Friday, February 28, 2014

Thank heavens Archdukes are thin on the ground...

...'Cause it's feeling like it's about time for one to get shot.

The world's media is falling all over itself in fits of euphemism as "groups of armed men" riding in Russian military aircraft seized airports in Crimea.

I want to retcon history with this phrase!
  • Paul Revere riding the streets of Boston yelling "Groups of armed men are coming! Groups of armed men are coming!"

  • FDR speaking to Congress: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by groups of armed men riding in airplanes of the Empire of Japan."

  • James Forrestal and Howlin' Mad Smith on the beach at Iwo Jima looking up at the flag raising on the mountain: "Holland, the raising of that flag on Suribachi means groups of armed men for the next five hundred years."
The U.S., who is going to sit this one out and everybody knows it, issued some pro forma boilerplate Stern Language and then underlined that we didn't really mean it by having FLOTUS send POTUS scurrying around the White House halls like a bichon frise after a ball:



Brrr! Fearsome!

Well, Ukraine, looks like you're on your own. Call Angela and Fran├žois; maybe they'll get your back.
.

57 comments:

Keith said...

I find myself wondering what we could do even if we weren't all warred out and didn't have a putz for POTUS. Is Ukraine worth another bout of Cold War style brinksmanship? What would Ike do?

Tam said...

I think the fact that the Ukraine is not already in the EU and NATO makes the result a foregone conclusion no matter what our opinion is.

Putin's betting on a sure thing, and he knows it.

If I were the Ukrainian government, I'd probably be offering heavy concessions to China under the table right now, because they're the only viable threat to Russian hegemony on the continent.

Rusty Gunner said...

The Ukraine's on the wrong side of the Carpathians, and is a scarily exposed place for a commander with supply lines to be, whether he's European or American. I think the real world has the deck stacked against those folks over there right now, but I hope somebody does something.

ISH (Mininerd) said...

The last time a war in that region went well for anybody but the Russians, Queen Victoria and Napoleon III were still sitting in their respective big chairs... And it only went well for them on the macro-level, for the average Tommy and Fran├žois in the mud, it pretty much sucked as much as anything their grandkids would have to deal with against the Kaiser and their great-grandkids would endure putting down Adolf.

Geography is destiny, as they say... and life in that entire region for anybody not the chief warlord of a marauding band of bararbarians or Putin (but I repeat myself) seems destined to suck.

Anonymous said...

The only real play is for the Ukrainians to threaten the Russian pipelines that run through their country.

Russia can't defend them all and probably doesn't want the short term cash loss.

Gerry

Tam said...

"The only real play is for the Ukrainians to threaten the Russian pipelines that run through their country."

Which, when you think about it, is the politico-economic equivalent of Sheriff Bart taking himself hostage in Blazing Saddles. It can be done, but you've really got to sell it.

Paul said...

Blow up the pipe lines with Russian arms and you might be able to get the euros to help, since that pipeline currently feeds there energy habit.

Course what do I know. We would be better to invade Venezuela, for the pretty girls.

I mean if we need to get everyone's attention somewhere else.

Squirrel!

Firehand said...

Where's Retief when we need him?

Keith said...

Bet they wish they had kept a few of those old Soviet nukes around right about now.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, Obama will address this issue by shuffling off for another fundraiser. Concurrently, his more ardent supporters will protest to 'increase awareness.'

Matt said...

Seizing the pipelins would be an excuse for Russian invasion. The EU would also not look kindly upon it since those pipelines supply a significant portion of the natural gass the EU depends on.

Chris Gerrib said...

Two thoughts, neither meant as a dig on anybody:

1) How many Americans do we want to get killed to keep Russia out of the Ukraine? Historically, that answer has been "zero."

2) One could argue that Europe over-reacted to the Archduke's assassination. I mean, why exactly should millions of Englishmen die because the Serbian government shot an Austrian?

Tam said...

