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The Russians Are Coming

The Russians Are Coming
10 very good reasons not to believe Vladimir Putin when he says he’s totally not going to invade eastern Ukraine.

BY Michael Weiss
MARCH 28, 2014

rus com

Late on Friday afternoon, news broke that Russian President Vladimir Putin had called President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss the possibility of a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Crimea. The two agreed to dispatch their chief emissaries to talk details about how to diffuse the situation. But while a settlement might now be a possibility, United States and NATO intelligence assessments agree that the likelihood of Russian troops crossing the border into eastern (and possibly northern and southern) Ukraine grows by the hour. So, is this another Putin psych-out? It may well be.

Here are 10 facts on the ground that add up to a very real chance that Russia might still invade Ukraine:

1. The size of troop movements, and the field hospitals.

As of this writing, Russia has amassed as many as 50,000 troops at various points along the Ukrainian border, including in Russian-occupied Crimea. Videos uploaded to the Internet show armored vehicles being taken off flatbed freight trains in Voronezh, a city northeast of Ukraine’s Kharkiv, and in Novozybkov, which is 50 miles north of Kiev. (Tanks there are already rolling on the ground, in fact.) The Russians have also moved food, medicine, and spare parts into position, which would not be needed for any short-term military “springtime exercises,” as the Defense Ministry now claims is all they’re up to. A field hospital has been erected in the Bryansk region, as Voice of America reported: that’s just 12 miles away from Ukraine’s eastern border, which is now heavily monitored by Russian drones. Furthermore, Moscow has resorted to subterfuge to hide its activities — not a terribly good sign of its sincerity. U.S. signals intelligence has been hindered by old-school tactics, including the use of couriers who deliver messaging from the army’s High Command to commanders in the field. A senior U.S. military official told the Wall Street Journal: “They have moved into concealed positions,” almost certainly to evade American spy satellites. If Russia wanted to reassure Washington that it was only staging drills, it would broadcast its movements and activities, not conceal them. “We’ve seen no specific indications that exercises are taking place,” said the Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, on Thursday. Russia has enough men and firepower to reach the separatist region of Transnistria in Moldova, according to NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe, Gen. Philip Breedlove. Meanwhile, Moldova Prime Minister Iurie Leanca sees “provocations” by the illegal statelet-within-a-state as likely. Let’s not forget that the last time Russia held an impromptu military “exercise,” it invaded and lopped off Crimea.

2. Putin enjoys embarrassing the United States, and especially its current commander-in-chief.

On Feb. 28, Obama warned that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine” — before high-tailing it to a Democratic National Committee cocktail party at the Washington Hilton. The next day, the world awoke to a Russian invasion of Crimea. “Rarely has a threat from a U.S. president been dismissed as quickly — and comprehensively — as Obama’s warning on Friday night,” the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson reported. And let’s look at the laundry list of American desires and warnings the Kremlin has brushed aside: Russia has dramatically increased its arms transfers to Syria since the chemical disarmament deal was struck last fall. It continues to host fugitive NSA spy Edward Snowden. And during the midst of the Maidan protests, Russia’s own spies intercepted a phone call between a top U.S. State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, then leaked the contents of it to Kremlin-controlled media. Moreover, neither Putin nor his inner circle seem terribly aggravated by the current suite of U.S. or EU sanctions or the blockbuster admission by the Treasury Department that Putin — now a staunch patriotic proponent of the “de-offshoreization” of the Russian economy — personally controls assets in Swiss oil commodities giant Gunvor.

3. The IMF bailout.

The International Monetary Fund’s assistance package to Ukraine was announced yesterday. It amounts to $18 billion to be dispensed over two years, and to which can be added the $14 billion already promised to Ukraine by other international contributors, such as the United States and European Union. That’s a serious amount of money to help fish a floundering country out of a deep financial soup, and it well exceeds the bribe Putin offered Viktor Yanukovych to scrap the association agreement with the EU, which led to the revolution in Kiev. Yes, the IMF loan comes with conditions, particularly in Ukraine’s energy sector. State gas company Naftohaz will have to be restructured and consumers will have to pay higher energy prices, which might not go down so well in the Maidan. But even so,

Putin has been written out of his decade-long role as the dark lord of Ukraine’s volatile and expensive gas industry. I wonder how that makes him feel. Clearly, he would now prefer the total collapse of Ukrainian state institutions and its market economy to an IMF-facilitated stability. And who better to guarantee a reconstruction effort than conveniently located Russian troops?

4. Putin has seen how reliably the U.S. policy establishment has done his work for him already.

How he must love it when the former director of Policy Planning at the State Department Anne-Marie Slaughter publishes an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing, inter alia, that the annexation of Crimea was legally and morally equivalent to NATO’s intervention in Kosovo (conveniently forgetting that the latter stopped a genocide waged by a former Communist apparatchik turned pan-Slavic nationalist). This equivalence is exactly what Kremlin propaganda has maintained. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s vice president for studies, Andrew Weiss, told the New York Times two days ago that Brussels is to blame for precipitating Russia’s aggression by pursuing an association agreement with Ukraine in the first place. Putin couldn’t agree more. All of the Beltway’s best and brightest, who now profess to be in a state of total shock at the erosion of the post-Cold War order, nevertheless agree that the priority for the United States is to mollify rather than antagonize an angry bear. This is not a message lost on its subject. Putin must reckon that if his tanks roll into Kiev next Wednesday, those advising Obama will say, “Well, we mustn’t upset him more because then he might invade Warsaw.” (And judging from American rhetoric, Putin might be right about that.)

5. Well, seriously, what are we going to do about it?

As Russian armored personnel carriers and paratroopers move into position, John Kerry’s spokesperson, Jennifer Psaki, tweeted this: “Watching huge Russian military buildup on #Ukraine’s borders: dangerous intimidation #RussiaIsolated.” That’ll teach ‘em. Does the administration not see the futility in accusing Putin of playing by 19th-century rules using 21st-century media he’s looking to censor, disrupt, or eventually shut down? How many divisions has the hashtag? Indeed, no one at any senior level in the U.S. government or NATO is contemplating a military response to an invasion of the Ukrainian mainland and the dismemberment of a European country. And Putin knows it. There’s not even a bluff he has to call.

6. Listen to what the Kremlin functionaries are saying.

Yesterday, as the United Nations General Assembly voted to reaffirm Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Russia’s ambassador to that body, Vitaly Churkin, accused the U.S. embassy in Kiev of hosting the real shooters of Maidan demonstrators. Last week, Russia’s insane propagandist-in-chief Dmitry Kiselyov took to the airwaves of his brand-new disinformation clearinghouse, Rossiya Segodnya, to remind viewers: “Russia is the only country in the world which is really capable of turning the USA into radioactive ash.” Does this sound like a government looking for an “off-ramp” to an imminent confrontation with the West?

7. Russia’s military and arms trade relies on Ukraine.

A little-noticed item in Sovershenno Sekretno, a Moscow-based magazine, authored by Vladimir Voronov, appeared in late February making the case for why Russia would indeed mount incursions into Ukraine. The most salient reason given was that, contrary to conventional wisdom that Ukraine’s military depends on Russia, the situation is actually the other way around: Russia’s military-industrial complex needs Ukraine’s manufacturing resources. “It is difficult to overestimate the significance of Motor Sich for our aviation at least because its engines are used in all our helicopters, including the combat ones,” Voronov wrote, referring to Ukraine’s aircraft engine company. “It also remains the supplier of engines for aircraft used by the Russian Air Force and civilian airlines.” The Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv alone hosts three different shipbuilding facilities, without which, Voronov says, “Russian shipbuilders cannot handle the ambitious program of rearming their own fleet.” And the Ukrainian state-owned design bureaus Pivdenne and Pivdenmash are also necessary for Moscow’s nuclear missile upgrades.

