Saturday, April 12, 2014

Putin Can Take Ukraine Without an Invasion, and Probably Will - The Daily Beast

A former top advisor to Vladimir Putin says the Russian president probably thinks at this point he can whip Ukraine back into line without having to resort to a full-blown invasion. Although it appears no Western power is willing to take military action to defend Kiev, overt Russian military action would risk deeper and more disruptive Western economic sanctions. So Putin’s willingness to play a longer-term game rests on his “cynical recognition” that he has three years to accomplish his objective before there is a change of leadership in the White House and the possibility of a more resolute American response.

“Putin’s objective remains to regain control of Ukraine, but I suspect he now thinks he can do this without ordering in the tanks,” says Andrei Illarionov, a former Putin economic policy advisor and now an unstinting critic of the Russian leader.

Illarionov tells The Daily Beast he expects Putin to maintain an intimidating offensive build-up of Russian forces along the Ukraine border, nonetheless, and that there will be no let-up in the fomenting of separatist agitation in the eastern Ukraine towns of Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lugansk and now Sloviansk. The aim is to destabilize Ukrainian politics, weaken Ukrainian state institutions and help Putin’s political allies reassert their power in Kiev....

Kharkiv Rebelled Against The Russian Invasion In Ukraine

Separatists Seized Police Station In Slaviansk, Donetsk Oblast Ukraine

Shootout During Seizure Of City Police Department In Kramatorsk By Russi...

Russian Separatists Seized The Building Of The Security Service In Slovi...

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The problem remains that denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good

The West's post-Holocaust pledge that genocide
would never again be tolerated proved to be hollow,
and for all the fine sentiments
inspired by the memory of Auschwitz,
the problem remains that denouncing evil
is a far cry from doing good
--We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow
We Will Be Killed With Our Families,
Andrew, Gourevitch

Rwanda massacre twenty years ago this week.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Will ‘revise and update’ India’s n-doctrine, says BJP manifesto - Indian Express

...Sheshadri Chari, convener of the BJP’s foreign affairs cell and a member of the group that formulated this section of the party’s manifesto, said: “Why should we tie our hands into accepting a global no first use policy, as has been proposed by the Prime Minister recently?”
The BJP has seemingly leaned towards a growing view in strategic circles that India needs to revisit its NFU doctrine in the light of Pakistan’s reported effort to increase stocks of tactical nuclear weapons. The other fear is of Pakistan-based jehadi groups or rogue generals getting their hands on a nuclear weapon and using it against India, experts say....

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Stem cells and light restore paralysed muscles

Kiev sees Russian federalization plans as attempt to destroy Ukraine -WaPo

... Russia has been insisting that Ukraine adopt a federal form of government that would give regions nearly boundless authority. It’s a means to make the regions vulnerable to Russian interference, Ukrainians say, and eventually tear the country apart. And, they point out, Russia would never tolerate such a system itself.

“The issue of federalization is absolutely artificial,” said Yuriy Yakymenko, a political expert at the Razumkov think tank in Kiev. “It’s part of Russia’s plan to impose control over Ukraine and prevent it from integrating with Europe.”

Overall, 14 percent of Ukrainians support federalization, according to a poll released Saturday by the International Republican Institute, a U.S.-financed organization that supports democracy. Federalization was more popular in the south, 22 percent, and the east, 26 percent.

The poll, which included Crimea, was carried out from March 14 to 26 as Crimea was being annexed by Russia. The results contradict the assertions Russia has made to justify its annexation of Crimea and its threats to intervene in eastern Ukraine, instead finding widespread opposition to Russian incursion and a growing preference for ties to Europe rather than Russia.

Ukraine definitely needs decentralization, said Oleksiy Haran, a professor of comparative politics at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Cities and villages want real self-government, he said. But federalization?

“This is an idea developed by the Kremlin,” he said, “as a tool to divide Ukraine and play one region against the other.”...

-bth:  It look a little while to understand the Putin-Lavrov strategy, but it is now, to incite internal turmoil as pretext, use diplomacy and energy blackmail to force a negotiated federation that will then be cleaved into session one by one.  The tanks will sit on the border threatening all but I suspect that there aren't enough to conquer and hold much of the Ukraine and best serve as threats than realities.  But energy prices and political uncertain are a different matter.  And as this article points out armed groups are being organized with the Russians or by the Russians to cause turmoil in areas Russia wants to take from the Ukraine.

U.S. policeman-Devyani comparison ridiculous: India - The Hindu

NYPD official was held in Delhi as his baggage had live ammunition

The Indian Consulate in New York “dismissed as ridiculous” the notion that there was any connection between the detention of a New York Police Department official in New Delhi and the December 12, 2013 arrest of Devyani Khobragade, former Deputy Consul General, in New York.
In a statement forwarded by the Indian Embassy, a consulate spokesperson said, “The NYPD official was detained after his baggage was found to contain a few rounds of live ammunition when the bags were screened in New Delhi airport, prior to him taking a domestic flight. In India, this is a violation of the Arms Act.”
The spokesperson added that the official was released on bail “immediately” and was currently in India “awaiting a court date to resolve the case.”
Meanwhile, the State Department declined to comment on specifics of the case although it appeared to be aware of the incident....

-bth; at this time I would not underestimate the pettiness of the Indian authorities when it comes to US relations. The new tit-for-tat philosophy is a matter of national pride to be carried out to unending stupidity.