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New war in Europe, courtesy of Putin


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37 minutes ago, karbatal said:

Being in a country like Spain that was considered by ISIS a land to conquer because we were Muslims for 700 years I am frankly tired of those opening History books to draw new lines in countries :lol:

Speaking of which, love Córdoba for all of these different influences and cultures which helped to shape that city in particular. 

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12 minutes ago, runa said:

Russia is a threat for CANADA, claiming more than 750 000 square km of land in Arctic to UN. 

https://globalnews.ca/news/8648780/russias-invasion-of-ukraine-means-canada-faces-belligerent-arctic-neighbour/

Where and when will it stop ? Putin is a megalomaniac, he's out of his mind. 

I guess this means Sarah Palin will indeed be able to see Russia from her house #soon 😂

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8 minutes ago, Cyber-Raga said:

I guess this means Sarah Palin will indeed be able to see Russia from her house #soon 😂

:dead: 

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46 minutes ago, Cyber-Raga said:

Speaking of which, love Córdoba for all of these different influences and cultures which helped to shape that city in particular. 

until they get rid off the muslims, you mean?🤔

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1 hour ago, karbatal said:

Being in a country like Spain that was considered by ISIS a land to conquer because we were Muslims for 700 years I am frankly tired of those opening History books to draw new lines in countries :lol:

still is!

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By the way, big, huge kudos to Poland for massively helping out Ukraine by taking in so many refugees of the country. Poland is showing a big heart, humanity and superior generosity to a neighbouring country that inflicted so much pain and sorrow to them. Ukrainians are historically remembered by Polish for the horror they did to them during WW2, absolute massacre, terrible terrible thing - check it out. Manipulative mainstream media should mention that about Poland, instead of peddling the racist narrative at its border. 

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8 hours ago, runa said:

Russia is a threat for CANADA, claiming more than 750 000 square km of land in Arctic to UN. 

https://globalnews.ca/news/8648780/russias-invasion-of-ukraine-means-canada-faces-belligerent-arctic-neighbour/

Where and when will it stop ? Putin is a megalomaniac, he's out of his mind. 

Hopefully Hague or at least him killed. Both ideal in my view.

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3 hours ago, Gaudet said:

By the way, big, huge kudos to Poland for massively helping out Ukraine by taking in so many refugees of the country. Poland is showing a big heart, humanity and superior generosity to a neighbouring country that inflicted so much pain and sorrow to them. Ukrainians are historically remembered by Polish for the horror they did to them during WW2, absolute massacre, terrible terrible thing - check it out. Manipulative mainstream media should mention that about Poland, instead of peddling the racist narrative at its border. 

Poland 🇵🇱 surprises in the best way possible. So did Moldova and all the EU and NATO states on the border. For someone not close to the conflict it’s probably hard to understand that all those states are in utter horror and see themselves as his next target. I guess all of Europe see it like that.

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8 hours ago, Cyber-Raga said:

You got that from my post? Really? Like really? I’ll be praying for you. 

No! I´ll get that from history.They always teach that period as a wonderful part of history, but then a lot of people have problems with 2022´s muslims living in cordoba

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Guest CzarnaWisnia

MSNBC

https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/russia-s-ukraine-invasion-may-have-been-preventable-n1290831

 

Russia's Ukraine invasion may have been preventable

The U.S. refused to reconsider Ukraine's NATO status as Putin threatened war. Experts say that was a huge mistake.
 
By Zeeshan Aleem, MSNBC Opinion Columnist

The prevailing wisdom in the West is that Russian President Vladimir Putin was never interested in President Joe Biden’s diplomatic efforts to avert an invasion of Ukraine. Bent on restoring the might of the Soviet empire, this narrative goes, the Russian autocrat audaciously invaded Ukraine to fulfill a revanchist desire for some combination of land, power and glory.

In a typical account operating under this framing, Politico described Putin as “the steely-eyed strongman” who proved immune to “traditional tools of diplomacy and deterrence” and had been “playing Biden all along.” This telling suggests that the United States exhausted its diplomatic arsenal and that Russia’s horrifying and illegal invasion of Ukraine, which has involved targeting civilian areas and shelling nuclear plants, could never have been prevented.

But according to a line of widely overlooked scholarship, forgotten warnings from Western statesmen and interviews with several experts — including high-level former government officials who oversaw Russia strategy for decades — this narrative is wrong.

Many of these analysts argue that the U.S. erred in its efforts to prevent the breakout of war by refusing to offer to retract support for Ukraine to one day join NATO or substantially reconsider its terms of entry. And they argue that Russia’s willingness to go to war over Ukraine’s NATO status, which it perceived as an existential national security threat and listed as a fundamental part of its rationale for the invasion, was so clear for so long that dropping support for its eventual entry could have averted the invasion.

