The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:52 pm

Depends on Americans. Some would, I suppose. Others would observe that trying to hide behind the little guy's back is not exactly helping make one's case as far as accusations of cowardice go. Someone with a good memory would remember the last time that Israel wanted to step in against someone who had to be confronted militarily, who stopped them and why.


Now, if I were arguing FOR military intervention in Ukraine, but demanding that Israel go while the US stayed out of it, your comments would make sense. But I'm not. I am not calling for ANY military intervention in Ukraine at this point. So, I'm not "hiding behind" your back.

You, on the other hand, have made very strong arguments that military intervention is needed NOW, but you won't back that up with a commitment from your own country to participate. So, who is hiding behind which back, I wonder?

My position is that military intervention is not justified at this time, your position is that it is urgently needed, but that you are too small and weak to get involved. Who is arguing from cowardice, here? Until you get some skin in the game, Storyteller, I'd advise against calling anyone or any country a coward.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby The Heretic » Mon Apr 21, 2014 3:18 pm

Minardil wrote:[
And how you resort to outright lying about my position.
[...]
Why do you insist on presenting this completely dishonest summary of my opinions? Are you so far gone that the only way you can carry on a discussion is to simply make up the other side of the argument?

If I copied this and posted it as response to Minardil every time he does what he is accusing Storyteller of, I wound how many times it would be posted...
It is utterly hilarious as Minadil constantly does what he is accusing Storyteller of (typically followed by him claiming that he 'just wanted to have a converstion' and then saying he is going to put you on the ignore list)....
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:31 pm

The Heretic wrote:
Minardil wrote:[
And how you resort to outright lying about my position.
[...]
Why do you insist on presenting this completely dishonest summary of my opinions? Are you so far gone that the only way you can carry on a discussion is to simply make up the other side of the argument?

If I copied this and posted it as response to Minardil every time he does what he is accusing Storyteller of, I wound how many times it would be posted...
It is utterly hilarious as Minadil constantly does what he is accusing Storyteller of (typically followed by him claiming that he 'just wanted to have a converstion' and then saying he is going to put you on the ignore list)....



Go ahead, big man, why don't you do just that? And everyone will see that your accusations of "lying" about your positions are really lame attempts by yourself to answer questions about what your positions are. Storyteller here is being situationally pathetic, because he has a natural and rational hatred for Putin that has skewed his usual good sense. You on the other hand are just pathetic all of the time.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby The Heretic » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:00 pm

Minardil wrote:Go ahead, big man, why don't you do just that? And everyone will see that your accusations of "lying" about your positions are really lame attempts by yourself to answer questions about what your positions are. Storyteller here is being situationally pathetic, because he has a natural and rational hatred for Putin that has skewed his usual good sense. You on the other hand are just pathetic all of the time.

Since I have your permission, I will. Of course what will be seen is something rather different than what you assert, Minardil (who just wants to have a conversation').
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Storyteller » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:46 pm

Minardil wrote:
You've declared Crimea as lacking strategic significance


Because it is strategically insignificant to American national security interests. I offered you an opportunity to provide examples of how Crimea would be significant, but you were unable to do so.

I have, actually. But you paid your usual degree of attention.

you dismiss the Budapest memorandum because it does not legally oblige NATO to intervene.


No, I EXPLAINED what the document actually said, in the face of your false claims that it obligated the US to protect Ukraine militarily.

Except I never claimed any such thing.


And how you resort to outright lying about my position. I have REPEATEDLY said that I consider the events to be noteworthy and significant, but NOT rising to the level of being worthy of going to war against Russia.

Or doing anything else, for that matter. Because throughout this whole discussion, you've been opposing the imaginary calls for immediate war with Russia, dismissing military pressure as one that would require willingness to go to war with Russia... and ignoring the question of what, if anything, you think should be done instead.

There is a great deal of daylight between "significant" and "cause for war". AND I have stated on several occasions that I WOULD consider a Russian move against a NATO country to be a valid cause to go to war with Russia.

But you never quite explained why NATO membership would make a difference.

You see, I don't believe in magic reversals of one's deeply held opinions from point X onwards. Seen too many examples to the contrary.

Why do you insist on presenting this completely dishonest summary of my opinions? Are you so far gone that the only way you can carry on a discussion is to simply make up the other side of the argument?

If I were that far gone, you and I would've been in much more of an agreement. You've been making up my opinions here since page one.


If you are attempting to claim that the US has a relationship with Ukraine that is in ANY way similar to or nearly as deep as the long-standing relationship we have with Israel, then I must repeat now in earnest that which I said in jest before: You are DELUSIONAL. Seek professional help immediately.

Why does it matter? There is no mutual defense treaty. There is no legal obligation for the US to intervene for our defense, so the same excuse that's good for Ukraine would be just as good for us. Verbal pledges of "we would never" has been broken far too many times already, and the current US administration has been known to blithely deny the existence of known written commitments.

