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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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   601. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:23 AM (#4668533)
A flip without a flop is about as useless as a Republican on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology ...
   602. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4668535)
Jason, are you referring to Jewish the religion or Jewish the ethnic group (whatever that is)? I think it makes a difference if it's one or the other.

Kevin, in my mind -- and I am so not an expert on the subject -- Judaism is a religion, culture, and nationality. An ethnic group? Not so much. Not every Jewish person today descends from the original twelve tribes.*

* Thirteen, if you include Brooklyn. :-)
   603. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4668538)
Judaism is a religion, culture, and nationality. An ethnic group? Not so much. Not every Jewish person today descends from the original twelve tribes.*


Well, OK. Let's distinguish the religion part from the culture and nationality part. I mean, there's lots of prominent Jewish atheists.

Are you just as OK with Israel as a quasi-Jewish theocracy as you are with Israel as a home for those who feel a kinship for Jewish heritage (and all the diversity that entails)? It seems to me Israel is today a bit of both and a source of internal friction.
   604. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4668542)
There's internal friction on the subject of religion's role in the state, Kevin, but Israel remains a fully-functioning democracy with the country's Arab population having the right to vote and representation in the Knesset.
   605. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4668545)
I'll take that answer as you approve of a secular Israel but not a theocratic one, if it were to somehow evolve toward that?
   606. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4668548)
I'll take that answer as you approve of a secular Israel but not a theocratic one, if it were to somehow evolve toward that?

Israel is not becoming Iran or Saudi Arabia but let's reconvene for a coffee at the end of the century to see how the Jewish State is doing then. (I'm buying.)
   607. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4668562)
Kevin, in my mind -- and I am so not an expert on the subject -- Judaism is a religion, culture, and nationality. An ethnic group? Not so much. Not every Jewish person today descends from the original twelve tribes.*


Funny, she doesn't look Druish.
   608. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4668568)
There's internal friction on the subject of religion's role in the state, Kevin, but Israel remains a fully-functioning democracy with the country's Arab population having the right to vote and representation in the Knesset.


How many of the Palestinians are represented in the Knesset?
   609. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4668575)
Kevin, my own Diaspora impression is that Israel's Jewish character is best defined under the Law of Return. But, yanno, I'm just some dude in North America. In the meantime, this is a complex issue and one which Tzipi Livni is hard at work on! It's worth noting that while the Israeli Basic Law makes reference to a Jewish and Democratic state, so does France and there's not set definition of the French people (obviously these things are different, but in concert with the Law of Return, I think pretty workable.)

I'll take that answer as you approve of a secular Israel but not a theocratic one, if it were to somehow evolve toward that?

Most founding Zionists (ex. Herzl, Ben Gurion) were deeply secular. Today, the issue of military conscription of the the ultra Orthodox Haredim (an extremely religious and a very fast growing population) is a hot button issue. Israeli secularists, led by Finance Minister Yair Lapid of the popular Yesh Atid, have successfully pushed through legislation that will draft the Haredim and have cited those early animating Zionist principles amongst their justifications (pragmatically, the Haredim are a huge financial drain who live off the state studying Torah.)


How many of the Palestinians are represented in the Knesset?


12 out of 120 are Arabs (less if you count Druze differently). Israeli Arabs comprise about 20% of the Israeli population. I think it's also fair to say that parties like Meretz are certainly fair interlocutors.
   610. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4668578)
12 out of 120. Israeli Arabs comprise about 20% of the Israeli population.


So, gerrymandering?

10% is probably inconvenient but manageable but 20% (if they formed a voting bloc) could be decisive in a country with so many political parties.
   611. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4668580)
So, gerrymandering?

I think Krusty is right in that a sizeable number of Israeli Arabs vote for Meretz.
   612. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4668581)
I didn't ask about Arab Israelis. I asked about Palestinians.
   613. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4668583)
I didn't ask about Arab Israelis. I asked about Palestinians.

Israel didn't annex the West Bank, Sam. (In contrast, Druze citizens of the Golan do cast votes.)
   614. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4668584)
Leading Republicans Move to Stamp Out Challenges From Right

This election season, Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are taking a much harder line as they sense the majority within reach. Top congressional Republicans and their allies are challenging the advocacy groups head on in an aggressive effort to undermine their credibility. The goal is to deny them any Senate primary victories, cut into their fund-raising and diminish them as a future force in Republican politics.

“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” Mr. McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said in an interview, referring to the network of activist organizations working against him and two Republican incumbents in Kansas and Mississippi while engaging in a handful of other contests. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”


LOL. Citizens United comes back to bite them in their deserved butt.
   615. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4668590)
Israel didn't annex the West Bank, Sam. (In contrast, Druze citizens of the Golan do cast votes.)


Exactly. By the same token, Jews who settle in the West Bank don't get to vote in Knesset elections.

What's that you say? They do get to vote? And settlers form a major political lobby in Israel? Funny, that.
   616. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4668594)
Obama gets no R-S-P-E-C-T

If you can’t spell it, you can’t get it.

President Obama pulled a Quayle Thursday night at a White House performance by the women of soul and muffed the title of Aretha Franklin’s anthem. “R-S-P-E-C-T,” he said, looking a bit confused and eliciting laughter.


ROFLMAO. Obama doing what he does best: schmoozing celebrities at the White House while the world burns. What a freaking genius. Putin must be soiling himself in abject terror.

   617. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4668599)
Israel didn't annex the West Bank, Sam.


So you're okay with two states and Palestinian autonomy?
   618. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4668600)
What's that you say? They do get to vote? And settlers form a major political lobby in Israel? Funny, that.


Ex pats get to vote in US elections too, but don't form a major lobby. Of course, the point of the settlers isn't to be ex-pats, but to constantly claim more and more territory that Jason claims above has not been annexed. As if slow, creeping annexation is not annexation.
   619. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4668601)
Obama doing what he does best:


Rubbing sand in your #####?
   620. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4668603)
If you can’t spell it, you can’t get it.

President Obama pulled a Quayle Thursday night at a White House performance by the women of soul and muffed the title of Aretha Franklin’s anthem. “R-S-P-E-C-T,” he said, looking a bit confused and eliciting laughter.

Obligatory
   621. BDC Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4668623)
while the world burns

FWIW, Angela Merkel was in Dublin Friday, holding economic talks with Irish leaders. (Of course, she too may be schmoozing while the world burns, surrender monkeys all :) Crimea is a story in the European papers today, but there are no searing new developments, and it's not the lead story there – if Europe is burning, the media aren't rapt with attention. The idea that current events are Cuban-Missile-Crisis level is in the US right's fevered imagination. Which is not to say that a more acute crisis won't develop, but for the moment tensions have slightly abated.
   622. BDC Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4668624)
Which is not to approve of the President's misspellings, either.
   623. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4668630)
Really? Very hard?

