This is your captain speaking

17 03 2014

So here’s my take on Crimea, Ukraine, and Russia: Read folks who, unlike me, actually know something about Crimea, Ukraine, and Russia.

What should the US do about C/U/R? Criminy. I’ll go with what has evolved into my default position on all matters in which the US is urged (often, but not always, by mouth-foamers) to do something: Ask four questions.

  1. What, practically*, can be done?
  2. If there is anything, practically, to be done, what among those options will make the situation better?
  3. What is “better”?
  4. What happens if the chosen action fails?

(*As in, what actually could be accomplished and what are the odds of success.)

There are other considerations, of course, including prior commitments and reputation management and allied relations, but it seems that amidst those other considerations, these four questions have gotta be answered.

I don’t know what those answers are in this situation, tho’ I do know I’m skeptical of aggressive action. As for those who think Putin is pwning our president, well, I’m skeptical that aggression is a sign of strength.

And  if Putin does end up getting his way and keeping Crimea? I guess he wins, whatever that means. A bad outcome, but probably not the worst.

Now, on to something about which I can know with 100 percent absolute super confidence: What happened to that Malaysian jet?

The Rapture, of course!

Duh.





Through these fields of destruction

2 03 2014

I know zip about Ukraine & Crimea; this will not prevent me from having opinions about Ukraine & Crimea.

(Look ma! I’m pundit-ing!)

Anyway, the one thought that does keep popping up in me noggin is that Putin’s push in Crimea is a sign of weakness, not strength.

Soldiers, guns, tanks: these are artifacts of failure (of diplomacy, of cunning, of imagination); their use signals a breakdown, not a triumph.





Come greet the dawn and stand beside us

28 07 2013

Putin’s Russia is not a great place for queer folk.

Of course, it’s also not a great place for dissident folk and Chechen folk and Jewish folk and African folk and any folk who can’t be fitted into a Putin-defined slot of “good Russian citizen”.

Still, it’s the anti-LGBT legislation and violence which has led to a call for the boycott of Russian vodka. Dan Savage, noting a) the uneven prospects for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics  and b) how much vodka is sold in gay bars, kicked off the vodka-boycott:

But [Olympics] boycott or no boycott there is something we can do right here, right now, in Seattle and other US cities to show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, and straight allies in Putin’s increasingly fascistic Russia: DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA.

I’ve participated in a few boycotts in my life, and am unopposed to them in principle, even if I question their effectiveness. Given how much Russian hooch is sold in North America, this attempt has a good chance materially to affect some Russian companies, which might maybe possibly could lead them to ask Putin to back off which almost certainly will not lead Putin to back off.

Still, a well-organized boycott can at least serve to heighten awareness of an issue and increase solidarity among the boycotters, which ain’t beanbag.

The question I have, however, is whether this really will, as Savage put it, “show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies” in a way that will actually help them.

What if this doesn’t help them? What if this hurts them? What then?

In other words, should those Russian queers and their allies take the lead and tell us what they want and need, what they think will work, and what we can do to help them?

If they say RIGHT ON! to the boycott, then okay, RIGHT ON!

But I’d like to hear them say it, first.