• Isaac
    10.3k
    So far you've just followed the Western propaganda. I've given solid evidence about Ukraine's human rights record, arms dealing, corruption, and oppression and you've come back with nothing but bluster. — Isaac


    ... just ... propaganda ... bluster? :roll: You've consistently ignored comments regarding the trajectory of Putin's Russia versus Ukraine's trajectory,
    jorndoe

    Do you understand the difference?

    I can disagree with those comments. They are opinions, speculations based on a selection of facts. It is not reasonable to disagree with Amnesty International's record of human rights abuses. they are the experts in this field. It is not reasonable to disagree with OECD's assessment of black market arms sales, you don't have any data to combat that. It is reasonable to disagree with an opinion about the future. There's no data from the future.

    And again from you, a complete failure to address the weight. Yes Ukraine are doing better than Russia. We agree. Ukraine are much better than Russia in terms of Humans Rights and democratic freedom (though I disagree with regards to economic freedom). And I agree Russia are getting worse and Ukraine are getting better.

    So the question no-on wants to address is - are they enough better to justify the harms of continued war?

    It is not sufficient for them to be merely better. It is not sufficient for option A to be better than option B if one has to, say for example, starve a million children, to get option B. Option B has to be enough better to justify the cost of getting there.

    No one seem willing to admit that, no one seems willing to measure up the realistic improvements a Ukrainian win could bring vs the costs of getting that win.
  • Isaac
    10.3k
    And the thing with this kind of speculation is that we have a near a perfect historical case study as you're ever likely to get.

    In 2014 Russia did steal a part of Ukraine's territory. We did just let them get away with it. We've got 8 years worth of data on how that went. Basically it was as we would predict here. Things were moderately worse for the population there, but not by a substantial margin (compare to Donbas where Ukraine were still in control - similar levels of human rights abuses and restrictions on freedom). The costs to society of a full scale land war against one of the world's largest armies would have been far greater (again, we can measure those costs because we're seeing them today) than the losses we actually measurably saw in ceding Crimea to Russia.

    So if you take the best data we have, the costs to humanity of this war far outstrip the costs to humanity of Russian rule (over Ukrainian). We have the data on that, we don't need to speculate about 'trajectories'. Russian rule over Crimea for the last eight years has been awful, but not more awful than the war that would have been required to prevent it.
  • neomac
    1.3k
    So my understanding of “propaganda” is not based on such broad understanding. And from my definition, I don’t do propaganda. You do. — neomac


    It's remarkable that you think you can write this. Do you really read that back and think others would read it as anything other than self-serving delusion. You're literally saying you've chosen your own personal definition of 'propaganda' to make your argument right.
    Isaac

    Is there anything at all that is NOT self-serving in your view? There is nothing delusional in my choice nor fallacious in my notion of “propaganda”. Indeed my definition is more rational than your interpretation of Cambridge’s definition, and it doesn't contradict that definition either. I explained your broad understanding of that notion has overly poor contrastive meaning and it’s inapplicable. So it’s intellectual garbage. My definition is more specific and applicable. Besides you reported just one definition. Here is another one that is closer to mine:
    Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to influence or persuade an audience to further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is being presented (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda and the more you read the entire wikipedia entry the more you understand why mine is a pretty good definition: for political propaganda is important the propagation of the message over a collectivity and its mobilisation according to a political agenda, then there is the manipulative aspect of course which is however typical of the worse propaganda, if we want to make room for a neutral notion of “propaganda”).
    So until you offer a better one, I’ll stick to mine. And by applying it, you do propaganda here, I don’t.



    Second, the claim that neither intent nor one-sidedness can be proven is not part of the definition of “propaganda” you offered, and no argument has been offered to support such belief. — neomac


    I didn't think one was required. Intentions are private thoughts and cannot be examined or identified by a third party because no-one can mind read. There.
    Isaac

    If my word “intention” refers to a private phenomenon and your word “intention” refers to a private phenomenon, since we can’t compare private phenomena, then how do we know we refer to the same thing with the word “intention“? So how could you even learn the word “intention” from others?


    The problem is that if one-sidedness and intentions can not be proven, then how could anyone possibly understand and learn how to apply the notion of “one-sidedness” and “intentions”? — neomac


    What? the notion of intentions doesn't require us to always, or even ever, know what those intentions actually are. I don't need to know your memories to know that you probably have some.
    Isaac

    But your conception doesn’t seem matter of “not always”, but of “never”. You simply and categorically wrote “Neither intent, nor one-sidedness can be proven, they are opinions”. So how do you know? What makes you think that is probable that I have some intentions (or memories) if they are private phenomena?

    These notions must be shareable, reusable, and have contrastive value to be meaningful. — neomac


    Of course they're shareable, but they're not determinable. You cannot determine what my intentions are. You can theorise about them, but then other competing theories will have equal plausibility and you have to choose between them, which is the interesting matter for discussion.
    Isaac

    How can you assess that they are equally plausible? If there is nothing that can be presented as supporting a theory since intentions are private phenomena, in what sense there is a plausible theory of intentions at all? Why aren’t they equally implausible instead of being equally plausible? The way you talk about such “theories” looks like talking about fantasies more than theories. Not surprisingly accusing others of having poor imagination looks a powerful objection to you.


    if there are biases you see in my views you must be able to show them in concrete cases by using a notion of bias that is shareable, reusable and contrastive wrt what is not bias. I’m still waiting for you to do that though. — neomac


    No. You're not 'waiting' you're ignoring. I've talked extensively about position which are held because of biases in fundamental beliefs that are unexamined. You then use this "Oh, you've never shown any" rhetorical trick any time you're stuck. It's like the other classic where people wait a few pages and then claim I've not provided any sources. Or to quote your good self on the matter...
    Isaac

    I’m not ignoring, I even enumerated all my counter arguments against your claims/arguments and asked you many questions about your “unexamined narrative” accusation. You didn’t address any of them, here.
    You didn’t offer rational arguments showing my bias. Actually, given your beliefs, you are incapable of showing anything at all in any sense that is rationally compelling, since you question the nature of rational confrontation. For you, contradictorily, all narrative frames are equally valid in terms of truth or good, we do not share rational rules, there are no provable intentions to follow rational examination. So where is room for the notion of bias, other than an arbitrary attribution of bias?



