooming at all going on. In Russia it's different (unlike in Sovjet times), it's, if one wanted a colourful tag, rather darwinian selection.
Also, while Putin, of course, has a backup in place for the worst of cases, he can quite realistically count on a second 6 year term, so it would be somewhat early.
Right now, Rogosin would probably his favourite backup. But that's also due to the situation. Some years later (with zusa broken and zeu obviously, too) his choice might be quite different.
(Not trying to open a sideline, merely answering your question, albeit somewhat short and compressed)


@kalithea

Of course! You *have to* believe in *** and you must not use words or entertain opinions or ideas the zionists dislike! Otherwise the 4th Reich israel will let you have a dose of their special "democratic treatment" as experienced by palestianians!

Also finally get the meaning of "heritage of mankind"! (whose administrators think to be ... guess who). And now raise your fist and shout 3 times "Sieg Herzel!" to cleanse yourself from having used verboten words!

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 17, 2014 4:53:01 PM | 52

This is the article the above quote is from: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-17/billionaire-usmanov-turns-to-china-after-selling-apple-facebook.html

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 17, 2014 4:53:29 PM | 53

@Mr. P,

What Nora said...

Posted by: b4real | Mar 17, 2014 3:37:42 PM | 41

ditto - what Norah and b4real said, squared

otherwise the place will fill up with you-know-who acolytes

Posted by: brb | Mar 17, 2014 4:55:46 PM | 54

@48

Let's just say there are enough shit disturbers out there in the world, many of which are topics of discussion right here; without being invaded by one in a rare free zone.

Boycott (disguised) zio-tyranny.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 17, 2014 4:59:29 PM | 55

Nora, brb and others

My measure isn't whether "they" win or lose (they'll experience a nightmare anyway rather soon). My measure is a) those who *want* to read me and are interested and b) a host who can offer freedom of speech and who shows a capability to differentiate (e.g. between contributors and zionist propagandists and distractors) and, but there I might be demanding a lot, who values loyalty.

I'm still not firmly "returned" (inside myself) but your statements have, of course, not missed me, so I'm currently half away and half here. Maybe the fact that I, if modestly, contributed by making MoA the only (site known to me, at least) to have predicted Putins attitude/position correctly so far, will help b to re-evaluate some things.
For now I'm showing good will by not yet leaving.

Thank you so much! After so many evil things directed at myself it's comforting to know that some actually like reading me. Thank you.

Ceterum censeo israel americanamque vehementer delenda esse!

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 17, 2014 5:09:29 PM | 56

Jim Morrison was a f*cking psyop stooge.

His freaking father - which is NEVER mentioned - was the head of US Naval forces during the Gulf of Tonkin non-incident that began the US phases of the Vietnam war. Jim just always failed to mention who his daddy was despite being so ardently "counter-culture". He was never anti-war.

It's fitting that you would quote him. Old Jimbo just appeared out of nowhere in L.A. with two full albums of music having admitted to never having played an instrument his entire life and teamed up with fellow psyop f*ckhead libertarian Mr. Frank Zappa - whose father was a chemical weapons scientist for the US of A government - and other military intelligence brats and led many American youth AWAY from questioning their war criminal leaders and doing something about it and into drug-fueled dead-ended navel-gazing.

Quite similarly, you show up here with page after merciless page of putrid horseshit tripe without apparently ever having a goddamn original thought in your life and teaming up with your fellow vanguard of vapidity have attempted to muzzle a worthwhile and interesting poster with your b-side retreads of accusatory nonsense in hopes that we too will water down our thoughts to match your mental gruel.

F*cking southern American trash, do you have to embarrass the rest of us Americans the world over even more than our war criminal government already does? Can't you just all be grateful we didn't hang your traitorous asses after the Civil War and quit making fools outta yourselves?

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 17, 2014 5:11:21 PM | 57

#55 Yes -- and just like all other haters, their oh-so-reasonable mask can only stay on for so long before it slips. The best defense may be just to note their presence and then ignore them and watch them try harder and harder to derail any really interesting conversation.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 17, 2014 5:15:35 PM | 58

@48

I find tight-lipped loser to be at odds with the whole concept of "I'll always be a Word Man" and "plant words and watch them grow". I was kinda picturing someone who gnashes his teeth and prevents the truth from trying to escape his "tight-lipped" piehole and so he naturally hates the other guy that beat him to it.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 17, 2014 5:16:26 PM | 59

but tell me, why your insatiable demand to try to smear totally unknown people???

