Ukraine conflict

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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Roald » Sat Mar 08, 2014 1:42 am

However, I do agree with you Jimmy. The term "socialism" could be used to describe anything from the Stalinist U.S.S.R to modern day Ireland and Sweden. A very broad term, indeed.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Jimmy » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:04 am

Roald wrote:
Jimmy wrote:The so-called "socialism" under Stalin was bitterly condemned by U. S. Socialists and still is.


I believe that a fair number of U.S. leftists were actually naïve supporters of Stalin in the 1930s and 40s. Many American and European labor leaders, socialists, and communists travelled to Russia during that time and were treated to dog and pony shows. At that time, knowledge of the purges and gulags was not widespread outside of Russia. After the 1950s, things changed.

George Orwell wrote quite a bit about the phenomenon of Western leftwing support for Stalin.


And Orwell was in fact a "democratic socialist." He bitterly opposed Vanguardism.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Hungry Ghost » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:56 pm

Eric wrote:Is current policy again a wrong one?


The whole thing is unnecessary and avoidable, so I'd say 'yes'.

The pro-Russian Ukrainians voted in a President who turned out to be a totally corrupt jerk. The pro-Western Ukrainians overthrew the democratically elected President through violent mob action and street-warfare. The West rushed to recognize the new unelected revolutionary regime. And Russia wasn't willing to watch a country that they consider vital to their national interests slip away, so they sent in their troops.

It seems to me that every one of these might arguably have been bad decisions. It's kind of interesting how the Western and Russian media kind of pick and choose which aspects they want to focus on and which they want to ignore. (I guess that's how these things happen.)

American European tactics to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, instead of Kiev, appears as a first-rate strategic mistake resulting from weakness and could ultimately lead to hostilities and extensive bloodshed.


We are supporting those that we perceive as our friends, just like Russia is.

I don't think that the US has any intention of getting into a shooting war with the Russian Federation. Obama is a domestic-policy welfare-state kind of guy. He wants this foreign bullshit to just go away as soon as possible, preferably in such a way as to leave him looking good.

The Europeans certainly don't want to lead any military action on that scale (even if they could). They've gotten fat and happy believing that the US will always fight their wars for them.

And I don't think that Putin is interested in a shooting war either. That's probably a big reason why he hasn't moved his troops across the border into the Russo-philic parts eastern mainland Ukraine. He knows that if he did that, the out-gunned Ukrainian military would probably be forced to engage him.

And that's the danger, that some little miscalculation could get the Ukrainian and the Russian militaries shooting at each other. That would be the wild-card in the whole thing. If the West sees the Ukrainians ostensibly fighting for the right to join the West, and if the Ukrainians are getting their butts thoroughly kicked, then pressure in Western capitals to come to their aid might become inexorable. And like 1914 (100 years ago!) everybody might find themselves kind of inadvertantly fighting a war that they didn't really want.

President Obama and Putin conversation lasted 90 minutes, Russian President Vladimir Putin , just clarified what was known in advance that Putin will not move from his positions , and will not withdraw the Russian troops in the Crimea . Moreover, the message of Putin hidden between the diplomatic words is very clear : If Obama , or Europeans will not work to remove the regime staging in Kiev , which Putin called regime of gangs and fascists , Russia will continue to dominate the areas in eastern Ukraine, a home to the citizens of Ukraine of Russian origin who are Russian-speaking until the temporary regime falls .


Right. Putin has never recognized the new pro-Western revolutionary government in Kiev. As far as he's concerned, the democratically elected pro-Russian regime was overthrown by mob action, and currently Ukraine has no legimate government at all. With the exception of the Crimean autonomous region's government, I guess, which he seems to be treating as if it were soverign since from Moscow's point of view there's no national government above it.

Maybe instead restraining the Russian president, had to USA'' in the Europeans act quickly or replace the provisional regime which came to power in Kiev as a result of a revolution, to try diplomacy with provisional regime that had no choice but to try and negotiate with Moscow, with the basis such a move is the agreement obtained by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France being in Kiev in the third week of February. This agreement speaks of remaining in power of former President Viktor Yanukovych, and the establishment of a national emergency government with participation of elements pro - Russian and anti-Russian state.


Putin proposes that. He seemingly wants to use Crimea as a bargaining chip to roll back the Kiev revolution. The talking points that Obama's government put out a couple of days ago treat the current Kiev government simply as a given and suggests that the only outstanding issue at this point is rolling back the Russians.

That difference is the crux of the matter and where any diplomacy that occurs will inevitably focus.

