Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
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16-03-2014, 11:49 PM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
(16-03-2014 05:35 PM)BnW Wrote:  Maybe, but is there any real indication this is not what they want?

We none of us know. Only what the media tells us. And... all we know is that the Russians have troops in the Crimea. If it's really seccession, why the necessity for troops?

Putin, that nasty thug, is the one saying "No no, the people of Crimea are very very happy to be Russian, we're the best of friends, really". So yeah, forgive me if I maintain my skepticism. Fucked if I care about previous US foreign policy, these clowns don't even care about maintaining a even a facade of international law.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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17-03-2014, 07:45 AM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
(16-03-2014 05:35 PM)BnW Wrote:  Maybe, but is there any real indication this is not what they want?

Consider Aksyonov, the man "chosen" as new Crimean Parliament leader.

His party - Russian Unity - regularly contested Ukrainian elections. It also regularly won single digit votes.

(16-03-2014 05:35 PM)BnW Wrote:  And, even if it is a sham, is it any less of a sham than when the US has done very similar things? It's not that I agree with Putin. On the contrary, I think he's any immoral thug. I just think for the US to complain about this is very hypocritical.

Holy fuck that's a terrible argument.

Do I still get to complain? I'm not even American.

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17-03-2014, 07:46 AM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
(06-03-2014 09:22 AM)frankksj Wrote:  This is why George Santayana always gets the last laugh. People don't learn from history, thus they're doomed to repeat it.

Jingoism and brutality were simply the means the Nazi's used to achieve their objectives. Dig deeper for the core issues, like toadaly was doing, and ask yourself, "What were the actual objectives, and what was behind them?"

Same thing if you're discussing a serial killer who kills his victims by stabbing. You're only looking at the superficial issue: the means through which he achieved his goals, namely with a knife, and therefore, you conclude knives are bad. You argue the use of the knife was "the defining element". End of story, you don't think past that.

No, because that's a deranged fantasy composed of things I didn't say.

(06-03-2014 09:22 AM)frankksj Wrote:  That's what you just did when you were only able to see the means the Nazi's used, jingoism and brutality (ie the knife), and insist that's the "defining element" and the only point worth considering.

Toadaly is arguing, and I agree with him, that you need to get past that obvious superficial aspect and see what are the underlying causes and ideologies driving the Nazi movement (or the serial killer). Once you do this, THEN, you can actually accomplish some good as you identify the core, underlying ideology that was the driving force.

I let this go for so long because I couldn't believe how facetious it was.

Methodology is an inseparable component of ideology.

As for who doesn't understand history... well.

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17-03-2014, 10:58 AM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
(17-03-2014 07:45 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-03-2014 05:35 PM)BnW Wrote:  Maybe, but is there any real indication this is not what they want?

Consider Aksyonov, the man "chosen" as new Crimean Parliament leader.

His party - Russian Unity - regularly contested Ukrainian elections. It also regularly won single digit votes.

(16-03-2014 05:35 PM)BnW Wrote:  And, even if it is a sham, is it any less of a sham than when the US has done very similar things? It's not that I agree with Putin. On the contrary, I think he's any immoral thug. I just think for the US to complain about this is very hypocritical.

Holy fuck that's a terrible argument.

Do I still get to complain? I'm not even American.

I was not aware of the voting record. Interesting.

Secondly, you can complain all you wish. But, the US is not an individual complaining. They are a nation advocating for international economic sanctions. It's just a tad different than posting on a message board. So, i think the lack of consistency is relevant the discussion.

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17-03-2014, 11:37 AM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
(17-03-2014 10:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  I was not aware of the voting record. Interesting.

Well, it's certainly something to keep in mind...

(17-03-2014 10:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  Secondly, you can complain all you wish. But, the US is not an individual complaining. They are a nation advocating for international economic sanctions. It's just a tad different than posting on a message board. So, i think the lack of consistency is relevant the discussion.

It is of course worth noting.

But it does not actually mean anything. It is an ad hominem and tu quoque - and as such entirely fallacious if used as a defense. Hell, if the requisite continuity of personnel is lacking it's a borderline straw man. Calling out hypocrisy in a parallel discussion is worthwhile - but it does not magically invalidate the fact that the Russian government's actions in Crimea these past weeks have been an abject violation of international law and accepted moral standards.

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17-03-2014, 11:58 AM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
I'm not so sure. The "accepted moral standards" seems to be "whatever we can get away with short of war. " ignoring the specifics of what Russia did our didn't do, how can the US really claim any moral or legal authority when we don't follow the laws ourselves? How is acceptable legal behavior defined?

The way out seems to be defined is things are ok if you are strong enough to fight off any challenges, otherwise they are not. I'm not being flippant about this. I'm dead serious when I say my own government has basically nullified international law for themselves, and therefore for everyone.

