• Echarmion
    2.5k
    The question is whether we — the US —should have taken the Russian perspective seriously. I think we should have. We didn’t. And that’s why we have the war.Mikie

    That's easy enough to say. But what does "taking the russian perspective seriously" actually imply?
  • Jabberwock
    334
    Is this a joke?Mikie

    Yes, it shows how ridiculous your claims are. NATO, a strictly defensive alliance, with steadily decreasing army in Europe, is a grave threat, while Russia, with openly nationalistic politicians, meddling politically and military intervening all over its neighbourhood, is not.

    The US had a plan for Eastern Europe. That plan is not exclusively NATO. Your inability to understand that isn’t my problem.Mikie

    It is not about my inability to understand, it is about your complete ignorance of European politics, which you have shown again and again.

    That’s not the question. It’s not about hypotheticals. It’s about the facts, of what actually happened. And US influence is all over it, from the billion + spent on social influence to NATO expansion to supporting the overthrow of the government to economic influences to supplying military training and arms.Mikie

    It is very much a question. Your claim is that without the US influence there would be no war, so the hypothetical (whether the war would happen without the US influence) is essential to support it. And the facts are that the underlying conflict was already in place and had little to do with the US influence: Ukraine has consistently demanded more independence from Russia and Russia's politics has clearly steered toward nationalism and imperialism. That made the war likely, as Russia has no qualms in engaging militarily in its neighbourhood. E.g. the US had zero influence over the Chechnya war or Armenia-Azerbeijan conflicts, yet both happened.

    The question is whether we — the US —should have taken the Russian perspective seriously. I think we should have. We didn’t. And that’s why we have the war.Mikie

    No, it is only you who do not take the Russian perspective seriously. You have asked about the internal Russian politics and I have answered you in detail, citing specific sources. You have chosen simply to skip that part, not engage with it at all, because it clearly denies your narrative about the 'rectroactive' made-up Russian nationalism. You skip such evidence (again) and in a post or two you again will parrot the same point.

    The 'Russian perspective' is that about 2004-2005 Putin has taken over the growing nationalistic trends which have demanded return to the imperialistic policy. That confirmed that the fears of its near neighbours, which they have voiced since their independence, are quite reasonable and justified, in spite of initial skepticism of the Western Europe. That is why they have joined NATO in the first place, which of course aligned with the US politics, but the US was not the main cause or drive of the process.

    What the Ukrainian people have wanted has varied greatly. We see from polls about NATO or EU membership that things change, and especially in different regions. So to treat Ukraine as a monolith is incorrect. But it’s also irrelevant to the point about US influence, which is all over this war and all over Ukraine for decades.Mikie

    Sure, it is not a monolith, no policy of any country is. Still, the majority wanted the integration with the Western Europe since 2000s. The facts are that they have chosen the president who promised them exactly that (along with neutrality i.e. non-engagement with NATO) and they have rebelled when he reneged on that promise due to Russian influence, which sparked the initial military conflict. And as I have shown, Ukrainians had every reason to fear Russia, given that significant political forces in Russia demanded not only Ukraine's subjugation, but even questioned its statehood, and Putin has openly embraced that rhetoric. That is the 'Russian perspective' you keep overlooking.
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    NATO, a strictly defensive alliance, with steadily decreasing army in Europe,Jabberwock

    :lol:

    And then…

    it is about your complete ignorance of European politics,Jabberwock

    Yeah, and coming from a guy who makes statements like the one above— that cuts deep.

    Your claim is that without the US influence there would be no war,Jabberwock

    Nope. I like to stick to reality.

    Maybe there would have been a way anyway— yeah, sure. Maybe there would be a war in Israel without the US providing billions in military aid. Let’s jump in a Time Machine and see how things might turn out if things were different. Let’s kill Hitler while we’re at it and see if Germany would have started a war anyway. Who knows?

    Ukraine has consistently demanded more independence from Russia and Russia's politics has clearly steered toward nationalism and imperialism. That made the war likely, as Russia has no qualms in engaging militarily in its neighbourhood.Jabberwock

    Demanded more independence— like EU and NATO membership. Which clearly has nothing to do with the United States influence. Got it. Never mind what Russia was saying about this for years.

    And as I have shown, Ukrainians had every reason to fear Russia, given that significant political forces in Russia demanded not only Ukraine's subjugation, but even questioned its statehood, and Putin has openly embraced that rhetoric. That is the 'Russian perspective' you keep overlooking.Jabberwock

    No, that’s the Ukrainian perspective. You don’t even seem to know what the Russian perspective was. Which is striking— and exactly the point.

    Right or wrong, there was no way Russia was going to allow Ukraine to be turned into a “Western bulwark,” and it was clear about this for years. Especially regarding NATO. If Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014 weren’t evidence enough, fine. But then further funding, training, and supplying (all with US backing) — all while Russia warned against it — eventually leading to war, just as our own diplomats and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, et al., predicted, shouldn’t have been a major surprise.

    To write it off as “well it would have happened anyway because Russia turned nationalistic and imperialistic” is less than great analysis. It’s the conventional view, no doubt— but I repeat myself.
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    The question is whether we — the US —should have taken the Russian perspective seriously.Mikie

    "the Russian [monolith] perspective", or the (current) Kremlin's?

    In this context, the main perspective is Ukrainian; just about everything that happens here is about / in Ukraine. Leave that out, and you've lost perspective — perspective that matter.

    By the way, the (supposed) NATO-phobia has come numerous times in the thread already. I suppose it's time for a re-repeat?
  • Mikie
    6.4k


    Yeah, how convenient it would be to ignore this fact. Might as well sweep it under the rug so as not to sound repetitive.

    In fact this has been predicted long before Putin, and not just coming from “monolith” Russia.

    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1995/09/21/should-nato-growa-dissent/
  • Jabberwock
    334
    Yeah, and coming from a guy who makes statements like the one above— that cuts deep.Mikie

    I am sure it does, given that I have proven your ignorance again and again.

    Demanded more independence— like EU and NATO membership. Which clearly has nothing to do with the United States influence. Got it. Never mind what Russia was saying about this for years.Mikie

    I have clearly written 'independence from Russia'. And that is exactly what it entails for the countries of the Eastern Europe. At the time EU and/or NATO are the only ways that allow them to escape Russia's embrace.

    No, that’s the Ukrainian perspective. You don’t even seem to know what the Russian perspective was. Which is striking— and exactly the point.Mikie

    That is an obvious and blatant lie. I have provided many quotes and articles about the dominant views in Russian internal politics, the things that you have clearly no idea about. Trying to pretend I did not and carefully omitting them from your replies does not change that. You do realize that at any moment people can go back a few posts back and see clearly that you are not telling the truth?

