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The United States And Europe, Facing Russia Now

The G8 becomes the G7. We’ll look at the U.S., Europe and the Russia challenge now.

President Barack Obama, center rear, gathered with G7 world leaders, clockwise from left, British Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday March 24, 2014, in the sidelines of the Nuclear security Summit.

President Barack Obama, center rear, gathered with G7 world leaders, clockwise from left, British Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday March 24, 2014, in the sidelines of the Nuclear security Summit. (AP)

Russian soldiers aplenty in Crimea today, and many more on the borders of Ukraine.  And in Brussels, President Obama speaking about the United States and Europe as global anchors of democracy and freedom.  The kind of speech that harkens back to Reagan days – even JFK.  But it’s not those days.  Europe and the US are talking sanctions, not tanks.  After all these years, is there still the Western unity to speak with one voice to Russia?  After all the Russian billions that have washed into London and beyond?  And what should that voice say?  This hour On Point:  the US, Europe, and Russia now.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Major Garrett, chief White House correspondent for CBS News. (@MajorCBS)

Lilia Shevtsova, chair of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. Professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Former Swedish diplomat.

John Kornblum, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Former U.S. assistant secretary of state for European Affairs and former U.S. ambassador to Germany and the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Economist: Honey trapped – “Russian wealth has permeated the upper reaches of society in Britain more completely than in any other Western country. The amount of money that post-Soviet oligarchs have pumped into ‘Londongrad’ means, say critics, that David Cameron’s government will never crack down on them, no matter how incensed it is by Russia’s enormities. Accidentally revealed briefing notes stating that London’s financial centre, the City, should not be closed to Russians seemed to bolster the case.”

Washington Post: Ousted by G-8, Russia determined to prove it can thrive without the West — “Brushing aside Western sanctions and its suspension from the Group of Eight nations, Russia is projecting an upbeat mood with plans to modernize and reinforce its Black Sea naval fleet and create its own domestic payment system to substitute for international credit cards. The moves reflect a generally sunny official response to Russia’s increasing isolation since it annexed Crimea, as if the lines are now clear and Russia has a chance to prove that it can go it alone, buck Western economic sanctions and build up Crimea as well.”

The Christian Science Monitor: Amid Russia crisis, Obama reluctantly ‘pivots’ back to Europe — “Already, at Mr. Obama’s urging, the Group of Seven nations on Monday suspended Russia’s participation and moved the group’s June meeting from Sochi, Russia, to Brussels. But if Obama is going to get Europe to commit to further penalties against Russia for invading and annexing Crimea, he is going to have to make a deep commitment to ramping up transatlantic diplomacy, analysts say.”

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  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Fresh Air interviewed a political science professor from Barnard College on yesterday’s program, who provided a very extensive background into the history of the relationship between Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea as well as hypothesizing on some “nightmare”-type scenarios in terms of further actions Russia might take. It was one of the most interesting and informative interviews that I have ever heard. Well worth listening to, especially for those of us who know little about this region of the world.

    • northeaster17

      Thanks for that

    • nj_v2

      When Fresh Air takes on serious, political topics, i usually learn more from the program—in which the guest is generally allowed to talk long enough, uninterrupted, to be able to present fully formed thoughts—than from most other talk show formats.

  • Oh bummer

    Thank God the good people of Crimea said NO to the neo-fascism Obama is trying to export there.

    • Ray in VT

      Given how Putin handles business interests in Russia, I think that it is clear that Putin is the one who is pushing a form of 21st century fascism.

    • hennorama

      The poster formerly known as “Jay” — what nonsense.

  • georgepotts

    Just give Putin what he wants. He is already getting what he wants in Syria.

    It is so expensive to protect the world. Just let the world go native.

    • JNC76

      That turned out to be a bad strategy in World War II

      • Ray in VT

        Well, we had those two big oceans to protect us, so we didn’t need to worry about what was going on “over there”.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Those oceans are still there. All our wars since WW2 have been by choice and have cost us a fortune.

          • Ray in VT

            Indeed they have, but those oceans aren’t a great protector, either then or now.

            By the way, do you know a John Myers who works at Dannemora?

          • Bluejay2fly

            Maybe, there are some people who I do not know their first names and I know 3 or 4.

          • Ray in VT

            I know what you mean. I don’t know the last names of a lot of people, and for a lot of our interns and such I can’t even remember their first names. I feel bad about it, but many of them I don’t see or interact with enough in order to make their names stick in my head. At any rate, John is good friends with my brother.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I have in the past dated girls for weeks and still did not know their names. I see knowing someones name as an unimportant detail and that makes for awkward situations at times.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that I have been that bad, but I have forgotten the names of people whom I have known for years. It can be pretty embarrassing. Names just don’t stick with me. Maybe there’s too much coding information, sports facts, history and the like gumming up the works on that front.

        • JNC76

          I think it’s naive to assume that the ocean protects you from all foreign threats. The Soviets were trying to move nukes to Cuba not so long after WWII’s end.

          • Ray in VT

            Indeed. I was attempting to jokingly repeat the views of the 1930s isolationists, who did think that the oceans insulated us from events in other parts of the world.

          • mitspanner

            Don’t make the common mistake of confusing non-interventionism with isolationism. We can be open to trade and cultural exchange and yet refrain from being the policeman of the world without becoming isolationists.

          • Ray in VT

            True. I either support or oppose intervention based upon what I think are the merits of the case at hand. I don’t want us to be the world’s policeman, but I do think that we have interests and obligations that at time require, or at least compel, as to take particular actions.

      • Bluejay2fly

        Nobody could have predicted how successful the German army was militarily. Prior to WW2 France had a larger army than Germany as did the USSR. I agree with George. What good is playing global policemen if we wind up with a 3rd world country. That sounds more like a USSR strategy.

      • mitspanner

        Of course WWII was merely an extension of WWI in which the US had absolutely no business. It’s also pretty clear that US intervention in WWI was a destabilizing factor that made WWII more likely.

        • JNC76

          No it wasn’t. What are you talking about?

  • John Howard Wilhelm

    In responding to the current situation, our strident Russophobic response is surely not helpful. If we are not to face serious problems again in some 5, 10 or 20 years, isn’t it time to think about some different approaches to Russia and the former Soviet Union than we are currently pursuing? What should they be?

    • JNC76

      This is the new approach. When Russia invaded Georgia a few years back, the West acquiesced.

      • Shag_Wevera

        What were they to do?

  • Shag_Wevera

    Those of you so outraged at the President over the goings on in Crimea are obligated to tell us what should have been done. To do otherwise is to fart in the wind.

    • HonestDebate1

      On what basis are we obligated to explain squat? That’s silly.

      • Ray in VT

        Yup. “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.” Much easier to just flail against the President than to have to offer anything constructive.

        • HonestDebate1

          You seem to be under the mistaken impression that we can solve problems on a stupid blog.

          • Matt MC

            HonestGripeWithNoSolutions is right. Who wants to think about stuff? Bo-ring!

          • HonestDebate1

            No one seemed to want to talk about Bush’s direct path to NATO for Ukraine that Obama undid. They don’t want to talk about Obama hanging Poland out to dry on missile defense. They don’t want to talk about every final deadline in Syria being shunned at Russia’s direction and the weakness it projects. No one wants to talk about Obama’s flexibility. They don’t want to talk about an embolden Iran, dropping the ball in Afghanistan (a trained ape could have negotiated the SOFA but Obama could not) or giving Fallujah back to Al Qaeda. Did I miss the big discussion?

            Nope, they want to cry on a stupid blog

          • Matt MC

            You’re right! Failure to discuss things in the past means that we shouldn’t discuss things now! Let’s all be quiet and watch television or even Netflix on the Internets!

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ve tried discussing them but all I got was silly insults as you just demonstrated.

          • Shag_Wevera

            But you haven’t. You in fact said you shouldn’t have to. Maintain some degree of consistency. Shouting Obama stinks to the heavens doesn’t further the discussion much.

          • HonestDebate1

            Obama stinks what is the purpose of defending him?

          • Ray in VT

            Why does he smell? Is it because he is African American? That’s sick.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s just weird. Have a nice day.

          • Ray in VT

            Hey, you’re the one who said that he stinks.

          • Bluejay2fly

            He smells like muslim oil.

          • HonestDebate1

            He’s not a Muslim, he just plays one on TV.

          • Ray in VT

            When does he do that? Oh, I forget that supposedly he is a Muslim according to Islam, except that he isn’t.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, but your definition of discussion seems to be repeating whatever non-factual nonsense that you can glean from Rush, Beck and the rest.

          • Matt MC

            I just felt like being a jerk this morning. I agree, people pick and choose their critiques, quite blatantly, but I feel like this is not justification for continuing bad behavior, but to try to reverse course. Hope you didn’t take my ribbing too seriously.

          • HonestDebate1

            Nah, we’re cool.

          • nj_v2

            Mr. racist-who-me? DisHonestMisDebator Greggg proudly adopts Donald Scumfled’s “trained ape” comparison for the first black president.

            Nice.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s sick.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, it is. One wonders why Rumsfeld would say it or why people would repeat or endorse it. It’s sort of like calling the NAACP racist and repeating a comparison of that organization to the Klan. More dishonest debate.

          • HonestDebate1

            You can’t insult a skinny man by using the word fat. It is only an insult to a fat person. In other word unless you think blacks are actually ape like it’s not an insult. I don’t.

            It was a comment on the utter incompetence of this administration and nothing more. Scream racism all you want, it’s silly. It’s sick.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure, nothing racist about comparing people of African descent with monkeys. That hasn’t been a thing for decades.

          • jefe68

            I view that last screed as the work of a very ill-informed mind.

          • Shag_Wevera

            Changing the subject and finger pointing at someone else always works.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s dishonestdebate1 for you.

          • HonestDebate1

            Did you have a comment on NATO, missile defense, natural gas and projecting weakness through empty threats?

          • Ray in VT

            So, are we going to blame Obama for Yanukovych shelving plans for his country to move along the road to NATO membership.

            I’ll take Bob Gates’ assessment of the benefits of President Obama’s missile alternatives over yours, thanks.

            As for the rest of your “points”, yet more TOP p*ssing and moaning. I really like Rumsfeld criticizing this administration. He and his crew did such a bang up job.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, seeing as how this isn’t a blog, there is your first problem. Second, just because policies cannot be solved here, at least some constructive discussion can be had, unless one thinks that honest debate is just passing along some partisan lies or being a braying jackass.

          • HonestDebate1

            Silly insults, no solutions.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, that is all that you have. Thank you.

          • Shag_Wevera

            Then why are you wasting your time on this stupid blog?

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s certainly not to solve the world’s problems.

          • Ray in VT

            Is it to make sure that we all have the benefit of getting the choicest droppings from talk radio and your TEA Party meetings?

      • Shag_Wevera

        By all means, bloviate and point fingers without offering a solution. You seem to specialize in that.

    • Coastghost

      Perhaps it would be fair in the case of Barack Obama to cite one or two things he would have done well NOT to have done . . .
      Item 1: as US Senator, Barack Obama made a fatal error for both his Presidency and the conduct of US foreign policy under his Administration by addressing the Woodrow Wilson Center on 1 August 2007. It was this address in which (as Democratic rival Joe Biden rebuked him publicly at the time) Obama telegraphed to the world his view that national sovereignty and territorial integrity would not be deemed sacrosanct in any Obama Administration whenever perceived US security interests were deemed threatened. This display of Obama’s testicular fortitude was his “coming out” moment in the campaign, a brassy declaration of his ability to play tough guy in order to distinguish himself from his rival Democratic contenders (all of whom, to a man and to Hillary, publicly rebuked Obama for his shameful and shameless declaration). Although Obama’s declaration was aimed at the government in Pakistan, the reverberations of the speech doubtlessly were heard in other world capitals, of which Moscow is but one.
      Item 2: Obama’s “red line two-step” from late last summer with the Assad regime would have resulted in his going over the edge of the cliff altogether had Putin not offered his alternative to Obama’s plans to violate Syria’s formal national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Obama’s performance of “yes-I-can, no-I-can’t” on the world stage invited risibility and ridicule, not simply for his august office but for the nation he ostensibly leads. The incident showed up his lack of strategic vision and his resort to ad hoc foreign policy.
      Both Items 1 and 2 contributed directly to Putin’s assessment of US ability to respond proportionately to the annexation of Crimea, which Putin accomplished with less bloodshed than what had torn Ukraine to pieces in the three months prior to Crimean annexation.

  • HonestDebate1

    The G8 has not become the G7. They didn’t even suspend Russia. They simply suspended the meetings. In other words nothing has happened.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Someone alluded to the isolation disaster of pre WW2 and that is a valid point. I think the worst take away from that period of history is to use it to justify constant global military interventionism as a preventive war doctrine. We have the UN, which is far more higher functioning then the League of Nations, as a means of addressing these international issues. The last big incident of a nation crossing borders was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and that entire situation was the end product of international meddling in the first place. Let the UN handle it.

    • Kyle

      Russia can veto anything that the UN security council tries to do. That is a different position than Iraq was in.

      • Bluejay2fly

        I am not certain procedurally how all that works. What I do know is I live in an impoverished nation. We have epic violence 10K-20K murders per year, we have certain sections of our towns and cities where it is certain death to stroll there, millions without healthcare, Trillions in debt, the mentally ill thrown to the streets like trash, crippling taxes on the poor, etc. Imagine all the money we have spent overseas and how far it would have gone to solve all these problems. Korea, Vietnam, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all our overseas bases which bleed us dry. If you want to feel badly about people’s suffering look outside your own window.

        • Kyle

          Financially, our military is a huge burden that we need to cope with. It is very true that we either need to reduce it or change the way we operate. For example, we are essentially the main army of NATO, so we should ask for financial support from member nations in exchange for the military protection they enjoy. That would be a difficult thing to negotiate, but if they refuse, we would have to cut our standing military significantly (and we probably should anyway). Also, these wars generally do not help our corporations, who in this case trade a fair amount with Russia. It would probably help our natural gas industry though, especially as we try to sell Europe the technology to frack on their own (I’m against fracking, but if they are that desperate, then I don’t see why we should have to destroy our own country for them to get gas).

          • Bluejay2fly

            These wars open up new markets. Iraq spent a lot of money during its Iran War and those weapons system were made in USA. Then when they invaded the nation they borrowed money from and could not repay we went to war. The Gulf War expended a ton of military hardware making our defense industry even more money. We have spent Billions if not Trillion selling military hardware and building new nations EG South Korea, Israel, Taiwan, and even our old allies Japan and Germany. We make money off this gig it is not fueled by love and a thirst for justice. Do away with all charitable deductions and see the true generosity of our elites because that is their true self interest.

          • JS

            I’m not sure “We” make money, but the military/industrial complex sure does.

          • Bluejay2fly

            “We” meaning our elites and our representative government. And yes, our CIMC takes a large portion.

