Shifting the blame

So…looks like Mark Ames has hit a new low recently.

First of all, let me just say that I don’t follow the news about the subject of the article, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. I don’t doubt that the guy is an asshole- billionaires tend to be that way. I’m bringing this article up for something else. While he somehow managed to avoid another rant about the “Wild 90’s,” which he clearly enjoyed very much and made a career off of, yet try to read this passage and not want to put your first through your screen.

In the 18 months since we broke the story, Ukraine has collapsed into war and despair, with up to 10,000 people killed and one and a half million internally-displaced refugees — and top US brass talk openly of a new Cold War with nuclear-armed Russia, while US military advisors train and arm Ukrainians to wage war on Russian-backed separatists.

Here that? Ukraine just “collapsed” into war and despair. That’s weird because to me and most of the sane world, it looks more like Russia invaded and annexed part of a sovereign nation, and then financed, armed, and supported an armed insurgency to potentially partition the country further.

But to Ames, the aggressor is the US, which after about a year of war and concrete proof of Russian involvement, finally decided to send a modest contingent of airborne troops to train the Ukrainian army and national guard. This is unbridled neocon aggression, whereas sending tanks, weapons, ammunition, UAVs, money, and soldiers to actually fight and take or attempt to take territory is apparently just fine- so long as it’s Russia that’s doing it.

Meanwhile the US government still isn’t sending offensive weapons to Ukraine, and most of the punditry I’ve seen on the topic seems dead set against the prospect. But you know how clever those lying neocons are. I’m sure their mantras about “no military solution” that they’ve been repeating since the conflict’s beginning are nothing but a clever ruse, just like their continued downsizing of the US military and reduction of deployments and bases in Europe. Who knows- maybe Ames will don a Fedora with a little “PRESS” card stuck in the band, and go off to locate the secret NATO bases circling Russia, thus revealing that the supposedly downsized or demobilized forces are in fact merely waiting in their secret underground staging areas for Operation Barbarossa II: The Revenge.

And what’s this about people talking about a Cold War with nuclear armed Russia? Bullshit. If anyone is constantly talking about nuclear war, relishing the thought with glee, it’s Russia’s leaders and media personalities. Let’s start with Putin, who made the claim that he’d put his nuclear forces on alert during the Crimean operation.

As Russian Avos points out, this was probably a lie, but even worse because it was said just to appeal to the vatnik demographic- those who, knowing full well they can never achieve the standards of living of the hated US, instead masturbate furiously to the thought of ruining it with nukes.

Need more examples? How about Dmitry Kiselyov’s famous TV moment, during which he assured the vatnik demographic that Russia can reduce America to “radioactive ash.”

And here’s an “advertisement” from a comely young future victim of human trafficking Novorossiya supporter, in which she reassures viewers that “If we lose, we will destroy the whole world.”

Add to this the fact that VK is full of pro-government groups circulating all kinds of nuking DC/New York porn.

Putin started this war, Putin wants this “Cold War” (which is destined to be as short and sad as the president himself) , he straight up needs it to stay in power- and yet according to Ames, Ukraine just “collapsed” into war and it’s the US that deserves scorn. Neocons! Neocons everywhere!

Honestly I have no idea just what the hell he’s trying to do. It almost looks as if he’s groveling out of some futile hope of being allowed to return to Russia.

Jesus, dude- go after Omidyar all you want but maybe it’s time to stop talking about Russia and Ukraine. You’ve really lost touch with reality on this side of the world.

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28 thoughts on “Shifting the blame

  1. Strykr9

    I do not understand why Putin chose to instigate an uprising in Ukraine. Crimea had some strategic value but what is the point of engaging in a poontless war that will probably end up strengthening the new Ukrainian govt?

    Reply
    1. Shalcker

      How about version that he didn’t?

      They only stopped returning Ukrainian military equipment from Crimea when Ukrainians started military action; if uprising was part of long plan i would expect them to stall it and not give anything back (and they did manage to transfer quite a bit).

      Calling rebels to avoid referendum in May also feeds into this idea.

      Reply
      1. Asehpe

        That version is incompatible with the available evidence.

        Since Putin was quite confident that he would conquer all of southern Ukraine, he didn’t pay attention to such trifles as returning military equipment from Crimea. He had so much more anyway. Why should he care?

        He called them, and they did it anyway. So maybe just драматурпия?…

      2. Shalcker

        Version of Putin “planning this from the start” is incompatible with available evidence either.

        And with 100% certainly we can say that war wasn’t his preferred way of doing things there; this choice is fully Ukrainian.

      3. Asehpe

        There are whole worlds between “planning from the start” and “not guilty”.

        Hitler also hadn’t “planned Barbarossa from the start”. He decider for it against the advice of his officers.

