Vladimir Putin

Kerry to Talk With Russia Tomorrow. Putin Sends Tanks Into Ukraine Today.

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Russia is making no effort to conceal its invasive war in Ukraine anymore. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tomorrow to discuss the situation.

A Kremlin source tells reporters that the two will have an unofficial "sideline" meeting in Beijing at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit tomorrow. The two have met nearly a dozen times this year, but tensions between the U.S. and Russia have only escalated, as has the bloody, brutal war against Ukraine.

Kerry, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, this week called for more economic sanctions against Russia for supporting sham elections in Ukraine's war-torn east.

President Barack Obama is also set to have an unofficial meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the same summit, as well as at the G20 summit in Brisbane soon thereafter.

Is this going to be too little, too late?

Russian tanks and ballistic-equipped units are reportedly already crossing into Ukraine. From Reuters:

Thursday's cross-border incursion, if confirmed, is a significant escalation of a conflict that has killed more than 4,000 people since the separatists rose up in mid-April and would call into question Russia's commitment to a two-month-old ceasefire deal… .

"Supplies of military equipment and enemy fighters from the Russian Federation are continuing," [Ukrainian] military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a briefing in Kiev, describing a column that included 16 big artillery guns and 30 trucks carrying troops and ammunition as well as 32 tanks.

Putin was just declared the world's most powerful person by Forbes. Obama came in second place.

In spite of much admiration, even from Fox News hosts, for his strongman exterior, Putin may have a less coherent plan than he appears. One exiled oligarch who used to be a close aide to the Kremlin Gremlin tells Time this week that the autocrat is just winging it. "Putin is not someone who sets strategic plans; he lives today."

And, his land-grab is costly. Russia's economy is tanking to recession levels, partially due to American and European Union sanctions. Today, against the dollar Russia's currency is worth 41 percent less than it was on January 1. Russians wealthy and educated enough to flee are doing so.

Read Reason's coverage of the Cold War-esque conflict between the Obama and Putin administrations. Check out this funny Russian propaganda in which Putin spanks Obama.

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  1. Putin was just declared the world’s most powerful person by Forbes. Obama came in second place.

    Yeah, yeah, and Cleveland is America’s most livable city.

    1. I just laughed out loud. I love Cleveland, but it’s the kind of place only a native could love.

      1. I’m not from there but I love it too, thanks to having a college roommate from the environs.

        When do I jump on the Browns bandwagon?

        1. When you’re ready to be let down one last time.

      2. I feel the same way about Buffalo – and simultaneously glad I don’t live there anymore.

    2. I’m buying rentals in Cleveland. The cash flow is good.

      1. Go on….

        1. I’m on iPhone. I’ll email you later.

  2. It’s been six weeks since Saddam Hussein Vladimir Putin was killed by a pack of wild boars and the world is still glad to be rid of him.

    Can a man not dream?

    1. The day I get to report that news, I will be a happy man.

      1. First Robert Baratheon, now Putin. When will we end this menace to despots.

    2. I’m rooting for them finding him dead of auto-erotic asphyxiation surrounded by a library of gay porn.

      The salty Bolshevik ham tears would be delicious.

      1. A dead gerbil blocking him up and causing him to become septic would also be acceptable.

  3. The Ukrainians bargained away their nukes in return for…John Kerry.

    1. They thought they were getting the Frankenstein monster that crushed people and destroyed villages.

  4. He was for tanks in the Ukraine before he was against them.

  5. I wonder what unspeakable acts Ukraine committed to provoke Russia like that. I have been led to understand that countries and people do not aggress unless it’s as a result of blowback.

    1. Russians just have long memories.

    2. TIT, bringing the Derp!

      1. My apologies, Bo. I assumed that as the Grand Vicar of Libertarianism, you would have already been aware of prominent libertarian activists’ comments RE: the Ukraine, most recently Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute For Peace and Prosperity (who was cited as an authority on foreign policy by a Reason writer quite recently), and folks on Reason like Sheldon Richman, who have improbably suggested more than once that Russian belligerence is the result (a justified result, even) of Ukrainian aggression.

        Perhaps in your dedication to ferretting out the Impure from the brethren, you haven’t kept up on libertarian reactions to current events?

