Monday, February 23, 2015

And Nothing, Nothing, Nothing From Mainstream Media

I have been reading David Warsh for a very long time--since high school, when he wrote for a column for the Boston Globe. He is not an Austrian school economic journalist, he is not a libertarian, but he is a truth seeker and calls them the way he sees them.

He is always informative and fun to read, but I disagree with a lot of what he writes. He strays, in my view, much too far from a free market perspective on the economy. He is too Keynesian. That said, his essay this week on the Ukraine crisis is probably the best he has ever written--and in decades of writing he has written many gems.

In  this week's column, it is clear just how much of a truth seeker, and a man who calls them the way he sees them, he is.

He starts off with this:
The confrontation with Russia is becoming more alarming. Kathrin Hille, reporting from Moscow for the Financial Times, describes how cellphone operators are offering free ringtones of patriotic war songs, intended to evoke the defense of Moscow in 1941.
And then he goes on to quote from  New York Times and Wall Street Journal reports on how much of an aggressor Russian President Vladimir Putin is.  How Putin has committed in Crimea "the most audacious land-grab since World War II,” according to Andrew S. Weiss in WSJ.

And how according to Weiss:
Mr. Putin’s highly personalized, profoundly erratic approach to government may be even more dangerous than most Western governments are comfortable admitting.
But then Warsh stops with the quotes from FT, NYT and WSJ and writes:
Notice anything funny about this narrative? Putin is always the impulsive actor, never the one who is acted upon.  He is never reacting to anything that NATO or the Americans do.

There is nothing here about NATO expansion. Nothing about the brief 2008 war with Georgia. Nothing about the continuing controversy about who fired the shots on Kiev’s  Maidan square, nothing about the phone call by US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, taped by the Russians at the height of the crisis; nothing about the Russian naval base at Sevastopol on the Black Sea.  Nothing about the sanctions imposed on the Russians since the crisis began. Nothing about the Ukrainian army offensives in the southeast. Nothing about the Ukrainian vote to join NATO that may have triggered the January offensive. Nothing to note that all this is happening on Russia’s doorstep.  Is it any wonder Putin is “doubling down”?

The scariest thing of all is that it may be Putin who has been telling the fundamental truth all along:  NATO expansion in Georgia Ukraine is unacceptable to him and Russia is willing to go to war to rule it out. He’s been improvising, all right, but often in response to probes – Ukrainian, European, US.

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