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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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   2901. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4665245)
It wouldn't have "antagonized" our allies. People like Lech Walesa and the Czech foreign minister decried the decision at the time.


So somebody without office and a single cabinet minister.

Parts of the citizenry in those countries were against it


More importantly, their governments were against it.

not surprising given the Russian threats about it. Russia threatened to attack Poland if the installations were deployed there.


So they decided it wasn't in their national interest but our opinion overrides that? That appears to be Putin's logic with respect to the Crimea.

It's in our national interest to build proper missile defense systems on NATO soil. How is it not?


Because doing so increases tensions and the likelihood of conflict, to a degree far outweighing their military value. Moreover, we're bound to defend NATO members if they are attacked, there is no requirement or need to station forces in every one of them.



   2902. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 03, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4665248)
bitter

i used the wsj as one quick example. i visit multiple news sites and do not experience this degree of offensive nonsense.

but enough of this topic. i am sure readers are rolling their eyes.

thanks
   2903. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4665249)
UN nuclear chief says Iran has cut stock of weapons-grade uranium in half


Yeah that stupid diplomacy just keeps not working. We would have been so much better off had Obama been a real man and invaded Iran, because everyone knew that Iran was not to be trusted and we were being played fools on the issue. When, oh when, will Obama realize that all he is doing is projecting weakness and emboldening the bad guys. /Sarcasm.
   2904. BDC Posted: March 03, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4665250)
I have an idea. Obama could fly to Berlin and say "Mr. Putin, tear down this wall."
   2905. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4665253)
More importantly, their governments were against it.

No, they weren't and they were under threat. The US and Poland announced the agreement for the installations in 2008 and then the US backed out. Your assertion is nonsense, bordering on an intentional lie.

So they decided it wasn't in their national interest but our opinion overrides that?

They made no such decision. See above.

Because doing so increases tensions and the likelihood of conflict, to a degree far outweighing their military value.

When you're dealing with an irrational state, you can't worry about an increase in "tensions." Russia has no legitimate say in defensive installations placed in Poland and the Czech Republic.

   2906. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4665254)
Or round up C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey, Charlie Sheen, and the ghost of Patrick Swayze to infiltrate Russia as a ragtag group of teens using only guerilla tactics and moxie.
   2907. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4665256)
That's the problem isn't it, it's a game of super high risk poker, but since Russia has far less to lose while the US has less to gain, it seems obvious that who's going to be the one to fold first.



Russia has far less to lose? They have their Black Sea fleet and their revenue pipeline to Europe to lose if things don't go well.

Russia has a huge amount to lose he. If they lose this gambit, they lose a ton.

Here's what the US can do, aside from the immediate things listed in this thread already:

1) Provide arms for all the Ukrainian volunteers.
2) Provide some advanced weaponry to the Ukrainian army that can be used to blunt an armored attack
3) Provide advanced weaponry that can blunt any air superiority the Russian army might temporarily have.
4) Make it a foreign policy objective to detach the European markets from Russian-controlled energy companies Gazprom and Statoil. This can be achieved by building/converting LNG depots, building the necessary pipelines and allowing US and Canadian gas to be exported there, as well as providing the technology to exploit local shale fields in Poland, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria.
5) Reenergize support for the Syrian opposition, upping the ante to include antiaircraft weaponry to select rebel group(s).
6) Use all other economic levers to strangle the Russian economy and exclude them from export markets.
7) Extend the nuclear umbrella to Ukraine and Baltic states
8) Reestablish the installation of anti-missile shields in Poland and other Eastern European countries.
9) Beef up the armies of the former Soviet satellites in other ways, especially by providing anti-armor and anti-aircraft weaponry.


   2908. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4665257)
Here's what the US can do, aside from the immediate things listed in this thread already


I am still curious what you want to accomplish though. We can do lots of things. I want a goal, a reason to do them. And "stop the bad guy from doing what he wants" is not enough. I agree Putin is a bad guy. Invading (essentially) Ukraine is a bad thing.

But what are we trying to accomplish by intervening? What is our goal? What is it worth to us?

Simply declaring something can, something must be done, assumes the answer to the first and most important question. Why do something?

There are nearly infinite "good" things the US could do with its power and influence. Let's not choose what we do based on what happened in the cold war or what is in the news this cycle. Figure out what we want to accomplish first, not after we have started acting.
   2909. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4665258)
But what are we trying to accomplish by intervening?

What are you trying to accomplish by standing by passively?

Why do something?

Because a European or at least European-leaning country has been invaded by Russia. Why else?

Let's not choose what we do based on what happened in the cold war

Of course not -- when it comes right down to it, lefties don't really care about our Cold War victory, and have no desire to defend the gains we earned. It's that simple.
   2910. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4665259)
Extend the nuclear umbrella to Ukraine and Baltic states

The Baltic States are already in NATO (and the E.U.).
   2911. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4665262)
What are you trying to accomplish by standing by passively?


An action requires a reason. Continuing as we are does not. If we are going to exert our influence (military, diplomatic or economic) there should be a reason an actual goal in mind. Or do think nations should be pure Id, acting on basic, instinctual drives?
   2912. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4665263)
Because a European or at least European-leaning country has been invaded by Russia. Why else?


And? So what? And yes I am seriously asking the question. Why is the concern of the US? How much of a concern is it? What is it worth to us to "handle" and what exactly does handle mean?

I want a specific and concrete reason. Not a vague, fear laden and emotional plea.

   2913. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4665265)
I want a specific and concrete reason.

You've been given one. It's in the national interest that the peace of European-leaning countries freed from Soviet/Russian domination through the toil and cost of the Cold War not be disturbed, and even more so that they not be dismembered and threatened by Russia.

It's also in the national interest that appeasing the takeover of Crimea not further embolden Putin, thus causing additional military adventurism -- particularly when he's been credibly reported by Angela Merkel to be not thinking rationally.

Not a vague, fear laden and emotional plea.

You're the one bringing vagueness, fear, and emotionalism to this. Don't blame clear-thinkers for your hangups.
   2914. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4665266)
Washington Post Editorial - OBAMA FOREIGN POLICY BASED ON FANTASY:
FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which “the tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world.
. . .
Unfortunately, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not received the memo on 21st-century behavior. Neither has China’s president, Xi Jinping, who is engaging in gunboat diplomacy against Japan and the weaker nations of Southeast Asia. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is waging a very 20th-century war against his own people, sending helicopters to drop exploding barrels full of screws, nails and other shrapnel onto apartment buildings where families cower in basements. These men will not be deterred by the disapproval of their peers, the weight of world opinion or even disinvestment by Silicon Valley companies. They are concerned primarily with maintaining their holds on power.

Read the whole thing.
   2915. The Good Face Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4665267)
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr.Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. “In another world,” she said.

From today's NYT.

That's obviously the danger here, and it's real. The idea that he's just sitting around looking at his resource charts and making ultra-rational risk/reward calculations is pure fancy.


