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 bodidley » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:16 pm

I haven't heard any source speak of it either. That's my own long-term analysis, and I'm saying it's a possibility not a given. Think of it this way. There are only 70,000 infantry troops in the entire U.S. military. In a conflict with Russia, most of them could be dead within a few months. These same soldiers have been fighting some of the most evil people in the world and frankly few people back home care. I know people who've spent six of the last twelve years deployed. Do you really think soldiers are going to put up with being sent into the slaughter over EU expansion? No, of course not. The risk of a mutiny is very real. I'm not saying the military would overthrow the government, but I am saying the government would lose the loyalty of the military, which at present is unwavering, if grudging.

If you look at Central and South American history, or even as far back as the Roman Empire, I would say having a professional military that does not trust its civilian leadership is the most lethally dangerous threat to a democratic government possible. Not to mention that such a war would severely polarize the public. You would be looking at a likely return of the draft, and people might be willing to fight their own government rather than fight Russia.

Just look at Ukraine, five years ago a civil war in Ukraine would have been unthinkable, now its happening. You never know what the political climate is going to be like in 20 years.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:51 am

I can see, somewhat, WWD's fears of a civil war. A country becoming more and more divided and failing to understand each other, then it just takes one event and civil war.

Bodidley's fear, I would be very surprised. Partly because his scenario seems to rely on massive massive incompetence from team-America in a war with Russia on two separate strands. If US gets into a long term bogged down war with Russia then that could be more damaging to US unity and that would be quite possible. However for the military to act against the government... given how big things like the constitution and democracy are to America, how imbeded it is in to everybody, I think it would either decades or a series of major catastrophes in short space of time for the army to turn.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby James » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:17 pm

bodidley wrote:I haven't heard any source speak of it either. That's my own long-term analysis, and I'm saying it's a possibility not a given. Think of it this way. There are only 70,000 infantry troops in the entire U.S. military. In a conflict with Russia, most of them could be dead within a few months. These same soldiers have been fighting some of the most evil people in the world and frankly few people back home care. I know people who've spent six of the last twelve years deployed. Do you really think soldiers are going to put up with being sent into the slaughter over EU expansion? No, of course not. The risk of a mutiny is very real. I'm not saying the military would overthrow the government, but I am saying the government would lose the loyalty of the military, which at present is unwavering, if grudging.

I expect none of this could even be remotely accurate. If the military were deployed to Ukraine to fight Russia they would do their duty, albeit with likely far more resistance at home than was the case (should have been the case) in Iraq. The military would not mutiny. (And there would be no civil war in the US). Nor would the United States military suffer any sort of casualties such as this.* A great deal has changed since World War II and the United States' spending on war toys has been and continues to be truly staggering relative to the rest of the world.

* Unless in wild scenarios such as nuclear war.

Potentially massive international consequences would trigger, lives would be lost, Ukraine would suffer far greater damages (and likely pay the greatest price for the war), and it could likely do great damage to the United States economy. Iran and Afghanistan have already done great damage to the United States economy. It could even plan the seeds for World War III. But it would be a different scenario from what you portray.

bodidley wrote:If you look at Central and South American history, or even as far back as the Roman Empire, I would say having a professional military that does not trust its civilian leadership is the most lethally dangerous threat to a democratic government possible. Not to mention that such a war would severely polarize the public. You would be looking at a likely return of the draft, and people might be willing to fight their own government rather than fight Russia.

The involved governments and military structures are radically different.

bodidley wrote:Just look at Ukraine, five years ago a civil war in Ukraine would have been unthinkable, now its happening. You never know what the political climate is going to be like in 20 years.

It certainly doesn't help that Russia and the West stuck their hands into Ukraine and started pulling it around like some kind of sock puppet. And it certainly doesn't help that now Russia is dedicated to causing unrest there for the sake of geopolitical interests (which is to say nothing for continued interests from other countries, the West and European neighbors alike). Even if Russia were to pull out and Ukraine left to its own devices, extremist elements in the country would now have a better foothold to create trouble, and idealogical divides, already great, would burn all the brighter.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:13 pm

bodidley wrote:These same soldiers have been fighting some of the most evil people in the world and frankly few people back home care.


Really? The US infantry have been fighting the Wall Street bankers? That might explain a few things, though, actually...

James wrote:It certainly doesn't help that Russia and the West stuck their hands into Ukraine and started pulling it around like some kind of sock puppet.


