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Author Topic: old man blogs at cloud
Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Short answer: yes with an if... long answer no, with a but.

whaaat
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
I'm taking about the things from EG that got discarded in the writing of Ender in Exile.

I thought that process was just padded out, not dropped entirely.
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Samprimary
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aw yiss, from the pay-2-play forum

quote:
Well, that was... different. [Smile]

I don't know if I enthusiastically agree with everything OSC wrote in his criticism of Obama and his policies, but I do agree with his premise that the U.S. has been, to paraphrase in the spirit of Churchill, "The worst superpower in history... except for all the other ones."

The primary point I take issue with is OSC's Hari Seldon-like prediction that everything will soon come crashing down around us... but I suppose time will tell on that point.

aw yiss big ol obama doomsday rant coming on down the pipeline

ARE YOU READY

(i'm ready)

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Samprimary
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quote:
Barack Obama is the Beloved Leader of the America-hating Left -- and yes, they hate America and everything it stands for, until you say so, and then they get all tetchy and accuse you of impugning their patriotism.
of course
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scifibum
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quote:
It's not that Barack Obama doesn't know how to be tough. If he had shown half the firmness with America's enemies that he has shown in slapping around the Republican Party and the few elements of the media that don't lick his shoes, we would be in a much stronger position in the world.
...what
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BlackBlade
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Crimea is holding a succession vote today. Russia's acquisition of that territory is directly in violation of international law. If we don't act quickly but wisely we can expect other countries to read the message loud and clear that the US is too tired to intervene when countries grab things.
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Xavier
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quote:
If we don't act quickly but wisely we can expect other countries to read the message loud and clear that the US is too tired to intervene when countries grab things.
Intervene how, exactly? I for one am not prepared for myself and my family perishing in nuclear fire for the sake of Ukrainian sovereignty, thanks.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
quote:
If we don't act quickly but wisely we can expect other countries to read the message loud and clear that the US is too tired to intervene when countries grab things.
Intervene how, exactly? I for one am not prepared for myself and my family perishing in nuclear fire for the sake of Ukrainian sovereignty, thanks.
Putin is not going to commit to nuclear war over a slice of Ukraine anymore than he did when we told him to get his butt out of Georgia.

We could start with offering the Ukraine an IMF relief package that will ween them off Russia, and allow the Ukraine to determine for themselves if they should let the East secede. Russia has no business making that decision for them, and the so called president of Crimea has no authority to hand that territory over to them.

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BlackBlade
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If we do nothing, we'll pay for this later. Mr. Card isn't wrong about that. When a country can be bullied by a larger country and nobody does anything about it, all the bullies start dividing the globe up.
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
quote:
If we don't act quickly but wisely we can expect other countries to read the message loud and clear that the US is too tired to intervene when countries grab things.
Intervene how, exactly? I for one am not prepared for myself and my family perishing in nuclear fire for the sake of Ukrainian sovereignty, thanks.
Putin is not going to commit to nuclear war over a slice of Ukraine anymore than he did when we told him to get his butt out of Georgia.

We could start with offering the Ukraine an IMF relief package that will ween them off Russia, and allow the Ukraine to determine for themselves if they should let the East secede. Russia has no business making that decision for them, and the so called president of Crimea has no authority to hand that territory over to them.

The IMF is still insisting on austerity measures such as cutting energy subsidies, it won't be from the IMF.

You don't know if Putin will commit to nuclear war, but we DO know he will commit to a full conventional war if the red line is crossed (Ukraine joining NATO).

quote:

If we don't act quickly but wisely we can expect other countries to read the message loud and clear that the US is too tired to intervene when countries grab things.

Ukraine isn't in NATO, Poland and many other countries that border Russia are; or already firmly in the Russian or Chinese sphere.

The only precedent set is that if you're a Great Power with nukes the US can't enforce its will on you. Otherwise the US is already taking steps, such as sending units to the Baltic and so on; Poland is also stepping up to the plate.

Maybe America should not be the ones directly stepping in first man in last man out? Let the regional organizations handle it; what should America do if Germany and France aren't on board?

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Russia's acquisition of that territory is directly in violation of international law. If we don't act quickly but wisely we can expect other countries to read the message loud and clear that the US is too tired to intervene when countries grab things.

Hey, dealing with Crimea would be great. Have at it. Seriously.

But while you're at it, since the US is suddenly interested in international law for some weird reason, wouldn't this be a great time to deal with a torture prison camp in Cuba, drone strikes in multiple countries, and a military occupation in Palestine? You know, the kinds of violations of international law that the US has full control over? K, thanks.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
The IMF is still insisting on austerity measures such as cutting energy subsidies, it won't be from the IMF.

You don't know if Putin will commit to nuclear war, but we DO know he will commit to a full conventional war if the red line is crossed (Ukraine joining NATO).

Austerity sounds a lot better than being eaten. And I don't think we *should* let the Ukraine into NATO. The Ukraine has way too much history with Russia, and it's too important for Russia to let go. It probably doesn't belong in the EU either. But let it continue to be a sort of autonomous mediator between Russia and West Europe.

quote:
The only precedent set is that if you're a Great Power with nukes the US can't enforce its will on you.
Let's not forget Russia is the one who broke the status quo, they are the ones trying to see if we'll blink. That makes Russia first ones in, not the US.

quote:
But while you're at it, since the US is suddenly interested in international law for some weird reason, wouldn't this be a great time to deal with a torture prison camp in Cuba, drone strikes in multiple countries, and a military occupation in Palestine? You know, the kinds of violations of international law that the US has full control over? K, thanks.
Yes because either you do the right thing 100% of the time or 0%. You know I hate Guantanamo Bay, it's a blot on us I don't think I'll ever let myself forget. Drone strikes are conducted with the permission of the host government generally speaking, and they certainly aren't used to acquire other people's stuff. Israel/Palestine is not an issue I can do justice, but it's not an instance where the US would ever allow Israel to annex Palestine.

The US absolutely has made grievous mistakes. It still makes them. But lets not forget we are leaving Afghanistan, and Iraq and we never had any intention making them colonies. Let's not forget Somalia, Kosovo, Taiwan.

But sure, by all means lets pretend the US is no different from Russia, and that really the whole world will be so much better if the US goes back to it's pre-WWII foreign policy of not caring what goes on anywhere outside its borders.

