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Old 03-06-2014, 04:50 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Diemen View Post
Why are you so defensive about this, Steve?

The point about nuance and complexity is that there is more to this than simple Russian aggression, and even if the Russians are being overly aggressive (a point I don't think anyone is denying), there are things about the Ukrainian coalition that warrant concern, too.
I am shocked by what Russia has done in the Ukraine and although the chance is remote, I fear a similar conflict happening over ethnic Russians in Estonia or Latvia, both NATO countries but also former Soviet Republics like Ukraine. A similar conflict taking place in Estonia or Latvia would mean war, a war between NATO and Russia with all the concerns that would entail.

I disagree. This is overwhelmingly Russian aggression. The accusations of Ukrainian fascism and threats to "Russian Citizens" are simply smoke screens to help disguise simple but shocking Russian aggression. There has been no evidence of violence or fascism against ethnic Russians in the Crimea. The only entity that has used violence in the Crimea are the Russians.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:04 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by Steve_Bono View Post
There is plenty of defense of Russia's actions and criticism of Ukraine's actions for greater freedom from the strangling influence of Russia in this thread. There is nothing complex or nuanced about dismissing Russian actions over the past 10 days.

What I have said is perfectly in line with what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have said about Russia. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton support the new Ukrainian government as well as its removal of President Yanukovych. They support Ukrainians desire to reduce Russian influence in their country and join the European Union. They both strongly oppose the illegal and unprovoked invasion of the Ukraine in the Crimea.

Crimea is apart of the Ukraine, and Russia's unprovoked invasion is just as illegal as Germany's moves into Czechoslovakia in 1938. Its illegal to launch unprovoked invasions of other countries whether they occurred in 1938 or 2014.
The proof that, for you, is either black or white, "if you're not with me, you're against me". You just said it. But you're wrong, because, unlike what you believe and the western media sells, it's not a Good vs Evil fight. It's an Evil vs Evil vs Evil fight. It's a Russia vs USA vs EU fight.
Obama and Hillary, just like Putin, just like Merkel and the EU techno-non-elected-bureaucrats don't give a flying f*** about Ukraine's will for a true democracy. Even yesterday I heard that from two ukrainian fellows that live here. Any of the sides only care about who's having its influence reforced and, most of all, about who's controlling, from now on, the ressources of the Black Sea as well as the cheap manpower of that whole region (Azerbaijan, Georgia, etc, included).

You also mentioned above the Ottoman Empire that possessed Crimea. So, we're talking about the Ottoman Empire. Not Ukraine.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:10 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by Steve_Bono View Post
I am shocked by what Russia has done in the Ukraine and although the chance is remote, I fear a similar conflict happening over ethnic Russians in Estonia or Latvia, both NATO countries but also former Soviet Republics like Ukraine. A similar conflict taking place in Estonia or Latvia would mean war, a war between NATO and Russia with all the concerns that would entail.

I disagree. This is overwhelmingly Russian aggression. The accusations of Ukrainian fascism and threats to "Russian Citizens" are simply smoke screens to help disguise simple but shocking Russian aggression. There has been no evidence of violence or fascism against ethnic Russians in the Crimea. The only entity that has used violence in the Crimea are the Russians.
Don't be fool. Latvia, immediately after its entrance in the EU was submitted to a bailout (like Hungary, for instance) that irrecoverably threw about 30% of its population to a level of poverty from which they'll never be able to get out of. Something similar happened to Hungary. And that's what's gonna happen to Ukraine when they accept the bailout that your beatified IFM/US/EU have ready for those poor souls.

Yeah, only your propaganda is evidence. The others are allegedly fake and non-sense, isn't it?
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:29 PM   #109
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I don't think anyone is defending Putin. They're just trying to help you understand the situation better by adding nuance and complexity to your flat declarations.

It's not always 1938 and Crimea isn't Poland. Cold Warriors die hard.
I would also go as far to say that Russia's behaving in a manner typical of any superpower (if you'd still like to classify Russia as a superpower, of course) and really I think it's fair to suggest that the US/UK/China aka whoever would behave in much the same way if something like this was occurring in their own backyard. I found Russia's actions entirely predictable, and in a lot of ways I think you always know what you're going to get from Putin, but that's just my outlook on things.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:54 PM   #110
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and STING Steve hasn't been catastrophically wrong before. so there's that.

and there's no gain in amplifying the threat as a means of scaring up support for, say, the Keystone pipeline:

Quote:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) shocked CNN host Kate Bolduan on Wednesday when he asserted that Congress and President Barack Obama could solve the crisis in Ukraine by approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Wisconsin Republican began his interview saying that he did know if he agreed with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that the president’s response to terrorist attacks in Benghazi were to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

“First of all, who is to blame for this? Vladimir Putin,” Ryan said. “My argument is that… we have projected weakness in our foreign policy, and now in our defense policy with out military budget the president’s proposing.”