In September 2013, the Washington-based arms watchdog c4ads published a brilliant report called “The Odessa Network,” which showed how a serious portion of the global arms trade was being conducted out of Odessa and Oktyabirsk, two Ukrainian port cities that now sandwich Crimea. Oktyabirsk is where the Soviets sent nuclear missiles to Cuba from in 1963, and, as of last year, was “functionally owned by Russia — the port manager is a former Russian a navy captain, and the port owner is a Kremlin-linked oligarch,” as authors report Tom Wallace and Farley Mesko wrote. Odessa is home to the shipping companies that handle the logistics for weapons transfers, particularly by Russia’s state-owned arms dealer Rosoboronexport which controls 80 percent of the country’s arms exports. In the last several years, Rosoboronexport has dispatched Kh-55 cruise missiles to Iran, Pechora-2 SAMs to Eritrea, T-72 tanks to Venezuela and — very likely — other forms of hardware to Bashar al-Assad’s Syria from this southeastern city on the Black Sea. Rosoboronexport had $34 billion in weapons contracts as of June 1, 2013, with sales inked with 66 countries.

The company has two other maritime ports through which it likes to ship its materiel to paying customers: St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. But look at a map and weigh for yourself the differential cost in time, money, and insurance in transporting cargos from those ports to, say, countries stationed along the Mediterranean or the Horn of Africa versus from the Black Sea. With a new pro-American, pro-European government now convened in Kiev, do you really think Putin will allow his Odessa network to be disrupted or cancelled?

8. The Kremlin lies shamefully and farcically.

Putin insists to this day that Assad didn’t unleash poison gas in Syria’s capital city last August — despite the Kremlin’s brokering of a diplomatic accord to dismantle and destroy Assad’s poison gas stocks. Putin also insists that there is no Russian military presence in Crimea. Rather, pro-Russian “self-defense” militias — “little green men,” as Ukrainians call them* — have somehow assumed total strategic control over a European peninsula the size of Wales, equipped with toys such as the VSS Vintorez sniper rifle, which is only given to elite units in the Russian military. So measure this track record of bare-faced mendacity against assurances given by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russia has no plans for an invasion of east Ukraine. Some 80,000 Russian soldiers could march into Donetsk and Kharkiv tomorrow, and we’d no doubt hear for the first 24 hours that news of such belligerence was a sinister U.S. conspiracy designed to distract attention from Detroit’s bankruptcy.

9. Kombinatsiya is very much in evidence now.

This under-employed but still extremely relevant concept was defined by Vasili Mitrokhin, the former senior archivist in the Foreign Intelligence Directorate of the KGB, in his KGB Lexicon: The Soviet Intelligence Officers Handbook thus: “Operational combinations to create the right conditions for carrying out overt measures to disrupt enemy subversive activity (by catching the enemy red-handed, by the ‘chance’ discovery by people who can be questioned as witnesses of material evidence of subversive activity…” Kombinatsiya also means disseminating “disinformation of the enemy, recruiting agents, planting them on the enemy, creating conditions required for the effective use of technical operations equipment, etc.”

Saying that homosexual neo-Nazis financed by the State Department are in charge of Ukraine is one interlocking maneuver. So is releasing compromising or embarrassing phone conversations between European foreign ministers, American diplomats, and Ukrainian opposition figures; embedding FSB and GRU agents in the now-disbanded Ukrainian riot police Berkut or in the still-active Ukrainian security service SBU; egging on pro-Russian mobs to provoke pro-European Ukrainians into acts of violence in Kharkiv and Donetsk is yet another. And turning the lights off on Russia’s independent media in the very same week you invade its neighbor is part of the domestic operation.

Putin doesn’t want the truth to penetrate his national Potemkin village because the lie needs to be sold complete: the narod (similar to the German volk) must understand that its ethnic kin is under systematic assault from Tallinn to Sevastopol and that, if anything, it’s the Americans who are the ones invading another country — Russia. One also sees a bit of kombinatsiya in the incredibly successful boost to Putin’s popularity (itself a function of a carefully scripted and acted-out propaganda narrative), which jumped 20 points since the Crimean adventure got underway and now hovers at around 80 percent. If Russia invades eastern or southern Ukraine, that figure will go up even higher because the excuse for protecting the Fatherland and its far-flung and imperiled diaspora has been cultivated in advance.

10. Modernizatsiya isn’t just for show.

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has only been in the job for little over a year and already he’s polled as the “most efficient” minister in Dmitry Medvedev’s cabinet. His portfolio was also the most scandalized, as Shoigu’s immediate predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov, was sacked in 2013 owing to corruption charges involving Oboronservis, a Defense Ministry-owned real estate firm that appears to have been largely managed by Serdyukov’s 33-year-old mistress, who allegedly [source] embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars out of it. (It didn’t help Serdyukov’s case that his wronged wife is the daughter of Viktor Zubkov, a former prime minister and close confidante of Putin’s.) But Shoigu wasted no time in establishing himself as a national hero. He has overseen the largest and most ambitious re-armament and modernization program of the Russian military since the fall of the Soviet Union. As my colleague Andrew Bowen has noted, Moscow plans to spend $773 billion by 2020 equipping the majority of its armed forces with the state-of-the-art weapons such as T-50 fighter jets, Borei-class ballistic missile submarines, and RS-26 inter-continental ballistic missiles. Shoigu is also responsible for expanding the ranks of contract soldiers (kontraktniki) who are seen to be more reliable than conscripts. By 2017, the goal is to have 425,000 kontraktniki trained and ready to deploy (Russia currently has less than half that number).

Plenty of military analysts are skeptical that these blue-sky reforms can ever be realized, but consider the exhibitionism that Shoigu’s army and air force have resorted to in the last year. Zapad-2013, another military exercise — this one waged jointly with Belarus — last September, featured as many as 70,000 troops including paratroopers, Spetsnaz (Special Forces), and paramilitary servicemen from the Interior Ministry. It’s had “counterterrorism” exercises with India, and a large-scale naval exercise with China. Russia also conducted its own much-vaunted war game in the Far East, with what it claimed was 160,000 troops, 70 ships, 130 aircraft, and 14 separate army brigades, although, as deputy editor of the newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal Alexander Golts pointed out at the time, these advertised numbers simply didn’t add up. But they really didn’t have to: it’s the plumage of the fledging modernizatsiya that matters most of all. “The objectives have been achieved, and the exercises have been more than satisfactory so far,” Putin declared upon the completion of the Far East exercise. More ominous have been the serial violations of Swedish, Norwegian, Estonian, Japanese, Colombian, American, and Ukrainian airspaces by aircraft that include long-range strategic bombers — the kinds that would, say, reduce a country to radioactive ash.

The Russian armed forces aren’t being revamped and expanded and better equipped for showroom purposes; they were being taken out for a test drive. Recall, too, that Putin, who was appalled at the bumbling and bungled 2008 war with Georgia for which he exclusively blames his former marionette, President Medvedev, has yet to have his own uniquely personalized war in well over a decade.

It’s been a long time since the scorched-earth campaigns in Chechnya. And the timing couldn’t be more right. The U.S. Department of Defense is mired in sequestration blues; the White House is catering to a war-weary and isolationist electorate (which may resent being given what it’s asked for), and John Kerry is racking up air miles pursuing phantom “peace” deals around the globe. (He even met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 24.) Meanwhile, Russia’s spending a mint on its own war-making capability, scoring diplomatic victories over Kerry whenever it can, cleverly exploiting the deterioration of traditional U.S. alliances in the Middle East (whether Egypt or Israel), and now looking to ensure that Ukraine — which Putin considers “not even a state” — of the former Soviet “near abroad” doesn’t stand a chance of existing without a little help from old friends.

