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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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   3101. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4665541)
It would start raining stock brokers and bank executives.


Yes, please.
   3102. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4665542)
I apologize if my posts seem scattershot or slightly incoherent, I'm at work and trying to.wrote quickly while or break or when I should actually be working
   3103. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4665544)
Again -- who really cares if invasions like Hitler's ultimately "fail," if it costs millions of lives to turn them back? You want to try to prevent them from happening in the first place.


Prevention is preferable to having them happen. Where have I suggested otherwise? But more to the point you are suggesting it is irrelevant that invasions are useless wastes of money? Have you paid attention in the last few years. Iraq and Afghanistan were not very long ago. They were giant wastes of "blood and treasure" and were huge US failures (I guess the US decided to stop itself from succeeding, such a commitment to the bit, commendable I guess).

It matters because my analysis suggests Putin and his adventure will turn out to be a failure in the long run. This matters because knowing that means we can worry about the real people on the ground. We can try to minimize the harm caused to those people, again who as Harvey's suggested are real people.

Since we don't have to worry about Russian "Winning", since their invasion is doomed in the long run, we can and should focus on what we can. Minimizing the bloodshed. Discouraging Russia from more (doomed) invasions. However if you are afraid, as several people here clearly are - that Putin is winning, that Russia (our enemy) will win, then you act differently, you make more risky choices. You can feel desperate enough to do something dumb.

That is what I am arguing against.
   3104. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4665545)
So what's the problem?

The sanctions are now fraying, Jim, thanks to the "interim" agreement. Look at the USA Today and Foreign Policy pieces that I posted earlier this morning.
   3105. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4665547)
I apologize if my posts seem scattershot or slightly incoherent, I'm at work and trying to.wrote quickly while or break or when I should actually be working

So what's your excuse for the weekend posts? :)
   3106. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4665548)
The sanctions are now fraying, Jim, thanks to the "interim" agreement.


I really wanted to get back to this, but Russia seemed more significant at the moment. I have work to do, but I hope to get to it eventually.
   3107. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4665549)
Since we don't have to worry about Russian "Winning", since their invasion is doomed in the long run,

Huh? The only reason a lot of invasions are ultimately "doomed" is because they're resisted with force. What -- you think Hitler would have run out of money if he'd been allowed to keep Europe?

You're basically babbling incoherently at this point.
   3108. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4665550)
Since we don't have to worry about Russian "Winning", since their invasion is doomed in the long run,

that presupposes facts not in evidence. especially when you are dealing with someone who may likely believe his choice is do nothing and lose 'everything' or do 'X' which prevents losing (at least on his watch however long that is)

the u.s. is not desperate at the moment, but it is very likely that the other guy 'is'

and that is a very dangerous negotiating situation.
   3109. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4665551)
Putin has been responding to perceived US/EU aggression,


I'm not sure how the US/NATO surrounding Russia could be perceived as anything other than aggression.

   3110. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4665552)
What -- you think Hitler would have run out of money if he'd been allowed to keep Europe?


Essentially, the German economy was bankrupt by 1938. Only the expropriation of wealth from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France kept it going, and that would only last a limited time. See Tooze's Wages of Destruction.

(Note that doesn't mean I think Hitler should have been left alone).
   3111. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4665554)
I have work to do, but I hope to get to it eventually.

Say when, Mouse, and I will turn up my hearing aid.
   3112. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4665556)
Jason, I blame my cat for the weekend and evening problems
   3113. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4665557)
Jason, Ignatius is a Washington Post associate editor and columnist, but he's not on their editorial board.

Thanks for the correction, Andy. No more than five minutes ago, a friend who's on the ed board but not listed above said the exact same thing to me. FWIW, I believe Ignatius was on the board several years ago.


You may be right about that, but for the past 14 years it's been the voice of Fred Hiatt that's dominated their editorial page on military policy. And anyone who actually reads the Post editorials (including you), as opposed to those who simply parrot the cartoon version that exists solely in the minds of the "liberal media" chirpers, knows that military policy is far from the only area where the stereotyped versions of "liberalism" are routinely contested on the Post's editorial page. They've supported entitlement cuts, re-indexing of Social Security, NAFTA and other free trade agreements, and on many issues (civil liberties, immigration, gay marriage, etc.) where most conservatives would disagree with them, you'd find that most libertarians would be nodding in agreement.
   3114. The Good Face Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4665559)
(I guess the US decided to stop itself from succeeding, such a commitment to the bit, commendable I guess).


It bears pointing out that USG was not attempting to conquer and annex either Iraq or Afghanistan. Let's keep the goal posts nice and steady, shall we?
   3115. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4665560)


It bears pointing out that USG was not attempting to conquer and annex either Iraq or Afghanistan.


