Tag Archives: Ukraine

News That’s Fit To Punt – 11/Aug/2014

Gotta Admit I Was Wrong

Australia’s contingent to the Ukraine went and returned in the last week and a bit. I know I sounded alarms about sending troops but sanity prevailed and nobody got shot at by east Ukrainian Separatists. This is a  good thing. The best thing about it was how Russia was blocked from turning the tragedy into a kind of political football to slam the government in Kiev. Sometimes your side shoots down a third party plane, it’s not the other side’s provocation.

Now that the Australian contingent is on its way home, Julie Bishop is saying all items are on  the table for applying sanctions to Russia. Of course,it’s easy for Australia to play hard rhetoric because we don’t really rely on oil and gas from Russia, unlike the NATO nations.  Germany in particular has been expertly perched on the fence playing both sides, mainly because the German industrial might is entirely dependent on the flow of energy from Russia. I guess it’s a bit like Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ where the catchcry is “the Spice Must Flow”; the oil and gas must flow for Germany to be Germany and in turn for Europe to be Europe.

All the same the smoke has barely cleared from the MH17 crash and there’s a stench in the air where war is being talked about as a possibility. Maybe we’re colouring ourselves into a picture where we might be more open to re-examining the history of the Twentieth Century and deciding that maybe we want to attempt to re-draw the maps. This month being the Centenary of the start of World War I doesn’t seem to have really formed a precautionary consensus about the west avoiding wars, except in Germany.

Irony is running in all directions out of Ukraine. Place names like Crimea and Sevastopol are echoes of Imperial Wars of the Nineteenth Century. Here we are in the 21st Century and we find ourselves challenged by events there. Ukraine was the victim of intense Soviet era collectivisation and purges. So we find an ex-KGB officer ruling Russia wants to re-claim whole tracts of Ukraine as regaining the whole-ness of Russia. Germany was the catalyst for not one but two world wars – something for which it remains the butt of jokes today – and yet is trying its damned best not to start a third one. Vladimir Putin on the other hand is pushing as hard as Hitler once did, and we’re appeasing him. It really is ugly.

Ebola On The Loose

Speaking of ugliness, there’ the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Ebola is a viral disease and there’s no vaccine or cure. So the medical teams working out there are essentially trying to keep patients alive by hydrating them through the illness, administering antibiotics to fend of secondary infections, and that that’s about the sum total of what they’ve got as a way to combat the disease. The good news is that it’s not as contagious as influenza which is a blessing. All the same, the disease is spreading rapidly in Africa and some people returning from Africa have reported in sick with signs of the disease.

Going into this last weekend, the WHO has declared the current Ebola outbreak an international health emergency. It’s hard to get a picture of how this is going to be brought under control.

Back To Bombing Iraq

With ISIS running rampant in northern Iraq, President Obama has approved air strikes against ISIS. It’s hard to say if this is going to benefit greatly, but it’s one of those things the US tries when it can’t solve things diplomatically. The rather unfortunate karmic twist being that it is back to Iraq for America’s military. Having lived through a decade and a half of the mis-declared war on terror which led to the war in Iraq, it seems business is far from finished in the lands formerly known as the cradle of civilisation.  It’s all a multi-layered failure of policy with repercussions that have demanded even worse choices.

Should America gone into Iraq in the way it did? – In hindsight, no.

Did America conduct a good campaign in Iraq? – no.

Should America have pulled out in the way it did?- Probably not.

And so here we are, doing airstrikes in Iraq again – all the bad decisions may have brought the rule of Saddam Hussein to an end, but it has given rise to the current situation which can be described as much worse than the terrifying tyranny of the Hussein family. Steeped in a kind of medieval bloodlust and Sadism, ISIS is busy projecting images of itself as people who do summary executions of prisoners and decapitations to demonstrate how fierce they are. ISIS is hell bent on dragging the world back to a kind of medieval sectarian nightmare. Our resistance to this notion is merely to do airstrikes and no commit troops on the ground. Whatever could possibly go wrong, one wonders.

