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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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   2401. BDC Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4674844)
I think I predicted somewhere upthread that a likely outcome would be some parts of the Ukraine spun off and reassociated with Russia, while a very large portion of the country becomes significantly more pro-Western and democratic: and that despite technicalities about territory, that result would not be good for Putin's imperial ambitions. What benefit to gain a province when you lose an ally and a large favorable market?

As to Crimea itself, public sentiment there may be hard to gauge and not entirely free, but secession is the buzz all over Europe these days, from the Veneto to Scotland. Lots of people in marginal territories are failing to see the attraction of belonging to a (given) huge nation-state anymore, especially in a globalized economy.

Edit for modest additional clarity
   2402. Lassus Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4674845)
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?

Some, I'm sure. How many, I haven't a clue.
   2403. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4674847)
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?


Given history and the economies of both states, probably not. Some would, but not a lot. Ukraine and Russia has a much different history.
   2404. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4674848)
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.


Well, it is true that back then we had Paganism on the run.

But they were also the days of AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR COMMUNISTS! So there really hasn't been any era where we could ever feel totally safe and secure.

   2405. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4674850)

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


Finland surrendered to the Soviets in August 1944. They remained free because, contrary to received belief, Stalin didn't want to directly annex everything in sight.
   2406. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4674851)
Given history and the economies of both states, probably not. Some would, but not a lot. Ukraine and Russia has a much different history.

What does that have to do with the Russian speakers hindering troops defending Ukraine against Russia?

In reality, neither you nor Face has a clue about how much, if at all, that would happen. The fact that someone speaks Russian doesn't give you a clue, and isn't a proxy of any kind.

Eastern Ukraine voted overwhelmingly for indpendence from Russia in 1991, and reiterated that stance in the poll taken on the matter in 2012. Those numbers mean far more to the rational than the idle speculation of American isolationists and chin-strokers.
   2407. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4674852)
Good stuff Andy. It may seem shrill to modern eyes but you can't overestimate the fear that pervades your every waking moment when you're targeted by Jews.

I assume you remember The Father's broadcasts from your youthful days, maybe tuned in at the poolhall? ;)
   2408. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4674857)
More poll numbers

"The respected Razumkov Center conducted a poll in 2012, asking Ukrainians how they would vote on independence from the Soviet Union if they were to vote today – i.e., to redo the 1991 referendum. In 2012, the number of Ukrainians who said that they would vote in favor of an independence referendum reached 64.4%.

This is up from 51% in 2001, around the time Soviet nostalgia peaked. Those who answered that they would oppose independence, if given the chance to do it over now, were 17.7% in 2012 – down from 29% in 2001. Polling by the Kyiv Institute for Sociology in 2011 put the number who would vote for independence even higher – at 83%."


So pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine actually peaked 13 years ago and then went down.

The South and East are also still strongly in favor of independence:

Meanwhile, a 2007 Razumkov poll found that 75% of respondents in the South and 78% of respondents in the East – both majority Russian-speaking areas – would not favor their region separating from Ukraine and joining another state.


   2409. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 21, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4674861)
Good stuff Andy. It may seem shrill to modern eyes but you can't overestimate the fear that pervades your every waking moment when you're targeted by Jews.

And when women were invading men's rightful domains even more than they are today---and at a Papist college, no less! Backward reels the mind!
   2410. Gaelan Posted: March 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4674873)
This talk of nuclear or even conventional war is ridiculous. Russia, and most importantly Russia's oligarchs, have far more to lose than anyone else. Putin isn't an absolute monarch. There is no end game that starts with widespread war and ends with him in power. None.

The West has nothing to lose by standing up to him other than a rise in natural gas prices in Europe that will hurt Russia more than anyone else.
   2411. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4674874)
They remained free because, contrary to received belief, Stalin didn't want to directly annex everything in sight.
He also likely assumed that he would engineer a takeover by a more friendly government as he did all over Eastern Europe- those efforts of course succeeded when the Red Army was on the ground and mostly floundered when it wasn't.

He did want to control everything on his borders.
   2412. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 12:35 PM (#4674875)
I have been away from OTP for 36 (blissful, I can assure you) hours, but have returned briefly to share this piece on the views of Israeli Jews from the FSU:
A journalist and native of Ukraine, Shaul Reznik, divides the USSR immigrants' positions on the issue between two groups. There is "the emotional right, which cries, 'Hooray Putin,' for showing that anti-Israel [President Barack] Obama what’s what and coming out as a 'man's man.' Members of this group, which aligns with the religious community, add an anti-Semitic dimension and claim that the Ukrainians are from 'the seed of Amalek' [a biblical tribe hostile to the Israelites] because years ago they committed pogroms against the Jews and collaborated with the Nazis." The second group consists of two segments who usually have different views: the intellectual right and the left. "Members of this group can’t ignore Putin’s various anti-liberal and anti-Western deeds. This sector is aware that anti-Semitism exists equally among the Ukrainians and the Russians, and sees present-day Russia as a country bordering on fascism," he said.

“This issue crosses geographic boundaries,” says Bronfman. “Many immigrants from the former USSR are infected, unfortunately, with the Soviet inheritance of a totalitarian mindset, and thus support belligerent acts like Putin’s.”

