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Saturday, February 01, 2014

OTP - Feb 2014: Politics remains a hurdle for immigration reform

Yet Obama might find his best-chance legislative compromise in an issue that lately has seemed to be on life support: an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

Curiously, immigration was an issue the president barely mentioned in this year’s speech. Maybe he does not want to interfere with those Republicans who actually agree with him on the need to bring the nation’s millions of undocumented workers out of the shadows.

Bitter Mouse Posted: February 01, 2014 at 04:01 PM | 3524 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   2601. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4664445)
Flop
   2602. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 01, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4664457)
John McCain has said, unironically, "We are all Ukrainians."

Didn't he also say we're all Georgians?
   2603. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 01, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4664460)
Why would he say that ironically?

If Russia's comfortable with the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, they'll probably be appeased and get it. If they want the whole country, it will be a very bloody disaster. The Western Ukrainians won't stand for it, and will resist to the death.

Ukraine giving up its nukes now looks like a disaster for the ages and will push back nuclear nonproliferation efforts for decades.
   2604. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4664473)
Why would he say that ironically?
He wouldn't. But I keep hoping, in vain, McCain one day will come across a conflict that he doesn't believe should involve America.
   2605. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4664475)
Love how Putin is once again in the process of completely humiliating his sad little bittch boy Obama, as he has done so many times over the last year or so.
   2606. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4664476)
there's really no good action for the US to take here.

but i'd like to volunteer the palin family for an armed mission into the parts of russia she can see from her house.
   2607. The District Attorney Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4664482)
Bush's biggest accomplishment is getting born on third base and not getting picked off. No arrests, no drug problems
Not sure if serious...?

I don't think MLB would have any interest in an ex-President commissioner, never mind what I assume is the least broadly popular ex-President, but even if he weren't. Any ex-President, by definition, would be someone whom the owners would not necessarily be able to rein in if they wanted to.

These days, it probably should be a lawyer. (NOT LA RUSSA)
   2608. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4664485)
Love how Putin is once again in the process of completely humiliating his sad little bittch boy Obama, as he has done so many times over the last year or so.


You see what you want to see and are predictably impressed by guy acting all tough. Because that is the sort of thing that wows you. For the rest of us, not so much.
   2609. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4664486)
You see what you want to see and are predictably impressed by guy acting all tough. Because that is the sort of thing that wows you. For the rest of us, not so much.

ROFL. Obama constantly acts like a tough guy, shooting off his big mouth, issuing warnings, and making threats. Meanwhile, Putin knows full well that he doesn't mean any of them and laughs in his face time and time again and continues to rub his nose in it, because he rightfully has no fear of or respect for Obama whatsoever. And finally, it reduces guys like you to the unenviable and pathetic position of pretending that your guy's weakness and humiliation is some kind of strength.
   2610. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4664489)
Is it really surprising that Joey prefers jackbooted authoritarianism to democratic republicanism?
   2611. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4664490)
And finally, it reduces guys like you to the unenviable and pathetic position of pretending that your guy's weakness and humiliation is some kind of strength.
So you want to pretend your guy's "strength" didn't end with a weakened, humiliated America?
   2612. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4664491)
Love how Putin is once again in the process of completely humiliating his sad little bittch boy Obama, as he has done so many times over the last year or so.
Yeah, because Bush could humiliate himself without help!
   2613. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4664494)
Oh by the way, it's March 1, which means that it's once again time for a new Red Diaper Doper Baby Thread.
   2614. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4664495)
The odd thing I find about guys like Joey (and McCain, Krauthammer and Kristol, to name others) is how badly they're misreading the room. There is zero understanding their fellow Americans are warred out, uninterested in more foreign misadventures.
   2615. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4664498)
there's really no good action for the US to take here.
Indeed.

Which makes the carping from the sidelines all the more annoying. OK, smart guys, what's your solution for Ukraine? And Iran? And Syria?
   2616. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4664502)
Well, durrrrr: Bomb, bomb, bomb ... bomb, bomb, Iran!

Bomb, bomb, bomb ... bomb, bomb, Ukraine!1!!1!

Lather, rinse, repeat ...
   2617. BDC Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4664503)
Putin knows full well that he doesn't mean any of them and laughs in his face time and time again and continues to rub his nose in it, because he rightfully has no fear of or respect for Obama whatsoever

Yeah, it's terrible the way the Iron Curtain has redescended. If our will doesn't harden, we may soon lose West Berlin, Luxembourg, Quemoy, Matsu, and Perth Amboy.
   2618. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4664510)
Perth Amboy
they can have that one.


the problem with engaging russia is that you could demolish every structure ever built in that country, and they'd still be an economic powerhouse because of their abundance of natural resources.

you can't hurt that with a bomb. you won't hurt that with sanctions.
   2619. Publius Publicola Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4664512)
Can you hurt it by looking into Putin's eyes and reading his soul?
   2620. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4664513)
We need to follow Europes lead on things here, they need to be the ones to really step up and solve the situation. there is no way we can do anything with out them in the lead.
   2621. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4664514)
The odd thing I find about guys like Joey (and McCain, Krauthammer and Kristol, to name others) is how badly they're misreading the room. There is zero understanding their fellow Americans are warred out, uninterested in more foreign misadventures.