It doesn’t bode well, either, that the Kremlin’s read-out of Putin’s phone call with Obama emphasized the “rampage of extremists” in Kiev and beyond, or the “blockade” of Transnistria. Both are clearly pretexts just waiting for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

*Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Putin refers to pro-Russian “self-defense “militias as “little green men.” It is Ukrainians that call the militias “little green men,” not Putin.

VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images
www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/03/28/10_reasons_russia_is_likely_to_invade_ukraine

The 11th reason not written about is the fact that Kremlin and Putin have never recognized the existence of a Ukrainian language, history, culture, and heritage irrespective of its geography!!!
This would be a once and for all final attempt to annihilate Ukrainians living in Ukraine and near abroad like in Poland
.

Read more: Why You Shouldn’t Believe Vladimir Putin When He Says He Doesn’t Want To Invade Eastern Ukraine
Paul Szoldra0Mar 29, 2014, 07.43 AM
www.businessinsider.in/Why-You-Shouldnt-Believe-Vladimir-Putin-When-He-Says-He-Doesnt-Want-To-Invade-Eastern-Ukraine/articleshow/32882455.cms

Insiders to Obama: Send Military Aid to Ukraine

Insiders to Obama: Send Military Aid to Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin “must be checked before it’s too late,” one of National Journal’s Security Insiders said.

 Ukrainian soldiers stand inside the gate of a Ukrainian military base as unidentified heavily armed soldiers stand outside in Crimea on March 3.(Sean Gallup/Getty Images) inShare..


Ukrainian soldiers stand inside the gate of a Ukrainian military base as unidentified heavily armed soldiers stand outside in Crimea on March 3.(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
inShare..

Crimea all but belongs to Vladimir Putin now, and a nervous Ukraine is looking to the U.S. for help. But while the Obama administration has pulled diplomatic levers to rebuke Russia and bolster Kiev, it has thus far rebuffed Ukraine’s reported request for military aid.

And that’s a mistake, according to a slim majority of National Journal’s Security Insiders. Fifty-seven percent agreed that the administration should supply Ukraine with military aid, including weapons, ammunition, and intelligence support.

“It would get Russia’s attention and send a clear message to Putin that he cannot continue to annex neighboring territories with impunity,” one Insider said. “He must be checked before it’s too late.

But 43 percent of Insiders said they opposed supplying Ukraine with lethal aid—albeit for different reasons. Some experts said it was too late to stop Putin, while others said lethal aid would be ineffective at bridging the gap between the Russian and Ukrainian militaries and could inflame tensions with Russia.

Lethal assistance could also open up a Pandora’s box, another Insider said, at too steep a cost for the U.S. “Should we get sucked into a proxy struggle with Russia over a territory that isn’t strategically important to us? No, we shouldn’t,” one Insider said. “History hasn’t shown these sorts of endeavors to produce happy results. Before long we’re throwing good money after bad, risking endless escalation with an adversary that has a lot more at stake than we do.”

1. Should Washington agree to the request from Ukraine’s interim government for U.S. military aid, including weapons, ammunition, and intelligence support?

(61 votes)
■Yes 57%
■No 43%

Yes

“The West and Ukraine would benefit if Ukraine gained the capacity to inflict higher costs on its eastern neighbor if the Kremlin were to contemplate expanded aggression.”

“[Military assistance] increases Putin’s risk calculus. If he thinks that he cannot succeed without great cost, he may be less likely to try. The easier Putin thinks it is to continue to escalate in the short term, the more he is likely to do so. It is possible to deter without provoking.”

“Limited military support is appropriate, but since it is not likely Ukraine will win a major military confrontation with Russia, every effort must be made to reach a diplomatic solution before matters get out of hand.”

“We have a treaty, negotiated by Bill Clinton, guaranteeing the security of their borders. Failing to help here will undo much of the progress towards democracy that we’ve seen in the region. We won the Cold War without firing a shot. We will lose this battle without lifting a finger.”

“To not provide at least intelligence support would be a total abdication of global leadership.”

“The U.S. managed to supply Georgia when it was invaded by Russia without getting us into a war; Obama can do the same, but evidently lacks the will to do so.”

“If Putin continues to bring in troops to Ukraine.”

“We might want to build a Ukrainian government while we’re at it.”

“Yes. We have drawn a red line—now do the things necessary to be credible.”

“Military and State Department planners should certainly be drafting plans and identifying aid needs and options, but military efforts need to take a distant back seat to the diplomatic process. The United States needs to wean itself off of the stick and regain its appreciation for and skill at deploying the carrot.”

No

“It’s too late. We need to negotiate a face-saving solution. We do not need another Cold War. Putin perceives Obama is weak. Sending arms will not convince him otherwise.”

“Weapons and ammunition would not help bridge the yawning capability gap between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries. Though intelligence support may help, anything more would only further inflame U.S.-Russia tensions.”

“We should not pretend Ukraine is within our/NATO’s security sphere: It isn’t. Providing military aid could encourage them to resist: They will be slaughtered. Better to work on reinvigorating NATO’s defenses.”

“We ought not edge any closer to war with Russia over Ukraine and Crimea.”

“The forces are asymmetrical and the marginal benefit would not be consequential. If we want to play hardball, revisit our radar sites in Eastern Europe.”

“Establishing more military ties between Ukraine and the West will only stimulate stronger Russian reactions.”

“While it can seem like a travesty to not aid Ukraine as it requests, the U.S. and its NATO allies cannot barge into Ukraine at this time. Putin has the advantage right now because of interior lines and his capability to infiltrate forces into Ukraine without any effective response from Kiev. The NATO allies need to shore up their own commitments to the Baltic states (including considering requests from Sweden and Finland) before getting involved on the ground in Ukraine. Putin has done what the tsars before him did—swallow up those peripheral states along with all their internal problems, thus making them Moscow’s problems (recall Chechnya in the 1860s?). Let him overextend himself for now while holding the line along the front-line states. Work diplomatically with Ukraine’s military to improve their skills but do so by training Ukrainian forces in Poland. Consider holding Kaliningrad hostage through economic strangulation and water patrols. Let’s get the conditions set first before offering Ukraine the NATO umbrella.”

“We must never forget that the U.S. has no vital interests in Ukraine while Russia does. MAD still dictates a policy of caution in dealing with another nuclear state.”

“No, we’ve already lost this battle. Putin is not pulling back. If we want to do something, it should be in combination with NATO aid and support.”

National Journal’s National Security Insiders Poll is a periodic survey of more than 100 defense and foreign policy experts. They include: Gordon Adams, Charles Allen, Michael Allen, Thad Allen, Graham Allison, James Bamford, David Barno, Milt Bearden, Peter Bergen, Samuel “Sandy” Berger, David Berteau, Stephen Biddle, Nancy Birdsall, Marion Blakey, Kit Bond, Stuart Bowen, Paula Broadwell, Mike Breen, Mark Brunner, Steven Bucci, Nicholas Burns, Dan Byman, James Jay Carafano, Phillip Carter, Wendy Chamberlin, Michael Chertoff, Frank Cilluffo, James Clad, Richard Clarke, Steve Clemons, Joseph Collins, William Courtney, Lorne Craner, Roger Cressey, Gregory Dahlberg, Robert Danin, Richard Danzig, Janine Davidson, Daniel Drezner, Mackenzie Eaglen, Paul Eaton, Andrew Exum, William Fallon, Eric Farnsworth, Jacques Gansler, Stephen Ganyard, Daniel Goure, Mark Green, Mike Green, Mark Gunzinger, Todd Harrison, John Hamre, Jim Harper, Marty Hauser, Michael Hayden, Michael Herson, Pete Hoekstra, Bruce Hoffman, Linda Hudson, Paul Hughes, Colin Kahl, Donald Kerrick, Rachel Kleinfeld, Lawrence Korb, David Kramer, Andrew Krepinevich, Charlie Kupchan, W. Patrick Lang, Cedric Leighton, Michael Leiter, James Lindsay, Justin Logan, Trent Lott, Peter Mansoor, Ronald Marks, Brian McCaffrey, Steven Metz, Franklin Miller, Michael Morell, Philip Mudd, John Nagl, Shuja Nawaz, Kevin Nealer, Michael Oates, Thomas Pickering, Paul Pillar, Larry Prior, Stephen Rademaker, Marc Raimondi, Celina Realuyo, Bruce Riedel, Barry Rhoads, Marc Rotenberg, Frank Ruggiero, Gary Samore, Kori Schake, Mark Schneider, John Scofield, Tammy Schultz, Stephen Sestanovich, Sarah Sewall, Matthew Sherman, Jennifer Sims, Suzanne Spaulding, James Stavridis, Constanze Stelzenmüller, Ted Stroup, Guy Swan, Frances Townsend, Mick Trainor, Richard Wilhelm, Tamara Wittes, Dov Zakheim, and Juan Zarate.

