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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

OTP - March 2014: Russia denies calling shots in Ukraine’s Crimea standoff

Only Babe Ruth calls shots!

At a press conference for Kremlin-controlled media on Tuesday, Putin reiterated his position that Moscow has the right to use “all means” necessary to protect ethnic Russians and vital military assets in Ukraine, first among them the Black Sea fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

 

Bitter Mouse Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:54 AM | 3254 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: lies, politics, war

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   2201. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4674370)
The idea that securing the nukes drove the disarmament and that treaty is ahistorical and delusional.


Yep. Categorically stupid on the subject.

In the late 1980s, the old Soviet Union began to collapse in upon itself.
In the 1990s, the old USSR broke up completely and spun off independent nations across Europe and SW Asia as Russia retreated into herself.
The new nations, especially in the Balkans, were unstable and often violent.
In order to secure old Soviet weapons the west brokered agreements with the new nations and Russia to remove them back to more secure Russia.

This was a great idea and worked very well, as it has to date kept old Soviet warheads out of the hands of religious fanatics who would love to level London or LA.
   2202. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:20 AM (#4674371)
What is YOUR course of action here, exactly, SBB? What is not acting weak or appearing weak?

It's too late in many ways. The next step is the planned elections in Ukraine for May 25. Western observers (US, OSCE, EU, etc.) should be pouring into the country by the thousands to tell Russia and the world that those elections are going forward and will be free and fair. Obama must frequently speak about the elections and their importance in clear and certain terms.

Russia is obviously going to continue to agitate and #### disturb against them and that needs to be countered. It's very much an open question whether they will permit them to go forward without military invasion.
   2203. Lassus Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4674373)
Lassus, riffing on the "choral" tradition. It's an audio joke in visual form.

- hangs head in shame -

I was never a punster.
   2204. Publius Publicola Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4674376)
BFFB, the gas fields of Ukraine aren't in Crimea, they're in the northeast overlapping the Russian border (another geological precedent for future conflict overineral rights) and in the west in a formation that spills over into Slovakia and Poland. Russia's main interest in Crimea is the Black Sea fleet and a historical artifact of Russian imperialism, plus the predominance of ethnic Russians loyal to the mother country.
   2205. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4674377)
It's too late in many ways.


So your strategic master plan is to sit around and whinge about "weakness" on the internet while offering absolutely nothing new or different to do in the world.

Seriously. Viagra and whores. Work out some of that energy and feelings of "weakness" that seems to be bothering you so much.
   2206. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4674378)
The new nations, especially in the Balkans, were unstable and often violent.

Ukraine wasn't a Balkan nation, and was neither unstable nor violent.
   2207. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4674379)
So your strategic master plan is to sit around and whinge about "weakness" on the internet while offering absolutely nothing new or different to do in the world.

No, I offered a way to act unweak. Obama needs to rally the US and Europe around the inviolability of the May 25 elections and lead a civilian invasion of Ukraine and a robust rhetorical effort in support thereof.

One step at a time.

Seriously. Viagra and whores. Work out some of that energy and feelings of "weakness" that seems to be bothering you so much.

What does this even mean?
   2208. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4674381)
Weakness has caused far more wars than strength ever will.


This actually turns out not to be true. When you have a military, when it is there all strong and shiny, well it tends to get used in military adventurism or all sorts.

Generally nations that feel all strong end up starting wars. You are asserting that if everyone feels strong there will be no war. WWI kind of disputes that. As you said ... "failing to understand how these things take on a life of their own".

They take on a life of their own when everyone has military forces they are eager to use and mobilize them and provoke other nations in order to appear strong. Then the other nation has to do something to appear strong. And heh look at that, war.

Trying to appear strong and having things take on a life of their own is exactly why Obama and other world leaders are taking it easy.
   2209. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4674383)
Obama must frequently speak about the elections and their importance in clear and certain terms.


And then we can have a purple finger stunt afterwards, that will make the world safe.

Honestly I am in favor of free and fair elections, but the idea that somehow that what you are suggesting will make us look strong, while what Obama is doing will make us look weak is completely farcical.
   2210. zonk Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4674384)
You have to be a fool of the highest order to have wanted unsecured nukes floating around Ukraine in the 1990s. If those weapons hadn't been returned to Russia 10-12 of them would be in the hands of al-Quaeda today. Well, minus the ones they'd already used in terrorist attacks.


I tend to side here...

The disintegration of the USSR was a mess for the world on the nuclear front. Far from a folly, I think it's nothing short of a minor miracle that we didn't end with a black market nuke bazaar on our hands... I'm not at all downplaying the issue of Ukraine - or any of the other newly independent former Soviet states - not now, today, having a nuclear deterrent at their disposal against Moscow (though, neither am I saying that a nuclear crisis between Ukraine and Russia is exactly preferred, even now), but we had a bunch of fledgling, chaotic nations who had one potentially very valuable thing to sell, near-term, immediate to nations and even rogue actors that would have been more than willing to buy them.

This is a good thing on balance, despite the fact that it's now a trump card Ukraine cannot play.
   2211. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4674385)
Honestly I am in favor of free and fair elections, but the idea that somehow that what you are suggesting will make us look strong, while what Obama is doing will make us look weak is completely farcical.

Well, that settles it then.
   2212. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4674386)
but we had a bunch of fledgling, chaotic nations who had one potentially very valuable thing to sell, near-term, immediate to nations and even rogue actors that would have been more than willing to buy them.

Russia is a chaotic nation that could sell a nuke if it wanted to. It has sold Iran the components to build nuclear bombs.
   2213. GregD Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4674387)
The bracket criticism makes the Kenya birthplace stuff look like the height of rationality. No good argument has ever arisen from taking the weakest claim by a marginal sliver of the people who disagree with you and then inverting that claim. The proof of a weak argument is when you have to insist that the people you are arguing with must have believed that weak claim years ago
   2214. zonk Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4674389)

Russia is a chaotic nation that could sell a nuke if it wanted to. It has sold Iran the components to build nuclear bombs.


But "Russia" - as the main remnant of the USSR - already had nukes and one slightly less chaotic nation is better than 15.

If the remnant of the USSR had been willing to go nuke-free, I'd have gone for that, too...

If the United States disintegrates next year -- I can almost guarantee that the Northeastern Liberal Blue Nation, the Republic of Texas, the nation of California, etc are ALL going to want to keep their nukes, too.

