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To the shores of the Putrid Sea

March 23, 2014 - Harry Eagar
Way back on March 5, my Facebook friend Ali Choudury in London posted this:

"In late czarist times, the Russian Foreign Office commemorated a royal anniversary by commissioning a research project in the archives. In its ceremonial memorandum to the czar, the foreign minister announced that they had reviewed the last 40 wars the state had fought and were proud to declare that Russia had started 38 of them."

He did not explain what, aside from curiosity, made him do it. Perhaps he was seeing further into the future than the rest of us. Whatever, it is worth keeping in mind in the context of of nostalgia among Russians, from Solzhenitsyn to Putin, for the happy times of tsarist hegemony.

If, as it appears, Putin is determined to restore the tsarist empire, then we Americans need to corral our bloodthirsty rightwingers. Take McCain. He has been involved in three wars, all lost, but he wants to keep trying. A few weeks ago he was thirsting to lose another war in the Middle East (Syria this time). Balked, something turned up in eastern Europe.

In the ‘50s, our rightwingers, conscienceless cowards that they were, kept demanding a war to “liberate” the states of eastern Europe, delivering them from communism back to their preferred fascism. Thankfully, it was “all for buncombe” and they knew better than to actually fight. Bad news for the handful of brave, foolish democrats in Hungary, Poland and elsewhere who our rightwingers led down the garden path, seduced and abandoned.

I am not at all sure that our current crop of rightwing war wimps like Lindsey Graham have the sense of, say, Roman Hruska. I don’t know if they are scaring Putin or not, but they are scaring the hell out of me.

As usual, Americans are ready to meddle without bothering to find out anything about the people they intend to meddle with. This applies to lefties as much as to righties. A good example came a couple of weeks ago when a public radio program devoted to “in depth” reporting called “Tell Me More” had leaders in the United States of the Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox churches on the air to call for cooler heads. Obviously, they (the radio producers) had not the slightest idea about religion in Little Russia. The Little Russians have their own form of Christianity, they are Catholics. The church is called (by the very few English speakers who have ever heard of it) Uniate, because it is in spiritual union with the Vatican.

No surprise that Great Russian and Little Russian Orthodox are ready to get along -- they are the same. They are not, however, ready to be peaceful with the Catholics, or vice versa.

All three, of course, hate Jews. Putin is not wrong when he accuses the “democratic” revolutionaries of nazi tendencies. Some of our bought-and-paid for rightwingers have jumped on this. What the Putin fanboys don’t get is that the Ukrainians and/or Russians on the pro-Moscow side are equally nazi. Everybody in Ukraine is.

The pogroms from 1882 on that drove 3 million Jews to America were concentrated in Ukraine, especially southern Ukraine, with an epicenter in Odessa (see Book Review 242, "Pogroms," Aug. 4, 2012). When the Ukrainians greeted the German army with bread and salt and flowers and kisses in 1941, it wasn’t just that they were glad to have been relieved of the oppression of the Stalinist Great Russians. They also admired Nazi racism. Ukrainians were enthusiastic helpers in the Holocaust.

While it would be nice to defend a small nation of democrats from ruthless Great Russian perfidy, no such nation exists in Ukraine. This isn’t Munich and it isn’t 1938.

Things are looking grim, again, for the Crimean Tatars, who fit the picture of an oppressed minority much better than the Little Russians do, and no worse, at the least, than the Tibetans.

The problem with rescuing the oppressed in Crimea or Tibet is that you cannot get there from here. Not for nothing is the gateway to Crimea called the Putrid Sea.


Article Comments



Mar-26-14 2:46 AM

In HarryEagers world, Libya was never bombed, Gaddafi is still alive, and Obama is not responsible in any case.

Yes, neoconservatives are criticizing Obama for not being neoconservative enough. Doesn't change the fact that his foreign policy is still essentially neoconservative.

