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21 August 2014


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Most likely, the "popular unrest" was factored into the US policy in Ukraine. Hence the prompt appearance of the CIA Director Brenner in Kiev to give a moral boost to the US-sponsored government and the next-day beginning of military actions against "separatists." Actually, it seems that the feebleness of the current civil war in Ukraine is a real concern for the DC masters, since the slow motion badly affects their plans of quick destruction of the societal fabric of Ukraine and of an open involvement of the Russian Federation into the conflict - which could then be demonized by the West warriors (for the satisfaction of weaponry makers and high-places businessmen like Hunter Biden and such).

Nancy K

To be fair it isn't just liberals who demonize Putin. If it were up to conservatives such as McCain and Graham, we would probably have boots on the ground in the area. Also many Christian evangelicals believe the end times will have the US fighting with Israel against the rest of the world lead by none other than Russia. Yes it is a crazy world we live in.

David Habakkuk


You do not accurately represent Mearsheimer's argument.

A key paragraph:

'There is a solution to the crisis in Ukraine, however – although it would require the West to think about the country in a fundamentally new way. The United States and its allies should abandon their plan to westernize Ukraine and instead aim to make it a neutral buffer between NATO and Russia, akin to Austria’s position during the Cold War. Western leaders should acknowledge that Ukraine matters so much to Putin that they cannot support an anti-Russian regime there. This would not mean that a future Ukrainian government would have to be pro-Russian or anti-NATO. On the contrary, the goal should be a sovereign Ukraine that falls in neither the Russian nor the Western camp.'

There is, moreover, no reason whatsoever to think that such a solution has ever been unacceptable to Putin, whose preferred goal, as Russian analysts have time and time again stressed, is federalisation.



With respect, the very early Greeks thought heroic deeds were extremely important, but striving with the gods was almost always a bad idea, particularly in classical period.

And I know this was just an aside, but the Alexander thing is one of the most bizarre and unlikely entries in our intellectual tradition, so I thought I'd mention it. Alexander actually had no reason to cry, because there plenty of world left to conquer when he died. He was planning on conquering more of it, in fact.

The actual phrase, "he wept because he had no worlds left to conquer," seems to have come from a 1920s Readers' Digest article, of all things. There is no ancient source for it, and it's commonly believed to be a misunderstanding of a line in Plutarch. But somehow it stuck, and is probably the only thing most people know about Alexander.


David Habakkuk


'The question however remains; exactly why would we be wrong for thinking that the people in Washington are so deluded as to believe that a stable planetary order with America as world hegemon is possible?'

That is the crux of this and other matters.

A reservation I have about Mearsheimer's article is that he takes at face value the notion that both Americans and Europeans have believed that 'geopolitics no longer mattered'.

A significant influence on Democratic thinking about foreign policy has been Brzezinski. He is a self-professed geopolitician. Moreover, as he himself made clear in an address back in 2003, much of his thinking is rooted in inter-war Polish 'Promethean' ideas.

(See http://csis.org/files/media/csis/events/031003_brzezinski.pdf .)

In the address, Brzezinski suggested that 'Ukraine’s early accession to NATO and then to the EU will accelerate, rather than delay Russia’s eventual association.'

He was still firmly in cloud-cuckooland last December, when the FT published an oped-ed of his entitled 'Russia, like Ukraine, will become a real democracy.'

(See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5ac2df1e-6103-11e3-b7f1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3B6iXvaWb .)

It is the combination of the belief that one's detachment from traditional power politics should be self-evident to everyone, with the inept practice of such geopolitics by people still in the grip of the traumas of East European history, which accounts for many of the problems the U.S. faces today.

Edward Amame

Zbigniew Brzezinski suggested in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard that one of the keys to preserving US global dominance for a least a couple of generations was Ukraine:

“Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire...”

“However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.”



I am glad to know that 'progressives' think uniformly like you. That however is not my experience. "firing squad"? I made no such reference. Ukraine - let me know which progressive leaders are speaking out against US policy regarding Ukraine.

Edward Amame


I agree to a point. Some libs are on to the fact that that what's going on in Ukraine is largely the result of a western op, but way too many are not. Tyler may on to one of the reasons as to why that is: reaction to Russian treatment of gays, Pussy riot, etc. But don't think that libs are immune to having jingoistic, lingering cold war era anti-Russian sentiments. That may be an even bigger reason. That and that even after Iraq, Americans still believe too much of what the gov't spoonfeeds the media.

Charles Dekle

Well said. I have similar concerns.

Charles Dekle

mc, ph.d,

Wavy Gravy! That gave me a great laugh. Thanks.

Charles Dekle

Walrus and all,
Robert Parry recently published an article analyzing the Obama's disjointed Foreign Policy:

I also recommend any article by Stephen F. Cohen on the subject but I find his most recent especially helpful in understanding the current insanity. He concludes with:
"Alas, there is no such leadership here in Washington. President Obama has vanished as a statesman in the Ukrainian crisis. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks publicly more like a secretary of war than as our top diplomat. The Senate is preparing even more warfare legislation. The establishment media relies uncritically on Kiev’s propaganda and cheerleads for its policies. Unlike the devastation wrought in Gaza, American television rarely, if ever, shows Kiev’s destruction of Luhansk, Donetsk or other Ukrainian cities, thereby arousing no public qualms or questions."

Best regards and thanks to all here,


@ All Pussy riot? The group that went into Orthodoxy's holiest cathedral and defaced it?

