Streetwise Professor

April 14, 2014

Men Without Chests: The Pusillanimity Riot

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia,Uncategorized — The Professor @ 8:33 pm

The egregious pusillanimity, fecklessness, and cravenness in the US, Europe, and Ukraine, metastasizes day by day.

Today Obama, at Putin’s request, spoke with the Russian president.

That’s problem one. Obama should have said: we have nothing to talk about until you call off your dogs in eastern Ukraine, move your troops away from the border, and cease all economic pressure on Ukraine.

And yeah, all the previous five talks made such a big freaking difference. Hasn’t Obama heard about Einstein’s definition of insanity? Or maybe he is a glutton for punishment, and gets some perverse pleasure out of being Putin’s bitch.

Why do you think Putin asked for the call? The most likely explanation is that he gets off on having Obama being his supplicant, and then telling him to sod off.

Obama expressed “grave concern.” Judas Priest, if I hear “grave concern” or “deep concern” or “great concern” one more time I am  going to have a stroke. The most vacuous phrase in the English language, because this airy “concern” is never transformed into action.

It gets worse, if you can believe that’s possible:

[Obama] urged President Putin to use his influence with these armed, pro-Russian groups to convince them to depart the buildings they have seized.

“Use his influence”? Seriously? Barry-they are under Putin’s orders, as anyone with two eyes and a room temperature IQ can understand.

But it gets even worse!

Obama to reassure Putin: Won’t provide lethal aid to Ukraine

The White House on Monday said President Barack Obama would speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin soon, perhaps later in the day, and made clear the United States was not considering lethal aid for Ukraine.

“We are looking at a variety of ways to demonstrate our strong support for Ukraine including diplomatically and economically,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

“We’re not actively considering lethal aid but we are reviewing the kinds of assistance we can provide,” he said

Reassure Putin? Huh? So he can, after being suitably reassured, proceed to gobble up Ukraine with no fear of humiliating defeat, or even breaking a nail?

Here’s a thought: “Hey, Vlad. Remember those Kornet ATGMs that wound up in Hezbollah hands and caused the Israelis huge problems in Lebanon in 2006? Good times, good times. Well, anyways, since one good turn deserves another, we’re supplying  Javelins and TOWs out the wazoo to Ukraine. And we have all these Dragons that we’ve phased out laying around, but they were designed specifically to take out T-72s, and it would be a shame to have them sit around going to waste.  The C-130s and C-5s are winging their way as we speak. We’re nothing if not generous, and I hope you appreciate the spirit in which these are given. Have a nice day!”

If you can handle more, there’s this:

The President noted Russia’s growing political and economic isolation as a result of its actions in Ukraine and made clear that the costs Russia already has incurred will increase if those actions persist.

Obviously our genius president hasn’t figured out that Putin wants to isolate Russia: isolation is a feature, not a bug. He has made it quite clear that he views the west as a malign force, and fears that western ideas and influence threaten his control over Russia. But Obama so believes that everyone views the world the same way as he and the Harvard faculty and the Euros do, and would  just die! at the thought of being cut off from their wine and cheese parties. Mirror imaging will be the death of us.

And insofar as costs are concerned, even the seriously mentally challenged will have concluded that the “costs” that have been imposed heretofore have not checked Putin in the slightest. This implies that if Obama is serious about deterring Putin, he must dramatically ratchet up the pressure. Dramatically: the costs must be increased by orders of magnitude. The additional sanctions announced last week just convinced Putin of Obama’s lack of seriousness: yeah, like Putin could give a damn about the Crimean oil and gas company. Rosneft and Gazprom, and Sberbank and VTB: maybe that would get his attention.  But instead of stabbing brutally at the jugular, Obama gingerly pricks the capillaries.

Sadly, Obama has plenty of company in his pusillanimity riot.

The Euros have announced that they might have a meeting in a week or so to discuss the “emergency” in Ukraine. If it can wait a week, it ain’t an emergency. Disgusting. The Euros give every impression of someone who hopes that Putin will prevail in the next couple of days, so they can throw up their hands and say “Too bad! There’s nothing we can do now!”

