We must not think of fighting Russia over Ukraine!

There is a lot of nonsense being expressed on the Sunday news shows today.  Mike Rogers, the chairman of the HPSCI said on FNS that 1- military intervention by the US was out of the question, and 2- it is unfortunate that the Ukrainians do not have tactical nuclear weapons.  On the Fariid Zakariyah extravaganza Zbig and Madeleine Albright ventilated their passions.  Zbig hates Russians (he is a Polosh gentleman of the old school) and Madeleine is still trapped in the memory of WW2.  The desire to believe that the Nazis have returned was clear.  The mere fact that the Ukrainian right wing nationalists who overthrew the government are more like Nazis than anyone else on the scene was ignored.  Zakariya himself was so worked up that he looked as though he might have a stroke.  Too much Oxbridge and Ivy is a heavy burden for anyone to bear. 

The only sane voice was that of Stephen Cohen.  He was a lecturer that I heard at both the staff college and the war college.  He looks to be in amazingly good shape for his age.  He said that Putin was nothing like a Nazi.  He said that Putin is trying to restore Russia's dignity in the world and that he had been severely provoked by the overthrow of Yanuchenko's government after an agreement had been reached under EU sponsorship for a transition.  Cohen is obviously of Jewish heritage and he said that Putin has been the Russian ruler most favorable to the Jews in the history of the country.

In any event, one sole fact must be remembered by all the arm waving foreign policy enthusiasts.  Russia possesses the ability to destroy the United States as we have the ability to destroy Russia.  There can be no combat between us and them.  None!  The risk of escalation is just too great.  pl

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61 Responses to We must not think of fighting Russia over Ukraine!

  1. Ryan says:

    Stephen Cohen has been making the rounds on the talking head shows lately. Last week he got on to Bill O’Reilly much too gently when Bill was foaming about Putin, but not noting the significance of the Nuland phone call comment to O’Reilly’s claims of gross Russian interference while ignoring that of the USG and the EU.
    Cohen was on one of Fox’s cable shows last night. He considers this event in Ukraine to be a disaster because the US violated an agreement made between Bush Sr. and Gorbachev that NATO membership wouldn’t extent east or to put it another way pushing a spere of influence into Russia’s “near abroad”. He’s right. The worse thing would be for NATO to gain a long border with Russia, considering the nuts the west has as “leaders”.
    Cohen also brought out the fact that part of this deal with Ukraine and the EC called for standardization of the Ukrainian Armed forces’ equipment with that of NATO. This is near term membership on top of making the arms industry a load of money. I hope he gets more exposure as his knowledge is desperately needed.
    One other sane voice from last night was retired Col. David Hunt. He flat out said the US doesn’t have a dog in this fight.
    Fox News Sunday surprised me today. I fully expected Mike “Buck” Rogers to make an total fool out of himself. He sounded half way rational. Indeed, I was surprised not to see Krauthammer and Kristol on, but then again, there is that (A)IPAC propaganda spectacle coming up this week.

  2. robt willmann says:

    I still think as I did yesterday, that once Russia “secures” the province of Crimea in a way with which it is comfortable, it can then watch and wait and act in carefully designed ways to try to get the situation back to the earlier status quo if possible, to neutralize the Ukraine military by getting as many soldiers as possible to switch sides or to commit to not obey orders to attack Russians, and patiently work to consolidate its support in the friendly eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, mainly because the current puppet “interim government” in Kiev has a huge money problem.
    It is estimated that Ukraine has less than a two-month supply of foreign currencies with which to buy imported goods. Its government is also otherwise insolvent, having big debt payments coming up on its large government debt and is behind on payments to Russia for gas, etc. Who is going to give Ukraine billions of dollars? No one. Who is going to loan Ukraine billions of dollars, especially with the open prospect that Russia could invade the rest of the country, or encourage and carry out the division of Ukraine into two countries? No one yet.
    The Ukraine military will not be doing much fighting if it is not being paid and there is not enough money for more ammunition, spare parts, and so forth.
    Russia appears to have options to accomplish its objectives in Ukraine without a military attack on the rest of the country all the way to Poland, with the complications and unforeseen problems always attendant to such a large operation.
    Meanwhile, a somewhat tense Tom Donilon, former national security advisor to President Obama and now being paid as a “Distinguished Fellow” at the foundation called the Council on Foreign Relations, appeared on CNN today and repeated the same old absurd talking points. Then secretary of state John Kerry, using his technique of a slightly loud voice, was on the Meet the Press and Face the Nation television programs, saying that Putin is not operating from a position of strength and is inciting the opprobrium of the world, that there can be asset freezes and the isolation of Russia, and blah, blah blah.
    Russia will not be idle, but will not launch a full-scale military attack on the rest of Ukraine in the near future.
    One type of money and asset that the U.S. will not be able to “freeze” is Russia’s gold, which it has not stupidly put into storage with the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Swiss Bullion Banks, as some other countries and individuals have who are now finding out that “their gold” is no longer there (an intriguing story which the main stream media and Congress have so far managed to cover up).