Putin, Citing Roosevelt, Hints at a 3rd-Term Bid


Yes, very hard. In 2010, there was only speculation that Putin might run. Putin was still popular at the end of 2010, but more than 15 points off his peak approval--below 70%. It would have been very difficult to say that not only would Putin run, but that Medvedev would completely step aside and that there would be no challenger at all.

The view that Putin would serve a third term as president was a minority view. You can see it in the language of that piece, which used several hedges.
   624. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4668634)
What's that you say? They do get to vote? And settlers form a major political lobby in Israel? Funny, that.

They are Israeli citizens who happen to live in the West Bank. Similarly, Israeli Arabs are considered citizens, even if tomorrow they pick up and move from eastern Jerusalem to Ramallah.
   625. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4668637)
As if slow, creeping annexation is not annexation.

Most settlements, particularly the ones to the west of the security fence, will be incorporated into Israel even after a peace deal gets signed. Everyone knows this.
   626. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4668650)
So you're okay with two states and Palestinian autonomy?

Just saw this. I support the concept of a Palestinian state in the West Bank but not on 100% of the territory.
   627. zenbitz Posted: March 09, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4668653)
Since when does "The Jewish State should be criticized and sanctioned for it's treatment of Palestinians" equal "Jews should have their state taken away"? I do think that non-secular states are a bad idea (tm), but that's not a criticism of Isreal alone.

I think the ruling parties in Isreal thrive on dissent, fear, and quasi-hatred of the neighboring Arab states.
   628. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4668660)
Since when does "The Jewish State should be criticized and sanctioned for it's treatment of Palestinians" equal "Jews should have their state taken away"? I do think that non-secular states are a bad idea (tm), but that's not a criticism of Isreal alone.

When the BDS movement extends its scope to cover every authoritarian regime on the planet, then it it might have the moral authority to take issue with the policies of the democratic state of Israel.

Until then, BDS isn't about peace, just the deligitimization of Israel.
   629. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4668666)
Most settlements, particularly the ones to the west of the security fence, will be incorporated into Israel even after a peace deal gets signed. Everyone knows this.


I support the concept of a Palestinian state in the West Bank but not on 100% of the territory.


So, land swap and two-state solution? This would of course, require that settlements cease *expanding.*

When the BDS movement extends its scope to cover every authoritarian regime on the planet, then it it might have the moral authority to take issue with the policies of the democratic state of Israel.


And if we don't invade Darfur we have no moral authority to invade Iraq or Iran. You're smarter than this.
   630. spike Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4668668)
just noting in passing that my Atlanta - Dubai flight tonight went over Crimea. after yesterdays disappearance of a 777 it was less than comforting.
   631. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4668676)
So, land swap and two-state solution? This would of course, require that settlements cease *expanding.*


Or trading what is now part of Israel on an acre-for-acre basis. I don't think that's going to go over too well for the Israelis now living there who will suddenly find themselves a minority in an Arab-dominated country.
   632. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4668678)
Even Los Angeles 2020, authored by the left-of-center establishment, offered a bleak assessment of the city's future:
The report also notes that these are all the same problems from the previous report, 25 years ago. LA spends like the megalopolis it is, but as revenues declined the budget never reflected that reality.

To me, the biggest factor is traffic. Traffic is simply impossible, and even someone who loves LA like I do would never live nor work there because of it. Three years ago, I picked up a sweet gig in LA, right north of where two of the busiest freeways in the world met. From my home 25 miles away, it regularly took 90 minutes each way, which meant I got to see my young daughter about 30 minutes a day. Now that I work for myself, I don't take clients in LA simply because the drive is ####### impossible. With surrounding counties pulling people and business from LA, it's a no-brainer not to go there for anything other than museums and stuff.
   633. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4668679)
How much land is Jordan donating to this Palestinian state?
   634. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4668681)
So, land swap and two-state solution? This would of course, require that settlements cease *expanding.*

Israel dismantled settlements in Gaza. It can do so in the West Bank too. Size takes a back seat to strategic importance.

Give the Palestinians 85-90% of the West Bank, but were it up to me, I wouldn't consent to a land swap. When the United Nations offered Israel a state in 1947, it was way less than a half a loaf -- check the map -- yet Ben-Gurion was smart enough to say yes.
And if we don't invade Darfur we have no moral authority to invade Iraq or Iran. You're smarter than this.

I could type slower and louder, if you'd like. Those who seek to delegitimize Israel, a democratic state, but not Sudan, an authoritarian state and perpretrator of genocidal acts against its Christian citizens, or dozens of other regimes are worthy of our scorn.
   635. JE (Jason) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4668683)
just noting in passing that my Atlanta - Dubai flight tonight went over Crimea. after yesterdays disappearance of a 777 it was less than comforting.

I'm not sure Russia has any territorial claims against Malaysia.
   636. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4668685)
Or trading what is now part of Israel on an acre-for-acre basis. I don't think that's going to go over too well for the Israelis now living there who will suddenly find themselves a minority in an Arab-dominated country.


Probably not. Of course, having Israel decide "we want all of the arable land and will swap you this desert acreage isn't exactly what we would normally call a fair deal either.

How much land is Jordan donating to this Palestinian state?


How much land has Jordan taken by creeping settlements? How is a acre for acre swap of land taken by "settlers" from Palestinian territory equivalent to land historically part of Jordan? How, exactly, is suggesting that Israel not take Palestinian land without some sort of return or swap equivalent to "donating land" by Jordan? (Hint, that only makes sense of you mentally believe that all of the territory the "settlers" are slowly aggregating already "belongs" to Israel in the first place.
   637. BDC Posted: March 09, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4668688)
With surrounding counties pulling people and business from LA, it's a no-brainer not to go there for anything other than museums and stuff

Suburbs spawn exurbs that way, I reckon. There's a huge band of new developments stretching from northeast of Fort Worth to northwest of Dallas, and I swear extending north most of the way to Oklahoma, which is part of "DFW"; but to those who live and now mostly work there, the cities are a kind of distant rumor.
   638. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 09, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4668698)
How much land has Jordan taken by creeping settlements?

What does that matter? Jordan giving up land could give the Palestinians a bigger state, which would perhaps lead to peace.

There's no real difference between "Jordanians" and "Palestinians" anyway (beyond potential individual land claims).
   639. greenback calls it soccer Posted: March 09, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4668699)
just noting in passing that my Atlanta - Dubai flight tonight went over Crimea. after yesterdays disappearance of a 777 it was less than comforting.

Atlanta isn't that bad.

