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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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   3301. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4666040)
If you truly want to promote those values, then you shouldn't be propping up puppet states, no?


You'd think so wouldn't you? But we all know its do as I say, not as I do.
   3302. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4666042)

Guarantee the non-Crimea borders of the Ukraine, pursuant to the Budapest Memorandum, and push for their admission to NATO.


Wait, you want to take on the burden of defending a fractured state whose government is all of two weeks old, in a place where there is little in the way of US interests? Why Ukraine and not, say, Mongolia or Eritrea?
   3303. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4666045)
Crimea as part of Ukraine is still an open question. Ukraine and Georgia will be members of NATO within the year.
   3304. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4666046)
That's reasonable. If that ended up the outcome, then you'd be pleased with how it was handled? I would.

Yes.

I am less concerned about whether this stuff gets said aloud now than whether it happens. And I can understand why today is not the day for proclaiming their admission into NATO even if today is the time to start laying the groundwork privately.

Today is the day, b/c you want to deter Russian action. Tomorrow may be too late.
   3305. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4666047)
Wait, you want to take on the burden of defending a fractured state whose government is all of two weeks old, in a place where there is little in the way of US interests? Why Ukraine and not, say, Mongolia or Eritrea?


Ding! We have a winner. Taking on that burden would be insane and would almost certainly lead to either the fracturing of NATO or a pointless and destructive war as great powers find themselves forced to fight to uphold a poorly thought out treaty obligation.
   3306. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4666048)
The fact that we all tend to agree our interests are "good" and Putins are "bad" doesn't change the reality that both nations play this sort of pseudo-imperial game whenever and wherever they can.

But it renders equating them silly.
   3307. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4666049)
Yes. Our puppets tend to be more autonomous because the values we promote tend, loosely, to be western idealism about freedom and liberty.


Our puppets tend to be more autonomous because we've been less likely than the Soviets/Russia to make damn sure their puppets toed the line, because bad things could happen to them- 3rd world communist leaders visiting the USSR were known to have an unusually high accident rate.
   3308. GregD Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4666051)
Today is the day, b/c you want to deter Russian action. Tomorrow may be too late.
I would guess the opposite. If you announce Ukraine is in NATO today, Putin announces the annexation of Crimea and sends troops over into eastern Ukraine at the "request" of ethnic Russians. If someone is the midst of backing away, I think best strategy is to watch them.

I still think an "independent" Crimea and a western-tied (and eventually NATO joining) Ukraine is the likely outcome today, and I'd be worried that pontificating on our part makes it less, not more, likely.
   3309. Lassus Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4666053)
If you truly want to promote those values, then you shouldn't be propping up puppet states, no?
You'd think so wouldn't you? But we all know its do as I say, not as I do.


This is a little self-serving, because it depends on the line defining "puppet", doesn't it?
   3310. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4666054)
A million dead Canadians?


How could they tell?
   3311. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4666055)
Just for the record im a high five @3305.
   3312. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4666059)
Crimea as part of Ukraine is still an open question. Ukraine and Georgia will be members of NATO within the year.

Assuming the absence of open and widespread conflict in Crimea, I would be shocked if Georgia became a member of NATO anytime soon. Regrettably, that ship sailed several years ago.
   3313. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4666060)
Why Ukraine and not, say, Mongolia or Eritrea?

Because much of Ukraine is European -- indeed places like Kiev are cradles and bright lights of European civilization.

Mongolia and Eritrea aren't.

NATO is in place to prevent Russia/Soviet incursion into Europe.

Again, not difficult.

If you announce Ukraine is in NATO today, Putin announces the annexation of Crimea and sends troops over into eastern Ukraine at the "request" of ethnic Russians. If someone is the midst of backing away, I think best strategy is to watch them.

He's not really "backing away" if he's willing to invade if we try to firm up the ties between Ukraine and Europe. Right now, he's trying to pressure us away from doing that. We need to make it clear we have no intention of doing so.


   3314. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4666063)
Why Ukraine and not, say, Mongolia or Eritrea?


Mongolia is actually relatively safe as is because it has two large power neighbors who each WANT Mongolia there as a buffer (China and Russia are not allies, Putin may work with Beijing for time to time to tweak the US/the West, but old habits die hard, they do not like or trust the other and they didn't even when they were both Communist.

I suppose Eritrea still feels threatened by Ethiopia, not sure how/why that interests us, or what we should do about it, plus by most accounts Eritrea's human rights record is abysmal, worse even than Ethiopia's.
   3315. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4666064)
Why Ukraine and not, say, Mongolia or Eritrea?

