Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 20, 2014

Ukraine: More On Federalization, Sanctions On Private Russians

The coup government of Ukraine has ordered its troop to leave Crimea. Many of these troops, especially officers, may not follow these orders. Russia is offering them a much better deal:

“The pay is five times that offered by Ukraine,” [the captain] said. “The pensions are five times better, and will be offered 20 years sooner. We are told we would serve on the same military base. Defend the same soil, the homeland of many at these bases. Families living quite nearby the bases will be able to remain in their same homes.”

Why would any officer, especially those native from Crimea, reject such a fantastic deal? The Russian president already signed a new executive order that will let those officers keep their ranks and will recognize their Ukrainian military education.

The U.S. today sanctioned some private businessmen who are on good standing with the Russian president. One wonders who will sanction all those oligarch donors who put hundreds of millions into Obama's reelection campaign. What by the way is the legal foundation of personally sanction private businessman for the policies of the country they happen to live in? Russia only sanctioned a few U.S. politicians so far in retaliation of a few sanction on Russian politicians. Should it now take a deeper look into some Soros or other Obama supporters business deals and confiscate this or that operation they are involved in?

I have no idea what those sanctions are supposed to effect. Those oligarchs will likely not care, nor will the Russian government. It has other possibility and means to show a cold shoulder for U.S. interference in its near abroad. Russia had, on U.S. request, put sanctions on Iran is is helpful with the P5+1 negotiations with Iran. That surely could end. Or how about leaving the U.S. dollar realm. Russia is the biggest oil and gas exporter in this world. It has new pipelines going east and no longer depends on European customers. Surely it could price and invoice its exports in ruble, yuan, euros, gold or whatever instead of in U.S. dollar. This could do wonders to the U.S. interest rates.

I understand that the White House wants to do some cosmetic sanctions if only to avoid more criticism from the domestic right. But by that measure today's escalation isn't necessary. Does the Obama administration really believe it can, together with a few European puddles, sanction Russia, which is supported by the BRICS and Non-alligned countries, into the ground? With about two-third of the people in the U.S. and Europe against any escalation with Russia and with Putin having domestic approval ratings of 75% which side is more likely to sustain in a sanctions war?

The Russian foreign minister Lavrov again emphasized that the Ukraine needs a federal political structure to be at least somewhat political viable. We had already concluded that such a constitutional change in the Ukraine was part of Russian and U.S. agreement for the way forward there.

It is therefore interesting to see an op-ed in today's New York Times that argues for such a federalized state. Currently the quite mighty governors of the Ukrainian regions are named by the ruling president in Kiev. They change every time a president change occurs. The op-ed authors argue that this creates bad local policies:

Because these governors are politically appointed bureaucrats rather than elected politicians, they have little incentive to cultivate reputations for doing what voters want; instead, they do what the president wants. And with that record, if they later run for national office, voters won’t trust them to govern effectively.

Presidential appointment of governors in a diverse country like Ukraine also stokes secessionist pressure.
...
[O]fficials in Ukraine have begun to consider alternatives to the current constitutional structure that could reflect such a commitment. Advocates of decentralization include Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, and Andriy Sadovyi, the mayor of Lviv in western Ukraine. Ukraine’s Parliament, which would need to approve any constitutional change, has formed a working group on constitutional reform.

Some additional pressure from Washington and Brussels to federalize and finlandize the Ukraine could surely help to accelerate the move and thereby clean up the mess the U.S. sponsored coup created in Ukraine.

But are they really committed to clean up the mess or would they like to instigate more trouble?

Posted by b on March 20, 2014 at 17:28 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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thanks b! really interesting reading that article in the top link on what russia is offering..

Posted by: james | Mar 20 2014 17:57 utc | 1

EU and US could indeed sanction Russia, why couldnt they?
That BRIC would reject west before Russia is also nonsense imho.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 20 2014 18:03 utc | 2

"Russia is the biggest oil and gas exporter in this world. It has new pipelines going east and no longer depends on European customers. Surely it could price and invoice its exports in ruble, yuan, euros, gold or whatever instead of in U.S. dollar. This could do wonders to the U.S. interest rates."

That's already being done:

Russia, China to Promote Ruble, Yuan Use in Trade (Update2) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aSTmuCr.RD88

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aSTmuCr.RD88 http://www.troymedia.com/2013/10/28/oil-at-600-yuan-a-barrel/

Somebody isn't keeping up with the news apparently. The Russians and Chinese have been slowly and steadily moving away from using dollars in their trade. This moving away from the dollar by Russia and China is one of the reasons the west decided it was time to make a move on the Ukraine and attempt to bring Russia down. As this non-dollar trade is getting popular, the western poligarchy doesn't have a lot of time left before this steamrolls their world reserve currency monopoly free ride out of existence and removes the American status as the planetary hegemon.

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 20 2014 18:29 utc | 3

I wonder. Would the offer to Ukrainean officers apply to Crimea only?

Posted by: somebody | Mar 20 2014 18:37 utc | 4

MOA- "One wonders who will sanction all those oligarch donors who put hundreds of millions into Obama's reelection campaign. "

and one wonders why those Oligarchs don't go public and announce who they are and just how much money they've give to US politicians, especially Obama

Posted by: Solerso | Mar 20 2014 18:47 utc | 5

[...] or would they like to instigate more trouble?
Guaranteed. At this point in time there isn't much trouble the US/EU can cause apart from what they've done already, but they most certainly are working on planting the seed for their next attempt at bringing the Ukraine into NATO.

Fear of losing more regions to Russia means their initial aim will be preventing any further territorial challenges. Just as much as Russia will be trying to ensure that the new Ukrainian constitution contains provisions for regions to have the right to self determination and secede, will the US/EU leadership be fighting to stop any such provisions from being included.

Another major focus of US/EU activities will be to get their mates now in power to tone down their aggressive ultra nationalist rhetoric and more importantly to put their Nazi enforcers on a short leash, the countless videos of their violent attacks on media and regional state officials are a massive problem for the western PR machine.

The plan is hold the Ukraine together, put a western leaning government in place that can be sold as moderate and inclusive, and then sign contracts which would bind the country to its new masters.

Whether they will manage to sideline for the time being the ultra nationalist forces remains to be seen. Payments to party officials and back room promises of a future role in government down the track, once the new government has settled in, might get them to temporarily reduce their public exposure, but in the long run they can't be kept out of the picture.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 20 2014 18:48 utc | 6

@ 3 I guess its useless to wonder why they are going for the "showdown" confrontations instead of trying to get as much as they can through engagement and diplomacy..Thats where I think it becomes obvious what the real cost of US politicians putting the govt.up for sale has been -they don't have that kind of "influence" any more over the energy and defense "interests" that actually rule the country, those American oligarchs

Posted by: Solerso | Mar 20 2014 18:59 utc | 7

#7 That sounds about right. Essentially what you're saying is anarchy at the highest levels, right? Or let's be Social Darwinian (ugh) and call it Survival Of The Fittest (or most devious, or whatever: in human society it isn't always the cream that rises to the top).