ETA: Then again, maybe it is.
   640. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 09, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4668700)
Yes, very hard. In 2010, there was only speculation that Putin might run. Putin was still popular at the end of 2010, but more than 15 points off his peak approval--below 70%. It would have been very difficult to say that not only would Putin run, but that Medvedev would completely step aside and that there would be no challenger at all.

Medvedev was always seen as Putin's poodle, although to be polite many used the term "protege". If Russia had been a little more "progressive", Putin would probably have run his wife to succeed him. Even Obama & Medvedev acknowledged that Putin was calling the shots in their overheard conversation about Obama having "more flexibility after the election" - Obama was asking Medvedev to convey that to Putin, and Medvedev promised to do so. Putin was always in charge, and even the Russians expended very little energy pretending otherwise. How anyone could have missed this is utterly amazing.
   641. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4668701)


So, land swap and two-state solution? This would of course, require that settlements cease *expanding.*


Rickey, it's worth noting that while the last couple of years have seen aggressive settlement expansion, it's actually a misnomer insofar as there's no additional land being "taken". Settlements are growing inwards. To be clear, I don't support further settlements, but Israeli construction in Ariel/Maale Adimum is apples and oranges from some new settlement in Area C.

Spitballin' here, but I do wonder if Kerry is actually going to pull an Abu Dis and offer just Beit Hanina. This entire Framework seems (based on leaks) to be centered around something acceptable to Yesh Atid's constituency of center-right moderates (and everybody to the left of it) with the focus on creating something the Israeli people will mostly support but the right flank of Bibi's coalition (YB and Jewish Home) can't.

So... uh, anybody down for PM Isaac Herzog? or more likely Lapid/Livni? And for a bit of levity, here's Shimon Peres' music video.
   642. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4668707)
Medvedev was always seen as Putin's poodle, although to be polite many used the term "protege". If Russia had been a little more "progressive", Putin would probably have run his wife to succeed him. Even Obama & Medvedev acknowledged that Putin was calling the shots in their overheard conversation about Obama having "more flexibility after the election" - Obama was asking Medvedev to convey that to Putin, and Medvedev promised to do so. Putin was always in charge, and even the Russians expended very little energy pretending otherwise. How anyone could have missed this is utterly amazing.


This is seriously revisionist history. After the reset, Russia was much more willing to address sanctions on Iran. Medvedev took a number of steps that appear at odds with Putin's current positions.

Most notably, it doesn't square with the very real progress made under new START. Putin, if anything, has been aggressive about expanding or at least maintaining a nuclear arsenal. Almost immediately after returning to power, he re-installed ICBMs.

The reset was good policy at the time. Russian politics is famously opaque and hindsight criticism is always easier than making good policies that fit the current facts.
   643. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4668708)

They are Israeli citizens who happen to live in the West Bank. Similarly, Israeli Arabs are considered citizens, even if tomorrow they pick up and move from eastern Jerusalem to Ramallah.


So all the Palestinian refugees who were born in what is today Israel get a vote? And their children as well?
   644. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4668710)
What does that matter? Jordan giving up land could give the Palestinians a bigger state, which would perhaps lead to peace


So, just so I've got this clear; Russia ignores "territorial integrity" with regard to Crimea = the greatest threat the west has ever seen and quite possibly reason to start WW III; Israel ignoring "territorial integrity" with regards to Palestine = we could have peace of Jordan was willing to cede part of their unarable desert to the Palestinians to offset creeping Israeli expansion into the territories.

You seem to have less of a principled stand than you put on about this whole "territorial integrity" thing, Bear dog.
   645. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4668711)
Rickey, it's worth noting that while the last couple of years have seen aggressive settlement expansion, it's actually a misnomer insofar as there's no additional land being "taken". Settlements are growing inwards. To be clear, I don't support further settlements, but Israeli construction in Ariel/Maale Adimum is apples and oranges from some new settlement in Area C.


Noted and appreciated, with the caveat that expansion of population is also expansion of power and control.
   646. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 09, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4668714)
So, just so I've got this clear; Russia ignores "territorial integrity" with regard to Crimea = the greatest threat the west has ever seen and quite possibly reason to start WW III; Israel ignoring "territorial integrity" with regards to Palestine = we could have peace of Jordan was willing to cede part of their unarable desert to the Palestinians to offset creeping Israeli expansion into the territories.

You seem to have less of a principled stand than you put on about this whole "territorial integrity" thing, Bear dog.


The borders of Palestine have not been determined or internationally recognized. If they had been and Israel invaded them and took part of the territory, it would be really bad.

(Nor is Crimea isn't "the greatest threat the west has ever seen, or a reason to start WWIII.)
   647. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4668719)
The special election for Bill Young's house seat has exceeded $12 million in spending, about 9 million of that from outside groups. Young's popularity was based on his attention to local issues but this has turned into nothing more than national Republican issues vs. national Democratic issues.
   648. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4668724)
Medvedev was always seen as Putin's poodle, although to be polite many used the term "protege". If Russia had been a little more "progressive", Putin would probably have run his wife to succeed him. Even Obama & Medvedev acknowledged that Putin was calling the shots in their overheard conversation about Obama having "more flexibility after the election" - Obama was asking Medvedev to convey that to Putin, and Medvedev promised to do so. Putin was always in charge, and even the Russians expended very little energy pretending otherwise. How anyone could have missed this is utterly amazing.

This is seriously revisionist history.

From the time Putin hand-picked Medvedev as his successor and Medvedev appointed Putin as Prime Minister, Medvedev was almost universally viewed as Putin's poodle. There is nothing revisionist about this history, it has always been so. Next tshipman is going to tell us how surprising it was that George Wallace ran for Alabama Governor again after his wife Lurleen won the office when he was term-limited.
   649. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4668727)
I don't remember if it was viewed as likely that Putin would run for president again in the next election but Clapper is pretty spot on about Medvedev being largely in Putin's pocket. Medvedev may not have done everything the way Putin wanted but I clearly remember him being thought of as just a continuation of Putin's rule.
   650. bobm Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4668731)
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/world/europe/02wikileaks-russia.html

Below Surface, U.S. Has Dim View of Putin and Russia [...]

But scores of secret American cables from recent years, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations, show that beneath the public efforts at warmer ties, the United States harbors a dim view of the post-Soviet Kremlin and its leadership, and little hope that Russia will become more democratic or reliable. [...]