Because much of Ukraine is European


what does that have to with it, we'd back Japan or south Korea in any showdown with China or Nork and they're not European.
   3316. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4666065)

Because much of Ukraine is European -- indeed places like Kiev are cradles and bright lights of European civilization.


Well, so is Russia, so it's still confusing to me.

NATO is in place to prevent Russia/Soviet incursion into Europe.


That's a statement not an argument.
   3317. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4666074)
That's a statement not an argument.

OK, then the "argument" is that there's no need to alter its American/European character to justify admitting Ukraine.

NATO's there to prevent Soviet/Russian attacks on Europe. That's why it was formed, and that's what's driven the admission of new members.

If you aren't going to accept that obvious and fundamental factual point, there's really no basis for serious discussion.

(If you admit Ukraine to NATO, why not Eritrea? Really?)
   3318. BrianBrianson Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4666075)
Today is the day, b/c you want to deter Russian action. Tomorrow may be too late.


There might be something to be said for figuring out Russia interests, and far Russia is interested in going, and summing up the West's interests, and how far they're willing to go for them, and seeing what compromises can be arranged, before hankering for a NATO-Russia war. You can always start that tomorrow, or next week, or even next month. There's no hurry.
   3319. Lassus Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4666078)
(If you admit Ukraine to NATO, why not Eritrea? Really?)

Better food.

   3320. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4666080)


NATO's there to prevent Soviet/Russian attacks on Europe. That's why it was formed, and that's what's driven the admission of new members.


And the Catholic League was formed to provide muscle to the Counter-Reformation, but that's equally irrelevant. If we were to support entry of Ukraine in NATO, it has to make sense on its own terms, not the terms that saw us wishing to defend West Germany in 1949.

Russia is always going to have greater interests in the Ukraine, and will be willing to devote greater resources to defend those interests, than the US and Europe. Pretending that's not the case and signing a treaty that will never be honored will just create tensions for no reason. Conversely, it makes no sense to commit resources to a cause that we don't care about and Russia cares about greatly. That's just a recipe for eternal conflict.
   3321. Len Lansford, Carney Barker Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4666081)
NATO's there to prevent Soviet/Russian attacks on Europe.


Just look at all the Soviet/Russian forces NATO fought in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
   3322. Shredder Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4666083)
Is it just me, or should there be a March thread by now?
   3323. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4666092)
If we were to support entry of Ukraine in NATO, it has to make sense on its own terms, not the terms that saw us wishing to defend West Germany in 1949.

It makes perfect sense. Ukraine wanted to be part of Europe and was threatened away from doing so, and is still under military threat if it follows through on that wish. Extending NATO's protection to it willl deter those kinds of threats from Russia and allow Ukraine to escape the Russian yoke, as it obviously wants to do (with, perhaps, some small regional exceptions, and even those are overstated).

Russia is always going to have greater interests in the Ukraine

Its "interest" in keeping Ukraine from joining Europe is illegitimate and must be countered. And obviously, its use of actual and threatened force to prevent it is highly illegitimate and must be countered.

To repeat -- Russia has no legitimate interest in preventing Ukraine from making the free decision to join Europe, which it already made and was unwound by Russian provocation and threats.
   3324. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4666094)
Better food.

Veselka.
   3325. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: March 04, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4666098)
(If you admit Ukraine to NATO, why not Eritrea? Really?)

Better food.


I'm not sure. The Horn of Africa has phenomenal cuisine.
   3326. Sonic Youk Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4666100)
this might set up Ukraine to join NATO in the next five years, but the fast tracking idea is just crazy to me. How are we hand waving away the huge part of the country (majority?) that is pro Russian and will keep voting for pro-Russian candidates? How are we making agreements of this magnitude with a government that isn't all that legitimate? Seems like it would undermine NATO much more than help Ukraine or harm Russia.

   3327. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4666101)
Is it just me, or should there be a March thread by now?


Apparently, we've moved to the Julian calendar, what with all this Russia and Ukraine talk.
   3328. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4666102)
Jason, Obama stopped by Georgia this week to make the point that Georgia was back on the NATO fast track.
   3329. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4666106)
Jason, Obama stopped by Georgia this week to make the point that Georgia was back on the NATO fast track.


He's certainly going through a lot of effort not to discuss Benghazi this week.
   3330. Lassus Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4666107)
I'm not sure. The Horn of Africa has phenomenal cuisine.