“I think when you have the world’s super power, having a foreign policy that in my opinion is weak, and a defense policy now that shows weakness, I think it invites aggression,” he added. “I think it creates a vacuum that is filled by these types of actions.”

Bolduan pressed Ryan on what Congress could do in response to international crisis.

“Well, I think we should move forward on natural gas exports very quickly,” the former GOP vice presidential nominee insisted. “I think we should approve an LNG terminal in the east coast to go to Europe. I think we should approve the Keystone Pipeline. And I think we should show that the U.S. is going to be moving forward on becoming energy independent.”

“Moving forward with the Keystone pipeline!” Bolduan exclaimed. “That development would take years, though, to actually make that happen.”

Ryan argued that the controversial pipeline would be a “signal” to Russia.

Paul Ryan stuns CNN host: Keystone pipeline will solve Russia’s Ukraine invasion | The Raw Story

as you said earlier, we should drill for oil to put the squeeze on Putin.

always remember, guns and oil are what drive the GOP.
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:35 PM   #111
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So tell me, were there any Russian soldiers killed in the Crimea? Can you describe the danger to Russian soldiers in the Crimea that would justify and invasion like that of Panama in 1989? Did anyone in the Crimea stand at a podium with a sword and slam it down declaring that a state of war exist with Russia, just as Noriega declared in 1989?

Is the Ukraine involved in some action that threatens Russia's security? Have any ethnic Russians been murdered by Ukrainians? When and Where?
Umm, I actually said by "Putin's reasoning", not mine.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:05 PM   #112
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I'm sharing a text of a portuguese chronicler (and ex-politician) with whom not always I fully agree, but I subscribe most of what he wrote this morning.
I'm making a "busy" translation to english.


Do Kosovo à Crimeia - Expresso.pt


From Kosovo To Crimea

The powers of Western Europe and the U.S. are committed to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine. It's an intermittent thing this commitment to the territorial integrity of European countries. I'm not going back 30 years. I'll stick with the NATO attack on Belgrade 15 years ago, to compel the withdrawal of Serb troops from a part of its territory, with the establishment of a provisional government and the expulsion of approximately 200,000 Kosovo Serbs. Just returning now to 2008, with the recognition of the independence of this fantasy that is Kosovo. A State without any possible uneconomical and born with foreign military aid to be missed historical justification.
[this is the part I disagree with the author]

Do not come to me, please, with declarations of love for others territorial integrity. It is perfectly acceptable to negotiate a solution that would give the people of Crimea the right to make the same choice as others have done. And there are far more historical, cultural and economic reasons to separate Crimea from Ukraine than Kosovo ever had to separate from Serbia. Starting with this: Crimea is only Ukrainian because 60 years ago, a leader of the CPSU decided so, offering it as if it were an object, in celebration of the third centenary of the unification of Russia with its neighbor. And it'll only continue to be Ukrainian if forced to do so.

Is Russia violating Ukrainian sovereignty to intervene, even if indirectly, in Crimea ? It is and it's wrong. But the last country on the planet who can criticize this behavior was the first to do it. Barack Obama accused Russia of interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Would you mind repeating it, please? Korea, Vietnam, Cuba , Dominican Republic, Zaire, Cambodia, Laos, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Liberia, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Haiti, Kosovo and Afghanistan [are we talking about the same country that invented, a decade ago, claiming that there were weapons of mass destruction in another country, knowing we all the agenda behind it?]. Just to get me through the period after World War II and where there was direct U.S. military intervention (something that Russia didn't make... yet). I confess that I only found out this week that it exists to White House internal affairs of other countries.

Russia is doing, much softer and in a more restrained version (it is not bombarding Kiev), the same as that NATO did with Kosovo. The people of Crimea is mostly Russian, wants to be part of Russia and there is a Russian port in Sevastopol. The new Ukrainian power so fond of its Russian minority as Muslims like bacon. On the other hand, to negotiate, there is a provisional non-elected government brightened by people nominated by a system "inspired in the democracy of Sparta" and where five members of the Svoboda (assumed neo-Nazis) give assurances of peace to the Russian minority system. It's hard for me to imagine that any Western power wouldn't do at least what Russia is doing.

