Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 09, 2014

Ukraine: No Obama, It Is Not A Personal Issue

The United States and its appendixes seems to believe that the "isolation" of Russia with regards to Crimea is:

  1. feasible and
  2. can get Russia to withdraw from Crimea.

Both believes are obviously wrong.

It may be possible to somewhat "isolate" Iran or North Korea. But Russia is a veto wielding member of the UN Security Council and has lots of strategic nuclear weapon capabilities. The two biggest countries of the world, China as well as India, have already taken Russia's side. Economic pressure on Russia would hurt Europe and others more than it would hurt Russia.

Obama seems to see this as a personal conflict with Putin. Only an extraordinary narcissist could have such idea. It is not "Putin" who is taking back Crimea, it is Russia. No Russian president could have acted different without losing legitimacy in the eyes of his people. The White House thinking, as explained in this weeks Swoop, is therefore simply crazy:

[T]he perception is rising in the White House that, rightly or wrongly, the crisis has become a personal contest which can only be settled between Obama and President Putin. NSC officials tell us that this is both an advantage in that it lends weight to the exchanges between the two men and a drawback in that it involves Obama more intensively in the management of the crisis than he would otherwise wish.
As an NSC official commented to us: “Against all the odds, Obama continues to believe that he can do a deal with Putin. His telephone exchanges lead him to conclude that Putin is intent on building a position of strength from which he will then negotiate.” From talking to other high-level contacts in Washington, our sense is that Obama’s conviction that a deal is doable is not widely shared. Even in the State Department there are senior officials who are much less optimistic that Putin is interested in negotiating. The Pentagon is also skeptical ...

Obama is very wrong in this.

Yes, Russia would make a deal. It has offered it several times but it seems that no one is listening. Russia wants a return to the paper signed on February 21 by Yanukovich, opposition leaders and three EU foreign ministers. That paper sets out a national unity government and a continued presidency for Yanukovich until new presidential elections this fall. Go back to that paper and Crimea may be allowed to stay as an autonomous federal entity within the Ukraine. Without any fulfillment of the Feb 21 deal the Crimea will soon be part of the Russian Federation.

Unfortunately no one has taken up Russia's offer and Obama, by threatening Russia, has already taken away his own ability to go back to that deal. The Republicans and Democratic Russiaphobes would eat him alive if he would try that now. Instead clumsy efforts are made to put "pressure" on Russia. The Kremlin will just laugh off sanctions and such. Take THIS deal or the Crimea is gone. If you can't take THIS deal, well, then the Crimea is gone.

According to this (translated from Kommersant) Putin himself had a hand in making the Feb 21 deal:

A Russian diplomatic source confirmed the statement by Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski that it was Vladimir Putin who, during a telephone conversation on February the 21st, convinced Yanukovich to make concessions to the opposition. According to this source, Vladimir Putin urged Yanukovich to abandon plans for a state of emergency and begin negotiations with the opposition to stop the bloodshed.

According to the source, President Barrack Obama and the leaders of Germany, France and Poland, requested Putin to influence Yanukovich on this matter. In return, these countries promised the Kremlin that they would ensure that the Ukrainian opposition would hold up their end of the agreement of February the 21st, which included the creation of a government of `National Unity`, constitutional reforms, early elections and surrendering the illegally acquired weapons. `Yanukovich completely fulfilled his side of the agreement but the opposition did not comply with anything`, the source said. `Now the EU and US wants us to behave like there was no agreement in the first place and `look ahead` but we will not do this.

If this is correct, and I believe it is, then the blowing up of the February 21 deal and the recognition of the coup government by the United States and the EU is another case of showing Putin and thereby Russia the dirty finger. But Russia is back. It will no longer accept such insults.

It is completely wrong by Obama to personalize the conflict. This is not about Putin or Obama at all. It is not a pissing contest and not about dick lengths. Ukraine is very near to Russia's national interest and very far away from the United States. Obama should accept that and let Russia, for once, have its interests acknowledged. Instead he is taking another step on the escalation ladder where each step up makes it much more difficult to come down again to sane grounds.

Posted by b on March 9, 2014 at 17:19 UTC | Permalink

next page »

the feb 21st agreement is what russia would like to see honoured.. i don't think the usa or europe want to honour it..

on another note annie applepants has another article in the telegraph today.. one trick pony..

Posted by: james | Mar 9 2014 17:31 utc | 1

to stay in tact with the spirit of the dick lengths one can add the malevolent accusations of republican websites that accuse Zobama of homosexuality with his obsession of leading from behind.Prey why a man who has courage ,moral and a principled stance on international law would like to hide behind terrorist as in wahabis and nazis- coming -out -of- the- closet?

Posted by: Nobody | Mar 9 2014 17:44 utc | 2

Who will threatened sanctions hit most?

US-EU-Russia trade in numbers

In terms of billions of dollars, trade is higher between Russia and the EU, but the US remains Europe’s biggest export market.

Net trade between Russia and the US was $38.1 billion in 2013, according to US Chamber of Commerce data. The US exported $11.26 billion to Russia, and imported $26.96 billion worth of goods. . . . .

. . . Russia exports more than $19 billion of oil and petroleum products to the United States, as well as $1 billion in fertilizer products, according to Chamber of Commerce data.

Russia is very dependent on trade with the EU, as member states account for about 50 percent of total Russian imports and exports. In 2012, trade between the two neighbors reached €123 billion. . . .

. . . . Last year, Russia was a $11.2 billion market for the US, with heavy trade in automobiles and aircrafts, according to Commerce Department data.

US automakers have a high exposure to Russian markets, so are closely watching US economic actions against Russia. Ford has sold over 1 million automobiles in Russia, and in 2013, sold 105,000 cars. GM, which has a 9 percent market share, sold 258,000. Both companies have shifted production plants from Europe to Russia, which is set to become Europe’s biggest car market by 2016.

ExxonMobil has partnered with Rosneft in exploring the Bazhenov oil field in Western Siberia, a deal that could be worth up to $500 billion. ExxonMobil is planning to build a $15 billion LNG terminal project in the Bazhenov field, and also has joint venture projects set up to explore Black Sea reserves.

Posted by: brb | Mar 9 2014 17:55 utc | 3

Obama's negotiating problem is not the Republicans -- he is not running for office and couldn't care less at this point. His problem is that his word is no good. He has to give up something important, costly, and irreversible to get Putin to believe anything he puts on the table. This is going to be impossible for him to achieve, as it would involve a huge loss of face. But that is cost of not holding to one's promises. I am sure Obama does not want to go to war, and no doubt Putin will leave him a lot of escape routes, but he is effectively going to have to sacrifice his Presidency for his monumental stupidity and pusillanimity. If he backs down, as he must, the Republicans will move to impeach him.

Posted by: Knut | Mar 9 2014 17:59 utc | 4

Again, I think this "personalization" narrative is as misguided as the "stupid intelligence agency" narrative as they are both just that: after-the-fact narratives designed to mitigate the criminality of the Americans and muddy the waters so that people don't talk about reality/facts on the ground truthfully.

Let it be about dick contests, let it be about stupid intel but let's not talk about or dig any deeper into the fomenting of a neo-Nazi coup anymore, okay, guys? Every day that issue is not winning the 24 hour news cycle is another day of breathing easy for American war criminals.

The apartheid genocidal state of Israel and their traitorous minions in the US do this all the time. Instead of talking about the brutal ongoing apartheid/genocide against the Palestinians we're regaled with stories about nonsense issues like the need for the recognition of a "Jewish state", the personalities of the Israeli leaders and other such fluff just so that there's no chance that the peons will accidentally stumble upon a true recognition of what's been going on their for decades.

Putin obviously is not an idiot and understands this especially after the shitload of bogus US narratives created over Syria that he had to deal with on a seemingly daily basis. Facts on the ground matter and he's not going to go anywhere vis a vis Crimea.

The only thing really debatable is whether the American war criminal's continued reliance on and belief in their ability to "create their own reality" is f*cking stupid or f*cking insane.

I'm sure if we were privy to the background, we'd find some whiz kid at the Rand Corporation or some such outfit originally cooked up the idea of "creating your own" reality as a way to circumvent the confines of the game theory scenarios of the Cold War.

Prisoner's Dilemma? What if we just pretend that there is NO PRISON!!!!!

Fooking brilliant, man!!!

