Posts Tagged ‘Vladmir Putin

15
Apr
14

Ukraine crisis in tweets

Shooting war in Ukraine.

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18
Mar
14

Ukraine Crisis in Tweets

Tsar Vladimir I is making his gambit. He’s signed a treaty with the Crimean “government” annexing it to Russia. A Ukrainian soldier has been killed in a clash with Russia troops. And Russian economy officials are saying that the Ukraine adventure is sending the Russian economy into a crisis. These next few weeks may decide what kind of world—if any—we live in.

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15
Mar
14

De Tocqueville’s prophecy

From de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America:

There are now two great nations in the world which, starting from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal: the Russians and the Anglo-Americans. Both have grown in obscurity, and while the world’s attention was occupied elsewhere, they have suddenly taken their place among the leading nations, making the world take note of their birth and of their greatness almost at the same instant. All other peoples seem to have nearly reached their natural limits and to need nothing but to preserve them; but these two are growing…. The American fights against natural obstacles; the Russian is at grips with men. The former combats the wilderness and barbarism; the latter, civilization with all its arms. America’s conquests are made with the plowshare, Russia’s with the sword. To attain their aims, the former relies on personal interest and gives free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of individuals. The latter in a sense concentrates the whole power of society in one man. One has freedom as the principal means of action; the other has servitude. Their point of departure is different and their paths diverse; nevertheless, each seems called by some secret desire of Providence one day to hold in its hands the destinies of half the world.

While the particular paths both the US and Russia forged from the mid-19th century until now don’t neatly fit de Tocqueville’s parameters—the US has not necessarily been shy in using military force—it’s as good a starting point for discussion as any.

Any cursory examination of the histories of both nations easily leads to the conclusion that both the US and Russia have had a sense of mission. That of the US is to spread democracy and self-determination across the globe. (Again, I’m speaking of self-conception, not reality on the ground.) Russia’s mission has been to see itself as defender of the Slavic peoples, and of Slavic Christianity; essentially, as the inheritor of Rome and Constantinople. It is a mission wrapped in mysticism and destiny. Even its 70 year sojourn under Communism was imbued with this mission, this time to make the world one large soviet. But at heart, Russia has seen itself as a natural great power, perhaps the greatest.

The idea that a thousand years of Russian culture would be eradicated by the fall of the Soviet empire was, at best, a fool’s dream. And I admit, I participated in it. I looked at summits between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin with relief and pride: two great enemies becoming partners, ushering the world into a new age free of great power conflicts.

And, truthfully, Russia was no longer a great power. Yes, it still had nuclear weapons; but the entire society was caving in on itself, of no threat to the West, dependent, in fact, on Western largesse. Bit by bit it became entrenched in the global economy, enmeshed in webs of finance and trade which are difficult to break.

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15
Mar
14

Ukraine crisis in tweets

Today in Ukraine.

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10
Mar
14

Ukraine crisis in tweets

Today in Ukraine.

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08
Mar
14

Ukraine crisis in tweets

Today in Ukraine news on Twitter.

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01
Mar
14

Storify – Will McAvoy on Ukraine/Russia

Things are getting hairy. Russia’s upper house has approved sending troops to Ukraine. There’s also a motion in the Duma to request that Vladimir Putin recall Russia’s ambassador to the US.

The times are even more perilous then they were when the US was poised to strike at Syria. Russia would have kvetched about Syria, but ultimately not have done much about it. Ukraine is an entirely different matter.

So, as we sit and wonder what will happen next, a recap of the master class @WillMcAvoyACN gave last night on Ukraine, and the difficulty of effecting any good solution to this crisis.

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14
Sep
13

Obama: Please Proceed, Vlad

by @zizii2

If you read between the lines in Krauthammer’s recent spittle laced rant against Pres Obama on his Syria decision, you’ll realize just how earth-shatteringly PBO has upended Cold War residual thinking about the Middle East and power alignments. Of course Krauthammer is so blinded by bloodlust to obliterate Iran on behalf of Israel that he fails to see the tectonic shift at hand. Other teatards are so insecure that every Obama move is filtered through their castration anxieties. To them every US action must be a dick-waving exercise, even if such action results in us literally losing our limbs & heads. To them the Amurkin phallus MUST reign supreme even if it is just a severed appendage sputtering on a deserted battlefield.

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But Krauthammer’s description of the historical lay of the land and power relations are accurate. There’s been longstanding opposition in Europe and among US ME allies about allowing the Soviet Union and later Russia any inch into the Eastern Mediterranean as a power player. Of course that ignored the fact that Russia as Assad’s patron ALREADY had a foothold. As a Dailykos commenter said:

“Russia was already in the Middle East: they are Assad’s backers. Now they’ve got a few “responsibilities” to match all their “rights.” Why the heck not?”

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If anything’s been most consistent in President Obama’s foreign policy positions, it is his conviction that all nations MUST bear their responsibilities; that the US has been vilified enough by nations who hide behind platitudes yet foist off tangible action onto the US. Time to put up or shut up.

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Now, whether you believe Pres Obama’s saber rattling was right or wrong, the fact is the prospect of military strikes, like Drano, unclogged the state of play in the 2.5 year old Syria civil war. And after 2.5 years of hiding behind the veto pen at the UN Security Council, Putin strutted out this time. The question is why? Hubris and/or fear?

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Corporate media, neo-cons and those afflicted with Obama Derangement Syndrome settle on the facile idea that Putin seized initiative to show how manly he-manish he is to one-up Pres Obama on Syria. If it’s HUBRIS, then it means that in spite of discussions at G20 meeting in 2012 and this year, Putin mistakenly thought that PBO facing possible “humiliation” with a congressional No vote, would “lash” out with unilateral strikes as insecure US presidents in the past were wont to do. So he positioned himself as foil to PBO to score PR points.

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Continue reading ‘Obama: Please Proceed, Vlad’




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