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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

OTP - March 2014: Russia denies calling shots in Ukraine’s Crimea standoff

Only Babe Ruth calls shots!

At a press conference for Kremlin-controlled media on Tuesday, Putin reiterated his position that Moscow has the right to use “all means” necessary to protect ethnic Russians and vital military assets in Ukraine, first among them the Black Sea fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

 

Bitter Mouse Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:54 AM | 3254 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: lies, politics, war

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   101. Ron J2 Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4666895)
#84 They probably could have handled the situation without needing to mobilize. The Germans really weren't ready for any kind of conflict at that point.

Thing is that the expeditions of the 1920s were PR disasters that nobody really wanted to repeat, so your point about public support is a good one.
   102. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4666896)
Mein Kampf was pretty darn clear on a whole manner of things and indeed, published well before the Nazis had any real power.


Quite possibly the only world leader to read it was Stalin, and yet he signed a non-agression pact with Hitler and was caught flatfooted when Germany invaded.

Hitler's sequel was never published precisely because Hitler felt he would be giving too much of his true intentions away
   103. Srul Itza Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4666897)
I mean, the Russians got their ass kicked invading Chechnya the first time.


While I generally agree that the Russian Army is inferior to the Western powers, such that it would not stand much of a chance in the event of Russian invasion attempt, harking back to Chechnya I is, at best, disingenuous. There have been significant improvements in the Russian Army as a result of its poor performance, including with respect to Georgia (where it, of course, prevailed, but not as well as it should have). There have been improvements in command and control, material, and organization, and a lowering of the percentage of conscripts. The Army is smaller, but better.

It is not, however, capable of offensive operations all over the Board, and even just fighting Ukraine, it is not simply going to roll into Kiev.

As regards the Hitler comparison -- there is a vast difference between pointing out the fact that Putin's actions and his justifications are, indeed, similar to those of Hitler in his earlier phase. It does not mean, and the people who are saying it should not be misunderstood to mean, that Putin is the next Hitler, only that his actions are disreputable. It has the added benefit of tweaking Putin, given how Putin has been calling the EuroMaidan demonstrators Neo-Nazis, and the extreme offense that he is likely to take, being compared to the man responsible for so much death and destruction in Russian.
   104. zonk Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4666898)
#90. There was a pretty well organized plot, but how it would have actually played out is anybody's guess since the plotters could not get commitments from a pretty fair number of key players. And in general the Prussian officer corps took the oath that they had given to Hitler very seriously.

But the guys who were involved were higher up the command structure than the 1944 plotters and that might matter.

I think that it's far from clear that Hitler would have been deposed had the British and French agreed to support the Czechs. That doesn't mean WWII starts early though. I don't think anybody can truly say how Hitler would have reacted to a firm stand. He does not appear to have been seeking a war in 1938 -- though he was more optimistic than his senior planners as to how it would go if it came to war. (that doesn't make him right of course. As events later would show he really wasn't much of a military planner)


Sure - the general consensus after the Munich agreement was that Hitler was deeply depressed because his war had been stolen out from under him.

It's been a fair long while, so I'm going from memory here... but my recollection of earlier readings on the plottings around the Czech crisis was thinking precisely that -- "commitments" -- as in, sure, the pragmatists all wanted to keep their stars and marshal batons, so they kept their options open.

I'm not at all denying that there weren't individuals, who were either on record or at least privately on record, prior to '39 or even '38 high up in the Wehrmacht who weren't willing to be part of a coup... I'm just saying the numbers who were actually in favor of removing Hitler were small. There may have been/were a larger chunk who might have stood back - neither backing nor opposing - until they knew which way the wind would blow...
   105. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4666899)
My god Jonah Goldberg is a moron.
   106. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4666902)
Going back to Ukraine v. The Ukraine, Kiev vs. Kyiv is one on of the more brutal, long-standing Wikipedia edit battlegrounds.
   107. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4666905)
What's really scary about Obama's 40-45% favorable/approval ratings is that it pretty much makes him the least disliked politician nationally- the only one who tops him doesn't have a job right now

Well, that's the Obama economy for you.

---------

Joey is a special kid.

He's going to go straight from Pampers to Depends without skipping a beat.

There but for the grace of at least rudimentary intelligence go many of us ...

Has Joey ever posted something that didn't make him sound like a complete raving lunatic?


I will not stand for all this stalking.

------

Fred Kaplan writes in Slate about Putin going insane in the Ukraine, insane in the brain:

I’ve been disturbed by the Obama administration’s rhetorical response these past few days—the drumbeat that Putin is on “the wrong side of history” and that his actions will bear “costs” and “consequences”—because it’s the sort of rhetoric that can’t be meaningfully translated into action. History is not some Hegelian juggernaut arcing toward destiny, and to believe otherwise is to overestimate the force of righteous words and a little nudging. (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was said to be on the wrong side of history, yet somehow he’s still around.)

...A case can be made that Putin committed a huge strategic blunder in this crisis. Had he simply stood by and waited for the elections—had he used Ukrainian proxies to clamp down on the more militant protesters rather than send black-masked storm troopers to occupy the Crimean peninsula (which is under de facto Russian control and populated largely by Russian loyalists)—he probably would have won in the end.

...Just as Putin is not as much in command as many Western hawks suppose, Russia is not as great a power as Putin himself likes to project. It’s at best a regional power, with no global reach. Even his incursion into Crimea is hardly an imperial gesture. Leonid Brezhnev sent five tank divisions into Czechoslovakia.

...Obama’s policy of “resetting” relations with Russia rested on two premises. First, the United States and Russia had a lot of common interests, so it would be good to solve problems and meet challenges together. Second, Putin’s predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev, seemed to be a more willing partner. They did accomplish a fair amount for a while. But now it’s not working much at all. Russia plays a limited role, at best, in the various hot spots the United States is facing. Yes, it’s helping to rid Syria of chemical weapons, but that’s very much in Russia’s interest; Putin would be doing that regardless of broader relations. Russia also helped carve the initial P5+1 talks to limit Iran’s nuclear program, but Iran’s main motive in continuing the talks is access to American and European economies, not Russia’s.