The cables portray Mr. Putin as enjoying supremacy over all other Russian public figures, yet undermined by the very nature of the post-Soviet country he helped build. [...] The cables sketched life almost 20 years after the Soviet Union’s disintegration, a period, as the cables noted, when Mr. Medvedev, the prime minister’s understudy, is the lesser part of a strange “tandemocracy” and “plays Robin to Putin’s Batman.” All the while, another cable noted, “Stalin’s ghost haunts the Metro.”
   651. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4668739)
News from Iowa - Obama Job Approval Hits Record Low, 36% Approve - 59% Disapprove. There is an Iowa Senate race this year.
   652. bobm Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4668742)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/7971827/Vladimir-Putin-gives-strongest-indication-he-will-serve-third-term-as-president.html

Vladimir Putin gives strongest indication he will serve third term as president
By Andrew Osborn, Moscow
4:38PM BST 30 Aug 2010

Vladimir Putin has said it will take decades to reform Russia and that he wants to keep shaping the fate of the world’s largest country, as he gave his strongest indication he will serve a third term as president from 2012.

The Russian prime minister described the process of turning Russia into the kind of stable strong state he wants as a “decades-long” job and argued he had no choice but to be involved.

“I only have two choices,” he told the daily Kommersant newspaper. “Either to watch from the bank how the waters are flowing away and how something is collapsing or falling away or to get involved,” he said. “I prefer to be involved.”

Although the 57-year old former KGB spy refused to confirm whether he would definitely run in a presidential election in 2012, he admitted it was uppermost in his thoughts. “It interests me as much as ... I was going to say 'as much as anyone’, but really more than everyone else!” he quipped. “But I am not making a fetish out of it!”

Mr Putin occupied the presidency from 2000-2008 and then gifted the job to Dmitry Medvedev, a hand-picked loyalist, due to a constitutional limit on serving a third consecutive term. However, he is now eligible to return to the presidency in 2012 and to serve a further two consecutive terms if he chooses. The terms have since been extended from four to six years, meaning he could stay in power until 2024 at which point he would be 72.

In the same interview, Mr Putin said he was unfazed by his high but fluctuating popularity ratings and had harsh words for Russia’s enfeebled anti-Kremlin Opposition. Activists have been challenging a repressive law that forces them to get permission from the authorities every time they want to hold a protest by organising regular “unsanctioned” protests in central Moscow. Riot police have consistently dispersed such gatherings, often brutally, prompting the US state department to urge restraint. But Mr Putin said he backed the crackdowns and accused the anti-Kremlin activists of trying to deliberately “provoke” the police into attacking them.

“You need to get permission (for protests) from the local authorities,” he opined. “If you have received it, then go and demonstrate. If you have taken to the streets without the right to do so then you are going to get bashed over the head with a truncheon. That is all there is to it.”

Mr Putin also poured cold water too on the idea that relations between Russia and the United States had undergone a dramatic improvement. Complaining that Washington was continuing to rearm neighbouring Georgia, he said US anti-missile plans for central Europe had not been watered down enough.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/08/30/us-russia-putin-interview-idUSTRE67T2J920100830

Putin hints will return to Kremlin in 2012

BY MICHAEL STOTT
MOSCOW Mon Aug 30, 2010 [...]

Putin's remarks in the extended Kommersant newspaper interview with his longtime favorite journalist Andrei Kolesnikov were immediately seized upon by some Moscow commentators as further evidence that he would return to the Kremlin in two years time.

Kommersant said the interview was conducted during a 180-km (110-mile) drive in a bright yellow Lada Kalina car between the cities of Khabarovsk and Chita in Russia's Far East.

The Ekho Moskvy radio station, which gives airtime to opposition views, reacted by polling listeners on whether they backed another Putin presidency.

Some 86 percent said "no", a result which reflected the station's Moscow middle-class audience. But it is not typical of average Russians, among whom Putin remains popular, polls show.

   653. GregD Posted: March 09, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4668766)
Medvedev was always seen as Putin's poodle, although to be polite many used the term "protege". If Russia had been a little more "progressive", Putin would probably have run his wife to succeed him. Even Obama & Medvedev acknowledged that Putin was calling the shots in their overheard conversation about Obama having "more flexibility after the election" - Obama was asking Medvedev to convey that to Putin, and Medvedev promised to do so. Putin was always in charge, and even the Russians expended very little energy pretending otherwise. How anyone could have missed this is utterly amazing.
Isn't the story that Putin feared Medvedev's ambition (and his wife) so much that the night before Medvedev was supposed to announce, Putin invited him over for a short meeting, then locked him in overnight with armed guards and blocked all communication until his announcement the next morning? So that his wife and advisors couldn't get to him?

Medvedev did in fact cave and step aside, but my sense is that you could get decent odds both on the Moscow street and among foreign policy watchers the week before that Medvedev might bolt. Lots of people look like puppets or proteges until the moment they decide to stab their boss in the back. But of course Medvedev didn't have the stones to do that.

The facts are the facts and he caved, but my sense from talking to people who were there as journalists and businessmen is that it was seen as much more up in the air until the day of, and that is why Putin took such extreme measures.
   654. bobm Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4668851)
US diplomatic cables on Putin / Medvedev and Putin's control / the Presidency back to 2008

Der Spiegel
'Top Dog' and a Vengeful Harpy
The US Is Betting on Putin
12/01/2010
By Uwe Klussmann

The US is well informed in Moscow -- which is why Washington is skeptical that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has much of a future. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, diplomatic cables make clear, is 'in the driver's seat.'

The report that the US ambassador to Moscow, John Beyrle, sent to Washington on Aug. 9, 2008, did not contain a lot that was flattering about the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev. Beyrle, a diplomat who had been an expert on Russia since Soviet times, got his charges d'affaires to describe the reaction of Medvedev to the beginning of the war with Georgia the previous night. "A pale and hesitant Medvedev, with none of the bravado of Putin, was pushed forward into the limelight on Saturday morning," the report said.

According to the US Embassy, Medvedev's performance "has been lackluster, with potential implications for his longevity in office." Six days later, in another memo, the diplomats summed up the situation in the following way: "Medvedev Main Headliner, but Putin Top Dog."

The US diplomats in the Russian capital had no doubts about who was setting the country's course. And the embassy documents reveal that informants inside the Kremlin helped the diplomats to get a clear picture of the situation. According to a secret message sent to the State Department on Aug. 26, 2008, Medvedev had the "status as junior member of the tandem." The conclusion: "Putin, not Medvedev, set the tone and tenor of Russia's war policy."

The US Embassy was sure about this assessment because German ambassador Walter Schmid had informed them of something he had heard from one of Putin's advisers. The man had told the ambassador that "that Putin was deeply concerned by the failure of Medvedev to take immediate actions" against the Georgian attacks on South Ossetia. According to the US Embassy report, Medvedev "was unprepared for the Georgian war."