The world doesn't operate -- especially the world outside our immediate selves - the way we'd like it to.
   2215. Morty Causa Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4674391)
2213: Strictly as a matter of rhetoric, that's nicely put.

People who have been decrying America and the West's actions, and failure of, since the beginning of this, you still don't answer specifically the question: what do you want America, it's allies and various organs and organizations, to do? And why do you think that would make the situation better?
   2216. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4674392)
If Ukraine had nukes there is no way Putin would have waited this long. When the first protests flared up against Yanukovych, Putin would have offered military support in crushing them, and if that didn't work, would have invaded Ukraine to 'secure the nuclear weapons' in the midst of growing political chaos. He would never allow nuclear weapons in the hand of a potentially hostile government on his borders.
   2217. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4674395)
If Ukraine had nukes there is no way Putin would have waited this long.


Forget Putin. There is no way Yeltsin would have agreed to a nuclear armed Ukraine on his borders. In order for Ukraine to spin out independently those nukes had to be dealt with. Leaving them there wasn't going to work, both because the Balkans of the 1990s were ####### chaotic, violent hell, and because Russia wasn't going to leave a nuclear armed competitor on her immediate border. They weren't going to be taken west in the NATO arsenal. Back into Russia was the only real option. And again, it's worked out really well so far. No rogue nukes have made their way into non-state actors such as al-Q. Ukraine has had 20 years stability to establish itself as a functional state. Complaining about the de-nuking of Ukraine is a crazy person thought.
   2218. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4674400)
People who have been decrying America and the West's actions, and failure of, since the beginning of this, you still don't answer specifically the question: what do you want America, it's allies and various organs and organizations, to do? And why do you think that would make the situation better?

Here's one step that could be done without a shot being fired: The European Union could unite to wean their financial institutions and luxury property markets from their fixes of easy Russian cash, most of which comes from Putin's political cronies. Of course that might mean some actual sacrifice on the part of people who aren't used to such things. But while Obama could press the issue rhetorically, this is a case where the Europeans have to confront their own major conflicts of interest.
   2219. GregD Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4674404)
Both 2216 and 2217 make sense. Governments with nukes don't fall to protests. Even if we somehow had made it this far there is no question in my mind that a nuked Ukraine would still have a virulently pro Russia govt in power street protests or no
   2220. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4674405)
The European Union could unite to wean their financial institutions and luxury property markets from their fixes of easy Russian cash, most of which comes from Putin's political cronies. Of course that might mean some actual sacrifice on the part of people who aren't used to such things. But while Obama could press the issue rhetorically, this is a case where the Europeans have to confront their own major conflicts of interest.


But you don't understand. If Obama just talked about how this is really necessary, with the right tone of voice, he would project strength instead of weakness and then Europe would do as we tell them to do, because strength is strong and leadership is something we should do in some ineffable way that Obama just doesn't get. And then, with the magic leadership quotient upped by a full two and a half grukspals Putin would realize that America strong like bear and totally give Crimea back.
   2221. Mefisto Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4674408)
People who have been decrying America and the West's actions, and failure of, since the beginning of this, you still don't answer specifically the question: what do you want America, it's allies and various organs and organizations, to do?


Apparently, refusing to participate in the NCAA tourney pools will make Putin tremble with fear.
   2222. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4674409)
The European Union could unite to wean their financial institutions and luxury property markets from their fixes of easy Russian cash, most of which comes from Putin's political cronies.


This is actually a tough choice. How much do you want to economically isolate Russia, or any country for that matter?

Historically the US and the West in general have been all over the map on that one. On the "pro engagement" side you want ties so you can long term influence behavior. With stronger ties, both nations have more at stake and are more likely to negotiate rather than fight. And a more economically secure nation is less likely to dissolve into chaos or be overthrown. It is better to live in a well off neighborhood with happy well off neighbors.

On the other side you don't want to reward the bad guys and their bad behavior, make them wealthy and entrench them even more. And if you never use your economic might to try to sway them, then what is the point of building the ties (other than get wealthy through trade I suppose)?

You can make a narrative that bends either way, and there are examples on both sides. I doubt there is a one size fits all answer.

EDIT: And of course by hurting them economically, you end up hurting yourself and your economy as well, which kind of sucks.
   2223. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:52 AM (#4674413)
Apparently, refusing to participate in the NCAA tourney pools will make Putin tremble with fear.


A real man like Putin already knows the eventual victor of such engagements. It's an over sign of weakness that Obama even drafts a tournament pick, as his inevitable failures will magnify his failure for all to see.
   2224. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4674414)
A real man like Putin already knows the eventual victor of such engagements.


In keeping with his apparent psyche, Putin would be quite obviously onto the fact that the "tournament" was just a bunch of western imperialist mocking up a "competition" the results of which were already decided.
   2225. tshipman Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4674416)
I think, though, if Putin retakes the baltic states or Ukraine, the west throws the dice that Putin is a rational actor just hoping to push the borders back to the Soviet era and stands down. And, yes, I'm saying that "we" ignore the invasion of a NATO state. NATO hasn't been NATO since the fall of the Soviet Union. Anyone who thinks that Estonia is a real ally of the US is crazy. Admitting those guys was a PR move meant to rub Russia's nose in ####. Tell the average American that we're about to fight WWIII over Estonia and they'll ask what an Estonia is.


I cannot fathom this point of view. We committed to Estonia when we invited them to join NATO. If Russia invades Estonia, we are at war with Russia, full stop. Edit: And I would add, it's a war we would ####### win. Not by a little bit, but by a lot.

I am really not entirely sure I understand this POV, where we simply ignore obligations that we have encouraged previously because they would be inconvenient. Protecting NATO members is non-negotiable. The entire ####### raison d'etre of NATO was to prevent Russian incursion into the rest of Europe.

I feel like Iraq really caused a lot of people to become isolationists, which does not fit the post-war principles of the United States.
   2226. The Good Face Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4674419)
I am really not entirely sure I understand this POV, where we simply ignore obligations that we have encouraged previously because they would be inconvenient. Protecting NATO members is non-negotiable. The entire ####### raison d'etre of NATO was to prevent Russian incursion into the rest of Europe.


Perhaps it's time to re-examine our priorities and purposes with respect to NATO. WWII ended almost 70 years ago; might be time for Europe to put on their big boy pants and defend themselves from the scary Russians.
   2227. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4674420)
I feel like Iraq really caused a lot of people to become isolationists, which does not fit the post-war principles of the United States.


