Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 10, 2014

Ukraine: Is The Crimea Referendum A Judoka's Ruse?

Yesterday I wrote:

Without any fulfillment of the Feb 21 deal the Crimea will soon be part of the Russian Federation. [...] Take THIS deal or the Crimea is gone. If you can't take THIS deal, well, then the Crimea is gone.

Thinking through that again it turns out that I may well have been wrong.

Putin has a black belt in judo and in several other martial arts. His demand for the "February 21 deal or the Crimea goes to Russia" may have been a ruse to set up the enemy for his winning throw.

Ukraine currently has a majority of Russian speakers. Without the Crimea they would likely be a minority. As Crimea is quite dry and poor the Ukraine subsidizes it with allegedly some $1 billion per year by delivering water, electricity and heavily subsidized gas. Whatever the exact sum it is certainly more than the $90 million Russia currently pays for the use of its Crimean bases. Getting the Crimea would cost Russia quite a chunk of money. Would it really be better for Russia to have the Crimea in its federation than to have it close by but as an autonomous area within the Ukraine?

Christopher Westdal, a former Canadian ambassador to the Ukraine and to Russia, argues that it would be better for Russia to let the Crimea in Ukraine as a "hook" to keep the Ukraine in its political realm:

Apart from the lease-secured Sevastopol base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Crimea would be quite a mixed blessing [for Russia] to receive. Sixty per cent of its people love Mother Russia, more or less – but forty per cent don’t, some decidedly, particularly the long-suffering Tatars, whom Stalin, recall, expelled and tormented. As well, it would cost a fortune to relieve the poor, arid peninsula’s natural dependence on the Ukrainian mainland for water, power and communications.

Why not instead, I’d ask the [Russian] president, keep uncontested control and the Fleet’s base, but let Kiev keep Crimea officially, in name alone – a chronic migraine for a weak neighbour?

Conversely Westdal argues that it would be better for the Ukraine and coup government in Kiev to let the Crimea go:

On the other hand, were I Ukrainian, advising President Arseniy Yatseniuk, I think I’d make the case that the country would be better off without Crimea, better off without its problems – and without its heavy hook. Ukraine without Crimea would still border Russia, of course, and would still have to eschew NATO, lest Moscow make use of its just-proven capacity to destabilize eastern regions and to make the economic and political life of the whole country miserable. Without Crimea, though, Ukrainians, protected by neutrality, would be freer to find their own way, to master more of their fate, to get on with their neighbours and their lives, to make them better, at last.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Russia would indeed be better off by letting the Crimea stay within Ukraine. The Ukraine would indeed be better off by letting the Crimea go.

But the Ukrainian government no longer has that choice. The coup prime minister and Victoria "fuck the EU" Nuland darling Arseniy Yatsenyuk has set the mark:

“This is our land,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a crowd gathered at the Kyiv statue to writer and nationalist Taras Shevchenko. “Our fathers and grandfathers have spilled their blood for this land. And we won’t budge a single centimetre from Ukrainian land. Let Russia and its president know this.”

Earlier Yatsenyuk had already conceded that the Crimea should get more autonomy:

Yatsenyuk said Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers. He said was in favor of establishing a special task force "to consider what kind of additional autonomy the Crimean Republic could get."

The White House and its "western" allies have also insisted that Crimea stays with Ukraine. There is no way now that the puppet Yatsenyuk and his puppeteers can take that back. If they want Crimea why not make them take it (while adding some hefty conditions to it)?

And here comes the trick in the Russian plan. This is what voters in Crimea must decide on this Sunday:

The questions on the ballot, as released by the Crimean parliament on its website, will be: “Do you support reuniting Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?” and “Do you support restoring the Crimean Republic’s 1992 Constitution and status within Ukraine?” The second option refers to a law that gives the region the right to determine how much authority to delegate to Kiev.

Those binary questions were certainly agreed upon in Moscow. What happens if the majority (as counted :-)) goes for option two: "Restoring the Crimean Republic’s 1992 Constitution and status within Ukraine". This would, if strongly negotiated with Kiev, give the Crimea back all the strong autonomy that was unilaterally taken away by Kiev during several constitutional revisions since 1992. What can the U.S., always preaching "democracy", say against a highly visible free vote if the result looks, on a cursory view, like its preferred outcome? Would it then call the vote illegitimate or illegal?

Such a Crimea, with additional autonomy that the puppet already somewhat conceded, could likely be able block a NATO membership for Ukraine. It could probably block the EU association agreement. It could hinder many overt moves the government in Kiev could otherwise take against Russian interests. Crimea  could make, autonomously, a new agreement for the Russian military bases and Russia would keep its troops on the ground.

For other issues, like influence over a new Ukrainian government, Russia has still many other cards to play - from gas (non-)deliveries and prices to a possible intervention to "save Russian compatriots" in eastern Ukraine.

So is the whole bluster about the Crimea from the Russian side the judoka's ruse to further, and for the longterm, bind the Ukraine to Russia via the even deeper hook that a more autonomous Crimea within Ukraine would be?

Posted by b on March 10, 2014 at 17:20 UTC | Permalink

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I don't think I have an answer, but Yats will be in Washington this week, so we'll just have to see where we are next Monday.

Posted by: Jon Lester | Mar 10 2014 17:29 utc | 1

What I've never understood is how the US-backed regime intends to keep power. If there is a pro-neutrality majority in the Ukraine, then at the next national election, the US-backed regime should be swept away since I can't Tymoshenko, Svoboda and Pravyi Sektor suppressing their differences to offer a single candidate. So is the regime in Kiev going to ban the Party of Regions and the Communist Party from the next elections in memory of the Kiev dead? Unless the EU and the US come up with a very substantial package that features no austerity, this "revolution" will be shorter than the orange one and many Europeans will be pissed off about such a package.

Posted by: blowback | Mar 10 2014 17:44 utc | 2

Jon Lester

And then I threw up. What a fcking puppet!
And obama, what an idiot!

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 10 2014 17:47 utc | 3

"Ukraine currently has a majority of Russian speakers. Without the Crimea they would likely be a minority."

I think I made this point a couple of days back. Anyway it strikes me as being important.
I also suggested that it could be that Poland, and who knows how many other NATO neighbours, might be just as happy to settle for the Plan B of (re-)annexing bits of the Ukraine themselves.
This would have the effect of strengthening the rest of the Ukraine and, it seems to me, making it a very viable state.

Does anyone else kind of get the feeling that Obama has about as much knowledge, including access to honest sources of historical information, about the Ukraine's history as he has about principled politics, the geography of the sewage system in Phnom Penh or the first ten amendments to the US Constitution?

Posted by: bevin | Mar 10 2014 18:10 utc | 4

No, bernhard, we can't afford the sort of subtleties you seem to favour here, because NATO will never rest until it has demolished the unlegislated pseudo-independence of Crimea that option 2 would entail. I think the simple solution (option 1) is the authentic one: Crimea shall once again be an integral part of Russia. And, if I may paraphrase Asst Sec State 'Toria Nuland: "Fuck Washington."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Mar 10 2014 18:23 utc | 5

@blowback #2

Re: "How is the US-backed regime intends to keep power?

With terror!

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Mar 10 2014 18:37 utc | 6

I agree with RB in that the one trait of the American war criminal efforts - hot war, destabilization, propaganda, etc. - that doesn't get the true attention it deserves is their utter relentlessness.

Whereas rational/moral/intelligent/civilized people might think when viewing the most recent outlandish or blatant
American war crime/lie the public discovery of said crime/lie might signal the cessation of said criminality or lying.

Would they be mistaken in regards the US!! It just continues on and on and on in - if anything - even MORE outlandish/blatant manners and methods than seen before.

This obviously extends to their propaganda which does have the potential to drive a sane person completely batty if he/she entertains quaint notions of it collapsing under its own weight of sheer absurdity. Nope, it just keeps on spewing getting crazier and crazier.

Two of the hallmarks of a psychopath are that they don't learn very well in situations that are not to their immediate benefit. They will continue on paths of behavior where rational people would have recognized diminishing returns and stopped.

The second is that they don't feel remorse about their actions even if those actions harm other people.

Taken together we have a remorseless asshole who will keep on fucking shit up until he gets what he wants no matter how many iterations he and those around him have to suffer through.

Gee, that sure sounds familiar, huh?

This is what Putin is dealing with and I believe that he clearly understands that especially after Syria.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 10 2014 18:52 utc | 7

While I (mostly) agree with b, and its probably what Russia wants. But Rowan Berkeley is right too, agreements with the West and their puppets isnt worth the paper its signed on, plus I dont see them agreeing to enhanced Crimean autonomy in the first place. Illegal regime will declare referendum as illegal, could tear apart the base lease (as they threatened) and join NATO. Its all possible before next elections even happen :) Puppets are in major rush to get it done.

Therefore a safe long-term choice would be to get Crimea and Eastern/southern regions (if possible) and forget volatile neonazis West.

Posted by: Harry | Mar 10 2014 18:57 utc | 8

It's my first reply. I remember Bilmon, from years ago.

I think you're all missing it. The Ukraine has a Big Friend: The US. Jesse says they've got the gold (33 tons) out of the country. The next step is for Ukraine to attack Russia.

Which puts Russia in a spot. If they do nothing, the Ukrainians will advance all the way to Vladivostok.

If the Russians shoot back, Ukraine goes whining to America. What does America do then? Let the Russians "kill" them all?

The Americans are in a trap.

This is, by the way, the same trap the Israelis have used for decades.

Posted by: Dave of Maryland | Mar 10 2014 18:59 utc | 9

For what it is worth, I'm with RB & JSorrentine. Ukraine is likely only to get worse. The U.S. specializes in covert warfare and propaganda. Better to claim what you can now. Crimea is very important to Russia.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 10 2014 19:07 utc | 10

I think an earlier comment is correct.
The triple bank shot won't work.
If the Crimea stays within Ukraine under anything like the Nuland regeime, any claimed autonomy will be taken away by hook or by crook and of course so will Russian access to it Black Sea base which will quickly become a NATO/U$ Black Sea fleet base.
Therefore, IMO, the only option is Russian acquisition of the Crimea.
Get hold of Crimea.
The start nibbling away at the eastern sections like Odessa, Donetsk, etc.
We'll see.

Posted by: David C Mace | Mar 10 2014 19:11 utc | 11

Now the new regime abduct politicians.
http://tiny.cc/i1sicx

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 10 2014 19:14 utc | 12

Bernhard, I am not so sure about this theory, and feel that your first instincts were correct. The US is not acting in good faith. And looking at the the pattern of aggression from Libya, to Syria, now to Ukraine, it is a safer bet to admit that the crisis has no resolution. Washington will simply sign another paper, whose contents it has no intention of honoring. In other words, the crisis will not be over. If the vile puppets in Washington paid $5 billion to overthrow Ukraine's legitimate, though flawed, government; you can rest assured that more cash will be forthcoming to empower these fascist goons in Kiev, to keep havoc and mayhem churning on Russia's doorstep. The crisis will certainly not be over when the diplomats nod and shake hands. No agreement is safe, or will be respected, because the neocon goals and the fulfillment a demonic New American Century, and the Central Banker's way of life, is not negotiable.

