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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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   3401. Srul Itza Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4666253)
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.


On the defense, they would truly be formidable.

As a mobile, maneuvering attacking force, against a modern army, I think they would get their clock cleaned pretty good.

At the least, it would be a good opportunity to see how drones do as tank-busters.
   3402. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4666255)
On the defense, they would truly be formidable.

As a mobile, maneuvering attacking force, against a modern army, I think they would get their clock cleaned pretty good.

At the least, it would be a good opportunity to see how drones do as tank-busters.


Concur. They would fight like hell in cities, mountains, swamps, etc. Out on the open steppes of eastern Ukraine, they'd do little better than the Iraqis.
   3403. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4666256)
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.

So you're saying you weren't around when Charles deGaulle walked the face of the Earth? Roosevelt couldn't handle him when he was commanding the Free French forces, and Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson had even less luck when he was ruling France.

Although Merkel is a way more cooperative ally than deGaulle, don't bank on a Germany in the clutches of Gazporom to suddenly change course and approve the fast-tracking of Georgia into NATO.

   3404. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4666258)
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."


Um, the name of the region is "Appalachia". No "the". There is no significance to using "the" in English. That's why when we refer to Nebraska when it was a territory, we have to say "Nebraska Territory", not "The Nebraska".
   3405. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4666259)
Congo would like for you to drop the the too.


Good god -- did Matt Johnson run over their dog?
   3406. BDC Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4666262)
Louis Prima preferred the article form:

Bongo bongo bongo
I don't wanna leave the Congo
No no no no no no.

I've read some linguistics articles that suggest that "the" forms sometimes historically precede forms without the article, at least as English goes. "The Argentine" was common a century or more ago. The theory is that as the geographical area becomes more familiar to English speakers, it tends to lose the article.

This doesn't explain The Bronx (though as a county or as a postal address, it's just Bronx). One etymology I've read for that is that much of the borough was once the farm of somebody named Brunk or Bronck, hence an origin of "Bronk's" as a possessive.
   3407. GregD Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4666263)
So you're saying you weren't around when Charles deGaulle walked the face of the Earth? Roosevelt couldn't handle him when he was commanding the Free French forces, and Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson had even less luck when he was ruling France.
The Algerians though....

What is amusing is the gap between the US view of de Gaulle and French conservatives' vision of him as the ultimate surrender monkey for abandoning the white Algerian settlers in his desperation to cut a face-saving deal and retreat.
   3408. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4666265)
Merkle may be intransigent. I'll concede that.
   3409. BDC Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4666266)
Merkle may be intransigent

We should try touching base with her anyway.
   3410. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4666270)
We should try touching base with her anyway.

What a bone-headed suggestion.
   3411. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4666274)
What is amusing is the gap between the US view of de Gaulle and French conservatives' vision of him as the ultimate surrender monkey for abandoning the white Algerian settlers in his desperation to cut a face-saving deal and retreat.

Interestingly, the Pied Noirs (white Algerians) were strong supporters of the leftist parties in France. Probably one of the reasons DeGaulle didn't blanch at cutting a deal.
   3412. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4666283)
Been away for a few hours, and I come back to claims that the US could handily defeat the Russians on their own doorstep...... I'm going to go talk with people that have the ability to acknowledge reality, this is just too much.
   3413. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4666292)
Been away for a few hours, and I come back to claims that the US could handily defeat the Russians on their own doorstep...... I'm going to go talk with people that have the ability to acknowledge reality, this is just too much.

NATO could, yes. We could do it alone, if we had time to re-position our forces.

Why is this a strange idea? The Russian Army is smaller than the US Army today, and still mostly composed of conscripts.

Do you contend the US Army is not much better than the Russian Army, man for man? That's not even getting into the massive air superiority we would quickly have.
   3414. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4666295)
It's time that everyone took a breath and got some sensible perspective about Ukraine.

Senator Lindsey Graham, that's your cue:
"It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression."
   3415. The District Attorney Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4666299)
Merkle may be intransigent.
Maybe she's tense. A backrub might help?

But yeah, Europe literally cannot afford to lose Russia as an economic market. Nor does it want to admit countries into the economic union that are so financially precarious. Ukraine and Georgia will not be joining NATO or the EU anytime soon.

The idea that these countries should be immediately inducted into the EU/NATO as a message to Russia, rather than on their own merits, is a very misguided idea to begin with. Even if Russia could be cut off by the West -- which, again, it cannot, it is simply too big and too full of resources that the rest of the world wants, but even if it could -- it would not cease to exist. If it feels like it's been kicked out of the West, it'll exercise the other options it has with countries that are not aligned with the West. That means stronger alliances with China, Syria and Iran. Not what we want, at all. Probably much worse for American interests, in fact, than anything that could occur in Ukraine.

We need both sticks and carrots, and once you've beaten the donkey with the stick until it flees the farm, you can no longer offer it carrots.
   3416. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4666300)
I'm sure Joey and SBB are writing Linds checks as we speak.
   3417. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4666303)
Senator Lindsey Graham, that's your cue:
Even Michelle Malkin told him to pipe down.
   3418. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4666307)
The idea that these countries should be immediately inducted into the EU/NATO as a message to Russia, rather than on their own merits, is a very misguided idea to begin with.

