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 Dong Zhou » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:14 pm

On Boydie's point about Putin as a strong leader

I will say Putin is very skilled at foreign policy whereas Cameron, prone to jumping into things and Hague, whose thinking seems to be stuck in past sometimes, is not at his level on that. Putin has played his strong hand brilliantly though he might have been better to have put off referendum so it's legitimacy wasn't so questioned. I don't think the west has been guilty of short-termism on this one, more having wrong mindset that was stuck in the past when dealing with Ukraine in years past. Also we should really learn to leave democratically elected leaders in power

Where I think Boydie is harsh is the bunch of clowns (facing different circumstances) or that a KGB agent (I would say this of an MI5 Agent as well) who has been long time ruler is in tune to the lives of the workers

Putin shows he is strong on foreign policy and he will likely use this to good, for him, effect while his actions in Syria shows he is a a giant in foreign affairs when he wants to be. Syria and Ukraine have meant he has won over the west and will aid him in other aspects of foreign policy, particularly in Eastern Europe and Middle East. Does that make him a strong leader or simply someone strong in that aspect who knows how to use his strong cards?

The West doesn't seem to grasp how important the concept of homeland is to the average Russian. He's brought a big chunk of the Rodina 'home' - a powerful legacy for any Russian ruler, they paid for it with a lot of blood between 1941 and 1945. There is a very large minority who will feel their country has been stolen out from under them.


No, we get it.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Antiochus » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:38 pm

Framing the current conflict over Crimea as a match between Putin and Obama is very far from the mark, not to mention very american...

Honestly, it's a very Russian problem, and a rather misleading one at that. In many ways, the current crisis is a remake of the 2008 South-Ossetian war between Russia and Georgia. Basically the same premise; an old satellite state tries to break away from the Russian grip by reinforcing its ties to a traditionally "western" institution (In 2008, it was NATO, now, its the EU). Russia decides to save as much as it can by using the national minorities within the old satellite state against it(In 2008, Abkhazian and Ossetian muslims, now, its the Crimean slavic populations).

In both cases, the United States role has been limited. Also, in both cases, the popular interpretation was that this was a demonstration of Russia's power. I would argue that its quite the opposite.

Russia's policy is not really the one of a soaring empire, but rather the spasm of a dying one. In order to maintain those regions within their spheres of influence, they had to sacrifice whole other parts of their former hegemony. Also, in both cases, national pride was used to hide the fact that this is not about Russia's future, but about pipelines, and Russia's oligarchs continued access on their revenues. Putin could not care less about the Crimean's future. What matters to him is that Gazprom has access to the Black Sea and the sweet sweet markets it maintains open. For that purpose, he needs to maintain's Russia's control over two key regions, the Northern coast of the Black Sea (Crimea) and the Caucasus (South Ossetia and Abkhazia).

Do you see a pattern here?
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:20 am

James wrote:As for Ukraine, if only Ukraine itself and the Western world would throw up their arms and step aside, Russia certainly could stabilize the region. That would probably involve annexing the Crimean Peninsula (this would have likely happened even without sending in armed troops) and installing a pro-Russia puppet government for the remainder of Ukraine. What’s to celebrate here, though?


The fact that Ukraine would be back where it belongs culturally and politically. Kiev is the civilisational centre of Russia. King Vladimir the Great was baptised in Crimea. Seriously, what stake does NATO or 'the Western world' have there?

James wrote:And even if someone is inclined to celebrate such a thing, they have no business condemning the West for international military involvement in the same breath.


Iraq is not the fifty-first state of America. Nor is Libya. Nor is Syria. We had no business in any of those places that warranted military intervention, particularly of the sort which costs hundreds of thousands of lives at a pop. There's simply no comparison, no moral equivalence to be drawn, unless you have zero regard for human lives or dignity. Russia didn't 'intervene' in Crimea the same way the US actually intervened in these countries. The Russian military (if the Russian military it was; so far all I've seen is unsubstantiated rumours in the press) didn't fire a single shot, didn't take a single life.

They've got the moral high ground here. They don't need to resort to sophistry for it.

And James, where exactly were you when NATO was egging on genocide against black people in Libya? Do you really think they'd bat an eyelid about doing the same sort of thing egging on fascists and Banderovtsy against Russophone Ukrainians in the south and east, if they thought for a moment that they could get away with it?

Antiochus wrote:Honestly, it's a very Russian problem, and a rather misleading one at that. In many ways, the current crisis is a remake of the 2008 South-Ossetian war between Russia and Georgia. Basically the same premise; an old satellite state tries to break away from the Russian grip by reinforcing its ties to a traditionally "western" institution (In 2008, it was NATO, now, its the EU). Russia decides to save as much as it can by using the national minorities within the old satellite state against it(In 2008, Abkhazian and Ossetian muslims, now, its the Crimean slavic populations).


