Ukraine seems to win the “next financial crisis” award

And they win the award by having a much larger crisis overall.  Russia has suspended financial aid to Ukraine.  There are rumors of runs on banks and long queues at ATMs.  There are rumors of Ukraine possibly splitting into two countries.  Here is a NYT Q&A.

Here is the one-year CDS chart.  The Russian ruble is declining to record lows.

Here are interesting remarks from Timothy Garton Ash.:

I have argued that, in our time, 1989 supplanted 1789 as the default model of revolution. Rather than progressive radicalization, violence and the guillotine, we look for peaceful mass protest followed by negotiated transition. That model has taken a battering of late, not only in Ukraine but also in the violent fall that followed the Arab Spring.

When the Soviet Union first split apart, I expected something like the current scenario to happen rather quickly.  Obviously it did not.  It is interesting to ponder what assumptions are required to produce a 25-year lag for a similar result.

If you know of interesting or good sources on what is happening in Ukraine, please leave them in the comments.

Comments

The BBC isn't bad - like this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26299670 -

Or this quick summary -
* Opposition protesters appear in full control of the government district in Ukraine's capital Kiev
* President Viktor Yanukovych's whereabouts are unclear, a day after he agreed a pact with the opposition
* Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko tells parliament the president has left Kiev. He calls for elections by 25 May
* Ukraine's parliament has voted to release jailed opposition figure Yulia Tymoshenko, but it is not clear when she will be freed
* Parliament has elected Oleksandr Turchynov, an ally of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, as the new speaker
* Leaders of mainly Russian-speaking regions in east Ukraine say they are taking control of their territories until "constitutional order" is restored in Kiev.' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26302572

Even though they overthrew their government, at least the Ukrainians aren't contemplating the horrors of a minimum wage.

And the Telegraph has some nice coverage too - 'Finally, the photographs of violent struggle and burning buses are misleading because they mask what is, in fact, a legitimate argument about the future of Ukraine.

Appearances to the contrary, the conflict we are witnessing is not an atavistic, ethno-linguistic struggle between Russians and Ukrainians, or some kind of tussle between street thugs and police. There are no ancient ethnic rivalries at stake.

It is not even clear that the Ukrainian political struggle is really just a geographic dispute, as it is so often characterised, between the more “European” western half of the country and the more “Russian” East.

On the contrary, this is a political conflict, and one which is not that hard to understand. On the one side are Ukrainians (both Russian and Ukrainian-speaking) who want to live in a “European” democracy with human rights and rule of law, one which is genuinely integrated with the European Union and the rest of the world. The supporters of this “European” option include students, pacifists, gay and environmental activists, as well as Right-wing nationalists and people motivated by memories of the terrible crimes that Stalin carried out in Ukraine 80 years ago.

On the other side are Ukrainians (also both Russian and Ukrainian-speaking) who support an undemocratic, oligarchic regime which is politically and economically dependent on Russia, more cut off from the European Union, and affiliated instead with the customs union controlled from Moscow.' http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10653932/The-pictures-from-Kiev-dont-tell-the-whole-story.html

Always interesting to get an American view of political change being carried in a form that America's founders would be completely familiar with - and just how frightening that seems when seen from that perspective. Especially that whole oligarchs losing power aspect.

Laughable, based on your continuing commentary, to suggest you are at all genuinely interested in an American view.

I am American, and I find the view from America 'laughable' - this shouldn't be so hard for such a sophiscated comment section to understand.

Well maybe most of the American foreign policy establishment has laughable views on the Ukraine but perhaps this analysis from two American geostrategic thinkers will change your perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teSXcJlpMl8

I don't get it. Are you implying p_a is unAmerican?

I'm very tired of prior_approval. Rather than continuing to pester everyone here, perhaps he should migrate his commentary to his own blog. If he has any audience here (of which I'm deeply skeptical), I'm sure they'll be happy to follow.

The BBC link was very good. Thanks.

The Telegraph excerpt espouses a Narrative that is, I think, thin.

Your smug, baseless tone of superiority is par for the course.

That Telegraph column quoted above was written Anne Applebaum, who is the wife of Poland's foreign minister Radislaw Sikorski, so she is not an utterly disinterested outside observer.

