Ukraine

Mitt Romney Was Right, and Wrong, About Russia

Barack Obama and John Kerry might be just wrong

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binders full of
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During the 2012 campaign, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Russia America's "number one geopolitical foe," an observation that yielded him ridicule from his Democrat detractors. Then-Senator John Kerry made a joke about Romney living in the world of Rocky IV, a comment the Obama campaign even turned into a "movie poster." In 2014, John Kerry, now the secretary of state, has resorted to having to tell Russian President Vladmir Putin that when it comes to Ukraine "this is not Rocky IV." So was Mitt Romney right? Yes and no.

Russia's projection of military power into Crimea after pro-European protesters in Kiev and around Ukraine succeeded in spurring a change of government is certainly the action of a geopolitical power. On March 1, Putin asked for and got from parliament authorization to use military force in Crimea. President Obama called Putin, among several other world leaders, and, according to a statement from the Kremlin, Putin "drew his attention" to ultranationalists he said were supported by the government in Kiev, and "stressed" Russia retained its right to protect its interests in eastern Ukraine.

Since then, Russia has taken effective military control of that part of Ukraine, though the soldiers there are unmarked and Russia insists they're local "self-defense" groups from the ethnic Russian population in the region. The Russian government has also reportedly encouraged veterans to holiday in Crimea. On Thursday, the pro-Russian regional government in Crimea voted to join Russia, with a popular referendum to follow in ten days.  President Obama condemned the vote as being against the Ukrainian Constitution and international laws. Obama insists the world is "beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders," though the actions by Russia and the government in Crimea would appear to indicate otherwise. Russia doesn't recognize the government in Kiev, either, calling it the result of a coup.

Crimea became a part of the Ukraine in 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, upon succeeding Joseph Stalin as leader of the Soviet Union, transferred it from the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian one. Khrushchev, in fact, was Stalin's man in the Ukraine before the outbreak of hostilities between the previously allied Nazis and Soviets during World War II. Russia, the successor state to the Soviet Union, still considers World War II a defining event in its development as not just a geopolitical power but a global one. And Russia's history as a regional/continental power, of course, extends hundreds of years before that. Wars like the Crimean War in the 19th century were fought between Russia and Western powers looking to contain it, in that specific case while the Russian Empire was seeking to expand into the space left by a waning Ottoman Empire. Russia's bloody and brutal 80-year-long experiment with Communism helped position it as one of just two super powers in the second half of the 20th century, while the final collapse of the Soviet Union created an opportunity for nations long held by some form of Russian empire to use their nominally semi-autonomous SSR status to break free.

Mitt Romney was right: Russia is a geopolitical power, maybe even a foe. Romney's underlying assumptions, that it's our foe, is wrong. The protests in Ukraine started because the country's president, Viktor Yanukovych, who has since stepped down from power and been charged with mass murder, pulled back from talks with Europe in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Some of President Obama's domestic critics may point to Russia's actions in Ukraine as a result of perceived weakness, but that's not really how international affairs work. More importantly, the U.S. isn't relevant in Ukraine. Europe, on the other hand, may be, and certainly wants to be. The eastern countries of the European Union (EU), having spent much of their history as buffer states similar to the Ukraine, are understandably worried about Russia's actions. The EU risks becoming a buffer super-state. So far, it has threatened to call off certain talks with Russia, like over visa liberalization, in response. It can offer little more. While Eurocrats in Brussels spent the last two decades building a political infrastructure and bureaucracy for their super-state, they rely almost exclusively on the American security umbrella for their defense needs. In this way, for much of Europe, too, World War II remains a defining moment—one when the business of spending on military force shifted to the United States.

That didn't change at the end of the Cold War either. U.S. military spending slowed in the '90s, but while the EU worked out a Common Security and Defense Policy, it didn't seek to replace the U.S. military presence on the continent, instead continuing to rely on the U.S. and NATO for its defense needs. Concurrently, it turned increasingly to Russia and its gas, and pipelines running through Ukraine, for its energy needs. Russia, then, may be a geopolitical force, but it's not in Europe's interest for it to be a geopolitical foe. Neither is it in Europe's interest for the U.S. to be involved, even though it may welcome Kerry at ongoing negotiations over Ukraine being held in Paris.

