VIDEO: Yellow Journalism & The Demand Drought
When it comes down to cases, Russia cares a lot more about Ukraine than the United States does. That's the fundamental truth underlying this whole situation, and everyone on both sides knows this. The opposite was true during the Cuban missile crisis. The US had far more of a direct interest in Cuba than Russia did.
If faced with the ultimate challenge, Obama – or any US leader – would back down on a nuclear confrontation over Ukraine with Russia, simply because in the final analysis, we just don't care all that much. All our thoughts about "policy" and "precedent" would go right out the window. A face-saving solution would be found, we'd declare some sort of 1972 Vietnam-style victory and then go home.
So my thought is, why even bother "going there" (or heck, why even head in that general direction) in the first place if you know where the moves will all end up? Just look ahead on the chessboard half a dozen moves, see where it will all lead, summon some political courage and abandon the effort before someone's nose really gets rubbed in the poop. One possible solution: "OMG ISIS is a huge problem!" Pivot the news cycle to Iraq, quietly tell Yats he has to settle on autonomy for eastern Ukraine, or else he's out. Western Europe will breathe a huge sigh of relief. Eastern Europe may not be nearly so happy.
Putin is a man who believes that hard power solves problems. Russian people are historically adept at weathering hard times. Contrast that with Germany and especially France; "what, work more than 35 hours per week? Revolution first!" If push comes to shove, Europe will fold long before Russia does on this matter. No gas revenues may cause problems, but honestly, the Russian people overall are a lot better at sucking up bad news and weathering storms than people in the west. And historically, external threats always unite people against their perceived attacker. And at the end of the day – we really just don't care about Ukraine.
We should just look a few moves ahead, examine the balance of forces, and see where this all will inevitably end up. Is that too much to ask?
and I respect them very much for their examples to us. They went through an insolvency in our generation, and Putin seems to have them all running in the same direction, so kudos to him. My hope, direct our affairs elsewhere and quietly set this aside through negotiations and give this one to Putin. No big deal which aligns me with your over all thoughts Dave. Truth is, I haven't read anything from you that fundamentally I disagree with. How refreshing. JP
Thanks for your kind words JP.
I don't think "giving this one to Putin" is consequence-free for him. The more territory he ends up grabbing, the more he will end up alarming his neighbors and pushing them further towards the west, re-invigorating NATO (which took a month to get it together enough to bomb nearby third-world-Libya), and generally looking like the Russian Menace of old.
Perhaps that's the intent of the US Deep State in all this. Place Putin in a position where he predictably growls and grabs territory that we ultimately don't care about in order to spin up NATO and the west once again. I don't think its a great idea, but the US defense budget is being cut, so perhaps I'm just not seeing things from their side clearly enough.
Here's an article from Stars & Stripes, dated April 2013, which provides some perspective. Right now, NATO struggles to scrape up a multi-nation "rapid reaction force" of brigade strength. At the peak of the cold war, NATO had 20 armored divisions (there are 3-4 brigades per division) stationed in Germany.
The doctrine states that the USA must not allow any other Power in the world, therefore as a logical consequence the world is committed to nuclear holocaust. (Good one, Left Brain).
So it is not me that is mad. It is the rest of you. The world is clinically insane. The more insane, the more talented. You don't get to the top by being normal.
the webs we weave to deceive is at work in spades, and again I agree that there's more (always) to these games than meets the eye.
I have spoken to the mother of the third child. She is Moldovan with strong connections to the Ukraine. This is a Slav on Slav war, and both sides point the finger of blame at the USA.
The propaganda war might convince a minority of patriots in the West, but the dung won't stick on Slavs.
I would love to be a fly on the wall at a Serbian family gathering.
Here is a detailed, if somewhat dated article on Putin's reign.
