What Are Our Interests in Ukraine?

I’ve long held a view that seems to be unpopular. Since Russia is the only country in the world that actually could destroy us, not to mention the entire world, it would be prudent for us to cultivate a good relationship with Russia. Instead, we’ve gone out of our way to insult and aggravate Russia with no particular gain for ourselves. For more in that vein see here.

I have a question. I can understand why Russia would be concerned about U. S. adventurism in its neighborhood. What I can’t understand is why we should be concerned about Russia pursuing what have been its interests in its own neighborhood for the last 300 years. Can someone explain that to me?

49 comments… add one

  • PD Shaw

    I think some of it is civilizational, Ukraine should be in the Modern European orbit of free states, like Poland. Russian exertions to control Ukraine are seen as colonialist. The principle of self-determination encourages the view that the Russian-speaking, Russophile South and East be a separate country.

  • PD Shaw

    Hmmm, I may not have answered the question. I think I gave the framework for agitation, not the framework that would motivate Dave, nor a description of our interests.

  • Part of what motivated my question was an assertion I read about Putin’s being stuck in a Cold War mentality. My reaction was maybe. But we’re so obviously stuck in a Cold War mentality pointing that out is almost superfluous.

    I think there are several things to keep in mind in considering this issue. First, Russia will never let Sevastopol go. No way, no how. Won’t happen.

    Second, what’s the unit of measure of self-determination? The country? The county? The city? The block? The individual?

  • PD Shaw

    First, I am surprised that the Crimean peninsula has not been transferred back to Russia by now anyway. That transfer was made by the Russians in a context that seems no longer relevant, and I suspect self-determination in this area would mean transfer back to Russia.

    I suspect Putin considers the the existence of Russians abroad of particular interest. Either he would like to see many return to assist with Russia’s demographic weakness, or he wants to see the influence of foreign nationals increase. There might be some interesting win-win scenarios where an unsuccessful attempt to bolster foreign nationals, might lead to more Russians returning to the homeland.

    The best argument for partition of Ukraine is based upon a division on cultural grounds, not religious or ethnic. The electoral map seems consistent in dividing the country.

  • ...

    Can someone explain that to me?

    No.

    As for our interests in Ukraine, I think they’re the usual bit: In principle we would like to see a people with the right of self-determination (that’s a punt), representative government (which they had and just overthrew for … more representative government?), and the observance of human rights (an entirely separate argument about which Americans don’t even agree anymore, much less American agreeing with Britons, or the French, or the Germans, or what have you).

    Practically, we should want the same thing we want in Syria: Stability over all else.

  • Tim

    America’s interest in Ukraine are symbolic, and an extension of Europe’s. I think several circles it’s thought of as a potential “next Poland,” a place where factories can be located, and eventually, a source of labor migration into the EU.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the EU has not been willing to match these aspiration with anything CLOSE to the commitment required (or which Russia offered), helping to necessitate American involvement.

    Expecting stability or uniformity in a nation whose name literally translates to ‘borderland’ seems hopelessly optimistic.

  • ...

    As for why we are reacting the way we are reacting: I think it is a mix of things.

    First, I don’t think our Deep State has ever really gotten over the demise of the Soviet Union – it made their lives so much easier.

    Second, I suspect that the Deep State and the Elites in charge of the West aren’t happy about Russian nationalism in general: They’re not playing ball with the internationalist contingent in some way, shape or form. Not sure exactly what they’re doing that is so egregious that China isn’t doing too, and quite possibly doing more of, but I think that is part of it. Perhaps there is just so much to exploit with regards to China that they can forgive them a bit of the old nationalism, as long as it increases the profit margins for our tech billionaires. It might simply be that our elite, Western in outlook and upbringing, simply understands what Russia is doing better than what China is doing. You know those Chinamen are inscrutable.

