Author Topic: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.  (Read 9890 times)

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Offline El Barto

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #140 on: March 21, 2014, 05:05:41 PM »
Question - Does anyone believe the succession referendum is legitimate?  Anyone?  The results look like they're from an Iraqi election when Saddam Hussein was in power.

That's part of the problem right there.  We can't actually know what the Crimeans want.  Polls taken before the referendum consistently showed that less than 50% of Crimeans wanted to join Russia.  That number didn't magically swing to 97%.

Also, I know I'm godwinning here, but right now Putin's using Hitler's pre-Poland WWII playbook.  Make little land grabs based on ethnic pretenses to see what you can get away with.  I'd prefer the U.S. just let this be, but if it's too easy for Putin then all the sudden he might try taking a NATO country, and then we're almost obligated to go to war.
I don't know if it was legitimate or not, and frankly allowing some outside, neutral supervision would have been a shrewd move on Putin's part. Although, I though a majority did want to join the Russian federation. Besides which, whether or not they wanted to join the federation isn't the same thing as would they rather join the Russian Federation or the EU. That's essentially what they're looking at and might have tipped the scales a bit.

As for the Hitler thing, while this is certainly the same as his annexation of the Sudetenland, I don't think there's much similarity beyond that. There's a perception here that Putin's a diabolical warlord. He seems to be of the highly intelligent sort, and I don't think running off and starting WWIII is really of interest to him. He might well be testing the waters, but I don't really have a problem with that. Like I said before, global domination is a goal that most countries share (although few can make any real effort to that end) and as long as it doesn't cross over into inflicting misery or suffering I don't really care.
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Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #141 on: March 21, 2014, 05:12:24 PM »
Like I said before, global domination is a goal that most countries share (although few can make any real effort to that end) and as long as it doesn't cross over into inflicting misery or suffering I don't really care.

Well, that's the issue.  Would you want to live in Russia?  The mere idea of it is increasing my heart rate.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #142 on: March 21, 2014, 05:57:00 PM »
Like I said before, global domination is a goal that most countries share (although few can make any real effort to that end) and as long as it doesn't cross over into inflicting misery or suffering I don't really care.

Well, that's the issue.  Would you want to live in Russia?  The mere idea of it is increasing my heart rate.
I don't think we're that far apart to be honest with you. I've been saying for years that the only difference between American and Iranian citizens is that they're smart enough to know they're getting fucked and angry enough to do something about it. They get hammered for their attempts, and I suspect the same thing applies in Russia, but is that really any worse than not getting hammered because the populace is indifferent?

On a practical level, I think the question is would you rather live in Russia or Ukraine, and I'm not sure how much it'd matter. But as for me personally, I tend to look at these things from three different aspects. A. Would I have gotten my kidney?  B. Would I be able to spout anti-Russian rhetoric on DTF?  C.Would I be happier?

Well, the answer to A is yes and I wouldn't have spent a large chunk of my income for that "privilege." The only way to get approved was to demonstrate insurance, which has cost me more than housing and transportation combined over the last few years, and that doesn't include the massive out of pocket expenses that I still got saddled with.

As for B, well that's unclear. I recall you subscribe to the hiding among the masses school of thought, and that applies as much there as it does here. In both countries it's going to come down to how much you rock the boat, and I doubt I've swung any DTF P/R people over to the darkside in my 6 years here. I'm just some guy spouting off an opinion to people with similar tastes in music. That said, I wouldn't be at all surprised if I have attracted more attention here than I would have over there. We've become pretty adept at keeping tabs on all of our citizens; after all, we're suspected terrorists. Still, I'd probably reserve judgement on that for a few more years to see how much further both sides go down that path. We're far from the end of our police state ambitions.

Lastly the happiness question. I'm not sure. I get stressed out as much as the next guy, and a great deal of our stress is specific to America. Statistically, Russians aren't a particularly happy people, but I'm not sure what their reasons are and how that might effect me. I don't really want a whole lot. I have no ambition to earn millions of dollars, live in a palace or own a fleet of luxury cars. I also don't want to wind up homeless, jobless, uninsured and living on the street.

So I guess the answer is that I wouldn't worry about it if I suddenly became a Russian overnight. I doubt I'd like the arbitrary decision, but I don't think it'd be a huge problem to overcome.
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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #143 on: March 22, 2014, 12:09:03 AM »
Question - Does anyone believe the succession referendum is legitimate?  Anyone?  The results look like they're from an Iraqi election when Saddam Hussein was in power.
The fact that the results are so unanimous and different mediums have reported different percentages makes me inclined to believe they aren't (completely) legitimate. Besides, even if the majority of Crimeans did want to join Russia, the referendum was not allowed by Ukraine and it was boycotted by a lot of Tatars and people loyal to Kiev. On the top of that, the only two voting options were joining Russia or demanding a greater autonomy within Ukraine.

