Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby sardia » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:20 pm UTC

Killerofsheep wrote:No UN troops would make it anywhere near Ukraine. Russia has veto power in the UN, meaning any plan to send troops would be outright rejected, wouldn't it?

But NATO troops could go, not that they would. Russia has no Veto over NATO.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby addams » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:39 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Heh, can you imagine UN troops patrolling eastern Ukraine. Chinese and/or Indian UN troops.

Can I imagine it?
Yes.

I have wild imagination.
The Chinese? ok.
The Indians? ok.
UN Troops? ok.

Send in Americans?
oh. I doe no.

They might defect in Huge Numbers.
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What if they were met by an Impressive Military Presence?
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Killerofsheep » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:44 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Killerofsheep wrote:No UN troops would make it anywhere near Ukraine. Russia has veto power in the UN, meaning any plan to send troops would be outright rejected, wouldn't it?

But NATO troops could go, not that they would. Russia has no Veto over NATO.

Yeah, it's just people were specifically mentioning UN troops. Also didn't realise this was hypothetical; reading is hard.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:50 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Well, depends on whether the Russians would veto. Could go both ways, right?


*chuckles*

Yeah, the UN security council will do nothing. Russia will veto, China will abstain. In a straight up fight, Ukraine loses. In a shadow fight, Ukraine loses. The only potential path that does not lead to a Ukrainian loss is where other countries opt to get involved without relying on UN support/permission. Ukraine simply does not have the money/stability/troops for another outcome.

Other nations parking troops in western Ukraine would help provide a balance of power, to be sure. Loans could help fix the money issue, and somewhat mitigate stability. That, by itself, is likely not enough, but a heavy investment here in conjunction with other actions would send a rather nice message.

Moving troops eastward is more confrontational...probably a risky first move. If I had my druthers, I'd park overtly geared for war with russia ships, aircraft, and troops* in the west, and announce a surprise joint exercise with Ukraine. That should suffice to defuse the E. Ukrainian situation...but Crimea is already lost. Too late there.

*Ideally a nice coalition of european powers, a few US troops in there, etc. Of course, this level of committment and cooperation is...unlikely.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Zamfir » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:45 pm UTC

I can't see how western troops would defuse the pro-Russian militias. You can't intend to shoot at them, right? So you have troops who cannot engage, but who do act as visible proof for the militia's claim, that the west and the western Ukrainians a work together to oppress the east. The Russians would love that. It's the perfect legitimization of their troops in the Crimea.

I mean, the critical segment of the population are Russia-oriented Ukrainians who do not wish to join Russia if they can avoid it. Russia must have pissed those people off, a lot. If the situation stays as it is, Russia has gained the Crimea, but scared a lot of potential support in the rest of Ukraine, plus a detoriation in further foreign relations. That's not a very good outcome.

That changes, if enough Ukrainians are also seriously scared by the Kiev government and the west. Scared enough to accept a Russian dominated eastern Ukraine in some form or another.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:25 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I can't see how western troops would defuse the pro-Russian militias. You can't intend to shoot at them, right? So you have troops who cannot engage, but who do act as visible proof for the militia's claim, that the west and the western Ukrainians a work together to oppress the east. The Russians would love that. It's the perfect legitimization of their troops in the Crimea.


Simple, they act as a geopolitical counter-balance for the russian troops also "exercising" right next to the border. This allows Ukraine to handle it's takeover problem with a lot less fear of Russian troops marching over the border...ie, the reason there is currently a standoff.

Crimea is over and done with. Legitimized or not, the Russian flag has already been raised. That is a battle already lost. The current battle is for Eastern Ukraine. If that too is lost, well, it's only a matter of time until the next one.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby sardia » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:04 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Zamfir wrote:I can't see how western troops would defuse the pro-Russian militias. You can't intend to shoot at them, right? So you have troops who cannot engage, but who do act as visible proof for the militia's claim, that the west and the western Ukrainians a work together to oppress the east. The Russians would love that. It's the perfect legitimization of their troops in the Crimea.


Simple, they act as a geopolitical counter-balance for the russian troops also "exercising" right next to the border. This allows Ukraine to handle it's takeover problem with a lot less fear of Russian troops marching over the border...ie, the reason there is currently a standoff.