So, given that Russia isn’t helping out much in the world anyway, the best way to impose “costs” and “consequences” on Putin’s behavior is to ignore him.

...Ukraine is the main thing. It’s stupid to do nothing but poke needles in Putin’s ribs for international theater. There should be carrots and sticks in this enterprise, and if the carrots work, throw away the sticks.

The sticks I’ve outlined are a bigger deal than they might seem. Putin’s main interest, after all, is to project an image of Russia as a great and essential global power. That’s what the Sochi Olympics were all about. He spent $50 billion on that PR spectacle—an investment thoroughly nullified by his maladroit move on Crimea: another sign that Putin is not as brilliant as the Cold Warriors think.
   108. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4666907)
My god Jonah Goldberg is a moron.

I heard him speak at a fundraiser last fall, and I found him quite entertaining/enlightening despite disagreeing with 75% of what he said. Goldberg seemed like a guy who would be fun to shoot the #### with over beers.

But Goldberg's columns since then make me wonder if the guy I saw deliberately writes reactive dribble for the NRO.
   109. Ron J2 Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4666908)
#104 Been a while since I read Rise and Fall myself, but it's worth noting that Munich itself was a critical event in terms of getting the officer corps to fall in line behind Hitler.

I'm far from certain that his control was strong enough to get him his war in the face of the misgivings of the general staff. And I'm absolutely certain that a 1938 start would be vastly better for the allies than a 1939 start. Czech tanks were a critical part of the victory in France and the Czechs were much better prepared for war than the Poles were.
   110. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4666910)
It’s at best a regional power, with no global reach.

It doesn't need global power to be a regional threat -- and that it is.

Even his incursion into Crimea is hardly an imperial gesture. Leonid Brezhnev sent five tank divisions into Czechoslovakia.

Why spend five divisions on something you can take with 10,000 people?
   111. zonk Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4666913)
I'm far from certain that his control was strong enough to get him his war in the face of the misgivings of the general staff. And I'm absolutely certain that a 1938 start would be vastly better for the allies than a 1939 start. Czech tanks were a critical part of the victory in France and the Czechs were much better prepared for war than the Poles were.


Sure - and while they were no Maginot Line, the Sudetenland defenses weren't a slouch either. Though, if memory serves - didn't Poland actually receive a little chunk of of Czechoslovakia in either the '38 or spring '39 actions? Perhaps the Germans just Schlieffen right-hook their way around them anyway.

You may be right about '38 being a better start from a strategic perspective -- Italy and Germany weren't yet quite allied (Mussolini being a bit nervous about the Aunschluss going back to the spring) and I suppose Yugoslavia would have allowed or been strong-armed into giving the allies access into the underbelly.

Still -- the allied plans to deal with Germany were the same in '38 as they were in '39... play defense and let the Germans come to them. If - after actually delivering the Polish guarantee 6 months prior, the allies were still unwilling to commit any forces directly to Polish soil - or undertake anything except a laughable probing offensive directly across the Rhine, it's hard for me to see how it works out any differently in '38. The allies would have still leaned wholly on the Czechs to hold out themselves - maybe they do, maybe they don't - and the allies still would have needed to get off their asses and actually press the Germans into German territory.

It's all tossing dice, I guess -- but my money would be that German succeeds in conquering Czechoslovakia, perhaps at a far greater cost than what Poland did in terms of blood... but the allies still sit behind the Maginot line and eventually, an armistice gets signed.
   112. base ball chick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4666915)
looks like david nieporent is gone for good

it feels strange seeing as how david has been a part of my online baseball life since i went online

anyone know why he left?
   113. JE (Jason) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:06 PM (#4666919)
I mean, the Russians got their ass kicked invading Chechnya the first time.

Is that nearly as bad as getting your ass kicked once in Czechoslovakia ... or Wisconsin?
   114. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4666921)
anyone know why he left?


The construction of the Wynand Building finally finished?
   115. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4666924)


The President orders the Generals, the Generals order the troops to march and they march, by the time Newspaper Editorialists are bloviating and any large scale demonstrations are being organized, the Germans are already retreating- which will stop public opinion dead in its tracks


The French occupied the Ruhr in 1922. There was no opposition, and there was no Hitler in power. It was a disaster. Public opinion around the world sympathized with Germany, Britain didn't stand by France, the French franc collapsed, and Britain and the US forced France to agree to the Dawes plan in 1924.

Now explain what incentive the French would have to repeat that fiasco in 1936?

And I'm absolutely certain that a 1938 start would be vastly better for the allies than a 1939 start. Czech tanks were a critical part of the victory in France and the Czechs were much better prepared for war than the Poles were.


And yet 1938-1939 is when the British rearmed, Fighter Command was formed, and the British air defence radar installations were constructed. The Allies were not ready to fight in 1938.

Maybe, if they had a crystal ball, they would have decided to fight then and there, but from their perspective, their rearmament was just starting while Germany had finished (which is correct, and worked to their advantage; The allies fought 1940 with 1939 technology while the Germans fought with 1937 technology), and there was still a chance war could be averted.
   116. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4666926)
Agh, I just think all this Hitler analogy stuff is (a) automatic (b) massively beside the point for the 21st century.


I've never really understood this rote appeal to the current day. Putin's doing what he's doing in the 21st century (*), so who cares if what he's doing carries echoes of the 19th century?

(*) Meaning that, by defninition, it's 21st century behavior.


