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Thu Mar 13, 2014, 09:28 PM

Ukraine's threat from within

It's become popular to dismiss Russian President Vladimir Putin as paranoid and out of touch with reality. But his denunciation of "neofascist extremists" within the movement that toppled the old Ukrainian government, and in the ranks of the new one, is worth heeding. The empowerment of extreme Ukrainian nationalists is no less a menace to the country's future than Putin's maneuvers in Crimea. These are odious people with a repugnant ideology.

Take the Svoboda party, which gained five key positions in the new Ukrainian government, including deputy prime minister, minister of defense and prosecutor general. Svoboda's call to abolish the autonomy that protects Crimea's Russian heritage, and its push for a parliamentary vote that downgraded the status of the Russian language, are flagrantly provocative to Ukraine's millions of ethnic Russians and incredibly stupid as the first steps of a new government in a divided country.

These moves, more than Russian propaganda, prompted broad Crimean unease. Recall that this crisis began when Ukraine's then-President Viktor Yanukovich retreated on a deal toward European integration. Are the Europe-aspiring Ukrainians who now vote to restrict Russians' cultural-language rights even dimly aware that, as part of the European Union, such minority rights would have to be expanded, not curtailed?

More to the point, why wave a red flag in front of a nervous bull? The answer is that for Svoboda, Right Sector and other Ukrainian far-right organizations, it was barely a handkerchief. These are groups whose thuggish young legions still sport a swastika-like symbol, whose leaders have publicly praised many aspects of Nazism and who venerate the World War II nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, whose troops occasionally collaborated with Hitler's and massacred thousands of Poles and Jews.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-english-ukraine-neofascists-20140313,0,7664312.story#ixzz2vquKXo4S

Robert English is director of the School of International Relations at USC.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 09:43 PM

1. Russia's advantage

The European Union and the United States recognize that there are ways they could play constructive roles in resolving the Ukraine crisis. But some of the suggestions revolving around natural gas and oil being floated suggest a profound misunderstanding of the politics, economics and geography of energy in the region. The notion that Europe and Ukraine could somehow become independent of Russian energy resources is utterly unrealistic.

Russia is a resource economy, a Saudi Arabia with lots of imperial baggage. President Vladimir Putin is well aware that without gas and oil sales, there are no monthly payments to his nation's pensioners, there are no continued investments in infrastructure along the lines of what we saw in Sochi. He also knows that Europeans are not willing to risk economic ruin by using their considerable imports of Russian energy as a negotiating tool in resolving this crisis. Talking about energy with a unified voice has never been a strong suit in Europe, but it is now clear that Europe does have leverage and can use its considerable codependence with Russia.

The EU has made clear to Putin that the South Stream gas pipeline he is ramming through the Black Sea en route to the EU, bypassing Ukraine, is off the table until the crisis has been resolved. This gesture sends an important message that Europe strongly disapproves of Russia's behavior in Ukraine. However, the underlying reality is that relations between Europe and Russia will be deeply intertwined well into the future. Some recent news coverage suggests that Europe and Ukraine have a future without Russian energy resources. This is a myth.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-johnson-ukraine-gas-oil-20140314,0,3442374.story

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 09:44 PM

2. Ron Paul: Putin 'Has Some Law on His Side' in Crimea

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul says the United States is partially to blame for the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Speaking on the Fox Business Channel program The Independents, Paul accused the U.S. and the West of helping to overthrow Ukraine’s government under President Viktor Yanukovich. He went on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military has invaded the Crimean peninsula portion of Ukraine, has "some law on his side" for his actions.

"This whole thing that Putin is the big cause of the trouble is pretty good evidence that the Europeans as well as the American government have contrived to have the overthrow of a government that most people say had been elected," Paul said.

"And they say everything that Putin does is illegal. He’s no angel, but actually he has some law on his side. They have contracts and agreements and treaties for a naval base there and the permission to go about that area."

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/ron-paul-crimea-ukraine-russia/2014/03/13/id/559448/

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 09:45 PM

3. Pat Buchanan: Putin's Move Into Crimea Strictly 'Defensive'

Russia's aggressive push into Crimea is a "defensive" move by President Vladimir Putin to keep his country politically and economically viable, conservative commentator and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan says.

"Crimea is probably Russia's foreseeable future for sure . . . I don't agree with those who say this is a beginning of a big new move across Europe," Buchanan told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"It is a move by Putin to make sure that he does not lose Crimea . . . the way he has lost the Ukraine politically and otherwise. So, in that sense, it's defensive.

"But no doubt it's a crossing the borders and a capture of territory which does not legally belong to Russia. You can conclude from that what you wish," Buchanan said Tuesday.

http://www.newsmax.com/NewsmaxTv/Pat-Buchanan-Vladimir-Putin-Crimea-Orthodox/2014/03/11/id/558965/

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Response to bemildred (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 14, 2014, 08:24 AM

10. Quoting Buchanan? Seriously? OK, then I will too!

 

On Hitler:
"an individual of great courage.... Hitler's success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path."
On Christian Supremacy:
"Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free."
On AIDS, in 1983:
"The poor homosexuals -- they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is extracting an awful retribution (AIDS)."
On the US Civil War:
"The War Between the States was about independence, about self-determination, about the right of a people to break free of a government to which they could no longer give allegiance."
On Segregation:
"There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The 'negroes' of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours."