That doesn't mean Putin is right. But, out does raise questions about what can now be done about it, both legally and morally. Keep in mind, the Russians are not laughing here. They are coming very close to threatening war, and the overt threat may still come.

Who here is so sure that 97% of the Crimea were strong armed into voting to join Russia they are willing to pick up a gun and fight for that? Who ifs willing to send their sons and daughters? Who is willing to accept the repercussions? I'm not. I think this is nuts. Perhaps if we lived in a world where the strong did not routinely break the rules and force the weak to go along I would feel differently. We don't live in that world, though.

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17-03-2014, 12:40 PM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
(17-03-2014 11:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  I'm not so sure. The "accepted moral standards" seems to be "whatever we can get away with short of war. " ignoring the specifics of what Russia did our didn't do, how can the US really claim any moral or legal authority when we don't follow the laws ourselves? How is acceptable legal behavior defined?

... by the United Nations and international treaties.

That... would've seemed self-evident, to me.

(17-03-2014 11:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  The way out seems to be defined is things are ok if you are strong enough to fight off any challenges, otherwise they are not. I'm not being flippant about this. I'm dead serious when I say my own government has basically nullified international law for themselves, and therefore for everyone.

That's not a new thing, seeing as that used to be the only thing to international politics.

It has held up less and less as time goes by.

(17-03-2014 11:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  That doesn't mean Putin is right. But, out does raise questions about what can now be done about it, both legally and morally. Keep in mind, the Russians are not laughing here. They are coming very close to threatening war, and the overt threat may still come.

Indeed. I am sorry for being rude earlier, but in the minds of some class idiots it does make Russia's actions a-okay.

While it's not worth being too upset and that which you indeed cannot affect, it is simultaneously self-defeating to be too quick to assert that one cannot indeed have an affect.

(17-03-2014 11:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  Who here is so sure that 97% of the Crimea were strong armed into voting to join Russia they are willing to pick up a gun and fight for that? Who ifs willing to send their sons and daughters? Who is willing to accept the repercussions? I'm not. I think this is nuts.

Okay. What is your cause for action?

Since I never advocated an armed response to the Crimean invasion, I'm not sure where you got that from.

The run-up to this referendum was anything but free and open. International observers were barred and shot at? Free press was shut down? Public assembly curtailed? The date was rushed forwards? And there was no status quo option, so anyone who would have so voted boycotted the farce?

"But 97% lol" is not meaningful in this situation. Totalitarian states have similar "election" results all the time.

(17-03-2014 11:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  Perhaps if we lived in a world where the strong did not routinely break the rules and force the weak to go along I would feel differently. We don't live in that world, though.

Sit down, son, 'cause I'm about to Godwin. We live in a world where "might makes right" is ever more deprecated as a motive.

Was it worth fighting to prevent the Anschluss in 1938? That was against the Treaty of Saint-Germain. But the treaty was by then seen as vindictive and unfair. And it was - though not wholly unambiguous - more popular on the ground than anything in Crimea.

Was it worth fighting for Sudetenland? That cession was internationally negotiated precisely to prevent conflict. And it was - though ambiguous - more popular on the ground than anything in Crimea.

Was it worth fighting for Poland? Why should France give a shit about Poland? Why should America?

Now, PUTIN IS HITLER is as pathetically shrill as its counterpart, IRAQ MAKES CRIMEA OKAY. But the point is this: there actually exist commensurate diplomatic responses somewhere between finger-waggling and global thermonuclear war.

I'd say invading Crimea sure as fuck falls somewhere past finger-waggling. Wouldn't you? And as disconnected from reality as Putin et al might be, they're not idiots. Estonia through Romania are NATO members. They're not going to go for the other end of the scale.

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17-03-2014, 05:57 PM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
(17-03-2014 12:40 PM)cjlr Wrote:  ... by the United Nations and international treaties.

That... would've seemed self-evident, to me.

It's not self evidence to me. As permanent members of the UN Security Council, the US and Russia can violate international law with impunity and without fear of the UN getting involved, because they can block any referendum. Laws that can not be enforced are useless. The standards we are using here are not based on treaty's or any other legal convention. Not when the big powers are involved, at least.

(17-03-2014 12:40 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Indeed. I am sorry for being rude earlier, but in the minds of some class idiots it does make Russia's actions a-okay.

While it's not worth being too upset and that which you indeed cannot affect, it is simultaneously self-defeating to be too quick to assert that one cannot indeed have an affect.

First, you weren't rude. And, if you were, I'm a big boy and I can take it. Don't sweat it.

