Wait a Minute, We Got in This Ukrainian Mess…How?

Dianne Foster clearly remembers our 2014 coup in Ukraine. Who are we now calling the aggressor? Let’s take a little minute to review here…

Dianne Foster clearly remembers our 2014 coup in Ukraine. Who are we now calling the aggressor? Let’s take a little minute to review here…

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• Topics: USA / Global,

Dianne Foster guest writes this opinion article about our involvement today with Ukraine.  She has a B.A.  political science/international relations from the U. of W., and is a former “PCO of the Year”, with the Whatcom Democrats


I am writing with urgency to correct the mainstream media’s disinformation about Ukraine and supposed Russian aggression there. I clearly remember taking a group of peace activists including Occupy Bellingham, Veterans for Peace, and Whatcom Peace and Justice, into Representative Rick Larsen’s office after the February 2014 United States-backed coup in Ukraine. We helped overthrow the democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovich, and installed the neo-Nazi Svoboda and Right Sector parties into power. Yanukovich’s election in 2010 had been validated by the U.N. as fair and square. 

The image of then U.S. Secretary of European Affairs Victoria Nuland, a Dick Cheney appointee promoted by Hillary Clinton, standing on the stage in Kiev’s Maiden Square, throwing cookies out to the mobs of neo-Nazi’s and encouraging them to riot, is imprinted in my memory. On the stage behind her stood John McCain and Joe Biden, she had requested Obama send them as “point men” in this putsch. Shots were fired, Yanukovich left in haste for Russia, and millionaire Petro Poroshenko was selected to lead the country. Even Henry Kissinger, the king of “regime change” operations, protested in a Washington Post editorial, that this was over-the-top and Ukraine deserved their own sovereignty. Notably, Nuland’s husband, Robert Kagan, was a leading neocon architect of the Iraq War.   

It was no surprise, therefore, that Putin took back the historically Russian seaport of Crimea, the Black Sea gem that was bequeathed to Ukraine, for uncertain reasons, by Ukrainian-born former Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.

Then there’s the history of the Svoboda and Right Sector political parties during WW2 in Ukraine: it is horrific. They were notorious for heinous crimes such as carving up Jewish children. Even today they are carrying out anti-Semitic pogroms, primarily by the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi  paramilitary group that is now incorporated into the Ukraine National Guard. Although Congressman Ro Khanna attempted to insure that no American aid went to that organization, it has unfortunately been funded in an attempt to oppose Russian interests there. 

The neo-Nazi-leaning Ukraine government has been bombing the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine since the 2014 coup, prompting nationalist leaders in Russia to push Putin into some action to take back the entire country, though current CIA Director William Burns does not believe Putin will do it. During April of 2014, we Democrats in the 40th Legislative District passed a resolution condemning this coup, in accordance with the Whatcom Dems platform that states: “Our government should not engage in overt or covert efforts to destabilize other nations’ governments.”  

As someone whose father was a POW in Nazi Germany, I have spent much of my academic and personal life researching and opposing fascist movements. Many people forget that it was Russia and the Russian people who suffered the most in World War II, and without Russian leadership we would have lost to Hitler. If they hadn’t won the war in Europe, I wouldn’t be here today.

It should also be noted that when President Mikhail Gorbachev voluntarily ended the Cold War in 1990 by lowering the Berlin Wall, the U.S. promised in return that the West would not bring former Soviet states into NATO,  thereby guaranteeing a safety zone around Russia. How would we feel if Russia incorporated Mexico or Canada into their sphere of influence? By 1994, President Clinton reneged on that promise, as one country after another was admitted to NATO, whose purpose at that time was to perpetrate a new Cold War. For a brief period, Clinton proposed a “peace dividend” that would divert money from the military to social needs. It appeared the military-industrial complex was not too happy with that idea. Thus we have had “endless wars” and regime changes; one of the most tragic was in Afghanistan. I am, however, optimistic to see countries like Chile and Honduras reversing the trend and moving away from neoliberal imperial domination.

