Re: Dress Up

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Well, in their defense, it wasn't working hours. Do you really expect people to be observing their airspace at 3 am?? If they flew over China, government hours are 9-11 am, and 2-4:30 pm. You can't really expect the civil service to work outside of those hours.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:00 AM
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And by "civil," I mean "military"


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:00 AM
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1: No, of course not.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:04 AM
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The ideal is for your military look better dressed but less materialistic than your opponents'.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:04 AM
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most other countries have militaries only in the sense that some guys get to dress up in uniforms and carry guns, but have no idea how to actually defend their country? Airspace? What, way up there?

I know! They probably wouldn't have been able to do anything about that 777 even if it had been hijacked and was flying straight at the capital city with the intent of crashing into a major government building!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:09 AM
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I did think of that. But Dick Cheney was ready.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:13 AM
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I language is just a dialect with a ragtag crew of armed misfits.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:15 AM
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I mean, honestly, ogged. Americans criticising other people for their inability to keep track of possibly hijacked aircraft is like the British criticising Pakistan for having an unaccountable class-ridden society obsessed with cricket.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:16 AM
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I kind of wonder if India and China both have a pretty good idea where the plane went but won't talk about it for fear of revealing their capabilities to the world, especially to each other.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:18 AM
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A language is just a dialect with a ragtag crew of well-dressed armed misfits.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:19 AM
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9

I've heard a not implausible theory that China actually may have shot it down over Chinese airspace, but doesn't want to publicize this because the plane was mostly Chinese nationals. The government is not too popular right now with the ordinary folks, and something like that could lead to serious unrest.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:21 AM
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Why all the snide remarks? We had no problem figuring out where the planes went on 9/11.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:23 AM
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We know that at time X that it was on one of those two circular arcs. Therefore the only places it could have landed would be the union of all circles centered at points on those those arcs with the circle's radii equal to how far the plane could fly with the maximum possible fuel remaining at time X. Why do news organizations and the Malaysian government continue to show its possible landing sites as a single giant circle? The BBC even has a map that has both the arcs and the larger circle on it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:23 AM
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Buck came up with that one spontaneously. It seems not implausible to me -- you see an airliner someplace you didn't expect it, shooting it down is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. </Iran Air Flight 655>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:24 AM
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14 to 11.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:25 AM
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Truther.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:25 AM
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16 to whomever.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:26 AM
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We all exist in God's brain, and God is starting to get dementia. The first sign was the inexplicable disappearance of a coffee cup from my house. Now, a plane. What will God forget next?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:27 AM
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I've heard a not implausible theory that China actually may have shot it down over Chinese airspace, but doesn't want to publicize this because the plane was mostly Chinese nationals.

Hmm, I doubt it... The last anyone heard from the 777, it was midway between Malaysia and Vietnam, just leaving Malaysian ATC. The next thing that should have happened is the aircraft contacting Vietnamese ATC as it approached Vietnamese airspace - nowhere near Chinese airspace. To get into Chinese airspace without anyone noticing it would have had to either skirt round Vietnam (why?) or fly over Vietnam and/or Cambodia with transponder off. If the suggestion is a kind of KAL 007 scenario, with an innocent airliner wandering over Hainan or something, I don't see how it works.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:30 AM
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Navigation's a lot better these days than it was in 1983. Plus, even if you allow for a pilot missing Vietnam and continuing on over the South China Sea, he'd notice that he was about an hour overdue to see Vietnam long before he entered Chinese airspace.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:32 AM
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I think to make it work, you need to stack events -- that is, that the plane was deliberately being flown someplace it oughtn't to have been, and then it was shot down because it was out of place. So, not really the Flight 655 situation at all, given that Flight 655 was exactly where it should have been, and just got unlucky in that where it should have been was unfortunately close to the US Navy in a touchy and confused mood.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:33 AM
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14

From a Chinese govt point of view, having shot it down is probably one of the better options. (The "best" would be a crash on its own accord.) Having a hostage situation or a stolen plane flown at some tall building in Shanghai would be a much greater headache for the Chinese govt. than shooting down the hijacked plane.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:34 AM
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Maybe it was brought down when it ran into an unexpectedly strong gravitational wave.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:34 AM
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19

I'm pretty sure it was conclusively determined the plane deviated sharply west and either headed north over western China/India/Central Asia, or south into the Indian Ocean off of Australia. If it headed north, then it could easily have been shot down over Xinjiang or Tibet.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:36 AM
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21: yes, but so much has to go wrong for MH370 to end up over Chinese airspace that the stack's just too high, I think.
Plus, by the time it would get there, it would be daytime over China - and Chinese SOP is to send up an interceptor to make visual identification first before engaging. We saw that back in '01 with the EP-3 business. A 777 in daylight is obviously not a military aircraft.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:37 AM
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22: ah, I see - yes, a deliberate shootdown is a lot more plausible.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:40 AM
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Like Britta suggested, deliberately shooting down a misbehaving civilian aircraft is not an impossibly irrational thing to do in a post-9-11 world. Doing it accidentally is probably implausible (although, shooting down Flight 655 was pretty implausible too), but it's possible that they did it on purpose, intending to forestall a 9-11 type attack.

(Obviously, I have no strong opinion on what actually happened, this just seems hard to rule out.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:41 AM
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unexpectedly strong gravitational wave.

"The Zeus Adventure" ? $300 Million gross Domestic. Too bad Shelley Winters is dead


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:42 AM
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It's not the shooting down of Iran Air 655 that I have a problem with so much as the giving the captain of the ship responsible a medal afterwards.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:44 AM
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26

Ah yes. It seems almost certain the plane was hijacked. It's also almost certain the Chinese put not negotiating with terrorists over saving Chinese lives, but even so would prefer to do it in a way with the least terrible PR.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:45 AM
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Of course this is all fairly implausible speculation, but given how implausible the whole situation is, it seems less implausible than other implausibilities. (Aliens? Wormhole? Space Nazis?)


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:47 AM
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This seems plausible, much as I'd prefer to think that the passengers are sipping tea in Pakistan.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:48 AM
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I thought this made a plausible case that the plane snuck through Indian airspace, and possibly all the way up to Tajikistan, by flying directly beneath a Singapore Airlines flight that was on the same route.

My guess is that the thing is in Western China, and I further speculate that we are going to see an attempted 9/11 against Beijing at some point in the not distant future.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:48 AM
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Maybe one of the folks from The Skies Belong to Us came out of retirement?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:49 AM
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32: If that's the case, how does the final satellite transmission fit in?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:51 AM
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I also find it weird that they've only released detailed information about the last ping (admittedly the most important once). Wouldn't the sequence of hourly pings give a more complete set of circular loci that could make its path comparatively obvious?

Does anyone have a link as to how they determined that the plane was in those two corridors and not elsewhere on the circle? (Clearly I am obsessed with this info, or at least the poor reporting of it.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:55 AM
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The plane landed in Beringia. A certain select number of people still know how to reach it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:58 AM
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37.1: This has bugged me as well (although I am only intermittently paying attention).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:16 AM
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33.2: Well, there's a disturbing thought.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:23 AM
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have no idea how to actually defend their country? Airspace? What, way up there

I also believe that they have no idea how to run searches or do disaster response.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:38 AM
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16: Truther.

Over the weekend two of my kids and I spent a bit of time fleshing out my 9-11 truther theory which isn't encumbered by any implausible "how they actually did it" BS, but instead revolves entirely around the behavior of George W.

1) The My Pet Goat brain freeze was Bush thinking, "Holy shit, the motherfucker actually did it; I thought he was just fucking around. ... wait, they're going to kill me, aren't they.. What should I do? Where should I go? They wouldn't kill kindergartners, would they? What am I saying? Of course they would! Shit, is even Turd Blossom in on it?"

2) All subsequent Bush behavior (presidency and post-presidency) can best be explained as him trying to convince Cheney not to have him killed.

3) Most compelling part of the theory--doesn't even need Cheney et al to have actually been in on it; just needs Bush to think that they were.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:41 AM
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35: Stop trying to makes things more complicated. Occam's razor, man!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:41 AM
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40: I also believe that they have no idea how to run searches or do disaster response.

Disaster response? This is another comment that 8 could be a perfectly good response to. How's New Orleans looking these days?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:43 AM
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36: We know the aircraft's furthest-on, i.e. the furthest it could have flown in the available time. We can represent that as a circle on a globe (or a rhumb-line ellipse on a two-dimensional chart). This line intersects the circle of range x around the satellite's geostation. We can therefore rule the arc around the satellite that lies outside - to the West in this case - of the furthest-on plot out of our enquiries.

What I don't know is how the gap between the Southern end of the Northern arc and the Northern end of the Southern arc has been ruled out - it may be that I'm not navigator enough to grasp some of the logic, or else that I'm missing some data.

For example, that area is pretty close to Indonesia, and perhaps the reasoning is that they had no unidentified radar contacts that night. Alternatively, perhaps the thinking is that from the last known radar fix, you couldn't visit that area without closing on the satellite significantly, and the range data rules it out?

Another option is that the area in question overlaps with another satellite footprint on the same freq, but that the other satellite didn't hear them, which could be construed as evidence that it wasn't in the overlap area.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:47 AM
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I also find it hard to criticize Malaysia's disaster response. Its not their fault the plane evaporated and, given that it did, there is not much that disaster response can actually do.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:49 AM
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It might also be because the funky Aussie long-range radar points into that area and they didn't get a track.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:50 AM
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43: So we're better at losing track of aircraft and responding ineptly to disaster. We're a shining beacon of incompetence. On a hill.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:53 AM
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44.last: That was the explanation/speculation I had heard. Scroll down to see satellite coverage chart in this article, for instance (the edge of coverage for the Pacific one is very faint).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:55 AM
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"We recommend the creation of an FAA-industry task force to determine the necessary modifications to assure continuous transmission of a hijack signal, even if the fight deck-selected code or function is turned off. Recommended action is to be defined within 30 days.

One lesson from the attacks of September 11th is the importance of ensuring continuous transponder communication with air traffic control (ATC) following a hijacking. Without the transponder switch in a fully active position, ATC can track an aircraft only by primary radar, which does not indicate aircraft identity and altitude. The loss of this information causes other aircraft to lose awareness of the flight in progress."


