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Montana Politics

The American Left has Failed on Ukraine

The American Left has absolutely and utterly failed to reach correct conclusions or make correct decisions in Ukraine. The result is that John McCain, who never met an ‘enemy of my enemy’ he couldn’t get behind, no matter how horrific, looks almost (almost) sane by comparison. Where a few weeks or months ago there could be legitimate debates, smart money was never on the side of the contrarian Left, and events have shown this to be true in at least two major ways.

1. The government currently in Ukraine is not a threat to Russians living in Ukraine. Quite the opposite – Russians in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are actively undermining the government of Ukraine (No, the status of Russian as an official regional language, by the way, has not changed. Russia Today reported that it had, and to my knowledge has failed to note that the president of Ukraine never signed into law that act).

2. The government is not dominated by neo-fascists, at least, not yet. Svoboda and Pravy Sektor are both still extreme minority parties, and the armed right wing is under heavy police pressure by the Ukrainian government. Indeed, the only party that has anything to gain from the radical right gaining power, and the only party acting to make that more likely, is Russia. Both Svoboda and Pravy Sektor have loudly opposed admission to the EU or the involvement of the IMF in Ukraine (interestingly, the exact same position toward Ukraine advocated by our local ‘progressive’ blogs), making it seem highly unlikely that they will continue to have Euro-American backing. Hard core nationalism in a multi-ethnic state like Ukraine can only lead to instability, the exact outcome Russia desires, and it can only be strengthened by the constant threat (and fact) of Russian intervention.

The Left continues to breezily describe Yanukovych as the ‘democratic’ leader of Ukraine, ignoring the fact that since his election, Ukraine has markedly regressed in terms of fair and transparent elections. History is full of ‘democratic’ leaders who ended democracy once it was done serving their purposes. Some even act as though the Crimean referendum, which was conducted under military occupation without any outside observers and didn’t even present the status quo as an option on the ballot, has some kind of validity. Perhaps the biggest failing of Leftist analysis, though, is the consistent belief that somehow this is related to NATO’s eastward expansion, or that a reasonable solution can include preventing Ukraine from ever joining NATO. If one knows the history, this is absolute hogwash. Note that Russian intervention in neighboring countries has been a constant fact since the Napoleonic wars – and NATO membership has shown to be the strongest preventive measure of that outcome. Georgia has been invaded; Turkey has not. Ukraine has been invaded; Estonia, almost incalculably weaker, has not.

I realize that calling for further expansion of NATO means I’m at odds with most Leftist foreign policy practitioners in the US, but for me, personal experience, the testimony of my friends and acquaintances, the demographic and statistical evidence, and the historical record all indicate that on this point, the Left has gotten it wrong.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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The Polish Wolf


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  • Come back when we get a dog in this fight. Look, when YOU take the initiative to volunteer to go on you own to fight the Russkies and help your Ukraine buddies, I’ll start to lend a little credence to your argument. We got war fatigue, and for good reason. Ya just don’t have to pick a fight over everything! But you’re young, you wouldn’t understand.

    • Sorry, but I’ve got no stomach for this fight. Too many nazis right here at home. Don’t need to travel to pick a fight with bad guys. I’ll leave that the Ukraines and any European that wants to leave his wine and mistress to go fight the Russkies. This particular battle has no historical perspective for me. It ain’t the Spanish Civil War, the precursor to everything that has happened since.

        • And here’s you heroes for democracy! Well, it’s actually called fascism! Remember Ronnie Raygun and all his dictators in Latin America? Well, it all started here!

          • p.s.s. STILL trying to use liable as a technique to silence your critics? Jus’ wondering. That’s kinda the ultimate definition of slime, if ya know what I mean!

            • In your own words, ” MY country, the good ol’ USA, existed LONG before this little pissant nazi zionist country was formed where it shouldn’t have been formed in the first place. Why are we aiding this little religeeo fascist illegal country? Why are we doing their bidding? I don’t get it. Fascist states based upon religion and race should not be tolerated. The Izreeli treatment of the Arabs is FAR worse than gassing folks. Bush’s neocon fascist architects of these wars with dual US and Izreeli citizenship are some real traitors! Perle, Wolfowitz, and co.”

              You might as well pulled the trigger yourself in KC like the shooter who went around asking who was Jewish.

              • Wow, that’s a stretch. You can’t really see a difference between an illegal country and a religion? Weird.

              • “You might as well pulled the trigger yourself ”

                Think that’s maybe going a bit far? Larry certainly is hateful towards Israel, but there’s a big difference between saying that Jews oughtn’t have a nation-state in Israel and that Jews oughtn’t live in the US. Though he does, I think, blur the line against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, I’ve never seen Larry indicate that he dislikes American Jews.

                • Thank you, P. Wolf. And you’re right. I am absolutely NOT anti-Semitic. I’m simply anti-religion!

                  Interestingly, I had a conversation just last week with a good Jewish friend of mine. We were discussing my people, the Croatians, who committed some of the worst holocaust of WWII.


                  The Eustasa slaughtered Serbs and Jews with glee. No really, glee. And of course, they had the blessing of the Catholic Church.

                  And then, we got on the topic of religion in general. And I told him that IF only HIS people hadn’t written that damn book, (the Holy Buybull), the world would be a much better place!

                  He laughed, and then agreed!

                • I don’t think Jews in the US, the Ukraine, or anywhere else take great comfort in any Zionist ant-Semitist rhetorical distinction based on a border or nationality.