          • JS

            Chinese International Marine Containers? Children In Military Custody? Cambridge Insight Meditation Center? Curriculum and Instructional Materials Center? California Indian Manpower Consortium? Chicago Independent Media Center? Sorry, don’t exactly know what CIMC stands for, but I get your drift.

  • georgepotts

    When you think about how immense the universe is, who cares about what happens in Crimea (or in Auschwitz.)

    As long as it doesn’t affect you directly, just leave it alone.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Your idea?

      • georgepotts

        Move troops & weapons from Germany and Western Europe to Poland, Estonia, Czech lands, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, etc.

        • Shag_Wevera

          Are you willing to use them? Not easy to call the Russian bluff. They have a long history of enduring beatings and coming back for more. Rattling the sabre and “impaling Vlad” are 2 different things.

          • Kyle

            The goal would not be to take moscow in a land war. Just to prevent them from taking any other countries

          • georgepotts

            Don’t invade Crimea, but go back on compromises we made in the past.

    • nj_v2

      ^ Not the Onion, but could be. Takes self-parody to a new level.

    • Bluejay2fly

      What if Europe decided to intervene in our folly? The French or British army invading the US to stop indian massacres, force the south to end slavery or desegregate, the take over of Hawaii, or more recently to end the gang wars in LA, Detroit, or Chicago.

      • Kyle

        If they had started a war on the US to stop the invasion of indian territories, it would have significantly changed history, and I think would be seen as appropriate today (back then it would not have, because they were not considered equals to whites). Gang wars in cities are nowhere near the same scale as a nation invading and taking another country’s territory

        • Bluejay2fly

          We invaded Hawaii pure and simple. We have a base in Cuba, a sovereign nation, and we use it for sinister purposes how is that for a thumbing the nose at international law. Cuba does not want that base, where is the outrage there? This is about markets and money, When Africans kill each other most of the time nobody cares. Who signed off on us being global policemen and what happens when we do wrong? Nothing.

          • Kyle

            I’ll try to respond to each of your points.
            1. Our base in Cuba is something that we have had since 1903, a time when such actions were considered tolerable. There is some backlash against it today, but it is not the same as forcibly annexing another country
            2. People do care about the African genocides, and they try to get aid and peace keeping troops for those wars, but we do not have treaties with them agreeing to protect their borders in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons. We did sign up for being the policemen for this conflict by signing that treaty.
            3. The reason no one does anything when we do wrong is because we are stronger then them, because they need us economically, and because we do more good in the world than we do bad. If we invaded mexico or canada and took them over I think there would at least be talk of sanctions
            4. China doesn’t have to protect shipping there because we do. The use of our navy to protect shipping is actually extremely beneficial to the world, and does actually help prevent piracy in the areas we patrol. I don’t think there are many objections to our protection of international maritime trade. It provides everyone with benefit and only costs us money
            5. You didn’t respond to the point on why you think it would be terrible if GB and France had intervened with sanctions or troops back when we conquered the indian territories.

          • Bluejay2fly

            The agreement with Gitmo is we pay rent to Cuba for the use of it. Castro has never cashed any of those checks and has disputed it’s legitimacy to no avail. Why? because nobody disputes the US. Do you think Norway or Sweden agree with what we have done in Cuba. Again we are in charge and yes as long as money is being made those who profit are not going to kill the golden goose. However, those who protest our involvement world wide we call them Communist, Vietcong, Muslim Terrorists, or whatever convenient title we foment. We also proceed to mass murder them when necessary in humanitarian or preemptive wars. However, aside from their dead there is a huge cost to all this. Our conspicuous consumption model that we have given to the world as our legacy is ultimately going to lead to nasty wars over resources and a DEAD planet. In the short term we are beneficial to some but in the long term our legacy is ruinous. As for the example of European intervention if any nation ever sent a foreign army onto our soil we would dig tunnels, plant roadside bombs, we would sniper them from roof tops, we would suicide bomb, we would kidnap, we would mutilate prisoners, we would do anything and everything we have had perpetrated on our armies ,and all in the name of liberty. I want you to know I am retired military and I do think we try to do the right thing but in the end we are guilty of all the good we could have done. PS very thoughtful reply.

          • Kyle

            Most of what you say here is true, but it is not always communists, fascists, or terrorists who oppose us, and I think those labels are fairly often accurate on our opponents. They key aspect in common between these groups is how they treat the people under their control. France opposed our invasion of Iraq and prompted the “freedom fries” silliness, so when we have been out of place, people tell us, though we are too strong for much else to happen to us, so from that point I agree with you. I also agree with you on our legacy, and think something has to be done to fix that, and I also agree on how we would behave if invaded.

          • Bluejay2fly

            A key element of being an American is a sense of social justice and we try to make laws and create a society which arcs towards that end. I just think money and politics have corrupted that journey and have lead us into some really bad decisions. That is a point if not all previous points we can agree upon.

          • Kyle

            absolutely. Also, this has been one of the better and least negative discussions I have had on here. Thanks for that.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Amen, all I have for peers at work is the tea party crowd, sigh!

    • JS

      Not caring, and realizing that your options are limited, are two different things.

    • Ray in VT

      That’s just plain horrible.

      • jefe68

        He’s a bottom feeder.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that that comment above is certainly pretty well scraping the bottom.

    • jefe68

      Troll.

      • georgepotts

        I guess you burned me.

  • Kyle

    What would it take to remove Russia’s veto power at the UN? If this could be a pretext for it, that body would be able to make more decisions. It seems they don’t commit that many troops to UN ventures anyway.

    • HonestDebate1

      It would take backbone and leadership to bring China, France and the UK along. It would also take enough natural gas to replace Russia’s hold on Eastern Europe.

      • Ray in VT

        The four permanent members of the Security Council cannot change the charter to get rid of Russia’s veto.

      • jefe68

        Did you read any of the suggested articles above the comment fold? Because if you read the one from the Economist you might get why the UK is never going to back anything your on about.

        It’s amazing how you think this is about leadership or backbone (subtext: it’s neocon speak for lets threaten them with military might) which is more about looking for more ways to bash Obama than trying to understand the geopolitics of this crisis.

        The one thing that I see on the right, is a complete lack of understanding that the US is losing it’s place as the number one power in the world.

        • JS

          jefe, the right sees that, but only blame Obama for it all, never questioning what might be the real reason. Heck, they can blame Obama all they want, but at least dig a little deeper and find some more thought out reasoned reasons, and come to understand the world is more than black and white (pun intended)

          And thank you HD for proving my point.

          • HonestDebate1

            Who do you blame for Russia’s emboldened stance?

          • JS

            Putin. If you’re going to blame Obama, why not go back just a few years and realize that maybe the unopposed invasion of Georgia might have done more to embolden Russia than anything Obama has done.

            I mean, one of our own southern states invaded by Russia, and Bush did nothing!

          • HonestDebate1

            You can blame Putin for taking Crimea but it does not follow to blame him for the flexibility Obama provided or the lessons he learned from empty threat’s.

          • JS

            And what would have been a credible threat to prevent what Russia has done? The only credible threat would be one of war, and do you think that would have been a wise course? Either threaten war, and don’t follow through, like in Syria, which was a bad decision (drawing the red line and not responding), or going to war with Russia over Crimea?

          • HonestDebate1

            The certain knowledge NATO had their back over the certain knowledge the US would let Putin have what he wants.

          • JS

            Was a NATO defense of Crimea ever a real consideration? Especially in the way Putin achieved his goals, without firing a shot?

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, Bush advocated a direct path to NATO for both Ukraine and Georgia. Obama undid it leaving them on an island.

          • JS

            A “path to NATO” would not ensure a defense of Crimea when they “voted” to leave Ukraine and join Russia. Putin covered his tracks pretty well in this regard.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s well after the fact. There is nothing like a Russian army in your face to swing votes. Do you actually consider the vote valid?

          • JS

            Perhaps you are not familiar with what is meant by my putting the word “voted” in quotation marks. Sorry, but since this eluded you, I will no longer debate you. Thank you for the thoughtful conversation, and please expand your horizons. Obama is not always to blame, and he is not always to be acquitted. Few things, especially world foreign policy, are ever so black and white.

          • jefe68

            If I’m not mistaken, the EU has been trying to figure out a path to bring the Ukraine into it’s sphere. This has been going on for at least a decade. Since Putin came to power he’s been exploiting Russian nationalism to the hilt. My understanding is this is also related to Georgia as Putin, in his mind sees the act of the Ukraine moving towards the West as a real threat.

            I think being cautious with Putin is wiser than making threats. He’s not a someone to be taken lightly, nor is the Russian military.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that Russia is feeling threatened and hemmed in, as it has feared such moves on its western border in the past.

          • HonestDebate1

            You did not answer the question.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that he did.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t think so, it looks to me like he just took his ball and went home under the guise of superiority. I tend to prefer honest debate.

            I’ve been misunderestimated by better than him.

          • Ray in VT

            If you prefer honest debate, then why do you constantly engage in dishonest debate? I have yet to see any evidence of honest debate. Perhaps you consider repeating white supremacist claims about black violence to be honest debate. I think that most do not.

          • HonestDebate1

            Lame.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, your dishonest tactics, promotion of lies and refusal to accept even dictionary definitions that do not line up with your views are incredibly lame. Thank you for agreeing with me.

          • HonestDebate1

            Sure, no problem.

          • Ray in VT

            Perhaps we can work on you just not spreading lies or distorting facts.

          • jefe68

            I concur, 99.9% of your comments are in a word, lame.

          • jefe68

            Yeah he answered them. That you did not like them is neither here nor there.
            You keep going round in circles back with the “it’s Obama’s fault so there” kind of act. Do you really think people do not see through your facade?

          • JS

            I did, you just didn’t understand my answer.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea yea, I’m an idiot. That’s well established.

            The vote means absolutely nothing in terms of justification, validation or even implications regarding Putin’s position. Just say it and we can agree.

          • Ray in VT

            So Obama is responsible for Yanukovych’s change or Ukrarian policy following his 2010 election?

          • JS

            Yes Ray, don’t you know everything is Obama’s fault. And by saying it’s not, you are clearly saying nothing is Obama’s fault.

          • Ray in VT

            Of course. That is how it works. ;)

          • HonestDebate1

            Who said that? On the flipside, is anything his fault?

          • HonestDebate1

            Ukraine is not part of NATO and their path to become so was thwarted by Obama. It was over before it started.

          • Ray in VT

            How did he do that? Did he instruct Yanukovych not to pursue NATO membership. Do tell.

          • jefe68

            Putin and his advisers.
            You are aware of the history of the Crimea and what it represents to the Russians?
            Right?

          • HonestDebate1

            Absolutely I am aware. I am also aware this is the first time in history Crimea was taken without a shot. Who is next? Moldova seems to be the consensus.

          • Ray in VT

            Is Obama to blame for the Crimeans who did want to join with Russia (whatever actual percentage of the population they are)?

          • HonestDebate1

            I could connect those dots.

          • Ray in VT

            So this isn’t Obama’s fault?

          • HonestDebate1

            It didn’t have to happen, that’s all. I wouldn’t say it is or isn’t Obama’s “fault”. It’s just an illustration of his incompetent weakness.

          • Ray in VT

            So what should he have done? Please tell me what actions he could have taken that would have compelled Putin not to act? How should he have led Ukraine into NATO, despite its government not wanting to do so?

          • HonestDebate1

            At every turn Obama has demonstrated weakness and an inability to lead. That is a red carpet invitation to tyrants. Boldly standing up for freedom goes a long way. Unapologetically accepting our role as a superpower goes a long way. Empty threats and ceding leadership to France for instance makes a tingle go up Putin’s leg. Telling Putin he will be flexible after he is reelected punches the ticket. Hanging Poland out to dry assures Putin that Obama will blink. Putin played him like a fiddle in Syria (the deadlines have come and gone without consequence) and he took note how easy it was.

            So in short all Obama had to do was not be an idiot which in fairness may have been too much to ask.

          • jefe68

            I guess the US and Europe should have sent you to deal with Putin.

          • HonestDebate1

            John Bolton would have been better.

        • HonestDebate1

          I absolutely understand Obama is relinquishing our role as a super power to the peril of the universe.

          I was just answering a question.

          • Ray in VT

            To the peril of the universe? I think that the Crab Nebula will be fine.

          • jefe68

            You know it’s interesting how little you seem to know about geopolitics.
            Are you aware of how the Russian’s feel about the idea of NATO expanding it’s borders towards their own borders?

            Are you aware that China is a rising economic and military force in the Pacific and there is not a damn thing our government can do about it.
            Wait until the South China Sea starts to be exploited for energy. China has openly declared it owns it, all of it.

            You’re entire point of view is based on only one agenda, to keep up the negative screeds against Obama. Which have little to do with this complicated situation.

          • Bluejay2fly

            If people who watched Fox News had a grasp of history they would not watch that crap. Every neocon I met had about a 3rd grade mentality when it came to critical thinking and history.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes I am aware that Obama ceded to the Chinese. A 20 trillion debt cannot be repaid, they own us.

          • Ray in VT

            Please. Do tell how Obama was supposed to prevent the rise of China. They own us? Given that they appear to own relatively little of our national debt, then how do they own us?

          • jefe68

            They don’t own us. China is the largest holder of US treasuries (about 25% of fo the foriegn bond holders) followed by Japan. If I’m not mistaken the total of all foreign US Treasury Bond holders comes to about 10% or maybe a little more of our debt. We, Americans hold the lions share of the debt.

            I’m not sure where this idea of China owning most of our debt came from, but it does seem that the right is obsessed with it. Like Benghazi and the IRS, some memes never seem to die.

          • HonestDebate1

            They also own our real-estate and manufacturing.

          • HonestDebate1

            He was suppose to prevent the fall of America, you got it backwards.

          • Ray in VT

            We aren’t falling. Things have turned around in many ways since W. left the District. Feel free to spread some doom and gloom, though, if it suits your agenda.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    We now know what “flexibility after the election” means. Make sure to tell Vlad.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Let’s cede the point that our president is the Anti-Christ. Doing this now should eliminate about half of all comments that would have been made moving forward on this topic.

    • Coastghost

      Instead of bloviating further and continuing to point fingers yourself, Shag, how about address and respond to my specific reply below to your earlier post? Thanks.

  • georgepotts

    The US should provide training and aid to the Ukraine army and militias.

    • Bluejay2fly

      That worked so well for us in Afghanistan in the 80′s.

      • Ray in VT

        That is true, although the two situations are obviously quite different. I do take your point about us getting involved in such affairs, though.

      • georgepotts

        Are you saying that the Afghans didn’t beat the Russians?

        Are you saying that Ukraine is like Afghanistan? It wants to be part of NATO. Afghanistan wants to be left alone to make money from opium and heroin.