Posted by: Opinionated Department of Transportation, October 1 2001 | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:56 AM
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44.2 was what I was confused about.

I also thought that the ends of the published "corridors" also don't go to the full extent of the circle of furthest-on, but that seems to vary by news source. The BBC has the northern corridor end at the Krygyzstan/Xinjiang border, while the Malay Mail has the northern one going into Kazakstan. The BBC's furthest-out circle is actually closer in than the end of the Mail's corridor. So much for technical accuracy.

44.4 is an interesting idea--we know the British firm that operates the geosynchronous satellites, Inmarsat, has a network of a dozen or so--if true makes me even more curious about the preceding pings.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:56 AM
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43, 47: We're ridiculing with them, not at them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:58 AM
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50.last: And of course, the edge of the Immersat coverage is fuzzy, not a discrete boundary.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:00 AM
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52: sure, which would explain disagreement about the inner end points of the corridors. But that's still more info than has been published.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:06 AM
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How's New Orleans looking these days?

Doesn't count if it's deliberate neglect.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:18 AM
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The fire theory seems quite plausible. I guess it depends on when the new coordinates were entered, which we don't have a firm grasp of yet.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:19 AM
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54: We're EVIL! Not incompetent!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:20 AM
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33: Not China. I thought the co-pilot had a very specific beef with Malaysia.

The 777 was landed to get loaded up with ... ?

9/11 to infinity. A very black swan.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:27 AM
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I haven't been following this. How does the final satellite transmission contradict the fire theory?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:28 AM
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The theory in the article linked at 32 (that there was a fire onboard and everything that seems weird makes sense if the pilots were trying to put it out) seems very plausible as written, but I have no way of evaluating it. Not to mention that the author has a vested interest in making pilots look heroic.

What do all you smartypantses say?

On preview, semi-pwned by ogged, but I added value by stroking the collective ego.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:29 AM
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2) All subsequent Bush behavior (presidency and post-presidency) can best be explained as him trying to convince Cheney not to have him killed.

Except, he didn't pardon Libby!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:33 AM
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If it turned to Langkawi and continued on that path, wouldn't it be west/southwest bound? If so and it continued on autopilot, its path wouldn't intersect with the two corridors.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:35 AM
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I like the fire theory.

This was very interesting on "why don't they just have to always keep the transponder on" issue, and Fallows is the best guy on this topic, although it's too nice to known moron Gregg Easterbrook.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:35 AM
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Anyway, there were two Ukrainians and a Russian on the passenger list. Surely it'll turn up in the Crimea.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:36 AM
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by stroking the collective ego.

So close, yet so far.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:37 AM
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Another highly plausible theory is that MTV is making "Lost" into a reality show. It's much more realistic if the members involved have actually come from a disappeared plane and have no clue they're being filmed.* Mark my words, when "Extreme Lost: now even loster" hits the air in a few weeks, you'll be marveling at my genius.

*You want a plane of Chinese nationals to capture a larger audience. Over a billion consumers and all that.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:38 AM
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58: Presumably because if the pilot had headed to the runway the author suggests, the flight path wouldn't match the possible coordinates from the last ping, assuming that the plane would continue westward if the crew were incapacitated. I have no idea how many assumptions are at work in this hypothesis.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:39 AM
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Whatever, dalriata. Being more succinct is the cheap and easy way to pwn.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:40 AM
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This helpful diagram makes Langkawi seem implausible, but the fire theory doesn't depend on Goodfellow being correct about their intended destination. And didn't that oil rig worker say he saw something in the sky on fire that night?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 11:49 AM
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"Extreme Lost: now even loster"

12 Years a Malaysia Airlines Passenger: the Enlostening


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:02 PM
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68: So, there's a fire. They definitely turn left--whether to go Langkawi or somewhere else for an emergency landing, whatever, but Langkawi does seem reasonable if they're still in the Gulf of Siam--and continue westbound in emergency conditions. Eventually they're seen by military radar at 2:15 far to the west. How do they end up northeast/southeast bound? That assumes they knew about the fire but couldn't make any radio contact east of the Malay Peninsula but that they were still in control of the flight 45 minutes later to the west.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:13 PM
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they were still in control of the flight 45 minutes later to the west.

Why must we assume this?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:16 PM
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Isn't it a little weird that there's like literally an invasion of another country by a major world power going on and everyone is more interested in this missing plane? I mean, I'm not excluding myself from this, I am too, but it's totally bizarre.

(Also, it's really proof that so much of the US military's adventures over the past 25 years or so were just "because we can")


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:19 PM
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71: The assumption (very possibly wrong) I'm making is that with most/all of their communication gear disabled, and having to make last minute unexpected changes, any autopilot would just flying straight. So how did the plane get to the state where it's at that point and on a northeasterly or southeasterly heading?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:22 PM
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72: Ukraine isn't a puzzle? I mean, you're right that it's vastly more important, but it also seems to be kind of a fait accompli at this point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:25 PM
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everyone is more interested in this missing plane

The Crimea thing just seemed like a done deal in the first few days after what's his name left. And no one is going to go to war over Crimea. So the "news" now just seems like going through the motions. If Putin tries to take Ukraine, I think people's interest will snap back there.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:27 PM
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there's like literally an invasion of another country by a major world power going on

Well, sort of. Territorial/imperial disputes along Russia's unimaginably long and fluid border with a constantly mutating set of neighbors have been going on for centuries longer than the United States has even existed. In the early '90s, my mantra was "you didn't care who ran Kuwait before, so why should you now?" If Europe wants to do something about Crimea, well, that tarbaby is at least in their neighborhood, but why we think it has anything at all to do with us just mystifies me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:44 PM
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Halford's right. Invasion and annexation of a neighboring country's territory is kind of a big deal, isn't it? If not, I'm all for looking the other way if Mexico wants Texas back.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:46 PM
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If only there were some way that a bunch of countries could get together to put a diplomatic check on territorial aggression. Oh, well. If Putin wants it, I guess it's his.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:49 PM
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I will say that watching John McCain's entirely predictable response to every foreign policy issue ever makes it plainer than ever that that motherfucker had absolutely no business whatsoever getting anywhere close to the White House.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:51 PM
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79: Install him as leader of Ukraine, and everybody wins. Except for all the people who would die.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:53 PM
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I'm on the fence about "should we be involved" (mostly, no, and in any case it seems like there's nothing the US can do) but "not a big deal" seems wrong. The last time there was an armed invasion in Europe of a major country, across borders, putting aside the Caucasuses, was . . . Prague 1968 maybe? And I don't think (again, putting aside the Caucasuses) there's been a major redrawing of the map based on an armed invasion in Europe since 1945, though I'm almost certainly forgetting something.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:56 PM
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I guess I'm forgetting about the Yugoslav and Kosovo war. OK, let's redefine my paramaters -- last time an armed invasion by a major world military power resulted in the redrawing of territorial lines?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:58 PM
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72. It's an invasion with very few fatalities.

Nobody is much interested in US drone killings, maybe of people who very possibly could be guilty-ish. Maybe this has slowed done since midyear? Or maybe not, a CIA chief in Pakistan got outed late last year in the Pakistani press.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 12:58 PM
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"not a big deal" seems wrong

I'm sure it's a big deal to the people living in and around it. Western Europe's had a historically unusual run of border stability over the past 50-60 years; eastern Europe for 25 or so.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:00 PM
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MH370 is very interesting, but when we look back at it with any distance the Crimea is going to be far more important. At a minimum Russia/West relations are going to be significantly icier for a long time. This won't be able to be ignored as easily as Georgia in '08 was.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:10 PM
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when we look back at it with any distance the Crimea is going to be far more important.

Until the aliens disgorge the plane and show us what they learned from a week with their human captives.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:24 PM
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And no one is going to go to war over Crimea.

Harrumph.


Posted by: Opinionated Lord Cardigan | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:25 PM
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82 last -- Kosovo?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:26 PM
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Which, by the way, the Russians thought was wrong, a violation of international law, and a really bad thing.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:27 PM
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...but then they've accepted the ICJ's decision on Kosovo as precedent (even though they choose not to recognize Kosovo). Cute trick if you can pull it off.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:28 PM
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We set up Iraqi Kurdistan as a de facto independent entity in 1991.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:29 PM
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The mishandling of the search for MH370 looks to be causing some political fallout in Malaysia, so there's that.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:36 PM
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The reason for the US to be involved is to prevent it from escalating. You want it to cost the Russians, but not too much.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:37 PM
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The reason for the US to be involved is to prevent it from escalating.

That is precisely the reason I *don't* want the US involved.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:38 PM
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77: Mexico wants your mom back.


Posted by: Opinionated Texas | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:42 PM
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The Langkawi theory is also implausible because the plane, whether it eventually went south or north, changed directions so as to avoid radar. If it'd gone south, then it'd have had to go west for a while until it passed the western tip of Sumatra before going south. This avoids Indonesian radar. If it'd gone north it'd have been detected by several countries unless it made some well-researched manoeuvres. It's unlikely that pilots responding to disaster or unconscious pilots would have been able to steer a plane in a way that coincides so well with the lack of radar zones.

57: I'm not sure what 'beef' is being referred to here. The pilot was a supporter of opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim, but since Anwar is hugely popular in Malaysia, one can't really conclude anything significant about that. I haven't read anything about the co-pilot's political beliefs.


Posted by: Ponder Stibbons | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 1:43 PM
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68: I thought the confused Malaysians* had changed their story and are now saying that the shutoff of the ACARS system followed the last transmission. Who knows what else they got wrong.

*They're almost as bad as the goddam Americans.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 2:05 PM
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The "fire" would've had to take out the crew, but somehow fly the plane around a route skirting the boundaries between national airspace areas of responsibility (FIRs), and then stop burning before it brought down the plane. some fire!

