Stop laughing, this is serious

susan rice at un

And this is some of the text that went with the picture:

There’s an amazing picture taken a few days ago at the United Nations.

Russia had just vetoed America’s diplomatic proposal for Ukraine. So Ambassador Samantha Power, the former Harvard professor appointed by Barack Obama, who is also a former Harvard grad himself, walked over to Russia’s ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, to give him a piece of her mind.

Churkin didn’t even stand up. He just looked at her. And his aides, standing behind him, laughed.

They weren’t laughing at the ironically named Ambassador Power. They were laughing at their good luck; that they had the good fortune to get into the invading business when a feckless man like Barack Obama was in charge of the free world.

Meanwhile, Russian forces storm Ukraine naval HQ in Crimea. Can’t really be much of an issue since so little attention is being paid to it. There’s perhaps not much you can do but to me the response from the West still looks like slow motion insanity. Next stop, Estonia?

UPDATE: Remember this quote and then watch the video below:

“One cardinal rule of the road is, we don’t watch CNN, the news or MSNBC. We don’t watch any talking heads or any politics. We watch SportsCenter and argue about that,” Obama told The New York Times.

What you are watching is the President of the United States right this minute choosing his bracket, that is choosing which college team will win the NCAA Basketball tournament which is about to start.

The video was picked up from C.L. in the comments.

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242 Responses to Stop laughing, this is serious

  1. Mike of Marion

    “I tell you Vlad that Obama has a right one here in the UN!!!”

  2. Fleeced

    Cool – a caption contest:

    “Awww, go on – don’t invade Crimea… I’ll be your friend?!”

  3. Up The Workers!

    Obama’s backstop – Joe Bidet!

  4. Ant

    If she’s an Obama appointee you can be sure her prime objective is to undermine the power, prestige and influence of her own country internationally.

    In that respect, Obama’s other appointees in the field – including Hilaryous, John “Mash Potato Face*” Kerry, Susan Rice, Chuck Hagel and….Mohammed Morsi”, have been a screaming success.

    H/T The Great One.

  5. Max

    I hate Obama / Lefties as much as anyone, and I worry about Australias future in a world where the US is weak, retreating, and financially crippled. And I worry about Putin’s expansionism and KGB history.

    But

    1) Honestly when push come to shove is Crimea / Ukraine really worth one drop of Western Blood?

    2) Geographically how could the west hold Crimea / Ukraine long term.

    3) It would seem the Russian people in Crimea really do want to return to Russia

  6. Ant

    Max, please, you need to rid yourself of complacency in US-Russia power plays.

    For starters, the Ukraine surrendered its nuclear arsenal on an agreement with Russia that it would respect their borders.

    Don’t know about you, but if I was in a country bordering Putin’s Russia I’d be a little worried – especially given the history of transgressions with respect to international agreements and allegiances.

    The Treaty of Versailles seemed like a good idea at the time.

  7. lotocoti

    A forward deployed Twitter Shield will guarantee Estonian sovereignty.

  8. adrian

    typical wet behind the ears harvard stooge.

  9. Kaboom

    “A forward deployed Twitter Shield will guarantee Estonian sovereignty.”

    What? We’ve always been at war with Estonia!”

  10. Robbo

    Why shouldn’t those Russians laugh? The USA under Obama is a joke. Weak, incompetent and destructive to the country he is supposed to be running, and almost universally regarded as a nothing more than a tough talker who wimps out when it comes to real action. The sad reality is that Obama has sold out Ukraine and if Russia does decide to move into the Baltic states they will not receive anything more than talk talk talk from Obama. What an empty suit.

  11. boy on a bike

    Did the Ukranian nukes go to the US for re-processing?

    If that’s the case, the yanks could give some back. And if they have been processed, well, just give them so nice shiny new ones from the US arsenal.

  12. John Comnenus

    If you ‘lead from behind’ you inevitably find yourself being led by those at the front.

  13. C.L.

    Worst, most embarrassing president ever.

    An global laughing stock.

    Sends a slip of a girl to do a man’s job.

  14. Stateless, free and happy

    On the other hand, as Monty Python would say:

    “historically Crimea is part of Russia already”

  15. MarkJJ

    Anyone else roll their eyes and think “Women…”

  16. stackja

    Ant
    #1232309, posted on March 20, 2014 at 9:20 am
    Max, please, you need to rid yourself of complacency in US-Russia power plays.
    For starters, the Ukraine surrendered its nuclear arsenal on an agreement with Russia that it would respect their borders.
    Don’t know about you, but if I was in a country bordering Putin’s Russia I’d be a little worried – especially given the history of transgressions with respect to international agreements and allegiances.
    The Treaty of Versailles seemed like a good idea at the time.

    Many countries are bordering Putin’s Russia in Europe, Middle East and east to Asia. Even Alaska. Maybe Putin wants to rescind the Alaskan purchase?

  17. john constantine

    so barry dont really wanna see nukes being sold for money,right,lets be cool guys-selling nukes for bitcoins is bad m’okay?. genetically modifying superbugs is bad,m’okay guys,guys? look at me when i am begging you,m’okay?. barry has attacked his domestic political opponents with the tax office harder than he has sanctioned americas foreign opponents

    remember barry killed osama [then betrayed the soldiers that did it for publicity.big death rates among the people obama painted targets on the back of.]

  18. John Comnenus

    Boy Putin knows how to play this game. The difference is that Putin has a strategy and knows what he is doing. Obama and the current American leadership are flailing around, a dying power searching for leverage.

    As to the next stop on Putin’s romp through his near abroad, all of his actions are to re-incorporate ethnic Russians back into Russia, and he goes for locations that are contiguous to Russian territory.

    My guess is his next target is Kazakhstan with millions of Russians living on its Northern border with Russia. A move East would probably be acceptable to China as it would destabilise Kazakh support for the Uighars in Western China. A move further West to Estonia would be more provocative to NATO.

    The Russian millions in Kazakhstan are a greater prize at lower strategic risk than the hundreds of thousands of Russians in Estonia.

  19. Bear Necessities

    Invading Ukraine is bad.. M’kay.

  20. Nanuestalkeer

    A forward deployed Twitter Shield will guarantee Estonian sovereignty.

    LOL

  21. Nanuestalker

    A forward deployed Twitter Shield will guarantee Estonian sovereignty.

    LOL!

  22. Fleeced

    Planning begins for another Obama vacation.

    As long as he has the essential stuff sorted.

    An important consideration for arranging the President’s vacation is, “What will they do when he makes a phone call at 3am for room service?”

  23. harrys on the boat

    I can see Putin channeling Kerry Packer

    “You only get one Barrack Obama in your lifetime, and I’ve had mine”

  24. Driftforge

    You would think that all the bordering states would have taken note of that play — they exist at the sufferance of Russia.

    How long until Russia has a border with Moldova and Bulgaria?

    How long until Russia creates a land link to Kaliningrad?

    The meme machine is trying hard to recover the situation for the left, but really.. to slow out of the gates.

  25. Alan Moran

    Obama’s idiocy is in allowing himself to oppose self determination by Russians in Crimea while supporting it by Kosova and anywhere else. There is no simple juxtaposition between Crimea and the Sudetenland as Hilary Clinton and even Hanson has attempted. History in one era is not a blueprint for another. Hitler wanted to conquer the world and had the capacity to give that a good go; does anyone imagine that Russia, a relatively weak power, has the same intent or capacity?

    We allow Scots and Irish and Slovenes and Croats to make new nations of themselves even though they speek the same language as their dominant hosts. And we would not prevent WA from seceding should it so wish. Why then do we decide that the overwhelmingly Russian population of Crimea (given to Ukraine in 1954 to cement into the USSR a people to whom Stalin had beastly) should be denied the right to join a country of their own choosing?

  26. Max

    Agree Alan

    Obama has been “Rope-a-Doped”

  27. politichix

    MarkJJ
    #1232336, posted on March 20, 2014 at 9:41 am
    Anyone else roll their eyes and think “Women…”

    Problem is they’ve sent a girl in a really bad suit to do a woman’s job. Gives us all a bad name.

  28. Robbo

    “And we would not prevent WA from seceding should it so wish.”

    Really Alan?

  29. Fleeced

    “And we would not prevent WA from seceding should it so wish.”

    Yeah, nah…

  30. ar

    Estonia and Russia recently reached agreement on borders… I’m sure the Russians will honour their commitments… …

  31. Bruce of Newcastle

    Stop laughing, this is serious

    It gets better. National Security Advisor Susan Rice has acted in response to the invasion:

    To date, Team Obama’s response to Russia’s takeover of Crimea has been criminally lame. But now Susan Rice reportedly wants to take affirmative action. Unfortunately, the affirmative action she contemplates is affirmative action in the legal sense — affirmative action on behalf of women.

    The post of U.S. ambassador to Russia has been vacant for three weeks. Al Kamen of the Washington Post reports “we’re hearing that national security adviser Susan Rice would like to place a woman in Moscow.” If true, this report is a perfect demonstration of Team Obama’s lack of seriousness. While Eastern Europe worries about the emergence of a Russian empire, Susan Rice worries about doling out jobs to women.

    Maybe she misheard him when he said “I want firm action!”

  32. Cold-Hands

    Why then do we decide that the overwhelmingly Russian population of Crimea (given to Ukraine in 1954 to cement into the USSR a people to whom Stalin had beastly) should be denied the right to join a country of their own choosing?

    It’s not quite as clear cut as that. Crimean tatars and ethnic Ukrainians boycotted the referendum. The best estimates before Putin’s deployment of troops suggested that any such referendum would be line-ball, as not all the ethnic Russians were keen to return to Mother Russian. No one seriously regards the current poll as “free and fair”.

  33. ga

    “I’m taking the Fifth, Comrade”

  34. Baldrick

    I think this image best sums up America’s current foreign policy problems.

  35. nerblnob

    My guess is his next target is Kazakhstan with millions of Russians living on its Northern border with Russia.

    I doubt it John. Kazakhstan is relatively friendly toward Russia and is keen on customs union.

    And there are not millions of Russians on its northern border. It’s mostly desolate steppes and the biggest northern town is Uralsk/Oral which is about the size of Geelong. The largest numbers of Russians are in Almaty and places like Aktau. Never mind that Wiki shows former Russian provinces in the north – they are not numerous.

  36. twostix

    It mustn’t be forgotten that Obama spent his first term sucking up to Putin and actively rolling western allies in the region such as Poland on issues like the missile defence shield.

    Who can forget this revolting begging by Obama?

  37. Tardell G

    Cass Sunstein’s wife. Enough said.

  38. Bruce of Newcastle

    Crimean tatars and ethnic Ukrainians boycotted the referendum.

    The Tartars may be about to be ethnically cleansed:

    Crimean Tatars are to be forced off their lands and relocated, according to Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev. Russia’s official RIA Novosti news agency reports that Mr Temirgaliyev said in an interview that he wants to “regularise” the land taken over by Crimean Tatars during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    He said: “We have asked the Crimean Tatars to vacate part of their land, which is required for social needs, but we are ready to allocate and legalize many other plots of land to ensure a normal life for the Crimean Tatars.”

    Such nice people these Russian speaking Crimeans.

  39. Alan Moran

    Cold Hands
    So, you would have no obection if the referendum were to have been conducted by an impartial agency (say Switzerland, given that the EU fomented the demonstrations during which a mob ousted the (corrupt) pro Russian elected government and replaced it with another (corrupt) pre-western government). And the new pro-western government moved to have Russian no longer an official language.

  40. H B Bear

    Obama certainly has got more flexibility after the election.

    Putin has him bent right over.

  41. Ant

    “…does anyone imagine that Russia, a relatively weak power, has the same intent or capacity?”

    Nazi Germany? No.

    However, Japan was a relatively weak power in the 30′s, too, as the US proved once their material capabilities came to match the “righteous might” FDR spoke of.

