Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

UKRAINE COMMENT FEEDBACK

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I received a comment on a previous post about the situation in Ukraine. It raises a number of points, so I thought I would address it. Granted I’ve covered many of these points in other posts, but it’s always good to have one’s assumptions challenged. And if this gentle reader had questions, I’m sure others had similar questions. This then is the comment in question:

Russia IS the aggressor. Perhaps you should watch more news, friend. They are illegally occupying territory, not just in Ukraine, but also in Moldova and Georgia. Thousands and thousands have died defending their freedom and millions have been displaced. It is these circumstances that violate international laws and human rights, that the USA and other civilized countries come to the aid of Ukraine. It’s called goodness, are you familiar with that term?

First of all, I get my news from a wide variety of sources. I do not however get my news from Fox, MSNBC, or any other mainstream American news service. Those are infotainment outlets that tell their targeted audience what it wants to hear, and in alignment with the respective Democrat/Republican worldview narrative. A person watching them will not be informed. As a Russian said some years ago: “In the old Soviet Union we had to shoot reporters to get them to report what the Kremlin wanted. In the USA they do it voluntarily!” If one’s worldview is wedded to what one sees on the American mainstream news, that’s a social belief. And those tend to be very resistant to change. Can’t hurt to try though, one of the reasons I write.

That being said, a brief summary and commentary. The aggressor for the past thirty years in Europe has been NATO, not Russia. As the map above shows. After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989 we promised we wouldn’t expand NATO eastwards. A promise we broke almost immediately.  At this point NATO has expanded actually into the old Soviet Union. Russia is a tiny remnant of the power the Soviet Empire was, and even at its height the Soviet bloc was wildly inferior to NATO in most respects. Now the idea that  Russia poses some sort of threat to NATO is laughable, but here we are.

More specifically, Ukraine. In 2014 a US backed Nazi coup shot their way into power in Ukraine and was instantly granted legitimacy in the west. The previous democratically elected government was trying to stay neutral, a perfectly sensible course of action considering Ukraine’s location and large Russian minority. The west didn’t want that, and they got what they wanted. And  the new government made it their first order of business to pass laws making the ethnic Russian citizens of Ukraine second class citizens.

I’m not exactly sure what the west thought the millions of Russians living in Ukraine would do about this, nor how Russia would react to this or the prospect of NATO taking over Sevastopal, Russia’s most important military base. I guess Putin was supposed to bend over and take it? He didn’t though. The government and people of Crimea, who were primarily ethnic Russians, voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Since Crimea was only part of Ukraine because Stalin gave it to Ukraine in the 1950s.

So in other words, the Russian ‘occupation’ of Crimea is nothing of the sort, it’s an example of democracy and self determination in action. It’s Russia doing what it has always done, defending Russia, Russians, and their friends. It’s the same in Georgia, two small parts of Georgia never wanted to be part of Georgia to begin with, they are long time allies of Russia and prefer to be anything but part of Georgia. As for the Moldava situation, I don’t know anything about it. A future post maybe.

My point is that the world is complicated, and simplistic good guy/bad guy narratives are almost always suspect. Even World War Two where Hitler’s Nazis were the bad guys, the Allies conduct was not above reproach. In fact as the true scope of the Nazi atrocities was revealed, it allowed a lot of Allied perfidy to fly under the radar so to speak. Look at France, they get freed from Nazi occupation, and what do they do? They invade Vietnam, with the full support of America. Yes, the very thing that had caused the US oil embargo and ultimatum against Japan, Japan’s invasion of Vietnam, was OK if France did it? And let’s not forget America’s efforts to aid Nazi war criminals.

So yes, the idea that the US and NATO are the good guys standing up for international law and human rights is laughable. The US violates international law daily, we are waging utterly illegal wars in what, seven countries now? And troops stationed in Syria illegally, where Trump has even floated the idea of stealing Syria’s oil while we are there. I could go on but I won’t. I’m not trying to claim NATO is evil, as I said the world is too complicated for simplistic characterizations. Just that the West with America at the helm is the one striving for global supremacy, and anyone who stands up to them is tarred as an evil aggressive troublemaker. Russia drawing a line where they won’t back down is defense, not aggression.

If Putin suddenly does try to invade and occupy some neighbor with zero justification, I will change my tune. I’m not going to hold my breath though, Putin is not an idiot. And if the last hundred years have taught us anything, is that conquest and occupation doesn’t work anymore. Not that it ever worked well in the first place.

