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 04, 2014 5:20 pm

I just don't see it as a real issue for the US, they lose Russian oil and I doubt the world is coming to an end for them. Obama's eyes are mot going to be on Middle East and Asia, not Europe.

Europe sure, a lot of our oil is on the line and that may be partly why the EU is being a bit slow and hesitant, why Russia can gamble we aren't going to whack them with sanctions that might damage their economy. For the EU, this is all about "if Russia does something, will you guys stand behind us" when trying to recruit eastern Europe into the EU.

I don't see Russia going into the Middle East. Not with troops at any rate and I'm not sure having control of the Crimea is going to be a huge help (bar boost in any prestige) in Russia's negations with Middle Eastern countries.

Jordan wrote:On the other hand, there is little information out there in that respect to the actions of Russia, its more or less, if there is a Russian interest, Russia is there. No threats, just action.

While not agreeing with the Russian position, I do take notice that "threats" don't work, it is merely a time-biding non-action done in a attempt to give a "tough" but useless opinion. The fact is, is that actions speaks much louder than words, and Putin speaks a LOT louder than the current American Govt by not speaking at all.


Russia is facing one small (in terms of power) and divided country, Putin just needed to make sure the rest don't suddenly pile on him and do some god PR spinning. Obama would need to rally popular support in the US for action and draw up a massive alliance for any effective reaction to what Russia does. Unless the EU produces arms to go into the Crimea, Obama can't do anything and unless EU, China and others agree to a sanctions blockade on Russia, not much they can do to harm them without arms.

Putin has easy cards to play, he can afford to go hard and quick. Obama has to talk rather becuase that is one of the few cards he can play easily. Anything else requires a lot of groundwork
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:56 pm

Controlling over pipelines is definitely a major factor, but there's no way Putin would invade the Middle East. Putin can claim no legitimacy in such an attack, whereas he can make claims about Crimea being Russian territory all along. The Crimea thing only worked because there are Russians there (easy target, no complaints from the "conquered territory") and Putin can make up some story about protecting the rights of his fellow Russians (legitimacy both at home and on the international stage).

Also, Russia already has a huge problem on its hands regarding nationalism and the influx of migrant workers from the ex-Soviet nations. They don't really need another territory whose people have different values from their own, and which could be a source of more migrant workers to Russian cities and causing more problems. With Middle Eastern countries, Russia can simply control them through diplomacy and other forms of influence (arms sales, aid, favourable trade conditions, etc.), like how it can control the oil and gas in Kazakhstan without annexing it. That's why I think the "invasion" of Crimea is about strategic positioning and gaining leverage, and not about starting wars.

I agree that a UN-supervised referendum/post-referendum monitoring of racial issues would be the ideal solution, but I have a hard time seeing Russia's consent. By using military action they have effectively shut out a diplomatic solution to the situation. The UN would have to engineer some kind of face-saving situation by which Putin can gracefully pull troops out of the region.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby sonic.penguin » Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:21 am

That's why I think the "invasion" of Crimea is about strategic positioning and gaining leverage, and not about starting wars.


I would agree. Granted, the definition of war would be "a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.". I highly doubt that Russia merely walked in wearing their bathing suit and I would go to say that it would be ignorant to think there has been zero killing, just merely things that are kept silent or unreported.

Strategically, the region provides a plethora of options to Russia, whichever route they choose to make in history, however, the U.S. and the rest of the world will likely be on the receiving end of such a deal as moving into the region undeterred puts all the chips in Putin's pile.

Anything else requires a lot of groundwork

And not to mention money that the U.S. doesn't have. I personally feel that it would be better to keep opinions on world affairs tight-lipped rather than spouting off threats and going back on your word, it weakens influence globally. This is a route the Israel is taking currently in terms of their national security, they are not commenting whether they have or have not done things to protect their sovereignty, but you can see the effects of their position.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:42 am

I personally feel that it would be better to keep opinions on world affairs tight-lipped rather than spouting off threats and going back on your word, it weakens influence globally.


Possibly but then Obama is accused of ignoring the world's problems and lacking leadership, US also loses influence that way by being the guys that never spoke up.

