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 Shikanosuke » Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:22 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Just came across a news story that is perhaps relevant to the topic of discussion, on the Washington Post:

As the situation in Iraq begins to looks more and more like a complete state meltdown, Russia has stepped in with a familiar refrain: "We told you so."

"We are greatly alarmed by what is happening in Iraq. We warned long ago that the affair that the Americans and the Britons stirred up there wouldn't end well," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday, according to Voice of Russia. He also described the Iraq war as a "total failure" and said Russia was sorry that its forecasts had come true.

It's hard to deny that Russia was vocal in saying that the Iraq war was a bad idea. In March 2003, just as the invasion began, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly criticized it. It was the "most serious crisis the world has faced since the Cold War," he told the Duma, adding that the fighting would be "fierce" and "drawn out."

At that point, it was a somewhat surprising move (remember, we were then less than three years into the Putin era, now in its 15th year). These days, we're pretty used to Russian criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, and the finger wagging that comes afterward: Russia loves to remind the United States that it warned against its international follies.

...

There's an obvious logic here. Russia's repeated use of "We told you so" also allows it to say: "You didn't listen to us then, so you should listen to us now." Putin has brought up his warnings against intervention in Libya and Iraq as a way to defend his positions on Syria.

Even so, it's tempting to look at Russia's positions on various conflicts and wonder whether there was something to it. With the events of the past few days, a lot of people probably feel that Putin may well have been right about Iraq (as John Nagl, an Iraq war veteran writes for The Post today, "This is not the end state my friends fought for and died for"). Meanwhile, the chaotic state of Libya today certainly makes you question the path taken there, and as the Syrian war drags on past its third anniversary with no end in sight, perhaps Russia's calls for more dialogue with Bashar al-Assad weren't so terrible after all.


To be honest, even long before my conversion, it was my opposition to all these wars we keep fighting, as well as a shared sympathy for their victims, that wound up pushing me further and further into the pro-Russia camp.


It's certainly something to consider when suggesting we go to war. And Russia would know about being stuck in a prolonged conflict. But to be fair Russia wasn't alone in its reluctance to enter Iraq, Americans themselves were.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby DreamGoddessLindsey » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:28 am

I knew and know the Iraq thing would be and is a failure. It was a stupid vendetta b y Bush to finish his daddy's work. He lied and cheated to get permission to attack Iraq, and I'm still shocked Bush hasn't been tried for war crimes. Personally, I think Obama should have just pulled all troops out of the middle east on his first day in office. It's what I would have done.

Thing is, American warmongering doesn't really have any relevance as to Putin's maneuvering and attempts to expand.

Putin's horrendous civil rights record alone should keep any freedom-loving individual from supporting his policies.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:13 am

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:I'm still shocked Bush hasn't been tried for war crimes.


Time was when I would have agreed with you here, but an article by Damon Linker in The Week brought me around more or less to Shikanosuke's view of the matter. International law is a joke, which has in the past essentially amounted to rule by the strongest. Since Nuremberg very few Europeans have been called to account by international law, though many African and Asian strongmen have been. However justified it may be, there is simply no precedent for hauling Bush or Blair before the Hague, and the result would likely be that they would get off on technicalities owing to the geopolitical interests at play in international politics.

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:Thing is, American warmongering doesn't really have any relevance as to Putin's maneuvering and attempts to expand.


Oh, but it does. See also here.

Russia doesn't have an active expansion policy, but it is highly concerned about the expansion of NATO straight up to its western border, which went directly against Baker's promises to the then-Soviet leadership. And considering that the coup in the Ukraine was accomplished with the support of Americans like Victoria 'F**k the EU' Nuland (wife of Robert Kagan, a member of PNAC and one of the biggest neocon architects of the Iraq War) and John 'Bomb Bomb Iran' McCain (who I'm sure needs no introduction, nor for his role in promoting the Iraq War), Russia had and has every right to be suspicious of America's intentions there, and to cast aspersions on the legitimacy of the new government.

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:Putin's horrendous civil rights record alone should keep any freedom-loving individual from supporting his policies.


Well, this wouldn't be the first time I've had aspersions cast upon my, er, 'love of freedom' - though usually that was for insisting that homeless people shouldn't starve to death or something.

If you're attacking countries based on their human rights records regarding LGBTs, though, there are better places to start than Russia. Russia is not among the 81 countries where homosexuality is illegal, let alone one of the eight countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.

I'm not a big fan of Putin's economic policies (with the exceptions of industrial nationalisation and the modernisation policy introduced under Medvedev), but in general, Putin's impact on the country has been profoundly positive. The government is no longer irreparably broken as it was under Yeltsin, but merely subject to the much less-harmful 'garden variety' corruption. Industry has grown. Poverty, suicide rates and alcoholism have been cut drastically. The birthrate has grown.

As anti-Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (may God make his memory to be eternal) put it:

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote:Putin has inherited plundered and downtrodden country with demoralized and grown poor majority of the population. And he took on its possible — to be noted, gradual, slow — recovering. These efforts were not right at the moment noticed, not speaking about being appreciated. And can you point on examples in history when measures for recovering strength of governmental management would be benevolently met from beyond the country?
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby DreamGoddessLindsey » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:18 am

You can't blame a current leader for actions of past leaders. It's preposterous. You also can't say "Russia has a right to expand its borders because the United States did something wrong". World does not work like that, sorry.

Russia isn't just bad for the LGBT community, but for anyone who values free and open thought and discussion. He's been curtailing rights to expression, speech, and media. What he's done to the gays, though, is pretty damning to him as a human being, much worse since he's a powerful leader.

