Streetwise Professor

August 27, 2014

Merkel Channels Ricky Ricardo. Somehow Putin Doesn’t Strike Me as the Lucy Type.

Filed under: History,Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 7:36 pm

This would be hilarious, if it weren’t so sick.

Today there were numerous detailed reports of Russian troops invading southeastern Ukraine, with the attacks focusing on the town of Novoazovsk, on the road to Mariupul. This strikes Ukraine to the rear of its main effort to the north in Donetsk, and threatens to uncover Crimea, providing Russian troops with another axis of advance into Ukraine.

Note that this has occurred after Merkel pressured Poroshenko to give Putin a face-saving out, and the very day after Putin and Poroshenko met. A meeting during which Putin said that the conflict was purely an internal Ukrainian matter to be worked out between the Kiev government and the rebels.

So what did Merkel do in response to this very serious escalation? She channeled Ricky Ricardo, and called Putin to tell him he had some ‘splainin’ to do:

Angela Merkel told President Vladimir Putin by phone on Wednesday that reports of a new Russian military incursion into Ukrainian territory had to be cleared up, a spokesman for the chancellor said in a statement.

“The latest reports of the presence of Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory must be explained,” said Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert. “She emphasised Russia’s major responsibility for de-escalation and watching over its own frontiers.”

Yeah. Tell Putin to de-escalate right after he’s escalated. That’s telling him.

Explain the reports? Clear things up? The level of unseriousness here is off the charts.

So what is this, the 35th Merkel to Putin call? These calls have accomplished what, exactly?

The most plausible hypothesis is that what they’ve accomplished is to convince Putin that he can do as he wills, without fearing any German response worth mentioning. (As for Obama, start printing the milk cartons with his picture. He’s been missing on this for weeks. The US response has been limited to unleashing the #hashtagteam of Psaki and Harf. Gawd. Speaking of the fearsome hashtags, has Nigeria gotten its girls back yet? No? So how come nobody’s hash tagging it any more?)

But this call to “explain” is a new low. Is Merkel a slow learner? Has she considered the possibility that the explanation for “reports” of Russian tanks in Novoazovsk is that there are Russian tanks in Novoazovsk?  Does she expect Putin will all of a sudden cop to this after denying Russian involvement for  six months (going back to Crimea)?

I see that the Germans do not say what Putin’s explanation was. Presumably because it was impossible to hear through the guffaws.

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  1. She’s not stupid IMHO. She has pact with the Hitler of our times.

    It is so sad being ukrainian nowadays. Ukraine is lonely against Putin. Ukraine has to fight in guerrilla war now and show Putin what an asymetrical warfare is. Conventional war without the military assistence of at least a country with nukes is impossible to win. But it could be fairly easy to sabotage the gas system of Ukraine. The gas supply to the EU should be cut now, and maybe this will make Frau Ribbentrop think twice.

    Comment by Europeo — August 27, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

  2. Merkel should try to remember that KGB Comrade Col. Putin used to have an office in Berlin–he’s probably planning on moving in soon.

    Comment by Jim Bain — August 27, 2014 @ 8:29 pm

  3. SWP, I’ve been speechless for weeks. This is all so outrageous, I can’t even comprehend it. Your coverage has been brilliant but soul-crushing. The West is morally bankrupt.

    Comment by Howard Roark — August 27, 2014 @ 9:29 pm

  4. Probably the saddest thing is that Merkel probably enjoys the support of most Germans, and indeed many Europeans, on this issue. They couldn’t give a shit about Ukraine or anyone else except their own comfortable, state-subsidized lives.

    Comment by Tim Newman — August 27, 2014 @ 10:56 pm

  5. Where are the evidence … Ask for evidence and most of the conflict becomes easier to understand. Not the least who is lying

    Comment by Eva Berglund — August 28, 2014 @ 12:05 am

  6. We have been here before. 2008 during the Russian invasion of Georgia

    Comment by Andrew — August 28, 2014 @ 5:37 am

  7. To quote John Schindler of the XX Committee:

    Putin is pushing in #Ukraine now to show that postmodern Europeans will not fight for their freedom & way of life. Not sure he’s wrong.

    Comment by Blackshoe — August 28, 2014 @ 7:47 am

  8. @Tim-Yes, very sad. The lotus eaters don’t want to be disturbed.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 28, 2014 @ 7:48 am

  9. In a recent NY Review of Books interview with George Soros on the state of the EU, Europe, Ukraine, and Russia (, Soros deftly applied a critique to Merkel.

    While the discussion is on the preservation of the euro all the while failing to mitigate fiscal malaise of the EU, the general sentiment is applicable to Merkel’s foreign policy M.O.

    Soros says, ” … Chancellor Angela Merkel is satisfied with the way she handled the crisis and so is the German public. They reelected her with an increased majority. She has always done the absolute minimum necessary to preserve the euro. This has earned her the allegiance of both the pro- Europeans and those who count on her to protect German national interests. That is no mean feat.”

    ” … she has always done the absolute minimum …”

    Comment by Max Pyziur — August 28, 2014 @ 7:52 am

  10. Awwww… Poor Cwaigie so sad that snarling Banderastanis will be prevented taking over Donetsk/Lugansk.

    Comment by Wanderer — August 28, 2014 @ 9:21 am

  11. @Wanderer-Do you have any idea what a douchebag you sound like? Probably not. Douchebags seldom do.

    The real fascist here is Putin. And you are his little apologist and troll.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 28, 2014 @ 10:26 am

  12. Comments like Wanderer’s remind me that if we ever had ourselves a war- gut-busting, mother-loving, war-that control of the Internet would have to follow, just like control over other sources of media happened in WW2. There are too many trolls and propagandists who are allowed to exist otherwise.

    The Internet is not some magical global common that can’t be touched by war…it’s a battlefield just like any other. People will howl and scream about it…but it would still happen.

    Comment by Blackshoe — August 28, 2014 @ 10:39 am

  13. I am wondering that now, under different circumstances, the idea to supply the Ukrainian military with the real-time sigint data looks more reasonable than before. They seem to be sorely lacking in that department.

    Comment by LL — August 28, 2014 @ 11:53 am

  14. Awwww… Poor Cwaigie so sad that President Dubya Bush pissed away Full Spectrum Global Dominance, and a budget surplus, on two bungled wars.

    Bungled wars have consequences.

    Comment by Wanderer — August 28, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

  15. Dear Wanderer: You keep toeing the party line, but the party keeps moving the line without telling you. The story about east-Ukrainians resisting west-Ukrainian fascists has gotten stale now that it’s been exposed that they are actually Russian paratroopers. Please keep us posted on what the new line is.

    Comment by aaa — August 28, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

  16. @LL. I think it was reasonable all along, despite the fact that some of it would have inevitably been betrayed to the Russians. It is a force multiplier, and creates virtually no risk for the US. Hell, we gave intelligence to Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War. Should have been done from day one, and it should be done immediately, if not sooner.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 28, 2014 @ 4:03 pm


    Comment by Anders — August 28, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

  18. @Wanderer-Doubling down on douchebaggery.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 28, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

  19. +++Bungled wars have consequences.+++
    Like an endless supply of idiots saying bungled wars have consequences.

    Comment by LL — August 28, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

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