    Right or wrong, there was no way Russia was going to allow Ukraine to be turned into a “Western bulwark,” and it was clear about this for years. Especially regarding NATO. If Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014 weren’t evidence enough, fine. But then further funding, training, and supplying (all with US backing) — all while Russia warned against it — eventually leading to war, just as our own diplomats and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, et al., predicted, shouldn’t have been a major surprise.Mikie

    Ukraine had every reason to consider Russia as a threat. After 2014 it was no longer a threat, Russia was in open conflict with Ukraine since then. So yes, Ukraine has trained and developed its defences. Russia has funded, trained and supplied hostile forces in Ukraine since 2014, saying that Ukraine training and strengthening troops in response was somehow 'provoking' is beyond absurd.

    To write it off as “well it would have happened anyway because Russia turned nationalistic and imperialistic” is less than great analysis. It’s the conventional view, no doubt— but I repeat myself.Mikie

    I have given plenty of evidence that supports my view. You have nothing but your deep, unortodox convictions. I get that you get a kick out of having unconventional views, the only problem is that you have nothing to back them up, on the contrary, again and again you show that you have very little knowledge of the things we discuss here. Your unconventional views seem to be based on your evident lack of knowledge.

    The facts you cannot deny from the very beginning of our discussion: Since the fall of the USSR there were strong trends in Russian politics demanding return to nationalistic and imperialistic policies. In order to stay in power and maintain his grip Putin has embraced that rhetoric around 2004 and supported it with many actions in Russia's neighbourhood. It is not particularly surprising that Ukrainians in general preferred not to be turned into another Belarus and tried to follow the path of the Baltics. And, given the change in Russian internal politics, Putin was determined to stop it (even though before he had no problem with it, as is apparent from his own quotes).

    To all this you can only muster 'But the US...!'. Until you understand what the actual CONFLICT is about, you will still be wrong about the direct reasons for the war.
  • frank
    14.7k

    When Mikie is wrong she aggressively doubles and triples down. Anyone who's interacted with her knows that.
  • Echarmion
    2.5k
    To all this you can only muster 'But the US...!'. Until you understand what the actual CONFLICT is about, you will still be wrong about the direct reasons for the war.Jabberwock

    Well apparently there is no conflict. There's just US imperialism, pulling all the strings.
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    Russian elections expected in Mar 2024.

    Vladimir Putin’s interview with Le Figaro
    — The Kremlin · May 31, 2017
    This is what distinguishes a true world leader from the people we call temporary caretakers, who come for five minutes to show off on the international platform, and then disappear just as quietly.Putin · Oct 2023
    Peskov is convinced that the next president of the Russian Federation should be “the same” as Putin
    — TASS · Nov 17, 2023
    Jailed Russian nationalist Girkin warns of 'sham' presidential election
    — Guy Faulconbridge, Elaine Monaghan, Clelia Oziel, Barbara Lewis · Reuters · Nov 19, 2023

    I can easily see Putin and Patrushev in the Kremlin (both bad news), for example. (Navalny is rather unlikely these days.)

    Time for some bets? :)
  • Jabberwock
    334
    Russian elections expected in Mar 2024.jorndoe

    Amusingly, on Russian TV Rita and others have stated grave warnings about foreign interference in Russian presidential elections, to which Michael Bohm, the designated bad guy, asked: 'But why would anyone bother with the trouble and expenses, if the result is predetermined?' They quickly changed the subject :)
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    I am sure it does, given that I have proven your ignorance again and again.Jabberwock

    Ignorance of what, exactly? I think it’s quite clear we’re talking passed each other.

    So yes, Ukraine has trained and developed its defences.Jabberwock

    You don’t seem to acknowledge the role of the US, or at best minimize it. Hence why you always talk about what “Ukraine” wanted — as if that’s an easy picture, given the internal divisions.

    But suppose we take all that to be true. It does not for a moment negate the fact that Russia would view any support from the US as hostile interference. Even assuming best intentions to spread democracy and helping an ally stand up against oppression and imperialism.

    Our own people knew this and said so outright. I won’t go through the quotes again. So again, were they wrong? Or does it not matter because Russia has been bent on conquering Ukraine all along? (According to you.)

    Your unconventional views seem to be based on your evident lack of knowledge.Jabberwock

    And what is my unconventional view, exactly?

    In order to stay in power and maintain his grip Putin has embraced that rhetoric around 2004Jabberwock

    The danger of pushing NATO was known long before Putin. That never changed. Russia was weaker at some points, but the position on NATO — particularly Ukraine — remained the same.

    But don’t take my word for it. Or the Kremlin’s. Take the following — from 1995 (quite a while before 2004):

    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1995/09/21/should-nato-growa-dissent/

    Just one example. Another, from 1997:

    In Russia, NATO expansion, which continues to be opposed across the entire political spectrum, will strengthen the nondemocratic opposition, undercut those who favor reform and cooperation with the West, bring the Russians to question the entire post-Cold War settlement, and galvanize resistance in the Duma to the START II and III treaties; In Europe, NATO expansion will draw a new line of division between the "ins" and the "outs," foster instability, and ultimately diminish the sense of security of those countries which are not included;

    https://www.armscontrol.org/act/1997-06/arms-control-today/opposition-nato-expansion

    NATO expansion was the most direct cause of this war. Doesn’t make Putin a good guy, as simpletons will surely interpret this as saying, but it’s at least worth being honest about.

    Or we can pretend the US isn’t the world superpower these last 30 years, and that its intentions are mostly benign. That there was no plan for Eastern Europe beyond spreading democracy, if those countries chose to join. Etc etc

    A nice story. Conventional. Easy. (Which is why it’s so common.) But ultimately dead wrong and ignorant of history — and nuance.
  • Echarmion
    2.5k
    But suppose we take all that to be true. It does not for a moment negate the fact that Russia would view any support from the US as hostile interference. Even assuming best intentions to spread democracy and helping an ally stand up against oppression and imperialism.

    Our own people knew this and said so outright. I won’t go through the quotes again. So again, were they wrong? Or does it not matter because Russia has been bent on conquering Ukraine all along? (According to you.)
    Mikie

    I asked this before, but you seem to have taken to ignore me.

    Anyways assuming that Russia views any US support as hostile interference, what is the proper course to take?

    The danger of pushing NATO was known long before Putin. That never changed. Russia was weaker at some points, but the position on NATO — particularly Ukraine — remained the same.

    But don’t take my word for it. Or the Kremlin’s. Take the following — from 1995 (quite a while before 2004):

    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1995/09/21/should-nato-growa-dissent/

    Just one example. Another, from 1997:
    Mikie

    But these are arguments from the 1990s. Could the US / European course towards Russia have been much, much better in the 90s and early 2000s? Absolutely, yes. The end of the cold war was bungled in spectacular fashion.

    The problem is that your claim that:
    NATO expansion was the most direct cause of this war.Mikie

    doesn't follow from the above. Your insistence on "the most direct cause" has no justification in your premises.

    Doesn’t make Putin a good guy, as simpletons will surely interpret this as saying, but it’s at least worth being honest about.Mikie

    It does seem to absolve him of a great deal of responsibility though.

    Would you be OK with saying that Clemenceau, by insisting on harsh terms in the treaty of Versailles, set "the most direct cause" for world war 2?

