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At the tail end of the Cold War, there was an incredible atmosphere of Americanophilia throughout the USSR, including amongst Russians.

poll-levada-russia-usa-approval

Blue – approve of USA; orange – disapprove.

Around 75%-80% of Russians approved of the United States around 1990, versus <10% disapproval.

By modern standards, this would have put Russia into the top leagues of America fans, such as Poland, Israel, and the United Kingdom. It was also around 10%-15% points higher than contemporary US approval of Russia.

The blogger genby dug up a VCIOM poll from 1990 asking Russians – that is, Russians within the RSFSR, i.e. the territory of the modern day Russian Federation – what they thought about Americans.

The poll was redone in 2015, keeping the same questions, which allows a direct comparison between the two dates.

What in your opinion characterizes the United States? 1990 2015
High criminality and moral degradation 1 15
No warmth in people’s relations 1 15
High living standards 35 12
Large gap between rich and poor 5 11
Racial discrimination 1 9
Highly developed science and technology 15 7
Success depends on personal effort 20 7
Free society 13 5
Other . 6
Can’t say for sure 10 12

I would wager Russian opinions on America were more positive c.1990 than the opinions of the average American on his own country today!

Is US government friendly or hostile to Russia? 1990 2015
Friendly 35 3
Not very friendly 40 32
Hostile 2 59
Can’t say 23 6

These results speak for themselves and hardly need more commentary.

Nowadays, of course, things are rather different. Suffice to say the numbers of America fans have plummeted, while the percentage of Russians with actively negative views emerged essentially out of nowhere to constitute majority opinion. According to other polls, Russian approval of the US rarely breaks above 30%, and the sentiments are quite mutual. Just 1% (that’s one percent) of Russians approved of US leadership by 2016. Although there were hopes that this trend would turn around after Trump, which seemed plausible in early 2017 and indeed seemed to be happening, this was in the end not to be.

What I think is more significant is that nobody likes to talk about it now, because it reflects badly on pretty much everyone.

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for… jeans and “common human values.” These figures testify to the complete and utter failure of Soviet propaganda, which spent decades spinning tales about American criminality, unemployment, and lynched Negroes only to end up with a society with some of the most Americanophile sentiments in the entire world. It also makes it much harder to scapegoat Gorbachev, or the mythical saboteurs and CIA agents in power that feature prominently in sovok conspiracy theories, for unraveling the Soviet Union, when ordinary Soviets themselves considered America the next best thing since Lenin and the US government to be their friend.

For their part, Americans would have to acknowledge that Russians do not have a kneejerk hatred of America, and that the “loss of Russia” was largely of their own doing. The arrogant refusal to take into account Russian interests after the Cold War, instead bombing their allies, expanding NATO to Russian borders in contravention of verbal commitments made to the USSR, and for all intents and purposes treating it as a defeated Power, may have made sense when it seemed that the US would be the world’s dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia was doomed to die anyway – as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s. And from a purely Realpolitik perspective, the results have hardly been catastrophic; the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework, and closed off the possibility of the “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. On the other hand, in a world where China is fast becoming a peer competitor – with the implicit backing of a resentful Russia – this may, in retrospect, not have been the best long-term play.

 
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  1. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Well, this Americanophobia plays well for Americans, who afford a new arms race. Yes, you may think that America is deep in debt, but its creditors see it as an investment. When the Exxons of the West will milk the Siberian mineral riches, America will pay everything back. The alternative, a world where they would invest in Rosneft in order to get a share of the plunder of, idk, Gulf of Mexico, is silly. As we saw in the 80′s, the best form of war against Russia is not to bomb and starve Moscow. That won’t scare the locals. Let Kremlin do it instead.

    If Putin is not careful, if he doesn’t go low tech, low cost, the Americans will win the long game.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Is this a gag post or do you blog while s**tfaced?
    , @Anonymous
    t. le 56% face.

    America's national IQ will be below 90 in a few decades so I really doubt that.

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  2. Art Deco says:

    Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for… jeans and “common human values.”

    Your ‘empire’ fell to pieces as rapidly as the Hapsburgs’ in 1918 and you had to expend handsome sums in an attempt just to hold onto Chechenya (populaiton 1.1 million). You have 150 million people as is and can do without having to stomp on recalcitrant minorities and to craft institutions which function in multilingual environments. You never had much of a constituency in Austria for attempting to reassemble the Hapsburg dominions and Hungary’s ambitions haven’t in the last century gone beyond attempting to capture Magyar exclaves.

    Look at the other principals in the 1st world war: overseas dependencies retained by them consist of a portfolio of insular territories which prefer their current status and whose total population hardly exceeds that of Switzerland. The only one which has retained contiguous peripheral provinces predominantly populated by minorities would be Turkey. You’re not injured for the loss of an opportunity to replicate the Turkish experience with ethnic cleansing (of Greeks and Armenians) conjoined to abuse (of Kurds). Everyone lost their empire, and they’re not generally the worse for it.

    You have a large national state. Kvetching that you don’t have Azerbaijan or Estonia is inconsistent with good sense.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    You have a large national state.
     
    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state. Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' - an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    PS: just because we had trouble holding onto Chechnya doesn't mean that annexing Belarus will be hard. Sure, we can expect blowback in the form of Western sanctions, but I don't anticipate much resistance from inside Belarus.
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  3. Randal says:

    Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making

    What’s remarkable to me about that graph of opinion over time is how pig-headedly resilient Russian naivety about the US has been. Time after time it appears the scales would fall from Russians’ eyes after the US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia), and within a few months approval would be back up to 50% or above. It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia),

    There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events.
    , @Swedish Family

    It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.
     
    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia's state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.
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  4. Art Deco says:

    See Thomas Sowell: recrimination is the modal human response to embarrassments and failures. Constructive activity (see Japan between 1867 and 1931) is eccentric but effective. Be Meiji Japan. Don’t be Latin America and don’t be the Arab world.

    Read More
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  5. Art Deco says:
    @Randal

    Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making
     
    What's remarkable to me about that graph of opinion over time is how pig-headedly resilient Russian naivety about the US has been. Time after time it appears the scales would fall from Russians' eyes after the US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia), and within a few months approval would be back up to 50% or above. It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.

    US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia),

    There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events.

    Read More
    • LOL: melanf
    • Replies: @Randal

    There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events
     
    That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments, and supporting Georgia was, like NATO expansion in general and numerous other consistently provocative US foreign policy measures directed against post-Soviet Russia, a literally stupid matter of turning a potential ally against the real rival China into an enemy and ally of said rival.

    You are perfectly entitled to endorse mere stupidity on the part of your rulers, but the fact that you so shamelessly approve of waging illegal wars counter to treaty commitments discredits any opinions you might have on such matters.
    , @Anon
    Don't you admire PNAC?
    , @Beefcake the Mighty
    Cuck.
    , @anonymous

    There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events.
     
    In a way, you are right. One needs a sense of shame to feel disgraced. The Evil Empire has no such sense.
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  6. Art Deco says:
    @Anon
    Well, this Americanophobia plays well for Americans, who afford a new arms race. Yes, you may think that America is deep in debt, but its creditors see it as an investment. When the Exxons of the West will milk the Siberian mineral riches, America will pay everything back. The alternative, a world where they would invest in Rosneft in order to get a share of the plunder of, idk, Gulf of Mexico, is silly. As we saw in the 80's, the best form of war against Russia is not to bomb and starve Moscow. That won't scare the locals. Let Kremlin do it instead.

    If Putin is not careful, if he doesn't go low tech, low cost, the Americans will win the long game.

    Is this a gag post or do you blog while s**tfaced?

    Read More
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  7. Randal says:
    @Art Deco
    US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia),

    There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events.

    There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events

    That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments, and supporting Georgia was, like NATO expansion in general and numerous other consistently provocative US foreign policy measures directed against post-Soviet Russia, a literally stupid matter of turning a potential ally against the real rival China into an enemy and ally of said rival.

    You are perfectly entitled to endorse mere stupidity on the part of your rulers, but the fact that you so shamelessly approve of waging illegal wars counter to treaty commitments discredits any opinions you might have on such matters.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments,

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming.
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  8. Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy

    Actually, present Russian borders are more those of Peter the Great, circa 1717, than Old Muscovy. Russia, unlike nearly all the Great Powers of the C20th, has retained its Empire – Siberia, the Russian Far East, Kamchatka, South Russia and the Crimea ( first acquired as recently as 1783 ).
    Once those dim-witted Ukies finally implode the Ukrainian economy, Russia will be able to gobble up the rest of southern and eastern Ukraine – all the way to Odessa.
    The places that seceded from the Soviet Union are places that Russians don’t want ( Northern Kazakhstan excepted ) and are urgently required to receive all those Central Asian immigrants who will be deported by sensible Russian governments in the near future. ( I exclude Armenians from the last clause )

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  9. inertial says:

    Yes, US had squandered a lot of good will in exchange for extremely valuable “geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe.”

    Incidentally, Soviet propaganda was never anti-American. It was anti-capitalist, an important distinction. Whereas in America, anti-Russian propaganda has always been anti-Russian.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Soviets and Soviet Union were always in awe of America. You could see it in "between-the-lines" of the texts of the so-called anti-imperialist, anti-American Soviet propaganda. It was about catching up with American in steel production and TV sets ownership and so on. American was the ultimate goal and people did not think of American as an enemy.

    Then there is the fact that Bolsheviks and Soviet Union owed a lot to America though this knowledge was not commonly known. Perhaps one should take look at these hidden connections to see what was the real mechanism bending the plug being pulled off the USSR. There might be even an analogy to South Africa but that is another story.
    , @Thea
    There was some distinctly anti-communist propaganda in the USA up until the end of the Cold War. Pro-communist propaganda as well, actually. It wasn't always targeted at the Russian people.
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  10. Mitleser says:

    the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework,

    Washington could get both by integrating and not alienating americanophile Russia.

    closed off the possibility of the “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” envisaged by Charles de Gaulle.

    It also closed off the possibility of an American-led Global North.

    Read More
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  11. Art Deco says:
    @Randal

    There are no disgraces incorporated into any of these events
     
    That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments, and supporting Georgia was, like NATO expansion in general and numerous other consistently provocative US foreign policy measures directed against post-Soviet Russia, a literally stupid matter of turning a potential ally against the real rival China into an enemy and ally of said rival.

    You are perfectly entitled to endorse mere stupidity on the part of your rulers, but the fact that you so shamelessly approve of waging illegal wars counter to treaty commitments discredits any opinions you might have on such matters.

    That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments,

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine. US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever. US interests suffered as a result of its ill-advised agression, they ended up empowering their avowed enemy - Iran.
    , @reiner Tor

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq
     
    Except the UN Charter and the Helsinki Accords. The latter only with Serbia.
    , @Randal

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq
     
    The treaty commitment in question was with almost the entire rest of the world, namely when your country entirely voluntarily signed up to a commitment to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state". If your country had retained the slightest trace of integrity and self-respect it would at least have had the decency to withdraw from membership of the the UN when it chose to breach those treaty commitments.

    And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts for weaselling out of their country's commitment, such as a wholly imaginary entitlement for them to decide for themselves when there is a "humanitarian" justification for doing so, or make up wholesale fantasy allegations about "weapons of mass destruction" that even if true wouldn't justify war.

    An entire nation state behaving like a lying '60s hippy or a shamelessly dishonest aggressor.

    I'm sure you're proud.

    and both places had it coming.
     
    A straightforward confession of lawless rogue state behaviour, basically.

    Do you actually think somehow you are improving your country's position with such arguments? Better for a real American patriot to just stop digging and keep sheepishly quiet about the past three decades of foreign policy.
    , @Anon
    "We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming."

    What an idiotic comment from a simpleton. Typical 'Murican, ladies and gentlemen. They can't be reasoned with because they lack the faculty in the first place.
    , @Anon
    Is this you, Mr. McCabe? Sorry for your early dementia that prevents you from remembering how you signed, with your own hand, a document conforming that the "dossier" has been paid by Clinton et al.
    What do you not understand in a definition "illegal war of aggression?" -- Your Jewish mother did not tell you a word about Nuremberg protocols?
    , @anonymous
    Ah, the cocky hasbarist type a-hole, aren't you.

    Anyway, with a fucked-up attitude like that, you better watch out, for life has a way of cutting down people to size.

    You got it coming too man.
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  12. Donnyess says: • Website

    “Soviet propaganda, which spend decades spinning tales about American criminality, unemployment, and lynched Negroes”

    Now they can spin tales about the Trump admin lynching white gun owners…giving their jobs to Negros…giving their land to dogs that spread fleas.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    I haven't heard either Russia, or the Right in the USA, alleging that African-"Americans" are taking white Americans' jobs.

    Generally, I don't know anyone in the USA whose complaint about African-"Americans" is that they are working.
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  13. @Art Deco
    Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for… jeans and “common human values.”

    Your 'empire' fell to pieces as rapidly as the Hapsburgs' in 1918 and you had to expend handsome sums in an attempt just to hold onto Chechenya (populaiton 1.1 million). You have 150 million people as is and can do without having to stomp on recalcitrant minorities and to craft institutions which function in multilingual environments. You never had much of a constituency in Austria for attempting to reassemble the Hapsburg dominions and Hungary's ambitions haven't in the last century gone beyond attempting to capture Magyar exclaves.

    Look at the other principals in the 1st world war: overseas dependencies retained by them consist of a portfolio of insular territories which prefer their current status and whose total population hardly exceeds that of Switzerland. The only one which has retained contiguous peripheral provinces predominantly populated by minorities would be Turkey. You're not injured for the loss of an opportunity to replicate the Turkish experience with ethnic cleansing (of Greeks and Armenians) conjoined to abuse (of Kurds). Everyone lost their empire, and they're not generally the worse for it.

    You have a large national state. Kvetching that you don't have Azerbaijan or Estonia is inconsistent with good sense.

    You have a large national state.

    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state. Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it’s that all the land that’s historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    PS: just because we had trouble holding onto Chechnya doesn’t mean that annexing Belarus will be hard. Sure, we can expect blowback in the form of Western sanctions, but I don’t anticipate much resistance from inside Belarus.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state.

    Your 'rump state' extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.


    Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    It's western borders are no more artificial than that of any other country not bounded by mountains or water.



    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ –

    'Essential'? You just can't get through the day without Minsk?


    As for White Russia, your constituency there has in its dimensions fallen by half in the last 20 years.

    http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/


    As for the Ukraine, you've no discernable constituency for reunification. The constituency for a Russophile foreign policy weighs in there at about 12% of the public. VP's three-dimensional chess game is going swimmingly.



    My own forebears discovered in 1813 that the residue of British North America was quite content with gracious George III, and our boys got their assess handed to them by them Cannucks. We got over it and so can you. Miss Ukraine is just not that into you. Best not to play the stalker.
    , @AP

    reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ – an actual Russian nation-state.
     
    In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime. Obviously there will have to be a militarized occupation regime and prison camps and a network of informants. A proud home.

    Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it’s that all the land that’s historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.
     
    Baltics were Russian longer than Ukraine. Central Poland became Russian at the same time as did half of Ukraine. According to the 1897 census, there were about as many Great Russian speakers in Kiev governate as in Warsaw. Take the Baltics and Warsaw back too?
    , @Cato
    Northern Kazakhstan is/was ethnically Russian, since the 1700s. This should have been folded into Russia; the North Caucasus should have been cut loose. My opinion.
    , @Dicky Cone
    Out of curiosity are you guys (Russian nationalists) hoping to get back all of Ukraine, or just a certain part of the east? Would you draw the line at the Dnieper River or somewhere like that?
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  14. @Randal

    Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making
     
    What's remarkable to me about that graph of opinion over time is how pig-headedly resilient Russian naivety about the US has been. Time after time it appears the scales would fall from Russians' eyes after the US regime disgraced itself particularly egregiously (Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia), and within a few months approval would be back up to 50% or above. It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.

    It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.

    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia’s state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.
     
    How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.
    , @Randal

    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia’s state-owned media.
     
    There seems no evident reason to look for another explanation for the drops in pro-American sentiment. They seem eminently justified by the US's behaviour over the period 1990-date and perfectly unsurprising.

    What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.

    In the west, opinion of the US was managed upwards with the Obama presidency because he fitted so well with US sphere establishment antiracist and leftist dogmas that he had almost universally positive (even hagiographic) mainstream media coverage throughout the US sphere, but with Trump opinions of the US are mostly back down where Bush II left them. It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn't around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.

    It's understandable that following a particular instance of particularly bad US behaviour (such as Kosovo or Iraq) opinion of the US in US sphere states would dip dramatically (as it did, mostly) and then recover slowly to roughly its long term mean, because those crimes were not directed against the interests of US sphere states or elites. But they very much were targeted at Russia or its interests and disadvantageous to Russia and its global status. Russians had few excuses for failing to see that the US was an implacable and dangerous enemy from at least Kosovo onward, and yet they repeatedly chose to pretend to themselves that it wasn't.
    , @Mitleser

    This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.
     
    Why are you assuming that the pendulum would swing back?
    The Kremlin is still playing nice with Western "partners".
    The alternative does not have to be more pro-American.
    , @melanf

    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia’s state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.
     
    Definitely no
    American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.
    , @Anon
    "Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia’s state-owned media."
    You are totally wrong. The former Soviets have a painful memory of the WWII. Millions died. The US blatant amoral coup-d'etat in Kiev -- and the ensuing danger of a war on Russian borders -- has completely changed the Russians' mindset. If your immediate family has ever suffered a catastrophic loss of its members to a war, you would not produce such an immature conjecture. Imagine yourself collecting the pieces of what used to be your child – this is what the Middle Eastern population has been subjected to on a grand scale by the US/Israel.
    , @Choban
    Actually, the change in opinion was brought on by opening of all channels of communication. Once Russians perceived the colors western media was painting them in, there was very little that had to be done by their media machine.
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  15. @Art Deco
    That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments,

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming.

    With that kind of thinking I don’t see how you can criticise Russia’s incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine. US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever. US interests suffered as a result of its ill-advised agression, they ended up empowering their avowed enemy – Iran.

    Read More
    • Agree: Thea
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    With that kind of thinking I don’t see how you can criticise Russia’s incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine.

    They dissed you. La di dah. My own countrymen have put up with that from an array of Eurotrash and 3d world kleptocrats every time we open the newspaper.



    US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever.

    No, we did so because that was the best alternative. The other alternative was a sanctions regime which Big Consciences were assuring the world was causing a six-digit population of excess deaths each year or taking the sanctions off and letting Saddam and the other Tikritis to follow their Id. Iraq was a charnel house, and the world is well rid of the Tikriti regime, especially Iraq's Kurdish and Shia provinces, which have been quiet for a decade. You don't take an interest in the ocean of blood for which the Ba'ath Party was responsible, but you're terribly butthurt that politicians in Kiev don't take orders from Moscow. Felix, I can taste teh Crazy.
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  16. @Swedish Family

    It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.
     
    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia's state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

    This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

    How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.
     
    They are indeed, but my assumption is that Russia's present elite is, for the most part, corruptible. Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure -- carrot and stick -- to deregulate Russia's media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West. Only a few days ago, we learnt that Washington ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia's internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?
    , @RadicalCenter
    Similarly, it doesn't seem likely that the US government will give up its control and influence over the "independent media" that many Americans still think we have.
    , @RobinG
    You're ignoring the obvious fallacy of Swedish Family's comment. Does SF really think the Kremlin had less control of the media in the Soviet era?
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  17. Art Deco says:
    @Felix Keverich

    You have a large national state.
     
    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state. Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' - an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    PS: just because we had trouble holding onto Chechnya doesn't mean that annexing Belarus will be hard. Sure, we can expect blowback in the form of Western sanctions, but I don't anticipate much resistance from inside Belarus.

    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state.

    Your ‘rump state’ extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.

    Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    It’s western borders are no more artificial than that of any other country not bounded by mountains or water.

    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ –

    ‘Essential’? You just can’t get through the day without Minsk?

    As for White Russia, your constituency there has in its dimensions fallen by half in the last 20 years.

    http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/

    As for the Ukraine, you’ve no discernable constituency for reunification. The constituency for a Russophile foreign policy weighs in there at about 12% of the public. VP’s three-dimensional chess game is going swimmingly.

    My own forebears discovered in 1813 that the residue of British North America was quite content with gracious George III, and our boys got their assess handed to them by them Cannucks. We got over it and so can you. Miss Ukraine is just not that into you. Best not to play the stalker.

    Read More
    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @inertial
    As for the Ukraine, you’ve no discernable constituency for reunification.

    You don't know much about Ukraine.

    , @Felix Keverich

    Your ‘rump state’ extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.
     