If Putin doesn't see any movement on rolling back the Kiev revolution, his plan-B is obviously to have Russia simply annex Crimea. I suspect that the recent movement in that direction was him exerting some pressure to kick-start negotiations on his terms, putting the composition of the Kiev govenment back on the table. Crimea's his stick and it might remain more useful to him if he holds off on finishing the deal there. If Russia finally does annex Crimea, then Moscow loses the leverage it gives them over the rest of Ukraine and will likely lock Kiev on a pro-Western course. There has to be a way that Crimea (albeit highly autonomous and Russian-dominated) might (conditionally) stay in Ukraine, if Ukraine retreats on Russia's other concerns.

Putin's playing chess right now.

As time passes even this solution becomes less and less practical.


I'm not sure that the Kiev government is even able to give Putin what he wants. If they back down and invite Yanukovych to return, Kiev would almost certainly erupt in renewed street-fighting. Any national unity government that the diplomats contemplate would have to exclude Yanukovych. Putin would likely agree to that, since he blames Yanukovych for screwing everything up. Putin probably doesn't want him back either. So that's a spot where the Russians might conceivably compromise. But they would doubtless still insist on a national unity government giving the pro-Russian side half the power, along with elections that the pro-Russians might well win. And I don't think that the Maidan would accept that. They think that they have already won, so why turn around and immediately give the victory away?

Any solution that would be satisfactory to Putin would probably destabilize Kiev and would likely result in a resumption of the street fighting.

I don't know how things will turn out. My guess (that's all it is) is that the Ukrainians won't roll back their revolution and Putin won't get his national unity government. So he will follow through on his annexation of Crimea. Then we might conceivably (I'm speculating now) see some kind of partisan insurgency arise in pro-Russian eastern Ukraine, modeled on the insurgency that successfully overthrew Yanukovych, with rioters in the streets and government buildings being seized. It's already happening to some extent. And Russia might fund and supply the insurgency so as to eventually remove eastern Ukraine from Kiev's control. At that point Russia might try to annex that area too, as a Ukrainian autonomous republic or something, while pro-Western western Ukraine moves (very slowly) towards EU membership. In other words, perhaps the most likely long-term evolution of Ukraine will result in a partition of the country between its pro-Western and pro-Russian halves.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Jimmy » Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:52 pm

I'm not sure the issue is that entities can't give Putin what he wants so much as Putin will take what he wants, and he will. He is attempting to reconstitute the old USSR and I think he will be successful.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby johann » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:12 pm

Jimmy wrote:... He (Putin) is attempting to reconstitute the old USSR and I think he will be successful.

That may be...and he should be careful what he wishes for. Bringing a place like Chechnya "into the fold" (or trying to keep it there) could be a nasty problem forever.

I remember seeing "progressive" maps of Russia over the centuries - and the great and sudden expansion of the Russian Empire. I thought that lately we might have been witnessing an accelerating reverse of that. But - given recent events - we're probably not...and not going to, any time soon.

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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Oregon » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:05 pm

You can bet Putin the Great will have missiles in Venezuela and Cuba in short order and Barry the Impotent will respond with the only answer in his limited diplomatic arsenal - "Do you want fries with that?" Didn't his time in the schoolyard teach him that being nice only gets you kicked in the nuts?
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Rich Douglas » Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:31 pm

Oregon wrote:You can bet Putin the Great will have missiles in Venezuela and Cuba in short order and Barry the Impotent will respond with the only answer in his limited diplomatic arsenal - "Do you want fries with that?" Didn't his time in the schoolyard teach him that being nice only gets you kicked in the nuts?


I don't get the "impotent" assessment. There isn't a thing in foreign affairs he's failed to do that the Right is clamoring for. Not one. When you try to pin them down on that, they don't have real answers. Just nonsensical carping with no basis in fact.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Jimmy » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:29 pm

Oregon wrote:You can bet Putin the Great will have missiles in Venezuela and Cuba in short order and Barry the Impotent will respond with the only answer in his limited diplomatic arsenal - "Do you want fries with that?" Didn't his time in the schoolyard teach him that being nice only gets you kicked in the nuts?


Well, I am not a fan of President Obama (I voted for him in 2008, however.) and I think his "apology tour" has given the impression America is weak. The President operated and still may on the premise that being nice is all that needs to be done to win over the world. This doesn't work with bullies but I give him credit for trying diplomacy. Carter tried it; it didn't work then, either. If America is going to play a role internationally, it has two choices: Take the Ronald Reagan approach (I can't believe I am saying this as I never liked him.) or take the isolationist approach. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground. It would be nice if America were a neutral nation but is that realistic in today's world?

Having said all this, I don't see calling Obama names is helpful to the discussion. President Bush coddled up to Putin so he bears some responsibility. Putin is a thug, plain and simple. Russia needs another Gorbachev about now.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Rich Douglas » Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:20 pm

Jimmy wrote:
Oregon wrote:You can bet Putin the Great will have missiles in Venezuela and Cuba in short order and Barry the Impotent will respond with the only answer in his limited diplomatic arsenal - "Do you want fries with that?" Didn't his time in the schoolyard teach him that being nice only gets you kicked in the nuts?


