Russia appears preparing to invade rest of Ukraine

Ukraine is quickly spinning out of control, as it increasingly looks like Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an ongoing effort to recreate a mini-me version of the Soviet Union, is preparing to invade the industry-rich eastern region of the country, and annex it, as he did Crimea.

A number of “pro-Russian” men in masks took over several Ukrainian government buildings this past weekend in the key eastern Ukraine cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv.

The men, whom everyone presumes to be (and the US government has openly accused of) working for the Russians, proceeded to set the buildings on fire and then declared independence.

They’re demanding a similar faux-referendum like the Russians held in Crimea.  In the Crimean referendum the two choices on the ballot were “secede from Ukraine” or “secede from Ukraine and join Russia.”  Seriously.  And join Russia won by a whopping 97% or so!  It was an Easter miracle!

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government finally sent special forces in to begin clearing the buildings, and the Russians responded by demanding the Ukrainian government stop trying to take their own government offices back. Here’s the Twitter feed of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:


There are a few things going on here.  First, the Russians invaded and annexed Crimea under the pretext of “rescuing” ethnic Russians from “anarchy” and “fascists.” In fact, Crimea was doing fine – the protests were in Kiev – and no one was threatened by anyone.  Now the Russians are using the same arguments in eastern Ukraine, which suggests that they’re laying the groundwork for a possible invasion.

Second, note the logic of the Russians.  Either the Ukrainian government must let Russian provocateurs take over all government buildings in eastern Ukraine and declare independence, or Russia will take take any effort by the Ukrainian government to defend its own territory as basically an act of war, and a sign that Russia simply must invade and annex anyway. Fait accompli.

The former US ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul – who just left that post recently – expressed concern last night about the increasingly hostile Russian language:


And the Russians are now claiming that US mercenaries are already in Ukraine helping the opposition.

I have a general rule of politics. If you want to do something, think it would be to your advantage, but are afraid the bad guys will get upset, and then the bad guys start accusing you of it anyway, then perhaps it’s time to simply do it.

Polls have consistently showed that Americans don’t want our government getting involved militarily in Ukraine.  And that’s understandable. Americans are weary of war. They’re tired of the several trillion dollars wasted on Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, and are not looking forward to another conflict.  And I’m not suggesting we send in American tanks.  Though there is that little inconvenient agreement, the Budapest Memorandum, that the US signed along with Britain in 1994, that guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity vis-a-vis the Russians in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nukes (big mistake, Ukraine). Here’s the thing: If Ukraine isn’t “strategically significant” to America and Europe, and we don’t plan on defending the country, then don’t sign treaties guaranteeing to come to their aid if they’re invaded. It’s not just tacky, it’s a great recipe for no country trusting our word ever again, and it doesn’t do a heck of a lot to promote nuclear disarmament, or deter nuclear proliferation, either.

But if the Ukrainians put up a fight this time, rather than simply letting the Russians walk in and annex their territory, which the Ukrainians understandably let the Russians do in Crimea, hoping that would be enough to appease Moscow (it wasn’t), I think American and European public opinion might just change.

Pro-Russian "separatists" raise the Russian flag over Ukrainian government buildings they've occupied in eastern Ukraine.

Pro-Russian “separatists” raise the Russian flag over Ukrainian government buildings they’ve occupied in eastern Ukraine.

If the Ukrainians are smart, they’ll make sure that every Ukrainian in the eastern part of the country has their cell phones ready to record and upload video and photos of the Russian attack.  (And figure out a way now to get the videos out if the Russians cut Internet services.)  If the Ukrainian military fights back, it will be bloody – and those images and videos will likely outrage the world.  And while that may not mean the EU or the US will send troops, it will mean that whatever response there is from the world will be a heck of a lot more than it will be at present.

At some point, Ukraine needs to recognize that playing nice with the Russians isn’t going to save them.  Their country is being Finlandized and cannibalized before their eyes.  At this point, it’s looking increasingly clear that the Russians won’t stop until they have eastern Ukraine and possibly Kiev, before moving on to other neighbors in the region, and possibly even Scandinavia and the Baltic region.  If the US and Europe won’t sufficiently come to their aid, then the Ukrainians need to change their PR strategy in order to change the dynamic and force America and Europe to act.

You know who else needs to change their PR strategy? The virtually-silent Ukrainian-American community. It’s time to take a lesson from the gays, and stop with the cute little friendly protests. You need to act up, or you’re going to lose your ancestral homeland (again).

Imagine the response when a Ukrainian babusya, looking like the off-the-boat grandma of far too many Americans, holds up a sign saying “Obama, Merkel, Cameron and Hollande: Why have you abandoned us?,” and is then shot by Russian troops, and video of the atrocity spreads around the world.

I don’t want to see anyone killed.  But at this point, peace is going to lead to one guaranteed casualty: Ukraine.

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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173 Responses to “Russia appears preparing to invade rest of Ukraine”

  1. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Nuclear war? Then Putin is insane.

  2. Alexey says:

    You must be insane if EU or US sends in Boots it’ll be nuclear war …. so no metter how many videos someone can post of Russian tanks in Ukraine there will never be international boots on the ground …… what i think is going to happen is Russia will invade take the fake coop apointed by the West Goverment that’s in place now throw them in jail unless they run to US before that happens ….. then the Russians will do a fair and free democratic election and go home all in i say 3months tops. Bang Putin is on top and this will be the best way to bring real Democracy to a country.

  3. Metro Issues says:

    It makes perfect sense, to Ford Prefect. He is better than all of us, and gets to talk in his own special language, to himself.

  4. ronbo says:

    So was that your apology for trying to mislead us into thinking Saddam’s puny military was bigger than that of the USA? (17:1 smaller) Sorry, the bad link was to an image showing Iraq surrounded on all sides by US Military bases.

    And you may not understand it fully; but, the USA has hundreds of bases throughout the world (as the link shows), Most of those bases exist on the border of other countries. While we don’t have a base in Pakistan; we can and do launch our drone strikes from the bases across the border. That’s pretty standard these days.

    And yes, the USA supplied the ingredients in nerve gas to Iraq. There are even pictures of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam at the signing of the agreement. I know, I know, there are right-wingers who say we didn’t. But then they also say Reagan didn’t arm the Contras.

    Here’s another link…

    You must not remember how truly corrupt the Reagan Administration was.

  5. Badgerite says:

    Your last link was no good. Error found.
    Your fist link had a list of bases which included all of the bases in the United States.
    No. The US did not supply nerve gas. Quite a few firms in Europe did, particularly German firms, some Italian and British.
    What the US supplied was logistical information gathered by satellite and at a time when it was aware that this information would be used to target Iranian troops and those attacks would involve the Iraqi store of chemical weapons.
    According to Foreign Policy article of August 26,2013 entitled:
    Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam As He Gassed Iran.
    The ‘help’ is logistical information as to where the Iranian troops were massing and the fact that the CIA was aware that Saddam has used his chemical arsenal, had evidence of this, and provided logistical support anyway.
    Also this information is cleaned from Wikipedia entry:
    If the link is no good just google: Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction – Wikipedia.
    Said article also notes that at that time, Russia was the main supplier of weaponry and armaments to Iraq. (Can you say ‘Scud Missle’)
    There is this one entry in the Wikipedia article:
    “The United States exported support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War over $500 million worth of dual use exports to Iraq that were approved by the Commerce Department. Among them were advanced computers, some of which were used in Iraq’s nuclear program. The non-profit American Type Culture Collection and the Center for Disease Control sold or sent biological samples of anthrax, west Nile virus, and botulism to Iraq up until 1989, which Iraq claimed it needed for medical research. A number of these materials were used for Iraq’s biological weapons research program, while others were used for vaccine development.”
    So basically, Russia was the supplier for armaments, tanks, missiles, etc.
    Europe and specifically German firms were up to their eyeballs in Iraqi programs for production of sarin and VX gas.
    What America supplied for the attacks on Iranian troops was logistical information. And they withheld evidence which they possessed that would have supported the Iranian claims at the UN. The articles also make mention of the fact that the CIA also had evidence of Soviet use of Sarin gas in Afghanistan. (But I digress)
    And when the Soviet Union fell, Saddam Hussein, sitting on a cushion of oil, and a substantially built up military, industrial complex of his own ( I still remember a British citizen of Iraqi birth who was a journalist and sought to report on sensitive nuclear facilities in Iraq being executed by the Saddam regime in spite of pleas from the British. Tariq Aziz literally said on an interview show, “Yes we will send him home. In a pine box.” And they did.)
    He made a play for power in the gulf by invading Kuwait. (Oil in today’s world it power.) And the US knew what this man was capable of and therefore set in motion events to take him down. If they hadn’t, this regime, which had no problem with the use of chemical and biological , not to mention nuclear weapons, on civilian populations and the controller of substantial oil reserves in the gulf, would be in charge of the middle east today.
    And this has exactly what to do with the situation in the Ukraine?