'Political Uncertainty'

The conflict in the Caucasus ended speculation inside the US Embassy that had first been mooted shortly before by Beyrle's predecessor, William Burns, who went on to become under-secretary of state. "The question remains as to how far Medvedev is willing to go, particularly under Putin's watchful eye," Burns cabled to the State Department on March 25, 2008. A month later, he complained about a lack of "hard information" from the Moscow leadership and of "political uncertainty about the shape of the Medvedev-Putin tandem."

The lack of information only increased the eagerness of the American representatives in Russia to feed the State Department with gossip from inside the Kremlin -- to Medvedev's chagrin. On April 30, 2008, the diplomats reported to Washington that "the role of Medvedev's wife, Svetlana, in generating tensions between the camps remains the subject of avid gossip." In a secret dispatch, one man who was close to Medvedev, but who also acted as an informer to the US Embassy, had hinted at "Svetlana's reputation for aggressive social climbing."

According to the embassy, another informant was "less discrete" about Russia's first lady, describing her as a vengeful harpy. The diplomats promptly reported to the State Department that the informant called her "a 'stupid and ambitious' woman, who purportedly had already drawn up a list of officials who should 'suffer' for their betrayal of Medvedev." That was during the weeks when another Putin confidant was still being tipped as a presidential candidate.

'Lacked the Levers'

Russian strong-man Putin, by contrast, commanded respect from the American diplomats. "Putin has been master of the political surprise over the past year," the embassy staff wrote at the end of April 2008. A month earlier they had written that "under Putin, Russians have seen an improvement in their lives and the stabilization of the political sphere."

But the diplomats expected that more liberal projects -- such as reform of the justice system and the modernization of Russian society -- would not come to much. As the embassy reported on Dec. 24, 2009: "Medvedev could not implement his modernization agenda ... because the President lacked the levers to make systemic reforms, and because of bureaucratic opposition."

The US diplomats also noted that "few currently doubt that the tandem member who will occupy the presidency in 2012 remains Putin's decision." Beyrle, a graduate of the National War College, analyzed the reasons for the weak leadership in Moscow in a message dated Feb. 25, 2010: "Medvedev's personal relationship with Putin, lack of a party foundation, and a small pro-Medvedev bureaucratic cadre limit his ability to be re-elected without Putin's consent." Beyrle's conclusion? It is "Putin in the driver's seat." [Emphasis added]


http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/top-dog-and-a-vengeful-harpy-the-us-is-betting-on-putin-a-732290.html
   655. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:09 AM (#4668868)

Talked last year about how some Latino Dems in California have been working to reduce the number of Asians in California's colleges. Now, some Asians are pushing back:

Asians rally against SCA 5, call it revival of Affirmative Action
   656. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:26 AM (#4668872)
It's not just me - Obama To Dems: It's Time To Worry; and it's not even just Obama:
Dye-in-the-wool liberal commentator Chris Matthews predicted that Democrats could lose as many as 10 Senate seats in the midterms. “To the Democrats, this election, a rosy scenario is to lose five Senate seats, not six,” he said on “Meet the Press.” “They could lose 10.”
   657. tshipman Posted: March 10, 2014 at 01:07 AM (#4668885)
US diplomatic cables on Putin / Medvedev and Putin's control / the Presidency back to 2008


None of that is really all that relevant. Putin had hinted at running for re-election. Putin seemed to have disagreements with Medvedev--none of that means that the reset was a bad idea. If anything, strengthening Medvedev's position vis a vis Putin is an argument for the reset, not against it.

Even if you regarded it as a fait accompli that Putin was taking back power in 2012, the reset was a good idea. It allowed for New START, allowed for sanctions on Iran, and allowed for channels of communication in Moscow. The fact that Putin acted aggressively in 2014 does not make 2009-2010 policy a bad idea.
   658. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 10, 2014 at 01:25 AM (#4668887)
Even if you regarded it as a fait accompli that Putin was taking back power in 2012 . . .

Putin never gave up power - at least in the view of the vast majority of observers in the West & Russia.
   659. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: March 10, 2014 at 01:46 AM (#4668889)
It's not just me - Obama To Dems: It's Time To Worry; and it's not even just Obama:


I donated some money to a democrat in FL last year who was opposing the whole Foreign Policy By Drone Bombings thing, and have received no fewer than 20 emails in the last 3 days with titles of "painful loss", "it's too late", "agonizing defeat", etc. Cracks me up.

" John --

There are only 65 hours until polls open -- so we’ll be blunt. These three developments could spell disaster:

The Florida special election is TIED.
Boehner and his allies have spent over 5 million dollars(!) to keep this seat in Republican hands. We’ve never seen anything like it.
With less than 65 hours before polls open, we’re in real danger of falling behind on our voter outreach campaign.

There is no time left to wait. If we don’t fight back now, we will have no shot on Election Day. The only way we'll be able to hand Boehner painful losses on Republicans' home turf is with a surge of grassroots support.

It’s going to cost us $154,000 to get out the vote and put the final ads on the air we need to win toss-up races like this. Can you rush a donation today?"

lolz. They want me to give them $8. But they've given me no reason to do so, other than hating Boehner and the republicans.
   660. tshipman Posted: March 10, 2014 at 01:53 AM (#4668891)
Putin never gave up power - at least in the view of the vast majority of observers in the West & Russia.


This is inconsistent with the actual accomplishments of the reset. If Putin was not diminished, why were sanctions successful in Iran? Why was New START agreed to when Putin supposedly pushed for re-arming intermediate nukes as soon as retaking office?

If Putin was really in power the whole time, then something in the relationship drastically changed between 2010 and 2012. It might have been Libya. In that reading of facts, the reset still worked, but the new parameters of the Arab Spring scuttled the conversation. Even in that (sort of a stretch) version of events, the reset was still worth doing at the time, since there was no way to predict the Arab Spring (which put US/Russia at cross purposes).
   661. bobm Posted: March 10, 2014 at 02:15 AM (#4668895)
It would have been very hard to predict Putin becoming President again at all

None of that is really all that relevant.

Except if one wanted to gauge whether the US could reasonably have predicted Putin becoming President again at all.

   662. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 10, 2014 at 03:02 AM (#4668898)
It's not just me - Obama To Dems: It's Time To Worry; and it's not even just Obama:
Dyed-in-the-wool liberal commentator Chris Matthews predicted that Democrats could lose as many as 10 Senate seats in the midterms. “To the Democrats, this election, a rosy scenario is to lose five Senate seats, not six,” he said on “Meet the Press.” “They could lose 10.”



Chris Matthews prognosticating the 2008 election:
"Let me ask you about Rudy Guiliani... I believe he is not only running, I think he's going to win this whole thing."

Chris Matthews soothsaying the 2012 election:
"You watch Bachmann. She's got the action this time... She's going all the way. She's going to win this thing. I tell you right now, I predict she beats Romney."