And you STILL haven't explained how the shifting of borders in the Black Sea Region have ANY National Security repercussions here in the US. So, while I get the concern, and even share it to an extent, I don't see how this situation calls for US military intervention.

It has serious repercussions for Europe and for the Mediterranian basin. If Europe has become unimportant for US national security, it's time to let them know.

It is also part of the general Russian push to position itself as the chief challenger to the US global standing. As of February, Russia is negotiating for access to Navy and Air Force facilities in 8 countries - Cyprus, Algeria, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore. That's both ends of the Mediterranian, the Americas, south of the Gulf of Aden and on top of the key Pacific shipping lanes. Do you really not see how big the game is and how Ukraine fits into it?
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby portia » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:08 am

Story:

Your comments to Minardil are remarkably naive and blind.

Why would an attack on a Nato member make a difference? Gee whiz, it occurs to me that a 60 plus year old mutuial defense treaty might, possibly, make a difference.

Why isn't Israel lumped in with other places that are not members of NATO? That is where blindness comes in. I am sure you are aware, and would admit it if it didn't undermine your point, that the Israeli lobby in the US is very strong; probably stronger than the pro NATO lobby, so Israel has little to worry about as to military backup (should it need it--it seems quite well enough to take care of itself).

Your explanations of how Crimea would be significant are excessively theoretical and, generally, "iffy" and too remote. Not convincing.

Miitary pressure would, absolutely, require a willingness (and ability) to go to war with Russia. It has no other meaning. "Pressure" without such willingness would be mere obvious empty sabre-rattling.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:53 am

Storyteller is not viewing the situation rationally, but through his hatred of both Putin and Obama. He can't tell us WHY it is in our national interests to go to war against Russia - and YES, the threat of War MUST carry with it the willingness to actually GO TO WAR - because he understands on some level that there IS no national compelling interests to go to war AT THIS POINT.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:05 pm

Meanwhile, that lying coward Obama is trying to trick our European allies into thinking we're still on their side by sending more troops to places like Poland:

http://news.yahoo.com/us-troops-head-exercises-eastern-europe-171638690--politics.html

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Army paratroopers are arriving in Poland to begin a series of military exercises in four countries across Eastern Europe to bolster allies in the wake of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula last month.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Tuesday that the exercises will last about a month, and initially involve about 600 troops.

An Army company of about 150 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy, will start the exercises Wednesday in Poland. Additional Army companies will head to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and are expected to arrive by Monday for similar land-based exercises in those countries.

Under the current plan, U.S. troops would rotate in and out of the four countries for additional exercises on a recurring basis.

"We're looking at trying to keep this rotational presence persistent throughout the rest of this year," Kirby told reporters, adding that over time the exercises could expand to other countries.


That Obama is so sneaky!!!

Meanwhile, the rest of NATO is showing their incredible bravery in support of beleaguered Ukraine by sending Ships to the Baltic States. Just don't read the part in bold, which might accidentally puncture the bit about how Obama is so cowardly.

http://news.yahoo.com/nato-says-sending-ships-baltic-bolster-defense-east-144835701--sector.html



BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO is sending part of its naval rapid reaction force to the Baltic Sea as part of measures to step up the defense of its eastern European allies in response to the Ukraine crisis, the alliance said on Thursday.

A multinational group of five small ships - four minesweepers and a support vessel - will be sent to the Baltic Sea "for the foreseeable future", a spokesman for NATO's Maritime Command said.

NATO has made clear it does not plan to get involved militarily in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member
[/quote][/quote]
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Storyteller » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:28 pm

portia wrote:Story:

Your comments to Minardil are remarkably naive and blind.

Why would an attack on a Nato member make a difference? Gee whiz, it occurs to me that a 60 plus year old mutuial defense treaty might, possibly, make a difference.

Or not. We're talking about an administration that disdains that old Cold War thinking.

Why isn't Israel lumped in with other places that are not members of NATO? That is where blindness comes in. I am sure you are aware, and would admit it if it didn't undermine your point, that the Israeli lobby in the US is very strong; probably stronger than the pro NATO lobby, so Israel has little to worry about as to military backup (should it need it--it seems quite well enough to take care of itself).

You have got to be kidding. The "Israeli lobby" (I'll throw you a lifeline here by suggesting that you meant the pro-Israeli lobby) doesn't even match the power of the NRA, not to mention that Obama kind-of-sort-of takes pride in being resistant to the pro-Israeli voices.

Your explanations of how Crimea would be significant are excessively theoretical and, generally, "iffy" and too remote. Not convincing.

Explanation would be nice. Because your dismissals without concrete explanations are iffy and not convincing.