And remember that the policy of this aggression is a graduated effort, whose spoils are gathered slowly by means of sowing chaos. Russia is to be weakened while the Empire is stirring the shit continuously in the Ukraine. And Syria, which was protected from attack by Russia's ships, during the recent crisis, will not escape the cold intelligences that observe it from afar, those in the West who wish to destroy what is still admirable in its society,

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 10 2014 19:22 utc | 13

Ukraine currently has a majority of Russian speakers.

This is incorrect, as all my previous referenced posts showed.

In any case as most are bilingual or even tri-lingual (regional dialect, German, Polish, English..), it makes no sense to talk in these terms.

What is the case though, is that many if not all identity issues and political allegiances and attitudes, historical roots, in the Ukr. have been collapsed onto language issues.

Vs. geographical belonging - Lviv, brown "fascist" bastion vs. Domesk for ex.; not race or in this case ‘ethnic origin’, not religion, and above all not class - income. All of which topics need to be avoided, for national unity, covering up, and PC reasons.

So, whatever nos. one looks at in the MSM or the like, they are most often skewed by bad survey questions, political agendas, etc.

One map for ex. shows 98 plus % of Ukrainian speakers, that can be accomplished easily, and be ‘correct’ simply by taking certain no. into account.

The result is of course totally misleading. I’ll link it below, it is rubbish. (The 50% mirage: e.g. in one county, you have 49 % who prefer vanilla, 51 % who prefer chocolate, so that is a chocolate Oblast. Heh!) .. An effort to show that Ukranian is really the supremo majority language.

For Russian speakers, that can’t be done, because they are in fact in a minority. Even if the trend in the past 10 years has been towards Russification, that is another topic, which I also posted briefly about.

Afaik, which is not much, that Crimea is subsidised as you say b, is right. It is an important point which has been neglected. It is one reason, unstated, for Crimea and others to embrace Mother Russia, but one might make that argument about all Ukranians: they seek some kind of external support from one of the two super powers.. Ukranians have been coerced, and manipulated into that stance. I doubt many Ukranians are happy with that.. Ukranians can’t even be considered as ppl who could run their own country, they are broke, they need to embrace Mother Russia, or submit to EU freedoms, i.e. rules and strictures...

There are no alternative ‘opposition’ parties in the Ukr. at all, they have been knocked away. (The Union types - workers - or leftists with a red flag were immediately run out of Maidan by everyone else. Beaten badly, expelled. And they were not communists, imho, but anarchists. Not sure?)

> based on the question “native language?” whatever that means, 2001 : http://tinyurl.com/q6rrjjw

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 10 2014 19:26 utc | 14

I don't think that if Russians had such an eventual plan in their head that they would have let Crimea to go to a referendum. After all the more likely outcome of the referendum is that Crimeans would vote to join Russia. What will Russia do then? Refuse them? If Russians really had a plan to keep Crimea under the official territory of Ukraine (in the name at least) then they should not have let it go to referendums (which may -indeed likely will- result in Crimea joining Russia).
I don't see Russians moving in that direction and I don't see the West looking at it from that angle either.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Mar 10 2014 19:26 utc | 15

Could it be, b, that another of your predictions might be going to come true? Afghanistan. The really clever thing about this, that nobody has mentioned so far, is that, as b suggested, the US was planning to withdraw most of its materiel from Afghanistan through the "Northern Route", i.e. through Russia. Now they'll be at the mercy of the Taliban. I should think the US will be able to get the men out, but not the heavy equipment, 1842 all over again - a signal catastrophe, I think it was called. There are going to be some extremely well armed Taliban.

Posted by: Alexno | Mar 10 2014 19:26 utc | 16

re 16, sorry failed to mention that this was in response to the prospect of sanctions against Russia over the Crimea.

Posted by: Alexno | Mar 10 2014 19:28 utc | 17

1. The dependece of the crimea goes further: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nord-Krim-Kanal. The decision of 1954 to annex the crimea to the ukraine had the logic of the logistics: electricity, gas, water, everything else.
2. but there are two players today: a) the the governement of the RF b) the governement of the Autonomous Republic of Crimeae. b) is forcing the hand of a).

Posted by: Peter Hofmann | Mar 10 2014 19:30 utc | 18

b: 'As Crimea is quite dry and poor the Ukraine subsidizes it with allegedly some $1 billion per year by delivering water, electricity and heavily subsidized gas. Whatever the exact sum it is certainly more than the $90 million Russia currently pays for the use of its Crimean bases. Getting the Crimea would cost Russia quite a chunk of money. Would it really be better for Russia to have the Crimea in its federation than to have it close by but as an autonomous area within the Ukraine?'

I guess any landgrab is worth it's while! Why keep it dry? Why keep the people poor? The gas comes from ... and some get rich from the subsidies
If we would only depart from the neoliberal views on macroeconomy welfare for all would not sound negative but would offer plenty of opportunities
... and paid for in ruble in the case of the Crim (see MMT for money mechanisms)

Posted by: c | Mar 10 2014 19:41 utc | 19

Russia may not want to annex cremea, but cremae wants to be annexed by russia.

Posted by: Peter Hofmann | Mar 10 2014 19:44 utc | 20

One of the divides on this board is between those who regard the US as not only evil but devilishly clever and those who see the US as muscle bound, unwieldy and dumb in the conduct of foreign affairs.
This is partly because those in power are always obsessed by the domestic impact- in terms of the response of the arms industry and its media- of its policies and partly because the state apparatus is enormously large and riven with competing factions, for whom the "national interest' is a quaint notion. And then there are the agents of foreign powers, among which one in particular stands out.

As evidence supporting the latter, also my, view: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.
Or does anyone seriously regard these adventures as proof of US cunning and relentlessness?

Posted by: bevin | Mar 10 2014 19:58 utc | 21

It is not in Putin’s interest to take on, annex, Crimea, at its request, say, as compared to the present arrangement or something similar (perhaps some signing of closer ties, whatever.)

Putin has said semi clearly - while leaving all option open - that he considers the Gvmt in Kiev and any separatist movements illegal in the present conditions. Ppl can’t just vote to join whomever, without a long process of negotiation, agreements from all parties, look at say Scotland or Catalonia not that he mentions those.

If the vote takes place, more than 80% of Crimeans will vote for “Russia” (see my previous posts), because the “agree” to reuniting with Russia option is the majority opinion, the undecided (10%) will join the majority.

Note, a NO vote is empty, a vote for nothing... No alternative is presented. There is no point in voting NO.

Alternatives, not on the table, might be:

Independence / part of Ukraine as a State in a Federation, well again one can’t choose that on one’s own / the status quo / another status, not just autonomous region / other possibles.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 10 2014 20:08 utc | 22

Question is what happens on sunday if they vote yes, will russia instantly recognize it and mobilize troops etc?

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 10 2014 20:19 utc | 23

Crimea is in terrible financial crisis already. If the story about the removal of the country's gold reserve (the 33 tons) is true, and if the removal represents an outright theft; then clearly what has happened is a deep coup d'etat. I would think that Putin should accept the result of the referendum in Crimea, if the majority votes for entering the Russian Federation. Kiev's revolution was stolen by fascist goons, whose parliamentary takeover excluded those parts of the country where affinity with Russia is stronger. The argument is not fundamentally about Russian versus Ukrainian language, but about people's comfort, or discomfort, with fascist leanings and bullying, and other arbitrary abuses of power.

The cost to Russia of providing for the needs of this region is manageable, and will be well worth it. Protecting themselves politically, taking care of immediate defense needs near their coasts, with the crucial capability of projecting their near security at sea, is not to be neglected by responsible leadership in Russia. Therefore, Putin or any other leader would be obliged to take care of such necessities.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 10 2014 20:27 utc | 24

Wouldn't it turn into a strategic win for russia, if ukraine were separated and the east gets cheap gas and "eurasian union" benefits while the west is sold out and plundered by the western puppets? How long would it take until a majority of western ukrainias would call for Yats and Yarosh to hang from a lamp post? Or is that unlikely?

Posted by: peter radiator | Mar 10 2014 20:51 utc | 25

What I'm wondering is, what is the end game? We can assume US/Israel will keep doing what they've been doing, but even the failing US economy and growing power of the BRICs don't appear able to stop our aggression. And while Putin could check us (temporarily) in Syria, will he be able to do more than that here? And if so, how? It just looks to me like more of the same: regardless of this decision on Crimea, we'll just keep on keeping on.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 10 2014 21:01 utc | 26

Bevin @ 21: I think it is the fantasy of "full spectrum dominance." Regardless of outcome -- there was a good piece by TomDispatch's Nick Turse a couple of months back about how as the U.S. military presence in Africa has grown so too has "terrorism" -- the U.S. will pursue military hegemony. Pax Americana is proving to be a Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 10 2014 21:09 utc | 27

Mr.Pragma was(once again)right on the premise that one of the motivations of Zusa and Zeu was the fracking of the basin of the Dniepr as Zusa has today signed through Chevron a 10 billions $ contract for the extraction of gas with the (illegal )government of Kiev.Crimea on the other hand might be poor in water but in geostrategic terms it is invaluable for Russia as it is the door to exit to the Mediterranean .If Russia aims to recover in full its position as a great power and at the same time protect itself of the danger of the ever extending al Qaeda franchise and nazis encirclement it has no other way to go.Remember this is all about the last desperate attempt of zusa/zeu/zionist entity to break the very bleak prospect for them of the birth of a multipolar world.

Posted by: Nobody | Mar 10 2014 21:11 utc | 28

USAID was well invested [via NGO Chesno] in Ukrainian MP Hennadii Moskal of the Fatherland party. He gets quoted on the responsibility for the sniper attacks and carnage during Maidan revolt. His US audience gets broad publication via AP newswire to all major blogs and newspapers such as the Washington Post. Even shill reporting by blogger(s) @dKos for anti-Putin oligarchs contribute to the echo chamber of warmongering.

I wrote a diary about MP Moskal's background and his biased comments accusing the Berkut from Crimea for all harm done in Kyiv - Ukraine Partners Chesno (Honestly) - USAID. I debunked most of his bs.

Posted by: Oui | Mar 10 2014 21:12 utc | 29

Interesting piece from Reuters...

http://news.yahoo.com/eu-finds-complications-pressures-russia-ukraine-180159525.html

The EU has agreed to negotiate with Russia but says they'll cut off summit talks. That will require some skilful diplomatic acrobatics.

Posted by: dh | Mar 10 2014 21:17 utc | 30

@21

Or does anyone seriously regard these adventures as proof of US cunning and relentlessness?

To the "cunning" part of your statement:

Would you agree that most American CEO's and business executives are a bunch of short-sighted f*cking morons?

I would.

Would I also agree the capitalistic system of which these f*ckheads are the vanguards of is the most efficient and calculating - some might say fiendishly clever - destructive system - especially in its current virulent form - the world has ever seen?

I would.