By Sara Sorcher

This article appears in the March 21, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.

www.nationaljournal.com/defense/insiders-poll/insiders-to-obama-send-military-aid-to-ukraine-20140320

Ukrainian officials have pleaded U.S. lawmakers to provide military aid, claiming their ousted president intentionally gutted the nation’s defenses so to make Ukraine vulnerable to a Russian take over.
Putin’s goal has never been Crimea; his goal is Kiev.” USA needs to support the Ukrainian armed forces with military assistance to fend off Russian aggression…and prevent World War 3. Listen Senator McCain stating support for Ukraine’s military as “right and decent”.

McCain calls U.S. military support for Ukraine “right and decent”
politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/15/mccain-calls-u-s-military-support-for-ukraine-right-and-decent/

Russian immigrants from Brooklyn weigh in on Obama’s face-off with Putin

Russian immigrants from Brooklyn weigh in on Obama’s face-off with Putin

In the “Watters’ World” segment of Monday’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” Jesse Watters asked Russian immigrants now living in the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn how President Obama compared with Putin. “He definitely needs to stop riding those bikes,” one said.

Although most seemed to like Obama, all agreed he wasn’t tough enough. Most liked Putin — only one thought he was schizophrenic. Most seemed to agree he was no match for Putin. “Obama has no strategy,” said one man.

Everyone seemed to agree on one point — Putin did not invade Ukraine.
March 18, 2014 by Michael Dorstewitz

Watch the video via Fox News:
video.foxnews.com/v/3354052953001/watters-world-russians-in-america-edition
/#sp=show-clips

Tens of thousands of Russians have immigrated to Brooklyn through the years.

Waves of Russians settled in the Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach neighborhoods in the 1970s and again after the Soviet Union collapsed in the ’90s.

“The O’Reilly Factor” sent Jesse Watters to Brooklyn to talk to them. Watters found that most Russians he spoke to do support Russian President Vladimir Putin
.

If they love Putin and Mother Russia so much why don’t they go back and support Putin’s Russia back home in Russia. Life in America must be better-more freedom and free social services and entitlements in Obama’s America. Best these Russians go back to wonderful Putin and Great Russia, why stay in Brooklyn of all places and spread lies like Putin saves Ukraine- no invade Ukraine, Dah!, Putin no Nazi, Putin better than Obama- SHAME!

Fact Checking Vladimir Putin’s speech on Crimea

Fact Checking Vladimir Putin’s speech on Crimea
Three falsehoods in Putin’s Crimea speech to a joint session of Russian parliament. Truth Teller fact-checks video in the news to explain the truth about what’s being said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday swiftly accepted the Ukrainian province of Crimea as part of Russia, announcing his decision in a lengthy speech that reflected his suspicion of the West and his anger at U.S. actions since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A number of readers have asked us to fact check his speech. Here are some of his more dubious statements, using the official Russian translation provided by the Kremlin.

“A referendum was held in Crimea on March 16 in full compliance with democratic procedures and international norms.”

This is false. The referendum was rushed, political opposition was squelched, and the choices did not allow for a “no.” (The options were either joining Russia — what the ballot called “reunification” — or remaining part of Ukraine with greater autonomy, effectively making the region independent in all but name.)

Moreover, the Ukrainian constitution, in Article 73, says that “alterations to the territory of Ukraine shall be resolved exclusively by the All-Ukrainian referendum,” described in Article 72 as a national referendum called either by the parliament or the president, or as a popular initiative with 3 million signatures from at least two-thirds of administrative districts known as oblasts. The Crimea referendum, set up by local authorities, met none of those conditions.

Under the constitution, Crimea, as an autonomous republic, has specially designated powers. But Article 134 states: “The Autonomous Republic of Crimea shall be an integral constituent part of Ukraine and shall resolve issues relegated to its authority within the frame of its reference, determined by the Constitution of Ukraine.”

“In 1954, a decision was made to transfer Crimean Region to Ukraine, along with Sevastopol…. This was the personal initiative of the Communist Party head Nikita Khrushchev. What stood behind this decision of his — a desire to win the support of the Ukrainian political establishment or to atone for the mass repressions of the 1930’s in Ukraine — is for historians to figure out. What matters now is that this decision was made in clear violation of the constitutional norms that were in place even then. The decision was made behind the scenes.”

Putin, in a long section of the speech, refers to Russia’s “shared history and pride” with Crimea. He is correct on that score. Crimea has been an important part of Russia since Catherine the Great seized it from the Ottoman Empire in 1783. Putin is also correct that the reasons for the 1954 transfer remain a bit of mystery, though historian William Taubman, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Khrushchev, said that the one-time party boss of Ukraine had long tried to expand Ukraine’s territory and even tried to take Crimea for Ukraine 10 years earlier, in 1944.

But Putin is relying on sophism to assert that the transfer violated the “constitutional norms” at the time. Behind the scenes, Khrushchev, who did not yet have full power, had to get approval from key party officials. On Feb. 5, 1954, the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Soviet launched an initiative to transfer Crimea. That resulted in a decree on Feb. 19, 1954, by what was then called the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Then the transfer was formally adopted by the Supreme Soviet on April 26, 1954.

There is some question as to whether the Soviet constitution also would have required referendums in the respective Soviet republics, but the Soviet Union was a one-party state, and the outcome would not have been in question. Ultimately the Supreme Soviet itself had the formal authority to ratify the transfer – -and that’s what happened.

“In general, constitutional norms were not followed in Soviet times even when they were followed — because Supreme Soviets didn’t really decide, but rather, did what they were told to do by party leaders, and elections (and referendums, if they were ever held) were pre-determined,” Taubman said in an e-mail.

“Crimeans say that in 1991, they were handed over like a sack of potatoes, and I can’t help but agree with it. And what about the Russian state? What about Russia? It humbly accepted the situation. This country was going through such hard times then that realistically it was incapable of protecting its interests.”

Actually, Crimea voted on whether to join Ukraine after the Soviet Union collapsed, though it was approved by a relatively narrow majority (54 percent), compared to other areas of Ukraine.

Moreover, Russia did have extremely crucial interests at stake — a cache of more than 1,000 strategic nuclear weapons that were on Ukraine’s soil when the Soviet Union dissolved. In fact, Ukraine was instantly the world’s third biggest nuclear power, with more weapons than Britain, France and China combined. In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, Russia, along with the United States and Britain, agreed to “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine” in exchange for Ukraine’s joining the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“They [Ukrainian revolutionaries] resorted to terror, murder and riots. Nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites executed this coup. They continue to set the tone in Ukraine to this day.”

A coup d’état is obviously in the eye of the beholder, but Putin, without meaning to, actually is describing the role of the former Russian-backed government when he refers to terror and murder during the uprisings.

Putin also exaggerates the role of right-wing, nationalistic factions, though it is true that a party with a neofascist past and other ultra-nationalistic elements are now part of the government. (The party claims it has mellowed, but the World Jewish Congress has warned about it.) The Guardian newspaper, in a long report on this issue, notes that one revolutionary killed by a government sniper “was an unlikely fascist,” adding that “he was Jewish.”

