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Russia, Last Night's Debate, and Geopolitics

YYW
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10/10/2016 10:53:46 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
Today, two very important things happened today in Russia. First, Vladimir Putin announced today that Russia is moving closer to a production deal to limit the global oil supply. This message was communicated through the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. Their ostensible goal is to stabilize oil prices, but in reality they are engaged in collusive price fixing for the purpose of hurting the American economy. Second, after Putin moved nuclear capable missiles on Poland's border, he announced both an intent to construct a permanent naval base in Syria and a permanent missile defense system while suspending compliance with previously agreed nuclear disarmament treaties. These things both happened after Hillary Clinton undoubtedly secured the upper hand last night in her campaign for the presidency, last night.

Understanding the significance of this sequence of events is critical to grasping the extent to which Russia is actively using its aggressive foreign policy to influence American elections. Putin's "bad behavior," as described above, happening on Barack Obama's watch reinforces what has become a popular belief among some right wing political leaders that Barack Obama's foreign policy has soured relations between Russia and the United States. This is very clearly an effort on Putin's part to avoid a presidency from Hillary Clinton, whose foreign policy in relation to Russia would be decidedly more aggressive than Obama's.

Without question, Hillary Clinton is what Putin fears the most, due to the many creative ways that Clinton has actively undermined Russia's geopolitical interests on a range of fronts. Examples of Clinton's statecraft which frustrated Russia's geopolitical interests abound, though the most critical was Clinton's effort to expand Western--and NATO--influence into Ukraine, in 2014 by offering favorable trade deals and loans to Ukraine which would have resulted in considerable economic benefits to that country. This upset Putin because it meant that Ukraine's diplomatic ties with the West would increase relative to their influence with Russia. Putin, who regards himself as a modern tsar, could not accept this and so engaged in 19th century-style acts of belligerency at Ukraine's expense: seizing Ukraine by force, and invading eastern Ukraine with non-uniformed Spetznatz troops for the purpose of creating sufficient political unrest in Ukraine to destroy the trade deal Clinton orchestrated.

The developments today are consistent with previous acts of aggression in response to US actions which Putin regards as hostile to Russia's interests. Just as in Ukraine in 2014 and after, here Putin is readily trying to mitigate what he perceives to be very real threats to his interests. Putin's strategy is to use what has come to be a perverse form of American sympathy for Russia and Putin himself to his political advantage, while doing things which appear to make Barack Obama's foreign policy (and, by implication, Clinton's probable foreign policy) look inadequate to address what Putin would like to be seen as a "very real" threat of Russian military hostility.

The outcome of our current election is critical for Putin because, if Hillary Clinton is elected and Donald Trump is not, this means that Putin will never be able to exact the kind of control over the greater mass of Central Europe which he desires, for the purpose of forming a supra-national economic bloc in Central Europe to counter the economic influence of the European Union. This, too, was the same reason why Putin reacted so violently to Ukraine. If Ukraine was caused to be drawn into the West's sphere of influence, then Putin's neoimperial ambitions (the economic bloc, discussed above) would be irrevocably thwarted.

The reason that Putin desires to form such an economic bloc is because he readily recognizes that without diversifying Russia's resource holdings (e.g. raw materials of a multiplicity of kinds in Kazakhstan), Russia will be increasingly vulnerable to the kinds of economic sanctions that the United States leveraged against Russia following Russia's Ukraine Invasion in 2014. Those sanctions had devastating effects on the entire Russian economy, and in particular in Russian banking, finance, oil, raw materials, and construction industries. Greater economic diversity as would result from a trans-Siberian economic bloc would with reasonable probability, also restore superpower status to both Russia and what are now decaying Soviet Bloc countries.

The United States highly desires that Russia not be permitted to restore itself to such a status because that risks the beginning of a 21st century Cold War, with even greater risks than were suffered by all mankind during the Cold War which followed the end of the Second World War. The economic power attained in such a world would rebalance the relationship Russia currently has with Western Europe, and power balance between the EU and Russia in general. This is because in the status quo Western Europe has a functional and symbiotic relationship with Russia (particularly due to sales of natural gas), and that relationship is very stable because Russia needs to sell the natural gas as much as Western Europe needs to buy it. However, were Russia to gain greater economic independence (and, by implication, reduce economic interdependence between Russia and Western Europe), Russia will be in a dominant position relative to Western Europe which would both enable Russia to dictate terms related to energy to Western European countries, and would reduce Russia's incentive to *not* engage in further acts of anti-European belligerency. Thus, beyond the military risks, the threat to American economic interests in Western Europe would substantially increase.