We should invite Ukraine and Russia into EU/NATO at the same time.
   3419. BDC Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4666309)
We could do it alone, if we had time to re-position our forces

OK, Napoleon, have at it.
   3420. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4666310)
Snapper, the US hasn't decisively won a war for almost three generations. The fact that people are even contemplating this situation could be solved militarily is just really, really scary. Russia is not Iraq, it is not the Viet Cong, it is not Libya, and it is not Afghanistan. War is not like baseball. You can't run a simulation based on the stats of the forces involved and make a prediction.

My brother is in the Canadian Navy, and he is continually astounded at the ineptitude of his US counterparts, with whom he has participated in many drills and exercises over the past 12 years. He has many, many examples, including a group of sailors he met that didn't even know what class of ship they were stationed on. I can't imagine the other forces are any different. I realize these comments will be seen as highly inflammatory, but I'm just relaying information.

I'm done talking about Ukraine.

   3421. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4666311)
NATO could, yes. We could do it alone, if we had time to re-position our forces.

Why is this a strange idea? The Russian Army is smaller than the US Army today, and still mostly composed of conscripts.

Do you contend the US Army is not much better than the Russian Army, man for man? That's not even getting into the massive air superiority we would quickly have.


Sure, what could go wrong? We'll all be home by Christmas no doubt.
   3422. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4666317)
Snapper, the US hasn't decisively won a war for almost three generations.

Yet the US has won virtually every battle.

My brother is in the Canadian Navy, and he is continually astounded at the ineptitude of his US counterparts, with whom he has participated in many drills and exercises over the past 12 years. He has many, many examples, including a group of sailors he met that didn't even know what class of ship they were stationed on. I can't imagine the other forces are any different. I realize these comments will be seen as highly inflammatory, but I'm just relaying information.

Well, I'll take the actual battlefield performance of the US military over your brother's anecdotes. Our Grand Stratgey has sucked in places like Iraq and Afghanistan (just like Vietnam) but tactically and operationally our forces have been among the most efficient and effective ever fielded.

Sure, what could go wrong? We'll all be home by Christmas no doubt.

No one's talking about invading Russian. US forces would be fighting on the defensive in the Ukraine.

And, it will never come to actual fighting, unless we fail to show resolve. Putin doesn't want a war, he wants a cheap victory.

The mere presence of NATO forces on the ground would ensure Russia doesn't invade Ukraine.

"Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum."
   3423. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4666318)
Like The Appalachians.


"The Appalachians" refers to the mountains, the [cultural] region as a whole is Appalachia (as someone else noted)

so: The Appalachians,
The Catskills,
The Rockies,
The Alps,
The Urals,
The Andes
and so on
   3424. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4666324)
The Catskills,
The Rockies,
The Alps,
The Urals,
The Andes
and so on


The Misty Mountains
The Reach
The Delta Quadrant
   3425. steagles Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4666325)
Well, I'll take the actual battlefield performance of the US military over your brother's anecdotes. Our Grand Stratgey has sucked in places like Iraq and Afghanistan (just like Vietnam) but tactically and operationally our forces have been among the most efficient and effective ever fielded.
this is outrageous. the complete lack of self-awareness in this statement is astonishing.
   3426. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4666326)
Snapper, the US hasn't decisively won a war for almost three generations.

Yet the US has won virtually every battle.


I think the British showed that it's better if you do it the other way around.
   3427. Lassus Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4666327)
I'm done talking about Ukraine.

What about their gold?

I kid because I love.
   3428. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4666328)
this is outrageous. the complete lack of self-awareness in this statement is astonishing.


Do you mean his seemingly inability to think about our "Grand Strategy" at any level other than, "one of our armored divisions can lick two of theirs?"

or do you mean his claim that "tactically and operationally our forces have been among the most efficient and effective ever fielded." 'cause that part really can't be disputed.
   3429. Sonic Youk Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4666332)
Why didn't we just go kick their ass during that whole Cold War thing? Can't remember!
   3430. BDC Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4666333)
I'm hardly agreeing with snapper here, but the 1991 Gulf War was a decisive victory.

"Victory" is largely determined by how one defines it. One of the painful things about Vietnam, Iraq since 2003, and Afghanistan has been that there is no clear sense of what would constitute victory, and thus how to end the conflict. And that's one reason I invoke the 1991 war. The goal was to liberate Kuwait. The US and allies did so and declared the war over. Saddam was not defeated or deposed or even weakened much domestically, and this drove people nuts whose image of victory was MacArthur on the Missouri. But Kuwait stayed liberated; and it was a place that one could imagine liberated (ie restored to the status quo).

Needless to say, "victory" in some bizarro US-Russian war on the steppes would consist not only of the Russians somehow suing for peace (which they might never do), but also of occupying Crimea or other disgruntled provinces indefinitely à la Iraq, and that's where this scenario goes from fantasy into horror.
   3431. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4666339)
Rants is both wrong and right. Wrong in that, of course, the United States has had the option to limitlessly kill and destroy every opponent it's faced since for, more or less the last 100 years. From a military perspective, reaching the point where you have the ability to kill and destroy your opponent at will is victory.

But he's right: we have no chance of winning a war in Russia, and we don't win wars anymore.