        The guilt is his. Ukraine simply failed to fold and surrender at the first shot — the money he offered Yanukovych. When things went sour and Ukraine looked like it was going away from Moscow, of course he got angry (‘why do the Ukrainians refuse to be mine?’) and attacked. But that is not the Ukrainian’s fault, just as the Russians aren’t to blame for not having cooperated with Hitler’s plan to reduce them to slavery…

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Another aspect is the need to reinforce the Russian regime’s narrative of: “Don’t protest, otherwise that leads to chaos!”

        In countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, etc. you can often depend on things like militant religious fanatics to make that a reality, as their funding, training, and dedication tends to give them a lot of power when an old dictatorship falls. But let’s face it- there was no way Ukraine was going to become Libya or Syria, unless someone stepped in to make sure of it.

      5. Asehpe

        Indeed, Jim. One thing that really saddens me in this whole business is how unnecessary it was, how artificial it all is. Putin could have gotten Crima a true, internationally supported referendum by simply putting pressure on Ukraine in international forums; it would take a few years, but they’d end up getting a plebiscite like Scotland. And the Donbass only became a problem because it was necessary to justify the Crimean annexation — “things would have gotten ugly if we hadn’t invaded Crimea, just look at Donetsk and Luhansk!”, plus the (now fortunately dead) “Новороссия” nonsense.

        And all of this because of ‘geopolitical spheres of influence’ and because of the need to tell the Russian people not to protest to avoid chaos. Ah! Just imagine what Russia would have said if Romania had occupied Moldova on the grounds that it had been theirs once, and still had deep roots in Romanian history, etc. etc. etc… (and the Romanian roots of Moldova — cf. Stefan the Great — are much deeper than the Russian roots of crimea…)

      6. Shalcker

        No, he wouldn’t. Seriously, did US “put pressure on Serbia in international forums and had internationally recognized referendum”? No, they just had Kosovo parliament voting on it.

        It would seem even for US internationally recognized referendum for secession is impossible task.

        And things would not have gotten ugly if Ukrainians wouldn’t made them ugly.
        Russia was ready to continue cooperation with them even after coup.
        And even now nothing stops Ukraine from stopping and withdrawing heavy weaponry except their unwillingness to do it.
        They don’t want to let go of Donbass, they don’t want to take care of Donbass, really, what do they want there other then suppress dissent and grind their own Ukrainian activists?

      7. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “No, they just had Kosovo parliament voting on it.”

        Yup, everybody is controlled by the US. People don’t act on their own initiative. Only Russia, of course.

        And so you see- this is why everyone hates you.

        Also may I remind you that the Kosovo thing happened nearly 8 years after the war? That gave people some time to consider things.

        “And things would not have gotten ugly if Ukrainians wouldn’t made them ugly.”

        Nope. Russia organized and started the war. Russia is responsible. Period. We’ve already determined that you have no moral compass of any sort and you believe it is perfectly fine for the Russian government to do things it condemns other countries for doing. As such, you assigning blame in this matter is utterly absurd.

        “Russia was ready to continue cooperation with them even after coup.”

        Nope, Russia illegally invaded and annexed part of Ukraine.

        “They don’t want to let go of Donbass, they don’t want to take care of Donbass, really, what do they want there other then suppress dissent and grind their own Ukrainian activists?”

        Would Russia let go of part of its territory to armed insurgents? No? Exactly.

        What you have to understand is that the rest of the world doesn’t need to exist in your geopolitical fantasy RPG. We live in reality. Reality has defeated Russia in the past, it will defeat it again, and you have nobody to blame but yourselves.

        Enjoy the new 90’s. Who knows, maybe Mark Ames will come back to exploit your suffering and humiliation again.

    2. Asehpe

      Putin didn’t because the US didn’t? Is he so envious of America that he copies everything they do? Monkey see monkey do?

      He didn’t try. That’s all we know. If he had tried… this would be a different world.

      So you’re also “and what about America”? Well, and what about Russia? When will it stop imitating Americans when they do wrong things? What’s next, mass school shootings?

      Things got ugly because Russians made them ugly. If they hadn’t invaded the Donbass, there would be no war there, period. Nothings stops Russia from withdrawing their material support — heavy artillery, UAVs, soldiers, money — but they won’t. They prefer to pursue an invasion that they now cannot abandon because it would be seen internally, in Russia, as a sign of weakness.

