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 Russian troops in Ukraine (courtesy

I was listening to msnbc’s Morning Joe on the way to school today. A foreign policy analyst claimed American military strategists are studying Russia’s tactics in the eastern Ukraine. As in admiring them. Instead of mounting a full-scale invasion of its former Soviet “partner,” Russia’s infiltrated heavily-armed special forces troops. They take over a government building, hand it over to locals (with a minder or two) and move on to the next one. When discussing the West’s reaction to this “soft invasion,” he repeated the Obama administration’s party line: “a military response isn’t on the table.” As my father used to say, oy vey . . .

Economic sanctions are the foreign policy equivalent of security theater. Even if we discount the fact that sanctions tend to hurt the populace of an errant country rather than their well-insulated overlords, are we seriously expected to believe that Vladimir Putin’s going to curb his expansionism because the U.S. has imposed sanctions on a handful of oligarchs and threatened to expand them to include entire sectors of the Russian economy?

“One of the purposes of sanctions is to create uncertainty and to create the expectation in the marketplace that worse could be coming,” said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department under-secretary who oversees sanctions, told “That uncertainty has led the market to punish the Russian economy.”

Only it hasn’t. “The ruble and the markets are slightly stronger than they were before the first sanctions were announced,” the Times admits. Even if the Obamanauts ratchet-up sanctions until they “bite” – a highly unlikely scenario considering Germany’s publicly declared opposition to further penalties for Russia’s Nazi-like expansion – Putin’s going to say “bite me.” What was the old story about the scorpion and the frog? It’s my nature.

I mention this because we’re watching the foreign policy equivalent of gun control. By increasing the punishment for acquiring or using a firearm illegally, by creating “tougher” “gun safety” laws, gun control advocates expect us to believe that criminals will be less likely to use guns to commit a crime. How’s that working out Chicago? LA? Not so well, methinks. What does work: armed resistance.

Aquila, Michoacán— Facing the demobilization of the autodefensas in the state, the coastal community of Santa María Ostula, located in the municipality of Aquila, found that members of its community police won’t be registering as rural police.

“Who we obey are the people, not the federal government”, they warned.

As has been reporting, the civilian militias sprung up to end the intimidation, torture, rape and murder inflicted on the local populace by the drug cartels, with the active support of local police and the Mexican military. Despite the cartels’ bottomless financing and the U.S. supported might of the Mexican military, autodefensas have maintained power, and created security for their supporters.

The autodefensas are recovering the control from the coastal region and the Templarios have been fleeing in boats-including Federico González, El Lico, capo who controlled from Cerro de Ortega, in Colima, to El Faro, in Michoacán-, in car trunks or hiding in the Sierra Madre del Sur, the Nahua community took a break in order to revive their struggle and reconfigure their community police.

And now the Mexican government wants the autodefensas disarmed. Good luck with that. Or not.

From now on we will look after each other.  We take care of the residents and the residents take care of us…and watch out!  To those of you who try to disorganize us like in 2009.  After all the sufferings we’ve been through, we have to be very careful, we don’t forgive anyone who has ties to organized crime.

Needless to say, this story, where civilians take up arms illegally to defend themselves against criminal predation, is getting no play in America’s mainstream media. Arm the revolutionaries? You must be joking. By the same token, the MSM’s not giving airtime to those calling for America to arm the Ukrainians against the Russians. Or, God forbid, move U.S. military assets (e.g. a carrier group) into the area.

In both cases, it’s all about the money, money, money. Since the last Cold War, Europe has jumped into bed with Russia, Big Style. Wikipedia reports that . . .

The Russian Federation supplies a significant volume of fossil fuels and is the largest exporter of oil and natural gas to the European Union. In 2007, the European Union imported from Russia 185 million tonnes of crude oil, which accounted for 32.6% of total oil import, and 100.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent of natural gas, which accounted 38.7% of total gas import.

Since then, more. Literally and metaphorically, Russian has the EU over a barrel. The idea that our allies will turn the screws on their Russian trading partners to protect liberty and self-rule in the Ukraine is laughable. By the same token, there are plenty of American multi-nationals who oppose Russian sanctions by quietly putting a word in the ear of the Obama administration and their friends in Congress.

It’s the same situation regarding imposing hard-hitting sanctions against Mexico for their cartel collusion/autodefensa suppression. While American imports of Mexican crude to the U.S. have been declining, Mexico’s trading partner status is way too important to rock that boat.

As reports, Mexico accounts for about 18% of North American auto production. Appliances, TVs, mobile phones – all built in Mexican factories and exported to the U.S. To the tune of some $150b per year. Not to mention the illegal drug trade, which is worth at least that much to Mexico’s balance of payments. Cash. An industry which has close friends at the highest levels of the Mexican government.

As the old misquote says, the business of America is business. Anyone who thinks that our foreign policy is based on liberating oppressed people and defending liberty isn’t paying attention. Sure, it gets a look in. But it is hardly the defining factor in our economic, political or military foreign policy.

Hey, and maybe that’s the way it should be. But whether we’re talking about Mexico or the Ukraine, the underlying truth is inescapable: the only people fully invested in protecting the people from tyranny and terror are the people being terrorized. Give them – the people, not their military – the means to defend themselves and they will. Just as we do here.

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  1. This is nothing new. The US imposed economic sanctions (then called embargoes) on Japan in the 1930s due to Japanese aggression in mainland Asia.

    That stopped them in their tracks, of course. /sarc

    • Actually, the oil embargoes forced a wider war as Japan had to conquer others to obtain oil to replace the US supplies.