The United States' inability to win wars is political, not military. If a military opponent refuses to surrender, the only option is to keep killing and destroying until the opponent surrenders. Since WWII, save the Gulf War, our opponent's willingness to be killed and destroyed has exceeded our appetite to kill and destroy them. Accordingly, they "win", in that cannot achieve our aims. That is not our military's fault.

The myth that Rants and BM subscribe to is that wars cannot be won, even by a great power like the United States. This is, of course, wrong. We can win wars, but we elect not to for political / moral reasons.

Now, when it comes to Russia, could we "win" a defensive war in Ukraine handly? Probably, since we have the vastly superior military, and the Russians' willingness to be killed and destroyed for Ukraine is unlikely to exceed our willingness to kill and destroy them, if it came to that. On the contrary, we'd get our clock cleaned in any invasion of Russia, since our appetite to mow down Russians would be far less than the Russians' willingness to keep charging.

None of this stuff is particularly insightful, of course; its just the basic precepts of asymmetric war. But the key point is that with modern sensibilities about slaughter and modern capabilities for total war, there is really no such thing as limited war in an invasion of another land, even if we're talking about a clash of (reasonably evenly matched) professional armies. You have to go in there willing to kill mercilessly, because your opponent will no doubt be willing to subject itself to your merciless killing in order to defeat you.

   3432. Guapo Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4666340)
Naked Dude Covered in Jello Had Sex with Cows While His Friend Filmed Everything

Yet again, we see the consequences of the weakness projected by Obama, as it emboldened Naked Dude to cover himself with jello and have sex with a cow without fear of reprisals.
   3433. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4666342)
One of the painful things about Vietnam, Iraq since 2003, and Afghanistan has been that there is no clear sense of what would constitute victory,


I think victory in Afghanistan would constitute an Afghanistan without either the Taliban or continuing Civil War- obviously that has not been achieved.

Victory in Iraq?
Well, the Iraqi Kurds won (on the same principal that Canada was the clear winner of the War of 1812)... not sure anyone else on any side can make that claim. As you note, I'm not sure what would constitute victory.

Vietnam: oddly enough Vietnam is slowly turning into something of a regional ally, 'cause they want someone to counter their bigger neighbors and unlike Nork their leaders are not insane, nor do they hold grudges forever like those in Tehran...

   3434. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4666344)
No one's talking about invading Russian. US forces would be fighting on the defensive in the Ukraine.


Uh huh. And wars always go exactly according to plan; especially after the shooting starts!

And, it will never come to actual fighting, unless we fail to show resolve. Putin doesn't want a war, he wants a cheap victory.


It's true he doesn't want a war. Which is why we should avoid pushing and provoking him into one.

"Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum."


What does this have to do with Ukraine? USG is already plenty prepared for war, and guess what? Nobody is threatening to attack them. Ukraine on the other hand is both divided and militarily weak compared to Russia, and while that sucks for them, I don't see how that rises to the level of a shooting problem for USG. We need to go to war so Ukraine doesn't look weak? Screw that noise.
   3435. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4666347)
The mere presence of NATO forces on the ground would ensure Russia doesn't invade Ukraine.


The presence of NATO troops on the ground 500 KM from Kursk would be a provocation in and of itself. Good lord. Your talking about the equivalent of the Russians stationing troops in Tijuana and expecting the US to not get a bug up its ass about all of those guns pointed towards all of the San Diego military personnel.
   3436. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4666350)
"The Appalachians" refers to the mountains, the [cultural] region as a whole is Appalachia (as someone else noted)

so: The Appalachians,
The Catskills,
The Rockies,
The Alps,
The Urals,
The Andes
and so on


That's precisely the point. Ukrainians don't want their nation referred to as a "The Appalachians," but rather as "Appalachia." Ditto "The Congo." It's a nation, not a geographic region.
   3437. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4666352)
Also, the casual conversation of going to war with Russia is astoundingly stupid. We couldn't win a victory of merit in Iraq or Afghanistan, but you boys think Russia is going to be a cake walk? For ####'s sake. Yes, the US military is better equipped, better manned, and better trained. The Russians would simply be fighting for Mother Russia on Russian soil. What the ####? Who would think that's a good idea? It's like you're trying to check off a list of every possible wrong move in history.

Get involved in a land war in central Asia? Check!
Get involved in a territorial war in Russia? Sure, why not?!
   3438. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4666356)
Your talking about the equivalent of the Russians stationing troops in Tijuana and expecting the US to not get a bug up its ass about all of those guns pointed towards all of the San Diego military personnel.

But will they be hiding Mexicans and Central Americans in secret compartments beneath their T-90 tanks as they cross the border?
   3439. Howie Menckel Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4666358)

interesting

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2014/03/04/changing-tone-national-council-la-raza-blasts-obama-as-deporter-in-chief/

"In a stark reversal of its diplomatic approach to the Obama administration’s controversial handling of immigration, the largest and oldest Latino civil rights group in the United States is attacking the president for deporting more immigrants than any other in the nation’s history.

The president of the National Council of La Raza, in fact, plans to make the group’s frustration and anger over the nearly 2 million deportations the focus of her speech at its annual Capital Awards dinner Tuesday night, where nearly 800 legislative, corporate and community leaders are expected to be in the audience.

