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Serious Thread: Russian to Judgement

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Juice, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. Juice

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    It apparently wasn't enough for Russia to invade Ukraine, they have to go and arm their separatists with anti-aircraft technology, who in turn needlessly shoot down a civilian airliner.

    Now the UN/EU is pondering "sanctions," which is great when you're not dealing with a world power run by a leader who doesnt give a shit. But whats the alternative? Any kind of military intervention will quickly escalate into a world war.

    I just assume Russia acting out in this way is a result of Russia (and Europe to an extent) becoming increasing irrelevant in global economics. Everything revolves around the China-US axis (and maybe North American is more appropriate, since Canada, and in some degree the UK, are part of that sphere). Nothing that happens in Europe or Russia matters very much. Both have had their experiments with modern capitalism fail, or as least sputter out, over the last half century.

    The US gets to export its industrialized labor to China, while China gets to export runaway consumerism and enjoys middle class growth at the fastest rate in history. Russia doesn't get to have one of those dichotomous relationships to focus on. And because it cant move forward on the tails of rapid economic growth, it stews in its Cold War mentality, evident by electing a Soviet KGP Officer as its pseudo-dictator.

    Europe fits into this equation nicely. Europe tried to emulate the Sino-American system with a Western-Eastern Europe system. It didnt work. The eastern half bled into the west as soon as jobs started evaporating and it sits in stagnation. Couple that with the fact that Europe has no direction, no leader, and no real power. The most powerful country aside from the UK is Germany and Merkel, the German president, cant really become the vanguard of Europe and lead because of historical reasons. (Yeah those reasons). So now Europe doesn't really know what to do with itself economically. It cant sit at the top of the capitalism pyramid, so it rejects it and adopts pseudo-socialist economic policies, which Putin notices and takes full advantage of.

    Fast forward to today, and we have a economically and politically weakened Europe, which Putin knows will not stand up to him as he could economically (through fossil fuels and natural gas provisioning) and militarily cripple. He has his finger on the pulse of the European and Russian political sphere and is emboldened by the fact that they cant do anything about it.

    Focus: Russia. What should or shouldnt be done about whats going on? Should firm action be taken or should other nations sit it out?
     
  2. gamecocks

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    I would prefer the U.S. to sit this one out. I think we've got enough on our plate right now.
     
  3. xrayvision

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    I know that the US and EU are already laying down some economic sanctions against Russia for the Ukraine thing. How much pressure do you think can be squeezed on them before they pop? And by pop, I mean start something that would escalate something to a military action or an act of war?

    I dunno, maybe my question is stupid or comes from a lack of understanding. But I feel like you can only punish a country so much before they start to behave like animals and start a war.
     
  4. Crown Royal

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    There's the Catch-22 right there. No matter what position the U.S. takes, the rest of the world will be incensed by either them taking too much action, or not enough.
     
  5. Nettdata

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    Yeah, but the people they're now looking at sanctioning are the uber-rich in Russia, and they most assuredly DO give a shit.

    The real question right now is just how much leverage do those rich guys have with Putin? Are they influential enough to have him reconsider his actions? Will they separate from him? Is he willing to sever ties with them and carry on as he has been? Is his position strong enough to do that?

    I have no idea.

    I don't pretend to know anywhere near anything about international relationships to even partially understand how sanctions would affect things, but I have to think it's a pretty big deal to those people in charge.
     
  6. Crown Royal

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    I'm not sure of how much influence theRussian super-rich have on Putin, but they most assuredly have at least SOME. And Moscow has more billionaires living in it than any city in the world, ever.
     
  7. JWags

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    I would imagine they have some significant influence on him, because they've been in bed with him for years. The breakup of the Soviet Union and reallocation of government assets was corrupt and cronyism at its finest. You have guys like Abramovich who went from being mid-level business people in their mid-20s to acquiring HUGE companies or resources seemingly out of thin air and becoming fantastically wealthy by their early 30s, and the details of such ascents are always vague and incomplete. Those same connections elevated Putin to where he is today. Its in his best interest to keep them happy, and the way that they stay happy is him remaining in corrupt power and letting them run rampant.
     
  8. Nettdata

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    The inner-screenwriter in me has to think that if you're the guy who pisses off a baker's dozen of Russia's Billionaires, you're in for a bad time, even if you're President.

    I mean, which of those billionaires do NOT have their own private armies of ex-KGB and Spetsnaz operators, with practically unlimited access to whatever arms or killing technology that exists?

    It's one thing to be the odd man out that wants Putin gone, but if a group of them get a "fuck this" attitude...
     
  9. D26

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    First, isolationism isn't an option. Read some history books and you'll quickly see that one of the root causes of WWI and WWII was US isolationism (or more specifically, a root cause for those wars growing as large as they did). We saw what was happening in Europe and Aisa and basically said "nope, fuck em. Not our problem." Until, of course, it became our problem, and by then things were raging far more than if we had intervened earlier (this is especially true of WWII).

    So, unfortunately, history teaches us that we can't just say fuck em and let it go. We have to do SOMETHING.

    What that is? I have no idea. I'm not up enough on Russian or European politics and economics to make those choices. It seems like the US is acting like Russia is similar to the US. Money, specifically the uber-rich, are the ones with the real power, so that is who they'll sanction. To put it in perspective, it'd be like the rest of the world putting economic sanctions on the Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, and other incredibly wealthy people to pressure them to remove their support from whomever they're backing. For those guys, who they back politically is a business decision. If putting 5 mil in the coffers of a political party earns them sway enough to deregulate their industry and save them 10 million, it's worth it.