It's not like hegemonic stability theory means anything anyway right? I'm sure China will step right into that role and perform it beautifully.

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NobleHunter
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quote:
Crimea is holding a succession vote today. Russia's acquisition of that territory is directly in violation of international law. If we don't act quickly but wisely we can expect other countries to read the message loud and clear that the US is too tired to intervene when countries grab things.
I'm not sure I agree with the idea that the US's course of action in this case represents such an unambiguous message. There are all sorts of reasons why the US (and EU for that matter) could fail to intervene effectively that don't apply to other situations. Considering the stakes involved, would you really want to take a chance that it was just ennui? Even Russia should worry that the rules will have changed by the time they start leaning on the Baltic states. The only rational course is to judge each situation on its own merits without relying overmuch on "well they didn't do anything last time." You recall how that logic turned out for Germany?
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Lyrhawn
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The US has already canceled the upcoming G8 meeting in Sochi, and there are a lot of sounds coming out that Russia may be booted from the G8 in general.

In the mean time, there's a bill in the pipeline for emergency relief funding for Ukraine from the US Congress. I think we have France and Germany on board for sanctions, but having the British would help more. Billions in Russian finance is in London right now, and if they can threaten to freeze those assets, it'll go a long way towards making Russia feel more pain.

In all, we probably can't stop Russia if they really want to do this. We're not willing to send weapons. But we can make them pay a serious cost that will have to be factored into their calculus for future actions like this. Getting Europe on board will be absolutely essential.

But in the long run, I think Russia loses if they try to grab the Crimea. They'll take on a pretty big financial burden since Crimea is almost entirely supported, energy, water, and food wise from the mainland. They'll also be taking in a 30% Ukrainian/Tatar population that absolutely does not want to go Russian, and in the case of the Tatar minority, is increasingly radicalized Muslims with outside financing. That didn't go so well for Russia in Chechnya and other places, I don't imagine it will go well in the Crimea. Not to mention they'll pay an international cost, and galvanize regional actors against them at a time when relations were thawing between many.

This creates a lot of problems for him for very little gain.

Elison -

quote:
The IMF is still insisting on austerity measures such as cutting energy subsidies, it won't be from the IMF.
Which is exactly what they should do. A combination of artificially low prices from Russia and government subsidies are what got so many people hooked on high gas use to begin with. They need to ween themselves off of those prices to encourage people to use less gas and give Russia less leverage.

quote:
Ukraine isn't in NATO, Poland and many other countries that border Russia are; or already firmly in the Russian or Chinese sphere.

The only precedent set is that if you're a Great Power with nukes the US can't enforce its will on you. Otherwise the US is already taking steps, such as sending units to the Baltic and so on; Poland is also stepping up to the plate.

Maybe America should not be the ones directly stepping in first man in last man out? Let the regional organizations handle it; what should America do if Germany and France aren't on board?

Many Russian neighbors have been pulling away from Russia's sphere of influence for awhile now, most notably Moldova and Georgia. But a lot of commentators have noted that Poland, which until recently had pretty bad relations with Russia, will probably move further away from them as a result of the Ukraine action. There had been a thaw recently, but this will push them back into Europe's sway rather than Russia's. This is an isolating, rather than cowing motion. Neighbors won't be scared into acquiescence, they'll be more resolved than ever to resist.
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Xavier
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quote:
Putin is not going to commit to nuclear war over a slice of Ukraine anymore than he did when we told him to get his butt out of Georgia.

Yeah, my fear is not that it'd just go straight to nuclear war. But if Ukraine goes to war with Russia, and we commit our own military in support, we have Russians and Americans killing each-other with guns and bombs and planes.

There's a reason that through 40+ years of cold war, we avoided that particular situation at all costs. Its because when Americans and Russians start killing each-other, use of nuclear weapons becomes almost inevitable. Particularly when one side starts losing.

It's just not worth the risk. Not even close.

So if Ukraine goes to war with Russia, we pretty much have to tell them "good luck" and watch them get slaughtered.

All of the Hitler analogies fall flat, because Hitler didn't have enough nukes to end human existence.

We have a red line. That red line is NATO. Anything short of that, and our "intervention" options do not include the military. Period. And Putin already knows this.

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BlackBlade
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Xavier: Who used a Hitler analogy?

I agree a conventional war with Russia is not a good idea. But we still have to actually do something substantive, or we will fight this battle again and again.

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Lyrhawn
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Hillary Clinton did.

And I think as a comparison to appeasement and land grabs, she's right in that context.

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Xavier
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quote:
Xavier: Who used a Hitler analogy?
Everyone arguing for intervention. Not always by name, but when people talk about how "appeasement doesn't work" and "historical parallels" and all that, its a pretty obvious subtext.
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Hobbes
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The Hitler analogies may not be entirely relevant in terms of consequences of engagement, but the tactics on Putin's side are identical to the point of absurdity.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Lyrhawn
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There IS a parallel there. I get the distinction you're making regarding nukes, but there's still a parallel.

When push comes to shove, if Putin invaded Poland, would you risk the nukes?

What about Germany? France? Britain?

At some point you're going to have to say yes and stand up to him.

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NobleHunter
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The other parallel is that Putin's probably not going to accurately predict where the line is.

Saddam didn't either.

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Lyrhawn
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Something else to keep in mind:

If I'm Iran watching all this unfold, my resolve to never, ever, ever give up my nuclear weapons program increases 100 fold.

Russia wouldn't be stealing the Crimea from Ukraine if Ukraine still had nukes, but Ukraine signed a deal in 1994 to give up its nukes is Russia promised never to violate Ukraine's territorial sovereignty. In other words, no stealing land. It also included guarantees to not threaten Ukraine via economic or military force.

That agreement has been thrown out the window.

So if I'm a budding nuclear power, I look at this and see that no agreement written on paper will ever, ever guarantee me the kind of security granted by the threat of nuclear weapons. I'd never give them up.

That's another reason why the world community needs to put Putin in line. He's making nuclear proliferation more likely by showing the value of nukes and the dangers of giving them up.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
quote:
Xavier: Who used a Hitler analogy?
Everyone arguing for intervention. Not always by name, but when people talk about how "appeasement doesn't work" and "historical parallels" and all that, its a pretty obvious subtext.
I don't think Hitler is the only historical instance where because nobody stops a bully it emboldens them and other bullies. But he certainly qualifies. To be honest, I wasn't really thinking about him, but I can see how easily he can be conjured up in this discussion.

