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Thread: Ukraine

  1. #1
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    Default Ukraine

    Haven't seen much on this, here (perhaps I've missed it?). Putin, and his advisers, have a resurrection of the Soviet Union (the dissolution of which putin called 'the greatest tragedy of this generation', or some such) as their ultimate goal. Amassing over 100,000 soldiers on Ukraines border; lying about intent. In all, typical russian behavior.

    HCR runs a nice blog, which I've shared here before. Todays is good.


    Heather Cox Richardson

    9h ·





    January 31, 2022 (Monday)

    CNN reported tonight that former president Trump had not one but two executive orders prepared to enable his loyalists to seize voting machines after the 2020 election. One authorizing the Pentagon to seize the machines was made public as part of the investigation by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. Another, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security, has been confirmed to CNN by a number of sources, but is not publicly available.

    Shortly after this report, the New York Times reported a story with much more detail, claiming that Trump was directly involved in the plans to seize the machines. The authors talked to “people familiar with the matter [who] were briefed on the events by participants or had firsthand knowledge of them.” That latter description is interesting: someone in Trump’s inner circle is talking to reporters (and the shape of the different elements in the story suggests that person is not necessarily giving an accurate account).

    CNN also reported that former vice president Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, testified before the January 6 committee last week. Short had been cooperating with the committee, providing documents, and testified after a subpoena. He was with Pence for many of the key moments surrounding the events of January 6.

    The committee has asked a judge to adjust document production from lawyer John Eastman’s former employer, Chapman University. Eastman sued to stop a subpoena for 94,000 pages of emails the university agreed to produce, saying that many of them were covered by attorney-client privilege. So a judge ordered him to review them, but he is moving so slowly the committee says he won’t get around to sending the ones between January 4, 2021, and January 7, 2021—the ones the members most want to see—until it’s too late for them to be of use. The judge ordered him to prioritize those days.

    Also, campaign finance reports filed today show that former president George W. Bush donated the maximum allowable to Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), who is vice chair of the January 6 committee, and to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who also opposed former president Trump. The fight between establishment Republicans and Trump Republicans continues to simmer, but the muted response today to Trump’s statement last night about overturning the election suggests the establishment is not willing to make a stand in favor of our democratic system if it means losing their base.

    In the wake of Trump’s weekend attack on the prosecutors investigating the varying valuations of his properties and his efforts to overturn the election, Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney Fani Willis today asked the FBI to address heightened security concerns.

    Otherwise, today’s main news came from the meeting of the United Nations Security Council, where the U.S. ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, warned of an “urgent and dangerous” situation in Europe as Russian president Vladimir Putin has massed more than 100,000 Russian troops along the border with Ukraine. The Russian representative countered that Russia had indicated no intention of invading Ukraine and the U.S. is fearmongering.

    At stake is the concept of sovereignty: will large states have the power to absorb their neighbors into spheres of influence in a system that mirrors that of the Cold War era, or will each state have the right to hold firm borders and determine its own alliances.

    The U.S. and the U.K. have said they have prepared a list of “oligarchs close to the Kremlin” who will be hit with sanctions in the case that Russian troops invade Ukraine again. The list includes the family members of those profiting from Putin’s regime, cutting off their ability to funnel illicit money into western democracies.

    This is a huge deal. Oligarchs consolidated power in the former Soviet satellite states in the 1990s and moved enormous amounts of illicit money into the U.S. and the U.K.—so much that London is sometimes called “Londongrad.” Recent studies suggest that the influx of that illicit money had undermined democracy, and cleaning it up would almost certainly help to stabilize the systems in the U.S. and the U.K. British foreign secretary Liz Truss said the measures “can target anyone providing strategic support close to Vladimir Putin.”

    This threat appears to have worried the Kremlin, whose spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called the proposed measures an illegitimate “outright attack on business.” The head of Russia’s Senate committee for protection of national sovereignty, Andrey Klimov, said that any such sanctions would hurt Britain rather than Russia by hurting the image of the U.K. as a safe haven for investments. Capital would flow out of the U.K. to Hong Kong or Zurich, he warned.

    Interviewed by Politico’s Ryan Heath, European Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Kadri Liik noted that a massive military deployment would be “very badly received” in Russia. Asked if Putin sees Biden as weak, Liik said the opposite: that he has come off as smart. “He's trying to limit his frontlines. He's not fighting each and every battle. Plus, Biden is someone who can speak on behalf of the West. During the whole Trump period, there was no one like that.”

