Monday, March 03, 2014

Aghhh. My Head Is Going to Explode!

"You just don't invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interest."
That pearl of wisdom yesterday from the secretary of state of the United States of America, John Kerry.   Yes, that United States, the very same one that invaded Iraq on a completely bogus, entirely made up pretext resulting in the dislocation of millions, the deaths of upwards of 200,000 Iraqis and a simmering civil war that may result in the break up of the country.  That United States.
Kerry, of course, was talking tough about Russia's occupation of western Ukraine.  He made the statement on Meet the Press.   He also gave a slightly more elaborate version:  ”You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.”   Both times, completely straight face. 
Booyah, John, Booyah!


Anonymous said...

Why do you treat progressive bloggers like your personal facebook page? Why do drive so many other bloggers off the front page? You are ruining the aggregator and should be ashamed of yourself. Along with two other PB bloggers I am going to ask that you be limited to three posts a day or banned. I know you are lonely old man with nothing else to do with your time but PB must come first. Sorry.

Elliott Taylor said...

It's just one more example illustrating that the GOP and the Dems are more alike than they are different. Sort of like the Cons and the Libs who acted in lock step on Afghanistan.

Anonymous: You're behaving like a petulant blowhard. Perhaps you'd be less cranky if you asked your mom to turn up the heat in the basement for you.

doconnor said...

Do you condemn him for finally doing the right thing?

Lorne said...

As always, Mound, the hypocrisy of the West in general, and the United States in particular, is breathtaking. Time for the U.S. to realize its days of domination are over.

harebell said...

I nearly wet myself when I read that... oh and you owe me a new keyboard thanks to the tea that fired out of my mouth.

crf said...

There's nothing phony about invading another country's territory if they feel their own sovereign assets are under threat. Assets like Sevastopol. Or the Panama Canal. It's happened lots of time thoughout history.

Now Kerry would say (perhaps correctly) that Russia's interests are not under threat. And they should just take his word for it. But why should the Russians risk that?

Kerry is a real unimpressive character. There have been so many occasions where it'd be better if he thought for at least a few days before opening his mouth.

doconnor said...

The risks of thier current actions seem far greater then some unsupported claim that thier military asset are under some kind of threat from the revolution.le

Kirby Evans said...

@doconnor - with all due respect, this is very typical of one your comments - it fails to see the big picture. The Americans are not doing the "right" thing, they are doing the "ideological" thing. Bad people (or states) do many terrible things and then sometimes their interests intersect with a good or laudable thing. However, when their underlying goals are self-interested and exploitative, then then are still to be mistrusted and an occasion like this is an effective event to point out their hypocrisy. If Russia was a proper American ally then they would be praising this "invasion" as a protection of democracy.

Richard said...


I post maybe once every few days over at Canadian Trends and have no problem getting views from Progressive Bloggers or votes. Mound's posting frequency doesn't negatively harm my posts or result in reduced exposure.

Likewise Mound's posts tend to get votes, create discussion, and seem to create general agreement.

I don't see how providing more content is a "bad thing". Also, why post "Anonymously" if you claim to represent progressive bloggers?

As for the subject in question... it's blowing my mind too Mound. Mine too.

Scott Tribe said...

I'm only dropping around here because someone made me aware of comment #1 in this thread.

I've no issue with The Disaffected Lib or the # of posts he does at this point in time. If he were to post 20 in a day.. then I might say something. Otherwise, Anonymous Poster in Comment #1, please don't speak for me as to how Progressive Bloggers views the number or quality blogposts of Disaffected Lib.

The Mound of Sound said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
crf said...


On the balance of probabilities, Russian assets in Crimea are likely safe. However, those assets are so important that they cannot take that chance. While the west can put as much faith as they want into the words of Ukraine's new government, since they have absolutely nothing concrete invested in that country, Russia can't.

This situation is almost analogous to Panama's. America could not take any risk, however small, that Noriega would endanger that essential military asset.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, despite your cowardly cloaking of your identity, I will respond. I do post more than most other bloggers but if you look at those posts you will see a great variety in topics and a fair number of original content essays. Were I like some bloggers who incessantly post that "Harper is a shit" I could appreciate your resentment. I don't.

A good deal of what I post is not covered by others but, with rare exception, it speaks to progressive issues. In fact I routinely check to see if someone else is posting on a particular subject and I'm apt to withhold a post in that case. Too many people writing the same thing on the same topic fuels group think and I don't want to do that. There's a lot of that, too much.

And, contrary to your suggestion, I have several interests/hobbies but I don't blog about my prowess at the rifle range or my skill at powering my enduro up forest roads and mountain trails or my splendid photography. And I certainly never blog about my considerable culinary skills. Did I mention I'm an accomplished angler? I don't want to boast.

So, please, don't fret about me being lonely.

ThinkingManNeil said...

Och, Johnny, we hardly know ye! Whatever happened to the spoiled, rich kid who stood with the VVAW and the Winter Soldiers before Congress and decried the crime of Vietnam? I'm guessin' you've steeped too long in the cruddy waters of the Potomac mow to remember that your country always finds some flimsy justification that every war Wall Street, LockMart, and Halliburton give their blessing too - which is virtually all of them...


doconnor said...

The biggest threat to Russian assets has gone from protestors marching and throwing rocks outside of Russia's strongly protected military base to the only thing stopping a legally and morally justified attack by the Ukarian forces is a current lack of stragitic advantage. Not to mention the serious economic damage this will likely cause Russia.

