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Subject: Shocking! Conservatives make some sense about Russia. rss

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Snowball
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http://www.theamericanconservative.com/push-for-new-cold-war...
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Boaty McBoatface
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If only the "cold warriors" had not backed military dictatorships with appalling Human rights records this article might have a point. In fact I would say the article is rather disingenuous, the cold war was about eccomoic liberty, and conservatives opposing a new cod war is to protect the massive investments they (or their friends) have in Russia. It is all about money, not democracy or rule of law.

Having said that it accords with many of my reasons for not wanting military (or too tougher eccomoic sanctions) action against Russia. This is not like the 1950's, we have too much invested in Russia to start anything now.

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James King
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HavocIsHere wrote:

The following passage from the story should raise a red flag in many minds:

The writer of the 'Push For New Cold War Seems to Stall' story wrote:
One would hope the Obama administration would weigh this before accepting Bill Kristol’s invitation to ignite a new Cold War with Russia. We will see.


William "Bill" Kristol was the director of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) think tank that he co-founded with fellow neo-cons Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, & Jeb Bush back in 1997. PNAC's directives for converting America into an empire and for invading Iraq were co-opted by the Bush/Cheney administration. Most of the foreign major policy posts of the Bush/Administration were also filled by PNAC alumni as well.

After PNAC's role in fomenting the invasion of Iraq become more well known, it became inseparably linked to the failure of the Iraq War. For that reason, many of the original PNAC revamped the organization and renamed it "The Foreign Policy Initiative." Since they really haven't changed their foreign-policy views, the name change was but a cosmetic ones to try to distance themselves from their shameful legacy in fomenting the second Iraq War.

On the other hand, since Vladimir Putin has earned major kudos from Tea Party Republicans of the rightwing fundamentalist-Christian extremist blend (like Franklin Graham) for his push for anti-gay legislation in Russia, the reasons that some conservatives might have for not wanting to start another Cold War with Russia may be just as dubious as those wanting to start another Cold War.

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Boaty McBoatface
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Koldfoot wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
we have too much invested in Russia to start anything now.

Would you care to venture a guess which two countries were the largest trading partners in the world before WWI? How about WWII?

Because I'm going to bed I won't make you wait for the answer.

Britain and Germany for both wars.

Investment is minimal compared to foreign investment across Europe prior to WWI. There is much more to gain than lose, if you are inclined to think like that.

And I will point out that Russia is starting it, not "we", although commie RSP defenders will dutifully parrot some nonsense about Russia forced by the west to do it because of natural gas or Black Sea access.

Others will claim a response to aggression is "starting it".

Don't lose sight of the ball.
And look at the fact that the two world wars bankrupted this country and lost us the empire. We went form being the worlds most powerful nation to a third rate power (in a little under 40 years).
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Boaty McBoatface
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Koldfoot wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
If only the "cold warriors" had not backed military dictatorships with appalling Human rights records this article might have a point.


In hindsight was it wrong? How have those countries fared without being propped up with east or western money?

Dictators and repressive regimes abound. "Free" countries fall into dictatorships without outside help. Now there is a world full of dictators who receive no aid and have no reason to pretend to like us.

How has that worked out?

Although western nations backed some bad guys, with hindsight I'm less and less convinced those nations would have been oases of freedom.

Propping up the least bad strongman in these third world hell holes may be exactly what the world needs.
I disagree, in many cases the UK (and the USA) overthrew democratic governments. Do you really believe that Castro was worse then Noriega?
 
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Chris R.
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Quote:
Shocking! Conservatives make some sense about Russia.


This writer and founding editor of The American Conservative magazine previously endorsed John Kerry and Barack Obama for president.

I guess that would be RSP's version of a conservative.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/obamas-right...

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/kerrys-the-o...


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Boaty McBoatface
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sikeospi wrote:
Quote:
Shocking! Conservatives make some sense about Russia.


This writer and founding editor of The American Conservative magazine previously endorsed John Kerry and Barack Obama for president.

I guess that would be RSP's version of a conservative.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/obamas-right...

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/kerrys-the-o...


Well he calls himself a conservative.

So we go back to the no true conservative argument.
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William Boykin
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slatersteven wrote:
sikeospi wrote:
Quote:
Shocking! Conservatives make some sense about Russia.


This writer and founding editor of The American Conservative magazine previously endorsed John Kerry and Barack Obama for president.