Russia's extremely hostile actions suggest the extent to which Russia fears Hillary Clinton's election to the presidency of the United States, and amplifies the risks that a Trump presidency would present to US domestic interests and the interests of our allies, as well as world stability, more generally. Donald Trump's policies toward Russia would allow Russia to advance its interests in the way of forming a supra-national economic bloc which would be used to hurt US interests in Central and Western Europe, and would threaten world stability. Hillary Clinton's policies toward Russia would ensure that Russia is unable to increase its economic diversity, ensuring that Russia remains in a stable and symbiotic economic relationship with Western Europe. It is for this reason that Putin is actively trying to manipulate US elections by engaging in acts of aggression, following a debate in which it is becoming increasingly clear that Hillary Clinton will win the 2016 presidential election.
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kevin24018
Posts: 1,849
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10/10/2016 11:08:25 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/10/2016 11:02:52 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
Thank god Hillary has that reset button ready to stop nuclear armageddon.

we are going to air drop billions of staples buttons and they won't know which one to press, they didn't know what it meant the first time so this will really keep them perplexed.
Greyparrot
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10/10/2016 11:24:08 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/10/2016 11:17:50 PM, Genius_Intellect wrote:
Somebody please ELI5, why is it that America and Russia hate each other so much?

Because America is a_pussy and Russia is a_dick. it's nature.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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10/10/2016 11:31:22 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/10/2016 10:53:46 PM, YYW wrote:

I think that you're overplaying how much Putin sees Clinton as a competent threat; I think that perception is more that of an duplicitous and irrational leader, which is certainly backed up by the most reliable sources from within Russia. I also think that the NATO expansion was the opposite of good; Russia drew a red line in the sand, we crossed it without the will to meet the predictable Russian response with sufficient force, and caused a crisis by threatening to expand Western power projection to Russia's doorstep. The idea that we need to expand power projection to Russia's border just does not make sense to me. Keeping Ukraine as a neutral buffer would have equally prevented the establishment of any economic bloc, and trying to push their geopolitical influence further just forced their hand in a way that, in the end, hurt our position. The hostile actions, in my opinion, reveal a country responding to a leader who is duplicitous, who has been maligning Russia in a cartoonish manner (Russia is ambitious and moderately powerful, and should be contained, but they are not an evil empire), and reveal Putin trying to shore up his own domestic support, which is cracking a bit under the force of sanctions. The idea of a powerful, vengeful Russia hellbent on hurting the left and engaging is aggressive revanchism is a fiction born of a constant neoconservative palaver in the media and political arena. States are rational actors, and assuming that they want to 'hurt someone' is absurd. They're looking after their own interests. Where those interests conflict with ours, we should counter their influence intelligently and aggressively. Where those interests coincide with ours, we should build on that common ground.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
TeaPatriot
Posts: 203
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10/10/2016 11:36:34 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/10/2016 10:53:46 PM, YYW wrote:
Today, two very important things happened today in Russia. First, Vladimir Putin announced today that Russia is moving closer to a production deal to limit the global oil supply. This message was communicated through the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. Their ostensible goal is to stabilize oil prices, but in reality they are engaged in collusive price fixing for the purpose of hurting the American economy. Second, after Putin moved nuclear capable missiles on Poland's border, he announced both an intent to construct a permanent naval base in Syria and a permanent missile defense system while suspending compliance with previously agreed nuclear disarmament treaties. These things both happened after Hillary Clinton undoubtedly secured the upper hand last night in her campaign for the presidency, last night.

Understanding the significance of this sequence of events is critical to grasping the extent to which Russia is actively using its aggressive foreign policy to influence American elections. Putin's "bad behavior," as described above, happening on Barack Obama's watch reinforces what has become a popular belief among some right wing political leaders that Barack Obama's foreign policy has soured relations between Russia and the United States. This is very clearly an effort on Putin's part to avoid a presidency from Hillary Clinton, whose foreign policy in relation to Russia would be decidedly more aggressive than Obama's.

Without question, Hillary Clinton is what Putin fears the most, due to the many creative ways that Clinton has actively undermined Russia's geopolitical interests on a range of fronts. Examples of Clinton's statecraft which frustrated Russia's geopolitical interests abound, though the most critical was Clinton's effort to expand Western--and NATO--influence into Ukraine, in 2014 by offering favorable trade deals and loans to Ukraine which would have resulted in considerable economic benefits to that country. This upset Putin because it meant that Ukraine's diplomatic ties with the West would increase relative to their influence with Russia. Putin, who regards himself as a modern tsar, could not accept this and so engaged in 19th century-style acts of belligerency at Ukraine's expense: seizing Ukraine by force, and invading eastern Ukraine with non-uniformed Spetznatz troops for the purpose of creating sufficient political unrest in Ukraine to destroy the trade deal Clinton orchestrated.

The developments today are consistent with previous acts of aggression in response to US actions which Putin regards as hostile to Russia's interests. Just as in Ukraine in 2014 and after, here Putin is readily trying to mitigate what he perceives to be very real threats to his interests. Putin's strategy is to use what has come to be a perverse form of American sympathy for Russia and Putin himself to his political advantage, while doing things which appear to make Barack Obama's foreign policy (and, by implication, Clinton's probable foreign policy) look inadequate to address what Putin would like to be seen as a "very real" threat of Russian military hostility.

