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Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Russia Has Been Trying To Get Rid Of the Ukraine For Years...Holodomor Anyone ? "Cancun Cruz" - Priceless by Juan Cole !

 It's more or less like Saint James Infirmary around here, although slowly Mike is recovering - but like most men, he is the macho patient and it drives me nuts. The pure Dead Sea Salts for knee and body soaking really work, but they do give you a sense of over confidence so you have to be careful. Paris did get her shots and Friday she finally gets her baby bath, in another couple weeks she will have her bump removal surgery. And hopefully after that, we can move on.

In between times we all have been watching events in the Ukraine. Here is live SKY News with the latest since today's official invasion:

 

Sky News :

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 ~  Also...CNN Updates:

 

Russia Attacks Ukraine 

 

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 2:04 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022
 
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Over a week ago, before his big boo-boo I mentioned to Mike that the US corporate news sources were not talking at all about the similarities between Putin's tactic of surrounding the Ukraine same as Hitler did to Poland prior to WWII. Remember ? And like Putin,  Hitler kept telling Chamberlain that nothing was going to happen, Poland was fine. Then, wham  from all directions. It was all over.
 
Mike said that there have been no comparisons because of the different political scenarios from then to now. But the important thing I thought was despite differing political scenarios, similar military tactics were being used, am I wrong? And how does future expansionism fit into the equation ? Or, is that just too sophomoric ?
 
 
 

 
 

 

 
 
We will probably never really know for sure (because the Russians are such grand liars) but history tells us that the Anschlass of Austria was accepted by a majority of Austrians prior to Hitler moving in there. It's hard to say if we'll ever get a straight answer on how exactly the separatists (Donetsk & Luthansk Peoples Republics) really feel about the Motherland Russia...or perhaps they didn't suffer any personal losses at the hands of Stalin during the Holodomor.  Maybe they are in denial.
 
 
Meanwhile, do not miss the Mexican News:
 
 
 
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Who goes to Cancun anymore ? Mike says only gringo hillbillies. I believe Juan Cole deserves a special award on this one - and Jesus, Mary and Joseph - "Cancun Cruz"? LMFAO  - swear to god, Juan Cole is the coolest yet:
 
 
 
 ~ From Informed Comment:
 
 

Cancun Cruz dares Say Biden is Weak on Putin, when he Supports “Vladimir’s Lapdog” Donald Trump

"Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The Hill reports that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is saying that Joe Biden is the best thing that ever happened to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Cruz is trotting out the tried and true Republican tactic of Chickenhawk Macho. He does not have any credibility in this regard, since he ran away to Cancun to escape the Texas electricity blackouts (caused by natural gas plant failures) during a cold snap last year this time, as millions of his constituents suffered without heat. This behavior gives an excellent indication of how he would behave on a battlefield, something he’s never seen in his life. Putin would snack on Cruz’s lily liver as an appetizer.

The United States is lucky to have the level-headed Joe Biden in office during the current crisis between Russia and the Ukraine. Biden’s long foreign policy experience and his ability to rally allies, along with his careful but firm handling of Russia, contrasts wildly with the erratic and cowardly performance of his predecessor, the head of the Republican Party, Donald J. Trump.

Trump told the G7 that the Crimean Peninsula, which Putin seized from Ukraine in 2014, was Russian because it is Russian-speaking. He revealed classified intelligence secrets to the Russian Foreign Secretary, and ordered the CIA to share more. He defended Putin from charges that the latter interfered in the 2016 US election (the GRU or military intelligence certainly did interfere). Trump continually rolled over for Putin.

We are lucky that Putin did not just ask for Alaska back, since Trump would have gladly relinquished it.

Trump was a coward with other world leaders, as well. When Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan demanded that Trump get US troops out of northern Syria and allow the Turkish army to attack US allies, the Kurdish troops in the Syrian Democratic Forces who defeated the ISIL terrorist organization alongside US Special Forces, Trump turned tail and gave Erdogan the green light. US troops withdrew to Iraq, being pelted with rotten eggs and vegetables by the disappointed Kurdish population, and then Turkey invaded, displacing tens of thousands of Kurdish villagers who had stood with the US against ISIL when Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other so-called allies would not.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis tendered his resignation to Trump over the betrayal of America’s Kurdish allies.

So the Republicans’ fantasy that they are the tough guys and Democrats are weak on national security has been blown out of the water by their ass-kissing of Coward-in-Chief Trump, and they should be red-faced with embarrassment to bring up national security after having put a man in the White House who tried to overthrow the US government. That’s national security?