No, that's what I meant, absolutely. The negatives in the quote probably made my statement confusing - or simply grammatically wrong. I've been horrified for decades that a trip out there would be difficult for safety reasons, solely for having the food.


Veselka

True enough. But I'm not saying Ukranian isn't good, just that Ethiopian/Eritrean is the best on the planet.
   3331. steagles Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4666109)
It makes perfect sense. Ukraine wanted to be part of Europe and was threatened away from doing so, and is still under military threat if it follows through on that wish. Extending NATO's protection to it willl deter those kinds of threats from Russia and allow Ukraine to escape the Russian yoke, as it obviously wants to do (with, perhaps, some small regional exceptions, and even those are overstated).
you were completely wrong about everything that's happened over the last week, but you still expect to be taken seriously now?
   3332. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4666110)
John Kerry is in Kiev today. Weakness!
   3333. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4666112)
you were completely wrong about everything that's happened over the last week, but you still expect to be taken seriously now?

You spelled "nothing" wrong.
   3334. BDC Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4666113)
Obama stopped by Georgia this week to make the point that Georgia was back on the NATO fast track

Oh yeah, right after Russian tanks rolled into Fort Benning. Appeaser.
   3335. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4666117)
For Obama haters certain that super strong awesome shirtless on horseback Vlad Putin was eating the weak wests lunch, you might consider that this is currently playing out along very familiar "give me enough rope" tropes as many Obama "losses"
   3336. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4666119)
John Kerry is in Kiev today. Weakness!

As often happens, you misunderstand the weakness argument. Weakness led us to this crisis point -- as observers like the Washington Post editorial board recognize. We'll see what happens going forward with the crisis the weakness caused.
   3337. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4666120)
From Public Policy Polling:
PPP's new Arizona poll finds not only that voters in the state agree with Jan Brewer's veto of Senate Bill 1062, but that they also for the first time support legalizing gay marriage in the state.

Only 22% of Arizonans say they support Senate Bill 1062, compared to 66% who opposed it. Opposition to the bill is bipartisan with majorities of Democrats (11/86), independents (18/64), and Republicans (34/51) alike against it. 72% say they agree with Jan Brewer's veto of it, compared to only 18% who disagree with her action.
   3338. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4666123)
For Obama haters certain that super strong awesome shirtless on horseback Vlad Putin was eating the weak wests lunch, you might consider that this is currently playing out along very familiar "give me enough rope" tropes as many Obama "losses"


But I was told - in no uncertain terms - that Putin had made Obama his #####. Are you telling me this is not so? That perhaps the two factions (War now, war forever AND Obama was terrible, is terrible and will always be terrible) were wrong? That's unpossible.

Clearly this is Obama's fault or perhaps the fault of the Modern Liberal, the North Korean Democracy Fairy or the Cathedral. Someone is to blame for Putin seeming to start to back down. Perhaps a clever plot to give the West a false sense of security and superiority?
   3339. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4666125)
As often happens, you misunderstand the weakness argument. Weakness led us to this crisis point -- as observers like the Washington Post editorial board recognize. We'll see what happens going forward with the crisis the weakness caused.


Based on history countries (and their leaders) act irrationally all the time. Blame Putin's dumb actions on Putin, not Obama.
   3340. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4666127)
Someone is to blame for Putin seeming to start to back down.

You may want to invest in a new dictionary.

   3341. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4666128)
The big problem with announcing that we are guaranteeing Ukraine's pre-invasion borders is what will we do to enforce that if the current situation continues? What if Putin decides that Crimea will have to be enough and just lets things be with Russian troops holding it? Nobody, even the usual hawks as far as I know, is advocating military action over the Crimean occupation. We'd look like fools making a public guarantee like that and having nothing to back it up besides the same diplomatic options we're exercising now.
   3342. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4666131)
Sugarbear, everyone knows that the US and Europe are unwilling to go to war over the Crimea and I don't think anyone has even tried to blame Obama for that one. Why would a show of supposed strength from the US in the past deter Putin when it's obvious that the Crimea isn't enough to draw a military response anyway?
   3343. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4666132)
For certain folks other nations only act based on us domestic politics. It's the height of hubris.
   3344. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4666136)
Bear believes that Obama and the west failed by not invading Russia when it was falling apart in the 1990s. Our "weakness" is that we don't dictate Russia's actions rk have prevented the Crimean adventure at all. If anything bad happens its because of liberal "weakness"
   3345. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4666141)
Someone is to blame for Putin seeming to start to back down.


When in doubt, blame Chris Truby & Albert Belle.

