Russia & Ukraine

Discuss the news, current events, politics, etc.

Do you think Russia will invade?

Yes
6
43%
Probably yes
2
14%
Maybe
2
14%
Probably no
3
21%
No
1
7%
Don't know/care or know what this even asking about
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 14

Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby PopTart » 26 February 2022, 20:03

pozzie wrote:Not sure what China would have to gain by invading Japan, but I'd sure hate to be Taiwanese. Would China invade Vietnam or the Philippines over the Spratlys? Never given it much thought. Guess it's possible; just not quite sure the CCP's central leadership is there yet.
Then you aren't paying attention. China has been pushing their claim to the Okinawa islands. Japan is rightly, highly concerned.

pozzie wrote:My memory of protests at the start of both Iraqi Wars is quite different - I had never seen anything like it. Got caught in downtown traffic literally for hours because of a protest march against the first Iraqi Invasion and that was a relatively popular war. And it seems painfully clear, to me at least, that most NATO nations were only too ready to get into it when a strategic resource was at stake, but if we look at something like the various Balkan wars of the 90s, it's also quite clear that NATO can really drag its boots when it's a lot of innocent civilians dying day in and day out.
Precisely, because the people of western nations, don't like bloody conflicts. Too risk averse. We like to stand up and be counted... in protests. With snappy memes and grand gestures. But nothing that distracts too much from our day to day.

pozzie wrote:However, if Russia attacks an actual NATO ally, we will have our 'shit or get off the pot' moment: I think Biden's more of a hawk than people generally think/hope/believe. But we're entering into primary season for the November congressional midterms -- and here's another fair criticism of democracy -- how will this play for the voters? This is a harder issue for Rs to deal with since they are currently two divergent impulses (like the Ds) to simultaneously appear "strong" while also now being against those pesky foreign interventions that are more complex (and longer lasting) than say snatching a strongman who no longer does what he's told from a Central American state or ousting commies from a Caribbean backwater where no one actually goes on vacation. Military adventurism indeed!
Sorry, but Biden is a brain dead muppet. He is also as bad as Trump when it comes to foreign affairs. His foreign affairs record is abysmal. :runaway:
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby pozzie » 26 February 2022, 20:14

PopTart wrote:Explain to me in clear terms, what difference does it make to people on the streets of the US, UK, France etc? An international agreement, that they had no hand in authoring? If they aren't willing to go die in the streets of Kyiv, what makes you think, they are willing to go die on the streets of Talinn?


Well, this is one of the tenets of MAGAism: a former president was very clear in his contempt for NATO, not for any of the reasons we're complaining about the organization, but precisely because a broad segment of the US populace could care less about Riga. Or Antwerp for that matter. And then there was the claim that our partners weren't shouldering their fair share of the financial burden. They also generally subscribe to some level of Europhobia as well.

And as I recall, Russian adventurism in Afghanistan wasn't much more of a success.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby pozzie » 26 February 2022, 20:32

PopTart wrote:Then you aren't paying attention. China has been pushing their claim to the Okinawa islands. Japan is rightly, highly concerned.


Okay, see what you're talking about there but I'm not yet convinced that this isn't really about something else. It's also a kerfuffle based on a paper published in 2013. But clearly time will tell.

PopTart wrote:Sorry, but Biden is a brain dead muppet. He is also as bad as Trump when it comes to foreign affairs. His foreign affairs record is abysmal. :runaway:


Please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying Biden's a great statesman. He's not even a piddling-little statesman. He's just more of a hawk than most Americans believe. That's the key. I've never liked Biden, but I find more to agree with in his administration than the prior - especially when it comes to working with allies rather than pissing on their shoes.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby pozzie » 26 February 2022, 20:54

Here's a couple questions:

1) What do you think western nations should be doing about Ukraine? As in, what do you personally support?

2) Do you think any sanctions regime would be meaningful in this situation? If so, what would you like to see in such sanctions?
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby PopTart » 26 February 2022, 21:06

pozzie wrote:
PopTart wrote:Explain to me in clear terms, what difference does it make to people on the streets of the US, UK, France etc? An international agreement, that they had no hand in authoring? If they aren't willing to go die in the streets of Kyiv, what makes you think, they are willing to go die on the streets of Talinn?


Well, this is one of the tenets of MAGAism: a former president was very clear in his contempt for NATO, not for any of the reasons we're complaining about the organization, but precisely because a broad segment of the US populace could care less about Riga. Or Antwerp for that matter. And then there was the claim that our partners weren't shouldering their fair share of the financial burden. They also generally subscribe to some level of Europhobia as well.