You might have the chain of causation backwards. When in doubt be sure to remember Who is neocon and Whom is goyish.

On the other side are Ukrainians (also both Russian and Ukrainian-speaking) who support an undemocratic, oligarchic regime which is politically and economically dependent on Russia, more cut off from the European Union, and affiliated instead with the customs union controlled from Moscow.’

I couldn't come up with a more ridiculous view, even if I tried.

First of all, there are NO good guys in Ukrainian politics. Yanukovich is a thug and a thief. Yulya is a thug and a thief. Yatseniuk is a thief. Tiagnibok is a nazi (not kidding, Jews and Russians are the root of all evil, Ukraine for Ukrainians, re-birth of the Nation...). Klitchko is just a moron. They all are corrupted to the core. They all support undemocratic oligarchic regime.

Second, it is precisely the oligarchy who want the change to the constitution and oust of the prez. You see, it's so much easier to buy a bunch representatives.

Third, the hatred between East and West in Ukraine is real and palpable. And West is much more politically active, as a result of being a politically oppressed minority for got knows how many years (under Poles, Austrians, Germans, Soviets...), while East is passive. Both, Yanukovich and Kuchma, being from East had to cater to West a lot, just to keep the peace. People from East felt betrayed by both.

Fourth, Ukraine used to be one of the richest Soviet republics. That's why in '91 there was popular support for independence across the whole nation. All its riches had been quickly privatized and deposited to the western bank accounts (Yulia Timoshenko, the "Gas Princess" is one among the beneficiaries.) . Ukraine's main economy centers were and are tightly integrated with Russia, and they are located mainly in the Eastern part. Russia has made very clear that euro-association would mean closed borders on the East and that means death of the whole manufacturing sector. It's very hard to counteract, given that there's zero demand on ukrainian tractors and tanks in EU.

Fifth, Ukraine is out of cash. It has a lot of people who depend for their lives on the government handouts. There are no 401(k) there. The financial reforms EU demands are simply unfeasible without a civil unrest.

Sixth, there is no promise in any form from EU that Ukraine will ever be accepted into the Union. All they demand is (a) reforms and (b) opening Ukrainian market in exchange for... I am not sure here. I guess, just because they are nice guys.

Basically, whoever comes to power would have to deal with all these issues. And most likely, she ('cause there's no one else there' really) would deal with them in exactly the same way Yanukovich did: (a) stealing for herself (or her daughter) (b) being a whore between Russia and EU, looking for the largest offer and (c) betraying whoever elected her.

P.S. I am a Ukrainian, living in US.

I agree with you that no one actually supports corrupt oligarchy. That's indeed ridiculous. It's also true that all political elites are pretty worthless and that was why Yulia wasn't popular even when she was jailed. Since she's been out, she's been saying all the right things and she is a good orator but, hopefully, the Ukrainians won't fall for it again.

I disagree with your take on Klitschko. He is earnest but, yes, he lacks the polish, presence and the skills of an orator and he couldn't rise high enough throughout the crisis. I am less scathing in my evaluation of Svoboda than you are. They're nationalists, no doubt. But Ukrainian borders/identity is still fluid so nationalism isn't an entirely illogical response. If Mexico was claiming back Texas or California, would Americans call 'nationalism' the feeling that Texas/Calif. shouldn't be given back? And Svoboda reflects/exaggerates the anti-semitism that is, alas, all too present within most of Eastern Europe. But I think 'nazis' is being bandied about too much, devaluing 'the brand'. Let's keep it for truly horrible acts and truly evil people. Right now, because they're the ones who's done the dying, they're popular. But I think the least appealing aspects of their programs can be contained.

Your second point, though, makes no sense. Oligarchs supported Yanukovich and some of them have been departing Ukraine for safer shores on Thursday and Friday. They certainly weren't behind the protests.

My biggest fear is that, b/c people remain conservative, all told, and adverse to change, this end up a repeat of the Orange Revolution. I just had an argument with my wife about the need to 'redistribute' the wealth of the oligarchs. I mentioned 'the top 100'. She (she's Ukrainian) exclaims that this wasn't done to repeat 1917 and there was no way people would want that.