      • The primary reason that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor was to cripple the Pacific Fleet, which could be used to defend the oil-rich WESTPAC countries that Japan was preparing to invade. Recall that in the 1930s they invaded Manchuria for coal and Korea and China for minerals.

        • Recall that in the 1930s they [the Japanese] invaded Manchuria for coal and Korea and China for minerals.

          Um… The Japanese had already been occupying Korea for a generation by then, and strictly speaking they mostly got Manchuria through the process of “peaceful penetration” pioneered by the French in North Africa and elsewhere. Also, their motive for going into Korea and China wasn’t for minerals; in the Korean case, it was as a buffer against Russian influence and as a gateway to the hinterland, and for China it was partly a lebensraum thing, partly a dynastic thing (to have its emperors ruling the cultural icon that had inspired all the surrounding countries’ systems, including Japan’s), and partly to head off the very same resurgence of Chinese hegemony over all the surrounding countries, including Japan, that is now almost here.

        • @ P.M.Lawrence: You forgot (or neglected) to point out that the Japanese invasions of her Asian nations before and during WWII was a perfect storm of perceived ethnic and cultural superiority, commercial and industrial need to sustain their industrialization and the collective will to use brutal, heavy handed tactics to commit acts of violence and racial discrimination to control the population they took over. The Japanese embraced the two tiered model of governance in Korea and the Puppet states of Manchuria while denouncing western imperial practices at the same time, stating “Asia should be ruled by Asians” which of course was a role the Japanese were too eager to fulfill.

    • This isn’t the 1930s. Global economies, and especially the financial system are so interconnected that sanctions can do a great deal of damage. Not to mention the FUD sowed by both sanctions and Putin himself, which is responsible for massive capital outflows from Russia, and European countries looking elsewhere for fuel. Thanks to Soviet economic federalism, Russia’s military is also actually dependent on UKRAINIAN imports for engines, components, and systems, with no domestic alternatives in the near term. And Russia’s military is a pretty rusty sabre to rattle:

      My Ukrainian grandmother would have been horrified, but not surprised, to see this. Her family lost everything to the Soviets. Whatever the management–Tsars, commies, billionaire mobsters–the problem is the same: Russian imperialism. Putin is the head of a petro-oligarchy, and Crimea has vast oil and gas reserves (under the peninsula, and within the territorial limit) that would have challenged Russia’s monopoly. Eastern Ukraine is needed to link the peninsula to Russia. At some point, the Buchannan-type non-interventionists need to get off their arses and deal with situations like this. And countries like Britain need to clean up their acts, and stop Russian oligarchs-cum-mobsters from laundering money through their financial systems.

      • I’m sorry, but that article is BS. The only facts it presents date back to the 2008 Ossetian War. Everyone who’s watching closely has already noticed that the military that took over Crimea is much, much better equipped, and acting way more professionally, then Russian soldiers in Ossetia 6 years ago. Things have changed.

        • These are elite units, with fresh weaponry. Much of the Russian military is still using vehicles and weapons nearing the end of their lifecycles. Pulling troops out of the Caucusus will mean another flareup there. And watch the anti-Putin backlash in Russia, when conscription ramps up. With another dirty war, and an economy on the rocks, Putin and his clique will be forced out of power in about a year.

          • Russia doesn’t really need its troops in Caucasus with the local arrangement (and it doesn’t have many). The way it works is that Putin has bought out some of the local elites, giving them full reign in return for guaranteed security and staying a part of Russia. They hunt down the disagreeable on their own. In fact, they have enough manpower that he also uses them as shock troops – Chechen battalions were seen in Crimea, among other places.

            Russia already has universal conscription, by the way. Manpower is not really an issue there. If they need to ramp up, currently most of Caucasus is exempted from conscription in practice (there’s no law saying so but…) – but they can always change that if they throw some more money that way.

  2. It’s always about the money.

    That and gas, which is money.

    And natural resources, which is money.

    And drugs, which is money.

    And banking and loans, which is money (OK, we won’t steal it but we’ll loan you so much money that we know you’ll default and then we’ll end up owning it anyway).

    And power, which is getting or keeping money.

    And visits to some far off country, which is about money for something (or flat out stealing whatever it is or kicking out the Chinese).

    The world is a rough place and it’s about money.

    • Actually, it’s about power. Money itself is a medium for obtaining, possessing, and exchanging power.

    • Money is a fungible form of power that can be used quietly and even to control people far away. People don’t have to know you or like you to like your gold. People will abandon their cause for gold. Power is “command over resources,” most of which are for sale at some price, no?

      It was a favorite trope of the Freudians that sex is about power and everything else is about sex. In that sense, I suppose, money is about power and everything else is about money.

    • What happens in the Ukraine is none of our business.
      This is not worth any of our time or treasure.
      Screw the Ukrainians.

      • What happens in the California is none of our business.
        This is not worth any of our time or treasure.
        Screw the Californians.


        • Since we’ve formed a trend line, let’s take it a step or two further:

          What happens across the street is none of our business.
          This is not worth any of our time or treasure.
          Screw the neighbors.

      • What is happening in the Ukraine happened 100 years ago in Korea. The world said screw them, not our problem. Until it became a bigger problem that include us. Nip this in the bud now not just for Ukrainians but to push back on the bear. Or we can wait until it’s a really big problem and then spend a lot more blood and treasure on it. We live in a small world and cannot ignore what happens in it.

      • Yeah sure. Russians? Never heard of them. Who are they? They play nice with others?