    I quoted and argued your claims considering what you actually said about them in past comments. And precisely because I did it already, I don’t need to repeat them again every time — neomac


    ...

    if motives are “open topics for debate” why shouldn’t I speculate about them? And if intentions can’t be proven as you believe (but I don’t), what else can I do other than speculating about them? — neomac


    Speculating about intentions is[not what I opposed. Read what I've written, it's in the quote you responded to.

    Either our motives are open topics for debate, or they aren't. In the latter case, stop speculating on mine. In the former case, you've got to give me more than just your say so as evidence. — Isaac
    Isaac

    Why should I give you more? What difference would this make? Any evidence I might provide, won’t change the nature of my speculation as speculation, since intentions remain private phenomena. Besides you never specified what kind of evidence you might need, let aside we do not know for what. Asking for evidence is pointless since they are not used to prove anything. BTW you could use your fervid imagination instead.
    As far as I’m concerned, I quoted you, argued against your fallacies and that’s enough evidence to me to apply my notion of “propaganda” to you. And “worse propaganda“.



    it’s not enough to say that I’m biased and that I commit cognitive mistakes IN GENERAL, you need to show that to me in concrete cases by using shared, pertinent, reusable rational rules (e.g. fallacies) as much as I do when I rationally examine your claims/arguments. — neomac


    Again ...

    I quoted and argued your claims considering what you actually said about them in past comments. And precisely because I did it already, I don’t need to repeat them again every time — neomac


    ...

    if you keep saying that we do not share the rules of such rational examination you are going to be unintelligible to me. You would take yourself by your own initiative out of the pool of potential rational interlocutors to me, no matter how many times you keep repeating I’m biased. There is no recovery from this. — neomac


    Yes. That's why discussion on actual matters of fact are pointless if you disagree about how matters of fact are to be assessed.
    Isaac

    The irony is that you wish me to both acknowledge this fact and yet acknowledge equal plausibility/goodness of all other people’s narrative frames (even if I didn’t examine them, to call my narrative “examined”!). Which is absurd. The first goes along with the denial of the second.
  • boethius
    2.3k
    How have we made an enemy "for no reason"?ssu

    When you :

    1. Move military infrastructure closer to someone, such as alliances and missiles
    2. Constantly refer to them as a rival / competitor, literally use the word enemy on occasion, needs to be contained etc.
    3. blame them as a matter of course for all sorts events with no or scant evidence, hacking, murders, somehow affecting the 2016 election result with 200 000 dollars of facebook advertisement.
    4. Bomb their friends and allies and threaten their interests (Syria).
    5. Then support people openly preaching their destruction such as the Nazi groups in Ukraine (suddenly when Ukrainian Nazi's say Russia doesn't have a right to exist and they want to basically wipe it off the map, that's now ok in polite society).

    You make someone your enemy.

    Now, the apologetics for these policies are that Russia really is our enemy so we should be constantly moving military infrastructure closer to them, expanding our anti-Russia alliances, blaming them for things without evidence (as even if they didn't do it, serves as useful propaganda to keep the heat on and "we know" they do similar things anyways as they're bad), attack anyone that is a friend or ally of Russia, and support anyone who is against Russia regardless of their politics (enemy of my enemy is my friend, and definitely Nazi's are an enemy of Russians).

    What I have simply pointed out is that if Russia did not start out as our enemy in the late 90s, then the West has chosen a path that makes Russia our enemy, and if they weren't to begin with, then those choices are basically for nothing (of course, not exactly nothing, other interests will be served, but I hope you get my point).

    A common theme that seems to be lost on the apologisers for Western policy vis-a-vis Russia is confusing rights with threats and results.

    For example, does NATO have a "right" to offer membership to other countries to join their club, sure.

    Likewise, do other countries have a "right" to join the club, again sure.

    Do countries have a "right" to buildup military infrastructure and capabilities. Yeah, why not.

    However, can the result of exercising such rights lead to tensions and wars the nominal purpose of those actions was to avoid in the first place. That's what history teaches us.

    Just because something is a right does not mean it is a good idea. Most people on this forum have the right to hang themselves, or starve themselves, or run into a wall, or quit their job, or bring all their possessions to the dump, right now. Even assuming all rights are perfectly clear and can't be questioned, rights are insufficient to justify action.

    As you build up your military alliance and infrastructure you by definition threaten people not-in-your-club. Other parties are going to make decisions based on the reality that you really are threatening them.

    Putin chose to annex territory from Ukraine when Ukraine was suffering from a revolution. Then last year he went all in to annex a lot more with the plan to install a puppet government. To sideline the "Make Russia Great again" and just to think this is only reactionary development to the West is simply ignorant of the facts. If Russia wanted to stop US spreading it's control, it could do so just like it did in Central Asia. Just by waiting and not being openly hostile to the countries (like annexing territories). Imagine how different the World would be without Putin annexing Crimea in 2014. Europe wouldn't be rearming, likely it would have continued to disarm itself and there would be far more friends of Russia than now. The whole idea of an European country invading another would seem as pure fantasy.ssu

    The difference with Crimea is that it's a big naval base for the Russians.

    Your idea that just waiting would reduce Western influence in Ukraine is bizarre.

    Likewise, if the situation was not described as a "Ukraine was suffering from a revolution" but rather the US orchestrated a coup, then again the analysis may change.

    Now, if you're basically saying if Russia rolled over and just accepted US hegemony, Europe too, and maybe even if US stopped its Imperial projects and gave up its hundreds of bases around the world, things would be safer and better. I totally agree. But insofar as that's not likely going to happen any time soon, then the question is one of navigating hostile tensions.

    And plan to "defeat the baddies"? Why is this such a problem?ssu

    The problem, as has been discussed for hundreds of pages on this very forum, is there is no plan to defeat Russia.

