Recent Comments Bill O'Reilly says Muslims will Diss Hillary; but 8 Muslim Countries Chose Female Leaders (4) RepubAnon 03/09/2014 at 11:35 am It sounds to me as though Bill O'Reilly feels that our choice of presidential candidates should be subject to Sharia law... (/snark). In Illinois, 91 Communities are now Powered 100% By Green Electricity (4) Tania Mijares 03/09/2014 at 11:28 am “: In Illinois, 91 Communities are now Powered 100% By Green Electricity - link to t.co link to t.co @AEAEEMX Can the Neoconservatives make a comeback via the Ukraine Crisis? (6) Farhang Jahanpour 03/09/2014 at 10:19 am This is an important and interesting article that shows the profound influence of neocons on various US Administrations. My only observation is that after the Clean Break and President Bush Senior’s decision to leave Saddam Hussein in place, the neocons did not give up. Many of them achieved high positions under President Clinton. It should be remembered that the foreign policy community in Washington is small, everybody knows everybody else, and most of them hold broadly similar views. They are all the products of Washington foreign policy establishment. Victoria Nuland, one of the main authors of the Ukraine crisis, is the wife of Robert Kagan who with his brother Fred Kagan were strong advocates of the Iraq war and the surge, and Nuland herself worked as a foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney. Her husband served as a foreign policy advisor to both Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney at the same time. The tragedy was that after all the promises of change President Obama again drew on the same pool of foreign policy hawks to carry out his new vision, and they have created obstacles on his path at every turn. The more hawkish ones are still waiting in the wings to push the next administration to more wars in the Middle East. George Hoffman 03/09/2014 at 9:50 am The neocons are beating a dead horse when it comes to the crisis in the Ukraine. The average American voter has had it with any kind of intervention, diplomatic or military, overseas. The marks were conned mercilessly to support two military misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq by the neocon and liberal war hawks inside the beltway bubble and in the MSM. But even the marks have finally woken up to the big con. Issues in foreign affairs are way down on their list of concerns in the upcoming mid-term elections except for the usual couch-potato Rambos, that is, fellow citizens who love war yet always avoid fighting in them. But what else is new? Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail (38) Hazel Henderson 03/09/2014 at 9:45 am Thanks ,Juan Cole ! Our Green Transition Scoreboard(r) tracks the almost $6trillion invested privately in green sectors worldwide since 2007 Bill O'Reilly says Muslims will Diss Hillary; but 8 Muslim Countries Chose Female Leaders (4) George Hoffman 03/09/2014 at 9:39 am My problem with Hillary Clinton has nothing to do with her gender. I'm disappointed she voted for the Boy Emperor's resolution for the Iraq War. But being a Vietnam veteran, I'm just as taken back that fellow Vietnam veterans such as John Kerry, Chuck Hagel and John McCain also voted for Junior's illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in the Senate. The historical analogies to LBJ's specious Gulf of Tonkin resolution were quite striking, at least to me, and they should have known better. In Illinois, 91 Communities are now Powered 100% By Green Electricity (4) Daevo4 03/09/2014 at 9:37 am At what cost? Bill O'Reilly says Muslims will Diss Hillary; but 8 Muslim Countries Chose Female Leaders (4) Dikaios Logos 03/09/2014 at 9:35 am and a majority of those female leaders came from political families: Hilary's path is the common one in Muslim countries In Illinois, 91 Communities are now Powered 100% By Green Electricity (4) Gordon McKendrick 03/09/2014 at 9:18 am @NHSMuddle That's good Can the Neoconservatives make a comeback via the Ukraine Crisis? (6) Paul Jones 03/09/2014 at 9:09 am This crisis add more examples of the Deep State just doing whatever it wants and ignoring the elected officials and the Constitution. After all, Obama will be gone in 26 months, the Deep State will still be there. NSA, Pentagon, State, Judiciary, SEC, Federal Reserve; the list goes on and on. This is not cost free, by the way. When the next economic down turn comes (2014?), the cohesion of the body politic will be put to the test. Bill O'Reilly says Muslims will Diss Hillary; but 8 Muslim Countries Chose Female Leaders (4) Ghost of TK 03/09/2014 at 8:34 am Lazy Western media needs to stop treating the extremist wahabbi minority as"representative"... They intimidate not represent 99.99% Can the Neoconservatives make a comeback via the Ukraine Crisis? (6) Eurofrank 03/09/2014 at 7:28 am Dear Professor Cole As far as i can see you are the first person to accurately describe this ongoing problem. We Europeans are horrified at the antics of Ms Nuland and State Department in executing the strategy outlined by her husband in "The Revenge of Geography". Germany depends for its gas on Russia and BP one of UK's biggest companies is heavily invested in Russia. Now that the plan to route Qatari gas through Syria to Europe has failed, we Europeans must logically side with President Putin. Following on from this it is time to reconsider the European relationship with US. Having wrecked our economies with casino banking and violated many of the basic tenets of European Law in pursuits of even more extravagant returns for US investors and now trying to drag us into an unnecessary war it may be time to dust off the old slogan from he 1960s and 70s and say " Yankee Go Home" I trust that somehow you will manage to avoid an election in 2016 where both candidates are prisoners or clients