And Mike Crudale.
   3346. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4666152)
you were completely wrong about everything that's happened over the last week, but you still expect to be taken seriously now?


he wasn't wrong about everything, just most things, but part of SBB's charm is that when he's shown evidence that he was wrong about something, he will unfailing claim that such evidence actually proves he was right all along, I;m not sure how old he is, but I suspect he may have been a member of Team-B

   3347. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4666156)
Why would a show of supposed strength from the US in the past deter Putin


Because it's been a ceaseless neocon talking point since 2009 that Obama "projects" weakness and that tough-guy baddies like Putin et al will instinctively take advantage of that, and so whenever ANYTHING ANYWHERE in the world goes against perceived US interests (whether actual or just as as perceived by neocons)- it's because Obama is weak or perceived as weak-

it is and has been utter horseshit, but the ceaseless parroting of the meme has started to seep through so that now you have non-neocons spouting such crap.
   3348. BDC Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4666166)
Jimmy Carter got caught in an analogous bind. When he suggested tying American favors abroad to human rights, he was criticized for lacking Kissinger's flexible grasp of Realpolitik. When he promoted negotiation and dialogue instead, he was too flexible. (Give up the Panama Canal today, see your embassy in Tehran pushed over tomorrow.) As with every President, the balance sheet is going to be somewhere in the middle of extreme perceptions. Even Carter, who floundered a lot of the time, has Camp David to his lasting credit. I'm no great fan of Obama on a lot of issues, but he has de-escalated conflict and brought troops home, relatively speaking, and I can't see how the US or its image or causes internationally are weaker now than in 2008 – if somebody can point to actual evidence that they are, instead of "we know he's fixing to surrender to anybody who asks any minute now," I'll be happy to listen.
   3349. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4666167)
Because it's been a ceaseless neocon talking point since 2009 that Obama "projects" weakness and that tough-guy baddies like Putin et al will instinctively take advantage of that, and so whenever ANYTHING ANYWHERE in the world goes against perceived US interests (whether actual or just as as perceived by neocons)- it's because Obama is weak or perceived as weak-

it is and has been utter horseshit, but the ceaseless parroting of the meme has started to seep through so that now you have non-neocons spouting such crap.


Or you have people who don't get bogged down in the day-to-day lunacy of the provincial red/blue rhetorical wars and speak up at more interesting times -- i.e., now. My summary of Obama's foreign policy was set out in the way and at the time it was for much the same reasons that, say, the Post editorial board decided to editorialize yesterday.

US foreign policy toward Putin and Russia since at least Georgia has been weak and overly optimistic about Putin's intentions and aims. A great deal of that was on Obama's watch.



   3350. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4666171)
One of the reasons we couldn't rally Europe in support of Georgia in 2008 was because we were actually weaker after 6 years of bellicose "with us or against us" policy and had no ally cooperation outside of Tony Blair's UK.
   3351. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4666172)
The post editorial board are neocons.
   3352. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4666173)
Even Carter, who floundered a lot of the time, has Camp David to his lasting credit.


saying Carter floundered is something of an understatement
   3353. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4666174)
Wait, you want to take on the burden of defending a fractured state whose government is all of two weeks old, in a place where there is little in the way of US interests? Why Ukraine and not, say, Mongolia or Eritrea?

Yes, because we already guaranteed their borders when they gave up nukes. We should live up to our promise.

Second, it is 100% in the US interests to stop Russia from dominating Eastern Europe.

Ding! We have a winner. Taking on that burden would be insane and would almost certainly lead to either the fracturing of NATO or a pointless and destructive war as great powers find themselves forced to fight to uphold a poorly thought out treaty obligation.

If Putin wants a war, better to fight it in Eastern Ukraine, than Eastern Poland. Better to fight it now, when we can crush his army without breaking a sweat, than in the future when we have disarmed more.
   3354. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4666176)
The big problem with announcing that we are guaranteeing Ukraine's pre-invasion borders is what will we do to enforce that if the current situation continues? What if Putin decides that Crimea will have to be enough and just lets things be with Russian troops holding it? Nobody, even the usual hawks as far as I know, is advocating military action over the Crimean occupation. We'd look like fools making a public guarantee like that and having nothing to back it up besides the same diplomatic options we're exercising now.

I'm saying we should guarantee the borders, ex-Crimea. That ship has sailed.

The point of the guarantee is to coerce Putin into accepting his winnings (Crimea) and moving on.
   3355. Srul Itza Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4666180)
If Putin wants a war, better to fight it in Eastern Ukraine, than Eastern Poland.


