Re: Russian Invasion of Ukraine?

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Residents of northern Europe and their governments can at least be thankful this is going down as the winter retreats (and very early this year, it looks like), just when we need Putin's stupid gas the least.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:42 AM
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The U.N. Security Council will hold an urgent meeting on the crisis in Ukraine on Saturday after Russia announced plans to send armed forces into the autonomous Crimea region of the former Soviet republic.
A diplomat from Luxembourg, president of the 15-nation council this month, said the meeting would take place at 2:00 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) and was being convened at the request of Britain.

Reuters

This isn't the Cuban missile crisis part II, is it?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:42 AM
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1. is a good point. It give us a few months to sort it out without people in third countries risking hypothermia.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:44 AM
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3: If we were having a winter like the US is having now, the Russian troops would be moving into east Berlin instead Crimea.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:48 AM
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I'm surprised to learn that Crimea became part of Ukraine only in 1954. I thought this was one of those 19th century territorial decisions made before the idea of trying to match nationality with territory had really taken hold. (Yes, I know the Soviets had a different take on national identity, but still.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:50 AM
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This isn't the Cuban missile crisis part II, is it?

That will be when we deploy nukes in Estonia.

More seriously - no, unless you think the Russians are going to threaten to attack a NATO member.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:50 AM
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5 There was no Ukraine for Crimea to be part of even in a purely administrative sense, just a bunch of oblasts in the western part of the Russian Empire as far as I remember.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:54 AM
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A Russianist friend recommends this.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:57 AM
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Good thing the security council doesn't rely on Russia's consent to make any decisions.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:02 AM
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Having folks like McCain running around with a purple-vein boner doesn't help, but fortunately I don't think folks like him will really will influence anything.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:02 AM
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(Yes, I know the Soviets had a different take on national identity, but still.)

Stalin is doing a little fist-pump in his grave.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:05 AM
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7: You're probably right and it shows how little I was looking at a map when I was reading about 19th century Ukraine. Somehow I had had the impression it was in the same territorial unit as Odessa.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:06 AM
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From the article VW links in 8:

The takeover came as the Crimea's new pro-Russian prime minister, Sergei Aksenov, called for a referendum on March 30 to allow voters in the 2.2 million-population region to decide whether they want to remain in Ukraine, join Russia or form an independent state.

Is it just me or does this sound a bit like filibustering?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:11 AM
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10: That's a mental pic I could have done without.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:12 AM
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It's a nice little irony that the new pro-Russian prime minister shares a last name with the author of a darkly satirical novel about a confrontation between Russia and the West in Crimea.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:21 AM
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How bad would it be if we just let Russia annex Crimea? From a national interest perspective, we still have the bulk of Ukraine now looking westward, and we didn't really expect Putin to risk control of the Black Sea ports.

From a human rights perspective, Russian control would be bad news for Tartars, gays, and some other groups, but it wouldn't be the most pressing human rights violation out there.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:22 AM
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I think 16.2 answers 16.1. Beyond that, it would ratify Stalin's treatment of the Tatars, who presumably wouldn't be such a minority if they hadn't been expelled. And not confronting Putin over a major territorial grab--what could possibly go wrong?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:28 AM
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But is it really a territorial grab, or letting him hang on to a bit of territory after losing the bulk of Ukraine as a client state?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:29 AM
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What does it mean that Crimea is an "autonomous republic" but also part of Ukraine?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:32 AM
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Well, yeah, it's part of Ukraine (autonomous to the point that it has its own parliament).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:35 AM
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19: It means that administrative units within former Soviet and Russian territories are hard to understand?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:38 AM
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I suspect that the intuition in 18 is correct.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:40 AM
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20: Yeah, but is the relation of Crimea to the Ukraine more like, say, Texas to the US (has its own legislative body but also is subject to the laws of the larger state), or like Canada to the UK (same head of state, but completely independent government), or something else altogether?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:42 AM
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-the


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:42 AM
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18, 22: The US and Western Europe seem unwilling to assist Putin in framing it that way.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:43 AM
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Or maybe like Scotland to the UK, which... I now realize I also have only a very vague sense of anyway.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:44 AM
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Well this don't look like a friendly crowd, so I just link for now

A guy there for the uprising, you'll like the first two

Ukraine 1

Ukraine 2

Jeffrey Sommers and Michael Hudson

Counterpunch ...at truthdig

The most fun controversy today was the fact that Gleen Greenwald's, Matt Taibibi's, and Marcia Wheeler's new funder has been sending money to Ukraine opposition for months. Along with US help to the max.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:46 AM
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Daniel Larison:

Russia has seized control of Crimea, and its upper house of parliament has voted to authorize the use of the military in Ukraine. This is a wrongheaded and illegal move, but it is one that Moscow presumably thinks that it has been forced into taking. As Moscow views the situation, the legitimate Ukrainian government has been ousted in a coup, and it believes itself to be coming to the defense of Russians inside Ukraine. It's a gross overreaction to the overthrow of the old government, but one that could still be corrected before it turns into something much worse. However, it seems that Russia is not interested in doing that, and probably wants at least de facto control of Crimea for the foreseeable future. This is a very risky thing for Russia to be doing, and one that could quickly lead to an armed conflict with the new Ukrainian government that would be disastrous for both countries and the surrounding region.

Annexing Crimea outright would be a clumsy and provocative action that would leave the new government in Kiev with almost no choice but to fight, so it seems more likely that there would be an attempt to use continued control over Crimea as leverage in future dealings with Kiev. Does Russia "want" Crimea? Maybe not officially as a part of Russia, but it does seem to want to be able to use control of it to its advantage. Whether this takes the form of phony independence or just autonomy remains to be seen. Obama has threatened Russia that there would be unspecified "costs" for what it is doing, but whatever real costs Russia pays will not be imposed by Western governments or the U.N. Moscow is not only wrecking its reputation with most Ukrainians, but it is also potentially risking a ruinous war that could make it a pariah in much of the world for little real gain.
Western mediation is probably of little use here, but if there is a government that might be able to get through to Moscow at the moment it might be Germany. Because Germany has taken Russian interests into account more often in the past than other major Western governments, it might be able to defuse the situation before it results in violence and further escalation. It should go without saying that the U.S. and NATO shouldn't make any threats to take their own military action or make promises to Ukraine that everyone already knows they aren't going to keep. They would be foolish, they wouldn't be meant or taken seriously, and they would only make the crisis harder to resolve.

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:48 AM
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Probably most like Scotland within the UK, but there are good reasons for the analogy ban. I don't really know that well, but Ukraine has its own defense installations there and some governmental control over the parliament, and Crimea doesn't have a separate judicial system.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:49 AM
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Another confusing thing is that, according to someone on my FB feed with Ukrainian roots who seems to know the place pretty well, the governments of Russia and Ukraine have some sort of agreement that allows Russian troops to be deployed in Ukraine in ways that might make this not actually an "invasion".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:49 AM
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Slate had a bit of the history here. Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 when Khrushchev gave it to Ukraine to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the annexation of Ukraine by Russia. According to Slate, Ukraine expected Russia to ask for it back in 1992, but for some reason Yeltsin didn't.

A key thing to remember is that Sevastopol (the main city on Crimea) is one of Russia's main naval ports. That is an unusual situation that is going to make it hard to find good analogies.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:53 AM
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30: I gather that that's in the fine print of the Black Sea Fleet lease agreement.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:54 AM
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Also, I'd like to know what's going on in the bulk of Ukraine / Kiev. Is the new government gelling? Almost all the updates on that front seem to have been pushed out by this news.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:57 AM
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Ian Welsh

his seventh post on the Ukraine this week

Ukraine 2010 Election

The first map I found showing how divided the country is. Now there is overlap, but Eastern Ukraine would most likely prefer to join Russia by referendum than be controlled by Kiev and Eastern Ukraine. And Crimea is largely Russian.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:57 AM
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Although it seems unlikely that Russian troops are legally allowed to operate outside Sevastopol?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:57 AM
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Forbes on Victoria Nuland

"Washington's Man Yatsenyuk Setting Ukraine Up For Ruin"

Recall the phone exchange between the Ukraine ambassador and Victoria Nuland (Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs) that got leaked out, where she basically said 'we want Yats in there.' They like him because he's pro Western," says Vladimir Signorelli, president of boutique investment research firm Bretton Woods Research LLC in New Jersey. "Yatsenyuk is the the kind of technocrat you want if you want austerity, with the veneer of professionalism," Signorelli said. "He's the type of guy who can hobnob with the European elite. A Mario Monti type: unelected and willing to do the IMFs bidding," he said.

"Yatsenyuk was saying that what the Greeks did to themselves we are going to do ourselves," said Signorelli. "He wants to follow the Greek economic model. Who the hell wants to follow that?"

Nuland is the wife of some fucking Kagan, Robert I think

And Yulia Yushchenko is pretty frail, "Yats" is in charge

Except for all the security positions, which have been filled from Svoboda and Pravy Sektor


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:05 AM
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35: Seems, but I don't know. I imagine that the agreement includes plenty of clauses favorable to Russia, given their strong position.

I don't get this idea that everyone should just roll over and let Putin invade and annex with impunity. It doesn't really matter if Crimea was part of Russia for a long time and is majority ethnically Russian. Yes, analogy ban violation, but do we feel the same about ratifying Chinese policy on Tibet, including their deliberate settling of Han Chinese there to alter the ethnic balance? The current situation nay be recent, but ceding to a hostile takeover amounts to rolling back the clock—which IIRC is the final image, accompanied by the arrival of Soviet tanks, in the novel I mentioned upthread.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:12 AM
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35 They aren't allowed to move around in Crimea without requesting and gaining permission from the Ukrainian authorities.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:14 AM
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but do we feel the same about ratifying Chinese policy on Tibet, including their deliberate settling of Han Chinese there to alter the ethnic balance

No, NATO should invade.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:20 AM
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38: Ukraine has a constitution, with legal procedures for removing a President.

They were not followed. Is this a silly minor detail?

Yankulovich is still President. Just cause Obama recognizes the new gov't

...damn that was quick for the US not to have fomented and financed the coup...

doesn't mean Russia can't have a different take on the legitimate gov't of Ukraine that might ask Russia for help against "fascist rebels"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:23 AM
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39: Neighbor, please. Don't go all mcmanus on my ass.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:26 AM
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Given that a NATO invasion is off the table, what options do we have, anyway?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:26 AM
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Yatseniuk has long been a die hard Tymoshenko loyalist. FWIW both Tymoshenko and Yatseniuk are from Eastern Ukraine. And the only places outside Crimea where I imagine a fairly conducted referendum on whether to join Russia or stay with Ukraine the Russian side would win are Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:28 AM
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There's a reason analogies are banned, but there's just no way that Russia annexing Crimea is anywhere near as bad as China's invasion of Tibet. Not that we can do anything whatsoever about either.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:29 AM
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Its hard to fault Russia for undermining Ukrainian democracy when the democratically elected leader of the Ukraine has sought refuge in Russia.

Last Friday, the protesters in Kiev had reached agreement with Victor Yushchenko to hold elections and bring about a turnover of government though an orderly process. That wasn't good enough for the some of the more hard-right elements among the protesters, who declared there were going to storm the Presidential palace on Saturday morning. So Yushchenko fled.

Now, if you were a Russian-speaker in Crimea, and Yushchenko was your guy, I can imagine you might be pretty hard pressed to passively accept this turn of events. If everyone had kept to last Friday's agreement, maybe things would have gone down a different road. But now it seems like the actions of some right-wing hotheads in the square have backed the West into a corner of supporting the rather questionable legitimacy of the Ukrainian government over not-unreasonable Crimean aspirations for self-determination.

Best-case scenario I can see here is Crimean independence. Its clear that the Ukraine as a Ukrainian-Russian hybrid state hasn't worked, as this is just the latest in a long series of mass-protests and government disfunctionality driven by that country's cultural-linguistic split. And I just don't see that maintaining the borders of the old Ukranian S.S.R. is a cause worth going to the mat over.


Posted by: Woodrow Wilson | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:31 AM
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Donetsk, don't tell.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:31 AM
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Pat Lang

commenter:

The second phase was not (yet) a direct regime change action on Russia (Putin's Russia is pretty coup proved) but a take over of the Crimea (with the help of (Muslim) Tartar irregular forces trained in Turkey), nullifying the Russian status of force agreement there and thereby neutralizing the Russian Black Sea fleet. It is that fleet that is supplying and protecting Syria.

They (US and Sauds) still want Syria very very badly.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:32 AM
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23: The analogy you're looking for is the Sudetenland.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:33 AM
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I sure as hell hope no US or NATO troops go in. Nothing is worth a major-powers confrontation.

