90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Ukraine On The Edge Of International Conflict

The world watches Ukraine. We’ll have the latest developments from Kiev, Crimea, Moscow, Washington.

A statue of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin in background as local residents carry giant Russian flags and shout slogans while rallying on the streets of  Simferopol, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin asked his parliament Saturday for permission to use the country’s military in Ukraine, moving to formalize what Ukrainian officials described as an ongoing deployment of Russian military on the country’s strategic region of Crimea. (AP)

A statue of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin in background as local residents carry giant Russian flags and shout slogans while rallying on the streets of Simferopol, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin asked his parliament Saturday for permission to use the country’s military in Ukraine, moving to formalize what Ukrainian officials described as an ongoing deployment of Russian military on the country’s strategic region of Crimea. (AP)

So it’s settled, more or less – Russia now controls Crimea.  But this story is far from over.  Because the whole power play unfolding day by day in Ukraine is not.  What is Russia’s game?  What do Europe and the US really want out of Ukraine? Is this about Russia being a bully?  Or is this about Russia standing its ground while NATO and the West keep pushing eastward?  Is this about Ukraine’s fight for freedom and self-determination –or is this really about a Cold War that was never really settled?  This hour On Point:  the Ukraine story, and how we got here.

Guests

Sabra Ayres, correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor. (@babraham)

Colum Lynch, senior reporter for Foreign Policy Magazine. (@columnlynch)

Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. Author most recently of “The Limits of Partnership: U.S. – Russian Relations In the Twenty First Century.” (@AngelaStent)

Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies and politics at New York University.  Contributing editor at The Nation. Author of “Soviet Fates And Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.

From The Reading List

Christian Science Monitor: Ukraine crisis ratchets up as some Crimeans welcome Russian troops — “While no shots have been fired yet, Russian troops and their supporters appear to be consolidating their position in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that is part of Ukraine but that is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, and Russia’s rhetoric shows no signs of backing down any time soon.”

The Wall Street Journal: How Moscow Orchestrated Events in Crimea — “The sudden rise of Russian Unity shows how the Kremlin, faced with a pro-Europe uprising in Kiev that emerged victorious, responded by helping push a once-marginal group of Russian nationalists into power—a feat of political stagecraft that played out like clockwork under the cover of chaos.”

The Nation: Distorting Russia – “The degradation of mainstream American press coverage of Russia, a country still vital to US national security, has been under way for many years. If the recent tsunami of shamefully unprofessional and politically inflammatory articles in leading newspapers and magazines—particularly about the Sochi Olympics, Ukraine and, unfailingly, President Vladimir Putin—is an indication, this media malpractice is now pervasive and the new norm.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Fredlinskip

    Why again is it up to America to police the world? Where is European Union? Doesn’t this conflict represent a greater threat to their interests than ours? Must we throw vast quantities of our resources at every conflict that arises? I’m all for supporting the rise of democratic interests, but doesn’t it it seem realistically our options are fairly limited?

    • brettearle

      Who says we’ve yet committed to “throw vast quantities of our resources” at the Ukraine conflict?

      Obama issued warnings–but they are economic in nature, including the US being absent for the G8.

      • Fredlinskip

        To judge by the reactions of various pundits and legislators, it seems the crisis would hinge on nothing else but the American response.

        • brettearle

          The crisis hinges on a lot more than the US response.

          If the US “threw vast quantities of resources” at the conflict, I assume that you are referring to a limited, or more than limited, military response?

          That would be absolutely fool-hardy, if not dangerous.

          Do you not see that?

          Therefore, these `resources’, that you bring up, can only be economic in nature.

          You are overreacting, based on other examples of US involvement, throughout the world.

          Because the US reacts one way, in one international incident, does not mean the US will react similarly, in another international incident.

          • Fredlinskip

            Yes, I “see that”.
            I think you misread me.
            I am just commenting at the way our media and “pundits” here seem to think it’s all about us, our response, and Obama.
            How about acting at least in some kind of unison with international partners.
            How about allowing European countries with more local interests play a more predominant role.
            Our “resources” are already strained.

          • brettearle

            Your views, above, are more in keeping with mine.

            Warmongers, on the Right and, periodically, on this Forum, don’t OFTEN want to recognize the risk of serious reprisal.

            But I just think that there is little that we can do–unless we want to risk a wider regional war or worse.

            My original response had to with thinking that you thought that the US would opt for a more aggressive policy.

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      I agree that it should not be up to us to solve all of the world’s problems. Let Europe take the lead on this one. Perhaps France under the leadership of Francois Hollande can solve this problem, assuming he is able to temporarily set aside his highest priority of identifying his next female conquest.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      War is not the answer.

      • sickofthechit

        This time. As much of a peacenik as I am, I have to say there has been at least one time when it was justified. charles a. bowsher

        • Ray in VT

          More than just once, I think. But others may disagree.

  • Unterthurn

    Once again… other countries were getting involved too early on. Now it turns out that nationalists are taking over, intolerance is the road they’re taking and not freedom of rights of all the people living in the country. Cannot blame Putin for asking that previous treaties be respected and wanting to protect the people of Russian background who are worried about ethnic cleansing. Europe will also not isolate and sanction Russia, because they have such high mineral exports that the EU relies on.

    • MOFYC

      What treaty permits Russia to invade sovereign Ukraine when Putin doesn’t like the government in Kiev?

      Putin’s domestic autocracy is a far greater threat to ethnic Russians than anyone in Ukraine is.

    • hennorama

      Unterthurn — the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and/or the UN could send in monitors if these are legitimate concerns. They have considerable experience in these matters. Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation are members of the OSCE and the UN.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    We need to make sure that we do not make threatening statements that we are not prepared to carry out (e.g. “if you like your former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, you can keep your former prime minister…PERIOD”). Given all that this administration is saying vs doing both domestically and internationally, our words and commitments have little if any credibility. We don’t need to give friend and foe any more fodder to not trust that we will make good on our verbal statements.

    • geraldfnord

      Animals walk a fine line when it comes to the level of threat display; sometimes they have to threaten muchmore than they’re capable of delivering—no matter how large I might make myself appear, that bear can probably take me, but with luck she won’t be sure enough of that to test the proposition.

      And, yes, it would have been more accurate to say ‘If you like your doctor, nothing in this plan will force you to change your doctor, but if the insurance companies are short-sighted enough in perceiving their self-interests, callous enough toward their fellow-citizens, and stupidly ungrateful enough to this “guarantied customer” scheme, they might force you to change your doctor.’ you might have criticised him for talking all complicated like ‘a Perfessor’ and an obvious Bolschewik for impugning stupidity, the Sin of Sodom, and unpatriotism to these beautiful, smart, moral, and just—that is to say, ‘wealthy’—artificial persons and the men who hide under their skirts.

  • John Cedar

    I don’t know much about this situation and don’t know what to think. However, I will be forming a strong, logically concluded opinion, after watching Fox over the next few days.

    About the only thing I can say about it, is that Obama is wrong 99% of the time, on every issue, and he makes most every problem worse, with how he responds.

    • Fredlinskip

      With all due respect, I see you are one of the gullible ones who allow politically motivated think tanks and media outlets to inform your opinion.

      I must point out that your first paragraph is clearly an oxymoron:
      It is simply impossible to form a “strong, logically concluded opinion, after watching Fox over the next few days”.

      Fox is not a “news” outlet- It is simply an infotainment outlet whose only goal is to preach propaganda and divide the nation. Surely that is abundantly clear by now.

      • geraldfnord

        I’d agree without reservation save for the fact that Ailes himself declared that the organisation weren’t primarily a news organisation, and as he was Ailes and his blubbery, snarling, lips were moving at the time….

      • John Cedar

        Surely.

    • anamaria23

      It did not take you long to use a delicate international crisis as just one more occasion to show your contempt for Barack Obama. It is not about the subject at large for you with intelligent debate, it is about you and your
      incessant darkness and hatred of this president.

      • keltcrusader

        And they wonder why the rest of the world has such a low opinion of the US and it’s President when the Right takes every slightest opportunity to denigrate and dismiss his leadership. I much prefer Obama’s measured response to these crises to the “woo hee, let’s go get em’ boys” attitude of his predecessor.

        • Ray in VT

          Remember when we were supposed to respect the President and the Dixie Chicks got practically run out of country music for daring to criticize Obama’s predecessor?

          • keltcrusader

            very well unfortunately. Their attitude and disrespect just emboldens Putin to think he can do anything he wants in that region. Russia has always treated Ukraine terribly. :(

          • Ray in VT

            and how did that all work out just as soon as a guy from the other party got into the Oval Office? Pretty respectful, right?

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          I am not a George Bush fan (I think that he was a terrible president), but I assume based on your above comment that you were equally upset when those who disagreed with him were quick to criticize him as well? Or does your theory only work in one direction?

          • Don_B1

            There is a difference in the quality of the criticism of President Bush and President Obama. There is much less basis for much of the “Obama” criticism, including a lot of the partisan Republican criticism of his foreign policy.

          • keltcrusader

            I don’t like it when our President is shown such disrespect that it impacts and degrades our relationships with the rest of the world.

      • John Cedar

        There is nothing dark about my hatred for our president, nor my hatred for the devil himself.

        I have zero confidence that our country will react properly under the direction of the faculty lounger and chief.

    • nj_v2

      “I don’t know much about this situation…”

      How is that any different than with any other subject you blather about here?

      Fox so-called News. That explains a lot.

      • geraldfnord

        He’s either being ironic or baiting.

        • Fredlinskip

          How about naive.

          • Ray in VT

            I’d go with bating.

          • Don_B1

            Primarily baiting, but there is a kind of naïveté in his one-note drive to crush any opposition to his ideological goals.

    • Bluejay2fly

      I get strong opinion from Fox but logic? I guess any lie is logical to the liar as it serves his own end.

    • sickofthechit

      I gave him a thumbs up (subject to recall) because I was convinced he was being ironic. charles a. bowsher

      • John Cedar

        I gave you a thumbs up because I am convinced YOU are being ironic.

  • Michiganjf

    Though one can’t always be sure about propaganda, the U.S. media reported that Putin couldn’t secure government funds when preparing Sochi for the Olympics… reportedly, Putin had to strong-arm some of the many wealthy oligarchs he helped to create, demanding “donations” which went to a Sochi Olympics fund.

    If Russia couldn’t easily scratch up enough government funding to pay for Sochi, where will they ever come by the funding needed to pay for a prolonged conflict in the Ukraine?

    Won’t Russia require quite a build-up of military capability?

    Will the greedy oligarchs again step up with funding, or cut their losses and bow out?… can they bow out, or does Putin control them utterly?