      • It’ll be our problem when they start coming ashore in Boston (or Myrtle Beach or Ft. Lauderdale or etc.). Until then, let’s pretend they’re grownups who can solve their own problems without Uncle Nanny to bail them out with YOUR money.

        • Unfortunately a recent phone intercept tagged the Russians discussing plans to invade and retake Alaska. Which, you’ll notice, is just a few miles away.

          • Molon Labe, dude! Bring it!

            You really think Russia, who’s getting bogged down in Ukraine, is going to try a stupid expensive stunt like that?

            • Though there are Russians who have asked Putin to retake Alaska, it’s Putin who knows they are engaging in folly.

              I believe these “intercepts” are disinfo, fostered by certain interests in the Pentagon and National Security apparatus. The manipulation never sleeps.

          • Now THAT’S what I call provenance. The actual source of the “intercept”, if it ever existed at all, is more important than the intercept itself.

        • Now that the world knows we are monitoring and recording every phone call on the planet, it will be an increasingly fun game for everyone to have little conversations about all manner of silliness, and giggle about our stupidity every time we take one seriously. Phone intercepts are completely meaningless, forever.

    • Oil and gas:

      *Russia is a major exporter of both, to Europe.
      *Russia is run by a petro-kleptocracy.
      *There are large deposits of both in Crimea, and offshore, which (because of interest from foreign firms, from Canada to China) threatens Russia’s export monopoly through Ukraine’s Soviet-pipeline infrastructure.
      *A similar situation existed with Azerbaijain and Georgia as a transit point for Azerbaijani exports.

  3. “Germany’s publicly declared opposition” link goes to a story about Mexican automobile manufacturing.

  4. By increasing the punishment for acquiring or using a firearm illegally … gun control advocates expect us to believe that criminals will be less likely to use guns to commit a crime. How’s that working out Chicago? LA? Not so well, methinks.

    It is working in NYC, where the punishments for illegal possession and use of a gun are severe, whereas they are not as severe, or not enforced as rigorously, in Illinois. It’s going after the legal gun owners that does nothing, the illegal ones are fair game.

    • NYC was the murder capital of the world for decades while they totally prohibited private ownership of arms. Instead of allowing private ownership of arms to relieve their crime problems, they chose to increase the size and authority of law enforcement, probably to unconstitutional levels, and surprisingly (at least to me) it actually worked! But it is definitely not an advertisement for gun control, as that did not work.

  5. Big story in Sloviansk regarding civilian militias as a deterrent against foreign invasion that TTAG is missing out on…

    “Kiev knows that it has a strategic reserve of Kalashnikov assault rifles and other light weapons stored in Ukraine as a mobilisation reserve dating back to Soviet times. It has hinted quietly but strongly in back channels between Ukrainian and Russian military establishments that it might be prepared to open this strategic reserve of weapons to an eastern Ukrainian population prepared to resist any Russian military incursions. Since the stockpile consists of up to five million weapons, the prospect would be a nightmare for Russian military planners if they realistically prepared to move into eastern areas of Ukraine. The prospect of civil war and an anti-Russian insurgency on an unprecedented scale with unpredictable consequences represents a real – if extremely dangerous – bargaining chip for Kiev.”

    • This is a nightmare for regular troops. Irregulars with good arms tend to strike in small units, from ambush and over mines/IEDs then disappear again. They can’t fight armor or airpower but they are also generally to small for air power to deal with and to mobile for armor to get to. Armed with serious weapons they are a threat to most armor and even that becomes dicey.

      5 million irregulars, armed with serious weapons, spread out or concentrated in unpredictable numbers and ways over an area the size of Ukraine would absolutely be a complete nightmare for the Russians. They lost a war in Afghanistan against a smaller force on terrain that more favored a regular army while they enjoyed a population and manufacturing capacity greatly higher than they currently have.

      The Russians may have found their second ‘Vietnam’ and it might not go well for them.

      • Actually, the Russians know perfectly well how to deal with such opposition, it’s just that the modern west has forgotten it. “All” it takes is mass deportations regardless of the deportees’ complicity, if they are willing and able to do it (a big “if” – they weren’t in Afghanistan, and they might well not be if they did move into the Ukraine these days). As Mao Tse Tung put it, “take away the water, the fish die”.

    • Um. Pretty much the only militias in Slavyansk are pro-Russian ones. The other side consists of Ukrainian Army and the newly formed National Guard, but so far they haven’t had much luck taking the city back – largely because the Army is simply not willing to get into what could well turn into a slaughter of civilians (how do you tell them from the militants?), and the National Guard is basically a bunch of poorly trained volunteers.

  6. the old order is dying, pretty much world wide. The silence about what is going on in Venezuela and Argentina are deafening . probably because they are both being ruined by the last 10 years of “progressive ” policy . Chavez and Cristina Kirchner think so very much like our present ruler.
    mexico, Ukraine, Greece, spain, not far behind. The chinese economy s looking strained.

    look at Appalachia and my home of detroit. lots of cities not far behind us.

    there are always those who plan ahead and take advantage upheaval. I don’t think its an accident that tue ukraine troubles started just after the sochi olympice ended . It sure looks like a well planned operation to me.

    Our bread and circuses media heare is truly disgraceful. the laws of economics are not the suggestions of economics, even if paul krugman says they are.

    have a nice weekend.

    • Our neighbor who is from Ukraine and has family both there and in Russia says it was quite deliberate for Russia to move in right after Sochi. Russian national pride is running strong after the Olympics, and great many (not all, of course) are ready to take on the world, so to speak.

