Monday, August 04, 2014

Close Enough For Anti-American Government Work

The Nation is happy these days. They've been lost without a real center of opposition to the United States since the Soviet Union collapsed. The Nation has missed the red banners. Putin may not be a proper communist, but he is opposing the United States. So he'll do just fine.

Of course The Nation is defending Putin and glossing over his invasion of Ukraine:

The shoot-down of Malaysian jetliner MH17 on July 17 should have compelled the US-backed government in Kiev to declare a prolonged cease-fire in its land and air attacks on nearby cities in order to honor the 298 victims, give international investigators safe access to the crash site, and begin peace talks. Instead, Kiev, with Washington's backing, immediately intensified its attacks on those residential areas, vowing to "liberate" them from pro-Russian "terrorists," as it brands resisters in eastern Ukraine, killing more innocent people. In response, Moscow is reportedly preparing to send heavy weapons to the "self-defenders" of the Donbass.

As a bonus, President Obama(!) is risking war with Russia, they say. Horror of horrors, we'd provided intelligence to help Ukraine fight back against the far more powerful Russia.

In what alternate world of reflexive opposition to American actions (even under the anti-Bush Obama) does this analysis even make sense?

Russia invaded Ukraine. The member of the sainted international community, I'll add, in violation of the UN Charter and the Budapest Memorandum that Russia signed specifically recognizing Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Russians have Crimea which they took in the first part of this crisis and are fomenting unrest in the Donbass by sending in weapons and people to astro-turf a rebellion. Yes, there is some unease and worry about the Kiev government among the ethnic Russians in the east, but few wish to join Russia and fewer wish to fight to achieve that.

Why, pray tell, should the Russian-enabled secessionist shootdown of MH17 have led Kiev to support a ceasefire when that would just protect the Russian-created secessionists?

In what world does helping Russian aggression prevail in Ukraine's east "honor" the victims of the plane downing? A larger Russia might make that whole ugly accident worth it? Hmmm?

Given that the secessionists began stripping the site of evidence and loot quickly, just how would a ceasefire that halted Ukraine's efforts to reclaim their territory have prevented this sequence of events?

And given that any pause in fighting has been an opportunity for Russia to reinforce the secessionists, what would be the point of yet another pause?

What really gets me is that The Nation says that Moscow is "preparing to send heavy weapons" to the secessionists. Hello? Tanks and armored vehicles don't count? The SA-11 Buk SAM didn't count? The hand-held anti-aircraft missiles that the secessionists have used to shoot down Ukrainian military aircraft don't count?

Yet helping Ukraine repel part of Russia's aggression (remember, Russia's conquest of Crimea remains unchallenged) is an American attempt to risk a war with Russia?

When our military--and let's not even get into the state of European NATO's military capacity--is completely unprepared to fight in eastern NATO countries let alone in eastern Ukraine?

But no matter. For The Nation, the good old days of the Cold War are already back. Putin may just be an old-school nationalist Russian with its traditional paranoia in plentiful supply, but for Katrina vanden Heuvel and her comrades, Putin is Russian and Russia was once communist, so a Russia that sticks it to America is good enough if they turn down the lights, squint, and remember the glory days when the Soviet Union opposed America around the globe.

In that world it makes sense to write this analysis.