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Archive for the ‘Yemen’ Category

If Americans Truly Cared About Muslims, They Would Stop Killing Them by the Millions

Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 02/01/2017 – 14:17
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Americans welcome only token numbers of people from countries devastated by U.S. wars of aggression. Donald Trump’s current ban on travelers affects nations that were already targeted by President Obama, “a perfect example of the continuity of U.S. imperial policy in the region.” The memo from State Department “dissenters” contains “not a word of support for world peace, nor a hint of respect for the national sovereignty of other peoples.”
If Americans Truly Cared About Muslims, They Would Stop Killing Them by the Millions
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“Since 2001, war has been normalized in the U.S. — especially war against Muslims.”
In the most dramatic expression of insider opposition to a sitting administration’s policies in generations, over 1,000 [3] U.S. State Department employees signed on to a memo protesting President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries setting foot on U.S. soil. Another recent high point in dissent among the State Department’s 18,000 worldwide employees occurred in June of last year, when 51 diplomats called for U.S. air strikes [4] against the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad.
Neither outburst of dissent was directed against the U.S. wars and economic sanctions that have killed and displaced millions of people in the affected countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Rather, the diplomatic “rebellion” of last summer sought to pressure the Obama administration to join with Hillary Clinton and her “Big Tent” full of war hawks to confront Russia in the skies over Syria, while the memo currently making the rounds of State Department employees claims to uphold [5] “core American and constitutional values,” preserve “good will towards Americans” and prevent “potential damage to the U.S. economy from the loss of revenue from foreign travelers and students.”

In neither memo is there a word of support for world peace, nor a hint of respect for the national sovereignty of other peoples — which is probably appropriate, since these are not, and never have been, “core American and constitutional values.”

“The diplomatic ‘rebellion’ of last summer sought to pressure the Obama administration to join with Hillary Clinton and her ‘Big Tent’ full of war hawks to confront Russia in the skies over Syria.”

Ironically, the State Department “dissent channel” was established during one of those rare moments in U.S. history when “peace” was popular: 1971, when a defeated U.S. war machine was very reluctantly winding down support for its puppet regime in South Vietnam. Back then, lots of Americans, including denizens of the U.S. government, wanted to take credit for the “peace” that was on the verge of being won by the Vietnamese, at a cost of at least four million Southeast Asian dead. But, those days are long gone. Since 2001, war has been normalized in the U.S. — especially war against Muslims, which now ranks at the top of actual “core American values.” Indeed, so much American hatred is directed at Muslims that Democrats and establishment Republicans must struggle to keep the Russians in the “hate zone” of the American popular psyche. The two premiere, officially-sanctioned hatreds are, of course, inter-related, particularly since the Kremlin stands in the way of a U.S. blitzkrieg in Syria, wrecking Washington’s decades-long strategy to deploy Islamic jihadists as foot soldiers of U.S. empire.
The United States has always been a project of empire-building. George Washington called it a “nascent empire [6],” Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from France in pursuit of an “extensive empire [6],” and the real Alexander Hamilton [7], contrary to the Broadway version, considered the U.S. to be the “most interesting empire in the world.” The colonial outpost of two million white settlers (and half a million African slaves) severed ties with Britain in order to forge its own, limitless dominion, to rival the other white European empires of the world. Today, the U.S. is the Mother of All (Neo)Colonialists, under whose armored skirts are gathered all the aged, shriveled, junior imperialists of the previous era.
“The United States has always been a project of empire-building.”
In order to reconcile the massive contradiction between America’s predatory nature and its mythical self-image, however, the mega-hyper-empire must masquerade as its opposite: a benevolent, “exceptional” and “indispensible” bulwark against global barbarism. Barbarians must, therefore, be invented and nurtured, as did the U.S. and the Saudis in 1980s Afghanistan with their creation of the world’s first international jihadist network, for subsequent deployment against the secular “barbarian” states of Libya and Syria.