The U.S. may be imposing limited sanctions now, but it's highly unlikely to commit to any military engagement over Ukraine. As Steve Chapman noted this week, even those Obama critics proposing a "stronger" reaction to Russia's involvement in Ukraine aren't offering much more than the Obama administration has—largely diplomatic tools like more sanctions and other economic threats. It would be better for the U.S. to do nothing. Just a few weeks ago, the Pentagon announced plans to reduce the size of the army, an acknowledgement of the need to have a smaller military footprint. That smaller military footprint has to come with a smaller diplomatic one. The Ukraine crisis is Ukraine's alone to solve. Geopolitics may draw Russia and the EU in, but they should keep the U.S. out.  Though President Obama and John Kerry may wish the world were a post-geopolitical one, their desires don't make it so.

That said, it may be a Rocky IV world, but it's not our fight.

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  1. Mitt Romney was right: Russia is a geopolitical power, maybe even a foe. Romney’s underlying assumptions, that it’s our foe, is wrong. The protests in Ukraine started because the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, who has since stepped down from power and been charged with mass murder, pulled back from talks with Europe in favor of closer ties with Russia.

    Unless he had a time machine, Romney wasn’t talking about the current situation in Ukraine, you dolt. He was talking about Russia running interference for indisputable US foes Iran and NK as they develop nukes.

    If you run interference for a foe, you are a foe. Just like those who minimized the difference between Obama and his viable opponent in 2012 are foes of liberty.

    1. If you run interference for a foe, you are a foe.

      “If you ain’t with us – you’re agin’ us!. Now watch how I bomb Iraq.”

      1. That’s retarded.

        If Russia is facilitating a nuclear armed Iran (with ICBMs), then that’s what they’re doing–regardless of whether you want to bomb anybody becasue of it.

        You don’t pretend things aren’t happen just because you don’t like one POSSIBLE course of action out of many.

        Or maybe YOU do! I don’t pick the consequences I like–and then pretend that any facts that don’t support those consequences aren’t facts. Otherwise, I’d resemble an ostrich.

        1. If Russia is facilitating a nuclear armed Iran (with ICBMs), then that’s what they’re doing–regardless of whether you want to bomb anybody becasue of it.

          Neocons jerking off.

          1. That would be a lot more persuasive if I hadn’t spent every day of the Bush presidency here at Hit & Run denouncing neocons and the Bush Administration.

            What, are you new?

            1. Ken, when you wrestle with pigs, you get covered with shit. Leave the morons and sockpuppets to argue amongst themselves – sit back and enjoy the LULZ.

          2. Hi Mary.

      2. Wow, it’s the derpsey twins right next to each other (golf clap)

    2. He was talking about Russia running interference for indisputable US foes Iran and NK as they develop nukes.

      Notice how amazingly Iran is a “US foe” because Israeli politicians need a permanent state of crisis, and Nork is a “US foe” because US politicians need a permanent state of crisis.

      There is nothing rational or necessary about those kind of postures.

      1. See my comment below:

        https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_4366424

        And just for the sake of reality, Iran has been a U.S. foe, since the elected, communist sympathizing candidate, there, promised to nationalize BP’s oil facilities in 1953. Our support for the Shah’s brutality didn’t help any either.

        So Iran’s foe status with the United States goes back to the beginning of the Cold War–and their alliance with Russia goes back that far, too.

        In fact, in case no one’s told you, our support for Israel was in no small part a function of the Cold War, too.

        Who was Egypt’s largest foreign donor before the U.S. started sending them money? I’ll give you a hint: their initials were USSR.

        If Israel disappeared tomorrow or had never existed, Iran still would have been our foe since the beginning of the Cold War–and they’d still be our foe now, too.

        1. And just for the sake of reality, Iran has been a U.S. foe, since the elected, communist sympathizing candidate, there, promised to nationalize BP’s oil facilities in 1953.

          Rank colonialist aggression to assure BP not being nationalized is not “being our foe”. It’s aggression.

          1. One of the reasons the Soviet Union collapsed was because they couldn’t sustain their economy. There’s only a couple of ways to perpetuate that system. One of them involves starving millions of people to death periodically, like they did in Ukraine, at the gulags, and like they still do in North Korea! The other involves expansion. Expansion can happen militarily–or you can just round up allies, install communist governments and get access that way!

