Expect some ad hominem.
Expect some ad hominem.
The Russian administration says that it will have no choice but to respond if the United States imposes economic sanctions over the ongoing Crimean crisis.
The Obama administration and the hotheads in Congress are threatening to hit Russia with “economic sanctions” for moving troops into Crimea. Yes, those sanctions would sting a little bit, but what our politicians should be made aware of is the fact that Russian officials are promising “to respond” if economic sanctions are imposed on them. As you will read about below, one top Kremlin adviser is even suggesting that Russia could abandon the U.S. dollar and start dumping U.S. debt. In addition, he is also suggesting that if sanctions are imposed that Russian companies would not repay the debts that they owe U.S. banks. Needless to say, Russia could do far more economic damage to the United States than the United States could do to Russia.
International law is suddenly very popular in Washington. President Obama responded to Russian military intervention in the Crimea by accusing Russia of a “breach of international law.” Secretary of State John Kerry followed up by declaring that Russia is “in direct, overt violation of international law.”
Unfortunately, during the last five years, no world leader has done more to undermine international law than Barack Obama. He treats it with rhetorical adulation and behavioral contempt, helping to further normalize a might-makes-right approach to global affairs that is the antithesis of international law.
Fifty years ago, another former law professor, Senator Wayne Morse, condemned such arrogance of power. “I don’t know why we think, just because we’re mighty, that we have the right to try to substitute might for right,” Morse said on national TV in 1964. “And that’s the American policy in Southeast Asia — just as unsound when we do it as when Russia does it.”
Today, Uncle Sam continues to preen as the globe’s big sheriff on the side of international law even while functioning as the world’s biggest outlaw.… Read the rest
Olympics live for Heroes and Sheroes—the “amateur” athlete winners that TV sportscasters swoon over, and companies later reward with lucrative endorsement contracts that, in turn, push them in the celebrity elite, often with enough staying power to move effortlessly from competition to commentary.
This year, in Sochi, America’s sweetheart is an 18 year old teenager with doting and photogenic parents who has won hearts as she slalomed to Olympic Gold.
It helps that Mikaela Shiffrin is attractive and articulate, self-deprecating in an aw-shucks adolescent manner, and yet a model of iron discipline on the slopes.
It was clear from her fawning video profile that she was destined to be the ‘got it’ girl on her way to the glory of a gold.
Shiffrin has a way with words as well as skills. She was upbeat and catchy in conversation with reporters, who, then, couldn’t say enough good things about her unaffected style.… Read the rest
The Winter Olympics are off and running, and the media focus is about the threat of terrorism, Putin’s motives in holding it, and why a backward town in the old Soviet Union that has been a center of human rights abuse for years is somehow, surprise, surprise, not up to the luxury standards in Los Angeles or Park City Utah (especially for reporters who bitch the most!)
As the Guardian noted,
“every Olympics experienced pre-Games jitters: in London there was the last-minute panic over security guards that resulted in the army being called in; in Vancouver there were street protests and a fatality on the luge course; and the runup to Beijing was clouded by human-rights protests during the torch relay.”
The politics of it is always conspicuous by its presence; the economic agenda behind it conspicuous by its absence.
Every day, the stories are more and more absurd: The Russians are blocking a delivery of Greek yogurt for our figure skaters or rounding up stray dogs—features like that.… Read the rest
To say that what’s happening in Ukraine is extremely important is an understatement. It will be precedent setting, just like what’s happening in Syria (2), and just like what happened in Afghanistan and Iran, but a lot more on that later. For now, the following has been added as an update to: “What Cold War? This Cold War: Death Follows McCain to the Ukraine as the Armenia-ultimatum to Screw over Russia Fails Again for the EU and the U.S.”
Ukraine crisis: Leaked phone call embarrasses US – “The two officials also discuss frankly the merits of the three main Ukrainian opposition leaders – Vitaly Klitschko, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Oleh Tyahnybok. The female speaker says that Mr Klitschko, the former heavyweight boxing world champion, should not be in any new government. ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea.’ She adds: ‘I think Yats (Arseniy Yatseniuk) is the guy who’s got the economic experience.’”
Марионетки Майдана (Marionettes of Maidan)
… Read the rest
The Winter Olympics haven’t even started yet, but we’d like to bet that the lasting image of these games will be the toilet etiquette sign captured by Canadian snowboarder Sebastien Toutant whose tweeted photograph has gone viral in a major way:
Well played, Canada. Well played.
It has become obvious that what’s going on in Ukraine is an extension of the cold war as the U.S. and the EU try and peddle a modified version of the Armenia-ultimatum to their people. Sound complicated? It’s not really. What’s going on in Ukraine is an economic proxy war that has turned sour.
The trade deal that the EU has offered the Ukraine is garbage. To find out how bad it is all we have to do is look at why Armenia ended up telling the EU to shove it when they tried to jam the same deal down their throats.
In September 2013, Armenia called off an Armenia-EU Association Agreement after they found out that the trade deal was not really about easing trade restrictions with the EU but about screwing over Russia, and themselves by extension:
“The apparently smooth progress towards a final deal came to a shuddering halt in early September, when President Serzh Sargsyan met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and announced plans to join another economic bloc, the Moscow-led Customs Union.
A BBC photo of a men’s cubicle with twin toilets at a Sochi Olympics venue has caused a Twitter storm in Russia.
The picture from the Biathlon Centre tweeted by Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg was picked up by opposition leader Alexei Navalny among others.
Mr Navalny queried how the budget for the games, said to be $50bn (£30bn; 1,700bn roubles), had been spent.
Elsewhere, the photo caused disbelief and much hilarity, with some linking it to the recent debate over gay rights.
“Seeing double in the Gentlemen’s Loo at the Olympic Biathlon Centre,” our correspondent wrote in his original tweet.
Retweeting the photo, Mr Navalny commented: “This is a men’s toilet in a Sochi Olympics media centre for 1.5bn roubles [£27m; $45m].”
“Two toilets – 28,000 roubles,” wrote another blogger.