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Thursday, September 04, 2014

One of the lesser known motivating factors behind the US, 1823, Monroe Doctrine was fear of Russian expansion from Alaska southward to Oregon. Are the Russians entitled to similar claims in resisting Nato and EU expansion to its borders?

Lets Have Some Honesty and Realism at the NATO Conference

Dont hold your breath

Sheldon Richman | September 4, 2014
Don't hold your breath, but it would be refreshing if NATO leaders meeting in Wales this week spoke candidly for once about Ukraine.
They could start by embracing this observation by John Mearsheimer, the distinguished foreign-policy scholar at the University of Chicago:
According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe.…
But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia's orbit and integrate it into the West.
This will startle most people who rely on major media outlets for their news and analysis. But Mearsheimer is no fringe character or fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He's a member of the "realist" school of foreign policy, which assumes that governments tend to act rationally in their political self-interest.
As Mearsheimer points out, Russia was provoked, (as many had warned, for nearly 20 years, that it would be). After the demise of the Soviet empire and Warsaw Pact, the Russian leadership did not object to NATO's continued existence, he writes. In fact, the Russians counted on NATO to restrain Germany. But they "did not want NATO to grow any larger and assumed that Western diplomats understood their concerns. The Clinton administration evidently thought otherwise, and in the mid-1990s, it began pushing for NATO to expand."
Thanks to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, NATO moved east to Russia's border, incorporating the Warsaw Pact and Baltic states. Especially provocative has been the open talk of admitting border states Georgia and Ukraine, both former Soviet republics. Ukraine was the invasion route into Russia three times in the past and has long hosted a major Russian naval base in Crimea.
When Ukraine and Georgia came close to joining NATO in 2008 (postponed when France and Germany feared it would provoke Russia), Putin warned that their membership would be a "direct threat." His brief war against Georgia that year, after Georgian forces attacked a separatist region on Russia's border, presaged what was to come.
Meanwhile, American neoconservatives spoke of Ukraine as "the biggest prize," in the words of Carl Gershman, head of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which receives a lot of U.S. taxpayer money to meddle in other countries' elections. After the Soviet empire fell, Ukraine had governments friendly to the West, but in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, who did not view Russia as an adversary, was elected president. Mearsheimer writes that "the NED decided he was undermining its goals, and so it stepped up its efforts to support the opposition."
When Yanukovych balked at an economic offer from the European Union in favor of a deal with Russia, antigovernment demonstrations, encouraged by U.S. officials who wanted regime change, took place in Kiev, and pressure ratcheted up until Yanukovych fled the country.
"For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine's democratically elected and pro-Russian president — which he rightly labeled a 'coup' — was the final straw," writes Mearsheimer. "He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West."
Mearsheimer notes that the "new government in Kiev was pro-Western and anti-Russian to the core, and it contained four high-ranking members who could legitimately be labeled neofascists."
Under these circumstances, Putin has acted as any Russian ruler would be expected to act with his country encroached on from the west: "His response to events there has been defensive, not offensive."
"This is Geopolitics 101," Mearsheimer continues. "Great powers are always sensitive to potential threats near their home territory. After all, the United States does not tolerate distant great powers deploying military forces anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, much less on its borders."
Yet another manufactured crisis — costing over 2,000 lives. It could be brought to a speedy end if Barack Obama would give the word.
This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.


  1. I admit to being somewhat ambivalent about this. The concept of a stable sovereign nation state is relatively recent in human history. National borders have been fluid and subject to frequent change.

    Recently, we also give far greater weight to the will of indigenous people. We respect the rights of countries such as Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia to devolution because that is the will of the majority. We are inconsistent at best when it comes to other parts of the World. We went to war with Iraq because of their historic claims to Kuwait and yet we tolerate Israeli aggression neighboring Palestine.

    During the Cold War, we went to a hot war to resist North Viet Nam from trying to reunite with the South.

    Most Ukrainians do not want to be part of Russia. The same applies to the Baltic countries, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. All except Ukraine have willingly joined Nato. Ukraine is more complicated, but do the Russians have a right to demand that parts of the Ukraine with Russian nationals not be part of Nato?

    Russia is playing a dangerous game because what it is doing in Ukraine can be done to it in the East by China. Israel the same. What can be taken by force can be lost by force as unlikely as that seems in the moment.