You are well known here.

Posted by: DM | Mar 17, 2014 5:17:27 PM | 60

Nora@42: ANSWER, considering how small an organization it is, did good work mobilizing the huge anti-war marches against Bush's Iraq invasion. The next step back then should have been a massive civil disobedience campaign. It never happened, and it did long-term damage, I think, to the anti-war left.

The public response to Obama's flirtation with sending Tomahawks to Damascus late last summer was encouraging. But will people be willing to go to jail if President Hillary threatens war on Iran? That's the question.

In any event, there are encouraging signs that the "neo-nazi" label is beginning to stick on the putchists.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 17, 2014 5:20:32 PM | 61

The decree recognizing Crimea as a sovereign independent state merely recognizes the results of the referendum. This is not the end of the dance. Now Crimea, as a sovereign independent state, will apply to join the Russian Federation. And in all probability will be accepted; it has already committed to changing its currency to the ruble effective April 1st. The lame sanctions seem to recognize that the Crimea is already gone, and are targeted more at preventing Russia from going any further and grabbing the whole of the Southeast, nuch od which would go willingly.

It does indeed look like federalization is the negotiating position, just as this blog described in the last few days. However, making Russian the state language of Ukraine is not even in negotiations - under Yanukovych, Russian and other languages were recognized as having the status of a second official language in regions where users numbered more than 10% of the population. As soon as the unelected self-appointed neo-Nazi-backed current central government in Kiev assumed power, it wiped that law off the books. Would you like to see how they vote in the Rada now? Here they are, using confiscated voter ID cards to vote multiple times each, creating the appearance of broad consensus.

http://hinter-der-fichte.blogspot.fr/2014/03/ukraine-die-kernluge-von-der-legitimen.html

Many of the owners of those cards have already been driven out of the Rada by Right Sector and Svoboda. There's nothing left of the Party of Regions. Anyway, I imagine the restoration of Russian as it was before is the goal - secondary official language where more than 10% ethnicity is present. The official language will still be Ukrainian.

Here is further substantiation of the federalization plan which is shaping up to be at least the template for further negotiation.

http://odessablog.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/an-opening-gambit-the-russian-solution-to-ukraine/

Posted by: Mark | Mar 17, 2014 5:20:54 PM | 62

Mr P, I like reading you, a lot. I may not always agree with everything you say but I always learn something. Besides, how utterly boring to only read stuff with which you agree 100% -- it would be like living inside an echo chamber. So your perspective is very, very valuable. And I really rather like your style...

Posted by: Nora | Mar 17, 2014 5:33:14 PM | 63

To begin with I wish to apologize for my bad active english.

I think, by recognizing Crimea as a "sovereign and independent state" Putin clearly hints, that he sticks to what he said in his fist press conference on Ukraine, he would prefer Crimea as federal part of a sound Ukraine that serves as a bridge between the Customs Union and the EU. Now the Supreme Court of Russia might place a condition to an annexation of Crimea, that there have to be stable and uncontestet relations to the Ukrainian mainland, otherwise RF would inherit a conflict that she ist not up to. Putin called the Ukrainians "brethren" that should and would never fight each other. With "stable" and not severly controversial relations to the mainland the annexation of Crimea could be spared.

This way the formal judicial recognition of Crimea gives the RF and the "Russians" and "Ukrainians" of at least the eastern and southern territories leverage on the Westerners to return to decent claims in order to preserve the Ukrainian integrity.
The more so as it takes at least two years to bind the Crimea logistically to the Russian Federation. In the meantime, except for the extremists, technically there have to be pragmatic solutions in favour the Crimean population and its outspoken Ukrainian and Tatar members.

So ein think Pragma is right, if I didn't got him wrong: Crimea will stay in Ukraine for at least another year.

Posted by: TomGard | Mar 17, 2014 5:41:09 PM | 64

Is DM the same person as Thomas, or is DM satirizing Thomas somehow?