This is a route the Israel is taking currently in terms of their national security, they are not commenting whether they have or have not done things to protect their sovereignty, but you can see the effects of their position.


Isolated, unpopular, fears they will be the ones to start WW3? When they strike, it is effective surgical strikes but the Palestine issue is still unresolved and even their old allies how annoyed.

Besides I'm not sure a secret missile or strike by other means will turn Russia back from Crimea.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Boydie » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:10 pm

I'm now reading on Ukraine media that their Interim Defence Minister, Abakov, is pointing the finger at Russia for initiating the massacre on Institutska on 20 Feb. He claims a "3rd force" deliberately provoked the bloodshed and started simultaneous riots in Eastern cities deliberately to destabilise the country.

They're all effing barking mad and have no idea how to differentiate fact from fiction.

Why on Earth are we going anywhere near this?!

Foreign Policy wise the UK seems to have lost the plot completely. First, the total farce that Libya has become, then wishing to arm Al Qaeda in Syria and now this total debacle. William Hague and his Civil Service advisor's need to be confined to the modern equivalent of a Gulag where they can do no more harm.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:44 pm

Boydie wrote:Why on Earth are we going anywhere near this?!


I'm not sure we would be widely popular across Europe if we turned up to the meetings, scratched ourselves and went "meh, we have no view. Can't be bothered. Can I go home now?" Unless we go for a very isolationist stance, resign from a lot of things we are a part of, we are expected to contribute to a European issue. Let alone expectations at home.

Also would be questionable to push for expansion of EU as the British have done and then take no part in trying to solve the issues that come about.

Boydie wrote:Foreign Policy wise the UK seems to have lost the plot completely. First, the total farce that Libya has become, then wishing to arm Al Qaeda in Syria and now this total debacle. William Hague and his Civil Service advisor's need to be confined to the modern equivalent of a Gulag where they can do no more harm.


While I'm critical of Hague for not using his intellect for much other then going along with current orthodoxy, how is Ukraine his fault?
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Jordan » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:23 pm

Just to clarify, I didn't post the blurb that Dong Zhou quoted. That was sonic.penguin.

I've heard repeatedly that this is an issue of economic and political importance instead of one about nationalism and nation-states. I disagree with this concept, albeit with a caveat. I recognize that there may be some economic and political gains at stake. However, I think that both the pretext of Russia's actions and the actions themselves would be impossible without the presence of an actual Russian majority in the region of Crimea itself. Nationalism is a much stronger force in Europe than people are giving it credit for. It has caused numerous devolutionary movements throughout Europe. As has been seen in this particular case, it has also resulted in irredentism in certain regions of former Soviet republics. It is impossible to understand this issue by simply chalking it up as one in which Putin wants a chunk of land and a pot of gold. The origin of this conflict really dates back to Khrushchev's decision to give Crimea as a gift to Ukraine. When Ukraine separated from the Soviet Union, this became a problem. The current crisis, I believe, is a manifestation of this problem. Russia has long-standing ties to Crimea and, prior to this conflict, had negotiated with Ukraine on numerous deals regarding the region due to the awkwardness of the area being retained by Ukraine. Russia kept its naval forces in the area, for example, before the invasion. There are definitely strategic advantages for Russia seizing Crimea, but it's not the end of the world if they possess that territory. It controlled the area from Catherine the Great's time to Khrushchev's time after all. Most of the population there, albeit with a substantial minority, identifies as Russian.

This is a route the Israel is taking currently in terms of their national security, they are not commenting whether they have or have not done things to protect their sovereignty, but you can see the effects of their position.


Israel is an international pariah and hardly in an enviable position within the framework of global politics.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Boydie » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:35 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
Boydie wrote:Why on Earth are we going anywhere near this?!


I'm not sure we would be widely popular across Europe if we turned up to the meetings, scratched ourselves and went "meh, we have no view. Can't be bothered. Can I go home now?" Unless we go for a very isolationist stance, resign from a lot of things we are a part of, we are expected to contribute to a European issue. Let alone expectations at home.

Also would be questionable to push for expansion of EU as the British have done and then take no part in trying to solve the issues that come about.