            I’m not saying what we did in Iran was moral or right, but from a purely strategic perspective, denying the Soviet Union access to all that Iranian oil in 1953 made a lot of sense. Trying to keep it out of the hands of the Russians by supporting the Shah made a lot of strategic sense, too.

            Regardless, history is what it is, and what it is is that the forces that coalesced around the present government of Iran have been our foes since at least 1953, probably longer, and it has little or nothing to do with Israel–although they get all the headlines.

            If the Iranians had done to us what we did to the Iranians between 1953 and 1979, I sure as hell wouldn’t be mad at them because of some third party country like Israel. That’s ridiculous. We punched them in the face, so now they hate us because of Israel? How ’bout ’cause we punched them in the face?

          2. Rank colonialist aggression to assure BP not being nationalized is not “being our foe”. It’s aggression.

            Wasn’t the Communist who tried to take BPs property the one who was behaving aggressively? If I try to steal someone’s car, he catches me and hits me in the face, which of us was the aggressor?

            1. Tell me again how the US is responsible for British Petroleum’s goodies?

              Oh wait… “campaign contributions”

              1. If we’re in open conflict with the USSR, then, yeah, seeing how much energy the USSR gets is of vital interest to American security.

                I’m not even defending what we did in 1953! But I’m not going to pretend that denying the USSR a ton of oil in 1953 was of no interest to American security.

                This is like what I was referring to up top, where people feel like they have to deny any facts that support whatever consequences they don’t like. You call people neocons because they admit certain facts?

                Facts are stubborn things. Just because I don’t want us to go to war with Iran is no reason I have to pretend facts aren’t facts.

                If we had been in World War III with the Soviet Union, their oil supplies would have been legitimate military targets. We were only in a Cold War–fighting through proxies–but why would that make their oil supplies any less of a concern for American security?

                You don’t think we’re friends with the Saudis because of common religion, culture, and their commitment to democracy, do you? The reason we’re friends with them might have something to do with their oil and our desire for it to go on the market in the capitalist west during the Cold War–rather than seeing it locked away by communism.

                Iran is the same way. The reason we’re enemies had to do with the Cold War and their oil reserves.

          3. Aggression would be a legitimate reason for being a foe. The two are in no way mutually exclusive.

            Or I suppose you could sum it up: “I aggressively agree with your point!”

      2. Both Iran and NK have repeatedly threatened their neighbors with annihilation or invasion.

        Maybe the Israeli and US power brokers want constant crisis — that’s another issue — but you can’t deny that Iran and NK have provoked that crisis.

      3. Iran and NK are US foes. They’re more of a threat to our allies (Israel, Japan) that they are to us.

        1. See my comment below about Iran’s ICBM capability.

          They’re much less of a threat now, I’ll grant. Eight years from now, all bets are off.

          And we’re not even talking about all the other states that are going to want nukes once Iran gets theirs.

          Egypt will want them. Saudi Arabia will definitely want them. …

          We shouldn’t be looking at how big of a threat Iran is now and comparing that to how big of a threat they’ll be once they get nukes and ICBMs, anyway. That’s what we’re trying to prevent! If they get nukes (and ICBMs), they’re a much bigger threat to the continental USA.

          Let’s not pretend otherwise just because we don’t want to go to war. There are other ways to deal with this–and an incredibly important summit over Iran’s nukes will be happening in just a week or so! Hopefully Obama doesn’t squander our leverage and let them enrich their own uranium. They can get energy grade uranium from us if necessary!

          If he lets them enrich their own uranium, historians of the future may use Obama to displace Chamberlain as the go to guy for appeasement references.

        2. “Iran … has … repeatedly threatened their neighbors with annihilation or invasion”

          Please provide appropriate citations.

          1. Are you unaware of Iran’s relationship with Hezbollah?

            Does Lebanon ring a bell?

            Are you completely unaware of what Iran is doing in Syria even as I type?

            Not to mention the war with Iraq.

            I’m usually the guy cappin’ on Tulpa, but you’re making Tulpa look like a genius!

            1. you’re making Tulpa look like a genius!

              A-ha. A-HA!!!

