Sounds like Ukraine wishes the U.S. would STFU about the possibility of a full-scale invasion by Russia. From the NYT:
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian officials sharply criticized the Biden administration Friday for its ominous warnings of an imminent Russian attack, saying they had needlessly spread alarm, even as a new Pentagon assessment said Russia was now positioned to go beyond a limited incursion and invade all of Ukraine…
“They keep supporting this theme, this topic,’’ President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said of the repeated warnings by American officials. “And they make it as acute and burning as possible. In my opinion, this is a mistake.”
After Zelensky said that, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Milley said this (CNN):
“Given the type of forces that are arrayed … if that was unleashed on Ukraine, it would be significant, very significant, and it would result in a significant amount of casualties,” Milley said at a Pentagon press briefing Friday. “You can imagine what that might look like in dense urban areas, along roads, and so on and so forth. It would be horrific. It would be terrible. And it’s not necessary. And we think a diplomatic outcome is the way to go here…”
But Milley said that he thinks Russia’s actions “feel different” than previous escalations. “This is larger in scale and scope in the massing of forces than anything we’ve seen in recent memory, and I think you’d have to go back quite a while into the Cold War days to see something of this magnitude,” he said.
I’m just a humble mommy/war blogger with zero foreign policy expertise. But if our threatened ally wishes U.S. officials would shut the fuck up already, maybe U.S. officials should shut the fuck up already?
I’ll defer to experts on who has the better response to the Russian threat, but I don’t like the idea of outsourcing our point of view to other countries.
Zelensky does not want to panic his citizens. Understandable, but Putin is going to do what he wants to do, and whistling past the graveyard isn’t very effective.
@feebog: Did you change your email address or do you have a new device? Your comment went into moderation and I am wondering why.
@Baud: It’s not about outsourcing our point of view. We can have that point of view all we want and talk to relevant officials about it constantly. It’s a question of being helpful to an ally in distress when they’ve repeatedly said that publicly announcing the possibility of a full-scale invasion is unhelpful. Maybe there’s a good reason for it? I don’t know.
Gin & Tonic
@Baud: Maybe the point of view of other countries should be considered when THEY ARE THE ONES UNDER DAILY THREAT FOR YEAR AFTER YEAR.
I have no idea. I find myself wondering if this might be a choreographed dance between the US and Ukraine? Zelensky gets to look strong and confident, keeping his people calm, and the US can talk about it in stronger terms and take a harder line with Russia? ?♀️
Gin & Tonic
This Twitter thread is on point.
Chacal Charles Calthrop
A friend of mine who retired from the state department & works as a contractor says their secure system went down on Thursday. Everyone was speculating that it was a Russian attack, although of course the official story is that a software patch inadvertently did it.
Your comment suggest we have to follow what they want us to say, instead of making our own assessment.
@Gin & Tonic:
Considered, yes. Betty suggested automatic acceptance.
James E Powell
It’s not like the possibility of a full- or large-scale invasion isn’t apparent and on the minds of everyone involved. This include the people who live along the border.
The US is the leader of the only coalition of nations with the capability to deter Russian aggression. Not sure silence would be the best way to prepare the population of those nations for whatever response becomes necessary.
@Baud: Agreed. Biden and his team are seasoned foreign policy professionals and have my confidence despite all the bleating from MSM regarding Afghanistan.
Gin & Tonic
@Baud: Since I switch on my TV and see Richard Fucking Engel, who doesn’t know shit from Shinola, in Kyiv, instead of any one of dozens of telegenic, well-sourced English-speaking Ukrainians, I’d say even “considered” is a stretch. The US waving its dick around simply adds fuel to Putin’s and the tankies’ position that Ukraine is simply a US pawn.
