Jump to content


Ukraine


2591 replies to this topic

#41 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:03 AM

Putin's just the bad guy du jour, in a long line of bad guys du jour who are so"incredibly dangerous" (Hitler!!) that we, the good guys, better "intervene" before all hell breaks loose (1937!!!)

All this bullshit about "greater Russia", the "resurgent Soviet Union", is just that. What is so "great" about Russia and a handful of broken down border states? Oh shit, we better put NATO right on the Russian border, or we'll never hope to "contain" the awakening Bear.

I got news for you. Powerful countries enjoy prerogatives in their near abroad. Don't take my word for it. Ask Cuba, Nicaragua, Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, Argentina, Honduras.

Dreidel, after you're done breathing into a paper bag for a while, read Stephen Cohen in The Nation, for starters.

http://www.thenation...torting-russia#

#42 Rich T Bikkies

    Trainee Basil Fawlty. Practising Victor Meldrew

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5489 posts
  • LocationBirmingham, UK

Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:43 AM

View Postgmat, on 26 February 2014 - 08:03 AM, said:

Putin's just the bad guy du jour, in a long line of bad guys du jour who are so"incredibly dangerous" (Hitler!!) that we, the good guys, better "intervene" before all hell breaks loose (1937!!!)

All this bullshit about "greater Russia", the "resurgent Soviet Union", is just that. What is so "great" about Russia and a handful of broken down border states? Oh shit, we better put NATO right on the Russian border, or we'll never hope to "contain" the awakening Bear.

For the UK that just isn't the point. Russia has the UK and a large part of Europe by the balls. How? Gas supplies! And I mean gas for cooking and heating, not “gasoline” (it’s called petrol, FFS). This is because in the UK Margaret Thatcher smashed the National Union of Mineworkers and, in the process, smashed the UK coal industry and started a “dash for gas”. We don’t do coal no more, folks.

And, to quote Chuck Colson, when you’ve got ‘em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow. And Cameron and Osborne will suck Putin’s - whoops, sorry, there’s ladies present – for the sake of the gas. And for the sake of any trade deal with any political or ethical nest of maggots, for that matter, even Saudi Arabia of 9/11 and Al Qaeda fame.

You Americans may not have a problem with Putin. We Brits do, because we have a problem with Cameron and Osborne. (And with every cotton-pickin’ member of the British political class at that).
Reality is a hallucination caused by alcohol deprivation.

Only Satan can rebuke sin. The righteous don't know enough.
Rudyard Kipling

God is not dead. He was merely voted out of office.

You can do anything with anybody if you just save them the trouble of thinking.
Rudyard Kipling

People don’t believe in ideas: they believe in people who believe in ideas. Ze’ev Mankowitz

#43 Traveler

    Rambling Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13972 posts
  • LocationPhilly Area

Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:43 AM

gmat, Great article. Loved this comment from Galina:

Quote

Modern information technologies are much more dangerous than any chemical
weapons. They do not physically kill a man, they kill in a person the ability
to doubt, the willingness to ask questions, the desire to debate. Modern media all
over the world take responsibility postulating in society what is good and what
is wrong, distorting the facts, distorting history, pushing the person not to
analysis, but simply to take the side, and not to doubt this choice in any case.
So once again, thank you for your work! Not a democracy makes a person free, but
only the free-spirited man can approach a step to realize the firmness of the
freedom of the other. Such authors and journalists like you are make us not to forget
about it.

I go with HGF for the most part. As such, I question your somewhat uncritical defense of Putin. He has gone to great lengths to muzzle the press, enrich his cronies, and to ignore the rest of Russia outside the urban areas. (Read the NYT article about the trucker from St. Pete to Moscow). A considerable majority of the Russian economy is extraction and energy, which is neither a recipe for long term progress, nor a way to more equally distribute the wealth. They should be using those proceeds to invest in infrastructure, not bank accounts. So I am not nearly as sanguine as you are about his leadership.