Crimea is over and done with. Legitimized or not, the Russian flag has already been raised. That is a battle already lost. The current battle is for Eastern Ukraine. If that too is lost, well, it's only a matter of time until the next one.

I have concerns about how well the Ukrainian forces loyal to Kiev can hold themselves together. Say we gave assurances that the West would come in if the Russians start all out invading. How does that help against the paramilitary forces and protestors in Eastern Ukraine? What's Ukraine's plan of action? Declare anyone who resists a terrorists and shoot them? Mass police action with mass arrests and marshal law? Does Ukraine even have the will, or the capability to do any of those things?

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Diadem » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:11 pm UTC

Yeah, giving Ukraine a blanket security guarantee is not a very attractive option. What is going on in Eastern Ukraine is getting close to a civil war. So far the Ukrainian government is showing remarkable restraint, so there is good hope that they will continue to show this, but if they do start shooting there own civilians in massive numbers, that is obviously not something that the EU can support.

Current NATO troop movements by the way are not so much in support of Ukraine, but in support of the Baltic States. They are worried that they could be next, and since they are part of NATO, NATO is sending troops to guarantee their security.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:13 pm UTC

Has anyone done an analysis on the costs to the Russian economy of its recent adventures in Central Asia and Eastern Europe? Can they afford this?
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Zamfir » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:23 pm UTC

@Tyndmyr, Geopolitical counterbalance sounds nice, what does it mean on the ground? Is it supposed to be a promise to fight Russian troops when they cross the border?A deniable hint of such a promise? Would there be accompanying promises to the Kiev government? In public, in private? Would this be bluff, or would you intendto fight? And once you're fighting Russian troops on the border of Russia itself, are you willing to escalate if the Russians do? How far?

The core assumption of NATO is that it has to be willing to escalate to world war 3 in that situation, because only that willingness is enough guarantee to prevent actual escalation. Perhaps that assumption is no longer valid, but that's quite a change to make on a whim.

On the other hand, if we're hypothetically considering to offer NATO level of commitment to Ukraine, then I'd like to see a lot, lot clearer signal from Ukraine. A government with the clear support of most of the population, asking unambiguously for military support, with a commitment to take on that fight itself.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Derek » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:59 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Has anyone done an analysis on the costs to the Russian economy of its recent adventures in Central Asia and Eastern Europe? Can they afford this?

Well right now it's cost them very little. They've faced no significant military opposition and received no significant economic sanctions.

It's a hawk-dove game, and right now Russia is playing the hawk and everyone else is playing doves.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby EMTP » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:21 pm UTC

Derek wrote:Well right now it's cost them very little. They've faced no significant military opposition and received no significant economic sanctions.


Not so much:

Image

Lars Christensen from Danske Bank said Russia’s economy is already in recession and may contract by as much as 4pc if there are fresh sanctions, risking a repeat of events in 2008 when capital flight set off serial defaults and a banking crisis. “There is a credit squeeze under way and a significant shock to the cost of capital. This could prove to be as bad as the Lehman crisis for Russia. Capital outflows have already been $65bn so far this year, compared to $135bn in late 2008,” he said.

“Markets seem to be betting that the Kremlin can’t let things get worse in Ukraine because it would be insane, yet it is happening it anyway. We think there will be a much more serious correction in the Russian markets,” he said.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Derek » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:26 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
Derek wrote:Well right now it's cost them very little. They've faced no significant military opposition and received no significant economic sanctions.


Not so much:

Image

Lars Christensen from Danske Bank said Russia’s economy is already in recession and may contract by as much as 4pc if there are fresh sanctions, risking a repeat of events in 2008 when capital flight set off serial defaults and a banking crisis. “There is a credit squeeze under way and a significant shock to the cost of capital. This could prove to be as bad as the Lehman crisis for Russia. Capital outflows have already been $65bn so far this year, compared to $135bn in late 2008,” he said.

“Markets seem to be betting that the Kremlin can’t let things get worse in Ukraine because it would be insane, yet it is happening it anyway. We think there will be a much more serious correction in the Russian markets,” he said.