    Or we can pretend the US isn’t the world superpower these last 30 years, and that its intentions are mostly benign.Mikie

    What are it's intentions like?
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    But these are arguments from the 1990s.Echarmion

    Yes, no kidding. There’s a reason for that, given that 2004 was mentioned as supposedly a turning point.

    Or we can pretend the US isn’t the world superpower these last 30 years, and that its intentions are mostly benign.
    — Mikie

    What are it's intentions like?
    Echarmion

    Fortunately we have not only all of history after the Cold War, but since at least 1945 as well, to answer this question. If one still maintains that the US’s intentions/goals/agenda is benign, I really can’t be of much help.
  • Echarmion
    2.5k


    Why even bother replying if all you're going to do is demonstrate that you really don't want to answer?

    Well, whatever. This just seems to be one of those topics that makes it impossible to talk to someone you don't share some basic assumptions with.
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    This just seems to be one of those topics that makes it impossible to talk to someone you don't share some basic assumptions with.Echarmion

    :up:

    I think so too.
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    NATO expansion was the most direct cause of this war.Mikie

    No. This decision remains the most direct cause of this war:
    "On conducting a special military operation" —Putin
  • Mikie
    6.4k


    Yeah the most direct cause leading to the decision to invade Ukraine was…the decision to invade Ukraine.

    Always brilliant.
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    , can't differentiate the :fire: war, and Putin's idiotic decision? Brilliant. :D Putin's (official) reasons were spoken, and they didn't compel his decision, nor was it necessary.

    By the way, recall Dmitry Kozak? Recall the spoken demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine and neo-Nazist Kyiv? Not a fifth of Ukraine. Well, maybe that was lying, or they're incapable of taking over (at the moment). Recall where NATO-related nuclear weapons are placed? And the Kremlin circle's hand-waving paranoia about Russia being doomed to destruction? ... Anyway, all trite re-repetition.

    As an aside, I'm a bit surprised no one has claimed that Washington is the real actual true cause of Putin's rise. :)

    Putin should be detained (or go on extended vacation), Ukraine should perhaps eventually join the EU, and not become a military-industrial powerhouse.
  • Echarmion
    2.5k
    As an aside, I'm a bit surprised no one has claimed that Washington is the real actual true cause of Putin's rise. :)jorndoe

    I think it's implied. How could it be anything else when US imperialism is the singular force that determines events around the world.

    Well maybe only the bad ones.
  • Jabberwock
    334
    Ignorance of what, exactly? I think it’s quite clear we’re talking passed each other.Mikie

    Ignorance of the underlying conflict, its roots and progress.

    You don’t seem to acknowledge the role of the US, or at best minimize it. Hence why you always talk about what “Ukraine” wanted — as if that’s an easy picture, given the internal divisions.Mikie

    The internal divisions in Ukraine do not change the fact that the majority no longer wanted to be subjugated to Russia. That is why Ukraine has voted for independence in 1991, which raised objections in Russia even then, as I have shown.

    And I do acknowledge the role of the US, but I do not see it as the major factor, because I consider other forces at play, which you have seemed to be blissfully unaware of, like your completely false view that Russian imperialism is a post-2008 Western invention - you might as well write 'Hey! Look! I know nothing about the Eastern Europe, yet I am so willing to discuss it!'.

    But suppose we take all that to be true. It does not for a moment negate the fact that Russia would view any support from the US as hostile interference. Even assuming best intentions to spread democracy and helping an ally stand up against oppression and imperialism.

    Our own people knew this and said so outright. I won’t go through the quotes again. So again, were they wrong? Or does it not matter because Russia has been bent on conquering Ukraine all along? (According to you.)
    Mikie

    Sure, it does not negate that fact. But that is not sufficient for the argument that Russia would not be hostile toward Ukraine's independence, if not for the US interference. For that you have no evidence and there is plenty of evidence countering it. Russia treats its 'near neighbourhood' as its sphere of influence and has no qualms about heavy meddling there, politically and militarily, no matter whether the US is involved or not. The US had no involvement in Chechnya, Transnistria, Abkhazia.

    And it is not 'according to me', I have given quite a few sources that clearly show the imperialistic rhetoric of some Russian circles. Putin said that Ukraine is not even a state - that is the Russian perspective that you somehow never mention (I understand that you were completely oblivious to that, but you no longer have that excuse).

    And what is my unconventional view, exactly?Mikie

    That the US influence is a major factor in the conflict.

    The danger of pushing NATO was known long before Putin. That never changed. Russia was weaker at some points, but the position on NATO — particularly Ukraine — remained the same.

    But don’t take my word for it. Or the Kremlin’s. Take the following — from 1995 (quite a while before 2004):
    Mikie

    No, the position on NATO was not the same, as I have shown in two direct quotes from Putin (unless we assume he was lying all this time, but then we can disregard the 'Russian perspective' altogether).

    And the whole quotation again ignores what was the drive for the expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe in the first place. Moscow has sent its troops to Lithuania in 1991, Zhirinovsky has entered Duma in 1993 - with all due respect to the reformists, the nationalistic/imperlalistic circles were strong enough in Russia for the Eastern Europe to be reasonably wary of their big neighbour. Their populations were very supportive of joining the EU and NATO, because they were aware that being left outside might sooner or later result in Russia trying to re-establish its rule (as it did repeatedly in the past).

    NATO expansion was the most direct cause of this war. Doesn’t make Putin a good guy, as simpletons will surely interpret this as saying, but it’s at least worth being honest about.

    Or we can pretend the US isn’t the world superpower these last 30 years, and that its intentions are mostly benign. That there was no plan for Eastern Europe beyond spreading democracy, if those countries chose to join. Etc etc

    A nice story. Conventional. Easy. (Which is why it’s so common.) But ultimately dead wrong and ignorant of history — and nuance.
    Mikie

    No, the most direct cause of this war is Russia trying to re-establish its sphere of influence after the fall of the USSR. Sure, the US is a superpower and it was instrumental in preventing that, obviously for its own purposes, but it does not change the fact that the root of the conflict is the former 'near abroad' of Russia trying to escape its rule.

    And it is rather hilarious that you speak of ignorance of history and nuance, given that you had basically no knowledge of the history of the region at the start of our discussion (beside what you read from Americans speaking mostly about American issues). It is even more so that you try to argue against US-centrism from such a narrow US-based perspective. You believe it is the US that expanded the NATO, you believe it is the US that trains and arms Ukrainians against their will, you start all your arguments with 'the US'. Well, other countries also have history and some agency, you know... The US is a superpower, but it is not omnipotent. So yes, one of us is lacking nuance and knowledge of history.
  • boethius
    2.3k
    I think it's implied. How could it be anything else when US imperialism is the singular force that determines events around the world.

    Well maybe only the bad ones.
    Echarmion

    Why even bother replying if all you're going to do is demonstrate that you really don't want to answer?Echarmion

    may simply not have the time to unpack the obvious, but fortunately I do so I'm happy to dissect all the myths that cloud and manipulate your judgement.

    Not only for your own benefit, but also for those following and feel there's been something deeply wrong in the West's policies in Ukraine and are wondering what exactly.

