Ukraine

Stingray~

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On that, I agree with you.

However, how do you force a national leader to give up that kind of power?
Through checks and balances maybe?

A key moment in history, to my mind anyway, was when during the Cuban missile crisis a Russian sub commander hesitated to press The Button, despite signs he was getting that a nuclear war may have been launched. God Bless that man!!!!!! He hesitated.

There is some evidence that during Trump's maniacal last days, that Gen Milley gathered his top generals to make sure that any Trump order to launch anything diabolical went through him first. That is the kind of check and balance needed too and every one of them agreed. Thank gawd!
 
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dogwatch

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What is Putin's issue with the so-called 'unipolar world'? Yes, The USA (for a long list of reasons, especially not suffering the damage Europe did during WW2) has by far the biggest GDP in the world as a single country (although not much different from the EU as a whole) but, except through mutually-agreed trade arrangements, it is not like the USA controls much of what happens in Europe, or even our closest neighbors Mexico and Canada.

It has long struck me that in the American-written allegory "Star Wars", we are intended to see close parallels between the heroic "Rebel Alliance" and an idealised USA, whereas much of the world would find more of a resemblance to the bullying and cynical "Empire" (albeit Lucas' intention as to the latter was to satirise extreme Republican beliefs). Your puzzlement is an example of that inability by many in the USA to perceive how others view that power imbalance.

For starters and in no particular order: what might trouble Putin about the unipolar world order? Bombing into submission Russia's historical ally, Serbia. Bombing long-term ally Gaddafi's convoy, resulting in his capture and death. Invading Iraq, another long-term ally. While both Hussain and Gaddafi may make fine citizens of Hell, large scale and murderous civil war followed the USA's intervention in Iraq and Libya. I'm not particularly interested in debating here the merits or otherwise of those actions but it is obvious that there is a counter-argument to presentation of USA hegemony as a universally positive force.

As for the USA not intervening in European affairs, if you believe that, you haven't been paying attention. But I don't really want to drag this thread in a different direction by citing examples.
 

estarzinger

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However, how do you force a national leader to give up that kind of power?
As an aside . . . . . when signing the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the nuclear-armed states agreed to give up their nuclear arms at "an early date". It is not much discussed, but the nuclear-armed states are really in just as much of breach of the non-proliferation treaty as Iran.

Like most legal texts, there is ofc wiggle room in the details, which the nuclear-armed states will cite as excuse/justification, but broadly it is quite clear that there is no intent at all to accomplish "general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control".

"Article VI) Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
 

estarzinger

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Your puzzlement is an example of that inability by many in the USA to perceive how others view that power imbalance.
(agree with you, just expanding a tiny bit): The country is isolated by oceans and by wealth (and associated military power). Less than half of Americans have passports and few can speak other languages (well). There is a deep belief in 'American exceptionalism' which creates a feeling that they don't need to understand other cultures because theirs is superior and the end game is for it to replace the others. It has been a fundamental weakness of American power projection - even if you agree with that end game, it is essential to have understanding and empathy for those on the other side of the table. We got into Iraq with almost zero understanding of the situation - it is reported that senior people in the white house did not even understand the Shia/Sunni division. I worry that few now have that understanding and empathy with Russia, and if they do not, the west may "win the war but lose the peace (again)."

Kissinger gave an interesting interview just recently (he just released a new book profiling historical leaders). The whole thing is worth a quick read - he is an evil man but has significant insights. I was particularly struck by the following comment:

"The encounter between China and the United States has its special ingredient in the fact that both societies consider themselves exceptional and therefore unique and therefore entitled to prevail. The difference is that the United States thinks that the coherence of the world is natural and therefore the challenge is a series of practical problems that have to be solved on an ad hoc basis. But China thinks of history as an evolution without end in which the solution of one problem is an entrance ticket to another set of problems. Where America prevails—in its image—by its case-to-case performance, China’s view of itself is that it prevails through the majesty of its conduct and the scale of its performance, which results, in my interpretation of the Chinese view, not in conquest but in respect. So, they are aiming for different things on a day-to-day basis."
 
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LeoV

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In short, USSR/Russia and China never started a war or supplied rebels with them.
Dream on. Putin, kettle black.

And the reviews of the Kissinger book are worthwhile to read. But that is another topic.
 

Rain Man

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It has long struck me that in the American-written allegory "Star Wars", we are intended to see close parallels between the heroic "Rebel Alliance" and an idealised USA, whereas much of the world would find more of a resemblance to the bullying and cynical "Empire" (albeit Lucas' intention as to the latter was to satirise extreme Republican beliefs). Your puzzlement is an example of that inability by many in the USA to perceive how others view that power imbalance.