  6. Skip says:

    So what would USA prefer Slaughter of Russian speaking Crimean,s? As happened when US invaded Iraq and holped in the Chaos of now Libya and presently Arming and Training Al Qaeda to overthrow Assad? at what cost USA? USA not happy unless death and destruction continues? Peace is not profitable eh?

  7. ronbo says:

    Not a single survey shows less than 90% support. So please stop your propagandizing.

    You well know that fraud and intimidation could be said about elections in the US – so casting unfounded aspersions is not what a reasonable person does. Choosing to use loaded terminology like “In a fair election,,,” is repugnant. You can’t and don’t identify anything specific or causal.

    Stop being the ugly American who thinks they know what’s best for Crimeans. Give that ugly American war-boner a rest.

  8. FLL says:

    I’m not denying that ethnic Russians have a 60% majority in Crimea today and have had a majority since the Soviet period (mainly due to the Crimean Tatars being starved to death, deported or mass murdered by the Soviet government during the first half of the twentieth century). I’m also not denying that the pro-Russian vote would have won in a fair election with international observers. After all, a 60% majority in Crimea certainly guarantees victory in this case. I’m only noting that the election itself was marred by fraud and intimidation. That’s way I paused when you said how impressed you were by the results of last month’s election.

  9. ronbo says:

    Not at all true. You need to read outside the USA media.

    Just because you have a hate-hardon for Putin, doesn’t mean that you can fudge the facts. Crimeans were Russian for a very long time and the support was overwhelming by every single account. Every poll taken confirms this… every single one.

    But go ahead and tell them that you know what’s best for them. Support democracy around the world by denying their overwhelming vote. Typical.

  10. ronbo says:

    One would have to be a tumescent wang with limited bloodflow to believe “Saddam Hussein at one time had the largest standing army on earth.” The good ole’ USA has 2,280,875 persons in the military while Iraq’s largest army was 271,400. Of course I’m using the numbers from when Iraq was at war with Iran using good ole’ USA-supplied nerve gas.

    You might consider that the USA has Iran surrounded on every border with bases. What’s our plan? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  11. FLL says:

    I know that you provided a link to the article by Jack Rasmus on Common Dreams, but just to be helpful, I’ve found a second website where the Jack Rasmus article is posted—Voice of Russia, the Kremlin’s official international radio broadcasting service. Ahem…

    I hope Jack Rasmus enjoys his complementary villa in Yalta. Way to go, dula. :)

  12. FLL says:

    “Back Into the Closet for Crimeans”

    Huffo has an interesting piece today about gay and lesbians Crimeans who may be pushed back into the closet as a result of union with Putin’s Russia. As for Putin’s champions on this blog, it’s always worth asking who will benefit from their advice.

    Q: If Putin’s policies win out in Crimea and elsewhere, who benefits?
    A: Homophobes.

    Virtually every one of the Putin supporters on this blog opposes Americans that they generically describe as Democrats.

    Q: If progressives don’t vote in the U.S. this year and in the future, and Republicans win instead, who benefits?
    A: Homophobes.

    Check out the Huffpo article below. In any case, it is always, always worth asking who benefits. The parlor game is called Connect the Dots. Pick any of your favorite Support-Putin-but-Don’t-Vote commenters on Americablog and play Connect the Dots. It’s an easier game to play than you think.

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    The US signed several treaties with native nations during the war of independence, and promptly broke them.

    They haven’t looked back since.

  14. Naja pallida says:

    We are already in violation of the Montreux Convention, which limits how long non-Black Sea states can keep their naval vessels in the Black Sea to 21 days. The USS Truxtun has been in the region since March 5th.

  15. Bill_Perdue says:

    It was the Stalinists deformations of the USSR and the cold war that caused the collapse of the USSR.

    The Stalinists threw out the baby, a workers state, with the fetid bath water of bureaucratic corruption. They will never be forgiven by the left.

  16. Bill_Perdue says:

    I hope they do back down, as they did in Georgia when Bush learned the military meaning of “A Bridge Too Far” and that no one has an itchy trigger finger, especially on the USS Donald Cook, which will be in Black Sea soon.

    I hope the officers of the Cook exercise better sense than the officers of the USS Vincennes, who shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988, murdering all 290 passengers, among whom were 66 children.

    That was awful, but an attack on units of the Russian Black Sea Fleet would be a disaster.

  17. Ford Prefect says:

    The “theory” is simply one of convenience. We back Nazis because they’re fanatical and “can get things done.” Wishy washy liberals are not so reliable as those weaing wolfangels. We’re willing to give them power (as we did in Greece as well) because let’s face it: there are a lot of outright fascists in DC these days. They love them some Pinochet and can’t stop trying to rehabilitate his sick persona. They love Columbia, with all the horrors there. They love the Saudis and the Egyptian junta. What they don’t love is democracy, even as they claim to promote it… and with devastating results ALWAYS.

    I still think the administration will back down, while acting like they aren’t. They fucked up again, so they’re whole schtick is about domestic politics and saving face. A massive bogeyman helps with that. NATO’s rhetoric is likely diminishing their legitimacy in Europe, which is fine. Their mission ended in 1989.

  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    Agreed. The irrationality of the warmongers is getting more frenzied as it becomes clearer that their calls for war are of little consequence and that Obama is ignoring them.

    I don’t hold with the theory that a little fascism and a little anti-Semitism are not so bad as long as is serves the interests of Goldman Sachs and the Deutsche Bundesbank. As for the fascists in IMF occupied eastern Ukraine, surely they and other Ukrainians know that they can only go do far without consequences. Today, they’re threatening military action the western Ukraine. Hopefully, like the Austrians in 1914, they won’t be able to precipitate a larger conflict.

    I’m too young to get vaporized.

  19. Ford Prefect says:

    This is a bald faced lie:

    The Nazi stuff is pure propaganda.

    Lemme guess, you’re a closeted nazi sympathizer. Well, those of us who lost family to the Gestapo know better than you do, apparently. When we see people wearing wolfangels, we know what it means, even if you don’t. You can claim the thousands of photos are all faked, but that doesn’t wash.

    Your tired cold war clichés are made more than apparent by the fact you completely deny US/NATO had any part in the current strife. Denying that role altogether means you’re just a third rate propagandist. Denying NATO’s expansionist policy in the face of weekly declarations from NATO saying it intends to expand into Ukraine is childish. Unhinged, even. If you’re unwilling to admit even what NATO admits every day, then your agit-prop is pretty dumb.

    US vs. Them. Okay. Them evil empire. Us “good guys” and FREEDUMB. Got it. No discussion of strategic interests, as that complicates things. Blanket denials about seven decades of US policy in Ukraine, because you think we’re all illiterate. No admission of a new government (coups are only legitimate when the US is behind them!) that is just as bad and corrupt as the last one and already represents a failed state. Basically, you’re just a Neo-Con of the dementia addled John McCain variety, so you probably work at the State Dept. or Brookings, amiright? Maybe you’re Michael O’Hanlon’s gofer.

    I’m just glad you’re not running the Pentagon, or we would all have to kiss our asses goodbye right quick. They understand what you are avoiding at all costs, so at least they might make better decisions. I don’t know why you are promoting hot war over their preferred Cold War Two-Point-D’oh, but I assume there’s a reason for it somewhere.

  20. Ford Prefect says:

    Actually, many of the comments here remind me of Goebbels. Now that Nazis are once again in power in Europe, it’s time to chuck Godwin’s Law in the circular file. I don’t know if they’ll stay in power and consolidate, or if they’ll meet another fate, but they’re there and they control the security services.