I agree though, that a more balanced view is in order, given the assistance Putin has provided on key issues. But its not like they were magnanimous on his part. Any clear evaluation of Syrian and Iran reveals that working with the US is much to his interest. And he did really drop kick it in Breslan. Plus there is no question he likes to stick it in our face when he can. That said, he is scarcely our enemy. Adversary, yes. Like 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

#44 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:13 AM

View PostTraveler, on 26 February 2014 - 08:43 AM, said:

gmat, Great article. Loved this comment from Galina:


I go with HGF for the most part. As such, I question your somewhat uncritical defense of Putin. He has gone to great lengths to muzzle the press, enrich his cronies, and to ignore the rest of Russia outside the urban areas. (Read the NYT article about the trucker from St. Pete to Moscow). A considerable majority of the Russian economy is extraction and energy, which is neither a recipe for long term progress, nor a way to more equally distribute the wealth. They should be using those proceeds to invest in infrastructure, not bank accounts. So I am not nearly as sanguine as you are about his leadership.

I agree though, that a more balanced view is in order, given the assistance Putin has provided on key issues. But its not like they were magnanimous on his part. Any clear evaluation of Syrian and Iran reveals that working with the US is much to his interest. And he did really drop kick it in Breslan. Plus there is no question he likes to stick it in our face when he can. That said, he is scarcely our enemy. Adversary, yes. Like China.
His leadership is not an issue for me, that's the point. I'm not Russian. All I care about is how he can help or hurt the US. I don't have an opinion about his leadership, if that's sanguine, so be it.

But in terms of Russia's economic growth, I'm pretty sure Putin knows their future is in the North and East. The Arctic Ocean, which is now or soon will be navigable year round. The next best thing to their long sought after warm-water port.

This is the last thing I'm going to say on this. I know Putin is a bad man. His country poses a strategic threat to the US, which is sufficiently deterred. He currently threatens no other vital US interest.

I know power politics is alive and well in the world, and it is occasionally necessary to confront other great powers. I know that by the calculus of power politics, whatever is bad for Russia benefits the US. But not necessarily a NET benefit to the US, if bringing about this bad result for Russia incurs big enough risks and costs.

And that's what the neocons and liberal internationalists always ignore. So they undertake this organized demonization of whoever, currently Putin, to further their harebrained grandiose schemes, at my expense.



#45 Traveler

    Rambling Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13972 posts
  • LocationPhilly Area

Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:52 AM

gmat. True enough all points. I appreciate your perspectives on this discussion. Again, thanks for that link to the Nation.
"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

#46 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:06 AM

View PostTraveler, on 26 February 2014 - 09:52 AM, said:

gmat. True enough all points. I appreciate your perspectives on this discussion. Again, thanks for that link to the Nation.

Glad to. Here's another look by a guy I generally agree with on most everything, but who is a lot clearer than I, obviously

http://www.theameric...e-triumphalism/

#47 J-CA

    Probably in one of my drunken stupors..

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4768 posts

Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:25 AM

gmat, I enjoyed this:

Quote

Representing the American side was Paula Dobriansky, a former ambassador under George W. Bush who in today’s Times lamented the Obama administration’s “absence of strategic vision, disinterest in democracy promotion, and an unwillingness to lead.”
To me this reads as a glowing endorsement of the Obama administration!

I think this is actually the endpoint that we are headed for:

Quote

There is perhaps a slim middle path between a Ukraine “won” by the EU and the West and one which falls into civil strife and provokes Russian intervention. Zbigniew Brzezinski pointed to it in the Financial Times: an independent and undivided Ukraine which will “practice policies toward Russia similar to those so effectively practiced by Finland”—i.e. economic ties to both East and West, and no military associaiton with any group perceived, by the Russians, to be anti-Russian. “Finlandization” was a neocon bugaboo during the Cold War, not because it was bad for Finland, which it obviously wasn’t, but because Finlandization for Europe as a whole would have been a strategic victory for Moscow. But clearly a neutralized Ukraine—more difficult to achieve of course because Ukraine is not Finland—would be bad for nobody...
I think that the EU/US not playing any politics in Ukraine would essentially be laying down and letting Russia operate it as a vassal state, that was never going to happen. Between the port access and the gas transit the Ukraine is in a very good position to play one side off the other if they are fortunate enough to stumble into some effective political leadership, in the meantime if the EU and Russia both come to the conclusion that a stalemate is the optimal outcome for all parties that will be a very good result for the next few years. I think the first sign of that might be a joint EU/Russia/IMF economic bailout.
I am the burrito until someone hands me to a philosopher.

#48 Progressive whisperer

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 10233 posts

Posted 26 February 2014 - 12:52 PM

View Postgmat, on 26 February 2014 - 11:06 AM, said:



Glad to. Here's another look by a guy I generally agree with on most everything, but who is a lot clearer than I, obviously

http://www.theameric...e-triumphalism/

Yes, I can agree that article appears quite good. A much more nuanced approach than the other links, and certainly than your earlier post which STILL reads to me as saying all the protesters were paid stooges of the west.

