The Battle of Ukraine is turning into a battle of reality versus fiction, of capable leadership versus ineptitude, of facts and careful analysis versus mythical predictions. Some “scholars” in the West are now arguing that getting the facts is no longer vital, as long as Putin can be beaten in the PR war. Frankly speaking, they are idiots. If Putin’s been in Russia for over a decade, and the first winter that Poroshenko’s in office I’m starving, no amount of propaganda, no amount of bullshit, no amount of PR, is going to convince me that Putin is the guy whom I should be rebelling against. And hungry people revolt quite violently.
Nevertheless, the idiocy persists. Apparently, according to the press, Russia needs to annex Novorossiya to establish a land route to Crimea. No, I’m not kidding. For instance:
“As Russia troops and tanks make an apparent bid to open the land route to annexed Crimea, discontent is growing in the motherland about the obvious but oft-denied war in Ukraine.” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/28/russian-moms-denounce-putin-s-not-so-secret-ukraine-invasion.html
Of course that is the Daily Beast, the Russian bashing rag mag that no serious analyst should care about. But other newspapers should know better. They don’t. For instance Washington Post writes: “Another U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the behind-the-scenes diplomacy, said the purpose of Russia’s “armed intervention” may be to try to open a land route to Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine earlier this year.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russian-and-ukraine-troops-battle-in-south-prompting-fears-of-widescale-invasion/2014/08/28/04b614f4-9a6e-40f4-aa21-4f49104cf0e4_story.html
Then there’s the ever reliable New York Times, which can be relied on to mess up almost every war story out there: “Third, there was the possibility that Russia was trying to establish a land route to Crimea, the southern Ukrainian peninsula seized in March.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/30/world/europe/ukraine-conflict.html?_r=0
CNN chimes in: “Analysts suggest that Russia may have sent its forces into Novoazovsk to secure a land route from the border to the Crimean peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in March” http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/29/world/europe/ukraine-crisis/
Fox News, represent: “Analysts suggest that Russia may have sent its forces into Novoazovsk to secure a land route from the border to the Crimean peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in March” http://myfox8.com/2014/08/30/eu-leaders-mull-new-sanctions-over-russias-ukraine-actions/
NBC completes the triangle: “Novoazovsk is strategically important because it lies on the main road leading from the Russian border to Ukraine’s Crimea region, which Russia annexed in March.” http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/russian-forces-back-rebels-in-eastern-ukraine/27767288
Even the local newspapers get in on the action: “And third, there was the possibility that Russia was trying to establish a land route to Crimea, the southern Ukrainian peninsula seized in March.” http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20140829-putin-praises-rebels-likens-ukraine-army-to-nazi-invaders.ece
I could just keep on going: “This move opened a third front on Russia’s border with Ukraine and has led many to worry that Russia would try to conquer a land route to Crimea along the Sea of Azov.” http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/08/russia-denies-troops-in-ukraine-despite-photos.html
And going: “Analysts suggest that Russia may have sent its forces into Novoazovsk to secure a land route from the border to the Crimean peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in March” http://wtvr.com/2014/08/29/up-to-5000-russian-troops-in-ukraine/
And going: “In doing so, the Russian president is flaunting his basic calculation that the leaders and publics of Europe are not prepared to put their economies into recession and risk their energy security to defend a point of principle in Ukraine. They weren’t over Crimea, so why over opening a land route to Crimea which Russian forces are currently trying to do?” http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peterfoster/100284367/strongman-putin-holds-us-all-in-contempt-over-ukraine-and-its-not-hard-to-see-why/
Have you guys looked at a map recently? Any map? Google map? Yahoo map? World Atlas? Anything that even resembles a map? It seems to me that the mass media outlets are counting on the ignorance of their consumers. Here’s a map:
Do you not see how close Russia is to Crimea, and how far away that is from Novoazovsk? Russia doesn’t need a land route into Crimea, because Russia’s already building one between the Krasnodar Krai and the Crimean Republic. “Vladimir Putin held a meeting with members of the government on Wednesday in order to discuss transport links with the Crimea, a day after the treaty of accession of the republic to the Russian Federation was signed. “We need both automobile and railway bridges,” the President said about the Kerch Strait Bridge. Putin’s proposal received the full backing from Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov, who stressed that the government has already agreed on the feasibility study for the project. The survey will take place this year, with several proposals for the bridge ready by the end of 2014, he added.” http://rt.com/business/crimea-russia-kerch-bridge-857/
And yet, according to these “analysts”, Russia needs a land route. There are arguments that one could make, rather unsuccessfully, but one could still make them; the “land route” argument isn’t one of them. It’s not even an argument as much as sheer stupidity begging for people to be ignorant and avoid looking at a map, because a simple glance at a map will thoroughly discredit that argument.
If this was just limited to that one argument, I would have no issues with it. However, said stupidity is endemic to the way that Washington and the mass media outlets conduct and report what’s actually going on. I’m not asking for a full equities report; I’m asking for those “analysts” to get the basic facts right, especially when the World’s economy is at stake. I’m asking for competent leadership to conduct policy analysis, before implementing it and wondering “how’d we get here?”
