Kunstler: Lighten Up to Tighten Up.
Perhaps the presidency has been an overly solemn office since, oh, the days of Millard Fillmore, the dreary weight of all that mortal responsibility — slavery, war, more war, depression, yet more war, nukes, we shall overcome, terror, Lehman Brothers, Ferguson, Russia here, there, and everywhere…uccchhh….
And so, at last: a little comic relief. I mean, imagine Grover Cleveland putting the choke-slam on Thomas Nast. Dwight Eisenhower punching out Edward R. Murrow. Jack Kennedy applying the Macumba Death Grip to Walter Lippman. Nahhhh. But Donald (“The Golden Golem of Greatness”) Trump versus CNN! Now that’s a matchup worthy of the WWF Hall of Fame. I just kind of wish the big fella had gone all the way and put in Anderson Cooper’s mug instead of the CNN logo box. Make it truly up front and personal since, let’s face it, Andy has been the most visible conduit of Jeff Zucker’s animadversions.
Kunstler: Suicide by Stupidity.
One has to wonder, though, about the editors who serve up this baloney. Are they mere servelings of the Rand Corporation, Raytheon, and other parties with an interest in the war business, or can they possibly believe their own extrusions of fabricated agit-prop?
For instance, the imputed Russian “annexation of Crimea,” as if the place was some kind of nostalgic, sore-beset Ruritania of independent princes, colorful peasants, and earnest postal clerks cruelly enslaved by bloodthirsty Cossacks. No, Crimea had been officially a province of Russia since exactly 1783 — which was, by the way, the same year that the American Revolution officially ended via the Treaty of Paris.
After the Russian Revolution (1917) the Crimean peninsula became an autonomous province of the Soviet Union, meaning it remained a part of what was then Russia. In 1954, Nikita Khrushchev turned the administrative duties over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was then also a province of the greater USSR, i.e. Russia. Through the entire modern era, Crimea has been the site of the USSR’s, and now Russia’s, only warm-water naval bases. Ask the average American college student why that is, and you will surely receive a blank stare.
Crimea is a peninsula on the Black Sea, which connects to the Mediterranean Sea. Hence Crimea’s strategic value. For a few short years in the 21st century, following the breakup of the USSR, the now-independent Ukraine had possession of Crimea and essentially rented the existing naval bases to Russia. That provided a much needed revenue stream for the struggling country, which was also utterly dependent on imported Russian natural gas supplies, which Ukraine had to pay for.
When the elected president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, was overthrown in 2014, with the help of the US State Department and CIA, Russia was obliged to secure its naval bases in Crimea — where the overwhelming majority of citizens were culturally and linguistically Russian anyway. A referendum ratified the transfer of Crimea back to Russia. Apart from these procedural details, it must be obvious that Russia would never have ceded its strategic naval bases on the Black Sea to Ukraine, especially when that beleaguered country was being manipulated by the USA and NATO into becoming an adversarial presence on Russia’s border.