Deconstructing Putin

by craig on March 19, 2014 1:25 pm in Uncategorized

I listened live to Putin’s speech yesterday with great interest.  Here is my own analysis, for what it is worth.

Putin was strongest in his accusations of western hypocrisy.  His ironic welcoming of the West having suddenly discovered the concept of international law was very well done.  His analysis of the might is right approach the West had previously adopted, and their contempt of the UN over Iraq and Afghanistan, was spot on. Putin also was absolutely right in describing the Kosovo situation as “highly analogous” to the situation in Crimea. That is indeed true, and attempts by the West – including the Guardian – to argue the cases are different are pathetic exercises in special pleading.

The problem is that Putin blithely ignored the enormous logical inconsistency in his argument.  He stated that the Crimean and Kosovo cases were highly analogous, but then used that to justify Russia’s action in Crimea, despite the fact that Russia has always maintained the NATO Kosovo intervention was illegal(and still refuses to recognize Kosovo).  In fact of course Russia was right over Kosovo, and thus is wrong over Crimea.

I was very interested that Putin made distinct reference to the appalling crimes against the Tartars in the 1930’s, but also to the terrible suffering of Ukrainians in that period.  His references were not detailed but their meaning was clear.  I was surprised because under Putin’s rule there has been a great deal of rehabilitation of Stalin.  Archives that were opened under glasnost have frozen over again, and history in Russian schools now portrays Stalin’s foreign policy achievement much more than his crimes (and it is now again  possible to complete your Russian school education with no knowledge the Stalin-Hitler pact ever happened).  So this was both surprising and positive.  Designed to be positive was his assurance that Crimea will be trilingual.  We will see what happens; Putin’s Russia is in fact not tolerant of its ethnic populations in majority Russian areas, and in fact contains a great many more far right thugs than Ukraine –  probably about the same  percentage of the population.

The 97% referendum figure is simply unbelievable to any reasonable person and is straight out of the Soviet playbook – it was strange to see Putin going in and out of modern media friendly mode and his audience, with their Soviet en brosse haircuts and synchronized clapping – obviously liked the Soviet bits best.

The attempt to downplay Russia’s diplomatic isolation was also a bit strange.  He thanked China, though China had very pointedly failed to support Russian in the Security Council.  When you are forced to thank people for abstaining, you are not in a strong position diplomatically.  He also thanked India, which is peculiar, because the Indian PM yesterday put out a press release saying Putin had called him, but the had urged Putin to engage diplomatically with the interim government in Kiev, which certainly would not be welcome to Putin.  I concluded that Putin was merely trying to tell his domestic audience Russia has support, even when it does not.

But what I find really strange is that the parts of the speech I found most interesting have not drawn any media comment I can see.  Putin plainly said that in his discussions with Kuchma on the boundaries of Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they hadn’t wanted to open any dispute with what they expected to be a friendly neighbor, and that therefore the boundaries of Ukraine had never been finally demarcated.  He said twice the boundaries had not been demarcated.  That seemed to indicate a very general threat to Eastern Ukraine. He also spoke of the common heritage of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine in a way that indicated that he did not accept that Ukraine might choose a political future away from Russia.

Secondly, he said that on the day the Soviet Union broke up, Russians in many places had “woken up to find themselves in a foreign country.” Again from the context in which he said it, this referred not just to Crimea, and not just even to the rest of Ukraine, but to Russian nationals all over the Former Soviet Union.  I would be worrying a lot about this part of the speech if I was Kazakh, to give just one example.  Putin seemed to be outlining a clear agenda to bring Russian speaking areas of CIS countries back in to Mother Russia – indeed, I see no other possible interpretation of his actions in Georgia and Ukraine.

I think that we should start listening much more carefully to what he says. I also think that the weakness of the EU’s response to events gives Putin a very dangerous encouragement to pursue further aggrandizement.  I posted a few days ago:

The EU I expect to do nothing.  Sanctions will target a few individuals who are not too close to Putin and don’t keep too many of their interests in the West.  I don’t think Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovic need lose too much sleep, that Harrods need worry or that we will see any flats seized at One Hyde Park.  (It is among my dearest wishes one day to see One Hyde Park given out for council housing.)  Neither do I expect to see the United States do anything effective; its levers are limited.

The truth is of course that the global political elite are in the pockets of the global financial elite, and while ordinary Russians are still desperately poor, the money the oligarchs rip out of Russia’s backward commodity exporting economy is parceled around the world financial system in ways that make it impossible for the western political classes to do anything.  Whose funds would the hedge fund managers look after?  Whose yacht could Mandelson and Osborne holiday on?

Personally I should like to see a complete financial freeze on the entire Russian oligarchy.  The knock on effects would only hurt a few bankers, and city types and those who depend on them (cocaine dealers, lap dancers, Porsche dealers, illegal domestic servants).  Sadly we shan’t see anything happen. They won’t let Eton go bust.

 

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644 Comments

  1. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    19 Mar, 2014 - 8:59 pm

    CanSpeccy

    “My point, that if you have a central bank you can repay your debts, was that the US Fed, or any other central bank, can print money without limit. (That’s why Greece and Spain are in deep shit, as soon will Ukraine also be. They cannot print away their deficits.)

    ____________________

    Correct in general.

    Does Ukraine not have its own Central Bank? Simple yes or no would do.

  2. Technicolour; “I think we’ll leave readers of the thread to understand why I inserted the word ‘Russian’

    I think the more discerning have already understood.

    “As for when I last called”

    What no links to provide !? No, didn’t think so.

    I don’t think I have to smear you as anything, your own comments reveal all.

  3. technicolour

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:06 pm

    Yes, classic Macky; attack and attempt to destroy. No, no links for you.

    Habbakuk, have you never heard of the slave trade?

  4. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:11 pm

    Technicolour writes

    “Strangely analogous to those people who accuse critics of the West as ‘haters of their country’.”

    To which Macky replies

    “No Technicolour, there is a difference between those who smear others as self-haters, and…”
    _________________

    Macky apparently thinks that self-haters and haters of their country are the same thing.

    Sharpen up, O Blunt Knife!

  5. technicolour

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:15 pm

    Back to Ukraine, apparently, social media is heavily controlled there, which is why we’ve heard very little from it. Not a good thing, or sign.

  6. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:19 pm

    “Habbakuk, have you never heard of the slave trade?”
    ___________________

    Sure, Technicolour. But you’re not suggesting that the transportation of slaves to the New World was a matter of state policy, are you? Which is certainly what the deportation of nations in the Soviet Union was.

    The transport of slaves was made illegal everywhere in the west by the middle of the C19. The deportation in the Soviet Union took place almost a century later.

  7. technicolour

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:26 pm

    True. But either way, unelected despots ruling by force – and presumably ideology, though different ideologies. ‘We are better than’ (slaves/moujiks/tsarists/liberals/fascists) is probably the common ground.

  8. The Russian comparison between Kosovo and Crimea does land them in the logical soup, as Craig points out. But I’m mystified why such an experienced professional insists on seeing the Ukraine crisis in such black and white terms, with Putin as the undisputed heavy.

    To me, it’s clear he was responding to escalating chaos in Kiev (however obnoxious he and his pals may be). I also think the “cold war” never really ended for the US and British ruling elites. Something like this would probably have happened whoever was sitting in the Kremlin.

    A couple of corrections:

    1. The Indian PM has “urged Putin to engage diplomatically with the interim government in Kiev, which certainly would not be welcome to Putin”.

    Earlier this month, Putin said his PM (Medvedev) was in contact with one of the new ministers in Kiev, though it’s true he won’t allow any contact with the new president in Kiev.

