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By Tom Cushing

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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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Ukraine Get-It-Off-Your-Chest Forum

Uploaded: Mar 20, 2014
We have all had a few months to absorb the ongoing governance agonies of Ukraine. Many of us have formed opinions on the subject, some sooner than others, some based on a visceral general sense of geopolitical memories and domestic preferences, some after a specific review of the evidence. I hope you'll take this opportunity to sound-off in the Comments. In the meantime, kindly work your way in that direction by mentally checking all the circles that apply.

It now appears that the Crimean Peninsula, previously famous for O Pickett's Charge, O the Light Brigade, O the Russian Black Sea fleet, O Tartar sauce, O nude beaches, has been O stolen, or O repatriated by Russia, per the outcome of a(n) O legal or O illegal referendum, whose results O should or O should-not be relied upon, because its vote was O coerced or O nearly unanimous. The Crimean economy is a net O contributor or O burden on the rest of Ukraine.

BTW, check the boxes if you can locate the following on this unlabeled map: O Ukraine in general, O Crimea in particular, O Moldova, O Estonia, O Georgia, O France, O don't forget Poland. Here's a labeled key.

Ukraine itself is O oil-rich, O Europe's breadbasket, O a steel industry powerhouse, O the home of Chernobyl. Since it gained independence from the USSR in O 1945, O 1991, O 2004, it has operated as a O democracy, O dictatorship, O kingdom, O kleptocracy.

The current crisis began when protesters took to the streets, demanding closer ties with O the European Union, O Russia, O China, O the USA. After demonstrations turned violent and O 10, O 100, O 1000, O 5000 demonstrators lost their lives, the Ukraine ruler O fled in the night, O was impeached, O was tried for treason and executed. The provisional ruler was O elected, O appointed, O seized power. His name is O Klitzko, O Romanov, O Yatsenyuk, O Zhivago.

BTW, there were nukes in Ukraine prior to its independence. Are there still nukes in Ukraine? O Yes, O No, O Oh dear God.

Ukraine's biggest trading partner is O Russia by a lot, O the EU by a lot, O Russia and EU about the same. The level of Ukraine trade with the EU is O 2X, O 5X, O 10X, O 20X its level of trade with the US. Russia's economy is the world's O third, O eighth, O fifteenth biggest. It is the US's O second, O fifth, O twentieth-largest trading partner; the US is Russia's O second, O fifth, O twentieth-largest trading partner.

The US interests in this crisis include: O commitment to freedom-loving people everywhere, O promotion of democracy, O containment of Cold War-style Soviet adventurism, O support of our NATO allies, O maintenance of trade ties to Ukraine, O deter aggression by others elsewhere, O fight terrorism, O does the name Chamberlain, Neville ring a bell? In the overall galaxy of US interests, domestic and international, these interests are O crucial, O strong, O weak, O irrelevant.

To promote these interests, the US O should or O should not be ready to risk a nuclear confrontation, and spend militarily O $1 Trillion/10,000 US troop deaths, O $100 Billion/1,000 US troop deaths, $10 Billion/100 US troop deaths, O nothing beyond our ongoing support of NATO (22%). To maintain this commitment, I would O raise taxes or O increase the deficit.

BTW, this is a good time to ask: how do you view this situation in comparison to the uprising in Georgia in 2008? Is it: O basically the same, O completely different, O the south will rise again.

Putin's Russia is intent on: O territorial expansion in every direction, O securing the location of the Black Sea fleet, O restoring the glory of mother Russia, O facilitating the wishes of the Crimeans. They will O stop now, O continue to annex provinces in eastern Ukraine, O seek to take-over the entire country. They will continue until O the economic sanctions kick-in, O NATO responds militarily, O they reach Paris, O they are now done, O can we get them to consider Texas?

Who is primarily responsible for the West's response to Putin: O the EU, O NATO, O the USA as the world's indispensable country, O the Ukrainians, O the United Nations.

Okay, hawks and doves – fire away! What would you do, as Commander-in-Chief? Be sure to recognize all the effects of your strategy. And if your comment contains the word "weakness," explain how a country that has just fought 2 $Trillion-dollar wars half-way around the world, and spends more on the military than the whole Rest of the World, Combined, projects weakness.

Comments

Posted by BF, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 20, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Defensive already, aren't you?


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Mar 21, 2014 at 6:55 am

No -- I am pretty sure that there Are, in fact, nude beaches in the Crimea. I try to be thorough.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Alamo,
on Mar 21, 2014 at 1:29 pm

So many circles to check! so to be brief I start with the Black Sea fleet and kleptocracy. When Crimea was given to Ukraine no body thought that some day the USSR would blow up and when it did no body could deny that Russia would have to be given a long term assurance that their Black sea fleet would have to stay and the nukes had to go (except the ones on the fleet), kinda like our naval base in Cuba. When Russians felt they are loosing control of which thief would be in charge it was recognized as a threat and did what countries do when their self interest requires it legal or not. It seemed to them using the excuse of protecting Russian speaking would sound better than we can do this without any penalty. The west has been check mated and they know it. Without endorsing our current foreign policy, it did not matter who is in the Whitehouse. Frankly the break up of USSR created a group of corrupt governments, including Russia itself, that have been very busy enjoying the fruits of their labor. And those who could not be part of the government larceny team formed the mobs that thrive at home and some have been exported to the west. Am i being too soft?


Posted by Ukrainka, a resident of Danville,
on Mar 21, 2014 at 9:43 pm

The Ukraine?!!!
In English, the definite article is used with geographical identifiers primarily in one of four situations:
O If the name is plural ("the Philippines", "the Netherlands");
O If a common noun is included ("the United States", "the Central African Republic");
O If the region in question is a sub-region of another ("the Sudetenland", "the Saar");
O If the country is essentially synonymous with a marked geographical feature ("the Republic of The Gambia [River]", "the Ivory Coast."
Okay, hawks and doves – fire away!


Posted by Jack, a resident of Downtown,
on Mar 21, 2014 at 10:20 pm

First off I find it embarrassing that Obama never properly thanked Putin for getting him off the hook with all that "Red Line" crap in Syria.
Now, as far as Ukraine and Crimea: Let's go straight to the answer, no need to show our work. We can't do anything about it, so why do we posture and pretend? It would be like Russia coming over here to settle a battle between Texas and Mexico…


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Mar 22, 2014 at 6:50 am

Thanks for the lesson, Ukrainka. I should have looked it up, as we work here without an editorial net to catch our mistakes.

And if this misuse of the definite article bothers you like the Angelenos' insertion of it before road numbers ("the 405" -- yeesh), then I also owe you an apology.

I've edited and think I got them all -- although I might have left the "The" in the title, since it seems to relate to "Forum" more than "Ukraine."


Posted by Ukrainka, a resident of Danville,
on Mar 22, 2014 at 10:41 am

Wow! Thank you for such an incredibly prompt and thorough response! I really appreciate you drawing attention to Ukraine.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm

It appears to me from the count that the shameless Nooky Bird has checked in with the troops...i rest my case...

anony


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Krainka is a name used for somebody that's CRANKY. It has nothing to do with geography.

The rain in Krainka falls mainly on the Plainka!

i rest my case...


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm

The blog has gotten way out of hand...MAY I POLITELY SUGGEST THAT IT BE REMOVED OUT OF RESPECT FOR OTHERS.

SINCERELY

CHOLO


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