              1. You don’t look like a genius, Tulpa?

          2. In May 2011, after a protest over the creation of Israel in 1948, during which 12 Palestinians were killed, Ahmadinejad said on television “… like a cancer cell that spreads through the body, this regime infects any region. It must be removed from the body.”

            Lots more:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M…..and_Israel

          3. Ahmadinejad says Israel will be ‘eliminated.’

            Israel seizes rockets sent from Iran to Gaza.

            Clearly Iran has done nothing to its neighbors to warrant any suspicions.

            1. Sure, always be suspicious of Iran, by all means.

              Still…

              Israeli officials say the weapons were flown from Damascus to Tehran, then shipped from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas to the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, where they were disguised among bags of cement. From there, the missiles would have been transferred by land across Sudan, into the Sinai desert and onwards to Gaza, the officials said.

              A likely story. Why jump via Tehran at all? Also, Monsieur Assad can currently provide stuff via convoluted means to the Gaza Ghetto? One would think he has no other problems currently.

      4. Notice how amazingly Iran is a “US foe” because Israeli politicians need a permanent state of crisis, and Nork is a “US foe” because US politicians need a permanent state of crisis.

        ??? So Iran hasn’t provided funding for terrorists or argued that Israel should be wiped off the Earth? North Korea doesn’t rattle its sabers, fire missiles at South Korean outposts, or attempt to dig a tunnel into South Korea for a potential invasion?

        I don’t know how on Earth you can claim North Korea and Iran aren’t dangerous to the security of American allies or Americans abroad.

        1. Some Iranians are opposed to the UN arbitrarily drawing borders to create Israel. They want the “map” wiped off the Earth.

          Neo-con warmongerers intentionally misinterpret that statement.

          1. You are such a fucking idiot.

            Even if that quote was misinterpreted, how about this?

            “Today the reason for the Zionist regime’s existence is questioned, and this regime is on its way to annihilation,” he said.

            I also wonder how exactly the Iranians would remove Israel from a map while allowing the nation of Israel to continue existing. You have to be an utter moron to think Ahmadinejad was talking about erasing some lines on a map and had no violent message.

            1. Your talking points are outdated. Ahmadinejad is long gone. Iran is not and has never been a serious regional threat.

              They are certainly not worth a Bush-style Shock’n Awe and 10 year goose chase for non-existent WMD.

              1. “Iran is not and has never been a serious regional threat.”

                This is laughable.

                1. Can’t remember when Iran last invaded someone.

                  1. “(Reuters) – As Syria’s war nears the start of its fourth year, Iran has stepped up support on the ground for President Bashar al-Assad, providing elite teams to gather intelligence and train troops, sources with knowledge of military movements say.

                    This further backing from Tehran, along with deliveries of munitions and equipment from Moscow, is helping to keep Assad in power at a time when neither his own forces nor opposition fighters have a decisive edge on the battlefield.

                    Assad’s forces have failed to capitalize fully on advances they made last summer with the help of Iran, his major backer in the region, and the Hezbollah fighters that Tehran backs and which have provided important battlefield support for Assad.”

                    —-February 21, 2014

                    http://www.reuters.com/article…..9U20140221

        2. So Iran hasn’t provided funding for terrorists

          Well, we have our terrorists. They have theirs.

          or argued that Israel should be wiped off the Earth?

          No it didn’t. Next.

          North Korea doesn’t rattle its sabers, fire missiles at South Korean outposts, or attempt to dig a tunnel into South Korea for a potential invasion?

          This is a problem for us how?

          I don’t know how on Earth you can claim North Korea and Iran aren’t dangerous to the security of American allies or Americans abroad.

          Has the US somehow been handed the task to uphold the status quo on Terra by Decision of the Pan-Galactic Council?

          1. It reminds me on how the US entered WWI in order to uphold the right of US citizens to safely travel on unmarked military ships of foreign nations through waters subject to well-declared unrestricted submarine warfare.

            It resulted in large amounts of LULZ.

          2. So Iran hasn’t provided funding for terrorists

            Well, we have our terrorists. They have theirs.

            Idiotic bullshit. ‘America has done something bad, therefore Iranian funding of Hamas is okay!’ Really ingenious logic right there.

            or argued that Israel should be wiped off the Earth?

            No it didn’t. Next.