No. Ukraine does not understand what is at stake here. We need to immediately mobilize and deploy J Corp and all of 1st Armored Division (all combat brigades and the division artillery), plussed up with one brigade combat dance team each from 3th Infantry Division, 101st Airborne Skipperjack Division/Air Assault, the 82 Airborne Panty Capture Division, and the 1st Stryker Regiment. This should be accompanied by a country team from the 953rd War Mongers Brigade with a full complement of Civil Affairs Bedwetter Teams Alpha (CAT-As) and a country team from the 1123 Ain’t I Smart 4th Psychological Operations Group’s 6th Psychological Operations Battalion to place Tactical Acronym Deployment Teams (TPTs) into theater. I’d put the Corps headquarters in East Asia, the Division headquarters in either Menonomnee Wisconsin Estonia, and distribute crisp cider ales throughout the Levant. The Special Likes to Talk Heap Big Shit on The Internet Operations assets – Civil Affairs and bedwetters – go into Kyiv. Then I’d put the USS Enterprise in orbit around Rigel 7. I would institute an anyone who rolls two double sixes in a row has to actually join the military instead of jerking off about it on the internet. I’d keep the carrier group farther out for now and order replacement undies. In fact I’d put it in the Irish Sea next to my fragile masculinity. I’d also want our NATO allies to keep doing what they’re doing, put moving three or four Dutch F-16s to Poland isn’t sufficient either.
A Ghost to Most
Personally, I am rooting for warmer than normal temperatures in Ukraine. Mud could prevent much of anything.
Wait… doesn’t Ukraine have a Blob?
I am, tentatively, of the opinion that this is a choreographed do-si-do between US and Ukraine. Possibly meant to keep Putin guessing about us as much as he wants us to be guessing about Russia.
@Gin & Tonic: Dick measuring contest, eh? Sure glad TFG isn’t still in charge.
@Gin & Tonic: Several days ago, I read that Putin is not the most stable of individuals. If true, I wouldn’t force him into a corner. I saw you post in the previous thread, that mentioned they think Russia is finishing up their exercises. I so hope that’s true.
@The Dangerman: TFG already folded to Putin. Remember the Helsinki press conference where he said I’ll kiss your ass now master.
Yeah, but theirs is only pocket size.
Gin & Tonic
Incidentally, as I commented downstairs, Interfax is saying that the Russian troops in their “Western zone” have completed their exercises and are returning to their bases (link in Russian.) And Ukraine’s deputy defense secretary is saying the Reuters reports about Russia bringing supplies of blood to their Western front are false, and are basically a psyop (link in Ukrainian.)
@Gin & Tonic: We can always count on American journalists to fuck things up in a sensitive time with their horse race coverage.
Our blob is big enough so that we can fit in its pocket.
Chacal Charles Calthrop
@Eggbert: too funny!!!
*motions at everything
Yep. Well said.
Grumpy Old Railroader
Am I the only peon seeing Biden “Walk softly and carry a big stick?”
American media are making it so that Putin will feel like a wimp if he doesn’t invade. Sadly, more reporting stoking his ego stating that he’s crafty using threats to get what he wants without spending the money for an invasion would make invasion less likely.
Fascinating look inside Russia: http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/01/putin-says-russia-now-has-2000.html
“Putin Says Russia Now has 2,000 Territorial Disputes and that Allowing Any Part to Leave Could Lead to a Yugoslavia and Reduce Russia to the Size of Muscovy”
Cautiously curious how Fox News is framing Russia-Ukraine. Is Vlad still dreamy? Ukraine a Liberal hellhole with a falsely installed bureaucrat in charge?
They’re capable of turning on a dime.
They went from “Liberals are hyper-sexualizing society” to “Liberals are making m&ms not sexy enough”
We know that Trump cared greatly about what the media said about him. We don’t know whether this is true about Putin.
Even so, just says that some in the media are self-important dopes.
Putin is going to do what ever it is that Putin wants to do. I think the world can calm the waters some by not heightening the drama. Having said that the Russian buildup is either the largest feint made by a Russian leader ever (to bluff the world?) or he’s going to invade. When they’re lining up the medical corps that tells me it isn’t a bluff. The world should be able to discuss that alternative and agree on actions following such a move by Putin.
Gin & Tonic
@kindness: Please refer to my #21.
Evidence, if more is needed, that the “American media” in question are mental Right Wingers.
It’s all chest-bumping and walrus roars until someone loses a country.
Mike in NC
I’m sympathetic to President Zelensky, who was caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place while trying to deal with two fascists, Putin and Trump.
