Versions of this story have dominated Western media coverage of the Ukraine crisis for the better part of the past week. Tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of troops, miles long tank convoys, all ready to swoop in on Ukraine whenever the whim seizes the unpredictable megalomaniac Putin.
Jim Maceda has a story at NBC that is a radical departure from the standard coverage of this story. He did something quite rare for a reporter in the Big Media arena; went to have a look for himself instead of regurgitating the standard talking points of dubious provenance. Over four days and a thousand miles of Russia-Ukraine border this past week, he saw no sign of a military build-up.
The usual anti-Putin hysteria, whipped up by the likes of Canada's big-talking lightweight duo of FM Baird and PM Harper, would have us believe that Putin is hell-bent on re-establishing the Soviet empire. This is not a point of view conducive to acknowledging that Russia has legitimate security interests in its own neighbourhood. It's also a perspective that requires near-total amnesia about the carnage that the Nations of Virtue have wrought in nations nowhere near their neighbourhoods over the past twenty years; Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, to name just a few.
It takes a powerful dose of self-deception indeed to imagine that the West holds the moral high ground in this discussion.