For instance, the EU, (and likely the US,) did not do any kind of series research as to whether or not the sanctions will cause more harm than good to their respective economies: http://en.ria.ru/world/20140827/192378930/European-Parliament-Fails-to-Calculate-Impact-of-Sanctions-Prior.html
“The European Parliament did not conduct any of its own official studies on the impact of its sanctions against Russia prior to their implementation or to this day, said Director-General of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) Anthony Teasdale and Secretary-General of the European Parliament (EP) Klaus Welle on Tuesday.”
How do you analyze the effects of sanctions without having data from all sides of the equation? You can’t. That statement says that sanctions were imposed blindly on Russia in the desperate hope that these sanctions will cause Putin to back down. However, in order to even consider backing down, the sanctions must cripple Russia’s economy. As thus, the attack has to be worse than the 2010 inadvertent hit. It’s nowhere near that amount. In 2010 the Russian GDP shrank from $1,661 billion to $1,223 billion, http://www.tradingeconomics.com/russia/gdp. That’s not going to happen again. As a result, the sanctions are not going to work. The scary part is that simple analysis would’ve shown that sanctions would fail, but said analysis was not performed and sanctions were a blind bet, much like the “land route” claim.
A Few Words About Dagestan
And yet the struggle of stupidity persists: “President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who annexed Crimea after a stealth invasion and a referendum there, and who has been accused of aggressively aiding separatists in eastern Ukraine, has happily supported Scotland’s independence bid. But his attachment to self-determination is selective: In the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan, he has deployed savage force to crush Muslim separatists.”
That’s the New York Times, again: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/world/europe/separatists-around-the-world-draw-inspiration-from-scotland.html?_r=0 a few years after their the Ossetian Fiasco: http://exiledonline.com/how-to-screw-up-a-war-story-the-new-york-times-at-work/
Putin’s savage tactics crushed the nascent Dagestan Independence movement? I understand the absolute necessity that Katrin Bennhold felt when making a dig at Putin, but those digs have to be somewhat grounded in some form of reality that exists somewhere on Planet Earth. The Independence of Dagestan is not one of them. Before talking about said independence, perhaps Bennhold would care to visit Dagestan and find out what the people there think about independence, Putin, and the NYT. It might result in her being shocked and awed.
But Bennhold doesn’t even have to go that far. She could simply visit a local Wikipedia page. I’m no fan, but when a journalist comes up with made up shit that even the most anti-Russian Wikipedia Cabal won’t back, (Wikipediametric,) that’s just… I mean does the NYT even take themselves seriously at this point?
What actually happened was that a terrorist organization, the International Islamic “Peacekeeping” Brigade, (for their idea of “peace” see Nordost and Beslan, and in case the NYT is wondering, they’re designated as a terrorist group by the UN, all UNSC members, and anyone else that matters, http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/397,) invaded Dagestan and tried to shove Sharia Law down their throats. Perhaps the NYT and/or Bennhold think that Radical Sharia’s more democratic than Russia’s Democracy?
The Dagestani People bravely resisted, and the IIPB did what all terrorist organizations do: started burning down the villages of anyone who disagreed, and killing almost everyone there. Professor Richard Sakwa, head of the School of Politics at the University of Kent, equated those actions with Genocide. The Invasion of Dagestan served as the Casus Belli for the Second Chechen War. It was a response to the brutal Wahhabi Invasion of Dagestan. Wahhabi Radicals didn’t originate in Dagestan, so it wasn’t a local please for independence.
What happened in Chechnya, is that between 1996 and 1999, Radical Wahhabism took over the country. It was no longer the Chechnya of 1994 that declared independence. By 1999, it was being used as a base to attack Russia, steal land from Russia, and what makes this absolutely atrocious, attempt to kill anyone who dared to disagree. They had to be stopped, and the only way to do so, was for Russia to retake Chechnya. That was the reason for intervention.
Sadly, those are the types of “analysis” that Washington is using to double down on Ukraine. Said history of blind bets can be seen in Kosovo, Iraq and Libya. Something must change. Bombing and/or sanctioning everyone who dares to have a different political view is no longer effective. One can argue whether it’s good or bad, but one should not argue against statistics, facts and reality. The results are clearly visible: EULEX, (the EU organization that oversees Kosovo,) is a shining symbol of incompetence, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/09/eulex-kosovo-eu-mission, ISIS is rampaging through Iraq, http://abcnews.go.com/International/isis-paying-attention/story?id=24881193, and the US had to withdraw all of its ambassadorial step from anarchic Libya where gangs roam free, http://www.businessinsider.com/libyan-militiamen-take-over-evacuated-us-embassy-in-tripoli-2014-8.