    2. Yesterday, Putin “twice (said) the boundaries (between Ukraine and Russia) had not been demarcated. That seemed to indicate a very general threat to Eastern Ukraine.”

    Unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think the land border between Ukraine and Russia has been finally demarcated (partly due to Russian foot-dragging). If so, this remark doesn’t indicate any kind of “threat” to anyone.

    (Here’s a very interesting paper on the subject from a few years back by a Ukrainian academic teaching at the University of Vienna:

    http://www.bmlv.gv.at/pdf_pool/publikationen/ukraine_zerissen_zw_ost_u_west_m_malek_ukraines_border_t_zhurzhenko.pdf

  9. technicolour

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:35 pm

    And in fact, Habbakuk, though it’s a stretch, there’s a rather convincing analysis which shows that the current capitalist model of employing desperate workers at subsistence rates is in fact much more economically attractive to the employer; as with slaves you had to provide food and accommodation, but under the Walmart/Nike model, you are released from these onerous obligations.

    Don’t expect you will want to watch it, but here are the Yes Men infiltrating a serious conference – the reactions are quite boggling:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps9BC7D6jC0

  10. technicolour

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:39 pm

    Andy: “I also think the “cold war” never really ended for the US and British ruling elites”

    why do you think this?

  11. technicolour

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:44 pm

    And yes, the signs from ‘our’ new model Ukraine do not look good

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/19/kiev-tv-attack_n_4995160.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

  12. Uzbek in the UK

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:51 pm

    CanSpeccy

    Now you contradict yourself. You are saying that any country with nukes will be targeted with nukes. While this is most certainly true, why then do you think that Ukraine will want US nukes more than Poland or Baltic nations? You claimed that US was after Ukraine to install their nukes to hit Russian with second wave. But then you dismissed the case that putin’s actions in Ukraine will encourage other eastern European nations (whose conventional weapons no match to Russian, mostly in quantity) to host US nukes or at least anti-nuke missiles in order to reduce putin’s will to Anschluss part of their country too. Is not this antithesis to your own thesis?

    In fact you sounded just like KGB propaganda brainwashed man. Why on earth do yo think that anyone is seriously considering nuclear war? Nuclear arms (since both US and USSR had them) served only as deterrence mechanism. Even in the highest times of Cold War although both countries were producing more and more of nukes, both were engaged more in diplomatic stand offs and proxy wars than with even possibilities of using nukes against each other. Term mutually assured distraction originated right at those times.

  13. technicolour

    19 Mar, 2014 - 9:57 pm

    Habbakuk: got interested, didn’t mean to diminish the horrors of the Russian ‘revolution’, sorry.

  14. Uzbek in the UK

    19 Mar, 2014 - 10:00 pm

    Macky

    Prove me wrong please. Prove that Russian empire that is still expanding (Georgia, Ukraine who is next?) is not ruled by notion of Russian chauvinism. In fact because of this very notion it was always easy to manipulate Russians by their rulers. Russian were/are ready to sacrifice their lives for greatness of their nation. For Mother Russia they say.

    No wonder there have always been corrupt governments who by feeding people false hopes and ideas stashed their pockets with russian gold.

    Claiming that Crimean Anschluss was legal or moraly right and not allowing Chechens who were murdered by their thousands to even have opportunity to vote for whether they want to be ruled by Moscow is hypocrisy. Or only Russians are allowed to cast vote? Thsi actually what have happened in Crimea.

  15. Uzbek: who is next? If anyone? Can Russia really afford to keep this up?

  16. Andy: “I also think the “cold war” never really ended for the US and British ruling elites”

    why do you think this?

    Technicolour

    Basically, I don’t accept the usual definition of the “cold war”. So the process which most western historians/commentators etc. refer to using this label didn’t end in 1989 and continues to this day.

  17. Habby apparently thinks that the people he smears as “West-haters” that live in the West aren’t Westerners !!

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/03/the-wrong-referendum-the-wrong-saviour/comment-page-2/#comment-446593

    Pipe Down, O Dull Troll!

  18. Andy, then what do you accept as a definition of the Cold War?

    Macky, random fire as always. Sad.

  19. Uzbek in the UK

    19 Mar, 2014 - 10:38 pm

    Technicolour

    There are certainly domestic drives for this new Russian assertiveness. Something that most MAD lefties miss (or hide) out.

    Looking years back, putin’s rating shot up when he showed his toughness in dealing with Chechen terrorists. None of the MAD lefties never questioned apartments blocks explosions in Moscow and Volgodonsk. This and Chechen insurgency rades in Dagestan (I think all masterly staged by KGB to bring one of their own to power) left Russians devastated and humiliated. Putin’s harsh character and rhetoric and harsh actions that followed (see second Russian war in Chechnya) made him the most popular president after electoral votes have been accounted in 2000.

    9/11 and followed wars which resulted in mass death and also in oil/gas price hikes played on putin’s hands. In fact none of Russian media (and none of MAD lefties) report current level of corruption in Russia and the fact that Russian economy is more dependent on raw commodity exports even comparing to Yeltsin’s presidency.

    So in eyes of many Russians especially those who happily vote for putin he is associated with tough stance towards Russian ethnic minorities (especially Chechens) and so called Russian economic boom (so called because anyone who have read little about Russian economy would know where this surplus is actually coming from).

    So for putin to survive politically he MUST do 3 things. 1. Keep his tough stance against west and increase Russian assertiveness towards former colonies (Russian public loves him for this as we have witnessed after both wars against Georgia and latest Crimean Anschluss). 2. Make sure that money flow to Russia continues satisfying both his electorate and those who around him. 3. Make sure that no Russian private company is independent enough to challenge him (Hodorkovsky case was sufficient for putin to make sure that oligarchs are complacent with his policy).

    In fact what annoys me a LOT is that MAD lefties so critical about investment bankers and even some Russian oligarchs (like Abramovich or Usmanov) keep overlooking the fact that putin is largest Russian oligarchs with fortunes reported to hit over 50 billion USD.

  20. The P*l*st*ne Precedent

    19 Mar, 2014 - 10:41 pm

    @Andy 9:32 Don’t really see a logical problem with Putin’s Kosovo analogy. There was a dispute. An ICJ judgment resolved the dispute with a ruling, which Putin quotes:

    “Pursuant to Article 2, Chapter 1 of the United Nations Charter, the UN International Court agreed with this approach and made the following comment in its ruling of July 22, 2010, and I quote: “No general prohibition may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council with regard to declarations of independence,” and “General international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence.” Crystal clear, as they say.”

    The ref made the call. The court laid down the law. Russia’s position at the time is neither here nor there. UN member nations are now obligated to comply with this addition to the body of law.

  21. Sofia Kibo Noh

    19 Mar, 2014 - 10:55 pm

    Technicolour. 10 06pm

    “Uzbek: who is next? If anyone? Can Russia really afford to keep this up?”

    Who is next? Maybe you should be asking Victoria Nuland that one.

    IMO Russia only needs to “keep this up” longer than a bankrupt US and it’s bankrupt EU vassals run out of steam. What would you say are the odds?

  22. Uzbek in the UK

    19 Mar, 2014 - 10:59 pm

    Macky

    Let me put it straight. I do not hate Russians. In fact I respect Russians and have many friends who are Russians in both Russia, UK, US, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia.

    What I am against is behaviour of current russian government and also support it has for such behaviour from Russians. Russians more and more remind me Germans in 1930th. Not all Germans were Nazis but there was certainly enough of them to legitimise Nazi regime. Not all Russians support Putin but certainly enough to assure him that in order to keep himself politically alive he must deliver more and more on chauvinistic agendas.