Recognizing this possibility does not excuse Moscow’s actions, which are heinous. Nor does it mean Russia’s insistence on regional hegemony is fair or ethical. And ultimately, it is no guarantee that Putin would not have invaded anyway. There are other factors — including, but not limited to, Putin's general anger over Kyiv drifting away from Russian influence and domination and his isolation as a decision-maker — that may have been sufficient to drive the invasion.

But the abundance of evidence that NATO was a sustained source of anxiety for Moscow raises the question of whether the United States’ strategic posture was not just imprudent but negligent.

The fact that the NATO status question was not put on the table as Putin signaled that he was serious about an invasion — so plainly that the U.S. government was spelling it out with day-by-day updates — was an error, and potentially a catastrophic one. It may sound cruel to suggest that Ukraine could be barred, either temporarily or permanently, from entering a military alliance it wants to be in. But what’s more cruel is that Ukrainians might be paying with their lives for the United States’ reckless flirtation with Ukraine as a future NATO member without ever committing to its defense.

Analysts say it’s widely known that Ukraine had no prospect of entering NATO for many years, possibly decades, because of its need for major democracy and anti-corruption reforms and because NATO has no interest in going to war with Russia over Ukraine’s Donbas region, where Russia has meddled and backed armed conflict for years. But by dangling the possibility of Ukraine’s NATO membership for years but never fulfilling it, NATO created a scenario that emboldened Ukraine to act tough and buck Russia — without any intention of directly defending Ukraine with its firepower if Moscow decided Ukraine had gone too far.

But for the West to offer to compromise on Ukraine’s future entry into NATO would have required admitting the limitations of Western power.

“It was the desire of Western governments not to lose face by compromising with Russia,” Anatol Lieven, senior research fellow on Russia and Europe at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of “Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry,” told me. “But it was also the moral cowardice of so many Western commentators and officials and ex-officials who would not come out in public and admit that this was no longer a viable project.”

The West didn't want to set limits on NATO's enlargement and influence or lose face. So what it did was gamble.

“The choice that we faced in Ukraine — and I'm using the past tense there intentionally — was whether Russia exercised a veto over NATO involvement in Ukraine on the negotiating table or on the battlefield,” said George Beebe, a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and special adviser on Russia to former Vice President Dick Cheney. “And we elected to make sure that the veto was exercised on the battlefield, hoping that either Putin would stay his hand or that the military operation would fail.”

What's happened has happened, and there’s no going back. But it still matters.

The U.S. must do everything it can do to end this war — which is already brutalizing Ukraine, rattling the global economy, and could quite easily spiral into a nuclear-armed confrontation between the U.S. and Russia, if things get out of hand — as swiftly as possible, including negotiating on Ukraine's NATO status and possible neutrality with an open mind. And over the longer term, Americans must realize that in an increasingly multipolar world, reckoning with the limits of their power is critical for achieving a more peaceful and just world.

NATO was originally formed as a military and political alliance between the U.S., Canada and several Western European nations in 1949. It was meant to serve as a collective defense organization to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and its most important provision, Article 5, held that an attack on one member of the alliance was an attack against all of them.

In 1990, the West led the Soviets to believe NATO would not expand further eastward across Europe in exchange for Germany reunification and the agreement that the new Germany would be a NATO member. Most famously, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker once assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that the NATO alliance would move “not one inch eastward” in exchange for this agreement, but as the late Princeton University scholar Stephen Cohen pointed out in 2018, this pledge was in fact made multiple times by several Western countries.

These assurances were not honored, and NATO has expanded eastward over the years to include many more countries, all the way up to Russia’s borders.

“It is the broken promise to Gorbachev that lingers as America’s original sin,” Cohen said then.

NATO’s expansion was hugely controversial in policy circles in the 1990s. As foreign policy commentator Peter Beinart has noted, around the time the Clinton administration was considering NATO in the '90s to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic — a debate that almost caused President Bill Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Perry to resign — many influential voices dissented:

George Kennan, the living legend who had fathered America’s policy of containment against the Soviet Union, called NATO expansion “a strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.” Thomas Friedman, America’s most prominent foreign policy columnist, declared it the “most ill-conceived project of the post-Cold War era.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan, widely considered the most erudite member of the US Senate, warned, “We have no idea what we’re getting into.” John Lewis Gaddis, the dean of America’s Cold War historians, noted that, “historians—normally so contentious—are in uncharacteristic agreement: with remarkably few exceptions, they see NATO enlargement as ill-conceived, ill-timed, and above all ill-suited to the realities of the post-Cold War world.”