Second, you missed my point. I was not suggesting that an inability to have real power of a situation does not mean you don't try. Some windmills are worth tilting at. I don't disagree with that at all. My point was more about who was doing the tilting. The US has no legal or moral authority to say "boo" to Putin over this. We outselves have set the precedent. A legal regime which runs as "do as I say, not as I do" is what is not sustainable. The US has basically nullified international law with a "might makes right" manifesto. We've done this for years. I think Putin would have done this if there was no precedent, but if the US had not set the precedent then maybe you can stand and oppose this and have some credibility. The problem is we don't have any. We have emasculated the UN (more than they already were). No wonder Putin doesn't give a shit what we think.

(17-03-2014 12:40 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Okay. What is your cause for action?

Since I never advocated an armed response to the Crimean invasion, I'm not sure where you got that from.

The run-up to this referendum was anything but free and open. International observers were barred and shot at? Free press was shut down? Public assembly curtailed? The date was rushed forwards? And there was no status quo option, so anyone who would have so voted boycotted the farce?

"But 97% lol" is not meaningful in this situation. Totalitarian states have similar "election" results all the time.

I don't know what the solution is. I do know it's probably not worth fighting about. And, I know you didn't advocate an armed response but that is where the rhetoric is starting to head. Whether anyone is serious or not, I could not say. I doubt it. But, when you start playing hard ball at that level, sometimes things happen. Tying up Russia with international sanctions over this is a big deal. They are not just going to say "oh well, you got us". They are not Iran. They have the military and economic means to push back, and they will. Every thing we do risks an escalation. Remember, wars have been fought over the Crimea in the past. It has strategic significance to the Russians. It always has. They won't just sit back and lose it. Not without a fight, they won't.

As for the election, I can't really comment on it because I did not follow it that closely. I do agree that 97% is a high enough number as to be suspicious. Do most people in the Crimea want to be part of Russia now? I really could not say. I honestly don't know the answer to that.

(17-03-2014 12:40 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Sit down, son, 'cause I'm about to Godwin. We live in a world where "might makes right" is ever more deprecated as a motive.

Was it worth fighting to prevent the Anschluss in 1938? That was against the Treaty of Saint-Germain. But the treaty was by then seen as vindictive and unfair. And it was - though not wholly unambiguous - more popular on the ground than anything in Crimea.

Was it worth fighting for Sudetenland? That cession was internationally negotiated precisely to prevent conflict. And it was - though ambiguous - more popular on the ground than anything in Crimea.

Was it worth fighting for Poland? Why should France give a shit about Poland? Why should America?

Now, PUTIN IS HITLER is as pathetically shrill as its counterpart, IRAQ MAKES CRIMEA OKAY. But the point is this: there actually exist commensurate diplomatic responses somewhere between finger-waggling and global thermonuclear war.

I'd say invading Crimea sure as fuck falls somewhere past finger-waggling. Wouldn't you? And as disconnected from reality as Putin et al might be, they're not idiots. Estonia through Romania are NATO members. They're not going to go for the other end of the scale.

Well, we certainly know now what the right thing to do with Hitler was. And, this is not the first time he has done this when he was in danger of losing influence over a country sitting in a strategic area for him. I don't think he plans to continue to invade and annex his neighbors, but he's not letting them slip away quietly either.

So, let me turn your question back on you - what do you suggest? You think he's going to turn back peacefuly without a threat of war? Maybe if we threaten he will say "ok, they called my bluff" and back down. Maybe he will. What if he doesn't? It's a very dangerous game to play.

With Hitler, the answer was to go war that much sooner. At some point, that becomes the argument. War or no war. I know we are not there yet with Russia but certain parts of the world have always been flashpoints. The Crimea has lead to war before. It's a damn dangerous game to play here.

I wish I had a better idea of what cards the west has to pay in this game, but I don't so it's tough to say what our next move should be. I just know I'm really glad it ain't my job to figure it out.

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17-03-2014, 06:29 PM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  It's not self evidence to me. As permanent members of the UN Security Council, the US and Russia can violate international law with impunity and without fear of the UN getting involved, because they can block any referendum. Laws that can not be enforced are useless. The standards we are using here are not based on treaty's or any other legal convention. Not when the big powers are involved, at least.

... except you, in that very paragraph, explicitly acknowledge the existence of laws, norms, and convention.

Enforcement is a different issue!

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  Second, you missed my point. I was not suggesting that an inability to have real power of a situation does not mean you don't try. Some windmills are worth tilting at. I don't disagree with that at all. My point was more about who was doing the tilting. The US has no legal or moral authority to say "boo" to Putin over this.

Yes, they absolutely damn well do.

What Putin is doing is bad. QED. Hypocrisy is not a counter-argument.

Does the EU have any legal or moral authority? Does the G7? Does Canada? Does Australia?

For that matter, does the Obama administration? How many nations has the Obama administration invaded and annexed?

