Jump to content


Ukraine


2591 replies to this topic

#1 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:17 PM

Clearly not a US problem, but it does backlight a pervasive Russophobic tilt in the mainstream US chatter. And that's how I know I'm a sick fuck, because the Russians occur for me as much more useful friends than enemies. (I feel the same way about Iran), just in terms of common interests.

But there persists this atavistic urge to keep the Russkies down. I think there's a lot of money at stake in a new Cold War. Money. Prestige. Relevance. Tuition at Sidwell Friends.

#2 Progressive whisperer

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 10233 posts

Posted 21 February 2014 - 08:51 PM

Stalin and Hitker saw each other as "useful" friends in'39, didn't work out well.

I agree on Iran, but being buddies with the kleptocrats does not seem like a great idea. I'm not suggesting armed opposition, but warm friendship would be out until there is another change there.

BTW, I hatted our past alliance with the various other dictators around the world, too.
Trump delenda est.
GOP delenda est.
Resist!

#3 J-CA

    Probably in one of my drunken stupors..

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4768 posts

Posted 21 February 2014 - 11:18 PM

gmat, I think that the modern Russian state is the perfect "enemy" as they can, at least currently, be expected to act in their own interests quite reliably. An authoritarian government in service of oligarchs who are engaged in business in and outside of Russia need a large degree of stability. The old-school kleptocrats that just exploited local resources didn't give a crap about international chaos, it is my opinion that the Russian elite are far more international in nature (and tastes). The USSR was a lot more scary, their internal politics was complex and their international entanglements political, but not so much economic.
I think that the "Russophopic tilt" is pretty justified, I mean what redeeming quality does the modern Russian state really have?
From a political-hack perspective holding Russia at a distance is really quite perfect, you get to take a moral stand against them while knowing that you can work with them when push really comes to shove. I am reminded of the fact that Putin has given Snowden asylum while saying that he'd best not leak anything of import, a perfect balance of poking the US in the eye while protecting common interests.
I am the burrito until someone hands me to a philosopher.

#4 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 22 February 2014 - 09:46 AM

View PostProgressive whisperer, on 21 February 2014 - 08:51 PM, said:

Stalin and Hitker saw each other as "useful" friends in'39, didn't work out well.

I agree on Iran, but being buddies with the kleptocrats does not seem like a great idea. I'm not suggesting armed opposition, but warm friendship would be out until there is another change there.

BTW, I hatted our past alliance with the various other dictators around the world, too.

Yeah, but Roosevelt and Stalin were useful friends and that worked out great. We sent them stuff, and they broke the Wehrmacht. I don't like these bullshit neo-Cold War games that are being played by the US policy elite and their tame hacks.

I like the way Putin stabilized Russia. I didn't like the idea of a nuclear armed failed state. I like how he deals with the threat of Muslim terrorists. And I think it's stupid, because unnecessary, to do provocative shit like trying to put NATO on the Russian border, which is what that EU-Ukraine deal called for.

I'm neutral about whether a country we work with is governed by a parliament or a dictator. And as to the kleptocracy, we don't have the high ground on that.

#5 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 22 February 2014 - 09:58 AM

View PostJ-CA, on 21 February 2014 - 11:18 PM, said:

gmat, I think that the modern Russian state is the perfect "enemy" as they can, at least currently, be expected to act in their own interests quite reliably. An authoritarian government in service of oligarchs who are engaged in business in and outside of Russia need a large degree of stability. The old-school kleptocrats that just exploited local resources didn't give a crap about international chaos, it is my opinion that the Russian elite are far more international in nature (and tastes). The USSR was a lot more scary, their internal politics was complex and their international entanglements political, but not so much economic.
I think that the "Russophopic tilt" is pretty justified, I mean what redeeming quality does the modern Russian state really have?
From a political-hack perspective holding Russia at a distance is really quite perfect, you get to take a moral stand against them while knowing that you can work with them when push really comes to shove. I am reminded of the fact that Putin has given Snowden asylum while saying that he'd best not leak anything of import, a perfect balance of poking the US in the eye while protecting common interests.

Redeeming qualities? Stability. Kills violent Islamist jihadists. Eschews empire-building. Security interests from Syria to Afghanistan align with those of the US.

#6 indy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 9848 posts

Posted 22 February 2014 - 12:39 PM

The new world kleptocracies (Ukraine and, more maturely, Russia) are much more dangerous to global democracy than Communism was because they have the sheen of democracy without the need for official, violent, authoritarian/totalitarian suppression. These corporation/oligarch-government partnerships are just the bane of the world right now, including in the US and other democracies. When there is a overt willingness to subvert the rule of law, as in Russia, there is literally no stopping them.