Chris Gerrib,

Not meant as a dig, but how many Americans do you think I think should die?

You've got me all figured out, don't you? ;)

Tam said...

((Although, FWIW, no Englishmen died over any Archdukes. They died in response to a treaty they'd signed guaranteeing Belgian neutrality. It was the German invasion of Belgium that was the English cassus belli.)

Paul said...

So, English men when to the trenches to defend Hercule Perot? What a magnificent obsession.

TBeck said...

Those armed men sure look spiffy in those matching white and blue striped t-shirts.

staghounds said...


Hey, there was no proof that any of the persons in the Japanese airplanes were armed.

FDR should have called for a League of Nations investigation.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

When I was in Poland and Romania, the general opinion was Ukrainian girls were the most beautiful women in the world and the country's greatest export.

Gerry

Anonymous said...

Eh. It's worth looking at the electoral distribution from the last election:
Ukraine_ElectionsMap_Nov2004.png

Those are some pretty high pro-Russian percentages in the Crimea. I can't get too excited unless Russia starts pushing north and east...

Gregg said...

Chris Gerrib,
Fewer Western Europeans would have died if every German invasion plan didn't start with:
Step 1: Invade France

perlhaqr said...

Man. Even the dogs looked at them contemptuously as they jogged by.

------

Joel: The chances of this administration invading Venezuela on the side of the... better guys, is just about nil.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Gerry,

I suppose the relative beauty of Ukrainian girls vs. Venezuelan girls depends on your preference for caviar or salsa.

Chris Gerrib said...

Tam:

I did get your "armed men" sarcasm.

I really don't know what you think we should do in Ukraine. I merely point out that historically, Ukraine has been on their own with regards to Russia.

The Englishmen didn't directly die for the Archduke, and I suppose the Germans didn't either. But without the series of over-reactions because of the Archduke's death, WWI doesn't happen.

Matthew said...

Even if the Ukraine goes Sheriff Bart, I don't see NATO and the EU doing anything but going full Reverend Johnson.

Matt G said...

Does everyone really believe that Ukraine gave all their nukes to Russia?

Jim said...

>>You've got me all figured out, don't you? ;)<<

I do. Archtype Wookie.

Not meaning to start any 100-comment debates or anything. :)

Anonymous said...

"Which, when you think about it, is the politico-economic equivalent of Sheriff Bart taking himself hostage in Blazing Saddles. It can be done, but you've really got to sell it."

I agree Tam.

Gerry

staghounds said...

"I really don't know what you think we should do in Ukraine."

Chris Gerrib appears to be the stupidest person reading this blog.

staghounds said...

Or most on the spectrum.

tailwind said...

I wonder if the "Let's Move" people considered the image of a white man chasing a black man around the white house.

Scott J said...

http://m.youtube.com/?app=m#/watch?v=fzLtF_PxbYw

Sorry, all this talk about Ukraine and I can't that out of my head.

Anonymous said...

The British government sent the British Expeditionary Force to Belgium to honour a treaty which they repeated when Hitler invaded Poland. The reason the British had a treaty with Belgium (also Holland IIRC) was simple; the Royal Navy could not blockade all the ports in Germany and Belgium to prevent an invasion as they had in the Napoleanic Wars. The Germans had the world's largest army in August 1914 at 4.5 million men, while the British had less than a million, some of them stationed overseas, so an invasion had to be pre-empted or the Brits would lose.

R.K. Massie's "Dreadnought, Britain, Germany, and the coming of the Great War" is an excellent history of turn of the century politics and how things spiralled out of control.

As to the Ukraine, isn't it convenient how there are Russian military aircraft just hanging around unguarded for any Sergei, Pavel or Ivan to fly into the Ukraine with a bunch of heavily armed buddies on board? I don't think the Ukrainians will get any military help from the West. It could become full blown civil war with Bad Vlad sending in the troops to "restore order".