The major concern was that expansion would backfire — that it would, as Kennan put it in 1997, “inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion.” Indeed, Russia hated it. As Lieven previously told me, for decades the Russian political establishment and commentators have vociferously objected to NATO expansion and “warned that if this went as far as taking in Georgia and Ukraine, then there would be confrontation and strong likelihood of war.”

Russia perceives NATO as an existential threat

Russia is no longer at the helm of a global superpower, but it is still, at the very least, a regional great power, and as such it devotes considerable resources to exerting its influence beyond its borders and using the states around it as buffers. Russia views Ukraine, a large country to which it has long-running cultural and historical ties, as a particularly critical buffer state for protecting its capital.

The issue that Russia saw in NATO was not just an expanding military alliance, but one that had shifted gears to transforming and proactively intervening in global affairs. After the end of the Cold War, NATO’s raison d’être no longer existed, but instead of disbanding, its mission shifted to democracy promotion. The carrot of membership in NATO was used to encourage countries to adopt liberalization and good governance and align with U.S. political, economic and military interests.

Of particular concern to the Russians have been NATO’s operations outside of NATO countries. The Russians were shocked by NATO’s bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, where NATO not only intervened in the affairs of a non-NATO country, but took sides against the Serbs, allies of the Russians, and did so without United Nations Security Council approval. NATO has also been involved in regime change and nation-building projects in places like Libya and Afghanistan.

“NATO is a defensive organization; I don't think it had any plans on Russia,” Thomas Graham, a former special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia on the National Security Council staff from 2004 to 2007, said regarding NATO’s expansion of territory and widening scope of operations. “All that said … if you put yourself in the position of people in the Kremlin, you can see why they came to that conclusion.”

Things turned up a notch in 2008, when NATO declared that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members” of NATO. It did not specify a timeline, and it was assumed that it was conditional on the countries adopting political reforms, but it infuriated the Russians.

As a way to reassert its dominance in the region, Russia invaded Georgia later that year. In another sign of Russia’s intolerance of losing out to Western influence in those countries, Putin annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014 in the wake of the protest-spurred ouster of Ukraine’s Russia-friendly president, which the West favored.

John Mearsheimer, an international relations scholar at the University of Chicago, argued that a number of factors, including Ukraine’s potential integration into the Western European economy, played a role in Russia’s concerns in 2014, but NATO enlargement was the “taproot” of the crisis and Russia wanted to make sure that, among other things, a NATO base couldn’t be set up in Crimea as Ukraine drifted toward the U.S.

Mearsheimer also warned that this was foreshadowing, and Ukraine’s pseudo-membership status was going to bait Moscow and result in catastrophe. “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path, and the end result is Ukraine is going to get wrecked,” he said in a lecture.

Russia has grown concerned again about Ukraine for a number of reasons. Analysts like Lieven and Beebe point out that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has taken a number of sharp measures to eradicate Russian influence in Ukraine recently by doing things like banning the use of Russian language in schools and state institutions, shutting down Kremlin-linked television stations and arresting some of the most prominent Russo-sympathetic leaders in the country — all while cooperating on the ground with NATO. Russia read this as a sign that Kyiv was throwing its lot in with the U.S. and the prospect of an agreement ensuring autonomy for the separatist-held Donbas region, crucial to Russia’s plan to thwart Ukraine’s NATO entry, might be dead.

Our current crisis

All this brings us to the crisis at hand. The takeaway of this very quick survey is not to convince you to agree with Russia’s assessment that NATO posed an existential threat to it or that it is justified in its great power politicking. As Beebe put it, whether or not Russia’s perception is accurate or justified “is immaterial to whether that perception is genuinely held and to whether they will act on that perception.” What matters is that there is clear evidence that Russia sees NATO as destabilizing, pro-democratic and anti-Russian — and clear evidence that it was willing to use force to counter NATO's enlargement.

Moreover, Putin sent clear signals that he was serious about pulling the trigger if he didn't get something. Shifting some 150,000 troops along Ukraine’s border for weeks was a real cost, and it placed pressure on him to not back down without extracting a major concession and risk losing face in front of Russia’s political elite.

“I thought, and continue to think, that we should have made a deal, that there was a deal to be had — not a deal that we liked, obviously, but a deal that the realities of the situation that we're facing required,” Beebe said.