Kirby, I'm glad to hear I am consistent. I don't think American hyprocracy justifies defending Russian actions, which happen to be just as hyprocritical and sigificantly more manipulative and undemocratic, in this case. If the American suddenly decided to stop being hyprocritical, what would you have them do?

Kirby Evans said...

You're consistent doconnor and the emptiness of your empiricism never fails to get a smile (albeit a cynical one) from me. Your reply is like a gambling addict who won one at the races and imagines that his luck has turned. Please go back to the logic textbooks that you seem to prize so highly and recall that one positive assertion of a fact does not imply a judgement of another fact. Calling the US out on their hypocrisy is not a moral justification for Russian militarism. Rather, it is exactly what it is - a observation of American hypocrisy. If a school bully continually beats up kids in the school-yard and then condemns another bully for the same actions, the moral weight of his condemnation is indeed lessened and mitigated by his record of bullying. If you don't understand that then I have given you more credit than you deserve. And since US condemnation of Russia comes while the US continues to support Israel for the very same kind of actions every day, we can be certain that the US has not turned over a new leaf as you seem to think it might have. (To say nothing of their other on-going militarist escapades world wide). Moral currency, like trust, is earned and death row conversions are usually hollow. Come on doconnor, demonstrate some of that rationality that you say you trade on.

And @ Mound, damn the torpedos and keep the posts coming.

doconnor said...

I don't deny the United State's objections to Russian actions are morally weakened by their hypocrisy (not that it being morally upright would make a difference to Russia).

Just because the United States is being hypocritical does that mean I am not allowed to agree with them when they happen to do something I (who may be somewhat less hypocritical) support.

"Calling the US out on their hypocrisy is not a moral justification for Russian militarism"

crf seems to think so with his very dubious arguments supported Russia's actions.

crf said...

I don't "support them": I am far too cynical about absolutely everything for that.

I am trying to understand and explain what "they" are doing. And gave the example of Panama, where similar reasoning occurred in the United States. Realpolitik doesn't seek "justifications" it seeks disinterested explanations. It's an amoral way of looking at the world, to be sure, but it has great explanatory power. It explains, but doesn't justify, the actions of Netanyahu and Putin and Abe and China. It has a track record to back it up.

Now you may say that justifying protection of the Canal was just an irrelevant pretext in that invasion since the Canal was not seriously threatened. However, the US wasn't going to abide any risk whatsoever. So the invasion of Panama wasn't just about capturing a drug-money-syphoning-nut who made President Bush's look wimpy. It was about securing a government in Panama supportive of US interests and offering no threat to the canal, which was an essential military asset that could come under no risk, however small.

There is a real blind spot in the west. People seek emotional explanations for everything, and tend to ignore other explanations. So many people think that politics and wars are conducted based on hatreds and emotions spiraling out of control. That happens, to be sure. But its only half the story (or less) for why governments do what they do.

So many people in the West also can't abide realpolitik because it offer political cover or discounts as irrelevant the evil, dubious and puerile hatreds that manifest themselves in conflict, as well as the glory and the sacrifice. And this is true. And you could argue that it's Evil. But life is not fair. And we shouldn't discount theories of how the political world works because they violate our sense of morality. We don't abide this in Science, and we shouldn't in political science.

The Mound of Sound said...

crf is right. This is one of those realpolitik moments that transcend the pleasantries of international convention. Putin needs a secure land route to Sevastopol and that's all there is to it. He's going to get it because we're not going to risk an escalating war to prevent it. America, from its safe distance, is calling for sanctions against Moscow but the European Union is splitting away from Washington.

It is what it is. We should do what we were supposed to do with Korea and Vietnam. Separate the country on ethnic lines and hold a referendum to determine whether Ukraine should be separated into two sovereign states or united.

Stew said...

Life is neither fair nor unfair, only people can make that judgement. And if realpolitic is as you say, then death maybe the only fair thing left.

The Mound of Sound said...

Stew, where would you get the remarkable idea that there's anything remotely fair in death?

doconnor said...

@crf I'm not sure if you are saying that protecting their assets is the real underlying reason behind what they are doing or not.

If it is the real reason, then they are being emotional since they are putting their assets is much greater risk then doing nothing.

If not, then what is the real reason? I haven't seen any reason that really stands up, except maybe the Putin has gone crazy.

In Panama, the US had more reason to believe that their assets where in danger then Russia does. 5 days before the invasion "the Panamanian general assembly passed a resolution declaring that the actions of the United States had caused a state of war to exist between Panama and the United States" due to various claims and 4 days before a group of U.S. military personnel where attacked and one killed.

Death is fair because it happens to everyone (so far).

The Mound of Sound said...

Doc, I would tend to agree with you a little more if America hadn't spent so many years provoking Russia. What is going on now was foreseen by the late George Kennen, credited with the brilliant "containment not confrontation" strategy that guided the U.S. and the world safely through the first Cold War.

Before his death in 2005, Kennen was warning this sort of showdown was coming from America's relentless obsession with bringing NATO weapons and forces right to the borders of Russia.

Had the shoe been on the other foot, America would have attacked without hesitation. Even a runway on Grenada was enough for the Americans to invade and topple the elected government.

BTW - that death is inevitable doesn't make it fair, merely universal. It's how and when death arrives and how death is experienced that conclusively demonstrates there's nothing fair about it.

doconnor said...

The government wasn't elected. Based on the Wikipedia article Grenada had 3 coups since its last election before the invasion.

The situation in Cuba with Guantanamo Bay is similar to Ukraine, except Cuba is and was much more hostile then Ukraine, yet the US has restrained itself. The Bay of Pigs wasn't a military operation and just showed what a bad idea trying anything would be.