of AIPAC and the Neocons I should hate to see a rerun of the Carter presidency that brought Ronald Reagan onto the scene. Kerry on Invading other Countries on a Trumped Up Pretext (Editorial Cartoon) (9) jewelia 03/09/2014 at 6:25 am in reply to George Hoffman Not precisely a fair comment. While the cartoon is poignant, the situation was far different than the Gulf of Tonkin. When Kerry voted, his constituency and the nation was loudly anxious for war and they were responding to evidence that Iraq was a threat. Colin Powell tried to sell the same story to the UN where things began to fall apart because the world spirit was not at the same level as US paranoia--so people asked questions. We all know now that the evidence was a fraud. I'm not defending Kerry per se and the cartoon, again, is a good one--but to read it as entirely a criticism of Kerry's person is wrong-headed swift-boating--your "fellow veteran" is otherwise meaningless. Kerry may have said the words and is in a convenient position but the critique should be leveled at the macro level. Most importantly, outside your own personal preferences, what would you expect any SOS to say given circumstances? In Illinois, 91 Communities are now Powered 100% By Green Electricity (4) Curt Kastens 03/09/2014 at 6:23 am Right...........on. Can the Neoconservatives make a comeback via the Ukraine Crisis? (6) Travis Bickle 03/09/2014 at 5:27 am While the case could have been made for active collaboration between Medvedev and Obama, your premise of one between Obama-Putin relies on its purported secrecy. That is, not much. Naturally, Obama will seek to finesse the guy. But I've heard any number of prominent second chair diplomates who have, even recently, been in extended sessions with Putin, who would belie what you're describing. In fact, I hear a consensus that Putin operates by a different perception of the facts, aside from the dark perspective that you'd have to expect from his history. The narrative that then unfolds is rational enough, but it'd be better, and more realistically explained, by cynical realpolik on the part of Putin. I wouldn't argue with your conclusions, just how you got there, and it'd be risky to extend such a benign reading of Putin into the future. Will Woodlief 03/09/2014 at 4:02 am Great article, but I need to take issue with second paragraph, where it talks about western provocateurs fanning the flames in Ukraine. Such people had little impact. Will Russell Crowe as Noah help Egypt Separate Religion and State? (1) rjlynn 03/09/2014 at 4:00 am Yes, when liberals and fascists unite to overthrow a democratically elected President it can have lovely results. But, the coup-volution in Ukraine, alas, is a geo-political time bomb. Too bad the Ukraine government can't just lock up all their opponents. CIA: Only Spied On Senate Because They Took Documents Proving We Lied (7) Mark Koroi 03/09/2014 at 3:35 am Don't expect much to come of any investigation of the CIA. The last real FBI investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency involved a 4-billlion dollar loan from an FDIC-insured bank branch in Atlanta of an Italian-headquartered financial institution to the government of Iraq. This loan was facilitated by CIA personnel and FBI director William Sessions ordered a thorough investigation. The CIA retaliated by causing an investigation of Sessions that led to findings that he violated government regulations by using his office phone to speak to his wife and other trivialities. The bottom line was that the CIA personnel that had been implicated in the questionable loan transaction were not criminally prosecuted. Sunni Representation Imperiled in Iraq if al-Anbar can't/ won't Vote (4) Mark Koroi 03/09/2014 at 3:01 am "......Al-Sistani actually stays out of politics as much as possible....." This is accurate. Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, a native-born Iranian, actually is probably the most influential current leader in Shi'ite Islam in the Middle East and clearly the most respected and influential figure within Iraq. In stark contravention to Iranian leaders, he has chosen the path of "quietism", avoiding direct intervention and participation in the politics of Iraq. His advocacy in Iraqi political processes has largely been limited to generalized support for democratic electoral representation for all Iraqis. Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail (38) super390 03/09/2014 at 12:43 am What America needs is a debate over discrete positions as to how far we are willing to go in the world: what regions, what issues, what costs. Instead, the public lives in a fantasy that we intervene only in the causes the media tells them are just and relevant - and then later we regret that we didn't attack completely different people instead. For instance, we played up the human rights issue in Kosovo, instead of laying out the much more hardnosed case that thugs like Milosevic were using promises of ethnic cleansing to get elected because they knew the US & other wealthy countries would always take in the victims - and we can't Goddamn afford to do that forever, so it's cheaper to make an example of Milosevic and put a stop to similar plans in other countries. Which we did. But meanwhile, Clinton decided that he couldn't do anything about Rwanda, so it was simply ignored by the media until too late. See, I think Clinton was right to draw that line, but the public needs to understand why lines have to be drawn. Instead we get all weepy about the aftermath and then promise to intervene everywhere. Which is madness. super390 03/09/2014 at 12:31 am in reply to Juan Cole But Zbigniew Brzezinski did tell an interviewer that he warned Carter that sending the CIA to help the early anti-Marxist rebels would provoke a Soviet invasion. The Soviets viewed it as their sphere of influence, and we violated it. Are spheres of influence legitimate, Prof. Cole, and who has the right to define them? I mean, if we caught the Russians arming Mexican drug cartels... Sunni Representation Imperiled in Iraq if al-Anbar can't/ won't Vote (4) KRMCN 03/09/2014 at 12:28 am in reply to Paul Jones Because they relize that nation-states aren't in general happy to see their territories dissolved? Because the nationalist sentiments then quite often turn on remaining minorities? Because lands are often claimed by more than one group? What are my other intelligent choices? Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail (38) super390 03/09/2014 at 12:21 am in reply to Mike The answer, Mike, is the supposition of democracy. You can't sell "your" people to a foreign government, and you can't order them to leave. Otherwise, we could deal with this stupidity the way Bismarck used to, getting all his fellow aristocrats to meet at a resort and divide up the disputed lands on their cocktail napkins. It worked until people became too passionate about who governed them. super390 03/09/2014 at 12:14 am in reply to Juan Cole It is also hard to send gas by ship profitably. You need to build special ships and facilities, and chill the gas into a liquid. It's dirt-cheap to burn it where your pipelines already reach, and use that to manufacture goods for export, or electricity for electric cars. What today's GOP gets Wrong about Leadership: Obama & Eisenhower, Russian & Israeli Recklessness (21) super390 03/08/2014 at 11:45 pm in reply to Jack But what good does this do to a bankrupt American empire propped up by infinite Saudi (Syrian terrorist-backer) and Chinese and Japanese (two countries possibly headed to future war) loans? We've solved no real problems, and we caused the Russia problem by humiliating them and causing mass starvation there with our '90s combo of NATO expansion and neoliberal/austerity economics. We still don't understand that we cause these problems, so we feel justified in spending another trillion bucks on killer robots to beat everyone else down. The Tea Party Just Turned Five — Is it Winning its War on Workers and Minorities? (2) super390 03/08/2014 at 11:35 pm This interviewee has nailed one of the critical points: they don't think people different than themselves are real Americans. Their code phrase, whether neo-confederate, Christofascist or libertarian: "America is a Republic, not a Democracy." In other words, they really, seriously mean to take away the vote from everyone who couldn't vote under the laws of 1789. Meaning 1% of the population will have the vote. Now how does this tie to their relationship to the capitalist oligarchy? It has to do with the fact that they can't openly admit they are white supremacists - but almost all the billionaires are white. To give away our racially "contaminated" democracy to the billionaires is to "restore" the republic of an all-white 1% electorate. Or at least that's what the rich are trying to manipulate them into doing. But to do that, the rich must feed the old ideology of nullification and secession. And we must ask, when were our oligarchs best off? Not when secession happened in 1860, but in 1876, when the liberal North was so sick of civil war that it gave in and let the South violate the constitution under Jim Crow, kicking off that greed orgy known as the Gilded Age. The rich want the threat of the Tea Party to get the rest of us to cower and stay away from the voting booth, just as the KKK went from race warriors to enforcers for the plantation owners. Actual secession would be a disaster. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Patrick Walker 03/08/2014 at 11:25 pm in reply to Lincoln Kennedy Russia did not annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia. CIA: Only Spied On Senate Because They Took Documents Proving We Lied (7) Muslima Lawyer 03/08/2014 at 11:08 pm Whose wise idea was it to hire Brennan again? Ah, change we can believe in. US Drone Kills 5 Allied Afghan Troops, mistaking them for Taliban (3) Muslima Lawyer 03/08/2014 at 10:57 pm With family still in Yemen, my question is when will it stop? Is "offering condolences" the best they can do? What a disgrace. Innocent people who live in these countries now face danger on two fronts: from the militants and from the drones as well. And these were men in Afghanistan clearly working with us! Has this occurence been given any exposure on mainstream media? Of course not. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Ben 03/08/2014 at 9:27 pm in reply to Lincoln Kennedy When people read the DOI they often overlook the part where it says that governments long established should not be overturned for "light and transient reasons" but only under extreme circumstances when all other options have been exhausted and when oppression has become unbearable. If that were the case in Crimea I think the pro-Russian party would have won more than 3/100 seats in the Crimean Parliament. Ben 03/08/2014 at 9:20 pm in reply to SimoHurtta How about Transylvania? Should Hungary be able to annex it from Romania as it is historically part of Hungary? What about the western coast of Turkey and Istanbul? "Historically" Greek, yeah? Or for that matter all of Anatolia which the Greeks ruled for far longer than the Turks have. You can see why revising borders based on historical claims is a very nasty slippery slope given the history of Europe. Ben 03/08/2014 at 9:16 pm in reply to Liverpool "Almost 75% of Crimeans are ethnic Russians." And, despite these numbers. the pro-Russian annexationist party in the Crimean Parliament had exactly 3 seats out of 100 in the Crimean Parliament pre-invasion. Support inside Crimea for Russian annexation was a fringe, kook element, analogous to something like the Alaska Independence Party or Vermont secessionists