• Agustino
    11k

    What is your take on this? Russia seems to be increasingly concerned that it is not given sufficient importance on the world's stage. It is obvious that it sees the development of war weaponry as the key to be given more importance to its interests and concerns. What do you reckon the West's response should be? Economic sanctions seem to make the situation worse.
  • ssu
    447
    Let's just remember that those economic sanctions were put into place because Russia attacked it's neighbour, annexed part of it and still is supporting an ongoing low-intensity conflict.

    Putin and his siloviks (a Russian word for politicians from the security or military services) see the West as an existential threat which is intent on attacking and destroying Russia... and intent on taking them out of power. The logic behind this is that because of this imminent "threat" from the US and the West, they can reason their hold on power and the squashing of any opposition forces that may rise against them. This is clear even from the Russian official military doctrine: the threat to Russia no. 1 is the expansion of NATO, international (or domestic) terrorism are far later down the line on the threat list. And naturally it's actions in Georgia and Ukraine have indeed poisoned the relationship.

    And what better defence is to go on the offence. Which explains Russia's meddling in the politics in the West.

    When it comes to nuclear weapons, it is the most important part of the Russian deterrence and hence the nuclear forces were the only arm of the armed forces that were not left to decay after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Starting with Yeltsin's era, Putin has been all the time being updating and modernizing it's strategic rocket forces.

    The US on the hand has basically forgotten it's strategic deterrence and now has a huge task of modernizing it's extremely old missile systems.
  • René Descartes
    537
    What is your take on this? Russia seems to be increasingly concerned that it is not given sufficient importance on the world's stage. It is obvious that it sees the development of war weaponry as the key to be given more importance to its interests and concerns. What do you reckon the West's response should be? Economic sanctions seem to make the situation worse.Agustino

    It isn't being given enough importance on the world stage. It should be given more as it is still one of the great powers of the modern world. I reckon the West should just let it be. Fair enough the Russians want to have more influence, they're just following America's example and the example of the old European powers. If it's fine for America it's fine for Russia.
  • René Descartes
    537
    Let's just remember that those economic sanctions were put into place because Russia attacked it's neighbour, annexed part of it and still is supporting an ongoing low-intensity conflict.ssu

    Quite strange how no one put sanctions on the U.S when they went to war in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. or when they annexed Hawaii.
  • ssu
    447
    I reckon the West should just let it be. If it's fine for America it's fine for Russia.René Descartes
    The problem is that Putin needs the West to be an adversary, and after attacking two of it's neighbours, likely has succeeded in that. (Attacking one country didn't sour the relationship, before Crimea the relationship Russia was enjoying in the West was great)

    After all, likely Putin is the richest man in the World, so in any democracy the brazen theft of public wealth would end the career of any leader.
  • René Descartes
    537
    The problem is that Putin needs the West to be an adversaryssu

    I will flip that around and say that the West needs Putin to be an adversary.
  • ssu
    447
    I will flip that around and say that the West needs Putin to be an adversary.René Descartes
    Really?

    I thought a couple of Muslim fanatics do the job quite well.

    To say that the West is truly hostile towards Russia is nonsense. The West is surely is truly arrogant and ignorant when it comes to Russia, but it's not out to get Russia. Not a lot of people with similar ideas as Napoleon or Hitler in the West today.

    Just look at the times how many times the American President has tried to "restart" the Russia-US relations. Clinton tried it. Bush tried it. Obama did it (much to annoyance of many NATO countries after the Russo-Georgian war). Germany built a gas pipeline from Russia. NATO above all, had to REINVENT itself into being an organization for international operations from a defence pact. For a long time it even didn't have ANY plans to defend the Baltic States and didn't excersize at all in the new member states. The idea of NATO existing as a defence pact against an outside state like Russia was a thing of the past.

    And how about that NATO or EU enlargement? The obvious fact is that ALL ex-Warsaw Pact countries felt threatened of Russia and truly wanted themselves to join NATO. It's not like the US forced them into NATO. Heck, at first once the Baltic States got independence, the US and UK were asking if Sweden and Finland would take care of them. The two then non-aligned countries didn't think it was a great idea, hence the small states did get into NATO. And in hindsight, it's a totally reasonable action.

    After all, the neocons opened US bases into many Central Asian countries after 9/11. Now, there is no US bases in Central Asia (except Afghanistan). The Central Asian states have remained under Russian dominance, so for Russia just to sit it out and move passively against it when American empire-builders are at the helm in the White House is a successfull strategy.

    And lastly, what would have become IF Russia wouldn't have opted to annex Crimea? Stayed out, let Ukrainian politics alone to be the disaster it allways has been. It would have been a totally logical policy option.