As for Biden, he has moved expertly to confront a dangerous and difficult situation, one that he actually understands. Trump seems to have thought that Putin stole the Crimea from Barack Obama. Look it up.

Vladimir Putin provoked the current crisis by massing combat troops on Ukraine’s borders. Russia faced no danger from Kyiv. I presume he is smarting from losing his asset, Trump, in the White House, and it testing Biden’s mettle as the new president.

Biden has responded with diplomacy and has agreed to meet Putin for a summit on condition that Russia not do anything drastic before then. As Winston Churchill said, “Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war.” Unlike Trump and Cruz, Churchill was not a coward.

Biden had earlier responded by making it clear that the US will not go toe-to-toe with Russia in the Ukraine with its own troops, since that would risk nuclear holocaust. He was criticized for saying so, but it is the truth, so why not be transparent? Despite the Washington elite’s current meme about spheres of influence being passe, in fact such spheres are very much alive. Observers have pointed out that the US still enforces the Monroe Doctrine, which made the entire Western Hemisphere a US sphere of influence. In contrast, Eastern Europe has never been a US sphere of influence and the US won’t go to war with another nuclear power over a country that is not even a formal US ally.

Not only would Biden not fight such a war, but Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, the former Supreme Allied Commander who helmed the successful effort to defeat the Thousand-Year Reich in Europe, sat by and let Moscow invade Hungary in 1956. Not a US sphere of influence, any more than Czechoslovakia was in 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson kept on the sidelines as Moscow put down the Prague Spring.

Biden has also, however, armed Ukraine, sending two big shipments of arms, the most recent amounting to 80 tons. He has convinced some other NATO allies also to send arms. While such shipments are symbolic, they are powerful symbols of resistance, and it may not be easy for Russia to invade and immediately sequester all the arms depots, in which case they will become resources for a guerrilla resistance.

Since Biden has correctly forsworn military intervention, his other deterrent option is to make it crystal clear to Mr. Putin that there will be severe economic consequences for any invasion, and what those will be.

Biden is threatening to do to Russia what the US did to Iran on more than one occasion, which is to entirely disrupt its energy sales and perhaps even kick it off the world’s banking exchanges. The Russian methane gas industry had been salivating over the Nordstrom II pipeline through the Baltic Sea to Germany, and Biden has made it clear that an invasion of Ukraine will kill that project. Russia’s petroleum, like that of Iran, is a stranded asset and probably cannot be sold after ten to fifteen years, so if the industry goes under sanctions during its last profitable years, it will be a significant blow to Russia’s future.

The Magnitsky Act also allows Biden to sanction Putin and his circle of oligarchs, something the Russian president appears genuinely to fear.

If anything, Biden should be criticized, contrary to what Cancun Cruz says, not for being insufficiently belligerent with Putin but for so far declining to seek a compromise. Ukraine is not a serious candidate for membership in NATO for many years, so why not say so, instead of insisting that Kyiv is free to join any time? Germany opposes its candidacy, which makes the question moot. The US insistence that NATO could still expand further apparently enrages Putin and the Russian elite. Why pursue it? Is it really worth a war to scoop up Georgia in the Caucasus into NATO? I’m old enough to remember the Cold War and what I remember was that Austria was neutral. I can’t remember anything bad happening to Austria or anybody else because of that."

 

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Here's another great one:

 

Why Putin’s Denial of Ukrainian Statehood and Israel’s Denial of Palestinian Statehood are Crimes against History

"Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – In his incendiary speech on Ukraine on Monday, Vladimir Putin alleged that Ukraine does not really exist, that it is an artificial construct of the Communist period, crafted by Vladimir Lenin. He declared, “Ukraine never had a tradition of genuine statehood.”

When I heard that, it reminded me of the Israeli propaganda line that there has never in history been a Palestine. Denying a people their right to national sovereignty today by arguing that they lacked it in the past thus seems to be a typical move of expansionist states like Russia and Israel, bent on dominating their neighbors.

There has, of course, been a set of attributes making for “Ukraine-ness” in history, just as there has been a set of attributes making for “Palestinian-ness.” In the late Roman Empire of the late 500s and early 600s, there were actually three major provinces called Palestine, whose inhabitants were predominantly Christians speaking Aramaic and Arabic but using Greek for administrative purposes. After the rise of Islam, those Christians adopted Arabic and became bureaucrats for the new Islamic empires. They continued to call their local region Palestine (Filastin), as is attested by some medieval Muslim coinage. Like the Ukrainians, they were subsumed under empires. In the case of the Palestinians, who eventually largely embraced Islam, the most recent big empire to which they belonged had been the Ottoman. Both Israel and Palestine are in important ways successors to the Ottomans.