And as I recall, Russian adventurism in Afghanistan wasn't much more of a success.

So, genuine question, has Trump become America's version of Voldemort? Where you can't say his name, for fear his black clad entourage will materialise and whisk you off to muggle prison? Jeez that guy really did a number on you people.

It's not about Americans not caring about Riga. It's not just about Americans ( :facepalm: ) It has nothing to do with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.

It's about the reality, that western people, just don't want to go to war and be put at risk. We have become a culture of pampered, overly comfortable, armchair justice warriors, whose preferred battlefield, is Twitter and Tiktok and our favoured opponents are the kind we don't have to face in real life and can be destroyed by anonymous campaigns of humiliation and social ostracism.

When faced with exigent threats to global stability, we throw around vacuous statements of outrage, engage in pseudo intellectual prevarications and reassure ourselves that, punitive financial action, is the order of the day and will see us through. The problems of others, are not our concern.

Both Putin and Marmaduke are right. Putin, because the west has become a spineless pack of jackals that think themselves lions, Marmaduke, because Nato needs to either put it's money where it's mouth is (or a gun in a certain someone elses) or shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down, because it only makes itself look stupid and exposes it's glaring failings, while throwing a half decent nation to the fire, for no real reason at all.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby PopTart » 26 February 2022, 21:13

pozzie wrote:That's the key. I've never liked Biden, but I find more to agree with in his administration than the prior - especially when it comes to working with allies rather than pissing on their shoes.
Yeah, that wasn't the experience of UK military command during the Afghan withdrawal, of which they had no communication.

Nor was it the experience of the UK government, when Biden "I am Irish" waded in to the Northern Ireland issue during brexit, inflaming tensions for a so called ally.

Or how about his very vocal condemnation and opposition to the Falklands war. Or any number of other blunders, most not even involving the UK! Fuck Biden. If Trump is Voldemort, Biden is Fudge.

pozzie wrote:Here's a couple questions:

1) What do you think western nations should be doing about Ukraine? As in, what do you personally support?

2) Do you think any sanctions regime would be meaningful in this situation? If so, what would you like to see in such sanctions?


1) I think more than sanctions are required. I'm definately in favour of taking a more aggressive military stance, as it's the only language Putin will respond too. I think that Russia needs to be booted from the UN security council and then, I think they need to be ejected from the UN aswell.

2) No, sanctions will do little in the short term which does nothing for the people of Ukraine. It will only hurt regular Russians, aswell as plenty of Europeans. I'll let you guess, who I think is more accustomed to having to go through hard times and who will thus crack first....
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby Sullivan » 26 February 2022, 21:20

UChicago's a miserable place, but Mearsheimer's a good lecturer.

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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby PopTart » 26 February 2022, 21:28

Sullivan wrote:UChicago's a miserable place, but Mearsheimer's a good lecturer.



Seen it, years back. Some of what Mearsheimer says is true, but he goes far too easy on Russia.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby pozzie » 26 February 2022, 22:36

PopTart wrote:So, genuine question, has Trump become America's version of Voldemort? Where you can't say his name, for fear his black clad entourage will materialise and whisk you off to muggle prison? Jeez that guy really did a number on you people.


I can say he's my personal Voldemort. And like Voldemort and Sauron, he'll be back (in 2024). I'm not convinced he'll win since I'm not sure Biden will be the nominee - a lot can happen between now and the next presidential election, but he's still a political force. This is where I usually make a reference to quail hunting in West Texas, but that reference will probably be lost on most (death of Scalia, SCOTUS justice). Only the quails can save us from another four years of Shithouse diplomacy.

Can't deny the number that MAGAism has done -- we'll know more once the SCOTUS revisits Roe v Wade, but that's only one example. However, I think it's critical that we understand those that are fervent supporters of Trump, and while there is some variation based on the issue, that part of the American populace makes up something between 30 and 37% of voters. The real problem isn't Volde - I mean Trump - he's an old fuck and can't last forever. I also believe his Mini Mes probably won't be able to stay at the top of the heap. No, the real problem is the mass that once called itself the Tea Party morphed into MAGAheads then into Q-Anon. I haven't heard if their Trucker Convoy to Washington will still happen this weekend or not.

Maybe you missed coverage of Texas' latest anti-abortion law which SCOTUS has left in place for the time being or Texas' new requirement that anyone who assists a minor in gender dysphoria treatment be investigated for "child abuse." Granted, the push against abortion has always existed in red states but the remaking of SCOTUS during the Trump presidency will have a long term impact. Yes, the Death Eaters have overrun the Ministry of Magic! And don't get me started on Mitch McConnell and what he's done to the Senate.