Can we deal with Putin's Russia when it is both our interests? Of course. I suspect that had the west been more willing to work with Stalin that Hitler would have been only a Central European catastropy rather than a near global one. That does NOT mean outright support or BFF status. The U.S. has provided uncritical support to too many really bad guys because they provided stability and killed people we wanted dead. See just about any Siuth American strong man or Junta from the 1940s on.
Trump delenda est.
GOP delenda est.
Resist!

#49 Traveler

    Rambling Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13972 posts
  • LocationPhilly Area

Posted 26 February 2014 - 03:22 PM

Sabers rattling, or just a "coincidence"?

Quote

President Vladimir V. Putin ordered a surprise military exercise of ground and air forces on Ukraine’s doorstep Wednesday, intending to demonstrate the country’s military preparedness at a time of heightened tensions with Europe and the United States over the turmoil gripping Russia’s western neighbor.


Russia’s military put tens of thousands of troops in western Russia on alert at 2 p.m. for an exercise scheduled to last until March 3. The minister of defense, Sergei K. Shoigu, also announced unspecified measures to tighten security at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.


The orders came as thousands of ethnic Russians gathered outside the regional parliament in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, to protest the political upheaval in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, that felled the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovych over the weekend and turned him into a fugitive. Crimea was a part of Russian territory until the Soviet Union ceded it to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine in 1954, and Russians there have already pleaded for the Kremlin’s intervention to protect the region and its population from Ukraine’s new leadership.


"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

#50 drdredel

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2420 posts

Posted 27 February 2014 - 01:14 AM

View Postgmat, on 26 February 2014 - 08:03 AM, said:

Putin's just the bad guy du jour, in a long line of bad guys du jour who are so"incredibly dangerous" (Hitler!!) that we, the good guys, better "intervene" before all hell breaks loose (1937!!!)

All this bullshit about "greater Russia", the "resurgent Soviet Union", is just that. What is so "great" about Russia and a handful of broken down border states? Oh shit, we better put NATO right on the Russian border, or we'll never hope to "contain" the awakening Bear.

I got news for you. Powerful countries enjoy prerogatives in their near abroad. Don't take my word for it. Ask Cuba, Nicaragua, Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, Argentina, Honduras.

Dreidel, after you're done breathing into a paper bag for a while, read Stephen Cohen in The Nation, for starters.

http://www.thenation...torting-russia#

All the paper bags in the universe won't alter the fact that you don't know what you're talking about.

Cohen's article is short on facts and long on unfounded (and pretty idiotic) accusations, most of which are based entirely in his emotional interpretation of things (poor Putin, being treated so baaaadly by the U.S. Media... someone please pass me a tissue). I'd bother decimating his opinion point by point but my nose needs picking, so, perhaps another time.

It's all well and good for you to reduce your opinion of Russia to how they affect our interests directly, and if that's all you care about then indeed, Putin is just another international wanker in a long line of international wankers.

However, if you develop any interest in international politics, history, society and other trivial matters like where the globe is headed as a whole, then I'd be happy to educate you on the specifics of why Putin's Russia is many factors (if not orders of magnitude) more dangerous and potentially destabilizing to the world than the Russia of any of his predecessors, or indeed, any other nation on Earth at present (with the possible exception of Pakistan).

Quote

And that's what the neocons and liberal internationalists always ignore. So they undertake this organized demonization of whoever, currently Putin, to further their harebrained grandiose schemes, at my expense.


I'm not sure which of these categories I fall into. I can tell you, however, that as dangerous as Putin is, I'd not recommend that we do anything other than keep helping the (growing) minority in his country that's looking to take him down, to do so. I would never be in favor of any military action, obviously... I'm not sure which "expense" of yours you mean... are you complaining about the ever skyrocketing price of caviar and matryoshka dolls?


Now back to my paper bag....
The Blind have lost their sense of "sight";
The Deaf have lost their sense of "hearing";
Republicans have lost their sense of "common".

#51 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 27 February 2014 - 06:56 AM

View Postdrdredel, on 27 February 2014 - 01:14 AM, said:



All the paper bags in the universe won't alter the fact that you don't know what you're talking about.