    It’s disturbing to see apparatchiks displaying this kind of irrational bloodlust. What’s worse is the call themselves “Democrats.” It’s a helluva way to advertise that there really is no difference between the parties though.

  21. Naja pallida says:

    Almost everything to do with Cold War Russophobia was based on lies. Our very own propaganda. The idea that they were surpassing us technologically, had more bombers than us, would beat us to the moon, had agents in every corner of American life, were poised to overrun western Europe with tanks, etc, etc… when the Soviet Union collapsed upon itself, all those lies were laid bare, and we saw a country falling apart at the seams. Yet, some people still don’t want to accept it. We’re still paying billions for our military to continue to be in position as if it were all true, as if Stalin could suddenly rise from the grave and start all over again.

  22. Badgerite says:

    Really? Which 100 countries would that be? France? Germany?
    Perhaps people forget. But Iraq had attacked at least two of its neighbors before the Second and last Iraq War and the First Iraq war was one that was voted on by the UN. Saddam Hussein at one time had the largest standing army on earth.
    What exactly is Putin massing troops on the border with Eastern Ukraine for?
    Is he afraid they’ll invade?

  23. FLL says:

    Most of the world denounced the election in Crimea as a sham. The ballot, after all, offered no real choice: leave Ukraine or join Russia. That doesn’t sound very democratic to me. Why does that choice sound democratic to you? Beyond that, there was the widely reported spectacle of the Russian government printing far more ballots than needed for the number of registered voters. The Russian-backed Crimean authorities declared that there was an 83% voter turnout and 96.7% voted to join Russia outright in spite of the fact that only 60% of Crimeans are Russian, the rest being Ukrainian and Tatar, both of which groups are opposed to union with Russia. That’s right. 37% of Ukraine is Ukrainian or Tatar, yet only 3% voted against union with Russia. The entire farce was widely denounced as fraudulent, and yet you can say that you are somehow impressed and still keep a straight face? Now explain why anyone should take further comments from you seriously.

  24. ronbo says:

    So you can’t give them the finger where you are in that voting booth?!? You must have selectively forgotten that they considered themselves long, loooong before they were Crimean.

    If you equate massing troops with invasion, then your good ole USA is on the brink of invading over 100 countries! That’s not a good argument… we DO invade and reign war upon a good share of those countries.

    What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  25. FLL says:

    “Yats & Co. are making out like bandits and they’ll probably be living high on the hog in London in a few months.”

    There is ample documentation of Yanukovych emptying the Ukrainian treasury to his benefit and using taxpayer money to build a palatial estate in his own name (cf. the White House or Élysée Palace, which American and French presidents don’t retain when they leave office because they are national property). Your statement about Yatsenyuk, which I quoted above, is quite an accusation of personal enrichment at taxpayer expense. Could you please cite a source for that?

  26. goulo says:

    It does NOT say that the US and UK must send in troops, although many saber-rattling people keep repeating that it does. (Probably in many cases sincerely believing that it does, since everyone keeps saying that it does, and few people probably actually go READ the agreement.)

    It obligates the cosigners not to invade Ukraine. Of course Russia has broken that promise.

    It obligates the US and UK to take the matter to the UN Security Council in case something like Russia’s invasion happens. Which of course is rather worthless, given that superpowers like the US and Russia have veto power anyway, so if the UN decides anything which Russia doesn’t like, Russia can just veto it. (Just like the US repeatedly does, after all.)

    So basically the “assurance” of protection seems rather useless, and Ukraine probably shouldn’t have signed it, alas.

  27. goulo says:

    Why not? Unjustified imperialistic aggression by countries is bad, whether it’s done by Russia or the US or whoever.

  28. Bill_Perdue says:

    That may expresses the intentions of NATO leaders but all the empires that fought in WW1 expressed the same delusional thoughts about war.

  29. Bill_Perdue says:

    That’s not a disease limited to Obama. It’s epidemic among Democrat politicians and some of their followers. It’s why the Democrats are tomorrows Whigs.

  30. Bill_Perdue says:

    Many of the comments here represent a revival of cold war Russophobia, Originally the right wing Russophobia of Democrats and Republicans was based on the mistaken belief that Stalinism represented some sort of leftist threat to the rich. It didn’t. Stalinism has always been for accommodating to the rich and many of them in the US entered the Democrat party to ‘reform’ it. They were, of course, delusional and soon disappeared, giving up all pretense of being ‘progressives’ and sank into the sewer.

    Right wing Russophobia remains intact today even though Russia is now a capitalist country with most of the same problems faced by the US – economic chaos, bogotries like racism and it’s twins, homohating and misogyny, the rise of the rabid right, the movement of the main political parties, the Democrats and Untied Russia to the right, escalating attacks on civil liberties and an economy geared to empire building.

    Both Obama and Putin, while they jostle for influence, are responding to the same problem, which is that modern capitalist societies are in their death agony, torn to pieces by the insane greed of the rich, wars of aggression and the bigoted hatreds they unleash to divide and conquer the growing opposition of their opponents, the socialist and the union left.

  31. Badgerite says:

    Recreating ALL of the Cold War era military organizations would involve Russian troops rolling into Poland, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria and re-installing Moscow compliant regimes.
    They called it the Warsaw Pact.

    I believe that what John is suggesting is that resistance should be “offered” to attempts by Putin to recreate the Soviet empire.

  32. Badgerite says:

    Putin was, indeed, a member of the KGB in the Soviet Union. And he certainly exists.
    And he has recently made clear that he viewed its demise as a catastrophe. Another words, he would have no problem with trying to recreate the Soviet Union. Almost exactly as it was. The Warsaw Pact dissolved because it wasn’t a ‘pact’ at all. It was, for all intents and purposes, an occupation. Its members were satellite countries whose people did not control their own political and economic choices. Moscow did. And when any of those countries tried to assert any level of real independence, in rolled the Russian tanks. Those countries that were former members of the Warsaw Pact are the very countries that petitioned for entry into NATO. They wanted that protection from their former occupiers re-occupying them.
    It you will recall Iraq, it involved, according to Bush, a ‘Coalition of the Willing’.
    He had to put it that way because most of NATO was most assuredly not willing and did not participate. NATO, as an organization, did supply some training for Iraqi troops much later in the conduct of the occupation. But the organization never voted for or authorized participation in the Iraq War.
    At least at the end, you admit that the Ukraine was “invaded”. Your words.

  33. Olterigo says:

    Last week’s Ukrainian joke:

    Kerry to President Obama: Mr. President, I have two pieces of news for you: a good one and a bad one. Which one would you like to hear first?
    P.Obama: Let’s start with the bad one.
    Kerry: Putin has taken over Eastern Ukraine.
    P.Obama: What’s the good one?
    Kerry: We managed to ban Putin on Twitter.

  34. Badgerite says:

    Putin is currently demonstrating exactly why NATO exists. Russia is going backwards. And that was always a possibility.

  35. Badgerite says:

    No, I’m not suggesting anything of the kind. This is Putin’s baby. He has been controlling it from day one. And he can stop it. Any time. And if he does not. There will be consequences to Russia. I agree with John, that what Putin and Russia are doing is bullying the Ukraine. The Nazi stuff is pure propaganda. Transparent propaganda at that. You say ‘Neo Nazi’ and ‘Putsch’ a little too much for that not to be studied.
    But no, this did not start as something that was about NATO. At least not for the Ukrainians. For them it was about blatant theft and corruption. About lifestyle and an open political system. And economics. Putin has made it about NATO because the real fact is Putin has been able to control the politics of the Ukraine until now. Now that he no longer controls the politics , he has to make it about NATO to justify a military buildup. And that buildup is necessary to reassert control, just like it always was in the old Soviet Unions satellite states, the ‘Warsaw Pact’.
    I’m sure I am aware that there are “other people involved”. And those are the people who do not want to live under the control of a rather repressive and regressive central government in Moscow. They are willing to make a stand. And I believe we should and we will support them.

  36. Badgerite says:


  37. Ford Prefect says:

    Indeed. And anyone who thinks “liberals” aren’t just as bloodthirsty as their GOP fellow-travelers should read this thread. I just wish our American nomenklatura were more intelligent or educated.