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 17, 2014 5:45:01 PM | 65

Mile Maloney -- Yes, ANSWER really did, but they ended up (via sabotage, I am thinking) presenting so many causes (most good, all distracting from the main deal) and in typical Liberal-plus-requisite provocateur fashion, damned near self-destructed, ultimately embarrassing and driving people away. I don't blame them, particularly, but considering that protests were marginalized, ignored and/or responded to w/undue violence by TPTB, I don't think they're particularly useful anymore anyhow. The Internet is a lot more effective, imo. And I am just not ready to even think about President Hillary but maybe younger people will not be so slavish in their devotion to Her Highness? I certainly hope so!

Posted by: Nora | Mar 17, 2014 5:45:02 PM | 66

Maybe the fact that I, if modestly, contributed by making MoA the only (site known to me, at least) to have predicted Putins attitude/position correctly so far ...

Mr Pragma, here was your March 10 prediction:

So, Russia will neither annect ukraine nor will it let go Crimea or other eastern/southern regions into the hands of the weztern crime mob. There will either be a complete ukraine with strong assurances, possibly in the constitution, for the eastern/southern regions and Crimea - or - there will be 2 ukraines, a western one ... and an eastern one that will within some years reach Russian level and work out nicely as a close partner of Russia but a souverein state ...

(http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/03/ukraine-is-the-crimea-referendum-a-judokas-ruse.html#comments, comment 48)

None of that has taken place. Crimea has declared its independence and will request to become part of the Russian Federation, so your first option, a complete Ukraine, is not happening. As for option 2, Russia is pushing for Ukraine minus Crimea to stay united, and for Southern and Eastern Ukraine to have great autonomy within that state. It seems very unlikely that after it has declared independence Crimea will decide to unite in some manner with south/east Ukraine.

Not that you were the only one that was wrong, so was b in that same column, and my take was similar to b's. I think we all underestimated the simple desire by Putin to enact a long-standing sentiment inside Russia to bring Crimea back into the fold. Though losing Crimea as a bargaining chip isn't the smartest 'judoka' move, Putin may still have success pushing forward the devolution of the rest of Ukraine. Good on him if he gets all that done.

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 17, 2014 5:51:22 PM | 67

@66

Hahahahaha Hillary... If she gets the Democratic ticket im voting Green again like I did in 2012. 22 right now.

If Hillary gets the Dem ticket, im pretty sure what will happen to Romney will happen to her: Her base will just not give a shit and stay home instead of voting. If Romney had gotten as many votes as McPain did in 2008, he would have beaten Obama since Obama himself had a full 1 million less americans voting for him. But no, the Republicans were also disillusioned with their stooge so they stayed home too.

Im doubtful Hillary can even stir up the Democratic base to get the votes Obama got in 2012, much less the votes either McPain and Obama got in 2008.

But whatever Republican will be elected wont be any better than Killary anyway. Elections dont mean jack shit in America anymore, havnt for a few decades.

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 17, 2014 5:53:11 PM | 68

' even though Russia is no paragon of military readiness either,” Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told FoxNews.com.
'

forgotten already is the military readiness that moved russian military assets into mediteranean to confront the alawys ready US assets

Posted by: brian | Mar 17, 2014 6:00:23 PM | 69

sorry to reopen a wound but my!Thomas you really are a thought police on your own!!!Piss Offfff and let people be..
Thanks b for all your writings ,you certainly have an acumen in understanding the dynamics at play in the geopolitical game and are not distracted by the fog of war that a defeated ZZZusa/ZZZeu try to spray .
Thanks to all of you for your contributions even the ones that I detest most because at least they permit me to assess the status of mind with which I am totally estranged and sometimes enraged.
Mr.Pragma your clarity is INVALUABLE.So is your COURAGE.Please keep fighting.And writing.Down with with zionism the plague of the world ,my region and above all ,the mother of all Golgothas ,Palestine.Down with zionism and the crimes committed against Syria,the birth place of Civilization.
Ceterum censeo israel…….