Most definitely 21st century behavior, as practiced by 21st century madmen with access to 21st century weapons, who could start a wider conflagration that might prove impossible to stop from spreading. But what the hell, all that matters is that liberals are appeasers.
   117. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4666929)
looks like david nieporent is gone for good

it feels strange seeing as how david has been a part of my online baseball life since i went online

anyone know why he left?


Well, when the government is out to "steal your life"**, you figure that one of those times they're bound to succeed. He's probably resting somewhere under the old Giants Stadium.

**which was David's quaint description of taxation
   118. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:33 PM (#4666937)
Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

But Bashar al-Assad has been screwed over for the third year in a row.
   119. base ball chick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4666939)
i miss him
he's a lil crazy but well, i wish he didn't take his bat abd ball and go home

   120. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4666948)
Putin was O.K. at the beginning. He rebuilt all the roads, honey. You know that, right? He just went too far.
   121. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4666951)
To update the demographics of Ukraine:

In one 2012 survey more than 90 percent of respondents in the west and 70-plus percent in the east considered themselves “a patriot of Ukraine.” Even in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, only 2 percent rejected this description definitively. Another poll, conducted Feb. 8-18, found that virtually nobody in western Ukraine wanted Ukraine to unite with Russia, and in central Ukraine between 2 and 5 percent did. Moving east, the numbers rose only to 15 percent in the Kharkiv region; 24 percent in Luhansk and Odessa; 33 percent in Donetsk; and 41 percent in Crimea.(*)

In other words, essentially unchanged since the 1991 independence vote, maybe a little stronger in Donetsk. Weaker in Crimea, interestingly.

The rationale-for-appeasement meme that Eastern Ukraine is "really just part of Russia anyway" is pretty much baked. Facts have a way of doing that.

(*) Source: NYT Op-Ed, today.
   122. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4666954)
Here's what's happening Over There.
   123. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4666957)
Now explain what incentive the French would have to repeat that fiasco in 1936?


Because in 1922 the French did it to extort $ due from Germany, at a time when the German economy was in a shambles

In 1936 it would have been in response to Germany sending troops into the Rhineland, not long after Germany had renounced the parts if the Treaty of Versailles that limited Germany's military.

The French Government did in fact seriously consider countering Hitler's moves, but among other things got really and advise from their Generals, who advised that they did not have enough active divisions to evict the Heer from the Rhineland and they would have to announce a general mobilization first- which was utterly absurd. (As general rule if a politician asks a general how many troops/tanks/planes are needed to do something he will ask for three or four times as much stuff as he really thinks is needed- in this case the French Generals tacked on a zero after that three or four)
   124. Publius Publicola Posted: March 05, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4666962)
anyone know why he left?


Ambulances keep driving by his house.
   125. zenbitz Posted: March 05, 2014 at 07:56 PM (#4666966)
The French army the active part of which was quite larger and better equipped than the 1935 German Army.


The French army was larger (or at least very similar in size - including the BEF and low countries) and better equipped than the *May 1940* German Army (modulo tank radios). The 1941 RUSSIAN army was larger and better equipped (at least in armor) than the 1941 German army.

   126. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:04 PM (#4666971)
U.S. Sends F-15s to Lithuania:
NATO announced Tuesday that it would strengthen ties with Ukraine by stepping up involvement with the country’s “civilian and military leadership.” Although Ukraine is not part of the 28-member alliance, NATO also said it would help to strengthen the Ukrainian army with joint training and exercises.

The United States followed up with word that it would move additional F-15 fighter jets and a refueling tanker from Britain to Lithuania at the request of Baltic nations that are members of the alliance originally formed as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.

Hopefully, this won't be followed by a Jimmy Carter-style announcement that the planes are unarmed.
   127. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:07 PM (#4666976)
Wall Street Journal: Support Rises for Lawmakers Who Back Obamacare

Support for candidates who voted for the health-care law has improved dramatically in recent months, a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday shows.

The survey found respondents almost exactly split on the question of whether they would be more or less likely to vote for a congressional candidate who supports the Affordable Care Act, with 34% saying they would be more likely to vote for the candidate and 36% saying they would be less likely to do so. Some 27% said it would not make a difference.

That’s a significant jump in support levels from November—a month after the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov, the federal insurance exchange that serves 36 states—when just 21% said a candidate’s support for the law would make them more likely to vote for them, compared to 37% who said it would make them less likely to do so. A much larger percentage—40%—were indifferent.

In both cases, Democratic voters were much more likely than Republican voters to support candidates favoring the health-care law. Since November, support for those candidates among Democrats has doubled—to 72%, up from 38%—and support among Republicans has more than tripled, to 27% from 7%.

These numbers are good news for Democrats in vulnerable seats, who have been seeking to distance themselves from the flawed rollout of HealthCare.gov. Republicans have vowed to make the law a central issue of November’s midterms, and wealthy conservative outside groups, like Americans for Prosperity, have spent millions on ads targeting Democrats’ support for the law. Problems in the law persist—and several components have been delayed until 2015—but as some of the most glaring issues improve, voter opposition appears to be diminishing.
   128. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4666987)
The French army was larger (or at least very similar in size) and better equipped than the *May 1940* German Army (modulo tank radios).


The Luftwaffe vastly outclassed the French AirForce
The French Army had seemingly no concept of how a WWII battle was going to be fought.
French tank doctrine was a disaster, their tanks were an eclectic mix of old crap and some stuff as good as Germany's best stuff- which describes Germany's armor as well. However, the Germans organized their armor in their own divisions and had actually worked out how a large number of tanks would move and coordinate on the battlefield- the French had some officers (DeGaulle being one) who had actually worked on these issues - but none had been placed in any position of authority to do anything until it was too late.

Virtually all tank versus tank battles involved German tanks fighting a smaller number of French of British tanks despite the fact that the western allies had more tanks overall. The Germans excelled at concentrating force at the point of attack, forcing a breakthrough, and the French would engage in a poor coordinated retreat- usually not nearly fast enough to prevent major units from being cut off and encircled.