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #144 on: March 24, 2014, 06:12:34 PM »
He made them mad, now he's not invited to the party: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/25/world/europe/obama-russia-crimea.html?_r=0
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Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #145 on: March 24, 2014, 06:51:05 PM »
This is what has to be done though.

No one wants a war with Russia.  War with Russia isn't worth it.

So if you want to stop Putin, you have to use economics as leverage.

This is why I find it funny when people are anti-globalization.  Globalized economics provide the only means to control other nations other than war.  If you're anti-war, globalization is the best thing that can possibly happen.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #146 on: March 24, 2014, 07:07:43 PM »
There are plenty other reasons to be anti-globalization that are on the same level, but I see your point.
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Offline jsem

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #147 on: March 25, 2014, 08:16:55 AM »
Economic ostracism is potentially a stronger tool than war.

Offline Implode

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #148 on: March 25, 2014, 09:18:16 AM »
Isn't that what usually leads to war?

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #149 on: March 25, 2014, 10:11:24 AM »
Isn't that what usually leads to war?

I'm not sure.

War seems to come from national influence and economic gain.

National influence has nothing to do with economics.  War is bad for the economy, but countries do it anyway in the name of power.

Economic gain is also a bit complicated.  Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait for what sweet, sweet oil money.  But that was a massive, undeniable gain in economic power that could have only been acquired through war.

Russia's being put in a situation where if they just drop the land grabs, the money will start flowing again.  In the long term, if Russia misbehaves too badly, Europe will have to start considering weaning themselves off of Russian natural gas, which would be a disaster for the Russian economy that couldn't be fixed through war.

And, this is important, doing nothing is not the solution.  The Republican/FOX News rhetoric about showing weakness is a bit too simplistic, but it's not totally off the mark.  If other countries think they can get away with aggression, they'll engage in aggression.  The world is a better place without war, so it's important to do what's necessary to make sure wars don't occur.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #150 on: March 25, 2014, 11:29:44 AM »
Isn't that what usually leads to war?

I'm not sure.

War seems to come from national influence and economic gain.

National influence has nothing to do with economics.  War is bad for the economy, but countries do it anyway in the name of power.

Economic gain is also a bit complicated.  Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait for what sweet, sweet oil money.  But that was a massive, undeniable gain in economic power that could have only been acquired through war.

Russia's being put in a situation where if they just drop the land grabs, the money will start flowing again.  In the long term, if Russia misbehaves too badly, Europe will have to start considering weaning themselves off of Russian natural gas, which would be a disaster for the Russian economy that couldn't be fixed through war.

And, this is important, doing nothing is not the solution.  The Republican/FOX News rhetoric about showing weakness is a bit too simplistic, but it's not totally off the mark.  If other countries think they can get away with aggression, they'll engage in aggression.  The world is a better place without war, so it's important to do what's necessary to make sure wars don't occur.
This is a good post, but I have to wonder, regarding the weakness thing has there ever been a time when we were strong enough to deter Russian expansion? I have a hard time criticizing American strength or weakness since I don't think it's really a factor here.
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Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #151 on: March 25, 2014, 04:39:30 PM »
It's all head games and talking and bullshit.

Look at Syria.  Nothing really happened, but Obama and Kerry looked like jackasses while Putin was the main power player.  If we don't act like idiots regrading Syria, Russia respects our influence a little more.  When we start trying to rally people to sanction Russia now, it's possible that other countries listen more.  It's possible that Russia's more afraid.

The problem with conservative rhetoric here is that, subtextually, it's advocating war.  Hawkish Republicans can't advocate war openly because it's very unpopular, so what they're trying to do is plant in peoples' heads the idea that, if not war, then the incompetence of the Obama administration.

It's not an either or thing.  I'm not arguing against power.  America's military is more powerful than the rest of the world's combined and that's a good thing.  But war is just too horrible and too destructive.  It shouldn't be a policy tool unless it's unequivocally worth it.  War for Ukraine is not worth it.

So if you're going to use economic leverage, diplomacy, and words as an instrument of policy, people have to take what you say and do seriously.