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 9 2014 18:07 utc | 5

"Obama seems to see this as a personal conflict with Putin. Only an extraordinary narcissist could have such idea."

And Geogre W. Bush as well - "The man who tried to kill my daddy" and all that.

This is the problem with the government system in the United States that has devolved into something resembling a dual monarchy. These bitter personal battles - which have no relationship at all to the interests of "The People" begin to take on lives of their own. And then the next thing you see is a multi-trillion dollar war being fought, leaving millions dead and two countries divided and bankrupt over issues which bear no relation to anything that could be defined as the national interest.

Obama resembles nothing so much as a third-grade teacher intent on punishing all of Russia and all of the Ukraine for Putin's "attitude" while Putin seems, clearly, to be a President trying to prevent the dimwitted pathologies of a man 10,000 miles away from hurting his country and his people.

Like the joke goes about the IRS: "they'll spend a million dollars trying to get back a penny". And so, it seems, Obama will risk the US economy and US relationships with the developing (and developed) world, all to push Putin's buttons. But that is the problem with these unaccountable lunatics - we in the US have few ways of preventing our so-called leaders from wasting our blood and treasure on such useless and corrupt personal escapades.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 18:09 utc | 6

I think your analysis is on the mark, b. The Obama administration is pinning its hope of bringing Russia to heel with economic sanctions. That was made clear in a piece yesterday in the NYT written by James Stewart.

Built out of quotes from Clinton's Cold Warrior and Russia guru Strobe Talbott, Stewart argues that a capitalist Russia is far too dependent, now that economic growth is slowing, on the $460 billion in trade with Europe, and Putin will blink any moment once the oligarchs he surrounds himself with begin to rein him in.

I think Stewart is confused. I think he is actually looking in a mirror at the West. Europe's growth has been slower than Russia's. Europe would not be able to absorb a lengthy disruption or price spike in its energy supply, no matter how much talk there is about shale gas and LNG. Economic sanctions are a "pipedream." Merkel needs to wake up Obama in a hurry.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 9 2014 18:12 utc | 7

Nice post, b.

Posted by: MRW | Mar 9 2014 18:20 utc | 8

And Obama's obsession leaks right down into his involvement in Venezuela. He seems intent, at this point, in outdoing George W. Bush for toppling governments and executing his enemies and molding the world to America's image.

Is this because he was seen as the man who could mend all these fences that he now has to prove that he can be just as vicious? There is certainly some psychology to point at here, unless we take that he is simply powerless (which I think would be going too far). He has certainly betrayed everyone who voted for him and all those he claimed his presidency would be about helping and protecting. A true wolf in sheep's clothing if there ever was one.

Never mind that the Maduro government won municipal elections by a wide margin through an electoral process that former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has described as among the fairest and most open in the world. Never mind that the right-led Venezuelan opposition has undertaken a large number of violent and criminal actions that no functioning democratic government could ignore. Or that the “democratic opposition’s” leaders, including Caprilles and the extreme rightist Leopoldo Lopez (a U.S.-educated plutocrat from “one of the historically richest families in Venezuela”) have a long history of profoundly anti-democratic activity, including participation in a short-lived and U.S.-support business and military coup against Chavez in April of 2002. Despite all this and more, “the Obama government continues to fund this opposition even more openly than did the Bush regime.”

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 18:22 utc | 9

Not sure Putin would accept the deal of Feb 21 at this point. He's position is way stronger than it was 2 weeks ago, Ukraine is going to go broke and the current government wont last unless the EU wants to throw money away indefinitely, which would be fine by Russia.

JSorrintine is correct about other narratives diverting attention away from the NATO backed neo-nazi coup. However, the longer this remains in the media attention, the more chance the nature of NATO subversion becomes apparent. Not to M of A readers who already know, but to the general public. It took a long time for the nature of the Wahabi terrorists attacking Syria to become clear. If the government had collapsed in late 2011 or early 2012, few would have known. But the government survived, and now it is quite well known. Same in Ukraine. The west has a huge incentive to solve this quickly, because their dirty tricks become clearer by the day.

The Ashton-Paet phone call did not attract the attention it should have (YET!) But the longer Ukraine stays in the news, the more it (and whatever other intel the Russians leak at the appropriate moment) will take hold through alternative media.

Posted by: Lysander | Mar 9 2014 18:25 utc | 10

Now the Canadians are jumping on the "Complete Dickheads Bandwaggon" (or maybe they've been there all along and I just noticed)

Russian soldiers training in Canada given 24 hours to leave country

Nine Russian soldiers who were participating in military exercises in Canada have been expelled from the country, as Ottawa continues to denounce Russia’s military intervention in Crimea, CTV News has learned.

A government source confirmed that the soldiers were informed Thursday afternoon that they had 24 hours to leave Canada.

Six of the soldiers were in Saint-Jean, Que., where they were learning English and French. Another two soldiers were participating in a training program at 5 CDSB Gagetown, and the ninth soldier was teaching Canadian soldiers Russian in Gatineau, Que.
Related Stories

Russian soldiers told to leave Canada

The move comes days after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that all planned bilateral activities between the Canadian Armed Forces and the military of the Russian Federation are suspended, including exercises such as NORAD's Exercise Vigilant Eagle.

On Thursday, Harper said the government would not recognize the results of a referendum in Crimea on whether to join Russia because the region is “currently under illegal military occupation.”

Lawmakers in Crimea voted unanimously Thursday to leave Ukraine and join Russia. They have scheduled a referendum for March 16 so voters can weigh in on the decision.

The vote was denounced by the international community. In his statement, Harper once again criticized Russia’s incursion into the Crimean peninsula as “an act of aggression, a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and of international law.

“Canada will not recognize a referendum held in a region currently under illegal military occupation. We will continue to view the situation in Ukraine with the gravest concern and will continue to cooperate closely with our G-7 partners and like-minded allies,” the prime minister said in a statement . . . .

On Wednesday, Harper announced that Canada will send two representatives to join an international military observer mission to Crimea, as well as freeze assets of members of former president Viktor Yanukovych’s regime.

Posted by: brb | Mar 9 2014 18:37 utc | 11


Obama like Bush is a company-man through and through. He speaks and acts for the elite cabal he is a member of. Given every reneging/betrayal that Obama has undertaken to further aid and abet the elite at the further screwing/expense of 99.99999% of American citizens it's really amazing to see that any person could think that he's his own man, that his actions are based upon his personality and NOT the desires of the cabal he represents.

This personalization is a propaganda tactic and was used - for example - very effectively during the onset of America's War of Aggression aka the Global War on Terror. Do you know how many Americans incorrectly believe that George "F*ckhead" W Bush was the mastermind behind the GWOT and that since he's been gone US foreign policy is once again in the hands of "capable" and "serious" people like Obama et al? Hundreds of millions. Easy.

Obama has completely continued and expanded what W started yet W gets the blame from the people. Why? Because every STORY - get that? - needs a villain!

The cult of personality is one of the most effective tools of the elite and their propagandists b/c it makes even intelligent and savvy people fall into the trap of debating winners or losers, ups or downs, when in actuality THEY ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE!

Ask Obama 3 years from now if he feels like a weakling or fool or whatever it is the MSM will end up telling us to think about him vis a vis the Ukrain/Putin when he's raking in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS - a la Clinton - once out of office from the very banks that are helping "finance" and "restructure" Ukraine's debt.

Christ, he's probably driving around in a golf cart with McCain right now somewhere yukking it up.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 9 2014 18:39 utc | 12

According to Pravda:
Japan will NOT impose sanctions against Russia, Foreign Minister Kishida says

"Japan has no plans to impose sanctions against Russia because of the situation in Ukraine, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said.

"Japan will not take sanctions against Russia. Decisions will be made on how the situation develops further and how other countries react," the minister said, NHK reports."

Posted by: brb | Mar 9 2014 18:42 utc | 13

I am REALLY beginning to enjoy the way Team Obama plays Russian Roulette.
The USG is so used to concocting propaganda to feed into the MSM's skill at producing Juvenile Junk Journalism (to persuade "us" that lies are truth) and feel it's so-o convincing that they seem to believe it themselves.
It's laughable that the world's 2nd ex-Superpower (with integrated Impunity Myth) has somehow managed to confuse Russia with the pissy little countries it usually bullies and blusters about. It's pure, unadulterated, buffoonery.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 9 2014 18:42 utc | 14

Pepe Escobar talks Ukraine on ANC report

And Pepe giving credit to MoA multiple times.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 18:51 utc | 15

1 james

wow the western world is getting worried that no one buy their bullshit propaganda anymore?!
for those who missed james link

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 9 2014 18:57 utc | 16

Two good looks at the US Media from FAIR BLOG:

Russia, Ukraine and 'US Prestige'

Denying the Far-Right Role in the Ukrainian Revolution

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 19:07 utc | 17

@16 I got that Second Link wrong.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 19:08 utc | 18

@17 grr... Here it is...