No, just puppet governments and 50 years of occupation. Manchukuo, not the Sudetenland.
   3116. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4665563)
It's odd that folks who recently linked to bits about how Italy would destroy Russia's navy are also claiming Russia is prepping to roll over half of Europe via military might.
   3117. Greg K Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4665564)
Why would an invasion fail in the modern world as opposed to prior centuries? This strikes me a bit like folks proclaiming the end of War in 1905.

It probably has more to do with how war has changed rather than war ending. In 1890 von Moltke described the change as "Cabinet Wars" of the past, and "People's Wars" of the future.* In the past it was a simpler proposition to invade and annex because for a significant portion of the population who was in charge wasn't something they cared a great deal about. It is a broad simplification, but in 1715 you're fighting the ruling elite of a region in order to displace them. In 2014 you're usually fighting the entire people (or a significant portion of them). Under such circumstances holding and occupying territory is a vastly different proposition.

*As in wars formulated and executed by the chief ministers of the state, in which the people as a whole had little stake, or say in.
   3118. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4665566)
How much of this conflict and people's reactions to it reflect the importance of the Ukraine in the boardgame "Risk"?
   3119. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4665568)
The internet has certainly changed the nature of war as well, because people no longer have to take what their governments tell them at face value.
   3120. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:45 PM (#4665569)
The US wanted to set up friendly government in Iraq. Russia wants a friendly government in Crimea/Ukraine.
   3121. Greg K Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4665570)
This is so close to Andrew Carnegie's writings on the eve of WWI that I chuckled in my office. I don't have a rejoinder for this other than to note that many have thought this before, and all were proven wrong.

Well I think it depends on what the claim is. If the claim is that war won't happen in the modern world because the cost is so high, I think that's demonstrably false.

If the claim is that a conventional war of conquest in the modern world is counter-productive for the one engaging in it because the cost is so high...I think that is up for debate.
   3122. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4665573)
I'm not sure how the US/NATO surrounding Russia could be perceived as anything other than aggression.


Because they've been buying oil and natural gas from them at the same time?

People here have a tendency to underestimate Russian Paranoia- Reagan once noted that it came as a complete surprise to him when he discovered that the "Evil Empire" was afraid of us (something the Intelligence Community always knew- but was always discounted by the neo-cons who found it inconceivable).

Russia has an extremely schizophrenic national personality- It sees itself as a Great Country and a Great Power (and from time to time it's been one), at the same time it sees itself as a vulnerable victim- it's been invaded by Vikings from the North, Mongols from the East,Muslims from the South, Germans from the West, Scandinavains (again) from the North, Turks from the South, French form the West, whole alliances of countries (France/Britain/Turkey) Germany from the West again and again.

Accordingly Russians never see Russian aggression AS aggression- oh they may admit that attacking Finland was bad for Finland- BUT WE HAD TO DEFEND OURSELVES AGAINST HITLER- they always believe they are attacking to DEFEND themselves preemptively (Like in the Treasure of the Sierra Madre when Bogart killed another miner- "It's not murder, it's self-defense, I'm only doing what to you what you would have done to me if you thought of it first"

NATO is creeping closer and closer to them, they used to have buffers- the only direct border with a NATO state was with Turkey- in a rugged sparsely populous mountainous region on both sides- now in their minds their is nothing between them and us- no natural barriers no buffer states, just customs check points- that freaks many Russians out- if they do not control or dominate a state that state is an enemy or a prospective enemy- having a border region with a NATO country, like we have with Canada, or France has with Belgium, is highly discomfiting to them, it's outside their national experience, it's terrifying
   3123. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4665577)
How much of this conflict and people's reactions to it reflect the importance of the Ukraine in the boardgame "Risk"?

Did you ask Kramer and Newman?
   3124. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4665580)
If the claim is that a conventional war of conquest in the modern world is counter-productive for the one engaging in it because the cost is so high...I think that is up for debate.


This is in fact my claim.
   3125. formerly dp Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4665581)
How much of this conflict and people's reactions to it reflect the importance of the Ukraine in the boardgame "Risk"?
I played Risk with a Ukranian a couple of weeks ago. I started off owning it; predictably, it wasn't long before he took it from me.
   3126. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4665585)
You may be right about that, but for the past 14 years it's been the voice of Fred Hiatt that's dominated their editorial page on military policy. And anyone who actually reads the Post editorials (including you), as opposed to those who simply parrot the cartoon version that exists solely in the minds of the "liberal media" chirpers, knows that military policy is far from the only area where the stereotyped versions of "liberalism" are routinely contested on the Post's editorial page. They've supported entitlement cuts, re-indexing of Social Security, NAFTA and other free trade agreements, and on many issues (civil liberties, immigration, gay marriage, etc.) where most conservatives would disagree with them, you'd find that most libertarians would be nodding in agreement.