Real cabin fires either bring the plane down quick, whether because they cause terrible damage to control systems as in SR111 or because the cockpit becomes untenable as in that cargo flight in Dubai, or the plane lands but a lot of pax don't, as in that really awful one in Saudi Arabia where they got the plane down in one piece but the evacuation and fire brigade response was so hopeless the passengers died in their seats. or the 80s one in Manchester where they failed to park into wind. see, Brits can fuck up too.

a fire would have seen them arrowing toward the nearest airfield yelling for help on any radio that worked.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 2:23 PM
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Real cabin fires either bring the plane down quick, whether because they cause terrible damage to control systems as in SR111 or because the cockpit becomes untenable as in that cargo flight in Dubai,

I thought the theory was that it incapacitated the pilots with smoke inhalation, but didn't bring the plane down, so it went for a long time on autopilot. Don't know how to reconcile that with apparent changes in direction after things went bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 2:26 PM
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You can't - it doesn't make any sense. why would it do all this manoeuvring? why not go straight home or straight to Kota Bharu AFB, the nearest airfield? or on a course back that way and just stay on it? but it didn't. it went close to Butterworth and Penang and Banda Aceh and Phuket but not enough to be clearly any of those ATC units' problem.

Fire or hypoxia made sense before the primary radar plots got out. but those require intelligent design.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 2:41 PM
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Also I'm confused because I thought the NYTimes said that the plane flew directly over Penang. That would put it in a significantly different direction than flying to Langkawi would. Also you'd have to cross Thai airspace to fly directly to Langkawi from where they were, and you might not have to to fly towards Penang.


Posted by: Ponder Stibbons | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 2:51 PM
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It's never over until you've heard from the Maldive Islanders (SW of the tip of India).

The Haveeru news website has reported that witnesses saw a plane flying low at around 6.15am on March 8.
It was flying north to south-west, according to the report. "I've never seen a jet flying so low over our island before," a witness told the organisation. We've seen seaplanes, but I'm sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly. It's not just me either, several other residents have reported seeing the exact same thing. Some people got out of their houses to see what was causing the tremendous noise too."
Which you would go by if you were heading to Somalia for instance.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 2:59 PM
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I believe the Maldivers. I think we have a case of a plane on autopilot and all the passengers dead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_South_Dakota_Learjet_crash


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:12 PM
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If they did see it, it's amazingly disjunct with all the other evidence so far and I suspect confirmation bias (see also, oilrig guy, who wasn't even very close to the original last known position).

103: the Lear flew on along a nice straight line. it emphatically didn't *dodge*.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:18 PM
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Wait, why? If they made the left turn and the plane kept going straight, wouldn't it take them over the Maldives? We're hanging everything on the plotting based on satellite pings, but those are pretty inexact, no?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:22 PM
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105: If it was on autopilot, yes, it might have gone over the Maldives.

Link to the Maldives story. They say it's going from the north to the southwest, when we should be getting an east/northeast to west/southwest track. They mention that it's low enough to see the doors but nobody remarks on the livery.

Yes, we're hanging a lot on the satellite pings, but I don't see why they would be imprecise. I thought it was due to a combination of the angle that the signal was coming in from along with signal timing data, which I thought is pretty precise. Somebody else can probably speak of this better than I can.

Even if the Malaysian officials are incompetent about that, the satellite firm probably does not want dodgy data associated with its name.

Anyway, there's still the "dodge" around the air traffic control areas on the Malay peninsula.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:33 PM
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Meh, I take that back: using the actual source, they do comment on the livery.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:34 PM
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This is clearly the first step toward world domination of the hidden civilization on North Sentinel Island.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:47 PM
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They're inexact in that they don't tell you anything for direction. But they should give a reliable idea of range, which is (roundtrip time * c)/2. There will be a bit of variable delay from the device at the far end.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:47 PM
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108: I was going to suggest Diego Garcia, but the conspiracy theorists have apparently beaten me to it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:52 PM
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And on Wikipedia, even!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:54 PM
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109: But they should give a reliable idea of range

Which is why it seems so incomplete to only talk about the last ping (at least I've seen no mention of the information from the others). As a citizen of the internet I demand access to the information!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:55 PM
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108: There were 5 Indian nationals on the plane. CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE. Dammit, I knew we couldn't trust those jerks.

The Maldives source also says that the last ping said it was close to the Maldives/Diego Garcia, which even the map in the same article doesn't agree with.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 3:56 PM
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Previously on this thread

Kiev Selling Ukraine Off ...with kickbacks

The tentative agreement with the IMF which the Ukrainian authorities signed with the IMF on March 2, says that the country's entire gas pipeline system will be handed over for free in the American company Chevron's ownership the moment the basic agreement is signed, while the owners of the Mariupol, Zaporizhzhya and Dnipropetrovsk steel mills will be obliged to surrender their 50% stakes to Germany's Ruhr.

The Donbass coal industry will be handed over to Ruhr's subsidiary in Finland, she told Interfax on Sunday, citing media reports.

Okay, not the most unbiased outlet...

In other news, Bernanke's salary as Fed Chairman was 187k. Bernanke made 250k for a speech this week.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:03 PM
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Halford is the one who goes on about the Veyron, yes? Here, see some abandoned (not Veyron) Bugattis


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:08 PM
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Since CNN isn't irresponsible enough for me I'm going full nut* on this one. "The simulation programmes [from pilot's simulator] are based on runways at the Male International Airport in Maldives, an airport owned by the United States (Diego Garcia), and three other runways in India and Sri Lanka, all have runway lengths of 1,000 metres.

*I started as the voice of sober skepticism in the other thread, but the recent spate of belated reveals (now Thai military radar as well as Malaysia's) has me overcompensating.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:08 PM
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115: I saw those and was curious about the backstory.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:09 PM
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117:The photog has a showreel with a bunch of fancy ones and then those old ones in a barn-like building. Pretty cool.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:16 PM
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There's really only an trademark-ownership connection between modern-day Bugatti of the Veyron and the pre-war Bugatti's shown in the photo. The mark was purchased and revived in the 1990s by an entirely new Italian company that had nothing to do with the old French company, and the modern company is now part of VW.

Still, that photo is pretty interesting. Those guys are worth millions and millions, probably. My guess is that it's the "before" photo from some guy who found them before restoring them.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:20 PM
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It is a good pic, regardless.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:21 PM
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That is to say, the old French company went completely out of business and stopped making cars for 30 years before the mark was revived. It's like if I bought the Studebaker mark and started building Studebakers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:21 PM
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The way the Maldives witnesses talk about it, you can almost hear the cargo cult being created.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:23 PM
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Future stop on the Malaysia Airlines Mystery Tour.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:38 PM
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These disclosures are crazy-making.

The missing Malaysia Airlines jet's abrupt U-turn was programmed into the on-board computer well before the co-pilot calmly signed off with air traffic controllers

Ok then! Fire shmire.

But...

The revelation further indicates that the aircraft's mysterious turnaround was planned and executed in the cockpit before controllers lost contact with Flight 370. But it doesn't necessarily indicate an ulterior motive.

"Some pilots program an alternate flight plan in the event of an emergency," cautioned Greg Feith, a former National Transportation Safety Board crash investigator and NBC News analyst.

I want answers!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:43 PM
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I sat in a 1937 Bugatti Atalante 57SC not that long ago. Seemed pretty well put together, although I wouldn't have known what to do with the choke for the clutch on the wheel stalk if somebody was stupid enough to let me drive it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:45 PM
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What? I think there are only like two or three of those in the whole world. At a museum? I guess I could look up the owners.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:49 PM
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I mean I know Ralph Lauren owns one.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:49 PM
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I love the first sentence of Bugatti's Wikipedia entry: "Automobiles Ettore Bugatti was a French car manufacturer of high-performance automobiles, founded in 1909 in the then German city of Molsheim, Alsace".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:51 PM
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Huh, I guess it is in a museum now, not to far away. Let's go!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 4:55 PM
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Another highly plausible theory is that MTV is making "Lost" into a reality show.

Or maybe the BBC is doing that with Sherlock. Benedict Cumberbatch will tell us the surprising solution in two or three years or whenever he's done with more pressing things.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 5:09 PM
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I think I saw this one on one of those how-they-do-magic-tricks shows. They keep the plane still and just move the camera. The studio audience is in on it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 5:13 PM
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126: not in a museum. Not the one Ralph Lauren owned. It is near you, though.

I did sit in a car Ralph Lauren owned. A 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 5:14 PM
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That was the coolest car there, probably, although the Bugatti was pretty neat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 5:15 PM
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My grandparents used to go to the same synagogue as Ralph Lauren.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 5:33 PM
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It's almost certain that there are Bugattis squirreled away that are not known to the collectors.

I must have been about ten when I first heard about them. There was a popular journalist, Ken Purdy, who not only wrote for the car magazines but also for Boys Life Car nuts were common in my world when I was a kid, and I was familiar with working examples of classics, although not rare ones. Of course then a Model T might only be about 30 years old, and had less and thicker sheet medal than a car would today.

One of my college jobs was at the parking lot complex behind the Lincoln-Leveque tower, usually the lot along Front Street. I used to say I'd driven every car on the road--about 50 feet. I didn't get to drive the gull wing 300SL that came to the lot one day in the summer of '72, probably the most exotic. I did park a Rolls Royce once.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 5:52 PM
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I haven't looked it up, but I believe it was a Type 27 Bugatti Isadora Duncan was riding in when her long scarf got caught in the rear wheel and broke her neck.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:05 PM
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Meanwhile, Russia invades and annexes, and now there's shooting. But that's totally okay, because history.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:09 PM
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That is to say, the old French company went completely out of business and stopped making cars for 30 years before the mark was revived. It's like if I bought the Studebaker mark and started building Studebakers.

Like when that guy brought back Stutz after 30 years of being out of business, in the late 60s.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:15 PM
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136: That's got to hurt marketing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:21 PM
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"Bugattis don't kill people, scarves kill people."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:23 PM
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Meanwhile, Russia invades and annexes, and now there's shooting. But that's totally okay, because history.

The Crimea was part of Russia until Khrushchev gave it to The Ukraine as a "gift" in 1954. Still, what we in the West forget is how paranoid the Russians are, and how long the collective memory goes. The Great Patriotic War is a study of defense in depth, which if Ukraine is in NATO's sphere Russia no longer has. Depth, that is.

None of that really matters to the U.S. But it matters to Poland, Latvia Lithuania and Estonia, now all members of NATO. One helluva time to decide you don't need anymore A-10s.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:23 PM
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138 -- exactly. I've spoken here before of my deep love for the Stutz Blackhawk.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:24 PM
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Fucking Russians. How do they work?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:26 PM
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I understand why Russians would feel that Crimea should be theirs, but that doesn't make an invasion right. Hasty referenda held under armed foreigners do tend to look suspect.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:26 PM
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I've spoken here before of my deep love for the Stutz Blackhawk

Rather have a Mercer.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:29 PM
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I also find it weird that they've only released detailed information about the last ping (admittedly the most important once). Wouldn't the sequence of hourly pings give a more complete set of circular loci that could make its path comparatively obvious?