    Yet that reality didn’t stop Japan from unleashing hell in the Pacific for 4 very bloody years – not counting the prior years of slaughter on mainland China.

    It projected an air of invincibility through nationalistic expansionism, geographical advantage, technical and industrial prowess (limited only by access to natural resources) and, most importantly, iron will.

    Don’t know about you, but I see some parallels now that maybe we shouldn’t so casually ignore – without looking for blueprint copies and discounting historical experience because the parallels don’t align perfectly enough?

    Also, Russia is nuked up to the hilt. It has a leader displaying ambition and bravura with the actions to match.

    I don’t think now is the time to be putting on the comforable slippers.

  42. John Comnenus

    Net knob,

    Whilst there are many Russians in Southern Kazakhstan, they ethnically dominate the northern border region. The difficulty for Russia in Kazakhstan is the Cosmodrome in the South near Uzbekistan.

  43. John Comnenus

    Sorry Nerklnob – net knob was the autocorrect. I wasn’t trying to be a smart arse.

  44. john constantine

    so gillard castrated australias military,ran down all equipment,let the left use the military as a tool for social engineering and stole the military budget.

    gillard based australias border security upon her feminine wiles bewitching obama into gallantry. how do we feel this morning,alone in the cold hard world,defended by the three most flowery floats fresh from the mardi gras?.

  45. Mique

    Alan Moran: “And the new pro-western government moved to have Russian no longer an official language.”

    Language is the least of it. I doubt anyone would want to allow a hostile nation to control one of its few ice-free ports.

  46. Cold-Hands

    So, you would have no obection if the referendum were to have been conducted by an impartial agency (say Switzerland)…

    You cannot have such a referendum while foreign troops supporting one side of such a referendum is in occupation of the state in question. In an ideal world the Ukrainians would be left to sort out their own politics without interference by external powers. As it stands, Putin looks set to impose another Russian puppet regime through force of arms. The Russian language as an official language is a political football. Most Ukrainians use Russian and Ukrainian interchangeably.

  47. Ubique

    How’s Obama’s soft power working out?

  48. boy on a bike

    Sorry Nerklnob – net knob was the autocorrect. I wasn’t trying to be a smart arse.

    Unintentional or not, that was pretty funny.

  49. Token

    Next stop, Estonia?

    The Russians in Moldova are moving first.

  50. Token

    You cannot have such a referendum while foreign troops supporting one side of such a referendum is in occupation of the state in question. In an ideal world the Ukrainians would be left to sort out their own politics without interference by external powers

    If the break up of the Ukraine was handled by the internal actors within the Ukraine in similar way to the breaking of Czechoslovakia occured, nobody would object.

    The issue is that Russia is invading another sovereign nation and imposing solutions via superior arms.

  51. nerblnob

    No worries John, I like it.
    I think I’ll change my handle to net knob (handle, knob – geddit?). How does one change one’s handle?

    Whilst there are many Russians in Southern Kazakhstan, they ethnically dominate the northern border region.

    But their actual numbers are puny, and since Nuzzie boy moved the capital to Astana and started filling the public service with Kazakhs, they are proportionally even less of the steppes population. At the time, people in Almaty were saying that he didn’t like the dominance of Russians in business and technical areas in that city.

    Now it’s hard for an ethnic Russian business to get a contract if it doesn’t at least have a Kazakh figurehead. Yet the Russians are usually the most clued-up so every Kazakh-led firm still needs a core of ethnic Russian employees.

  52. Token

    How’s Obama’s soft power working out?

    As Obama promised Medvedev “off-mike”, he has been deliver to Putin the despots every desire now the Sun King is in his 2nd term and does not have to face re-election.

  53. cuckoo

    And on her salary, you’d think Samantha Power could buy a jacket that actually fits.

  54. The Consigliere

    Oh wow, I thought you guys would be done with the whole nonsense about ‘Russia invaded Crimea because of um.. Benghazi! duh!’

    As I explained in this blog’s first post on the subject, Russia took back the Crimea because the overwhelming tide of historical forces that make any situation where Crimea is independent of Russia a very unstable state of affairs. Nothing the Americans would or could have done apart from launching the nukes would have stopped this from happening.

    Having said that, I agree that US influence is at an all time low. A catastrophic series of blunders during the early first decade of this century under a dangerously incompetent Republican administration depleted both their financial and military ability to make any credible threats.

    All that hampers what Obama or any future administration can do in a very serious way. I think you guys underestimate the depth and breadth of damage done to the country under Bush’s conservative regime.

    The level of influence previously enjoyed by the United States in international affairs is not going to return for a very long time, if ever.

  55. cuckoo

    And as psych backgrounding, to help them understand Obama, Kerry and Sam Power, the Kremlin will be having an all-weekend marathon screening of Mean Girls, Heathers and Clueless.

  56. John Comnenus

    Nerblnob,

    and there is Putin’s argument for why Russians are being discriminated against. A ready made issue for him to capitalise on. Almaty is not that big, and Nuzzie boy moved the Capital, Astana, north specifically to break up the almost total ethnic Russian domination of the North. Obviously Nuzzie boy is worried about his Russian enclaves in the North.

  57. Token

    Why then do we decide that the overwhelmingly Russian population of Crimea (given to Ukraine in 1954 to cement into the USSR a people to whom Stalin had beastly) should be denied the right to join a country of their own choosing?

    Gees Alan, so you like people negotiating with you with a gun to your head. Good luck with that.

    Eastern Europeans who have seen Russia act in this way over 500 years know that the inept Russian governments use the passions from nationalism to cover up for their dreadfully wasteful regimes, which normally ends in non-Russians being ethnically cleansed.

    This is what happened in Abkhazia. As people are noting up thread, it has happened in the Crimea in the 40s & 50s and is probable to happen again.

    If they used the constitutional methods there would be a need to address the needs of the minority Ukrainian, Tatar, Greek, etc population with less likelihood that bloodshed will result.

  58. Token

    Russia took back the Crimea because the overwhelming tide of historical forces that make any situation where Crimea is independent of Russia a very unstable state of affairs.

    According to the treaties Russia signed with the Ukraine in the 1990s and the extension signed in teh 2000s, the sovereign nation of Ukraine owned the territory of Crimea and provided access to Russia.

    Your point only makes sense if you are in a magically delusional realm where you refuse to accept the Russian invasion & removal of the Crimea via armed force.

  59. .

    As I explained in this blog’s first post on the subject, Russia took back the Crimea because the overwhelming tide of historical forces that make any situation where Crimea is independent of Russia a very unstable state of affairs.

    Like how they voted to stay with the Ukraine in 1991, but Russia took over their military bases before there was a vote this time?

    You’re a genius, consig. Going to argue the point this time with lectures from undergrad you can’t remember in full once more?

  60. james

    Next stop, Estonia?

    Nope.

    Putin aint dumb, one of the reasons he went so hard on Ukraine is that it is already too late to move on Estonia.

    All the Baltic states are now NATO members, more of the wests rapid and rather aggressive encirclement of the Russian bear.

    You cannot have such a referendum while foreign troops supporting one side of such a referendum is in occupation of the state in question.

    By that logic CH every election held in post-Taliban Afghanistan or post-Saddam Iraq is illegitimate.

    I see no evidence that the vote was rigged beyond the restriction of options on the ballot. And arguably the western Alliance in Iraq restricted the names on the ballot in those elections in any case.

    Face facts, most people in Crimea for a variety of reasons wanted to be a part of Russia. I see absolutely no benefit in trying to stop them.

    With its new demography Ukraine becomes firmly embedded in the western power bloc with the peninsular amputated.

    It really is as close to a win win as you can get in a long term sense, if anything Russia is desperately trying to scrape a consolation prize.

    Russia has seen the EU and NATO grab more and more of its former dominions with every passing year. Russian foreign policy has traditionally been paranoid in nature already.

    From the Russian perspective THEY are not the aggressor here.

    That is not to excuse Obama of course, when you are the aggressor you better damn well do it right.

  61. Zatara

    In June of 2013 bright boy Obama announced that he wanted to get rid of all US nuclear weapons, unilaterally if necessary. Because of course in his view the world is full of sunshine and friendly, cooperative, mentally balanced people. Alternatively, he truly does hate the country and society he grew up in and wants to play Judas to it.

    He also announced that he wanted to “begin negotiations on a treaty that ends the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.” Hey Obama, the 60s called, they said to tell you they left a copy of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the loo for you. You might also find a copy of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty laying about in there. You remember, the one you signed in 2010?

    No wonder Putin is jerking his chain so much. It’s hilarious for them to watch him twitch and spin like bait on a hook.

  62. .

    The Consigliere
    #1232442, posted on March 20, 2014 at 11:37 am
    Oh wow, I thought you guys would be done with the whole nonsense about ‘Russia invaded Crimea because of um.. Benghazi! duh!’

    Having said that, I agree that US influence is at an all time low.

    The level of influence previously enjoyed by the United States in international affairs is not going to return for a very long time, if ever.

    Blame the Republicans. The NDIS belongs to layba…

    How do idiots like the consig hold down a job? Obama has been President for more than five years. Blame Bush!

    If Bush can’t be blamed, Obama has to bear some responsibility…we can’t have that, can we?

    What’s the Democrat position on Macedonia? Their view isn’t criminally incompetent or corrupt here is it? Policy as dictated by donors.

  63. .

    From the Russian perspective THEY are not the aggressor here.

    Their point of view also is a right to rule pan slavic Europe and Asia, and any remnants of the Soviet and Russian Empires, autocratically and centrally for all time.

  64. C.L.

    Alan is spot-on.

    ————————————

    I can see Putin channeling Kerry Packer

    “You only get one Barrack Obama in your lifetime, and I’ve had mine”

    Nicely done. Yes.

  65. sabrina

    Irrespective of who is in power, Democrats or Republicans, the USA could have done nothing . They became weak long time ago, led by succesive administrations under both parties.
    I also see us considering banning the Russians (including Putin) from attending the G20 meeting. As if they care!

  66. .

    In June of 2013 bright boy Obama announced that he wanted to get rid of all US nuclear weapons, unilaterally if necessary.

    This is George W Bush’s fault. The consig told me. He was taught something like this in uni, he can’t lay out the full argument because he can’t remember. What he assures of is that is sieve like, pavlovian mind is above us peons, however.

  67. C.L.

    Breaking: Obama to appear on Ellen tomorrow.

    Hialrious Obama/Putin comparison: video.

    This is devastating.

  68. .

    sabrina
    #1232459, posted on March 20, 2014 at 11:51 am
    Irrespective of who is in power, Democrats or Republicans, the USA could have done nothing . They became weak long time ago, led by succesive administrations under both parties.
    I also see us considering banning the Russians (including Putin) from attending the G20 meeting. As if they care!

    Bullshit. Tribalist left wing interference and shameful equivocating.

    Kennedy, Reagan, Nixon, Bush I and II, Clinton, Ford, Ike, Truman and even Carter would not have put up with this shit.

    This is why they won the Cold War.

    Obama is an idiot who hates his country and believes free enterprise is wrong and immoral, and autocracies like Russia should be given equal footing to free republics and democracies like the US< UK and Australia.

    Hilary Clinton is a power hungry, amoral shrew with no actual belief system, however she has a backbone.

    America picked the wrong Democrat. Obama was wrong in the debates and Palin and Romney were right.

  69. The Consigliere

    Sorry dot but the exact opposite thing happened in that referendum. The referendum question in 1991 was whether to remain an Oblast in the Ukraine SSR or to upgrade to an Autonomous SSR.

    Even back then the people of Crimea chose to stay apart from the rest of Ukraine as possible.

    Cheers.

  70. james

    Their point of view also is a right to rule pan slavic Europe and Asia, and any remnants of the Soviet and Russian Empires, autocratically and centrally for all time.