No. What it means is that western elites DO NOT UNDERSTAND Putin. It's one of the weaknesses of the narrow Overton Window that the vast majority of 1st World politicians share. They live in a relatively narrow world where everybody agrees on what's good and right and "rational," except for those right wing nutjobs and their ilk, who they don't bother to understand because they can be mostly dismissed and ignored (except as targets of opprobrium).

Unfortunately for them, Putin does not share their worldview and it's much, much harder to dismiss and ignore him, what with him having an army and nuclear weapons and whatnot.
   2916. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4665268)
Yeah that stupid diplomacy just keeps not working. We would have been so much better off had Obama been a real man and invaded Iran, because everyone knew that Iran was not to be trusted and we were being played fools on the issue. When, oh when, will Obama realize that all he is doing is projecting weakness and emboldening the bad guys. /Sarcasm.

Meanwhile, back here on Planet Earth:

Iran advancing its nuclear program despite pact with West:

Iran is moving ahead with a nuclear program that U.S. officials said would be frozen, and it is now clear the USA and other world powers are willing to accept an Iranian enrichment program that Iran refuses to abandon, say analysts.

Iran has continued research and development on new, far more efficient machines for producing uranium fuel that could power reactors or bombs, and its stockpile of low enriched uranium has actually grown, according to a report by Institute for Science and International Security.

The Iranian regime has also trumpeted recent tests of new ballistic missiles that could be used to deliver a future warhead while its pariah economy has begun a modest recovery.

Analysts watching the movements say the U.S. easing of economic sanctions against Iran to induce it to make compromises on a long-term nuclear agreement may not be having the desired effect.

"If Iranians believe they can erode the sanctions without making additional nuclear concessions, then the improvement in the economy makes a comprehensive deal less likely," said Gary Samore, a former principal arms control adviser to President Obama. ...

Nations that are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty like Iran are provided enriched uranium from other countries to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The exporters agree to keep the United Nations informed about the amount they send to others.

Iran is in violation of the treaty for enriching its own uranium without proper oversight of its end use, according to the United Nations Security Council. The council has passed a number of resolutions demanding Iran halt the enrichment.

The World Nuclear Association says there are 30 countries that have nuclear power plants. The majority of those countries, Canada and Mexico among them, are provided fuel by outside sources. Eleven of those countries have the ability to make their own fuel.

In recent weeks Iranian officials have said they will not dismantle elements of their nuclear program of concern to the West, including centrifuges, enrichment facilities and a heavy water reactor under construction that, once operational, would produce plutonium that could fuel a bomb with further processing. Among the concerns identified by Institute for Science and International Security and other sources:

• Iran continues research and development work at its Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant, and has installed casing for a new eighth-generation centrifuge. Aliakbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, has said the new design is 15 times more powerful than the IR-1 centrifuge, according to Iran's state broadcaster IRIB.

• The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, reported no new progress on addressing its questions related to past military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program. It has yet to gain access to Parchin, a military site where the IAEA seeks to investigate concentric explosive devices that could be used to demolish bridges or detonate a nuclear warhead.

Satellite imagery shows "what appears to be possible building material and debris" at Parchin, which had previously been paved over, making inspections there more difficult, the IAEA said.

• Iran tested two new ballistic missiles this month, showing Iran is moving forward on delivery systems that could be used for a future warhead.

• And various economic reports show that sanctions relief provided in the interim deal has produced a still-fragile economic recovery, with Iranian GDP shifting from a negative 1.5% growth in 2013 to a projected positive growth of 1.5% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Iran received $7 billion in sanctions relief as part of an interim six-month deal agreed to in November that requires it to limit the growth of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, convert or dilute its uranium that is close to bomb-grade, and not install any new machines for producing uranium fuel.

Reuters reported last month that Russia and Iran were negotiating an $18 billion-a-year deal for Iran to pay in oil for Russian military gear and energy technology. ...
   2917. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:27 AM (#4665269)
FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality.

Yep. Pure treehouse fantasy; the type of delusion we regularly see from the board's lefties, on issues both foreign and domestic.

This is the Washington Post, not some rightist rag: "Obama Foreign Policy Based on Fantasy."

Case closed.
   2918. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:27 AM (#4665270)
No, they weren't and they were under threat. The US and Poland announced the agreement for the installations in 2008 and then the US backed out.


"a poll published Aug. 10, 2006, in the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita found that 63 percent of Poles were against allowing the United States to build an anti-missile site on Polish soil. Less than a quarter of those surveyed (23%) were in favor and 14 percent expressed no opinion. "


Here's what the US can do, aside from the immediate things listed in this thread already:


Which of those things will make it more likely that Russia will give up Crimea? Any of them?


1) Provide arms for all the Ukrainian volunteers.
2) Provide some advanced weaponry to the Ukrainian army that can be used to blunt an armored attack
3) Provide advanced weaponry that can blunt any air superiority the Russian army might temporarily have.


The head of the Ukrainian navy has already gone over to the Russians. What guarantee would we have that those weapons and systems wouldn't simply be handed over to Putin?

5) Reenergize support for the Syrian opposition, upping the ante to include antiaircraft weaponry to select rebel group(s).


How does this advance any US interest at all?


   2919. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4665272)

It's also in the national interest that appeasing the takeover of Crimea not further embolden Putin, thus causing additional military adventurism -- particularly when he's been credibly reported by Angela Merkel to be not thinking rationally.


It's interesting how quickly an unsourced rumor became an unimpeachable public pronouncement of Angela Merkel. And it's credible!!
   2920. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4665274)
More from the Post editorial"

The model for Mr. Putin’s occupation of Crimea was his incursion into Georgia in 2008, when George W. Bush was president. Mr. Putin paid no price for that action; in fact, with parts of Georgia still under Russia’s control, he was permitted to host a Winter Olympics just around the corner. China has bullied the Philippines and unilaterally staked claims to wide swaths of international air space and sea lanes as it continues a rapid and technologically impressive military buildup. Arguably, it has paid a price in the nervousness of its neighbors, who are desperate for the United States to play a balancing role in the region. But none of those neighbors feel confident that the United States can be counted on. Since the Syrian dictator crossed Mr. Obama’s red line with a chemical weapons attack that killed 1,400 civilians, the dictator’s military and diplomatic position has steadily strengthened.

They charitably didn't mention the appeasement embedded in the missile installation fiasco.
   2921. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4665275)
It's in the national interest that the peace of European-leaning countries freed from Soviet/Russian domination through the toil and cost of the Cold War not be disturbed, and even more so that they not be dismembered and threatened by Russia.


What is it worth? What benefit do we gain by this? What cost are you willing to pay to do this? And you do realize that US involvement is likely to increase the "disturbance". And nice slippery slope on the "that they not be dismembered and threatened by Russia".

he's been credibly reported by Angela Merkel to be not thinking rationally


And thus we believe everything reported in a paper. Does that include statements that this can still be solved diplomatically, or is it only warmongering and yellow cake we believe in?
   2922. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4665276)
And here was Foreign Policy:
The International Energy Agency’s monthly oil report estimated that Iranian oil exports spiked by about 100,000 barrels a day in January. That brought Iranian crude exports to just over 1.3 million barrels per day, worth almost $4 billion a month given the current price of oil.