I would never consider the WaPo ed board to be knee-jerk liberal, Andy, but suggest it's also a mistake to imply Fred is centrist. For example, I don't believe the paper has endorsed a GOP POTUS or Virginia statewide candidate in the past quarter-century.
   3127. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4665588)
Because they've been buying oil and natural gas from them at the same time?


I wasn't aware that Europe had much of a choice as to where they got their gas.
   3128. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4665593)
If the claim is that a conventional war of conquest in the modern world is counter-productive for the one engaging in it because the cost is so high...I think that is up for debate.


I think we can birfurcate this into two easier questions. If the question is, can a war of conquest be conducted in the modern world applying modern sensibilities to the conduct of war and treatment of the civilian population, then I agree, the cost is too high absent the limited scenario of a friendly population that was previously occupied by a government it opposed.

However, if you're willing to go Stalin on what you conquer, invasion is actually easier in the modern world because mass killing is cheaper and easier than ever before. I would argue that the only thing that has prevented Invasion v.2.0, Now With More Bloodshed (TM) in the last 50 years was the knowledge that if Country A went full genocide on Country B and installed its people in replacement, the US would come trundling in. If those days ever ended . . .
   3129. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4665595)
   3130. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4665597)
. . . but if the US does decide to enter into an armed conflict with Russia (which is the only foreseeable outcome of the US sending troops or drones to Ukraine) in what universe is that going to end well for the US?

I don't think anyone is advocating military intervention. That's a straw man raised by those who prefer to do nothing or are willing to excuse doing nothing if Obama opts for that course. What's needed is the United States rallying Europe to impose significant sanctions and condemn Russia's actions at every opportunity. What's disconcerting to many is that it is unclear that Obama is willing to do even that, and there is also a question as to whether Europe has sufficient faith in his leadership to go down that path given his record of "leading from behind". Isn't it about time for Obama to address the American people or have a news conference to indicate where he stands?
   3131. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4665603)
I don't think Putin will respond to sanctions with anything other than belligerence.
   3132. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4665607)
While Clapper who he's about Obama not being willing to rally Europe for sanctions Obama is quickly rallying Europe for sanctions. Stick to cherry picking polls.
   3133. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4665609)
The US wanted to set up friendly government in Iraq. Russia wants a friendly government in Crimea/Ukraine.

More rationale for appeasement.
   3134. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4665610)
I would never consider the WaPo ed board to be knee-jerk liberal, Andy, but suggest it's also a mistake to imply Fred is centrist. For example, I don't believe the paper has endorsed a GOP POTUS or Virginia statewide candidate in the past quarter-century.

When the GOP was running centrists like Connie Morella (in Montgomery County) for Congress, the Post would often endorse them. That's hardly been the case lately. Maybe if the Virginia Republican primaries didn't spit out one far Right candidate after another, talking up supply side economics and immigration restrictions, you'd see some more balance in the Post's endorsements.

But anyway, the point about Hiatt pertains to his editorials on geopolitics and military policy, not to domestic issues. There are plenty of other editorial writers who are primarily responsible for addressing immigration and civil liberties.
   3135. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4665615)
When the GOP was running centrists like Connie Morella (in Montgomery County) for Congress, the Post would often endorse them.

Well, Connie Morella was to the Republican Party what Zell Miller was to the Democrats. (But I hear what you're saying.)
   3136. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4665619)
In other news - Felonies Cost California Democrats Their Super Majority:
Two California state senators in trouble with law enforcement officials are taking indefinite leaves of absence, rejecting Republican calls for their resignations and — at least temporarily — costing Democrats their super majority.

Last week, Senate Democrats voted down a Republican resolution to expel state Sen. Roderick Wright (D), who was convicted of eight felony counts of voter fraud and perjury on Jan. 28. Wright was first indicted in 2010 on charges that he lied on his voter registration form and candidate filings and committed voter fraud in five elections.

State Sen. Ronald Calderon (D), who has been indicted on federal corruption charges for allegedly accepting almost $100,000 in bribes, meals and golf outings, including $88,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent, last week began a leave of absence to fight the charges.
   3137. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4665622)
When the GOP was running centrists like Connie Morella (in Montgomery County) for Congress, the Post would often endorse them. That's hardly been the case lately.

Let's not leave anyone with the impression that Morella lost a primary or that the GOP stopped running similar candidates in Montgomery County. Democrats gerrymandered the hell out of the district in order to [barely] defeat her.
   3138. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4665623)
I don't think Putin will respond to sanctions with anything other than belligerence.

Well I'm sure that's his current preference. The Russian economy is pretty weak, their currency and markets are not reacting well to date, interest rates are up sharply, and sanctions will exacerbate this quickly. The Soviets liked to respond with belligerence to, but ultimately, the economics caught up with them. Putin is starting with a much smaller footprint and built-in exposure given the current trade levels with the rest of the world. No one will like it on either side, but thinking that it has no deterrent or mitigating value at all. Europe can buy energy from lots of folks, albeit it might cost more - the Russians don't really have the luxury of selling to many other folks
   3139. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4665625)
If the claim is that a conventional war of conquest in the modern world is counter-productive for the one engaging in it because the cost is so high...I think that is up for debate.
This is in fact my claim.