Graham, the former NSC official, also said the U.S. made a mistake in its approach. Ukraine’s future NATO membership didn’t necessarily have to be permanently taken off the table, but the U.S. “had to be prepared to talk about it in a serious way,” he said.

Emma Ashford, resident senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, wrote in an email that it was a “pity” that “NATO’s open-door principle was not up for debate.” Though she was skeptical about the political ability of the West to “promise to close NATO’s open door, particularly in a way that would have been credible to Moscow,” she said there were potential ways to deal with Moscow’s concerns, such as “a moratorium on NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, conventional arms control agreements limiting the scope of NATO military integration and cooperation with Ukraine, or some form of negotiated Ukrainian neutrality.”

The idea behind a moratorium — of, say, 20 years — is to provide a way for the West to propose to Russia that the issue can be taken up by a future generation of leaders, at a time when Russia's political class has changed and geopolitics may have shifted.

Whether or not opening up on the question of Ukraine’s NATO status or neutrality in some way would’ve been enough to stop Putin from pursuing war is unknowable, every expert I spoke to stressed. After all, maybe by this point changing Ukraine’s NATO status would not have allayed Putin’s concern that Ukraine was irrevocably slipping out of Russia’s sphere of influence and overcome his conception of Ukraine as Russia’s lost property. There are also always unprovable and unfalsifiable explanations for his behavior — including, but not limited to, a concern with securing his legacy, paranoia and a lack of access to accurate information due to his accumulation of power within the Kremlin.

All we do know is that the NATO element mattered a great deal to Russia’s political establishment, and there’s reason to think it could’ve changed the course of negotiations. When things looked dicey, it was worth trying.

It seems unjust that Ukraine might not be let into an alliance it wants to be part of to protect itself from a country like Russia. I would say it is. But alliances choose their own members and must weigh the geopolitical consequences of expanding them — the enhanced possibility of war chief among them. As with so many issues in politics, justice is circumscribed by practical matters that require us to contemplate the possibility of making things worse through imprudent action.

As Stephen Wertheim, a senior fellow in the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told me, NATO’s oft-touted “open door” policy is supposed to be based on Article 10 of the treaty, but the meaning is often misunderstood.

"In recent decades, the open door has instead come to entail dangling the possibility of membership to other states, never foreclosing that possibility, and sometimes speaking as though states have a right to join NATO if they so choose (when in fact they have a right merely to ask to join)," he wrote.

That dangling is incredibly dangerous, and it's possible that it just caused Ukraine to experience the worst of all worlds: not receiving NATO protection while also enduring one of the most aggressive forms of Russian domination possible.

Many of the experts I spoke to said Ukraine's neutrality or some kind of altered NATO status should be part of the discussion in diplomatic backchannels. Critics will say this constitutes “appeasement” of Putin. But as Biden has already made clear, the U.S. is not willing to wage war with Russia, and it certainly isn't going to allow Ukraine into NATO when Russia is attacking it, since that would require all of NATO to go to war with Russia. The issue now is to think clearly about how to end a conflict that could spiral into World War III.

It is imperative that America develops a clearer understanding of its adversaries and behaves more judiciously in an increasingly multipolar world. It is not difficult to imagine the U.S. making a miscalculation over what China would be willing to do to secure its domination of the South China Sea. The U.S. may want to be the only great power in the world, free to expand its hegemony with impunity, but it is not. Refusing to see this is dangerous for us all.

 
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Russian Orthodox Church alleges gay pride parades were part of the reason for Ukraine war

From CNNs Delia Gallagher in Rome

 

Russian Patriarch Kirill celebrates a Christmas service at the Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow, Russia, on January 6.
Russian Patriarch Kirill celebrates a Christmas service at the Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow, Russia, on January 6. (Kirill Kudryavtsey/AFP/Getty Images)

 

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church said gay pride parades were part of the reason for the war in Ukraine.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, a long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Sunday that the conflict in Donbas is about “a fundamental rejection of the so-called values that are offered today by those who claim world power.”

The “test” of which side you are on, said Kirill, is whether your country is willing to hold gay pride parades.

“In order to enter the club of those countries, it is necessary to hold a gay pride parade. Not to make a political statement, ‘we are with you,’ not to sign any agreements, but to hold a gay parade. And we know how people resist these demands and how this resistance is suppressed by force,” Kirill said during a sermon in Moscow.

Kirill categorized the war as a struggle of “metaphysical significance,” for humanity to follow God’s laws.

“What is happening today in the sphere of international relations has not only political significance. We are talking about something different and much more important than politics. We are talking about human salvation,” he said. 