Can I get more than one date on that graph? I know that the Russian markets dipped at the beginning of the Crimean crisis, then bounced back a bit later when the "sanctions" were announced and weren't nearly as bad as investors had expected.

EDIT: I see the second date now, it was cut off before. Yeah, that's when it dipped at the start of the crisis. I believe it has mostly recovered now.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Diadem » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:01 am UTC

Yes, they went back up again because the sanctions weren't as harsh as expected. The expectation in the stock market is that there will be no military conflict in Ukraine. If that expectation is proven wrong, the market will go down again. They'll go down everywhere in the world, but in Russia in particular.

Russia is a huge country, but its GDP is not that high. About 2 trillion (in US dollars), about equal to Italy. Here's a list of Russia's international trade. Over 40% is with the EU, over 15% of of Russia's GDP.

A collapse of trade European-Russian trade would definitely hit the EU economy hard. But it would completely crash and burn the Russian one. Ultimately, that's simply a matter of relative sizes. The European Union's economy is 8 times bigger than Russia's.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:06 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Yeah, giving Ukraine a blanket security guarantee is not a very attractive option. What is going on in Eastern Ukraine is getting close to a civil war. So far the Ukrainian government is showing remarkable restraint, so there is good hope that they will continue to show this, but if they do start shooting there own civilians in massive numbers, that is obviously not something that the EU can support.

Current NATO troop movements by the way are not so much in support of Ukraine, but in support of the Baltic States. They are worried that they could be next, and since they are part of NATO, NATO is sending troops to guarantee their security.


It's probably not going to happen, because Americans are frankly a little burned out on armed confrontation, and Europe simply isn't liking the cost/benefit ratio here. In fact, people are openly talking about which NATO states are "worth" miltiary intervention over. That's likely to encourage Russia.

bigglesworth wrote:Has anyone done an analysis on the costs to the Russian economy of its recent adventures in Central Asia and Eastern Europe? Can they afford this?


God yes, this is nearly free, because actual conflict has been minimal so far. The total value of Crimea in natural resources, strategic position, etc, far exceeds the extremely minor expenditure. This represents a massive win for them. Given that they are facing almost no armed conflict, attrition is not a factor.

Zamfir wrote:@Tyndmyr, Geopolitical counterbalance sounds nice, what does it mean on the ground? Is it supposed to be a promise to fight Russian troops when they cross the border?A deniable hint of such a promise? Would there be accompanying promises to the Kiev government? In public, in private? Would this be bluff, or would you intendto fight? And once you're fighting Russian troops on the border of Russia itself, are you willing to escalate if the Russians do? How far?


It's a counter-balance to Russian forces, so to be effective in that role, you have to match Russian posture. Right now, that's overtly threatening "exercises" next to the disputed zone(E Ukraine). Currently, we can balance that by acting similarly. This gives them a plausible out...they can declare victory because they have Crimean turf, and not continue their advance. It still represents a limited win for them. Worrying, but possibly avoids war.

If they opt to escalate instead, well...then yeah, you've gotta match that or blink. Do you think Russia is willing to escalate all the way to nuclear war in order to invade Ukraine? If so, that's pretty damned concerning. I believe that would be a particularly stupid play on Russia's part, especially when they can so easily take the limited win and continue to play other favored geopolitical games elsewhere on their border, but...there are no guarantees.

That said, it is extremely likely that the will to do this just doesn't exist on the part of the west.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby BlackSails » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:43 pm UTC

Not that I am an expert in either this situation or WWII history, but isnt the russian takeover of crimea extremely similar to the german takeover of the sudetenland?

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:08 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:Not that I am an expert in either this situation or WWII history, but isnt the russian takeover of crimea extremely similar to the german takeover of the sudetenland?


Strategically and diplomatically, yes. The tactical situation is a little different as a result of tech(and russian style).

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:53 pm UTC

And the subsequent moves of (pro)russian troops in heavily-Russian populated areas of eastern Ukraine along with Putin's aims of restoring some perceived golden age of his country adds to the analogy.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Diadem » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:15 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It's probably not going to happen, because Americans are frankly a little burned out on armed confrontation, and Europe simply isn't liking the cost/benefit ratio here. In fact, people are openly talking about which NATO states are "worth" miltiary intervention over. That's likely to encourage Russia.