    Dot that does not change the fact that NATO and the EU have made it very clear to Russia that they will never be accepted as a member [even if they wanted to] and then proceeded to extend these strategic, military and economic alliances directly up to the Russian border swallowing more countries every year.

    If the positions were reversed I am pretty damn sure that the EU and NATO would feel themselves justified in carrying out a limited territorial grab to try and save what they could.

    Which is essentially what Putin is doing.

    If you cannot understand the motivations of all sides in this geopolitical struggle you can not make an objective judgement about what is likely to happen next.

    Russia is no more or less evil than the EU, and is only barely less democratic.

    My sympathies are with the Ukrainians first, the Russians a distant second and the belligerent EU and NATO bureaucracies dead last.

    You can’t slap a bully in the face and steal all his toys without looking a hell of a lot like a bully yourself.

  71. brc

    Never start a land war in Asia.

    Australia is a country populated entirely by criminals.

    The end

  72. Token

    Alan is spot-on.

    Which part?

  73. .

    Even back then the people of Crimea chose to stay apart from the rest of Ukraine as possible.

    Wrong.

    Crimea 54%
    Sevastopol 57%
    All Ukraine – 55% of ethnic Russians voted yes.

    The vote that matters is votes cast, not turnout.

    Fuckwit.

  74. Token

    If the positions were reversed I am pretty damn sure that the EU and NATO would feel themselves justified in carrying out a limited territorial grab to try and save what they could.

    Which is essentially what Putin is doing.

    The EU & NATO is doing the same as Putin fails every logic test.

    The plan of the EU & NATO provide security protection to independent sovereign nations based upon treaties with the poltical representitives of those nations through a structure process of treaties.

    Putin’s Russia permanently annexes territory of other sovereign nations after armed invasion.

    Every person who puts forward the equivalency argument is doing so based upon deliberate ignorance or apathy, not logic.

  75. .

    You can’t slap a bully in the face and steal all his toys without looking a hell of a lot like a bully yourself.

    The Walter Cronkite view of diplomacy – lie down and let them rape you.

  76. Ant

    If the US State Department ever wants advice, they’re probably better off giving Tom Hagan, aka The Consigliere, a wide berth.

    Um, we have the little matter of The Budapest Agreement. The Ukrainians agreed to relinquish their nuclear arsenal largely on the basis of its signing.

    Oh, I know, it’s sounds a little quaint now even if it’s only been a couple of decades, and a referendum here and a referendum there can muddy the waters and make things all so confusing and all.

    But let me ask you to consiglieririse this: Were the Ukrainians themselves given the opportunity to legitimately participate in the recent referendum whose result usurped an international agreement of which they stand to have their very sovereignty go ‘sleep with the fishes’?

    No?

    Oh, ok, what the hell! Agreements Schmagreements.

    And why on earth would you poo poo the Benghazi incident?

    Incidental and apparently unconnected it may be to many, but I would think it opened the eyes of a great many people who actually matter.

    To recap: A US ambassador and 3 other Americans are slaughtered on US territory. Their commander in chief disappears for about 10 hours, then shows up to make a statement about it being due to some obscure idiot amatuer movie knowing that that was a complete lie – because he had to distract and deflect from his manifest failures in the leadup to re-election – and then flies off to Vegas for a fundraiser.

    His Sec of State fronts a congressional hearing, lies through her teeth and walks off shrugging her shoulders saying “what difference does it make”.

    Oh, and of course, Obama promised to get to the bottom of it and bring those responsible to justice. What’s happened since then?

    Translation: ” Hey global terrorists and scumbags worldwide! We Americans are happy to take it in every orifice you want stick it, so go your hardest.”

    These ‘messages’ on the international stage are very serious and matter a very great deal.

    And so it has come to pass. Putin, unfortunately, isn’t as gullible as some.

  77. Token

    Bullshit. Tribalist left wing interference and shameful equivocating.

    I do understand the view that it is a long way away and that lot are always fighting leading to apathy.

    I do understand the pragmatic view that Putin has moved with force during the term of a weak and inept US president, so sovereign nations which put their trust in the US will need to look to their own protection via Nukes or Chemical Weapons in the future.

    I do not understand the equivalency arguments which ignores how a nation state is attacking & swallowing its neighbours in the vain attempts of a corrupt & inept regime to defer the real reform its population needs. History teaches us that massive ethnic cleansing and mass human death will result.

    Eventually a natural or economic disaster will hit Russia like it did in the late 18th century, the mid 19th and 1890s to 1910s which eventually swept away the corrupt regime and replaced it with something worse.

  78. Token

    You can’t slap a bully in the face and steal all his toys without looking a hell of a lot like a bully yourself.

    So a sovereign nation with independent people are merely the “toys of a bully” to you? You may not have meant it, but it really reads like human life in Eastern Europe is valueless to you.

  79. Token

    Um, we have the little matter of The Budapest Agreement. The Ukrainians agreed to relinquish their nuclear arsenal largely on the basis of its signing.

    The lesson to the world is that this disaster is the fault of naive Ukrainians who gave up their nukes. This nation and its neighbours have not ignored that lesson.

  80. Matthew

    So what would Steve Kate do?

  81. TonyOrlando

    “The lesson to the world is that this disaster is the fault of naive Ukrainians who gave up their nukes. This nation and its neighbours have not ignored that lesson.”

    Not really. If Ukraine had a full complement of nukes it would have made no difference to the course of events. The new authorities in Kiev are showing alarming signs of being completely potty, but they aren’t THAT potty.

  82. rickw

    “Boy Putin knows how to play this game.”

    Not really, Putin and Lavarov are playing against the worlds biggest morons, Obama, Biden, Kerry, and I would suspect that the rest of the team isn’t much better, not surprising that they’re kicking ass.

  83. Ripper

    Bad judgement from the US. A quick look at the map would have told them that Russia would not vacate Crimea for anyone. They should have stayed the hell out instead on fermenting the revolution AND picking who was going to rule.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/feb/07/eu-us-diplomat-victoria-nuland-phonecall-leaked-video

  84. Viva

    Sends a slip of a girl to do a man’s job.

    Bring back John R. Bolton.

  85. Token

    Ripper is back with the usual crap which ignores the fact the Crimea was the territory of another sovereign nation.

  86. Token

    No surprises the Guardian is backing Russia, it is a tradition that goes back to 1918.

    Sir Humphrey: The only way to understand the Press is to remember that they pander to their readers’ prejudices.

    Jim Hacker: Don’t tell me about the Press. I know *exactly* who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by the people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by people who think they *ought* to run the country. The Times is read by the people who actually *do* run the country. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by people who *own* the country. The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by *another* country. The Daily Telegraph is read by the people who think it is.

    Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

    Bernard Woolley: Sun readers don’t care *who* runs the country – as long as she’s got big tits.

  87. Ripper

    So you are supporting interference in other nations Token? Even one where an election was not that far away?

    Some of the people here are fine exhibits of Orwell s doublethink

    Doublethink is the act of ordinary people simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct,.

  88. Ripper

    No surprises the Guardian is backing Russia, it is a tradition that goes back to 1918.

    You can shoot that particular messenger , but it was widely reported. Not much here in Aus or the US though.

  89. J.H.

    It’s quite amazing really how forgetful people are.
    I keep reading in various blogs how America and the West should “Butt out” or “mind our own business” on this Ukraine situation….. Well excuse me but America and Britain can’t just “Butt out”, because they were Invited in.

    People forget that in 1994, The Ukraine, Russia, America and Britain all signed an agreement stating that if the Ukraine gave up its Nuclear Arsenal its borders and Sovereignty would be recognized.

    So here we have a country, The Ukraine, who did just what every lefty so called progressive in the world wants…. It gave up its entire Nuclear Arsenal in the name of peace and goodwill in exchange for sovereignty and recognition.

    …. and now that sovereignty is being brutally overthrown by Russia….. and the left are now saying, “Nah, nothin’ ta do with us. Bugger th’ Ukraine. Its their problem……. “We should Butt out”

    So much for nuclear disarmament and the left’s willingness to protect those who do.

    So for me, I’m quite happy to sacrifice the Crimea just to ram home the lesson that Nuclear disarmament doesn’t work….

    Any disarmament in the face of aggression doesn’t work, never has and never will work to the advantage of the dispossessed.

    I suggest we leave this one entirely in Obama’s hands. He can fix this. Oh, Yes he can! He is the epitome of leftist thought and disarmament ideology…..

    Lets watch and take our lead from him. Because at some point he may suggest that American now reduce its nuclear arsenal “In good faith”….and the American people and America’s allies, given the example of the Ukraine, can all point to the fact that disarmament doesn’t work because those who do are betrayed and left unsupported by those who don’t… The Ukraine is the undeniable truth that disarmament doesn’t work.

    Me….. I’m laughing my guts out. Hoist upon their own petards they be…….

  90. Andrew of Randwick

    UKRAINIAN CRISIS NEWS-FLASH: US sanctions get serious

  91. …. and now that sovereignty is being brutally overthrown by Russia….. and the left are now saying, “Nah, nothin’ ta do with us. Bugger th’ Ukraine. Its their problem……. “We should Butt out”

    Mind you, that sovereignty had already just been overthrown in a coup…

  92. Crossie

    My caption:

    Samantha Powers: I’m telling on you to Obama.

  93. Vasily

    Steve,

    We keep talking about this but you don’t seem to be listening.

    Remember? Hungary 1956? Czechoslovakia 1968? Wiser US presidents than Obama did nothing.

    But this is not even in same league: Crimea has been Russian since longer than Australia settled by the British. Orderly transition has taken place in an autonomous republic via referendum. This process was more democratic than the so-called “Maidan revolution” , which was an illegal and violent coup perpetrated by US sponsored mob. Churkin is laughing because Power is a neo-con interventionist whose hypocrisy is being exposed before the world. Like Obama, Nuland and McCain she is another incompetent whose meddling is making the world a more dangerous place. Btw, US is moving to back out of Syria deal with Russia – expect US sponsored escalation of internecine war there with US further backing Islamists. This is the bitter fruit of American foreign policy for last 20 years: increased instability in the post Cold War world; it is madness, as though they can;t live without conflict.

  94. J.H.

    Driftforge………. Internal Ukrainian strife is their own affair….. Also remember that after President Yanukovych fled, his own party disowned him.

  95. Free Advice

    Great Photo.

    It looks like a renaissance painting of a moment in history.

    Everyone is loaded with meaning.

    Top marks.

  96. Token

    So you are supporting interference in other nations Token? Even one where an election was not that far away?

    It has been made clear Ripper you believe that politics is all about being ensuring “your team” has the strongman with the most guns.

    Nothing Russia presents nullifies the treaties it signed with the nation of the sovereign nation of the Ukraine.

    No opinion articles which agree that stealing of territory via violence & intimidation can ignore that the process is illegal.

  97. Never start a land war in Asia.

    Australia is a country populated entirely by criminals.

    The end

    Precisely. If it’s not in The Princess Bride, it isn’t foreign policy.

  98. Token

    Remember? Hungary 1956? Czechoslovakia 1968? Wiser US presidents than Obama did nothing.

    Yes, remember, the supporters of totalitarians want you to remembers when Russians invaded its neighbours to remove administrations it had previously installed which had stopped taking the directions of the autocractic government.

    In each case the government was “constitutional” under the Soviet imposed legislation, but when it refused to follow the directives of Moscow, tanks entered the country to install a new government.

    Vasily is wise in warning the world that Russian governments fun by the Tsars, the Soviets and now Putin use the same methods.

  99. feelthebern

    When looking at the Russian/Ukraine situation, I am reminded of Homer:

    “You have to hand it to those dolphins. They just wanted it more”.

