Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine

Terp's analogy could also be used for anything - how would X affect you.  We basically shouldn't call out anything we don't think is right if it does DIRECTLY affect us.  I guess Putin is a great guy and we're getting twisted reports about him from the MSM - I'll get future news on Putin by what terp feeds me.   blank stare 


Also, for the record - Libertarians believe we should withdrawal from NATO.  What do you think of this Terp?  Ugh, again I'm discussing something that doesn't directly affect me - I have to stop this according to terp.


terp said:

So, while I would agree that discussing these things with the typical cast of characters is futile, if you can convince 1 or 2 that it isn't a good idea, perhaps some good can come of it.

An admirable motive, persuasion. Godspeed.


Trying to upload the YouTube video above didn’t work. It’s a long read of 12 pages but very interesting. 


https://www.mearsheimer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Why-the-Ukraine-Crisis-Is.pdf


In an ideal world, Ukranians choices would be fully their own and not a choice between being under the Russian or US/EU sphere of influence right?

I somewhat agree with Terps pushback here, but only to a point. While the US is definitely not neutral here, I think he (and others I've seen on this board, such as Nan and Paul, IIRC) oversell the degree of US control over Ukrainian politics. I think the current pro-western tilt is, in fact, a genuine reflection of the majority sentiment of Ukranians and not just the result of some CIA plot (contra Putin). Russia is the aggressor here -- you don't mass troops on the border of a country you have peaceful intentions for.

But exactly what the role of the US here is, and should be, is definitely a hard question. Given that terp doesn't even believe in taxes, we'll obviously part ways very quickly here, but within that broad space beyond "all government is illegitimate" there's a lot of hard questions. Clearly it matters a great deal to members of the EU what Russia does in Ukraine -- so should it matter to us? Easy questions if you've already written off the concept of the state, but harder questions for the rest of us.


The saddest part of this whole thing is that Russia would be much better off without an autocrat like Putin. 

Part of our military budget is in place to defend against the likes of Putin - which is crazy that it's still  a thing.  We're still in an arms race - with Putin and his new hypersonic missiles. https://www.reuters.com/world/russia-leads-world-hypersonic-missiles-tech-putin-says-2021-12-12/

Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union and maintain a proper buffer zone from Europe.  

And at home Vlad shuts down any protests against he and his "government".  But he did get 76% of the vote.  blank stare


terp said:

No.  We are clearly the aggressor.   How do you think we would react if Russia had a military pact with Canada or Mexico and they were backing offensive military operations in those countries?

It depends on whether the US considered Canada or Mexico to be part of this country and had massive troops on the border. 

I guess if just before the Mexican-American War Russia had a military pact with Mexico we would have reacted very negatively toward Russia. Now if that had resulted in the US not acquiring former territory of Mexico would that have been a good or bad thing?


STANV said:

It depends on whether the US considered Canada or Mexico to be part of this country and had massive troops on the border. 

I guess if just before the Mexican-American War Russia had a military pact with Mexico we would have reacted very negatively toward Russia. Now if that had resulted in the US not acquiring former territory of Mexico would that have been a good or bad thing?

There's of course also the long history of US intervention in Latin America - often with the justification that it was necessary to combat Soviet or Communist influence. Depending on what one's fishing for, plenty of examples of people on the American left either supporting or opposing such American actions.


Looks like Mearsheimer (prof in video linked a few posts above this) was right to predict that Ukraine should have maintained its nuclear arsenal.  I think he's also right to note that Ukraine is of zero strategic use to us and a vital security blanket for Putin, hence the build-up.   Now we need to bow to Putin or enter into another stupid war with far more at risk--and over nothing.


dave said:

Looks like Mearsheimer (prof in video linked a few posts above this) was right to predict that Ukraine should have maintained its nuclear arsenal.  I think he's also right to note that Ukraine is of zero strategic use to us and a vital security blanket for Putin, hence the build-up.   Now we need to bow to Putin or enter into another stupid war with far more at risk--and over nothing.

I don't really think a nuclear arsenal would do Ukraine much good.  Putin has plenty of other tools at his disposal.  Who knows if he will actually invade.  The economic cost will be pretty steep and, in time, he will lose Europe as energy markets as Europeans tire of being hostages and and they move to non-carbon based energy sources.

The problem with Putin is that it is hard to know what he really wants.  I know he want NATO to back off.  And I am sure he wants Ukraine securely in Russia's orbit.  Whether he wants to annex Ukraine given the cost, I don't know.

For our part, we meddled too much in Russia's backyard.  Georgia, Ukraine. etc.  Now we are dealing with the consequences.


Protester's killed in Kazakhstan - by Russian-led military alliance.  Haven't people of Russia (or close to Russia) realized that any public protest is punishable by death?  

https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/06/asia/kazakhstan-fuel-protests-thursday-intl/index.html

Sounds like Vlad may have to enter to calm the storm and maybe take it over just to keep the people safe.