I think Lyrhawn made an excellent point. It's not just Russia that becomes a problem if this is allowed to stand. It reforms the calculus other nations make in regards to their own borders.

You are absolutely right that two nuclear armed nations engaging in conventional warfare is a horrible thing that nobody wants to be the first to try, because there may never be a second time. But Putin can't use territory grabs as a way to keep the country behind him.

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Xavier
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quote:
When push comes to shove, if Putin invaded Poland, would you risk the nukes?

What about Germany? France? Britain?

Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. All four are NATO nations. Putin knows that invading any of those nations means war with the US.

Other nations not in NATO that I would put on that list: Japan, Australia, South Korea. There are perhaps a dozen other nations that I would tentatively include as mandatory military intervention. Also oddball scenarios like an unprovoked invasion into Africa or something like that.

But this isn't anything like that.

  • This is a former soviet republic.
  • The area is majority ethnic Russian.
  • The elected leader was ousted by a coup, delegitimizing the government.
  • The country is not a strategic ally or trade partner.
  • The region in question just voted to break away.

My sympathies lie with Ukraine, and I am in favor of pretty much any non-military threats or sanctions. I just think tough talk about using our armed forces in any way is beyond dangerous.

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Lyrhawn
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Who is suggesting we use military assets to actively engage?
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Hobbes:
The Hitler analogies may not be entirely relevant in terms of consequences of engagement, but the tactics on Putin's side are identical to the point of absurdity.

Hobbes [Smile]

Identical? No, I think that's seriously overstating things. Not that I have the least respect for Putin as a decent human being or a conscientious national leader.
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Hobbes
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Really? Perhaps "tactics" implied to[o] broad a brush. But supplying troops and/ funds to "Germans" in a country you want to occupy, claiming the need to protect that group, and then demanding land and control from the country was the tactic Hitler used again and again until, using it on Poland, he kick-started WWII. From my reading of the news, that is identical to the tactic Putin was taking.

And that was what I was referring to, if it seemed like I meant to also include "blame and slaughter social undesirables in your own country by the millions" I apologize.

Hobbes [Smile]

[ March 07, 2014, 03:27 PM: Message edited by: Hobbes ]

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Lyrhawn
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Yeah. Not so much holocaust, but there's a lot of Sudetenland here.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Who is suggesting we use military assets to actively engage?

well, OSC's argument is fundamentally underpinned by military engagement
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Lyrhawn
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Sorry, I meant to say "what serious person is suggesting we use military assets..."

I have no idea what OSC actually wants to do. Airstrikes on Moscow? Who knows.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Yeah. Not so much holocaust, but there's a lot of Sudetenland here.

Absolutely. My remark was mostly one of degree. There are certainly similarities to both the Sudentland and some to Aunschlass (spelling totally escapes me atm) as well. It may even turn out that most of the controversy within Ukraine has been generated by Russian provocateurs, as was the case in the WWII buildup. I was just pointing out that it seemed to me there were more legitimate beefs this time around, whereas in WWII when Hitler wished to expand, he made a habit of deliberately creating them.
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Something else to keep in mind:

If I'm Iran watching all this unfold, my resolve to never, ever, ever give up my nuclear weapons program increases 100 fold.

Russia wouldn't be stealing the Crimea from Ukraine if Ukraine still had nukes, but Ukraine signed a deal in 1994 to give up its nukes is Russia promised never to violate Ukraine's territorial sovereignty. In other words, no stealing land. It also included guarantees to not threaten Ukraine via economic or military force.

That agreement has been thrown out the window.

So if I'm a budding nuclear power, I look at this and see that no agreement written on paper will ever, ever guarantee me the kind of security granted by the threat of nuclear weapons. I'd never give them up.

That's another reason why the world community needs to put Putin in line. He's making nuclear proliferation more likely by showing the value of nukes and the dangers of giving them up.

This is silly, Ukraine had zero capability to responsibly maintain and take care of those nuclear weapons, handing them over to Russia or destroying them was the only responsible decision. Being a nuclear power opens you to a level of strategic consequences that 95% of nations want nothing to do with. Such as opening you to nuclear tipped bunker busting munitions.

Additionally, Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapons program, that's been largely fabricated by the United States; they've been "6 months away from a bomb" since the 1990's. Its a civilian nuclear program as allowed by being a part of the NPT; Iran still has incentive to freeze progress because of crippling economic sanctions. Iran is already being screwed over by rumors of a nuclear program, actually having one doesn't rationally help them.

quote:

Which is exactly what they should do. A combination of artificially low prices from Russia and government subsidies are what got so many people hooked on high gas use to begin with. They need to ween themselves off of those prices to encourage people to use less gas and give Russia less leverage.

This is hilariously wrong. Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus have some of the harshest winter conditions in the developed world with some of the highest cost of living in such because of the price of heating.

You reduce or eliminate subsidies and you're back to square one with tens of thousands back in the streets protesting unlivable living conditions. It'ld collapse the government again, its political suicide.

Also the infrastructure doesn't support it, something like 40% of government buildings, communal homes and regular homes are built to use gas. You'ld need to rebuild something like one third of the country's infrastructure.

quote:

But in the long run, I think Russia loses if they try to grab the Crimea.

Not really, not unless this escalates, Russia loses for sure if they lose Sevastopol; they don't have the military ports of sufficient size to support the Black Sea Fleet; additionally Ukraine joining NATO presents a situation of strategic encircle; an agreement that NATO had abrogated years ago when they promised there would be no eastward expansion of NATO, which was broken.

By taking Crimea, Ukraine can't join NATO, you can't have ongoing border disputes and this essentially sabotages Ukraine as a country, so they can't join the EU either; Russia wins.

quote:

In the mean time, there's a bill in the pipeline for emergency relief funding for Ukraine from the US Congress.

IIRC, this is for 1 billion$, Ukraine needs over 35 billion$.

quote:

I think we have France and Germany on board for sanctions,

Germany for sure isn't.

quote:

Austerity sounds a lot better than being eaten.

To reiterate, this is impossible. It'll collapse either the transitionary gov't, or the next government when elections happen. Greece was fairly close to tipping and that's a developed country with a well rooted democracy; Ukraine's is a clusterfruit and can't survive the fall out, MILLIONS of Ukrainians absolutely need that gas.