The outcome of our current election is critical for Putin because, if Hillary Clinton is elected and Donald Trump is not, this means that Putin will never be able to exact the kind of control over the greater mass of Central Europe which he desires, for the purpose of forming a supra-national economic bloc in Central Europe to counter the economic influence of the European Union. This, too, was the same reason why Putin reacted so violently to Ukraine. If Ukraine was caused to be drawn into the West's sphere of influence, then Putin's neoimperial ambitions (the economic bloc, discussed above) would be irrevocably thwarted.

The reason that Putin desires to form such an economic bloc is because he readily recognizes that without diversifying Russia's resource holdings (e.g. raw materials of a multiplicity of kinds in Kazakhstan), Russia will be increasingly vulnerable to the kinds of economic sanctions that the United States leveraged against Russia following Russia's Ukraine Invasion in 2014. Those sanctions had devastating effects on the entire Russian economy, and in particular in Russian banking, finance, oil, raw materials, and construction industries. Greater economic diversity as would result from a trans-Siberian economic bloc would with reasonable probability, also restore superpower status to both Russia and what are now decaying Soviet Bloc countries.

The United States highly desires that Russia not be permitted to restore itself to such a status because that risks the beginning of a 21st century Cold War, with even greater risks than were suffered by all mankind during the Cold War which followed the end of the Second World War. The economic power attained in such a world would rebalance the relationship Russia currently has with Western Europe, and power balance between the EU and Russia in general. This is because in the status quo Western Europe has a functional and symbiotic relationship with Russia (particularly due to sales of natural gas), and that relationship is very stable because Russia needs to sell the natural gas as much as Western Europe needs to buy it. However, were Russia to gain greater economic independence (and, by implication, reduce economic interdependence between Russia and Western Europe), Russia will be in a dominant position relative to Western Europe which would both enable Russia to dictate terms related to energy to Western European countries, and would reduce Russia's incentive to *not* engage in further acts of anti-European belligerency. Thus, beyond the military risks, the threat to American economic interests in Western Europe would substantially increase.

Russia's extremely hostile actions suggest the extent to which Russia fears Hillary Clinton's election to the presidency of the United States, and amplifies the risks that a Trump presidency would present to US domestic interests and the interests of our allies, as well as world stability, more generally. Donald Trump's policies toward Russia would allow Russia to advance its interests in the way of forming a supra-national economic bloc which would be used to hurt US interests in Central and Western Europe, and would threaten world stability. Hillary Clinton's policies toward Russia would ensure that Russia is unable to increase its economic diversity, ensuring that Russia remains in a stable and symbiotic economic relationship with Western Europe. It is for this reason that Putin is actively trying to manipulate US elections by engaging in acts of aggression, following a debate in which it is becoming increasingly clear that Hillary Clinton will win the 2016 presidential election.

When reagan ended the Soviets he didnt intent for us to be rivals but rather allied through trade, like we did with the japs

I dont see wht we cant expand relations with russia
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YYW
Posts: 36,289
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10/10/2016 11:57:25 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/10/2016 11:31:22 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 10/10/2016 10:53:46 PM, YYW wrote:

I think that you're overplaying how much Putin sees Clinton as a competent threat; I think that perception is more that of an duplicitous and irrational leader, which is certainly backed up by the most reliable sources from within Russia.

The perception of whom? Putin, or Clinton? This statement isn't clear. I'd also be interested in your reasons for you think Putin doesn't see Clinton as a competent leader, in light of the totality of their past relations.

I also think that the NATO expansion was the opposite of good; Russia drew a red line in the sand, we crossed it without the will to meet the predictable Russian response with sufficient force, and caused a crisis by threatening to expand Western power projection to Russia's doorstep.

Ukraine was never going to join NATO, so, to the extent that you're characterizing the 2014 trade deal between Ukraine and Western Europe as an expansion of NATO, you are mistaken. Beyond that, it seems here that you believe Russia is justified in limiting the extent of Western influence in Central Europe. Why is that? Do you think that a world in which Putin realizes his objective of forming a trans-Siberian economic bloc is an acceptable one? Do you understand the impact that such a state of affairs would have on Western and American interests?

The idea that we need to expand power projection to Russia's border just does not make sense to me.

Rather than mischaracterizing the Ukraine trade deal as an expansion of NATO's influence, though assuming for the sake of argument that that was what it was, why do you think that Western Europe and the United States was "in the wrong" for attempting to establish more stable economic relations with Ukraine?

Keeping Ukraine as a neutral buffer would have equally prevented the establishment of any economic bloc,

This statement is incorrect because Ukraine was never, in the totality of European history, a "neutral buffer" between Western European interests and Russia. So, here there isn't even really room for viable argumentation on that point. The Ukrainian government was without question a puppet government of the Kremlin, before Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power.

and trying to push their geopolitical influence further just forced their hand in a way that, in the end, hurt our position.

What exactly do you think "our position" is?