What isn't going to happen? Russia attacking a NATO country, or the NATO defending that country if Russia attacks?

If Russia invades, for example, Latvia, and the NATO does not act, that will mean no more NATO. So it doesn't really matter how tired Americans are of armed confrontation. It doesn't really matter that Europe's armies are in a pitiful state. They simply can't afford not to respond with military force in such a scenario. Not acting would mean the end of NATO, it would mean a huge backlash against America, a huge loss in allies, and in international influence. And the EU would probably collapse, certainly every single Eastern European nation would immediately leave.

It doesn't matter that Latvia is small, or strategically unimportant. Neither of those are relevant. It's about the political fallout. Why would anybody want to be allies with the US if the US just abandons their allies in their time of need?

Anyway, this scenario is extremely unlikely anyway. If Russia wanted to fuck with any of the Baltic states, they wouldn't do so by direct military invention. They'd likely fund seperatist groups, perhaps train them, perhaps send some limited troops without uniform to maintain plausible deniability. Everything to make sure NATO can't officially act because officially nothing is going on. Pretty much what they are doing in Eastern Ukraine, except even more circumspect. I don't think it would work though, these countries are too well organized, and too stable, for that to work.

eSOANEM wrote:And the subsequent moves of (pro)russian troops in heavily-Russian populated areas of eastern Ukraine along with Putin's aims of restoring some perceived golden age of his country adds to the analogy.

Putin's endgame is probably very different though. Putin is an expansionist, but he is not as mad as Hitler. Nor as cruel. Also, while Hitler could quite easily take over the rest of Czechia after he got the Sudetenland, I don't see this happening in Ukraine. Ukraine is huge, and the Western part of the country at least is pretty anti-Russian. Russia will have a very hard time if it wanted to occupy Western Ukraine.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby cphite » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:34 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
Derek wrote:Well right now it's cost them very little. They've faced no significant military opposition and received no significant economic sanctions.


Not so much:

Image

Lars Christensen from Danske Bank said Russia’s economy is already in recession and may contract by as much as 4pc if there are fresh sanctions, risking a repeat of events in 2008 when capital flight set off serial defaults and a banking crisis. “There is a credit squeeze under way and a significant shock to the cost of capital. This could prove to be as bad as the Lehman crisis for Russia. Capital outflows have already been $65bn so far this year, compared to $135bn in late 2008,” he said.

“Markets seem to be betting that the Kremlin can’t let things get worse in Ukraine because it would be insane, yet it is happening it anyway. We think there will be a much more serious correction in the Russian markets,” he said.


Seems more likely that their market took a hit because of the threat of sanctions, than from the actual sanctions. It's already starting to recover.

And honestly, the threat of any sort of serious sanctions has always been paper thin... Europe depends on Russia for far too much of it's energy to even consider serious sanctions.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Zamfir » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:40 am UTC

The Geneva conference has been somewhat surprisingly productive. The deal on paper is now (from the Guardian)

The deal has five main points:

• All sides refrain from violence, and reject expressions "of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including antisemitism".

• All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned; all illegally occupied streets and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.

• Amnesty will be granted to protesters and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.

• The OSCE would play a leading role in helping the authorities implement the agreement.

• Constitutional reform would be inclusive, transparent and accountable.

The agreement does not address the build-up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, nor the beefing up of the Nato presence on Russia's western border, announced on Wednesday by the alliance's secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Kerry said Russia had withdrawn one battalion from the border region and had said it would make further, bigger withdrawals as the Geneva agreement was implemented.

So, at least on paper, Russia has withdrawn support for the militias. Yet to see what happens of course.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby addams » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:06 am UTC

Links please.

How tricky is this going to be?
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Carlington » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:13 am UTC

• All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned; all illegally occupied streets and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.

Illegal by whose laws? International law, I assume? Doesn't this leave Russia free to covertly support the "totally not Russian" militias in Ukraine, while maintaining plausible deniability - I mean, if the militias aren't bound to any nation, are they bound to international law? Which nation will be responsible for holding them accountable?
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Zamfir » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:40 am UTC

Sure, if they want to break the agreement they can break it. Such agreements are statements of intent, not legal documents where it's OK if you break the spirit but not the letter. At a guess, if the Russians want to cancel the deal, they will go for the first point and claim that there is still racist violence in Ukraine so the deal is void. Not hide behind word play about the meaning of 'illegal'.