I really recommend the Eastern Europe thread at SA, it goes into all of these and shows why Ukraine's situation is extremely dire.

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Lyrhawn
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It's been awhile since I've gotten into one of these with you, so here goes!

quote:
This is silly, Ukraine had zero capability to responsibly maintain and take care of those nuclear weapons, handing them over to Russia or destroying them was the only responsible decision. Being a nuclear power opens you to a level of strategic consequences that 95% of nations want nothing to do with. Such as opening you to nuclear tipped bunker busting munitions.

Additionally, Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapons program, that's been largely fabricated by the United States; they've been "6 months away from a bomb" since the 1990's. Its a civilian nuclear program as allowed by being a part of the NPT; Iran still has incentive to freeze progress because of crippling economic sanctions. Iran is already being screwed over by rumors of a nuclear program, actually having one doesn't rationally help them.

It really couldn't possibly matter less whether or not Ukraine could maintain all of them. They could have easily either sold them for straight up cash, or they could have reduced the stockpile to a much much more manageable size, like say China's. Ukraine had a HUGE nuclear arsenal, just shy of 2000 nukes, with a myriad array of delivery systems. They could have greatly simplified that down to maybe a couple dozen weapons. Expensive perhaps, but relatively easily maintained, and that would have been all the veto power they needed to keep someone like Russia from making a land grab for the Crimea. Instead, they TRUSTED them. Look where trust got them. And woe to anyone who decides trust is worth more than a warm bucket of spit in geopolitcs. Nukes would keep them safe. Promises do not.

As for Iran...please. The IAEA isn't exactly an American lapdog, and they've said in the last few years that there is strong, strong evidence that Iran has been researching weapons design.

quote:
This is hilariously wrong. Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus have some of the harshest winter conditions in the developed world with some of the highest cost of living in such because of the price of heating.

You reduce or eliminate subsidies and you're back to square one with tens of thousands back in the streets protesting unlivable living conditions. It'ld collapse the government again, its political suicide.

Also the infrastructure doesn't support it, something like 40% of government buildings, communal homes and regular homes are built to use gas. You'ld need to rebuild something like one third of the country's infrastructure.

Reduce, diversify, and expand domestic supply. They need to cut back on supply to gain leverage with Russia, and if they didn't know it before, they know it now. They need to expand to other heating sources. And they need to dramatically increase their own supply. They're starting to do that last one, signing some big deals with Western shale gas drillers. Within five to ten years they could be entirely free of Russia's gas thrall, which would put them in an incredibly advantageous position to negotiation transfer rights for pipelines that run through their territory. It might make them an exporter to Europe that draws them closer to the West and pinches Putin's even more.

That's a future solution, of course. But their gas subsidies are a bankrupting mess. They're pouring money down the drain, and many people think billions could be going astray in what essentially is money laundering schemes by Yanukovich's government. The money going to the energy industry, by and large, isn't even being used to hold prices down, prices are actually dramatically inflated in part because Russia charges a huge premium for gas. The subsidy money is essentially being passed around to cronies to keep a lot of people employed and a lot of hands greased while not providing much relief for consumers and not upgrading a dangerously old pipeline network.

Simply put, subsidies aren't doing what you think they're doing, and they're bankrupting the country. They need to put in place an immediate, mid and long term solution to cut consumption, cut corporate giveaways, and ween themselves off Russian gas, as quickly as possible. They aren't stupid, they know where the gas comes from and they know how weak it makes them.

quote:
Not really, not unless this escalates, Russia loses for sure if they lose Sevastopol; they don't have the military ports of sufficient size to support the Black Sea Fleet; additionally Ukraine joining NATO presents a situation of strategic encircle; an agreement that NATO had abrogated years ago when they promised there would be no eastward expansion of NATO, which was broken.

By taking Crimea, Ukraine can't join NATO, you can't have ongoing border disputes and this essentially sabotages Ukraine as a country, so they can't join the EU either; Russia wins.

No, they lose on just about every count. Ukraine was very, very unlikely to kick them out of Sevastopol, and if they tried, Ukraine would never have been able to secure outside funding for its debt problems because Russia could easily use the world community to get Ukraine to honor its longterm basing agreements. It was all just saber rattling on Ukraine's part.

But they've already lost international prestige. No one will take them seriously on a range of international issues now, since Russia's argument of respecting national sovereignty is a laugh line rather than a police statement now. They'll be virtually ignored now at the UN. They damaged their relationship with China as well, who wants to support them, but is scared to death of approving of anything that threatens arguments regarding territorial sovereignty because they have their own issues out west and with Taiwan. They're also likely to be booted out of the G8, and stand to have billions in assets frozen. I have no idea what sort of sanctions will be in play, but it's likely to cost them as well.

They also foment opposition to them by scaring the ever loving crap out of the Baltic States, Poland, et at. All of them are shouting for United States military help. They want US fighers on their bases ASAP. He spent years trying to thaw relations with these people only to swipe it all away and push them all into the Western camp. Stupid.

But all of that ignores the situation actually within Crimea. 2/3rds of the population might be ethnic Russian and support Russia, but the other third is very much NOT Russian, and will be very angry. The Tatar population probably violently so. The Crimea depends on the mainland for energy, food, water and basically all necessities of life. It's also full of old broken down industries and factories that require infusions of cash to keep competitive internationally.

Putin is taking on a huge headache to guarantee access to a port he was never going to lose access too. There will be a rebellion in Crimea within a year or two, centered on Crimean Tatars, and he'll have to permanently station troops there to quell it. It's a drain on military resources he really can't afford.