Those two things don't seem to follow I think is what you're saying. But they are facts. How can a system that exalts short-sighted morons and retains them in positions of power also be seen as - anthropomorphically - exceedingly brilliant and efficient at what it does - i.e., making the lives of 99.9999999999% of the inhabitants of this planet miserable?

That's why as much as I hate the players I hate the system - i.e., capitalism - even more.

That's why as much as I believe the American leaders are idiotic war criminals individually, I understand that the "system/concept" of America is much worse as it - like capitalism - operates ruthlessly, efficiently and relentlessly and seemingly with no need for constant direction/piloting any longer.

re·lent·less (rĭ-lĕnt′lĭs) adj. 1. Unyielding in severity or strictness; unrelenting 2. Steady and persistent; unremitting:

Let's see, invading and destabilizing nations on a schedule that puts it about at one nation every year or so since at least 1980 would be relentless in my book. Persistently f*cking things up. Steadily creating more and more forward bases around the planet. Getting more nations into debtor's prisons. Unremittingly destabilizing sovereign nations by training domestic paramilitary forces to be called upon when needed. I think that about answers the second half of your statement.

The US is relentless in its destruction and it is relentless because it NEVER SEEMS TO PAY A PRICE.

It hasn't happened yet and I personally see NO REASON whatsoever to change that prediction near long term.

As much as many on the left especially have hoped and hoped and hoped that this latest foreign military incursion - insert incursion here - was going to be THE straw that broke the domestic camel's back it ain't happened yet and I would propose that it ain't gonna EVER happen unless the US is militarily attacked on its own shores.

Oh wait, it'll probably change when the US economy implodes, right? Or should I not correctly also put THAT leftish pipe-dream of the last 2 decades? 3 decades? 4 decades? into my pipe and smoke it too?

Maybe, if we all just clap a little harder this time...

"Dumb" and "stupid" to gangsters means not getting away with something, paying a price for your actions.

Where is the evidence that the US war criminals are anywhere NEAR paying a farthing for the millions and millions of lives they've ruined over just the last few decades much less the last half-century?

Hey, is it maddening to see idiot businessmen and politicians on TV invariably display their ignorance day in and day out but at the same time know full-well that the system which these morons head is efficiently murdering and maiming with IMPUNITY in dozens of places around the globe as they speak and raking in TRILLIONS of dollars in stolen gains?

Yes but that doesn't mean I can say the system is stupid. It's working great for them! Never better!

Again, it's similar to the "omnipotent/idiot" duality that people use when viewing the elite. Which are they omnipotent geniuses or a bunch of idiots?

They are both at the same time; it just depends at which way one looks at the situation.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 10 2014 21:34 utc | 31

@Oui #29:

Why do you continue to make boomantrib your home? You just give that site the appearance of legitimacy it would not otherwise have. If it wasn't for your diaries, I would never visit that blog anymore.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 10 2014 21:56 utc | 32

JSorrentine # 31: Yup. But in my bleaker moments I console myself that when we 99.9999999% have suffered and died in our local equivalents of Afghanistan, Palestine or Iraq, Our Lords And Masters will then turn on each other. And by that time, Global Warming, fracking et. al. will have made the place pretty uninhabitable anyhow.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 10 2014 21:58 utc | 33

That video Anonymous posted at #12 is worth a look-see. Apparently it's an MP from Lugansk getting ambushed, kidnapped, and assaulted by this presidential hopeful guy Lyashko's thugs who came all came from Kiev in response to their putschist governor being rejected - he resigned after mass protests
.
Some rather colorful language from Lyashko, from what I can gather. I'd love to have a full translation.

Something I noticed was one of the thugs looks to be a bouncer from a popular Kiev western-themed pub, the "Dakota", I can't imagine anyone else looking like that and having that jacket...lol.

Posted by: L Bean | Mar 10 2014 22:04 utc | 34

To add, looks like Lugansk's putschist governor was reinstated by the time Klinchev, the MP from Lugansk was released from his kidnapping, or so klinchev says.

So, mission accomplished. This shit must be happening all over the place right now, and worse. Klinchev said he expected to be killed when he saw the gang of 12 thugs coming at him.

Posted by: L Bean | Mar 10 2014 22:09 utc | 35

Pirouz15, what Russia could do is an Association Agreement, somewhat like the EU deal, but not insisting on exclusivity as the EU deal did. I tend to think that Russia will slightly tamp down the outcome of the election by offering less than admission to the Russian Federation, ie, association of some sort.

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 10 2014 22:17 utc | 36

Alexno - you can be sure that the 'merkin invaders will destroy all heavy weapons and equipment, and anything else salable for that matter. All that will be left will be the bridges and highways and the ravished landscape. The didn't invade Afghanistan to leave it better off than before - in any respect.

Posted by: rackstraw | Mar 10 2014 22:43 utc | 37

Do you really believe the U.S. and Nato are going to just go away into the sunset satisfied now that the prize is within reach? You paint a pretty picture, ethnic Russians will block this...they'll have more power, and they'll be able to do that... You know the saying: "even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry". Remember what happened in Of Mice and Men?: they were so close to achieving their dream, working like dogs to get their own little ranch, and then just when they could almost touch it, when they finally saved all the money...all hell broke loose.

After everything the U.S. has done, and the neo-Nazis have done to stick it to Russia, do you honestly believe there's any good will on the other side to allow ethnic Russians to decide whether Ukraine goes with the EU and Nato? Do you really believe they won't do something to ensure ethnic Russians don't screw it up for them?

I'm a firm believer in never giving up an inch of land. Giving up Crimea was a big mistake to begin with. Khrushchev made a big mistake giving Crimea to Ukraine. You never, ever give up land and ESPECIALLY land with a port.

Here's the thing, if Crimea is annexed Russia FINALLY has a warm water port. How much is that worth? It's priceless in my opinion.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 10 2014 22:43 utc | 38

It looks to me like the U.S. has been dragged into a really stupid situation by rogue neocons within the administration.

Honestly, why does Vicki Nuland still have a job?

Posted by: Buster | Mar 10 2014 22:44 utc | 39

@Demian #32 : as a guest I can write and publish full stories. Most other blogs, I would be limited to comments. Their "international" section is indeed a void and global issues lack power of debate. I was there from the start ...

Posted by: Oui | Mar 10 2014 22:46 utc | 40

Buster # 39: Because Obama has rotten interpersonal skills, zero managerial skills and a real need to look good in the eyes of anyone he thinks has any power? Oh, and Really. Really. Doesn't. Care. what happens to anyone except himself.

Oui #40: Plus, there's at least some chance some of his readers might actually learn something.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 10 2014 23:03 utc | 41

Oui #40: I should add that there are even some posters, and commenters, over at Kos who are getting at least glimmers of a clue. sigh. Not that it will make any difference anytime soon.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 10 2014 23:05 utc | 42

Well worth reading, just some highlights below Ukraine as the USDollar Waterloo

The desperation of the Anglo-American leadership, guided by the steady corrupt banker hands, has never been more acutely high, nor obvious in full view. The entire Ukraine situation is a travesty... It involves subterfuge with the NATO card (aka Narcotics And Treachery Outlaws) with missiles placed on the Russian borders. Look for NATO members to find a back door to exit the spurious treaty. It involves playing with nitro-glycerine in the Petro-Dollar room... The more the USGovt pushes, the more the US will be isolated...
Already, Putin has threatened to dump USTreasury Bonds. Putin aptly calls the Anglo-Americans as Mutants. Imagine the lunacy of trying to cut off the only Russian warm water military naval port in the Crimea. Just as stupid as the Trans Pacific Partnership faux pas, trying to cut off China from its Asian neighbors and partners in trade. The intelligence level of the USGovt has never been more stupid, destructive, and in full view. The lost ground for the United States is obvious and glaring in the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Caucasus region...
Just like with Syria, a hidden giant energy deposit is concealed under the table. Off the Lebanese and Syrian coast, a massive off-shore energy deposit was recently discovered. The US & UK & Israeli oligarchs wish to take it all. Confusion is their game. In the western plains of Ukraine, a massive gas deposit was recently discovered. The US & European oligarchs wish to take it all. Confusion is their game...
The Anglo Americans have fallen into a carefully designed trap by the Russians and Chinese in a clever designed sequence. More Sun Tzu tactics have been put into practice, which utilize the momentum from the enemy to be thrust back on them. Planning for final steps must have taken place during high level Putin meetings with Xi from the elite Sochi viewing box. The unfolding of events has been more carefully engineered and orchestrated than what appears. The US/UK team has been caught in a vise for months, as the rejection of the USDollar as global reserve currency is in high gear, the refusal of the USTBond a recognized trend in diversifications...
Notice for over two years, the primary buyer of USGovt debt (and its refunded rollover) has been the US Federal Reserve via bond monetization, an absolute heresy to central banking. Hyper monetary inflation cannot stand as fixed policy. The world has responded by constructing an alternative to trade settlement. The forum has been the BRICS conferences and the G-20 Meetings of finance ministers. The US & UK will gradually be excluded from both forums, a process well along. Even traditional allies like Japan are buying gold in high volume, with suppressed lowball data so far. This is game over for the USDollar, the direct victim of Ukraine backlash...
First was the attack against Russian Gazprom in Cyprus... Second was the attack against Russian Gazprom in Syria, another complicated event... Third was the attack against Russia Gazprom in Ukraine, done by the CIA and its partner security agents from the small ally nation on the SouthEast Med corner... Witness the upcoming Birth of the Eurasian Trade Zone, the birth pangs heard in Ukraine. The United States and Great Britain will not be included. The Eurasian Trade Zone will span 14 time zones and will settle in gold...

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 10 2014 23:29 utc | 43

Here is what a self-described American hawk who is obsessed with demographics and likes to think about broad historical trends has to say:

The tragedy will play itself out, and at the end of it - the very end - there will be no Ukraine, because there will be no Ukrainians. [...]

I am sure that America will have to deal with Russia as a strategic power for the indefinite future - a power of second rank, perhaps, but not one to be trifled with in its back yard.


Posted by: Demian | Mar 10 2014 23:31 utc | 44

Buster 39 "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer"

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 10 2014 23:38 utc | 45

WAIT FOR A VISIT ! Or methods to combat misinformation maydanovskoy in Donetsk

March 10 , 20:05 image_print
Dear friends and colleagues ! We all see what is happening in the information field : there we just lose. We live in the information age of the absurd. In the era of worship "celestial hundred ", when mentioning that a normal person has a feeling that can be described as a symbiosis of disgust , indignation and the gag reflex . At a time when real heroes trampled modern Ukraine , the men of the Internal Troops and special forces Berkut . We live in an era where everything is turned upside down and presented as it should be. We are in an information blockade ! Our thousands of meetings , but it is presented in such a way that it's a few hundred people. Crimes committed against us , but we also expose and aggressors. We are not in favor, because we resist . Our opponents do not like the fact that we are self-sufficient that we know its value, we will not give up without a fight. In a move against us dirtiest tricks psevdozhurnalistiki registered . No wonder that journalists called the fourth branch of government . But we struggle with the information blockade . We , if you think there are forces and means . And how will my story below, you are capable of much .