in the USA. That is nothing like the overwhelming support inside Kosovo for independence after the attempted genocide by the Milosevic government. Ben 03/08/2014 at 9:12 pm in reply to Liverpool That's nice, but there was a genocide being perpetrated against Albanians in Kosovo. There is no ongoing genocide of ethnic Russians in Crimea. Not even RT would say something that outrageous. Ben 03/08/2014 at 9:11 pm in reply to SimoHurtta And there are large chunks of Russia that used to belong to Poland. "Kalingrad" is historically the German city of Konigsbrug. Do we really want to start litigating borders in Eastern Europe again? That generally doesn't end well. John 03/08/2014 at 8:18 pm in reply to John I too have been using the (too-general) comment name "John" here for several months. Can agree that you (or both of us) use something more specific? Our distinct views will otherwise be confusing! US Drone Kills 5 Allied Afghan Troops, mistaking them for Taliban (3) JTMcPhee 03/08/2014 at 7:40 pm in reply to anderson orsburn Hey, man, lighten up! They killed the target, didn't they? And it was all perfectly legal! And stupid! US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Bill Bodden 03/08/2014 at 5:50 pm From Eric Margolis: "The US won’t accept that Russia has any legitimate spheres of influence, while Washington’s span the globe. Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry, who used to be a sensible fellow before becoming corrupted by power, blasted Russia: “you just don’t invade a country under a phony pretext!” "I guess Kerry has never heard of the US invasions of the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Libya. Or can’t remember Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin “incident.” "Kerry should cut the hypocrisy and get to work on a diplomatic settlement. Two major nuclear-armed powers cannot – must not – be allowed to confront one another." - link to commondreams.org Censorship: Turkish PM, President tangle over Bruited ban on Facebook, Youtube (3) KRMcN 03/08/2014 at 3:21 pm in reply to Jack Not even needed. Ergenekon/Balyoz was the Mother of All RICO cases and carried far too far without need for a statute. There's no way for Erdogan to prove this conspiracy without staining himself. More importantly, Erdogan has always run as the underdog beset by conspiring forces. It's a popular narrative in Turkey, and he was able to get a lot of otherwise intelligent people in the west to sign on. In this case, you might say that if Gulen didn't exist Tayyip would have had to invent him. Or Keyser Söze. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Bill Bodden 03/08/2014 at 1:13 pm "Explaining US hypocrisy on Ukraine: U.S. government hypocrisy toward the Ukraine crisis has been breathtaking, as has the U.S. press corps’ stubborn refusal to see the hypocrisy (i.e. the Iraq War and many other U.S. interventions). William Blum looks at the reasons behind the double standards". - link to consortiumnews.com Bill Bodden 03/08/2014 at 12:24 pm in reply to Farhang Jahanpour Very well said. Item 2. bears repeating with my emphasis: "2- There is no limit to how far Western powers are prepared to go in order to weaken Russia. President Reagan promised Gorbachev on the eve of the breakup of the Soviet Union that NATO would not incorporate former Soviet republics. However, practically all East European members of the former Warsaw Pact are now NATO members, <strong>and now the West is even pushing to separate Ukraine that has a substantial number of Russian speakers and even ethnic Russians from Moscow." KRMcN 03/08/2014 at 11:45 am in reply to Paul Jones Come to Texas, you'll find a good job in government! KRMcN 03/08/2014 at 11:43 am in reply to Juan Cole Step one, send people across border, Step two vote to secede from one state and join another (see, e. g. Antakya region voting to leave Syria for Turkey). Not comfortable at all with that. Edward 03/08/2014 at 10:32 am in reply to Lincoln Kennedy The political, economic, and social hegemony of certain Arab tribes in Sudan is still an issue in the country even without the South. Edward 03/08/2014 at 10:00 am in reply to Lincoln Kennedy Civil war is still occurring in Sudan, even on this very day, over various political, social, and cultural issues, including language and identity issues. South Kordofan, Darfur, and Blue Nile, three regions with non-Arab majorities, are riven with expanding conflicts involving rebels versus the state and its militia proxies. I would say that Sudan is not too far from becoming a failed state or is perhaps already one. Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail (38) Roy Brophy 03/08/2014 at 9:44 am If we keep burning fossil fuels our Civilization will die. Archaeology and History are full of Civilizations that have self destructed when the greedy few over exploited their resources for their short term gain. Western Civilization can go forward or fall behind, and if we fall behind it is because we weren't able to control the Greedy Bastards. Sunni Representation Imperiled in Iraq if al-Anbar can't/ won't Vote (4) Paul Jones 03/08/2014 at 9:26 am with 1 replies Isn't it amazing how all kinds of bloodshed can be averted by a rational drawing of national boundaries, allowing nations to break up or rejoin based upon local feelings? How is it that the tens of thousands of Ivy League folks in the government can't figure that out? Kerry on Invading other Countries on a Trumped Up Pretext (Editorial Cartoon) (9) Roy Brophy 03/08/2014 at 9:16 am What amazed me is that he said this with a straight face! This isn't just self delusion, it seem to effect our whole Political Class: The 8 Year horror show of Bush/Cheney never happened! Hard to believe Kerry first appeared before Congress protesting the Vietnam War. Censorship: Turkish PM, President tangle over