I suspect besides all the other good reasons not to, it would be a matter of military pride. Getting undermined by insurgency tactics is one thing, but going up against a military that could do some damage conventionally would be an embarrassment.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:37 AM
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36: "Yulia Yushchenko" s/b Tymoshenko sorry

And why is 45 Presidential?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:37 AM
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Reasons why it would be unlikely that Ukraine would show to advantage if it came to general warfare.

I understand that there are Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian and who are not any sort of Russian, Galician or Tatar. Is there also a territory in which they form a clear majority which could exist as an independent country in the worst case scenario?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:38 AM
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The great thing about irredentism is that so many can can play. Fun for the entire neighborhood.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:38 AM
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Yes, I could see this one from Alaska. I'm usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did, despite my accurate prediction being derided as "an extremely far-fetched scenario" by the "high-brow" Foreign Policy magazine. Here's what this "stupid" "insipid woman" predicted back in 2008: "After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next.
Sarah Palin


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:44 AM
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Oh, fucking kawaii

Hareetz!

Title:"The ex-Israeli soldier who led a Kiev fighting unit
'Delta' has headed 'the Blue Helmets of Maidan' of 40 men and women - including several IDF veterans - in violent clashes with government forces."

"The Blue Helmets comprise 35 men and women who are not Jewish, and who are led by five ex-IDF soldiers, says Delta, an Orthodox Jew in his late 30s who regularly prays at Azman's Brodsky Synagogue. He declined to speak about his private life."

I told you I had links. Read the article, Israel is involved or at least helpful.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:46 AM
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49: For sure, and a person might reasonably conclude that NATO has no business there. Then again, Libya.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:47 AM
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Russia Today has accused a Ukrainian nationalist leader of calling on a Chechen leader to make common cause against Russia. The evidence is a screen grab of an unconvincing Russian social media page.

A leader of the Ukrainian radical group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Yarosh, has called on Russia's most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov to act against Russia in an address posted on Right Sector's page in VKontakte social network.

The statement points out that "many Ukrainians with arms in the hands" supported Chechen militants in their fight against Russians and "it is time to support Ukraine now."

The message, signed "leader of Right Sector Dmitry Yarosh" then calls on Umarov "to activate his fight" and "take a unique chance to win" over Russia.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:51 AM
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Let's not fall into the trap of acting like it's all down to languages. Yanukovych's base might be the more Russian areas, and that might have been one of the PAR issues, but he got votes from all over, lots of people who consider Ukrainian their native language speak Russian on an everyday basis, and the Maidan protesters come from all sorts of backgrounds. Crimea may end up a fair accompli, but trying to divide up the country based on demographic maps would probably be precisely as effective in preventing further violence as it was in Yugoslavia and India.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:56 AM
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What's a Galician? Galicia is a region in southwestern Ukraine and southern Poland but there is no ethnic group by that name. If you mean any place in Ukraine where people who self-identify as Ukrainians form the majority, that would be everywhere except for Crimea (see map of the percentage of ethnic Ukrainians by province. A significant number of those speak don't speak Ukrainian as their primary language (See map of Ukrainian language by province. Those numbers overstate the use of Ukrainian somewhat since some ethnic Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian poorly will put Ukrainian in as their primary language as a way of emphasizing their Ukrainian identity. On the flip side some of the people who identify as Russian speaking ethnic Ukrainians have a fluid Ukrainian-Russian identity which is why a annex us to Russia referendum could win in Luansk and Donetsk where self identifying ethnic russians make up about only about 40% of the population.

Crimea and the provinces on the southern Ukrainian border from Odessa on westwards also have non trivial other minorities (e.g. Romanians and Bulgarians make up about five or six percent each of Odessa province and Hungarians make up about a sixth of Zakarpatiya).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:01 PM
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Alexander Nekrassov at al Jazeera

43:

"Yanukovych is still technically president of Ukraine," my well informed friend told me. "The people who have ousted him are not really accepted by Moscow as legitimate. So Yanukovych has still everything to play for."

In other words, what my source in Moscow was implying was that Russian President Vladimir Putin has reckoned that there is still enough support for Yanukovych in Ukraine to make him a serious player in the event the country splits into two parts, with the west drifting towards Europe and the south and east remaining in the Russian sphere of influence.

Could Yanukovych generate enough support (see 2010 electooral map) for an independent East Ukraine + Crimea?

The problem, and everybody knows it, is that West Ukraine cannot by any means support itself economically.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:05 PM
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54 It's sort of funny that the pro-Putin Western lefties ignored that until now. God knows the Ukrainian nationalists weren't shy about touting their Jewish sotnya as a way of rebutting accusations of anti-semitism.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:05 PM
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Really primitive question here -- how different, as languages, are Russian and Ukranian? I had the vague impression that this was one of those language pairs where the difference wasn't much more than a heavy accent -- they were mutually intelligible if you talked slowly and put in an effort. Not that it changes the politics really, but am I right about that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:09 PM
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More a heavy dialect than a heavy accent, I think, but yes, I understand them to have a high level of mutual intelligibility, and to be mixed together a lot in practice. Bulgakov's White Guard has a lot of snatches of Ukrainian, though I don't remember how extensive they get. And apparently Ukrainian is the standard style of Russian comedians.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:14 PM
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I gather it's more like Spanish and Italian or Polish and Slovak. Yes, people speaking slowly can more or less get the gist of things but no more than that. To my ear Ukrainian sounds closer to Russian than to Polish, on the other hand the linguists say that it shares slightly more cognates with Polish - IIRC about 70% vs. 65%. But don't we have a linguistically oriented ex Slavic studies major among the commentariat?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:18 PM
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More than just a heavy accent, but very close, like Spanish and Portuguese. I studied Russian, and I still can't regularly tell them apart in an overheard conversation. I've read that something like half of Ukrainian speakers are fluent in Russian, which helps to enhance mutual intelligibility when both parties are speaking different languages.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:18 PM
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And why is 45 Presidential?

Because my employers' standard of conduct enjoins me from taking public stances on matters of international controversy.


Posted by: Woodrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:19 PM
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Ukrainian and Russian are both east slavic languages. So they're definitely nearer to each other than either is to a west slavic language like Polish.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:24 PM
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Vineyard of the Saker is a highly recommended source

60: Here we go, with the "wid us or agin us" stuff.

I am not pro-Putin. At all.

But goddamn I hate the neo-liberal military Empire. This is the one that has been getting people killed in the hundreds of thousands for the last 15 years. Or my whole fucking life.

I hate them/us more.

PS:Venezuela is having its own "freedom fighter" problem right now.

Empire is everywhere and wants it all.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:27 PM
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A language is a dialect with an autonomous republic.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:28 PM
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65: Mine just won't let me put pictures of centaur erotica out if I am using their network.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:29 PM
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Crimea may end up a fair accompli, but trying to divide up the country based on demographic maps would probably be precisely as effective in preventing further violence as it was in Yugoslavia and India.

Yes, I wouldn't support division for the rest of the Ukraine. Both for the cited concern about ethnic violence, and because it would turn Ukrainian-Ukraine into a landlocked country.

Still, it seems that the country could do with a looser federal system and increased regional autonomy. And I think that the Crimea is geographically distinct enough that it could break away without too much strife - though I may indeed end up wrong about that.


Posted by: Woodrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:31 PM
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I still have little idea what's going on. The latest NPR updates are saying that Putin hasn't acted on the Russian parliament's authorization of force, while the NYT headline reads, "Russian Military Seizes Crimea". (I realize that the latter seems corroborated by photographic evidence.)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:31 PM
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NPR can't confirm it until they have radio evidence.

In other news, I'm thinking of encroaching on Moby's quippy comment territory.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:39 PM
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More seriously, does anyone have a longer background article they'd recommend that covers events from the "Orange Revolution" to recently? I have not kept up with almost any Russia/Ukraine news since about 2005.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:41 PM
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70: Apropos your 45.last, with which I agree, Crimea might be able to break away without too much strife, but at this point it's hard to imagine any change of status being realized with any credible sense of self-determination. Which is partly why I think it's worth not treating Russian annexation as a fait accompli. (There are other reasons to oppose Putin, of course; will no one think of Pussy Riot?)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:42 PM
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The Wiki page on the Ukrainian language confirms my memories/impression. "The Ukrainian language retains a degree of mutual intelligibility with Russian" And the closest language lexically is Byelorussian (84%), followed by Polish (70%), Serbo Croation (68%), Slovak(66%) and Russian (62%).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:47 PM
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http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ukraine._Memorandum_on_Security_Assurances


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 12:58 PM
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but at this point it's hard to imagine any change of status being realized with any credible sense of self-determination.

Maybe. But they've been asking for a referendum. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Though I'd be a lot more comfortable if its a referendum on independence, rather than annexation.


Posted by: Woodrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:09 PM
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I have to say I think Welsh, see Bob's link in 34, has it pretty well right. All the analogies fail if they don't take into account the importance of the Russian naval base.

I can see the UNSC keeping a lid on further Russian military involvement until a referendum can be held -- no reason for Putin to resist that, since Kiev isn't going to win a referendum.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:18 PM
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I don't understand how everything got sorted out in the early 90s (Ukrainian independence, the treaty linked in 76, etc.) without anyone saying "you know Russia's never going to give up Crimea, so maybe we should write that in somewhere." Why did anyone think this was a good idea at the time?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:18 PM
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Woodrow's sense in 45.last* that splitting the state, seeing Crimea go independent, is not an unreasonable solution, is also mine -- or at least I've been asking myself what I don't understand such that it's viewed by various parties as unacceptable. Has someone explained clearly somewhere why it would be untenable? Something to do with the Sebastopol port, maybe?

77: they've been asking for a referendum. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Though I'd be a lot more comfortable if its a referendum on independence, rather than annexation.

I'm losing track here: the new Crimean Prime Minister Aksenov called for a referendum allowing for a number of possibilities, no?

Quoting the piece linked in 8:

The takeover came as the Crimea's new pro-Russian prime minister, Sergei Aksenov, called for a referendum on March 30 to allow voters in the 2.2 million-population region to decide whether they want to remain in Ukraine, join Russia or form an independent state.

Is the problem that the referendum is to include joining Russia? Why is that a problem, if that's what they want?

* Though 45 confuses me, as I keep thinking "Yushchenko" should be Yanukovych.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:32 PM
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Also, stupid American that I am, I was surprised and sobered a few days ago to realize that Ukraine is really big. As large as western Europe overall. I hadn't realized that. It looks like trouble waiting to happen.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:36 PM
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79 -- My knee jerk response was that money crossed palms, but the correct answer is probably that everyone knew that as the SU was breaking up, if you started fooling around with the boundaries, shit would get messy everywhere all at once.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:37 PM
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I'm not sure annexation of Crimea is all Putin is after.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:38 PM
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83 -- Well, he certainly doesn't want an undivided openly hostile Ukraine. There are several ways to avoid that, though.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:46 PM
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81: ...Ukraine is really big. As large as western Europe overall.

No.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:47 PM
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83: Sarah Palin and Bob are vindicated, I guess. They're coming for Social Security next.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:48 PM
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85 -- http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Risk_game_map_fixed.png


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:49 PM
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Well, yes, clearly people need to talk to Putin about what he's after.

On the face of it, he has a case, though sending in troops seems hasty: Ukraine is a buffer between the EU and Russia; it has a significant ethnically Russian population in the east; Russia has a loooong contract with Crimea (or is it with Ukraine proper?) for naval use of the Sebastopol port; Putin does not want that port to become somehow allied with the EU. These are considerations that the US, say, would consider warranted its serious attention as in the interests of its national security.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:50 PM
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81, 85: Ukraine is roughly the size of France.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:51 PM
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Oh, smaller than Texas?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:54 PM
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Let's turn to the most trusted name in news, Heebster.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:55 PM
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81, 85: Uh? Well, cripe, I looked at my world map earlier and I read some article last week which helpfully included a map, and it looked bigger than that, but okay. Maybe a perspective/mapping problem or something.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:56 PM
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Never trust the Mercator Projection!


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:58 PM
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I mean, it's better better than the Spanish Inquisition, but not much. (And when it comes to mapping, maybe not at all.)


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 1:59 PM
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Okay, I see what my problem was: I wasn't counting France. (Scroll down for the EU and Russia map.) Also wasn't counting Spain or Italy, I guess. I've got some 'mainland Europe' idea in my head.

It's still bigger than I'd thought.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 2:05 PM
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That's what she said.


Posted by: Opinionated Centaur | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 2:23 PM
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pro-Putin Western lefties

Who makes up this group?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 2:28 PM
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Objectively pro-Putin lefties. They're everywhere.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 2:53 PM
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Oxana Shevel at the Monkey Cage explains the importance of Crimean Tatars.