Al_in_Ottawa

Billll said...

So:
1. Ukranians shut off gas pipelines, or threaten to.
2. Russia assures EU of continued gas supply as soon as pipelines are patrolled by Russian Tanks. Sends in tanks to do that.
3. E.U. applauds Russian efforts to prevent freezing in winter.

Like Tam says, you gotta know how to sell it.

Ian Argent said...

Can't imagine the Turks are too pleased. How suitable are the Dardanelles and Bosphorus as logistics routes? IIRC sea transport is preferred to land anyway.

Not that I expect much fun this administration either.

Robin said...

Of course, we should not and never would send US troops into Ukraine to fight on behalf of the western-oriented mafia against the eastern-oriented mafia.

But there are a lot of various kinds of steps that could be done by a competent US administration.

Instead we have Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom.

As for Venezuela, that's even more infuriating as when Maduro claims that the US is encouraging/helping the protestors and the world laughs at Maduro for how ridiculous his accusation is ...

Sherm said...

Guess which one is Putin and which is Barry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVNHcob3oJg

Ygolonac said...

If they need to run around and be active in the White House, can't they at least use nunchucks?

(Nannywall at work blocks streaming, else I'd dig up and link Black Dynamite vs. Tricky Dick)

Middle Man said...

" Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh. It's worth looking at the electoral distribution from the last election:
Ukraine_ElectionsMap_Nov2004.png

Those are some pretty high pro-Russian percentages in the Crimea. I can't get too excited unless Russia starts pushing north and east..."

Populations wouldn't look that way had Lenin not murdered all the White Russians holed up in the Crimea, nor Stalin send the locals off to the gulag in Kazazkstan. Russians of one stripe or another have working hard to colonize the strategic peninsula for more than two centuries.

Windy Wilson said...

With a President worse than Carter who admires FDR and is in the driver's seat while the army becomes smaller than it was in 1940, I don't think there are any options here that don't involve a lot of bloodshed. The last 68 years have been the most peaceful generation Europe has known in all of recorded history, and I think that's about to change.
After the Danzig Crisis, or heck, after the post Munich Accords devouring of Czechloslovakia, what sort of diplomacy could FDR have trotted out that would have avoided war?

Irredentism is an ugly thing.

Anonymous said...

Mostly because for the previous 500 years the French plans all started with invade the Germanies And everytime they turned to the east the Germans had a french inserting a weapon between their shoulder blades.

Kristophr said...

Gregg:

Herbert Hoover, in his memoirs, claimed that Chamberlain and the French believed FDR when he claimed he could get the US into the war in the event of an invasion or Poland.

So they allied with Poland.


FDR turned out to not have enough pull to get us into WWII in 1938.

Oops.

( Hoover's contacts in France told him that the original game plan was to let Hitler and Stalin murder each other. )

Anonymous said...

Not saying it's right, but if your homeland happens to be located in any of the borderlands that periodically are added to or subtracted from the Russian Empire, you should really try to enjoy whatever national independence you have because it is not likely to be a permanent condition.

The Finns have done the best, mostly be excelling at their version of Biathlon which is similar to the Olympic version except they use Russian conscripts as targets.

Alath
Carmel IN

Sigivald said...

Middle Man said: Populations wouldn't look that way had Lenin not murdered all the White Russians holed up in the Crimea, nor Stalin send the locals off to the gulag in Kazazkstan. Russians of one stripe or another have working hard to colonize the strategic peninsula for more than two centuries.

True enough, but ...

Does that change anything now?

I'd be careful with a "yes", because that opens a lot of cans of worms all over the world, and leads to an odd sort of "democracy" where only the Approved Ethnic Group gets a say in the actions of the nation-state they're stuck inside of.

Chris Gerrib said...

Robin said: But there are a lot of various kinds of steps that could be done by a competent US administration.

Such as? Seriously - Putin's already occupied the airport in Crimea.

Old Windways said...