    1. "yet we tolerate Israeli aggression neighboring Palestine. "

      Sorry deuce, there is no real "palestine", never has been. Not a nation, nor a true people, just another cold war invention.

      As we sit and bitch and bicker reality is talking hold..

      Syra is dissolving, as is Iraq, North Africa, from Mali, Libya to Egypt have no sustainable way to provide for themselves.

      Yemen, Sudan? Lebanon and Jordan? All one week from imploding.

      As for aggression? Those that served it up on to the Jews/Israel in the middle east? Are dying before our eyes..

      You aint seen anything yet... Mix in some ISIS and some boko, stir in some plague, a little ebola, maybe a few dozen Jet airlines crashing into who knows what.... Then sit back and hold on...

      Don't worry about Israel it just took 4,500 rocket hits and survived to tell about it...

      Just wait and watch how the very same weapons when used on others will create a blood bath..

    2. .

      Gee, kinda sounds like Armageddon.

      Maybe John Hagee was right.


  2. Will parts of the US Southwest be permitted to revert back to Mexico if the majority wills it? Do we have any right to prohibit Puerto Rico and Hawaii from leaving the US?

    Lincoln said we had no such right to secede and killed over 600,000 Americans to enforce the ban. Yet we recently wanted to bomb the Syrians because Assad is killing Syrians that are also in revolt and wish to secede. We did bomb the Serbians because they were trying to hold their union with Kosovo together. We put Serbian leaders on trial, hanged Saddam and built a monument to the lionized Lincoln, almost making him a god a la the Romans.

  3. The White House has been hesitant to describe the situation in Ukraine as a Russian invasion, but Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) thinks there’s no other way to describe what’s happening.

    McCain even said he looked up the definition of the word in the dictionary. He held a press conference in Ukraine on Thursday to make that very point.

    "Before coming here, I looked at a definition for the word invasion. It is as follows: 'an incursion by a large number of people or things into a place … an unwelcome intrusion into another's domain,'" McCain said, according to a transcript from his office.

    Despite their reluctance to use the word, U.S. officials have repeatedly criticized Russia for using softer terms like "incursion." In a Wednesday interview with CNN, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel dismissed the language debate.

    "Well, there are Russians in Ukraine, Russian military, Russian military equipment in Ukraine. You can define it any way you want," he said. "That's not my role."

    However, McCain argued that any refusal to call it an "invasion" meant the U.S. was accepting Russian President Vladimir Putin's worldview. Putin has denied any military involvement in eastern Ukraine despite a preponderance of evidence suggesting Russian is, at the very least, providing arms to the separatists at war with the Ukrainian government.

    "Now, if we in the West cannot say clearly that what Vladimir Putin is doing to Ukraine constitutes an invasion of a sovereign country — if we obfuscate this truth because we refuse to face it — then we are living in Putin's world," McCain said. "Just as an invasion is an invasion, our world either has rules, or it does not. It is either organized around principles of justice, or it is not."

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/john-mccain-thinks-obama-should-look-up-invasion-in-the-dictionary-2014-9#ixzz3CP1gjvcE

    1. .

      And yet, there was Libya.

      And yet, there was Iraq.

      And yet, there was McCain leading the charge.


    2. Libyan oil production down almost 1 million barrels, per day.
      Success obtained.

      In Iraq ...
      Iraq's oil production hit its highest level in 35 years in February, but has since fluctuated because of logistical constraints and political turmoil. According to the International Energy Agency, the country's production dipped to 3.1 million barrels a day last month from 3.6 million barrels a day in February.

      Iraq's production is back in line with their allotment.

      US policy has been spot on. Our allies basking in the glow of US led success.
      While the hubris supplied by the US is at an all time low.

      McCain, the last GOP Standard Bearer standing.

  4. Russia expanded from west of the Urals all the way to the Pacific.

    That ought to be enough room for anybody.

    So, I say no.

    Seattle 17
    Green Bay 10

    half time

  5. We need to fire everyone, including the janitor, at that embassy, and back as far away from that mess (that we created) as we possibly can. This is the biggest fuck-up of the Obama presidency.

    1. Here you are all gung ho to go back into Iraq but you are willing to leave freedom loving Ukrainians to die.

    2. I haven't, one time, said that we "should go back into Iraq."

    3. Oh, ok, well, why not support close air support for our allies in Ukraine like you are so keen to do in Iraq?

    4. The Russians cannot be conflated with ISIS, Ash.

      Their military capabilities and capacities are not equal.