    I think developments in the Ukraine are HUGE news, and may either open or close the door to countries in the region ridding themselves of corrupt oligarchies… I assume the wealthy in Russia are now terrified at the prospect of a successful, western-affiliated Ukraine, but with their pockets full of ill-gotten wealth, why not cut and run while they’re ahead?… at least some of them, anyway.

    I can’t imagine Russia will come out better off in any way if Putin decides to invade the Ukraine… his paranoia in protecting the status quo will have a devastating effect on his country.

    … now to tackling oligarchs in our own country!

    • geraldfnord

      People are not always rational, and we are far from alone in always being capable of finding the money for war—’It’s a matter of survival, and it’s not like we’d lie about that to advance one faction’s narrow and distasteful interests! ‘

    • Matt MC

      I think the funding for the war machine is probably more stable (and more substantial) than it is for the a single Olympics even. I wouldn’t doubt Russia’s capability to fund a war effort.

  • Grigalem

    Lotta comments for a show that hasn’t aired yet.

    • Fredlinskip

      Churchy (the turtle in Pogo for the uninitiated),
      You will notice that DR encourages to submit comments to inspire in depth dialog on the show and on a rare day will read one on air.
      Also there are some of us whose work responsibilities precludes the opportunity of making comments during the broadcast.

      • geraldfnord

        And the real bots are set to go off at 10:00, as hard as some of us may appear to imitate them….

      • Grigalem

        I believe you will find my ID to be Grigalem.
        *********

        “and on a rare day will read one on air”

        Extremely rare. And face it – nothing here will be so read today.

      • Grigalem

        Perhaps you will notice that my ID is Grigalem.

        Perhaps you will have noticed that the show made zero reference to any pre-show comments.

        • Fredlinskip

          Sorry Grigalem,
          Now and again it does.

          Tom and co offers one of the best, in depth discussion of issues- but he doesn’t always cover everything.
          The goal, at least for me, is not to regurgitate what you hear from your slanted news outlet of choice. It’s to learn from many sources and to promote thoughtful discussion of the stories of the day.
          And I often can’t comment during broadcast- I got snowed in today.

          • Grigalem

            Not wanting to belabor this, but I never mentioned anything about sources, slants, or how you personally learn things.

            Al I said was 22 comments on a show that had not yet aired was a lot (IMHO), and that the show made zero reference to any pre-show comments.

            Just an observation. Nothing to get all hot and bothered about.

    • John M Cogswell Jr

      It’s a hot topic. I myself am really looking forward to this subject being broken down in detail. Initially it seemed pretty clear-cut, another case of Georgia 2008, but the more sources I review, the less clear it seems. Looking forward to Tom and his guests breaking it apart for a better analysis than what we’ve seen so far in the media.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Your right, we cannot think until the green light turns on. How gauche.

  • geraldfnord

    My sympathies now are with the current Ukrainian government, or at least against Tsar Peter the Lesser, but was the Crimea at all Ukrainian in character (Ukrainian-speaking, Catholic) before being transferred to the Ukraine S.S.R. just sixty years ago? I thought it was mostly Russians, Tatars, Turks, and a sprinkling of Jews…. I also remember that the east and west of the country were even briely at war c. 1918-19, and found unity only first in opposition to the Bolschewiks and then under them.

    On the other hand, at the risk of tripping the Godwin Alarms, I must point out that a favourite Nazi pre- and peri-war political trick was to justify territorial grabs by citing real, imaginary, or ginned-up oppression of ethnic German minorites, and I gather that the equivalent concern-trolling was involved in Mussolini’s claims to parts of Mediterranean France.

    • Bluejay2fly

      To hell with Godwin and his disdain for such an amusing comparison. I think every topic should start from there. ‘How is Obama’s policy on ……different from that of Nazi Germany?” Sounds reasonable to me. It is not like these boards are full of people who read history and are adept at discussion, anyway.

    • Ray in VT

      I wouldn’t push the Godwin button on this one, as, I think, that one can draw some parallels, potentially, between the tactics. The Nazis certainly did it. Whether or not that is what the Russians are doing? That’s debatable, although in some ways it looks like it.

  • Coastghost

    Well-informed views from former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock:

    http://jackmatlock.com/2014/03/ukraine-the-price-of-internal-division/

  • Bluejay2fly

    Wasn’t that war fought in the 1800′s. We need to stop doing repeats it usually does not end well or it costs us a ton of money.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Perhaps Russia is taking this aggressive action because they believe that the attention of most world citizens will be diverted to a really important story, namely, the trial of Oscar Pistorius!

  • Informed American

    Barack Obama, Victoria Nuland, and John Kerry, are responsible for most of the unrest and violence in the Ukraine due to their their $5 billion dollar financial support of N.G.O.’s (provocateurs) in the Ukraine. Obama, Nuland, and Kerry must be held accountable in a court of law for their support of rent-a-mob thugs who have maimed and murdered on their behalf.

  • MOFYC

    In Iraq, you had American militarists pushing naked aggression and Russians denouncing US imperialism. In Ukraine, the US warmongers are denouncing the aggression as Russians whip up imperialist sentiment.

    The neo-Soviet Putin regime treats its satellite states in much the same way as the US has treated Latin America.

    As the proverb goes, when elephants clash, it’s the ants who get trampled.

  • MOFYC

    Though if Putin is so worried about the harassment of ethnic
    Russians by a neo-fascist regime, maybe HIS goons in Moscow and St Petersburg can
    stop throwing in jail everyone who expresses the slightest disagreement with
    his dictatorship.

    • Coastghost

      I rather fancy the idea of US traitor Edward Snowden’s emergence as a stern human rights campaigner and activist inside Russia, so he can exercise that inflamed conscience and idealism of his.

      • StilllHere

        He’s too busy counting his depreciating rubles.

        • Bluejay2fly

          At least he has rubles, God Knows Bush/Cheney had none.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Sorry, I though you said scruples.

        • sickofthechit

          Could be he has it all in “bit” coins.

  • Coastghost

    I renew my appeal to Ashbrook & Co. to discuss in passing the perceived impact of the Ukrainian Crisis upon delicate negotiations involving critical Russian support with both the Syrians and the Iranians.
    Six months have now elapsed since Obama’s Syria Two-Step tap dance, and now less than six months remain for the critical negotiations with the Iranians over their domestic nuclear program(s). Obama’s participation in all of this, to buttress a point well made by Amb. Matlock (cited below), highlights his distinct talent for making the wrong decision once moments become heated.
    How dangerous has it become for Bumbling Obama to even attempt to “lead” or even assist in the formulation of US foreign policy? Or does his genius for diplomacy somehow offset or somehow compensate the performance of a Rice, a Power, a Kerry?

    • Fredlinskip

      I think you mistake diplomacy with the “leading with a bullet” style of his predecessor.
      Some of you folks just can’t get enough War.

      • Coastghost

        You misrepresent my views egregiously. To this day I condemn the Clinton Administration’s groundless views and ample lying to justify launching “Operation Allied Force”. Bill Clinton was one of our modern founders of “humanitarian war”, lest we forget.

        • Ray in VT

          Years of ethnic cleansing by the Serbs and the potential that they were going to undertake another round wasn’t a good enough reason?

          • Coastghost

            In Bosnia from 1992 to 1995: 7.4% of the Muslim population was killed, 7.1% of the Serb population was killed. The Serbs were hardly the only ethnic group cleansing other ethnicities. Muslims were killing a-plenty through the period.

          • Ray in VT

            According to the RDC 82% of the civilians killed during the war were Bosniaks, who are mostly Sunni Muslims. It sounds as though the civilian deaths were pretty one sided.

          • Bigtruck

            Numbers always get in the way of a good argument.

          • Ray in VT

            It depends upon the numbers used, the context and the validity or accuracy of those numbers. There are three types of lies, after all: lies, damned lies and statistics.

          • Coastghost

            Please identify the RDC, Wikipedia seems to provide no instant clue.
            Do their figures include Bosnian Serb casualties resulting from the first NATO airstrikes in history, carried out in April 1994 and directed against the Bosnian Serbs?

          • Ray in VT

            Research and Documentation Center in Sarajevo

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_and_Documentation_Center_in_Sarajevo

            I am not sure if NATO bombing casualties are included, although I would guess that they were. Wikipedia cites sources that estimate some 30 casualties. How does that compare to the 8,000 murdered at Srebrenica?

          • Coastghost

            The Srbenica victims were murdered in July 1995 by forces of the Army of Republika Srpsksa, which afterwards integrated into the national army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the point being: this was an incident of Bosnian-on-Bosnian violence).
            As to your earlier points of ethnic cleansing, it may pay to further recall that the US was supporting “ethnic cleansing” in neighboring Croatia: by early 1995, months before the Srbenica massacre, the Croatian Army was already receiving US military training and intelligence, which resulted (commencing in August 1995) in the expulsion of almost 250,000 Krajina Serbs.
            You can accuse the Serbs of what you want, but the concerted NATO airstrikes coordinated with the successful Croat/Muslim ground offensive that helped lead to the Dayton Accord suggests that the Serbs had legitimate grounds for feeling threatened by the combined forces of Croats, Muslims, and NATO.

          • Ray in VT

            So, given that you are taking issue with Srebrenica being “Bosnian on Bosnian violence”, regardless of the fact that it was one ethnic/religious group massacring another, then should we have less outrage regarding, say, the Nazi destruction of German Jews, as, after all, that was German on German violence.

            Now, while I do not support the removal of peoples, as “ethnic cleansing” can mean, I do think that it is a far worse crime that the genocidal actions undertaken by the Serbs. So, the Serbs felt threatened, so we shouldn’t really judge them harshly for massacring civilians? An interesting perspective.

          • Coastghost

            Jewish non-resistance to Nazi atrocities seems a clear and conspicuous part of that record. Bosnian Muslims were avidly killing Bosnian Serbs, your representations to the contrary.
            The practice of ethnic cleansing does not a genocide make. Perhaps you invoke Clinton and Cohen’s “genocide” argument, the LIE that justified the unlawful NATO attack on Serbia and Kosovo in 1999. In mid-May 1999, both men CLAIMED that some 100,000 Kosovar Albanians were “missing” and presumed killed by Serbs prior to the outbreak of NATO bombing, when in fact 300,000 Kosovar Albanians did not begin fleeing Kosovo until AFTER NATO bombing began, and most turned up safely in Macedonia and Albania.
            NO mass graves of the mythical 100,000 ever turned up in Kosovo, or anywhere in Serbia, for that matter.

          • Ray in VT

            It would seem that your knowledge of the Holocaust is lacking, given the history of Jewish resistance that did occur. Even, however, if they had not resisted, then would that somehow made the Nazi crimes better or worse.