The West did it first with the Euromaidan protests against Yanukovych and the eventual coup. The blood of the innocent protesters in Odessa who were burned alive with at least the tacit approval of the new Ukrainian government, along with the blood of over 2000 civilians in the East of Ukraine where the Ukrainian army has been engaging in indiscriminate shelling and shooting, is on the West's hands. Not to mention that downed plane which no one in the West seems to care about anymore, because apparently its shelf-life as a stick to beat Russia with has expired - or they're worried that the findings will show Ukrainian armed forces' involvement or complicity in the murder of nearly 300 people.

James wrote:And it certainly doesn't help that now Russia is dedicated to causing unrest there for the sake of geopolitical interests (which is to say nothing for continued interests from other countries, the West and European neighbors alike).


That's absurd. Your cartoonish view of Russia as moustache-twirling evil overlords would be laughable were the situation not so serious.

How would it be in Russia's best interests to have an unstable Ukraine? The only way that would be an even close second-best alternative, from the sheer self-interested realist perspective you imagine they hold, would be if they feared it would become a beachhead for a stronger, more hostile nuclear-armed power - like the US or the EU. Which would mean they are not dedicated to causing unrest there; they are dedicated to stopping the advance of a power which has shown itself hostile to Russia's security, time and time again, with a long trail of broken promises and anti-Russian propaganda.

James wrote:Even if Russia were to pull out and Ukraine left to its own devices, extremist elements in the country would now have a better foothold to create trouble, and idealogical divides, already great, would burn all the brighter.


Funny how, when I say the exact same thing, I'm supposedly 'exaggerating'.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby James » Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:07 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Really? The US infantry have been fighting the Wall Street bankers? That might explain a few things, though, actually...

:lol:

WeiWenDi wrote:The West did it first with the Euromaidan protests against Yanukovych and the eventual coup. The blood of the innocent protesters in Odessa who were burned alive with at least the tacit approval of the new Ukrainian government, along with the blood of over 2000 civilians in the East of Ukraine where the Ukrainian army has been engaging in indiscriminate shelling and shooting, is on the West's hands. Not to mention that downed plane which no one in the West seems to care about anymore, because apparently its shelf-life as a stick to beat Russia with has expired - or they're worried that the findings will show Ukrainian armed forces' involvement or complicity in the murder of nearly 300 people.

Sure, the West was involved in the fundamental divide behind Euromaidan, but so was Russia. Geopolitical interests all around played an integral role in the grievances of Euromaidan protesters. And there's nothing at face value wrong with wanting the country to lean pro-Europe or pro-Russia—it's a reasonable thing for a country wedged between both interests (something only to scale as the world becomes more interconnected) to be concerned about. But in terms of external influence, I'm not sure how you can cast the blame in one direction.

And that downed plane—if you are certain that was Ukraine you've been reading one side of the story. Plenty of evidence points in the potential direction of pro-Russia activists as well, from reports of early celebration on the internet (a misunderstood target) up to access of the required weaponry. I wouldn't dare say in certainty that it was the pro-Russia militants, though, and a person suitably interested could be just as skeptical of Ukraine. We just don't have the information needed to be certain of it and it seems highly inappropriate to pretend that we do.

WeiWenDi wrote:That's absurd. Your cartoonish view of Russia as moustache-twirling evil overlords would be laughable were the situation not so serious.

How would it be in Russia's best interests to have an unstable Ukraine? The only way that would be an even close second-best alternative, from the sheer self-interested realist perspective you imagine they hold, would be if they feared it would become a beachhead for a stronger, more hostile nuclear-armed power - like the US or the EU. Which would mean they are not dedicated to causing unrest there; they are dedicated to stopping the advance of a power which has shown itself hostile to Russia's security, time and time again, with a long trail of broken promises and anti-Russian propaganda.

Let's endeavor to leave the personal characterization out of this? I could say the same of your position, but it wouldn't do any good for the topic or discussion, and just leaves both of us upset.

