There have been several reports that Russia is massing troops along the Ukrainian border. Putin and other Russian officials have denied any such buildup. NATO General Breedlove seems to believe the buildup is real and says Russia could begin moving into Ukraine in 3 to 5 days.
Two reporters completed a 1000 mile trip along the Russia/Ukraine border and could find no signs of such a massive buildup. They were told by at least one official that the international hype is “completely unfounded.”
Doesn’t that make you wonder just What’s What? How could someone like me, with only information from the news media and the internet, possibly know the truth? This does not, however, keep me from having an opinion. My opinion is there most probably is no massing of troops and tanks, Putin is telling the truth that he has no intention of invading Ukraine, and, in fact, it is international hype completely unfounded.
Why do I think this? I think so because there is no doubt in my mind that both Putin and Russia have been consistently (and, I think, unfairly) demonized by our news media for years. I also know that we have consistently expanded NATO further and further to the east although we promised not to do so, and Ambassador George Kennan, whom I greatly admired, warned that expanding NATO would be a terrible mistake (he was, of course, ignored). Similarly I believe what Putin did in Crimea was the only reasonable thing he could have done. He feared that if Ukraine was seduced by the West, and possibly into NATO, they might try to take away his only warm water naval station on the Crimean peninsula and acted quickly in the national interest of his nation as any strong and decent leader would have done. I also know that the United States lies pretty consistently about its foreign policy that, in recent years, has become more and more stupid and disastrous.
A similar problem of What’s What might well be seen in all the verbiage about Obamacare. Republicans have been claiming for years that it would never succeed, was a government takeover of health care, was going to include death panels, make health care more expensive, perhaps even kill women and children, and blah, blah, blah. On the other side it was argued that it would reduce costs, provide much better health care in a variety of ways, would eventually succeed, and so on. In this case it was not at all difficult for me to side with the proponents of Obamacare even though I believe it should not have included insurance companies. In any case, although I am disappointed with Obamacare, I do believe it is demonstrably better than what we had before in spite of all the ridiculous claims made by Republicans. I know the Republicans consistently lie about everything, especially anything promoted by President Obama. In the case of health care some of their lies were so blatantly ridiculous they could not be taken seriously to begin with, others although not so transparently false, were equally recognizable as lies. More importantly, when it came to taking sides in the argument, I knew Republicans would lie. I knew this because I have seen them lie consistently for at least twenty years. Thus, although I know Democrats also lie, I know they do not lie as regularly and as often, and as outrageously as Republicans. Indeed, I do not believe that George Dubya, Dick the Slimy, or anyone else in that administration ever told the truth about anything. This seems to be the policy followed faithfully ever since they were tutored by one of the greatest liars of all, Karl Rove, who invented, or at least adopted the policy of what I termed “roviation:”
Roviate v. to smear, slime, malign, denigrate, and attempt to destroy an opponent through the use of innuendo, rumor, slander, outright lies and any other despicable means available.
In the case of Obamacare it was not too difficult to understand what’s what, but this is because there was such a long history involved and over the years I began to understand many of the players. In a case like Crimea it is not so easy to know what’s what, but even there a knowledge of the history of the players is about all one has to go on. As I have now followed U.S. foreign policy for quite some time, but especially in the past twenty years, I think I have a good idea of what’s what. I do not like it.