    Exactly, and you're missing the point. Re-read my previous comment again:
    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it’s that all the land that’s historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of "заграница" - foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban'.

    http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/
     
    I don't care, because this isn't a popularity contest. There were similar polls in Crimea showing majority support for the EU, just before the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia. LOL

    The question that matters to me is will there be a vast resistance movement inside Belarus following the annexation, and to be honest I don't expect one.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Folks in Belarus shouldn't make up their minds about applying to the EU until they speak with regular German, French, English, and Swedish people about the effects of the Islamic / Third World immivasion that the EU has imposed on them. My wife and I speak & correspond with Germans living in Germany frequently, and the real state of affairs for non-elite Germans is getting worse fast, with no good end in sight.

    Anyone who does not desire to die or at best live subjugated under sharia -- and sharia run largely by cruel dimwits from Africa and Arabia -- ought to stay out (or GET out of) the EU.

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  18. inertial says:
    @Art Deco
    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state.

    Your 'rump state' extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.


    Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    It's western borders are no more artificial than that of any other country not bounded by mountains or water.



    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ –

    'Essential'? You just can't get through the day without Minsk?


    As for White Russia, your constituency there has in its dimensions fallen by half in the last 20 years.

    http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/


    As for the Ukraine, you've no discernable constituency for reunification. The constituency for a Russophile foreign policy weighs in there at about 12% of the public. VP's three-dimensional chess game is going swimmingly.



    My own forebears discovered in 1813 that the residue of British North America was quite content with gracious George III, and our boys got their assess handed to them by them Cannucks. We got over it and so can you. Miss Ukraine is just not that into you. Best not to play the stalker.

    As for the Ukraine, you’ve no discernable constituency for reunification.

    You don’t know much about Ukraine.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    You don’t know much about Ukraine.

    Nice try at pulling rank. There is still no discernable constituency in favor of it in the Ukraine. The Romanov pretender in Florida might poll better.
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  19. Art Deco says:
    @Felix Keverich
    With that kind of thinking I don't see how you can criticise Russia's incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine. US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever. US interests suffered as a result of its ill-advised agression, they ended up empowering their avowed enemy - Iran.

    With that kind of thinking I don’t see how you can criticise Russia’s incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine.

    They dissed you. La di dah. My own countrymen have put up with that from an array of Eurotrash and 3d world kleptocrats every time we open the newspaper.

    US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever.

    No, we did so because that was the best alternative. The other alternative was a sanctions regime which Big Consciences were assuring the world was causing a six-digit population of excess deaths each year or taking the sanctions off and letting Saddam and the other Tikritis to follow their Id. Iraq was a charnel house, and the world is well rid of the Tikriti regime, especially Iraq’s Kurdish and Shia provinces, which have been quiet for a decade. You don’t take an interest in the ocean of blood for which the Ba’ath Party was responsible, but you’re terribly butthurt that politicians in Kiev don’t take orders from Moscow. Felix, I can taste teh Crazy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    The way I see it "an ocean of blood" in Iraq was unleashed following US invasion, and it included plenty of American blood. Young healthy American men lost their lifes in Iraq, lost their their bodyparts (arms, legs, their nuts), lost their sanity, and as an American I can't imagine that you were pleased about that. Certainly, most of your countrymen didn't feel this way, they didn't feel this war was worth it for the US.
    , @animalogic
    "US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever.

    No, we did so because that was the best alternative. The other alternative was a sanctions regime which Big Consciences were assuring the world was causing a six-digit population of excess deaths each year or taking the sanctions off and letting Saddam and the other Tikritis to follow their Id. "
    Well, no, the best alternative was to do nothing. There were no weapons of "mass destruction (which everyone, esp Cheney & Rumsted KNEW & the US had largely destroyed Iraq's economy. So, why - oh I remember, Saddam was in league with his enemies to do 9/11....
    And - please- don't play this moral heads I win, tails you lose nonsense. The US is MORE than happy to support any dictatorial regime however bloody, so long as it is COMPLIANT.
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  20. Art Deco says:
    @inertial
    As for the Ukraine, you’ve no discernable constituency for reunification.

    You don't know much about Ukraine.

    You don’t know much about Ukraine.

    Nice try at pulling rank. There is still no discernable constituency in favor of it in the Ukraine. The Romanov pretender in Florida might poll better.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    One more time for you, ArtDeco, -- "You don’t know much about Ukraine."
    You just are not knowledgeable enough to lecture the Unz' readers about Russia and Ukraine and Belorussia. Do some reading first.
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  21. @Art Deco
    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state.

    Your 'rump state' extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.


    Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    It's western borders are no more artificial than that of any other country not bounded by mountains or water.



    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ –

    'Essential'? You just can't get through the day without Minsk?


    As for White Russia, your constituency there has in its dimensions fallen by half in the last 20 years.

    http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/


    As for the Ukraine, you've no discernable constituency for reunification. The constituency for a Russophile foreign policy weighs in there at about 12% of the public. VP's three-dimensional chess game is going swimmingly.



    My own forebears discovered in 1813 that the residue of British North America was quite content with gracious George III, and our boys got their assess handed to them by them Cannucks. We got over it and so can you. Miss Ukraine is just not that into you. Best not to play the stalker.

    Your ‘rump state’ extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.

    Exactly, and you’re missing the point. Re-read my previous comment again:
    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it’s that all the land that’s historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of “заграница” – foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban’.

    http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/

    I don’t care, because this isn’t a popularity contest. There were similar polls in Crimea showing majority support for the EU, just before the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia. LOL

    The question that matters to me is will there be a vast resistance movement inside Belarus following the annexation, and to be honest I don’t expect one.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Neither the Ukrainians nor probably the Belorussians want to join Russia. Get over it. You still have a big enough country.
    , @AP

    Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of “заграница” – foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban’.
     
    The last two sentences contradict the first.

    Russians tend to be rather ignorant of Ukrainians, and you are no different.
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  22. @Art Deco
    That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments,

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming.

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq

    Except the UN Charter and the Helsinki Accords. The latter only with Serbia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Neither apply.
    , @animalogic
    And the Kellogg-Braind [?] pact.
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  23. @Felix Keverich

    Your ‘rump state’ extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.
     
    Exactly, and you're missing the point. Re-read my previous comment again:
    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it’s that all the land that’s historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of "заграница" - foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban'.

    http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/
     
    I don't care, because this isn't a popularity contest. There were similar polls in Crimea showing majority support for the EU, just before the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia. LOL

    The question that matters to me is will there be a vast resistance movement inside Belarus following the annexation, and to be honest I don't expect one.

    Neither the Ukrainians nor probably the Belorussians want to join Russia. Get over it. You still have a big enough country.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    The fact is neither did Crimeans really want to join Russia (polls didn't show that), and yet our re-unification has been a huge success! I honestly can't think of good reason, why we can't go futher.
    , @inertial
    Correction. It's the elites that don't want to join Russia. And the reason they don't is because the West gives them goodies for being anti-Russian. This kind of strategy worked pretty well so far (for the West) in Eastern Europe and it will continue to work for some time yet. But not forever, not in Ukraine and Belorussia.

    That's because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian. The rulers of Ukraine and, to a much lesser degree, Belorussia are trying to erect cultural barriers between themselves and Russia. Good luck with that, in the 21st century. It's more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world. Eventually it will tell.

    Now, the question is if Russians will even want Ukraine back. This is not so clear.
    , @Anon
    Have you asked Ukrainians who are not Groysmans and Pravyj sector neo-Nazi thugs? Do some research on pensions, health care, and overall welfare for ordinary Ukrainians after the Kagans' revolution of 2014.
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  24. @Art Deco
    With that kind of thinking I don’t see how you can criticise Russia’s incursions into the Ukraine. At least Russia has an actual reason to fight a war in the Ukraine.

    They dissed you. La di dah. My own countrymen have put up with that from an array of Eurotrash and 3d world kleptocrats every time we open the newspaper.



    US invaded and destroyed Iraqi state for no reason whatsoever.

    No, we did so because that was the best alternative. The other alternative was a sanctions regime which Big Consciences were assuring the world was causing a six-digit population of excess deaths each year or taking the sanctions off and letting Saddam and the other Tikritis to follow their Id. Iraq was a charnel house, and the world is well rid of the Tikriti regime, especially Iraq's Kurdish and Shia provinces, which have been quiet for a decade. You don't take an interest in the ocean of blood for which the Ba'ath Party was responsible, but you're terribly butthurt that politicians in Kiev don't take orders from Moscow. Felix, I can taste teh Crazy.

    The way I see it “an ocean of blood” in Iraq was unleashed following US invasion, and it included plenty of American blood. Young healthy American men lost their lifes in Iraq, lost their their bodyparts (arms, legs, their nuts), lost their sanity, and as an American I can’t imagine that you were pleased about that. Certainly, most of your countrymen didn’t feel this way, they didn’t feel this war was worth it for the US.

    Read More
    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    “an ocean of blood” in Iraq was unleashed following US invasion,

    By various and sundry Sunni insurgents, who continue to distort and disfigure life in the provinces where they have a critical mass of the population. The Kurdish and Shia provinces are quiet.
    , @Bill Jones
    Far too few Americans died for the Iraq crime.
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  25. Randal says:
    @Art Deco
    That might be your opinion, but Kosovo and Iraq were openly illegal wars of aggression in which the US shamelessly flouted its own treaty commitments,

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq and both places had it coming.

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq

    The treaty commitment in question was with almost the entire rest of the world, namely when your country entirely voluntarily signed up to a commitment to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”. If your country had retained the slightest trace of integrity and self-respect it would at least have had the decency to withdraw from membership of the the UN when it chose to breach those treaty commitments.

    And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts for weaselling out of their country’s commitment, such as a wholly imaginary entitlement for them to decide for themselves when there is a “humanitarian” justification for doing so, or make up wholesale fantasy allegations about “weapons of mass destruction” that even if true wouldn’t justify war.

    An entire nation state behaving like a lying ’60s hippy or a shamelessly dishonest aggressor.

    I’m sure you’re proud.

    and both places had it coming.

    A straightforward confession of lawless rogue state behaviour, basically.

    Do you actually think somehow you are improving your country’s position with such arguments? Better for a real American patriot to just stop digging and keep sheepishly quiet about the past three decades of foreign policy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Do you actually think somehow you are improving your country’s position with such arguments?

    Depends on the degree to which my interlocutor lives in a bubble breathing in the air of his own mephitic resentments.
    , @animalogic
    I just read Art's nonsensical bit of figurative reply to your well stated points: he appears to be not worth the effort....
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  26. @reiner Tor
    Neither the Ukrainians nor probably the Belorussians want to join Russia. Get over it. You still have a big enough country.

    The fact is neither did Crimeans really want to join Russia (polls didn’t show that), and yet our re-unification has been a huge success! I honestly can’t think of good reason, why we can’t go futher.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    The fact is neither did Crimeans really want to join Russia (polls didn’t show that)
     
    Nonsense, Mr. Clueless-About-Ukraine:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_status_referendum,_2014#Polling

    Polling by the Razumkov Centre in 2008 found that 63.8% of Crimeans (76% of Russians, 55% of Ukrainians, and 14% of Crimean Tatars, respectively) would like Crimea to secede from Ukraine and join Russia and 53.8% would like to preserve its current status, but with expanded powers and rights.... A poll by the International Republican Institute in May 2013 found that 53% wanted "Autonomy in Ukraine (as today)", 12% were for "Crimean Tatar autonomy within Ukraine", 2% for "Common oblast of Ukraine" and 23% voted for "Crimea should be separated and given to Russia".

    The takeaway is that Crimeans were satisfied being part of Ukraine as long as Ukraine had an ethnic Russian, generally pro-Russian president like Yanukovich in charge (2013 poll), but preferred being part of Russia to being part of a Ukrainian state run by Ukrainians (2008 poll, post-Maidan).
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  27. Mr. XYZ says:

    : Would Russia have been interested in joining both the E.U. and NATO?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Would Russia have been interested in joining both the E.U. and NATO?
     
    Integration into West is what Russians wanted.

    An example

    IF RUSSIA HAD THE CHANCE TO BECOME A FULL MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION NOW, WOULD YOU BE FOR OR AGAINST THIS? (N=800)
     
    08/2009:
    For: 53%
    Against: 21%
    Difficult to say: 27%
    https://www.levada.ru/en/2016/06/10/russia-s-friends-and-enemies-2/
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  28. Art Deco says:
    @reiner Tor

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq
     
    Except the UN Charter and the Helsinki Accords. The latter only with Serbia.

    Neither apply.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    They do.
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  29. Art Deco says:
    @Felix Keverich
    The way I see it "an ocean of blood" in Iraq was unleashed following US invasion, and it included plenty of American blood. Young healthy American men lost their lifes in Iraq, lost their their bodyparts (arms, legs, their nuts), lost their sanity, and as an American I can't imagine that you were pleased about that. Certainly, most of your countrymen didn't feel this way, they didn't feel this war was worth it for the US.

    “an ocean of blood” in Iraq was unleashed following US invasion,

    By various and sundry Sunni insurgents, who continue to distort and disfigure life in the provinces where they have a critical mass of the population. The Kurdish and Shia provinces are quiet.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together, which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country. And now these Shia communities vote for pro-Iran politicians, who gradually turn Iraq into Iranian puppet - is this why American soldiers died?

    C'mon, Iraq invasion was a disaster for the US whichever way you look at it. That's what happens when you start a war for the wrong reasons.
    , @Anon
    Hey, ArtDeco, you are not an American -- you are an Israel-firster. Any sane American would first think about the tragedy of the mutilated bodies and minds of your boys and girls, but for the Israel-firsters (like the witchy Jew Madeleine Albright) "the price worth it." All according to Oded Yinon plan.
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  30. Art Deco says:
    @Randal

    We had no treaty commitments with either Serbia or Iraq
     
    The treaty commitment in question was with almost the entire rest of the world, namely when your country entirely voluntarily signed up to a commitment to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state". If your country had retained the slightest trace of integrity and self-respect it would at least have had the decency to withdraw from membership of the the UN when it chose to breach those treaty commitments.

    And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts for weaselling out of their country's commitment, such as a wholly imaginary entitlement for them to decide for themselves when there is a "humanitarian" justification for doing so, or make up wholesale fantasy allegations about "weapons of mass destruction" that even if true wouldn't justify war.

    An entire nation state behaving like a lying '60s hippy or a shamelessly dishonest aggressor.

    I'm sure you're proud.

    and both places had it coming.
     
    A straightforward confession of lawless rogue state behaviour, basically.

    Do you actually think somehow you are improving your country's position with such arguments? Better for a real American patriot to just stop digging and keep sheepishly quiet about the past three decades of foreign policy.

    Do you actually think somehow you are improving your country’s position with such arguments?

    Depends on the degree to which my interlocutor lives in a bubble breathing in the air of his own mephitic resentments.

    Read More
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  31. Art Deco says:

    And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts

    There were no imaginary pretexts. You need to get out more.

    Read More
    • Troll: Randal
    • Replies: @German_reader
    That's just dumb. The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 - Saddam's regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world - were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time. Saddam's regime was extremely brutal and increasingly Islamic or even Islamist in character, but by 2003 it wasn't a serious threat to anyone outside Iraq anymore...the worst thing it did was send money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers (bad, but hardly an existential threat). Admittedly there was the question how to deal with his regime in coming years, whether to eventually relax sanctions or to keep them in place for the foreseeable future. But there was no urgent need to invade Iraq...that was purely a war of choice which the US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences. If you don't understand why many people find that rather questionable, it's you who needs to get out more.
    , @reiner Tor
    Hungary joined NATO a few days (weeks? can’t remember) before the start of the Kosovo-related bombardment of Serbia. I attended university in a city in the south of Hungary, close to the Serbian border. I could see the NATO planes flying by above us every night when going home from a bar or club (both of which I frequented a lot).

    I was a staunch Atlanticist at the time, and I believed all the propaganda about the supposed genocide which later turned out not to have gone through the formality of actually taking place. But it was never properly reported as the scandal it was - it was claimed that the Serbs were murdering tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians, but it never happened. They might have killed a few hundred, at worst a few thousand civilians, but that’s different from what the propaganda claimed at the time. I only found out that there was no genocide of Albanians in Kosovo when I searched the internet for it some time after the Iraq invasion. By that time I was no longer an Atlanticist. Most people are totally unaware that there was any lying going on while selling us the war.
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  32. Randal says:
    @Swedish Family

    It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.
     
    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia's state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia’s state-owned media.

    There seems no evident reason to look for another explanation for the drops in pro-American sentiment. They seem eminently justified by the US’s behaviour over the period 1990-date and perfectly unsurprising.

    What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.

    In the west, opinion of the US was managed upwards with the Obama presidency because he fitted so well with US sphere establishment antiracist and leftist dogmas that he had almost universally positive (even hagiographic) mainstream media coverage throughout the US sphere, but with Trump opinions of the US are mostly back down where Bush II left them. It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn’t around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.

    It’s understandable that following a particular instance of particularly bad US behaviour (such as Kosovo or Iraq) opinion of the US in US sphere states would dip dramatically (as it did, mostly) and then recover slowly to roughly its long term mean, because those crimes were not directed against the interests of US sphere states or elites. But they very much were targeted at Russia or its interests and disadvantageous to Russia and its global status. Russians had few excuses for failing to see that the US was an implacable and dangerous enemy from at least Kosovo onward, and yet they repeatedly chose to pretend to themselves that it wasn’t.

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    • Agree: melanf
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.
     
    Yugoslavia and Iraq were not that close to Russia and Russian elite was still pushing for Integration into West at that time. After 2008, "Reset" and Obama happened.

    It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn’t around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.
     
    Keep in mind that Obama's opponent in 2008 was McCain, that McCain.
    Just like Trump, Obama seemed like the lesser evil and not to blame for previous conflicts.
    , @Swedish Family

    In the west, opinion of the US was managed upwards with the Obama presidency because he fitted so well with US sphere establishment antiracist and leftist dogmas that he had almost universally positive (even hagiographic) mainstream media coverage throughout the US sphere, but with Trump opinions of the US are mostly back down where Bush II left them.
     
    I agree with most of this, but you leave out precisely why public opinion shifts. My, rather cynical, view is that media is by far the main driver in shifting public views, and so whoever gives the media marching orders is the Pied Piper here.

    An example close to home was the consternation among some of my conservative friends over the events Charlottesville. They knew nothing about the American alt-right, and still less about the context of what happened that day, yet they still spoke of what a disgrace it was for Trump not to distance himself from these deplorables. This was, of course, fully the making of Swedish media. The 1996 Presidential Election campaign suggests that the Russian public is no less suggestible, and so does Russian (and Ukrainian) opinions on the crisis in the Donbass.
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  33. Mitleser says:
    @Swedish Family

    It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.
     
    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia's state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

    This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

    Why are you assuming that the pendulum would swing back?
    The Kremlin is still playing nice with Western “partners”.
    The alternative does not have to be more pro-American.

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  34. @Art Deco
    “an ocean of blood” in Iraq was unleashed following US invasion,

    By various and sundry Sunni insurgents, who continue to distort and disfigure life in the provinces where they have a critical mass of the population. The Kurdish and Shia provinces are quiet.

    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together, which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country. And now these Shia communities vote for pro-Iran politicians, who gradually turn Iraq into Iranian puppet – is this why American soldiers died?

    C’mon, Iraq invasion was a disaster for the US whichever way you look at it. That’s what happens when you start a war for the wrong reasons.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together,
     
    The amusing thing is that American apologists for their country's military interventionism like Art Deco more usually spend their time heaping all the blame on Iran and the Shia. As well as internet opinionators, that incudes some of the most senior US military figures like obsessively anti-Iranian SecDef James Mattis:

    James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

    That's something that ought to seriously concern anyone with a rational view of world affairs.

    which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country.
     
    In fact the Americans had already admitted defeat and agreed to pull out before Obama took office. Bush II signed the withdrawal agreement on 14th December 2008. After that, US forces in Iraq were arguably no longer occupiers and were de jure as well as de facto present on the sufferance of the Iraqi government. The US regime had clearly hoped to have an Iraqi collaboration government for the long term, as a base from which to attack Iran, but the long Iraqi sunni and shia resistances scuppered that idea. The sunnis had fought hard, but were mostly defeated and many of them ended up collaborating with the US occupiers, as indeed had much of the shia, for entirely understandable reasons in both cases.

    Military occupations are morally complicated like that.
    , @Art Deco
    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together, which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country. And now these Shia communities vote for pro-Iran politicians, who gradually turn Iraq into Iranian puppet – is this why American soldiers died?

    Your memory is bad. The three Kurdish provinces never suffered much. Political violence in the Shia provinces was finally suppressed over a series of months in late 2007 and early 2008. It was also contained to a degree in the six provinces with Sunnis. And that is how matters remained for six years. ISIS was active in those provinces which have had public order problems consistently since 2003.

    Iran has influence in Iraq. It is an 'Iranian' puppet only when unzdwellers require rhetorical flourishes.
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  35. inertial says:
    @reiner Tor
    Neither the Ukrainians nor probably the Belorussians want to join Russia. Get over it. You still have a big enough country.