      Ironically enough, the Russian state-run media is outright encouraging expansion, overtly bashing America and the West, and is generally doing a very poor job indeed of presenting the whole story to its viewers. Now who does that remind you of, hmmm?

  7. US economic growth is at about 1%. America needs to learn to get along in this world and stop playing International Policeman to maintain the American Empire that serves the USG and the top 1% elites.

    • We need to charge for our services. You know, like the Mafia. No, wait! Like, ummm…

    • @Aaron

      Stop playing International Policeman sounds nice but…..

      A) There are no other International Policemen
      B) There’s many wannabes contenders for chief International Thug

      Grown ups understand that.

      But have faith…man-child Obama is trying to make your wish happen.

      • We should follow (not lead) our NATO allies into battle when one of them is invaded. Otherwise butt out of the whole European theater, including Ukraine.

        • Why should a shopkeeper in North Carolina have to have his money stolen and spent sending military forces to some other country which should be taking care of itself?

          There is absolutely no excuse for American intervention anywhere, any time.

          And what’s this “We” shit? Got a weasel in your pocket?

        • Because we have a treaty that says we will, Rich! Advocate cancelling the treaty, fine, but please don’t advocate just ignoring it like it does not exist, as Obammy does with the Constitution. And yes, I got a trouser weasel you could admire, but as far as wars go, been there, done that, too old now. You can go for me.

        • About damn time that the Mexican people are starting to unbork themselves. And all it took was a few visits by some American militias, and the deaths of most of my friends. You’re welcome, Mexico.

    • Others have pointed out that you’re severely factually incorrect and hopelessly naïve. I’ll come aboard to add to this by saying that you obviously have no concept of what is in play and what is at stake.

      • Just as you “pointed out the factual incorrectness” in your own post?

  8. The idea that our allies will turn the screws on their Russian trading partners to protect liberty and self-rule in the Ukraine is laughable.

    The MSM’s not giving airtime to those calling for America to arm the Ukrainians against the Russians. Or, God forbid, move U.S. military assets (e.g. a carrier group) into the area.

    What self rule is in danger? A crowd of thugs, backed by western intelligence agencies, overthrew the elected pro-Russian government.
    The elected president asked his ally to send troops to help him retain the areas still loyal to the elected government.
    The eastern areas of the country, which have a cultural and ethnic Russian majority and some of which were part of Russia until the 1950s, decided, in a vote, that they’d rather be part of Russia again.
    Neither of those votes showed evidence of any more corruption or fraud than a vote in the US.

    That sounds like they have self rule. And they used that power to split up and reform along historical lines.
    The difference between this time and most of the other secession movements is that this went against the CFR-scripted foreign policy manual that the US State Department follows.

    I for one am glad the US government isn’t wasting American lives and money getting involved in a sovereign country’s internal politics, simply to advance the interests of some well connected elites. And I think Marine General Smedley Butler would agree.

    • I agree with this sentiment. Putin is a dick, sure, but many Ukrainians consider themselves Russian above all else. So what? Putin trying to annex the entire country is one thing, but if Crimea decides to go back to Mother Russia, meh.

      • The entire eastern half of the Ukraine is Russian, and that’s where all the industry lies as well.

        The Ukraine can’t support itself without those areas, without massive aid from Europe. Think Greece on a much larger scale.

        Those eastern areas will vote to join Russia, and they will eventually.

        • No, the “entire” half of THE Ukraine is not Russian, and the fact that you call it THE Ukraine instead of Ukraine shows that you have no idea what you are talking about.

        • @Wrong
          The eastern regions of the country (and “the Ukraine” is still an acceptable, but antiquated, term for it) have Russian majorities. Those regions might not be exactly 50% of the land area, but if by “half” he meant one of two pieces that are roughly the same size, then the statement perfectly valid.

        • You all have forgotten the small detail of Stalin slaughtering every native Ukranian he could find and “deporting” ethnic Russians to the resulting empty lands in the 1930s. Just a small thing, but it explains a lot about today.

        • The entire Eastern half of Ukraine is speaking Russian, but that doesn’t make all of them Russian. Most of them are Russophone Ukrainians (at least if you ask them – that’s how most people there self-identify). Crimea was the only region where the majority actually self-identified as Russian, and not just Russian-speaking.

          Also, if you look at the polls, the majority of people in those regions (again, except for Crimea) do not support secession. There are definitely strong minorities who do, especially in Donetsk and Lugansk, less so in other cities in the region, but it’s far from universal.

          Hence why they started killing each other. 50 people died in Odessa today, a dozen from gunshots when pro-Russian activists shot at the pro-Ukrainian demonstration, then almost 40 more when the aforementioned demonstration turned into an angry mob which chased a bunch of people from the pro-Russian group (not the ones that were firing, so far as anyone can tell) into a building and set it on fire.

          A pro-Russian thug firing an AK:

          Building burning and people jumping out of the windows, while some pro-Ukrainian thugs in the background shout “let the burn”:

      • If Russian troops invade your state and ask if you’d like to join Russia you will say Da, not Meh.

      • RUSSIA (Stalin) kills 7million Ukrainians and that makes the resulting cemetary RUSSIAN? The world didn’t think much of Hitler’s similar project.

        Better to make Easstern Ukrania Mexico. I hear there are about 8million illegal Mexicans that need a place to live.

  9. “I was listening to msnbc’s Morning Joe on the way to school today.”

    Good lord, why would you do that?


  10. And U.S. astronauts can go twiddle their thumbs instead of catching a ride on Russian rockets.

    • At this point in the game, I would not want to be a U.S. astronaut on the International Space Station. I can picture the Russians refusing to service the station. How much would it suck to starve to death in a space station?