I know that Europe is important to the US for a hundred reasons, but the fact remains that the EU economy is five times that of Russia, and has three times the population. Why the hell do we have to fight for Europe? Why the hell can't Europe fight for itself?

Aren't we finally past the days when the thought of a German army, commensurate with that country's size and economy, should no longer send us screaming?

I mean, it took Russia two tries just to beat Chechnya; why can't Europe stand up to the Great Russian Bear? Why do we have to be the ones to do it?

If they want our air support, and our nuclear shield, and our satellite/signals intelligence and Command & Control systems, fine. But how much more help from us should they really need?

NATO was founded, according to the old saying, to keep the US in, the Russians out, and the Germans down. Time for Europe to stop dithering, and stand up for itself.
   3356. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4666183)
Ding! We have a winner. Taking on that burden would be insane and would almost certainly lead to either the fracturing of NATO or a pointless and destructive war as great powers find themselves forced to fight to uphold a poorly thought out treaty obligation.

If Putin wants a war, better to fight it in Eastern Ukraine, than Eastern Poland. Better to fight it now, when we can crush his army without breaking a sweat, than in the future when we have disarmed more.


You're not taking into account the likelihood of a war if NATO expands into Ukraine as opposed to keeping put. It's already been explained; Ukraine MATTERS to Russia in a way that Poland does not. If USG sets up shop in Ukraine, Russia will perceive it as a threat and a provocation and act accordingly.

USG needs to accept that Russia is, at the very least, a strong regional power and Ukraine is their front yard. Failing to recognize that reality will do nothing but create hostility and ill will, which increases the chances of things erupting into a shooting war down the line. USG doesn't take kindly to foreign powers meddling in, say, the Carribean, and this is essentially the same thing.
   3357. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4666184)
You're not taking into account the likelihood of a war if NATO expands into Ukraine as opposed to keeping put. It's already been explained; Ukraine MATTERS to Russia in a way that Poland does not. If USG sets up shop in Ukraine, Russia will perceive it as a threat and a provocation and act accordingly.

USG needs to accept that Russia is, at the very least, a strong regional power and Ukraine is their front yard. Failing to recognize that reality will do nothing but create hostility and ill will, which increases the chances of things erupting into a shooting war down the line. USG doesn't take kindly to foreign powers meddling in, say, the Carribean, and this is essentially the same thing.


No, we don't need to accept that. The Ukraine doesn't want to be part of the new Russian Empire, and we guaranteed it wouldn't happen, and have the strength to live up to that.

In all the history I've studied, I've never read about a war that was prevented by giving in to an expansionistic bully.
   3358. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4666185)
I know that Europe is important to the US for a hundred reasons, but the fact remains that the EU economy is five times that of Russia, and has three times the population. Why the hell do we have to fight for Europe? Why the hell can't Europe fight for itself?

Damn straight they should. That's why I want NATO admission, not just a US guarantee.

If push comes to shove, I expect to see German troops, and British troops, and Polish troops right alongside us.

Although probably the 2 German heavy divisions and the 2 US heavy divisions in Europe, could defeat the Russian Army all by themselves.

Aren't we finally past the days when the thought of a German army, commensurate with that country's size and economy, should no longer send us screaming?

I mean, it took Russia two tries just to beat Chechnya; why can't Europe stand up to the Great Russian Bear? Why do we have to be the ones to do it?


We need to be there to contain the Germans. Their allies still don't trust them. If you were Poland, would you ever trust them?
   3359. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4666186)
No, we don't need to accept that. The Ukraine doesn't want to be part of the new Russian Empire, and we guaranteed it wouldn't happen, and have the strength to live up to that.


How many US servicemen are you willing to see dead to protect the interests of a plurality of Ukrainians? Because for me, that answer is zero.
   3360. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4666187)
No, we don't need to accept that. The Ukraine doesn't want to be part of the new Russian Empire, and we guaranteed it wouldn't happen, and have the strength to live up to that.


The trouble is that Ukraine is hardly a stable unified nation on that point, it's not Poland or the Baltics who all wanted in NATO/Western Europe by overwhelming majorities.
   3361. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4666188)
If push comes to shove, I expect to see German troops, and British troops, and Polish troops right alongside us.


No ONE there wants to see German troops, give it another couple of generations
   3362. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4666189)
It's already been explained; Ukraine MATTERS to Russia in a way that Poland does not. If USG sets up shop in Ukraine, Russia will perceive it as a threat and a provocation and act accordingly.