And I'm not sticking up for Obama here (believe me!) but even if he were capable, and determined, the odds are pretty much against anyone being able to control this, well, whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 20 2014 19:09 utc | 8

@Kalithea
Thank you for defending the oppressed.
Do not be too upset by zionism.`sooner or later they will go back to the sewages they came from.If the Jihad in Gaza could fire as a warning shot in few hours 130 missiles,how much do you think the others could show?Satan's children are surrounded by hundreds of thousand if not millions of missiles.When the fiesta will start we will have the nicest of fireworks in our blessed region.Sooner rather than later is my credo.
But rejoice,Hallelujah,all these nicely educated and very civilized people are going back to the sewages they came from,in zusa and zeu.Rejoice because all these nice and very special people are coming back with all their exquisite manners.Imagine all the opportunities that will arise with their coming home.
Take their spitting business for example.They will not have to contend themselves with the few native christians adorned by some priests of colonial remnants,nooooo,they will have hundreds of millions of christians of all venues and ten of thousands of Churches to exercise on.Soooo much more fun than in Orshaleem.
How about property rights falsifications.This of course is an endless field with incredible business opps.
How about reclaiming things that were theirs-or not-just very short time ago.Much more fun than "belongings"thousands of years ago.Do you know how much valuable real estate assets or pieces of art zusa and zen can boast about?
You will say ok but what about human organs traffics ?oh my!Here we enter the endless horizon of profitable business with almost zero risks and hundred per cent of returns.Clients will need eyes?From blue to black ,all variations,sizes,curled lashes or straight ones included will be available 7/7.Need a kidney?No problems.Zeu metropolis are crowded,we have a huge bank here.You don't like urban kidneys?Fine they will have rural ones,completely bios,in rural markets with delivery in any cities from Scandinavia to Bulgaria.Extra costs will be contemplated for exports.No more need to shoot on demand malnourished palestinians.People here are sooo much healthier.
Experiment some new psychodrama for the benefit of humanity and the military industrial complex in cooperation with big Pharma?Prospectives here are amazing.Taking zeu into account and the progress made in zusa with the detention centers(imagine zusa alone has a 2 million jailed population) .Oh boy!That is a sure field of research with much better scientific guaranties than these rebellious palestinians who obstruct so obtusely scientific research and reject vehemently their services to humanity and on top of it dare to go on the longer hunger strikes this planet has seen ridiculing all our knowledge about human medical resilience.
Well,any sensible person will tell me how about this very nice and educated humanitarian business of intruding into terrorized native houses at night to snatch their children and jail them for their own good starting from such a mature age as age six?Don't be afraid ,no,no,this civilized and pedagogical mode will not get lost here in zeu and zusa.No,no,look at the zuk.They are extremely interested in these gentle methods.Zefrance and zzzzzgermans too are having enough problems with their unruly progenies.In this field too they will bring their contribution to the advancement of humanity
All this is clear and fine some will argue .But what about this very sportive activity of shooting at people for fun,isn't that the uttermost civilized behavior of the most polite people on earth?Nobody need to worry about it because this new Exodus is coming just in time.Just in time in zeu and zusa.Too many impolite people here are misbehaving.They don't trust their blessed governments.They hate their parliaments .They are misusing the internet.Can you imagine?Even blogs.Like Moon of Alabama.Spreading hatred.Rumors.Conspiracy theories. Love of dictators.Like the one in barbarian Russia.Or the one in untermensch Syria.Well ,all these poor refugees ,victims of the new exodus have years,nay decades long experience in the field of shootingTheir expertise is highly needed.And come very handily.
Ok,ok,we see your point,but what about uprooting trees?Don't you worry,zeu and zusa have millions of say apple trees ,fun is in this field assured.As a bonus some old,ugly shocked,traumatized woman might well try to save her tree in a troglodyte way and embrace it to defend it rest assure some local,regional version of AFP/Reuters/UPI/AP/photographer will immortalize hr and receive humanitarian prizes and applauses for this picture.It will absolve us from our sins.We will have shown Compassion and Mercy.In rewarding the picture .And go back to business as usual .
Zeu and zusa have almost complied to the need of these incredibly gentle and dare we say exceptional p
people.But few questions remains to be clarified for zusa and zeu to be the Promised Land.
These new settlers or returnees if you want,they like order.And Quality.In their neighborhood.And they get bored quite rapidly.Ah! you mean ethnic cleansing and sowing dissent among people,this ultimate supreme behavior of how civilized people should be?
Hahaha,what a better paradise than zusa or zeu.Well maybe zeu will respond more to the need of their pacific souls.In a very democratic way.To protect minorities.Like in Syria at the moment.We will need MGM musical accompaniment .Or maybe Wagner?Have you looked at zeu 's map?Do you see how we can stretch the borders?or diminish them?Far more lebensraum a la Jabotinsky or a la Hertzl?Deir Yassin.Pfuiii,that was a small spot.Hula in Lebanon?Negligible.Qana?Jenin?Gaza?I regret to say ,all small excrements.Compare to what zusa or zeu might offer….
They treated verbally these untermenschen of arabs as cockroaches,pigs,animals,apes?Nothing compare to what zeu and zusa talk shows offer as endless opportunities.
They"offended"a billion and a half of Muslims?Well soon enough they will expand their verbal educated services to a much larger audience. Adding almost two billions Christians.That is 100%return on a very good investment or in R2P language it is called the conquest of hearts and minds.
Last but not least it will be fun to watch the exceptionally nice ,polite,democratically people with humanitarian minds.And hearts.Pick at surrounding persons in the neighborhoods.Taking out of their closets,in the millions,the nazi grandfathers,the collaborators ones ,the fascist ones ,the pogrom lovers ones,and after having used them as soiled toilet paper the Bandera ones.
At last Civiliz ation will hit at full speed these two miscreant continents,zusa and zeu.For their greater good.Amen
And finally how will our Blessed Region survive without their invaluable services to mankind?
For the first time since the invention of tv ,we will watch the news without images of shot infants feet,and heads hanging from trees and balconies,some of them burned without recognition after every car bombs,air bombs,infantry bombs,police and IDF bombs.
We will have our rights to real important world news like zusa and zeu,we will not be THE news splashed on the screens or censured anymore.We will follow real important world topics.Like the one of the wife who cut her philandering husband penis and cooked it for her mother in law.Or the sexual escapades of our head of states .Or the divorces of our stars.Or how the cat of our neighbor was put-in the washing machine successfully and how our neighbor was condemned to ten years of jail for having not used a bio soap in the machine shampooing of his unfortunate cat.

Posted by: Nobody | Mar 20 2014 19:14 utc | 9

@6 Juan Moment

I think you are right. The preferred US outcome is something like Egypt, where they hold all the strings. This costs them a couple of few dollars a year, which they can extract from Congress on the grounds that it protects Israel. The Ukies are going to be a harder sell. If it were Canada with its fairly large and politically strategically situated electorate, it would be a done deal. But the US doesn't have a concentrated Ukie electorate. Everything has to be sold as anti-Russian, which is an easy sell as long as it's free, but not when it costs. I think the US will run some false flag operations in the Ukraine to drum up support, but the Americans currently have more important things on their minds, like finding a job that pays the rent. Imperialism is a luxury good.

Posted by: Knut | Mar 20 2014 19:14 utc | 10

Sorry but psychopharmas and not dramas.

Posted by: Nobody | Mar 20 2014 19:23 utc | 11

#9 I am thinking the souls of millions of Native Americans applaud you for voicing what they no longer can.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 20 2014 19:23 utc | 12

6) You are forgetting that no one in Europe wants Ukraine. Europe wants Russian gas. Direct war with Russia - lost in the 18th, the 19th, the 20th century - would be suicidal in the 21st as Russia is nuclear. Color revolution spreading from Ukraine is highly unlikely now when Putin is the hero of Crimean reunification. Russian ologarchs now have to transfer their capital back to Russia for safety which is welcome.
The view from China

One of Beijing's overriding strategic objectives is to foster the development of a multipolar world in which US hegemony is checked and China gradually gains the space to reclaim its leadership role in the Asia-Pacific. Russia's re-emergence as a great power 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union is conducive to this. America's dominance in global affairs is in relative decline. Its much-touted "pivot to Asia" says as much. After all, one can only pivot to one place at a time. Even before Ukraine, America's pivot seemed to have been redirected back towards the Middle East. Now, no doubt, it has to pivot to Russia. A continuously pivoting superpower serves China's interests.