Cohen's article is short on facts and long on unfounded (and pretty idiotic) accusations, most of which are based entirely in his emotional interpretation of things (poor Putin, being treated so baaaadly by the U.S. Media... someone please pass me a tissue). I'd bother decimating his opinion point by point but my nose needs picking, so, perhaps another time.

It's all well and good for you to reduce your opinion of Russia to how they affect our interests directly, and if that's all you care about then indeed, Putin is just another international wanker in a long line of international wankers.

However, if you develop any interest in international politics, history, society and other trivial matters like where the globe is headed as a whole, then I'd be happy to educate you on the specifics of why Putin's Russia is many factors (if not orders of magnitude) more dangerous and potentially destabilizing to the world than the Russia of any of his predecessors, or indeed, any other nation on Earth at present (with the possible exception of Pakistan).

[/font][/color]

I'm not sure which of these categories I fall into. I can tell you, however, that as dangerous as Putin is, I'd not recommend that we do anything other than keep helping the (growing) minority in his country that's looking to take him down, to do so. I would never be in favor of any military action, obviously... I'm not sure which "expense" of yours you mean... are you complaining about the ever skyrocketing price of caviar and matryoshka dolls?


Now back to my paper bag....
I doubt you can decimate Cohens argument point by point, because your description of his article as short on facts is obviously inaccurate. Anyway, you said name anyone who knows anything about Russia, etc -- I named 2 (including McConnell, farther down) writing in respected publications. Your rejoinder is well, he doesn't know what he's talking about, but it's not worth my time, etc. Pretty weak kung fu.

You might not be aware of this, but you, not Cohen, are the one who comes across as emotional, if not histrionic.

Costs. Costs are things like risking a war with Russia in the Black Sea where the US has no vital interests, which is a not improbable outcome of putting NATO in Ukraine or Georgia. Or ending up responsible for bailing out Ukraine economically by virtue of supporting a revolution there.

But I'll bite. Name one vital US interest currently threatened by Russia.

#52 drdredel

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2420 posts

Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:54 AM

View Postgmat, on 27 February 2014 - 06:56 AM, said:

Costs are things like risking a war with Russia in the Black Sea where the US has no vital interests, which is a not improbable outcome of putting NATO in Ukraine or Georgia. Or ending up responsible for bailing out Ukraine economically by virtue of supporting a revolution there.

But I'll bite. Name one vital US interest currently threatened by Russia.

That depends entirely on what you frame as a "vital US interest". I already acknowledged that there's no imminent direct threat... but that's entirely owing to our geography. In spite of Palin being able to see Russia from her window, they're on the other side of the Earth, so, clearly that's not what I'm talking about.

However, it's worth noting, that if you're looking for imminent direct threats, I'd argue there aren't any at all with the very VERY slim exception of Mexico, whose crazy drug warlords and rampant corruption could spill over (however minutely) into our territory.

Russia poses an massive existential threat, however, in a multitude of ways. Here are just three...

1) The population is reasonably well educated and reasonably smart but also massively anti-West. Nothing Putin does is more popular than everything he does in direct opposition to what the West wants. However, they're also the victims of a *massive national looting (see point two) which can easily result in a complete financial and social collapse, which, given their size and military might would almost certainly not remain contained within their borders.

2) There is no longer even a thinly veiled boundary or pretense between the actual (literal) mafia and the official organs of "Law" and Government. Everyone is beholden to someone to pay them whatever they have to pay them to retain their position(s). The police openly engage in extortion. Businesses collude with gangsters and cops to suck every last dime out of the nation. As a result, the wealth distribution makes our (U.S.) wealth disparity seem like a Marxist utopia. This also will soon almost certainly have profound consequences as all this wheeling and dealing takes its toll on how the West is able (or more to the point *unable) to have any serious business dealings with Russian businesses, and as their oil revenue nets them less and less money, and as their economy moves into recession (as it's doing now) things will get really bad (cause they're already bad, so they're going to get REALLY bad).

3) Given the nature of the overwhelming unscrupulousness described in item two, we finally arrive at what is the most immediately troubling element and that is that Russia has obscene stockpiles of weapons of all shapes and sizes (including a facility that supposedly has weaponized smallpox) that can easily be sold by someone with less than totally sound morals and then smuggled east and then brought to our shores in whatever capacity is deemed the most advantageous to whoever would be doing this.

