Robert Parry in Consortium News:
If you were living in Crimea, would you prefer to remain part of Ukraine with its coup-installed government – with neo-Nazis running four ministries including the Ministry of Defense – or would you want to become part of Russia, which has had ties to Crimea going back to Catherine the Great in the 1700s?
Good question, and one that is never asked by our mainstream news outlets, including MSNBC, home of reputedly progressive talking heads who seem content to repeat the same anti-Russian propaganda you can hear on Fox News and other channels.
Last night, in typically long-winded fashion, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow rehashed an old report on Abkhazia and South Ossetia, tiny territories in Georgia that Russia recognized as independent states after it intervened on their behalf in a brief war with Georgia in 2008. Maddow segued to an on-air interview with NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel, who suspects the upcoming referendum in Crimea is part of a long-range Russian plan to reclaim more territories lost when the Soviet Union imploded.
At one point, referring to Russia’s possible annexation of Crimea, Engel portentously said, “The question is, does [Vladimir] Putin stop there — does Russia stop there.” In other words, maybe Crimea is a prelude to a Russian takeover of the rest of Ukraine (the part that’s actually Ukrainian). And who knows what’s next, Richard. Maybe the rest of the freaking free world!
“What in the hell we watchin’?” my friend Swamp Rabbit said. “I thought the Cold War was over and done. This Engel guy sounds like he wants to be John Foster Dulles.”
The segment, it turned out, was called “Crimea feared as first step in Russian land grab.” Amazingly, Maddow and her guest never once addressed the fact that Russia is reacting, at least in part, to non-stop anti-Russian activity by the United States and NATO in countries that border Russia. Not one word, not even about Kosovo, the territory that broke away, with lots of help from the American military, from Russian-allied Serbia.
Maddow does a great job with domestic stories about the rights of minorities. She has helped shine a light on the dirty governing style of Chris Christie, an elected official who arguably is even more piggish than Putin.
“But why is she harping on the Russian menace, given the fact that American foreign policy is even more pernicious?” I asked Swamp Rabbit. “Sounds like she’s playing into the hands of the neocons who have pressured Barack Obama into talking like a Cold Warrior. Not that he needed much pressure.”
“Well, there’s your answer,” the rabbit said.
Footnote: If you want to start to put Crimea in perspective, read this piece in Foreign Affairs instead of watching dumb-ass TV, as I made the mistake of doing last night.