I guess that would be RSP's version of a conservative.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/obamas-right...

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/kerrys-the-o...


Well he calls himself a conservative.

So we go back to the no true conservative argument.


No, its more the 'He's not my type of conservative' argument.

The "I've never read any actual history other than the Oliver North/Glenn Beck blog stuff so I'm totally unfamiliar with Edmund Burke and Thomas Hobbes" type of 'Conservative'.

How someone who doesn't really understand their history can call themselves a 'conservative' never ceases to blow my mind.

Darilian
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Boaty McBoatface
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Darilian wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
sikeospi wrote:
Quote:
Shocking! Conservatives make some sense about Russia.


This writer and founding editor of The American Conservative magazine previously endorsed John Kerry and Barack Obama for president.

I guess that would be RSP's version of a conservative.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/obamas-right...

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/kerrys-the-o...


Well he calls himself a conservative.

So we go back to the no true conservative argument.


No, its more the 'He's not my type of conservative' argument.

The "I've never read any actual history other than the Oliver North/Glenn Beck blog stuff so I'm totally unfamiliar with Edmund Burke and Thomas Hobbes" type of 'Conservative'.

How someone who doesn't really understand their history can call themselves a 'conservative' never ceases to blow my mind.

Darilian
My reference to the no true Scotsman fallacy I think implied everything you have just written.
 
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Bojan Ramadanovic
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slatersteven wrote:
If only the "cold warriors" had not backed military dictatorships with appalling Human rights records this article might have a point. In fact I would say the article is rather disingenuous, the cold war was about eccomoic liberty, and conservatives opposing a new cod war is to protect the massive investments they (or their friends) have in Russia. It is all about money, not democracy or rule of law.

Having said that it accords with many of my reasons for not wanting military (or too tougher eccomoic sanctions) action against Russia. This is not like the 1950's, we have too much invested in Russia to start anything now.



Actually, foreign direct investment in Russia is paltry. It is a semi-closed economy with terrible history of treating foreign investors.
Aside from few deals with oil majors (in which oil majors displayed shocking naivete) there is next to no western capital tied in Russia.

To the contrary, Russian oligarchs have substantial private assets parked outside the country whereby to enjoy the property protection and rule of law for the wealth obtained by ignoring both at home.

Literally, only point of economic interest west has in Russia is as a source of natural gas and (to much lesser extent) oil.

Russia on the other hand depends on west (and western currency) for huge range of its imports - from consumer goods to industrial equipment to grain.

With hydraulic fracturing and shale oil in play, with US already on track to becoming world's largest supplier of hydrocarbons, and EU countries having substantial reserves that are accessible using the new technologies (Poland in particular) Russia is heading from relative economic obscurity to total irrelevance.

A comparison between economic interdependence between UK and Germany prior to 1914 is apt for current relationship between China and the West. Russian economic integration would draw more apt comparison with that of UK and Bulgaria (or if you want to be really generous - UK and Austria Hungary).

Ofcourse Russians still have mostly operational Nuclear Arsenal sufficient for mutually assured destruction. As such military confrontation has to be out of question unless they actually threaten the NATO country. E conning sanctions on the other hand are both sensible and so much more costly for Russians then for the West that not imposing them is literally telling Putin that he can do what he pleases East of Dnipr or perhaps even east of polish border.

Allowing Russia to re-develop imperial pretensions will ultimately cost West (and Europeans most notably) much more then a paltrey sum they would have to pay now for some LNG terminals and fast-track fracking permissions in Poland which is all that would be needed to tie the Russian economy in knots.
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LeeDambis wrote:
bramadan wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
If only the "cold warriors" had not backed military dictatorships with appalling Human rights records this article might have a point. In fact I would say the article is rather disingenuous, the cold war was about eccomoic liberty, and conservatives opposing a new cod war is to protect the massive investments they (or their friends) have in Russia. It is all about money, not democracy or rule of law.

Having said that it accords with many of my reasons for not wanting military (or too tougher eccomoic sanctions) action against Russia. This is not like the 1950's, we have too much invested in Russia to start anything now.



Actually, foreign direct investment in Russia is paltry. It is a semi-closed economy with terrible history of treating foreign investors.
Aside from few deals with oil majors (in which oil majors displayed shocking naivete) there is next to no western capital tied in Russia.