According to him, others make a generational division: While older immigrants from the former USSR still hold on to that “Soviet consciousness,” the values of younger Russian-speakers in Israel are democratic, and thus even those whose origins are in Russia support the Ukrainian revolution. “The older generation supports Putin and the younger is more critical,” says Bronfman. “There’s a divide between parents and grandchildren and children. It’s a debate that divides families.” ...

One of the problems of the Russian-speaking community in Israel is that it follows only Russian media. In a 2011 survey commissioned by Channel 9, an Israeli Russian-language channel, it was revealed that after their channel, immigrants from the former USSR watch the Russian Channel 1, the RTR Planeta Channel and the RTVi Channel — all of which are Russian channels. The leading Ukrainian channels didn’t even register in the survey.

“Yes, all our information is from the Russian channels,” says Glikin, “thus at the beginning I believed what they said. But when we talked to relatives in Ukraine, we discovered that they only present one side, and actually you could see that all the Russian sites provide exactly the same story.”

Akhmechet agrees, “I didn’t see propaganda like there is today, even in the Communist period. They tell real lies.” [Emphasis mine.]

This game is also played by Israeli journalists who emigrated from the USSR. Bronfman mentions the journalist Lev Malinsky (whose pen name is Lev Avenais), who traveled to Crimea and expressed an opinion in favor of the referendum. On the other hand, Reznik mentions the more skeptical report from Channel 9 journalist Andrey Kozhinov.

As mentioned, much of the propaganda touches on the painful issue of anti-Semitism. In order to convince the Jews, the Israelis and the West in general, each side is trying to claim that the other is more anti-Semitic. “Every revolution produces an ugly and black froth,” says Weintraub. “In the revolution in Ukraine there were fascists, too, and the Russian communication campaign made use of this.”

   2413. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4674879)
The West has nothing to lose by standing up to him other than a rise in natural gas prices in Europe that will hurt Russia more than anyone else.


Of course using your logic the west has nothing to lose by not standing up to him either. He is not going after NATO no matter what, and him (Russia) getting bogged down in various former USSR provinces doesn't exactly hurt NATO, it hurts Russia.

And that is why people need to calm down. This is a small regional issue. It is not going to hurt the West. There is not going to be a huge conventional or nuclear war. Putin is not going to invade greater Europe. He is going to continue operating where he thinks he can, which means things like Crimea and Georgia.

Personally I think it shows he is losing and being forced into military actions. It is showing he has a weak hand. But in any case it is most certainly not worth NATO getting actively involved in other than the sort of thing Obama is already doing.
   2414. Srul Itza Posted: March 21, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4674892)
Just to clarify -- is anyone here seriously arguing that we should go to war to "liberate" Crimea? Because that would be insane.

Is anyone here seriously arguing that if Estonia were invaded, we should shrug our shoulders and say, "so it goes"? Because that would be insane in a different way?

Unless somebody is taking those positions, there seems to be a lot of bad faith asserting of positions as to the other sides.

Oh, and as regards the EuroMaidan protestors, Rants Mulliniks is so wrong as to not be worth responding to, as he is either a liar or an idiot.
   2415. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4674919)
Unless somebody is taking those positions, there seems to be a lot of bad faith asserting of positions as to the other sides.


The whole thing started with folks panicking over the situation and what Obama was doing (or not doing).

There has been plenty of talk about how it was all caused by US weakness and if we are not strong now then we are all appeasers, because we are afraid of Putin and weak.

That is the line or argument I am pushing back against. I am not suggesting anyone believes either of your positions, I am suggesting that following the above line of though - our weakness caused Putin to act as he did and more weakness will enable him to conquer more - is ridiculous and very dangerous. Much more dangerous than doing what we are today.

We don't have to invade to free Crimea to end up doing something foolish. There are plenty of ways we can be foolish. And most of them start with fear of big bad Putin and the Russian Bear and how they could turn into the next Hitler, if we don't do something STRONG!
   2416. zenbitz Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4674924)
Actually, why didn't Stalin take over Finland? Neither explanation posted here seems satisfactory.
   2417. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4674925)
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.


Oh, and as regards the EuroMaidan protestors, Rants Mulliniks is so wrong as to not be worth responding to, as he is either a liar or an idiot.

You always have to respond to propaganda

for instance, take the claim that:The snipers were on the opposition side, if that's what you're talking about.

This is false, it was claimed by Yankuvych when he realized he horribly miscalculated and the videos of protesters getting shot was making his support evaporate- and later picked up by Russian media- but the reason Yanku's OWN PARTY disowned him was because he ordered the shootings (Which I don't think Putin ordered because Putin's not an idiot).

And if you're just talking about the riot police, they showed more restraint

Perhaps the key immediate event in Yanku's downfall was that right after he ordered the snipers in some 60 or so of his riot police promptly defected to the protestors' side, and many more simply went home. When the POLICE disobey the autocrat, the autocrat is history.
   2418. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4674926)
Just to clarify -- is anyone here seriously arguing that we should go to war to "liberate" Crimea? Because that would be insane.
Just a few weeks ago, I was listening to Rich Lowery go on and on criticizing Obama on his handling of the Ukranian/Russian situation, yet when asked what he would do, Lowery said what everyone else has said, and what Obama actually did. This is all rhetorical gamesmanship in an election year. Most people don't know enough about the situation to actually be smart and say nothing, but they all know there's something to be gained politically here.
   2419. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4674927)
The whole thing started with folks panicking over the situation and what Obama was doing (or not doing).