        • Bluejay2fly

          9-11

          • georgepotts

            9-11 was done by Saudis.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Very good, but allowing fertile soil in Afghanistan for that hate to blossom was not a really intelligent decision. If we had stayed out of Charlie Wilson’s War I doubt history would have been much worse for it.

          • Ray in VT

            We could also have not just packed up our bags and left Afghanistan to fall apart in the early 1990s. Lots of mistakes have been made in that area.

          • Bluejay2fly

            We could have legalized Opium because it is an industry there anyway. Tax it, rebuild their nation and we would all be the better for it.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, I don’t know if we would all be better, but that country doesn’t have much going for it, product wise, other than opium, although there are some minerals there. The instability, though, discourages investment.

          • georgepotts

            9-11 was done by Saudis, not Afghanis.

    • hennorama

      Unilateralism is not going to work. NATO and/or EU assistance to Ukraine will send a much stronger signal.

      • georgepotts

        I’m not suggesting that the US go alone, but we should not have no reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

        We should do something that Russia wants us to undo.

        • StilllHere

          What if we draw a line?

          • georgepotts

            Would it be a red line? We would undo it then.

          • StilllHere

            Red was last year’s color. What color polls well this year?

  • Oh bummer

    Apparently Obama didn’t get the memo, Russia is self-sustaining in terms of food and energy, Europe is not. That’s what you get when you elect a community organizer to be President who claims to have “visited 57 states”.

    • JS

      So, if we elected Romney, Russia wouldn’t be self-sustaining and Europe would be? What exactly do you think would have been different if Romney was elected in regards to Russia? And what would have been Romney’s response?

      • jefe68

        This guys a troll. It’s obvious that one only has to look back towards GW Bush’s reaction to Georgia to find that answer on some levels. One could only speculate what Romney would have done, and my guess is not much more than Obama has.
        He if tried using military threats, well that would be very, very foolish and somehow I doubt Romney would be that stupid.

        What going on in this forum is the right wing commenters are using any topic they can to post anti-Obama screeds. I bet very few even know where Crimea is nor much of history of the Ukraine and Crimea.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Exactly.

      • HonestDebate1

        If we had elected Romney our energy production would not be crippled and we would be in a position to supply Western Europe. Romney would not have surrendered on missile defense. Romney would not have had his eyes closed regarding Putin.

        • jefe68
          • HonestDebate1

            Bush pulled out of the ABM treaty and went forward with missile defense. I understand that. It’s my point.

          • Ray in VT

            Obama has also gone forward with missile defense.

          • jefe68

            But he’s wears mom jeans…

          • jefe68

            And then Bush and Putin signed the
            Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty.

            What’s the point here? Are you suggesting that Obama should use threats backed by nuclear arms?

        • Ray in VT

          Our energy production has not been “crippled”, unless you have an alternative definition of that term. Obama did not “surrender” on missile defense. What would Romney have done? Looked into his eyes and seen his soul? I think that the President is quite aware of just who and what Putin is.

          • HonestDebate1

            The 80′s called, they want their foreign policy back.

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe we could support some right wing death squads and arms some religious extremists under a pretend Romney administration, just like Saint Ronnie did.

    • StilllHere

      He offered 7 to Putin, but which 7?

    • hennorama

      Oh, dumber!

      Yes, a slip of the tongue on the campaign trail is meaningful.

      To the small-minded.

  • georgepotts

    I believe that the 90 minute conversation that Obama had with Putin was mostly Obama asking Putin for advice for keeping the American people from worrying about Crimea.

    1. Control the press through NPR and NBC.
    2. Make sure they talk about how Crimea was always part of Russia.
    3. Rhetorically ask, “What do you want to do, go to war over Crimea?”
    4. Pick 11 of my friends that have a little money overseas and freeze their accounts.
    5. Don’t go to far, or I will tell Syria to go over that Red Line again.

  • Boz K

    Russia has managed to establish considerable economic influence over Ukraine and the rest of Europe. And we now live in an era where economy trumps human rights, enlightened ideals, the environment, etc. So if the E.U. cannot pull itself together into one formidable collective voice capable of pushing back against both Russia and the United States it will pulled apart once again by centrifugal forces.

  • georgepotts

    Help Ukraine build its army with weapons, training, and advisers. Redeploy troops in Europe to have a significant presence in Slavic countries instead of Germany, France, and Italy.

    • JS

      And if some Russia corporal fires at some Ukrainian corporal, and things escalate, we get drawn into a major conflict with Russia. Yeah, sounds like good advice.

      • georgepotts

        Or, put your head between your knees and kiss your a goodbye.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Someone forgot to tell Putin that this is the 21st Century. The world runs on Happy Thoughts now.

    Power doesn’t corrupt anymore.

    Tyranny is an “old hat” concept.

    Thats all so……. 1700′s!

    At least here we know that when John Roberts shreds the Constitution and the Executive branch becomes more monarchic, such abuse of power will never come back to haunt us.

    Our intentions are too good!

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “‘Putin is playing chess, we’re playing MARBLES’: Weak Obama and Kerry have been out-foxed by Russian PM over Ukraine, say politicians from both parties”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2571504/Putins-playing-chess-playing-marbles-Politicians-sides-slam-President-Obama-weak-response-Russias-intervention-Ukraine.html

    • JS

      Wow, what a well thought out and concise argument you have constructed. On wait, you’re merely cutting and pasting, never mind.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Yes, it was concise and well constructed so there was no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’. Your reply on the other hand adds nothing. Was it meant as a personal attack?

        • JS

          Not a personal attack, so don’t be so thinned skinned or play the victim. Sorry if my standards are higher, but I prefer a man put things into his own words, and use someone else’s as supporting documentation if necessary.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            You claim it was not a personal attack and then you claim my standards are lower than yours. Hmmm.

            Don’t worry, you have not hurt my feelings because I don’t really care about your ‘standards’. But thanks for clarifying.

        • Ray in VT

          Suggesting that Putin is playing chess implies to me a sort of long term thinking ahead and planning that is useful in chess. I think that the current situation in Ukraine is more of an on the fly response to the unexpected downfall of Putin’s man in Kiev.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            It is clear that Putin has been preparing for this for a long time. The ouster in Kiev was just the catalyst to start the ball rolling.

          • Ray in VT

            Upon what do you base statement that it is clear that Putin has been preparing for this for a long time? I don’t think that he would have made such a move if he continued to have a friendly government in the Ukraine.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Look at the timeline and efficiency of both the military take over to the referendum. I thought it was obvious that this was a prepared event. Then again, maybe this was a spontaneous uprising due to another youtube video :) .

          • Ray in VT

            It’s pretty easy to carry out a sham “vote”, as I think that the referendum very likely was. Given that events transpired over a number of days, the fact that Russia could move troops to the area in sufficient numbers does not necessarily suggest to me any sort of prior planning.

            I think that this was all ginned up by the corrupt and incompetent global scientific community.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I’m not an expert on this but just observing the events — from the naval blockade, to masked, non-insignia troops — show that this was a planned event. On the referendum, Putin took no chances by controlling the media and importing new ‘voters’ from Russia.

          • Ray in VT

            That is still just conjecture, and I do not think that it is solidly based.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            OK. We can agree to disagree.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. It is all conjecture, ultimately, until evidence emerges one way or the other.

      • TFRX

        I’m just relieved the Dixie Chicks didn’t say what the congressman did. Otherwise the death threats would be exploding from our patriots.

        Wait, things are different now? Oops.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Nothing to see here, people. “History of Crimea”; they had this coming.

    The Ends Justify the Means.

    Constitutions are just paper.

    Rule of Men not Law.

    The Dream of the Elites and Authoritarians everywhere is that the masses accept these notions and ignore history.

    Dems do it here everyday (Neocons too, but don’t see as much of them round here), with vigor.

  • Ray in VT

    I think that democracies and groups of democratic countries have shown historically that they can have difficulties in responding nations or unions that can act in more unilateral ways.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Europe wasn’t ready for WWII. Why would it be ready for economic war with the new Soviet empire?

    • Bluejay2fly

      Technically, Germany was ready as was Switzerland and Sweden to profit from it.

      • Ray in VT

        They certainly had a head start, even if their military wasn’t all that it has since been believed to be cracked up to be. Even with what they had they still had a leg up on their enemies, and they employed some new theories and strategies of warfare very effectively.

        • Bluejay2fly

          I will give them that but look who they employed them against. The NAZI armed forces were cowards. They beat up on two nations so traumatized from WWI that they had no resolve to fight. The other major power, the Soviet Union, was so evil Stalin murdered many of his competent military leaders which weakened their ability to fight. That coupled with the fact that he was so brutal that many welcomed the regime change really took some of the heavy lifting out of Operation Barbarossa. I would also argue the USSR was incredibly poor and backwards and needed massive aid just to keep from going under as GB did as well. In 1944 when the Germans finally began fighting a war against their military equals they lost the war in under a year. And they had the advantage of fighting behind a fortress their reinforced for years! Certainly the Germans were a top notch army but they were bullies beating up on the weak and crippled so I discount their accomplishments massively for that consideration. Blowing up defenseless merchant ships, stomping on small countries, mass murdering unarmed Jews, about the only battle field courage they had was few and far between.

          • Ray in VT

            They often get portrayed as being a mechanized army, but they relied fairly heavily upon horses and such for moving things around. We used pack animals too, such as in parts of Italy, but we were not dependent upon them more broadly as the Nazis were. Germany had some nice armor and airplane technology, although the Soviets may have been better with tanks. I think that captured Soviet T-34s were the basis of some of the later Panzer models.

          • Bluejay2fly

            This subject of mythologizing them is interesting to me. I think we did so in part because it is more noble to fight a seemingly invincible enemy. The other more sinister aspect is that we subconsciously admire their belief. White superiority and the subjugation of the lesser people. I think when people see the news and its another Black committing a robbery or a hispanic gang shooting up a nice neighborhood people begin to think how much better off we would be without them. I certainly do not describe to that point of view but I believe it exists. I suppose the fact that they had cool uniforms, awesome tanks and weapons, etc. would also appeal to many militarists. Regardless the pedestal we put them on is undeserved.

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe there is something to greater glory in fighting a more perfect enemy. At any rate, they were formidable, and they did have some cool stuff, but I think that their ideology comes as close to true evil as maybe we have ever seen.

  • georgepotts

    Too many of Obama’s friends would lose money if we isolate Russia.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Bill Clinton’s, too. That’s all he does. Sponge dive in the old Soviet block taking money and building his Rolodex.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    NATO article V: If any member state is attacked, well.. we’ll get back to you.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Good thing HRH Hillary wasn’t president when Putin invaded Crimea. She’d have taken swift, sure action: passing the job onto Susan Rice and Samantha Power. That would have shown him, boy.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Will the fine, sorry, tax, for invading Ukraine be $95?

    • georgepotts

      The IRS will be investigated Vladmir Putin real soon.

  • georgepotts
    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Marco Rubio: the illegitimate love child of Palin and Pickens. Hoober Doober

  • Coastghost

    Obama Administration blather about “respecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity” is perfectly meaningless in the architecture of the Obama Doctrine enunciated in Senator Obama’s address to the Wilson Center on 1 Aug 2007: Obama pledged at the time NOT to respect national sovereignty and territorial integrity should he be elected, which Democrats and their ilk proceeded to do, twice.
    We have the Democratic Party to thank in no small part for giving us the Obama Doctrine.

    • TFRX

      You’re slipping, trollbot: You forgot to say “Democrat party”.

      Switch to caff from decaf.

      • Coastghost

        I’m enjoying my second cup just now, thanks.
        You might care to find a substantive chew-toy to gnaw on yourself . . . .

        • StilllHere

          I believe he does gnaw on himself.

      • georgepotts

        If you have nothing to respond with, you call the poster a troll and talk about their need for some kind of drug.

        You worry when not everyone drinks the Obama Kool-Aid.

        • TFRX

          Your scorn reminds me of my grade school nephew who “hates me” because I won’t let him have a box of cookies all at once.

          I can live with your disdain.

    • DeJay79

      I read his entire speech (http://www.cfr.org/elections/obamas-speech-woodrow-wilson-center/p13974) and found no such pledge, please help.

      The closest I found was this:

      “It is time to turn the page. When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world’s most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.”

      However, this whole speech was about strengthening America by staying true to its ideals and correcting the strategic failures of the previous administration.

      I see no relevant connection between that speech and (what I’m guessing is) your perception of the presidents current missteps in handling Crimea .

      • Coastghost

        This is the operative paragraph:

        “I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”
        That paragraph summarizes Obama’s assertion of US unilateralism and contempt for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all other nations on the globe, and it was perceived exactly as such a statement by Sen. Biden, Sen. Clinton, and all other contenders for the Democratic Presidential nomination at the time.
        In some alternative universe this declaration would all by itself have deprived Obama of his party’s nomination: unfortunately, that is not the universe we presently reside in.

        • Ray in VT

          So, do you think that had he not spoken those words that Putin would not have acted against Georgia or Ukraine as he did?

          • Coastghost

            I cannot say definitively, but it certainly provides cover for Putin’s actions, just as NATO aggression in the Balkans in 1999 did.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure. Because people like Putin need “cover” in order to take such actions. Also, Putin is not responding to a situation where acts of genocide have occurred nor is he attempting to potentially head any off.

          • Coastghost

            NATO was responding to no acts of genocide in 1999, Ray, as by now you well know. NATO agitprop PROCLAIMING “genocide” where there was no genocide was the sufficient motive and cover for unlawful NATO aggression.
            Care to explicitly repudiate Obama’s assertion of US unilateralism, Ray?

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. Just keep on claiming that there hadn’t been genocide in the Balkans. You’re far more authoritative than the war crimes tribunals. Maybe we should wait until the mass graves start filling up to act.

          • Coastghost

            I’m only citing available evidence, Ray: the extrajudicial killings and mass murders of 130,000 or 140,000 people (some of them armed combatants) does not a “genocide” make, esp. when the casualty figures are distributed broadly among all the contending parties and constituencies. (I don’t even cite the hundreds or thousands of civilians killed in NATO airstrikes, not even the hundreds of deaths of Kosovars the bombing was supposed to avert.)

          • Ray in VT

            It seems that your take on the available evidence doesn’t match up with those investigating the incidents in question. I’ll take their assessments over yours any day.

          • Coastghost

            Don’t blame me that they got it wrong.

          • Ray in VT

            I will blame you for ignoring the fact that thousands of civilians from one particular group were rounded up and massacred while those from another were not. Conflating the two is a mistake.

          • Coastghost

            Conflating “massacre” with “genocide” looks much to my eyes like a considerable error of interpretation.
            Massacres were being perpetrated by all against all in that period: unlawful NATO bombing itself was indiscriminate enough to kill hundreds of Kosovars that the firm Clinton, Albright and Cohen had already deemed dead and buried.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, but I have seen some of your interpretations, and I think that the problem lies with those interpretations. Your attempts to paint all sides as equally culpable when they clearly were not is atrocious in my view.