Some of the logic in the comment was fallacious too, maybe all of it. I’d write more, but enough is enough.  And I suspect that people who have internalized the “Putin is Hitler” trope aren’t open to debate. Welcome to tribal Earth, it will likely be the death of us all yet. Have a great week everyone!

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image:NATO expansion through the years.  Credit: Patrick Neil. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.)

Written by unitedcats

December 16, 2019 at 8:44 am

Posted in Propaganda, Russia, Ukraine

AVOID ACTIVE VOLCANOES AND OTHER STUFF

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It snowed again. Only a few inches. And powdery fluffy snow, so it was a breeze to shovel. An evil frigid breeze. When I came inside I could warm my hands in the deep freeze. I did manage to make it on foot to the library/Post Office/bank without suffering from frostbite, but that’s it for today. Today, random blogging. Well, not that random, it would take billions of monkeys eons to randomly type this post. I digress.

So, a volcano killed some tourists in New Zealand. Hopefully it was quick, what a way to go. Explosions can be handy that way, “One second, there you is, the next, where is you?” RIP, and may their friends and family find comfort and solace. I guess it was what they call a phreatic eruption as opposed to the more familiar types of volcanic eruptions. That’s where ground water gets hot enough to flash into steam, boom. I visited some once, quite impressive. This would explain why the eruption struck without warning, a slow rise in underground water temperature is probably tricky to monitor. It’s not  exactly an environment where one can drill down and install sensors.

This tragedy also highlights the disparity of the human condition on Earth. (Why yes, I do point that out a lot.) When westerners are killed by volcanoes, they were often tourists. Sometimes, as in this case, paying for the experience of being on a volcano. When third worlders die on volcanoes, it’s often because they were forced by circumstance to farm the fertile (but dangerous) slopes of volcanoes. And yes, there are far more of the latter dead people than the former. Stuff like this puzzles alien anthropologists to no end I am sure. Hell, I’m puzzled.

Speaking of puzzling, they found a man whose sperm’s DNA is entirely from his bone marrow donor. That’s right, if he fathers a child, another man will be the child’s genetic father. In fact the donor’s DNA has shown up in various parts of his body. Forensic scientists aren’t happy about this, this is going to complicate using DNA to solve crimes. Granted there’s already lots of ways extraneous DNA can get into samples, but still, one more thing to watch out for. Paternity cases could be complicated too, one more fly in the ointment. The takeaway, if one is a man who wants to father children, they should get their bone marrow from a close relative, preferably a twin sibling.

And as an aside to that, ‘they’ was just announced as Mirriam-webster’s word of the year. No doubt Rush Limbaufgh and other folks whose identity is all wrapped up in Biblical gender roles are having conniptions de merde. I really wish these people would get over themselves, but like their implacable efforts to take back control of women’s bodies, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Waaaay too much money and political influence to be had by promoting the Bible as an answer to all questions. Ask Mr Trump, he didn’t get elected by fanatic intellectual cultists. Myself, I don’t give other people’s genitals a second thought, I’ll call a person by whatever name and pronouns they prefer. Whatever floats their boat, someone else eating a donut doesn’t compromise my diet.

On the topic of DNA, I am seeing a lot of ads on Facebook about “get your DNA tested and we’ll tell you what kind of foods to eat!” Wow, it sounds all sciency and shit, who can resist? Hopefully anyone with a functional brain and a lick of common sense. Just another way for slick marketers to cash in on the DNA testing racket. In other words, it’s hogwash, there’s no scientific evidence that one’s DNA determines their optimal diet. If there ever is any such evidence, one’s doctor is the person to talk to about it. Not some shyster company marketing DNA testing for whatever reason.

In some positive news, Russia and Ukraine have come to an agreement over the Donbas in Eastern Ukraine. This is a part of Ukraine with a large Russian population that revolted in 2014 when Ukrainian nationalists seized power in Ukraine. One of the many ugly legacies of the ill starred Stalinist Soviet Empire, which moved borders and people around willy nilly. In any event, this is a good thing, it’s hard to see how violence will help this situation. In any event this is a good start, a truce, prisoner exchange, and further talks scheduled. If both sides negotiate in good faith, issues like this can and have been resolved.