    In Britain today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the country’s Conservative Party faced a serious challenge to his government when a report revealed “failures of leadership and judgment” by Johnson in attending 12 parties that ignored the country’s strict lockdown rules. Johnson had downplayed the events and now that they are confirmed, even much of his own party appears ready to abandon him, appalled that he apparently considered himself above the law. In a leader, one member of Parliament said, “honesty and decency matters.”
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

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    Default Re: Ukraine

    Putin is an a$$hole and Ukraine deserves freedom, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    At stake is the concept of sovereignty: will large states have the power to absorb their neighbors into spheres of influence in a system that mirrors that of the Cold War era, or will each state have the right to hold firm borders and determine its own alliances.
    Like Iraq and Afghanistan could determine their own alliances over the past two decades?

    Or like Latin American countries are free to do so today?

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    My understanding is that Russians are already in the Ukraine out of uniform, preparing to perform acts of sabotage. As I understand it, this is how they took half of Berlin.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

    "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers

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    Not sure why those finances weren't targeted, permanently, a long time ago.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

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    Because there two sides to every transaction, and money to be made?

    Because London would shrivel up and become affordable?

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    Default Re: Ukraine

    4 page thread about the Ukraine here: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-Closer-to-war
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Ukraine

    So now it's 5.

    After war starts it will be dozens.

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    Default Re: Ukraine

    Or we could have another dozen threads a day about US politics and how horrible the Republicans are...

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    Default Re: Ukraine

    Pounding most of Russia into the 18th century would be a big step forward for most of the country.

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    They are rather like the Confederacy - keeps rising from the ashes, intent on changing history.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

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    Default Re: Ukraine

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    Putin is an a$$hole and Ukraine deserves freedom, but...



    Like Iraq and Afghanistan could determine their own alliances over the past two decades?

    Or like Latin American countries are free to do so today?
    shhh, can’t bring that up when we’re talking about scary nefarious actors challenging our supremacy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    Or we could have another dozen threads a day about US politics and how horrible the Republicans are...
    how about favorite funghi?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    As if anyone anywhere would tell anyone they were about to invade.
    Russia has already invaded Ukraine, Georgia, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

    If Kazakhstan rebels and declares independence, Russia will need to invade there as well. If they could swing it, Belarus . . . then the Baltic states . . . Poland . . .
    I'm not leaving.

    -- Mike Pence

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    Putin wants to rebuild the glory of the USSR. Nobody can be surprised by this.

    At the end of WWI the allies extracted punitive concessions from the losers. Those concessions are widely agreed to have led to WWII.

    At the end of WWII the allies rebuilt Japan and Germany so that today they are major allies.

    What did we (Ronald Reagan) do to rebuild Russia after winning the Cold War? Why did we not learn the lesson from history that either we helped rebuild it as a modern democratic state, or the old forces would reassert themselves?
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

    "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers

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    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    What did we (Ronald Reagan) do to rebuild Russia after winning the Cold War? Why did we not learn the lesson from history that either we helped rebuild it as a modern democratic state, or the old forces would reassert themselves?
    That. Only substitute "the West" for Ray-gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    That. Only substitute "the West" for Ray-gun.
    I hold the west responsible, but it was Reagan and the Republicans that took the victory lap.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

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    Default Re: Ukraine

    I think Russia would be way harder to rebuild than Germany, sice Russia was never as developed as Germany or Japan in the first place. Just my thought.
    Ragnar B.

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    Default Re: Ukraine

    Vlad seems to have issued a list of demands, the next step if precedent is any guide is action……...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mizzenman View Post
    I think Russia would be way harder to rebuild than Germany, sice Russia was never as developed as Germany or Japan in the first place. Just my thought.
    Just a bit bigger too.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Good article here on Putin's demands last December: https://www.npr.org/2022/01/12/10724...a-nato-ukraine

    What right does Russia have to decide whether or not a country can join NATO? I may be naive, but I thought a country got to decide (right or wrong) what organizations it wants to join. Does Putin get to tell Ukraine's leaders what color shoes to wear too?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Ukraine

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    Putin is an a$$hole and Ukraine deserves freedom, but...



    Like Iraq and Afghanistan could determine their own alliances over the past two decades?

    Or like Latin American countries are free to do so today?
    Xactly. But it's only wrong when Russia does it.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    What right does Russia have to decide whether or not a country can join NATO? I may be naive, but I thought a country got to decide (right or wrong) what organizations it wants to join.
    So Cuba, let's say, could join an alliance with Russia without fear of retaliation from any other power?

    Oh, wait...