What matters now is what the Russian people believe.  I don't think they are particularly interested in a war, especially with Ukraine.  Vlad's gamble is that his own people will broadly support military action.


tjohn said:

What matters now is what the Russian people believe.  I don't think they are particularly interested in a war, especially with Ukraine.  Vlad's gamble is that his own people will broadly support military action.

I’ll admit that I don’t pay much attention to Russia, but doesn’t Vlad do what he pleases?

Does he really need broad support, rather than just military support?


jimmurphy said:

tjohn said:

What matters now is what the Russian people believe.  I don't think they are particularly interested in a war, especially with Ukraine.  Vlad's gamble is that his own people will broadly support military action.

I’ll admit that I don’t pay much attention to Russia, but doesn’t Vlad do what he pleases?

Does he really need broad support, rather than just military support?

Authoritarians still need to keep the street somewhat happy or eventually it blows up.

So, in the short term he can do what he wants, but if he loses support of too many groups/people, he will have a problem.


When a leader loses support in a democracy, they lose the election. When a leader loses support in an autocracy, they lose their head.


PVW said:

When a leader loses support in a democracy, they lose the election. When a leader loses support in an autocracy, they lose their head.

Recognizing the the American system for transfer of power isn't looking so great these days, with authoritarian regimes, the risk for a seriously disruptive changes of leadership is much higher. 

We have already seen some fairly significant public protests in Russia over the years and I think Vlad worries about that.


tjohn said:

Recognizing the the American system for transfer of power isn't looking so great these days, with authoritarian regimes, the risk for a seriously disruptive changes of leadership is much higher. 

We have already seen some fairly significant public protests in Russia over the years and I think Vlad worries about that.

Trump's musings on jailing his opponents were rightfully chilling, and investigations into the criminal conduct of Trump and his associates have to tread a very fine line, precisely because that line between how democracies vs how autocracies treat vanquished political opponents is so important.

Putin pretty much has to react strongly to significant public protests, because the stakes of allowing those to turn into something larger are much greater than an electoral defeat. Strongmen politicians are symptoms of brittle political systems.


Vlad has been very successful in squashing public protests.  He is mainly weighing the options of whether or not sanctions will be worse than acquiring Ukraine.  For him personally, sanctions will not matter.  For his country, it will.

US will not put our soldiers in harm's way to stop it.  Neither will our NATO allies.


jamie said:

Vlad has been very successful in squashing public protests.  He is mainly weighing the options of whether or not sanctions will be worse than acquiring Ukraine.  For him personally, sanctions will not matter.  For his country, it will.

US will not put our soldiers in harm's way to stop it.  Neither will our NATO allies.

How much of this is about Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania?


tjohn said:

Authoritarians still need to keep the street somewhat happy or eventually it blows up.

So, in the short term he can do what he wants, but if he loses support of too many groups/people, he will have a problem.

I wonder about this. I think the thawing that occurred under Gorbachev taught the autocrats to clamp down on every real threat to their power. Navalny comes to mind.

Just seems that as long as the military is behind him, the people will continue to avoid being slaughtered in the streets.


Once the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is complete, Ukraine is strategically unimportant to Russia. At that point Vlad can opt to invade and put Russia through another Afghan-like campaign. 


First and foremost, Russia wants ironclad assurances that further eastward expansion of NATO will not happen.  That is a legitimate foreign policy concern of Russia and the diplomats need to figure out a way to accommodate this concern.  Otherwise, the Russian pressure on Ukraine will continue until something happens. This issue is so much more important to Russia than it is to us or even NATO.  Luckily for us, while Vlad is many things, stupid and reckless is not among them.

We seem to have penchant for getting involved in issues which really aren't that important to us and then hunkering down rather than being embarrassed diplomatically.


"We will invade Ukraine unless you promise not to protect Ukraine from being invaded by us."

tjohn said:

First and foremost, Russia wants ironclad assurances that further eastward expansion of NATO will not happen.  That is a legitimate foreign policy concern of Russia and the diplomats need to figure out a way to accommodate this concern.  Otherwise, the Russian pressure on Ukraine will continue until something happens. This issue is so much more important to Russia than it is to us or even NATO.  Luckily for us, while Vlad is many things, stupid and reckless is not among them.

We seem to have penchant for getting involved in issues which really aren't that important to us and then hunkering down rather than being embarrassed diplomatically.


Ukraine has zero strategic importance to the US.  


dave said:

Ukraine has zero strategic importance to the US.  

That's not the point.


nohero said:

That's not the point.

Yeah, do we really want to be at the point where countries can invade their peaceful neighbors and if we have no strategic interest we then turn a blind eye?


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