Two things.

First, the Abkhaz are Sunni Muslim. The Ossetians are Christian. They may speak an Iranic language, but they are Eastern Orthodox, just like the Georgians and the Russians are.

Second, the Georgians started the war. Mikheil Saakashvili was the one who opened hostilities, when he ordered the shelling of a civilian target in Tskhinvali, killing 45 innocent Ossetians - Russian citizens.

Antiochus wrote:Russia's policy is not really the one of a soaring empire, but rather the spasm of a dying one. In order to maintain those regions within their spheres of influence, they had to sacrifice whole other parts of their former hegemony.


Ehhhhm... no.

If Russia could have been called an empire after the dismantling of the Soviet Union, it couldn't possibly have gotten any deader than it did under Yeltsin - three million starved to death, many millions more left destitute, jobless and scrounging for whatever scraps they could in the gangland the Western-backed Yeltsin had made. I'm not making Putin's Russia out to be any sort of paradise; it is still in really, really bad shape - just look at the statistics on abortion, divorce and alcoholism. But domestically it's doing way, way better than it had done at any point during the '90's. More working-class people now have jobs which actually pay the bills. The birth rate is rising. Orthodoxy is making a slow but sure comeback.

But whether out of jealousy or traditional hatred, the post-Christian pseudo-West can't stand to see anyone 'doing fine' or 'doing better' outside its own aegis and the institutions of the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and so on. Which is why they have to paint Russia as on its last legs, dying, but still this huge existential threat to Western or 'trans-Atlantic' security.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:38 am

WeiWenDi wrote:
The fact that Ukraine would be back where it belongs culturally and politically. Kiev is the civilisational centre of Russia. King Vladimir the Great was baptised in Crimea.


WWD, the rest of the world doesn't all think as you do that certain periods of history means that countries should be ruled by those borders and never change. Russia was one of many that once controlled Ukraine, they lost it and life moves on. We may understand (a little) why Russia views Ukraine as a special place in it's history but for the west generally Ukraine is no longer part of Russia until the people of Ukraine decide, in a free and fair referendum, otherwise. Unless of course, we can interfere in our own interests :wink:

In my view, Ukraine belongs to it's people. It's future should be decided by it's own people and where we deserve criticism is not for failing to aid Russia in restoring ancient borders but for backing protesters against an elected president. I realize how this will make me seem in your eyes but honestly, your going to be a lonely (not saying your the only, just a minority) voice in west on getting boundaries and sovereignty redrawn to certain time periods

Seriously, what stake does NATO or 'the Western world' have there?


Europe has no stake in Europe? Having been allies to eastern European countries, we have a stake in them through that means as well.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:54 am

Dong Zhou wrote:We may understand why Russia views Ukraine as a special place in it's history but for the west generally Ukraine is no longer part of Russia until the people of Ukraine decide, in a free and fair referendum, otherwise. Unless of course, we can interfere in our own interests :wink:


Obviously, 'we' can. And did. And are still doing so. And should stop. Especially since after Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, the West doesn't have a moral leg left to stand on when it comes to defending national sovereignty.

Dong Zhou wrote:your going to be a lonely (not saying your the only, just a minority) voice in the west on getting boundaries and sovereignty redrawn to certain time periods


Straw poll on status of Kosovo? Anyone?

Dong Zhou wrote:Europe has no stake in Europe? Having been allies to eastern European countries, we have a stake in them through that means as well.


Hey man, you want to keep rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, that's your business. But the EU's going down - bit by bit, and slowly, but the damage has already been done - the only question left is whether it breaks up, or becomes an unelected technocratic-financial dictatorship run out of Brussels. 'Europe' is a modern fiction meant to stand in for the old domains of the Western Roman Empire.

So tell me - what stake does the UK have in the Ukraine?
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:03 am

Straw poll on status of Kosovo? Anyone?


I thought Kosovo was a new country rather then one based on old maps?

The UK? We encouraged Ukraine to turn westwards so would be wrong in my view to walk away when things go wrong and we have an interest in the whole of Europe being a European nation, not just our own backyard. Unless we vote to go with an isolationist policy at which point we should at least tell Europe we are doing that rather then promptly do it when Russia takes Crimea.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Antiochus » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:42 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Two things.

First, the Abkhaz are Sunni Muslim. The Ossetians are Christian. They may speak an Iranic language, but they are Eastern Orthodox, just like the Georgians and the Russians are.