You think I don't know there are other countries where it's worse? Of course I know that, but I wouldn't get very much support for deposing all governments that violate basic human rights and dignities. Hell, that war couldn't even be won. Evil vastly outnumbers good.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:26 am

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:You can't blame a current leader for actions of past leaders. It's preposterous. You also can't say "Russia has a right to expand its borders because the United States did something wrong". World does not work like that, sorry.


Humans do it all the time. That aside, we do expect treaties and agreements to be stuck to by incoming governments unless specifically negotiated out of, a new President would have to be careful before cancelling all that or ordering troops human the day they got into office.

In Russia's case, an agreement was made and then, under several leaders, Nato and EU basically ignored it. Expanding eastwards was pretty much the default setting of the relevant foreign ministries for some time and current leaders can certainly be blamed for interfering to overthrow a democratically elected government in Ukraine.

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:What he's done to the gays, though, is pretty damning to him as a human being, much worse since he's a powerful leader.


See, this is where I think pro-gay rights are making a big mistake. Putin as the evil gay hater who exists in a vacuum and if he left, Russia would spring forward into gay rights and happiness. Putin makes an awesome villain and all but shoving blame on him means that the issues aren't going to be tackled.

As far as I can tell, Russia doesn't like the idea of homosexuality. Putin's laws on the subject are popular and I wouldn't suggest it is wrong to see the law as simply seeking popularity, it may well be something Putin himself believes in. Putin was raised in Russia, is not exactly young, I would be rather surprised if he secretly has the LGBT cause in her heart. He probably genuinely believes it to be a sign of Western degeneracy. As do plenty of Russians

If the cause is to be advanced, we need to deal with the wider issue. Putin is a symptom, not the cause.

====

On the other things mentioned:

I'm not surprised Bush hasn't been prosecuted, or Blair or whoever else. It would be good for international law for a hard target to be taken on but it won't happen. What does confuse me is that of the things Bush did, starting a war doesn't seem to be the thing international law should go for, at least to me, yet it is the one people call for. Guantanmo bay, alleged torture, so and so on, that seems the causes to go on. Not starting a war.

I find it intresting the (from an outside perspective) Russian and Anglo-American viewpoints on intervention. Russia doesn't seem to have the "something must be done" narrative unless in eastern Europe. Russia keeps his tongue quiet and intervenes very carefully, it can quite easily sit something out. Go west however and, not always (these things aren't consistent), in some things like Eastern Europe and some area's of the Middle East, "something must be done" comes up. Not just from neo-Cons. Others may argue against such an idea and a government may choose to not go for it but they will get mud attached to them for months and Hague/Obama have been getting slated for not having a strong response ready within 24 hours of Iraq crises. There isn't a thought of giving them time and space to watch events play out, there isn't a wide spread narrative (oddly) that would take us anywhere near the Russian stance. An anti-war stance but that doesn't quite feel the same thing.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:40 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:I find it intresting the (from an outside perspective) Russian and Anglo-American viewpoints on intervention. Russia doesn't seem to have the "something must be done" narrative unless in eastern Europe. Russia keeps his tongue quiet and intervenes very carefully, it can quite easily sit something out. Go west however and, not always (these things aren't consistent), in some things like Eastern Europe and some area's of the Middle East, "something must be done" comes up. Not just from neo-Cons. Others may argue against such an idea and a government may choose to not go for it but they will get mud attached to them for months and Hague/Obama have been getting slated for not having a strong response ready within 24 hours of Iraq crises. There isn't a thought of giving them time and space to watch events play out, there isn't a wide spread narrative (oddly) that would take us anywhere near the Russian stance. An anti-war stance but that doesn't quite feel the same thing.


That's because people like Blair (I won't defend Bush's motives because I haven't studied it in any detail) genuinely care about TRYING to help the people and waiting for a situation to play out doesn't help the hundreds of people dying in the chaos. Where, as far as I can tell, Putin is only in the world politics game for self preservation/advantage reasons.

In hindsight its become clear that military intervention in the way it was handled doesn't workout in the long term no matter how much it tugs the heartstrings to let people die in the short term.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:28 pm

I don't think the Russians are all
in the world politics game for self preservation/advantage reasons.
but as far as I can tell, they don't react to events in the same way the west do. Putin is put under pressure on Syria or Iraq or Libya by popular demand.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:37 pm

I did specify Putin not Russia as a whole.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:18 pm

I know but I was trying to make a wider discussion point away from Putin and Blair/Bush/Hague
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Calamitus » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:19 pm

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:Russia isn't just bad for the LGBT community, but for anyone who values free and open thought and discussion. He's been curtailing rights to expression, speech, and media. What he's done to the gays, though, is pretty damning to him as a human being, much worse since he's a powerful leader.

*sigh* It's just childish. Putin, Putin, Putin. I see Putin does everything - makes laws, policies, judgement, everything. There are no leaders without men behind them. Like any past or present official, Putin (Obama, insert anyone else) is just representative of small but rich and influential group of people. They are the ones who make desicions. If your archnemesis Putin or beloved Obama will not satisfy them, he will be kicked from the seat pretty quickly. There is also government. Judging by your post, it consists only of one Putin. Well, i will not continue.
What are those gays rights, can you tell me? I'm also want to learn what are those horrible things "he" did to them.
That's because people like Blair (I won't defend Bush's motives because I haven't studied it in any detail) genuinely care about TRYING to help the people

Politician who cares about people... About FOREIGN people... How can you call yourself "scholar" after that?
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