Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ukraine wisdom

I don't want Cannonfire to turn into "that Ukraine blog," but the unsettling events in that part of the world could ignite a war (note these ominous rumblings) and the propaganda has segued from annoying to dangerous to toxic to radioactive. As an antidote, let's look at some recent good writing on the topic.

First up: Bob Parry. He notes that one of the people trying to gin up war in Ukraine is "journalist" Michael Gordon of the NYT, who just happens to have worked with Judy Miller on those stories that ginned up war in Iraq. Gordon also pushed the Assad-diddit theory of the sarin attack in Syria.
All these stories draw hard conclusions from very murky evidence while ignoring or brushing aside alternative explanations. They also pile up supportive acclamations for their conclusions from self-interested sources while treating any doubters as rubes. And, these three articles all involved reporter Michael R. Gordon.
It seems as though the Aspen-rooted ones have cooked up this whole "Cold War II" scheme.

 This earlier piece by Parry provides some good historical analysis...
After the Feb. 22 coup in Ukraine – spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias – European and U.S. diplomats pushed for a quick formation of a new government out of fear that otherwise these far-right ultra-nationalists would be left in total control, one of those diplomats told me.

The comment again underscores the inconvenient truth of what happened in Ukraine: neo-Nazis were at the forefront of the Kiev coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych, a reality that the U.S. government and news media have been relentlessly trying to cover up.
Okay, many of you knew that. What about those militants in the Russian-language areas of Ukraine?
The new drumbeat in the U.S. press is that those militants must disarm in line with last week’s agreement in Geneva involving the United States, European Union, Russia and the “transitional” Ukrainian government.
Kind of a lopsided "summit" ya got there...
As for those inconvenient neo-Nazi militias, they have been incorporated into a paramilitary “National Guard” and deployed to the east to conduct an “anti-terrorist” campaign against the eastern Ukrainian protesters, ethnic Russians whom the neo-Nazis despise.
So it's Nazis vs. Russians. Some of you may have seen this movie before. Remember how it ended?

Parry then offers a rejoinder to a really obnoxious piece of pro-war agit-prop by Nicholas Kristof. What pisses me off is that Kristof will have roughly a hundred times the readers.

Another article worthy of your perusal comes to us by way of Eric Margolis.
Recently, Sen. John McCain, the voice of America’s ignorant right, sneered that Russia was merely “a gas station masquerading as a country.” Gas stations do not produce the likes of Tolstoy, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, or the very smart Vlad Putin. They do, however, produce puny intellects like McCain.
I'd have tossed in Dostoevsky or Pushkin, but...point taken. The thing is, America isn't even a gas station these days. Despite rising oil production, we buy gas from elsewhere. What we produce are comic book movies, Wall Street financial "products," neoconservatism and neoliberalism. Of those four, comic book movies are the only product that people actually like; the other ones just leave everyone feeling pissed off. Thus, the two former superpowers: One is a gas station masquerading as a country, and the other is a bunch of comic book movie-makers masquerading as a country. Which has the more promising future?
Just as Russia provided the US with a diplomatic exit from blundering into a war with Syria, so the Kremlin is again offering Washington a way out of the Ukraine imbroglio.

That way out consists of a Ukraine-wide referendum to allow each region to determine whether it wants to align with Europe or Russia. Russian must be made a second official language. Most important, the US and NATO have got to halt their daft plan to set up bases in Ukraine and bring it in the alliance. These bases will enrage Russia without boosting NATO’s power.

In fact, NATO’s would-be bases in Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, as well as the Baltic, are a major military liability to the alliance which is incapable of defending them if the Russians get really angry.
The "way out" proposed by Margolis sounds like a pretty good plan to me. Snicker if you will, but I think Obama wants a face-saving deal of this sort. I have a lot of problems with Obama, but I'm reasonably certain that he doesn't want more war. Afghanistan was and is a mess and he knows it. War has not been good for this country, and it certainly hasn't been good for Obama. He didn't want war in Syria and he doesn't want one in Ukraine.

But the neocons sure are trying to push him into one.
thanks! i appreciate your coverage on this issue and i thank you for the links with unique insights as well. cheers james
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