“For the president, I think his legacy is at stake here,” NCLR president Janet Murguía said in an interview with Politico. “We consider him the Deportation President, or the Deporter-in-Chief.”
   3440. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4666359)
The presence of NATO troops on the ground 500 KM from Kursk would be a provocation in and of itself. Good lord. Your talking about the equivalent of the Russians stationing troops in Tijuana and expecting the US to not get a bug up its ass about all of those guns pointed towards all of the San Diego military personnel.

Sure, one NATO brigade, or even 2 divisions is a credible threat to invade Russia. C'mon. We're talking about a tripwire.
   3441. zenbitz Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:27 PM (#4666360)

Just popping up out of my fallout shelter to say:

Number of conventional non proxy BATTLES fought between two nuclear powers: Zero. Wait. I may not be counting India/Pakistan disputes over Kashmir as an on going 60 years high altitude low manpower "battle".

There may be a conventional war between Nuclear Russia and Non-Nuclear Ukraine (or other non Nuclear ex-SSRs). The conventional military edge the US has over Russian (and I agree it's probably stupendous) is irrelevant. Russia won't fight NATO if they are not willing to use Nukes to end it.

Theoretically threatening actual shooting mechanized war with Russia might get them to back down, but it's basically a big nuclear bluff.
   3442. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:27 PM (#4666361)
Also, the casual conversation of going to war with Russia is astoundingly stupid. We couldn't win a victory of merit in Iraq or Afghanistan, but you boys think Russia is going to be a cake walk? For ####'s sake. Yes, the US military is better equipped, better manned, and better trained. The Russians would simply be fighting for Mother Russia on Russian soil. What the ####? Who would think that's a good idea? It's like you're trying to check off a list of every possible wrong move in history.

You're being an idiot. Precisely no one has suggested invading Russia.
   3443. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4666364)
The presence of NATO troops on the ground 500 KM from Kursk would be a provocation in and of itself.

Why? Non-allies have troops within 500 KM of each other all over Europe, and have from time immemorial. Hardly a provocation.

And, again, it doesn't matter if Russia has some crazy ass definition of "provocative." They're "provoked" by everything, and lefties have been voiding their bladders about so-called "provoking" them since at least 1980.

As Snapper said, if NATO had a couple divisions in Ukraine, Russia wouldn't dream of attacking them. Just as the Soviet Union never attacked W. Europe, notwithstanding the regularly "provocative" acts the West undertook pre-1989 -- including installing troops and nuclear missles well within Sam's magic 500 KM buffer zone of Warsaw Pact cities and forces.



   3444. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:35 PM (#4666368)
There may be a conventional war between Nuclear Russia and Non-Nuclear Ukraine (or other non Nuclear ex-SSRs). The conventional military edge the US has over Russian (and I agree it's probably stupendous) is irrelevant. Russia won't fight NATO if they are not willing to use Nukes to end it.

Exactly my point, RUSSIA WON'T FIGHT NATO.

So, all you have to do is let them know any further aggression against Ukraine is an act of war against NATO, and they'll content themselves with the Crimea.
   3445. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4666369)
You're being an idiot. Precisely no one has suggested invading Russia.


Great. So how do you plan on dealing with Russian logistics, missile emplacements, air defenses, listening stations, etc. located on the Russian side of the border? You just going to ignore them? Just going to cede those advantages to them? And if you DO attack them, you better believe that will be treated as an attack on Russian soil (which it would, in fact, be). And that's not even getting into the fact that ~half the population of Ukraine sympathizes with the Russians.

Point being, the military situation is not nearly as simple as you're making it out to be.
   3446. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4666370)
Why? Non-allies have troops within 500 KM of each other all over Europe, and have from time immemorial. Hardly a provocation.

And, again, it doesn't matter if Russia has some crazy ass definition of "provocative." They're "provoked" by everything, and lefties have been voiding their bladders about so-called "provoking" them since at least 1980.

As Snapper said, if NATO had a couple divisions in Ukraine, Russia wouldn't dream of attacking them. Just as the Soviet Union never attacked W. Europe, notwithstanding the regularly "provocative" acts the West undertook pre-1989 -- including installing troops and nuclear missles well within Sam's magic 500 KM buffer zone of Warsaw Pact cities and forces.


Why are you surprised? This is the same bullshit we heard from the same quarters in the '80's about "not provoking the Soviets".
   3447. Sonic Youk Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4666371)
What exactly is going to happen when the huge portion of the country that's pro Russian decides they didn't vote for any of this, and their guy got run out of office, and they aren't going to let some extremely flimsy interim government make massive decisions about the Ukrainian state? This looks like a great way to get involved in a civil war against Russians, on Russia's border.
   3448. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4666372)
Point being, the military situation is not nearly as simple as you're making it out to be.

There won't be a military situation, because Russia won't attack NATO forces in Ukraine.(*) They aren't going to kill a bunch of Ukranians and NATOites to gain greater control over the Ukraine.

(*) Just as they never attacked NATO forces in the Cold War, or when the Soviet Union was disintegrating.
   3449. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4666375)
What exactly is going to be the reaction of the huge portion of the country that's pro Russian decides they didn't vote for any of this, and their guy got run out of office, and they aren't going to let some extremely flimsy interim government make massive decisions about the Ukrainian state? This looks like a great way to get involved in a civil war again Russians, on Russia's border.

