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Thread: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    So what do you think the EU/NATO could have done then with regards to Ukraine that would have made a difference to the current situation?
    The EU could have done nothing. The nations of this world have become so economically interdependent, the downside to war among major trading nations requires greater cost than acting in defense of smaller nations. That is why there has been no major war between the large nations since WWII. Look at the history since. The US, for instance is only interested in acting against smaller, weak nations. We maintain an embargo against Cuba, while trading freely with China, and we simply throw platitudes at Russia as they walk all over the Ukraine's sovereignty. Why? Because the cost of war is cheaper when you are fighting the small nations that cannot compete with you.

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by tlmorg02 View Post
    The EU could have done nothing. The nations of this world have become so economically interdependent, the downside to war among major trading nations requires greater cost than acting in defense of smaller nations. That is why there has been no major war between the large nations since WWII. Look at the history since. The US, for instance is only interested in acting against smaller, weak nations. We maintain an embargo against Cuba, while trading freely with China, and we simply throw platitudes at Russia as they walk all over the Ukraine's sovereignty. Why? Because the cost of war is cheaper when you are fighting the small nations that cannot compete with you.
    This is virtually verbatim what was said before World War I, a time when economic interdependence reached it's greatest levels until the present era. Those who have argued that economic interdependence will prevent the outbreak of hostilities have historically been proven sadly mistaken and it is a dangerous position to stake ones foreign policy on.

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    So what do you think the EU/NATO could have done then with regards to Ukraine that would have made a difference to the current situation?
    The Ukrainian situation isn't over. It isn't what we could have done--it's what we need to do. Which is increase the size of the upcoming military exercises, accelerate them from July to May, and when they end have the Ukrainian government request they remain. We need to provide a firm security guarantee and create a maximum limit of potential Russian advance.

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    I don't think Obama gives a rat's buttocks about Ukraine or those disputed islands.

    I think he just desperately wants something else...a distraction.

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    This is virtually verbatim what was said before World War I, a time when economic interdependence reached it's greatest levels until the present era. Those who have argued that economic interdependence will prevent the outbreak of hostilities have historically been proven sadly mistaken and it is a dangerous position to stake ones foreign policy on.
    I totally agree, but I simply point out that now we are seeing the fruits of this labor. The West will not take any military action against Russia until the economic cost is greater than action. Germany is basically the defacto leader of the EU at this point, and until they find that they are threatened more by Russian aggression than their need for oil and gas, they will not act. It is a replay of the buildup to WWII. Germany was marching into France before Europe really woke-up to realize they must take action.

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    Here's another reason why it was a bad idea to have been over aggressive in the UKraine with regards to Yanukovych rejecting the EU deal. That's something we should have left for the Europeans to do. It appears that we have opened a can of worms. Do we really want to go to war with China too over some small islands that the Japanese claim? It's time for a serious rethink of our foreign policy.

    U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia
    The words "US Warns" have become a joke.

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    So what do you think the EU/NATO could have done then with regards to Ukraine that would have made a difference to the current situation?
    -Acted in time.
    Or having missed that boat
    -Made sure the treaty didn't fall over.

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    The Ukrainian situation isn't over. It isn't what we could have done--it's what we need to do. Which is increase the size of the upcoming military exercises, accelerate them from July to May, and when they end have the Ukrainian government request they remain. We need to provide a firm security guarantee and create a maximum limit of potential Russian advance.
    I'm not so sure about a firm security guarantee because I really don't think it's worth going to war with Russia over Ukraine. We never should have been at this place in the first place because there was no reason to go all out with Russia over the EU association agreement. That's an important point. However, we are in the mess now, and unfortunately we have to do something because if Russia actually moved troops into Ukraine and there was no response, it could give the impression of weakness. Especially after the heavy handed US incursion into Iraq, a thus embolden Russia could feel the need for other incursions elsewhere to demonstrate that it's status on the world stage is equal to that of the US. But over Ukraine, I personally would do no more that impose some very harsh sanctions and possibly send some weapons. Although with the weapons, I would have to think deeply because there are a lot of right wing, militant extremists who are a part of the government of Ukraine right now and there is no telling what they might do with sophisticated weaponry. I think the proper place to draw security guarantee line right now is NATO members.

    That said, what is troubling currently is that Russia says that mercenaries from US security companies are operating with nationalist militants from Right Sector and Ukrainian security forces in Eastern Ukraine. If that is true, then Russia could perceive that the US, through mercenaries, could be attempting to infiltrate Russia itself through Ukraine to provoke unrest and destabilize the Russian government. That would not be an unfounded conclusion because indeed the US did use mercenaries in Afghanistan, and I think is is highly likely that those mercenaries were used to help facilitate and encourage those groups in Afghanistan such as the TTP that were carrying out attacks in Pakistan aimed at destabilizing the government. The President of Pakistan, Asif Zadari, husband of the slain Benazir Bhutto, told US envoy Zalmay Khalizad that he believed the US was behind a number of attacks inside of Pakistan. He said the purpose of the attacks was to destabilize Pakistan so that the US could seize it's nuclear weapons. So it's possible that US mercenaries could infiltrate Russia through Ukraine and foment unrest in Russia to destabilize Putin's regime. We are likely already doing so through NGOs in Russia, so while it's not a known fact, such a scenario is a possibility. Not only that, but right wing extremists like the Right Sector could even carry out terrorists attacks in Russia using Ukraine as a staging ground. IF that's the case, and Putin senses this as a threat, then it would become highly likely that he would send troops into Ukraine, thus escalating tensions. If we had a firm security guarantee with Ukraine, this would be very unfortunate because direct confrontation between Russian troops and US military personnel would become likely. That would be very, very unfortunate.