    And I am afraid that racism is also catching up with chauvinism in Russia. If only you were from central asia and read about lived of millions of central asians who work in Russia. On almost monthly basis there are some xenophobic killings in Russia. These left mostly unreported in mainstream Russian media, but on various central asian resources there is mountains of information.

    But still I respect those Russians I know and I believe that only if there was less of KGB propaganda and more of the liberal values in Russia Russian society could have been better. It might actually be a case that empire and drive to keep and enlarge it makes Russians worse (like it made French and British).

  23. Uzbek in the UK; “Prove me wrong please. Prove that Russian empire that is still expanding”

    No, I see an increasingly encircled Russia being provoked & force to protect itself & its interests.

    “(Georgia, Ukraine who is next?) is not ruled by notion of Russian chauvinism. In fact because of this very notion it was always easy to manipulate Russians by their rulers. Russian were/are ready to sacrifice their lives for greatness of their nation. For Mother Russia they say”

    It’s very strange that only Russian chauvinism exists in your one-sided version of history; were the Mongols who burnt Moscow down more than once, not chauvinistic, how about the various invasions by the Golden Horde tribes, or those by the Ottoman Turks ?, not even the British & French who helped the Turks in the Crimean War ? No inherent chauvinism attribution for any of these, only for the Russians ?

    Re Chechnya, according to Wiki; “In 2003, a referendum was held on a constitution that reintegrated Chechnya within Russia, but provided limited autonomy. According to the Chechen government, the referendum passed with 95.5% of the votes and almost 80% turnout.[56] In April 2009, Russia ended its counter-terrorism operation and pulled out the bulk of its army”

    But you will have no argument from me in agreeing that the Chechens have the right of self-determination, but just like Britain holds onto a part of Ireland, the Spanish to the Basque country, the French to Corsica, even without real or dodgy referendums, Russia is not exactly unique in wanting to hold onto land so nearby to itself; it doesn’t make it right, but it also doesn’t mean that the Russians are uniquely “chauvinistic”.

  24. Uzbek; can’t disagree – the ‘Chechen’ bombings were absurdly badly staged; not that ‘Chechens’ didn’t have a reason to do them, of course. I guess once you firebomb a capital it’s easy to manufacture a grudge. But, anyway, after they crushed Yabloko, there is no real alternative – that I know of, anyway. So Putin will carry on (although I seem to remember the UN observers criticising at least one election for being utterly rigged). And of course protests there are crushed, and even small members of pop groups sent to Siberia – go on, cheer the rulers on, you wonderful fellow travellers.

  25. “No, I see an increasingly encircled Russia being provoked & force to protect itself & its interests.”

    Ah, the inhuman triumphing. I think that says all we need to know about you, ‘Macky’.

  26. Joe Biden; the Fool on the Hill..

    ““As long as Russia continues on this dark path, they will face increase political and economic isolation,” Biden told reporters in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

    “The president wanted me to come personally to make it clear what you already know that under Article 5 under the NATO treaty, we will respond. We will respond to any aggression against a NATO ally.”

  27. Uzbek in the UK

    19 Mar, 2014 - 11:09 pm

    Sofia Kibo Noh

    Let assume that you have your own shop. You sell your goods to 2 most regular customers. Would you be interested in them both getting bankrupt?

    There is no more communism vs capitalism and if anything Russia is more capitalist (sort of wild west capitalism with no respect for law) and Russia (especially current regime) would do everything to keep money flow to Russia.

    It went unnoticed by MAD lefties but 4 years ago when Russian regime decided to reduce subsidies for petrol it sold on local market and it led to 20% increase in petrol price for locals huge riots broke out in 6 Russian cities, one of which was Vladivostok, city of strategic importance for Russia.

    Russian regime is alive as long as it delivers on both Russian Chauvinism and economic prosperity. Any move from this and putin is out of kremlin with similar speed as Yanukovich was out of Ukraine.

  28. I was in Russia when the rulers embraced capitalism.

  29. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    19 Mar, 2014 - 11:16 pm

    Technicolour (21h57)

    No problem, I didn’t think you were doing that.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Re “Uzbek: who is next? If anyone? Can Russia really afford to keep this up?”

    I think Uzbek’s analysis of Russia and Putin (22h38) is correct. I’d add, more generally, that liberal democracies are always hobbled by what makes them liberal democracies when dealing with fascist states, whether these are nominally of the right or of the left (the 30s serve as another good example). This is because of the existence of an electorate whose economic, political and even moral views have to be taken into account at least to some extent, a free press, the opportunity dissidents and useful idiots have to bring their views to public notice without fear of being silenced in various unpleasant (including terminal)ways, and, I suppose, a certain liberal tradition created over time. All these are constraints or potential constraints on the actions of liberal democracies which do not really exist in countries like Russia.

    So I think Russia can afford to keep this up if so minded, at least for the time being. But in the long run it will pay the price, in the same way as the old USSR did.

  30. Resident Dissident

    19 Mar, 2014 - 11:16 pm

    A few thoughts:

    Many here do not realise the extent which a degree of nationalism, that we would find surprising by western standards, became an ingrained feature throughout the Eastern bloc. Have no doubt that the large majority of Russians support the idea that Crimea belonging to Russia – and you can see similar nationalist fervour elsewhere. The difference with Russia is its overwhelming size and influence combined with a nationalist and corrupt leader who likes to play the bully boy with others on what he believes is his patch. He is also all to aware of the old game of whipping up nationalism and racism to divert attention away from his countries economic woes.

    The greed of Russian oligarchs really is eye watering even by Western standards. We have had a trend towards to greater inequality in much of the West but I’m afraid Russia really leaves us behind. The indifference towards the less well off and ordinary workers within Russia really is something that would make even the most right wing Tories in this country wince – you can see this coming through in the declining levels of support for those who have to rely on public support – lousy pensions, declining support for public schools and healthcare and in many cases truly appalling housing . It is only through traditional family structures, which anyone who knows are much stronger in Russia than in the West (largely because they were the real mechanism by which the people protected themselves from the Soviet State) that many of the less well off have some degree of protection. The welfare state safety net really is well and truly broken in Russia.

    The notion of socialism in Russia which was only really given lip service in the late Soviet years doesn’t even get that nowadays. Those oligarchs such as Khodorovsky who belatedly discover that they have a social conscience are very quickly sat on by the others such as Putin and his supporters who have no time for such liberal thinking.

    Despite all this there are many in Russian and elsewhere in the former Soviet bloc who get all this and see the way forward through liberal thinking and democracy (some of who we are fortunate enough to hear from here). They should be encouraged. Please note I most pointedly didn’t say “western” liberalism – it is different and will become even more different with time and as circumstances develop.

    The likes of Macky and John Goss really have no clue of what has happened in Russia and the Eastern bloc over the last 25 years, and they demonstrate this time and time again. This is not surprising since they never really understood what happened in the preceding 70 years and still have some idealised idea that although the Soviet system had its faults it did represent the best hope for what they saw as socialism. I’m afraid they are too far gone to realise the error of their ways – or listen to real socialists, such as Orwell who pointed this out many years ago. Pity is probably the best response. Macky may wish to call me a Russia hater or similar but he really has no clue.

    Not surprisingly, I disagree with Craig on the Kosovo/Crimea comparison – but then I do believe that there is a case for real liberal interventionism when there is genocide and ethnic cleansing going on. Yes I would love it to be on a multilateral basis and within the terms of a clear international law – but the UN doesn’t always work and the law can be an ass at times. It is more of a “conservative” position to be a stickler for the absolute letter of the law.