I wonder if the "Let's Move" people considered the image of a white man chasing a black man around the white house.


@tailwind, that put a mighty large smile on my face in the midst of a thoroughly depressing discussion. Well done.

Fiftycal said...

I believe the half/white Obama "administration" is trying to figure out if their "strongly worded letter" should be faxed, emailed or, horror of horrors, sent with a $.40 "forever" stamp. And how to portray Putin as "racist, sexist, homophobic and bad" since he is the archtype of "progressive".

Tam said...

Kristophr,

[citation needed], dude.


Chris Gerrib,

In case you were wondering, I don't think there's anything in Ukraine worth the bones of a single Pennsylvania National Guardsman.


Fiftycal,

"I believe the half/white Obama "administration"..."

You stay classy, there.

NotClauswitz said...

Obama tried to get the Olympic games to Chicago but failed, what a payoff that would have been...at least the Euro-Kelptocrats knew where "Chicago" (AlCaponeingrad) was - or how/where the money was supposed to flow.
Is it only because the Olympics (or Twitter?) that Americans know where the Ukraine is? Perhaps now War is not the only way Americans learn geography.

Kristophr said...

Tam:

http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Betrayed-Herbert-Hoovers-Aftermath-ebook/dp/B0076QSNW8/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/185-7541717-0761636

Kinda spendy for a kindle addition.

Get a kindle email to me and I'll loan you my copy.

Tam said...

Kristophr,

Thanks! Just copypasta a paragraph into an email or gimme some names I can plug into Google; you know I'd love reading more on that stuff.

I grew up hatin' on FDR at grandma's knee. ;)

Kristophr said...

I'll see if I can screenshot the pages in question.

Kindle makes it deliberately difficult to copy-paste from ebooks.

Tam said...

Ossum. Thank you!

Buzz said...

As if the Russians didn't have more than their fair share of femme hawtness in the winter Olympics, they needed some hetero Ukraine hotties to increase their medal count.

(how's that for digging deep into the chauvinist pig trough?)

Kristophr said...

<a href="https://plus.google.com/photos/108579391966020845121/albums/5985648893191438145>Here ya go.</a>

You might want to buy this one. Be aware that the first 10% of the book consists of two long-ass rebuttals by the Democrat publisher and editor.

Kristophr said...

Page 3 is particularly damning.

Goober said...

Brilliant AND hillarious. In a dark sort of way. Alath, you win my internets today, at least. Well done.

markm said...

"One could argue that Europe over-reacted to the Archduke's assassination."

To summarize Barbara Tuchman's book The Guns of August in one sentence, the assassination was an excuse, not a reason.

As long as Serbia existed as an independent nation that once was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it would be an example for all the other tribes subject to Austria, so Austria _needed_ to conquer Serbia. Russia wanted to invade Austria and move the border west. Germany wanted to invade Russia. Turkey wanted to recover some former territory from Russia, while it's armies were tied up elsewhere. France wanted revenge for 1870, and also to get Alsace and Lorraine back. Therefore, the Prussian high command figured that they had to go through Belgium to knock France out of the war before Russia got moving. Great Britain was pledged to defend Belgium's neutrality - and more importantly, for security they needed to keep the opposite shore of the English Channel divided up among various friendly or militarily insignificant nations.

So a generation of Brits died in Flanders rather than risk the theoretical possibility of someday having to fight a German invasion on their own soil. And that was a better reason than most of the other nations had for that war.

But Tuchman also shows how the logistics of mass war and the unwillingness of governments to admit mistakes turned bluffing into mobilization, mobilization into border clashes, border clashes into invasions, and invasions into a bloody 4-year stalemate and a war of attrition far more costly than whatever they'd been ready to fight over. Honorable men would have ended the war in 1915 with a negotiated return to the original boundaries, and then hung themselves before their own people got around to it, but politicians just kept repeating their mistakes and hoping it would work out in the end.