  38. Ford Prefect says:

    And also being sponsored by Miller Lite!

  39. Badgerite says:

    Just saw Pussy Riot on Charlie Rose show. Apparently the state controlled propaganda in Russia goes the whole 9 yards and just equates the US with Neo Nazi.
    now. Which is ridiculous.
    I can see why Putin is scared of these women. They are very impressive.
    Exceedingly brave and idealistic.
    Also the singer who sang at the Protests in Kiev and refused to leave the stage even when her life was threatened. She is not a Neo Nazi.

  40. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Look, that RT stuff isn’t going to fly with most of us. We’ve seen too many “Operation Pedophilia” videos to believe the Russian line. Call me when Russia has a Gay pride parade and Central Station reopens. Until then the fascists are the Russians.

  41. Naja pallida says:

    I wouldn’t worry, I’m sure Exxon would be happy to buy it and “launder” it to hide its origin and still bring it to market.

  42. dula says:

    No, apparently to “liberals,” that February EU power sharing plan where the elections would be moved up to vote (NO! democracy) Yanukovych out of office and pull back the police (which allowed the neo-Nazis to seize power and force him out in a coup inspired by American Victoria Nuland) was unreasonable. Also unreasonable was that Yanukovych refused the IMF bailout (now resulting in horrible austerity for ordinary Ukrainians )
    in favor of the more economically gentle offer from Russia ( )

    The whole Crimea thing wouldn’t have happened if the US simply allowed Ukrainians to vote their oligarch out office rather than installing corrupted oligarchs (with the help of neo-Nazis) favored by the West. Some people want violence and chaos because Stalin was once a bad man.

  43. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    But they would have a very hard time finding someone to buy their natural gas

  44. Ford Prefect says:

    In Vietnam and elsewhere, US proxies fought Soviet proxies. What you are suggesting here is US proxies fighting Russians directly, assuming the war won’t spill over into neighboring countries, create a massive migration (you know, refugees) and all the various economic and human rights disasters that go along with that. We know very well, of course, that that is exactly what will happen. Perhaps finally then NATO will be disbanded like it should have been 20 years ago.

    A war by any other name is still a war and it’s the height of foolishness to think our Ukrainian proxies will be able to do the job, much less do so without Bosnia-level ethnic cleansing. Let’s remember what happened there before we push it elsewhere, okay?

    Also, let’s jettison this whole “Russian aggression” thing, because the US has spent $5 Billion playing footsie with Ukrainian Nazis for decades with the intent of destabilizing Ukraine and expanding NATO into that benighted country. This is as much about NATO Expansionism as any thing else, which is why most sentient beings on Earth understand there are no good guys in this drama.

    The Ukrainian military has largely disintegrated for perfectly understandable reasons and there seem to be many, not least of which is a lot of them refuse to take orders from Nazis (who now control the military) and deserted. So who is going to fight this war on our behalf? That’s one question in need of an answer. And what shall they fight for? That’s another great question, actually. NATO will no more accept Ukrainian neutrality than Russia will, so it’s just a tug of war between two great powers with those poor people left to do all the dying so a bunch of addled American fanatics can swing their dicks around once more. Freedom? Ha! One cannot be free when one is starving. You really think we’re going to blow tens of billions of US dollars on that black hole, while we’re closing schools and fire stations at home? You really think whatever money we do send will not simply end up in Swiss bank accounts?

    “We are in this, like it or not,” means nothing, except to suggest the old Sunk Cost Fallacy at work once again. Sure, “we’re” in it. Not for any good reason, mind you, but yeah, we’re in it. There is no compelling US national interest, although our banks and Big Ag corporations wish to do some looting. UKR is of no strategic value to the US, or western Europe, for that matter.

    As for pledges, I assume you are referring to our “credibility,” as the other NeoCons put it. Um, if there’s one thing this country is really, really good at, it’s flushing its moral authority and credibility down the toilet. The current putsch government in UKR will not survive the austerity it is inflicting on the people. They said so themselves. So again, who are our “partners” in UKR and precisely what credibility do they have? Another question that goes ignored by the War At Any Cost Crowd.

    This isn’t some college dorm Risk game, you know. There are other people involved who may very well not do what they’re told by us, or the Russians for that matter. I realize the elites want another Cold War, but the vast majority of Americans don’t want it, especially when they realize it could become a very hot war. So along with “credibility,” our elites are also flushing their legitimacy down the toilet as well.

    I appreciate the effort being made to say, “No troops on the ground,” but that’s a tired cliche at this point. You can’t have it both ways. War means boots on the ground. Even a so-called “air strikes only” package means boots on the ground. And if you’re not willing to make a realistic assessment about all the various consequences, then you have no business promoting conflict.

  45. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    The Mitrovica Serbs lost their right to really complain when they participated in the ethnic cleansing of the Kosovars. The Mitrovica issue is pretty much inside baseball. Usually people who advocate for the Mitrovican Serbs are Russian propagandists.

    If there were any legitimate claims of abuse of Crimea’s Russians by Ukraine, then that might help Russia’s case. But there haven’t been any.

  46. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Yea and Obama supported the War in Iraq? Oh, he didn’t and got us out as quick as he could.

  47. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    I would hope that your assessment of Ukraine’s military is correct. My sources (not insider) told me that Ukraine had less than 5,000 combat ready troops.

  48. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Are you an RT plant? Putsch? Please.

  49. Naja pallida says:

    Putin’s best hope is to occupy small areas, and be a generalized nuisance to Ukraine… exactly like what he is still doing in Georgia. Which, of course, nobody is really talking about anymore. I think he just likes all the attention, and the idea that he’s baffled the world, and has everyone guessing what he’ll do next.

  50. MyrddinWilt says:

    Putin’s position is a lot weaker than he thinks. The invasion of Crimea was easy because the Russians had more troops in Crimea than Ukraine and the Ukrainian government had been in power for less than a week. Invasion of Ukraine would mean casualties, a lot of them and they would continue for as long as Russia continued any occupation.

    Ukraine has 100,000 troops and a million more reserves. They also have home field advantage. Putin can’t move troops out of Crimea easily, there are only two roads. Ukraine would likely cut the power and water at the start of hostilities. Take too many troops out of Crimea and they might find they lose control there.

    Unlike the US soldiers entering Iraq, the Russians have not been preparing the invasion for years. They thought Ukraine solidly on their side until a few weeks ago. They don’t have the logistics chain to support their occupation. Russia has already lost the element of surprise. Ukraine has been preparing for an invasion for several weeks now.

    The US killed 500,000 Iraqis in the invasion of Iraq. Which the US was able to do because the racist US polity really doesn’t count Arabs as people. Putin would find it very difficult to bomb Ukrainian cities. It would be like a US president trying to invade Canada with Mexico’s army.

    Putin can certainly start a war with Ukraine but his ally Assad has lost control of most of Syria despite close Russian support. The US could certainly invade and hold the country within a week with no more than a few hundred casualties. Putin can’t he just doesn’t have the quality or depth. His casualties would quickly climb to the thousands.

    The analysis we are hearing all comes from US military who have spent their careers talking up the capabilities of their potential enemies because thats the only way to justify a trillion dollar per year war budget.

  51. Badgerite says:

    No way. This just shows that NATO is still a necessary alliance.

  52. Badgerite says:

    Just to be clear, John is not talking about US or European troops. He is saying that IF the Ukrainians want to resist the intentional destabilization of eastern Ukraine by Putin, the US and Europe should be prepared to help with aid and arms because we pledged to do so as incentive for the Ukraine to voluntarily give up its nuclear weapons after the Soviet Union fell. This was part of the bargain. And he is right that when a country like the US makes that kind of a pledge in international relations, it cannot be taken lightly by the subsequent administrations. We are in this, like it or not.

  53. Naja pallida says:

    No, he means the missile defense system that George W. Bush tried to implement, and was widely scoffed at for.

  54. Naja pallida says:

    And our nuclear readiness force has repeatedly failed its fundamental operating qualifications, and found to be run by completely incompetent officers… and they’ve really only held the mid-ranking officers to account so far, the rot in the DoD is from the head down. Do you suppose Putin tolerates the same level of ineptitude in the Russian military?

