Monday, March 03, 2014
Putin's War on Ukraine
Russian tanks, APCs, and artillery are massing just across the border from Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk.
Putin is preparing to invade Ukraine. My guess is that he will do it, and will try to take Kyiv and to break through in the south to TransDniestr. I have no inside knowledge at all, but if he's going to invade I wouldn't expect him to do it in a pussy-footing half-arsed American style. The costs of taking the bulk of Ukraine aren't that much higher than if he limits himself to the east. I would also suppose he leaves Lviv, Ivano-Fkankivsk, Rivne, and other major western centers alone, just because they aren't worth holding for him. At least, this is what I would do if I were a KGB man intent on rebuilding the Soviet empire.
One other thing I'll note is that the phony "libertarians" associated with Lew Rockwell are showing their true colors. They are beside themselves with hysteria over the American threats to start a war, even though no such threats exist. Yet there's not a peep from them about Putin's invasion and open threats of war, nothing about Yanukovych's criminality and murderous oppression, nothing about the censorship going on in the Russian news media or the shutting down of free press and free speech in Crimea. I'll be posting something on these pseudo-libertarian thugs soon.
Meanwhile, I've also been writing my friends and former students in Ukraine, people who actually have been fighting for liberty. They are in great danger, as is all Ukraine.
From Kyiv Post:
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Ukraine is not yet dead!
Friday, February 21, 2014
Shootings in Kyiv
Here's video footage of snipers and militsia shooting at Euromaidan activists, plus scenes of victims alive and dead.
Lew Rockwell, "anti-war" Justin Raimondo, senile old Ron Paul, and paranoid lunatic Paul Craig Roberts find this acceptable.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Note on Ukraine
I expect they'll be taken down at some point.
I've been trying to explain the situation to friends of mine who don't know much about Ukraine, putting it into America terms. Here's what I said to a friend yesterday that I think captures the idea:
The press coverage of Ukraine is terrible in the U.S. It is treated as if it's a political squabble between, say, the Democrats and Republicans that has somehow gotten out of hand. It's not. Here's how it could be translated into American terms: Suppose that in 2016 Hillary runs against, say, Ted Cruz, and wins. Three years later the situation is that Cruz was sent to prison shortly after the election on trumped up charges, we learn that Chelsea Clinton is now the richest person in America, that the Clintons and their friends own over 50% of the American economy, and that Hillary is about to sign a deal that turns U.S. security over to China. When we assemble and begin peacefully demonstrating, there begins a stream of daily abductions and disappearances, with victims turning up tortured or dead or not turning up at all. Then the police suddenly violently attack, killing a number of demonstrators, right after Hillary promises us she will listen to us and resolve this peacefully. Next, an "amnesty" bill is passed by Congress, except only a minority of Congress is in attendance and they are all Hillary supporters. The amnesty supposedly is for demonstrators, but when we read the fine print we realize it covers the security forces almost exclusively. And besides, we demonstrators are not afraid of prosecution, we are now afraid of being abducted by death squads after we go home.
They are now finding bodies on the trails I used to run.
I keep hearing this crap about how this "suddenly" turned violent -- in fact, attacks and disappearances of people opposing Yanukovych have been a daily occurrence. Now the Berkut and Interior Ministry forces are gunning down demonstrators. I'm extremely worried for my former students, some of whom were giving free economics lectures at "Open Maidan University" at Kyiv's Euromaidan. They are likely in mortal danger, and should Yanukovych triumph I expect they'd face violent retaliation.
If you really want to understand what is happening read Rutgers Professor Alexander Motyl's analysis. I hope he is right about the downfall. Yanukovych is Putin's puppet in many respects -- he is taking orders from Putin on this. The Russian FSB and special forces are certainly already at work in Ukraine, and Putin has much to lose here. I suspect Putin is not hesitant about spilling oceans of Ukrainian blood if needed for his scheme of rebuilding Soviet power, his Eurasian Union project.
