World View: President Obama Accuses Vladimir Putin of Being a Liar

This morning's key headlines from
  • President Obama accuses Vladimir Putin of being a liar
  • State Dept. terrorism report emphasizes Syria as 'major battleground'
  • Man infected with MERS virus traveled through Chicago to Indiana

President Obama accuses Vladimir Putin of being a liar

Violence is spreading in Ukraine. It's mostly confined to a few cities in the east, but there have been casualties in violence Friday in Odessa in southwest Ukraine. Russia's annexation of Crimea leaves Ukraine with only one major port on the Black Sea, the port in Odessa. If Russia also succeeds in annexing Odessa, then what's left would be a rump nation, completely landlocked.

There's kind of an "honor among thieves and liars" creed that requires liars to defend and support each other. Certainly President Barack Obama has been consistently following that creed in terms of his unending support for the claims of Russia's president Vladimir Putin, whether the subject has been Iran, Syria, or more recently Ukraine.

So possibly the most significant Ukraine news Friday is that President Obama called Vladimir Putin a liar. It was during a press conference with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, who's visiting Washington.

Obama pointed out that pro-Russian activists shot down helicopters using sophisticated surface-to-air missiles that could only have been obtained from Moscow, and that neutral observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have been abducted, with the conclusion that Putin's statements lacked "honesty and credibility." Here's Obama's statement:

And one of the biggest concerns that we’ve seen is the Russian propaganda that has been blasted out nonstop suggesting somehow that the Ukrainian government is responsible for the problems in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has shown remarkable restraint throughout this process. The notion that this is some spontaneous uprising in eastern Ukraine is belied by all the evidence of well-organized, trained, armed militias with the capacity to shoot down helicopters. Generally, local protestors don’t possess that capacity of surface-to-air missiles or whatever weapons were used to shoot down helicopters, tragically.

We’ve seen the attempts of OSCE monitors – who were approved not just by Europe or the United States, but also by Russia – being detained. And somehow Russia is suggesting that Kyiv is responsible for that? We’ve heard Mr. Putin say, well, Kyiv has to do a better job of reaching out to Eastern Europe – or eastern Ukraine. You’ve seen attempts by Kyiv in a very serious way to propose decentralization of power and to provide for local elections, and for them to offer amnesty to those who have already taken over these buildings. None of that has been acknowledged by Mr. Putin or the various Russian mouthpieces that are out there.

You’ve also seen suggestions or implications that somehow Americans are responsible for meddling inside Ukraine. I have to say that our only interest is for Ukraine to be able to make its own decisions. And the last thing we want is disorder and chaos in the center of Europe. So for the German audience who perhaps is tuning into Russian TV, I would just advise to stay focused on the facts and what’s happened on the ground. A few weeks ago, Mr. Putin was still denying that the Russian military was even involved in Crimea. Then, a few weeks later, he acknowledged, yeah, I guess that was our guys. And so there just has not been the kind of honesty and credibility about the situation there, and a willingness to engage seriously in resolving these diplomatic issues.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this statement is a sign of a worldwide change in attitude toward Putin. As I always point out, it's a basic principle of Generational Dynamics that even in a dictatorship, major policies and events are determined by masses of people, entire generations of people, and not by politicians. Thus, Hitler was not the cause of WW II. What politicians say or do is irrelevant, except insofar as their actions reflect the attitudes of the people that they represent, and so politicians can neither cause nor prevent the great events of history. And what we're seeing here is a widespread change of attitude that will affect the events in Eastern Europe during the next year, and not for the better. White House

State Dept. terrorism report emphasizes Syria as 'major battleground'

The U.S. State Dept. issued its annual "Country Reports on Terrorism," and emphasized the role of Syria:

Syria continued to be a major battleground for terrorism on both sides of the conflict and remains a key area of longer-term concern. Thousands of foreign fighters traveled to Syria to join the fight against the Assad regime – with some joining violent extremist groups – while Iran, Hezbollah, and other Shia militias provided a broad range of critical support to the regime. The Syrian conflict also empowered ISIL to expand its cross-border operations in Syria, and dramatically increase attacks against Iraqi civilians and government targets in 2013.

Terrorist violence in 2013 was increasingly fueled by sectarian motives, marking a worrisome trend, particularly in Syria, but also in Lebanon and Pakistan.

The point I've been making now for over a year is that Syria has become an international magnet for jihadists around the world, from places as far apart as Indonesia, Pakistan, North Africa, France, Germany and Dagestan. The State Dept. report confirms that thousands of these jihadists have flocked to Syria.

What's happening in Syria is perhaps the greatest disaster of our time. Syria's Shia/Alawite president Bashar al-Assad has been conducting "industrial strength" torture and extermination on his own civilians, including repeated use of chemical weapons, particularly targeting innocent Sunni women and children, has enraged Sunnis throughout the world.

There are people who write comments to me saying that we should be more worried about the al-Qaeda linked terrorist opposition groups, like ISIL (mentioned above). But those comments don't even make any sense. It's Bashar al-Assad who's CREATING these terrorist opposition groups. As long as al-Assad is around, ISIL will continue to grow and become stronger.

And once again we have to mention Russia's president Vladimir Putin. Putin is a war criminal, because he's providing an unlimited supply of heavy weapons to al-Assad for use in genocide and crimes against humanity. And now Putin is supplying heavy weapons to thugs in Ukraine, and lying about it. Putin is in the running for the person responsible for triggering the greatest and bloodiest world war of all time. U.S. State Dept.

Man infected with MERS virus traveled through Chicago to Indiana

A health care worker flying from Saudi Arabia to London, then to Chicago, and then traveling by bus to Indiana, was the first in the U.S. to be diagnosed with MERS-CoV (the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus). He was tested for MERS because of his symptoms (shortness of breath, coughing and fever) and because he had traveled from the Mideast. Although the CDC does not believe that he infected other people, since close contact is required, it's theoretically possible that he did, and so the CDC is contacting travelers on the same plane and bus trips. Recently, travelers from the Mideast have resulted in MERS diagnoses in Greece, Malaysia, Jordan, Egypt, and the UAE.

The main problem is that a person can be infected with MERS, and capable of infecting others, for two weeks before that person develops symptoms. The biggest fear is that a "superspreader" will become infected and spread the virus widely, causing a chain reaction of multiple cases. Chicago Tribune and WebMd

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