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LQD: More Context for the Ukraine Mess

by ARGeezer Mon Mar 17th, 2014 at 11:58:19 PM EST

Russia, Crimea and the Consequences of NATO Policy by Jeffrey Sommers & Michael Hudson (H/T Yves Smith) Originally published at Counterpunch

Discussing the peaceful breakup of the Soviet Union the authors note:

Part of the reason that this went off with such little violence was due to the mutual desire of President George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev to end the Cold War's threat of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Gorbachev for his part recognized that the Warsaw Pact nations needed to be let go, in order to free resources to build up a more middle class consumer economy. Demilitarization was to be achieved by disarmament, all the more remarkable in view of the largest human losses suffered in world history from military invasion had occurred just two generations earlier. Germany became the focus, pending its reunification in 1990. It had invaded its neighbors every generation or so since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. In World War II it laid waste to the USSR and left 25 million of its people dead. Other East European nations, including Romania (and, along with victims of Stalinist oppression, e.g., the Baltics and Ukrainians, welcomed the Nazis and fought against Russia). The NATO alliance thus remained the main threat that had held the Soviet Union together

So Russia had vital security concerns that could only be met by assurances that NATO would not move into the Warsaw Pact states, where so much Soviet blood had been shed in World War II. President George H. W. Bush (#41) made assurances that if the Soviets were to dissolve the Warsaw Pact, Russia must be assured that the NATO would not fill the vacuum. But his successor, Bill Clinton, broke this promise by quickly taking the
former Warsaw Pact states into NATO, and then moved into territory formerly occupied and incorporated into the USSR with the Baltics.

It should have been foreseen - and probably was inevitable - that these new entrants wanted NATO, given their own experience with Soviet occupation. But the eagerness of a triumphalist United States to surround Russia militarily rather than disarm led Russian leaders to feel betrayed by the US breaking its word.


Jeffrey Sommers seems to be the likely source for the observations about the tacit agreement between G.H.W. Bush and Gorbichev and I would like some sourcing, which may be in some of his publications, but it seems right. And Clinton's Wall Street support came from many of the same people who later were 'advising' the Russians on 'reforms'.


Back to Sommers & Hudson:

Russia today has watched covert attempts from the US State Department to the National Endowment for Democracy and other NGOs to break up their country as part of what is becoming a triumphalist global pattern. This threatens to remake their "near abroad" into a neoliberal periphery. Today's confrontation has taken on an existential character for Russia since it saw NATO's moves toward Georgia as cutting too close to the bone. The prospects of NATO assimilating Ukraine (Kiev) represents a seizure of Russia's "heart": the very ancestral home where Russia was founded and on which it repelled the fascist invasion in the Great Patriotic War-as it had a millennium earlier against the German Crusading Knights pledged to exterminate the Russian-Greek Orthodox population.

....

The Crimea has been part of Russia for three hundred years. It is populated overwhelmingly by Russian speakers, who watch with alarm the rightwing nationalist violence in Kiev, all the more as many of its leaders are establishing symbolic and outright ideological ties with the old German Nazis. Viktor Yanunkovych was as much a crook as Ukraine's previous kleptocratic leaders who wielded political power to rob the state and its public domain, neoliberal style. The Crimean population has reason to fear that their elected President was illegally deposed not for his kleptocracy, but as part of a regional and ethnic identity politics of the sort that the Americans are sponsoring throughout the world, from the Shite/Sunni split to similar splits in countries they seek to control. The only protection available is from Russia. That is the gift that Obama has given Putin, making him a defender of Ukraine rather than the aggressor.

Display:

Moldova alarmed over 'contagious' separatism in Ukraine's Crimea

Moldova's prime minister expressed alarm on Monday at the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea region, saying it was "contagious" and could stoke separatist sentiment in his country's rebel Russian-speaking territory of Transdniestria.

Moldova, an ex-Soviet republic wedged between Ukraine and Romania, with a population of about 4 million, is planning to sign a landmark trade deal with the European Union. The pact is similar to that which Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich dumped, sparking the crisis which brought him down.