The hostile actions, in my opinion, reveal a country responding to a leader who is duplicitous, who has been maligning Russia in a cartoonish manner (Russia is ambitious and moderately powerful, and should be contained, but they are not an evil empire), and reveal Putin trying to shore up his own domestic support, which is cracking a bit under the force of sanctions.

I agree that Russia is attempting to shore up domestic support and is breaking under the force of American sanctions. Beyond that, who exactly is the duplicitous leader? Clinton? Obama? Do tell. What is the nature of the duplicity?

The idea of a powerful, vengeful Russia hellbent on hurting the left and engaging is aggressive revanchism is a fiction born of a constant neoconservative palaver in the media and political arena.

This fiction is one that is widely entertained by Russia's sympathizers, but arguing over it doesn't really get us anywhere in light of the fact that you have implicitly conceded that Putin is indeed trying to form a supra-national economic bloc, though I don't think based on your arguments here that you understand why or how Putin is trying to realize that objective.

For further reading, I encourage you to read, for example, Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, by Pete Earley; or The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin, by Stephen Lee Meyers. While neither of these are particularly hard hitting economic analysis, they do reasonably explain the history and circumstances under which Putin came to power, and the latter is based on actual interviews with people who have been close to Putin, and statements made by Putin's own father. The fact that Putin sees himself as a New Tsar, especially in light of how he conducts himself in domestic politics, as well as what his ambitions clearly are based on his foreign policy, is very much beyond reasonable dispute.

States are rational actors, and assuming that they want to 'hurt someone' is absurd.

If from what I said above you took from it that Putin was trying to "hurt" people for the mere sake of hurting people, then you have misunderstood what I said. What I said was exactly what Putin's interests are and how he is trying to advance them, as well as charting, with particularity, what Putin regards as threats to his ability to realize his interests.
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Greyparrot
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10/11/2016 12:13:13 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/10/2016 11:31:22 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 10/10/2016 10:53:46 PM, YYW wrote:

I think that you're overplaying how much Putin sees Clinton as a competent threat; I think that perception is more that of an duplicitous and irrational leader, which is certainly backed up by the most reliable sources from within Russia. I also think that the NATO expansion was the opposite of good; Russia drew a red line in the sand, we crossed it without the will to meet the predictable Russian response with sufficient force, and caused a crisis by threatening to expand Western power projection to Russia's doorstep. The idea that we need to expand power projection to Russia's border just does not make sense to me. Keeping Ukraine as a neutral buffer would have equally prevented the establishment of any economic bloc, and trying to push their geopolitical influence further just forced their hand in a way that, in the end, hurt our position. The hostile actions, in my opinion, reveal a country responding to a leader who is duplicitous, who has been maligning Russia in a cartoonish manner (Russia is ambitious and moderately powerful, and should be contained, but they are not an evil empire), and reveal Putin trying to shore up his own domestic support, which is cracking a bit under the force of sanctions. The idea of a powerful, vengeful Russia hellbent on hurting the left and engaging is aggressive revanchism is a fiction born of a constant neoconservative palaver in the media and political arena. States are rational actors, and assuming that they want to 'hurt someone' is absurd. They're looking after their own interests. Where those interests conflict with ours, we should counter their influence intelligently and aggressively. Where those interests coincide with ours, we should build on that common ground.

One of the most tired age old historical political tactics is to paint (X) country as "Ebil" for the sole purpose of looking like a savior to the unwashed masses.

Even that is far too disgusting a tactic for Trump to embrace.
YYW
Posts: 36,289
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10/11/2016 12:17:33 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/10/2016 11:36:34 PM, TeaPatriot wrote:

When reagan ended the Soviets he didnt intent for us to be rivals but rather allied through trade, like we did with the japs

First of all, Reagan did not end the Soviet Union, nor does he deserve credit for ruining the USSR or ending the Cold War. Mikial Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and others simply made a choice in 1990 that the status quo was no longer acceptable to them or for the Russian people. This sentiment had been building internally as communications beyond the USSR increased in the late 1980s, and there was vast internal dissatisfaction with the Soviet police state.

The popular narrative that Reagan, individually or through his policies, in any way caused what was inevitable anyway is nonsensical. The only reason that myth persists is because of contemporary Republican romanticization of what the Cold War was, much in the same way that Dixiecrats romanticize the Civil War. Material failures in the soviet system due primarily to a lack of production of consumer products, tremendous internal economic mismanagement at every conceivable level (from farming to the production of blue jeans and automobiles, etc.), and the resulting resource deficits made it impossible for the USSR to compete economically with the United States or the West, generally. As a result of that, the Russian government had a considerable lack of means to expend on things like research and development on technology to compete with the United States after the mid-1970s.

I dont see [why] we cant expand relations with russia

The United States would like to improve diplomatic relations with Russia, but Vladimir Putin's political career has been staked on blaming the United States (rather than Putin's rampant corruption and individual economic incompetence) for the multivariate problems Russia faces. The reason we cannot, and will not be able to improve diplomatic relations with Russia is because we are the scapegoat for Russia's problems. That all to say this, as long as Putin continues to loot the Russian economy like a tin-pot thug and use state owned corporations (e.g. Gazprom, etc.) to essentially plunder the totality of Russia's material wealth, relations between Russia and the United States cannot improve. After all, if he didn't blame us, then Russians would blame Putin himself.