    Ukraine wouldn't have fixed it problems and after the latest upheavel surely wouldn't be now a NATO member. The US involvement in Ukrainian politics would, as usual, likely would have come up to nothing. Just like the US helped the opposition in the ouster of Milosevic, yet Serbia is now an ally of Russia, the US was as inept as usual.

    For Russia to simply sit out and wait would have been the best policy. Of course getting Crimea sounds great for an imperialist, but the actual benefits are truly dubious.

    All the Pro-Russia people would be there in Ukraine and there wouldn't be the animosity against Russia as now. There would be no sanctions and likely the Russia would continue to enjoy good relations with European countries and they would on the other hand continue to downgrade their militaries to small forces capable of only limited peacekeeping operations.

    The fact is, that one can be critical of US actions in many places in the World. Yet one shouldn't think it's all the time doing the wrong things. Starting from the fact that the existence of South Korea indeed makes the world far better than having all Koreans living under a nasty dictatorship and we not having Samsung phones.
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    459
    see the West as an existential threat which is intent on attacking and destroying Russiassu

    Can you blame them? If the US had the same military interference in their neighbourhood by Russia, like the Russians have had from NATO, the reaction from the US would have been a lot more paranoid and catastrophic. The US should take a look at their own foreign policy before criticizing other countries and accusing them of overreacting.
  • René Descartes
    537


    Yes, good point. The U.S has over 800 military bases outside of it's country and Russia has only around 10. I would say that if the U.S is going to complain about Russia, they should disarm their nuclear facilities and get leave all the countries they have bases in.
  • Akanthinos
    617
    If the US had the same military interference in their neighbourhood by Russia, like the Russians have had from NATO, the reaction from the US would have been a lot more paranoid and catastrophic. The US should take a look at their own foreign policy before criticizing other countries and accusing them of overreacting.CuddlyHedgehog

    Yes, because Russia creeping on adjacent countries only started when NATO was founded... :confused:
  • René Descartes
    537


    I'm actually almost finished preparing a thread on American Imperialism, but I don't know when to release it.
  • andrewk
    1.2k
    What is your take on this? Russia seems to be increasingly concerned that it is not given sufficient importance on the world's stageAgustino
    My view on this changed a few months ago when I looked up Russia's population. I had erroneously believed that Russia's population was 250-300million, which would make it the fourth most populous country on Earth.

    To my surprise, I found that its population is less than 150 million. It ranks ninth by population, after China, India, US, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh. All but two of those eight countries get less attention than Russia in world media and diplomatic negotiations.

    If we look by GDP then Russia is twelfth, so even less deserving of superpower status.

    The only areas in which Russia currently excels, other than in corruption, computer crime and human rights violations, are land mass, arms manufacturing and size of its nuclear arsenal. I don't see any of those as items that are deserving of special respect.

    Any Russians reading, please don't be offended by this. I adore Russian literature, music, dance and science. I live in Australia, which is smaller than Russia in GDP (marginally) and population (by a long way), so we are even less deserving of special attention.

    We are, however, the best at cricket.
  • René Descartes
    537
    To my surprise, I found that its population is less than 150 million.andrewk

    And only 81% of those are Ethnic Russians.

    If we look by GDP then Russia is twelfth, so even less deserving of superpower status.andrewk

    Putin lead to a huge rebirth in the economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin brought the GDP to an extreme low and Putins reform managed to save the Russian economy, so without Putin, Russia wouldn't even be at 12th.

    Also, Superpowers are not determined by population or economy, they are determined by a variety of things but mainly by military might. I'm not going to say Switzerland is a superpower because it has the 19th largest economy or that Indonesia is a superpower because it has the fourth largest population.

    We are, however, the best at cricket.andrewk

    Nah mate, New Zealand is the best at cricket.
  • yatagarasu
    52


    To say that the West is truly hostile towards Russia is nonsense. The West is surely is truly arrogant and ignorant when it comes to Russia, but it's not out to get Russia. Not a lot of people with similar ideas as Napoleon or Hitler in the West today.ssu

    From a Russian perspective they see America as an adversary. (as they should) The Warsaw pact fell apart and NATO has reached all the way around Russia. They can no longer pass the Mediterranean easily with their boats (Turkey is NATO and so is every country that was historically always a part of the Eastern Bloc) and America has anti-nuclear defenses in Poland. They have seen their influence pushed back and they are responding with a leader that knows exactly what he is doing.