    5. I do realize that you would prefer a "One Size Fits All" foreign policy from the DC elites ....

      Real life reminds US that all of our adversaries are not created equally.
      Not all situations can be resolved with the same cookie cutter solutions

    6. Right off the top of my head:

      1) ISIS doen't have thousands of nukes

      2) Russia isn't cutting the heads off of American journalists, and

      3) Ukraine doesn't have Billions of Barrels of Oil.

  6. Nor that I agree but here is an opposing view


    1. Reading the article post by ash’s link is sobering. Putin is a megalomaniac, a paranoid nationalist and a thug. Bush may have seen something in Putin’s soul but it wasn’t a Pootie. Men like Putin recognize two things, strength and weakness. You can’t disguise weakness to a predator. They smell it. With them, it is a trade-off between how much pain they will endure. They present you with a bad choice and a worse choice. Make the wrong choice and you will always get the worst results. The Ukrainians will fight. At a minimum we will have to supply them with weapons that bite. Russia would do no less. We can still use diplomacy but that will be useless if the Russians are not bloodied.

    2. Stinger missiles did it to the Russians in Afghanistan. Ukraine is massive. Anti-tank weapons and long range sniper rifles and body bags will take some of the starch out of the flag wavers in Moscow. I was in Russia in the eighties. They do not want to go back to that. Give Putin a cheap victory and you may as well crown him.

    3. Gotta be careful with even that, though. Once you're seen going that far, then you're going to have to help them overcome the artillery, and rockets that are sure to show up.

      WE would solve that with drones, and bombs; but, do we want to give them "drones, and JDAMS?"

    4. Igor Gouzenko wrote a book that I read in high school, “Fall of a Titan”. Gouzenko was a Russian spy that defected to the Canadians. I remember one line from the book, “The only thing a communist understands is a cocked gun to his head.” I believe that applies here. Gouzenko knew his people.

    5. Well, let's not lose sight of the fact that it wasn't the Russians that went half-way around the world to overthrow a duly-elected government on OUR border.

    6. It wasn't Russia that fought Two Large Elective Wars, lasting, together, almost two decades, in the second half of the 20th Century.

    7. I agree with that, but it is irrelevant. This is different. Viet Nam and Iraq were insane. We don’t need to put any troops into the Ukraine. That would be more stupid. Putin needs to be bloodied. The Ukrainians can do it and will do it. We simply sell them the weapons that they need. The Russians would do the same and have. They will think us weak and stupid if we don’t. It will only get worse if we don’t.

    8. It would take one million troops for Russia to occupy a hostile Ukraine. They don’t have them. They don’t have the will. They don’t have the money. Putin needs to be broken.

    9. I was always best as a counter puncher. Putin has made his moves. He can be handled.

    10. .

      The Russians are constrained by China in the east and are being pressured by NATO in the west. It has been going on for two decades and there are few things more dangerous than a baited bear.

      The only advantage Ukraine has is that the Russian public, like that in America, aren't looking for war.


  7. Seattle 36

    Green Bay 16

    Seattle certainly looked competent tonight.

    1. Benson Mayowa the guy from the U of Idaho got traded three days ago from Seattle to Oakland.

  8. Big Employment Report, tomorrow. The first thing I will be looking at is to see if there has been any movement in "wages."

    Last month it was "0.0," and I don't see how this "recovery" can last much longer if something doesn't break in that front.

  9. I am certainly glad the Russians didn't get a foothold in North America.

    At the time of the break up of the Soviet Union, and after, there was a Russian 'lawyer' named Zirinovsky I think it was who wanted to take back Alaska.

    He ran in the elections, and, thankfully, lost.

    He was crazy as hell. That was the last I've of him.

  10. For his own part, Zhirinovsky has done a great deal to foster a reputation as a loud and boisterous populist who speaks on behalf of the Russian nation and people, even when the things he says are precisely what many people, at home or abroad, do not want to hear. Zhirinovsky infamously promised voters in 1991 that if he were elected, free vodka would be distributed to all. Similarly, he once remarked, during a political rally inside a Moscow department store, that if he were made president, underwear would be freely available.[19] Zhirinovsky has on several occasions been involved in altercations with other politicians and debate opponents. As a candidate, he also took part in the 2000 and 2008 presidential elections, promising a "police state",[17] and to institute summary executions. While some commentators call Zhirinovsky a fascist, or a neo-fascist,[20][21][22] some others dismiss him as a mere "clown"[23][24][25] and the Kremlin's willing political tool to neutralize the right-wing voter potential – and, for a time being, also a radical "bogeyman" for the West.[17]

