The situation in Ukraine

Politics in the United States and elsewhere

The situation in Ukraine

Postby Gavin » 20 Jul 2014, 14:40

I have not written about this as yet but wanted to begin simply by observing Vladimir Putin's remark:

Certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.


He seemed to be saying that it bears responsibility simply because it happened over its air space. Is the same logic supposed to apply to Lockerbie tragedy, then? Would he indeed feel the same if an American plane shot down a Russian civilian airliner over Moscow? Russia's fault?

Usually Putin is quite a good player of games, but this particular remark struck me as transparently biased.

I have a good friend who is Ukrainian. (He was horrified about the colonisation of the UK while he visited here recently, by the way - his view was that we are entitled to protect and preserve our culture against the unwanted mass immigration.) He said to me the other day:

This time in Ukraine planes are being hit almost every day. They've hit 3 military planes and 5 helicopters already. This time it was civil plane, and civil people died.


Putin seems to think he can take on the rest of the world now. Things have ratcheted up a notch. I wonder how much military and economic bargaining power he actually has compared with that of the rest of the world. Mind you, I wonder that about the oil-rich Muslim states who are busy buying up London and funding the mosque building across the UK, too.

The Ukrainian issue seems to be escalating and eventually countries will have to again decide how involved they want to be in "other people's wars". If we do nothing, people suffer and our inaction is remembered by the suffering people. Also a precedent is set ("you can do what you like") and an unopposed military campaign might simply gather strength and spread. If we get involved then our own people are on the line, it might escalate even further and faster, we will suffer mortally and economically and, well.. we have seen how the law of unintended consequences plays out. Not easy decisions it seems to me, so hopefully economic sanctions will have an effect - though two can play at those, too.

This particular conflict seems to have fast become a competitor with Muslim jihad and colonisation for destabilising the world.
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Re: The situation in Ukraine

Postby Nathan » 20 Jul 2014, 18:31

Certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.


Odd comment indeed, considering that if he got his way then the state that piece of territory belonged to would be Russia!
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Re: The situation in Ukraine

Postby Jonathan » 21 Jul 2014, 00:28

It fits well with the technique described in those Yuri Bezmenov youtube videos. Ukraine is in the process of being destabilized so as to provide a pretext for Russian military intervention, ostensibly for pacification.

I'm not saying that Russia downed the plane, not at all (though of course it might be true for all I know), merely that the event is being framed to suit the narrative.
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Re: The situation in Ukraine

Postby Mike » 21 Jul 2014, 00:39

Well, there are two sides to this particular story, and a lazy, compliant and cynical media is telling only one of them.

Obviously the statement by Putin about Ukraine bearing responsibility is facile and truculent, but think about what happened immediately after the crash. Every world leader straight away demanded a response/explanation/apology/whatever from Putin, even though the crash occurred in another country. Yes, there has been plenty of support for the Donetsk rebels from Russia, nobody denies that. Has there been support for the Kiev government from outside forces as well? Of course, but this never gets mentioned. Had they been responsible for the crash (and in the hours following the crash nobody knew anything for certain...even now, the details are somewhat sketchy), would similar questions have been asked of NATO and the EU? Of course not. And the behaviour of the Kiev side in this conflict has in no way been any better than that of the separatists, from what I've been able to judge.

Let's not forget the origin of this whole appalling conflict: an elected government in a relatively (by the standards of the region) stable and prosperous country was overthrown by a rag-tag bunch of protesters, including neo-Nazi elements, eagerly abetted by the EU and the US. This was done purely for geopolitical reasons, like the overthrow of the Morsi government in Egypt. The US and the EU are only keen on democracy as long as it throws up a leader they're happy with, otherwise they (the EU especially) have complete contempt for it. When Putin then reacted in the Crimea, the EU acted like a bully who then hides in a locked classroom. Because of the insane energy policies of western Europe, the Germans knew that the threat of Putin turning the taps off precluded any serious involvement in the conflict that they had started (or helped to start).

Two comments below this Telegraph article are worth reading, for an alternate view:

If Western leaders were slower to embark on accusatory rhetoric in public they might make more progress in private. They really can't be taken very seriously and lose all respect. Russia may well be behind this incident as Charles Crawford and almost every newspaper and politician in the West believes. But Western leaders - probably following the press pack before engaging their brains - started loudly blaming Putin - not Russia - almost before the aircraft hit the ground. A measured and considered response is far more effective and would have allowed Russia to be more cooperative. As it is Russia now has nothing to be gained by cooperating because it will be blamed and publicly pilloried whatever it does. The West has created an atmosphere in which Russia can gain only by endeavouring to hide or destroy any evidence of its culpability so that the Western accusation will now inevitably get no further than 'not proven'.

This is not what the families of the victims want or need. The West has let them down badly by its knee jerk mindless response caused by its stupid and counter productive eagerness to bash Putin at every opportunity. It is so childish.

The West should have accepted that it was obviously in nobody's interests to shoot down the airliner and leave off the accusations until a proper judgment of the causes - there is nearly always more than one in an aircraft accident - can be made. This could have been done diplomatically and in private. But, oh no, our politicians much prefer to grandstand - in a position of weakness! - braying at Putin. Well done, you've stuffed it up yet again because now it is too late.