    Third, the media is in a snit right now because of Russia’s anti-gay trends*, and our media hate hate HATES it whenever anyone isn’t completely on the side of teh gays. (Though I can’t explain why the media is almost completely ignoring what is going on in India in that regard, save that for as long as I can remember, and even farther back than that based on reading old news magazines, America just completely ignores India in every event.)

    Finally, with the Olympic Games right there in Russia, it has brought a lot of extra media attention to Russia, and the media loves nothing so much as an easy story to thrash to death.

    I think these things have just come together at the right time for this to be a major issue on the minds of our lords and masters. Add to that that we haven’t started a war anywhere (that I’m aware of) in a couple of years and that makes everyone in DC itchy, from the General Turgidsons (McCain) to the Peace Prize winning country wreckers (Obama) to the Deep Staters that are in every Administration (see Victoria Nuland for one of legion) to those that think they’re great statesmen and just want to play the game (Biden).

    I think trends and timing are conspiring** to make our government act even more stupidly than usual.

    * The new Russian nationalism seems to be borrowing a lot and leaning heavily on old religious Orthodoxy, but that just might be me.

    ** Implicitly, of course….

  • jan

    Larry Johnson’s blog, No Quarter doesn’t spare the whip on voicing his crusty opinion on anything — one which frequently crisscrosses party lines. His Ukraine analysis is pretty succinct:

    We need to mind our own damn business.

  • ...

    Second, what’s the unit of measure of self-determination? The country? The county? The city? The block? The individual?

    I punted on this earlier. I’m tempted to punt on this again. It would be easy to say that borders should be redrawn to match ethnic realities, but the new World Elite want open borders anyway, and frankly I don’t see the US ceding LA to Mexico, or east Central Florida to Puerto Rico, or Miami to Cuba. (The Cubans in Miami would be pissed.)

    Not to mention that those pesky ethnic types don’t always segregate themselves in way that would be useful to map makers, which would mean more of what Joe Biden was so found of for Iraq – ethnic cleansing.

    So we’re going to do what is always done: watch border wars and sectarian violence tear places apart until or unless a stronger outside influence (that is, an empire) marches in to make everyone play nice.

  • TastyBits

    Ukraine has been part of the Russian Empire since Peter the Great. The borders have moved around, and the present borders are probably much larger. There has been unrest at times, and if I am not mistaken, the Cossacks have caused trouble for one or two of the weaker Czars.

  • ...

    We need to mind our own damn business.

    Hear, hear!

  • My hipshot reaction to the American response to the situation in Ukraine is that we’re starting to return to a familiar pattern: carrying the EU’s water.

  • steve

    Just like Syria, we need to stay out of this. We have no compelling interests at stake. Russia does. What I dont understand, is those claiming Putin is have things go his way. Maybe, but mostly the place looks like a mess. This will be difficult for Russia to fix, if they can. If the EU wants to battle the Russians over the place, good luck to them.

    It amazes me how many people cannot let go of the battle against communism even after we won.

    Steve

  • Another observation: to my eye it doesn’t look as though either the Russians or the Ukrainians are particularly interested in liberal democracy. They’re more interested in prosperity or, possibly more to the point, escaping destitution.

    Factoid. According to the World Bank, per capita GDP in Ukraine is $4,000. That compares with $14,000 in Russia and $13,000 in Poland. It’s about on the level of Albania. I think EU membership for Ukraine would present a particular problem for Poland. Ukraine would be to Poland as Mexico is to the U. S.

  • PD Shaw

    Elipses: You must have missed Razib Khan’s post: Russia Homophobia Has Little to Do with Religion He posts surveys that show that while Orthodox religious identification has increased substantially, hostility to homosexuality has decreased slightly. Also, whether one is religious or not appears to have no predictive value on views on homosexuality in Russia.

    My suspicion is that in Russia strong nationalist sentiment, not religion, is the root of homosexual intolerance.

  • ...

    I don’t think Putin is helping, however, wanting to set up naval bases in the Americas. Unless that is a bargaining chip. I really think we need to talk to the Russians and say, “You tend to your backyard, and we’ll tend to ours.”