PopTart wrote:It's not about Americans not caring about Riga. It's not just about Americans ( :facepalm: ) It has nothing to do with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.


While I agree with you completely on a personal level, my point is for most Americans it's ONLY ever going to be about Americans. The American worldview is America First and everyone else only if it's in our interest. That's not a universal view, but it's pretty damn prominent. BTW, Trump was all over US news yesterday for his remarks that Putin was smart for trading nickel and dime sanctions for a huge piece of real estate.

PopTart wrote:It's about the reality, that western people, just don't want to go to war and be put at risk. We have become a culture of pampered, overly comfortable, armchair justice warriors, whose preferred battlefield, is Twitter and Tiktok and our favoured opponents are the kind we don't have to face in real life and can be destroyed by anonymous campaigns of humiliation and social ostracism.

When faced with exigent threats to global stability, we throw around vacuous statements of outrage, engage in pseudo intellectual prevarications and reassure ourselves that, punitive financial action, is the order of the day and will see us through. The problems of others, are not our concern.

Both Putin and Marmaduke are right. Putin, because the west has become a spineless pack of jackals that think themselves lions, Marmaduke, because Nato needs to either put it's money where it's mouth is (or a gun in a certain someone elses) or shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down, because it only makes itself look stupid and exposes it's glaring failings, while throwing a half decent nation to the fire, for no real reason at all.


Agreed though for a rebuttal to "while throwing a half decent nation to the fire, for no real reason at all." I'd refer you to my comments on how Americans feel about the rest of the world. We don't need anything from Ukraine so why the hell will we send our 20-somethings there to die? (That's not my personal viewpoint - just an oversimplification of Amerithink.)

BTW, my view is few in Washington were prepared for the fall of Kabul: they thought it was months, maybe years down the road. Clusterfuck 101 much like the fall of Saigon. It's a huge reasons the Ds are in for a rough ride in November and while I don't believe it will loom large come November '24 (there will be worse and newer horrors by then as we are witnessing this week). it will still be an issue if Biden's the nominee.

Thanks for sharing your views on Biden - I'm particularly interested in reading how his presidency is perceived in other countries.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby Brenden » 26 February 2022, 23:50

Sullivan wrote:UChicago's a miserable place,

I recently head about many of their economics professors getting upset about certain professors' classes being more popular than their own and lobbying the administration to set class-size limits and evenly distribute students among classes, and then further getting upset when students were selling/buying their positions in the popular classes. So much for a free market!
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby Derek » 27 February 2022, 00:47

PopTart wrote:That was it's original purpose, yes, but from that, it became an alliance of defense.

Why, then, do you think the invasion of Ukraine is reason for NATO to go to war, when Ukraine is not a member of that alliance? Doing so would not be an act of defense by definition.

PopTart wrote:Ukraine was encouraged to hand over it's nuclear arsenal, as Russia was very much not in favour of Ukraine maintaining that arsenal (gee, I wonder why that might have been?) It was the first concession by Nato towards Russia and there have been others.

It was the United States who formed the policy following the collapse of the Soviet Union that no former Soviet state could be permitted to become an additional nuclear power. This was a broad international consensus - it wasn't just Russia's demand, or even primarily due to their interest. It was not a concession by NATO to Russia in any way.

PopTart wrote:I'm sorry to say, you suffer from America-syndrome on this subject. It's not all about you. Despite the American ethos to the contrary.

I have a basic understanding of the history, which, where NATO is concerned, produces a strong emphasis on the American perspective. This isn't bias, it's a bare requisite for understanding the actual function of NATO as a political entity.

PopTart wrote:Yes, I know there is a technical distinction. But what I speak of, goes to the heart of what matters most for democratic nations looking at the prospect of going to war.

Again - it's not a "technical distinction" that one country is part of a military alliance and another isn't. It's the difference between the invasion being an act of war against us, and it being an act of war against, you know, not us. If a NATO country is invaded, it will be perceived as an act of aggression against every state in it, because that's what it is. I don't know why you find that to be so incredulous.

PopTart wrote:I disagree. I don't think Russia will stop there. I don't think that Russia thinks much of Nato threats.

This question isn't so obscure that we have to rely on your gut feeling. There are material realities that inform the scope of Russia's ambitions and capability. They aren't insane - attacking NATO member states is not something they think they could get away with, even if they wanted to. You're choosing to believe otherwise based on no understanding of Russia's perspective or military constraints.