    There's not even a remotely honest attempt.

    Western policy is to drip feed weapons into Ukraine to keep Ukraine from losing outright but also make an actual defeat of Russian forces in Ukraine exceedingly unlikely.

    We now have Western tanks (after being told for a whole year that was a "no-no, of course we can't send tanks, don't be foolish"), a hodgepodge of different tanks and different systems and rounds, logistical nightmare, only some tanks etc.

    Obviously this doesn't change much, at best only slows the degradation of Ukrainian forces.

    And potentially counter productive as now Russia has the symbol of Western hostility on the battlefield. Insofar as Russian tanks were against old Soviet tanks, I'm sure the irony was not lost on many Russians.

    So, Western tanks are unlikely to be a "game changer" this late in the game, and already the West is now talking about fighter aircraft (as tanks are meant to be deployed) ... again not our "best stuff", but maybe old systems lying around etc. without any realistic plan to put that in action.

    However, tanks, aircraft, all sorts of missiles, could have been provided en-mass from the very beginning of the war when Ukrainian forces were at their peak relative strength (numbers, training, moral) with Russian forces, the land Russian took in the early stages of the war was the least defended (now there's sophisticated defensive ground works all along the front), not to mention the chaotic impact of sanctions and starting a full scale war that Russia needed to deal with domestically at the time as well.

    That's when you want to throw in weapons that can tip the balance ... if your goal is to "defeat the Russians".

    However, any plan that actually sets about to determine how to coherently defeat the Russians immediately runs into the problem that it depends on the Russians refraining from the use of Nuclear weapons even in the context of a embarrassing defeat of conventional forces.

    The only military solution to this problem is a full scale strategic first strike against Russia, which even American Imperialists, neocons and deep-statists have cold feet about (otherwise they would have already done it at some point in the last 70 years).

    So, the logical consequence of accept Russia can't be defeated in military terms is that the only military option available is calibrate just harm to Russia to be harmful ... but not so harmful as to risk actual defeat in Ukraine.

    In terms of American hegemony or even some rose glasses view of the West's mission on earth, maybe it makes sense, but it's a policy that is in it's nature sacrificing Ukrainians on the battlefield and Ukrainian welfare generally speaking knowing the promised assistance of "whatever it takes to win" is a lie (to manipulate Ukrainians to carry out our policies for our objectives) and will never come.

    One can argue that sacrificing Ukraine to harm Russia or slow Russia down is a morally acceptable. Great plans require great sacrifice. My position on this I've made clear is that it's not morally acceptable to me as I would not accept the argument from someone else that I sacrifice for their morality when they are not willing to do the same when they have the same opportunity. Indeed, by definition asking others to sacrifice for one's own cause implies that universal morality you were talking about ... but if it's universal then they should definitely be doing the same thing.

    But if we ask any other Western nation why they aren't fighting the Russians right now ... what's the answer? Oh, well, that would be too dangerous and not make any sense.

    Why would the answer be different for Ukrainians?

    And if it's different not because of some universal project to "fight the baddies" but only the fact it's there country that got invaded and so their business ... then why is it our business?

    Fight, or don't fight. What is it to me?

    NATO could have exercised its "rights" anytime and offered Ukraine to join, which Ukraine certainly would have exercised its right to join and then exercised its right to invite foreign troops in to help fight a common enemy ... why all of a sudden these rights not exercised?

    Oh, it would "inconvenient" for the West as there is no viable plan to "defeat" the Russians, not by NATO, much less by Ukraine on their own.

    How about the treaty of Portsmouth of 1905?

    How about the peace of Riga 1921?

    How about the treaty of Brest-Litovsk 1918?

    I could go on, but in all above Russia / Soviet Union existed afterwards, and was OK accepting peace terms that it originally wasn't ready to submit. And was defeated or fought to a stand still on the battlefield. So what on Earth is the problem??? History shows clearly that when faced with a disaster on the battlefield, Russia will bow down in wars of aggression that it itself has started.

    It's a bit different if you are trying to take Moscow as a foreing invader...
    ssu

    WWI is in no way comparable to what is happening now, likewise fighting Japan (which is an Island), and certainly the peace of Riga 1921 following disastrous losses in WWI and the creation of the Soviet Union is not comparable.

    We could get into the details of why these aren't comparable situations in the slightest in simple relative power terms.

    Was any one of your examples the resolution of a proxy war?

    But the biggest difference, in any case, is nuclear weapons which did not exist in 1921, 1918 or 1905.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    I agree.Isaac
    Well that's something to note!

    And if the US, and Europe are any example, those 'ways' will have caused more death and destruction than wars and annexation. The civil war in Yugoslavia wasn't something that happened because of the West. The record is in black and white. Deaths, ill-health, famine and ecological destruction wrought by the Us and Europe's 'soft' imperialism outnumber that wrought by Russia's 'hard' imperialism.Isaac
    The dismal reckord of the West has taken place especially in the Middle East and also in Africa and earlier in Asia, not actually in Europe. In fact what is usually forgotten is the effect of NATO's 1st article and that these countries have committed there defense to a common system. Turkey and Greece might be the exception, but they haven't dared to have a full blown war at each other. Something that actually otherwise would have likely happened (we just have to look at the Caucasus).

    . I've given solid evidence about Ukraine's human rights record, arms dealing, corruption, and oppression and you've come back with nothing but bluster.Isaac
    Bluster? Not actually, assuming when this war ends and the EU would start the process of Ukraine coming to be an EU member, that indeed will be difficult and painful for Ukraine. Corruption as "law of the land" is something that doesn't go away easily. And there is a real threat that the pouring of billions into rebuilding Ukraine will just increase the corruption, especially if the West will turn a blind eye to it.

    Afghanistan is the perfect example of this. The bloated army rampant corruption and a totally wasteful administration that basically had trouble to operate anywhere else than in Kabul, was totally out of it's budget limitations on what Afghanistan itself could finance. Corruption was rampant, thanks to the West. This created huge scandals and nobody basically cared about them. Now if the EU assumes a similar approach in Ukraine, it could be devastating. In war throwing the everything and the kitchen sink into the norm, in peace-time it's different.