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 19:09 utc | 19

Slightly O/T.
Compounded by loss of advertising revenue, to the www, all this cockamaimee balderdash is helping to slaughter the profitability of newsprint media in Oz.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 9 2014 19:12 utc | 20

US Embassy to Kyiv, Ukraine: Setting the Record Straight on Ukraine = Truth [Правда in Soviet rhetoric]

See my post in previous article here @MofA.

Posted by: Oui | Mar 9 2014 19:19 utc | 21

Posted by b on March 9, 2014 at 01:19 PM:

"Without any fulfillment of the Feb 21 deal the Crimea will soon be part of the Russian Federation."

This is something I disagree with in an otherwise fantastic summary. I think Putin will make his already incredibly strong position even stronger if after Crimea votes for independence, Putin will not go ahead with incorporation.

He would effectively checkmate the US's entire propaganda front. You would have the US actively supporting neo-fascists illegally overthrowing the Ukraine government. And Putin would have neutralized the 'Putin invades and captures Crimea' narrative the US and US media is actively pushing. Crimea is now safer than it ever has been. It matters little to Putin if Crimea is actually part of Russia or not. It is already by the facts on the ground. Making it official gives Putin nothing but feed into the US's narrative.

Posted by: Ed Wood | Mar 9 2014 19:25 utc | 22

If there were such a person as a serious and smart Republican actually serving in the current Congress (and also not beholden to moneyed interests), then existing documentation of US support for the more shady opposition groups in Ukraine could be brought to the public's attention and, while it may or may not lead to Obama's impeachment, most certainly would destroy Hillary's chances of ever becoming president, and the younger GOP membership would be perfectly happy to see the US trend away from intervening absolutely everywhere in the world. Unfortunately, most aren't being told the truth about much of anything, and too many in the party are the same kind of authoritarian followers as the nominal 'left.'

Posted by: Jon Lester | Mar 9 2014 19:26 utc | 23

Link to Ukraine Analysis, Counterspin with Robert Parry, link to media criticism and more:
I plan to make a lot more videos in an attempt to get the facts out on a large scale. I think this blog is doing a good job on this too so I'll point people to it. (using the share tools for the above linked video and posting the URL in other forums could. Does anyone have any ideas how we can inform millions of Americans about how MSM is not telling them what they need to know about this?

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Mar 9 2014 19:31 utc | 24

Excellent post. Clarifies things a lot.

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 9 2014 19:36 utc | 25

@14 guest77, Pepe Escobar mentions someone named "William Engel". I might have gotten that name wrong. He recommends his analysis though and I'd like to find his writings. Does anyone know who he's referring to? Sorry in advance if this is a dumb question.

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 9 2014 19:43 utc | 26

Journalist Lars Schall talks to Willy Wimmer (Germany, ex state sec of min. of defense, more, see link. Eng.)

selected quotes:

- They (US) are interested in dividing Europe.

- They (US) are preventing Ukraine of being a country where the EU and Russia might cooperate.

- After the efforts of the 3 EU foreign mins and the agreement signed with Janucovitch, ... the agreement was destroyed (see top post)

- Council of Europe and OECD, should have made an investigation of Maidan square killings. Why are they quiet? So, who organized it?

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 9 2014 19:45 utc | 27

Jon Lester: "If there were such a person as a serious and smart Republican actually serving in the current Congress (and also not beholden to moneyed interests), then existing documentation of US support for the more shady opposition groups in Ukraine could be brought to the public's attention and, while it may or may not lead to Obama's impeachment, most certainly would destroy Hillary's chances of ever becoming president"

Little in this world would I love more than to see that AIPAC whore Hillary Clinton's political career come to and end. But it is hard to imagine that any Republican would now do such a thing now if they sat by for the past two years while the US supported the mess of random al-Qaeda/Wahhabis/jihadist groups running around Syria lopping people's heads off, car bombing civilians, and other acts of terror across Syria.

Posted by: Ed Wood | Mar 9 2014 19:52 utc | 28

The irony..

Obama recognizes a regime that came to power through right-wing cum Nazi fascists street thugs, BUT he's certainly against a referendum of the people of Crimea..Democracy much???

Posted by: Zico | Mar 9 2014 19:52 utc | 29

Pepe Escobar mentions someone named "William Engel". I might have gotten that name wrong. He recommends his analysis though and I'd like to find his writings. Does anyone know who he's referring to? Sorry in advance if this is a dumb question.

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 9, 2014 3:43:38 PM | 25

"William Engdahl"

Posted by: brb | Mar 9 2014 20:01 utc | 30

@gemini333, must be William Engdahl, whose writings are regularly linked/copy-pasted on MoA

Posted by: zingaro | Mar 9 2014 20:03 utc | 31

UK with new threats against Russia.

What the hell cant these western warmongers just stop?!

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 9 2014 20:07 utc | 32

I agree it shouldn't be personnel but it isn't. It's Russia against the western neo-liberal-conns who have no nation.

Posted by: jo6pac | Mar 9 2014 20:09 utc | 33

@27 Ed, tell me about it.

Recall last summer, when even senior Jewish members of Congress, namely Cantor and Wasserman-Schultz, were in favor of bombing Syria, despite very obvious reasons why Israel shouldn't want a Sunni caliphate on its northern border. One can never underestimate either the cravenness or stupidity of party leaders who are motivated solely by (unscrupulously) perceived short-term gains for their respective teams.

Posted by: Jon Lester | Mar 9 2014 20:09 utc | 34

JSorrentine #5 Let it be about dick contests, let it be about stupid intel but let's not talk about or dig any deeper into the fomenting of a neo-Nazi coup anymore, okay, guys? Every day that issue is not winning the 24 hour news cycle is another day of breathing easy for American war criminals.

Exactly! As if Obama had any power to make personal choices. Putin maybe more so, and although I believe that he must keep in close contact with the russian "oligarchs", he's got a background that may give him some more room to actually decide things. But personal feud between two "top dogs"? Come on...
I just think that Nato indeed didn't see an immediate crimean response, including actual control over airspace and "boots on the ground" coming. Now if they can't play it their way, the signal of a declining superpower would be just too strong, they want to avoid it at all cost.

Posted by: peter radiator | Mar 9 2014 20:20 utc | 35

Jon Lester and Ed Wood, We The People are being subjected to a very deliberate Divide And Conquer program too. Congress may seem paralyzed, but it's all just kabuki since the Dems want to drain as much remaining blood from the 99% as the Repubs. So the Repubs help them do it plus make sure they've still got enough enraged/terrified rednecks to GOTV (get out the vote). Plus, the more racist the complaints against Obama, the more likely Liberals will continue to knee-jerk support him. It's all kabuki and the American public are being as victimized as anyone else -- just very slowly, and with sufficient distraction that very few have even noticed.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 9 2014 20:31 utc | 36

I am tying to understand the situation. This article says "with opposition lawmakers now calling the shots, Ukraine's parliament spent February 23 steamrolling through a litany of key appointments."
Where those new opposition lawmakers? I am trying to understand how where these guys came from. If 328 lawmakers (again, who were these people? new as of just a week or so or were they the government all along? I hear talk about right wing politicians gaining control put was anyone not in government before the recent protests put into power?). voted to remove Yanukovych, was that constitutional? I found this article:
any thoughts?

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Mar 9 2014 20:35 utc | 37

It is hard to see a much worse outcome for the US in Ukraine.

1. Crimea is now completely secure for Russia

2. The Eastern half of Ukraine looks like it is ripe to split off in the same way as Crimea

3. That would leave an unstable basketcase of a country for the US with Western Ukraine

4. Hard to imagine NATO being able to move into Western Ukraine with it in such a mess and Russia right next door being able to immediately subvert any attempts to create a foothold.

5. The US has isolated itself from the rest of the world powers. The EU is on the sidelines making impotent noises and no possibility of real action. And China and India are supporting Russia.