  31. Yeah. Russia has managed to be the worst case of Socialism and Capitalism. It’s like siblings having children.

  32. I believe many of the oligarch’s are front men for Western interests stolen during the 1990s and hence they are hardly likely to have their assets frozen

  33. Resident Dissident

    19 Mar, 2014 - 11:26 pm

    “Re Chechnya, according to Wiki; “In 2003, a referendum was held on a constitution that reintegrated Chechnya within Russia, but provided limited autonomy. According to the Chechen government, the referendum passed with 95.5% of the votes and almost 80% turnout.[56] In April 2009, Russia ended its counter-terrorism operation and pulled out the bulk of its army””

    You make a valid point about the historical roots of Russian chauvinism – chauvinism begat chauvinism – but quite how it will be reduced by invading the Crimea and other bits of the Soviet Union defies all normal underatnding. However on the Chechen referendum if you really believe that the Chechen referendum really demonstrates Putin’s good record in the treatment of the Chechens then you really should read Anna Polikovskaya on the subject before demonstrating your ignorance on the matter in the future.

  34. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    19 Mar, 2014 - 11:29 pm

    “I believe many of the oligarch’s are front men for Western interests stolen during the 1990s and hence they are hardly likely to have their assets frozen”
    ___________________-

    “front men for Western interests stolen”? It’s the Western interests that have been stolen?

    If your thoughts are pissy, your way of expressing them is shitty.

    PS – brush up on the use of apostrophes as well.

  35. Resident Dissident

    19 Mar, 2014 - 11:29 pm

    “I believe many of the oligarch’s are front men for Western interests stolen during the 1990s”

    Some children believe in fairies and Father Christmas as well – take my word they were stealing on their own behalf as well. It is pretty well documented that many of the oligarchs were linked to various bits of the KGB and nomenklatura.

  36. Interesting question: is there a challenger to Putin? Does anyone know?

  37. Craig; I will ask yet again. DId you override a mod’s decision to pre-moderate certain unserious posters?

  38. Sofia Kibo Noh

    19 Mar, 2014 - 11:34 pm

    “This war did not spring up on our land, this war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land without a price, and who, in our land, do a great many evil things… This war has come from robbery – from the stealing of our land.” Spotted Tail

    The children of the Great Father have consistently brought war and misery since the conquest of the American continent began. The only change is that, in the age of “Full Spectrum Dominance”, they believe it’s their “manifest destiny” to dominate the world.

    Is it not rational for Russians to mobilize (peacefully so far) to defend their communities and culture from a US that clearly is intent on surrounding it?

    Also why so much focus on Putin? Does anyone really believe most Ukrainians of any ethnicity ever wanted to be ruled by $5 billion worth of fascists?

    If Putin didn’t exist the Russian nation would have to invent him.

  39. What? ‘Sofia’ is that expected to make any sense?

  40. Ben (not that I always agree with you): “Yeah. Russia has managed to be the worst case of Socialism and Capitalism. It’s like siblings having children” – yes. Like China, and corporate communism. Have you read PJ’s Eat the Rich?

  41. ResDes & Uzbek in the UK, go on about Nationalism/Chauvinism in Russia, a country not even on the same page of as the rampaging US, the greatest empire the World has even had, in which Manifest Destiny & American Exceptionalism is indoctrinated into every sphere of an American’s life, leading to the pernicious patriotism of “My Country, Right or Wrong”; yet for them Russia & the Russians are the greatest problem effecting the world today.

    The last part of ResDes “A few thoughts”, where he mentions “real liberal interventionism” is of course the classic “Liberal Defence of Murder”, or alternatively “The Liberal Apology For Murder”.

  42. Sofia; I wish I could find the pic but there’s an old MAD magazine pic with a caption. Coolidge at a pow-wow complete with feathered headdress; smokes the peace pipe….

    “And the great white Father sends greetings along with congratulations to his Red borthers….Now you stinkin’ redskins get off my land”

  43. habbakuk: do you really think of it as ‘hobbled’?

  44. “Interesting question: is there a challenger to Putin? Does anyone know? ”

    There was, but they tend to end up getting shot, poisoned or sent to jail. Odd that.

  45. ” Have you read PJ’s Eat the Rich?”

    PJ O’Rourke? No. He’s not on my reading list.

  46. Oh , here we go again, Macky,as though he/she were not addressing a board hosted by one of the main spokespeople against violent murderous Western brutality. It’s extraordinary, or not.

  47. Well, Ben, as someone who also loves Hunter, try it.

    Kempe, yes, odd, isn’t it.

  48. Sofia Kibo Noh

    19 Mar, 2014 - 11:56 pm

    Technicolour. 11 43pm

    “What? ‘Sofia’ is that expected to make any sense?”

    Well, yes.

    Maybe you could tell me which bit you don’t understand and I’ll try to explain with short words.

    In the meantime it’s good to see the Russian sense of humour has not fallen victim to the crippling Western response.

    ”The State Duma has passed a motion suggesting that the US and EU extend the freshly introduced sanctions to all Russian MPs.”

    http://rt.com/politics/russian-duma-sanctions-crimea-594/

    Aren’t they supposed to be taking this a bit more seriously?

  49. Well, try making sense of this:

    The children of the Great Father have consistently brought war and misery since the conquest of the American continent began.

    I’m off to bed, so fine if it takes you until the morning.

  50. Start with: who is the ‘Great Father’ please.

  51. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:05 am

    Ben

    What is evident that in order to have better cases of both socialism and capitalism rule of law must be paramount. Both have been largely ignored in Russia whose society was brought up as paternalistic by submission to the highest authority (Czar, Leader – Vozhd, president) which was/is seen as major source of wisdom.

    Case with shortage of law and financial capitalism out of control in the west is yet another proof of this thesis.

  52. USdot.gov is the Great White Father, or whomever is in the Whitehouse.

  53. Technicolour; “murderous Western brutality”

    Well done, you finally got a link you can use, shame it’s missed the moment !

    As to my comment, it was very clearly stated as to whom it was concerning !

  54. Sofia Kibo Noh

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:07 am

    Technicolour.

    In sorry to have underestimated you ignorance.

    In this context the “Great Father” is the US president. I know I invited you to ask but next time you have a dumb question like that please ask you grandchildren.

  55. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:09 am

    For the sake of humanity, can we please stop quoting RT as a source for at least as long as dust over Crimea sets? Is not it obvious that this is one of the major channels of official Russian propaganda to the western audience?

    Quoting RT now (to me) would be like quoting CNN during Iraq invasion.

  56. Sofia Kibo Noh

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:10 am

    Ben.

    Re “Great Father’s” identity.

    Thanks for getting in before me.

    How can someone ask that with a straight face?

  57. Craig seems to be coming round to a sensible viewoint at last, thoug I differ with this:

    ‘In fact of course Russia was right over Kosovo, and thus is wrong over Crimea.’

    Firstly, the fact that putin was right over Kosovo hasn’t altered the facts on the ground. I believe that Putin was using the much stronger argument regarding International Law. i.e. if there is not equality under the law, then there is no law.

    In other words, it has become a kind of prisoner’s dilemma – if one party cheats and gets away with it then it is rational for all other parties to cheat too.

    As regards Ukraine getting back its nukes, then I can only say that I am eternally grateful that sane heads signed the 1994 memoorandum – perhaps they envisaged a time when a near bankrupt Ukraine might be overcome by right-wing nationalist forces.
    I shudder to think how long the likes of Yarosh and Tyahnybok could resist pressing the button.