                  Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Ukrainian and Israeli media.
                  ===END QUOTE

  • Again, Larry & Greg – no one is seriously considering going to war over this issue. But the Left needs to stop pretending that Russia is in the right here. If I thought the US military were likely to do anything about the situation, I might go sign up. But they won’t, and I’m pretty sure the Abraham Lincoln brigade would be considered terrorists under current US law, and they would certainly lose their citizenship.

    And Greg – we can do all of those things. We choose not to, for reasons that go far beyond the fiscal. I’m not even opposed to reducing the size of the military if it allows us to pay for internal improvement- indeed, if Ukraine and Georgia were in NATO, we could pretty easily do so – it’d be easier and cheaper to deter Russia if they knew that invading their neighbors meant risking a response from dozens of countries, not just the US.

  • A cursory reading of available history, written by victors of course, indicates that the expansionist forces have always targeted Russia, to their own demise. Quigley noted that American and British factions, represented by the Chamberlain gang, were intent on building up Germany for the 1941 move on Russia. What appears to be Russian aggression to the imperialists of the West, for whom you apologize, is merely defensive posturing. The Russians lost 20 million lives in the last go-round and saw their industrial base devastated. Stalin, with boots on the ground, won the post-Stalingrad race to Berlin, and dug in. Who can blame him.

    Ukraine and Crimea offer access to the Black Sea and Balkins, and allow Russia to project power into those regions. That’s all anyone gives a shit about. Your constant prattling here about democratic objectives and economic gains is so much hogwash, parroting the official cover story. It’s military, strategic, imperialist, calculated, and intent on removing the Russians as a threat to Western expansion, current target Syria.

    The Wall Street/London axis appears to have ducked up badly in their calculations, but your ability not to know things you are not supposed to know will, as always, see you through.

      • Oh, you’re doing your Jello on the wall defense now, you creep. God you’re a piece of work, classic commissar brain.

        Russia’s resources have always been an immense prize. It’s access to energy and raw materials, the innate talent of its people make it a formidable power which cannot be conquered. Every western attempt has failed, Napoleon, himself a tool of western banking interests, pulled a similar stunt as Hitler. The Russians merely fade into the frontier, and the West has never been able to conquer the climate and indomitable spirit. War of attrition automatically goes to the Russians.

        I think I know more stuff than you, having read more stuff than you, having lived longer and been curious about things, the latter our biggest difference. You’re a product of American education and Pogieistic hubris, and so lack self-awareness. I have a big advantage here.

        • “I think I know more stuff than you”

          That much is obvious. Too bad so much of what you know is false, and so much of what you are reading is, apparently, back issues of Pravda. I am curious of how Napoleon is a tool of Western banking interests, and if you have a source on that I’d gladly read it. Napoleonic code and the introduction of a stable French government surely helped the banks, but I imagine that was more than counterbalanced by his absolute destruction of European commerce?

          • The word creep unfortunately crept in, I was just writing over at my own blog about people who lack of curiosity and doubt and felt that that was “creepy.” I don’t read Pravda, nor do I read the Washington Post, its mirror twin. Both are organs of state propaganda. Too bad you cannot understand that.

            I will cite chapter and verse regarding the Napoleon and the banking interests of the time, even the bankers with whom he had the agreement that allowed him to stay in power. That will be when I unpack my computer next week in Portland. Do not let me forget because this is really really interesting stuff.

            Don’t just walk away from it as if it were not possible. This seems to be your central problem. You lack both the ability to doubt and natural curiosity, and that to me is creepiness, that zombie-like state where mental processes are not working properly and everything you think is something you think you discovered for yourself even as it was supplied by others.

            That is a sad state of affairs, but that is the typical state of affairs in this weird strange country.

            • The Napoleon connection I’m legit interested to hear. It seems odd, especially as the Hapsburg dynasty had been such good clients and supporters of Europe banking, but there’s no doubt that the Thermidorian reaction was backed by banking interests, so I’d be interested to read about how that applied to Napoleon. Everything I’ve read suggests that, much like Hitler, he was backed by political elites who incorrectly thought they could control him.

              Only marginally related – have you seen Wajda’s ‘Danton’? You may like it.

    • By the way, Chamberlain attempted (poorly, though) to sign a defensive pact with the USSR before the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, so….), but if you’re looking for actual pre-1941 history, maybe look to Russia’s invasion of Poland in 1919, or Georgia in 1922, will be enough to show you that Russia’s policy has not been about self defense but rather a continuation of Russian geopolitical policy since at least 1805.

      • There is a cultural divide – racial, religious, ancestral – have you ever wonder why the Europeans, who live on a peninsula of the asiatic land mass, have managed to establish the notion that they have their own “continent”? That whole land mass has been steeped in bloody internecine warfare until the advent of the bomb made large scale confrontation impractical. Since that time it’s been small proxy wars. The Western-b
        acked coup d’état is merely the latest confrontation, the West the aggressor, almost always the case.

        Chamberlain (along with elements in the US including the Bush ancestry) were but a faction, and this faction (Henry Ford among them) wanted a rearmed Germany to finish off the October Russian mistake. You must understand that. The British aristocracy has rendered more bloodshed and brutality on the world than Stalin ever dreamed, but since the October revolution, reestablishing a proper government in Russia was the primary objective. If you read, from that point on, western action, Russian reaction, you might actually get something right.

        If your mind works like Pogie’s, you’ll read what I just wrote as “Russians good. Westerners bad.” That black/white paradigm is a defect in your thinking, a product of western propaganda.

        • “There is a cultural divide – racial, religious, ancestral ”

          That’s fine. Why can’t Russia stay on their side of it?