6. The gloves are now off between the US and Russia with the US in an incredibly weak position. While Russia now has no reason not press ahead and maximize their situation. The incompetent Western politicians and media have gone over the top in their attempts to demonize Putin. He pretty much has free rein to act in Russia's best interest with little regard for what the Western world thinks of says.

Posted by: Gorlick | Mar 9 2014 20:43 utc | 38

Germany's former chancellor Shroeder criticize western policies on Ukraine. Check site (use translate tool). Maybe some germans here know more about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 9 2014 20:44 utc | 39

I appreciate the comedy Jon Lester introduced to the thread, but it will grow tiresome very quickly. As someone a thread or so back demonstrated with this link:

Its going to take far more than a few good republicans (or anyone else) to turn this war mongering bunch of neoliberals around. It's one thing to debate when or how or by whom the US coup was complete, but it's side-splitting hysterical to pretend a few could change it from within with only minor adjustments... A major reboot (lots of folks imprisoned and a new constitution, etc.) is in order.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Mar 9 2014 20:49 utc | 40

"Ukraine is very near to Russia's national interest and very far away from the United States."

I totally agree with the first part but not with the 2nd. Why? Because the U.S. has a very big interest and that is to bleed Russia dry.

Let's backtrack a little to understand better what is motivating the Americans. Let's go waaay back to Afghanistan, but before I'll state the purpose of reviewing history.

Russia has gotten in the way of some key U.S. interests in Libya, Syria, and Iran. We all know the part Russia played in these three countries. Russia was very resistant to military intervention in Libya until it was tricked into agreeing to a Resolution that was merely a pretext for military intervention and regime change in Libya, but that China and Russia understood was to be used strictly for the protection of civilians. Russia and China were played and betrayed in a big way.

Russia had influence and commercials interests in Libya which are seriously diminished. In Syria, Russia leases a warm-water port, has commercial interests and influence with the Bashar government. Russia is once bitten twice shy now on the issue of Syria, with good reason. In Iran, Russia assisted in the development of Iran’s nuclear program and in the past few years there is a rapprochement happening between Moscow and Tehran and this doesn’t sit well with U.S. lawmakers.. This growing collaboration represents a major threat to the U.S.

In order to make U.S. motives and strategy more transparent we should go back to Afghanistan. There is a theory, which I believe makes perfect sense, that in 1980, the Soviet Union was pulled into a trap set by none other than renoun Russiaphobe, Zbigniew Brzezinski, together with the CIA. It is believed that the CIA used both sides of the conflict in Afghanistan around 1979 (the leaders of the communist party Taraki and later Amin (especially the latter) and the mujahedeen) to draw the Soviets into that quicksand, with the intent of bleeding the Soviet Union dry. Soviet leaders at the time were very reluctant to escalate that conflict. Apparently Brzezinski admitted in an interview with L’Observateur, a French publication, that he indeed used the CIA to trick the Russians. He wanted the Soviet economy to "scream". The plot was such a resounding success that it lead to the collapse of the Soviet economy and subsequently the fall of the Soviet Union. Amin was responsible for Taraki’s death and it’s suspected that Amin was all in with the CIA. The CIA was no doubt playing both sides of the Afghan conflict against the Soviets. It is also said that the Soviets wanted to access a warm water port in Afghanistan, but Afghanistan is landblocked! They wanted a route through Afghanistan to a port enough to get mired in desert quicksand? No. That’s the excuse American propaganda like to circulate to distract from what really happened.

Russia no doubt has much greater interests in Ukraine and needs to play its cards right and very close to the chest, keeping in mind that once again the U.S. is out for Russian blood. The only interest the U.S. has is to squeeze Russia dry. The U.S. is not only trying to diminish Iran’s influence in the Middle East, but more so Russia’s and it succeeded doing so in Libya and is desperately trying to do same in Syria. The way that the U.S. got to Russia on Libya was by pushing the human rights issue in Russia’s face, making Russia look like an ogre that cares squat for human life when that is pure bullshet American propaganda destined to pressure Russia into making self-destructive decisions. Americans aren’t shedding tears for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed as a result of their regime change endeavors! It’s the U.S. not Russia that's been in the business of killing civilians in the past two and a half decades!

The U.S. set up a trap to bleed the Soviet Union dry in Afghanistan and since Russia has risen from those ashes, America is again on a mission to crush the Russian economy and diminish its influence in the Middle East. From Afghanistan, to Libya, to Syria and now Ukraine, the U.S. is working on diminishing Russian influence and economic resources, and I won’t even get into what it's doing in the rest of the Eastern bloc with the goal of isolating and surrounding Russia with Nato.

Never in a million years will the U.S. backtrack to the deal that Putin helped sponsor in Ukraine and that ship has definitely sailed. The neo-nazis ensured a golden opportunity for this major U.S. interest: to get Russia where it really hurts! Ukraine fell right into the U.S. arms thanks to "sniper warfare", kind of like what Al-Qaeda does in Syria; killing on both sides!

American lunatic lawmakers think they have Putin by the balls with Ukraine, but not so fast! So far Putin is playing it well. Putin needs the support of ethnic Russians in Ukraine. They are key to foiling U.S. endeavors to bring Russia to its knees. The U.S. may think Ukraine fell into its arms, but all I see is Crimea falling into Russia’s arms, and then, when Crimea flourishes and Ukraine becomes the next Greece…anything can happen.

Russia needs to carry on with its commercial interests with the BRICS countries and include Iran in some way. Libya was a commercial loss for Russia but Putin can can turn that loss into a gain somewhere else where the U.S. is losing influence. The U.S. has alienated Iraq with the Syria issue and Russia has an arms deal going with Iraq and should continue to nurture that relationship. The U.S. is very angry with Karzai because he refuses to sign a U.S./Afghan security pact after ending that war. Karzai visited Moscow a year or so ago to reach out to Russia. Karzai no longer trusts the U.S. and is wise not to put all his eggs in that basket. So now that the U.S. threw billions down the rabbit hole in Afghanistan, wouldn’t it be nice for Russia to capitalize on the advantages that this outreach from Karzai might present? Continuing to veto on Syria at the U.N., helping Syrians in their gas exploration, getting closer to Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan are just a few ways to foil the U.S. plan and to exploit commercial interests at the same time.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 9 2014 20:55 utc | 41

U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin

The latest excuse for US corporations poisoning of American soil and the American people with fracking is "it will improve our position against Russia". It is impossible to imagine a more elite driven policy. Once again, the cash-rich corporations are using this battle with Russia to improve their bottom lines and crush those opposed to their environmental destruction with jingoistic arguments.

The idea that the LNG will be competitive in Europe with the pipeline flows from Russia is highly questionable - unless of course the US succeeds in its bid for sanctions. But in any case, this crisis is likely to go the way of the "crisis" precipitated by the Georgians in 2008 - meaning , nowhere. The only thing that the US producers will succeed in is building some highly desirable targets for future terrorists, and more health problems and environmental dangers for the US population.

The administration’s strategy is to move aggressively to deploy the advantages of its new resources to undercut Russian natural gas sales to Ukraine and Europe, weakening such moves by Mr. Putin in future years. Although Russia is still the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, the United States recently surpassed it to become the world’s largest natural gas producer, largely because of breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing technology, known as fracking.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 21:02 utc | 42

@39 I actually don't do party politics, and where I stand on other issues can wait for more relevant threads. I'm currently trying to help an underdog Democratic candidate for the Senate against one with a famous last name, who apparently can't wait to assimilate into the establishment. Failing that, I'll be pushing foreign policy issues as far as I can after the primary, however much it shocks my "progressive" friends, who are about as unquestioning of authority as their "conservative" counterparts.

We do what we can. It's not an entirely fruitless effort to play political gadfly and keep a few issues alive. We know what happens when we don't try. Fatalism is another desired effect by the doings of TPTB.

Posted by: Jon Lester | Mar 9 2014 21:05 utc | 43

@brb #10

Good thing there is no Canuck on board the ISS. If Harper is being so mean and a bully on such an issue, we should not be shocked if and when Putin says "NYET" to any further trips to the ISS and that all astronauts should come back > BS if they say that Japan can do it - for Japan it's only a one way voyage just to bring equipment and incidentals.

Steevie is pulling the same stunt as he did with Iran and now Iran has said no more independent Canadian or British tourists. "You want to visit , join a group and then we can see if there are any spooks amongst you."