  55. Badgerite says:

    Well, it might have been more convincing if they hadn’t had Russian troops deploying at airports and critical buildings before hand. It is kind of like an armed militia moving into your apartment and then asking, “Mind if we stay”?

  56. Badgerite says:

    Yes, that would be all John’s fault and have ABSOLUTELY nothing whatsoever to do with any decisions on the part of Vladimir Putin and the Russian.

  57. Badgerite says:

    How nice for him.

  58. ComradeRutherford says:

    I would suggest that the 5 Nuclear Weapons States enter into a treaty to retarget their missiles to someplace like the middle of the ocean.

    “We know it is NOT the case.”

    I know you won’t believe this, but you aren’t *everybody*. As I mentioned above, almost everyone that I told this to doesn’t believe it.

  59. ComradeRutherford says:

    My point is that not everyone does know that! In fact, the majority of people I’ve told this to simply don’t believe it. Everyone assumes these missiles were deactivated in some way, put on ‘safety’.

  60. ComradeRutherford says:

    Oh, yeah, obviously, because you disagree with reality, that makes ME the troll! Hilarious! Are you on tour with your comedy gig? You have the clueless dillhole ‘conservative’ down, pat!

  61. ComradeRutherford says:

    Yeah, right. Russian troll. Ha! Hilarious. So is everyone that disagrees with you a Russian Troll, too? Obviously for you, the Cold War never ended. Nope, I am a US citizen, and reside in the North Eastern USA.

    BTW, Snowden should get the Medal of Freedom for exposing the brazenly unconstitutional spying by the NSA. And Manning, too, for exposing the slaughter of innocent, unarmed women and children by US soldiers – who laughed at the murder they committed.

    Or is that why you hate them, because they exposed the war crimes of America?

  62. Mike LaFave says:

    Mr. Aravosis invariably puts forth his cogent arguments on AMERICAblog with laudable lucidity. All the same, as a Vietnam Veteran I have concerns about possible analogies with the USA’s attitudes toward current Ukraine crisis and toward Vietnam in 1954 following the French military’s defeat. The USA rushed in then to invest one partition zone of Vietnam with extensive economic and military resources (for an account of significant CIA ops there prior to 1954, see the novel or 2002 film version of “The Quiet American” by Graham Greene based on Greene’s experiences as a war correspondent for ‘The Times’ in French Indochina 1951–1954). This was publicly justified with a domino theory of making our stand in Vietnam in order to prevent the Soviet Union from swallowing up the whole region as well as making a demonstration to our allies, especially in Europe, that the USA would “make any sacrifice” to honor our treaties/pacts/agreements guaranteeing the security of allied nations in the “Free World” against Soviet aggression (no matter that one of our allies was that bastion of freedom, Gen. Franco’s Spain following the U.S.-Spanish Defense Agreement of 26 September 1953 creating the Torrejon Air Base there, just as we continue to be allied with faux-democratic nations today). This is my first post on this blog, and I never engage in online disagreements for health reasons, so if I’ve got this all “back-asswards” please just consider me an anachronistic geezer who’s worrying for nothing.

  63. ronbo says:

    To me, the 95.5% vote seems more Democratic than bully. (That’s more than 19 out of every 20 persons.) But hey, your American opinion is much, MUCH more important than the desires and wishes of those ignorant foreigners. They don’t understand how wonderful our American wars can be. Right?

  64. ronbo says:

    If the population votes in a landslide, sometimes you go with the flow. Unfortunately, I just can’t see any European populace voting to join team USA. Unlike most Americans, they keep tabs on our war adventures.

  65. ronbo says:

    Remember Iraq? Has your war tumescence drained the blood or are you just not that bright?

  66. scottdedalus says:

    So you have no problem with supporting acts of war against Russia by proxy guerrilla war, triggering a war by having peacekeepers in place if the Russians go in, or (if feasible) crashing the Russian economy? This isn’t a fucking morality play about your well-fed Western white-guy desire to stand up to bullies, it’s about trying to make sure that the minimum number of innocent people get killed. But don’t worry, John – if anyone gets shot by your comfortable keyboard Risk playing from a distance, it won’t be you, even though it might be a lot of Ukranians and Russians.

  67. ferd says:

    If we have to go to carbon zero soon, Putin needs to diversify out of oil, fast. Fastest way is to seize industries and talent.

  68. Ford Prefect says:

    That would be a good idea. That was the plan under the 21 February agreement everyone signed just before the putsch. Since then of course, I’ve seen no talk about elections and in any case, any electoral result not in agreement with either side will be declared “illegitimate” by whichever side is displeased with it.

  69. Ford Prefect says:

    I’d explain in small words for you, but it would be like explaining gravity to a Doberman.

  70. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Ukraine needs to hold Presidential elections really quickly. That would show the world that a majority of people in all regions of Eastern Ukraine do not want to live under Putin.

  71. randy miner says:

    nazi bacon? what the hell are you babbling about? Your diatribe makes no sense at all.

  72. randy miner says:

    no, you are a russian troll. Or maybe you are the traitor Snoden.

  73. randy miner says:

    “ou don’t *have* to be so rude and insulting, obviously you can’t help it when your opinions are challenged by actual facts.”

    You are not presenting facts. You are giving your OPINIONS.

  74. randy miner says:

    “All the rest of the Cold War multi-state military organizations were disbanded after the end of the Cold War.”

    Hmmm, you posted half way up the page that all the nukes are still pointed at each other from both sides. So much for your “all the rest…were disbanded”. That’s how Russia can mass troops on the border, because they were “disbanded”. LOL

  75. randy miner says:

    “illegal war making body” represents facts? Where did you get that from, Russia Today Network?

  76. randy miner says:

    you know… after reading post after post of yours, I have come to the conclusion that you are a RUSSIAN troll.

  77. randy miner says:

    So we sit on our hands? We could put nuclear missiles in Poland too. Russia would not like that. Time that we started playing “hardball” too, just like them, just like in the cold war.

  78. randy miner says:

    Defense shield? Do you mean “star wars” the missile defense? I was proven by well known physicists to not be workable. You (and our former president RR) watched too much star trek if this is what you’re suggesting.

  79. randy miner says:

    So what is your point? What do you want us to do? We know it is NOT the case. Make a point and learn how to write. Its why FLL tried to “read between the lines” and then you say its “lies”.

  80. randy miner says:

    what is your point Rutherford? Tell us something we don’t already know.

  81. ComradeRutherford says:

    “Some of them might move to central Ukraine (like Kiev) to avoid the situation”

    I’ve been thinking of the scene from the movie Gandhi after the Pakistan partition, with two rows of people moving between countries, the Hindus going one way and the Muslims going the other.

  82. FLL says:

    I understand. We were talking about the same three provinces: Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk. As I said elsewhere, I don’t think their annexation by Russia will start a war because the demographics are 50%-50% Ukrainian-Russian. Central Ukraine, as in Kiev, would be a bloodbath that I hope Putin will be smart enough to avoid. Yes, the three eastern provinces have lots of coal and industry. Even without those three provinces (and without Crimea), Ukraine would be a big, rich country. I hope the scheduled elections in May aren’t shut down by a Russian invasion.

  83. FLL says:

    I’m sorry if I misunderstood your opposition to Putin in your previous comments. To reply to your question, I don’t think there’s actually a 50-50 chance of war if Russia annexes the three easternmost provinces. The local Ukrainians might feel themselves slightly outnumbered and definitely outgunned. Some of them might move to central Ukraine (like Kiev) to avoid the situation, others might stay. I still don’t think there would be large-scale bloodshed in the three eastern provinces, but there definitely would be in central Ukraine. If there’s any tipping point regarding the reaction of the West, it would be central Ukraine, where the population would certainly not be passive in the face of a Russian invasion. I hope Putin doesn’t go there, but if he does, I think Western governments would supply the Ukrainians. I don’t think that NATO troops will go into Ukraine no matter what happens. I do, however, think that NATO is giving Poland and the Baltics some security that they appreciate.

  84. Ford Prefect says:

    You can try to skate around the matter of your promoting a war with Russia, but your own last sentence (amongst several others) in the post says you want war. I doubt I’m the only one who notices how eager you are to kill a shitload of people, while still claiming to be in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. They’re the ones who’ll pay the price, after all.

