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Thread: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    I don't know. There are many different takes on the situation I hear and read, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

    In theory? Certainly. The Russian elites believe the collapse of the USSR was the "worst catastrophe in the 20th century", Putin even literally said that. The USSR's influence reached westwards to East Germany. And Russia is following a "Machtpolitik" that wants them to become a world power once again -- and in order to achieve that, it has to break American influence in Europe and the Middle East. So in their wildest dreams, they have designs beyond Crimea without any doubt.

    However, I am not sure about Russia's military capacities (though I suggest it's not as broken as many keep repeating, as if this was still the 90s and as if the West hadn't massively disarmed too), I don't know how realistically the Russian elites view their own capacities and situation, I don't know how many risks they're willing to take. In the ideal case, they know very well that attempting to realize their abovementioned "wildest dreams" is unfeasible and unprofitable and thus are very well content with Crimea.

    On the other side, and I don't know how far this goes into conspiracy theory territory, you can read from both American and Russian sources (such as Zbigniew Brzezynski on the American side and high-rank Russian militaries) that both sides are fighting a geostrategic war: The US are doing their best to roll back Russia (and have been doing so at latest since Yugoslavia and NATO enlargement 1999), trying to get the former Soviet states out of Russia's sphere of influence, and attack Russia's influence whereever they can (first Serbia 1999, Afghanistan 2001, Iraq 2003, Ukraine 2004, Georgia 2008, Syria 2013 and now Ukraine), encircling Russia. Some Russian strategists even claim it is the American goal of destroying Russia on the long run, and it's a fight for the mere physical survival of the Russian state whether Russia manages to escape this Western entanglement. Brzezynski IIRC even said that on the "Eurasian Chessboard", Russia's capacity to ever rise again and defend itself stand and falls with its power over Ukraine.

    If that's true -- or at least when that's how Russian strategists view it --, I'm afraid Russia is willing to take a damn lot of risks and even do very stupid things to make sure it will even "survive".
    Ok, so I agree with that. But that's not Russia having designs on Europe, nor is it conspiracy. The US is doing its best to restrict Russia, and Russia's response is completely understandable. Hell, US foreign policy is constructed around meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, up to and including both covert and overt toppling of governments, and American feigned outrage over completely understandable action by Russia, is pathetic.
    Killing one person is murder, killing 100,000 is foreign policy

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Quote Originally Posted by Objective Voice View Post
    A little perspective goes a long way.

    Let's look at the Russia/Ukrainian situation as if the region involved were Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Here are the players:

    Russia = Canada

    Wisconsin = Ukraine

    Green Bay = Crimea

    U.S. = Europe

    Let's suppose Canada owned an oil pipeline that ran through Wisconsin and into the U.S. Let's call that pipeline "Keystone". Wisconsin also leases shipping ports at Lake Superior from Canada. Let's say that Wisconsin had a lot of ethnic Canadians who lived there who still felt some loyalty to Canada. Here's the scenario:

    Wisconsin has a long history of activist turmoil brought on by mistrust from a corrupt government. Wisconsin's governor is pro-Canada, but its legislature is pro-U.S. The Wisconsin government falls apart and their Governor get's ousted by its legislature. Canada gets concerned and sends its troops down into Wisconsin's capital city of Green Bay (I know it's actually Madison, but work with me here) to protect its national security interests - the pipeline and the shipping port. Would Canada be justified in its actions given the history of civil unrest that occurs there?

    Maybe, maybe not. I'd say it depends on if it believed that the pipeline and/or the shipping ports were being threatened. And that's part of the problem here. They aren't nor have then been, but "protecting ethnic Russians and Russia's national security interests" is the justification Vladimir Putin is using to "occupy" Ukraine. In all actuality, Putin merely wants to bring the Ukraine back into the Russian fold. Why? OIL!

    Putin knows that if the Ukraine joins the EU it will lose upwards of 30% of its oil exports which currently go to EU countries. The Ukraine is sitting on two major oil/natural gas deposits and the EU would love to get out from under Russia's thumb for oil imports. Thus, Ukraine is the prize and Putin believes that if he can convince the world that a majority of the Ukrainian citizens want back into Russia governance, the world will have no choice but to let it happen. Problem is, without the pipelines or shipping ports being threatened, he really has no justification for sending Russian military into another sovereign country.

    Now, while all these political voices are calling for President Obama to take a stronger stance against Putin - all but calling for military action - there's really nothing President Obama can do short of pushing NATO to do what has done: condemn Putin's actions, impose sanctions, freeze assets and seek for Russia to be kicked out of the G8. Until Russia goes against a vote by the Ukrainian people and, thus, its government to align itself with the EU and not w/Russia OR Russia all-out invades Ukraine ahead of such a vote, there's really nothing the U.S. or the world can do. The scuttling of ships at the seaport is akin to a naval blockade, but unless Russia stops all freight from entering or leaving the port by military force, again there's really nothing anyone can do about it.
    Pretty nice little scenario you came up with there. I think you're basically saying Russia's actions are understandable.
    Killing one person is murder, killing 100,000 is foreign policy

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Quote Originally Posted by Montecresto View Post
    Ok, so I agree with that. But that's not Russia having designs on Europe, nor is it conspiracy. The US is doing its best to restrict Russia, and Russia's response is completely understandable. Hell, US foreign policy is constructed around meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, up to and including both covert and overt toppling of governments, and American feigned outrage over completely understandable action by Russia, is pathetic.
    As I see it, both sides are playing the same game and both sides have designs on the world. Just because the West often acts hypocritical with its moral justifications doesn't mean it's worse than Russia. Or that Russia is even the "good guy", just because the West is stronger.

