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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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   2301. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4674597)
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."

Presumably because the Russian money was offered with the explicit or implicit promise that Y could keep a bunch for himself.
   2302. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4674599)
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)

That's what gives me even more doubt that Russia will be ok with the May 25 elections. They just lost a big "red" state.
   2303. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4674600)
#2298 Why do you assume a conventional war has to go nuclear? Thus far there has only been one war which has been nuclear, and the US was the one who used the weapon. No one else in the nearly 70 years since has had a nuclear war. We have a little history that suggests no one wants a nuclear war.
   2304. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4674603)
Polling update (not that anyone aside from YC cares)

Bloomberg's poll reported Obama approval as a tie (coming out shortly after FOX had Obama hitting a new low -16) was dismissed by some as an outlier - well now Obama is at -1 in the Ras poll and - 4 in Gallup's (The best hes done in their poll in many months I believe)

So, comeback time!

Naaah, probably just random variation- the polling aggregate real isn't budging much -he's been between -8 and -11 for 3 months now, every time he gets near -8 a bad poll (for him) comes out), when he gets near -11 a good one comes out.
   2305. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4674607)
Because we spent 45 years in military confrontation with a far more powerful Soviet Union, and it never came close to nukes.

In the Washington elementary schools in the 50's, we had periodic air raid drills where we either ducked under our desks or marched ourselves silently and single file into the "fallout shelter" in the school's basement. We thought it was all a nice diversion from our lessons. Radios of that time had little triangles marking the emergency broadcast stations at 640 and 1240 on the AM dial, and yet until we were told what they represented, we couldn't figure out what they were doing there.

And even though peace groups used to talk about "one minute to midnight", I can't remember anyone actually being afraid of a nuclear war, in spite of the living memories of our parents' generation who'd seen what just two infant's grade A-bombs did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But the Cuban missile crisis, that was genuinely scary to a degree that no other event before or since has even remotely approached. The launching of the Gulf War in 1991 was accompanied by a fair amount of apprehension about missiles being launched into Israel, but that fear wasn't of a nuclear war.

But from the Monday night of JFK's speech to the Sunday morning newspapers that reported that the Soviets had backed down, there wasn't a single person I knew or even knew of who wasn't seriously wondering about whether This Was It. Nobody who ever lived through that week will ever forget it, or would ever write anything so completely crazy like "it never came close to nukes".
   2306. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4674609)
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)


Yep. If Texas seceded the US would become a lot bluer. Kiev is happy to see Crimea go. The only folks getting screwed are the Tartars, and the Tartars are to this deal as the Kurds are to Iraq and the Armenians are to Turkey.
   2307. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4674613)
Presumably because the Russian money was offered with the explicit or implicit promise that Y could keep a bunch for himself.


And he wasn't going to scrape off the top for himself from western "investment?" Please. I get why we draw the distinction rhetorically, but at the end of the day it's at odds to complain about the Russian $15b "bribe" while cheering the tightening of the money spigot from the west via sanctions. It's all the same thing where the rubber meets the road.
   2308. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4674614)
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.

The violence in the Balkans was caused by the demise of Tito, not the break-up of the Soviet Union.
   2309. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4674615)
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.

Yeah, a system like that will never work.
   2310. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4674616)
The violence in the Balkans was caused by the demise of Tito, not the break-up of the Soviet Union.


1. With no Soviet breakup, someone would have been found to replace Tito.
2. Regardless, the Balkans of the 1990s was NOT where you wanted to have loose nukes hanging about.
   2311. zenbitz Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4674619)
2303 - I didn't say it would go nuclear, I said it would go nuclear or the west would give up. But that presumes a fully mobilized Russia with 30M infantry.

You are Russia. Your military advantage is strictly man-power, will-power and geography. I suppose it's possible that Russia starts a war and the Govmnt' gets overthrown before they nuke something.

There is also a very real possibility of one side or the other bluffing nuclear use. Remember, my original stipulation was that Putin/Russia was bent on re-CONQUEST of Eastern Europe. Not "sure I'll take Poland if no one will miss it". There are lots of outcomes where Russia keeps probing us and backs off rather than commit to an a shooting war with NATO.
   2312. Dale Sams Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4674621)
This thread reeks of "Now I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed up..."
   2313. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4674622)
The violence in the Balkans was caused by the demise of Tito, not the break-up of the Soviet Union.

1. With no Soviet breakup, someone would have been found to replace Tito.
2. Regardless, the Balkans of the 1990s was NOT where you wanted to have loose nukes hanging about.


1. Tito broke with Stalin in 1949. The USSR was never in a position to arrange Tito's successors or keep Yugoslavia together.
2. Ukraine is not normally considered to be a Balkan State, since it is not located on the Balkan Peninsula.
   2314. Dale Sams Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4674630)
I swear, I've read this book before...the idea that

1) You can measure the Russian mind by how Western minds would react.

2) That the Russians would accept a loss of face and back down. Are we just supposed to hope that as in the book The Third World War, that after the Russians unleash their battlefield nukes, a coup happens?

Now...will this all probably blow over? Very probably, but it's the "We'll knock their socks off" talk from internet denizens drunk on beating up on Grenada, and Panama, and Iraq and Afghanistan that I find disturbing.

Not to mention the hypocritical bleating from the likes of Kerry, "In the modern world, one does not just invade another country with no provocation" REALLY?

edit: 1) Maybe it's Failsafe I'm thinking of. The arguing between Matthau's character and the generals.
   2315. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4674631)
We have no conventional forces in Estonia, and it would probably be weeks before we could get any into the area.


We have plenty of air assets that can reach that area very quickly.
   2316. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4674632)
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."


To-MAY-to, To-MAH-to.
   2317. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4674636)
And he wasn't going to scrape off the top for himself from western "investment?" Please. I get why we draw the distinction rhetorically, but at the end of the day it's at odds to complain about the Russian $15b "bribe" while cheering the tightening of the money spigot from the west via sanctions. It's all the same thing where the rubber meets the road.


That's the thing. The West got there first.

[Sheldon Leonard voice:] When a guy is bought, he is supposed to stay bought. Otherwise feelings -- and other things -- can get damaged.

I'm surprised you don't comprehend that.
   2318. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4674637)
1. With no Soviet breakup, someone would have been found to replace Tito.


he died in 1980, USSR was alive and kicking

1. Tito broke with Stalin in 1949. The USSR was never in a position to arrange Tito's successors or keep Yugoslavia together.

Yugoslvia was somewhat non-aligned much of the cold war (Leaning towards the USSR for the most -part, even though not a Warsaw Pact country) but began began creeping back to the USSR after Tito's death-

but what really did Yugoslavia in was you had a multi-ethnic country, and the plurality ethnicity decided that they were going to run things their way no matter what anyone else said - and the driving force behind that was Slobodan Miloševic- it was his drive to end Yugoslavia's Federal System that actually drove the break up - imagine if one of our Presidents one day said, "I'm President and my party has 55% of both houses, state governments are duplicative and wasteful plus some are lead by the wrong party and are obstructionist, let's abolish all state governments and run everything from DC- that's what he did-

It's possible that without Miloševic the country doesn't break apart- or if it does it does so the way Czechoslovakia broke up.
   2319. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4674639)
Regardless, the Balkans of the 1990s was NOT where you wanted to have loose nukes hanging about.


Yugoslavia had nukes? Live and learn.

In the old Soviet Union, I believe nukes were based in four SSRs -- Russia, Ukraine, Kazhakstan and Belarus. There was never any real doubt that Russia would reclaim them all.
   2320. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 20, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4674641)
#2298 Why do you assume a conventional war has to go nuclear?


We could have fought the USSR in Angola without it going nuclear

WE actually fought the USSR in Korea (Many MIG pilots were Russian)
If we ran into Soviet Troops in Vietnam that would not have caused a Nuclear War


But Russia really does see Crimea/Ukraine as part of Mother Russia- and they'd go to the wall for Crimea in a way we would not have for Korea or Vietnam - and neither of us was willing to do in Afghanistan.

   2321. The District Attorney Posted: March 20, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4674643)
A) It's one thing to acknowledge that Russia has its own unique culture (like every country), and that Russians don't necessarily view world events through the same lens as Americans (or any other country's people). It's quite another thing to tell the story I seem to be seeing from a couple of posters here -- that the Russian "national character" is such that, no matter who runs Russia or what is going on in the world, Russia is going to be untrustworthy and bent on conquest. If you think Vladimir Putin can personally be characterized that way, fine. But to suggest that Russia is a permanently, inherently irrational country, and thus must be "contained" for all time, is prejudiced, incorrect, and dangerous.

B) Gameplanning out a Russian invasion of Estonia is jumping ridiculously far ahead of the game -- I think it's massively unlikely. But if we're doing it just for kicks, one thing I would say is that if it does happen, arguing that we shouldn't have admitted Estonia into NATO to begin with isn't going to help us decide what to do any. Yes, it's true that, if we weren't really willing to defend Estonia from invasion, we shouldn't have made a mutual defense treaty with Estonia. But just as currently, Republicans are critiquing how this situation came about and the primary Democratic response is "that's not the point, what would you do now?"¹... that same argument would then apply in reverse.

¹ And, indeed, just as Democrats critiqued how the Iraq War came about and the primary Republican response was "that's not the point, what would you do now?"
   2322. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4674648)
2303 - I didn't say it would go nuclear, I said it would go nuclear or the west would give up. But that presumes a fully mobilized Russia with 30M infantry.

You are Russia. Your military advantage is strictly man-power, will-power and geography. I suppose it's possible that Russia starts a war and the Govmnt' gets overthrown before they nuke something.

There is also a very real possibility of one side or the other bluffing nuclear use. Remember, my original stipulation was that Putin/Russia was bent on re-CONQUEST of Eastern Europe. Not "sure I'll take Poland if no one will miss it". There are lots of outcomes where Russia keeps probing us and backs off rather than commit to an a shooting war with NATO.


What are you talking about? This is mindbogglingly uniformed.

Russia is a demographic basket casket. The population is aging, and dying rapidly. They couldn't mobilize 5M men, much less 30M. Their active army is smaller than ours today, to say nothing of Ukraine, and NATO. Their reservists probably wouldn't even show up if there was a mobilization.
   2323. Dale Sams Posted: March 20, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4674653)
Their reservists probably wouldn't even show up if there was a mobilization.


Professor Groeteschele: "It is my opinion, that rather than wage a war they cannot win, the Russian people will surrender"
   2324. Mark Donelson Posted: March 20, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4674655)
I swear, I've read this book before...


Maybe this one?
   2325. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 06:22 PM (#4674656)

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.


Why do you assume that the US/NATO could not win a conventional war with Russia? Particularly a defensive one?
   2326. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 06:24 PM (#4674657)

2) That the Russians would accept a loss of face and back down. Are we just supposed to hope that as in the book The Third World War, that after the Russians unleash their battlefield nukes, a coup happens?

This is also what happens in Red Storm Rising, although there is a coup when the Politburo starts to discuss deploying tactical nuclear weapons. They never actually use them.
   2327. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 20, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4674658)
Why do you assume that the US/NATO could not win a conventional war with Russia? Particularly a defensive one?


I think the big problem is that Russia has no hope of winning an all out conventional war if it came to that- which would lead to having an itchier nuclear trigger
   2328. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4674664)
Might such a scenario bring about the return of Jesus Christ? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.
   2329. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4674678)
But Russia really does see Crimea/Ukraine as part of Mother Russia- and they'd go to the wall for Crimea in a way we would not have for Korea or Vietnam - and neither of us was willing to do in Afghanistan.


And, again, nobody in the "containment" camp is arguing for liberating Crimea by force. Most of us agree that the taking of Crimea is a fait accompli, and not worth the candle in the long run.

We are talking about a response to an attack on a NATO country like Estonia, and, possibly, an attack on Western Ukraine. And the larger point is that we need a credible conventional deterrent -- Putin has to believe that we would defend those countries we explicitly agreed to defend.
   2330. zenbitz Posted: March 20, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4674679)
Either we are winning and they nuke us out of frustration, or we are losing and we either give up or nuke them. I think NATO could win every battle in WWIII and still lose the war.

If Russia is an economic and demographic basket case that can't muster a ground invasion of Poland on the level OF ONE THEY DID 70 YEARS AGO then they won't invade.

What's the population and industrial capacity of Russia in 2014 compared to USSR 1943? I don't think the US/Germany/France/UK will tolerate 100,000 casualties, let alone 1,000,000. IF (huge huge IF) Russia IS willing to pay in blood, how are you going to stop them without nukes? If they are not willing to pay the reaper then they won't do squat anyway. Or they will bluff, but you have to call a bluff to beat it.
   2331. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 20, 2014 at 08:50 PM (#4674682)
2303 - I didn't say it would go nuclear, I said it would go nuclear or the west would give up. But that presumes a fully mobilized Russia with 30M infantry.

You are Russia. Your military advantage is strictly man-power, will-power and geography. I suppose it's possible that Russia starts a war and the Govmnt' gets overthrown before they nuke something.


It's important to remember that this isn't the USSR of WWII where the Rodina was being invaded, nor is it the USSR of the Cold War where the population was under very tight control. Yeah, some freedoms are obviously restricted in Russia and the legitimacy of its democratic process is pretty questionable these days but it's still a damn sight better than it was in Soviet times plus ordinary citizens are able to use the internet instead of relying on state media for all the news. A pro-Kremlin pollster couldn't find anything but widespread disapproval of Russia invading Crimea, a small province full of ethnic Russians and the location of a Russia military base. I can't imagine the general population reacting with anything but extreme negativity to an attempt by Putin to invade NATO members or start a full-scale war in Ukraine. The Red Army isn't coming back unless Russia actually gets invaded by the West and we know that isn't happening.

The only question and concern is the nuclear situation (a significant concern, obviously); a conventional war of aggression against NATO would result in a devastating defeat for Russia.
   2332. zonk Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4674684)
But Russia really does see Crimea/Ukraine as part of Mother Russia- and they'd go to the wall for Crimea in a way we would not have for Korea or Vietnam - and neither of us was willing to do in Afghanistan.



And, again, nobody in the "containment" camp is arguing for liberating Crimea by force. Most of us agree that the taking of Crimea is a fait accompli, and not worth the candle in the long run.


Yeah, but still you say 'liberating'... I mean, I suppose in the sense that it was part of Ukrainian territory, sure - but every single account I've heard, read, and seen on a variety of places -- BBC, Al Jazeera, US cablenets -- seems to indicate that the majority of Crimeans actually think they HAVE BEEN liberated... by Russia.

With deepest apologies to the Ukrainians - and no, I'm not washing my hands of them - just saying that my bright red line isn't Ukraine... It's the Baltics or somewhere else we're actually bound by NATO (and that's even with my view we ought to rethink the purpose of NATO, but I'm certainly in favor of honoring the treaty at present). I'm all for isolating Russia diplomatically, leading the charge to punish them economically -- and if it comes to a shooting war, I'd even arm them... but I don't think I'm ready to get in a shooting war with them.

...and FWIW, I tend to doubt that Russia is actually all that interested in retaking the whole of Ukraine either - it's not like Russia itself is peachy keen on the home contentment front so it's hard for me to believe that they're looking to annex a whole boatload of more discontentment. Were they to do so, I think it's none of this ticky-tack individual sanctions - the EU and US would probably cut them off entirely.

They may be thinking rapprochement with China - but what in the world would China want that for? They don't need Russia's resources - they have their own and likewise have other, better sources. Russia's market for Chinese goods isn't nearly as valuable as the EU and USA. China is probably perfectly happy to the play the Russians against the EU/US, perhaps even try to assert itself diplomatically as the broker for peace and burnish its own great power credentials - but even Putin isn't so delusional as to think it's a simple matter of swapping nominal relations with the EU/US for China.
   2333. tshipman Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4674689)
They may be thinking rapprochement with China - but what in the world would China want that for? They don't need Russia's resources - they have their own and likewise have other, better sources. Russia's market for Chinese goods isn't nearly as valuable as the EU and USA. China is probably perfectly happy to the play the Russians against the EU/US, perhaps even try to assert itself diplomatically as the broker for peace and burnish its own great power credentials - but even Putin isn't so delusional as to think it's a simple matter of swapping nominal relations with the EU/US for China.


This is the real problem with the China-hugging angle. China needs markets for their goods. China could not cut itself off from trade with the US. Russia could easily. Russia cannot replace the US as a market for China--they simply are too poor.

Also, to people who are skeptical about whether the US could win a conventional war with Russia--for 50 years that is all that we practiced. We failed in Iraq/Afghanistan because our whole military complex was prepared for Russia. Conventional war with Russia only ends one way.
   2334. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:06 PM (#4674690)
Might such a scenario bring about the return of Jesus Christ? It would be irresponsible not to speculate


Perhaps that Malaysian plane was raptured?

(But not Fred Phelps. Uh-oh.)
   2335. Srul Itza Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:13 PM (#4674691)
that presumes a fully mobilized Russia with 30M infantry


per Wikipedia

Current Russian Military:
Active personnel 766,000 (2013))
Reserve personnel 2,035,000 (2013)

US Military:
Active personnel 1,369,532
Reserve personnel 850,880

NATO Military (including US):
Active personnel 4,084,069
Reserve personnel 5,075,492


   2336. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:26 PM (#4674692)
It's important to remember that this isn't the USSR of WWII where the Rodina was being invaded, nor is it the USSR of the Cold War where the population was under very tight control. Yeah, some freedoms are obviously restricted in Russia and the legitimacy of its democratic process is pretty questionable these days but it's still a damn sight better than it was in Soviet times plus ordinary citizens are able to use the internet instead of relying on state media for all the news. A pro-Kremlin pollster couldn't find anything but widespread disapproval of Russia invading Crimea, a small province full of ethnic Russians and the location of a Russia military base. I can't imagine the general population reacting with anything but extreme negativity to an attempt by Putin to invade NATO members or start a full-scale war in Ukraine. The Red Army isn't coming back unless Russia actually gets invaded by the West and we know that isn't happening.

The only question and concern is the nuclear situation (a significant concern, obviously); a conventional war of aggression against NATO would result in a devastating defeat for Russia.


Thanks for this welcome note of realism. Too many people seem to be assuming that the Russian populace will just sit back and cheer on Putin like the mobs in Berlin cheered on the Kaiser in 1914.
   2337. zenbitz Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM (#4674694)
@2335 - right and if wikipedia knows that so does Russia, so they are not actually going to start a conventional war. Which is why I would be worried if a war starts, because I don't see how it stays conventional.
   2338. Publius Publicola Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4674700)
Al I know is that, right now, I wish I were either a death row inmate or a file clerk.
   2339. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4674702)
so they are not actually going to start a conventional war. Which is why I would be worried if a war starts, because I don't see how it stays conventional.


Not to be obvious, but the solution there is for Putin not to start a war and the west not to start a war. Putin, not being insane, won't start a war with NATO. NATO has no interest in starting a war.

So why do people on this board see to be all excited about what is up? There is not going to be a major war. Russia is putzing about in its backyard and NATO is going to do some minor (i.e. proportional) retaliation and we will continue to not have a really dumb war between Russia and NATO.
   2340. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4674704)
So why do people on this board see to be all excited about what is up?


I think it's mainly because if everything in the world isn't capital-P perfect, it's something the lunatic righties can blame on Obama &/or can white about the response from the White House.
   2341. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 21, 2014 at 12:57 AM (#4674718)
So why do people on this board see to be all excited about what is up? There is not going to be a major war.

Because you say so? Thanks for the reassurance, Neville.

Russia has massed troops on the border of eastern Ukraine. It's not like the "need" to protect "endangered Russians" is necessarily limited to the Crimea.
   2342. Dale Sams Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:07 AM (#4674723)
Well, I want to thank this thread for giving me the impetus to re-watch some great old films. And not so old. I re-watched the live broadcast of Fail Safe. Not as good as the original, but having an all-star cast, it's certainly excellent in its own way.

I wish they had made more of those live broadcasts.
   2343. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 21, 2014 at 05:40 AM (#4674729)
We failed in Iraq/Afghanistan because our whole military complex was prepared for Russia.


We failed when those turned into occupation/rebuilding. The actual war part we did very well in. Iraq and Afghanistan are poor analogies for a NATO war in Europe because all we would need to do is destroy invading armies on friendly soil, nobody has the slightest bit of interest in pushing into Russia itself.
   2344. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:24 AM (#4674737)
We failed when those turned into occupation/rebuilding. The actual war part we did very well in. Iraq and Afghanistan are poor analogies for a NATO war in Europe because all we would need to do is destroy invading armies on friendly soil, nobody has the slightest bit of interest in pushing into Russia itself.

Correct. Not to mention that the wide open steppes of the Eastern Ukraine are about the most perfect terrain for our high-tech air force/armor combo that exists, this side of the Arabian desert.
   2345. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4674744)
Because you say so? Thanks for the reassurance, Neville.

At what point does Neville become Godwin?
   2346. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4674747)
At what point does Neville become Godwin?


When all threats are Hitler, all responses other than immediate declarations of total war are appeasement. Going Chamberlain is already Godwinning the thread, it's just doing so in a manner to attempt that attempts to maintain membership in the tote-bag crowd rather than being called out for the troll that it obviously is.
   2347. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4674749)
the wide open steppes of the Eastern Ukraine are about the most perfect terrain for our high-tech air force/armor combo that exists,


That's what she Hitler said.
   2348. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:59 AM (#4674750)
At what point does Neville become Godwin?

I think when aggressive European autocrats start gobbling up pieces of their neighbors based on ethnic populations, Godwin's law is suspended.
   2349. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4674753)
I think when aggressive European autocrats start gobbling up pieces of their neighbors based on ethnic populations, Godwin's law is suspended.


If Vlad Putin violently retakes Georgia, the various 'stans, all of Ukraine, Belarus, all of the Baltics and half of Poland, but doesn't kill 6 million people in genocidal ethnic cleansing, he's *still* not a Hitler analog. Wilhelm? Maybe. Napolean? Okay. Hitler? Did he gas 6 million civilians to death? Then it doesn't work. Not every petit despot in SE Asia is Pol Pot, either.
   2350. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4674755)
If Vlad Putin violently retakes Georgia, the various 'stans, all of Ukraine, Belarus, all of the Baltics and half of Poland, but doesn't kill 6 million people in genocidal ethnic cleansing, he's *still* not a Hitler analog. Wilhelm? Maybe. Napolean? Okay. Hitler? Did he gas 6 million civilians to death? Then it doesn't work. Not every petit despot in SE Asia is Pol Pot, either.

People aren't comparing him to Hitler generally. People are saying -- and rightly so -- that his claims of national rights, land acquisition aims, empire building, resentment at national loss, and methods of achieving and explaining them are Hitleresque.

People aren't saying, "Stop him or he's going to commit a massive genocide," they're saying "Stop him, or things might get out of control and we'll eventually have to fight a big war" -- as happened in re Hitler.

Check him now in Ukraine, and we won't have to worry about Estonia.
   2351. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:16 AM (#4674759)
I'm not going to call him Hitler until he signs a concordant with the Vatican.
   2352. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:20 AM (#4674760)
If Vlad Putin violently retakes Georgia, the various 'stans, all of Ukraine, Belarus, all of the Baltics and half of Poland, but doesn't kill 6 million people in genocidal ethnic cleansing, he's *still* not a Hitler analog. Wilhelm? Maybe. Napolean? Okay. Hitler? Did he gas 6 million civilians to death? Then it doesn't work. Not every petit despot in SE Asia is Pol Pot, either.

So, it's not worth opposing a war-mongering dictator unless he's going to rack up a death toll comparable to Hitler's?

So, Stalin, Mao, Tamurlane and Genghis Khan are the only megalomaniacs anyone ever should have tried to stop? Got it.
   2353. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4674761)
People aren't comparing him to Hitler generally.


The entire point of Godwin's Law, in the abstract, is that no comparison to Hitler can retain the nuance that you want to claim here. The name "Hitler" carries with it the meaning "the guy that brought us the Holocaust." You can't say "Putin is like Hitler, if Hitler didn't do that whole kill-the-Jews bit" because "Hitler" means "the crazy #### that gassed 6 million Jews to death for shits and giggles."

If you want to make the points above, do so by pointing out that Putin's a he's a rabid nationalist with dreams of a re-expansionist Russian empire and a big army. Just write that out and leave the Hitler comp off the table unless Putin starts herding the Tartars into mass graves.
   2354. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4674762)
People aren't comparing him to Hitler generally. People are saying -- and rightly so -- that his claims of national rights, land acquisition aims, empire building, resentment at national loss, and methods of achieving and explaining them are Hitleresque.

People aren't saying, "Stop him or he's going to commit a massive genocide," they're saying "Stop him, or things might get out of control and we'll eventually have to fight a big war" -- as happened in re Hitler.

Check him now in Ukraine, and we won't have to worry about Estonia.


So obvious that it's amazing that you have to even say it.

The way you prevent genocidal dictators and warmongers is to squash them when they're just getting started and are relatively weak.
   2355. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4674763)
The entire point of Godwin's Law, in the abstract, is that no comparison to Hitler can retain the nuance that you want to claim here. The name "Hitler" carries with it the meaning "the guy that brought us the Holocaust." You can't say "Putin is like Hitler, if Hitler didn't do that whole kill-the-Jews bit" because "Hitler" means "the crazy #### that gassed 6 million Jews to death for shits and giggles."

If you want to make the points above, do so by pointing out that Putin's a he's a rabid nationalist with dreams of a re-expansionist Russian empire and a big army. Just write that out and leave the Hitler comp off the table unless Putin starts herding the Tartars into mass graves.


Take the Holocaust off the table, and Hitler was still a massively destructive maniac. When someone is working off step-2 of Hitler's playbook, the comparison is fair.

Do you really doubt that an ex-KGB, worshipper of the Soviet Empire, would blanch at some mass-murder if it suited his purposes?

Even with the Holocaust, there is nothing unique about Hitler. Other regimes from the Mongols and Tamurlane, Mao to Stalin to Pol Pot to the Turks in WW1, have engaged in genocide when it suited their purpose.

Hell, Hitler himself invoked these other genocides, one week before invading Poland.

Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter – with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command – and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad – that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?

   2356. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4674764)
So, it's not worth opposing a war-mongering dictator unless he's going to rack up a death toll comparable to Hitler's?


You're talking to the voices in your head again, man. I have *never* said *a single ####### word* about not opposing Putin. I've stated, in the last two pages (so it's not like you'd have to dig into the archives) that the west should continue the path of severe sanctions set forward by the Obama admin's leadership* yesterday, strongly consider adding the remains of Ukraine to the EU and NATO as quickly as an organized process can be, and absolutely draw the line with military response if Putin creeps into Estonia or any of the NATO member states in the Baltics. Good lord. Read for comprehension, man.

*I'm sure if Merkel and Europe fail to follow Obama's leadership on the sanctions issue we'll hear from the resident wingers how this is proof that he's "weak" and "not a leader" because he didn't magically make everyone do what we think is in our best interests.
   2357. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4674765)
Whatever you say Neville.
   2358. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4674766)
Do you really doubt that an ex-KGB, worshipper of the Soviet Empire, would blanch at some mass-murder if it suited his purposes?


It's a pointless distraction, ginned up by people who want to face a monster of history instead of dealing with the muddy waters of simple reality. Putin is a bad guy. Putin should be contained. He's a nationalist and a neo-fascist Russian wanna-be tsar. He's not Hitler.
   2359. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:28 AM (#4674767)
Putin may not be genocidal, but the odds of him using nuclear weapons if a serious war breaks out are higher than zero. I don't even want to contemplate the endgame of a scenario where he goes all-in and we have to kick his ass to stop him and he's facing unavoidable defeat.

He's already sent his top (or one of his top) media guys out to re-explain on television that Russia could turn the US into radioactive ash. That happened a week or so ago.
   2360. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4674768)
He's already sent his top (or one of his top) media guys out to re-explain on television that Russia could turn the US into radioactive ash.


That's managing internal dissent from the cronies that Obama slapped the #### out of yesterday. That's not an act on the international stage.
   2361. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4674770)
It's a pointless distraction, ginned up by people who want to face a monster of history instead of dealing with the muddy waters of simple reality. Putin is a bad guy. Putin should be contained. He's a nationalist and a neo-fascist Russian wanna-be tsar. He's not Hitler.

Stipulated. I'm not sure what that rhetorical "victory" gains you, but if you want it, it's yours.
   2362. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4674771)
Putin may not be genocidal, but the odds of him using nuclear weapons if a serious war breaks out are higher than zero. I don't even want to contemplate the endgame of a scenario where he goes all-in and we have to kick his ass to stop him and he's facing unavoidable defeat.

He's already sent his top (or one of his top) media guys out to re-explain on television that Russia could turn the US into radioactive ash.


I'd argue the exact opposite. He's far more likely to commit mass murder than use nukes against the US.

He'd resort to the former, because he thought he could get away with it, and the people he attacked would be weak and defenseless. He knows he can't get away with nuking the US. Just like every other dictator, he's fundamentally a bully. He'll always attack the weak and shy away from conflict with the strong.

He's purely engaged in sabre rattling to scare our appeasement minded brethren.
   2363. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4674772)
You're talking to the voices in your head again, man. I have *never* said *a single ####### word* about not opposing Putin. I've stated, in the last two pages (so it's not like you'd have to dig into the archives) that the west should continue the path of severe sanctions set forward by the Obama admin's leadership* yesterday, strongly consider adding the remains of Ukraine to the EU and NATO as quickly as an organized process can be, and absolutely draw the line with military response if Putin creeps into Estonia or any of the NATO member states in the Baltics. Good lord. Read for comprehension, man.

If you want to oppose him, then I fail to see why you reject the Hitler comparison.

Most people are poorly versed in history. If you want to explain why we may have to shed American blood for a place they've never heard of (e.g. Estonia), you better draw a parallel they understand.
   2364. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:35 AM (#4674773)
It's a pointless distraction, ginned up by people who want to face a monster of history instead of dealing with the muddy waters of simple reality. Putin is a bad guy. Putin should be contained. He's a nationalist and a neo-fascist Russian wanna-be tsar. He's not Hitler.

Stipulated as well. But that doesn't mean the Hitler/appeasement parallel isn't apt.
   2365. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4674774)
Stipulated. I'm not sure what that rhetorical "victory" gains you, but if you want it, it's yours.


It gains us - everyone involved in this conversation in this thread - clarity and precision. It should put the accusations of "appeasement" and "weakness" on the back burner so we can have an adult conversation.
   2366. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4674776)
He's purely engaged in sabre rattling to scare our appeasement minded brethren.


This is so very silly. I am not scared. The only ones scared are the "OMG soon Putin will be rolling his tanks EVERYWHERE! We must draw a line in the sand and mobilize everything" crowd.

Those of us that are NOT scared are of the opinion that Putin is just acting (in a BAD fashion mind you) in a local dispute with a neighbor that Russia has very strong ties to and a strong ethnic Russian minority and in which Russia has strong historic and geopolitical concerns regarding. You folks, the cowardly ones, are blowing all that - again not OK stuff - into "WWIII is coming unless....".

No one else thinks he is about to roll into Estonia, I certainly don't. Only the ones who are scared of STRONG Putin think his act is anything but the acts of a guy who was losing in his own back yard and acted desperately. Because the thing is he is weak and I am not scared of Russia. I am scared that some cowards will blow this up into more than it is, they will act and force Putin into more acts of desperation and hey I would rather not have WWIII caused by a bunch of cowards afraid of the Russian Bear.

For now Obama needs to keep up doing what he is, as does Europe. The responses so far have been roughly correct and proportional, and they show that NATO is not afraid of Russia. There are costs to Russia doing what it is with the non-BNato neighbors, and Putin (Russia) will pay those costs.

If and when (and he won't) he rolls into a NATO country that is a whole different thing. However stop being so afraid of big bad Putin. He is neither HItler, nor napoleon, nor Stalin. He is a thug who was losing in his own back yard and did something dumb, and will pay the price (a price he is willing to pay).
   2367. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4674777)
It gains us - everyone involved in this conversation in this thread - clarity and precision. It should put the accusations of "appeasement" and "weakness" on the back burner so we can have an adult conversation.


Then we can focus on accusations of hating America and providing aid and comfort to the enemies who hate us and want to kill us. Hey, the 11th Anniversary of the Best War Ever just passed, I'm feeling nostalgic.
   2368. The Good Face Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4674778)
We failed when those turned into occupation/rebuilding. The actual war part we did very well in. Iraq and Afghanistan are poor analogies for a NATO war in Europe because all we would need to do is destroy invading armies on friendly soil, nobody has the slightest bit of interest in pushing into Russia itself.


It's almost impossible to fight a conventional war with Russia in east Ukraine or Estonia without, at the very least, launching air/missile strikes into Russian territory. Otherwise you're ceding them a huge advantage by allowing them to stage on the Russian side of the border. And once you've attacked Russian soil, there's a real chance things get very ugly.

Not to mention that east Ukraine and Estonia are not wholly friendly soil. We could and should expect insurrection and guerilla warfare in the urban areas; is USG willing to level entire cities? We weren't willing to do so in Iraq. A few dozen US soldiers lost to sniper/mortar/IED attacks every week or so and this war will peter out like a damp squib. The public support for Iraq and Afghanistan, while it lasted, was predicated on conflating those wars with 9/11. There's nothing like that here to whip the American people into a frenzy; they don't know or care from Estonia or east Ukraine, and why should they?
   2369. Ron J2 Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4674780)
#2345 Since all that Mike Godwin actually said is that in any internet conversation that goes on long enough Hitler will be invoked, as soon as Chamberlain or Munich is invoked Godwin's Law is satisfied.
   2370. Lassus Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4674781)
There's nothing like that here to whip the American people into a frenzy; they don't know or care from Estonia

Choral singers can get PRETTY upset.
   2371. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4674783)
It should put the accusations of "appeasement" and "weakness" on the back burner so we can have an adult conversation.

The adult conversation is that Putin has the stated desire to reconstitute part or all of the Soviet Empire. That desire is contrary to the interests of the United States. He's taken a step toward doing so. He's violated the peace and territorial integrity of Europe. His justifications -- "protecting" Russian speakers -- extend to several other countries, including NATO countries.

His rambling speeches post-annexation have evinced significant resentment toward the West, the United States, and Europe.

There's no reason not to take his stated desires to rebuild the Russian/Soviet empire at face value.

He's shown no indication that Crimea will be the end of his adventurism.

Previous backdowns at his saber-rattlings -- Georgia and, in particular, the missile installations -- have led him to believe the West does not have the stomach to confront him, which led to his seizure of Crimea. To alter the calculus he's using, we must act and be stronger in our dealings with him and this crisis.

Ukraine signed the association agreement with the EU today (ex-a few articles from the one they were supposed to sign before). They have elections on May 25. The crisis is not close to being resolved.

   2372. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4674785)
It's almost impossible to fight a conventional war with Russia in east Ukraine or Estonia without, at the very least, launching air/missile strikes into Russian territory. Otherwise you're ceding them a huge advantage by allowing them to stage on the Russian side of the border. And once you've attacked Russian soil, there's a real chance things get very ugly.


One of the reasons I am not afraid of Putin, is if we get into a conventional war with Russia we crush them. No kidding. And everyone knows NATO can crush them in a conventional war. Russia wants no part of fighting NATO.

Of course fighting a conventional war with Russia gains NATO nothing. We don't want to conquer Russia, and as Iraq and Afghanistan have shown we couldn't do anything constructive with it if we did crush them militarily.

So let's follow the logic tree: If NATO and Russia fight, both sides lose. No one gains anything. And that is the upside, the downside is Nuclear war. Yeah, not going to happen.

If you want to suggest I am wrong, fine. Perhaps I am ivory tower, underestimating the crazy in Putin or not afraid enough of him, but you cannot suggest I am acting out of fear, because I am not afraid of Putin or Russia. I am not even as afraid of Nuclear war as some of you, because clearly some of you think it possible, while I think you are all cowards and nuts.
   2373. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4674786)
Previous backdowns at his saber-rattlings -- Georgia and, in particular, the missile installations -- have led him to believe the West does not have the stomach to confront him, which led to his seizure of Crimea. To alter the calculus he's using, we must act and be stronger in our dealings with him and this crisis.


You are incorrect here. Our actions did not lead to his seizure of Crimea. Historical Russian ties and desperation at losing Ukraine (and thus Crimea) to the West is what drove his actions. What we did regarding Georgia is irrelevant (well unless you are suggesting we should have gone to war over it I guess).
   2374. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4674789)
Yanukovych responded with Putinesque determination (if not direct encouragement from Moscow), by having his troops fire on the demonstrators.


The snipers were on the opposition side, if that's what you're talking about. And if you're just talking about the riot police, they showed more restraint while have rocks, molotov cocktails, etc. thrown at them than any US police force has shown in generations. The cops in the US beat up and kill more people in a month of regular day to day patrols than Yanukovich's force did over the entire episode. Double standards all the time when it comes to US behaviour versus the rest of the world.
   2375. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4674791)
There's no reason not to take his stated desires to rebuild the Russian/Soviet empire at face value.


Who cares? I truly doubt Russia could conquer and hold the previous USSR territory (even ignoring the now NATO parts). It would be politically, militarily, and economically ruinous for him to even try to do that through military means. And even if he succeeded (again ignoring the NATO territories), so what?

Oh no a new cold war, where the bad guys are a pale shadow of the old bad guys and we beat them before without having to have a huge war. The "new USSR" would be a pale shadow of the old one, and we beat the old one. And that's assuming Putin managed to reassemble to old USSR, which I really doubt he would be able to do.

But yeah, I am the one afraid of Putin. Ridiculous.
   2376. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:19 AM (#4674793)
The cops in the US beat up and kill more people in a month of regular day to day patrols than Yanukovich's force did over the entire episode. Double standards all the time when it comes to US behaviour versus the rest of the world.


This is true.
   2377. The Good Face Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4674794)
One of the reasons I am not afraid of Putin, is if we get into a conventional war with Russia we crush them. No kidding. And everyone knows NATO can crush them in a conventional war. Russia wants no part of fighting NATO.


Yes, USG certainly covered itself in glory in Afghanistan and Iraq; an advanced industrial power like Russia would be a walk in the park. Home by Christmas!

If you want to suggest I am wrong, fine. Perhaps I am ivory tower, underestimating the crazy in Putin or not afraid enough of him, but you cannot suggest I am acting out of fear, because I am not afraid of Putin or Russia. I am not even as afraid of Nuclear war as some of you, because clearly some of you think it possible, while I think you are all cowards and nuts.


Not wanting to fight a war with Russia (conventional or otherwise) over Ukraine makes one a coward and/or nut?
   2378. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4674799)
Yes, USG certainly covered itself in glory in Afghanistan and Iraq; an advanced industrial power like Russia would be a walk in the park. Home by Christmas!


Dude,

In the conventional part the US forces did great. It is just impossible to hold a hostile nation anymore. Which is exactly what I said, when I said we couldn't do anything with Russia once we won (just like Iraq and Afghanistan).

Not wanting to fight a war with Russia (conventional or otherwise) over Ukraine makes one a coward and/or nut?


Being convinced Putin is about to reassemble the USSR, attack NATO unless NATO does BIG THINGS right now! makes one a coward and nut. No one wants to fight Russia, but the cowards and nuts think the only way to avoid that war is to act all big and bad and try to intimidate Putin, or else we are appeasing and encouraging him (and before we know it ...).

Thinking Putin is some big bad potential horror show for the world is driven by cowardice.
   2379. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4674802)

The way you prevent genocidal dictators and warmongers is to squash them when they're just getting started and are relatively weak.


To be a warmonger, don't you have to, like, start a bunch of wars? Or at least talk positively about war a lot? Currently reading about Mussolini, there was a warmonger. He wanted war as soon as he could get it. Putin, not so much.


There's no reason not to take his stated desires to rebuild the Russian/Soviet empire at face value.


Well, he had Georgia completely at his mercy and -- chose not to take it over. That seems to run counter to your statement.
   2380. Mefisto Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4674803)
Ditto 2366 and 2377.
   2381. Lassus Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4674805)
The crisis is not close to being resolved.

Is the definition of this as a "crisis" entirely apt?
   2382. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4674807)
Who cares? I truly doubt Russia could conquer and hold the previous USSR territory (even ignoring the now NATO parts). It would be politically, militarily, and economically ruinous for him to even try to do that through military means. And even if he succeeded (again ignoring the NATO territories), so what?

Many of us are not so sanguine about consigning tens of millions of people (whose independence we have guaranteed) to Russian oppression and dictatorship. People who have suffered genocide at Russian hands within the last century.

You guys are the one always so concerned about people being oppressed. Why does your concern not extend to Ukrainians and Tatars and Poles and Lithuanians and Estonians?

Being convinced Putin is about to reassemble the USSR, attack NATO unless NATO does BIG THINGS right now! makes one a coward and nut. No one wants to fight Russia, but the cowards and nuts think the only way to avoid that war is to act all big and bad and try to intimidate Putin, or else we are appeasing and encouraging him (and before we know it ...).

Historically the only way to avoid war with aggressive powers is to be stronger, and show the willingness to use that force.
   2383. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4674810)
I'm not going to call him Hitler until he signs a concordant with the Vatican.

But what if he's a firm rampart against Communism?
   2384. The Good Face Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4674811)
Dude,

In the conventional part the US forces did great. It is just impossible to hold a hostile nation anymore. Which is exactly what I said, when I said we couldn't do anything with Russia once we won (just like Iraq and Afghanistan).


We'd have the exact same problem in east Ukraine, and quite possibly Estonia as well.

Being convinced Putin is about to reassemble the USSR, attack NATO unless NATO does BIG THINGS right now! makes one a coward and nut. No one wants to fight Russia, but the cowards and nuts think the only way to avoid that war is to act all big and bad and try to intimidate Putin, or else we are appeasing and encouraging him (and before we know it ...) him.


Ah. While weakness breeds aggression, the simple reality is that the old USSR countries ARE weak compared to Russia. Not really worth getting too worked up over though; reassembling the USSR is almost certainly a much, much bigger bite than Putin could digest.

Thinking Putin is some big bad potential horror show for the world is driven by cowardice.


He's a right bastard who runs a strong regional power, and it's foolish to think he's either more or less than that. But as with any strong regional power, we should tread lightly when dealing with events right in the middle of their sphere of influence.
   2385. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4674814)
Many of us are not so sanguine about consigning tens of millions of people (whose independence we have guaranteed) to Russian oppression and dictatorship. People who have suffered genocide at Russian hands within the last century.


Wait, am I driven by fear or don't I care? You keep switching.

I care, but am I willing to risk WWIII (Nuclear Bugaloo) for them? No. Especially since If Russia were to try they would find out how very much it sucks to try to occupy a hostile nation. And they would leave, after taking many casualties (See Iraq and Afghanistan), and NATO would not have to do anything in direct military fashion.

Historically the only way to avoid war with aggressive powers is to be stronger, and show the willingness to use that force.


I get that you are afraid of Putin and Russia. I am not. Putin is not going to attack NATO and is unlikely to try and wholesale reassemble the non-NATO USSR. And if he does try he will lose without us fighting him.

Doesn't mean we do nothing, but it does mean we don't have to act afraid of him. Diplomacy and economic sanctions will do just fine. Which is what Obama and co are doing.
   2386. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4674816)
Vladimir Putin is Cyrus the Great. I am the first to say this, so nobody steal it.
   2387. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4674818)
We'd have the exact same problem in east Ukraine, and quite possibly Estonia as well.

No, we wouldn't. The Estonians and Ukranians would do any dirty work that needed to be done. At least 2/3 of the populations would be thrilled we were fighting to defend them. There is no analog to Iraq or Afghanistan.

It's not even clear the ethnic Russians want to join Russia, much less that they'd wage a bitter guerrilla war against their own Gov't.

He's a right bastard who runs a strong regional power, and it's foolish to think he's either more or less than that. But as with any strong regional power, we should tread lightly when dealing with events right in the middle of their sphere of influence.

His "sphere of influence" includes multiple countries to whom we have given guarantees, Poland, Baltics, even Ukraine. That's why we can't "tread lightly".
   2388. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4674820)
Wait, am I driven by fear or don't I care? You keep switching.

I care, but am I willing to risk WWIII (Nuclear Bugaloo) for them? No. Especially since If Russia were to try they would find out how very much it sucks to try to occupy a hostile nation. And they would leave, after taking many casualties (See Iraq and Afghanistan), and NATO would not have to do anything in direct military fashion.


You are driven by the 0.01% chance something could disrupt your cozy life. I fear selling out our friends and allies.

If you tell me our choices are craven abandonment of our allies or a 1/1000 or even 1/100 chance of nuclear war. I take the risk of nuclear war every day of the week.

Just like during the Cold War. "Better dead than Red" was the absolute truth. If you fear death so much you shy away from any conflict, you'll end up a slave.

Finland remained free from the Soviets simply because they were willing to fight to their annihilation rather than surrender.
   2389. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4674821)
The cops in the US beat up and kill more people in a month of regular day to day patrols than Yanukovich's force did over the entire episode. Double standards all the time when it comes to US behaviour versus the rest of the world.


US Police killed 607 people last year (And I'm going to assume that the vast majority were not political protesters/demonstrators)

That's 50 a month (nation of 300 million)

about 100 Euromaidan protestors were killed, so no, and when was the last time that US police killed about 100 Americans in one event (not "regular day to day patrols")
   2390. The Good Face Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4674822)
No, we wouldn't. The Estonians and Ukranians would do any dirty work that needed to be done. At least 2/3 of the populations would be thrilled we were fighting to defend them. There is no analog to Iraq or Afghanistan.


No doubt we'll be greeted as liberators by children carrying flowers.

His "sphere of influence" includes multiple countries to whom we have given guarantees, Poland, Baltics, even Ukraine. That's why we can't "tread lightly".


Some of those guarantees are quite clearly mistakes, and one doesn't compound a mistake by repeating it or doubling down on it.
   2391. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4674826)
I'm not going to call him Hitler until he signs a concordant with the Vatican.

But what if he's a firm rampart against Communism?


Who could argue with such moral resolve? Ah, those were the days of clear-eyed rationalism, such a contrast to today's sackless secularism and pusillanimity.
   2392. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4674828)
Some of those guarantees are quite clearly mistakes, and one doesn't compound a mistake by repeating it or doubling down on it.

100% irrelevant. If our guarantees are meaningless, we will have no sway in the world except naked force. How will we ever hope to contain China, if our allies think we'll cut them lose the second it gets dicey?

No doubt we'll be greeted as liberators by children carrying flowers.

If the Russians invade? Hell yes. The Ukrainians greeted the Nazis are liberators until they started killing innocent people.

You have no idea how Ukrainians feel about the Russians. Do you forget the Soviets murdered probably 20 million Ukrainians between 1920 and 1950.
   2393. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4674829)
reassembling the USSR is almost certainly a much, much bigger bite than Putin could digest.


Chechnya has about a million people, I'm sure that your average Russian is just thrilled with the spice added to their lives by uncertainties created by keeping Chechnya in the fold (hostage takings in schools and theatres, apartment bombings etc.) I'm sure the average Russian would be thrilled by the prospect of adding a few million of this non-Russian group and that non-Russian group back into Mother Russia (against their wills)- hell even if they get indigestion Putin will eventually stomp out disturbances- he's mostly got Chechnyan activities stomped out by now, he can take on some more.

Seriously if he takes on too much he is going to be too preoccupied with suppressing internal disturbances to keep on adding more- assembling the Russian Empire/USSR took centuries of brutality- he's not putting Humpty Dumpty back together this life time or the next.
   2394. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM (#4674830)
You are driven by the 0.01% chance something could disrupt your cozy life. I fear selling out our friends and allies.

If you tell me our choices are craven abandonment of our allies or a 1/1000 or even 1/100 chance of nuclear war. I take the risk of nuclear war every day of the week.

Just like during the Cold War. "Better dead than Red" was the absolute truth. If you fear death so much you shy away from any conflict, you'll end up a slave.

Finland remained free from the Soviets simply because they were willing to fight to their annihilation rather than surrender.


Bull crap. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan disrupted my cozy life and I was against them. I am also against stupid military adventurism based in fear in Russia as well.

Craven abandonment? Please. Do we have a treaty with Ukraine specifying if they are attacked we will join them? We do with NATO. Call me when we ignore a NATO country getting attacked.

I am not afraid, you are. I think war is generally stupid and counter-productive (and hey look, history backs me up). You are the one running around talking about willingness to risk war, even Nuclear war, all because you are afraid of Putin. Nothing he has done is worth risking any chance of Nuclear war. Because Nuclear war is bad. Really really bad.

As to Finland, bully for them. If the folks in Crimea want independence as much as the Fins then I bet their wish will be granted. Why does the US have to swoop in and help them (or the Ukrainians or the Georgians), when the Fins did it themselves?

I am not saying I abandon them, just they get to take the first steps. I am not willing to risk WWIII just because some Crimeans want to be free of Russia, you know maybe, but not enough to actually do anything about it until NATO helps.
   2395. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4674832)
Seriously if he takes on too much he is going to be too preoccupied with suppressing internal disturbances to keep on adding more- assembling the Russian Empire/USSR took centuries of brutality- he's not putting Humpty Dumpty back together this life time or the next.


Correct and only those who are afraid see Putin as anything but what he is, regional bully and thug, who also has a nuclear arsenal, but who wants no part of tangling with NATO.
   2396. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4674833)
It's almost impossible to fight a conventional war with Russia in east Ukraine or Estonia without, at the very least, launching air/missile strikes into Russian territory. Otherwise you're ceding them a huge advantage by allowing them to stage on the Russian side of the border. And once you've attacked Russian soil, there's a real chance things get very ugly.


Yes, the way you make them pay is the way we made them pay in Afghanistan, Russia's leaders unfortunately still seem to have quite the stomach for that sort of thing- they lost far more troops and civilians holding onto Checnhya than we did in Iraq- but that wasn't nearly enough to discourage Putin there- I suspect he'd tolerate a far higher number of Russian casualties in East Ukraine than the number of US casualties we'd tolerate defending West Ukraine.

   2397. The Good Face Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4674834)
100% irrelevant. If our guarantees are meaningless, we will have no sway in the world except naked force. How will we ever hope to contain China, if our allies think we'll cut them lose the second it gets dicey?


Don't be such a drama queen; in the real world, nation states back out of obligations all the time when they deem it to be in their interest.

If the Russians invade? Hell yes. The Ukrainians greeted the Nazis are liberators until they started killing innocent people.

You have no idea how Ukrainians feel about the Russians. Do you forget the Soviets murdered probably 20 million Ukrainians between 1920 and 1950.


A big chunk of people in east Ukraine ARE Russians. Most of the people in Iraq and Afghanistan didn't have any beef with US forces being there; you don't need the whole country turned against you if 20-40% of the population is against you.
   2398. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4674837)
A big chunk of people in east Ukraine ARE Russians.

They speak Russian. That doesn't make them Russians.
   2399. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4674840)
They speak Russian. That doesn't make them Russians.


Nor does being on the western side of an arbitarily drawn line on a map make them Ukrainians. They are Russians nationally, living in the Ukrainian state. They are as Russia as Mexican Americans are Mexican.
   2400. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4674841)
Nor does being on the western side of an arbitarily drawn line on a map make them Ukrainians. They are Russians nationally, living in the Ukrainian state. They are as Russia as Mexican Americans are Mexican.

So Mexican-Americans would give aid and comfort to a Mexican army invasion of the United States, and would actively hinder American efforts to thwart said invasion?

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