What's really amazing is that when France sued for peace, after the French had told the British that they had no "strategic reserve"- some 30-40% of French units had not engaged in battle yet.

The overall performance of the French Air Force was shockingly awful- at the outset the Luftwaffe concentrated on attacking French airfields before switching to close air support after gaining air superiority- what happened was that the Luftwaffe's aggressive attacks against French Airfields seems to have taken the French totally by surprise- their response was pure disorganized panic, they immediately began moving men and equipment away from the "front" and dispersed their planes, men and equipment, but:
1: It was unnecessary, bombing accuracy in WWII was piss poor, the French Air Force could have rode out the initial attacks, Germany did not pull off what Israel did in the 6 day war
2: There was no pre-set plan for dispersal, an if there was one it wasn't followed, the result was that a units planes would go to one place, unless their pilots took them there, they invariably ended up somewhere else, its mechanics yet another place, ammo, ditto- so the Germans would attack an airfield that had 60 fighters- destroy or damage 5-10 of them, but the French would move everything in a panic, so next thing you know the squadron's planes were one place, all there fuel 20 miles somewhere else, their ordinance somewhere else -and all 60 planes were effectively out of operation, not just the 5-10 actually damaged -

within a week the French Air Force was effectively out of the war- despite the fact that most of their planes were still intact- more planes were destroyed by the French immediately after the armistice than were destroyed by the Germans themselves-
It was like the French Air Force was being run by the three stooges.

   129. Srul Itza Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4666988)
I didn't realize that NATO now had 28 members, so I looked up the membership:

 Albania
 Belgium
 Bulgaria
 Canada
 Croatia
 Czech Republic
 Denmark
 Estonia
 France
 Germany
 Greece
 Hungary
 Iceland
 Italy
 Latvia
 Lithuania
 Luxembourg
 Netherlands
 Norway
 Poland
 Portugal
 Romania
 Slovakia
 Slovenia
 Spain
 Turkey
 United Kingdom
 United States

Good lord -- Albania!?
   130. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:33 PM (#4666990)
In case anyone missed it - Obama hit another new low in a Presidential Job Approval Poll. 38% Approve - 54% Disapprove. On Healthcare, it's 36% - 59%; on the Economy, it's 36% - 58%; and on Foreign Policy, it's 33% - 56%. Looks bad for Obama to me, but I'm sure someone will explain why that can't be.
   131. zenbitz Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:35 PM (#4666991)
@128 of course - but OP said "a bigger and more well equipped army" and despite all that the invasion of france -- really getting across the meuse -- was a near run thing.
   132. Steve Treder Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4666992)
Looks bad for Obama to me, but I'm sure someone will explain why that can't be.

His chances for a third term are looking mighty slim, that's for sure.
   133. Publius Publicola Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:39 PM (#4666994)
Support for candidates who voted for the health-care law has improved dramatically in recent months, a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday shows.


Has that poll been unskewed yet?
   134. Publius Publicola Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4666995)
Good lord -- Albania!?


Zog would be proud.
   135. CraigK Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4666997)
Good lord -- Albania!?


Why not? It borders on the Adriatic, and its chief export is coal!
   136. bobm Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4666998)
[127] Another sign of Obamacare popularity:

The Obama administration, struggling with continued political fallout over its troubled health care law, said Wednesday that it would allow consumers to renew health insurance policies that do not comply with the law for two more years.The action is a reflection of the difficulties the president has faced as he tries to build support for the Affordable Care Act, and the backlash over his promise — which he later acknowledged was overstated -- that individuals who liked their insurance plans could keep them, no matter what. [...]

The action also helps Democrats in tight midterm election races because it avoids the cancellation of insurance policies that would otherwise have occurred at the height of the political campaign season this fall. [...]

“Clearly, the president admits that Obamacare has failed by trying to hide its full effects from voters until he is safely out of office,” said Rory Cooper, a spokesman for Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader. “They won’t be fooled.”



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/us/politics/obama-extends-renewal-period-for-noncompliant-insurance-policies.html

   137. zenbitz Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:57 PM (#4667001)
Why not? It borders on the Adriatic, and its chief export is coal!


Thanks, Coach.
   138. JE (Jason) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4667003)
The United States followed up with word that it would move additional F-15 fighter jets and a refueling tanker from Britain to Lithuania at the request of Baltic nations that are members of the alliance originally formed as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.

I will be teaching in Vilnius in May. Maybe one of the F-15s can give me a lift?
   139. Publius Publicola Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:11 PM (#4667007)
Teaching what, Jason?
   140. Srul Itza Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4667008)
So Jason is the Vilnius Schoolmaster?
   141. JE (Jason) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4667010)
The two-week, 32-hour course is tentatively titled, "Public Policy in America." Rest assured the OTP thread will not be part of the required reading list. :-)
   142. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:34 PM (#4667016)
I will be teaching in Vilnius in May.

At the University of Vilnius? You probably already know this, but one of the great men of the 20th century graduated from there. If you haven't read Native Realm, be sure to do so before you go over there.
   143. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4667017)
I will be teaching in Vilnius in May. Maybe one of the F-15s can give me a lift?

Not sure the Obama Administration would approve such a significant escalation of NATO's anti-Putin weaponry.
   144. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:37 PM (#4667018)
Damnit, Srul got to the joke first.

I take it that the F-15 and other NATO moves are part of the strategy to make it clear to Putin that starting a real war in Ukraine would be a really bad idea.
   145. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:39 PM (#4667020)
Not sure the Obama Administration would approve such a significant escalation of NATO's anti-Putin weaponry.


New threat to Putin: "You better behave or we're going to start dropping Republicans in your country!"
   146. Srul Itza Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:46 PM (#4667022)
I take it that the F-15 and other NATO moves are part of the strategy to make it clear to Putin that starting a real war in Ukraine would be a really bad idea.