Jan 21, 2022 — Deutsche Welle (video):
Swedish defense minister: ‘We must be prepared for all scenarios’ when dealing with Russia
Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist spoke to DW’s Teri Schulz about concerns Russia is planning to invade Ukraine and what that might mean for other states like Sweden. He defended Sweden’s decision to send troops to the island of Gotland.
Well, we see who else is using Ukraine to make themselves look tough. From BBC News.
The country that is constantly at risk of being invaded does not understand what is at stake here?
Adam S where are you?
My uninformed hunch is that Biden is trying to pressure the balking NATO countries into providing a united front toward Putin’s antics. (i.e., Germany & France) While Putin is counting on intra-NATO squabbles to keep it sitting on its hands. So to speak. In an ideal world, if he invades—the eventual result should be losing control of Crimea & eastern Ukraine.
@WaterGirl: Eggbert was doing a very extended spoof of someone around here. A little over the top spoof, IMO.
@RaflW: Ah, thank you. How was I supposed to know that? Did I miss a clue? was that a direct quote and I didn’t catch the reference?
@Betty Cracker: Technically, I don’t think Ukraine is an “ally”. IIRC, “ally” means treaty relationships (NATO, and similar). I think the US calls Ukraine a “partner”.
Some things I saw (and posted downstairs) indicate that Zelenskyy was getting internal criticism about 10 days ago for talking about VVP potentially taking a town near the border. Yes, feeding panic is bad, but… Calibrating messages is hard in such circumstances.
Good post. Thanks.
Way O/T but Ash Barty receiving the Aussie Open trophy from her hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley is the bestest sports story of 2022. It’s been a mere 44 years since the last ‘Stralian singles winner at the Open.
@Brachiator: TBF he’s just inviting Vlad to a party at Number 10.
@JPL: Ooh. Shades of Nixon’s “Madman Theory”.
Jeez, I remember watching Evonne Goolagong gliding back and forth across the backcourt, almost as if she was floating just above the surface. I aspired to that same effortless motion, but I was usually more elephantine, thumping from corner to corner and back again.
The American public is barely concerned about an immanent Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainians, OTOH.
@WaterGirl: ALS 6:03 PM yesterday.
My own personal guess is that Putin really really really doesn’t want a successful, prosperous, and independent Ukraine on his doorstep lest his own people and the many other ethnic minority populations scattered about Russia get their own ideas. That is why he so vigorously props up the pro-Russian dictatorship in neighboring Belarus and would likely intervene there militarily to keep a pro-Russian government in power if it came to that.
I suspect what he really wants to do is just reverse the Orange Revolution and put a pro-Russian puppet back in power. Not actually try to annex Ukraine back into Russia. So a Russian invasion would be towards that end. The war in Donbas is probably party to establish an alternative Ukrainian government in exile to take over in the event of an invasion of the rest of the country.
A purely ruthless geopolitical approach would be for the US and west to just let Putin invade and then turn the place into an endless bloodbath draining Russian blood and treasure for a decade. Russia’s economy is actually smaller than that of Canada or Texas. They can’t afford a modern large-front war that lasts indefinitely. And their main gas pipeline to the west that keeps cash flowing in passes through Ukraine. I doubt Putin has enough Russian troops to protect all 1000 miles or so of that pipeline from endless sabotage from Ukrainian nationalist guerillas. Ukraine doesn’t mess with the pipeline now because they profit from it. But if a Russian puppet government takes over they would also take over the cash flow from the pipeline and disrupting it would be the easiest form of sabotage for opposition forces.
I think this is all a giant bluff by Putin. I don’t see how an actual full-scale war ends well for him. Ukraine is a country of 44 million. It will take no small investment to conquer and maintain a puppet regime if the rest of the world is in opposition and flooding the zone with weapons and assistance.
Mike in DC
The concern is that Russia has long range precision fire capability and if Ukraine isn’t fully mobilized they will suffer dearly in the first hour or so. So we hope that Zelensky is pulling a “stiff upper lip” routine while prudently directing his armed forces to make preparations.
Our military and intel people will make their own assessment, period. And they’ll share it with the President and the Secretary of Defense, who will decide what to do with that information.
The thing is, neither the making of that assessment nor the actions that result from it require a lot of yammering to carry out.