    And I just heard some idiot on TV stating that this is a reason for us to INCREASE the size of the military. Yeah, ’cause we got the dough for that.

    Finally, it sounds like US diplomats are going to try and ramp up the heat. Absolutely fantastic.

  • I really think we need to talk to the Russians and say, “You tend to your backyard, and we’ll tend to ours.”

    Who could possibly believe such an offer on our part?

  • ...

    Yes, PD, I did miss that post. Razib usually requires a level of attention I rarely have these days.

    Interesting data.

    My suspicion is that in Russia strong nationalist sentiment, not religion, is the root of homosexual intolerance.

    Yes, societies that need everyone breeding tend to be less tolerant in that regard.

    It’s also interesting to note that there have been societies discovered (or rather, examined) in recent decades that don’t seem to have had homosexual practice and even seemed a bit confused by the concept.

  • ...

    Who could possibly believe such an offer on our part?

    Admittedly, it would take an act of faith on their part, and a reversal of course on ours. Mister, we could use a man like Andrew Jackson a-gaaaaain….

  • ...

    And Obama once again keeps everyone waiting. What a fucking prima donna. Fifteen minutes late and counting. The Russians should just go ahead and nuke us. By the time Obama arrived in the ready room an hour after being told of the alert we’d all be radioactive ash.

  • PD Shaw

    Americans love big backyards.

  • TastyBits

    @PD Shaw

    The Russian Orthodox Church is an offshoot of the Byzantine or Greek Orthodox Church. It is not quite what most people think. I do not know if it has modernized, but under Czarist Russia, it had changed little over several hundred years.

    I wonder if the filmmaker in the link will be going to Egypt or Libya to discuss homophobia with the Muslims. Somehow I doubt it.

  • To the extent that it’s an offshoot of Greek Orthodoxy, it shot off a millennium ago. The Russian Orthodox Church has had a pretty continuous independent history since the 12th century or thereabouts. The liturgical language is the language of that period—Old Church Slavonic, the ancestor of nearly all the modern Slavic languages. Like the other Eastern Orthodox churches, it’s quite conservative.

    What we’ve learned over the last twenty some-odd years is that the Church went underground during the Soviet era and was one of the few surviving institutions after the Communist Party collapsed.

  • michael reynolds

    I just read Obama’s statement on Ukraine. I take from it that we will make loud mooing noises and do something inconsequential in the event Putin invades, or backs a civil war, or however Mr. Putin goes about getting his Sudetenland. I saw nothing that suggests we’re going to do anything. Which is the correct answer.

    Obviously we aren’t going to become militarily involved, that’s insanity. As is so often the case, a map is useful in explaining the impossibility of such a thing even if we were mad enough to try. And just as obviously the only sanction that would actually harm Putin would be Europe cutting off imports of Russian oil and gas. (Go ahead, laugh: that was intended as a joke.)

    So we aren’t going to do anything, and we’ve made it pretty clear that we aren’t going to do anything. We will confine ourselves to singing from the Self-Determination hymnal. Later we will shake our heads sadly and say, “Tsk tsk, bad Russkies.”

    We have a perfect right – and a moral obligation – to condemn Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Sounds to me like that’s what we’re doing.

    So, why exactly are we supposed to be worked up here?

  • michael reynolds

    By the way, Kerry’s earlier statement (yesterday? Day before?) already made it clear we weren’t doing anything. So I guess I’m missing the rationale for some of the invective and moaning up-thread. Did someone think we were going to war? Over the Ukraine?

  • Well, there hasn’t been any “invective and moaning” from me. And there has been some saber-rattling, not in this comment thread but from people with a lot more power and influence than any of us have so I think it’s a fair topic for discussion.

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned much: an army of international observers pronounced the Ukrainian presidential election well within standards of fairness and honesty and that the complaints of fraud (from both sides as it worked out) were not well-founded. In other words, the democratically-elected president of the Ukraine, vile and corrupt as he is, has been driven into hiding by a mob.