Iran’s growing oil revenues come amid signs that the Iranian economy more generally seems to be recovering from the darkest days of rampant inflation and a plunging currency, suggesting that the economic stranglehold that U.S. diplomats say pushed Iran to the negotiating table may be waning. The International Monetary Fund said this week that “the pace of contraction in [Iranian] economic activity is slowing” — an assessment that hands a new weapon to opponents of the White House’s interim nuclear deal with Tehran, who have long argued that the agreement was giving Iran too much financial relief.

In fairness, it's pretty tough to see Iran from the snowy back woods of Minnesota.
   2923. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4665277)
What benefit do we gain by this?

If you don't see European-leaning peoples being peaceably allowed to join Europe as a "benefit" to the US, there's really no grounds for serious discussion.
   2924. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4665278)
This is a genuine tragedy - 40% Of The Cost Of Beer Is Taxes:
The next time you pour yourself a cold one, give yourself a pat on the back in the name of patriotism. On average, 40 percent of the price you paid for that beer is going straight to Uncle Sam and the state.

Time to standup to the neo-Prohibitionists & big spending, high tax advocates.
   2925. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4665280)
"a poll published Aug. 10, 2006, in the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita found that 63 percent of Poles were against allowing the United States to build an anti-missile site on Polish soil. Less than a quarter of those surveyed (23%) were in favor and 14 percent expressed no opinion. "

Why would you cite a three-year-old poll over two years old, and ignore the agreement between the US and Polish governments entered into in the fall of 2008? Bizarre.
   2926. BDC Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4665281)
It's in the national interest that the peace of European-leaning countries freed from Soviet/Russian domination through the toil and cost of the Cold War not be disturbed, and even more so that they not be dismembered and threatened by Russia

I think the likely outcome of the current situation will be that a very large country – some version of Ukraine – will lean a lot closer to Europe than it has since 1991, while a few smaller parts of that country will be ceded back to Russia. Similar to the Georgian situation (where W, as noted above, behaved with reason and restraint) but on a larger scale.

At any rate, that's the outcome I'd want to foster were I President. Drawing some line in the sand and sending in the Airborne is not going to foster it. Starting WW3 over whether the Crimea should technically be part of the Ukraine is loopy. They've been redrawing borders in Eastern Europe with gay abandon for the past quarter-century, and WW3 hasn't started yet. And as for scolding Putin, it seems to me like Western leaders are doing that 24/7 these days. A lot of espousing is occurring.

I will go for full disclosure here and say that I do have a son in the military. My politics haven't changed since his enlistment, and if he gets deployed somewhere, he knew all about the risk before enlisting; you're always braced for that. If anyone wants to take my remarks with the appropriate grain of salt, though, feel free.
   2927. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4665282)
And thus we believe everything reported in a paper.

Two papers -- Bild and the New York Times.

You're turning away from harsh realities again.
   2928. BDC Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4665283)
40% of the Cost of Beer is Taxes

That's OK, I probably drink 40% too much beer anyway.
   2929. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4665284)
If you don't see European-leaning peoples being peaceably allowed to join Europe as a "benefit" to the US, there's really no grounds for serious discussion.

We've known his views on these subjects for eons -- hands off of Cuba, Venezuela, and Central America, damn Yanqui, but Russia, you get to do whatever you damn please in Europe and Central Asia -- yet we keep debating. So what does that make us?

EDIT: And to be 100% clear one more time to the many straw gatherers here, I oppose US military intervention in Crimea.
   2930. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4665287)
We've known his views on these subjects for eons -- hands off of Cuba, Venezuela, and Central America, damn Yanqui, but Russia, you get to do whatever you damn please in Europe and Central Asia -- yet we keep debating. So what does that make us?

As noted above, he and a lot of other lefties don't really see our Cold War victory as a good thing. It's just a thing, no different than any other things -- and probably worse than a lot of other things.

   2931. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4665289)
Washington Post Editorial - OBAMA FOREIGN POLICY BASED ON FANTASY:
A restatement of the Bill Kristol column from last week. So what should have been his move, say both Kristol and the Post? Spend more on guns. After about six years of trowing tantrum after tantrum over how much money the government's spending, how DARE he spend less on guns. And of course, not a word on what they'd have actually done. It's so much easier to just say "strength! We need to be strong!" than say, "This is what we should do now."

So again I ask, what should we do now? How far should we go? For those who demanded projecting American strength, how far is far enough?

Note: it is fun to see just how quiet Tea Partiers are on this. No foreign involvement, unless Obama can be blamed for having not enough foreign involvement!

Note2: We're not even spending less on defense, just slowing the rate of growth. It's still growing.
   2932. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4665290)
So again I ask, what should we do now? How far should we go? For those who demanded projecting American strength, how far is far enough?

Fair questions, but the point of the Post's editorial was that the actions and inactions over the last few years have emboldened the actions that led to the current dilemma that engendered the questions -- as several of us noted above.

   2933. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4665292)
It's so much easier to just say "strength! We need to be strong!" than say, "This is what we should do now."

So again I ask, what should we do now?


I recommend everybody watch several Hulk Hogan entrances from his legendary battles against communist Nikolai Volkov and terrorist sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter.
   2934. SteveF Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4665293)
It's hard to imagine a scenario where the US commits troops. The nightmare scenario would seem to be a Ukrainian civil war that involves Russia/spills over into neighboring countries. President Obama should probably be spending most of his time focusing on the Ukrainians instead of the Russians.

I imagine new presidents sitting at their desks after a year in office thinking to themselves, 'This? This is all I can do?' I'm hopeful a US president won't have to sit by and do nothing as the innocent civilians of yet another nation are ground into hamburg. I doubt anyone experiences the feeling of impotence more profoundly than the most powerful person in the world.
   2935. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4665297)
Fair questions, but the point of the Post's editorial was that the actions and inactions over the last few years have emboldened the actions that led to the current dilemma that engendered the questions -- as several of us noted above.


Thee were other WaPo editorials today, particularly David Ignatius', that indicated Putin would have done this regardless of what he thought of Obama, that he regards Ukraine as a viral domestic interest. Ignatius also said that Putin has made a grave miscalculation in the Crimea, and quoted Napoleon that when an enemy is in the act of making a grave mistake, do nothing to hinder him from making it.
   2936. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4665298)
President Obama should probably be spending most of his time focusing on the Ukrainians instead of the Russians.


Agreed. Ukraine needs to consolidate what they have, consult with their US and European allies, reassure those in the east they intend them no harm, and make sure that if the shooting starts, it's the Russians who start it.
   2937. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4665299)
Thee were other WaPo editorials today, particularly David Ignatius',

That's not an editorial. It's an op-ed (assuming it appeared opposite the editorial).
   2938. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4665300)
Fair questions, but the point of the Post's editorial was that the actions and inactions over the last few years have emboldened the actions that led to the dilemma that engendered the questions -- as several of us noted above.