Frankly, I think he has already figured that out.

It is starting to look like this little Crimean Adventure was basically a Putin temper tantrum, and now that he has had a chance to look at it, he has figured out that (a) it did not give him anything he did not already have (effective control of the Crimea); (b) it is not having any of the effects on the Ukrainians that he may have desired (reversing their removal of Putin's lackey and/or deterring them joining the West); and (c) there are real economic and diplomatic costs in how far he has already gone, and probably much greater costs if he goes further. So he is declaring victory and backing away from threats of a broader incursion.

Of course, having said that, he will probably now roll tanks over the Eastern Border.
   147. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4667027)
New threat to Putin: "You better behave or we're going to start dropping Republicans in your country!"


That might just be like throwing Brer Rabbit in the briar patch!
   148. JE (Jason) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4667029)
At the University of Vilnius? You probably already know this, but one of the great men of the 20th century graduated from there. If you haven't read Native Realm, be sure to do so before you go over there.

I will be at Mykolas Romeris University, Andy. Vilnius is a gorgeous city but I nearly froze my tush off during a mid-April visit a few years back. Hopefully, a wool overcoat won't be needed in early May.
   149. OCF Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4667037)
At the University of Vilnius?

I've got two names for you, from the math department (from a time when it was Wilno, Poland): Antoni Zygmund and Josef Marcinkiewicz. Zygmund was teaching there and Marcinkiewicz was his first great student. Zygmund's other great students studied under him at Chicago in the 1950's, while Marcinkiewicz probably died in 1940.
   150. Publius Publicola Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:36 PM (#4667040)
Rest assured the OTP thread will not be part of the required reading list. :-)


But perhaps it should?
   151. zonk Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4667042)
The Luftwaffe vastly outclassed the French AirForce
The French Army had seemingly no concept of how a WWII battle was going to be fought.
French tank doctrine was a disaster, their tanks were an eclectic mix of old crap and some stuff as good as Germany's best stuff- which describes Germany's armor as well. However, the Germans organized their armor in their own divisions and had actually worked out how a large number of tanks would move and coordinate on the battlefield- the French had some officers (DeGaulle being one) who had actually worked on these issues - but none had been placed in any position of authority to do anything until it was too late.

Virtually all tank versus tank battles involved German tanks fighting a smaller number of French of British tanks despite the fact that the western allies had more tanks overall. The Germans excelled at concentrating force at the point of attack, forcing a breakthrough, and the French would engage in a poor coordinated retreat- usually not nearly fast enough to prevent major units from being cut off and encircled.


Absolutely on doctrine - the allies and French in particular, since it was largely their show in 1940 - had absolutely zero clue so far as how to conduct modern mechanized warfare.

However, according to many sources - the French tanks were actually superior to most of the armor employed by the Germans... The German Mark IIIs were faster, but the R-35 had better armor supposedly better firepower. The allies also had nearly 50% more armor - but they were hopelessly spread out and used as infantry support. As said, the Germans spearheads would simply mass breakthroughs and the allies were never really able to mass their armor to counter... By the time they figured out how horrifically backwards they were doctrinally, the Luftwaffe ruled the skies and cut them to pieces on the rare occasions they would try to appropriately mass, counter and try to cut behind German advances... and the German armored breakthroughs often DID dangerously extend themselves to points where even a moderately effectively counter attack could have seriously hampered the offensive, if not outright turn the tide.

It would be almost comical if it weren't so horrific -- France would sack 65 yo generals hopelessly behind the times and replace them 75 yo retirees who were even worse.
   152. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:26 PM (#4667052)
Party unity seems a bit shaky - 27 House Democrats Join GOP Vote To Delay ObamaCare's Individual Mandate Tax Penalty:
Twenty-seven Democrats on Wednesday sided with House Republicans on a bill to delay tax penalties for failing to buy health insurance this year under ObamaCare. The vote, which reflects growing Republican frustration with President Obama's selective implementation of the law, again shows some level of Democratic support for a legislative change to the law. Several House bills aimed at making the health law more transparent have also received support from a few dozen Democrats.

Most of the 27 Democrats voting for the bill are seen as vulnerable in the November elections, and one of them, Rep. Gary Peters (Mich.), is running for the Senate this year.
. . .
Democrats voting for the bill were Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), John Barrow (Ga.), Ami Bera (Calif.), Julia Brownley (Calif.), Cheri Bustos (Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Bill Enyart (Ill.), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Pete Gallego (Texas), John Garamendi (Calif.), Joe Garcia (Fla.), Ann Kuster (N.H.), Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Dan Maffei (N.Y.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Patrick Murphy (Fla.), Richard Nolan (Minn.), Bill Owens (N.Y.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Scott Peters (Calif.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.), Raul Ruiz (Calif.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), and Filemon Vela (Texas).

They must be reading the polls.
   153. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4667053)
Isn't it funny? Putin moves troops into Poland, and the whole of the right comes HARD down on Obama and his "weakness." A few days later, it turns out they can't actually pin this one on Obama, and we're back to talking about polls and Obamacare. It's like conservative media just said, "Darn it. Thought we had something juicy here..."
   154. spike Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4667054)
the allies were never really able to mass their armor to counter

With the notable exception of Arras.
   155. JE (Jason) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4667057)
Isn't it funny? Putin moves troops into Poland,

No, no, no, you're thinking about next year.
   156. JE (Jason) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:59 PM (#4667058)
This is pretty cool: Pilot In Harrowing Viral Missile Selfie Revealed
Just when you thought this pilot's "selfie" in the cockpit of his F-16 cockpit at the exact moment he was firing a missile was cool, surprise! It's actually an entire video, which is even cooler.