To the contrary, Russian oligarchs have substantial private assets parked outside the country whereby to enjoy the property protection and rule of law for the wealth obtained by ignoring both at home.

Literally, only point of economic interest west has in Russia is as a source of natural gas and (to much lesser extent) oil.

Russia on the other hand depends on west (and western currency) for huge range of its imports - from consumer goods to industrial equipment to grain.

With hydraulic fracturing and shale oil in play, with US already on track to becoming world's largest supplier of hydrocarbons, and EU countries having substantial reserves that are accessible using the new technologies (Poland in particular) Russia is heading from relative economic obscurity to total irrelevance.

A comparison between economic interdependence between UK and Germany prior to 1914 is apt for current relationship between China and the West. Russian economic integration would draw more apt comparison with that of UK and Bulgaria (or if you want to be really generous - UK and Austria Hungary).

Ofcourse Russians still have mostly operational Nuclear Arsenal sufficient for mutually assured destruction. As such military confrontation has to be out of question unless they actually threaten the NATO country. E conning sanctions on the other hand are both sensible and so much more costly for Russians then for the West that not imposing them is literally telling Putin that he can do what he pleases East of Dnipr or perhaps even east of polish border.

Allowing Russia to re-develop imperial pretensions will ultimately cost West (and Europeans most notably) much more then a paltrey sum they would have to pay now for some LNG terminals and fast-track fracking permissions in Poland which is all that would be needed to tie the Russian economy in knots.

There is, of course, a pesky question of timing. Yes, there is plenty of alternative energy available for next year or next decade. What about next week? You're recommending that we confront Russia with political sanctions now - sanctions which will hurt the European economies now - rather than wait. Why? You say yourself that time is on our side. Crimea isn't going to solve Russia's economic problems, and it isn't in any way a significant interest to either the U.S. or the Europeans.

There's also the pesky question of political opposition. To put it plainly, almost no one in Europe or the U.S. cares whether Russian troops are in Crimea. We're going to stir up western voters over what, exactly? The Russians taking back a peninsula they controlled for hundreds of years? A peninsula where their ships and troops were already present thanks to basing agreements with the Kiev government? A peninsula where the dominant ethnic group is...Russians?

Sorry, but to me this would be a serious waste of diplomatic capital, compounded by the fact that the Europeans would be forced to bear the brunt of any costs due to the economic war. Who's negotiating with the new Kiev government? Washington. So, when it's time for our European allies to pay the costs you're poo-pooing, do you think they'll blame Russia for starting this or the U.S. for its handling of the crisis?

If time is on our side, we should wait - but make it clear that Russian threats or encroachment against NATO members will not be tolerated.


Also there is the pesky question of "great so the USA gets to sell lots of stuff, why does that benefit the UK?" WW2 put us in hock to the Americans for 60 years, I do not want us to be in hock for another 60.
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The problem with Russia is Russia should *know* better. Asa 'first world' nation that has been ivolved heavily in regional and global polticis for a long time, as one of only two participants in the entire world who did the whole Cold War-Arms-Race-Nuke-The-world thing they should knwo better. They shouldknow brute force doesn't actually solve stuff, it stirs stuff. They should know the old-timey land grabs and warmongery don't work in anything like a global economy as a matter of policy. We should sanction the hell out of them, isolate them, and kicks them in groin precisely because they should know better. If a country that was shoved into the modern era via colonialism and has never had any sights beyond regional conflict gets into a row, you can understand the short sightedness and the limited thinking that flows from that. It's still wrong, but you can parse how it got there. Russia should know better, and so a heavy response should be made to key in on just how unacceptable this behavior is going forward in our world.
 
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Shadrach wrote:
The problem with Russia is Russia should *know* better. Asa 'first world' nation that has been ivolved heavily in regional and global polticis for a long time, as one of only two participants in the entire world who did the whole Cold War-Arms-Race-Nuke-The-world thing they should knwo better. They shouldknow brute force doesn't actually solve stuff, it stirs stuff. They should know the old-timey land grabs and warmongery don't work in anything like a global economy as a matter of policy. We should sanction the hell out of them, isolate them, and kicks them in groin precisely because they should know better. If a country that was shoved into the modern era via colonialism and has never had any sights beyond regional conflict gets into a row, you can understand the short sightedness and the limited thinking that flows from that. It's still wrong, but you can parse how it got there. Russia should know better, and so a heavy response should be made to key in on just how unacceptable this behavior is going forward in our world.