Whaddya mean, I'm ready to sit on my pasty ass and write pro-war blog posts all day!
   2622. tshipman Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4664515)
We need to follow Europes lead on things here, they need to be the ones to really step up and solve the situation. there is no way we can do anything with out them in the lead.


While I agree with this, we did sign a treaty with Ukraine. They gave up their nukes, which I'm guessing they are regretting right now, in exchange for protection. If we want nuclear non-proliferation to stick, we need to credibly deter a Russian invasion.

If we do nothing, that completely changes the case for non-proliferation. I have no freaking clue what Putin thinks he's doing, but this is the rare occasion where the hawks are right about not acting having consequences.
   2623. tshipman Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4664522)
Also, I would like to point out in contrast to Joey B's statements, Putin's actions are a show of weakness, not a show of strength. Russia is attempting to set itself up as an alternate economic sphere to the EU. That is what all of the Ukranian stuff was about in the first place. Russia lost that one.

Ukraine was the last large economy left in the Baltics (and it's not that large). All that's left to join Russia's proto-currency union is Belarus--and you can bet that they're having second thoughts right about now.

When viewed in this context, Putin's actions are not a strong move, but a weak one. He is invading because he is unable to compete economically. We saw what happened when Russia dominated and exploited the Baltics and Eastern Europe by force--it's not competitive with Europe. In the short term, this looks strong, but in the long run, it's the actions of a geopolitical weakling who has no good alternatives. If this move forces a military response from the West, or even just strong sanctions, it greatly weakens Russia's position in the short run as well.
   2624. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4664532)
tshipman, I saw follow Europe's lead because I want them to invest troops before we do. Most of the crap that has happened is due to the failed agreement with the EU, might as well let them start off the heavy fighting and let us come to back them up thus honoring the agreement from the 90's and helping preserve our military strength.
   2625. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4664540)
While I agree with this, we did sign a treaty with Ukraine. They gave up their nukes, which I'm guessing they are regretting right now, in exchange for protection. If we want nuclear non-proliferation to stick, we need to credibly deter a Russian invasion.

If we do nothing, that completely changes the case for non-proliferation. I have no freaking clue what Putin thinks he's doing, but this is the rare occasion where the hawks are right about not acting having consequences.
i actually think this is a pretty strong case in favor of non-proliferation. the ukranian president was thrown out of office a week ago, and well, A) since he had nothing to lose, he might've used them, B) since the government was in transition, some rogue general might've used them, or C) since the new party in power is still in conflict with their former oppressors, they might've used them.

it wouldn't have been good for anyone for nuclear action to have been on the table.
   2626. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4664546)
Just redraw the lines. There is part of the Ukraine that really should be in Russia, so make it happen. There's no need to go to war over some mis-drawn boarders.

Edit: And, wow, should we all (especially those in uniform) be glad that Bush, Cheney and the team of 'tards aren't calling the shots right now.
   2627. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4664548)
The odd thing I find about guys like Joey (and McCain, Krauthammer and Kristol, to name others) is how badly they're misreading the room. There is zero understanding their fellow Americans are warred out, uninterested in more foreign misadventures.
That's because they don't see the people who disagree with them as Real Americans.
   2628. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4664549)
There's no need to go to war over some mis-drawn boarders.


I think that's probably one the most common reasons to go to war, isn't it?
   2629. BDC Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4664553)
Interesting thoughts here: I have a few marginal things to add.

1) I don't think the "Budapest Memorandum" committing the US (and UK) to come to Ukraine's aid is an actual treaty. It does not seem that the Senate ever ratified it.
2) Even if it were, the US has ignored security treaties before when the strategic situation dictated (as with the OAS Rio Treaty during the Falklands War).
3) I would be astonished if Putin would try to roll tanks into Kiev à la Prague 1968 or other Soviet interventions. If it really would come to that, well, then maybe this is WW3, but I've lived through at least a dozen false alarms of American-Russian WW3s in my lifetime. I could be dead wrong, but I think the chances of extended conflict are utterly slender.
4) So as tshipman notes, Russia is much more likely to be conducting a rear-guard action here. It's possible to establish the Crimea or other areas as Russian protectorates under the banner of self-determination for their local Russian majorities, while at the same time seeing the bulk of the Ukraine drift into the EU/NATO sphere just as so much of the rest of the postwar empire has done. That's about the best Putin will hope to get out of this situation.