    Correction. It’s the elites that don’t want to join Russia. And the reason they don’t is because the West gives them goodies for being anti-Russian. This kind of strategy worked pretty well so far (for the West) in Eastern Europe and it will continue to work for some time yet. But not forever, not in Ukraine and Belorussia.

    That’s because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian. The rulers of Ukraine and, to a much lesser degree, Belorussia are trying to erect cultural barriers between themselves and Russia. Good luck with that, in the 21st century. It’s more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world. Eventually it will tell.

    Now, the question is if Russians will even want Ukraine back. This is not so clear.

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    • Replies: @Darin

    That’s because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian.
     
    This is for them to decide, not for you.

    It’s more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world.
     
    Yeah, the culture homogenizes around the world, into global Hollywood corporate culture. In the long there, "traditional Russian culture" is as doomed as "traditional Ukrainian culture" and "traditional American culture" if there is anything left of it.
    , @AP

    That’s because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian.
     
    Believer of Russian nationalist fairytales tells Russian nationalist fairytales. You managed to fit 3 of them into 2 sentences, good job.
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  36. @Art Deco
    Neither apply.

    They do.

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  37. Mitleser says:
    @Mr. XYZ
    @Mitleser: Would Russia have been interested in joining both the E.U. and NATO?

    Would Russia have been interested in joining both the E.U. and NATO?

    Integration into West is what Russians wanted.

    An example

    IF RUSSIA HAD THE CHANCE TO BECOME A FULL MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION NOW, WOULD YOU BE FOR OR AGAINST THIS? (N=800)

    08/2009:
    For: 53%
    Against: 21%
    Difficult to say: 27%

    https://www.levada.ru/en/2016/06/10/russia-s-friends-and-enemies-2/

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    • Replies: @DFH
    Western Europe, with the best will in the world, doesn't need more Slav/Muslim immigrants. Europeans would have never agreed to it.
    , @melanf

    Integration into West is what Russians wanted.
    An example
    08/2009:

     

    Since then, everything has changed
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  38. @Art Deco
    And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts

    There were no imaginary pretexts. You need to get out more.

    That’s just dumb. The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – Saddam’s regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world – were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time. Saddam’s regime was extremely brutal and increasingly Islamic or even Islamist in character, but by 2003 it wasn’t a serious threat to anyone outside Iraq anymore…the worst thing it did was send money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers (bad, but hardly an existential threat). Admittedly there was the question how to deal with his regime in coming years, whether to eventually relax sanctions or to keep them in place for the foreseeable future. But there was no urgent need to invade Iraq…that was purely a war of choice which the US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences. If you don’t understand why many people find that rather questionable, it’s you who needs to get out more.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    and that was clearly discernible at the time
     
    Yes. It was the thing which opened my eyes and made me question some previous policies, especially the bombardment of Serbia. I wasn’t any longer comfortable of being in NATO, especially since it started to get obvious that Hungarian elites (at least the leftists among them) used our membership to dismantle our military and use the savings on handouts for their electorate, or - worse - outright steal it. While it increasingly looked like NATO wasn’t really protecting our interests, since our enemies were mostly our neighbors (some of them). This kind of false safety didn’t feel alright.
    , @Art Deco
    That’s just dumb.

    No, it's just an argument you're not used to having to answer.


    The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – Saddam’s regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world – were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time.

    It was nothing of the kind. That was on the list of concerns Bush had. Bush's trilemmas don't go away just because Eurotrash strike poses and have impoverished imaginations.
    , @Art Deco
    US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences.

    It did nothing of the kind. It ejected two governments for reasons of state. One we'd been a state of belligerency with for 12 years, the other was responsible for a gruesome casus belli. Now, having done that, we needed to put in place a new government. There was no better alternative means of so doing than electoral contests.
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  39. Mitleser says:
    @Randal

    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia’s state-owned media.
     
    There seems no evident reason to look for another explanation for the drops in pro-American sentiment. They seem eminently justified by the US's behaviour over the period 1990-date and perfectly unsurprising.

    What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.

    In the west, opinion of the US was managed upwards with the Obama presidency because he fitted so well with US sphere establishment antiracist and leftist dogmas that he had almost universally positive (even hagiographic) mainstream media coverage throughout the US sphere, but with Trump opinions of the US are mostly back down where Bush II left them. It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn't around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.

    It's understandable that following a particular instance of particularly bad US behaviour (such as Kosovo or Iraq) opinion of the US in US sphere states would dip dramatically (as it did, mostly) and then recover slowly to roughly its long term mean, because those crimes were not directed against the interests of US sphere states or elites. But they very much were targeted at Russia or its interests and disadvantageous to Russia and its global status. Russians had few excuses for failing to see that the US was an implacable and dangerous enemy from at least Kosovo onward, and yet they repeatedly chose to pretend to themselves that it wasn't.

    What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.

    Yugoslavia and Iraq were not that close to Russia and Russian elite was still pushing for Integration into West at that time. After 2008, “Reset” and Obama happened.

    It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn’t around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.

    Keep in mind that Obama’s opponent in 2008 was McCain, that McCain.
    Just like Trump, Obama seemed like the lesser evil and not to blame for previous conflicts.

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    • Replies: @Randal
    Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.

    I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.

    But I have been told by Russians who ought to have some knowledge of these things that Putin and the wider regime were not so naïve even back in the late 1990s, so the case can be made both ways.
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  40. @Art Deco
    And if anything Americans make their own shamelessness worse when they fabricate imaginary pretexts

    There were no imaginary pretexts. You need to get out more.

    Hungary joined NATO a few days (weeks? can’t remember) before the start of the Kosovo-related bombardment of Serbia. I attended university in a city in the south of Hungary, close to the Serbian border. I could see the NATO planes flying by above us every night when going home from a bar or club (both of which I frequented a lot).

    I was a staunch Atlanticist at the time, and I believed all the propaganda about the supposed genocide which later turned out not to have gone through the formality of actually taking place. But it was never properly reported as the scandal it was – it was claimed that the Serbs were murdering tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians, but it never happened. They might have killed a few hundred, at worst a few thousand civilians, but that’s different from what the propaganda claimed at the time. I only found out that there was no genocide of Albanians in Kosovo when I searched the internet for it some time after the Iraq invasion. By that time I was no longer an Atlanticist. Most people are totally unaware that there was any lying going on while selling us the war.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I was a staunch Atlanticist at the time, and I believed all the propaganda about the supposed genocide

    The concern at the time was that Serbia was beginning an ethnic cleansing operation contra the Albania population, but carry on.
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  41. @German_reader
    That's just dumb. The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 - Saddam's regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world - were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time. Saddam's regime was extremely brutal and increasingly Islamic or even Islamist in character, but by 2003 it wasn't a serious threat to anyone outside Iraq anymore...the worst thing it did was send money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers (bad, but hardly an existential threat). Admittedly there was the question how to deal with his regime in coming years, whether to eventually relax sanctions or to keep them in place for the foreseeable future. But there was no urgent need to invade Iraq...that was purely a war of choice which the US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences. If you don't understand why many people find that rather questionable, it's you who needs to get out more.

    and that was clearly discernible at the time

    Yes. It was the thing which opened my eyes and made me question some previous policies, especially the bombardment of Serbia. I wasn’t any longer comfortable of being in NATO, especially since it started to get obvious that Hungarian elites (at least the leftists among them) used our membership to dismantle our military and use the savings on handouts for their electorate, or – worse – outright steal it. While it increasingly looked like NATO wasn’t really protecting our interests, since our enemies were mostly our neighbors (some of them). This kind of false safety didn’t feel alright.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    "Yes. It was the thing which opened my eyes"

    Same for me. I was 15 during the Kosovo war and believed NATO's narrative, couldn't understand how anybody could be against the war, given previous Serb atrocities during the Bosnian war it seemed to make sense. And after 9/11 I was very pro-US, e.g. I argued vehemently with a stupid leftie teacher who was against the Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified, so I don't think I'm just some mindless anti-American fool). But Iraq was just too much, too much obvious lying...and those lies were so stupid it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply wrong with a large part of the American public if they were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. At least for me it was a real turning point in the evolution of my political views.
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  42. @reiner Tor

    and that was clearly discernible at the time
     
    Yes. It was the thing which opened my eyes and made me question some previous policies, especially the bombardment of Serbia. I wasn’t any longer comfortable of being in NATO, especially since it started to get obvious that Hungarian elites (at least the leftists among them) used our membership to dismantle our military and use the savings on handouts for their electorate, or - worse - outright steal it. While it increasingly looked like NATO wasn’t really protecting our interests, since our enemies were mostly our neighbors (some of them). This kind of false safety didn’t feel alright.

    “Yes. It was the thing which opened my eyes”

    Same for me. I was 15 during the Kosovo war and believed NATO’s narrative, couldn’t understand how anybody could be against the war, given previous Serb atrocities during the Bosnian war it seemed to make sense. And after 9/11 I was very pro-US, e.g. I argued vehemently with a stupid leftie teacher who was against the Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified, so I don’t think I’m just some mindless anti-American fool). But Iraq was just too much, too much obvious lying…and those lies were so stupid it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply wrong with a large part of the American public if they were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. At least for me it was a real turning point in the evolution of my political views.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified
     
    Destroying the Taliban government, yes. Building “democracy” is just stupid, though. They should’ve quickly left after the initial victory and let the Afghans to just eat each other with Stroganoff sauce if they so wished. It’s not our business.
    , @Randal

    And after 9/11 I was very pro-US, e.g. I argued vehemently with a stupid leftie teacher who was against the Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified, so I don’t think I’m just some mindless anti-American fool). But Iraq was just too much, too much obvious lying…and those lies were so stupid it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply wrong with a large part of the American public if they were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. At least for me it was a real turning point in the evolution of my political views.
     
    The common factor amongst you, reiner and myself here is that none of us come from a dogmatically anti-American background or personal world-view, nor from a dogmatically pacifist one.

    As I've probably noted here previously, I grew up very pro-American and very pro-NATO in the late Cold War, and as a strong supporter of Thatcher and Reagan. I saw the fall of the Soviet Union as a glorious triumph and a vindication of all the endless arguments against anti-American lefties and CND numpties. I also strongly supported the Falklands War (the last genuinely justified and intelligent war fought by my country, imo) and also the war against Iraq in 1990/1, though I'm a little less certain on that one nowadays. I'm significantly older than you both, it seems, however, and it was watching US foreign policy in the 1990s, culminating in the Kosovo war, that convinced me that the US is now the problem and not the solution.

    When the facts changed, I changed my opinion.

    So I was a war or two ahead of you, chronologically, because I'm older, but we've travelled pretty much the same road. Our views on America have been created by US foreign policy choices.
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  43. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Your ‘rump state’ extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.
     
    Exactly, and you're missing the point. Re-read my previous comment again:
    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ – an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it’s that all the land that’s historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of "заграница" - foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban'.

    http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/
     
    I don't care, because this isn't a popularity contest. There were similar polls in Crimea showing majority support for the EU, just before the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia. LOL

    The question that matters to me is will there be a vast resistance movement inside Belarus following the annexation, and to be honest I don't expect one.

    Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of “заграница” – foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban’.

    The last two sentences contradict the first.

    Russians tend to be rather ignorant of Ukrainians, and you are no different.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    I was referring specifically to Russian attitudes about Ukrainians. I know that among Ukrainians themselves, there is quite the confusion on this subject.
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  44. DFH says:
    @Mitleser

    Would Russia have been interested in joining both the E.U. and NATO?
     
    Integration into West is what Russians wanted.

    An example

    IF RUSSIA HAD THE CHANCE TO BECOME A FULL MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION NOW, WOULD YOU BE FOR OR AGAINST THIS? (N=800)
     
    08/2009:
    For: 53%
    Against: 21%
    Difficult to say: 27%
    https://www.levada.ru/en/2016/06/10/russia-s-friends-and-enemies-2/

    Western Europe, with the best will in the world, doesn’t need more Slav/Muslim immigrants. Europeans would have never agreed to it.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Oh, Western Europe does not mind Slav/Muslim immigrants.
    In fact, they love them.
    They would not have agreed for other reasons without admitting them in public.
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  45. @German_reader
    "Yes. It was the thing which opened my eyes"

    Same for me. I was 15 during the Kosovo war and believed NATO's narrative, couldn't understand how anybody could be against the war, given previous Serb atrocities during the Bosnian war it seemed to make sense. And after 9/11 I was very pro-US, e.g. I argued vehemently with a stupid leftie teacher who was against the Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified, so I don't think I'm just some mindless anti-American fool). But Iraq was just too much, too much obvious lying...and those lies were so stupid it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply wrong with a large part of the American public if they were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. At least for me it was a real turning point in the evolution of my political views.

    Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified

    Destroying the Taliban government, yes. Building “democracy” is just stupid, though. They should’ve quickly left after the initial victory and let the Afghans to just eat each other with Stroganoff sauce if they so wished. It’s not our business.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Totally agree, there should just have been a quick punitive expedition, trying to "fix" Afghanistan is pointless.
    , @Randal

    Destroying the Taliban government, yes. Building “democracy” is just stupid, though. They should’ve quickly left after the initial victory and let the Afghans to just eat each other with Stroganoff sauce if they so wished. It’s not our business.
     
    In fact destroying the Taliban government was both illegal and foolish (but the latter was by far the more important). It seems clear now the Taliban were quite willing to hand bin Laden over for trial in a third party country, and pretty clearly either had had no clue what he had been planning or were crapping themselves at what he had achieved. Bush declined that offer because he had an urgent political need to be seen to be kicking some foreign ass in order to appease American shame.

    The illegality is not a particularly big deal in the case of Afghanistan because it's clear that in the post-9/11 context the US could easily have gotten UNSC authorisation for the attack and made it legal. Bush II deliberately declined to do so precisely in order to make the point that the US (in Americans' view) is above petty details of international law and its own treaty commitments. A rogue state, in other words.

    But an attack on Afghanistan was unnecessary and foolish (for genuine American national interests, that is, not for the self-interested lobbies driving policy obviously), as the astronomical ongoing costs have demonstrated. A trial of bin Laden would have been highly informative (and some would argue that was why the US regime was not interested in such a thing), and would if nothing else have brought him out into the open. Yes, he would have had the opportunity to grandstand, but if the US were really such an innocent victim of unprovoked aggression why would the US have anything to fear from that? The whole world, pretty much, was on the US's side after 9/11.

    The US could have treated terrorism as what it is, after 9/11 - a criminal matter. It chose instead to make it a military matter, because that suited the various lobbies seeking to benefit from a more militarised and aggressive US foreign policy. The result of a US attack on the government of (most of) Afghanistan would always have been either a chaotic jihadi-riddled anarchy in Afghanistan worse than the Taliban-controlled regime that existed in 2001, or a US-backed regime trying to hold the lid down on the jihadists, that the US would have to prop up forever. And so indeed it came to pass.
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  46. Darin says:
    @inertial
    Correction. It's the elites that don't want to join Russia. And the reason they don't is because the West gives them goodies for being anti-Russian. This kind of strategy worked pretty well so far (for the West) in Eastern Europe and it will continue to work for some time yet. But not forever, not in Ukraine and Belorussia.

    That's because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian. The rulers of Ukraine and, to a much lesser degree, Belorussia are trying to erect cultural barriers between themselves and Russia. Good luck with that, in the 21st century. It's more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world. Eventually it will tell.

    Now, the question is if Russians will even want Ukraine back. This is not so clear.

    That’s because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian.

    This is for them to decide, not for you.

    It’s more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world.

    Yeah, the culture homogenizes around the world, into global Hollywood corporate culture. In the long there, “traditional Russian culture” is as doomed as “traditional Ukrainian culture” and “traditional American culture” if there is anything left of it.

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    • Replies: @inertial
    This is for them to decide, not for you.

    Yes, of course. Just don't assume they will decide the way you think.
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  47. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich
    The fact is neither did Crimeans really want to join Russia (polls didn't show that), and yet our re-unification has been a huge success! I honestly can't think of good reason, why we can't go futher.

    The fact is neither did Crimeans really want to join Russia (polls didn’t show that)

    Nonsense, Mr. Clueless-About-Ukraine:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_status_referendum,_2014#Polling

    Polling by the Razumkov Centre in 2008 found that 63.8% of Crimeans (76% of Russians, 55% of Ukrainians, and 14% of Crimean Tatars, respectively) would like Crimea to secede from Ukraine and join Russia and 53.8% would like to preserve its current status, but with expanded powers and rights…. A poll by the International Republican Institute in May 2013 found that 53% wanted “Autonomy in Ukraine (as today)”, 12% were for “Crimean Tatar autonomy within Ukraine”, 2% for “Common oblast of Ukraine” and 23% voted for “Crimea should be separated and given to Russia”.

    The takeaway is that Crimeans were satisfied being part of Ukraine as long as Ukraine had an ethnic Russian, generally pro-Russian president like Yanukovich in charge (2013 poll), but preferred being part of Russia to being part of a Ukrainian state run by Ukrainians (2008 poll, post-Maidan).

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless: most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.

    I'm sure, support for reunification will go up in Belarus, if the Kremlin shows some leadership on this issue. We will find enough people willing to work with us, the rest will just have to accept the new reality and...go about their daily lifes as usual.

    The situation in Ukraine is different, it differs wildly by region and will require us to modify our approach.

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  48. @reiner Tor

    Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified
     
    Destroying the Taliban government, yes. Building “democracy” is just stupid, though. They should’ve quickly left after the initial victory and let the Afghans to just eat each other with Stroganoff sauce if they so wished. It’s not our business.

    Totally agree, there should just have been a quick punitive expedition, trying to “fix” Afghanistan is pointless.

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  49. AP says:
    @inertial
    Correction. It's the elites that don't want to join Russia. And the reason they don't is because the West gives them goodies for being anti-Russian. This kind of strategy worked pretty well so far (for the West) in Eastern Europe and it will continue to work for some time yet. But not forever, not in Ukraine and Belorussia.

    That's because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian. The rulers of Ukraine and, to a much lesser degree, Belorussia are trying to erect cultural barriers between themselves and Russia. Good luck with that, in the 21st century. It's more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world. Eventually it will tell.

    Now, the question is if Russians will even want Ukraine back. This is not so clear.

    That’s because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian.

    Believer of Russian nationalist fairytales tells Russian nationalist fairytales. You managed to fit 3 of them into 2 sentences, good job.

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  50. Mitleser says:
    @DFH
    Western Europe, with the best will in the world, doesn't need more Slav/Muslim immigrants. Europeans would have never agreed to it.

    Oh, Western Europe does not mind Slav/Muslim immigrants.
    In fact, they love them.
    They would not have agreed for other reasons without admitting them in public.

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  51. Randal says:
    @Felix Keverich
    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together, which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country. And now these Shia communities vote for pro-Iran politicians, who gradually turn Iraq into Iranian puppet - is this why American soldiers died?

    C'mon, Iraq invasion was a disaster for the US whichever way you look at it. That's what happens when you start a war for the wrong reasons.

    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together,

    The amusing thing is that American apologists for their country’s military interventionism like Art Deco more usually spend their time heaping all the blame on Iran and the Shia. As well as internet opinionators, that incudes some of the most senior US military figures like obsessively anti-Iranian SecDef James Mattis:

    James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

    That’s something that ought to seriously concern anyone with a rational view of world affairs.

    which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country.

    In fact the Americans had already admitted defeat and agreed to pull out before Obama took office. Bush II signed the withdrawal agreement on 14th December 2008. After that, US forces in Iraq were arguably no longer occupiers and were de jure as well as de facto present on the sufferance of the Iraqi government. The US regime had clearly hoped to have an Iraqi collaboration government for the long term, as a base from which to attack Iran, but the long Iraqi sunni and shia resistances scuppered that idea. The sunnis had fought hard, but were mostly defeated and many of them ended up collaborating with the US occupiers, as indeed had much of the shia, for entirely understandable reasons in both cases.

    Military occupations are morally complicated like that.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    In fact the Americans had already admitted defeat

    Were we defeated, Iraq would be ruled by the Ba'ath Party or networks of Sunni tribesman. It is not. This isn't that difficult Randal.
    , @Felix Keverich

    The amusing thing is that American apologists for their country’s military interventionism like Art Deco more usually spend their time heaping all the blame on Iran and the Shia. As well as internet opinionators, that incudes some of the most senior US military figures like obsessively anti-Iranian SecDef James Mattis
     
    I suspect the reason this happens is because ambitious American officers know that hating Iran (hating enemies of Israel in general) is what gets you promoted. It wasn't an accident that James Mattis was appointed Secretary of Defense - he is Bill Kristol's favourite.
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  52. @AP

    Russians know more about these things than you do. The vast majority of us do not regard Belarus and Ukraine as part of “заграница” – foreign countries. Ukrainians and in particular Belorussians are simply variants of us, just like regional differences exist between the Russians in Siberia and Kuban’.
     
    The last two sentences contradict the first.

    Russians tend to be rather ignorant of Ukrainians, and you are no different.