  100. Token

    Mind you, that sovereignty had already just been overthrown in a coup…

    Though the events in Kiev created chaos and no clear government until new elections are held, they do not justify the invasion of Russia on sovereign Ukrainian territory.

    They do not justify the seizure of the Crimean parliament & government building by gunmen who forced a vote while using the implied threat of death.

    I thought you were better than that Driftforge.

  101. C.L.

    … Crimea was the territory of another sovereign nation.

    So was the USA in the 1700s.

  102. Driftforge………. Internal Ukrainian strife is their own affair

    Tell the Russian’s that. The idea that because something happens the other side of an arbitrary line, the responsibility of people to look after their own — most especially when they can — ceases… yeah that’s screwy.

    You’ve got a make-country being remade differently by the country that made them, because of a caustic mix of corruption at home and interference from those seeking advantage abroad.

    Buffer states beware.

  103. Vasily

    Mind you, that sovereignty had already just been overthrown in a coup

    Exactly Driftforge. However unsatisfactory Yanukovych’s government was, it was elected in what was declared by Western observers to be a fair election. I assume the Libertarian philosophy espoused on the mast of this blog does not include liberty to overthrow democratic governments and rule of law? Yet I understand Western media, faithfully following CIA script portrayed the Maidan revolutionaries as heroes. It is some comfort to see, though, that independent thinking people comment here and at Andrew Bolt’s blog and obviously exist in greater numbers in Western societies. Please, make your voices heard to your elected representatives. I read your foreign minister’s response to Crimean referendum this morning – very disappointing, towing the CIA line.

  104. squawkbox

    An arbitrary line being the international border that the Russians themselves recognised in 1994.

  105. Rob MW

    Shit………. who cares:

    • The West has been supporting ‘Revolutions’ all over the world of recent times, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Kosovo and engaged in ‘Regime Change’ in Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia.

    • The West, particularly the EU, then supported the ousting or ‘Revolution’ against of a democratically elected arsehole in Ukraine which, by default, left Ukraine with nothing more than an unelected revolutionary government and a fucking big ‘Sovereignty’ vacuum in any semi-autonomous Ukrainian provinces (i.e – Crimea)

    The question is: – How fucking dumb is the West and in particular, the European Union ?

  106. They do not justify the seizure of the Crimean parliament & government building by gunmen who forced a vote while using the implied threat of death.

    Don’t they? How so?

    I thought you were better than that Driftforge.

    I thought you were better than to make a comment like that. Refute the argument.

  107. An arbitrary line being the international border that the Russians themselves recognised in 1994.

    Yes, that arbitrary line. Now a new arbitrary line exists.

  108. The question is: – How fucking dumb is the West and in particular, the European Union ?

    The centre of this ‘dumbness’ is thinking that they were the only ones who could play by their rules.

  109. J.H.

    I’ll do that again.

    Driftforge……. Internal Ukrainian strife is their own affair….. However, Russian aggression towards Ukrainian Sovereignty is America’s, Britain’s and their allies affair, as per that arrangement of Ukrainian sovereignty and recognition of Ukraine’s borders….. Also remember that after President Yanukovych fled, his own party disowned him.

    Obama has a choice. Protect his progressive ideals and honour the agreement and defend The Ukraine….. Or acknowledge that when nuclear push comes to atomic shove, strength is all that really matters and Obama is neither strong enough nor resolute enough for the job.

  110. Vasily

    Rob,

    Thank you for pointing that out. The answer to your question is very dumb! In all of these places the US State Dept neo-cons, whom Obama is too weak and incompetent to oppose, are invoking dark forces they have no conception of or control over. Just watch what now happens in Syria after Putin managed a deal there which US is nor backing out of to punish him. Stupidity to the level of criminality!

  111. boy on a bike

    If I was a Texan secessionist, I’d be thinking this was a good time to leave the Union.

  112. Vasily

    J.H.

    You really think a dysfunctional and corrupt state like Ukraine is worth WWIII?

    You are crazy, man!

  113. squawkbox

    Thank you Driftforge – borders, laws and treaties no longer have any meaning.

  114. Ripper

    Nothing Russia presents nullifies the treaties it signed with the nation of the sovereign nation of the Ukraine.

    True , As far as I can see there was a referendum and the Crimean people made their choice.

    Under the treaty you mention Russia was allowed a maximum of 25K troups in Crimea, there were 16K there when this blew up.

    It is not about “teams” , After the big lie they have pulled on AGW I verify everything, who knows what they have gotten away with before .

    And Syria , We find out that the US is backing the rebels that include Al Quadia. I thought they were supposed to be the enemy. My doublethink gene is obviously not working.

  115. TonyOrlando

    To be honest it is pretty difficult to distinguish Obama’s response to Crimea, to Bush’s response to Ossetia.

  116. Vasily

    No, squawkbox, but that their meaning can change as balance of power changes and in response to circumstances like revolutions. That is political reality. The key is to manage the change in a way which preserves the values which lie behind international law and justice and democracy. This is what Russia has done in Crimea, as opposed to US intervention in internal affairs Ukraine, which was illegal and dumb.

  117. squawkbox

    Amazing the faith so many have in this referendum – everywhere in the civilized world, referenda take weeks to organize, but Russians in the Crimea manage to hold one in a few days. To say nothing of the lack of international observers and the presence of foreign troops. And 96% in favour? It’s about as credible as Kim Jong Un’s popularity rating in North Korea

  118. Thank you Driftforge – borders, laws and treaties no longer have any meaning

    They have meaning. They also change over time. This is one of those points when the borders have changed. The world would probably be a better place if we weren’t so fixated on arbitrary lines, and were more willing to redraw them as circumstances changed.

    Always and ever, lines are regulations. Regulations fit, if anything, the time when they were established. When regulations move too far away from the current circumstance, they become problematic simply because they are fixed.

  119. Amazing the faith so many have in this referendum – everywhere in the civilized world, referenda take weeks to organize, but Russians in the Crimea manage to hold one in a few days.

    Efficient these Russians, yes?

  120. TonyOrlando

    “And 96% in favour? It’s about as credible as Kim Jong Un’s popularity rating in North Korea”

    Well below the 99.7% the Bosnians managed for their independence referendum.

  121. Vasily

    And Syria , We find out that the US is backing the rebels that include Al Quadia. I thought they were supposed to be the enemy.

    Ripper, US foreign policy for last 20 years is amoral and basest realpolitik clothed in rhetoric of democracy. I’m afraid cynicism is best de facto setting for interpreting it. And, as always, follow the money trail. Qui bono? Certainly not the American soldier, whose benefits have just been cut, nor the American citizen who is left with the bill for foreign expeditions and regime change expenses.

  122. politichix

    Vasily where are you? Serious question

  123. Well below the 99.7% the Bosnians managed for their independence referendum.

    I wonder what the vote for independence in PNG would have been at the time. There are more than a few here who think that was an incorrect move.

    Is the result of all votes good decisions? Is voting even a good way of having less bad decisions made?

  124. Vasily

    Politichik,

    Thank you for asking: I am in Moscow, in SVR HQ…just kidding!
    No, I am really in Moscow, but in my apartment, which I have to leave soon to go to work.

  125. TonyOrlando

    “I wonder what the vote for independence in PNG would have been at the time. There are more than a few here who think that was an incorrect move.”
    Curiously a few years ago I was talking to some people in Kavieng, New Ireland. There is actually a body of opinion that thinks the Germans were better colonialists than the Australians.

  126. Curiously a few years ago I was talking to some people in Kavieng, New Ireland. There is actually a body of opinion that thinks the Germans were better colonialists than the Australians.

    Well the German’s were actually out to set up a colony, so they had real intent there. We picked that up in 1914 as a little something that was available at the time, so comparisons are from a while back.

    There were still quite a lot of German’s in PNG when I was growing up there.

  127. Ant

    On the Steve’s update, is it any wonder that Obama sauntered off disinterested when Al Qaeda was slaughtering his ambassador in Benghazi, only to emerge half a day later to lie about the attack’s motivation before jetting off to Vegas?

    Truly incredible.

    But, when it’s all said and done, Americans deserve to be shafted good and hard by this clown buffoon. They voted for him TWICE!! and even now score him an approval rating of about 40%.

    And that goes double for the idiots who stayed home because they thought Romney wasn’t any better or because he was Mormon or whatever other excuse they could find for not getting off their arses to send this class A D’head off to oblivion before he could do any more damage.

  128. Ripper

    Foreign Corespondent was there.

    http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2014/s3966490.htm

    I know it is the ABC but after watching that I don’t think anyone could quibble about the Referendum result.

    Maybe the margin but not the result.

  129. TonyOrlando

    If only Romney had been president Putin would be staring down travels bans on at least 20 Russians.
    Heck, even 25 mightnt have been out the question

  130. entropy

    I think the implication is that Romney would be less likely to assume people like Putin think like the west does about things, and would be less likely to demonstrate his powerlessness.
    Don’t threaten if you have no intention of delivery.

  131. The Consigliere

    Dot

    The vote that matters is votes cast, not turnout.Fuckwit.

    Tell me. What was the question on the 1991 referendum? Read it carefully. Then read my previous post again. Then come back schooled.

  132. Token

    You really think a dysfunctional and corrupt state like Ukraine is worth WWIII?

    You are crazy, man!

    Has Russia decided to threaten thw world now?

    That’s the answer to why we should care. Corrupt & incompetent autocrats have to keep expanding their borders to keep there domestic population too distracted to notice how much better their life would be with a competent government.

    Bo neighbour is ever safe.

  133. TonyOrlando

    “Don’t threaten if you have no intention of delivery.”
    You mean like John McCain posturing on the streets of Kiev?

    If only the EU and USA had showed a little bit of patience and allowed the electoral system to work they probably would have completely achieved the re positioning of Ukraine by 2015 Presidential election.

    Instead they created chaos and allowed Russia an opening to move into Crimea. Now maybe Obama needs to take responsibility for that, but Republicans like John McCain were fully on board with the strategy.

  134. Ant

    Pretty stupid comment, TO.

    The point is that Obama extends a limp wrist. Romney at least would thrust a firm hand – if you get my drift.

    You seem to misunderstand one of the key factors underlying Russia’s actions. They see a damp squib narcissist fool in the Oval Office and know they’ve been given huge latitude to whatever the hell they want. FFS, the moron even broadcast it out loud and proud on a one on one

    The RNC should set up a cable channel that spools this video over and over, because it tells the story.

    I mean just look at Class A D’Head’s mannerisms and reaction immediately after patting Medvedev’s knee.

    Has there even been a bigger nation undermining appeasing sychophantic arse-kisser to hold that grand office?

  135. politichix

    Jeez that knee pat – awkward much?

  136. Driftforge

    Corrupt & incompetent autocrats have to keep expanding their borders to keep there domestic population too distracted to notice how much better their life would be with a competent government

    Russia now has their most competent government in years, possibly decades. The US has their least.

    This isn’t about distraction.

  137. Joe Goodacre

    If I had to bet, I fall on the side of Russia not being a threat to world stability.

    Western civilisation is ideologically weak – this shows on the fringes (like Crimea and Georgie).

    If Russia started making serious threats to global stability though, I suspect that the cultural weakness would lift – particularly if Republicans came to power in the US. Russia would be wiped out, and my pick is that Putin knows this.

    At the same time, it’s been correctly pointed out elsewhere that though Obama is a prince of fools, he was elected by what must have been a bunch of fools.

    Seen in this light, America’s weakness with Russia now has the advantage of educating the fools in the US who bought Obama’s rhetoric. They are seeing Obama’s hypnotic effect crumbling and some may start to feel a pinch of fear as uncertainty creeps into the global sphere. This education is the Republican’s best bet. Let’s hope that Ted Cruz et al haven’t destroyed the Republican brand so that they can take advantage of the ineptitude of the Democrats.