What causes the (alleged) high costs, especially if no one resists militarily?

Iraq assuredly would have profited from its 1990 invasion and takeover of Kuwait if Iraq wasn't expelled a few months later.
   3140. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4665627)
I wasn't aware that Europe had much of a choice as to where they got their gas.


They will soon, which partly explains Putin's belligerence. Now that the US doesn't really need imported gas (and in fact may start exporting a lot of it soon), a lot of it is being diverted to Europe and Japan (which had to up their intake after the Fukushima disaster, but which should be sorted out soon, leaving even more gas on the spot market), especially from Qatar. Algeria also has a lot of gas, and it's closer still to Europe. There is even talk of running a pipeline under the Mediterranean from Algeria to Spain or France. And Europe is sitting on a number of shale deposits, two large ones in Ukraine itself.

Gazprom and Statoil had a sweet deal with the Europeans, where they would sign longterm deals at a fixed price that was pegged to the going rate for oil, which was often 10-20% above the spot market price. But with all the gas fields being developed and the price dropping rapidly, the Europeans have been buying more and more of it on the spot market,and demanding reworking of their contracts to reflect market realities. Gazprom and Statoil have been forced to make concessions, and their profits are evaporating.

Russia's economy is dependent on the price of commodities and the fracking thing is effing with their markets and their economy. This move into Ukraine is partly a reaction to that. Ukrainians were having dreams of being part of the EU, and getting rich selling gas to their western neighbors, which would have cut Russia out. To add insult to injury, on a pipeline that Russia built.
   3141. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4665628)
It really doesn't look like there's even going to be significant sanctions.
   3142. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4665631)
Based on what?
   3143. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4665635)
Why would an invasion fail in the modern world as opposed to prior centuries?

Prior centuries didn't have Barack Obama.


Of course they did. Wherever there was a Hun father teaching his son how to cringe from the other boys' aggression, wherever there was a caveman living in fear that Obama Caveman would come in the night and take away his pointed sticks, wherever there was a centurion traveling the Empire to apologize for Rome, Barack Obama was there.
   3144. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4665636)
Based on what?

News reports.
   3145. Lassus Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4665638)
State Sen. Ronald Calderon (D), who has been indicted on federal corruption charges for allegedly accepting almost $100,000 in bribes, meals and golf outings, including $88,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent, last week began a leave of absence to fight the charges.

Whoops. That's gonna leave a mark.

   3146. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4665639)
   3147. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4665645)
They will soon, which partly explains Putin's belligerence.


Putin has also been vocally opposed to Fracking because it's bad for the environment- of course that's pure unadulterated bullshit- Putin doesn't give a crap about the environment, but he does care about his customers having other places to buy gas.

   3148. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4665652)
Agreed, SJ.

The global gas market isn't as well-developed and uniform as the crude oil market but it's trending in that direction. Once it gets there, it will be able to directly compete with crude as an energy choice, another mortal threat to Russia's economy.
   3149. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4665653)
Based on what?

News reports.


Which ones, the ones that indicate that Russia is already backing off their ultimatum that Ukrainian forces in Crimea surrender?

   3150. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4665658)
What causes the (alleged) high costs, especially if no one resists militarily?

Iraq assuredly would have profited from its 1990 invasion and takeover of Kuwait if Iraq wasn't expelled a few months later.


I am not saying there should be no resistance. I am saying wars go poorly for the aggressor. Also that the US does not need to be on the invaded side for the invader to lose. See Vietnam, Afghanistan (any of them), or the recent iteration of Iraq. Or many other times and places.

I am not suggesting everyone in the world become pacifists. I am suggesting Putin will lose (rather Russia will), in the long run. I fully expect the Ukrainians to resist, as they should (obviously). I also expect neighbor countries to chip in if they want. The US might even end up doing some sanctions and such.

But the end result is pretty much already determined, so people can stop hyperventilating about Putin being such a winner and so strong and manly and everything. It just ain't so.
   3151. Ron J2 Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4665660)
Even when you win, then you have to deal with holding the damn place and getting more out of it than the cost of holding it turns out to be basically impossible.


I guess the best counter-example would be Tibet. That is to say I think China is showing a small net gain from taking and holding Tibet.

Kashmir is a very complicated discussion. I have little doubt that India would be ahead of the game by just letting it go, but I doubt many Indians would see it that way.
   3152. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4665662)
Recognizing reality is not appeasement #######
   3153. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4665665)
We have 52,000 military personnel in Germany, how about we re-deploy some of them to Poland, perhaps near Przemysl, for a joint exercise with the Pols?
   3154. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4665667)
Recognizing reality is not appeasement #######

Your so-called "reality" is pretty clearly rationale for appeasement.