  3. The beaver says:

    The newly appointed head of Ukraine’s navy has sworn allegiance to the Crimea region, in the presence of its unrecognised pro-Russian leader.

  4. jonst says:

    “2- it is unfortunate that the Ukrainians do not have tactical nuclear weapons”. And that is what some in Iran think. And I can’t say as I blame them. As an aside…

  5. Lesly says:

    “Palling aroung with (Syrian) terrorists” is the thing to do these days. Supporting Nazi wannabes can’t be much worse.
    Kerry had the nerve to rebuke Russia for invading a foreign country using phony pretexts. Unbelievable.

  6. Thomas says:

    Fox has surprised me too. On Friday night, Peter Brookes of Heritage Foundation was explaining the coherent reasons for Russia actions, caught the News lady off guard.

  7. Thomas says:

    A Ukrainian Frigate already did according to the Saker. It is in the following paragraph:
    “I am sure that you have heard that the Ukrainian military is now on maximal alert and is read to repel any Russian aggression. Guys, this is laughable. There IS NO UKRAINIAN MILITARY. There is a lot of old hardware lying around, there are a number of units with basically zero training and there are a few units of higher combat readiness. Do you know what that list is called in military terms? It’s called *TARGETS*. I also suspect that if the western politicians and a few Ukie crackpots speak about the Ukrainian armed forces, the officers there, and even the soldiers, fully realize that they are just targets. Hence the wise decision of the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate, to quickly switch sides even before getting back home (it is in eastern the Mediterranean according to the latest reports). I suppose you all know that the notion of the Ukies developing their own nuclear weapons is laughable, so I will not bother dwelling on it now.”
    In this morning’s paper, the article told that the Kiev Govt got its first look at the books and its needs were 15 billon, just what the Russians had offered.

  8. Larry Kart says:

    Born in 1938, Stephen F. Cohen is only (at least from where I sit it’s “only”) age 76.

  9. georgeg says:

    Fareed Zakaria’s segment with Klitchko was an absolute embarrassment….Klitchko’s responses were incoherent…..

  10. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Robert Willmann,
    Addressing the issue of gold reserves, and not having been dumb enough to let the BofE, or the Federal Reserve Bank of NY “safely” secure your nation’s gold reserves is a fairly recent post from Paul Craig Roberts.
    When a while back, the Germans were making noises about wishing to repatriate their gold supposedly being held in safekeeping for them at the FRBofNY, only to be given the runaround about doing so, my first thought was that something very hinky was going on, and that that gold was likely no longer there in part, if not in whole. Mr. Roberts sets this possibility in a larger explanatory framework that seemed rational to me. The US fiat currency is all very nice, but not everybody has a lot of faith in its sustainability, so gold still occupies a spot in the contingency planning of individuals and nation states alike.
    Anyway, this is offered up for your consideration.
    P.S.: Among other reasons for hacking into the phone of Chancellor Merkel’s Handi might be tracking her reaction to this supposed rehypothecization of her nation’s gold to the deep state’s purposes.