Posted by: Nobody | Mar 17, 2014 6:05:24 PM | 70

addentum to #64

No one here seems to consider the sincerely rebellious motives that made the Maidan a mass movement in the first place. Especially in the youth and also in the eastern and southern oblasts. This is kind of strange, because Putin himselve put a lot of stress to this aspect. I am convinced, the leading russian authorities are fully aware they have to win the youth for the resistance to NATO without simply trying to recruit them for Russian assertion and competitiveness.

Posted by: TomGard | Mar 17, 2014 6:06:14 PM | 71

Looks like MoA has just gotten another acknowledgment at Counterpunch, this time by Pepe Escobar. Pepe is writing about the federation idea put forward by the Russians.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 17, 2014 6:09:18 PM | 72

Shorter MoA, Yats was brought over to the U.S. to have his arm twisted so that he would accept reality and Obama could move forward on constitutional reforms. What bugs me about this whole thing, other than everything, is specifically western media and their incompetence or flat out agenda driven warmongering, perhaps for ratings. I do not know of one credible "analyst", in their rush to nail Putin, mentioned the fact that an autonomous but tangentially associated with Ukraine Crimea was his best option. By federalizing the Ukraine, he essentially creates a red state blue state paradigm, with his Red state controlling th Black Sea Fleet's security. This also keeps NATO out of Ukraine.

Now we have some kind of meaningless dog and pony stalling show why we wait for Ukraine's parliament to wake up and smell the coffee. Personally I want this over, so we can return to our regularly scheduled Misanthropic Neocon Follies, starring Ted Cruz and his Missiles.

Posted by: Todd Bennett | Mar 17, 2014 6:19:09 PM | 73

Toivos

? Anyone could send in articles to Counterpunch.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 17, 2014 6:20:24 PM | 74

I thought MoA's recent exposure in the limp left media would bring a different type of troll but the psychological games have been of an impressive quality. The repetative, droning quality of the Brecht defence was I think intended for b but also to create anger at perceived offence. Combined with a leftesque "voice of reason" to turn your anger against one another and let you all do the rest for them. To notice how Mr Pragma has been singled out and provoked is telling as his contribuion to the Ukraine situation has been so valuable to so many of us. This is not coincidental.

Posted by: anti-zionist | Mar 17, 2014 6:27:38 PM | 75

@74 Pepe Escobar isnt just 'anyone' though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepe_Escobar

Most 'anyone's dont have wikipedia pages or write books. Just saying.

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 17, 2014 6:40:27 PM | 76

[...] A main point of me was that Putin is *not* wanting Crimea as part of Russia. More than one relentlessly opposed my pov and was, oh sooo sure, that Putin will "grab" Crimea (which was an idiocy anyway) [...]

Mr Pragma,

give it a rest man. I never wrote Russia grabbed anything. What I wrote is the exact opposite. Knowing full well that in the face of nazis overrunning Kiev most Crimeans would rather join Russia, Putin's plan was to not stop the nazis and then swiftly ensure Crimeans can hold a referendum. Instead of grabbing the Crimea, he is accepting them. Smart.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 17, 2014 6:43:35 PM | 77

#74 No.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 17, 2014 6:44:02 PM | 78

@73 todd bennett - ditto that..

mr pragma.. i am sorry i haven't kept track of the back and forth, but even if i don't agree with your perspective all the time, i enjoy your posts here..not sure what happened while i was gone. i think you're correct the west appears more focused on the optics( getting the propaganda out), while russia is more content to focus on the substance or content.. however, i wouldn't underestimate the power of propaganda.. it will eventually fail, but it can fool a lot of supposedly knowledgeable people who are given a regular diet of half truths..

Posted by: james | Mar 17, 2014 6:46:23 PM | 79

perhaps counterpunch could do everyone here at moa a favour by not mentioning moa? hu nose..

Posted by: james | Mar 17, 2014 6:47:43 PM | 80

The Guardian has a hilarious piece: Russian propaganda over Crimea and the Ukraine: how does it work?

I never in a thousand years could have guessed that the Guardian's propaganda could become more crude than Pravda's ever was, and speaking for the US empire, at that. The Guardian used to be left of center, and is still considered to be Britain's "left" newspaper. The article talks about how Russian "propaganda" uses "half-truths", but makes no mention of either of the two intercepted phone calls, one in which we hear American diplomats discussing who will be in the new regime while the legitimate government still existed, and the other, in which European diplomats discuss how the sniper shootings in Maidan were a false flag operation.