Posted by: somebody | Mar 20 2014 19:38 utc | 13

Somewhat OT from other front of the global war - Syrian Arab Army has its FB page with current and interesting updates. They just liberated Krak des Chevaliers. Also offer some clarification of what really recently happened on Golan Heights:

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 20 2014 19:42 utc | 14

I think the usurpers in Kiev realize that they are doomed to fail soon and they've been trying to plunder as much as they can on the orders from their masters before they are ousted by the outraged Ukrainian people. All the tough talk, drills with NATO, calling up National Guard, high profile meetings with western officials, op-eds from supporting presstitutes and whorespondents - it boils down to just buying time before the inevitable.

Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 20 2014 20:07 utc | 16

Angela Merkel, German chancellor, accused Russia on Thursday of resorting to “the law of the jungle” in the Crimea crisis, in a tough speech to parliament

Angela, ring Mr Putin and apologise for killing over 20 million of his people and for the death of his Brother due to conditions you caused in stalingrad

or shut up.

Posted by: boindub | Mar 20 2014 20:10 utc | 17

@6 Juan Moment

I tend to agree with your analysis. Note that the US and EU are on the defensive. Time is on the side of Russia and the rest of the world, who slowly are understanding what the US and EU have become. Not good news for the neo-cons.

The longer the neo-nazis can be "kept" in power in Kiev the greater will be the disenchantment by the western Ukrainians, and the chaos will prevent any real progress being made in that part of the country. I suspect the southern and eastern population will be "guided" into deciding for a federation along the lines that Russian has suggested.

@3 scalawag

I agree about the US $. It is becoming weaker every day, but its death is still some way away. The BRICS (and other) non-dollar dealings are not yet powerful enough to make a big difference, but day by day the trend is becoming more obvious. When the dollar collapses that will be the death knell for US fascism.

Posted by: TicoTiger | Mar 20 2014 20:15 utc | 18

somebody 13 The US "pivot" was DOA Post-US world born in Phnom Penh:


It is symptomatic of the national condition of the United States that the worst humiliation ever suffered by it as a nation, and by a US president personally, passed almost without comment last week. I refer to the November 20 announcement at a summit meeting in Phnom Penh that 15 Asian nations, comprising half the world's population, would form a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership excluding the United States.

President Barack Obama attended the summit to sell a US-based Trans-Pacific Partnership excluding China. He didn't. The American led-partnership became a party to which no-one came.

Instead, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, will form a club and leave out the United States. As 3 billion Asians become prosperous, interest fades in the prospective contribution of 300 million Americans - especially when those Americans decline to take risks on new technologies. America's great economic strength, namely its capacity to innovate, exists mainly in memory four years after the 2008 economic crisis...


Posted by: ProPeace | Mar 20 2014 20:15 utc | 19

Yulia claims she's innocent, never made a penny (or deposited millions in some 85 UK bank accounts) since 1997.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/exclusive-uk-banks-in-row-over-yulia-tymoshenko-millions-9177693.html

She must be counting on the ones they haven't found yet, now that she's out of jail.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 20 2014 20:48 utc | 20

@13

> A continuously pivoting superpower serves China's interests.

Love this allegory. It was called prostitution before if I recall correct.

Posted by: Sergey | Mar 20 2014 20:49 utc | 21

There is a weird thought in my head that somehow keeps coming up from time to time.

It's centered around the oligarchs.

Basically oligarchs are anathema; they pretty much embody what both Putin and the people despise, they got rich by stealing from the people and, even worse, they did it at a time when Russia was quite defenseless.

Now, I myself, just some days ago, explained why oligarchs, if properly controlled, can be useful, even necessary - for a time, that is.

That's where that thought begins to nag again. Because their useful life is next to expired. Which must not be bad for them; after all they've earned obscene amounts of money, so they wouldn't live in poverty. Actually they could even invest much of their money in the traditional way, in companies, in starting businesses, in financing enterprises, etc.

Oops. There we have it, part 1. It basically is "You've earned billions and you may even keep them - *if* you invest traditionally within the country".

But that's not good enough. There must be sth. more.

Laugh at me - and I might be wrong - but maybe they are "financial nuclear bombs".
These guys have >100bln$ and much of that outside of Russia. Until Friday last week. Now it's maybe in Suisse. Or not (Suisse largely caved in to zusa, so it's not really secure anymore). What if Putin told them "You bring your money home or else ..."

Such a move would flush Russia a) with zus$ b) with money, converted to Rubles and such c) basically force the oligarchs to invest much in Russia, which again wouldn't be that bad considering zusas and zeus economic situation. In the end everybody could be happy.

Last but not least those guys would bring in also very major relations, know how (money markets, etc.)

As you'll notice, I'm somewhat floating. Of course, I'm no finance expert in any way as I've openly said before. But although I can't nail it precisely there were multiple points that felt wrong. One example: Whoever say how Putin treated oligarchs doesn't have the slightest doubt that he despises them and let's them live and earn money only if there is a very good part in it for Russia, too.
Other point are that a) Russia doesn't need them anymore. What they had to do is done for the largest part. b) being in situation that gets tighter and tighter with banks zusa controlled and now the sanctions Russia becomes attractive again for the oligarchs.

Also, one must - as so often - invert zusas story. The interesting issue isn't the oligarchs on zusas list; those are largely "good" guys closely cooperating with Putin. The interesting part is those that are *not* on the list, I think.

Again, I know too little about international finance to nail it down, but my guts (and my brain as much as it understands that stuff) tell me that I might finally after many years of being troubled by that question have found why they were allowed to exist.
The funny part - and be sure, there's always humour around Putin - is that if I'm right Putin did for years - and successfully - what zusa had planned in ukraine that is, let the other side feed your agent (in ukraines case yanukovich) and when is is nicely filled up, you kill the bird.

OK, "nuclear bomb" might be a somewhat gross term but well, if someone wanted to have some TNT inmidst the dollar system and zusa large corps, the oligarchs might be quite perfect for that. And they'd be smart bombs and even bombs with a life will, ready to do a whole lot to not lose everything.

If I'm way off, feel free to laugh at me. But I guess I'm not although it might look like it due to me somewhat uttering in int. financial things.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 20 2014 20:52 utc | 22

Samantha Power said, "They claimed that the recent change of government in Ukraine constituted such a danger to ethnic Russians in Crimea that military action was justified. Assistant Secretary General Simonovic’s briefing once again illustrates that this crisis was never about protecting the rights of ethnic Russians and was always about one country’s ambition to redraw its own borders."

Samantha Power make me sick. She want's us o believe that Russia's actions were not in response to the mess the U.S. sponsored coup created in Ukraine but rather just because of Russia's "ambition to redraw its own borders"?!

Come on, even if you don't accept the concern Russia expressed about ethnic Russians, how dishonest can you be to deny that what Russia did was in reaction to the coup? I am sure Russia didn't want their naval base in Crimea to be at the mercy of the right wing coup participants and what they may do as far as NATO moving even closer to Russia and putting them at a strategic risk by undermining the security of the Crimean base. Samantha Power once again shows how dishonest she is.

Why do readers here think about that?

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Mar 20 2014 21:12 utc | 23

Let’s be cynical and down to earth..

see for ex. Yatsenyuk, party creation and affiliations:

Democratic Front, and then, Front for change , political parties, lead by Yats. (Also some kind of public foundations.) At the same time, a pol list of Our-Ukr. Self Defense bloc. (2007 onwards, hard to track and figure out, as these entities co-exist, meld, etc.)

Was then joined with Fatherland or All Ukrainian Fatherland (Yulia’s party, she was in prison but had a lot of potential votes, which Yats did not.)

There was also another party run by the same types, called For Ukraine.

In short, these pol. parties are, were, the creation of one or of a few more ppl in cahoots, and have nothing to do with any political options at all.

The slogans are always nationalistic, empty of other content, the pol options always center-right (if that has any meaning in this context) and covertly favor big biz, oligarchs, foreign support, foreign investment, land sales, etc.