            Yeah, when have the Iranians ever argued for Israel’s destruction?

            “Today the reason for the Zionist regime’s existence is questioned, and this regime is on its way to annihilation,” [Ahmadinejad] said.

            Ahmadinejad added that Israel “has reached the end like a dead rat after being slapped by the Lebanese” — a reference to the July-August 2006 war between Israel and the Shiite Hezbollah militia.

            Nothing in the above quote can be interpreted as a threat, I guess.

            North Korea doesn’t rattle its sabers, fire missiles at South Korean outposts, or attempt to dig a tunnel into South Korea for a potential invasion?

            This is a problem for us how?

            Because Japan and South Korea are American allies who are being threatened by an unhinged totalitarian regime.

            Has the US somehow been handed the task to uphold the status quo on Terra by Decision of the Pan-Galactic Council?

            No, but your blanket denials that Iran and North Korea are international threats are tiresome.

            1. Idiotic bullshit. ‘America has done something bad, therefore Iranian funding of Hamas is okay!’ Really ingenious logic right there.

              Implying!

              Please tell me exactly where I say that.

              Because Japan and South Korea are American allies who are being threatened by an unhinged totalitarian regime.

              Let them deal with it then.

              No, but your blanket denials that Iran and North Korea are international threats are tiresome.

              Why should I care about Iran and Nork? I don’t don hold any shares of “contractors”.

              1. “Let them deal with it then.”

                Well, it’s not that simple. We have military bases in Japan and Korea, and both of those nations do a lot of business with the United States. Koreans are still coming in, albeit at a slower rate.

                Iran and NK (invaded SK and has infiltrated that nation with tunnels and spies) can’t make Nazi Germany impressions because they’re checked by higher powers. China keeps the Kim regime in like for obvious reasons.

                They’re still more of a threat to us than 100 white supremacists and Putin’s Russia combined. Syria and NK were suspected of sharing weapons technology and Iran has been furthering relations with rogue nations.

                I didn’t think a handful of men with box cutters could hijack a plane and crash into our buildings, but it happened. NK hijacked a SK plan as recently 1987 and they’re still conducting missile tests.

          3. Lonely Stalker|3.9.14 @ 2:02PM|#|?|filternamelinkcustom

            or argued that Israel should be wiped off the Earth?

            No it didn’t. Next.

            Even the WaPo admits that this is a pretty good translation of the intent of Khameni’s speeches, if not a perfect quote.

            1. “Even”? Really now.

              The WaPo is the war propeller and D.C.’s own Pravda.

    3. Mitt wasn’t viable. No Republican will be nationally for the foreseeable future.

      But you can surely be satisfied with having wrestled democracy from the hands of the people and controlling Congress against their will.

  2. The draft-dodging Mormon missionary was just trying to look manly against the community organizer.

    1. I presume you have a proud service record. Else STFU. Not everyone served or needed to.

  3. “Russia’s projection of military power into Crimea….”

    “Invasion” is not in the dictionary these days?

    1. Blockading the Ukrainian bases is an act of peace.

      1. Will Putin be nominated for a Peace Nobel?

          1. Thank you; now I know.

    2. It’s a bit more nuanced than that since they did have bases there already.

      It’s that old saw about “One man’s invasion is another man’s military exercise.”

      1. This of course doesn’t explain the blockade of the Ukrainian bases.

        1. True. But a blockade is hardly an invasion.

          1. Russian troops, vehicles, and weapons in Crimea constitute an invasion.

            1. Not if Crimea has always been a part of Eurasia and has always been at war with Oceana.

          2. As I mentioned above, the blockade is of course an act of peace.

    3. Since the extended decade-long visitations of large areas of the asian mainland by US forces, “invasion” is a deprecated word. Please use the appropriate reworded phrasing.

  4. “Geopolitics may draw Russia and the EU in, but they should keep the U.S. out.”

    Except we have mutual alliances with most of the EU nations and have some diplomatic agreements to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty. Ignoring whether it is desirable for us to stay out it, I am not sure the geopolitics of the situation allows the US to stay out of it.

    1. have some diplomatic agreements to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty

      LOLNO

        1. I stand corrected. But this only says that the signatories to the memorandum will do nothing to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty or nuke it. It does not say that the other signatories have to keep the guy breaking the memorandum in line by use of force; only that seeking resolution of the dispute shall on the table.

