NY Times frame:
The Real News frame:
The Guardian frame:
NY Times frame:
The Real News frame:
The Guardian frame:
Just over a year ago, complex systems theorists at the New England Complex Systems Institute warned us that if food prices continued to climb, so too would the likelihood that there would be riots across the globe. Sure enough, we’re seeing them now. The paper’s author, Yaneer Bar-Yam, charted the rise in the FAO food price index—a measure the UN uses to map the cost of food over time—and found that whenever it rose above 210, riots broke out worldwide. It happened in 2008 after the economic collapse, and again in 2011, when a Tunisian street vendor who could no longer feed his family set himself on fire in protest.
Bar-Yam built a model with the data, which then predicted that something like the Arab Spring would ensue just weeks before it did. Four days before Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation helped ignite the revolution that would spread across the region, NECSI submitted a government report that highlighted the risk that rising food prices posed to global stability. Now, the model has once again proven prescient—2013 saw the third-highest food prices on record, and that’s when the seeds for the conflicts across the world were sown.
Let me therefore propose that Ukraine is merely a convenient excuse or proxy for a larger geopolitical division that has nothing whatsoever to do with its internal schism. What haunts the Nulands of this world is not a putative “absorption” of Ukraine by Russia – an eventuality with which she could live. What haunts her and those who share her views is a geopolitical alliance of Germany/France and Russia. The nightmare of a Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis has receded a little bit since its acme in 2003, when U.S. efforts to have the U.N. Security Council endorse the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 were defeated by France and Germany.
The nightmare has receded a bit but lurks there just beneath the surface, and for good reason. Such an alliance makes geopolitical sense for Germany/France and Russia. And in geopolitics, what makes sense is a constraint that insisting on ideological differences can affect very little. Geopolitical choices may be tweaked by the individuals in power, but the pressure of long-term national interests remains strong.
Why does a Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis make sense? There are good reasons. One is the U.S. turn towards a Pacific-centrism replacing its long history of Atlantic-centrism. Russia’s nightmare, and Germany’s as well, is not a U.S.-China war but a U.S.-China alliance (one that would include Japan and Korea as well). Germany’s only way of diminishing this threat to its own prosperity and power is an alliance with Russia. And her policy towards Ukraine shows precisely the priority she gives to resolving European issues by including rather than excluding Russia.
But the question I have been wrestling with is this: why exactly are certain libertarians and liberals focused on certain issues – while many other libertarians and most conservatives are seemingly oblivious to them? What is the mechanism involved? What is the process or method that explains it?
Just the other evening, I think I finally began to understand what it is. It was an exchange with a liberal blogger that keyed me in on it – but, as is always the case in such matters, the final pieces only fell into place as a result of my having written and thought about many of the relevant issues over the past year.
These issues are very complex, so I will state the main point very briefly to begin with: there are two basic methods of thinking that we can often see in the way people approach any given issue. One is what we might call a contextual approach: people who use this method look at any particular issue in the overall context in which it arises, or the system in which it is embedded. Liberals are often associated with this approach. They will analyze racism or the “power differential” between women and men in terms of the entire system in which those issues arise. And in a similar manner, their proposed solutions will often be systemic solutions, aimed at eradicating what they consider to be the ultimate causes of the particular problem that concerns them.
The other fundamental approach is to focus on the basic principles involved, but with scant (or no) attention paid to the overall context in which the principles are being analyzed. In this manner, this approach treats principles like Plato’s Forms, as will become clearer shortly. I will use an example from a discussion here to illustrate the point, a discussion about certain cultural aspects related to homosexuality. I should note that, as a libertarian, I do not advocate any “special” rights for gays and lesbians; I want only those rights which everyone should have – and foremost among those is the right to be left alone by the government. For that reason, I am opposed across the board to any laws which criminalize consenting behavior between adults.
As I think about Francis’s observations about the role of women during the first year of his papacy, observations that do not advance the conversation about the role of women in the church very far at all, but which reiterate tired tropes that confine women to passive and ornamental places in the church, I find myself wishing he’d actually read real women theologians. Like Ivone Gebara.
Here’s Ivone Gebara in her book Out of the Depths: Women’s Experience of Evil and Salvation, trans. and intro. Ann Patrick Ware (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002), on what the church has historically done to women and their contributions:
It is striking how many official texts of the Catholic church insist on the maternal role of women and the governing power of men, conferred on them by Christ. This dogmatic theology, quite apart from even traditional dogma, leaves no room for women to be worthwhile in and of themselves or to speak about their experience and observations (54).
