Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Reader writes in with questions regarding the situation in the Ukraine

Posted Monday, March 3, 2014, at 7:28 AM
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  • Like most conflicts, follow the money trail to find the head of the snake.

    Here is a good article with explanations by Pat Buchanan.


    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Tue, Mar 4, 2014, at 5:35 AM
  • I agree that Buchanan's article pretty much sums up the events, but that is not really what I was concerned about. I should have been more specific. The problem is that ANYONE who halfway follows world news already KNOWS the series of events that has been playing out in the last few months.

    How is it that our politicians have been allowed to distort the truth, not just spin, but completely revise recent history? The ink still smears on the papers that it was written upon. The media have not forgotten reality. Every time the networks let these distortions pass without comment or correction, they become liars through extension by their omissions.

    We are not dealing with a closed dictatorial nation. We are not having "intelligence failure". It is not an issue of "known unknowns and unknown unknowns". There are NO disagreements of that nature. There is simply a revision of reality coming from Washington, and it is facing very little skepticism.

    It is nothing new that the U.S. and western allies are busy recruiting extremists to facilitate coups against democratically elected governments. I can think of at least twenty examples off the top of my head. What is new is the way in which it is being presented to the public--shamelessly.

    About ten years ago, there was a movement amongst journalists to distance themselves from the failures of the press to question the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war. They had failed, realized the error of their ways and with hat in hand, they committed themselves to the ideal of informing the people. It was all very touching. Apparently, though, it was only a telling example of their true purpose--to disseminate propaganda. I don't even know why I am surprised.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Mar 5, 2014, at 5:34 AM
  • True memyselfi. I think the same scenario applies to Venezuela which is hardly mentioned by the media. Again, the money trail leads to the mouths of the plunderers.

    Ukraine is rich in shell gas/fuel and Venezuela is rich in oil. The only reason that makes sense to me is that the politicians and media are being directed by the same source. Two arms of the same body. One distorts the truth the other propagates it to the masses. Skepticism and opposition is suppressed by various means, IRS, media ridicule, censorship etc.

    The media is laughable these days. They should be reporting to us about what our government is doing and major events. But instead, spend a large percentage of their time reporting on Hollywood, entertainment, sports, and trivial stories such as the one I saw yesterday about a Dog.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Wed, Mar 5, 2014, at 6:13 AM
  • Could someone give examples of the facts being distorted? I barely have enough time to watch the news for the latest freeze coming through and therefore do not follow international events very well.

    Then again, when I do watch it is predominantly depressing and I don't need that so I am off again, so I only get snippets.

    I do check the blog however so feel free to bring me up to speed.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Mar 5, 2014, at 6:26 AM
  • In Ukraine that would be that Crimea is being invaded by Russia when in reality they have been there for many many years.

    Other examples would be that Benghazi was a "spontaneous reaction to a video".

    Obamacare "if you like your insurance plan you can keep it".

    Is that enough?

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Wed, Mar 5, 2014, at 10:31 AM
  • We just need to keep our noses out of it.How can our country pledge billions of dollars(that we don't have)to help? It was once part of the Soviet Union and was taken away by our help.Leave them be and when they kill each other off we may be a Super Power again. I vote to take the TRILLIONS of dollars we send for support and divide it between hard working TAX PAYING Americans. We then could then pay $30 a gallon for gas and buy a $75,000 car built by Americans for Americans.Thumb our noses and flip a bird to boot at China and the rest of the world, and still have money in our pockets.

    -- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Wed, Mar 5, 2014, at 5:02 PM
  • Mr. Mills, Well, in this instance, it is not a few facts being distorted; it is the entire narrative. The context of the whole situation has been reinvented through omissions and misrepresentations that must have been assembled by the greatest PR artist that the world has ever known. More telling, the same story has been universally adopted (with minor differences) by everyone in the world who has something to gain from the circumstances (NATO members and allies).