          • Coastghost

            Alas and alack: if only I had not tabulated the documentation contemporaneously!

          • Ray in VT

            Alas and alack, if only you noted the documented statistics regarding how the civilian deaths were overwhelmingly concentrated among a particular group that was being “ethnically cleansed”. I can cite the number of Germans killed by the Allies in World War II. That does not mean that they did not try to wipe out the Jews.

          • Coastghost

            We can all mourn the victims at Srbenica but not (I say) without also mourning the 90,000+ Bosnian Serb victims who perished at the hands of the Bosniaks, et al., between 1992 and 1995.

            Since I persuade you of nothing here, you might care to try someone else’s analysis:

            http://ejournalofpoliticalscience.org/kosovo.html

          • Ray in VT

            Sure. Whoever that is and whatever that publication is. The ICTY and the RDC came up with far lower estimates of Serbian deaths. You might be able to persuade me if you could bring appropriate facts to bear, but here, like with the case that you have attempted to make that American slavery would have died out anyhow, you fail to do so.

          • Coastghost

            Just found the tables you cite, Ray: ICTY estimated almost 105,000 casualties total (36,700 civilian, the rest military), RDC estimated 97,214 casualties total (39,685 civilian, the rest military). These figures get divided among Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs, and Croats.
            I continue to fail to see how you can adulterate the notion “genocide” by trying to interpret 97,000 to 105,000 deaths distributed among three distinct groups as anything even remotely close to “genocide”. I sincerely regret that you swallowed the Clinton agitprop whole and entire, and I can appreciate the severe case of indigestion that ensued.

          • Ray in VT

            Your failures are not my problem. I am sorry, however, that you fail to see how one group’s attempt to remove or exterminate another group is genocide.

          • Coastghost

            Let’s agree on this, perhaps: we’ll resume the conversation just as soon as you concede that mass murder in itself does not constitute any credible charge of “genocide”.
            The fact that the Clinton Administration failed to intervene in Rwanda does not excuse the lies deployed to justify its unlawful actions in the Balkans.

          • Ray in VT

            I agree with the war crimes tribunal that it was the intent of the Serbians to commit genocide against Bosnian Muslims.

            I’m sorry that you have such anger over actions designed to prevent just the sort of atrocities that occurred in Rwanda. Congratulations on condemning former President Clinton both for acting and not acting.

          • Coastghost

            I regret that Clinton got it wrong twice and was not rebuked for either error. (He got it wrong three times, actually: he helped precipitate 9/11 by forgetting OBL long enough to pursue Milosevic. [It was the failed cruise missile strikes on al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan that led OBL to give KSM the green light for 9/11.])

          • Ray in VT

            Believe whatever nonsense you want to.

          • Coastghost

            Happy methane-free, cholesterol-free, and fat-free dairy farming.

          • Ray in VT

            I guess that one must resort to non sequiturs when one doesn’t have a valid argument to make. How are things in the poorest, most illiterate, least educated, most violent region of the country, which has long leached off of the wealth of the bluer states (Texas aside)?

          • Coastghost

            Evading responsibility for health and environmental degradation with a non sequitur of your own? Priceless!

          • Ray in VT

            Yes. I was responding in kind. We do quite a bit to attempt to preserve out environment. But how are things down in the taint of America?

          • Coastghost

            We’re enjoying a mild spring day, thanks. Keep up all good work.

          • Ray in VT

            Are you still enjoying it? It’s amazing that we woke up today. I hear that the odds of us having a catastrophic meteor impact are something like 50/50.

          • Coastghost

            We are graced locally with yet another mild spring day, this one may turn out a bit warmer. The mockingbirds have been vocal all week long, perhaps their dulcet sounds help repel hurtling space debris in a manner that heretofore has escaped scientific investigation.
            Do convey my regards to your moo-cows, I do put a spot of cowjuice in my coffee, which I am enjoying with the warming sun and the quaint charm the mockingbirds cannot help but lift to my ears.
            You have a good day, too! (Why just today, we’re being told of new mysteries lurking in the Oort Cloud, a sure sign that that region of space is home to no mockingbirds!)

          • Ray in VT

            I am quite ready for some Spring like weather, but this is the north, so Spring sometimes does come late. More shoveling of snow is on my plate for today. I did hear about the object discovered in the Oort Cloud. I have always had a fondness for astronomy, although I am not aware of any influence that the singing of birds may have on the trajectories of space objects.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Orson Obama’s “Paul Masson” global strategy: We will take no action until it’s ripe.

    Actually, when the grapes of effective response are rotting.

  • hellokitty0580

    Last week’s Economist had a very good analysis of why it is important for the United States and the rest of the international community to deal with the Ukrainian/Russian crisis and what needs to be done going forward.

    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21599346-post-soviet-world-order-was-far-perfect-vladimir-putins-idea-replacing-it

    • georgepotts

      The Economist does not accept the premise that Obama is infallible, therefore not to be trusted,

      • hellokitty0580

        What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

        • georgepotts

          In order to work at NPR, you must not criticize Obama.

          • hellokitty0580

            AGAIN, what does that have to do with ANYTHING I said about an article in the Economist???/

            Why do you even bother to listen to NPR if you have such disdain for it? Why don’t you get a life? Really. There MUST be something you’d actually excel at rather than harassing people who have thoughtful, productive things to say.

          • warryer

            Thoughtful? Productive?

  • georgepotts

    Frenemies?

  • TFRX

    Tom, can you mention how “Tear down this wall” tore down the wall the way that the crowing rooster made the sun rise?

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    We “thought”? Who is “We”?

    Yes, this kind of behavior by Putin was as unexpected as the Financial Bubble.

    What a great “we” the rest of us have been following for so long…..

  • georgepotts

    The premise that all on NPR must accept is that Obama is infallible.

  • Omaha Guy

    Vladimir Putin is not playing chess. He is a failure.

    A. To be a good strategist, he had two simple tasks.

    1. Maintain Syrian naval base.

    2. Maintain Crimean naval base.

    These are now questioned.

    B. To be a good statesman he had two simple criteria.

    1. Don’t create enemies.

    2. Don’t alienate friends, and potential friends.

    He clearly failed here.

    C. To be a good military leader,

    1. He would generate allies, not hostilities.

    2. He would increase the reliability and reputation of the military.

    Putin has taken all doubt away from the question of his military leadership. People who really wanted to believe in Russia are now being mocked openly. And, the military of Russia cooperated with local militias with criminal behaviors. You can’t believe a word from Russia. “You lie like a Russian” has now returned with justification.

    All conversations with Russians at all times should begin and end with the words… “Putin” and “Resign”

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      You forgot to add the words “pretty please” along with “Putin” and “Resign”

    • Ray in VT

      Another good point may be to not inflict wounds upon your own economy by alienating your customers.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I have drawn the hard red line of Putin’s naked aggression in Europe at the Brandenburg Gate. Mr. Putin, be warned. The paint is still fresh.
    –Barack H. Obama

    • georgepotts

      I don’t think that Obama said this.

      If he did, it would be perfect, however.

  • Coastghost

    Obama is NOT diverting attention from his own weakness(es) by scolding Putin and Putin’s Russia. I wish Obama would get a job soon as the unemployed clown he’s turning himself into.

  • StilllHere

    How will Obama earn the rspcet of Europe’s leaders much less Putin?

    • hellokitty0580

      I believe Obama has the respect of Europe’s leaders and why should he WANT the respect of Putin??? Putin’s actions have been complete illegal!!@!? Really, now. Let’s stay on topic. This isn’t about Obama. This is about a serious situation that we’re trying to stop from turning into a worse situation. Let’s stay on topic here.

      • StilllHere

        Really, you don’t think they’re worried about Obama disengagement? Hasn’t that been his foreign policy?

        He’s coming from a position of weakness when it comes to having their rspcet.

        • hellokitty0580

          Absolutely not. It’s been a measured foreign policy that doesn’t shoot from the hip. And how has Obama once showed we are going to be disengaged? He hasn’t! He’s in Europe RIGHT NOW. He’s meeting with top European leaders. He’s reaffirming our relationships with Europe. How is that disengagement?? Like, are you seeing a different reality here? Maybe the one you wish to see because you are just biased against Obama no matter what he does??

          • DesertMamasita

            I voted for Obama (apologies on that one) and yet I have my eyes wide open. Obama is meeting with EU leaders because they are working together to push a globalist agenda that includes stealing resources from Ukraine. Did you really think Putin would just stand by and watch the US and Britain finance this coup and attempt to take over Ukraine? McCain met with the Neo-Nazi rebels months ago and promised financial backing and assistance for the coup. These are facts, not speculation. Open your eyes.

    • hennorama

      Stilllhere — the expiration date on your “rspcet” joke is long past.

      • jefe68

        And the clown show continues.

      • StilllHere

        I don’t rspcet your sense of humor.

        • hennorama

          Stilllhere — now that was funny.

        • Oh bummer

          Avoid the Obama-trolls. Responding to those derelicts only encourages them to rise from the muck and mire, kind of like wharf-rats.

          • HonestDebate1

            I have to disagree. It’s easy to get them to defeat their own arguments because the hate clouds their thinking. They won’t acknowledge it but they write it down for all to see and sign their name to it. I dig that.

  • hellokitty0580

    I don’t see how the G-7 has any other choice but to be unified. There is no excuse for Putin and Russia’s actions. They have been a flagrant disregard for international law. It couldn’t be more clear that Russia is on the wrong side of history. It’s just a matter of what we’re going to do about it and how far this crisis will go. That depends a lot on Russia- is Crimea the end of it?

    • DesertMamasita

      The US and Britain financed the coup to destabilize Ukraine and removing a democratically elected President. This is classic CIA tactics. Once again the US is on the wrong side of history – we are the aggressors and if the media wasn’t totally controlled by the NeoCons you would have a much broader picture of the situation.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    We don’t like talk about empirical historical precedent around here. It causes too much cognitive dissonance with the hopes and dreams.

  • Ray in VT

    The caller seemed to say that Britain and France did not act when Germany invaded in 1939. They did declare war, although they were perhaps not capable, or willing, to launch and invasion of Poland via the Baltic. If they had truly done nothing, then they would not have declared war upon the Third Reich.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    “Nobody thought there would be a Ukraine crisis.”

    Will you let that stand, Tom?

    • HonestDebate1

      There is no way Sarah Palin’s prediction will be acknowledged.

      • Ray in VT

        “Back five years ago, somebody wrote down on a little card for her that allowing the Russians to invade Georgia — as though there was anything we could have done about that — would embolden Vladimir Putin to move on Ukraine. She dutifully read it in public and now, of course, she is the smartest geopolitical mind in the country.” – Charlie Pierce.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          somebody wrote it. it wasn’t rocket science, I don’t give 2 hoots about the messenger

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that the events in Georgia led to events in the Crimea. The fall of Yanukovych’s Russian-leaning administration did.

          • HonestDebate1

            “Absolutely. Look, in April of 2008, the Bush administration proposed bringing Ukraine and Georgia on to a clear path to NATO membership. And the reason was obvious. They were left in a strategic vacuum in central Europe between NATO andRussia. And what Bush wanted to do was to tie them more firmly to the west. The Europeans fearing the Russian reaction rejected the idea. I think Putin and the Russians took very careful note of that. They invaded Georgia four months after Europe backed away from the Bush administration proposal. And the Obama administration has had five years to consider the strategic significance of the European decision and the invasion of Georgia and what its implications would be for Ukraine. They have done nothing for five years. So, my criticism of the Obama White House is a lot less what they’ve done or not done in the past 30 days. It’s what they have not done to get ready for this for five years.”

            http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/on-the-record/2014/03/18/bolton-embarrassing-how-weak-obamas-russia-sanctions-are

            I have an idea, this would be a good time to ignore the logic and attack Fox or Bolton. Don’t let me down.

          • Ray in VT

            So, given that Yanukovych didn’t want his country to go in the direction of the West, starting with his election in 2010, then just how should Obama have forced him to do so. I’m sure that Saint Ronnie or Super Dubya could have done it. What logic is there in that statement to ignore or criticize? None that I can see, considering the events that were and are outside of the control on any American President.

          • HonestDebate1

            He was Putin’s installed puppet.

            Obama had ample time before Yanukovych to make clear to Ukraine they were on their own and he did.

          • Ray in VT

            So, should Obama have not recognized the outcome of the 2010 elections? Perhaps he could have personally fixed the problems with the previous administration so that Yanukovych wouldn’t even get elected in 2010.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, he should have led. He should have left Ukraine a choice.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, and how would he have persuaded an ally of Russia to join NATO. Surely Saint Ronnie could have done it. Please explain how Obama should have.

          • HonestDebate1

            Nothing is guaranteed, I never said that. Ukraine depends on Russia for energy. Russia is willing too use force. Ukraine has no choice but it could have. There wasn’t even an effort to offer them one.

            Think Hezbollah and Lebanon. The people chose terrorist as leaders because they had no choice.

          • Ray in VT

            So how did Obama deny Ukraine a choice, and how should he have led them into NATO. Also, please explain how he should have perhaps prevented Yanukovych’s election by fixing the problems that existed there under the previous administration. I’m sure that a real leader could have done that.

          • HonestDebate1

            He could not have led them to NATO unless it first was an option. That option was taken off of the table. What’s so hard to grasp?

            What is Obama’s clear stated strategy? That’s step one.

          • Ray in VT

            You have yet to explain how Obama took that off of the table. He must be a very powerful man to do that single handedly.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, he was the leader of the free world.

          • Ray in VT

            And so that means that he can just push nations here or there? I guess that he should have single handedly approved NATO membership for the Ukraine, despite what is reported to be French and German opposition.

          • HonestDebate1

            He singlehandedly rewrote Obamacare after it was the law of the land. He has a penchant for unilateral military action, so sure. He’s not helpless.

            When Bush said he was pulling out of the ABM treaty there was little support, he led. When he went to Iraq he did so with Congressional approval and an unanimous security council endorsement but no one wanted war, he led. When he escalated via the surge in Iraq there was little support, he led.

          • jefe68

            Wow… talk about BS.

          • HonestDebate1

            Where am I wrong?

          • Ray in VT

            “He singlehandedly rewrote Obamacare”. Who knew? I still don’t have to go to the IRS to visit my doctor. Is that still coming soon?

            Okay, so tell me how he was going to change the direction of a foreign administration quite bent upon closer ties to its massively influential nation? I’m sure that Dubya could have done it, but alas we only have Obama.

            I wonder how much Congressional approval he would have had if he had been straight with them? Unanimous security council endorsement? What fantasy world do you live in? It must be the same one where having Palau on board is some sort of leadership accomplishment. I’ll take someone who takes a more cautious approach than the sort of leader who will lead up straight down the toilet, as the previous administration did.

