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06 March 2014


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When will the Russians cut off our Northern Distribution Network route through their territory to Afghanistan? Putin can really put the hurt on us on that pressure point.

William R. Cumming

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread?


I would love to have a dialogue feed from the ISS to hear what they make of this.


They may be the only people left by the time we're done with this nonsense...

John Minnerath

In his narcissistic haze he sees his light dimming. Who knows where the fool will try to go.


I am curious about the goings on in Ukraine: so, they have scheduled the referendum for joining Russia on the 16th, which is approaching rapidly. One could think of this as Putin setting up a deadline to force Ukrainians' (and West's) hand, but I have to wonder how much control Putin really has over the Crimean Russians now? In case of Bosnia and Croatia, if my understanding is right, Milosevic had much less control over the Serb minorities in these countries than what Westerners thought, and worse still, the threatening stances (underwritten by the West in both cases, although to varying extent) taken by Zagreb and Sarajevo increasingly drove the extremists among these groups into positions of power, escalating the situation even further. Could it be that Crimean Russians (presumably, increasingly dominated by the nationalist extremists of their own) are trying to force Putin's hand? Jack Matlock seems to suggest that Russia should play a legalistic hand, should this be the case, by demanding adherence to Helsinki Final Act, which would seem to be a good move on their part...


robt willmann

Here are statements and an "executive order" from the White House today, 6 March, the anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo.

The press release about Ukraine--


The president's statement about Ukraine--


The executive order saying that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, "in consultation with" Secretary of State John Kerry, will decide which persons and entities will have assets in the U.S. or in the possession or control of a U.S. person frozen--


The Treasury Secretary can also re-delegate these asset freezing functions to other persons and agencies as allowed by applicable law.

The visa restrictions and bans are not in this particular order.

The second paragraph of the "executive order" contains the embarrassingly false wording that the events in Ukraine "constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat."


Col: In addition to the excellent Stephen Cohen, Professor Walt also hasn't drunken the Kool-Aid. See http://www.foreignpolicy.com/voices/walt


John Minnerath, I have tried searching for an earlier post in which I labeled President Obama as a narcissist and suggested that he, like all narcissists, would do something monumentally stupid before the end of his Presidency. By "Monumentally stupid", I meant something that makes ordinary (non - narcissistic) people say to each other; "why would anyone in their right mind do that?".

Obama, aided and abetted by the military industrial complex, appears to me to be making a final, existential threat to the Russian Federation by suborning the buffer states with the obvious intent to export that strategy to the Federation itself. Putin has indeed been backed into a corner as Mr. Habakkuk said.

I hope I am wrong about this and will happily endure the criticism for being an amateur psychiatrist.

If I am right, then it may be foreign historians asking that question because I agree with Col. Lang that this mess could end in a nuclear exchange.

What I would like to know right now is the readiness state and deployment of the Russian and American submarine fleets. This could get very ugly very fast.


Obama says that it is illegal under international law for the Crimea to declare independence from the Ukrain. But we recognized Kosovo, Russia does not, when it declared independence from Serbia. According to the ICJ that was not illegal under international law. From wiki: "On 8 October 2008, upon the request of Serbia, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution asking the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the issue of Kosovo's declaration of independence.[23] On 22 July 2010, the ICJ ruled that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not violate general international law because international law contains no 'prohibition on declarations of independence': nor did the declaration of independence violate UN Security Council Resolution 1244, since this did not describe Kosovo's final status, nor had the Security Council reserved for itself the decision on final status."

Like the constitution, Obama interprets international law through the mind of his ideological desires.


Crimean parliament has already agreed to join Russia. Referendum in 10 days.

How can Kerry and Obama vilify Russia for respecting the democratically determined wishes of the Crimean people? Washington's "public diplomacy" organs will soon be at full throttle, trying to convince us that the will of the Crimean people is not in fact democracy. On the other hand, the will of a handful of Ukrainian oligarchs is trumpeted as democracy.

The hypocrisy is certain to become really deep...

William Herschel

The run-up to the Iraq war on steroids.



I am certain that USA/Russia tensions will escalate too. Confrontation keeps attention off of problems at home and keeps 50% of DOD spending going to contractors. Also, a third Russian collapse in a century is a huge lure to Wall Street/City of London looters.