At least half the reader comments find the article absurd.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 17, 2014 6:54:51 PM | 81

Mr. Pragma

Your input is invaluable and would be sorely missed by many here..fans as well as detractors. I count myself as one of the former, and have learned much from your posts.
(Ditto JSorrentine, Bevin, Rowan, Nora, kalithea, to name a few)
Keep up the good work. Hope you decide to stick around.

Posted by: Prey4 Justice | Mar 17, 2014 7:01:52 PM | 82

he repetative, droning quality of the Brecht defence was I think intended for b but also to create anger at perceived offence. Combined with a leftesque "voice of reason" to turn your anger against one another and let you all do the rest for them. To notice how Mr Pragma has been singled out and provoked is telling

Just an FYI, but:
before "thomas" arrived the last person to use the "Brecht Defence" in a trolling attempt was in fact guest77 in a thread several days ago

In fact that was the one and only time I have seen the so-called "Brecht Defence" used on this website as a trolling attempt

I note that guest77 also seemed to have a strong hatred for Pragma

I also note that guest77 just totally loved screaming "NAZI!" at all his perceived enemies, especially those that would continue to disagree when he escalated to name calling and not back down when he would start lying


Now "thomas" appears, using the Brecht Defence and screaming Anti-Semite at anyone disagreeing with him

Just an FYI - not proof of anything, as such

People can draw their own conclusions if they are so inclined.

Just sayin' ;-)

Posted by: brb | Mar 17, 2014 7:16:52 PM | 83

can't find the thread in Question yet, where guest77 used the Brecht defense, it probably has not been crawled by the spiders yet, and will most likely appear in a day or two.

Posted by: brb | Mar 17, 2014 7:20:37 PM | 84

TomGard #71:

That is a very good point. And your English is just fine!

Posted by: Nora | Mar 17, 2014 7:24:10 PM | 85

Fairleft, Pragma #67 – As we are discussing predictions, let me repost my own from March 1, 2014.

#Novorossiya will become a part of the Eurasian Union. Initially it will call itself “Ukraine” and claim legal succession from the failed state by the same name. It will take responsibility for Ukraine's debt to Russia. The capital city will be moved to Kharkov.

#Transnistria will become a part of Novorossiya.

The Crimea will become an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation.

#Zakarpattia Oblast in the west will become an integral part of the Russian Federation, ruled directly from Moscow. It will however not join the Russian economic area or customs union, but receive a special status in the European Economic Area, with free movement of people and capital. It will most likely adopt the Euro.

Sumy Oblast may join Russia directly.

Rumpistan will have to clean up its own mess, with or without its Nazis. In the end, no one may want Banderastan. The US may adopt is as an al-Qaeda training base.

For the fate of Yatsenyuk, Yarosh, Parubiy, Tyahnybok, Tymoshenko, and Klitschko, see the original here.

I still stick to these predictions. The federation plan does not really chance much. It will only delay the eventual divorce and make it less violent.

The proper way split up Ukraine would be to split of Galicia ("Banderastan") in the west. It is the only part that can create a national identity distinct from Russian. All of Ukraine is "Russia" in one way or other. The real language line goes between Galicia and the rest. Central Ukraine stands somewhere in the dialect continuum. Modern nationalist (and Soviet anti-nationalists before them) want to call everyone who does not speak pure Russian "Ukrainian"

As for the federation, I believe the three parts will be Novorossiya, Galicia, and "Central Ukraine" around Kiev.

***

My response to McCain claiming 'Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country'

"Ukraine" is a hate group masquerading as a nation!
(You can quote me on this.)

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Mar 17, 2014 7:36:21 PM | 86

#86 Petri I sort of agree with your assessment. However, this is not something that Putin wishes to see happen and I think b is right on that what the federation notion that the Russians are pushing is what they would like to see happen. Doing so is going to be difficult. This is not something that the neofascist forces would accept. It is hard to see the central government will be able to gain control of the streets especially since the neofascists control the police and defense, at least in the west.