The difference is this: the independence of Kosovo mattered to some powers who wanted a weaker Serbia, the independence of the Crimea does not matter to these same powers, although it is much easier to justify. The rest is conversation to move people that are easy to impress.

After the complicit silence of the world before the carnage of Mr. Putin in Chechnya, any sanctions against Russia for an intervention at all similar to what NATO has conducted in the past (just a little more legitimate) is an insult to the memory and decency. Do the U.S. and Germany have interests in Ukraine? Admit it. But do not mix them with the defense of democratic values ​​or an international law, for at least three decades is dead letter for the U.S. and its allies. Want to prevent war in Ukraine? Begin by example, stopping stoke a very dangerous conflict. Negotiate. With no fake moralisms. And realizing the obvious: there is no peace in Ukraine without a political agreement with Russia. You must look at the cultural mosaic that is the country to realize that.

Update: The elected Crimean parliament unanimously decided by its accession to Russia, but scored a referendum on March 16th to confirm this decision. It will be interesting to hear the arguments against this democratic process. For once, the Russians are being smart by tying the West to its own rhetoric.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:25 PM   #113
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As somebody who has a LOT of knowledge of the Balkans, I have to say that there are a lot of wrong/stupid things said in that article, Aygo. That politicians doesn't understand the Kosovo situation or history at all, IMO.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:08 PM   #114
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As somebody who has a LOT of knowledge of the Balkans, I have to say that there are a lot of wrong/stupid things said in that article, Aygo. That politicians doesn't understand the Kosovo situation or history at all, IMO.
That's why I previously mentioned that I only agree with some parts, not exactly the Kosovo case (where I disagree with the author) but with the legitimacy of the Western to accuse Russia of something they've done before and would/will do again.
I thought it wouldn't make sense just to show "disconnected" parts of the text, that's why I chose to share it all
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:16 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Vlad n U 2 View Post
I would also go as far to say that Russia's behaving in a manner typical of any superpower (if you'd still like to classify Russia as a superpower, of course) and really I think it's fair to suggest that the US/UK/China aka whoever would behave in much the same way if something like this was occurring in their own backyard. I found Russia's actions entirely predictable, and in a lot of ways I think you always know what you're going to get from Putin, but that's just my outlook on things.
When was the last time the United States launched an unprovoked invasion of another country and then annexed part of its territory?

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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
and STING Steve hasn't been catastrophically wrong before. so there's that.

and there's no gain in amplifying the threat as a means of scaring up support for, say, the Keystone pipeline:




as you said earlier, we should drill for oil to put the squeeze on Putin.

always remember, guns and oil are what drive the GOP.
I don't think Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Poland, Ukraine, or the Baltic States are amplifying the threat posed by Russia's actions the past few days. These leaders and countries are responsibly responding to a realistic threat to Europe and the world posed by Russia. That's why the United States is moving air assets into the Baltic States from its bases in England and Poland has invoked article 4 of the NATO charter. This is a serious issue and one of the only means the United States has to raise the cost to Putin for his aggression are strong sanctions, but these sanctions need the support of a wide number of countries which will be difficult.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aygo View Post
I'm sharing a text of a portuguese chronicler (and ex-politician) with whom not always I fully agree, but I subscribe most of what he wrote this morning.
I'm making a "busy" translation to english.


Do Kosovo à Crimeia - Expresso.pt


From Kosovo To Crimea

The powers of Western Europe and the U.S. are committed to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine. It's an intermittent thing this commitment to the territorial integrity of European countries. I'm not going back 30 years. I'll stick with the NATO attack on Belgrade 15 years ago, to compel the withdrawal of Serb troops from a part of its territory, with the establishment of a provisional government and the expulsion of approximately 200,000 Kosovo Serbs. Just returning now to 2008, with the recognition of the independence of this fantasy that is Kosovo. A State without any possible uneconomical and born with foreign military aid to be missed historical justification.
[this is the part I disagree with the author]

Do not come to me, please, with declarations of love for others territorial integrity. It is perfectly acceptable to negotiate a solution that would give the people of Crimea the right to make the same choice as others have done. And there are far more historical, cultural and economic reasons to separate Crimea from Ukraine than Kosovo ever had to separate from Serbia. Starting with this: Crimea is only Ukrainian because 60 years ago, a leader of the CPSU decided so, offering it as if it were an object, in celebration of the third centenary of the unification of Russia with its neighbor. And it'll only continue to be Ukrainian if forced to do so.