  11. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Here is a link to Professor Cohen’s latest, an article from The Nation (March 3, 2014), entitled Distorting Russia:
    (BTW, if a pop-up obscures the article, you can click off to the side of it, and the pop-up goes away.)
    I recall Professor Cohen having been a regular guest on the “Old” McNeill/Lehrer News Hour on PBS. And then he seemed to have become a non-person, and no longer was asked to contribute. Jeez, I wonder why? Heh.

  12. jonst says:

    Along with Cohen’s take on the situation, I found this short essay by Jack Matlock a reasonable, and all to rare these days, balance analysis. For those interested.

  13. Charles I says:

    Cohen’s been reading Russian tea leaves since I was an undergrad. Everything he’s said has in effect been repeatedly said by Putin, Lavarov, by the Orthodox Patriarch, the Duma.

  14. Agree with this comment and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

  15. VietnamVet says:

    Because of old age and being a little less naive, I am more scared today than I was as a college student during the Cuban Missile Crisis. First, our Elite are driven by greed not by helping others. They believe the propaganda that they deserve it all rather than being extraordinarily lucky so far. Second, none have seen war unlike Eisenhower or JFK. Finally, they are advised by sycophantic incompetents and true believers.
    There are others here who could advise Barrack Obama much better than I but I will attempt it anyway. Today the USA has to try to prevent spearheads of Russian tanks driving west. It would be hell to pay to stop them.
    1) Get Russia to stand down. Agree to new elections in Ukraine and partition of a province if voted for by a majority of the population. Agree to the Russian annexation of Crimea. Ditch the neo-nazis. Agree that West Ukraine if partitioned will not join NATO.
    2) Forward position battle tanks on the Polish, Czech and Romanian borders. Fly air support squadrons to forward bases.
    3) Indicate that NATO and American air support will contest any border incursions.
    4) Insure all nuclear weapons are under the tightest security with working command and control systems.
    5) Get a competent Secretary of State and fire Susan Rice, Victoria Nuland (Mrs. Robert Kagan), John Clapper and Samantha Powers.

  16. turcopolier says:

    I am in favor of the personnel changes you mention but I would not move NATO forces up to the Polish border. That would be provocative and we should not take the risk of hostilities. Putin should be told that we will an attack on a NATO country will be treated as an attack on the US. pl

  17. klutz says:

    There are rumors that when Ukraine was denuclearized, they kept back some nuclear weapons. Presumably these would be the smaller tac nukes since the large stuff would have been countable. Comments?

  18. jonst says:

    I don’t think it is possible, at the moment, to talk about the limits of NATO expansion, and at the same time, hope to have a viable chance at holding mid to high level positions in the national security realm. Pushing NATO has become the price of admission to the Ball. Sadly and dangerously. And ludicrously, in my opinion. But that is where the Elite and wanna be Elite are. As least as far as I can tell. If someone on the list can point to a name, and published article that disputes this contention of mine, I would be overjoyed to be shown the error of my ways

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Rouhani says Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons ‘on principle’

  20. georgeg says:

    It is most unfortunate that sanity does not prevail with our mainstream media. People like Jack (and our Colonel Lang) should be the experts heard by our news junkies who are fed embarrassing lies on every newscast…..

  21. turcopolier says:

    Colonel Jack Jacobs? Certainly. You should include Colonel Dr. Bacevich in that list. pl

  22. georgeg says:

    Should have been more precise – Jack Matlock (U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union back in the 90’s). In agreement with Bacevich, Jack Jacobs is in the grasp for the most part…..

  23. Tyler says:

    First you’ve got to give the Russians guarantees about the NATO stuff. This is, the second or third time we’ve pinky promised not to expand NATO and what’s the first thing we do?
    Furthermore I don’t think the psychology of our leadership is coherent towards guarantees. I think they will make a bunch of magnamonious talk at best and then point and sputter when the Russians ignore them for good reason. They’ve seen this movie before.