            Hey man, if you want to paper over the genocidal actions of the Serbs, then go right ahead. Claims are often made in crises, and they are sometimes blown out of proportion. Given, however, the willingness of Serb forces to massacre civilians, as they had done previously, I think that Albania and NATO concerns were more than justified.

          • Coastghost

            Organized Jewish resistance occurred in some places (the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto comes to mind), but no sustained Jewish resistance to Nazi predations within Germany come to mind at all (feel free to correct any ignorance I exhibit here).
            You can feel free to defend NATO aggression in the Balkans in the 1990s, then, which contravened both its own charter and the UN Charter.
            NO genocide occurred anywhere in the region from 1992 to 2002. Mass murders on the scale of the civil conflict of that period in the Balkans, regardless of the perpetrators, regardless of the victims, do not a genocide make.

          • Ray in VT

            Open, widespread and armed resistance did not, by and large, occur. However, it did in places, and other actions were taken. I would suggest this article as an ignorance corrective: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005213.

            The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia seems have disagreed with your assessment that “NO genocide occurred anywhere in the region from 1992 to 2002.” Perhaps you should let them know that they were wrong.

            I will defend actions the actions taken in light of what the Serbs had shown themselves capable of.

          • Coastghost

            Well, and so, the Russians of March 2014 are taking due account of what the US and NATO have shown themselves capable of.

          • Ray in VT

            In order to make the analogy work, then please show some recent evidence of Ukrainian genocide and/or ethnic cleansing of Russians. We have seen what actions they are capable of when dealing with former republics.

          • Coastghost

            No analogy stands to be invoked: neither the Obama Admin. nor present NATO leadership are (yet) making wild and unsubstantiated charges of “genocide”. (I was not attempting to conflate in my post just above: two distinct observations.)

          • Ray in VT

            Except that, given the then recent history of genocidal actions of the Serbs, such “wild and unsubstantiated charges” were certainly well within the realm of possibility. Perhaps nations should stand back and allow aggressors to first start annihilating people. Better to wait under after the mass graves have been filled than to try to prevent such things from occurring in the first place maybe.

          • Coastghost

            EXCEPT that: the Serbs perpetrated no genocide in the former Yugoslavia between 1991 (the dissolution of the Fed. Rep. of Yugoslavia) and June 2000.
            Clinton and Cohen’s lie about genocide stuck pretty well, to hear your continual citation of the pompously inflated and factually erroneous charge.

          • Ray in VT

            Sorry, I forgot that I am to take your word for it and not the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. How could I make such a terrible mistake?

          • Coastghost

            Maybe you’re been standing too close to your cows for too long.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that it would take more than some methane inhalation, or even repeated blows to the head, to compel me to side with you over the Tribunal.

  • Matt MC

    One of the more interesting points I came across was that the new leaders in Kiev were forced to put wealthy oligarchs in power as regional governors to provide enough stability to challenge Putin. I think it shows just how difficult it is to make meaningful change in society. Look at Ukraine. The protestors gave their lives and pulled off a coup d’etat, but now they have to go right back to the status quo just to keep the wheels turning.

    On a side note, many of the problems in Ukraine have stemmed from the vast political divide in the nation (reminds me of the United States, honestly) where the leadership vacillates between pro-Russian conservatives in the east and pro-EU liberals in the west. Aside from the arbitrary borders drawn around the country, I’d like the guest to speak on the possible benefits of having two Ukraines with more like-minded populations.

  • Fredlinskip

    Unfortunately, our nation’s misguided approach in Iraq establishes a poor precedent.
    It is hard for others abroad to properly respect our nations protestations when the “moral high ground” has already been lost.

    • nj_v2

      Not just Iraq. U.S. meddles in foreign governments far and wide in many ways, from supporting militaries of our choosing, to occupation, to overthrowing or subverting governments (some democratically elected), to maintaining military presence, etc, and has done so for many decades.

      So, for the U.S. to object to another country doing the same thing, is, on its face, laughable.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Every war since Vietnam has been disastrous for American credibility.

        • Ray in VT

          I don’t know. Desert Storm didn’t leave us with egg on our face.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            It was over oil. We would be a lot better off investing in renewable energy instead.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that in that instance we were quite justified in taking action.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            We supported Saddam Hussein before that, so we already lost our credibility.

          • sickofthechit

            We left Husein in power….grade “A” Extra Large.

          • Ray in VT

            Given the issues that could have, and eventually did, arise from removing him, I think that it was a soundly based decision.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — those were the good old days, when 100 hours of military ground action were enough, and Reasonable Minds Prevailed.

          • Ray in VT

            It helped that there was a massive disparity between the forces and that the lesser force was a state-based, old fashioned military.

        • Bluejay2fly

          When Homer visited Argentina he wore a shirt with a picture of Uncle Sam taking a bite out of a globe. The caption read “Go Ahead, Try To Stop Us” That pretty much sums up our world reputation.

    • HonestDebate1

      Iraq put the fear of God in Gaddaffi and he came clean. Pakistan moved our way. Nobody fears Obama, they do what they want. The Al Qaeda flag flies over Fallujah.

      • Ray in VT

        And all that it took was 4,500 American dead, maybe 30,000 Americans wounded, over a trillion dollars and a public mislead, after it was told, repeatedly, that Saddam was training and equipping Al Qaeda.

        • HonestDebate1

          Alrighty then.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s sick.

        • jefe68

          Let us not forget upwards of half a million Iraqis deaths.

          • Bluejay2fly

            How many millions of Vietnamese did we kill and for nothing.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. I have heard it stated that we dropped more bombs, in terms of tonnage, on North Vietnam in one year than we did on Germany throughout the entire war. I am not sure as to the validity of that statement, but it would not surprise me.

          • Bluejay2fly

            We ran out of bombs and started using unsafe discarded bombs, which explains the USS Forestal fire. Ironically, the VC were operating in bomb proof tunnels so all that effort was a huge waste of money. Also, read about Operation Ranch Hand and how that legacy still persists.

          • Ray in VT

            And after that we started saying “no more Vietnams” instead of “no more Munichs”.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I would agree with expending the same loss of life and money had it been directed at fixing Mexico. If Mexico was as pleasant and just as Canada we would have no need for an immigration bill.

          • Ray in VT

            Come on, now. Canadians are desperate to cross the border and become ‘Mericans. You should know that, living up here near the border like you do. ;)

          • Bluejay2fly

            Ironically, my grandmother came from Quebec but that was when we still had an economy in NNY.

          • Ray in VT

            A lot of us have ancestors from Quebec. It’s almost impossible to have a family live here for a couple of generations and not have some Canadian or French-Canadian ancestry. One time when I spent a weekend in Montreal someone asked me my name, and when I gave it to her, she told me that it was a very French name, and it sort of is.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, they should not be forgotten. To many, though, it seems that only the American ones really count.

      • Bluejay2fly

        We did not win those wars. We went the other route and started paying people off. In a sense we paid the bad guys to stop killing us, which is basically paying extortion. This also explains why the war is costing us so damn much money.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    U.S. officials referred to the deployment of Russian troops in Crimea as an “uncontested arrival” rather than an invasion.
    –The Atlantic

    No wonder no one in the world takes the Obama administration seriously. He and his lads can’t march and chew gum at the same time.

    “Alright guys. Let’s try it again. Now, starting on your Socialist foot..”
    –Barack Obama, Visionary for all Mankind

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    My foreign policy IS NOT a shambles.
    –John aka Windsurfer Dude

    And your pompadour doesn’t muss in the wind!

  • StilllHere

    Where’s Obama’s line in the sand this week?

    • Fredlinskip

      I agree,
      What’s all this diplomacy baloney?
      Let’s nuke the Russkies and be done with it.

      • StilllHere

        It’s working so well in Syria.

        Why have a line if you’re too weak to respond?

        • Ray in VT

          When the time came for the hawks in the GOP to do something against a country that actually had, and had apparently used, WMDs they took strong action and stood behind the President, right?

          • StilllHere

            The president was cowering, there was nothing to stand behind. That’s why Putin’s so bold.

          • Ray in VT

            Feh.

          • jefe68

            Feh and meh. What piece of work.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I will pull the NSA off camera watch up American backsides and focus them on FOREIGN threats.
    –Barack H. Obama, Harvard/Columbia/Wingfoot

    Now, there’s an idea. Actually focusing intel on real, known enemies. Well done, Professor Einstein.

  • Bluejay2fly

    When the Mexican government was overtaken by the French in the 1860′s we had no problem funding the Mexican insurgency and threatening war (after our Civil War ended) with our great ally France. Ukraine is in Russia’s backyard and Russia fought the bloody Crimean War over the same seaports it is reinforcing now. While I personally think Mexico would have been better off as a French state, than the corrupt craphole it is today, France did the smart thing by staying out of North American affairs. We did not head France’s lesson learned in Indochina let us at least learn their Cinco de Mayo lesson. I pity them but we should stay out.

    • jefe68

      I hope you’re aware that Napoleon III, while aware that his nation could not go to war the North, was supportive of the Confederacy due to France’s need for cotton.
      If his imperial ambitions in Mexico had been more successful, it’s no doubt that it would have benefited the Confederacy.

      Mexico wold have been better off as a French state? Really?

      • Bluejay2fly

        Not only that but I think life in NYS would have been better if the South ran their own nation. We would not have had prohibition and anti unionism foisted on us. The only reason why succession would have been an unmitigated disaster would have been the future conflicts over new territories. Other than that life in the USA sans George Bush, Segregation Forever!, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, etc. seems pretty sweet.

        • Ray in VT

          Harry Turtledove wrote an interesting alternative history series where the South did win independence, and the series laid how the world wars would have been fought between those two nations.

        • jefe68

          However, you leave out that slavery.

          If the South had won the war or, there was a stalemate, slavery would have been a economic disaster for the South as 19th century progressed.

          I’m not sure what the US would have been like without the South, but I fro one think that it would have been a disaster for both in the long run.

          By the way, some of the best AMerican writers come from the South, Twain, Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter, Caroline Gordon, Allen Tate, Thomas Wolfe, Robert Penn Warren,Tennessee Williams, Zora Neale Hurston, Sterling Allen Brown
          Hopper Lee and Truman Capote, to name a few.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Maybe those writers would have been even been greater in their own culture. If not it is not as though Confederate writers would be banned. God knows how much welfare we have given the south over the years. All those huge military bases in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Florida would not be bled out of our economy. I am somewhat joking but the reality is the South has caused us a lot of agony.