I'm sorry to break this to the people who are still under the spell of Obama the public speaker, but no one takes him seriously except you guys.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 09:31:03 PM by ReaPsTA »
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Offline El Barto

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #152 on: March 25, 2014, 05:02:01 PM »
I agree with all of that. I just don't see how American influence would have had any effect on the Russia/Ukraine situation. There's only so much we could do since war with Russia is out of question, and now we seem to be doing that. There's also the very real possibility that Putin just didn't expect us to actually care. If we're going to fault Obama's foreign policy, then I'd say his puzzling interests are probably more of an issue than his wussiness. Keep in mind that part of his platform was to get us out of wars, which he's largely done. But then he intervenes in Libya and not Syria and it's kind of hard to tell where he might go off. 
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Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #153 on: March 25, 2014, 09:33:09 PM »
All of this stuff is impossible to totally quantify.  Given that, you have to be willing to believe in process.

Obama has no process.  He says and does stupid things and hopefully his advisors/the military are able to stop him from doing too much damage.  In no universe is this not a bad thing.
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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #154 on: March 25, 2014, 10:13:20 PM »
But then he intervenes in Libya and not Syria and it's kind of hard to tell where he might go off.
Well, to be fair, he wanted to intervene in Syria but, for better or worse, he couldn't build up support for it and do it. For better because it shows that this administration doesn't have a blinding hard on for war that Reagan, Bush I (okay maybe not Bush I) and Bush II: Electric Boogaloo all had. When the circumstances don't favor it, they won't blindly barge ahead into something unplanned and largely idiotic and that's a good thing.

On the other hand, the whole situation made Obama and his cabinet look like a bunch of buffoons. "Yeah, sure we COULD ASK Russia to help disarm Assad but *snick* like THAT would ever happen! Oh wait..." Some Republicans thought that made us look weak and maybe there was something to that, but I don't necessarily agree. To me it just looks as if certain sections of the government were getting all gung-ho about intervening and didn't plan properly for the potentiality that it might not pan out, for various reasons. It was a Bush II move except Obama didn't stick his fingers in his ears and keep running forward.

So there is that.

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #155 on: March 25, 2014, 10:37:20 PM »
The problem is that even if you hated Bush II, you knew he didn't bluff.

Obama's words are meaningless.
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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #156 on: March 25, 2014, 10:43:48 PM »
The problem is that even if you hated Bush II, you knew he didn't bluff.
That's... not really a good thing though.

Quote
Obama's words are meaningless.
That may very well be the case, but I feel it's a drastic oversimplification of the issue, just like your above statement.

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #157 on: March 25, 2014, 10:48:01 PM »
The problem is that even if you hated Bush II, you knew he didn't bluff.
That's... not really a good thing though.

The fact that Bush II was willing to frivolously go to war was a bad thing.  I don't see the issue with having to take what he says seriously.

Quote
Quote
Obama's words are meaningless.
That may very well be the case, but I feel it's a drastic oversimplification of the issue, just like your above statement.

How's it an oversimplification?
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Offline El Barto

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #158 on: March 26, 2014, 08:11:50 AM »
The problem is that even if you hated Bush II, you knew he didn't bluff.
That's... not really a good thing though.

The fact that Bush II was willing to frivolously go to war was a bad thing.  I don't see the issue with having to take what he says seriously.
But my point is simply do you think that Chimpy's warmongering would have prevented Putin from taking this opportunistic action? We all know that he would knock off middling countries for personal gain, but even I don't think he was insane enough to go to war with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula. Putin thought he was a moron, but I doubt he was concerned about him whipping out the launch codes.
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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #159 on: March 26, 2014, 08:24:55 AM »
But my point is simply do you think that Chimpy's warmongering would have prevented Putin from taking this opportunistic action? We all know that he would knock off middling countries for personal gain, but even I don't think he was insane enough to go to war with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula. Putin thought he was a moron, but I doubt he was concerned about him whipping out the launch codes.

I don't know.  Maybe, because Bush II was so widely disliked, other nations would be less likely to follow him if he imposed sanctions.  It's all impossible to know.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #160 on: March 26, 2014, 08:49:40 AM »
But my point is simply do you think that Chimpy's warmongering would have prevented Putin from taking this opportunistic action? We all know that he would knock off middling countries for personal gain, but even I don't think he was insane enough to go to war with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula. Putin thought he was a moron, but I doubt he was concerned about him whipping out the launch codes.