  24. Bandolero says:

    Forgive me, that I can’t resist on a comment on these your words:
    “…provoked by the overthrow of Yanuchenko’s government…”
    The word Yanuchenko I heard quite often in Ukraine. People said, Yushchenko, Yanukovich, let’s just call them Yanuchenko, because as they’re all the same bunch of oligarch puppets plundering us it won’t make any difference anyway who of them is ruling us, and when we call them both Yanuchenko we as friends won’t quarrel with each other about who of them we shall support.
    But, of course, I’m sure, you didn’t mean it this way.

  25. Bobo says:

    Putin has secured the Crimea and MAY or MAYNOT move further into east and west Ukraine presumably to protect Russia’s historical territories(s) from rabble rousers provoked by western nations. Thus he has been poked and reacted to the West’s surprise. Should he move further then he is open to the “once you break it, it is yours to fix” which will be very expensive to his Homeland in money and blood as oppressed people react as the Russians saw in Afghanistan.
    The West (us) needs to calm down, sit back and clean our shop up as we own some of this and it is embarrassing. Let Putin live in the past and bring his nation to superiority via his symmetrical thinking. We know how that will end. Diplomacy is the only option we should utilize at this time and let the Chinaman go buy up the assets as he is our rightful concern.
    Thoughts of an Amateur.

  26. 505thPIR says:

    Another consideration at present: Afghanistan logistical transit across Russian territory. Fighting season just around the corner folks. Great time for a squeeze play and some Pakistani blowback one might think. Not the 6th army at Stalingrad, but a large force a long ways from a warm living room.
    There is no practical NATO military option that isn’t nuclear tipped and that will only happen if a NATO member is forcefully attacked. The partition is a fait accompli and will be left to Putin’s tender mercies. The “invasion” now happening without a shot fired signals how one-sided that is. That is just how it is going to roll. The madness of any direct military confrontation with Russia should be buried in a hole and then the shovel buried along with it.
    The people screaming Munich, Sudetenland, etc. ought to go find the russian equivilent of Mein Kampf and the numerous rallies run by mean ol Putin exorting the virtues of living space for the Slavic peoples et al. Where is the political body of work and accrued sediment over the past decade or so to support these comparisons beyond their convenient use MSM news shows?
    President Obama’s “reset” is now well, fully re-set. This is going to smart mightily for the neoconistas. Things will get Cold-War nasty politically for quite some time until a neo-detente sets in. Neo-detente being largely how to make bucks within the new status quo. Let the posturing begin on both sides of the Atlantic. Syria is going to heat-up some and the new European reality will surely be cause celeb and great campaign fodder domestically in the US. Waving the tattered Ukrainian flag will be the standard form of aerobic exercise for those who imagine a return to yesteryear.
    The wild-card here? Acts of ethnic cleansing in Western Ukraine or the ethnic fracture zones that don’t get massively cleaned-up by whomever is in authority there. A failure to do so could lead to the abyss.
    Lastly, the MSM has been not much better than a 6th grader hollering “fight” in the school hallway. Irresponsible and simplistic. Luckily their blathering will be muted for a bit while the Hollywood crew makes love to itself for a few hrs. this evening.

  27. eakens says:

    All this talk of nuclear weapons, tactical or otherwise, is quite odd to me given that Chernobyl sits “up the street”.

  28. turcopolier says:

    That was an accident. pl

  29. turcopolier says:

    I don’t care about any of this. I am solely concerned with US interests. pl

  30. jl says:

    Can Russian Black Sea fleet that supplies/supports Syria still safely get to their other naval base in Syria?

  31. jonst says:

    I completely agree….but I don’t understand why this is so. Why we are dominated by fools…

  32. bth says:

    Germany and Poland seem amazingly quiet. It is as if they want to pretend this isn’t happening. Also would like to know if there is a crackdown on dissidents in Russia itself going on p

  33. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Putin and very many Russians, I should think, consider Ukraine to be “Homeland” or part thereof.

  34. The Twisted Genius says:

    Of Course. They are in no danger of losing their base at Sevastopol. They sail the Black Sea through the Bosporus and into the Mediterranean to Syria. Russia, as a Black Sea nation, is guaranteed passage of the strait under the Montreux Convention. However, given the real possibility of international skulduggery, I doubt the Russians fully rely on the Montreux Convention alone.