   2630. tshipman Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4664556)
1) I don't think the "Budapest Memorandum" committing the US (and UK) to come to Ukraine's aid is an actual treaty. It does not seem that the Senate ever ratified it.
2) Even if it were, the US has ignored security treaties before when the strategic situation dictated (as with the OAS Rio Treaty during the Falklands War).


Both of these points are of course correct. My position is that if non-proliferation is to be a goal, the US needs to pointedly commit to the sovereignty of countries who voluntarily disarm. Failing to do so makes future disarmament less likely and American promises of assistance less credible.

Non-proliferation is by far the policy most in our national interest. Moments like these are what make me deeply regret how Iraq has affected domestic politics. This situation is very, very different from Iraq, but reactions are set from that time.
   2631. The District Attorney Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4664574)
If we want nuclear non-proliferation to stick, we need to credibly deter a Russian invasion.
Okay. How?
   2632. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4664576)
. . . we did sign a treaty with Ukraine. They gave up their nukes, which I'm guessing they are regretting right now, in exchange for protection. If we want nuclear non-proliferation to stick, we need to credibly deter a Russian invasion.

If we do nothing, that completely changes the case for non-proliferation. I have no freaking clue what Putin thinks he's doing, but this is the rare occasion where the hawks are right about not acting having consequences.


Very true. Those here reflexively giving a pass to whatever Obama does - or doesn't do -- are ignoring how much the Administration's so-called "Smart Diplomacy" has left the rest of the world -- allies & potential adversaries -- unimpressed, to say the least.
   2633. spike Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4664579)
That's because they don't see the people who disagree with them as Real Americans can sit on their candy asses and let someone else take the bullet. Awful easy to sacrifice other people's children.
   2634. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4664582)
Just redraw the lines. There is part of the Ukraine that really should be in Russia, so make it happen. There's no need to go to war over some mis-drawn boarders.

I didn't know that Neville Chamberlain posted at BBTF.

Even Crimea voted for independence when Ukraine had a plebiscite on separating from the USSR. It's far from certain that any part of Ukraine actually wants to be under the thumb of Putin's Russia.
   2635. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4664584)
Well #### has hit the fan, russia has taken the crimea
   2636. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4664588)
101st Fighting Keyboarders to their stations!
   2637. tshipman Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4664589)
Okay. How?


Best case scenario is to bring up a security resolution to the UN that gets Veto'd by Russia but attracts Chinese support. That would be followed up with a strategic repositioning of carrier assets from the Persian Gulf to the Baltic Sea. Finally, multilateral talks with EU and Asian partners with a goal of Russia removing itself and its troops to the base they are allowed by treaty, but allowing an election in Ukraine for sovereignty or secession of Crimea.

If all of that fails? First enforcement of sanctions from EU. If still no results or significant pushback, then position troops in the region. If further violations of Ukraine's sovereignty continue, then war. Invasions of allies that you have agreed to protect are the sort of reasons why you go to war.

Very true. Those here reflexively giving a pass to whatever Obama does - or doesn't do -- are ignoring how much the Aministration's so-called "Smart Diplomacy" has left the rest of the world -- allies & potential adversaries -- unimpressed, to say the least.


US geopolitical power is probably at its highest point since 9/11. Reflexive criticism of the administration and the unabashed recklessness of the opposition party would be much less impressive.
   2638. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4664590)
Wow. Very good chance of war between Russia and a country that was hours away from formally associating with the EU. (There basically is a war now, of course, but I mean actual armed conflict between the nations' militaries.)

This is what the Soviet Union and Russia do. They've done it for centuries. The time periods they aren't doing it are spent planning for the next one.

The civilized world dropped its guard and Russia bided its time, and exploited it. That's what they do.
   2639. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4664591)
101st Fighting Keyboarders to their stations!
Reading this made me realize if I could see a list of the warbloggers I read regularly 10 years ago, I'm be horrified.

Glenn Reynolds, Seriously, Gold Star?
   2640. The District Attorney Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4664593)
Best case scenario is to bring up a security resolution to the UN that gets Veto'd by Russia but attracts Chinese support. That would be followed up with a strategic repositioning of carrier assets from the Persian Gulf to the Baltic Sea. Finally, multilateral talks with EU and Asian partners with a goal of Russia removing itself and its troops to the base they are allowed by treaty, but allowing an election in Ukraine for sovereignty or secession of Crimea.

If all of that fails? First enforcement of sanctions from EU. If still no results or significant pushback, then position troops in the region. If further violations of Ukraine's sovereignty continue, then war. Invasions of allies that you have agreed to protect are the sort of reasons why you go to war.
Okay, that's fine. I'd imagine our actual plan looks something like that.

Where "the line" is, is pretty clear.
   2641. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4664594)
Very true. Those here reflexively giving a pass to whatever Obama does - or doesn't do -- are ignoring how much the Administration's so-called "Smart Diplomacy" has left the rest of the world -- allies & potential adversaries -- unimpressed, to say the least.