Needless to say Lew Rockwell's "anarchocapitalists" (a.k.a. apologists for Stalin and Putin) are defending Yanukovych's brutal dictatorship. What a disgusting and evil spectacle -- anarchists for the kleptomaniacal police state. Ugh.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Monday, February 03, 2014
What's it like to be clubbed unconscious by thugs?
I've been trying to follow events in Ukraine. Here's the most moving account I've seen of what the Euromaidan events mean and what it means for a Ukrainian. As author Tetyana Chornovil implores us, don't be indifferent to what is happening. (And here's the original post in Ukrainian.)
Most of what I have been reading is by Ukrainians. Yes, I also read things from American and western European sources, but the bulk of "western" analysis is crap. In another excellent piece economist Volodymyr Dubrovskiy analyzes the politics of the situation and how westerners are completely missing that Yanukovych is establishing a brutal dictatorship. (I should mention that I do not know Dubrovskiy, but he is with CASE Ukraine -- Center for Social and Economic Research. When I taught with EERC we had some loose connections with this institute; they do good work.)
I think this is really a life or death situation for Ukraine. The alleged amnesty means nothing, as Dubrovskiy points out. Protestors and activists cannot simply give up now and go home. If they do they'll eventually be hunted down and punished, extra-judicially. Yanukovych and his puppet master, Vladimir Putin, will run Ukraine as a brutal dictatorship on the Lukashenka/Stalin model. Ukraine will be a kleptocratic dictatorship if Yanukovych is not brought down... brought down, as in removed from power, because he really is the maniac Chornovil describes. There can't be any compromise agreement with such a maniac, because he'll renege and destroy you at first chance.
Finally, one more piece, by Anton Shekhovtsov, in which he documents the hand of Putin in disinformation campaigns being conducted in the West. It's interesting -- but not surprising -- that both left-wing and right-wing "experts" are involved. Note that one of Putin's mouthpieces is Daniel McAdams of the "Ron Paul Institute," and a frequent writer on Lew Rockwell's site. It's not at all surprising that these worms turned up when Shekhovtsov looked under a few rocks. Rockwell's site (and its sister site, AntiWar dot Com) have regularly condemned the Ukrainian protestors and supported Yanukovych and Putin. That's not news, and I won't link to their drivel.
Far worse, Doug Bandow of Cato wrote an utterly uniformed, unprincipled, and ultimately disgusting piece in Forbes on why there are no important issues for the west in Ukraine. In the course of his piece he managed to say that Russia is actually behaving very nicely to Ukraine; after all, didn't Putin offer Ukraine financial assistance? OK, we expect pro-Soviet drivel from pseudo-libertarians like Rockwell and Raimondo. But from a Cato Senior Fellow?
A number of my friends and former students are at Maidan Nezalezhnosti. They have put their lives on the line. They are fighting for freedom and for civilization. Before long they too might be learning what it is like to face a death squad. There's no point in my saying anything anything to the likes of Rockwell and his friends; given the number of appearances Comrade Lew makes on KGB-TV (RT News) it wouldn't shock me to learn that they were even on Putin's payroll. But to Doug Bandow and other "experts" who feign knowledge in an attempt to appear balanced and reasonable, and find yourselves upon the sidelines apologizing for despotism, listen to Tetyana Chornovil:
Indifferent people, please understand this faster and start to care... those of you who are indifferent should not stay away when the bells are ringing. When there is still time to stop the most horrible. Because it has not reached your turn yet, but it definitely will, even if you don’t care.
Explaining my hiatus
Why the silence from Unforeseen Contingencies? I haven't been blogging because I've been overwhelmed with a number of other activities. I expect to get back to it on a more regular basis this month. I have an enormous backlog of ideas I want to write about, plus there are so many current events screaming for commentary that I don't even know where I'd begin.
No, that's not right at all. I know exactly where to begin, as my next post will show.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Unforeseen Contingencies: Prophetic?
On 31 December 2012 we made ten (10) predictions for the coming year, plus two auxiliary "wild card" predictions. Here are the results.
