Tommy CarcettiTommy Carcetti's Journal
Thailand coup d'etat as military seizes power
Thailand's military has announced it is taking control of the government and has suspended the constitution.
On Tuesday the army imposed martial law. Talks were then held between the main political factions, but the army announced the coup on Thursday.
Political party leaders, including opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban, were taken away from the talks venue after troops sealed off the area.
Troops have reportedly fired into the air to disperse groups of rival supporters.
The broadcast media have been told to suspend all normal programming.
No vague non sequiturs of cookies or phone calls. No President taking three days to pack up his valuable oil painting collection and then flying away in his own fleet of helicopters. No votes by the legislative body to remove the abdicating president. No immediate scheduling of new elections to replace said abdicating president.
Nope, just a real, live, actual coup d'état. Army comes in, forcibly removes the people in power against their will, suspends the constitution and declares themselves in charge.
(Or even just a coup in general.)
Over the past couple of weeks, a fair handful of people here have insisted that the recent regime change in Ukraine was in fact a "coup." Most of those people have gone further and have claimed western--and even US--interests were the ones who were behind the coup. When I have pressed them for evidence, I have repeatedly heard about State Department official Victoria Nuland handing out cookies to Maidan protesters, about $5 billion in US aid to Ukraine (neglecting to mention that the figure covers a 20 year period), about Nuland discussing who she preferred to be in charge in Ukraine, about a website belonging to current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenuk's organization listing several western partnerships, and a few other tidbits here and there.
While these indeed provide sufficient fodder for the conspiracy minded crowd, none of them--and I mean none of them--thus far actually show that what happened in February 2014 when Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych fled the country and was replaced by an interim government until elections could be held later this month was actually a "coup" under the proper definition of the word.
So the question I posed to these people--and to which any have yet to answer me--is proof that what actually happened in Ukraine was a "coup", and specifically one that was sponsored by the West. If one considers the situation in February 2014, the flash point of the change in power appears to be the moment Yanukovych choose to flee Kyiv on February 21st. So we have to consider under what circumstances did Yanukovych leave that evening? Was he forced out at gun point? Was he kidnapped against his will?
Because if you look at Webster's definition of "Coup d'état", it clearly reads:
: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially : the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group
First of all, no one can claim the Maidan protests were "a small group".
There were hundreds of thousands of them on the square. So whatever motivation those protests may have given Yanukovych to say, "Screw you guys, I'm going home," right then and there the definition of "coup" is inapplicable.
Secondly, one has to consider violence in the change of power. So was Yanukovych kidnapped, thrown in a sack, and taken away that night? Did someone stick a gun to his head and pull him away? The fact of the matter is, video from the Yanukovych residence doesn't seem to support that. In it, you can see members of Yanukovych's entourage casually packing up his valuable possessions and two helicopters flying away without any sort of opposition or sense of immediate urgency.
(The first video is rather long, but Yanukovych himself is seen at 13:45 in the video)
So if a characteristic of "coup" is that they are typically characterized by force, then no, again the situation does not fall into the proper usage of that word.
Who knows, maybe there are facts that I'm missing or that I'm not aware of that are a game changer. Maybe there is something one can point to that show definitively that Yanukovych did not voluntarily leave on his accord and willpower but was kidnapped and removed against his will. And maybe there's some evidence that shows that western agents were the ones doing the kidnapping.
And if someone can actually point me to this evidence, I will be the man and admit that that person is right and I was wrong.
But so far there's been nothing. Nada. Nilch.
(And the mere repetition of the word "coup" as it relates to what happened in Ukraine is not proof that a coup actually took place, contrary to what some might thing.)
So if I'm wrong, show me I'm wrong with real evidence from a reputable source (please, no Alex Jones type stuff). I'm waiting.
Cognitive Dissonance is Cognitivey: Ukraine Edition (Stalin, Bandera, Maidan and Russian separatism)
Ever since the height of the Euromaidan protests, skeptics and opponents of that movement and the interim Ukrainian government that resulted from that movement have feverishly attempted to paint supporters as "ultranationalists", "fascists" and even "neo-Nazi", with the argument for the latter category dating back to historical events from World War II.