PopTart wrote:The Western alliance couldn't stomach the necassery, figthing desert tribesmen in Afghanistan. What makes anyone think that the west has the political will to fight a far deadlier war in Europe with a resurgent and belligerent Russia? :lol:

I don't want to get into this again, but fighting "desert tribesmen" in Afghanistan wasn't "necessary" by any stretch of imagination. It was a conflict that had nothing to do with us, except insofar as it was exacerbated by our interference. Few people in our countries could even say why we were there - of course we lost our appetite for it. It wasn't a case of, say, a member of our military alliance being invaded by an expansionist power in an act of premeditated aggression. It's such an absurd comparison that I'm really not sure what else I can say about it.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby PopTart » 27 February 2022, 08:54

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:That was it's original purpose, yes, but from that, it became an alliance of defense.

Why, then, do you think the invasion of Ukraine is reason for NATO to go to war, when Ukraine is not a member of that alliance? Doing so would not be an act of defense by definition.
First off, the UK and US, along with Russia, entered into the Budapest Memorandum, that the territorial integrity of Ukraine would be respected. When Russia took Crimea, this agreement and it's violation was cited in the UN by both the UK and US, as having been breached by Russia, who got out of any serious reaction, by claiming that the issue was actually one of internal revolution and not Russian invasion. Everyone knew it was bs. But the West did nothing except impose light sanctions.

This green lit further territorial expansion into Ukraine for Putin and so the misinformation war regarding seperatists and genocide etc etc. It's all a pretext. One we have seen before. Both from Putin and from history.

I didn't say what we need, is to go to war, though I suspect it will be required before too long. But a stronger mobilization of force and a more unified commitment across the alliance to promise military intervention, call out RUssia, use every diplomatic measure available and state in plain and simple terms, that if Russia seeks to annex Ukraine, in whole or in part. It will have consequences Why? Because Putin doesn't believe Nato will react, if he plays his cards right. Nato needs to be pro-active and stop being reactionary. Or he will be further emboldened and will nibble away at the edges of the Alliance.

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:Ukraine was encouraged to hand over it's nuclear arsenal, as Russia was very much not in favour of Ukraine maintaining that arsenal (gee, I wonder why that might have been?) It was the first concession by Nato towards Russia and there have been others.

It was the United States who formed the policy following the collapse of the Soviet Union that no former Soviet state could be permitted to become an additional nuclear power. This was a broad international consensus - it wasn't just Russia's demand, or even primarily due to their interest. It was not a concession by NATO to Russia in any way.
Okay, on this I'll concede. Neither side wanted an unknown, former soviet state in control of nuclear weapons. The security risk alone, that those weapons might fall into the wrong hands was too great. But lets not kid ourselves. Russia's motivation was that they didn't want a former Soviet state having an arsenal that might make of Ukraine a rival.

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:I'm sorry to say, you suffer from America-syndrome on this subject. It's not all about you. Despite the American ethos to the contrary.

I have a basic understanding of the history, which, where NATO is concerned, produces a strong emphasis on the American perspective. This isn't bias, it's a bare requisite for understanding the actual function of NATO as a political entity.
I'm sorry but from where I sit, I think you are biased. I know and understand what Nato is to America, to Americans but you all but ignore what Nato funcationally is, for other memberstates. You regard Nato with a degree of contempt, as you do for many of your national institutions it seems. While you see it as something that should die, you'll be hard pressed to find say.. Lithuanians who feel the same way. You regard it as an some extension of American imperialism (maybe? I don't really get your gripe other than, it involves the US and you currently hate your own nation for not being perfect? I dunno) while Estonians don't see it that way, they see it as a positive influence that has allowed them to live free from the threat of foreign invasion, to westernise and prosper.

While many American intellectuals sneer at American gunboat diplomacy, there are a great many people who enjoy the benefits of that style of diplomacy, are protected and sheltered by it. There is a reason, that for the last fifty years, this has been the most peaceful time in human history. Pax Americana hasn't been all that bad in my and many other peoples estimation. Nato, to this point, has played a huge part in that.

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:Yes, I know there is a technical distinction. But what I speak of, goes to the heart of what matters most for democratic nations looking at the prospect of going to war.

Again - it's not a "technical distinction" that one country is part of a military alliance and another isn't. It's the difference between the invasion being an act of war against us, and it being an act of war against, you know, not us. If a NATO country is invaded, it will be perceived as an act of aggression against every state in it, because that's what it is. I don't know why you find that to be so incredulous.
It is a technical distinction though Derek.