It got started with the clear-minded stating what he had done (or not done), starting with the backdown on the missile installations in 2009.

and if we are not strong now then we are all appeasers, because we are afraid of Putin and weak.

Actually the accusations weren't really "appeasement" because people were "afraid," but more that people were fellow travelers because they were adopting Putin's arguments -- such as the demographics of Eastern Ukraine and the political sentiments of Eastern Ukrainians.


   2420. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4674932)
The West has nothing to lose by standing up to him other than a rise in natural gas prices in Europe that will hurt Russia more than anyone else.


China is on Russia's side, and between the two of them they could collapse the US economy tomorrow if they wanted to. Not that they would come out scott free by any means, but to me that would be preferable to a nuclear war.
   2421. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4674933)


China is on Russia's side, and between the two of them they could collapse the US economy tomorrow if they wanted to.


How would they do that?
   2422. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4674936)
Actually, why didn't Stalin take over Finland? Neither explanation posted here seems satisfactory.


Stalin's main foreign policy goal was to prevent a repeat of Barbarossa by ensuring a thick belt of friendly buffer states where the next war could be fought instead of Mother Russia. The chances of a major strike at Russia via Finland were much less than via Poland. A neutralized Finland was sufficient for his purposes.
   2423. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4674937)
You always have to respond to propaganda

for instance, take the claim that:The snipers were on the opposition side, if that's what you're talking about.

This is false, it was claimed by Yankuvych when he realized he horribly miscalculated and the videos of protesters getting shot was making his support evaporate- and later picked up by Russian media- but the reason Yanku's OWN PARTY disowned him was because he ordered the shootings (Which I don't think Putin ordered because Putin's not an idiot).


We should add the catalog of massive lies and propaganda to the parallels with the Sudetanland era.
   2424. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4674938)
Actually, why didn't Stalin take over Finland? Neither explanation posted here seems satisfactory.


I think the real answer is that it was because he never occupied it- he kept the 10% or so of Finland's territory the Red Army was on when the war ended- but the rest would have required that he continue fighting, but:

1: Finland didn't surrender, they signed a ceasefire in the fall of 1944 with the Soviets occupying some 10% of Finland, Leningrad had been relieved and Germany was still enemy #1- so the Red Army troops fighting on the Finnish Front were transferred to fight Germany.

2: The Red Army was exhausted in May 1945, they had made an all out drive to take Berlin, once achieved the Red Army was likely not ready for another major offensive- and really wouldn't be for at least another 2-3 months (and then they drove east not wanting to miss out on any "spoils" against Japan).

3: He had a lot to digest- basically all of Eastern Europe, plus he was busy reneging on his "naughty" deal with Churchill by destabilizing Greece.

4: Germany was done and he was now staring at the Western powers- and he was as mistrustful of us as we were of him- he wanted to see what we were up to (and vice versa),

5; Finland agree to pay reparations to the USSR
   2425. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4674939)
How would they do that?


Dump all their US treasuries.
   2426. Mefisto Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4674940)
between the two of them they could collapse the US economy tomorrow if they wanted to.


Huh? US trade with Russia in 2013 totaled about 38 billion dollars. In a $14 trillion economy, that's bupkis. Trade with China totaled a little over $560 billion, which is at least real money but hardly enough to crash the US. Russia's trade would add nothing to whatever China wanted to do.

Moreover, China benefits from our trade much more than we benefit: the net balance in China's favor for 2013 was $318 billion. If China shut off trade, it would more likely crash their own, much smaller, economy than ours.
   2427. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4674942)
Dump all their US treasuries.

At fire sale prices? Why would they do that?
   2428. Mefisto Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4674943)
Dump all their US treasuries.


I fail to see how China selling their treasuries at a loss would hurt us. It would immediately raise the value of the yuan against the dollar, hurting China still more. Frankly, under current economic conditions, it would probably help the US.
   2429. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4674945)
Nobody is going to buy them, unless you consider the Fed and their fake QE money a legitimate buyer.
   2430. spike Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4674946)
China is on Russia's side, and between the two of them they could collapse the US economy tomorrow if they wanted to. Not that they would come out scott free by any means, but to me that would be preferable to a nuclear war.

Pure fiction.

Dump all their US treasuries.

Which, even if they could, taking a bath on their investments and massively devaluing their trade surplus? That'll sure fix the US but good. I'm sure the Russkies can't wait to buy up the excess fake dog vomit, whoopie cushions and miniature American flags they'll have to sell to someone.
   2431. spike Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4674947)
the Fed and their fake QE money a legitimate buyer.

Who would be only to happy to buy back their debt for pennies on the dollar of what it sold for. Curse you, China!
   2432. Mefisto Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4674950)
Nobody is going to buy them, unless you consider the Fed and their fake QE money a legitimate buyer.