I want to tell you today , by the pro-Russian activists Donetsk protest movement, was uncovered and foiled psevdozhurnalista disinformation activities that distort reality.

As you know, in Donetsk 09.03.2014 , hosted the most massive rally in the history of the country's independence . The meeting gathered and consolidated about 50 thousand inhabitants of Donetsk . Everything was very well organized . Gathered on Lenin Square people held a rally expressed their views on the current and orderly psevdovlasti proceeded to the place where he was scheduled to speak with a German boy fighting a residence and presidential ambitions Vitali Klitschko . As it turned out , Vitaly refused to meet with voters . As was announced in the crowd of protesters come Vitaly prevented objective reasons , particularly convulsive contraction of the sphincter and the lack of nearby U.S. military base . Someone even said he saw Vitaly riding a bicycle in the direction of ... No, not in the direction that you are mentally uttered , and towards out of town . Thunderous applause activists for conspiracy Vitali was renamed. From now decided to call it a pedal . "For" votes to 120 people , 400 in the minutes made ​​by analogy with the current Verkhovna Rada. All legal. Reforms priynyato !

Provide all possible assistance to our project!
And now, amid all the idyll and the rule of law in a closed radio channel there was information that one of the journalists rally and removes hidden video series goes directly to the live broadcast on the Internet and one of the canals . Shooting was with this perspective that was not visible mass . But is not it even . All this was accompanied by pouring mud protesters using such epithets as separatists , uneducated rednecks , hangers Moscow , and others. Well and accordingly provocation and fights everywhere. Judging by the video dubbing , the rally gathered steam thousands of alcoholics for the money, of which more than half is specially brought people from Russia . For those who do not know , the Russians are not allowed on the territory of Ukraine . Wrapped at the border.

But the journalist did not realize one thing: we are activists , we understand that information warfare is conducted . And we are prepared. The crowd worked our people who were attached to the crew and made ​​sure that there was no distortion of information. But our reporter was not just those who work in the crowd. He shot on a smartphone and immediately broadcast material strimingovyh channel with its voice acting. In real time. Locate it was hard, but we deal with it ! Thanks to information from activists who monitored the channels broadcasted our rally . These activists radio supervised search misinformers and it was eventually found. He did take off all your cell phone, went and commented on all in their own way . He was very surprised when he was approached by a couple of strong guys simple and asked about his health than he has been here all if he had not been waiting for good and whether its customers the dill . The answer was that he was a Russian journalist and even demonstrated the identity that is confirmed .

1 file

Donetsk businessman hiding behind parliamentary powers , putting pressure on the newspaper
But crepes guys lusted contemplate passport Russians . Had to submit . It turned out that Ukrainian passport and ... misinformers our countryman ... Donetsk . Shatohin name Pavel , born in 1984 .

3 file

file 2

Provide all possible assistance to our project!
Deny it no longer make sense. Provocateur - misinformers head bowed asked only one thing: that they did not take the phone . He received the answer that he was confused , this is not the maidan and anyone not interested in his phone . Overall physical coercion decided not to take , so he looked very sorry , and somehow disgusting . He filmed for Channel spilno.tv, one of the channels , which cynically savored in Heroes of the Golden Eagle flying bottles, as the latter-day Ukrainian fascists worked chaos and lawlessness . People who work with these channels even touch the hands is not desirable , not wash off .

Strong guys otfotografirovali his passport and identity and released. Liar retired to the laughter of the crowd, clutching a telephone, as a believer icon. Finally he was told to be tried at home because many as possible will want to come to visit him a courtesy visit . Politeness is a sign of Russian man , as we know. Provocateur glanced at the camera that took it off and place of registration documents and understood ... silence ...

And silence is assent. Therefore , dear countrymen , who wants to pay a visit of courtesy this hero - he agrees ! Tell him heartfelt greetings from cattle herds and Russian .

Kharkiv militia calls on citizens to go to the general gathering Mirror jet
For letters of courtesy ( and Russian people are polite , as we remember ) give the address and details for connection with the hero :
Shatohin Pavel
Str. Savchenko Building 16 , Apt. 11
Donetsk.
Phone: +38 050 327 23 96
Mail : pr@plum.dn.ua

Will be in those places , do not hesitate to go . Though the window tap . You do not have hard, but Paul SHATOKHINA will be pleased . Uvazhte so he deserved .

In general, if it is serious, the soul disgusting.

Provide all possible assistance to our project!
I am glad that people like that one.

Behind the curtain want to give advice to the leadership of the anti-fascist movement of the Southeast .

Friends , highlight a couple of dozen people who would during mass events observed the work crews and to identify such operators and hidden provocations and suppress the spread of misinformation. We can not afford to demonize !

Source - the online edition of " verb " : http://glagol.in.ua/2014/03/10/zhdite-v-gosti-ili-metodyi-borbyi-s-maydanovskoy-dezinformatsiey-po-donetski/#ixzz2vbl0QGLY

Posted by: brian | Mar 11 2014 0:06 utc | 46

okie farmer (#36)

Of course I don't what the Russian plans are, but if I were in charge of Russia and if indeed Sevastopol is of such a strategic importance, I would try to make it part of Russian territory proper, to rule out any possibility of its separation and falling into NATO's hands.
But of course Russian calculus may be very different from what I think.
However, the way the Russian officials are promising full citizenship rights to the crimeans, it seems to me that they are painting themselves into a corner and they will have a hard time in changing the end result once the crimea decides in a referendum to join Russia.
Their behaviour seems mostly suggesting that they want to make the peninsula part of the Russian territory proper. But of course I may be very wrong.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Mar 11 2014 0:44 utc | 47

Sorry, b,

But my impression is that this time you got it really all fucked up wrong. Maybe canadian ambassadors (or should I say "Ex-canadian" beause nowdays that once proud country is but a lousy zusa/izrael colony?) aren't the best source to build ones opinion.
His view is completely biased and zio-based and full of bullshit.

Of course, Crimea is *way more* than a navy base and some chunk of land needing water and support.
I'm sometimes wondering whether all western countries, in particular zusa colonies, have lost any and all culture and human decency.

ukraine is, from what I know, *not* with any majority Russian-speaking; Crimea and some regions are, but so what. There are, for example, *many* mixed families, so that language line is anyway not to be drawn as easily - and bluntly - as some would like.

Maybe, even probably, zusa/zeu/zatos interest is mainly in cost/profit, zato bases, a quick meal (e.g. shale gas) - but that does *NOT* mean that Russia thinks and sees things in a similar way. Neither does it mean that the weztern perspective is the relevant one.

One point many just don't seem capable of getting is that Russia has no lack of territory whatsoever. Nor a lack of resources. Nor a lack of power. And on top of it Russia has a rather healthy population of human beings with healthy core values and healthy cores; family, religion, education.

OF COURSE that strongly influences thoughts and behaviour. *Of course* such a country with such people approaches issues and behaves *very differently* from rotten countries with rotten media, rotten economy, rotten leaders, rotten system, and citizens who are told democracy fairy tales but actually are ignored system slaves being fed their daily dose of propaganda since kindergarden.

obama was elected in the ridiculous zamerican "democracy" systen, merkel heads a government (of a non-souvereign occupation zone, one should remind) that was built by bluntly ignoring what people had voted for and, no matter anyway, because both, obama and merkel lie every day, ignore their people every day, and make their secret dealings behind closed doors every day.

This is, kindly get it finally, no base whatsoever for understanding or making educated guesses about Russias or Putins policy, desires, or no-goes.

Russia understands the eastern and southern regions as "Russian" or "ethnic Russian" because many, maybe not a majority but a large group anyway, ethnic Russians live there, because a very large number of family relations (with Russians) live there, because those region deal and work with Russians and Russian businesses, because those regions *rightfully* were part of Sovjet Russia (unlike western parts of ukraine), and because Russa has had - rightfully - fucking damn enough of the weztern crime mob doing whatever they please.
Not any more! Now it's Russia to do whatever they fucking please. And don't you worry, after all, Russia is a civilized country with an intelligent president acting rationally.

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 that will be sucked dry by weztern vampires and raped and then thrown away, 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 and, quite possibly, as a member of eurasian (economy) union and possibly SCO or in some other way protected by Russia.

Any yes, there will quite probably be a war. I doubt, though, that it will be in or about ukraine. One reason being that zeu has a large snout but no muscles - nor the desire to be a theater for zusa operations.

And again, this might not be visible right now but there will be *major* consequences for zeu, in particular Germany. Which btw. might even end with Germans shouting "Thank you, president Putin, for liberating us from the mob scum!"

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 0:55 utc | 48

The devil I think is in the details. "Crimea becomes part of Russia" or "Crimea stays part of the Ukraine" I don't think parses the reality fine enough. A Crimea still part of the Ukraine may be Russian dependency for all intents and purposes (including a large Russian military presence), just as we could, on the other pole, conceivably (but very unlikely) see a Crimea that is part of Russia, but is patrolled by UN observers with the Russians confined to Sevastapol.

The problem is what are the conditions of Kiev taking it back. If Crimea stays a part of the Ukraine, but without a clear Ukrainian presence, military and (new) government, the Kiev regime will never allow its votes to count and will claim "inability to hold a free and fair election" - just as they will here in a few days. The real danger is that the moment the new regime can reasonably claim control of the population centers of Crimea, they start making (illegal) demands that the Russian base be closed down. And this, I think, the Russians would try to avoid at all costs.

With that in mind, I don't think that the Crimean's can allow the puppet government any control over any part of Crimea, because, no matter what they claim, they will only try and remove the base even if that takes violence and terrorism (of the perfectly deniable type, of course). And for that reason, I think the Crimea must be cut off from the Ukraine for the foreseeable future. So long as this has the potential for military conflict - and it does - then there is no chance of the Russian government allowing the neo-nazi/IMF government so much as a toehold there.

So, the Russians will not leave, and the Kiev government will treat it as a Russian occupied province and use the fact as propaganda. And over the next six months, we will hear more media moralisms and western wailings about that it than we've heard in 40 years of Palestine being occupied.

...

@Nobody "Remember this is all about the last desperate attempt of zusa/zeu/zionist entity to break the very bleak prospect for them of the birth of a multipolar world."

Yes, you hit it on the head there. This is the last attempt - though by no means their smallest. The US has no prospects of economic recovery. It going full bore into extractive industries which create few jobs, so it will have cash, but a big problem on its hands at home. Meanwhile, the BRICS are catching up at an amazing pace. So the US feels, no doubt, that this is their last big chance. But I wouldn't underestimate it. They intend to take out a few more countries before Obama leaves the White House.

Though I would point out good news: apparently the FMLN candidate in El Salvador is going to win the Presidential elections. So the influence of the anti-imperialists is still felt, even as its leaders are under heavy attack from the US.

@dh Thanks for the link. Very interesting.