In modern American bureaucratese, worrisome barbarian states are referred to as “countries or areas of concern” — the language used to designate the seven nations targeted under the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 [8] signed by President Obama. President Donald Trump used the existing legislation as the basis for his executive order banning travelers from those states, while specifically naming only Syria. Thus, the current abomination is a perfect example of the continuity of U.S. imperial policy in the region, and emphatically not something new under the sun (a sun that, as with old Britannia, never sets on U.S. empire).
The empire preserves itself, and strives relentlessly to expand, through force of arms and coercive economic sanctions backed up by the threat of annihilation. It kills people by the millions, while allowing a tiny fraction of its victims to seek sanctuary within U.S. borders, based on their individual value to the empire.
“The mega-hyper-empire must masquerade as its opposite: a benevolent, “exceptional” and “indispensible” bulwark against global barbarism.”
Donald Trump’s racist executive order directly affects about 20,000 people [9], according to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. President Obama killed an estimated 50,000 Libyans in 2011, although the U.S. officially does not admit it snuffed out the life of a single civilian. The First Black President is responsible for each of the half-million Syrians that have died since he launched his jihadist-based war against that country, the same year. Total casualties inflicted on the populations of the seven targeted nations since the U.S. backed Iraq in its 1980s war against Iran number at least four million — a bigger holocaust than the U.S. inflicted on Southeast Asia, two generations ago — when the U.S. State Department first established its “dissent channel.”
But, where is the peace movement? Instead of demanding a halt to the carnage that creates tidal waves of refugees, self-styled “progressives” join in the macabre ritual of demonizing the “countries of concern” that have been targeted for attack, a process that U.S. history has color-coded with racism and Islamophobia. These imperial citizens then congratulate themselves on being the world’s one and only “exceptional” people, because they deign to accept the presence of a tiny portion of the populations the U.S. has mauled.

The rest of humanity, however, sees the real face of America — and there will be a reckoning.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com [10].
Links

http://blackagendareport.com/print/stop_killing_muslims


Nana’s Commentary – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Migrants and Refugees

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Migrants and Refugees

The Neocon Cabal had the idea of destabilizing the so called Middle East, guess they didn’t pencil in the immigrant issue and the tent cities this destabilization would create. Seems even the UN was a little behind the ball in allowing these “wars on Terror” to continue unabated. Maybe they couldn’t think clearly cause they missed their morning coffee. But it seems to me, since they are working with a so-called Global Agenda, they would have thought of this especially considering the number of refugees that left Afghanistan and Iraq. Now we got, Syria, Libya, and Yemen to add to the mix. 

It amazes me that the US and UK sought out Allies for their Global War on Terror, Allies who are all in Europe and the Middle East who would be the most impacted by the Exodus of people from war torn countries. This Exodus is taking place thousands of miles from America’s shores. Let their friends in Europe take the hit. That’s what friends are for? I guess they too will think twice before going along with the US and UK hidden agenda when it comes to the next “War On Terror”

Even if they return, which most of them want to do, what will they return to? An infrastructure completely destroyed, farmland destroyed, institutions of learning and religion destroy, livestock destroyed, and ins some cases the fall out from depleted uranium, etc. And the biggest purveyor of the “Lie” that hurled the world into war is least likely to take these immigrants in. Do I need to name names here?? I think not.

Millions of migrants seeking asylum in Europe face hostility, racism, and red tape. John Oliver does one admittedly tiny thing for one of them.

The notion that Europe’s population is decreasing in size was not a projection for Semitic people to come in and fill in the blanks. They want Europeans to increase their birth rate, they are afraid of annihilation or extinction of the European stock. That is the fundamental root cause of the hysteria. It’s racist and xenophobic. They do not wish to mix their seed with the seed of those coming from the Middle East no matter how much they profess to be Christians. To them these folks are Semitic and this is a form of antisemitism, quiet as it’s kept. They are also considered “brown” people and some of them are very dark “brown” especially coming from Yemen and Libya.