You still haven't answered my question. Do you want to go fight and possibly die in Kyiv? If the answer is no, then explain to me, why the answer would be different if the distant city you would be asked to go fight and die in, is one that has, on paper, an alliance with your country? An alliance you don't even see value in and disagree with in principle?

We aren't talking about the pissing about that happened in the middle east and undermined the wests moral authority. We are talking about the kind of war, the west has been insulated from, for more than two generations.

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:I disagree. I don't think Russia will stop there. I don't think that Russia thinks much of Nato threats.

This question isn't so obscure that we have to rely on your gut feeling. There are material realities that inform the scope of Russia's ambitions and capability. They aren't insane - attacking NATO member states is not something they think they could get away with, even if they wanted to. You're choosing to believe otherwise based on no understanding of Russia's perspective or military constraints.
Putin has already told the Russian people, Nato is planning an invasion. Don't you see? The cold war is back and actual war is on the table once more. Russia doesn't have to invade western Europe or the US, to win a war with Nato, all it has to do, is convince Nato member states of significance, that war isn't worth it and Nato will cease to be an issue.

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:The Western alliance couldn't stomach the necassery, figthing desert tribesmen in Afghanistan. What makes anyone think that the west has the political will to fight a far deadlier war in Europe with a resurgent and belligerent Russia? :lol:

I don't want to get into this again, but fighting "desert tribesmen" in Afghanistan wasn't "necessary" by any stretch of imagination. It was a conflict that had nothing to do with us, except insofar as it was exacerbated by our interference. Few people in our countries could even say why we were there - of course we lost our appetite for it. It wasn't a case of, say, a member of our military alliance being invaded by an expansionist power in an act of premeditated aggression. It's such an absurd comparison that I'm really not sure what else I can say about it.
If you don't understand how those conflicts are linked to what is happening now, I don't know what to say to you Derek. :shrug:
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby pozzie » 27 February 2022, 09:28

Belarus is holding a constitutional referendum today which will permit the location of Russian nukes in Belarus among other amendments. The referendum is described here but so far results are not being posted. FP doesn't see it failing at the ballot box.

This seems like an important development.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby PopTart » 27 February 2022, 11:09

pozzie wrote:Belarus is holding a constitutional referendum today which will permit the location of Russian nukes in Belarus among other amendments. The referendum is described here but so far results are not being posted. FP doesn't see it failing at the ballot box.

This seems like an important development.

I'm not in the least surprised.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby poolerboy0077 » 27 February 2022, 16:19

Twitch and OnlyFans have blocked all Russian users from their sites. I think it’s safe to say the real sanctions have finally kicked in. We can expect Russia at the negotiating table.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby PopTart » 27 February 2022, 16:27

poolerboy0077 wrote:Twitch and OnlyFans have blocked all Russian users from their sites. I think it’s safe to say the real sanctions have finally kicked in. We can expect Russia at the negotiating table.

Don't be silly, they'll be underneath it, blowing the Tsar.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby Derek » 27 February 2022, 19:56

PopTart wrote:First off, the UK and US, along with Russia, entered into the Budapest Memorandum, that the territorial integrity of Ukraine would be respected. When Russia took Crimea, this agreement and it's violation was cited in the UN by both the UK and US, as having been breached by Russia, who got out of any serious reaction, by claiming that the issue was actually one of internal revolution and not Russian invasion. Everyone knew it was bs. But the West did nothing except impose light sanctions.

That's certainly true, and it gets to why I'm suspicious of NATO's involvement. If military action in Ukraine was unacceptable, there were steps NATO could have taken to make those assurances. Instead we chose the profitable option, which was to make Ukraine a client state of our defense industry. That was my original point - NATO didn't "fail", it benefitted the people it was created to benefit.

PopTart wrote:I didn't say what we need, is to go to war, though I suspect it will be required before too long.

When, then?

PopTart wrote:While many American intellectuals sneer at American gunboat diplomacy, there are a great many people who enjoy the benefits of that style of diplomacy, are protected and sheltered by it. There is a reason, that for the last fifty years, this has been the most peaceful time in human history. Pax Americana hasn't been all that bad in my and many other peoples estimation. Nato, to this point, has played a huge part in that.

Over the course of NATO's existence, every border in Eastern Europe was redrawn. And while there was terrible fighting in places like Serbia, much of the conflict was resolved through proxies on other continents.