Just as with Ukraine, the distant source of all this can be traced back to World War I, and how the world was carved up on the map, subsequent to that war. Upon the Centenary of the beginning of World War I, it seems much more vexing  than merely symbolic. That is to say, nothing ever changes, they only ever get worse.

Cowra, 70years On

Somewhere in the last week, Cowra had the 70th anniversary of the breakout. As with the observation above how nothing ever changes, I cannot but help but think about the detention camp they had in World War II being a cultural archetype in Australia, and that is why we detain asylum seekers in the manner that we do. When in a ‘crisis’ (loosely defined), what Australia does is put up a camp in the middle of nowhere with a barbed wire fence around it with security guards. When the RSL types intone lest we forget, one cannot help but think forgetting isn’t a problem for Australia.

Cowra and its story was part of my life for a good decade as I researched the story but I will never forget the one night working with Brian A Williams and Geoff Murphy when Geoff pointed to a figure of those who died at Cowra, but not in the breakout. It turned out that there were on average 2 summary executions per week at Cowra. Japanese POWs were being shot – for whatever reasons – at the pace of roughly two a week. Given that communications were rudimentary I imagine the Japanese POW population had no understanding of why so many people were being executed. It might have even looked like a weekly lottery of death to those who did not understand English – and there were many of those.

This would explain the desperation felt by the POWs. If they were going to die, picked off one by one in summary executions, then it would be better to go out in one big blaze. Until that moment the motive for the breakout eluded me. I didn’t understand the testimony by the surviving POWs that they felt like cornered rats. It rang hollow and untrue. Overwhelmed by the feeling of hopelessness, they said they decided to commit to an action that was by design and definition, futile.  Some climbed over the fence, and once outside, committed harakiri. Explaining that took some doing, except it’s very easy. It was an act of defiance – that if one had to die, then at least one could control the means of that death by oneself. What would drive all that? Loyalty to the Emperor has been the explanation in official accounts, but I’ve never really been able to digest it as a fitting explanation.

Consequently, the understanding of the meaning of the Cowra breakout in Australian popular culture is grossly lacking. What remains of the Kennedy Miller rendition is filled with cultural stereotyping cliches, as well as an absence of logic to why the breakout took place or what it meant. It really is a terrible bit of film making and it’s a shame nothing else got made. Other narratives over the years have skipped the brutal management of the camp. One imagines that if one poked too deeply into the nitty gritty of how Cowra camp was really run, one may find cause to think gross violations of some military codes – or even war crimes – were a regular thing and this in turn would be waking up terrible ghosts. In other words, nobody wants an honest discussion about what happened and why. The whole thing can’t be consigned to historical obscurity and myth soon enough.

Today there is the garden. Reconciliation has taken place; yet mutual understanding probably remains a long way off.

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News That’s Fit To Punt – 27/Jul/2014

An Interesting Take On Putin’s Russia

To my thinking Russia under Putin has been a shit sandwich wrapped in a Crony-Capitalist Kleptocracy wrapped in an Oligarchy of former KGB people with connections. But that’s just me. Others may tell me of their beautiful literature or cinema or poetry or whatever, but in most part Russia since Putin has been a contemporary art project of how awful petty nationalism can be in the 21st century. It’s like a country taken over by a man with an inferiority complex who wants to boast of his secret inner greatness. As such the country displays strange impulses in all its affairs, from its handling of the Chechens in Georgia to the land grab of Crimea to funding extremist nutjobs in Ukraine just to stop Ukraine joining the West to hosting bad looking Olympics and wining unlikely World Cup bids.

So, here’s an interesting article explaining how these impulses play out inside Russia.

