Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ukraine and Gaza: A Brief Analysis

I've had several thoughts I've wanted to get out about the situations in Israel and Ukraine but I thought it prudent to wait a bit for events to unfold. AP News has two great pieces up which summarize the ongoing issues with Russia over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the Israeli operation in Gaza as of this morning.

My first reaction when I heard that the airline was shot down by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine was anger. We know what these guys are doing and they are bragging about it as Nikto noted the other day. Shouldn't we work with Ukraine to target these anti-aircraft missiles and take them out? Obviously, the answer is no and it's because we really need the buy in from Europe. This is a regional problem and the EU, in particular, Germany, haven't really shown much of an interest in escalation due to the Russian natural gas supply they need. This sentiment was recently echoed by Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble.

"Economic interests are not the top priority. The top priority is ensuring stability and peace," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Classic double speak. The Germans are more interested in making sure they stay on the Russian energy teat and are hoping that somehow all of this just works itself out. Until they and other EU leaders change their mind and are willing to make sacrifices, we will be largely powerless to do anything. Honestly, they are being tremendously naive

Israel's efforts in Gaza are the exact opposite of naive. They recognize the problem and are moving to eliminate the threat with best possible speed. I make no bones about being fervently pro-Israel and completely support their mission to end the rocket launches by Hamas. No doubt I feel tremendous sadness over the loss of Palestinian children but the blame for that is largely on Hamas who purposefully place their base of operations near innocent civilians to score PR points with anti-Semitic press outlets.

At the very core of Hamas's ideology is the destruction of Israel. They are no different than Nazi Germany and if they are serious about helping their people, they will stop being violent and start advocating within the political process peacefully. That is the one area where Israel needs to be flexible. I've written about this previously but the only way I see out of this mess is a one state solution. There will never be a country of Palestine. Tareq Abbas is right

In the long run, Israel is going to come out much better as a result of this conflict. Vladamir Putin, however, will not. The EU may be dragging their feat but the writing is already on the wall. This was Putin's massive failure and miscalculation and the Russian economy is going to pay dearly for it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Putin Calls Obama

Vladamir Putin called the president on Friday to discuss diplomatic solutions to the situation in Ukraine. He also has stated that Russian troops would not move into eastern Ukraine. Neither one of these occurrences should be viewed as the end of the crisis but they do represent a shift away from warmer temperatures.

It's interesting to note that phone calls about diplomacy and assurances over troop movements are being made after the "ineffective" sanctions are now in place. Does this also mean that Putin has lost his macho luster with the GOP? After all, what kind of a leader tells another country that they won't be invading? A wimpy pussy, right?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

GOP 2016 Presidential Nominee: Vladimir Putin

A colleague of mine in the social studies department finally decided he had had enough. He had to let loose his opinion on the situation in the Ukraine at a recent staff meeting. He's also the chairman of the department so we all sort of had to listen. He spoke of Obama's weakness and how since there was a Democrat in the White House, Putin was emboldened to do whatever he wanted. He posited that we should move NATO troops into Ukraine and send part of our navy to the Black Sea. It was a classic neocon screed that in many ways made me wax nostalgic for those good ol' days of Cheney and Rumsfeld.

More importantly, it made me realize that the perfect candidate for the GOP in 2016 is none other than Vladimir Putin himself. Think about it for a minute. He's strong, doesn't take any shit from anyone, and thinks with his guts! He has all the aristocratic airs that conservatives pretend they don't really like. He doesn't do all the pussy talking and diplomacy crap or rely on mealymouthed sanctions. He ACTS! Add in what President George W. Bush said about him...

He's not well informed. It's like arguing with an eighth grader with his facts wrong.

and he is so unbelievably perfect as the GOP presidential nom that I can already feel that tingle up my leg!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ukraine Inks Deal With EU

The EU and the Ukraine signed an association agreement yesterday but it got little notice in the press. Odd, considering that this was the spark that lit the flame which started all the instability in the region. Perhaps the "liberal" media has become too obsessed with either the "Obama is weak" meme or wringing their hands over the "fact" that "Obama is weak"

Regardless, the focus should be on this agreement because it's exactly why Vladimir Putin has already lost. It is the first step of trade and economic integration with Europe that won't stop with Ukraine.

The EU also announced it will speed up similar association deals with Georgia and Moldova, it said in its statement: The European Union reconfirms its objective to further strengthen the political association and economic integration with Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. We confirm our aim to sign the Association Agreements, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, which we initiated in Vilnius last November, no later than June 2014.

As I have said many times in the past, the West's soft, economic power always wins in the long run. Sooner or later, Putin will have no choice but to fall in line like everyone else.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Hairy and Macho Conservatives

There are days when I truly adore the sarcasm of Roger Simon. 

Action! Strength! Might! Muscle! That is what we need. 

Obama should stop going around in that silly windbreaker with the presidential seal on the front. Instead, the front of his jacket should have a mushroom cloud and the words: “You mess with the bull and you get the horns.” But he won’t do that. He worries about things like a thermonuclear exchange and how it would end all mankind. 


America....fuck yeah!!

In looking at the collection of comments from conservatives seen in this piece, I must again point out their emotional age.

12. Years. Old.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Long Game in Ukraine

Critics of the president's policy towards Russia are failing to recognize (see: willfully ignorant) that Putin has already lost the war. The March 16th vote may bring a secession of Crimea to Russia but the Ukraine will end up firmly in the European camp and stay that way.

“Yanukovych freed Ukraine and Putin is uniting it,” said Iegor Soboliev, a 37-year-old ethnic Russian who heads a government commission to vet officials of the former regime. “Ukraine is functioning not through its government but through the self-organization of its people and their sense of human decency.”

I realize the cottage industry of Obama haters are adolescent in going for the quick one but they might want to consider how foolish they are going to look in a few months. It never ceases to amaze me how they don't get the term "The Long Game."

Friday, March 07, 2014

Kneejeking Obama

Here are two great pieces which more than adequately address the knee jerk criticism of the president.

Who’s the Villain Here?

Blaming Obama First

I don't get it. Half of their base is libertarian now and doesn't give two shits about Ukraine. Ah well, any excuse to bring up Benghazi...

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Is The Ukraine Situation A Fight We Can't Win and Russian Can't Lose?

John A. Mazis posits this question in a recent column in the Strib and while I don't agree with everything he writes, he does have a voice that needs to be heard.

While President Vladimir Putin is not a democratic leader, he is elected (voting irregularities notwithstanding) and is still popular in Russia. His reasons for intervening in Crimea, and maybe elsewhere in Ukraine, are grounded in concrete security concerns as well as in history. His intervention aims at securing the safety of Ukraine’s sizable Russian minority and safeguarding his country’s dominance by keeping the West from encroaching on Russia’s traditional sphere of influence.

This is the heart of the matter, really. Ukraine wants to be part of Europe, not Russia. Pro-Russian forces within the country and in Russia. This is more of a European issue than a United States issue. Of course, President Obama is being measured for his manliness right now by some (not all, thankfully) in the Republican Party in how he responds to this crisis. I think that the barometer should be placed firmly on how the EU, particularly Germany, responds. They are the ones on the hot seat, not the president.