For starters and in no particular order: what might trouble Putin about the unipolar world order? Bombing into submission Russia's historical ally, Serbia. Bombing long-term ally Gaddafi's convoy, resulting in his capture and death. Invading Iraq, another long-term ally. While both Hussain and Gaddafi may make fine citizens of Hell, large scale and murderous civil war followed the USA's intervention in Iraq and Libya. I'm not particularly interested in debating here the merits or otherwise of those actions but it is obvious that there is a counter-argument to presentation of USA hegemony as a universally positive force.

As for the USA not intervening in European affairs, if you believe that, you haven't been paying attention. But I don't really want to drag this thread in a different direction by citing examples.
Well said, but in the case of Putin's war of aggression/land grab in Ukraine, two wrongs still don't make a right. Annexing land in Ukraine by force does not achieve a less unipolar world. It is just an attempt move borders; to gain the land and resources of Ukraine. In spite of Putin wrapping himself in the notion that he is the good guy fighting against Western hegemony, few actually believe him.

Aside from that, there will never be a unipolar world. China is never going to be subjugated by the West. Does anyone believe that the West wanted to control Russia prior to the war? The notion is ridiculous, though Russia apologists like to use it as an argument. The West would be happy if Russia just went about its business.

This war has now given the West a good reason to put Russia back within its borders and keep it that way. I hope the West is successful, but efforts so far are too little and too late. Only the spirit of the Ukrainian people is keeping Russia at bay.
 
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Stingray~

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The promotion of Democracy has been the advertised ideal behind many USA interventions but Democracy has a difficult history even in the USA. On that subject, today's episode from this show (probably my favorite NPR show) is a good one to illustrate that point.

 

dogwatch

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Well said, but in the case of Putin's war of aggression/land grab in Ukraine, two wrongs still don't make a right. Annexing land in Ukraine by force does not achieve a less unipolar world. It is just an attempt move borders; to gain the land and resources of Ukraine. In spite of Putin wrapping himself in the notion that he is the good guy fighting against Western hegemony, few actually believe him.

I think you'd find in non-Western counties, a lot believe him. Rightly or wrongly, Russia is regarded as an anti-colonial power, that has made a major investment in educating students from the third world. It isn't my view but it is worth understanding why that view is widely held.
 

Rain Man

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Wet coast.
I think you'd find in non-Western counties, a lot believe him. Rightly or wrongly, Russia is regarded as an anti-colonial power, that has made a major investment in educating students from the third world. It isn't my view but it is worth understanding why that view is widely held.
Certainly that is true in Vietnam, based on my experience, and likely a few other countries. Still, I wonder how many believe that his war is a justifiable expression of Putin's anti-Western activism, vs. plain old imperialist aggression.
 

Steam Flyer

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Certainly that is true in Vietnam, based on my experience, and likely a few other countries. Still, I wonder how many believe that his war is a justifiable expression of Putin's anti-Western activism, vs. plain old imperialist aggression.

Do you think any of that goodwill and feelings that Putin's aggression against the West is justified, will remain in the aftermath of his tossing a nuke or two?
 

Mark_K

Super Anarchist
It has long struck me that in the American-written allegory "Star Wars", we are intended to see close parallels between the heroic "Rebel Alliance" and an idealised USA, whereas much of the world would find more of a resemblance to the bullying and cynical "Empire" (albeit Lucas' intention as to the latter was to satirise extreme Republican beliefs). Your puzzlement is an example of that inability by many in the USA to perceive how others view that power imbalance.

For starters and in no particular order: what might trouble Putin about the unipolar world order? Bombing into submission Russia's historical ally, Serbia. Bombing long-term ally Gaddafi's convoy, resulting in his capture and death. Invading Iraq, another long-term ally. While both Hussain and Gaddafi may make fine citizens of Hell, large scale and murderous civil war followed the USA's intervention in Iraq and Libya. I'm not particularly interested in debating here the merits or otherwise of those actions but it is obvious that there is a counter-argument to presentation of USA hegemony as a universally positive force.

As for the USA not intervening in European affairs, if you believe that, you haven't been paying attention. But I don't really want to drag this thread in a different direction by citing examples.
I believe Putin's fear is much more immediate, the slow carving away of what was once "Russia". He probably believes the West has a vision of Russia as a second-rate power. He is probably right about that too. The Russians have a deep sense entitlement to something different though.