(Svoboda being on the face of it an exception, as against privatization, land sales, zero taxes for foreign cos, etc. but that is a mirage of course, in this kind of landscape that is what arises, no I do not support neo-nazis.)

So any ‘rile up’ thingie is good - Russian language, abortion, what not, divide and conquer, all that.

All these political parties imho were looking out for no. 1 - control, foreign aid, and making out like bandits. Their complaints about corruption stretch only so far, to their opponents and blatant ‘fixing’ etc.

Yats’ aim, as he has said, is to clean up and create rigorous austerity, which will of course not apply to those in control of the economics of the country, as they will skim off the top of AID / investment once the rapine rules are figured out, and manage those industries that are allowed to subsist or that will be created with the ‘new financing’ to their profit.

Financiers, stock-market types, hedge funds, and the like, are right now talking of a 20-year boom in Ukraine.

The pol parties (as informal financial clubs with fake public faces) played both ends and naturally ended up, as was always the plan, with the richer and more rapacious money providers, exploiters looking for cheap labor, i.e. Western Corporations / Gvmts.

Crimea? Financially, of no interest, it provides a wonderful distraction, is all. Let Putin have it, it is tiny and a backwater, a tin-pot place. This matter being resolved (Putin will go no further) is all good. Now everyone can settle down and make big bucks. (Gas and so on is another topic for discussion but not important as things stand now.)

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 20 2014 21:17 utc | 24

@23 tom murphy - powers and who she represent are full of shite.. she knows it.. the usa knows it.. europe knows it.. who do they think they are fooling? only idiots who like having their brain washed regularly.

Posted by: james | Mar 20 2014 21:18 utc | 25

Knut @10

I agree, holding strings is the name of the game. I doubt however that the US is holding all the strings in Egypt, but that's another story.

From now on the US/EU strategy for the Ukraine, surely cobbled together in haste seeing the foreign policy teams in Washington and Brussels are not known for having plan B's worked out before things go awry, will be in one form or another a salvage operation. Take stock of what political assets they have left, reduce their personnel liabilities and cement their relationships with Ukraine's oligarchy.

Whatever it takes, the West must be able to produce at least a token win for their audiences at home, being seen like total losers would be too embarrassing. And herein lies the Russian government's strength, they don't have to convince the electorate at home of anything, it already has popular support.

Offering concessions on matters not jeopardizing ethnic Russians interests, agreeing on compromises which would allow Omerkel to save face in their Ukrainian debacle, could be the lever to extract a change of stance in Washington's attitude towards Syria.

Be that as it may, the crucial factor in what will happen next in the Ukraine will be their next federal election. Whichever side will score the majority vote will have the legitimate power to steer things their way.

somebody @13

You are forgetting that no one in Europe wants Ukraine. Europe wants Russian gas. [...]
Of course they want Ukraine! If European leaders as you claim wouldn't want Ukraine, they wouldn't have spent all this political capital on trying to install a government keen on becoming part of the West.

What you state may be true for European taxpayers and energy consumers who will have to foot the bill for this Ukrainian extension, they indeed don't want Ukraine. Unfortunately though they are not being asked.

Mr Pragma @21

[...] If I'm way off, feel free to laugh at me. [...]
You could be right, as a matter of fact one of the reasons serious sanctions against Russia won't be considered is because they would excruciatingly threaten the UK's, or more precise the City of London's financial well being.

It is almost as if with all these Eastern and Western oligarchs investing in each others empires, the concept of mutually assured destruction has been extended into the commercial arena.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 20 2014 21:45 utc | 26

24) It is a complete sham. Ukrainian oligarchs use Russia to protect them from the IMF/ EU austerity/taxes and US/EU to protect them from Russia. Julia Timoshenko in German Bild (that is the yellow paper with the largest German readership)basically called for war against Russia.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 20 2014 21:59 utc | 27

26)
Of course they want Ukraine! If European leaders as you claim wouldn't want Ukraine, they wouldn't have spent all this political capital on trying to install a government keen on becoming part of the West.

They have not spent political capital yet. They will when the economic sanctions game closes down businesses or gas prices rise to astronomic heights.

There is nothing in Ukraine Europe needs except the pipelines.

What Europe really wants, badly wants is to break the Russian gas monopoly.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 20 2014 22:19 utc | 28

[...] There is nothing in Ukraine Europe needs except the pipelines. [...]
Are you serious? Do you really believe the sole purpose of all those western efforts to get a coup happening was to gain control of gas pipelines running through the country?

What for? To be able to turn off the valves? Hardly.

No, In my opinion the primary driver for the decision to bring the Ukraine firmly into a western orbit was to open doors for NATO into Europe's largest country.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 20 2014 22:44 utc | 29

@5 The information is out there, mostly. People just dont care to look. And the media isnt going to tell them.

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 20 2014 22:55 utc | 30

somebody

What Europe really wants, badly wants is to break the Russian gas monopoly.

I'm not so sure. After all it was Europe which (next to zusa) drove itself into that dependancy by their criminal sanctions against Iran.
Secondly, yes Russia earns shitloads of money but zusa wouldn't give away their gasfor free, neither. Also don't forget that it was Europes choice to paint Russia as evil rather than to warmly welcome Russia as a partner, a partner at that who has interest in european products but gets treated badly.

Last but not least, Russia invested in all those pipelines. Europe was free to build their own pipelines to Iran or wherever but chose not to do so but to rather comfortably consume and let Russia do the work and bear the investments.

But you are right if you meant that Europe wants to fuck Russia and to get that gas for pennies on the dollar (like zusa did until 2004).

And frankly, after the evil attacks on Russia during the past week, zeu should be very glad to get Russian gas at all.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Mar 20 2014 22:58 utc | 31

The AP is reporting that there are "pro-Russian rabbles" in eastern Ukraine.

The US and Russia have truly switched places, with US propaganda becoming as crude as Soviet propaganda was.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 20 2014 23:00 utc | 32

As the US/EU keeps provoking Russia with sanctions and such, it's only a matter of time before things blow up. .. As things stand, there are no adults in the west. ..

Posted by: Zico | Mar 20 2014 23:15 utc | 33

It's easier to believe that US and EU leaders are corrupt and foolish than consciously evil (because that would demand a certain threshold of intelligence), but be that as it may, it seems everyone's determined to raise energy prices on all of us constituents, between disrupting Russian supplies and serious talk of exporting US gas to Europe (which cannot be done economically without subsidy). Obviously, someone in the supply chain has a potential for making enormous profits off the rest of us.

Posted by: Jon Lester | Mar 20 2014 23:29 utc | 34

US natural gas simply can't be exported economically to Europe without subsidy, so we citizens will pay with both our taxes and the markup for our own energy consumption, if such a stupid idea actually becomes practice. Obviously, someone in the supply chain will enjoy enormous profits, but there won't be any prosperity for the rest of us.

Posted by: Jon Lester | Mar 20 2014 23:37 utc | 35

Posted by: somebody | Mar 20, 2014 3:38:31 PM | 13

"America's pivot seemed to have been redirected back towards the Middle East. Now, no doubt, it has to pivot to Russia. A continuously pivoting superpower serves China's interests."


I think a better simile for US foreign policy would be pirouette. Kerry and Obama have a FP that is totally incoherent as has been clear for some time. This is obviously a situation that those who run US FP did not want to see happen. It is difficult to understand how they could have let this happen but right now they are trapped with their earlier words; hopefully the federation idea that b is so optimistic about will happen but there are so many ways that this can still go south.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 20 2014 23:55 utc | 36

There are various reports of the Ukrainian military not accepting orders from the coup govt in Kiev. I wonder if a military counter-coup is a possibility, especially if military pensions are cut. The Ukrainian military is evidently not very well paid as it is.