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    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    So Cuba, let's say, could join an alliance with Russia without fear of retaliation from any other power?

    Oh, wait...
    Fair point
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    Putin wants to rebuild the glory of the USSR. Nobody can be surprised by this.

    At the end of WWI the allies extracted punitive concessions from the losers. Those concessions are widely agreed to have led to WWII.

    At the end of WWII the allies rebuilt Japan and Germany so that today they are major allies.

    What did we (Ronald Reagan) do to rebuild Russia after winning the Cold War? Why did we not learn the lesson from history that either we helped rebuild it as a modern democratic state, or the old forces would reassert themselves?
    We did not do a good job of even trying to rebuild the ex-Soviet Union or to [re-]incorporate it into the community of nations.

    Francis Fukuyama's August 1989 essay, "The End of History?", published in the neo-con rag The National Interest did not help, arguing as it did that a blissful liberal democratic capitalist utopia was nigh at hand. Published a couple of months later, this article from the Sunday NYT magazine, What Is Fukuyama Saying? And to Whom Is He Saying It?, talks about the reaction to that essay.

    This op-ed piece from the NYT in 2017 pretty much lays it all out:

    The Cold War and America’s Delusion of Victory
    By Odd Arne Westad
    Aug. 28, 2017

    Odd Arne Westad, a professor of United States-Asia relations at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, is the author, most recently, of “The Cold War: A World History,” from which this essay is adapted.

    "...the Cold War as an ideological struggle disappeared only in part, despite Communism’s implosion. On the American side, not so much changed on that day. The Cold War was over, and the United States had won it. But most Americans still believed that they could only be safe if the world looked more like their own country and if the world’s governments abided by the will of the United States.

    Ideas and assumptions that had built up over generations persisted, despite the disappearance of the Soviet threat. Instead of a more limited and achievable American foreign policy, most policy makers from both parties believed that the United States could then, at minimal cost or risk, act on its own imperatives.

    America’s post-Cold War triumphalism came in two versions. First was the Clinton version, which promoted a prosperity agenda of market values on a global scale. Its lack of purpose in international affairs was striking, but its domestic political instincts were probably right: Americans were tired of foreign entanglements and wanted to enjoy “the peace dividend.”

    As a result, the 1990s was a lost opportunity for international cooperation, particularly to combat disease, poverty and inequality. The most glaring examples of these omissions were former Cold War battlefields like Afghanistan, Congo and Nicaragua, where the United States could not have cared less about what happened — once the Cold War was over.

    The second was the Bush version. Where President Bill Clinton emphasized prosperity, President George W. Bush emphasized predominance. In between, of course, stood Sept. 11. It is possible that the Bush version would never have come into being had it not been for the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington carried out by Islamist fanatics (a renegade faction, in fact, of an American Cold War alliance).

    The Cold War experience clearly conditioned the United States response to these atrocities. Instead of targeted military strikes and global police cooperation, which would have been the most sensible reaction, the Bush administration chose this moment of unchallenged global hegemony to lash out and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq. These actions had no meaning in a strategic sense, creating 21st-century colonies under the rule of a Great Power with no appetite for colonial rule.

    But the United States did not act out of strategic purpose. It acted because its people were understandably angry and fearful. And it acted because it could. The Bush version was directed by foreign policy advisers who thought of the world predominantly in Cold War terms; they stressed power projection, territorial control and regime change.

    The post-Cold War era was therefore not an aberration but a continuity and confirmation of an absolute historical purpose for the United States. Gradually, however, over the course of the generation that has passed since the Cold War, the United States has become less and less able to afford global predominance.

    As America entered a new century, its main aim should have been to bring other nations into the fold of international norms and the rule of law, especially as its own power diminishes. Instead, the United States did what declining superpowers often do: engage in futile, needless wars far from its borders, in which short-term security is mistaken for long-term strategic goals. The consequence is an America less prepared than it could have been to deal with the big challenges of the future: the rise of China and India, the transfer of economic power from West to East, and systemic challenges like climate change and disease epidemics.

    If the United States won the Cold War but failed to capitalize on it, then the Soviet Union, or rather Russia, lost it, and lost it big. The collapse left Russians feeling déclassé and usurped. One day they had been the elite nation in a superpower union of republics. The next, they had neither purpose nor position. Materially, things were bad, too. Old people did not get their pensions. Some starved to death. Malnutrition and alcoholism shortened the average life span for a Russian man from nearly 65 in 1987 to less than 58 in 1994.