It perceives everything as a threat and a provocation. That can't drive our policy.

And as noted, assuming its true, it of no moment that Ukraine MATTERS to Russia that much. It has no legitimate interest in keeping Ukraine out of Europe.

   3363. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4666191)
In all the history I've studied, I've never read about a war that was prevented by giving in to an expansionistic bully.


Yes, and Russia is trying to stand up to USG. But perhaps if USG was willing to stand down, even that would be unnecessary.
   3364. Sonic Youk Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4666194)
I can't think of any bigger example of mission creep than NATO expanding into a Ethnically Russian country, which most recently elected a pro Russian government, specifically because it might yield the positive result of a shooting war with Russia.
   3365. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4666195)
How many US servicemen are you willing to see dead to protect the interests of a plurality of Ukrainians? Because for me, that answer is zero.

It's a question of living up to our commitments and showing that a US guarantee is worth something.

Yes, and Russia is trying to stand up to USG. But perhaps if USG was willing to stand down, even that would be unnecessary.

The US hasn't done anything in the Ukraine. WTF are you talking about?
   3366. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4666197)
I can't think of any bigger example of mission creep than NATO expanding into a Ethnically Russian country, which most recently elected a pro Russian government, specifically because it might yield the positive result of a shooting war with Russia.

Ukranians aren't ethnically Russian. The only reason so many speak Russian is because it was imposed on them in various Tsarist and Soviet attempts to eradicate their culture.
   3367. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4666198)
No ONE there wants to see German troops, give it another couple of generations

I'm sure the Ukranians would loooooove to have 2 Panzer divisions sitting in eastern Ukraine right now, if they were under NATO command.
   3368. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4666199)
The trouble is that Ukraine is hardly a stable unified nation on that point, it's not Poland or the Baltics who all wanted in NATO/Western Europe by overwhelming majorities.

They wanted the mere association agreement with Europe enough to die in the streets for it and depose the politician who trecherously thwarted it. Most/all of the actions against Yanukovich have been by huge parliamentary votes. There wasn't much East Uk parliamentary sentiment for keeping Yanukovich or not freeing Yulia ___________.

The vote to be independent of Russia in late 1991 was a landslide -- 92.3% yes, 7.7% no. The lowest non-Crimean provincial yes vote was 83.86%, in Luhansk. Even Crimea voted "Yes," but only by 54.6% of the vote.
   3369. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4666200)
How many US servicemen are you willing to see dead to protect the interests of a plurality of Ukrainians? Because for me, that answer is zero.

It's a question of living up to our commitments and showing that a US guarantee is worth something.


Well then quantify what it's actually worth and answer my question. How many dead US servicemen do we "owe" a plurality of Ukrainians?

The US hasn't done anything in the Ukraine. WTF are you talking about?


Threatening to make Ukraine part of NATO is bullying and encroachment on the part of USG. USG absolutely wouldn't tolerate that in their own backyard, and it's foolish to assume the Russians would acquiesce to such bullying on their doorstep.
   3370. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4666201)
Although probably the 2 German heavy divisions and the 2 US heavy divisions in Europe, could defeat the Russian Army all by themselves.


You've had this delusion of Soviet/Russian Military weakness forever- you thought the Western Allies could have rolled right over the Red Army in 1945 (Western Military planners who actually looked into that at the time concluded the opposite).

Russia is far stronger now than it was between 1992-2004 or so.
Their stuff isn't as good as ours, but it is by and large better than the crap they sold/gave away to others- the guns on the tanks they sold to Iraq couldn't penetrate the armor of our Abrams Tanks- the guns on the tanks in Russian service almost certainly CAN, the tanks they sold for export did not have, the T-90 has composite armor, their exported tanks did not- it's not going to be as easy to blow their turrets airborne with one hit as it was to Iraqi T-60s.

Plus as they say, quantity has a quality all it's own- they have a shitload of troops- not as many as they used to of course- but they also restructured their divisional structure more in line with how Western Armies do those things
   3371. BDC Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4666204)
We need to be there to contain the Germans. Their allies still don't trust them. If you were Poland, would you ever trust them?

Um, there is no border between Poland and Germany. I've crossed it, which is to say I didn't much notice the crossing, except the weird street signs. Does that count as trust?

21st-century Germany profoundly distrusts its own military tradition. There is no national service requirement anymore. The military is tiny (compared to the past). The presence of a few battalions in Afghanistan is the source of continuous controversy and re-examination. Absent a tsunamesque sea change in German politics and culture, there is simply no issue of "containing the Germans."