However, this works because the Russian people (many of whom very much lived through the Soviet Union) culturally understand that they live in a fallen superpower, and that the United States is the world's only remaining superpower. The power imbalance, thus, resonates when Putin's rhetoric rings to the general tune of "I am doing everything I can to fight off the Americans and restore Russia to what it once was." The original "Make [country] Great Again!" candidate was Vladimir Putin, but Putin made a decisive choice to concentrate the spoils of state-generated material wealth among Russian oligarchs (i.e. his friends) rather than use it to invest in Russian social welfare.
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Stymie13
Posts: 2,162
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10/11/2016 1:04:12 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
The expansion eastward began in the 90s and continued long before Clinton became Secretary of State.

Has Russia tried to retain influence in southwest and Central Asia (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, the stans), sure. But Kyrgyzstan in particular would rather take our money for base leasing than theirs.

The gas pipeline... well we all remember them turning off the spigot in 09, 09?
Stymie13
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10/11/2016 3:37:00 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 2:47:16 AM, YYW wrote:
I will be curious how many take the time to read this.

I read it. My first thought was them acting in collusion with OPEC who announced last week they were cutting production.

http://money.cnn.com...

As far as the missiles, I take it as the customary Russian posturing. I'm not saying it's a leap to influence politics but they have been doing this in and out of election years forever. To me it's more of a 'we are still here' posturing.

There is no doubt they use energy, lng specifically, as leverage.
YYW
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10/11/2016 3:39:41 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 3:37:00 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
At 10/11/2016 2:47:16 AM, YYW wrote:
I will be curious how many take the time to read this.

I read it. My first thought was them acting in collusion with OPEC who announced last week they were cutting production.

http://money.cnn.com...

I'm glad you read it, and your initial impression is accurate. Russia is colluding with OPEC to hurt American economic interests, as a way to advance theirs.

As far as the missiles, I take it as the customary Russian posturing. I'm not saying it's a leap to influence politics but they have been doing this in and out of election years forever. To me it's more of a 'we are still here' posturing.

I agree that Putin isn't going to launch nuclear weapons, unless he is suicidally stupid... which I don't think he is. Peripherally, though, it is international gamesmanship which reinforces the necessity of maintaining our nuclear stockpiles, and suggests the frivolity (if not outright idiocy) of any call to disarm.

There is no doubt they use energy, lng specifically, as leverage.
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Stymie13
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10/11/2016 3:47:51 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 3:39:41 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/11/2016 3:37:00 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
At 10/11/2016 2:47:16 AM, YYW wrote:
I will be curious how many take the time to read this.

I read it. My first thought was them acting in collusion with OPEC who announced last week they were cutting production.

http://money.cnn.com...

I'm glad you read it, and your initial impression is accurate. Russia is colluding with OPEC to hurt American economic interests, as a way to advance theirs.

As far as the missiles, I take it as the customary Russian posturing. I'm not saying it's a leap to influence politics but they have been doing this in and out of election years forever. To me it's more of a 'we are still here' posturing.

I agree that Putin isn't going to launch nuclear weapons, unless he is suicidally stupid... which I don't think he is. Peripherally, though, it is international gamesmanship which reinforces the necessity of maintaining our nuclear stockpiles, and suggests the frivolity (if not outright idiocy) of any call to disarm.

There is no doubt they use energy, lng specifically, as leverage.

If memory serves, I believe they developed a new warhead over the last couple of years. To late to research so I'll just rely on memory. They've fallen at least a decade behind (probably more) in conventional arms (fighters, bombers, destroyers, subs) and at least 2 in tangential and new arm tech (rail guns, laser, all forms of delivery vehicles) so, from their p.o.v. It makes sense to upgrade the nuke arsenal as it really is cheaper.
Stymie13
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10/11/2016 4:17:20 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
Yyw, are you north of 35? Seems those under 30 on here only hear what they want to, yet don't have a historical understanding of how things actually occurred. Most north of 30 seem to realize that all the shlt being said now about the Middle East, Isis, terrorism is the same shlt said in 02, 03.
Greyparrot
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10/11/2016 4:28:54 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 2:47:16 AM, YYW wrote:
I will be curious how many take the time to read this.

I'm genuinely curious why you think Russia wants to select the next president. It's entirely feasible that Russia does not fear Hillary at all, and is putting itself in a position to take advantage of the upcoming Hillary win. After all, Obama did nothing, and it's entirely possible that Russia will expect the same from Hillary. It's free propaganda for Russia, they can do as they wish, and get nothing but praise from the motherland.
YYW
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10/11/2016 4:32:18 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 4:17:20 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
Yyw, are you north of 35? Seems those under 30 on here only hear what they want to, yet don't have a historical understanding of how things actually occurred. Most north of 30 seem to realize that all the shlt being said now about the Middle East, Isis, terrorism is the same shlt said in 02, 03.