What is most disturbing about this narrative is that President Biden was there, in Ukraine: he participated in that coup, and is now blaming it on the Russians. We cannot have real diplomacy based on lies. I plan to call the White House and my congressional representatives and encourage them to tell the truth. They are provoking a potential nuclear war that would end history. I have attached the Veterans for Peace resolution that was passed nationally in March of 2014 by that organization; it provides accurate details.

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About Dianne Foster

Citizen Journalist • Member since Jul 10, 2015

Comments by Readers

Randy Petty

Feb 21, 2022

I was happy to see some of Ukraine’s history being revealed.  I know little about it.  I can appreciate how one nation would be uncomfortable with bordering states joining a rival’s circle of influence.  I wonder , though, how likely it is that Mexico or Canada would want to adopt the economies and government of Russia or China?

“Ukraine is a largely democratic nation of more than 40 million people, with a pro-Western president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who in 2019 won 73 percent of the vote in the election’s final round. That victory and recent polls both indicate that most Ukrainians want to live in a country that resembles the European nations to its west — and the U.S. — more than it resembles Russia.”
NY Times Newsletter by David Leonhardt:
https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20220221&instance_id=53851&nl=the-morning&productCode=NN&regi_id=64400742&segment_id=83445&te=1&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2F2d32e7a5-6e80-56e7-a25f-b4462b2c407e&user_id=25da4274aac8109f1d0a011d23ccd5ca

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Linda Knudsen McAusland

Feb 21, 2022

This is the first time I have read so much misinformation coming from my own party.  Ms. Foster has taken slices of history and blown them into something they are not.    I have lived and worked in Ukraine since 2007, first through Peace Corps and then continuing as mentor, coach and consultant.  Ms. Foster doesn’t know what she is talking about, and she has profoundly misrepresented the actions of Maidan in 2014.  Ukraine has its extremist groups, as does every other country in this world, but they ae not the mainstream.   I know people who were part of Maidan - and they represented a wide range of of the population, as we saw on our own streets with the Floyd demonstrations.  I know what happened directly through the stories I received each morning, when I would call to make sure my friends going to Maidan were still alive.  I continue to work with Ukrainians because I see their commitment to change in their country and to each other.  And they are succeeding, and that is what scares Putin.  This has nothing to do with the U.S. and only with their vision for the kind of world they want for their children.  They are willing to die for this.  I wish I saw that same commitment to a vision and to each other here at home.

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Angelo Tsoukalas

Feb 21, 2022

Dianne, I agree with most of what you say, and quoting you:

“Our government should not engage in overt or covert efforts to destabilize other nations’ governments.” Wow a coup conducted under Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s Democrat leadership.

And also “By 1994, President Clinton (a Democrat) reneged on that promise, as one country after another was admitted to NATO, whose purpose at that time was to perpetrate a new Cold War. ” -

And therein lies the trouble, the word: “reneged”. We and the rest of the western world, should have helped Ukraine and the other former Soviet slave/countries form their own NATO instead of reneging and dishonoring ourselves and bringing them into a perpetratual new Cold War / military organization that provokes formidable Russia who still have a huge inventory of nuclear weapons.  

But what I don’t agree with is “without Russian leadership we would have lost to Hitler.” It would have prolonged the war for sure, but did you forget the allies and the Normandy invasion? It’s without the USA they would have lost to Hitler. Nevertheless I’m sorry to hear your father was a POW in Nazi Germany - God bless him - and can see why you’re whole focus is on fascism; but don’t forget about communism as it has killed more people and created more misery. Russia still celebrates it’s old Communist idols Marx, Lennin, Stalin… and is inprisoning anyone that speaks against it’s new “Golden toilet” Czar. Don’t forget poor inprisoned - Navalny.