That's a massive overstatement of the situation as both the independence votes in 1991, and the parliamentary votes in 2014, demonstrate. Parliament voted overwhelmingly to depose Yanukovich. There isn't a "huge portion" of the country that's "pro-Russian." That meme is an invention of the faction favoring appeasement.
   3450. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4666377)

Looks like this guy disagrees with BBTF's liberals re: IQ:

TEHRAN (FNA)- Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces for Cultural Affairs and Defense Publicity Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri called the recent statements of US President Barack Obama on Iran as "the joke of the year", and warned Washington to be watchful of its words and actions when dealing with Iran or wait for "hell".

President Obama told Bloomberg news network a few days ago that 95 percent of the sanctions will remain in place during the course of negotiations between Iran and six world powers (the US, Russia, France, China and Britain plus Germany) over Tehran’s nuclear energy program. “We’re going to enforce them, and we’ve been enforcing them during the course of these discussions.”

In response, General Jazzayeri said on Tuesday, “The low-IQ US president and his country's Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of 'the US options on the table' on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, specially the children.”

Ouch!
   3451. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4666380)
(*) Just as they never attacked NATO forces in the Cold War, or when the Soviet Union was disintegrating.


This betrays a chronic misunderstanding of Russian goals. Russia wants buffer states between itself and the West. During the Cold War, it had ample buffer states. If the West claims Ukraine for itself, it will have none. This may not strike you as a big deal, but it's a big deal to the Russians.
   3452. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4666383)
In response, General Jazzayeri said on Tuesday, “The low-IQ US president and his country's Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of 'the US options on the table' on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, specially the children.”

In that vein, Joe K, here's what Bibi said at AIPAC on Iran this morning:
It’s not only that Iran doesn’t walk the walk. In the last few weeks, they don’t even bother to talk the talk. Iran’s leaders say they won’t dismantle a single centrifuge, they won’t discuss their ballistic missile program. And guess what tune they’re singing in Tehran? It’s not “God Bless America,” it’s “death to America.” And they chant this as brazenly as ever. Some charm offensive.
   3453. steagles Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4666384)
Ouch!
are you really so desperate for gratification that you're taking sides with some random iranian general as some kind of gotcha against the president of the united states?
   3454. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4666385)
In response, General Jazzayeri said on Tuesday, “The low-IQ US president


No one's told this guy that President Wet Brain hasn't held the position since 1/09?
   3455. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4666386)
In response, General Jazzayeri said on Tuesday, “The low-IQ US president and his country's Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of 'the US options on the table' on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, specially the children.”

I wonder how General Jazzayeri might do in a truly open and free election in his own country between himself and President Obama. And I wonder how Obama's IQ would shape up against about 99% of his critics, including the ones on BTF.
   3456. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4666387)
Russia wants buffer states between itself and the West. During the Cold War, it had ample buffer states. If the West claims Ukraine for itself, it will have none. This may not strike you as a big deal, but it's a big deal to the Russians.

It already has none -- both Estonia and Latvia are on its border.

In any event, I'm not going to doom European peoples to a life of geopolitical purgatory to assuage Russian paranoia. Not interested.

   3457. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4666390)
In that vein, Joe K, here's what Bibi said at AIPAC on Iran this morning:

I'm sure Bibi is right. This is what happens when the U.S. projects weakness.

***
are you really so desperate for gratification that you're taking sides with some random iranian general as some kind of gotcha against the president of the united states?

I'd take this comment much more seriously* if I had ever seen you complain about the never-ending litany of links to articles about obscure right-wingers that are presented here as being emblematic of, or relevant to, conservatives as a whole.


(* Well, as seriously as one can ever take a comment by steagles.)
   3458. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4666392)
It already has none -- both Estonia and Latvia are on its border.

For the record, Poland and Lithuania, both NATO members, border the Russian narco-sex trafficking wasteland known to some as Kaliningrad.
   3459. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4666395)
Why are you surprised? This is the same ######## we heard from the same quarters in the '80's about "not provoking the Soviets".


Whatever we did regarding the Soviets worked out pretty well, by the way. There was no WWIII and the Soviets are no more. Sure it could have been better (less waste on junk like SDI, for example), but overall provoking nuclear powers needlessly* is kind of a bad idea. Sure 99 times in a row they might not react, but you really don't want to hit the one time they do.

* In other words you better have a really damn good reason, a goal with a big payoff. Stopping the invasion of Ukraine that is not likely to happen anyway and would likely be a disaster for Russia even if it did, is not worth it IMO.
   3460. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:02 PM (#4666397)
I'm sure Bibi is right.


Bibi is hardly ever right regarding foreign policy. He loves him some war, especially if the US fights it for him. He loved Iraq (The US invasion). He also tried to meddle in a US election (which was just dumb on his part) and got some payback for that. Citing Bibi as an authority is basically a bad idea.

This is what happens when the U.S. projects weakness.


Again, Putin's bad idea is Putin's fault. Pretending we can have a world where the US controls everyone's actions and prevents foreign leaders from being stupid is crazy.
   3461. steagles Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4666398)
I'd take this comment much more seriously* if I had ever seen you complain about the never-ending litany of links to articles about obscure right-wingers that are presented here as being emblematic of, or relevant to, conservatives as whole.

