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The facts are pretty simple. Russia is hell bent on recreating a large empire. Like his predecessors in 1918-1921, the present leader wants to regain all territories lost since 1914. Alright: he has given up on Poland and Finland. Even on Manchuria (that would be a hard one, since the Chinese are just as fiercely defending THEIR territory). Ukraine was supposed to be a subordinate state (or not exactly a real state, as the man likes to say). The goal has been regime change in Kyiv. In any inerpretation of international law, occupying lands of a recognized state, member of the UN, is an act of aggressive war. He might get to keep Crimea, but it is no more legal than what Germans did to Czechoslovakia back in 1938 and 1939. Let us see what kind of "price" the west will exact from Russia...
In response to:

The Irrelevance of Ukraine's Constitution

vladwe Wrote: Mar 12, 2014 10:04 AM
You, Sir, are clinging to all kinds of constitutional niceties. Forget the Ukrainian Constitution for a while. Yanukovich ordered his henchmen to kill demonstrators. Even his personal guard left him, so he, too, left. The present Ukrainian leadership is real. They are more in tune with a majority of the Ukrainian population, than Yanukovich ever was. Russia did not conquer Ukraine (by soldiers not displaying any signs of the state they belong to) because they though Yanukovich was entitled to due process of impeachment. They want to change the regime in Ukraine to one that would obey and join their fight against the "rotten West" (that would be us...). The nice words about the Crimeans' right to selfdetermination are yet another lie. Look what they did, when the Chechens demanded selfdetermination. They killed something like one in ten, maimed many more, and destroyed the capital city. The name of the operation was "restoring Constitutional order". Now that's a nice couple of double standards. Russian terrirory (conquered thru a coupla centuries) must be kep at all costs (life is cheap), as can Kosova in the case of Serbia, but countries like Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia have to give up chunks of their territories - when the Russians create a "separatist movement" and support it with force.
In response to:

Putin, Not Obama, is the Messiah

vladwe Wrote: Mar 10, 2014 7:30 AM
I keep hearing and reading about "Russian national interest". Nobody though explains what that might be, how Putin defines it, and how does that impact on neighboring nations and on the world in general. Russians live off oil and gas. Their interest might be to modernize their oil&gas industries, pipelines, LNG, etc. And to make friends to whom they might sell their stuff. How exactly can occupying chunks of Moldavia, Georgia, and now Ukraine be in Russia's national interest? Unless it is not an economic interest or in any way related to the well being of the 140 mill (and shrinking...) Russians. If the "national interest" is not national at all, but a maniacal wish to regain territories once under the Russian Empire, then under Stalin's boots, then that's what it is, and it sure is not in the interest of the Russian people. It is costly and unsustainable. They ought to turn their sights on domestic industry and reform and develop it. They might get a few former colonies on their knees, but the wellbeing of the Russians will gradually deteriorate. Alle their military adventures cost big money. And eEven before any economic sanctions have been applied by the spineless Americans and Germans, the Russian stock market has dramatically shrinked, and the Rouble has devaluated to the lowest level since it was re-introduced after the crash of 1998. In other words, the people have overnight become considerably poorer, including the billionaires and millionaires, the famous 1%. The price of oil and especially gas will decrease, while supply will dramatically increase from a host of other countries. What will Russia do?
In response to:

Chickens Roosting in the Crimea

vladwe Wrote: Mar 08, 2014 7:05 AM
"Mob"? How would you know? Have you been there and conducted sociological research as to who those tens of thousands of people were? In the same vein, you coul also claim that the Americans were a mob back in 1776. This "democratically elected government" changed the constitution to give the kleptocrat president full control. His family's assets in three years rose up to 12 Bll. US$. The demonstrations began as a protest against the annullment of Ukraine's free trade treaty with the EU. Then it evolved into a protest against the kleptocracy and the subordination of Ukraine to not-so-democratic Russia. Then the president's security forces shot and killed approx 100 people armed with alluminium shilelds. As for "ethnic Russians" there are several millions spread aroung the globe. Perhaps one little mill in the US. Should Putin conquer New York and Florida? Should China conquer California? Should Portugal conquer Hawai'i? As for adequate response to Putin: travel ban and freezing of Russian assets would sure do the job. Especially if coordinated with the EU, which will be tough, because the Germans (and a few others) are difficult to sway. Russia is even before any sanctions paying a high price for its imperial brutality. The stocks have fallen drastically, as has the currency. Russian society has quickly become a lot poorer.
In response to:

Obama in Denial on Russia

vladwe Wrote: Mar 06, 2014 3:47 PM
You have surely followed the demonstrators in Kyiv day and night for three months and seen with your own eyes those CIA types giving them money. Was that unmarked twenty dollar bills? It might seem unbelievable to you, but those people, in the tens of thousands, really demonstrated for reforms, prosperity and freedom. Yanukovich was indeed elected - with a narrow margin. He then proceeded to have his majority in Parliament change the constitution to concentrate more power in his own small hands. What changed the situation was the shooting of a hundred demonstrators by security officers, apparently guided by a genuine Russian KGB expert. Many MPs from Yanukovich's own party left it. Yanukovich's own guards fled. Then Yanukovich fled. The Parliament then declared that Yanukovich was no longer able to perform his presidential duties. He was replaced by the Speaker, as the constitution says he should. Then the Russians quickly conquered Crimea (using soldiers with no markings on their uniforms whatsoever). A fellow who received a whopping 3% of the Crimean votes at the last elections, appointed himself "Prime Minister" and asked Russia to annex Crimea. It will be interesting to see what the West, in particular Germany, is going to do. A majority of Ukrainians DO NOT want "closer ties" (aka re-colonization and lost of liberties) to Russia. There is a free prees (even TV) in Ukraine and there was a real opposition in Parliament even under whatshisface. No such luxury in Russia. Who would want to swap? Would you?
In response to:

Putin, Petroleum and Pantyhose

vladwe Wrote: Mar 06, 2014 3:19 PM
Say what? "We added" those countries to NATO? Did we really twist their arms or threatened them with anything? Joining NATO and the EU was therir DREAM. They had had enough of Russian brutality. This constant moral equivalence between "us" and "them" is a form of derangement. Or refusal to see the truth, which is not exactly sane, either. If you stubbornly refuse to learn and see the truth, just keep quiet.
WoodyAllen a pervert? Go look it up in the dictionary and check your facts. Mia Farrow is mad and has been so for the last many years. Her smear is just that: smear. Woody Allen should sue her rear part ans also her adopted son who makes preposterous claims. In the men time he make a movie a year. All master pieces. I'll tell you who the perverts are: Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Mel Gibson, Michael Moore, and the rest of the loony lefties who despise their own country - t he one who made them who they are.
Mr. Mitchell does apparently not know much about Ukraine, Russia and Russian Imperial and Soviet history. The fact that many Ukrainians speak Russian does not mean anything. ALL Austrians and two thirds of the Swiss speak German. So what? A great majority of Welsh, Scots, and Irish, including the Republic of Ireland, speak English, as do great many Americans and Canadians. So what? The pro-Russia sentiment in estern Ukraine is more Soviet nostalgia of a emotionally scarred people, who fear the closure of Soviet style mammoth industries more than anything. Ukraine is in deep trouble economically and socially. Before it gets better, it will hurt. Any major restructuring hurts. Any surgery hurts. But the longer they kick the can down the road, the worse will the pains of restructuring be. Russia has already conquered Crimea, which is an aggression under international law. It could very well be that the conquest of foreign territory we now see will go almost unpunished. The West does not have the stomach for tough action, even economical and diplomatic.Georgia and Moldavia have also had territories taken away by Russia. What price did Russia pay? Our world is in a bad shape and our hopes for a good future are fading. Ignorance, PC, and, double standards will not help us stop the decline of the west.
It's interesting that the esteemed author did not suggest a splitting of Ukraine in two "countries" when Yanukovich won the elections - with a tiny margin. It always comes up when pro-democracy, pro-western forces gain the upper hand. If ethnicity and wish of independence is a valid basis for dividing countries, why is that nobody is advocating for Chechnya to be allowed to secede from Russia (the people there were never asked whether they want to be part of the Empire. They were simply conquered and whipped into submission). Neither is anyone defending the idea that e.g. Tibet and the largely Uyghur and Moslem Sinkiang province secede from China. Ukraine is actually a bilingual country, the inhabitants of which are in part russified and speak Russian. Two centuries of Russian domination, especially since 1919, with many millions Ukrainian dead and many more humiliated and abused, have left a population which is deeply emotionally scarred. They will need a couple of generations to recover. The recent revolution could be a new beginning. They have enough talent and resources to become a safe and prosperous country. That's what's bothering the man in Moscow: the possibility that Ukraine become an example. The west has so far shown no backbone. Maybe that could change, but I am NOT betting the farm on it.
In response to:

Goodbye OPEC, Hello Independence

vladwe Wrote: Oct 20, 2013 10:28 AM
A few years ago, I was all in for el cars. And for solar, geothermic, and what have you, energies. Alas, the battery technology has not yet delivered a dependable and cheap way to store the needed quantities of electricity. El cars have sold a lot less than anticipated, and the ones in the market now have a short radius, which makes them unattractive. On the other hand, liquefied natural gas is an interesting option for long haul transportation. As are electrical trains, light rail and other el mass transit vehicles. One aspect our distinguished columnist does not address is the vast energy saving opportunities, which in this country are very much in use: insulating houses. That obviously also decreases the quantity of fuels imported. And creates jobs in the construction and building industries. As for coal, I am all for it, provided that the chimneys are fitted with good filters to keep sod and other particles from flying into the atmosphere and thus into people's lungs and in the food producing soil. And there is enough coal to keep us going for a very long time.
In response to:

Edward Snowden's Just Rewards

vladwe Wrote: Jul 11, 2013 3:42 PM
The whole thing is quite straight forward: Snowden hates America and loves authoritarian (bordering on totalitarian) regimes. Then again so do Sean Penn and Oliver Stone. And many others. So did H.G. Wells and Pablo Ruiz Picasso... So did the four snotty Brits that ended up rotting in a disgusting Moscow apartment... Let us concentrate on things that really matter. I, for one, would like to know what exactly does the NSA, the CIA and whoever else gathers. If they just monitor phone and internet traffic, that I can live with. If they get a judge's signature, they are welcome to wiretab my phone... I don't expect the authorities to do nothing to prevent terror. On the other hand, they did NOT catch the Boston bros. from Hell, they did not prevent the Benghazi massacre, while several would be suicide bombers were stopped by civilians. Have they maybe applied some PC to the surveillance?
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