Well, I am not a fan of President Obama (I voted for him in 2008, however.) and I think his "apology tour" has given the impression America is weak. The President operated and still may on the premise that being nice is all that needs to be done to win over the world. This doesn't work with bullies but I give him credit for trying diplomacy. Carter tried it; it didn't work then, either. If America is going to play a role internationally, it has two choices: Take the Ronald Reagan approach (I can't believe I am saying this as I never liked him.) or take the isolationist approach. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground. It would be nice if America were a neutral nation but is that realistic in today's world?

Having said all this, I don't see calling Obama names is helpful to the discussion. President Bush coddled up to Putin so he bears some responsibility. Putin is a thug, plain and simple. Russia needs another Gorbachev about now.


No one is on an "apology tour." That is a fake assessment.

Do this: say what you think he should do instead of what he's doing. Be specific.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Jimmy » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:18 am

Rich Douglas wrote:
No one is on an "apology tour." That is a fake assessment.

Do this: say what you think he should do instead of what he's doing. Be specific.


That's a good question. And if I knew the answers I'd be President. What I would like him to do is rally the international community, make a case before the UN, and possibly advocate for UN PEACE KEEPING forces to get involved. What I wish he hadn't done was tell (I don't remember whom he told.) ________ that after the election he would be more flexible in regards to Putin.

I am by far no expert or even a maven in the field of international relations. Like Rodney King, I wish we could "all just get along."

I'd be interested in your thoughts.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Rich Douglas » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:40 am

Jimmy wrote:
Rich Douglas wrote:
No one is on an "apology tour." That is a fake assessment.

Do this: say what you think he should do instead of what he's doing. Be specific.


That's a good question. And if I knew the answers I'd be President. What I would like him to do is rally the international community, make a case before the UN, and possibly advocate for UN PEACE KEEPING forces to get involved. What I wish he hadn't done was tell (I don't remember whom he told.) ________ that after the election he would be more flexible in regards to Putin.

I am by far no expert or even a maven in the field of international relations. Like Rodney King, I wish we could "all just get along."

I'd be interested in your thoughts.


Well, that's an honest reaction. But it's a fair question.

The difference stems from the difference between "assessments" and "assertions." "Assessments" are judgments. "That guy's a jerk," or "Ice cream is good." "Assertions" are statements of (purported) fact. "Rocky Road ice cream has nuts in it," or "Hillary Clinton ordered the military to stand down in Benghazi." True or not, they're attempts to state truths.

Too much of the time, we hear criticisms (assessments) without any assertions about the facts. "The President is a socialist," for example. Okay, so prove it.

So calling Obama an appeaser (or whatever) is an assessment. But what are the facts? What would you do differently? So let's say you don't know what you'd do, that you're not expert enough to say. Okay, but you thought yourself expert enough to form an assessment, right? Funny how that slips away once one is pressed for the details. And if you can't offer what he should do instead, at least offer up what he's done to lead you to your conclusion (assessment). Otherwise, its just empty name-calling. And there's been way too much of that from the Right.

Personally, I LIKE the way the President has handled most foreign affairs. He's winding down the purposeless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he got Osama, he stayed out of Libya (but bombed the crap out of them to help get Ghaddafi), he's stayed out of Syria (yet is trying to support the "good guys" without arming future enemies of the U.S. like we did in Afghanistan, arming the Mujahadeen against the Soviets, only to see them lead to the Taliban). He hasn't done much in Palestine, and I'd like to see more. But he hasn't messed it up further, either.

Regarding Putin, what would anyone have him do differently? When the Russians invaded Georgia, did Bush attack? (Hint: no.) So what's different here? We're not going to war with the Russians, certainly not over a country that, until very recently, was part of their country. The Right wants to sound tough, but they never come out and say what they'd do differently. That's because there aren't good solutions, just techniques to be employed, which the President is doing.

If you make assessments, you should ground them in assertions that, in turn, can be examined. Otherwise, it's just a baseless rant.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Jimmy » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:23 am

Rich Douglas wrote:Well, that's an honest reaction. But it's a fair question.

The difference stems from the difference between "assessments" and "assertions." "Assessments" are judgments. "That guy's a jerk," or "Ice cream is good." "Assertions" are statements of (purported) fact. "Rocky Road ice cream has nuts in it," or "Hillary Clinton ordered the military to stand down in Benghazi." True or not, they're attempts to state truths.

Too much of the time, we hear criticisms (assessments) without any assertions about the facts. "The President is a socialist," for example. Okay, so prove it.