Prediction 1. Solar Storms will not shut down the American power grid to any appreciable extent. Hit for UC!
Proof: we are still able to blog, and you can read this.
Prediction 2. Assad's regime will fall and Syria will remain enmeshed in civil war. UC is half right.
Assad did not fall, but neither did he win the war. I rather doubt it will end for a while, nor will Assad fall, unless he's very unlucky.
Prediction 3. The Democrats in the Senate will invoke the "nuclear option" and eliminate or greatly constrain the filibuster. Hit for UC!
I hate to say I told you so... boy, do I hate it! This is very bad news. The democrats really are hell bent on "transforming" America into a Progressive system. in which elites and experts dictate policy, unconstrained by Constitutional checks and balances and separations of powers that interfere with their "wise" choices. Too bad they don't realize that this is just another way to say "dictatorship."
Prediction 4. There will be at least one violent act of domestic terrorism against American gun owners. Miss.
I'm relieved. Despite plenty of hatred from the left and many in the state, it appears they understand we gun owners are not to be trifled with. The letter of the Utah Sheriffs' Association to Barack Obama promising to fight to the death against any unConstitutional gun ban he might try to impose is instructional... don't tread on armed people. Incidentally, this letter should have been the news story of the year, but the left prefers to ignore such things so they can continue to dream that the rest of the us will grudgingly acquiesce to their schemes for utopia.
Prediction 5. The opening of the PPACA exchanges will prove to be a shambles. Hit for UC!
Whew, barely squeaked by on that one! hahahahahahahahahaha
Prediction 6. It will become apparent that health insurance premiums will rise sharply. Hit for UC!
And it's going to get much worse. Signups of the healthy, low risk people who are supposed to subsidize the pool will be very, very, very low.
Prediction 7. Chinese recession in 2013. Miss.
Those darned inscrutable Chinese! (Story here.)
Prediction 8. Civil disturbances in the U.S. Hit for UC!
There were indeed riots ostensibly tied to a "justice for Trayvon" theme, plus the housing voucher riot in Detroit. Happily these remained small scale. MSM ignored them, but that doesn't mean they weren't real.
Prediction 9. Success of Wiki weapons AR platform. Hit for UC!
It worked! And then...
Prediction 10. A bill to ban or strictly regulate information on firearm design, software that encodes it, and 3D printer hardware and materials that will print it will be introduced into Congress. Hit for UC!
Bills to ban arms-making via printing and bills to restrict ownership of printers have indeed been proposed. But as it turns out, given the nearly infinite elasticity with which current laws are interpreted, the WikiWeapons project was shut down under existing "law." You see, it was an "export business" and thus subject to ITAR (International Trafficking in Arms Regulations). Of course, all the Defcad/WkikiWeapons project did was make ideas available for those to sought them. It exported nothing. And everyone who understands combat understands that there is no such thing as a dangerous weapon, only dangerous men... and it's their ideas and knowledge that make them dangerous. Hence the necessity of idea control, an idea that always fails.
Wild card #1: Scientists will announce discovery of life on a planet in another star system. Miss.
Another miss... but "we're" getting closer!
Wild card #2: Scientists will announce discovery of evidence of life on Mars. Miss.
And again, a miss. But Rover has just found evidence of water on Mars, and scientists are hopeful that we're on the verge of discovering evidence of Martian life, and perhaps life itself. My prediction was just a bit early, as you'll see!
So there you have it, a 75% success rate! (Only the ten non-wild-card predictions count towards the tally.) Even Nostradamus didn't hit this seventy percent rate (yet). I can't claim to be a prophet -- a real prophet would have to hit 100% -- but we are way above what random guessing should do. Quasi-prophet status, perhaps?
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So that's our final post of 2013. May 2014 bring very good things to you, my beloved readers, to your respective countries, and to our world!
Picture: The prophet Isaiah, from a 1904 Bible Card. I gather these were forerunners to baseball cards.