 

The Global Elite could care less about the inconvenience. They could care less about making sure these folks are carefully assimilated into these cultures. And for sure, their cultures are drastically different even in the case of those who are receiving them with open arms. The Cultural and language differences are going to be staggering. The immigrants may be able to adopt the language but they will have a difficult time with the food and customs. They need support from folks who speak their language, understand their customs and eat their food. Without that type of intervention and engineering, we will be looking at tent cities for some time. In fact, mass migrations have often lead to just that as can be seen in situations of natural disasters, #Katrina, #Haiti and on and on.

We live in a world lead by greedy psychopaths who could care less about the consequences of their actions and the impact it has on others. As long as their bellies are full, their homes in good repair, their water running and electricity working, their fine cars and clothes, they could care less about what happens to the other 99%.

This is a major crisis and cannot be taken care of with a bandade or two. It should be taken care of by the very ones who orchestrated this hegemony in the first place. They have billions for bombs and tearing up shit, but they don’t have money to save lives or to enhance the “others” way of life. No time, no policy, no desire, unless of course it is going to somehow enrich them in some way.

It is a totally sad state of affairs. Where’s FEMA with their trailers when you need them. (Snark!!)

Imperialism ‘Genocides the Poorest of the Poor’

Imperialism ‘Genocides the Poorest of the Poor’

‘The war and its results have turned Yemen back a hundred years, due to the destruction of infrastructure . . . especially in the provinces of Oden, Dhalea and Taiz.’
Izzedine al-Asbali
Yemeni Human Rights Minister
‘Yemen is devastated. There are no roads, water or electricity. Nobody’s left but thieves.’
A resident of Sana (Yemen)

Introduction

The Euro-American and Japanese ruling classes, as well as their collaborators in the Afro-Asian and Latin American countries, have accumulated vast profit. This has occurred through a complex stratified system re-concentrating the world’s wealth through:

  • 1. The exploitation of labor in the First World (North America and Western Europe)
  • 2. super-exploitation of labor in the Second World (China, ex-USSR)
  • 3. dispossession of peasants, native communities and urban dwellers to grab resources, land and real estate in the Third World
  • 4. wars of genocide against the poorest of the poor in the ‘Fourth World’

Besides all the forms of brutal exploitation and dispossession, which enrich the Euro-US ruling classes, by far the most sinister and threatening to humanity is the concerted worldwide effort to literally exterminate the poorest-of-the poor, the hundreds of millions of people no longer essential for the accumulation and concentration of imperial capital today.
This essay will begin by mapping the genocidal wars against ‘the wretched of the earth’, identifying the geography of genocide, the countries and subjects under attack, and the trajectory, which has been chosen and executed by the leaders of the Euro-American regimes.
Then we will examine the reason for genocide within the dynamics and forms of contemporary capitalism. In particular, we will develop the genocide hypothesis: that imperial genocide of the poorest of the poor is a deliberate policy to reduce the growing surplus labor, which is no longer needed or wanted for wealth accumulation but is increasingly feared as a potential political threat.
In the last section, we will discuss how the ‘wretched of the earth’ are responding to this policy of imperial genocide and what is to be done.

Mapping Genocide Against the Poorest of the Poor

It is no coincidence that the most violent assaults and invasions by the Euro-American powers have taken place against the poorest countries in each region of the world. In the Western hemisphere, the Euro-US regimes have repeatedly invaded the absolutely poorest country, Haiti, overthrowing the popularly elected Aristide government, decimating the population via a cholera epidemic spread by UN mercenary ‘peace-keepers’, killing tens of thousands of poor Haitians and rounding up thousands of protestors. The occupation continues. Honduras, the second poorest country in the region, experienced a US-backed coup d’état deposed their recently elected president and imposed a terrorist puppet regime, which regularly assassinates dissidents and landless rural workers. Peasants are dispossessed; the economy and society are in shambles with tens of thousands of Hondurans (especially children) fleeing the violence.
Today, the Euro-American powers actively support the absolutist regime of Saudi Arabia as it bombs and slaughters thousands of Yemeni civilians and resistance fighters. Yemen is the poorest country in the Gulf region.
Video Link
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3012403/Saudi-airstrikes-targeting-rebel-military-bases-Yemen.html#v-4135339495001