        1. Derp+Straw=your original comment

          1. Once again, Bo proves why his skill in crafting an argument is respected far and wide.

            1. It’s always nice to see that petty tribalists like anti are so transparent. A long response from me would have been denounced as long winded pedanticism, a short sarcastic one gets the ‘not serious’ flip side

              1. No skin off my ass, but maybe you should learn to make non-pedantic arguments if you would rather not be accused of making pedantic arguments by commenters on H&R who range the political spectrum.

                Oh, right. This is the part where you say that Episiarch and anyone else who calls you a pedantic shit is part of the VRWC.

                1. You need to get your stories somewhat straight. Not only have I never called Epi right wing, I’ve said many times he’s nothing of the sort.

                  If you want to stick to what people actually say stick with your many admissions you’re not a libertarian, but a guy who hangs out on ann explicitly libertarian website whining about libertarian stances on various issues.

                  1. “a guy who hangs out on ann explicitly libertarian website whining about libertarian stances on various issues.”

                    What is ‘libertarian’ about downplaying Unprovoked Russian Aggression, again? I missed the articles here that were cheer-leading the Russian ‘reconquista’

                    I was under the impression that libertarians defaulted to a policy of non-intervention; not ‘non-judgement’?

          2. Very few proponents of ‘blowback’ would hold that all aggression comes from it. As for Ukraine, most non interventionists note NATO expansion, the large Russian population in Ukraine, and other factors in addition to violence against Russians as aggravating the situation.

            But we get it; you’d like a more ‘muscular’ intervention friendly policy. Some of us, though, realize that war is the health of the state.

            1. most non interventionists note NATO expansion, the large Russian population in Ukraine, and other factors in addition to violence against Russians as aggravating the situation

              So I guess we’ve found those unspeakable acts which justify Russian aggression, the two of which you mention are extremely overblown and at any rate not the cause of Russian aggression, given that NATO membership was not offered to Ukraine and that there was no targeted attack on ethnic Russian, the vast majority of whom are not traitors to their country and who support staying in Ukraine over an annexation of their home.

              Thanks for playing, though.

              Some of us, though, realize that war is the health of the state

              Unless it’s Russia doing it — then it’s completely justified.

              1. Are you really so simple that you can’t see how NATO expansion to other former Warsaw Pact countries might influence Russia’s view of neighboring Ukraine making overtures to the West?

                I love your last line, do as Russia does!

                1. Are you really so simple that you can’t see how NATO expansion to other former Warsaw Pact countries might influence Russia’s view of neighboring Ukraine making overtures to the West?

                  You confuse not understanding with not caring. I don’t really give two shits what Russia thinks about a given situation, when I have my own two eyes to tell me what is actually going on, and what is going on is this:

                  Ukraine was looking to get into the EU, *not* NATO. Moreover, the US wasn’t inclined to fast-track NATO membership for Ukraine in the short-term, however much it might have been a long-term ambition. Russia invaded and annexed large chunks of Ukraine as retaliation for Ukraine seeking closer economic and political ties to non-basketcase countries in Europe (a non-violent act), and to retain influence over areas which they consider important (something they do in many places, e.g. Transnistria).

                  Significantly, Ukraine did not threaten Russia in any way or threaten Russia’s domestic security. It has never declared war on Russia, destabilized Russia, taken Russia’s territory, supported terrorist groups in Russia or done anything to make anyone believe that such actions were in the docket. Russia has not only done all of these things, but has a prior history with Ukraine which indicated that all these things were likely — as well as a recent history of intervening in Ukrainian politics and administration.

                  1. Also important: Ukraine is a sovereign country. It does have the right to establish treaties between itself and other nations. In fact, given its history with Russia, it would be stupid of Ukraine not to do so. As for Russia having a phobia of being encircled? Boo hoo, that will happen when you run one of the most horrific regimes in human history for the better part of a century and when you continue to invade your neighbors because they start getting their act together without your “guidance”.

                    Fuck you, fuck your know-nothing Russia apologia, and fuck your sensitivity over being called out on this. Not every non-interventionist is an appalling defender of the indefensible, but you certainly are and you, Daniel McAdams, and Sheldon Richman were definitely the type of person I was thinking about when I wrote my initial comment. Thank you for coming by to confirm my opinion of you and your ilk.