Whatever the Tatar grievances against the Ukrainian state may be, when faced with the choice of being under either Russian or Ukrainian control, the Crimean Tatar leadership has consistently and unequivocally chosen Ukraine. Since the Soviet period, attempts to split the Crimean Tatar movement and persuade some of the Tatars to support a pro-Soviet, and later pro-Russian, agenda has not borne fruit.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 2:53 PM
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Well, he certainly doesn't want an undivided openly hostile Ukraine. There are several ways to avoid that, though.

Removing Crimea isn't helpful there. It inflames public opinion among those who aren't already full on Russia supporters and it changes the electorate slightly but not insignificantly. Ukraine is a pretty evenly divided place. In 2010 Yanukovich won in the second round by 49.0-45.5. In the 2012 parliamentary elections the two main more or less pro-Russian parties won 43.2% and the three main pro-Western ones won 49.9% with a narrow parliamentary majority for the former courtesy of more vote splitting on the pro-Western side, a well tailored new election law and creative electioneering on the government side.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:02 PM
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I see Charley is way ahead of me in 76.

Important is the so-called Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances of 1994 between the US, Russia, Ukraine and the UK:

Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory, send them to disarmament facilities in Russia, and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Ukraine kept these promises.
In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:02 PM
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97 Look at some of the links Bob has been posting here and elsewhere for an example.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:08 PM
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97: Stephen Cohen?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:08 PM
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89: Ukraine is roughly the size of France.

It's actually somewhat smaller than France and bigger than France. If by the former you mean the whole republic with the overseas departments and the latter Metropolitan France (246K and 213k sq. mi. respectively). The French account themselves as nearly twice that size by including their claims in Antarctica. The French overseas territories make up a total surface area of 559,000 km2, which is almost the same area as the mainland itself. (Boy is france.fr a terrible website.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:22 PM
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Larison is always valuable on these matters; I see in the quote from him above that he thinks this move by Putin is a blunder, not well chosen to achieve what may be presumed to be his strategic goals.

I'm inclined to agree, and also agree that there's very little the US or our closest allies or collective bodies can or should do about it. He's multiplied his troubles without our help.

This is where I'm glad Obama is president, because he has a knack for making the apparently necessary belligerent noises without actually committing. I know that sounds like snark but I mean it. Back at Labor Day I thought there was no way he was getting out of Syria but he did. He's got the negative virtues of a born conservative.


Posted by: Idp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:27 PM
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Ian Welsh

According to translated news sources within the country, Ukraine interim representative threatened Russia with nuclear weapons, if Russia does not remove their troops from within the Ukrainian borders.

Mikhail Golovko said in a live interview that,"Russia can not win in this situation, it is a violation of all international norms and guarantees ... If they are violated, we reserve the right to recover a nuclear weapon. Resume nuclear status and will be quite different to communicate, " he said.

Golovko said that Ukraine has all the necessary technology to recreate nuclear weapons, for these purposes must be "3-6 months

Commenter:"Who in their right mind says things like this without the means to back it up?"

People trying to provoke a brutal invasion and guaranteed a safe haven in Europe and a big check.

Never attribute to stupidity what can be explained by conspiracy.

Of course the US, EU, and Ukrainian elites knew exactly what Russia would do. Russia is not going to abandon its warm water port and Black Sea Fleet and buffer from NATO.

They knew Russia would invade.

Now the question is why? Syria?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:31 PM
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Back at Labor Day I thought there was no way he was getting out of Syria but he did.

We are not out of Syria.

It is just on hold.

US: Assad Must Meet Chemical Weapons Deadline

Bashar al-Assad is not, in our judgment, fully in compliance because of the timing and the delays that have taken place contrary to the OPCW's judgment that this could move faster," he said.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:38 PM
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As I said at the meet-up, Crimea is more suited to being part of Russia than part of Ukraine. I don't understand how everyone was okay with the internal border becoming reified as an international border after the USSR fell apart--perhaps they thought the CIS would lead to close enough ties that it wouldn't matter? Regardless, the demographics still don't justify this invasion. The situation does seem Sudetenlandish, analogy ban be damned.

I look forward to a new international norm where the winner of the most Olympic medals gets one free invasion. In four years, maybe Norway will take back Shetland.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:39 PM
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US Scolds Russia as It Weighs Options on Syria War ...New York Times, Feb 17 2014

A secret meeting in Washington last week among the intelligence chiefs from almost all of the countries attempting to oust the Assad government included extensive discussion about how to best provide that new lethal aid to rebel groups, the officials said. The gathering of the top intelligence officials from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France and the United Arab Emirates, and several others from the 11-nation group known as the Friends of Syria, reflected a belief that the diplomatic track has been exhausted unless Mr. Assad sustains significant military setbacks.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 3:47 PM
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Is Sevastopol vs. Sebastopol a Ukranian vs. Russian thing? I've been wondering about that one and can't figure it out from the Wikipedia page.

There was a very recent new Top Gear where they drive from the Crimea through the Ukraine. The Crimea looked great as a tourist destination, beautiful. Yalta and Sev/bastopol seemed to have a nice seedy port town vibe that I like. Maybe the best case scenario from a touristico-romantic perspective is that it becomes a sort of shady free port/autonomous region that is full of international criminals, fugitives, artists, and women of the night.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:00 PM
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I thought that show was rather hilariously timed.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:04 PM
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Also, I hadn't realized how much Odessa had declined under Soviet rule. That was the third biggest city in Czarist Russia, a major center of culture and a significant world port. Now it's only the third biggest city in the Ukraine and roughly the size of Dnipropetrovsk, a city I admit I had never heard of until now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:04 PM
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110.1: My guess is the one with a "b" is just an old-fashioned Romanization that people moved away from because it was farther from the right sound, but I don't actually know anything.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:05 PM
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110: The Cyprus of the Black Sea. Or maybe Cyprus is already the Crimea of the Mediterranean.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:12 PM
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It was also striking that the photos of the Russian soldiers taking over the Crimea show them literally wearing balaclavas.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:14 PM
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110: And sometime in the future a folk etymology will arise about how it got the name "Crimea".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:14 PM
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I have to say I think Welsh, see Bob's link in 34, has it pretty well right.

Right in what sense? Maybe in that he's read the situation correctly and can see how it will play out, but beyond that, he seems to be saying that people shouldn't be getting their panties in a twist about the niceties of sovereignty and international agreements. Oh, and sucks to be you, Tatars. You should have stayed gone when Stalin kicked your sorry asses out.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:17 PM
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112: Yes, I kept wondering where Odessa stood in all of this, assuming it would be strongly Russian-leaning. But it seems to be somewhat more Ukrainian ethnically (and also seems to have a greater % of some the miscellaneous ethnic groups in western Ukraine).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:18 PM
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I need to stop confusing the words "balaclava", "balalaika", and "baklava".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:19 PM
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Balderdash.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:19 PM
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LET ME HEAR YOUR BALACLAVAS RINGING OUT


Posted by: OPINIONATED DRUNKEN BEATLES | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:24 PM
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Huh. There are surprisingly few connections between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine; the isthmus looks like it's mostly a swamp/estuary, so there's only seven or so roads and two railroads between them.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:25 PM
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117: I find the appeal to the Tatars in the situation to be rather offputting (or at the minimum very fraught). Yes, let's do celebrate and appeal to the ethnic inclusivity of right-wing Ukrainians.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:28 PM
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And yes 123 is probably unduly influenced by being married to someone who had a number of relatives murdered by their politically-opportunistic forbears. But there you have it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:34 PM
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Let's turn to the most trusted name in news, Heebster.

I hope everyone knows that these bumperstickers exist.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:34 PM
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123: But those are separate issues. I'm referring to the casual dismissal of the interests of the non-Russian population in a place that isn't part of Russia, on the part of people who seem to think that it just isn't a big deal that Russia can take the place by force.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:36 PM
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You are right that the present issues of that population would exist independent of the history.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:39 PM
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The Tatars may all be shitty human beings, for all I know, but still.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:39 PM
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125: And smaller than Mozambique.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:39 PM
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Figuring out what the word "Tatar" means is not not confusing. For example, it is unclear whether there is any ethinc connection between Crimean Tatars and the Tatars who live in Tatarstan, who in turn are only one variety of Tatars. The Tatars in Tatarstan call themselves Bulgars, not Tatars, but are not Bulgarian. Neither steak tartar nor tartar sauce appear to have anything to do with Tatar Cuisine, which may or may not be the food of the Crimean Tatars.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:44 PM
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Of course, as Ian Welsh notes, we invaded Grenada, so we should just stfu about international law and let Putin do what he wants.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:44 PM
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130: Huh. Their word for quesadilla also starts with q.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:47 PM
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it just isn't a big deal that Russia can take the place by force.

Ok, you want a nuclear war?

Putin/Russians are baddies, fine, very very bad.

But I remember the son-of-a-bitch asshole Americans who encouraged the Hungarian uprising Ukrainian uprising and the inevitable deaths from the inevitable Soviet Russian response are also very bad.

This was totally predictable. Therefore, Obama and State knew it was coming. Therefore Obama, Victoria Nuland and the other fuckers who encouraged the Ukrainians a) are at the least partly* responsible, and b) are using them as sacrificial pawns in some geo-strategic game. Probably Syria, you don't say no to the Sauds.

*Would Maidan have successfully revolted without US help? Certainly Russia did not intend to invade before the legitimate President was driven out by a violent coup and assholes who threatened the naval base took over.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:47 PM
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Ok, you want a nuclear war?

Right, bob. Could you refrain from being a cunt once in a while?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:50 PM
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Could you refrain from being a cunt once in a while?

... no?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:52 PM
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Neither steak tartar nor tartar sauce appear to have anything to do with Tatar Cuisine

Next you'll tell me hamburgers didn't originate in Hamburg.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:53 PM
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At least bob is consistent in his staunch opposition to the use of nuclear weapons for any but the most dire circumstances, like earthquakes in Japan.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:54 PM
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136: Thanks for making that explicit, Tweets.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:55 PM
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136 s/b 135. I blame bob.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:56 PM
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Pretty sure that ship sailed like seven years ago.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:56 PM
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140 to 138.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:56 PM
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131 -- I don't know, you guys made that bed and now you get to lie in it. Post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan, post-Snowden, I don't trust the US, and I don't really think the US has any ability to speak from a position of moral strength about territorial integrity.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 4:59 PM
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Fine, let them who are without sin cast the first references to international law.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:02 PM
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Steak tartare is best when served with an egg yolk.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:12 PM
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Well in general the US will be seen as having very dirty hands when it appeals to international law, yes.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:15 PM
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Of course it does, and it should.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:16 PM
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Post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan, post-Snowden, I don't trust the US

Jesus Christ, what made you trust us *before* that?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:19 PM
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130: Yes, it does seem to be full of this kind of thing (Who Gets the Past?: Competition for Ancestors Among Non-Russian Intellectuals in Russia -- Viktor Aleksandrovich Shnirelʹman):

In actuality, neo-Bulgarism is a manifestation of a hidden competition among various Tatar groups. For instance, the Kazan Tatars appear to be jealous of the Mishars' success in making administrative careers for themselves. ... My own analysis of one of the most important works of the nco-Bulgarists, Nurutdinov's Bulgarskii vo pros (The Bulgar Question), shows that the current disputes between them and the Tatarists reflect a struggle within the Tatar intellectual elite for positions in the new ethnopolirical environment. Most Tatar intellectuals, however, seek to maintain Tatar solidarity and so reject nco-Bulgarism and charge Nurutdinov with a falsification of history, even though the main neo-Bulgarist ideas were borrowed from the works of Tatar scholars.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:20 PM
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He looked into our eyes?

144 Yup.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:21 PM
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Do the Bulgars eat bulgur?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:23 PM
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147 -- well I didn't then either to be honest.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:23 PM
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In my 20s, I almost married a half Tatar, half Turkish woman, whom I used to tease by calling "Tatar bebeğim", Turkish for "my Tatar baby". She hated that because - though she loved her father whence her Tatar blood came - she hated the rest of his family, and associated all their undesirable personality traits with the Tatar people.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:30 PM
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The extent to which my "position" aligns with bob does give me pause, but in this instance, I am quite willing to defer to the better angels of the folks in Europe and other surrounding areas.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:31 PM
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153: Could you give me a coordinate or two for what that position is?