          ” the West the aggressor, almost always the case. ”

          He said with no evidence. Russia wouldn’t be the size it is if it weren’t an effective aggressor in its own right. What ancestral territory has Russia lost? And yet from Ivan to Peter to Joseph, Russia has occupied (and often ethnically cleansed) the lands of non-Russians. After the Cold War, they lost much of the territory they had not ethnically cleansed, and are upset by it. More later.

          • So then, they are evil. Is that what you’re saying? Interesting.
            Come over to the North American continent and examine the history of the American Republic while you’re at it. It has as many interesting cleansing events internecine wars – everything that you say the Russians have we have here in spades. Why are you so focused on them?

            Historically, in recent history anyway, they have blocked wars, Western aggression. Most recently Syria. They were the reason Iraq managed to live and prosper as long as it did in good health. When the Soviet Union retracted, the US pulled out the swords and viciously attacked Iraq. They could not wait for even a year before that happened.

            • I’m not arguing for the inherent evilness of Russia, but to claim it has always or usually been the victim of aggression, as you did a couple hours ago is the height of absurdity.

              As far as blocking wars and Western aggression, that’s just not true. I don’t know what you’re calling recent history, but from 1918 or 1945 to 1990 was a much more violent period in history than from 1990 to the present. The war in Iraq is a major exception, but only the highest estimates of the death toll come close to matching the any of the typical Cold War conflicts. And no, I’m not saying Russia is primarily responsible for them, just that the bi-polar system did not serve Indonesia, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Iran, Korea, Vietnam, the Congo, Angola, or China.

              • Pre-Bolshevik Russia was just another player in the Great Game, the shifting alliances and periodic wars of that time. Russian hegemony extended into Eastern Europe, and what we now call Ukraine, an invention of Khrushchev, was always a mixture with preference for association with Russia over Europe dominating, even now with the violent coup d’état perpetrated by CIA and it’s many cousins. There are pro-EU sympathies there, but they are not the majority faction. The place ought to be split up.

                The thing you will note about a country like Russia, which was paranoid post-Hitler and so desirous of border security, is that it does not need anything more than border security as it is self-sufficient in resources.

                I trust if you’re ever curious about what we called the “Cold War,” you find that the Russians were usually not aggressors. Notice I don’t say all, none, or never. You’re hard to deal with that way as you tend to think black/white. Stalin did, apparently, invade South Korea without provocation. He did hang on to the eastern border states after the Western invasion of ’41. They did build an outpost in Cuba, tit for tat for US missiles pointed at them in Turkey. They invaded Afghanistan, but were provoked by the US in that regard in 1979. They were not present in South or Central America, Vietnam, Indonesia, Greece, Italy, Angola, Cambodia, Laos, or any other place the US attacked or intervened using the USSR as a foil.

                The only problem the Wall Street/London axis has with Russia is that it stands in the way of western expansionism, most recently in Syria. Ukraine was in response to that. Repeat after me: Nobody gives a shit about democracy, elections or economics. It’s strategic.

                • Oh, so all Russia did was occupy a half dozen countries. Before the creation of NATO, which supposedly provoked them. Oh, and you’ll note that they invaded Poland, the Baltic States, and the Caucuses before anyone had heard of Hitler. Russia never stopped playing the Great Game, and one thing never changed: the territory they occupied and people they controlled were always economically poorer and politically less free than those people controlled by neighboring states and Empires. It was true then, it’s true now, there is no reason for it to be false in the future. This isn’t a moral judgement on Russia, but a factual one.

                • Oh, and they trained Ho Chi Minh and bankrolled Castro, so they were certainly part of what happened in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, and Angola. Which isn’t to say that they were in the wrong in all of those locations. But your claim wasn’t “Russia wasn’t directly involved in all the conflicts of the Cold War’, your claim was “in recent history anyway, they have blocked wars, Western aggression.”, which is patently false.

                • So sayeth the history books. It’s nonsense. Stalin was far too smart to extend beyond his supply lines. He was boots-in-the-ground, nothing more. He could not fight the CIA in Greece with his horse-drawn army nor do anything significant in Cuba. That country was driven into Russian arms much the same way Eastern Ukraine is now being driven there, by US bully ism. Ho Chi Minh? Where did he get the weapons to fight the French?

                  I’m not telling. I am waiting for you to come up with an insight. do far, you’re rote repetition, kinda sad.

                • Care to elaborate, Mark, on the invisible line that allows Soviet forces into Bulgaria but not Greece? And they absolutely were significant in Cuba – just look at what happened to the Cuban economy after they fell! Again, not that preventing a US invasion or government collapse puts them in the wrong, but they therefore are partly responsible for Cuban forces in Africa and elsewhere. Ho was trained and had his doctrine honed in the USSR, was supported by the comintern during the Chinese Civil war, so the USSR should take credit for some of his successes. And I do mean take credit – The US was right to assist the Viet Minh against Japan, and ought to have continued that support. None of this, however, is relevant to your false claim that communist Russia prevented Western aggression.

                • I asked you a pointed question. Where did the Vietnam Minh get the weapons to defeat the French? Answer please.

                  You have no sense of proportion regarding everything you write about. Greece was a critical area as far as the US was concerned and they put money and special forces In there to be sure the communists did not win post-war elections. Stalin picked his battles carefully, and realized he could not win there and so let it go. No amount of aid from a power on the other side of the world would have sustained the Cuban revolution – that was done by ham-handed Americans, who first backed the fascist thug Battista and who later drove Castro into the arms of the Russians. There were no Russians in Vietnam. So sayeth the Pentagon Papers, possibly reliable on some matters. though not necessarily a reliable source. Who the hell cares where ONE MAN was trained? It so happened the this one man was also present in France after WWI admired Wilson until he realized that the 14 Points did not apply to places like Vietnam.