    Anyways assuming that Russia views any US support as hostile interference, what is the proper course to take?Echarmion

    Since you're fairly new to the conversation, you are perhaps unaware we've spent significant effort over the 529 pages, 20 comments each, of elaborating the different policy options.

    Throughout the first phase of the war—which you seem to agree, however tentatively, that Ukraine's leverage was perhaps higher than it was now and would have gotten a better deal in terms of territory than what's available now while also avoiding all the death and destruction and depopulation that has happened since—, we discussed at length why Ukraine should negotiate (rather than repudiate any negotiation) and why the Russian offer was a reasonable one for Ukraine to take (of course trying to negotiate as many further concessions as possible, and not only from Russia but the EU as well).

    So, you seem to already have agreed in this proper course of action, only adding the caveat that there would need to confidence a deal does not simply post-pone the same war. To my caveat to your caveat that you can't possibly evaluate if a deal would be a durable peace or not if you refuse to negotiate but also that having a war now rather than later nevertheless requires confidence one can win the war.

    Now, when a war starts it's of course common sense to negotiate and see if it can be ended on acceptable terms, exactly what the West is doing with regard to the Gaza conflict; but with regard to Ukraine, the West (in particular the US and UK) did everything possible to encourage Zelensky to not only reject the Russian's offer but refuse to negotiate entirely.

    To make matters worse, Western officials, and particularly the US, do not even hide the logic that Ukraine fighting Russia is a "good investment" as it's a chance to damage Russia without losing any American or other NATO lives. There isn't even any hesitation to simply embrace what they are accused of, manipulating Ukraine into fighting to the last Ukrainian, but rather simply embrace it whole heartedly:

    “I like the structural path we’re on here,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham declared in July 2022. “As long as we help Ukraine with the weapons they need and the economic support, they will fight to the last person.”Aaron Mate

    Again, note that I cite Aaron Mate (not that I have a problem with that), because I have found no main stream outlet that has a single article that cites Sen. Lindsey Graham's statement in full.

    Now, from time to time in this conflict it has become quite apparent that Ukraine isn't winning, does not even have a scenario in which it could "win", and the Western talking heads and legions of posters on social media rush to explain exactly the policy explained by Lindsey Graham (he is not explaining what he would like to do but is not policy as far as we know, such as assassinating Putin or providing Ukraine with nuclear weapons as has been suggested by others, but he's explaining the "structural path we're on here", in other words what the policy is and why he supports the policy).

    So, to dress up US involvement in Ukraine leading up to the war as simply naive do-gooding, and the policy since the war started to arm Ukraine (but in a drip feed manner that avoids "escalation") and encourage Ukraine to continue fighting and repudiate negotiations and make absurd ultimatums (such as the negotiation can happen after Russia leaves all of Ukraine), as somehow good for Ukraine, is simply living in a delusional mythical echo chamber (that you so happily fill with noise with your fellow US sycophants whenever critical voices are absent from the thread for even a day).

    I post RAND's report explaining that support for Ukraine fighting the separatists is "bleeding" Russia (their words) and that further support could "extend" Russia further (notice they don't use the word "defeat") and explicitly say this policy is at the expense of Ukraine (they don't explain how this benefits Ukraine or protects some categorical imperative and just "has to be done" for moral reasons) and furthermore state the obvious that Russia has significant military advantages in the region and warns that such a policy would need to be "calibrated" to avoid escalating into further Russian incursions into Ukraine where Ukraine would lose territory and likely be forced into a "disadvantageous peace". Most interestingly, RAND analysis does not then conclude "oh, but we'll have harmed Russia a bunch so that would be a good thing ... just at the expense of Ukraine so we can feel a bit bad about that, but we get what we wanted! USA! USA! USA" but rather views escalation into a large conflict in which Ukraine loses as a significant strategic defeat for the US and loss of prestige.

    The report does explain that supporting Ukraine in escalating the conflict with Russia could be good for US strategy (again, in the context that this is at the expense of Ukraine) ... but only if Ukraine "won"—if Ukraine won there would be wider geopolitical benefits of shoring up US allies, giving confidence that US can and will defend them— but the report goes into some detail of why that is not so possible. Basically this whole business of supporting Ukraine is framed as one additional threat that the US could use in negotiation, not actually do. The RAND report does not even include arming Ukraine in its concluding list of recommended actions.

    So, not only do you have US senators explaining exactly what US policy is (fight Russia to the last Ukrainian) but you have in depth analysis by the US "go-to" policy analysis group that explains pretty clearly that Ukraine cannot win a war with Russia and further military support that leads exactly to this war would be at the expense of Ukraine.

    Now, other pro-Western policy posters here have often simply explicitly stated that yes this is a war to benefit US hegemony, US hegemony is better than the alternatives and if Ukraine is completely destroyed to advance US interests, then so be it.

    You do not seem to have this view, but rather share my view that policy should be based on (in not entirely, then with strong consideration for) reduction of harm, in which case avoiding war is best and once the war starts then negotiating a peace sooner rather than later is also better than continued death and destruction, and that seeking to harm Russia at the expense of Ukrainians is not morally justifiable (I would also argue that this doesn't even seem to be happening, so a "careful what you wish for" warning to the pro-more-war proponents, but rather the war is strengthening Russia, but this is a secondary debate to the issue of whether it is morally acceptable to seek to harm Russia "somewhat" at the expense of near total destruction of Ukraine).

    Now, if we agree on the moral fundamentals, then it doesn't seem even up for debate of what the purpose of Western policy has been leading up to the war ("extend" Russia at great risk and peril to Ukraine) and what the Western policy has been during the war (fight Russia to the last Ukrainian ... but not escalate more than that and risk Russia using Nukes).

    What would be up for debate is 1. why does such a disastrous policy (at least for Ukraine, if not for the West) get put into place in the first place despite warnings directly from RAND that Ukraine have little chance of "winning" and that their losing will be a significant loss of US prestige and power, 2. how best to end the war now, and 3. understanding how the myth building works and fools people such as yourself into believing that disastrous policy is either somehow necessary or then at least "hearts were in the right place". For example, what exactly is wrong with fighting a geo-political adversary to the last citizen of a non-allied country?

    Case in point:

    I think it's implied. How could it be anything else when US imperialism is the singular force that determines events around the world.

    Well maybe only the bad ones.
    Echarmion

    Which is simply masterbating with a fellow US sycophant with more myth and propaganda.

    If you took interest enough in this war and the plight of the Ukrainians to be discussing here since the beginning, you'd know we've gone over this subject multiple times.

    The focus on criticizing Western policy by us critical Westerners in this thread, is because we are Westerners and citizens of countries that are part of the Western institutions organizing the policies in question as well as directly participating in sending arms and thoughts and payers.

    As citizens of Western countries we not only feel more responsible for what our governments do, rather than other countries, but we are in a better position to affect the policies of our own countries compared to other countries.