    I was referring specifically to Russian attitudes about Ukrainians. I know that among Ukrainians themselves, there is quite the confusion on this subject.

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  53. Art Deco says:
    @Felix Keverich
    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together, which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country. And now these Shia communities vote for pro-Iran politicians, who gradually turn Iraq into Iranian puppet - is this why American soldiers died?

    C'mon, Iraq invasion was a disaster for the US whichever way you look at it. That's what happens when you start a war for the wrong reasons.

    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together, which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country. And now these Shia communities vote for pro-Iran politicians, who gradually turn Iraq into Iranian puppet – is this why American soldiers died?

    Your memory is bad. The three Kurdish provinces never suffered much. Political violence in the Shia provinces was finally suppressed over a series of months in late 2007 and early 2008. It was also contained to a degree in the six provinces with Sunnis. And that is how matters remained for six years. ISIS was active in those provinces which have had public order problems consistently since 2003.

    Iran has influence in Iraq. It is an ‘Iranian’ puppet only when unzdwellers require rhetorical flourishes.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    US military is still butthurt over the Iran's support for Shia militias, targeting US troops during Iraq occupation. Clearly, the Shias hurt them a lot, and it was very unexpected for the US, because Americans actually brought Shias into power.
    , @animalogic
    You don't get it do you Art ? You all quibble over which Iraqi group did what, when, why etc when the fundamental point is that the US opened the cage door, then did nothing to control the wild animals that escaped until way too late: just admit it - the whole shoddy, amateur bloody, corrupt mess was caused by the US - & there are NO excuses you can find to deal with that FACT.
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  54. Art Deco says:
    @Randal

    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together,
     
    The amusing thing is that American apologists for their country's military interventionism like Art Deco more usually spend their time heaping all the blame on Iran and the Shia. As well as internet opinionators, that incudes some of the most senior US military figures like obsessively anti-Iranian SecDef James Mattis:

    James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

    That's something that ought to seriously concern anyone with a rational view of world affairs.

    which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country.
     
    In fact the Americans had already admitted defeat and agreed to pull out before Obama took office. Bush II signed the withdrawal agreement on 14th December 2008. After that, US forces in Iraq were arguably no longer occupiers and were de jure as well as de facto present on the sufferance of the Iraqi government. The US regime had clearly hoped to have an Iraqi collaboration government for the long term, as a base from which to attack Iran, but the long Iraqi sunni and shia resistances scuppered that idea. The sunnis had fought hard, but were mostly defeated and many of them ended up collaborating with the US occupiers, as indeed had much of the shia, for entirely understandable reasons in both cases.

    Military occupations are morally complicated like that.

    In fact the Americans had already admitted defeat

    Were we defeated, Iraq would be ruled by the Ba’ath Party or networks of Sunni tribesman. It is not. This isn’t that difficult Randal.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    Were we defeated, Iraq would be ruled by the Ba’ath Party or networks of Sunni tribesman. It is not. This isn’t that difficult Randal.
     
    Well this is an old chestnut that is really just an attempt to abuse definitions of victory and defeat on your part.

    The US invasion of Iraq itself was initially a military success. It ended in complete military victory over the Iraqi regime and nation, the complete surrender of the Iraqi military and the occupation of the country.

    However, the US regime's wider war aims were not achieved because they were unable to impose a collaboration government and use the country as a base for further projection of US power in the ME (primarily against Iran, on behalf of Israel), and the overall result of the war and the subsequent occupation was catastrophic for any honest assessment of American national interests (as opposed to the interests of the lobbies manipulating US regime policy). The costs were significant, the reputational damage was also significant, and the overall result was to replace a contained and essentially broken opponent with vigorous sunni jihadist forces together with a resurgent Iran unwilling to kowtow to the US as most ME states are.

    So the best honest assessment is that the US was defeated in Iraq, despite an initial military victory.
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  55. Randal says:
    @Mitleser

    What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.
     
    Yugoslavia and Iraq were not that close to Russia and Russian elite was still pushing for Integration into West at that time. After 2008, "Reset" and Obama happened.

    It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn’t around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.
     
    Keep in mind that Obama's opponent in 2008 was McCain, that McCain.
    Just like Trump, Obama seemed like the lesser evil and not to blame for previous conflicts.

    Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.

    I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.

    But I have been told by Russians who ought to have some knowledge of these things that Putin and the wider regime were not so naïve even back in the late 1990s, so the case can be made both ways.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.
     
    I am just taking into account that the early 00s were right after the 1990s when pro-Americanism was at its peak in Russia. Yugoslavia and Iraq were too distant too alienate the majority permanently.

    I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.
     
    Why do you think did he suggest joining NATO as an option?
    Not because NATO are "good guys", but because it would ensure that Russia has a voice that cannot be ignored. After all, the Kosovo War showed the limits of the UNSC and by extension of Russia's voice in the unipolar world.
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  56. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    You have a large national state.
     
    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state. Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' - an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    PS: just because we had trouble holding onto Chechnya doesn't mean that annexing Belarus will be hard. Sure, we can expect blowback in the form of Western sanctions, but I don't anticipate much resistance from inside Belarus.

    reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ – an actual Russian nation-state.

    In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime. Obviously there will have to be a militarized occupation regime and prison camps and a network of informants. A proud home.

    Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it’s that all the land that’s historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    Baltics were Russian longer than Ukraine. Central Poland became Russian at the same time as did half of Ukraine. According to the 1897 census, there were about as many Great Russian speakers in Kiev governate as in Warsaw. Take the Baltics and Warsaw back too?

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime.
     
    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 - does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

    On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority - they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass. A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, "human rights activist" - these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare, they will just flee (like they already fled from Donbass).
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  57. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader
    That's just dumb. The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 - Saddam's regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world - were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time. Saddam's regime was extremely brutal and increasingly Islamic or even Islamist in character, but by 2003 it wasn't a serious threat to anyone outside Iraq anymore...the worst thing it did was send money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers (bad, but hardly an existential threat). Admittedly there was the question how to deal with his regime in coming years, whether to eventually relax sanctions or to keep them in place for the foreseeable future. But there was no urgent need to invade Iraq...that was purely a war of choice which the US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences. If you don't understand why many people find that rather questionable, it's you who needs to get out more.

    That’s just dumb.

    No, it’s just an argument you’re not used to having to answer.

    The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – Saddam’s regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world – were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time.

    It was nothing of the kind. That was on the list of concerns Bush had. Bush’s trilemmas don’t go away just because Eurotrash strike poses and have impoverished imaginations.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.
    , @Anon
    Her ArtDeco, you are a really cute troll. But still your post was dumb. Try better.
    , @Byrresheim
    A lie is a knowingly false representation of facts.
    An error is an unknowingly false representation of facts.

    We can discuss whether the ruling cabal in the US acted like liars or like fools, and you wouldn't catch me calling them fools.

    It was also clear to anyone with his senses intact, that the facts were incorrectly presented.

    Please do not waste your or anyone else's time by pretending otherwise – for you too have the choice between fool and knave.

    The only thing that might be contested is whether the outcome was all that undesirable for the US ruling class – I think it worked swimmingly. Tough for the american patriots who fought that despiccable war and were maimed and killed for the greater good of …

    … some corporations.

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  58. Art Deco says:
    @reiner Tor
    Hungary joined NATO a few days (weeks? can’t remember) before the start of the Kosovo-related bombardment of Serbia. I attended university in a city in the south of Hungary, close to the Serbian border. I could see the NATO planes flying by above us every night when going home from a bar or club (both of which I frequented a lot).

    I was a staunch Atlanticist at the time, and I believed all the propaganda about the supposed genocide which later turned out not to have gone through the formality of actually taking place. But it was never properly reported as the scandal it was - it was claimed that the Serbs were murdering tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians, but it never happened. They might have killed a few hundred, at worst a few thousand civilians, but that’s different from what the propaganda claimed at the time. I only found out that there was no genocide of Albanians in Kosovo when I searched the internet for it some time after the Iraq invasion. By that time I was no longer an Atlanticist. Most people are totally unaware that there was any lying going on while selling us the war.

    I was a staunch Atlanticist at the time, and I believed all the propaganda about the supposed genocide

    The concern at the time was that Serbia was beginning an ethnic cleansing operation contra the Albania population, but carry on.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    "The concern at the time was that Serbia was beginning an ethnic cleansing operation contra the Albania population."
    This is great line for MSM. But this is Unz Review; it is different. You are on a wrong forum.
    ArtDeco, UnzReview is not MSM. Do you understand this?
    , @Thea
    Is that you, Evan McMullin?
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  59. inertial says:
    @Darin

    That’s because the population of these places is Russian (no matter what they were taught to call themselves by the Commies.) Their culture is Russian.
     
    This is for them to decide, not for you.

    It’s more likely the culture will further homogenize, as is the trend anywhere in the world.
     
    Yeah, the culture homogenizes around the world, into global Hollywood corporate culture. In the long there, "traditional Russian culture" is as doomed as "traditional Ukrainian culture" and "traditional American culture" if there is anything left of it.

    This is for them to decide, not for you.

    Yes, of course. Just don’t assume they will decide the way you think.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Yes, of course. Just don’t assume they will decide the way you think.

    They've had ample opportunity over a period of 26 years to make the decision you favor. It hasn't happened, and there's no reason to fancy they'll be more amenable a decade from now.
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  60. @AP

    The fact is neither did Crimeans really want to join Russia (polls didn’t show that)
     
    Nonsense, Mr. Clueless-About-Ukraine:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_status_referendum,_2014#Polling

    Polling by the Razumkov Centre in 2008 found that 63.8% of Crimeans (76% of Russians, 55% of Ukrainians, and 14% of Crimean Tatars, respectively) would like Crimea to secede from Ukraine and join Russia and 53.8% would like to preserve its current status, but with expanded powers and rights.... A poll by the International Republican Institute in May 2013 found that 53% wanted "Autonomy in Ukraine (as today)", 12% were for "Crimean Tatar autonomy within Ukraine", 2% for "Common oblast of Ukraine" and 23% voted for "Crimea should be separated and given to Russia".

    The takeaway is that Crimeans were satisfied being part of Ukraine as long as Ukraine had an ethnic Russian, generally pro-Russian president like Yanukovich in charge (2013 poll), but preferred being part of Russia to being part of a Ukrainian state run by Ukrainians (2008 poll, post-Maidan).

    These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless: most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.

    I’m sure, support for reunification will go up in Belarus, if the Kremlin shows some leadership on this issue. We will find enough people willing to work with us, the rest will just have to accept the new reality and…go about their daily lifes as usual.

    The situation in Ukraine is different, it differs wildly by region and will require us to modify our approach.

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    • Replies: @AP

    These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless: most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.
     
    So according to you when hundreds or thousands of people are asked a question they are not prepared for, their collective answer is meaningless and does not indicate their preference?

    So it's a total coincidence that when Ukraine was ruled by Ukrainians most Crimeans preferred to join Russia, when Ukraine was ruled by a Russian, Crimeans were satisfied within Ukraine but when Ukrainian nationalists came to power Crimeans again preferred being part of Russia?

    Are all political polls also meaningless according to you, or just ones that contradict your idealistic views?
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    I think this poll is the most relevant for assessing the question, since it covered different regions and used the same methodology.

    https://i.imgur.com/oU9AXLb.jpg

    Takeaway:

    1. Support for uniting into a single state with Russia at 41% in Crimea at a time when it was becoming quite clear the Yanukovych regime was doomed.

    2. Now translates into ~90% support (according to both Russian and international polls) in Crimea. I.e., a more than a standard deviation shift in "Russophile" sentiment on this matter.

    3. Assuming a similar shift in other regions, Novorossiya would be quite fine being with Russia post facto. Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson (e.g., probably on the scale of Donbass unhappiness with the Ukraine before 2014).

    4. Central and West Ukraine would not be, which is why their reintegration would be far more difficult - and probably best left for sometime in the future.

    5. What we have instead seen is a one standard deviation shift in "Ukrainophile" sentiment within all those regions that remained in the Ukraine. If this change is "deep," then AP is quite correct that their assimilation into Russia has been made impossible by Putin's vacillations in 2014.
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  61. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader
    That's just dumb. The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 - Saddam's regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world - were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time. Saddam's regime was extremely brutal and increasingly Islamic or even Islamist in character, but by 2003 it wasn't a serious threat to anyone outside Iraq anymore...the worst thing it did was send money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers (bad, but hardly an existential threat). Admittedly there was the question how to deal with his regime in coming years, whether to eventually relax sanctions or to keep them in place for the foreseeable future. But there was no urgent need to invade Iraq...that was purely a war of choice which the US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences. If you don't understand why many people find that rather questionable, it's you who needs to get out more.

    US started in a demented attempt at reshaping the region according to its own preferences.

    It did nothing of the kind. It ejected two governments for reasons of state. One we’d been a state of belligerency with for 12 years, the other was responsible for a gruesome casus belli. Now, having done that, we needed to put in place a new government. There was no better alternative means of so doing than electoral contests.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    "Now, having done that, we needed to put in place a new government."
    Who are these mysterious "we?" You mean, Mr. Wolfowitz is a great statesman who must be invited to "finish the job?" PNAC again?
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  62. Art Deco says:
    @inertial
    This is for them to decide, not for you.

    Yes, of course. Just don't assume they will decide the way you think.

    Yes, of course. Just don’t assume they will decide the way you think.

    They’ve had ample opportunity over a period of 26 years to make the decision you favor. It hasn’t happened, and there’s no reason to fancy they’ll be more amenable a decade from now.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Well, there is some reason to think that membership in the EU will become a steadily less attractive prospect.

    The substantial demographic changes sweeping northern and western Europe now will become far larger as (1) new "migration" occurs from Africa and the Middle East and Pakistan into Europe; (2) "family reunification" chain migration goes on endlessly from the same places into Europe; and (3) Muslims continue to dramatically outbreed non-Muslims in Europe.

    (Even if Muslims in Europe drop their total fertility rate to replacement, around 2.1 I think, the non-Muslim Europeans have TFRs like 1.4 and 1.5 and 1.6, the very definition of dying peoples.)

    And that doesn't even account for the flight of non-Muslims out of Europe as it becomes ever more violent, frightening, chaotic, and impoverished. That flight could become a massive phenomenon. (We have acquaintances in Germany and Austria already mulling over the idea, with great sadness and anger in their hearts.)

    On current trends, what reason is there to think that "Germany" and "France" and "England" and "Sweden" won't in fact be heavily Islamic / African (and in the case of Germany, Turkish) hellholes in the lifetime of many of us here?

    Granted, Russia has too many Muslims itself, and I don't know enough to predict whether they will be willing and able to remove the excessive number of Central Asian Muslims (guestworkers or otherwise) from their territory. But Russia is not giving itself away to Muslims at a breakneck pace like the terminally naïve Germans, French, English, and Swedes are doing with their own countries.

    The point is, Belarus and Ukraine won't be faced with a choice between Russia and the "Europe" that we still envision from the recent past.

    Belarus and Ukraine will likely face a choice between a tenuous independence that they lack the force to maintain, union or close formal affiliation with Russia, or a "Europe" where white Europeans are outnumbered, terrified, massively taxed to pay for their younger and more confident Islamic / African overlords, and ultimately subjugated and killed / inter-bred into nonexistence.

    The Europe that you are positing as an alternative to Russia, already doesn't quite exist anymore. Soon it won't exist at all in any recognizable or desirable form. Russia merely needs to be a better alternative than THAT.

    , @inertial
    They’ve had ample opportunity over a period of 26 years to make the decision you favor. It hasn’t happened, and there’s no reason to fancy they’ll be more amenable a decade from now.

    Yes, these people had been sold a vision. If only they leave behind the backward, Asiatic, mongoloid Russia, they will instantly Join Europe. They will have all of the good stuff: European level of prosperity, rule of law, international approval, and so on; and none of the bad stuff that they associated with Russia, like poverty, corruption, and civil strife.

    Official Ukrainian propaganda worked overtime, and still works today, to hammer this into people's heads. And it's an attractive vision. An office dweller in Kiev wants to live in a shiny European capital, not in a bleak provincial city of a corrupt Asian empire. The problem is, it's ain't working. For a while Ukraine managed to get Russia to subsidize Ukrainian European dream. Now this is over. The vision is starting to fail even harder.

    The experience of Communism shows that it may take decades but eventually people notice that the state ideology is a lie. Once they do, they change their mind about things rather quickly.
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  63. @Felix Keverich

    This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.
     
    How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.

    How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.

    They are indeed, but my assumption is that Russia’s present elite is, for the most part, corruptible. Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure — carrot and stick — to deregulate Russia’s media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West. Only a few days ago, we learnt that Washington ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia’s internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite’s plan for Russia?

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    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure — carrot and stick — to deregulate Russia’s media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West.
     
    There is no reason to assume that West will offer the Russian elite enough carrot to deregulate the Russian media order and the stick is just more reason not to do it and to retain control.

    What does this tell you about the Western elite’s plan for Russia?
     
    And you think that people in Russian elite are not aware of it?
    , @Art Deco
    ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia’s internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite’s plan for Russia?

    It tells me the reporters are confused or you are. There is no 'agreement' that will prevent 'Russia' from 'meddling' in American political life or the converse. The utility of agreements is that they make understandings between nations more precise and incorporate triggers which provide signals to one party or the other as to when the deal is off.
    , @Art Deco
    Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media?

    Why do people give up 'control' of anything? Because they cannot be bothered anymore.
    , @Anon
    "...his successor will be under immense pressure — carrot and stick — to deregulate Russia’s media landscape..."
    It is doubtful that the regulation of Russia's media is more severe than regulation of SwedishFamily media re free emigration of economic migrants to Sweden. Also, was it a documentary about Browder that has been prohibited for showing in the EU and US? How about a documentary about Jews in Russia (“Two Hundred Years Together” by A. Solzhenitsyn), which has been sequestered by ALL publishing houses in the US/UK? Lady, you do protest too much. http://12160.info/profiles/blogs/banned-aleksandr-solzhenitsyn-two-hundred-years-together-almost-f
    https://www.newcoldwar.org/film-andrei-nekrasov-magnitsky-act-behind-scenes/
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  64. Randal says:
    @Art Deco
    In fact the Americans had already admitted defeat

    Were we defeated, Iraq would be ruled by the Ba'ath Party or networks of Sunni tribesman. It is not. This isn't that difficult Randal.

    Were we defeated, Iraq would be ruled by the Ba’ath Party or networks of Sunni tribesman. It is not. This isn’t that difficult Randal.

    Well this is an old chestnut that is really just an attempt to abuse definitions of victory and defeat on your part.

    The US invasion of Iraq itself was initially a military success. It ended in complete military victory over the Iraqi regime and nation, the complete surrender of the Iraqi military and the occupation of the country.

    However, the US regime’s wider war aims were not achieved because they were unable to impose a collaboration government and use the country as a base for further projection of US power in the ME (primarily against Iran, on behalf of Israel), and the overall result of the war and the subsequent occupation was catastrophic for any honest assessment of American national interests (as opposed to the interests of the lobbies manipulating US regime policy). The costs were significant, the reputational damage was also significant, and the overall result was to replace a contained and essentially broken opponent with vigorous sunni jihadist forces together with a resurgent Iran unwilling to kowtow to the US as most ME states are.

    So the best honest assessment is that the US was defeated in Iraq, despite an initial military victory.

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  65. @Randal

    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together,
     
    The amusing thing is that American apologists for their country's military interventionism like Art Deco more usually spend their time heaping all the blame on Iran and the Shia. As well as internet opinionators, that incudes some of the most senior US military figures like obsessively anti-Iranian SecDef James Mattis:

    James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

    That's something that ought to seriously concern anyone with a rational view of world affairs.

    which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country.
     
    In fact the Americans had already admitted defeat and agreed to pull out before Obama took office. Bush II signed the withdrawal agreement on 14th December 2008. After that, US forces in Iraq were arguably no longer occupiers and were de jure as well as de facto present on the sufferance of the Iraqi government. The US regime had clearly hoped to have an Iraqi collaboration government for the long term, as a base from which to attack Iran, but the long Iraqi sunni and shia resistances scuppered that idea. The sunnis had fought hard, but were mostly defeated and many of them ended up collaborating with the US occupiers, as indeed had much of the shia, for entirely understandable reasons in both cases.

    Military occupations are morally complicated like that.

    The amusing thing is that American apologists for their country’s military interventionism like Art Deco more usually spend their time heaping all the blame on Iran and the Shia. As well as internet opinionators, that incudes some of the most senior US military figures like obsessively anti-Iranian SecDef James Mattis

    I suspect the reason this happens is because ambitious American officers know that hating Iran (hating enemies of Israel in general) is what gets you promoted. It wasn’t an accident that James Mattis was appointed Secretary of Defense – he is Bill Kristol’s favourite.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Art Deco cannot be loyal American. Any American patriot understands that the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria -- and the approaching war with Iran -- are done on the orders of bankers & Israel (see excellent analyses on Sic Semper Tyrannis: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/).
    ArtDeco is a pedestrian ziocon pretending on original thinking.
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  66. melanf says:
    @Swedish Family

    It took the interference in the Ukraine in 2014 to finally make the truth stick.
     