                  You got no chops. You’ve read all the correct texts, ergo, know nothing.

                • I doubt, Mark, that the Viet Minh got all their weapons from one place. Certainly the weapons they received from the US during the war were still in use at Dien Bien Phu, but the anti-aircraft guns Giap (also trained by the Communist part y of China, at that points closely linked to the USSR) had were Soviet, the artillery officers were trained by the CCP. I don’t know what your point is. Nor do I see any point you could be making that would save your initial assertion, that Russia prevented Western aggression.

  • Neocon meddling in Ukraine has created, as usual, a terrible mess for the Ukrainians and for the EU. Neocons, not liberals!

    The coup created a less united, less democratic, poorer Ukraine. NATO is weaker, can’t “expand” even if it wanted to, the EU may have lost a secure energy source to its manufacturing centers, and power bills will likely rise exponentially. Russia is arguably stronger, and Putin more popular than ever. We are pushing Russian oil and gas toward markets in China. The EU is fresh out of energy options in the short-term.

    Increasingly, citizens of Western countries think their leaders are idiots for provoking a predictable Russian reaction. With instant, global news coverage, U.S. media patsies can’t keep a lid on US/EU incompetence. Nuland hasn’t been fired, and Kerry sounds and looks rediculous threatening Russia week after week with “sanctions.” Does anybody know who’s on first base?

    • “Neocon meddling in Ukraine has created, as usual, a terrible mess for the Ukrainians and for the EU. ”

      As near as I can tell, Russia has created a terrible mess for Ukraine – Russia has been creating one since 2004 when they committed themselves to destabilizing the Ukrainian economy and political system until they got their way.

      Moreover, it seems unlikely that neo-cons were behind the final ‘coup’ – certainly there was Western assistance in funding and organizing the protests leading up to it, but it seems most in the West were satisfied with the agreement for new elections. The taking of power in Kiev was well outside what it looks like the West had in mind. If it was pulled off with US/European intelligence assistance, I agree it was a huge mistake. However, many Ukrainians were not going to accept any power sharing agreement after the violence had already begun.

      “The coup created a less united, less democratic, poorer Ukraine.”

      Less united is possible – Yanukovych created a less democratic Ukraine in 2012 and 2013 when he twice refused to hold elections that matched the standards set in 2010.

      • Here’s a truism for you, since you seem to like them: From Washington’s viewpoint, all elections are fraudulent – unless Washington likes the outcome.

        Washington does not care about democracy. It’s a tool, window dressing, nothing more, behind which aggression resides. That’s why we give our corrupt vehicles for regime change such fancy names like “Agency for International Development” and National Endowment for Democracy.” Communists said things like “Peoples’ Republics.” We mirror one another.

        • ” all elections are fraudulent ”

          I was actually referring to the election reports compiled by European observers, which considered the 2010 election of Yanukovych, an election they certainly did not agree with. To my knowledge, Washington, while also disliking the outcome, accepted the elections as among the most fair in Ukrainian history. So…your ‘truism’ is just another of your beloved falsehoods. Too bad you didn’t check it against the ONE RELEVANT DATA POINT. But hey, I’m the incurious one.

          • Given that the US does not care about democracy, it is also given that the US does not care about elections, unless it can control the outcome. You may find exceptions to that rule, but not many, and generally if US accepts the outcome of an election it is because they have no alternative. They do not rule the world, only try.

            Have you ever noticed how Chavez, in Venezuela, was always referred to as a dictator even though he was popularly elected and was a very popular leader That’s because in our propaganda system anyone we don’t like is by definition someone who is not there by democratic forces. we define what is democratic.

            • Don’t know how I became anonymous there. I am MT. I forgot to remind you, like Steve did them below, that the US is not a paradigm for clean elections. Our own system is as crooked as anything on the planet. Even just since 2000 there have been fraudulent presidential elections in this country, including 2004. Our elections are no more dependable than anybody else’s.! Our electronic voting machines guarantee that any election can be stolen at any time for any reason.

            • So you admit your truism is not in fact always true, and is in fact false in the very situation where you proposed it? Not a good start, Mark.

              • It’s somewhat interesting seeing your thought processes play out here, but your black/white thinking is off-putting. There’s no reasoning with that mindset. Also kinda boring.

                I mentioned up above that Napoleon had bankers behind him. You said (since it was obviously not covered in the assigned reading) that I had better give you a reference. I can absolutely do that, but let me ask you: Why the hell should I do that for you? why can’t you just be curious and inquire on your own?

                You incurious types are so demanding!

                • Cute, Mark – when I point out that a thing you’ve said is clearly false, you accuse me of having a ‘black and white mindset’ I’m afraid I can’t offer a sincere apology for making a judgement on the veracity of a statement, and if that’s black and white thinking, guilty as charged, but I don’t think that being wrong and not caring is that same as seeing shades of gray.

                  And here you go saying I demanded a source from you. What I said, word for word, was “if you have a source on that I’d gladly read it. “. Your claim is interesting, and I’m curious. You also claimed, though, that the US would nuke Iran last spring and that the IMF reduces global resource consumption, so your credibility is not the best. Which is why I’d like a source – I’m sure you understand. I don’t see you scurrying to go prove every claim I make. Though it’d be easier than finding evidence for some of yours.