          • HonestDebate1

            I never said the IRS would be a doctors office. I never said he could alter events. I never said W could have done it. I never said anything about the UN.

            Obama is not a helpless incompetent idiot, an idea you seem to embrace. What was/is his geopolitical strategy? He has none and this is what happens. The world needs a strong America.

          • Ray in VT

            You’ve said that the IRS is going to run our health care. You continue to fault Obama for taking away a NATO option or something. You just said something about the U.N., unless there is another security council to which you were referring.
            You seem to have a lot of ideas about what either I think or Obama is attempting, and, as usual, they are warped beyond recognition.

          • HonestDebate1

            The IRS IS enforcing Obamacare. Are you seriously disputing that? And to you that means I claimed the IRS would be doctors? WTF?! Never mind.

          • Ray in VT

            But I keep getting told that it is running our health care, so I have to go to them first, right? I don’t see them at all when I go to the doctor. Please explain.

          • jefe68

            What? Wow. Talk about over simplifying complex geo politics.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not complicated.

          • jefe68

            Yeah, it is. For some reason you think that all a president has to do is snap their fingers and in a poof of magic smoke the Ukraine and Georgia are made part of NATO and the EU. Yeah it’s so simple.

          • HonestDebate1

            Please don’t tell me what I think.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Disturbingly, I almost want to thank Putin for helping the scales to fall from our eyes. Almost. Although that Kool Aid is pretty sticky stuff…….

  • georgepotts

    “How will you handle the Ukrainian crisis, President Obama?”

    “I will Hope for Change.”

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Energy, Nukes.

    Vulnerable to what?

    Scorn?

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Please bring this guest back when Russia turns off the lights in Europe.

    • georgepotts

      Maybe there will be more drilling in the North Sea and the English Channel?

  • Coastghost

    Tom Ashbrook and guests: why continue to resist formal repudiation of “the Obama Doctrine” of declared contempt for national sovereignty and territorial integrity around the world? (and/or: formal repudiation of its author[s]?)
    The Obama Doctrine is KILLING our diplomatic efforts: witness Crimea, witness Syria, witness Iran, witness China.

    • georgepotts

      Don’t be critical of Obama or you will no longer work for government radio.

      • Coastghost

        Oooooooooooooooooooooh, I’d love to get fired!

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Neville Chamberlain was otherwise engaged or else Tom would have booked him.

      • Ray in VT

        How much American blood and treasure are you willing to expend over the Crimea?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          None. That was easy.

          • Ray in VT

            Like how Chamberlain wasn’t willing to go to war over the Sudetenland?

      • jefe68

        Do have any idea how wrong you are about Chamberlin?

      • StilllHere

        Isn’t that him in the photo above with the British flag in front of him?

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    “Don’t worry, Be happy”.

    You finally got it Tom! That is the message.

    Now lets just get all this pot legalized, and let us chill out! Our technocratic elites have it all under control, ……. man.

    • georgepotts

      lol

  • William

    Russia’s actions are similar to Japan’s action prior to WW 2. FDR talked big and moved the fleet to Pearl Harbor despite warnings from the Navy it was a bad idea. Japan was not impressed FDR’s “line in the sand” and erased it with a bold first strike.

    • mitspanner

      Don’t forget too, that FDR was doing everything he could to provoke Japan, including acts of economic aggression. Japan had a pro-American government at the time that pleaded with the US to open discussions to reduce tensions but were rebuffed.

      • JNC76

        Just like Hitler wanted to be friends with England.

      • jefe68

        Japan had a pro American government?
        Interesting take on the Japanese Imperial government of the 20′s and 30′s.

        • tbphkm33

          These Nopublican/TeaBaggers are not known for their grasp of history.

      • Bluejay2fly

        I guess as long as the Japanese raped and mass murdered every other nation is Asia that was OK because they loved hot dogs and swing music.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Lets remember that Syria’s red line was a proxy Red line for Russia. Not only did they cross it, they got credit for stopping it once they did!

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    But dictators are good, if we can just be sure they are benevolent.

    We can’t have world equity without a benevolent dictator, so please don’t bad mouth dictators, central planners or technocratic elites for that matter.

    They are our only hope. The “people” are too dumb to self govern.

    The China model of Authoritarian Capitalism is the new model. Submit.

  • georgepotts

    Major Garrett would have more to say, but he is waiting for Jay Carney to approve his questions he submitted in writing.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Rules?! If we’ve learned nothing in the last decade, its that Rules are for breaking!

    Financial Elites? Neocon War mongers? Democratic Socialist Politicians?

    Rules? (Rule of Law)? Those are for the masses, the elites get an open playground, so why shouldn’t Putin get to play?

  • northeaster17

    I had the misfortune to listen to Hannity this weekend for a few. His take was that we need to move missle defense sysrems into Poland and Chekoslovakia. That we should also drill and frac more so we can put Russia out of business in 20 minutes. Then he went to commercial. Just saying

    • Ray in VT

      We already have a plan that includes basing missiles in Poland, and it is scheduled to be in operation in 2018 there.

    • hennorama

      ….

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Evidence please? [and did you have a typo and leave out the word 'not' before 'necessarily'?]

        • Ray in VT

          So when such talking heads say outrageous things you think that they believe all of it (not that that makes it any better, and maybe it’s even worse)?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            henny made an assertion of fact. I simply asked for evidence that Hannity didn’t believe what he said. I have no interest in carrying water for Hannity but I do think we need to be fair.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t know whether or not he believes what he says. If he says that he does, then that is something I suppose, but I have my doubts as to whether or not some of these things that get said are believed or if it is to be outrageous and pull in ears and eyeballs.

          • HonestDebate1

            I mostly agree with Hannity’s politics but he is not reliable with his facts. He is not an honest debater. He is also annoying.

          • Steve__T

            Pot calling the skillet black,LOL

        • hennorama

          WftC –I withdrew my comment, since Mr. Hannity is not relevant to the discussion.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Very good. On that we can agree. And I no longer need to be in the uncomfortable position of defending Hannity :) . Thx.

  • DesertMamasita

    It is mind boggling that even NPR has taken the US-backed propaganda position and all guests today were pro-globalist agenda. It would be refreshing if you had a guest that outlined the reality. McCain was in Ukraine months ago meeting with Neo-Nazi rebel leaders insuring them the US has their backs and encouraging them to attempt to topple the democratically elected government. Typical US destabilizing tactics. Phone conversations with high-ranking US officials confirmed that our government not only backed the coup but hand-picked the replacement.

    We have no business being in Ukraine other than picking a fight with Putin and stealing resources. The IMF will rape, pillage and plunder the Ukraine just like they have done in Greece and other places around the world. All of this posturing by the US and Britain is about hegemony and fulfilling their globalist agenda at the expense of the people. I am no Putin sympathizer but all this posturing to portray Putin as weak and failing is just nonsense. He could take out most of Europe with the press of a button and there is nothing they could do to stop him. He has strong support to decimate the US dollar – and anyone who is paying attention knows the dollar is near collapse, why do you think our government is preparing for martial law, has decimated the US Constitution and is trying to poke a stick in Putin’s eye? Because they know the dollar is collapsing but they want to blame it on Russia. They may even go so far as to have a false flag nuclear attack on NYC as Obama “predicted” yesterday – what was that about and why is no one talking about that?

    Could we please have a balanced report on this situation? Packing pro-Neocon guests rather than having some balance is not serving the American people. Give us a real discussion about what is happening in the Ukraine and the power that Putin actually has rather than spoonfeeding us this garbage. It is very frustrating.

    An excellent guest would be Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan. He gives an excellent overview on the financial situation and the extent the NeoCons will go in their quest for global domination, and he has a great understanding of the actual power that Putin holds and the game the US and Britain are playing here.

    This situation does not bode well for the United States. Let’s have an honest discussion Tom.

    • mitspanner

      This perspective has more and more traction with people everywhere thanks to alternative media, of which NPR is increasingly not a part.

    • The poster formerly known as t

      You don’t understand. Changes in recent decades has made most Americans more dependent on corporations and government, i.e. concentrated power for survival. Challenging the government’s foreign policy is akin to say, “please, make my fuel prices higher” ” make my digital gadgets more expensive” “lower my life expectancy by moving away from exponential economic growth on a finite planet” .

      • DesertMamasita

        Wow, that is the most callous justification I’ve heard for slaughtering innocent people, invading other countries and pursuing an agenda of world domination that I’ve ever heard. Do you really think maintaining your pampered lifestyle justifies raping, pillaging and plundering other countries?

        • The poster formerly known as t

          “Do you really think maintaining your pampered lifestyle justifies raping, pillaging and plundering other countries?” No. But hasn’t stopped the more assertive and physically dominant people in our society for making that case and masking it behind the words “freedom, “opportunity” ” and the most problematic term of all ” democracy”, which makes me always wonder “democracy for WHO?”

          i was trying to help you understand why people are hostile to what you’re saying. People who are hostile to what you are saying don’t want to downgrade their lifestyles. People who are hostile to what you are saying don’t want to be told that they don’t deserve to drive a gas guzzler but they love to complain about gas prices.

          “Wow, that is the most callous justification” Did you sleep through your history classes in grade school. The history of civilization is filled with power grabs and power plays. In order for civilizations to thrive they seem to need to constantly expand because they almost always develop unsustainable resource consumption habits.

          • DesertMamasita

            Agreed. It is definitely all about the resources and “democracy” is just code for “we want anything you have of value” – hard to see how it will shift away from greed and consumption, although the Empire is crumbling so we might want to get used to the idea of making do with less or living more cooperatively.

  • mitspanner

    This program was a showcase for the institutional viewpoint. The speakers were all representative of a dying perspective, one of hierarchy and concentration of power amongst this self-same elite. The public in Europe and the US is not buying it.

    • DesertMamasita

      I hope they aren’t buying it – but it is definitely a hard sell when all the media, even NPR are spouting off the propaganda. Distressing to say the least.

  • JNC76

    Ukraine may be a most cause in the final analysis, but the incident may give us good reason to provide military aid and advanced weaponry to the Baltic states, Poland and other Eastern European NATO members. It is also good reason to begin a long term plan to cut any economic dependency that the West has on Russia. At the very least, we can make this tactical victory for Risks a big strategic loss.

    • Ray in VT

      I did read an article that much of Europe has been looking for gas alternatives to Russia since the last time that it shut off the spigot back in 2008-2009.

      • JNC76

        Cutting economic dependency takes practical alternatives and the will to invest enough to make it happen. If that cutting that dependency is treated as a top issue on the West’s security agenda, it can be cut far more quickly. What’s needed is a greater sense of urgency, and the first major European international (non-civil) war in a while seems like a very good impetus to me.

        • Ray in VT

          They do say that necessity is the mother of all invention. If it is deemed to be necessary to take particular moves, then that should provoke some action.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — you forget those that say “Supply comes first” as their economic gospel.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, because a market or product never responds to a demand by filling it with a supply, right?

          • HonestDebate1

            There is no market until there is a product.

          • Ray in VT

            So, you said that there will always be demand, duh. That sounds like a market to me. There isn’t a market for a specific product, but there may be for something that that product does. Duh.

          • HonestDebate1

            No one invented demand for food and water. It always existed. I assumed we were debating above the kindergarten level.

          • Ray in VT

            Why? Are you looking to graduate your debate to first grade? I think that it still needs more work to get up to that.

          • Steve__T

            Very bogus argument. That is not honest debate, That’s stupid.

          • HonestDebate1

            Who invented hunger and thirst? BTW, food and water (supply) always existed too. These guys are just flailing around the point and playing dumb.

          • Steve__T

            Hunger and thirst are NOT inventions!

            So who is really playing dumb?

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — right.

            In much the same way, no company or other entity ever does any research into demand for their products or services before offering them. They just make a shipload of products or hire loads of service providers first, then offer them to the public, in order to determine if anyone wants them.

            It’s a proven method for success.

            In Bizarro World.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are confusing sectors. An individual putting their own money at risk is much more likely to exercise due diligence especially if there is a profit to be made. Government, not so much. It’s not their money. We end up with the Volt and Solyndra.

          • Ray in VT

            It seems that some here are immigrants from Bizarro World.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Good day hennorama,

            If you want to engage in economic activity with me and trade an onion for a basket, you must first be productive, and grow (supply), the onion.

            In that regard, supply does come first, and by supplying the onion, you help to create the market.

            “Says law and the Permanent Recession”

            http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-04/says-law-and-permanent-recession

          • Ray in VT

            I saw data pads on Star Trek: The Next Generation starting in 1987. Surely I am not the only one who had demand for a portable computing device with the power to store and access large amounts of information. It just took companies years to supply the product to meet that demand.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — and of course no one wanted/demanded smaller and more portable computers with their own displays, so the various early “luggable” PCs are still around, right?

            After all, no one ever wants smaller, lighter, faster, easier to use stuff, ever, until it’s produced first.

          • Ray in VT

            Of course. ;)

          • HonestDebate1

            You are confusing identifying demand with creating it. Until there is a product it’s all fantasy. And passing around other people’s money (cut to the chase) cannot create demand.

          • Ray in VT

            So they identified a demand and filled it. So demand came first.

          • HonestDebate1

            Of course. Demand has always existed and always will. Duh.

            But if you want to talk economic stimulus, supply comes first. We are not talking in a vacuum here.

          • Ray in VT

            So demand comes first, except when supply comes first?

          • HonestDebate1

            And you call me obtuse?

          • hennorama

            G_B_S — thank you for your response.

            Your own hypothetical disproves “supply comes first,” as you have put demand (“If you want …”) first.

            I don’t want or need your basket. Since you’ve made me a farmer, I’ll just use the burlap sacks that I make from the hemp I grow next to my onion patch, TYVM. I only grow onions because I like their flavor and want to eat them (there’s that pesky “demand,” again.)

            Enjoy your baskets. I hear that if you chop them up just right, add some onions, and fry ‘em all up, they go down OK.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            The main point which is interesting, is that we must be producers to give us something to trade with in further economic activity. if you don’t produce anything, you can’t demand anything (at least you can’t expect to get it, for nothing).

            Did you read that article? Interesting.

            Would you take some pickles for some onions?

          • hennorama

            G_B_S — TYFYR.

            Yes, I read the linked item, which was found to be unpersuasive.

            Jean-Baptiste Say’s 19th century ideas are interesting, but remember the response to your hypothetical, in which your basket has zero value to the farmer who neither needs or wants it. Supplying the basket to the farmer does not generate demand from the farmer.

            If one looks at the idea that producing something automatically creates a market for it, how can one explain the various imbalances between supply and demand, as demonstrated by ready but underutilized supply of Amercan labor, the massive supply but unutilized cash on mega-corporate balance sheets, etc.? Or on a smaller scale, unsold goods that languish on store shelves and in warehouses?

