in International , 368 references
Judge Napolitano has penned an interesting essay on the Ukraine situation:
Enter Vladimir Putin. He is the popularly elected president of Russia who has designs on reconstituting the old Soviet Union. Putin is also an ex-KGB agent; he is a torturer, a murderer, a tyrant and a monster. He often has lamented the demise of the former Soviet Union.
All true. Let's not forget that Bush and Obama have both tortured (by the definition commonly used), both have murdered (including knowingly shooting un-involved civilians with follow-up shots after alleged terrorists were hit) and more. Putin hardly has a monopoly on this sort of behavior. As for being a tyrant turning the IRS on political opponents was part and parcel of Nixon's impeachment.
Of course Nixon was a Republican....
Ukraine was a part of that union until the evil empire dissolved in 1991. It was the most economically productive part of that union. Today it enjoys a mostly free market and is highly entrepreneurial, though partly a welfare state. Roughly two-thirds of Ukraine identifies with Europe and one-third with Russia.
True as well, but let us not forget what faction wants which outcome. The two-thirds are primarily the welfare state element. Our good Judge conveniently omits that from his dissertation, and one has to wonder why given that the data is available in pictorial form.
Putin’s invasion is profoundly unlawful, as it constitutes the introduction of military troops into a sovereign territory without governmental invitation or consent, and the absence of identifying insignia puts this invasion outside the protections of the Geneva Conventions and the rules of war. Hence the Russian troops are legally fair game for Ukrainian troops and civilian militias.
True that as well, particularly that being outside of the rules of war means that being summarily shot-on-sight is within the correct means of response for either Ukrainian troops or, for that matter, ordinary civilians. But, as the Judge notes...
As well, don’t expect the Russians to leave. Most residents of Crimea are Russian speaking and actually welcome their invaders (again, you cannot make this up).
Are you an invader if you're invited, insignia or no? Hmmmmm. That might decrease the number of people who want to shoot (legally permitted under the rules of war) materially.... in fact, it might reduce that number to zero. Perhaps that's why there hasn't been any shooting -- other than a group of snipers in the original uprising, and there's plenty of open questions as to exactly who those people were.
Then of course there's the backdrop. As the Judge notes we've got quite a history here, and so does Ukraine. I specifically note that they were "invited" to give up their nukes. They did so, and, well, how's that working out for their government now? I suspect they'd really like to have a few of those 5,000 they used to possess back as it would provide quite the deterrent value for them, eh?
There might be some people in Iran paying attention to that little chain of events too, I suspect....
Along side this, of course, the Judge also notes our little "adventures" in both Iraq and Egypt where we openly fomented revolution and our President called for "regime change" as a public matter. What many seem to forget is that both had governments that we had almost single-handedly installed years previous. Did we have the right to do that in the first place -- or to foment the later actions?
Neither of those little adventures have worked out so well for us, and they certainly put the United States in a rather awkward position trying to lecture the Russians about intervention in other lands.
There's another problem too that's not being discussed much -- what actually set off this little mess.
Were we involved and did we agitate for it? Probably. There seems to be at least some reasonably-solid evidence for that. But I suspect that much of the problem in Ukraine was really about corruption, "Robin-Hood" style theft and similar outrageous acts by their government. You have seen the ridiculous palatial spread that Yanukovich had all to himself, yes? How'd that happen, might I ask?
And no, that doesn't tend to support Pootie's point of view in this matter, does it?
But take a close look at the industrious people in some parts of the country and those who are welfare basket cases in others. Look at the distribution of same. Now contemplate why one should pay for the other and whether one was being effectively forced to do so. At what point does stealing for both the "elites" and the leaches reach the point where a group of producing people coalesce and say "No!"
More to the point are they not fully within their rights to do exactly that?
Is that the underlying problem?
Maybe. It certainly can't be dismissed quite as easily as claiming that "western" interests were responsible, can it? Take those two last points together and you have quite the mess, and most of it looks rather home-grown to me.
Let's ask this inconvenient question: How do you incite a people to revolution if they like their government?
Now look at our history right here in the US. Have we ever done something like that here at home?
Why yes we did.
What did you learn about the Civil War in school? Did it include the fact that slavery was already on its way out economically due to mechanization (specifically, the invention of the mechanical tractor and its attachments) and within a decade or so would have disappeared all on its own purely for economic reasons? Did your education include the fact that there were tariff and impost changes passed in the years leading up to the Civil War, championed by the north's Representatives and Senators, that effectively forced the agricultural southern states to grossly subsidize the northern ones?
Specifically there was a tariff aimed directly at foreign manufactured goods in Europe that were made from southern agricultural products, effectively boosting the price of everything the southern states imported by 50%! The northern states didn't import those things at all and thus didn't care. South Carolina responded by passing a state law declaring that tariff null and void -- President Jackson, with Congress clucking away, responded to that law by sending warships into Charleston harbor. That was 30 years prior to the Civil War so perhaps I should forgive you if you nodded off in that part of your education on US History.
These situations are never as simple as they seem, are they?
Of course here, now and today we appear to be creating a whole class of people (cough-Pelosi-cough-Boehner-cough-Reid-cough-Obama-cough!) ourselves that believe stealing from one person to give to another is just fine, and, if some of it gets siphoned off for themselves or their "friends and family" that's all to the good too. Yes, it's far less extreme than what we've seen over in the Ukraine, but isn't that really just a matter of degree rather than the offense itself? Oh, and just out of curiosity, what does our Congressional approval rating look like again?
Speaking of such degrees, the alleged Crimean Parliament that "voted" to "affiliate" with Russia..... that wouldn't be the same Parliament that was stormed by troops in black masks with no insignia, yes? Gee, is that vote rather akin to those held in fabulously free nations like North Korea?
So yeah, if you ask me, Putin is a jackass and Crimea looks an invasion. But in a land of 545 jackasses in Washington DC, never mind what we have seen thus far with Yanukovich, exactly how hypocritical are we willing to be when we have steadfastly done exactly what we're complaining about for decades, never mind our own internal Robin Hood games right here at home that continue to this day.
It would be fabulous if we had the moral high ground here, as if we did we could easily make a clean argument and stand tall.
But we don't -- and that's our fault.
Finally, there's this to consider:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Did we have the right to lay forth those words and then enforce them 235 years ago? Our so-called "Constitutional Lawyer cum President" seems to think not if his little speech yesterday is any indication. But if not then he's illegitimate as a President as unless our exercise of that right was and remains valid we have no right to be an independent nation and thus he has no right to be a President.
If so then please explain why any subset of the Ukrainian people do not likewise have the very same right that forms the basis of Obama's claim on the Presidency -- assuming, of course, that they really are asserting that right on their own, independently.
I'll be waiting for your explanation; this ought to be fun to watch.
After all, we did declare that right to be unalienable. And that, my friends means you can't sign it away in a treaty or Constitution nor can it be taken from you. It can be respected or disrespected (and of course there may be severe consequences if you try to assert it in the face of disrespect) but an unalienable right remains yours irrespective of the passage of time or pretty pieces of paper, whether agreed to voluntarily or not.
Did we mean what we said or were those mere words?
How, in short, can we defend our Constitution and the means by which it came about, along with the legitimacy of our own government while at the same time claiming that others do not have similar or even identical rights to form or reform their government by the very process we used?
Now there's something to think about.