Although actually, institutional continuity versus personal culpability in the actions of democratic states is a very interesting question. But that's very much an aside.

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  We outselves have set the precedent. A legal regime which runs as "do as I say, not as I do" is what is not sustainable. The US has basically nullified international law with a "might makes right" manifesto. We've done this for years.

The US has almost never done so.

I say that as someone who is nonetheless a critic ( Rolleyes ).

Even Iraq was nowhere near this crass and pathetic.

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  I think Putin would have done this if there was no precedent, but if the US had not set the precedent then maybe you can stand and oppose this and have some credibility. The problem is we don't have any. We have emasculated the UN (more than they already were). No wonder Putin doesn't give a shit what we think.

The UN security council has only ever operated as intended. That's a different issue!

In absolutely no way did the US "set a precedent". That's just silly. They acted as powerful states have always acted, and much less often at that than earlier or even contemporaraneous world powers.

I see your point, but the bulk of your point is a combination of ad hom and tu quoque fallacies.

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  I don't know what the solution is. I do know it's probably not worth fighting about. And, I know you didn't advocate an armed response but that is where the rhetoric is starting to head.

... actual responses taken are economic sanctions and exclusion from international fora. Seems fair enough.

Whose rhetoric? Where?

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  Which is happening Whether anyone is serious or not, I could not say. I doubt it. But, when you start playing hard ball at that level, sometimes things happen. Tying up Russia with international sanctions over this is a big deal. They are not just going to say "oh well, you got us". They are not Iran. They have the military and economic means to push back, and they will. Every thing we do risks an escalation. Remember, wars have been fought over the Crimea in the past.

Yeah, I'll bet Piedmont-Sardinia can't wait to mobilize in defense of the Ottoman sultan. We shall keep the Straits from the Tsar - even if it means siding with the Turk!

... That was 160 years ago. Rather a lot has changed since then.

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  It has strategic significance to the Russians. It always has. They won't just sit back and lose it. Not without a fight, they won't.

Yeah. No shit. The mob rule in Kyiv started making noise about renegotiating the terms of the Sevastopol lease. That's why this happened.

The Russian government panicked. As far as I can see they'd've been better served by just watching and waiting; mob rule wasn't exactly going to solve any of Ukraine's problems, and the eastern oblasts and Crimea would still have had the demographic and particularly economic preponderance, not to mention still being softly pro-Russian.

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  As for the election, I can't really comment on it because I did not follow it that closely. I do agree that 97% is a high enough number as to be suspicious. Do most people in the Crimea want to be part of Russia now? I really could not say. I honestly don't know the answer to that.

And no one will ever know, because asking those kinds of questions on the ground will get you a friendly visit from Russian special forces self-defence militias who'll be only to willing to share the brotherly good feelings with you.

In February there sure as hell wasn't such a sentiment. So there's that. I leave it to your imagination as to whether there was an actual democratic groundswell or whether outright seizure of media outlets and the thousands of foreign soldiers standing around in the streets might just have influenced what views people were willing to make public.

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  Well, we certainly know now what the right thing to do with Hitler was. And, this is not the first time he has done this when he was in danger of losing influence over a country sitting in a strategic area for him. I don't think he plans to continue to invade and annex his neighbors, but he's not letting them slip away quietly either.

Fair enough.

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  So, let me turn your question back on you - what do you suggest? You think he's going to turn back peacefuly without a threat of war? Maybe if we threaten he will say "ok, they called my bluff" and back down. Maybe he will. What if he doesn't? It's a very dangerous game to play.

I don't think Crimea is worth fighting over.

I don't even think the rest of Ukraine is worth fighting for (for us, ie NA/EU - whether Ukrainians think so is their call), not that Russia would ever go past the Dniepr if that. Doing so would rightfully make them an international pariah the likes of North Korea or Libya in the bad old days, and they're aware enough to know that. They're not stupid.

But NATO is not a bluff. Poland is a NATO member. Romania is a NATO member. The Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, former Soviet republics though they may be, are NATO members.

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  With Hitler, the answer was to go war that much sooner. At some point, that becomes the argument. War or no war. I know we are not there yet with Russia but certain parts of the world have always been flashpoints. The Crimea has lead to war before. It's a damn dangerous game to play here.

Right, but I just gave my opinions above.
Cool

Nobody is advocating armed conflict over Crimea alone.

(17-03-2014 05:57 PM)BnW Wrote:  I wish I had a better idea of what cards the west has to pay in this game, but I don't so it's tough to say what our next move should be. I just know I'm really glad it ain't my job to figure it out.

Messing with NATO states is a nuclear tripwire. That hasn't changed since 1949.

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17-03-2014, 07:12 PM
RE: Ukraine: The Russians are coming.
Start posting pro-Russian comments so we can get off this DDOS attack list.

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