The empire building is still there, but it is just taking shape along different lines than it once did, and governments are being subverted from corruption of the inside out, rather than from the invasion of armies and bombs from outside in.

#7 J-CA

    Probably in one of my drunken stupors..

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4768 posts

Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:22 PM

View Postgmat, on 22 February 2014 - 09:58 AM, said:

Redeeming qualities? Stability. Kills violent Islamist jihadists. Eschews empire-building. Security interests from Syria to Afghanistan align with those of the US.
Other than maybe the last point I think you are wrong. Putin's Russia has done more to create Islamic terrorists than any good it has done fighting them and I see a whole lot of empire building/greater Russia in his policies.
I am the burrito until someone hands me to a philosopher.

#8 J-CA

    Probably in one of my drunken stupors..

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4768 posts

Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:30 PM

View Postindy, on 22 February 2014 - 12:39 PM, said:

The new world kleptocracies (Ukraine and, more maturely, Russia) are much more dangerous to global democracy than Communism was because they have the sheen of democracy without the need for official, violent, authoritarian/totalitarian suppression...
What is happening in the Ukraine right now is proving that if you maintain the sheen of democracy it can come back to bite you. Pretending to be a modern state is a problem when push comes to shove because the bourgeois class eventually calls your bluff when they don't like what is going on. When the tanks finally need to roll the world is watching. Eventually these same chickens will come home to roost for Russia, just like they did in South Korea, to cite one example (and seem to be in states like Malaysia, and then of course there was that whole deal in Egypt too). Once your economy gets big enough and well-integrated enough with the world the level of oppression required to keep people down is a loser for everyone involved, the kleptocrats too.
I am the burrito until someone hands me to a philosopher.

#9 Traveler

    Rambling Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13986 posts
  • LocationPhilly Area

Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:30 AM

Viva la internet. Wonder how well this trend will evolve in China.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#10 Traveler

    Rambling Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13986 posts
  • LocationPhilly Area

Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:00 PM

edited from Andydp's thread:

The whole situation is a major big deal, and deserves serious discussion. FP has several articles on what is going on. (Hate the new interface.) One article says no problema, the country will remain united notwithstanding the different language preferences and Cossacks in Crimea. But another says the exact opposite and the east is preparing for war. Meanwhile the Soviets are rattling their sabres, while the US tells them to stay out. This is whole lot more important than Georgia.

Seems like nobody really knows much, from what little I get out of BBC and FP. So far, so good, but a long row to hoe as J-CA notes.

​Sorry for the repetition, but this is something else.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#11 J-CA

    Probably in one of my drunken stupors..

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4768 posts

Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:25 PM

I think that eastern Ukraine preparing for war sounds pretty insane and off-base. You know what you need for war? Money. Who is going to fund a Ukrainian civil war? Who wins if the Ukraine has a civil war? I can't find a winner. (The Russians in particular need control in Ukraine as a gateway to Europe, not for the sake of controlling it, right?)
Funding a war in Syria that is fought with small arms and post-WW2 rocket launchers and insurgency tactics in a tiny inconsequential country is very different from some sort of new-cold-war proxy battle on Europe's flank. The stakes are ridiculously high here.

I think this is the FP article that is talking civil war you are mentioning:
http://www.foreignpo...e_still_divided

Quote

Here, for example, is a Russian-language interview with one ex-convict who’s setting up his own pro-Yanukovych militia in the Eastern city of Kharkov. He won’t say how many members the new group has, but he’s quite open about its aims: “I’m preparing my population and my people for war.”
My money is on this guy being about as mainstream as The Citadel in America. Thuggery and intimidation are certainly on the menu, war is another thing entirely.
I am the burrito until someone hands me to a philosopher.

#12 Traveler

    Rambling Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13986 posts
  • LocationPhilly Area

Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:46 PM

Sorry J-CA, I only repeated his hyperbole to give an idea of the histrionics on the other side. And that article discusses other resistance organizations. But nobody would take war seriously.

TE has a more nuanced take.

Quote

As a legitimately elected mayor, Mr Kernes has much to trade for his safety and his post in Kharkiv, including the support of the population and the Russians. Yet, he has no interest in Kharkiv splitting off from the rest of Ukraine or becoming a Russian vassal. For all their differences Mr Kernes is as popular in Kharkiv as Mr Sadovyi is in Lviv, and they are after the same thing: a de-centralisation of economic and political power. Zurab Alazania, the head of the Mediaport news agency in Kharkiv, says that for all of Mr Kernes’s faults the worst thing that the new government could do would be to arrest him on trumped-up charges. “If the new government did this, we would know that it is no better than the old one.”
While politicians in Kiev are scared to mention federalisation because of its separatist undertones, in reality it is already happening. The biggest danger for Ukraine’s integrity is not federalisation, but that Russian interferes and exploits it. That could involve an attempt to annex Crimea, carelessly given to Soviet Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. Over the weekend 20,000 people were out on the streets in Crimea, welcoming back riot police from Kiev as heroes. Russian armoured vehicles have already been spotted around Sevastopol, home to the large Russian naval base.