On the other hand, austerity never means austerity for the military (even prostrate Greece went ahead with orders for new military hardware), and usually the local military is happy to get new NATO toys.

Posted by: shargash | Mar 21 2014 0:10 utc | 37

Regarding @9 Nobody's orwellian parody on Zionism:

The Iron Wall

Have you looked at zeu 's map?Do you see how we can stretch the borders?or diminish them?Far more lebensraum a la Jabotinsky or a la Hertzl?Deir Yassin.Pfuiii,that was a small spot.Hula in Lebanon?Negligible.Qana?Jenin?Gaza?I regret to say ,all small excrements.Compare to what zusa or zeu might offer….

____________________________________________

For all who don't know, not to underestimate anyone's intelligence here, the meaning of:

lebensraum: The Nazis supported territorial expansionism to gain Lebensraum...being a lawfor all healthy and vigorous peoples of superior races to displace people of inferior races; especially if the people of a superior race were facing overpopulation in their given territories. (def. from Wiki)

Same principle as the Israeli Defense Forces shoving the riffraff of Jerusalem and the West Bank off their land and into refugee ghettos and open air prisons behind the Iron Wall* to make way for a superior race, namely the Chosen ones.

*Iron Wall is the concept (authored by the uber-Zionist, Jabotinsky) of hoarding military firepower and exercising overwhelming military force (ex:the 4th largest military in the world, fighter jets, sea Wasps, drones - you name it, even hundreds of nukes-just in case!) to keep the primitive Palestinians with their sticks, stones and scrap metal projectiles well at bay imprisoned in a God-foresaken corner of hell.

Hear now, O ^ house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? Ez18:25

^glass...glass house of Israel

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 0:23 utc | 38

It might be useful to consider some of the history behind the current dilemma that Obama and Kerry find themselves. I do not believe that either the major players in the current admin or any of the big deep state honchos wanted to see this happen but there were some deep influences inside our establishment that led to this fiasco. I think we all know about how destructive it was to give a neocon like Victoria Nuland the European-Erasian portfolio at state and that was part of the problem.

I think Brzezinski's influence inside the Obama admin was also important. We have seen repeated references to his 1997 paper arguing about the need for the US to isolate and reduce the Russian state. Of course, brzezinski was a FP advisor to Obama from the very beginning. I had forgotten something else about his influence in government. Brzezinski was one of the founders of the trilateral commission that was instrumental in getting Jimmy Carter elected to the presidency. This is a quote from: Truedemocracy

The Carter Presidency and Beyond, published in 1980 by the Ramparts Press, Prof. Laurence H. Shoup devotes an entire chapter to demonstrating how the Trilateral-linked and Trilateral-controlled Establishment media promoted the presidential candidacy in 1976 of the then-obscure Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter.

We should all know the destructive influence Brz had in the Carter admin. He not only began our involvement in the Afghan civil war by supporting the Islamic rebels there in 1978 but he also largely reversed the policy of detente with the Soviet Union that was put together by Nixon and Kissinger. It is no accident that Kissinger and Brz have had competing op eds in the NYTs and WaPo in the last few weeks over our Ukraine policy with Brz arguing for escalation and Kiss arguing that we respect Russia's national interests.

In any case the mistake that Obama and Kerry have made is bedded deep in our major FP institutions. Hopefully there will be a recognition among the grownups there and the importance of cleaning out their attics and purging the system of this knee jerk anti-Russian bias.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 21 2014 0:33 utc | 39

@35 ToivoS

I think a better simile for US foreign policy would be pirouette.

Or it's the organized chaos of America's proxy wars foreign policy strategy.

The signal of which was picked up by Putin's radar after he was snowed on Libya.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 0:48 utc | 40

@34

Never gonna happen.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 0:55 utc | 41

@38

It might be useful to consider some of the history behind the current dilemma that Obama and Kerry find themselves.

I believe that Ukraine was an application of the organized chaos proxy wars strategy to Brzezinski's continuing mad plan to weaken Russia by bringing it to its knees economically.

What has completely caught the U.S. executive and legislative branches off-guard is how expediently and painlessly Putin annexed Crimea.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 1:11 utc | 42

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 20, 2014 9:11:25 PM | 41
What has completely caught the U.S. executive and legislative branches off-guard is how expediently and painlessly Putin annexed Crimea.

That is true and it is inexcusable because Russia's reaction to events in Ukraine should have been (and were by a number of us here) clearly anticipated. People running our state department have less understanding than intelligent bystanders watching from the wings.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 21 2014 1:35 utc | 43

ToivoS # 42

"People running our state department have less understanding than intelligent bystanders watching from the wings."

While we're certainly not seeing any evidence of knowledge or intelligence, your statement still presumes there actually any people "running" the state department. It looks instead like we've got several different claques -- Neo-Cons, Neo-Liberals, those beholden to one or another oligarch or corporate interest -- both inside and outside the official halls of power. Some are just doing the bidding of those who pay them, some are ideologues, or whatever, but all were chosen because they're useful to ... (fill in the various blanks; there are a few to choose from), NOT because they have any knowledge, intelligence, or diplomatic or strategic skill. Pace Grover Norquist, our "government", at least vis-a-vis foreign affairs, HAS drowned in that bathtub.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 21 2014 1:44 utc | 44

It would be fascinating if Iran and other nations applied to become autonomous parts of the Russian Federation. Did Argentina not apply to join the British Empire during the 1930s?

Posted by: Cortes | Mar 21 2014 1:45 utc | 45

Those who write the EU really wanted Ukraine...I dunno; I think Ukraine wanted the EU more. The only reason I can see the EU wanting another welfare state is for Ukraines' shale gas reserves which Dutch and U.S. companies are to explore, and the outcome of this prospect is still uncertain, especially within the backdrop of Ukraine's unstable, potentially volatile political situation.

The U.S. has a greater hegemonic stake in Ukraine which is why it's committing to billions at a time Americans are weary of working for foreign interests.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 1:48 utc | 46

@42

Very true, but even we didn't expect the whole transition process to be as painless as it was.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 1:53 utc | 47

@44 Cortes

omg! That would be krazy karma for the U.S.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 2:07 utc | 48

Tom Murphy @23. She's an idiot.

Posted by: MRW | Mar 21 2014 2:09 utc | 49

I think it's the bankers driving this, banker pals of the neocons. If they can get the Ukraine to give up its currency and adopt the Euro, then the bankers (bond vigilantes) can swoop in with loans and demand enormous collateral, which of course Ukraine will never be able to repay. Instant overnight Greece/Spain conditions for Ukraine. Complete impoverishment. I'm sure the bankers were salivating at getting their mitts on the Dnieper-Donets oil basin. The Svobodas and Right Sector idiots probably don't have a clue what the bankers are after, but they will the instant the hryvna disappears.

Posted by: MRW | Mar 21 2014 2:15 utc | 50

If the RF were to rebrand itself as (eg) International Federation of Free Societies...would Venezuela, Cuba, Syria etc be able to apply for membership?

Posted by: Cortes | Mar 21 2014 2:16 utc | 51

Nora at #42 says: not seeing any evidence of knowledge or intelligence, your statement still presumes there actually any people "running" the state department. It looks instead like we've got several different claques -- Neo-Cons, Neo-Liberals, those beholden to one or another oligarch or corporate interest

I can't disagree with that summary. One tiny correction, I think you mean "clique" not "claque".

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 21 2014 2:20 utc | 52

@48 MRW & Tom Murphy

That's not even the stupidest thing she said. I found this at The Saker:

And then there was the utterly unprofessional, rude and undiplomatic rant of Samantha Powers at the UNSC. She actually said the following:

Russia is known for its literary greatness and what you just heard from the Russian ambassador showed more imagination than Tolstoy or Chekhov. A thief can steal property but that does not confer the right of ownership on the thief. What Russia has done is wrong as a matter of law, wrong as a matter of history, wrong as a matter of policy and dangerous.