I don't know.  Maybe, because Bush II was so widely disliked, other nations would be less likely to follow him if he imposed sanctions.  It's all impossible to know.
Which would apply equally to Obama. It's not like the guy has much pull anymore, simply because America doesn't. Like I've said, I really don't want to defend Obama since I think he sucks in ways too numerous to count, but I have a hard time blaming him for something I see as largely a no-win situation. Putin would have jumped on this opportunity regardless of who was in power, and if America's standing had any bearing whatsoever it was America as a nation rather than whoever happened to be sitting in the big chair.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #161 on: March 26, 2014, 11:19:16 PM »
Obama has no process.  He says and does stupid things and hopefully his advisors/the military are able to stop him from doing too much damage.  In no universe is this not a bad thing.

Care to share the details which make you say this? I frankly haven't seen it that much. In fact, from what I've seen, he's let his advisors/the military keep him doing too much damage. Why are we in Afghanistan still? Why do we still have a gigantic military budget? But this would be another thread, this is about Europe, and Russia, after all.


I think the American media is doing such a crappy, one-sided story of Crimea and the Ukraine. This last weekend, when Russia "stormed" the compounds, I was struck by how fucking, well, non-violent it was. These were troops, invading the base of another countries troops, and shots weren't fire. Think the Daily Show said it looked more like they got fired. Is that really what you expect out of a violent invasion? Or something that's horribly wrong? It's the kind of reaction for people who don't see the consequences as all that dire or bad. They don't seem to care all that much. And if they don't seem to care enough to fight over it, why the fuck are we?

Russia, the EU and America are all doing the exact same  thing. When the Russians do it, we complain, say it's wrong, the work of a tyrant. When we do it, it's just, and right. It's what territory and war have always been, and will always be, about: resources, wealth and power.

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #162 on: March 27, 2014, 12:05:23 AM »
Care to share the details which make you say this? I frankly haven't seen it that much. In fact, from what I've seen, he's let his advisors/the military keep him doing too much damage. Why are we in Afghanistan still? Why do we still have a gigantic military budget? But this would be another thread, this is about Europe, and Russia, after all.

I just saw his quote about how he doesn't really care about Russia that much relative to a nuclear bomb.  This may be true, but:

 - It was really obvious from his tone that the situation was clearly exasperating him.  We all think it's ridiculous when someone says the exact opposite of how they obviously feel.

 - It doesn't really help our negotiating position when the president is saying - explicitly - that we don't care.  I'm sure our negotiators really appreciate it.

I'm not trying to paint the military as the good guys though.  My understanding is that the military was a big part of stopping a Syrian bombing, but they've also pushed Obama to stay in Afghanistan for no real reason.

EDIT:  I finally figured out how to explain this.  In Poker, there's the concept of table image.  It's how you want the other players to perceive you.  Phil Ivey tries to project a strong table image.  His bets are always big.  He wants you to always feel like he has something.  Dan Harrington is a very tight player.  He doesn't bother trying to make you feel like he has anything he doesn't.  He just wants you to feel crushed by the mathematical certainty of his play.

Obama has no table image.  He goes from stupidly aggressive (Libya) to cold war style uprisings (Egypt) to Clinton style bombings (Syria) to negotiation (Iran) to strong sanctions (Russia).  The diversity in his tactics is fine, but there's no strategy to it. 

Putin wants you to think that Russia is trying to rebuild the old Soviet Union, and he plays that to his advantage.  It riles his opponents up and makes them less rational.

If I'm a country that's not America, I feel the same way about Obama that good poker players feel about bad ones.  You enjoy feasting on him.  The playbook on Obama is pretty simple - take very strong, small scale aggressive measures to get what you want.  The strength of the action guarantees that Obama will say dumb things about it that hurt his credibility.  The small scale insures he won't actually do anything.  Be very willing to talk and negotiate, because it's an effective way to placate him.  It's too easy.

Quote
I think the American media is doing such a crappy, one-sided story of Crimea and the Ukraine. This last weekend, when Russia "stormed" the compounds, I was struck by how fucking, well, non-violent it was. These were troops, invading the base of another countries troops, and shots weren't fire. Think the Daily Show said it looked more like they got fired. Is that really what you expect out of a violent invasion? Or something that's horribly wrong? It's the kind of reaction for people who don't see the consequences as all that dire or bad. They don't seem to care all that much. And if they don't seem to care enough to fight over it, why the fuck are we?

I do somewhat agree with this.  I'm more willing than you and El Barto to see America as the good guys and Russia as the bad guys here, but it's a geopolitical power game.  The media drama is exactly what Putin wants because it makes people dumb.