And OneAikea I'm not sure if you've noticed or not but I've been ignoring you for about a week now. You are still a coward and that is all you ever will be, and I'd rather not associate with cowards like yourself.


Mar-25-14 7:32 PM

Obama still hasn't bombed Libya. Americans have been killed in discotheques in Germany. Stop blaming the victims.

The reason anybody was killed in Libya was that Muslim crazies were out to kill.


Mar-25-14 5:39 PM

I am not having to stretch far to make the left/right contrast. Not when idiots like Donald Rumsfeld are going on Fox to make it for me. The headline at Examiner**** reads:

Donald Rumsfeld: A 'trained ape' could handle foreign policy better than Obama

This from the guy who led the Defense Department in 2 lost wars. Maybe we should cut him some slack because he is old and, apparently, senile.


Mar-25-14 3:47 AM

By that logic, Bush didn't bomb Iraq. It was the "Coalition of the Willing."

You can play mental acrobatics all you want. I know you desperately have to believe that Dear Leader is a great and upstanding morally righteous person, but the fact remains that he is bombing the crap out of 5 different countries and thousands of innocent people have died because of him. There is simply no getting around that.

The reason Americans died in Benghazi has little to do with right-wing propaganda. The REAL reason they died is because we completely destroyed the government of Libya, including the police, creating a state of anarchy and lawlessness which of course lead to people getting killed, including Americans.


Mar-25-14 12:03 AM

Nevertheless, Obama did not bomb Libya.


Mar-24-14 9:17 PM

OneAikea the feeling is mutual. Anyone who thinks it is ok for the government to illegally spy on Americans in clear violation of the 4th amendment is a brainwashed idiot, and not capable of having a rational discussion.

Exposing government crimes is no crime. If Snowden *were* to be put in jail, he should share a cell with Eric Clapper and Obama.


Mar-24-14 5:24 PM

Once again your desperate need to put this into a left/right paradigm is evident. Sorry, the real world cannot be reduced to left and right, that is simply a narrative that people such as yourself in the media like to perpetuate.

Obama didn't bomb Libya? Oh ok, I guess you never heard of Gaddafi and the entire Libyan government being destroyed, leaving in its absence no police or government services of any kind whatsoever. Of course, Al Qaeda and other Islamic fundamentalists used this opportunity to create their own "government" in Libya if that is what you want to call it.

Obama and the Democrats are a neoconservative foreign policy dream come true. Just ask William Kristol of the Weekly Standard, Captain Neocon:

"Obama is a born-again Neo-con."

They are absolutely delighted with his foreign policy. Everything they wished Bush would have done, Obama delivered.


Mar-24-14 3:06 PM

I am not 'blaming' Americans for anything. We don't have any clout over there.

I am criticizing ignorance.

Obama didn't bomb Libya. That was Reagan. Another complete rightwing failure.


Mar-23-14 6:44 PM

Obama is a "progressive" in the same sense that Wilson was. President Wilson's racism is well documented, and so is Obama's neoconservative foreign policy. ***********mediaite****/tv/jeremy-scahill-lambasts-imperialist-obamas-neocon-foreign-policy/


Mar-23-14 6:40 PM

I think your desperate need to fit everything into a left/right paradigm is evident in this post. Sure, you acknowledge that "lefties" are partly to blame, but it appears that you are trying to absolve Democrats of responsibility, especially the president.

Lindsey Graham is a marginalized voice, he may not even win re-election in South Carolina. And nobody outside of Arizona really cares what John McCain has to say anymore.

President Obama on the other hand, at least in theory, represents the entire nation. He is the one drawing lines in the sand and threatening other countries with bombs, sanctions, and war. He's the one who expanded the drone war, expanded the national security state, bombed Libya, wanted to bomb Syria, imposed sanctions on Russia, etc. Let's not even get into how bloodthirsty Hillary Clinton was during her reign as both senator and Sec. of State. With neoconservatives like Obama and Hillary, who needs Bush?


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