      • WE have SpaceX who has done resupply missions, don’t forget. And Cape Kennedy and Vandenburg AFB are still up and running.

        • I think the point was that we don’t have a sufficient launch vehicle that could do the job that needs to be done, at the cost efficiency that is required.

          But hell, when has THAT ever stopped us? Print more money, “problem solved”. :/

        • “Up and running” what? One may recall that the US deported Arthur Rudolph on trumped up charges and we lost a great NASA administrator and got in return, Dan Golden, a poetically appointed hack who literally ruined NASA with his incompetence.

          It is notable that Arthur Rudolph was then tried for war crimes in German courts, which are known to be far more tougher than anywhere else. The verdict came down as “innocent,” and the US had then to renew his well-earned pension payments.

          All of this came about, because some of our political leaders got tired of hearing German accents whenever they reviewed high-level aerospace projects. Hans Maurer, the great missile guidance expert suffered the same fate as Rudolph, same with Dieter Huzel the turbo pump expert. There were several others. The politicians asked, “Aren’t US scientist capable of doing what the Germans do?” The answer is in, and we’re now hitching rides on Russian space satellites, and one will note that there’s been no news of Russia firing their German scientists.

        • Off the top of my head:

          SpaveX Dragon.
          Orbital Sciences launch package.
          DoD’s Saturn V

          Thanks for playing. Next…

      • I’m guessing not much different than starving to death anywhere else, though perhaps a bit more lonely.

        Whether one supports space exploration as a ‘valid’ expenditure of money and other resources or not, the US astronaut situation is an excellent model for why giving away our sovereignty in ANY way, even small ones, is colossally stupid.

        Looking to any foreign power of the collective UN to take care of US interests has got to be the height of foolhardiness. This is sort of thing that makes me cringe when people of talk of making International policy decisions for the sake of “getting along.”

        • “I’m guessing not much different than starving to death anywhere else, though perhaps a bit more lonely.”

          On the other hand, try and name a more awesome view to blink out in.

        • And you would have a radio to cuss out the whole world with, for an extended time.

      • Should be “politically” appointed, not “poetically” appointed; although, that makes for interesting thought.

  11. Robert, we tried that all last century, and all it cost us was trillions of dollars and millions of US lives for jack shit. Why the hell would we do it again? Europe has been fighting over it’s borders for 2000 years, and they will be 5, 10, 50, and 500 years from now whether the US intervenes in this petty squable or not.

    “Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.”

    “Our desire is to pursue ourselves the path of peace as the only one leading surely to prosperity.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

    • Wonderful Jefferson quote. Thanks for posting that. I especially like that first line.

    • For vast majority of the last 70 years United States has been the preeminent superpower, for vast majority of it US had the highest standard of living in the world – and you are saying we got “jack shit” for it? Gosh…”What have the Romans ever done for us?”

      • You guys don’t have the highest standard of living.

        You are very inefficent when it comes to resources.

        • The problem is that you took two different ideas and tried to mash them into a single statement. Standard of living, regardless of how it is ranked or or determined, is still fundamentally subjective. The only way you can accurately gauge two different countries, particularly their standard of living, is to have the same demographics, culture, resources, laws, regulations, norms and multitude of other variables that makes it almost impossible to compare accurately. I have never understood why officials always wanted to compare the U.S. to a smaller more controlled society such as Norway. Different needs, different priorities, different outcomes. Also you throw out the word resources but what do you mean by that? Are you talking about fossil fuels? Land? Water? Financial system? Again these are all different factors that are subjective, and leaves your statement quite vapid.

          • “Different needs, different priorities, different outcomes.”

            Different PEOPLE. They are more accustomed to living in a more tightly-regimented society, while we are accustomed to living, and living right, with a more unfettered society.

            Here’s fervent hoping we never become accustomed to any sort of regimented society.

  12. Sanctions don’t help that much except f*** over civvies, happened in 1992 in a couple of countries. Will probably happen again.

    Not a fan of warfare nor killing but Russia is in need of some.

  13. You know what… I’m about to say something that’s probably not going to get me any friends… but Go Russia!

    Before someone lights me on fire here let me at least try to explain this a little. In short… This is Obama’s fault. Or at least the administrations fault, if not his directly. I’m probably going to butcher this explanation… but I’ll do my best. There was a bit of… let’s call it a gentleman’s agreement that Russia wouldn’t extend it’s influence any further west as long as the US didn’t extend it’s influence any further east. Well then the administration decided to toss that out the window and arm anti government forces in Libya and Syria. Although we all know that the Syria situation deflated thanks in on small part to President Putin.

    But what has now happened is that Russia and Putin specifically has decided that he can no longer deal honestly with the US anymore, and as such he has began to extend his influence further west once again. Specifically in Crimia, which has always been very pro Russia.

    Now… that being said… there are things that concern be about the situation. Specifically all the news of antisemitism over there. And of course the fact that Putin isn’t a ‘boy scout’ either. But… at the same time the same people that are screaming to do something about Putin are the same people started this mess by trying to ‘bring democracy’ to Libya and Syria.

    And I, for one, don’t trust anything that comes out of these peoples mouths.

    • Yeah, it’s Barry’s fault. He appointed these kids to play diplomacy don’t forget. And they’re all being manipulated by the professional spooks. THOSE FOLKS are the real 1%.

      • “And they’re all being manipulated by the professional spooks”

        Same with Barky. Of course, he is being significantly more manipulated by his Big Sugar Daddies, the international bankster cartel, aka Federal Reserve.