Can you fucking imagine? How completely rude, witless, and lame. What Samantha Powers knows about law, history, and policy couldn't fill a thimble, I'm sure of that.

I am absolutely disgusted to be represented by this nitwit.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 21 2014 2:29 utc | 53

toiviS

you are correct, brzezinski & his cadre of einsatzgruppen are written all over the empire's intervention

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 21 2014 2:30 utc | 54

ToivoS #51. Both, really.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 21 2014 2:42 utc | 55

guest77 # 52, Mr. P and/or anyone else who knows Russian: I asked at Saker, no response yet, but I know there's a Russian word pronounced something like nekultura, that describes her to a "T". Could you please write, and define it better?

Posted by: Nora | Mar 21 2014 2:44 utc | 56

Nomenklatura. It means state bureaucracy.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 21 2014 2:58 utc | 57

Demian #56. Nope, it's a different word that means uncouth, uncultured, ignorant, but more than that, I think. It's something you say with real contempt -- and I think it pretty much fits Powers. I'd just like to be able to say it properly and get a clearer idea of what it means.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 21 2014 3:11 utc | 58

Okay, I Googled it, but still haven't a clue how you say it, or much more about what it means.

некультурный
nekul'turnyy

Posted by: Nora | Mar 21 2014 3:14 utc | 59

As for the Saker, I wish he wouldn't use the expression "AngloZionist Empire". Zionism and the US Empire are two different things. I think Walt and Mearsheimer's position, that Israel essentially controls US Mideast policy, but not foreign policy in general, is correct.

Israel has not joined countries like Britain and Germany in following the US and going hysterical in response to Russia following its national interest while acting in accordance with international law. The simple explanation for that is that Israel is not a colony of the US, unlike the EU.

The Saker's article about Putin's speech is excellent, however.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 21 2014 3:23 utc | 60

in a word, demian, yes, i agree

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Mar 21 2014 3:29 utc | 61

Kalithea @ 37:

"lebensraum: The Nazis supported territorial expansionism to gain Lebensraum...being a lawfor all healthy and vigorous peoples of superior races to displace people of inferior races; especially if the people of a superior race were facing overpopulation in their given territories. (def. from Wiki)"

This is a fair comparison of how the Israelis treat the indigenous people, mainly the Palestinians, but also the Bedouins. It's disgraceful. The Israelis have become what they most hate..Neo-Nazis.

Picture worth a thousand words...

http://duplicitousdemocracy.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/dissappearing-palestine.jpg

Posted by: ben | Mar 21 2014 3:48 utc | 62

@22 Mr. Pragma

You just gave me another reason why I like reading you! Come on tell us your secret--you must have an "inside" edge; maybe you really are a KGB program!

Either you're psychic or you were the fly on the wall at Putin's meeting with some of Russia's top oligarchs!:

President Vladimir Putin told company bosses on Thursday to bring their assets home and clean up their businesses to help Russia survive Western sanctions over Crimea and an economic downturn.

Without referring to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region or to slowing economic growth, Putin said it would also be in the bosses' interests to support the Russian economy.

"Russian companies should be registered on the territory of our nation, in our country and have a transparent ownership structure," Putin told heads of Russia's largest companies.

"I am certain that this is also in your interests," he said, pressing home a patriotic message at a conference full of businessmen, including a front row of top oligarchs such as media mogul Alisher Usmanov and metals magnate Vladimir Potanin.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/20/russia-economy-putin-idUSL6N0MH2IW20140320

Some historical reference on Russia's oligarchy from a 2010 article:

http://www.thomaswhite.com/global-perspectives/oligarchs-the-first-russian-capitalists/

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 3:51 utc | 63

How Cold War-Hungry Neocons Stage Managed RT Anchor Liz Wahl’s Resignation

It is the story, according to former colleagues, of an apolitical, deeply disgruntled employee seeking an exit strategy from a job where, sources say, she was disciplined for unprofessional behavior and had been demoted. Wahl did not return several voice and text messages sent to her cellphone.

At the center of the intrigue is a young neoconservative writer and activist who helped craft Wahl’s strategy and exploit her resignation to propel the agenda of a powerful pro-war lobby in Washington.

The story began at 5:07 p.m. Eastern time on March 5.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 21 2014 3:59 utc | 64

More on the affect of sanctions:

Nikolai Nikolayev, who owns a consulting business as well as hotels on Russia's Black Sea coast, dismissed the fears of wide-ranging trade embargoes.

European companies export 123 billion ($170 billion) to Russia in 2012. So if they were told to curb or stop their exports to Russia, they would suffer hugely, Nikolayev said.

"These companies will get gaping holes in their sales," said Nikolayev. "Who is going to suffer more here?"

[...]

Russia is the world's largest energy exporter, accounting for a third of Europe's consumption, according to oil company BP. It is also the world's largest exporter of industrial metals, making exports from companies like Severstal crucial for global producers whether they are making cars or airplanes.

"The world could afford to lose a million barrels of Iranian oil," Robertson said, referring to sanctions against Iran in 1979. "With Europe already upset that their energy costs are higher than the U.S., (it's) hard to see Europe getting more serious here."

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/sp-cuts-russian-credit-outlook-amid-crimea-crisis-22988184?page=2

But some Russian companies took a big hit in declining stock prices and so did Russia's currency.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 4:16 utc | 65

Both "Russian" billionaires sanctioned, Gennady Timchenko and Boris Rotenberg are Finnish citizens!

Helsinki Arena owners slapped with US sanctions over Ukraine

A new list of Russians subject to US sanctions includes three businessmen with major investments in Finland. Two, Gennady Timchenko and Boris Rotenberg, hold Finnish citizenship. The other third is Boris's brother Arkady.

I wonder if we will hear an angry response from Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja or President Niinistö? Most likely not. (So much for equal protection under the law.)

***

One point about economic warfare: Most of the US foreign income comes from intellectual property. It will be very easy for Russia and China to stop paying any royalties for anything. At the least, it will be easy to confiscate redemption from the cash flows of Sony Entertainment et al.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Mar 21 2014 4:27 utc | 66

Justin Raimondo just posted a piece on the Magdan snipers. I think that's good, since he has nothing to do with Russia and is an American conservative/libertarian, so his post will help keep this issue alive in some American circles.

The US has backed right-wing murderers before, most notably in Latin America. But it really is remarkable that the EU is backing a regime that came into power by snipers killing people on the same side as those who hired them. It's like we are living in an upside down world.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 21 2014 4:28 utc | 67

@59, 60

As for the Saker, I wish he wouldn't use the expression "AngloZionist Empire".

in a word, demian, yes, i agree

Why not? Zionism deserves plenty of exposure. I fully encourage everyone to follow suit! LOL.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 4:54 utc | 68

@kalithea: Giving Zionism exposure doesn't require conflating it with US imperialism. That's just muddled thinking. The architect of current US policy towards Russia, Brzeziński, has nothing to do with Zionism. He hates Russia because he is Polish.

Also, there is no need to give hasbara types ammunition for calling critics of US power antisemitic.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 21 2014 5:07 utc | 69

Nora - Mr. Pragma may correct or add, since I don't really speak Russian - but
Definition of "nekulturny" applied to man, "nekulturna" - applied to a woman - have to have adjectives correct

basically means "uncultured" "not cultured" - and there is a ton of emotional baggage to it - unpleasant to be called that; an insult.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 21 2014 5:52 utc | 70

Nora @58

Got to translate.google.com. Click on the pronunciation icon.
http://translate.google.com/#ru/en/некультурный

Posted by: MRW | Mar 21 2014 6:05 utc | 71

Nora, Night Owl,

I see, nekulturny, not nomenklatura.