If Putin's goal was to improve poll numbers at home, it did work. If his goal was to gain Crimea, that appears to be working too. Sure, there will, and should, be consequences, but it is hard to say it doesn't work, when it might very well be working exactly as he expected.
 
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Sutehk wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
The problem with Russia is Russia should *know* better. Asa 'first world' nation that has been ivolved heavily in regional and global polticis for a long time, as one of only two participants in the entire world who did the whole Cold War-Arms-Race-Nuke-The-world thing they should knwo better. They shouldknow brute force doesn't actually solve stuff, it stirs stuff. They should know the old-timey land grabs and warmongery don't work in anything like a global economy as a matter of policy. We should sanction the hell out of them, isolate them, and kicks them in groin precisely because they should know better. If a country that was shoved into the modern era via colonialism and has never had any sights beyond regional conflict gets into a row, you can understand the short sightedness and the limited thinking that flows from that. It's still wrong, but you can parse how it got there. Russia should know better, and so a heavy response should be made to key in on just how unacceptable this behavior is going forward in our world.


If Putin's goal was to improve poll numbers at home, it did work. If his goal was to gain Crimea, that appears to be working too. Sure, there will, and should, be consequences, but it is hard to say it doesn't work, when it might very well be working exactly as he expected.


Hence the 'we need a response that makes it non-viable as a policy.'
 
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LeeDambis wrote:
bramadan wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
If only the "cold warriors" had not backed military dictatorships with appalling Human rights records this article might have a point. In fact I would say the article is rather disingenuous, the cold war was about eccomoic liberty, and conservatives opposing a new cod war is to protect the massive investments they (or their friends) have in Russia. It is all about money, not democracy or rule of law.

Having said that it accords with many of my reasons for not wanting military (or too tougher eccomoic sanctions) action against Russia. This is not like the 1950's, we have too much invested in Russia to start anything now.



Actually, foreign direct investment in Russia is paltry. It is a semi-closed economy with terrible history of treating foreign investors.
Aside from few deals with oil majors (in which oil majors displayed shocking naivete) there is next to no western capital tied in Russia.

To the contrary, Russian oligarchs have substantial private assets parked outside the country whereby to enjoy the property protection and rule of law for the wealth obtained by ignoring both at home.

Literally, only point of economic interest west has in Russia is as a source of natural gas and (to much lesser extent) oil.

Russia on the other hand depends on west (and western currency) for huge range of its imports - from consumer goods to industrial equipment to grain.

With hydraulic fracturing and shale oil in play, with US already on track to becoming world's largest supplier of hydrocarbons, and EU countries having substantial reserves that are accessible using the new technologies (Poland in particular) Russia is heading from relative economic obscurity to total irrelevance.

A comparison between economic interdependence between UK and Germany prior to 1914 is apt for current relationship between China and the West. Russian economic integration would draw more apt comparison with that of UK and Bulgaria (or if you want to be really generous - UK and Austria Hungary).

Ofcourse Russians still have mostly operational Nuclear Arsenal sufficient for mutually assured destruction. As such military confrontation has to be out of question unless they actually threaten the NATO country. E conning sanctions on the other hand are both sensible and so much more costly for Russians then for the West that not imposing them is literally telling Putin that he can do what he pleases East of Dnipr or perhaps even east of polish border.

Allowing Russia to re-develop imperial pretensions will ultimately cost West (and Europeans most notably) much more then a paltrey sum they would have to pay now for some LNG terminals and fast-track fracking permissions in Poland which is all that would be needed to tie the Russian economy in knots.

There is, of course, a pesky question of timing. Yes, there is plenty of alternative energy available for next year or next decade. What about next week? You're recommending that we confront Russia with political sanctions now - sanctions which will hurt the European economies now - rather than wait. Why? You say yourself that time is on our side. Crimea isn't going to solve Russia's economic problems, and it isn't in any way a significant interest to either the U.S. or the Europeans.

There's also the pesky question of political opposition. To put it plainly, almost no one in Europe or the U.S. cares whether Russian troops are in Crimea. We're going to stir up western voters over what, exactly? The Russians taking back a peninsula they controlled for hundreds of years? A peninsula where their ships and troops were already present thanks to basing agreements with the Kiev government? A peninsula where the dominant ethnic group is...Russians?