    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia's state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia’s state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.

    Definitely no
    American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.

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    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.
     
    Being Russian, you would be in a better position than I am to comment on this, but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose? This article might hold the answer:

    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/
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  67. @Art Deco
    As I recall the Sunnies and Shias killed and disfigured American servicemen together, which caused Americans to elect Obama and run away from the country. And now these Shia communities vote for pro-Iran politicians, who gradually turn Iraq into Iranian puppet – is this why American soldiers died?

    Your memory is bad. The three Kurdish provinces never suffered much. Political violence in the Shia provinces was finally suppressed over a series of months in late 2007 and early 2008. It was also contained to a degree in the six provinces with Sunnis. And that is how matters remained for six years. ISIS was active in those provinces which have had public order problems consistently since 2003.

    Iran has influence in Iraq. It is an 'Iranian' puppet only when unzdwellers require rhetorical flourishes.

    US military is still butthurt over the Iran’s support for Shia militias, targeting US troops during Iraq occupation. Clearly, the Shias hurt them a lot, and it was very unexpected for the US, because Americans actually brought Shias into power.

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  68. Mitleser says:
    @Randal
    Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.

    I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.

    But I have been told by Russians who ought to have some knowledge of these things that Putin and the wider regime were not so naïve even back in the late 1990s, so the case can be made both ways.

    Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.

    I am just taking into account that the early 00s were right after the 1990s when pro-Americanism was at its peak in Russia. Yugoslavia and Iraq were too distant too alienate the majority permanently.

    I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.

    Why do you think did he suggest joining NATO as an option?
    Not because NATO are “good guys”, but because it would ensure that Russia has a voice that cannot be ignored. After all, the Kosovo War showed the limits of the UNSC and by extension of Russia’s voice in the unipolar world.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    Why do you think did he suggest joining NATO as an option?
    Not because NATO are “good guys”, but because it would ensure that Russia has a voice that cannot be ignored. After all, the Kosovo War showed the limits of the UNSC and by extension of Russia’s voice in the unipolar world.
     
    Well you have to wonder if he was just trolling the Americans, or if he was really naïve enough to expect a serious response.
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  69. melanf says:
    @Mitleser

    Would Russia have been interested in joining both the E.U. and NATO?
     
    Integration into West is what Russians wanted.

    An example

    IF RUSSIA HAD THE CHANCE TO BECOME A FULL MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION NOW, WOULD YOU BE FOR OR AGAINST THIS? (N=800)
     
    08/2009:
    For: 53%
    Against: 21%
    Difficult to say: 27%
    https://www.levada.ru/en/2016/06/10/russia-s-friends-and-enemies-2/

    Integration into West is what Russians wanted.
    An example
    08/2009:

    Since then, everything has changed

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  70. @Art Deco
    That’s just dumb.

    No, it's just an argument you're not used to having to answer.


    The reasons officially given for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – Saddam’s regime hiding weapons of mass destruction and being an intolerable threat to the outside world – were a transparently false pretext for war, and that was clearly discernible at the time.

    It was nothing of the kind. That was on the list of concerns Bush had. Bush's trilemmas don't go away just because Eurotrash strike poses and have impoverished imaginations.

    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction…which didn’t exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item “on the list of the concerns” Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran’s power and status).
    Calling me “Eurotrash”…oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you’re the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I’ve heard and read all that a thousand times before, it’s all very unoriginal by now.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    US nationalists like you
     
    He is not US "nationalist". Agree with the rest of your post.
    , @Art Deco
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction…

    No, that's what you noticed in an amongst everything else being discussed by officials and in the papers at the time.



    which didn’t exist in 2003.

    It's a reasonable inference the stockpiles were largely destroyed. To what extent they were able to ship stockpiles to co-operating third parties is not altogether certain. You know the stockpiles were largely destroyed because....we were occupying the country.
    , @Art Deco
    , amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext a

    It amounts to no such thing. That you have three reasons for doing something does not render one of them a 'real' reason and the others artificial.
    , @Art Deco
    given that the Iraq war increased Iran’s power and status).

    Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?
    , @Johann Ricke

    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction…which didn’t exist in 2003.
     
    It was one of many reasons. You don't set a guy on Death Row free just because one of the charges didn't stick. The biggest reason was Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, which should have resulted in his removal from power. We settled on a truce because George HW Bush did not want to pay the price, and the (mostly-Sunni) Arab coalition members did not want (1) a democracy in Iraq and (2) a Shiite-dominated Iraq. Bush's son ended up footing the political bill for that piece of unfinished business. The lesson is that you can delay paying the piper, but the bill always comes due.
    , @Art Deco
    Calling me “Eurotrash”…

    I didn't have you in particular in mind.

    oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you’re the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I’ve heard and read all that a thousand times before, it’s all very unoriginal by now.

    No, I'm a fat middle aged man who thinks most of what people say on political topics is some species of self-congratulation. And a great deal of it is perverse. The two phenomena are symbiotic. And, of course, I'm unimpressed with kvetching foreigners. Kvetching Europeans might ask where is the evidence that they with their own skills and resources can improve some situation using methods which differ from those we have applied and kvetching Latin Americans can quit sticking the bill for their unhappy histories with Uncle Sam, and kvetching Arabs can at least take responsibility for something rather than projecting it on some wire-pulling other (Jews, Americans, conspiracy x).

    , @RadicalCenter
    Agree with much of what you say. With a big exception": most Europeans ARE pussies who try to appease the Islamic and African aggressors and freeloaders they are importing into their lands at a furious pace. Besonders die Deutschen.

    At least SOME decent portion of Americans are trying to resist the Mexican and Third World takeover of our country. Albeit probably without success.

    Summary: we're probably screwed, you're almost certainly screwed worse and faster.

    Keep patting yourself on the back. But grow that beard now and bend over -- and beat the rush.

    , @utu
    I see that Art Deco got more active than usual. Seems that the destruction of Iraq is close to his heart. Several days ago Ron Unz had this to say about him:

    http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/time-to-stop-importing-an-immigrant-overclass/#comment-2116171
    Exactly! It’s pretty obvious that this “Art Deco” fellow is just a Jewish-activist type, and given his very extensive posting history, perhaps even an organized “troll.” But he’s certainly one of the most sophisticated ones, with the vast majority of his comments being level-headed, moderate, and very well-informed, generally focusing on all sorts of other topics, perhaps with the deliberate intent of building up his personal credibility for the periodic Jewish matters that actually so agitate him.
     
    To which I added:

    http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/time-to-stop-importing-an-immigrant-overclass/#comment-2116402
    The quality and wide range of his comments are really impressive. As if it was coming form a super intelligent AI Hal that has access to all kinds of databases at his finger tips. And then there is always the same gradient of his angle: the reality is as it is; reality is as you have been told so far; do not try to keep coming with weird theories and speculations because they are all false; there is nothing interesting to see. His quality and scope are not congruent with his angle. All his knowledge and all his data and he hasn’t found anything interesting that would not conform to what we all read in newspapers. Amazing. If America had its High Office of Doctrine and Faith he could have been its supreme director.
     
    His overactivity here is somewhat out of character and after reading his comments here I doubt that Ron Unz would call him "one of the most sophisticated ones." I also would take back the "really impressive" part too. Perhaps some other individuum was assigned to Art Deco handle this Monday.
    , @utu
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons

    The fact that Iraq had no WMD was actually critical to making the claims that it had them. If Iraq had them it would officially relinquish them which would take away the ostensive cause for the invasion.

    I am really amazed that now 14 years after the invasion there are some who still argue about the WMD. Iraq was to be destroyed because this was the plan. The plan to reorganize the ME that consisted of destruction of secular and semi-secure states like Iraq and Syria. The WDM was just an excuse that nobody really argued for or against in good faith including Brits or Germans or Turks. Everybody knew the writing on the wall.
    , @John Gruskos
    The commenter using the name "Art Deco" is NOT an American nationalist.

    He is neocon trash.
    , @J.Ross
    Sir!
    Please do not confuse this globalist Company operative with a US nationalist. Any damage suffered by Arabs was a secondary goal of the illegal and baseless desolation of Iraq. The US was actually the primary target.
    Picture a champion boxer incapable of doubting his strength. Give him a girlfriend who dabbles in hypnosis. Now imagine the girlfriend is mad at him and has access to lots of plate glass.
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  71. Randal says:
    @reiner Tor

    Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified
     
    Destroying the Taliban government, yes. Building “democracy” is just stupid, though. They should’ve quickly left after the initial victory and let the Afghans to just eat each other with Stroganoff sauce if they so wished. It’s not our business.

    Destroying the Taliban government, yes. Building “democracy” is just stupid, though. They should’ve quickly left after the initial victory and let the Afghans to just eat each other with Stroganoff sauce if they so wished. It’s not our business.

    In fact destroying the Taliban government was both illegal and foolish (but the latter was by far the more important). It seems clear now the Taliban were quite willing to hand bin Laden over for trial in a third party country, and pretty clearly either had had no clue what he had been planning or were crapping themselves at what he had achieved. Bush declined that offer because he had an urgent political need to be seen to be kicking some foreign ass in order to appease American shame.

    The illegality is not a particularly big deal in the case of Afghanistan because it’s clear that in the post-9/11 context the US could easily have gotten UNSC authorisation for the attack and made it legal. Bush II deliberately declined to do so precisely in order to make the point that the US (in Americans’ view) is above petty details of international law and its own treaty commitments. A rogue state, in other words.

    But an attack on Afghanistan was unnecessary and foolish (for genuine American national interests, that is, not for the self-interested lobbies driving policy obviously), as the astronomical ongoing costs have demonstrated. A trial of bin Laden would have been highly informative (and some would argue that was why the US regime was not interested in such a thing), and would if nothing else have brought him out into the open. Yes, he would have had the opportunity to grandstand, but if the US were really such an innocent victim of unprovoked aggression why would the US have anything to fear from that? The whole world, pretty much, was on the US’s side after 9/11.

    The US could have treated terrorism as what it is, after 9/11 – a criminal matter. It chose instead to make it a military matter, because that suited the various lobbies seeking to benefit from a more militarised and aggressive US foreign policy. The result of a US attack on the government of (most of) Afghanistan would always have been either a chaotic jihadi-riddled anarchy in Afghanistan worse than the Taliban-controlled regime that existed in 2001, or a US-backed regime trying to hold the lid down on the jihadists, that the US would have to prop up forever. And so indeed it came to pass.

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  72. Mitleser says:
    @Swedish Family

    How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.
     
    They are indeed, but my assumption is that Russia's present elite is, for the most part, corruptible. Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure -- carrot and stick -- to deregulate Russia's media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West. Only a few days ago, we learnt that Washington ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia's internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?

    Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure — carrot and stick — to deregulate Russia’s media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West.

    There is no reason to assume that West will offer the Russian elite enough carrot to deregulate the Russian media order and the stick is just more reason not to do it and to retain control.

    What does this tell you about the Western elite’s plan for Russia?

    And you think that people in Russian elite are not aware of it?

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    • Agree: Felix Keverich
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  73. @AP

    reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ – an actual Russian nation-state.
     
    In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime. Obviously there will have to be a militarized occupation regime and prison camps and a network of informants. A proud home.

    Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it’s that all the land that’s historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.
     
    Baltics were Russian longer than Ukraine. Central Poland became Russian at the same time as did half of Ukraine. According to the 1897 census, there were about as many Great Russian speakers in Kiev governate as in Warsaw. Take the Baltics and Warsaw back too?

    In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime.

    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

    On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority – they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass. A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, “human rights activist” – these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare, they will just flee (like they already fled from Donbass).

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    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?
     
    In fairness, the young Ukrainians I have spoken to avoid the "draft" mainly out of fear that they will be underequipped and used as cannon fodder. (I'm not sure "draft" is the word I'm looking for. My understanding is that they are temporarily exempt from military service if they study at university or have good jobs.)
    , @AP

    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?
     
    It was about 50,000 in 2014, about 200,000-250,000 now.

    Polish military has 105,000 personnel. Poland also not united or willing to defend itself?

    On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority – they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass
     
    Avakov, Poroshenko's interior minister and sponsor of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, in 2010 got 48% of the vote in Kharkiv's mayoral race in 2010 when he ran as the "Orange" candidate. In 2012 election about 30% of Kharkiv oblast voters chose nationalist candidates, vs. about 10% in Donetsk oblast. Vkontakte, a good source for judging youth attitudes, was split 50/50 between pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan in Kharkiv (IIRC it was 80/20 anti-Maidan winning in Donetsk). Kharkiv is just like Donbas, right?

    A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, “human rights activist”
     
    Football hooligans in these places are also Ukrainian nationalists. Azov battalion and Right Sector are both based in Eastern Ukraine.

    Here is how Azov started:

    The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named "Sect 82" (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] "Sect 82" was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, "Sect 82" occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local "self-defense"-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of "Sect 82" there was formed a volunteer militia called "Eastern Corps".[18]

    Here is Azov battalion commander-turned-Kiev oblast police chief, Kharkiv native Vadim Troyan:

    http://i.imgur.com/Ccmn9MS.jpg

    Does he look like an intellectual to you? Before Maidan he was a cop.

    these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare,
     
    On the contrary, they will probably dig in while seeking cover in urban areas that they know well, where they have some significant support (as Donbas rebels did in Donetsk), forcing the Russian invaders to fight house to house and causing massive damage while fighting native boys such as Azov. About 1/3 of Kharkiv overall and 1/2 of its youth are nationalists. I wouldn't expect mass resistance by the Kharkiv population itself, but passive support for the rebels by many. Russia will then end up rebuilding a large city full of a resentful population that will remember its dead (same problem Kiev will face if it gets Donbas back). This scenario can be repeated for Odessa. Dnipropetrovsk, the home base of Right Sector, is actually much more nationalistic than either Odessa or Kharkiv. And Kiev is a different world again. Bitter urban warfare in a city of 3 million (officially, most likely about 4 million) followed by massive reconstruction and maintenance of a repression regime while under international sanctions.

    Russia's government has adequate intelligence services who know better what Ukraine is actually like, than you do. There is a reason why they limited their support to Crimea and Donbas.

    Your wishful thinking about Ukraine would be charming and harmless if not for the fact that such wishful thinking often leads to tragic actions that harm both the invader and the invaded. Remember the Iraqis were supposed to welcome the American liberators with flowers after their cakewalk.
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  74. @Randal

    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia’s state-owned media.
     
    There seems no evident reason to look for another explanation for the drops in pro-American sentiment. They seem eminently justified by the US's behaviour over the period 1990-date and perfectly unsurprising.

    What needs to be explained is not the sustained low opinion after 2014 but rather the remarkable recoveries after 1999, 2003 and 2008.

    In the west, opinion of the US was managed upwards with the Obama presidency because he fitted so well with US sphere establishment antiracist and leftist dogmas that he had almost universally positive (even hagiographic) mainstream media coverage throughout the US sphere, but with Trump opinions of the US are mostly back down where Bush II left them. It seems unlikely the Russian media would have been as sycophantically pro-Obama merely for his blackness and Democrat-ness, though, and of course he wasn't around anyway in 2000 and in 2004.

    It's understandable that following a particular instance of particularly bad US behaviour (such as Kosovo or Iraq) opinion of the US in US sphere states would dip dramatically (as it did, mostly) and then recover slowly to roughly its long term mean, because those crimes were not directed against the interests of US sphere states or elites. But they very much were targeted at Russia or its interests and disadvantageous to Russia and its global status. Russians had few excuses for failing to see that the US was an implacable and dangerous enemy from at least Kosovo onward, and yet they repeatedly chose to pretend to themselves that it wasn't.

    In the west, opinion of the US was managed upwards with the Obama presidency because he fitted so well with US sphere establishment antiracist and leftist dogmas that he had almost universally positive (even hagiographic) mainstream media coverage throughout the US sphere, but with Trump opinions of the US are mostly back down where Bush II left them.

    I agree with most of this, but you leave out precisely why public opinion shifts. My, rather cynical, view is that media is by far the main driver in shifting public views, and so whoever gives the media marching orders is the Pied Piper here.

    An example close to home was the consternation among some of my conservative friends over the events Charlottesville. They knew nothing about the American alt-right, and still less about the context of what happened that day, yet they still spoke of what a disgrace it was for Trump not to distance himself from these deplorables. This was, of course, fully the making of Swedish media. The 1996 Presidential Election campaign suggests that the Russian public is no less suggestible, and so does Russian (and Ukrainian) opinions on the crisis in the Donbass.

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  75. @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    US nationalists like you

    He is not US “nationalist”. Agree with the rest of your post.

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Art Deco is a Zionist, just checkout his reaction when you point out Israel assassinated JFK.
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  76. while the percentage of Russians with actively negative views emerged essentially out of nowhere

    LOL!!

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  77. Art Deco says:
    @Swedish Family

    How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.
     
    They are indeed, but my assumption is that Russia's present elite is, for the most part, corruptible. Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure -- carrot and stick -- to deregulate Russia's media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West. Only a few days ago, we learnt that Washington ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia's internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?

    ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia’s internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite’s plan for Russia?

    It tells me the reporters are confused or you are. There is no ‘agreement’ that will prevent ‘Russia’ from ‘meddling’ in American political life or the converse. The utility of agreements is that they make understandings between nations more precise and incorporate triggers which provide signals to one party or the other as to when the deal is off.

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  78. Art Deco says:
    @Swedish Family

    How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.
     
    They are indeed, but my assumption is that Russia's present elite is, for the most part, corruptible. Putin will be gone before 2024, and his successor will be under immense pressure -- carrot and stick -- to deregulate Russia's media landscape, which will make foreign money pour into Russian media outlets, which will in turn lead to more positive coverage and more positive views of the West. Only a few days ago, we learnt that Washington ruled out signing a non-interference agreement with Moscow since it would preclude Washington from meddling in Russia's internal affairs. What does this tell you about the Western elite's plan for Russia?

    Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media?

    Why do people give up ‘control’ of anything? Because they cannot be bothered anymore.

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  79. utu says:
    @inertial
    Yes, US had squandered a lot of good will in exchange for extremely valuable "geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe."

    Incidentally, Soviet propaganda was never anti-American. It was anti-capitalist, an important distinction. Whereas in America, anti-Russian propaganda has always been anti-Russian.

    Soviets and Soviet Union were always in awe of America. You could see it in “between-the-lines” of the texts of the so-called anti-imperialist, anti-American Soviet propaganda. It was about catching up with American in steel production and TV sets ownership and so on. American was the ultimate goal and people did not think of American as an enemy.

    Then there is the fact that Bolsheviks and Soviet Union owed a lot to America though this knowledge was not commonly known. Perhaps one should take look at these hidden connections to see what was the real mechanism bending the plug being pulled off the USSR. There might be even an analogy to South Africa but that is another story.

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  80. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction…

    No, that’s what you noticed in an amongst everything else being discussed by officials and in the papers at the time.

    which didn’t exist in 2003.

    It’s a reasonable inference the stockpiles were largely destroyed. To what extent they were able to ship stockpiles to co-operating third parties is not altogether certain. You know the stockpiles were largely destroyed because….we were occupying the country.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    What stockpiles are you talking about?
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  81. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    , amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext a

    It amounts to no such thing. That you have three reasons for doing something does not render one of them a ‘real’ reason and the others artificial.

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  82. Sean says:

    Two powerful countries beside one another are natural enemies, they can never be friends until one has been relegated by defeat. Britain and France were enemies until France became too weak to present a threat, then Britain’s enemy was Germany (it still is, Brexit is another Dunkirk with the UK realising it cannot compete with Germany on the continent). Russia cannot be a friend of China against the US until Russia has been relegated in the way France has been. France has irrecoverably given up control of its currency, they are relegated to Germany’s sidekick.

    China is like Bitcoin. The smart money (Google) is going there. Received wisdom in the US keeps expecting China’s economic growth to slow down but it isn’t going to happen. When it becomes clear that the US is going to be overtaken, America will try and slow down China’s economic growth, that will be Russia’s opportunity.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Brexit is another Dunkirk with the UK realising it cannot compete with Germany on the continent).

    No, it's an effort by the British public to reclaim for elected officials discretion which had been transferred to unaccountable microbes in Brussels.
    , @Art Deco
    Received wisdom in the US keeps expecting China’s economic growth to slow down but it isn’t going to happen. When it becomes clear that the US is going to be overtaken, America will try and slow down China’s economic growth, that will be Russia’s opportunity.


    https://www.amazon.com/MITI-Japanese-Miracle-Industrial-1925-1975/dp/0804712069

    Whatever.
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  83. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    given that the Iraq war increased Iran’s power and status).

    Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Well, they can now send troops to Syria on land.
    , @Randal

    Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?
     
    Well, according to the likes of Mattis they certainly do. Have you never heard of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMU), a large faction of which reportedly swear allegiance directly to Khamenei.