So we should start bombing Russia? Send in troops to fight them? If you're going to criticize the administration for what you see as a lack of useful action then provide the good alternative that we should be pursuing.
   2642. Lassus Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4664596)
The civilized world dropped its guard and Russia bided its time, and exploited it. That's what they do.

At least you're not stuck in 1979.
   2643. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4664598)
We should liberate Finland!
   2644. zenbitz Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4664599)
Never get into a land war in Asia.

US/Eu has two options. Do nothing or threaten Armageddon.
I for one am not going to sleep well for the next couple days.
   2645. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4664601)
Best case scenario is to bring up a security resolution to the UN that gets Veto'd by Russia but attracts Chinese support. That would be followed up with a strategic repositioning of carrier assets from the Persian Gulf to the Baltic Sea. Finally, multilateral talks with EU and Asian partners with a goal of Russia removing itself and its troops to the base they are allowed by treaty, but allowing an election in Ukraine for sovereignty or secession of Crimea.

If all of that fails? First enforcement of sanctions from EU. If still no results or significant pushback, then position troops in the region. If further violations of Ukraine's sovereignty continue, then war. Invasions of allies that you have agreed to protect are the sort of reasons why you go to war.


That would test whether "US geopolitical power is . . . at its highest point since 9/11". I have my doubts about whether Obama has the will or European support for such policies, but the West does have some advantages. Ukraine and the rest of Europe is less dependent on Russian resources than was the case even a few years ago. A boycott of Russia is far more feasible than the last time Ukraine changed governments. Fracking or freedom may be the next choice.
   2646. robinred Posted: March 01, 2014 at 05:12 PM (#4664608)
Good posts by tshipman on this topic.

   2647. BDC Posted: March 01, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4664609)
This is what the Soviet Union and Russia do. They've done it for centuries. The time periods they aren't doing it are spent planning for the next one.

The civilized world dropped its guard and Russia bided its time, and exploited it. That's what they do


Aw man, reality is not a game of RISK. Russia has behaved about as any other huge nation behaves, historically, alternating wisdom and stupidity. This may certainly be a stupid moment, but it hardly reveals anything about the Implacable East or something.
   2648. Srul Itza Posted: March 01, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4664619)
Twenty five years ago, Russian Tanks were based, not on the border of Ukraine, but in the middle of Germany. The Russians then suffered a huge geopolitical setback, which has gnawed at Putin ever since.

He is going to reverse as much of that as he can. He will go as far as he thinks he can get away with, and if he has to kill a large number of Ukrainians to do so, he will not lose any sleep over that.

We didn't do anything about butchery in Chechnya. We probably couldn't and we weren't really about to spill blood for a separatist Muslim cause -- Chechnya is not Bosnia or Kosovo.

We didn't do anything when he cleaved off pieces of Georgia. Again, we probably couldn't, and we really don't care that much about Georgia.

We probably won't do anything if Putin just stops at the Crimea. That was Russian territory only 60 years ago, it has a large Russian population, and there is a huge Russian military base there. Russia was never going to give up its base and port on the Black Sea. Putin knows that we aren't going to war for Crimea.

If he cleaves off other parts of Ukraine, or if he even rolls tanks into Kiev -- and I don't put anything past him -- it will be because he has calculated that we still won't do anything.

And I think he is right. He has the stomach for a fight. We don't. Post-Viet Nam syndrome has given way to Post-Iraq-Afghanistan syndrome.

Europe take the lead? Don't make me laugh. They haven't been at war for a dozen years, and they are still more war-shy than we are, and utterly incapable of fighting in any event.

Unless he actually attacks a NATO country, we will not do much of anything. And the rest of the former Soviet Union, to the extent they have not yet joined NATO or the EU will take note, and will defer to Putin accordingly.

The only thing I can't quite decide is if he is a Commissar, or the next Tsar.
   2649. spike Posted: March 01, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4664622)
He has the stomach for a fight.

No, he has the ability to engage adjacent land forces and either pull them back or go to the mattresses if called on it. I don't know if he's willing to go to war over Kiev or not - could all be a big bluff for all any of us know.
   2650. zenbitz Posted: March 01, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4664626)
After a few minutes contemplation on this - the US/NATO has exactly one out. They can bluff all-out nuclear destruction on Russia. Anything short of this - sanctiosn, ground troops, air campaign is doomed to failure and everyone, ESPECIALLY the Russians know this. There is a slim chance (EXTREMELY SLIM) that the Russian nuclear arsenal is in such disrepair, or that the military will revolt against Putin. Or that Putin simply is not willing to risk everything that we are bluffing, even if he is pretty sure we are.