  35. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You need to dismantle NATO – that is the only option that would reassure Russia.

  36. A long-time reader of the Colonel but I comment infrequently. I think this one is quite a puzzle. My guess is that Putin may move to protect a little more of Russian-speaking territory, but not go all the way through the Ukraine. He enjoys rubbing the U.S. nose in it, but he is unlikely to want to get bogged-down in an intractable situation. He wants to come up smelling like roses on the world stage
    The US mainstream media has entered a new level of hypocrisy in the post-Soviet era. “”Putin Pounces… Deep Concern… Clear Violation…” –this is all the kind of stuff that Moscow said about invading Iraq. All the “Obama weakness” nonsense is mostly politicians jockeying for the next election. None of them has a clue what to do, and thank god some of them aren’t in power.

  37. Charles I says:

    cripes, very good point. Taliban just did a big widespread co=ordinated attack last week as part of the er, negotiations. Canada just finished flying about 270 of 350 plus containers o’ kit deemed essential or too costly/dangerous to abandon from being stranded in Pakistan & politics, to be loaded onto freighters in Dubai.
    This as only taken 2 plus years. Imagine the poor fool being told to organize your pullout when he phones Russia.

  38. Charles I says:

    I believe I recall a report about a Russian freighter being molested/inspected that turned back, think it was serious ground to air kit. Be another matter entirely to go at the Russian Navy.

  39. Tyler says:

    You can see the Cathedral media at work, with all the talk of “Putin does” or “Putin invades” or “Russia’s ruler”.
    I guess the Left finally met a KGB agent it didn’t like. Huh.

  40. The beaver says:

    @ Jersey
    A documentary on the secret world of gold produced by the CBC
    and this is the You Tube version since the original is available only in Canada:
    “Some claim that much of the gold held by the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve and Fort Knox is gone — that for every 100 ounces of gold traded, there exists only one ounce of real, physical gold. So, where is the gold — and who really owns it?”

  41. David Habakkuk says:

    Lee A. Arnold
    What is the evidence that Putin ‘enoys rubbing the U.S. nose in it’?

  42. Amir says:

    I do not know the accuracy of PressTV reporting on ABC’s broadcasts but what does this mean: “Speaking on ABC’s This Week television program, Kerry issued a starker warning to Moscow, stressing that “all options are on the table” to deal with the crisis.”
    If true, does this fake Vietnam-War-Protestor think he is talking to Teheran?
    P.S.: I found the VOA reference: http://www.voanews.com/content/us-all-options-on-table-in-ukraine/1862543.html

  43. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I tend to agree with that view. Eastern Ukraine, as I understand it, may be more inclined towards Russia, but it is still mostly Ukrainian rather than Russian in their makeup. Galicia may be Russophobic to death, but most of the Western Ukraine is merely distrustful of the Russians–and may not be thrilled with what transpires in Kiev. If those in Kiev recognize the perilous state they placed themselves in and starts backing down, things may actually calm down and revert to status quo, more or less, except, obviously with Crimea being de facto independent and the rest of Ukraine (and their Western backers) being suitably penalized for their excesses. However, what is not clear to me is whether the present “government” in Kiev will be able to rein in the radicals among their midst. If they provoke a direct armed confrontation with the Russians, things can get real nasty, I figure.

  44. Ulenspiegel says:

    bth wrote: “Germany and Poland seem amazingly quiet.”
    Correct statement.
    bth wrote: “It is as if they want to pretend this isn’t happening.”
    That is wrong. You have only to read the newspaper headlines.