I doubt there'd be any outrage from the media if Saudi Arabia responded to such an action at Mecca.

One rule for thee, another for me.



Yeah, which is why all those anti-war groups are marching against Obama.

Oh wait no. Progressives are a death cult obsessed with pleasure who treat all morality all relativistic. Abortion on demand, sex with whatever you want, obliteration of the family unit and tolerance enforced by the violence of the state - these are the fruits of progressive thought.

mistah charley, ph.d.

In reply to Fred

"let me know which progressive leaders are speaking out against US policy regarding Ukraine"

Lawrence Wilkerson, formerly Colin Powell's right hand man, does not count as a progressive leader, but Dennis Kucinich does:


Congressman Alan Grayson would certainly like to be seen as a progressive leader:


Ralph Nader, blamed by some for Gore's loss in the 2000 election:


Babak Makkinejad


I must say that I have come to regret the absence of something like a patent, copy-right and trade-mark office 3000 years ago.

The ancient Iranian prophet, Zoroaster is the fellow who invented that - known as Manichaeism in the West.

I very well could imagine the royalties that Iran could have collected every time an application of the Good vs. Evil was made.

No need for pumping oil.



You sounded the alarm at the beginning that Obama was a Narcissist and would one day do something terribly stupid. The Ukrainian Coup was that step too far.


David Habakkuk,

I think what is going on is a strange mutation on "realism."

These people seem to be thinking the means in terms of marketing and "propaganda," even as they might think in terms of "geopolitical" or otherwise "realpolitikish" goals. They still try to seize the prizes of geopolitical value, but they do so using smoke, mirrors, and propaganda.

In some sense, it actually has worked remarkably well in some areas--e.g. the former Yugoslavia. A lot of propaganda ink has been spilled over how the whole tragedy was the consequence of Serbian aggression and that is, for vast majority of western publics, all that it was.

Of course, in former Yugoslavia, there was a vast disparity in power and a (Serbian) population that was just sick and tired of everything, including their own regime which was as incompetent as it was vile (perhaps more incompetent than vile). I suppose this might have worked on a Yeltsin (and, in a way, it did, which might as well be why so many western liberals seem nostalgic for his (figurative) return, in a "real" democracy (tm)). But one can't expect such state of affairs to continue indefinitely, or so one would think, solely on the strength of "good" publicity (in western eyes only)....



You'd have to have zero familiarity with what actual Conservative beliefs are to actually think that McCain and Granny Lindsay represent Conservative thought.



And why would such a patent be relevant in the New World. The Inca, Aztec and Maya all had their own version - at least until the Spanish and smallpox arrived.


Thanks for that reply. I appreciate it.

That was my sense too. I'm not the biggest Strobe Talbott fan (mostly for what I like to call his "South Asia Brookings-wallah silliness" so I went and read through 90's criticism of NATO expansion some time back. That, combined with the warnings from 2008 onward--in the Washington Post, no less!-- that our behavior would cause problems, puts me in the skeptic camp on NATO expansion. Well, as an American I don't buy the argument that if we are not big dog within NATO somehow we lose our national power so I am not inclined to be a big fan.

At any rate, the following sort of stuff makes me roll my eyes, and I can find plenty similar for Ukraine too (military manufacturing, etc.) It would make me laugh except that the consequences of our behavior are so serious:

Poland has made a formal request that the EU take Russia before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to overturn its ban on EU food and vegetables.

Reuters reported on Tuesday (19 August) that Poland’s economy ministry had sent a written request for a legal challenge to EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht.

The move is expected to be confirmed by agriculture minister Marek Sawicki and economy minister Janusz Piechociński at a press conference on Wednesday (20 August).

Moscow slapped the one year ban on many food and agriculture imports from the EU, along with the US, Canada, Australia and Norway earlier this month in retaliation against EU sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

"Poland is likely to be one of the countries hit hardest by the ban. Last year, it exported more than €1 billion of food to Russia, which is its fourth largest market after Germany, the UK and France, with its apple growers, who export around half of their crop to Russia, the main victims.

Meanwhile, a number of governments are already working out how much compensation they will seek to claim for their farmers from a €420 million emergency fund which the European Commission has at its disposal."


None of this theater makes any sense to me. And so many innocents are already hurt.

I too don't understand how saying a party is likely to react in a certain way equates to agreeing with said party. It's just pointing out likely consequences.

Kyle Pearson

In reply to Tyler:


First: I generally don't like these one-on-one exchanges. I find them trivial, and embarrassing.

Second: Progressives are practical, realistic, and non-ideological. That last one - "non-ideological" - is the point people like you are stymied over.

From what i can tell, after reading your comments on this blog for....7 years? - to say this in a highfalootin' way:

You confuse ideology with fact.

Or, to switch it around to something more generally accessible:

You can't separate facts from opinions, and you expect the rest of the world to conflate the two in the same way you do.

Kyle Pearson

In reply to Tyler:

We agree on this.

I'm not proud of that - I'm just lettin' you know.

Kyle Pearson

I would never expect you to take my word for it.

We do, however, live in a wizardrous age where Google will allow a person to call forth any number of statements that can prove a person wrong.

Feel free to use it. I have no power to stop you.



Thanks so much for pointing out how wrong I am by putting forth such effort - telling me to use Google to prove your point. Quite convenient.



The congressional powerhouse they are not. All two of them with Nader in tow. You left out Noam Chomsky. They get less press time than an ice bucket.

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