Women have, effectively, been reduced to silence in the Catholic tradition (as well as in many other religious traditions), Gebara insists. They are expected to receive and to listen as the male authority figures of the tradition do and dictate. They have been expected to accept the definition of who they are and what they have to offer handed down by those male authority figures, since the authority to do and dictate belongs to them alone, and excluding women from this authority is viewed as essential to maintaining a gendered hierarchy on which the order of the world depends:
An analysis of gender reveals that control over knowledge and the accepted wisdom is truly men’s power and privilege. Women are intruders, usurpers of something not belonging to them. They do wrong when they desire to know, and as an answer to this wrong, society must restore harmony by chastisement, silence, torture, or death. In this way the hierarchy of the world and of humanity is maintained (43).
And so women in the Catholic tradition have been expected by its all-male leadership caste to receive an image of God crafted for them by men, an image of God made in the image of men, and to remain silent about their own experience of God…
A Cree member from the Attawapiskat First Nation in the remote James Bay in Ontario, Koostachin was an activist for native education in Canada.
At 13, she organized a campaign to get the temporary school in her community replaced with a permanent and safe school that offered high-quality and culturally relevant education for First Nations students.
Her persistent engagement led to rallies and online campaigns, and drew media attention from around Canada. When the federal government claimed they didn’t have the funds to build a new school, her class canceled their annual field trip to send Shannen to meet with Minister of Indian Affairs.
It would be another year before the government promised to build a new school for the Attawapiskat children. That same year Koostachin was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.
Then, in 2010, when she was 15, Koostachin was killed in a car accident. She never saw the school that was built as a result of her passion and advocacy.
Her activism on behalf of education for First Nations kids continues in the youth movement that bears her name, Shannen’s Dream. The movement, according to its website, seeks to educate and engage “Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to better understand the education inequities” that exist in Canadian education system for First Nation children.
Abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood have challenged the law in court. Lee Yeakel, a district judge in Austin, ruled last year that the admitting-privileges requirement is “without a rational basis and places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a non-viable fetus.”
However, another court ruling meant Texas could enforce the law while it appealed. The case is being considered by a federal appeals court. Several Republican politicians running for high-level positions in last Tuesday’s Texas primary election cited their staunch opposition to abortion as part of their campaigns. The four candidates for lieutenant governor said that abortion should not be allowed even in cases of rape or incest.
But most of all I want to honor the totally unknown and mostly unsung women who keep up the struggles every day. Women like the young Afghan women whom Kathy Kelly recently accompanied to Barefoot College in Rajasthan state in northwest India where they met illiterate grandmothers from 11 countries learning to be solar engineers to take energy back to their families and villages instead of running off to the city with new skills as the instructors have found young men will do. Like the women who receive micro-loans of tens or hundreds of dollars and develop micro-enterprises to feed and educate their children instead of drinking or gambling the earnings away as the micro-credit providers have found men will do.
More women can now step up to the peace negotiating tables after conflicts because of the international pressure of UN Resolution 1325 that they be there, the UN having recognized that peace is much more durable if the women are involved in creating it. The UN Millennium Development Goals are largely focused on improvements in women’s health, education, and opportunities, because women use their opportunities to help their families and communities. Whether or not women are “naturally” caregivers, they have been socialized to be for generations, so raising women raises everyone. The UN is far too dominated by the US and other economic and military powers, but it does spread good ideas. If the exciting new idea of the world’s people being able to elect a representative body to the UN takes off, there could be a permanent people’s superpower, like the brief time the millions opposed the attack on Iraq in 2003 and were dubbed the other superpower. And given how the UN functions, women would be half of that body as they should be of every parliament. In the meantime women will keep struggling everywhere.
If a wide-ranging poll were to be conducted today, it would reveal that the majority of Ukrainians don’t want to be part of the EU – as much as the majority of Europeans don’t want the Ukraine in the EU. What’s left for millions of Ukrainians is the bloodsucking IMF, to be duly welcomed by “Yats” (as Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is treated by Vic “F**k the EU” Nuland).
Ukraine is slouching towards federalization. The Kiev regime-changers will have no say on autonomous Crimea – which most certainly will remain part of Ukraine (and Russia by the way will save $90 million in annual rent for the Sevastopol base, which until now was payable to Kiev.)
The endgame is all but written; Moscow controls an autonomous Crimea for free, and the US/EU “control”, or try to plunder, disaster capitalism-style, a back of beyond western Ukraine wasteland “managed” by a bunch of Western puppets and oligarchs, with a smatter of neo-nazis.
So what is the Obama/Kerry strategic master duo to do? Start a nuclear war?
The diplomatic compromise lasted less than twelve hours. Then all hell broke loose.
Snipers began shooting into the crowd on February 22 in Maidan or Independence Square. Panic ensued and riot police retreated in panic according to eyewitnesses. The opposition leader Vitali Klitschko withdrew from the deal, no reason given. Yanukovich fled Kiev.