                • The source is Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope. it’s 1300 pages of history, 1890 forward published in 1965 based on a trove of private documents given him. He upset people with some of what he wrote, the Napoleon and French Revolution analysis. Part of that. And much of it is apologetics – but still, anyone who things they understand Europe and the US needs to read it. Have fun. I’d lend you my copy but I don’t like you enough to risk it.

                  Quigley was Bill Clinton’s favorite professor at Yale. Clinton, even though being a slimy desk murderer who has that innate sense of where power lies that makes an American politician successful, Is still a very intelligent man.

                  Interesting thing I notice about black/white thinkers is that because you are b/w you are not capable of understanding that fact. You will never understand it because it defines you without your understanding.

                  Your habit of latching on to this or that remark, usually out of context, and claiming that because this or that did not come true that I am wrong about everything is annoying and stupid and part of the b/w mindset. You got anything else going on?

                • Thanks for the source – I’ll look into it when I have time. It’s true that I like to bring up your most outrageous statements (though I’m curious in what context ‘the US is going to nuke Iran this spring’ is not outrageous), because they are entirely in line with your world view, your modeling, if you will. When they are so catastrophically wrong, it’d be good to rethink the assumptions that brought you to them. You never do, but anyone bothering to read your comments ought to do so knowing full well the absurdity of your previous predictions. If you’d like, to keep your falsehoods in context, I”ll list them at the bottom of the comments.

    • But I should add, Steve, that you’re absolutely correct that the American Right has generally failed to put forth a reasonable foreign policy in this or any other case – which makes the failure of the Left all the more harmful.

      • You speak for the left, neoliberal? A little presumptuous. Last I saw, you were supporting a neocon administration. There is a difference between neocons and neoliberals, say insiders. I don’t see it. From outside looking in, there are as many corpses and never-ending wars. You’ll forgive them foreigners if they merely refer to us all as the Americans, or as Arabs and other Muslims say, the Great Satan. We earned that nickname.

          • The left has no power, does nit even exist in the warlike right wing country. Hard to see how pointing out the failures you righties leave in your wake makes us somehow a threat?

            • It doesn’t make you a threat, but it prevents you from putting forth a viable alternative plan. As long as you’re convinced that this was a neo-fascist coup intending to outlaw the majority language of Ukraine, you can’t propose a reasonable response. A reasonable response would be to expand sanctions on Russian trade and (far more importantly) float loans to the Ukrainian government that are either bigger or on more liberal terms than the cancelled Russian ones, and which would preempt the IMF loans. That’s not a likely alternative, I realize, but it’s a starting point and a legitimate liberal alternative. Screaming illogically about fascism and the IMF is not.

              • I don’t know what liberal means, as the word has been corrupted by American Democrats. So your last sentences are empty of content.

                There are fascists and neo-nazi elements there. Saying it ain’t so does not make that go away. the Kiev government has shut down Russian speaking news outlets, as fascists tend to do. I don’t know your reliable sources, but you’re not well-informed, in fact misinformed.

                Your post above was poorly written and thought out, and Lizard pretty well disassembled you. Not that you would venture out, cloistered as you are Natelson style here.

                The Russians, in this case, have done nothing wrong except meddle in the Syrian terrorist aggression, and anyway there are no sanctions than can affect a powerful country in a position of power. That’s all bluster but means nothing. The Russians right now are working out solutions, the Germans are willing to work with them. London/Wall Street overplayed its hand. Russia is calmly reassembling the pieces after the attack. I expect it will get violent now, and you’ll blame the Russians.

                • “the Kiev government has shut down Russian speaking news outlets,”

                  That’s not the same thing as banning Russian language, as you had previously claimed.

                  Do you have evidence that Russian language news originating in Ukraine has been shut down, or just foreign TV stations? Even RT hasn’t made a claim that Russian language is being limited on TV, just that foreign stations are.
                  Also, it’s precisely what both Russia did in Crimea before the election and what Nicolas Maduro has done in Venezuela, so your argument here is pretty thin.

                  As far as being cloistered, I’d just rather not venture to a creepy website that stalks my personal data and publishes the result (and my wife’s, without her permission).

                • Again, if you want I formation, YOU go look go look for it. You could try being curious.

                  That last paragraph is a true WTF? I have no idea what you are talking about. And anyway, it’s a cover story, an excuse – you’re as transparent as a child.

                  Natelson always said he didn’t have time to venture out even as he arrogantly hammered away at others from his own perch, as you do. Truth is, every time he ventured out he got knocked around, not abusively, but merely as an arrogant man who did not have nearly as much clout in the real world as in his private imagination. You two should meet.

                • Okay, Mark, let me hit you with a fact- it didn’t happen. The information isn’t there. And I searched – the best I found was RT noting that the OSCE, those evil Europeans hell bent on colonizing Ukraine, had encouraged Ukraine to allow for the broadcast of foreign TV stations. The Russian language is not, and will not, be banned. Anyone can make statements – you yourself are particularly adept at making provably false ones. That’s why I demand information.

                • Again you are hammering away at a small point to the exclusion of everything else. You’ve been handed your hat on everything here. So I suppose you’ll always have that.

                  I am curious about something – you know that Russia “grabbed six countries” or invaded or however you phrased it, but you don’t know any of the surrounding circumstances, events leading up to that. Are you a reflection of how the history of that period is taught in American schools? You certainly lack depth and perspective.

                • Oh my God, you tiresome bore. The certainty with which you utter your pronouncements is only matched by your lack of evidence and citation. Before you go lecturing anyone anymore on the history of Russian expansion, could you provide some research that supports your claims?

                  That you are certain you are right is not evidence you are.