I don't want to refuse to give credit where credit is due. From the perspective of someone living in Estonia, NATO may well be a source of security. But let's not dirty the conversation with a bunch of misconceptions about it being a principled organization fighting for the sanctity of democracy everwhere.

PopTart wrote:It is a technical distinction though Derek.

Jesus Christ, no it's not. It's not an accident that Poland is a member of NATO and Ukraine isn't. These are the results of decades of conflict and diplomacy. It's only a "technical distinction" if every country in the world is exactly the same and the only thing that distinguishes one from another is if they signed a piece of paper.

PopTart wrote:You still haven't answered my question. Do you want to go fight and possibly die in Kyiv? If the answer is no, then explain to me, why the answer would be different if the distant city you would be asked to go fight and die in, is one that has, on paper, an alliance with your country? An alliance you don't even see value in and disagree with in principle?

I wouldn't volunteer to go fight and die in my own city. Ask someone who's not a charlatan and a coward.

If Russia invaded somewhere else - let's say Finland - I do believe a different response would be called for, and notably Finland does not have the "technical distinction" of being a NATO member.

PopTart wrote:Putin has already told the Russian people, Nato is planning an invasion. Don't you see? The cold war is back and actual war is on the table once more. Russia doesn't have to invade western Europe or the US, to win a war with Nato, all it has to do, is convince Nato member states of significance, that war isn't worth it and Nato will cease to be an issue.

You believe Putin's plan is to win a war with NATO by not waging war against NATO?

PopTart wrote:If you don't understand how those conflicts are linked to what is happening now, I don't know what to say to you Derek. :shrug:

Explain it to me. Use small words.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby PopTart » 27 February 2022, 21:01

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:I didn't say what we need, is to go to war, though I suspect it will be required before too long.

When, then?
Whenever the West realises it can no longer sacrifice other peoples liberty, for our peace.

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:While many American intellectuals sneer at American gunboat diplomacy, there are a great many people who enjoy the benefits of that style of diplomacy, are protected and sheltered by it. There is a reason, that for the last fifty years, this has been the most peaceful time in human history. Pax Americana hasn't been all that bad in my and many other peoples estimation. Nato, to this point, has played a huge part in that.

Over the course of NATO's existence, every border in Eastern Europe was redrawn. And while there was terrible fighting in places like Serbia, much of the conflict was resolved through proxies on other continents.

I don't want to refuse to give credit where credit is due. From the perspective of someone living in Estonia, NATO may well be a source of security. But let's not dirty the conversation with a bunch of misconceptions about it being a principled organization fighting for the sanctity of democracy everwhere.
No Derek, it most definately is a source of security. I won't let you equivocate on that. It is precisely because of equivocations like that, that Americans justify talk of disbanding Nato, a force that for millions of people, is a shield against warfare, violence and tyranny. Is it all sunshine and rainbows? Ofcourse not, lets not pretend we live in a fantasy land. There is give and take, benefits and costs. America has enjoyed a great deal, as you have said, some of it of questionable ethicality. But that doesn't negate the good. Nor does it justify, having enjoyed all those benefits, for America to find itself holding a hot-potato and suddenly wanting to ditch and run. That merely compounds the errors of which you speak. Balance the scales, don't throw in the towel. That's what you guys did in Afghanistan.

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:It is a technical distinction though Derek.

Jesus Christ, no it's not. It's not an accident that Poland is a member of NATO and Ukraine isn't. These are the results of decades of conflict and diplomacy. It's only a "technical distinction" if every country in the world is exactly the same and the only thing that distinguishes one from another is if they signed a piece of paper.
Yes Derek, it is. In the context of it being a distinction of little importance, to the only people that matter in a democratic nation, facing the prospect of going to war. If you aren't sold on going to war for Ukraine, why would you do so Poland? By your own admission you wouldn't fight for your own country.

You are not alone. The vast majority of the west feels the same way. It no longer wants to fight for it's own existence, let alone anyone else. Ergo, Nato is meaningless. It doesn't matter if Putin attacks Ukraine, Poland or France. You and the rest of the west, aren't willing to do what has to be done, to stop him. You'll leave it to circumstance or someone else to deal with.

Sure, our respective governments might go through the motions of declaring war. But how often are wars successfully executed, between powers of similar power parity, when the populace aren't behind it?

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:You still haven't answered my question. Do you want to go fight and possibly die in Kyiv? If the answer is no, then explain to me, why the answer would be different if the distant city you would be asked to go fight and die in, is one that has, on paper, an alliance with your country? An alliance you don't even see value in and disagree with in principle?