But of course you stop short of burning the world for 100,000,000 Ukrainians. Also, if I am Obama and my bluff is called, I probably resign within the week. Once you bet your balls and lose, you gotta find a new game.
   2651. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: March 01, 2014 at 05:57 PM (#4664635)
there is no way that nuclear weapons should even be a threat or a bluff. Using it as a threat will help justify other nations aquire those weapons. all hell will break loose with the little guys (iran and n korea) both going crazy, who knows how they would react. IF and a big if that it comes to war with russia, they wont stand a chance. china wont go to there defense the us is too big of an economic ally.
   2652. spike Posted: March 01, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4664638)
the US/NATO has exactly one out

They have lots of other outs. Interdiction, sanction, economic blockade, etc. Russia's economic life can be made very miserable very quickly - the problem is, as pasternak noted, the Russians have a cursed capacity for suffering.
   2653. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: March 01, 2014 at 06:24 PM (#4664645)
I was thinking that it was convenient that the Olympics ended before this happened. Then someone pointed out that the 2014 Winter Paralympics are scheduled for Sochi next week.

I would be reluctant to go to those games.
   2654. spike Posted: March 01, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4664648)
I hope nobody does, assuming things don't change - it might serve as a harbinger of things to come for Putin and a reminder of why they lost the last Cold War and why they would likely lose another one.
   2655. Mefisto Posted: March 01, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4664656)
Interdiction, sanction, economic blockade, etc. Russia's economic life can be made very miserable very quickly - the problem is, as pasternak noted, the Russians have a cursed capacity for suffering.


I don't know what "interdiction" means in this context. If it means "protest", well sure. Sanctions by us alone would be meaningless. I doubt the world would impose an economic blockade, and I doubt the Russians would care if it did. They are large enough to survive on their own.

Some problems in the world can't be solved by the US. We should recognize this as one of them.
   2656. spike Posted: March 01, 2014 at 07:18 PM (#4664662)
Russia has a trade surplus with both the EU (I'm pretty confident they'd participate) and the US. If we stop trading with them, it will damage their economy far more severely, and much faster. Interdiction means just that - physically preventing goods entering the country short of war ( not necessarily advocating this, just noting there are choices besides war/no war). I am not even saying that we should do something - but there are lots of things that could be done short of nuclear war that would have enormous impact on Russia.

So, just to be clear on my last i was defining =

Sanction - we won't buy or sell you some stuff
Economic blockade - we won't buy or sell you anything and will try to get our allies to do likewise
Interdiction - we will physically try to enforce the above. This may well be interpreted as an act of war, but it's a long poke from dropping Fat Man on Moscow.
   2657. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 01, 2014 at 07:28 PM (#4664665)
It's certainly a very real possibility that Putin is going to try to get everything back -- including the Baltics.(*) This isn't 1938 redux, but since there are so many ex-Soviet countries, we do face the Munichesque dilemma that failing to draw the line really early may embolden the thug further.

Obviously, his aims as we sit here today might be less pronounced, but there's little question that Putin wants to reassemble the old Soviet Union, and sees it as his ultimate destiny.

(*) And the people paid to think about these things have to have this as a very real possibility in their decision trees. The same bogus "protecting Russians" meme applies nearly as much to the Baltics as it does Crimea.
   2658. spike Posted: March 01, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4664667)
How would Russia succeed in a second Cold War? What has fundamentally changed, other than the empire having to be reconquered first, and from peoples that have successfully broken away once?
   2659. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 01, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4664669)
Ne'er mind.
   2660. BDC Posted: March 01, 2014 at 07:43 PM (#4664671)
It's certainly a very real possibility that Putin is going to try to get everything back -- including the Baltics

I don't mean to keep hammering this, Bear, but what does Putin want with a bunch of client states that are fundamentally ungovernable?
   2661. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4664673)
It's a pity this isn't 1936 ...
   2662. BDC Posted: March 01, 2014 at 07:56 PM (#4664677)
To change the subject slightly, does anyone else here know the late Vassily Aksyonov's novel the Island of Crimea? I recall it now just in a kind of nostalgic metaliterary sense. It's about an alternative universe where the Crimea is an island and goes the way of Taiwan, only after 1917. It's probably still a fun, if now heavily ironic, read.
   2663. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 01, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4664679)
don't mean to keep hammering this, Bear, but what does Putin want with a bunch of client states that are fundamentally ungovernable?

To rule as much territory and as many people as he can.

What did Soviet rulers from Stalin to Gorbachev want with them?
   2664. Morty Causa Posted: March 01, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4664688)
Russia and Putin just may be setting themselves up to be the Yorkie that catches that automobile--now what? To change metaphors, let 'em that old shoe to their heart's content if it keeps them occupied and out of serious mischief. Tough on some, I guess, but what you gunna do? <shrug>
   2665. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: March 01, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4664690)
don't mean to keep hammering this, Bear, but what does Putin want with a bunch of client states that are fundamentally ungovernable?
greater access to offshore oil reserves and other potentially lucrative natural resources.

   2666. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 01, 2014 at 08:57 PM (#4664699)
It's certainly a very real possibility that Putin is going to try to get everything back -- including the Baltics.