Is Russia violating Ukrainian sovereignty to intervene, even if indirectly, in Crimea ? It is and it's wrong. But the last country on the planet who can criticize this behavior was the first to do it. Barack Obama accused Russia of interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Would you mind repeating it, please? Korea, Vietnam, Cuba , Dominican Republic, Zaire, Cambodia, Laos, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Liberia, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Haiti, Kosovo and Afghanistan [are we talking about the same country that invented, a decade ago, claiming that there were weapons of mass destruction in another country, knowing we all the agenda behind it?]. Just to get me through the period after World War II and where there was direct U.S. military intervention (something that Russia didn't make... yet). I confess that I only found out this week that it exists to White House internal affairs of other countries.

Russia is doing, much softer and in a more restrained version (it is not bombarding Kiev), the same as that NATO did with Kosovo. The people of Crimea is mostly Russian, wants to be part of Russia and there is a Russian port in Sevastopol. The new Ukrainian power so fond of its Russian minority as Muslims like bacon. On the other hand, to negotiate, there is a provisional non-elected government brightened by people nominated by a system "inspired in the democracy of Sparta" and where five members of the Svoboda (assumed neo-Nazis) give assurances of peace to the Russian minority system. It's hard for me to imagine that any Western power wouldn't do at least what Russia is doing.

The difference is this: the independence of Kosovo mattered to some powers who wanted a weaker Serbia, the independence of the Crimea does not matter to these same powers, although it is much easier to justify. The rest is conversation to move people that are easy to impress.

After the complicit silence of the world before the carnage of Mr. Putin in Chechnya, any sanctions against Russia for an intervention at all similar to what NATO has conducted in the past (just a little more legitimate) is an insult to the memory and decency. Do the U.S. and Germany have interests in Ukraine? Admit it. But do not mix them with the defense of democratic values ​​or an international law, for at least three decades is dead letter for the U.S. and its allies. Want to prevent war in Ukraine? Begin by example, stopping stoke a very dangerous conflict. Negotiate. With no fake moralisms. And realizing the obvious: there is no peace in Ukraine without a political agreement with Russia. You must look at the cultural mosaic that is the country to realize that.

Update: The elected Crimean parliament unanimously decided by its accession to Russia, but scored a referendum on March 16th to confirm this decision. It will be interesting to hear the arguments against this democratic process. For once, the Russians are being smart by tying the West to its own rhetoric.
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Originally Posted by Aygo View Post
That's why I previously mentioned that I only agree with some parts, not exactly the Kosovo case (where I disagree with the author) but with the legitimacy of the Western to accuse Russia of something they've done before and would/will do again.
I thought it wouldn't make sense just to show "disconnected" parts of the text, that's why I chose to share it all

There is no comparison between Kosovo and Crimea. Kosovo would have remained apart of Serbia if the Serbs had not engaged in gross human rights violations, genocide, and ethnic cleansing. Kosovo was 91% ethnically Albanian and experienced the rape and deaths of tens of thousands of its citizens at the hands of the Serbian military. By contrast, no one at this point has been killed in the Crimea on either side. The government of Ukraine, unlike the government of Serbia in the 1990s has showed massive restraint and despite having the Crimea invaded by Russian troops did not fire a single shot at them. The Ukrainian government has not been engaged in any sort of directed violence, ethnic cleansing or genocide against Russians living in the Crimea. Given that, its still up to the whole of Ukraine to decide what should be done about the Crimea if anything. Its not just up to the people living in one part of the Ukraine.

Also, lets remember that Kosovo is currently recognized by 108 member nations of the UN as any independent state. Every year since 2008 when independence was declared, this number has grown. At the current rate, within 20 years, the only hold outs against Kosovo will likely be Serbia, Russia, and China.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:05 AM   #116
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And yet, if you listen to the GOP and John McCain and Lindsay Graham, Obama is an appeaser because he doesn't use the language you do, and because Benghazi.

I think most of us support the measured approach the president has taken in this situation this far, it's much more mature than McCain's bloviating and reminiscent of his desire to start a war when Putin did something similar in 2008 in Georgia.

