19th Century Pretexts in Ukraine


“You don’t just, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext.”
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaking on CBS program Face the Nation.

Open thread for the goings on in Ukraine. Anyone curious enough?

  1. Big Swede

    I posted this over at Mark’s site before he took it down.

    “After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence – the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.” Sarah Palin, Reno, Nevada on October 21, 2008.

    • I wonder who wrote that line for her, and did they write it on her hand for her or did she do the transcription herself?

      Her opinion was delivered at about the same time it also emerged she could not name the nations involved in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) even though there are only three – the United States, Canada and Mexico – and the agreement had come up in the campaign. According to Carl Cameron of Fox News, aides said she had “real problems with basic civics” such as the different responsibilities of municipal, state and federal government.

  2. I shudder every time I think of the choices we supposedy had in 2004 between dumb and dumber. I remember in 2004 when the Democrats tried to spin the idea that Kerry was really smart but dull. Ha. Ha. Ha. He does not think for himself, but like many of his kind engages in group think.

    • JC

      I think Secretary of State was Kerry’s payoff for being the Dem’s sacrificial lamb in 2004. What a doofus. What did he think our invasion of Iraq in 2003 was, if not “trumped-up pretext?”

      And this man is the face of our country to the rest of the world? What a sham.

  3. Oh, and interesting take on Ukraine on Dimitry Orlov’s site. http://cluborlov.blogspot.ca/2014/03/reichstag-fire-in-kiev.html#more
    And I like his definition of fascism as “militarized bigotry”.

  4. Craig Moore

    To secure “peace for our time” all we need is another Munich agreement giving the Russian speaking areas of Ukraine to Putin. Hell, if it worked once before with Hitler, why not now?

  5. Big Swede

    Kerry’s now infamous quote, “This is not Rocky IV”.

  6. lizard19

    b @ MoA is looking at what may have provoked Russia’s reaction—er, sorry, INVASION!!!

    I’m also noticing how many pundit shills ensure the provocation that led Russia’s last INVASION!!! goes conveniently unmentioned. it was Georgia poking the bear with an attack on South Ossetia, by the way. here’s some evidence, thanks to wikileaks:

    Leaked State Department documents provide further evidence that United States authorities knew that the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, a key ally of Washington in the Caucasus region, initiated the August 2008 war with Russia.
    Cables from US diplomats in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, were released through the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. They show that Washington was well aware that the Georgian government was intensifying its military build-up near the breakaway province of South Ossetia in the weeks before the outbreak of full-scale hostilities.

    South Ossetia has refused to acknowledge Tbilisi’s authority since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and Russian peacekeepers have been stationed in the province since then.
    Prior to the attack on South Ossetia by Georgian forces, a cease-fire was in place between Tbilisi and South Ossetian separatist militants.

    The diplomatic reports from the American embassy record that the US was aware that Georgia’s armed forces were “deploying troops to positions in Georgian territory to the south of the Zone of Conflict [the disputed boundary between Georgia proper and the secessionist territory]” and that Tbilisi’s forces were operating on “a heightened state of readiness in order to show their resolve.”

    A cable records that US embassy observers witnessed 30 government buses “carrying uniformed men heading north” towards South Ossetia the day of the Georgian attack.
    The Georgian assault on South Ossetia, launched August 7, involved the shelling of the main city of Tskhinvali followed by a ground invasion by 1,500 troops. The operation destroyed hundreds of civilian properties and claimed the lives of an estimated 160 South Ossetians and 48 Russian military personnel.

  7. Ironic!

    Kerry joined the Republicans (all but Lincoln Chaffee) voted to authorize Bush’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in October 2002. In August 2004, when running for president, he reiterated his support for his vote, two years earlier.