If Russia wants an independent self-sufficient Ukraine what they're doing now would be self-defeating. But I see no reason to interpret events in that way. I instead believe it is very reasonable to interpret what Russia has done, and what Russia is doing, as taking steps to either absorb Ukraine, absorb what they can of Ukraine, or convert Ukraine's government back over to something that is more pro-Russia, can be controlled by Russia, or do that to whatever of Ukraine cannot be absorbed. They don't want a pro-Europe Ukraine on their border, they don't want a pro-Europe foothold there, and they don't want Ukraine's vital control of resources to be pro-Europe either. Russia cannot outright invade Ukraine without far greater international opposition, but Putin can certainly embed military to destabilize the region while undermining the government interests that are opposed to Russia or set the groundwork for annexing more of the country. A destabilized but pro-Russia Ukraine can be restabilized with support from Russia. An absorbed Ukraine becomes a part of Russia.

I absolutely do not see Putin as a moustache-twirling evil overlord as you portray in exaggeration and dismissal, but I do see him as an intelligent former KGB officer, with solid geopolitical and resource-based interests (that would apply to other powers as well), who knows how to play the international scene.

WeiWenDi wrote:Funny how, when I say the exact same thing, I'm supposedly 'exaggerating'.

It's funny how, when taken in context, they don't. Do you happen to agree that Russia has played a strong role in creating opportunity for that instability? Or that it is not excuse for Russia's invasion? I expect that you don't.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:50 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:
That's absurd. Your cartoonish view of Russia as moustache-twirling evil overlords would be laughable were the situation not so serious.


James wrote:
I absolutely do not see Putin as a moustache-twirling evil overlord as you portray in exaggeration and dismissal, but I do see him as an intelligent former KGB officer, with solid geopolitical and resource-based interests (that would apply to other powers as well), who knows how to play the international scene.


My analysis of the situation is very similar to James. Nor do I think James or I, nor many of the members of this board (save a few notables), view Putin or Russia as evil-masterminds. We do acknowledge his actions though and his differing geopolitical interests in Ukraine as varying from the West's.

Anyone who is thinking at all about Ukraine hasnt forgotten about (even if the media reels aren't rolling it) the plane debacle. And I don't think anyone in non-Russian media circles, is concerned the evidence (should it ever come to light) point away from Russian supplied militants. This conviction certainly isn't wavered by slowly mounting evidence of Russian troops 'visiting' Ukraine to fight for the separatists or Putin's rhetoric.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:33 am

James wrote:Sure, the West was involved in the fundamental divide behind Euromaidan, but so was Russia. Geopolitical interests all around played an integral role in the grievances of Euromaidan protesters.


Alright, care to contextualise this equivalence somewhat? Or at all? No? Then allow me.

Ukraine was an absolute finical wreck at the beginning of this year. In despite of its industrial and agricultural outputs, it was racking up insane internal and trade deficits. I don't think anyone sane disputes this. But what you won't hear from any quarter of the Western media are the reasons why this was the case. The European Union was contributing directly to both of these problems by pursuing unfair trade relations with the Ukraine and predatorily pricing out its domestic industries. At this point, Russia sold gas to the Ukraine at a very reasonable price, but this part of Ukraine's trade deficit was counterbalanced by a reciprocal trade in electricity. Russia was not pricing Ukrainian firms out of the market.

But the situation remained, that in the immediate term, the Ukraine needed an immediate infusion of cash for deficit relief and investment. The EU Association Agreement - to which Yanukovych was not originally opposed, by the way - did not provide any of that. It was a bum deal. Anyone and everyone - including Sean Guillory (a well-known Russia watcher, blogger and EE scholar, and one not particularly fond of Putin) - who read the EU Association Agreement thought it was a bum deal, which would make an already bad situation worse for Ukraine, but make a few wealthy western Europeans even wealthier. The language used by Joszef Borocz was 'grossly asymmetrical'. And here is what he says about the structural preconditions the EU Association Agreement would have mandated for Ukraine's economy:

Joszef Borocz wrote:So, when we see a reference to adoption (or, as in the case of Ukraine, “approximation”) of the acquis communautaire, we need to remember that the acquis is, by definition, a neoliberal tool, designed to increase the global sway of transnational capital based in western Europe. That’s what it is, no less, no more.


When I look at the EU's economic interference in the Ukraine, I see a practiced, calculating and utterly ruthless colonial power at work, which cloaks the avarice of its corporate and bankster overlords in nice-sounding language like 'freedom' and 'democracy' and 'civilisation' and 'rule of law'. When I look at Russia's interference, political and economic, in the Ukraine, I see a self-interested regional power which feels its borders are threatened, and seeks first to placate a (grantedly incredibly corrupt) neighbouring government, with which it feels a certain cultural and historic kinship, at a particularly high cost to itself. Russia marked down a massive amount of debt that the Ukraine owed it ($15 billion dollars), and reduced the price of gas still further to ease the trade deficit, in the wake of the association crisis. So when you say:

James wrote:And there's nothing at face value wrong with wanting the country to lean pro-Europe or pro-Russia—it's a reasonable thing for a country wedged between both interests (something only to scale as the world becomes more interconnected) to be concerned about. But in terms of external influence, I'm not sure how you can cast the blame in one direction.