Even in his best case scenario, he loses far more than he gains.

quote:
IIRC, this is for 1 billion$, Ukraine needs over 35 billion$.
The $1 billion is specifically for energy subsidies until a larger deal can be worked out with allies. Ukraine needs something in the neighborhood of $15-20 billion in the next few weeks to keep them afloat. They'll come up with it.

quote:
Germany for sure isn't.
Merkel on same page with Obama

They aren't willing to do punitive damage, but they're willing to join in in an effort to get Putin to pull back. So....

quote:
To reiterate, this is impossible. It'll collapse either the transitionary gov't, or the next government when elections happen. Greece was fairly close to tipping and that's a developed country with a well rooted democracy; Ukraine's is a clusterfruit and can't survive the fall out, MILLIONS of Ukrainians absolutely need that gas.
And I would posit that you don't totally know what you're talking about. Regardless, I'm not suggesting they shut off the spigots tomorrow. But they need to change their behavior going forward.
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Elison R. Salazar
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I've been in since this started a long ongoing discussion thread in which several Ukrainians and other eastern Europeans posted and provided their commentary, along with other people who have expertese in the region: Austerity measures was a no go with Yanukuvich because it was political suicide and went with the option that seemed the lesser of two evils. It is *still* political suicide even for the neoliberal right wing coalition because it harms so many millions of people that it will cause political unrest as bad that kicked Yanukuvich out; this is the most likely scenario according to those Ukrainians I've seen comment on the issue (people from Maidan, not Party of Regions).

quote:

Merkel on same page with Obama

Not quite, actions matter, not words, Germany and Russia are huge trading partners and Europe is dependent on Russian gas, they're not going to impose sanctions and so far this isn't on the table.


Its not about "behavior" there just isn't a way for them to consume less gas, they aren't consuming some inordinate amount of gas for electricity and heating or wasting it. What Ukraine probably needs is to rebuild their infrastructure and expand nuclear power and renewables (as does Germany who stupidly close down nuclear power plants for coal and gas plants); but they can't do that while they are economically insolvent.

What you are suggesting just isn't practical or reasonable, end result; another parliamentary crisis and mass protests.

quote:

The $1 billion is specifically for energy subsidies until a larger deal can be worked out with allies. Ukraine needs something in the neighborhood of $15-20 billion in the next few weeks to keep them afloat. They'll come up with it.

But so far though this deal hasn't materialized yet? I think Ukraine needs like a Marshall Plan type deal, lumpsum of something akin to 100-200 billion$ to stabilize and fix things, but so far this isn't in the cards.

quote:

No, they lose on just about every count. Ukraine was very, very unlikely to kick them out of Sevastopol

This isn't true, the last time it had to be rammed through the Rada, how can you possibly know what the anti-Russophone fascists will or will not do?

quote:

and if they tried, Ukraine would never have been able to secure outside funding for its debt problems because Russia could easily use the world community to get Ukraine to honor its longterm basing agreements. It was all just saber rattling on Ukraine's part.

That it would've been economically stupid doesn't prevent politicians, especially those driven by ideological extremism to do stupid things.

quote:

No one will take them seriously on a range of international issues now, since Russia's argument of respecting national sovereignty is a laugh line rather than a police statement now.

Russia appears to have gained prestige among various Arab communities, its not a complete win, there are costs but its easy to see the Russian perspective as to how letting things happen on their own could've been worse.

China and Russia are still fairly close, China made non-committal tch tch noises but in the end this event helps China as isolation from Europe and the West, in the worst case scenario, just means further integration with China and the Shanghai Cooperation.

quote:

The Crimea depends on the mainland for energy, food, water and basically all necessities of life. It's also full of old broken down industries and factories that require infusions of cash to keep competitive internationally.

And the Russians spent 50 billion on Sochi, I don't think the cost matters to them; I've actually seen a lot of analysis that the rubble devaluation will actually easily make them tens of billions in oil and gas exports.

quote:

They're also likely to be booted out of the G8, and stand to have billions in assets frozen. I have no idea what sort of sanctions will be in play, but it's likely to cost them as well.

There won't be sanctions, and kicking them from the G8 Kerry has already said would be "Unproductive", its not happening.

Do you only read one source of news at this or something? Seriously, read SA.

quote:

It really couldn't possibly matter less whether or not Ukraine could maintain all of them. They could have easily either sold them for straight up cash, or they could have reduced the stockpile to a much much more manageable size, like say China's. Ukraine had a HUGE nuclear arsenal, just shy of 2000 nukes, with a myriad array of delivery systems. They could have greatly simplified that down to maybe a couple dozen weapons. Expensive perhaps, but relatively easily maintained, and that would have been all the veto power they needed to keep someone like Russia from making a land grab for the Crimea. Instead, they TRUSTED them. Look where trust got them. And woe to anyone who decides trust is worth more than a warm bucket of spit in geopolitcs. Nukes would keep them safe. Promises do not.

As for Iran...please. The IAEA isn't exactly an American lapdog, and they've said in the last few years that there is strong, strong evidence that Iran has been researching weapons design.

This is really quite knee jerk and narrow focused; Ukraine had no legitimate interest in being a nuclear weapons state; it could neither afford them, nor safely despose of them; sell them to who? Who would buy over 1000 Russian nuclear weapons? Who would afford to maintain them? Someone would have to foot the bill and in the end this was only Russia.

And then what, suppose they could maintain 50 war heads, and then what? Do they have delivery systems? Could they have maintained them? Kept those secure? Would they have been able to reach Moscow or Volgagrad? Are you suggesting Ukraine uses nuclear weapons on Russia to prevent the loss of the Crimea? This seems irresponsible policy.

(Also, maintaining even a 'dozen' nuclear weapons is actually rather expensive).

I haven't followed the IAEA reports for some time but there were serious doubts raised about some behind the scenes shenanigans.

Nevertheless, Iran's economy needs the US sanctions lifted, so it'll agree to do so.

quote:

Reduce, diversify, and expand domestic supply. They need to cut back on supply to gain leverage with Russia, and if they didn't know it before, they know it now. They need to expand to other heating sources. And they need to dramatically increase their own supply. They're starting to do that last one, signing some big deals with Western shale gas drillers. Within five to ten years they could be entirely free of Russia's gas thrall, which would put them in an incredibly advantageous position to negotiation transfer rights for pipelines that run through their territory. It might make them an exporter to Europe that draws them closer to the West and pinches Putin's even more.

That's a future solution, of course. But their gas subsidies are a bankrupting mess. They're pouring money down the drain, and many people think billions could be going astray in what essentially is money laundering schemes by Yanukovich's government. The money going to the energy industry, by and large, isn't even being used to hold prices down, prices are actually dramatically inflated in part because Russia charges a huge premium for gas. The subsidy money is essentially being passed around to cronies to keep a lot of people employed and a lot of hands greased while not providing much relief for consumers and not upgrading a dangerously old pipeline network.

Simply put, subsidies aren't doing what you think they're doing, and they're bankrupting the country. They need to put in place an immediate, mid and long term solution to cut consumption, cut corporate giveaways, and ween themselves off Russian gas, as quickly as possible. They aren't stupid, they know where the gas comes from and they know how weak it makes them.