    The problem is, since you have put precisely ZERO effort into considering how all this plays out, your priming the war pump comes off as unserious, to be nice about it. We can hit them with sanctions. What about their responses? What price are you wiling to put on Americans? How much economic turmoil? Care to explain your strategic vision for all this?

    The only way we go to war with Russia is if our leadership completely loses their collective minds. It’s possible, of course, as it happens with some frequency these days. Obama is still trying to get us into Syria up to our eyeballs, even though the country is plainly against it. But with the Brits backing off on sanctions so London won’t feel any pain, there are serious constraints even on sanctions. Angela Merkel is backpedalling as well, since a war in their backyard is polling predictably badly among Germans and the rest of western Europe.

    It’s just a relative few Neoliberalcon fanatics doing all the chest pounding on this. But to what end? It’s not like anyone gives a flying fig about the Ukrainian people! That much has been perfectly clear all along, especially when we want them to queue up and die so folks in DC can get their imperial swagger back.

    The Ukrainians don’t even have a functioning military at this point. So who exactly is going to fight this war?

  85. ComradeRutherford says:

    “Defense Department supporters who long for the days when they had unlimited budgets”

    Given that the US military budget is more than almost all other nations on the planet combined, I’d say their budget is still unlimited…

  86. ComradeRutherford says:

    As this article put it, “the industry-rich eastern region…”

    I agree with your assessment, the more Ukrainians in a given region, the more murder Putin would have to commit to take it over. So if the demographics are 50-50, would that mean that there’s a 50-50 chance of war? Could Putin take that region the same way he did Crimea, with a sham election?

    And how could he be stopped? If Ukraine begs for Europe/US to do something, wouldn’t Putin win (as he would see it) because the EU/US fired first?

    This is all so seriously fucked up! I knew when Putin didn’t step down after his first round as PM that he was bad news.

  87. ComradeRutherford says:

    I don’t have a map of Ukraine, so I’m not completely familiar with how it’s laid out. I made the wrong assumption when I said ‘central’ Ukraine. I was referring to this article which clearly states, now that I re-read it, the three Eastern Provinces. What I don’t know is how those provinces relate to the Crimean region, which I had thought USED to be the eastern end of Ukraine, making these three provinces more central.

    All I said was that NATO was supposed to have been disbanded along with the other dozen, or so, cold war relics when the cold war ended. I’ve never really been clear as to why NATO was allowed to continue to exist when all the other organizations ended. Obviously NATO isn’t going anywhere. Just like Putin, they aren’t giving up their power.

  88. End Hypocrisy & End Troubles says:

    Most Americans, polls show, are tired of interventionism. Sad to say, but while I am against BOTH Kosovo and Crimea seceeding, I don’t care right now if Russia takes Eastern Ukraine. That half voted close to 75% for the pro-Russian dictator of Ukraine before he was ousted, while Western Ukraine was the exact opposite. Split Ukraine in half, and be done with it. We have already meddled enough in Ukraine, first with warmonger McCain palling around with Svoboda, then other U.S. elements meddled. Now Russia is agaitating there. Enough is enough. John, staright up to you: are you a LINK TV-type Progressive, or a center-left establishment Democrat (Dem-e) type if you could choose between the two when it comes to foreign policy?

  89. FLL says:

    Yes. Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk. I think Russian forces could annex those provinces with large-scale bloodshed, although they would just barely avoid it, because the demographics are about 50%-50% Russian and Ukrainian in those three provinces. Any move into central Ukraine would probably result in a bloodbath, which may very well force Western countries to rethink their response. One thing has irrevocably changed in the 21st century: mass murder of a civilian population is not cool, and I think (or at least hope) that Putin understands that.

  90. FLL says:

    The part of your comment that I didn’t understand was the following:

    “Now his operatives have moved westward into central Ukraine and he
    seems like he’s trying the same move again: internal demands to join

    I don’t claim to know everything about every current news item, but it seems that if Putin’s operatives were moving into central Ukraine, there would be a little more media buzz about it, to put it mildly. If you have seen this story, you’ve performed a service. Do you have a link to any mention of Putin operatives in central Ukraine?

    As far as your desire to avoid war and your desire for Putin to stop military intervention, I take you at your word. I will simply have to disagree with your suggestion to disband NATO. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that part.

  91. End Hypocrisy & End Troubles says:

    I am against both Kosovo seceeding AND Crimea seceeding. Both. And no, I don’t want to go where you don’t want to and vice versa when it comes to interventionism. I desire that if we as a nation are going to intervene then we should quit bowing just before the almighty dollar and asking our great lofty dollar bill where we need to intervene, as if the dollar was some god.
    Our presidents keep an eye on our OIL interests. Period. And that goes for both Democratic and Republican admins. Republicans moreso than Democrats; but don’t be fooled, Dems are in on this, too. That is why we will invade Lybia and Iraq, but NOT Sudan or Rwanda.
    Wake up and realize that your view is leans towards the selfish and not the altruistic, although it may be the way the world works. And it is the way the world works because both Dem and Repub admins will invade for oil, but not when people are getting their legs and arms hacked off like in Rwanda. And maybe people like you seem to just go “oh well, that is the way the world is.” I wonder, have you given up, or do you just not care – and only care as long as you get your paycheck every week? Hmm? I am not accusing, I would just like the truth from you. Ok?

  92. perljammer says:

    See, for example, World War II. Just substitute Germany for Russia. Of course, after WWII, Russia encroached on Europe in a major way, and the US and Europe eventually responded by forming NATO. How many decades of cold war, which now seems to be threatening to crank itself up once again?

    By the way, do we still think Mittens was an idiot for naming Russia as our greatest geopolitical threat?

  93. Ford Prefect says:

    Okay, everybody, time to get your neo-con fever-dream war on! No sense in letting the official US/NATO position of No War In Ukraine get in the way of a bloody-minded fantasy!

    Look, Ukraine is already a failed state. The putsch government just very publicly admitted they committed political suicide by enacting the IMF’s looting policy for Ukraine. The Russians don’t need to invade. The country will implode under the weight of its own corruption. Yats & Co. are making out like bandits and they’ll probably be living high on the hog in London in a few months. In all this, neither the US, EU or anyone else is going to lift a finger to repair their economy, much less any territorial concerns. Our elites love to talk this shit up, but in the end, they’ll always revert to throwing the poor rubes under the bus and move on to the next disastrous intervention.

    What happens after that is anyone’s guess. UKR is not strategically important to anyone but Russia… and Ukraine, of course. Our Neoliberalcons figured they could get Ukraine on the cheap with the nazi putschists and its not working out very well. The Nazis (Svoboda and Pravyi Sektor) are still talking about ethnic cleansing in the east and apparently they’re killing each other to boot. This will not help them consolidate power in the eastern provinces. Any moron can see that.

    So we’re supposed to start WW3 and incinerate the northern hemisphere over Ukraine? I would take this more seriously, but since Berlin, London, Paris and our own WH are all against going to war in Ukraine to save some nazi bacon, it’s almost certainly not going to happen.

  94. ComradeRutherford says:

    The UN’s charter forbids a full-scale military force…

    “I think that Putin will only annex the three eastern provinces.”

    Just to be clear, do you mean three provinces *more* than the Crimean region?

  95. ComradeRutherford says:

    You’ve clearly made up a narrative about me and who I am and what I represent, in your head.

    That you can’t comprehend that paragraph, which is quite clear, speaks volumes about your own desire to make up lies about me. Talk about going off the ‘deep end’!

    I want Putin stopped! I can’t make that any clearer. I was dismayed when no one lifted a finger to stop his annexation of eastern Ukraine. That’s pretty clear. The world would be a much better and safer place if Putin were no longer in Russian politics – OBVIOUSLY.

    Since you can’t read what I wrote without making up all sorts of ‘hidden meanings’ about it let me help you:

    “I sure hope war can be averted.”

    That means I would like for there to not be a war with Russia over Ukraine or any other territory he’d like to take over next. A war with Russia would be a huge disaster for everyone.

    “I was dismayed when no one even tried to stop Putin’s invasion of eastern Ukraine.”

    No one did anything to stop Putin from taking over eastern Ukraine. Obama wrote a sternly worded letter and the UN wrung it’s collective hands, and NATO wanted nothing to do with it. So Putin got away with it, scott-free.