                • This is literally making me chuckle. You just throw out absolutely false statements. If I ask you to back them up, you tell me I ought to be doing the research to back up your false statements. When proven wrong, you say I’m missing the point. I’m curious what you think the circumstances were that justified two invasions of Poland and then the final takeover of its government, or the decision to occupy Bulgaria even though it was surely no threat to Russia, or why they invaded Georgia in the 20’s, when it was already a socialist Republic? And if Russia is so impossible to conquer, why do they need to expand their buffer zone hundreds of miles from their already enormous borders?

                • No, my point is a little more on target than that: You have absorbed American history as it is taught in our schools, which is lies, omissions, half-truth and some truth, in general, bullshit. I merely add some breadth to it, which enflames you. How dare I! You were told that Russia grabbed six countries. Technically true I suppose, but why? What prompted that action? If you don’t know the whole of the story, you don’t know shit.

                  It’s not taught, I gather. you have to get it for yourself. you won’t, I know. You are not curious to know. You’re an empty vessel, pompous and half-learned, the half that isn’t the problem.

                  Don, you have no standing to say anything about me, insulting or otherwise. You have no gravitas, no background, no substance. Reading your words above makes me puke with indignity that a man as shallow as you takes himself so god dammed seriously.

                • What prompted the action then, Mark? And don’t say the Nazis. The truth is, Russia seized that territory because they could. The Bolsheviks seized Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania all before WWII broke out. The Baltic states might be interpreted as an attempt to buffer against the Germans (though a woefully unsuccessful one), but the Caucuses, and attempted capture of Poland? The Soviet Union was clearly one of the most aggressive expansionist states in the inter-war period. That’s the truth – if you have an alternative vision, out with it. I’m not going to seek out falsehoods on my own.

                • This is where you are so weak. You say the “Germans” when you should say the “Western powers.” Germany is a western power but in our minds we have divorced ourselves from its bad behavior leading up to WWII. They were merely western imperialists receiving strong support from other western imperialists, the ultimate object conquest of Russia, undoing the October mistake. All of the post World War One maneuvering, the Russian Part that your teachers brought to your attention and all that you do not know about, was merely stage setting for Barbarossa.

                  There. I told you the answer. You got it without benefit of being curious on your own. Happy?

                • How is that an answer? Russia invaded the Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia while France was still occupying the Ruhr…because nearly two decades later Germany would invade them? That’s idiotic.

                • (Also, if the point was for Germany to invade Russia, why would France and Britain declare war when Hitler invaded Poland, given that that was a necessary condition for invading any substantial part of Russia? Why would they assign Gdansk to Poland, given that that makes the supply route for any attack on Russia almost impossible? Why keep fighting after 1940, when Hitler would have almost certainly made peace with England? Why extend diplomatic recognition to the USSR in the 1920’s? Why sell them food when they were on the verge of demographic collapse? Why extend lend-lease to them in 1941? There was every reason to believe that if Hitler defeated the Soviet Union, he would make peace on the West, maybe settle for Alsace-Lorraine and reparations from France – the true Lebensraum was in the East anyway. I’m aware that many capitalists supported Hitler initially because he looked capable of defeating Communism, but as a concerted Western policy, your narrative doesn’t fit the facts. Declaring it doesn’t make it so.)

  • In the period called “post-cold war” U.S. military presence has expanded to include over 1,000 bases workdwide. The Russian military pulled back. “Regime change” has been our de faco foreign policy, and the Ukraine may have been one regime change too many. To isolate recent events in Kiev without the greater context could lead to misunderstanding.

    The “left” in the U.S. has no power. Even the “progressive caucus” in Congress votes for war and U.S. military and economic hegenomy. The left was swept out on the street — or sold out for big paychecks and political access — a long time ago. Blame them if it helps you cope.

    Info you might find helpful:

  • this post has virtually no substance. you’ve got to try a lot harder if you’re going to plausibly scapegoat leftists for the mess of another US-supported coup.

    • Not scapegoating, either. Just pointing out the massive failure to understand that is afflicting the Left. Failing to acknowledge the actual situation on the ground means that the Left can offer no reasonable alternative to John McCain – so we do nothing, or we do something incredibly stupid. And unlike Syria, in Ukraine, nothing is not our best option.

      • I see no effort in this post to provide any substantive material other than your say so that “The government currently in Ukraine is not a threat to Russians living in Ukraine.” I did provide material from someone on the ground, a person who includes names of most of the sources he talked to. yet despite my attempt to provide plenty of links (you often don’t) to back up my criticism of US foreign policy, you continue to arrogantly claim that critics like me fail to reach correct conclusions.

        just because my perspective doesn’t adhere to your promotion of neoliberal solutions and NATO expansion doesn’t mean I’m incorrect. there is actually a growing body of work written by people much smarter than I am criticizing the effects of implementing neoliberal policies across the globe.

        regarding Ukraine, Russia has laid out a sensible plan to move forward with reworking the constitution toward federalization, which would give localities more autonomy.

        unfortunately the US is still behaving like the rest of the world isn’t wise to our 21st century brutality. you know, because we’re such an exceptionally benign empire, like grandpa Pat said.

        • I think you’d probably be a bit more credible if you didn’t make arguments like “regarding Ukraine, Russia has laid out a sensible plan to move forward with reworking the constitution toward federalization.”

          Can you imagine how indignantly you’d be criticizing American aspirations to empire if we were proposing reorganizing governments of other sovereign states? We don’t even need to imagine–we can just read your writing about Iraq, Afgahistan, and other parts of the globe.