Even if your false equivalence was somehow "true," for what purpose could it possibly have been proffered other than to suggest that Russia's actions should be judged more favorably than you think they are being judged?

You've wildly overstated the degree to which the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are "really" Russian, and now you've wildly overstated the degree of similarity between Iraq and Crimea, in the process implicitly overstating the similarity in quality between the US and Russia. What other purpose could you have in mind?
   3155. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4665670)
But the end result is pretty much already determined, so people can stop hyperventilating about Putin being such a winner and so strong and manly and everything. It just ain't so.

Silly nonsense, and completely disregarded the example given.

There's no way in hell that Iraq would have a been a net loser if it was allowed to keep Kuwait back in 1990.
   3156. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4665673)
Silly nonsense, and completely disregarded the example given.

There's no way in hell that Iraq would have a been a net loser if it was allowed to keep Kuwait back in 1990.


Talking past eachother

one says that if Country A seizes Country B and no one fights, then Country A wins- well yes, obviously

the other guy is saying that what happens now is that when Country A seizes Country B, someone invariably fights and makes it a net loss for Country A
   3157. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4665674)
The sanctions are now fraying, Jim, thanks to the "interim" agreement. Look at the USA Today and Foreign Policy pieces that I posted earlier this morning.


I just did, despite having to read the Foreign Policy one a few lines at a time around the big window demanding I register or sign in. Two separate thoughts on this:

1. There's a big deal made in both those pieces about how the easing of sanctions is giving a boost to Iran's economy and costing the US and its allies diplomatic leverage. Couldn't you say the converse is equally or more true, that the boost to Iran's economy actually increases our leverage because we now have the ability to say "Look how nice your economy is starting to run.....would be a shame if we can't come to a nuclear agreement and we have to put all those sanctions back in place"? This was an interim agreement to make their lives a bit easier in return for starting negotiations, if they won't cooperate then that agreement doesn't need to be renewed.

2. Even if what I suggest above ins't the case my point still stands.....what does it matter? Iran was going ahead with development of their nuclear program while under crushing sanctions so even if they want a bomb and have no intention of stopping development then we're in the same situation we were in before. The difference is this: If they really do end up with a nuclear weapon who are they more likely to use it on: A country strangling them economically and treating them as part of an "Axis of Evil" or one that's easing up on embargoes and acting somewhat friendly? I mean, we might be screwed either way if they get a bomb and want to shoot it at us but I'd rather roll the dice on diplomacy and the hand of peace than continuing a sanctions and public condemnation policy that wasn't deterring them from nuclear enrichment in the first place.

Frankly, if Iran is absolutely determined to get a nuclear bomb they're going to get one no matter what we do, friendly or unfriendly. The only thing that would actually stop them from it in that case is military force. For now though I'm happy enough to try a different tactic than we were using before to see if that might produce a different result.
   3158. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4665676)
Talking past eachother

one says that if Country A seizes Country B and no one fights, then Country A wins- well yes, obviously

the other guy is saying that what happens now is that when Country A seizes Country B, someone invariably fights and makes it a net loss for Country A

Nope. See #3124.

(And even assuming this was correct, if the U.S. is on the sidelines, which other countries are lining up to fight? And re: the Kuwait example in particular, are we supposed to assume that some sort of Kuwaiti insurgency would have risen up and forced Saddam & Co. out of the country on its own? If so, seems far-fetched.)
   3159. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4665677)
My purpose in acknowledging reality is to acknowledge reality. You should try it sometime.
   3160. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4665681)
I guess the best counter-example would be Tibet. That is to say I think China is showing a small net gain from taking and holding Tibet.


Israel took and held the West Bank

Turkey took and held part of Cyprus

I think the last example of a country successfully taking a foreign territory, forcing out the inhabitants and repopulating it was... the Golan Heights, before then Kaliningrad, formerly called Königsberg. It's also what the settlers want to do in the West Bank, and they haven't failed- yet.

But so far it looks like what Russia wants to do is what Turkey did in Cyprus and Russia itself did in Georgia (South Ossetia/ Abkhazia)
Another successful example is India's conquest of Goa.

Of course if Russia tries to invade and take ALL of Ukraine, that would be a style of invasion that has not been very successful of late.
   3161. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4665682)
We have 52,000 military personnel in Germany, how about we re-deploy some of them to Poland, perhaps near Przemysl, for a joint exercise with the Pols?


What effect would you anticipate that having on Russia?
   3162. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4665685)
My purpose in acknowledging reality is to acknowledge reality. You should try it sometime.

I do it all the time.