Sorry, but to me this would be a serious waste of diplomatic capital, compounded by the fact that the Europeans would be forced to bear the brunt of any costs due to the economic war. Who's negotiating with the new Kiev government? Washington. So, when it's time for our European allies to pay the costs you're poo-pooing, do you think they'll blame Russia for starting this or the U.S. for its handling of the crisis?

If time is on our side, we should wait - but make it clear that Russian threats or encroachment against NATO members will not be tolerated.


I agree with you that Crimea is not geo-politically important.
What *is* important though is the precedent of border-change through outright military annexation on a flimsy ethno-historic pretext.

If this sort of shit goes and is seen to be going then why not Russian troups in parts of Baltic countries that have sufficient number of ethnic Russians (they too were part of the soviet union just few decades ago), why not Poles in Lviv or Russians in Warsaw or Hungarians in Transilvania or Banat, Macedonians in Tessaloniki, Greeks in Ismir, Turks in Nicosia or Syria or Armenia, Pakistanis in Kashmir, Rwandans in Congo, Indians in Tibet... or any other of the million places where military could be used to right a perceived past or present wrong.

In order for this shit not to become "new normal" Russia must be shown to be acting well outside acceptable norms and that its behavior will have significant geo-political consequences going well beyond personal sanctions on a handful of unimportant politicians.

Kick out of G8 was a good first step but openly doing things that will cause long-term harm to Russian economy and linking those to the Russian behavior in Crimea would be even better.

What Obama should have done - but what would have required *much* more astute and effective president then he ever was - was very publically sign an executive order allowing the sale of american natural gas abroad and give a speech linking this decision to allied energy security in the light of unreliability of Russian supplies as Russia slides towards being a rogue-state.

This would be
a) good policy in its own right as it would further spur US investment in fracturing and hydrocarbon exploitation.
b) would provide hard-to-assail defense against the domestic economic critics of this policy
c) would be felt immediately by the Russian stock-market/currency
d) would not put economic pressure on EU in the way full blown sanctions on Russia would
e) would make threat of full blown sanctions further down the line much more credible.
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bramadan wrote:
LeeDambis wrote:
bramadan wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
If only the "cold warriors" had not backed military dictatorships with appalling Human rights records this article might have a point. In fact I would say the article is rather disingenuous, the cold war was about eccomoic liberty, and conservatives opposing a new cod war is to protect the massive investments they (or their friends) have in Russia. It is all about money, not democracy or rule of law.

Having said that it accords with many of my reasons for not wanting military (or too tougher eccomoic sanctions) action against Russia. This is not like the 1950's, we have too much invested in Russia to start anything now.

Actually, foreign direct investment in Russia is paltry. It is a semi-closed economy with terrible history of treating foreign investors.
Aside from few deals with oil majors (in which oil majors displayed shocking naivete) there is next to no western capital tied in Russia.

To the contrary, Russian oligarchs have substantial private assets parked outside the country whereby to enjoy the property protection and rule of law for the wealth obtained by ignoring both at home.

Literally, only point of economic interest west has in Russia is as a source of natural gas and (to much lesser extent) oil.

Russia on the other hand depends on west (and western currency) for huge range of its imports - from consumer goods to industrial equipment to grain.

With hydraulic fracturing and shale oil in play, with US already on track to becoming world's largest supplier of hydrocarbons, and EU countries having substantial reserves that are accessible using the new technologies (Poland in particular) Russia is heading from relative economic obscurity to total irrelevance.

A comparison between economic interdependence between UK and Germany prior to 1914 is apt for current relationship between China and the West. Russian economic integration would draw more apt comparison with that of UK and Bulgaria (or if you want to be really generous - UK and Austria Hungary).

Ofcourse Russians still have mostly operational Nuclear Arsenal sufficient for mutually assured destruction. As such military confrontation has to be out of question unless they actually threaten the NATO country. E conning sanctions on the other hand are both sensible and so much more costly for Russians then for the West that not imposing them is literally telling Putin that he can do what he pleases East of Dnipr or perhaps even east of polish border.

Allowing Russia to re-develop imperial pretensions will ultimately cost West (and Europeans most notably) much more then a paltrey sum they would have to pay now for some LNG terminals and fast-track fracking permissions in Poland which is all that would be needed to tie the Russian economy in knots.