With a breakaway territory within its borders, where 2,500 Russian soldiers guard arms stocks from the Soviet era, Moldova is looking on nervously at the crisis in Crimea, roughly 360 km (225 miles) to the east along the Black Sea coast.

by das monde on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 08:40:59 AM EST
Further down in the same article:
Transdniestria, with a population of half a million, has run its own affairs since 1992 after fighting a brief war against the Moldovan government over fears that it might join Romania, with which it shares a language and culture. The rebel Russian-speaking territory regards Moscow as its patron.

Its independence is not recognized by the world community and Russia too has so far refused Tiraspol's pleas to be taken into the Russian Federation.


It hardly seems surprising that there should be conflict Moldovia, given its complicated history. Besserabia was part of the Russian Empire from 1812, per the settlement of the Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812. Under the Russian Empire it saw the Nogai Tatars expelled and encouraged immigration of Moldavians, Wallachians, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Jews and German speaking people from Switzerland and Germany, apparently largely so as to better exploit the agricultural potential. After the Russo-Turkish War 1877-1878 Russia acquired southern Bessarabia as part of a land swap with Romania. Things were again rearranged at Versailles, to the Soviet Union's detriment, unsurprisingly, only to be remedied again in the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

In any case it does not seem that Russia has done much in  Transdniestria, other than to protect Soviet era arsenals, and 2,500 troops that have been there for over a decade are more something about which to complain than a threat - not to say that more could not be dispatched were Putin to so choose.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 12:10:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then most of Poland is also Russian (from 1790s...)

Whether Russia is accidentally (or not so) that smart, Trans-Dniesteria knows its destiny:

Pro-Russian politicians and activists in Moldova's breakaway Trans-Dniester region have asked the Russian parliament to draft a law that would allow their territory to join Russia.

The Trans-Dniestrian appeal comes as Moscow moves towards absorbing Crimea into the Russian Federation. Ukraine, the EU and US say that move is illegal.

 
by das monde on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 07:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires should be reconstructed?  :-)

It seems that 'nationalism' is only really effective for some mix of minimum size times nationalist fervor. And, of course, a standard ploy of imperial rule is to break up and relocate ethnic and linguistic groups while suppressing expression of national identity. When dealing with Tatars it may be useful to remember that the Mongols had always been pastoral and routinely returned farm land to pasture when they conquered. The horse was the basis of their society. I assume that one of the reasons for the relocation of Tatars under the Tsars was to facilitate the return of pasture to agricultural cultivation. The effects were similar to the removal of Native Americans from the great plains in the US. But another effect was the replacement of Tatar speaking Muslim people with Russians, Ukrainians, Jews and various other European peoples. In the case of the Transdniester Putin is faced with an area that is largely Russian speaking, is adjacent to Mother Russia and has significant elements clamoring to be joined to Russia. Putin has shown restraint -- so far.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 09:51:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Transdniester is actually far from Russian borders, all across Ukraine.
by das monde on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 10:54:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not unlike Kaliningrad.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 11:01:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or like Tahiti and Gibraltar.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 11:17:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The exclave shape would be most peculiar. Strategic significance - who knows?
by das monde on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 11:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My mistake, conflating maps from different eras.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 11:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Googling and reading about the NATO expansion, it seems a no expansion promise was made to Gorbachev. However, the US does not consider it violated as there was never any formal treaty on it.

The second quote is not from the same article, is it? Could one have a link?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 09:06:06 AM EST
The second blockquote in the diary IS from the brief article by Sommers and Hudson, but the article itself contains no links to sources.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 10:54:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, right you are.

I was hoping to find some substance for this claim:

as it had a millennium earlier against the German Crusading Knights pledged to exterminate the Russian-Greek Orthodox population.

Because, as far as I know that did not happen. The Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order christened the baltic tribes at swordpoint and with much warfare but a) the baltic tribes were pagan, not christian b) they were baltic, not russian and c) there was no population extermination program.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 04:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alexander Nevsky and the Battle of the Ice, both the  Serge Eisenstein film and the historical event. It was a sufficiently defining event in early Russian history to make it into the lectures of the first course of Russian history I took as an undergraduate:
The Battle on the Ice, also known as the Battle of Lake Peipus, was a battle between the Republic of Novgorod and the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights (whose army consisted mostly of Estonians) on April 5, 1242, at Lake Peipus. The battle is notable for having been fought largely on the frozen lake.