You may think you sound reasonable and even-handed with language like this, but to me you come off as someone who doesn't take a lot of interest in the bigger story, but is eager to cast judgement and blame on Russia all the same.

If you want to take a look at a country which really knows how to play the game Yanukovych was trying to play, and which has been successful enough at it that its president hasn't needed to put down significant amounts of foreign-funded astroturf resistance, you need only to look at the Big Bread here. I lived long enough in this country to have a passing familiarity with its long history of engagement with an imperially-minded Russia and an imperially-minded China, and to know that the game Yanukovych was trying to play is one which it's possible to win.

But Viktor Fedorovych tried to treat the EU with kid gloves, and he paid a very steep price for that miscalculation.

James wrote:And that downed plane—if you are certain that was Ukraine you've been reading one side of the story.


*golf clap*

Nice. Well-done indeed. I really love the personal accusation of my one-sided ignorance, by the way, particularly given your later 'let's endeavour to leave the personal characterisation out of this' tack. Ten points for chutzpah right there. Good thing you're doing everything in your power to keep this conversation civil, right?

I've been reading both sides of the story. But one side is looking less and less convincing to me, given their recent studied inaction. It strikes me that, given that the pro-Russian rebels willingly released the black boxes to what they consider to be a fair and neutral authority, and now that the Russian government is pressuring for their release to the public, that (were character witness a reliable thing at all on the international stage) these are not the actions of a manifestly guilty party. Accidentally-guilty? Still very much a possibility.

But the silence and the studied disinterest from the Western media is deafening.

It should be clear at least by now that the Western media didn't give a damn about those 300 people - except as a stick to beat Russia with. Or on a general 'if it bleeds, it leads' principle.

James wrote:Plenty of evidence points in the potential direction of pro-Russia activists as well, from reports of early celebration on the internet (a misunderstood target) up to access of the required weaponry. I wouldn't dare say in certainty that it was the pro-Russia militants, though, and a person suitably interested could be just as skeptical of Ukraine. We just don't have the information needed to be certain of it and it seems highly inappropriate to pretend that we do.


I have been saying this all along, that the official narrative from the State Department needs to be questioned, that we don't know anything substantive as yet, and that if we're wise, we would take stock of what both sides were saying. I have been saying all along that we need to take Malaysia's tack - they lost the most and have the most reason to be outraged, yet have declined to make any judgement as yet on who is to blame.

Yet when I linked stories on Facebook - even ones from non-Russian news sources - that challenged the idea that Russia had to be guilty, you (and only you, James) took umbrage at it and accused me of spreading Russian propaganda.

James wrote:If Russia wants an independent self-sufficient Ukraine


Which they don't, and which I never pretended they did. They want a pliant buffer state.

But NATO and the EU don't want an independent, self-sufficient Ukraine either. The EU wants cheap labour and another market for goods from Western European firms. NATO wants another willing vassal to park its missiles and fighter jets in and aim them at Russia. That's all.

James wrote:I instead believe it is very reasonable to interpret what Russia has done, and what Russia is doing, as taking steps to either absorb Ukraine, absorb what they can of Ukraine, or convert Ukraine's government back over to something that is more pro-Russia, can be controlled by Russia, or do that to whatever of Ukraine cannot be absorbed.


Once again, I think you are coming at this from a very narrow perspective which falls apart once your angle changes.

First order, Russia does want a pro-Russia Ukraine. And it wants its one warm saltwater base facing West. Like I said - pliant buffer state is the end goal for Russia in Ukraine. It was to be expected that Russia would take steps to defend Sevastopol (which is Russian and always has been Russian, even post-Ukrainian statehood in 1991). The decision to give Crimea to Ukraine was a purely political one typical of the top Soviet leadership and was a way for Khrushchev to reward his loyal cronies. There is no independent reason to believe that what we saw with the Crimean referendum wasn't actually the will of the Crimean electorate in action, and a Soviet-era blunder of the divide-and-conquer type reversing itself.