 
In South Asia, the US invaded and occupied Afghanistan; its coalition of puppets and NATO allies have massacred and displaced millions of poor farmers and civilians. Afghanistan is the poorest of the poor countries in the region.
In Africa, the Euro-American powers and their local collaborators have invaded, bombed and occupied Somalia, Chad and Mali – among the poorest of sub-Sahara countries.
After the US-NATO campaign of destruction against Libya, 1.5 million sub-Saharan Africans and black citizens of Libya lost their stable employment and became the victims of ethnic slaughter. Their attempts to escape the violence and starvation by fleeing to Europe are blocked by the leading powers (the same powers that destroyed the Libyan economy and society). Those, who do not drown in their flight, are detained and returned to their devastated countries and early deaths.
In Western Europe, millions of Greeks, Spaniards and Portuguese, inhabiting the poorest countries in the region, have faced massive job losses, widespread impoverishment and spiraling suicides – all induced by austerity programs designed to pillage their economies and enrich their Euro-US creditors.
In the United States, 1.5 million black (mostly male) Americans, are ‘missing’ – products of early death, industrial-scale incarceration and police assassinations. American Indian communities are subject to depredations and early death from the policies of the Federal and State governments. Their lands have been handed over to mining (and now fracking) to serve the interests of the mining and agro-business elite. Throughout the US Latino agricultural workers are increasingly viewed as ‘expendable’ with technology and the effects of global climate change (such as the severe drought in California) depriving them of livelihood.
In the Levant, Palestinians, now the poorest of the poor and the most disenfranchised, face continued Israeli land grabs, pillage and violence in the West Bank and genocidal attacks in Gaza. Iraq and Syria have experienced millions of deaths and displacements, reducing previously prosperous, educated and sophisticated multi-ethnic populations into impoverished, uprooted and desperate people deliberately driven backwards to tribal loyalties.

Why Imperialism ‘Genocides the Poorest of the Poor’

With the exception of Iraq and Syria, all of the violated countries have been poor in resources and markets, and possess large unskilled labor. The people are targeted and savaged because they no longer serve as ‘labor reserves’ – they are now excess-surplus labor – in Nazi racial hygiene terminology, they have become ‘useless mouths to feed’. This has intensified as crisis engulfs the West and the least productive sectors of capitalism, finance, real estate and insurance (FIRE), have become the leading sectors of capital. ‘Cheap labor’ is less needed, least of all overseas labor from conflictual regions.
The ‘poorest of the poor’ countries under attack lack rich resources ripe for plunder; their populations do not exist among the priorities of the multi-national bankers – except when seen as ‘obstacles’. In the colonial past, sectors of these populations would have been recruited by imperial countries to submit, obey and serve as imperial mercenaries or coolie labor. They would have been transported and employed by empire for ‘dirty’, dangerous and poorly paid jobs in other colonized countries – like the millions of Indians scattered throughout the former British Empire. Today, such coolies have no value.

Debate on Globalization: Threat or Opportunity?

The IMF’s stated mission is to “foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.” However, there are those who assert that the IMF is actually a destabilizing force within the global economy, while others believe that the countries themselves are to blame for poor economic choices. Africa Action, TransAfrica Forum, and IPS’ Foreign Policy In Focus will host this provocative contest of perspectives and analysis between Rick Rowden, a long-time critic of IMF policy, and Eugene Nyambal, former senior advisor to executive directors at the Board of Directors of the IMF. 