  8. CNN’s Farah Zarkaria had three guests on this morning who actually knew something about the Ukraine and could discuss it intelligently, though they didn’t agree with each other. One was Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who infamously and unfortunately said that the deaths of half a million children thanks to the sanctions in Iraq “…was worth it.” She was joined by Zibgniew Brezinsky , Carter’s National Security Advisor, who pushed the policy that armed the mujahideen against the Russians. The last was Russian/Soviet expert Stephen Cohen, who was the best informed of the three, and who talked about the element of fascism that escalated the peaceful protests in Kiev to violence.

    Like the rest of us, none of them have a history of being right all the time, but they were making an effort to sort through the complexity.

    This is not a situation that will be resolved by simple solutions and is immensely worrying. But I’ve seen crackpots like Brookings/Soros scholar Fiona Hill (who asserted that the claim the Iraq invasion and occupation was provoked by a scheme to control that country’s oil reserves was “frankly ridiculous”) who on PBS had nothing useful to say, and many far worse than her being touted as serious pundits, who haven’t the faintest notion of what they’re talking about.

    Obama, after speaking to Putin for 90 minutes, put his foot in his mouth by making statements that could not but help to exacerbate the conflict.

    • Big Swede

      Should’ve asked Zigbniew how come 4 years into the Carter’s presidency we get Russia’s invasion of Afgannie and now 5 years into the Obama reign we get another invasion?

      Anything to do with the overall strength of our leaders?


      • You actually shouldn’t have asked. We had nothing to do with the Soviet’s (not “Russia’s”) invasion of Afghanistan which occurred 2 1/2 years into Carter’s term (not “4 years,” of course, especially since he only served 4 years), and Obama had little or nothing to do with Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, the Victoria Nulan conversation notwithstanding.

        Not maybe. Stop stretching.

        • Big Swede

          Say what you will about the Russians — they always helpfully remind us when we elect a retard president.

          • evdebs

            There you go. Bringing up GWB again.

            • Big Swede

              “If you like your sovereign nation you can kept your sovereign nation.”


              • On July 14, 2003, at a White House press conference with Bush, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan diplomatically declined to contradict him. At that time, the Bush administration was reeling from the impact of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s Op-Ed essay about the Niger uranium fiasco in the New York Times, which had appeared a few days earlier.

                Asked by a naive reporter about the questionable intelligence on Iraq that had distorted his speeches and decisions, the president bristled. He clearly believed such questions impertinent and unimportant. He preferred to talk about the big picture. In his concluding remarks that afternoon, Bush said: “The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful.”

                As the Washington Post noted the following day, “the president’s assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective.” The Post was putting it rather blandly. The POTUS had denied reality, and the press corps blinked. The New York Times didn’t even report his bizarre statement, and the rest of the media followed along meekly.

  9. Russia has no legal right to separate Crimea from Ukraine, just as they had no legal right to separate Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia. But Kosovo certainly sets a precedent – if the people living in Crimea vote for independence, the situation is very similar to that in Kosovo, which the international community generally approved.

    If Russia does do so, however, they are essentially admitting they’ve lost the bigger war – they lose both their military sway in Ukraine (the Sevastapol base) and a substantial portion of their ethnic sway as well, and so their chances for a closer relationship with the rest of Ukraine are greatly diminished in exchange for a peninsula they essentially control already. Moreover, they will be providing an excellent justification for the remainder of the Ukrainian state to seek NATO membership – after all, nothing like this happens to the Baltic states, and the reason isn’t hard to see. Russia may choose to ‘back down’ in hopes of eventually using their base in Crimea to pull all of Ukraine back to the fold.

    And I do think it’s somewhat relevant to ask why there are so many Russians in Crimea, and to realize that it’s the result of a concerted ethnic cleansing that took place after the War. I don’t think that invalidates the claims of Russians living there now, but it puts them in perspective.

  10. Crimea is 58% ethnic Russian, 24% Ukrainian, 10-12% Tatar.

    Stalin kicked the Tatars out in ’44 because they were collaborating with the Nazis. He was not a nice man.

    He sent them to Siberia and to the Republics such as Kazakhstan.

    Most remained out for decades but eventually returned to their homeland. They speak Russian. They are Muslim.

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