Monday, March 31, 2014

Putin Channeling Hitler?

Putin would welcome a spectacular game-changing event, like Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the hostage taking of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, or the burning of the Reichstag in 1933.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Putin’s Brazen Demand In Return For Him NOT Invading Ukraine

Russia’s immediate target is Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election. If it proceeds smoothly and its results are as expected, Putin would loose his one rationale for armed and covert intervention: His claim that Ukraine’s illegitimate government, brought to power by an  extremist-neo-Nazis Putsch, orchestrated by the United States, leaves him no choice but to intervene on behalf of Ukraine’s beleaguered ethnic Russians. 

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mr. Putin: Tear Down That Potemkin Village

For the people of Russia and Ukraine becoming part of Europe appears to be the only way to enter a “civilized” world. I am firmly convinced that virtually all citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and Georgia would vote in a instant for Anschluss to Europe. It is this yearning that made the presence of a civilized Ukraine on Russia’s border a fatal threat to Putin and his band.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

The Noose Tightens on Putin's Inner Circle

Friday, March 21 was a very bad day for Vladimir Putin. 

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Sanctions No Joke: Putin Risks Regime For Ukraine Invasion

The first reaction to the first round of U.S. and European sanctions against the Russian ruling elite was laughter. Declared one of those singled out: Whoever put these sanctions together is a “joker.”  Indeed, the first set of U.S. sanctions was weak and the European sanctions weaker. This is no longer the case. The Western sanctions bite where they hurt.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Germany Co-opts Putin's Anti-Ukraine Propaganda To Support International Observers and Joining the EU (At Last, A Sign Of Life)

In his press conference today, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Franz Walter Steinmayer,   co-opted this Putin narrative to justify the pending European Association Agreement with Ukraine to be signed this Friday. Steinmayer pointed out that, by the logic of Putin’s own propaganda, Russia’s and the world’s interests are served by Ukraine taking the first step to membership in the EU.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Putin’s Destabilization of Ukraine Overshadows Today’s Crimean Vote

Russia’s invasion of Crimea and today’s rigged Anschluss referendum are sideshows to the main event – Putin’s ongoing destabilization of Ukraine. International diplomacy can deal with armed interventions and the violation of international treaties, but it is helpless in the face of the coordinated covert disinformatsia, maskirovania, and destabilatsia at which Putin’s KGB (now called the FSB) excels. Putin can respond to charges of economic and political sabotage against Ukraine with an expression of innocence and surprise: “Who me? 

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Enough Of Moral Equivalence On Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine Already!

It is high time to step up and expose moral-equivalence for the sham that it is. Russia’s Ukraine invasion differs in fundamental ways from the “we did the same” charges that they can be easily dismissed by anyone who knows the facts and can draw comparisons. American and European military action in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Libya, and Syria – the cases Putin singles out – need not be portrayed as flawless or unblemished. (In fact, we can be highly skeptical of their wisdom). Instead, we must differentiate our motives, objectives, and results from Putin’s raw exercise of power in his backyard. 

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Putin's Big Lie On Ukraine (If It Weren't So Serious It Would Be Funny)

Russia’s Big Lies about Ukraine, while easily discredited, have been repeated with such frequency and with so little pushback that they, unfortunately, are coming to be perceived as true. The Western world finds it hard to believe that a head of state and his official media engage in persistent and blatant lying and distortion. “There must be something there,” we think. “If they are lying, where are the rebuttals?”
Putin takes propaganda seriously. We do not. That is a major mistake.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Putin Hasn't Lost Touch With 'His' Reality. Welcome To KGB Russia

Putin’s unchanging KGB script dates back to Stalin’s annihilations and deportation of whole nationalities in the 1930s and State Security head, Ivan Serov’s, razing of Eastern Europe. The model remains the same: Armored trucks and troops arrive out of nowhere, invited by some shadowy local organization. They take control of strategic facilities and communications, and announce a new regime elected by popular acclaim and cheered on by grateful residents organized by KGB operatives.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The West’s Dangerous Misreading of Putin In Ukraine

Western diplomats and media interpret Putin’s press conference as a welcome step back from confrontation. His goals accomplished – the securing of Russian forces in the Crimea and protecting Russian speakers from ethnic violence – Putin has declared that he is walking back the military option, although he reserves the right to protect the interests of ethnic Russians as well as Russia’s own interests in Ukraine. Alarmingly, Western diplomats and media laud Putin’s support of elections. Putin is going to allow the Ukrainian people to decide their own fate. Let’s breathe a collective sigh of relief.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Want Putin’s Attention: Follow His Money

Vladimir Putin is rushing to complete his Blitzanschluss of the Crimea. His Duma is drafting legislation to “unite new subjects into the Russian Federation.”  A referendum, originally scheduled for March 31, will likely be moved up. The West will shortly face a Fait accomplish of the incorporation of Ukrainian territory into the Russian Federation. President Obama and the leaders of Europe have only a few days, or even hours to act. They cannot afford the usual telephone calls, consultations, and briefings. 

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Alarm: Putin Will Not Stop With Crimea. Paper-Tiger Obama Will Do Nothing

Ukraine represents the Holy Grail of Putin’s restoration policy. If Ukraine is lost, his policy has failed, and Putin cannot accept defeat unless the costs of fighting the battle are in the stratosphere. He has already calculated that the costs, if any, will be modest and the returns exceptional.

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