Because we did not war enough for the hawks in the past they claim we emboldened our enemy and must war now. Shocking isn't it.

As noted above, he and a lot of other lefties don't really see our Cold War victory as a good thing. It's just a thing, no different than any other things -- and probably worse than a lot of other things.


I think the end of the cold war was a great great thing. Especially since it did not require a hot war. I think much money was wasted on both sides, and that the kind of silly paranoia and emotional crap - "Appeasement!" - that is spewed here led to much of that waste. But in the end we avoided major war and the Empire of the Soviet Union fell, proving (again) that military empires don't work in the modern age.

Your wanting to impute stands I don't have to me is silly, but I expect nothing less from you.

If you don't see European-leaning peoples being peaceably allowed to join Europe as a "benefit" to the US, there's really no grounds for serious discussion.


Sure it is a benefit. Many things are a benefit, I am asking for some kind of quantification. What are the tangible benefits for the US? What is it worth? How much blood and treasure are you willing to spill? Are you willing to forgo pressuring the Russians on other things in favor of pressuring them on this? The Russia/US (and obviously the Russia/Europe) relationship is made up of many things.

For example if Putin calls you and says let us have Crimea and we will back you and your play in Syria and Iran, is that worth it? Because Syria and Iran get much easier to deal with if Russia is on our side.

So I ask again what is it worth to stop Putin here on this? Is Russia our implacable enemy to be defeated on every front, or is is a nation doing some things we don't like, and we should weigh the whole world and its situation and react accordingly?
   2939. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4665301)
Reengaging with the opposition in Syria will at the very least distract Putin and cause him to ask himself if he has bitten off more than he can chew. At the most, it will cause the tide to turn against the Assad government, forcing Putin to allocate a portion of his resources to shore up there, at the expense of Ukraine.

He is probably already overextended. Force him to overextend even more. The recognition of overextension will splinter Russian internally, maybe even foment internal dissension that will weaken Putin, making him even more distracted.
   2940. Len Lansford, Carney Barker Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4665302)
Note: it is fun to see just how quiet Tea Partiers are on this. No foreign involvement, unless Obama can be blamed for having not enough foreign involvement!


The Tea Party has always been at war with Eastasia. Its like how Reagan proved deficits didn't matter, right up until a Democrat got in the White House again.
   2941. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4665303)
I think the end of the cold war was a great great thing.

But the question posed is was our victory in the Cold War a great great thing? Was it a great great thing that the nations illegitimately swallowed into the Soviet vortex (15 or so) were freed therefrom?

And if so, why wouldn't you want to see that great great victory defended, if not expanded?
   2942. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4665304)
My predictions/thoughts:

1: Russia has no interest in occupying any region of Ukraine that has less than an overwhelming Russian majority. If it does so it will be a ########### of unimaginable proportions- plus that they didn't do it in Georgia is an indication that they will be wary of doing it here.

2: Russia is not going to back out of Crimea in response to threats or sanctions, Putin would see backing down as a regime threatening sign of weakness- Harveys is right- Putin/Russia's military sees this as a life or death matter- if they did't 2 weeks ago they do now, he's made his decision, he's taking the Crimea, period. Crimea either ends up as an "independent" country or it gets annexed by "mother" Russia.

3: Why the Munich analogy fails: Hitler had already decided upon World conquest, he fully intended at the time of Munich to carve up and absorb the rest of Czechoslovakia- Munich here would have been Georgia- except after peeling of the non-Georgian parts of Georgia, Putin stopped. IF Georgia actually equaled Munich, Georgia would no longer exist and we'd now be in the invasion of Poland stage, with the Crimea standing in for Danzig.

4: The new regime in Kiev will be happy in the long run to see Crimea go, that gives the rest of the Ukraine a stable, solid western leaning non-Russian majority- they are not going to seriously fight to retake the Crimea, hell they'd be happy to SELL it to Russia once all the posturing dies away.



   2943. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4665305)
The recognition of overextension will splinter Russian internally, maybe even foment internal dissension that will weaken Putin, making him even more distracted.

putin may have issues but focus is not one of them.

it's his single minded focus that gives him the upper hand in Ukraine, Syria, iran, etc.

the u.s./europe does not have the crystallized vision of what it wants.

putin has no such issue

and putin is certainly not going to be distracted when his vision is being threatened by the Ukraine moving away from being a Russian vassal state
   2944. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4665306)
So I ask again what is it worth to stop Putin here on this? Is Russia our implacable enemy to be defeated on every front, or is is a nation doing some things we don't like, and we should weigh the whole world and its situation and react accordingly?


Bitter, I like you and think you're a smart guy but if you don't see the danger here, then I don't know what to say.

Murdering muck-raking journalists is a thing we don't like. Invading a sovereign European country that borders a number of our NATO allies is something we have to address.

The analogy to Sudetenland is an apt one, I believe. What did Churchill say after Munich? HEre:

And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.
   2945. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4665308)
There were other WaPo editorials today, particularly David Ignatius', that indicated Putin would have done this regardless of what he thought of Obama, that he regards Ukraine as a viral domestic interest. Ignatius also said that Putin has made a grave miscalculation in the Crimea, and quoted Napoleon that when an enemy is in the act of making a grave mistake, do nothing to hinder him from making it.

The Post op-ed that drew on the most first hand experience of any of the opinion pieces in today's paper was the collaborative effort written by five former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine:

William B. Taylor was U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009 and is vice president for the Middle East and Africa at the United States Institute of Peace. Steven K. Pifer was U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2000 and is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. John E. Herbst was U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006 and directs the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University. They collaborated on this op-ed with the other two former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine, Roman Popadiuk and William Green Miller.

The Ukrainians will fight. For the past few days, the Russian military has attempted to provoke the Ukrainians into making the mistake the Georgians made in 2008: shooting first. First, Russia sent unmarked troops off their base in Sevastopol; the Ukrainians did not take the bait. Next, the Russians sent armored units up the road to Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, but still the Ukrainians did not respond with violence. Then these unmarked troops took over airfields and administration buildings around Crimea, effectively occupying the peninsula. The Ukrainians put their military forces on high alert and called up their military reserves — but have not attacked. This restraint is wise but agonizing. If the Russians attack Ukrainian forces in Crimea or eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian military will respond, and the war would be terrible.

Neither the Russian nor the Ukrainian military is a formidable fighting force. Economic pressures have starved both militaries of resources; readiness is low, and morale in general is not high. But a Russian attack on Ukrainian forces or a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine would change some of that. Ukrainian forces from all over the country would converge to fiercely resist the invasion.

When we each served as U.S. ambassador in Ukraine, we visited Ukrainian military bases, talked to commanders and troops, observed training and evaluated units. Many of these units are well-equipped with operational tanks, artillery and transport. One of us jumped with an elite airborne unit whose combat readiness and morale, in contrast to other units, were high. A Russian attack on Ukrainian forces or territory would result in classic and bloody tank warfare the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II.