                    1. Bo’s translation of ‘non-interventionism’ apparently requires that any acts of aggression by Foreign Powers be excused as the result of Western ‘Provocation’…. so that his immediate and illogical insistence that the burden of responsibility for the conflict lie entirely on the doorstep of the victim seems to make sense in context.

                      he can’t simply assess what is happening objectively, and *still* argue that ‘non-interventionism’ remains the right policy nevertheless

                      (as most actual ‘libertarians’ do, outside of people like Richman, et al)

                      No – he needs to create excuses for the unwarranted aggressions of others so that he can retain a fancied ‘moral high ground’.

                      I perfectly fine with non-interventionists who say, “Russia is completely to blame here = however, it doesn’t justify any NATO action.” As to the question of US sanctions – i’d think that would be something that a proper non-interventionist would object to. I don’t see bo making that case.

                      The bullshit attitude that the Russians are ‘within their rights’ and are responding logically and fairly to provocations by Ukraine and the West is not the slightest bit ‘libertarian’; pretending that it is somehow also the ‘party line’ of this publication is completely deluded.

                    2. Trouser and GILMORE –

                      What you just did to Bo reminds me of an update I saw from SE Afghanistan in 2004…

                      A USAF plane dropped a bomb on a Talib position that had several guys shooting down at a patrol…when some grunts got up there they found “a large crater and what appeared to be one human thumb. Nothing else identifiable remained.”

                  2. You confuse not understanding with not caring.

                    But FEELINGZ.

            2. You know who else used “large population of my peeps” as an excuse to invade their neighbors?

            3. In which Bo blames the victim and contradicts his earlier ‘straw’ remarks.

    3. Claiming the cultural mantle of Kievan Rus?

  6. Whew. That was close. John “all options are on the table” Kerry talking to Putin. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. I suspect that the option that we will go with is providing support to the Russian invasion.

      Because “flexibility” now that the elections are over.

    2. I like the chances of Pooty-poo bitch-slapping Kerry, breaking his arm and tossing him from an upper story window.

  7. I assume Kerry will do the smart thing and refuse to meet until these Russian forces leave the Ukraine, right?

  8. ballistic-equipped units

    I’m sorry…what?

    1. Units carrying devices capable of throwing objects? Or maybe units capable of throwing themselves? No, that would be aircraft.

    2. Clearly a sexual reference. Being married, I don’t get it.

    3. Yeah, that struck me as an incomplete thought.

      Also, for some reason I find this – big artillery guns – kinda hilarious too.

  9. Don’t worry, John Kerry, the modern-day Tallyrand, is on the case. I’m sure this won’t result in, say, some Russian officials mocking Kerry’s attempts to get a Nobel Peace Prize or anything.

  10. “”””Thursday’s cross-border incursion, if confirmed”””

    “”””Supplies of military equipment and enemy fighters from the Russian Federation are continuing,” [Ukrainian] military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a briefing in Kiev, “”‘

    So a guy in Kiev says so.

  11. Periodically, I drive past the rows and rows of mothballed Warthogs here in Tucson.

    Aircraft designed specifically to deal with Russian armored columns.

    The answer to Russian aggression in the Ukraine (not to mention ISIS aggression in the Middle East) is literally rusting away in Southern Arizona.

    1. Yeah but Ukraine does not have any money to buy A-10’s.

      And I certainly don’t want to pay for it nor waste US blood on the subject.

    2. Things in the desert don’t rust.

      1. they just fade away /Neil Young

    3. is literally rusting away in Southern Arizona.

      They’re not rusting away – that’s *why* they’re i Tucson.

  12. Maybe he’ll invite Putin to go windsurfing.

  13. I keep expecting to hear any day that Putin’s cooking up some cockamamie plan to conquer the world by blocking out the sunlight or something.

  14. “John Kerry will succeed where Hillary Clinton also succeeded”
    – NYT

    Susan Rice, regardless of what actually happens, will provide an entertaining ‘Foreign Policy-storytime’ for the Sunday Morning Talk Shows

  15. Kiev is needs to do something other than whine. They are basically on their own. It’s not America’s job to help them there’s no chance of significant action by America.

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