But the Ukrainian “leadership” gives Obama and the Euros a run for their money for the Craven Cup. It is obviously paralyzed at the thought of exercising control over its own territory, and this paralysis just spurs on Putin. Acting President Turchynov declared that the military would undertake an “anti-terrorist” operation against those who have seized government buildings and facilities (including air bases) throughout eastern Ukraine. But as of yet, nothing serious has happened. This is stoking popular anger at the new government: Maidan may very well reconstitute itself to demand ouster of this government out of outrage at the abject failure to defend Ukraine from invasion by Russia.

If the World War II cohort was “the greatest generation,” we are its antithesis. We are the living personification of what C.S. Lewis called “men without chests.” Denatured humans, enervated by a smug rationalism that is profoundly irrational because it fails to take the world as it is, populated by people who see things much, much differently, and who act accordingly.

“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

That is where we are now.

 

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33 Comments »

  1. >> Acting President Turchynov declared that the military would undertake an “anti-terrorist” operation against those who have seized government buildings and facilities (including air bases) throughout eastern Ukraine. But as of yet, nothing serious has happened.

    Not true. The scope of Russian invasion has widened greatly since the beginning of the “operation”.

    Comment by Ivan — April 15, 2014 @ 1:18 am

  2. A Russian bank implicated in financing terrorist groups: http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/sbu-opens-criminal-case-on-russian-bank-financing-terrorists-in-eastern-ukraine-343626.html

    Comment by Ivan — April 15, 2014 @ 6:50 am

  3. +++Obama should have said: we have nothing to talk about until you call off your dogs in eastern Ukraine, move your troops away from the border, and cease all economic pressure on Ukraine.+++

    Not good enough. A complete and unconditional evacuation of Crimea must be a part of such conversation. Exactly these words: complete and unconditional. Colonel Botox(R) knows exactly what that means.

    Comment by LL — April 15, 2014 @ 9:04 am

  4. @LL

    Yeah, and Holstein should be unconditionally retuned to Denmark.

    The professor is an economist, yet refuses to face the really. UKRAINE IS BANKRUPT. Send money, not weapons.

    Comment by So? — April 15, 2014 @ 5:35 pm

  5. +++Send money+++

    Absolutely. Arrest and capture any Russian asset and give the proceeds to Ukraine.

    Comment by LL — April 15, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

  6. @So? Um. I said send money on the same fucking day Yanukovych fled. I faced reality from minute 1.

    And what’s the problem with both?

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 15, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

  7. @So?: In case you’ve forgotten. Funny. You commented on that post. Short memory, I guess.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 15, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

  8. Professor,

    So why is the West so stingy? Maybe, just maybe, no-one really cares about Ukraine, and things are going to plan at least from he German perspective. They cant afford another PIG.

    Russia is shipping Ukrainian arms to back to Ukraine from Crimea (may have suspended by now). Weapons are not Ukraines problem.. Ukraines problem is that “2 Ukrainians is a partisan group. 3 Ukrainians is a partisan group and a traitor”.

    Comment by So? — April 16, 2014 @ 1:04 am

  9. +++Absolutely. Arrest and capture any Russian asset and give the proceeds to Ukraine.+++

    In other words, you want business as usual – Ukraine sponging off Russia indefinitely. 23 years is not enough! Terrific! The Ukrainian language does not even have the word Russian in it. Only insults like Moscal and katzap. The first thing the junta did was ban the Russian language (back pedalling later, but it’s the kneejerk reaction that counts) and demand the next tranche of the loan agreed by Yanuk, while at he same time disputing that they were obligated to pay back loans negotiated by the previous regime. Ditto for the gas deal, which was negotiated by… Timoshenko.

    It could have been worse. Israel feeds Palestinian parasites, and they deny it even the right to exist.

    There used to be a regular here, who succinctly summarised Americas attititude to Russia in the 90s. “Here’s what you gotta do, and here’s some shit for your face.” It’s not 1996 anymore.

    Comment by So? — April 16, 2014 @ 5:08 am

  10. >> In other words, you want business as usual – Ukraine sponging off Russia indefinitely. 23 years is not enough!

    In other words, he suggests to stop business as usual and recover at least a portion of what was stolen by Russia. Because 23 years is enough.