Some Western pundits, including foreign policy realists and anti-interventionists who see US support for Ukraine’s pro-Maidan leadership as a textbook example of meddling and dubious alliance-making, contend that the Russian point of view in the Ukraine crisis has been insufficiently considered and unfairly maligned. Russia has legitimate reasons, they say, in not having hostile neighbours, not being surrounded by NATO members, and for feeling general resentment at being kicked around by the West after the end of the Cold War.

There is certainly much to debate about various US and NATO actions in Eastern Europe after 1991, and the extent to which the United States should be involved today in counteracting Russia’s coercion toward its neighbours. That said, it is hard to see by what moral or geopolitical principle an authoritarian crony capitalist regime in Moscow is entitled to bite off chunks of a non-consenting Ukraine.

A few years ago, retired Russian general and former arms negotiator Vladimir Dvorkin wrote in a column for ej.ru that the real cause of the Kremlin’s anxiety about NATO expansion was not fear of invasion – an absurd idea given Russia’s nuclear arsenal – but fear of ‘‘encirclement’’ by more liberal and modernised societies, which would then exert pressure on Russia to follow the same path.

I guess I would be one of those people saying the West ought not to be meddling in Ukraine. But as you know I base that observation of never being able to win the Eastern Front in computer games as Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II or Hitler. I just don’t see much meat on the bone that makes it worthwhile, although I will say that resources in Ukraine are underdeveloped. It’s entirely another debate whether more petrochemical resources development – i.e. mining for gas and oil – is a good way forward for what was once the breadbasket of Eastern Europe. I would contend it wasn’t.

Was Nuts Yesterday, Is Nuts-er Today

It’s an interesting thing that the world leader on a collision course with Vladimir Putin is Tony Abbott, who while he may not have the military might to scare Russia for a moment, has the ample opportunity to dis-invite Putin from the G-20 meeting in Brisbane later this year. Of course, Tony Abbott is jumping at the opportunity to be any kind of international statesman because his own domestic politics aren’t working out well. One would imagine it is similar in nature to Vladimir Putin’s desire to go invading neighbouring states that were once part of the USSR, just not as violent.

The advice he got yesterday from the international community about sending troops to Ukraine to help ‘secure the site’ of the MH17, was that it was nuts. This sentiment has been echoed by the ADF itself, through unofficial channels otherwise known as “figures who” do “not wish to be named”.

The senior defence figure, who did not wish to be named, said it was a poor idea for Australia.
”They can’t secure the site,” he said. ”It’s kilometres long and wide. They could escort Australian officials and provide close protection, but this is a civil task rather than a military task and it’s a terribly volatile area.

”We don’t have the language skills or knowledge of the area.

”For any military deployment, you have to look at a status of forces agreement with the government and, given the area the aircraft is in, I don’t think there is anyone to make that agreement with. What I’ve heard is the rebels don’t want more than 30 investigators there.”

What’s particularly interesting about this is that while Tony Abbot was in opposition, banging on about how he will send the Navy to “stop the boats”, similar leaks came out of the ADF saying the Navy wasn’t exactly equipped to be doing this kind of thing. This was Advice which was promptly ignored – and so we can reasonably expect this bit of advice would be ignored as well.

More interestingly what we’re seeing from Tony Abbott is a pattern where if he can’t solve it through sloganeering, he’s totally happy to send in the men and women in uniform to just sort it out, out of sight with the benefit of official secrets to make the whole thing un-transparent and utterly opaque. One can therefore imagine that should unfortunate things be found in Ukraine, they’ll jump to an immediate “can’t comment, our troops are in operations” mode of communication.

Age of Entitlement Ending? More like Age of Ultron-Perks

I offer this to you without comment.

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Nice To Be Vindicated

“They Must Be Nuts”

I’ve been writing here for some months that the last thing we – as in non-specific people of the West – should do is send any troops to Ukraine. The MH17 incident and the 39 Australians on that downed plane have forced the issue of Ukraine’s situation a lot closer to our shores in Australia. Sometime in the recent days of statesman-like posturing, Tony Abbott has been making noises about putting our boots on the ground in eastern Ukraine to ‘secure the site’ (whatever the hell that means, many days after there’s been looting).

