1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. We've had very few donations over the year. I'm going to be short soon as some personal things are keeping me from putting up the money. If you have something small to contribute it's greatly appreciated. Please put your screen name as well so that I can give you credit. Click here: Donations
    Dismiss Notice

Politics Ukraine and Putin's power grab

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by rogue49, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Welcome back to the Cold War.
    Welcome back to the 1960's

    Do we REALLY have to do this again???
    Just after we closed down one war, winding down another,
    and actually had a proposal to reduce our military down to a more practical level taken seriously for the most part...

    Then again, this might be a way of Putin to have a win-win situation.
    Show strength internally and externally, intimidate the EU and Ukraine to get his way more
    ...and make the US overspend as usual on it's military.
    You spend on guns, you don't spend on other things and the credit card gets full again... :rolleyes:

    What do you think??
  2. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Large City, TX
    I agree that we don't need to send our troops off to another war (the Republicans were worried about Obama being a dove?).

    KBR has enough of our tax dollars.
  3. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Russia is a lot like China.

    Both are authoritarian states with deplorable human rights abuses that are made trivial by trade interests in the West in addition to other geopolitical problems.

    In other words, if this were Iran or North Korea (going after, say, Iraq or South Korea, respectively), you can bet your ass the West would be going in.

    But this? Oh, we're all, like, "Putin, don't be a dick."

    We are too lenient on him, well, because he's in the G-fucking-8.

    I'm not a war hawk or anything, but if push comes to shove, Ukraine is in for a fuck-ton of grief.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  4. Street Pattern

    Street Pattern Very Tilted

    We did absolutely nothing when Putin invaded Georgia in 2008. So inaction is a bipartisan strategy.

    Very interesting notes:
    Is This a Strong Position?
    Weak Position

    A couple of excerpts:
    --- merged: Mar 3, 2014 at 3:37 PM ---
    Another one:
    David Ignatius: Putin’s error in Ukraine is the kind that leads to catastrophe - The Washington Post
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2014
  5. fflowley

    fflowley Don't just do something, stand there! Donor

    I can't believe that John Kerry actually had the balls to say this, a little more than a decade after we did the exact thing which he is criticizing:

    "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text," Kerry told the CBS program "Face the Nation."

    I wonder if he actually had a straight face when he said this?
  6. Fremen

    Fremen Allright, who stole my mustache?

    E. Texas
    Neighhh, he did not.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    Kind of interesting to have all this happening right in the middle of my seminar on contemporary revolution and political violence. There's a lot of interesting factors at play here. Since this is TFP I'll assume everyone's up to speed but if anyone hasn't been following along there's a summary in the spoiler.

    Current tensions date back to the USSR's policies towards Ukraine. Like most SSR's Ukraine wasn't exactly behind the iron curtain voluntarily, and to this day they consider it essentially ensalvement with a side of mass murder. Even more directly relevant to today, and why the political situation is the way it is, Ukraine was heavily colonized by Russia. Specifically eastern Ukraine and the current focal point of Crimea.

    That's why a map of their recent elections is also very close to being a map of their linguistic and ethnic divide as well as the general layout of current political allegiances:

    Western Ukraine, from the moment it got free of Russia, has been doing everything it can to stay an independent state and build ties with the rest of the world. Eastern Ukraine however has been much closer to Russia. This all came to a head recently when President Tymoshenko, who had been negotiating with the EU, was replaced by Yanukovych who promptly began signing deals with Russia as well as imprisoning President Tymoshenko and many of his political opponents.

    Now thanks to some leaked cables we know that Russia has been fomenting dissent for quite some time trying to build up an excuse to get involved with Ukraine, however this blew up in their faces in a direction they didn't anticipate when the Maidan protests began. The usual back and forth of protest, repression, and escalating violence took off and the protestors set up blockades and took control of large portions of various cities.