(* Well, as seriously as one can ever take a comment by steagles.)
i believe that's a 'yes'. you really are that desperate for gratification.

now that you've recognized you have a problem, here's a video of ted nugent literally singing the praises of statutory rape.
   3462. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4666399)
In response, General Jazzayeri said on Tuesday, “The low-IQ US president and his country's Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of 'the US options on the table' on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, specially the children.”

The 'specially the children' line is beautiful. Kids love jokes involving foreign leaders! Everybody knows that! With my daughter it's always Rob Ford this, Hamid Karzai that, never gets old.

are you really so desperate for gratification that you're taking sides with some random iranian general as some kind of gotcha against the president of the united states?

Obviously.

   3463. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4666401)
here's a video of ted nugent literally singing the praises of statutory rape.

In fairness, about every fifth song in the 70s had the same theme. Nobody seemed to notice.
   3464. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4666402)
Bibi is hardly ever right regarding foreign policy. He loves him some war, especially if the US fights it for him. He loved Iraq (The US invasion). He also tried to meddle in a US election (which was just dumb on his part) and got some payback for that. Citing Bibi as an authority is basically a bad idea.

Maybe, but we weren't talking about any of those things. We were talking about Iran's nuclear program and its intentions therewith. And by all appearances, and per the rhetoric coming out of Iran, Bibi is right.
   3465. The District Attorney Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4666403)
are you really so desperate for gratification that you're taking sides with some random iranian general as some kind of gotcha against the president of the united states?
Sure, why not.
   3466. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4666404)
In any event, I'm not going to doom European peoples to a life of geopolitical purgatory to assuage Russian paranoia. Not interested.


Then I'll ask you the same question Snapper refused to answer. How many American lives are you willing to spend to defend the independence of a plurality of Ukrainians?
   3467. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4666406)
The 'specially the children' line is beautiful. Kids love jokes involving foreign leaders! Everybody knows that! With my daughter it's always Rob Ford this, Hamid Karzai that, never gets old.


You snark, but at this point in time "Rob Ford" may actually be a punchline that children understand, among big city Mayors his name recognition in the US may be approaching Marion Berry levels
   3468. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4666407)
Then I'll ask you the same question Snapper refused to answer. How many American lives are you willing to spend to defend the independence of a plurality of Ukrainians?

It wouldn't be just a plurality of Ukrainians being defended, and it would be properly analyzed as the latest act in a conflict in which a lot of lives have already been lost.

   3469. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4666408)
We were talking about Iran's nuclear program and its intentions therewith. And by all appearances, and per the rhetoric coming out of Iran, Bibi is right.


According to Bibi Iran has been months away from possessing nuclear weapons for 10+ years... of course he can't stop saying it, if he stops saying it and Iran get nukes then he'll be wrong, so he's going to keep saying it until it happens
   3470. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:24 PM (#4666409)
In re Eastern Ukraine, it looks like actual Ukrainians -- as opposed to the goons Putin bussed in -- are starting to stir:

"More than 1,000 demonstrators with Ukrainian flags took to the streets of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Tuesday, for the first time outnumbering pro-Moscow youths who have seized its government building, which flies the Russian flag, Reuters reports.

President Vladimir Putin's declaration on Saturday that Russia had the right to invade Ukraine was accompanied by pro-Russian demonstrations across Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking south and east.

But in the four days since, the tide of opinion in eastern cities appears to be turning back towards Kiev.

Bearing placards with slogans such as: "I am Russian. I don't need protection," the protesters marched near the occupied regional government building, staying far enough away to avoid clashing with the pro-Russian youths still inside."



   3471. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:30 PM (#4666415)
I'm all for doing what we can to support Ukraine - preserving a path toward freedom & prosperity - but NATO membership seems premature. Let's see how they do in the upcoming elections. Forming a stable, broad-based, non-corrupt government can be a difficult task for those without democratic traditions, although it's a good sign that the interim government has done a pretty good job thus far under very difficult circumstances.
   3472. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:33 PM (#4666417)
New York Times, June 13, 1987:

President Reagan sought today to undercut Europe's perception of Mikhail S. Gorbachev as a leader of peace, bluntly challenging the Soviet leader to tear down the Berlin wall.

...

''Secretary General Gorbachev, if you seek peace - if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe - if you seek liberalization: come here, to this gate. ''Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. ''Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.''

...

The Soviet press agency Tass said that Mr. Reagan, by calling for destruction of the wall, had given an ''openly provocative, war-mongering speech'' reminiscent of the cold war.


Hmmm.
   3473. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4666419)
although it's a good sign that the interim government has done a pretty good job thus far under very difficult circumstances.


They've dealt with Putin's provocations amazingly well, however, discussing a bill naming Ukrainian as the only official state language when 1/2 your people speak Russian and Putin is claiming that Russians are being persecuted is not a smart move.
   3474. Srul Itza Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4666420)
Also, the casual conversation of going to war with Russia is astoundingly stupid. We couldn't win a victory of merit in Iraq or Afghanistan, but you boys think Russia is going to be a cake walk?


Who are you talking to here? Yourself? The voices in your head?

Nobody said anything about it being easy to invade Russia.

But if Russia attacked Ukraine, then yes, I think we -- the Ukrainians, the EU and us -- could beat them back.

   3475. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4666421)
They've dealt with Putin's provocations amazingly well, however, discussing a bill naming Ukrainian as the only official state language when 1/2 your people speak Russian and Putin is claiming that Russians are being persecuted is not a smart move.