          As much as you’d like to criticize American aspirations to empire, they are in their infancy compared to Russian efforts to dominate her neighbors. That you are so blinded in your hatred of American foreign policy is certainly your right, but please stop pretending that you’re defending anything different when you defend Russian annexation of the territory of its neighbors under false pretext.

          • It is this lack of a sentient world view and of real history that makes it impossible to debate with you. You don’t know anything, Don, and insist on staying that way to the point where you are hard-bitten in your ignorance, even condescending toward those who do not share it.

            If you are interested in American empire, of the post-war transference of imperial management from the Brits to the US, there are reams of material out there. You have the good sense not to be curious about it, and tells me everything I need to know about you. Your studied incuriosity defines you. SS.

        • lizard – did you read your article? You ask me not to be condescending, and then you link to absurdities like this? Like “Ukraine is on its knees (although not as horribly yet as some East European countries like Bulgaria, that actually became full members of the EU).”

          When in fact Bulgaria, despite starting the post-Soviet period much poorer than Ukraine, has in fact caught up and surpassed Ukraine in wealth and many (though not all) development indicators? Or even stopping to consider whether Bulgaria, a Southern Balkan nation, is really more comparable to Ukraine the Poland, which borders Ukraine and has a similar industrial profile?

          Or maybe you should find an article that actually substantiates the claim that the Ukrainian government is targeting Russian speakers – all I see here is a bit of hearsay in a pub.

          Or maybe you should choose an author who doesn’t set out to disprove the Russian troop activity in Transnistria after the Russian commander in the region, Oleg Kochetkov, has already confirmed drills? Or at least an author that doesn’t try to conflate the relatively small Russian garrison on Transnistria with the actual threat on the Eastern border.

          An author not part of the flailing left might be sharp enough not to use Ukraine’s falling population as evidence of the failure of the West, when Russia’s population has been dropping much faster than that of the EU. A truly progressive author might be troubled by the Russian development model, as I think a truly progressive author (who is not also an idiot) wouldn’t be so quick to praise Russia for having a richer population that nonetheless lives shorter lives with less education.

          In other words, this is not one of those people ‘much smarter than you’. As to the idea of greater Federalism in Ukraine, I agree it’s a somewhat reasonable proposal, but unfortunately they also demand that the Ukrainian government not be involved in the negotiations and that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO,both non-starters.

          • I know this site is good at defining who the “true progressives” are, so I’ll probably have to turn in my progressive card for the right-wing card everyone in Montana gets when they purchase a gun.

            as for the article, yes, I did read it, and I thought it was a good enough counter to your anonymous Ukrainian comments extolling the virtues of John McCain, which, like a true progressive, you nearly do as well.

            I do like how even you have to admit the approach suggested by Russia is reasonable. after all the hubris from you and the guy who fights your fights for you at 4&20, that’s a step in the right direction.

            • Question liz – did I ever deny that Federalism was a good solution to the situation in Russia (or Libya, or Iraq?) Did I ever say that storming the Ukrainian parliament was a good move by the Ukrainian protestors, or anyone backing them? Nope. In fact, even when it seemed like everything might turn out fine, I said it was an irresponsible risk that put too many lives in danger.

              If you thought that article, full of enormous flaws, is a good argument for or against anything, you’re not reading critically. I never claimed my friends represented all or most Ukrainians, as this author has done. I did use correct statistics and I don’t make claims about EU countries that are not only unsubstantiated but provably false.

              On the topic of progressives, I do believe it was 4&20 that literally published a list of things progressives must believe. But answer this question, for real: is it progressive to glamorize a country with higher income but lower life expectancy and eduction, or a country with a better education system and longer life expectancy but less income? And is prioritizing wealth over human development really a ‘mutiny’ against capitalist neo-liberalism?

              • you think I’m glamorizing Russia? that’s not a question, that’s projection.

                and yes, I published a list of principles progressives generally support. I thought it might be a nice reminder for folks who seem prone to forget or minimize those principles.

                • lizard, I want to like you, I really do. So read carefully – who was I criticizing in the last few comments? The article you cited most clearly glamorized Russia – waxing poetic about how it is leading a mutiny against global capitalism. And you still didn’t answer my question, but you do have a list: is it progressive to glamorize, or in any other way call for the imitation of, an economic model that achieves higher income but lower life expectancy and education? Because in comparing Ukraine unfavorably to Russia, that’s precisely what your author is doing (when he’s not ignoring the fact that every country in the EU is more progressive and enjoys a higher standard of living that his beloved Russia).

            • The person who admins a site that calls everyone opposed to them “NEOCONS” or “NEOLIBS” probably shouldn’t run around accusing other people of defining anything. That you own a gun (and oddly like to wave it about in some bizarre compensatory strategy) is about as interesting as your rehash of fringe, conspiracy theories. I’ll let you decide how interesting that is.

              • Use of the ‘conspiracy theory’ meme to abuse people who don’t share your world view (I use that expression loosely) is cowardly and ignorant. It’s also a safe harbor, a way of protecting yourself from the need to be curious about the world around you. It allows you the luxury of feeling superior to those around you without actually exercising any inquiry or study into the defining events of our time.

                It makes you SS.

  • So when your elite anti terrorist units defects what then? Is that because the Russians are just so damn good at propaganda that your own military can be brainwashed away?

    Or is the current government in Kiev without legitimacy?

    Will PW, John McCain and Pogie go and fight?

    The Left is looking quite correct in many of their assumptions and the Neoliberal hawks are looking quite incorrect in many of theirs.