The battle was a significant defeat sustained by Roman Catholic crusaders during the Northern Crusades, which were directed against pagans and Eastern Orthodox Christians rather than Muslims in the Holy Land. The crusaders' defeat in the battle marked the end of their campaigns against the Orthodox Novgorod Republic and other Russian territories for the next century.


At least the Teutonic Knights were identified with German ethnicity, if not the bulk of the soldiers and they were attempting forced conversion of Orthodox Christians.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 08:44:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is interesting disparity about the size of the battle between the Russian and German sources: 15000-17000 Russians vs 10000-12000 Teutons, or was it 3000-4000 versus 1200-1800? The order lost 400 warriors - hardly a slaughter. There were a few greater Order losses in the 13th century in the Baltics. The Order did not move past Lithuanian Grand Duchy in about 200 years, where the religion was not accepted until 1387.
by das monde on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 08:31:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden and Novgorod fought wars in Finland too, supported by Finnish tribes that were nominally willing to accept catholicism or orthodoxy for at least as long as their mightier allies had troops on the ground. But just as that is no evidence for a Russian conspiracy to wipe out the German catholic population a thousand years ago, that the expanding Teutonic knights and Novgorod clashed in battle is not evidence for a German plan to wipe out the russian population.

Battle of the Ice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The event was glorified in Sergei Eisenstein's nationalistic historical drama film Alexander Nevsky, released in 1938. The movie, bearing propagandist allegories of the Teutonic Knights as Nazi Germans, with the Teutonic infantry wearing modified World War I German Stahlhelm helmets, has created a popular image of the battle often mistaken for the real events. Sergei Prokofiev turned his score for the film into a concert cantata of the same title, the longest movement of which is "The Battle on the Ice".

During World War II, the image of Alexander Nevsky became a national Russian symbol of the struggle against German occupation. Today, Russia has an Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, a medal given for outstanding bravery and excellent service to the country.

And such national myths should always be picked apart :)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 12:40:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed! The Boston Massacre consisted of five dead colonists, after all, but became central to US mythology of the Revolution. A came across mention of the Teutonic Knights having 'massacred' the inhabitants of one of the towns taken prior to their arrival at Lake Peipus. If so, it was more likely the irregulars who committed the 'massacre'. In addition:
According to Bernard of Clairvaux, the goal of the crusade was to battle the pagan Slavs "until such a time as, by God's help, they shall either be converted or deleted".[6] However, the crusade failed to achieve the conversion of most of the Wends. The Saxons achieved largely token conversions at Dobin, as the Slavs returned to their pagan beliefs once the Christian armies dispersed; Albert of Pomerania explained, "If they had come to strengthen the Christian faith ... they should have done so by preaching, not by arms".[7]

The countryside of Mecklenburg and central Pomerania was plundered and depopulated with much bloodshed, especially by the troops of Henry the Lion.[1] Of Henry's campaigns, Helmold of Bosau wrote that "there was no mention of Christianity, but only of money".[1] The Slavic inhabitants also lost much of their methods of production, limiting their resistance in the future.[8]


Reference 1 is to Geoffrey Barraclough and 8 is to Joachim Hermann. The claims under which the crusade was launched involved lands held by Russian Orthodox nobles and occupied by Orthodox Christians. From the same wiki:
Russian historian Alexander Uzhankov, who cited a number of authors and primary sources, ... cites two papal bulls of Gregory IX, promulgated in 1233 and 1237, which called for a crusade to protect Christianity in Finland against her neighbours. The first bull explicitly mentions Russia. The kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark and the Teutonic Order built up an alliance in June 1238, under the auspices of Danish king Valdemar II. They assembled the larger western cavalry force of their time. Another point mentioned by Uzhankov is the 1243 treaty between Novgorod and the Teutonic Order, where the knights abandoned all claims to Russian lands.