This suggests that, because of how TDMA radio works, only the last ping would have been stored in the satellite's memory (earlier pings would have been overwritten).


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:33 PM
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The '70s Stutz Blackhawk is just the best.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:33 PM
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144: Like the Russian guy on my street who costumes claimed all the street parking along his lot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:35 PM
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Looks like a customized Riviera. Which would be fine.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:39 PM
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Russian foreign policy, brutal as it is, at least makes sense. Whereas US foreign policy seems to be always chasing after things that are impossible.

Also, I love how 136 starts with "I haven't looked it up, but..."


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:44 PM
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146: Very informative!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:44 PM
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US foreign policy seems to be always chasing after things that are impossible.

Russia's not get invaded from the west policy has been somewhat less successful than its not get invaded from the east policy.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:48 PM
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-costumes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:48 PM
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148: clearly sanctions, or at least street chairs, are called for.

152: they did well against the Japanese, not so well against the Mongols.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:56 PM
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Maybe read could go spam Putin into submission.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 6:58 PM
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147: my opinion is that it puts the "stink" back in " distinction." just so ugly.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 7:13 PM
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Mearsheimer on Ukraine . Good article.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 7:22 PM
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I'm so sick of him. That was three jobs ago and I still won't read him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 7:23 PM
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I made it to "After all, the United States is deeply committed to the Monroe Doctrine, which warns other great powers to stay out of the Western Hemisphere." Was there anything worth reading after that? At least that sentence was funny. Oh, and then I saw where he teaches and thought that Halford should have a go at him.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 7:37 PM
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And we aren't? Granted it's far out of date to call it the Monroe Doctrine, but rather more recently than Monroe we took sharp exception to Russian involvement in Cuba.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 7:42 PM
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160. China is investing heavily in Caribbean ports, and possibly a second canal through Nicaragua. So I think no.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 7:45 PM
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Meanwhile, Russia invades and annexes, and now there's shooting. But that's totally okay, because history.

What do you propose?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 8:07 PM
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More whining.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 8:07 PM
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Alternate history? I think Russia's obviously wrong, but beyond lining up the office lights in the UN building to make a big frowny face, I'm not seeing much that anyone on this side of the Atlantic can do at this point.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 8:16 PM
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lining up the office lights in the UN building to make a big frowny face

Russia is one of the P5 on the UN Security Council, so that ain't going to happen.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 8:18 PM
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I'm pretty sure the office lighting pattern isn't something that needs to be signed off on by the security council, but I guess the UN might have a rule about that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 8:22 PM
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147: Halford is Superfly.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 8:35 PM
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It doesn't really justify going to war with the country, but it really is true that pretty much all Russian men you see in the media, including Putin, look like they smell bad. Not sure why that is.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 9:56 PM
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That Stutz article reminded me of meeting a couple that owns an XKE convertible. She hates driving it because everywhere she goes, strangers want to come up and talk about the car. But she just wants to do her errands and not be pestered.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:55 PM
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God, that's so horrible. Tell her I'm a one day drive away and I'll give her a few hundred bucks and her long nightmare will be over.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-18-14 10:58 PM
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The reliably amazing thing about Bob is the combination of the belief that the media is deliberately lying to him with the total absence of any scepticism about his sources.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 1:15 AM
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Russian foreign policy, brutal as it is, at least makes sense.

If your fundamental fear is that you will be encircled by your enemies, going out of your way to piss off everyone you share a border with is not the best way to address it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 2:39 AM
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I'm pretty sure the office lighting pattern isn't something that needs to be signed off on by the security council, but I guess the UN might have a rule about that.

Yeah, the Secretariat does have a rule about that. The rule is "don't get anyone in the P5 mad at you."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 4:45 AM
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What do you propose?

That nobody does business with Russia. Or even makes polite conversation with representatives of Russia. Existing contracts are honoured, but new contracts are not made. Existing resource dependencies are gradually unwound, and worked around. Visas are not provided. Sporting contests are not attended. Russia - and I think it's reasonable to describe this as an act of Russia - stopped behaving acceptably when they dosed Litvinenko with polonium, and nothing has changed for the better since.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:03 AM
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Harsh sanctions make sense to me. Isn't the main opposition to harsh sanctions coming from European business leaders who stand to lose money? I don't see opposition to them coming from a general peacenik/anti-interventionist direction.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:07 AM
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Existing resource dependencies are gradually unwound, and worked around.

This is an awful lot easier said than done. Russia supplies a quarter of Europe's natural gas. Gas fired power stations are very common here, as is gas heating and hot water. And Russia has previous of just turning off the taps when it gets annoyed with Ukraine.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:15 AM
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http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/russia-and-the-futility-of-sanctions/


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:16 AM
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France is considering the cancellation of an order for 2 helicopter-carrying ships now being built for the Russian navy. Thousands of French jobs at stake. Russia has steel, or at least ore.

The UK had zero effective response to the polonium assassination of Litvinenko. If the UK is indifferent to its own laws, why would they care about Ukraine's?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:22 AM
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MustDoSomething-ism is on the march, and that is not a philosophy that has served us well.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 6:28 AM
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Maybe a group of people could sneak into the Kremlin and flush all 760 toilets at the same time, effectively bursting the pipes and making the entire Russian military complex higglety-pigglety.


Posted by: Binkley | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 7:27 AM
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apo, we're on the same page here. I do think the analogy to Kuwait is misleading to some folks (like me) who supported rolling that back. While the principle of respecting state borders is the same, most of the other context is pretty different. While I'm not going to hang anything on the margin of the vote, I don't have the impression that people living there particularly oppose trading the crooks in Kiev for the crooks in Moscow. (The Kuwaitis I know aren't anything like a representative sample, but I have a pretty strong impression that support for joining Iraq was very very low.) Crimea doesn't look like it's any prize at all: it's not being taken over to strip its wealth, but to protect the long standing naval base. No real disruption of the global economy here. And, as you suggest, we could drive Iraq out of Kuwait, and we cannot drive Russia out of Crimea. (Or maybe we can, but the cure would be way way worse than the disease.)

What was wrong with the Kuwait thing, I think, was the emphasis so many Cold Warriors placed on the 'foe on the march' trope. Was there actually some reason to believe that Iraq was seriously looking at moving on to the Saudi oil fields? This seems a fantasy, looking back.

Rob & others: the problem with symbolic sanctions is not only to they not work, but once you start, you can't stop without looking even more incompetent than if you'd done nothing. Does anyone, anyone at all, think our Cuba policy is accomplishing anything? We can't stop, though, without admitting we've been impotent fools for 50 years. At this point, Russia isn't going to turn Crimea back to Ukraine. Not as a result of sanctions, and not as a result of some sort of diplomatic deal, where Russia get, what, back to the G8?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:15 AM
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I think we can stop Cuba sanctions as soon as the Castros are gone. It would be stupid and purely symbolic, but it would be the right thing to do. I'm willing to bet there would be a democratic revolution in Cuba not too long after sanctions come off. I get the impression that the sanctions and US hostility in general are one of the things that make dissent seem unpatriotic to the majority of Cubans. This based on rather poor knowledge of the real situation, of course.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:24 AM
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Does anyone, anyone at all, think our Cuba policy is accomplishing anything?

It hurts Cuba's economy.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:28 AM
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Almost any argument against international sanctions can also be mounted against criminal sanctions against the individual. What does putting people in jail accomplish? What does fining people accomplish? But I doubt there are many takers for universal, comprehensive, decriminalisation of all behaviour on the grounds that all forms of punishment seem ineffective. Calling appeals for sanctions a case of 'must do something' syndrome when you really are compelled to do something ... that's hand-wringing, right there.

In terms of unwinding resource dependencies: this has actually been going on for the last decade: Russia's last attempt to turn the taps off had real consequences.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:45 AM
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Carp's point on sanctions makes sense to me. The bigger issue now seems to be what to do about various other ethnic Russian enclaves in former Soviet areas, including the Central Asian countries, the Caucasuses, and the Eastern Ukraine. Do you just basically allow the Russian government a de facto right to intervene in these areas as it sees fit because they fall in a Russian sphere of influence and there's nothing the US/EU can do about it? Or do you try to build up those countries militarily, by giving them weapons, pulling them into a military alliance, whatever? The worst of all worlds seems to have been our former policy towards the Ukraine, which was to way vague things about supporting them and being pro-Western (thus scaring Russia) but without being able or willing to do anything if Russia invades. And it's going to be hard for Russia to say no now to calls from other enclaves of ethnic Russians.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:47 AM
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Does anyone, anyone at all, think our Cuba policy is accomplishing anything?

It has done more to keep alive the moribund doctrine of "communism" over the last 40 years than any action taken by a putatively-communist regime over that time span. A massive self-inflicted wound which has only further sapped the credibility of this country (and also had a minor, but wholly negative, effect on our domestic politics).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:53 AM
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That would be true if our criminal sanctions were levied en gross. Instead of jailing the guy who stuck up a 7-11, let's put his kids in jail. Instead of jailing the woman who drunkenly ran over someone, let's put her parents and grandparents in jail. Has Castro paid any price based on our sanctions? Would the people making the decisions in Russia?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:53 AM
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hard for Russia to say no now to calls from other enclaves of ethnic Russians nearby minerals and territory.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:55 AM
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186 and 187 get it right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:55 AM
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186: And the unintended consequence of making Cuba an interesting trove of pre-1960s automobiles and railroad equipment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:56 AM
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185 is a good point. It was too much to ask that borders be adjusted as part of the wind-up of the Soviet Union, which gored oxen aplenty all by itself. I'm not that dedicated to the sanctity of intra-Soviet borders, not enough to think the shedding of blood is worthwhile. If Ukraine wants to try to reconquer Crimea, it's their dumb ass mistake to make.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 8:59 AM
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Apparently even in Cuba the 1958 Chevys are fading from the roads now, which makes me sad that I never tried to go.