  58. Yes, of course, ‘Sofia’ – one minute we are exchanging serious views on the Shock Doctrine, and the next I am supposed to understand your esoteric and biased and frankly weird subtext. I get it now. Go

  59. USdot.gov is the Great White Father, or whomever is in the Whitehouse.

    In whose fucking wierd shit mindset?

  60. “In sorry to have underestimated you ignorance.”

    I feel, for the most part, it is intentional. The Innertubes is the most fantastic library is the World.

    No Dewey-Decimal system to fool with. No searching for that omni-digit cuneiform hyroglypheric.
    only to find it checked out.

    Instant gratification. It’s so 21st century.

  61. Craig,

    CNN (Domestic) just ran with that attack on the tv executive. The two-way between presenters went something like:

    Q: So it’s not as simple as ‘Putin bad guy, Ukranians good?’.
    A) No it’s not that simple. There are some really nasty people in the new Ukranian government.

    Then the closing comment: “It just goes to show not everyone the US gets into bed with is a good guy”

    Or that’s approximately what they said.

    Here’s the BBC story

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26653295

    The acting chief executive of Ukraine’s state broadcaster has been forced to sign a resignation letter – by MPs who broke into his office.

    The group of men, from the far-right Svoboda party, were angry with Oleksandr Panteleymonov’s decision to broadcast a ceremony from the Kremlin on Tuesday.

    It showed Russian President Putin signing a bill to make Ukraine’s Crimea region part of Russia.

    The MPs filmed themselves beating Mr Panteleymonov over the head until he gave in to their demands.

  62. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:16 am

    Macky

    I am not claiming that US/UK were/are on the right track when it comes to expansionist wars.

    I am saying that Russia is wrong at this very moment denying Ukraine it deserved sovereignty. I am convinced that after centuries of abuse, oppression and genocide Ukrainans deserve for once to decide their own fate.

    Why people like you think that just because US/UK can kill people Russia also have to be given green light? Those countries have less than 500 million population between them, what about the rest 6 billion? Do they have any rights? Can they PLEASE decide their own fate without being intimidated by one of these 3? Are you OK with that? or your MAD leftie doctrine only dictate you to stick to what is bad for US/UK is good for the rest? What a sh..ty doctrine is this?

  63. Eeergh. Out of here! (shakes slime off shoes)

  64. Sofia, Woah! Woah! You can’t link articles like that! 436 Russian MPs voting against having a good old gay party. Have they not heard of gay rights? My God we’ll be going back to the days when, as they used to tell me, “men were men, and women were glad of them.”

  65. Well, that was enlightening.

  66. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:22 am

    It is fascinating to call whomever is in white house white father when at present (and for the last 7 years) there have been mixed white-african american occupant in that house, with his wife – descendant of former slaves.

    MAD lefties are so limited by their cliché.

  67. Sofia Kibo Noh

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:24 am

    Technicolour. 12 13am

    What “wierd subtext”?

    US doctrine of “Full Spectrum Dominance” is easy to understand. The ensuing violence and misery can be clearly seen wherever this blighted empire sets up shop.

    See what historian William Blum has to say on the subject.

    http://williamblum.org/chapters/rogue-state/united-states-bombings-of-other-countries

  68. OMG ! Obama is whiter than I am, and I’m Irish/Scot/German/Blackfoot/Cherokee, so that makes me what, beige?

  69. Uzzie’s completely objective view of the Russians:

    “ruled by notion of Russian chauvinism. In fact because of this very notion it was always easy to manipulate Russians by their rulers. Russian were/are ready to sacrifice their lives for greatness of their nation. For Mother Russia they say.”

    I thought you were talking about the British Empire there for a moment or the French, Spanish, Ottoman, Roman, Zzzzzz….

    So tell us again Uzzie why you love the American empire?

  70. Now Uzbek declares the moral high ground with his American Studies 101, making him High Poobah of insider’s perspective. You have reached a new level of stupid, my good man. You may have some gravitas on your specialty, but you are not welcome to purge your prejudicial preferences on my home field.

  71. Squonk thanks for that knowledge that the BBC and CNN are starting to report more unbiasedly. They’ve got a lot of catching up to do. It would not surprise me if some evidence has come to light about what kind of nasties the US has crept into bed with.

  72. I sense progress. So I’m off to bed. Goodnight all.

  73. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:33 am

    DomesticExtremist

    I agree on that 1994 bluff was positive thing. But it will be very difficult now to convince any (newly declared or about to be declared) nuclear club members to give up their nukes for bluff of protection from any of the 3 bluffers.

    I bid that Nursultan Nazarbaev is bating his elbows now for buying the same sh..t from the same bluffers + China.

  74. Ben

    Sorry I don’t follow your question. 99% of the time I just let the mods get on with it.

  75. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:38 am

    John Goss

    Or quite contrary. As Mr Murray noticed BBC is probably trying not to scare russian oligarchs (more their money of course) from unrealistically expensive London property markets.

    BBC for instance still keeps calling Russian military men in Crimea as pro-Russian forces. Even after Putin’s conversation with Crimea Tatar leader at which Putin assured him that these men mean no harm to Crimea Tatars. Now if you were NOT in charge of 15.000 armed men, would you assure someone that they mean to harm to him?

  76. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:41 am

    Ben

    You can play that racial card as much as you want. The fact remains that it is at least stupid to call mixed race person white father.

    Times change cliché remains.

  77. Sofia Kibo Noh

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:43 am

    Uzbek. Here’s a good read that will clarify why for many people, over many generations the US state has been an unmitigated disaster.

    “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West” by Dee Brown

    The author uses council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the series of battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them and their people demoralized and decimated and .a whole continent in the grip of a foreign kleptocracy.

  78. Uzbek in the UK; “I am not claiming that US/UK were/are on the right track when it comes to expansionist wars.”

    I didn’t say you were; just pointing out there’s a huge wild forest fire raging compared to the little bonfire you seem to exclusively focus on.

    “I am saying that Russia is wrong at this very moment denying Ukraine it deserved sovereignty. I am convinced that after centuries of abuse, oppression and genocide Ukrainans deserve for once to decide their own fate.”

    But they are not ! What they are doing is objecting to a violent coup that put into power not just fascists, but Western stooge fascists who will bring NATO missiles right up to their border. The realpolitik context is strangely missing in the MSM narrative.

    “Why people like you think that just because US/UK can kill people Russia also have to be given green light? Those countries have less than 500 million population between them, what about the rest 6 billion? Do they have any rights? Can they PLEASE decide their own fate without being intimidated by one of these 3? Are you OK with that? or your MAD leftie doctrine only dictate you to stick to what is bad for US/UK is good for the rest? What a sh..ty doctrine is this?”

    If you think I’m giving anybody a green light to kill anybody, then not only are you misreading, misapprehending, misrepresenting, but arguing with a “MAD Leftie” Macky that only exists in your imagination.

  79. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:44 am

    Ben

    Why did you call me stupid? Just because I disagree with you and do not sing God Bless Mr Putin?

  80. Sofia Kibo Noh

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:51 am

    Uncle Craig.

    Apologies for not coming back with a link to another photo of Yats giving that salute at another gig. I searched for a while but couldn’t find it. I still don’t think he was doing his T’ai Chi on the podium.

  81. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 12:53 am

    Macky

    “I didn’t say you were; just pointing out there’s a huge wild forest fire raging compared to the little bonfire you seem to exclusively focus on.”

    Unlike you I lived under Russian rule and I know what it is. What seems like little bonfire to you is more than volcanic explosion to me. My home region and my home country could well be next in line for Russian fire power projection. I really DO NOT want that to happen.

