Posts Tagged ‘Vladimir Putin’


On March 16, Israeli planes struck several targets in Syria. Israel said that it had targeted shipments of “advanced weapons” meant for Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

These strikes occur from time to time, and there is usually little but fist-waving and statements from Syria in response. This time was different. Assad’s forces launched several missiles at the Israeli jets, none of which found their mark. More importantly, the next day, the new Israeli Ambassador to Russia was summoned by the Russian government for clarification of the incident. Read more at LobeLog

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Dear readers,

This is not something I do very often. The discourse, everywhere I look, surrounding Ukraine is so remarkably one-sided and shallow. I see this among supporters of current US/EU policy and critics. So, when I find an article that is reasonably sensible and useful, I feel a need to spread the word.

This piece, surprisingly enough, was in Foreign Affairs. It comes from an approach I don’t share, and the recommendations and point of view of it do not entirely reflect mine, though I agree with a good chunk of it. But understanding that a lot of what is happening in Ukraine is, in the last analysis, Ukrainian is a point that is routinely lost in the media, among policymakers and among both supporters and critics of US/EU/NATO or Russian policy. Thus I am sharing a link to the article, by Keith Darden. You needn’t agree with his worldview or conclusions to learn a lot from it. Please check it out.

UPDATE: The New York Times kindly demonstrates precisely what I’m talking about with this atrocious piece of drivel passing for “coverage” of today’s events in Eastern Ukraine. No consciousness whatsoever that there is a real split among Ukrainians, a country that has always had serious nationalist divides. No, it’s all about Russian meddling, which, though certainly real, has been balanced all along by meddling from NATO, the EU and US. In both cases, however, the outside meddling is far from the whole story, or even the root cause. That is native Ukrainian.

Perhaps the most pathetic part of the Times’ blatant propagandizing is this: “(The Ukrainian army) faced not only the civilians, but behind them a force of well-armed men in unmarked green uniforms who Western governments said are either Russian soldiers or Russian-equipped militants. These soldiers were well-armed. They carried radios and ammunition pouches. Some had rocket-propelled grenade launchers slung over their soldiers.” (emphasis mine)

Leaving aside how poorly written that paragraph is, the propagandizing here is just so shameless. Radios? Ammunition pouches? This is supposed to be the hi-tech equipment that proves the militants are Russian-backed? Hell, would we even want to think about how many grenade launchers are in private hands in the more remote areas of Montana or Texas? Please.

I wonder if this is what it was like to read about Russian issues in the 1950s. McCarthy would surely have been pleased in any case.

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A review of the politics of the debate over a US strike on Syria. Who made political gains and losses and why? One thing that was certainly set back was room in the discussion about doing anything within international diplomacy about a war which has killed 110,000 people and created some 7 million refugees (which amounts to about 1/3 of the population!). Still, how this plays out among important players in the international community and within US foreign policy matters. So, I looked at a few of those key players (by no means an exhaustive list) at Lobelog. 

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There is a movement afoot, with some big stars lending their names, to move the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi in Russia, or to boycott those games over the increasing volume of hate against LGBT folk in Russia. Not a few are drawing the entirely accurate comparison to the passage in Nazi Germany of discriminatory laws. It was not only that such laws led to where we all know it led, but even in the short term, it gave license to those jack-booted thugs to carry out violence, most often against Jews, but also against others. It permitted the police and other authorities to look the other way. And that’s why the comparison to Russia, where a similar dynamic is underway regarding LGBT folk, is perfectly apt. But, of course, there are always those who consider any comparison to the Holocaust off limits, unless it has the imprimatur of the “official” Jewish community. I explore all this in my latest piece for Souciant.

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