@L Bean "a popular Kiev western-themed pub, the 'Dakota'" Ahahaha. How disgusting. Presumably a favorite haunt of the Reich Sektor goons. A place to hang out in your Raiders cap, listen to Eminem, and talk about how proud you are to be Ukrainian.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 11 2014 0:58 utc | 49

Mr P, I don't think any oligarchs -- or the politicians under their control -- ever had any decency to lose. The will or welfare of which people, where, actually matter to them? I'd say no one, anywhere. They'll fake it around election time -- to the extent that they're not able to steal enough votes to get or stay in -- but that's about it.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 11 2014 1:03 utc | 50

@brian "Vitaly refused to meet with voters . As was announced in the crowd of protesters come Vitaly prevented objective reasons , particularly convulsive contraction of the sphincter and the lack of nearby U.S. military base."

Lol. A sense of humor goes a long way in politics.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 11 2014 1:09 utc | 51

@24 - copeland. i tend to agree with your view.. does anyone have any verification on the gold being removed from ukraine? this is an interesting question. has it been verified by anyone? who is responsible for it?

@28 nobody.. interesting.. sad, if that is indeed true..

@29 oui - USAID as front for supporting a particular outcome.. who whudda thunk it? geez.

@38 - kathilea - i agree.

@39 buster - nuland still has a job, as she belongs to the war party within the party that is running the us gov't.. it ain't obama by the looks of it.. he just rubber stamps shit. i like @45's answer!

@43 - propeace.. i think the us$ and the thought of it losing it's footing is an interesting ongoing concept that never seems to materialize.. one day it inevitably will, but figuring out when is a real guessing game..

Posted by: james | Mar 11 2014 1:45 utc | 52

I have to disagree with b's interpretation of Putin's actions. This entire crisis has set off a political dynamic in the Crimea that I doubt was being micro-managed by the Kremlin. It is being driven by a real fear on the part of the Russians living in Crimea that they were going to become second class citizens. The RF was forced to show arms and signal to the world that they were not going to allow the Crimea to fall into NATO's hands. This added to the political dynamic. Somehow, it does not seem feasible that Putin can now just turn this off and enter into an agreement with the US that will ease either the fears that the Crimeans have or the expectations that rest of Russia have today.

Putin's popularity this last week was 10 points higher than his last electoral win. That could change very fast if the Russian people felt he sold out to the West. Every politically sentient Russian knows that American promises mean nothing after NATO was moved into eastern Europe and the Baltic nations.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 11 2014 2:10 utc | 53

Nora

The oligarchs. A very complex and difficult matter.

Of course, pretty everyone with some decency would think that oligarchs are pure evil and must be brought to fall at any cost - and would be wrong in part.

I'm not even talking about the rather well known (but sometimes comfortably "forgotten") fact that Russia basically though all of its history had one form or another of extremely powerful and wealthy families.

One point why the oligarchs - under proper control - have not been all and only bad for Russia is the situation then, 20 years ago. Russia didn't have that many who had the skills to run mega corporations. Looking at it from a governmental pov a country vitally needs certain materials and industries. And the oligarchs were one pragmatic way to have this being taken care of and done.
Another issue is that Russia, like any country, needed to get some entry into certain international, mostly financial, networks. This also was taken care of by the oligarchs. Sure, at a very high cost to Russia but in Russias then state and (lack of) health there weren't that many options. One highly probable "alternative" was to go belly up and being taken over completely by the wezt within a matter of years.

Last but not least, the worry of a state leader, in particular at critical times, most *not* be the just and equal distribution of wealth but the creation of a reasonable and necessary level of wealth to be distributed in the first place and to make sure that everyone has a at least a small but sufficient part of the wealth. As president ones job isn't simply to fairly share what little we have but rather to see to it that the necessary wealth is held or gained and that nobody dies of hunger. Having 10 people with 5 bln each and 100 mln people with 1.000 each is *way better* than having 100 mln people with close to nothing and no chance to enhance that situation.

It may sound crazy - and believe me that I profoundly despise oligarchs! - but Putin did the right thing and Russia would not have become a superpower with a bright future but rather be completely broken since long if Putin didn't let the oligarchs play their ugly game.
The decisive point is one that you won't find in Russia: In Russia the government controlled the oligarchs and held them within certain limits - in ukraine the oligarchs controlled what little layer of government ukraine had. In ukraine the oligarchs control *everything*; the country, the regions, the cities.
THAT's the decisive point.

And there's also a side that is usually overlooked. Oligarchs can be quite simply be disposed of, if they don't stick to the rules. A simple bullet is all that's needed - and that bullet can most easily be attributed to a competitor oligarch. So, in Russia, the oligarchs are basically figures on the chess board with an extreme deal one way or the other.

I'm expecting sth. similar in ukraine. There will be oligarchs who submit themselves to a set of rules and the demand of staying out of politics and there will be oligarchs who lose a lot; their wealth, their businesses or in worst case their life.
In a two states solution the eastern oligarchs will either play nicely or they will be replaced and be disposed of (whatever western ukraine does isn't Putin or Crimea-ukraines problem). In a one state solution *all* oligarchs in *all* regions will play nicely or be disposed of; some of them, I'm certain, are already marked for disposal anyway.
Last but not least what happens today in ukraine is more a fight of oligarchs than of politics. And exactly that is going to change. And that's a war where Russia has lots and lots of experience (and tools in the shadow) and the wezt has sorry little.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 2:13 utc | 54

@Mr. Pragma #54:

You wrote, "I'm expecting sth. similar in ukraine." I'm not sure that one can predict what is going to happen in the Ukraine based on what happened in Russia. Although Russia has gone through at least three "revolutions"—Peter's Westernization, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the dissolution of the USSR—Russia is an old state, with the largest territory in the world, and with a strong culture and identity.

The Ukraine in contrast is a completely artificial creation, with what sense of identity its elites have seeming to center around hatred of Russia, the only country which can really help the Ukrainians. Since the political class of Western Ukraine hates Russia, it will be at the mercy of Western business interests, with whom the Ukrainian oligarchs are and will continue to be in collusion. Putin was only able to get Russian oligarchs under control because he was able to restore a reasonably strong state. After what has happened in the last month in the Ukraine, I don't see how the Ukrainian state will ever be able to regain even what little legitimacy it once had. It is thus destined to be the permanent basket case of Europe. Perhaps if things get sufficiently bad, it will split between west and east, with Poland and Russia absorbing the respective parts.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 11 2014 2:43 utc | 55

The thing to remember in all of this is that when Yushchenko was president he tried to get through nearly the exact set out of outcomes that the putschists are trying, ie. Ukraine in NATO, Russia out of Crimea, oil pipelines signed over to western majors, outlawing the Russian language in schools/media, etc.
- And at the height of his push his popularity was at around 2% (or within the margin of error). He managed to raise it to just over 5% at the elections, but the maximum popularity of these policies is likely under 10%.

Even if the putschists try & put thugs at the election booths, terrorize political opponents and the backing of several boatload of western political operators I do not see this coalition getting into power via elections.

Ukraine has already seen the Yushchenko 'Orange Revolution' show, & that kind of thing only works once. His party didn't even achieve parliamentary representation at the most recent elections.
The thugs will meet heavy resistance, & the OSCE, etc. will only be able to whitewash so much with Russia paying close attention.


What it comes down to is what agreements/'laws' the putschists are able to sign now with their EU/US partners, and then rely on their western partners to try & stop the whatever new government comes into power from overturning them as illegal.

Posted by: KenM | Mar 11 2014 2:57 utc | 56

Demian

You are right to a large degree but: Switching ukraine (or a part thereof) from oligarchs-control-government mode to g'ment-controls-oligarchs is the conditio sine qua non.

No matter what else one changes, if that oligarch problem isn't solved, it will be worthless and not working.

And there *are* ways to achive it. On example would be to bring one or two of the worst of the oligarchs to court and to then send them to jail and to disposess all or a large part of their fortunes. That could, in fact, be done rather quickly and within a week or two one could quite easily have the large rest of those oligarchs to give in.

The second major problem I see, also particularly regarding the oligarch issue, is the chronically corrupt and illoyal ukraine police. I personally, if charged with handling that, would opt for a state security secret service with special powers to conduct surprise inspections and investigations and I would ask them to act them in ways that very quickly makes the policemen and local adminstrations fear "my" 4S service *by far more* than any thugs of some oligarchs.
Anyway, that's just a detail question albeit an important one. And one where Russia could for some time help out with their own resources.

But again, it must be done. Not bringing the oligarchs in line and leaving them with whatever small control of the government equates to guaranteed failure no matter what else one does.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 2:57 utc | 57

I see your point, Mr. P. But I'm also lamenting the power they've got over our country, and the EU too: both cases are looking to me more and more like pre-Putin Russia, just not quite as bad, yet.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 11 2014 3:16 utc | 58

Putin approved a plan to build a bridge between Crimea and the Russian mainland, last week, I think. I believe the plans were already in the works, but he fastracked it. One article I read said that this also would pave the way for power, water, etc. to be supplied from Russia rather than Ukraine. That route could also have a significant effect on Crimea's economy. In any case, unless he's bluffing, it looks like Putin is ready to invest in Crimea, which makes it look like he wants it for keeps. I think it's so strategic, geopolitically, that he'd want to take this opportunity, which might not present itself again for a long time.

On the other hand, I read on reddit that another Russian naval base and port is currently under construction. If they are getting ready to let go of Sevastopol, then an autonomy agreement might be just enough to get the base built and established. But then there is the bridge. And if Russia moves out of Sevastopol, it's such a strategic location that someone else would want to move in there, no? Like NATO? It's worth holding onto for that reason along, I'd think.

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 11 2014 3:26 utc | 59

Oh no, Nora,

as bad, no doubt as bad, but slightly better "dressed up". In fact it's even worse because in zusa/zeu the oligarchs aren't under government control but actually conspiring with it and changing the manager servants through revolving doors from/to each other.

The good news: zusa is all but officially crumbled and broken and zeu isn't far behind.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 3:30 utc | 60

gemini333 #59 There is not a snow ball's chance in hell that Russia will give up Sevastopol to a NATO aligned Ukraine. It does not matter that the Russians have good ports on the Black Sea east of Kerch. If Sevastopol became a NATO base it would insert Western military power right into the heart of Russia. It will never happen* even if Russia carves out superior facilities further east.

*unless, of course, the West is willing to engage in nuclear war and somehow manage to "win". We should not discount the possibility that there are think tank strategists in the US that believe we could win such a war. Dr Strangelove was not just a fictional possibility.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 11 2014 4:09 utc | 61

@Mr. Pragma #60:

I read somewhere recently that we Americans should start referring to our own billionaires who buy our elections as oligarchs.

On a different note, one thing that saved Russia is that the government kicked out the Western "pro-democracy" NGOs. Why didn't Ukraine do the same?

Posted by: Demian | Mar 11 2014 4:16 utc | 62

Pirouz, like you I'm guessing. Determining Russia's "plan" is like trying to see through a dark glass window. But this piece from Huff Post that I posted on previous thread suggests that Russia has a long game plan.

WASHINGTON -- Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Sunday that he believes Russia will ultimately control Crimea, the disputed peninsula in the Black Sea.

"I do not believe that Crimea will slip out of Russia's hand," said Gates in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." Host Chris Wallace asked Gates again: "You think Crimea's gone?"

"I do," said Gates.