I am surprised that a Russian army of tanks wasn’t sent west. The Ukraine revolt is more provocative and closer to Moscow than the Prague Spring in 1968.


Vladimir Putin cannot let the unrest spread to the Russian speaking provinces next to his borders. So he has to infiltrate agents and build up Orthodox Christian militias there. At some point if pressed too hard, he will say the hell with it and drive his troops west.

Our leaders and their advisors have no sense of history. We are heading down the same fool’s path again; except this time we may not get to the end of it. There were people in the 1960’s saying “Bomb them back into the Stone Age”. We are alive because they weren’t in control back then unlike today’s neo-cons.

Babak Makkinejad

Well, he certainly received a lot of help and encouragement from the EU leaders.

Back last year, EU spurned Putin's offer of a joint EU-Russian bail-out of Ukraine.

No my friend, you cannot blame it all on Obama.

And even this late in the day I do not hear a single dissenting voice from say, Italy or Switzerland, or Sweden or UK.

nick b

That discussion of narcissism was on a thread about Chris Christie and who would 'rat' on him. For your convenience:


This was up yesterday: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/magazine/the-story-behind-the-sat-overhaul.html
I often disagree with some of his opinions, but this strikes me as apt:

"An elected democracy is what Ukraine had before Washington overthrew it.

"At this time there is no legitimate Ukrainian government.

"Everyone needs to understand that Washington is lying about Ukraine just as Washington lied about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just as Washington lied about Iranian nukes, just as Washington lied about Syrian president Assad using chemical weapons, just as Washington lied about Afghanistan, Libya, NSA spying, torture. What hasn’t Washington lied about?

"Washington is comprised of three elements: Arrogance, Hubris, and Evil. There is nothing else there."

I would add that this does not exhaust the factors or causes, as noted by Col. Lang's paper linked in the previous thread.

As an American, denizen of Europe for the past 36 years in Greece and Portugal, I imagine my perspective is largely influenced by that, especially the transitions to democracy in both Portugal and Greece from their one experiences of totalitarian regimes. I also had the experience of teaching at an American College in Greece during the NATO campaign over Kosovo. I had students from Greece, the US, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the only name currently recognized by Greece). My students, colleagues, and I faced many delicate situations in class, and some students faced mutual harassment outside of class. I believe we were all very fortunate to manage that period without any more ugly incidents than the harassment.

Mark Kolmar

I don't know whether and how much my blathering resembles or follows (leads?!?) thoughts or directions of similar thinkers or blatherers, for example the President of the United States and his advisers.

One of the changes between Bush "W" and Obama was an actual change (in aspiration) for ambition (to breathe slowly). These are statements for local consumption.

What I read from hint, action, and speech is that Obama recognizes the limitations of broad, physical power, and he wants to pull back on gross, indiscriminate weapons (Syria...)

A POTUS should aspire to "run the world", even if the end point is separate, different, complete harmony.


My apologies. Two of my posts seem to have been merged with more than a little lost in the process.


The real question here is why is their such a rush? If we just took a step back, licked our wounds, and picked up where we left off and kept working towards creating a viable alternative to Russian gas for Europe, we would be much better positioned in 5-10 years.

I understand the stepping back and licking wounds part is perhaps the toughest avenue to turn down in DC, but the alternative here is simply not an option. Where are they going with this.

William Herschel

As robt willmann points out, the Executive Order says,

"constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States"

I am scared by that. That statement is impeachable. It's a lie.

A tiny clique is leading the US to war. And in the words of Lon Chaney Jr. "for what"? For the same crazy ideas that led Napoleon and Hitler into Russia?

Americans, I hope, can stop this.

The adventure in Syria was prevented by 30 British MP's at the eleventh hour. I hope they have the courage to do it again if Congress can't.


I'm thinking that a deal is being (or has been) made... ala "JFK removing missiles from Turkey"....

No one will go to war over the Ukraine no matter how "narcissistic" they are.



Wishful thinking. pl

William R. Cumming


William R. Cumming

Treasury will only freeze assets that don't involve close friends of the Administration IMO!


"the events in Ukraine "constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States"

The second part of that, the threat to the foreign policy of the US, smells like a post-Snowden reaction. It's pretty expansive, isn't it? I suppose denouncing said policy is a threat, too, or releasing any documents pertaining to that policy.

Has this always been linked to national security in executive orders?

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