In his speech, Putin described the new Ukrainian leaders as “these ideological heirs of Bandera, Hitler’s accomplice during World War II.” He is referring to Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who sought to create an independent Ukraine after the German invasion of the Soviet Union — only to be thrown into a German concentration camp. He was murdered in Munich by the KGB in 1959. Bandera remains a controversial figure in Ukraine.

“True, we did enhance our forces there; however — this is something I would like everyone to hear and know — we did not exceed the personnel limit of our Armed Forces in Crimea, which is set at 25,000, because there was no need to do so.”

Here, for the first time, Putin confirms Russian armed forced entered Crimea. But his math is in dispute. The Ukrainian government says the terms of the 30-year lease with Russia limits the number of Russian troops in Crimea to 12,500. But other accounts say the lease allows up to 25,000.

“As it declared independence and decided to hold a referendum, the Supreme Council of Crimea referred to the United Nations Charter, which speaks of the right of nations to self-determination.”

In a long section of his speech, Putin lashed out at the West for what he views as a double standard, defending Crimea’s action as the equivalent of Kosovo’s declaring independence from Serbia. In citing what he calls the “well-known Kosovo precedent,” Putin even accurately quotes from the U.S. submission to the International Court of Justice, which later concluded that Kosovo’s action did not violate international law. (Russia at the time denounced that ruling.)

But the analogy is woefully misplaced. The United States was not seeking to annex Kosovo, as Russia is doing with Crimea. Moreover, the Kosovars had spent years seeking greater autonomy, only to face such Serbian backlash that even Russia voted for a U.N. Security Council Resolution that said it was “gravely concerned at the recent intense fighting in Kosovo and in particular the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by Serbian security forces and the Yugoslav Army which have resulted in numerous civilian casualties and, according to the estimate of the Secretary-General, the displacement of over 230,000 persons from their homes.”

Even after 1999 NATO intervention — which was not sanctioned by the United Nations, as Putin correctly noted — the Kosovars engaged in a decade of inconclusive efforts to reach a deal with Serbia before formally declaring independence.
The Pinocchio Test

The Fact Checker is obviously not rating the entire speech, which reflects Putin’s worldview. But certainly this selection of statements is highly deficient or based on slim facts. He ignores Russia’s real interest in removing nuclear weapons from Ukraine’s soil, which led to a pledge by Moscow to respect Kiev’s sovereignty. He hypes the involvement of nationalist and right-wing groups in the uprising. The Kosovo analogy is a real stretch. One could quibble on whether some of these statements are worth Three Pinocchios, but the statement on the Crimean referendum by itself is worth Four Pinocchios. So that’s what the Russian president earns.
pinocchio_4
By Glenn Kessler
March 19 at 6:00 am
www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2014/03/19/fact-checking-vladimir-putins-speech-on-crimea/

Read more: Putin’s breathtaking lies about Russia
By Alexander J. Motyl
updated 3:05 PM EDT, Wed March 19, 2014
www.cnn.com/2014/03/19/opinion/motyl-putin-speech/?hpt=po_t1

Putin’s warped reality
By Charles Lane, Published: March 19
www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-lane-putins-warped-reality/2014/03/19/ce81fd58-af79-11e3-9627-c65021d6d572_story.html

The civilized world must stop Putin and his disinformation machine to continue spewing “facts” that are contrary to reality. Why are the Russians allowed to repeat their lies on and on in the world arena. Are there too many Russophiles or are there not enough bold people out there like Samantha Powers?
So Putin stole Crimea just like that without any costs and now he has stated that he will not invade the rest of Ukraine and attempt to annex some of its southeastern provinces. Will he receive the 5 Pinocchios Award along with Barack Obama.

Meet Stephen F. Cohen, Vladimir Putin’s Best Friend in the American Media

Meet Stephen F. Cohen, Vladimir Putin’s Best Friend in the American Media
He is a great historian of Stalinism who has been celebrated by colleagues on the left and right. So why is Stephen F. Cohen so eager to act as a propagandist for Putin?

Photo by CNN

Photo by CNN


Stephen F. Cohen, a veteran Russian scholar at New York University and Princeton, has lately gained some dubious notoriety as Vladimir Putin’s number one apologist in the ranks of American punditry.
After a piece in The Nation slamming the American media for “toxic” anti-Putin reporting and a CNN appearance defending Putin’s incursion into Crimea as an attempt to protect “Russia’s traditional zones of national security,” Cohen was excoriated not just by the conservative media but by The New Republic and New York magazine. More recently, a critical but respectful feature in Newsweek dubbed him “the man who dared make Putin’s case.”

But what drives Cohen’s ongoing battle against “the demonization of Putin”?
Some of his detractors sound baffled by the paradox of a longtime leftist defending an essentially right-wing authoritarian regime; New York’s Jonathan Chait blames it on “the mental habits of decades of anti-anti-communism” transferred onto a no-longer-communist Kremlin. In The Daily Beast, James Kirchick treats Cohen as one of the “realists” advocating a pragmatic rather than morality-based foreign policy. And Cohen himself, in the Newsweek interview, avers that he is the true American patriot seeking to keep the United States out of a reckless confrontation.

Yet none of these explanations quite captures the motives or the history behind Cohen’s passion, which is ultimately less about realism than frustrated idealism. Regrettably, this idealism has led Cohen—a man of unquestionable erudition, sometimes insightful analysis, and by all appearances genuine sympathy for Russia’s tribulations—into some strange places at odds with both reality and morality.

As he writes in the foreword to his 2009 book, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, Cohen’s interest in Russia dates back to his days as a college student in the late 1950s, when he became keenly concerned with social justice after growing up in segregated small-town Kentucky. He developed a particular interest in Soviet alternatives to Stalinism and Nikolai Bukharin, the revolutionary and theorist killed in Stalin’s purges whom Cohen saw as the embodiment of such an alternative—a champion of a mixed economy and more humane politics. (Other historians argue that Bukharin, earlier a full supporter of revolutionary mass terror and state-controlled production, saw liberalization in the 1920s as merely a strategic retreat to rebuild the Soviet economy and pacify the populace.) Cohen’s first book was an acclaimed 1975 biography of Bukharin, an expanded edition of which is to be published this year.

Cohen had a strong personal investment in his subject. In the mid-1970s, he began spending a lot of time in Moscow in academic exchange programs, an experience he describes in his 2010 book, The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin; he grew close to Bukharin’s widow Anna Larina, herself a gulag survivor, and developed friendships with a few Soviet dissidents. He was a devout foe of Stalinism—at the time, he was already doing research on gulag survivors—and no fan of the Brezhnev-era Soviet regime, which for unspecified reasons barred him from travel to the Soviet Union from 1982 to 1985. However, a running theme in Cohen’s writings was the possibility of “socialism with a human face.” He argued that Communism was not monolithic; that Stalinism was not an organic continuation of Leninist Bolshevism (a “richly diverse movement,” as Cohen, then a junior fellow at Columbia University’s Research Institute on Communist Affairs, wrote in a 1967 letter to the New York Review of Books) but a radical break from it; and that the Soviet system had real potential for peaceful reformism. It is telling that his closest dissident friend was Roy Medvedev, probably the only notable dissident in the 1970s who still considered himself a Marxist-Leninist.

In his 1985 book, Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History Since 1917, Cohen noted with regret that, as reformist hopes withered and died in the 1970s, most liberal dissidents “concluded that the entire Soviet system was hopelessly ill-conceived and corrupt—that reform from within the Communist party-state was impossible,” and their protests “grew increasingly anti-Soviet.” This, he argued, only led to more repression, drawing dissenters into a “political cul-de-sac” since change in the Soviet Union could only happen through “reform from above.” Around the same time, he claimed in The Nation that the Reagan administration’s quest to pressure the Soviets into change would inevitably fail since it was “predicated on wildly exaggerated conceptions of Soviet domestic problems. In reality, the Soviet Union is not in economic crisis; nor is it politically unstable.”