Update: The Nazi’s just like Napoleon got stuck in the Russian frozen winterland. The Russian’s beat them because the Nazi fools forgot their history. That is what happens when you burn books. (Don’t go into Russian frozen land! lol) Furthermore, the Russians got to Germany before the allies because the USA, and the allies split German forces in 1/2 if not more. Had the USA stayed out of the war and not helped the Russian with arms, the split would have been much smaller as the allies were pretty badly beat over and Brittain on the brink of surrender as they were getting shot by missles and other armaments nightly.  The most the Russians would have done was drove out the Nazis from Russia by freezing them and then attacking them as they retreated as history shows and that’s about it. 

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John Servais

Feb 21, 2022

When we invaded Normandy - when the United States Army stormed the beaches of Nazi Europe - in June, 1944, the Russians had already pushed the Nazi German army back over 1,000 miles.  The Russians were going to win the war by themselves if we did not invade.  In the early years, we helped Russia with arms, but as the war progressed in 1942 and on, the Russian’s made all their own.  Without the Russian engagement, our army would have been totally pushed back into the sea.  Hitler could not spare many troops from the Russian front.

Bottom line - the Russians defeated Nazi Germany with help from the West.  They were in bitter battle with the Germans for three years before we invaded Normandy.  The Russians invaded Germany up to the agreed stop line and waited for us to get there. Without the Russians fighting back, Hitler would have won.  It was a group effort by all Allies that defeated the Nazis and Germany.  We were part of that.  Without the USA, Russia may have won; without Russia, the USA would have lost.

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Dick Conoboy

Feb 21, 2022

 I think Dianne Foster is right on along with John Pilger, who wrote this several days ago:

“Vladimir Putin refers to the “genocide” in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. Following the coup in Ukraine in 2014 - orchestrated by Barack Obama’s “point person” in Kyiv, Victoria Nuland - the coup regime, infested with neo-Nazis, launched a campaign of terror against Russian-speaking Donbas, which accounts for a third of Ukraine’s population.

Overseen by CIA director John Brennan in Kyiv, “special security units” coordinated savage attacks on the people of Donbas, who opposed the coup. Video and eyewitness reports show bussed fascist thugs burning the trade union headquarters in the city of Odessa, killing 41 people trapped inside. The police are standing by. Obama congratulated the “duly elected” coup regime for its “remarkable restraint”.

In the US media the Odessa atrocity was played down as “murky” and a “tragedy” in which “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) attacked “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine). Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal damned the victims - “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”.

Professor Stephen Cohen, acclaimed as America’s leading authority on Russia, wrote, “The pogrom-like burning to death of ethnic Russians and others in Odessa reawakened memories of Nazi extermination squads in Ukraine during world war two. [Today] storm-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other ‘impure’ citizens are widespread throughout Kyiv-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s…”

WAR IN EUROPE AND THE RISE OF RAW PROPAGANDA

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David Donohue

Feb 21, 2022

In reading the comments here, I might become confused as to whose tanks are preparing to cross into Danzig, er, Donbass and the rest of Ukraine.

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Dianne Foster

Feb 21, 2022

John,

Thanks for posting that actual call from Nuland to Pyatt;  back in 2014, when the group of us went into Larsen’s office to protest this putsch,   I had only read it,  never heard it.    Her voice sounds so sweet and innocent!   You would never know she was plotting to overthrow an elected government and replace it with a bunch of Nazi’s,  one of whom she affectionately refers to as “Yats”! (From the Right Sector Party,  who was then invited to the White House for a reception).     What amazes me is the hubris with which the U.S. thinks it can have 800 bases around the world, and go around telling other countries who they should put in office,  and which offices they should go into….

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Gene Knutson

Feb 24, 2022

We can now answer Dianne’s question, ADOLPH PUTIN is the aggresser!!! What a monster!!

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Mike Sennett

Feb 24, 2022

Poland-1939 Baltics-1940 Hungary-1956 Czechoslovakia-1968 Ukraine-2022

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John Servais

Feb 24, 2022

Vietnam 1963-1974, Iraq 2003, Grenada 1983, Central America - countless times in six countries, Cuba 1898, Mexico 1846, Canada invasion 1775 and 1812, all wars of aggression by the United States with no prior attack or provocation by any of them on the United States.  We either gained new territory or gained economic control of the countries for exploitation.  Or got our asses kicked out as in Canada and Vietnam.  Or wasted a country and killed thousands of our own young soldiers as in Iraq.  Let us not forget Afghanistan where we went in to get Al Queda and stayed to - gee, why not - clean out the Taliban - who had never hurt us.  And left the country a mess.