Subsidies to gas consumption don't work that way, this is a resource that lacks elactisity, it'll be consumed anyways, there isn't a feasible means to radically reduce gas consumption by cutting subsidies, you'll just get mass protests as the cost of living increases, especially for pensioners.

Now you're right that they do need to diversify, but it can't be at the end of a IMF Austerity package; to do what needs doing requires more the the minimum required to prevent a default.

Ukraine needs a Marshall Plan and the West doesn't care enough about Ukraine it seems to give it.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
But while you're at it, since the US is suddenly interested in international law for some weird reason, wouldn't this be a great time to deal with a torture prison camp in Cuba, drone strikes in multiple countries, and a military occupation in Palestine? You know, the kinds of violations of international law that the US has full control over? K, thanks.
Yes because either you do the right thing 100% of the time or 0%.
Yeah, I don't know what phrases like "while you're at it" or "Have at it" mean where you're from, but here it means that you can in fact go ahead and do "the right thing."

I'm just reminding you that as a matter of resources that there are on-going situations causing things like torture, have killed thousands, and have displaced people for decades, and are much more cost-effective to address. By not addressing them, you undercut this funny narrative that you're trying to sell about confronting bullies.

It's like if a bully was peeing on your lawn, yeah, we might sympathize. But if you're trying to recruit us to help out, you should probably stop kicking puppies while asking us for help, y'know?

quote:
Drone strikes are conducted with the permission of
the host government generally speaking

That's a weird defence that's been floating around and I can't imagine that Americans would ever accept this if anyone else was doing it.

One of the major charges against Assad in Syria is that he attacked civilians in his own country. Would it somehow be better if he had the Russians conduct drone strikes instead? Would that somehow absolve the Russians of their responsibility? Would it absolve Assad? Responsibility multiplies in these cases, it doesn't divide.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
So if I'm a budding nuclear power, I look at this and see that no agreement written on paper will ever, ever guarantee me the kind of security granted by the threat of nuclear weapons. I'd never give them up.

That's another reason why the world community needs to put Putin in line.

I fully agree that's the lesson I would learn now ... if I was born a week ago or something.

I don't see how any budding nuclear power could be in a situation where they look at Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Libya's experiences over the last few years and not learn that lesson, but then look at Crimea and be like, "that, THAT's the event that will decide it for me."

I think the cat's permanently out of the bag on that one and has been for quite some time.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Not quite, actions matter, not words, Germany and Russia are huge trading partners and Europe is dependent on Russian gas, they're not going to impose sanctions and so far this isn't on the table.


Its not about "behavior" there just isn't a way for them to consume less gas, they aren't consuming some inordinate amount of gas for electricity and heating or wasting it. What Ukraine probably needs is to rebuild their infrastructure and expand nuclear power and renewables (as does Germany who stupidly close down nuclear power plants for coal and gas plants); but they can't do that while they are economically insolvent.

What you are suggesting just isn't practical or reasonable, end result; another parliamentary crisis and mass protests.

Merkel is quoted as saying that, while they get a lot of their gas from Russia, it's not even a majority, and they have plenty of gas reserves. Plus it was a mild winter. They'll be fine if Russia gets pissy and shuts off the spigot.

And again, no one is suggesting they dramatically jack up heating prices over night. But a lot of that subsidy money was just plain wasted. It was crony capitalism and giveaways, not direct subsidies to consumers. That part is fine, the part where Yanukovich was paying off gas oligarchs, not so much.

quote:
But so far though this deal hasn't materialized yet? I think Ukraine needs like a Marshall Plan type deal, lumpsum of something akin to 100-200 billion$ to stabilize and fix things, but so far this isn't in the cards.
$200 billion was never on the table from ANY country. Russia was going to give Yanukovich $15 billion to stabilize them. The US and Europe are talking through a loan of similar amounts if they'll open up their markets some and move into more of an EU way of doing things. Most economists think it'll be a huge win for Ukraine, billions in extra economic activity will be created. They'll have to grow their way out of this problem the way every other country that has been in similar situations has. The West will give them some training wheels, but they won't ride the bike for them. Nor is Ukraine asking for that. You're being melodramatic.

quote:
This isn't true, the last time it had to be rammed through the Rada, how can you possibly know what the anti-Russophone fascists will or will not do?
Because there's more to it than that. Let's say the Ukrainian Parliament HAD decided to kick them out. Russia saber rattles a little bit and shuts off the gas spigots and Ukraine comes back around, or the US and West apply gentle pressure to not upset the apple cart too quickly. Or Russia appeals to the world community to get Ukraine to adhere to previous agreements made and gets a Security Council Resolution going. There were a ton of things that would have happened if, IF Ukraine had decided to revoke base access, which you don't know would have happened. The point is, Russia jumped the gun. They went from step 2 to step 35 in the blink of an eye.

quote:
Russia appears to have gained prestige among various Arab communities, its not a complete win, there are costs but its easy to see the Russian perspective as to how letting things happen on their own could've been worse.

China and Russia are still fairly close, China made non-committal tch tch noises but in the end this event helps China as isolation from Europe and the West, in the worst case scenario, just means further integration with China and the Shanghai Cooperation.

Derive the majority of their GDP from trade with Arab states, do they? No. They get most of it from the West, and most of that from Europe. Europe isn't going to be in any mood to cut them any favors, and on the next Syria or the next Iran, no one is going to care what Russia has to say, and no one is going to take Russia seriously when they tell us we have to respect Iran or Syria or whoever's territorial sovereignty. They lost all credibility on the issue. That matters. There's more to influence than how much you can scare people. There's respect. No one in the G7 respects them anymore.

And if you think China was lightly brushing this off, you're crazy. It put them in an incredibly awkward position. They might be allies on some issues, but at the end of the day, China and Russia are not natural allies. They're allies of convenience.

quote:
And the Russians spent 50 billion on Sochi, I don't think the cost matters to them; I've actually seen a lot of analysis that the rubble devaluation will actually easily make them tens of billions in oil and gas exports.
Yes, I'm sure the cost doesn't matter to them now, but it was still an incredibly expensive, stupid thing to do. It'll cost them a lot of money in the long run. For now the Russian people are okay with living in a failed kleptocracy, but eventually Europe is going to wise up, and when the Europeans turn off the spigots on their end, Russia goes down hard. Hard. Because it's really all they have propping up the entire economy, and they just signaled to the world that it's time to get moving as fast as possible on making Russia's overpriced gas obsolete.

