Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:26 am

Dong Zhou wrote:I don't want this to turn into a Putin vs West discussion but something I'm curious about.

A few here in England are starting to talk of Putin eyeing Greece as a sphere of influence if EU messes up. Now leaving aside that is probably paranoia, I'm wondering why Russia would see it as a sphere of influence. If I was war-gaming, Greece is great for poking at the EU and trying to weaken it and so on but if Putin's idea as some claim is the areas Russia has a cultural link to, has history with, does Russia have much of that in Greece? Am I missing something culturally?


Historically speaking, Greece, Bulgaria and the Balkans have been Russia's 'pet project', largely for religious reasons. Even when it was part of the officially anti-nationalist Holy Alliance as per Metternich's vision of the European concert, they still felt they had an interest and responsibility in keeping their 'Orthodox brothers' safe from Ottoman persecution. Nowadays (the Ottomans being long gone) they still see themselves as beholden particularly to Greece and Serbia, with whom they have remained particularly friendly throughout the 20th century and with whom they still see themselves - perhaps a bit romantically - as 'allies' against a secular-capitalist EU regime, rather than against an Islamic Ottoman Empire.

Russia loves playing the realpolitik card on the international stage, and with good reason. They're remarkably good at it. And they're also remarkably consistent - indeed, that's one of the reasons I admire them so much. They're so much better able than we Americans are, to tell when to keep their noses well out, and when it's in their better interests to become involved. But my own realist leanings aside, I think it would be a mistake to characterise the Russian project as completely realist, because history has shown it to be otherwise.
Some more blood, Chekov. The needle won't hurt, Chekov. Take off your shirt, Chekov. Roll over, Chekov. Breathe deeply, Chekov. Blood sample, Chekov! Marrow sample, Chekov! Skin sample, Chekov! If I live long enough... I'm going to run out of samples.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:03 am

I wasn't sure whether the Orthodox bond held as I thought they were different branches. Thanks WWD, that was very helpful
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:50 am

This is worrisome. Or at the very least, Princeton professor of Russian studies Stephen Cohen is worried - and when it's come to Russia, I've generally found that Stephen Cohen is very often right.

Russia Insider wrote:The key points of Cohen's extraordinary speech:

- The possibility of premeditated war with Russia is real; this was never a possibility during Soviet times.
- This problem did not begin in November 2013 or in 2008, this problem began in 1990's when the Clinton administration adopted a "winner-takes-all" policy towards post-Soviet Russia.
- Next to NATO expansion, the US adopted a form of a negotiation policy called "selective cooperation" - Russia gives, the US takes.
- There is not a single example of any major concession or reciprocal agreement that the US offered Russia in return for what it has received since the 90s.
- This policy has been pursued by every president and every US Congress, from President Clinton to President Obama.
- The US is entitled to a global sphere of influence, but Russia is not entitled to any sphere of influence at all, not even in Georgia or Ukraine.
- For 20 years Russia was excluded from the European security system. NATO expansion was a pivot of this security system and it was directed against Russia.
- Putin started as a pro-Western leader, he wanted partnership with the US, provided helping hand after 9/11 and saved many American lives in Afghanistan.
- In return he got more NATO expansion and unilateral abolition of the existing missile treaty on which all Russian security was based.
- Putin is not an autocrat, he's maybe very authoritarian as an ultimate decider, but he is answerable to other power groups.
- Putin is not anti-Western, or as Khodorkovsky said, he is more European than 99 percent of Russians. He has become less pro-Western and particularly less pro-American.
- Since November 2013, Putin has became not aggressive but reactive. For this he has been criticized in circles in Moscow as an appeaser (that is, soft, not tough enough).
- We (opposing academics) don't have effective political support in the administration, the Congress, political parties, think tanks or on university campuses. This is unprecedented situation in American politics. There's no discourse, no debate and this is failure of American democracy.
- There is ongoing extraordinary irrational and nonfactual demonisation of Putin. No Soviet leader was so personally vilified as Putin is now.
- The solution is federation to unite Ukraine without Crimea, which is not coming back, free trade with both the West and Russia and no NATO membership for Ukraine.
- This guarantees must be in writing, not oral premises like they gave to Gorbachev, and must be ratified by the UN.
- The Kiev regime is not a democratic one, but an ultra-nationalistic one. Poroshenko is a diminishing president.
- Unless the Kiev regime changes its approach to Russia or unless the West stops supporting Kiev unconditionally, we are drifting towards war with Russia.


