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General News

Ukraine Smoke and Mirrors

By       Message William Boardman     Permalink
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Is Anyone Playing This "Crisis" Straight? 

By William Boardman -- Reader Supported News

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Maidan East
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Whether it's a real crisis doesn't matter as long as you're afraid

Just when the U.S. Defense Secretary was in Japan giving indications that the Ukraine "crisis" was over as far as the U.S. was concerned, Ukrainians of all sorts, other Washington officials, and even the Japanese government all pitch in to keep the "crisis" alive, at least as a threat meme.

How much of a Ukraine crisis is it, really, when pro-Russians Ukrainians seize Ukrainian government buildings, calling for Russians protection/intervention -- and the Russians don't come?  They don't even threaten to come. That's been true for several days as this is written. Maybe it won't be true as you read it, since writing about Ukraine these days is like leaving a message in the sand without knowing where the tide line is on the beach. 

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All the same, the opportunity, the pretext, the moment for Russian intervention arrived April 6 in eastern Ukraine (in the three oblasts of Kharkiv, Luhansk, and especially Donetsk). Russia, already presumed to have the means and the motive, did not seize the opportunity to invade any part of Ukraine. Quite the contrary, the Russians, and the Germans, and the European Union were all calling for calm, dialogue, and de-escalation. While others fulminated fantasy threats, German Chancellor Angela Merkel put the Russian takeover of Crimea in perspective with the succinctness of sanity, saying she considered it a "singular event." The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton called for "de-escalation and the avoidance of further destabilization." 

Along with many American officials, the acting government of Ukraine has been inflating the Russian "threat" for weeks, stoking fear that the Ukraine mainland was poised to go the way of Crimea. That's the Ukrainian propaganda line that's still waiting for -- or possibly seeking to provoke -- confirmation on the ground. This fear-mongering is based on two assumptions: (1) that Russia has annexed Crimea (true) and (2) that Russian troops along the Ukrainian border (hard to nail down, more about that later) are planning to invade eastern Ukraine (counterintuitive from a rational perspective, but impossible to prove until it happens, or doesn't). In any event, it's a useful distraction for the Kiev government, which can't even run its parliament without breaking into fistfights. 

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
 

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