Crimea may be bigger than an archduke, but not more important
If American media seem filled these days with bellicose, jingoistic, uniform perspectives on a new Cold War, that’s probably because so many news outlets can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to framing new events in the tired terms of the last generation’s ingrained propaganda. At a time that needs fresh contemplation, even people like Amy Goodman on Democracy NOW are talking about recent events in and around Ukraine as having “sparked the worst East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War” or words to more extreme effect.
This construct (a no longer relevant “East-West” divide) reflects an unreflective, outdated group think. This approach is clearly wrong about the “worst crisis,” unless one ignores various wars and terrorist attacks and drone strikes of recent years. A difference between Iraq and Crimea is one of scale, certainly, but also of response, as the rest of the world accepted the American view of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (just as they passively accept the American view of Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Venezuela, and Honduras, as well as all those other places where might makes right irrelevant).
Any of those other countries might well argue that the “worst crisis” since the end of the Cold War was actually any of the wars visited on them and still not over. This comparison is not made in the sealed mind room of the New Cold Warriors, where the non-violent, legally ambiguous and possibly welcome occupation of Crimea is seen as so much worse than tens of thousands of dead Iraqis (or pick your own odious comparison). It is an expression of mental sterility that will do most of us no good.
The endlessly parroted mantra of a new Cold War is worse than merely mindless. Such irresponsible repetitive chatter also functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy by heightening a few fairly insignificant events (and omitting others) until the tunnel vision focus on only a part of the whole becomes widely perceived as the totality of a real crisis and reality is discredited. Can anyone say Archduke Franz Ferdinand, 1914?
By: Samuel Eaton Mar 30, 2014
Somewhere Between 20,000 and 100,000 Russian Troops on Border
This article was written by guest contributor Jason Ditz.
Though there is no indication of any moves along the border itself, US officials are playing up the “threat” of a Russian invasion of Ukraine at some point in the future, saying they reckon the likelihood has increased.
The official Pentagon estimate remains 20,000 Russian troops along the Ukraine frontier, engaged in training exercises in the area. Yet the numbers are constantly being challenged as insufficiently scary, and others are suggesting much grander figures.
Rep. Michael Turner (R – OH) claimed he figured there could be as many as 80,000 Russian troops in the border area, terming that cause for alarm. Ukrainian officials, not to be outdone, came back with a claim of 100,000 Russian troops.