The question unanswered until now is who deployed the snipers? According to veteran US intelligence sources, the snipers came from an ultra-right-wing military organization known as Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO).
The leader of UNA-UNSO, Andriy Shkil, ten years ago became an adviser to Julia Tymoshenko. UNA-UNSO, during the US-instigated 2003-2004 “Orange Revolution”, backed pro-NATO candidate Viktor Yushchenko against his pro-Russian opponent, Yanukovich. UNA-UNSO members provided security for the supporters of Yushchenko and Julia Tymoshenko on Independence Square in Kiev in 2003-4.
UNA-UNSO is also reported to have close ties to the German National Democratic Party (NDP). 
Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the crack-para-military UNA-UNSO members have been behind every revolt against Russian influence. The one connecting thread in their violent campaigns is always anti-Russia. The organization, according to veteran US intelligence sources, is part of a secret NATO “GLADIO” organization, and not a Ukraine nationalist group as portrayed in western media. 
According to these sources, UNA-UNSO have been involved (confirmed officially) in the Lithuanian events in the Winter of 1991, the Soviet Coup d’etat in Summer 1991, the war for the Pridnister Republic 1992, the anti-Moscow Abkhazia War 1993, the Chechen War, the US-organized Kosovo Campaign Against the Serbs, and the August 8 2008 war in Georgia. According to these reports, UNA-UNSO para-military have been involved in every NATO dirty war in the post-cold war period, always fighting on behalf of NATO. “These people are the dangerous mercenaries used all over the world to fight NATO’s dirty war, and to frame Russia because this group pretends to be Russian special forces. THESE ARE THE BAD GUYS, forget about the window dressing nationalists, these are the men behind the sniper rifles,” these sources insist. 
If true that UNA-UNSO is not “Ukrainian” opposition, but rather a highly secret NATO force using Ukraine as base, it would suggest that the EU peace compromise with the moderates was likely sabotaged by the one major player excluded from the Kiev 21 February diplomatic talks—Victoria Nuland’s State Department. Both Nuland and right-wing Republican US Senator John McCain have had contact with the leader of the Ukrainian opposition Svoboda Party, whose leader is openly anti-semitic and defends the deeds of a World War II Ukrainian SS-Galicia Division head. The party was registered in 1995, initially calling itself the “Social National Party of Ukraine” and using a swastika style logo. Svoboda is the electoral front for neo-nazi organizations in Ukraine such as UNA-UNSO.
One further indication that Nuland’s hand is shaping latest Ukraine events is the fact that the new Ukrainian Parliament is expected to nominate Nuland’s choice, Arseny Yatsenyuk, from Tymoshenko’s party, to be interim head of the new Cabinet.
And of course the Pentagon’s pleasure is Europe’s pain. Europe is split on Ukraine. Germany is not happy to anger Russia. Merkel has conspicuously spent at least as much time on the phone with Putin as with Obama. Being the European terminus of the Nord Stream gas pipeline into Europe means Germany has along term intersts in being friendly with Russia. And Germany has historically always looked East in its foreign policy. While France has historically always looked South and Britain always West. On top of which France has, since Syria, become America’s new best War-buddy. The reasons for which I wrote about in Syria – Cui Bono.
So by provoking a “f*ck the EU” split in Ukraine America weakens any pesky European solidarity. Nothing like dividing your allies against each other to maintain control over them. Not only does a split in Ukraine cause welcome frcition between the two pillars of the European project, Berlin and Paris, it is also marvelously mischievous because if there is one thing the EU is very sensitive and woried about at the moment it is separatist movements. The EU does not like the idea of its constituent nations begining to break apart into even more bickering and all-too-democratic factions. Centralization of decision making is what Brussels wants, not nationalist democracies. Spain fears anything that gives legitimacy to Catalonian separatism. The EU and the Conservative Government in Westminster have made it very clear they are neither of them happy about Scotland away from the UK and France is nervous about a possible Belgian break up.
Svoboda activists, who already held seats in Parliament, hold no less than eight top Cabinet positions:
Has the toxic interaction of unrestrained imperialist ambitions and fear of domestic unrest produced a situation where the US ruling elite is prepared to risk nuclear war? The actions of the United States government provide the answer.
But whatever the immediate intentions of the Obama administration, the dynamic of imperialism has a logic of its own. The US has provoked a situation in Ukraine in which any one of countless actions on the ground could, whether intentionally or not, trigger a chain of events that spiral out of control.
Even if this particular crisis is resolved, it will not take long before another one emerges. Sooner or later, one of these crises will trigger a nuclear catastrophe.