“If we see violations of [God’s] law, we will never put up with those who destroy this law, blurring the line between holiness and sin, and even more so with those who promote sin as an example or as one of the models of human behavior,” Kirill said.

“Around this topic today there is a real war,” he said.

Patriarch Kirill is a major religious figure in Russia, where the Russian Orthodox religion is considered an integral part of Russian identity. He has come under pressure from within his own church since the beginning of the war to denounce Putin’s aggression, but his public statements so far have failed to do that. On the contrary, Kirill’s language has lent support to Putin’s vision of a spiritual and temporal Russian empire.

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I Was Wrong About Putin

By
 Sergei Dobrynin
 - 
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In February 2000, I met my friend and mentor, the anthropologist Vladimir Arsenyev, for a beer in a musty St. Petersburg University cafeteria. We were talking politics, and we fell into a conversation about the upcoming presidential election, which Vladimir Putin was obviously bound to win. Putin had succeeded Boris Yeltsin after the latter’s resignation and was seeking his first full term in power.

Arsenyev, then in his early 50s, was a fiery postcolonial leftist who hated the Soviet Union, but considered the emerging Russian mix of imperialism and capitalism to be even worse. He was not popular among his colleagues and was also disliked by some of his students who saw him as a kind of anti-corporate maverick.My political orientation was rather different. I was decades younger than Arsenyev, and my whole childhood had been colored by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Because I had experienced chaos, I believed in a strong hand. I regretted that Russia was no longer a superpower and thought that my country deserved a bigger role in world politics. I suppose you could say I wanted to make Russia great again.

Arsenyev put down his beer and said (in Russian, of course): “This man, Putin, will bring this country to hell. I know this for sure. It is the worst thing that could ever happen to us.”

“Why?” I asked.

“He is a Chekist,” he said, meaning an agent of the secret police. “Once a Chekist, always a Chekist. He is pure evil.”

I didn’t argue; I just changed the topic. The secret service meant Lavrentiy Beria and Nikolai Yezhov for Arsenyev, and James Bond for me. I respected Arsenyev immensely, but I saw him as a relic. And I was bewitched by Putin’s cold, metallic charisma, that way he had of suggesting that he knew more than he said. I was definitely not alone in my admiration: Putin won the election—one of the very few fair elections we’ve ever had in Russia—with 53.4 percent of the vote.

Despite my patriotism, like many Russians of my generation I was encouraged by my parents to go West. I spent the next few years in the Netherlands, studying for a Ph.D. in math. But after a while I grew bored with abstract theorems and Dutch Calvinist orderliness, and I returned home. Russia was already a different country from the one I had left. In Putin’s hands it seemed much more stable, both economically and politically. I told myself that Arsenyev had been wrong about Putin, and that I had been right.

“Stability” (stabilnost) was, in fact, something of a slogan for Putin, one he adopted early in his presidency. He used the goal of stability to justify ruthless military operations in Chechnya. Another price of stability was having the same people in government from one election cycle to the next. In 2008, Putin’s ally Dmitry Medvedev took over the presidency, but everyone understood that Putin was still running the country as prime minister. I can’t say I cared much. Medvedev was promising to build a Russian Silicon Valley. People from all over the world wanted to move to Moscow. Life was good, and everything that wasn’tgood I considered an anomaly, like the disgraceful war in Georgia. That was just a deviation from the norm, wasn’t it? Besides, our government insisted that it had to come to the assistance of the South Ossetians. I tried, moreover, to simply ignore politics. I became a journalist, but I focused on science and technology.

And so for many years I told myself that all was well. In 2011, Medvedev declared that he would not run for a second term and suggested that he would pass the presidency back to Putin, like a tennis ball. That was uncomfortable, but I tried to focus on the stability I still enjoyed. The parliamentary elections a few months later finally woke me up a bit: They were not just uncomfortable; they were a disaster. The results, which solidified Putin’s power, were obviously, shockingly, impudently fake. I took the metro to one of the first big protests of that winter with a friend. I asked him with sincere naivete, “Are the protests going to change anything?” My friend, who understood Putin much, much better than I, said, “Let’s just do what we can.”

Little by little, over a decade, I came to see that my country’s political deterioration was real and severe, and compromising everything else—very much including our scientific progress. I abandoned technology reporting for investigative journalism. I no longer strained to call frightening political developments, such as the ban on foreign adoption of Russian children, a mere deviation from the norm. I understood that these were signs of the new normal, and that the new normal was getting worse with every year.

As a journalist, I took part in investigating the infamous Unit 29155, tasked with destabilizing Europe; modern Russian Nazis; the production of Novichok, the nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Alexei Navalny; corruption in the Federal Security Service; Russian hackers; the obnoxious wealth of Putin’s close circle of friends; paramilitary groups. I learned a lot about how Putin’s Russia works.

