By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The irrationality adds to the horror of Putin’s invasion

Kyiv street scene in more peaceful times. Photo (cc) 2004 by almasudi

What’s terrifying about Putin’s attack on Ukraine is that it doesn’t seem rational. He’s turned himself into an international pariah, and his country will be under crippling sanctions for years to come. It’s hard to see how this ends well for him — yet he did it anyway.

God bless the people of Ukraine.

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  1. Steve Ross

    Don’t know. Putin did not pay a price for Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea, Syria and more. Hell, you can still even buy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Russia! Squad applauds!

    I made an extended teaching trip to Ukraine in 1997, spending a lot of time in Crimea. When Russia took it over in 2014 many of my journalist-students in Crimea — ethnic Russians every one — were dumbfounded that the American far left took an after-the-fact plebiscite (conducted at gunpoint) as evidence Crimeans wanted this. They were off-the-wall astonished at Trump using Ukraine to gin up a fake Biden scandal.

    There is a price to be paid for appeasement. We’ll carp about gas prices, but the price is being paid mainly by Ukrainians.

  2. Marcus J Breen

    Disagreee Dan. Here is my pushback to your post.

    It is rational from the Russian history perspective. That’s what Putin explained in his speech: Nazis, fascists and racist anti-Russian prejudice growing in Ukraine.

    • Steve Ross

      I get my information about that first-hand. You get yours from? Where? I never saw any particular anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine until Russia grabbed Crimea and started a nasty war in the eastern districts. Ukrainians even elected an ethnic Russian as president… although he was soon gone for rather good reasons. Intermarriage was common.

      Compare Putin rants with, say, Hungary. To join the EU, Hungary had to renounce territorial aspirations in Transylvania and the Carpathians (basically, in Romania and Ukraine).

      But if you insist 1990s treaties Russia signed (and other signatories have honored) are dead letter because of earlier history, be prepared to deed the entire USA and all of the Americas back to Native Americans. Also consider letting the Vikings run Ukraine and Russia. After all, their red (“rus”) hair gave Russians their name. Or, let Ukraine take over Russia — the first major Rus “capital” was Kiev. Or let Turkey run the Middle East, Greece, and the Balkans as far north as the gates to Vienna.

      Those who do not heed history are doomed to repeat it. But I would suggest that more recent history takes precedence. Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler perhaps? Who needed Czechoslovakia anyway?

  3. Steve Ross

    BTW, for those who actually believe Putin’s rants about discrimination against Russians in Ukraine, it is complicated but generally such discrimination is minor compared to the huge humanitarian crisis Russia has already caused there.

    The New Humanitarian just republished some of its reporting on Ukraine, at

    Should you trust The New Humanitarian? It grew out of IRINNEWS, which was a United Nations organ (part of UNHCR). Those fun-loving Russians and Chinese were supremely pissed off at IRIN insisting on reporting about Syria in 2013, Syria was (and still is, unless/until Ukraine is totally overrun) the biggest humanitarian crisis at the time, with 5 million displaced. So they wrote IRIN out of the UN budget. I helped guide the publication to independence, creating a solid step-budget with Amram Shapiro that IRIN staff used to fundraise. Its first $1+ million came from the Swedish government. I trust it. I trust its staff.

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