The genocidal nature of the wars against the ‘poorest of the poor’ is best demonstrated by the actual targets and primary victims of these wars: Millions of civilians, families, women, children and heads of households have suffered the worst. These ‘targets’ represent the most stable and essential elements responsible for family reproduction and security. The ‘poorest of the poor’ communities are being destroyed. Genocidal bombing has overwhelmingly targeted the essential factors for survival: cohesive households, communal settings, subsistence food growing regions and access to clean water.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that marriage ceremonies and traditional social gatherings have been ‘mistaken targets’ of missiles and drone strikes. Despite the denials from the White House, the geographic extent and nauseating number of such attacks demonstrate that according to the ‘genocide hypothesis’ there is ‘nowhere to hide’: The targeted populations will have no marriage celebrations, no social life, no increase in children among the poorest of the poor, no protection for the elders, no social fabric and no communal organizations – there will be no survival networks left for the superfluous of empire.
The ‘genocide hypothesis’ underlies the practice of ‘total war’. The practice includes massive attacks on non-military targets (‘Shock and Awe’) and the use of high tech weaponry to target collectives of the poorest of the poor – repeatedly, over long periods of time and wide geographic regions.
If, as the apologists of genocidal wars claim, the bombings of weddings and slaughter of school children are ‘collateral’ in the ‘Global War on Terror’ why are they happening everywhere in the fourth world and virtually everyday?
The genocide hypothesis best explains the data. Even the terminology and claims made by imperialist experts regarding their weapons systems support the genocide hypothesis. These weapons, we are told, are ‘intelligent, precise and highly accurate’ in targeting and destroying ‘the enemy’. By their own admission, then, the poorest of the poor have become ‘the enemy’, as imperial weapons makers support ‘intelligent’ genocide with ‘precision’.

Georgia Guide Stones

 
When liberals and leftists criticize how imperial drone strikes kill civilians, instead of ‘armed terrorists’, they are missing the essential point of the policy. The prime purpose of the wars and the imperial weapons of mass destruction is to kill the largest number of the very poorest in the shortest time.
No member of the financial-high tech capitalist class has ever complained about the mass killing of the ‘poorest of the poor’ anywhere or at any time because the victims are, for the purpose of accumulating imperial profit and concentrating wealth superfluous. The poorest don’t figure into the formulae of profit and productivity; they don’t ‘make or take’ markets. On the other hand, their continued existence is a potential liability. They are aesthetically unappealing on the outskirts of luxury resorts.
To the rich, they represent a desperate criminal element and they may pose a real or imagined ‘terrorist’ threat. For these reasons, the rich would ‘prefer’ that they would quietly cease to exist, or if the warlords have to dispose of them, the world will be a safer and more attractive place to accumulate wealth. ‘Let them kill each other, as they have done for millennia’, the empire piously opines and the bankers and their high tech allies can use their military and mercenaries without soiling their own hands. The elite ignore the mass emiseration while the militarists bomb ‘the problem’ out of existence.
Today genocide occurs in once vibrant living and working communities, not hidden in ‘concentration camps’. The secret ovens and gas chambers have been replaced by an ‘open range’ of incendiary weapons that end lives, burn neighborhoods and workshops, devastate livestock and crops. Those who survive the bombing are starved, enclosed, malnourished and inflicted with disease. Eminent doctors tell us that the misery is ‘self-inflicted’ and that the poorest of the poor are ignorant and lack healthy habits. Recurrent epidemics from HIV to cholera to Ebola are quintessential ‘4th world diseases’. Even though the Caribbean had not seen cholera for over a century, its introduction into Haiti via the bowels of imperial mercenary troops (UN peacekeepers from Nepal) was blamed on the Haitians’ lack of access to clean water! Not since the small pox blankets passed out by the US Army to freezing Native Americans in their concentration camps of the 19th century have we heard such apologists for genocide!
The truth about genocide is that all this is known, repeatedly documented and forgotten. White workers in the First World cannot even register these ‘facts’ under their own noses, let alone express any form of solidarity. Imperial genocide, committed by proactive militarists and ‘passive’ rich elites, are no secret even if they deny their complicity. The key word here is ‘mission’. ‘Mission Accomplished’ was the celebratory banner over the total destruction of Iraq. The warlords claim rewards for successfully completing ‘the mission’. Yemenis are dying under US-supplied Saudi bombs; Somalis are scattered in tens of thousands of tents to the four corners of the earth; Haitians continue to enjoy the ‘gift of cholera’ from UN ‘peacekeepers’ and rot in massive open air prison-slums – their leaders imprisoned or assassinated.