Posted by: Idp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:36 PM
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The bulgur-eating-Bulgar bopped the Tatar on the ta-tas when the taunting Tatar's tempter lost his temper when she taunted.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:42 PM
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Just a little woman-beating humor to add some levity to a tough geopolitical situation.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:44 PM
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Is self-hating Tatar a thing?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:50 PM
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Is there a river in Crimea? Because at least that would be kinda funny.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:51 PM
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People are really stepping it up with the nude selfies, so if anyone want the tickets they better send me their pics fast before I make a decision.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:52 PM
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That was supposed to go in the other thread, but it's 100% accurate.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 5:52 PM
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SEE, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CONVERT TO A NAMBY-PAMBY RELIGION LIKE CHRISTIANITY -- YOUR WARRIORS LOSE RESPECT FOR YOU, AND THEN EVERYONE ELSE DOES TOO! BY THE BALLS OF PERUN, MY MEN AND I COULD HAVE SORTED THIS OUT WITH COLD STEEL AND HOT BLOOD!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SVYATOSLAV | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 6:09 PM
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And your foot massagers! By Grignr, what sort of softling invalids are the people of your world that they need foot massage mats with eleven intensity settings? Even the most gout-ridden, feeble merchant of my world would ask for no more than eight intensity settings, and the strong warriors of my tribe require only five!


Posted by: Opinionated Randon the Indecorous | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 6:25 PM
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I'm in your basement and you can't see me.


Posted by: Opinionated Radon the Indetectable | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 7:04 PM
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Bad joke from Twitter about a guy filling out a form in a Ukranian airport:

Name: Boris
Nationality: Russian
Occupation: No. Just visiting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 7:28 PM
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164 is even better if you do the accent.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 7:35 PM
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This is an informative thread. I hadn't realized America could boast of a pro-Putin Left.

(I think this thread really is kind of informative, btw).


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 7:46 PM
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Walking back a little on Welch. Yes, $5 billion is a lot, but not over 20 years.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 7:48 PM
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166 kind of reminds me of when we were thought to have a pro-Saddam left.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 7:51 PM
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The whole U.S. policy of expanding NATO and trying to pry away satellite states that have been under Russian control for centuries is crazy and always has been. It's certainly not in the interests of ordinary Americans, who will pay the taxes and take the risks involved in this idiotic policy. This is just the latest chapter. Putin is an asshole, but at least he's not *our* asshole. Letting foreign assholes fight it out over foreign places is better than letting our assholes drag us into the fray.

I do have some trust in Obama about this, though. Still not impressed by him as a domestic policy president, but I think he's underrated as a foreign policy president. Negotiating with Iran was a ballsy and long overdue move, his sleight of hand in keeping us out of Syria was brilliant, and we're finally getting out of Afghanistan. The problem is that he always defends his right flank by throwing them a bone (a threatening speech, the temporary Afghanistan surge, etc.) and you do enough belligerent speeches eventually you will get dragged into trouble.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 7:57 PM
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Steak tartare is best when served with a Russian yoke.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 8:02 PM
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61-66: when I spoke slowly in Polish and (Eastern) Ukranians spoke slowly in Ukranian, we could understand one another easily. This was not the case for me when I went further east and everyone spoke Russian. Anecdotally, and bearing in mind that I am quite horrible at foreign languages, I (as a basically fluent Polish speaker) understood spoken Ukranian more easily than I did Czech, Slovak, or Slovenian.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 8:10 PM
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169.1 - If one is a Ukrainian not inclined to Russia invading the Crimea, you might see a method in the madness.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 8:20 PM
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I hadn't realized America could boast of...

Now I'm confused; I had taken you for a Canadian, but I've never heard a Canadian refer to the USA as America

Context suggests facetiousness which might account for it though.


Posted by: Idp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 8:32 PM
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172: why should U.S. foreign policy be conducted for the benefit of the non-Russian half of the Ukraine? Senator McCain did say today that "we are all Ukrainians", which was news to me, but I guess if you buy that then there you go.

(And I wonder whether it's in the interests of even anti-Russian Ukrainians to provoke Russia -- would Mexico have been well advised to join the Warsaw Pact?).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 8:44 PM
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This is an informative thread. I hadn't realized America could boast of a pro-Putin Left.

Hating on Putin might make me some gay or Eastern European friends.

Hating on the EU/IMF/Neoliberal Austerian Empire might conceivably weaken their power and save a lot of Greek and Spanish lives and futures.

And even Western Ukrainians, if it comes to separation.

Let me see...

Varoufakis on Greece, December 13

Doesn't talk about the suicides, deaths from lack of medicine, and children dumpster diving and eating dirt, though.

But hey! Pussy Riot!


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 8:44 PM
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172 -- but it didn't really work, did it? Control of the Crimea is clearly a very important issue for Russia and it will never be worth very much to anyone else, absent a desire to go to war with Russia full stop.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 8:55 PM
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Are we going to fight about gentrification next?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 8:56 PM
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I'm down with gentefication.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:00 PM
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178: It's a thing!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:07 PM
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177: That fight is going on in the top post at Crooked Timber as write

Blood Soil or Communal Power

another lefty link. The Ukrainians could have gone against the oligarchs and economic technocrats toward collective worker power. Tymoshenko really is just another corrupt thief.

The actual Left, as opposed to the Pussy Riot left, was involved in Maidan, but didn't really have a shot against the identity nationalist freaks.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:08 PM
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You see, bob. The idea is that there's a river in Crimea. It's the Crimea river. It's really quite hilarious.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:13 PM
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I had taken you for a Canadian, but I've never heard a Canadian refer to the USA as America

Yes, I'm a Canadian, but I've lived in the States for many years. I no longer use "Yankee" as a synonym for "American," and I sometimes (though not often, and mostly only facetiously) refer to the USA as "America." When in Rome, and etc.

mcmanus, I really don't understand where your Manichean worldview is leading you here. Do I believe Putin is as bad as Tsar Alexander III? No. Do I support Putin's gay-bashing and suppression of dissent? No. Do I strongly suspect that recent events in Ukraine represent a highly complex and volatile situation that cannot be easily and readily apprehended by means of a distinctly American left-right political rubric? Yes. Do I know enough about the situation to have anything more than a strong suspicion on this point? No indeed.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:23 PM
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refer to the USA as "America." When in Rome, and etc.

I get that, and also that ruminating on the term has left my mind's ear in the desert on a horse with no name, which serves me right.


Posted by: Idp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:31 PM
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Very interesting article about this year's weather, movement in the jet stream, and climate change.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:34 PM
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Dnipropetrovsk, a city I admit I had never heard of until now

Well, it was called Yekaterinoslav until 1926 when the Soviets renamed it, so that might contribute to your confusion. My great-grandfather was from there but always called it "Katrinaslav," which was certainly confusing to me when I first started getting interested in genealogy and family history.

More seriously, it has an interesting history; I had not known that it was such an important center for Soviet rocket production.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:42 PM
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mcmanus, I really don't understand where your Manichean worldview is leading you here.

bob is trolling. bob is always trolling.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:43 PM
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Occurs to me I've somehow been around Ukrainians all my life. A common ethnicity in Canada, but also in Columbus growing up, where I was very sweet on several girls whose names I use to pronounce to myself, and then again in Chicago. I must have some unconscious affinity for their company.


Posted by: Idp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:45 PM
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Linguistic question: does Putin refer to Ukraine as the Russian language analog "the Ukraine" or as "Ukraine"? (see here)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:46 PM
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I'd only heard of Dnipropetrovsk in Tom Lehrer's Lobachevsky.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:54 PM
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After 12 years or so in the blogosphere

After Kosovo
After Afghanistan
After Iraq
After Egypt
After Libya
After Syria

I would have hoped that American liberals would be just a little embarrassed about calling out another evil tyranny and portraying themselves as champions of freedom when the next country, Ukraine, descends into civil war, mass death, and destruction.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:55 PM
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I'd only heard of Dnipropetrovsk in Tom Lehrer's Lobachevsky.

This is why following the Europa League is educational.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 9:58 PM
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It's a pretty sickening pattern of breaking all those places and not fixing them up again.

I am not on Putin's "side" but I am also for damn sure not on the anti-Putin side, because it is very clear what the end result will be. That side makes my skin crawl.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:01 PM
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185: My wife's grandmother was born there in ~1899. But the family's roots were in eastern Poland. They then went to Odessa in 1901, Warsaw in 1905, and finally New York in 1920. Her father was supposedly in the Russian army, although we have little information.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:02 PM
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bob has the obvious solution. Let Iraq invade the Crimea.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:07 PM
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Liberals: the cause of and solution to all of America's problems.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:09 PM
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I'd heard of it, under it's current name, from Russian classes and the effort to pronounce it. I associate it with another of those, Zhitomir: Jeet-oh-meer. But the "J" is too hard. The Russians transliterate my name, John, with a "D" in front to make it hard enough.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:11 PM
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188: If Wikipedia is right that conventional media in Russia uses the different preposition ("on Ukraine" rather than "in Ukraine"), I can't imagine Putin doing it differently.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:29 PM
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Na-oo-cran--oo?


Posted by: Idp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:33 PM
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188: Russian famously doesn't have articles.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 10:59 PM
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He said the analog [sic] to the article issue, which according to the link appears to be a difference in which preposition to use. (He is therefore presumably banned.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:03 PM
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Ah, my bad.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:49 PM
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Don't worry about it; I interpreted 188 the same way initially and almost posted a comment saying exactly the same thing as 199 before looking more closely.

On another note, since I believe you've spoken highly of Unibroue beers in the past, I picked up a variety pack of them and they've all been great.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 1-14 11:56 PM
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Indeed, I'm a big Unibroue fan. It's been too long since I've had Fin Du Monde.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:01 AM
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I am in fact drinking La Fin du Monde right now!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:06 AM
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The general feeling I have is hopelessness and doom, as per usual. Putin can't be sugar-coated. Unlike Bob, I have trouble mustering enthusiasm for "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

A Russian/ American friend of mine doing a PhD in Russian history wrote this:
http://nplusonemag.com/what-kind-of-target-are-you

As I understand, he tentatively and rather glumly supports the rebels.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:34 AM
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I've been to Dniepropetrovsk. Nice enough town; liked it better than Donetsk, anyway.

"В Украине" was, at least 20 years ago, a bit pointedly non-idiomatic and political, even among Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians in Ukraine. I would be surprised if Putin uses it.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 1:00 AM
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He said the analog [sic] to the article issue, which according to the link appears to be a difference in which preposition to use.

It's weird that this is the analog, but I guess it is. "На" [on] makes it sound more like a territory or a region than a country, as "the" (I guess?) does.

I think the same thing happened with На Крыму/В Крыму ("in [on] the Crimea"/"in Crimea") if that hasn't been mentioned. Though the former gets 36,500 hits and the latter 3 million + so either I'm wrong or it happened before the internet.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 1:21 AM
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One thing I've realized from all these recent events is how little I know about Ukraine. I'm very interested in developments there, because of the family connections I mentioned above, but most of what I know about Ukrainian politics and demographics I've learned in the past few weeks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 1:24 AM
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All I know is that Ukrainians get seriously pissed off if you say "the Ukraine" to them.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 1:39 AM
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Unlike Bob, I have trouble mustering enthusiasm for "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

For the record, Putin is not "my friend." Especially because it is possible that if the Maidan and the Kievites fight, and especially if they attempt a guerrilla war, Putin may depopulate East Ukraine as he did Chechnya.
Millions. Putin is a monster.

Nor do I really condemn the Maidan protesters, students, professionals, small business people, Ukrainian nationalists, perhaps even the performative fascist assholes. They had cause. They should have gone after the other rich fucks in a social revolution than simply trying to replace the leadership in a coup.

But they are fools, because they probably believed the West, EU, and Obama would have their backs is Putin went barbaric. That may even have been hinted without actually being said. It was a lie.

And now, although I hope not, the neoliberals and culture warriors who wanted to tweak that homophobe's nose a little (and make some money) and cheered "go go Ukraine" will watch the Ukrainian corpses pile up. And from their couches, cry over the heroic failure.

I didn't like Saddam either. Iraq would have been better off if we had stayed the fuck out. And I heard that shit in 2002 I am getting from Emerson. "Objectively pro-Saddam"

I hate the bullshit humanitarian interventionists (mostly women, interestingly:Nuland, Rice, Power) in the White House and the opportunistic vultures in the EU.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 4:30 AM
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Fuck. "Depopulate East Ukraine" s/b West Ukraine. A lot of people are making that slip.

12 years after Iraq, I just can't believe we are encouraging yet another country to die for our reality tv fix. "The courage of the Ukrainian Martyrs, Live at 11!"

It's horrible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 4:38 AM
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Back in the day I spent a considerable amount of time trying to take you seriously, Bob. But your wealth of information, ideas, and commitment is shared through the medium of one of the most annoying communication strategies in the history of mankind.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 4:39 AM
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Oksana Grytsenko, reporting from the Guardian in Ukraine, has been speaking to a Ukrainian MP who said that Russian soldiers have been trying to get Ukrainian forces in Crimea to give up their weapons:

Hrygory Nemyria, Batkivshchyna lawmaker, told journalists regarding Russian soldiers in Crimea: "In three locations they didn't just block but came in. They suggested military personal give up arms." He added that the same was happening with several police units.