I'm 25, but my educational background in international relations is the reason I can do this level of analysis.
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Greyparrot
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10/11/2016 4:38:57 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 4:32:18 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:17:20 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
Yyw, are you north of 35? Seems those under 30 on here only hear what they want to, yet don't have a historical understanding of how things actually occurred. Most north of 30 seem to realize that all the shlt being said now about the Middle East, Isis, terrorism is the same shlt said in 02, 03.

I'm 25, but my educational background in international relations is the reason I can do this level of analysis.

Do you think it is wise to provoke further military incursions by foolishly messing with Russia's economy? It's not in our national interest. Proxy wars need to become a fading fad...fast
Stymie13
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10/11/2016 4:39:22 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 4:32:18 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:17:20 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
Yyw, are you north of 35? Seems those under 30 on here only hear what they want to, yet don't have a historical understanding of how things actually occurred. Most north of 30 seem to realize that all the shlt being said now about the Middle East, Isis, terrorism is the same shlt said in 02, 03.

I'm 25, but my educational background in international relations is the reason I can do this level of analysis.

I wouldn't want to be 25 again for all the tea in China. I'm not infinitely older but I'm past serving years and these idiots are saying the same shlt as18, then 14, then 9 years ago. And people are buying it again, hook line, and sinker.
YYW
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10/11/2016 4:41:01 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 4:38:57 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:32:18 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:17:20 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
Yyw, are you north of 35? Seems those under 30 on here only hear what they want to, yet don't have a historical understanding of how things actually occurred. Most north of 30 seem to realize that all the shlt being said now about the Middle East, Isis, terrorism is the same shlt said in 02, 03.

I'm 25, but my educational background in international relations is the reason I can do this level of analysis.

Do you think it is wise to provoke further military incursions by foolishly messing with Russia's economy? It's not in our national interest. Proxy wars need to become a fading fad...fast

I'm going to answer both of your questions (both what you asked here, and what you asked in a prior post), but not tonight. Both require lengthy answers I don't want to type tonight.
Tsar of DDO
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,282
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10/11/2016 4:41:22 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 4:41:01 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:38:57 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:32:18 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:17:20 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
Yyw, are you north of 35? Seems those under 30 on here only hear what they want to, yet don't have a historical understanding of how things actually occurred. Most north of 30 seem to realize that all the shlt being said now about the Middle East, Isis, terrorism is the same shlt said in 02, 03.

I'm 25, but my educational background in international relations is the reason I can do this level of analysis.

Do you think it is wise to provoke further military incursions by foolishly messing with Russia's economy? It's not in our national interest. Proxy wars need to become a fading fad...fast

I'm going to answer both of your questions (both what you asked here, and what you asked in a prior post), but not tonight. Both require lengthy answers I don't want to type tonight.

Ok sir.
YYW
Posts: 36,289
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10/11/2016 5:01:52 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 4:41:22 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:41:01 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:38:57 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:32:18 AM, YYW wrote:
At 10/11/2016 4:17:20 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
Yyw, are you north of 35? Seems those under 30 on here only hear what they want to, yet don't have a historical understanding of how things actually occurred. Most north of 30 seem to realize that all the shlt being said now about the Middle East, Isis, terrorism is the same shlt said in 02, 03.

I'm 25, but my educational background in international relations is the reason I can do this level of analysis.

Do you think it is wise to provoke further military incursions by foolishly messing with Russia's economy? It's not in our national interest. Proxy wars need to become a fading fad...fast

I'm going to answer both of your questions (both what you asked here, and what you asked in a prior post), but not tonight. Both require lengthy answers I don't want to type tonight.

Ok sir.

All good. Those were reasonable questions and I will get to them, but answering them will take probably about five to ten minutes of hard core typing and thought, which I don't want to do tonight.
Tsar of DDO
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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10/11/2016 5:40:18 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/10/2016 11:57:25 PM, YYW wrote:
At 10/10/2016 11:31:22 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 10/10/2016 10:53:46 PM, YYW wrote:

I think that you're overplaying how much Putin sees Clinton as a competent threat; I think that perception is more that of an duplicitous and irrational leader, which is certainly backed up by the most reliable sources from within Russia.

The perception of whom? Putin, or Clinton? This statement isn't clear. I'd also be interested in your reasons for you think Putin doesn't see Clinton as a competent leader, in light of the totality of their past relations.

I think that that's how Putin sees Clinton, because of the Libya no-fly zone after all of that 'reset button' rhetoric. To go for a 'reset' in relations, and then to blatantly lie to the Russians, and later publicly laugh about the fact would definitely rub Russians the wrong way. This article covers it well, imo:

http://foreignpolicy.com...

I also think that the NATO expansion was the opposite of good; Russia drew a red line in the sand, we crossed it without the will to meet the predictable Russian response with sufficient force, and caused a crisis by threatening to expand Western power projection to Russia's doorstep.