    Zhirinovsky is well known for his boasts pertaining to other countries, having expressed a desire to reunite countries of the ex-Soviet "near abroad" with Russia to within the Russia's borders of 1900 (including Finland and Poland). He has advocated forcibly retaking Alaska from the United States (which would then become "a great place to put the Ukrainians"), turning Kazakhstan into "Russia's back yard", and provoking wars between the clans and the nations of the former Soviet Union and occupying what will remain of it when the wars are over.[29] Zhirinovsky, who encourages separatism within the Russian minority in the Baltic countries,[17] endorsed the forcible re-occupation of these countries and said nuclear waste should be dumped there.[29][30]

    In 1999, at the start of the Second Chechen War, Zhirinovsky, the ardent supporter of the first war in Chechnya in the mid-1990s, advocated hitting some Chechen villages with tactical nuclear weapons.[31] He has also advocated using nuclear weapons and naval blockade-imposed starvation in a case of Russia's war against Japan.[29] In 2008, during the resulting political row between the United Kingdom and Russia, he suggested dropping nuclear bombs over the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to flood Britain.[17]


    1. " free vodka would be distributed to all"

      I recall Quart donating to the guy's campaign and promising he was moving to Russia if Zhirinovsky won.

    2. And some wonder why some people on some occasions might distrust democracy.


    3. Zhirinovsky hailed what he described as "the democratic process" in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, whom he supported strongly. The friendship dated at least since the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, during which time Zhirinovsky sent several armed volunteers from the "Falcons of Zhirinovsky" group to support the Iraqi president. Allegations have dogged Zhirinovsky closely since the fall of Baghdad that he personally profited from illicit oil sales as part of the Oil-for Food scandal, a charge investigated in 2005 by the Independent Inquiry Committee into the Oil-for-Food Programme (Volcker Commission) and the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI).[32] He is also close to the Serbian nationalist leader and war crimes suspect Vojislav Šešelj.[29]

      Zhirinovsky said he's dreaming of a day "when Russian soldiers can wash their boots in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and switch to year-round summer uniforms"[33] following Russia's conquest of Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey and occupation of the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean.[27] He also declared that Bulgaria should annex the Republic of Macedonia, and said that Romania is an artificial state supposedly created by Italian Gypsies who seized territory from Russia, Bulgaria and Hungary.[24]

    4. " and said that Romania is an artificial state supposedly created by Italian Gypsies who seized territory from Russia, Bulgaria and Hungary.[24]"




      The Gyps stole Russian lands.....

    5. Damn wop gyps are always trying to pick somebody's pocket.

  11. The conservatives are sure slow learners. They are just discovering that Rick Perry is an asshole?

    1. Had high hopes for Rick Perry, then he became better known.
      Those hopes were laid low, by his performances, by the lack of quality displayed in those performances.

      Now he has been indicted for abusing his political office. A felony indictment.
      No small thing, that.

    2. What you mean to say is he has a lot in common with you.

    3. Lack of quality. That is Desert rat.

  12. There won't be much fighting in the Ukraine.

    The new government does not have the stomach for it.

    BBC News

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has expressed careful optimism that a deal could be struck with Russia to end fighting in the east of his country.

    1. “Of course, everyone gets a knot in their stomachs when the word is invasion,” Stefan Meister, who directs programs on former Soviet bloc lands for the German Council on Foreign Relations, said. Reluctance to use the term, he added, reflected the overall desire, particularly in Germany, to reach a settlement with Russia over Ukraine.


    2. Desert rat needs to get over there and stop the invasion. He can do it if anybody can.

    3. Or is he just another arm chair pacifist?

  13. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has expressed careful optimism that a deal could be struck with Russia to end fighting in the east of his country.


    Our correspondent says there is a lot at stake at the Nato summit, where President Poroshenko on Thursday confirmed that there was a chance that a deal could be signed in Minsk later on Friday, leading to a ceasefire within hours.


    Ukrainian government forces have recently suffered several losses of territory, after rebels launched offensives in both the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and further south around the city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea.

    Deal in the East

  14. This lamb is so undercooked it's following Mary to school!

    - Gordon Ramsey

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