As you noted above, politician's do stupid things. They aren't concerned not because they thing it's a good investment, but because they aren't gaming this out long term to see the lifetime costs of the decision. It's not going to make them money. It's going to be a black hole.

quote:
There won't be sanctions, and kicking them from the G8 Kerry has already said would be "Unproductive", its not happening.

Do you only read one source of news at this or something? Seriously, read SA.

The G8 Meeting in Sochi has already been effectively canceled. Russia was let into the G8 as a sort of olive branch to try to woo them, but if they've decided to be bad actors, there's really no reason to keep on rewarding them for bad behavior. Wait and see how this thing goes down.

quote:
This is really quite knee jerk and narrow focused; Ukraine had no legitimate interest in being a nuclear weapons state; it could neither afford them, nor safely despose of them; sell them to who? Who would buy over 1000 Russian nuclear weapons? Who would afford to maintain them? Someone would have to foot the bill and in the end this was only Russia.

And then what, suppose they could maintain 50 war heads, and then what? Do they have delivery systems? Could they have maintained them? Kept those secure? Would they have been able to reach Moscow or Volgagrad? Are you suggesting Ukraine uses nuclear weapons on Russia to prevent the loss of the Crimea? This seems irresponsible policy.

lol. Invading the Crimea doesn't really sound like responsible policy either, does it? But people do crazy things sometimes. Surely you've read enough history to know that.

I don't think you understand the political calculus of nukes at all. Yes, by the way, to most of your questions below. Ukraine had a myriad of delivery systems, from old Russian SS19s to cruise missiles to newer more sophisticated ICBM missiles as well as several types of bomber that could carry a nuke.

And would they threaten a nuke over the Crimea? I don't know, but I bet you Putin would hesitate two or three times before deciding to invade a neighboring nuclear power. That's how nukes work. Why do you think everyone is terrified of Kashmir? It's easy to ask "well gee, they wouldn't really nuke each other over Kashmir, would they?" Except they almost have, a couple of times. Nuclear command and control has been released to field officers during several conflicts over Kashmir. It's the same sort of thing. When nukes are available, they're ALWAYS in play, which is why most nations give serious thought to any action with a nuclear power, because it could always lead to nuclear war.

Why do you think some countries have pushed so hard to get nukes? Look at how nuclear nations are treated vs. non-nuclear nations. It's a trump card that can't be beaten

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
But while you're at it, since the US is suddenly interested in international law for some weird reason, wouldn't this be a great time to deal with a torture prison camp in Cuba, drone strikes in multiple countries, and a military occupation in Palestine? You know, the kinds of violations of international law that the US has full control over? K, thanks.
Yes because either you do the right thing 100% of the time or 0%.
Yeah, I don't know what phrases like "while you're at it" or "Have at it" mean where you're from, but here it means that you can in fact go ahead and do "the right thing."

I'm just reminding you that as a matter of resources that there are on-going situations causing things like torture, have killed thousands, and have displaced people for decades, and are much more cost-effective to address. By not addressing them, you undercut this funny narrative that you're trying to sell about confronting bullies.

It's like if a bully was peeing on your lawn, yeah, we might sympathize. But if you're trying to recruit us to help out, you should probably stop kicking puppies while asking us for help, y'know?

quote:
Drone strikes are conducted with the permission of
the host government generally speaking

That's a weird defence that's been floating around and I can't imagine that Americans would ever accept this if anyone else was doing it.

One of the major charges against Assad in Syria is that he attacked civilians in his own country. Would it somehow be better if he had the Russians conduct drone strikes instead? Would that somehow absolve the Russians of their responsibility? Would it absolve Assad? Responsibility multiplies in these cases, it doesn't divide.

You know, it's strange. There's a great deal of justice in all of these criticisms. We profoundly undermine our moral authority when we torture, when we openly assinate enemies knowing we'll kill a handfuk of civilians when we do it, and when we give aid or don't qualify it to exclude fanatical religious types who want additional land as much for religious reasons as security reasons. Hell, that's just the tip of the iceberg, really.

But goddamned if it isn't tedious as hell to hear all this holier than thou talk from groups and nations that are also themselves nation-states, and all too often just as willing to either sacrifice ethics for expedience-or to sit on the sidelines with an inward domestic focus, looking to or criticizing America for just the right actions taken or statements made. I don't for example recall an awful lot of in-depth aid and support from anywhere, but particularly Western European nations, to give a lot of aid and support to help former Soviet bloc nations get off the Russian tit. Don't recall a lot of international support for massive aid to Palestinians in their homes and out. Haven't heard a lot about international willingness to commit to anything serious-and I don't mean warfare-to deal with an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Don't hear a lot from anyone about 'yes, please, we'll take these suspected radical militants off your hands and incarcerate them for you'.

The dreaming double standard is tedious, Mucus.

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Samprimary
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russia even still being in the G8 is kind of ridiculous anyway, and this whole kerfluffle might be a good way to kick them out
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
So if I'm a budding nuclear power, I look at this and see that no agreement written on paper will ever, ever guarantee me the kind of security granted by the threat of nuclear weapons. I'd never give them up.

That's another reason why the world community needs to put Putin in line.

I fully agree that's the lesson I would learn now ... if I was born a week ago or something.

I don't see how any budding nuclear power could be in a situation where they look at Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Libya's experiences over the last few years and not learn that lesson, but then look at Crimea and be like, "that, THAT's the event that will decide it for me."

I think the cat's permanently out of the bag on that one and has been for quite some time.

Well, you're obscuring the point a bit.

And I'm not sure all your examples really hold. Libya had a nuclear program that never made it off the ground. It was still in the "Hm, maybe we should make nukes" phase of development, and what little they had was voluntarily dismantled, for what little good it did them geopolitically.

North Korea's problems extend far and wide beyond its nuclear program. It's run by unpredictable crackpots that starve their people and keep them in third world status dependent on food shipments from others to survive. What lesson are we supposed to draw from their nuclear program that isn't obscured by fifteen other problems?