Bruited ban on Facebook, Youtube (3) Jack 03/08/2014 at 8:58 am with 1 replies A Turkish RICO woukd be a terrible idea, considering how the law has been abused in the US. Sunni Representation Imperiled in Iraq if al-Anbar can't/ won't Vote (4) Gerard Lucius 03/08/2014 at 8:49 am “: can/will Anbar vote? link to t.co link to t.co Can b postponed but must b held before formation of governmnt CIA: Only Spied On Senate Because They Took Documents Proving We Lied (7) Jan Hollander 03/08/2014 at 8:47 am @Thomas_Drake1 "You lied so I spied" seems like reasoning for kids! Casey 03/08/2014 at 8:46 am @JohnKiriakou - Ha! You have my permission as a United States Citizen to Spy as much as you want on the Basta#ds. Michael D. Hill 03/08/2014 at 8:33 am o, well, in *that* case, i guess it's okay. @Vaguery US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Liverpool 03/08/2014 at 8:23 am with 2 replies in reply to Ben Kosovo is almost identical to Crimea. Almost 75% of Crimeans are ethnic Russians. Only difference is they haven't began shooting at Ukrainians. Your post suggests they have to start killing Ukrainins to get their demands the way Albanians did in Kosovo. CIA: Only Spied On Senate Because They Took Documents Proving We Lied (7) JL 03/08/2014 at 8:11 am @exiledsurfer bwahaha yeah right exiledsurfer 03/08/2014 at 8:09 am sounds oh so reasonable. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Juan Cole 03/08/2014 at 4:11 am in reply to Andrew My point was not advocating the break-up of anything, but that secession has often been supported by the US when it suited US interests. Iraq wouldn't vote as a whole to let Kurdistan go, and neither would the Sudanese people have wanted to lose the south. Juan Cole 03/08/2014 at 4:09 am with 1 replies in reply to Micah Weinberg it depends if you focus on Crimeans seceding or what they are seceding to. If the former, the analogies hold. SimoHurtta 03/08/2014 at 4:09 am with 2 replies Let us remember, that Crimea was 60 years ago (in 1954) transferred from Russia to Ukraine in an internal Soviet deal under their Ukrainian leader, who followed that even more famous Georgian Soviet leader. Until 90's that all was Soviet Union. Crimea was never a part of the old "historical" Ukraine. Crimean Khanate, an Ottoman protectorate, ruled Crimea and Ukraine was part of Poland in the last decades of 18 century. Russians annexed the Crimean Khanate in 1783. Russians , not Ukrainians. Juan Cole 03/08/2014 at 4:07 am in reply to Ben the analogy is to Kosovo within Serbia/Kosovo, which was one unit. Censorship: Turkish PM, President tangle over Bruited ban on Facebook, Youtube (3) KRMcN 03/08/2014 at 12:36 am In the end, Gul will do what he's told to do by Erdogan. When hasn't he? Oh, he talks pretty some days, but it leads nowhere. & whatever the truth about the Gulen movement (I've no illusions of their virtue), he was glad to have them as long as they were clearing the field of opponents. But apparently there's a messiah quota, so and one of them has to go. & Juan, be serious: you can be jailed for libel if you say anything against AKP or anything taken as "anti-Muslim," but none of it applies if you're AKP. That's been proven repeatedly over the years. What's changed about Tayyip is your opinion of him. Had you been talking to other Turks, you'd have been hearing this over the years. And if you really think that Erdogan has been an economic steward, you're kidding yourself. Credit first to the CHP's Kemal Dervis, who hatched the recovery plan. Then to Ali Babacan, who ran a good ship while he had the freedom to chart course. And given your interest in green policies, you should be thrilled to learn that on Friday a decision was taken to leave it up to provincial governors -- who are political appointees -- to decide if environmental impact studies are necessary before green-lighting projects. Spend some time reading up on environmental depredation in Turkey and the privatization of public land, particularly green spaces, then talk about that wonderful stewardship if you still dare. The New Cold War and the Middle East (1) Ben 03/07/2014 at 8:14 pm This "New Cold War" meme is utterly ridiculous. First, and most importantly, there is no alternative global ideology being promoted by Putin here. He's just your old Great Russian chauvinist reincarnated. Crass, autocratic nationalism fueled by petro-dollars is not exactly Marxism-Leninism. Sure, he wants Russian dominance in the "near-aborad" (whether he will get it or not is another question) but you're not going to see Russia start attempting to install puppet governments in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America any time soon. Second, the Russian Federation does not have the global reach the USSR did. It is not a Superpower either economically or militarily. It is, at best, a medium-sized regional power. It will conflict with the US where it rubs up against it in places like Syria and the Ukraine but Russia is nowhere near the peer of the United States in world power. The only country coming even close to that right now is the People's Republic of China, and even there its a stretch. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Ben 03/07/2014 at 8:00 pm in reply to KRMCN Tens of thousands have been killed in the Ukraine over this? I think I'll need to see a source for that. Ben 03/07/2014 at 8:00 pm in reply to Jack I can actually see the comparison working (in actions, not persons, mind you) if we limit ourselves to the Sudetenland Crisis. The annexing of a strip of foreign territory on trumped up charges of ethnic repression is indeed very similar. However, it's best to avoid dropping the H bomb even when two actions really are similar given the, um, unique nature of Hitler's worldview. Just staying within Germany a much less inflammatory example would be Prussia's annexation of Schleswig-Holstein from Denmark in the 1860s. Ben 03/07/2014 at 7:53 pm with 1 replies I can't really speak to Sudan or Iraq, but I have quite a good knowledge of the Balkan conflicts and the comparison with Yugoslavia is face and ignorant at best. There were huge, indegenous majorites in Bosnia and Kosovo that desired independence from Serbia, to say nothing of Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia. No such majorities exist in the Crimea. The pro-Russian annexationist party had a grand total of three seats in the Crimea Parliament out of 100 before Russian intervention. Putin, of course, promptly installed this party as the new ruling party of Crimea after Russian troops invaded. Also, there was an ongoing genocide being perpetrated in Bosnia and Kosovo by the Milosevic government, there was no such ongoing genocide of Russians in Crimea. The only shots fired there so far have been into the air. To compare the Yugoslav conflicts to Crimea is laughable. I can say a lot about US foreign policy but in the Balkan conflicts the US was in the right. Ben 03/07/2014 at 7:51 pm with 3 replies I can't really speak to Sudan or Iraq, but I have quite a good knowledge of the Balkan conflicts and the comparison with Yugoslavia is really facile and ignorant at best. There were overwhelming indigenous majorities in Bosnia and Kosovo that desired independence from Serbia, to say nothing of Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia. No such majorities exist in the Crimea. The pro-Russian annexationist party had a grand total of three seats in the Crimea Parliament out of 100 before Russian intervention. Putin, of course, promptly installed this party as the new ruling party of Crimea after Russian troops invaded. Also, there was an ongoing genocide being perpetrated in Bosnia and Kosovo by the Milosevic government, there was no such ongoing genocide of Russians in Crimea. The only shots fired there so far have been into the air. To compare the Yugoslav conflicts to Crimea is laughable. Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail (38) spiral007 03/07/2014 at 6:26 pm in reply to Juan Cole Thanks, Prof Cole. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Bruno R 03/07/2014 at 6:15 pm I agree to a certain extent only. In Yugoslavia, Sudan or Iraq, the US approved the break-up, not sure it masterminded it like Putin does. Plus, the US bombed Serbia, invaded Iraq -provisionnally. But did not annex any part of these countries or make them the 51st State of the US. PS. Apart from this, I am a great fan of your very inspiring website. Rachel Maddow: CIA spying on Congress ‘is death of the Republic stuff’ (8) Mike Austin 03/07/2014 at 5:53 pm Just a more sophisticate version of what J. Edgar Hoover did for a few decades. Perhaps this explains why congress is usually just a rubber stamp for what our National Security State wants? US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Paul Jones 03/07/2014 at 5:45 pm with 1 replies Secession, or rather the right to a government established by the consent of the governed, is a human right and a great problem solver. McCain's Mind-Boggling Hypocrisy on Crimea at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Conference (3) JoyfulA 03/07/2014 at 5:44 pm Note that Poland took over parts of eastern Germany, as mentioned, but that was in compensation for Ukraine/Soviet Union taking eastern Poland, e.g., Lwow (Lviv), an almost totally Polish city. Neither boundary change was Poland's choice; it was all worked out by the Big Four at Yalta. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Boomer Bob 03/07/2014 at 5:21 pm Sad but true. Sad, but good that you say it, since so few will, based on the news reports I've seen and heard. Watson 03/07/2014 at 5:04 pm Perhaps, as a gesture of good faith to promote a peaceful resolution, the US will give up its base at Guantanamo to encourage Russia to let go of its base at Sevastopol. Matthew 03/07/2014 at 4:47 pm in reply to Rob B Then why didn't you distinguish them? John 03/07/2014 at 2:59 pm with 1 replies ..and I'm sorry, but "it's too complicated" is not a satisfying answer. Let the Russian-speaking majority vote a chunk of themselves into mother Russia..anyone that doesn't like it can leave and Ukraine can continue on as a better integrated country. Why not? Lincoln Kennedy 03/07/2014 at 2:48 pm with 4 replies The U.S. likes the break-up of Arab Muslim states? How can you, as a supposed liberal, be in favor of a state with enormous diversity like Sudan defining itself solely on the basis of Arab ethnicity and Islam? Every single instance you cite that was supported by the U.S., the region in question that was struggling for autonomy had legitimate grievances against the central government. Even the previous Russian territorial grabs, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, came after the central governemnt in Georgia revoked the autonomy of those regions. The Abkhaz and the Ossetians are distinct ethnic groups by any metric. In the Crimea, the "prime minister" was installed after the Russians invaded. Russia guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons as a Soviet successor state. Your desire to paint the United States as an arsenal of hypocrisy is one reasons people roll their eyes when they hear the word "liberal". The U.S. is hardly being hypocritical in this instance; it's making the same calculation between standing up for admittedly muddled principles of international law and the mucher clearer principle of assessing if we have a dog in this fight. Unlike those other states, the Russian dictatorship isn't a tin-pot one, and dealing with it effectively requires more analysis and nuance than your Glenn Greenwald impersonation allows. It's obvious Ukraine is being violated here; it's obvious that Russia is taking a play right