There is, of course, a pesky question of timing. Yes, there is plenty of alternative energy available for next year or next decade. What about next week? You're recommending that we confront Russia with political sanctions now - sanctions which will hurt the European economies now - rather than wait. Why? You say yourself that time is on our side. Crimea isn't going to solve Russia's economic problems, and it isn't in any way a significant interest to either the U.S. or the Europeans.

There's also the pesky question of political opposition. To put it plainly, almost no one in Europe or the U.S. cares whether Russian troops are in Crimea. We're going to stir up western voters over what, exactly? The Russians taking back a peninsula they controlled for hundreds of years? A peninsula where their ships and troops were already present thanks to basing agreements with the Kiev government? A peninsula where the dominant ethnic group is...Russians?

Sorry, but to me this would be a serious waste of diplomatic capital, compounded by the fact that the Europeans would be forced to bear the brunt of any costs due to the economic war. Who's negotiating with the new Kiev government? Washington. So, when it's time for our European allies to pay the costs you're poo-pooing, do you think they'll blame Russia for starting this or the U.S. for its handling of the crisis?

If time is on our side, we should wait - but make it clear that Russian threats or encroachment against NATO members will not be tolerated.

I agree with you that Crimea is not geo-politically important.

Ah, contraire! Contraire!


Klaus Mommsen about the geopolitical importance of the Crimea
German Navy captain and naval expert Klaus Mommsen explains why the Crimea, with its Black See port Sevastopol, is so important to Russia
Klaus Mommsen about the geopolitical importance of the Crimea
http://www.dw.de/klaus-mommsen-about-the-geopolitical-import...



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slatersteven wrote:
Darilian wrote:

The "I've never read any actual history other than the Oliver North/Glenn Beck blog stuff so I'm totally unfamiliar with Edmund Burke and Thomas Hobbes" type of 'Conservative'.

How someone who doesn't really understand their history can call themselves a 'conservative' never ceases to blow my mind.

Darilian
My reference to the no true Scotsman fallacy I think implied everything you have just written.


But you were just generalizing. He namechecked Burke and Hobbes, which is why he'll rake more thumbs and GG.
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bramadan wrote:
I agree with you that Crimea is not geo-politically important.

I'd say Sevastopol is about as geo-politically important as the US Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan, home of the US Pacific Fleet.
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Simon Mueller wrote:
bramadan wrote:
I agree with you that Crimea is not geo-politically important.

I'd say Sevastopol is about as geo-politically important as the US Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan, home of the US Pacific Fleet.


Except no one else controls the gate to the Pacific and could make the port functionally useless very easily.
 
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Shadrach wrote:
Except no one else controls the gate to the Pacific and could make the port functionally useless very easily.

The point is that Russia maintains a fleet in the Mediterranean against their main competitor (Europe), just like the USA maintains a fleet in the Pacific Ocean against their main competitor (China).

The geo-political importance of these fleets depends very much on the current diplomatic situation. I wouldn't argue that Sevastopol hold no geo-political importance, although since the end of the Cold War it has of course held very little.

If Russia ever finds itself having to deploy a fleet in the Mediterranean, Turkey will open the Bosphorus or end up at war with Russia very quickly. No surprise then that Turkey is a NATO member.

Yes, Turkey currently threatens to close the Bosphorus for Russian ships, but I don't think this is a threat that can be backed up.
 
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Simon Mueller wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
Except no one else controls the gate to the Pacific and could make the port functionally useless very easily.

The point is that Russia maintains a fleet in the Mediterranean against their main competitor (Europe), just like the USA maintains a fleet in the Pacific Ocean against their main competitor (China).

The geo-political importance of these fleets depends very much on the current diplomatic situation. I wouldn't argue that Sevastopol hold no geo-political importance, although since the end of the Cold War it has of course held very little.

If Russia ever finds itself having to deploy a fleet in the Mediterranean, Turkey will open the Bosphorus or end up at war with Russia very quickly. No surprise then that Turkey is a NATO member.

Yes, Turkey currently threatens to close the Bosphorus for Russian ships, but I don't think this is a threat that can be backed up.


This makes no sense.

As you yourself notice - Turkey *is* the member of NATO and therefore under Western nuclear umbrella.
Assuming non-suicidal leadership in Moscow this means that nuclear attack on Turkey is out of question.