So calling Obama an appeaser (or whatever) is an assessment. But what are the facts? What would you do differently? So let's say you don't know what you'd do, that you're not expert enough to say. Okay, but you thought yourself expert enough to form an assessment, right? Funny how that slips away once one is pressed for the details. And if you can't offer what he should do instead, at least offer up what he's done to lead you to your conclusion (assessment). Otherwise, its just empty name-calling. And there's been way too much of that from the Right.

Personally, I LIKE the way the President has handled most foreign affairs. He's winding down the purposeless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he got Osama, he stayed out of Libya (but bombed the crap out of them to help get Ghaddafi), he's stayed out of Syria (yet is trying to support the "good guys" without arming future enemies of the U.S. like we did in Afghanistan, arming the Mujahadeen against the Soviets, only to see them lead to the Taliban). He hasn't done much in Palestine, and I'd like to see more. But he hasn't messed it up further, either.

Regarding Putin, what would anyone have him do differently? When the Russians invaded Georgia, did Bush attack? (Hint: no.) So what's different here? We're not going to war with the Russians, certainly not over a country that, until very recently, was part of their country. The Right wants to sound tough, but they never come out and say what they'd do differently. That's because there aren't good solutions, just techniques to be employed, which the President is doing.

If you make assessments, you should ground them in assertions that, in turn, can be examined. Otherwise, it's just a baseless rant.


Well, I was never one to call him a "socialist." He's too tied to corporations to say that. As a matter of fact, most far left parties refer to him as a "moderate Republican" and state he is following some of Bush's foreign policy. Yes, he pulled out of Iraq but years later than he promised. We are still in Afghanistan and Gitmo is still open.

And in all honesty, you are correct, Bush did nothing when Putin invaded Georgia. Eisenhower did nothing when Russia invaded Hungary in 1956 and Johnson did nothing when Russia invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968. I really have mixed feelings about US intervention. On the one hand I say hands off. On the other hand I hate to see nations overrun by bullies and people being slaughtered as has happened in many instances.

And although I believe Putin perceives Obama as weak, the bottom line is that Putin is doing what he is because he wants to, plain and simple and if one is genuine, Obama can't really be blamed. What's scary is that no matter who is right or wrong, there is one primary consideration to keep in mind: Both the Russians and we have about 1,000 strategic nuclear warheads at "launch-ready" status. If they stumble into a direct military engagement in Ukraine, or anywhere else, that leads to the possible detonation of these weapons with long-term environmental consequences that will more than likely kill most people and animals.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby Oregon » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:09 pm

You don't have to go to war with Russia, but you must have the ability to go to war. If you lack the ability to go to war, bluffing is pretty much irrelevant.

In the First Gulf War something like 540,000 U.S. troops took part. In the 2003 invasion 150,000 troops took part. With the current anticipated cuts, mobilizing 150,000 troops might be tough.

Ukraine trusted their survival on a piece of paper signed by Russia. They went from being a nuclear power with a massive army to the point where they can only mobilize something like 8,000 effective soldiers. How is it working for them?
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby SteveFoerster » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:26 pm

Oregon wrote:You don't have to go to war with Russia, but you must have the ability to go to war. If you lack the ability to go to war, bluffing is pretty much irrelevant.

Ability includes more than personnel and materiel. The U.S. could have ten million soldiers with the best training and equipment, but if the Russians know there's not the will to use them, and there isn't, then they may as well be cardboard cutouts.

In the First Gulf War something like 540,000 U.S. troops took part. In the 2003 invasion 150,000 troops took part. With the current anticipated cuts, mobilizing 150,000 troops might be tough.

Good.

Ukraine trusted their survival on a piece of paper signed by Russia. They went from being a nuclear power with a massive army to the point where they can only mobilize something like 8,000 effective soldiers. How is it working for them?

Poorly. But then they border Russia, rather than Canada, Mexico, and two oceans.
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Re: Ukraine conflict

Postby nosborne48 » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:54 pm

Russian troops are massing along the border with Eastern Ukraine, the more Russified part of the country.

Vlad the Terrible is clearly contemplating overrunning a large part of the country. Who can stop him? The rhetoric, the use of fifth columnists, the claims of abuse of ethnic minorities, all sound horribly familiar. But there's one really awful difference between 1938 and now. Russia has nukes. A clash of conventional armies in Eastern Europe could escalate very easily. Vlad knows this. He knows we won't pull the trigger and will do what we can to avoid a shooting war.

But there are "abused" Russian ethnic minorities in other parts of the former Soviet Union and Russian Empire such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Seizing Lithuania and Latvia would give Vlad land access to Kaliningrad, currently an isolated exclave but a potentially important port city. If I lived in one of the Baltic States, I'd be very nervous right now.
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