    No one here has framed the "US imperialism" as "the singular force that determines events around the world". However, if we look at bad things other countries do—such as Saudi Arabia literally cutting the heads off people in the town square oh and starving the Yemenis, or Ukraine tolerating and arming literal Nazi's, China creating a truly dystopian techno-police state and poised to export that around the world, or indeed Russia invading Ukraine—then again the question for us humanist critical thinkers is what can the countries and the alliances and institutions our countries participate in (i.e. the policies we affect as citizens) do about these problems.

    However, if we debated these other "bad things" other countries do, what is the response from US mini-"hegemons" out here on the web? Is the answer "oh, we should definitely implement policies to try to deal with those bad things" or is it "well US power needs the Saudi's as an ally, certainly not an enemy, so we sort of need to arm Saudi Arabia and tolerate whatever bad things they do in their own country and in other countries. You know, US interests, oil, hegemony, it's all very clever. And for the Nazi's in Ukraine, that's ok if they want to fight Russians, and maybe they aren't so many or aren't so bad after all. And of course we need China to make our stuff and profits for US corporations!! So we may disapprove and China does things and maybe China is also a rival in Asia that we try to contain, but there was zero problem in transferring all the means of production to Communist china in order to depress wages and 'socialist' activity at home and make corporations tons of money being able to leverage environmental, working conditions and humans rights arbitrage in any country willing to do business that way ... not our problem if they do bad things to their own citizens!!!."

    So where would that conversation go exactly? A total focus on Uzbekistan? With a human rights situation described by Wikipedia as:

    Non-governmental human rights organisations, such as IHF, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, as well as United States Department of State and Council of the European Union, define Uzbekistan as "an authoritarian state with limited civil rights"[14] and express profound concern about "wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights".[70] According to the reports, the most widespread violations are torture, arbitrary arrests, and various restrictions of freedoms: of religion, of speech and press, of free association and assembly.Uzbekistan, Human Rights - Wikipedia

    Which, as far as I know, is a human rights situation that may indeed have little to do with US imperialism.

    So, please, link to where you've been discussing and working towards reducing the bad things being done by the Uzbekistan government, or then if you've "missed it" in your humanitarian mission, then what do you feel about it now and what is to be done about it? The "proper course of action" to use your words.
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    As an aside, I'm a bit surprised no one has claimed that Washington is the real actual true cause of Putin's rise. :)jorndoe

    How could it be anything else when US imperialism is the singular force that determines events around the world.Echarmion

    Yeah, the US has only a minor role to play in world affairs, politically and economically. How ridiculous to claim it’s responsible for things it’s clearly responsible for.

    Ignorance of the underlying conflict, its roots and progress.Jabberwock

    I’ve gone over that at length. You want to jump around in time and then claim the story is full of holes. It’s just a boring game of whack-a-mole.

    Maybe it would have been better to have laid it all out at once, from 1991 to 2022. But I can’t do that every time someone replies.

    And I do acknowledge the role of the US, but I do not see it as the major factor, because I consider other forces at play, which you have seemed to be blissfully unaware of, like your completely false view that Russian imperialism is a post-2008 Western inventionJabberwock

    Here we go with timelines again. This is what I mean.

    Post 2014 invention, actually. I mentioned 2008 because of the Bucharest summit, and whether Russian imperialism was given as a reason for expansion. It wasn’t, of course. True, Crimea gave the US a nice story to tell.

    In any case, your accusation doesn’t even make sense. I’m “blissfully unaware” of “other forces at play” — other forces apparently being my view on Russian imperialism? Just a muddled paragraph.

    Anyway— I’ve discussed Russian “Internal politics” a great deal. You gave 3 irrelevant quotes when asked to discuss what you meant by it. Yet the claim stands: Russian positions on US involvement in Ukraine, including NATO, was stated explicitly for years, was known by the US, and was done anyway. If you want to claim this was a “minor factor,” so be it. I have no time machine and no window into Putin’s mind, so I obviously cannot falsify your unfalsifiable argument of what might have happened if everything were different.

    Putin said that Ukraine is not even a state - that is the Russian perspective that you somehow never mentionJabberwock

    Putin has said a number of things about Ukraine. And yes, I’m very well aware of this line of argument, as it’s been repeated many times on this thread. I’ll just quote Mearsheimer, who said it best over a year ago:

    While this narrative is repeated over and over in the mainstream media and by virtually every Western leader, there is no evidence to support it. To the extent that purveyors of the conventional wisdom provide evidence, it has little if any bearing on Putin’s motives for invading Ukraine. For example, some emphasize that he said that Ukraine is an “artificial state“ or not a “real state.” Such opaque comments, however, say nothing about his reason for going to war. The same is true of Putin’s statement that he views Russians and Ukrainians as “one people“ with a common history. Others point out that he called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Of course, Putin also said, “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain.” Still, others point to a speech in which he declared that “Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, Communist Russia.” But as he went on to say in that very same speech, in reference to Ukraine’s independence today: “Of course, we cannot change past events, but we must at least admit them openly and honestly.”

    To make the case that Putin was bent on conquering all of Ukraine and incorporating it into Russia, it is necessary to provide evidence that first, he thought it was a desirable goal, that second, he thought it was a feasible goal, and third, he intended to pursue that goal. There is no evidence in the public record that Putin was contemplating, much less intending to put an end to Ukraine as an independent state and make it part of greater Russia when he sent his troops into Ukraine on February 24th.

    Hence why you provide none.

    And what is my unconventional view, exactly?
    — Mikie

    That the US influence is a major factor in the conflict.
    Jabberwock

    That’s the extent of your understanding of my position apparently.

    So US involvement was a factor, but a minor one. That’s supposedly the big difference here. The major factor was Russian imperialist ambitions — and you point to Georgia and Crimea as evidence— I say these were reactions, and round we go.

    But don’t take my word for it. Or the Kremlin’s. Take the following — from 1995 (quite a while before 2004):
    — Mikie

    No, the position on NATO was not the same, as I have shown in two direct quotes from Putin (unless we assume he was lying all this time, but then we can disregard the 'Russian perspective' altogether).
    Jabberwock

    Ah yes, the one quote you come back to over and over again, even after it’s shown that Putin says the complete opposite in the very same quote. But you’ll hang on to that forever, apparently, even against a long documentary record and quotations from the US’s own cabinet members/ ambassadors.

    No, the position hadn’t changed. It was the same in 1995 as it was in 2002, as it was in 2004, as it was in 2008, etc. Russia was not going to allow Ukraine to be turned into a western bulwark, a “liberal democracy,” or (especially) a member of NATO.

    But yeah, one poorly documented (and contradictory) quote from Putin in 2002 definitely negates all that. Give me a break.

    You believe it is the US that expanded the NATO, you believe it is the US that trains and arms Ukrainians against their will, you start all your arguments with 'the US'.Jabberwock

    Nope. More strawmen. Yawn.
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    Which is simply masterbating with a fellow US sycophant with more myth and propaganda.boethius

    Exactly. But it’s fun to watch people use sarcasm in such a ridiculous way. No one serious denies US power in world affairs, but in order to feel a fake sense of superiority it’s necessary to reduce this fact to absurdity: “That guy slipped on a banana peel— must be the US, ay guys? Har-har-har.”