Heat of battle. Putin had just provoked the gunning down of roughly six dozen of their peacefully demonstrating citizens.(*)

Bill now null and void.

(*) People Putin is still referring to as "fascists" and "Nazis."
   3476. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4666423)
The Soviet press agency Tass


Let's see, what is Tass up to today...
Economic News: Naftogaz notifies Gazprom about its inability to pay for gas supplies in February (Ukraine didn't pay its latest gas bill)

"Non-Political News":

Russians, Ukrainians are scaling Shevchenko peak together


and

Film Director Emir Kusturica urges Russia to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine


and

Oscar Pistorius pleads not guilty upon all accusations


Hey, that last one really is non-political!
   3477. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4666424)
Do you contend the US Army is not much better than the Russian Army, man for man?

While almost everyone would agree with Snapper's assessment of the relative strengths of the U.S. & Russian armies, Obama's plan to cut the Army's troop strength by 15% is likely to cause some to believe it's capabilities and our willingness to use it are similarly diminished. Exceptionally bad timing.
   3478. steagles Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4666427)
While almost everyone would agree with Snapper's assessment of the relative strengths of the U.S. & Russian armies, Obama's plan to cut the Army's troop strength by 15% is likely to cause some to believe it's capabilities and our willingness to use it are similarly diminished. Exceptionally bad timing.
you mean right after obama got russia to back down from invasion using only obamanomics and diplobamacy? that seems like a great time to emphasize the fact that you don't need a bloated military to accomplish your foreign policy goals.
   3479. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4666429)
Time Magazine, November 2007:

"People were afraid of the consequences of what Reagan would say," George Shultz, Reagan's long-serving Secretary of State, told me over lunch in Berlin last week. "But it turns out he was right." We were sitting in an elegant dining room overlooking the city, in a building that sits on the former border between east and west Berlin. "Saying something like, 'Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall' — that could be perceived as provocative. Things were breaking and were in a lot of flux. At the time some people argued, why stick your finger in [Gorbachev's] nose? But knowing Ronald Reagan as I did, I would have said don't bother. He was going to express his feelings."

   3480. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4666435)
you mean right after obama got russia to back down from invasion

Russia invaded. This is another one of your(*) delusions. It's honestly hard to fathom where you come up with these things.

(*) Not yours alone, of course.
   3481. Publius Publicola Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4666436)
For the record, Poland and Lithuania, both NATO members, border the Russian narco-sex trafficking wasteland known to some as Kaliningrad.


Jason, could you provide some background information here please? I have only passing familiarity with the issues you are citing.
   3482. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4666438)
While almost everyone would agree with Snapper's assessment of the relative strengths of the U.S. & Russian armies


Actually no, almost everyone agrees with the idea that the US army is stronger than Russia's, Snapper seems to be of the opinion that the US Army is so vastly superior, that we could easily project enough force to swat the Russian Army away from it's own border like a bear swatting a mosquito.

FWIW "Global Firepower" ranks the World's [conventional] militaries thusly:

1: US
2: Russia
3: China
4: India
5: UK
6: France
7: Germany
8: Turkey
9: S. Korea
10: Japan
11: Israel
12: Italy
13: Egypt
14: Brazil
15: Pakistan
16: Canada
17: Taiwan
18: Poland
19: Indonesia
20: Australia
21: Ukraine
22: Iran
   3483. The District Attorney Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4666443)
I like how the precedent proving that Obama should stop just saying stuff and move in troops, is that Ronald Reagan said stuff.
   3484. steagles Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4666444)
Russia invaded. This is another one of your(*) delusions. It's honestly hard to fathom where you come up with these things.

(*) Not yours alone, of course.
they invaded crimea, not kiev. and when they did, they were turned away, not by military intervention, but by economic and diplomatic intervention.

that's a point in favor of demilitarization, not against it.
   3485. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4666446)
Whatever we did regarding the Soviets worked out pretty well, by the way. There was no WWIII and the Soviets are no more. Sure it could have been better (less waste on junk like SDI, for example), but overall provoking nuclear powers needlessly* is kind of a bad idea. Sure 99 times in a row they might not react, but you really don't want to hit the one time they do.

* In other words you better have a really damn good reason, a goal with a big payoff. Stopping the invasion of Ukraine that is not likely to happen anyway and would likely be a disaster for Russia even if it did, is not worth it IMO.


But Reagan "provoked" the Soviets constantly. SDI, Pershing missiles, MX missiles, the B2, conventional build up in Europe, 600 ship Navy, aid to the Mujahadeen.

He provoked the #### out of them, and they did #### all about it, because they wouldn't risk a war with NATO.
   3486. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4666449)
they invaded crimea, not kiev. and when they did, they were turned away,

Except they haven't been "turned away." Another delusion.
   3487. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4666451)
He provoked the #### out of them, and they did #### all about it, because they wouldn't risk a war with NATO.

Ronald Reagan would just say something about them and a bunch of people would squawk that he was "provoking" them.

As noted above, they're "provoked" by pretty much everything. That can't drive any decisions.