Miitary pressure would, absolutely, require a willingness (and ability) to go to war with Russia. It has no other meaning. "Pressure" without such willingness would be mere obvious empty sabre-rattling.

Yes. Yes it would.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Storyteller » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:30 pm

Minardil wrote:Meanwhile, that lying coward Obama is trying to trick our European allies into thinking we're still on their side by sending more troops to places like Poland:

http://news.yahoo.com/us-troops-head-exercises-eastern-europe-171638690--politics.html

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Army paratroopers are arriving in Poland to begin a series of military exercises in four countries across Eastern Europe to bolster allies in the wake of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula last month.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Tuesday that the exercises will last about a month, and initially involve about 600 troops.

An Army company of about 150 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy, will start the exercises Wednesday in Poland. Additional Army companies will head to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and are expected to arrive by Monday for similar land-based exercises in those countries.

Under the current plan, U.S. troops would rotate in and out of the four countries for additional exercises on a recurring basis.

"We're looking at trying to keep this rotational presence persistent throughout the rest of this year," Kirby told reporters, adding that over time the exercises could expand to other countries.


That Obama is so sneaky!!!

Meanwhile, the rest of NATO is showing their incredible bravery in support of beleaguered Ukraine by sending Ships to the Baltic States. Just don't read the part in bold, which might accidentally puncture the bit about how Obama is so cowardly.

http://news.yahoo.com/nato-says-sending-ships-baltic-bolster-defense-east-144835701--sector.html



BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO is sending part of its naval rapid reaction force to the Baltic Sea as part of measures to step up the defense of its eastern European allies in response to the Ukraine crisis, the alliance said on Thursday.

A multinational group of five small ships - four minesweepers and a support vessel - will be sent to the Baltic Sea "for the foreseeable future", a spokesman for NATO's Maritime Command said.

NATO has made clear it does not plan to get involved militarily in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member
[/quote][/quote]
So, four minesweepers and 150 paratroopers equals "incredible bravery". Once they send in those MREs in civilian trucks that Obama has approved as part of military aid to Ukraine, the mockery of NATO combat readiness will be complete.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby portia » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:04 pm

Well, if you are willing to just ignore/dismiss things like treaties, you can "prove" anything. There is no basis for that willingness.

You may not realize how strong the Israeli lobby is, as you are not the target of it. I assure you it is very strong. Whether it is stronger than the NRA is a good question and depends on the timing. It is strong enough to eclipse the NATO Lobby unless there is a NATO crisis.

Since you haven't explained why Crimea is strategically important, I do not need to give details on why it isn't.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Jnyusa » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:19 pm

It strikes me that Crimea's strategic importance as Story presents it falls under the heading of 'Domino Theory.' Crimea is not important in and of itself but exemplary of what the Russians will do. If we don't stop them here they will be emboldened to do it again elsewhere. Eventually they will hit a target that does have strategic importance to us, and by then we will be forced to respond from a position of weakness, a defensive position, when we could have responded from a position of strength by going on the offensive earlier.

If that is the analysis promoted here - squarely a Cold War analysis - then Pres. Obama is surely not taking a Cold War presidential position. We can justly accuse him of not being a Cold War president.

Obviously we disagree whether that is a bad thing or a good thing.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby hamlet » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:29 am

Jnyusa wrote:It strikes me that Crimea's strategic importance as Story presents it falls under the heading of 'Domino Theory.' Crimea is not important in and of itself but exemplary of what the Russians will do. If we don't stop them here they will be emboldened to do it again elsewhere. Eventually they will hit a target that does have strategic importance to us, and by then we will be forced to respond from a position of weakness, a defensive position, when we could have responded from a position of strength by going on the offensive earlier.

If that is the analysis promoted here - squarely a Cold War analysis - then Pres. Obama is surely not taking a Cold War presidential position. We can justly accuse him of not being a Cold War president.

Obviously we disagree whether that is a bad thing or a good thing.


I'm not quite so sure it's exactly as you say, at least as far as Storyteller's saying.

It's not so much that Putin will be emboldened and do it again and then move on and eventually get to something we care about, it's more along the lines of the fact that Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are among the first small steps to a larger plan that involves securing warm water ports in the region and positioning Russia as an economic, political, and military pole against the US and against the EU. It's not that we shoudl be worried that he'll eventually get to something we care about, it's that we should care about what he's doing now. It's a matter of a chess player not recognizing the opening moves of a complicated and long ranging gambit.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:56 am

hamlet wrote:
Jnyusa wrote:It strikes me that Crimea's strategic importance as Story presents it falls under the heading of 'Domino Theory.' Crimea is not important in and of itself but exemplary of what the Russians will do. If we don't stop them here they will be emboldened to do it again elsewhere. Eventually they will hit a target that does have strategic importance to us, and by then we will be forced to respond from a position of weakness, a defensive position, when we could have responded from a position of strength by going on the offensive earlier.