Most Russians, however, simply adapted. The degradation of our society was slow enough that many could choose not to notice it. This was Putin’s way: sticking the knife in gradually. Less drama, same result.

And I admit that even I continued to make excuses for Putin long after doing so was reasonable. For instance, I condemned the 2014 annexation of Crimea even as I indulged in whataboutism, pointing out that Putin was hardly the only leader on the world stage to disrespect national boundaries. Perhaps because of my math-and-science background, I had a tendency to coldheartedly look for rational explanations for outrageous behavior.

In fact, my last illusion about Putin was that he was a rational actor. Navalny often described the Russian president and his people as “crooks and thieves.” This was his way of mocking Putin, of depriving him of his superpower aura. I myself was torn, until recently, between seeing the man as a chess player and a petty criminal. If these two images were in conflict, they were not entirely so. Both chess players and petty criminals know how to calculate their advantage.

Sure, Putin was evil, as Arsenyev had said. Arsenyev had also called him a Chekist, and Chekists are cunning. I thought Putin’s cunning was undeniable. And that is why, when U.S. intelligence started saying that Putin would invade Ukraine, I didn’t believe it. Despite all my reporting experience, everything I had seen, I thought it was nonsense. I was almost angry. I couldn’t see any logical reason, any advantage, any positive outcome of the invasion. It was painfully obvious that a war would be catastrophic. I told myself, Putin is evil. But he is not an idiot.

That’s what I kept telling myself right up until the night of February 24. At about 4 a.m., I switched on my smartphone and immediately saw dozens of videos of Russian rocket blasts all over Ukraine. These blasts were proof of Putin’s evil and his irrationality. Putin had brought our country to hell, just as Arsenyev had foretold, and he was bringing Ukraine to hell too.

Arsenyev died in 2010. I’m almost glad he didn’t live to see how right he was.

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So czarna, your post again point to the fact that some think it’s ok to negotiate on a country’s choice what kind of organisation it can join and other countries negotiating its status. Isn’t this contradicting to the international law?

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Guest CzarnaWisnia
5 minutes ago, elijah said:

So czarna, your post again point to the fact that some think it’s ok to negotiate on a country’s choice what kind of organisation it can join and other countries negotiating its status. Isn’t this contradicting to the international law?

Just because a country chooses to join an international body doesn't give it any right to do so. The process for joining the EU for instance is long and complex, and the EU has a string of conditions that have to be met in order to accept a new member. Same for NATO I suppose. These bodies have to consider, among other things, what geopolitical consequences each new membership will have, in the immediate region especially. For instance, before Poland joined, the country made sure to cultivate cordial relations with its neighbours (especially Ukraine). After 1989 (fall of communism in Poland), the country was fucked up but they aimed at EU and NATO membership. The knew it would help their application if they cultivated stability with their neighbours. They also wanted to insure the safety of Poles living in those countries. Poland also confirmed its existing borders, telegraphing that it had no intention of claiming territories that had been Polish in the past, before the war for instance (Western Ukraine used to be Polish). Also, the country was rather stable when it was finally added to the EU in 2004. So no, it's not counter to international law for international bodies to negotiate the membership of any given country. Ukraine has been unstable for years and years, there's even been internal military conflict for years, and it has had bad relations to its immediate neighbour (Russia). I don't see how NATO or the EU would have effectively accepted it as a member in these circumstances. 

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9 minutes ago, CzarnaWisnia said:

Just because a country chooses to join an international body doesn't give it any right to do so. The process for joining the EU for instance is long and complex, and the EU has a string of conditions that have to be met in order to accept a new member. Same for NATO I suppose. These bodies have to consider, among other things, what geopolitical consequences each new membership will have, in the immediate region especially. For instance, before Poland joined, the country made sure to cultivate cordial relations with its neighbours (especially Ukraine). After 1989 (fall of communism in Poland), the country was fucked up but they aimed at EU and NATO membership. The knew it would help their application if they cultivated stability with their neighbours. They also wanted to insure the safety of Poles living in those countries. Poland also confirmed its existing borders, telegraphing that it had no intention of claiming territories that had been Polish in the past, before the war for instance (Western Ukraine used to be Polish). Also, the country was rather stable when it was finally added to the EU in 2004. So no, it's not counter to international law for international bodies to negotiate the membership of any given country. Ukraine has been unstable for years and years, there's even been internal military conflict for years, and it has had bad relations to its immediate neighbour (Russia). I don't see how NATO or the EU would have effectively accepted it as a member in these circumstances. 