  45. All,
    According to RT, the ‘self-proclaimed’ government in Kiev has appointed billionaires as governors in the large industrial regions in the east of the country:
    ‘The newly-appointed Dnepropetrovsk governor is Igor Kolomoysky, Ukraine’s third-wealthiest man, with an estimated fortune of $2.4 billion. He co-owns the informal commercial group Privat, which includes Ukraine’s largest bank Privatbank, which Kolomoysky heads, as well as assets in the oil, ferroalloys and food industries, agriculture and transport.
    ‘A former ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, Kolomoysky reportedly had a falling out with her and refused to finance her election campaign in 2010, which the ex-prime minister subsequently lost to Yanukovich. Kolomoysky was reported to be a principal sponsor of the UDAR party, which is one of the three fueling the street campaign to oust Yanukovich. Kolomoysky has a dual Ukrainian-Israeli citizenship and controls his business empire from Switzerland.
    ‘The new governor of Donetsk Region is Sergey Taruta, who is estimated to worth around $2 billion, putting him among the top-10 wealthiest people in Ukraine. He heads ISD, one of the biggest mining and smelting companies in the world, and also own Donetsk-based Metallurg Football Club.
    ‘Not a stranger to politics, he used to sponsor Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power in Ukraine after the Orange Revolution of 2004. Among his personal habits is a reputed love for luxurious jewelry and ostentatious gold statues, reports RT’s Peter Oliver.’
    (See http://rt.com/news/ukraine-oligarch-rule-governors-512/ )

  46. Seems some consensus forming less than 10K Russian ground forces all-types deployed in the Crimea?
    And distribution of Russian passports continues in the Crimea?

  47. Ingolf says:

    “Putin agrees to Ukraine ‘fact-finding’ mission after talk with Merkel.”
    “Meanwhile on Sunday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged G8 members to rethink stripping Russia of its membership.
    “The format of the G8 is actually the only one in which we in the West can speak directly with Russia,” Steinmeier told German public broadcaster ARD. “Should we really give up this unique format?'”
    Both quotes from here:

  48. georgeg says:

    David, I am in agreement with you. We do not give Putin enough credit for being a master strategist…..
    This will be over in a matter of days, unless we decide to “rub his nose”…..

  49. Thomas says:

    The following quotes from an article by Robert Parry reflect what I have felt about this crisis.
    “President Barack Obama has been trying, mostly in secret, to craft a new foreign policy that relies heavily on cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin to tamp down confrontations in hotspots such as Iran and Syria. But Obama’s timidity about publicly explaining this strategy has left it open to attack from powerful elements of Official Washington, including well-placed neocons and people in his own administration.
    The gravest threat to this Obama-Putin collaboration has now emerged in Ukraine, where a coalition of U.S. neocon operatives and neocon holdovers within the State Department fanned the flames of unrest in Ukraine, contributing to the violent overthrow of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych and now to a military intervention by Russian troops in the Crimea, a region in southern Ukraine that historically was part of Russia.
    President Barack Obama discusses the crisis in Ukraine for 90 minutes on March 1, 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (White House photo/Pete Souza)
    President Barack Obama discusses the crisis in Ukraine for 90 minutes on March 1, 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (White House photo/Pete Souza)
    Though I’m told the Ukraine crisis caught Obama and Putin by surprise, the neocon determination to drive a wedge between the two leaders has been apparent for months, especially after Putin brokered a deal to head off U.S. military strikes against Syria last summer and helped get Iran to negotiate concessions on its nuclear program, both moves upsetting the neocons who had favored heightened confrontations.
    Putin also is reported to have verbally dressed down Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan over what Putin considered their provocative actions regarding the Syrian civil war. So, by disrupting neocon plans and offending Netanyahu and Bandar, the Russian president found himself squarely in the crosshairs of some very powerful people.”
    The proposal by Germany for mediation today would allow a stand down followed by revelation of what transpired. With the strongest words by Obama being sanctions and kicking out of the G-8 and silence from the military, they could be working behind the scenes to burn the Neo-cons, just like Vlad burned Bandar.

  50. Booby says:

    To Amir:
    I just read a Kerry statement that the Ukraine can & will fight. I’m sure that Kerry & the R2P crowd would be ready to fight to the last drop of Ukrainian blood. It should be interesting to see which shoe Kerry puts in his mouth in Kiev tomorrow.