Not long after, Cohen’s cherished “reform from above” suddenly became reality as the new Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, embarked on a course of liberalization and reform. Still more excitingly for Cohen, glasnost included a Bukharin revival, with major support from Gorbachev himself. Bukharin was formally exonerated in 1988 and became, as Cohen recounts in Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, “virtually canonized as Lenin’s rightful heir, anti-Stalinist prophet and hero, and forerunner of Gorbachev’s perestroika reformation.”

Cohen threw himself enthusiastically into this reformation. He traveled regularly to the Soviet Union with his wife Katrina Vanden Heuvel, an editor at The Nation and currently its editor-in-chief and they co-authored the 1989 book, Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev’s Reformers, a collection of interviews with fourteen officials, journalists, and intellectuals, all of them proponents of a kinder, gentler (and more efficient) Soviet socialism.

Then, in late 1991, the dreams of reformist socialism crashed with the end of the Soviet Union. The new Russian leadership was far more interested in embracing Western-style democratic capitalism than in reforming socialism. Lenin was tossed on the dustbin of history—even if his mummified body remained in the Mausoleum on Red Square—and Bukharin’s ghost faded into irrelevance. As Cohen notes with tangible bitterness in Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, “Of what political use or historical interest was a founding father whose country no longer existed?”

For many observers, the Soviet Union’s downfall leads to the logical conclusion that Soviet communism was not reformable after all: virtually the moment its coercive mechanisms weakened, the entire edifice began to crack and promptly collapsed. Not surprisingly, Cohen strongly disagrees. His view is most succinctly summed up in a 2011 talk at a conference sponsored by the Gorbachev Foundation: the Soviet Union, he believes, did not “collapse” but was dismantled by the power-hungry Boris Yeltsin—aided by “the radical intelligentsia” which “hijacked Gorbachev’s gradualist reformation” and helped bring Yeltsin to power, and by greedy bureaucratic elites eager to plunder the Soviet Union’s wealth. To make this case, he drastically downplays both the economic crisis of 1990-1991 (when, as Russian satirist Viktor Shenderovich once quipped, “Soviet power still existed but the food had already run out”) and the separatist tensions in the Soviet republics.

Meanwhile, Cohen blames Yeltsin’s reforms in the early 1990s for causing “the worst economic and social catastrophe ever suffered by a major nation in peacetime.” That’s a rather startling assertion from someone familiar with Stalin’s brutal collectivization of agriculture and the ensuing “terror-famine” of the early 1930s.

Of course, few would disagree that Russia’s “Wild West capitalism” of the nineties was not a pretty picture, with the rise of oligarchs who gave robber barons a bad name and millions of people cast adrift and struggling. One can argue about the causes and the specifics of this crisis—for instance, whether Yeltsin-era policies were really free market-oriented (the private sector remained crippled by byzantine taxes and regulations, official corruption, and lack of effective legal protection for property rights) and whether some of the decade’s social ills were caused by the transition to the market or by the disastrous Soviet legacy. (Thus, the decline in Russians’ life expectancy began in the Soviet era, with male life expectancy at birth dropping from 64 years in 1965 to 61.4 years in 1980.) Still, Cohen has an indisputable point when he says that the hardship and chaos of the 1990s explain widespread Russian support for Putin’s neo-authoritarian rule—as well as the resurgence of Stalinist nostalgia, with both Putin and Stalin seen as symbols of the “strong hand” bringing order and security.

sadThis, however, should hardly preclude a critical view of Putin and Putinism: if anything, an authoritarian strongman is all the more dangerous when he rides a wave of legitimate popular discontent with economic and social chaos. The fact remains that after his rise to power, Putin systematically strangled Russia’s free press (the remnants of which are now under attack in the warmongering over Ukraine), crushed political opposition, turned elections into a farce and the parliament into an obedient rubber stamp, and moved toward making anti-Western nationalism an official ideology. And these are facts that Cohen either glosses over or downplays—for instance, by asserting that “de-democratization began under Yeltsin, not Putin” (which is true only in the sense that power was increasingly concentrated in the presidency rather than elected representatives).

All this autocratic thuggery seems a more than adequate explanation for why the Western media would take an uncharitable view of Putin, the ex-KGB officer who has always taken conspicuous pride in his Soviet-era career. Yet Cohen professes to be utterly baffled by why Putin is so “villainized.” His explanation in The Nation article is that the U.S. press “adopted Washington’s narrative” of Yeltsin as the man steering Russia to democracy, still treating him as “an ideal Russian leader.” By contrast, in the 2000s, the media—again taking their cue from Washington—began to treat the Kremlin as the enemy. (This account completely ignores, among other things, the complexities of U.S.-Russian relations in both the 1990s and the 2000s: the chill between Moscow and Washington at the end of the Yeltsin years, the initially cordial relationship between George W. Bush and Putin—the War on Terror ally in whose eyes Bush famously got “a sense of his soul”—and the “reset” at the start of Obama’s presidency.)

In essence, Cohen is arguing that the American media dislikes Putin because he is seen as the anti-Yeltsin. But this seems like classic projection: the far more likely explanation is that Cohen sympathizes with Putin because he sees Putin as the anti-Yeltsin, and Yeltsin as the anti-Gorbachev who destroyed the bright and shining hopes of Soviet reformism. The irony, of course, is that Putin’s rule hasn’t seen a restoration of socialism, Soviet-style or otherwise (except for the fact that, while Yeltsin repudiated the Soviet period, Putin treats it as a source of real achievements and legitimate pride). Putin’s Russia is a country of corrupt crony capitalism, conspicuous consumption by the rich and the affluent, and a repressive state that increasingly leans on a subservient church as its source of moral authority. It stands, in short, for everything a leftist should detest.

Many of Cohen’s arguments about post-Communist Russia are legitimate subjects of debate, and his scholarship has been serious enough to draw praise from the likes of Robert Conquest, the British historian and author of The Great Terror. And yet his Putin cheerleading increasingly crosses the line into denial or outright recycling of Kremlin propaganda. Last October, at a New York University symposium, Cohen asserted with a straight face that the game of musical chairs between Putin and Dmitry Medvedev (who was handpicked to succeed Putin in 2007, then stepped aside for his mentor four years later) was not a carefully orchestrated ploy to circumvent the Russian constitution’s ban on two consecutive presidential terms but a genuine, though unsuccessful, “tryout” for Medvedev. “I don’t believe that Putin’s return was agreed upon in advance,” said Cohen—flatly contradicting Medvedev’s own statement to the media in 2011 that he and Putin had “long ago” agreed on the power arrangement.

In a 2012 Reuters column, Cohen complained that Putin is often blamed for the 2006 murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, even though “the editors of Politkovskaya’s newspaper, the devoutly anti-Putin Novaya Gazeta, believe her killing was ordered by Chechen leaders, whose human-rights abuses were one of her special subjects.” He forgets to mention that the Chechen leader in question, Ramzan Kadyrov, is Putin’s best buddy—or that Novaya Gazeta has also asserted that the actual killers are connected to Russian special services and protected by the government.

But the disconnect from reality is most glaringly evident in Cohen’s Newsweek interview. Take this gem: “We don’t know that Putin went into Crimea. We literally don’t know. We’re talking about ‘facts’ that are coming out of Kiev, which is a mass of disinformation.” Cohen must be the only person in the world who thinks there’s any doubt that the armed men who are all over Crimea wearing Russian army uniforms without insignia and wielding Russian weaponry—“little green men,” as irreverent Russians call them—are actually Russian soldiers.