As readers know, I’ve been dead against sending anybody out there for good reason. If the separatists are dumb and ill-informed enough to down a jet liner from a neutral nation outside of he conflict, what’s stop them shooting at our people just for being there? Today we find that some people with professional insight think this is a bad idea too.

“They must be nuts,” Joerg Forbrig, a senior program officer for central and eastern Europe at the Berlin bureau of the German Marshall Fund of the US think tank, said. “It’s a very dangerous proposal and will be seen as a provocation by the separatists and the Russians.”

Ukrainians’ desire for closer links with Europe, the US and their allies has long been a source of tension with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who intervened in Ukraine after the pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych stepped down in February fueling the five-month long insurgency.

The US says a surface-to-air missile fired from territory held by the rebels shot down the plane, while stopping short of alleging direct Russian involvement. Putin’s artillery is firing on Ukrainian military positions from inside Russia, a US State Department spokeswoman said this week.
—–
A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said Britain would “offer logistical support and is keeping in close contact with the Australians and Dutch over how it can assist, though it won’t be putting be sending police or technicians to Ukraine”.

“We believe a UK. armed presence in eastern Ukraine would not be appropriate,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. “The UK stands ready to provide constructive support to the mission.”

This isn’t some trip into a place where there’s not much civil authority – it’s a place where Russia is using subterfuge to make it look like there’s not much civil authority so they can wrest some more territory off Ukraine. The polite realpolitik thing to do has been to ignore the subterfuge and instead place mild sanction on Vladimir Putin and his crony-capitalists but sending troops has been and always will be one of those things we would much rather not do. The reality is that it would be sending people with an immensely blinkered perspective right into a war zone – and if seen with a colder objective view, would rightly be a provocation to the Russians.

In other words, “baby don’t you do it“.

I was watching The Drum this week and there was commentary to the effect that Tony Abbott’s been getting some kudos for being the only Western leader to stand up to Vladimir Putin. This might be true, but this is only because Russia isn’t a vital trade partner for us and we’re really far away from Moscow’s considerations. Sending in troops to Ukraine would change that greatly. The outcome of that shift will probably mean more dead Australians. And how the hell will Tony Abbott explain that when it inevitably happens?

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Good Grief

‘Partners In Grief’

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks in to mine,” says Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in ‘Casablanca’. The phrase popped into my head because of all the spots in all the troubled places in all the world, MH17 has to get shot down in Ukraine. And this has led, domino-like and contemptuous of our petty (lack of) interest, to a series of events where Tony Abbott is now talking about sending troops to secure the site.

One minute, the who situation in Ukraine was half a world away and somebody else’s problem. When we send our troops in with other aggrieved nations to ‘secure the area’, you can bet your bottom dollar and your mortgage that the so-called separatists will be hostile and may even start a shooting war. Not only was the MH17 thing a game changer, it has thrust Australia into point to lead the way into the retro-medieval hellhole that is East Ukraine. You couldn’t have scripted it worse.

It’s a charming job where our troops would secure the site so people can collect the scattered remains of the bodies as yet unaccounted for. The last place on earth you’d want to send troops is Ukraine; and the only thing worse than sending troops in to shoot is to send troops in to not shoot. Good grief, what a rotten turn of events.

Why Would You Want To Own A Phone That Belonged To A Dead Person On MH17?

This business of looting the corpses is pretty awful.

Grieving relatives of the MH17 crash victims have had chilling confirmation that their loved ones’ possessions have been looted from the crash site.

Relatives of victims in the Netherlands dialled the mobile phone numbers of crash victims and said the phones were answered by people with ‘eastern European-sounding voices’, the Netherlands’ De Telegraaf reported.
The relatives were shocked when they heard the voices, the paper said.

