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02 March 2014

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PS

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

Matthew

DH: Flash from the shooting-yourself-in-the-foot department: Does the UK really want to "threaten" Russia's economic interests? See http://www.presstv.com/detail/2014/03/03/353059/uk-warns-russia-of-costs-over-ukraine/

I suspect Mr. Putin would enjoy Russians repatriating their money in advance of--or because of--sanctions. Abramovitch supposedly spent $3 billion on Chelsea. That could fund a lot of development in Siberia.

robt willmann

Although the propaganda is flying from both directions, this article of yesterday from RT has some really interesting language suggesting that Crimea is seceding from Ukraine. The lead paragraph: "A number of high ranking Ukrainian military and security officials in Crimea have sworn their allegiance to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as Simferopol pushes for its autonomy from the self-imposed government in Kiev".

http://rt.com/news/military-commanders-sworn-allegiance-crimea-497/

Further down, the Crimean prime minister, Sergey Aksyonov, says, "Today the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is formed as an integral, public authority."

And the referendum in Crimea has been moved up to March 30.

Declaring an area as a new country or state is a fascinating legal process, which I know little about, but we will see what happens in Crimea along those lines. What usually comes before the legal steps to create a new state are the factual steps in which enough people present the physical ability to defend and enforce their idea of a new state in the specific area!

Lee A. Arnold

I can't find any of Putin's old comments in a quick search, but I seem to remember that he expressed schadenfreude a few times about the US problems in Iraq. Ukraine is much bigger than Iraq, though admittedly, having it on his own border makes it logistically easier.

On the other hand, I think Putin sees himself in competition with the US for world approval, to be seen to other countries as a good, strong, trustworthy ally. He wants, above all else. trade deals, loan deals. This won't have much bearing on immediate events in the Ukraine, it just makes complete annexation unlikely to me. But the eventual pull-out (while possibly keeping Crimea, or setting it "free and independent") won't be seen as capitulating to European-US pressure, he would prefer to rub our noses in it, make the Russians cheer a little.

Charles I

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

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/russia-gives-ukrainian-forces-in-crimea-deadline-to-surrender-report/article17195650/

kao_hsien_chih

By that definition, hardly any "democratic" government in the world can escape that definition....

kao_hsien_chih

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

kao_hsien_chih

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

charly

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

MRW

"The US fiat currency is all very nice, but not everybody has a lot of faith in its sustainability."

That's like saying no one has had any faith in the "full faith and credit of the US government" since 1934 (when we went off gold domestically. The purchase of gold by central banks around the world recently (40% of all gold purchases) is because it is not on the balance books as an expense. It's an asset; it is the one thing Greece, for example, can buy without asking the EU for permission...so do you blame them?

Gold went to $1900/oz when Chavez was asking for his gold back from the Federal Reserve, and the anticipation that it might not be there. It was. So gold dropped to $1100/oz. It is hardly the sustainable base for a currency with that kind of volatility. We went off gold in 1934 because whoever owned the gold, controlled us.

Kevin

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

http://www.businessinsider.com/crimean-tatars-threaten-terrorism-2014-3#ixzz2vb6N0zSl

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/17bd814e-a7ab-11e3-9c7d-00144feab7de.html

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