    Yet I think there is the possibility that Ukraine can transform itself just like the Baltic States or Poland has.
  • boethius
    2.3k
    That might be true. In my view some form of violent conflict in the Pacific is simply inevitable, whether nations want it or not.Tzeentch

    I would be inclined to agree with you.

    However, simply because such a conflict is inevitable does not mean the US plans to actually fight in it. They may accept they can't do anything with sufficient changes in relative China-US power but also new military technologies.

    Taiwan is 100 miles from the Chinese coast.

    We can get into the details, but at some point China is able to concentrate enough force (above and under the sea) in this area for an amphibious landing as well as effectively blockade Taiwan while effectively denying the airspace with lots and lots of missiles and being able to sink US carriers (again, enough missiles will eventually do the job).

    Playing this scenario out, could the US "do" a lot with their own standoff missiles, submarines and so on. Certainly, but as long as China can establish a bridgehead on Taiwan it would be a similar situation as to Ukraine but a lot worse as there would be no way to resupply Taiwan for a long proxy war.

    So, very quickly the choice is to wage full scale war with China which the US has no way of actually winning. Of course, China can't cross the Pacific and invade the US either, so it would just rapidly transition to a standoff. The economic clout of China would then be a big problem as you may simply not be able to stop enough countries trading with China with their own ships, even if such a situation was desired by US neocons to begin with (cutting off their own corporations from China, and potentially South-East-Asia supply chains entirely).

    Taiwan and Korea are obvious flashpoints, almost guaranteed to boil over if the US is going to make any effort at maintaining its influence, which I'm assuming it will.Tzeentch

    The problem is China is playing the long game. There's no preemptive strike that the US can do vis-a-vis Taiwan. As for Korea I doubt North Korea would actually attack South Korea nor China have any ambition to invade North/South Korea.

    At least for the foreseeable future, it's really just Taiwan, that the globe mostly already accepts the "one China policy" so unless Taiwan prevents China from establishing a bridgehead in a conflict, largely under their own power and motivation (which arguably it could do for most of the last decades), but if that changes and China simply conquered Taiwan, business would likely just continue as normal globally.

    This was tried by the US, but Russia rejected it, because they feared ending up as de facto US vassals like Europe.Tzeentch

    Being actual friends is different to offering subjugation as a vassal state.

    Had the US made actual friends, or at least not enemies, with Russia then it would be in a much better position to focus on the Pacific.

    The problem for the US is that nations have caught onto its strategy of keeping Eurasia divided, which it does in order to avoid a peer competitor from rising. (theories by Mackinder, Brzezinski, Wolfowitz, etc.)Tzeentch

    I wouldn't say they've caught on, more that they can now do something about it given arctic shipping as well as better rail systems.

    Both Russia and China seem to be aware of this, which is why their unlikely alliance has taken form, and why it is unlikely to change while the US remains the world's dominant superpower.Tzeentch

    Agreed.

    The only power on the Eurasian continent that seems unaware of how the cookie crumbles is Europe.Tzeentch

    Also agreed.

    The US no longer has the power to subjugate new countries, not even Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, so all it can do is tighten its grip on existing vassals.

    However, fundamentally, in my view, the war in Ukraine is about the Euro.

    A peaceful Europe would have the economic size, stability, jurisprudence, to become a flight to safety from the dollar and the US empire could become irrelevant overnight.

    If you can't fix your shit you can at least fuckup all the alternatives.

    Europe is experiencing inflation mainly due to the war and being cutoff from Russian gas ... US has no such excuse, so imagine the consequences of significant inflation in the US but not only low inflation in Europe but no way for the European policy makers to cause inflation even if they tried. Imagine if the only way to keep pace with US inflation was to, I don't know, just decide to cut off Russian natural gas supplies all of a sudden.
  • boethius
    2.3k
    Afghanistan is the perfect example of this. The bloated army rampant corruption and a totally wasteful administration that basically had trouble to operate anywhere else than in Kabul, was totally out of it's budget limitations on what Afghanistan itself could finance. Corruption was rampant, thanks to the West.ssu

    Why would it be different in Ukraine?

    This created huge scandals and nobody basically cared about them.ssu

    Why would this be different in Ukraine?

    Yet I think there is the possibility that Ukraine can transform itself just like the Baltic States or Poland has.ssu

    Is the mere possibility worth any cost to Ukrainian lives and welfare in the meantime.

    This is @Isaac's question.

    And this question ignores entirely the possibility of Ukraine losing the war and we don't even get to the part your talking about.

    Policy is about cost-benefit and outcomes.

    If the outcomes you wish for aren't probable ... does just somehow justify the policy anyways?

    Even worse, if the wished for outcomes are not probable does that justify forcing Ukrainian men into a war in which Ukrainians are unlikely to benefit?

    For, the fallback argument of "well, maybe it will be a disaster for Ukraine, that's possible too, but Ukrainians want to fight!! So we should send them the weapons regardless of the likely outcomes!!" has to then deal with the fact most "Ukraine" as some sort of abstracted willpower doesn't exist; individual Ukrainians want to fight or not, and if their freedom of movement is forcibly taken away and they can't "vote with their feet" (all of a sudden when it comes to war ... that's no longer a thing conservatives like to say) and are then forced into fighting ... that doesn't fit the definition of "wanting" to me.

    War is a logic of sacrificing: sacrificing people's lives, sacrificing people's homes, sacrificing the present and future mental wellbeing of children, and so on, at some point the proponents of war must, at the least, outline the sacrifice (of others) and why it's worthwhile (to themselves).

    Simply avoiding the issue is war fever denialism.
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    They are opinions, speculations based on a selection of facts.Isaac

    So you didn't read them. Not going to dig them up and list them again, but there's a recent one here (ECFR).