...and
"The reality [is]that this election could easily go the other way for Obama. He could lose this thing. Forget about the numbers right now, it’s going in that direction.”

Chris Matthews reads the 2016 tea leaves:
"I predict the hard right is going to take over the Republican Party in 2016 and the nomination is going to... [pause]... Rand Paul. You watch. This is what I do for a living."

Poor Rand.
   663. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: March 10, 2014 at 03:07 AM (#4668899)
I bet it's fun to be a pundit.
   664. BrianBrianson Posted: March 10, 2014 at 05:50 AM (#4668903)
So all the Palestinian refugees who were born in what is today Israel get a vote? And their children as well?


Citizenship just by being born in a country is entirely a New World behavior, you could count the number of countries that give citizenship to everyone born there on one hand, even if you're a punchpress operator and down a fifth of whiskey before every shift: Pakistan, Cambodia. List over. (About a half dozen others do it in limited circumstances).
   665. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:13 AM (#4668906)
"Dyed-in-the-wool liberal commentator Chris Matthews" was also predicting Bill Clinton's impeachment, after having called for it himself ever since the news about Monica first broke. He then acted shocked and surprised when that entire farce imploded in the aftermath of the 1998 elections. I'd trust "Dyed-in-the-wool liberal commentator Chris Matthews" if he tells us that Tip O'Neill was a Red Sox fan, but that's about it.
   666. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 07:12 AM (#4668907)
Chris Matthew says "Mission Accomplished!". Special appearance by Fox News Liberal Pat Caddell.

We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like [former President Bill] Clinton or even like [former Democratic presidential candidates Michael] Dukakis or [Walter] Mondale, all those guys, [George] McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president.


Dubya Bush - war hero. That's your librulmedia for ya.
   667. bobm Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:12 AM (#4668914)
"Dyed-in-the-wool liberal commentator Chris Matthews" was also predicting Bill Clinton's impeachment

He was impeached, but acquitted.
   668. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:43 AM (#4668917)
I should have been more precise, but Matthews was predicting that Clinton would be impeached before the election, while in fact Clinton wasn't impeached until the lame duck session convened in December. He also had called for Clinton's resignation on several occasions during the height of the "scandal". The point is that Matthews is the farthest thing from being a "dyed-in-the-wool" liberal commentator. People meeting that description didn't join Ken Starr's and Newt Gingrich's Holy War against Clinton.
   669. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 09:14 AM (#4668925)
Matthews is such a liberal he thinks George McGovern doesn't stack up to Dubya Bush as a war hero.
   670. Shredder Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4668945)
I seem to recall Matthews being a little more than impressed with the way W's flight suit enhanced his package. Talk about creepy. But he's a dyed in the wool liberal according to some idiot who writes for the Hill, so whatever he says must be taken as liberal gospel.
   671. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4668950)

So, just so I've got this clear; Russia ignores "territorial integrity" with regard to Crimea = the greatest threat the west has ever seen and quite possibly reason to start WW III; Israel ignoring "territorial integrity" with regards to Palestine = we could have peace of Jordan was willing to cede part of their unarable desert to the Palestinians to offset creeping Israeli expansion into the territories.

You seem to have less of a principled stand than you put on about this whole "territorial integrity" thing, Bear dog.


Palestine has no territorial integrity because it's not a country. The West Bank belonged to Jordan, but they lost it in a war they started. By all historical precedent, Israel had every right to take the West Bank.

If Israeli choose to give the Palestinians some land to form a state, that's their choice, and they have the right to give as little or as much as they see fit.
   672. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4668953)
If Israeli choose to give the Palestinians some land to form a state, that's their choice, and they have the right to give as little or as much as they see fit.


So long as they want to handle the consequences of that decision. Because much of the time "can" and "should" are very very different animals. Right now Israel is suffering from bad mistakes it and others (including the Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians ...) have made. If they want peace they and others are going to have to compromise, more should and less can.
   673. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4668957)
Yes, Matthews was one of the merry marching media morons who were cheering on the Iraq War (and now pretends he didn't). And he's also a moral scold about anything involving s-e-x; he was genuinely angry at Anthony Weiner, rather than just agape and amused like most of the country.

However, this "he's not a real liberal" rebuttal doesn't fly. Anyone who's watched five random minutes of his broadcasts over the past five years knows that he's completely and full-throatedly jumped on board the MSNBC Supersonic: the jet that only has a left wing.

The problem with citing Chris Matthews as an "Oh mercy, if Obama has even lost HIM..." authority isn't that Matthews is politically biased. It's that he's so frequently (and spectacularly) wrong. In addition to his President Guiliani and President Bachmann predictions above, Matthews declared in the heat of the 2011 "draft Rick Perry" will-he/won't-he dance that Perry would ultimately decide NOT run for the GOP nomination. Perry joined the race less than a month later. A couple of months after that, Matthews reevaluated the situation and called it: Obama would face a formidable Romney-Perry ticket.

It doesn't matter whether Matthews is left, right, or ambidextrous; all of his peppy Flight Suit Bush predictions flopped, too. So when Nostradumbass says ten Democratic Senators are likely to get the boot in 2014, the only sensible thing for the ten of them to do is immediately take out longterm mortgages for brand new homes in the Washington DC area. Matthews may speak against the right, but he's also against being right.
   674. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4668960)
Kimg Jong-Un has successfully won re-election. Voter turnout was 100% in his district! Democracy is flourishing in North Korea!
   675. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4668961)
So long as they want to handle the consequences of that decision. Because much of the time "can" and "should" are very very different animals. Right now Israel is suffering from bad mistakes it and others (including the Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians ...) have made. If they want peace they and others are going to have to compromise, more should and less can.

I'm not sure what the right path forward is for Israel.

It's not at all clear to me that the Palestinians actually want peace. It's not clear that compromise is the route to long-term peace, or just the route to the next war starting closer to home.

Given the issues in Egypt and Syria, if I were Israel, I'd probably just hunker down within the most defensible borders I could fashion and wait.
   676. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4668967)
Losing territory in wars of aggression is an excellent way to deter wars of aggression. Don't want to lose territory, don't start wars.
   677. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4668971)
I should have been more precise, but Matthews was predicting that Clinton would be impeached before the election, while in fact Clinton wasn't impeached until the lame duck session convened in December. He also had called for Clinton's resignation on several occasions during the height of the "scandal". The point is that Matthews is the farthest thing from being a "dyed-in-the-wool" liberal commentator. People meeting that description didn't join Ken Starr's and Newt Gingrich's Holy War against Clinton.

Looks like Andy's obsession with other guys' boners started long before 2014 ....
   678. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4668972)
If they want peace they and others are going to have to compromise, more should and less can.