What’s going on now is almost the diametric opposite of TR’s “speak softly and carry a big stick.” I don’t know that we need to bring a big stick to this party, but either way I’m sure the Ukrainians are aware that the shit could hit the fan soon.
@Another Scott: It seems fairly pedantic to point out the use of ally vs. partner in reference to Ukraine.
The point remains the same.
@RaflW: @Another Scott:
Ah, the first sentence was so ridiculous that I didn’t read far enough into the comment to see the mockery.
@Gin & Tonic:
Just because vlad is pants down waving doesn’t mean we have to do the same. Being strong and being cheeky are not the same things.
Building up is not the same a talking up. The Russians would know we are building up about 15 seconds after it started.
@Baud: I saw the word maybe and you saw must do in Betty’s statement that we possibly should follow Ukraine’s advice. What can I say but you got it wrong?
That take, and SC’s non sequitur about Afghanistan, both seem based on a hyper-sensitive Biden defense mechanism. Not a bad thing; I have one myself. But maybe you two overdo it (as opposed to you “must” overdo it.
@WaterGirl: Apparently a ‘spoof’ on Adam’s extended Ukraine post.
Mike in NC
Has Tucker Carlson been seen boarding a plane to Moscow? He just loves authoritarian “strongmen” like Orban and Putin. He’d be happy to massage VVP’s scrotum on live TV.
Since he’s speaking to his line-manager, it technically qualifies as a work-meeting.
@way2blue: Thanks. As I said at #55, the first sentence was so ridiculous that I didn’t read far enough into the comment to see the mockery
I saw “Ukraine does not understand what is at stake here”, thought WTF?! And stopped reading.
Hope everyone in New England is well – especially Bahstan that looks to be getting pummeled right now.
@mrmoshpotato: Yes, hoping everyone stays safe and warm.
I suspect you know how much I love snow. More snow, more snow, more snow, that’s me. Until it gets to the point that you can’t open your door and the windows are covered up, etc and then it’s please stop please stop please stop.
If the object of this exercise is to provide cover for a covert operation to cut or hack transatlantic cables, this small concession to Ireland doesn’t appear to make any difference.
@Kent: I’m not going to pretend I know anything about foreign policy or international relations. Or politics. Or war. I’ve been reading Window on Eurasia (WoR) a lot for the last few years, and one thing I see a lot is the racial tensions in Russia (and esp. the Moscow region) between “Russians” and “Central Asian minorities”. Lots of the latter are migrant workers in Russia, and they’re a growing proportion of the population. A number of posts at WoR have been about this demographic “problem” that Putin and his elites face, and how one of their “solutions” is to fuse (their names in the following) Great Russia (Moscow/Muscovy), Little Russia (Belarus), and White Russia (Ukraine) to increase the “Russian” population. This would make their reliance on the Caucasus less necessary. At least, that’s what I read at WoR.
I also wonder about Ramzan Kadyrov and his role in the future of Russia. I feel like, maybe Putin might see that his reliance on Kadyrov to keep the peace in the Caucasus will eventually lead to people like Kadyrov taking a greater role in all of Russia. And I can’t believe he sees that as a good thing, from his racist point of view.
@Mike in NC: Appalling thing is Tucker Carlson’s dad headed Voice of America for years, is still alive, and hasn’t uttered a peep about his son’s behavior. So did we have a secret nazi running VOA?
So it turns out that my neighbor was not arrested for anything 1/6 related. But he was arrested for terrorizing our local Planned Parenthood. He’s a felon and was caught with an illegal firearm (.22 handgun) so he’s facing possibly 10 years.
@WaterGirl: Did you get hit with Snowmageddon in February 2011 like we did?
@Chetan Murthy: It is actually Belarus that is nicknamed “White Russia” and Ukraine is nicknamed “little Russia” and those nicknames go back a LONG time, but point taken.
There are ethnic minorities scattered all across Russia especially through the south. The attempts to “Russianize” these populations is intense
It’s not all that different from here in the US in some ways. We have large Hispanic populations, for example. But the main difference is that they mostly or entirely want to be Americans and have no interest in creating “little Mexico” or “little Guatemala” enclaves in states like Texas or Arizona. I think ethnic minorities in Russia don’t find being Russian quite so compelling.