    I’m glad that the president condemned Russian military intervention in the Ukraine and I’ll be doubly glad if that’s about the extent of our actions. I don’t think there are any democratic or liberal values to stand up for in the Ukraine.

  • michael reynolds

    I agree. Yanukovich seems to have been as fairly elected as Morsi and I’m not exactly clear on the rationale that lets Americans back street demonstrations over elections. The problem now is that Putin has his cause if he wants to pursue it: he’d be standing behind the duly-elected government against agitators. And he could make at least something of a case that Ukraine would descend into civil war without Russian intervention.

    Weigh all that against Europe’s half-hearted embrace of Ukraine, the fact that we don’t really seem to have a dog in this fight, and I think Putin can do whatever he likes. But for form’s sake we’ll need to do some consulting and possibly even some re-evaluating. Brace yourself for a strongly-worded condemnation.

  • TastyBits


    In other words, the democratically-elected president of the Ukraine, vile and corrupt as he is, has been driven into hiding by a mob.

    If you do not get enough Facebook likes, you cannot be the legitimate leader.

    I do not have an iPhone, but when it comes to bullets and bombs, is there an app for that?

  • steve
  • ...

    It’s been 99 years and eight months since WWI kicked off. That also started out as a Slavic clusterfuck. Somehow I don’t think the world leaders now are any more competent than the leaders then. Let’s hope fear of nuclear Armageddon imparts unto them a fear that resembles wisdom in its affects.

  • Andy

    “Yanukovich seems to have been as fairly elected as Morsi and I’m not exactly clear on the rationale that lets Americans back street demonstrations over elections.”

    Democracy requires a lot more than elections. Like with Morsi, the election was fair, but what comes afterward matters in terms of how the victor governs. This is particularly true in divided societies like Ukraine.

    As far as the current crisis goes, I expect that Crimea, starting today, will no longer be a de-facto Ukrainian province.

  • PD Shaw

    When Yanukovich won his close election, he started changing the rules to get the one-vote/one-time result, systematically eliminating opposition to his party, including jailing his chief political rival and her supporters. Freedom House ratings:

    2006-2010: 2.5 (Free)
    Yanukovich Elected
    2011: 3.0 (Partly Free)
    2012 – 2014: 3.5 (Partly Free)

  • jan

    I listened to Obama’s brief statement this afternoon. What was accomplished by it? At the end of it he basically said nothing of importance.

  • Cstanley

    I think EU membership for Ukraine would present a particular problem for Poland. Ukraine would be to Poland as Mexico is to the U. S.

    I don’t follow the logic there. Ukraine is a poorer nation bordering Poland, but that is true whether Ukraine is an EU member or not.

    The Poles want Ukraine in the EU because they hate and distrust the Russians more than they hate the Ukrainians. As noted upthread, Ukraine means borderland, and the Poles believe that their security requires this buffer.

    They also believe that EU membership would improve the economic situation in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Poland would solidify its own ranking among the middle tier of EU economies and as a power broker.

    Lastly, I sense that the common enmity and shared sense of struggle is motivating the Poles to side with Ukrainian nationalists. Sikorski motivated the opposition forces to reconcile with the government (a deal that quickly fell apart, but nonetheless was the right thing to do at that juncture to stop the bloodshed) by recounting his experiences in Solidarność.

  • TastyBits

    @Andy

    You can put as much lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Overthrowing a democratically elected government rarely results in another democratically elected government. Democratically elected governments are not overthrown by people concerned with the democratic process. People concerned with the process work within the process to overturn the government.

    Many Democrats believed that President Bush did not legitimately win the 2000 election. They believe that he was appointed by the Supreme Court. Many Republicans believe that President Obama has usurp legislative powers, and he is moving towards an out of control executive branch.

    Democrats waited until 2008 to fix the problem. Should they have acted sooner? Republicans will wait until 2016 to fix the problem. Should they act sooner?