Parliament approved with more that 300 votes a resolution appealing to state guarantors of Ukraine's security (UK and US) to involve and send monitoring missions here. Nemyria said: "They have Russian citizens in Ukraine's provinces orchestrating illegal seizure of administrative buildings." He added that Russians acted in Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Mykolayiv yesterday.


No idea whether this guy is remotely reliable or just repeating scare stories, but it's worrying if the Russians are in fact acting like this outside Crimea.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 4:49 AM
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The whole U.S. policy of expanding NATO and trying to pry away satellite states that have been under Russian control for centuries is crazy and always has been.

This hasn't actually been happening. NATO expanded first into Poland and the Czech Republic, which were not under Russian control for centuries: they were independent countries conquered in the middle of the 20th century by the Russians and their best friends, the Nazis. Then NATO expanded into the Baltic states, which also used to be independent countries until the Russians conquered them in 1940 - they didn't need Nazi help so much there, except in as much as it was part of their brilliant plan to let the Nazis brutalise the whole of western Europe while they scooped up all the bits of eastern Europe they wanted.
NATO hasn't taken on any states that have been "under Russian control for centuries". Shit, even Georgia was only conquered by the Russians in 1801. All the Central Asian republics are the result of the (extremely unpleasant) Russian push into Siberia and Central Asia in the 19th century.

I think we should send them Larry Summers again. If he does his thing with the economic reform advice like he did in the 90s, Russia won't be in a position to threaten anyone for a good decade.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 5:07 AM
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Then NATO expanded into the Baltic states, which also used to be independent countries until the Russians conquered them in 1940

To be fair, they were, however reluctantly, part of the Russian empire from the partition of Poland to the revolution, which is over a hundred years, though not centuries. Russian proprietorship of Belarus and Western Ukraine is of roughly the same vintage, but people have seemed less interested in them up to now.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 5:19 AM
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If there ends up being serious violence in Ukraine, someone is going to blow up the gas pipelines.

What is that going to do to Europe's energy situation? Will they be straight-up fucked, or is there enough Liquefied Natural Gas capacity to make up the shortfall?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 5:45 AM
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NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen convened an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels on Sunday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

We support Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. We support the right of the people of Ukraine to determine their own future without outside interference.

Ukraine is our neighbor, and *Ukraine is a valued partner for NATO.*

We urge all parties to urgently continue all efforts to move away from this dangerous situation. In particular, I call on Russia to de-escalate tensions.

What the fuckety-fuck?

The Maidan-West Ukrainians will hear this, especially the play-Nazi types and think:"Wow, Nato is our "valued partner?" Let's get it on!" Russia is not gonna run away if the shooting starts.

Or what? Does NATO really plan to help militarily? Are you fucking kidding me?

PS:There was an idiot commenter yesterday that claimed the US now has a first-strike nuclear superiority, that the Pentagon and WH knows it, that maybe the Russians know it, and this gives the Empire full-spectrum dominance. He was laughed at.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 5:49 AM
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*Ukraine is a valued partner for NATO.*

Putin is gonna hear that as a nuclear threat.

Is it?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 6:00 AM
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What is that going to do to Europe's energy situation?

I don't know, I don't think anybody has publicly calculated the impact of this, although I'm sure there are plenty of classified reports. My guess would be that it would vary by region. Some regions would be straight up fucked, others would be seriously inconvenienced.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 6:13 AM
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I imagine Germany might put the brakes on its nuclear phase-out.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 6:25 AM
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I imagine it might well. Britain has already commissioned a new nuclear station for the first time in decades. It's directly in response to declining output in the North Sea, but indirectly to not wanting to become reliant on Russian supplies.

This is interesting, if it's reliable.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 6:43 AM
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"Putin is going to hear that as a nuclear threat"

He's had plenty of opportunity to do so, without taking it - Ukraine has been in the NATO Partnership for Peace since the 8th of February, 1994.

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_82584.htm


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 6:46 AM
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174 - It shouldn't. I'm just saying that from a Ukrainian point of view, having just been invaded by Russia, working to get alliances in place that would prevent Russia invading with impunity retroactively probably seem like a good idea even if they angered Putin.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 6:53 AM
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Kerry is threatening "sanctions that would isolate Russia economically". Take a look at the table linked in 221 and tell me how likely that is.

Empty words not helpful in this situation.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 7:08 AM
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222: Well, Rasmussen maybe convincing me that NATO really does have West Ukraine's back.

Pat Lang said yesterday that Russia will go all the way to the Polish border, but if NATO/Obama lands a brigade in Kiev, Putin probably would back down a lot. A whole lot depends on speed, first to hold territory keeps it, because neither side (NATO/Russia) wants to shoot.

Course, to put it sarcastically, Putin and the Russians would then be mightily pissed, and I have no idea what happens in Ukraine or globally after that. Fun stuff. But possibly not a bloodbath in Ukraine.

I just didn't think they'd back up Ukraine.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 7:14 AM
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And I do prefer "West Ukraine" because as far as I have seen, Crimea and parts of East Ukraine are not totally onboard, and what is in Kiev is not exactly a unity government.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 7:17 AM
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224: Russia is an extractive resource-exporting economy. They don't have much else.

I don't know who EU suspending gas purchases would hurt more.

Russia would maybe have a domestic political advantage, but if Western media can whip us up into a renewed Cold War frenzy, maybe a wash for a while.

And the US has a surplus of natural gas.

Geopolitics is getting played bigtime.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 7:23 AM
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We do have a big surplus of natural gas. It's from fracking and because my new windows that have saved us several hundred dollars a season on heating costs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 7:29 AM
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Pat Lang said yesterday that Russia will go all the way to the Polish border

Pat Lang is increasingly turning into a one-joke doom monger. I mean, "TTG"'s current post is nonsense. For "tanks to be on the Polish border within days", whole armoured divisions, indeed armies, would have to be marshalling now, very visibly. You wouldn't be able to get on a train in western Russia because the rolling stock would be gone. You wouldn't be able to use main roads southwest of Moscow because the military police wouldn't let you on the MSRs. A whole gang of huge combat-indicators would be flashing dead red.

But I see journalists travelling down to the Crimea on normal, civilian trains and aircraft and seeing no unusual activity en route. People who have driven into the area between Simferopol and Sevastopol report that if you don't go to the very specific locations where a theatrical stand-off is going on, there's next to no sign of military activity. The only Russian military unit anyone has identified in the area is the one that's permanently based there.

TTG was an intel analyst, so he well knows this, but for some reason he's blowing smoke.

And it's ridiculous to get excited because you saw a Russian warship in Sevastopol; that's literally as remarkable as seeing a US Navy ship in Norfolk, Virginia, a Chinese one in Dalian, or a British one in Portsmouth.

(Is anyone really feeling the strangeness that Buzzfeed has some of the best coverage of this story?)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 7:49 AM
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"my new windows that have saved us several hundred dollars a season on heating costs."
All geopolitics is local.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 7:54 AM
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239.last: I thought the "Which Early Modern or More Recent Atrocity in or near the Caucus Are You?" quiz was very well done.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 8:01 AM
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229: Well, to be fair, Pat Lang said that Russia tanks would be crossing the Ukrainian border in days, and that Russia would occupy the Ukraine to the Polish border, like eventually. I don't know how credible the site is. We'll see.

The Ukr booster over at CT is all proud of the West Ukrainians' self-control in the face of the brutal Russian invasion, but it is fairly obvious that we have a long-planned orchestration going on here. NATO will definitely want Russia to shoot first, at all costs.

My latest feeling is that Russia will settle for Crimea, and then politics with economic incentives (by both powers) will be played in an attempt to get some or all of East Ukraine to split from West or join Russia. Kiev has been written off and will get as economically fucked by Russia as possible forever. Sasha Clarkson is pretty good over at CT.

But I'm guessing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 8:05 AM
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Roland Oliphant of the Daily Telegraph is providing quality service:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10670547/Ukraine-crisis-Polite-people-leading-the-silent-invasion-of-the-Crimea.html

(I think he got the unit ident by the underhand and tricksy stratagem of actually speaking Russian.)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 8:10 AM
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A stab at why Ukraine hasn't (yet) collapsed into civil war, even though that was the prediction of many, including Ukrainians.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 8:32 AM
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221 would be more helpful if I had a sense of how much countries like Finland depend on natural gas over other resources. The wiki entry on "Energy in Finland" is not clear to me.

I'm fairly confident that Obama can pursue a "talk tough while being secretly reasonable" policy here.

I really resent being called the "pro-Putin left." I just don't see how the Western powers stand to gain enough to merit the risks here.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 8:42 AM
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234 is good; I think one of the key issues here is that a lot of people were relying on "West Ukrainians" and "East Ukrainians" being a thing. When push came to shove, though, the "pro Russian east" didn't show up in numbers. EU wanted to manage it as a low key issue; Putin (and Yanuk) thought the pro Russian east would turn up. Nobody reckoned with the whole shithouse getting pulled down. What we're seeing is both the US and Russia struggling for relevance in a situation they lost grip on.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 8:55 AM
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224: From the link in 221
The largest importers of Russian gas in the European Union are Germany and Italy, accounting together for almost half of the EU gas imports from Russia.

While getting them on board would be difficult, tell me that wouldn't be a real consequence?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 9:19 AM
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My Russianist friend mentioned way uphtread now recommends this.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 9:43 AM
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234 to 238.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 9:45 AM
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I really resent being called the "pro-Putin left."

Take it from me, allowing any of bob's nonsensical rantings to change your mood in any way is a mistake. That way madness lies.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 9:50 AM
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I'd favor the US and the EU banning entry to a fairly large set of senior Russian officials and members of the economic elite, plus their families. It would have no impact on the average Russian, but if, say, every moderately senior Russian official as well as private individual worth nine figures or more finds themselves barred from travel in the west and their kids can't get their gilded foreign degrees, they'd find it unpleasant. If the Russians enter Eastern Ukraine then freeze the assets of all the above plus those of the Russian state and state enterprises.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 9:58 AM
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238: in case anyone else was wondering, the Georgia College where the author of the linked post is from is the Jimmy Carter one, not the Joseph Stalin one.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:19 AM
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I've only just started in on it, but this NYRB piece is so far very good.

In fact, it was a classic popular revolution. It began with an unmistakably reactionary regime. A leader sought to gather all power, political as well as financial, in his own hands. This leader came to power in democratic elections, to be sure, but then altered the system from within. For example, the leader had been a common criminal: a rapist and a thief. He found a judge who was willing to misplace documents related to his case. That judge then became the chief justice of the Supreme Court. There were no constitutional objections, subsequently, when the leader asserted ever more power for his presidency.
I do disagree with his assessment of the ugliness of Yanukovych's homes, at least the featured villa, which basically looks like a lodge for the wealthy on the fringes of Yosemite or Yellowstone.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:19 AM
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(I guess there isn't a "Georgia College" in J. Stalin Georgia).


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:21 AM
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243: I was about to link that. Have to run and have also only started it, but it's been a good read so far.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:29 AM
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allowing any of bob's nonsensical rantings to change your mood in any way is a mistake

The term was introduced by teraz kurwa my in 60 who is really smart, especially on these matters.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:31 AM
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214: Even Poland was under Russian control in the 18th century. I mean, listen to yourself. Should U.S. foreign policy be about trying to correct the evils of the "extremely unpleasant Russian push into Siberia and Central Asia in the 19th century", i.e. undoing the Russian empire created by the Tsars over the 18th to 19th century? You want to endanger American security over that? If you go to Nato's web site , you can see the explicit statement that "Georgia and Ukraine will become members in the future". That is crazy, and it is a serious provocation to Russia.

It seems to me that international law is quite correctly based on the idea that except in extremely rare circumstances, active shooting wars involving major powers are about the worst, most destructive, most evil things that can happen. So if your country is escalating in a way that may lead to war, you're in the wrong, almost no matter how much of an asshole the other guy is. (Short of genocide and the like). And from our armchairs we have almost no idea who is 'worse', Putin or the Ukrainian rebels. We have much more information about Putin but almost none about the Ukrainian side.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:36 AM
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214: Even Poland was under Russian control in the 18th century. I mean, listen to yourself. Should U.S. foreign policy be about trying to correct the evils of the "extremely unpleasant Russian push into Siberia and Central Asia in the 19th century", i.e. undoing the Russian empire created by the Tsars over the 18th to 19th century? You want to endanger American security over that? If you go to Nato's web site , you can see the explicit statement that "Georgia and Ukraine will become members in the future". That is crazy, and it is a serious provocation to Russia.