  138. Bill

    Nothing Barrack can possibly do about Crimea. But he certainly needs to send that bint of an ambassador back to an arts faculty.

  139. Ant

    Oh JG, I beg to differ.

    If we want to analyse Republican brand destruction, Ted Cruz would not be my first port of call.

    Please don’t buy the GOP establishment BS dished out from the DC Beltway by the likes of Karl Rove who routinely uses the 10s of millions he rakes in through various PACs to prop up and shield the monumental incompetence and cluelessness of the supposed Republican Party Leadership in Congress via the Class B D’Head John Boehner, his Class C, D & E sidekicks in the House or the lily-livered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    Just on that, and where to start, but try this: $17.4 trillion in debt, unfunded liabilities totaling anywhere around $100 trillion, a budget deficit for this year at around $700 billion being celebrated as a great achievement and appeals that this “austerity” just has to stop.

    How’s the current political class’s scoresheet looking – under the control of Democrat and Republican career politicians?

    Ted Cruz is a junior freakin senator who hasn’t even seen out half a term yet, FFS.

    He has ZERO control of GOP campaign funding and ZERO control of the Senate, let alone the Congress as a whole.

    So how could this lowly little ‘nobody’ upstart from the state of queers and steers assemble such admiration and such a spectacular following in so short amount of time?

    Easy (or seemingly easy). He’s principled, standing up and calling the political class out for what they are, and actually doing what he promised to do when campaigning for the senate seat from his home state.

    Fancy that! He said, for example, that he would do all in his power to stop Obamacare, understanding its pernicious and destructive nature long before manyothers. He tried to ‘filibuster’ its passage through the Senate, drawing huge attention to the issue and forcing many in his own party to reveal themselves as the self-serving duplicitous bastards that they are. ( H/T myself. I was actually sitting in the US Senate chamber when they were debating the shutdown. What a moment!)

    My, how appalling. A politician trying to stop probably one of the most destructive pieces of legislation, largely implemented illegally without regard to Constitutional limits, by a Congress where not a single Republican member voted in support.

    Look at Obamacare now and tell me: Was Cruz right?

    The adulation he receives in public would suggest this man could be slated for greatness.

  140. .

    Rand Paul
    Ted Cruz

    You know it is right.

  141. Joe Goodacre

    Ant,

    I’d agree the GOP establishment is uninspiring and the record of both red and blue career politicians is terrible.

    The reality though is that those career politicians are creatures of incentives, and the average US citizen wants and rewards big government.

    Until the citizens live through the consequences of big government, they’re going to continue wanting it. Mitch McConnell is an example of someone held up to an unrealistic standard and I agree with Ann Coulter’s opinion of him – as an example it was an important job getting all Republicans to vote against Obamacare.

    Just on that, and where to start, but try this: $17.4 trillion in debt, unfunded liabilities totaling anywhere around $100 trillion, a budget deficit for this year at around $700 billion being celebrated as a great achievement and appeals that this “austerity” just has to stop.

    I agree. Getting the train to stop though is a difficult thing if the people don’t want it to stop. Ted Cruz makes good points, but the way he went about it alienated most voters. What do we have after all his efforts – Obamacare + Republican approval ratings at an all time low. This means that where Obama could have been left ot fall on his sword (as Abbott let Labor), Ted Cruz became the narrative, Republican disruptive tactics became the narrative and the spotlight stopped shining on Obama. No ‘pure’ Republicans are basically targetting other Republicans. How does that stop the Democrats in anytime soon? I like Ted Cruz and have listened to him a lot on youtube, but you don’t bring a train to a stop by shooting the people trying to put on the breaks.

    On a side note – what was your highlights of the shutdown debate?

  142. Anne

    MarkJJ
    #1232336, posted on March 20, 2014 at 9:41 am
    Anyone else roll their eyes and think “Women…”

    Yes Mark, every time I see Obama’s coquettish grin and his skinny girl arms!

  143. DrBeauGan

    The problem for idealists is that they believe in International Law and no such thing exists. There are loads of self-binding rules and agreements and treaties and you can call them International Law, but calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it one. Law only exists by virtue of the power to enforce it. Absent that power, you have only self-binding agreements which can stop binding any time. About all you can do is declare that Putin is no gentleman and cut him on the steps of his club, pretty much the Obama response.
    Our brief periods of quasi-stability have occurred when one dominant player could play global cop. That’s over. Get used to it.

  144. Big Jim

    Correct Doc. And as for the idea that ‘we’ (there has to be a ‘we’ though doesn’t there, paleface?) have a seventy year old obligation to the Ukrainians… Well, if that is the betrayal on the part of ‘our’ leaders that is top of mind, then the mind in question has enjoyed a sheltered existence these last five or six decades.

  145. Lester

    If you think Obama is bad read what Paul Johnson says about Roosevelt (among others) in “Modern Times: A History of the World”. He posits that it was worse in the 30′s but somehow the west came good – ultimately.

  146. Vasily

    Token,

    I think you are living in a parallel universe.
    Your comments here frequently bear no relation to reality.

  147. feelthebern

    I don’t want to derail the thread, but I’ve often wondered would we have intervened in Kosovo if it happened after September 11?

  148. The Consigliere

    Dear Ant, sorry I missed your previous reply to me.. there were a lot of comments to fly through.

    My views is pretty much the same as the one expressed by DrBeauGan in #1232855, paraphrased earlier by you as: “Agreements Schmagreements”.

    International agreements are a weak force in comparison to other incentives. Ethnicity and power politics are still unfortunately the main dictates of world events.

    We’ve been lucky for a very long time to have a reasonably well behaved power centre keeping things in check. Unfortunately those days are coming close to an end. Even more unfortunately for all of us, the US had a catastrophic period where instead of reacting with wisdom to the reduction of comparative power and instead of attempting to lend support to/bolstering international law, the Republican administration in its delusion and short-sightedness decided to do the exact opposite. The results were threefold:

    1) Damage done to an already weak force of international agreements. Something that we will need to rely on more and more in the future as US power wanes.
    2) Depletion of financial resources which had tied the hand of the current US administration, and any future President coming after this one.
    3) Depletion of the political capital to go to another war.
    4) Depletion of moral capital. The US no longer has that same moral lead it once used to enjoy during the cold war.

    Put simply the current President was dealt a amazingly poor hand of cards. He is doing a reasonable job at rescuing the situation and mitigating losses.. but not without missteps and with no more aptitude than a slightly above-average foreign policy President.

    But even if he was a great FP strategist, didn’t have all these limitations, and even if the US was at it’s peak there is nothing they could have done about this.

    Crimea and Sevastopol was, is and will be under Russian influence as long as the Russian state survives at close to its current place in the global strata. Since the time of the Great Game, and even before then, that region has been the place from which Russia has projected its power to rest of Europe. They have spilt a lot of blood into keeping it and they are not going to let it go.

    The fact that Putin was forced to make such a blatant grab at it is not a sign of Putin’s strength but rather his desperation. In doing it the way he has done they’ve lost the prize of an ally in Ukraine for a very long time.

    He knows this, but felt like he was left without a choice. This lack of options resulted because Putin is not the great chessmaster the Republicans think he is (though to them he surely must be). It’s because Putin has been inept at playing the subtle politics of democracy and he and his people have lost the Ukrianian stage.

    This leads us to something a smart man once said;

    Russia can only have vassals or enemies at its borders.

  149. JC

    Shoter Con
    It’s bushe’s fault.

  150. JC

    Shorter Con
    It’s bushe’s fault.

  151. “Our western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity and exceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right. They act as they please: here and there, they use force against sovereign states, building coalitions based on the principle “If you are not with us, you are against us.” To make this aggression look legitimate, they force the necessary resolutions from international organisations, and if for some reason this does not work, they simply ignore the UN Security Council and the UN overall.”

    – Vladimir

  152. Tim

    I think the quote is this:

    The jealous and intolerant eye of the Kremlin can distinguish, in the end, only vassals and enemies, and the neighbors of Russia, if they do not wish to be one, must reconcile themselves to being the other.

    Which is not quite the same thing as

    Russia can only have vassals or enemies at its borders.

  153. JC

    You really are an stuck piece of shit, con. Bush took on an economy in recession as result of the tech crash and he left in a recession. After 5 years its laughable you and other leftwing twats are still blaming him as cover for the kenyan… The worst president in the history of the republic. You dickead.

  154. Tom

    Vasily
    #1232947, posted on March 20, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Nice of you to drop in from the USSR, but I think you’re possibly at the wrong blog. There were millions of gin joints to choose from. Unfortunately, you mistook ours for something it’s not.

  155. Nice of you to drop in from the USSR, but I think you’re possibly at the wrong blog. There were millions of gin joints to choose from. Unfortunately, you mistook ours for something it’s not.

    You have something pertinent to contribute Tom, or just felt like being a dick today?

  156. Combine_Dave

    Maybe not Tom, it’s entirely possible that vasily believes in freedom, so long as it’s not the freedom of a vassal state to escape Russia.

  157. JC

    What’s your contribution drift- the continuation of the white Australia policy?

  158. Vasily

    Tom,
    The USSR hasn’t existed since 26th December 1991, in case you hadn’t noticed. I’m frankly surprised how often I have to remind Cats that Cold War is over and you won. Why does it take so long to sink in? And I will comment here until Steve or Sinclair tells me I cannot. Until then, you will have to put up with me :-) and I welcome their generosity of spirit in permitting me to speak here from another viewpoint. I do not abuse people or use foul language, so what is so offensive?

    Combine_Dave,
    Crimea is not a vassal state. Its populace has voluntarily elected to align with Russia, with whom it has strong linguistic, cultural and historic ties. Also, if you had ever visited Crimea in recent years, you might understand why even some Ukrainians and Tatars would elect for the Russian option in the recent referendum; Crimea has been greatly neglected as part of Ukraine, which is actually now a bankrupt and close to failed state. Do you not support principle of self-determination? Russia is moving towards greater freedom, but you must understand we evaluate freedom differently from USA or perhaps Australia. It is an incremental process, as we are coming from a long way behind, yes?

  159. Token

    Token,

    I think you are living in a parallel universe.
    Your comments here frequently bear no relation to reality.

    Vasily, I understand that the people of Russia seem to want to continue to be poor and have their hate fanned, rather than demand real reform.

  160. Combine_Dave

    The plan of the EU & NATO provide security protection to independent sovereign nations based upon treaties with the poltical representitives of those nations through a structure process of treaties.

    Blaming EU encroachment as an excuse for invading The Ukraine would be like Indonesia invading the NT (lots of Indons there) due to the provocation of the ANZUS treaty.
    If the US and the EU can’t prevent corrupt autocratic governemnts from swallowing their neighbours in the backyard of Europe; what hope does South Korea and Taiwan have that the US will gallop to their side and rescue them should hostilities resume? Who will assist Japan in getting their colonial islands back from Russia if the US has been revealled as impotent?

    How much longer will we need to wait before the Western decline and Asian rise becomes insurmountable and our roles reversed?

  161. Token

    Russia now has their most competent government in years, possibly decades. The US has their least.

    I see.

    The president & parliament of the US may be ineffective, but the states and cultural traditions continue to create wealth.

    Whereas, Russia has the best of an appallingly bad list of administrators who markets the position of his country well though the actual financial position is very tentative.

    I posted an article a week ago about how vulnerable the Russian economy is, here is another:

    Russian troops pour over a border. An autocratic Russian leader blames the United States and unspecified “radicals and nationalists” for meddling. A puppet leader pledges fealty to Moscow.

    It’s no wonder the crisis in Ukraine this week drew comparisons to Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 or that a chorus of pundits proclaimed the re-emergence of the Cold War.

    But there’s at least one major difference between then and now: Moscow has a stock market.