Posted by: Yul | Mar 9 2014 21:07 utc | 44

Now we can add India to the growing list of great powers that sides with Russia over the Ukrainian crisis:

So much for the US isolating Russia. That brilliant bit of American statesmanship by Obama is going over like a lead balloon.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 9 2014 21:12 utc | 45


What you don't like flammable tap water and earthquakes?

F*cking commie.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 9 2014 21:13 utc | 46

Advocate abolishment of the U.S. Senate altogether and I might consider you to not be fatalistic. *s*

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Mar 9 2014 21:15 utc | 47

@Tom "Where those new opposition lawmakers? I am trying to understand how where these guys came from."

As I understand, a huge number of the Regions Party ministers switch parties under the watchful eye of the neo-Nazis. Along with reports from the Estonian FM that party members are getting "visits in the night" reminiscent of the Gestapo, it seems clear to me that all of this new legislation is being passed under severe duress by the "new" (read old, intimidated, and switched) Regions Party lawmakers.

It will be interesting to see who emerges on top in the presidential elections. The fact that the Right Sektor is going to run is very interesting. They have all the power on the ground and have been the ones making the night visits. There is also word of their extremely brutal tactics - torture, burnings, executions. Will "Yats" and "Klitsch" also being to receive visits in the night?

These Ukrainian Nazis brutal tactics are having their effect. The question is, when they become too big for their britches, will they begin a fight with those in the west who brought them to power? Or will they be eliminated by them?

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 21:18 utc | 48

@45 The corporations can't understand all the fuss. Flammable tap water never hurt a single CEO.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 21:22 utc | 49

It is ironic but not very surprising to hear Obama condemning "violations of International Law." What about Israel? Does it have immunity? Also, what must be the joke of the year is John Kerry's statement that "you just cannot invade another country on trumped-up pretexts!" Almost as funny as the one his predecessor (Killary Clinton) made when she said: "Violence is an inappropriate way of settling differences!" I can imagine the people of Iraq and Afghanistan falling over with laughter!

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 9 2014 21:28 utc | 50

@29, @30 Thank you brb and zingaro

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 9 2014 21:30 utc | 51

@49 The people of Iraq would be falling over in laughter... If they were not busy in sectarian civil war. Caused mostly by the aftermath of said US intervention.

And I dont have a damn clue what Afghanistan is doing but its probably not laughing either.

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 9 2014 21:41 utc | 52


Flammable tap water never hurt a single CEO.

CEO: What's with all you environmental commie pinkos running around screaming about fracking like your hair's on fire?

Peon: We just took showers.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 9 2014 21:50 utc | 53

blackwater will have its hands full! putting down half the counrty

Retweeted Ruptly (@Ruptly):

Russian flag raised as activists occupy Lugansk administration #Ukraine

Posted by: brian | Mar 9 2014 21:54 utc | 54

I think that flaming water thingy won't be enough to save Amerika, Russia has a head start and will not be fracking.

Thanks for the LOL everyone.

Posted by: jo6pac | Mar 9 2014 21:58 utc | 55

@9 Lysander, spot on.
JSorrintine is correct about other narratives diverting attention away from the NATO backed neo-nazi coup. However, the longer this remains in the media attention, the more chance the nature of NATO subversion becomes apparent. [...] The west has a huge incentive to solve this quickly, because their dirty tricks become clearer by the day.

To a large extent, I think it's most important to set the narrative early on in the US, so that most people, who will ignore the news after they have an idea of what it's about, have that idea set in their head. But for the more informed segment of the population who will stick with the story, bits and pieces of information are now coming through the US media (but not much, by my gauge, and I've uncharacteristically been watching cable news a lot just to assess this, and to sort of study how they're spinning it).

From the start, when I saw zbig and Wes Clark acting panicky, pressuring EU, and Germany in particular, to hurry up and get the deal done, my sense was that they wanted to get it signed and sewn up before the nature of the extremist factions of the Maidan protest became more well known, and the other sordid details.

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 9 2014 22:33 utc | 56

Serbian Fighters Help 'Russian Brothers' in Crimea

Let's not forget about Belarus firepower either.

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 9 2014 22:55 utc | 57

William Hague misled the house of commons on 4th March when he said the Ukrainian constitution had been adhered to, false, in order to remove the President a long impeachment process has to be instituted involving the constitutional court and a special investigatory commission to formulate charges and as laid down by Article 111 of the Ukrainian Constitution, the RADA did not follow the procedures at all, no investigatory commission and the courts were not involved, the bill on 22nd February the RADA passed removing the President from office was not constitutional, furthermore the bill was not even supported by three quarters of the members of the RADA as required by Article 111, it was only supported by 328 members when it required 338 [since the RADA has 450 members]. I think William Hague needs to be drummed out of parliament.

Posted by: harrylaw | Mar 9 2014 23:04 utc | 58

This is William Hague's statement to the House..
4 Mar 2014 : Column 736

Mr Hague: Former President Yanukovych left his post and then left the country, and the decisions on replacing him with an acting President were made by the Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament, by the very large majorities required under the constitution, including with the support of members of former President Yanukovych’s party, the Party of Regions, so it is wrong to question the legitimacy of the new authorities.

Posted by: harrylaw | Mar 9 2014 23:08 utc | 59


Some interesting Engdahl interviews. The first on Ukraine, the second on the so-called "War on Terror", Arab Spring, and Syria crisis.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 23:19 utc | 60

Tom's Despatch has a very good essay by David Bromwich today.
It might be called "The 'All of the Above' President."

Posted by: bevin | Mar 9 2014 23:25 utc | 61

Read this site regularly. This is the first post where it seems that the analysis is flawed. Liked the comments of #40 except for the very last part. I agree with #40, from the US point this is about cutting down Russia's influence and military and economic power.

But what I am having difficulty understanding is why would Russia (Putin) keep acting like Charlie Brown to USA's Lucy act (in the cartoon Peanuts Lucy says she will hold the ball for CB to kick but always takes it away at the last moment causing CB to fall flat). So if Russia was tricked in the Libya affair why did Putin, under 'request' from US et. al., pressure Yanukovich BEFORE getting it in blood from US et. al. that they would support the agreement (getting in blood meaning having the US congress pass a resolution in support of the Feb 21 agreement BEFORE the agreement)? US underlings are infamous for making promises that when the time comes US does not acknowledge and Russia should know this keenly.

The answers that come to mind are : 1. Russia is stupid/gullible (like Charlie Brown)
2. Russia is a old and wounded lion (more bark than bite) and US keeps gashing it to slowly bleed it and Russia keeps shifting from one corner to the other to avoid the gashes. Seems like a plausible explanation for why Russia(Putin) supported the Feb 21st agreement w/o a strong apriori public commitment from US.
3. ? I am open to any other explanation.

The events do not show the US bumbling. They have a plan even if it may not be quite clear ( I am reminded of when the Syria conflict started and all the destruction of cities and one of the commenters here made the insightful proposition that the destruction of Syria was not an unfortunate byproduct but part of the plan. And that comment clarified a lot of what was happening in Syria and why). Still waiting for that insight on Ukraine.

Posted by: Khalid | Mar 9 2014 23:27 utc | 62

The World of Neoliberalism

What do you suspect the results of "the most unpopular Prime Minister ever" "painful" and "suicidal" policies will lead to more of this degradation, or less?

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 23:34 utc | 63

Khalid@ 60

Perhaps it's a difference in goals/orientation? The US plays offense/is aggressive without much heed for anyone's welfare except its own movers and shakers (to put it mildly) whereas Russia's goals are, well, more in line with international law and the well-being of his country as a whole. So he's often put in the position of defending his interests but has no particular reason to attack anyone else? Not horribly well-stated but I hope you get my point.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 9 2014 23:39 utc | 64

Jack Matlock, the last US Ambassador to the USSR, made some remarks critical of the regime in Kiev on his blog:

If I were Ukrainian I would echo the immortal words of the late Walt Kelly’s Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The fact is, Ukraine is a state but not yet a nation.

But now he's written a post that appears to be a kind of retraction, meant to convey that he is not defending Russia in any way:

The fact that the Western press has not always been objective and has frequently ignored or misunderstood relevant historical facts neither justifies nor excuses the deliberate disinformation the Russian media have purveyed, all too evidently on the orders of a government determined to wage a propaganda war.