   3488. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4666453)
North Korea is only 35th despite having a huge standing army, it's finances, economic resources and logistical capabilities are on a par with an impoverished third world nation. It's got the 4th largest tank force in the world, but their best tank is a domestic upgrade of the T-62 sporting a British fire control system (copied from a Chieftain tank, circa 1960-80) and it only equips one armored division, most of their tanks are old Soviet or Chinese made T-55s (circa 1955) and 62s (circa 1960s)
   3489. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4666454)
Actually no, almost everyone agrees with the idea that the US army is stronger than Russia's, Snapper seems to be of the opinion that the US Army is so vastly superior, that we could easily project enough force to swat the Russian Army away from it's own border like a bear swatting a mosquito.

We could, especially in conjunction with NATO, and the Ukranians, given time to deploy. Again, the Soviets were scary because they had elenty billion divisions. Putin has 10. Fewer the the US Army, not even counting the Marines. The bid bad bear is dead.

But the point is to deter aggression now, so we don't have to fight.
   3490. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4666455)
He provoked the #### out of them, and they did #### all about it, because

their economy was already collapsing, in no small part due to their unsustainable military build up during the 1970s (plus Communist economies don't actually work too well...)
   3491. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:19 PM (#4666457)
their economy was already collapsing, in no small part due to their unsustainable military build up during the 1970s (plus Communist economies don't actually work too well...)

Yeah, but if they were weak, wouldn't that have made them more likely to do something silly? I thought that was the lesson of the 20th century, as delineated by General Bitter Mouse.
   3492. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4666463)
Yeah, but if they were weak, wouldn't that have made them more likely to do something silly?


Yes, like the invasion of a neighboring country because they were unhappy with that neighboring country's formerly compliant leadership reaching out to other countries for assistance...

   3493. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4666465)
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces for Cultural Affairs and Defense Publicity


He must have a huge desk to fit that title on a nameplate.

The US won the war part (invading, defeating the enemy military, taking control of the country's government) of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars quite handily. Where we failed is in the aftermath, creating stability and dealing with small insurgent forces. Which ties in to what was said earlier about the "success" of Russia taking the Crimea: Invading can be pretty easy, actually holding on to the territory long-term tends to be much harder. I don't think the past few decades of overall failure in US wars is all that relevant to our ability to succeed in a NATO defense of Ukraine.
   3494. Publius Publicola Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4666469)
Yeah, but if they were weak, wouldn't that have made them more likely to do something silly?


They also tried to cover up, initially and comically so, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.
   3495. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4666474)
Again, the Soviets were scary because they had elenty billion divisions. Putin has 10.


Uh...no? The Soviets were scary because despite their somewhat paper-tiger conventional forces of rusting tank hulks, they had enough nuclear warheads to burn the globe. Putin still has those. All of this "let's treat Russia like Belarus with a couple more divisions" conveniently ignores that whole "can burn the globe if he has nothing else to lose" thing. How on earth someone can run around arguing that Putin and Russia are authoritarian bullies with no interest in realist politics, who only understand force and a bloody mouth, and then ignore the fact that he's hiding a half gazillion ICBMs down his trousers is baffling.
   3496. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:51 PM (#4666475)
Except they haven't been "turned away." Another delusion.


What, precisely, about Crimea is different today than it was last Tuesday?
   3497. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:56 PM (#4666479)
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces for Cultural Affairs and Defense Publicity


Somewhere in the Pentagon is there someone who has "Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States Armed Forces for Cultural Affairs and Defense Publicity" or something similar on his name plate, and if so does he spend his days thinking to himself, "I went to West Point..."
   3498. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 04, 2014 at 08:23 PM (#4666483)
North Korea is only 35th despite having a huge standing army, it's finances, economic resources and logistical capabilities are on a par with an impoverished third world nation.


Point of order .... North Korea IS an impoverished third world nation. Though perhaps that is a slight to impoverished third world nations world wide.

And regarding the US military ...

Obama's plan to cut the Army's troop strength by 15% is likely to cause some to believe it's capabilities and our willingness to use it are similarly diminished.


Ranks Before and After 15% is cut from the US forces:
1: US
2: Russia
3: China
4: India
...

Honestly. Let's look at current (2012) spending:
World total 1,753
United States 682.0
China 166.0
Russia 90.7


OH NOT 15%. We will be helpless! Totally helpless!

Note: And yes I am equating 15% budget and 15% troop numbers. It is a rough comparison. I htink we will be fine though.
   3499. JE (Jason) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 08:23 PM (#4666484)
Jason, could you provide some background information here please? I have only passing familiarity with the issues you are citing.

Once the captial of East Prussia, Kevin, Königsberg is now Kaliningrad. Perhaps realizing that one day the Baltic States would slip out of Moscow's grasp and wanting to have permanent control of a Baltic port, Soviet Russia kept the city and surrouding area for itself when postwar Poland moved west. Not surprisingly, the ethnic German population was kicked out of the enclave; Russians were bussed in.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Kaliningrad became a magnet for organized crime, sex trafficking, and drug addicts. (Not surprisingly, the city experienced way-high levels of AIDS patients.) Subsequent efforts to provide tax incentives for businesses to relocate there helped a little. Meanwhile, there has been friction with neighbors Poland and especially Lithuania over transit issues. Back in 2008, the city was in the news when Putin threatened to install medium-range missiles in response to NATO's proposed missile shield.
   3500. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 04, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4666485)
Flip.
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