Gates also said he expects Russian President Vladimir Putin to continue efforts to take control of the rest of Ukraine. "I don't think he will stop in Ukraine until there is essentially a pro-Russian government in Ukraine, in Kiev," said Gates.

Gates' remarks came amid reports that Russia has been scaling up its military presence in the region. The question of whether Crimea should break away from Ukraine and join Russia will be decided in a referendum on March 16.

Gates also reiterated his previous remarks that his fellow Republicans should "tone down" their criticism of President Barack Obama over the Ukraine situation. Congressional Republicans have accused the president of being "naïve" regarding Russia's actions and intentions in the region.

"Putin invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president," said Gates. "Nobody ever accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force."

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 11 2014 7:31 utc | 63

re 37 you can be sure that the 'merkin invaders will destroy all heavy weapons and equipment, and anything else salable for that matter.

Of course. I was only starting an idea, which could be of greater importance in the future. I didn't have time to develop it. But I would think it will be a factor of significance in US policy. Massive quantities of US equipment will disappear, including multiple branches of BurgerKing or is it MacDonalds. The Taliban will be able to live off what's left for decades - the perfect gift for putting Afghanistan on the road to prosperity. And I bet you they'll get away with a lot of arms too in the confusion.

Posted by: Alexno | Mar 11 2014 7:45 utc | 64

I think it's a bargaining chip. I write about this at myFDL: 'What Putin wants, what he'll accept, and the Latvia nightmare'. I think Putin understands the limits of his power inside Ukraine and that splitting southern and eastern Ukraine away is likely impossible, at least this year. He'd love to successfully negotiate an autonomous south and eastern Ukraine, but he'll probably have to settle for just Crimea.

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 11 2014 8:28 utc | 65

will washington pivots its Jihad corps to Ukraine esp Crimea? is that why Saudis are moving jihadis out of syria?
http://rt.com/op-edge/crimea-terrorism-saudi-tatars-050/

Posted by: brian | Mar 11 2014 9:40 utc | 66

fairleft (65)

Leaving aside the options per se, I'm interested *why* you think Putin "will have to settle" for this or that.

Or, to add some contrast: Who could do what against Putin simply rolling in and over the whole ukraine? (Not that I think he wanted).

Actually he might even roll in and over poland, too, being at that. And you know what I think would happen? Nothing, except lots of complaining and screaming and poland invoking zato code bla-whatever.

You know why? Because zato is done, blunt and simple.

Their leader, zusa, is increasingly recognized as a broken regime and power and their very raison d'etre is gone some 20 years ago. They could ignore that fact for a decade and then ride the sorry 9/11 wave for a decade but that's about it. "war on terror", "non-state threats", "responsibility to protect" and other phrases are worn out and pretty everyone nowadays knows their meaning, "wanton terror by zusa/zato".

jewland was right when she said "fuck the eu" - but she forgot to mention "zusa already is fucked up".

So, kindly tell me why on earth Putin "will have to settle" for this or that. Because else fucking what?

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 9:42 utc | 67

Reportedly kilometers of Russian military vehicles moving from Rostov na Donu towards the Donbass. Liberation forces coming at last?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XvDM572Awg

something to match the Blackwater convoy?

Posted by: brian | Mar 11 2014 9:52 utc | 68

...so here we again: US needs recruits, young volatile, driven: patsies like the muslim jihdis: and same method; use media hysteria to whip up emotion to have young bucks go on a jihad/crusade to save someone from a targeted evil,
--------------------
from facebook:
(English/Spanish) In Lithuania there is an atmosphera of psycosis and fear, promoted by irresponsable politicians and media. And already some individuals are recruiting volunteers to go to Ukraine to kill people there. I include here the advertisement recruiting volunteers to go to Ukraine. Some Lithuanians friends sent it to me. As I said four months ago (few days after starting Euromaidan) it is going to be a war in Ukraine. The country will be devastated and looted. And the guys that will die to deffend the interests of the American and German coorporations will be basically Eastern European citizens. Educated and grown in hatress and bigotry against Russia. I am so sad to see that. We have to stop this crazyness!!!! Packing my things to come back to Barcelona if the situation become nasty here.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152291867473659&set=a.62154938658.89554.691108658&type=1&theater

Posted by: brian | Mar 11 2014 10:14 utc | 69

Pragma at 65: Well, the U.S. with minimum losses could launch a massive cruise missile attack on Russia's lumbering tanks and other ground forces.

But that's beside the point, which is Putin. His track history shows he is willing to use military force when it aids majority Russian regions within other countries, and I think he'd be okay with 'liberating' south and eastern Ukraine if it were 60% Russian ethnicity, as is Crimea. But those regions are not. They may speak Russian, but most of the people are Ukrainian. The percentage of Russians ranges between 14 and 39 percent in the potential 'liberated zones'. The ideal for them would be deep autonomy, which Putin's advisor Sergei Glazyev was suggesting a few weeks ago.

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 11 2014 10:21 utc | 70

Yanukovich said that he is still the commander in chief and the Ukraine forces must obey their oath to him. Did he send another letter to Putin? Will he give the order to stand down, will they obey him?

I still believe that the road to restoration of law goes through Yanukovich, no matter what we think about him. As well as it seems to me unfair on one hand to announce that he is politically done and on the other read a letter from him. It is not over until it is over.

And also, everyone is so focused on the pissing contest of the mighty titans, that little attention is paid to the struggles of the simple people.

@69
Pretty soon there will be no one left in Lithuania, they are losing people and not only Poles and Russians who leave this intolerant and destitute land, but also their own fellow tribesmen. The number of Lithuanians in Lithuania are down ~13% in 10 years. If it is such a good place to live, how come every one runs away from it? That's what austerity and neoliberalism do to you.

Posted by: CC | Mar 11 2014 10:47 utc | 71

@fairleft

There is no such a thing as a Ukrainian. The people living on the two sides of the Ukrainian East boarder are ethnically more similar than those living it the East and West of Ukraine.

A big cause of the present predicament is a failure to recognize that the East and West of Ukraine are totally different ethnic groups. Had Stalin created a new republic in the West of Ukraine, we would not have had the current predicament. If the Rusyns don't like to be called Rusyns, fine, they can call themselves Ukrainians. But the people in the East must embrace and recognize their identity and origins as separate from those in the West.

Posted by: CC | Mar 11 2014 10:54 utc | 72

The unemployment rate in Lithuania among young men 18-25 is 24% and trending up, send them to Ukraine and the unemployment problem solved.

Posted by: CC | Mar 11 2014 10:58 utc | 73

fairleft (70)

Well, the U.S. with minimum losses could launch a massive cruise missile attack on Russia's lumbering tanks and other ground forces.

Now you made me really afraid and my pants are wet.

Pardon my clear words, but you obviously don't know what you're talking about and simply believe in captain america comics.

The zusa cruise missiles are inferior in pretty every relevant parameter (incl. range and payload) to Russian cruise missiles. To make things worse, Russia has excellent air-defense systems while zusa's analogs are actually more like blind-folded gambling devices.
Remember Syria? The 2 cruise missiles fired against Syria? The ones Russia comfortably sent to the ground of the ocean.

And, so it seems, you forgot what sending cruise missiles toward Russian troups means. Let me help you out. It means beginning a war. It means that Russia were free to sink every zusa carrier, to bomb every zusa base closer than 2.500-3.000 km to Russia or Russian ships (which are many), and to generally kill any zamerican on this globe.

Bright idea. Indeed. And very zamerican.


Ceterum censeo israel americanamque vehementer delenda esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 10:58 utc | 74

CC

Yes. yanukovich might be an asshole but he happens to be the asshole the ukrainians elected as their president.
Repairing - with Russias support - the worst damages done by the zusa/zeu sent and sponsored terrorists and and restoring something like a working state until there are new elections (prob. in may) might also restore some of his honour and create a comfortable exit for him (because I don't think he'll have anything like a politial career anymore).

As for the baltic states I don't care. They are oh so proud zeu members and such zeus problem.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 11:04 utc | 75

@CC | 71
The number of Lithuanians in Lithuania are down ~13% in 10 years.

I'm from Lithuania, and I can say that since independence (1990) more than 30% of Lithuanians emigrated. Its insane, entire cities look like ghost towns. This trend isnt slowing down - now kids leave the country as soon as they finish high-school (or even before that).

Posted by: Harry | Mar 11 2014 11:35 utc | 76

CC at 72: What you think is not relevant, it's what "Ukrainians" think, and they think that they're Ukrainian. The percentage of those who self -identified in the last census (2001) as Ukrainian in the south and east of Ukraine ranges from 58 to 82%. Go to Demographics of Ukraine in Wikipedia.

Pragma at 74: I don't think you know what you're talking about.

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 11 2014 11:37 utc | 77

h/t vbo : surprise …
Even The Guardian published an excellent article: Ukraine and the west: hot air and hypocrisy

Not one of their own reporters, but Marina Lewycka, an author and lecturer.

Posted by: Oui | Mar 11 2014 11:39 utc | 78

Ukraine: oligarchs in power 11 March 2014 – 12:36pm By Vestnik Kavkaza

Last weekend, the leader of UDAR Party Vitaly Klichko met businessman Rinat Ahmetov and other entrepreneurs of Donbas in Donetsk. Earlier, representatives of big business Igor Kolomoisky and Sergei Taruta were appointed governors of the Dnepropetrovsk and the Donetsk Regions, respectively. According to Klichko, the appointment of oligarchs is connected with the fact that they are experienced in management of big teams and are good crisis managers.

However, … the founder of the Russian Block Party, Alexander Svistunov, sees another overtone. “I traveled about the Dnepropetrovsk Region, Donetsk, and it is drenched in blood. There is war. Nobody has ever supported Yanukovich and his gang. But those who replaced them in Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk are the same people.

… Unemployment is everywhere, despite such a savior as Kolomoisky who hasn’t opened any plant or factory and won’t do it in the near future. The very maximum he will do is open another office of “Privat Bank” which will rob people.”

Characterizing Kolomoisky, Svistunov stated: “He is the chairman of the Privat Bank of Ukraine Board, one of major oligarchs, multibillionaire who has been living in Geneva until recently.”

As for Sergei Taruta, according to Svistunov, he is “a banker and co-chairman of the Union of Donbas which is headed by Mr. Ahmetov, a famous bandit, a multibillionaire. He also does the same thing – takes away and privatize everything which stands there – mines and plants. If you travel about Donbas and ask – who owns the land? Ahmetov does! Who owns the plant? Ahmetov does! Who owns the mine? Ahmetiv does!

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 11 2014 11:46 utc | 79

fairleft

Feel free to think whatever you please. Unlike you, however, I can and usually do support my pov. by arguments, facts, and information.

cruise missiles are factual, physical devices and so one can compare relevant parameters and properties. You saying that someone who just showed that you're incompetent (re. cruise missiles) is not knowing what he's talking about is just extending the - well-based - negative impression you made to the human level, too.

Basically - and funnily! - your strategy is just the one currently used by zusa. It's failing is amply demonstrated by massive Russian military movements toward ukraine.