So the Russians are going to keep their toe in the Crimean door. They are inclined to do so given its recent history, the fact that it already is an autonomous republic, and that Sevastopol is under lease to the Russians. I think it will be negotiated this time around. The big issue will be how the rest manage to get along. And what sort of gas deal they can negotiate.

Edited by Traveler, 24 February 2014 - 04:01 PM.

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#13 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 24 February 2014 - 09:15 PM

View PostTraveler, on 24 February 2014 - 03:00 PM, said:

edited from Andydp's thread:

The whole situation is a major big deal, and deserves serious discussion. FP has several articles on what is going on. (Hate the new interface.) One article says no problema, the country will remain united notwithstanding the different language preferences and Cossacks in Crimea. But another says the exact opposite and the east is preparing for war. Meanwhile the Soviets are rattling their sabres, while the US tells them to stay out. This is whole lot more important than Georgia.

Seems like nobody really knows much, from what little I get out of BBC and FP. So far, so good, but a long row to hoe as J-CA notes.
​Sorry for the repetition, but this is something else.
The strange part is why in the world the US would want to actively get involved in regime change in a place where not a single vital US interest is at stake. And what in the flying fish fuck is a neo-con like Nuland doing in Obama's State Dept? I voted for Obama so those assholes would be kept far away from the levers of US power.

#14 Traveler

    Rambling Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13986 posts
  • LocationPhilly Area

Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:13 PM

I didn't think the US was all that actively involved beside snide phone calls. My thinking is just that this means a lot more than Libya so we should be paying attention and praying that it comes down to a soft landing. While I agree with you on Nuland, this account on her by Robert Parry is more than a little over the top, like this whopper:

Quote

Ultimately, the Ukrainian unrest – over a policy debate whether Ukraine should move toward entering the European Union – led to a violent showdown in which neo-fascist storm troopers battled police, leaving scores dead.
Yeah after 30 or so being shot down in cold blood. As for being neo-fascist, anyone clarify that? I know they are determined nationalists, but does that always mean fascist?
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#15 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:45 AM

View PostTraveler, on 24 February 2014 - 11:13 PM, said:

I didn't think the US was all that actively involved beside snide phone calls. My thinking is just that this means a lot more than Libya so we should be paying attention and praying that it comes down to a soft landing. While I agree with you on Nuland, this account on her by Robert Parry is more than a little over the top, like this whopper:

Yeah after 30 or so being shot down in cold blood. As for being neo-fascist, anyone clarify that? I know they are determined nationalists, but does that always mean fascist?
That's not over the top at all. That's what just happened. The US was throwing money around in Kiev like a drunken sailor, paying people salaries to be demonstrators, paying for what was initially a carnival in Kiev, free food, booze, and entertainment; and then paying to bus in street fighters from the west, who are very much the neo-nazis Parry is talking about.
It was not difficult to discern when a peaceful demonstration by students and young liberals got co-opted by violent, trained nationalists, with a structured plan to bring down the government.
The fact that Yanukovich was 1)a fool, and 2)spineless, played right into their hands.
And what was the US objective? Make trouble for Russia. If it's bad for Russia it's good for the US. Pure Cold War double rectified bullshit. Except the Cold War ended 25 years ago, and the DC elite, who for 3 generations lived a very fat life on Cold War proceeds, has been having a crisis of relevance ever since.
Now, who is going to bail out west-central Ukraine? (What economy there is, is all in the S and E) The EU? Their pathetic nickel and dime plan was laughable compared to what Russia put on the table, back when all this started. Where are they going to come up with $25 B, and that's just the ante? (And how will they explain it to Greece and Spain, if they do?)
Is the US going to bail them out? And get what in return?

#16 Progressive whisperer

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 10233 posts

Posted 25 February 2014 - 08:40 AM

View PostTraveler, on 24 February 2014 - 11:13 PM, said:

I didn't think the US was all that actively involved beside snide phone calls. My thinking is just that this means a lot more than Libya so we should be paying attention and praying that it comes down to a soft landing. While I agree with you on Nuland, this account on her by Robert Parry is more than a little over the top, like this whopper:

Yeah after 30 or so being shot down in cold blood. As for being neo-fascist, anyone clarify that? I know they are determined nationalists, but does that always mean fascist?