    How does a democratically elected government know when it warrants being overthrown? Is there a checklist, or is this just a gut feeling? Who gets the final authorization, or is it just a mob decision? If it is a mob decision, does each mob use the same checklist? If not, why?

    If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would think that somebody was causing chaos to be able to benefit from that chaos.

    I have no knowledge of Ukrainian internal politics, but we can look at various scenarios in other places. We may see Ukraine borrow a page from Egypt’s playbook. With all the chaos, the Ukrainian military may ride in to save the day, and then, they may stay in power to keep the peace.

  • Cstanley

    Tasty, I think the analogy to US electoral challenges is completely inapt. Partly that is because of the differences between the two countries (US has a >200 year history, a robust system of checks and balances, and is a superpower, while Ukraine as a democracy is in it’s infancy, lacks sufficient Constitutional protections, and without EU membership lacks the ability to control its economic future without Russian domination.)

    In addition, the situations are completely different. No one is challenging the legitimacy of the elections, but rather the legitimacy of the elected official’s actions. You asked for a metric- well, if GWB had responded to Iraq War protests by issuing executive orders to override the first amendment and ordered military police to start shooting at Code Pink, that would have perhaps been cause for his removal. Likewise, if he had jailed Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Or if Obama similarly responds to his political opponents and the. Tea Party.

    It seems to me that a lot of the participants in this thread are reflexively dismissing any action to thwart Putin, on the grounds that it is not the US’s business and that some people who want to stick it to Putin want that for wrong reasons. Sympathizing with the Ukrainian nationalists and advocating an active military role for the US are not the same thing. What I’d be interested to see, for instance, are ideas for what the EU should do. Notwithstanding their fecklessness, determining the right course for them seems vital IMO to determining the right supporting role for the US- obviously not a military one, but what means do we have to try to strengthen EU’s hand in dealing with the mess in their backyard.

  • PD Shaw

    I am interesting in understanding what the loss of the Peninsula means to Ukraine. Politically, it appears to me that Yanukovych could not have won election without it; the political outcomes change without the more than 2 million Russians. I don’t have a sense that the Peninsula is integral to the rest of Ukraine’s economy, its major industries are tourism, trade, and hosting the Russian fleet. It seems that the Russian move moves the country westward and makes it more hostile to Russia.

  • Russia constitutes about a quarter of Ukraine’s foreign trade while Ukraine is about 5% of Russia’s. Russia is Ukraine’s main source of oil and gas and there’s no obvious alternative. On the flip side the EU is probably not a realistic replacement market for Ukraine’s goods.

    Basically, the trade picture is still highly reflective of inter-republic trade in the old Soviet Union, Ukraine is very dependent on Russia, and they’re not likely to cut the cord any time soon.

    That’s why I view the EU’s overtures to Ukraine as mostly mischief-making. Ukraine is pretty desperate but the EU isn’t offering anything.

  • ...

    Jan, if Obama said nothing yesterday, then he finally got something right on the first try. Neither the Ukraine generally or the Crimea specifically are any of our Damned business. Let the diplomats expell some non-volatile and non-threatening vapors about the matter and be done with it.

  • TastyBits

    @Cstanley

    It is always different when it is us or our friends. For the US and Europe, this is unacceptable behavior, but for the rest of the world, they are too dumb to know any better.

    I can assure you that there are a number of groups that can generate a list of political crimes and political prisoners of the US. Waco and Ruby Ridge are two, but I know the left has a long list also. Black Panthers (New and old) and Louis Farrakhan are two, but there are others.

    Interestingly, the list of reasons for overthrowing those in power are generated by those in power, and amazingly, the list never includes any of the reasons the fringe groups would include.

    200 years ago, US politics was a lot rougher than it is today. The sitting VP murdered his political rival. Should the government have been overthrown? If not, why?

    In Syria, Dave and I were the only two who were predicting that Russia was not going to let Assad fall. The Russians have military and economic interests in Syria, and if you understood how they got screwed in Libya, it was a no-brainer.