Posted by: RH | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:00 AM
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Yes, criminals often have families. We still prosecute and punish criminals, knowing that this will impoverish their dependants. My point would be that we don't let the difficulty of targeting sanctions precisely deter us from action in the individual criminal case: why then are sanctions suddenly beyond the pale in the case of crimes committed by states?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:01 AM
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Almost any argument against international sanctions can also be mounted against criminal sanctions against the individual.

And just as sensible advice about your household budget doesn't generalize into sensible advice for the federal budget, the two paradigms are so wildly different that I don't think this analogy has much to offer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:04 AM
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The bigger issue now seems to be what to do about various other ethnic Russian enclaves in former Soviet areas, including the Central Asian countries, the Caucasuses, and the Eastern Ukraine.

Given that they are going to be seen as invasion-bait from now on, a more interesting question is "what are the local governments going to decide to do about them". Some of those enclaves are in NATO member states like the Baltics; Latvia is 26% Russian, half of whom aren't even Latvian citizens. Lithuania's only 6% Russian but it's right on the way to the Kaliningrad enclave. Russia still thinks it should own both those countries and the Russians living there are a good excuse to invade.



Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:15 AM
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There is something to be said for encouraging the likes of Latvia not to be a dick to its Russian minorities.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:21 AM
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Well, Russia's not going to invade the Baltics, because those countries are NATO members, and happy that they are. Which was kind of my point. Saying that "if Russia invades, we'll make sure you're strong enough to fight back" is one solution. Saying "sorry, don't care, won't care" is another kind of solution. Saying "yes, we support you! Down with the Putinist tyranny! Oh what sorry no we didn't mean we'd actually do anything serious to support you" seems like the stance most likely to cause Russian invasions.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:28 AM
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Those Russians always hog all the cabbage rolls and coffee. There, I said it Putin! See how you like them apples!


Posted by: Yosh Shmenge | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:31 AM
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We did a great job of protecting Central Asia when the Russians invaded Afghanistan in the 1980s. I mean, hell, we sent them Rambo.

Didn't work out so well in the long term.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:33 AM
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To be clear, from the menu of options in 197, I think my preferred solution is "don't care, won't care."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:38 AM
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I guess others don't share my views, but it has always seemed obvious to me that since perestroika the West has been the aggressive and threatening power in the Russia-West relationship. This cannot be taken out of the context of NATO expansion into former soviet republics and Russia's near abroad. Russia is in the Crimea because of a violent overthrow of a democratically elected pro-Russian Ukrainian leader with at least the tacit complicity of the U.S. (recall the Nuland tapes). Granted, the leader in question was a crook, but the people who replace him likely will be too (and not elected crooks). That's a provocation. Following from that, it seems to me that the best way to positively affect Russian behavior is to make them feel less threatened -- give assurances that we will not tamper in Ukraine, etc. and give them an effective veto on NATO expansion into former Soviet republics.

Of course, that's because I'm an appeaser. Just instinctively, whenever great powers start getting belligerent, I'm like, appease! More pease! Give pease a chance! Basically my background theory has always been that Hitler types are rare and the majority of violent conflicts come from spirals of mutually reinforcing insecurity that can be headed off by being conciliatory at the right times. What worries me most about this whole thing is demonizing what seems to me to be very understandable Russian behavior, and setting ourselves up for possibly years of gradually increasing tensions leading to an outcome that no one wants.

I like how Obama has been handling it in a lot of ways though, he has been effective in taking violence definitively off the table very early on.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:40 AM
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the context of NATO expansion into former soviet republics and Russia's near abroad

I really hate this phrase. It's like "these countries don't get to be fully independent because Russia thinks it kind of still owns them". Do other countries get to have near abroads, and if so what do you think we ought to be allowed to do in them?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:48 AM
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Like Scotland?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:49 AM
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I like how Obama has been handling it in a lot of ways though, he has been effective in taking violence definitively off the table very early on.

Tough talk while doing nothing signals weakness, which in turn only encourages adventurism. If we are to have Cold War 2.0 we had better stop pretending that Putin is someone we can make a deal with.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:51 AM
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it has always seemed obvious to me that since perestroika the West has been the aggressive and threatening power in the Russia-West relationship

Forming a defensive alliance with your neighbour isn't a threat to you, though. It's just that the Russians think it is. The US isn't threatening Sweden by making Norway a NATO member.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:54 AM
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you can't stop without looking even more incompetent than if you'd done nothing

Doing nothing makes you look pretty incompetent, and 188 gets it right. How many more territories does Putin get to annex?

Yes, sanctions are a blunt, weak instrument, but they're something; Russia now participates in an international market economy, and getting to play should mean following the rules, otherwise how do you expect anyone else to? Of course there are no easy solutions, and maybe no good ones, only some that are preferable to others.

That the US has had a feckless, inconsistent, short-sighted, narrow-minded, militaristic, kleptocratic foreign policy isn't an excuse for doing nothing. A good way for it to be less feckless and inconsistent would be to behave as though international law means something, and strengthening international law is key to keeping power, including the US's, in check.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:55 AM
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NATO didn't twist any arms. It doesn't take a Hitler-- it was Brezhnev who ordered tanks into Prague.

Government cleanliness is not the right way to decide I think. Slovakia had a very shitty government for a few years, and Hungary does now. Should Hungary be handed over? Should Slovakia have been? SK didn't join NATO until 2004, 5 years after Mečiar.

Does China's policy towards Taiwan seem reasonable to you?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:56 AM
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203: I would regard England as Scotland's near abroad.

ACtually I was thinking of Ireland...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:57 AM
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202/203: Canada?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 9:57 AM
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202 and 206 get it totally right.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:01 AM
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209: 54 40 or fight!


Posted by: James K Polk | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:01 AM
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"We can't really criticise the US involvement in the coup attempt in Venezuela. It is, after all, part of the US' near abroad, and Chavez was a threat to US interests. The proper response is for the rest of South America to figure out a way to make the US feel less threatened."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:02 AM
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Doing nothing makes you look pretty incompetent

Not as incompetent as doing something that accomplishes nothing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:08 AM
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211: If you didn't have to look up at least one of the numbers 54, 40, and 11, I'm seriously impressed.

212: In our defense, we didn't actually take out Chavez, nor do I expect we ever will.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:12 AM
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168

stale vodka?


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:16 AM
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nor do I expect we ever will

Certainly not given his current health.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:18 AM
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Forming a defensive alliance with your neighbour isn't a threat to you, though. It's just that the Russians think it is. The US isn't threatening Sweden by making Norway a NATO member.

right, because the relationship between Sweden, Norway, and the U.S. is totally and utterly different than the relationship between the U.S., Ukraine, and Russia. It's not wise to sweep away historical specificity in national relations in the name of a totally abstracted 'international law'.

Do other countries get to have near abroads, and if so what do you think we ought to be allowed to do in them?

The international order routinely accomodates local great power interventions with a wink and a nod. Should we have a cold war with China over Tibet? (Far, far worse behavior, and with less historical justification, than Russia in Ukraine). Did people make a fuss over our invasions of Grenada or Haiti?

Obviously, this is all far from ideal, but the 'solution' of a U.S. attitude of continuous hostility and massive self-righteousness toward Russia strikes me as far worse than the problem on the table. Letting Russia have Crimea is not even a humanitarian issue really. It's a practical accomodation that one could make in the context of working to defuse tensions and prevent further conflict.

And before someone says that would be 'showing weakness': the rampant domino theorizing here is quite disturbing. All those macho claims that the best way to prevent conflict is to 'show strength' or impose a deterrent punishment of some sort seem quite dangerous and illogical in this case, where there is no realistically effective deterrent that wouldn't make the situation a lot worse than it is.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:19 AM
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212: What a great freaking analogy! The similarities between the US and Venezuela, and Russia/Ukraine/Crimea are so very,very many. And at a deep and fundamental level.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:20 AM
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Sanctions are pointless bullshit that will hurt a lot of innocent people but accomplish nothing. If you want to do something, form a military alliance and let Russia know that if it invades a country it's going to face a war. If not, accept the fact that sometimes great powers do "get" to do things in the sense that there's not much the US can do about it. If you're not willing to fight over Ukraine, or at least give the Ukrainians a shitload of weapons to do the fighting themselves, focus on creating an environment that's more stable and where Russia won't act offensively.

Sanctions satisfies the something-must-be-done crowd but that's about it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:25 AM
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"We can't really criticise the US involvement in the coup attempt in Venezuela. It is, after all, part of the US' near abroad, and Chavez was a threat to US interests. The proper response is for the rest of South America to figure out a way to make the US feel less threatened."

How about U.S. involvement in the coup in the Ukraine? Do we get to criticize that?

What's on the table in a place like Venezuela is the continuance of a semi-colonial relationship between white anglo northerners and brown southerners with quite different cultures and histories, not the kind of mutual entanglement Russia and Ukraine have had. Imagine the U.S. had somehow given up Texas, then the independent Texas was playing footsie with China. Maybe you'd want to wave the flag for Independent Texas, but China might be well advised to back off a bit.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:26 AM
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What makes this different from some of the other analogies is that there's a degree of sacredness to borders. Grenada was bad and Tibet is horrible, but the former was just a normal war with a tiny place and the latter is an internal affair. But borders? You're challenging the very foundation of the state.

Or maybe it's just Russia othering. The West is definitely more pissed about this than the South Ossetia War, but it is much closer and Crimea has six or seven times the population of the breakaway states from '08.

Kosovo is relevant, but that's more like Transnistria, Abkhazia, or South Ossetia; a great power absorbing another state's territory hasn't really happened since World War II. (Maybe West Papua and East Timor, but Indonesia probably doesn't count as a great power.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:28 AM
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217: OK, PGD, what is the US' near abroad? Which countries can the US invade and annexe bits of without you complaining? And this is not the same question as "which countries has the US historically got away with invading". Which countries do you, personally, think that the US should be able to invade? Mexico? If President Palin announces that the war on drugs necessitates the annexation of Baja California, would you be OK with that?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:29 AM
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Ajay, why are you interested in framing this as a morality play? I don't think anyone, even PGD, is saying that Putin was *right* to invade the Crimea. The question is what caused it and what if anything to do about it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:31 AM
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223: actually that's exactly how I read 201.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:32 AM
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Thing is, I wasn't real excited about being economically codependent with Russia to begin with, because of the gay situation, the Syria situation, the Pussy Riot situation, the assassinating journalists who report corruption situation, the shirtless machismo situation, and all the other situations.