In addition, my friend Paul Grenier has written up for Johnson's Russia List an incredibly valuable primer on the surprisingly pro-Western sources of Putin's guiding ideology, which is by no means 'neo-Soviet' or anything close. I've actually read Vladimir Solovyov's The Justification of the Good and a number of Berdyaev's works. Berdyaev is essentially an anarchist; and even though Solovyov's not a straightforward liberal, he's very German in his influences (the Kantian impression definitely shows) and thus is incredibly sympathetic to Western Europe where he touches on it. He's certainly no nationalist, obscurantist or apologist for autocracy - if Putin is any of those, it would have been strange indeed for him to have assigned his governors thinkers as humane as Berdyaev or Solovyov as required reading.
Some more blood, Chekov. The needle won't hurt, Chekov. Take off your shirt, Chekov. Roll over, Chekov. Breathe deeply, Chekov. Blood sample, Chekov! Marrow sample, Chekov! Skin sample, Chekov! If I live long enough... I'm going to run out of samples.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:27 pm

I worry a little that Russia is going to take Fifa events badly. Not war or sanctions badly but that it will just make things a little more difficult in negotiations on anything, creates that extra feel of ill-will. Not helped by initial wild talk of 2018 world cup might be taken from them.

Russia very unlucky that it's world cup winning bid was linked with Qatar's. Anybody else got 2022 world cup, this doesn't happen.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Boydie » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:17 pm

Read Nato have created a 5,000-strong rapid reaction force set up in six new command posts in Eastern Europe supported by air and sea forces as well as special operations units, while being reinforced by 30,000 Nato troops within 48 hours. Quite the major development recently from Nato, but maybe this should of happened many months ago.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Boydie » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:09 pm

A very blunt Scottish opinion.

Putin has rag dolled obama from day one.

All his wee land grabs, then the annexation of the Crimea. Obama blustered and did nothing. Obama promised that Assad using chemical weapons would be a red line. When proven to have used chemical weapons, frankly Obama bricked it. In the ensuing head scratching session, Putin stepped in and offered to take away the syrian weapons. Russia gaining some approval worldwide while obama looks like the tool he is.

Obama is on his farewell tour now and to be honest is just trying to see out his time with as little grief as possible.
Just for a laugh ;) , and mainly because he is allied with Assad and Syria, (Russia sells arms to Syria and wants to protect its small naval base in the Country in order to maintain influence in the Region.) Putin is now attacking the US backed (thats armed and funded btw) rebels who are fighting against Assad. His planes will lob the odd bomb at IS to keep the pretence of the common fight against terrorism.

Putin would just as well have tea bagged Obama at the UN earlier this week and sent him on his way. A weak US President who has failed miserably to take on a Russian gangster.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Oct 04, 2015 3:21 pm

The things I get from your post

1) You think Putin has a disturbing obsession with Obama (the person).

2) Obama is used as a codename for "western foreign policy as a whole." Slightly unfortunate given we also have a US President called Obama :wink:

I'm curious as to what the goal is of Russian airstrikes. I have an idea of what Putin wants to happen (1, Assad to unite Syria, 2) Isis destroyed) but his work with Iran seems more likely to get that happening then airstrikes. Is he hoping that airstrikes will tip balance so Assad wins? I wonder if he might be risking dragging Russia into a long camapign.
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