    In Ukraine, the Russians have economic, military, and historic interests, and they are not going to let it go. It may seem like Putin has gotten beaten, but Russia just has to wait until the next Flappy Birds app comes out.

    The question is not what the US can do. The question is: what does the US have the will to do? Until you answer that question, everything else is noise. I suspect that the “do nothing” crowd believe like I do that the answer is: not much.

    Unless President Obama is thwarting the will of the American people, everything else is nothing more than a temper tantrum.

    As an unrepentant warmonger, I have no problem sending tanks. Hell, I will shave and squeeze my fat ass into my cammies if the Marine Corps will take me. The TOW system cannot have changed much, and I am sure the T-72 still is no match.

  • michael reynolds

    Whatever the misdeeds of the Yanukovich (or Morsi) government, I don’t see how the US, the great advocate of free elections, can be in the position of publicly welcoming mob rule. It’s hard to nuance that in a way that doesn’t end up looking hypocritical and undercutting our core message of democracy. What would our new policy be? To only support democracy where we like the choices the voters have made?

  • michael reynolds

    Tasty:

    What could possibly go wrong in a tank war with the Russians?

    Before we start talking about tanks, can someone show me on the map how they get there? It’s a thousand miles from the German border to Kiev. And there appear to be sovereign nations in the way. And our tanks may be swell, but how good is our air cover from a thousand miles away with Russian air defenses ringing the area.

    So, no war. Not even with all the will in the world. And no war is being contemplated. Quite the contrary, what we have signaled is that we intend some pro-forma diplomatic gestures and that we are letting the Europeans (who made this mess) drive the bus.

    Jan:

    The President of the United States – that is Barack Obama, despite his being a subhuman mongrel as you Tea Party folks like to say – always speaks on behalf of stability and calm in tense situations. It’s what we do. We are the status quo power. Failure to voice an objection to invasion is tacit support. The way to avoid our stance being mis-interpreted as tacit support, is to issue a statement saying something along the lines of, “Hey, everybody calm down and let’s not have any invading.” Which is what we have now done.

  • jan

    How does a democratically elected government know when it warrants being overthrown? Is there a checklist, or is this just a gut feeling? Who gets the final authorization, or is it just a mob decision? If it is a mob decision, does each mob use the same checklist? If not, why?

    Good question, Tasty. I’ve often wondered where the limit lines of civility in people are, myself. Even in the small malfunctions of life, it’s kind of a curiosity how people tend to sort their actions out fairly and with consideration for others. For instance, when a stop light goes out, people usually default to an orderly ‘every other one’ formation. Or, at a four-way stop, why don’t more people simply charge ahead at the same time!

    Here in this country, it’s kind of amazing that people wait to vote out distasteful leaders in constitutional intervals, rather than taking up more revolutionary means — especially in the era of a populace’s propensity for instant gratification. However, maybe this country just hasn’t been pressed to the wall enough, like the ones we see rioting in the streets, in an up close but detached venue of streamed footage from afar.

    I actually think the tea party movement has been the closest image we’ve seen of massive discontent with government for some time — having far more legitimacy and duration than their OWS counterparts. And, similar to some of the conflicts we’ve recently witnessed abroad, the teas represent ordinary people pushing back against government elites who think they know what is best for the people they rule. Furthermore the non scandals flooding this administration — IRS abuses, Benghazi cover-up, PPACA lies and obfuscation of fairness, unilateral executive power threats, class warfare rhetoric for election purposes — simmers, adding only fuel to the fires of resentments brooding below the surface of many people’s minds and emotions. And, if a government goes too far, even civil societies can often break apart, becoming real time video news at one’s door stop.

  • jan

    Michael, I see you are playing that ‘subhuman mongrel’ comment for all it’s worth. It’s interesting, though, as you seem to be a minority of one harping on an entertainer’s worthless mouthing-off, in an attempt to foul the concerns of millions of people reacting to government measures they don’t agree with.