Yet try ending corruption and building a modern society in a country where 85% of the GDP is in the hand of 50 people isn't possible. You need to spread the wealth/provide infrastructure... http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=33765#.UwnE6-OSyxo

Bravo. Finally, some truth here.

Meanwhile it is worth pointing out that Ukraine - (as opposed to the inference in the Telegraph article recommended above, which was written by the wife of Polish foreign minister Rudolf Sidelsky) - HAS a constitution, rule of law, labour unions, a welfare state, a functioning democracy (despite oligarchs)...and even a decent standard of living. (I am writing from waterboarded Greece). When the EU's offer extended to united Ukraine, a condition of the loan was the shutdown and closure of all of Ukraine's industry. Accepting the EU's offer is to consign themselves to closed borders, mass unemployment, poverty, death by freezing, the destruction of the welfare system and access to medical care. Then there will be insurrection - but too late, since this has really been nothing to do with Ukraine (or the good of Ukraine) and everything to do with NATO/EU threatening & containing Russia.

BTW, the Telegraph article you quote (The Pictures from Kiev don't tell the whole story by Anne Applebaum) is written by the wife of the Polish Foreign Minister Rudolf Sidelsky. Disingenuously the Telegraph presents her only as a "Russia scholar". Ms. Applebaum is a high establishment Polish-American (born in Washington D.C., father a partner at Covington & Burling etc) who has made a distinguished career in journalism and as a think tanks foreign analyst (the George Bush/Axel Springer - publisher of Bild - in Germany being one). Since Poland is working in partnership with Germany vis a vis Ukraine, the article is in its small way, scandalous.

It raised many eyebrows here & I suggest you take it with a huge lump of salt.

Meanwhile the EU has offered Ukraine very little - no membership, no visa rights, austerity and restructuring, the full 9 yards. Since Kiev and eastern Ukraine have no industry to speak of, it is a recipe for disaster in terms of eastern Ukraine's future. Meanwhile Vitaly Klitschko, is a german citizen of Ukrainian origin, entirely funded by Germany and Poland against the US wishes, who are backing a rival candidate. (re V. Nuland's viral phone call).

From our perspective here, we only note that it is the second time that Germany is involved in nation 'elimination' or dismemberment (Yugoslavia being the first) and in our view it is an aggressive 'containment' of Russia by means of Ukraine, and nothing to do with Ukraine at all.

'When the Soviet Union first split apart, I expected something like the current scenario to happen rather quickly'

Yugoslavia?

I was thinking the exact same thing.

"It is interesting to ponder what assumptions are required to produce a 25-year lag for a similar result."

One of them would have to be that Russia would do whatever it could to stop/delay these sorts of things from happening. In Eastern Europe, Russia was there one day and gone the next (more or less). That was not the case with the Ukraine.

You (and TC) probably under-estimate the amount of dislike there is in Europe in general and in Ukraine in particular for violence.

Europe is generally far less gung-ho than America when it comes to violent confrontations. IMO, this is a direct result of having had a far bloodier 20th Century. And, actually, a far bloodier history in general.

In Ukraine, they had WWI, then the Russian Revolution, then the civil war, then the Stalin/Molotov famine of 33, then WWII. Millions upon millions died. It gave them a severe aversion to violence and bloodshed. That's why a 'mere' 25 dead on Tuesday (and even 'just' beatings back in October/November, when it all started) were seen as unacceptable and angered the population who moved from displeasure with the refusal of signing an agreement to utter rejection of a regime.

I don't think that my proposal for a possible assumption as to why this sort of thing didn't happen a long time ago requires much in the way of violence or non-violence. My point was about the relative influence, direct or otherwise, that Russia had in 1989 in various places. In Eastern Europe, that influence very quickly and drastically dissipated. In the former Soviet Republics that was not the case. While no longer formally in charge, the Russians have maintained somewhere between "some" and "a lot" of direct influence in many of these states over the past 25 years.

But one can certainly see how the threat of violence is something that has to at least be considered in the Ukrainian context. Russia is not afraid to send men and tanks across borders to promote its interests in its former vassal states (See Georgia). Also, the fact that Russia's largest military base (by far) outside of its own borders is in Ukraine is not something to ignore at a time like this.