    And as I said, in the end, it boils down to me that I'd rather live in a Western system, than as a Russian satellite.

    So GO NATO!
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Despite the agitation and efforts of Spain and Argentina, the principle of self-determination has kept both Gibraltar and The Falkland Islands British (and internationally recognised as such,) why should Crimea be different? The proper procedure would be a referendum, and the outcome should designate the nationality of Crimeans under international law - should they choose to be Russian, or Ukrainian; so be it.

    This is not the business of the EU, the USA, or any of their allies. Secession is recognised under international law (although the conditions justifying such action are not clearly defined) and I do not see how a potential Crimean secession would be any different from that of Kosovo in 2008.

    For those in doubt as to the legitimacy of succession - Thomas Franck, one of the five international law experts asked by the Canadian government to consider certain issues regarding a hypothesized secession of Quebec, wrote that:

    "It cannot seriously be argued today that international law prohibits secession. It cannot seriously be denied that international law permits secession. There is a privilege of secession recognized in international law and the law imposes no duty on any people not to secede."
    I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. E.M. Forster

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Quote Originally Posted by Montecresto View Post
    Pretty nice little scenario you came up with there. I think you're basically saying Russia's actions are understandable.
    No. What's I'm saying is unless Russia clearly oversteps its bounds, there isn't much NATO can do about it. The hope is that Russia (Putin) recognizes the economic pressure its under and backs off. Losing 30% of its oil revenue plus the revenue it would likely lose from its economy due to market fluctuations on top of economic sanctions may be enough to make Putin pull up stakes. Of course, he could become emboldened should Ukrainians vote in favor of returning to Russia. But such a vote would have to be validated. That would be the sticking point.
    "A fair exchange ain't no robbery." Tupac Shakur w/Digital Underground

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Quote Originally Posted by Montecresto View Post
    That's a no-brainer, cut the military, fix domestic problems. Except he'll probably cut the military and still not fix domestic problems.
    Except he has little to show for his domestic plans, and an upcoming election where his party desperately needs help.

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo View Post
    Despite the agitation and efforts of Spain and Argentina, the principle of self-determination has kept both Gibraltar and The Falkland Islands British (and internationally recognised as such,) why should Crimea be different? The proper procedure would be a referendum, and the outcome should designate the nationality of Crimeans under international law - should they choose to be Russian, or Ukrainian; so be it.

    This is not the business of the EU, the USA, or any of their allies. Secession is recognised under international law (although the conditions justifying such action are not clearly defined) and I do not see how a potential Crimean secession would be any different from that of Kosovo in 2008.

    For those in doubt as to the legitimacy of succession - Thomas Franck, one of the five international law experts asked by the Canadian government to consider certain issues regarding a hypothesized secession of Quebec, wrote that:

    "It cannot seriously be argued today that international law prohibits secession. It cannot seriously be denied that international law permits secession. There is a privilege of secession recognized in international law and the law imposes no duty on any people not to secede."
    I agree. But I doubt that a hasty referendum at the gunpoint of Russian soldiers who don't allow any independent international observers in has much value.

    The ideal solution for the problem would be if Russia and Kiev agreed to let an international force into Crimea, while the Russians troops withdraw, and this international force then organizes a referendum both sides agree to respect.

    But as it looks at the moment, Putin doesn't seem interested in such a solution.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    As I see it, both sides are playing the same game and both sides have designs on the world. Just because the West often acts hypocritical with its moral justifications doesn't mean it's worse than Russia. Or that Russia is even the "good guy", just because the West is stronger.

    And as I said, in the end, it boils down to me that I'd rather live in a Western system, than as a Russian satellite.

    So GO NATO!
    Well I understand your wishes, but I don't think Germany is going to be a Russian satellite.
    Killing one person is murder, killing 100,000 is foreign policy

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Quote Originally Posted by Montecresto View Post
    Well I understand your wishes, but I don't think Germany is going to be a Russian satellite.
    I hope you are right.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

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    re: For First Time, Kremlin Signals It Is Prepared to Annex Crimea [W:153]

    Quote Originally Posted by Objective Voice View Post
    No. What's I'm saying is unless Russia clearly oversteps its bounds, there isn't much NATO can do about it. The hope is that Russia (Putin) recognizes the economic pressure its under and backs off. Losing 30% of its oil revenue plus the revenue it would likely lose from its economy due to market fluctuations on top of economic sanctions may be enough to make Putin pull up stakes. Of course, he could become emboldened should Ukrainians vote in favor of returning to Russia. But such a vote would have to be validated. That would be the sticking point.
    Not to draw too much comparison, Japan attacked under such economic pressures.
    Killing one person is murder, killing 100,000 is foreign policy

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