Go ahead, call me Neville Chamberlain :)


   3372. Srul Itza Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4666205)
We need to be there to contain the Germans.


and

No ONE there wants to see German troops, give it another couple of generations


It really is time to give it a rest. These ain't your father's Germans.

   3373. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4666206)
Jason, Obama stopped by Georgia this week to make the point that Georgia was back on the NATO fast track.

To be clear, Sam: Obama dropped by a meeting at the White House between Biden and the Georgian PM. In any event, there will need to be a lot of arm twisting to get Angela Merkel on board with that plan.

To be clearer still: The Bush administration strongly supporteed the NATO admission of Ukraine and Georgia in April 2008 when their petitions were up for discussion but Merkel objected. (Shock.)
   3374. steagles Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4666208)
If Putin wants a war, better to fight it in Eastern Ukraine, than Eastern Poland. Better to fight it now, when we can crush his army without breaking a sweat, than in the future when we have disarmed more.
JESUS ####### CHRIST!!!

not only has everything you've said in the last week been completely wrong, but now you want to start a war with russia for the same stated justification as WW1.

even as a joke, that's ####### terrible.
   3375. Srul Itza Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4666209)
You've had this delusion of Soviet/Russian Military weakness forever


And you seem to have the same problem the West had pre-Glasnost of the Russian Army being 10 feet tall.

It is still mostly conscripts who are not as well trained as our troops and who don't want to be there. Sure, if we invaded, they would fight to the end. But as a mobile force in an invasion against a real army? I don't see it.

   3376. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4666210)
You've had this delusion of Soviet/Russian Military weakness forever- you thought the Western Allies could have rolled right over the Red Army in 1945 (Western Military planners who actually looked into that at the time concluded the opposite).

Russia is far stronger now than it was between 1992-2004 or so.
Their stuff isn't as good as ours, but it is by and large better than the crap they sold/gave away to others- the guns on the tanks they sold to Iraq couldn't penetrate the armor of our Abrams Tanks- the guns on the tanks in Russian service almost certainly CAN, the tanks they sold for export did not have, the T-90 has composite armor, their exported tanks did not- it's not going to be as easy to blow their turrets airborne with one hit as it was to Iraqi T-60s.

Plus as they say, quantity has a quality all it's own- they have a shitload of troops- not as many as they used to of course- but they also restructured their divisional structure more in line with how Western Armies do those things


The Soviet/Russian Army has always sucked and I have no doubt continues to suck. On the WW2 point, have you seen the casualty ratios an exhausted Wehrmacht was able to inflict even in 1945? How about 100,000 Finns (virtually bereft of heavy weapons) beating the #### out of 1 million well equipped Soviet troops?

Plus, the Red hordes are no more. They've massively downsized their army. They have less than 400,000 troops in the army, half of whom are conscripts, and seem to have the equivalent of about 10 active divisions.

Edit: not to say that the individual soldiers aren't brave, they can be ferocious fighters. But their officer corps has always been politicized, corrupt and incompetent. And, they have no professional NCO corps.
   3377. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4666211)
In all the history I've studied, I've never read about a war that was prevented by giving in to an expansionistic bully.


You're making it about us, when it has nothing to do with us. We're not giving in, since the Crimea is not ours to dispose of at our whim. I agree that if Russia annexed Crimea it would be of concern as far as an international precedent, but Russia hasn't annexed the Crimea, it hasn't embarked on hostilities against the Ukraine, and our best bet is a negotiated settlement that prevents a massive regional war. I don't even think we're past the point where Russia might withdraw forces from the Ukraine.

Nothing has been settled yet, and yet the one act that would most likely lead to a shooting war is bringing the Ukraine into NATO.
   3378. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4666212)
FWIW, Snapper, Ukrainians I meet insist that their country be called "Ukraine," not "The Ukraine," as the latter suggests it's not sovereign.

   3379. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4666213)
USG absolutely wouldn't tolerate that in their own backyard, and it's foolish to assume the Russians would acquiesce to such bullying on their doorstep.

The Russians already didn't acquiesce to Ukraine executing an association agreement with the EU. Again, not really worthy of consideration. US interests and Russian "interests" are at cross-purposes on the issue.

Thus, the conflict.
   3380. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4666218)
FWIW, Snapper, Ukrainians I meet insist that their country be called "Ukraine," not "The Ukraine," as the latter suggests it's not sovereign.

Only a few of them though. All over Eastern Ukraine, they're insisting on calling it "The Ukraine."
   3381. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4666219)
They've massively downsized their army.