@UncleEbeneezer: So RWNJ of a different kind.
Lock him up.
No. I stand by my comment.
@burnspbesq: it won’t; Russia has both surface vessels and submarines that can/do carry unmanned subs and small manned subs that are capable of severing underwater cables. There’s reporting that they might have done something similar to Norway’s seismic sensor network that’s capable of detecting passing subs. Not just once, but twice.
Norwegian Undersea Surveillance Network Had Its Cables Mysteriously Cut The seafloor ocean observatory off the coast of northern Norway can detect submarine traffic, which could make it a prime target for the Russians.
Maybe someone will use Ukraine as test case for weather war. Use that temperature control and atmospheric debris that we do so well to see if extreme weather events can be generated on a localized scale (say 1000 square km).
I sure hope there is no weather war gap in our national defense!!!
@Leto: Personally (and I’m no expert), I suspect the Norway cable break wasn’t sabotage. (repost) TheBarentsObserver.com:
(Whoops – I see you’re referring to something else. Sorry.)
@mrmoshpotato: I’m sure he supported the Insurrection too. He was just CAUGHT for this.
@Baud: Here’s hoping. A good friend/organizer I love works at this PP. And my wife got her vaccines there.
I don’t doubt that.
@Eggbert: Well done!
@Kent: (1) Whups! What you said!
(1) Again, what you said!
@lowtechcyclist: That’s exactly how I see it: of course we’ll assess the situation, but if the threatened country believes the public expressions of alarm by U.S. officials is a mistake, perhaps they have good reason for saying so publicly, which risks pissing off the U.S. when they need our support.
Maybe it’s all a choreographed song-and-dance. I hope so. Or maybe the U.S. is getting out over its skis in a destructive (to Ukraine) way due to arrogance. Wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened, dog knows. I hope that’s not the case.
That was muy gut. Grosso Grosso muy gut.
I’m finding Esperanto piss easy, BTW.
@UncleEbeneezer: I hope he gets the whole 10 years.
I’ve had dealings (yes, many years ago) with Intel people and related military people; what the politicians say and what they see isn’t always one and the same. That said, Intel types are always worse case and the sky is falling so that too needs to be considered.
While I’ve only been a passive observer on this I still say we have pushed Russia too far with NATO expansion (our broken promise about not expanding NATO to their boarder) and we must back off and do some things to assure Russia that we aren’t gonna operate a NATO force in the Ukraine like a dagger pointed at their neck! And make no mistake, the flat lands between Russia and Ukraine with few rivers and no terrain that would slow tanks is as vulnerable opening as any in Russia.
I hate putin, his thousands of nukes pointed at us but he is correct about NATO and Ukraine being a threat.
@mrmoshpotato: We did get a crazy amount of snow one year in recent (ish) memory but I have no idea what year. But it could have been that.
It was an eye-opener!
@Baud: It seems to me that this is about Ukraine as a country with the right of self-determination.
Separate from that, this is also about the US relationship with Russia.
So by definition the US is balancing what’s best for Ukraine while also factoring in our own relationship with Putin and Putin’s Russia.
So of course there is going to be daylight between what Biden says and what the president of Ukraine say. Ditto for what they want and what we want.
But there is a great deal of overlap and Biden is standing strongly for Ukraine and their right of self-determination, and Biden has rallied our allies in NATO also, so I am proud of our response so far. Not unhappy at all.
As to Betty Cracker’s specific question, I really don’t know. This could be a choreographed communication dance between the US and Ukraine or there really could be a bit of friction on the public stance re: the risk of immediate attack. None of us is privy to that.
Mike in NC
Had to look it up. The Great Blizzard of 1978 slammed the Boston area with 27″ of snow. I was working in Cambridge near MIT and only made it home by avoiding any and all hills. It took longer than normal but I managed not to get stuck.
@Mike in NC: Your comment reminds me of being in college, trying to get to a 6pm or 7pm final exam. We were in the middle of a terrible rainstorm and many of the streets and viaducts were flooded, so in trying to get from Point A to Point B I had to drive every which way to try to get across town while avoiding all the viaducts, which were flooded.