    Is that "victory" for you?

    An of course they now have a direct land route to Hezbollah, to make it easier for them to assist that national defence militia to deter further Israeli attacks. That's something they never could have had when Saddam was in charge of Iraq.

    Is that "victory" for you?

    And they don't have to worry about their western neighbour invading them with US backing again.

    Is that "victory" for you?
    , @German_reader
    US elites and media are constantly freaking out about some Iranian "empire" supposedly being created and threatening US allies in the mideast...since you seem to put great trust in their credibility, shouldn't that concern you? Personally I think those fears are exaggerated, but how can it be denied that Iran's influence has increased a lot in recent years and that the removal of Saddam's regime facilitated that development? Iranian revolutionary guards and Iranian-backed Shia militias operate in Iraq, the Iraqi government maintains close ties to Iran, and Iran is also an active participant in the Syrian civil war...would that have been conceivable like this before 2003?
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  84. @Art Deco
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction…

    No, that's what you noticed in an amongst everything else being discussed by officials and in the papers at the time.



    which didn’t exist in 2003.

    It's a reasonable inference the stockpiles were largely destroyed. To what extent they were able to ship stockpiles to co-operating third parties is not altogether certain. You know the stockpiles were largely destroyed because....we were occupying the country.

    What stockpiles are you talking about?

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  85. @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction…which didn’t exist in 2003.

    It was one of many reasons. You don’t set a guy on Death Row free just because one of the charges didn’t stick. The biggest reason was Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, which should have resulted in his removal from power. We settled on a truce because George HW Bush did not want to pay the price, and the (mostly-Sunni) Arab coalition members did not want (1) a democracy in Iraq and (2) a Shiite-dominated Iraq. Bush’s son ended up footing the political bill for that piece of unfinished business. The lesson is that you can delay paying the piper, but the bill always comes due.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    Bush’s son ended up footing the political bill for that piece of unfinished business.
     
    No, Bush II chose to invade Iraq entirely voluntarily. There was no good reason to do so, and the very good reasons why his father had sensibly chosen not to invade still largely applied (even more so in some cases, given Iraq's even weaker state).

    The lesson is that you can delay paying the piper, but the bill always comes due.
     
    This is of course self-serving fantasy. The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq, but for some reason you preferred to listen to the words of the staring-eyed sycophant who happened to be Prime Minister at the time, instead.

    More fool the Yanks. Most everyone else honest on the topic was giving you sensible advice. Bush II (whose incompetence is now generally accepted) chose to ignore that advice, and committed what is generally now regarded as the most egregious example of a foreign policy blunder since Vietnam at least, and probably since Suez, and will likely be taught as such around the world (including in the US, once the partisan apologists have given up trying to rationalise it) for generations to come.

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  86. @melanf

    Another possibility is that the change since 2014 is rather the result of more anti-American reporting in Russia’s state-owned media. This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.
     
    Definitely no
    American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.

    American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.

    Being Russian, you would be in a better position than I am to comment on this, but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose? This article might hold the answer:

    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/

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    • Replies: @melanf

    but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose?
     
    It is known - the minions of Putin translated into Russian language American (and European) propaganda, and putting it on the website http://inosmi.ru/ .
    The Americans also try: there is a special "Radio Liberty" that 24-hour broadcasts (in Russian) hate speech against the Russian.
    But it only speeds up the process (which will happen anyway) .
    , @ussr andy
    cool screen name ; )
    , @Anon
    "...but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose?"
    Pretending to be an innocent baby, SwedishFamily? - How about the intentional lies like the "dossier" story? It is becoming more entertaining with each day. https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/18/questioning-the-russia-gate-motive/
    Ever heard about Browder (a scion of a leader of the US Communist Party) and Magntisky act? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryVavTF6hR0
    What about the blatant coup d'etat in Ukraine, which was presented by the US State Dept as "democracy on the march?" -- Have you heard the names Nuland-Kagan and Brennan (of the CIA) and have you heard about neo-Nazi parades in various cities in Ukraine that became possible after the triumphal Kagan's revolution in Kiev of 2014?
    Or you are still in the dark?
    Well, how about a single felon from Russia who managed to convert the whole Olympic committee against Russian Federation? In this context, you should take a look at some very muscular ladies from the EU/US, who allegedly suffer from either ADHD or the past child abuse and thus are taking hormones, non-stop, with the Olympic committee blessing. And this is just a very short list of samplings of American propaganda to the Russian public.
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  87. @Art Deco
    given that the Iraq war increased Iran’s power and status).

    Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?

    Well, they can now send troops to Syria on land.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    And they can recruit more easily in post-Saddam Iraq.
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  88. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    Calling me “Eurotrash”…

    I didn’t have you in particular in mind.

    oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you’re the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I’ve heard and read all that a thousand times before, it’s all very unoriginal by now.

    No, I’m a fat middle aged man who thinks most of what people say on political topics is some species of self-congratulation. And a great deal of it is perverse. The two phenomena are symbiotic. And, of course, I’m unimpressed with kvetching foreigners. Kvetching Europeans might ask where is the evidence that they with their own skills and resources can improve some situation using methods which differ from those we have applied and kvetching Latin Americans can quit sticking the bill for their unhappy histories with Uncle Sam, and kvetching Arabs can at least take responsibility for something rather than projecting it on some wire-pulling other (Jews, Americans, conspiracy x).

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  89. Randal says:
    @Art Deco
    given that the Iraq war increased Iran’s power and status).

    Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?

    Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?

    Well, according to the likes of Mattis they certainly do. Have you never heard of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMU), a large faction of which reportedly swear allegiance directly to Khamenei.

    Is that “victory” for you?

    An of course they now have a direct land route to Hezbollah, to make it easier for them to assist that national defence militia to deter further Israeli attacks. That’s something they never could have had when Saddam was in charge of Iraq.

    Is that “victory” for you?

    And they don’t have to worry about their western neighbour invading them with US backing again.

    Is that “victory” for you?

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Well, according to the likes of Mattis they certainly do. Have you never heard of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMU), a large faction of which reportedly swear allegiance directly to Khamenei.

    You can get away with more by using the prefix 'there has even been speculation'/



    An of course they now have a direct land route to Hezbollah, to make it easier for them to assist that national defence militia to deter further Israeli attacks. That’s something they never could have had when Saddam was in charge of Iraq.

    They've been supplying Hezbollah for 35 years.



    And they don’t have to worry about their western neighbour invading them with US backing again.

    Their western neighbor never invaded them 'with U.S. backing'. During the latter half of the Iraq war, Iraq restored diplomatic relations with the United States and received some agricultural credits and other odds and ends.

    Iran will be under threat from their western neighbor should they have something that neighbor wishes to forcibly seize.
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  90. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    Well, they can now send troops to Syria on land.

    And they can recruit more easily in post-Saddam Iraq.

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  91. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich
    These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless: most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.

    I'm sure, support for reunification will go up in Belarus, if the Kremlin shows some leadership on this issue. We will find enough people willing to work with us, the rest will just have to accept the new reality and...go about their daily lifes as usual.

    The situation in Ukraine is different, it differs wildly by region and will require us to modify our approach.

    These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless: most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.

    So according to you when hundreds or thousands of people are asked a question they are not prepared for, their collective answer is meaningless and does not indicate their preference?

    So it’s a total coincidence that when Ukraine was ruled by Ukrainians most Crimeans preferred to join Russia, when Ukraine was ruled by a Russian, Crimeans were satisfied within Ukraine but when Ukrainian nationalists came to power Crimeans again preferred being part of Russia?

    Are all political polls also meaningless according to you, or just ones that contradict your idealistic views?

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  92. Art Deco says:
    @Sean
    Two powerful countries beside one another are natural enemies, they can never be friends until one has been relegated by defeat. Britain and France were enemies until France became too weak to present a threat, then Britain's enemy was Germany (it still is, Brexit is another Dunkirk with the UK realising it cannot compete with Germany on the continent). Russia cannot be a friend of China against the US until Russia has been relegated in the way France has been. France has irrecoverably given up control of its currency, they are relegated to Germany's sidekick.

    China is like Bitcoin. The smart money (Google) is going there. Received wisdom in the US keeps expecting China's economic growth to slow down but it isn't going to happen. When it becomes clear that the US is going to be overtaken, America will try and slow down China's economic growth, that will be Russia's opportunity.

    Brexit is another Dunkirk with the UK realising it cannot compete with Germany on the continent).

    No, it’s an effort by the British public to reclaim for elected officials discretion which had been transferred to unaccountable microbes in Brussels.

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    • Replies: @Sean
    Lord Weinstock said Britain could be de-industrialised in the EU, and how right he was.
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  93. @Felix Keverich

    In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime.
     
    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 - does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

    On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority - they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass. A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, "human rights activist" - these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare, they will just flee (like they already fled from Donbass).

    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

    In fairness, the young Ukrainians I have spoken to avoid the “draft” mainly out of fear that they will be underequipped and used as cannon fodder. (I’m not sure “draft” is the word I’m looking for. My understanding is that they are temporarily exempt from military service if they study at university or have good jobs.)

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    • Replies: @AP

    In fairness, the young Ukrainians I have spoken to avoid the “draft” mainly out of fear that they will be underequipped and used as cannon fodder.
     
    Correct. The thinking often was - "the corrupt officers will screw up and get us killed, or sell out our positions to the Russians for money, if the Russians came to our city I'd fight them but I don't wanna go to Donbas.." This is very different from avoiding the draft because one wouldn't mind if Russia annexed Ukraine. Indeed, Dnipropetrovsk in the East has contributed a lot to Ukraine's war effort, primarily because it borders Donbas - ones hears from people there that if they don't fight in Donbas and keep the rebels contained there, they'd have to fight at home.
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  94. Art Deco says:
    @Randal

    Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?
     
    Well, according to the likes of Mattis they certainly do. Have you never heard of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMU), a large faction of which reportedly swear allegiance directly to Khamenei.

    Is that "victory" for you?

    An of course they now have a direct land route to Hezbollah, to make it easier for them to assist that national defence militia to deter further Israeli attacks. That's something they never could have had when Saddam was in charge of Iraq.

    Is that "victory" for you?

    And they don't have to worry about their western neighbour invading them with US backing again.

    Is that "victory" for you?

    Well, according to the likes of Mattis they certainly do. Have you never heard of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMU), a large faction of which reportedly swear allegiance directly to Khamenei.

    You can get away with more by using the prefix ‘there has even been speculation’/

    An of course they now have a direct land route to Hezbollah, to make it easier for them to assist that national defence militia to deter further Israeli attacks. That’s something they never could have had when Saddam was in charge of Iraq.

    They’ve been supplying Hezbollah for 35 years.

    And they don’t have to worry about their western neighbour invading them with US backing again.

    Their western neighbor never invaded them ‘with U.S. backing’. During the latter half of the Iraq war, Iraq restored diplomatic relations with the United States and received some agricultural credits and other odds and ends.

    Iran will be under threat from their western neighbor should they have something that neighbor wishes to forcibly seize.

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    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    They’ve been supplying Hezbollah for 35 years.
     
    Only by air.

    For the last four years, Iran was shipping weapons and ammunition to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah through an air route. This method allowed Israel to identify, track and target Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah easily, as only few cargo airplanes land in Syrian airports every day.

    However, now Israel will be incapable of identifying any Iranian shipment on the new ground route, as it will be used by thousands of Iraq and Syrian companies on daily basis in the upcoming months. Experts believe that this will give Hezbollah and the SAA a huge advantage over Israel and will allow Iran to increase its supplies to its allies.
     
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/12/httpssouthfrontorgfirst-iranian-military-convoy-enters-syria-through-land-route-from-iraq-reports.html
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  95. Randal says:
    @Johann Ricke

    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction…which didn’t exist in 2003.
     
    It was one of many reasons. You don't set a guy on Death Row free just because one of the charges didn't stick. The biggest reason was Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, which should have resulted in his removal from power. We settled on a truce because George HW Bush did not want to pay the price, and the (mostly-Sunni) Arab coalition members did not want (1) a democracy in Iraq and (2) a Shiite-dominated Iraq. Bush's son ended up footing the political bill for that piece of unfinished business. The lesson is that you can delay paying the piper, but the bill always comes due.

    Bush’s son ended up footing the political bill for that piece of unfinished business.

    No, Bush II chose to invade Iraq entirely voluntarily. There was no good reason to do so, and the very good reasons why his father had sensibly chosen not to invade still largely applied (even more so in some cases, given Iraq’s even weaker state).

    The lesson is that you can delay paying the piper, but the bill always comes due.

    This is of course self-serving fantasy. The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq, but for some reason you preferred to listen to the words of the staring-eyed sycophant who happened to be Prime Minister at the time, instead.

    More fool the Yanks. Most everyone else honest on the topic was giving you sensible advice. Bush II (whose incompetence is now generally accepted) chose to ignore that advice, and committed what is generally now regarded as the most egregious example of a foreign policy blunder since Vietnam at least, and probably since Suez, and will likely be taught as such around the world (including in the US, once the partisan apologists have given up trying to rationalise it) for generations to come.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    This is of course self-serving fantasy. The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq, but for some reason you preferred to listen to the words of the staring-eyed sycophant who happened to be Prime Minister at the time, instead.
     
    Who gives a damn what they think? These are the same countries that plunged the world into two World Wars that killed 100m people between them. Their blinkered and self-serving stupidity is a model for what not to do.
    , @Art Deco
    The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq,

    The sensible British were a co-operating force in invading Iraq. As for the rest, they all have their shticks and interests (and no, I don't stipulate that you've characterized their opinion correctly either).
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  96. Art Deco says:
    @Sean
    Two powerful countries beside one another are natural enemies, they can never be friends until one has been relegated by defeat. Britain and France were enemies until France became too weak to present a threat, then Britain's enemy was Germany (it still is, Brexit is another Dunkirk with the UK realising it cannot compete with Germany on the continent). Russia cannot be a friend of China against the US until Russia has been relegated in the way France has been. France has irrecoverably given up control of its currency, they are relegated to Germany's sidekick.

    China is like Bitcoin. The smart money (Google) is going there. Received wisdom in the US keeps expecting China's economic growth to slow down but it isn't going to happen. When it becomes clear that the US is going to be overtaken, America will try and slow down China's economic growth, that will be Russia's opportunity.

    Received wisdom in the US keeps expecting China’s economic growth to slow down but it isn’t going to happen. When it becomes clear that the US is going to be overtaken, America will try and slow down China’s economic growth, that will be Russia’s opportunity.

    https://www.amazon.com/MITI-Japanese-Miracle-Industrial-1925-1975/dp/0804712069

    Whatever.

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    • Replies: @Sean
    The potential power of China is an order of magnitude greater than Japan. After WW2 Japan, and to a lesser extent Germany, were too small to be a threat. Don't you believe all that Robert Kagan 'the US solved the problems that caused WW1 and 2' stuff. China is a real hegemon in the making and they will take a run at it, unless they are contained by military pressure on their borders.

    Modern Japan is more like Singapore than China. China has economies of scale, they have a single integrated factory complex making laptops with has more workers than the British army. China will have a huge home market, like America. So by the time it dawns on America that China's growing power must be checked, economic measures will be ineffective.

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  97. melanf says:
    @Swedish Family

    American propaganda (itself without the help of Putin) were able to convince the Russians that America is the enemy. Propaganda of Putin to this could add almost nothing.
     
    Being Russian, you would be in a better position than I am to comment on this, but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose? This article might hold the answer:

    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/

    but the obvious counter to that line is who channeled this American propaganda to the Russian public and for what purpose?

    It is known – the minions of Putin translated into Russian language American (and European) propaganda, and putting it on the website http://inosmi.ru/ .
    The Americans also try: there is a special “Radio Liberty” that 24-hour broadcasts (in Russian) hate speech against the Russian.
    But it only speeds up the process (which will happen anyway) .

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  98. @Art Deco
    Well, according to the likes of Mattis they certainly do. Have you never heard of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMU), a large faction of which reportedly swear allegiance directly to Khamenei.

    You can get away with more by using the prefix 'there has even been speculation'/



    An of course they now have a direct land route to Hezbollah, to make it easier for them to assist that national defence militia to deter further Israeli attacks. That’s something they never could have had when Saddam was in charge of Iraq.

    They've been supplying Hezbollah for 35 years.



    And they don’t have to worry about their western neighbour invading them with US backing again.

    Their western neighbor never invaded them 'with U.S. backing'. During the latter half of the Iraq war, Iraq restored diplomatic relations with the United States and received some agricultural credits and other odds and ends.

    Iran will be under threat from their western neighbor should they have something that neighbor wishes to forcibly seize.

    They’ve been supplying Hezbollah for 35 years.

    Only by air.

    For the last four years, Iran was shipping weapons and ammunition to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah through an air route. This method allowed Israel to identify, track and target Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah easily, as only few cargo airplanes land in Syrian airports every day.

    However, now Israel will be incapable of identifying any Iranian shipment on the new ground route, as it will be used by thousands of Iraq and Syrian companies on daily basis in the upcoming months. Experts believe that this will give Hezbollah and the SAA a huge advantage over Israel and will allow Iran to increase its supplies to its allies.

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/12/httpssouthfrontorgfirst-iranian-military-convoy-enters-syria-through-land-route-from-iraq-reports.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Only by air.

    How often has Israel shot down Iranian aircraft?


    However, now Israel will be incapable of identifying any Iranian shipment on the new ground route,

    Not buying.

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  99. @Art Deco
    given that the Iraq war increased Iran’s power and status).

    Do they have one more soldier at their command and one more piece of equipment because we had troops in Iraq?

    US elites and media are constantly freaking out about some Iranian “empire” supposedly being created and threatening US allies in the mideast…since you seem to put great trust in their credibility, shouldn’t that concern you? Personally I think those fears are exaggerated, but how can it be denied that Iran’s influence has increased a lot in recent years and that the removal of Saddam’s regime facilitated that development? Iranian revolutionary guards and Iranian-backed Shia militias operate in Iraq, the Iraqi government maintains close ties to Iran, and Iran is also an active participant in the Syrian civil war…would that have been conceivable like this before 2003?

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  100. Randal says:
    @Mitleser

    Fair points, though you seem to concede to the Russian elites a significant degree of competence at managing public opinion, in 2000 and in 2004.
     
    I am just taking into account that the early 00s were right after the 1990s when pro-Americanism was at its peak in Russia. Yugoslavia and Iraq were too distant too alienate the majority permanently.

    I was under the impression that Putin personally was still quite naïve about the US even after Kosovo, which partly accounts for his rather desperately helpful approach after 9/11, though not so much after Iraq.
     
    Why do you think did he suggest joining NATO as an option?
    Not because NATO are "good guys", but because it would ensure that Russia has a voice that cannot be ignored. After all, the Kosovo War showed the limits of the UNSC and by extension of Russia's voice in the unipolar world.

    Why do you think did he suggest joining NATO as an option?
    Not because NATO are “good guys”, but because it would ensure that Russia has a voice that cannot be ignored. After all, the Kosovo War showed the limits of the UNSC and by extension of Russia’s voice in the unipolar world.

    Well you have to wonder if he was just trolling the Americans, or if he was really naïve enough to expect a serious response.

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  101. Sean says:
    @Art Deco
    Brexit is another Dunkirk with the UK realising it cannot compete with Germany on the continent).

    No, it's an effort by the British public to reclaim for elected officials discretion which had been transferred to unaccountable microbes in Brussels.

    Lord Weinstock said Britain could be de-industrialised in the EU, and how right he was.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The share of value-added in industry as a share of global product has been declining for over 50 years. In the EU, industry accounts for 24.5% of value added. In Britain, the figure is 20.2%. Not seeing why that animates you.
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  102. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    In which 25 million or so Ukrainians actively resist you, and another 5 million or so Ukrainians plus a few million Belarusians nonviolently resent your rule. You will reduce the cities or parts of them to something like Aleppo, and rebuild them (perhaps with coerced local labor) while under a sanctions regime.
     
    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 - does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

    On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority - they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass. A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, "human rights activist" - these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare, they will just flee (like they already fled from Donbass).

    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?

    It was about 50,000 in 2014, about 200,000-250,000 now.

    Polish military has 105,000 personnel. Poland also not united or willing to defend itself?

    On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority – they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass

    Avakov, Poroshenko’s interior minister and sponsor of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, in 2010 got 48% of the vote in Kharkiv’s mayoral race in 2010 when he ran as the “Orange” candidate. In 2012 election about 30% of Kharkiv oblast voters chose nationalist candidates, vs. about 10% in Donetsk oblast. Vkontakte, a good source for judging youth attitudes, was split 50/50 between pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan in Kharkiv (IIRC it was 80/20 anti-Maidan winning in Donetsk). Kharkiv is just like Donbas, right?

    A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, “human rights activist”

    Football hooligans in these places are also Ukrainian nationalists. Azov battalion and Right Sector are both based in Eastern Ukraine.