Exactly. There was no immediate plan or path for Ukraine to join NATO. Thus, I agree with the following excerpt from another opinion piece (Alexander Motyl writing for The Hill):

 

"Most importantly, Russia’s repeated claims that it genuinely feared NATO membership for Ukraine were a canard, as Washington, Moscow and NATO — as well as Kyiv — knew full well that Ukraine’s chances of joining the alliance in the next 20 years were nil. Ukraine posed no imaginable security threat to Russia, the largest country in the world, possessing a huge army, thousands of nuclear weapons and enormous natural resources. "

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Guest CzarnaWisnia
7 minutes ago, air1975 said:

Exactly. There was no immediate plan or path for Ukraine to join NATO. Thus, I agree with the following excerpt from another opinion piece (Alexander Motyl writing for The Hill):

 

"Most importantly, Russia’s repeated claims that it genuinely feared NATO membership for Ukraine were a canard, as Washington, Moscow and NATO — as well as Kyiv — knew full well that Ukraine’s chances of joining the alliance in the next 20 years were nil. Ukraine posed no imaginable security threat to Russia, the largest country in the world, possessing a huge army, thousands of nuclear weapons and enormous natural resources. "

There were no immediate plans, but these things don't happen overnight. Membership takes years and is prefaced by many gestures of solidarity that imply future membership. Trump even sent weapons to Ukraine. If the US was trying to influence Americans or pro-American citizens living in Mexico, wanting a part of their land as well, and France sent weapons to Mexico, it would be seen as absolutely hostile towards the US. I know the comparison is kind of bogus, but I'm trying to get the point across that it's not just a matter of membership but of the behavior and actions of various countries, which are understood to mean certain things (whether true or false).

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3 minutes ago, CzarnaWisnia said:

There were no immediate plans, but these things don't happen overnight. Membership takes years and is prefaced by many gestures of solidarity that imply future membership. Trump even sent weapons to Ukraine. If the US was trying to influence Americans or pro-American citizens living in Mexico, wanting a part of their land as well, and France sent weapons to Mexico, it would be seen as absolutely hostile towards the US. I know the comparison is kind of bogus, but I'm trying to get the point across that it's not just a matter of membership but of the behavior and actions of various countries, which are understood to mean certain things (whether true or false).

1. Its an interesting point - you say that Russia saw Western's Europe and US's help to Ukraine as hostile acts -  I am sure he did. (just like many in the US saw Russia's interference in US elections as a hostile act). But what of it? Just because he knew that US/Western Europe is more supportive of Ukraine (more so after the Crimea annexation); just because he knows that US/Western Europe do not want him to annex Ukraine - THAT cannot be a logical reason to actually move forward with an invasion.

2. Even with your hypothetical example - the US is not trying to annex anyone's lands. Russia had already annexed Crimea and wanted to swallow the rest of the Ukraine. 

 

Personally, I fully believe Russia would have tried to annex Ukraine even if Ukraine made a declaration of not joining NATO for the next 15 years. I think that Putin saw that Ukraine was leaning more towards Western European philosophy in some ways - and Putin felt like the Russian sphere of influence was decreasing. If not the NATO situation, he would have found some other pretext to invade. I think the only way he would not have invaded was if he had been able to install a very pro-Russian puppet-like regime in Ukraine. 

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Joe Biden is about to announce a ban on importing Russian oil but the impact will be minimal because USA imports only a small amount of Russia's oil. 

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Guest CzarnaWisnia
42 minutes ago, air1975 said:

1. Its an interesting point - you say that Russia saw Western's Europe and US's help to Ukraine as hostile acts -  I am sure he did. (just like many in the US saw Russia's interference in US elections as a hostile act). But what of it? Just because he knew that US/Western Europe is more supportive of Ukraine (more so after the Crimea annexation); just because he knows that US/Western Europe do not want him to annex Ukraine - THAT cannot be a logical reason to actually move forward with an invasion.

2. Even with your hypothetical example - the US is not trying to annex anyone's lands. Russia had already annexed Crimea and wanted to swallow the rest of the Ukraine. 

 

Personally, I fully believe Russia would have tried to annex Ukraine even if Ukraine made a declaration of not joining NATO for the next 15 years. I think that Putin saw that Ukraine was leaning more towards Western European philosophy in some ways - and Putin felt like the Russian sphere of influence was decreasing. If not the NATO situation, he would have found some other pretext to invade. I think the only way he would not have invaded was if he had been able to install a very pro-Russian puppet-like regime in Ukraine. 