One of the biggest problems the economy has right now is an excess demand for secure assets. If China were to dump its treasuries, there would be a large market of buyers. It might even bring that market to equilibrium.
   2433. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4674951)
China is on Russia's side


China is on China's side.
China is not Russia and China is not Iran (whose regime as wholeheartedly internalized the belief that the USA is the great Satan)
China opposes us because we are powerful and seen as someone who could impede them in pursuing their interests- whereas since 1990 they no longer view Russia as a CURRENT threat, but

There's at best a temporary confluence of interests, if Putin starts focusing east, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Krygistan, then China will get very very wary.

They didn't trust Russia when both countries were Communist they don't trust them now, long run we're gonna have better relations with China than Russia is
   2434. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4674954)
At fire sale prices? Why would they do that?


they wouldn't, it would take a major direct/China conflict- they may not lift a finger to help anyone contain Russia/Putin, but they won't lift a finger to help him either.

   2435. Ron J2 Posted: March 21, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4674959)
As to Rants, the behavior of the police at the protests for some of the international conferences has been way over the line. And a few zillion milles away from snipers opening up on the crowd. Adam Nobody for instance survived -- and saw Babak Andalib-Goortani convicted for his misconduct. (and yes -- all too frequently the cops get away with it. And will likely continue to do so in cases where there is no clear video evidence)
   2436. OCF Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4674961)
One of the biggest problems the economy has right now is an excess demand for secure assets. If China were to dump its treasuries, there would be a large market of buyers. It might even bring that market to equilibrium.

That might happen, for reasons that have nothing to do with foreign policy. I've heard the suggestion that the Chinese financial system, with its vast and spiraling investments in real estate, is approaching where the U.S. was in 2007 - that is, that they're Wile E. Coyote already off the edge of the cliff and they just haven't looked down yet. Although if they have big trouble at home, that might just accelerate their demand for U.S. treasuries.
   2437. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4674963)
Nobody is going to buy them, unless you consider the Fed and their fake QE money a legitimate buyer.

So then their value is 0?

Doesn't give the holders much leverage.
   2438. Srul Itza Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4674969)
Which I don't think Putin ordered because Putin's not an idiot


I doubt he would have said anything like that, true. I would not be surprised if he advised Yankuvych that he needed to get tougher and shut down the protesters -- because that is how Putin handles protesters. Yankuvych's idea of getting tougher, however, was to shoot, and the rest -- and Yankuvych -- is history.
   2439. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4674972)
So then their value is 0?

Doesn't give the holders much leverage.


Not to mention the fact that the US Treasury has the serial numbers of the bonds held by the Chinese and Russia Gov'ts and state-owned corporations. In any war, you can count on them suspending the repayment on those assets, permanently if necessary.

A coordinated attempt to undermine the US financial system can easily be considered an act of war, and provide grounds to cancel all the US debt held by the aggressor nation. Not to mention, in a state of war, we get to seize all the belligerent's assets here in the US. Not a fun scenario for China.
   2440. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4674973)
China can absolutely hurt the world and US economy. Russia can also hurt the World economy. Guess what, the US can also destroy the world's economy. The EU can destroy the world's economy.

The reason none of the countries do this is that it hurts them if the world's economy gets destroyed. Like a bunch.

Just like the US (and Russia) can both destroy the world with the nuclear arsenal. But it is a nice world, and it is where they keep all their stuff, so they are reluctant to do anything rash like that.

And like has been mentioned up thread, why would China do this to help Russia? More blind fear talking.
   2441. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4674974)
China can absolutely hurt the world and US economy.

There's nothing they sell that we can't live without for long enough for other suppliers to come on line. Cutting off our supply of big screen TVs, PCs and toys, is not going to bring us to our knees.

As long as our energy supplies are not threatened, we can get by OK. We produce more than enough food domestically. The $1.2T dollars of debt we get to eliminate will pay for a lot of extended UE benefits and fiscal stimulus.

On the other hand, the mass unemployment that would result from cutting off trade with the US would almost certainly lead to the fall of their government.
   2442. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4674975)
There's nothing they sell that we can't live without for long enough for other suppliers to come on line. Cutting off our supply of big screen TVs, PCs and toys, is not going to bring us to our knees.


China can hurt us badly. We can hurt them badly. Can either country survive without the other? Sure to a degree. Surviving without the manufacturing muscle China has (and their rare earths and such) would be bad. Since the US is a larger and more mature economy, yeah we could survive better than them.

Basically there are no winners if that happens, and both sides know it. How much each side loses is sort of besides the point IMO.
   2443. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4674979)
Carnegie Endowment's Matthew Kupfer:
Bad news. MT @CrimeaEU: Mustafa Cemilev,Crimean Tatar leader & #Ukraine MP declared non grata in #Crimea by #Russia| pic.twitter.com/Bvl1cdAlQf

Kupfer again:
Denying Tatar leader & #Ukraine MP Jemilev entry into #Crimea doesn't exactly signal good will toward ethnic minorities. Classy, #Russia...
   2444. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4674980)
Basically there are no winners if that happens, and both sides know it. How much each side loses is sort of besides the point IMO.

No, it's exactly the point, because it tells us who will back down first.