And yes, still working on my response to Ukraine comment post. By the same token as the above paragraph, it’s only through engagement with people who think differently that accommodation can be made. That’s why I avoid the dripping anti-whoever <cough> trump <cough> vituperative that characterizes the anti Rush Limbaugh crowd. Hell, there’s no need, the man speaks for himself.

Have a great week everyone, stay warm. Unless you’re near an active volcano, then stay cool.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: First Snow at Veneux-Nadon. Credit: Alfred Sisley 1878, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 10, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Posted in Peace, Russia, Ukraine, War, World

IT’S MONDAY! NEWS, TRUMP, MEXICO, TERRORISM, CARTELS, AND UKRAINE

with 5 comments

As far as I can tell the mainstream news gets worse daily, it’s just the Democrat version of Fox News now. Granted I watch very little of it. Good thing too, the neighbours would complain about the screaming. Case in point, last night I overheard a snippet on one of the plethora of ‘news’ shows my housemate watches. There was a former Obama official talking about Ukraine. He said Ukraine is at war with Russia, and Russia is occupying Ukrainian territory. And at that point, I started screaming and my housemate asked me to leave his room.

I was screaming because the former is an outright lie, and the later completely ignores the context. Basically the Democrat propaganda line is that Russia is the aggressor against poor Ukraine. I even met a fellow who swore Russia is setting itself up to “retake” Ukraine. An incredibly complicated situated reduced to the status of a Risk game. When people’s knowledge of the world is based on utter falsehoods, it pretty much short circuits any possible debate. Note terrorism comments below.

Add to that the ever increasing number of things Russia is purported to have done to undermine our democracy. It was ridiculous long ago, but that doesn’t stop huge numbers of people from believing it. It’s all basically crazy. Ukraine is about as unimportant to the US as it’s possible to get, the US meddling there serves no purpose. (Is Ukraine slavic for Vietnam?) And selling Ukraine advanced weapons is just adding fuel to the fire, if Ukraine gets into a real war with Russia, they will lose. And the idea of the US fighting a nuclear war to defend Ukraine is bat shit crazy.

Speaking of bat shit crazy, Trump recently floated the idea of using the US military to destroy the drug cartels in Mexico. And a move is afoot to designate these criminal gangs as ‘terrorist organizations.’ Both are really bad ideas. The USA has not been able to halt the flow of drugs into the USA, nor the flow of money and guns into Mexico. All of which occur right here in the USA. And somehow marching into Mexico is going to make a difference? It’s not like the cartel members wear uniforms and have military bases, how the hell is the military going to be any better at finding them than the Mexican military?

And of course sending the US military into Mexico would cause anti-American resentment throughout Latin America, and make American civilians marked targets for cartel retaliation everywhere, including in the United States. Like sending advanced weapons to Ukraine, it would be the equivalent of using a flamethrower to put out a fire. People, like Trump apparently, who think the military is the solution to every problem have watched too many Hollywood movies and not paid any attention to the litany of failed interventions that has been the “War on Terror” the past few decades. Fortunately the government of Mexico has said “No!” to the idea. Hopefully Trump isn’t unstable enough to send troops into Mexico without their blessing, knock on wood.

And declaring criminal gangs to be “terrorist organizations’ just highlights the stupidity of declaring any organization a terrorist organization. It’s simply a propaganda label used to avoid any actual debate about America’s interventionist foreign policy. And if Trump gets the cartels so designated, refugees from that part of the world would then be able to claim they were fleeing terrorism. As people have pointed out, it would open a whole can of legal worms, likely driving more refugees to try and cross the border. Something Trump is against, so I suspect Trump didn’t really think this through. Granted thinking things through does not appear to be one of Trump’s strong points.

We’ll see what happens. The picture above is from Ukraine’s varied history, no implications meant. It’s a parade in Ukraine after Hitler’s legions rolled in in 1941. At first the Nazis were welcomed as liberators, Stalin’s rule of Ukraine being brutal. The Germans quickly showed they could out brutal Stalin any day, and Ukrainian collaboration with Hiter’s Nazis quickly waned. 4.5 million Ukrainians ultimately fought for Stalin, the devil you know I guess.

Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Parade in Stanislav (Ivano-Frankivsk) in honor of the visit of the Governor-General of Poland Reichsleiter Hans Frank Credit: Unknown, Public Domain under Russian Copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 2, 2019 at 4:19 am