          • notafeminista

            “…the reality is the South has caused us a lot of agony.” and to whom to do you refer when you say “us”? What precisely is your implication there?
            PS: Do not for one minute ever assume that humans would not jump at the chance to censor or ban outright that which they feel is unwarranted or offensive. Comments on this board reveal as much.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Us meaning the northern states that did not have peonage. Us the northern states that did not have such poor compliance with the law that they were denying counsel to the mentally retarded and the insane (see Gideon v Wainright). Us the northern states who did not couple Martin Luther King day, when it was declared a national holiday with confederate generals Robert E Lee and Thomas Jackson. This happened in Virginia from 1984-2000. How about Supreme Court Justice Reynolds (KY) who hated jews so much he held a paper in front of his face when Justice Cordoza talked. I already talked about the destruction of our economy through prohibition which already existed in the south and was only foisted on the north for revenge. Representative Daniel Garrett (TX) summed up this loss to the north “..must pocket their losses just as our fathers had to pocket theirs when you took our ni****ers away from them”. Ironically, I love the South and the have more affection for the people than my own state of NY. I lived in Virginia for two years (my sister 30) and am moving to SC when I retire. However, you cannot tell me that the relationship between the North and South has not been and at times still is toxic.

          • notafeminista

            Harper. Harper Lee.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Soviet invasion of Ukraine. Another intelligence failure of the NSA/CIA/GCHQ clusterocracy.

    If elected, I vow not to focus our vast intel assets on my husband’s behavior.
    –HRH Hillary Rodham Clinton

  • James

    It’s interesting, if you look at a map, Crimea sticks out in the middle of the Black Sea, with Ukrainian ports to the west and Russian ports to the east. They can share the Black sea either way.

    • hellokitty0580

      Exactly. There is no geographically strategic reason for Russia to be doing this.

  • hellokitty0580

    Generally, one can’t negotiate with one who is not “in touch with reality.”

    Strategically, this is completely nonsensical for Russia. Economically, this is a disaster for Russia. In terms of goodwill and soft power, where does bullying your neighbors get you? Not very far. So you display your military strength, but in the long run what does bullying with military power leave you with? Pride. But pride don’t make for good international business partnerships. It don’t make for international cooperative initiatives on the environment or science or education, etc.

    If Russia wants to be the next Iran or North Korea Putin’s doing a good job of making that happen.

  • Human2013

    It just seems the media is hyping this up. The reporter on the ground said that it’s busines as usual there and there are no mass protests. I wish the media would swallow a handful of xanax and approach this issue in a much calmer fashion. Anything to keep us from the real problems we are facing in the US.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Nothing stopping the rest of Ukraine for petitioning for EU membership. Now whether Germany wants to bail out another failed European “civilization” is another question. One for the Germans.

    This would put the kibosh on the proposed high speed rail link from Germany to England. Not enough Euros to pay for everything.

  • coyotejazz

    These comments are unbelievable. Are any of you listening to Stent and Cohen, people who actually know a great deal about this issue?

    • jefe68

      Don’t hold your breath. If Obama plays a round of golf it’s fodder for a week or two of right wing hand wringing.

      • Ray in VT

        Why, didn’t you know that Obama is the most vactioningist president that we’ve ever had?

  • Informed American

    Detroit has declared bankruptcy, benefits to US vets are being slashed, and the US is over $17 trillion in debt, yet somehow the Obama Administration has managed to send $5 billion to stir up trouble in the Ukraine.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Urban decay affects mostly the poor and many of them are minorities so nobody cares. Your answer as to why we let Detroit burn? It is full of black people.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The National Intelligence Council. There’s an oxymoron.

  • pb

    does crimea = sudetenland?
    or does putin simply want a protected naval base? in which case, a finland solution should obtain, at least according to my pal david.

    i can’t help but think about ukraine, crimea, and russia, and the
    parallels and non-parallels with czechoslovakia, sudetenland and
    germany. sizeable german majorities in sudetenland = sizeable
    russian majorities in crimea. ukraine is in many ways a
    cobbled-together state as was czechoslovakia. the official
    motivation in both cases was protecting populations presumably
    faithful to their former motherland/vaterland.

    hitler gambled with relatively good odds and won, actually getting
    the munich agreement, which may have included the uncontested
    takeover of the rest of czechoslovakia about a year later. had
    hitler stayed put and not invaded poland, we might still be
    dealing with a judenrein, swastika-flagged deutschland, with one
    of goebbels’s kids as chancellor. germany in 1938 was an
    industrial and manufacturing colossus [though state-controlled,
    re-armament oriented] already out of the depression, and while
    isolated in many ways from the rest of the economic world, germany
    had no unemployment, and everybody had food on the table. [ask me
    about franz keller, a wonderful packaging engineer friend of mine
    who grew up in nazi germany, loving hitler and enjoying his time
    in hitler jugend.]

    by contrast, putin is gambling with relatively poor odds –
    especially if the likely economic effects and political
    reverberations are included — and russia’s internal economic
    juice is still largely limited to oil, gas, timber, and minerals.
    and in the next 5 years, not only will oil and gas prices decline,
    but no company with any expertise in natural resource extraction
    is likely to do deals, especially if economic sanctions are put in
    place. russia as a bigger iran, perhaps. think that the oligarchs
    have all taken all their money and left the country yet? they
    will. many hundreds of billions of dollars.

    the transition periods — the next 5 years — will be tough,
    though, especially for europe that now depends on russian gas. how fast can LNG facilities be built?

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Sudetenland was an orchestrated done deal, not a surprise.

    • hellokitty0580

      Good analysis.

      • jefe68

        I disagree. It’s way more complicated than 1938.

    • jefe68

      I’m curious, did you not hear when professor Cohen stated that this event is about Putin, Russia’s historical ties with the Crimea and the Black sea. The history of WW2 which somehow you have managed to run around as an analogy linking the Putin to the nazis.

      I hope you’re aware that much of the region now opposing the Russians were allied with the nazis in WW2.

      This is excerpt outlines (http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-and-the-rebirth-of-fascism-in-europe/5366852):
      Pravy Sektor” (Right Sector), which is essentially an umbrella organization for a number of ultra-nationalist (read fascist) right wing groups including supporters of the “Svoboda” (Freedom) Party, “Patriots of Ukraine”, “Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense” (UNA-UNSO), and “Trizub”. All of these organizations share a common ideology that is vehemently anti-Russian, anti-immigrant, and anti-Jewish among other things. In addition they share a common reverence for the so called “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” led by Stepan Bandera, the infamous Nazi collaborators who actively fought against the Soviet Union and engaged in some of the worst atrocities committed by any side in World War II.

  • nlpnt

    Sen. Graham’s words couldn’t be less relevant. He’d criticize Obama whatever course the White House took.

    • StilllHere

      And you put even less thought into your support. Whatever.

    • sickofthechit

      I can’t wait to see Jon Stewart’s rendition of Lindsey’s comments.

  • M S

    You would think we would be siding with Russia in the defense of ethnic Russians from Ukraine’s new fascist leaders, but then again, it is the U.S. Federal Government.

  • hellokitty0580

    You know, the GOP really cracks me up. They’ll take any opportunity to knock the President for not being strong enough and not being decisive. It’s such political spin. The reality is I think we have a President who likes to make the best decisions possible rather than be reactionary like some previous presidents *COUGH, BUSH, COUGH* we’ve had in the past. What is so wrong with a leader who wants to watch things unfold and take his time to make good decisions?? Frankly, I’m glad we don’t have a President who shoots from the hip at every possible change in international dynamics. It made us look like morons for 8 years.

    • StilllHere

      The only decision he makes is to not make a decision. Genius, no wonder you guys think he walks on water.

    • jefe68

      That’s because they don’t have any ideas or policy other than putting the words smaller government in every sentence.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    If elected I will Reset my Russia Reset.
    –HRH Hillary Rodham Clinton {Secret Service handle: Benghazi}

  • elzarrow

    It seems to me a tragic omission that the U.S. press does not cover the activities of the National Endowment for Democracy around the world. According to the NED web site, they have funded various projects and organizations just in Ukraine to the tune of over $5,806,000 over the last year or two. Most or all of these were dedicated to upending the established political order. So, does the US have any responsibility for the way politics have unfolded in Ukraine? Would the US accept this type of activity on its borders? I would really like the guests to address this aspect of the issue. There are many options and they should all be discussed.

    • Peter Duveen

      My comment below touches on your point. Definitely we are talking about an attack on Russia, as Mr. Cohen clearly pointed out.

  • Informed American

    At least Putin hasn’t supported the ‘rebels’ (Al-Qaeda terrorists) in Syria, who have killed thousands of innocent civilians, like Mr. Nobel Peace Prize, Obama has.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      What are you on about?

      • hennorama

        Neil Blanchard — perhaps an attempt at dethroning the reigning holder of the Most Oxymoronic Moniker?

        • Ray in VT

          That would take quite a lot.

        • sickofthechit

          I think he is a 7UP type person. As in “UN”informed American. charles a. bowsher

          • hennorama

            sickofthechit — TYFYR, which supports my supposition.

          • Informed American

            The uninformed Americans are individuals like yourself who supports a regime, such as the current one, which has admitted to supporting Al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria.

          • Ray in VT

            Let me guess, as opposed to the truly informed individuals, such as yourself, who are in possession of the “real truth”, even when that is not in line with the facts?

      • jefe68

        As I’ve been saying, the right wingers are going to be posting volumes of memes on this crisis and their hubris will only grow as the crisis evolves.

  • nj_v2

    http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/

    What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis

    Special Report: The Ukrainian crisis – partly fomented by U.S. neocons including holdovers at the State Department – has soured U.S-Russian relations and disrupted President Obama’s secretive cooperation with Russian President Putin to resolve crises in the Mideast, reports Robert Parry.

    By Robert Parry

    President Barack Obama has been trying, mostly in secret, to craft a new foreign policy that relies heavily on cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin to tamp down confrontations in hotspots such as Iran and Syria. But Obama’s timidity about publicly explaining this strategy has left it open to attack from powerful elements of Official Washington, including well-placed neocons and people in his own administration.

    The gravest threat to this Obama-Putin collaboration has now emerged in Ukraine, where a coalition of U.S. neocon operatives and neocon holdovers within the State Department fanned the flames of unrest in Ukraine, contributing to the violent overthrow of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych and now to a military intervention by Russian troops in the Crimea, a region in southern Ukraine that historically was part of Russia.

    Though I’m told the Ukraine crisis caught Obama and Putin by surprise, the neocon determination to drive a wedge between the two leaders has been apparent for months, especially after Putin brokered a deal to head off U.S. military strikes against Syria last summer and helped get Iran to negotiate concessions on its nuclear program, both moves upsetting the neocons who had favored heightened confrontations.…

    (snipped)

    • sickofthechit

      Think positively that Putin will disappoint the neo-cons.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    We can defeat the Soviet Empire by selling them AAA-rated Wall Street MBS products. Or as Warren Buffett called them: WMD.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Now the fiction that Reagan defeated the Soviet Empire is dead and buried. At RWR’s tomb.

