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Meanwhile, in The Ukraine

something sinister might be happening......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

It is difficult not to be depressed and rather frightened by what is happening in The Ukraine. Essentially, it seems that Russia has armed pro-Russian separatists with weapons that can hit an airliner at over 30k feet and drop it, raining corpses and damage for miles. What happened to that Malaysian Airliner is horrible, and the Russian separatists have alternated admitting and denying this stupid, awful mass murder, and the brain trusts that are the stigmata of near all militia groups everywhere earlier claimed the jet was clearly packed with dead bodies before it took off from Amsterdam in Holland. That makes sense, of course.

The guy supposedly in charge of the militia in question is a re-enactor, one of those who enjoy wearing costumes of uniforms and performing in pretend recreations of battles. We have our own here, of course, and they're every bit as scary as those in The Ukraine, only nobody gives them Stinger missiles or better capable of dropping airliners. What is most likely is that the militia mistook the large airliner on radar for a Ukrainian transport as it was heading east from The Ukrainian portion of the Ukraine, the portion that historically had not been Russian very long. The Crimea was Russian in fact, and when Russia took it back in March, there had been little violence and few had been hurt. The land above the Crimean peninsula was also mostly Russian once, and pluralities wanted to be part of Russia again.

This week, two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down, supposedly by pro Russian separatists over eastern Ukraine. But maybe not. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry doesn't seem to know how many of their men were in either plane, but do know they ejected, yet don't know if they're alive. Ukraine is looking, we're told. Who knows?

Ukraine's leadership of late has been a clown factory of uncharmingly corrupt, incompetent, and vicious men, and the reason Russia had near zero trouble taking over the Crimea is that nobody in the Ukraine was about to go to war under a government so fragile and laughable they feared their entire nation might end up, again, a colony of Moscow. Moscow under Putin does not want a guerilla war or an insurgent war on its border or in its yard, because things on all its southern borders are always volatile, with long histories of religious warfare which are always the most vicious and leaving scars least likely to heal in one or two lifetimes. More to the point, they're very expensive. Putin is neither the vicious thug conservatives in this nation want to elevate to serve their own purposes as a new and scary enemy, nor the father type of a nation. He's an odd duck with many of the stereotypical characteristics of the short man but as yet is not delusional nor remotely incompetent. He's dangerous because he doesn't want to lose power but safe in that he's totally sane. So far.

Most to the point is that Russia and therefore Putin is dependent upon the cash from Europe, mostly western Europe, because of all the gas and oil that flows in pipelines from Russia through Ukraine into the west. A war there could seriously interfere with the nation's budget and require a quick victory to avoid that inconvenience. That would bring western military attention to the area, and that's why things could go to hell quickly.

The capital of The Ukraine is Kiev, a name most in the west associate with Russia and near where many of the worst battles of World War II occurred. The Great Gate of Kiev, the final and most famous movement of Mussorsky's famous Pictures at an Exhibition orchestrated by Ravel, has pretty much melded the Ukraine and Russia in the minds of the west. People still think of the Ukraine as a notional geographical area within Russia, like the Fen Country in England, or even Poland throughout much of its history, and this doesn't aid the Ukrainian cause. But they have their own language and cultural variants. Khrushchev was a Ukrainian, and when he was dividing the Soviet Union into governable units, he gave his people the Crimea. It made bureaucratic sense for efficiency but not in real life.

Just like an afternoon of straight line drawing in the British Foreign Office gave us today's hell in the Middle East, incompetence of the Soviets just provided us with innocent bodies strewn across fields of sunflowers in The Ukraine.