But I'm sure he's still a valid source of opinion at Newsmax

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 09:46 PM

4. James Baker: Ukraine Crisis is New Cold War

The crisis in Ukraine has the potential for spiraling out of control and could lead to "serious problems in the heart of Europe," says former Secretary of State James Baker.

"It is clearly the most serious East-West confrontation since the end of the Cold War," Baker said Sunday on "Meet the Press."

"For someone who was the last U.S. secretary of state during the Cold War, it's very disappointing to me to see that we're moving now from cooperation with Russia to confrontation again."

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/james-baker-cold-war-problems-europe/2014/03/09/id/556916/

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 09:49 PM

5. Paul Ryan stuns CNN host: Keystone pipeline will solve Russia’s Ukraine invasion

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) shocked CNN host Kate Bolduan on Wednesday when he asserted that Congress and President Barack Obama could solve the crisis in Ukraine by approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Wisconsin Republican began his interview saying that he did know if he agreed with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that the president’s response to terrorist attacks in Benghazi were to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

“First of all, who is to blame for this? Vladimir Putin,” Ryan said. “My argument is that… we have projected weakness in our foreign policy, and now in our defense policy with out military budget the president’s proposing.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/05/paul-ryan-stuns-cnn-host-keystone-pipeline-will-solve-russias-ukraine-invasion/

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 09:52 PM

6. Cheney: Crimea Not a Lost Cause

Former Vice President Dick Cheney doesn't like it when he hears his friends say, "It's just Crimea," referring to the Russian takeover of that portion of Ukraine.

"It's not just the Crimea," Cheney said Monday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."

"It's a significant effort on [Russian President Vladimir Putin's] part to reverse the downfall, if you will, of the Soviet Union and try to regain a lot of that territory, which voted for independence and sovereignty as the old Soviet Union fell apart."

Cheney sees a sense of resignation in most in the West that Crimea is a lost cause. Russian troops rode into the southern peninsula of Ukraine late last month and have been occupying ever since. Putin said he is concerned because many ethnic Russians live in Crimea.

http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/dick-cheney-hannity-russia-ukraine/2014/03/11/id/558746/

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Response to bemildred (Reply #6)


Response to bemildred (Original post)

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 09:55 PM

7. How curbing climate change can prevent Russia from becoming a superpower

On Monday night, Democratic senators held an all night “talk-athon” on the Senate floor to bring increased attention to the issue of climate change. Predictably, their efforts were mocked by the Republican leadership.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called the Democratic efforts "30 hours of excuses" for why "families are losing work because of government attacks on the coal industry."

Interestingly, McConnell didn’t deny that global warming existed. His argument was that fighting climate change isn’t worth the economic costs. That puts him in line with the majority of non-tea party Republicans on the issue -- 61 percent of whom, according to a recent Pew poll, agree that global warming is occurring.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-climate-change-russia-super-power-20140311,0,5497942.story

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 10:26 PM

8. Former Obama adviser: Build Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's former national security adviser said Thursday that Obama should approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline to send Russian President Vladimir Putin a message that "international bullies" can't use energy security as a weapon.

The comments by retired Gen. James Jones came as Democrats grappled with the election-year dilemma that the pipeline poses for them. Wealthy Democratic donors are funding candidates who oppose the project — a high-profile symbol of the political debate over climate change. But other Democrats are boosters of the pipeline and the party's control of the Senate after the 2014 midterm elections may hinge on them.

Jones told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Canada-to-Texas pipeline is a litmus test of whether the U.S. is serious about national and global energy security. Approval of the pipeline would help ensure that North America becomes a global energy hub and a reliable energy source to the U.S and its allies, Jones said. Rejecting the pipeline would "make Mr. Putin's day and strengthen his hand."

Jones, who left the Obama administration in 2010, now heads a consulting firm that has done work for the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's chief trade group, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both groups support the pipeline, which is backed by a number of Senate Democrats facing tight re-election races, including Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/Former-Obama-adviser-Build-Keystone-XL-pipeline-5314461.php

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Fri Mar 14, 2014, 12:51 PM

11. Awesome compilation of viewpoints..neocon to Libertarian...ya gotta love their

determination to get their stuff out there...especially Cheney, lol.

K&R

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Response to Jefferson23 (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 14, 2014, 12:59 PM

12. And most of it drivel.

I was mainly aiming at two things:

1.) The lack of unity in our political classes.
2.) To contrast a few articulate arguments with the prevailing emotional appeals to fear and anger.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #12)

Fri Mar 14, 2014, 01:22 PM

13. I presumed that is why you did it..and thus my remarks..awesome compliation.

There's a lot going on..cool to have it in one place to compare and contrast..I appreciate
the story it tells...thanks.

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Response to Jefferson23 (Reply #13)

Fri Mar 14, 2014, 01:23 PM

14. +1. nt

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