It doesn’t have to be.

Vladi­mir Putin is not insane. The condemnations considered so far — cancelling the Group of Eight meeting to be held in Sochi; expelling Russia from the G-8; personal financial sanctions and travel bans on Russian officials whose actions violate international law; meetings of NATO, the U.N. Security Council and European foreign ministers at which Russia is excoriated; and even broad economic sanctions, as were placed on South Africa and Iran — may influence his decisions on next steps. He clearly had wanted to bring Russia back to the big table, an effort that is being destroyed in front of him. An invasion of Ukraine brands him an international outlaw. So he may reconsider.

The Ukrainians should leave an opening for Putin to back down.

First, they should continue to exercise restraint in the face of Russian aggression: Don’t shoot first.

Second, they should continue to make clear that there is no threat to Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Ukraine and that the new government in Kiev intends to represent and serve all Ukrainians. Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov’s veto of legislation that would have demoted the Russian language is one concrete action to highlight.

Third, they should invite international monitors to patrol Ukraine’s eastern border, report on any hostile actions and reassure the international community that minorities, including Russians, are being treated fairly.

Fourth, the new government in Kiev should bring in moderate politicians from the east, including members of the Party of Regions who have disowned Viktor Yanukovych, the president who fled last week.

Fifth, the new government in Kiev should be willing to sit down with Putin in the presence of international mediators and discuss a return to the status quo ante or a mutually agreeable compromise, possibly based on enhanced autonomy for Crimea within a united Ukraine.

Others can help. Ukraine needs financial support from the International Monetary Fund, the United States and Europe. It also needs to know that it has a place in Europe. Beyond the association agreement with the European Union that should now be signed, Ukrainians will want to know that if they undertake the painful economic and political reforms required, membership in the E.U. is a possibility, even if a distant prospect. NATO can play a role by recognizing the threat a rogue Russia poses to member states, especially the Baltics.

Ukraine has suffered at the hands of Russian and Soviet leaders for centuries — memories of Joseph Stalin’s genocide by starvation in the 1930s are still raw. It wouldn’t take much to spark violence and, as Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk has said, war. It can happen; and if it does,Ukrainians will fight. Ukraine, Russia, Europe and the United States should do all in their respective powers to avoid war.




   2946. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4665309)
putin may have issues but focus is not one of them.


I don't are who he is, a person can only keep so many balls in the air at once. The tools he'll have at his disposal will be siphoned from one crisis to deal with another. He doesn't have the resources to do that indefinitely. For instance, Russian assets are taking a beating on the exchanges today.
   2947. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4665312)
The Post op-ed that drew on the most experience

That may be true, but the fact is that the Washington Post editorial board -- not Bill Kristol, not the Weekly Standard, not Fox News, not Rush Limbaugh, not Barry Goldwater or Lester Maddox -- said Obama's foreign policy has been based on "fantasy."

And it was that editorial board -- not [repeat list from above] -- that led its editorial with the observation that "For five years, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality."
   2948. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4665313)
Sure it is a benefit. Many things are a benefit, I am asking for some kind of quantification. What are the tangible benefits for the US? What is it worth? How much blood and treasure are you willing to spill? Are you willing to forgo pressuring the Russians on other things in favor of pressuring them on this? The Russia/US (and obviously the Russia/Europe) relationship is made up of many things.

For example if Putin calls you and says let us have Crimea and we will back you and your play in Syria and Iran, is that worth it? Because Syria and Iran get much easier to deal with if Russia is on our side.

So I ask again what is it worth to stop Putin here on this? Is Russia our implacable enemy to be defeated on every front, or is is a nation doing some things we don't like, and we should weigh the whole world and its situation and react accordingly?


Well, you can't do this analysis purely on a case by case basis. If the line is clear as to when the US will act (i.e., when the threat to its self-interest is high enough to justify military action), then other nations will simply walk right up to the line and not cross it.


But because the cost of induce US military response is so great, if a nation assesses even, say, a 20% risk of incurring a military response, that's a powerful disincentive to act. In essence, we're better off creating a zone of uncertainty because other countries wont act based on where the 50% chance of response falls, they'll act based on where then 10 or 20% line is. That means we get more bang for our military buck than being consistent. Its the same principle as a autocrat conducting random purges to keep his subordinates in line; the threat of being shot, even if not probable, is still a strong disincentive to mutiny.

That's why Obama's inconsistency with respect to say, Libya/Syria/other Arab Spring nations is not necessarily irrational.

In my view, given how opportunistic Putin is, it would do the US well to slightly overreact here in response to the slight underraction in Georgia. That being said, the Russians cannot be embarassed. I'd suggest some sort of sabotoge/espionage - an ammunition dump exploding, a submarine "sinking" - something that is totally deniable in terms of public exposure but demonstrates to Russia - by dint of causing a significant amount of damage and deaths - that wherever the line is, they got too close this time. But you don't want to put any foreign government into a position where they feel they need to escalate in order to maintain domestic face / power.
   2949. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4665314)
IF Georgia actually equaled Munich, Georgia would no longer exist and we'd now be in the invasion of Poland stage, with the Crimea standing in for Danzig.


This is silly. Putin got what he wanted in Georgia. He didn't have to annex if he got what he wanted. Hitler's objectives might have been more expansive that Putin's but the principle remains the same.
   2950. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4665315)
Reengaging with the opposition in Syria will at the very least distract Putin and cause him to ask himself if he has bitten off more than he can chew. At the most, it will cause the tide to turn against the Assad government


Is there any significant non Al-Qaeda affiliated opposition left?
   2951. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4665316)
This is silly. Putin got what he wanted in Georgia. He didn't have to annex if he got what he wanted. Hitler's objectives might have been more expansive that Putin's but the principle remains the same.

And Putin got what he wanted with the missile installations.
   2952. Len Lansford, Carney Barker Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4665317)
As for the current situation, there's more wheels moving than just what we want to see through the ghosts of Vietnam, Iraq, and Ronnie Raygun.

Remember Grozny? Vladimir Putin sure does, every time another train station goes up in smoke or he's checking his counter-terrorism budget. That's why he waited until Ossetia was truly up in arms before rolling in the tanks against the Georgians, he wanted to make absolutely sure he was going to be 'greeted as liberators.' Putin's a smart man. He doesn't want any more ulcers.

Fast forward to the past week where his man in Kyiv is now knocking on the gates of Rostov. Anyone who thinks Obama got caught flat-footed misses out Putin somehow handwaving the situation in Ukraine right up until his guy got chased out by the popular revolt. Maybe he was too busy yelling at the special effects crew at Sochi.

So now he's lost Ukraine. Its entirely possible he might wind up with an EU/NATO nation right up at the gates of Volgograd, and one controlling his gas lines to Europe as well. Oops. An invasion of the country itself would be a long-term military occupation and he sure doesn't have the resources to swing that. Again: See Chechnya. Not to mention the Western reaction and its effects on his economy.