        But both have a history of scratching each others’ backs, big time, Suh!

    • Noishkel, there’s some history in the anti-semitism in Ukraine. During the Bolshevist episode, particularly between 1928 and 1932, the leadership murdered millions of Ukrainians. The number oft mentioned is seven million, but the author, Robert Conquest, puts it at a possible fore-teen million. The functionaries heading up the mass murder were Lazar Kaganovich, and G. Yagoda, and both were Jews. Additionally, the commissars in the field doing the dirty work were mostly Jews, and this has been verified by records revealed about five years ago. So, the Ukranians are very distrustful of Jews, and would rather have them go elsewhere. They do not want to see another Jewish run Holodormo.
      This same group went on to murder another twenty-five million in the SU, and this poses a question as to why little mention is made of this, and why hasn’t there been a Spielbergian film about it. Isn’t it rather ironic that much of it happened before Hitler even came to power in Germany?

      It’s definite that these executioners set the violent tone for the twentieth century.

      • Ukraine had a history of Jewish pogroms long before Bolsheviks. It goes all the way back to Khmelnitsky uprising in 1648. The current estimates are about 20,000 Jews killed out of the total population of 40,000 Jews in the areas affected by the uprising. Most Ukrainian nationalist movements (such as e.g. Petlura’s) were also anti-Semitic, again that before Bolsheviks had any chance to commit any atrocities in Ukraine.

        • No, that too goes back to an earlier period; the Jews had also been carrying out a commissar-like role as tax farmers and rent collectors for the Polish occupiers before that uprising drove out the Poles. So, again, it wasn’t that anti-semitism drove those pogroms but rather that personal animosities did, and then the demonisation involved produced anti-semitism.

        • More blaming the victim…

          Anti-semitism was always historically rife on Ukraine, it was never in response to something. Pogroms also didn’t happen in response to something (other than as an excuse), but rather when the timing was convenient – i.e. at the time of turmoil, with fighting going on already.

        • That’s not blaming the victim, it’s explaining how the persecuters got anti-semitic in the first place. A minority (probably) of Jews were active on behalf of the Poles (see, and when the tables were turned the other locals lashed out at all the Poles, Jews and Crim Tatars they could reach, on the back of the prejudices they had formed which let them lash out without a guilty conscience getting in the way. But the pogroms mostly reached the Jews, since they were still there. So, no, it didn’t start with the 17th century pogroms, it started in the lead up to the uprising – perhaps even centuries long. When I explain that process it’s not a blame the victim thing, it’s a comment on the human mindset that allows that sort of demonising.

    • Your equivocation is laughable. Putin and his clique maintained their power through rigged elections (there were massive anti-Putin protests over this, 2011-12), and the self-described thug and ex-spook has amassed a huge personal fortune (estimated ~U.S.$40B) from skimming government coffers. The current Russian regime is a police state that often liquidates or arrests dissidents, promotes homphobic violence, just wrapped up a bloody counter insurgency war in Chechnya that involved war crimes, and helps prop up Bashar al Assad. And the European countries scrambling to join NATO have had experience with Russian imperialism, in its Tsarist, Soviet, and now Putinist iterations. This includes my Grandmother’s country, Ukraine, which experienced horrors including a Soviet-engineered famine (Holodomor) that killed millions. Between Russia and the U.S., there is no comparison.

  14. “One of the purposes of sanctions is to create uncertainty and to create the expectation in the marketplace that worse could be coming,” said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department under-secretary who oversees sanctions, told

    IIRC, this is the same administration that is changing the ACA by executive decree on a monthly basis and wondering why the economy is in the toilet.

  15. Every major paper today has some story to the effect that “German executives are screaming ‘no more sanctions.’ ” What country can’t Putin take with the oil and gas threat in hand? I suppose that’s an empirical matter at this point.

    • It would be interesting to see Putin deal with the Muslims making up more and more of Europe. It’s not your grandfathers old country any longer. Maybe Russia can bail out the Euro with oil money.

        • Not just Chechens, Jus Bill. Most of the Northern Caucasus is Muslim, and a good deal of the Southern Caucasus, though the Southern Caucasus is a more distant problem of Russia’s.

        • The Russian military’s savage scorched earth imperial war in Chechnya, TO PROTECT PETROLEUM AND PIPELINE INTERESTS, was somehow not noticed by progressive ‘oil war’ critics. Russia still has 20,000 troops there. And, if Russia can promote a separatist insurgency in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, I’m sure a few wealthy Muslim countries can do the same in Chechnya. See how it goes, when the shoe is on the other foot.

      • If he indeed will “deal with” (a Janus-faced term if I ever heard one) Muslims, Mama Bear will have her hands full with the Muslims within Russia’s own borders LONG before taking the fight up the lane.

      • Muslims make around 12% of the population in Russia (officially – unofficial estimates place it higher, sometimes as high as 20%). And those aren’t immigrant Muslims – those are Muslims that have been living in those lands for centuries, in most cases since before Russia has conquered them. Not just Caucasus, but also Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.

        So, no, Putin won’t “deal with the Muslims”. His entire strategy of dealing with Islamic radicals on Caucasus hinges on the support of moderate Muslims. If the latter evaporates, several regions of Russia will be plunged into all-out civil war.

  16. Anyone that actually believes the coup/current Ukrainian govt. is not an EU bankrolled sham is clueless. Check out the straight up world class banking background of the current “President”. This is about nothing more than money, power, and control of a significant (30%) portion of Western Europe’s oil and natural gas supply. Layer the pipeline routes on the map and see for yourself. Don’t forget the new gas field recently discovered.