I would think that historically, a history of bloodshed simply primes you for more bloodshed later on. It is rare that violence is so extreme it causes people to reject violence the next time they get a chance. The Thirty Years War is probably the last time it happened in Europe, producing the Amish and the Mennonites.

It certainly did not work that way with Europe's Jews. Those who moved to Israel showed themselves perfectly fine with ethnic cleansing and invading their neighbors many times.

It is more likely that the Soviet Union has been so peaceful because birth rates have dropped so much since the 1970s. Violence is a young man's game and the former Soviet Union has so few young men. The Middle East, on the other hand, has a lot.

SMFS,

"It is rare that violence is so extreme it causes people to reject violence the next time they get a chance. The Thirty Years War is probably the last time it happened in Europe, producing the Amish and the Mennonites."

How quickly people forget the Napoleonic wars and the 100 years of peace that followed.

100 years?
There were two Italian wars, the Crimean war, and the three Prussian wars that all happened in Europe during that time. And those are just wars involving major states.

"It is rare that violence is so extreme it causes people to reject violence" - World wars 1 and 2 had exactly that effect here in Europe. "Never Again".

Following the relatively peaceful breakup of the USSR (Roumania an exception) Yugoslavia was a big shock to Europeans. Ukraine endured even more, hence their shock too.

By the way, don't assume that the brave lads being acclaimed as the heroes of the revolution right now in Kiev are nonviolent center-left Soros-subsidized NGO types. The guys who broke the riot police on Thursday issue recruiting videos making pretty clear where they stand:

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2014/02/chicks-dig-right-sector.html

I didn't mean to say that the whole Ukrainian population had turned Amish. Let alone its national youth elements. But cops beating demonstrators in November was enough to switch demand from signing a who-knows-how-popular-it-really-was EU trade treaty into serious gvt reforms. And when that was met with a bit more violence, nearly the whole country wanted regime change.

Ukrainians were enraged by 70-100 dead. Egypt saw 900 iirc. I think it's fair to say they're more sensitive to it.

https://twitter.com/EuroMaidan_News
http://euromaidannews.com/
bbcnews
In Ukrainian/ Russian: the best accurate source:http://hromadske.tv; http://espreso.tv/

Beside Timothy Ash, he has the best daily analysis in English

What should be call the next financial crisis award? It needs a name for the internet snark on!

The Bernanke?
The Greenspan?
The Hoover? (Probably not good since it shares a name with a vacuum)
The Mellon?
The Argentine?

Any thoughts?

The Ukranian Turkey?

C,

"What should be call the next financial crisis award? It needs a name for the internet snark on!"

Obviously, the "Euro"

Nationalism was hashed out in Europe over a long period starting in the late Middle Ages. It was a bloody mess, but the states of Europe look roughly like the people's of Europe. There are some exceptions (Flemish versus Walloon) , but the big stuff has been worked out. Eurasia is a different matter. The people of that region have lived in the shadow of Russia since the late Middle Ages. I don't see any reason to think that is about to change.

The model of the Baltic nations is instructive.

The old man walks quietly in the night.

That's either wrong or incredibly disingenuous.

To begin with, the historical analysis typically places nationalism, as an motivating ideology, at the feet of the French Revolution and never prior; the "late Middle Ages" occurred in the 1400s. The Enlightenment was a very different time period.

Secondly,

>It was a bloody mess, but the states of Europe look roughly like the people’s of Europe.

Is a direct consequence of the first (which redrew the borders) and second (which forcibly moved people into homogenous ethnic groups) world wars. Which was an entirely 20th century phenomena.

So, yes, Eastern Europe's experience in WW1 and WW2 was markedly different from that of the West.

"a direct consequence of the first ... and second ...world wars"

Great comment. Part of my family roots lie in Schleswig-Holstein, one of those areas that was in dispute into the twentieth century.

No, history places the birth of nationalism with the 100 Years War. Second, the 30 Years War did more to fit people into coherent groupings than anything that happened in the 20th century.

Other than having all the facts wrong, great post.

No, history places the birth of nationalism with the 100 Years War. Second, the 30 Years War did more to fit people into coherent groupings than anything that happened in the 20th century.

