Pravda On The Potomac-13 (What The Washington Post Wrote About Russia In January And First Half Of February 2010)

Two articles published in the Post in January and early February dealt with security issues.  First, Colum Lynch reported, on January 27, that the U.N. Security Council has lifted sanctions against five former Taliban officials who now say that they back the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  The decision by the Security Council came after Russia, which for years had opposed the move, finally agreed to de-list the men. 

Second, on February 3, Edward Cody described a nervous reaction in some quarters to the plan by France to sell to Russia a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship.  According to Cody's piece, six Republican senators, including John McCain, complained to the French ambassador in Washington that the planned sale "would suggest that France approves of Russia's conduct" which McCain & Co. described as "increasingly aggressive and illegal."  

The good news for January was that Philip Pan resurfaced  — with a January 18 article on the results of the 1st round of the Ukraine presidential election.  The bad news was that like a quarterback who missed a few games due to injury, Pan was rusty and didn't come up with anything more than was already reported by wire services.  Continuing the theme on February 7, Pan demonstrated that his injury had, unfortunately, a sustained character.  Otherwise, it's difficult to interpret his assertion that the problems having plagued the Orange Revolution and its leadership can be explained by the inability of the United States to sufficiently support "Ukraine's fledging democracy."  Wrapping up the election coverage on February 8, the day after the 2nd round of the vote, Pan described Yanukovych's win as a "gratifying victory for Moscow."

Pan's desire to portray the presidential election in Ukraine as another epic battle between "authoritarian" Russia and the "democratic" West seems to have full support of the Post's editorial board.  But the February 9 editorial goes even further: the Post refuses to acknowledge that Ukrainian voters have totally rejected (twice!) the fallacy of the Orange Revolution.  To the Post's editors, "the Orange Revolution lives on", but — fasten your seat belts — needs "plenty of support and nurturing in the next few years."  I guess, this is what doctors call delusion: "a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact."

Rushing to present her take on the events in Kiev, Anne Applebaum informed us, on February 9, that "[T]he most striking thing about this Ukrainian presidential election is that we genuinely did not know who would win."  We who?  Analysts and pollsters predicted the outcome of both rounds of the election with remarkable precision.  Perhaps Applebaum was simply too busy on her trip to India (where she still found inspiration to observe that "Russian patriotism…often takes on a neo-imperialist tinge.  Russian leaders, expressing a self-confidence born of oil wealth, indulge in saber-rattling and sometimes physical attacks on their neighbors…") that she had no time to read.  On the other hand, what difference would this make?  We live in a free country and Applebaum is entitled to her sacred right to remain genuinely ignorant.

Another Post editorial deserves to be mentioned.  On January 11, the Post opined on the oil trade negotiations between Russia and Belarus.   A couple of questions arise when reading this article.  First, the dispute between the two parties erupted on January 1 when Russia briefly cut off part of its oil supplies to Belarus (it was restored in a couple of days).  Why then did the Post's editors wait until January 11 to cover the event?  Well, the answer seems to be simple: they hoped for a sustained shutdown of oil supplies which would allow them to accuse Russia again in using energy for "blackmail and intimidation."  When this didn't happen, the Post had to go with what it had. 

The second question is why would Russia decide to "punish" Belarus as the Post wants us to believe?  Because, we're explained, Belarus refused to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  That could sound at least reasonable if not for the fact that the dispute was amicably resolved shortly after the Post boldly predicted a new "energy war."  Needless to say, no follow-up editorial has followed (even not the particularly Russia-friendly WSJ has reported about the end of the dispute). 

What was this medical thing?  Ah, here it is: a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason.

About Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov is a PMI-certified Innovation Management Consultant who helps organizations increase the efficiency of their internal and external innovation programs.
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2 Responses to Pravda On The Potomac-13 (What The Washington Post Wrote About Russia In January And First Half Of February 2010)

  1. Leo says:

    Looks like this thread needs someone to open the discussion, preferrably an OK-style self-proclaimed leading expert :).
    Mistral(s) – not sure what all the fuss is about. From what I gather the ships won’t tip the force balance in the Black sea anyway. But politically, yes, it is a snub to the New Europe by the French (not like there is love lost between the New Europe and the French). The proposed sale does show that the Old Europe is in strong favor of engagement as opposed to containment when it comes to dealing with Russia.
    The six respected US senators are certainly entitled to their opinions (which may matter little to the executive branch) that Russia’s presense in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is illegal. And it is, from the US point of view. Just as Turkish presence in the Northern Cyprus may be illegal to some as well. I personally think that the recognition of independence (to be able to station troops) set Russia on a very slippery slope internally as well as internationally. But increasingly aggressive? More likely increasingly conciliatory as of late.
    I don’t quite agree that Ukrainian people have twice rejected the fallacy of the Orange Revolution. The main outcome of the events of late 2004 in Kiev has not gone anywhere. The opposition candidate can peacefully come to power as a result of relatively clean and honest elections. At the same time the outvoted incumbent does not have to run for his life or move assets and family abroad. And there was considerably less outside inteference this time around.
    What Ukrainians did reject was the fallacy of Yuschenko’s presidency (in the first round). And elected the less despicable of the two remaining candidates in the second round (I guess this is what free and fair elections are about). As post-2004 events have shown, Tymoshenko was in this orange thing out of lust for power rather than her ideals. If a time comes to “love” Russia, she will be the first in line despite her Foreign Affairs piece of a few years ago.
    The authors you cite (and many others) pretty much equate the democracy in Ukraine to Yuschenko’s presidency. If one agrees with this assumption (which I don’t), then the conclusions of these authors are logical. To sustain such presidency (commanding the support of a vocal minority only) the West needed to do much more for Ukraine in regards to the EU and NATO memberships, visa-free travel and other perks. And of course assist in paying Ukrainian bills. None of this was ever on the table in earnest, so Yuschenko lost badly, being a very divisive figure unable to deliver tangible results to Ukrainian voters and the business elite. Golodomor or Bandera don’t exactly help conduct reforms or build a sustainable economy.
    Lastly, the Pavlovian reflex of WaPo (and other media outlets) to energy supply issues in the FSU is in my opinion related to the lack of clarity on the part of Russia as to its intentions in the post-Soviet space. Privileged interests, liberal empire or slogans of that sort pose more questions than provide answers. Thus any commercial dispute can be easily spun Russia’s friends at WaPo and elsewhere into the eternal conflict of a small courageous nation and a big bully.
    Best wishes,

  2. Can orange mold growing in discrete spots cause shortness of breath, what is the best way to remove it?
    Lately I’ve been wheezing after running and in general feeling like it’s harder to breath, is it possible orange mold is causing this?

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