If Obama takes actions that lead to the cutting off of trade with China, he gets to preside over a major recession, or even a depression. He leaves office as one of the most unpopular Presidents ever, and goes into a comfortable retirement of making speeches for $1M a pop. If the Chinese leaders do the same, they have a very good chance of getting a bullet behind the ear, or ending up hanging from a lamp post.
   2445. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4674985)
This is pretty funny when you think about it:
Suppose Hillary Clinton is elected president in 2016. In your view, what would be the best or positive thing about a Hillary Clinton presidency...?
   2446. greenback calls it soccer Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4674991)
Almost as funny as this.
   2447. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4674997)
Almost as funny as this.

If Elizabeth Warren chooses to run in the primary, Greenback, what will HRC be able to tout as an accomplishment, other than having been born with a vagina? So yeah, it really would be fun to watch.
   2448. spike Posted: March 21, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4675002)
Shouldn't you be more worried about the general, rather than the process to determine which Democratic nominee is going to annihilate the GOP in '16?
   2449. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 21, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4675014)
what will HRC be able to tout as an accomplishment


First lady. Senator. Secretary of State.

Yeah, I am positive the GOP nominee will be able to beat that easily. For example?
   2450. Srul Itza Posted: March 21, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4675018)
Concern trolling at its finest.
   2451. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4675024)
First lady. Senator. Secretary of State.


Yeah but she's a girl.
   2452. spike Posted: March 21, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4675025)
eh, it's a bit of realpolitik I suppose - there is little doubt even from concern trolls that the GOP can't get within a mile of Hillary no matter who they run, so there is nothing left but to cheerlead for a stumble
   2453. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4675032)
Yeah but she's a girl.


She only became "first lady" because she's a girl; it's hardly an earned position.

It's actually an absurd anachronism.
   2454. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 21, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4675035)
China is on China's side.
China is not Russia and China is not Iran (whose regime as wholeheartedly internalized the belief that the USA is the great Satan)
China opposes us because we are powerful and seen as someone who could impede them in pursuing their interests- whereas since 1990 they no longer view Russia as a CURRENT threat, but

There's at best a temporary confluence of interests, if Putin starts focusing east, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Krygistan, then China will get very very wary.

They didn't trust Russia when both countries were Communist they don't trust them now, long run we're gonna have better relations with China than Russia is


Hell, China publicly criticized Russia's invasion of Crimea. China is trying to grow its economy and establish itself as a superpower, Russia going off and attempting to destabilize Europe would do nothing at all to help them.
   2455. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 21, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4675046)
Hell, China publicly criticized Russia's invasion of Crimea. China is trying to grow its economy and establish itself as a superpower, Russia going off and attempting to destabilize Europe would do nothing at all to help them.
It should be noted that Putin's dream of an Eurasian trade union to rival the EU did not include China. It's hard to see China shedding a tear for the death a potential economic bloc that would've acted as a rival to their own markets.
   2456. Lassus Posted: March 21, 2014 at 06:02 PM (#4675066)
....what will HRC be able to tout as an accomplishment, other than having been born with a vagina?

Um. What?
   2457. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 21, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4675070)
To be fair, four decades after being born, I still have not achieved growing a vagina.
   2458. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 21, 2014 at 06:30 PM (#4675071)
Ah, Michigan. I don't miss you. link

It's awesome to think that with the multitude of problems in that state that the leaders have taken the time to take a stand against Adam and Steve. How ridiculous that we have to go through this costly legal stuff for each and every state.
   2459. steagles Posted: March 21, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4675074)
Ah, Michigan. I don't miss you. link
speaking of, has anyone posted this yet:
LANSING, MI -- Michigan communities have missed out on some $6.2 billion in statutory revenue sharing payments over the past decade as lawmakers and governors diverted funds to fill holes in the state budget, according to a new report from the Michigan Municipal League highlighting losses by community.

Detroit, the state's largest city, lost out on $732 million in revenue sharing between 2003 and 2013, according to the report. Twenty two other cities -- from Grand Rapids to Wyandotte -- saw the state divert at least $10 million in sales tax revenue that local leaders believe they should have been entitled to.

That's money that would have helped local governments provide essential services -- including police and fire, water systems, road maintenance, parks, libraries -- and may have allowed some of them to avoid financial emergencies requiring state intervention.
   2460. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4675075)
She only became "first lady" because she's a girl; it's hardly an earned position.


no, she became "first lady" because she supported Bill from day 1 (politically and financially) without her it's doubtful he ever became Governor or gets re-elected governor.
   2461. CrosbyBird Posted: March 21, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4675082)
This is a small regional issue. It is not going to hurt the West. There is not going to be a huge conventional or nuclear war. Putin is not going to invade greater Europe. He is going to continue operating where he thinks he can, which means things like Crimea and Georgia.

I think aggression against Crimea represents something that could potentially hurt the West, and global stability in general. The Ukraine is an independent country that voluntarily gave up nuclear weapons, and I think it is a big deal if its autonomy is not protected. Why would other countries ever be willing to perform similarly in the future?

Russia was a party to a promise to respect the borders of the Ukraine, and now chooses to ignore that promise. I think that's a big deal too. There should be consequences for violating international agreements or other international agreements will have no force.