Swell. So how much territory is the King of Jordan putting on the table here? Surely nobody can doubt the depth to which he sympathizes with the plight of the poor displaced Palestinian people.
   679. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4668974)
Right now Israel is suffering from bad mistakes it and others (including the Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians ...) have made. If they want peace they and others are going to have to compromise, more should and less can.

Concern troll is concerned.
   680. BrianBrianson Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4668975)
I'm not sure what the right path forward is for Israel.


Indeed, it's unobvious to me what's the right path to success. Israel certainly won a lot of "Well, they seem to be acting like reasonable people looking for peace" points in my mind by giving back the Sinai in exchange for normalized relations with Egypt. The only solution I can see that looks like a realistic prospect for peace is the three state solution (Gaza to Egypt, West Bank to Jordan), but there doesn't seem to be much support for that idea these days.

The longer attempts at a two state solution fails, the less other countries are going to want to absorb the Palestinians. Which is it's own problem.
   681. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4668978)
Indeed, it's unobvious to me what's the right path to success.

Well, one thing I'm pretty sure of is they have to force all those Haredi men to get a freaking job, and make them eligible for the draft.

You can't have a large and growing % of your population voluntarily be on welfare, and contribute absolutely nothing to the country. No way a country in Israel's position can afford to have 10% of its manpower unavailable for military or economic purposes.
   682. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4668979)
I should have been more precise, but Matthews was predicting that Clinton would be impeached before the election, while in fact Clinton wasn't impeached until the lame duck session convened in December. He also had called for Clinton's resignation on several occasions during the height of the "scandal". The point is that Matthews is the farthest thing from being a "dyed-in-the-wool" liberal commentator. People meeting that description didn't join Ken Starr's and Newt Gingrich's Holy War against Clinton.

Looks like Andy's obsession with other guys' boners started long before 2014 ....


Yeah, if being "obsessed" means that I ridiculed that whole farcical Pussygate impeachment drive from start to finish, a campaign whose true obsessors tried to make a symbolic hanging rope out of a strand of pubic hairs.
   683. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4668983)
When the United Nations offered Israel a state in 1947, it was way less than a half a loaf -- check the map --


Absolutely false. Jews were approximately 30-35% of the population but were getting 57% of the land- hardly "way less than half a loaf"

That Map was very carefully drawn to give Jews as much land as possible while still being a [bare] majority*- subsequently 2 things happened, the Jewish population literally doubled in 2 years (mostly refugees from Europe, but also Jews from other parts of the Middle East), so instead of being a 55% majority in land that composed 57% of the Palestinian Mandate, they ended up being an 80% majority on land that composed some 70-75% of the Mandate.


*Lebanon was also carefully drawn to give Christians a bare majority, but there was never any influx of Christians, so emigration was a net drain that hurt the christian majority, plus the Muslims had a slightly higher fertility rate, so the Christians lost that majority, now down to 40% -even if you add the Druze, not Christians but they tend to align with Christians vis a vis the Muslim populace, you still get to just a 46% non-Muslim minority- (the Shiite/Sunni schism actually helps the Christian communities who tend to find religious Shiites (Hezbollah) easier to deal with than religious Sunnis- which is a factor throughout the Middle East- if you belong to a non-Muslim religion, obviously you'd prefer to live in a secular regime, but if not it's easier to live under rabidly religious Shiites than rabidly religious Sunnis (long run it may be simply impossible for religious minorities to survive in a Jihadi state)
   684. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4668986)
Concern troll is concerned.


You rarely show this level of self awareness. Good job.
   685. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4668987)
Palestine has no territorial integrity because it's not a country. The West Bank belonged to Jordan


Jordan ended up with the West Bank after 1947 (basically because alone among the Arab countries fighting Israel they had a small but competent military)- they never annexed it or gave Palestinians living there Jordanian citizenship(kind of like what Israel did after 1967)- the Jordanian position was always that the West bank was part of "Palestine" (along with Gaza and Israel itself- until Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel that is)
   686. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4668992)
Well, one thing I'm pretty sure of is they have to force all those Haredi men to get a freaking job, and make them eligible for the draft.

You can't have a large and growing % of your population voluntarily be on welfare, and contribute absolutely nothing to the country.


They're up to around 11.5%
A major issue for Israel is that the Haredi also tend to vote as a solid Block (they do that here as well, plus they tend to self- segregate which allows them effective political control over the communities they reside in- the Haredi are not alone of course-some Mennonite and other Anabaptist groups in the US do that as well)- they effectively control 10-15% of Knesset seats after every election - and if the ruling party's coalition margin is within that % will unhesitatingly use that block vote to ensure that $ continues t flow their way to enable their adult males to "study" rather than work.

Haredi groups outside Israel do not behave like that (block voting yes, practically requiring adult men to live in welfare no)- and not all such groups in Israel do so, but the cultural behavior of Israeli Haredis seems to have been set very early on - the specific Haredi Rabbis on hand for Israelis founding insisted that ALL their men "study" rather than work (or serve in the military), and the early state accommodated them because there were so few of them (If Ben Gurion knew that the Haredi would one day be 10% rather than less than 1% of the population he most certainly would not have acceded)
   687. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4668995)
Losing territory in wars of aggression is an excellent way to deter wars of aggression. Don't want to lose territory, don't start wars.


Unless you can win them. If you have the power to kick at least a plurality of the existing inhabitants out of a territory and claim it as your own state, with the power of the Euro-west behind you, then by all means, have at that.
   688. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4669004)
I'm not sure what the right path forward is for Israel.

Indeed, it's unobvious to me what's the right path to success


I think the "right" path forward for Israel is to finish the wall, pull everyone outside the wall in (the settlers who won't? Cut them off, tell them they're on their own) and hunker down and wait out the changes in the region- most of all stop governing the day to day lives of people who hate you and whom you will not give citizenship to.

What should Israel have done? In 1967 that's easy, if they wanted to keep the West Bank they should have driven the Arabs out when they had the chance, they didn't do that, they originally keep the West Bank as a bargaining chip, trouble was that once they had it others wanted to hold onto it for other reasons.

In some ways Israel's West Bank settlers are to Israel what the post 1912 Serbian settlers in Kosovo were to Serbia- Serbia could have annexed the parts of Kosovo with a Serb majority (all adjacent to Serbia proper), at any time, but the adherents of Greater Serbia would never allow that, they wanted ALL of Kosvo- that intransigence eventually made them an international pariah after an attempted ethnic cleansing and cost them all of Kosovo.

Israel can still get away with annexing part of the West Bank (oh people will whine and complain and accuse Israel of defying UN resolutions, but obviously no one is actually gonna get up in arms* about Israel annexing adjacent parts with Jewish majorities)- the trouble is Israel is reluctant to officially partition the West Bank for reasons of domestic policies just as much as international politics.