For now, Ukraine, the EU and the US seems cautiously positive that the Russians are serious. We'll see in the next days.

Linkylink: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/17/ukraine-crisis-agreement-us-russia-eu

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Diadem » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:34 am UTC

I don't see why Russia would sign such an agreement if they weren't serious. It doesn't gain them anything, diplomatically, to sign this agreement and then break it.

Apparently Russia doesn't want this to completely escalate. This doesn't surprise me. That scenario was never very attractive for Russia - war is expensive in itself, and sanctions from the west would make it even more expensive. Also, he would get Eastern Ukraine at the expense of any influence in Western Ukraine, or the rest of Eastern Europe. An escalation of the conflict was bad for basically everybody, which made a peaceful resolution likely.

What does surprise me is how little Russia got out of the agreement. A few vague concessions about a transparent constitutional reform. How is Putin going to sell this as a victory back home?
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby bigglesworth » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:05 am UTC

The fact that they got Crimea presumably.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Diadem » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:59 am UTC

bigglesworth wrote:The fact that they got Crimea presumably.

Wait, are Ukraine, the EU and US now officially recognizing Crimea as part of Russia? I didn't read that anywhere?
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby elasto » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:33 am UTC

That's the tacit tit-for-tat, and Putin has played it masterfully.

Crimea has gone quietly and willingly over to the Russians. If that had been the end of it, there'd be endless squabbling, sanctions and so on. But by Putin discretely stoking a situation that could end up a hundred times worse for everyone (Ukrainian civil war) but then magnanimously helping quash it he gains everyone's gratitude - and noone ends up pushing him too hard on Crimea. Officially they may still complain of course, but nothing will get done. And in ten or twenty years it'll all be forgotten.

It's like if you punch someone but then save them from being eaten by a lion, they are so happy to still be alive they kinda forgive you for punching them (even if they somewhat strongly suspect you had a hand in the lion being released also...)

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Zamfir » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:52 pm UTC

I don't think there's much people with any gratitude towards Putin, least of all in the Ukrainian government. If Russia faces a Russian-disliking Ukrainian government for the foreseeable future, then a gained Crimea is a meager compensation.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby bigglesworth » Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:29 pm UTC

Maybe, but easy for Putin to count as a victory to the Russian public.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:48 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:The fact that they got Crimea presumably.

Wait, are Ukraine, the EU and US now officially recognizing Crimea as part of Russia? I didn't read that anywhere?

The absence of the word "Crimea" from the document tells everyone that they aren't actively working to reverse it anymore. Russia doesn't need our recognition of Crimea, they just want us to stop bitching about it.
bigglesworth wrote:Maybe, but easy for Putin to count as a victory to the Russian public.

Or maybe just to himself. It seems clear to me that Putin wanted Crimea, and didn't much care for eastern Ukraine. I don't believe he cares about getting approval from the West or the Russian public. He wanted Crimea. He got Crimea.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Zamfir » Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:52 pm UTC

It's not just, or mostly the public that he has to worry about. There must be a lot of powerful, rich people in Russia who do not like adventures like this. They will face a tougher business climate for the coming years, and they will want to see that is for a sufficient cause.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:17 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It's probably not going to happen, because Americans are frankly a little burned out on armed confrontation, and Europe simply isn't liking the cost/benefit ratio here. In fact, people are openly talking about which NATO states are "worth" miltiary intervention over. That's likely to encourage Russia.

What isn't going to happen? Russia attacking a NATO country, or the NATO defending that country if Russia attacks?


The preceding thing. Europe/US volunteering troops to go into Ukraine.

The NATO thing was intended only as an illustration of just how much public sentiment is against getting involved in more wars right now.

If Russia invades, for example, Latvia, and the NATO does not act, that will mean no more NATO. So it doesn't really matter how tired Americans are of armed confrontation. It doesn't really matter that Europe's armies are in a pitiful state. They simply can't afford not to respond with military force in such a scenario. Not acting would mean the end of NATO, it would mean a huge backlash against America, a huge loss in allies, and in international influence. And the EU would probably collapse, certainly every single Eastern European nation would immediately leave.