    Here is how Azov started:

    The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named “Sect 82″ (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] “Sect 82″ was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, “Sect 82″ occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local “self-defense”-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of “Sect 82″ there was formed a volunteer militia called “Eastern Corps”.[18]

    Here is Azov battalion commander-turned-Kiev oblast police chief, Kharkiv native Vadim Troyan:

    Does he look like an intellectual to you? Before Maidan he was a cop.

    these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare,

    On the contrary, they will probably dig in while seeking cover in urban areas that they know well, where they have some significant support (as Donbas rebels did in Donetsk), forcing the Russian invaders to fight house to house and causing massive damage while fighting native boys such as Azov. About 1/3 of Kharkiv overall and 1/2 of its youth are nationalists. I wouldn’t expect mass resistance by the Kharkiv population itself, but passive support for the rebels by many. Russia will then end up rebuilding a large city full of a resentful population that will remember its dead (same problem Kiev will face if it gets Donbas back). This scenario can be repeated for Odessa. Dnipropetrovsk, the home base of Right Sector, is actually much more nationalistic than either Odessa or Kharkiv. And Kiev is a different world again. Bitter urban warfare in a city of 3 million (officially, most likely about 4 million) followed by massive reconstruction and maintenance of a repression regime while under international sanctions.

    Russia’s government has adequate intelligence services who know better what Ukraine is actually like, than you do. There is a reason why they limited their support to Crimea and Donbas.

    Your wishful thinking about Ukraine would be charming and harmless if not for the fact that such wishful thinking often leads to tragic actions that harm both the invader and the invaded. Remember the Iraqis were supposed to welcome the American liberators with flowers after their cakewalk.

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral

    Does he look like an intellectual to you?
     
    The question reminds me of this:
    https://pics.onsizzle.com/two-of-these-people-are-actual-scientists-so-called-actual-20790218.png
    , @Felix Keverich
    LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types. And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.

    The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them - no more than 10.000 in the entire country. I assume Russian security services know all of them by name.

    To deal with Ukronazi problem, I would first take out their leaders, then target their HQs, arms depots and training camps. I would kill or intimidate their sponsors. Ukronazis would be left decapitated, without resources, undermanned and demoralised, trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them. It will be a short lived insurgency.
    , @Anon
    "...Remember the Iraqis were supposed to welcome the American liberators.."
    Guess this is why Russian Federation is in no hurry to impose on the violators of ceasefire agreements.
    The big question is, for how long the majority of ordinary Ukrainian could endure the lack of pensions, decent education, health care, food... The US is ready to provide weaponry (viva MIC!), but do the US/EU have any desire to support the Ukrainian populace at large? Since Maidan (Kagan's) revolution of 2014 the corruption has grown and the populace’ grievances have increased. The handouts from IMF ($billions) have been quickly distributed among oligarchs; the thieving scoundrels surely hate the idea of a pipeline going from Russia directly to Germany.
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  103. Art Deco says:
    @Swedish Family

    They’ve been supplying Hezbollah for 35 years.
     
    Only by air.

    For the last four years, Iran was shipping weapons and ammunition to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah through an air route. This method allowed Israel to identify, track and target Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah easily, as only few cargo airplanes land in Syrian airports every day.

    However, now Israel will be incapable of identifying any Iranian shipment on the new ground route, as it will be used by thousands of Iraq and Syrian companies on daily basis in the upcoming months. Experts believe that this will give Hezbollah and the SAA a huge advantage over Israel and will allow Iran to increase its supplies to its allies.
     
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/12/httpssouthfrontorgfirst-iranian-military-convoy-enters-syria-through-land-route-from-iraq-reports.html

    Only by air.

    How often has Israel shot down Iranian aircraft?

    However, now Israel will be incapable of identifying any Iranian shipment on the new ground route,

    Not buying.

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  104. neutral says:
    @AP

    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?
     
    It was about 50,000 in 2014, about 200,000-250,000 now.

    Polish military has 105,000 personnel. Poland also not united or willing to defend itself?

    On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority – they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass
     
    Avakov, Poroshenko's interior minister and sponsor of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, in 2010 got 48% of the vote in Kharkiv's mayoral race in 2010 when he ran as the "Orange" candidate. In 2012 election about 30% of Kharkiv oblast voters chose nationalist candidates, vs. about 10% in Donetsk oblast. Vkontakte, a good source for judging youth attitudes, was split 50/50 between pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan in Kharkiv (IIRC it was 80/20 anti-Maidan winning in Donetsk). Kharkiv is just like Donbas, right?

    A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, “human rights activist”
     
    Football hooligans in these places are also Ukrainian nationalists. Azov battalion and Right Sector are both based in Eastern Ukraine.

    Here is how Azov started:

    The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named "Sect 82" (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] "Sect 82" was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, "Sect 82" occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local "self-defense"-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of "Sect 82" there was formed a volunteer militia called "Eastern Corps".[18]

    Here is Azov battalion commander-turned-Kiev oblast police chief, Kharkiv native Vadim Troyan:

    http://i.imgur.com/Ccmn9MS.jpg

    Does he look like an intellectual to you? Before Maidan he was a cop.

    these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare,
     
    On the contrary, they will probably dig in while seeking cover in urban areas that they know well, where they have some significant support (as Donbas rebels did in Donetsk), forcing the Russian invaders to fight house to house and causing massive damage while fighting native boys such as Azov. About 1/3 of Kharkiv overall and 1/2 of its youth are nationalists. I wouldn't expect mass resistance by the Kharkiv population itself, but passive support for the rebels by many. Russia will then end up rebuilding a large city full of a resentful population that will remember its dead (same problem Kiev will face if it gets Donbas back). This scenario can be repeated for Odessa. Dnipropetrovsk, the home base of Right Sector, is actually much more nationalistic than either Odessa or Kharkiv. And Kiev is a different world again. Bitter urban warfare in a city of 3 million (officially, most likely about 4 million) followed by massive reconstruction and maintenance of a repression regime while under international sanctions.

    Russia's government has adequate intelligence services who know better what Ukraine is actually like, than you do. There is a reason why they limited their support to Crimea and Donbas.

    Your wishful thinking about Ukraine would be charming and harmless if not for the fact that such wishful thinking often leads to tragic actions that harm both the invader and the invaded. Remember the Iraqis were supposed to welcome the American liberators with flowers after their cakewalk.

    Does he look like an intellectual to you?

    The question reminds me of this:

    Read More
    • LOL: AP
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  105. Art Deco says:
    @Sean
    Lord Weinstock said Britain could be de-industrialised in the EU, and how right he was.

    The share of value-added in industry as a share of global product has been declining for over 50 years. In the EU, industry accounts for 24.5% of value added. In Britain, the figure is 20.2%. Not seeing why that animates you.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    A lot of what used to be manufacturing, such as engineering design, is now put under the category of services. Manufacturing companies want to be listed as engaged in services because manufacturing is perceived as not profitable. Britain is alone among comparable countries in having lost significant amounts of productive capacity.
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  106. AP says:
    @Swedish Family

    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?
     
    In fairness, the young Ukrainians I have spoken to avoid the "draft" mainly out of fear that they will be underequipped and used as cannon fodder. (I'm not sure "draft" is the word I'm looking for. My understanding is that they are temporarily exempt from military service if they study at university or have good jobs.)

    In fairness, the young Ukrainians I have spoken to avoid the “draft” mainly out of fear that they will be underequipped and used as cannon fodder.

    Correct. The thinking often was – “the corrupt officers will screw up and get us killed, or sell out our positions to the Russians for money, if the Russians came to our city I’d fight them but I don’t wanna go to Donbas..” This is very different from avoiding the draft because one wouldn’t mind if Russia annexed Ukraine. Indeed, Dnipropetrovsk in the East has contributed a lot to Ukraine’s war effort, primarily because it borders Donbas – ones hears from people there that if they don’t fight in Donbas and keep the rebels contained there, they’d have to fight at home.

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  107. Art Deco says:

    US elites and media are constantly freaking out about some Iranian “empire” supposedly being created and threatening US allies in the mideast

    No, they aren’t. The political class has been anxious about Iran because it’s sinking a lot of resources into building weapons of mass destruction, because key actors therein adhere to apocalyptic conceptions, and because it’s a weirdly (and gratuitously) hostile country.

    since you seem to put great trust in their credibility, shouldn’t that concern you? Personally I think those fears are exaggerated, but how can it be denied that Iran’s influence has increased a lot in recent years and that the removal of Saddam’s regime facilitated that development? Iranian revolutionary guards and Iranian-backed Shia militias operate in Iraq, the Iraqi government maintains close ties to Iran, and Iran is also an active participant in the Syrian civil war…would that have been conceivable like this before 2003?

    You keep alluding to things that cannot be quantified or even readily verified. Iran’s taken advantage of disordered situations in the past (in Lebanon), so it’s not surprising they do so in Syria. The disordered situation there is a function of the breakdown of government in Syria, not of the Iraq war. Whether any influence Iran has in Iraq turns out to be abiding remains to be seen. The anxiety about Iraq has concerned it’s inclination to subvert friendly governments and drop atomic weaponry on Israel. Not sure how their subrosa dealings with the Iraqi government further the latter (or even the former).

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    No, they aren’t.
     
    The supposed threat of an Iranian empire is a common theme in interventionist US media and in certain think tanks/pressure groups, even five minutes of googling produced this:

    https://nypost.com/2015/02/01/the-iranian-dream-of-a-reborn-persian-empire/

    http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/01/15/fmr-nato-supreme-allied-commander-stavridis-iran-will-be-imperial-power-due-to-iran-deals-golden-shower-of-money/

    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/middle-east/iran/iran-and-the-imperialism-hypocrisy/

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/30/what-to-do-about-an-imperial-iran-middle-east-persia-regional-dominance/

    http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/may-clifford-d-the-new-persian-empire/ (btw, the Foundation for defense of democracies agrees with me that the removal of Saddam's regime was to Iran's benefit).

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/henry-kissinger-isis-iranian-radical-empire-middle-east-a7881541.html

    Obviously I don't want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, though imo US policy in this regard has been rather counter-productive recently.
    Regarding the Iraq war, it's probably pointless to continue the discussion, if you want to continue regarding it as a great idea, I won't argue with you.
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  108. @AP

    This is a fantasy. Look, the effective size of Ukrainian army right now is around 70.000 – does this look like a strong, united nation willing and able to defend itself?
     
    It was about 50,000 in 2014, about 200,000-250,000 now.

    Polish military has 105,000 personnel. Poland also not united or willing to defend itself?

    On the left side of the Dnieper truly crazy svidomy types is a small minority – they stand out from the crowd, can be easily identified and neutralised just like in Donbass
     
    Avakov, Poroshenko's interior minister and sponsor of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, in 2010 got 48% of the vote in Kharkiv's mayoral race in 2010 when he ran as the "Orange" candidate. In 2012 election about 30% of Kharkiv oblast voters chose nationalist candidates, vs. about 10% in Donetsk oblast. Vkontakte, a good source for judging youth attitudes, was split 50/50 between pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan in Kharkiv (IIRC it was 80/20 anti-Maidan winning in Donetsk). Kharkiv is just like Donbas, right?

    A typical Ukrainian nationalist east of Dnieper is a business owner, university educated white collar professional, a student, a journalist, “human rights activist”
     
    Football hooligans in these places are also Ukrainian nationalists. Azov battalion and Right Sector are both based in Eastern Ukraine.

    Here is how Azov started:

    The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named "Sect 82" (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] "Sect 82" was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, "Sect 82" occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local "self-defense"-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of "Sect 82" there was formed a volunteer militia called "Eastern Corps".[18]

    Here is Azov battalion commander-turned-Kiev oblast police chief, Kharkiv native Vadim Troyan:

    http://i.imgur.com/Ccmn9MS.jpg

    Does he look like an intellectual to you? Before Maidan he was a cop.

    these are not the kind of individuals, who will engage in guerilla warfare,
     
    On the contrary, they will probably dig in while seeking cover in urban areas that they know well, where they have some significant support (as Donbas rebels did in Donetsk), forcing the Russian invaders to fight house to house and causing massive damage while fighting native boys such as Azov. About 1/3 of Kharkiv overall and 1/2 of its youth are nationalists. I wouldn't expect mass resistance by the Kharkiv population itself, but passive support for the rebels by many. Russia will then end up rebuilding a large city full of a resentful population that will remember its dead (same problem Kiev will face if it gets Donbas back). This scenario can be repeated for Odessa. Dnipropetrovsk, the home base of Right Sector, is actually much more nationalistic than either Odessa or Kharkiv. And Kiev is a different world again. Bitter urban warfare in a city of 3 million (officially, most likely about 4 million) followed by massive reconstruction and maintenance of a repression regime while under international sanctions.

    Russia's government has adequate intelligence services who know better what Ukraine is actually like, than you do. There is a reason why they limited their support to Crimea and Donbas.

    Your wishful thinking about Ukraine would be charming and harmless if not for the fact that such wishful thinking often leads to tragic actions that harm both the invader and the invaded. Remember the Iraqis were supposed to welcome the American liberators with flowers after their cakewalk.

    LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types. And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.

    The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them – no more than 10.000 in the entire country. I assume Russian security services know all of them by name.

    To deal with Ukronazi problem, I would first take out their leaders, then target their HQs, arms depots and training camps. I would kill or intimidate their sponsors. Ukronazis would be left decapitated, without resources, undermanned and demoralised, trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them. It will be a short lived insurgency.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types.

     

    And Russians and Poles were also soft when someone invaded their country? Ukrainians are not modern western Euros.

    And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.
     
    Most pensioners. It will be about 50/50 among young fighting-age people.

    The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them – no more than 10.000 in the entire country
     
    Maybe. Ukrainian government claims 46,000 in volunteer self-defense battalions (including Azov) but this is probably an exaggeration.

    OTOH there are a couple 100,000 demobilized young people with combat experience who would be willing to fight if their homeland were attacked, who are not neo-Nazis in Azov. Plus a military of 200,000-250,000 people, many of whom would imitate the Donbas rebels and probably redeploy in places like Kharkiv where they have cover. Good look fighting it out block by block.

    trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them
     
    In 2010, 48% of Kharkiv voters chose a nationalist for their mayor. In 2012 about 30% voted for nationalist parties. Judging by pro vs, anti-Maidan, the youth are evenly split although in 2014 the Ukrainian nationalist youths ended up controlling the streets, not the Russian nationalist ones as in Donbas. This is in the most pro-Russian part of Ukraine.

    Suuure, the population of Kharkiv will despise their kids, grandkids, nephews, classmates etc,. but will welcome the invaders from Russia who will be bombing their city. Such idealism and optimism in Russia!

    It will be a short lived insurgency.
     
    And Iraq was supposed to be a cakewalk.
    , @Art Deco
    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/LXddbOQwM7E/hqdefault.jpg

    Sounds like fun.
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  109. @Art Deco
    US elites and media are constantly freaking out about some Iranian “empire” supposedly being created and threatening US allies in the mideast

    No, they aren't. The political class has been anxious about Iran because it's sinking a lot of resources into building weapons of mass destruction, because key actors therein adhere to apocalyptic conceptions, and because it's a weirdly (and gratuitously) hostile country.



    since you seem to put great trust in their credibility, shouldn’t that concern you? Personally I think those fears are exaggerated, but how can it be denied that Iran’s influence has increased a lot in recent years and that the removal of Saddam’s regime facilitated that development? Iranian revolutionary guards and Iranian-backed Shia militias operate in Iraq, the Iraqi government maintains close ties to Iran, and Iran is also an active participant in the Syrian civil war…would that have been conceivable like this before 2003?

    You keep alluding to things that cannot be quantified or even readily verified. Iran's taken advantage of disordered situations in the past (in Lebanon), so it's not surprising they do so in Syria. The disordered situation there is a function of the breakdown of government in Syria, not of the Iraq war. Whether any influence Iran has in Iraq turns out to be abiding remains to be seen. The anxiety about Iraq has concerned it's inclination to subvert friendly governments and drop atomic weaponry on Israel. Not sure how their subrosa dealings with the Iraqi government further the latter (or even the former).

    No, they aren’t.

    The supposed threat of an Iranian empire is a common theme in interventionist US media and in certain think tanks/pressure groups, even five minutes of googling produced this:

    https://nypost.com/2015/02/01/the-iranian-dream-of-a-reborn-persian-empire/

    http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/01/15/fmr-nato-supreme-allied-commander-stavridis-iran-will-be-imperial-power-due-to-iran-deals-golden-shower-of-money/

    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/middle-east/iran/iran-and-the-imperialism-hypocrisy/

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/30/what-to-do-about-an-imperial-iran-middle-east-persia-regional-dominance/

    http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/may-clifford-d-the-new-persian-empire/ (btw, the Foundation for defense of democracies agrees with me that the removal of Saddam’s regime was to Iran’s benefit).

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/henry-kissinger-isis-iranian-radical-empire-middle-east-a7881541.html

    Obviously I don’t want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, though imo US policy in this regard has been rather counter-productive recently.
    Regarding the Iraq war, it’s probably pointless to continue the discussion, if you want to continue regarding it as a great idea, I won’t argue with you.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The supposed threat of an Iranian empire is a common theme in interventionist US media

    "Imperial" or "Imperialist" is a term of art among IR specialists referring to active revisionist powers in a given state system.

    The people you are linking to are a mixed bunch. One's a lapsed reporter. Two are opinion journalists with background (one in the military and one in the intelligence services, or so he says), one has been out of office for 40 years (and, IMO, is engaging in the academic's exercise of attention-seeking through counter-factual utterance; there's little downside to that), and one actually is someone who has been a policy-maker in the last generation (and he's offering a critique of the Iran deal, which was not a Bush administration initiative).
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  110. Talha says:

    I remember my dad telling me that the Carter administration was the highlight of America-love in Pakistan. Slowly went downhill from there and crashed at Dubya.

    Peace.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I remember my dad telling me that the Carter administration was the highlight of America-love in Pakistan. Slowly went downhill from there and crashed at Dubya.

    I remember Gen. Zia on the front page of The New York Times ridiculing Mr. Carter in plain terms (the $400 million aid offer was 'peanuts').
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  111. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich
    LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types. And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.

    The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them - no more than 10.000 in the entire country. I assume Russian security services know all of them by name.

    To deal with Ukronazi problem, I would first take out their leaders, then target their HQs, arms depots and training camps. I would kill or intimidate their sponsors. Ukronazis would be left decapitated, without resources, undermanned and demoralised, trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them. It will be a short lived insurgency.

    LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types.

    And Russians and Poles were also soft when someone invaded their country? Ukrainians are not modern western Euros.

    And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.

    Most pensioners. It will be about 50/50 among young fighting-age people.

    The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them – no more than 10.000 in the entire country

    Maybe. Ukrainian government claims 46,000 in volunteer self-defense battalions (including Azov) but this is probably an exaggeration.

    OTOH there are a couple 100,000 demobilized young people with combat experience who would be willing to fight if their homeland were attacked, who are not neo-Nazis in Azov. Plus a military of 200,000-250,000 people, many of whom would imitate the Donbas rebels and probably redeploy in places like Kharkiv where they have cover. Good look fighting it out block by block.

    trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them

    In 2010, 48% of Kharkiv voters chose a nationalist for their mayor. In 2012 about 30% voted for nationalist parties. Judging by pro vs, anti-Maidan, the youth are evenly split although in 2014 the Ukrainian nationalist youths ended up controlling the streets, not the Russian nationalist ones as in Donbas. This is in the most pro-Russian part of Ukraine.

    Suuure, the population of Kharkiv will despise their kids, grandkids, nephews, classmates etc,. but will welcome the invaders from Russia who will be bombing their city. Such idealism and optimism in Russia!

    It will be a short lived insurgency.

    And Iraq was supposed to be a cakewalk.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Again, supporting Maidan doesn't mean you're ready to take up Kalashnikov and go fight. Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It's a fact.

    This is what typical Maidanist Ukrainian youths look like; these people certainly don't look like they have a lot of fight in them:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA4uUZgDi6g

    They remind me of Navalny supporters in Russia. These kind of people can throw a tantrum, but they are fundamentally weak people, who are easily crushed.

    , @Anon
    Perhaps once the looting of Ukraine by Monsanto, IMF, FedReserve et al and the obvious loss of independence to ziocons will finally down on Ukrainians, the intelligent ones could be less inclined to join the neo-Nazi nation.
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  112. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader

    No, they aren’t.
     
    The supposed threat of an Iranian empire is a common theme in interventionist US media and in certain think tanks/pressure groups, even five minutes of googling produced this:

    https://nypost.com/2015/02/01/the-iranian-dream-of-a-reborn-persian-empire/

    http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/01/15/fmr-nato-supreme-allied-commander-stavridis-iran-will-be-imperial-power-due-to-iran-deals-golden-shower-of-money/

    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/middle-east/iran/iran-and-the-imperialism-hypocrisy/

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/30/what-to-do-about-an-imperial-iran-middle-east-persia-regional-dominance/

    http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/may-clifford-d-the-new-persian-empire/ (btw, the Foundation for defense of democracies agrees with me that the removal of Saddam's regime was to Iran's benefit).