Second, the Georgians started the war. Mikheil Saakashvili was the one who opened hostilities, when he ordered the shelling of a civilian target in Tskhinvali, killing 45 innocent Ossetians - Russian citizens.


Sorry about the Ossetian thing, that is my mistake, I forgot that muslims are simply a minority within the Ossetians. My mistake.

For the second part, I don't understand how that changes anything. I did not say that there was no conflict between the minority and the Georgian majority, I said that Russia used the Ossetians against the Georgians at a time where the Georgians wanted to join NATO. I also said that this conflict followed the pipeline on the map.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzuarikau% ... i_pipeline



Ehhhhm... no.

If Russia could have been called an empire after the dismantling of the Soviet Union, it couldn't possibly have gotten any deader than it did under Yeltsin - three million starved to death, many millions more left destitute, jobless and scrounging for whatever scraps they could in the gangland the Western-backed Yeltsin had made. I'm not making Putin's Russia out to be any sort of paradise; it is still in really, really bad shape - just look at the statistics on abortion, divorce and alcoholism. But domestically it's doing way, way better than it had done at any point during the '90's. More working-class people now have jobs which actually pay the bills. The birth rate is rising. Orthodoxy is making a slow but sure comeback.


So many things I don't understand with your answer here. I never said that Russia was in a worst state than it has been during Yeltsin Presidency. I know it is doing much better than it used to, but that does not change the fact that Russia faces successive challenges that consists of old allies and satellite states trying to break away. It is a bad sign, not to mention that their policy toward those states is not going to reassure its other neighbors.

But whether out of jealousy or traditional hatred, the post-Christian pseudo-West can't stand to see anyone 'doing fine' or 'doing better' outside its own aegis and the institutions of the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and so on. Which is why they have to paint Russia as on its last legs, dying, but still this huge existential threat to Western or 'trans-Atlantic' security.
[/quote]

Again, putting a lot of things into my mouth that were not there to begin with. I never said they were doing worse than the 90's. My perception of Russia is not about Western dominance, I am all too aware that the world center of gravity when it comes to economic power and political clout is shifting east (past Russia) and South. From a North-American perspective, the future seems to be Trans-Pacific rather than Trans-Atlantic, though one should not underestimate the economic weight of Europe and a potential rise of certain African Nations.

But Russia still has problems it has yet to solve and it still treats politics as a zero-sum game. Unlike China, it plays all its cards as heavy-handedly as it can (BTW, expect a crisis between China and Russia over ex-soviet territory in Central Asia over energy in the near future).

Russia is one of the rare nation on which the term "Empire" can be employed (though the term applies well to China or even the US in other ways). Moscow rules over dozens of minorities that were annexed through what was essentially a colonial expansion during the 17th, 18th and 19th century. We tend to just think of the Chechens, but its actually more than just them.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:37 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:I thought Kosovo was a new country rather then one based on old maps?


Sooo... territories can break away without having any kind of traditional claim on the land or on the culture, and that's all good. But if the territory does have a traditional claim, it can't possibly be legitimate and must be stopped? Is this the claim you're trying to make?

But it must have been my mistake in any case, since I was apparently under the mistaken impression that this conversation was about 'getting boundaries and sovereignty redrawn to certain time periods'? Didn't and don't the Albanian Islamist-nationalists in the region want Kosovo's borders to return to what they were under the Ottomans?

Dong Zhou wrote:We encouraged Ukraine to turn westwards so would be wrong in my view to walk away when things go wrong and we have an interest in the whole of Europe being a European nation, not just our own backyard. Unless we vote to go with an isolationist policy at which point we should at least tell Europe we are doing that rather then promptly do it when Russia takes Crimea.


So, basically, you want a unified, expansionist continental empire to submerge the Ukraine beneath a presumably more enlightened, Aryan Western European rule? Tell me, under this Fourth Reich, is it a rematch with Russia of the Battle of Poltava you're after, the Battle of Balaclava or the Battle of Kursk?

Antiochus wrote:So many things I don't understand with your answer here. I never said that Russia was in a worst state than it has been during Yeltsin Presidency. I know it is doing much better than it used to, but that does not change the fact that Russia faces successive challenges that consists of old allies and satellite states trying to break away. It is a bad sign, not to mention that their policy toward those states is not going to reassure its other neighbors.


I thought I was clear.

Yeltsin's domestic policy was to let the oligarchs gang-rape the Russian economy no matter how many people it ruined. His foreign policy was essentially to roll over and play dead for the benefit of the West, by instituting the toothless, missionless, pointless CIS. Putin was left to pick up the pieces, instituting the almost just as pointless EAU and attempting to rebuild its old trade ties and alliances in the region in order to be economically more independent and self-sustaining.