Ukraine isn't in NATO or the EU. The Ukraine has just suffered a revolutionary change of government, the new crowd are... new and it's not easy to see whether they're going to be as bad or worse than the previous shower of thieves. Russia considers Ukraine part of its "near abroad" and certainly considers the Crimea to have special status; moreover, Russian doctrine and national policy is that the Russian Armed Forces have an explicit right - and obligation - to defend Russians outside Russia from prejudice and harm.

We are not in a position to do a damn thing about this, other than posture and let off steam, at which the Russians, quite rightly, will giggle. None of our national interests are in any way affected by this and apart from the imbecile guarantee of Ukrainian territorial integrity which we signed a few years ago, we have no obligations in that part of the world.

Dong Zhou wrote:While I'm critical of Hague for not using his intellect for much other then going along with current orthodoxy, how is Ukraine his fault?


I could have worded my last post better. I do not blame Hague for what's happening in Ukraine.( You actually thought I did?!) I just dread the moment he says that her Majesty's finest armoured division has been sent to the Crimea. :wink:
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:25 pm

Sorry Jordan, don't know how that happened

Boydie wrote:Ukraine isn't in NATO or the EU.


True but we have been showing a bit of ankle, with some careless rhetoric, to Ukraine in recent years so nothing being said would be seen as walking away. Then add all the eastern countries in or talking about joining who may be less then pleased at everyone else shirking/being powder-puff. Also I think EU countries feel some sort of responsibility/connection for things in their own back yard and that they feel what happens in Ukraine will hit rest of Europe.

We are not in a position to do a damn thing about this, other than posture and let off steam, at which the Russians, quite rightly, will giggle.


We may be able to sanction, a big may since one or two countries may be rather keen not to lose Russian oil, or able to broker something. Our options are very limited and the bluster will indeed be giggled off though I believe they took an economic hit today which might play into diplomats hands.

None of our national interests are in any way affected by this and apart from the imbecile guarantee of Ukrainian territorial integrity which we signed a few years ago, we have no obligations in that part of the world.


We have been pushing for expansion of EU and EU trade, including Ukraine, so are we not obligated to be involved when things go wrong?

No idea how much Russian oil we get and how Russian oil access for rest of Europe hits our prices. However it is a big issue for some of Europe and as part of the EU, as part of an interconnected world, it then becomes an issue for us. If we don't care that it is an issue then we should do the honourable thing and resign from a lot of institutions including the EU.

Thought the Budapest thingy was a few decades old

Boydie wrote:I could have worded my last post better. I do not blame Hague for what's happening in Ukraine.( You actually thought I did?!)


I have seen crazier :wink:

I thought you were going to blame him for fanning issue in the western Ukraine or careless language making Russia uneasy, something like that and that it was careless wording. By time I thought it was that, couldn't get online to alter sentence
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine A Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Boydie » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:46 pm

(I find it easier answering this way DZ, it's a pain trying to quote everything you have asked. :lol: )

Good luck to the Ukes, they live in a very tough neighbourhood and have had a very hard time recently; however, if you live next door to the Bear, it's generally considered a sensible policy not to poke the Bear and pulling what was essentially a mob-run coup and chasing the democratically-elected President out of office will tend to annoy the Bear, especially when the Bear has already spent considerable time and political goodwill crafting a compromise deal which would have seen an orderly transition from the Yanukovych shower of bandits to the incoming shower of bandits.

So honestly who in their right mind would support or even recognise the Ukraine government at this moment? The UK response should really be along the lines of the Ukraine government must get its act together and additionally for them not even think this is anything like the Orange Revolution.

For the UK to mediate in this would bring UK much international kudos and we are probably best placed to do so. Germany would be hesitant as the gas is really important... And us too, if Putin turns off the taps to mainland Europe, what do you think will happen to our gas bills? Russia is the largest oil producer in the world, producing an average of 10.2 million barrels per day. Also they are the largest exporter of natural gas too. We do not want this conflict heating up even further, it could bankrupt a lot of businesses and has the potential to kill thousands across Europe during the winter without a single shot been fired.

I simply think the E.U hasn't the stomach to sanction the Russia.(I have been wrong many times. :lol: ) The Yanks have been trying to sanction the Russkies for years but have never had enough support.
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