Telephone companies agreed to waive the usual requirement for a death certificate and agreed to cancel the phone subscriptions, so those who took the phones could not continue to use them.

That would be really depressing. Not only have your loved ones been killed in the most senseless manner, you have concrete proof that their possessions have been looted by crass people without any class.

I Can’t Begin To Fathom Their Pain

This just breaks me. This couple lost all three of their kids in the MH17 incident.

“We live in a hell beyond hell. Our babies are not here with us – we need to live with this act of horror, every day and every moment for the rest of our lives,” the statement reads.

“No one deserves what we are going through. Not even the people who shot our whole family out of the sky.

“No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, for Mo, for Evie, for Otis. No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for Grandad Nick. No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for each other. This is a revelation that gives us some comfort.”

I don’t know how they’ll deal with this. I can’t imagine there’s a way of really living through the aftermath of such a traumatic thing. I really fear for these people. My heart goes out to them.

I have nothing to offer for them to fall back upon. Fairness and deserving has absolutely nothing to do with something like this. It’s just irredeemable stupidity on the part of the idiots who fired the missile; the idiots who gave those idiots missiles; the idiots who authorised those idiots to give the missiles to the idiots who fired it. The veritable chain of idiocy goes all the way to the top – Vladimir Putin – and the man had the gall to blame Kiev. And knowing this and spelling it out does absolutely nothing for these people.

It would destroy me. I know that much. But my response would be to demand nuking Donetsk.

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Double Standards

It’s That Kind Of Day

The reports in the news sites say that Australia really swung behind getting a meaningful resolution out of the UN, in the aftermath of the MH17 event.  The SMH is really giving our diplomats a pat on the back – seems to me they’re just finally earning their keep after years of cushy livin’ in New York on the public purse! Besides, suddenly beset with Julie Bishop’s death stare, how could the unsuspecting people of the world say no?

Of course jokes about Julie Bishop’s death stare aside, the dynamic diplomatic deal-making does stand in stark contrast to the way this government minces words and tries to parse interpretations that do not exist (let alone be supported) from our commitment to the UN Charter on Human Rights and how we treat refugees. On that score, we’re one of the worst violators but we keep on coming up with legal fictions as to why it’s okay to run concentration camps on Manus Island and Nauru. Millions have been displaced by civil wars in places like Syria, and our government is buys telling them they can’t come. 37 Australians die in a plane hit by a Russian missile an we’re all over it at the UN. No mater how you look at it, it’s a kind of double standard.

In the mean time, PUP senator Jacqui Lambie has made international press on the back of an interview where she claimed her ideal man would be rich and well hung.

Later, when a prospective suitor called up the show, Lambie enquired (sic) if 22 year-old Jamie was “well-hung”.
This induced great mirth from Kim and Dave (ratings gold!), but just imagine if a male politician had offered a similar opinion, about say, a woman needing to be “really rich and have massive boobs”.

It would be a career-ending, resigning offence. Facebook groups would spring up in protest. People would make t-shirts and take to the streets in outrage.

In recent months, Tony Abbott has weathered howling storms for suggesting a Liberal candidate had sex appeal. And for winking when a talk back caller revealed she worked on a sex line.
Clive Palmer has also raised the eyebrow of disapproval for calling female journalists “madam” and “my dear”.
And yet, Lambie is sure to stroll away from her Heart appearance and into her next set of public comments with nary a scratch.
Yes, they are lighting up the internet – but only for their “omigawd” value. Not because they might be construed as demeaning and well, sexist.

The thing is, it probably is some kind of double standard that lets Lambie off the hook when if she were a member of another party and a male, she might not have gotten off so lightly. I’m not saying she should be condemned or that this bit of double standard is particularly noteworthy – merely that double standards seems to be the notion of the day.