Personally I think it shows he is losing and being forced into military actions. It is showing he has a weak hand. But in any case it is most certainly not worth NATO getting actively involved in other than the sort of thing Obama is already doing.

I am not in favor of something as extreme as declaring war on Russia, but that doesn't mean this is merely a small regional issue. I am less concerned about this particular incident leading directly to war as I am concerned about the precedent of removing incentives for nuclear disarmament.
   2462. Publius Publicola Posted: March 21, 2014 at 07:06 PM (#4675084)
I think Rants is anticipating Russia and China conspiring to tank the US economy by jointly gobbling up gold futures.
   2463. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 21, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4675086)
Russia was a party to a promise to respect the borders of the Ukraine, and now chooses to ignore that promise. I think that's a big deal too.


Per Wikipedia the Budapest Memorandum entailed this:
According to the memorandum, Russia, the U.S., and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:

1. Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
2. Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
3. Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
4. Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
5. Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
6. Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.[7]


I think they violated #3 from day 1, Obviously just violated #2, and had a very different understanding of the word "respect" as being used in #1 than anyone else.

Despite the memorandum Russia never really recognized Crimea as being part of Ukraine rather than Russia
Crimea itself made several stabs at independence from 1992-1995

Russia looked at Crimea the way Argentina looks at the Falklands/Malvinas- they would temporarily acknowledge that it was someone else's when they lacked the ability to retake it by force- but once they believed it was possible to retake they always planned on retaking at the next available pre-text.

China still thinks Taiwan is theirs
Japan still thinks the Kurils are theirs (and Japanese nationalists have been pissed at what they see as a missed opportunity to simply retake them in the early 90s)
Palestinians still think all of Palestine are theirs
Some Israelis still think all of "Judea and Samaria" are theirs

the revanchists do not care what the people who now live in these territories want or think- all that matters in their mind - is that Land A is rightfully theirs (they look at such lands the way a car owner looks at his car after its been stolen, "it's mine, it doesn't matter if the person who has it now is guilty or innocent of that crime the car is mine and should be returned to me"
   2464. BDC Posted: March 21, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4675098)
First Lady aside, Senator & SoS is a nice combo. 41 was the "resumé candidate" in 1980 with minor-league versions of both on his CV.
   2465. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:11 PM (#4675109)
Yeah, I am positive the GOP nominee will be able to beat that easily. For example?

Let Hillary win the nomination first.
Shouldn't you be more worried about the general, rather than the process to determine which Democratic nominee is going to annihilate the GOP in '16?

Let her win the nomination first.

Afterward, she will be asked about the Iran deal. (In her recent remarks to the American Jewish Congress, she started backing away, contrary to the neck stabber's counsel.) She will be asked about Benghazi. (Eschewing the neck stabber's advice, she recently said that was her biggest regret.) She will be asked about the reset with Russia. (Eschewing the neck stabber's pleas, she recently compared Crimea with the Sudetenland.)

And she had about as many accomplishments in the US Senate as Anthony Weiner had in the House. (Hint: hardly anything.)
   2466. Publius Publicola Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:18 PM (#4675111)
She got Bush to fire Rumsfeld, Jason.

Major accomplishment. Positive accomplishment.
   2467. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:29 PM (#4675113)
She got Bush to fire Rumsfeld, Jason.

The American electorate got Bush to fire Rumsfeld, Kevin.
   2468. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4675117)
She didn't do much in the Senate and her stint as S of S was a disaster -- a proximate cause of the current European crisis.
   2469. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4675120)
Per Wikipedia the Budapest Memorandum entailed this:

According to the memorandum, Russia, the U.S., and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:

1. Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
2. Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
3. Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
4. Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
5. Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
6. Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.[7]


Interesting, thanks for posting that. So the US never guaranteed that they would help defend against any attempts to alter Ukraine's borders in return for them giving up the nukes; that's opposite of what a couple people here were saying in the wake of the Crimean invasion.
   2470. Monty Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:08 PM (#4675123)
She will be asked about Benghazi.


And this time, the American public will care. You know what they say, the hundredth time's the charm.
   2471. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4675124)
If the GOP really thinks that shouting "Benghazi!" at HRC during the general election is going to be more effective than "palling around with terrorists" was in 2008, well I guess you really can't teach an old senile dog new tricks...
   2472. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4675125)
Interesting, thanks for posting that. So the US never guaranteed that they would help defend against any attempts to alter Ukraine's borders in return for them giving up the nukes; that's opposite of what a couple people here were saying in the wake of the Crimean invasion.

What sort of "guarantee" are you describing, Jim? Russia violated the terms of an agrement to which the United States was a party. We are obligated to do something, no? Otherwise, why did we bother with signing the document?

Here is the RFE/RL primer:

What exactly is the "Budapest Memorandum"?

The "Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances" is a diplomatic memorandum that was signed in December 1994 by Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document under which signatories made promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory, send them to disarmament facilities in Russia, and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Ukraine kept these promises.

In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state. They did so by applying the principles of territorial integrity and nonintervention in 1975 Helsinki Final Act -- a Cold War-era treaty signed by 35 states including the Soviet Union -- to an independent post-Soviet Ukraine.