1. I don't think it's just about what's considered rational or not. I think it's a question of point of view. From the Western point of view, it is illogical, and it makes no sense what's happening, but to the Russian pov it must make sense, otherwise they would not have invaded Ukraine (and in doing so compromised entirely any future relations with the West, compromised their own population's well-being, etc.). It's a huge gamble, so it must make sense for them (in their point of view) to do so. But given what happened, I think they're "all in", meaning it's kind of a kamikaze action.

It's hard to say what motivates states to act militarily. A number of motives intertwine over a long period of time, etc. But let's just look at the conditions posed by the Russians now to end the war. There's three, which, if they were met (and we were to believe them), all aggression in Ukraine would stop immediately hypothetically: i) ceasefire and surrender (which means the West must stop sending arms), ii) enshrine neutrality of state in constitution, iii) recognize as independent states the Eastern republics. 

Now, a number of possibilities exist.

i) Ukraine agrees to all three, and Russia ceases hostilities. Meetings are held to determine a treaty of some kind.

ii) Ukraine agrees to all three, and Russia does not cease hostilities. (shit happens)

iii) Ukraine agrees to some of the three, Russia does not cease hostilities, but negotiations continue...

iv) Ukraine agrees to some of the three, Russia ceases hostilities, negotiations continue...

v) Ukraine agrees to none of the three, Russia does not cease hostilities, the West keeps sending arms (this is the current situation)

 

2. I don't believe Russia wants to take the whole territory of Ukraine. The whole western part of it is very very hostile to Russia and it would be a huge problem for Russia to try to exert power over this population. They had their hands full as the USSR dealing with populations who wanted nothing to do with their regime (like in Poland). They probably want to take the Eastern part (up to Eastern Kiev).

 

3. You. may be right that Russia would have invaded Ukraine even if i) NATO and the US had explicitly declared Ukraine was not going to be a member for at least 20 years, ii) Ukraine itself had sorted out its internal military conflict between pro-Western and pro-Russian populations, iii) Ukraine had elected a more neutral kind of government, trying to appease both cultures and political forces in the country. Russia might have invaded anyway, but we'll never know.

 

Source for conditions:

"Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was demanding that Ukraine cease military action, change its constitution to enshrine neutrality, acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory, and recognise the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states." https://www.reuters.com/world/kremlin-says-russian-military-action-will-stop-moment-if-ukraine-meets-2022-03-07/

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At this point, I think the step towards an official "WW3" is just around the bend. I understand the intent to send arms for Ukrainians to defend themselves, but this is literally numerous countries participating quite directly in war. I guess when China gets involved, the shit will truly hit the fan. 

 

All-In For Ukraine

https://thedissenter.org/arms-flood-ukraine-us-europe-proxy-war/

Although the European Union has never supplied lethal aid to any country, Brussels is now providing arms to Kiev worth around $489 million.

Germany will dispatch 1,000 rocket launchers, 500 stinger surface-to-air missiles, numerous howitzers and armored vehicles, and 10,000 tons of fuel, in contravention of Berlin’s longstanding policy of not exporting lethal weapons to war zones.

Sweden has also broken with their two-century-long commitment to neutrality, by sending missile systems to Kiev. Neighboring Finland, long-averse to foreign entanglements of any kind, also pledged to provide thousands of assault rifles, rocket launchers, and vast quantities of ammunition.

Over 20 countries, including Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, France, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Romania, have shipped arms packages.

On top of sending weapons to Ukraine, Denmark officially permitted their population to travel to Kiev and deploy as foreign fighters.

Ukrainian officials claimed “around 20,000” foreign volunteers, “mostly” from European countries, are now active in the conflict, as of March 6. President Volodomyr Zelenskyy encouraged more to join them.

From the outset, the Brtish government has taken a leading role in underwriting Ukraine’s war effort. Zelenskyy purportedly views Prime Minister Boris Johnson as his “closest ally," and the pair have daily phone conversations to coordinate war efforts..

In the lead-up to Russia’s invasion, Johnson met with Lithuanian and Polish leaders to discuss battle plans, deployed specialist British troops to the region, and provided a welter of anti-tank missiles. London also trained 20,000 Ukrainian snipers.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss voiced her support for citizens who wish to fight in Ukraine. (Note: The same support has not been shown for Britons, who battled ISIS in Iraq and Syria - several have been prosecuted.)

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Guest CzarnaWisnia
48 minutes ago, karbatal said:

My finger hurts with so much scrolling.

PUT A LINK! 

NO, I'm sure your finger hurts for other reasons anyway. 

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