Yet another week that’s been overflowing with comment pieces, but unfortunately, events haven’t really developed, so they’ve started to eat each other bit in that delightful way the commentariat goes from commenting on events to commenting on previous comments.
This week’s collection will be broadly divided in two – Ukraine, and “other things” – with other things going from the War on Terror to Jennifer Lawrence, via nuclear war and 12 Years a Slave. So if you’re sick of hearing about Ukraine just skip ahead. The Ukraine segment I’m going to rush through a tad, if only because these articles are starting to blend together. I’ve done a fair bit of quality control though so they are all worth reading if you want to be presented with a picture of the situation in Ukraine that agrees with my political leanings.*
Vague sub-division here into pieces that lean on the domestic angle, pieces that focus on how Russia done fucked up, pieces that look at the international response, and pieces that tear into David Cameron (my favourite kind of piece.)
Part of the problem as someone with literally no knowledge of Ukraine beyond that scene in Seinfeld is distinguishing the propaganda from reality when it comes to ethnic divisions etc. I come to you not with answers, but a few different pieces coming at it in different way. This, from a Ukrainian (important) rejects the divisions quite firmly. On a similar note, Timothy Snyder of Bloodlands fame is very critical of the Russian line. Unfortunately his criticism obscures some unpleasant fascist realities, which this article pushes back on, without aping Kremlin talking points. Also, Jay Ulfedler** has an interesting and honest post on calling a coup a coup and what that means for our responses.
A few articles now highlighting how this was a move made out of weakness from Putin’s part, not some elaborate chess-game gambit. A lot of the commentary (from idiots) has veered towards “big manly Vlad made fools of us wimpy Westerners again” which …ugh.
This is an important piece on all the distinct levels the above logic fails on – if Putin were to call the hawks’ bluff that’d mean war with Russia, which they don’t openly advocate, but it’s hard to reconcile that with their fear of making empty threats.
Hopefully we can all agree on nuclear war being an inappropriate response to a minor border war – still, here are a whole pile of articles arguing for different levels of response from the international community, as well as a few defences of the (unfairly) reviled ‘reset’ policy.
Two articles on the UK role in this all. I’m generally critical of UK commentary on international relations, but this is good – there’s an implicit assumption that “something must be done” which I dislike, but it’s implicit. Also this from the NYT is absolutely killer. “Britain’s ruling class has decayed not just to the point where Cameron is considered a man of exceptional talent” is never not a welcome idea.
Now, the world moves on despite all eyes being on Crimea (no articles on the South China Sea this week!). This is an interesting interview with Barack Obama on his Middle-East policy. I’m pretty sure the author isn’t known for being a fan of Barry’s, so it’s worth reading the full interview, but the summary isn’t actively dishonest or anything.
This article toes the line in between useful caution and perpetuating the paranoid mentality of the War on Terror, but it’s worth checking out just as a reminder that Bin Laden’s death wasn’t, unfortunately, the end. Of course, whether that necessitates another ten years of country-destroying, mass-killing, budget-busting, occupations is hopefully not up for debate.
Speaking of mass-killing expensive things, this is one of those amazing and deeply confusing articles about weird nuclear weapons – this time air-to-air missiles.
This article is a very powerful description of living under rape culture, which sells it short TBH so just read it. Similarly, this article is more light-hearted, but still important, on the specific issues of how we see black women, as seen through the rise of Lupita Ngony’o.
Speaking of whom, this article, partly a response to the one last week about Lawrence, is an interesting look at the role of “It” Girl as it seems to move from Jennifer to Lupita.
This really is old but it was doing the rounds on Twitter again and I had been wondering about what was going on in Elephant & Castle, so here’s this critique of gentrification in London. I think Novara Media did a show on this recently too, though haven’t heard it myself.
Final stretch. This is good on Clementine, the wonderful star of the best part of The Walking Dead franchise – the game (when has that ever happened).
Finally for real this time, and I worry that this might mark an irrevocable decline in the credibility of the links here, but at the risk of becoming your grandmother who sends you cute upworthy links (it’s not off upworthy, don’t fret), this is adorable and doubles as Brazilian propaganda so how could I not? Neymar killing it.
*I started writing an actual post about Ukraine that would collate all these links in a more coherent narrative but I am fucking awful at having thoughts of my own so it can wait
**whose blog is very cool and who was also very kind when I asked for some help with my dissertation, so check him out
[I make this one to be just under a thousand words again. Is this still too long for people? Open to suggestions etc.]