    As the little girl said to her TV set: They’re back!

  • Satwa

    You can’t stop war by these piecemeal methods. A gardener doesn’t water individual leaves of a plant. He waters the root. Human collective consciousness, at the quantum level of your own individual brain, is the ONLY way to cause positive change. Modern Physics makes this clear. Thoughts and actions are symbiotically entangled to the quality of the quantum atmosphere of collective consciousness. Stress and tension are blocks and knots in quantum consciousness. When the brain transcends, those knots are loosened and stress is dissolved. Then you take that effect and increase it exponentially for a whole region, with a tiny group of highly trained experts.
    A group of 10,000 TM-Sidhas in Poland or Europe, practicing the most advanced technology of consciousness ever known, is the only way to bring coherence to the electromagnetic, quantum, and universal unified fields of any region.
    Everything else is just moving problems from one place to another. Surface level effects.

    • sickofthechit

      Do they have to be in close proximity to one another? Can’t the just align on the “time” plane and channel their effects just as powerfully. Seems it might be dangerous for them to be gathered together in a small area. We don’t want to lose them. charles a. bowsher

      • Satwa

        No, they just need to be nearby. Ideally within the country but 10,000 in Germany would change everything. It would be good to have one in the Middle-East as well, although Cyprus would be very good, since it is pretty safe there. Its a practical thing, and just works. Any individual (even a skeptic) who learns the TM will notice something different immediately.

  • nlpnt

    Cohen’s style is TOO professorial and not at all suitable for live radio,
    Too many. Pauses, For effect or. Emphasis.

    • jefe68

      And yet he was making a lot sense.

  • sickofthechit

    I thought OnPoint couldn’t find a host more rude than Tom Ashbrook. I stand corrected. This “bozo” (apologies to my brother) takes the cake. I’ll give him his commercial break he interrupted the Professor Emeritus for, but I will never forgive him for not returning to the Professor as soon as the commercial break was over. My friend, Alma Castillo said it best; “IDIOT!”
    Charles A. Bowsher

  • Mahatma_Coat

    The BBC recently covered a story about the most active protestors. This right wing group claims to be ‘purist’ Nationalist, (one person interviewed spoke of their philosophy as wanting a “pure Ukraine” he was anti-russian speakers, anti-minorities, anti-jew) His tone was frightening. I can understand that the Russian speaking Crimeans would be afraid and want to welcome in Russia which appears to be a stable country by comparison.

    • jefe68

      The phenomenon of fascism rearing it’s ugly head again in Europe and Russia is all to real. Even thought the Svoboda party in the Ukraine have support of about 10% of the population it’s clear that they are very active.

      This is why Europe and the US need to be very careful in how they resolve this crisis. As Professor Cohen was trying to parse before he was cut off. It’s a problem that is effecting all of Europe. Something we should all be aware off.

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-and-the-rebirth-of-fascism-in-europe/5366852

  • Informed American

    So Obama’s US funded, rent-a-mob thugs helped to ouster the democratically elected, internationally recognized govt. in the Ukraine in favor of some fascist leaning hooligans?
    What else would you expect from a President who has supported ‘rebels’ (Al-Qaeda terrorists) in Libya and Syria.

    • sickofthechit

      You forgot your prefix “Un”. charles a. bowsher

      • Informed American

        Is that the best you can do? Go back to sleep Nancy.

        • hennorama

          “Informed American” –

          Is that the best you can do?

          • jefe68

            Come on, you know the right wingers can’t deviate from the script.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — as there are only a few comments thus far under this amusing moniker, its political leanings are still a bit undetermined.

            But only a bit.

          • jefe68

            Cat’s out to the bag now. This chap is another right winger bent on “showing the liberals” what’s what.

          • Informed American

            You put your IQ next to your moniker?
            That’s quite brave of you ma’am.

          • hennorama

            “Informed American” — repeating:

            Is that the best you can do?

          • Informed American

            I’ll bet you were dumb enough to believe your President when he said, “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.”

          • hennorama

            “Informed American” — you’re really piling up the ad hominems there. Which one is supposed to be the worst? Which one helps your argument the most?:

            “Go back to sleep Nancy.”

            “You put your IQ next to your moniker?”

            “That’s quite brave of you ma’am.”

            “I’ll bet you were dumb enough to believe your President…”

            “You must be one of those govt. hacks who gets paid minimum wage to write pro-Obama dribble [sic]…”

            “The uninformed Americans are individuals like yourself…”

            Anyone have an ad hominem hilarity meter?

          • Informed American

            Since you asked, my all-time #1 favorite is “If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it”.

          • hennorama

            “Informed American” — to which of the three questions posed to you in my post are you replying?

          • hennorama

            “Informed American” — since you are new here, you might want to read this before any further comment:

            http://www.wbur.org/community/rules

          • Informed American

            You liberals love to dish it out, but then your the first to cry foul when you’re on the receiving end.

          • jefe68

            I can take it buddy boy.
            It’s just not worth engaging with fools and wankers.

          • Informed American

            ‘Wanker’ is that the new P.C. term for mind-less Obamanoids like you?

          • jefe68

            No, it’s an old British term for, wanker.

          • hennorama

            “Informed American” — two points:

            1. I am not a liberal.
            2. Can one be “Informed” if one cannot discern the difference between “your” and “you’re”?

          • Informed American

            What was I thinking? That’s almost as bad as when President Obama claimed that he “visited 57 states”.

          • Ray in VT

            I am sure that the individuals whom an informed American, such as yourself, would support would never misspeak over the course of months of campaigning.

          • hennorama

            “Informed American” — thank you for your response.

            Another question:

            Can one be “Informed” if one cannot discern the difference between “candidate and then-Senator Obama” and “President Obama”?

          • Informed American

            Whether Senator, President, or ‘community organizer’, Obama has always aspired to be, and seen himself as a dictator.

          • hennorama

            “Informed American” — the nonsensical nature of your comment provides further evidence that you are trying to dethrone the current holder of the Most Oxymoronic Moniker.

          • artymowski

            Or corpse man instead or corpsman?

          • HonestDebate1

            Dude, you’re a liberal… big time.

          • jefe68

            Actually it’s a year. But that’s neither here nor there. Try growing up speaking of age related retorts.

        • tbphkm33

          Looks like we have an Un-Informed-Troll lurking today.

          • Informed American

            That’s a good way of describing yourself.

  • AC

    did anyone mention the identity theft rings being protected by both of those countries or their unwillingness to cooperate with international laws and turn over criminals? i have been wondering how much of that is true and if so, why?

    • Bluejay2fly

      There is a lot of cyber crime originating from that region and we do nothing about it.

  • PithHelmut

    Men and their wars again. Disable the war machine. Do not obey men. (There are good men but for now they must enable women or we’re all going to perish) People can simply stop giving their consent to anyone. Let us represent ourselves. Those who claim to represent us must show in writing where we agreed to give them such permission. I certainly didn’t sign up for wars. The people must emancipate themselves. Declare your sovereignty. We are more than a voter. We are human.

  • Fredlinskip

    Ahh… for the days when it was considered unpatriotic to insult the actions of a sitting president at a time when fragile negotiations were occurring that could effect whether a conflict blossomed into War.

    Ray below (hope he pardons my plagiarism) raises a good point by pointing out the atmosphere that existed in America in buildup to Iraq War: “Remember when we were supposed to respect the President and the Dixie Chicks got practically run out of country music for daring to criticize Obama’s predecessor?”

    “and how did that all work out just as soon as a guy from the other party got into the Oval Office? Pretty respectful, right?”

    • dust truck

      Need to get ready for the 2014 and 2016 elections. If you can portray the President as weak then you’ll have leverage to attack his party and any presidential candidates that choose to follow in his footsteps.

      Just political posturing, as usual.

      • Fredlinskip

        I guess it just depends where your loyalties lie- with your country or with “political posturing”.

        • dust truck

          I think Salty’s response pretty much confirms where most Republicans are on that scale these days.

          Let’s parse what was said:

          “…or perhaps he is just weak?” questioning my statement. Could be a legitimate question, lets see if Salty follow up with specific examples.

          “Nah, that can’t be it. Every thing IS better now with “Hope and Change”, Sarcasm. Nope. Nothing useful here. Just posturing.

          “Hope and Change” the Nobel prize, and the apology tour,” Examples? Rather vague and “apology tour” seems more like a Republican marketing term than an actual issue.

          “Some are just not progressive enough to realize that what we are in, IS better; that BETTER is where we are.” 1984 doublespeak. Wow, and Republicans are always accusing Democrats of doublespeek.

          “t must be, after all BO is president. Why can’t people see it? Better = the period while we have a progressive, open minded, enlightened president.”

          Ok, now you’re not even making sense anymore. Meds wear off?

          • warryer

            No worries. When a logical argument won’t do an insult (or two or three… whose counting) will do in a pinch.

          • Salty

            I agree… but I won’t let Fredlinskip’s comment frame my opinion of him. I am sure he means well.

          • Salty

            Goodness… Let’s go back to school. We need to attend a few more classes covering sarcasm, satire and public policy 090. Once you come back with certificate of completion then we will talk. Hurry, the tardy bell is about to ring…

            Are you asserting I am a Republican? How about educated observer of the MSM and current events.

            Anyway, just heard the bell – off you go.

            (Note: Humor is intended, not insults)

          • Fredlinskip

            Likewise, my “funny bone” was not stimulated when the W White House released a video of W wandering around searching, and failing…
            to find WMD’s in the oval office.

          • Salty

            …and he was joined by the Russians, the Brits, the French, the Israelis, the Ausies, the Chinese,the Spanish, the Germans, I think the WH was full then and the rest had to wait outside… (Not to mentioned the ones that were actually found – look it up, and the ones moved to Syria – remember a few months ago…)

      • Salty

        …or perhaps he is just weak? Nah, that can’t be it. Every thing IS better now with “Hope and Change”, “Hope and Change” the Nobel prize, and the apology tour, Some are just not progressive enough to realize that what we are in, IS better; that BETTER is where we are. It must be, after all BO is president. Why can’t people see it? Better = the period while we have a progressive, open minded, enlightened president.

        • Fredlinskip

          In the same vein as “supporting the troops”, isn’t it helpful to our interests abroad, to provide an “united front” instead of dissing every move our administration makes, just because “your guy” is not at the helm?