Other than having all the facts wrong, great post.
- See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/02/ukraine-seems-to-win-the-next-financial-crisis-award.html#comment-158054649

Hmm. Well, these terms are very broad.

Perhaps with respect to England/France the 100 years war had such an effect. But even at the time of the Revolution and then Napoleonic France, most French people outside Paris didn't have much connection with France. At least that is what a couple books I've read on the topic suggest.

As far as the 30 year's war, if I recall correctly, landed empires fought in Central Europe over religion. Mercenary armies destroyed much of the area. Germany was 200 years away from existence.

I think you guys are fighting over terms. But it seems to be nationalism requires a nation. Europe was tribal for sure as of 1000 AD and for a long time after that it was principalities, empires, and city states -- not ethnic based nations.

When we speak of _nationalism_ in the context of international relations we're speaking of the notion that the citizens of nation-states ought to all possess a common ethnocultural identity. That there is a notional Italy that belongs to all Italians, etc, and that those living in disparate regions of the same state are still bound together by this communal Italianness, even if they don't quite look the same and speak funny.

To my knowledge, this was certainly not a driving force in European history prior to the French Revolution; indeed much of it was broken up into principalities and most states that we recognize today only came into sharp relief in the 19th century.

All,

"To begin with, the historical analysis typically places nationalism, as an motivating ideology, at the feet of the French Revolution and never prior"

'Once more unto the breach' - is from the 'Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!' speech of Shakespeare's Henry V, Act III, 1598.

Presumably 1598 is before 1789. The foreign policy of Cardinal Richelieu seems to have been principly devoted to maintaining French power and preventing the creation of a German nation. Even though he was a Cardinal, he allied himself and France, with Protestants to maintain French dominance. That seems rather nationalistic.

Exactly. I've never entirely bought the claim that nationalism is a product of the 100 Years War. It certainly was the case for the French and the English. My reading of history says the rest of Europe signed on much later. The Thirty Years War is a better starting point for Central Europe. Further, it never truly happened in Eurasia, at least to the same extent as in Europe.

Regardless, Phill is completely wrong.

I remember asking a Georgian (the nation-state, not the state) what the "Georgian" term for "Georgia" was. He looked at me with a puzzled smile and said, "the land."

Americans really are in way over their silly heads in much of the world.

An exception is Greece.
6000 years of history, greek speaking cities from Spain to Crimea, now shrunk back to where it is now.

Effective nationalism developed earlier in the more advanced Western nations. Don't overlook Joan of Arc's simple insight that, whatever the dynastic claims of the English king to the French throne, the Englishmen should go home because they have their own country.

Well, we know the English felt the same about the French/Normans.

and the Gallo-Romans felt the same about the Franks.

http://korrespondent.net (you probably can use google translate to translate from Russian). English language sources are usually misleading, BBC is probably the least misleading.

" It is interesting to ponder what assumptions are required to produce a 25-year lag for a similar result."

1. The rise to predominance of thinking and reactions by a generation not imbued with the impotence of individuality from the experiences of the three preceding generations.

2. The time required for the development of the "new" Elites (see, Pareto), which seems to be more difficult in the Slavic cultures and its persistent ideologies.

3. The absence of sufficient "external" pressures requiring cohesive response from a sufficient "bloc" or group of blocs within the fragmented segments of social and economic interactions. There is no cohesion and no cohesive force.

Who shall we blame? Lenin? President Wilson? The Vikings?

Your invisible knapsack.

Yushchenko couldn't keep things together. He also wasn't very careful about what he ate and drank.

A good review of the latest events, from the excellent One Issue Today:
http://theoneissuetoday.com/home/2014/2/20/splitting-in-two

I am following http://www.interpretermag.com/ . It's in English and real-time.,

Second this. The live blog, http://www.interpretermag.com/ukraine-liveblog-day-5-yanukovych-topples/#1345 has grabbed my attention.

The Russia - US Reset?

Chilling to see the NYT Q&A where Obama officials argue that the US has no real interests in the region and should sit this one out.