I am as close to isolationist as you can get without breaking NATO, but you're 100% correct here. If Russia invades a NATO country, we kick the #### out of Russia. They started a war with our allies. The idea that there's a PR-only halo of NATO-In-Name-Only members is ####. There is a halo of state that exist in that nether region of "we'd help if we could, but we're not going to war with Russia over you." States like Belarus, and Georgia, and U-#######-kraine. But Estonia and the Baltics are members of NATO, and if Russia starts a war with NATO, Russia gets a war with NATO.

And yes, we kick the #### out them conventionally.
   2228. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4674421)
The entire ####### raison d'etre of NATO was to prevent Russian incursion into the rest of Europe.


It was to prevent Soviet incursion. The communist threat is gone. The Berlin wall is gone. The Warsaw Pact is no more. There were a lot of people at the time who said that the raison d'etre of NATO had vanished, and so should NATO. Like a lot of institutions, it survived nonetheless, but you wonder exactly how much the member states are really willing to risk to uphold an idea that seemed obsolete 25 years ago.

Face it, the entry of the Baltics into NATO was done because it was seen as a no-risk commitment on our part.

That said, if Russia does invade Estonia, I expect we will honor our treaty commitments, at least formally. I would support honoring them.
   2229. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4674422)
Perhaps it's time to re-examine our priorities and purposes with respect to NATO. WWII ended almost 70 years ago; might be time for Europe to put on their big boy pants and defend themselves from the scary Russians.


Europe does need to start footing more of her own defense. That in no way means the US should back out of NATO.
   2230. bunyon Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4674423)
Good Face gets one of my points with respect to abandoning Estonia. They are not a strategic ally. It matters not a whit to the future of the United States if Estonia is independent, a Russian state or a smoking pile of rubble. That isn't a very nice point of view but it is reality. Given that reality, committing to defend them from all aggressors was crazy.

And you, yourself, tshipman, make my second point. The last 15 years have brought a strong isolationist feeling to the US. I'm not saying I think we SHOULD ignore our committment, I'm saying I think we will. Faced with WWIII, I think most American will say no mas. I could be wrong. I hope I am. But I just don't see the US or Europe throwing down at this point.

As for winning, yes, as I said, I think we would. But no war outcome is predestined and even winning it will be costly in terms of money and men.

Maybe we'll see. I hope not.
   2231. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4674424)
Perhaps it's time to re-examine our priorities and purposes with respect to NATO.


Well it is a treaty, so examine is one thing, change is another. And hey, that obligation you are worried about has been invoked only once in the history of the organization.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the 11 September 2001 attacks,[5] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF.
   2232. bunyon Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4674426)
As I recall, any member can withdraw from NATO with six months notice.

Look, I think abandoning a treaty obligation would be a huge foreign policy mistake and forever change our place in the world. I also think our leaders - right and left - have no stomach for a "real" war.* I know Europe doesn't. I could be pleasantly surprised but I think if Putin rolls over the Baltic states, he wins and NATO falls apart.

* Not to denigrate the action of our soldiers. It was a real war to them, no doubt. But it was against a very outmanned force. We'll probably beat Russia, but fighting on the Russian border will be a very costly win.
   2233. The Good Face Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4674429)
It was to prevent Soviet incursion. The communist threat is gone. The Berlin wall is gone. The Warsaw Pact is no more. There were a lot of people at the time who said that the raison d'etre of NATO had vanished, and so should NATO. Like a lot of institutions, it survived nonetheless, but you wonder exactly how much the member states are really willing to risk to uphold an idea that seemed obsolete 25 years ago.


This is correct.

Good Face gets one of my points with respect to abandoning Estonia. They are not a strategic ally. It matters not a whit to the future of the United States if Estonia is independent, a Russian state or a smoking pile of rubble. That isn't a very nice point of view but it is reality. Given that reality, committing to defend them from all aggressors was crazy.


Also correct. Fighting to uphold principles and obligations is all well and good, but how far is the USG of 2014 willing to go for the sake of Estonia? How far SHOULD it be willing to go? Asking those questions is what sensible people do; only idiots shrug and say, "Welp, NATO says we have to protect Estonia, so let's do WHATEVER IT TAKES!"

Europe does need to start footing more of her own defense. That in no way means the US should back out of NATO.


Why? What's so sacred about NATO? At this point it's more likely to drag USG into a pointless war than anything else.
   2234. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4674434)
Europe does need to start footing more of her own defense. That in no way means the US should back out of NATO.

2012 Military spending per Wikipedia:
EU: $274B
Russia: $91B

That's obviously not counting the Eastern European countries who are not in the EU. So by how much does Europe need to outspend Russia, before they are footing the bill for their own defense?
   2235. The Good Face Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4674435)
That's obviously not counting the Eastern European countries who are not in the EU. So by how much does Europe need to outspend Russia, before they are footing the bill for their own defense?


When they don't have to come crying to USG to stand up to Russia for them?
   2236. zonk Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4674436)
I think I probably agree more with TGF than not...

I don't know that I'd support withdrawing from NATO or dissolving NATO per se -- but I do think NATO expanded perhaps a bit recklessly. I'm not defending Putin or Russia - but put yourself in Russia's shoes... or hell, just think back to the US Civil War (Trent Affair and the diplomatic maneuvering throughout the war).

We need to get out of this mindset of black/white, us/them, good guys/bad guys.... Just go back to Reagan's incredulity following Able Archer that, gee, the Soviets were fearful of an attack by us.

The USSR disintegrated... Suddenly, former Soviet states and Soviet satellites/Warsaw Pact members are joining the side that 'won' the cold war... We'd feel a bit pressured, too.

I'm not advocating giving Russia a free hand. I'm not saying there are no circumstances under which I would support military intervention... I'm just saying that we're still paying - in lots of ways - for the last wars and there seems to be very, very, very little domestic appetite to even cover those bills.
   2237. Lassus Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4674438)
Why? What's so sacred about NATO? At this point it's more likely to drag USG into a pointless war than anything else.

Do you see zero consequences to alienating Europe?
   2238. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4674440)
What's so sacred about NATO?

It's the current expression of the project of rescuing Europe from the centuries of war and strife and disorder it had endured, which culminated in an unspeakably heinous genocide a mere 70 years ago.

The American effort in exporting its ideals and unifying Europe around them, and helping rescue Europe from that history, is not only one of America's greatest accomplishments, it's one of mankind's greatest accomplishments -- and an undeniable example and emblem of human progress and human possibility.

Do people here really want to return Central and Eastern Europe (and, if history holds, Western Europe) to that history? I sure don't.

   2239. BrianBrianson Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4674441)

When they don't have to come crying to USG to stand up to Russia for them?


Somehow, a France, Britain, Russia nuclear slugfest doesn't seem like it's in America's best interests.
   2240. bunyon Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4674447)

Do people here really want to return Central and Eastern Europe (and, if history holds, Western Europe) to that history? I sure don't.


If holding it together requires the US to be constantly and forever the military protector of Europe, then, yes. Exporting our ideals is great as long as they take hold. Otherwise, we may as well conquer them.

Anyway, no, I don't want to withdraw from NATO or dissolve it. I want to not have expanded it. The original alliance made sense even outside a Soviet threat. They were countries unified in many ways. The alliance came after the fact of being unified. Political/military unification does not lead to be unified. Simply saying someone is your ally doesn't make it so. So, here we are, possibly soon to be faced with the choice of living up to our commitments and fighting WWIII over a little burg we share very little with or walking away from a committment. THere is no good answer there. I tend to think we should honor the commitment but I don't expect that to be the view of most of the US or western Europe and they would have a point.
   2241. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4674449)
Exporting our ideals is great as long as they take hold.

They have taken hold. Russia is disturbing them (as well as disturbing the peace and territorial integrity of Europe).
   2242. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4674454)
When they don't have to come crying to USG to stand up to Russia for them?

You're confusing war with diplomacy.

You are also confused if you think "Europe" acts with a unified mind.
   2243. The Good Face Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4674456)
I don't know that I'd support withdrawing from NATO or dissolving NATO per se -- but I do think NATO expanded perhaps a bit recklessly. I'm not defending Putin or Russia - but put yourself in Russia's shoes... or hell, just think back to the US Civil War (Trent Affair and the diplomatic maneuvering throughout the war).


Yep. Imagine how USG would have reacted if the USSR had attempted (and showed signs of succeeding) to get Mexico to join the Warsaw Pact; Washington would have absolutely lost their ####.

I'm not advocating giving Russia a free hand. I'm not saying there are no circumstances under which I would support military intervention... I'm just saying that we're still paying - in lots of ways - for the last wars and there seems to be very, very, very little domestic appetite to even cover those bills.


Agreed.

Do you see zero consequences to alienating Europe?


All decisions have consequences; if the alternative is a straight up WAR with Russia over ####### Estonia, then I'm willing to consider bruising Europe's feelings, sure.
   2244. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4674458)
They have taken hold. Russia is disturbing them (as well as disturbing the peace and territorial integrity of Europe).


Six months ago Ukraine was run by a democratically elected president that could be bought for 15 bil to pick Russia instead of Europe. Which is sort of our "values" taking hold, I suppose.
   2245. The Good Face Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4674460)
When they don't have to come crying to USG to stand up to Russia for them?

You're confusing war with diplomacy.


Wonderful! Then Europe has no grounds to ##### about USG bailing on the next great Russian adventure. We got your back diplomatically and you guys can handle the war stuff. Dissolve NATO guys, Europe has this one!
   2246. RollingWave Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4674461)
Yes. WWII started because of perceived weakness and appeasement.

Munich agreement : 9/30 1938
Nanking Massacre : 12/13 1937

It's funny that the former is much more focused on in terms of appeasement, when the later happened sooner and was the result of nearly a decade of appeasement anyway. (granted, it was a lot more direct. but suffice to say I am very confident that no matter what Chamberlain said in 1938 little would have changed, Japan was already in a death match half way up the Yangtsi, the US was already sanctioning them which lead to Pearl Harbor, and both Hitler and Stalin were already ready for war.)



   2247. zonk Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4674463)
It's the current expression of the project of rescuing Europe from the centuries of war and strife and disorder it had endured, which culminated in an unspeakably heinous genocide a mere 70 years ago.

The American effort in exporting its ideals and unifying Europe around them, and helping rescue Europe from that history, is not only one of America's greatest accomplishments, it's one of mankind's greatest accomplishments -- and an undeniable example and emblem of human progress and human possibility.

Do people here really want to return Central and Eastern Europe (and, if history holds, Western Europe) to that history? I sure don't.


Fine.

But it's not free.

I'm just tired of this damned paradigm where the school lunch program or health insurance subsidies constitutes a grave financial crisis that must be addressed but parking a CTF in the Mediterranean is free.

I'm perfectly fine paying for both... but I am not fine with a situation where the former requires unending, rancorous debate and the latter gets discussed like it's some sort of pretend monopoly money that doesn't count.

Institute a "world tax" or "allied tax" or "NATO tax" or whatever to defray those costs... line-item specific taxes for our monstrous defense budgets and the enormous costs of mobilizing the requisite forces to confront Russia or whatever.

I'm not an isolationist and I have no problem with the US acting like the superpower it is in a way that corresponds to our historical narrative (however much we may have occasionally deviated) that places us as the defender of democracy.

I'm just really tired the dollars being endless and paying for them never even entering the discussion -- until it's time to raise the debt ceiling again and then we've got to start slashing domestic programs.

I mean, good christ... the whole friggin' purpose of the original debt ceiling law was to prevent endless, uncapped foreign policy/military spending. It's surreal how truly bastardized a bad law to begin with has become.
   2248. BrianBrianson Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4674464)
For $15b, I might pick Russia over the EU. EU salaries ain't great.
   2249. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4674465)
Anyway, no, I don't want to withdraw from NATO or dissolve it. I want to not have expanded it. The original alliance made sense even outside a Soviet threat. They were countries unified in many ways. The alliance came after the fact of being unified. Political/military unification does not lead to be unified. Simply saying someone is your ally doesn't make it so. So, here we are, possibly soon to be faced with the choice of living up to our commitments and fighting WWIII over a little burg we share very little with or walking away from a committment. THere is no good answer there. I tend to think we should honor the commitment but I don't expect that to be the view of most of the US or western Europe and they would have a point.


Compare and contrast the "we never should have let those dirty Baltics and Slavs into NATO" thinking with "we should build a fence to keep those dirty Mexicans out." The entire experiment of Western Liberalism is to bring states and nations into a common, peaceful union based on trade and treaties. The end game should be getting Russia into NATO and the EURO.
   2250. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4674467)
For $15b, I might pick Russia over the EU. EU salaries ain't great.


Sure. The point is that our "values" "stuck" in Ukraine about well enough for the leadership (freely and democratically elected) gladly and happily took Putin's cash in exchange for choosing Russia over Europe. Would Poland's government accept that sort of klepotocracy gambit? Romania? France? If our "values" are so "stuck" in Ukraine, then they wouldn't have been so easily bought by Putin's billions.
   2251. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4674469)
If our "values" are so "stuck" in Ukraine, then they wouldn't have been so easily bought by Putin's billions.

He was democratically elected and democratically impeached/deposed.

Our values don't include never interacting financially with Russia; otherwise our values haven't really taken hold in the City of London. Which, as Andy already noted, is part of the problem here. Russia has rich people now, and rich people can and do corrupt.
   2252. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4674476)
The original [NAto] alliance made sense even outside a Soviet threat. They were countries unified in many ways.

The 12 original NATO countries at its establishment in 1949: United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. In the four years just prior to NATO's formation, seven countries in Eastern and Central Europe had fallen under Soviet domination, with Yugoslavia within its sphere of influence, Austria playing both ends against the middle, and China on the brink of collapse. Trade with the Communist bloc was insignificant, and few people needed reminders of the perils of appeasement.

Contrast all that to today. NATO now has 28 members with frequently conflicting interests. The economies of NATO countries are to varying degrees intertwined with Russia's. The overwhelming majority of our civilian population under 65 has almost never seen a day of military duty, let alone military combat. Take all that into account, and then try real real real hard to figure out why western unity is so much more elusive.

   2253. bunyon Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4674479)
Compare and contrast the "we never should have let those dirty Baltics and Slavs into NATO" thinking with "we should build a fence to keep those dirty Mexicans out." The entire experiment of Western Liberalism is to bring states and nations into a common, peaceful union based on trade and treaties. The end game should be getting Russia into NATO and the EURO.

Sure. But step 1 in an alliance is not a final, binding agreement that is akin to a death pact. You build an alliance, you don't just plop down the final deal. It's the same in Iraq. Sure, I'd love it to be a free democratic republic. That isn't happening by simply deciding they're a free, democratic republic.

Russia is the piece you have to bring in. And you aren't going to do that by co-opting all the little states along their border that a decade before had been part of their country.

It's done now and we have to live with it. But if were Estonian, I'm not sure I'd think it a given we're going to ride to the rescue.
   2254. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4674483)
I'm just tired of this damned paradigm where the school lunch program or health insurance subsidies constitutes a grave financial crisis that must be addressed but parking a CTF in the Mediterranean is free.

And where the $13 BILLION cost of ONE "supercarrier" warship barely even registers a blip on the political radar.
   2255. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4674489)
Freedom isn't free, hippie.
   2256. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4674495)
All this concern for Russia, which has historically been an oppressor of the peoples and nations on its periphery - and not just in Soviet times. They have also been a subject of attack from strong nations on its borders, so there is a basis for its mindset. But you will not make that mindset go away just by playing nice. The Russians are not going to believe it, no matter how sincere you are.

Russia is not European and does not think and act like a European nation. Tsar Vladimir does not operate on the same assumptions as you do, and neither he, nor his hand-picked heir (whoever that turns out to be) will be in any hurry to join NATO or the EU. For the time being, the policy of containment, which worked well in Cold War I, will be our the best strategy for Cold War II.

We won Cold War I, which ended with the Geopolitical balance of power shifting drastically in favor of the West. I expect that we will eventually prevail in Cold War II. But remember that the first one ran for 40+ years.
   2257. Morty Causa Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4674498)
Yeah, the West (mostly under the auspices of the good old USA) could, like Jack Nicholson in Goin' South, do this all day. But, then, in the '50's, '60s, and '70s, its resources greatly overwhelmed the rest of the world, including that of the other western nations. Right now the Western coalition is in its herding cats phase.
   2258. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4674502)
Wonderful! Then Europe has no grounds to ##### about USG bailing on the next great Russian adventure. We got your back diplomatically and you guys can handle the war stuff. Dissolve NATO guys, Europe has this one!

Why should the US get out of this scot free? Preventing Russian aggression and expansion is fundamentally in the US best interest. Preventing a Euro-Russian war is fundamentally in the US best interest.

For somebody complaining so bitterly about somebody else getting a free lunch, you do seem awfully intent on getting one yourself.
   2259. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4674503)
Russia is not European and does not think and act like a European nation. Tsar Vladimir does not operate on the same assumptions as you do, and neither he, nor his hand-picked heir (whoever that turns out to be) will be in any hurry to join NATO or the EU. For the time being, the policy of containment, which worked well in Cold War I, will be our the best strategy for Cold War II.


I agree with all of this, but it doesn't change my point about Western Civilization and its overall goals and "values." There may indeed be cultural differences that will always keep Russia (and other cultures) outside of the western tent. That doesn't mean the west should stop trying to bring as many nations and states as possible into its free peoples trading and interacting peacefully engagement model.
   2260. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4674507)
That doesn't mean the west should stop trying to bring as many nations and states as possible into its free peoples trading and interacting peacefully engagement model.

We've tried with Russia. They've rebuffed us. They have no interest in being a junior partner in a quiet and peaceful (*) group of boring commercial republics. None.

(*) Yes I know -- the US invaded Iraq ... at GUNPOINT!!!
   2261. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4674508)
Jason, does this equal "strength" or "weakness?" It seems to be considered pretty harsh based on Sullivan's sampling of Twitter.
   2262. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4674511)
We've tried with Russia. They've rebuffed us.


Today, in Boston, the sun rose in the east. But it was sort of chilly outside.
   2263. The Good Face Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4674512)
Why should the US get out of this scot free?


Because it's not our country. It's not even our continent. If the Europe of 2014 can't be arsed to defend itself from Russia, then it's not worth protecting. Europe is vastly richer, spends more on defense, and has a far greater population than Russia. Sort your #### out or don't, but either way it's hardly a USG problem.

Preventing Russian aggression and expansion is fundamentally in the US best interest. Preventing a Euro-Russian war is fundamentally in the US best interest.


Preventing Russia from taking Berlin? Probably. Preventing it from taking Estonia? Not so much. I seem to recall life was quite pleasant in the US for a few decades following the last time Europe blew itself up; a shakeup might do things good.

For somebody complaining so bitterly about somebody else getting a free lunch, you do seem awfully intent on getting one yourself.


What free lunch is that? Telling rich and populous Europe to defend itself from the longtime bully that's lived in their backyard for centuries is hardly USG getting a free lunch. That's just Europe doing something it should be doing anyway. If it makes you feel better, the next time USG shows up looking for help in its latest madcap Middle Eastern adventure, you should feel entitled to tell them to go #### themselves.
   2264. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4674513)
Can posting comments on BTF earn me a sanction too?
   2265. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4674515)
I agree with all of this, but it doesn't change my point about Western Civilization and its overall goals and "values." There may indeed be cultural differences that will always keep Russia (and other cultures) outside of the western tent. That doesn't mean the west should stop trying to bring as many nations and states as possible into its free peoples trading and interacting peacefully engagement model.


I agree with this. The question is how? Through the long patient struggle of Cold War I, we were able to bring the Eastern European satellites and some of the captive nations into the Western tent. Hell, Albania is a member of NATO. I hope that the remainder of Ukraine will be next.

So we keep binding nations to the West by NATO and the EU and trade agreements; we make similar or related deals with other countries that are not ready or not in that sphere; and we deal with our adversaries by being patient and watchful, while dealing with them to the extent possible, and by opposing them when the circumstances call for it.

And someday, Russia may join us, even if just partially. There will always be an element that looks West, and we can play on that. But it is not going to happen any time soon, certainly not during the reign of Tsar Vladimir I and his immediate heirs.
   2266. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4674522)
I agree with this. The question is how? Through the long patient struggle of Cold War I, we were able to bring the Eastern European satellites and some of the captive nations into the Western tent. Hell, Albania is a member of NATO. I hope that the remainder of Ukraine will be next.


We should make it clear that any attack on a NATO state is an attack on all NATO states. That's what NATO membership means. That's why we should be slow in handing membership out, but fully engaged in defending those allies. NATO is the fundamental geopolitical/military alliance that makes the existence of an interchanging, interoperable uber market-state possible. If Russia attacks Estonia or Latvia or any NATO member, we kick her teeth in by any conventional means necessary. I'm open to adding the remains of Ukraine to NATO in the next few years, to give Russia a hard western boundary.

Barring invasion of a NATO member, you re-chill the Cold War and wait them out. Russia is weak. We know it. They know it.
   2267. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4674524)
We should make it clear that any attack on a NATO state is an attack on all NATO states. That's what NATO membership means. That's why we should be slow in handing membership out, but fully engaged in defending those allies. NATO is the fundamental geopolitical/military alliance that makes the existence of an interchanging, interoperable uber market-state possible. If Russia attacks Estonia or Latvia or any NATO member, we kick her teeth in by any conventional means necessary. I'm open to adding the remains of Ukraine to NATO in the next few years, to give Russia a hard western boundary.

Barring invasion of a NATO member, you re-chill the Cold War and wait them out. Russia is weak. We know it. They know it.


So you've basically been arguing just to argue then? (*) (Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.)

(*) For example, you don't really believe Ukraine should be a Kissengerian "bridge between East and West," you just said that.
   2268. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4674528)
What free lunch is that? Telling rich and populous Europe to defend itself from the longtime bully that's lived in their backyard for centuries is hardly USG getting a free lunch.


It's projecting weakness, like wearing a helmet when you ride a bicycle.
   2269. Dale Sams Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4674531)
Why are there so many people on the internet that thinks any military confrontation with Russia does not end in 1,000 radar blips flying over the north pole?

Is it because so many of these people never lived in a world where all the US did was kick in the teeth of weaker nations?
   2270. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4674535)
Why are there so many people on the internet that thinks any military confrontation with Russia does not end in 1,000 radar blips flying over the north pole?

Is it because so many of these people never lived in a world where all the US did was kick in the teeth of weaker nations?


Because we spent 45 years in military confrontation with a far more powerful Soviet Union, and it never came close to nukes.

Your logic is the same nonsense we heard during the 1980's, counseling against every attempt to do anything but roll over for the Soviets.
   2271. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4674541)
Because we spent 45 years in military confrontation with a far more powerful Soviet Union, and it never came close to nukes.


1: We never directly confronted them and vice versa
2: Yes it did, more than once
   2272. Ron J2 Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4674542)
#2270 On the contrary. It came close enough to nukes more than once that all it would have taken was one hothead in the wrong place. Most obviously in Cuba, but there were a few other incidents.
   2273. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4674544)
(*) For example, you don't really believe Ukraine should be a Kissengerian "bridge between East and West," you just said that.


I believe that in a perfect world, yes, Ukraine is the Finland of the northern Balkan region. Unfortunately with the trumped up annexation of Crimea without so much as a pretense of process Russia has closed that door pretty well. I don't think Ukraine will ever be fully European. It will always be Kiev-Rus and it will always be part of Russian history more than it is part of European history. But Putin has cast the die in true confrontation now, and if the best way to shut that down at Crimea-and-no-further is to NATO-ize Ukraine, I wouldn't oppose that. If would be best if Ukraine remained as a bridge.

To your overall "so you're just arguing to argue" gambit, it would help if you were actually reading my arguments rather than search and replacing every other word I write with "APPEASEMENT" and "COMMUNIST APOLOGIA!"
   2274. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4674547)
Why are there so many people on the internet that thinks any military confrontation with Russia does not end in 1,000 radar blips flying over the north pole?


I've been trying to make a point to write "conventional" when discussing potential hot conflicts with Russia over NATO allies. You have to operate on the assumption that even Putin isn't crazy enough to slag the globe over Estonia. If that's not true, then every bit of calculus and game theory is already wrong before we start.
   2275. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4674550)

I've been trying to make a point to write "conventional" when discussing potential hot conflicts with Russia over NATO allies. You have to operate on the assumption that even Putin isn't crazy enough to slag the globe over Estonia. If that's not true, then every bit of calculus and game theory is already wrong before we start.


Concur.
   2276. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4674552)
What you're all saying is that Russia should be allowed to whatever it wants, wherever it wants, because if we confront it, they will nuke us. That we should simply surrender now, rather than ever confront them, even if they roll tanks into the Baltics, or Poland, or wherever. I don't think so.

I was 7 years old during the Cuban Missile Crisis, so yes, I remember it. That was the closest we ever came to an exchange -- nothing else ever matched it. And the Soviets blinked because they were not suicidal then, and they are not suicidal now.

If they roll tanks or send troops, we confront them. They only thing that will stop them from doing so is KNOWING that we will confront them, and that they will lose if we do.
   2277. Lassus Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4674553)
What you're all saying is that Russia should be allowed to whatever it wants, wherever it wants, because if we confront it, they will nuke us. That we should simply surrender now, rather than ever confront them, even if they roll tanks into the Baltics, or Poland, or wherever.

I missed those posts.
   2278. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4674554)
I've been trying to make a point to write "conventional" when discussing potential hot conflicts with Russia over NATO allies. You have to operate on the assumption that even Putin isn't crazy enough to slag the globe over Estonia. If that's not true, then every bit of calculus and game theory is already wrong before we start.

Well no. The possibility of Russia giving the globe a comforting orange glow, should dictate part of the game theory. Namely that anon-military resolution should become that much more preferable than it already is.
   2279. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4674556)
I missed those posts.


Then start paying attention.
   2280. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4674557)
You have to operate on the assumption that even Putin isn't crazy enough to slag the globe over Estonia. If that's not true, then every bit of calculus and game theory is already wrong before we start.


That assumes that such a conflict could be limited to Estonia. But is that certain? Turkey is a NATO ally -- will there be an attempt at invasion across the Caucasus? Strikes from Afghanistan against the oil fields in Russian central Asia? Perhaps Putin, looking for a way to distract the West, gives North Korea the nudge it needs to come charging across the DMZ. These kinds of things don't always stay contained.
   2281. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4674559)
What you're all saying is that Russia should be allowed to whatever it wants, wherever it wants, because if we confront it, they will nuke us. That we should simply surrender now, rather than ever confront them, even if they roll tanks into the Baltics, or Poland, or wherever.

I missed those posts.


You were probably hiding under your bed.
   2282. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4674560)
What you're all saying is that Russia should be allowed to whatever it wants, wherever it wants, because if we confront it, they will nuke us. That we should simply surrender now, rather than ever confront them, even if they roll tanks into the Baltics, or Poland, or wherever. I don't think so.

I was 7 years old during the Cuban Missile Crisis, so yes, I remember it. That was the closest we ever came to an exchange -- nothing else ever matched it. And the Soviets blinked because they were not suicidal then, and they are not suicidal now.

If they roll tanks or send troops, we confront them. They only thing that will stop them from doing so is KNOWING that we will confront them, and that they will lose if we do.


Concur, 100%.
   2283. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4674561)
Well no. The possibility of Russia giving the globe a comforting orange glow, should dictate part of the game theory. Namely that anon-military resolution should become that much more preferable than it already is.


This seems a bit of a quibble, but yes. But you have to think Putin's end game isn't sitting atop the irradiate desert that used to be Moscow, counting his glow-in-the-dark rubles while cackling to himself. Putin's a nationalist thug, a kleptocratic jackass and any number of other things, but you don't bask in the glory of Mother Russia ascendant in defense of Orthodox Truth, from your 2 billion dollar estate outside of Sochi, by starting the ICBM umbrella dance.
   2284. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4674562)
That assumes that such a conflict could be limited to Estonia. But is that certain? Turkey is a NATO ally -- will there be an attempt at invasion across the Caucasus? Strikes from Afghanistan against the oil fields in Russian central Asia? Perhaps Putin, looking for a way to distract the West, gives North Korea the nudge it needs to come charging across the DMZ. These kinds of things don't always stay contained.


I would assume a hot war that lasts more than a few weeks - i.e. any war that goes beyond the "oh, I didn't know NATO had troops in Estonia! Pardon us while we reverse back across that border" line will involve multiple fronts. As long as one of those fronts is nuclear it's fine.
   2285. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4674567)
Reading all this blowhard drivel makes me wonder what you all think a strong President would/should do if Russia, China or any other powerful country financed a coup in Mexico with the intention of installing a military base with ICBMs outside of Mexico City.

If Russia had been the instigator of this fiasco I could see your point, but they aren't the ones who financed the "revolution" in Ukraine to the tune of $5 billion and were caught red-handed discussing who should be installed in the new government on recorded audio that is readily available on YouTube. Nor are they the ones who instigated "revolutions" in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Egypt, making them the stable, predictable functioning democracies they are today.

If that is interpreted as more nasty sarcasm on my part, so sorry.
   2286. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4674569)
As long as one of those fronts is nuclear it's fine.


Surely you mean "is not"?
   2287. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4674571)
What you're all saying is that Russia should be allowed to whatever it wants, wherever it wants, because if we confront it, they will nuke us. That we should simply surrender now, rather than ever confront them, even if they roll tanks into the Baltics, or Poland, or wherever.


Actually, what I have been saying is that if Russia sends conventional troops in, they will end up being the loser, like pretty much every other military aggressor the last 100+ years.

That doesn't mean "OMG surrender" nor does it mean "Peace is inevitable", but it does mean (Edit) some of you are being ridiculous about Russian adventures in its backyard. It is not worth threatening nuclear war. Nor is it worth World War III (conventional version), unless Putin does a heck of a lot more than he has so far.

I really love how all these arguments instantly devolve into ... "And then he will roll into country X, and unless we mobilize EVERYTHING right now we might as well surrender." It is just silly.

So far he has engaged with Georgia and Ukraine, both in pretty limited fashion, and it has cost him a great deal (which I guess he has found it worth). Let's not pretend Putin is 5 minutes away from rolling into Berlin. Sheesh.
   2288. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4674572)
What you're all saying is that Russia should be allowed to whatever it wants, wherever it wants, because if we confront it, they will nuke us. That we should simply surrender now, rather than ever confront them, even if they roll tanks into the Baltics, or Poland, or wherever.


No, no one is saying that (well yeah some surrender Monkeys in Europe were saying that in the 70s/80s but they were a small minority).

Some people never see any middle ground between complete unconditional surrender and all out no holds barred conflict- and there's literally always* a middle ground, sometimes narrow sometimes wide.

Well not literally always, as it turns out there was no middle ground with Nazi Germany- which was an extreme outlier, but is nevertheless always brought up by the no middle ground absolutists.

   2289. zonk Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4674573)
#2270 On the contrary. It came close enough to nukes more than once that all it would have taken was one hothead in the wrong place. Most obviously in Cuba, but there were a few other incidents.


Dear lord yes, this...

There were plenty of incidents like this where a decision on either side goes just a bit differently and we're looking a pretty damn big deal death toll.

I mentioned Able Archer upthread -- the Soviets were legitimately prepared and if memory serves based on the post-mortems we read about only years later -- actually did initiate a nuclear launch that ultimately didn't occur solely because of a handful of mistakes and disobeyed orders. As one of the key Soviet spy operatives said -- the Soviet intelligence dictate was only to observe and report, NOT analyze... so while the agents abroad gathering intelligence were fairly confidant the west wasn't interested in a first strike, they solely passed along information that to the home office in Russia, could most certainly have been wrongly analyzed as a prelude to a NATO first strike.

And of course, even Reagan and folks in the Reagan security apparatus were pretty famously shaken (again, reported only years later) about just how close we'd come to millions if not hundreds of millions dead over a mistake.

The stakes in the nuclear area are no longer trench warfare and diplomatic jockeying ala Gavrilo Princip and the assassination of the Austrian Archduke if things spiral out of control -- they're the potential for a real endgame for humanity at worst, decimation and death tolls unheard of in modern times at best.
   2290. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4674574)
Reading all this blowhard drivel makes me wonder what you all think a strong President would/should do if Russia, China or any other powerful country financed a coup in Mexico with the intention of installing a military base with ICBMs outside of Mexico City.


1: In that scenario we physically prevent ICBMs from being installed outside of Mexico city.

2: While people in Moscow may see what transpired in Kiev as being akin to your scenario, you have some posters here who don't and never will (SBB and Snapper for 2)

Plus no one was talking about installing ICBMs in Ukraine
   2291. zonk Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4674575)
S&P downgraded Russia's credit outlook to negative... The economic pressures are going to go a longer way towards containing Russia than NATO armies, but yes - it will take longer.
   2292. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4674579)
That doesn't mean "OMG surrender" nor does it mean "Peace is inevitable", but it does mean (Edit) some of you are being ridiculous about Russian adventures in its backyard. It is not worth threatening nuclear war. Nor is it worth World War III (conventional version), unless Putin does a heck of a lot more than he has so far.


I don't see anyone here advocating using military means to reverse Russia's change in the status of Crimea from de facto control to de jure control. I am not in favor of going to war for Georgia or Moldova, either. Now, if he moves into Western Ukraine, we may have to start considering more forceful options.

But some people are suggesting we should be quiet and pray for peace if Estonia or another actual NATO member is invaded. That is just wrong. I don't think Putin would do it. I think he knows what he can get away with, and what price he will pay. But if I'm wrong or if some knucklehead on the front lines decides that he know what Putin wants him to do, we respond by blasting them back over the border with our superior conventional forces.

   2293. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4674584)
I mentioned Able Archer upthread -- the Soviets were legitimately prepared and if memory serves based on the post-mortems we read about only years later -- actually did initiate a nuclear launch that ultimately didn't occur solely because of a handful of mistakes and disobeyed orders.


This assertion actually has very limited factual support, and is probably an overstatement.
   2294. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4674585)
Crimea -- nothing we can do, it's over.

Eastern Ukraine -- I'd give up in a deal including Russia's agreement to the rest of Ukraine becoming part of NATO and the EU, if the EUks voted in a free and fair election that they wanted to go.

Western Ukraine -- That's my red line. If Russia's willing to take that by force, they're willing to take Estonia, etc., by force.
   2295. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4674586)
The fun part about Putin's pledge to "respect" the Crimean vote-
in 1990 Trans-Dienester didn't want to secede from the USSR, but it was part of Moldova, and Moldova* did- there was a brief civil war in Moldova, the effect of which was to render Trans-Dienester functionally autonomous (they also voted for independence but no one recognized it, just 500,000).

In 2006 it voted to join Russia- here's the punchline, Russia/Putin didn't want it.

*Most Moldovans probably didn't want "independence" either- they wanted to join Romania (Which wasn't in the interests of the Moldovan political elites) (In fact modern Romania was essentially formed by the joinder of Wallachia and Western Moldova, Russia has spent over 150 years trying to Russify [Eastern] Moldova, trying to get people to speak Russian instead of Romanian, failing that insisting the Moldovans speak "Molodovan" rather than Romanian and write in their alphabet rather than using the Latin alphabet...


   2296. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4674587)
If Russia had been the instigator of this fiasco I could see your point, but they aren't the ones who financed the "revolution" in Ukraine to the tune of $5 billion and were caught red-handed discussing who should be installed in the new government on recorded audio that is readily available on YouTube. Nor are they the ones who instigated "revolutions" in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Egypt, making them the stable, predictable functioning democracies they are today.


Once again with the "we're bad, so the Russians are excused" crap. The fiasco in Ukraine started when Putin offered a $15 billion bribe and who knows what else to convince Yanukovych to turn away from the West and tie up with Russia. When rational people decided they did not want to become part of the Russian Empire, Yanukovych responded with Putinesque determination (if not direct encouragement from Moscow), by having his troops fire on the demonstrators. At that point, it was all over for Yanukovych. Putin's counter to the loss of Ukraine was to take back Crimea as a consolation prize.
   2297. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4674592)
But if I'm wrong or if some knucklehead on the front lines decides that he know what Putin wants him to do, we respond by blasting them back over the border with our superior conventional forces.


We have no conventional forces in Estonia, and it would probably be weeks before we could get any into the area.
   2298. zenbitz Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4674594)

If Russian is (not convinced) hellbent on reconquest back the the Elbe, then they will only be stopped by a nuclear threat. So US/NATOs options are:

1) hope they they are not hellbent on reconquest.
2) make a nuclear threat
3) give up

4) "fight a conventional war" will end up at 2) or 3) anyway.
   2299. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:45 PM (#4674595)
The fiasco in Ukraine started when Putin offered a $15 billion bribe and who knows what else to convince Yanukovych to turn away from the West and tie up with Russia.


This is all technically accurate, but I'm interested in the way in which Russian money funneling into Kiev is a "bribe" while western money funneling into Kiev is "investment."
   2300. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4674596)
Crimea -- nothing we can do, it's over.


Plus Kiev is willing to see it go, part of Ukraine's problem has been a 50/50 political split, every election goes 51-49, and the 51 tries to run things with no input/compromise from the 49.


Yanukovych beat Timoshenko by about 4:1 in Crimea in 2010
Yanukovych beat Yushchenko by about 5:1 in 2004
The Communist Party guy, Symonenko, carried Crimea in 1999

Losing Crimea helps the Ukrainian Union party the way losing a dead lock GOP state(s) with 20 or so electoral votes would help the Dems (and vice versa)
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