Which principles in the Helsinki Final Act, reiterated in the "Budapest Memorandum," are relevant to the current situation in the Crimea?

In the "Budapest Memorandum," Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States promised that none of them would ever threaten or use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. They also pledged that none of them would ever use economic coercion to subordinate Ukraine to their own interest.

They specifically pledged they would refrain from making each other's territory the object of military occupation or engage in other uses of force in violation of international law.

All sides agreed that no such occupation or acquisition will be recognized as legal and that the signatories would "consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments."
[Emphasis mine.]

Is there anything legally binding about the "Budapest Memorandum" regarding Russia's obligations to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity?

"That's actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn't mean it has any means of enforcement," says Barry Kellman is a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University's College of Law.

"The 'Budapest Memorandum' follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don't interfere."

Kellman concludes that there are a host of other sources of international law that oblige Russia to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity -- including the provisions of the CSCE treaty and the UN Charter.
   2473. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4675129)
Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Jed Bush, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, [fill in the blank]...

Which of these gentlemen is the best person to make the case that Hillary Clinton's achievements are sparse?
   2474. spike Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:37 PM (#4675132)
Hillary Clinton has been scrutinized as much as any politician ever has, and stands today as the clear favorite for '16. The public has already taken it's measure of her - you're going to have to do way better than Iran/Benghazi to change that. And given the crop that figures to run against her on the GOP side, I'd think I'd rather have Iran/Benghazi than the questions they are going to get.
   2475. Lassus Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:58 PM (#4675135)
Actually bringing up Benghazi as if somehow it will WORK THIS TIME makes me really doubt you have your finger on the pulse of... anything, Jason.
   2476. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:00 PM (#4675136)
Hillary Clinton has been scrutinized as much as any politician ever has, and stands today as the clear favorite for '16. The public has already taken it's measure of her - you're going to have to do way better than Iran/Benghazi to change that. And given the crop that figures to run against her on the GOP side, I'd think I'd rather have Iran/Benghazi than the questions they are going to get.

Where do you get this stuff, Spike? Maybe we're talking about the same politico who has been asked no tough questions since leaving Foggy Bottom?

EDIT: Again, Lassus, why is Benghazi suddenly her "biggest regret" if she wasn't sniffing trouble? Why is she backing away from her role in the Iran negotiations? Why is she going neo-Con in comparing Crimea with Sudetenland?

The media buried Benghazi in 2012. (Actually, they did worse. They absolved Obama of any responsibility -- good work, Candy! -- and instead blamed Romney for politicizing the issue.) Maybe in 2016 they'll ask her a few questions. Anyway, we can always hope.
   2477. Mefisto Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4675137)
If the GOP wants to make an issue of Benghazi in 2016, I say "please proceed".
   2478. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:14 PM (#4675140)
Maybe in 2016 they'll ask her a few questions. Anyway, we can always hope.
I'm still hoping they pin Vince Foster on her, but the media buried it like she buried Foster. Stupid media.
   2479. steagles Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:19 PM (#4675142)
The media buried Benghazi in 2012. (Actually, they did worse. They absolved Obama of any responsibility -- good work, Candy! -- and instead blamed Romney for politicizing the issue.) Maybe in 2016 they'll ask her a few questions. Anyway, we can always hope.
it didn't help romney that the only time he appeared to be happy during the entire 2012 campaign was after that news conference.
   2480. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:32 PM (#4675144)
The unhinging is starting early this season:
How the GOP became the white supremacy party — and got away with it
   2481. Publius Publicola Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:38 PM (#4675145)
She's neutralizing the issues now, Jason. I doubt she really thinks she has to defend herself there. Romney ran away from his record to get elected too.

It's one of the reasons I don't like her so much. I think she'll say or do anything to get elected. I don't think she, like her husband, is willing to take unpopular stands on principle.

But I still way prefer her to those stooges GB listed above. I would never dream of voting for any of them.
   2482. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:45 PM (#4675149)
She's neutralizing the issues now, Jason.

I'm not suggesting these are dumb moves, Kevin, but she's doing it in order to minimize their impact later.

But I still way prefer her to those stooges GB listed above. I would never dream of voting for any of them.

LOL. If you guys can vote for Obama twice, you'd better believe I can vote for any of "those stooges" at least once. (Well, maybe not Rand Paul...)
   2483. Lassus Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:50 PM (#4675151)
Anyway, we can always hope.

Considering how much your tribe made certain fun of that word in the past, allow me to offer a mocking snort at your use now.


Again, Lassus, why is Benghazi suddenly her "biggest regret" if she wasn't sniffing trouble?

Yes, it's as if no one in the history of the planet has ever expressed personal regret for something they had no control over. Wacky.
   2484. Publius Publicola Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:00 PM (#4675152)
Who is not insane on that list? Rand Paul is a wild-eyed libertarian who is named after a sociopath who refused to have children because they weren't "rational" enough. Huchabee believes the earth is 6000 years old and god will, in the end, solve all of America's problems. Ryan is a sniveling Wall Steet toady. Bush is a Bush. Enough said there. Cruz is a borderline fascist who commands little respect even amongst those in his own party. Perry is a neo-Confederate and an unadulterated moron. Jindal is a South Asian Uncle Tom. Rubio's biggest role model is Cruz. Christie is a fat, vindictive Tony Soprano.