Well, yes, but it isn't even clear yet whether Putin wants to actually annex the Crimea or just remind Ukraine that Russia has the ability to do so whenever it wants, so they should make every effort to keep him happy. Putin may be pushing as far as he can, and he may be gambling on the response from Europe & the USA, but he hasn't totally tipped his hand. Seems like the West should assume the worst about his intentions, though, and work to deter him from carrying them out.
   2667. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 01, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4664700)
We probably won't do anything if Putin just stops at the Crimea. That was Russian territory only 60 years ago, it has a large Russian population, and there is a huge Russian military base there. Russia was never going to give up its base and port on the Black Sea.

And we shouldn't. They have moved in to secure their base there, which is exactly what they should do in uncertain times. Nothing has really happened yet.
   2668. spike Posted: March 01, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4664701)
Well Latvia/Lithuania would give them overland access to Kaliningrad, so there's that.
   2669. Mefisto Posted: March 01, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4664703)
Russia has a trade surplus with both the EU (I'm pretty confident they'd participate


I doubt it. Putting aside political difficulties -- which I think are insurmountable -- what Russia sells the EU is oil and gas. They can't shut off that flow.

Economic blockade - we won't buy or sell you anything and will try to get our allies to do likewise


No political support for this. Besides, such blockades are hardly likely to have much impact on a country the size of Russia.

Interdiction - we will physically try to enforce the above.


I don't think you've considered the logistics of this. It's impossible without the cooperation of a great many other countries. As above, such cooperation isn't there.

Russia isn't some tiny country. It's geographically huge, rich in resources, and has nuclear weapons. The Crimea is immediately adjacent to its current border and far from the reach of our military. If Russia wants the Crimea, it will have it.

   2670. spike Posted: March 01, 2014 at 09:14 PM (#4664709)
As I nopted above, I didn't say I necessarily support any of those options, nor that they would be easy or effective - but they are there nonetheless as opposed to the idea that the threat of war is the only tool available. And I think if Russia launches some sort of reconquista you'd find the EU far more willing to stop it than you credit them. Their memories aren't that short.
   2671. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 01, 2014 at 09:38 PM (#4664719)
there's little question that Putin wants to reassemble the old Soviet Union...
We're getting the band back together!
   2672. Publius Publicola Posted: March 01, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4664735)
I realize this would turn Ukraine into a killing field but well-funded insurgency campaign might make Putin have second thoughts, especially after the body bag count starts to mount and he realizes he can't destroy the village in order to save it.
   2673. Publius Publicola Posted: March 01, 2014 at 11:00 PM (#4664738)
I can't help thinking what really started this were the deals Ukraine signed with Chevron and Shell to drill for shale gas. Once Ukraine became energy independent, they could have flipped the bird at Putin and he wouldn't have had much leverage.

So, the energy wars are starting to metastasize from the middle East to Europe.
   2674. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:12 AM (#4664755)
I don't know about the treaty situation (and things there could change my opinion) but right now why should the US do anything? Every time there is a dispute doesn't mean the US needs to get knee deep in it. What do we want to accomplish? Give me a goal, a benefit, and a cost you are willing to pay to achieve the goal.

Acting all tough and reflexively trying to stop everything a thug like Putin does because "macho!" is dumb.
   2675. bobm Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:36 AM (#4664758)
"Yes, Prime Minister" on the nuclear deterrent against Russia and "salami tactics"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmAyNvl1imw
   2676. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: March 02, 2014 at 06:10 AM (#4664769)
I'd note that Russia needs to sell gas to Europe almost as much as Europe needs to buy it - and, over the long term, more so. If Russia were to sell its gas to its own people at market rates, a lot of Russians would freeze to death in the winters as they can't afford it. Russia uses its sales to the rest of the world as a way to subsidise internal supplies. LNG shipping from the US and Africa is a major threat to that arrangement.

A few weeks ago, Russia had all of Ukraine as a captive market. Now it's damage limitation for Putin.
   2677. Publius Publicola Posted: March 02, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4664778)
Here's a map of the potential gas fields that can be developed in Europe by hydrolic fracking. I believe the contracts with Shell and Chevron were intended to explore the Ukrainian fields in the northeast along the Russian border.

As Ben aptly notes, Russia needs those European markets-badly. Putin's whole geopolitical strategy hinges on being THE strategic supplier of natural resources to Europe and other nearby markets. The map link clearly shows demonstrates that even a partial exploitation of those European gas fields would make them energy independent, even net exporters. And almost all of the former Soviet Union states and satellites have these fields in abundance- Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic states etc. Hydrolic fracking may prove to be a mortal threat to Russia. When energy pundits say that hydrolic fracking is a game changer that will rewrite the geopolitical map, they aren't kidding.