If that is the analysis promoted here - squarely a Cold War analysis - then Pres. Obama is surely not taking a Cold War presidential position. We can justly accuse him of not being a Cold War president.

Obviously we disagree whether that is a bad thing or a good thing.


I'm not quite so sure it's exactly as you say, at least as far as Storyteller's saying.

It's not so much that Putin will be emboldened and do it again and then move on and eventually get to something we care about, it's more along the lines of the fact that Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are among the first small steps to a larger plan that involves securing warm water ports in the region and positioning Russia as an economic, political, and military pole against the US and against the EU. It's not that we shoudl be worried that he'll eventually get to something we care about, it's that we should care about what he's doing now. It's a matter of a chess player not recognizing the opening moves of a complicated and long ranging gambit.


The "Warm Water Ports" argument doesn't really apply here, as Russia already has warm water ports on the Black Sea, which frankly, have no strategic significance to us as. Usually, when we talk about Russia getting Warm Water Ports, we mean somewhere with free access to the Ocean. That was the fear when the Soviets moved into Afghanistan back in 1980, that they would continue through Pakistan to get direct access to the Indian Ocean. Another port or two on the Black Sea, where access to the Ocean is through the very narrow Bosporus (controlled by our NATO Ally Turkey) and then through Gibraltar, doesn't represent a significant leap forward for the Russians.

I totally agree that Putin is definitely scheming to restore some measure of Russia's former "greatness", and I agree that we don't necessarily want him to achieve that, but unless we are going to go to war with him AND REMOVE HIM FROM POWER or otherwise effect complete "regime change" and nation building in Russia, I don't see how going to war with him over Crimea actually HURTS him, domestically. I think it might even strengthen his hand, as it allows him to present himself to his own public as some sort of victim of American aggression (which I believe he is already doing anyway).
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby hamlet » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:24 am

Minardil wrote:I totally agree that Putin is definitely scheming to restore some measure of Russia's former "greatness", and I agree that we don't necessarily want him to achieve that, but unless we are going to go to war with him AND REMOVE HIM FROM POWER or otherwise effect complete "regime change" and nation building in Russia, I don't see how going to war with him over Crimea actually HURTS him, domestically. I think it might even strengthen his hand, as it allows him to present himself to his own public as some sort of victim of American aggression (which I believe he is already doing anyway).


1) Warm Ports: I didn't say I agreed with that particular assessment, I was just pointing out.

2) I don't think I've anywhere said we should invade Russia and remove Putin from power. In fact, I distinctly remember saying that starting a shooting war right now would be a bad thing.

However, you ahve to recognize that there is a VAST gulf between "do nothing" which seems to be the consensus among some, and "shoot em all let God sort 'em out" which is what some people claim is the opposition's point of view. Obama's response, in my view, is simply not suitable. it's not enough to actually do anything other than look like empty, meaningless hand wringing with a token slap on the wrist. Not even a slap. Hell, we haven't even gone far enough to do the equivalent of taking away his snack money.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:05 am

hamlet wrote:
Minardil wrote:I totally agree that Putin is definitely scheming to restore some measure of Russia's former "greatness", and I agree that we don't necessarily want him to achieve that, but unless we are going to go to war with him AND REMOVE HIM FROM POWER or otherwise effect complete "regime change" and nation building in Russia, I don't see how going to war with him over Crimea actually HURTS him, domestically. I think it might even strengthen his hand, as it allows him to present himself to his own public as some sort of victim of American aggression (which I believe he is already doing anyway).


1) Warm Ports: I didn't say I agreed with that particular assessment, I was just pointing out.

2) I don't think I've anywhere said we should invade Russia and remove Putin from power. In fact, I distinctly remember saying that starting a shooting war right now would be a bad thing.

However, you ahve to recognize that there is a VAST gulf between "do nothing" which seems to be the consensus among some, and "shoot em all let God sort 'em out" which is what some people claim is the opposition's point of view. Obama's response, in my view, is simply not suitable. it's not enough to actually do anything other than look like empty, meaningless hand wringing with a token slap on the wrist. Not even a slap. Hell, we haven't even gone far enough to do the equivalent of taking away his snack money.


I didn't say you advocated removing Putin from power, I was just saying that any shooting war we got into with him would have to have that result, or he'd just come out of it stronger (with regard to his own people) then he is now. If we got in a little tiff with him over Crimea, and managed to do nothing more than push him back into Russia's old borders (like we did with Saddam Hussein after the First Gulf War), I really think we'd just be setting things up for a larger war later (Gulf War Two etc) So if we're going to throw down the gauntlet with him, we have to be ready to go all-in for Moscow (as we probably should have done in 1991).