    “I don’t think Putin is actually trying to start a war, I think he’s trying to take as much as he can without a war. He got away with eastern Ukraine, so he feels emboldened.”

    These sentences are together as one idea. I don’t think Putin wants a shooting war with Europe/USA. I think he wants to take as much as he can get away with without that. Warring on individual states? Sure, he’s obviously happy to do that, but so far it’s been all threat and no all-out warfare. Putin seems to be waiting for Ukraine (or your beloved NATO) to fire the first bullet.

    As reported in the news, “Now his operatives have moved westward into central Ukraine and he seems like he’s trying the same move again: internal demands to join Russia.”

    How can I make that any clearer when that exact story has been in the media for a couple of days now.

  96. perljammer says:

    Please cite the treaty in which the US promised not to increase the size of NATO and add new members. Oh, wait — you can’t, because it doesn’t exist.

  97. perljammer says:

    The only things tying Obama’s hands are his own indecisiveness and lack of intestinal fortitude, just as has been the case with every issue he’s faced during his presidency.

  98. FLL says:

    I’m in agreement with your final paragraph. I don’t claim to be able to predict how events develop in the future. My guess is that Putin will not go near central or western Ukraine because it would result in a bloodbath, with most of the casualties on the Ukrainian side. If anything convinces the West to resist Putin, it would be a Russian-sponsored bloodbath in central Ukraine. For that reason, I think that Putin will only annex the three eastern provinces.

    As far as NATO being beyond the jurisdiction of the UN, try to get the United Nations to stop Putin. Sorry, but no. NATO is invaluable and will remain so until the United Nations has genuine military power, which is a long way off.

  99. perljammer says:

    Ironic, because the US invaded Iraq to protect all of the Iraqis of American descent? Oh, wait…

  100. ComradeRutherford says:

    Again, you make up words and claim I said them. Nothing ‘between the lines’ at all. No ‘hysteria’. Your the one lying here, not me.

    I write that exact statement about once a month in all sorts of various blog comments. This is the first time I wrote that line in a comment thread about Ukraine.

  101. ComradeRutherford says:

    Amazing you calling me a Putinista. Hilarious.

    Just because the Powers That Be like having a military organization of their own outside the jurisdiction of the UN, doesn’t make me a Putin lover.

    Why don’t we recreate all the rest of the Cold War era military organizations, too? I bet you’d love that.

    Yes OBVIOUSLY Putin is trying to ‘get the band back together’. The question is: does he want to go to war with Europe/USA? Or will he stop once actually challenged? Because no one has offered any resistance to him yet.

  102. FLL says:

    What on earth is that second paragraph supposed to be? A fictional narrative? A short story? It’s very hard to tell exactly what you’re trying to say in the second paragraph. Is it a prediction of future events? I think you might be going off the deep end.

  103. ComradeRutherford says:

    You just can’t help but be a rude and insulting …. person, can you.

    I sure hope war can be averted. I was dismayed when no one even tried to stop Putin’s invasion of eastern Ukraine. I don’t think Putin is actually trying to start a war, I think he’s trying to take as much as he can without a war. He got away with eastern Ukraine, so he feels emboldened. Now his operatives have moved westward into central Ukraine and he seems like he’s trying the same move again: internal demands to join Russia.

  104. FLL says:

    The implied threaten and hysterical tone in your original comment are there for anyone to see. You’re comment clearly implies that people who try to keep Ukraine an independent country are risking nuclear war. Not much reading between the lines is required.

  105. FLL says:

    And how can you not understand that Putin is trying to recreate as much of the multi-national Soviet Union as he can, using military force if necessary. No one is fooled. Once again, name one elected official in any Western country who agrees with your advice that NATO should be disbanded.

    It’s always worthwhile asking who would benefit from your advice. If you are hiding about your motives, it’s easy to uncover them simply by asking who would benefit from NATO being disbanded. Putin, obviously.

  106. ComradeRutherford says:

    Why do you insist on making up lies and claiming I said them?

  107. ComradeRutherford says:

    You don’t *have* to be so rude and insulting, obviously you can’t help it when your opinions are challenged by actual facts.

    NATO, and a bunch of other such organizations, were created to contain the Soviet Union. How can you not know that? How can you be unaware that the Soviet Union is no more, and the rest of those EXACT SAME military organizations disbanded when the Soviet Union dissolved? Those are FACTS! Why was NATO allowed to continue to exist? (My *opinion* as to NATO’s continued existence is to provide the Ruling Class with a military arm to enforce their will on reluctant colonies. See:Iraq, for example. NATO is only for use against the militarily powerless, not an actually heavily armed state, such as Russia. That is my opinion.)

    And Ukraine has already been invaded, and NATO did NOTHING, so your last point is meaningless.

    You are the one not stating facts and only your opinion: “no one in Western countries share… well, except for your little voting block of maybe half a dozen or so. Name one single public official in the U.S. (other than Seattle city council member Kshama Sawant) who shares your opinion that NATO should be disbanded.”

  108. FLL says:

    I think war can certainly be averted, but it seems like everyone in the world other than Putin is doing all the trying, and Putin is doing everything he can to start a war. What do you think those 60,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border are doing? Posing for holy pictures? Even if Putin takes over the three easternmost provinces of Ukraine, war can and most likely will be averted. But it will be a different dynamic if Putin annexes the three eastern provinces. NATO will be almost universally regarded as invaluable to the security of Europe. I say “almost universally” because I’m taking into account your voting block of six or so.

  109. ComradeRutherford says:

    Boy, you sure are making up crap and claiming I said it.

    I don’t want Putin to invade anyone, and I wish he had gone away after his first term in office. But here we are, Putin has made himself dictator for life.

    No one lifted a finger when he invaded half of Ukraine, so why would Putin NOT think he could get away with more?

    Why are you so eager for war?

  110. FLL says:

    “NATO should be disbanded simply because it has no reason to exist”

    That is a textbook example of an opinion, and an opinion which virtually no one in Western countries share… well, except for your little voting block of maybe half a dozen or so. Name one single elected official in the U.S. (other than Seattle city council member Kshama Sawant) who shares your opinion that NATO should be disbanded. I would call the threatened invasion of Ukraine a reason for NATO to exist. You are, again, stating opinions, not facts, and your opinions are almost universally regarded as bizarre.

  111. FLL says:

    Translation: Anyone who attempts to give Ukraine the money or equipment to defend itself is being “irresponsible.” Nice try.

  112. ComradeRutherford says:

    All the rest of the Cold War multi-state military organizations were disbanded after the end of the Cold War. Only NATO remains. Why? For what purpose?

    NATO should be disbanded simply because it has no reason to exist, just like all the other Cold War relics disbanded when the reason for those ceased to exist. It’s not my ‘opinion’, I am, again, stating facts.

  113. FLL says:

    You are obviously engaging in vicarious sadism. You are practically drooling on the keyboard thinking of unwilling populations that you hope Putin will impose dictatorship on. Your flat rock is waiting for you.

  114. ComradeRutherford says:

    Remember, folks, the US and Russian nuclear arsenals are still on ‘hair-trigger alert’ – targeted at each other’s cities and are still ready to launch within 90 seconds of receiving the order.

    Complete annihilation by a massive nuclear weapons launch never has gone away.

  115. FLL says:

    The Budapest Memorandum of 1994 states that the three countries that signed it (the U.S., Britain and Russia) promise to honor the territorial integrity of Ukraine, something that Russia is already in breach of. This is the assurance that Ukraine received in 1994 in exchange for Ukraine’s agreement to give up its share of the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal. Apparently, Putin thinks that Russia’s signature on this treaty means nothing, and that it is, to quote another dictator, a “scrap of paper.”

  116. ComradeRutherford says:

    As if NATO would do anything to protect those nations from invasion by Russia… NATO states will not go to war against Russia, and Putin knows this. Putin can do whatever he wants – because he’s already gotten away with taking Ukraine without anyone lifting a finger to stop him.

  117. ComradeRutherford says:

    And you are adorable, too, for your appearance on Fox ‘News’ the other day. Good work!