In the Ukraine, Dianne points out how we purposely setup over the last 28 years a confrontation with Russia.  Perhaps we misjudged how Russia would react.  Perhaps we wanted to prod Russia into doing something rash.  We may learn the truth some 20 years from now.  Regardless, we could have helped Ukraine become well off and peaceful without prodding Russia.  But our entire history - from 1775 - has been one of war.  Not peace.  In the 1800s when no foreign wars, we tried to commit genocide by systematically wiping out all the Indians in our own counrty.  National policy.  Only President Grant stopped the slaughter.

Russia has now invaded and started a war - and that is much worse than any provocations and dirty tricks between countries.  Now the killings will be in the hundreds and thousands and maybe more.  Any student of history knows that those who start wars are rarely the ones with the later ability to stop them.  You can start a war but you cannot control a war. We did not learn that in Vietnam where we should have. 

Yes, now we must do what we can to stop the Russian aggression.  But it may slip out of control and could explode to unimaginable and horrifying degrees.  Neither side wants to “lose”.

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Dick Conoboy

Feb 24, 2022

Robert Reich whom I normally don’t read has made some good points for a change regarding this invasion today in the Guardian

Eight sobering realities about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

“We must do what we can to contain Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. But we also need to be clear-eyed about it, and face the costs. Economics can’t be separated from politics, and neither can be separated from history. “

We drive our vehicle of foreign policy by looking at the hood ornament and not down the road where the hazards are.

 

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David Donohue

Feb 24, 2022

John, your points are all true, but beside the point.  Dianne’s assertion that the Ukrainians are Nazi right-wingers is laughable, and utter bullshit.  Putin has proffered a justification of “blood and soil,” and invaded a neighbor who voluntarily disarmed on a security guarantee from him, and then watched as the Russians fomented right-wing, authoritarian rebels (who shot down a civilian airliner without consequences), while at the same time turning Russia ever more politically to the authoritarian right.  He also, not inconsequentially, torpedoed our own government with his own agent, Trump, and is clearly hoping our righties will rise to support his cause by blunting our support for Ukraine.  This is in process, you can watch it in real time.  We must not fail to support constitutional, democratic governments in Europe as well as our own country.  Dissembling will take us down, too.

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Gene Knutson

Feb 24, 2022

Well said David!!!! Spot on thank you.

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Mike Sennett

Feb 24, 2022

U.S. Grant served as U.S. President from March 4, 1869 through March 4,1877. 
Rather than stopping the slaughter of Native Americans, his admimstration accelerated the destruction of the indigenous tribes that resisted manifest destiny. His military commanders, W.T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan, pursued policies of total war on the tribes, continuing the immoral tactic of attacking villages and indiscriminately killing women, children and the elderly, you know, like the military did in Viet Nam. In 1874 the U.S. broke the  1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie which established the Great Sioux Reservation, by sending Custer and the 7th Calvary into the Black Hills and starting the gold rush that led to the 1876-77 Great Sioux War. During a Grant’s terms the Modocs fought for freedom in 1872-73 after settlers stole their lands. During Grant’s administration the great bison herds were hunted to near extinction, and Sherman and Sheridan encouraged the slaughter to deprive the Plains tribes of their food supply. 
After Grant left office, the campaigns against Native tribes continued with the subjugation the Nez Perce ( Chief Joseph is buried in our state at Nespelem). Rather than stopping the slaughter of Native Americans, the inhumane and corrupt reservation system fashioned during the Grant years constituted a policy of cultural genocide. The desperation of the captive tribes led to the Ghost Dance and the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890.

 

 

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Dick Conoboy

Feb 24, 2022

 Mike,

I am having a bit of a problem making a connection here with Grant, et. al.  Can you explain?