And I totally agree that we should implement much stronger sanctions, but does the US have enough trade with Russia to really hurt them that way? I believe such actions would severely hurt our European allies, who do get some of their energy from Russia, so that would be more of situation where they'd be inviting a Pyrrhic Victory at best.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby hamlet » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:39 pm

Minardil wrote:I didn't say you advocated removing Putin from power, I was just saying that any shooting war we got into with him would have to have that result, or he'd just come out of it stronger (with regard to his own people) then he is now. If we got in a little tiff with him over Crimea, and managed to do nothing more than push him back into Russia's old borders (like we did with Saddam Hussein after the First Gulf War), I really think we'd just be setting things up for a larger war later (Gulf War Two etc) So if we're going to throw down the gauntlet with him, we have to be ready to go all-in for Moscow (as we probably should have done in 1991).


Holy Crap. I remember saying things just like this back about 10-11 years ago here. Are you reading my notes?

Yes, and with the added fun that a shooting war with Russia of any real scope is very likely to end up with many hundreds of millions of people glowing in the dark. We don't want that, needless to say.

And I totally agree that we should implement much stronger sanctions, but does the US have enough trade with Russia to really hurt them that way? I believe such actions would severely hurt our European allies, who do get some of their energy from Russia, so that would be more of situation where they'd be inviting a Pyrrhic Victory at best.


Never said it would be easy, but I suspect that, in some ways, we might actually be able to make it a good thing. Parts of Europe rely on Russia for energy. Perhaps they can manage a relatively significant shift in sourcing that energy to places like Canada, Mexico, and other politically friendly locations which would result in a boost in economy here, continued energy there, and except for probably higher costs, all around OK situations where you could embargo Russia effectively without shooting yourself in the foot. Don't know if that's plausible, but it's a thought that had occured to me.

And there have to be real ways that you can deal with Russia short of deploying troops, but you cannot employ those methods without the realistic threat of action by said troops. You can't wave the big stick and not be willing to actually use it. It's like training a cat. When the cat learns that you're too lazy to get off your fat backside to swat it off the kitchen counter, it realizes that your shouts and threats are empty and it will continue to pee all over your nice Thanksgiving supper.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Storyteller » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:38 pm

Jnyusa wrote:It strikes me that Crimea's strategic importance as Story presents it falls under the heading of 'Domino Theory.' Crimea is not important in and of itself but exemplary of what the Russians will do. If we don't stop them here they will be emboldened to do it again elsewhere. Eventually they will hit a target that does have strategic importance to us, and by then we will be forced to respond from a position of weakness, a defensive position, when we could have responded from a position of strength by going on the offensive earlier.


Uh, no. Crimea has its own strategic importance; whoever controls Crimea controls Southeastern Europe.There's the little matter of the Southern Stream gas pipeline, too, and of Russia being able to prevent other pipelines from Central Asia from being constructed. There's also the domino effect, obviously, and it's not limited to Russia- why wouldn't China and others follow suit?

If that is the analysis promoted here - squarely a Cold War analysis - then Pres. Obama is surely not taking a Cold War presidential position. We can justly accuse him of not being a Cold War president.

Obviously we disagree whether that is a bad thing or a good thing.

Uh... well....


In Cold War Echo, Obama Strategy Writes Off Putin

ASHINGTON — Even as the crisis in Ukraine continues to defy easy resolution, President Obama and his national security team are looking beyond the immediate conflict to forge a new long-term approach to Russia that applies an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment 9Obama is NOT a Cold War President. Obama is NOT a Cold War President!- ST.).

Just as the United States resolved in the aftermath of World War II to counter the Soviet Union and its global ambitions, Mr. Obama is focused on isolating President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world, limiting its expansionist ambitions in its own neighborhood and effectively making it a pariah state.

Mr. Obama has concluded that even if there is a resolution to the current standoff over Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he will never have a constructive relationship with Mr. Putin, aides said. As a result, Mr. Obama will spend his final two and a half years in office trying to minimize the disruption Mr. Putin can cause, preserve whatever marginal cooperation can be saved and otherwise ignore the master of the Kremlin in favor of other foreign policy areas where progress remains possible.

“That is the strategy we ought to be pursuing,” said Ivo H. Daalder, formerly Mr. Obama’s ambassador to NATO and now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “If you just stand there, be confident and raise the cost gradually and increasingly to Russia, that doesn’t solve your Crimea problem and it probably doesn’t solve your eastern Ukraine problem. But it may solve your Russia problem.”

The manifestation of this thinking can be seen in Mr. Obama’s pending choice for the next ambassador to Moscow. While not officially final, the White House is preparing to nominate John F. Tefft, a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania.

When the search began months ago, administration officials were leery of sending Mr. Tefft because of concern that his experience in former Soviet republics that have flouted Moscow’s influence would irritate Russia. Now, officials said, there is no reluctance to offend the Kremlin.

