Putin Doesn't Consider America's Posturing in Crimea -- A rightist talking point has developed in the current kerfuffle over Crimea and who gets to run it, namely that President Obama has made America weak and President Putin is taking advantage of that. This is, of course, nonsense. America is no longer stuck in the quagmire of Iraq, and therefore, has more troops available to deploy as needed. But more importantly, President Putin and his regime does not consider outside influences in making their calculations. [10 March]
Crimean Assembly Votes to Join Russia -- While foreign ministers from several nations met in Paris to discuss the Ukraine-Russia situation, the local assembly of Crimea voted unanimously to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. This must be ratified by a referendum that is scheduled for March 16. This move is going to make a satisfactory solution to the problem far more difficult. [6 March]
Tea Party Candidates Lose in Texas -- The State of Texas, home to some of America's most reactionary voters, held primary elections yesterday, and on the Republican side, the establishment candidates beat the Tea Party-backed candidates rather handily. The difference seems to be the support from the pragmatic, business faction of the party that prefers incumbents, in whom they have already invested, to renegades whom they would have to housebreak. [5 March]
China is Awfully Quiet on Ukraine -- The Ukrainians have thrown out their president, the Russians have sent troops to Crimea, the EU and US are in a state of anxiety over it. The UN has been consulted, and sanctions are likely. And yet, from Beijing, there is not quite a deafening silence over the matter but most assuredly it is a curious quiet. China is terrible conflicted over this conflict. [4 March]
Bin Laden's Son-in-Law on Trial in NYC -- Today is an important day in the annals of justice in New York. Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, and allegedly a spokesman and recruiter for Al Qaeda, goes on trial this morning in New York City. There is no lock down in the city, no closed tunnels or bridges, no special searches of public spaces nor of private homes. In short, New York appears to be as comfortable as it ever is on matters of security. If bin Laden's son-in-law can be tried here without undue risk to the citizenry, then clearly any alleged Al Qaeda member can be. It's time to empty Guantanamo and fill up 1 Center Street. [3 March]
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