Obviously there’s a fine line between the double standard thing and the deliberate hypocrisy inherent in the double think we are asked to endure with all its cognitive dissonance, but this is a country made up of inherently contradictory ideals. It stands to reason that there’s a different rule or standard applied to everything, based on the values of nothing-in-particular.

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The View From The Couch – 20/Jul/2014

The Politicians We Get Are From Those On Offer

Who would run? Why would you run? Who would back you? These are the kinds of questions that might cross the aspiring politician. I’m not one of them, so I can watch people run and fail with a certain amount of objective distance but ultimately that’s hurting me. It hurts me because I’m letting somebody with not the right tools to do the job, and on this blog you’d know for a fact that I’m pretty harsh with politicians. The higher the office, the harder I kick.

Democracy is a funny thing. In America, the most watched kid in high school is not the smartest kid, not the best looking kid, but the most popular kid. Being smart and good looking but not popular (heh, Irony alert!) I always found this American fixation on popularity particularly strange – but it stands to reason.If you’re not popular, you can’t win election, and only by winning elections can you access power, popularity as a character trait then is the highway to power. So all these people running for office, at least in America would be all these kids who once upon a time were the most popular kids in their year and there’s no reason for them to have been the smartest. And so even there America at least gets the politicians it deserves. It explains a lot.

In Australia it is a bit murkier as to what makes a person a good candidate in the eyes of the two great parties or for that matter the lesser parties. The process of preselection in various seats is opaque, and every documented account of how people are chosen is filled with intangible processes and thoughts that defy explanation. My local member – one Craig Laundy of the Liberal Party who looks like a gerbil – must have made some deal with some entity in the party to be the candidate. And so far, he’s just okay. Not terrible, not good, not anything in particular – a perfectly fungible replacement level MP. That Jaymes Diaz guy who went from gaffe to gaffe came from the sort of party room machinations that gave us Pauline Hanson a a Liberal or Eddie Obeid as a State ALP candidate. The point being if you asked (and expected) the parties to pick smart people to run, you still get candidates like Diaz, Hanson, Obeid, Craig Thomson, Peter Slipper, and so on.

Given politics i a kind of necessary evil, it is a good thing we’re forced to think about it seriously in Australia. In countries where they don’t have compulsory voting, the track record for democracy in many places is even worse. As Winston Churchill said, it’s the least worst option.

In that light, I want to just bring your attention to this article.

“What you say – always – is that you want to make a difference. You believe your experience qualifies you to serve. These circumlocutions are the etiquette of democracy, the ritual salute … [people] want to hear you say that you are in it for them.”

And how many times have you heard the pledge. To make a difference. To build the economy. To fight for education. And do you ever really believe it? Or do you suspect politicians are in it for themselves, far more than they are for you?

“It’s worth considering,” Ignatieff goes on, “that such dissembling may have its uses. The pretence may begin as a piece of hypocrisy and end up becoming a politician’s second nature. From pretending to serve, you may surprise yourself by actually doing so.” But the biggest challenge is to pull off the confidence trick. “You have to invent yourself for public consumption.”

And therein lies the asymmetry. Politicians do not get rewarded for candour or honesty; their first step is to commence from the hypocritical position to tell the audience what it wants to hear. If the audience is dumb and ignorant, these things are going to be a lot worse than you expect. This is exactly how democracy ends up offering the seeming, willing, willful idiots we get on election day. We can talk reform all we like, but unless the electorate smartens up a lot more, we’re always going to get the kind of politicians we want to throw off the top of a cliff.

but then, that would be why they’re cutting education. They ant to make it a lot harder for the populace to smarten up.

The Looting Says A Lot

I know it’s a war zone but the utter lack of respect shown by the East Ukrainian rebels around the MH17 crash site is pretty staggering. It sort of shows the crassness of the people on the ground near the crash site.