Somehow -- and it's a pattern that has played out in Iran, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt -- the US has lost track of its long term interests in democracy, human rights, free trade, etc. The policy seems to be to get a regional strongman installed as quickly as possible so that we can leave, or failing that to find the closest thing to a regional power and defer to them on all things.

Obama has this weird idea that Putin can bail him out of other policy failures. So he'll delay and delay, and defer and defer, and we'll end up letting Putin do whatever he wants. And Putin won't bail Obama out of anything, because why would he?

Zach,

"Obama has this weird idea that Putin can bail him out of other policy failures"

Why exactly would Obama think that? Perhaps because Putin did bail him out of a policy failure (war with Syria) that Obama's staff tried to drag him into? It was clear at the time (and in retrospect) that Obama was wary of new war in the Middle East. For better or worse his staff was not (war is only bad when the Republicans do it). For a brief moment they persuaded Obama "to give war a chance". He never seemed eager, and was clearly looking for ways to either block the war or evade the consequences of war (by making Congress approve it).

Then Putin gave a reasonable way out and he took it.

Why exactly wouldn't Obama (sotto voce) be appreciative of Putin's intervention? For the record, Assad is a monster and Putin isn't America's friend. However, we shouldn't let hatred of Putin to blind us to the facts.

Would you characterize Putin's actions with respect to Syria bailing Obama out of a policy failure -- or locking him into one? What I saw was a rapid and humiliating reversal of Obama's position. Instead of being imminently necessary, military strikes were immediately off the table, in return for vague and unenforceable agreements about chemical weapons -- which have, of course, not been enforced. So the US ended up making permanent concessions to get out of a temporary tight spot caused by Obama shooting his mouth off.

The "concessions" the US made weren't concessions at all.

In "monster" metrics, Bashar Assad barely registers for that part of the world. The Saudis avoid the label simply because instead of executing Sunni radicals, they just pay them to leave the peninsula and wage jihad in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

I think right now to most Syrians, Bashar is looking pretty good. I asked a Syrian expat why they don't organize and fight for their civil order, and he said it's "not in our blood." So whoever's the crazier thug who can spray the most bullets is probably going to get the neighborhood.

LOL. Yes, "chilling" that Americans aren't blundering into yet another corner of the world they know nothing about and picking sides in complex, deep-rooted intertribal conflicts.

I think you're a bit misinformed on this. Uncle Sugar has been in up to his eyeballs short of actual military intervention in all the places you mention, with horribly de-stabilizing results. What the hell would you have us do, install viceroys? You think this hasn't been tried before?

Also, it's bizarre how incorporeal and gnostic US interests have become. We used to talk about fairly concrete stuff like defending the Fulda Gap, or killing the commies, or keeping the Third World agreeably capitalist for American shareholders. Now, it's all about "democracy, human rights, free trade..."

It's like there's all these peri-menopausal women in charge of US foreign policy gabbing about how everybody's special and deserves a vote, we need to protect our gay friends, and what the world really needs is more shopping. Amirite?

I find it amazing that you think democracy, human rights and free trade are not core American interests. What exactly did you think we were doing at the Fulda Gap? Having a picnic? Maybe the Helsinki Accords were just a way to pass the time.

In the case of Ukraine, I don't think anyone can disagree that the best case scenario for the US is a functioning, stable democracy integrated with Europe and respecting human rights. Or that the worst case scenario is a corrupt, authoritarian regime in the pocket of Putin which oppresses its people and exerts pressure on Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe. The difference between those two outcomes constitutes American interests in the region, and they are big differences.

The Anti-Gnostic's comment was puerile and ridiculous, more interested in grinding an axe than assessing the situation in Kiev. "Uncle Sugar?" "all these peri-menopausal women in charge of US foreign policy" Grow up, dude.

That said, while the US is most definitely interested in democracy, human rights, free trade, and it would most definitely be in our interest for Ukraine to be "a functioning, stable democracy integrated with Europe," there is not much that we can actually do about the situation that would be helpful.

There is, however, a lot that we can do to make it worse. And we shouldn't do those things. So yes, we should sit this one out.

Not because we're partisan wingnuts like Anti-Gnostic, but because it's good policy.