And earlier in the same article:
The battle was a significant defeat sustained by Roman Catholic crusaders during the Northern Crusades, which were directed against pagans and Eastern Orthodox Christians rather than Muslims in the Holy Land. The crusaders' defeat in the battle marked the end of their campaigns against the Orthodox Novgorod Republic and other Russian territories for the next century.

So the Pope authorized and German principalities, along with the Teutonic Knights, leading an army largely composed of fairly recently converted Estonians did try to take Novgorad, but failed. That much does not seem to be myth making.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 06:50:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...there was no population extermination program.

There was, as part of the Second Crusade, a Crusade against the pagan Wends. I do not find a reference now but clearly recall my Medieval History professor, very anti-clerical in attitude, saying in lecture that Bernard of Clairvaux preached the crusade with the odious slogan "Baptism or Extermination". It may or may not be true, but he certainly believed it. His PhD was from the University of Chicago and I doubt he just made things up. I can also see how it would be something Catholic historians might wish to forget were it true.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 09:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Wendish Crusade of 1147 - The Wendish Research Project
Bernard's words speak for themselves: "We utterly forbid that for any reason whatsoever a truce should be made with these peoples, either for the sake of money or for the sake of tribute til such as time as, by God's help, they shall be either converted or wiped out". (6)

And slowly they were converted. As in all wars, land theft and pillages plays a big role, but from what I can find from some quick googling, Henry the Lion is mentioned as pillaging (with great loss of life) instead of converting. But even that I don't think is evidence of a program to wipe out the native population. Far as I know these wars mostly changed who was in charge in the manors and castles, and who preached what but not who worked the soil.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 10:43:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good Morning America! Crimea Is Integrated In Russian Federation

In an historic speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked the people of Crimea for their vote in the referendum to be united with Russia. Putin went out of his way to welcome all Ukranian people from the Crimea: Russians, Ukranians and Crimean Tatars. The three languages will all be official and minority rights to be guaranteed in the new constitution.

The Russian leader sketched a brief history of the unbreakable ties of the Crimean peninsula to Russia and the Russian people. Putin had harsh words for totalitarian leader Josef Stalin and the oppression of the indigenous Tatars and Nikita Khrushchev for giving away Crimea without consulting the people.

It was an interesting speech which listed all of Russia's grievances under the last three US presidencies. International law has been flaunted under Bill Clinton - the Kosovo campaign by NATO; George Bush - the Iraq invasion and occupation and the joint US/NATO missile shield in Eastern Europe; and Barack Obama - the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya while the UN Security Council agreed to a 'no-fly' zone to protect civilians.

Putin even bothered to quote the International Court of Justice and a memorandum of the US Government themselves in relation to the independence of Kosovo and the NATO bombardment on Serbia.

RT: Treaty to accept Crimea, Sevastopol to Russian Federation signed

by Oui on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 11:37:13 AM EST
RT:

and the language of Crimean Tatars.

Doesn't this language have a name?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 11:41:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Wiki, apparently not, other than 'Crimean Tatar'!
Crimean Tatar[2] (Qırımtatarca, Qırımtatar tili, Къырымтатарджа, Къырымтатар тили) is the indigenous language of the Crimean Tatars. It is a Turkic language spoken in Crimea and the Crimean Tatar diasporas of Uzbekistan, Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria as well as small communities in the United States, and Canada. It is not to be confused with the Tatar proper, spoken in Russia, to which it is related, but with which it is not mutually intelligible.

It has been expressed, however, in Arabic, Cyrillic and Roman script at various times.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 12:33:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russian and Crimean parliaments sign treaty of accession   WaPo

MOSCOW --Russia effectively absorbed Crimea on Tuesday afternoon, moments after President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia has no designs on any other parts of Ukraine.

In a speech to a joint session of parliament, which he used to call for the "reunification" of Crimea with Russia, he said the region has a special role in Russian history that makes it unique.

Ecstatic members of the Russian parliament watched while Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty of accession as soon as Putin was done speaking, and the Kremlin said afterward it considers the treaty to be in force even before parliament has ratified it.