Now Crimea? Maybe, but again, the resident Tatars and Ukrainians won't be happy. And neither will the West. If he can swing a popular revolt of his own, however, he can roll in like he did in Ossetia as a fait accompli. The West really can't grumble and Ukraine will be more amenable to Moscow's wishes. So the 'unmarked' soldiers start taking over facilities and raising Russian flags all over and...

... well, nothing. Nothing yet, anyways. Pro-Russian Ukrainians and Crimeans don't seem to be too horribly bothered by the whole situation. Putin's left holding a somewhat empty bag and an increasingly upset Ukraine and West. I'm not entirely sure if he still can't get away with at least the Crimea, but I don't think he's Francis Urquart pulling all the strings here either.
   2953. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4665320)
But the question posed is was our victory in the Cold War a great great thing? Was it a great great thing that the nations illegitimately swallowed into the Soviet vortex (15 or so) were freed therefrom?

Of course it was a great moment in history, but this line of questioning reminds me of the classic Washingtoon cartoon, where Rep. Bob Forehead (of the JFK Lookalike Caucus) vows that he will "NEVER vote to cut Social Security," whereby his opponent says "Yes, but I will NEVER NEVER vote to cut Social Security," and Forehead fires back with "I will NEVER NEVER NEVER vote to cut Social Security", and so on into the night. This whole simplistic rhetoric that tries to reduce everything to "lefties" vs. unspecified Everyone Elses is just about as productive.
   2954. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4665321)
Of course it was a great moment in history,

I wasn't the first to use "great great."

And you'll note that the question hasn't been answered.

This whole simplistic rhetoric that tries to reduce everything to "lefties" vs. unspecified Everyone Elses is just about as productive.

No such rhetoric here. The only rhetoric here is that a lot of lefties don't really see our victory in the Cold War as a good thing. Which is undeniable.
   2955. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4665322)
1. It is false to call Ukraine a Euro leaning country. Half of it leans Russian.

2. The WaPo editorial board has been neocon for decades.
   2956. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4665323)
This is silly. Putin got what he wanted in Georgia. He didn't have to annex if he got what he wanted. Hitler's objectives might have been more expansive that Putin's


That was my point Kevin, Putin is not Hitler, the silly Munich analogies are basically contingent on Putin being Hitler.

I grew up hearing nonsense about "you can't appease dictators" or you can't simply "contain" the, etc. etc. In fact far more often that not that's exactly what you can do -Hitler and the Nazis were the anomaly not the norm. Being convinced that history in the form of Hitler/WWII is gonna repeat itself is a bigger problem than "repeating" history because you allegedly failed to learn from it.

Personally I think it's Putin who has dramatically overreached and miscalculated, and if he make sit worse by trying to expand past Crimea the CIA should #### with him by helping Ukraine, that is something the CIA is actually quite good at-a s Putin himself should remember from the 1980s.


   2957. Ron J2 Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4665325)
Harveys, you might want to try a browser that supports adblock. Wouldn't do so myself as I caonsider Jim's revenue streams to be important, but if you find the ads that annoying it's a viable action.
   2958. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4665326)
It is false to call Ukraine a Euro leaning country.

It entered into an association agreement with the EU, which Putin interfered with and bribed the PM from officially signing. (And probably gave him enough cash to upgrade his golden commode.)

Half of it leans Russian.

Also untrue. Part of the Eastern part consists of Russian speakers, but there's no indication that those parts actually wanted to be part of Russia. In 1991, 90% of the country voted to be independent from Russia.

You're looking for a rationale to justify and appease, pure and simple.
   2959. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4665328)
Anyone who thinks Obama got caught flat-footed misses out Putin somehow handwaving the situation in Ukraine right up until his guy got chased out by the popular revolt.

Exactly - this isn't Putin embarking on a reconquista - it's him realizing the Ukraine was about to leave and frantically trying to keep some part of it. Their markets have plummeted in response, currency rates have fallen and interest has shot up. If Putin moves into Eastern Ukraine this will worsen, and if he tries to take over the country, it will become crippling.
   2960. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4665329)
The Post op-ed that drew on the most first hand experience of any of the opinion pieces in today's paper was the collaborative effort written by FIVE former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine:

That may be true, but the fact is that the Washington Post editorial board -- not Bill Kristol, not the Weekly Standard, not Fox News, not Rush Limbaugh, not Barry Goldwater or Lester Maddox -- said Obama's foreign policy has been based on "fantasy."


Who said anything about any of those clowns? What, you think I was trying to conflate the Post's editors with them?

Bear, I've been reading those Post editorials for just about 60 years, going back to the days of Alan Barth. I read them while they were cheering on the war in Vietnam, I read them while they were backing Bush on Iraq, and I'm reading them today. They've changed editors several times during that period, but their line has been consistent. And sometimes their prescriptions work and sometimes they don't.

But the point of posting the op-ed wasn't to deny the impact of the Post editorial, but to note the obvious fact that the Post editorial board's perspective is scarcely unanimous, and that other viewpoints are being expressed by people who bring a lot of specific experience in Ukraine to the table, including in this case five former U.S. ambassadors to that country.

   2961. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4665333)
But my point of posting the op-ed wasn't to deny the impact of the Post editorial

Ok, so then we can dispose of the fiction that criticizing Obama's foreign policy and its emboldening of the world's bad guys is driven by loyalty to the red "team."
   2962. BDC Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4665335)
a lot of lefties don't really see our victory in the Cold War as a good thing. Which is undeniable

I'd love a quote or two here. Alternatively, since there are a lot of liberals present, somebody here to raise a hand in agreement.

I see 1989 as the major watershed date in my lifetime. Till I was 30 I lived in fear (or fatalistic resignation) at the prospect of nuclear war. I haven't worried in nearly so existential fashion (about the loss of everything all at once) since. The fall of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR was an amazingly good thing. Please go find me a left-leaning American who wants to go back to 1956 or 1968 or 1981 wrt Eastern Europe.

As to "appeasement" … sometimes I think that the entire last 75 years have been spent drawing the wrong lessons from Munich.
   2963. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4665336)
SBB's belief that the WaPo ed board is "liberal" is part of his nostalgia for 1979.
   2964. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4665337)
the Washington Post editorial board

The one headed by well known liberal Fred Hiatt?
   2965. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4665339)
This whole simplistic rhetoric that tries to reduce everything to "lefties" vs. unspecified Everyone Elses is just about as productive.

No such rhetoric here. The only rhetoric here is that a lot of lefties don't really see our victory in the Cold War as a good thing. Which is undeniable.


Really? Which "lefties" here didn't see the collapse of the Soviet bloc as a good thing? Personally I saw it as one of the great events of the 20th century, along with the destruction of the Axis and the dismantling of Jim Crow and colonialism. I don't think I've met too many "lefties" on this board who would disagree with that.
   2966. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4665340)
1. It is false to call Ukraine a Euro leaning country. Half of it leans Russian.