I think that everyone agrees, including Russians, that Putin is fibbing when he says that those men in the Crimea in unmarked uniforms are not Russian soldiers, but I think that to say that Russia has engaged in "deliberate disinformation" goes too far. (This is not to deny that everyone knows, for example, that RT is never going to criticize the Russian government.)

It would have been helpful if Matlock had given some examples of the "disinformation" that the Russian government is spreading (like the US State Department claimed to do, as Escobar noted).

Posted by: Demian | Mar 9 2014 23:41 utc | 65

Another indication that history is being twisted to political ends. The Ukrainian Nazis are attempting to rewrite it in front of the United Nations.

A reporter during the Putin interview noted the following:

Just today, incidentally, the Ukrainian envoy to the UN said that the crimes committed by Bandera’s followers were falsified by the Soviet Union.

At it's own peril does the world revise history such as this. The world is moving straight towards a 1984 reality.

At this rate, we'll soon learn that it was the Soviet invasion of Germany which started World War Two...

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 9 2014 23:53 utc | 66

Khalid@ 60

Not adhering to the agreement was as much an act of hostility towards the three EU countries that brokered the agreement as it was towards Russia. Their foreign ministers went to Kiev to try to sort things out between the government and the opposition without inviting the Americans, after the Nuland recording came out.

Maybe Putin figured that the USG would not stab its allies in the back.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 10 2014 0:03 utc | 67

Putin is obviously protecting Russia's national interests and I think b makes a good case that Obama is seeing this Ukrainian crisis as a personal insult. It has been clear for at least two years that Obama does not have a coherent foreign policy. Both the interventions in Libya and Syria have completely distracted what was supposed to be Obama's big policy move to pivot to Asia. What a joke that looks like today. Part of that policy was to cool down our involvement in the ME and that was why a negotiated settlement with Iran was important. This Ukrainian crisis has forced that to the back burner making it more possible for Israel or its neocon backers in the US to sabotage those talks (imagine some relatively small false flag operation against Iran with Kerry distracted from putting out some such fire).

I am convinced that Obama and Kerry did not want this crisis. By now, they should know that not only did it happen but that it is policies pursued by the neocon clique in State were responsible. This means Obama and Kerry are responsible. That is something that they are loathe to admit publicly but quite possibly unable to accept. So how to respond; as an immature child, blame Putin personally. If Obama is unable to depersonalize this conflict and begin to look at it through US and Russia's national interests this could end very badly.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 10 2014 0:21 utc | 68

@TovioS "I am convinced that Obama and Kerry did not want this crisis."

I don't know. I sort of think this may be the cornerstone of what passes as a "historical legacy" for these chumps.

They've been far too aggressive all over the world to think that they were simply blindsided by this, IMO.

And to see Obama as not a part of that same neocon clique he was brought to office to remove is, at this point, wishful thinking.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 10 2014 0:27 utc | 69

Demian #64. I made a comment on the day the EU announced they were negotiating a settlement with the Ukrainian "political opposition" that they were talking with people who no longer controlled what was happening on the streets. At that time there was no one that represented the Right Sector or the Svododa Party. Putin should have realized that the Feb 21 deal did recognize the reality on the streets. The neofascist thugs were already controlling events.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 10 2014 0:31 utc | 70

Interesting piece on Leo Strauss, his statist mentor Carl Schmitt and the underpinnings of Neo-Con thought, and action.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 10 2014 0:36 utc | 71

I doubt that Russia would still be interested in implementing the Feb. 21. deal. Alone for the fact that zusa/zeu and their scum puppets *obviously* don't care about agreements.

But I also doubt that Russia would *want* Crimea becoming a part of Russia.

Anyway, the music behind the dance is somewhere else - and not about zato, obama, or the like, although I think, that b is right thinking obama made it a personal issue.

As I don't like to spread a matter over many threads or playing catching up I rather point at what I said in the thread that seemed to be the ukraine threat until now.
You can find my adapted interpretation here right at the end (#133)

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 10 2014 0:44 utc | 72

ToivoS #67. Ah, interesting, I didn't know about MoA then. I did read somewhere that Putin was surprised by the putsch, and was angry with Russian intelligence for not giving him a better idea of what was happening. They should read MoA, like Pepe Escobar does!

I think you meant to say "did NOT recognize the reality".

Posted by: Demian | Mar 10 2014 0:47 utc | 73

Demian #70. Of course "did not". One thing I noticed is that very few people realized what was happening in Ukraine before Feb 22 (I guess even Russian intelligence, though I hadn't seen that one before). What struck me was the almost complete silence among the left wing blogs (MoA and Saker, being major exceptions). It took almost a week for people to wake up and realize that a group of neofascist thugs had just pulled off a regime change with the backing of the United States.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 10 2014 1:59 utc | 74

@ Toivo "I am convinced that Obama and Kerry did not want this crisis."

Oh you mean like he didn't want the Libya coup, the Egypt coup and the attempted Syrian coup?

Wow, coups just seem to follow Obama around!

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 10 2014 2:04 utc | 75

After giving this more thought, and while I think Russia's point is valid about Feb 21 agreement, at this point, does anyone think it is realistic now? The agreement taken literally would require reinstalling Yanukovych. So what is a potential resolution?

Posted by: gemini333 | Mar 10 2014 2:13 utc | 76

"So what is a potential resolution?"

Closing the borders might be a good start: the entire "crisis" the latest in a series going back to 1991 is owing to the constant interference from outside. This is mainly from the "west," and its creatures in the former Warsaw Pact countries, acting for the most speculative of the capitalists, most of whom are closely allied to criminal gangs.

If the "west" cookies and all withdrew Ukrainians could quickly settle their differences. The divide between partisans of the Nazis and, on the other side, sympathisers with the Red Army is wholly artificial, kept alive only by scoundrels such as the Canadian governing party which is simply trolling for fascist votes in the coming election.

As to the Russians it is difficult to find fault with their punctilious respect for international law and their determination to protect those who need protection from fascist death squads and mercenary terrorists.

The truth is that this question is one that could easily have been solved through the UN were it not for the fact that the US has three votes among the five permanent members of the Security Council and the Secretariat is run by a fascist puppet who takes his orders, as Victoria Nuland's conversation made quite evident, from the US government.

It is no coincidence that the 2004 coup was called an Orange revolution because that is what this one in Kiev is: with the Orangemen being the fascist fanatics from Galicia, who represent a very small minority of the population and take their strength, as did Ulster's Orangemen, from the fact that they are waterboys for the Empire.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 10 2014 2:44 utc | 77

@kalithea #72

Robert Parry is a specialist in disseminating the the neocons did it; Obama had nothing to do with it line.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 10 2014 2:46 utc | 78

"Fatalism is another desired effect by the doings of TPTB.
Posted by: Jon Lester | Mar 9, 2014 5:05:26 PM | 42"

Impotence too...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 10 2014 2:57 utc | 79

TIME Magazine, of "There no neo-Nazi elements involved in the Ukrainian Revolution" has a glowing interview with Right Sektor leader Yarosh:

"Pravy Sektor’s ideology borders on fascism" the article says. Borders on? What else exactly does one need to get a passport? To quote Yarosh: "This whole peaceful song and dance, the standing around, the negotiations, none of it has brought real change.”

It's amazing. TIME has spilt more ink covering up the true nature of what is occurring in Ukraine than any outlet. Why?

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 10 2014 2:57 utc | 80

Well, Merckel just caved.

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel delivered a rebuke to President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, telling him that a planned Moscow-backed referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia was illegal and violated Ukraine’s constitution.

I don't trust Reuters much more than AP, but here is the report:

Posted by: Nora | Mar 10 2014 3:02 utc | 81

@bevin Funny you mention Ulster. I'm just reading a fantastic book by a man named George Dangerfield called "The Strange Death of Liberal England" - I believe it was written in the late 1930s. Though not direct, there are some interesting parallels between the type of thing we see occurring in the Ukraine today, and with the growth of the Ulster Loyalists. More interesting is his discussion on what amounted to the treason of the Tory opposition in supporting them.

It also has a really great part about the amazing militancy of the British Women's Suffrage movement. They never killed anyone, but were brilliantly destructive otherwise.

Spam filter is on the war path today...