          It’s quite like the UK’s assurance to uphold Belgium’s sovereignty that was so tragically used by the UK to justify visiting the continent in 1914. It didn’t say they had to uphold it against a german invasion.

          1. It does not say that the other signatories have to keep the guy breaking the memorandum in line by use of force

            True.

  5. Iran has already launched multistage rockets. They’ve launched satellites. I’ve read estimates of when Iran will have ICBMs from both hawks and doves, and the estimates for when Iran develops ICBMs range from somewhere between six and ten years from now.

    Iran has been flagrantly violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty since 2003. That’s more than ten years!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N…..reaty#Iran

    Russia is not our enemy? That’s great news…

    So, where does Russia stand on Iran enriching its own uranium–and why?

    1. Iran has been flagrantly violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty since 2003.

      Patently false. Indeed, they have NOT been found to be in any violation whatsoever (they rejected the unilaterally tacked-on “additional protocol”, which is their right).

      And this why so-called Israeli-fulled “discussion” is still on, whereby they will have “a nuke next week” since about 1990.

      1. “In November 2003 IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei reported that Iran had repeatedly and over an extended period failed to meet its safeguards obligations, including by failing to declare its uranium enrichment program.[22] After about two years of EU3-led diplomatic efforts and Iran temporarily suspending its enrichment program,[69] the IAEA Board of Governors, acting under Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute, found in a rare non-consensus decision with 12 abstentions that these failures constituted non-compliance with the IAEA safeguards agreement.[23] This was reported to the UN Security Council in 2006,[70] after which the Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Iran suspend its enrichment.[71] Instead, Iran resumed its enrichment program.[72]”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N…..reaty#Iran

        They had no right to enrich uranium under the treaty without telling everyone beforehand, and they have no right to enrich uranium now–just like an armed robber has no right to get his gun back once he’s in prison.

        And your obsession with Israel is both creepy and stupid. What are you going to do next? Start talking about AIPAC?

        1. They had no right to enrich uranium under the treaty without telling everyone beforehand, and they have no right to enrich uranium now–just like an armed robber has no right to get his gun back once he’s in prison.

          Bullshit. The NPT does not mean they have NO right to enrich. It means they DO have a right to enrich (up to < 20%), as long as they don’t build nukes. That’s what the NPT is all about.

          “In November 2003”

          Yes. That was 10 years ago and things were definitely dodgy. Nothing to get heated up about.

          As corrective actions, Iran has undertaken to submit ICRs relevant to all of these activities, to
          provide design information with respect to the facilities where those activities took place, to present all
          nuclear material for Agency verification during its forthcoming inspections and to implement a policy
          of co-operation and full transparency.

          Start talking about AIPAC?

          And why not? AIPAC is a major beltway gorilla and a corrupting influence and talking about it is not stupid. Indeed, without AIPAC Israel would be another random sandy shithole that wouldn’t be on anyone’s map. Next.

          1. You quoted my comment, but you didn’t bother to read it.

            “They had no right to enrich uranium under the treaty without telling everyone beforehand.”

            That’s a clear violation of the treaty they signed and the safeguards they agreed to. That’s why they’re suffering sanctions right now–as well they should.

            “Iran is a party to the NPT but was found in non-compliance with its NPT safeguards agreement and the status of its nuclear program remains in dispute. In November 2003 IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei reported that Iran had repeatedly and over an extended period failed to meet its safeguards obligations, including by failing to declare its uranium enrichment program.[22]

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N…..reaty#Iran

            Just makin’ it up as you go along?

            You’re a hoot!

            Iran was required by the treaty to declare its uranium enrichment program, and it not only failed to do so–it’s still failed to do so or to subject their fissile material to the other parts of their safeguards agreement.

            Did you imagine the international community agreed to place sanctions against Iran “just ‘casue”?

  6. OT: could someone at Reason make an infographics containing the following graphs let’s say from 1990 to the latest available:

    1) murder + manslaughter
    2) police killings
    3) police deaths due to criminal action
    4) police deaths due to other (like traffic accidents &c.)

    Probably there should be two charts: one in absolute #s, another normed to 100,000 residents.