The Poorest of the Poor Respond

http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-week/leading-article/9501552/the-life-or-death-question-our-leaders-prefer-not-to-discuss/

 “One Friday, 28 people were rescued by the Italian coastguard when the boat on which they were fleeing Libya capsized in the Mediterranean. Arriving homeless and without prospects in a strange land, these were — relatively speaking — the lucky ones. As many as 700 are thought to have drowned. Add them to the tally. On Monday, another boat capsized with 400 souls feared lost. Last year more than 3,000 died in the Mediterranean trying to get to the West. It has become a phenomenon of our times.”

In the face of genocide and their irrelevance to the profit motive of modern high tech and finance capital, the poorest of the poor have chosen multiple responses:
(1) Mass out-migration, preferable to the First World, where they won’t be bombed, raped or starved as they had been at ‘home’;
(2) Internal migration to the cities, under the illusion of an ‘urban safe haven’ when in fact their concentration in slums makes it easier for the bombers;
(3) return to the countryside and subsistence farming or the mountains and subsistence herding, but the missiles and drones relentlessly follow them;
(4) mass flight to a neighboring country where the local gendarmes will ‘herd’ them into camps to rot and
(5) finally resistance. Resistance takes various forms: There are spontaneous upheavals when the scope of abuse exceeds all endurance. This form involves attacking the local collaborators and gendarmes and authorities and sacking food warehouses. Such action burns briefly and dies (many times literally). Some choose to join armed resistance bands, including gangs of brigands, political ethno-religious rivals and terrorists who retaliate against authors of their genocide and its collaborators with their own version of justice and material and celestial rewards.

Total war from above and the outside breeds total war from the inside and below. The rebellion of the ‘wretched of the earth’ in the 21st century is far different from that portrayed by Franz Fanon in the middle of the last century. Fanon described a revolt against colonialism and neo-colonialism.
Today the revolt is against deracination and genocide. During colonialism, the ‘wretched’ needed to be subdued to better exploit their labor and resources. Today, the ‘poorest of the poor’ are superfluous to empire and thus the policy of genocide. The current world war between the classes has become a war between exterminators and those who would fight to survive!

Source:

By James PetrasLibya 360°

Before Crimea There Was Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Grenada and So On

Before Crimea There Was Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Grenada and So On