In effect, Mr. Obama is retrofitting for a new age the approach to Moscow that was first set out by the diplomat George F. Kennan in 1947 and that dominated American strategy through the fall of the Soviet Union. The administration’s priority is to hold together an international consensus against Russia, including even China, its longtime supporter on the United Nations Security Council.

While Mr. Obama’s long-term approach takes shape, though, a quiet debate has roiled his administration over how far to go in the short term. So far, economic advisers and White House aides urging a measured approach have won out, prevailing upon a cautious president to take one incremental step at a time out of fear of getting too far ahead of skittish Europeans and risking damage to still-fragile economies on both sides of the Atlantic.

The White House has prepared another list of Russian figures and institutions to sanction in the next few days if Moscow does not follow through on an agreement sealed in Geneva on Thursday to defuse the crisis, as Obama aides anticipate. But the president will not extend the punitive measures to whole sectors of the Russian economy, as some administration officials prefer, absent a dramatic escalation.

The more hawkish faction in the State and Defense Departments has grown increasingly frustrated, privately worrying that Mr. Obama has come across as weak and unintentionally sent the message that he has written off Crimea after Russia’s annexation. They have pressed for faster and more expansive sanctions, only to wait while memos sit in the White House without action. Mr. Obama has not even imposed sanctions on a list of Russian human rights violators waiting for approval since last winter.

“They’re playing us,” Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said of the Russians, expressing a sentiment that is also shared by some inside the Obama administration. “We continue to watch what they’re doing and try to respond to that,” he said on CNN on Friday. “But it seems that in doing so, we create a policy that’s always a day late and a dollar short.”


The prevailing view in the West Wing, though, is that while Mr. Putin seems for now to be enjoying the glow of success, he will eventually discover how much economic harm he has brought on his country. Mr. Obama’s aides noted the fall of the Russian stock market and the ruble, capital flight from the country and the increasing reluctance of foreign investors to expand dealings in Russia.(But they forgot to note that the ruble and the Russian stock market have long rebounded, once it was clear that genuine sanctions would not come- ST.)

They argued that while American and European sanctions have not yet targeted wide parts of the Russian economy, they have sent a message to international businesses, and that just the threat of broader measures has produced a chilling effect. If the Russian economy suffers over the long term, senior American officials said, then Mr. Putin’s implicit compact with the Russian public promising growth for political control could be sundered.(As if economic difficulties of the Russian people have ever undermined a Russian authoritarian's strength- ST.)

That may not happen quickly, however, and in the meantime, Mr. Obama seems intent on not letting Russia dominate his presidency. While Mr. Obama spends a lot of time on the Ukraine crisis, it does not seem to absorb him. Speaking privately with visitors, he is more likely to bring up topics like health care and the Republicans in Congress than Mr. Putin.(That figures- ST.) Ukraine, he tells people, is not a major concern for most Americans, who are focused on the economy and other issues closer to home.

Since returning from a trip to Europe last month, Mr. Obama has concentrated his public schedule around issues like job training and the minimum wage. Even after his diplomatic team reached the Geneva agreement to de-escalate the crisis last week, Mr. Obama headed to the White House briefing room not to talk about that but to hail new enrollment numbers he said validated his health care program.

Reporters asked about Ukraine anyway, as he knew they would, and he expressed skepticism about the prospects of the Geneva accord that his secretary of state, John Kerry, had just brokered. But when a reporter turned the subject back to health care, Mr. Obama happily exclaimed, “Yeah, let’s talk about that.”

That represents a remarkable turnaround from the start of Mr. Obama’s presidency, when he nursed dreams of forging a new partnership with Russia. Now the question is how much of the relationship can be saved. Mr. Obama helped Russia gain admission to the World Trade Organization; now he is working to limit its access to external financial markets.

But the two sides have not completely cut off ties. American troops and equipment are still traveling through Russian territory en route to and from Afghanistan. Astronauts from the two countries are currently in orbit together at the International Space Station, supplied by Russian rockets. A joint program decommissioning old Russian weapons systems has not been curtailed.

Nuclear inspections under the New Start arms control treaty Mr. Obama signed in his first term continue. The Air Force still relies on rockets with Russian-made engines to launch military satellites into space, although it is reviewing that. The United States has not moved to try to push Russia out of the W.T.O. And the Obama administration is still working with Russia on disarming Syria’s chemical weapons and negotiating a deal with Iran to curtail its nuclear program.

“You can’t isolate everything from a general worsening of the relationship and the rhetoric,” said Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and an adviser to multiple administrations on Russia and defense policy. “But there’s still very high priority business that we have to try to do with Russia.”