*aside from the people who actually get up in arms now anyway
   689. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4669007)
They're up to around 11.5%
A major issue for Israel is that the Haredi also tend to vote as a solid Block (they do that here as well, plus they tend to self- segregate which allows them effective political control over the communities they reside in- the Haredi are not alone of course-some Mennonite and other Anabaptist groups in the US do that as well)- they effectively control 10-15% of Knesset seats after every election - and if the ruling party's coalition margin is within that % will unhesitatingly use that block vote to ensure that $ continues t flow their way to enable their adult males to "study" rather than work.

Haredi groups outside Israel do not behave like that (block voting yes, practically requiring adult men to live in welfare no)- and not all such groups in Israel do so, but the cultural behavior of Israeli Haredis seems to have been set very early on - the specific Haredi Rabbis on hand for Israelis founding insisted that ALL their men "study" rather than work (or serve in the military), and the early state accommodated them because there were so few of them (If Ben Gurion knew that the Haredi would one day be 10% rather than less than 1% of the population he most certainly would not have acceded)


You could require military service (or medical exemption) as a pre-condition for voting.
   690. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4669008)
Yeah, if being "obsessed" means that I ridiculed that whole farcical Pussygate impeachment drive from start to finish, a campaign whose true obsessors tried to make a symbolic hanging rope out of a strand of pubic hairs.

Actually "obsession" here means obsessing about the boners and pubic hairs and ##### rather than the actual issues involved in the matter.

In fact, it's almost a textbook example of the term.
   691. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4669011)
If they want peace they and others are going to have to compromise


If you think this is trolling, you need to check the definition. It is also not "concern" trolling, because I actually do want there to be peace in the region and want both Israel and Palestinians to do well (which is redundant with wanting there to be peace I suppose).

Concern trolling would be, for example, pleading the GOP to be less crazy and pass immigration reform, because it is needed for their long term survival.

But back in sanity land ...
I'm not sure what the right path forward is for Israel.


Well their current path is a bad one. Maybe it is the least bad, but that is the best that can be said of it. They really need the palestinian problem solved, draining the long term infection that has inflamed Israeli/Arab relations for decades. Expansionary settlements and fretting about Iran is not really helping resolve it (though as I said, I guess it could be argued to be least bad, but personally I doubt it is).

What exactly they should do is challenging. They will have to compromise though, resolution is in their long term interests, so a compromise should be possible. Of course it should have been possible by now also.
   692. GregD Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4669012)
Losing territory in wars of aggression is an excellent way to deter wars of aggression. Don't want to lose territory, don't start wars.
Making territorial change a normal part of the end of war encourages more war, no? There's no super-court to judge who is the aggressor and make sure only aggressors who lose suffer territorial change.

Sometimes territorial change is just going to happen and sometimes it may even be good. But I don't think it's logical to support territorial change on the grounds that it is a deterrent to war since it pretty clearly is the opposite.
   693. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4669015)
Unless you can win them. If you have the power to kick at least a plurality of the existing inhabitants out of a territory and claim it as your own state, with the power of the Euro-west behind you, then by all means, have at that.

Israel was given its state by international mandate, not through a war of agression against another state.
   694. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4669016)
Alex Sink (D) is up in absentee voting so far for CD 13 in Florida. She is opposed by David Jolly (R), who has been , who has tied Sink to Obamacare, but has been mocked by fellow Republicans for running such a poor campaign. Polls show them neck and neck, but the libertarian candidate is expected to take votes from Jolly. Election day is tomorrow.
   695. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4669017)
Losing territory in wars of aggression is an excellent way to deter wars of aggression. Don't want to lose territory, don't start wars


Historically it doesn't seem to work that way, in fact the opposite seems to happen.

Part of the problem is that aggressor states rarely see themselves as aggressor states- people are very strong at justifying their own actions, and people tend to write their own histories and teach them to their children.

We write about WWII and it starts with Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
In Japan the school kids read, "All of Asia was encircled by encroaching western imperialists, Japan was the last standing strong non-European state, but lacked necessary natural resources, all controlled by the west, once finally encircled the West embargoed sales of iron and oil and other essentials, hoping to brig Japan to its knees without firing a shot"

(Of course both versions are essentially true, incomplete but largely true)

Texas: According to the Texicans the war for independence started because Santa Anna was a despot who abrogated the constitution
According to Mexico the war was a blatant land grab by non-Mexicans who voluntarily moved in, but declared "independence" as soon as they had achieved a sufficient plurality and brought in even more invading foreigners.

Of course again both versions are essentially true, incomplete but largely true)
   696. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4669018)
Expansionary settlements and fretting about Iran is not really helping resolve it (though as I said, I guess it could be argued to be least bad, but personally I doubt it is).

The settlements are poor policy, but they're at most a marginal impediment to peace. The true impediments to peace are far deeper and more fundamental.
   697. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4669024)
I think the "right" path forward for Israel is to finish the wall, pull everyone outside the wall in (the settlers who won't? Cut them off, tell them they're on their own) and hunker down and wait out the changes in the region- most of all stop governing the day to day lives of people who hate you and whom you will not give citizenship to.


Eventually new settlers will start singing too loudly, and the hordes outside of the secured perimeter will climb a mountain of their own undead corpses to breach Jerusalem.
   698. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4669025)
Yeah, if being "obsessed" means that I ridiculed that whole farcical Pussygate impeachment drive from start to finish, a campaign whose true obsessors tried to make a symbolic hanging rope out of a strand of pubic hairs.

Actually "obsession" here means obsessing about the boners and pubic hairs and ##### rather than the actual issues involved in the matter.

In fact, it's almost a textbook example of the term.


I totally agree, but since the "issues" there all led back to those boners and pubic hairs, it wasn't too hard to see that it was the Republicans and clowns like Matthews who were doing all the obsessing. The sane world, which included the vast majority of the public, saw that whole affair as strictly a matter for Bill and Hillary to resolve on their own. He had plenty to answer for to Hillary, and to Paula Jones, but not to Kenneth Starr's crew of dumpster divers. But if you want to obsess about perjury over pussy, be my guest.
   699. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4669034)
Israel was given its state by international mandate, not through a war of agression against another state.


We've danced this dance before. You're still amazeballs stupid ####### wrong on the merits.
   700. BrianBrianson Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4669038)
... pull everyone outside the wall in ...


Of course, Gaza is an example of that kind of unilateral disengagement, and it ain't working out great either. Okay-ish, but not great. Now, one can complain the level of disengaging is less than complete, but a West Bank wall won't stop rockets, tunnels, etc, either, so in practice disengagement there is not likely to be wildly different.
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