"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Entries in Politics (393)


More Chris Hedges


War In Ukraine? 

Petro Porosenko has a problem. He wants to be reelected as president of Ukraine, but he is coming in at third place, behind a comedian. He needs an issue. You need a little history and geography to understand what is going on.

In 2014 the US orchestrated a coup and removed the elected president from office. Don't believe me? Here is where Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine plotting the post-coup government. 

This tape has a tendency to be removed from You Tube, so if this is read later you might need to search for it.

Naturally since Russia's warm water ports were in Ukraine, Crimea in particular, and the ports were only leased, this was a cause for concern to them. The plan, as NATO has been gradually encroaching on Russia, that the leases would not be renewed and leased to NATO.

Ukraine is rather evenly split into Ukrainian and Russian speaking citizens. Since many former Soviet Republics mistreat their Russian minorities this was a cause for concern. It did not help that after the coup, a bill was introduced in the Ukrainian parliament to make the Russian Language not usable in official business. In the other Republics this was the first step in the persecution of Russian minorities. It also did not help when a former president, Yulia Tymoshenko, jailed for corruption, proposed killing those Russians she did not like. 

Note that Yulia Tymoshenko is leading the polls to be elected president of Ukraine, far ahead of Porosenko.

Naturally this lead to discontent and revolt. The Russian Federation supported the rebels, especially in Crimea. Later there was a democratic vote in Crimea where 85% of those voting wanted to become a part of Russia. They are now a part of Russia, although this is not internationally recognized. Rebellion continues in eastern Ukraine. 

Now for the geography lesson, here is a map of Crimea. 

With the recent construction of a bridge to connect Russia with Crimea, the sea of Azov is now cut off from the Black Sea. The bridge is in the lower right of the map and is 11 miles long. Since the Ukrainian government was not supplying anything through the land bridge between Ukraine and Crimea, this was an obvious necessity. In the past, when transit was desired, the Ukrainian government officially requested it. While the Ukrainian government claims they did so this time, this is obviously untrue. If they had, the passage would have been granted.  

While is this such an issue for Russia? 

There have been threats and suggestions that the bridge be destroyed. Here is an American proposal in an Oo Ed for the Washington Examiner:

Fortunately Ukraine has the means to launch air strikes against the bridge in a manner that would render it at least temporarily unusable. Because of its significant length, the Ukrainian air force could strike the bridge while mitigating the risk of casualties by those traversing it.

The bridge was suggested as a target by a Ukrainian member of parliament. For some reason this threat was not well publicized in the West. I found this quote on an obscure website

“The Kerch Bridge is an enemy’s infrastructure. It connects the occupied territory with the mainland of the aggressor country, that is why it is an enemy’s infrastructure,” Mosiychuk said on air of 112 Ukraine channel.

So Ukrainian boats approach the area without notice, naturally this had a response and the ships were detained. For a full description of the incident you can go to the blog Moon Of Alabama.

What do you need to know? 

Crimea contains important ports that Russia will not allow to fall into NATO hands. Crimea has been a part of Russia since 1783. The vast majority of Crimea's people want to be in Russia. Russia will go to war rather than lose Crimea. Russia will use nuclear weapons rather than lose a war over Crimea if there was a widescale war. 

So the president of Ukraine will risk nuclear annihilation because he is low in the polls and probably won't be reelected. This is the US ally that the US is suppling with weapons. 

Trump is an idiot. 


The End of Empire? 

This is an interesting discussion. I think that it will not be this next crisis, but the one after this next one. So it is ten years away at least. Since this will be a worldwide event, it might not be the tipping point for the US empire. 


Of Course He Did Not Know! 

Interesting that Saudi Arabia is indicting and asking for the death penalty for those involved in Khashoggi‘s murder. The Crown Prince is, of course, not involved. This might even be true, but it raises an interesting point, how would these very low level people know that? The Watergate burglars were ultimately acquitted because they thought they were doing government work. These men obviously thought the same thing. Everyone will believe that, of course, the Prince was not involved. Plausible Deniability. 

This does not actually matter one way or the other. Only recently did the US military stop fueling Saudi Arabia’s planes and their war crimes, er bombing in the war in Yemen. The US is still selling weapons to the Saudis. At least 100,000 have died, and millions will starve if the war is not stopped. Only Rand Paul seems interested in the issue. 


E pluribus unum

While I still disagree with Macron's statement on Sunday, after mulling it over I understand it better. It was still designed as a direct insult to Trump and America. Trump did attend a memorial service to commemorate the dead, but he did not attend both of them. I wonder if the Macron insult, which followed an earlier insult, was the reason. 

For a European, nationalism is bound up in which ethnic group you belong to. There is German nationalism, French nationalism, and it is linked to those ethnic groups. One reason for the hard time that the EU is giving Hungary's refusal to allow immigration is that that form of nationalism is against the "European Values" that the EU is trying to foster. But there is no Europe, as a country, right now. Nationalism fights against a future European unity. In a sense, the EU is trying to make the motto of the United States, E pluribus unum, as its unofficial motto, out of many one. To the European mindset, at least the ones that want a Europe as a country, is that nationalism is a form of ethnic pride. It can be, but does not have to be. 

In US history we had considerable reluctance to accept Caucasians from European countries that were not English. You can google for signs that say, "No Irish Need Apply." This is inconceivable today. The "No blacks" part of the sign I chose is unfortunately conceivable. Italians were looked down upon, the fact that they might have a white tone to their skin did not matter. The Know Nothing Party is a good example of this:

The Native American Party, renamed the American Party in 1855 and commonly known as the Know Nothing movement, was an American nativist political party that operated nationally in the mid-1850s. It was primarily anti-Catholicxenophobic, and hostile to immigration, starting originally as a secret society. The movement briefly emerged as a major political party in the form of the American Party. Adherents to the movement were to reply "I know nothing" when asked about its specifics by outsiders, thus providing the group with its common name.

They were the Alex Joneses of the 19th century. 

As I said, this is inconceivable today. 

Does Trump consider himself German because his grandfather was born in Germany? Does Trump consider himself a Scot since his mother was born there? He does not, because out of many (countries) one (country) is formed. (I can picture Trump trolling his adversaries in a kilt.) 

My own family history also indicates this. In 1699 My ancestor Jean De Jarnette arrived in Virginia as an immigrant. He was 19. He married Mary Mumford and had a family. His grandson, James De Jarnette, served as a Major General in the war of 1812. Did James consider himself French? He did not. 

I recently did an test. It showed pretty much what I expected. An English cluster, and a Northwest French cluster. While Jean left La Rochelle, his ancestry was more Normandy than French. But what was surprising was that the second largest nationality in my background was Swedish. Do I regard myself as Swedish, or English or French? I do not. I am American, because out of many one is formed.  

In other words, the nationalism that Trump advocates is Civic Nationalism:

Civic nationalism, also known as liberal nationalism, is a form of nationalism identified by political philosophers who believe in an inclusive form of nationalism that adheres with traditional liberal values of freedomtoleranceequality, and individual rights.[1][2]

Civic nationalists often defend the value of national identity by saying that individuals need a national identity in order to lead meaningful, autonomous lives[3] and that democratic polities need national identity in order to function properly.[4] Civic nationalism is frequently contrasted with ethnic nationalism.

Trump is not advocating a nationalism based on an ethnic group, being both "German" and "Scottish" which would he pick? He is proposing a nation based on shared values. This is quite different. 

Charles De Gaulle, the founder of the current French republic that Macron has the privilege to serve as president had this to say in 1913:

He who does not love his mother more than other mothers and his country more than other countries, loves neither his mother nor his country. 

Sounds right to me.