  51. PS says:

    I’m not quite as familiar with the Ukrainian nationalists, but I would argue that Putin’s Russia is not that far off the textbook definition of fascism (from Paxton’s “Anatomy of Fscism”): “Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal constraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

  52. Matthew says:

    DH: Flash from the shooting-yourself-in-the-foot department: Does the UK really want to “threaten” Russia’s economic interests? See http://www.presstv.com/detail/2014/03/03/353059/uk-warns-russia-of-costs-over-ukraine/
    I suspect Mr. Putin would enjoy Russians repatriating their money in advance of–or because of–sanctions. Abramovitch supposedly spent $3 billion on Chelsea. That could fund a lot of development in Siberia.

  53. robt willmann says:

    Although the propaganda is flying from both directions, this article of yesterday from RT has some really interesting language suggesting that Crimea is seceding from Ukraine. The lead paragraph: “A number of high ranking Ukrainian military and security officials in Crimea have sworn their allegiance to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as Simferopol pushes for its autonomy from the self-imposed government in Kiev”.
    Further down, the Crimean prime minister, Sergey Aksyonov, says, “Today the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is formed as an integral, public authority.”
    And the referendum in Crimea has been moved up to March 30.
    Declaring an area as a new country or state is a fascinating legal process, which I know little about, but we will see what happens in Crimea along those lines. What usually comes before the legal steps to create a new state are the factual steps in which enough people present the physical ability to defend and enforce their idea of a new state in the specific area!

  54. I can’t find any of Putin’s old comments in a quick search, but I seem to remember that he expressed schadenfreude a few times about the US problems in Iraq. Ukraine is much bigger than Iraq, though admittedly, having it on his own border makes it logistically easier.
    On the other hand, I think Putin sees himself in competition with the US for world approval, to be seen to other countries as a good, strong, trustworthy ally. He wants, above all else. trade deals, loan deals. This won’t have much bearing on immediate events in the Ukraine, it just makes complete annexation unlikely to me. But the eventual pull-out (while possibly keeping Crimea, or setting it “free and independent”) won’t be seen as capitulating to European-US pressure, he would prefer to rub our noses in it, make the Russians cheer a little.

  55. Charles I says:

    e wasn’t watching the news clips of the surrounded bases last night. Just waiting for results od one hour ultimatum to 2 Ukrainian naval crews currently blockaded in port – surrender or be stormed.

  56. kao_hsien_chih says:

    By that definition, hardly any “democratic” government in the world can escape that definition….

  57. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I think the Taliban may well be awash in abandoned US equipment (I doubt we’ll have the chance to blow everything up, although I figure most of the weapons will be destroyed) in not too distant future….

  58. kao_hsien_chih says:

    If so, Russians may well be fully within their treaty rights, or at least, will have legal basis to claim so. I believe they are allowed up to 30,000 men around their military installations in Crimea and Kremlin lawyers may well find semi-legal justifications (force protection etc) for their actions….

  59. charly says:

    Problem is that Iran is not a very religious country, you get that when religious leaders rule the country, so any revolution or coup will trow away those principles but not their view on the West.

  60. MRW says:

    “The US fiat currency is all very nice, but not everybody has a lot of faith in its sustainability.”
    That’s like saying no one has had any faith in the “full faith and credit of the US government” since 1934 (when we went off gold domestically. The purchase of gold by central banks around the world recently (40% of all gold purchases) is because it is not on the balance books as an expense. It’s an asset; it is the one thing Greece, for example, can buy without asking the EU for permission…so do you blame them?
    Gold went to $1900/oz when Chavez was asking for his gold back from the Federal Reserve, and the anticipation that it might not be there. It was. So gold dropped to $1100/oz. It is hardly the sustainable base for a currency with that kind of volatility. We went off gold in 1934 because whoever owned the gold, controlled us.

  61. Kevin says:

    This is going to be very fun to watch. Islamic militants killing Russians is my favorite spectator sport. It is learned taste to watch two former adversaries go toe to toe. I’ll side with the moral decisiveness of the guerrilla any day. See 1 Samuel 17

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