Ukraine was never going to join NATO, so, to the extent that you're characterizing the 2014 trade deal between Ukraine and Western Europe as an expansion of NATO, you are mistaken.

I was talking about the 2008 Bucharest Summit

"NATO welcomes Ukraine"s and Georgia"s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO. Both nations have made valuable contributions to Alliance operations. We welcome the democratic reforms in Ukraine and Georgia and look forward to free and fair parliamentary elections in Georgia in May. MAP is the next step for Ukraine and Georgia on their direct way to membership. Today we make clear that we support these countries" applications for MAP. Therefore we will now begin a period of intensive engagement with both at a high political level to address the questions still outstanding pertaining to their MAP applications. We have asked Foreign Ministers to make a first assessment of progress at their December 2008 meeting. Foreign Ministers have the authority to decide on the MAP applications of Ukraine and Georgia."
http://www.nato.int...

Beyond that, it seems here that you believe Russia is justified in limiting the extent of Western influence in Central Europe. Why is that? Do you think that a world in which Putin realizes his objective of forming a trans-Siberian economic bloc is an acceptable one? Do you understand the impact that such a state of affairs would have on Western and American interests?

No, I think we can limit Russian influence at a sane point. We should have taken pains to retain neutrality in areas like Ukraine and Georgia, and now in Azerbaijan/Armenia, which are both seeing shifts in the geopolitical tides. Russia drew a red line at Ukraine and Georgia. I think that we ought to have sanctioned them severely if they pushed past that line, but that we ought to have respected the fact that Russia had a lot to lose at that level, and that they would respond in a way that we would not have the will to counter.

Rather than mischaracterizing the Ukraine trade deal as an expansion of NATO's influence, though assuming for the sake of argument that that was what it was, why do you think that Western Europe and the United States was "in the wrong" for attempting to establish more stable economic relations with Ukraine?

I was referencing the 2008 summit when I referred to NATO, during the Bush administration. That put Moscow on edge, and the economic crises were the trigger for what eventually happened (seizure of the Crimean Peninsula and disruptive operations in Eastern Ukraine.) There's no right or wrong here, just actions and reactions by rational actors on the world stage. Putin retained relative neutrality in Ukraine, it wasn't a blatant satellite economy like Belarus. That was an acceptable status quo, and when it was upset he responded predictably, and disastrously (for us and Ukraine).

Keeping Ukraine as a neutral buffer would have equally prevented the establishment of any economic bloc,

This statement is incorrect because Ukraine was never, in the totality of European history, a "neutral buffer" between Western European interests and Russia. So, here there isn't even really room for viable argumentation on that point. The Ukrainian government was without question a puppet government of the Kremlin, before Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power.

This is just incorrect. All of the domestic crises in the Ukraine can be characterized by the cultural and language divide that define their political system. The East is aligned with Russia, as far as language and culture go, while the West is more European-aligned (with Poland and Lituania). This means that their politics have always been a tug-of-war. Yushchenko was aligned with Europe, Yanukovych was aligned with Russia. But the government could never swing two hard in either direction without civil unrest arising. This history traces back, at least, to the Cossack Hetmanate, the Russo-Polish War, and the Truce of Andrusovo. In that instance, it was resolved by literally splitting the country up along that current cultural divide, but where the region of the Ukraine is united into a polity (as it is now), it is always a hotbed of proxy conflict by its very nature. I know this because part of my family comes from that region, they actually fled the destruction and parceling out of their country (Galicia) during one of those conflicts.

and trying to push their geopolitical influence further just forced their hand in a way that, in the end, hurt our position.

What exactly do you think "our position" is?

The greatest global power, facing challenges on the world stage from emerging political powers (Russia and China) as they seek to expand their respective spheres of influence and exert regional hegemony.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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10/11/2016 6:04:20 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
The idea of a powerful, vengeful Russia hellbent on hurting the left and engaging is aggressive revanchism is a fiction born of a constant neoconservative palaver in the media and political arena.

This fiction is one that is widely entertained by Russia's sympathizers, but arguing over it doesn't really get us anywhere in light of the fact that you have implicitly conceded that Putin is indeed trying to form a supra-national economic bloc, though I don't think based on your arguments here that you understand why or how Putin is trying to realize that objective.

For further reading, I encourage you to read, for example, Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, by Pete Earley; or The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin, by Stephen Lee Meyers. While neither of these are particularly hard hitting economic analysis, they do reasonably explain the history and circumstances under which Putin came to power, and the latter is based on actual interviews with people who have been close to Putin, and statements made by Putin's own father. The fact that Putin sees himself as a New Tsar, especially in light of how he conducts himself in domestic politics, as well as what his ambitions clearly are based on his foreign policy, is very much beyond reasonable dispute.

I think that realism disputes it very reasonably, and I think that it is fairly absurd to treat any state as an irrational actor when analyzing geopolitics. Those who do so are invariably proven wrong, as they were when they predicted that the NATO expansion proposed in 2008 would not be met with any real resistance, and the realists were warning the entire time that this situation would basically enfold. While your books probably offering interesting insight into Putin's domestic actions (and I do find that facet of him interesting), you cannot boil down geopolitics to personality. It's the equivalent of saying that George Bush invaded Iraq because he had daddy issues.