    Under the autocratic grip of President Vladimir Putin, Russia may be a democracy in name only, but the gyrations of the Moscow stock exchange provided a minute-by-minute referendum on his military and diplomatic actions. On Monday, the Russian stock market index, the RTSI, fell more than 12 percent, in what a Russian official called panic selling. The plunge wiped out nearly $60 billion in asset value — more than the exorbitant cost of the Sochi Olympics. The ruble plunged on currency markets, forcing the Russian central bank to raise interest rates by one and a half percentage points to defend the currency.

    Only a fool would believe the propaganda of an autocrat. That is what lefties like Noam Chomsky did in the 70s.

    Watch the markets. The economy is in trouble.

  162. Vasily

    Token,

    You see? Exactly the type of comment I’m referring to.

    Russia’s wages are rising, as is our national wealth. Our national debt per GDP ratio is about 1/10th of USA. After the disastrous Soviet period we have chance of national prosperity. Why do you wish to deny us that?

    Russians do not hate anyone and we are a multicultural society with Muslims and Buddhists as well as Jews and Christians (although we are not perfect; who is?).

    Ukrainians are our closest Slavic brothers and sisters. The roots of Rus’ are in Ukraine.

    This is therefore an intra-family dispute, if you like, over Crimea, which is not historically Ukrainian. But Russia has no heart for invasion of Ukraine, please believe me on this. As long as Russian Ukrainians are respected I expect no further hostilities.

    Please, take my words to heart and alter your attitudes about Russians.

  163. Token

    Crimea is not a vassal state. Its populace has voluntarily elected to align with Russia, with whom it has strong linguistic, cultural and historic ties.

    We’ve got the message clearly. If the ruler of the Kremlin is in trouble, any region in the world which the ruler desires is automatically deemed Russian territory.

    Need I say it again. What about the regions of Russia which want to leave the Federation? How about just letting Chechnya go? How about returning the lands which have been Prussian / German since the 12th century, the city & lands which were called East Prussia through to ’45?

    Of course fans of the Russian totalitarians would never agree with such logic.

  164. The president & parliament of the US may be ineffective, but the states and cultural traditions continue to create wealth.

    Oddly, so do the Russian ones.

    But one is in decline, the other in ascent. One is ratcheting ever left, the other right. True, they started in vastly different places, but only one is heading in the right direction. One defends its people, the other its economic interests.

    You can choose to look to the past, or look to the future. Obviously you haven’t quite kicked the 1980′s worldview yet.

  165. Combine_Dave

    Vasily,

    I welcome your unique view point and accept (that in Russia at least) that this may be a common view.

    Combine_Dave,
    Crimea is not a vassal state. Its populace has voluntarily elected to align with Russia, with whom it has strong linguistic, cultural and historic ties.

    I am not entirely of the belief that the voting was free and fair. Carried out as it was under the barrel of the gun. However I am prepared to believe that the majority Crimea’s want to join Russia. Invasion via said nation is never an acceptable way to bring this about however.

    Also, if you had ever visited Crimea in recent years, you might understand why even some Ukrainians and Tatars would elect for the Russian option in the recent referendum; Crimea has been greatly neglected as part of Ukraine, which is actually now a bankrupt and close to failed state.

    These adjectives have also been used to accurately describe Russia. Besides I am sure the massive subsidies the Ukraine can expect to receive from the EU (sadly largely at the expense of German taxpayers) will be more than enough to keep them viable.

    Do you not support principle of self-determination?

    Not particularly. I’d prefer a world without borders, without petty nationalism, socialism and without nations; made up only of competing individuals.

    Ironically Ukrainians from the Crimea region would be better off as part of the EU, and would have more individual freedom than part of Russia.

    moving towards greater freedom, but you must understand we evaluate freedom differently from USA or perhaps Australia. It is an incremental process, as we are coming from a long way behind, yes?

    Move faster lest communist China surpasses you on the road to freedom.

  166. Token

    This is therefore an intra-family dispute, if you like, over Crimea, which is not historically Ukrainian.

    No, it a weak nation which has a strong army invading a weaker neighbour.

    The fact you feel pride over the actions reinforces the point.

  167. What’s your contribution drift- the continuation of the white Australia policy?

    I think that was a different thread. Do try to keep up.

  168. Token

    As you said Vasily:

    We keep talking about this but you don’t seem to be listening.

    Remember? Hungary 1956? Czechoslovakia 1968? Wiser US presidents than Obama did nothing.

    Many in the world gets the nasty threat implicit in this statement. Every country surrounding Russia understand it is only a matter of days when the poorly run state of Russia needs to invade more neighbours.

  169. No, it a weak nation which has a strong army invading a weaker neighbour.

    Fascinating use of deprecation. You just keep telling yourself that.

    What makes you think that the first significant act use of force by a major power not sanctioned nor seeking sanction by the US signifies a ‘weak nation’ rather than the seismic shift in global relations that it unveils?

  170. Vasily

    Token,

    You remind me of a new convert to a religion who must espouse the most extremely “correct” views possible in order to prove his allegiance. Relax, my friend.

    Combine_Dave

    Thank you for your openness. The futures of both China and Russia are to be worked out in accordance with the historical and cultural forces which have shaped our respective pasts. It is not a race.

    Your personal philosophy reminds me of John Lennon’s idealism; I am more of a Paul McCartney guy ;0)

    I have to go now and earn some rubles as I am on my employer’s dime. Hope to join you tomorrow morning.

  171. Token

    But one is in decline, the other in ascent. One is ratcheting ever left, the other right. True, they started in vastly different places, but only one is heading in the right direction. One defends its people, the other its economic interests.

    Fascinating, so you choose to abandon the traditions which created a strong constitutional country like Australia to back the strong horse which shows naked aggression.

    Your sentiment is understandable, the term Quisling was adopted to describe such people after the fine exponent of that tactic.

  172. Token

    What makes you think that the first significant act use of force by a major power not sanctioned nor seeking sanction by the US signifies a ‘weak nation’ rather than the seismic shift in global relations that it unveils?

    I have posted multiple articles which note how vulnerable the Russian economy has got since 2008 since commodity prices have fallen and foreign investors have exited the market. Further articles noted how oligarchs have been working to get funds out of the country.

    In terms of sanction by the US, that is irrelevant distraction which I would expect by someone endorsing the actions of a despot.

  173. Ant

    Consigliere

    You can write in quite a compelling way – for the uninitiated.

    But your comment “He is doing a reasonable job at rescuing the situation and mitigating losses.. but not without missteps and with no more aptitude than a slightly above-average foreign policy President” is just, well, beyond laughable.

    Sorry, but it is. And it is not because it’s all Bush’s fault. The Left really need to thaw their brains from this decade+ long freeze. It’s embarrassing man.

    I cannot think of a president, or at least one going back to post-Wilsonian America, who has displayed quite the amount of contempt for his own country as the complete narcissistic fool now occupying the Whitehouse.

    I would have thought that evidence exists in abundance to prove it. I list some of it above. And I’m not going to bother with you. I don’t think you can be persuaded. But, don’t worry about it, America hasn’t awoken to the ruinous domestic legacy of the FDR years yet. Maybe circa 2100 the historians will drop their blinkers. If there’s still an ‘America’ then.

  174. Vasily

    Token,

    Re your last comment, you cannot make direct link between Soviet Union’s actions and contemporary Russia’s. I only use it for illustration to get Steve to think critically (by his confessions he listens to Rush Limbaugh too much!). There are continuities, to be sure, but also significant discontinuities which make an imperial contemporary Russia quite an unlikely prospect. Our interests in the west are mainly to do with security and forced upon us by NATO. Our more natural interests lies to the east where we have vast land and resources to exploit for national prosperity. As Europe and NATO declines, expect more Russian activity in far east which will make us competitors but also allies.

  175. Further articles noted how oligarchs have been working to get funds out of the country.

    Aside – that money is now moving back home.

    Fascinating, so you choose to abandon the traditions which created a strong constitutional country like Australia to back the strong horse which shows naked aggression.

    No, I am watching one country move towards the traditions that made Australia strong — which existed prior to democracy in this country, and haven’t been enhanced by its introduction — and one moving away. You are looking at where they stand now.

  176. Token

    Our interests in the west are mainly to do with security and forced upon us by NATO.

    Forced upon us? Sounds like words learned in that “crack” education system is pouring out again.

    If Russia spent its time trying to make its citizens wealthy instead of 19th century notions of spheres of influence there would no need to indulge in such childish sentiments.

    Wealthy countries and educated populations focus on creating a better society, not blaming others for the failings of its culture, institutions and leaders.

  177. Token

    No, I am watching one country move towards the traditions that made Australia strong — which existed prior to democracy in this country, and haven’t been enhanced by its introduction — and one moving away.

    Corruption, nepotism, jingoism, expanding borders by using militias to invade the parliaments of neighbours.

    Right, thanks for that.

  178. Ant

    JG

    IMO, Ted Cruz is one of the relatively few Washington politicians with his soul firmly grounded in principle. He refuses to dance the Beltway Ballet.

    For that almost unique contemporary quality, by DC standards, he is despised by the Republican leadership, and has been from the moment he threw the spanner in the works of Dewhurst’s senate campaign.

    To the Democrats, Cruz has satanic qualities and should he run in 2016 I expect the campaign juggernaut against him may be overwhelming in its hysteria, largely orchestrated by the media and political class and by the crony corporate interests who leech off big government’s unassailable tax and spending power.

    On the shutdown debate, it was largely deliberative without fireworks. Nevertheless, I was in awe at seeing recognisable faces, including Cruz.

    The shutdown affected me in a minimal way in the days following. I enjoyed sparring with a liberal Canadian journo outside Congress who couldn’t understand why I would want to see the US government “shutdown”. If there was a highlight, that was it. Thanks for asking.

  179. JC

    Oddly, so do the Russian ones.

    But one is in decline, the other in ascent. One is ratcheting ever left, the other right. True, they started in vastly different places, but only one is heading in the right direction. One defends its people, the other its economic interests.

    You can choose to look to the past, or look to the future. Obviously you haven’t quite kicked the 1980′s worldview yet.

    Lol… What exactly comes out of Russia other than hookers, oil&gas and vodka?
    Shut up Drift. Are you on some different medication than what you were on.

    Russian in ascent? LOL.

  180. JC

    Russia’s wages are rising, as is our national wealth.

    You mean it’s not quite as fucked as Venezuela- that might be true. With oil doing so well and the Euroweenies caught by the balls unable to move for a while on the gas front primarily because it’s difficult to transport… yea well Russia is temporarily doing okay. But please spare that it’s boom town.

    Our national debt per GDP ratio is about 1/10th of USA. After the disastrous Soviet period we have chance of national prosperity. Why do you wish to deny us that?

    No one is denying you anything, Champ. But like always, you’ll end up fucking things up and the only way is down once the Euroweenies get their act together and start fracking.

    Russians do not hate anyone and we are a multicultural society with Muslims and Buddhists as well as Jews and Christians (although we are not perfect; who is?).

    You have a little bit of trouble with the Muzzos no?

    This is therefore an intra-family dispute, if you like, over Crimea, which is not historically Ukrainian. But Russia has no heart for invasion of Ukraine, please believe me on this. As long as Russian Ukrainians are respected I expect no further hostilities.

    LOl.

    Please, take my words to heart and alter your attitudes about Russians.

    The hookers generally look pretty good and the vodka has improved.

  181. Token

    Please, take my words to heart and alter your attitudes about Russians.

    Neighbours which spent the 20th century being neutral in the great east/west game are making clear statements exactly how sinister the Russian aggression is to its neighbours. Your 19th century comments about sphere of influence reminded me of this interesting article:

    Worries About Russia

    The possibility of non-aligned Finland and Sweden jumping together into NATO was briefly discussed by the two countries’ governments in 2009 as part of cross-border discussions on strengthening defense. The talks were linked to reinforcing Nordic defense cooperation with NATO-aligned neighbors Norway and Denmark.