Some of the things proposed--like becoming less dependent on Russian gas reserves--are things we should be doing anyway.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:32 AM
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If you want to do something, form a military alliance...

I really do think that this was all about the bases and that Putin does not have designs on other countries in Russia's near abroad with significant Russian speaking populations (Donetsk in eastern Ukraine being a possible exception here). That being said, Putin's justification for acting in protecting these populations is alarming and must be addressed and the best way to do so is to begin serious preparations for admitting Ukraine into NATO. Even Putin will see how badly he fucked it up if that were to happen and it should discourage such adventurism in the future. Sanctions will do fuck all.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:37 AM
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That being said, Putin's justification for acting in protecting these populations is alarming and must be addressed and the best way to do so is to begin serious preparations for admitting Ukraine into NATO

Agreed, absolutely.

I really do think that this was all about the bases and that Putin does not have designs on other countries in Russia's near abroad with significant Russian speaking populations

At present, probably not. The Baltics are off the table because they're NATO members, Belarus and Kazakhstan are in his pocket already, the rest of the Stans don't have much to offer. But I think the Baltics are very lucky that they managed to get NATO membership through while Russia was still beaten down; I don't think it would be an easy process today.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:42 AM
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begin serious preparations for admitting Ukraine into NATO

If it gets to that, I'd argue it's time for the US to withdraw from NATO.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:44 AM
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222: what I would favor as U.S. policy, as a U.S. citizen, is actually a very different question from what I as a U.S. citizen would favor the U.S. doing with regards to Russia. My duty as a U.S. citizen is to speak up about U.S. actions. In the case of the Crimea annexation, I think a self-righteous and belligerent U.S. response is harmful and counterproductive. That doesn't mean Russia is necessarily right.

224: I don't condone Russia's action, but I understand it. Crimea is strategically quite important to Russia and if Ukraine is going to align militarily, diplomatically, and economically with the West than Russian control of Crimea is threatened. This should all have been obvious in advance. The invasion wasn't a good thing, certainly, but we should accept that we played a role in letting it get to that point. I think the primary U.S. responsibility as a global actor is to contribute to peaceful relations between world powers, and I don't think our Russia policy has done that, nor would amping up our hostility do it any better.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:47 AM
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Even Putin will see how badly he fucked it up if that were to happen and it should discourage such adventurism in the future.

I've seen numerous psychological analyses of Putin's behavior, many of which contradict each other, but nothing I've read about Putin makes me think that if Ukraine were to join NATO, Putin would blame himself for that.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:48 AM
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Would Crimea be strategically important if Russia had built a naval base on its proper Black Sea coast?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:51 AM
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From The Grauniad: [Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein] said that all countries with citizens on board had responded to requests for background information, bar Russia and Ukraine, and that no relevant information had been found.

More evidence to support my theory in 63. The plane was clearly hijacked by Crimea separatists. Or Ukrainian irredentists. Or Russian irredentists. Seriously somebody in that general area.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:57 AM
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Letting Russia have Crimea is not even a humanitarian issue really. It's a practical accomodation that one could make in the context of working to defuse tensions and prevent further conflict.

MustDoSomething-ism Realpolitik is on the march, and that is not a philosophy that has served us well.*

*Which is to say, it has frequently served the US well, in the short-term, most narrow-minded foreign policy sense, but it has enabled countless horrors for countless people elsewhere and undermined any claim of moral authority.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 10:58 AM
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230 No, probably not but this has consistently had the feeling of being an own goal to me. Putin could have waited out the current crisis and still kept the bases. Russia has what, 30 some odd years to go on their current lease? I don't really see what Putin got out of this that he either needed or could not have gotten otherwise.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:01 AM
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What does 'proper' even mean?

It seems to me that, as a matter of international law, permanent members of the UNSC are immune from any consequences that require action of the UNSC. But by all means Ukraine should bring an action in the appropriate court, and maybe they'll get a ruling in their favor. I forget, did Nicaragua win their case against the US?


Posted by: CCCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:02 AM
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it has enabled countless horrors for countless people elsewhere

Unlike the Cold War.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:02 AM
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Question: Is it fair to say that the primary cause of this whole dust-up is that Putin believes in Russian Exceptionalism?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:03 AM
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But otherwise, fine, whatever. Let's go 54 40 or fight, and let the Canadians suck up it in the remainder of their godforsaken frozen wasteland. We should take the Alberta tar sands, too, obvi.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:04 AM
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234: Everybody keeps saying that, but as far as I am concerned, Ukraine could have abrogated those treaties in a month. And what, then you will give permission to Putin to fullbore invade? I doubt it. Monetary damages? What court to enforce it? EU & US stand behind Putin and enforce punitive damages on Ukraine.

Most of the discourse on this subject is damn well from the subject position of Empire. And as a citizen and beneficiary of Empire, I also felt uncomfortable climbing aboard the liberation of Kuwait warwagon.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:06 AM
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We should take the Alberta tar sands, too, obvi.

Toronto too because their mayor is awesome. How he isn't really American is baffling to me. But not Montreal because French.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:07 AM
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We'll just rechristen Quebec North Louisiana.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:09 AM
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239: Why would they abrogate? Ukraine has had pro-West governments before who didn't kick them out of the naval base. It seems like it'd be unnecessarily pissing off a giant neighbor and removing an income source.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:10 AM
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236: ? Of course that includes the Cold War. Kissinger's realpolitik underlaid our support of authoritarian regimes all over the place. The Cold War was a murderous, cynical global exercise in geopolitics conducted under the flimsy cover of ideological principle.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:12 AM
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I'm not saying that the boundaries as existed at the time of the 1994 Budapest Memo aren't sacred, but the analogy to Alberta, or Texas, or Baja is just silly.

Maybe Texas joining the US after 9 years of independence is the better analogy. Mexico went to war over which river defined the southern boundary of Texas. How'd that work out for them?


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:12 AM
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234: My sense is that Putin simply saw the opportunity, and he took it. The ouster of Yanukovych and the associated chaos in Kiev led to a de-facto power vacuum, and it allowed Putin to walk into Crimea and take control of it without firing a single shot. Since he couldn't know for certain what policies the post-Yanukovych regime would have once it had settled down (assuming it ever does,) he figured that having Crimea securely under his control was worth the price of international condemnation.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:14 AM
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All the analogies are silly! Fucking analogy ban, how does it work?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:14 AM
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244: Not that we should, but NATO is in a wee bit better shape militarily than Mexico was in 1848.

245 makes sense to me. Sometimes even evil geniuses play it by ear.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:16 AM
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241: And Ontario could be North Ohio!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:17 AM
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Why would they abrogate?

Some (people/parts) of the Ukraine want to join NATO, which AFAICT survives only as an organization to threaten and fuck with Russia.

So having the anti-missile-defense, USAF landing strip, several electronic monitoring facilities, and a torture prison or two next door to the Russian naval base might not work well.

Does Poland have a Russian base?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:19 AM
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This is a total derailment of the topic at hand, but Mexico was not actually that weak a country in the Mexican War! The US was stronger, but it took some epic bad leadership on the Mexican side plus the absolutely most spectacularly difficult campaign in US military history, and one of the most difficult in the 19th century generally, to win that war.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:19 AM
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245 I'm having a hard time figuring out what he's gained that he either didn't have already or could have gotten by playing a waiting game. Why, other than the bases would he want Crimea? And the downside potential is enormous.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:21 AM
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245, 247 - The flipside is that by severing the most pro-Russia part of Ukraine, he pretty much guarantees a much more antagonistic government in the remainder of the country.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:22 AM
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I'm sympathetic to the idea that Russia feels leaned on, and that some account should be taken of how things look from a Russian perspective. Ukraine has in some sense been flipped into alignment with EU / NATO countries; in some sense, Maidan was an exploit. However, the acceptable response to soft power is more soft power, and emphatically not tanks, but tanks are what we currently have. Twice now, if you count Georgia / South Ossetia. I therefore think a tougher response is at this point safer than a weaker response, or no response. You want to discourage the bad behaviour, and quickly. Equally, we should be quick to reward good behaviour, when we see it, and show willingness to move on. My belief (hope, at any rate) is that destructive downwards spirals aren't inevitable if at least one side adopts a basic stance that is both (a) reasonably responsive to changing inputs and (b) reasonably consistent and predictable.

Of course, this is all on the basis that you think deterrence is worth anything. You may of course think that it isn't, and that signalling and such is all bullshit and that sanctions only hurt the innocent.

And I feel I have to add that if Russia feels threatened because the currently Russian-aligned might prefer to re-align with more democratic and open societies; well, obviously this isn't something the democratic and open societies can give them any comfort on.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:22 AM
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All the analogies are silly! Fucking analogy ban, how does it work?

Continuing the ridiculous emoticons form the other thread:

(╯°□°)╯︵uɐq ʎɓolɐuɐ


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:25 AM
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some epic bad leadership on the Mexican side

Not only them!


Posted by: Gideon J. Pillow | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:26 AM
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And Ontario could be North Ohio!

The densely populated parts would be North New York State.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:27 AM
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249: I get that that means no NATO, but previously (after Maidan but before Crimea) I don't think it's obvious that Ukraine would have tried NATO, even though they were moving for closer EU integration. Now, it seems guaranteed.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:27 AM
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Why, other than the bases would he want Crimea?

Putin is of the view that independent Ukraine is not a "real" country, that Crimea is fundamentally part of Russia, and that it was a mistake for Russia to have ever ceded control over it in the first place.

And the downside potential is enormous.

Internationally, maybe. But domestically this is a big win for him.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:28 AM
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Everything west of Quebec is East Alaska.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:30 AM
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250: The most difficult? Really? Actually, I'll just agree with you, you know far more military history than I do and Scott was crazy badass.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:30 AM
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Or to put another way, since the American Empire has largely conquered with dollars and finance more often than troops...

...NATO could have offered plutocrats and nationalists a much better deal contingent on abrogation.