    Meanwhile, our defense industry is loving it to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. But I’m sure that has no “major” influence here either.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to rehash it all again in detail. I really can’t do it anymore. (That’s why I could never be a teacher.)
  • Echarmion
    2.5k
    I’ll just quote Mearsheimer, who said it best over a year ago:Mikie

    Is it at all plausible to you that this argument from Mearsheimer is only convincing if you happen to already agree with it?

    but fortunately I do so I'm happy to dissect all the myths that cloud and manipulate your judgement.boethius

    Charming.

    why the Russian offer was a reasonable one for Ukraine to take (of course trying to negotiate as many further concessions as possible, and not only from Russia but the EU as well).boethius

    The russian offer which we ultimately know very little about.

    Ukraine did negotiate. The best source on the early negotiations, Naftali Bennet, has said he saw a 50/50 chance of a deal being made.

    So the entire argument that the west has cynically manipulated Ukraine to dismiss negotiations rests on - at best - coin toss odds for an acceptable ceasefire agreement.

    You can of course say you'd have taken your chances, but the case for manipulation under these circumstances is very weak.

    So, to dress up US involvement in Ukraine leading up to the war as simply naive do-gooding,boethius

    Which noone is doing.

    and encourage Ukraine to continue fighting and repudiate negotiations and make absurd ultimatums (such as the negotiation can happen after Russia leaves all of Ukraine),boethius

    We're leaving out the fact that Ukrainians make decisions too again.

    is simply living in a delusional mythical echo chamber (that you so happily fill with noise with your fellow US sycophants whenever critical voices are absent from the thread for even a day).boethius

    Pot, meet kettle.

    I post RAND's reportboethius

    You just fail to account for developments since. Because Ukraine did not collapse quickly, and it did not end up in a significant strategic defeat for the US.

    You do not seem to have this view, but rather share my view that policy should be based on (in not entirely, then with strong consideration for) reduction of harmboethius

    But, crucially, I believe that the people who decide what harm they're willing to accept are the Ukrainians. Who, it bears repeating, have decided to fight this war knowing full well their chances.

    Now, if we agree on the moral fundamentals, then it doesn't seem even up for debate of what the purpose of Western policy has been leading up to the war ("extend" Russia at great risk and peril to Ukraine) and what the Western policy has been during the war (fight Russia to the last Ukrainian ... but not escalate more than that and risk Russia using Nukes).boethius

    Part of my moral fundamentals is that people are responsible for their actions, and that decisions are made by real people with real interests and not abstract forces.

    Noone forced Russia's hand. Noone forced Ukraine's. We can discuss influence, but I reject any theory that refuses to take account of the basic reality that Putin could simply not have given the order to invade, while Zelensky (or any number of Ukrainian soldiers) could have simply refused to fight.

    These were choices made, not expressions of the will of the US.

    1. why does such a disastrous policy (at least for Ukraine, if not for the West) get put into place in the first place despite warnings directly from RAND that Ukraine have little chance of "winning" and that their losing will be a significant loss of US prestige and powerboethius

    We'd have to look at specific decisions being made.

    2. how best to end the war now, andboethius

    Why would I take your positions on that seriously given rhetoric like this:

    understanding how the myth building works and fools people such as yourself into believing that disastrous policy is either somehow necessary or then at least "hearts were in the right place".boethius

    Why not just talk to the mirror?

    The focus on criticizing Western policy by us critical Westerners in this thread, is because we are Westerners and citizens of countries that are part of the Western institutions organizing the policies in question as well as directly participating in sending arms and thoughts and payers.boethius

    I'm not criticising the focus, I'm criticising the quality of the analysis.

    Despite various statements to the contrary, and claims to nuance, the analysis is imho marred by an overreliance on overarching historical "forces" with little account made of the actual people who make decisions and the various ways in which the conflict has shifted.

    How can NATO-expansion be the same issue in 1995 and 2022 despite a vastly different situation in eastern Europe? Why does it not matter that Putin already invaded Ukraine in 2014, annexed part of it's territory and created a frozen conflict? Why are we ignoring the different ways in which EU leaders have had their hand in matters, perhaps most importantly the two German chancellors, Schröder and Merkel?The situation might have been very different without a German government as friendly to Russia.

    Ukrainian interests, too, seem frozen. Ukraine's internal divisions are cited, but the various changes in their position are not. The US involvement in the 2014 revolution (or coup if you prefer) is loudly touted, but russian moves that also exacerbated it are not. Putin's moves towards Ukraine have become markedly more heavy handed, even though his previous strategy had largely been effective in keeping it "neutral".

    All these are simply not accounted for by the analysis that puts US "influence" front and center.

    Which is simply masterbating with a fellow US sycophant with more myth and propaganda.boethius

    Exactly.Mikie

    You do realise the irony here?
  • Jabberwock
    334
    Yeah, the US has only a minor role to play in world affairs, politically and economically. How ridiculous to claim it’s responsible for things it’s clearly responsible for.Mikie

    No, it plays a major role, but not in every single event. Sometimes it plays an important, but not decisive role. Contrary to beliefs of some Americans, the world does not turn around the US.

    I’ve gone over that at length. You want to jump around in time and then claim the story is full of holes. It’s just a boring game of whack-a-mole.

    Maybe it would have been better to have laid it all out at once, from 1991 to 2022. But I can’t do that every time someone replies.
    Mikie

    No, you have not. You have just described very limited, American perspective of things, because you were unaware of the greater context. Lack of nuance and knowledge of history, indeed. Incidentally, now you show your ignorance again, given that you want to start with 1991.

    Post 2014 invention, actually. I mentioned 2008 because of the Bucharest summit, and whether Russian imperialism was given as a reason for expansion. It wasn’t, of course. True, Crimea gave the US a nice story to tell.

    In any case, your accusation doesn’t even make sense. I’m “blissfully unaware” of “other forces at play” — other forces apparently being my view on Russian imperialism? Just a muddled paragraph.

    Anyway— I’ve discussed Russian “Internal politics” a great deal. You gave 3 irrelevant quotes when asked to discuss what you meant by it. Yet the claim stands: Russian positions on US involvement in Ukraine, including NATO, was stated explicitly for years, was known by the US, and was done anyway. If you want to claim this was a “minor factor,” so be it. I have no time machine and no window into Putin’s mind, so I obviously cannot falsify your unfalsifiable argument of what might have happened if everything were different.
    Mikie

    Now you are just being ridiculous. You have not discussed Russian internal politics, because you were completely unaware of it (and you still seem to be). Obviously you believe the quotes are 'irrelevant', because you have not read them. Your claim does not 'stand', as I have already given you two quotes (more below) from Putin that directly contradict your claims. You just dissmiss them, because you are unable, in your nuance-lacking and history-ignorant argument, to account for such differences in his statements.