It seems to me that international law is quite correctly based on the idea that except in extremely rare circumstances, active shooting wars involving major powers are about the worst, most destructive, most evil things that can happen. So if your country is escalating in a way that may lead to war, you're in the wrong, almost no matter how much of an asshole the other guy is. (Short of genocide and the like). And from our armchairs we have almost no idea who is 'worse', Putin or the Ukrainian rebels. We have much more information about Putin but almost none about the Ukrainian side.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:36 AM
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sorry...


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:38 AM
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So if your country is escalating in a way that may lead to war

Like, for example, invading another country.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:39 AM
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246: which is why that phrase was surprising: WTF was he talking about? There are pro-Putin lefties? Wha?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:50 AM
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246: oh, I just assumed, since the idea of a pro-Putin American left is so ridiculous, that it must have been bob's. Come to think of it, the notion of any American left at all is pretty ridiculous. Anyway, carry on!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:54 AM
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I was not referring to those who don't want to interfere, but rather to those who think that on the balance, whatever his faults, they favor Putin rather than the EU or the US on Ukraine, and in particular those who justify it in terms of 'well at least Putin isn't a neo-liberal imperialist' grounds. From what I've seen on unfogged that group is limited to Bob and PGD. (I'm assuming neither would say it would be fine for the US to invade Cuba and Venezuela.)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:58 AM
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243: The Timothy Snyder is worthless propagandistic shite.

238 is not much better.

"After the political opposition reached an agreement with President Viktor Yanukovych, Yanukovych fled for parts unknown."

What, he just had a whim? After the "agreement?"

Pack of lies.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:01 AM
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well at least Putin isn't a neo-liberal imperialist

No he's not, that's the problem with pigeon holes. But meanwhile the percentage of Russian wealth owned by the 0.1% compares hoow to that in the US or EU? I don't think Putin has any friends on the left at all; you can't even argue from revolutionary defeatism any more.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:05 AM
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On the В/На Ukraine* thing, I almost wrote "equivalent" instead of "analog" but I'd rather make a banned analogy than a false equivalency. This is a case where I wouldn't necessarily trust Wikipedia to be up to date. That article I linked to has lots of recent edits, though I don't know how many related to the preposition thing. I guess I could try to dust off my Russian and look at Russian state media, by which I mean Russian media.

*Using English so I don't have to think about the declension.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:09 AM
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I thought the pro-Putinism in America was on the right. I seem to recall the Tea Party wishing to fellate him for being a tough guy in Syria and making Obama look weak.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:19 AM
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I'm assuming neither would say it would be fine for the US to invade Cuba and Venezuela.

Oh, it's pretty clear the US is messing in Venezuela. Has been for years.

253:Putin's an asshole, but has given the Ukraine a pretty good deal on gas, and is their major trading customer, because their wages and benefits are relatively high (the EU will adjust that for them). Eastern Ukraine ain't so terrible, and most of the problems are their own, in that they have way too many billionaires. They certainly don't have the 50% youth unemployment of Spain or Greece, and the EU and US aren't hostile to billionaire oligarchs. Greece had its share before the EU vultures descended.

What is the EU offering Ukraine economically, say in medium term? Fracking and ethanol production, extractive fucking industries. ADM and Chevron are all over West Ukraine.

The neo-liberals will promise them freedom and fuck them over royally. There is a very large sector of West Ukraine that goes to Western Europe as temp labor, sees what it is like, and probably thinks Kiev will be Copenhagen or Brussels in a few short years of EU management.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:20 AM
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Measures of inequality from WIKI, lower is better

US GINI 45

Russia GINI 41

Canada GINi 32

Ukraine GINI 28 (Even with all the billionaires)

Sweden GINI 23

Ukraine does have a decent welfare state, that the EU and Yatsenyuk promise to slash to ribbons.

I haven't checked it yet, but I wonder where those Ukrainian billionaires do their banking. I do know that among the first things the new legislature did, after banning Russian language ( oh, she promises she'll veto, makes feel so secure), was to slap on capital controls.

Wall Street and the City wants that oligarch money.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:34 AM
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256: Agreed, but I asked an informant, who says that at least in Russia, using "v" instead of "na" is still uncommon and comes of as very politically-minded.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:36 AM
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+f


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:37 AM
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I was not referring to those who don't want to interfere, but rather to those who think that on the balance, whatever his faults, they favor Putin rather than the EU or the US on Ukraine, and in particular those who justify it in terms of 'well at least Putin isn't a neo-liberal imperialist' grounds. From what I've seen on unfogged that group is limited to Bob and PGD.

What does 'favoring' mean? I'm not the United Nations. The issue isn't whether Putin is nice, or whether he is nice compared to 'neo-liberal imperialists'. I'm a U.S. citizen, the question is the most responsible thing for the U.S. to do in the interests of both our national security and (secondarily) broader global interests. I think the answer is to stand down from provoking and threatening Russia over actions in Russia's historical sphere of interest, which has been a long-term U.S. policy and which Russia is correct to be upset about. Short of genocide or massive human rights violations, any benefits we create by doing that are far outweighed by the damage it causes to U.S.-Russian relations. (The only case I can think of where a really strong anti-Russian stand could have been justified on a human rights basis alone was in Chechnya, where we did nothing because Muslims).

As far as 'the EU or the US in Ukraine', I suspect over the really long run refraining from provoking Russia would be a better way to improve ordinary relations there, since realistically strong Ukrainian-EU relations are dependent on Russia feeling secure that interactions between Ukraine and Europe do not pose a threat to Russia.

(I'm assuming neither would say it would be fine for the US to invade Cuba and Venezuela.)

An interesting example. U.S. actions in Central America in the 80s were far worse in a humanitarian sense than anything Putin has done in Ukraine, and with less justification (the historical and popular ties with those countries were much less). But it would have been highly provocative and destabilizing for Russia to conclude a mutual self-defense treaty with Nicaragua, or to announce that the a successful revolution in El Salvador was the goal of Russian foreign policy. Cuba is an interesting example as well. There of course Russia did try something like that. I don't think that was a good idea either.

Another general element in this discussion -- I think that in the U.S. there is a failure to give proper weight to the idea of spheres of influence. (Despite our own historical insistence on that concept with the Monroe doctrine, etc.). I'm not sure I can think of a situation the U.S. might face where a nearby nation had substantial numbers of 'ethnically American' citizens. (Indeed, the concept of 'ethnically American' doesn't make a lot of sense given our history). But that's the situation here. It's reasonable for Russia to be concerned about the fate of 'Russian' Ukrainians. Certainly if there was a revolution in any country near the U.S. and U.S. citizens located in that country were placed under threat in some way by the new regime, the overwhelming majority of Americans would favor a military intervention of some sort. That's not a blank check for intervention, but a revolution associated with the 'non-Russian' Ukrainians that overthrows a leader elected by the 'Russian' ones is going to create legitimate grounds for concern.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:45 AM
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I'm not going to argue that there are not hazes of propaganda at work here. Arguing about the composition (and alleged foreign payments) of the protesters in Kiev seems as useful as arguing the composition of the Cairo demonstrations was: what matters is who ends up in power. I doubt they'll be Nazis, but don't doubt they'll be kleptocrats.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:46 AM
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Wiki: Ukrainian Salary by Region Map for another piece of demographic information

What, ya think the West Ukrainians have the best interests of the East at heart?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:49 AM
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I seem to recall the Tea Party wishing to fellate him for being a tough guy in Syria and making Obama look weak

And for his heroic stand against the gay agenda.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:55 AM
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And everything that PGD says in 262, but frankly yes, I think Ukrainian ordinary people would be better off in Russia's sphere of influence than becoming Latvia reformed by the EU. They really do need to get their corrupt politics under control.

But mostly as I have said above, I am sick of the US and the West fucking around in other countries, breaking their systems, and leaving the survivors to sift thru the ruins. There is a goddamn recent consistent track record here, and after the West is done with Ukraine, they'll be lucky to look like Latvia. They may end up Libya or Syria.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:56 AM
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Neoliberalism in Syria

When the U.S. lifted its opposition, the World Trade Organization's 153 members granted the Syrian government an observer status. Although the state was still the main economic generator, privatization was encouraged; foreign entities such as private banks, joint Saudi-French bank of Bimo, Fransabank, Bank of Jordan-Syria, and the Saudi Islamic bank, joined the Syrian market. The road also began opening for other credible international banks such as Citibank and HSBC to come to Syria and lend money at higher interest rates.

The Syrian government attempted to satisfy the demands of the international banks, which urged Syria to raise the cap and limit on non-Syrian ownership of local banks from 49 percent to 60 percent. In 2006, the Syrian regime of Assad and the new guard became the fourth-largest recipient of foreign direct investment, as well as of Arab Gulf states' investments. The foreign and Arab investments ratcheted up from $115 million in 2001 to $1.6 billion in 2006. Assad replaced one of the old guards, the minister of economy, with a new economy and trade minister, Lamia Assi, who did not object to the new neoliberal policies.

Unlike his father, Hafez, Bashar also sought to decrease the reliance of the Syrian regime on Russia and Iran by expanding the scope of the sweetening deals that the regime would receive from foreign and other Arab corporations. At this time, the regime's policies and politico-economic and sociopolitical agenda departed heavily from the original Baath Party's slogans voicing socialist and Arab nationalistic sentiments and aspirations. These sweeping changes left the Syrian people in a dire state of need and neglect.

And where is Syria now.

Yeah, I think the Int'l banksters and Multinational Corporations are easily the most evil destructive force in the history of the world.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:11 PM
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I do know that among the first things the new legislature did, after banning Russian language

It repealed the law giving Russian equal status with Ukrainian in areas where Russian speakers make up over ten percent of the population. In practice what that does is make it much easier for Russian speakers to use Russian in official business with the authorities (e.g. courts) and should at least theoretically eliminate discrimination against Russian language schools in Central Ukraine (it wasn't a problem in Eastern Ukraine, if anything the reverse, and Russian speakers are less than ten percent of the population in the West). Not a good thing, but not exactly 'banning the Russian language'.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:12 PM
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||

TJ: I was going to go to Donut Man, but by the time I was ready they were putting up sandbags in Glendora. Thanks for the recommendation though.

A worthwhile place I found - right in Colton! - was Sushi Miguel's.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:15 PM
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How were ethnic Russians threatened? Because they now might have to hire a translator when submitting court documents? The people who took power are the same people who were in power four years ago. Sure you'd have more political pork doled out to friendly regions rather than politically hostile ones and some underfunding of specifically Russian language institutions, but that's about it.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:28 PM
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Interesting bit on the practical ways Crimea is dependent on the Ukrainian mainland, history and demographics aside.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:32 PM
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269: too bad!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:34 PM
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I also think you are seriously underestimating the possibility of a destabilization of the EU if the Russians go into Eastern Ukraine and the US and EU don't do much of anything. That wouldn't be good for the US and would be rather worse for the EU.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:35 PM
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273: the domino theory redux. I didn't like the Cold War the first time around, I don't think it will be any better in reruns.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 12:45 PM
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273 -- If Russia goes in to the Eastern Ukraine, especially in ambiguous circumstances, the EU and US will do nothing militarily, and little of significance (to Russia) non-militarily. I think you must recognize that that's what would happen. Now what?

How should the new regime in Kiev act?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 1:29 PM
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My point was what is going to happen if Poland and the Baltics start taking action. For example, among things I'd expect would be shutting down land access to Kaliningrad, and shutting down the EU decision making process wherever unanimity is required unless the EU enacts significant economic sanctions against Russia. And that's under this Polish government. If the opposition, which has spent the past five years attacking Tusk as a Russian stooge wins next year's elections, things could get a lot more 'interesting'.

As for Ukraine - expropriation of all public and private Russian assets, including debts. Ditto for any of the Eastern Ukrainian oligarchs who decide to reach a modus vivendi with the new authorities. Possibly guerrilla warfare if they go beyond the Donbass and neither the EU nor the US is willing to give them treaty security guarantees for the rest of the country.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 1:59 PM
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Essentially, we don't need to analyze the situation at all. If we reach back to the 19th c. for our cliches, the article writes itself.


This has often puzzled me about Western analysis of Russia. It is often predicated on wholly Western logic:....Russia was, is, and will be an empire with an eternal appetite for expansion.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116810/putin-declares-war-ukraine-and-us-or-nato-wont-do-much


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 2:17 PM
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277: Read that, didn't like it

Did have a good Cartoon down in comments

Like This One More

You know that Ukraine hasn't privatized it's agriculture on some of the greatest soil in the word? Really productive, but capable of 4x as much production...if they sell it to ADM, kick the farmers out, and go agribusiness?