    “But they are not ! What they are doing is objecting to a violent coup that put into power not just fascists, but Western stooge fascists who will bring NATO missiles right up to their border. The realpolitik context is strangely missing in the MSM narrative.”

    According to CanSpeccy (another leftie) it would be like suicide for Ukraine. Do you really believe in all out nuclear war with Russia? It did not happen even under Regan why would it happen now? What I see it Russia is 1.projecting its power, 2.intimidating former colony, 3. grabbed land from former colony by staging selective Russian only popular vote, 4. sending signal to other former colonies that whether or not they like their sovereignty is now limited to Moscow’s approval of their foreign policy.

    “If you think I’m giving anybody a green light to kill anybody, then not only are you misreading, misapprehending, misrepresenting, but arguing with a “MAD Leftie” Macky that only exists in your imagination.”

    My English is not brilliant but I think you just DID by comparing Russian intervention to Crimea to little bonfire on which (if I interpret you right) I should not be focusing.

  82. Uzbek in the UK

    20 Mar, 2014 - 1:00 am

    Sofia Kibo Noh

    Thank you I shall read that book. As mentioned earlier Myth of American Diplomacy made effect on me and made me rethink Manifest Destiny and Monroe Doctrine. I advise you to read this book. It start with explanation of of revisionist history of US is impressive on its own account.

    But extermination of American Indians is not an excuse to let Russia to rip Ukraine (and others to follow) apart, not to me at least.

    I am very sensitive to cases of Russian Chauvinism and unceremonious projection of Russian power onto its former colonies. Russia to me have more than enough land surface under its constitutional sovereign control. Let them manage it properly first and it might be that former colonies will look at it with respect and not fear.

  83. From Putin’s speech. An interesting bit I thought.

    http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/6889

    I also want to address the people of Ukraine. I sincerely want you to understand us: we do not want to harm you in any way, or to hurt your national feelings. We have always respected the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state, incidentally, unlike those who sacrificed Ukraine’s unity for their political ambitions. They flaunt slogans about Ukraine’s greatness, but they are the ones who did everything to divide the nation. Today’s civil standoff is entirely on their conscience. I want you to hear me, my dear friends. Do not believe those who want you to fear Russia, shouting that other regions will follow Crimea. We do not want to divide Ukraine; we do not need that. As for Crimea, it was and remains a Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean-Tatar land.

    I repeat, just as it has been for centuries, it will be a home to all the peoples living there. What it will never be and do is follow in Bandera’s footsteps!

    Crimea is our common historical legacy and a very important factor in regional stability. And this strategic territory should be part of a strong and stable sovereignty, which today can only be Russian. Otherwise, dear friends (I am addressing both Ukraine and Russia), you and we – the Russians and the Ukrainians – could lose Crimea completely, and that could happen in the near historical perspective. Please think about it.

    Let me note too that we have already heard declarations from Kiev about Ukraine soon joining NATO. What would this have meant for Crimea and Sevastopol in the future? It would have meant that NATO’s navy would be right there in this city of Russia’s military glory, and this would create not an illusory but a perfectly real threat to the whole of southern Russia. These are things that could have become reality were it not for the choice the Crimean people made, and I want to say thank you to them for this.

    But let me say too that we are not opposed to cooperation with NATO, for this is certainly not the case. For all the internal processes within the organisation, NATO remains a military alliance, and we are against having a military alliance making itself at home right in our backyard or in our historic territory. I simply cannot imagine that we would travel to Sevastopol to visit NATO sailors. Of course, most of them are wonderful guys, but it would be better to have them come and visit us, be our guests, rather than the other way round.

  84. Uzbek in the UK; “What seems like little bonfire to you is more than volcanic explosion to me”

    Yes I understand to those affected, fire is fire; however in the wider context of comparative fire damage, I am mystified by those not actually in the path of any fire, insisting that the bonfire is worse than the forest fire.

    “Do you really believe in all out nuclear war with Russia? It did not happen even under Regan why would it happen now?”

    No need for actual war. All that is needed for US hegemony over Russia is for the complete encirclement by NATO missiles.

    “What I see it Russia is 1.projecting its power, 2.intimidating former colony, 3. grabbed land from former colony by staging selective Russian only popular vote, 4. sending signal to other former colonies that whether or not they like their sovereignty is now limited to Moscow’s approval of their foreign policy.”

    I see a Russia reacting because of fearing ending up looted like Greece, or destroyed like Yugoslavia/Iraq.

    “My English is not brilliant but I think you just DID by comparing Russian intervention to Crimea to little bonfire on which (if I interpret you right) I should not be focusing.”

    No, you are not interpreting me correctly; see above first point.

  85. @Uzbek in the UK 20 Mar, 2014 – 12:09 am
    “For the sake of humanity, can we please stop quoting RT as a source for at least as long as dust over Crimea sets? Is not it obvious that this is one of the major channels of official Russian propaganda to the western audience? Quoting RT now (to me) would be like quoting CNN during Iraq invasion.”

    A few day ago RT America Television did a clever and refreshing thing. One of their programs cheerfully admitted that they are indeed selling pro-Kremlin propaganda.

    They then proceeded with short clips interviewing reporters and editors who had worked (now ex) for various US news outlets. They explained what happens to anyone who annoys the administration in power, particularly the current White House.
    Reporters and editors are besieged by phone calls with demands accompanied by implied threats.

    The same applies to anyone reporting unfavourably on powerful corporate interests.

    It’s the first time I recall anyone plainly confessing to propaganda, not even the old Pravda, which most obviously was, but maintained the fiction of Truth.

    RT’s point was everything is biased news; pick whatever agrees with your view of the world.

    It would be nice if Western media, CNN, Fox, BBC, NYT, etc. finally dropped any pretense of neutrality. They’re all mouthpieces for some faction or another, depending upon the issue, and are especially dangerous when they all speak with one voice.

  86. BrianFujisan

    20 Mar, 2014 - 1:22 am

    Such Gross ignorance…. Re Great Father Chief’s Ect fking Cetra…

    Almost ALL the natives spoke in this way….

    i have posted images of my own work online… in relation to this chief’s Sad words –

    At last I was granted permission to come to Washington and bring my friend Yellow Bull and our interpreter with me. I am glad I came. I have shaken hands with a good many friends, but there are some things I want to know which no one seems able to explain. I cannot understand how the Government sends a man out to fight us, as it did General Miles, and then breaks his word. Such a government has something wrong about it. I cannot understand why so many chiefs are allowed to talk so many different ways, and promise so many different things. I have seen the Great Father Chief [President Hayes]; the Next Great Chief [Secretary of the Interior]; the Commissioner Chief; the Law Chief; and many other law chiefs [Congressmen] and they all say they are my friends, and that I shall have justice, but while all their mouths talk right I do not understand why nothing is done for my people. I have heard talk and talk but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless they amount to something. Words do not pay for my dead people. They do not pay for my country now overrun by white men. They do not protect my father’s grave. They do not pay for my horses and cattle. Good words do not give me back my children. Good words will not make good the promise of your war chief, General Miles. Good words will not give my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk. Too many misinterpretations have been made; too many misunderstandings have come up between the white men and the Indians. If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian he can live in peace. There need be no trouble. Treat all men alike. Give them the same laws. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. You might as well expect all rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect he will grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the Great White Chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me.

    Chief Josehp.

  87. “i have posted images of my own work online”

    Brian; What are you talking about? Where online?