He barely gave a shit about Ghaddafi (that was an intervention most strongly cheer-led by the Brits and the French btw). He gave a bit more of a shit about Serbia (that was a humanitarian intervention for acts which can only be compared to what nazis did btw), but not much. They were understandable as not being exhibits of Western Imperialism.

Ukraine? The eastern sections had become Ukraine as an administrative simplification by the Soviets. It was not that big a deal with an at least semi-friendly Ukraine, but an abjectly hostile Ukraine?? Ukraine is not some hilly slavic shit-hole, it's not a desert in Africa, it's a fucking breadbasket, one of the worlds best.

It's a conflict that is easily understandable without reaching for Nazi Germany, without reaching for naked imperialism in far flung places such as that of the British. It's on their borders and includes lands that have been Russian for a hell of a long time.
 

Steam Flyer

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....
Ukraine? The eastern sections had become Ukraine as an administrative simplification by the Soviets. It was not that big a deal with an at least semi-friendly Ukraine, but an abjectly hostile Ukraine?? Ukraine is not some hilly slavic shit-hole, it's not a desert in Africa, it's a fucking breadbasket, one of the worlds best.

It's a conflict that is easily understandable without reaching for Nazi Germany, without reaching for naked imperialism in far flung places such as that of the British. It's on their borders and includes lands that have been Russian for a hell of a long time.

You mean conquered by Russia... or more properly Moscovites.... not Russian.
 

Stingray~

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There's a reason Ukraine has sections with different languages, and fought on different sides in WW2.
Prez Z has suggested that any negotiated settlement would have to be agreed by a referendum vote. If that happens it will be interesting to see if the people in the Donetsk oblasts get to vote, and on exactly what parts of the proposed settlement. He must for sure have the support of a vast majority of the big-city populations so far, to 'fight forever' - or at least for as long as the Western aid supports them in the war, and supports their economy.

Even if Ukr's version of oligarchs may be siphoning some of the Western support off, which if that is happening may help to explain some of the weapons-supply bottlenecks; and maybe if it is hindering the money-flow of other money-help efforts too. Questions about corruption have been raised in the US Congress too during multi-billion $ support measure votes, it's not just me. My basic reaction is that if one of the keys to all this is to pay off 'oligarchs' or whatever you call the power-brokers there, including in the now-occupied oblasts, well then maybe paying off those crooked people is a cost-effective way to influence what happens. That goes for the 'companies' controlling the food supplies (and so basically the farmers) too. Everyone has their hand out.
 
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LeoV

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even if Ukr's version of oligarchs may be siphoning a lot of it off.
They had 5, 3 of them lost almost everything they owned in the East. 1 donates a lot of stuff and is under strict watch. So one left, is in Poland according the latest news. With a reason accepted by Ukrainian mobilisation laws.
One of the generals accused of corruption was cleared just before the war and is now well regarded. Others fled to Russia before the war. Including the ex president.
So idée fixe, let it rest.

here a link;
 
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Stingray~

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They had 5, 3 of them lost almost everything they owned in the East. 1 donates a lot of stuff and is under strict watch. So one left, is in Poland according the latest news. With a reason accepted by Ukrainian mobilisation laws.
One of the generals accused of corruption was cleared just before the war and is now well regarded. Others fled to Russia before the war. Including the ex president.
So idée fixe, let it rest.

here a link;
Thanks for the context and the link.

My own definition of 'oligarchs' is a fairly loose one and includes even some in the USA. Basically, those with the power to influence major events, for profit reasons.

I am not accusing them of being complicit in 'oligarchy' but there is a big Oz company that controls much of what farmers have to deal with for fertilizers, seed, transportation, prices, etc. And the head of their Ukr branch is at least, umm, interesting. He is likely one of many but I doubt the others speak much English.

That situation exists in much of the USA farming industry too, it has become a situation where 'family' farmers have lost most of their control to ruthlessly profit-focused, monopolistic conglomerates. To me, they are in some ways 'oligarchs' too.

If there is big profit-making being taken behind the front lines, basically in the new order of the occupied territories, well that seems worth taking on even if it means bribery. The USA has committed over $50B so far, why not devote some of it to this leverage? My guess is that they, maybe even some Russian political and military puppets too, will 'follow the money.' Ceding control over Ukr's food exports to Ru-aligned cronies is worth taking on, it may even reshape how voters in the Doblensk lean too, so much of that region being agricultural-economy based. Guarantee them the $340 per ton they got for grapeseed in last year's harvest, cut the 'oligarchs' out of it.
 
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