    The potential for a possible united front on NATO emerged again in May, when a report by the Swedish government’s Defense Policy Advisory Committee (DPAC) raised concerns over Russia’s rearming in the High North.

    The report recommended a more robust policy of military cooperation with NATO and the Nordic states.

    The political developments in Russia are worrying, as are the ambitious modernization plans for its armed forces. This increases the level of insecurity compared to levels that existed in 2007,” DPAC Chairman Cecilia Widegren told Defense News.

    Choice one – believe a Russian shill spouting delusions.

    Choice two – listen to the very considered moves of Russia’s neighbours in response to the aggression of the vulnerable Putin regime.

  182. politichix

    Seriously, is it so hard to get that while Russia may not be ‘perfect’ (whatever the fuck that is) it’s trajectory is in kinda the right direction? In contrast, it could be argued that the west is heading generally in the wrong direction. Automatic caveat – except for Aus which may have a chance with Big Tone at the helm.

  183. JC

    What direction is Russia heading in Politichix- what great direction? It just took over neighboring territory and annexed as its own. It has a bunch of corrupt officials and cronies running things. How exactly is that the right direction?

  184. What direction is Russia heading in Politichix- what great direction? It just took over neighboring territory and annexed as its own.

    You say this like it is some sort of sign that things are going wrong.

    It has a bunch of corrupt officials and cronies running things.

    With less corruption than previously existed, and significantly less than was common in the Ukraine.

    How exactly is that the right direction?

    What in less corruption and more control over foreign affairs is not the right direction?

  185. JC

    Seriously, what the fuck is going on here?

    We have a lunatic Russian telling us annexing part of another country is a great thing. Con tells us that five years out, Bush is to blame for the Kenyan’s fuck ups and his betatude. On another thread Driftforge was doing mental exercises for when he eventually makes his way to Storm Front by suggesting we ought to re0introduce the white Australia policy and now Politichix tells us Russia is heading in the right direction.

    Have the libertarians been reduced to a mere rump here?

  186. JC

    You say this like it is some sort of sign that things are going wrong.

    No doofus, Russia will be okay while oil&gas prices are doing okay. The moment those two commodities hit the skids they’re left with selling hookers and vodka and nothing else. The Russian economy is basically a shit hole of cronyism and fascist loons.

    With less corruption than previously existed, and significantly less than was common in the Ukraine.

    What less corruption? Don’t make me fucking laugh. Putin is arguably the richest man in the world by far and it’s not because of his presidential salary.

  187. politichix

    As I said not perfect! Just reflecting on the journey from the revolution, through USSR era, break up, capitalism, democracy of sorts. I would argue that I’m not going back far enough to give any kind of perspective on what is influencing today’s actions. Point is, it’s a journey that will take decades if not centuries to play out.

  188. hzhousewife

    Snowcone is grilling David Johnson ’bout PNG stuff on Lateline right now, geez he’s a
    major pain in the proverbial, Johnson is being very controlled. Snowcone is just busting
    to cause WW3 with Indonesia, he is so belligerent.

  189. JC

    Politichix

    Don’t be so forgiving. Japan’s, Germany’s, Italy’s economies were fucked after 1945. By 1960 they were ripping and essentially liberal democracies.

    Russia gave up communism in 1991 and 23 years later it’s a crony, fascist infested shithole with predatory intentions and as I said selling oil&gas, hookers and booze.

    Did the Ukrainian Russians ever appear to be endanger and if they were they could have easily crossed the border.

  190. politichix

    You make my argument for me JC, 23 years! They’re only at the beginning of their journey to ‘perfection’.

  191. Rob MW

    End of Story:

    (Crimera – Referendum 2014)“Malyshev, who spoke briefly Monday morning on Crimean televsion, said a total of 1,274,096 people voted, for an 83.1 percent turnout. Of those who cast a ballot, 1,023,002 voted to shift to Russia, 31,997 voted to stay with Ukraine, and 9,097 were in invalid, Malyshev said.”

    (British Election – 2010)“Nearly 29.7 million valid votes were cast, making the overall turnout across the UK 65.1%. This is 3.7 percentage points higher than in 2005, but the third lowest figure since universal male suffrage in 1918.”

    (Eurpoean Parliamentary Election – 2009)“The overall turnout figure in 1979 was 63%; in 2009 it was 43%. These figures mask very different participation rates between different member countries: turnout in Slovakia was 19.6% in 2009, compared with 65% in Italy.”

    (American Presdential Election – 2012)“Thursday’s report, from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, put 2012 voter turnout at 57.5% of all eligible voters, compared to 62.3% who voted in 2008 and 60.4% who cast ballots in 2004. In 2000, the turnout rate was 54.2%.”

  192. Combine_Dave

    I think JC’s point was given the same timeframe countries which had been basically levelled (including being nuked) managed to change from totalitarian hell holes to thriving liberal democratic economic power houses…

    Given the same timeframe Russia has not achieved this and is not likely to anytime soon (although one can hope!).

  193. delfino

    Next thought bubble over Vitaly – ‘I suppose a fxixik’s out of the question?’

  194. Kevin White

    Things have gotten so bad that Putin had to contact Obama via a youtube show …

    http://youtu.be/SGXBzYv4xdA

  195. Boy on a bike

    Let the French deal with it. It’s a European problem, and the euro-weenies are always bleating about US hedgemony. Send in the human shields!

  196. Andrew of Randwick

    JC is right and wrong, plus abusive and crude – as per usual.
    .
    Economic Survey of the Russian Federation 2011

    One area where the gap with OECD countries has remained very wide is the business climate. State involvement in the economy is pervasive, corruption endemic, the rule of law weak, and the foreign trade and investment regimes relatively restrictive. These deficiencies are reflected in low levels of competition, sluggish innovation, low investment and a greater dependence on natural resource extraction than would otherwise be the case. Although on a number of fronts improvements can be discerned, there is a need for further policy action and reinforced implementation efforts in many areas.
    As regards outcomes in most other areas, Russia is within the range of OECD countries, not an outlier. Labour markets are relatively flexible, although more could be done to bring social protection up to the standards of more advanced countries. The population is well educated, with exceptionally high rates of tertiary enrollment, even if educational performance as measured by PISA scores ranks below most OECD countries.

    OECD/WTO TRADE IN VALUE ADDED (TIVA) INDICATORS

    In value added terms United States moved ahead of China and Germany to become Russia’s main export market in 2009, reflecting high Russian value added (typically from mining products) embodied in the exports of other countries to the United States (Fig. 5). Germany and China remain the most important sources of imports in value added terms, but the share from the United States is significantly higher than when measured in gross terms.

    Russia has long expressed concern about the eastwards expansion of the EU and NATO. It’s position is that it will not have EU/NATO country on its western borders (the Baltic states don’t count because they know how to behave, i.e. no missile shields, no airbases, no radar) . It’s not about ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’, ‘ethics’; it is just a statement of an inviolate defence position.
    When the EU/USA fomented the street protests in Lviv and Kiev they should have know that it would prompt a response. Crimea annexation was a no-brainer.
    I disagree with Vasily because I can envisage the Eastern Ukraine becoming a protectorate of Russia, especially if the imported Ukrainian gangs harass the locals pro-Russians, and they then cry out for Kremlin help.
    .
    But my main concern is Obama and whether he makes a misstep. An embarrassed USA president is the only person who can cause a world recession (backfired sanctions) and cause a shooting war (bravado and stupidity go hand in hand).
    Thank goodness he is not up for re-election, but let’s hope is not blinded by having an eye on ‘his legacy’.

  197. The Consigliere

    Ant

    beyond laughable.

    I thought it would bring you a chuckle. I was going to say he was probably the greatest foreign policy president since FDR, but that would be a choking hazard around these parts.

    In any case I’m glad a naturally resolute President is in power at this time. There is little chance of him being swayed by the war drumbeat coming from the Lindsey/McCain quarters. And that’s good for all of us.

  198. Link to Russian imports / exports.

    The list doesn’t go down far enough to cover hookers and vodka. Yes, oil and gas dominate.

    Russia could drop exports by half and still be ahead on the trade balance.

  199. The Consigliere

    Andrew of Randwick, I find it difficult to figure out why everyone is so surprised by the actions undertaken by the Russians. Not sure what they thought was going to happen.

    I don’t think you need to worry about excessive action by the Obama administration. They’ll just place some nominal ineffective sanctions and talk a bit about democracy and International Law and be done with it. Everyone is just going through the motions.

  200. politichix

    I found this paper by Chatham House which provides a good background on the EU and NATO expansion and Russia’s strategic response. One of the few articles I’ve read that tries to approach the subject dispassionately.

  201. politichix

    One of the few articles I’ve read that tries to approach the subject dispassionately

    I should add – IMH (and ignorant) O

  202. .

    JC
    #1233070, posted on March 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm
    Seriously, what the fuck is going on here?

    We have a lunatic Russian telling us annexing part of another country is a great thing. Con tells us that five years out, Bush is to blame for the Kenyan’s fuck ups and his betatude. On another thread Driftforge was doing mental exercises for when he eventually makes his way to Storm Front by suggesting we ought to re0introduce the white Australia policy and now Politichix tells us Russia is heading in the right direction.

    Have the libertarians been reduced to a mere rump here?

    Excellent comment. The fawning over Putin is sickening.

    The Con gets totally owned on factual commentary (his lie that Crimea voted AGAINST the break from Russia/USSR previously), skulks away then returns to crank up the Pravda/”respected” Foreign Policy line that Obama is handling the situation as well as Reagan or Kennedy standing up to the USSR and that any loss of face is otherwise inevitable and actually demanded by the poor schleps who get Russia invading them, assassinating their Presidents and having an agent of influence as a corrupt puppet President who has been caught committing electoral fraud at least three times.

  203. rickw

    If you are a stupid, then you end up having to solve difficult and unusual problems as a result of that stupidity.

    The current situation in the Crimea is the culimination of Obama’s stupidity, and the explotation of that stupidity by Putin.

    There is no point discussing what Mitt Romney might have done, or what any previous American President might have done, because even the worst would not have managed to get themselves into this situation.

    As per a previous comment, Putin is having his Kerry Packer / Alan Bond moment. Without having a moron available to play Alan Bond, the whole show doesn’t exist.

  204. Token

    The current situation in the Crimea is the culimination of Obama’s stupidity, and the explotation of that stupidity by Putin.

    Romney notes this with great disappointment in his WSJ article which The Australian picked up.

    Obama caught napping as the sands shift beneath him

    Our tough talk about a red line in Syria prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sleight of hand, leaving the chemicals and killings much as they were. We say Bashar al-Assad must go, but aligning with his al Qa’ida-backed opposition is an unacceptable option.

    And how can it be that Iraq and Afghanistan each refused to sign the status-of-forces agreement with us — with the very nation that shed the blood of thousands of our bravest for them?

    Why, across the world, are America’s hands so tied? A large part of the answer is our leader’s terrible timing. In virtually every foreign affairs crisis we have faced these past five years, there was a point when America had good choices and good options. There was a juncture when America had the potential to influence events. But we failed to act at the propitious point; that moment having passed, we were left without acceptable options. In foreign affairs, as in life, there is, as Shakespeare had it, “a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

    When protests in Ukraine grew and violence ensued, it was surely evident to people in the intelligence community — and to the White House — that Putin might try to take advantage of the situation to capture Crimea, or more. That was the time to talk with our global allies about punishments and sanctions, to secure their solidarity, and to communicate these to the Russian President. These steps, plus assurances that we would not exclude Russia from its base in Sevastopol or threaten its influence in Kiev, might have dissuaded him from invasion.

    Napping? He wouldn’t be talking about Benghazi, would he?