  88. BrianFujisan

    20 Mar, 2014 - 1:29 am

    NR

    RE….Rt

    Behind the coverage of Wahl’s dramatic protest, a cadre of neoconservatives was celebrating a public relations coup. Desperate to revive the Cold War, head off further cuts to the defense budget and restore the legitimacy they lost in the ruins of Iraq, the tightknit group of neoconservative writers and stewards had opened up a new PR front through Wahl’s resignation. And they succeeded with no shortage of help from an ossified media establishment struggling to maintain credibility in an increasingly anarchic online news environment. With isolated skeptics branded as useful idiots for Putin, the scene has been kept clean of neoconservative fingerprints, obscuring their interest in Wahl’s resignation and the broader push to deepen tensions with Russia.

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

    PR From PNAC 2.0

    It was a full 19 minutes before Wahl resigned. Inside the offices of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a neoconservative think tank in Washington D.C., a staffer logged on to the group’s Twitter account to announce the following:

    “#WordOnTheStreet says that something big might happen on RT in about 20-25 minutes.”

    Then, at 5:16, exactly 10 minutes before Wahl would quit on air, FPI tweeted:

    “#WordOnTheStreet says you’re really going to want to tune in to RT: http://rt.com/on-air/rt-america-air/ #SomethinBigMayBeGoingDown”

    Up until two minutes before Wahl’s resignation, FPI took to Twitter again to urge its followers to tune in to RT.

    And finally, at 5:26 p.m., at the very moment Wahl quit, FPI’s Twitter account broke the news: “RT Anchor RESIGNS ON AIR. She ‘cannot be part of a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin.’ ”

    The tweets from FPI suggested a direct level of coordination between Wahl and the neoconservative think tank. Several calls to FPI for this story were not answered.

    Just over an hour later, an exclusive interview with Wahl appeared at The Daily Beast. It was authored by James Kirchick, a 31-year-old writer whose work has appeared in publications from the neoconservative Commentary to the liberal Israeli paper Haaretz.

    Kirchick acknowledged having been in contact with Wahl since August, but cast himself as a passive bystander to the spectacle, claiming that they merely “stayed in touch periodically over the past 6 months, and I always encouraged her to follow her conscience in making a decision about her professional future.”

    Kirchick wrote that by quitting, Wahl paid “the price real reporters—not Russian-government funded propagandists—have to pay if they are concerned with quaint notions like objectivity and the truth.”

    Later that evening, Kirchick tweeted a photo of himself with Wahl, calling it a “Freedom selfie.” The two had apparently gathered to celebrate.

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_cold_war-hungry_neocons_stage_managed_liz_wahls_resignation_20140319

  89. “It would be nice if Western media, CNN, Fox, BBC, NYT, etc. finally dropped any pretense of neutrality”

    NR-Well said. The problem is that objective reporting is what journalism schools teach. Objectivity is not the issue and the Network’s know this and proceed to fill the void in newsreaders heads with exactly that information which will lead to continued employment. Of course this is applied with some deniability, but the subliminal message is clear to the lizard brain—survival !.

    Objectivity, as a thing in itself, is an oxymoron. But it is how students are taught. The high ideal, as it were. What they don’t teach is context because that’s another class closed for the semester.

    You can’t be an effective reporter if you ask a question of the protaganist, and then the same question to the antagonist, without the historical follow up to past stances on the question.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  90. Craig; ” He stated that the Crimean and Kosovo cases were highly analogous, but then used that to justify Russia’s action in Crimea, despite the fact that Russia has always maintained the NATO Kosovo intervention was illegal(and still refuses to recognize Kosovo). In fact of course Russia was right over Kosovo, and thus is wrong over Crimea.”

    Seems he did the opposite to me;

    “We keep hearing from the United States and Western Europe that Kosovo is some special case. What makes it so special in the eyes of our colleagues? It turns out that it is the fact that the conflict in Kosovo resulted in so many human casualties. Is this a legal argument? The ruling of the International Court says nothing about this. This is not even double standards; this is amazing, primitive, blunt cynicism. One should not try so crudely to make everything suit their interests, calling the same thing white today and black tomorrow. According to this logic, we have to make sure every conflict leads to human losses.”

    http://rt.com/news/putin-address-ten-quotes-778/

  91. Sofia Kibo Noh

    20 Mar, 2014 - 1:42 am

    Uzbek.

    Re “The Myth of American Diplomacy”. Thanks. Yes, a good look at why US culture nurtures a violent relationship with the world.

    As for the discussion of events in Ukraine I suppose the bottom line for me is that the people there didn’t choose to be ruled by ultra-right, foreign sponsored thugs in Kiev. If I was a Ukrainian in Crimea would I choose as the lesser of two evils?

    It’s stretching credibility a bit too far when we are expected to believe that the violent userpers of an elected government have more legality than an a population casting votes .

    All this begs the question of what the response of the Russian state would be if the regional governments in Chechnya or Dagestan held a similar referendum.
    Casting their votes.

    Back to the instigator of the present mess, can you imagine the US managing a bloodless reaction if Russia had organised a coup in Mexico?

  92. Ruth

    Miliband said today that UK national debt has increased under this government by 40%. By 2008 the bankers had stolen all the capital at their disposal, and it has now been topped up again with highly-leveraged funny-money QE. The 40% extra borrowing showing on the books is just a credit card for keeping the UK head above water.

    If oligarchs were used as fronts to launder Thatcher-era bankster-fraud, who is being used to launder Brown-era fraud?
    And who owns and where is the real money? We are going to have months and months of blame-games about the economy before the election, so we might as well recognise now that both political parties borrow equally recklessly, and the purpose of Western democracy is purely for the benefit of a global elite.

    I have not used any of my 944L tax code this year. Most people are up to their eyeballs in debt, with no sign of remission even in an election year. At least Miliband is prepared to state the reality.

  93. @BrianFujisan @Ben
    Brian, thanks for background on the Wahl story. Did not know that.

    I think it was a week after the initial riots in Kiev that CNN, Fox and RT were still running endless loops of the original rioters on the left of the screen. Essentially the same footage except RT featured more people running around on fire while the other two concentrated on burning tires. Not one explained it was old video. (Same as Syria gas attacks.)

    Right side box had commentators. CNN and Fox of course declared the rioters were freedom fighters while RT of course said they were neo-Nazi thugs.

    If anything RT is easier on the eyes. Less of a pinball machine.
    CNN and Fox now have from two to four boxes on screen(commentators or videos), plus a radar sweep as the background, plus the current breaking news story and a news ticker running at the bottom with unrelated stories, along with their network IDs. Fox adds a annoying permanent flashing, red “News Alert” along the bottom.

    What a casual viewer, who might watch a half-hour or full hour, makes of all this I don’t know. A worthwhile study would do MRI studies on subjects watching it all.

    Wait until the networks discover how to increase ratings by adding a box with endless YouTube cat videos.

  94. BrianFujisan

    20 Mar, 2014 - 3:03 am

  95. No mention of the Zionists behind the Ukraine putsch?

  96. There’s something very subtle and intriguing going on.

    Putin is pressing the NATO bloc to argue in terms of the law. He’s gone over the head of the CIA regime to do it, in the NY Times and in a speech that anglophones can understand. For the first time in decades, the US population is learning the letter of the law. That’s revolutionary, when you consider the lawlessness of US doctrine, ‘realists’ and neocons competing to piss on the law. The American public has been kept in complete ignorance of the law. They don’t know what’s in the UN Charter or the International Bill of Human Rights or the Rome Statute. They don’t know that peace is the law. They don’t know that war’s above the president’s pay grade, and that everything between self-defense and pacific settlement of disputes is the prerogative not of the US but of the UNSC. They don’t know what non-interference means. Three-quarters of us want our government to play by the rules, and Putin’s teaching them that their instincts are sound, that international norms are not just a good idea, they’re the law.