@Cermet: The notion that there was any sort of promise from the west not to expand NATO has been debunked from no less a source than Gorbachev himself: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2014/11/06/did-nato-promise-not-to-enlarge-gorbachev-says-no/ The discussions at that time were focused on the reunification of Germany not Central Europe writ large.
That said, I think there are fundamental differences between the Warsaw Pact countries that were never part of any Russian sphere of influence until Soviet troops occupied those countries in 1944 and 1945 and the former Soviet republics like Ukraine and Belarus. Most of those Warsaw Pact countries like Hungary, Yugoslavia, and the Czech Republic were historically part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and have always looked west and not east. Soviet occupation was a legacy of WW2 not anything more historic than that.
The former Soviet republics like Ukraine and Belarus are an entirely different matter. They have always been part of the Russian and Soviet sphere and have never been any sort of western states.
Personally I think Russia is more fearful of thriving independent democracies on their western flank providing a democratic western example to their own people, rather than actual military invasion from NATO. Why the fuck would NATO ever want to invade southern Russia? I can understand how Russian military planners might have heartburn about Ukraine. But realistically no one in the west wants to invade and occupy Rostov or Stalingrad. Been there, done that if you know what I mean.
Gin & Tonic
Bullshit. Most of the western half of Ukraine was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Lviv (fka Lemberg) is closer to Vienna than it is to Moscow. After the collapse of Austro-Hungary, much of that territory became Polish, not Russian.
@WaterGirl: Yes, hard drive crashed Wednesday and I had it replaced. Luckily all my data was retrievable.
For some reason, today feels like Sunday to me.
@feebog: Good to know, you should be good now that I approved the first comment with the new hard drive.
@Gin & Tonic: This is reminding me of the old joke:
Q: “You know the difference between a computer salesman and a used-car salesman?”
A: “The used-car guy knows he’s lying.”
I can’t speak for Kent, but many of us here are reading and trying to learn more about Ukraine. For all I know, half the articles about Ukraine on the internet that look legitimate could be filled with (unintentionally) wrong information.
@Cermet: Putin wants Greater Russia (aka the Soviet Union) back. He would be fucking with Ukraine (and Georgia and whatever former Soviet territory he could) regardless of whether NATO expanded or not. NATO has never invaded Eastern Europe or Russia – since WWII, only the Warsaw Pact has done that, led by the Soviets, invading Hungary and Czechoslovakia. There’s a reason why all those former Warsaw Pact countries wanted to join NATO. If NATO had not expanded, you better believe Putin would be making the same efforts against the Baltics, and would be threatening every country that used to be in the Warsaw Pact.
@A Ghost to Most: My comment #75 was inspired by your respect for mud. If you don’t care you don’t have to tell me.
@Eggbert: It seems to me we have learned very little from the inordinate amount of blood and treasure we have spent for getting our collective asses kicked by terrorists running around in machine gun rigged trucks. The winners of our collective let’s invade madness are the Taliban, Iran, the Vietcong, DC arms peddlers, and members of Congress. Hoping to fare better in the backyard of a nation with nuclear weapons to defend a nation that openly supports Nazi-style fascisms is bordering on delusional. Looking at the disastrous examples of US interventions in Lybia and Syria and the destruction and killing that follows is enough for them to ask Biden to cool it.
@taumaturgo: You seem to be responding seriously to a parody comment.
@feebog: Zelensky also has to walk a fine line between preparedness and not spooking international investors and possibly cratering Ukraine’s economy.
@zhena gogolia: https://intellinews.com/ragozin-zelenskiy-swimming-in-the-shark-infested-waters-of-friends-and-foes-233028/
This is apropos considering Zelensky is a comedian.
Well, Ukraine has certainly been under the Russian sphere much longer than say Hungary. It was a Soviet republic since 1919 or so after losing their own war of independence. Most of Ukraine was under the rule of Catherine the Great in the late 1700s when she expanded the Russian Empire against the Ottomans and was within the Russian sphere if not empire for all of the 19th Century. And Russians have been fighting over and settling in Ukraine for centuries.