    What sets them apart from other situations like venezuela is that it's a vertical split rather than horizontal, Parliament was just as busy as the streets were in fighting this with enough people to eventually get Tymoshenko freed and legally oust Yakunovych, who promptly fled the country. Around that same time but shortly after the protestors entered the presidential villa and realised just how much money Yakunovych was embezzling unidentified masked gunmen started seizing arports and soon after Russian soldiers with no identifying markings showed up in Crimea.

    After this Yakunovych was in Russia negotiating for intervention. This is where Crimea comes into play. Crimea is led by essentially a Russian puppet, and on top of that Crimea and Russia have an agreement where Russia can move troops to protect their military base which naturally Russia did. Ukraine didn't rise to the bait and fire first, which left Putin holding the bag.

    Which brings us to today. A lot of people wonder why not just split the country down the middle. Aside from nationalistic concerns that would either completely landlock Western Ukraine, or at the very least severely bottleneck their access to the ocean because of Crimea's position.

    On top of that, Russia has a very important reason to be interested in Ukraine:

    Which actually works against Putin, because it gives us leverage. The ONLY thing keeping Russia from being a third world poverty state like Kzyrgstan is their oil income, and if Putin makes the wrong move the combined scientific and economic might of the entire European Union will be hell-bent on getting off Russian Oil. The last time Russia got in a pissing contest this big we put a man on the moon in ten years with less computing power than a graphing calculator back when the telephone was still new, this time around Denmark's already exceeding its energy needs solely with wind power.

    The problem for us is (as far as I understand it) we're obligated by treaty to help protect Ukraine's borders and sovereignty, if Putin really is stupid or crazy enough to outright invade then that may well force our hand. So the question at this point is what's Putin's game? I'm expecting brinksmanship leading up to increased autonomy in Eastern Ukraine and Western Ukraine getting fast-tracked for NATO and EU membership, but that's all dependant on this not turning into a shooting war.

    Fearon and Laitin argue that a few of the things that can lead to war in a rationalist environment are imperfect or private information and indivisible issues. We could have both at play here.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Uhh...well, I think he has a few nukes too to backup his bullshit.
    Not that he'd likely use them...but it still prevents you from having the warm & fuzzies and going all in.

    I noticed this little hypocrisy too.

    Really, the only thing we can do in practical purposes is make him suffer in money and resources.
    Putin himself may not be directly affected...but his oligarch thug associates might feel the pain (as they did when the Cyprus banks collapsed.
    If they feel it...they might put pressure or undermine Putin.
    But there is a reason he just raised the rates to sky-rocket levels.

    I believe they are starting the squeeze right now - Link
    But I'm not sure if you want to remove them from the G8. (the US did invade another, so you don't want to set that precedent)
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  9. Charlatan

    Charlatan sous les pavés, la plage

    Hungary (1954) and Czechoslovakia (1968). More things change the more they stay the same.
  10. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Where ever I roam

    Why do I have a feeling that this would happen in the US if our economy and government collapse? When people are free to move and can easily move away from policies they don't like, you get two strongholds that won't agree on many issues or get along. You would get the cities verses the suburbs and farmlands in the US. And with how angry and armed the Tea Party people are, I'm not sure if they wouldn't want this to happen sometimes.

    I'm not sure why the Ukraine couldn't be part of the EU, and part of the Russian trade alliance at the same time. Yes, the protestors were right to go after the corrupt and greedy former President. But, this is what happens when you don't have much of a plan of what to do when you do win. It is easy to criticize and be against something, but you need to have a plan of action if things actually work out.
  11. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    Ukraine looks like that, like I said in the spoilered section, because that part of Ukraine was HEAVILY colonized by the USSR. Despite that however right now in Ukraine pretty much everyone except Russian Agents Provacateur are lining up outside military recruitment centers. Here's a post I just found from a Russian speaking Ukrainian:

    • Like Like x 1
  12. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Well, to add to those sentiments...it looks like the momentum is going away from Putin.
    Now the question is this...will he back down & out...or will he panic and do something stupid??