I really don't see how that adjective can be applied to Samantha Power. She has written several books and taught at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. "Nekulturny" means uneducated, among other things.

Also, it is a Soviet term. (It is used in the film (and probably novel) From Russia with Love.) I am not sure if it is still in general use in Russia. Maybe Mr. Pragma can shed some light on that.

Also, I might as well use this occasion to say that I do not object to his term "zusa". That just mocks the US for being forced to act against its own self-interest by a special interest group. "AngloZionist Empire", in contrast, is a term that is used seriously.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 21 2014 6:15 utc | 72

@68

Giving Zionism exposure doesn't require conflating it with US imperialism.

The hell it doesn't! When most of the imperialism has been energy-driven.

Also, there is no need to give hasbara types ammunition for calling critics of US power antisemitic.

Uh...only if you're afraid Zionists are powerful enough to shut down the First Amendment, and if indeed they are, then it proves the U.S is an AngloZionistEmpire.

On second thought, I'll check in with Hollywood moguls, TV/media industry tycoons, Ceos of major financial firms and investment banks, major political financiers and casino moguls, neocon think tanks and Zionist lobbies and get back to you on who's driving the U.S. imperial machinery.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 6:18 utc | 73

#71 sorry demian those terms ZUSA, ZEU, ZATO and Zamerica carry a strong implication that the Zionists rule the world. Sorry but the Zionist do not rule the world. Mr P keeps using those terms, but when challenged always denies their implication. If Mr P is not making a major accusation of some Jewish conspiracy to rule the world his juvenile designations are simple that, some juvenile distractions. He should not be taken seriously.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 21 2014 6:34 utc | 74

@kalithea #72:

None of that means that Zionism is the driving force of the US Empire. The Empire is a continuation of the English empire; the whole thing is an Anglo-American project based on free market economics and the use of military might to subdue other nations.

Of course, there are overlaps between Anglo-American imperialism and Zionism. Israel would never have been created without English colonialism (see Balfour Declaration).

Posted by: Demian | Mar 21 2014 6:34 utc | 75

I can't believe Obama is targeting private citizens and banks just because they're Russian. How are they guilty of something done by the Russian government? There is a serious ethical flaw in this policy. It's like a loanshark who wants his money back threatening to hurt your family even though you're the one who took his money. It's a criminal type logic.

Every American needs to call the White House and congress and point out that:

1)These Russian sanctions are seriously flawed morally, and totally pointless practically speaking.

2)And every sanction instituted is an unjust curtailment of the economic liberty of Americans to do business with whomever we please. Short of war our government has no business telling us whom we can and can't do business with.

White House: 202-456-1111

Posted by: J. Bradley | Mar 21 2014 6:36 utc | 76

Demian @59

[...] Zionism and the US Empire are two different things. [...]
Sure, Zionism is an idea while US Empire is a muscle, two different things. But when the muscle engages in fighting for the idea, then the two can be seen as acting as one.
[...] Israel has not joined countries like Britain and Germany in following the US and going hysterical in response to Russia following its national interest while acting in accordance with international law. [...]
You only ever get Israeli hysteria with events and developments that could negatively impact on their execution of the Yinon plan, the operation to establish Greater Israel. And the Crimea leaving Ukraine and joining Russia has little to no bearing on Israel's actions in the middle east some 2000 km away.

There were reports of ex-IDF personnel in the front lines during the deadly storm on Maidan, so its not surprising some are wondering whether Israeli clandestine services were involved to some degree in staging the coup. But joining in the sanctions choir now coming out of Washington and Brussels would on balance be more detrimental than beneficial to its grand plan.

[...] The simple explanation for that is that Israel is not a colony of the US, unlike the EU.
The EU could easily live without US assistance, Israel can't.

Anyhow, I stopped asking myself if in US/Israeli or US/EU relationships it is the dog wagging its tail or the tail wagging its dog. I did so the day it dawned on me that all that matters is that it is the same animal.

It is pointless to argue over who is in who's pockets, all three entities are governed by the same shady family groups, families so wealthy and powerful that you will never see their names in the Forbes 500 or the list of Bilderberg and Davos attendees. And to these men and women, religion is just another tool to herd the sheep with and inflame regions where inflammation is needed to advance their goal of total global domination.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 21 2014 6:55 utc | 77

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21, 2014 2:18:41 AM | 72

It is just another brick in the wall.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 21, 2014 2:55:52 AM | 76 is right

It is pointless to argue over who is in who's pockets, all three entities are governed by the same shady family groups, families so wealthy and powerful that you will never see their names in the Forbes 500 or the list of Bilderberg and Davos attendees. And to these men and women, religion is just another tool to herd the sheep with and inflame regions where inflammation is needed to advance their goal of total global domination.

Or ideology. And it is about business not world domination. It is called market economy.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 21 2014 7:15 utc | 78

add to 77)
By the way, talking about the left, Marx and Engels appreciated the value of what these "shady people" do

The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment." It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless and indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.

The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which Reactionists so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man's activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilised nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the productions of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.

The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians' intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier and one customs-tariff. The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground—what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted to it, and by the economical and political sway of the bourgeois class

If you prefer, you can also try the cartoon version

Friedrich Engels ran a branch of his fathers textile factory in Manchester and Karl Marx was the son of a rabbi married to a German noble women whose brother was the Prussian Interior Minister.

That does not change anything in their analysis.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 21 2014 7:43 utc | 79

That does not change anything in their analysis.

bollocks

Posted by: brb | Mar 21 2014 8:01 utc | 80

Somebody @77

World Domination is the main heading, Business is a sub heading, like Military or Diplomacy.

Market economy, as a function of commercially interacting citizens, is not what is driving this push by certain families to rule the world. On the contrary, the supply and demand issues caused by their continued attempts to shape the world to their liking are a drag on the market economy. Which also explains the strong opposition Omerkel is facing from the domestic business and industry sector.

Those families are playing a bigger game, a long game, one where an extra few billion profit here or there mean nothing coz the players already have more money than entire countries produce GDP.

The reason they need to dominate the commercial sector globally is that it is the door into every household. Whoever owns the peoples food supply chain, their energy and media conglomerates, owns the people, and whoever owns the banks controls the government.

From the horses mouth:

"Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), founder of the House of Rothschild.

Somebody @78

By the way, talking about the left, Marx and Engels appreciated the value of what these "shady people" do
The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part. [...]

As so often, you are getting confused. In that excerpt you posted Marx and Engels weren't talking about the shady people I was hinting at, but about the bourgeoisie, the wealthy middle class. People who nowadays would never dream of rattling the cage.

From the horses mouth:

"The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests." - The Rothschild brothers of London writing to associates in New York, 1863.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 21 2014 8:12 utc | 81

If Mr P is not making a major accusation of some Jewish conspiracy to rule the world his juvenile designations are simple that, some juvenile distractions. He should not be taken seriously.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 21, 2014 2:34:04 AM | 73

Translation: everyone listen to me, and not that horrible Mr P, or I'll scweam and scweam and scweam til I make myself sick, so there!

Don't think anyone's buying yer bullying tantrum crap, tbh

Posted by: brb | Mar 21 2014 8:31 utc | 82

80) Sorry, there is no "middle class" in Marx and Engels' theory. There are only "owners of the means of production" and the people who do the work.

Marxism is not about conspiracy theory. It is about a "scientific analysis" of the development of human society.