If anything Iraq is the perfect example of why you need nukes. They were invaded, as you like to point out so many times, on absolutely false pretexts that had nothing at all to do with nukes. Iraq would have been invaded whether the rumors of their plans were true or nor. But if Saddam had actually made nukes, there's no way they would have been invaded. Nuclear powers don't get invaded. Nukes would have saved them, but NOT having nukes wouldn't, since we were bent on invading, we'd have made anything up as a pretext to get in there.

Nukes provide security, and they force the West to treat them differently. Everything else is just a promise on a piece of paper that you have zero leverage to enforce if the other side holding the cards decides to change their minds.

I think you're trying to say "Gosh, these countries all have a horrible time...and they have nukes!" But that's pretty hollow post hoc logic. Iran is the only one really getting the screws put to them just because they have nukes, and I think as soon as they test a bomb, that calculus changes.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
... all this holier than thou talk from groups and nations that are also themselves nation-states ...

I don't feel up to addressing all those issues across all NGOs and all nation-states, when I think my answers would be different for a lot of them. Could you narrow it down a bit?
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I think you're trying to say "Gosh, these countries all have a horrible time...and they have nukes!"

Say what?

I think you're totally mis-reading me. I was actually agreeing with you on most of it, I was saying that if I was a budding nuclear power, I would totally want nukes to provide security. Thus, most of what you're saying is just confusing. I'm just disagreeing on the timing, I don't think it takes the Crimea situation to create the attitude of wanting nukes, we've got plenty before that.

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Lyrhawn
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You're right, I DID misread you.

I'm so used to you disagreeing with me that I read over parts of what you said.

Sorry about that.

You're right that most of them already know that, it's been reinforced time and again in our dealings with places like North Korea.

But the Crimea is a good reminder, and comes at a time when we're supposedly on the cusp of a deal with Iran.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
The IMF is still insisting on austerity measures such as cutting energy subsidies, it won't be from the IMF.

You don't know if Putin will commit to nuclear war, but we DO know he will commit to a full conventional war if the red line is crossed (Ukraine joining NATO).

Austerity sounds a lot better than being eaten. And I don't think we *should* let the Ukraine into NATO. The Ukraine has way too much history with Russia, and it's too important for Russia to let go. It probably doesn't belong in the EU either. But let it continue to be a sort of autonomous mediator between Russia and West Europe.


This is nice. To Ukrainians this reads as: "let us continue to rape and pillage this country, as we have done for 1000 years.

People in the west of Ukraine want the EU because they remember that their great-grandparents were the ones who didn't starve to death, but could have. We make the mistake of judging the interests of Russia and of the EU with a purely objective, "rationalist," lense. But morally, the EU is not comfortable with the level of brutality that the Russians, and particularly the people in charge of Russia, are. The Ukrainians know this, and they want in on a better roadmap to civilization. They know, especially the younger ones, that the EU is a place that strives, in at least spirit if not always in practice, to be a civilization that is based on the rule of law. Russia is fundamentally not that type of place. It's not terribly complicated on the ground (well it is, but then it isn't).

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
And again, no one is suggesting they dramatically jack up heating prices over night. But a lot of that subsidy money was just plain wasted. It was crony capitalism and giveaways, not direct subsidies to consumers. That part is fine, the part where Yanukovich was paying off gas oligarchs, not so much.

Oh yes. I think people have a hard time grasping the sheer magnitude of institutional graft in Ukraine. When you're talking about money from public subsidies, think in terms of high-end designer fashion markups. 70% of the money that the government spends goes into the pockets of the oligarchs. At one point, Yulia's personal income from gas imports was a sizeable percentage of national gdp in Ukraine.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
The IMF is still insisting on austerity measures such as cutting energy subsidies, it won't be from the IMF.

You don't know if Putin will commit to nuclear war, but we DO know he will commit to a full conventional war if the red line is crossed (Ukraine joining NATO).

Austerity sounds a lot better than being eaten. And I don't think we *should* let the Ukraine into NATO. The Ukraine has way too much history with Russia, and it's too important for Russia to let go. It probably doesn't belong in the EU either. But let it continue to be a sort of autonomous mediator between Russia and West Europe.


This is nice. To Ukrainians this reads as: "let us continue to rape and pillage this country, as we have done for 1000 years.

People in the west of Ukraine want the EU because they remember that their great-grandparents were the ones who didn't starve to death, but could have. We make the mistake of judging the interests of Russia and of the EU with a purely objective, "rationalist," lense. But morally, the EU is not comfortable with the level of brutality that the Russians, and particularly the people in charge of Russia, are. The Ukrainians know this, and they want in on a better roadmap to civilization. They know, especially the younger ones, that the EU is a place that strives, in at least spirit if not always in practice, to be a civilization that is based on the rule of law. Russia is fundamentally not that type of place. It's not terribly complicated on the ground (well it is, but then it isn't).

I'm sorry if it comes across that way. But anyway you slice it Ukraine has a deep Russian identity. For goodness sake Kiev is *in* Ukraine. If you let them into the EU, why not the other former Soviet bloc nations that want in? That makes Russia nervous because then they *will* be hemmed in by the EU. Better to turn Ukraine into a sort of Switzerland. Let's be honest, Russia would never allow Ukraine to leave, but they might be comfortable with something like I suggested, we just have to be prepared to enforce it.
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Orincoro
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Again, the experiment by which Ukraine exists as its own country has engendered levels of corruption that are, to use an unfortunate comparison, Africa-like in scale and depth.

The Ukrainians know this, and they don't believe in their own abilities to manage the conflicting interests that catapult their political system's scions the heights of corruption that allow their former president to spend 75 Million USD on his residence, while the average wage lingers at 500 USD a month.

For some perspective, that would be like Barack Obama spending 900 Million dollars on his personal residence while president of the US.

We've tried this Ukraine as a state thing. They don't believe in it, and neither does anybody else.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
We've tried this Ukraine as a state thing. They don't believe in it...
I would say that roughly a third of the country clearly does.
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Lyrhawn
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Yeah. I'm not sure if 'they don't believe in a Ukrainian" state is the right reaction.

I was under the impression a large reason why they want to grow closer to the EU is that the EU demands the rule of law and other reforms that for them make them less like a Russian kleptocracy and more like a liberal democracy. Clearly a large portion of the population does believe in Ukraine, they just see the need for significant reform.

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BlackBlade
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Ron Paul with some solid and not so solid points about the Ukrainian situation.

Sanctions are an act of war, but so is an invasion of somebody else's sovereign territory.

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