It doesn't matter that Latvia is small, or strategically unimportant. Neither of those are relevant. It's about the political fallout. Why would anybody want to be allies with the US if the US just abandons their allies in their time of need?


Well...yes. The fallout would be significant. But a lot of people are looking very hard for justifications to not get involved. This lowers the bar of plausibility that Russian intervention needs...and frankly, they are not above flimsily manufactured justifications.

Anyway, this scenario is extremely unlikely anyway. If Russia wanted to fuck with any of the Baltic states, they wouldn't do so by direct military invention. They'd likely fund seperatist groups, perhaps train them, perhaps send some limited troops without uniform to maintain plausible deniability. Everything to make sure NATO can't officially act because officially nothing is going on. Pretty much what they are doing in Eastern Ukraine, except even more circumspect. I don't think it would work though, these countries are too well organized, and too stable, for that to work.


Instability can be sown. There's a certain cost to it, but it appears Russia is willing to incur some cost to rebuild an empire. I'm curious just how much they are willing to expend in pursuit of this goal, but right now, they seem significantly more willing to invest in this than the west is in preventing it.

eSOANEM wrote:And the subsequent moves of (pro)russian troops in heavily-Russian populated areas of eastern Ukraine along with Putin's aims of restoring some perceived golden age of his country adds to the analogy.

Putin's endgame is probably very different though. Putin is an expansionist, but he is not as mad as Hitler. Nor as cruel. Also, while Hitler could quite easily take over the rest of Czechia after he got the Sudetenland, I don't see this happening in Ukraine. Ukraine is huge, and the Western part of the country at least is pretty anti-Russian. Russia will have a very hard time if it wanted to occupy Western Ukraine.


The not as mad portion is unfortunate. Hitler's madness was an asset to those who opposed him. This is a well timed action that is very likely to be a significant net gain for Russia. They've been very smart about opportunistic territory gains. That's why Crimea is already lost. It can't be reasonably reclaimed by Ukraine diplomatically, despite all of the nuts stuff that happened...and military force would be a terrible option without huge outside support, and nobody really wants to get that involved over it.

Zamfir wrote:I don't think there's much people with any gratitude towards Putin, least of all in the Ukrainian government. If Russia faces a Russian-disliking Ukrainian government for the foreseeable future, then a gained Crimea is a meager compensation.


The Ukrainian government had already swung anti-Russian. Yes, this will make it more so, but presumably the calculation was that what's lost is lost, but a territory grab in the mix is a net win. It's an abandonment of influencing Ukraine diplomatically because Crimea and/or E Ukraine had higher than average ratios of pro-russian types. Therefore, any sort of democratic action is going to be MORE anti-Russian in Ukraine as a result. The casual discarding of long term diplomatic options when a covert invasion became an option is...worrying.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby sardia » Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:31 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I don't think there's much people with any gratitude towards Putin, least of all in the Ukrainian government. If Russia faces a Russian-disliking Ukrainian government for the foreseeable future, then a gained Crimea is a meager compensation.

Are you discounting the Russian desire for a weakened Kiev from all the chaos? Having a weak politically divided Ukraine is almost as good a Ukraine that is loyal to Russia. Or so the theory goes.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:37 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:It's not just, or mostly the public that he has to worry about. There must be a lot of powerful, rich people in Russia who do not like adventures like this. They will face a tougher business climate for the coming years, and they will want to see that is for a sufficient cause.

This is very true. But I have no idea how secure Putin is in his position. Does he have anything to fear from disgruntled oligarchs? Or is he at the point in his career where he can do whatever he pleases without worrying about repercussions? He certainly projects that he is in full control, and his age and amount of years he's been in power suggest that he has nothing to fear, but I admit that I'm pretty ignorant of internal Russian politics and it could be a house of cards for all I know.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Zamfir » Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:48 pm UTC

I don't know. Putin will know better, but I bet even he cannot tell exactly how far he can push. Every dictatorship is a house of cards, in the end. And projecting that you are secure is the basis. This exercise put in some more nationalist cards, and removed some business cards :-) Perhaps it's now stronger, perhaps it's weaker. Only time can tell


Are you discounting the Russian desire for a weakened Kiev from all the chaos? Having a weak politically divided Ukraine is almost as good a Ukraine that is loyal to Russia. Or so the theory goes.