Still, it's nice to see you get a new Hitler and a new justification for oil drilling and a new issue on which you can drone at people who don't disagree with you all that much, they just know more than you.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:42 AM   #117
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Here's the perspective of one of the main architects of those super COMMIE! shock-doctrine free market economic policies and buddy of noted revolutionary anti-capitalist Bono, Jeffrey Sachs, writing in known extreme-left publication Foreign Policy. WARNING: NUANCE: Jeffrey Sachs | Why the West Should Tread Carefully in Ukraine | Foreign Affairs
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:23 AM   #118
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noted revolutionary anti-capitalist Bono



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Old 03-07-2014, 08:08 PM   #119
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300 Years of Embattled Crimea History in 6 Maps
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:38 AM   #120
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Here's the perspective of one of the main architects of those super COMMIE! shock-doctrine free market economic policies and buddy of noted revolutionary anti-capitalist Bono, Jeffrey Sachs, writing in known extreme-left publication Foreign Policy. WARNING: NUANCE: Jeffrey Sachs | Why the West Should Tread Carefully in Ukraine | Foreign Affairs


Quote:

Russia has taken actions in Crimea that are illegal under international law. But that is no excuse for bombastic and self-defeating responses from the West that could turn a dangerous situation into a disaster. This is a crisis that can still be resolved sensibly and peacefully. It could even end with a gain for all parties. But that would require not only a restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity but also a recognition of the legitimacy of Russia’s interests and concerns.
Jeff, Ukraine is a sovereign independent nation. Ukraine does not have to recognize Russia's "legitimate interest and concerns" inside the Ukraine any more than the United States has to recognize Russia's "legitimate interest and concerns" inside the United States.
The West calling for Russian troops to return to their bases and respect Ukraine's territorial integrity is not self-defeating or bombastic. Launching an unprovoked invasion of another country is a serious violation of international law and deserves to be condemned with the toughest measures possible.

Quote:

Any Ukrainian government -- especially one that, like the current interim government, is acting in a caretaker role -- has a pragmatic need to cooperate with its powerful next-door neighbor. Western powers themselves have a responsibility to acknowledge the limited legitimacy and mandate of the current interim government. Western leaders must tell leaders in Kiev the truth -- that Russia is a powerful neighbor, a major trading partner, the source of Ukraine’s energy resources, and a major creditor. The West must emphasize that it is impossible to wish away Russia's inevitable influence in Ukraine.
Jeff, Ukraine needs Russia like a fish needs a bicycle. A neighboring country's power never obligates a smaller country to submit to its influence and desire. After all, take a look at individual countries that have been split down the middle. West Germany did fantastically without East Germany, and South Korea continues to hum without crappy North Korea. So the idea that a separate country like Ukraine does not have the possibility to make it on its own without Russia is pure rubbish. Whatever Ukraine loses from Russia, it can gain back from a world that has much more to offer in resources and trade than Russia could ever dream of.

Quote:

In pursuing its interests over the past two decades, Russia has viewed the West as an intermittent antagonist and competitor. In the past few years, the European Union’s pursuit of a trade agreement with Ukraine did little to dim Russian suspicions. Such an agreement would tilt Ukraine’s economy toward Europe and away from Russia, resulting in economic costs to Russia in the form of lost trade and investment ties. Moreover, Russia fears that where the European Union treads, NATO is likely to follow. Russia has already watched the spread of NATO into Eastern Europe with great concern. In terms of its historical memory of the many terrible wars it has fought on its Western boundaries, Russia's fears are understandable.
Its called the Free Market Jeff. Russia needs to compete if it wants to keep its trade ties in place. Bullying and invading your neighbor is not a good way to market yourself or secure a greater market share. You can't expect to keep the customer coming back when you beat and rape them. Its in the best interest of that customer to pursue other options.
NATO from its inception has been a defensive alliance that believes in democracy, human rights, and international law. It has never been a threat to Russia or the former Soviet Union. It has only been a threat to Russia and the Soviet Union's capability to illegally invade and take what it wants from Europe through brute military force. NATO has process for expanding and countries seeking to join NATO must meet multiple requirments in terms of democracy, freedom of the press, and stability before they are admitted to NATO. In that sense, NATO membership for countries west of Russia is a good thing because it is a sign that these countries are becoming more democratic, stable and prosperous, which means they are much less likely to be a threat to any country including Russia.