    Posted on Mar 3, 2014
    Let’s be real. It’s one thing to say that Russia’s takeover of the Crimean Peninsula “cannot be allowed to stand,” as many foreign policy sages have proclaimed. It’s quite another to do something about it.
    Is it just me, or does the rhetoric about the crisis in Ukraine sound as if all of Washington is suffering from amnesia? We’re supposed to be shocked—shocked!—that a great military power would cook up a pretext to invade a smaller, weaker nation? I’m sorry, but has everyone forgotten the unfortunate events in Iraq a few years ago?
    My sentiments, to be clear, are with the legitimate Ukrainian government, not with the neo-imperialist regime in Russia. But the United States, frankly, has limited standing to insist on absolute respect for the territorial integrity of sovereign states. 
    Before Iraq there was Afghanistan, there was the Gulf War, there was Panama, there was Grenada. And even as we condemn Moscow for its outrageous aggression, we reserve the right to fire deadly missiles into Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and who knows where else. 
    None of this gives Russian President Vladimir Putin the right to pluck Crimea from the rest of Ukraine and effectively reincorporate the historic peninsula into the Russian empire. But it’s hard to base U.S. objections on principle—even if Putin’s claim that Russian nationals in Crimea were somehow being threatened turn out to be as hollow as the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
    The Obama administration has been clear in its condemnation of Putin’s operation. Critics who blame the Russian action on “weak” or “feckless” U.S. foreign policy are being either cynical or clueless.
    It is meaningless to rattle sabers if the whole world knows you have no intention of using them. There is no credible military threat by the United States that could conceivably force Putin to surrender Crimea if he doesn’t want to. Russia is much diminished from the Soviet era but remains a superpower whose nuclear arsenal poses an existential threat to any adversary. There are only a few nations that cannot be coerced by, say, the sudden appearance of a U.S. aircraft carrier group on the horizon. Russia is one of them.
    If the goal is to persuade Russia to give Crimea back—which may or may not be possible—the first necessary step is to try to understand why Putin grabbed it in the first place.
    When Ukraine emerged as a sovereign state from the breakup of the Soviet Union, it was agreed that the Russian navy would retain its bases on the Crimean Peninsula. After Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, was deposed by a “people power” revolution, it was perhaps inevitable that Putin would believe the status of those bases was in question, if not under threat.
    The new government in Kiev could offer formal reassurances about the Russian naval base in Sevastopol. More broadly, however, Putin may have decided that allowing Ukraine to escape Moscow’s orbit was too much to swallow. Seizing Crimea does more than secure a warm-water port for Russian ships. It implies the threat of further territorial incursions—unless the new government becomes more accommodating to its powerful neighbor.
    This is not fair to Ukraine. But I don’t believe it helps the Ukrainians to pretend that there’s a way to make Putin surrender Crimea if he wants to keep it.
    The question is whether there is any way to tip the balance of Putin’s cost-benefit analysis. The Russian leader has nothing to fear from the U.N. Security Council, since Russia can veto any proposed action. Kicking Russia out of the G-8 group of leading industrialized nations would be a blow to Moscow’s prestige, but probably would not cause Putin to lose much sleep.
    Economic sanctions are more easily threatened than actually applied. The European Union depends on Russia for much of its natural gas—a fact that gives Putin considerable leverage. In a broader sense, there is zero enthusiasm in Europe for a reprise of the Cold War. Putin knows this.
    If Putin really has lost touch with reality, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly speculated in a conversation with President Obama, then all bets are off. But if Putin is being smart, he will offer a solution: Russia gets sole or joint possession of Crimea. Ukraine and the other former Soviet republics remember that Moscow is watching, and we all settle down.
    Sadly for Ukraine, but realistically, that may be a deal the world decides to accept.
    By Eugene Robinson  Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
    EUGENE ROBINSON uses his twice-weekly column in The Washington Post to pick American society apart and then put it back together again in unexpected, and revelatory, new ways. To do this job of demolition and reassembly, Robinson relies on a large and varied tool kit: energy, curiosity, elegant writing, and the wide-ranging experience of a life that took him from childhood in the segregated South—on what they called the “colored” side of the tracks—to the heights of American journalism. In a 25-year career at The Washington Post, Robinson has been city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, foreign editor, and assistantmanaging editor in charge of the paper’s award-winning Style section. He has writtenbooks about race in Brazil and music in Cuba, covered a heavyweightchampionship fight, witnessed riots in Philadelphia and a murder trial in the deepest Amazon, sat with presidents and dictators and the Queen of England,
    thrusted and parried with hair-proud politicians from sea to shining sea, handicapped all three editions of “American Idol,” acquired fluent Spanish and passable Portuguese, and even reached an uneasy truce with the noxious hip-hop lyrics that fester in his teenage son’s innocent-looking iPod. Eugene Robinson won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Judges complimented Robinson’s “eloquent columns on the 2008 presidential campaign that focus on the election of the first African-American president, showcasing graceful writing and grasp of the larger historic picture.

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