Conventional attack by Russia on Turkey to force passage through the straights would be costliest and most futile thing Russia could possibly undertake.

I do not know if you have been to Istanbul, but even the tourist there can see that the Straights themselves are probably most militarized stretch of land in Europe. It is miles and miles of deeply dug in bunkers, artillery and short-range missile silos. Any attempt to either land or force passage would be costly beyond belief and would require Normandy scale operation - and Turkish army is by both quantity and quality one of the best in Europe.

Alternative Russian attack line on Turkey leads through Caucasus mountains with long supply lines exposed to friendly local Muslim population with very little reason to love Russia.

Any conventional war between Russia and Turkey on Turkish soil Russia would lose and lose badly, and that is without any help to Turkey by NATO aside from nuclear deterrent.

Turkey has enough commercial interest in Russia to keep relationship at least decent and therefore to keep Straights open - as long as Russia does not use them for anything really serious - but if they *do* threaten to close them it is a threat that should be taken *very* seriously as they are perfectly capable of following on it.

It is not for nothing that the key element of Russian imperial policy for at least two hundred years was the capture of Constantinople and the Straights. Russia lost that one pretty badly in the (last) Crimean war.
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bramadan wrote:
This makes no sense.

As you yourself notice - Turkey *is* the member of NATO and therefore under Western nuclear umbrella.
Assuming non-suicidal leadership in Moscow this means that nuclear attack on Turkey is out of question.

Conventional attack by Russia on Turkey to force passage through the straights would be costliest and most futile thing Russia could possibly undertake.

I do not know if you have been to Istanbul, but even the tourist there can see that the Straights themselves are probably most militarized stretch of land in Europe. It is miles and miles of deeply dug in bunkers, artillery and short-range missile silos. Any attempt to either land or force passage would be costly beyond belief and would require Normandy scale operation - and Turkish army is by both quantity and quality one of the best in Europe.

Alternative Russian attack line on Turkey leads through Caucasus mountains with long supply lines exposed to friendly local Muslim population with very little reason to love Russia.

Any conventional war between Russia and Turkey on Turkish soil Russia would lose and lose badly, and that is without any help to Turkey by NATO aside from nuclear deterrent.

Turkey has enough commercial interest in Russia to keep relationship at least decent and therefore to keep Straights open - as long as Russia does not use them for anything really serious - but if they *do* threaten to close them it is a threat that should be taken *very* seriously as they are perfectly capable of following on it.

It is not for nothing that the key element of Russian imperial policy for at least two hundred years was the capture of Constantinople and the Straights. Russia lost that one pretty badly in the (last) Crimean war.

Arguably, Sevastopol is the home of Russia's Mediterranean Fleet and if Russia ever needed that fleet to fight in the Mediterranean, Turkey would already be on either Russia's side or against them. So it doesn't matter that Russia would have to go through Turkey in case of a war, because such a war would involve Turkey anyhow. Even in case of a land war, Sevastopol would present a considerable obstacle, as in World War Two.

China has nukes, too, so why do the USA need a naval base in Japan? The only use in today's political situation that port has is for relief efforts during natural disasters.

If you argue that Sevastopol has no geo-political value, then so do most of the military bases in the world have no geo-political value.

That was essentially my point; I'm not advocating a war between Russia and Turkey. That would indeed be ridiculous, but so are almost all wars in my opinion.
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The finest and most mammoth battleships of their time, and almost of all time, tried to force the Turkish Straits during World War I. They were defeated by a combination of low-tech mines and coastal artillery which was able to sink or drive off the minesweepers. If the combined power of those French and British battleships, which were nearly invulnerable to attack by anything other than another battleship, couldn't force the straits in 1915 then the Russian Black Sea fleet of 2014, which is made up of cruisers and destroyers designed for anti-ship missile attacks, aren't going to be able to do it.

The naval battle of the Dardanelles in 1915 was a tactical disaster and the only "finest and most mammoth battleship" involved was the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Sure, there were other ships who were the best "of their time", but that time was about 20 years earlier. It was politically impossible for the Royal Navy to attempt another breach, not militarilly and that is why the infantry had to be landed, which only further escalated the disastrous campaign.

Of course, Russia can't project power beyond the Black Sea, but it's pretty obvious that Putin wants the country to do so. To him the port of Sevastotopol is of geo-political importance, even if it serves little purpose today, and could have been and was used by Ukraine as leverage in any negotiation with Russia.
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Pat Buchanan always interesting.