What exactly would you have Putin do at this point which would be any different than what Yeltsin did? It seems to me that nothing short of him rolling over and playing dead on this Ukraine issue would satisfy people like James or Dong or you.

Antiochus wrote:But Russia still has problems it has yet to solve and it still treats politics as a zero-sum game.


They do have problems, I don't deny that.

But I think it is clearly demonstrable that they don't treat politics as a zero-sum game, particularly not with the US.

Boston should have proven that. The Russian security services warned the FBI about a real terror threat to the United States. Moreover, the entire situation in Syria should have proven that. Russia didn't mind giving the US some face when it came to preserving the Assad regime intact without bloodshed. The fact that they use their Security Council position to put the brakes on the post-Christian pseudo-West's rampantly militaristic, racist and imperialistic policies doesn't mean they aren't amenable to negotiation. If anything, the zero-sum strategy seems to be coming more from the US and the EU on this matter.

Antiochus wrote:Unlike China, it plays all its cards as heavy-handedly as it can (BTW, expect a crisis between China and Russia over ex-soviet territory in Central Asia over energy in the near future).


We'll see. I'm not holding my breath. I for one can't see Russia easily whizzing away the political capital China's support in the UN or elsewhere affords it.

Antiochus wrote:Russia is one of the rare nation on which the term "Empire" can be employed (though the term applies well to China or even the US in other ways). Moscow rules over dozens of minorities that were annexed through what was essentially a colonial expansion during the 17th, 18th and 19th century.


Wait, aren't you Quebecois? And does the name of the Iroquois ring any bells? Algonquians? Inuit? Haida? Salish? Sioux? Wakash? Tsimshian?

Canada may have been more gradualist, more humane and less blatantly genocidal about its colonial expansion than the US was. And yes, I'm generally a fan of Canada and its policies of peace, order and good government. But don't pretend to me that your history isn't in any way that of an 'empire'.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:17 pm

It appears I'm not entirely alone on this issue.

Eamonn McCann wrote:On February 9th, 1990, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, US secretary of state James Baker and German chancellor Helmut Kohl agreed that the Red Army would withdraw from Germany, in return for which Nato troops would not move eastward – “even by an inch”, pledged Baker.

Shortly afterwards, the Soviet Union began to implode and Nato forces swept across eastern Germany.

By 1995, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were members of Nato. In 2004, seven former Soviet Republics joined. And then came Romania, Croatia and Albania in 2008.

It has virtually been ignored in the Western media that the EU offer of economic assistance to Ukraine last December included a condition that Kiev align its forces with Nato – a halfway-house staging post on the road to full Nato membership. It was this provision that deeply alarmed the Putin regime, which in turn sparked angry demonstrations in Kiev against the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovich and its US-assisted replacement by a mixum-gatherum of groups, including anti-Semitic neo-fascists.

What emerges from this narrative is that neither Washington nor Moscow has had genuine concern for the interests of any section of the Ukrainian people but have been engaged in an exercise of self-interested Great Power politics.

Putin is right that the main motivation of the US and Nato has been to encircle and enfeeble his country. It might be a close run thing, but in this instance Russia has more right on its side than the West – which is the same thing as saying, more simply, that Putin and Russia are right.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:38 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Sooo... territories can break away without having any kind of traditional claim on the land or on the culture, and that's all good. But if the territory does have a traditional claim, it can't possibly be legitimate and must be stopped? Is this the claim you're trying to make?

But it must have been my mistake in any case, since I was apparently under the mistaken impression that this conversation was about 'getting boundaries and sovereignty redrawn to certain time periods'? Didn't and don't the Albanian Islamist-nationalists in the region want Kosovo's borders to return to what they were under the Ottomans?


So I ask a simple question due to something you said and I get that? I am not making a claim, I am asking a question. I'm kind of guessing you misunderstood the question, however I think last line did answer the question thankfully.

WeiWenDi wrote:So, basically, you want a unified, expansionist continental empire to submerge the Ukraine beneath a presumably more enlightened, Aryan Western European rule? Tell me, under this Fourth Reich, is it a rematch with Russia of the Battle of Poltava you're after, the Battle of Balaclava or the Battle of Kursk?


Fourth Reich? Aryan Rule? That may come out worse then you intended.

Honestly not sure how saying "if we are going to change to an isolationist policy, we should do it in a proper way. If we are going to do be involved in Europe, take rough with the smooth and don't walk away when we gets tough"= proposing that.
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