The man hiding underneath the mysterious helmet has now been revealed as Royal Danish Air Force pilot Thomas Kristensen, who the Danes regard as "one of the most experienced F-16 pilots in the RDAF, having flown thousands of hours, including missions over ex-Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya."
   157. Ron J Posted: March 06, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4667059)
French tank doctrine was a disaster,

Absolutely

their tanks were an eclectic mix of old crap and some stuff as good as Germany's best stuff

I think in 1938 you'd have to give a huge qualitative edge to the French. At that point a huge percentage of German tanks were Panzer II.

And Czech armament factories were a big part of the German buildup between Munich and the outbreak of WWII. Not just tank hulls (the 35(t) was roughly on par with the Panzer III and would serve the entire war in various forms), the Skoda works were huge and produced many other very useful military items.

As Guderian (and many others) were quick to point out, the German army had made rapid strides in rearming but it was very far from complete in 1938.

And yeah, it is exceedingly likely that the French and Brits stay hunkered down and the German grind the Czechs down. But it's a victory that:

a) shows the world exactly what they have to be afraid of
b) denies Germany the Skoda (and other manufacturing) work and the t(35) hulls that would prove so valuable.

If the Allies actually did anything (hah) then I think it's an early defeat for Germany.
   158. Morty Causa Posted: March 06, 2014 at 12:39 AM (#4667061)
William Manchester in his biography of Churchill is quite good on how the tentativeness and timidity of the British and French spurred Hitler on. He's very good in showing how if Britain had asserted itself definitely (for France would not act without Britain), throughout every crisis that the Germans fomented, it could have been different. He particularly makes clear that Britain and France didn't take advantage of the lull of the Phoney War. They had declared war on Germany after the invasion of Poland, but it was like, er, now what? The political situation in those months of the calm before the storm was also one of relative instability and confusion that comes with being democracies. The political leadership was changing, especially in Britain, and it wasn't particularly smooth. The military mindset in both countries, but France in particular, hadn't really shifted into war mode. Combine that tentativeness with German decisiveness....
   159. OCF Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:17 AM (#4667066)
A saw a comment to the effect that while in talking about the Russian incursion into Crimea, the U.S. punditocracy keeps mentioning 1938, if you read the German newspapers instead, you see a lot more talk about 1914, and great powers blundering into a war because they couldn't find a way not to.

And seriously: who is Putin? Is he Hitler? I don't think so. Is he Nicholas II? Well, maybe.
   160. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:28 AM (#4667068)
Speaking of Russia, this book on the history of the Kremlin is quite good.

Red Fortress
   161. tshipman Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:44 AM (#4667070)
A saw a comment to the effect that while in talking about the Russian incursion into Crimea, the U.S. punditocracy keeps mentioning 1938, if you read the German newspapers instead, you see a lot more talk about 1914, and great powers blundering into a war because they couldn't find a way not to.


Yes, as usual, US pundits compare everything to WW2, Vietnam or Iraq. Those are the only wars in history.

If this were to escalate, one possible parallel might be the Napoleonic Wars. In that exemplar, Russia is playing the role of France, blockaded by the EU. Putin is even trying to impose his own continental system on the Baltics. Of course, you could say the same thing (in a different way) about WW1, where trade was at least ostensibly the stated goal of both parties.

WW2 and Vietnam were weird exceptions because they really weren't about trade at all. Most other wars fought in the nation-state age have been.
   162. Steve Treder Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:49 AM (#4667071)
Yes, as usual, US pundits compare everything to WW2, Vietnam or Iraq. Those are the only wars in history.

Damn freaking straight.
   163. Tripon Posted: March 06, 2014 at 03:00 AM (#4667078)

Yes, as usual, US pundits compare everything to WW2, Vietnam or Iraq. Those are the only wars in history.


A win, a loss, and a stalemate. Pretty much U.S. pundits need so they don't have to branch out.
   164. BrianBrianson Posted: March 06, 2014 at 05:52 AM (#4667084)
it did not give him anything he did not already have (effective control of the Crimea)


Aksyonov + Referendum = More influence in Crimea, for sure. The whole schebang probably also means less playing EU/Russia off each other by the Ukraine. Projects a whole "probably best not to dick around with Russia" vibe to Georgia, etc. Honestly, I'm not sure what else you can plausibly think he was hoping to get from the start (assuming he really wanted any of it at all - he may well be playing for status quo belle ante rather than Ukrainian civil war/revolution, Russia speaking refugees flooding out of Ukraine, militias trying to draw Russia into the brewhaha, etc. Status quo is hardly the worst outcome for Russia once Yanukovych was deposed. Wikipedia suggests Yanukovych's worth $12 billion, might be interesting to see where that ends up. Lots of possible wins.
   165. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 06, 2014 at 06:33 AM (#4667086)
Yes, as usual, US pundits compare everything to WW2, Vietnam or Iraq. Those are the only wars in history.

A win, a loss, and a stalemate. Pretty much U.S. pundits need so they don't have to branch out.


What part of "Mission Accomplished" don't you understand, hippie?
   166. Publius Publicola Posted: March 06, 2014 at 08:21 AM (#4667094)
Here's where it explains how Putin may have won the battle lost the war:
U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin

WASHINGTON — The crisis in Crimea is heralding the rise of a new era of American energy diplomacy, as the Obama administration tries to deploy the vast new supply of natural gas in the United States as a weapon to undercut the influence of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, over Ukraine and Europe.

The crisis has escalated a State Department initiative to use a new boom in American natural gas supplies as a lever against Russia, which supplies 60 percent of Ukraine’s natural gas and has a history of cutting off the supply during conflicts. This week, Gazprom, Russia’s state-run natural gas company, said it would no longer provide gas at a discount rate to Ukraine, a move reminiscent of more serious Russian cutoffs of natural gas to Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

The administration’s strategy is to move aggressively to deploy the advantages of its new resources to undercut Russian natural gas sales to Ukraine and Europe, weakening such moves by Mr. Putin in future years. Although Russia is still the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, the United States recently surpassed it to become the world’s largest natural gas producer, largely because of breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing technology, known as fracking.