    Comment by Ivan — April 16, 2014 @ 7:31 am

  11. There used to be a regular here, who succinctly summarised Americas attititude to Russia in the 90s. “Here’s what you gotta do, and here’s some shit for your face.”

    Russia effectively lost a major war. They should count themselves lucky that the victors didn’t slaughter the menfolk, plough salt into the fields, and leave the rest to starve to death in the manner of yesteryear. Instead, they got told how to form a functioning nation but greed and stupidity prevented them from implementing it. And this is the fault of the west, apparently.

    Comment by Tim Newman — April 16, 2014 @ 8:45 am

  12. Concerned. You are correct. Thank you so much for publicly voicing my inner thoughts. Concerned is the favorite word of liberal progressive propaganda manifesto.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists = slick Obama-oid neo-liberals who hide behind duplicity.
    Federation of American Scientists = Tiresome, cynical old anti-nuclear proliferation advocates who are consistent and honest.

    Latter isn’t necessarily correct, but former (the “concerned” scientists who are public policy folks) cannot be trusted. UCS are in the Obama camp, 100%.

    Comment by Ellie Kesselman — April 16, 2014 @ 9:32 am

  13. hi, i found this on Radio free europe website.
    Very illuminating…

    http://www.rferl.org/contentinfographics/pro-russian-protests-appear-in-strategic-towns-in-ukraines-south-and-east-/25334338.html

    Comment by GIORGIO — April 16, 2014 @ 10:14 am

  14. +++ It’s not 1996 anymore.+++

    I know, it is 2014. By now, Russia has had more than enough time to come clean from its criminal past and to do a real Westernizing reform, including thorough de-communization and lustration. In 1996 there was an excuse of not having enough time. Now it is past any time to have any excuses.

    Therefore, here’s what you gotta do. And f@ck you heavily if you don’t.

    Comment by LL — April 16, 2014 @ 11:17 am

  15. And yes, keeping Russia poor and week must be our long-term strategy for the observable future. They simply cannot be trusted with money; as soon as they get rich, they begin to cause trouble. So there.

    Comment by LL — April 16, 2014 @ 11:19 am

  16. ‘week’ = ‘weak’ of course. Editing feature would be nice here…

    Comment by LL — April 16, 2014 @ 11:20 am

  17. Russia could have easily implemented a final solution for Germany given what they had done the previous 4 years. Yet did not. Would have shut up those armchair generals about the kill ratio.

    And exactly did Russia do to the West during the cold war? Worked as America’s patsy in Europe (them commies are out to get you), as America carved up European colonial empires?

    Russia had 20000 nuclear weapons in 1991. Maybe that’s why the west never tried.

    Comment by So? — April 16, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

  18. LL,

    You keep evading the big question. The West recognized the Democratic junta, and has refused to give it a cent since. WHY?

    Ukraine had a much better starting point than Russia in 1991, already by 1994 Ukrainians worked as guest workers in Russia, not the other way around. Oil was what, 30 bucks then?

    BTW, the commie east of Ukraine produces most of her wealth. One would have thought that the west would have, given 30 years less of godless communism. Instead most of the Ukrainian guest workers in Russia are from the West.

    Comment by So? — April 16, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

  19. Gentlemen, be attentive to the ladies around you. Look what happened to our mutual fiend Kim Zigfeld/LaRussophobe after everybody abandoned her: she went mad and, in desperate attempts to regain notoriety, pretty much made a claim that the horrors of WWII in Europe were “very, very good to America” and that the USA defeated USSR in WWII, killed 10 million Soviet soldiers, and exterminated 17 million Jews and other Soviet civilians, or at least that the Holocaust and other horrors of WWWII was something for her to celebrate and gloat:

    http://dyingrussia.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/get-it-straight-russia-lost-world-war-ii/

    World War II, as Studs Terkel declared, was a “good war” for the US that led to superpower status, economic boom and atomic monopoly. For the Soviet Union, victory over Nazi Germany led to the deaths of 10 million soldiers and 17 million civilians while another 25 million people lived in holes in the ground by 1945. So get it straight: Russia lost World War II, and America won.”