 

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John Servais

Feb 25, 2022

David, for me, the point is that what Russia is doing is also what the United States has done many times. You do remember our invasion of Iraq? You may not like that point, but it is my point.  And Dianne’s article did not say “… the Ukrains are Nazi righ-wingers…”.   You twist and actually dissemble what she wrote.  As you note the Russians gave a security guarantee to the Ukraine - to not invade - and violated it. So also did the United States give a security guaranteeto Russia - to not expand NATO - and violated it.  I agree with your descriptions of the terrible things the Russians have done and the invasion is totally unwarranted and is a war of aggression.  But we should not sweep our own aggressions under the rug and say they are not the point. Let us not forget. Abu Ghraib.  My Lai. Woonded Knee.

Mike, all you describe is true, but in your comment near the end you note Grant started the reservation system.  That was much better than what preceeded his taking office. He tried his best to stop the extermination but it certainly did fall short.  The effort towards genocide started again as he lost influence towards the end of his term. But this is a digression and we should leave it.  Not sure where we can take it.  I should have left reference to Grant off my comment as the focus was we waged a war of extermination against our native Indians for over 200 years.  An attempt at genocide.  And I think we agree on that.

David thinks this is not the point.  It is the point.  What Russia is doing is terrible and the world needs to stop Russia. But that does not mean it will be stopped.  Nor that  the USA, will not wage a war of aggression against some small country - again.  War has been with us constantly for thousands of years.  We have no idea if this invasion of the Ukraine will be over in a week or will ignite a nuclear war.  No one is in control.  And no one wants to lose.

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David Donohue

Feb 25, 2022

John, I opposed the Iraq invasion, and still call for the instigators to be tried for war crimes.  I have never accepted it, as well as the slaughters in Central America, and elsewhere.  However, sacrificing the peace of Europe to make a pedantic point about “we did it, too,” is much more absurd than should reasonably entertained.  I hope we will come together and support democratic government wherever despots, even and especially ours, threaten it.

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John Servais

Feb 25, 2022

David, I fully support the defense of Ukraine, and am not advocating for “... the sacrifice of the peace of Europe.” Why do you put words in my mouth? Rather a bullying attitude you have. 

You may think this not the time for discussion of American aggressions, but perhaps it is the best time to remind ourselves that we throughout our history have committed such horrendous aggressive wars and - in this moment of horror watching Ukraine - to realize we could stop.  Too many Americans are itching to bomb Iran or North Korea.  We taunt and confront them. We demonize them. We do the very things we demonize other countries for doing.  Now is an appropriate time for us to reflect. Wars of aggression are despictable no matter who wages them. That includes us.  We live in a glass house. 

It is good to provide an opposing oppinion.  But, to tell another they should not think or say or write something is to be against the freedom of speech. To be against the freedom of thought. To tell others that they should not have certain opinions is to not believe in freedoms.  That is the what tyrants do. Let us not go there.

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Dick Conoboy

Mar 03, 2022

 “The war in Ukraine did not begin with the Russian intervention. There are a series of authors for this war, each one important to understanding what is happening today.”  This is from an newsletter written by Vijay Prashad entitled In These Days of Great Tension, Peace Is a Priority.

Prashad goes on to say:

“Wars make very complicated historical processes appear to be simple. The war in Ukraine is not merely about NATO or about ethnicity; it is about all these things and more. Every war must end at some point and diplomacy must restart. Rather than allow this war to escalate and for positions to harden too quickly, it is important for the guns to go silent and the discussions to recommence. Unless at least the following three issues are put on the table, nothing will advance:

    Adherence to the Minsk Agreements.

    Security guarantees for Russia and Ukraine, which would require Europe to develop an independent relationship with Russia that is not shaped by US interests.

    Reversal of Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist laws and a return to the pluri-national compact.

If substantive negotiations and agreements regarding these essential matters do not materialise over the next few weeks, it is likely that dangerous weapons will face each other across tenuous divides and additional countries will get drawn into a conflict with the potential to spiral out of control.”