    And in the US, our politicians NEED that money to continue to run for office, as running for reelection now costs millions, even for representative positions, let alone the Senate or President. So our politicians NEED to keep those ├╝ber-rich folks happy and donating. Just one of them pulls their donations, and a lot of senators and congressmen lose their jobs at reelection time. They can't risk pissing off the donors. If invading Europe would anger large party donors who stand to lose from the ensuing sanctions, they won't invade.

    Russia's version of the super wealthy all back Putin, so the theory is that if we sanction them and make it too costly to back Putin anymore, Putin will lose the money and political clout he needs to be an effective "President." The issue there is that the Russian system is NOT the same as the US, and in all honesty I have little knowledge of how their system runs when it comes to elections.

    Of course, it also becomes a case of "who would take over". There is a very strong sense of "the devil you know versus the devil you don't" in this. Yes, Putin is batshit, but it could absolutely be worse, and forcing Putin out via sanctions might lead to "worse" as Russians resent the US and UN for interfering in their politics, and vote accordingly. It is all incredibly delicate.

    And that is why my general philosophy is "fuck politics."
     
  10. RCGT

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    Mark Ames has a couple of primers:

    <a class="postlink" href="http://pando.com/2014/05/14/sorry-america-the-ukraine-isnt-all-about-you/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://pando.com/2014/05/14/sorry-ameri ... about-you/</a>
    <a class="postlink" href="http://pando.com/2014/07/17/five-things-to-consider-about-the-downing-of-malaysian-airlines-mh17-in-ukraine/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://pando.com/2014/07/17/five-things ... n-ukraine/</a>
     
  11. AFHokie

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    For the most part, Russia is blaming everyone else, which is similar to how they responded after shooting down Korean Air flights 902 & 007.

    The Dutch are understandably pissed and the UK is also pushing for harder sanctions. However other NATO countries with significant economic dealings with Russia are more reluctant. With NATO and the EU so intertwined it'll be interesting to see how NATO responds over the next few months. Two French built warships are almost ready for delivery to Russia.

    There's an article floating around that discussed Russian reaction of the shoot down on social media and it is very different than what you're seeing in western media. Communist Russia was fairly predictable. Putin's Russia has a wildcard element you can never really anticipate. What happens will depend on whether or not Putin can keep the EU split over financial and defense considerations. If western Europe can stay unified, he'll have to decide if parts of eastern Ukraine are worth the economic hit.

    And then there are idiots suggesting the 777 shot down is actually Malaysian Flt 370 combined with remarks from Ron Paul blaming the US for the shoot down , scary WW3 scenarios have a chance of becoming more than a shitty movie plot.

    Edit: All my fancy links are fucked up...here they are in order:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/russias-story-about-mh17-2014-7
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_902
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_007
    http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/201...do-wake-ukraine-crisis/89282/?oref=d-mostread
    http://news.yahoo.com/amid-sanctions-france-warship-sale-russia-111627317--finance.html
    http://www.ibtimes.com/russian-billionaires-have-lost-more-14b-january-1634678
    http://www.businessinsider.com/why-russian-propaganda-is-so-effective-2014-7
    http://time.com/3012968/malaysia-arilines-ukraine-crash-ron-paul/
     
  12. Misanthropic

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    I stopped reading that first article after this sentence:

    "Russians lived longer and easier under Soviet rule".


    I'm sure the 20 million people (give or take a million or two) that died as a direct result of Soviet rule during Stalin's reign would be sad to hear things have only gotten worse. Not to mention the massive deportations, the immense gulag system, and the Soviet policy of erasing from existance any who disagreed with them.


    Rose colored glasses, anyone?

    I trust the Russians about as far as I can throw a piano.
     
  13. Juice

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    Yeah seriously. If anyone wants a sneak peak into the absurdity of Russian culture, watch Exporting Raymond. It's a documentary where the producer of Exverbody Loves Raymond tries to setup a Russian version of the show in that nutso society.
     
  14. Nettdata

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    It was soooo fucking bizarre.

    Can't second this recommendation enough.
     
  15. AFHokie

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    That's actually a conservative number. I've seen estimates as high as 60 attributed directly to Stalin, however I think that's a little high and includes deaths resulting from WW2. Regardless, Stalin's rule was so bad, the average Soviet citizen initially viewed the Nazis as liberators in 1940. Between, the world wars, the October revolution and Stalin; total 20th century death estimates for Russian deaths are as high as 80 million.

    For another comparison, Chinese deaths attributed to Mao come in around 40 million. With that much death resulting from your own government it's understandable why the average commie's so paranoid.
     
  16. Robbie Clark

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    Just like we have to do SOMETHING about every problem in the world. Doing something just for the sake of doing it is never a good idea.
     
  17. xrayvision

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    I feel like this post is starting to toe the 'no politics' line.
     
  18. Juice

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    Agreed. Robbie Clark:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Robbie Clark

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    Funny, that's exactly what I think America should do.
     
  20. Juice

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    Yeah I kind of agree. It's really Europe's (and should be NATO's) problem. The upside, if there is one, does not outweigh the risk of potentially starting a 3rd World War in Europe. I think it would be an olive branch for Russia to crack down on its own loyalists.