Lite Sanctions for Russia

18ukraine5-master675Lite sanctions by Obama and the E.U.are all that have been waged against the Kremlin’s upper-crust probably because of close trade ties between Russia and the rest of the Continent.

I do not have any answers for the problem, either, without starting WWIII.

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Putin Claims Crimea

19ukraine6-master675Swifter than anyone thought, and so soon after the Ukrainian revolution, Russian leader Vladimir Putin officially claims Crimea as part of Russia. This report at the NYT gives a good account of what is the further implications, such as issues of condemnation by the West and upcoming sanctions.

Will the sanctions leveled against Russia hurt Western Europe trade too much to be feasible?

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Latest On Crimea

18ukraine5-master675A great report in the NYT on all the latest regarding Crimea, Russia, and the Ukraine.

It includes a great list of all those who have been sanctioned by the West in the Russian hierarchy and some noted Ukrainians, too. Must read

Also, today at my workplace, some of the right-wingers were saying that the reason Putin has all but annexed the Crimea is that no one fears Obama. What? Do they want him to start World War III?!

Read Here.

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Why is Syria Using Chemical Weapons?

22syria-cnd-articleInlineAccording to the latest reports, like this one in the NYT, al-Assad’s regime conducted an attack yesterday in Syria using a nerve-agent against the rebel forces there. Now these reports could be untrue for al-Assad and his staunch ally
Russia, claim that these are false reports transmitted by the rebels in an effort to provoke the U.S. and other Western powers to aid them in their fight against the loyalists and Hezbollah. But according to what I’ve seen today, unlike other times the rebellion has claimed to have video of victims of nerve gas, these look very convincing.

Now, if the al-Assad loyalists and Hezbollah are really using WMD’s against the rebels now, I have one question: Why?

The ruling regime is winning the war. They have Russia backing them almost 100%. Why would they risk the advantageous position they currently hold when using chemical weapons may provoke the U.S. and the U.N. into taking action against them? Why would they cross Pres. Obama’s metaphorical “red line” that he has drawn regarding the use of chemical weapons?

I know that crazy things happen in war. And maybe the use of a chemical weapon was not ordered from high-above but by a low-level officer and that is why al-Assad and Russia are denying ithese reports so vehemently. Maybe some even lower-level troops put together what was reported by the NYT, a make-shift missile which was launched in this attack because they just got tired of seeing their buddies killed and opted for revenge instead of a more rational approach to war.

But maybe the regime is that irrational for killing your own citizens is always an irrational act.

Ignatius Editorial on U.N. Transition Plan for Syria

An editorial by The Posts David Ignatius arguing for the Syrian revolutionaries to accept a U.N. plan to “transition” Assad out of power. Ignatius claims that this would avoid any sectarian violence like that which occurred in Iraq.

Read Here.

 

The Syrian Revolutionaries

When I was in graduate school, I studied social movements. And it never ceases to amaze me how the thirst for social/political/economic change can result in so much bravery.

In Syria, the U.N. reports that an estimated 8,000 people have perished in the emerging revolution …500 have been children. Military crackdowns have been brutal. Yet the people’s movement grows stronger in numbers and more powerful through organization every day.

In different points in history, crackdowns have destroyed countless revolutions for one reason or another. So it never stops my wonder when a movement for change only gets larger in the face of harsher and harsher state repression. They do not cower, but rather get more and more steeped in anger. They go out and join the movement despite the bodily harm that may result, despite their families, and despite the size and strength of the forces against them.

The people do not have the given arms or the air bombings that were present in Libya. Russia and China will not intervene for they do not want any focus on their own human rights offenses. And their own military has turned against them.

Yet the people fight on…