  205. The Consigliere

    Dot: “The Con gets totally owned on factual commentary”

    Err what? I’m talking about the Crimean Sovereignty Referendum where more than 90% of Crimeans voted for Autonomy over being an Oblast of Ukrain.

  206. .

    Then they voted to join the Ukraine and split from Moscow. The end.

  207. The Consigliere

    Romney: ” That was the time to talk with our global allies about punishments and sanctions, to secure their solidarity, and to communicate these to the Russian President.”

    Yep good idea. Compound the aggression and maybe the Russians would have reacted differently. That’s some great foreign policy thinking there. I always wonder how these guys get to where they are without knowing anything about history or human nature.

  208. .

    The Consigliere
    #1233371, posted on March 21, 2014 at 10:13 am
    Romney

    Who, like Palin, was correct, and unlike Obama, don’t believe the CIA invented AIDS.

  209. Token

    Have the libertarians been reduced to a mere rump here?

    So it appears.

    Too many seem to believe that rampant corruption, statism and crony capitalism is to be lionised due to the fact that the leader is a strong man.

    Further, they are blinded by their hatred of the EU, such that when the country with an appalling history of invading & oppressing its neighbours starts moving down that path again, too many comentators at a Libertarian blogs endorse the actions and condemn the nations who are running to multi-lateral structures in an effort to band together to combine resources.

  210. Token

    Romney: ” That was the time to talk with our global allies about punishments and sanctions, to secure their solidarity, and to communicate these to the Russian President.”

    It is instructive that The Big Con does not understand the article by Romney. It is why so many do not understand how Reagan delivered so much in foreign policy, at the same time as delivering huge results with the US domestic economy.

    There is a platform for success that can not be applied in half measures else you get a weak leader who is bullied by autocrats that manipulate stats & use propaganda hide looming problems.

  211. Token

    Don’t be so forgiving. Japan’s, Germany’s, Italy’s economies were fucked after 1945. By 1960 they were ripping and essentially liberal democracies.

    Russia gave up communism in 1991 and 23 years later it’s a crony, fascist infested shithole with predatory intentions and as I said selling oil&gas, hookers and booze.

    This is the heart of the message so many of us are communicating.

    The short cuts and spin from a strong man will lead to more tears for the people of Russia in the medium & long term. Only real economic & cultural reform like Japan & Germany (and Korea, Taiwan & Singapore) were willing to undertake will deliver real benefits for the people of Russia.

    Invading neighbours and using linguistics constructs we are so familiar in families where the head is commiting domestic abuse does not help the poor & vulnerable, and grow the middle class.

  212. The Consigliere

    Obama believes CIA spreads Aids?

  213. JC

    Ask the Kenyan, Con. After all he attended Rev Wright’s “church” for 20 odd years. You stuck up three pence.

  214. james

    Don’t be so forgiving. Japan’s, Germany’s, Italy’s economies were fucked after 1945. By 1960 they were ripping and essentially liberal democracies.

    Russia gave up communism in 1991 and 23 years later it’s a crony, fascist infested shithole with predatory intentions and as I said selling oil&gas, hookers and booze.

    1] Russians tend to be drunk a lot, not a criticism, just an observation.

    2] Russians lived under Communism, the worst economic and social system ever, for a good eight decades. The Germans, Japs and Italians lived under what were essentially corporatist states; a form of government and economy that despite it’s terror and inhumanity, despite its crushing of the human spirit and at times outright barbarism, is at least 1000% better in terms of pure economic management than Communism, whether defined as the NEP, Stalins latter experiments, the early Bolshie crap or the later rationalisation.

    3] This is eastern Europe, ask Token who has family connections, things work differently there.

    4] Resource rich countries without a social and political system with a high level of legitimacy and with an underdeveloped economy tend not to be very nice places in the 21st century world marketplace. Russia is a much better democracy than say, KSA or Nigeria while being a much worse society in general than Chile or Australia.

  215. .

    Token
    #1233395, posted on March 21, 2014 at 10:46 am
    Have the libertarians been reduced to a mere rump here?

    So it appears.

    Too many seem to believe that rampant corruption, statism and crony capitalism is to be lionised due to the fact that the leader is a strong man.

    Further, they are blinded by their hatred of the EU, such that when the country with an appalling history of invading & oppressing its neighbours starts moving down that path again, too many comentators at a Libertarian blogs endorse the actions and condemn the nations who are running to multi-lateral structures in an effort to band together to combine resources.

    Sickening, absolutely sickening. I may have to learn the two fingered throat dance to put up with this infestation of stinking bilge and Bolt heads.

  216. .

    The Consigliere
    #1233439, posted on March 21, 2014 at 11:40 am
    Obama believes CIA spreads Aids?

    Well duh. You A-grade, Foreign Policy reading moron.

  217. .

    It is instructive that The Big Con does not understand the article by Romney. It is why so many do not understand how Reagan delivered so much in foreign policy, at the same time as delivering huge results with the US domestic economy.

    No! Reagan failed! Breznehev, Andropov, Gromyko and Cherneneko misunderstood! Gorbachev was the wrong bloke to negotiate with! Colonel Qaddafi should not have been attacked for his aggression and terrorism, etc…

  218. Gab

    The Big Con

    Is he the same bloke that built stonehenge fence for gillard’s house?

  219. .

    Breznehev, Andropov, Gromyko and Cherneneko were misunderstood!

    Sorry. The late issues of Pravda and Izvestia really struggled given the economic conditions. Typeface was scarce…guns or butter and all that.

  220. james

    Sickening, absolutely sickening. I may have to learn the two fingered throat dance to put up with this infestation of stinking bilge and Bolt heads.

    Bolt is as Anti-Russian as you are you fool.

    Further, they are blinded by their hatred of the EU

    Yup, if by blinded you mean able to see where the real threat to individual liberty and the culture thereof lies.

    The EU is arguably as democratic as Russia, and just about as great a preserver of individual liberty and free speech.

    The only difference being that Putin needs to coerce his journalists, where the EU just relies on the education systems of its member states to produce mindless drones bowing to Brussels.

    I am sick of the blind imbeciles here who seem to think Russia was in no way provoked by the leftist globalists currently running the EU to advance their project of a transnational world.

    I can understand it with Token, he has cultural ties to the region, but unless you come up with a similar excuse dot one can only assume you are an adolescent idiot, screaming at Russia because they don’t like the promotion of man on man buttsex.

  221. Token

    4] Resource rich countries without a social and political system with a high level of legitimacy and with an underdeveloped economy tend not to be very nice places in the 21st century world marketplace. Russia is a much better democracy than say, KSA or Nigeria while being a much worse society in general than Chile or Australia.

    James, I spend a bit of time in Asia and where I visit I see the effects of Kobe & ’99 Taiwan earthquakes. Friends of my wife who did volunteer work in Hubei in 2010 note the same thing.

    In each case an earthquake of great magnitude hits the region and the buildings which crumble are those built by the cadre of crony owned businesses for government & large state owned organisations.

    The effect is schools, government housing, police stations and public service departments crumble, why the neighbouring buildings created by private people who are outside the cadre survive. The cronies of the governments are able to cut corners when building this structures and not make them earthquake, fire, flood, etc proof.

    The cronies / oligarchs get to build sub standard structures for inflated prices. This is what we saw at the Sochi Olympics, so we know this has occured in Russia. Indeed, they say the price of building the structures were so inflated it was the most expensive Olympics ever.

    In each case it is the poor and especially poor children who suffer as the consequences of the crony capitalism is laid bare by nature in its fury.

    I am like Cassandra warning Troy here. Russia has severe earthquakes and one day soon we’ll see how the supposedly golden age Putin has created is just a gilt vaneer.

    Bolt is as Anti-Russian as you are you fool.

    Bolt comes from the same place as we do. Autocrats and their cronies are predicable.

    As I note above, if you pay attention to what was revealed at Sochi, there are very dangerous warnings signs which will hurt the poorest & most vulnerable in the near future.

  222. politichix

    james
    #1233533, posted on March 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm
    I am sick of the blind imbeciles here who seem to think Russia was in no way provoked by the leftist globalists currently running the EU to advance their project of a transnational world.

    Token
    #1233547, posted on March 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm
    As I note above, if you pay attention to what was revealed at Sochi, there are very dangerous warnings signs which will hurt the poorest & most vulnerable in the near future.

    These are not mutually exclusive views and I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Russia is in some kind of golden age.

  223. The Consigliere

    . #1233495, posted on March 21, 2014 at 12:33 pm
    Well duh.

    Right. Source?

  224. JC

    Siberia in a labor camp I hope, or unable to wake up from swilling 3 bottles of vodka straight.

  225. politichix

    before or after the hookers?

  226. JC

    He paid for them, but fell asleep and they left.

    Russia reminds me of what Americans say about Pittsburgh. Two things come out of Pittburgh – Football players and hookers. Russia it’s oil&gas, Vodka and hookers.

  227. Tel

    Russia it’s oil&gas, Vodka and hookers.

    And trade treaties that bypass the US dollar.

    And joint defence deals with India (hypersonic scramjet cruise missile, naval ships, etc).

    And a growing software industry (Kaspersky Lab, etc).

    A small but growing electronics industry.

    The difference between the Russian tech industry and the Chinese tech industry is that China just imported a lot of Western factory technology and demonstrated they were good at cranking the handle hard (while helping us keep our unions under control), while Russia wants to take everything apart, understand how it works and build it all up from scratch in their own way. Russia is more self supporting by far.

    That’s not to say that Putin is a great guy, but he is doing the right thing for Russia.

    He just screwed up with the undemocratic referendum in Ukraine, but that’s just going to make him look bad, not actually stop him, and I presume he doesn’t care all that much.

  228. JC

    And trade treaties that bypass the US dollar.

    Big deal.

    And joint defence deals with India (hypersonic scramjet cruise missile, naval ships, etc).

    Military equipment doesn’t hugely impress me as it’s government funding going into it and you really don’t know the value for dollar.

    And a growing software industry (Kaspersky Lab, etc).

    It wouldn’t fit into one silicon valley building. Anyone who’s primary language isn’t English is at a distinct disadvantage in writing software. It’s not impossible, just a damn sight harder.

    A small but growing electronics industry.

    Okay.

  229. JC

    Oh and….

    That’s not to say that Putin is a great guy, but he is doing the right thing for Russia.

    Tell that to the human rights campaigners, corruption investigators he’s murdered and the others he’s cowered into silence.

    https://larussophobe.wordpress.com/putinmurders/

  230. Tel

    Tell that to the human rights campaigners, corruption investigators he’s murdered and the others he’s cowered into silence.

    I admit that “good for Russia” is difficult to measure objectively but… not exactly a “nation building” collective that you have brought forward as evidence though is it?

  231. JC

    not exactly a “nation building” collective that you have brought forward as evidence though is it?

    Yea, Lenin said you have to break an egg to make an omelet. He was Russian too.

  232. Tel

    Anyone who’s primary language isn’t English is at a distinct disadvantage in writing software. It’s not impossible, just a damn sight harder.

    Russians and Indians both typically speak English, and have strong mathematical education (better than USA “common core” at any rate which isn’t saying much). Russians don’t comment their code, Indians do for what it’s worth. The main advantage of English is leverage on existing codebase and that’s significant but not a show stopper for people with the right mindset. Keep your eye on international programming competitions, you see a big mix of countries in the leader board. I think the Americans are fractionally ahead, and the Asians are behind, but overall having access to skilled individuals is what counts and those guys can go to the highest bidder.

  233. JC

    but overall having access to skilled individuals is what counts and those guys can go to the highest bidder.

    But that’s the point though isn’t is it? Silicon Valley doesn’t give a rats where you’re from as long as you can program. But equally important you also need a functional private equity/venture capital market which the US has in spades and while other places lack in relative terms.

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