      They WANT to let go of the Donbass, but they CAN’T, because it would make it look like Ukraine had won. And noothing, nothing could be worse for Putin than Ukraine looking like it won. Because it would suggest that it is possible to distance yourself from his government and survive. What would the Russian people think?…

      Reply
  2. Asehpe

    Weakening said govt. Putin wants to make sure Ukraine doesn’t go too far: no EU, no NATO, no independent development. Why? For historical reasons: Ukraine is just too close to Russia, geographically and historically; to allow it to go would imply losing face on a huge scale. He’d do the same if Belarus tried. Georgia tried — and got into trouble. Moldova is trying — and Moscow is doing what it can to stop it. It’s all about keeping the old spheres of influence. Or, as Putin would put it, geopolitics.

    Reply
    1. Strykr9

      But as these countries become more developed wouldn’t such a course be unsustainable? Especially considering that Russia is becoming less competitive because of operations like that in Ukraine?

      Reply
      1. Asehpe

        Sure. But in Putin’s mind Russia is not going to become less and less competitive. He sees a big future for Russia (‘multipolar world’, ‘alternatives to the West’, ‘end of the reign of the dollar’, ‘BRICS’…). Over the long run this will not be good for Russia, quite the opposite actually, but right now Putin wants to keep the old empire alive. And the Russians, who were never really inclined to care for their neighbors’ independence, follow suit. After all, other imperialistic countries like France or England also tried to keep their empires partially or theoretically afloat long after that ceased to be a practical option… why expect Russia to be different?

  3. Asehpe

    Frankly, I never had much respect for Mark Ames. He sounded like an angry fellow who doesn’t really think things through very much; he’s too busy being outraged. He also tried the not-your-usual-kind-of-journalism shtick, but as far as I could see without much to buttress it with. His experience in Russia was entertaining and interesting, but did not seem to go hand in hand with deeper wisdom and understanding about the country: rather, he seemed to always go for shock value. I remember thinking the only good feature of the Exiled were the War Nerd articles… He also wrote a couple of desperately one-sided articles about the Baltic states. His Russocentric perspective is not really informed by any true insights into the situation. If I were him, I’d basically write a book on my experience in Russia and forget about telling the world what is really going on. He’s a subjectivity guy, not an objectivity one.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      A Twitter follower just posted this: http://baruffio.com/docs/ames.html

      If this is even half accurate, I cannot believe Ames has the nerve to EVER make moral pronouncements about anything, ever. Keep in mind while reading this that in another recent Pando article where he makes the case that actual censorship in Russia isn’t as bad as Twitter/social media “censorship”(internet mob justice) in the West, because- of course he would. Even though it really has nothing to do with Russian history, he goes off on yet another 90’s tangent(this was one of the last straws that made me go off on him). In that tangent, guess what he brings up- prostitution and sexual violence against women. Seriously.

      Maybe considering his past it’s a fitting punishment to watch him futilely kissing Putin’s ass, thousands of miles away.

      Reply
      1. Asehpe

        He is a curious kind of Russophile, in the end. The Exile was supposedly very critical of ‘what was bad’ about Russia, but there’s a certain energy in the Russian autocracy that cannot fail to please an energy-oriented guy like Ames (who sounds like he believes he, like Putin, “has a holy mission”). I find it easy to understand that he should be seduced by Putin’s Russia. (Was it Ames who wrote somewhere that what was sad about the separatists in the Donbass was not that Russia wasn’t helping them, but that Russia would abandon them to the ‘persecutions’ of the Ukrainians just because it wasn’t worthwhile to go save them?… That was still in Strelkov’s time, when it looked like the ATO would reconquer the entire Donbass, before Russia really invaded.)

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        The irony is that Ames just loves pointing out the “dark side” of everyone else. I also can’t stand the faux-solidarity with working class people from a privileged, Silicon Valley, Berkeley grad.

    1. Callum Carmichael

      You guys ever have this experience where you go to read an article, get to the headline, then involuntarily exclaim “oh fuck off!” and then close it? Because that’s what I just did.

      I’ve heard several variations on that theme though. Another one of my Russian expat “friends” (bear in mind that this one is an officer in the Canadian Army with 14 years service) said that a tribunal for MH-17 was only acceptable after the same tribunal charged “Parashenko” with war crimes. He had previously complained that Western media was “speculating” too much about who did it without anything having been proven in court.

      Reply
      1. Asehpe

        Russia has an unimitable way of taking any initiative and parodying it into absurdity. It would be quite amusing (in a ‘Red Dwarf’-y kind of way) if it weren’t tragic. Look at what they did with representative democracy… Hasn’t there been a recent book in Russia about Ukrainian war crimes? I wouldn’t be surprised if a tribunal to judge them is formed somewhere in Russia. Without any internationally recognized jurisdiction, of course, but hey, the goal had always been making a show for internal consumption, right?

      2. Asehpe

        Really? I thought I had just come up with the idea. Isn’t reality crazier than fiction…

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