  13. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Seems that many in the GOP, while wanting full support for the Prez, when their own is in that role ("wrapping the flag around them", "support our commander in chief" )
    are more than keen enough to question everything, including during escalating international crisis, when the Prez is in an opposition party.

    Fortunately, there are those that are more level-headed and apolitical, when judging the scene, even if that person is formally in an opposition party.

    I agree, this is a very sensitive and dangerous situation. I'd rather we look before we leap.

    It makes me wonder how many wars and military actions we would have been in if McCain had won??
    I'm not opposed to them if needed...and I doubt he'd leap on everything, in comparison to his rhetoric...but would there had been an increase?
  14. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    I generally take crazy at face value as a "just in case" measure. That being said the Tea Party is extremely predictable in that they will absolutely shit all over anything and everything the president does regardless of what it is. We try diplomacy and they call him feckless, if we'd turned every russian soldier into a red smear and glassed half of their army bases they would be whining that he didn't try diplomacy. Their position is purely reactionary.

    In an interesting turn of events after the deadline for their surrender a Ukrainian Colonol led his troops, completely unarmed, to their airbase which was under russian occupation. The Russians fired into the air and ordered them back but were talked down and eventually several Ukrainian airmen were allowed to return to their posts while the rest hung around for a bit before returning to their quarters.

    It would seem the Russian military isn't too hot on the idea of shooting first either.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    An update I wrote elsewhere:

    Previously: Russian forces (legally) entered Crimea and issued a demand for Ukrainian forces to surrender. Western authorities began diplomatic sanctions, and threatening economic sanctions, which Putin responded to by threatening to seize western assets in order to make up for any economic sanctions. While that was taking place in political channels the surrender deadline passed and Ukrainian forces marched out unarmed to go about their ordinary business, basically daring the Russians to shoot them. The situation appeared to be de-escalating as local Russian forces refused to do so.

    Now: The situation has been massively re-escalated with the unanimous vote by the Crimean parliament to join the Russian Federation, a vote which will be put to a referendum soon. The new national Ukrainian government, unrecognized by Moscow as an "illegitimate coup", has called this an illegal action and vowed to defend Ukrainian borders with military force if necessary. Russia is pumping out propoganda to justify their actions domestically, claiming that all pro-western groups are paid actors, nazis, or otherwise illegitimate. The general theme is the same ethnic nationalism line used to justify the invasion of Georgia.

    With massive evidence that Russia had been setting this up well beforehand it's quite possible that the parliamentary vote was either not voluntary or the work of a puppet government. Either way there are a lot of people with guns in a staring contest and a new timer forcing everyone's hands. With the Budapest memorandum and others, and NATO members activating parts of the charter on grounds of their own security, this could easily drag multiple actors in on each side if it becomes a shooting war.

    When analyizing international politics from a Rationalist perspective most people accept Fearon and Laitin's (2003) explanation that an ex-ante bargain will ALWAYS be greater than the ex-post benefits of even a successful war because of the inherent costliness of war. Thus war is inherently illogical in any Rationalist system and can only be justified by imperfect or private information (bluffing), commitment problems, and indivisible issues which cannot be negotiated by a side payment.

    Commitment problems are irrelevant here since even though Russia is a declining power it's still both a nuclear power and capable of conventionally turning Ukraine into rubble twice over. The resource utilization commitment problem is a non-starter for the same reason, Ukraine is simply so hopelessly outmatched against Russia that it's just not a serious argument.

    Putin could be bluffing to try and get something; As Georgia proved if Putin wants to invade he bloody well invades regardless of whatever else anyone says and so far Russian actions in Crimea have been remarkably restrained, almost as if they were hesitant to do anything other than act scary. The question is what he wants. Russia already has sea ports so Crimea's not that vital, their base has been unmolested which doesn't make that much of a justification, the "protecting ethnic russians" line is pure propoganda, and if he was trying to secure more favorable oil trade he's just shot himself in the foot because the EU is going to move heaven and earth to get off Russian oil now.

