Journalist Schools BBC on Russian Intervention in Crimea

Naked Capitalism has the post Journalist Schools BBC on Russian Intervention in Crimea by Yves Smith.

A fellow blogger with substantial experience in Europe sent this BBC footage, which I believe readers will find instructive. There were several things I liked about this segment. First, in contrast to US TV, where two sides who hold strongly opposed views talk past each other, there was a real discussion. Each side actually went beyond its talking points while remaining civil. Second was that the Telegraph writer Liam Halligan debunked some popular perceptions about Russia and Putin.

Here is the video of the BBC show.

We seem to have this uncontrollable urge to “do something”, even when there isn’t much to be done.

Even I have the troubling thought that we can’t just sit there and do nothing, but the choice isn’t between doing something and doing nothing. The choice is between doing something to make the situation worse and doing nothing. In that case, doing nothing does seem to be the better alternative.

With the empty threats that Obama has been making against Russia, it calls to mind Mark Twain’s statement, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Or as I have always said, “Never make a threat that you aren’t willing to carry out.” It would be the height of foolishness to carry out some of the threats that have been made. What credibility do you have when the person you are threatening knows that you have made a threat you dare not carry out?

The corollary to this is not that if someone calls your bluff on an idle threat that you must go through with it to maintain your credibility. The corollary is that if your bluff gets called, learn the lesson to stop making such threats. You should have foreseen the likelihood of getting into such a spot before you opened your mouth.

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