You think the Ukrainian people, rather than oligarchs and MNCs, will see the profits...or even the food, which will be exported making Ukraine dependent on Global Empire for its food supply?

You know that process is happening all over the world?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 2:40 PM
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277:Emerson, the Ukraine is one rich fucking prize for Int'l Rape & Pillage Inc. Potential has not been tapped.

The more I learn about it, the more impressed I am.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 2:42 PM
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Hey, I posted that for a laugh.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 2:43 PM
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The Russians would quote Tyuchev on understanding Russia:

Умом Россию не понять,
Аршином общим не измерить:
У ней особенная стать --
В Россию можно только верить.

Roughly:

Russia cannot be understood through reason, Nor measured by a ruler: She stands unique - In Russia one can only believe.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 2:45 PM
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Hey Poland has grounds to hate Russia, I understand. They also have grounds to hate Germany, but you know, I expect trade and money helps there.

CIA Paid Poland 15 million for Black Site

And since Poland became Bush's torture chamber, they have been all onboard Empire, and compensated well for it.

Speaking of famous cooperative sites in Poland, and my mistaken recommendation of "Saker's" site, well, forget it.

I ventured into the comments there and a few other places and the fullbore anti-semitism was terrifying.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 3:03 PM
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276 -- if the Poles and the Balts try and impose a go-slow on the EU over Ukraine then the western powers will pretty quickly fuck the Poles and Balts over and tell them to fuck off, no?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 3:07 PM
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Billmon's reading is close enough to Bob's.

http://storify.com/billmon1/the-ukrainian-grand-delusion?awesm=sfy.co_dbO6&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_source=direct-sfy.co&utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_campaign=


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 3:12 PM
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Depends how much the Poles and Balts were asking for, how the Russians are acting at that point and how the various internal politics play out over the issue, particularly in Germany. The Poles and the Balts are pretty economically dependent on Germany and the reverse isn't the case, then again Germany's trade volumes with Poland are about the same size as those with Russia so fucking over the Poles and Balts is about as bad for the Germans as fucking over the Russians. Merkel supposedly despises Putin on a personal level and has cooled relations with Russia during her time in office, however, she has also clearly placed a priority on making sure the two countries remain solid economic partners. She also placed an emphasis on repairing relations with Poland that had been damaged under Schroeder and then the Kaczynski twins. Polish PM Donald Tusk is under potentially serious domestic pressure since he invested heavily in repairing relations with Russia.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 3:52 PM
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284:My week was made when Sean Paul Kelley of the Agonist said I was too cynical.

Ian Welsh

"The 2012 IMF/Ukraine Negotiations"

These are the reforms the IMF wanted for a 4 billion dollar loan:

the IMF demanded that Ukraine double prices for gas and electricity to industry and homes, that they lift a ban on private sale of Ukraine's rich agriculture lands, make a major overhaul of their economic holdings, devalue the currency, slash state funds for school children and the elderly to "balance the budget."

As usual of course, a small percentage (as much as 10-20) of the educated connected elite makes out like bandits during the general looting. Yankulovich & Co stashed 70 billion abroad? Hmm, what banks were so willing? They always are.

West Ukraine still might be able to make a play if they provoke a massacre and start a guerrilla war. Smart Kievites just have to talk the right assholes into it.

Been unknown for what 60 years if nuclear powers would fight a limited conventional war.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 3:58 PM
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It seems that the neocons haven't got much traction, so I'm relieved.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 5:26 PM
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http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 5:28 PM
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Jared Leto is on the side of the dreamers in Ukraine. That's going to resolve everything, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 6:45 PM
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289: Only the ones who are watching the Oscars, if I understood him correctly.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 7:22 PM
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Fred Kaplan in Slate: I can't imagine many Americans or Europeans willingly spending "blood and treasure" to keep Moscow's mitts off of Kiev and Kviv

Assuming he means Lviv and not some unknown place called Kviv... I don't see that happening, but in the incredibly unlikely case that it did... Ummmh, yes?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 8:01 PM
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290: Also the rebels in Venezuela, then. Jared Leto isn't ideologically discriminating.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 8:07 PM
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So I was wrong. The US apparently just turned the G8 into the G7.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:44 PM
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Did Canada piss us off again?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:53 PM
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Fucking Canadians.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 10:55 PM
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It's what we do.


Posted by: Canadian Bears | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:00 PM
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|| So, John, I recently met an ex-pat Kalmyk (who lives in Zurich). You ever read anything about Kalmykia? Look it up. |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:08 PM
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Canada pissed us off, so we annexed them. Like with Russia and Ukraine.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:27 PM
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Who's who in Canada's hinterland?

"The black bear is shy and retiring, but is unpredictable, and should be observed from a distance, with respect. For more information on the black bear, please contact the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa."


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:45 PM
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Most of what I know about the Kalmyks is really about the Torguts, a Kalmyk branch (or related people) that returned to China. Their odyssey was epic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 2-14 11:54 PM
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Lenin had a Kalmyk grandmother.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 1:03 AM
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If you go to Nato's web site , you can see the explicit statement that "Georgia and Ukraine will become members in the future". That is crazy, and it is a serious provocation to Russia.

a) well, it's not crazy - both countries are part of the Euro Atlantic Partnership, which is, among other things, a sort of waiting room for NATO.

As is Russia. It's been an avowed intent of NATO governments since the early 1990s to get Russia into a closer partnership with NATO. NATO isn't inevitably an enemy of Russia, and a lot of the blame for it becoming one belongs with Russia.

b) Russia really needs to get away from the idea that it has a right to dictate what its neighbours can and can't do. The Russians hated the idea of Poland joining NATO. Their "legitimate security concerns" extended all the way to the Elbe not that long ago.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 3:43 AM
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Merkel supposedly despises Putin on a personal level and has cooled relations with Russia during her time in office

And how. She just briefed Obama that, based on her conversation with Putin yesterday, he seems to be off his head.

"Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. "In another world," she said."
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/03/world/europe/pressure-rising-as-obama-works-to-rein-in-russia.html?hp


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 3:45 AM
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For more information on the black bear, please contact the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa."

It's $8.99 for the first minute and $4.99 a minute after that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 6:27 AM
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You ever read anything about Kalmykia? Look it up.

I know about that wily Kalmuck, Count Ivan Skavinsky Skivar.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:00 AM
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303: The Merkel call was the "news" part of that article but the rest was Peter Baker and the Useless Times playing their insipid part in the stupid saber-rattling kabuki of domestic US politics as laid out by Kevin Drum on Saturday. Can that girly-man Obama protect us and the world? per example.

Drum: 6. Having written all the "options are limited" thumbsuckers, journalists and columnists will follow McCain's lead and start declaring that the crisis in Ukraine is the greatest foreign policy test of Obama's presidency. It will thus supplant Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran, and North Korea for this honor.

Baker: The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged Mr. Obama as has no other international crisis, and at its heart, the advice seemed to pose the same question: Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin?

What a bunch of fucking putzes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:33 AM
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And of course:

Drum: For their part, Republicans will continue to insist that he's showing weakness and needs to get serious.

Lindsey Graham: Obama "weak and indecisive" which "invites aggression."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:40 AM
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Via Drum , David Ignatius is better, invoking "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." (Although he can't let go of Syria being a fuck-up.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:44 AM
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"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

It's just rude to intrude on someone having sex.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:46 AM
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307: Admittedly, predicting how McCain and Graham will react to any foreign policy issues does not qualify as a feat of prognostication.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:56 AM
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I get the sense that Putin really does not have a coherent plan and is making things up as he goes along. He took a punch in the balls with the overthrow of his guy in Ukraine and he's sort of thrashing around trying to salvage his manliness. This all based, of course, on a rather shallow understanding of the whole situation. I just get the impression that Putin is really driven by machismo.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 8:04 AM
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Charles Pierce did catch this gem from Kerry on a Sunday Show:

KERRY: You just don't in the twenty-first century behave in nineteenth-century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 8:27 AM
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Some sensible advice from three former ambassadors to Ukraine.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 8:36 AM
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WaPo necon editorial board has a sad:

But the world is a darkening place, and the precedents being set are ones that will haunt us for decades to come unless the U.S. administration can act decisively and persistently against Russia.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 8:39 AM
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"The lamps are going out all over the peripheral parts of Europe most people never think about. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time unless we watch our cholesterol, avoid tobacco, and get regular exercise."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 8:42 AM
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312: "I was actually for invading other counties on completely trumped up pretexts before I was against it."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 8:59 AM
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county, country, whatever.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 8:59 AM
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Maybe you were thinking about your home state.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 9:02 AM
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I meant the last 95% of the 21st century.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 9:02 AM
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I'd throw my support behind a Virginia National Guard invasion of Wake County, like the Vietnamese taking out the Khmer Rouge.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 9:05 AM
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county, country, whatever.

You have the keys. You could have edited it.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 9:07 AM
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Here's Gates on how Obama could/should react to this -- basically, Putin is pretty rational and the neoconservatives are not (or, maybe they're rational but they are not acting for your interest):

Robert Gates, President Obama's former defense secretary and author of a book that was critical of the administration, has weighed in on the crisis in the Ukraine. His message to Obama: Watch the rhetoric. "The stronger the rhetoric, the greater expectation of strong action," Gates told Reuters.

"From Putin's standpoint, he's in the catbird's seat," Gates said. "He's put himself in a position where we need him in terms of the Syrian chemical (weapons) deal. We need him in terms of the Iranian nuclear program. We need the Russians in terms of getting our (military) equipment out of Afghanistan."

Asked how he would advise Obama in the crisis in Ukraine, Gates pointed to lessons from Russia's war with Georgia in 2008, when he said Washington wanted to react with more forceful economic and political measures than EU allies did.

"We ran the risk of being the ones who would be isolated because we favored a much more aggressive response than any of our (European) allies did," said Gates, who was President George W. Bush's defense secretary at the time.

"So that's one of the things the president's got to look out for."


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 9:43 AM
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This, via CT, helps make Ukraine's last 10 years make a lot more sense to me:

In Ukraine, there is no populist left politics, even though the country's deepest problem is inequality and oligarchy. Memories of the Soviet Union play a big role in turning people off to populist-left politics there, for understandable reasons.
But the Ukrainians do have a sense of people power that is rare in the world, and it goes back to the first major protests in 2000, through the success of the Orange Revolution. The masses understand their power-in-numbers to overthrow bad governments, but they haven't forged a populist politics to change their situation and redistribute power by redistributing wealth.
So they wind up switching from one oligarchical faction to another, forming broad popular coalitions that can be easily co-opted by the most politically organized minority factions within--neoliberals, neofascists, or Kremlin tools. All of whom eventually produce more of the same shitty life that leads to the next revolution.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 9:49 AM
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Mark Ames is not a reliable source...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 9:53 AM
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Plus, he has a lot of nerve holding forth about the last time he "lived in that neck of the woods" given that what he actually means is that he lived not in Kiev, or the Crimea, or Ukraine, but Moscow, some 1500 km away from where all this is actually happening. Here, let me tell you about what is really happening in Helsinki.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 9:58 AM
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302: just because it's been crazy for a while doesn't mean that it's not crazy. As I said above, we've been pursuing this absurdly risky course since the 1990s.

Russia really needs to get away from the idea that it has a right to dictate what its neighbours can and can't do.

In an abstract sense it doesn't have a right, but as a great power it has a certain prerogative, and if you challenge that prerogative too aggressively you destabilize the global system. Concluding a mutual defense treaty along another country's border is a threat of military action against a country if it throws its weight around within its immediate neighborhood. Given how often we do that ourselves we should understand how provocative it is to threaten other countries if they do it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 10:13 AM
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Ames is annoying all right, and I never know how much to trust him, but that article is interesting in the way it denies all the standard takes on it -- we just don't know anything and it's all a clusterfuck, I guess. That video is incredible, too.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 10:22 AM
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In an abstract sense it doesn't have a right, but as a great power it has a certain prerogative, and if you challenge that prerogative too aggressively you destabilize the global system. Concluding a mutual defense treaty along another country's border is a threat of military action against a country if it throws its weight around within its immediate neighborhood.

But you don't have a right to throw your weight around in your immediate neighbourhood. No one does. It's the most serious crime in the whole corpus of international law.

Besides, lots of other countries manage to have US allies on their borders without becoming paranoid and aggressive. Sweden. Switzerland (entirely encircled by NATO!) Austria, Finland...