    Hence why you provide none.Mikie

    Sure, if we ignore everything that Putin says, and what other Russian politicians say, and the Russian propaganda, and Dugin, and Akopov, then there is no evidence whatsoever of Russian imperialistic tendencies. Especially if we also ignore its interventions in various former republics. Because their words are 'Russian perspective' and 'Russian position' only when it suits you, otherwise they can just be ignored. If you or Mearsheimer want to convince anyone that the president of the neighbouring country with the long record of imperialistiic abuses denying Ukraine's statehood should not be perceived as a reasonable threat, then you are going beyond absurd.

    So US involvement was a factor, but a minor one. That’s supposedly the big difference here. The major factor was Russian imperialist ambitions — and you point to Georgia and Crimea as evidence— I say these were reactions, and round we go.Mikie

    No, I point to the resentment of the Russians concerning the fall of the USSR and growing independence of its near abroad and Putin's turn toward imperlalism after 2004 in order to consolidate and strengthen his power due to the growing nationalism within Russian political circles, I point to other military interventions that the US had no involvement in and which were definitely not a 'reaction' to anything that the West did. I have described all this in detail and provided many sources, which you have obviously did not read because you consider them as irrelevant, because you just know better. I can provide literally dozens of more scholarly articles about resurgence of Russian imperialism, but you will ignore them as well. But then do not complain that I do not provide evidence, because you cannot be bothered to read it. I do not mind someone being ignorant, those issues might not be to everyone's interest. But engaging in a discussion on these matters and preferring to remain ignorant is another issue altogether.

    Ah yes, the one quote you come back to over and over again, even after it’s shown that Putin says the complete opposite in the very same quote. But you’ll hang on to that forever, apparently, even against a long documentary record and quotations from the US’s own cabinet members/ ambassadors.

    No, the position hadn’t changed. It was the same in 1995 as it was in 2002, as it was in 2004, as it was in 2008, etc. Russia was not going to allow Ukraine to be turned into a western bulwark, a “liberal democracy,” or (especially) a member of NATO.

    But yeah, one poorly documented (and contradictory) quote from Putin in 2002 definitely negates all that. Give me a break.
    Mikie

    There were two quotes, one was from the Kremlin presidential site, another from the TV program. If you consider direct quote from the Kremlin site (which remains there to this day!) as 'poorly documented', then I wonder what level evidence you require (because you surely do not provide that).

    But sure, there are more:

    Russia has NO CONCERNS about the expansion of NATO from the standpoint of ensuring securityKREMLIN!

    But it is Kremlin again, so I guess 'poorly documented'. How about this one?

    Ukraine is an independent sovereign state, and it will choose its own path to peace and securityWhen Putin Loved NATO

    But the bigger issue is that, in your blissful ignorance, you completely miss the context of that first quote. You have no idea why Putin was at the NATO meeting, you have no idea what he was doing there and you have no idea why he said those things that he said. And yes, I am very well aware that there are many contradicting statements from Putin, that is what I was drawing your attention to - he says many things, but you choose only to take some of them at face value.
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    No, it plays a major role, but not in every single event. Sometimes it plays an important, but not decisive role.Jabberwock

    Oh, so years of military training, supplying weapons, conducting military drills — not decisive.

    I suppose the tens of billions of dollars spent on Ukraine these last two years — also a minor role. After all, Ukraine is an independent nation that makes its own decisions and can defend itself.

    Obviously you believe the quotes are 'irrelevant', because you have not read them.Jabberwock

    :roll: Okay pal.

    But sure, there are more:

    Russia has NO CONCERNS about the expansion of NATO from the standpoint of ensuring security
    — KREMLIN!

    But it is Kremlin again, so I guess 'poorly documented'. How about this one?
    Jabberwock

    Nope, just completely taken out of context:

    Russia has no concerns about the expansion of NATO from the standpoint of ensuring security, but Russia will organize its military policies accordingly in connection with NATO nearing its borders, President Vladimir Putin announced

    You literally can’t even find one quote without the next sentence contradicting your bogus claims.

    No, Russia was never fine with the US turning Ukraine into a western puppet. NATO is a big part of that. Easy to understand why, if you do the uncomfortable work of putting yourself into someone else’s shoes. Apparently you’re incapable.

    China forming a military alliance in Mexico or Canada wouldn’t go over well in the US. I wonder if the US’s response would be so confusing. Or perhaps the explanation would be that they wanted to conquer Canada for decades and would have attacked anyway.

    Second quote, in context:

    At a joint press conference in January 2003, Putin responded to a question [what was the question?] about Ukraine. “Ukraine is an independent sovereign state, and it will choose its own path to peace and security,” he said.

    Not one word about NATO. Just more vagueness. Apparently you mistook the title of the article for something Putin actually said.

    But keep trying. Maybe next time try making it up out of thin air.
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    Decided to post this separately:

    For those following along with any interest in history or nuance: Russia has been clear about NATO involvement in Ukraine for decades. It was known in 1995 and explained by Stanley Resor, Paul Nitze, etc., in an open letter to Clinton. It was known very well right up to 2008, when William Burns wrote the following:

    Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all red lines for the Russian elite (not just Putin). In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.

    [NATO] would be seen … as throwing down the strategic gauntlet. Today’s Russia will respond. Russian-Ukrainian relations will go into a deep freeze...It will create fertile soil for Russian meddling in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.”

    It was known in June of 2021, when a massive Seabreeze exercise was conducted:

    The largest ever NATO operation in the Black Sea takes place under explosive conditions, beginning just six days after Russian armed forced fired warning shots and then dropped four bombs in the path of HMS Defender, a British warship that entered Russia’s territorial waters off Crimea. The US ignored a request made June 22 from Russia's embassy in Washington—just hours before the UK warship incident—for Sea Breeze to be cancelled this year, with Moscow warning of the danger of military confrontation.

    This week’s Sea Breeze manoeuvres, which have taken place annually since 1997, are the largest ever. Co-hosted by the US and Ukrainian navies, Sea Breeze 2021 will involve 32 countries, 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft and 18 special operations. It is being led by the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), an immediate reaction force which consists of four to six destroyers and frigates. A squadron of US Marines are taking part, with the main naval force involved the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet headquartered in Naples, Italy.

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/06/29/sebr-j29.html

    It was known in September 2021, when the White House announced that

    We intend to continue our robust training and exercise program in keeping with Ukraine’s status as a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner.

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/09/01/joint-statement-on-the-u-s-ukraine-strategic-partnership/

    It was admitted by the NATO chief himself:

    During the disastrous Vietnam War, it was said that the US government treated the public like a mushroom farm: keeping it in the dark and feeding it with manure. The heroic Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers documenting the unrelenting U.S. government lying about the war in order to protect politicians who would be embarrassed by the truth. A half-century later, during the Ukraine War, the manure is piled even higher.

    According to the U.S. government and the ever-obsequious New York Times, the Ukraine war was “unprovoked,” the Times’ favorite adjective to describe the war. Putin, allegedly mistaking himself for Peter the Great, invaded Ukraine to recreate the Russian Empire. Yet last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg committed a Washington gaffe, meaning that he accidently blurted out the truth.