          • Salty

            A few things:
            *I Who is “My Guy”?
            *I have just restated an agenda and line that is constantly being promoted by the regime and the MSM.
            *Some would say that it can be seen when the chickens are back home roosting. (Think about it.)
            *Some would say discussing and influencing policy BEFORE troops are involved is important.
            *When troops are in harms way, the deal changes.

          • Fredlinskip

            Just to garner some sense out of your comment:

            “restated an agenda and line that is constantly being promoted by the regime and the MSM.”
            You lost me. what ‘regime’ are you referring to

            When you refer to MSM, you are referring to anything that isn’t Fox “News”, correct?

            “Some would say discussing and influencing policy BEFORE troops are involved is important.’

            Ummm…Yep.

          • Salty

            Perhaps I was too subtle…

            MSM = main stream media = ABC, NBC, CBS, New York TImes, USA Today. The sources where most Americans receive their information. There are many media sources that are not included in the MSM as they do not reach the majority of the people.

            Regime = current administration and influential supporters

            Hope this helps.

  • Informed American

    The aim of the war-mongering Obama regime is to one by one, smash and destroy Russian client states, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, then surround Russia with US / NATO bases.
    After the Obama regime has militarily surrounded and financially strangled Russia, China will be next on the menu of countries to be devoured by the Neo-Cons in the US State Dept. and Pentagon whose primary goal is American hegemony.

    • Peter Duveen

      Peaceful coexistence it is not. But perhaps the US has played its hand too far this time.

      • Informed American

        Russia isn’t Iraq, Libya, Syria, or the Ukraine. Russia can defend itself and strike back at the US.

        • Bluejay2fly

          These are not wars about the super powers invading each other’s nation. It is about using military forces to open and control foreign markets. All these hotspots have a financial dimension to them. These colonial wars were all the rage two or three hundred years ago ,and history is repeating itself.

    • hennorama

      “Informed American” — please tell everyone the current number of “US / NATO bases,” and other military assets capable of striking the Russian Federation, and how many more might be needed to “surround Russia.”

      • tbphkm33

        Hennorrama – careful here, “InformedAmerican” might not be that well informed…

        • Informed American

          You must be one of those govt. hacks who gets paid minimum wage to write pro-Obama dribble on the internet.

          • lobstahbisque

            Go away.

          • Informed American

            A majority of Americans wish Obamacare would “go away.”

          • jefe68
          • Ray in VT

            Or “less than 40 percent supporting the continued push for full repeal”.

            http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/democrats-obamacare-2014-103550.html#ixzz2uvMjKWrJ

          • Bluejay2fly

            Until they realize their 23 years old would loose his/her health insurance. The ACA is a disgrace but the entire healthcare apporatus is sham anyway.

          • StilllHere

            Shouldn’t you be a little more open and accepting? What goes around comes around.

          • Informed American

            It looks like the liberals are getting upset that more and more Americans aren’t buying the regimes fictional stories that govt. run health care, and helping Al-Qaeda take control in Libya and Syria is all good.

          • lobstahbisque

            No….There’a only one thing more horrible than a troll—— a new troll.

          • Informed American

            Or in your case, a crusty old troll.

          • StilllHere

            one man’s troll is another’s milk

        • hennorama

          tbphkm33 — indeed, as supposed by my earlier comment that this moniker may be making an attempt at dethroning the reigning holder of the Most Oxymoronic Moniker.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that it is going well.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — it has indeed gotten off to an impressive start.

    • Bluejay2fly

      You are right about both the left and the right being in agreement about using military force. That explains why we have such a huge “Defense” budget and are constantly at war.

      • Informed American

        The majority of Americans are tired of perpetual war, as well as US support for Al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria.

        • Bluejay2fly

          I know I do not want an empire or for the USA to invade any nation. I guess I am a kook to think like this.

          • Informed American

            The ‘kooks’ are the ones who want to provoke Russia into war.

    • Salty

      After careful consideration… that’s nuts. That sounds more NoeCon rather than O-like.

      • Informed American

        Obama has been engaged in more military action than any other President since WW2 (that’s not even counting his illegal drone attacks). What’s “nuts” are the people who are still supporting the war-monger in the White House.

        • Bluejay2fly

          It one of the few points of agreement in congress.

        • Ray in VT

          How are you judging Obama to have “been engaged in more military action than any other President since WW2″? Is each equivalent? For instance, is invading Grenada the same as fighting the Axis powers? If so, then I think that such a count is highly flawed. If some other system is being used, then how do Obama’s actions rate as being more than Korea, Vietnam, or being in Iraq or Afghanistan more most of George W. Bush’s years in office?

  • tbphkm33

    While one cannot condone Putin’s actions, we should remember to put it all in perspective. Lets not forget that “President” GW Bush and his political operatives presented data that they knew were lies in order to secure United Nations authorization to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq in 2003. The blood from 450,000+ (estimated) direct casualties stains the moral fiber of the United States. To this day, Bush and a number of his henchmen do not travel to certain countries for fear there might be unsealed arrest warrants for them.

    Additionally, imagine roles reversed, that it was Cuba that was in revolt and the Cuban’s around Guantanamo Bay were clamoring for US intervention. There be little doubt that Washington would not claim their intervention is for the greater good of humanity and swiftly seek to occupy most, if not all, of Cuba.

    While I like to see Russia retreat from the Crimean, reality is that this is big power posturing. Putin has gambled, he might win militarily, economically, he probably will pay a great price. For that matter, the resulting economic difficulties might well see Moscow in a civil uprising two years from now, which may result in the removal of Putin.

    My main point, don’t believe the US government/corporate media propaganda machine. Lets at least give the Russian’s a half nod that they so far have managed to do this without a single bullet being fired. That’s a greater accomplishment than the Empire USA has managed in its colonial acquisitions in the last half a century.

  • William B

    Dear Mr. Ashbrook and NPR,

    I am deeply disappointed that you allowed yourself to be used by the Kremlin propaganda machine, which distorts facts about Ukraine and smears its people with barrage of lies. I am talking about giving air time to Stephen Cohen, professor Emeritus of Russian Studies at New York University who advanced questionable arguments regarding the makeup and motivation of the Euromaidan protests and the interim Ukrainian government.

    I believe that everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion, but not to his or her own facts. This article in the New Republic carefully examines the extent of intellectual dishonesty that Mr. Cohen is prepared to undertake in order to support the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116820/vladimir-putin-defended-american-leftist

    Mr. Cohen is only one of many of “soldiers of the ideological front” working for Mr. Putin for financial gain or simply due to their twisted beliefs that somehow justify denying the people of Ukraine freedom and the right to determine their own future.

    This article of well-known scholar Anton Shekhovtsov examines the network of Western players that is engaged in anti-Ukrainian propaganda:

    http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.com/2014/02/pro-russian-network-behind-anti.html

    Mr. Ashbrook, please abstain from inviting Putin apologists such as Stephen Cohen to your future shows or at least provide listeners with counterpoints from experts on Ukraine. The Ukrainian community in the Unites States and in Ukraine lack the financial means to match investments in anti-Ukrainian propaganda made by the Kremlin. We only hope that truth, honesty, morality, and the principle of objective journalism will prevail over skilfully-fabricated lies.

    Thank you!

    • jefe68

      So the Svoboda” (Freedom) Party, “Patriots of Ukraine”, “Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense” (UNA-UNSO), and “Trizub” are to be taken with a grain of salt?

      • William B

        Jefe, the influence of these right-wing parties is overblown. Although they advocate for views that are antithetical to Western values of inclusive democracy, they have far less influence over events than Mr. Cohen alleges. Moreover, Russian sources consistently trumpet these groups as a scourge on ethnic Russians in Ukraine, a claim that is completely devoid of factual evidence to support it. Ultimately, fears of a right-wing hijacking of Ukraine play directly into Russia’s narrative for justifying its involvement there, so the opinions of individuals like Mr. Cohen who seek to emphasize these fears should be taken with a grain of salt.

        • jefe68

          I wish I could agree. However the rise of these extreme right wing nationalist parties is on the rise throughout Europe and I dare say there is plenty of this going on in Russia. As to the extreme right taking over in the Ukraine I’m not sure how one can say this could never happen. One can look to Hungry and see how this kind of extremism can gain power and influence.

          I’m curious to know why you seem so interested in downplaying what is a very real threat not only in the Ukraine but throughout Europe.

    • http://zeitvox.com/ XHerakleitos

      That piece in the New Republic reduces Cohen’s observations and arguments to mere “apologetics”. It’s ad hominem to the core.

      When these kind of fault lines are at issue, simmering since the early 90′s no less, it’s time to chill out and intelligently seek context – and even entertain lines of reasoning contrary to our immediate sensibilities.

      Cohen was right years ago when confronting Jeffrey Sachs on PBS about advocating pure market solutions for Russia in the post soviet wake. His commentary on Pakistan also appears top notch. As a long time scholar of Russia and related foreign policy realities, we should take the time to absorb his commentary without knee jerk reactions.

  • Informed American

    I was WRONG to be critical of President Obama for sending $5 billion to support the ouster of the democratically elected govt. in the Ukraine through provocateurs and fascist leaning, rent-a-mob thugs.
    I was also WRONG for being highly critical of President Obama when he decided to support Al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria.
    What was I thinking?
    Thank God for Obama!

    • tbphkm33

      Only thing wrong with your comments today is that you must have flunked out of both world history and civics in high school. I’m sure the Troll School must offer both the classes in summer school. Retake the courses, then come back to discuss with the adults. Trolling only illustrates one’s ignorance of the world at hand.

      • jefe68

        It’s sad really.

        • Informed American

          What’s ‘sad’ is how Libya turned out after Obama bombed it in support of the ‘rebels’, who even the Obama regime admitted had ties to Al-Qaeda. I’m sure the Libyans love living in a bombed out, divided country that’s ruled by warlords with AK47′s.

          • Bluejay2fly

            What gets me is we judge other countries by our standards of what is morally and socially correct. To a Norwegian the USA is a primitive and corrupt society. Thousands of murders, millions in prison, cities like Detroit crumbling, millions more without access to health insurance, education costs a fortune, and our political and tax system is immensely corrupt. What’s even more delusional is thinking these same people can all of a sudden become civilized once their nation is over thrown. Norway could take over America and at gun point change things but as soon as they leave it would be back to business at hand. We should just stay home, fix all our problems, and lead by example. We should have learned when the Grand Old Army could not end racism in the South that nation building was not our forte.

      • Informed American

        You’re 100% right. When President Obama says that over-throwing governments in Libya and Syria with help of Al-Qaeda is good, I should just applaud.
        Maybe I can learn to become a govt. controlled serf like you, since it obviously saves you from having to think.