The reports I saw indicated that. the gov. was telling the news (especially western news) that the demonstrators were Facists, and telling their own riot police that they were Jews. The anti-Semetic thing never gets old in Eastern Europe, it seems. While Nationalism is a key component of Facism, not all nationalists are Facists. The charge of Facism is a great two-fer for the former president and his supports. It signals the west to stay away, and recalls the Great Patriotic War against the Nazis, particularly for the ethnic Russians.
Trump delenda est.
GOP delenda est.
Resist!

#17 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:00 AM

View PostProgressive whisperer, on 25 February 2014 - 08:40 AM, said:



The reports I saw indicated that. the gov. was telling the news (especially western news) that the demonstrators were Facists, and telling their own riot police that they were Jews. The anti-Semetic thing never gets old in Eastern Europe, it seems. While Nationalism is a key component of Facism, not all nationalists are Facists. The charge of Facism is a great two-fer for the former president and his supports. It signals the west to stay away, and recalls the Great Patriotic War against the Nazis, particularly for the ethnic Russians.
Except the neo-nazis from Lviv are the descendants of those Ukrainians who fought for the Germans, against the Russians. And they are currently patrolling the streets of Kiev; it was they who were occupying the parliament building, masked and armed, when the parliament came to work last Saturday morning.
MPs from Yanukovich's party didn't bother showing up for work that day, by the way, unless they had already made it known they were changing sides. Even then they were risking a beating.

#18 Banty

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5067 posts
  • LocationUpstate New York

Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:28 AM

View Postgmat, on 25 February 2014 - 09:00 AM, said:

Except the neo-nazis from Lviv are the descendants of those Ukrainians who fought for the Germans, against the Russians. And they are currently patrolling the streets of Kiev; it was they who were occupying the parliament building, masked and armed, when the parliament came to work last Saturday morning.
MPs from Yanukovich's party didn't bother showing up for work that day, by the way, unless they had already made it known they were changing sides. Even then they were risking a beating.

Can you give a cite for that? Specific people came from Lviv to Kiev and were a large or important part of the protest?
"It can happen here. It is happening here. No election has been more important in my lifetime." - Andrew Sullivan, 7/21/2016
It did happen here. - Banty 11/9/2016

#19 Traveler

    Rambling Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13986 posts
  • LocationPhilly Area

Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:30 AM

gmat, many thanks for the inside dope. I had no idea the admin was meddling so egregiously. I appreciate being corrected without snark when I am ignorant of the facts. Reason why I post here. And Stratfor agrees with you about calling them Neo-Nazis. Seems to me that the nationalists may still be an appropriate term though. As I understand, it was their spine that broke the police. I don't recall reading about any particular incident sparked by them that provoked the initial slaughter. Nor have I read that they have done anything but protect the buildings from looting. Where did you get the info on threatening Regions' MPs? You have good sources.

Delicious perspective from Stratfor:

Quote

The Germans have suggested that the International Monetary Fund handle Ukraine's economic problem. The IMF's approach to such problems is best compared to surgery without anesthesia. The patient may survive and be better for it, but the agony will be intense. In return for any bailout, the IMF will demand a restructuring of Ukraine's finances. Given Ukraine's finances, that restructuring would be dramatic. And the consequences could well lead to yet another round of protests.

The Russians have agreed to this, likely chuckling. Either parliament will reject the IMF plan and ask Russia to assume the burden immediately, or it will turn to Russia after experiencing the pain. There is a reason the Russians have been so relaxed about events in Ukraine. They understand that between the debt, natural gas and tariffs on Ukrainian exports to Russia, Ukraine has extremely powerful constraints. Under the worst circumstances Ukraine would move into the Western camp an economic cripple. Under the best, Ukraine would recognize its fate and turn to Russia.

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#20 J-CA

    Probably in one of my drunken stupors..

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4768 posts

Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:33 AM

View Postgmat, on 25 February 2014 - 07:45 AM, said:

That's not over the top at all. That's what just happened. The US was throwing money around in Kiev like a drunken sailor, paying people salaries to be demonstrators, paying for what was initially a carnival in Kiev, free food, booze, and entertainment; and then paying to bus in street fighters from the west, who are very much the neo-nazis Parry is talking about.
I had not heard this, where do these reports come from?

Regarding the debt situation and the IMF, if the linked article is correct and the Ukrainians have a modest $13B is debt I would suggest that their economic problems, as it relates to the solvency of the government, is the least of their worries, less than 10% of GDP. It is in fact a number so tiny and the EU, US, and/or Russia could easily help them out with it if so inclined.
I am the burrito until someone hands me to a philosopher.





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users