Once secession is seen as inevitable it is very difficult to predict into how many pieces it will break. This would be disastrous for Russia. It would mean that the Dniepr River would become the border between Russia and a NATO dominated EU.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 17, 2014 7:50:14 PM | 87

Sorrentine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Zappa

I was not a fan of Frank Zappa, but he was anti-drug. And as a matter of fact, a Southern secessionist movement would be most valuable
in reducing the power of the Zio-capitalist Empire, but even if you can't see that, no excuse for anti-Southern bigotry here.

Posted by: truthbetold | Mar 17, 2014 7:55:19 PM | 88

@88:

"I was not a fan of Frank Zappa, but he was anti-drug"...even though he died of lung cancer brought on by life-long cigarette consumption. Hmmm....


@Mr. Pragma: I'm also a reader. Please stay.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Mar 17, 2014 8:08:57 PM | 89

The Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Is that what they call themselves? The victorious wing of national socialist Germany
held that Slavs were inferior and in the conquered East should be enslaved or expelled.
Now, the dissident left-wing Strasserite Nazis did not believe such-but Hitler more or less purged them. They leaned to promoting a coalition of Germany and the USSR against decadent Europe. Ukrainian anti-Russian nationalists would not have benefited from
either wing of the Nazi Party's triumph. So the label is an artifice, benefitting whom?

Unless we can interchange neo-Stalinist and Trotskyite.

Posted by: truthbetold | Mar 17, 2014 8:13:02 PM | 90

I mentioned Brecht alright. It's the namesake of this site. And he was an ardent communist. Something that your little NAZO-heart can't stand.

Mr. Pragma knows, of course, I having been here for years under the same name and he the same - something a sockpuppet serial name-changing rat like you cannot say.

This place, as shown recently, is all about community. And someone like you, who is doing whatever you do to change your IP after b has banned you multiple times, who posts under separate names attacking mostly people here but rarely discuss the subjects near and dear to this blogs heart - makes it clear to me that you are some obsessive asshole whose aim is mostly to tear down this blog.

You are the source of all this recent infighting, there is no doubt about it. And your attacks on bevin, myself, juannie, nora, and r'giap are despicable. You add nothing here. If I counted up all of your posts, I'd say 70% are attacks on people here, 30% 'hey i'm really impressed by the US military'. I remember when Sharon died - while everyone else was dancing on the scumbags grave, you were posting about Greenwald. You are in support of everything this blog and this community stands against.

And now you are here to be a little punk-ass tattle tale to kiss Mr. Pragma's ass and do more damage?

Mr. Pragma can speak for himself. He doesn't need a rat like you to do it.

You are really the lowest little asshole around.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 17, 2014 8:18:06 PM | 91

@62 Mark

Thanks much for the link to OdessaBlogger. Possible strategic options of Putin are stated very clearly and logically without undue hero-worshipping. As much as I admire him (I do consider him a great man) he is a politician and must deal with others of the same breed. He is a most practical leader, in my opinion.

I'm sure you know The Vineyard of the Saker. Here is his latest offering:

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com

Posted by: TicoTiger | Mar 17, 2014 8:23:30 PM | 92

~You are the source of all this recent infighting, there is no doubt about it.

give it a rest guest, no one is impressed by you name calling, lies and mouthfoaming

Your accusations are the product of your own mind and nothing else.

I merely observed who had used the Brecht Defence last

You calling anyone else a troll is ironic as hell.

This thread has had more than enough name calling, and here you are to start it all again.

I'll leave it that, you won't I'm sure,

Posted by: brb | Mar 17, 2014 8:27:42 PM | 93

except to say that for all your lies and outright slanders against me, you have yet to provide any evidence of any dishonesty on my part,

whereas i could, if i desired, easily supply plenty evidence of blatant dishonesty on your part.

Posted by: brb | Mar 17, 2014 8:31:34 PM | 94

@91 guest77

I don't have the history in MOA that you and Mr. Pragma have (although I have read this blog with great interest for years), but concur completely with your words. I know I shouldn't brag but in the short time I have been posting, I feel that the little troll has adopted me as well.

I call him my toothless pitt bull.

These disruptive little rats come with the territory in the search of truth.