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 10 2014 3:05 utc | 82

@Nora #77

I wonder if Croatia seceding from Yugoslavia was allowed by Yugoslavia's constitution: Germany was the first country to recognize Croatia, thus playing a significant role in that countries destruction.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 10 2014 3:12 utc | 83


"Gee, I'm sorry Ms. Merkel. Our pipeline seems to be on the Fritz. The soonest we can send a repair crew is May 2nd."

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Mar 10 2014 3:20 utc | 84

"But what I am having difficulty understanding is why would Russia (Putin) keep acting like Charlie Brown to USA's Lucy act (in the cartoon Peanuts Lucy says she will hold the ball for CB to kick but always takes it away at the last moment causing CB to fall flat). So if Russia was tricked in the Libya affair why did Putin, under 'request' from US et. al., pressure Yanukovich BEFORE getting it in blood from US et. al. that they would support the agreement (getting in blood meaning having the US congress pass a resolution in support of the Feb 21 agreement BEFORE the agreement)? US underlings are infamous for making promises that when the time comes US does not acknowledge and Russia should know this keenly."
Posted by: Khalid | Mar 9, 2014 7:27:43 PM | 60

I thought the putchists effectively repudiated the Feb 21 agreement on Feb 22, with US consent/approval. But in any case, perhaps you could briefly elaborate on the advantages which would have flowed had Russia followed your suggested course?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 10 2014 3:39 utc | 85


your analysis is spot on.... Russia has clearly stated that it see's Feb 21 agreement as the template for any agreement and the West has been busily ignoring these statements and creating new facts on the ground (by helping the post-coup government solidify its hold on power).

Russia as well has been trying to undermine the Kiev regime in the south and east... and crimea is already effectively under russian control... the UN is revealed to be as useless as we all thought and the whole world is watching the crazy train heading straight for the cliff.

Russia will not be satisfied with just crimea.... and the west has no intention of taking over another dead beat country...

Russia is just going to keep destabilizing ukraine, unless the west comes up with something the russians can live with?

is the cuban missile crisis a good template, or is georgia 2008?

Posted by: OAB | Mar 10 2014 3:42 utc | 86

Nora @68. I agree about the Deena Stryker pierce at firedoglake.

Posted by: MRW | Mar 10 2014 3:49 utc | 87

I agree that one of the motives for this violent coup in Ukraine is to undermine Russia's gas exports to Europe and to substitute the the low-priced gas it sells to Ukraine and this fits in with my other theory that the U.S. is intent on bleeding the Russian economy besides plotting to undermine its influence in the Middle East and its commercial and strategic interests there. At the same time, it benefits U.S. gas exports if there's a higher demand.

Chevron recently signed a gas exploration deal with Ukraine and is prepared to invest $10 billion dollars if it finds sufficient supplies of shale gas in the Ukraine and Dutch Shell also signed a similar deal for another site in Ukraine. This was done before the coup. No doubt the U.S. will urge these companies to multiply their efforts now that they're faced with a greater urgency to wean Europe and Ukraine off Russian gas. But I suspect that neither the results of this gas exploration nor shipping Liquified Natural Gas from the U.S. or Israel will be feasible alternatives to Russian gas.

Apparently,shale gas exploration in Eastern Europe has not produced good results and with the unstable political situation in Ukraine, gas production in Ukraine also rests on shaky ground.

And what if all the fracking starts poisoning Ukraine's aquifers? All hell will break loose then.

Again, recent history is proving that wherever the U.S. meddles, chaos and misery is certain to follow. Western Ukraine is still in the delusional honeymoon phase with the U.S. and its Nato buddies.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 10 2014 4:09 utc | 88

The FDL piece is a bunch of Zionist deflection propaganda fake-left horseshit as it totally whitewashes Zionist/Jewish influence in the formation of the neoconservative movement and thought.

Neoconservatism and Zionists are inextricably tied together and anyone who doesn't mention the word "Jew" once in her entire piece - yeah, I checked - is a Zionist apologist bullshitter. Sorry.

Here's a more accurate and well-researched piece on how Jewish Zionists formulated the neoconservative movement.

Here's another piece on how Zionists collaborated with Nazis and Mussolini's fascists before and during WWII so it's not really a surprise that they'd be backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine once again.

FDL is fake-left propaganda at its absolute worst. Don't come here and peddle Zionist propaganda bullshit, ffs.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 10 2014 4:34 utc | 89

@#81 I don't know if Russia had any good choices. I do not know enough to say what could have Russia done instead. Maybe the US had all options covered but just speculating many times the US wants to make the opponent blink. To find a chink in their armour. Or it could be the US was simply toying with Russia. Why ask Russia to broker an agreement when they already knew the opposition would repudiate it the next day? This doesn't make sense. We are missing some insight.

Posted by: Khalid | Mar 10 2014 4:39 utc | 90

gemini333 #73 After giving this more thought, and while I think Russia's point is valid about Feb 21 agreement, at this point, does anyone think it is realistic now? NO The agreement taken literally would require reinstalling Yanukovych. EVERYONE AGREES THAT YANUKOVICH IS NOT COMING BACK. So what is a potential resolution?

Nobody knows. The US and EU meddling created this crisis without thinking what their support for the neofascist street thugs was going to lead to. Russia is throwing the problem into their faces with the simple request "you broke it, now you fix it" while in the meantime taking care of business in the Crimea making sure that NATO is not going to get the port of Sevastopol. I am sure in the meantime Russia is preparing contingency plans for the south and east of Ukraine if the Western backed regime in Kiev tries to oppress those Russian speaking communities. If the ultranationalist Kiev regime continues to outlaw the Russian language in schools, law, official documents and mass media the Russian speaking majorities in the east will be begging for support from Russia. It makes no difference what last year's polling data shows about their attachment to the Ukraine, once they realize that the central government has turned on them, they will turn to Russia.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 10 2014 4:45 utc | 91

[...] Putin was surprised by the putsch [...]

I somewhat doubt that. It was as sure as tomorrow's sunrise that the West would one fine day have another go at dislodging the Ukraine from Russia's orbit. I can't imagine that Putin and his strategists didn't have a plan for this almost certain eventuality.

As I wrote before, I have the distinct feeling that this Ukraine putsch came as no surprise to Russia, quite contrary. In all likelihood their intelligence services knew when and how, leaving Putin's team plenty of time to nut out a strategy to turn the tables and come out as winners.

Put yourself in Putin's shoes. Russia under no circumstances wants to lose the Crimea to the EU, be that for military, historic or geo-strategic reasons. But Putin knows that, thanks partly to the incompetent and corrupt Yanukovych government, there is a real chance the next elections in the Ukraine possibly bring in a government and president hell bend on cutting ties with Russia and siding with the EU. Which in turn would mean the entire Ukraine is lost and with it the Crimea.

Then he gets early warning of a neo-nazi led putsch attempt coming down the Ukrainian pike trying to oust Yanukovych, a president who from Russia's perspective hasn't been the worst possible man for the job, but was certainly not Moscow's favorite candidate.

So why stop the nazi putschists from illegally kicking out the president, if they by doing so would allow Russia to beat two birds with one stone.

Firstly, this scenario provides the perfect reason to 'secure' the Crimea against nazi violence and for its population to hold a referendum on seceding from the Ukraine and joining mother Russia for good.

Secondly, it will put the US and its EU poodles into a rather uncomfortable position. Not only will they have to openly align themselves with neo-nazis, hard to sell to domestic audiences, but cash strapped as they are will also be under pressure to come up with the many many billions of dollars needed to help their new partner Ukraine in its struggle to avoid default.

One didn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that the 21 Feb deal would be broken sooner or later by the armed gangs on the Maidan, that's why the Russians helped broker it and now keep referring back to. The perfect move to put the US/EU in a legal headlock.

To the international community at large this looks like a US/EU supported murdering nazi opposition breaking its own agreements and then unconstitutionally ousting the elected president.

Executing their plan, it seems at a diplomatic level, Russia's strategy in this confrontation is to render the West powerless by copying the West's modus operandi.

* Just do it and let the chatterboxes analyse it while creating new realities they can then analyse again

* Envoke R2P. Russia doesn't mind the new regime in Kiev being saturated with neo-nazis, the more the better. Ideal scenario to present a plausible case for r2p: having skinheads with baseball bats and sniper rifles issue threats and pass laws aimed at oppressing Russian speaking minorities.

* Blindsiding the UN by using its veto power on the SC

It already is a comedy of sort watching the US mouth pieces and spinmeisters twist themselves for ever more into knots trying to explain why Russia's actions aren't in line with precedents set by the US and its poodles.