I think that other then what seemed like some annoyance at the undignified collapse of Ukraine's pro-Russian government and looking a little self conscious when Crimea jumped into his lap and gave him a big, slobbery, kiss on the lips, he has been playing this thing with a great deal of precision and skill. The tone of Obama's voice and the cast of his shoulders during his last appearance suggested a man that is hoping that he will be allowed to walk away, hat in hand, without specifically asking to be excused. As fall turns in to winter, the temperature falls and the pressure mounts, it will be interesting to see of Putin magnanimously settles for autonomy for Ukraine's eastern provinces, or is going to play hardball and demand that Germany come to his bed as a concubine.
The United States, on the other hand, was unable to maintain control of Iraq, won't be able to maintain control of Afghanistan, was unable to influence Israel and is more and more apparently becoming irrelevant in Europe. We are ignorant, broke, and have a delusional sense of entitlement.
I am finding this all to be fascinating. It used to be terrifying. After a great deal of analysis I realized that the likelihood of my surviving a grid down shit storm was essentially zero, now anything less then that looks pretty good.
Looking forward to seeing what happens next,
Hi John G,
While you make it clear that you admire Putin for his skill, there is some lack of clarity about the difference between Putin's skill and his goodness among the comment sections in the alternative media. In some of these threads (e.g. ZeroHedge) many commenters cheer Putin on as if he were a hero, apparently because they are frustrated with Obama – or US policy in general – and see Putin as the anti-Obama.
Putin is probably ahead of the US/Obama in terms of strategy and positioning, although he has an easier time with this because he's operating in a sphere of influence very close to his political and military power base whereas the West is reaching almost certainly beyond its area of influence. Also, he is not as overextended or as willing to take on risk as American foreign policy seems to be, partly because Russia experienced a type of defeat in 1989, whereas many in the West claimed that we "won."
But admiring someone for political or strategic skill or ability is very different than admiring someone for their goodness. I think I'd reserve the use of the term "admire" with respect to political leaders only when they're doing something that I considered to exceptionally and clearly good, which means that I don't use that term very often in a national political context. 🙂
I might use the term "admire" to describe the skills of carpenters or basketball players or musicians, but I can't say that I find skillful political maneuvering very admirable unless it's for an exceptionally worthy cause, such as Gandhi's peaceful independence movement.
For better or for worse, skill in politics often entails a lot of very un-admirable and Machiavellian lapses in honesty, corrupt bargains and even violations of human rights. Anyone familiar with Putin's leadership is aware that his regime has engaged in all of the above on several occasions.
Another example of Putin's effectiveness is his cultivation of his image in a way that carries some echoes of the the cult of personality that Krushchev warned against. Playing the macho-man and raining bombs upon Grozny may be popular among the majority of Russians, but it's not admirable.
According to Machiavelli's criteria, Putin is a more successful prince than the current leadership in Washington only because he is more effective. However, this says nothing about Putin's goodness.
I am content to admire the good qualities of the people and culture of both the US and Russia and at the same time very much mistrust the political regimes in these superpowers.
I certainly agree with the significance that you attribute to the conflict. While it seems that most contracting or collapsing civilizations fall into rivalry and warfare (as if expanding societies didn't also do this…), I hope that we can stave off another massive war for at least a few more decades, if not longer. Here's to hoping…
I can offer no opinion as to the "goodness" of Mr Putin, I have no personal experience of him. He does seem to be an effective politician and tactician.
I don't think that many will dispute the value among humans of the quality of "goodness". I am concerned that we are heading into a time when the evidence would seem to suggest that some substantial portion of the human race is going to go away, one way or another. It would be nice if we could get together as a species and agree to limit our population growth to one fifth of zero population growth for a couple of generations, but I don't think it's likely.
So, recognizing that the world is heading into a very dangerous time, I think it hardly surprising that people in the west might envy the Russians. For my part, I think it would be reassuring to look to the helm and see a steely eyed person with apparent confidence and skill, piloting the ship of state, rather then the three ring circus of finger pointing, name calling buffoons that we seem to be blessed with as "leaders".