    The narrative that we are now supposed to believe goes something like this:

    Peaceful protesters assembled in Kiev expressing their desire to integrate into the EU. Their requests were thwarted by an illegitimate and corrupt government acting as a pawn of Russia. Eventually the government cracked down on the protesters, murdering them in the streets. The people then rose up and overthrew the oppressive regime in order to achieve true democracy. After a legitimate democratic government came to power, Russia then amassed troops on the border, impeded Ukrainian sovereignty in Crimea, and postured for an unprovoked invasion.

    What really happened was:

    The EU lost a bidding war for the political allegiance of Ukraine. What started out as peaceful protests, soon degenerated into western-backed violent radical mobs. The democratically elected government responded with restraint until the demonstrators overran barricades in an attempt to reach the sitting congress. The anger of the mob was then directed towards the political party of the president (also having the majority in congress). The minority parties took advantage of the situation to gain control of the congress and fundamentally eliminate and/or override the other two branches of government (the executive and judicial) leaving a minority legislature effectively controlling the nation. The semi-autonomous region of Crimea faced its own political struggles, but with a decidedly pro-Russian majority, those favoring the east had the upper hand. In the meantime, Russia was not reluctant to protect its military interests in Crimea (most notably, a legally leased naval base).

    Sorry to be so long, but it was condensed as best as I could. I hope there is enough information contained to see the discrepancies though. Each sentence could be expanded into a paragraph of explanation, but I do not have the time to write it, and I doubt you have the time to read it.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Mar 6, 2014, at 12:54 PM
  • Thank you memyselfi. Your first description of how the press is portraying it does sound like more of the same old story with names and places changed, so for that reason alone, I would have to question it.

    While in China I had a chance to hear their governments slant on things happening in the U.S. and the theme was similar, just different names and players.

    Your second explanation does sound more plausible. Basically, Russian influence won out over "Western" influence. I can see why we might not like it, but, it is their country.

    If the deaths and persecution could stop from either side, it would be a much better world but this appears to be one flaw of human nature (a majority at least). We always seem to want vengeance and retribution.

    From my perspective, the U.S. is probably better at controlling or modifying that urge, but from other's perspectives we probably look as bad as all the others.

    I wasn't a card-carrying "Hippie" back in the day, but not that far off either. People knowing me now would question that statement but, a lyric from one of John Lennon's songs keeps echoing in my head. "All we are saying is give peace a chance."

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Mar 7, 2014, at 9:16 AM
  • wouldn't it be cool if we lived in such a simple, black and white world. Having had dealings with ethnic Ukranians in the Ukraine for the past 25 years, I can assure you that the portion of the Ukranian population waxing nostalgic for the days of being a Russian vassal state is not the native Ukranians. Ukranians have pretty well satisfied their desire to be second class citizens in their own country. There is, however, a significant minority of ethnic Russians, who would indeed welcome maintaining their privileged position in Ukranian society. Unfortunately, what we have is a messy situation, where it is impossible for either side to be realisitcally portrayed as a purely Ukranian side. Both the West and the Russians are so intertwined in the struggle for control of Ukranian resources that neither narrative is the whole truth. What is truly shocking to me is that we have managed to engender such a hatred of Obama that we have American people seriously espousing Putin's rebuilding of the Russian Empire. Ironically, if we had a white republican in the white house, their narrative would be the same as Obama's, and the supporters and detractors of that narrative would be exactly reversed.

    -- Posted by lazarus on Sat, Mar 8, 2014, at 12:02 AM
  • What are the Ukranian resources that seem to be so important?

    Whatever they are, I doubt the U.S. would control them as apposed to trying to be sure someone else DOESN'T control them.

    mytaxesaremine, I have not forgotten your opinion to leave them alone to sort it out themselves. Does anyone else have an opinion on what the U.S. should, or should not do in this case?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Mar 8, 2014, at 8:28 AM
  • oil, gas, year-round port, and their strategic physical location.It is hard not to believe that the crises has been spurred to a great extent by western overtures towards the Ukraine. There is no way to know whose initiative that was. In immediate terms this is all more important to Europe than it is to us. I just find it alarming that the US has reached a point of division where one party would side with Russia for the sake of not being united with the other party or the current administration on anything. We more clearly favor party politics over the national interest every day.