    Furthermore, if you are so incensed by Nugent’s comment, why not complain about the multitude of insults recklessly thrown by democrats at their political opponents, such as:

    1. “Unhinged” Arsonists (Wasserman-Schultz)
    2. Insane People Who “Have Lost their Minds” (Harry Reid)
    3. “People with a Bomb Strapped to their Chest” (aka Terrorists)(Dan Pfeiffer)
    4. Blatant Extortionists (Jay Carney)
    5. “Legislative Arsonists” (Nancy Pelosi)
    6. “A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy” NC NAACP president’s comment directed towards SC R senator Tim Scott.
    7. “A Mexican carrying the Mexican’s water” — directed towards Susan Martinez, R governor of NM, from a democratic state legislator.
    8. “They’re liars” — Harry Reid’s latest Michael,

    BTW, I don’t want to spoil all your spoiler’s fun, but there have been apologies extended by republican politicians for Nugent’s remark. For instance:

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted an open condemnation: “Ted Nugent’s derogatory description of President Obama is offensive and has no place in politics. He should apologize.”

    A week later, Paul — a potential candidate for president in 2016 — told a tea party gathering in Washington that the movement needed to watch out for divisive rhetoric. “There are times, and I don’t think it is our movement, but there are times when people are using language that shouldn’t be used,” he said. “I recently criticized someone for using some of that language. I’m not going to bring it up, but I will say, that we can disagree with the president without calling him names. … When we present our message, if we want a bigger crowd, if we want to win politically, our message has to be a happy message, one of optimism, one of inclusiveness, one of growth.”

    Have there been any such recriminations coming from the democratic politicians about their unfortunate wording towards republicans?

  • Presumably, it’s the “subhuman” part that was objectionable and I agree it was out of line. “Mongrel” is accurate. I’m a mongrel, Michael is a mongrel, so’s the president. Most Americans are mongrels. Generally speaking, we’re proud of it. Or, at least, we used to be.

  • Michael Reynolds

    Jan:
    Actually it’s a running joke that MSNBC apologizes and fires hosts for sins that are only the barest reflection of the dishonesty promoted by Fox News. As for “unhinged” your own party leadership agrees and are busily working to stuff you people back into the party’s closet.

  • jan

    Dave,

    IMO that whole Nugent comment was out of line, as is much of the hyperbole that is misused by people in the public eye — politicians, entertainers, leaders of groups and the like. However, I do see more of it coming from the left than the right, maybe because when it’s left-generated it seems ‘cool,’ and from the right it seems crass.

    Michael,

    All I can say is that you’re encrusted in your own opinions, and many of those, IMO, are kind of warped.

  • Ben Wolf

    @PD Shaw

    There aren’t any good politicians in the mix. Tymoshenko was widely regarded as corrupt, the “gas princess” who made millions auctioning off the country’s wealth. During the Orange Revolution she sold out her ally Yushchenko and buddied up with a fellow going by the name of Yanokovych; together they basically destroyed Yushchenko and his presidency. Later Yanokovych and Yushchenko allied together to jail Tymoshenko, and now that she’s out Tymoshenko is the “leader” of the anti-Yanokovych forces.

    What it all boils down to is all these fine, upstanding figures were vying for the power to screw each other and the country over. Meanwhile the average woman is out in the streets protesting because their lives suck and they just want something better, rather than the same corrupt cronies cycling through power again and again.

    I don’t think there’s any good outcome for the Ukrainian people in this.

  • TastyBits

    @michael reynolds

    It was a backhanded slap at those chiding President Obama for not doing anything. They lack the will to do anything that would make a difference. If they are not willing to send in the tanks, shut the fuck up.

    Other than you pressing me, I have been mostly supportive of President Obama’s foreign policy choices. They are not the ones I would have made, but he is president.

    If President Obama wants to go all in for a war, I will stand with him, and if he wants to stay all out for a war, I will stand with him. Until he starts a half-assed military action, I figure he is doing what he can with the world he found.

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