J R in WV
US Media appeared to forget the Trump administration negotiated a withdrawal agreement with the Afghan Taliban. Biden actually stayed a little longer than that agreement allowed us to.
But FSM forbid Biden actually adhere to an agreement signed by both the US diplomats and the Afghans.
I personally was very glad to see that clusterfuck end; I thought the withdrawal was well executed.
I was pretty humiliated by the absurd Media coverage we saw. People trying to hang on to the outside of a cargo aircraft? Really? How many times did we need to see that insanity? Once was more than enough. Outta there, the sooner the better. Anyone wanted to stay was a stooge on a payroll for the defense contractors.
O/T but ABL is on Rev Al Sharpton’s show right now. MSNBC.
That’s the thing.
Any counter-history of the early 21st century in which NATO doesn’t expand doesn’t leave Central Europe with thriving prospering democracies. It leave them under endless threat of Russian meddling and intervention. Perhaps not outright invasions, but endless meddling and propping up of autocratic pro-Russian regimes for certain.
J R in WV
I think Eggbert was attempting a monumental spike of sarcasm. I could be very wrong…
@SiubhanDuinne: will def have to find a clip of that for later.
@Baud: It’s also from the NY Times, so …
I’m at the point where I see “NY Times” and I just stop reading.
RS in Kyiv
I rarely comment here – but enjoy reading the thoughts. Anyway, I have more or less lived in Ukraine, as an American, since 2001. Two revolutions and a couple of elections. I have some minimal understanding of the environment.
Having said that, I have to agree that the tone needs to be dialled down. We have been at war for 8 years. No one is in a state of panic. Russia has always been an unfriendly, anti-democratic (for obvious reasons) neighbour. Is an accelerated invasion possible? Of course. Is Ukraine taking it seriously? of course. Does it have a different assessment of risk? Of course. The Western media needs to tone it down. Everyone here knows what is at stake and no one at CNN, BBC or France 24 is at risk. Only Ukrainians.
One hopes that Putin is not entirely stupid. The amount of blood and treasure in an invasion would be, to say the least, spectacular. Calm the rhetoric – especially from those who have not been at the wrong end of a broken bottle for the past decade.
J R in WV
Will no longer ever toggle to read what you have pushed into my pie safe. The US openly supported fascists more recently than any eastern European allies have, TFG was as fascist a leader as any nation has had in the last 70 years.
You are past any conception of awareness of modern real-politic concepts. FU and the dead crazed horse you rode in on.
@RS in Kyiv: Thanks.
I’m a little comforted by the way Sec. Austin talked about it on Friday:
We’ll see what happens. Good luck!
The issue in my mind is that escalating the rhetoric is the only way to actually focus the attention of the west and western governments on Ukraine and to generate things like accelerated arms sales and aid that would otherwise perhaps get lost in years of bureaucratic inertia.
If we (the west) all pretend that there is nothing to see here then we will all move on to the next shiny thing and Ukraine will get about as much attention as say the recent Russian intervention in Kazakhstan which basically no one other than ultra news junkies even noticed.
The question is whether escalating alarmist rhetoric in the west makes Russian intervention more likely or less likely? Or whether it has no effect. One could make the argument either way I suppose. But I doubt that Russia is really seeking worldwide attention to whatever it is doing in Ukraine. To the contrary.
J R in WV
Kent, I know that in America, 1919 was a V long time ago. But in Russia and Europe, 1919 was yesterday. The war in the former Yugoslavia was about a previous war culminating in a battle in 1371. That was the day before yesterday to the Serbs!!
Get real here !!
@taumaturgo: Seriously? No one, and I mean absolutely no one is arguing for any kind of preventative invasion of Russia. No one.
What actually do you mean when you use the term “invasion” anyway? Words have meanings. Sending anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government is not an “invasion”
@J R in WV: 1919? How far do you want to go back. Catherine the Great annexed Crimea in 1783 and conquered most of the rest of Ukraine through successive Russo-Turkish wars and the various partitions of the Polish Empire in the late 18th Century. Ukraine has been part of the Russian Empire or under the Russian political sphere for most of the last 250 years.