EDIT: To be clear (and I still feel it is unfair that I have to point this out every single time Crimea is brought up), I don't think two wrongs make a right. I think Russia put itself in the wrong the moment Russian boots set foot outside Sevastopol. But that shouldn't mean we ignore the history of the place, or the current situation, or the feelings of the people who actually live there.

But I don't think there is any indication at all that Putin wants anything more, if we are looking at this from a blunt, self-interested realist perspective. Novorossiya is vital for Ukraine's economy, but it doesn't add anything to Russia's. We can already see that territorially speaking, it is difficult to hold onto and defend. If anything, Putin wants to see a ceasefire, since that takes international pressure off of him. And I think Putin realises better than anyone else that a Ukraine minus Novorossiya would be much more difficult to bring back into the fold, as it were. Taking direct action now - even with special ops forces - makes a pro-Russian Ukraine more difficult to achieve in the long run. It would seem to be the Russian electorate, on the other hand, which sympathises with the people of Novorossiya (of whom over half a million are now seeking refuge within Russia's borders), and which wants to see Putin take bolder action there. This is why I tend to doubt the stories of a 'Russian invasion' of Ukraine (though not, I should note, the stories of Russian veterans and mercenaries going to fight in Novorossiya).

James wrote:Do you happen to agree that Russia has played a strong role in creating opportunity for that instability? Or that it is not excuse for Russia's invasion? I expect that you don't.


I've given you my analysis above. Under Yanukovych, Russia had no reason to create instability in the Ukraine.

The EU, on the other hand, had plenty of reasons.

Now, under Poroshenko, the reverse is true. But Poroshenko could not have come to power without the EU first creating opportunities for instability, with the tools of right-wing racist and extremist thugs ready to hand. Downplay them all you like, but the EU could not have ousted Yanukovych without the Nazis' help.

And you're right - I don't look for any excuse to cry wolf about 'invasions' that never seem to actually happen. Lord knows there are enough wannabe heroes in NATO, and in the do-something brigades here at home, doing just that, without me joining them.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:41 am

Shikanosuke wrote:
WeiWenDi wrote:
That's absurd. Your cartoonish view of Russia as moustache-twirling evil overlords would be laughable were the situation not so serious.


James wrote:
I absolutely do not see Putin as a moustache-twirling evil overlord as you portray in exaggeration and dismissal, but I do see him as an intelligent former KGB officer, with solid geopolitical and resource-based interests (that would apply to other powers as well), who knows how to play the international scene.


My analysis of the situation is very similar to James. Nor do I think James or I, nor many of the members of this board (save a few notables), view Putin or Russia as evil-masterminds. We do acknowledge his actions though and his differing geopolitical interests in Ukraine as varying from the West's.

Anyone who is thinking at all about Ukraine hasnt forgotten about (even if the media reels aren't rolling it) the plane debacle. And I don't think anyone in non-Russian media circles, is concerned the evidence (should it ever come to light) point away from Russian supplied militants. This conviction certainly isn't wavered by slowly mounting evidence of Russian troops 'visiting' Ukraine to fight for the separatists or Putin's rhetoric.


What does the one thing have to do with the other?

And where is this 'slowly mounting evidence', other than in the heads of Roger Ailes and Jeff Zucker?
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:24 am

For your consideration, an open memo to Angela Merkel from the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

VIPS wrote:We the undersigned are long-time veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the U.S. State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Barack Obama tried yesterday to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as “a continuation of what's been taking place for months now ... it's not really a shift.”

Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration—who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on “intelligence” that was dubious, at best.

Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days. More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week.


Experience With Untruth

Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's checkered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen's speeches continue to be drafted by Washington. This was abundantly clear on the day before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish Prime Minister, he told his Parliament: “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know.”

Photos can be worth a thousand words; they can also deceive. We have considerable experience collecting, analyzing, and reporting on all kinds of satellite and other imagery, as well as other kinds of intelligence. Suffice it to say that the images released by NATO on August 28 provide a very flimsy basis on which to charge Russia with invading Ukraine. Sadly, they bear a strong resemblance to the images shown by Colin Powell at the UN on February 5, 2003 that, likewise, proved nothing.

