Posts Tagged ‘Ukraine Policy’

Henry Kissinger on the Ukraine crisis

August 22, 2014

My e-mail pen pal Bill Harvey called my attention an article by Henry Kissinger in the Washington Post last March about the Ukraine crisis.   It is still relevant.  Here are highlights.

Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going?  In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally.  The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins.  [snip]

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger

Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.

The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. [snip]

A wise U.S. policy toward Ukraine would seek a way for the two parts of the country to cooperate with each other.  We should seek reconciliation, not the domination of a faction.

Russia and the West, and least of all the various factions in Ukraine, have not acted on this principle.  Each has made the situation worse.  Russia would not be able to impose a military solution without isolating itself at a time when many of its borders are already precarious.  For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one.

Click on To settle the Ukraine crisis, start at the end to read the whole article.

Maidan snipers: Ukraine’s Gulf of Tonkin?

April 18, 2014

The crisis in Ukraine was set off on Feb. 20 by snipers killing peaceful anti-government demonstrators in Kiev’s Maidan Square on Feb. 20.   Angry mobs surrounded the Ukrainian Parliament and forced President Yanukovych to flee the country, and he was replaced by an unelected provisional government.

Now an investigation by a German TV station, ARM Monitor, which was broadcast last week, indicates the sniper was working for the extreme Ukrainian nationalist Svoboda Party, which was part of the opposition and is now part of the new government.   Police as well as protestors were killed, and the bullets came from the same guns.   The snipers were operating from the roof of the Hotel Ukrayina, which was the headquarters of the protestors.

Now a member of the Svoboda Party is in charge of the investigation.   Families of dead protestors are unable to get autopsy reporters or other vital information.

Michael Hudson, a distinguished professor of research economics at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, was interviewed about this on the relatively obscure Real News Network  (which is listed on my Resources page).   The ARM Monitor investigation is headline news in Germany and (naturally) in Russia, he noted; why is it ignored in the United States?

I’m not saying that President Yanukovych or President Vladimir Putin necessarily have good intentions, or that the Russian secret services are not capable of false flag operations of their own, or that Russian-speaking Ukrainians necessarily want to be part of Russia.   I recognize that there are armed minorities in both east and west Ukraine who don’t necessarily speak for the people they claim to represent.   I do not claim to understand the intricacies of Ukrainian politics.

All I’m saying is that the Ukrainian people, and the American people, are being pushed toward war over something that didn’t happen the way we were told it did.

Lies vs. BS: why BS is worse

April 11, 2014

The philosopher Harry Frankfort wrote that there is an important difference between lies and BS.

The liar knows what the truth it, but chooses to tell falsehoods.

The BSer doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the distinction between truth and falsehood.  The BSer is much more dangerous than the liar.

For me, the most scary thing about the totalitarian governments of the 20th century was that they destroyed the distinction between truth and lies.   As in George Orwell’s novel, 1984, truth was whatever Big Brother said it was.  But this also was a fatal weakness, because totalitarian rulers lose contact with reality.  

Reality continues to be whatever it is, whether you recognize it or not.  As the philosopher Ayn Rand once said (I paraphrase): It is possible to ignore reality, but it is not possible to ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

Democracy, the free-market system and the scientific method constitute an immune system against losing touch with reality.  People won’t vote for you if you don’t serve their interests.  People won’t buy your product if it isn’t any good.  And people won’t believe your theory if your experiment doesn’t work.  All this constitutes a reality check.  But the reality check no longer seems to be working.

The disturbing thing about the George W. Bush administration is not that it was founded on lies, but that it was founded on BS.   A Bush administration official, widely believed to by Karl Rove, mocked the journalist Ron Suskind for being a member of the “reality-based community.”  The Bush administration was creating its own reality, he said.   We know how that ended.

I hoped, when I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, that there would be a return to reality, but this isn’t happening, as is shown in the three links below, the first having to do with Ukraine policy and the second two with the Obamacare fiasco.   Surrealpolitik is a good name for this.