I wouldn't volunteer to go fight and die in my own city. Ask someone who's not a charlatan and a coward.
That's just it Derek. That's all we have left. It's why, Nato is meaningless. It is why, despite having the most powerful military on Earth, the US is no longer a threat. You don't have the will to use it, unless it's to beat up on those weaker than you and doesn't disturb your indolence. You'll protest, mildly. But you wont actually do anything. It is why the US and other western powers have lost confidence in themselves, are withdrawing from global leadership and the likes of China, Russia and others are moving up to fill the vacuum.

Many people in the west lament what the west has done at the head of the table.

I suspect they'll come to learn, that there are others, willing to do a whole lot worse and maybe, just maybe, our way while not perfect. Was the better way.


Derek wrote:If Russia invaded somewhere else - let's say Finland - I do believe a different response would be called for, and notably Finland does not have the "technical distinction" of being a NATO member.
But you personally wouldn't want to be part of the response. So how in good conscience, could you ask someone else to be? You wouldn't. Because you're not an arsehole. That will be the broad consensus. That is why a different response will not be forthcoming. That is why Putin feels all he will have to do, is wait for when the US is distracted with something else and he will do it again. Wonder who will be next when America is busy tearing itself a new one during the 2024 election cycle.

Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:Putin has already told the Russian people, Nato is planning an invasion. Don't you see? The cold war is back and actual war is on the table once more. Russia doesn't have to invade western Europe or the US, to win a war with Nato, all it has to do, is convince Nato member states of significance, that war isn't worth it and Nato will cease to be an issue.

You believe Putin's plan is to win a war with NATO by not waging war against NATO?
You know that one doesn't have to have territorial occupation, to have a war be won or lost right? Technically, had the US not entered WW2 when it did, Britain would have been forced to surrender to Germany. No German forces had landed in the UK. Or in much of the rest of the global empire. But we would have lost anyway. The US, despite massive losses and military failures in Vietnam, had been on the verge of victory, but public opinion cost you the war.

All Putin has to do, is make war or the prospect of war, so miserable, that people like you and me, demand that our governments make peace. Do you know what peace looks like?

It looks like this:
nato-eastern-europe.jpg


Derek wrote:
PopTart wrote:If you don't understand how those conflicts are linked to what is happening now, I don't know what to say to you Derek. :shrug:

Explain it to me. Use small words.
Had the western alliance not pulled out of Afghanistan and demonstrated that in the US atleast, what mattered more, was short term voter approval, Putin likely wouldn't have had his suspicions confirmed, the west hasn't the stomach for seeing something through. Add to that, Allied military bases in that region could reach the vulnerable Russian underbelly, in the event that Nato called one of his many bluffs. Russias greatest weakness, is of a geographical nature. Putin isn't mad. He isn't stupid as some believe. I think he is a pragmatist aswell as an opportunist. Pulling out of Afghanistan was a disaster then and it is proving to be a disaster now.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby pozzie » 27 February 2022, 22:03

It's probably not irrational for someone to say he doesn't want to go off and fight a war for someone or something else. It's a different scenario when talking about dying in a city you've never heard of in a foreign country and dying protecting your own city against invasion.

Part of the change in the west is we are now steeped in the mythos that we are free and individuals. Wear a mask for the common good? What's been said about that let alone getting a vaccine? We are no longer vassals to our liege lord and I think most western citizens would be hard pressed to say that they equate citizenship and government with the now dead concepts of owed service to the state.

So even when we had the discussion about protecting our (US or western) interests in Afghanistan or Iraq, some said, "Sure, I'll stand up for 'freedom'!" (though I'm not willing to say that many were eager to go play real life war instead of just on a gaming console). But for many others, they question why they should go off and die for cheap petrol and oil company profits.

I disagree with the assertion that NATO won't respond if attacked directly - say a missile lands in Romania or Alaska. I do rather believe they will respond but exactly how and how fast, I cannot say. I would even go a bit farther and say that prior to 2015, more Americans would have said, "Yes, it's important to live up to our NATO commitment with boots on the ground." I think in the years afterward the concept was intentionally planted and hyped that, "We're tired of fighting foreign wars that don't concern our interests." How much of that was being 'tired' of Iraq and Afghanistan and how much due to a new current of isolationist thought is a harder call. But it was very clear that Americans were enlisting in record numbers after 9/11 to protect and bring freedom to others. Of course many realized what a toll war takes even on strong, committed warriors. Is it any wonder people started asking what they were suffering for? In the end, many if not most will have said they were doing it for their buddies, their team -- that's what they continued to fight for, not oil profits or bickering religious factions fighting for control of land half a world away.