    Now one could say that's all the more reason to give a security guarantee to Ukraine because that would reduce the possibility of a Russian incursion. But I think that given the very close proximity of Ukraine to Russia and the close historical ties the Russia has with the people in eastern Ukraine, we would be playing a very dangerous game of Russian roulette, pun intended, and I see no good reason to take such a risk over Ukraine. Again, the countries of NATO is the proper place to draw that line.

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    I'm not so sure about a firm security guarantee because I really don't think it's worth going to war with Russia over Ukraine. We never should have been at this place in the first place because there was no reason to go all out with Russia over the EU association agreement. That's an important point. However, we are in the mess now, and unfortunately we have to do something because if Russia actually moved troops into Ukraine and there was no response, it could give the impression of weakness. Especially after the heavy handed US incursion into Iraq, a thus embolden Russia could feel the need for other incursions elsewhere to demonstrate that it's status on the world stage is equal to that of the US. But over Ukraine, I personally would do no more that impose some very harsh sanctions and possibly send some weapons. Although with the weapons, I would have to think deeply because there are a lot of right wing, militant extremists who are a part of the government of Ukraine right now and there is no telling what they might do with sophisticated weaponry. I think the proper place to draw security guarantee line right now is NATO members.

    That said, what is troubling currently is that Russia says that mercenaries from US security companies are operating with nationalist militants from Right Sector and Ukrainian security forces in Eastern Ukraine. If that is true, then Russia could perceive that the US, through mercenaries, could be attempting to infiltrate Russia itself through Ukraine to provoke unrest and destabilize the Russian government. That would not be an unfounded conclusion because indeed the US did use mercenaries in Afghanistan, and I think is is highly likely that those mercenaries were used to help facilitate and encourage those groups in Afghanistan such as the TTP that were carrying out attacks in Pakistan aimed at destabilizing the government. The President of Pakistan, Asif Zadari, husband of the slain Benazir Bhutto, told US envoy Zalmay Khalizad that he believed the US was behind a number of attacks inside of Pakistan. He said the purpose of the attacks was to destabilize Pakistan so that the US could seize it's nuclear weapons. So it's possible that US mercenaries could infiltrate Russia through Ukraine and foment unrest in Russia to destabilize Putin's regime. We are likely already doing so through NGOs in Russia, so while it's not a known fact, such a scenario is a possibility. Not only that, but right wing extremists like the Right Sector could even carry out terrorists attacks in Russia using Ukraine as a staging ground. IF that's the case, and Putin senses this as a threat, then it would become highly likely that he would send troops into Ukraine, thus escalating tensions. If we had a firm security guarantee with Ukraine, this would be very unfortunate because direct confrontation between Russian troops and US military personnel would become likely. That would be very, very unfortunate.

    Now one could say that's all the more reason to give a security guarantee to Ukraine because that would reduce the possibility of a Russian incursion. But I think that given the very close proximity of Ukraine to Russia and the close historical ties the Russia has with the people in eastern Ukraine, we would be playing a very dangerous game of Russian roulette, pun intended, and I see no good reason to take such a risk over Ukraine. Again, the countries of NATO is the proper place to draw that line.
    I think we have a fundamental disagreement. I emphatically believe it is in our interests to be as assertive and dedicated as possible to thwart Russian efforts to frustrate Ukraine's shift towards the EU and NATO. The tack that this administration (begun in part by the last) with Russia could not be more wrong. Russia is not a partner or a potential partner, at least not as its government is currently constituted. This rivalry extends from Europe, to the Caucuses, to Central Asia, and less intensely around the globe.

    Allowing Russia to sink it's tendrils into Ukraine again and running the very real risk of a Russo-sphere that extends to the periphery of Central Europe is unthinkable. It would threaten the European experiment in innumerable ways. It would expose countries like Romania, Moldova, Hungary, and Serbia to the beguiling temptations of shifting back into a Russian orbit, it would endanger if not annihilate the credibility of US security guarantees which could lead to flash points in the Baltic (where you genuinely have anti-Russian policies unlike the fictitious pretexts in Ukraine) especially in Estonia. It would embolden Russia to take advantage of future possible pretexts for further intrusion in Georgia and Azerbaijan (vis a vis Armenia/Nagorno).

    Finally it critically endangers the global credibility of the US alliance structure and our willingness to assume a defensive posture over frontline states and in potential hot spots. There is so much on the line in Ukraine even if people would prefer to stick their heads in the sand about it.