    She then goes on making other, less hilarious mistakes. Such as:

    1. Not knowing that USSR was a nuclear superpower which, if attacked, was capable of turning the entire USA into a “burnt ground”, as Yulia Tymoshenko would say. Actually, Kim believes that the USA had an “atomic monopoly”, i.e., USSR, UK, France etc didn’t have any nuclear weapons!

    “World War II, as Studs Terkel declared, was a “good war” for the US that led to superpower status, economic boom and atomic monopoly.”

    2. Not knowing the number of casualties in the Russian Civil War:

    The Russian Civil War (11 million deaths)

    3. Total historical ignorance:

    “Russia, losing half its population and Eastern European empire, went from being a superpower to being derisively called “upper Volta with nuclear weapons.”

    In reality the Soviet dissidents called their country “upper Volta with nuclear weapons” back in hte 1960s, that is, 25 years BEFORE hte break-up, not AFTER.

    4. Total lack of logic:

    “Russia went from being a superpower to being derisively called “upper Volta with nuclear weapons.” Earlier in the 20th century there were other disasters: the Japanese victory in the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, massive defeats in World War I that led to the February and October Revolutions, the Russian Civil War (11 million deaths) and the horrors of the 1930s.”

    So, all through its 20th century history USSR went from one disaster to another, never even had nuclear arms, but was “a superpower”! When?

    5. IQ that of a pigeon:

    Crimeans are finding out fast that Russia’s promises to them were illusory, and that they’ve made a fatal mistake by throwing in their lot with Russia. They will watch their former fellow citizens to the north join the EU and NATO and soar to economic prosperity while, chained to Russia, they sink into the miasma of Russian failure.

    She actually thinks that the EU will accept Ukraine as its member! LOL!

    Let me just finish with a bit of economic reality:

    List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita

    44 Estonia 24,450
    45 Lithuania 24,356
    46 Russia 23,589
    47 Poland 22,783
    48 Hungary 22,635
    49 Latvia 21,810

    99 Ukraine 7,298
    103 Bhutan 6,591
    104 Armenia 6,544
    108 Angola 6,006
    109 Georgia 5,833
    110 Mongolia 5,374
    113 Swaziland 5,161

    Comment by vladislav — April 16, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

  20. Reading comprehension issues, Vladislav? It figures.

    Comment by LL — April 16, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

  21. @vladislav. Did you really mean to write “mutual fiend” rather than “mutual friend”? If so, that would be rather amusing. I never would have expected that from you.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 16, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

  22. > Did you really mean to write “mutual fiend” rather than “mutual friend”?

    Of course I did! I always try to be funny and punny. Sometime others like it, sometimes not. You haven’t noticed that more than half of my posts are pure sarcasm?!

    Since you appreciated my last joke, maybe you’ll enjoy some of my posts in my blog? For example this one about Putin and botox:

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/from-the-sublime-to-the-ridiculous/
    От великого до смешного – один шаг… From the sublime to the ridiculous

    Or these attemts at understated humour:

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/why-foi-gras-and-force-feeding-of-animals-is-inhumane/

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/exuberant-overconsumption/

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/my-worst-fears-came-true/

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/sinful-fruit/
    Fruits of Sin

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/a-shakespearian-tragedy-hits-american-mass-media/
    Love at First Site: a Shakespearean Tragedy Hits the American Mass Media

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/visit-your-italian-restaurant-before-it-all-ends/

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/meat-scandal-in-europe/
    They found a horse in their hors d’oeuvre

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/where-to-see-the-red-square/
    When visiting St. Petersburg, Russia, go and see one of its attractions: The Red Square

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/was-insomnia-responsible-for-stalins-paranoia/
    Was insomnia responsible for Stalin’s paranoia?

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/mop-after-yourself/
    Mop After Yourself! Samson Slaying The Belgian Pissing Boy

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/zigfelds-follies/
    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Zigfeld’s follies

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/gentlemen-start-your-engines/

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/just-another-polish-joke/
    Hurts only when I laugh

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/france-free-your-fries/
    Free French fries! Give freedom to French fries or give me death!

    http://vladrutenburg.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/computers-to-grade-human-thought/

    The rest of the humour is in Russian

    Comment by vladislav — April 17, 2014 @ 1:08 am

  23. Exuberant overconsumption

    Just heard of a middle aged middle class couple that built themselves a house with 7 bathrooms.