            As to your last question — again, you’ve made me a farmer. Why would I trade for something I already have?

            And finally, being a fictitious farmer, I have 10 square miles of property, with plenty of water and other available resources, including some foodstuffs that grow without any tending. For example, I have some fruit and nut trees, and I simply gather up the groundfallen nuts and fruit. I didn’t “produce” them but they still might be tradeable, right?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Fine, I’ll smith a hoe for you. Just trade something, my land is full of stones and I’m getting hungry. I would rather trade with you for an onion than our surly neighbor.

            What do you find unpersuasive about this:

            Say’s Law can be explained in the following terms:

            1. The way that a buyer demands a good is by supplying a different good.

            2. The supply of one type of good constitutes the demand for other, different goods.

            3. The source of demand is production, not money. Money is only a temporary parking place for past production.

            Accordingly, unless you are simply acting charitably, which is generous, but not ultimately sustainable, I need to Supply a good, in order to be able to pry the onion from you. Also if we want to use currency, I had to supply something to someone to get that currency to then trade with you.

            What you argue about with items on shelves etc. is the “General Glut” concept that was the core of the article…

            What was unpersuasive?

            The main point for me, is how Fed policy and Crony Capitalism work together to cause malinvestment and producer errors, and the creating false demand by printing money (Keynes) does not allow that false market to clear and allow organic economic activity to resume.

            Fairly straightforward concepts, malinvestment/producer error and ability or inability of market to clear it due to distorting effect of monetary subsidy/ artificially created demand that prolongs the imbalance and malinvestment.

            These are the bubbles in our economy that ravage the average person but enrich the elite bankers and politicians who generate fees from making the bubbles, and votes by taking credit for the illusory “growth”.

            General Glut bit for anyone following:

            “Say’s ideas were used to settle a debate between the British economists David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus who believed recessions were caused by a general glut. The concept of a glut for a single good is easy enough to understand: there is more supply on the market than demand at the offered price. A glut can be alleviated by a fall in the price of that good. The producers of the good may take a loss if the market price is below their costs, but the market can always clear at some price.

            The idea of a general glut is that all markets for all goods are in surplus. And for some reason, prices are unable to fix the problem. Ricardo opposed Malthus, arguing that the concept of general glut violates sound economics and clear thinking. He argued this point using Say’s Law: because demand is constituted by supply, aggregate demand, meaning the demand for all goods on the market, consists exactly of all things supplied. Aggregate demand is not only equal to, but identical to, aggregate supply. The two can never be out of balance. And if a general glut is a logical impossibility, then it cannot be the cause of a recession.

            The idea of aggregate supply and demand in getting out of balance has appeared many times in the history of economic thought. The same idea is either called overproduction or underconsumption, depending on whether the problem is too many goods or not enough purchasing power. Keynesian economics is a form of underconsumption theory. The overproduction/underconsumption theory has been debunked by sound economists, but like a zombie, it refuses to die.

            It is acknowledged by both sides that, if Say’s Law is true, then Keynes’s entire system is wrong. Keynes knew this, so he took upon himself the task of refuting Say’s Law as the very first thing in his General Theory. Keynes’s argument was that Say’s Law is only valid under the conditions of full employment, but that it does not hold when there are unemployed resources; in that case we are in the Keynesian Zone where the laws of economics are turned upside down.

            But, as Stephen Kates explains in his book Say’s Law and the Keynesian Revolution (subtitled How Economics Lost its Way), Keynes failed in his attempt to overturn Say’s Law. Kates shows beyond any dispute that Say and his fellow classical economists were well aware that there could be unemployed resources, and that Say’s Law was still valid in that case.

            To summarize, there is no such thing as a general glut or a demand deficiency, we can have idle resources, and Say’s Law is still valid. So how did classical economists explain recessions? Producer error. Producers had produced the wrong mix of goods. James Mill in his essay “Commerce Defended” explains the meaning of producer error:

            ‘What indeed is meant by a commodity’s exceeding the market? Is it not that there is a portion of it for which there is nothing that can be had in exchange. But of those other things then the proportion is too small. A part of the means of production which had been applied to the preparation of this superabundant commodity should have been applied to the preparation of those other commodities till the balance between them had been established.’”

          • HonestDebate1

            Thank you for elevating the debate.

          • HonestDebate1

            There was no demand for iPads a decade ago.

            I think many confuse the notions of creating demand and identifying demand. There are always unsupplied needs and wants. Supply is where it’s at, I agree.

          • The poster formerly known as t

            Ipads are luxury items. They have no useful purpose.They are not necessary for people to meet their most basic needs, including entertainment. What gooses demand is when institutions DEMAND that Ipads be used– which makes them suddenly necessary.Society changes to make the ipad necessary. Here’s another example. The U.S. changed to make large amounts of oil consumption absolutely necessary in recent decades.

          • HonestDebate1

            I can see your point. The fact remains that there were so many ipads sold that it positively affected GDP. Thank supply because there was no prior demand for them.

          • Steve__T

            If you build it they will buy, after you have told them they can’t live without it, through, constant, insistent advertising.

            You now have a market to supply.

          • HonestDebate1

            It didn’t work that way with the Volt or Obamcare.

          • Steve__T

            WRONG again!

            The 2014 Chevrolet Volt ranks 13 out of 24 Upscale Midsize Cars.

            Obamacare sign-ups have topped 6 million people, with just days to go before the close of open enrollment.

    • mitspanner

      I hope “we” don’t. The US and the EU are deadmen walking economically, and besides that’s all the stuff of a bygone era, statism, I mean.

      Read:
      The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be by Moisés Naím (Basic Books 2013), 320 pages.

      • JNC76

        Statism was the “stuff of a passing era” in the 19th century too. In the final analysis, rules are set by people with guns, and those people are states. You might not want your state to act proactively on geostrategic issues, but it will find itself at a distinct disadvantage to other countries whose governments do.

        • mitspanner

          Yeah, in the scenario that you describe the team with the most guns wins, at least until the asymmetric warfare begins, and then the war comes home and civil liberties and the economy go out the window. Has to be a better way.

          • JNC76

            That comment made no sense to me.

  • Oh bummer

    Thank God Vladimir Putin doesn’t support neo-fascists in Ukraine and al-Qaeda in Syria, like the community organizer from Chicago does.

    • Ray in VT

      Please provide some evidence for those assertions, and I am aware of the inclusion of certain far right elements in the current Ukranian coalition government, although I do not construe that as supporting neo-fascists, and I am also not aware of how we are supporting Al Qaeda in Syria. Please explain.

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — you can expect “evidence” from sources in Montenegro, and websites that quote their own founders as if they were impartial experts.

        (This is the poster formerly known as the now-disappeared “Jay” and/or the now-disappeared and hilariously misnamed “Informed American.”)

      • DesertMamasita

        http://youtu.be/9o44oUoxMxk

        McCain met with the Neo-Nazis (and these guys are real, full-fledged, card carrying members of the Nazi party, calling for the extermination of 8 million Russian Jews in Ukraine) and appeared publicly with them announcing US support for their “revolution”.

        • Ray in VT

          I acknowledge that they are there in some capacity, however to suggest that the movement against Yanukovych and his policies in the Ukraine are either Nazi or neo-fascist or instigated from outside is, I think, Russian propaganda that is not supported by facts on the ground. Also, from where do you get your figure of 8 million Russian Jews in the Ukraine, and how do you explain how Ukrainian Jews were also taking part in the protests against Yanukovych’s government?

          • Peter Duveen

            What is obvious is that American officials supported “protesters,” and discussed succession for the duly elected president. In other words, America meddled in a situation to have it turn out to “America’s” liking. However, the meddling went far beyond the meetings between protesters and American officials. America supports a network of NGOs whose job it is to supposedly promote a robust opposition. That can at will be turned into an insurgency, and a coup. It’s just a matter of connections, money, etc.

          • DesertMamasita

            A peaceful protest was under way until the US backed Neo-Nazi’s turned things violent and engaged in an illegal coup. Since when is it okay to unseat a democratically elected President – even if people don’t like him? Would it be okay to have an illegal coup to unseat Obama, plenty of people don’t like him.

            It was the former PM who said this in a phone conversation – she admits it. She is “running” in the next election and hoping to win US support or might already have it.

            http://youtu.be/Te2E1R5YHBI

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that facts on the ground fall in line with your presentation of them. Yanukovych could have derailed the protests early on, but he opted for heavier handed tactics in dealing with the opposition. I think that he was ultimately undone by his own corruption and domestically unpopular actions.

          • DesertMamasita

            once again, we have no business being involved in a coup to unseat a democratically elected government. There are legal means by which this could have been done, but that would not have served the US and Britain interests – our govt went in and destabilized, putting into “power” Neo-Nazis who have an agenda to exterminate 8 million Jews in Ukraine – they are quite open about this. And so how is this good? And let’s be honest, it isn’t that our government and the EU are humanitarians, they are resource raping, greed mongering globalists – their agenda is quite clear.

      • tbphkm33

        The right wing echo chamber sees all sorts of conspiracies in play – none of which has anything to do with reality.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Yeah, its those Koch Brothers behind the curtain after all……

  • Coastghost

    Putin is much more popular than P. Riot, like it or not.
    Obama is unclued in the extreme and deserves to be an unemployed clown by virtue of his shameless and shameful Wilson Center address.

  • Coastghost

    Be sure to thank Bill Clinton for making Bush’s moves palatable: Clinton helped initiate the unlawful NATO aggression in the former Yugoslavia in 1999, which gave Bush all the rationale he could possibly have wanted or needed. (Indeed: it was Clinton’s single-minded pursuit of Milosevic, who posed NO direct threat to US national security, that took his mind off of Osama bin Laden, whose August 1998 embassy bombings showed he posed a distinct and direct threat to US national security.)

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    em·pir·i·cal
    emˈpirikəl/
    adjective

    1. based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.
    “they provided considerable empirical evidence to support their argument”
    synonyms:experiential, practical, heuristic, firsthand, hands-on

  • HonestDebate1

    We didn’t conquer Iraq. We didn’t execute Hussein. We did not elect their leaders.

    • tbphkm33

      Who’s a** has your head been up the past 12 years?

      • HonestDebate1

        Where am I wrong?

        • Steve__T

          Wherever you are.

        • jefe68

          Let us count the ways…

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m waiting.

    • jefe68

      The Iraq’s executed Hussein.
      The invasion was a failure in terms of creating a stabilized nation.

      THe US can just about invade any nation it wants and be successful at it. Problem is what happens afterwards.

      • HonestDebate1

        Everything was proceeding peachily until Obama came along. The Al Qaeda flag now flies over Fallujah.

        • jefe68

          Your joking. Iraq has been a basket case for years. Lame is as lame does.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, the war was won, The destiny was set. The process was unfolding. Obama dropped the ball.

          • jefe68

            You’re delusional.

          • tbphkm33

            … and HonestDebate1 illustrates once again his greatest strength… writing idiotic comments that have nothing to do with reality and/or history.

  • Oh bummer

    John (Skull and Bones) Kerry admit Obama’s disastrous Syria Policy is failing

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/03/271131159/senators-say-john-kerry-admits-obamas-syria-policy-is-failing

    Obama’s disastrous policy of overthrowing the democratically elected, internationally recognized govt. in Ukraine in favor of neo-fascists failed just as miserably.

    • JNC76

      Brought to you by the Russian Ministry of Information.

      • Peter Duveen

        No, JNC, that is the conclusion many Americans and Europeans have arrived at independently.

        • Ray in VT

          Many Americans also believe that the world is 6000 years old or that the Sun revolves around the Earth. Many people holding a baseless position isn’t a defense.

          • Oh bummer

            That’s almost as crazy as Obama claiming to have ‘visited 57 states’

          • Ray in VT

            Or as crazy as when I thought that you might have something useful to contribute.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Do not forget all those who believe in angels or that their dead parents have nothing better to do than to help Johnny on his MCAT.

          • Ray in VT

            While I don’t believe in those sorts of things, I try not to give people flack regarding their beliefs on the matter (unless they are going to be Richards about it). I can’t prove that those things don’t exist, so I just try to leave others alone. Why, though, the divine would care who wins a football game and such is beyond me.

      • Oh bummer

        The link is from NPR. When did NPR become part of the ‘Russian Ministry of Information’?

  • DesertMamasita
    • JNC76

      What are we supposed to learn from this Russian state-sponsored TV broadcast?

      • Ray in VT

        The Kremlin’s point of view?

      • DesertMamasita

        it provides a counter-point to the US propaganda machine. You don’t have to believe it, but open your mind and do your research. The facts speak for themselves and the facts are that this is indeed a US backed coup to unseat a democratically elected President, that our government is ignoring the vote of the people of Crimea – who are Russian by the way and so anyone who believes they would side with the EU in the face of impending war rather than with Russia, well that is just insane – Putin never “invaded” Crimea – Russia has had 26,000 troops in Crimea under contract with Crimea, for years. The list goes on and on. Do your homework and stop buying into the US propaganda.

        • Ray in VT

          So, if American troops moved off of our bases in Okinawa and seized the island, we could say that we did not invade Japanese territory?

  • JNC76

    Where does this idea that Obama overthrew a democratically elected government in Ukraine come from? Are these people for real?

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Taped phone calls a month or so ago shared with the world?

      • JNC76

        Can you post the link? And please don’t make it some foreign country’s official press or some nut job talk radio program.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          The US destabilize for globalist gains? Never!

          All the news around that time of the leaked phone calls on all stations made it clear the US was supportive of EU efforts to destabilize the Ukranian government as formerly constituted. In fact what the call demonstrated was the impatience of the US in the EU efforts.

          • JNC76

            You can’t find it. Did you actually read the transcript?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

            Yes, Are you arguing the US was not involved in stoking anti-Ukranian Government sentiments at the least?

          • JNC76

            Answering my question with a question. You can’t find it on the transcript.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            It, what? Explicit words by diplomats to encourage street shootings? Can’t find it.

            Does that mean US wasn’t pushing to destabilize? Hardly.

          • JNC76

            My point is that you are hearing what you want to hear in that evidence. You have nothing of substance. If you hate Obama, then fine – but describing this call as evidence of some sort of evidence of a subversion/ coup d’etat plan is just plain misleading.

            In that call, I heard state officials deciding whom to support in the opposition’s leadership ranks. This is realpolitik. If you don’t think every country in the world does this, you are naive about how international relations work. Even allies try to interfere with politics. This happens in the US too – it’s called “lobbying” here, and all the world’s governments probably do it in the US.

            There is a big difference between trying to exert some influence over a leadership race within the opposition, to sending in arms, agents or proxies to cause riots and rebellion. Russia did this – with their armed forces and paramilitaries. No one put a gun to Putin’s head and told him to violate international law and invade Crimea. This argument is a line justifying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by drawing false equivalencies.