        • Ray in VT

          Perhaps you would prefer that we stand by and let despots indiscriminately massacre their civilian populations because, while a great deal of the opposition to those tyrants is secular or moderately religious, getting rid of dictators might allow extremists to operate in a more open society, where an autocrat is no longer in place to squash freedoms and liberties at will. Perhaps that is the more informed position.

          • Informed American

            I would ‘prefer’ if the US stopped trying to provoke Russia into a war. I would also prefer if the US stopped supporting Al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria.
            P.S. the US is the last country that should be lecturing any other country on human rights when the US sends drones out to bomb innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen.

          • Ray in VT

            I would prefer it if Russia were not making moves to violate the sovereignty of one of its neighbors. If anyone is doing the provoking, I think that clearly it is Russia.

            Perhaps you would like to detail exactly how the U.S. is supporting Al Qaeda in those countries. True, we have supported opposition forces in those countries, but I think that we have tried to stay away from taking actions that actually support those groups, and there are definitely reports that we have been supporting some rebels against Al-Qaeda linked rebels.

            I think that we have plenty to answer for regarding our drone policies. That having been said, however, we have enemies, and some of them operate in areas where putting “boots on the ground” is perhaps not the best option. To be sure, civilian deaths are awful, but I do not think that they are entirely avoidable when attempting to fight a foe whose M.O. is hiding among the civilian population.

          • Informed American

            The US has its spheres of influence, as well as China and Russia. The US has to respect that. Russia will NEVER allow for NATO bases in the Ukraine, just as President Kennedy wouldn’t allow the USSR to put nuclear missiles in Cuba.

          • Ray in VT

            The Cold War is over, and we eventually came to an agreement regarding missiles that allowed both the U.S. and the S.U. to get something that it wanted.

            Proximity to the western border of Russia should not, in my opinion, impair the government of Ukraine’s rights to make decisions regarding the course of its nation and people. We have plenty to answer for regarding our policies and actions, but that should not give a nation like Russia a free hand in bullying its neighbors, especially should those neighbors want to take a decidedly different course.

          • Informed American

            You bring up some good points, but I don’t blame Russia for not wanting NATO bases on their border that are going to have missiles aimed right at them. You say the Cold War is over, I think Obama and some of his advisers would like to rekindle it.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t really blame them for wanting to have some sort of say along their borders, considering that they have been invaded along that frontier twice in the past century. That having been said, however, I, and likely those border nations, don’t want Moscow throwing around its weight too much. I think that they want influence, but we are seeing that they are willing to resort to coercion, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise. I’m not going to cry Munich, but I think that not taking action, as well as taking action, in the face of such moves has consequences. I don’t think that Obama’s White House is looking to create or exacerbate tensions with Russia.

          • Informed American

            Your analysis is on point.

          • Ray in VT

            These are merely my thoughts on the matter.

          • notafeminista

            Interesting point you make. Thoughts on former President Jimmy Carter vis a vis Iran circa 1978-79?

          • Ray in VT

            Perhaps you could share your thoughts first. Should we have stood by a dictator in Iran when he faced a very broadly-based domestic opposition? Should we have supported the Shah in oppressing his people because of how things ultimately turned out?

  • StilllHere

    This is what leading from behind gets you.

    • hypocracy1

      What did I win?

  • http://belacqui.tumblr.com/ Belacqui

    It’s difficult not to see Ukraine’s situation to resemble what happened in Egypt and Syria. We all saw when the president fled that a civil war between differing interests (ultra-nationalists, Russian community, pro-EU groups, etc.) was a strong possibility. Perhaps in addition to the insightful analyses of your guests, there is also a possibility that Russia sees Ukraine shattered with civil war a far greater threat to its national security than a unified Ukraine backed by EU/US. A stable government, whatever interests and agenda it may pursue, is far more reliable and negotiable than having to negotiate with multiple interests in conflict with each other.

    If you look at Lebanon and Jordan in relation with Syria, that is also a possibility for Russia, if civil war were to occur. And that region is not that far away from Russia-Ukraine, buffered only with Turkey and the Black Sea. I can’t but wonder whether Russia’s decision to occupy Crimea didn’t also involve the possibility that Al-Qaeda would find some way to enter and wreak havok in Ukraine, via the Muslims community among the Crimean Tartars.

    The situation seems deeply complex, and it really seems as it’s dangerous to see Russia focused on pursuing a set of definite agendas. I’m afraid John Kerry might have made a grave mistake in warning so strongly of such strong sanctions against Russia and isolating it, as it has the consequence of cornering Russia and limiting what it can do to stabilize Ukraine in concert with the west.

    Imagine if Mexico was to revolt and overthrow its president and break into civil war, involving conflicting Central and South American nations, drug lords, and crazy reactionaries with ambitions to take back California, and Baja California had some strategic significance in preventing the conflict from crossing US borders.

  • JONBOSTON

    Obama has little if any options available to thwart Putin. However, if Putin respected Obama, instead of regarding him as nothing but an empty suit suffering from gross incompetentence , perhaps he would have thought differently and avoided any confrontation . And please don”t cite the Republic of Georgia and Bush. That incursion happened in August 2008 when Bush’s power and influence was most diminished ,Lehman bros was about to happen , and the American people were exhausted from Iraq and Afghanistan. The idiots who voted for this clown should apologize to everyone who didn’t. I shudder to think how bad things will be in the US and worldwide at the end of Obama’s term. If Obama cared a whit about this country, he’d resign.

    • Joseph_Wisconsin

      Well you managed to get your first sentence correct. Beyond that . . Just the the typical Republican reaction to everything. A lot of big talk, but no realistic actual suggestions. Just the claim that if we had a chest beating Republican in office Putin would have been scared to death to do anything like this. Don’t like comparison to Republic of Georgia and Bush? How about Hungry and Eisenhower?

    • hennorama

      JONBOSTON — why the pre-defensive “please don”t [sic] cite the Republic of Georgia and Bush”?

      Are you saying that the circumstances aren’t at all comparable, or that President Bush II couldn’t simultaneously walk and chew gum?

      • HonestDebate1

        GWB took a principled stand. That’s the difference.

      • JONBOSTON

        I said that because the usual response from Obama sycophants is that Putin seized Georgia during Bush’s presidency , so what’s different ? The larger point is that our adversaries take advantage of the US when they perceive a weak or weakened presidency. Bush was challenged by the Chinese in the first few months of his presidency after suffering a bruising election, questions about his legitimacy , etc. And then the Russians challenged Bush in August 2008 when his presidency was at its nadir. Now , during Obama’s 5th year in office, Putin has made the measure of Obama and has found him to be a weak, indecisive, impotent president with no leadership skills.
        As an aside , I was in Scottsdale this past weekend for a few days of vacation and stayed at the same resort as Biden. Biden was in Phoenix for Democratic fundraising which seems to be Obama and the Democrats primary concern these days ( or has it been for the past 5 years?) In fact I met him Friday around 3:00pm (local) on the golf course while Obama was giving his worthless news conference on the Ukraine. So much for the VP being actively involved in the deliberations. He golfed Friday and Saturday.

        • hennorama

          JONBOSTON — TY for your response.

          Two points, for the sake of accuracy:

          1. This is the sixth year of the Obama Presidency.

          2. VP Biden was involved via teleconference and telephone. Physical presence is not required for involvement in discussions.

          It’s rather interesting to attribute some clairvoyant power to Putin and Pres. Bush II, as you seem to: “Lehman bros [sic] was about to happen.”

          It’s also rather curious to cite “the American people were exhausted from Iraq and Afghanistan,” as if that is somehow different from the present state of American public opinion and mood.

          But really, your argument is that Putin might have acted differently in Georgia in 2008, and in Ukraine in 2014, if only the US Presidents were stronger. This line of thinking requires significant leaps in logic.

          For instance, it removes all responsibility from Putin for the territorial incursions and military occupations, as though he had no choice or involvement in the matters.

          This makes no sense whatsoever.

          • JONBOSTON

            You’re making excuses for Biden. He may have been involved by phone but I can assure you, he was very focused on his golf game. And Friday night dinner–I overheard him ask an aid about finding a good Mexican or Italian restaurant. My point about Putin is that American weakness and lack of resolve invites aggression. And with Putin, he sees in Obama a weak pathetic president anchored, as the WaPo editorial said, in “fantasy land “. Our adversaries are laughing at America every time obama opens his mouth and makes another hollow threat. And our friends and allies just cringe and count the days when this pretend president leaves office.
            Bush demonstrated presidential leadership in ordering a surge in Iraq when other pols had abandoned ship and declared , as in the immortal words of the Senate’s leading scum bag, Harry Reid, that the war was lost. As president, Bush demonstrated character, principle and virtue –something Obama wouldn’t have a clue about.

    • HonestDebate1

      Obama is warning of “costs”, big whoop. Nobody cares. Sec. Kerry said “all options are on the table” which is a blatant bald-faced lie. Everybody knows it. All it does is feed the narrative and make things worse.

  • Dee

    Re: Kerry’s Russia Brazen Act:
    What a shovel load of neocon bullsh*t from the US Secretary of State,
    John Kerry. Too bad John Kerry has decided once again to be a mouth-piece for this brazen&gangster element in the Washington Establishment.
    (The Zionist Right Wing Think Tanks and the Wall Street Oligarchies)
    Yet we have all heard it before and have been there with this gangster element in our government who pulled the the US into an illegal war and
    quagmire in Iraq and the expansion of that illegal war into Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen , Lybia, and today in Syrian and the Horn of Africa…
    I can’t help recall what the liberal member of the US House of Repre-
    sentative Alan Grayson (Florida) said regarding the GOP Debt Ceiling noting of course how Americans “are tired of the lies , the propaganda and trickery…” and refuse to be pulled into another US manufactured threat.
    Thus , my advise to John Kerry and President Obama and his team…
    People like myself will refuse to support the Obama Administration
    and its delegates using our American name to sanction Russia for its “brazen act” on its own border. Dee

  • Jon

    America needs scholars like Stephen Cohen. Reason powering over religious or ideological sentiment is the way to save America and the world.

    • Cooper

      We need Stephen Cohen because of what, a paralyzing shortage of arrogance? I mean maybe he did have some good points but it was sort of hard to keep an open mind listening to him patronize and drone. A few bars of that voice and all I could think of was how grateful I was my college classrooms had windows for daydreaming.

      • jefe68

        …all I could think of was how grateful I was my college classrooms had windows for daydreaming. Which explains your comment.