What person with a shred of patriotism would vote for any of these cretins?
   2485. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:10 PM (#4675155)
Considering how much your tribe made certain fun of that word in the past, allow me to offer a mocking snort at your use now.

Mocking snorts are best enjoyed with a smokey single malt.
Yes, it's as if no one in the history of the planet has ever expressed personal regret for something they had no control over. Wacky.

Hillary is a consummate politico. As was the case with her husband, she doesn't take a dump without first seeing which way the wind is blowing.

Just curious: What do my lefty friends think will happen if Elizabeth Warren throws her headdress into the ring?
   2486. Publius Publicola Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:13 PM (#4675158)
Grover Norquist will hack up a hairball that would sink an aircraft carrier.
   2487. Monty Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4675159)
Hillary is a consummate politico. As was the case with her husband, she doesn't take a dump without first seeing which way the wind is blowing.


That's true of most of the people with a shot at the presidency. I once read somewhere that Abraham Lincoln was known as "Honest Abe," but you still didn't catch him saying something unpopular just because it was true.
   2488. Srul Itza Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:20 PM (#4675162)
Russia violated the terms of an agrement to which the United States was a party. We are obligated to do something, no?


What? What exactly are we obligated to do? Wag our fingers? Hold our breath until we turn blue? Cut off all relations with the Kremlin? Nuke Moscow? Be specific.


For me, the whole of the Ukraine, much less the Crimea, is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier
   2489. Srul Itza Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:23 PM (#4675164)
Again, Lassus, why is Benghazi suddenly her "biggest regret" if she wasn't sniffing trouble?


Because somebody she knew died, you unfeeling little git.
   2490. Srul Itza Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:26 PM (#4675167)
What do my lefty friends think will happen if Elizabeth Warren throws her headdress into the ring?


I am neither a lefty nor your friend, but I will respond that Elizabeth will lose, gracefully, and position herself for future consideration, which is the real reason she would enter in the first place.
   2491. Guapo Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:34 PM (#4675169)
Listening to Republicans harp on about Benghazi, you have to wonder how they would have reacted if, say, under Obama:

-New York and Washington were attacked and almost 3000 Americans were killed
-The person who masterminded that attack was never apprehended
-The United States invaded two countries unsuccessfully, resulting in massive expense and loss of human life
   2492. Lassus Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:37 PM (#4675171)
Just curious: What do my lefty friends think will happen if Elizabeth Warren throws her headdress into the ring?

Srul answered, longer than I would have. She'll lose.
   2493. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4675173)
Srul answered, longer than I would have. She'll lose.

So you folks will (probably) vote for Hillary, why exactly?
   2494. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4675175)
Because somebody she knew died, you unfeeling little git.

Vince Foster died in 1993, thank you very much.
   2495. Publius Publicola Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:57 PM (#4675176)
I want to see who the candidates are. We don't know yet. Neither Bill nor Barack were front runners going in. Funny stuff can happen.
   2496. JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4675177)
What? What exactly are we obligated to do? Wag our fingers? Hold our breath until we turn blue? Cut off all relations with the Kremlin? Nuke Moscow? Be specific.

You can look at my numerous posts over the past three weeks saying what we should do. What we shouldn't do is pretend the Budapest Memorandum was really only the Budapest Suggestion.
   2497. tshipman Posted: March 21, 2014 at 11:59 PM (#4675178)
Just curious: What do my lefty friends think will happen if Elizabeth Warren throws her headdress into the ring?


Elizabeth Warren is probably not electable in a general, and would probably get crushed by a reasonable R candidate (basically candidates who aren't: Santorum, Paul, Cruz, Perry maybe Christie depending on the whole Bridge fallout).

In a primary, which she is not likely to run in, she loses to Hillary, who is the 10 ton gorilla in the race. Assuming Ms. Clinton does not run, she probably (but not certainly) loses to Biden, and likely loses to most other candidates Ds are likely to run.

People seem to think that Warren is a great politician. There's limited evidence of that. She won her senate seat by 6.6 in a state that went for Obama by +23. She was running against a "sort of" incumbent. People talk about what a terrible campaign Coakley ran, but if Coakley had run in 2012, she probably also wins that seat.

Nominating Warren would be a massive unforced error.
   2498. Lassus Posted: March 22, 2014 at 12:04 AM (#4675180)
maybe Christie depending on the whole Bridge fallout

Is it just me or did this whole thing peter out?
   2499. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 22, 2014 at 12:10 AM (#4675184)
So you folks will (probably) vote for Hillary, why exactly?

For the same reason you probably voted for Romney. It's not that complicated. What's the alternative? A ####### Republican?

If you mean in the primary, I might vote for a Warren if she were to run (which I doubt), but only because I know she'd never win. One Ralph Nader fiasco in a lifetime was one too many.
   2500. JE (Jason) Posted: March 22, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4675185)
Thanks, tshipman.
She won her senate seat by 6.6 in a state that went for Obama by +23.

Minor point: She won by 7.4 points.
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