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Thread: Best article I've seen yet on Putin/Ukraine situation

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    TheWalrus's Avatar
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    Best article I've seen yet on Putin/Ukraine situation

    We didn't think Putin would do this. Why, exactly? This has often puzzled me about Western analysis of Russia. It is often predicated on wholly Western logic: surely, Russia won't invade [Georgia, Ukraine, whoever's next] because war is costly and the Russian economy isn't doing well and surely Putin doesn't want another hit to an already weak ruble; because Russia doesn't need to conquer Crimea if Crimea is going to secede on its own; Russia will not want to risk the geopolitical isolation, and "what's really in it for Russia?"—stop. Russia, or, more accurately, Putin, sees the world according to his own logic, and the logic goes like this: it is better to be feared than loved, it is better to be overly strong than to risk appearing weak, and Russia was, is, and will be an empire with an eternal appetite for expansion. And it will gather whatever spurious reasons it needs to insulate itself territorially from what it still perceives to be a large and growing NATO threat. Trying to harness Russia with our own logic just makes us miss Putin's next steps.

    Pessimism always wins. One of the reasons I left my correspondent's post in Moscow was because Russia, despite all the foam on the water, is ultimately a very boring place. Unfortunately, all you really need to do to seem clairvoyant about the place is to be an utter pessimist. Will Vladimir Putin allow the ostensibly liberal Dmitry Medvedev to have a second term? Not a chance. There are protests in the streets of Moscow. Will Putin crackdown? Yup. There's rumbling in the Crimea, will Putin take advantage and take the Crimean peninsula? You betcha. And you know why being a pessimist is the best way to predict outcomes in Russia? Because Putin and those around him are, fundamentally, terminal pessimists. They truly believe that there is an American conspiracy afoot to topple Putin, that Russian liberals are traitors corrupted by and loyal to the West, they truly believe that, should free and fair elections be held in Russia, their countrymen would elect bloodthirsty fascists, rather than democratic liberals. To a large extent, Putin really believes that he is the one man standing between Russia and the yawning void. Putin's Kremlin is dark and scary, and, ultimately, very boring.

    Remember the U.N.? Russia loves the U.N. Anytime the U.S. or Europe want to do anything on the world stage, Russia pipes up, demanding the issue be taken to the U.N. for the inevitable Russian veto. As Steven Lee Meyers, Moscow correspondent for the New York Times, pointed out, Russia does not seem to even remember that the institution exists today. Ditto for all that talk of "political solutions" and "diplomatic solutions" and "dialogue" we heard about in Syria. In other words, what we are seeing today—Russia's unilateral declaration of war—is the clearest statement yet of Russia's actual position: Putin empathizes with Bashar al-Assad as a fellow leader holding his country back from the brink and doing the dirty work that needs to be done to accomplish that, and the U.N. is just a convenient mechanism for keeping nay-sayers with large armies at bay.

    As I wrote earlier this month, Russia, like the U.S., projects its own mindset onto the rest of the world. So when you hear Putin and his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and the talking heads on Russia Today crowing about American cynicism and machinations, well, keep in mind whom they're really talking about.
    More at the link: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/1...o-wont-do-much
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    LouPhinFan's Avatar
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    I laughed at the laying of the blame for this at Obama's feet. He's not all that great of a president but there's little he could have done to stop Putin. A missile shield wouldn't have done anything to stop this.

    Hopefully the G-8 summit in Sochi won't go on as planned and that Russia is kicked out of that group. I wonder what can be done to limit Russia's power in the UN?
    Nearly 70% of the Earth is covered by water...the rest is covered by Gerod Holliman.

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    TheWalrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouPhinFan View Post
    I laughed at the laying of the blame for this at Obama's feet. He's not all that great of a president but there's little he could have done to stop Putin. A missile shield wouldn't have done anything to stop this.

    Hopefully the G-8 summit in Sochi won't go on as planned and that Russia is kicked out of that group. I wonder what can be done to limit Russia's power in the UN?
    There's nothing Obama can do, yet he's at fault for not doing it. Makes perfect sense.
    Last edited by TheWalrus; 03-03-2014 at 03:26 PM.
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    SkapePhin's Avatar
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    Putin probably feels emboldened by the fact that the US has drained itself economically and militarily with more than a decade of fruitless war in the Iraq/Afghanistan quagmires... No one is gonna stop them.

    The ****ty thing about governments and politics is that for the most part only psychopaths want to become presidents and world leaders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LouPhinFan View Post
    I laughed at the laying of the blame for this at Obama's feet. He's not all that great of a president but there's little he could have done to stop Putin. A missile shield wouldn't have done anything to stop this.

    Hopefully the G-8 summit in Sochi won't go on as planned and that Russia is kicked out of that group. I wonder what can be done to limit Russia's power in the UN?
    I laugh at the people who think Obama could or would have done anything to stop it. These ****ers in Washington knew this was coming, this has been coming since the wall fell, Russia isn't and wasn't going to give up its empire and I fail to see how anyone with over a 6th grade education didn't see Putin (old school KGB) undermining anything resembling a democracy and heading right back into socialistic USSR.

    Hell I could make the case that Putin is more forthright than Obama himself, at least with Putin you know his agenda.
    "I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally" ~ W.C. Fields

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus View Post
    There's nothing Obama can do, yet he's at fault for not doing it. Makes perfect sense.
    He could try looking into Putin's soul....
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouPhinFan View Post
    I laughed at the laying of the blame for this at Obama's feet. He's not all that great of a president but there's little he could have done to stop Putin. A missile shield wouldn't have done anything to stop this.

    Hopefully the G-8 summit in Sochi won't go on as planned and that Russia is kicked out of that group. I wonder what can be done to limit Russia's power in the UN?
    I agree pretty much. Obama is in a lose lose situation, if he makes threats and follows through with troop/ship movement into the black sea he will appear to be hawkish and will be hammered by his base and the libertarian wing for trying to get us into another conflict. If he doesn't do anything the right will hammer him for being weak on Putin and decreasing the US standing in the world etc.

    In my opinion I want the US to stay out of this completely, there is no possible gain for us to be even involved in this, but I would like to see the EU for once step up and do something about what is a Russian, Ukrainian, and EU issue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrhankey81701 View Post
    He could try looking into Putin's soul....
    Everyone assumes Putin has a soul to look into...
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    LouPhinFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkapePhin View Post
    Putin probably feels emboldened by the fact that the US has drained itself economically and militarily with more than a decade of fruitless war in the Iraq/Afghanistan quagmires... No one is gonna stop them.

    The ****ty thing about governments and politics is that for the most part only psychopaths want to become presidents and world leaders.

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    Even if the US was at full strength we weren't going to do anything. We're not starting a major war with Russia over the Ukraine.
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    SkapePhin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouPhinFan View Post
    Even if the US was at full strength we weren't going to do anything. We're not starting a major war with Russia over the Ukraine.
    Not saying we would, but it may have given Putin some pause before making such a move.


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