A Revealing Story About Russia’s Mind-Set


By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Sometimes the least noticed things show something quite revealing.

Such is the case with a recent Times story. This story, titled “Russian Official Suggests Weapon Caused Exploration Spacecraft’s Failure,” was one of those stories which people read and then forget in a few days. It didn’t deal with an important event, it wasn’t followed up by any other stories, and it didn’t involve an issue that tugs at people’s emotions.

But the story is very interesting nonetheless, because it suggests something very insightful about the mindset of Russia’s elite. The story is basically what the title says. Russia launched a spacecraft to explore Mars, which unfortunately failed. Then Russian officials did something very curious: they blamed the failure on an American weapon. America, in this view, purposely used a weapon to destroy Russia’s probe.

The Times does note that the accusation might be more for domestic politics than anything else. Russia’s officials might not be too serious in their accusation.

Yet even if so, it reveals a lot that this accusation is perfectly acceptable within Russian domestic politics. Firstly, Russian officials have absolutely no understanding of America if they actually think this. Destroying a Russian scientific spacecraft just for the kicks is something that not even the most rabid anti-Russian neoconservative would suggest. The concept is so far out of there that it’s absurd.

Secondly, Russia is really paranoid. Putin, if reports are believed, actually thinks that the protests against him are a foreign plot. Which is ridiculous; the United States has no such power.

This is very dangerous, however. Fundamental misunderstandings like this do not lend well to international harmony.



Open thread with optional homework assignment

As Barack Obama assembles his cabinet and key White House advisers, he's choosing a lot more people from the "centrist" or corporate-friendly wing of the Democratic Party than movement progressives. He is leaving George Bush's Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, in place. He has also made some symbolic moves that angered a lot of progressives, in particular selecting Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration.

I understand the political arguments in favor of Obama's strategy, and opinion polls support some of them. When asked whether they approve of Obama or how he is handling the transition (different pollsters ask the question differently), anywhere from 65 percent to 75 percent of Americans are saying they approve.

I've been wondering how much Obama's conciliatory gestures have been helping him with Republicans and conservatives of the wingnut variety. I'm not talking about Jim Leach Republicans, I'm talking about the kind of person who really believed Obama was a "socialist."

For example, one of my friends told me last month that her mother's best friend believes changing the American flag will be "the first order of business" when Obama takes office. I am not kidding.

In the next ten days, many of us will attend holiday parties and family reunions. I don't recommend that you bring up politics at these events if that would make people uncomfortable. However, if you come from a family where politics are often discussed when folks get together, I would like to hear from you.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out whether your conservative friends and relatives have abandoned some of their more paranoid beliefs about Obama since he was elected. In other words, how well have Obama's conciliatory gestures allayed conservative fears about his intentions? Is he likely to get more of a honeymoon than Bill Clinton did in 1993?

After the holidays, report back in an open thread or with your own diary.

If you are driving to another city for the holidays, read this piece on safe driving tips by The Baculum King, based on his experience as a truck driver and one particularly horrifying accident he witnessed.

Daily Kos user Translator followed up with this diary containing more advice about driving safely in cold weather.

Remember, "research has found driving while talking on a cellphone to be as dangerous as driving drunk."

There's more...

Mark Halperin, Politico - Paid shills for Obama?

My DD has a front page diary saying the race is over because of what Politico reports as " some important adviser's" comment and Time magazine's inaccurate facts.

Well these are some painful things that Mark Halperin should know.

1. "She can't win the nomination without overturning the will of the elected delegates, which will alienate many Democrats."

Elected delegates represent the will of people - says who?  So, what is the will of the people of Texas, for example?

2. "She can't win the nomination without a bloody convention battle -- after which, even if she won, history and many Democrats would cast her as a villain."

So is Obama. Even Obama can't win without a bloody convention if he doesnt secure 2209 delegates( not 2025)

Obama is the villain if he is the nominee after losing 8 or 9 of the 10 biggest delegations and popular vote but still goes on to become the nominee.

3. "Catching up in the popular vote is not out of the question -- but without re-votes in Florida and Michigan it will be almost as impossible as catching up in elected delegates."

Mark halperin or the media does not get the right to decide if 2.4 million votes from MI and FL should count.

4.  "Nancy Pelosi and other leading members of Congress don't think she can win and want her to give up. Same with superdelegate-to-the-stars Donna Brazile."

Nancy Pelosi and Donna Brazile are not the only superdelegates that decide the nominee. There are numerous senators, governers, congressmen and party bosses that back Hillary.

5. "Obama's skilled, close-knit staff can do things like silently kill re-votes in Florida and Michigan and not pay a political price."

He is already paying a political price. If Obama does not set his foot in MI and FL until he gets the nomination, write off these two states in November. Added to this he has hurt the whites in OH and PA. Can someone tell how Obama will win by losing these 4 states in November?

6. "Many of her supporters -- and even some of her staffers -- would be relieved (and even delighted) if she quit the race; none of his supporters or staff feel that way. Some think she just might throw in the towel in June if it appears efforts to fight on would hurt Obama's general election chances."

Do you have a poll of her supporters( at least 14 million so far who have voted for her) and staffers before declaring " Many of the supporters will be delighted?"

7. "The Rev. Wright story notwithstanding, the media still wants Obama to be the nominee -- and that has an impact every day."

This moron wants the media to decide the race!

8. "Obama might not be able to talk that well about the new global economy, but she (and McCain) can't either."

So- what do you imply. - Nobody should be the POTUS?

9. "Many of the remaining prominent superdelegates want to be for Obama and she (and Harold Ickes) are just barely keeping them from making public commitments to him."

Unsubstantiated bogus claim. How many superdelegates did you interview before making this claim?

10." She can't publicly say more than 2% of all the things she would like to say about race, electability, beating McCain and experience."

Don't you worry about that. Wait and see -the media will do it for her, once Obama starts crumbling in PA and all through May.

11."If she somehow found a way to win the nomination, she would have to offer Obama the veep slot, and she doesn't want to do that."

She will probably be waiting for a no from Obama. Obama doesn't want the slot either. There are ofcourse more qualified candidates willing to take that spot, people  who respect and love Hillary like Clark and Bayh or may be even Edwards.

12. "This is a change election, and Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton can never truly be change."

Bush- clinton-bUSH had something that hillary doesn't have and vice-versa. Wait until you see atleast 40 million women come out in November and vote for the First woman POTUS- Is'nt that a historic change?

13. "Obama is having fun most days, and she isn't."

Correct, by saying things like "typical white" about his grandmother.

14. "Even though her campaign staff is having more fun than it has for a long time, there's hardly anyone there who, given half a chance, wouldn't slit Mark Penn's throat -- and such internal dissension won't help her in the home stretch."

Mark Penn is now not running the show in the homestrech. Everyone knows that. I wouldn't be surprised if Carville, Begala and even Dick Morris is roped in the last moment.

Shame on my DD to carry front page articles saying the race is over. Mark Halperin has lost his neutrality, even if he ever had one. The race is far from over.

There's more...


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