I keep getting told by Tomas how awful the Russians were when they occupied Lithuania. The stories are colourful (in a really bad way) and grim. I have discounted the awfulness because they were testimonials from the wronged, because they had reasons to paint them as badly as they could, and Russia under Stalin probably had very few luxuries of thought for people to behave better in occupied territories. Yet, when I see these reports of looting, I can’t help but think of those stories and consider the likelihood that these Russians in East Ukraine are not so far away removed from the brutes who occupied East Europe. They are as socially backward as you can imagine. What they’re doing out there looting is like something out of history books that tell you about early medieval peasants and serfs under the Tsars. It’s disgraceful in this day and age. I’m sorry but it’s culturally repugnant and there’s no valid excuse for them to be this way.

I really hope we don’t end up sending any troops into East Ukraine to fight these people. It really would be a waste of perfectly good ammo.

 

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Outrage Over Ukraine

From The Land Of The Pathetic

From the sensibilities of the west, it has to be said the sensibilities of Slav countries are pretty gross. They think the west is a bunch of pussies running scared with effete, gay politics and feminism and political correctness. Judging from the way we behave, they might even have a point, but the flipside is that the sensibilities of say, Russian militarism or Ukrainian separatism are deeply alien to the west. As such, I’ve felt it unlikely for us to muster the energy, finance and logistics to mount a war in Ukraine to help our new friends who want to join NATO and the EU and be effete, gay-accepting, feminist-run and who want to be politically correct like us. It’s too much too soon and too far away and too expensive.

It’s a bit like being asked to drive out from Bondi to Penrith for a one-night stand. Can a one night stand be that good to warrant the drive? Similarly, can having Ukraine as part of NATO and the EU be such a good thing? Think of the differences in culture and cultural attitudes, history and views on history. About the only thing the west has in common with Ukraine might be white people with particularly pale skin and that might even be the grand total sum of it.

Anyway, the Pro-Russian separatists among the Ukrainians has shot down a Malaysian airliner with a missile; early accounts suggest that it was a mistake – they thought they were shooting at a local military aircraft. Imagine their shock to find raining burnt corpses. Now it’s an unspeakable political mess.

Vladimir Putin is blaming Kiev; The Russians are denying culpability; Americans have verified it was a surface to air missile; Tony Abbott is making a fist of being a statesman. It’s a veritable scene of chaos out there, leading to the question, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, what exactly are these politicians going to do to avert World War III? Putin trying to pin it on the Government in Kiev and Tony Abbott beating his chest, seem like “fightin’ words” to me. If it was a genuine mistake and they fired on the wrong plane, then they should just scapegoat this Igor Girkin and make him wear the blame. It’s not like we’ll be missing this miserable soul on this face of this planet. The refusal to just hand this guy over to The Hague for the Western European hypocrisy show for crimes against humanity would look to the world like Putin was condoning the missile firing.

Then again, Vladimir Putin has a way of doing things in just the right Soviet Russian way to bring disgust and repulsion to the front of our hearts. A despicable practitioner in repugnant artless propaganda, Putin will surely hit all the wrong PR notes as he insist on his insane position that this is all the fault of the people in power in Kiev. Like, hullo!

As Pleiades pointed out to me over the phone this morning, it’s interesting how this event has shoved the Israelis marching their forces in to the Gaza Strip from the headline of most news sites. But that is not the only thing that is disturbing about the timing of this event. two days ago, the BRICS nations launched their own international monetary fund, cutting out the US Dollar as the reserve currency. Not many in the mainstream media talked about it, but it represent nations with over 3 billion people combined, giving the US Dollar the middle finger. A day later, President Obama stepped up sanctions against Russian firms, locking them out of debt markets. Within 24hours, a rocket from the Russian side of the Ukrainian conflict shoots down an airplane.  It’s enough to make you raise questions about just exactly where do Putin and Obama see things going.

As for Tony Abbott, he remains the dickhead he was yesterday and all the days before. No amount of Thatcherish poseur-hood is going to help him look better in the eyes of the electorate.

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