That same day, we warned President Bush that our former colleague analysts were “increasingly distressed at the politicization of intelligence” and told him flatly, “Powell's presentation does not come close” to justifying war. We urged Mr. Bush to “widen the discussion ... beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

Consider Iraq today. Worse than catastrophic. Although President Vladimir Putin has until now showed considerable reserve on the conflict in the Ukraine, it behooves us to remember that Russia, too, can “shock and awe.” In our view, if there is the slightest chance of that kind of thing eventually happening to Europe because of Ukraine, sober-minded leaders need to think this through very carefully...


Timing of the Russian “Invasion”

The conventional wisdom promoted by Kiev just a few weeks ago was that Ukrainian forces had the upper hand in fighting the anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine, in what was largely portrayed as a mop-up operation. But that picture of the offensive originated almost solely from official government sources in Kiev. There were very few reports coming from the ground in southeastern Ukraine. There was one, however, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that raised doubt about the reliability of the government's portrayal.

According to the “press service of the President of Ukraine” on August 18, Poroshenko called for a “regrouping of Ukrainian military units involved in the operation of power in the East of the country. ... Today we need to do the rearrangement of forces that will defend our territory and continued army offensives,” said Poroshenko, adding, “we need to consider a new military operation in the new circumstances.”

If the “new circumstances” meant successful advances by Ukrainian government forces, why would it be necessary to “regroup,” to “rearrange” the forces? At about this time, sources on the ground began to report a string of successful attacks by the anti-coup federalists against government forces. According to these sources, it was the government army that was starting to take heavy casualties and lose ground, largely because of ineptitude and poor leadership.

Ten days later, as they became encircled and/or retreated, a ready-made excuse for this was to be found in the “Russian invasion.” That is precisely when the fuzzy photos were released by NATO and reporters like the New York Times' Michael Gordon were set loose to spread the word that “the Russians are coming.” (Michael Gordon was one of the most egregious propagandists promoting the war on Iraq.)


No Invasion—But Plenty Other Russian Support

The anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine enjoy considerable local support, partly as a result of government artillery strikes on major population centers. And we believe that Russian support probably has been pouring across the border and includes, significantly, excellent battlefield intelligence. But it is far from clear that this support includes tanks and artillery at this point—mostly because the federalists have been better led and surprisingly successful in pinning down government forces.

At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come.

This is precisely why the situation demands a concerted effort for a ceasefire, which you know Kiev has so far been delaying. What is to be done at this point? In our view, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk need to be told flat-out that membership in NATO is not in the cards—and that NATO has no intention of waging a proxy war with Russia—and especially not in support of the rag-tag army of Ukraine. Other members of NATO need to be told the same thing.


The whole damn 'Russian invasion' is a sham. Don't get played. The American public is far less likely to get played than it was in 2003.

NATO had better not drag us into war in Ukraine over a lie, in defence of the Ukrainian oligarchs and their goosestepping cannon fodder. If they do, I hope - I pray - that the alliance tears itself to shreds over it.
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WeiWenDi
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:09 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:
What does the one thing have to do with the other?


Only what I said, that those who believe pro-Russian separatists who are fighting with Russian supplied arms, certainly aren't dissuaded from this belief by consistent reports of Russia's material and seemingly personnel support of the separatists. No, one doesn't prove the other.

And where is this 'slowly mounting evidence', other than in the heads of Roger Ailes and Jeff Zucker?


From NATO. From other sources claiming captured Russians soldiers and Russian personnel moving with fluidity between the borders.



WeiWenDi wrote:
At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come.


Perhaps I'm misinterpreting this but it seems to defy the entire point of the memo. So when the rebels get on the ropes then we should expect a Russian invasion?


The whole damn 'Russian invasion' is a sham. Don't get played. The American public is far less likely to get played than it was in 2003.


Well here's where I think you and I are merely shooting past one another. I don't want to speak for James, but I have no fear of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. I don't think that's the Russian long-con Putin is playing, and I don't think its really advantageous when he can play proxy war. But I don't think that part is a sham, and I'm not sure why we're entirely fine with that as it isn't conducive to a long-lasting peace deal in Ukraine.

NATO had better not drag us into war in Ukraine over a lie, in defence of the Ukrainian oligarchs and their goosestepping cannon fodder. If they do, I hope - I pray - that the alliance tears itself to shreds over it.


Well, I don't want anyone to go to war in Ukraine either. At all. I don't think its in anyone's interest in the West. However, I would suggest if this happens Russia isn't blameless by far in its behind-the-scene escalative actions and that should that terrible event befall us I don't hope that an alliance of American allies tears itself apart.
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