Not to mention that Russia has a very expansive definition of its immediate neighbourhood. If we'd listened to the voices of caution in 1992, Poland wouldn't have joined NATO either, and there's a substantial chance that we'd now be looking at Russian troops on the streets of Gdansk, with people earnestly explaining that it's our fault for letting Germany unify - East Germany was in Russia's sphere of influence, after all.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 10:26 AM
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Four of the last five U.S. presidents have undertaken military action in a foreign country without any provocation or real threat to our security at all (not even counting Gulf I here). The U.S. would go ballistic if any country threatened war against us on the basis of military action against some central American country. Can we just be grown up about how the world actually works?

If we'd listened to the voices of caution in 1992, Poland wouldn't have joined NATO either, and there's a substantial chance that we'd now be looking at Russian troops on the streets of Gdansk, with people earnestly explaining that it's our fault for letting Germany unify - East Germany was in Russia's sphere of influence, after all.

Poland was a risk that paid off in the end by pulling a country with strong ties to Europe definitively into the European orbit. And the Poles governed themselves well. But to be clear, it was a risk, and maybe not a wise one. And no, you don't get to assume that without NATO membership Russia would be 'in the streets of Gdansk'. Russia let all these countries go voluntarily, so I think there can be some presumption that they aren't going to go to war just for the hell of it. If you think of Russia like a crazed wild animal that unpredictably lashes out then of course your policy is going to be aggressive toward them.

Seriously, think about what NATO membership means. Article 5 says that "if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked." Do you really want the U.S. to view an armed attack on the Ukraine as the equivalent of an armed attack on Washington DC? Or an attack on Gdansk as an attack on NYC, for that matter? I don't know if there's some out from that article for some membership class, and I suspect that in the breach people just wouldn't honor the treaty for marginal members, but if you took that comittment seriously it is obviously highly destabilizing to global peace to extend the guarantee too far. And if you don't take it seriously, you undermine NATO generallly.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 10:42 AM
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324/325: Thanks.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 11:42 AM
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So, PGD, do you think the world would be more stable if the Russians entered Ukraine and Poland were not in NATO. Lets say a significantly more nationalist, paranoid, anti-Western, and anti Russian Poland - because that's what we'd have if we'd said, nope I realize that ninety percent of your population wants to join, but we can't offend the Russians. Hell, I would not be particularly surprised if Poland by this point would have developed its own nukes.

At least now I'm certain that Poland wouldn't go to war if Russian tanks roll into Kiev and think it very unlikely even if they rolled into Lviv, at least not deliberately, accidentally courtesy of a high stakes game of chicken gone wrong is what I'd be worried about.

Or an attack on Gdansk as an attack on NYC, for that matter?

Is this addressed to me? Well, I live in NYC so I care about protecting it more than protecting Gdansk. But LA or Seattle... um, are you kidding me? You let immigrants into the country and you get people with dual national identities even unto the next generation, that's just the way it goes. And in case you hadn't noticed on this mess I'm feeling somewhat more Polish than American, even though generally it's the reverse.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 4:54 PM
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Realistically a large chunk of the UK populations thinks that Poles shouldn't be allowed in the EU. When it comes to "fighting and dying for complicated arguments in Eastern Europe" I think you'll find the western powers just aren't interested, and there's very little you can do about that, no matter if 90% of Poles think that the British Army should guarantee their security.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 5:16 PM
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So what you're saying is the Poles should build nukes? And in any case we're talking the Brits here. In the end it will be the Americans who decide and the Brits will follow along. Plus a large chunk of the UK population doesn't think the UK should be in the EU and another large chunk thinks it should, but only if they get big opt outs, which they won't at least not at a price they're willing to pay. Not so sure they'll be in the EU for long.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 5:27 PM
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Well no Polish acquisition of nuclear weapons would be immoral and a breach of the NPT.

The UK's not super keen on foreign military adventures, is not super keen on Europe, and is also a major economic and military power that would be fundamental to any attempts to punish Russia, and as an entirely predictable result, can't be fucked doing anything very serious abut the Crimean situation. Similarly Germany/France etc just don't really care that much and would prefer all this went away peacefully, quietly, and cheaply.

Those are the fundamental constraints on western action. Unfortunately for the Ukranians they point towards Putin getting away with murder, realistically.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 5:47 PM
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I'm having a hard time seeing how it's NATO expansion to Poland that is driving the crisis in the Ukraine, and not, say, weird ethnic boundaries in the Crimea.

More generally, the idea that the United States has had much of anything whatsoever to do with causing or affecting this particular crisis seems crazy to me. It's a variant of the "everything, everywhere, no matter what it is, is all about us and is either caused by us or can be prevented by us" mentality that affects both left and right foreign policy talk in the US. Maybe that's not what PGD is saying, I can't really tell. But the US is at best an extremely peripheral player here. Not caused by us and not our problem to fix.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 6:07 PM
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Weakness invites belligerence, Halford. Surely this is one of the tenets of Halfordismo, no?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 6:12 PM
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No, disobeying my whims invites belligerence. There's a difference.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 6:16 PM
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Belligerence seems to invite quite a bit of belligerence, too. I wonder what weakness's BIAR is?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 6:26 PM
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335,336:Predictable. Pure, innocent, uninvolved America. Why is the world picking on us?

I'm still reading.

334: is smarter, of course

Ukraine, EU, US

Which makes the present US championing of Ukrainian regime change, raising as it does separatist and ethnic arguments, very difficult fo the EU. Brussels doesn't want to be seen as turning its back on the Ukrainian's who want to be in Europe and which the US and the global media have been quick to call 'Pro-democracy'. Yet it if they join in with American talk about 'the right to self determination' etc they leave themselves looking like utter hypocrites.

The trick is to get your head out of Eurocentrism (I don't expect Americans to get their heads out of their...), and look due South from Odessa. Quite a far distance South.

Europe, if it plays, is getting used here.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 6:53 PM
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Fixed Link for 339

Although it doesn't look South either, it is fairly good on Europe.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 6:55 PM
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Stupid living in interesting times.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:06 PM
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They're not going to do much about Crimea, and that's not that big a deal for the Poles, since they won't either, though unlike Cameron they'd strongly prefer some sort of sanctions, probably enough to push the price up on any EU deals for the UK. But if Putin completely lost his mind and occupied all of Ukraine then things would be very ugly. And again, the UK wouldn't get into a shooting war with Russia over anything that the Americans didn't feel was important enough to do the same, but if the Americans did, the UK would fall in line.

Well no Polish acquisition of nuclear weapons would be immoral and a breach of the NPT.

Except we've just established that neither morality nor international law are remotely relevant in the world you describe.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:07 PM
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260: Thanks.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:10 PM
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It's kind of stunning that Poland doesn't have nuclear weapons. If I was in the Polish government I'd take two minutes to think about national history and then be like hmm yes nuclear deterrent fuck yeah.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:11 PM
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I mean except that the dumb Pollacks would probably bomb their own country #unfunny polish joke.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:13 PM
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342 --- Except clearly the UK (plus rest of Europe) is pushing back on the sanctions, against the US. I mean, I think you are way overrating how important eastern Europe is to the EU, and how much of a hit the west will take on this front. And given that, I think it's both immoral and bad practice for the west to hold out promises it's never going to keep.

I like moral, law-based international relations as much as the next person currently living in a small country outside the nuclear umbrellas. But it's worth being realistic about what can be done to enforce international law and morals, and in this case the short answer seems to be "very little".


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 3-14 7:37 PM
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It's kind of stunning that Poland doesn't have nuclear weapons.

It's kind of stunning that Ukraine doesn't have them, for that matter. It used to, but it gave them up in 1994 - one of the great foreign policy triumphs of the Clinton era, along with disarming Kazakhstan - in exchange for a promise from Russia to respect its territorial integrity.

So, that went well.

if you took that comittment seriously it is obviously highly destabilizing to global peace to extend the guarantee too far.

I really disagree with this. I can't think of any harm to global peace that's resulted from NATO membership. Has it tempted Poland into getting uppity instead of showing proper deference to Great Powers like Russia? Maybe, a bit. And I think we can all agree that small nations getting uppity are a bad thing, but it still hasn't led to any actual wars.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 2:54 AM
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Poland could get nuclear weapons without breaking the NPT: it just have to give the treaty-required period of notice of its intention to withdraw. And it might not be a bad idea, given Russia's behaviour and attitude towards international law and treaty commitments.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 2:56 AM
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347 --- don't you have to consider Georgia?

Also if we want to stretch things, Poland provided a certain amount of support to the US' illegal war in Iraq, which was driven to some extent by Nato membership.

348 --- yeah there's all the usual NPT dodges, plus the rather more boring fact the NPT's a pretty dead letter these days. I generally think possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons is of arguable legality full stop. But definitely there's an obligation on states to attempt to eliminate nuclear weapons, and there's a weak but beneficial international norm that nuclear proliferation is a Bad Thing.

(The mid-nineties were actually a pretty great time for nuclear disarmament --- the post-soviets, South Africa...)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 3:19 AM
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(The mid-nineties were actually a pretty great time for nuclear disarmament --- the post-soviets, South Africa...)

Also a pretty great time for nuclear proliferation.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 3:50 AM
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349.1: but Georgia wasn't a NATO member. And you're right, blaming Poland in Iraq on NATO is a stretch. There is very little correlation between NATO membership and Coalition membership.
Here's the Coalition list:
Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, South Korea, the US, and the United Kingdom.

Some of those are NATO members, some of them became NATO members after they joined the coalition, some of them have no hope of ever becoming NATO members.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 3:51 AM
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347: So, that went well.

Yes, that has on the whole gone OK. But I guess we can only speculate on the much more glorious world with a nuclear Ukraine and Kazakhstan.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 5:17 AM
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348: An awful lot of those coalition members are states with some concern about holding off Russian hegemony. I don't imagine they joined the Bush's adventure out of deep concern for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. More likely they'll be expecting some quid for their pro-quo.

Its not NATO membership, but it does expose some implicit obligations of security-guarantees on America's part. Which is unfortunate, not least because I certainly don't remember any national discussion in the US whereby the public became aware that was what was happening.


Posted by: Woodrow | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 5:58 AM
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According to Yahoo Finance, in a front pager titled Putin Blinks, Markets Rally, "It appears Putin heeded the markets' unadulterated and instant reaction to Russia's provocation in Crimea."

The markets have saved us from World War III!


Posted by: Woodrow | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 10:13 AM
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352 -- but Georgia was in the pre-NATO pipeline, no? And there's an argument that goes: Georgia thought it was under western protection, so acted in provocative and stupid ways, and then of course it wasn't, so Russia smacked it round. I on't know if that's a good argument or not (not being an expert on Georgian politics) but it is at least plausible.

I agree it's a stretch to include Poland there --- that was more of a remark to the effect that Poland is a state that acts in its own self-interest even when that is in breach of international law, and can hardly be surprised when other states do likewise.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 12:52 PM
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More generally, the idea that the United States has had much of anything whatsoever to do with causing or affecting this particular crisis seems crazy to me. It's a variant of the "everything, everywhere, no matter what it is, is all about us and is either caused by us or can be prevented by us" mentality that affects both left and right foreign policy talk in the US. Maybe that's not what PGD is saying, I can't really tell. But the US is at best an extremely peripheral player here. Not caused by us and not our problem to fix.

Even leaving aside the Nuland discussion that provides direct evidence of some kind of U.S. involvement, by definition, if we are considering offering a mutual self-defense treaty to the Ukraine then we are involved in this and have affected it. But the main thing I am trying to get at is exactly your last sentence -- this should not be our problem. But NATO membership would certainly make it our problem right away.

I can't think of any harm to global peace that's resulted from NATO membership. Has it tempted Poland into getting uppity instead of showing proper deference to Great Powers like Russia? Maybe, a bit. And I think we can all agree that small nations getting uppity are a bad thing, but it still hasn't led to any actual wars.

well, by the time it does lead to an actual war it's kind of too late. I guess along the lines of what Keir said, I'm basically claiming that the apparent policy of picking off countries around Russia and trying to integrate them into the west through military and economic alliances contributed to the 'uppitiness' of both Georgia and Ukraine, who likely expected some kind of support, and to Russia's sharp reaction to events in the Ukraine. So if European alliance wasn't on the table it would help calm Russia, lead the neighboring states to be more conciliatory, and just generally make the situation more stable.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 6:31 PM
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354: the cause of and solution to all our problems.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 4-14 7:20 PM
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It's sort of stunni gn that Kazakhstan had nuclear weapons for awhile.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 1:37 AM
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Yahoo Finance

Yahoo Serious's even more serious brother.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:38 AM
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insomnia makes me say stupid things.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:38 AM
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It's sort of stunni gn that Kazakhstan had nuclear weapons for awhile.

Kazakhstan was also home to a great deal of Soviet-era nuclear testing, and to all of the accompanying environmental damage that implies. These days they are very active in anti-nuclear matters.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 12:36 PM
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