I’m not arguing that Russia is in any way justified to lay claim over Ukraine today. I’m just saying that the Russian history in countries like Ukraine and Belarus is fundamentally different than the Warsaw Pact countries in Central Europe like Hungary and Czechoslovakia that it didn’t occupy until the red army rolled west during WW2.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
The Wikimedia Atlas of Ukraine makes it all look very complicated, especially if one doesn’t consider west vs east (and/or south-east).
Using historical borders to inform what should happen now has all kinds of minefields, of course.
The post-WWII order recognized the firestorm that would happen – again – if the great powers created a system where borders could be changed by force. It’s had lots of problems, but it has prevented major wars in Europe for 75+ years…
@RS in Kyiv: Thanks for weighing in.
@Another Scott: That is what Jen Psaki has been saying for weeks in her daily Press briefings, also.
For what it’s worth, my take is 180 degrees from yours.
I think a big part of what Putin’s goal is to be considered one of the big players again, so he is happy to be having all this attention from the US, as if it gives him and Russia more stature in the world.
@WaterGirl: The Thanatos Gambit.
I think Putin is maneuvering so that as many outcomes as possible lead to something positive for him.
@gwangung: Sorry, that should be The Xanatos Gambit.
Oh, I agree 100% and the solidity of existing borders is largely the reason we have mostly had peace in Europe since WW2 (other than Yugoslavia). And why, for example, Israel and the occupied territories is so problematic.
My sole point is that Ukraine as a former Soviet Republic and former part of the Russian Empire for 250 years (with various borders) is a fundamentally different thing (FROM THE RUSSIAN POINT OF VIEW) to one of the former Warsaw Pact countries like Czechoslovakia which was under Soviet occupation after WW2 but otherwise doesn’t have any historical connection to Russia of any kind.
In other words, NATO expansion into the Czech Republic is different than NATO expansion into Ukraine. One was never Russian territory or a Russian ally or satellite other than under Soviet occupation. The other was for much of the past 250 years.
It is kind of like comparing Puerto Rico to Venezuela although the comparison isn’t obviously 100%. But the US interest in Puerto Rico is much deeper than it is in Venezuela.
@gwangung: It’s scary how much of a time sink that place is!
@Kent: The point people are making is that a big chunk of Ukraine used to be part of Austria-Hungary, and wasn’t incorporated into the Soviet Union until WWII or after – specifically, the part of Galicia that is in the Ukraine now wasn’t annexed until the Polish border was shifted after WWII, and Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia, which was part of Czechoslovakia for 20 years, before being snagged by the Hungarians after the Nazis invaded, and in turn being swallowed up by the Soviet Union and attached to Ukraine in 1945.
The broader point is that the historical basis for a region being considered part of the Russian or Soviet empire is irrelevant to Putin; if it’s close to Russia, and he thinks he can take it, or make it subservient, he will.
@gwangung: That makes a lot of sense. thanks
That’s it in a nutshell. Putin shares a lot of traits with the dumpster.
My grandfather left the villiage of Potok Zoloty, about 90 miles from Lviv in around 1910. On his entrance documents, he listed his country of origin as “austria” since it was then a part of the Hapsburg empire. Between 1918 -20 or so it was on the edge of the russian civil war. In around 1920 it became a part of Poland. In 1939 it was absorbed into the USSR, when the USSR and Germany “absorbed” Poland. In 1941 it was conquered by Nazi Germany. In 1943 or so, it was reconquered by the USSR. In 1991 it became a part of the country of Ukraine.
@Kent: Ukrainians have been around, in one form or another, for millennia. Our association with Muscovy is fairly recent, and dates to the Treaty of Pereyaslav of 1654 when the Ukrainian hetman allied himself to the tsar to fight together agains the Polish Lithuanian commonwealth.
Unfortunately what was supposed to be a military alliance became Muscovy’s permanent hegemonic claim on Ukraine.
Prior to that time Ukraine was more integrated into Europe, allying and fighting with other European nations. Since then we’ve been fighting Russia again and again to be rid of their rule.
@pajaro: My Greek paternal grandfather was from Athens but apparently came to the USA with a Turkish papers. My father’s step-father’s family came from somewhere in Austria-Hungary too.
European borders have been all over the place, and have often had nothing to do with the nations of people living there. :-)