    As for the rest of your point... it's baseless. There is no reliable evidence whatsoever that US 'mercenaries' are operating in Ukraine nor does that make any sense. Or that we used mercenaries to support the Pakistani Taliban. Those are just silly conspiracy-isms. It's also nothing more than a propaganda point (abetted by a colossal misunderstanding of Ukrainian history and politics) to call the government in Kiev a bastion of right wing extremists.

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    Re: U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    I think we have a fundamental disagreement. I emphatically believe it is in our interests to be as assertive and dedicated as possible to thwart Russian efforts to frustrate Ukraine's shift towards the EU and NATO. The tack that this administration (begun in part by the last) with Russia could not be more wrong. Russia is not a partner or a potential partner, at least not as its government is currently constituted. This rivalry extends from Europe, to the Caucuses, to Central Asia, and less intensely around the globe.

    Allowing Russia to sink it's tendrils into Ukraine again and running the very real risk of a Russo-sphere that extends to the periphery of Central Europe is unthinkable. It would threaten the European experiment in innumerable ways. It would expose countries like Romania, Moldova, Hungary, and Serbia to the beguiling temptations of shifting back into a Russian orbit, it would endanger if not annihilate the credibility of US security guarantees which could lead to flash points in the Baltic (where you genuinely have anti-Russian policies unlike the fictitious pretexts in Ukraine) especially in Estonia. It would embolden Russia to take advantage of future possible pretexts for further intrusion in Georgia and Azerbaijan (vis a vis Armenia/Nagorno).
    Indeed we have a disagreement because I feel that our efforts to thwart Russia in Ukraine do not lead to more security for Europe, nor ourselves, nor the rest of the world as well. Why is this so? Because what you have failed to calculate is that Ukraine is a vital security interest for Russia. It is on their near border and Crimea in particular is the center of the Russian navy. For Russia Ukraine, especially Crimea, is a do or die situation. For us this region is not a high vital interest, because a Russia that has merely loaned some money to Ukraine simply means that Ukraine would have a government in which our leverage would still be substantial, but not as strong as Russia. It appears that you would have us to believe that Russia loaning money to Ukraine would somehow magically recreate the Soviet empire, but you offer no evidence to substantiate this claim. For Russia to do that, they would have to actually occupy Ukraine and take over it's military apparatus, and quite frankly although Russia could defeat Ukraine militarily, they would be very hard pressed to actually maintain control of the country. It would bleed Russia to death trying to do so. Therefore your assertion is baseless, and quite frankly it resembles the paranoid warnings of a non-existent mushroom cloud that people like Dick Cheney so foolishly put before the world to our great embarrassment.

    The reality of the situation is that there is a very big difference in the downside risks for us in Ukraine with regards to the way that we handled the European associate agreement, and those of Russia. On one side Russia is faced with a do or die situation, on the other we are simply faced with a situation in which our leverage is reduced. So to have put Russia in a situation like that was not very good strategic thinking because it forced Russia to play their hand in Crimea. By doing so, it has created a front in which military confrontation between ourselves and Russia is substantially more likely. Not only that but it has totally put and end to any notion of the view that Gorbachev had when the Soviet empire broke up of a new cooperative thinking between ourselves and Russia. The problem with your position is that you appear to believe that any regime that does not share the same views and values that we have, or that disagrees with what our ability to dictate policy to other nations should be, is a regime that is highly hostile and needs to be eradicated. This view is so extreme that even someone as benign as Aristide, in poor little Haiti, is a threat that must be removed. In that case, there was no more than an ideological difference of opinion with regards to how the resources of the government should be used to help it's citizens. But to persons like you, that is a grave threat to US interests, and therefore he was removed from office. It's totally ridiculous and unsustainable because the US simply does not have the proper resources to project it's influence all over the globe in this way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    Finally it critically endangers the global credibility of the US alliance structure and our willingness to assume a defensive posture over frontline states and in potential hot spots. There is so much on the line in Ukraine even if people would prefer to stick their heads in the sand about it.
    No it does not endanger our global credibility because we do not a security guarantee with Ukraine. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. If it was you would have a point, but that simply is not the case. So there is no sticking of heads in the sand, because we have not said we would defend Ukraine in case of attack. Again you have conjured up a fictitious mushroom cloud that does not exist except for in your mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    As for the rest of your point... it's baseless. There is no reliable evidence whatsoever that US 'mercenaries' are operating in Ukraine nor does that make any sense.
    I can't say it is a fact at this point, but Russia has said that it's the case and it does make sense that we would do so because it would fit into a pattern of past behavior on the part of the US government.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    Or that we used mercenaries to support the Pakistani Taliban. Those are just silly conspiracy-isms. It's also nothing more than a propaganda point (abetted by a colossal misunderstanding of Ukrainian history and politics) to call the government in Kiev a bastion of right wing extremists.
    Well we sure used mercenaries in Afghanistan and there is plenty of evidence to support that. Even Erik Prince has stated openly that we did. And as far as our support of the TTP, there is evidence to support that is well and it came directly from the words of high ranking members of the TTP who became disgusted with that situation. So it's not a silly notion at all.
    Last edited by MildSteel; 04-09-14 at 07:53 AM.

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