    On another note, there's been some speculation that Shoigu is positioned to succeed Putin as head of Russia. He's been a candidate for some time. How likely is it that he would improve things?
  • ssu
    8.3k
    For example, does NATO have a "right" to offer membership to other countries to join their club, sure.

    Likewise, do other countries have a "right" to join the club, again sure.

    Do countries have a "right" to buildup military infrastructure and capabilities. Yeah, why not.

    However, can the result of exercising such rights lead to tensions and wars the nominal purpose of those actions was to avoid in the first place. That's what history teaches us.
    boethius
    Yet we can see that without exersizing this "right" to apply for NATO membership, hasn't made a country like Moldova to be left alone. And this really questions here the assumption that if there wouldn't be a NATO expansion, Putin's Russia would be a totally different country that would have left it's neighbors alone.

    The reasons given to the Ukrainian war by Putin and the irrefutable territorial annexations have made it now obvious that Russia isn't just "countering" a threat made by NATO expansion. And naturally the action of both Sweden and Finland clearly show that this isn't some question of was the chicken before the egg: the Eastern European countries had all the reasons to seek NATO membership from a resurgent Russia, whose leader see the collapse of the Soviet Union as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophy" 20th Century.

    WWI is in no way comparable to what is happening now, likewise fighting Japan (which is an Island), and certainly the peace of Riga 1921 following disastrous losses in WWI and the creation of the Soviet Union is not comparable.boethius
    Russia can lose wars, just as anybody else. The idea that somehow Russia cannot lose is simply delusional.

    Was any one of your examples the resolution of a proxy war?boethius
    You should read more about the Polish Soviet war, just to give one example. And guess who built admiral Togo's battleships?

    5. Then support people openly preaching their destruction such as the Nazi groups in Ukraine (suddenly when Ukrainian Nazi's say Russia doesn't have a right to exist and they want to basically wipe it off the map, that's now ok in polite society).boethius
    You should really show how this has any link to the current Ukrainian government, if any.

    But the biggest difference, in any case, is nuclear weapons which did not exist in 1921, 1918 or 1905.boethius
    Nuclear weapon armed nations have lost wars. Especially when Russia isn't fighting on the outskirts of Moscow or in such perilous situation, but is de facto fighting outside it's territory trying to reconquer territories it has lost. Besides, using nuclear weapons would alienate China, Russia's most important ally.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    Why would it be different in Ukraine?boethius
    Yeah. There's actually many differences between Ukraine and Afghanistan, if you haven't noticed. You can see from the examples of the Baltic states and East Europe that these countries can get their act up after the disasterous Marxism-Leninism they had to endure. Ukrainians have that chance too.

    Is the mere possibility worth any cost to Ukrainian lives and welfare in the meantime.boethius
    Their other option is Putin's rule. Which actually many in the east now have to suffer. The Ukrainians are defending themselves and fighting this war. You would want them to stop?

    And this question ignores entirely the possibility of Ukraine losing the war and we don't even get to the part your talking about.boethius
    Of course Ukraine can lose the war. So then the aggressor would be victorious. Then we have a huge diaspora of Ukrainians living in the West, the country in shambles and a very tense situation in Europe.

    they can't "vote with their feet"boethius
    Wrong.

    They can. Just like the Afghan National Army voted with it's feet when the Taliban launched their final offensive. The Ukrainians didn't react as they did to the occupation of Crimea. That is a fact you cannot deny.
  • Isaac
    10.3k
    The dismal reckord of the West has taken place especially in the Middle East and also in Africa and earlier in Asia, not actually in Europe.ssu

    So? In what way does that make it any better? Part of the problem here is that the 'peace and prosperity' enjoyed by the West is bought at the expense of exploitation elsewhere. Russia, taking less of a globalist approach to exploitation (though branching out now in Africa), focusses on the direct geographic exploitation of its immediate neighbours. It's not pretty, but the facts are indisputable - it's actually less harmful overall.

    There's still the very real question @boethius raise above as to whether Ukraine is sufficiently 'Western' for America to treat it as being 'part of the club'. Here, as a reminder, is how American military intervention has 'helped' African nations...

    Throughout all of Africa, the State Department counted a total of just nine terrorist attacks in 2002 and 2003, the first years of U.S. counterterrorism assistance to Niger. Last year, the number of violent events in Burkina Faso, Mali, and western Niger alone, reached 2,737, according to a new report by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a Defense Department research institution. This represents a jump of more than 30,000 percent since the U.S. began its counterterrorism efforts. (Wagner has only been active in the region since late 2021.) During 2002 and 2003, terrorists caused 23 casualties in Africa. In 2022, terrorist attacks in just those three Sahelian nations killed almost 7,900 people. “The Sahel now accounts for 40 percent of all violent activity by militant Islamist groups in Africa, more than any other region in Africa,” according to the Pentagon’s Africa Center.

    The impact of armed conflict and forced displacement on Nigeriens has been enormous.

    Last year, an estimated 4.4 million people experienced dire food insecurity — a record number and a 90 percent increase compared to 2021. Between last January and September, almost 580,000 children under 5 suffered from wasting. This year, the United Nations estimates that about 3.7 million Nigeriens, including 2 million children, will need humanitarian assistance. Many of those in need are also the most difficult to reach due to insecurity.

    It’s worth noting that in 2002, when the U.S. began pumping counterterrorism funds into the country, the overall food situation was described as “satisfactory” and undergoing “progressive improvement,” according to a food security monitoring agency set up by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
    https://theintercept.com/2023/04/02/us-military-counterterrorism-niger/

    I think there is the possibility that Ukraine can transform itself just like the Baltic States or Poland has.ssu

    Bluster. Does it even cross your mind what you're suggesting the world should tolerate on the basis of you're speculation here?

    So you didn't read them. Not going to dig them up and list them again, but there's a recent one here (ECFR).jorndoe

    I read them. As I said, opinions speculating on selected evidence. From your article...

    ... the government has promised to deliver ...

    ... is expected to ...

    ... should further strengthen ...

    ... reforms could translate into a renaissance in Ukraine’s fight against corruption ...