Quote:
Vladimir Putin seems to have lost touch with reality, Angela Merkel reportedly told Barack Obama after speaking with the Russian president. He is “in another world.”

“I agree with what Angela Merkel said … that he is in another world,” said Madeleine Albright, “It doesn’t make any sense.”

John Kerry made his contribution to the bonkers theory by implying that Putin was channeling Napoleon: “You don’t just, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.”

Now that Putin has taken Crimea without firing a shot, and 95 percent of a Crimean electorate voted Sunday to reunite with Russia, do his decisions still appear irrational?

Was it not predictable that Russia, a great power that had just seen its neighbor yanked out of Russia’s orbit by a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev, would move to protect a strategic position on the Black Sea she has held for two centuries?

Zbigniew Brzezinski suggests that Putin is out to recreate the czarist empire. Others say Putin wants to recreate the Soviet Union and Soviet Empire.

But why would Russia, today being bled in secessionist wars by Muslim terrorists in the North Caucasus provinces of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, want to invade and reannex giant Kazakhstan, or any other Muslim republic of the old USSR, which would ensure jihadist intervention and endless war?

If we Americans want out of Afghanistan, why would Putin want to go back into Uzbekistan? Why would he want to annex Western Ukraine where hatred of Russia dates back to the forced famine of the Stalin era?

To invade and occupy all of Ukraine would mean endless costs in blood and money for Moscow, the enmity of Europe, and the hostility of the United States. For what end would Russia, its population shrinking by half a million every year, want to put Russian soldiers back in Warsaw?

But if Putin is not a Russian imperialist out to re-establish Russian rule over non-Russian peoples, who and what is he?

In the estimation of this writer, Vladimir Putin is a blood-and-soil, altar-and-throne ethnonationalist who sees himself as Protector of Russia and looks on Russians abroad the way Israelis look upon Jews abroad, as people whose security is his legitimate concern.

Consider the world Putin saw, from his vantage point, when he took power after the Boris Yeltsin decade.

He saw a Mother Russia that had been looted by oligarchs abetted by Western crony capitalists, including Americans. He saw millions of ethnic Russians left behind, stranded, from the Baltic states to Kazakhstan.

He saw a United States that had deceived Russia with its pledge not to move NATO into Eastern Europe if the Red Army would move out, and then exploited Russia’s withdrawal to bring NATO onto her front porch.

Had the neocons gotten their way, not only the Warsaw Pact nations of Central and Eastern Europe, but five of 15 republics of the USSR, including Ukraine and Georgia, would have been brought into a NATO alliance created to contain and, if need be, fight Russia.

What benefits have we derived from having Estonia and Latvia as NATO allies that justify losing Russia as the friend and partner Ronald Reagan had made by the end of the Cold War?

We lost Russia, but got Rumania as an ally? Who is irrational here?

Cannot we Americans, who, with our Monroe Doctrine, declared the entire Western Hemisphere off limits to the European empires — “Stay on your side of the Atlantic!” — understand how a Russian nationalist like Putin might react to U.S. F-16s and ABMs in the eastern Baltic?

In 1999, we bombed Serbia for 78 days, ignoring the protests of a Russia that had gone to war for Serbia in 1914. We exploited a Security Council resolution authorizing us to go to the aid of endangered Libyans in Benghazi to launch a war and bring down the Libyan regime.

We have given military aid to Syrian rebels and called for the ouster of a Syrian regime that has been Russia’s ally for decades.

At the end of the Cold War, writes ex-ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock, 80 percent of Russia’s people had a favorable opinion of the USA. A decade later, 80 percent of Russians were anti-American.

That was before Putin, whose approval is now at 72 percent because he is perceived as having stood up to the Americans and answered our Kiev coup with his Crimean counter coup.

America and Russia are on a collision course today over a matter — whose flag will fly over what parts of Ukraine — no Cold War president, from Truman to Reagan, would have considered any of our business.

If the people of Eastern Ukraine wish to formalize their historic, cultural and ethnic ties to Russia, and the people of Western Ukraine wish to sever all ties to Moscow and join the European Union, why not settle this politically, diplomatically and democratically, at a ballot box?
 
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Moshe Callen
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The Crimea has been a Russian objective since Peter the Great.
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