    If many Russians felt robbed of a future, they were not wrong. Russia’s future was indeed stolen — by the privatization of Russian industry and of its natural resources. As the socialist state with its moribund economy was dismantled, a new oligarchy emerged from party institutions, planning bureaus and centers of science and technology and assumed ownership of Russia’s riches. Often, the new owners stripped these assets and closed down production. In a state in which unemployment had, officially at least, been nonexistent, the rate of joblessness rose through the 1990s to peak at 13 percent. All this happened while the West applauded Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms.

    In retrospect, the economic transition to capitalism was a catastrophe for most Russians. It is also clear that the West should have dealt with post-Cold War Russia better than it did. Both the West and Russia would have been considerably more secure today if the chance for Russia to join the European Union, and possibly even NATO, had at least been kept open in the 1990s.

    Instead, their exclusion has given Russians the sense of being outcasts and victims — which, in turn, has given credence to embittered jingoists like President Vladimir Putin, who see all the disasters that have befallen the country over the past generation as an American plot to reduce and isolate it."
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    We did not do a good job of even trying to rebuild the ex-Soviet Union or to [re-]incorporate it into the community of nations.
    Poor exhausted imperialists, we didn't help them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    The post-Cold War era was therefore not an aberration but a continuity and confirmation of an absolute historical purpose for the United States.
    However, the United States is not NATO; NATO is no threat to Russia; and no one but Russia is stopping Russia joining the community of nations
    I'm not leaving.

    -- Mike Pence

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    ...and no one but Russia is stopping Russia joining the community of nations
    This is true.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

    "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers

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    But the US called the shots, wanted to call them, insisted on calling them until……….. it didn't.

    I believe it could still, if it wanted to. If. It's on the cusp with a pronounced lean to the negative at present. Around the world people don't believe it has the bottle any more, and maybe the US doesn't either.
    There being a power vacuum two dictators come to the fore waving sticks. The US still has bigger ones but adter several OS disasters may not have thr will to wave it effectively any more because the internal power struggle has a while to run and no one is sure of the finish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Poor exhausted imperialists, we didn't help them.
    Nothing about imperialist or anything else really, save a sense of somewhat enlightened self-interest and possibly some sense of noblesse oblige. A kleptocracy run by an autocrat thug, having an impoverished populace, and armed with nuclear weapons, is a threat to all.

    Following the implosion of the Soviet Union, it would have been in the best interest of the community of nations as a whole, if we, the resource-rich West had helped rebuild the remains of Russia and its ex-Soviet satellite states.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    Following the implosion of the Soviet Union, it would have been in the best interest of the community of nations as a whole, if we, the resource-rich West had helped rebuild the remains of Russia and its ex-Soviet satellite states.
    In fact, I heard a retiring NATO commander, John Galvin, say this in the early 1990's. He was visibility saddened that it looked like it was not going to happen. Unfortunately, he was right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    Nothing about imperialist or anything else really, save a sense of somewhat enlightened self-interest and possibly some sense of noblesse oblige. A kleptocracy run by an autocrat thug, having an impoverished populace, and armed with nuclear weapons, is a threat to all.

    Following the implosion of the Soviet Union, it would have been in the best interest of the community of nations as a whole, if we, the resource-rich West had helped rebuild the remains of Russia and its ex-Soviet satellite states.
    There is Russia in Ukraine, and there is the rest of the world. The idea that the ROTW owes Russia something, because the ROTW didn't pursue its own interest, is nonsensical. Bizarre. Even in the abstract, it adds not a whisper to the Russian side of the scale.

    As for who actually owes whom for what:

    1. The Russian people owe the ROTW a responsible nation state. This is the corollary of the right to self-government: the duty of self-government. This means all their blubbering bull S about "Mother Russia" needs to go straight down the toilet, along with American Exceptionalism.

    2. A duty to rebuild Russia?

    This argument of course avoids the issue of legal authority to do jack in Russia; and Russia's willingess to allow jack to be done; and where the money would come from. We're going to teach the heirs of Imperial Russia how to run their outfit, from Kamchatka to Bulgaria, and pay them to do it? Japan and Germany allowed themselves to be rebuilt, having had the imperialism beaten out them, severely.

    In contrast -- who caused Chernobyl to F up? Who lied about it, and actively prevented the ROTW from dealing with it? Who paid, and continues to pay, to fix it? What has Russia rebuilt in Ukraine, the Ukraine supposedly bound to them by all this spiritual stuff?