    The article then lists a whole load of anti-democratic changes which (unlike the speculations above) have actually happened.

    Then we're reminded, regarding the extremely partisan view of this one author, ...

    The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of their individual authors.

    So yes, opinions so far.

    Here's another...

    https://jacobin.com/2023/02/ukraine-censorship-authoritarianism-illiberalism-crackdown-police-zelensky

    One year after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine is backsliding away from democratic freedoms and liberal pluralism.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    So? In what way does that make it any better?Isaac
    We are talking about Europe... and especially Ukraine. As I've said, other developments in other continents deserve and have gotten their threads.

    Part of the problem here is that the 'peace and prosperity' enjoyed by the West is bought at the expense of exploitation elsewhere.Isaac
    Just like the rich stealing the wealth from the poor?

    Sorry, but especially "peace and prosperity" isn't a zero-sum game. It hasn't been stolen from others. In fact, you can see that for Spain and Portugal their colonial posessions didn't create that prosperity compared to other countries without colonies (like Switzerland and Sweden etc.). The prosperity of a country usually comes through trade.

    There's still the very real question boethius raise above as to whether Ukraine is sufficiently 'Western' for America to treat it as being 'part of the club'.Isaac
    Was Poland? Were the Baltic States? I think you have to make the argument why Ukraine cannot be what the people want it to be. (Russia won't allow it, yes, that's one argument.)

    Bluster. Does it even cross your mind what you're suggesting the world should tolerate on the basis of you're speculation here?Isaac
    Ukraine has resources, it has an educated people. The problems aren't so great as they are in let's say Afghanistan. That's not bluster.

    So yes, opinions so far.

    Here's another...

    https://jacobin.com/2023/02/ukraine-censorship-authoritarianism-illiberalism-crackdown-police-zelensky

    One year after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine is backsliding away from democratic freedoms and liberal pluralism.
    Isaac
    Of course, Ukraine is in a state of war... :roll: But the cases are worrying.

    If there would be peace and then similar things would happen, then by all means that would be a real problem. And that's what I agree, if Ukraine really wants to be part of the West, then it has to be a justice state with the same norms as other Western countries have. I wouldn't just overrule the possibility that Ukrainians can change their political system. Political systems have changed, there are good examples of this in history.
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    I read them.Isaac

    No, you haven't. Things have happened. Not mere ...

    opinions speculating on selected evidence.Isaac

    And meanwhile in Putin's Russia ↘ (also mentioned in the thread)...


    In other news, spreading ...

    Bomb kills Russian war blogger in St Petersburg cafe
    — Mark Trevelyan, Felix Light · Reuters · Apr 2, 2023

    ... beyond Ukraine?

    We'll defeat everyone, we'll kill everyone, we'll rob everyone we need to. Everything will be as we like it.Vladlen Tatarsky
  • boethius
    2.3k
    Yeah. There's actually many differences between Ukraine and Afghanistan, if you haven't noticed. You can see from the examples of the Baltic states and East Europe that these countries can get their act up after the disasterous Marxism-Leninism they had to endure. Ukrainians have that chance too.ssu

    Oh, I see ... what's happening in Afghanistan right now is the Afghanis fault?

    We (NATO) had our hearts in the right place and did all we could but just, shcucks, if it wasn't for them darm Afghanis and their inability to get their act up after the disastrous Taliban they had to endure that we financed to fight Maxist-Leninism terrible influence getting into the region ... wait, what? Where are we going with this?

    Their other option is Putin's rule. Which actually many in the east now have to suffer. The Ukrainians are defending themselves and fighting this war. You would want them to stop?ssu

    I spent some time explaining that "Ukrainians" aren't some amorphous general will power goo.

    Now, if Ukrainians weren't forced to fight, weren't deprived of their right to "vote with their feet", then I would agree that it is indeed "Ukrainians" fighting. And that would be meaningful, I could not deny it. However, that's not the case, and I so I have no idea how many Ukrainians fighting actually want to fight and how many are coerced to.

    So that's definitely one issue.

    However, the on-top of that issue is the West's undeniable policy of drip feeding arms to Ukraine. There is no other thesis tenable. And the only possible motive for the drip feed arms policy is the goal to not defeat Russia on the battlefield. Otherwise, we'd be throwing every weapons system we could into the fight from day 1. We don't. We hum and haw for literally months, all the while Ukrainians are dying with sub-optimal equipment, and then finally ... ok, you can have one. But not more!! Then the cycle repeats with the next weapons system. Each one heralded as some sort of victory in itself that we're "finally" sending artillery, or rockets, or killer drones, or APC's, or now tanks.

    But victory against who? The West defeating itself in its first decision not to send those arms with a second decision (months later) to send those arms?

    Insofar as we are sending arms, out policy is to sacrifice Ukrainians for our purposes.

    The drip feed arms policy proves beyond any reasonable doubt that our purpose is not to defeat the Russians nor the welfare of Ukraine.

    If you say "Bah, Putin! Must be fought! Ukraine be damned" you can make that argument. In principle I have no problem sacrificing any number of humans for a worthy cause. But the cause has to worthy, of greatness commensurate with the sacrifice being asked. So, I'm all ears.

    What I have issue with (first of many) is the idea our policies are designed to benefit Ukrainians ... and when that can't be supported: Ukrainians want to fight! What else do you want!

    Of course Ukraine can lose the war. So then the aggressor would be victorious. Then we have a huge diaspora of Ukrainians living in the West, the country in shambles and a very tense situation in Europe.ssu

    If you're arguing that propping up the Ukrainian government serves our Western European purpose of having less "diaspora", as you put it, hanging around, again, you can make that argument, but it's not an argument from the point of view of Ukrainian wellfair.

    However, the question was, considering we agree Ukraine can lose the war, would the sacrifice until now and until defeat be worth it in the event of a loss?

    Wrong.

    They can. Just like the Afghan National Army voted with it's feet when the Taliban launched their final offensive. The Ukrainians didn't react as they did to the occupation of Crimea. That is a fact you cannot deny.
    ssu

    I'm not following you.