out the Manual for Tsars. The liberal position is a thoughtful response that balances international law against the likely indifference of most Americans to get involved. There are more liberals than your blogger-professoriate so stop with your obnoxious anti-American posturing. Finally, the ignorance of the commenters comparing this obvious foreign invasion to the right of self-determination under the principles of the Declaration of Independence is pathetic. Read some American history. Micah Weinberg 03/07/2014 at 2:28 pm with 2 replies I don't necessarily disagree with you but isn't it different for countries to be divided (all the examples you cite here) vs. voting to join another major power that has been very muscular in terms of expanding its sphere of influence? John 03/07/2014 at 1:57 pm I'm so stupid. Can someone please explain to me why we care if Ukraine splits up? Why not just let them do it? What am I missing? No one seems to be talking about this at all that I can find...Thanks. Andrew 03/07/2014 at 1:25 pm with 1 replies Not really comparable situations, Juan. Look, I'm as lefty as they come — longtime reader, huge opponent of our Iraq adventure, and pretty critical of US foreign policy in general. But let's not turn a blind eye on Russia's actions here just because the US has also done some bad or stupid things. And let's not forget that Putin's Crimea ploy has brought about universal condemnation, including from virtually everyone who opposed the Iraq War. Regarding secession, you yourself have written about how harmful this notion of ethnic separation is. You've attacked people for suggesting breaking up Iraq, criticized people who proposed breaking up Libya. The notion of territorial sovereignty is a very legitimate one under international law. The reason the Yugoslav, Czech, and Soviet breakups were recognized internationally was because the constitutions of these states all permitted their republics a unilateral right to secede. In S. Sudan, there was a long-running civil war, and the Sudanese government consented to a referendum and independence for the South. (I agree it was unwise, though if I had to stay under Omar al-Bashir, I might have wanted out too.) Kosovo was admittedly a different case and a somewhat problematic precedent. But — although the situation wasn't entirely black-and-white — there was a civil war, ethnic cleansing, and ultimately a separate UN administration. For all practical purposes, the country wasn't going to reunite with Serbia. And the referendum was internationally-sponsored, and monitored by neutral observers. In Crimea, it would be a different situation if the Ukrainian government consented, or at least if there were neutral observers on the ground and some kind of international peacekeeping force. Instead, Russia invading a neighbor on flimsy pretexts, and is staging a rapid referendum without any neutral observers, unilaterally redrawing its boundaries. That's a pretty dangerous precedent, and marks one of the very few times this has happened since the WWII era. Bill Bodden 03/07/2014 at 1:06 pm Has there ever in American history been a time when hypocrisy was as rampant as it is now? The first colonists fleeing religious persecution in Europe didn't take long to doing a little persecuting themselves. Then there were the slave owners who declared that all men are created equal with a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when they had no intentions of freeing their slaves. That was hypocrisy then but nothing on today's scale. Observer 03/07/2014 at 11:54 am South Sudan is not to be compared at all. The vast majority of the south Sudanese wanted nothing to do with the kleptocracy and fundamentalist regime in Khartoum when it used food to convert them to Islam and this is coming from a Muslim by the way. It was also done after a long civil war in the Sudan always initiated by more kleptocrats. Being a failed state does not cut it and is irrelevant to the question of independence. One could argue that the nascent US may have gone the way of a failed state and certainly the civil war if the South had successeded would have ended another failed state and a dictatorship. RD Sultan 03/07/2014 at 11:52 am in reply to bob h Good point. Russia might just dragg themselves into years of guerilla war with the Tartars and ethnic Ukrainians. US Drone Kills 5 Allied Afghan Troops, mistaking them for Taliban (3) anderson orsburn 03/07/2014 at 10:15 am with 1 replies "Precision" strikes. Hah! US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Farhang Jahanpour 03/07/2014 at 10:12 am with 1 replies What recent events in Ukraine show is that 1- The Cold War is still very much with us and people on both sides of the fence are not willing to move on. The truly amazing propaganda on both sides harks back to the worst days of the Cold War. 2- There is no limit to how far Western powers are prepared to go in order to weaken Russia. President Reagan promised Gorbachev on the eve of the breakup of the Soviet Union that NATO would not incorporate former Soviet republics. However, practically all East European members of the former Warsaw Pact are now NATO members, and now the West is even pushing to separate Ukraine that has a substantial number of Russian speakers and even ethnic Russians from Moscow. 3- There is no concern for truth or human rights. The new tape that contains a conversation between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and the Estonian foreign minister who has since confirmed the authenticity of the conversation shows that the snipers who shot at both the protestors and the police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders. This is a matter of great importance. It shows that the members of the new gang who have taken power in Ukraine committed crimes not only against members of the police, but also against ordinary unarmed civilians. Should this not be investigated and those responsible brought to book instead of serving in the new “democratic government”? 