    Wouldn’t Kaopectate be a cheaper solution?

    Comment by vladislav — April 17, 2014 @ 1:17 am

  24. “Russia effectively lost a major war. They should count themselves lucky that the victors didn’t slaughter the menfolk, plough salt into the fields, and leave the rest to starve to death in the manner of yesteryear.”

    What they got was ‘Free Market Democratic Reform’ that had deaths exceeding births by a million a year. So, less change from ‘yesteryear’ than you think, Tim.

    “Instead, they got told how to form a functioning nation but greed and stupidity prevented them from implementing it.”

    Jeff Sachs sez that the USG was complicit in flogging off Russian state assets to parasitic oligarchs, with the results I describe above.

    Putin curbed their depredations, and lo, Russians are no longer dying off, much to LL’s evident frustration.

    Comment by PailiP — April 17, 2014 @ 10:11 am

  25. PailiP, are you a Marxist? You can tell us, we promise to keep your dirty secret.

    Comment by LL — April 17, 2014 @ 10:37 am

  26. Seriously? You cannot conceive of a basis for thinking the US policy towards Russia in the 1990s was dumb, apart from Marxism?

    Wow.

    Marx was a perceptive observer of 19th Century global capitalism.

    The theory of history he got from Hegel was ludicrous.

    But to put it in words that I’m sure will resonate for you:

    I am not now, nor have I ever been…. a Marxist.

    Comment by PailiP — April 17, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

  27. Ah yes, it was the Americans who flogged off Russia’s state assets to the mouth breathing KGB thugs. Of course it was.

    Comment by Tim Newman — April 17, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

  28. Tim Newman wrote:

    > Russia effectively lost a major war. They should count themselves lucky that the victors didn’t slaughter the menfolk, plough salt into the fields, and leave the rest to starve to death in the manner of yesteryear.”

    The only recent war that Russia lost was the Afghanistan war. But how could Taliban “slaughter the menfolk, plough salt into the fields, and leave the rest to starve to death in the manner of yesteryear” in Russia? I hope you do realize that you are dealing with the USSR, a superpower that could blow up the entire globe with nukes, if it was attacked. Come to think of it, so can modern Russia.

    Comment by vladislav — April 17, 2014 @ 11:10 pm

  29. Forgetting the first war of independence in Chechnya are you Vladislav?

    Comment by Andrew — April 18, 2014 @ 4:37 am

  30. http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/yrusfail/yrusfail.htm

    Comment by Andrew — April 18, 2014 @ 4:46 am

  31. Andrew, if you look up the history books, you will discover that after the 1st Chechen war, waged and lost by Yeltsin, there came the 2nd Chechen war, waged by Putin. Guess who won.

    > They should count themselves lucky that the victors didn’t slaughter the menfolk

    That has actually happened a bit, as Chechen gangsters, who have flooded Moscow, have killed quite a few Moscovite men.

    Comment by vladislav — April 18, 2014 @ 5:04 am

  32. Two separate wars Vladislav.
    Russia lost the first one, an “won” the second by co opting Kadyrov’s father and effectively giving him carte blanche to rule.

    Though cobsidering the fighting is now an ongoing insurgency, of a lower level than full scale fighting to be sure, in a much larger area than Chechnya I’d say won is a debateable description of what Putin acheived.

    Also the Chechens I know say their sons will take revenge for the horrors dealt to their people by Russia.

    So explain Vladislav, why is it ok for Russians in Ukraine to demand independence, but not for Chechens to do so?

    Comment by Andrew — April 18, 2014 @ 6:56 am

  33. > So explain Vladislav, why is it ok for Russians in Ukraine to demand independence, but not for Chechens to do so?

    Because the governments of Yeltsin and Puitn are legitimate democratically elected constitutional governments.

    In Ukraine we have an anti-constitutional junta; and all of Ukraine, possibly except for its stronghold regions, must by law be liberated from it.

    Comment by vladislav — April 20, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

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