    All of this leaves Indivisibility, the big one. From the beginning the idea of a divided Ukraine has been pretty much off the table, and giving up even just Crimea would completely bottleneck the rest of Ukraine. The Crimean Referendum basically places a ticking timebomb on the issue.
  16. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Where ever I roam
    I'm not sure why Crimea can't just become a new country. Maybe it would be the same as if Texas broke off which would be a problem to the US...
  17. ive been listening to Obama's calls, and his stance in this little debacle, and cant help but cringe at the hypocrisy in his words keeping in mind what the USA has done in recent years to prop up illigitimate governments, and overthrow legitimate ones on false pretenses.

    I cant keep a straight face listening to it. I have no idea how he does saying it.

    The latest is that Crimea wants to be a part of Russia instead of Ukraine and have voted in favour. The way i see it, if the people want and vote for it, then why not? The same deal went for East Timor, and the world (The west) supported their separation from Indonesia. Why is this any different?

    • Like Like x 1
  18. Street Pattern

    Street Pattern Very Tilted

    It's no harder than Democrats and Republicans switching sides, whenever the White House changes party, over the blocking or confirmation of judicial nominees.

    Moreover, Obama himself was not in on those previous overthrows. He has to play the hand he's been dealt. That's his job.

    A group of people in a room, perhaps at gunpoint, voted for it. The overall population of Crimea has not been heard from.

    Plus, Crimea has never been considered a nation or anything but a small region. It does not have a unique language or anything to distinguish it from the rest of eastern Ukraine.

    One of the principles behind the relative peace of the last six-plus decades is that boundaries, once established, ought not be fucked with.

    Well, they did in the end.

    You see, East Timor, having declared itself independent from Portugal in 1974, was brutally invaded by Indonesia in 1975, with the support of Western governments -- specifically including the United States.

    After a quarter century of Indonesian occupation and violent clashes, and some conspicuous massacres that got international attention, the UN took over in 1999, and brokered the creation of an independent East Timor.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  19. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    oke off which would be a problem to the US...[/quote]
    Look at the maps of Ukraine I posted earlier. If Crimea joined Russia then Ukraine would have absolutely no naval security at all, their ports would be completely bottlenecked.

    It's like if Michigan and Wisconsin bottlenecked Illinois' access to the great Lakes.
  20. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    The rationalization matches the agenda and convenience...no matter what side is doing it.
    If it's better for "our" side, then people argue that way. Hypocrisy is mostly ignored.

    In truth, what Putin has to worry about is that he cost his nation much placement at the top of the game board. (and thus money and influence)
    Russia needs to stop worrying about territory gained or lost (it has more than enough) and start worrying about internal efficiency and productivity.
    Which is why a country the size of England can outdo it. (and the UK has given up much of it's territory globally)

    The game isn't played anymore on how much land you have. (Nukes have changed that, helping solidify borders)
    It's played by GDP and productivity
    ...and what global corporations and investment you have.

    The US was able to justify its aggressive actions at the time for two reasons.
    One they were attacked from the outside...so even if those countries weren't involved, they were able to make the justification to the other players.
    Two, those they attacked were a worry to the other top players...so it fed into their agenda.
    Russia is attempting do the opposite...push in after an internal power struggle...and two conflict of interest of the other top players.

    So often it's not just rationalization, it's perception and interest of other nations of "authority"
    It's likely lost its place at the table of the G8.
    And it likely will lose much global investment into his country.
    People don't play with a perceived bully (or at least a player that grabs interests of other players)

    Actually, China is now attempting to do it "right" getting in the game, Russia seems to be going backwards.
    Which is why until this, China was more in the news than Russia.
    IMHO, Russia just provided China a really good distraction.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014