    • tbphkm33

      Look no further than the Birther’s, TeaBaggers and other fringe conservative crazies.

    • DesertMamasita

      The fact that McCain was there months ago meeting with Neo-Nazi rebel leaders offering US support and money. The fact that US govt representative Nuland admitted our government was giving millions to these same Neo-Nazis with an agreement that our govt would choose the leader. The list goes on and on. I am not a birther, nor a teabagger, etc., I actually voted for Obama, but this information is very clear for anyone to see if they are looking.

    • hennorama

      JNC76 — paraphrasing a quote attributed to P.T. Barnum:

      There’s a conspiracy theorist born every minute.

      • Coastghost

        Pity you weren’t advising the Democratic Party in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, et cetera.
        Pity you penned no notable reviews of Oliver Stone’s JFK once it came out, et cetera.

        • hennorama

          Coastghost — TYFYR.

          No doubt somewhere in your brain is a linkage to [JNC76]‘s question about Ukraine, but such linkage is nowhere in your response.

          It was indeed entertaining, but not as entertaining as Mr. Stone’s films.

          Thanks again.

          • Coastghost

            No linkage to JNC76′s post at all, hen, I was responding only to and enlarging upon your sage observation.
            I was also unaware that Oliver Stone ever perpetrated any feature film with any entertainment value, I thought he went in exclusively for agitprop projects.

          • hennorama

            Coastghost — TYFYR.

            My apologies. I thought you had something to say about the US, Europe, Ukraine and Russia, rather than something about “the Democrats’ JFK assassination conspiracy mill,” and ” the enviromaniac movement.” My mistake.

          • Coastghost

            Not to worry, hen, “requisite specificity” (my version of Occam’s Razor or the law of parsimony) is a category I prefer to operate within. As I assured you earlier, I was expatiating upon your witticism “there’s a conspiracy theorist born every minute”, so naturally I was eager to celebrate a couple of the most successful conspiracy theory industries of the past half century. (If you search earnestly through the hundreds of posts in this forum, you’ll find ample commentary from yours truly on the foreign policy crises we now face courtesy of the Obama Presidency.)

        • jimino

          Your repeated flight of ideas is clearly symptomatic of some larger disorder, You really should seek help.

          • Coastghost

            I seem to worry you, but I cannot apologize.

    • Fredlinskip

      I guess you haven’t heard – Obama is responsible for the missing Malaysian plane as well!!

    • DesertMamasita
  • TimeIsNotOnOurSide

    I think the caller whose family origins are in eastern Poland got short shrift. There are more than 1000 years of history that stand behind both public opinion and geopolitical maneuvering in the former Socialist Republics and Warsaw Pact members, and Kornblum was hasty to stifle those thoughts with his personal position on what Putin is “up to” and how likely he is to succeed at it. I do concede that he’s better informed than most of us, but 1985 is only an eye-blink away from today, and we have to develop a more nuanced understanding of Putin’s appeal to the Russians who support him so enthusiastically. Kimberly Marten (Columbia U./Barnard) has a lot to say about the resurgence of Russian nationalism. There should be a podcast up of her Fresh Air interview yesterday.

  • Coastghost

    Garsh, I might feel a bit insecure were I an American astronaut aboard the International Space Station these days, recognizing as I would have to that the only available escape vehicle is a Russian Soyuz capsule.

  • HonestDebate1

    “What ignited the Euromaidan protests last November was free trade. The Ukrainian people elected Yanukovych as president with his promise that he would sign trade agreement with the European Union; but when turned around and signed a deal with Putin instead, people took to the streets.

    During the entire Euromaiden protest, President Obama never extended any offer of trade agreements with Ukraine. By not doing so, he missed an opportunity to avoid the current crisis we find ourselves in.”

    http://www.therightperspective.org/2014/03/05/the-blame-bush-game-for-putin-and-ukraine/

    • Ray in VT

      He should have just made a simple statement giving vague support and entirely changed the whole situation, like he could have done with Iran.

      • HonestDebate1

        I didn’t say that.

        How incompetently helpless do you think Obama is? Is that your only excuse?

        • Ray in VT

          I just don’t have the same cartoonish view of American Presidential power that you have ascribed to him, as well as to the ability of the American military to react instantaneously to events. I live in the real world.

          • HonestDebate1

            I understand, you are arguing ’til you’re blue in the face that he is helpless to influence squat. That’s not the real world.

            Who said anything about the military?

          • Ray in VT

            Don’t tell me what I said when I didn’t say that.

            I was just playing off of one of your oft repeated Benghazi conspiracy lines.

          • HonestDebate1

            You have made quite clear there was nothing Obama could have done. That goes for Benghazi as well.

          • Ray in VT

            Please tell me how he was supposed to change the orientation of a heavily pro-Russian Ukrainian leader?

            I just don’t create a fantasy world that I use for cover to attack the President. That isn’t honest debate.

          • HonestDebate1

            There is nothing he could have done, right?

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that he, or any other American President, could have turned Yanukovych around 180. Perhaps Super Ronnie or Dubya the Great could have. Those true conservatives were miracle workers.

          • HonestDebate1

            You have made quite clear there was nothing Obama could have done but I don’t think the leader of the free world is completely helpless to influence events. Sue me.

          • Ray in VT

            Got it. Have to criticize Obama. The end. No solutions needed, just pile after pile of dung. I thought that Tuesday was the day to shovel all of that cr*p?

          • HonestDebate1

            Now you want me to offer solutions? I thought there was nothing he could have done. Make up your mind. Or better yet, contradict yourself and give me your solutions. Give me something besides a burning desire to defend Obama.

          • Ray in VT

            Just keep on being the jackass trying to kick the door down. How am I defending Obama? By saying that there are events that are beyond his control? Saint Ronnie would have spoken and changed the whole scene.

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t say anything about Reagan, why are you projecting that onto me? Although I must admit Mr. Gorbachev did tear down that wall.

            And yes, saying these events are beyond his control is a defense.

            At least you now admit your previously denied position, that’s progress. Implying he had no influence is patently false, historically inaccurate and completely absurd. I didn’t say it was a good defense.

          • Ray in VT

            The miracles of Saint Ronnie are well known and often lectured about in some circles. Even the guy who wrote the “tear down this wall” line says that Reagan gets too much credit. It’s intellectually lazy to give Reagan credit, and it does a great disservice to those who worked against the system from behind the Iron Curtain, like the Solidarity movement in Poland.

            So, admitting that Obama doesn’t have god-like powers is a defense or something. That’s just weird. Please tell me how he was supposed to turn around the policies of a committed Putin supporter. To pretend that Obama could have “is patently false, historically inaccurate and completely absurd”, but it does fall pretty well in line with much else that you promote.

          • HonestDebate1

            Again, I didn’t mention Reagan. I’ve never called him a saint. The SOB granted amnesty and gave us Roe v. Wade via Sandra Day O’Conner. You’re grasping at straws.

            And who said anything about God like powers? Who said he could turn around squat? It’s too late once things need to be turned around. He defined himself to the enemy long ago.

            What are you reading?

          • Ray in VT

            But he’s the TOP Superman who could leap tall buildings with a single bound and illegally arm Central American death squads without getting taken down. The man was truly invincible.

          • HonestDebate1

            You really are not interested in serious debate are you. Your comments today are wildly off base.

          • Ray in VT

            I am merely mocking and countering the overly simplified anti-Obama idiocy that you are spreading. There is no debating, honest or otherwise, someone who will lie about basic facts, as you do.

          • Steve__T

            Perfect reply for an honest debate. How about you give us something besides your burning desire to bash Obama.

          • HonestDebate1

            I have no desire to bash Obama. I connect the dots with my criticisms. Why would I bash him gratuitously? I give good reason, you may not like it or agree but I made my case.

          • Steve__T

            BS

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s all there for anyone to read,

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — the source of the quote in the post to which you replied is an entity named “BarryBasher,” strongly indicating an anti-Obama bias.

        This source of course ignores the existing US-Ukraine economic and trade cooperative efforts, as acknowledging these existing cooperative efforts would obviate the anti-Obama opinion expressed.

        • HonestDebate1

          It went right over your head.

          • Oh bummer

            Don’t waste your time with this Obama-troll. You can’t reason with goons like hennorama or tbpms33 who slavishly support a President whose illegal drone strikes have killed many innocent people around the world.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m so far into her head she can’t sleep. What’s not to like?

          • jefe68

            You’re far up into something alright, but it’s not her head.

    • tbphkm33

      So, HonestDebate1 illustrates how he has no clue as to how trade agreements are reached in the U.S.A., nor how they are ratified by the U.S. Congress.

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s a non-sequitur but if it makes you feel better, fine.

        Here, in part, is Obama extending an offer to Georgia without Congressional approval on 1/30/2012:

        “And so one of the most important things that we’re doing in addition to things like the MCC and OPIC loans is also what we’ve agreed to is a high-level dialogue between our two countries about how we can continue to strengthen trade relations between our two countries, including the possibility of a free trade agreement. Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done and there are going to be a lot of options that are going to be explored. The key point, though, is we think it’s a win-win for the United States and for Georgia as we continue to find opportunities for businesses to invest in Georgia, for us to be able to sell Georgia our goods and services, and Georgia to be able to sell theirs as well.”

        • Ray in VT

          I’m sure that such a similar gesture to Yanukovych’s administration would have quelled the protests and turned him from a Putin fanboy to a stars and stripes waving America lover.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s you’re opinion but we’ll never know. It wasn’t even suggested much less attempted.

          • Ray in VT

            Your naivete may only be outdone by your obtuseness.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t think the leader of the free world is completely helpless to influence events. Sue me.

          • Ray in VT

            When did I say that he was?
            It’s not against the law to be deluded, so I think that you are safe.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I think he is a staffer.

          • HonestDebate1

            The Kochs pay well.

    • jefe68

      First off, presidents don’t have the power to extend or make trade agreements. Second, the EU is also a player, in fact they are the main actor in this as the Ukraine would have had to join the EU. Something that does not happen overnight. Third point: what makes you think if Ukraine was a member of the EU that none of this would have happened?

      • HonestDebate1

        What is with this reframing, leap-frogging nonsense?

        • jefe68

          What are you talking about. You seem woefully ignorant on how nations enter the EU and NATO.

          You seem to think that presidents somehow by their very nature have all this power, which is interesting. What’s also interesting are the screeds by you and other right wingers who complain about Obama acting with to much impunity in this regard.

          My take on reading your comments is that you seem to harbor some notion that the US is this all powerful nation that should just march off to war when ever it suits our fancy. Then in the next sentence you’ll complain about taxes and government overreach.
          You want to talk about nonsense?

          • HonestDebate1

            Here’s a clue, the President does not need Congressional approval to suggest policy. I never said, implied or hinted that Obama can pull a trade agreement out of his pocket and get it signed. I never said he could force Ukraine to join the EU or the EU to accept them. I never advocated war, I abhor it.

            It’s not about me anyway.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, you just said that Obama took the NATO option off of the table. I don’t know where jefe68 came by his conclusions.

          • HonestDebate1

            Jeffe was talking about trade agreements not NATO.

          • jefe68

            Actually I was on about both.
            Yet again your level of obtuseness rules the day in how you parse what people are on about.

          • HonestDebate1

            Have you met the African-American kettle?

          • Ray in VT

            Are you forgetting your comments from yesterday, or am I being too all over the place by bringing those up?

          • jefe68

            This is what you posted: President Obama never extended any offer of trade agreements with Ukraine. By not doing so, he missed an opportunity to avoid the current crisis we find ourselves in.

            It’s clear to me what is being implied here.

            You abhor war and yet you’re advocating for it. What I see here is that you’re really grasping at straws while looking for more ammunition to for your ant-Obama screeds.

            Ukraine is more important to the Russians than it is to the US or Europe, that’s something people should think long and hard about.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s clear what you inferred, the link did not imply Obama did not need Congressional approval to get a deal done. I don’t advocate war.

          • jefe68

            Than what are you advocating for?
            THe Obama administration is calling for sanctions. Which wont work by the way, because both India and China wont abide by them. Then there are other nations, such as France and Germany that are cautious on this front.

            Basically, Putin has played his game well in the short term. In the long term, not so much.

          • HonestDebate1

            I am not advocating for anything. I am bashing Obama for incompetence. I am condemning his feckless leadership.

    • dfg

      And you personally forsaw all this?
      20/20 hindsight is accurate and cheap. Unfortunately, it’s useless.

      • HonestDebate1

        Not me but Bush did and it makes total sense. Georgia and Ukraine were left in a vacuum between the EU and Russia.

  • Oh bummer

    Obama has failed in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Army has failed to recognize the neo-fascist thugs (who Obama supported), who overthrew the democratically elected, internationally recognized, govt. in Kiev.

    • hennorama

      Homer bum (AKA “Jay” and/or (Un)”Informed American” — your comments seem to be stuck on a continuous loop of “57 states,” and “Obama supported neo-fascist thugs in Ukraine/al-qaeda fighters in Syria.”

      Did you forget the “Obama gave $5 billion to neo-fascists” nonsense, or is that track just skipping?

      All this reminds one of the Gregg Smith Response-O-Matic, which at least has some variety.

      • brettearle

        Henn….please go to today’s thread, 3/28, as soon as you can and review my new comments.

        • hennorama

          Okle McDokle.

          • brettearle

            Henn–

            I can’t let him get away with that.

            I don’t know if you read every word he said–CLEARLY enough to yourself.

            If I flag him, he’ll receive more of the reprimand.

            But Andersen .will rain on our parade.

            And, frankly, I don’t have the time-commitment to treat the forum with the earnestness it deserves.

            I need to treat it as entertainment light.

            Because of my other commitments, it’s the best I can do.

            Please advise….. I can’t let him get away with this. Read clearly the implications of what he said.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — I read everything, and understood the context.

            Your time, energy and passion are far more well-spent elsewhere. Don’t waste them.

            (of course, I assume the deleted stuff from earlier is unrelated.)

            My best to your favorite girl, who no doubt is exceptionally deserving of your time, energy and passion.

    • tbphkm33

      So, “Oh bummer” is another one of these U.S. Nopublican/TeaBaggers who support Putin and Russia in all this. After all, Putin is the one who is hopping mad that the previous government was replaced through a popular uprising.

      The-not-so-Grand-Old-Party has a strong history of labeling individuals just like “Oh bummer” – for supporting the other side, they are called traitors.

      • Oh bummer

        The only ‘traitors’ are goons such as yourself tbpms33 who foolishly support a President who signed the NDAA, and who murders innocent people around the world with illegal drone strikes.

    • anamaria23

      An interview today with people in Kiev, including a conversation with one supposedly Neo Fascist ,by Margaret Warner of PBS, negates that they were responsible. They are a very small faction in Ukraine.

    • dfg

      Please show me where in the Constitution he is charged to succeed in the Ukraine.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Rule of Law starts at home.