Details are in the newsletter.  Please read it.

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Dick Conoboy

Mar 04, 2022

Ex-U.S. Ambassador to USSR: Ukraine Crisis Stems Directly from Post-Cold War Push to Expand NATO

“I would add, however, that the problems with Russia are not just NATO expansion. There were also a process that began with the second Bush administration of withdrawing from all of the arms control — almost all of the arms control agreements that we had concluded with the Soviet Union, the very agreements that had brought the first Cold War to an end. There was a step-by-step withdrawal of those. And there was a decided direct intrusion into the domestic politics of these newly independent countries, attempts to — directly to change the government. This gets, I would say, very complicated in a way, for one who hasn’t been able to follow it step by step. But, you know, in effect, what the United States did after the end of the Cold War was they reversed the diplomacy that we had used to end the Cold War, and started sort of doing anything, everything the opposite way. We started, in effect, trying to control other countries, to bring them into what we called the “new world order,” but it was not very orderly. And we also sort of asserted the right to use military whenever we wished. We bombed Serbia in the ’90s without the approval of the U.N. Later, we invaded Iraq, citing false evidence and without any U.N. approval and against the advice not only of Russia but of Germany and France, our allies. So, the United States — I could name a number of others — itself was not careful in abiding by the international laws that we had supported. 

 

 

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Edward Bosteter

Mar 16, 2022

Not one word of the above justifies indiscriminate killing of civilians. It’s ok to roll into another country and start shooting? I have always respected the truth and perspective of the Northwest Citizen but this article and many of the comments are completely callous to the horror of war occuring in Ukraine right this moment as you read this.

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Dick Conoboy

Mar 17, 2022

Edward,

Yes, nothing justifies what Putin is doing but much explains why he is doing it.  An explanation is the purpose of Dianne Foster’s article. We are not innocent in the lead-up to all of this.  Remaining ignorant of the background does not bode well for the future as our history will, as at many moments in our history, come back to bite us in the ass.

I would be interested to know which portions of the comments or the article you find “callous”? 

Dick

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Edward Bosteter

Mar 17, 2022

“supposed Russian aggression” - What part of dead children is “supposed”?

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Mike Sennett

Mar 17, 2022

General Patton was right. 

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Dick Conoboy

Mar 18, 2022

Edward,

The late physicist Murray Gell-Mann wrote a book, The Quark and the Jaguar, in which he presents the concept of coarse and fine graining.  It has been a while since I read it but what I came away with is that “a coarse-grained description is one in which some of ... fine detail has been smoothed over”  So I will make an analogy here although I expect that some physicist reading this will call me out.  But for the moment, the analogy works for me. 

So to focus primarily on Putin is in the category of coarse graining.  He is a murderous wretch of a human being, a thug, a thief and heaven knows what else, who has attacked and meted out destruction and misery over Ukraine.  But when I look with fine graining in mind, the words “supposed agression” makes some sense in light of the totality of aggressive moves taken over the years by the US, NATO, the EU, Russia, Ukraine, et. al.  All of these entities were not at some moment in time beamed down by Scottie in a pristine state the day the tanks began rolling. 

But I am not an apologist for Dianne Foster, who holds her own ground and whose comment on all this I would very much like to see.

Dick

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Dick Conoboy

Mar 18, 2022

Mike,

I assume you are referring to Patton’s desire to just continue on in the aftermath of WWII and crush the Russians.  You are being facetious?

Dick

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Mike Sennett

Mar 19, 2022

Dick- I was curious about his death and in researching I encountered his statements about the  Russians, which are quite derogatory and are being confirmed as they attempt to crush the Ukrainian freedom. There is a documentary that sounds interesting,  “Silencing Patton:The First Victim Of The Cold War”. He and Churchill were similarly hawkish on confronting Stalin. 

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Dick Conoboy

Mar 19, 2022

Mike,

The documentary Silence Patton, can be found here.  I would have to look into the film more to gauge its reliability.  I don’t consider Patton to be associated with a 20th century Oracle of Delphi.

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