There's at least a decent chance Putin might go for the whole schmeer, to roll Ukraine back into the Russian Empire. The fields Shell and Chevron intend to explore are in the northeast, the part of Ukraine most vulnerable to occupation. Taking those fields away will buy him some time. But I think he's shouting against the wind here. The die has been cast concerning future energy markets and it's not a good one for Russia.
   2678. BDC Posted: March 02, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4664779)
What did Soviet rulers from Stalin to Gorbachev want with [the Baltic states]?

I don't know that Gorbachev is the best poster boy for the argument that Russians implacably maintain their stranglehold on imperial possessions :)

Like a lot of us, I grew up in an era when it seemed that the Soviet domination of half of Europe was monolithic and unshakable – even though in retrospect, and heck as it was happening, popular movements in the Warsaw Pact put the Soviets on notice, every decade or so, that Russia simply couldn't govern those countries without huge and continuous expenditures of military, economic, and political effort. It was an irrational exercise all along, though of course it had its local and temporary successes, when there was a lot of buy-in from local leadership.

Now, as I noted, I'm not giving Putin huge credit for rationality. But it's very hard to see the current effort as the leading edge of reimposition of a Soviet-style empire over nations that have been enthusiastic EU members for a decade now. Do you think there's such nostalgia for the USSR in the Baltics that they could be governed from Moscow without continuous military occupation, at the level that would make "having" them a distinctly losing proposition economically? Do you think Putin believes that? I could be wrong, but from everything I hear/read/see about those places I doubt it.

OTOH Cheney and Rumsfeld apparently believed that as soon as US troops strolled into Baghdad the whole Middle East would turn into a sunnier version of the Midwest, complete with 4th of July parades and NASCAR. So I guess there's no accounting for illusion :)
   2679. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4664799)
It's great to see that Obama is taking this situation so seriously. I'd love to know exactly what he was doing that was so important that he couldn't attend his national security team meeting on a day like yesterday. Probably playing another pickup basketball game with Arne Duncan or something.

The worst part about Obama's humiliations is that they don't even bother him at all, because in his mind his humiliations are really America's well-deserved humiliations. He obviously intends to spend the remainder of his presidency weakening us on the international stage as much as possibly can before he gets out, while the world continues to slide into total chaos as a result of the vacuum of leadership.
   2680. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4664806)
The worst part about Obama's humiliations is that they don't even bother him at all, because in his mind his humiliations are really America's well-deserved humiliations.


That's the Muslim mindset for ya.
   2681. Publius Publicola Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4664809)
Obama had a tense 90 minute call with Putin a couple of days ago. It's quite possible that, while the national security team was meeting internally, Obama was on the phone with NATO allies discussing options.

Not seeing where Obama is being humiliated, Joey. Aren't you declaring the victor in the first inning?

Contrary to appearances, this is a defensive, reactionary move by Putin. His geopolitical position is slipping with falling energy and commodities prices. It's a big mistake for him, because it is alienating everybody who has a dog to fight. He might win this battle but he is assuring that he will lose the war.
   2682. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4664810)
W's the guy that spewed the gobbledygook about Putin's soul, and Obama is obviously in way over his head. He doesn't really have any stomach to deter Putin and barely even understands/understood that Putin needs to be deterred.

Americans really can't get their heads around such a 19th century mindset. Putin wants to restore the Russian/Soviet empire (*) and wants to rule the peoples of nearby nations. That's his primary aim. It matters not whether the 21st century mind can cobble together some "rational" explanation of why. There really isn't any why beyond the want itself.

(*) The guy's ex-KGB and sees the fall of the Soviet Empire as the greatest geopolitical tragedy in recent memory. He's said that very thing, in 2005. Why would anyone think he doesn't believe it?
   2683. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4664811)
No seeing where Obama is being humiliated, Joey. Aren't you declaring the victor in the first inning?


Are you seriously asking Joey to think rationally about something? Have you met Joey?
   2684. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4664814)
It's quite possible that, while the national security team was meeting internally, Obama was on the phone with NATO allies discussing options.

It's also quite possible that you're just making things up in his defense.
   2685. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4664815)
It's also quite possible that you're just making things up in his defense.


It's absolutely certain you are making #### up in your offense. So fair's fair.
   2686. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4664816)
Americans really can't get their heads around such a 19th century mindset. Putin wants to restore the Russian/Soviet empire (*) and wants to rule the peoples of nearby nations. That's his primary aim.


Says you. All I see is a guy so terrified of instability around his only warm water naval port on the Black Sea that he'll foolishly punt every long term strategic goal he's claimed to have in order to get troops on the ground in Sevastopol.
   2687. Publius Publicola Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4664818)
It's also quite possible that you're just making things up in his defense.


Well, your source is the Weekly Standard, who is going to see every Obama glass as half empty rather than half full and has been known to make #### up as well. And I would ask you to use the same yardstick and admit Bush II was humililiated over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
   2688. spike Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4664821)
All I see is a guy so terrified of instability around his only warm water naval port on the Black Sea that he'll foolishly punt every long term strategic goal he's claimed to have in order to get troops on the ground in Sevastopol.