    1. I’d like to see the amount of stuff police stole, er…seized in drug raids, etc as well.


  7. Russia Has Already Lost the War

    “Yanukovych freed Ukraine and Putin is uniting it,” said Iegor Soboliev, a 37-year-old ethnic Russian who heads a government commission to vet officials of the former regime. “Ukraine is functioning not through its government but through the self-organization of its people and their sense of human decency.”

    Mr. Putin seems to have genuinely believed that Ukraine was Yugoslavia, and that his forces would be warmly welcomed by at least half of the country. As Leonid D. Kuchma, a former president of Ukraine and once a senior member of the Soviet military-industrial complex, told me: “His advisers must have thought they would be met in eastern Ukraine with flowers as liberators. The reality is 180 degrees opposite.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03…..putin&_r=1

    Almost Cheney-esque bullheaded stupidity.

    1. Hopefully a true NYT opinion piece.

      Anyone have a map where russina forces have been spotted? AFAIK, it’s only Crimea.

    2. That would explain Crimea voting to leave Ukraine and those cities in the east demanding to take part in next week’s referendum.

    3. How is Russia “losing” the war when his forces are taking over regions without any serious bloodshed?

      Are you calling the article stupid? I know you’re not calling Obama stupid. He can do no wrong.

      1. Go Russia fuck yeah!

    4. “Ukraine is functioning not through its government but through the self-organization of its people and their sense of human decency.”

      When did the New York Times get taken over by Tea Party Libertardians? What is this ‘self-organization’ nonsense they’re talking about?

      1. It just means that people pretend government is not even there.

        Kinda like Belgium, maybe?

  8. Obama insists the world is “beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders,”

    A statement which puzzles me on multiple levels, since the acting prez in Kiev wasn’t democratically elected, and the guy who was elected president is in favor of the Russian move.

  9. Since then, Russia has taken effective military control of that part of Ukraine, though the soldiers there are unmarked and Russia insists they’re local “self-defense” groups from the ethnic Russian population in the region.

    So Putin wouldn’t mind if we started blowing them up and/or capturing them and trying them as unlawful combatants.

    1. How is that “we” we are talking about?

      Did “we” receive a valid call for intervention by the currently democraticorally elected government of Ukraine? Did the security council of the UN say “yes” to such an excellent idea?

  10. You need to consider Mitt Romney’s incredibly stupid anti-START op-ed from 2010 or so to accurately judge his thinking, or at least that of people surrounding him. He seemed to think an ICBM is something you can strap to a bomber, and arguing against reducing a redundantly excessive nuclear arsenal isn’t what I’d call fiscally conservative.

    1. Nuclear deterrence is a hell of a lot cheaper than conventional deterrence, and orders of magnitude cheaper than its most likely alternative — conventional war.

      1. How much of either do we really need?

  11. Alot of “whhhhaaaaat about Isrill!!!11” here.

    Fuck Israel, and if I knew Hebrew and pretended to be religious I would be Jewish enough to live on welfare where some Palestinian-owned business use to stand.

    America first. The Swiss got it right. If Iran’s going to rain ten foot tall wife-beating desert warriors who drool acid and shoot lasers from their eyes riding on magic rugs of Islamofascist doom onto Israel then so be it. Their problem not ours.

    On a related note, if you think things made in South Korea are of shitty quality then you have no idea how shitty a missile made in North Korea is. They’re less of a threat than American space debris.

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  13. No, Romney wasn’t right.

    Romney’s contention that Russia is the US’s number one geopolitical foe was, and is, wrong, not woefully so, but wrong nonetheless. Despite its continuing ability to pick on its neighbors, Russia is still nothing more than a petrostate that happens to have nuclear weapons. Even on a bad day, our NATO allies in Europe could easily handle Russia’s military in a purely conventional war.

    China is the US’s number one geopolitical foe at the moment, and likely will be for many decades to come. And unlike Russia, China has a diversified, growing economy and the increasing military power that goes along with it. Within 20 years, China will likely have the ability to push us out of East Asia if it so chose to do so (though I doubt it will). If the US had a military presence in any Russian neighbor like we have in South Korea, there’s nothing that Russia could do to remove us (not that we should have such a presence).

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