This situation is the fault of the EU. They were sweet talking the Ukrainians into joining their horrible league of nations. The Russians saw this a an invasion of their 'neutral' space and therefore a threat to their national security. They did exactly the same thing as the US did regarding the siting of Russian missiles in Cuba. They protected their borders. The sad thing is that the West can do nothing about it because they (the Russians) are their equal militarily not like Iraq/Libya/Afghanistan and other invaded nations. The US/and their poodle Tony Blair played a hard game there against weak opposition.
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Re: The situation in Ukraine

Postby Gavin » 21 Jul 2014, 22:15

I think it's good to be suspicious and take the opposite point of view like that, and while I am of course anti-EU:

  • Was it really a rag-tag bunch of protestors? I thought it was the vast majority of ordinary Ukrainians.
  • Was the guy fairly elected in the first place?
  • There's surely a difference between a population overthrowing its own government, and a foreign country (Russia) trying to take part of another country (Ukraine). Indeed they have already annexed Crimea. It might come to the people overthrowing the UK government in time, if they think they have been betrayed enough.
  • Is there any reasonable comparison with the Cuban missile crisis? Why would the formidable Russia need to "protect its borders"? Nobody is being expansionist, and as far as I know nobody is placing nuclear missiles nears its territory.
  • If Putin is arming Russians in the foreign territory of eastern Ukraine is it not reasonable for him to be at least expected to comment on one of them shooting down a civilian airliner?

I think you're right there are two sides to this. There is also the historical claim to Ukraine itself which I gather is somewhat contested. I have little faith in our leaders but on this one Putin does seem to be simply trying to land-grab with no democratic approval.
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Re: The situation in Ukraine

Postby Mike » 21 Jul 2014, 23:50

Gavin wrote:[*]Was it really a rag-tag bunch of protestors? I thought it was the vast majority of ordinary Ukrainians.


Nothing like it. If you read between the lines of even the partisan reports at the time, you can see that the numbers were really quite small. A good analogy, actually, would be the various Occupy movements that sprang up a few years ago, and we all know that they didn't reflect the opinions of the majority, for all their absurdly arrogant claims to represent "the 99%".

For another thing, the protests took place in Kiev - the epicentre of the pro-EU western part of the Ukraine, as opposed to the Donetsk side, in which (by any reasonable measure) the inhabitants are largely pro-Russia rather than pro-EU. So even if there was broad support for the protesters there, that didn't necessarily reflect the views of the entire nation.

[*]Was the guy fairly elected in the first place?


Probably not entirely, but is any leader in the former Soviet empire elected fairly? At least they held elections in which opposition parties were at perfect liberty to run, which is more than you can say for about 90% of the other ex-Soviet states. The pompous statements by Western leaders about election irregularities in that part of the world are, to say the least, selective.

[*]There's surely a difference between a population overthrowing its own government, and a foreign country (Russia) trying to take part of another country (Ukraine). Indeed they have already annexed Crimea. It might come to the people overthrowing the UK government in time, if they think they have been betrayed enough.


My point is that (a) it was far from a universally-endorsed popular revolution, (b) Merkel, John Kerry et al. played a major role in engineering the overthrow of Yanukovich (as indeed the US and EU did with the Morsi government in Egypt). It was exactly the same sort of outside interference that they have complained about since. And it had nothing to do with democracy or human rights or anything like that. It was oil politics from start to finish.

[*]Is there any reasonable comparison with the Cuban missile crisis? Why would the formidable Russia need to "protect its borders"? Nobody is being expansionist, and as far as I know nobody is placing nuclear missiles nears its territory.


In my opinion the EU is being highly expansionist in this as in many other cases. Partly because their ridiculous energy policies have created a serious dependency on oil supplies.

[*]If Putin is arming Russians in the foreign territory of eastern Ukraine is it not reasonable for him to be at least expected to comment on one of them shooting down a civilian airliner?[/list]


We have to be careful not to get ahead of ourselves here. To start with, the extent to which the supply of arms to the separatists has been deliberate Russian policy is debatable. Secondly, do you really think that NATO and the EU haven't been responding in kind? Many commentators have mentioned that the logistical capabilities of the Ukrainian army have increased dramatically in recent weeks. It isn't hard to join the dots.
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Re: The situation in Ukraine

Postby Charlie » 14 Sep 2014, 20:41

Here’s an interesting (terrifying?) blogpost by Alexander Boot, a man whose books on the USSR and Tolstoy have previously met with Theodore Dalrymple’s strong approval.

What can I say about this post, however? I hope Boot is wrong…

These aren’t the thoughts of an interventionist, and being Russian, Boot does know his country of birth better than many other Western, conservative commentators do.

Boot does have a bee in his bonnet when it comes to Putin, admittedly, and he’s a reminder that not all conservatives (and I don’t mean neocons) see what’s going on in Russia in the same way that, say, Peter Hitchens does.

PS: Incidentally Boot has excoriated Hitchens on a few occasions for defending Putin.
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