Quote:
Russia also sees a clear double standard. The European Union and NATO press ever closer to Russia’s borders. Yet as Russia tries to organize a Eurasian Economic Union that would include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and possibly Armenia, Western critics accuse it of attempting to recreate its empire.
Jeff, NATO and the European Union are not pressuring other countries to join. Countries join these organizations if they decide to. Even then, they are not automatically admitted and must meet many standards and the approval of all NATO and European Union countries before they are allowed to join. That is a huge contrast to what Russia is trying to do with former Soviet Republics.

Quote:
None of this is any excuse whatsoever for Russia to violate international law by sending armed forces to occupy part of Ukraine. I am not condoning such illegal actions, but rather offering a context and explanation for them. In my view, Russia is not looking to provoke a fight with the West; still less is it out to recreate the Russian empire as some bombastic Western commentators have put it. Russia is acting out of genuine concerns rooted in its history and its perceived national interests, including basic national security. It worries about an antagonistic Ukraine in the grips of anti-Russian sentiments in Kiev, and about the possibility that the West will try to exploit those sentiments.
Jeff, Ukraines attempts for better relations with the West are not a threat to Russia's national security. Nor is the extension of the NATO Alliance eastward a threat to Russia's national security. NATO has not built large new bases in the newly admitted members over the past 15 years, nor has it moved NATO forces stationed in Germany into NATO countries that either border or are much closer to Russia than Germany. NATO Countries like Estonia and Latvia are so small that forces from Russia's Western military district could overrun them in less than a day. Ukraine or a Ukraine apart of NATO has no desire to invade or attack Russia.

Quote:

The fact is that Ukrainian stability can be attained only with Russian cooperation. That cooperation can be attained only with conciliatory, rather than antagonistic, crisis management on the part of the Western powers. Rather than resorting to aggressive economic and political interventions in Ukraine, the West should be encouraging Russia and Ukraine to pursue long-term and mutually beneficial relations. The European Union and the United States can encourage that win-win perspective not through sanctions but through quiet diplomacy in both Kiev and Moscow. Part of the deal, of course, would be the preservation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Jeff, it is Russia and not the West that has resorted to aggressive economic, political, and now military intervention in the Ukraine. The West responses have been cautious and measured, Russia's have not been. Russia could indeed contribute to better security and stability within Ukraine, but that can never come at the expense of Ukrainian sovereignty and independence. Again, as hard as it was to attain, both West Germany and South Korea were able to obtain a level of security and stability despite being split in half from the other part of the country and constantly threatened by a powerful military alliance (Warsaw Pact in West Germany's case, North Korea in South Korea's case) or neighbor.

Quote:

Of course, Ukraine’s desperate financial situation is in need of immediate attention. Ukraine’s foreign debt has soared in recent years, and this debt is now being called in. It cannot be repaid suddenly, nor can it be rolled over except via emergency measures. The West may talk bravely about bailing out Ukraine, but this is a fantasy. Despite the bravado of recent days, the West is not really prepared to shoulder the full costs of Ukraine’s restructuring. The United States has promised $1 billion in loan guarantees, but that won't go very far given that Ukraine's current account deficit this year is estimated at around $13.5 billion. And if Ukraine were to break irrevocably with Russia, the costs would soar further -- absolutely beyond any price tag the West would consider. On the other hand, with the restoration of reasonable relations between Russia and Ukraine, Russia would likely be prepared to work together with Ukraine and the European Union to help finance Ukraine’s economic restructuring.
Jeff, its true that Ukraine has massive economic problems. But its grossly inaccurate to suggest that Russia is some how an equal in being able to help the Ukraine to the EU/United States. Russia's annual GDP is about $2 Trillion, while the combined EU/United States GDP is north of $32 Trillion. While geography and intertwine economies can make new splits difficult and costly, its far from impossible as Korea and Germany proved.

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All of this argues for closer economic relations between Ukraine and the European Union, but only if they don’t come at Russia’s expense. The European Union’s goal should not be to peel Ukraine away from Russia, or to torpedo Russia’s own economic networks with its neighbor, but rather to enlarge the economic links among the European Union, Russia, Ukraine, and the other countries of Eurasia. This broader cooperation would also bolster the European Union by expanding markets for European products and technologies.
That would be great and can certainly happen, but if Russia does not cooperate and Ukraine chooses to dump Russia and fully link with the West, then it can indeed do that. The choice is Ukraine's. Ukraine must be allowed to decide what is best for its future, something that Russia has been trying to stop for years now. Its not impossible for the Ukraine to survive without Russia. Saying so grossly overstates Russia's economic strength.
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