Here's another read:

Everything You Know About Crimea is Wrong

funny nasty

"On January 20, 1991, Crimeans voted to restore their ties with Russia by almost the same percentage (93.2%) we saw in today's election--where, according to the BBC, 93% of Crimean voters once again voted Russian."

Sorry, I am trouble getting worked up about this "invasion."

Ian Welsh has a post dealing with the legality, referencing courts and Kosovo.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:30 AM
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I'm sorry Russia feels threatened. Talk of Ukraine joining NATO should have come with a trigger warning.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:30 AM
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258: Yes, totally. Crimea is seen by Russians as Russia. If you haven't, watch the signing ceremony. Some of the MPs are ecstatic.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:32 AM
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I am trouble getting worked up about this "invasion."

I am disappoint.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:32 AM
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I am not surprise.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:33 AM
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Sorry

261 Everything Working Link

It made me laugh.

It's these kinds of threads that convinces me that Democrats, liberals, and progressives will be all onboard the next war. If started by a Democrat. Token resistance if started by a Republican.

Also keeps me resistant and socialist.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:33 AM
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Crimea = Crime A
What will Crime B turn out to be?

(excerpt from speech I'm writing for McCain)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:47 AM
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Had a thought this week

From current perspectives: "That Hannibal was a fucking monster who invaded. Evil. Sacked x y z cities. Disgusting. We need to look at how evil Hannibal was!"

Umm, maybe missing forest for the trees, or not enough distance, or missing the big picture. Hannibal wasn't the only big bad.

When we Anglo-Americans condemn Russia for its actions, of course by default we are claiming some moral high ground, some degree of moral superiority for our side, our guys, ourselves that is in no way deserved and is in fact counter-productive and destructive. We should STFU.

I feel the same way about Nanjing. Did the worse or better guys win WW II? I don't really give a fuck, the Imperial Empire is dead and buried, and the other side has umpteen nukes and 11 carrier groups and invades somebody on alternate Tuesdays. Tell me why I need to get my righteous on about Nanjing.

The Chinese can probably handle it fine themselves.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:47 AM
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The US isn't threatening Sweden by making Norway a NATO member.

Now who's being naive?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 11:53 AM
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267: America = Crime AA


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:04 PM
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I'm objectively pro-Hannibal. I hate the fucking Romans.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:07 PM
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Let's really fuck with the Russians. Encourage the Kurds to declare independence form Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria at the same time.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:08 PM
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Plus, who doesn't like elephants?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:08 PM
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https://twitter.com/IHATEelephants


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:11 PM
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Poor Hannibal, forever doomed to be a Civilization expansion leader.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:13 PM
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Scott was crazy badass

Taylor too. The accounts in the great civil war memoirs, Grant's and Sherman's are where I get my sense of it.

Green Grow the Rushes O!


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 12:35 PM
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Among all the pointing out that the US was supporting a given side in Ukraine and therefore, something, something, can't blame Russia, people seem to be missing that compared to Russian interference and support for a given side in Ukrainian politics American interference was minuscule.

Nor was there really a coup in Ukraine. You had an unpopular leader making a political U-turn under heavy political and economic pressure from the former imperial power. Mass demonstrations followed. The demonstrations were attacked by riot police, and some of the demonstrators responded by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails and the demands shifted from reversing the U-turn to resignation. The government responded with more violence against the demonstrators and various government opponents started disappearing. The violence then escalated and various members of the government coalition started defecting. The government made a last ditch attempt to clear the demonstrators with mass violence. They failed, and a minority of the police began declaring their support for the demonstrators while the army made it clear they didn't want to get involved. The EU and the US attempted to impose a compromise solution, but this was rejected by the demonstrators, at which point the government collapsed and the president fled the country. A new transition government was formed with elections scheduled for a few months later. In other words this was a fairly typical scenario of a political crisis spiraling into mass unrest leading to a collapse of the government and new elections being called.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-19-14 3:39 PM
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If it gets to that, I'd argue it's time for the US to withdraw from NATO.

The US is still the only country that has actually received any concrete benefit from NATO - in the sense of its allies sending their troops to fight and die on its behalf. No US soldier ever died to defend Poland as a result of the NATO alliance; plenty of Poles have died for the US. And Danes, and Britons, and Frenchmen, and Germans.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that Russia feels leaned on, and that some account should be taken of how things look from a Russian perspective.

It's probably worth looking at how all this seems from a Ukrainian perspective too. In 2004, there were two candidates for president, a pro-Russian one and a pro-West one, and the Russian government fucking poisoned the pro-West one.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 3:02 AM
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If I understand it aright, Crimea was only attached to Ukraine by Khrushchev in the 1950s for some obscure bureaucratic reason (or because he was Ukrainian and made them a present of it for auld lang syne). The majority of the population has been Russian since Stalin removed the Tatars, which means that there have been three or four generations of Russians born in Crimea who bear no possible blame for living there and whose grandparents were certainly not consulted by Nikita Sergeivich about being subject to Kyiv. So a free and honest referendum carried out by Ghandi, MLK and Nelson Mandela would probably show a big majority for joining Russia, if not 93%.

None of which affects the facts that Putin is a thug, Ukrainian politics are an unholy mess and the Tatars have been desperately oppressed and are right to be nervous about the future. Nevertheless, largely by accident it's probably the right result.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 3:13 AM
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Also, to the OP, the Australians have found a plausible lead, debris in the sea that they and the Americans are both sending high tech planes to look at (due south of KL, make of that what you will).


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 3:22 AM
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280: yes, I saw that. 24m long, so too long to be a stray ISO container. Interesting... hope it's still afloat (it was photographed on Sunday).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 3:58 AM
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The US is still the only country that has actually received any concrete benefit from NATO - in the sense of its allies sending their troops to fight and die on its behalf.

Well, there was that whole "decades of Warsaw Pact troops not streaming through the Fulda Gap" thing.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 4:28 AM
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Well, there was that whole "decades of Warsaw Pact troops not streaming through the Fulda Gap" thing.

Yes, and if US troops had died fighting to stop the Warsaw Pact sending troops through the Fulda Gap, I would have mentioned it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 4:32 AM
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In Warsaw Pact, international alliance against invading force invades you!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 4:48 AM
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No US soldier ever died to defend Poland

And no Polish soldier has died to defend the US. It's all been in the service of attacking third countries. Nonetheless, expanding NATO's defense right up to Russia's still-unstable periphery is more or less guaranteeing getting sucked into war (or proving that the defense guarantee is hollow).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 4:50 AM
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Restricting "concrete benefits" to "dead soldiers" seems unjustified. Surely deterrence is a benefit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 4:50 AM
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It's all been in the service of attacking third countries.

The benefit of which to this particular American citizen remains pretty damn abstract.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 4:52 AM
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And no Polish soldier has died to defend the US. It's all been in the service of attacking third countries.

Article V is a collective defence agreement and the invasion of Afghanistan was pursuant to an appeal for help under Article V by the US. Your country asked for help and its allies responded, to our great cost - you don't get to dismiss that by saying that you can't see what good it's done you personally.

Yes, deterrence is a benefit, but I'm not sure it's a concrete benefit; it's by definition pretty abstract, no?

Nonetheless, expanding NATO's defense right up to Russia's still-unstable periphery is more or less guaranteeing getting sucked into war

Well, is it, though? Putin hasn't invaded anyone who is already a NATO member. I'm sure he'd love to have the Baltics back and get a land route to Kaliningrad, but he hasn't tried.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:16 AM
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And no Polish soldier has died to defend the US.

SEMANTICS


Posted by: OPINIONATED CASIMIR PULASKI | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:18 AM
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Afghanistan

Point taken (though I opposed that invasion as well).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 6:37 AM
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288 -- well, sort of. It's true that there was a request for help under Arricle V. But the initial invasion in Afghanistan was done by the US, not NATO. Then, the UN Security Council set up a force, which eventually NATO took over, initially for protecting Kabul and then for protecting the country as a whole. It's true that Article V was invoked by the US in connection with the initial invasion but it's also true that if any NATO member had not wanted to join the ISAF in 2003 they could have done so, and they certainly were able to limit their commitment or withdraw (as many NATO countries did). So the "Polish soldier dying for the US" thing is pretty ridiculous in any but a pretty silly technical sense; the reality is that the Polish government agreed to send some of its troops into an international mission led by the United States and under NATO command, but that's about it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:09 AM
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And comparing the Polish "participation in ISAF" to what the US would have to do if Russia invaded a current NATO member is also pretty silly and legalistic. Personally, I don't think there would be much chance of a serious war if Ukraine became a NATO member, but you'd certainly have a much greater risk of a serious, large scale, possibly nuclear war than at any time since the end of the Cold War.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:14 AM
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I think the greater risk of serious war comes if the US makes vague but threatening and aggressive noises about protecting and defending Ukraine, but doesn't let it actually join NATO.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:18 AM
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Yes, deterrence is a benefit, but I'm not sure it's a concrete benefit; it's by definition pretty abstract, no?

Seems like deterrence is a lot more beneficial than the alternative.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:47 AM
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the "Polish soldier dying for the US" thing is pretty ridiculous in any but a pretty silly technical sense; the reality is that the Polish government agreed to send some of its troops into an international mission led by the United States and under NATO command

...A mission which was begun by the US in response to an attack on the US, and which was justified by the US, to its people and to the world, as an act of self-defence to prevent further attacks on the US in the future. There may be some distinction between participating in that mission and "defending the US" but it's not one that I can see very easily.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:49 AM
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You think the main benefit that NATO countries saw in participating in the post 2003 ISAF was "defending the United States"? It was an international mission designed (well or not) to stabilize Afghanistan.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:02 AM
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The US is still the only country that has actually received any concrete benefit from NATO - in the sense of its allies sending their troops to fight and die on its behalf.

The restrictive clause is doing a lot of work in that sentence. The classic formulation of Nato's mission, "To keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down," still holds up pretty well.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:07 AM
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296: NATO countries were participating well before 2003. There were non-US troops on the ground from October 2001.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:10 AM
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Quite a few people in Poland who argued that Poland should support the US over Iraq did so explicitly on the grounds that it is important for Poland to make sure that the US sees it as a reliable ally and thus would support it against any Russian threat. Some of those were neutral on whether Iraq was a good idea, others said it was idiotic; both sets argued that the only thing that mattered from the point of view of Polish interests was maintaining as close as possible a security relationship with the US. On Afghanistan things were a little bit different in that all supporters of Polish participation felt that the US was right to invade, but again, the key argument for sending Polish troops was supporting the US.