Oh I think it'll definitely be a Euro leaning Country by the time Putin's done.

I'm assuming Putin's not gonna back down and he's not gonna leave the Crimea- at best he'll allow a face saving plebiscite (but only if he KNOWS that the outcome is gonna be independence or unification with Russia)

1: He keeps Crimea- by force or not, at which point "rump" Ukraine most certainly has/will have a healthy pro-West majority.
2: He tries to forcibly reinstate a pro-Russian government in Kiev, the result will be a disaster, such a government could only stand for any length of time with direct Russian military help, such "help" will be seen by all bu the most Russo-philic elements in Ukraine as foreign occupiers- and sure Russia is stronger than Ukraine- but Russia's military advantage over Ukraine is not remotely as overwhelming as the Soviets had over Afghanistan, or the US had/has over Iraq and Afghanistan.
3: Just saying, but a move by Putin to enter Kiev just might lead to the largest tank battle since WWII (Current title holder is the tank battle in the Golan Heights in the Yom Kippur War- there was also a major tank versus tank battle between Pakistan and India in the 1960s that no one in the west knows/acres about...)
   2967. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4665342)
To deny that a large segment of Ukraine leans east rather than west is just blinding stupidity. We can agree that Rissia is wrong and must be countered without resorting to counter factual fantasy.
   2968. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4665344)
I agree that western Ukraine does and will lean west. It is stupid to pretend that there aren't a lot of Russian sympathizes in the country as well.
   2969. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4665346)
I don't think I've met too many "lefties" on this board who would disagree with that.


Here I don't think there are ANY- other sites sure you may find some unreconstructed Marxists who think it was terrible that Khrushchev besmirched Uncle Joe's memory and think that any leader who is anti-US is alligned with the angels...
   2970. steagles Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4665349)
why don't we just make putin buy crimea if he wants it? make him pay for the land, pay for the property, pay for securing it, pay for the relocation of anyone who chooses to move back to ukraine instead of staying there. use the money gained to prop up the ukrainian government during their current transition.
   2971. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4665351)
Is there any significant non Al-Qaeda affiliated opposition left?


Very much so, yes. The latest reports suggest a lot of Al-Queda has left Syria to join the Sunni rebellion in Iraq.
   2972. GregD Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4665352)
If Putin is truly inviting observers in, I would not be shocked if it was part of a step toward negotiating a purchase.

I do think the most-likely outcome is an "independent" Crimea. If Putin let observers monitor those elections, I suspect he could get that without much protest. I am not even sure that an independent Crimea and a NATO-joining Ukraine is such a bad outcome, though obviously it is a bad thing for the Tatars.

Ed: first sentence was in response to Steagles question about having Putin buy Crimea.
   2973. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4665353)
To deny that a large segment of Ukraine leans east rather than west is just blinding stupidity.


Most definitely. The fact that majority of Russian speakers voted for independence 20 years ago doesn't mean anything when you consider that
1: Russia was a chaotic mess at the time
2: The Ukrainian Russians kind of thought the would continue to run things, it wasn't a vote to run to the West with open arms like what happened in the Baltics- what shifted the balance of power away from the Russophiles has been the slow but steady immigration/emigration drip- Russophiles have moved to Russia and on-Russophiles (Ukrainians, Taters and some others) have moved from other former SSRs to Ukraine- demographically things have been slowly slipping for the Russophiles in Ukraine.

   2974. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4665355)
That's not an editorial. It's an op-ed (assuming it appeared opposite the editorial).


You know what op-ed means, don't you? It means "opinion editorial".
   2975. SteveF Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4665359)
Op-eds are opposite the editorial page and typically are opinion pieces (like editorials), just not written by the editorial board of the paper.

Edit: It's a technical point and perhaps not worthy of (even) an internet argument.
   2976. BDC Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4665360)
I wonder if Canada would like to buy Texas.
   2977. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4665361)
You know what op-ed means, don't you? It means "opinion editorial".

Actually it means an independent opinion piece published on the opposite page from the editorials. Hence "OP-ed". The NY Times pioneered the practice in the early 70's along with the name. Op-eds may often share the same slant as a paper's actual editorials, but they should never be confused with them.

EDIT: coke to Steve
   2978. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4665362)
If Putin is truly inviting observers in, I would not be shocked if it was part of a step toward negotiating a purchase.

I do think the most-likely outcome is an "independent" Crimea.


Putin needs to save face, even if it's in the form of money...

I am not even sure that an independent Crimea and a NATO-joining Ukraine is such a bad outcome

I think that short term that is the best case scenario for the West.

though obviously it is a bad thing for the Tatars.

I think that the Taters are faced with nothing but bad choices and options for the foreseeable future, they of course are used to that.
   2979. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4665366)
Bitter, I like you and think you're a smart guy but if you don't see the danger here, then I don't know what to say.

Murdering muck-raking journalists is a thing we don't like. Invading a sovereign European country that borders a number of our NATO allies is something we have to address.


No we don't have to address it. Sure I see danger. I also see danger in escalating the situation more. I see costs and benefits to all sides as well. That is what I am getting at, it is not just about the danger, the risk. It is not all downside. You can not start your evaluation of every single thing to be, what is the worst case, how does this align with WWII? That is just crazy.

The fact that we are talking about a European nation, bordering our allies means it is a significant situation. To all appearances Obama et al are treating it as such. It has been a very little while, the situation is still fluid. And already people are crying out failure and appeasement. It is just ridiculous.

There is no reason to jump to the Munich comparisons at all. No reason to "know" we have emboldened Putin and are "losing." Putin is operating from a position of weakness. His economy and currency (as noted above) are shot. He is overextended and military conquest is a foolish move in any case (assuming they don't want to join Russia).

This situation is not the be all end all of all foreign policy. It is a hot spot like many others and needs to be seen as such. Not with breathless Neville Chamberlain comparisons and "Something must be done!", but with more analysis and letting things shake out, while Obama and the other world leaders do their thing.

But the question posed is was our victory in the Cold War a great great thing? Was it a great great thing that the nations illegitimately swallowed into the Soviet vortex (15 or so) were freed therefrom?

And if so, why wouldn't you want to see that great great victory defended, if not expanded?


I disagree with the premise that the fall of the Soviet Union was solely a US victory. The US contained the Soviet Union and then over the years the USSR slowly and surely fell apart, as such empires tend to do. The end result was wonderful (as wonderful as these things can be).

Yes it was great that nations were freed. Their being freed does not magically obligate the US to spend our resources to keep them free. And make no mistake what I am talking about is allocation of US resources. There is only so much we can do. You have to prioritize. There are trouble spots all over the globe, they can all be number 1. And even number 1 priority does not get all the time and attention.

EDIT: I fixed a paragraph which was ... um ... poorly constructed. I am still not happy with it, but at some point it must fly, be free on the internet. So go malformed fledgling, and fly if you can.
   2980. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4665367)
To deny that a large segment of Ukraine leans east rather than west is just blinding stupidity.