Sometimes, so the saying goes, pain makes people learn sth. So, I'll help you in that sense by telling you: Russia also has supersonic cruise missiles; zusa doesn't. And Russia subsonic cruise missiles have a highly supersonic (> Mach 2,5) end stage while zusas crouches the whole distance.

Do yourself a favour and consult some information sources before making captain america noises again.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 11:54 utc | 80

Pragma: I'm not much interested in cruise missiles and a comparison of US/Russian capacities in that respect, because I think what's relevant now is what Putin will likely do, as my comment indicated.

But if you have the time and interest, enlighten all with your excellent links, so we can learn what you have learned about how the Russian cruise missiles are better than the US ones, and their anti-cruise-missile defense systems in and near Ukraine are excellent, and so on.

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 11 2014 12:05 utc | 81

@77
My view is deeply rooted in the Ukrainian history and culture. Different aspects of culture and history are played up or suppressed. In that census of 2001, what choices were the so-called Ukrainians given? Were they just "Russian" or "Ukrainian", and surely between the two, Ukrainian would be the right choice. But give them a more expended selection that truly represents who they are and you would be surprised.

But even if you want to call the Easterners Ukrainians, what happened after the Khmelnitzkiy uprising?--- they signed an agreement with Moscovia/Russia. What happened during the Swedish invasion/Mazepa treason? --- the Easterners fought in majority on the side of Russia. In both those episodes, the Westerners did not participate because they were oppressed peasants (i.e., slaves) at the time. After the communists (what an irony) freed them, now they are telling the East that those decisions made by the free Easterners were wrong. Mazepa is now the hero, while the great majority of the Cossacks who fought on the side of Russians were treasonous. I would bet, leave it to the West, even Khmelnitzkiy would be viewed as a traitor in due course. Even after the Russian Czar began absorbing the lands of the East, did the Easterners rebel against the Czar -- no, they got busy demanding a special status of freeman for Dniepr Cossacks.

The Easterners had choices among the Polish Catholic West, Muslin Turkish East and Orthodox Russian North, and for better or worst they chose North repeatedly, maybe because they were also Orthodox.

I have thought of ways to integrate the history of the West and East Ukraine, and there is not a way to do it without declaring the whole history of the East from 1648 on one big mistake and almost every leader in the East since then a traitor. It is simply easier and more logical to just separate the two histories apart. The West does not have the right to claim the East history as their own and much less right to judge that history, as they have repeatedly done through their representatives...

Posted by: CC | Mar 11 2014 12:13 utc | 82

fairleft

If you are not interested in cruise missiles that's fine - unless you spatter about a massive cruise missile attack.
It's also OK to not be interested in military aspects. But then one should refrain from judgmental or prognostic statements in a situation that has a high military conflict potential.

The current (still limited to) ukraine situation, that shouldn't been forgotten, started with strategical and tactical errors and with violence. Furthermore the events soon had an increasingly large military component (navy blockade, militias, mercenaries, etc.) and right now one party, Russia, has and still does employ military potential to strongly (actually almost exlusively) shape the situation on the ground.

So anyone wishing to interpret or to analyse or to offer prognosis will by necessity have to know a thing or two about military aspects to come to sound conclusions and to have any weight.

Links to information? nuland yourself! If you are even not able or willing to find relevant information (relevant, after all, for *your* statements) you should have shown more modesty in the first place (to put it very diplomatically).
But I commend the very high level of smartness (for you, that is) to try the "trick" asking for it.

Like I said. americans are for target practice.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 12:27 utc | 83

Is "fairleft" yet another of cass sunstein's efforts?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Mar 11 2014 12:30 utc | 84

@21 Bevin
< Or does anyone seriously regard these adventures as proof of US cunning and relentlessness? >>

Cunning, no. Relentlessness, yes. I've tried many times to convince my cat that she should not kill birds, or at least not nuthatches. She won't listen. But out of that relentlessness comes a focus that is very close to being cunning.

Posted by: Snake Arbusto | Mar 11 2014 12:51 utc | 85

J Sorrentine @ 31 "The US is relentless in its destruction and it is relentless because it NEVER SEEMS TO PAY A PRICE"

Well, a price was paid on 9/11/01, no? The catch is that the US population is relentless in its belief in its own exceptionalism and fundamental goodness. Even people who would never say "They hate us because we're free." Even people who know damn well we do evil. Somewhere in the back of their minds they're sure that the Bad Guys are even worse than we are. And so we never learn the lesson.

Posted by: Snake Arbusto | Mar 11 2014 13:04 utc | 86

Well, a price was paid on 9/11/01, no?

RFLMFAO

eh, no

somebody may have paid a price for something that day, but it sure was not a price of retribution for US Gov't murderous actions.

Posted by: brb | Mar 11 2014 13:09 utc | 87

Snake Arbusto

Not wanting to bring up 9/11, honestly, but sorry, it feels really strange to read that. Whoever did 9/11 and for whatever reason, one thing is clear: that wasn't zusa paying the price and that wasn't OBL or some jihadists.

And no,there are no bad guy more evil than zusa - simply because zusa *is* the evil guys, evil as evil can get.

I think JSorrentine got it about right. zusa never payed a price. And, I'd like to add, that also contributed to zusa thinking (applying that term very generously) not only won't they be punished but also they actually are as great, almighty, and invincible as they wet-dream to be.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 13:16 utc | 88

If you thought that the rapprochement between the US and Iran pushed by the Obama administration had been only about the peace in the ME you need to read this:
Iranian team to collaborate with US company on nuclear fusion project

The goal is to break the energy monopoly of the global criminal fascist cabal (BP-Amoco, ExxonMobil, Royal-Dutch-Shell, Conoco-Phillips and their controllers from international banks and financial institutions) that have kept the humanity in its stronghold for decades.

Sustainable nuclear fusion breakthrough raises hopes for ultimate green energy

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 11 2014 13:25 utc | 89

@fairleft.

Mr. Pragma is pretty much on the money when it comes to Russian cruise missile technology superiority. Russian military tech is, judging from publicly available sources, also superior in air defense systems, torpedoes and has much more modern nuclear weapons.

The US has, on the other hand, a technological edge in shipbuilding, submarines, communications, situational awareness and systems integration. It is also light years ahead in drone technology. A decisive advantage for the US are their allies, the numerical edge in military equipment, training hours and veterans with combat experience.

What that means is that the US would highly likely win against Russia in a non-nuclear conflict, if that conflict occurs somewhere outside the Russian borders. Even a non-nuclear conflict with Russia would break the military might of the US forever, though.

However, that point is moot because everybody interested in military and geopolitical affairs and their dog knows that, so the Russians would go nuclear pretty quickly. That would very likely mean the end of all of us.

Nevertheless, Mr. Pragma makes a very pertinent point. There is very little the US would or could do militarily against Russia, except if it feels its own security vitally threatened. The same goes for Russia, by the way. That's why they would never attack Poland, a member of NATO. The likelihood that the US might feel vitally threatened is simply too high.

Posted by: HnH | Mar 11 2014 13:37 utc | 90

brian 69 So what? The weak and morally corrupt who were deceived by the GLADIO operatives to join the ranks of the terrorists (like in Syria) will be eliminated by the Russians and their Ukrainian allies with minimal collateral damage (close to zero most probably). It's a human natural selection process taking place before our own eyes live. Thus those no longer undisclosed criminals (after having been indoctrinated by the NATO agents) will not be a potential threat to the Lithuanian society any more. It's a cleaning operation. Not much to worry.

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 11 2014 13:39 utc | 91

U.S. Media Non-Coverage of the Urmas Paet – Catherine Ashton Sniper Revelation (Update)

By David Peterson

March 10, 2014
[ A+ ] / [ A- ]

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Posted in: Uncategorized | No comments
I just ran a search of the NewsBank database for what the database purports to be 3,253 U.S.-based media sources for the period March 3 – 10, 2014.

My search parameters were: sniper* and (Ashton or Paet or Estonia*).

Obviously, I’m interested in learning which U.S.-based media (though I’m sure that blogs and alternative radio programs and the like are underrepresented in the sample) have mentioned the story that came out on March 5 about a YouTube audio of the leaked recorded phone conversation between EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and the Estonia minister of foreign affairs Urmas Paet in which Paet told Ashton: “There is now a stronger and stronger understanding (in Kiev) that behind the snipers, it was not [ousted president Viktor] Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” [1]

For the results of this NewsBank search, see the Appendix, below.

NewsBank was able to find a total of 16 items in the U.S.-based media that mentioned this revelation—one of which happened to be the Targeted News Service’s transcript of the U.S. Department of State press briefing on March 5 in which a reporter from Estonia asked spokesperson Jen Psaki if the U.S. government has “any reason to believe that the people who were doing the shooting in Kyiv were not doing so under the orders of the president and, in fact, were doing so under orders of people affiliated, at least, with the opposition?” And Psaki replied: “[T]hat’s not a discussion that I’m aware of internally here being had.” [2]

Conspicuous by their silence are of course the establishment staples such as the New York Times and Washington Post, the network news channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, and over cable, Fox News, CNN (the one CNN item listed below derives from the website), MSNBC, and Bloomberg), and a litany of others. A stunning example not only of non-coverage of an important revelation (the truth of which requires verification, of course). But of suppression of an important revelation, plain and simple.

The corporate-controlled information system of the United States does a magnificent job of creating the illusion that we are awash with news about the world. [3] No wonder Liz Wahl fled from her job as a presenter over the RT-USA cable TV channel on March 5, justifying her resignation on grounds that she’s “proud to be an American” and doesn’t like the nasty things that RT-USA reports about her favorite regime. [4]

http://zcomm.org/zblogs/u-s-media-non-coverage-of-the-urmas-paet-catherine-ashton-sniper-revelation-update/

Posted by: brian | Mar 11 2014 14:10 utc | 92

This article by Bhadrakumar in AToL is sensational:
He argues that Russian Intelligence has a complete dossier documenting US moves in Ukraine which involved trained saboteurs/provocateurs working for the Lithuanian and Polish governments.
http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2014/03/09/ukraines-shadow-on-central-asian-steppes/

Posted by: bevin | Mar 11 2014 14:11 utc | 93

@91..

so what? so there may be a wave of righteous eurotrash crusaders off to 'save' ukraine

Posted by: brian | Mar 11 2014 14:11 utc | 94

So the skin-heads (Russians??) are marking the houses of the Crimean Tatars with baseball bats.
Will the Muslim Tatars face a new pogrom,like 70 yrs ago under Joe Stalin?

The Crimean Tatars are refuing to participate in the referendum on Sunday>

Posted by: Yul | Mar 11 2014 14:20 utc | 95

HnH (90)

Russian military tech is, judging from publicly available sources, also superior in air defense systems, torpedoes and has much more modern nuclear weapons.

You forgot all kinds of jet airplanes, judging based on what's actually available and usable today. Which is funny because zusas mil. strategy is very much based on air superiority.

Also, one can say with very high confidence that Russia generally has *way* better missiles, no matter the category.