I find that a questionable theory... I can see how a divided Ukraine is better for Russia than a united Ukraine constantly looking west. Perhaps that's what the Kremlin was expecting, but ironically that would have put them amongst the confident believers in the Maidan government.

After all, Janukovich did actual win a somewhat fair election, just a few years ago. The new government does not have overwhelming support, and the EU and NATO were not jumping for closer ties. A few years of inevitable in-fighting and perhaps some corruption scandals to weaken the new government, and there could easily be another Janukovich-like leader in Kiev.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Ormurinn » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:10 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I don't know. Putin will know better, but I bet even he cannot tell exactly how far he can push. Every dictatorship is a house of cards, in the end. And projecting that you are secure is the basis. This exercise put in some more nationalist cards, and removed some business cards :-) Perhaps it's now stronger, perhaps it's weaker. Only time can tell



Y'know, it's obviously axiomatic that Putin rigs elections - but he's actually really popular. I wouldn't be surprised if he's popular enough to be elected democratically.

After the Yeltsin-era looting, his taking on the oligarchs won him serious points. His foreign policy is also very popular domestically.
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Killerofsheep » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:55 pm UTC

Well, all those comparing this to WW2 may be closer to the truth than intended. Jews have been ordered to register or their citizenship will be revoked.
http://www.smh.com.au/world/ukraine-cri ... zqw7f.html

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby addams » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:21 pm UTC

Killerofsheep wrote:Well, all those comparing this to WW2 may be closer to the truth than intended. Jews have been ordered to register or their citizenship will be revoked.
http://www.smh.com.au/world/ukraine-cri ... zqw7f.html

That is a Horrible Thing to Do.
Who were those Masked Men?

That is Terrible.
That is like something Westboro Baptists were Famous for.

At least the Baptists did not wear Masks and Point at the Catholics.
What a Horrible and Frightening thing to have happen after PassOver Services.

Is there a Mechanism for the Jewish Community in that Town to ask for Protection from Russians by Russians.
I am fairly sure, No Jews, is not a Value most Russians share.

Of course, informal conversions are always a possibility.
Conversions can go either way.

Jewish Food can be very good.
I'd eat it. You?

At least The Catholics get something to eat during Mass.
The Jews have to wait.

Or; Do they eat before and after?

These are important questions.
Do the Catholics have a Responsibility
to protect their Jewish Brothers and Sisters
during PassOver and every other day if needed?

I think they do.
No matter where those Catholics and Jews are.
They are Brothers and Sisters under God.

They might eat different food at different times.
They have a right to eat in Russia. (right?)

Does Russia have Anti Jewish policies in place in Moscow?
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04 ... -register/

Fox news says it is a Lie.
That means it might be True.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of ... _in_Russia
What do we really know about Jews in Russia?
Russia would not be Russia without them.

Are they Loved as Brothers?
Or; After all these years, they are still Outsiders?

Jews can't! Be Outsiders in Russia.
That is like your Liver being an Outsider.

You may not like it.
It's yours, anyway.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of ... _framework
The 1997 Law declares all religions equal before the law, prohibits government interference in religion, and establishes simple registration procedures for religious groups. The country is by law a secular state without a state religion. The preamble to the 1997 Law, however, acknowledges Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and other religions as constituting an inseparable part of the country's historical heritage and also recognized the "special contribution" of Orthodoxy to the country's history and to the establishment and development of its spirituality and culture.

ech. Laws are not worth the paper they are written on, if not enforced.
That is both the good news and the bad news.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis [New Title]

Postby Vahir » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:27 pm UTC

Killerofsheep wrote:Well, all those comparing this to WW2 may be closer to the truth than intended. Jews have been ordered to register or their citizenship will be revoked.
http://www.smh.com.au/world/ukraine-cri ... zqw7f.html


From what I understand from the article- and a double check I did on BBC- it looks like this is both unofficial and without any real impact.

Of course, maybe people said that in the 30s too.


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