Reminds me of unrestricted CCW advocates in this country that claim those afraid of guns carried by others are bedwetters, but are too scared to leave the house without being strapped up, and that merely being afraid confers the right to use deadly force.

Oh well, I'm sure that Olympic 50Bn was just ashtray money - somehow I don't see Sochi becoming a tourist and sports mecca after this - it'll look like this soon enough.
   2689. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4664826)
All I see is a guy so terrified of instability around his only warm water naval port on the Black Sea that he'll foolishly punt every long term strategic goal he's claimed to have in order to get troops on the ground in Sevastopol.

I know that's all you see. The reasons why have already been explained. QED.

When a guy invades and occupies a country and no one lifts a finger in opposition, he's not "terrified" or "acting from weakness." Those are just goofball rationalizations and refusals to see the obvious. The clearminded among us try not to engage in such nonsense.
   2690. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4664827)
When a guy invades and occupies a country and no one lifts a finger in opposition, he's not "terrified" or "acting from weakness." Those are just goofball rationalizations and refusals to see the obvious. The clearminded among us try not to engage in such nonsense.


Your love affair with dictatorial fascism doesn't make it true. Putin is moving into Crimea because he needs Crimea.
   2691. spike Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4664833)
How come Obama never does something strong like seize Canada or a few more Caribbean islands huh? Who'd stop him? The guy is clearly just a p***y.
   2692. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4664839)
Those are just goofball rationalizations and refusals to see the obvious. The clearminded among us try not to engage in such nonsense.

It's getting harder and harder for people to seriously stick to the script about how Obama is some genius 3D international chess grandmaster as the world blows up around us and he gets in deeper and deeper over his head. It stands to reason that the rationalizations of the most die-hard supporters will just continue to become more and more ludicrous.
   2693. GregD Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4664840)
We will know the world is getting better when we are at war!
   2694. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4664843)
W's the guy that spewed the gobbledygook about Putin's soul, and Obama is obviously in way over his head. He doesn't really have any stomach to deter Putin and barely even understands/understood that Putin needs to be deterred.

Americans really can't get their heads around such a 19th century mindset. Putin wants to restore the Russian/Soviet empire (*) and wants to rule the peoples of nearby nations. That's his primary aim. It matters not whether the 21st century mind can cobble together some "rational" explanation of why. There really isn't any why beyond the want itself.


The key here is 19th century mindset. What worked in the 19th century does not work here in the 21st. Time moves on and imperialist conquest just doesn't work well anymore. What you see as a power move is just dumb. Putin will not get enough benefit to be worth the cost.

When you are playing a game and the other guy makes a huge strategic blunder you don't follow up with the same blunder, just so you look all tough. Do what you can to minimize the harm done to others and let Putin waste his resources.
   2695. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4664844)
It's getting harder and harder for people to seriously stick to the script about how Obama is some genius 3D international chess grandmaster as the world blows up around us and he gets in deeper and deeper over his head.


Who here is suggesting Obama is doing any of that. He is simply refusing to follow your dumb "War now, war forever, because war" script.
   2696. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4664849)
When you are playing a game and the other guy makes a huge strategic blunder you don't follow up with the same blunder, just so you look all tough. Do what you can to minimize the harm done to others and let Putin waste his resources.


Remember that post on the last page about how IQ tests don't necessarily test intelligence, per se, but rather how modern a thinker is? This feels like something like that.
   2697. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4664850)
What worked in the 19th century does not work here in the 21st. Time moves on and imperialist conquest just doesn't work well anymore.

Man, you guys truly are delusional. The guy just got the Crimea with a few thousand troops and no resistance. He can likely have E. Ukraine for free, too.

So how did that not "work"?
   2698. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4664855)
Man, you guys truly are delusional. The guy just got the Crimea with a few thousand troops and no resistance.


Russia has "had" Crimea all along. If you have massive military installations there, you "have" it. Hell, until recently, Russia "had" all of Ukraine as well, right up until the west decided to throw Russia's puppet dictator out of office, which sort of worried Russia because they really need a puppet head of Ukraine in order to "lease" all of those military bases.
   2699. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4664856)
Man, you guys truly are delusional. The guy just got the Crimea with a few thousand troops and no resistance. He can likely have E. Ukraine for free, too.

So how did that not "work"?


The Soviet conquest of Kabul in that final Golden Year of Progress (1979) took less than 48 hours to complete. Remind us how that invasion "worked" for the Soviets over the next 9 years.
   2700. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4664858)
Russia has "had" Crimea all along. If you have massive military installations there, you "have" it. Hell, until recently, Russia "had" all of Ukraine as well, right up until the west decided to throw Russia's puppet dictator out of office, which sort of worried Russia because they really need a puppet head of Ukraine in order to "lease" all of those military bases.

There, there. No one's going to take your delusions from you if they make you feel better.
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