Your purpose in acknowledging your faux-reality here is to lay the groundwork for leftish rationalizations of the appeasement that's in the air -- and for the poor, shortsighted foreign policy that has led to this crisis, as acknowledged by even liberal commentators in the nation's major newspapers today and reported right here in this very thread.
   3163. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4665686)
? And re: the Kuwait example in particular, are we supposed to assume that some sort of Kuwaiti insurgency would have risen up and forced Saddam & Co. out of the country on its own?


That particular example, no the Kuwaitis are pretty worthless-

but the East Timorese actually made the Indonesians (who had a 200:1 numerical advantage) leave

the Afghans made the Soviets leave (with assistance vis a vis weapons- but no troops)

the Palestinians have not made the Israelis leave- but they have made life uncomfortable for decades wit no end in sight

having an insurgency when there is a foreign "occupier" has pretty much become a fact of life- if Russia invades all of Ukraine the then yes there will be an insurgency in the non-Russo-phile parts of the country- and the Ukrainians are more numerous and better armed than the Chechens or Georgians were (and Russia was careful to not occupy regions with Georgian populations in that war)

What Russia has done SO FAR is not really different from Turkey in Cyprus or Russia in Georgia- so if Putin stops here than, I'd say yes, BM is wrong and Putin may very well have won.
   3164. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:02 PM (#4665687)
When the GOP was running centrists like Connie Morella (in Montgomery County) for Congress, the Post would often endorse them.

Well, Connie Morella was to the Republican Party what Zell Miller was to the Democrats. (But I hear what you're saying.)


Refresh my memory: Did Connie Morella ever appear at the Democratic National Convention to endorse the Democratic presidential candidate? If you're looking for a better comparison---though it's still going from R to D---you might try Charlie Crist.

-------------------------------------------------------

When the GOP was running centrists like Connie Morella (in Montgomery County) for Congress, the Post would often endorse them. That's hardly been the case lately.

Let's not leave anyone with the impression that Morella lost a primary or that the GOP stopped running similar candidates in Montgomery County. Democrats gerrymandered the hell out of the district in order to [barely] defeat her.


That they did, and it still kind of steams me. Chris Van Hollen's a perfectly fine Congressman, and I've voted for him in all of his re-election campaigns, but Morella (whom I'd always voted for previously and voted for against Van Hollen) got a totally dirty deal out of that one.
   3165. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:03 PM (#4665688)
   3166. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:04 PM (#4665690)
What effect would you anticipate that having on Russia?


It's the type of thing that actually gets their attention. To us, NATO militarily intervening on the ground in Ukraine facing Russian troops is inconceivable- to them it's not.
   3167. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4665691)
That particular example, no the Kuwaitis are pretty worthless-

So, in other words, an aggressor could profit if it chooses a good target and there's no outside resistance — which was exactly my point.
   3168. Ron J2 Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4665694)
#3160 Those are both good examples of military successes that may (or may not, both are unclear) be a source of regret to the victors.
   3169. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4665699)
#3160 Those are both good examples of military successes that may (or may not, both are unclear) be a source of regret to the victors.

Anyone who follows Israeli and Turkish history should keep in mind that their motives in the West Bank and Cyprus were far more pure than Putin's invasions of Ukraine and Georgia.
   3170. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4665702)
To us, NATO militarily intervening on the ground in Ukraine facing Russian troops is inconceivable- to them it's not.


And for all Bear's hand wringing over us giving up the fruits of the Cold War* victory, imagine telling someone 25 years ago that the worst case scenario here is that NATO troops would be facing Russian troops in a prelude to war, not in the middle of Germany, but in the middle of Ukraine.

*I initially typed this as Colf War. Interesting typo.
   3171. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4665703)
. . . Obama is quickly rallying Europe for sanctions.

Obama hasn't even rallied the Varmint Caucus yet.
   3172. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4665705)
Russia's UN ambassador read a letter in the UN from Yanukovich in which he (Y) says that "Under the influence of Western countries, there are open acts of terror and violence," and requests Russian military intervention.

That's not real promising. (In addition to being borderline treasonous.)
   3173. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4665707)

What Russia has done SO FAR is not really different from Turkey in Cyprus or Russia in Georgia- so if Putin stops here than, I'd say yes, BM is wrong and Putin may very well have won.


Cyprus may be a good analogue but did Turkey 'win' there? Yes, it's not an international pariah, but nobody recognizes its occupation of North Cyprus or the puppet government there, and Turkey is subsidizing its economy to the tune of $400 million per year (for a population of around 200,000 people).
   3174. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4665710)
Last month -
Russia has a cooperative government in Ukraine, unfettered access to Crimea, international goodwill over upcoming Olympics, and no need to deploy, garrison and occupy territory to deter/defend against the threat of a shooting war/insurgency on a 1,400 mile front from the Black Sea coast against a state with 10m people and heavy weapons.

This month -
Not so much. And they have gained..... nothing they didn't have last month, and lost quite a bit of it.