The US has, on the other hand, a technological edge in shipbuilding, submarines, communications, situational awareness and systems integration.

shipbuilding maybe; that's an area that is hard to judge, in part because the doctrines are very different. zusas navy is centered around the idea of global dominance while Russias is largely centered around zusa ships.
As for submarines, no. In that regard the two are about on par in the best case (for zusa).
For the last part that is, communications, situational awareness and systems integration, you are quite right (although Russia is working hard in that area). I say "quite" (and not "completely") because Russia *does* have some quite advanced capabilities in those fields, too.
Actually I see this two-sided. On the one hand, yes, Russia is less advanced in those fields due,also to, to be perfectly honest, Russia certainly suffering from having basically no modern processor technology. Actually I consider this one of Russias major weak spots, although for the moment the close partnership with China eases that somewhat.
On the other hand I'm not sure that the level zusa has reached in those fields are only advantagous. Killing some (relatively few) satellites basically would halt zusa machinery. I hope that Russia on one hand shortens the distance to zusa but also finds a better compromise that zusa did.

What that means is that the US would highly likely win against Russia in a non-nuclear conflict, if that conflict occurs somewhere outside the Russian borders.

There I strongly object. For one, such a statement needs way more differentiation. If "outside" Russia means, to use a realistic example, Venezuela you are almost certainly right. If it means Africa the chances are shifted but I tend to agree with you. If it means the near and mid abroad (up to 3.000 km from Russias border and somewhat depending on the location) you are almost certainly wrong.
You also must not ignore the fact, that a war with Russia would incur a very high risk of having China as an opponent too. A risk that would certainly very strongly contribute to zusa being broken.

However, that point is moot because everybody interested in military and geopolitical affairs and their dog knows that, so the Russians would go nuclear pretty quickly. That would very likely mean the end of all of us.

Here I strongly disagree. Because Russia is a very civilized country and values human life highly. And this is not theory; there have been situation where (albeit Sovjet-)Russia gave in and even accepted some shame (and zusa ridicule) so as to avoid a nuclear war.
And I object again concerning "end of all of us". Russias nuclear cap. is considerably higher than zusas. It's delivery vehicles are way more advanced and so is it's chance of delivery and reaching target. At the same time Russia has excellent air defense capabilities that would be used against aged and comparatively primitive zusa delivery vehicles. In summary a nuclear war would *completely and utterly* annihilate zusa while leaving at least major parts of (double the size) Russia habitable.
That is moot you are right in that, but for other reasons, the major ones being that zusa won't dare to cross the nuclear border and that Russia would probably even rather take some nun-nuclear hits unpunished than going nuclear and annihilating zusa.

Nevertheless, Mr. Pragma makes a very pertinent point. There is very little the US would or could do militarily against Russia, except if it feels its own security vitally threatened. The same goes for Russia, by the way. That's why they would never attack Poland, a member of NATO.

And again I object. For one zusa has no reason whatsoever to feel threatened by Russia. Russia hasn't done so much as one single thing that might give reason to feel threated for zusa.
Secondly, Russia wouldn't attack poland because poland is military like in every other regard completely insignificant. Also it wouldn't attack poland because Russia generally does not attack any country unless its vital national interests are threatened and serious warnings are ignored.
The reason you mentioned, however, would be among the few reasons to attack poland, if only to see - or, more precisely to demonstrate - what then happens; nothing but some squeaking. Whatever Russian leaders may say for reasons of diplomatic calcule or politeness - they don't care batshit about zato.

To provide another hint: zusa just declared that the military exercises with Bulgaria and Romania (and one(!) zusa destroyer) are postponed *due to bad weather(!!!!)*

I said it before and I'll repeat it: zusas current game is "Dear president Putin, we just *must* at least say some threatening angry things and look a little dangerous but please, pretty please, do not take this in any way whatsoever as a sign of even the slightest intention to threaten Russia, Sir, thank you Sir".

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 14:21 utc | 96

I do not think the US could defeat Russia in a purely conventional war in the Black Sea and Ukraine. Even assuming the hype of US technological superiority is true, Russia can deliver far more air power to the region than can the US. Russia is not invading Mexico, mind you, it is the US that is moving right next to Russia. The number of US ground troops in Europe are rather small. And by the time they got to Ukraine, it would have been lost anyway. I suspect accurate conventional missiles could make Turkish and Polish airbases unusable. Assuming they were dumb enough to get involved, which is doubtful. It would be hard to pass an entire carrier battle group through the Bosporus straights while under missile fire, which is just as well because they would be in a poor position in the Black Sea.

At the same time, NATO would have to kiss its Afghanistan troops goodby.

Posted by: Lysander | Mar 11 2014 14:32 utc | 97

Bhadrakumar has an excellent piece in his blog at Asia Times Online, today:
"Russia is increasingly left with no choice but to "declassify" the privileged information in its possession regarding the Western intelligence operation that forced the power grab in Kiev. It is extraordinary that Russia handed over to the UN Security Council the information with the request to hold an impartial international investigation..."

According to the story, (I posted the link but it seems trapped), Polish and Lithuanian agents were specially trained to ensure that the coup developed the way that it did. I suspect that the mysterious snipers were among these foreign agents.

He also links these events with Central Asia and terrorist attacks in Turkmenistan which he sees as US "messages" to the government, suggesting that they might want to buy some protection from NATO to ensure that such things don't happen again.

This is gangsterism of the lowest kind, politics borrowed from The Godfather.

So low in fact that the Russians seem to have had difficulty in believing the evidence of their own eyes. The article reminds us that Putin greatly facilitated the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.
I don't doubt that, like Medvedev refusing to supply Iran with AA systems and the dilatoriness of Russia's work on the nuclear power station there, and like the failure to use a veto against the bombing of Libya, Putin probably expected gratitude and friendship for these acts of treachery. Instead he got their contempt: they saw his gestures not as good will but as weakness.

That is why the US is attacking through Ukraine: it wasn't that they didn't understand Russia's view of its importance, but that they did.

Having worked out that they could do anything they wanted with Russia the US attacked in the most vulnerable place, vulnerable not only strategically but psychologically. What Kossovo was to Serbs Kiev was to Russians, only more so.

Perhaps this will awaken Putin and Russians generally to the fact that, as is patently obvious from everything they do-from calling him Hitler to wrecking the Olympics- the US is not their friend. Nor is it going to be. It wants not alliance with Russia but full control of and access to all Russia's resources. And it will not rest until it has both.

This is no reason for despair. There are plenty of other countries in the same boat. Building an alliance of countries determined on independence and self development and ready to resist the US assault on them should not be difficult, even though opportunity after opportunity has been missed in the past thirty years.

Putin ought to visit Havana and have a long talk with Fidel. Above all he needs to re-evaluate, as do most Russian "intellectuals" the extraordinary achievements of the Soviet Union in preserving Russia, sustaining the non-aligned movement and preventing the USA, at the peak of its powers, from imposing its dominance over the global community.

And these achievements came despite the fact that, from about 1928 onwards, the Soviet government was on a course towards its eventual self destruction. Which is to say that the momentum built up by the extraordinary release of national energies during the Russian Revolution was sufficient to keep imperialism at bay until very recently.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 11 2014 14:50 utc | 98

bevin

I think that this characterizes Putin and medvedev as some kind of good hearted but stupid people.

I think the real reasons are different.

For one, Russia had and has the means to intervene anyway. Let's take Iran for example. If zusa really had dared to attack Iran (who btw. knew and said since years that zusa isn't to be taken as a serious military power) Russia could almost immediately have reacted by helping iran in diverse ways.

Secondly, it's the general problem of evil. Saying "well evil is to be used against evil because nice words won't do" one enters a spiral and soon is not that much different from the evil opponent.
It is my understanding that Putin is dead serious about his concept of a multipolar world where countries stick to legal behaviour and generally try to be more constructive than war minded. He has now stuck to that for quite some years and with sucess one might add.
Last but not least what better or stronger proof could be offered for the correctness of his approach than a growing Russia and a declining zusa?

Just look at ukraine. zusa and its minions and puppets have acted illegaly once more and criminally brought a government down. But they didn't succeed. Russia and those she supports hold all the trumps while the criminals widely fail, their orders have no power, and their masters are demasked.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 11 2014 15:21 utc | 99

@Mr. Pragma

I deliberately left out fighters, planes and such because Russia and the US have very different doctrines, making the various planes very difficult to compare 1on1. The US has very much a global domination orientation, whereas Russia is much more focused on territorial defense.

This difference also explains why you vastly overestimate Russia's ability to project force outside their borders. There is no chance that Russia could mount up meaningful military forces, say, a 500 mile radius outside of their borders. The US has a vastly superior supply and logistics network and can transport tanks, planes and troops in much higher quantities and in much shorter time anywhere on the globe than Russia. The US also has bases just about anywhere. Russia has, I believe, the Crimean port, a base in a Stan and Tartus. That's it.

I also do think that you are also overestimating the extent of alliance going on between Russia and China. The cooperation between them is more forced on them by context than anything else. China would gain much more by simply letting Russia and the US/NATO slug it out by themselves. They will not go anywhere near that conflict if China is not being attacked or otherwise forced to defend a crucially vital national interest. The same goes for Russia as well. If China and the US/Japan/Taiwan get into a conflict, Russia will stay out of it by any means it can.

In addition, current submarines by the US are, based on publicly available sources, quieter and faster. We will have to see what the Yasen class and other soon to be introduced Russian additions will bring to the table. Moreover, the US has a significant lead in terms of sheer numbers, and a high percentage is of much more recent build. So yes, excluding some classified information available to you that would alter that equation fundamentally, I'd say that the US has the advantage here.

Your point of Russia being much more civilized than the US on the use of nuclear weapons is refuted by Russian military doctrine itself, which recently reserved its right for a preemptive nuclear strike. So no, the chances for a non-nuclear war between these opponents are very low.

Russia has indeed much more sophisticated air defenses, but ICBMs are extremely difficult to defend against. At the end of the 80s disclosed Soviet military reports estimated that the S-300 could, at best, hope to catch one or two incoming US ICBMs. That equation will not have changed significantly with the S-400. There is no defense against a massed ICBM onslaught with mirv warheads.

It is never good to underestimate the capabilities of the opponent, and the US just woke up to the fact that they had underestimated Russia. The US can't bully Russia, not anymore at least, but Russia equally cannot challenge the US, sometimes not even in countries that are Russia's neighbors (Latvia, Lithuania and other NATO members).

Ukraine, Belorussia and the Stans obviously do not fall into that category.

@Lysander

I agree with your assessment on the US ability to intervene in the Ukraine, but military might is not just the air force, and air bases are surprisingly hard to destroy permanently. I have read the assessments by military personnel that an airbase attacked by cruise missiles could be made functional again in under 90 minutes.

Also, Turkey has a very strong navy that is much more potent than the current Russian Black Sea Fleet that they are busy modernizing as fast as possible. Turkey is no friend of Russia and they also control the Bosporus. Without their assent, Russia will not be able to enter and exit the Black Sea. During a military confrontation
between the US and Russia, Turkey will certainly not agree.

Posted by: HnH | Mar 11 2014 15:45 utc | 100

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