  118. FLL says:

    Clearly you are waiting for NATO to be disbanded because that’s the definite advice you just gave the world: “NATO should be disbanded immediately anyway.” I don’t think we’re missing anything in your writing style.

    Back to freshman-year composition for you. Review the textbook chapter on “Fact vs Opinion.”

  119. ComradeRutherford says:

    I’m waiting for nothing. I’m just pointing out facts.

  120. FLL says:

    “NATO should be disbanded immediately anyway.”

    If that’s what you’re waiting for, I think you’ll be waiting a very long time.

  121. Naja pallida says:

    We have over 10,000 troops stationed in Italy, the US navy 6th fleet operates out of Naples, along with six other bases around the country. We have a naval support station on Crete with a couple hundred people. Sorry, we don’t have any deployments in France – you’ll have to settle with Germany, where we have over 40,000 troops. I’m sure they won’t mind if we just plant a flag and declare a chunk of the land around Ramstein Air Base ours. Maybe we can have a referendum where the German people can vote yes or yes on whether they become Americans?

  122. JulieDManzi says:

    My Uncle Jacob got a year 2013 Audi TT RS Coupe by working
    part time online. imp source


  123. Ooh neat, we can take over any country we have troops in? Cool! Someone check if we have any troops right now in France, Italy or Greece – I feel the need to head to the beach.

  124. I would tend to agree.

  125. Naja pallida says:

    The whole point of NATO has always been peace through mutual protection. Strength in numbers. You attack one, you attack all. Putin isn’t going to pick on Latvia or Poland, because then he knows he’ll have to deal with all the rest of NATO. But he’ll happily pick on Ukraine because they’re isolated and weak.

    We have a lot of politicians who don’t want to believe the Cold War is over, and especially a lot of Defense Department supporters who long for the days when they had unlimited budgets as long as they waved around the specter of the Soviet boogie man. They thought terrorism would be the next windfall, but that’s not really panning out so well, because it doesn’t really lend itself to encouraging Congress to spend huge sums of money on fancy fighter jets, battle ships, and missile systems.

  126. You also seem to be advocating that we intervene where you want to intervene, instead of where I want to intervene. I’v argued for a while now that opponents of a more aggressive stand in Ukraine simply have other places they’d rather have us intervene instead. Win an election and you can :)

  127. I agree with you Michael. I wasn’t entire convinced that NATO was needed any longer. Clearly it is.

  128. You’re adorable :)

  129. My biggest sin is usually not “pulling punches.” I think sending US troops or bombing Russian troops is a bad idea. I’m not however opposed to helping train Ukrainians in guerrilla warfare. I’m also not opposed to Europe sending in lots and lots and lots of observers, or even peacekeepers, who would be in harm’s way should the Russians advance. I’m also not opposed to the next round of sanctions being absolutely devastating to the Russian economy. I get the incrementalism, because then after that you have nothing left – but at this point, Putin needs to be told that the next round of sanctions are going to bring russia’s economy to a halt. And from what I’ve read, we can do extensive damage if we so choose. And finally, yeah, I have a problem with bullies, and I tend to stand up to them. Shoot me.

  130. Badgerite says:

    I think that Vladimir is taking a page from “Wag the Dog” . Anyone who actually believes that “masked men” show up and take over government buildings TWICE by accident or popular sentiment, I have a bridge for you to buy.

  131. scottdedalus says:

    John won’t come out and say it, but I will: He supports American military intervention in Ukraine, which means using our forces to kill Russians. Perhaps he might do us all the courtesy of defending the costs and benefits of that appraoach rather than making coy suggestions about the benefits of changing the American public’s war-weariness and about peace leading to the casualty of Ukraine. If he wants war, it might be more honest for him to say so and to argue for it.

  132. mereside says:

    Russia didn’t invade the Ukraine. That’s western propaganda.
    They were present in Crimea. You decide why.

  133. 4th Turning says:

    As a punishment administered in front of a group of prisoners, a guard cut off the testicles of a prisoner with a knife; one prisoner was forced, under threat of being executed, to bite off the testicles of another prisoner with his teeth. The only water that prisoners had to drink was from a river contaminated by discharges from an iron mine; the water was yellow, the prisoners urine ran red. (Department of State)

  134. MichaelS says:

    Well once I thought NATO had out-lived its usefulness… But I’ll bet if you lived in Lithuania or Poland or Czech Republic today, you might not think it such a relic. And you might not think the Cold War was history… not with Putin running things.

  135. MichaelS says:

    What could it possibly mean to “guarantee the territorial sovereignty” of a nation if it’s not backed up militarily? What nation would expect it to mean anything else? Nasty words?

  136. stephen pierson says:

    Ukraine should join NATO immediately, and the U.S. should announce it is going forward with the defense shield. Russia will not attack a NATO country, for it would like lose in great conflagration that would devastate both sides, though certainly it would lose as the US is 25 years ahead in stealth and other military technology.

  137. ComradeRutherford says:

    If Obama were a Democrat, he would have called McCain on it. But, alas, Obama is not a Democrat at all, but a Moderate Republican.

  138. End Hypocrisy & End Troubles says:

    So where was Obama condemning that dumb move by McCain? Don’t get me wrong, Obama’s hands are largely tied, and I don’t care at all for the GOP calling Obama weak in his handling of this crisis, either. He is caught between a rock and a hard place. But at the same time, McVain made a really dumb move, and Obama should have called him on it.

  139. ComradeRutherford says:

    Didn’t they do that in ‘Wag the Dog’? Oh, wait, no, that was the scene where they shot video footage of an actress and told the Media it was a virgin escaping from rape gangs…

  140. ComradeRutherford says:

    Why wouldn’t McCain support neo-Nazis? The entire GOP has long sided with the Nazis, why would they stop now?

  141. End Hypocrisy & End Troubles says:

    Does anyone here think that John McCain helped things at all by going to Ukraine and meeting with Svoboda leaders like Oleh Tyahnybok, a political party and a leader that he should have stayed miles away from? Even U.S. news outlets have described them — ranging from Ultra-nationalist to Bandera supporters to Neo-Nazi. MCcain was photographed standing next to Oleh on a stage in front of a massive crowd. Dumb move. We really stoked things up in Ukraine and with Russia with that move….

  142. ComradeRutherford says:

    NATO is an illegal war-making body, created as one of several anti-Soviet regional bodies. All the others were disbanded after the Cold War ended, only NATO remains as a Cold-War relic. NATO should be disbanded immediately anyway.

  143. ComradeRutherford says:

    So the UN should have invaded he USA to stop our invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq?

  144. ComradeRutherford says:

    Russia can take over Ukraine and no one can do anything about it.

  145. End Hypocrisy & End Troubles says:

    Uh, no, I am not making vague, generalized comments. Why? Obama did stand up as best he could, so maybe I didn’t explain myself as best as I could. And he was called weak by the Republicans…OTOH, you are only partly right – there are plenty of Democrats that want nothing to do with Ukraine in any way. They, too, aren’t helping Obama, and if they could get away with it, they would say that Obama needs to stand up to the Russians, and then call him weak when he does the best with what he has. Obama is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

  146. End Hypocrisy & End Troubles says:

    I imagine if the supposed vague verbal agreement would have been beneficial to Russia, and the shoe were on the other foot, and Russia was expanding its partners, that the U.S. would be signing a different tune. Either way, expanding NATO – how was that supposed to expand peace? Peace through strength? I can see Ronald Raygun making that argument, but what surprises me is seeing DEMOCRATIC presidents and Senators/House members making the same “peace through strength” arguments then bait and switch to militaristic expansionism.

  147. End Hypocrisy & End Troubles says:

    I don’t think it is an either/or. It is a both/and. Both beacuse they are motivarted by some supposed gain, AND because they merely can exercise authority just because….they can. Just vbaecuse they can bully someoen.

  148. GarySFBCN says:

    I disagree. They are usually motivated by some supposed gain, not that I in any way agree with them.

  149. Naja pallida says:

    There was no formal agreement for NATO to not expand. There was a vague verbal agreement between Gorbachev and then Secretary of State James Baker at the time they withdrew Soviet troops from East Germany, but nothing at all was clarified or put into writing. NATO and US officials at the time, and for years after, specifically stated that Russia was never going to get a say, much less a veto, in what countries could become NATO members, should they desire to.