That's some kinda appeasement.
   3175. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:37 PM (#4665711)
Cyprus may be a good analogue but did Turkey 'win' there? Yes, it's not an international pariah, but nobody recognizes its occupation of North Cyprus or the puppet government there, and Turkey is subsidizing its economy to the tune of $400 million per year (for a population of around 200,000 people).

Even Cyprus is a poor excuse for Russia's invasion. The Ukrainians weren't in the process of merging with Poland, unlike the Greek Cypriots proposed union with Greece that triggered the Turkish action.
   3176. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4665712)
And they have gained..... nothing they didn't have last month, and lost quite a bit of it.

They've gained Crimea. What are you talking about?
   3177. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4665713)
Call me when Bitter Mouse have a vote in NATO. Otherwise you're just caterwauling to hear yourself cry.
   3178. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4665716)
Cyprus may be a good analogue but did Turkey 'win' there? Yes, it's not an international pariah, but nobody recognizes its occupation of North Cyprus or the puppet government there, and Turkey is subsidizing its economy to the tune of $400 million per year (for a population of around 200,000 people).

Between 1963 and 2001, Turkey did a piss-poor job in explaining its actions in the Cyprus dispute to the international community. In contrast, Russia spends millions on Ketchum Public Relations and has RT, Voice of Russia, and numerous social media outlets.

EDIT: And to be clear, I'm only talking about the PR aspect, not substance.
   3179. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4665718)
They've gained Crimea.


What does that mean? They haven't annexed it, yet. They have no administration there. They collect no taxes. They have military occupation of some parts of it.
   3180. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4665719)
To us, NATO militarily intervening on the ground in Ukraine facing Russian troops is inconceivable- to them it's not..

Russia is impossible to invade and hold, but has far too much to defend in a conventional war, a limited capability for projecting power abroad, and a dodgy army with even dodgier equipment. The 10:1 defense spending (and that's just the US) gap would be decisive and they know it. They'd get their #### pushed in if an invasion was forcibly opposed by NATO/US forces just supporting the Ukraine, and quick. Tanks wouldn't necessarily even be required - air superiority and cruise missiles would inflict terrible damage on any invasion force before it got going. For all our misspending, we have far more and better quality pilots, planes and weapons systems available.

It would never happen over Crimea. Probably never over Eastern Ukraine. v But a Russian attempt to take over the country that was opposed by the Ukrainian military? Enough to make some folks think twice, IMO.
   3181. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:52 PM (#4665721)
They've gained Crimea. What are you talking about?

What is good about the Russian position in Crimea today that wasn't true last month? They have bases there. They have access and can enforce defacto control of the countryside. All this is the same.
   3182. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 06:55 PM (#4665722)
Call me when Bitter Mouse have a vote in NATO.

Is it legal for a NATO member to trade its vote for a B-Ref sponsorship?
   3183. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4665724)
What is good about the Russian position in Crimea today that wasn't true last month?

They occupy it and will soon annex it (by all indications).

They have access and can enforce defacto control of the countryside.

Huh? They had "access" and "defacto control of the countryside" in the same way we have same over Canada.(*) By agreement, their troops at the naval base were to stay on the naval base.

I guess if you're just going to invent things, then no, nothing's different than a month ago -- other than me winning the Best Actor Oscar last night.

(*) Or less cheekily, Cuba or Japan.
   3184. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4665725)
Obama hasn't even rallied the Varmint Caucus yet.


Bitter Mouse is all in, but I'm biding my time.
   3185. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4665727)
Apparently, Christine Amanpour just destroyed Wolf Blitzer on-air.
   3186. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:06 PM (#4665729)
. . . Obama is quickly rallying Europe for sanctions.

Obama hasn't even rallied the Varmint Caucus yet.
Maybe the Varmint Caucus is next:
Sanctions on Russia ‘highly likely,’ State Dept. says; Poland calls for NATO meeting

With no response to his demands that Russia withdraw its troops from the autonomous region of Crimea in Russia, President Obama said that Moscow was “on the wrong side of history,” and threatened “a whole series of steps--economics, diplomatic” to isolate Russia and “have a negative impact on its economy and its standing in the world.”
It's important to note here that, for all the crying here about how "weak" Obama's been, not a single person here has advocated sending troops and tanks and planes and bombs. Political blame-gaming aside, it's pretty obvious that the US is limited by what's possible here. Unless a bloodbath between Russian and Ukrainian forces begins and spills over into neighboring countries, America's not going to do anything military and everyone knows it. Given that, this is pretty much all the options the US has right this moment.
   3187. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4665730)
Even Cyprus is a poor excuse for Russia's invasion. The Ukrainians weren't in the process of merging with Poland, unlike the Greek Cypriots proposed union with Greece that triggered the Turkish action.


Indeed, I wasn't offering Cyprus as an excuse for Russia, but more an example of the type of intervention that Russia appears to be engaging in.