    -- Posted by lazarus on Sat, Mar 8, 2014, at 12:31 PM
  • We more clearly favor party politics over the national interest every day.

    - Posted by lazarus on Sat, Mar 8, 2014, at 12:31 PM

    Truer words may have never been written.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Sat, Mar 8, 2014, at 10:05 PM
  • I disagree, Lazarus. It is black and white. The political realities for the millions of individual people involved may be impossible to disentangle, but on the large scale, objective truth is just that. It is not subject to a sliding scale with considerations of political, economic, and moral variables.

    Whatever the percentages of ethnic Russians or ethnic Ukrainians was in the last elections does not change the outcome of the voting in any way. Likewise, the fact that there are some who favor the east in order to maintain their privileged positions does not change the fact that many of those supporting the west have exactly the same motivation. Sadly, those realities are nothing more than a by-product of the economic neo-imperialism practiced by both sides.

    I do agree with you that it is a messy situation, with no side being innocent. It is, however, very possible to construct a truthful narrative. That should be the objective of our government and the press--that is assuming that we the people do have a say. If western intrusion of the Russian empire is the goal, then the situation should be portrayed in that light, not glossed over with misdirection and lies in an attempt to manipulate a moral nationalism based solely upon hollow ideals. Anything less than an informed and engaged political constituency renders us no different than any other totalitarian nation.

    I have not yet seen any major change of the talking points from either side of the political spectrum. Quite the contrary, with a few exceptions, the statements reported by the main stream media are sticking to the script--at least they were up until last week when I stopped keeping up with it. If you look closely, you will see a uniformity that crosses party affiliation. The exceptions tend to be those whose political views would place them against military posturing in the first instance. For example, Buchanan has traditionally been anti-imperialistic. He would oppose either party on those grounds, and he has in the past.

    We are not seeing partisan divide, we are seeing the opposite. This entire situation evolved through an opportunistic agenda, as opposed to a well-planned operation. Its sloppiness has created a rare crack in the facade of what is typically a seamless illusion. The idea of truly independent political parties and an independent main-stream media is difficult to square with a comparison of the events that actually took place, and the story being advanced. I do not care what journalistic source you choose, check the archives back through November. There you will find the true narrative, because ironically enough, it was not until the end of February that the narrative developed "sides".

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Mon, Mar 10, 2014, at 11:25 AM
  • Mr. Mills, I am not so sure that it is about any particular resource. It borders Russia, which is always a good thing, but not really that important with today's military and geo-political realities. It is the largest national land mass within Europe, so that is pretty important as well. However, its value is likely not so much what it offers in the way of tangibles, but what can be extracted from it in the future.

    It is complicated, but the goals of the west are primarily connected to imposing IMF regulations that supersede national law. These are implemented through debt repayment, and are tied to measures of austerity (typically drastic cuts to social services) and opening markets (typically privatization of nationalized industries and auctioning off whatever there is of value to western accumulated capital).

    In short, it is not so much about what it can offer to individual governments, but what it offers to those who ultimately "invest" in it. The same is true of the Russians--with minor variations. None of this is about Ukrainian "independence". It is about who will become its master. The proper place to determine that, however, was at the international negotiating table and through national elections--not riots in the street that culminated with the creation of two illegitimate governments.

    Whatever happens at this point, it will be much worse for the Ukrainian people. There has been a breakdown of law, with the most radical minorities on either extreme gaining considerable power--not to mention becoming very well-armed--who actually believe that they will be allowed to have a say. On one side is crony capitalism; on the other side is crony socialism. There is no room left for radicalism of any variety.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Mon, Mar 10, 2014, at 11:50 AM
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