“We’re engaging from a different position because we’re a much larger energy producer,” said Jason Bordoff, a former senior director for energy and climate change on the White House’s National Security Council.


For anybody who wants to understand global politics, Daniel Yergin's two books on the history of the oil industry, The Prize and The Quest, are must-reads. Here's what Yergin has to say about this current issue in Ukraine:

HOUSTON — Vladimir Putin has the power to cut off nearly a third of Europe’s natural gas supply, punishing Ukraine and any neighboring country that comes to its aid.

But energy experts say the Russian president probably won’t — at least not as things stand now.

“With everything else going on, I think it would only be in the context of if things somehow got much worse,” Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning energy historian, told POLITICO in an interview at the annual IHS CERAWeek conference, the most prestigious energy gathering in the U.S.

“From the viewpoint of Russia, part of its value-proposition is that it’s a reliable supplier,” he said...

No matter what happens, Yergin said the crisis in Ukraine has refocused attention on U.S. energy exports.

“There are a lot of unintended consequences that could flow from this. It could really change the thinking and the debate about energy security and alternative supplies,” he said. “The notion that the U.S. will now start exporting gas to Europe — there’s a few years yet to go. But it does cast a new light on the role of the U.S. as an energy exporter.”




   167. Shredder Posted: March 06, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4667104)
Party unity seems a bit shaky
Hilarious.
   168. BDC Posted: March 06, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4667130)
as usual, US pundits compare everything to WW2, Vietnam or Iraq

For my part, the whole Crimea thing reminds me of the 6th-century Frankish/Visigothic War. A lot of shirtlessness in that one too.
   169. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 06, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4667135)
What are the top wars for pantslessness? I can only think of this one.
   170. spike Posted: March 06, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4667145)
   171. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 06, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4667156)
The "backdown" of Putin, engendered by a day of Obamaplomacy, continues apace as the date of official annexation of Crimea is moved up to March 16 and OSCE observers trying to get into Crimea are forcefully turned away. And the Crimean leader publicly states that Ukrainian troops on Crimean territory are there illegally.

But, hey, what's "really" changed?
   172. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 06, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4667160)
but the R-35 had better armor supposedly better firepower.


On paper the R-35 seriously outclassed the Panzer I, II and 35Ts, and was as good or better than the Panzer III and IV in some respects, but had a few serious shortcomings- the turret was too small, the tank commander had to a act as both gunner and commander- and it had a low velocity gun- not meant for attacking armor.
The S-35 was better, and even despite the again too small turret, should have been effective against German Panzers, but was not deployed efficiently.

The British tank design doctrine was hopelessly confused- the tank with the best defensive armament on either side was theirs, the Matilda I, but it was almost comically slow, and its gun was a freaking 50 caliber machine gun- it couldn't actually take out German tanks. (There were handful of Matilda IIs available, still too slow but they had an actual armor piercing gun, not a good one, but better than a freaking machine gun)

Most French tanks lacked radios, they also had another problem- range, between fuel inefficiency and fuel tank capacity- the French managed to produce tanks that had 50% less un-refueled range than the Germans, this aws something totally disregarded by the French pre-war but became a serious problem with fast moving and wide ranging (running) tank battles - Unlike the Germans they hadn't anticipated refueling tanks on the fly (so to speak)- a problem exacerbated by having tanks with less range in the first place.
   173. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 06, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4667162)
Isn't it funny? Putin moves troops into Poland


when did this happen?
   174. Lassus Posted: March 06, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4667166)
I believe that was a typo.

I don't know if it's the general feeling overall, I was only there once for 10 days in 2007, but a number of Poles' eyes still turned a shade of unearthly jet-black when talking about the Soviet Union.
   175. JE (Jason) Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4667178)
when did this happen?

Johnny S, I think you owe me two Cokes from this thread alone. :-)
   176. BDC Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4667182)
I was only there once for 10 days in 2007, but a number of Poles' eyes still turned a shade of unearthly jet-black when talking about the Soviet Union

That squares with my ten days in Hungary in 2007. Nostalgia for the Warsaw Pact does not seem to be trending.
   177. zenbitz Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4667184)
Up is down. Black is white. I agree with Henry Kissinger
   178. Greg K Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4667189)
I don't know if it's the general feeling overall, I was only there once for 10 days in 2007, but a number of Poles' eyes still turned a shade of unearthly jet-black when talking about the Soviet Union.

My dad's circle of friends from his university days seems to be overwhelmingly Latvian (guess he just fell in with that crowd, we don't have any Latvian heritage at all). Which has revealed to me several things I probably wouldn't have otherwise known. Like, there was (is?) a long-running annual Latvian basketball tournament in Chicago which draws Latvians from all across North America. Or that there is a Latvian kids summer camp up in the forests of Ontario.

Two of my dad's friends, who have probably been his closest friends for 35 years or more, were born in allied-run refugee camps in Germany as their families fled from the Red Army. Needless to say I grew up with the impression that Latvians are similarly wary of Russian governments.

I also went to grad school with a couple of Romanians. We once had a lecture series to give us some background on philosophy and research methodologies. The one on Marxism was pretty entertaining as both of them, despite being too young to have really remembered life under Caeusescu themselves, were pretty adamant that the consequences of Marxism not be painted in too positive a light.