One of Putin's domestic arguments is that that the Western Ukrainians are lead by a gang of neo-Nazis. In 1974 there really was a quasi fascist coup detat in Cyprus - sponsored by a quasi Facsist government in Greece, and non-Greeks in Cyprus really did have a reason to be terrified. That was what Turkey was responding to when it invaded. (of course not that long afterwards both the Greek Cypriot and Mainland Greece governments fell- and Turkey *should* have declared victory and went home, but did not.
   3188. spike Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4665731)

They occupy it and will soon annex it (by all indications).


What is the functional difference between an annexed Crimea and the Crimea under Yanukovich? What can the Russians do today there that they couldn't have done any time?

They had "access" and "defacto control of the countryside" in the same way we have same over Canada. By agreement, their troops at the naval base were to stay on the naval base.
"By agreement" - An unbelievably hilarious statement given how well they lived up to "agreements" this week. Russia was running the show in the Crimea/Black Sea with a rubber stamp in Yanukovich. Sending some troops across the Russo-Crimean border didn't alter this.
   3189. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4665733)
Russian Defense Ministry dismisses Ukraine ultimatum reports as ‘total nonsense’
Media reports about an alleged Russian ultimatum made to the Ukrainian armed forces in Crimea are “total nonsense,” a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said.
....
Also, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told RT that they are unaware of any Russian ultimatum toward the Ukrainian forces in Crimea.
Why is Putin acting so weak when he's so strong, and by strong I mean he's totally cool.
   3190. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4665736)
(of course not that long afterwards both the Greek Cypriot and Mainland Greece governments fell- and Turkey *should* have declared victory and went home, but did not.

The Cyprus dispute really began in 1963, not 1974, when the three-year old constitution was radically changed in order to disenfranchise Turkish Cypriots. Turkey, one of the island's three guarantors, intervened specifically to protect the Turkish Cypriots. That the attempted Anschluss failed didn't change the equation.
   3191. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4665738)
This is looking more and more like a hastily-organized ########### on the part of the Russians.

It's like they rushed in and there's a distinct "What the #### do we do now?" stink in the air.
   3192. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:28 PM (#4665739)
Unless a bloodbath between Russian and Ukrainian forces begins and spills over into neighboring countries, America's not going to do anything military and everyone knows it. Given that, this is pretty much all the options the US has right this moment.

Pretty much. The Russian stock markets took a beating today, the US and EU can probably cook up something that will make it hurt a little more but that's about it. Fortunately it seems that there is no one crazy enough in charge that is going to actually want to get involved.

It's nice to give Obamacare a break. Give the Reds something different to complain about. And of course it's just complaining, this is another topic where they have no alternate ideas.
   3193. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:30 PM (#4665741)
The Cyprus dispute really began in 1963, not 1974, when the three-year old constitution was radically changed in order to disenfranchise Turkish Cypriots. Turkey, one of the island's three guarantors, intervened specifically to protect the Turkish Cypriots.


A close colleague of mine is the son of one of the landowners dispossessed by the Turkish occupation of northeastern Cyprus. If they had just moved in an claimed the land as Turkish, that's one thing. But they did what the English did in Northern Ireland. They had the landowners removed and handed the land over to friendlies. Same thing in Crimea. I think they call that ethnic cleansing.
   3194. JE (Jason) Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4665746)
A close colleague of mine is the son of one of the landowners dispossessed by the Turkish occupation of northeastern Cyprus. If they had just moved in an claimed the land as Turkish, that's one thing. But they did what the English did in Northern Ireland. They had the landowners removed and handed the land over to friendlies. Same thing in Crimea. I think they call that ethnic cleansing.

I don't dispute his account, Kevin, but it was a two-way street. There are thousands of Turkish Cypriots who were driven from their homes in the south.
   3195. Steve Treder Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4665747)
of course it's just complaining, this is another topic where they have no alternate ideas.

The latest in the never-ending line.
   3196. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4665748)
Apparently Putin's statement to Ban Ki-moon that Russia could not "stay away if there was any violence against Ethnic Russian in Ukraine has made every single other former SSR, even Russia's lapdog Belarus, mighty nervous.
   3197. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 03, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4665749)
It damn well ought to make them nervous, especially considering that none of that has actually happened in Ukraine
   3198. Publius Publicola Posted: March 03, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4665750)
That's the excuse the Germans used in Czechoslovakia and Poland. There were ethnic Germans there who were being harassed and needed protection.

There's an old saying about being careful who you pick as your enemies because eventually you will become just like them.
   3199. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 03, 2014 at 08:01 PM (#4665751)
This is a massive f**kup by Putin. Obama and the west will apply diplomatic and economic pressure and wait for Putin to figure out a way to get himself out of this.
   3200. Morty Causa Posted: March 03, 2014 at 08:01 PM (#4665752)
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