    Russia will never give up the Crimea, not with a 230 year history of strategic naval port presence.

    Neither side is innocent. Putin is a pig, and the current govt is not legit. Btw, don’t hand people the “Russian are like Nazis” state dept memo/Lurch talking point, actual neo Nazis infest the current illegit gov’t. Do your homework Robert.

    When will the people that really matter, the every day Ukrainian, get a break? From Stalin’s murder of 7 million in the 30’s, Nazi invasion a few years later, Stalin again laying waste, they have been nothing more than political footballs.

    • “Russia will never give up the Crimea, not with a 230 year history of strategic naval port presence.”

      Not only that, but the historical home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, in Sebastopol.

  17. Why would our esteemed POTUS care even a little about the Ukraine when there’s not a single decent golf course in the whole damn country?

  18. Russia is using the Ukraine to ensure a buffer from NATO and further US aggression that has been going on towards Russia since the 90s.

    US MIC is trying to make Russia and China the new boogie man to increase their funding since the terror boogie man is on its last legs.

    US Natural gas and fuel lobby want sanctions against Russia as a way to enter the european fuel market.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad and people were dying.
    Russia is copying the US, not nazi germany. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised to see such a poorly written article though on international affairs on this site.

    • What “U.S. aggression”?! Ask Ukrainians, Romanians, Poles, Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians, Finns, not to mention Crimean Tatars, Uzbeks, Tadjiks, etc. who has been the imperial aggressor they have had to deal with. Hint: the expansionist imperial power isn’t located in North America.

      • Well, or you can ask the Mexicans, or the Filipinos, or the Dominicans, or the Cubans…

        US and Russia are both expansionalist powers. All countries rooted in the European civilization were at some point.

  19. This brings up a ginormously important point: it is an extremely bad situation when your country’s survival depends on an imperialistic foreign nation.

    To be brutally honest, Russia could annihilate Europe without using any military assets whatsoever. All Russia would have to do is stop exporting petroleum and natural gas to Europe starting in December. Europe would promptly implode within a few weeks. After that, Russia could offer to resume exports to the few remaining survivors in exchange for their loyalty … and, facing extinction, the Europeans would gladly comply.

    Unfortunately, the U.S. is pretty much in the same situation. While we can produce enough petroleum, natural gas, electricity, and food domestically, we no longer have the capability to produce all the electronics that we need to produce and distribute everything in the U.S. That scares the living sh!t out of me.

    • Unfortunately, the U.S. is pretty much in the same situation.

      And that is a problem we created ourselves.

    • we no longer have the capability to produce all the electronics that we need to produce and distribute everything in the U.S.

      Oh now. There’s nothing built in China that couldn’t be built by us in rather short order. Yeah your home entertainment system is going to cost more (for awhile) but that is hardly a necessity. But it’s a stupid premise anyway to think China isn’t dependent on our purchasing their stuff.

      • But the factory facilities either don’t presently exist, or else will have to be drastically refitted.

        • OMG, you mean I won’t be able to get my Xbox III for another 12 month? That’s like…illegal or something.

        • But the factory facilities either don’t presently exist, or else will have to be drastically refitted.

          ….and that would happen if the market asked for it.

          But all this is silly talk because low cost Asian factories aren’t going anywhere. It’s much more likely that our nations consumer buying capability will disappear due to our runaway debt and if that’s the case we won’t be needing to build facilities to duplicate consumer electronics.

        • And China will experience an economic meltdown.

          It’s coming anyway. They have a real estate bubble just like ours before the implosion. Their low-wage workers are actually striking for higher wages, and foreign manufacturers are shifting orders to factories in Viet Nam and Thailand. Their provincial governments are so deep in debt they’ll never find their way out. There are increasing terrorist attacks taking place (using knives and explosives). And the Central Bank is doing everything it can (weekly stories on Chinese TV) to keep the Yuan from becoming Monopoly money.

    • Actually, Europe has sufficient stocks of oil and gas for about 2-3 months of normal gas consumption. Afterwards, they would have to cut down to about 70% of normal (Russia supplies about 30% of EU gas). That would be bad (though not mortal). On the other hand, Russia would lose about 50-60% of it’s income stream. That would be pretty close to mortal wound.

      • On the other hand, Russia would lose about 50-60% of it’s income stream. That would be pretty close to mortal wound.

        Not really. China buys a bunch of oil, gas, and coal from Russia routinely. It will hurt, but Gasprom will survive.

        • You may notice there is not enough spare gas pipeline capacity between China and Russia sufficient to carry a lot of gas. The chinese and the russians have been in talks to build it for years and years.

        • And you may have noticed that the Chinese are having built and contracting for a bunch of LNG carrier ships.

    • *Sigh*…Europe only depends on Russian imports for about 20% of energy needs. Petroleum, LNG, and uranium are sourceable elsewhere (Gulf states, U.S., Canada). Roughly 40% of Russia’s economy is tied to energy exports, with a heavy demand on exports of forestry products, metals, and other commodities, ALSO WITH ALTERNATES AVAILABLE TO EUROPE. You do the math. And, thanks to Soviet federal economic policies, Ukraine actually supplies critical components (engines, guidance systems and avionics) to Russia’s military. Russia’s imperial irridentist move on Ukraine was a huge gamble, but Putin and his clique lost: Russia’s economy is starting to contract, capital outflows are frightening, and if targeted sanctions hit Russia’s energy sector, the economy will be circling the drain in a year. This will have big implications for Vladimir Putin’s political surviveablility.