Conspiracy theory is right wing by definition. It tells people they are powerless to change anything.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 21 2014 8:31 utc | 83

The leaders of business strive for world domination in the end. They are driven by the desire to have what there is to have in this world, and that means first and foremost domination over others. The power elite sees this as a zerosum game. A world in which everyone has what they needs and they everything else is not what they want. They need a world where there are billions work for nothing so they can reach any dizzying height their imagination can conceive.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 21 2014 8:33 utc | 84

ToivoS, Demian,

If you have ANY interest in how influential Israel is in both US domestic and foreign policy you need to read this:

Militarizing Class Warfare: the historical foundations of the neoliberal/neoconservative nexus
DAVID GABBARD East Carolina University, USA

http://www.wwwords.co.uk/pdf/freetoview.asp?j=pfie&vol=5&issue=2&year=2007&article=2_Gabbard_PFIE_5_2_web

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 21 2014 8:33 utc | 85

@ Juan Moment | 76

There were reports of ex-IDF personnel in the front lines during the deadly storm on Maidan, so its not surprising some are wondering whether Israeli clandestine services were involved to some degree in staging the coup. But joining in the sanctions choir now coming out of Washington and Brussels would on balance be more detrimental than beneficial to its grand plan.

I'm not exactly sure what was Israel's stakes in it (if any), but considering all major leaders are Jewish (Jasceniuk, Klichko and Tymoshenko), only exception was "the dumb muscle" of rabid nationalists. All oligarchs who funded coup are Jewish. Ukrainian rabis were on it as well. Maidans militant squads were led by five ex-IDF soldiers. All coup supporting countries are under heavy Zionists influence.

I dont see any coincidents there, it was a major zionists operation. Just because Israel was quiet doesnt mean they werent involved, but its also true sometimes zionists power-groups meddling go beyond Israel's scope of interests.

Posted by: Harry | Mar 21 2014 8:34 utc | 86

@74 Demian

None of that means that Zionism is the driving force of the US Empire.

Free markets and the military are merely tools of dependence and submission in the machinery of imperial expansion.

It's the big players banks, investment firms, venture capital/equity firms with multi-billion dollar investments/holdings running the gamut of American industry i.e. automotive, technology, pharma, food processing, cosmetics you name it. Many of the top Wall street venture capital and equity firms are run by benefactors of Zionism who finance political campaigns, influence policy, global economies that all equals profit, moving the imperial machinery forward and through these big players Zionism is turn benefits, is empowered and sustained. Like I stated in another comment: Zionism piggybacks on U.S. imperialism reaping its rewards.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 8:40 utc | 87

85) You seem to believe in genetics. That by definition is fascist.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 21 2014 8:43 utc | 88

kalithea,86
Exactly correct. As the article I posted @84 explains in detail.

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 21 2014 8:46 utc | 89

slight corrections:

*private equity firms*

*in* turn benefits

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 8:49 utc | 90

okie farmer,

Thanks for bringing up that paper; I will try to read it later.

I don't deny that Israel is extremely influential on both domestic and foreign US policy. The whole concept of the global war on terror is nothing more than the US looking at the rest of the world in the terms that Israel looks at its neighbors. There is no way to even begin making sense of the behavior of the US after 9/11 unless you look at the Israeli influence.

But what I was trying to say is that right now there is a major conflict going on between the US and Russia, and I don't think it's useful to look at the role of Jews in that, since there are Jewish oligarchs on both sides, and Israel doesn't seem to be taking sides in this conflict.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 21 2014 9:00 utc | 91

@78 somebody

Did you have to post all that quote and take up so much of the thread? Couldn't you have posted a couple of significant parts and link the rest?

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 9:07 utc | 92

Russian diplomats enjoying themselves :-))

On the language of British officialdom

You are messing with the country of Dostojewski and Tolstoy. What have you got - Shakespeare? Pah.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 21 2014 9:07 utc | 93

“I’m sure I don’t need to remind the Russian President that ‘Game of Thrones’ is about to come back for another season ..."

U.S. Freezes Putin’s Netflix Account
Posted by Andy Borowitz
March 18, 2014

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 21 2014 9:09 utc | 94

plus 92) The analyis in the above link is a threat to any European politician trying to win elections - or parties, wishing to win seats in the European parliament.

It seems that the harsh rhetoric, quite beyond the pale, is meant to cover up the gross inaptitude of the Brussels bureaucracy, who badly mismanaged the entire EU Ukrainian enterprise, and its zero-sum motive to engineer a Cold War type geopolitical grab on Russia’s borders to be financed by EU taxpayers’ money.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 21 2014 9:10 utc | 95

@90 Demian

Yeah, I knew that already; they're on both sides but mostly on the U.S. side. And what I get from that is that Israel, hence Zionism, has all its bases covered.

Putin better keep those in particular on a very short leash.

Posted by: kalithea | Mar 21 2014 9:24 utc | 96

'No Reason for Concern': Energy Exec Says Ukraine Crisis Not Bad for Business

Der Spiegel's war hysteria Russophobe interviewers keep baiting him but the EoN executive stands his ground. Here's the best part:

SPIEGEL: Can you at least understand that such behavior [expropriating energy giant Yukos] triggers concern in the West that Putin could take advantage of Europe's dependency and use natural gas and oil as a strategic weapon?

Teyssen: No. I don't understand that. And I am tired of this eternal prattling on about dependency. One could also describe a marriage as dependency if one were feeling spiteful. But one could also see it as a partnership. Europe and Russia have built up an energy partnership over the course of four decades and over that entire period, there hasn't been a single day on which natural gas was used as a strategic weapon against the West. Plus, both sides profit equally from this partnership. Even now, natural gas is flowing normally through all the pipelines. Those are the facts.

SPIEGEL: If we may: The European Union warns almost monthly against over-dependency on Russian oil and natural gas. Indeed, for this very reason, the EU wanted to spend billions of euros building its own pipeline.

Teyssen: That is a completely separate issue. I think it is strategically correct behavior for Europe to seek to diversify its supply sources and routes, because its own supplies of raw materials are limited. But Russian natural gas provides a reliable foundation for our energy supply. We should continue to take advantage of it.

SPIEGEL: You are, of course, only saying that so as to protect your delivery agreements with Gazprom and your power plants in Russia.

Teyssen: No, I am saying that out of deep conviction. I don't want to intervene in foreign policy issues. But I believe that we have pursued very responsible policies toward the East in recent years. The establishment of good faith and economic integration has led to 6,000 German companies being active in Russia. Conversely, Russian companies are here, controlling corporations and natural gas pipelines. Our continent has become more peaceful as a result of the partnership. We shouldn't frivolously gamble it away.


Posted by: fairleft | Mar 21 2014 9:54 utc | 97

This question of whether the US empire can be distinguished from its own Zionist modalities: I think not, because despite the general tendency of Marxists (following Marx himself) to minimise or ignore the active role of bankers in the conduct of modern capitalism, I have been forced to the conclusion that international bankers (specifically) do determine policy (both foreign and domestic), and are simply very good at staying out of the media spotlight, and more subtly, encouraging their clients to think of themselves as the principal actors and decision-makers, and to think of the bankers merely as shrewd and sympathetic support. I should say that, given a few hundred years experience of lending to kings and princes, an experience few others historically except the now extinct Venetian oligarchs have ever really rivalled them in, the Jews will tend to lead the pack, and given time, absorb it completely into their own obscure weltpolitik, which is both supremacist and vengeful.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Mar 21 2014 10:08 utc | 98

95 You too seem to think it is genetic. Would you mind being called fascist?

Posted by: somebody | Mar 21 2014 10:08 utc | 99

Harry @85

You are right, many protagonists in the Ukraine putsch do have a Jewish background. Is this sufficient evidence to brand this a Zionist operation per se? Possibly, considering that NATO are Israel's ultimate henchmen, it can be rightfully argued that any development strengthening NATO's position must be also in Israel's interest, regardless where on planet Earth this may be.

somebody @82

[...] Conspiracy theory is right wing by definition. It tells people they are powerless to change anything.
By your definition maybe, not by mine. What you describe as conspiracy theory is in reality our daily bread, and until people will wake up to this fact they will be powerless to change anything.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Mar 21 2014 10:25 utc | 100

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