    Meanwhile, the Human Rights Committee is using non-discrimination as an entering wedge for all the rights the US government denies its people. The US government has been running from its most imperative duties by refusing to sign the CESCR, even though that’s a requirement for any sovereign state. The US regime doles out the rights to education, health, housing and all the means of life in discriminatory fashion, offering it to non-elites only as bait to make them take the hook of debt peonage. The Committee knows the world consensus – that states can’t pick and choose your rights – and they’re enforcing that rule.

    And very gradually, the world is undercutting US official impunity. Article 8 bis will make criminals of the people who start wars. Individual jurisdictions are moving to extradite and prosecute US torturers and murderers. State responsibility for internationally wrongful acts is perfecting the Versailles Treaty as international criminal law is perfecting the Nuremberg Tribunal, so that US government criminals will have to take their medicine and the US government will have to pay for what it breaks.

    It’s working. When’s the last time Congress declared war? They let the presidential puppet ruler take the fall, but he’s afraid to come out and say what he’s acquiesced to. With no one willing to take responsibility, CIA is increasingly desperate to conceal its crimes. The US government’s mafiya omerta’s breaking down.

  97. Kessler finds Four Putin Pinocchios & i spy about an equal number in Kessler’s fact-checking:

    19 March – WaPo – Glenn Kessler: Fact Checking Vladimir Putin’s speech on Crimea
    A coup d’état is obviously in the eye of the beholder, but Putin, without meaning to, actually is describing the role of the former Russian-backed government when he refers to terror and murder during the uprisings.
    Putin also exaggerates the role of right-wing, nationalistic factions, though it is true that a party with a neofascist past and other ultra-nationalistic elements are now part of the government. (The party claims it has mellowed, but the World Jewish Congress has warned about it.) The Guardian newspaper, in a long report on this issue, notes that one revolutionary killed by a government sniper “was an unlikely fascist,” adding that “he was Jewish.”…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2014/03/19/fact-checking-vladimir-putins-speech-on-crimea/

  98. it’s been a long, long time coming…

    13 Dec, 2013: Remarks by Victoria Nuland
    Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance, all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations. We’ve invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine…
    http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2013/12/20131216289031.html#axzz2wTa2JUuR

    Wikipdia: Kateryna Yushchenko
    She is a former U.S. State Department official. She worked as a special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. She holds a bachelor degree in International Economics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (1982), and an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (1986).
    She later worked in the White House in the Office of Public Liaison during the administration of Ronald Reagan. Subsequently, she worked at the U.S. Treasury in the executive secretary’s office during the administration of George H. W. Bush. After leaving that position, she was on the staff of the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress. After Ukraine declared its freedom, she was a co-founder and the vice-president of Ukraine-USA Foundation. She was also the director of Pylyp Orlyk Institute. In 1993, she joined KPMG Peat Marwick/Barents Group as a consultant in its Bank Training Program and Country Manager, where she met Viktor Yushchenko, whom she subsequently married. She left her job in August 2000, when she was expecting her second child…
    Opponents of her husband Viktor Yushchenko criticized her for remaining a U.S. citizen. During the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election campaign,Chumachenko – Yushchenko was accused of exerting the influence of the U.S. government on her husband’s decisions, as an employee of the U.S. government or even a Central Intelligence Agency agent. She had earlier been accused by Russian television journalist Mikhail Leontyev of leading a U.S. project to help Yushchenko seize power in Ukraine; in January 2002, she won a libel case against him (citation needed)…
    Ukraine’s pro-government Inter television channel repeated Leontyev’s allegations in 2001, but in January 2003 she won a libel case against the channel as well (no citation provided)…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateryna_Yushchenko

  99. WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN VENEZUELA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVdel510hRk

    Venezuela: Headline News 19 March 2014
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7E5sIZuT0M

  100. 18 March – Reuters: Libyan Rebel Accuses US Navy of Piracy
    A Libyan rebel leader accused the United States on Tuesday of behaving like pirates after U.S. naval forces seized an oil-laden tanker that had sailed from a rebel-held port in the east of the chaotic North African state.
    Ibrahim Jathran’s defiant speech dampened hopes of a quick peaceful settlement with Libya’s central government to end a blockage of three oil ports his men took over in summer to press for eastern autonomy and a greater share of oil revenues.
    The conflict reflects wider chaos in Libya where the government has been struggling to rein in militias that helped overthrow dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but kept their guns to become powerful political players…
    “We will continue our fight for our right to dream of a better tomorrow for our children and families,” said Jathran, calling for the United Nations and Arab League to intervene to help the people of eastern Libya…
    Western powers, worried that Libya might fracture or slide deeper into anarchy, have been training Libyan armed forces and cajoling conflicting parties in government to work together, to little avail.
    But diplomats say the nascent army would struggle in any case to take on Jathran’s men, who helped overthrow Gaddafi. He defected last year as head of a state oil protection force, taking with him his armed men…
    Oil exports have fallen to 100,000-120,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the last two weeks, acting oil minister Omar Shakmak told reporters. Exports have been well below capacity of around 1.25 million bpd since July.
    Shakmak added that the El Sharara oilfield in the southwest, which can produce 340,000 bpd, was still shut down by protesters from a state security force making financial demands…
    http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/Libyan-Rebel-Accuses-US-Navy-of-Piracy-2014-03-18/

    let no-one suggest the US/NATO/allies had anything whatsoever to do with the above – Amb Jones is full of it:

    17 Feb: Libya: Statement By Ambassador Deborah K. Jones On the Third Anniversary of Libya’s February 17 Revolution
    As I look around this magnificent square, so filled with the remnants of Libya’s historic past – and signs of its transitional present, I am reminded that our shared history is long; our interactions date back to the late 18th century when the newly independent, revolutionary United States of America sent trading vessels to these shores. Indeed, Libyan place names, such as “Tripoli,” figure prominently in our own national narrative.
    Much has happened since that time, and since February 17, 2011. Not least, Libya’s sons and daughters have taken the first steps on a long journey down a difficult path – the transition from dictatorship to democracy…
    The United States will continue to work with Libya’s democratically elected government and institutions in support of these efforts, and stands by the Libyan people, in friendship and in alignment with the principles of liberty and human dignity that bind us together…
    The Libya that emerges is in your hands, but the U.S. and our international partners stand with you as you join the community of nations, and this cooperation is already bearing fruit…
    Along with the UK, Italy and Turkey, we are helping Libya build a General Purpose Force. The United States has pledged to train up to 8,000 Libyan soldiers from recruits hailing from across Libya, and to turn them into a force capable of protecting Libya’s institutions and national assets.
    Government to government, we have strengthened our partnership through bilateral agreements on cultural preservation, higher education, law enforcement and security cooperation, and trade and investment.
    In the last year alone, our two nations traded over three billion dollars’ worth of goods, marking a nearly fourfold increase since 2011. And as that trade grows, an increasing number of U.S. and international companies are returning to Libya to begin or resume work suspended since the revolution, and have begun creating thousands of jobs and injecting foreign direct investment into the economy…
    You have already made clear your rejection of illegitimate attempts to derail your democratic journey. Your revolutionary American friends wish you well and stand by to support your ongoing efforts to build the new Libya with the same courage, unflagging effort, patience and enduring hope that gave you a winning team in South Africa. Libya, yes you can!
    Elf mabruk mara thania, wa fi eman Allah.”
    http://allafrica.com/stories/201402181329.html

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