So in a way, Halford is right, the Poles didn't die for the US, they died for America's promise to put it's troops on the line to defend the Poles if necessary.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:12 AM
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Damn it, I was going to roll with the quote in 297.


Posted by: Robert Haford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:13 AM
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if US troops had died fighting to stop the Warsaw Pact sending troops through the Fulda Gap, I would have mentioned it.

It didn't happen in the Fulda Gap, but 31 Americans died defending Berlin from an act of war by the Soviets.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:14 AM
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But they sure as hell didn't die because they considered the Afghanistan or Iraq missions in and of themselves crucial to their security.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:15 AM
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The US isn't threatening Sweden by making Norway a NATO member.

Indulge me if I've told this story before. A Swiss client who, like a lot of Swiss businessmen, was a senior officer in the army reserves, gave me a delightful summary of Swiss strategic thinking: "We Swiss are of course neutral. But in the training exercises, the enemy always from the East."


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:25 AM
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Ugh, s/b "always comes from the East".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:26 AM
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From wikipedia: The Fulda Gap is roughly the route Napoleon chose to withdraw his armies after defeat at the Battle of Leipzig.

Forget the Warsaw Pact. How many Americans died to prevent French troops from pouring through the Fulda Gap? None! Slackers.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:26 AM
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Fulda Gap would be a decent porn name.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:43 AM
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Who names their first pet Fulda?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:45 AM
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Apologies if I offend any Poles with this observation, but "Grand Duchy of Warsaw" was a cooler name. You should consider changing it back.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:47 AM
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Who names their first pet Fulda?

Who doesn't?


Posted by: Yosh Shmenge | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:47 AM
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308: "Duchy" is an odd word -- I don't think I'd ever heard it said out loud until I started listening to The Now Show, and was confused by the jokes about Dutchy Biscuits. Something to do with cocoa? Or maybe they're German? (After a surprisingly long time, I did figure it out.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:49 AM
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Pass the Grand Duchy on the Left Hand Side.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:51 AM
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"Duchy" is an odd word -- I don't think I'd ever heard it said out loud until I started listening to The Now Show

Surely you must be familiar with the Duchy of Grand Fenwick?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 8:57 AM
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308: Luxembourg is still a Grand Duchy. Poland should aspire to something better.

In some Crusader Kings 2 games I've played, there'd be three simultaneous and adjacent states of Poland, Greater Poland, and (really?) Lesser Poland, the latter two duchies and the first probably a kingdom. Lots of territory names in that area.

"Free City of Danzig" is a pretty awesome name for a pretty horrible state.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:01 AM
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A significant portion of the complicated history of eastern Europe is contained within the Wikipedia paragraph on the mere name of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The official[citation needed] name of the Commonwealth was The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Polish: Królestwo Polskie i Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie, Lithuanian: Lenkijos Karalystė ir Lietuvos Didžioji Kunigaikštystė, Ukrainian: Королівство Польське та Вели́ке князі́вство Лито́вське Korolivstvo Polśke ta Vełyke Kniazivstvo Łytovśke, Belarusian: Каралеўства Польскае і Вялікае Княства Літоўскае Karalieŭstva Polskaje i Vialikaje Kniastva Litoŭskaje). Prior to the 17th century, international treaties and diplomatic texts referred to it by its Latin name Regnum Poloniae Magnusque Ducatus Lithuaniae. In the 17th century and later it was usually known as the Most Serene Republic of Poland (Polish: 'Najjaśniejsza Rzeczpospolita Polska', Latin: 'Serenissima Res Publica Poloniae').[32] Its inhabitants referred to it in everyday speech as the "Rzeczpospolita" (Ruthenian: Рѣч Посполита Rič Pospolyta, Lithuanian: Žečpospolita). Western Europeans often simply called it Poland, applying the pars pro toto synecdoche. The widespread term Commonwealth of Both Nations (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów) was coined in the 20th century.[33] In historiography commonly referred to as Rzeczpospolita szlachecka (the Republic of nobles), or as I Rzeczpospolita (the First Commonwealth).

*Apparently San Marino is still "the Most Serene Republic of San Marino."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:05 AM
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there'd be three simultaneous and adjacent states of Poland, Greater Poland, and (really?) Lesser Poland

There are political subdivisions (voivodeships) within contemporary Poland called "Greater Poland" and "Lesser Poland".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:07 AM
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Oh, I did not know that! Huh. I usually think of Greater Foo as an irredentist term that subsumes Foo so I didn't know how to parse Lesser Foo.

CK2 has a weird mechanism where subnational entities can be independent but maintain their subnational names. Often there are repeats at different levels, so you might have say both the County of York(shire) and the Duchy of York separately independent from the Kingdom of England and each labeled as "York."

It was mostly amusing because they were in order, so it was something like Greater Poland > Poland > Lesser Poland. Of course.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:11 AM
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Awesome Poland > Greater Poland > Poland > Lesser Poland > Crappy Poland


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:13 AM
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France used to have a bunch of départements called "Lesser This" and "Lower That", until the names were all replaced by more self-esteem-enhancing designations in the late 1950s, e.g. "Loire-Inférieure" became "Loire-Atlantique".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:15 AM
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Lower Foo makes sense because gravity and rivers. Good for those departements, though, I hope they can believe in themselves now.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:18 AM
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Lesser Poland historically roughly corresponds to Galicia. Greater Poland is the historic early medieval core of Poland around the city of Poznan. As KR says, the terms continue to be used though nowadays Lesser Poland (Malopolska) is the Krakow region which is its medieval meaning and unless you were speaking of prewar Poland nobody would think Lviv and Ivano-Fankivsk if you spoke of Eastern Little Poland (unless you're a crazed fringe radical nationalist, then it's just evidence of what you are).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:25 AM
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312: In text, of course. I believe Grand Duchess Gloriana may even have commented here. But I never saw the movie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:25 AM
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Grand Duchess Gloriana

That bitch thinks she's all that


Posted by: Prince Michael of Ruritania | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 9:54 AM
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I have an atlas printed in the 1890s in which Ukraine (roughly) is denoted as Little Russia.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:07 PM
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Ukraine (roughly) is denoted as Little Russia.

And Belarus means "White Russia". Which is why I was the Tsar of All the Russias, i.e. Great, Little and White.


Posted by: Nicholas II | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:17 PM
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296: NATO countries were participating well before 2003. There were non-US troops on the ground from October 2001.

Some NATO countries sent troops in 2001, but not as a result of the NATO alliance, not under NATO command, and not as a result of Article 5. See here for more detail. The US explicitly said that it would act outside the NATO framework and did not accept NATO targeting, or require a military commitment from NATO members, in 2001.

Now, this is all pretty technical -- obviously, many NATO members did send troops -- but your technical argument was that NATO troops were in some meaningful sense fighting "to defend the United States" in Afghanistan because of Article V. Not really. It's true that NATO countries participated in the invasion, but they were not treaty-bound to do so, nor did they need or have to do so in the context of Article V of NATO. It's also absolutely true that, as Teraz says, the strategic calculation of many NATO members was to participate in Afghanistan not because of some independent sense of self-interest, but to signal commitment to the alliance in order to ensure that the US would unequivocally come to their aid if attacked.

More generally, the entire point of NATO, as the famous Germans down, Russians out, Americans in quote indicates, is to bind the United States to a commitment to militarily defend NATO members if attacked (primarily by the Russians), which in turn allows those countries to spend much less on defense than they would ever do otherwise. To say that those countries haven't received any "concrete benefit" from US participation in NATO is crazytown.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 12:50 PM
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323: The first recorded usage of the term is attributed to Boleslaus George II of Halych.He styled himself «dux totius Rusiæ Minoris»

Since all might not be up on Boleslaus:

Bolesław Jerzy II of Mazovia (Polish Bolesław Jerzy II Mazowiecki, also known as "of Galicia", Boleslaw-Yuri II, and Jerzy-Bolesław Trojdenowicz, 1305/1310 - April 7, 1340) was a ruler of the Polish Piast dynasty who reigned in the originally Ruthenian principality of Galicia. After his death started the Galicia-Volhynia Wars over succession of Galicia and Volhynia.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:24 PM
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He was poisoned in 1340 by orthodox boyars and died without an heir.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:26 PM
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Until I looked it up a few years ago, I assumed "duchy" was pronounced "dukey" because it was based on "duke". I still think that would make more sense.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:39 PM
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After his death started the Galicia-Volhynia Wars over succession of Galicia and Volhynia.

Can't keep a good duke down.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 1:45 PM
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The US explicitly said that it would act outside the NATO framework and did not accept NATO targeting, or require a military commitment from NATO members, in 2001.

This is only true for Afghanistan itself. Op EAGLE ASSIST.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:05 PM
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aka "Operation Fly Around in Circles Over the USA." But, yes, that is right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:37 PM
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If I didn't keep crashing my Walkera drone I could do my own OPERATION EAGLE ASSIST in my backyard.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:38 PM
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Although I also call masturbating OPERATION EAGLE ASSIST, so it all gets very confusing in the backyard.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:39 PM
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If I didn't keep crashing my Walkera drone

There was a small drone buzzing down the street yesterday. And the one that buzzed the Red Sox - Nats game.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:44 PM
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It is pretty amazing that the following is on the NATO website:

Operation AMBER FOX, 27 September 2001 - 16 December 2002 Following the end of Operation ESSENTIAL HARVEST on 27 September 2001, NATO began a new mission of providing active and pre-arranged support measures to EU and OSCE monitors in FYROM who were observing the parties' compliance with the Ohrid Peace Agreement, in particular the re-entry of FYROM police into contested areas. This mission was initially conducted by the troops of Task Force Harvest until they were replaced by Task Force Fox on 4 October 2001. At the request of the FYROM government, Operation AMBER FOX was extended four times until 15 December 2002. The name of this operation proved controversial after journalists searched for it on the internet and discovered that it was also the name of a homosexual night club in Paris.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:44 PM
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333 made me laugh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 2:45 PM
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FYROM is a great name for a country. They should make it the Grand Duchy of FYROM.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-20-14 7:34 PM
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