4- The Nuland tape provides a rare glimpse into how the United States makes use of her diplomatic assets, the UN, vast funds (some five billion dollars according to Nuland’s admission elsewhere) and her European allies to get what she wants. It is interesting to note that the United States is pushing for the separation of Ukraine from Russia and incorporation into the EU even more than EU leaders want, and in Nuland’s words, “F… the EU”. Meanwhile, Ukraine needs some $35 billion to be bailed out, presumably by the EU. 5- It shows that neocons are still very much at the heart of US Administration and their demise has been greatly exaggerated. 6- Above all, and the most frightening aspect of recent events, is the fact that the neocons are prepared to drag the whole world to the brink of a major global confrontation in order to achieve their goals. I believe all of us should be concerned. Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail (38) rbtl 03/07/2014 at 9:26 am in reply to Richard If I remember correctly, Germany was the first and the US was the second nation to recognize Croatia. I thought it was a mistake at the time and still do. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Will Monox 03/07/2014 at 9:14 am So much for the self-determination of peoples or the principles of the Declaration of Independence. Obama to Netanyahu: Israel faces Int'l Sanctions over "Permanent Occupation of West Bank" (18) Dr. Natan Ophir 03/07/2014 at 8:47 am When you next visit Palestine and/or Israel, please be sure to join the IPC - Israel Palestinian Confederation to see how we are creating a just and lasting peace in One Land for both Israelis and Palestinians to live in one democratic country with one united capital. This is the wave of the future. Come join us. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) Jack 03/07/2014 at 8:41 am with 1 replies "The U.S. position on secessions depends on whether Washington likes the country affected." In 1861, the southern half of the country seceding sure didn't make Washington happy. I'm not so sure Washington sees the threat of Crimean secession in the same light since it will probably result in sanctions being placed on Russia. Claiming Putin invading Crimea is no different than what Hitler did in the late 30s as Hillary Clinton did last week, gives Washington another BAD GUY to take the place of Ahmadinejad. The new POTUS of Iran tweeting "Have a nice day" is NOT what the war hawks in D.C. want to hear. They need "BAD GUYS." Netanyahu has repeatedly claimed Iran wants another HOLOCAUST, so the next U.S. POTUS saying Putin moves like Hitler fits right in since he also supports Iran. If nuclear negotiations with Iran fail, I can see a perfect shitstorm forming on the horizon. Rob B 03/07/2014 at 7:52 am with 1 replies And to be clear, love your work and writing most of the time, just think these two situations are easily distinguished. Carole 03/07/2014 at 7:00 am I think the real hangup is the nonproliferation treaty that the US, EU, and Russia all signed when Ukraine gave up their Nukes. All the countries agreed not to invade Ukraine's sovereign borders at any future date. WH would probably like to honor that Treaty if possible bc he hates WMD of any type. Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail (38) Richard 03/07/2014 at 6:23 am with 1 replies in reply to john I love how self righteous we get here in the US. The United States violates international law on a yearly basis. Yet we are supposed to be upset that Russia has increased it's troop levels in Crimea. Also pretty amazing that we seem to just ignore that the majority of people in the Crimea want the Russians there. How about this, let's support the Crimean referendum and ensure that it is free and fare, and then enforce its results. Heck let' give all the people of Ukraine that option. Then those areas that feel their allegiance to Russia can go their way, and those that feel their future with Europe can go theirs. The shape and size of Ukraine is not sancrosanct. The Czech Republic and Slovakia broke a part, Yugoslavia broke a part, heck Ukraine broke a part from the Soviet Union. The USE sould not stand in the way if the dissolution of the Ukraine, if that is what the people want. Though this will never happen , we have no problem seeing new nations emerge via secession (Kosovo, East Timor, Slovakia for examples) when the United States likes the result or gains a new ally, yet break away from a potential ally or cross America, the it is against International law ( Abkazia, South Ossetia , and now Crimea). It is time for The US to stop thinking we are the arbiturres of World affairs. We do not have to interfere , nor do we get to dictate. US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq (43) bob h 03/07/2014 at 6:20 am with 1 replies Why would the Russians, already suffering resistance from the Chechens, want to bring another resentful Muslim constituency, the Tartars, under the tent again? They will abstain from the so-called referendum, and might be radicalized by their forced reabsorption into Russia. Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail (38) Juan Cole 03/07/2014 at 4:42 am with 1 replies in reply to nowhere The Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was an unprovoked act of carnage. Juan Cole 03/07/2014 at 4:41 am with 1 replies in reply to spiral007 excellent informed comment! Christiane 03/07/2014 at 2:41 am in reply to rbtl Well said ! The US is aggressively trying to extend the NATO under the nose of the Russians. I can't understand that. And once again, the US is trying to draw the EU in moves that aren't in the interest of the EU.