Still, the relationship cannot return to normal either, even if the Ukraine situation is settled soon, specialists said. “There’s really been a sea change not only here but in much of Europe about Russia,” said Robert Nurick, a Russia expert at the Atlantic Council. “A lot of the old assumptions about what we were doing and where we were going and what was possible are gone, and will stay that way as long as Putin’s there.”

Mr. Nurick said discussion had already begun inside the administration about where and under what conditions the United States might engage with Russia in the future. “But I can’t imagine this administration expending a lot of political capital on this relationship except to manage it so that the other things they care about a lot more than Russia are not injured too badly,” he said.

So basically, Obama is a Cold War president lite. Very, very lite. Unbelievably small, as per John Kerry's Syria approach.
"...Their aim in war with Germany is nothing more, nothing less than extermination of Hitlerism... There is absolutely no justification for this kind of war. The ideology of Hitlerism, just like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected, this is a matter of political views. But everyone grasps, that an ideology can not be exterminated by force, must not be finished off with a war.” - Vyacheslav Molotov, ""On the Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union", 31 October 1939
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby portia » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:11 am

Story's justification of a stronger position on Crimea is, clearly, a domino theory. And, it has theoretical elements, too, not just actual elements.

Pushing the Europeans to rely on non-Russian sources of energy is a better idea. Even if it requires some heavy duty pushing. Many of them are already pursuing alternative energy. And, buying energy from non-Russian sources will increase ties to the other sources. (I do not think that Russia is merely a gas station pretending to be a country as John McCain puts it, but its leverage over other countries is primarily energy. That is easily countered.)

It is not necessary to do anything that will "write off" Crimea, yet. Patience is a virtue and often wins out, if given a chance. Our need to have an immediate answer is overwhelming our good sense.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Cerin » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:28 am

I am suspicious of the prevailing narrative because I believe our government is irretrievably corrupt, and we all know that the American corporate media will stampede in any direction it is led. So once again, in the interests of providing an alternative perspective, a brief article by Robert Parry of Consortium news (intro quoted). In reference to Storyteller's last post, deciding to isolate Putin is basically a continuation of the policy that led to the U.S.-facilitated coup in the first place. Gee, that worked so well; let's keep it up!



Between the anti-Russian propaganda pouring forth from the Obama administration and the deeply biased coverage from the U.S. news media, the American people are being prepared to accept and perhaps even cheer a massacre of eastern Ukrainians who have risen up against the coup regime in Kiev.

The protesters who have seized government buildings in ten towns in eastern Ukraine are being casually dubbed “terrorists” by both the Kiev regime and some American journalists. Meanwhile, it’s become conventional wisdom in Official Washington to assume that the protesters are led by Russian special forces because of some dubious photographs of armed men, accepted as “proof” with few questions asked by the mainstream U.S. news media.

While the U.S. news media is treating these blurry photos as the slam-dunk evidence of direct Russian control of the eastern Ukrainian protests – despite denials by the Russian government and the protesters – the BBC was among the few news agencies that provided a more objective assessment, noting that the photos are open to a variety of interpretations.

However, in Official Washington, the stage is now set for what could be a massacre of Ukrainian civilians who have risen up against the putschists who seized control of Kiev in a Feb. 22 coup that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych. The violent putsch was spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias, some of which have now been incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard and dispatched to the front lines in eastern Ukraine.

If the slaughter of the eastern Ukrainian protesters does come, you can expect Official Washington to be supportive. Whereas the Kiev protesters who seized government buildings in February were deemed “pro-democracy” activists even as they overthrew a democratically elected leader, the eastern Ukrainian protesters, who still consider Yanukovych their legitimate president, are dismissed as “terrorists.” And, we all know what happens to “terrorists.”


http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2 ... n-massacre
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby hamlet » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:34 am

portia wrote:Story's justification of a stronger position on Crimea is, clearly, a domino theory. And, it has theoretical elements, too, not just actual elements.

Pushing the Europeans to rely on non-Russian sources of energy is a better idea. Even if it requires some heavy duty pushing. Many of them are already pursuing alternative energy. And, buying energy from non-Russian sources will increase ties to the other sources. (I do not think that Russia is merely a gas station pretending to be a country as John McCain puts it, but its leverage over other countries is primarily energy. That is easily countered.)

It is not necessary to do anything that will "write off" Crimea, yet. Patience is a virtue and often wins out, if given a chance. Our need to have an immediate answer is overwhelming our good sense.


Well, Storyteller pointed out something that punches a hole in your baloon here. And it's a very real thing.

Realistic exploitation of alternative (i.e., non-fossile fuel) energy is AT LEAST 25-35 years away in broad applications. The crisis is now. Pushing towards alternative energy for a solution 20 years down the road as opposed to 30 is not a realistic approach to the current issue even if you have the patience of the Lord Himself.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:35 am

hamlet wrote:
portia wrote:Story's justification of a stronger position on Crimea is, clearly, a domino theory. And, it has theoretical elements, too, not just actual elements.