In an interview I heard someone recently say that the two games US Americans love are poker and gridiron, or in other words bluffing and brute force. If brute force is not an option, as it is the case in the Ukraine, Russia calling their bluff is that much easier.

As anna wrote on one of the previous threads

Why, do you suppose, war has not yet broken out between Russia and Ukraine? The answer is very simple: no one plans to go to war. [...]

My view exactly. Mind you, many a war was fought by parties who at the outset had not planned for one. However, a war between nuclear armed nations would be m.a.d. and suicidal, a fact which the folks on the hill with the most to lose are fully aware of.

This wouldn't be a proxy war like we usually see, where one can scale back its support and involvement if events get too hairy, NATO v Russia is the real deal. And NATO knows full well that once they start sinking Russian ships or bombing their troops or territory, its on like Donkey Kong. No way back and 99% chance their chalets and country clubs will end up being radioactive ruins for the next 10'000 years.

Putin knows that he can safely exclude a NATO strike from the list of possible consequences.

Concerning the Ukraine military, going by the recent meetings between Ukrainian putschists and NATO officials, one has to assume that any steps the putschist government takes militarily from now on are signed off by NATO countries. No further need to differentiate between these two entities.

Based on the multiple defections of Ukrainian armed forces over the past months we can pretty safely predict there is bound to be a substantial number of anti-putschists amongst the Ukrainian officers who haven't resigned or defected yet. Consequently there must be a feverish effort going on right now to identify those potential spies and saboteurs within the Ukrainian ranks. I am sure NATO teams are already working their way through NSA provided files and are compiling lists.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 10 2014 4:48 utc | 92


From my pov merkels behaviour makes sense (well, for her).

merkel seems to be in the (zeu) center in the attack on ukraine, its shale gas fields and hence on Russias national security.

In that (self inflicted) situation she basically has two option, to either cave in to the Russia ("So sorry, we didn't know that certain parties (zusa) had criminal plans") or, as she does, to cave in to zusa and to bark even more agressively against Russia.

Looking at the fact that Gabriel went to Russia and that, so I hear from German friends, pretty much all German business leaders seem to prefer a pro-Russian attitude (and are pushing merkel) it seems to me that merkel is under very heavy pressure and possibly even expecting some kind of coup against herself and her party.

It pretty much looks like Putin has send word to German businesses that any support for merkels criminal actions will have grave consequences for german businesses, very many of which have understand that the future is in Russia and not in zusa and who make loads of money in and with Russia.

My impression is that for merkel it's either win or lose everything and so she fights teeth and claws against Putin whom she probably sees as the man who is set to bring her - and possibly zeu - down.
It's about time to get rid of that bitch and klichko and timochenk friend anyway.

On another note, rumours are that kiev is sending what little it is left with in loyal or at least obedient mil. units. toward and against Crima, Odessa, and the eastern regions.
This may sound bad but actually is good news because it will justify both yanukovich to ask for and Putin to order defending eastern/southern ukraine.
Looking at the greater scale it would also create a situation where zato not confronting Russias forces decidedly will be interpreted globally as zusa being to weak and having finally lost super power status officially.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 10 2014 4:49 utc | 93

@#61 & #64 Yes the US acts as a bully with adversaries as well as with allies. Recent posts by b suggest US bullying Germany to toe the line. The only country that has been able to successfully manipulate US for quite some time is Israel but no one else. That's the US's MO. Where I respectfully disagree is that I do not see Russia as the good guys. There are few who would willingly prefer Russia as allies if they had a choice. The history of Russia as a ally is not good. At present the balance of power is tilted drastically in favor of US. And much of recent US 'meddling' seems to be about weakening the forces they see as a threat in the future. I come the MoA to get insight but feel it is still lacking about what is going on in Ukraine.

Posted by: Khalid | Mar 10 2014 4:49 utc | 94

There's a pretty clear piece at that treats the putsch in Kiev as just another US-orchestrated coup. The main point that it makes that all Western leaders are consistently ignoring is this:

Polling numbers show that the crowd in the streets was the same crowd that was too small to win democratically in the polls. So the crowd takes to the street, where it looks much larger, and orchestrates a coup, with American help, that looks to the world like the legal and constitutional movements of the nation’s parliament. The disguise allows the coup to go unseen because democracy, and not tanks, is wielded as a weapon. The coup cloaked in democracy was first seen in Latin America, in Honduras and Paraguay.

What is puzzling many people is that EU countries are going along with the US doing this on their doorstep. In the previous century, the US only did this kind of thing in Latin America or the Middle East.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 10 2014 4:53 utc | 95

Also to nobody's surprise the MSM is in propaganda mode, trying their hardest to spin the sentiment amongst the population. Gleichschaltung revisited.

For a long time now I've been wondering what drives a journalist to risk losing all his credibility. Here the Japan Times with an attempt at a list of reasons.

[...] Why are American reporters covering Crimea ignoring the big picture, and instead so focused on secondary distractions like how it makes Obama look and whether there’s a chance of a new Cold War? Four horsemen of the journalism apocalypse afflict overseas reporting:

* Journalistic stenography, in which attending a government press conference constitutes research.

* Kneejerk patriotism, where reporters identify with their government and are therefore less likely to question its actions, while reflexively assuming that rivals of the U.S. are ill-intentioned.

* Jack-of-all-trades journalism, in which the same writers cover too many different beats. A few decades ago, there would have been a bureau chief, or at least a stringer, who knew Ukraine and/or the former Soviet Union because he or she lived there.

* American ahistoricism, the widespread and widely acceptable ignorance of politics and history — especially those of other countries.

All four horsemen are pulling the Crimea story, but the fourth — not being aware of stuff that happened just one generation ago — is the most embarrassing.

I'd like to add a couple of more horsemen to the list.

* Fear of losing one's job with a mortgage and a family to feed. Hard as it is to get a paid gig in today's media landscape, who knows how many journos would write differently if they wouldn't have to follow strict editorial talking points to keep the job.

* The MSM is almost completely owned by a handful by zionist media tycoons, making sure the institutional climate within their operations is in line with their ideology.

Interesting however is to note that in many cases where readers are allowed to comment, the vast majority of comments slam the authors and their blatantly biased opinion pieces. A large proportion of the population, whilst not a fan of Putin per se, can see the hypocrisy in Ogolfer and Merkel's arguments and are not buying it. Not looking good for Goebbel's successors.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 10 2014 6:29 utc | 96

why is FEMEN attacking President Putin? they dont attack the US or ukrainian flags..and seem to be supporting neonazis of Ukraine who ally with alqaeda
take this tart
inna shevchenko ‏@femeninna 11m
Pro russian government of Crimea is organizing a referendum on 16th of March to decide if Crimea is Ukraine or already Russia.

inna shevchenko ‏@femeninna Mar 6
Ripping Russian flag in NYC
Fuck Putin!
#Ukraine #Putin
who exactly are FEMEN?

Posted by: brian | Mar 10 2014 6:35 utc | 97

Thank you James way back @1.

Apfelslag's piece is a stunning example of the distortions I see every day in the US media. My favorite: the NSA's got more class than to dump their Merkel intercepts onto Youtube. Maybe Russian intelligence is consulting with someone how's learned the value of a well timed leak.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 10 2014 7:11 utc | 98

Hipsters in San Francisco are holding a yoga/fund raiser at Dolores Park this Saturday to raise awareness and show solidarity with both FEMEN and Pussy Riot. The SWXSW Festival will be covering the days events; a special LGBT cadre in support of FEMEN will have a presence at Burning Man this spring. Meanwhile, in Oakland supporter will rally at rap festival at Oscar Grant Park. Nestor Makhno, Bob Avakian, Gypsy Boots, A.J. Weberman will be speaking.

Posted by: Ralph Spoilsport | Mar 10 2014 7:25 utc | 99

@anon #94:

Yes, without those two leaked intercepts of phone conversations, it would be considerably more difficult to demolish the official USG story of what happened in Kiev. The NSA doesn't leak its intercepts simply because no one commits anything like the level of mischief that USG commits, so it's unlikely that the NSA has intercepted anything that would be particularly damaging to the schemes of foreign governments if leaked.

@Ralph Spoilsport #95:

Yes, that is the death of the Left. identity politics has replaced political economy.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 10 2014 7:36 utc | 100

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