Now, again, I don't know that there's anything to be *done about any of this. This is a nation that's probably going to have to run its course and whatever havoc it causes we're just going to have to deal with. But my point is that it's naive to suggest that the rest of the world's semi-functional autocracies are all equally relevant (or irrelevant) to our interests because Russia does, indeed, pose a unique and dramatic threat that, to use your own example, North Korea, (for instance, or fill in whatever flavor of the despot month, nation here) does not.
The Blind have lost their sense of "sight";
The Deaf have lost their sense of "hearing";
Republicans have lost their sense of "common".

#53 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 27 February 2014 - 08:02 AM

Thanks, that gives me plenty to chew on.

#54 hisgirlfriday

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1068 posts

Posted 27 February 2014 - 08:30 AM

So Putin's war games on the Ukranian border and the pro-Russian group using guns to seize control of Crimea's Parliament trouble anyone else?

Also Yanukovich is in Russia using the Russian media to proclaim himself still proper ruler of Ukraine. Wonderful.

#55 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:00 AM

I don't think Russian maneuvers near the border mean that much, because Russia already has a brigade of marines and special forces in Sebastopol as an organic part of their fleet there.

#56 Progressive whisperer

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 10233 posts

Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:03 AM

View Posthisgirlfriday, on 27 February 2014 - 08:30 AM, said:

So Putin's war games on the Ukranian border and the pro-Russian group using guns to seize control of Crimea's Parliament trouble anyone else?

Also Yanukovich is in Russia using the Russian media to proclaim himself still proper ruler of Ukraine. Wonderful.

Yes, I'm sure the will try to split off Crimea if they can. Somewhat less likely to go for all of the country, but it's possible if they think they can pull it off. Think not only Georgia a few years ago but also the farce in Kosovo back in the Clinton era.
Trump delenda est.
GOP delenda est.
Resist!

#57 Traveler

    Rambling Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 13972 posts
  • LocationPhilly Area

Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:05 AM

HGF,, it bugs me. See post #49. gmat, this little "surprise exercise" is the largest ever IIRC, involving a good percentage of its entire standing army.

I am with Rabs on this one, for the most part. Not sure that the Russians hate the west so much as they desperately want to be respected by it. I posted above about how the energy economy is not something to build a nation upon. So lots of structural problems with a kleptocracy. And Cohen's histrionics about Putin being the best leader in a 100 years lost did not garner my respect. Fact is, the neo-Nazis so far have behaved quite well, with no looting in Kiev. Contrast that with armed takeovers in Crimea. As I noted, that is a special case, and should probably be conceded 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

#58 indy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 9848 posts

Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:08 AM

Yeah, I've read reports of Russians in Crimea as well, as well as a plan to issue Russian passports there. I am uncertain how reliable these reports are however.

#59 Banty

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5067 posts
  • LocationUpstate New York

Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:21 AM

View Posthisgirlfriday, on 27 February 2014 - 08:30 AM, said:

So Putin's war games on the Ukranian border and the pro-Russian group using guns to seize control of Crimea's Parliament trouble anyone else?

Also Yanukovich is in Russia using the Russian media to proclaim himself still proper ruler of Ukraine. Wonderful.

Yeah, after he absconds - what a failure.
"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

#60 gmat

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3492 posts

Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:39 AM

View PostTraveler, on 27 February 2014 - 09:05 AM, said:

HGF,, it bugs me. See post #49. gmat, this little "surprise exercise" is the largest ever IIRC, involving a good percentage of its entire standing army.

I am with Rabs on this one, for the most part. Not sure that the Russians hate the west so much as they desperately want to be respected by it. I posted above about how the energy economy is not something to build a nation upon. So lots of structural problems with a kleptocracy. And Cohen's histrionics about Putin being the best leader in a 100 years lost did not garner my respect. Fact is, the neo-Nazis so far have behaved quite well, with no looting in Kiev. Contrast that with armed takeovers in Crimea. As I noted, that is a special case, and should probably be conceded to Russia.

Yeah, I think Kharkov would go Russian too.

If I was in charge of Russia, it wouldn't be so much an issue of hating the west, or wanting respect from the west; it would be more about not wanting NATO on my SW border, from which they could seriously threaten my access to the Black Sea and the Caucases.
It wasn't that long ago that Russia, well the Soviets anyway, got invaded from the west and lost 20 million people. It probably doesn't occur to us because our KIAs in Europe were 1% of that

And if Cohen is being histrionic, is McConnel also being histrionic? He said the same thing. What might they be seeing that you are missing?





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users