    • …Or it could indicate that there are real divisions within Ukraine, and many soldiers are not willing to fire on the people they still consider their own? Would you say that the Syrian government is ‘without legitimacy’, or the Kent state proved the legitimacy of the US government? Do we measure legitimacy now in ability to motivate fratricide? This unwillingness to start firing on pro-Russian protesters does kind of throw a kink in the whole ‘neo-Nazi’ theory, as well as the ‘cynical fascists were shooting their own protesters on the Maiden’ theory.

      • The soldiers were unable to carry out their mission because of the rejection of their presence by local people. This is proof of the lack of legitimacy of the Kiev government. It has nothing to do with the Maidan snipers question. You are really clutching at straws here, I mean why is it relevant that the Syrian government is without legitimacy? That is obviously the case when a country is in the midst of a brutal civil war.

        • My point is, the unwillingness of soldiers to fire on their own people doesn’t disprove the legitimacy of the government. If it did, Cliven Bundy just de-legitimized the US government. If the defection of some units of troops is the sign of an illegitimate government, then there is hardly a legitimate government in the world that as been involved in any sort of civil strife – Yanukovych was also unable to dislodge people from the Maiden and in Lwow – does that mean his government was also illegitimate? That’s the line of thought followed by those who displaced him. But the inability or unwillingness of the Ukrainian troops to violently end these protests doesn’t mean that Kiev has no legitimacy; instead, it means there are real differences in Ukraine, that Yanukovych’s successors face the same regional dilemmas that have faced every Ukrainian government and indeed almost every post-colonial state. Fortunately, the new government hasn’t engaged in half the bloodshed the old one did, and so there may yet be a resolution.

  • Stephen Cohen on Democracy Now yesterday discussing how this crisis started:

    As a contemporary observer, it certainly began in November 2013 when the European Union issued an ultimatum, really, to the then-president, elected president, of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, that “Sign an agreement with us, but you can’t have one with Russia, too.” In my mind, that precipitated this crisis, because why give a country that has been profoundly divided for centuries, and certainly in recent decades, an ultimatum—an elected president: “Choose, and divide your country further”? So when we say today Putin initiated this chaos, this danger of war, this confrontation, the answer is, no, that narrative is wrong from the beginning. It was triggered by the European Union’s unwise ultimatum.

    Now flash forward to just one month ago, about the time I was with you before. Remember that the European foreign ministers—three of them, I think—went to Kiev and negotiated with Yanukovych, who was still the president, an agreement. Now, the Russians were present at the negotiation, but they didn’t sign it. But they signed off on it. They said, “OK.” What did that agreement call for? Yanukovych would remain president until December—not May, when elections are now scheduled, but December of this year. Then there would be a presidential election. He could run in them, or not. Meanwhile, there would be a kind of government of national accord trying to pull the government together. And, importantly, Russia would chip in, in trying to save the Ukrainian economy. But there would also be parliamentary elections. That made a lot of sense. And it lasted six hours.

    The next day, the street, which was now a mob—let’s—it was no longer peaceful protesters as it had been in November. It now becomes something else, controlled by very ultra-nationalist forces; overthrew Yanukovych, who fled to Russia; burned up the agreement. So who initiated the next stage of the crisis? It wasn’t Russia. They wanted that agreement of February, a month ago, to hold. And they’re still saying, “Why don’t we go back to it?” You can’t go back to it, though there is a report this morning that Yanukovych, who is in exile in Russia, may fly to eastern Ukraine today or tomorrow, which will be a whole new dimension.

    But the point of it is, is that Putin didn’t want—and this is reality, this is not pro-Putin or pro-Washington, this is just a fact—Putin did not want this crisis. He didn’t initiate it. But with Putin, once you get something like that, you get Mr. Pushback. And that’s what you’re now seeing. And the reality is, as even the Americans admit, he holds all the good options. We have none. That’s not good policymaking, is it?

    • I don’t know who you’re arguing against, lizard. That sounds like exactly what I’ve said since the beginning – the peaceful protesters had a point, and a deal that everyone in the West seemed to agree to (though Russia didn’t sign); and then Yanukovych was forced out, which nullified the agreement that the US and EU seemed to have been pushing for from the beginning.

      As to the EU ultimatum, I don’t think people understand how the EU works. It is a trade and customs union. If Ukraine signs a trade and customs deal with the EU, and with Russia, the EU is inadvertently in a trade relationship with Russia that it’s membership doesn’t want to be in. And anyway starting a discussion of who started the crisis in 2013 is foolish indeed – you have to look as well at Russia’s willingness to wreck havoc with Ukraine’s economy, via border and gas controls, just to destabilize Yushchenko and Tymoshenko, and you’ll see why the EU proposed what they did.

      • There is so much more going on you don’t seem (or choose not) to be aware of – the billions poured in to fund the street demonstrations by the NED and the neo-nazi groups they supported, covert western support, the firing into the crowds – that is all a formula for staged coup d’état.

        It’s going in in Venezuela right now, CIA behind all of it. How do I know? I pay attention. It’s what they do, and it is methodical and operates in stages. With the 2002 attempted coup in Venezuela, there were thugs randomly firing Into the crowds from an overpass, just like Ukraine, and blamed on Chavez just as it was blamed on Yanukovych. It’s been going on for decades now, if not centuries. Funny thing is that when there is real coup, when a really bad dude is naturally thrown out of power with broad public support behind the new leaders, as Battista in ’59, the Shah in ’79, Somoza in ’79, then there is no CIA involvement and Washington, Wall Street and London are furious. They want their countries back.

        There was nothing natural or spontaneous about Ukraine. I wonder if something as simple as the huge success of the Olympics convinced our thugs in Langley and on Wall Street that the Russians had to be brought down a few notches. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to overthink these things.

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