    The question is about voting with one's feet about the war effort and being able to leave Ukraine. The "voting with your feet" expression has always included the context that it's legal to leave, you can leave in a legal sense.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    I like to periodically remind the quislings here just who it is they're supporting.

    "Russia claims that these children don’t have parents or guardians to look after them, or that they can’t be reached. But the AP found that officials have deported Ukrainian children to Russia or Russian-held territories without consent, lied to them that they weren’t wanted by their parents, used them for propaganda, and given them Russian families and citizenship."

    https://apnews.com/article/ukrainian-children-russia-7493cb22c9086c6293c1ac7986d85ef6
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    , there were reports a while back of parents that had to find a way to travel to Moscow, quickly, or their kids would be gone. :/ Allegedly, verified.
  • Isaac
    10.3k
    So? In what way does that make it any better? — Isaac

    We are talking about Europe... and especially Ukraine. As I've said, other developments in other continents deserve and have gotten their threads.
    ssu

    No, You're talking about Europe in order to avoid talking about the misery their policies have caused other nations in the developing world. I'm talking about humanity and the effect certain approaches to foreign policy have on them as a whole.

    Sorry, but especially "peace and prosperity" isn't a zero-sum game. It hasn't been stolen from others. In fact, you can see that for Spain and Portugal their colonial posessions didn't create that prosperity compared to other countries without colonies (like Switzerland and Sweden etc.). The prosperity of a country usually comes through trade.ssu

    see - https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/itinerario/article/abs/economic-dynamics-of-spanish-colonialism-in-the-nineteenth-and-twentieth-centuries/0D79153B10EA4F2422DF2354C406BA22

    https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/621094/bp-eu-maghreb-trade-migration-policies-111120-en.pdf

    https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/the-paradox-of-eu-trade-policy-and-migration-from-africa

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03056240701449646?casa_token=P8tBqWXo_98AAAAA%3ABhGn22sK9T5wur6XyvXDFAYmRdXIH0AxE_vMUeyoV5DL3bfMv5jksO5hUohksemOwJrWs0ZrzBmo2Hw

    ...and that's just trade. we haven't even got into environmental exploitation (see foreign oil exploitation in Nigeria, for example, or the impact of investment policies tied to reductions in government social spending, or the illegal fisheries policies, or ....

    So you're saying that for the countries which are poor, it's their own fault, just want to get that clear? Not colonialism, not pernicious trade deals, not World Bank and IMF policies, not foreign support for corrupt governments... The people themselves. The starving poor have only themselves to blame... that's your claim?

    I think you have to make the argument why Ukraine cannot be what the people want it to be.ssu

    Why? I've no doubt at all Ukraine can be what the people want it to be.

    Ukraine has resources, it has an educated people. The problems aren't so great as they are in let's say Afghanistan. That's not bluster.ssu

    Seriously? Have you seen the devastation? You're argument is that it's all worth it because Ukrainians have a higher education standard than Afghanistan?

    Political systems have changed, there are good examples of this in history.ssu

    OK, let's have them then... Which political systems have changed for the better as a result of US military aid?

    No, you haven't. Things have happened. Not mere ...jorndoe

    List them then.
  • Isaac
    10.3k


    Me too. I like to periodically remind the quislings here just who it is they're supporting.


    An amnesty declared in 2019 retroactively legalised thousands of buildings that did not meet earthquake construction standards, as long as fines were paid. The move came despite warnings from engineers and architects. Up to 75,000 buildings in the earthquake zone were granted such a reprieve, according to the Istanbul Union of Chambers of Engineers and Urban Planners. Across the quake zone, developments slid from their foundations or splintered in on themselves, crushing those inside and entombing thousands.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/19/erdogan-faces-backlash-over-building-standards-in-city-wrecked-by-quake
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    It seems to me for a lot of people this war has become about Putin. It has become about a person, therefore personal, and therefore emotional. My impression is that this "personalization" happened intentionally by Western media to whip up enthousiasm for support of the war.

    The idea of "Putin winning" is something that's hard to stomach, which is why people have become invested in a Ukrainian victory to a degree that is no longer rational, and, in my opinion, cannot be morally defended by people who do not bear the cost of war.

    The West needs to make up its mind. Either we are committed to a Ukrainian victory and we send our own troops to fight, or we make efforts towards a cease fire and peace negotiations as soon as possible. We shouldn't be in this questionable situation in which we cheer on the Ukrainians to sacrifice more lives for a lost cause.
  • neomac
    1.3k
    It seems to me for a lot of people this war has become about Putin. It has become about a person, therefore personal, and therefore emotional. My impression is that this "personalization" happened intentionally by Western media to whip up enthousiasm for support of the war.Tzeentch

    There is a benefit in personalizing the war, first do not put the blame on an the Russians as a whole, and second incentivize political elites (also within his entourage) to replace Putin, use him as a scapegoat.

    The idea of "Putin winning" is something that's hard to stomach, which is why people have become invested in a Ukrainian victory to a degree that is no longer rational, and, in my opinion, cannot be morally defended by people who do not bear the cost of war.Tzeentch

    The West bears significant economic, political, and security costs of course. Certainly, it's not as existential and gruesome as the Ukrainians though. But it might be one day.
    Besides it's not necessarily the idea of "Putin winning" something hard to stomach, if it's limited to Russian public opinion, or the Western public opinion to some extent.
    What's more hard to stomach is the idea of "Putin winning" among the most influential political elites and administrations worldwide.

    The West needs to make up its mind. Either we are committed to a Ukrainian victory and we send our own troops to fight, or we make efforts towards a cease fire and peace negotiations as soon as possible. We shouldn't be in this questionable situation in which we cheer on the Ukrainians to sacrifice more lives for a lost cause.Tzeentch

    Not only the personalization of the war incentivizes an emotional response, but also personification does, which is always a risk in sentences like "The West needs to make up its mind". The West is constituted by a plurality of governments with a temporary democratic mandate and involved in non-democratic international relations, so their action can not be coordinated as if it was a single head's choice by an authoritarian dictator.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    Oh, I see ... what's happening in Afghanistan right now is the Afghanis fault?boethius
    If you know about Afghan history, you will know just how difficult it has been for the country to modernize, even without the European powers trying to conquer it. Hence even if the country would have been left alone, likely would have a lot of problems.