How about this question: Would you agree to sacrifice yourself tomorrow if the result was to end the war for once and all? I'm not so sure people wouldn't think a bit and answer yes. I don't believe magnanimity is dead, but I do believe dying for someone else's benefit is nor longer esteemed (think corporate profits rather than those hungry orphans yearning to have parents).

For me the problem is the balance between aspiration and pragmatism. We talk a lot about freedom and democracy and fostering and protecting it everywhere on the planet. I'm just not sure we're ready to go protect someone else's democracy (even if they supply important minerals) and frankly, I'm not sure any one nation should be the global freedom police. However, I'm much more supportive of joint operations, such as NATO or UN (it's just in this case, it appears Russians view anything European's do as NOT being their free will, but because they are puppets of the US). I want less of W's cowboy diplomacy and a more consultative approach.
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Re: Russia & Ukraine

Unread postby Derek » 27 February 2022, 22:34

PopTart wrote:Whenever the West realises it can no longer sacrifice other peoples liberty, for our peace.

René, would you consider adding a :jack-off: emoji?

PopTart wrote:No Derek, it most definately is a source of security. I won't let you equivocate on that. It is precisely because of equivocations like that, that Americans justify talk of disbanding Nato, a force that for millions of people, is a shield against warfare, violence and tyranny. Is it all sunshine and rainbows? Ofcourse not, lets not pretend we live in a fantasy land. There is give and take, benefits and costs. America has enjoyed a great deal, as you have said, some of it of questionable ethicality. But that doesn't negate the good. Nor does it justify, having enjoyed all those benefits, for America to find itself holding a hot-potato and suddenly wanting to ditch and run. That merely compounds the errors of which you speak. Balance the scales, don't throw in the towel. That's what you guys did in Afghanistan.

This connection you've drawn between Russia and Afghanistan is fevered neoconservative fantasy. The only vision of peace you're able to conceptualize is a unipolar world where America is obligated to play the role of global police. I don't understand how this is embraced so uncritically when a country of white Europeans is invaded, but not in Yemen, Palestine, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, or anywhere else our empire-making isn't afforded an element of cultural or racial solidarity. There's a particular irony in Ukraine where NATO's role has been to dick around the offer of membership with the specific goal of increasing tensions.

I suppose I shouldn't leave it just implied - I don't believe NATO has fostered peace in Eastern Europe, and I don't believe it will check Russian expansionism either. I know you said Mearsheimer was "soft on Russia", but you understand that this isn't a rebuttal to any of his excellent arguments. It's not a valid approach to analyze the situation with shallow, incomplete historicity because it helps you to conclude that the Good Guys need to go fight the Bad Guys.

PopTart wrote:Yes Derek, it is. In the context of it being a distinction of little importance, to the only people that matter in a democratic nation, facing the prospect of going to war. If you aren't sold on going to war for Ukraine, why would you do so Poland? By your own admission you wouldn't fight for your own country.

There are ideological and strategic reasons to go to war that vary. Invading Poland is a categorically different act than invading Ukraine. I want to be clear that I don't think invading Ukraine is justified, but there's an internal logic that makes it a politically possible within Russia itself. If Russia invaded Poland, there would be no logic except nihilistic, destructive psychosis - the death cult mentality of late-stage fascism.

This distinction would exist even if NATO didn't. Poland is not Ukraine. You are flattening political and material realities to make them easier to digest.

PopTart wrote:I suspect they'll come to learn, that there are others, willing to do a whole lot worse and maybe, just maybe, our way while not perfect. Was the better way.

:jack-off:

PopTart wrote:But you personally wouldn't want to be part of the response. So how in good conscience, could you ask someone else to be? You wouldn't. Because you're not an arsehole. That will be the broad consensus.

I don't have to ask. Despite what you believe, there are plenty of people who are still willing and avid interventionalists. Although with the current political climate in the US, that interventionism isn't guaranteed to come down against Russia.

PopTart wrote:You know that one doesn't have to have territorial occupation, to have a war be won or lost right?

I didn't know that. TIL

PopTart wrote:All Putin has to do, is make war or the prospect of war, so miserable, that people like you and me, demand that our governments make peace. Do you know what peace looks like?

It looks like this:
nato-eastern-europe.jpg


I feel like you posting this unironically has made my argument better than I could have made it myself. I think we can agree that we're not going to agree, so let's just wait 30 years and see who was right.
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