I see a lot of Monopoly money being spread around to these groups that nobody's previously heard of, a lot of journalists who are little more than intelligence agency mouthpieces, and a lot of Botoxed old hens like John Kerry clucking about ideals without saying how, exactly, this is our fight. I don't see the need for any terms but contemptuous ones.

"Herb." Very apt.

Those are ideals, not interests. Whether, for example, we buy oil from feudal Saudi monarchs or Norwegian social democrats is not even a matter of debate.

I can think of reasons why the EU wouldn't want another corrupt, basket-case country in its ranks. I can think of reasons why Ukrainians wouldn't want bankers in Berlin, London and New York telling them how to run their economy.

I don't see why we've set up this zero-sum competition with Russia. They are a natural ally against Muslim militancy.

"They are a natural ally against Muslim militancy."

Ha! Who told you that and why did you believe them?

We've been at war against "Muslim militancy" for over a decade and our "natural ally" has helped us not at all.

Seems like you've been so deranged by your political hatreds that you can't see things clearly. I guess that's why you think John Kerry got Botox when he clearly got implants.

It does occur to me I am failing to give credit where it's due. If democracy had been allowed to flourish in Egypt, for example, it would be run by the Muslim Brotherhood instead of the more cosmopolitan and intelligent Egyptian generals. Somebody in the Obama Administration decided to be realistic, for a change.

"the best case scenario for the US is a functioning, stable democracy integrated with Europe and respecting human rights. Or that the worst case scenario is a corrupt, authoritarian regime in the pocket of Putin which oppresses its people and exerts pressure on Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe." - and you think the latest events lead towards the best case scenario (since Putin obviously lost this round)?

Ukrainian rabbi tells Kiev's Jews to flee city:
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.575732

Zach, have you been paying attention to the boys in Kiev who broke the truce and captured 67 riot police at the cost of dozens dead, the key victory in the war? Here's a recruiting video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Inu_-0dcSU

It's well worth watching to get a sense of the brave new world we're entering.

It's a good thing that silly modern, or archaic--I forget which, fad known as "nationalism" is on the wane.

Couple more examples:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30cavebIif8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJmHIXVK95Y

On the Telegraph piece - I always find Anne Applebaum disappointingly uninformative on current affairs, despite her impressive qualifications.

http://www.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2014/02/22/springtime-in-kiev-or-just-another-winter-storm/

I regularly read The Guardian, The Telegraph, and the Russian news service RIA Novosti for updates on the situation in Ukraine.

http://www.interpretermag.com/ukraine-liveblog-day-5-yanukovych-topples/

Best source:

http://www.reddit.com/r/UkrainianConflict

Abraham Lincoln, speaking in Illinois prior to the civil war about slavery and its expansion in America, said "A house divided against itself cannot stand". The particular issues in Ukraine today certainly differ from those in pre-war America, but Mr. Lincoln's warning remains salient.

I thought 1989 had more to do with Gorbachov recognizing that things weren't working out very well in a much more general sense far more so than as a result of the demonstrations themselves.

I reckon there were strong interests in keeping Ukraine together as a buffer on the parts of both Russia and NATO, and I wouldn't doubt that led them to engage in significant diplomatic effort to keep the country together rather than see lines drawn up along the hypothetical lines of an East/West Ukraine. There were a lot of nukes kicking around in the area at the time, and probably that also made it easy to track and manage them to ensure nothing went missing.

89 was about Gorbachev trying to institute genuine socialist reforms instead of just relying on Gas and Oil exports. 91 was about elites in Russia stealing power from the Soviet elites, no one in Ukraine fought for independence, it just happened because Yeltsin wanted to get his hands on the Kremlin. So the 04 and 14 revolts are the first time Ukrainians have actually had to fight for a vision of the future.

Here is a wonderfully even-handed treatment of all parties to this mess:
http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2014/02/shock-over-ukraine.html

BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- A Beijing-based Tibetology scholar has criticized the Dalai Lama's Friday meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House, saying it was another "anti-China farce." "Once again, the Dalai Lama slipped into the White House Map Room for a so-called 'unofficial meeting' with Obama. This was another farce against China," said Lian Xiangmin, a researcher with the China Tibetology Research Center, in a signed article.

Comments for this post are closed