    We (NATO) had our hearts in the right place and did all we could but just,boethius
    Did we? What I gather was the US reason was that the forces had to be there to prevent the country becoming a terrorist safe haven. And the US was from the start exiting the place ...and was there for the longest time.

    Let that absurdity just sink in. Because compared to this thinking, the "Domino theory" was quite logical.

    No, You're talking about Europe in order to avoid talking about the misery their policies have caused other nations in the developing world. I'm talking about humanity and the effect certain approaches to foreign policy have on them as a whole.Isaac
    Lol. Really? I'm talking about Ukraine and Europe to avoid talking about other issues???

    This is a thread about the war in Ukraine... hence, it is about the war in Ukraine. It's a silly argument to make then that I'm talking about the war in Ukraine in order to avoid something else.

    A far better thread to talk about it would be the various US threads, btw.
  • Manuel
    4k
    Welp, Finland enters NATO tomorrow. It's one way to decrease security, but we know that states only pretend to care about security issues - they usually just make the whole situation worse.
  • Isaac
    10.3k
    Lol. Really? I'm talking about Ukraine and Europe to avoid talking about other issues???

    This is a thread about the war in Ukraine... hence, it is about the war in Ukraine. It's a silly argument to make then that I'm talking about the war in Ukraine in order to avoid something else.

    A far better thread to talk about it would be the various US threads, btw.
    ssu

    Gods, you can't even follow a fairly simple line of argument. I'll make it as simple as possible...

    You said - Russia would have been better to have followed Europe's model of 'soft' imperialism.

    I said - Europe's model of 'soft' imperialism has demonstrably lead to more harms that Russia's more old-fashioned approach and so no, it wouldn't have been better. We need neither.

    You said - But those harms are in Africa, Latin America and other non-European nations, let's just look at Europe and the fact that Ukraine could be European.

    I said - But the prosperity of Europe is bought at the expense of exploitation in those other places, so we need to include that in any assessment of which approach causes most harm.

    You said - this isn't a thread about those places

    ... which makes no sense whatsoever in the context.

    The argument is directly and entirely related to the war in Ukraine - the topic of this thread. It is that promoting Europe's and the US's systems of soft imperialism as a solution to this war - the current war, the one this thread is about - is not ethical because those systems cause more harm to other nations. that's why we're discussing those other nations, they are collateral damage from the type of soft imperialism you are espousing.

    Now. Having laid that out. do you actually have a counter-argument? Any evidence at all to refute the notion that soft (economic) imperialism does more harm - with its impoverishment, suppression of development, promotion of terrorism and militaristic foreign policy - than old-fashioned expansion by territorial wars?
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    What did Russia think would happen?
  • frank
    14.8k
    What did Russia think would happen?RogueAI

    Probably not that they would become a satellite of China, but that's the reality.
  • boethius
    2.3k
    What did Russia think would happen?RogueAI

    Finland joining NATO is not some sort of Ukrainian victory and only matters to Russia insofar as Russia was planning to invade Finland, which is exceedingly unlikely. Finland is in no way part of Russia's sphere of influence, which is what the conflict in Ukraine and Georgia et al. is about.

    Probably not that they would become a satellite of China, but that's the reality.frank

    Reliance on China has radically increased, that's for sure, but Russia is not suddenly a vassal state of China all of a sudden. This can of course change in the future, but China has such a dependence on importing resources of all kinds, which is only projected to increase, that this remains a powerful economic bargaining chip for Russia. If China can't practically invade Russia due to nuclear weapons (exact same problem NATO is happening in the current dispute ... that nuclear blackmail does in fact work pretty well) and also Russia continues to trade with India, Russia maintains plenty of leverage. Not as much leverage as continuing to trade with Europe, but significant leverage nonetheless.

    Russia has also become a power broker in the Middle East and expanded influence in Africa, that is also sensitive to China's interests.

    However, the fact that surviving sanctions was very dependent on China for a first phase is the reason Putin needed Xi's approval for the plan. Dependence now is certainly less than a year ago, but could increase going forward but could also decrease.

    However, making Russia so reliant on China is not in the Wests interest, has decreased Russias relative power on the world stage for sure, but has significantly increased China's. Keep in mind creating power blocks is not a linear process but a non-linear one, perhaps not exponential, but the synergy of power blocks is greater than the sum of its parts. Making China and Russia a power block is a radical increase in that blocks power, not just adding Russian power to China's power. That Russia may have less leverage that China within the block is of no relevance if the concern is China in the first place as a "near peer competitor".
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    In Russia's St Petersburg, locals say Finland 'making problems' with NATO accession
    — Reuters via The Jerusalem Post · Apr 4, 2023
    In Russia's St Petersburg, locals say Finland 'making problems' with NATO accession
    — Kevin Liffey, Frank Jack Daniel · Reuters · Apr 4, 2023
    I don't think anything will change for us. It'll only get worse for the Finns because we won't go there, and they'll only incur losses from this. — Yevgeny
    We used to consider it a brotherly country of the capitalist world, the closest to us in spirit, in relations, in mutually-beneficial economic relations. But now we'll consider it as a state that is unfriendly to us. — Nikolai
    This is just a conspiracy by the Anglo-Saxon world. We have always had good neighborly relations with Finland. — Vasily
    If they wanted to unite with Russia against NATO, then I would be glad. — Alexei

    Not really news, though, Sweden wants to follow, and the invasion of Ukraine is the problem in the first place. :shrug: (← need icon) Go democracy, quit putting away contenders to (and critics of) the Kremlin, all that stuff, and "problems" might just start evaporating. (y)

    Finland in NATO: strategic shift with material gain
    — Daphne Benoit, Didier Lauras · AFP via Yahoo · Apr 4, 2023
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