  20. “Expansionism”? That’s absurd. Mr. Putin is recovering territory that was recently lost. Very recently, historically speaking, and territory that has historically been Russian. Much of the Eastern Ukraine is heavily ethnic Russians, who have much to fear from the Neo-Fascist government of the Ukraine.

    Now Alaska, THAT would be expansionism.

    • The Ukraine was an independent country until it was annexed by force by the Russians, in the 20th Century. The Crimea, which was conquered by Russia in the 18th Century, was “given” to the Ukrainian SSR by Khrushchev (presumably while he was drunk). So while your statement may make some degree of sense with respect to Crimea, it doesn’t with respect to Ukraine.

      The fact that there are a lot of Russian speakers in the Ukraine isn’t meaningful.

      Not that I give a sh1t about Ukraine, or Syria or any other backwater, no matter what the warmongering, phony winner of the Nobel Peace Prize might say.

      • You should. In order to become a “World Power” again, Russia must have a warm water seaport. That would be the Crimean solution: a warm-water port on the Black Sea with a Russian Navy base already there and staffed. Now go for the oil reserves and manufacturing facilities just a few dozen klics to the West…

        • There’s no significant oil west of there until you get to Romania. That’s why Hitler had such a big problem – he only overran a tiny source, at Makop, and that was only briefly and had been damaged.

        • Not much of a port. Everything has to go through the Bosphorus, which Turkey (NATO) can choke off. Also, NATO could turn the entire Russian fleet into artificial reefs, with fighter attacks.

      • >> The Ukraine was an independent country until it was annexed by force by the Russians, in the 20th Century.

        Ukraine was an independent country for something like 2 years – declaring its independence in 1917, going Soviet 1919, and joining the USSR in 1922 (by which time it was but a formality). Even then it wasn’t really a single country, but rather a rapid succession of governments (Ukrainian People’s Republic, then the Hetmanate, then the Directorate) of a more or less dictatorial variety, usually backed by either side in the then still-ongoing World War One – which sometimes existed alongside one another and laid claims to each other territory. In the end, Soviets took over the eastern part of the country, and Poles took over the West.

        The actual occupation of Ukraine – or rather its predecessor state – by Russia, happened in the 17th century, when Ukrainian Cossacks – then belonging to the Polish state – rebelled against the Poles, and, after a long war exhausting their resources, asked the Russian tsar to admit him as his subjects and give them military aid. Which he did (see Treaty of Pereyaslav), and there was even an agreement as to which special rights the cossacks get as subjects, but it was ultimately not honored in the long term, and what would be Ukraine became merely a province of Russia, losing most of its rights.

        >> The Crimea, which was conquered by Russia in the 18th Century, was “given” to the Ukrainian SSR by Khrushchev (presumably while he was drunk).

        Krushchev is often criticized for this decision, but it actually made a lot of sense in the circumstances. While Crimea is ethnically majority Russian, geographically it is attached to the Ukrainian mainland, and receives electricity, gas, potable water etc from Ukraine. So from a logistical perspective it made sense to administer it as part of Ukraine. Borders between republics didn’t matter much in the USSR anyway, other than in administrative sense, so no-one really cared back then. It was only when those borders suddenly became real in the dissolution of the USSR that people even noticed.

        • And Amerika under FDR was more RED that communist Russia ever was, YES Stalin was very bad , he killed millions and made Hiller look like sunday school stuff. Today PUTIN is very anti-communist/socalist , he is a Russian populist and independent nationalism means he is for the better of his people , and that is more that I can say for OBAMA ,,, and he is getting Russia recovered ,,, more that we can say……..Russia wants PEACE , WE want war to take resources…….wake up..

        • LOL. Putin is more socialist that Obama ever was, or FDR for that matter. You say it yourself – he’s a populist – and you can’t be a populist in Russia (and most anywhere else) without being a socialist.

          The “better of his people” part is also bullshit, and I say this as a Russian who left the country with the intent never to return. Already during Putin’s second term, we knew that fascism was coming to Russia. Well, it has come at last. I’m only glad I got out in time.

      • Kaliningrad and Kurils weren’t “stolen” after WW2, they were annexed as the results of the peace treaties with the corresponding countries, and under the agreement with the other Allies. You know, to victor go the spoils and all that. To reopen that issue today is to, basically, discard the outcome of WW2.

  21. How exactly is Russia like Nazi Germany?

    russia is responding to very real US aggression in the form of NATO expansion, you know that group that should have dissolved after the breakup of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact nations.

    Russia did not encourage a coup of the national government.

    Russia is doing no more or less than the US or any western nation, which is protecting its interests in the face of international aggression.

    The US Military Industrial Complex is out to make a new boogie man to keep the money rolling since the “war on terror” has no public support anymore.

    US natural gas and fuel companies are pushing for russian energy sanctions so they can get a foothold in the european markets.

    All this is happening and you have a ridiculous russia is nazi germany talk being parroted by people too lazy to even do basic research into how the Ukrainian situation broke down.

    • US natural gas and fuel companies are pushing for russian energy sanctions so they can get a foothold in the european markets.

      Exporting US crude without a license has been illegal since the 70s. So far, the only licenses that have been granted are for export to Canada. Expert licenses for Europe have been requested many times, and denied every time.

      Should the .gov decide to loosen up and allow exports, the Euros would be thrilled. They don’t trust Russia. They don’t trust us either, but they trust Russia less.

      The rest of your comment isn’t worth a comment.

      • We gey around that by exporting processed oil products like gasoline. Ever wonder why the refineries in the US are located at major seaports?