 

But the fact is that all nation-states, including Israel and Putin’s Russia are modern inventions and are constructed and artificial, though they are constructed from traditions. Ukrainians and Palestinians can’t be declared more artificial, because they aren’t. Modern Hebrew is a constructed language, just as is modern Hindi in India or modern Turkish in Turkiye. It is only a nationalist illusion that can attempt to connect the contemporary Israeli state, with its polyglot population, to ancient Israel. In the same way, contemporary Russia can’t be read back into the fabled Rus’ Khaganate of the 800s, apparently a mixture of Swedes and East Slavs whose exact geographical location is disputed.

Soon after Ukraine became an independent country in the early 1990s, Mark Hagen published an article entitled “Does Ukraine have a History?” He argues that the modern historiography of nations arose in Western Europe, and considered Britain, France and Spain to be “real” countries, while the Eastern European peoples were under the rule of the Russian, Austro-Hungarian or German Empires and so were obscured from view as nations.

He doesn’t say so, but actually even in 1850 when the historiography of nations was flourishing, the French were quite diverse, with Basque, Breton and Provencal speakers, and “France” included Algeria, French Guaiana in Latin America, some Caribbean islands and Pondicherry in India. Like the Ukrainians, the French lived in an empire. Britain’s Queen Victoria at that time ruled over far more Indians than English. There is some sense in which the stand-alone non-imperial nation-state is very late, a post- WW II development.

Hagan writes, “Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and especially Ukraine are suspect candidates in the international order and somehow undeserving of the prerogatives of genuine statehood.” When those empires collapsed during or in the wake of World War I, the Eastern European peoples gradually came under the rule of either Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, so that their nationhood continued to be obscured to North Atlantic historians.

Likewise, Soviet ideology denounced nationalism as a form of backwardness and looked forward to the emergence of a monochrome “Soviet people,” so that, he says, the distinctiveness of Ukrainian history was suppressed by Moscow.

He warns that with the emergence of an independent Ukraine and the coalescing of expatriate Ukrainian academics (especially in Canada) around a national narrative, there is a danger of essentialism, of imagining an eternal and monochrome Ukraine through history that was covered up by the empires. He warns, “The political history of early twentieth-century Ukraine, with its rich array of socialists, liberals, conservatives, federalists, integral nationalists, Bundists, Zionists and Russian nationalists, betrays such efforts at reductionism.”

He points to the many discontinuities that impede trying to create a concrete Ukraine through history. Its elites were often absorbed by the Polish or Russian upper crust. Its church traditions are not always distinctive. Its language was repressed by the Tsars in the late 19th century. Its contemporary territory includes lands that once belonged to Austria, Russia or Poland. All the markers of Ukrainian identity have been fluid and discontinuous.

Hagan points, however, to the finding of historians and social scientists that nations are a modern phenomenon for all peoples.

Here I will weigh in and point to Eric Hobsbawm’s observation that there was no “Italy” in 1800 — it was split among empires and local potentates. Italian was a set of disparate dialects — some might just as well have been called languages in their own right, and were as little as 50% mutually comprehensible across the peninsula. Hobsbawm said that people think that nations create states, but it is states that create nations. After the Italian resurgence and the establishment of the modern Italian state, state schools and the newspaper began spreading standard Italian.

The recent character of nations and nationalism and their fluidity and discontinuity are therefore not unique to Ukraine or Palestine. The histories of peoples are the raw materials out of which nationalists construct their imaginary of the contemporary nation, and this is a universal.

The lack of a “nation” in the past is no warrant for denying rights of sovereignty to people today. Large numbers of today’s nation-states have no ancient antecedents. There was no ancient Brazil or Argentina, no ancient Pakistan or Central African Republic. All nations are new, all languages have been reconstructed. No one speaks Old English or Old French or Romance today. There aren’t “real” nations and “artificial” nations.

Ukrainians and Palestinians have centuries-long national traditions, just as Israelis and Russians have, and deserve to be citizens of their independent states, deserve to be full human beings with full human rights. Misuses of history cannot deprive them of those rights."

 

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Take care, I'll be back when I can.

 

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