Pushing the Europeans to rely on non-Russian sources of energy is a better idea. Even if it requires some heavy duty pushing. Many of them are already pursuing alternative energy. And, buying energy from non-Russian sources will increase ties to the other sources. (I do not think that Russia is merely a gas station pretending to be a country as John McCain puts it, but its leverage over other countries is primarily energy. That is easily countered.)

It is not necessary to do anything that will "write off" Crimea, yet. Patience is a virtue and often wins out, if given a chance. Our need to have an immediate answer is overwhelming our good sense.


Well, Storyteller pointed out something that punches a hole in your baloon here. And it's a very real thing.

Realistic exploitation of alternative (i.e., non-fossile fuel) energy is AT LEAST 25-35 years away in broad applications. The crisis is now. Pushing towards alternative energy for a solution 20 years down the road as opposed to 30 is not a realistic approach to the current issue even if you have the patience of the Lord Himself.


Yeah, it's hardly a realistic solution to THIS crisis, but then energy independence should be a long term goal for any developed nation.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby hamlet » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:12 pm

Minardil wrote:Yeah, it's hardly a realistic solution to THIS crisis, but then energy independence should be a long term goal for any developed nation.


Of course, but we're talking about the current crisis at this moment, and thus my comment.

Personally, I'd love to realize my dream of actually discovering a viable alternate energy source that was virtually perfectly clean and virtually free and literally give it away to the entire world. That ain't ever gonna happen, but I can dream, right?
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby portia » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:17 pm

I said "non-Russian" sources of energy. These are available right now in other oil producing and exporting parts of the world. I di not know the exact wording of any contracts between European countries and Russia, of course, but if Russia starts making threats, any decently creative mind can find a way out of the contract and into a different one with Mexico, Canada, etc., It may be more expensive, but there have been price fluxuations, before and they have been weathered.

Russia's energy threat is much more of a threat in expectation than in reality.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:15 pm

portia wrote:I said "non-Russian" sources of energy. These are available right now in other oil producing and exporting parts of the world. I di not know the exact wording of any contracts between European countries and Russia, of course, but if Russia starts making threats, any decently creative mind can find a way out of the contract and into a different one with Mexico, Canada, etc., It may be more expensive, but there have been price fluxuations, before and they have been weathered.

Russia's energy threat is much more of a threat in expectation than in reality.


Even increasing "non-Russian" sources of energy might not be as quick a fix as we'd like, as a fair bit of infrastructure would be established to handle the imports from Russia - pipelines, that sort of thing - which might not be so easily switched over to servicing imports from other regions. Still a wise long term move, though, and perhaps there is more opportunity to hurt Russia here than I realize.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:21 pm

hamlet wrote:
Minardil wrote:Yeah, it's hardly a realistic solution to THIS crisis, but then energy independence should be a long term goal for any developed nation.


Of course, but we're talking about the current crisis at this moment, and thus my comment.

Personally, I'd love to realize my dream of actually discovering a viable alternate energy source that was virtually perfectly clean and virtually free and literally give it away to the entire world. That ain't ever gonna happen, but I can dream, right?


Would it be distilled from Rainbows, and mixed with the power of the innocent laughter of children?
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Jnyusa » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:26 pm

LOL.

Canamarth had the right of it when he/she said that the problem is not the absence of alternative sources but the fact that our distribution system is not geared toward those sources and serves them with relative inefficiency.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby hamlet » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:00 pm

Minardil wrote:
hamlet wrote:
Minardil wrote:Yeah, it's hardly a realistic solution to THIS crisis, but then energy independence should be a long term goal for any developed nation.


Of course, but we're talking about the current crisis at this moment, and thus my comment.

Personally, I'd love to realize my dream of actually discovering a viable alternate energy source that was virtually perfectly clean and virtually free and literally give it away to the entire world. That ain't ever gonna happen, but I can dream, right?


Would it be distilled from Rainbows, and mixed with the power of the innocent laughter of children?


Come now, Minardil. You know I'm a conservative. It would be powered by the souls of dead poor children and the crushed.hopes and dreams of their parents.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby portia » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:33 am

I agree that it would cost more to build new distribution systems than to continue to use the present Russian-oriented systems. But it isn't as if no new pipelines are ever built. This crisis should make it clear that the Russian supply has greater costs, beyond money, that should be taken into account.
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Re: The anschluss of Crimea and the illusion of soft power

Postby Minardil » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:35 am

Come now, Minardil. You know I'm a conservative. It would be powered by the souls of dead poor children and the crushed.hopes and dreams of their parents.


Dark Matter, Negative Energy, that's some pretty esoteric stuff, man.
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