And he hits an all-time low when asked about Pussy Riot, the activist punk rockers given a two-year prison sentence in 2012 for an anti-Putin protest performance in a Moscow cathedral. After noting that “in 82 countries they would have been executed” (a statement later amended to say that the women “would have faced criminal charges in many countries and the death penalty in several of them”), Cohen tells the interviewer, “You know what they were doing before they went to prison? They would go into supermarkets, strip, lay on their back, spread their legs apart and stuff frozen chickens in their vagina. There were people in there with their kids shopping and Russian authorities did nothing. They didn’t arrest them.”

The very slight factual basis for this outlandish claim is that two members of Pussy Riot once belonged to an activist performance art group called Voina (War). In one of its “performances,” a woman discreetly stuffed a supermarket chicken inside her panties and into her vagina (an act not witnessed by anyone except other group members who took photos), then left the store and “birthed” the chicken in an empty lot outside. However tacky, this was hardly the flagrant public obscenity Cohen alleges. What’s more, the chicken stunt did not actually involve any of the Pussy Riot defendants—though Russian television falsely implied that it did.

It’s rather sad to see Cohen, who has written with sensitivity and compassion about gulag survivors, sink to the level of a pro-Kremlin Internet troll, perpetuating a crude slander against courageous young women who are currently braving harassment and physical assaults as they advocate for prisoner rights.

Cohen is doubtless sincere in his conviction that he stands against a propaganda war that incites dangerous hostility to Russia. Yet his sincerity leads him to channel Kremlin propaganda as effectively as any paid shill. A verse composed by Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko for Cohen’s seventieth birthday in 2008 included the lines, “I love you, my unique friend, Steve / And envy you that you’re naïve.” Alas, this brings to mind an old Russian proverb: “There’s a kind of simplicity that’s worse than thievery.”

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine. She is the author of Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood (Ticknor & Fields, 1989). You can follow her on Twitter at @CathyYoung63

www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/16/meet-stephen-f-cohen-vladimir-putin-s-best-friend-in-the-american-media.html

Omitted in this article is Cohen’s disdain for the Ukrainian people. He refers to Ukraine as a region of Russia denying along with Putin the existence of Ukraine. He is a Ukrainophobe who is against Ukraine’s self determination, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. He believes that his fellow Jews are also against the establishment of an independent , free and democratic Ukraine. I believe this is not true as many Jews have embraced Ukraine as their Homeland.

Here’s What the West Can Do to Stop Russia

Here’s What the West Can Do to Stop Russia

What can the West actually do?

Russia has shattered the presumption that we can take European security for granted. In the past two weeks, President Vladimir Putin has committed outright acts of war by invading Crimea and threatening to invade eastern Ukraine. It now appears that Russia will annex Crimea and perhaps go further unless confronted with a stronger resolve than visible so far from the United States and Europe.

Clearly, Russia has acted because its leaders believe that the Obama administration and Western allies are irresolute, weak and need Russia more than it needs them. While economic sanctions are essential, stronger measures, including military ones, are also necessary if we are to preserve European peace and security – and they need to take place in concert with more concrete steps by NATO.

A regular NATO fleet should be maintained in the Black Sea and recently announced military exercises extended and increased.
These drills include a U.S.-Bulgarian-Romanian naval exercise in the Black Sea and a joint U.S.-Polish air exercise involving F-16s. Likewise, we could resume construction of missile defenses in Poland and the Baltic states. On the naval side, assets deployed into the Black Sea should be given adequate air cover and air defenses. Beyond these immediate steps, additional Partnership for Peace exercises with Ukraine and Georgia should be scheduled, and military contacts between Ukraine and NATO increased.

Concurrently, as President Barack Obama and U.S. national security leaders have stated, the new Ukrainian government should reinforce its international image as sole legitimate authority by reaffirming the protection of minorities and reiterating its adherence to all existing treaties—including the 2010 Russo-Ukrainian agreement providing Russia with long-term naval basing at Sevastopol. It should also finish its application to the IMF and EU for immediate relief and launch urgently needed economic reforms to strengthen the country’s rickety economy, ending energy subsidies while providing relief for the poor, recovering assets stolen by former President Viktor Yanukovych and his cronies, ending corruption in government contracts, and establishing transparency in the energy distribution sector (and in government contracts generally).

Such actions would preserve peace, communicate NATO and the EU’s unified resolve, encourage a Russian withdrawal of troops and deter a descent into violence.
But they would be just the start. Beyond Ukraine, Washington and NATO must realize that Putin’s Russia will not be integrated into Europe, and readjust their policies accordingly [such as the Pentagon’s three year-old wish that Russia would turn its missile defenses away from Europe and toward Tehran in a joint NATO radar net against the Iranian missile threat]. Ukraine may now be in the eye of the Russian hurricane, but a failure to defend Ukraine’s integrity and sovereignty only invites further Russian assaults on sovereignty throughout Eurasia.

Military measures are obviously not the only answer. Though they are urgent, the real payoff will come from long-lasting measures to invigorate Ukraine’s domestic structures. The West needs to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to govern itself in a truly democratic manner, as well as to reform its economy. Apart from the immediate “bridge” funding necessary to stave off crisis, the EU should tell Ukraine that if it follows the long-term course of reforms required by every member it will, in time, surely qualify for membership. This would surely be an enormous boost to the Ukrainian government, and would galvanize domestic reform efforts while strengthening the economy against Russian efforts to subvert, corrupt, and undermine it.

Today, the West’s capabilities far outstrip those of Russia. But it must find the will and intelligence to deploy them successfully. Putin, by his recklessness and arrogance, has placed both European and Russian security at risk. This point must be hammered home in a way that deters violence and further Russian adventurism. At the core of Western policy should be a simple concept: Ukrainian integrity and sovereignty are not negotiable, because European security is now indivisible. The sooner we hammer that message home to Moscow, the quicker we will secure peace in Eastern Europe—and beyond.

Stephen Blank March 14, 2014

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C

www.defenseone.com/ideas/2014/03/heres-what-west-can-do-stop-russia/80581/#.UyUbWyrzTWg.facebook

The West must do everything possible to maintain the world order providing security for Europe along with Ukraine against Russian imperialistic aggression.

Why Does Putin Want Crimea?