As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 12:41:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Sommers & Hudson:
The Crimean population has reason to fear that their elected President was illegally deposed not for his kleptocracy, but as part of a regional and ethnic identity politics of the sort that the Americans are sponsoring throughout the world...

It is not as though the US has regularly shunned noted kleptocrats or fascists -- so long as they served US economic and political interests. See Pinochet, Marcos, the Arena Party in El Salvador, Honduras, etc.


As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 12:51:18 PM EST
The forgotten coup -- and how the godfather rules from Canberra to Kiev  John Pilger

Australia's deference to the United States makes Britain, by comparison, seem a renegade. During the American invasion of Vietnam -- which Australia had pleaded to join -- an official in Canberra voiced a rare complaint to Washington that the British knew more about US objectives in that war than its antipodean comrade-in-arms. The response was swift: "We have to keep the Brits informed to keep them happy. You are with us come what may."

This dictum was rudely set aside in 1972 with the election of the reformist Labor government of Gough Whitlam. Although not regarded as of the left, Whitlam -- now in his 98th year -- was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride, propriety and extraordinary political imagination. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country's resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to "buy back the farm" and speak as a voice independent of London and Washington.

Bad move for his political career.

On the day after his election, Whitlam ordered that his staff should not be "vetted or harassed" by the Australian security organization, ASIO -- then, as now, beholden to Anglo-American intelligence. When his ministers publicly condemned the Nixon/Kissinger administration as "corrupt and barbaric," Frank Snepp, a CIA officer stationed in Saigon at the time, said later: "We were told the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators."

Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, ostensibly a joint Australian/US "facility." Pine Gap is a giant vacuum cleaner which, as the whistleblower Edward Snowden recently revealed, allows the US to spy on everyone. In the 1970s, most Australians had no idea that this secretive foreign enclave placed their country on the front line of a potential nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Whitlam clearly knew the personal risk he was taking -- as the minutes of a meeting with the US ambassador demonstrate. "Try to screw us or bounce us," he warned, "[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention."

Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, "This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House. Consequences were inevitable... a kind of Chile was set in motion."


Check out Pilger. He seems real to me. Read the rest of Pilgers article. I was unaware of this episode until I saw the article in Counterpunch.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 05:41:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Pilger is Pilger. He's the genuine article -- a longstanding left-wing journalist. I laughed at "not regarded as of the left" -- by His Holiness John Pilger, at least.

Yes, Whitlam stuck it to the Americans, to a limited degree. The extent to which his dismissal by Kerr, the Governor-General, was inspired by the Americans was always a matter of debate -- I have always thought it probable, but I am not aware that it has been clearly established.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 10:29:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't see it explicitly so stated but it seemed likely that his reporting was partly based on interviews with Whitlam. And then there is his quote from the CIA officer:
Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, "This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House. Consequences were inevitable ... a kind of Chile was set in motion."

And the whistelblower from TRW:
Pine Gap's top-secret messages were de-coded in California by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was a young Christopher Boyce, an idealist who, troubled by the "deception and betrayal of an ally", became a whistleblower. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as "our man Kerr".

Plus the reaction of the audience member to the speech of the US State Department 'coupmaster':
In 1974, the White House sent the Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, very senior and sinister figure in the State Department who worked in the shadows of America's "deep state".  Known as the "coupmaster", he had played a played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia -- which cost up to a million lives. One of his first speeches in Australia was to the Australian Institute of Directors -- described by an alarmed member of the audience as "an incitement to the country's business leaders to  rise against the government".

Call me rash, but I would not like to die before coming to any conclusions about anything having to do with those who have the money and power to obscuure their trail and 'make controversial' the claims of their critics.
 