    Shame on us for forgetting what it even means.

  • HonestDebate1

    He was just kidding.

  • Oh bummer

    Obama’s disastrous, pro-fascist agenda is failing in Ukraine, just like his disastrous, pro al-Qaeda agenda failed in Syria, and just like his disastrous, Obamacare is failing and will collapse.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Obama definitely has skeletons in his closet, like any politician. And hindsight is 20/20… BUT, he has also done some good things for the country. I think its completely insane to praise or blame one single man for an entire nation’s prosperity, economic performance and legislative policy living up to or falling below your own personal preferences and expectations.

    If you want to be outraged and angry, don’t waste time being outraged at a particular party or a particular politician. Instead, be outraged at the fact that all politicians lie to the public, regardless of their party affiliation.

    • Coastghost

      You seem confident that we’ve covered much ground since Lichtenberg, who confessed c. 1790 “we cannot truly know whether we are not at this moment sitting in a madhouse”.
      I don’t discern the far-reaching or widespread advances in epistemology you profess with your query “how can you ever be sure your positions are correct if you don’t have all the relevant facts?”
      Humanity never possesses all the relevant facts. It seems likely we possess fewer relevant facts today than did Lichtenberg and his contemporaries.

    • HonestDebate1

      I suppose the ol’ “everybody does it” defense is the first step towards awakening to the disaster of the Obama administration. Keep analyzing and thinking about it with objectivity. Sooner or later the light will come on.

    • brettearle

      Very well said.

      What’s more, it is high time for everyone to realize that the office of the Presidency–for both covert reasons and for reasons of increased global complexity–has less and less influence than most wish to concede.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Do No Evil Google?

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-25/do-no-evil-google-censor-snitch-state

      Probable Cause too Hard for the NSA?

      http://reason.com/archives/2014/03/27/probable-cause-warrants-and-the-nsa

      In these regards, politics- in the true sense of demanding that elected representatives that UPHOLD THEIR OATH TO DEFEND AND ENACT THE CONSTITUTION is not pointless, however futile it feels.

      What is depressing is that while yes, a lot of our debates and media coverage is pure diversion, truly thoughtful and concerned people who recognize the value of our constitution, from left and right, do not get together to override the corrupt status quo, preferring to defend and rationalize the unconstitutional abuses of their establishment “side”.

      Divided and conquered we are.

    • dfg

      Everyone with a pulse who’s older than 1 has skeletons in the closet. I expect a President, any President, has more than most.

      Outrage is fine as long as it’s productive. Turn the outrage into action. The problem’s not the President, or the legislators. In a system like ours, the problem is ultimately us. It’s us because we elect everyone in government, either directly or indirectly, and at all levels of government.

      Is there a silver bullet solution? I think there might be. I think the problem is rooted in the fact that government is no longer working for the people as it was meant to. It’s working for those who get its members elected. To the extent money wins elections (a very large extent these days), and to the extent that campaign contributions come from a small elite of the wealthy (again, a very large extent these days), government has been corrupted to work for that elite. It further corrupts institutions to support their power. Fix that and you fix everything.

      http://blip.tv/lessig/republic-lost-my-favorite-version-5697728
      (P.S. you might have to cut/paste the link)

  • HonestDebate1

    Here we go.

    “A new classified intelligence assessment concludes it is more likely than previously thought that Russian forces will enter eastern Ukraine, CNN has learned.”

    http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/26/u-s-intel-assessement-greater-likelihood-russia-will-enter-eastern-ukraine/

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Tangential (premonitory?) to the topic of autocratic, unconstitutional rule:

    Probable Cause Too Hard for the NSA?

    http://reason.com/archives/2014/03/27/probable-cause-warrants-and-the-nsa

    Why do Obama/DNC/GOP establishment apologists hate the Constitution?

    Because defending the Party comes before defending the people. Principles are so…. 1700s!

    Unamerican.

    I guess “American” is too 1700′s for most too these days…..

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      “Where there is no expectation of privacy, probable cause is not needed.”

      What is your point here? You have no expectation of privacy with regards to your communications and finances etc?

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Lest we forget the GOP is as much a part of the mess that only liberty, rule of law, limited government, free-not-crony-markets principles can clean up.

    “A First Look At New Report On Crony Capitalism – Trillions In Corporate Welfare”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-26/first-look-new-report-crony-capitalism-–-trillions-corporate-welfare

    “That’s where a new report from Open the Books on corporate welfare comes in. In a preview of the publication, the organization notes:

    If Republicans are going to get truly serious about cutting government spending, they are going to have to snip the umbilical cord from the Treasury to corporate America. You can’t reform welfare programs for the poor until you’ve gotten Daddy Warbucks off the dole. Voters will insist on that — as well they should.

    So why hasn’t it happened? Why hasn’t the GOP pledged to end corporate welfare as we know it?

    Part of the explanation is that too many have gotten confused about the difference between free-market capitalism and crony capitalism.

    And part of the problem is corporate welfare that is so well hidden from public view in the budget that no one has really measured how big this mountain of giveaway cash to the Fortune 500 really is. Finding out is like trying to break into the CIA.

    Until now. Open the Books, an Illinois-based watchdog group, has been scrupulously monitoring all federal grants, loans, direct payments and insurance subsidies flowing to individuals and companies.

    It’s an attempt to force federal agencies to release information on where the $4 trillion budget is really spent — and Open the Books will release a new report on corporate welfare payments to the Fortune 100 companies from 2000 to 2012.

    Over that period, the 100 received $1.2 trillion in payments from the federal government.

    That number does not include the hundreds of billions of dollars in housing, bank and auto company bailouts in 2008 and 2009, because those payments and where they went are kept mostly invisible in the federal agency books.

    As suspected, the biggest welfare queens in the U.S. are the super wealthy themselves, but they’d rather you focus on some single mother on welfare simply trying to survive.”

    • OnPointComments

      In my opinion, it’s a stretch to say that corporate welfare includes “contracts between government agencies and private firms,” such as contracts between the government and Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and United Technologies, which is “most of the payments Open the Books uncovered.” If the US government issues a contract to buy a jet fighter from Lockheed Martin or a submarine from General Dynamics, it’s hardly a welfare payment.

      • OnPointComments

        CA Rep. Jackie Speier made an interesting speech two days ago about wasteful military spending; her speech gets fairly entertaining starting at about the 4 minute mark. I agree it’s wasteful, but I primarily fault the government for the waste, and I think the waste is probably rampant throughout all agencies and departments.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FymeqEJEKmk

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          That is funny.

          Sadly, the easy money from the Fed, on the backs of the rest of us via Debt and Inflation and who knows what when the dollar collapses, is what makes it all possible across all of Govt, as you note.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        I think the problem is that while it is tempting to think that defense spending, which may be more “defensible” as a government role, cannot be construed as welfare, we know that the market for defense items and services is VERY intertwined with politicians and their constituencies, and may not reflect true, or necessary, demand. Rather much of it is pork. Of course levels of defense spending and engagement are a big issue of controversy between libertarians who see the historical connection between war and central banking as disturbing, and traditional “conservatives” who think we need more proactive strength.

        In this chicken and egg debate, only money printing/debt can create enough money for the massive military buildups and excursions that threaten peace. Of course once it exists, one must be a realist about the threats.

        Let alone the notions of Bankers funding both sides of wars via national debt issuance or loans to Military Industrial Complex. An evil conflict of interest if ever there was.

        When we are honest about debt however, we have to admit that whatever our desires, from free high tech healthcare to massive military might, there is no free lunch.

        The Fed model just allows whoever is in charge to enlarge what they value most, unattached from economic reality, on the backs of the masses. The more power those elites have, bankers and GOP or bankers and DNC, the more we the people get the shaft in the long run.

        Wall St, Banks and American Foreign Policy:
        http://archive.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard66.html

  • The poster formerly known as t

    Why don’t you grow up and stop telling us to believe everything we are being told because our elite are little angels compared to Putin, and stop being a manchild by telling everyone who disagrees with you to “shut up”?

  • HonestDebate1

    There is a strong contingent of commenters insisting Putin is all powerful and there is nothing Obama could have done to influence events. This is not surprising. It is the same mindset that says the terrorist attack in Benghazi will be over soon and we probably don’t have time to send help so I’ll just have another drink and go to bed. Maybe I’ll head to Vegas in the morning. It’s the same mindset that says I wish I could write code and fix the website so this is not my fault. It’s the same mindset that says the economy sucks but I can’t do anything about it because of my predecessor. It’s the same mindset that says Mitch McConnell is the most powerful man in the universe and he thwarted my every move.

    President Obama remains disconnected from his own doing and people buy it wholesale. It’s amazing.

    • Ray in VT

      Just keep on living in whatever alternate reality the TEA Party calls home. I’m sure that it plays well in some circles.

      • HonestDebate1

        Where am I wrong?

        • Ray in VT

          Wherever you are. Likely in North Carolina.

          • HonestDebate1

            It was funny and original the first time when Steve wrote it but now it’s just a lame dodge. Fine.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure. Just pretend that people haven’t repeatedly addressed your nonsense. Next thing you’ll tell me is that I’ve never provided dictionary definitions that say that intent isn’t necessary when lying.

          • HonestDebate1

            There’s that noun verb thing again. You lost that argument, let it go or you will tilt.

            Just never mind. My comment is spot on and your dodges are lame. Why do you reply at all if all you have is silliness? Tell me Obama has influence on world events, tell me they had enough time to send help to Benghazi, tell me Obama should have known the website was not ready, tell me Obama has a say in the economy, tell me Mitch McConnell is not king. Refute me, put me in my place. You can’t, the Limbaugh theorem will not allow it. Obama must not be held responsible.

          • Ray in VT

            Nope. I gave you both. You lost but just won’t admit it. Lying about the dictionary isn’t honest debate.

            Blah, blah, blah, blah, Obama bad, blah, blah. I get it. Repeating your usual crap and putting words into my mouth isn’t honest debate, but you seem not to know anything about that. You just want to repeat your lame TOP mantra, like how supply must come first, except when it doesn’t, or how the stimulus didn’t work, except for those economists who say that it did, and on and on and on.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are entitled to your misinformed opinion.

          • Ray in VT

            I would be if I was misinformed, but seeing as how I have shown my point to be the correct one many times, it is you who are both misinformed and lying. Deal with it and just stop lying.

    • JNC76

      I’m pretty confident that the Crimean invasion is not a matter of Obama emboldening Putin. If that were the case, why did he invade Georgia under George W. Bush? It’s not as if Bush were shy about using military force.

      • Ray in VT

        I’m sure that that was also some how Obama’s fault, for who would dare challenge a manly man who has looked into Putin’s eyes and seen his soul?

      • HonestDebate1

        I disagree with the premise that GWB was not shy about using military force, so there’s that.

        When Putin invaded Georgia Bush was on the way out. He had just over 2 months remaining. He immediately sent the military to deliver humanitarian and medical aide. He also in a show of solidarity sent Condi Rice to Tbilisi. That upped the anti for Putin. If he wanted Georgia then he would have to do so with America’s top diplomat on site. Putin blinked. Georgia was saved. South Ossetia and Abkhazia are recognized by the UN and 99% of the planet as Georgia. Putin failed.

        Bush was a thorn in Putin’s side. He pulled out of the ABM treaty. He went forward with missile defense for Eastern Europe. He advocated a path to NATO for Georgia and Ukraine.

        Obama was elected and went on an apology your. He “reset” Russian relations. He backed down on the path to NATO. He withdrew plans for missile defense for Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic (and got nothing in return). He gave up gains in Iraq. He cut defense spending. He ceded leadership to France regarding Libya which gave Gaddaffi a second chance and cause much more bloodshed that was necessary. He appease Russia’s ally Iran. He let Syria trample all over his red lines while Russia’s puppet Asaad continued his killing spree.

        By the time Putin invaded Crimea there was little doubt he would succeed. I don’t think it’s a stretch at lall to say Putin was emboldened by Obama’s flexibility.

        • JNC76

          Really? You are actually telling me GWB was gun-shy? His resolution was shown by humanitarian aid and a Condi Rice visit? Please.

          I think you are over-estimating a President’s ability to puppeteer the leader of another major nuclear power. If we can’t keep Kim Jong Un on a tight leash, we’re not going to do it with Putin.

          The US is a big dog in international affairs, but it is not Master of the Universe. I think your understanding of the President’s ability to contain Putin – on his own absent substantial help, and even some leadership, on the part of major foreign allies and Congress – is naive.

          • HonestDebate1

            GWB hated war as much as anyone. Iraq was not a knee-jerk rush to war. It took 12 years, Congressional approval, a unanimous vote in the Security Council and 17 violated UN resolutions.

            And yes, a military presence and Condi Rice in the thick of it was indeed a huge demonstration of solidarity. But the proof is in the pudding, it worked. What has Obama done to reassure Ukraine?

            There are, as we speak, 80,000 Russian troops on the border of Ukraine ready and willing. There was no pentagon briefing today. Putin is licking his chops because of Obama’s apathy. Don’t make excuses for him.

            Are you of the mind Ukraine is now Russia and there is nothing to be done to change it?

          • JNC76

            What military presence in Georgia? And what proof in the pudding — he invaded again, as in GWB failed to contain Putin.

            Yes, if the Ukraine is invaded by Russia, it will be Russian territory. We’re not going to war with Russia over Ukraine.

  • hourly_PA

    The war-mongering neocons John McCain and V.
    Nuland travel to Kiev to advertise their meddling in the internal affairs of
    Ukraine. S. Harper trots after them to flex the
    Canadian muscle. Then for him it’s dinner time with the adolescent street gang
    now known as the G7. Where there is more, much more, exultant and sanctimonious fist shaking. In the general direction of their pariah of
    the year who is not entranced with B. Netanyahu’s wet dream of carpet bombing
    Iran. If the thugs and brigands who smashed their
    way to power in Kiev had been allied with Moscow, what a hue and cry there would have been from
    this same NATO-IMF alliance about the subversion of the democratic process
    etc. What we get from that troupe now is that what
    was good for Kosovo is unacceptable for Crimea. The government in Kiev is allowing hooligans
    to run amok in western Ukraine, spray painting public buildings, smashing their way into factories, harassing
    anything that looks Russian. What the G7 street gang will not be doing is
    getting in the way of civil strife.

  • pete18

    A perfect description, “a president who travels like Julius Caesar but negotiates like Neville Chamberlain.”

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/03/imperial-trappings-for-an-empty-suit.php

  • DesertMamasita

    For an honest and in depth understanding of the situation in Crimea, take some time to listen to Paul Craig Roberts, former Asst Secretary of Treasury under Reagan – he is quite thorough and quite accurate. http://youtu.be/BrDMRe5850w

ONPOINT
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Jul 31, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the Cabinet meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 30, 2014.  (AP)

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