    In testimony to the European Union Parliament, Stoltenberg made clear that it was America’s relentless push to enlarge NATO to Ukraine that was the real cause of the war and why it continues today. Here are Stoltenberg’s revealing words:

    “The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition to not invade Ukraine. Of course, we didn't sign that.

    The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second-class membership. We rejected that.

    So, he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. He has got the exact opposite.”

    https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/nato-chief-admits-expansion-behind-russian-invasion

    And so on.

    But yeah, how hilarious and silly to think the US has any (major) influence over NATO or the UN or the world economy or wars. After all, it’s not everywhere at once.
  • Echarmion
    2.5k
    “The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition to not invade Ukraine. Of course, we didn't sign that.

    The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second-class membership. We rejected that.

    So, he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. He has got the exact opposite.”

    Yeah and Austria-Hungary went to war to get a proper investigation of the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
  • Jabberwock
    334
    Oh, so years of military training, supplying weapons, conducting military drills — not decisive.

    I suppose the tens of billions of dollars spent on Ukraine these last two years — also a minor role. After all, Ukraine is an independent nation that makes its own decisions and can defend itself.
    Mikie

    Again, you are confused. Ukraine has trained troops with the US support and asked for weapons AFTER the conflict with Russia has already started and smouldered for eight years. To consider it a 'provocation' when Russian-supplied shells were already falling on Ukrainian troops is absurd. I understand that you were unaware that the conflict never ceased when we started this discussion, but now you have no excuse.

    You literally can’t even find one quote without the next sentence contradicting your bogus claims.

    No, Russia was never fine with the US turning Ukraine into a western puppet. NATO is a big part of that. Easy to understand why, if you do the uncomfortable work of putting yourself into someone else’s shoes. Apparently you’re incapable.

    China forming a military alliance in Mexico or Canada wouldn’t go over well in the US. I wonder if the US’s response would be so confusing. Or perhaps the explanation would be that they wanted to conquer Canada for decades and would have attacked anyway.
    Mikie

    But the next sentence does not contradict anything, unless you demand that we read 'organize its military policies' as 'will start war'.

    And again, you just regurtitate your initial points without engaging with anything that was written afterwards. It is no wonder, because you cannot deny that you were completely ignorant about what was going in Russia before 2008, which led you to your completely mistaken view that its imperialistic tendencies are the Western invention, which is of course completely unsustainable in the view of the historic evidence I have provided (and as I wrote I can provide more). I understand that being completely wrong about that is very uncomfortable for you, but repeating your initial points ad nauseam will not change it, it will only deepen the impression that you are making your arguments from ignorance.

    Not one word about NATO. Just more vagueness. Apparently you mistook the title of the article for something Putin actually said.Mikie

    Well, it was at at joint press conference of the NATO-Russian council, which dealt, among other things, with the plans on Ukraine's accession... So if Putin wanted to say 'I strongly oppose Ukraine joining NATO', that was certainly a good occasion. Yet he refrained from doing so. Why? You have no idea, so you will pretend he never said this, just like you do with the other quotes I have provided.

    For those following along with any interest in history or nuance: Russia has been clear about NATO involvement in Ukraine for decades.Mikie

    But it is your take that lacks the nuance and is ignorant of history. Yes, Putin (and other Russians) said those things, but they also have said other things, sometimes quite contradictory, as I have clearly shown. In three different speeches Putin gives three different reasons for invasion of Crimea, for example. But you choose the one that suits you and simply ignore the other two, even though they contradict themselves. Because you are completely out of depth here, you do not understand why they are saying different things at different times, so you simply stick to your story, and no amount of quotes from Putin himself is going to change your view. The same goes for your view about Russian imperialism, history between those states etc. In other words, you simply pay no attention to facts that do not align with your simplistic narrative.
  • Mikie
    6.4k


    Translation:

    (1) You cannot, and have not, provided one quote supporting your claim that the Russian stance on Ukraine and NATO has changed.

    (2) You completely ignore the historical record.

    Refer if you wish to the facts I present for others. Plenty of references.

    Blathering on accusing others of ignorance, no matter how many times you repeat it, doesn’t make it so.

    Case in point:

    ——

    Russia has been clear about NATO involvement in Ukraine for decades. It was known in 1995 and explained by Stanley Resor, Paul Nitze, etc., in an open letter to Clinton. It was known very well right up to 2008, when William Burns wrote the following:

    Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all red lines for the Russian elite (not just Putin). In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.

    [NATO] would be seen … as throwing down the strategic gauntlet. Today’s Russia will respond. Russian-Ukrainian relations will go into a deep freeze...It will create fertile soil for Russian meddling in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.”

    It was known in June of 2021, when a massive Seabreeze exercise was conducted:

    The largest ever NATO operation in the Black Sea takes place under explosive conditions, beginning just six days after Russian armed forced fired warning shots and then dropped four bombs in the path of HMS Defender, a British warship that entered Russia’s territorial waters off Crimea. The US ignored a request made June 22 from Russia's embassy in Washington—just hours before the UK warship incident—for Sea Breeze to be cancelled this year, with Moscow warning of the danger of military confrontation.

    This week’s Sea Breeze manoeuvres, which have taken place annually since 1997, are the largest ever. Co-hosted by the US and Ukrainian navies, Sea Breeze 2021 will involve 32 countries, 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft and 18 special operations. It is being led by the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), an immediate reaction force which consists of four to six destroyers and frigates. A squadron of US Marines are taking part, with the main naval force involved the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet headquartered in Naples, Italy.

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/06/29/sebr-j29.html

    It was known in September 2021, when the White House announced that

    We intend to continue our robust training and exercise program in keeping with Ukraine’s status as a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner.

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/09/01/joint-statement-on-the-u-s-ukraine-strategic-partnership/

    It was admitted by the NATO chief himself:

    During the disastrous Vietnam War, it was said that the US government treated the public like a mushroom farm: keeping it in the dark and feeding it with manure. The heroic Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers documenting the unrelenting U.S. government lying about the war in order to protect politicians who would be embarrassed by the truth. A half-century later, during the Ukraine War, the manure is piled even higher.

    According to the U.S. government and the ever-obsequious New York Times, the Ukraine war was “unprovoked,” the Times’ favorite adjective to describe the war. Putin, allegedly mistaking himself for Peter the Great, invaded Ukraine to recreate the Russian Empire. Yet last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg committed a Washington gaffe, meaning that he accidently blurted out the truth.

    In testimony to the European Union Parliament, Stoltenberg made clear that it was America’s relentless push to enlarge NATO to Ukraine that was the real cause of the war and why it continues today. Here are Stoltenberg’s revealing words:

    “The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition to not invade Ukraine. Of course, we didn't sign that.

    The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second-class membership. We rejected that.

    So, he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. He has got the exact opposite.”

    https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/nato-chief-admits-expansion-behind-russian-invasion

    And so on.

    ——

    The response?

    you are completely out of depth hereJabberwock

    :lol:

    How convincing. I hope it convinces you, anyway. Although I doubt it does.

    In any case, this is why it’s not worth taking much time to hold your hand through the history and the facts. Given you’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist. Oh well.
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