Quote
Russia, the EU and America are all doing the exact same  thing. When the Russians do it, we complain, say it's wrong, the work of a tyrant. When we do it, it's just, and right. It's what territory and war have always been, and will always be, about: resources, wealth and power.

This kind of false equivalency bothers me though.  We didn't annex any territory in Iraq or Afghanistan.  America has enough real failings (torture, murdering innocent people with drones, sloppy and harmful application of power).  There's no need to make up stuff about how imperialist we are.  The Spanish-American war happened over a 100 years ago.  It's lazy.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 12:26:27 AM by ReaPsTA »
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Offline El Barto

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #163 on: March 27, 2014, 08:16:22 AM »
Obama has no table image.  He goes from stupidly aggressive (Libya) to cold war style uprisings (Egypt) to Clinton style bombings (Syria) to negotiation (Iran) to strong sanctions (Russia).  The diversity in his tactics is fine, but there's no strategy to it. 
Since this is key to your premise, I have to say that I think most of it's wrong (albeit somewhat subjective). Libya was neither stupid nor aggressive. We let the EU do the heavy lifting, and once they decided to act we filled in some pieces that we have unique capabilities to do. It was good strategy both from the standpoints of aggression and military action. Egypt we did pretty much nothing, which I thought was the right thing to do. In that case we were damned either way, so best do what's best for us and let the whiners whine. I don't really have much of an opinion on Syria, since it was a decidedly no-win situation for us. Bashir was Putin's man and he was in a unique situation to defuse things, and more power to him. I favored negotiation with Iran for quite a while; that's an area where our foreign policy has sucked regardless of who's in charge. Lastly, I'm not sure what moves we had other than economic sanctions, which to be honest is a bit stronger than I would have expected.

Honestly, Reap, your list actually gives me a bit more appreciation for Obama's FP. In each of these flare ups he's gone with an approach crafted specifically for each case. Pretty considerate, I think. Moreover, all of these responses would garner passing grades from me. I certainly agree that it makes it hard for other countries to figure out what the hell our response could be to anything, but then I don't really see that as being our problem or necessarily a bad thing.
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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #164 on: March 27, 2014, 02:07:53 PM »
I agree with EB wholeheartedly.
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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #165 on: March 28, 2014, 09:55:38 AM »
I agree with EB wholeheartedly.


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Offline Scheavo

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #166 on: March 28, 2014, 11:13:09 AM »
I certainly agree that it makes it hard for other countries to figure out what the hell our response could be to anything, but then I don't really see that as being our problem or necessarily a bad thing.

I'd call this a pretty good strategy, really. You don't mess with something if you're not quite sure what the response is going to be. And you can use it to your advantage. If we're going to use the poker analogy, if I'm not sure what someones strategy is, how do I guess or call a bluff? I don't see why Syria isn't look at as a bluff more than it is. Everyone acts as if Obama had a sudden change of heart, was calmed down, or something, when his actions would mirror someone who was bluffing pretty badly.

This kind of false equivalency bothers me though.  We didn't annex any territory in Iraq or Afghanistan.  America has enough real failings (torture, murdering innocent people with drones, sloppy and harmful application of power).  There's no need to make up stuff about how imperialist we are.  The Spanish-American war happened over a 100 years ago.  It's lazy.

Iraq and Afghanistan aren't on our boarders. We do, however, have military bases all over the middle east, propping up dictators and rulers where we please. Enough so to inspire the occasional attack. We do it differently, but the ends are much the same.

Just look at the Ukraine. I've heard fracking is going to open up a lot of natural gas there. Know what Europe wants? Natural gas. That's why they want them in their Union, why they're willing to give them NATO protection, and a host of other things which are antagonizing to Russian interests and government. Russia wants the ports on Crimea, because that gives them better shipping possibilities, for their already vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

It's ludicrous to act as if there isn't some self interest at play for both sides.

Offline jonnybaxy

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Re: "Biggest EU Crisis Of 21st Century" Russia and Ukraine.
« Reply #167 on: March 31, 2014, 05:49:23 AM »

Just look at the Ukraine. I've heard fracking is going to open up a lot of natural gas there. Know what Europe wants? Natural gas. That's why they want them in their Union, why they're willing to give them NATO protection, and a host of other things which are antagonizing to Russian interests and government. Russia wants the ports on Crimea, because that gives them better shipping possibilities, for their already vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

It's ludicrous to act as if there isn't some self interest at play for both sides.

While yes fracking is good, unfortunately we're getting a hell of a lot of people protesting against it... which I find ridiculous, the only reason we need Russia is for their resources.