        • Cooper

          I mean just listen to him, warned there’s little time left, other guests waiting to speak, and he launches into a sprawling display of fractured thinking and patrician drawl until the host shuts off his microphone. could anyone so in love with his own thinking and so dismissive of others really be objective enough to find real solutions? the problem with professors is that you can usually tell their tone was developed with an audience who has no choice and doesn’t know better. this is a case in point.

          • Jon

            it’s up to the host to control the timing. it’s scholar’s duty to clearly state his opinion so the audience can understand.

          • Cooper

            and the host did so, explaining time limits, focusing the dialogue, redirecting the professor. It’s that these cues were ignored which demonstrates disrespect. It’s not ‘up to the host’ to physically restrain the guests except to cut off their mikes which actually seemed to happen in this show and is nearly never necessary.

          • Jon

            do yo want to discuss the hosting skill or guest speakers valued opinion?

          • Cooper

            I bet that almost worked in debate club.

      • Jon

        if you have a better idea to save the world, let’s hear it.

        • Cooper

          I have! and it goes like this – elect an American president who is both brave like Bush and smart like Obama, or if you like the glass half empty, a president who is neither a moron nor a spineless joke. It should really not be that hard out of 300 million people and I think a lot of things would go better. Certainly when our President warned Russia of the costs of their actions the entire collective world wouldn’t spit water out it’s mouth in hysterical mirth like they have spent the last two days doing.

          • Jon

            you live in a fantasy land. In this reality majority voters vote for their own benefits. And one party’s brave and smart is seen as bullying and treacherous by the other. Besides, Bush is not brave. He’s a coward using force to strike someone who doesn’t strike you first. On the contrary, Putin is brave to teach Obama a lesson on the American Exceptionalism. Obama is not smart to have yet had a response.

  • truegangsteroflove

    Pretty good discussion for the most part, given the establishmentarian perspective. If you take a less institutional approach, though, the “crisis” seems more about face-saving and who makes who blink.

    The principal nations involved – “Russia,” “Ukraine,” “Crimea,” and of course, the world’s only superpower, the “U.S.” – are all presumed to be living beings, when they are collections of living beings, presided over by “leaders” of one sort or another, in this case all known as “presidents.”

    So “Crimea” is both a place and a collection of people. The same for “Ukraine,” “Russia” and the “U.S.” “Russia” has entered “Crimea” with a military presence, asserting its dominance. The “U.S.” is threatening economic sanctions against “Russia,” the place and its people.

    These divisions of lands and peoples into political entities are pretty arbitrary if you take the perspective of the ecosphere. It knows no national boundaries. The various machinations of governments matter to the ecosphere only to the degree of the environmental damage or benefit they cause.

    The facedown with “Russia” is something of a Déjà vu experience. For decades we had the “Cold War,” an ongoing struggle that spread worldwide, as countries were coaxed or forced to be on one “side” or the other. “Russia” was the center of the “Soviet Union,” and the “U.S.” was the center of the “free world.” Wars were waged, such as in “Vietnam” and “Korea” over this arbitrary division of “communism” versus “freedom.” We came close to thermonuclear war at least once that we know of. If there had been a thermonuclear war, none of us would be here today.

    So how will this “crisis” turn out? One way or another. Power gravitates to the already powerful, mitigated by a variety of forces.There are “Russians” living in “Ukraine” and in “Crimea.” A lot of them. “Russia” is in physical proximity to both places. We aren’t. Obama and his hapless emissary John Kerry would do well to keep this in mind.

  • HonestDebate1

    Can we agree it’s over in Crimea? I think we can. Putin will not let it go and that’s that. He got away with it. Who cares?

    Will the Russian speaking third be next or all of Ukraine? Can we agree that day is coming? I think we can. Who cares?

    Can we agree Al Qaeda is not decimated? I think we can. They will not relent. That’s that, who cares?

    Can we agree the Taliban will once again rule Afghanistan? I think we can. Who cares?

    Can we agree Iran will not be significantly deterred in their quest for nuclear weapons? I think we can. Iran is a defacto nuclear threat, that’s that. Who cares?

    Can we agree Syria will never comply with demands to surrender their WMD? I think we can. Whose side is Russia on? Ours? Syria will continue to slaughter her people with or without WMD. That’s all there is to it. Who cares?

    Will Iraq be an ally or enemy in 5 years? Who cares?

    Will the brutally oppressed who yearn for dignity have a voice? Who cares?

    • Kevin Burber

      I do.

  • Cooper

    One aspect of On Point I used to like and really miss was the tendency to start with the beginning. We’re 20 minutes into an hour show about Ukraine and no one has explained what’s going on, it’s right into ‘can Obama do anything’. It would have only taken 90 seconds at most to recap the events of the past weeks, orient the situation within Ukraine as well as Ukraine itself on a map and explain what it means to occupy Crimea (how much of the country is that?) and etc so that even someone ignorant like me could start from an understanding. Too often lately On Point is a chat among and for people who already know all about the topic and useless for anyone else. I don’t see the value in that for a show intended to increase the understanding of the general public.

    • FrankensteinDragon

      You will never see any truths discussed on this show. I suggest you check out KPFA, against the grain, behind the news with doug henwood, etc… and KBOO. rarely, do the commentators on this show know what they are talking about either–they are bought and paid for to manufacture consent. And when sb, like Cohen might have sth useful to say he is shut down.

      The truth is probably that America has been supporting these fscists for a long time. Many of them are wealthy and can flee to America whenever they wish. They are generally all racists–hating jews, gays, blacks, anyone not like them. And America supports them because they love to prop up thugs all over the world and tell Americans these are the good guys. Crimea is basically an island/peninsula in the south on the black sea. The east is largely Russian speaking. The west is largely Ukrainian speaking. It makes sense to divide and be done with it, just be happy about that–the biggest source of contention would be Kiev on the river–where mostly Russians in the east and Ukrainians in the west.

      There is nothing wrong with change and it would make a good compromise. just be aware that America will and would continue to prop up the fascist elements in the west and Ukraine will be come a thuggish nation in the pocket of America–and this will be the source of all future conflict in the region. naturally the east doesn’t want austerity measures and the enormous gap between rich and poor and destruction of health care and education that comes with American influence.

      • maxdaddy

        I agree valuable context was missing. Additionally, in an argument where the subject of democracy comes up over and over again, how about just a bit of time on where the population lives, how the deposed president’s party, in alliance with others, represented a majority of Ukrainians, what has happened to the legislature since the president fled, etc.? It’s easy to get the impression the Westward-leaning Ukrainians are a clear majority. They’re not, though.

  • OnPointComments

    It’s disgusting to see the liberati try its best to claim a false equivalency between US military incursions and Russian military takeovers of countries. Tonight the arrogant and self-important Rachel Maddow made the claim that the US is no better than Russia. It’s not surprising that none of these liberal commentators name the countries where the US has set up its own puppet government for iron-fisted control for decades, because there aren’t any.

    From Jeane Kirkpatrick:

    “The Democrats said that saving Grenada from terror and totalitarianism was the wrong thing to do – they didn’t blame Cuba or the communists for threatening American students and murdering Grenadians – they blamed the United States instead.

    But then, somehow, they always blame America first.

    When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the “blame America first crowd” didn’t blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.

    But they, they always blame America first.

    When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don’t blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago.

    But then, they always blame America first.

    The American people know better.”

    Add to the wisdom of Jeane Kirkpatrick “The liberals said that the Russian military presence in Ukraine was no worse than the US freeing Iraqis from the tyrannical rule of Sadam Hussein. But then, they always blame America first.”

    • jefe68

      Well I guess these don’t count:

      1949 Syrian coup d’état
      1953 Iranian coup d’état
      1954 Guatemalan coup d’état
      1959 Tibetan uprising
      1961 Cuba, Bay of Pigs Invasion
      1963 South Vietnamese coup
      1964 Brazilian coup d’état
      1967 Greek coup d’état
      1973 Chilean coup d’état
      1976 Argentine coup d’état
      1979-89 Afghanistan, Operation Cyclone
      1980 Turkish coup d’état
      1981-87 Nicaragua, Contras
      2002 Venezuelan coup d’état attempt

      There are many more, but to say the US has no hand in puppet governments is the height of historical ignorance.

      The US is hardly squeaky clean in this regard.

      • FrankensteinDragon

        1995, 97,98-carpet bombing of Bosnia and Serbia. Media blames Serbia entirely–painting them as monsters and successfully characterizing WAR as a “good” war–a human rights war–NONSENSE. What the media didi’t talk about was how Croatia commited masacre and geniocide first–burning out Serbian, decapiting them and raping thier women–the refuggess fled back to Serbia–and angered retaliated dagainst Croatian and others–Bosnians, everyone was guilty–but we only blamed th eSerbians. Why? Becuase of socialist tendiencies and a stronger realtionship to Russia. Nw clearly there were baddies on all sides, but immediately after Croatia commits genocide we partner up with and support them logistically and militarily. The forgotten war. The dark war. The secret war.

    • lobstahbisque

      You can’t have a more perfect union without seeing the flaws in it. i mean, you don’t go to a dermatologist to cover up a carcinoma with Max Factor. “Oh we’ll just cover it up…..”

    • FrankensteinDragon

      utter nonsense. just substandard thinking. Can you say brainwashed?

  • FrankensteinDragon

    ON Point: why did you shut Cohen down when he tried to tell you the fascist protest movement America supports hates jews, gays, etc.? You shut him down because that is not what you want people thinking about. You want t paint Russia as the big bad wolf and as usual you support the fascist propaganda in America that continually underpins fascist groups around th eworld. You dont want Americans thinking about the truth. And the truth is these violent racist bigoted fascist nazis in Ukraine who want to separate and join the EU–supported by America–are the terrorists.

    Why didnt you let Cohen finish what he had to say? Shameful. You people are not journalists you are thugs. Why dont you ask instead why America must be so belligerent toward Russia. They may not be perfect, but they certainly look a lot cleaner than America. And increased trade with Russia might make a lot of sense–as in wold stability. But that’s not what you fascists and media drones want–you want continuous conflict and war. Dutiful little minions of your masters in the Military industrial complex. You are sad cases.

    How dare you criticize Russia for taking action to stabilize the region, when America invades numerous nations for absolutely no other reason then to create violence and terrorism for profit, for oil, for the weapons industry. Do I need to list said nations or can figure that out yourself–or maybe the millions dead slipped your mind. You people need a reality check.

    I know a handful or Russian people not in America and they never speak of violence or politics or ill of America or Americans–but we do.

    • Grigalem

      Oy. Thugs yet.

      Any reason that the only proper noun you didn’t capitalize is “Jews”?

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    How should the US react? How ’bout pressuring NATO to stop recognizing Russia in its current dress rehearsal non-membership status?

ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

 
Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Comment
 
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Comment
 
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment