Putin: "Thanks For Being So Cool About Everything" [The Onion]


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Wow. That was painfully unfunny. The Onion has really lost it’s comedic-ear since it started valuing sincerity over humor. That would have never passed as onion-worthy five or six years ago.

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I fail to see the satire. Does Onion suggest a direct military confrontation with a nuclear power? Because Russia has by some estimates, you know, around 30.000 troops in Crimea right now.

The West could get actually serious about sanctions, but imagining that would result in Putin’s retreat and surrender at this (or any previous, really) point is absurd.

I’m really not sure what a good response would be here, even if I can agree that the current one is pretty ineffective. It seems to be analogous to someone witnessing an armed robbery in a crowded bank. They have a gun, so they should draw it to show they’re serious, right?

I’m John McCain, and I approve The Onion’s message.


Personally, I think that the Crimea situation has set some pretty dangerous precedents. I value David Remnick’s opinion (he’s the editor of New Yorker) more than I value Ron Paul’s opinion. But this piece fails to make the news anymore absurd than it all ready is-- you can very easily make the argument that Putin’s behavior is “naked aggression.” I can get this sort of thing from a straight news magazine.

If a clueless network picks this up as straight news (as clueless networks sometimes do), I wouldn’t feel comfortable laughing at that network’s “naiveté”.

Actually, the fact that people are discussing the Onion’s intent is exactly why the Onion is a shadow of what it once was. The intent used to be obvious: to be funny, ironic, or absurd.

Now the humor has often become secondary to the “message”. Nobody goes to the Onion for the “message”. If it’s not well written and funny it shouldn’t be on the Onion. Period. And this was most definitely neither.

I wonder how many people in the West know what the real Putin actually said three days ago? I think it was amazingly to the point, so let me quote him in length for you:

“… what do we hear from our colleagues in Western Europe and North America? They say we are violating norms of international law. Firstly, it’s a good thing that they at least remember that there exists such a thing as international law – better late than never. (…) the well-known Kosovo precedent – a precedent our western colleagues created with their own hands in a very similar situation, when they agreed that the unilateral separation of Kosovo from Serbia, exactly what Crimea is doing now, was legitimate and did not require any permission from the country’s central authorities (…) Here is a quote from another official document: the Written Statement of the United States America of April 17, 2009, submitted to the same UN International Court in connection with the hearings on Kosovo. Again, I quote: ‘Declarations of independence may, and often do, violate domestic legislation. However, this does not make them violations of international law.’ End of quote.  They wrote this, disseminated it all over the world, had everyone agree and now they are outraged. (…) This is not even double standards; this is amazing, primitive, blunt cynicism. One should not try so crudely to make everything suit their interests, calling the same thing white today and black tomorrow.
Russia strived to engage in dialogue with our colleagues in the West. (…) But we saw no reciprocal steps. On the contrary, they have lied to us many times, made decisions behind our backs, placed us before an accomplished fact. This happened with NATO’s expansion to the East, as well as the deployment of military infrastructure at our borders. They kept telling us the same thing: ‘Well, this does not concern you.’ That’s easy to say. (…) Today, it is imperative to end this hysteria, to refute the rhetoric of the cold war and to accept the obvious fact: Russia is an independent, active participant in international affairs; like other countries, it has its own national interests that need to be taken into account and respected. (…) But let me say too that we are not opposed to cooperation with NATO, for this is certainly not the case. For all the internal processes within the organisation, NATO remains a military alliance, and we are against having a military alliance making itself at home right in our backyard or in our historic territory. I simply cannot imagine that we would travel to Sevastopol to visit NATO sailors. Of course, most of them are wonderful guys, but it would be better to have them come and visit us, be our guests, rather than the other way round”.

There you are. They didn’t show you that on CNN.


Right, and Onion writers clearly never read it either. It’s sad to see normally savvy people like that embedded so deeply in the Western hive mind.

Did Mr. Milosevic or a decade of ethnic cleansing come up in Putin’s comparison of Kosovo to Ukraine?


Having just read bookofbadarguments.com I’m going to have to say that’s a false dilemma.

Make no mistake - the UN is sending a clear signal about the stupidity of nuclear disarmament. Ukraine had the most nuclear weapons in the world until they were convinced to trade them for promises of security, now clearly worthless. Every single state that we are attempting to convince to stop producing nuclear weapons/WMDs will look to this for guidance, ensuring that we have more WMDs in the hands of less stable regimes.

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I would appreciate a citation on that, but I doubt you could find one. The international war crimes Tribunal and the NATO countries largely agree there was ethic cleansing against Kosovo Albanians in 1999, but certainly not for anything like a decade.

Also, amzingly, Putin has already answered to that argument:

According to this logic, we have to make sure every conflict leads to human losses. I will state clearly - if the Crimean local self-defence units had not
taken the situation under control, there could have been casualties as well. Fortunately this did not happen. There was not a single armed confrontation in Crimea and no casualties. Why do you think this was so? The answer is simple: because it is very difficult, practically impossible to fight against the will of the people.

The core issue, as I see it, is: should the “West” attempt to prevent Putin from annexing Crimea?
Is that what you mean by dilemma? Because I really don’t see it as being false.

The problems rather follow from the unfortunate reality that removing Putin from Crimea (populated as it is at the moment by a pro-Russian majority, additionally angered and worried by certain ultra-nationalist steps taken by the interim government in Kiev) would require a military confrontation. If, in the light of these circumstances, the answer to the initial question is an understandable “no,” all that remains are measures aimed at de-escalating the situation and deterring further aggression.

Fool. The Ukrainians have already been accused of being nazis, so the fear of ethnic cleaning has become reified.

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The speech is presented in full (with some soft commentary) in BBC news site, which is where I read it.

I fail to see the similarities with Kosovo. The situation in Kosovo had a background of decades of violence and a clear rise in tensions over the years preceding the declaration of independence. There is also no doubt that the move towards independence was clearly a matter of self-determination of the people living there.

Crimea, on the other hand, did not declare independence, but was incorporated into the territory of a superpower, which is quite a different matter. The Crimean government which organized the referendum and authorized the annexation was supposedly elected behind closed doors while under siege by armed pro-Russian (quite possibly, actual Russian military) troops, which makes it no more legitimate than the current Ukrainian government, which Putin dismisses completely. The whole situation developed with unprecedented haste: it went from a complete non-issue (no talks about desire for independence or plans to join Russia) to a legitimized annexation in three weeks, which, at best, makes it highly suspicious. It does not indicate democratic self-determination, but rather backstage dealings planned in advance with popular support only generated though propaganda and manipulation.


When is Germany going to annex Königsberg? If Crimea only being Ukranian since 1954 isn’t long enough, is 1945 much better?

Nah, Russia ethnically cleansed that bit well and proper, won’t get any German referendums there.

I often think that Russia’s arguments are interesting in their different perspective from the west, and often challenge my own blind spots on certain issues. I’d be a lot more convinced though if someone else were making them, accompanied by more nuanced actions. As it is, it just seems like a fairly good attempt at whitewashing some pretty inexcusable actions.

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The Soviet Union did a good job of clearing out the Tatars from Crimea- but under Ukrainian misrule, all that was undone.

Man, the Onion does sycophancy as well as it used to do humour. Terrible. Kind of funny, if looked at a certain way…
Well, it’s clear that NATO’s geostrategic behaviour over the last 25 years precipitated this move by Russia. They brought it upon themselves (no doubt they have assessed this scenario, but who knows if they kept good notes, given the ‘higher risk’ nature of the of the play). American media is doing a good job of manufacturing consent, and keeping the inertia of its interests at the desired rate. I don’t agree with Russia doing this, any more than I disagree with it. It’s a rational response to the perceptible strategy the US has employed for the last couple of decades. Putin has made a play, and given Crimea’s history and demographics he’s played well. Now it’s the Crying Eagle of Destiny’s turn. Will they pass, pick up a card, or change position on the board?

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