Why Does Putin Want Crimea?
Why is a world leader prepared to risk his personal reputation, his nation’s credibility, international isolation and possibly crippling financial sanctions over a piece of nondescript land no bigger than Jamaica?
If the President of the Russian Federation is to be believed his whole campaign in Crimea and potentially Ukraine is to protect ethnic Russians from neo-Nazi extremists that have infiltrated the new temporary government in Kyiv.
A potentially commendable intent until you look at the wider picture of how Russians are actually treated in Russia today. Russia has very serious social problems with drug and alcohol abuse and HIV Aids but the State does virtually nothing to help. Ethnic minorities are treated with disdain whilst the gay community has been forced underground. Those close to the Kremlin enjoy limitless wealth whilst real poverty now affects over 20% of the population. Clearly support for ethnic Russians in Russia is not a Presidential priority.
As for protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine from neo Nazi’s there is a real conflict in that there are more neo-Nazi politicians in the Russian Duma than there are in Ukrainian Rada and they have been there since the LDPR was founded 20 years ago.
So it would be natural to ask why all sudden the interest in Crimea, South and East Ukraine. Crimea is a part desert, part mountainous, virtual island in the middle of nowhere important, it’s famous for it’s history, tourism, vegetables and sweet wines. The South of Ukraine is primarily farmland whilst the East is home to the former Soviet mining, coal and steel industries all of which are in need of massive investment and are a major competitor to similar industries in the Russian Ural regions.
To date President Putin has wasted the $54 billion that he spent on building the image of a new Russia at the Sochi Winter Olympics, his aggression has caused the Rouble to slump requiring the Central Bank to support to the tune of over $12 billion and the Russian stock market seems to be in a nose-dive.
The total cost to Russia of this Crimean adventure could be well over $70 billion and that is without the longer term damage of potential targeted sanctions.
The answer could well be simple… Oil and gas. Putin’s whole campaign against Ukraine could easily nothing more than a land grab to ensure that Gazprom, a company in which he has considerable personal interest, controls who, how and when exploration and extraction will begin.
According to Kremlin insiders the annexation of Crimea has been 6 years in the planning.
By annexing all the land adjoining the Black Sea, Russia would also annex the offshore rights and anything found there in. It doesn’t matter that as of today the discoveries have been relatively small. If serious quantities of oil and gas were to discovered it will be too late and that is a risk President Putin would not be prepared to take as it would seriously undermine his entire economic structure.
Frankly it doesn’t matter if it never produces a drop of oil as stopping production preserves the Kremlins domination of the supply of energy from Russia, however all the signs are that the onshore and offshore fields could well live up to expectation.
Exploration of the Black Sea off Crimea has gone into overdrive. ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, Repsol and even Petrochina have begun to show a real interest in working with Kyiv to develop the entire Ukrainian sector.
‘Offshore’ magazine reports that Exxon and Rosneft have already made encouraging finds in the Russian sector near Novorossiysk whilst in the Romanian sectors test drilling by ‘OMV’ have found interesting deposits such that the major oil companies are now bringing in serious deepwater drilling technology. Trans Euro Energy have already found commercially viable resources of natural gas on the Crimean mainland.
This would also explain why Putin wants to hold onto the port of Sevastopol as it is a perfectly located deep water port capable of servicing the oil fields and the massive drilling technology and it’s barely 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the exploration zones
But it’s not just the offshore energy resources that are of interest to Putin. Included within Southern and Eastern Ukraine are the major export terminals in the port of Odessa, the military ship building yards at Nikolayev, a major oil refinery, massive chemical plants and grain export silo’s, hydro electric plants along the Moldavian border in the Russian controlled Transnistra region, one of the largest nuclear power stations in Europe, up to ten coal fired power stations, three huge solar power stations and a further part built nuclear power station in Crimea, the extensive coal-bed methane gas fields in the Donbass basin plus the largest resources of magnesium on the plant and huge stocks of coal and iron ore.
Add to this is the $20 billion saving he would make by running the new South-stream gas pipeline overland through Crimea and Southern Ukraine as opposed to under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and you can see that $70 billion is quite a cheap price to pay especially when the west has such a short and selective memory.
As soon as Putin has achieved his aims he will most likely invest in a charm offensive of equal proportion and if a few soldiers and protestors got killed in the process, well they were just collateral damage.
Martin Nunn & Martin Foley, Kyiv,
Kyiv, March 15, 2014.

###
For information please contact the center hotline by phone +38(050) 1578159, +38(050) 1578423, or email: press@uacrisis.org.
Photo: oil

Read more:
Oil and gas could explain Putin’s costly attempt to control the Crimea.
According to Kremlin insiders the annexation has been 6 years in the planning

www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/oil-and-gas-could-explain-putins-costly-attempt-to-control-the-crimea-9193464.html

Its all about oil and gas and the Ukrainians are in his way. Putin cares less about his ethnic Russians – its all about power, money and greed on a much larger scale than Yanukovych and his cronies. No regards to human values!

Mentioning Hitler makes Americans more willing to intervene in Ukraine


Mentioning Hitler makes Americans more willing to intervene in Ukraine

A pro-Ukrainian activist holds a poster (L) with Russian President Vladimir Putin caricatured as Adolf Hitler during a rally in front of the German Embassy in Kiev on March 11, 2014. (ANATOLII STEPANOV, AFP/Getty Images).

A pro-Ukrainian activist holds a poster (L) with Russian President Vladimir Putin caricatured as Adolf Hitler during a rally in front of the German Embassy in Kiev on March 11, 2014. (ANATOLII STEPANOV, AFP/Getty Images).

You may have heard about a little controversy involving the mention of Adolf Hitler in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Now a new YouGov poll provides a sense of what difference mentioning Hitler can make.

In the poll, respondents were asked whether they thought the U.S. should get involved in Ukraine and what types of involvement were appropriate — sanctions, economic aid, diplomacy, military intervention, and so on. But the poll also involved an experiment. Half of respondents were asked about Ukraine only after they answered these two questions:

“Do you think Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea today are similar to what Hitler did in Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938?”

“Would you consider it ‘appeasement’ for the U.S. and other western democracies not to take strong action to defend Ukraine?”

The other half of respondents answered these questions after they were asked about Ukraine. So we can see what effect bringing up Hitler and appeasement had on opinion.

Doug Rivers reports the results:

Only 21% of those asked in the conventional way favored U.S. involvement in the Ukraine. When this question was preceded by the questions about appeasement and comparing Putin to Hitler, support for U.S. involvement rose to 29%. It didn’t change the overall result — a majority of Americans still oppose getting involved in the Ukraine even after the parallel to 1938 is mentioned — but it does make a difference of about 8%.

By John Sides
March 14 at 4:38 pm

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/03/14/mentioning-hitler-makes-americans-more-willing-to-intervene-in-ukraine/

putins

We ask President Obama to intervene in every way possible to Stop Putin from waging war on Ukraine and the Western World as China and Al Qaeda look on as opportunists against JUDEO-CHRISTIANS….

Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk raises nuclear non-proliferation alarm

Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk raises nuclear non-proliferation alarm
UNITED NATIONS: Ukraine’s interim premier on Thursday warned the security council that nuclear non-proliferation could be undermined by the Crimea crisis, but insisted that a peaceful solution was not out of reach.

One day after winning full support from US President Barack Obama in Washington, Arseniy Yatsenyuk delivered a short address in English and Russian at an emergency session of the council.

“We still believe that we have a chance to resolve this conflict in a peaceful manner,” the prime minister said.

“We urge the Russian Federation to pull back its military forces deployed in Crimea to barracks and to start real talks and negotiations in order to tackle this conflict,” he added.

Ukraine in 1994 gave up its nuclear arsenal, the interim prime minister reminded the Council but global security would be at risk unless the crisis could be resolved properly.

Yatsenyuk said that, unless Russia agrees to a real dialogue, the crisis could undermine global security and nuclear non-proliferation.

“As after these actions it would be very difficult to convince anyone in the globe not to have nuclear weapons,” he said.

“We want to have talks. We don’t want to have any kind of military aggression,” added the premier, before turning to address Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin directly in Russian.

Britain and the United States expressed support for Ukraine and condemned a referendum planned Sunday in Crimea to decide whether the region should stay with Ukraine or join Russia.

US secretary of state John Kerry would Friday meet his Russian counterpart, US ambassador Samantha Power told the Council.

“None of us can afford to leave any stone unturned, but Russia has to want a diplomatic solution,” she said.

British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the Council was meeting in the “gravest possible circumstances.”

Going ahead with Sunday’s referendum, illegal under Ukrainian law, would be “inflammatory and destabilizing,” Grant said, adding it would have “serious implications for the UN charter.”

“It would be dangerous and irresponsible for Russia to take unilateral actions or collude with unilateral actions of the Crimea authorities,” Grant said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Ukraine-PM-Arseniy-Yatsenyuk-raises-nuclear-non-proliferation-alarm/articleshow/31968428.cms

Ukraine PM Visits UN, Calls Russian Aggression ‘Entirely Unacceptable’
“We strongly believe that there is still a peaceful solution,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk said. “What we ask for is international support to stop this crisis.

Putin’s high-powered U.S. lobbyists

Putin’s high-powered U.S. lobbyists

Brian Todd reports on U.S. firms that make money lobbying for Putin and Russia

www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2014/03/06/tsr-dnt-todd-putins-lobbyists-in-washington.cnn.html

Here Are The American Executives Who Are Working On Behalf Of Putin:
Read more: www.businessinsider.com/american-executives-working-for-putin-2014-3

Guns for hire!