While we're suggesting reading:
http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu...
http://www.nytimes.com...

States are rational actors, and assuming that they want to 'hurt someone' is absurd.

If from what I said above you took from it that Putin was trying to "hurt" people for the mere sake of hurting people, then you have misunderstood what I said. What I said was exactly what Putin's interests are and how he is trying to advance them, as well as charting, with particularity, what Putin regards as threats to his ability to realize his interests.

His interests are to retain his personal power. That makes him predictable. It means that we should do things like organize some sort of Samizdat campaign to hold over his head the next time he tries to wage and information war. It means that, if we provide a tentative detente on his Western border and try to raise gas prices while giving him access to European markets for gas exports, it would provoke conflict between Russia and China over Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

We ought to leverage what we have in order to create the most appealing global conditions for our own power projection. That means not insanely targeting Russia as if they are an evil empire. It means treating them as an ambitious rival. It means that the threat of sanctions, of military actions, of sowing instability within Russian borders are all maintained and used when needed. It doesn't mean fighting a pointless war in Syria and pushing NATO to Russia's doorstep for no conceivable purpose.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
NHN
Posts: 624
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10/11/2016 10:37:51 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 1:04:12 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
The expansion eastward began in the 90s and continued long before Clinton became Secretary of State.
It was the unfortunate outcome of bad policy (Bush/Clinton-era liberal institutionalism) with justified concern, i.e., Eastern European nations seeking to improve their national security following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Come election year, however, facts are distorted, the map redrawn and history rewritten.

Has Russia tried to retain influence in southwest and Central Asia (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, the stans), sure. But Kyrgyzstan in particular would rather take our money for base leasing than theirs.
Armenia is a natural Russian ally, considering its history, while Azerbaijan is Turkish and Georgia fragmented beyond belief. That is partly why Stalin undertook campaigns of ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan and Georgia in the early Cold War-era, to sustain Russian influence through the forceful movement of populations.

However, the "stans" of Central Asia are basically left out to fend for themselves due to geography, having very little wiggle room between giants Russia and China. This makes the U.S. presence especially welcome, even though it can only play a marginal role.

The gas pipeline... well we all remember them turning off the spigot in 09, 09?
Judging from some of the posts in this thread, I have a hard time imagining they know which pant leg goes where...
Stymie13
Posts: 2,162
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10/11/2016 11:54:53 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 10:37:51 AM, NHN wrote:
At 10/11/2016 1:04:12 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
The expansion eastward began in the 90s and continued long before Clinton became Secretary of State.
It was the unfortunate outcome of bad policy (Bush/Clinton-era liberal institutionalism) with justified concern, i.e., Eastern European nations seeking to improve their national security following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Come election year, however, facts are distorted, the map redrawn and history rewritten.

Has Russia tried to retain influence in southwest and Central Asia (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, the stans), sure. But Kyrgyzstan in particular would rather take our money for base leasing than theirs.
Armenia is a natural Russian ally, considering its history, while Azerbaijan is Turkish and Georgia fragmented beyond belief. That is partly why Stalin undertook campaigns of ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan and Georgia in the early Cold War-era, to sustain Russian influence through the forceful movement of populations.

However, the "stans" of Central Asia are basically left out to fend for themselves due to geography, having very little wiggle room between giants Russia and China. This makes the U.S. presence especially welcome, even though it can only play a marginal role.

The gas pipeline... well we all remember them turning off the spigot in 09, 09?
Judging from some of the posts in this thread, I have a hard time imagining they know which pant leg goes where...

The OP had some good insights. That's who I mainly directed at.

The caspian to china has always been an interest for 1 reason: historically it's never talked about. That's too bad as much history that's affected the world (Silk Road, mongol/Mughal empire, nestorianism, parthians, scythians, Huns) emanated from these areas.
Quadrunner
Posts: 1,116
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10/11/2016 12:08:06 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 2:47:16 AM, YYW wrote:
I will be curious how many take the time to read this.

Its a smooth read. I'm sure plenty will
Wisdom is found where the wise seek it.
NHN
Posts: 624
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10/11/2016 1:25:54 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/11/2016 11:54:53 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
The caspian to china has always been an interest for 1 reason: historically it's never talked about. That's too bad as much history that's affected the world (Silk Road, mongol/Mughal empire, nestorianism, parthians, scythians, Huns) emanated from these areas.
Sir Halford J. Mackinder designated the Eurasian landmass as the geographical Pivot of History -- and its key space the Heartland -- in Democratic Ideals and Reality (and Robert Kaplan revisited it in The Revenge of Geography in 2012).

Apart from containment, Mackinder's Heartland theory was the foremost American policy during the Cold War. What it entails, in brevity, is for America/the West to make sure that Russia fails to unify Eastern Europe and Central Asia into a cohesive body politic.