Posted by: TicoTiger | Mar 17, 2014 8:33:34 PM | 95

guest77 #91: Wear his attacks with pride, as a badge of honor. ;~) And then ignore the sorry creature: he's really not worth the effort.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 17, 2014 8:48:20 PM | 96

Tigger

You've been unsuccesfully trying to troll me for 3 or 4 days now, so much so that you even dive in to conversations you're clearly not qualified to even comment on, having, by your own admisson no less, no actual knowledge of the matter under discussion.

You are clearly a sockpuppet of one of the bevin-ite contingent, despite your pretence otherwise

I was listening to a tom waits song just now as i read your comment. The song was "Little Drop Of Poison" and the line he was singing as I read your comment was

"A rat always knows when he's in with weasels"

Synchronicity's cool that way ;)

Posted by: brb | Mar 17, 2014 8:50:53 PM | 97

You bet I won't. There are good people here. People have been here many, many years. Too many to name. This is almost sort of home. But you are around just to attack people, to disrespect b, and to poison the atmosphere. Even you vile little suck up to Mr. Pragma reeks of manipulation.

One of the great things about this site was that b was careful to insure that people posted under the same name and that people who were just here to attack got the boot. And of course he tried with you - multiple times - but you are such a low-life you've come back again and again.

What does that say? It says to me you hate this site and what it is about, and so that's why you come day after day to not even post about the subject, but to go after people and pathetically, manipulatively, kiss ass.

You want to push your Svoboda-lite bullshit. You want to say "it's not like the nazis were so bad". But this place flies the flag of Brecht - and that's a point of pride for me and others here. But this is no echo-chamber. The atmosphere is open and respectful, for people of all leanings - Debs, Mr. P, Bowles, VietnamVet. What's more: this little left-of-center politics site gets a lot of attention. Greenwald follows it. Counterpunch mentions it. Escobar reads it. It's a growing concern. Which is presumably why you hate it so much.

I just don't want people to this that a little piss-ant asshole like you is what this site is about. So if you're going to change your IP (probably using TOR you laughable little hypocrite) and skirt bans then I'm going to make sure you hear about it. And you won't ever attack someone new or old without them knowing that - whoever they are - they are 1000x more valuable to this place than a rotten shit like you.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 17, 2014 8:57:46 PM | 98


"Protectorate"

Posted by: Eli Skenandore | Mar 17, 2014 8:58:07 PM | 99

brb

Sometimes guest is strongly opposed to what I say and sometimes he grabs words out of the "weaponized rudeness" box (which I myself sometimes do as well) ...

But: I have read numerous intelligent, sensible posts from guest77 which, if from a very different perspective than mine, made sense

I also state openly that I have read sensible posts from you, too. But I also saw many personal attacks from you; not necessarily because you are an evil guy (I actually do see way less evil than many here) but possibly because you felt attacked or your parrot died or whatever.
Whatever the reason, it is my impression, too, that an unpleasantly high percentage of your posts is of a more personal nature and often it seems that you posts are often driven more by personal likes, dislikes, and emotion that by interest in the matter at hand.

If I may give you an advice, it'd be that you should always in the assumption that the other side has a different background, different experiences, different education, different socialisation and hence a rather different view but no evil intention and certainly not the intention to simply go against you personally.

I feel it to be very important to at the very minimum keep the ability to notice changes in the other person and to, from time to time, recalibrate ones view on others.

Except for zome zionist propaganda dogs nobody is here to look for trouble and to start personal wars. To offer one concrete and possibly helpful example: many here knew (or thought, possibly wrongly) that you are a spammer returning with another nick. Yet they gave brb a chance; they didn't right away aggress him but they rather looked at that brb with "fresh eyes" (my english, sorry).

And that brb and guest77 is what I would wish for of you one more. Forget the past and look at each other with fresh eyes; you might after all discover common views, too. And don't forget that there is one thing that you have in common anyway: You both like to be part of the discussions here.

Give the other one - and such in the end yourself - a new chance from time to time, OK.


@Juan Moment

I didn't attack you! You just happened to be the first example that came to my senile mind *g

@ my "fans"

Thank you all very much! It's very valuable and inspiring to know that some out there consider my posts smart or funny or anyway good enough to take it upon themselves to beat sense into my attempts to communicate in english.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 17, 2014 9:03:21 PM | 100

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