I suppose people have long memories everywhere...don't you guys think I've forgotten how my family was driven from its home by your little rebellion!...but it seems like a whole different thing in Eastern Europe.
   179. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4667191)
when did this happen?
It happened when I had an aneurysm.
   180. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4667194)
Up is down. Black is white. I agree with Henry Kissinger

The entire Post op-ed page today was filled with de facto rebuttals to Fred Hiatt's kneejerk institutional editorial on the subject of Obama's reaction to the Ukrainian situation. Beyond Kissinger's contribution, Charles Lane demonstrated the limitations of the Munich analogy, Anne Appelbaum made the apt point about Putin's real western enablers, and E.J. Dionne documented the not-so-surprising double standard on the part of Republicans when it comes to criticizing presidents during times of foreign crisis.
   181. Ron J2 Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4667195)
World Bridge Federation Anti-Doping regs (warning, PDF)

Short version. The World Bridge Federation uses the WADA regs. (and has for years)

Nothing really unusual these days, beyond the fact that you can get a nice link to the actual regs.
   182. BDC Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4667198)
Oh that Kissinger, confusing a nice black-and-white issue with actual complicated facts. Where does he get off :)
   183. Publius Publicola Posted: March 06, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4667206)
Kissinger's problem is in his principle #1, that the Ukrainians have the right to freely form their own economist and political associations. The crux of the current crisis is that Russians are irredeemably opposed to that. They want Ukraine firmly in their economic sphere and the development of Ukrainian independence on energy issues fatally injures that status

So Kissingers essay, while seemingly sensible, is a nonstarter.
   184. Publius Publicola Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4667211)
Who knew? GregK is the descendent of traitors!
   185. spike Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4667218)
Paul Ryan on the free/reduced school lunch program: All liberals offer is "a full stomach and an empty soul". Compared to the empty stomach and full soul conservatism offers, I suppose.
   186. SteveF Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4667222)
Paul Ryan on the free/reduced school lunch program: All liberals offer is "a full stomach and an empty soul".

I look forward to the inevitable Jezebel post accusing Paul Ryan of fat shaming democrats.
   187. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4667225)
The ideas Kissinger proffered today are drivel. Jeez, talk about a man of the 19th century. The guy never met a smaller nation he didn't think was rightly under the boot of a "Great Power."

Oh that Kissinger, confusing a nice black-and-white issue with actual complicated facts.

His facts are mostly wrong, and the idea that we should accede to the overlord taking a country back over because it was that way for a long time anyway is comically obtuse.

I've set out a bunch of demographic data re Ukraine making clear there's little interest in being under the Russian yoke, notwithstanding the hopes of the armchair appeasers that it be so. There wasn't in 1991 and there isn't now. There's obviously a little more interest in the East, but even there it's a distinctly rump opinion.
   188. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4667226)
Ryan proposes a steady diet of communion wafers.
   189. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4667228)
How on earth did Paul Ryan assume the mantle of the GOP's Serious Thinker, and get people to treat him as such? Nothing I've heard from him makes me think he's any different than his Republican peers.
   190. Greg K Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4667232)
Who knew? GregK is the descendent of traitors!

Funny thing to call someone who kept faith with their rightful Monarch!

But then you guys perfected baseball, so I say we're even Stephen now.
   191. spike Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4667235)
How on earth did Paul Ryan assume the mantle of the GOP's Serious Thinker

It's like being the best dentist in England.
   192. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4667236)
How on earth did Paul Ryan assume the mantle of the GOP's Serious Thinker


In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. - Desiderius Erasmus


EDIT: Frothy snark filled beverage to spike.
   193. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 06, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4667239)
Charles Lane demonstrated the limitations of the Munich analogy,

Wow -- good for him.

Anne Appelbaum made the apt point about Putin's real western enablers,

American and European big business makes nice with authoritarians to make money. Shocking.

E.J. Dionne documented the not-so-surprising double standard on the part of Republicans when it comes to criticizing presidents during times of foreign crisis.

In other words, another "No, you're the hypocrites!!" salvo in the provincial red/blue blabfest. How creative. Must have been really compelling stuff.

   194. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 06, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4667244)
E.J. Dionne documented the not-so-surprising double standard on the part of Republicans when it comes to criticizing presidents during times of foreign crisis.

In other words, another "No, you're the hypocrites!!" salvo in the provincial red/blue blabbery. How creative. Must have been really compelling stuff.


It was a nice trip down memory lane for those whose recollections of those heady flag-waving days from a decade ago had faded. I for one had forgotten Orrin Hatch claiming that "the terrorists" were supporting John Kerry's election.
   195. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 06, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4667247)
It was a nice trip down memory lane for those whose recollections of those heady flag-waving days from a decade ago had faded. I for one had forgotten Orrin Hatch claiming that "the terrorists" were supporting John Kerry's election.
But in 2003, some random at a poorly-attended anti-war rally held a BUSHITLER sign, so both sides are to blame, really
   196. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 06, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4667251)
It was a well-attended rally, stop re-writing history hippie.
   197. spike Posted: March 06, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4667256)
ONLY BECAUSE THE DECEMBERISTS WERE THE HEADLINER!
   198. BDC Posted: March 06, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4667261)
the idea that we should accede to the overlord taking a country back over because it was that way for a long time anyway is comically obtuse

Ah, I was wondering what Kissinger meant when he wrote

Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.


Thank you for the translation!
   199. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 06, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4667269)
Thank you for the translation!

I was actually talking about drivel like this:

"The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus. The Russian religion spread from there. Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries, and their histories were intertwined before then. Some of the most important battles for Russian freedom, starting with the Battle of Poltava in 1709 , were fought on Ukrainian soil."

So on the one hand, there's some fleabag battle from 1709. On the other hand, there was the vote a mere 23 years ago in which Ukraine told Russia, "We're a foreign country" -- in overwhelming numbers. West and East.

Which is more persuasive? Ukraine is a foreign country from Russia. As noted several times before, Russian paranoia/delusions about things like this can be paid no heed. The West neither needs nor deserves lectures that it must "understand" Russia's paranoia/delusions. And obviously those delusions can't be allowed to impact the future and freedom of the Ukrainians.
   200. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 06, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4667270)
It's like Bear didn't even bother reading the Kissinger piece.
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