That wasn't what you said the first time. Nor would is it properly termed a "large segment."

And so what anyway? It's a unified country with some regional differences and internationally-ratified borders, that overwhelmingly voted to be independent from Russia.

That unified country had an association agreement with the EU ready to sign, the corrupt PM backed out at Russia's behest, and this whole shitstorm ensued. Russia has been interfering with EU/Ukrainian ties, and provoking, the whole time.
   2981. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4665369)
I think that the Taters are faced with nothing but bad choices and options for the foreseeable future, they of course are used to that.


Phenomenal typo there, JS.
   2982. Greg K Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4665370)
I think that the Taters are faced with nothing but bad choices and options for the foreseeable future, they of course are used to that.

Is that an alternate spelling I've never seen before? (Certainly a possibility) An auto-correct issue? Or are the Tartars the Irish of Eastern Europe?

EDIT: I'm guessing autocorrect because it's come up earlier in the thread as well.
   2983. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4665371)
I wonder if Canada would like to buy Texas.


No way. A better question would be the current rate of exchange on the peso.
   2984. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4665372)
Phenomenal typo there, JS.
\\Don't worry I'm not gonna fix it.
   2985. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4665373)
There is no reason to jump to the Munich comparisons at all. No reason to "know" we have emboldened Putin and are "losing."


Let's not confuse Sudetenland with Munich.
   2986. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4665375)
Invading your neighbor is generally a sign of weakness, not strength.

This is the funniest talking point ever. It appears lefties, from the dopey John Kerry down to our own Bitter Mouse (quoted above), need to spend more time out in the real world and less time in "bullying" seminars.
   2987. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4665376)
Is that an alternate spelling I've never seen before?


no it is an alternative rendition of "potatoes"

and also it can mean "home run"
   2988. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4665379)
Let's not confuse Sudetenland with Munich.

Was there a surrender or we attack demand in Sudetenland? There is now in Crimea.
   2989. Lassus Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4665382)
Who woulda thunk it was Crimea that brought Kehoskie back into the fold?
   2990. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4665383)
2. The WaPo editorial board has been neocon for decades.

Try reading David Ignatius' columns sometime, Sammy, then get back to us.

EDIT: And yes, we're talking about the same WaPo editorial board that endorsed George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney when again?

Hint: Never.
   2991. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4665384)
Invading your neighbor is generally a sign of weakness, not strength.


well successfully invading your neighbor is a sign of [military] strength.

deciding to invade a neighbor could be a sign of a regime's domestic weakness, but I've seen nothing to suggest that Putin is or was domestically weak (I mean he had to rig the last election, but there no reason to believe that he actually fears losing power)

My guess is that he was actually surprised by Yanukovych's downfall. He also knew (or thinks he knows) that he could carve off pieces of Ukraine like he'd done to Georgia and simply weather the West's reaction.
   2992. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4665385)
Was there a surrender or we attack demand in Sudetenland?


yes
   2993. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4665386)
Russia has no interest in occupying any region of Ukraine that has less than an overwhelming Russian majority.

Wishing & hoping doesn't make it so.
   2994. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4665390)
My guess is that he was actually surprised by Yanukovych's downfall.

Putin drew his red line at formal agreements between Ukraine and the EU. He'd sucessfully bribed Yanukovych from putting pen to paper, only to have Yanukovich accepting the bribe and not putting pen to paper be met with massive protests. He then tried having Yanukovich murder a few dozen of the protestors, and that didn't work.

So now we have the invasion and threats of more. If not for the Olympics, it probably would have happened closer to Yanukovich abdicating.

But the underlying cause of all of it is refusing to let Ukraine associate with Europe.
   2995. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4665391)
Wishing & hoping doesn't make it so.


Yes they could always be could be incredibly stupid and badly miscalculate.

We after all had no interest in invading and occupying Iraq, but did so any way, so maybe they've talked themselves into something really stupid. Perhaps the Russians have been drinking their own koolaid, and think the new regime in Kiev really is a bunch of jackbooted neo-Nazis and that they will be greeted as liberators by Russians and non-Russians alike.

So let's say the Russians really think that, then what do you propose that we do? Declare a return to the Cold War? Openly re-institute "Fail Safe" flights in the Arctic? Place tactical nukes in the Baltic states (NATO countries now)?
   2996. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4665392)
Russian opposition leader Gary Kasparov cuts right to the chase:
Is important to realize that the Putins of this world & of history eventually do impact you, wherever you are, even if you're isolationist.

Don't give this stupid false choice between doing nothing & sending troops to attack Russia. There is vast spectrum of real action between.

So invasion of Ukraine is not relevant to EU interests, or US interests, & a rogue dictator w nukes in Russia is not global problem? Wrong.

Merkel saying Putin doesn't live in reality is fine, but it appears we are all now living in Putin's reality. He's acting, others talking.

So it looks like West is going to let Putin keep Crimea & hope he'll stop there. Why would he? Do they think that's how it works?
   2997. BDC Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4665393)
deciding to invade a neighbor could be a sign of a regime's domestic weakness

Yes. Or a perception that a strategic, long-run weakness could be overcome by tactical surprise and a quick victory. Probably both the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars were in that category. In fact, since different sides invaded in each case, and the Israelis proved stronger in both, somebody must either have been either invading out of weakness or seriously mistaken.
   2998. Greg K Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4665394)
This is the funniest talking point ever. It appears lefties, from the dopey John Kerry down to our own Bitter Mouse (quoted above), need to spend more time out in the real world and less time in "bullying" seminars.

Not sure if you mean in general or in this case, but invasion or aggression certainly can be a sign of weakness. Germany's willingness to push for war in the summer of 1914 for instance was in large part motivated by the fear that Russia and France were outstripping them in peace and they had to fight a war before they were overwhelmed. Similarly, you can read a lot of fatalism within the Austro-Hungarian command about how their empire is slipping away, and sure, war would be a disaster, but it was better than going out with a whimper.

War can be the product of a nation that feels itself losing out in the status-quo of peace. Sometimes I suppose you create a better situation for yourself, but as the Central Powers found out, desperation isn't always the best reason to go to war.
   2999. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4665395)
I think that the Taters are faced with nothing but bad choices and options for the foreseeable future, they of course are used to that.

only now instead of being mistreated by the Russians it will now be the west responsible. and i don't know if the comment was intended as such, but when did it become acceptable to treat a population of people as chattel based on the premise that this is how history has treated them to this date?

like to think we can do better.
   3000. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4665396)
He then tried having Yanukovich murder a few dozen of the protestors, and that didn't work.


That's probably what lead to his downfall, before he starting killing people, the anti-regime activity was no mote serious than that weathered by authoritarian regimes all the time.

The problem was that the minute he gave the order to shoot, the demonstrations exploded in size, a huge chunk of the Kiev police force said "screw this" and put down their riot shields, and his own party disowned him.
Whoever (whether it was Putin or Yanukovich) decided that shooting the protesters was a good idea really miscalculated.
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