    By all means, let's talk about the self-interest of the ROTW. Chernobyl all by itself would justify indefinite occupation of Ukraine by the ROTW; arguably, invasion of Russia to uncover and deal with all other colossal, world-threatening F ups they're lying to the world about. Here comes the ROTW, acting in their interest, S birds. Stand aside. Who pays the piper calls the tune.

    Meanwhile they've managed to rebuild themselves to the point where they have invaded Ukraine and Georgia. If other things needed rebuilding, those needs were subordinated to Russian imperialism.

    The Russian empire is not going to be rebuilt and the bills sent to the ROTW. And Russia is not going to rebuild it. Referendum after referendum is coming to central Asia. Independence. Are we then going to hear about the mystical bonds between Kirghizstan and "Mother Russia"?
    I'm not leaving.

    -- Mike Pence

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    What is ROTW? Rest of the world?
    Will

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    yeah

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    The idea that the ROTW owes Russia something, because the ROTW didn't pursue its own interest, is nonsensical. Bizarre.
    Of course the ROTW doesn't owe Russia anything. That is not the point. The Allies didn't owe Germany anything in 1945 either. The rich don't owe anything to the poor, and when an earthquake wipes out Haiti nobody owes them any aid.

    It is enlightened self-interest to offer assistance in all these cases, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    What did we (Ronald Reagan) do to rebuild Russia after winning the Cold War? Why did we not learn the lesson from history that either we helped rebuild it as a modern democratic state, or the old forces would reassert themselves?
    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    That. Only substitute "the West" for Ray-gun.
    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    I hold the west responsible, but it was Reagan and the Republicans that took the victory lap.

    The Cold War and America’s Delusion of Victory
    By Odd Arne Westad
    Aug. 28, 2017

    As America entered a new century, its main aim should have been to bring other nations into the fold of international norms and the rule of law, especially as its own power diminishes. Instead, the United States did what declining superpowers often do: engage in futile, needless wars far from its borders, in which short-term security is mistaken for long-term strategic goals. The consequence is an America less prepared than it could have been to deal with the big challenges of the future: the rise of China and India, the transfer of economic power from West to East, and systemic challenges like climate change and disease epidemics.

    If the United States won the Cold War but failed to capitalize on it, then the Soviet Union, or rather Russia, lost it, and lost it big. The collapse left Russians feeling déclassé and usurped. One day they had been the elite nation in a superpower union of republics. The next, they had neither purpose nor position. Materially, things were bad, too. Old people did not get their pensions. Some starved to death. Malnutrition and alcoholism shortened the average life span for a Russian man from nearly 65 in 1987 to less than 58 in 1994.

    If many Russians felt robbed of a future, they were not wrong. Russia’s future was indeed stolen — by the privatization of Russian industry and of its natural resources. As the socialist state with its moribund economy was dismantled, a new oligarchy emerged from party institutions, planning bureaus and centers of science and technology and assumed ownership of Russia’s riches. Often, the new owners stripped these assets and closed down production. In a state in which unemployment had, officially at least, been nonexistent, the rate of joblessness rose through the 1990s to peak at 13 percent. All this happened while the West applauded Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms.

    In retrospect, the economic transition to capitalism was a catastrophe for most Russians. It is also clear that the West should have dealt with post-Cold War Russia better than it did. Both the West and Russia would have been considerably more secure today if the chance for Russia to join the European Union, and possibly even NATO, had at least been kept open in the 1990s.

    Instead, their exclusion has given Russians the sense of being outcasts and victims — which, in turn, has given credence to embittered jingoists like President Vladimir Putin, who see all the disasters that have befallen the country over the past generation as an American plot to reduce and isolate it.
    The posts and op-ed quoted above seem to be quite clear in laying the blame for Russia's development over the last ~30 years at the feet of the US or "the West". I think this is what Osborne Russell's last few posts are in response to. Russia (and the USSR) have long histories of imperial aspirations. The continuation of these aspirations today hasn't been caused by the US, and I suspect that it's wishful thinking to say that more active involvement in Russia's domestic politics in the 1990s would have expunged or even controlled these aspirations.

    The US has done a bad job of showing international leadership and foresight in the intervening years, and has caused much suffering elsewhere to assuage our domestic angst. But I think the blame for Russia's current ambitions lies not with the US.
    Last edited by pandelume; 02-02-2022 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Fixed ptypo

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Ukraine

    The Russians eeem to still long for a Czar. Vlad is just the latest incarnation of that imperial dream. The myth of a strong man seems built into their psyche. The gangster culture there is likely encouraged by the state as an extension of their power..

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