Despite failure after failure, the crusade into stupidity continues. Except this time it’s on Russia’s doorstep, and Putin is not happy about it. He’s a meticulous planner and analyst, and he’s not going to yield if he has the upper hand, which he clearly does. The Ukrainian armed forces just took a beating, the sanctions proved to be ineffective and there are first serious signs of possibly recognizing the DonBass Republic as independent. On top of all that Ukraine’s running out of money, the US taxpayers and austerity driven EU are eyeing giving more and more money to Ukraine with increased suspicion, and without said cash Ukraine’s economy will simply collapse. A radical turn must be enacted on the issue of Ukraine. This turn must be based on policies that are driven by analytical data, not by a blind bet. Has anyone in the West analyzed what will happen if Ukraine’s economy collapses? Russia will take Novorossiya and dump Rump Ukraine onto the EU, irrespective of the sheer amount of “but it’s Putin’s fault by default!” claims that the press makes.
Kokoity vs Saakashvili
The problem with using propaganda is that one eventually begins to believe his or her own propaganda claims as facts; and that’s when the other side wins. This can be seen in the choice of leadership. Russia chooses the best leader for the job, or fails to support said country, whereas the US/EU simply choose whomever is the most popular at the moment, as long as he/she favor further integration with the US/EU. And yet, facts dictate that fame’s fickle.
As an example of a choice of leadership, I am going to analyze, (hey Jen,) Saakashvili vs Kokoity. While I realize that’s about the Ossetian War, the same thing is happening in Ukraine, and no one sane can deny that the Ossetian War was a victory for Russia and a defeat for Saakashvili, who went from being the leader of a country of millions to teaching at Tufts. Ouch! On the other hand, Kokoity will be forever immortalized in his birth city, Tskhinval(i).
Let me start the analysis with their childhoods. Both were born in the cities that they would later lead. Kokoity was born Eduard Kokoev, in Tskhinval(i) in 1964, whereas Saakashvili was born Mikhail Saakashvili in Tbilisi in 1967. Both were locally schooled, but Saakashvili had better access, since he was born in a much larger city to an affluent family. That didn’t stop Kokoity from becoming the wrestling champion of the Georgian SSR at the age of 17 or 18. http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/46526/
The next difference comes after high school. Saakashvili left Georgia for better opportunities abroad and shortened his military service. He thus avoided the Caucasian Wars of the 1990s. While he briefly served as a human rights officer, he didn’t have to live the hardships of the soldier. Saakashvili’s went on to receive an LLM from Columbia, study in France and was invited by Zurab Zhvania to join Georgia’s Parliament. While Saakashvili knew how the law worked and even how to manage major cities with a team of decent advisers, he did not experience the struggles of the common folk.
On the other hand Kokoity worked as an electrician after graduation and proceeded to embrace military service, committing to it for a full two years. After he finished in 1985, he went on to study at the pedagogical institute, in order to ensure a quality youth sports development program for South Ossetia. http://lenta.ru/lib/14160316/ He was rewarded with the position of “Secretary of Youth Development”, or something like that. Here’s the name in Russian: “В марте 1989 года Э.Кокойты переведен в Цхинвальский Городской комитет комсомола на должность секретаря – заведующего отделом учащейся молодежи.” http://news.rin.ru/news_text/103610/
Between 1989 and 1992 he played a key role in Ossetian politics. During the First Ossetian War, he created and personally led a company that fought against the Georgians, rather well I might add. After the First Ossetian War, Kokoity went to Moscow to lead the fund for rehabilitation of Veterans of the Caucasian Wars. He was liked in Moscow, and he was appointed to lead the Russo-Ossetian trade delegation in 1996. Kokoity continued with those activities, trade, veteran rehabilitation and youth development until 2001, when he cruised to victory in the Ossetian Presidential election. After the election he changed his last name from Kokoev to Kokoity.
Thus, on the one hand we have a leader to whom almost everything was handed to on a silver platter going against a leader who fought tooth and nail to get ahead, always working to benefit his local community in the process. One ran away from military service; another embraced it. Saakashvili went abroad, in part, allegedly, to flee from the Caucasian Wars of the 1990s. Kokoity not only fought, but he formed and personally led a company in the war. This led to the results of the 2004 Assault, which set in motion the events that lead to August 2008.
When Saakashvili launched the Second Ossetian Assault in 2004 and the Ossetian held the line, Kokoity did everything he could to help the line be held, but did not want to retaliate, understanding that such a thing would lead to disaster. Thus 2004 served as an embarrassment for Saakashvili, not Kokoity. In 2006 Kokoity helped South Ossetia strengthen trade relations with Abkhazia and Pridnestrovie and was reelected with near unanimity. On the other hand, after his military defeat, Saakashvili lost the elections in Georgia and is now being tried for crimes that he probably committed.
And therein lays the problem of believing in one’s own propaganda. Kokoity was briefed by numerous people on the ground during the Ossetian War; he didn’t buy either side’s propaganda. Saakashvili bought his side’s hook, line and sinker until the Russians were approaching Tbilisi, and that’s when reality hit. The same reality that will hit Ukrainian voters in January. Meanwhile, here’s a clip of Petro Poroshenko, sounding off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUPqX-k3uMw And here’s Vladimir Konstantinov: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvNW2SZw6ko
Who do you want as your leader? It’s really not that hard a choice and in a democracy, it’s the people that choose the leadership.