The main basis for such claims lies in the fact that a couple of ultranationalist parties--Svoboda and Right Sector--were participants in the Euromaidan protests, and Svoboda is a minority party within the governing coalition and has three of its members currently sitting in the 21-seat Ukrainian cabinet. Despite the clear minority status of these organizations, opponents of the interim government have clearly attempted to paint Svoboda and Right Sector the face of the events in Ukraine this year, from the Euromaidan protests that ultimately resulted in former President Victor Yanukovych leaving the country and a new interim government taking control until scheduled elections at the end of this month, to the annexation of the Crimean territory by Russia after a questionable plebiscite, to the Ukrainian military's crackdown on armed pro-Russian militants in the Eastern portion of the country, to deadly riots in cities such as Odessa.
One of the most repeated talking points of those taking the "fascist"/"neo-Nazi" position is the fact that there has been the use of the image of controversial World War II-era political figure Stepan Bandera, mainly by those in the far-right parties like Svoboda and Right Sector. And there is no doubt that Bandera is a highly polarizing figure. Proponents paint him as someone who was first and foremost a Ukrainian nationalist who antagonized and irritated both the Soviets and Nazi Germans alike. On the other hand, opponents believe Bandara was in part complicit for Nazi atrocities committed on Ukrainian soil. Whether or not Bandera was personally responsible for brutal ethnic violence between Ukrainians and Poles during World War II is still a highly charged topic of debate by those in the region. Despite the unsettled view on Bandera's ultimate legacy, there is no doubt he is a lightning rod and extremely divisive figure.
That all being said, for all those critics of Maidan and the interim government who have expressed such righteous indignation over the use of Bandera's visage and other items perceived to be "fascist" or "neo-Nazi", there is a complete silence towards opponents of the interim government who have chosen to glorify symbols of the defunct Soviet Union and Soviet figures such as Lenin and even Stalin. It is high time that such cognitive dissonance be addressed.
Let us be blunt: the Soviet Union was a horrifically brutal, authoritarian, oppressive and imperialistic bastard of a nation pretty much from its inception. There was nothing ever good about it. I understand that for some western adherents to Marxist economic theory, there is a hesitancy to criticize the Soviet Union because it claimed to be a socialist, communist and Marxist society.(I myself have nothing against Marxist economic theory in general; while I'm not a subscriber myself, I do value its ability to identify very real problems of economic disparities and exploitation of the working class.)
But let's not kid ourselves: in the end, the Soviet Union was never really about Marxism, Communism or Socialism. It was really nothing more than an attempt to reboot the rapidly dying Russian Empire and desperately hold onto land seized by Moscow over the centuries. The divine right of the Tsar was no longer cutting it; those in power in Moscow needed a new populist vehicle to use as wrapping paper over the same old package of shit that was Russian Imperialism, and communism fit the bill perfectly. And the new Soviet bosses were just as brutal as the old Tsarist ones: severely restricting basic civil liberties and persecuting, deporting and murdering millions of its own people.
That is why people should be shocked and highly disturbed when they see pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine flying the Hammer and Sickle and parading around pictures of Josef Stalin, one of the most brutal despots ever to hold power in any nation. The gut reaction that many Ukrainians have to the Hammer and Sickle is very similar to how African-Americans view the Confederate Battle Flag. It is a symbol of oppression. Soviet police wearing Hammer and Sickle pins routinely harassed both my grandmother and grandfather until it caused them to flee their homeland in fear of their lives. My aunts and uncles were herded onto trains under the Soviet flag and shipped off to Siberia. And Stalin himself is held responsible for enacting pure terror on the Ukrainian people, including manufacturing a famine that killed millions.
And yet those who express outrage at the ultranationalists who parade around with pictures of Bandera are woefully silent when people to which they lend moral support fly the Hammer and Sickle, march with large pictures of Stalin, and decry the removal of statutes and monuments of Soviet and Russian historical figures. This cognitive dissonance is glaring, the hypocrisy ever so apparent.
There is no doubt that Ukraine during the 1930s and 1940s was a brutal, barbaric place where atrocities from all sides abounded. In a very sad way, this was not unexpected. When you have both Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin--the two most brutal and horrific men of modern times--fighting over the same patch of land, bloodshed and pure madness were pretty much an inevitable result. The bigger question today, however, is why people from all sides insist on glorifying such a horrible era of human history.
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