You may not have noticed this, but everyone in Europe has.
   3382. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4666220)
I'm saying we should guarantee the borders, ex-Crimea. That ship has sailed.


I would be a bit more cautious as to how that's communicated. We must not accept the loss of Crimea. Did we recognize the Soviet abosorpion of the Baltic States? More recently, does anyone save Russia and Nicaragua recognize the Georgian breakaway provinces?
   3383. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4666221)
Only a few of them though. All over Eastern Ukraine, they're insisting on calling it "The Ukraine."

Not surprisingly, those would be the ethnic Russians. :-)
   3384. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4666223)
And you seem to have the same problem the West had pre-Glasnost of the Russian Army being 10 feet tall.


No, man for man they are not as good as ours, or our allies, my point was they are not nearly as bad as the Iraqis and the assumption of some that we'd roll over their army the way we did Hussein's is serious wishcasting.


   3385. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4666224)
Not surprisingly, those would be the ethnic Russians. :-)

there seems to be some dispute here (on BBTF) whether or not there are any in the Ukraine :-)
   3386. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4666228)
FWIW, Snapper, Ukrainians I meet insist that their country be called "Ukraine," not "The Ukraine," as the latter suggests it's not sovereign.


Maybe in their language, but not in English, where we have The Netherlands, The Vatican, The Seychelles, The Congo, The Maldives, The Philippines, The Sudan, The United Kingdom, The United States, etc.
   3387. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4666230)
Did we recognize the Soviet abosorpion of the Baltic States?
no

More recently, does anyone save Russia and Nicaragua recognize the Georgian breakaway provinces?


Abkhazia has also been recognized by:
Venezuela
Nauru
Tuvalu
and, wait for it:
South Ossetia
   3388. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4666233)
Maybe in their language, but not in English, where we have The Netherlands, The Vatican, The Seychelles, The Congo, The Maldives, The Philippines, The Sudan, The United Kingdom, The United States, etc.

Aren't some of those colloquial? Off the top of my head, it's Maldives, not The Maldives, and Congo, not The Congo, and Sudan, not The Sudan.

I hope that clears things up, The SdeB, The Sugar Bear, and The Snapper.
   3389. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4666235)
it hasn't embarked on hostilities against the Ukraine


define "hostilities"
   3390. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4666236)
Congo would like for you to drop the the too.
   3391. Lassus Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4666237)
not The Congo

"Congo" may be proper, but I've only ever heard "The Congo".

International and possible violent carping over a definite article seems kind of the very definition of why we can't have nice things.
   3392. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4666238)
Aren't some of those colloquial? Off the top of my head, it's Maldives, not The Maldives, and Congo, not The Congo, and Sudan, not The Sudan.


My old globe refers to Argentina as La Argentina (The Argentine in English), but looking I find that the country's actual name (in Spanish) is República Argentina.

   3393. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4666241)
The Congo and The Ukraine are geographies. Like The Appalachians.
   3394. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4666243)
but I've only ever heard "The Congo".


I've only ever heard "The Congo" in the context of the colonial era- but looking I see that the "official" name in English of the bigger country is "Democratic Republic of the Congo" and the smaller country is "Republic of the Congo"
   3395. Lassus Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4666245)
The Congo and The Ukraine are geographies. Like The Appalachians.

Right. This doesn't change that the country has been very frequently referred to as "The Congo". That's all I was saying, that is how many many many people have identified the country, even if they are all incorrect.
   3396. GregD Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4666246)
He's certainly going through a lot of effort not to discuss Benghazi this week.
But now Lindsay Graham has foiled the president's scheme
   3397. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4666247)
The Congo and The Ukraine are geographies. Like The Appalachians.

It's precisely that perception that makes people not want the nation "Ukraine" called "The Ukraine."

   3398. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4666248)
FWIW, Snapper, Ukrainians I meet insist that their country be called "Ukraine," not "The Ukraine," as the latter suggests it's not sovereign.

I know, but old habits die hard. Damn you Risk!
   3399. Lassus Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4666249)
It's precisely that perception that makes people not want the nation "Ukraine" called "The Ukraine."

See #3391 regarding why we can't have nice things.
   3400. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4666250)
And yes Jason, Germany refused Georgian access to NATO in 2008, and the US, at the nadir of our soft power* in Europe couldn't move that needle.

Six years of rebuilding that soft power has us in a much stronger position to deal with Russian adventures now.

*soft power. Another form of strength in the world. Gasp.
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