    Let's just remember that those economic sanctions were put into place because Russia attacked it's neighbour, annexed part of it and still is supporting an ongoing low-intensity conflict.ssu

    Crimea is 70% Russian and Ukrainians are barely the second most populace minority, (Crimean Tatars are at about 11% of the population). In fact they've never been the majority (dating back to the late 1800's. They passed a referendum to be annexed into Russia with overwhelming support. This referendum was attempted by the Crimean parliament several times before but was blocked by the Ukrainian government. Several polls earlier than 2014 were done, all with support of integration into Russia.

    With that said, I still believe they are an issue. Putin is way too aggressive as a leader. He is trying to return Russia to prominence and will do anything to get to the ends. Especially after Russia just escaped deep financial struggles, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. I definitely believe it is salvageable but that begins with both sides being honest about their power plays. Not by ignoring each others complaints.
  • SophistiCat
    329
    Putin's and Kim's rhetoric are getting more and more alike. Both autocrats preside over impoverished nations and demand respect by threatening to destroy the world in a nuclear Armageddon.

    That said, despite the outward form of his appeal ("You didn't listen before - listen up now!"), Putin's rhetoric was probably intended more for domestic consumption. (The reception of those fabulous super-weapons of his was rather incredulous outside Russia's tightly controlled mass media.) Which is, if anything, even more disturbing. The traditional narrative preferred by Western leaders is to portray a people suffering under the thumb of a hated dictator; they just need a little help and encouragement to topple him - and then a bright liberal-democratic future beckons. But Russians love Putin, even as they suffer and grumble. And they lap up all this militaristic rhetoric.

    And it's not just Russia. Eastern Europe is rapidly sliding back towards authoritarianism, much of the rest of Europe and even the US are being engulfed by right-wing populism... It feels like 1930s all over again, only this time on an even more global scale.

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
  • The Devils Disciple
    17
    World history is nothing but a repetition of catastrophe; waiting for one final catastrophe

    I think it was Emil Cioran who said that, the more i learn about the world the more i think he might be right. After the Holocaust and the atom bomb humanity was offered one chance to get it right, but it seems like we are repeating ourselves, only now the cost is too high.
  • Agustino
    11k
    Yes, but this does not mean that they are not a threat. They ARE a real threat for Europe (especially the Eastern countries), and most of the countries surrounding them (with the exception of China). So they are absolutely a regional power, and that is more than enough to cause a lot of damage to the world, even though they clearly would not be able to compete with the US or China in terms of world hegemony (at least not yet).
  • René Descartes
    537


    This is a typical American Imperialist view:
    America is the greatest country, we have the greatest freedom, the greatest democracy and the best people. We must free the rest of the world who are all ignorant evil demons, etc.

    Eastern Europe is rapidly sliding back towards authoritarianismSophistiCat

    Maybe because they are sick of America trying to rule over them, trying to enforce their systems and culture and military onto them. If I were living in Eastern Europe and I saw American troops there, of course I would react. It's an occupation disguised as a liberation.

    Both autocrats preside over impoverished nationsSophistiCat

    As has been already stated, if you are willing to read, Russia has the 12th largest GDP, so I would not go on to call it impoverished. Economically though, both Kim and Putin's nations have been under embargos so i think it's fair enough they are upset at the West.

    But Russians love Putin, even as they suffer and grumble. And they lap up all this militaristic rhetoric.SophistiCat

    The more the West moves against Putin, the greater his popularity increases. Russians are not idiots. Actually they are very smart people, i know a few and they are academics. Russia has the highest literacy rate.
  • René Descartes
    537


    It's funny how the U.S is portraying Russia as this big bogeyman who wants to lead the world to Nuclear warfare, yet America was the only nation who dropped two nuclear bombs on heavily populated cities. And none of the Americans were ever convicted of war crimes, unlike the German generals who were hung. :rofl:
  • SophistiCat
    329
    I see that putinverstehers are out in force :roll:

    From a Russian perspective they see America as an adversary. (as they should) The Warsaw pact fell apart and NATO has reached all the way around Russia.yatagarasu

    Right, because it is Russia's birthright to dominate and subjugate and occasionally dismember its smaller neighbors, which the West should respect (or else!) It needs that security blanket of dependent states to insulate it from the West. Never mind that no one forced the former Communist nations to join NATO; they were clamoring to join as soon as Russia loosened its grip - and boy are they now glad they did! Montenegro couldn't get in fast enough. But who cares about them? Only nuclear superpowers are entitled to carve up the world as they see fit, right?
  • SophistiCat
    329
    As has been already stated, if you are willing to read, Russia has the 12th largest GDP, so I would not go on to call it impoverished.René Descartes

    Russia ranks 71 for per capita GDP, and half of it comes from selling its natural resources.
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