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 11:02:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not like Whitlam has remained silent about his dismissal:
Now in his late nineties, Whitlam remains well remembered for the circumstances of his dismissal. It is a legacy he has done little to efface; he wrote a 1979 book, The Truth of the Matter (the title is a play on that of Kerr's 1978 memoir, Matters for Judgment) and devoted part of his subsequent book, Abiding Interests, to the circumstances of his removal. According to journalist and author Paul Kelly, who penned two books on the crisis, Whitlam has "achieved a paradoxical triumph: the shadow of the dismissal has obscured the sins of his government".
Has he never said anything about the CIA?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 11:05:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There may be certain similarities between the political and social views of Australians and those of US white southerners, perhaps deriving from their being of similar ethnic composition.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 03:38:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The official story:
the Opposition continued to control the Senate, and after becoming emboldened by government scandals and a flagging economy, began to challenge Whitlam again. In late 1975, the Senate prevented the progress of appropriation bills, thus denying the Government supply. Whitlam refused to back down, arguing that his elected Government was being held to ransom by the Senate. The crisis ended on 11 November, when Governor-General Sir John Kerr controversially dismissed Whitlam and commissioned Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 10:37:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Atta boy "our man Kerr."

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 11:04:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to wonder what reasons there are to think that Putin would not prefer the status quo ante for the Ukraine compared to the current situation. I suspect that gaining the Crimea is, at best, a consolation prize. But gaining the eastern half of the remaining portion of the Ukraine would possibly be a solid win for Putin.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 03:59:07 PM EST
You know, there are other countries that gained independence with the fall of the Soviet Union. The Moldova problem has already been mentioned. If Putin goes further and annexes Eastern Ukraine in a "who's gonna stop me?" style, how will countries like Kazakhstan see that?

Putin may have fun pissing off Teh West™, but he has to keep people reasonably happy under Russian hegemony, if it's to work.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 04:09:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite. I'm not particularly concerned about Russian moves on the Crimea since they are mostly in defence of the status quo. If Putin's tanks roll into Kiev I'll have to reconsider. To say the least.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 07:29:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I certainly agree about the constraints Putin faces. My point was more to the radical extent to which the Ukraine would have to be reshaped for Putin and Russia even to start to be compensated for the loss of all of Ukraine x-Crimea from a neutral status to that of a NATO ally. Even if he got the Eastern Ukraine, if West Ukraine becomes a member of NATO that would put NATO on his doorstep. Fortunately Arseniy Yatsenyuk seems to have some understanding of those realities. This is encouraging:
PM tells Ukrainians: No NATO membership, armed groups to disarm
(Reuters) - Ukraine's new pro-Western leadership is not seeking membership of NATO, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Tuesday, in comments intended to reassure Russia and Ukraine's large number of Russian-speakers.

Yatseniuk, who came to office after the removal of Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich, also said decentralization of power was a key plank of government policy, adding Kiev's efforts to integrate with Europe would take into account the interests of Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking industrial east.

"Strictly with a view to maintaining Ukraine's unity, the question of joining NATO is not on the agenda," Yatseniuk, who normally speaks in Ukrainian, said in a 10-minute televised appeal delivered in Russian. "The country will be defended by a strong, modern Ukrainian army."



As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 18th, 2014 at 08:20:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Nationalist Svoboda Party members of parliament assault First Channel TV manager (VIDEO)
Several members of the nationalist Svoboda Party scandalously assaulted the acting CEO of state-owned First National TV channel. On March 18, lawmakers Ihor Miroshnichenko, Andriy Illenko and Bohdan Beniuk arrived at the TV headquarters with several other men and forced Oleksandr Panteleymonov to quit his post.

In the video, which was first published by Svoboda spokesman Oleksandr Aronets and republished by Ukrainska Pravda after Aronets removed it, the members of parliament are seen questioning Panteleymonov in his office about Pershiy broadcasting Russian President's Vladimir Putin's speech about Crimea separation that took place in Moscow on March 18.


by das monde on Wed Mar 19th, 2014 at 01:32:25 PM EST
The facebook like (the one after the article) (The tweet referral works okay)does not seem to be working properly so when you like the essay it goes to a general like of the ET rather?  Is it intended to do this?  It would seem to be more useful to have it link to specific content?  Am I missing something silly?

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Mar 21st, 2014 at 10:41:34 PM EST
Aloha Keone

I asked about this the other day, and got gno reply. There are workarounds though, apps that will grab text off any web page and automatically format it for FB, with link and thumbnail.

"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 23rd, 2014 at 07:39:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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