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/henry-kissinger-isis-iranian-radical-empire-middle-east-a7881541.html

    Obviously I don't want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, though imo US policy in this regard has been rather counter-productive recently.
    Regarding the Iraq war, it's probably pointless to continue the discussion, if you want to continue regarding it as a great idea, I won't argue with you.

    The supposed threat of an Iranian empire is a common theme in interventionist US media

    “Imperial” or “Imperialist” is a term of art among IR specialists referring to active revisionist powers in a given state system.

    The people you are linking to are a mixed bunch. One’s a lapsed reporter. Two are opinion journalists with background (one in the military and one in the intelligence services, or so he says), one has been out of office for 40 years (and, IMO, is engaging in the academic’s exercise of attention-seeking through counter-factual utterance; there’s little downside to that), and one actually is someone who has been a policy-maker in the last generation (and he’s offering a critique of the Iran deal, which was not a Bush administration initiative).

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  113. @Randal

    Bush’s son ended up footing the political bill for that piece of unfinished business.
     
    No, Bush II chose to invade Iraq entirely voluntarily. There was no good reason to do so, and the very good reasons why his father had sensibly chosen not to invade still largely applied (even more so in some cases, given Iraq's even weaker state).

    The lesson is that you can delay paying the piper, but the bill always comes due.
     
    This is of course self-serving fantasy. The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq, but for some reason you preferred to listen to the words of the staring-eyed sycophant who happened to be Prime Minister at the time, instead.

    More fool the Yanks. Most everyone else honest on the topic was giving you sensible advice. Bush II (whose incompetence is now generally accepted) chose to ignore that advice, and committed what is generally now regarded as the most egregious example of a foreign policy blunder since Vietnam at least, and probably since Suez, and will likely be taught as such around the world (including in the US, once the partisan apologists have given up trying to rationalise it) for generations to come.

    This is of course self-serving fantasy. The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq, but for some reason you preferred to listen to the words of the staring-eyed sycophant who happened to be Prime Minister at the time, instead.

    Who gives a damn what they think? These are the same countries that plunged the world into two World Wars that killed 100m people between them. Their blinkered and self-serving stupidity is a model for what not to do.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    Who gives a damn what they think?
     
    Well history has proven them to have been correct and the US regime wrong on Iraq, so that pretty much tells you how far your arrogance will get you outside your own echo chamber.

    US foreign policy is pretty much a byword for incompetence even amongst its own allies, at least when they are talking off the record.
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  114. Art Deco says:
    @Talha
    I remember my dad telling me that the Carter administration was the highlight of America-love in Pakistan. Slowly went downhill from there and crashed at Dubya.

    Peace.

    I remember my dad telling me that the Carter administration was the highlight of America-love in Pakistan. Slowly went downhill from there and crashed at Dubya.

    I remember Gen. Zia on the front page of The New York Times ridiculing Mr. Carter in plain terms (the $400 million aid offer was ‘peanuts’).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Sure, but the ordinary folks liked him - he seemed like a humble man with faith from humble beginnings. Pakistanis could relate to someone like that.
    http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/140926151139-17-jimmy-carter-super-169.jpg

    I was just a wee lad at the time, so I'm only conveying what my dad told me.

    Peace.
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  115. Art Deco says:
    @Randal

    Bush’s son ended up footing the political bill for that piece of unfinished business.
     
    No, Bush II chose to invade Iraq entirely voluntarily. There was no good reason to do so, and the very good reasons why his father had sensibly chosen not to invade still largely applied (even more so in some cases, given Iraq's even weaker state).

    The lesson is that you can delay paying the piper, but the bill always comes due.
     
    This is of course self-serving fantasy. The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq, but for some reason you preferred to listen to the words of the staring-eyed sycophant who happened to be Prime Minister at the time, instead.

    More fool the Yanks. Most everyone else honest on the topic was giving you sensible advice. Bush II (whose incompetence is now generally accepted) chose to ignore that advice, and committed what is generally now regarded as the most egregious example of a foreign policy blunder since Vietnam at least, and probably since Suez, and will likely be taught as such around the world (including in the US, once the partisan apologists have given up trying to rationalise it) for generations to come.

    The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq,

    The sensible British were a co-operating force in invading Iraq. As for the rest, they all have their shticks and interests (and no, I don’t stipulate that you’ve characterized their opinion correctly either).

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    • Replies: @Randal

    The sensible British were a co-operating force in invading Iraq.
     
    That was the staring-eyed sycophant's work.

    The man who opened the floodgates to immigration because he thought multiculturalism is a great idea.

    As for the rest, they all have their shticks and interests
     
    Of course. Unlike the exceptional United States of course, the only country in the world whose government never has any axe to grind in the nobility of purpose and intent it displays in all the wars it has ever fought.

    You seem to be degenerating into a caricature of the ignorant, arrogant American.
    , @Hu Mi Yu

    The sensible British were a co-operating force in invading Iraq.
     
    I am surprised no one has brought up the issue of slant drilling from Kuwait into Iraq:
    http://rense.com/general3/slant.htm

    The British had an investment in Kuwait that they wanted to protect. When they took possession of the disputed fields, the Iraqi case became moot.

    Also insupportable debt run up by Iraq to Kuwait that was run up during the Iraq/Iran war. The US encouraged and supported the Iraqi side, but the war bankrupted the Iraqis.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Kuwait
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  116. Art Deco says:
    @Felix Keverich
    LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types. And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.

    The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them - no more than 10.000 in the entire country. I assume Russian security services know all of them by name.

    To deal with Ukronazi problem, I would first take out their leaders, then target their HQs, arms depots and training camps. I would kill or intimidate their sponsors. Ukronazis would be left decapitated, without resources, undermanned and demoralised, trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them. It will be a short lived insurgency.

    Sounds like fun.

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  117. Randal says:
    @German_reader
    "Yes. It was the thing which opened my eyes"

    Same for me. I was 15 during the Kosovo war and believed NATO's narrative, couldn't understand how anybody could be against the war, given previous Serb atrocities during the Bosnian war it seemed to make sense. And after 9/11 I was very pro-US, e.g. I argued vehemently with a stupid leftie teacher who was against the Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified, so I don't think I'm just some mindless anti-American fool). But Iraq was just too much, too much obvious lying...and those lies were so stupid it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply wrong with a large part of the American public if they were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. At least for me it was a real turning point in the evolution of my political views.

    And after 9/11 I was very pro-US, e.g. I argued vehemently with a stupid leftie teacher who was against the Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified, so I don’t think I’m just some mindless anti-American fool). But Iraq was just too much, too much obvious lying…and those lies were so stupid it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply wrong with a large part of the American public if they were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. At least for me it was a real turning point in the evolution of my political views.

    The common factor amongst you, reiner and myself here is that none of us come from a dogmatically anti-American background or personal world-view, nor from a dogmatically pacifist one.

    As I’ve probably noted here previously, I grew up very pro-American and very pro-NATO in the late Cold War, and as a strong supporter of Thatcher and Reagan. I saw the fall of the Soviet Union as a glorious triumph and a vindication of all the endless arguments against anti-American lefties and CND numpties. I also strongly supported the Falklands War (the last genuinely justified and intelligent war fought by my country, imo) and also the war against Iraq in 1990/1, though I’m a little less certain on that one nowadays. I’m significantly older than you both, it seems, however, and it was watching US foreign policy in the 1990s, culminating in the Kosovo war, that convinced me that the US is now the problem and not the solution.

    When the facts changed, I changed my opinion.

    So I was a war or two ahead of you, chronologically, because I’m older, but we’ve travelled pretty much the same road. Our views on America have been created by US foreign policy choices.

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    • Agree: German_reader
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  118. @AP

    LMAO, Ukrainians are nothing like Arabs. They are soft Eastern-European types.

     

    And Russians and Poles were also soft when someone invaded their country? Ukrainians are not modern western Euros.

    And in Eastern regions like Kharkov most of them will be on our side.
     
    Most pensioners. It will be about 50/50 among young fighting-age people.

    The best thing about Ukrainian neo-Nazis such as Azov battalion is that there is very few of them – no more than 10.000 in the entire country
     
    Maybe. Ukrainian government claims 46,000 in volunteer self-defense battalions (including Azov) but this is probably an exaggeration.

    OTOH there are a couple 100,000 demobilized young people with combat experience who would be willing to fight if their homeland were attacked, who are not neo-Nazis in Azov. Plus a military of 200,000-250,000 people, many of whom would imitate the Donbas rebels and probably redeploy in places like Kharkiv where they have cover. Good look fighting it out block by block.

    trying to fight an insurgency amongst the population that hates and despises them
     
    In 2010, 48% of Kharkiv voters chose a nationalist for their mayor. In 2012 about 30% voted for nationalist parties. Judging by pro vs, anti-Maidan, the youth are evenly split although in 2014 the Ukrainian nationalist youths ended up controlling the streets, not the Russian nationalist ones as in Donbas. This is in the most pro-Russian part of Ukraine.

    Suuure, the population of Kharkiv will despise their kids, grandkids, nephews, classmates etc,. but will welcome the invaders from Russia who will be bombing their city. Such idealism and optimism in Russia!

    It will be a short lived insurgency.
     
    And Iraq was supposed to be a cakewalk.

    Again, supporting Maidan doesn’t mean you’re ready to take up Kalashnikov and go fight. Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It’s a fact.

    This is what typical Maidanist Ukrainian youths look like; these people certainly don’t look like they have a lot of fight in them:

    They remind me of Navalny supporters in Russia. These kind of people can throw a tantrum, but they are fundamentally weak people, who are easily crushed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Why don't you present us a photo of yourself, so that we can see what a true Russian warrior looks like?

    I think I've found one of you? :-)



    https://youtu.be/IH3Hb6BAW5s
    , @AP
    Typical Russian mistakes regarding Ukraine: weak student-types in Russia are the main supporters of Ukraine in Russia, thus the same type must be the main pro-Maidan people in Ukraine. Because Ukraine = Russia. This silly dream of Ukraine being just like Russia leads to ridiculous ideas and hopes.

    As I already said, the Azov battalion grew out of brawling football ultras in Kharkiv. Maidan itself was a cross-section - of students, yes, but also plenty of Afghan war vets, workers, far right brawlers, professionals, etc. It's wasn't simply "weak" students, nor was it simply far-right fascists (another claim by Russia) but a mass effort of the western half of the country.

    Here are Afghan war vets at Maidan:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFkrOp2tUTo

    Look at those weak Maidan people running away from the enemy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtqQeJ315nw

    Azov people in their native Kharkiv:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPr3goxWm8Q

    Kharkiv kids:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiBXmbkwiSw

    Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It’s a fact.
     
    Dodging the draft in order to avoid fighting in Donbas, where you are not wanted by the locals, is very different from dodging the draft to avoid fighting when your own town is being invaded.
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  119. @Donnyess
    "Soviet propaganda, which spend decades spinning tales about American criminality, unemployment, and lynched Negroes"

    Now they can spin tales about the Trump admin lynching white gun owners...giving their jobs to Negros...giving their land to dogs that spread fleas.

    I haven’t heard either Russia, or the Right in the USA, alleging that African-”Americans” are taking white Americans’ jobs.

    Generally, I don’t know anyone in the USA whose complaint about African-”Americans” is that they are working.

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  120. @Felix Keverich

    This would mean, as I suspect, that the pendulum will swing back once the Kremlin loosens its tight grip of the media.
     
    How do you see this happening? Why would the Kremlin give up its control of the media? These people are smart enough to understand that whoever controls the media controls public opinion.

    Similarly, it doesn’t seem likely that the US government will give up its control and influence over the “independent media” that many Americans still think we have.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    It shocks me, the amount of supposedly 'smart', 'educated' people in the US, who seriously think "free press" is a thing.
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  121. Randal says:
    @Johann Ricke

    This is of course self-serving fantasy. The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq, but for some reason you preferred to listen to the words of the staring-eyed sycophant who happened to be Prime Minister at the time, instead.
     
    Who gives a damn what they think? These are the same countries that plunged the world into two World Wars that killed 100m people between them. Their blinkered and self-serving stupidity is a model for what not to do.

    Who gives a damn what they think?

    Well history has proven them to have been correct and the US regime wrong on Iraq, so that pretty much tells you how far your arrogance will get you outside your own echo chamber.

    US foreign policy is pretty much a byword for incompetence even amongst its own allies, at least when they are talking off the record.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    Well history has proven them to have been correct and the US regime wrong on Iraq, so that pretty much tells you how far your arrogance will get you outside your own echo chamber.
     
    "History" has proven no such thing. What went wrong in Iraq was principally Bush's underestimate of the number of American casualties and the cost to the US treasury*, for which he and the GOP paid a serious political price. However, it's also clear that the Shiites and Kurds, an 80% majority, have no regrets that Saddam is gone. While both communities seem to think that we should continue to bear a bigger chunk of the price of pacifying Iraq's bellicose Sunni Arabs, it's also obvious that they are not electing Tikritis or even Sunni Arabs to office, as they would if they were nostalgic for Saddam's rule. The big picture, really, is that the scale of the fighting has probably convinced both Shiites and Kurds that they could not have toppled Saddam without the assistance of Uncle Sam. They could certainly not have kept Iraq's revived Sunni Arabs (in the form of ISIS) at bay without American assistance.

    * These costs were larger than projected, but small compared to the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Whether or not Iraq can be secured as an American ally in the decades ahead, both the gamble and the relatively nugatory price paid will, in retrospect, be seen as a reasonable one, given Iraq's strategic location.

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  122. @Art Deco
    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state.

    Your 'rump state' extends over 6.6 million sq miles and has a population of 152 million.


    Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    It's western borders are no more artificial than that of any other country not bounded by mountains or water.



    I don’t know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call ‘home’ –

    'Essential'? You just can't get through the day without Minsk?


    As for White Russia, your constituency there has in its dimensions fallen by half in the last 20 years.

    http://russialist.org/belarusians-want-to-join-eu-rather-than-russia-poll-shows/


    As for the Ukraine, you've no discernable constituency for reunification. The constituency for a Russophile foreign policy weighs in there at about 12% of the public. VP's three-dimensional chess game is going swimmingly.



    My own forebears discovered in 1813 that the residue of British North America was quite content with gracious George III, and our boys got their assess handed to them by them Cannucks. We got over it and so can you. Miss Ukraine is just not that into you. Best not to play the stalker.

    Folks in Belarus shouldn’t make up their minds about applying to the EU until they speak with regular German, French, English, and Swedish people about the effects of the Islamic / Third World immivasion that the EU has imposed on them. My wife and I speak & correspond with Germans living in Germany frequently, and the real state of affairs for non-elite Germans is getting worse fast, with no good end in sight.

    Anyone who does not desire to die or at best live subjugated under sharia — and sharia run largely by cruel dimwits from Africa and Arabia — ought to stay out (or GET out of) the EU.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Fine. The EU is poorly constructed and a threat to self-government.

    Mr. Felix fancies White Russia is Russia's property. There's a constituency in White Russia for re-incorporation into Russia, but it amounts to about 1/4 of the population and is half the proportion it was 20 years ago. Kinda think it really shouldn't be Mr. Felix's call, but he doesn't see it that way.
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  123. @RadicalCenter
    Similarly, it doesn't seem likely that the US government will give up its control and influence over the "independent media" that many Americans still think we have.

    It shocks me, the amount of supposedly ‘smart’, ‘educated’ people in the US, who seriously think “free press” is a thing.

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  124. Randal says:
    @Art Deco
    The Russians told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Germans told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The French told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The Turks told you there was no need to invade Iraq. The sensible British told you there was no need to invade Iraq,

    The sensible British were a co-operating force in invading Iraq. As for the rest, they all have their shticks and interests (and no, I don't stipulate that you've characterized their opinion correctly either).

    The sensible British were a co-operating force in invading Iraq.

    That was the staring-eyed sycophant’s work.

    The man who opened the floodgates to immigration because he thought multiculturalism is a great idea.

    As for the rest, they all have their shticks and interests

    Of course. Unlike the exceptional United States of course, the only country in the world whose government never has any axe to grind in the nobility of purpose and intent it displays in all the wars it has ever fought.

    You seem to be degenerating into a caricature of the ignorant, arrogant American.

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  125. @Randal

    Who gives a damn what they think?
     
    Well history has proven them to have been correct and the US regime wrong on Iraq, so that pretty much tells you how far your arrogance will get you outside your own echo chamber.

    US foreign policy is pretty much a byword for incompetence even amongst its own allies, at least when they are talking off the record.

    Well history has proven them to have been correct and the US regime wrong on Iraq, so that pretty much tells you how far your arrogance will get you outside your own echo chamber.

    “History” has proven no such thing. What went wrong in Iraq was principally Bush’s underestimate of the number of American casualties and the cost to the US treasury*, for which he and the GOP paid a serious political price. However, it’s also clear that the Shiites and Kurds, an 80% majority, have no regrets that Saddam is gone. While both communities seem to think that we should continue to bear a bigger chunk of the price of pacifying Iraq’s bellicose Sunni Arabs, it’s also obvious that they are not electing Tikritis or even Sunni Arabs to office, as they would if they were nostalgic for Saddam’s rule. The big picture, really, is that the scale of the fighting has probably convinced both Shiites and Kurds that they could not have toppled Saddam without the assistance of Uncle Sam. They could certainly not have kept Iraq’s revived Sunni Arabs (in the form of ISIS) at bay without American assistance.

    * These costs were larger than projected, but small compared to the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Whether or not Iraq can be secured as an American ally in the decades ahead, both the gamble and the relatively nugatory price paid will, in retrospect, be seen as a reasonable one, given Iraq’s strategic location.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    What went wrong in Iraq was principally Bush’s underestimate of the number of American casualties and the cost to the US treasury
     
    No, what went wrong in Iraq from the pov of any kind of honest assessment of an American national interest was that an unnecessary war was fought justified by lies that have seriously discredited the nation that told them, and that the results of the war were hugely counter to said American national interests: the conversion of a contained and broken former enemy state into a jihadist free fire training and recruitment zone combined with a strong ally of a supposed enemy state, Iran.

    Whether the direct material cost of the war is acceptable or not is rather beside the point. It's a matter between Bush II and the parents, relatives and friends of those Americans who lost their lives or their health, and between Bush II and American taxpayers. If it had been achieved cost-free it still wouldn't have been worth it, because it was a defeat.

    But it's no accident that the costs of the war were "underestimated". As usual, if the Bush II regime had been honest about the likely costs of their proposed war, there would have been a political outcry against it and they'd have been forced to back down as Obama was over Syria.


    However, it’s also clear that the Shiites and Kurds, an 80% majority, have no regrets that Saddam is gone
     
    Amusing to see you are currently pretending that what Iraqi Kurds and Shiites feel matters. It's always entertaining to see just how shameless Americans can be at their game of alternately pretending to care for foreigners' views (when they need to justify a war) and regarding foreigners with utter contempt and disregard (when said foreigners are saying something Americans don't like to hear).

    They could certainly not have kept Iraq’s revived Sunni Arabs (in the form of ISIS) at bay without American assistance.
     
    Well that partly depends upon how much support the US regime allowed its Gulf sunni Arab proxies to funnel to said jihadists, I suppose. But most likely they'd have crushed them in due course with Iranian backing.

    In Iraq, IS were fine as long as they stayed out of the strongly Shiite areas in the south. They'd have quickly been whipped if they'd ventured there. Just as IS were fine in Syria as long as they were taking relatively remote land over from a government and army in desperate straits as a result of a disastrous externally funded civil war, but were soon beaten when the Russians stepped in and started actually fighting them rather than pretending to do so only as long as it didn't interfere too much with their real goal of overthrowing the Syria government, American-style.
    , @RadicalCenter
    So the costs of the US invasion/occupation/"reconstruction" of Iraq were (allegedly) less than the costs of the equally unnecessary and non-defensive US wars in Korea and Vietnam? Heck of an argument.

    How about this: we should have refrained from all three wars.

    We should be using our resources to secure our own borders, to police the international waters and vital shipping lanes / chokepoints (fighting pirates and terrorists as necessary to those ends), and to actually defend our land and our people and deter aggression. That's it.
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  126. Talha says:
    @Art Deco
    I remember my dad telling me that the Carter administration was the highlight of America-love in Pakistan. Slowly went downhill from there and crashed at Dubya.

    I remember Gen. Zia on the front page of The New York Times ridiculing Mr. Carter in plain terms (the $400 million aid offer was 'peanuts').

    Sure, but the ordinary folks liked him – he seemed like a humble man with faith from humble beginnings. Pakistanis could relate to someone like that.

    I was just a wee lad at the time, so I’m only conveying what my dad told me.

    Peace.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    he seemed like a humble man with faith from humble beginnings. Pakistanis could relate to someone like that.

    Carter was an agribusinessman whose personal net worth (not counting his mother's holdings and siblings' holdings) was in seven digits in 1976. (His dipso brother managed the family business - passably well - from 1963 until 198?). John Osborne interviewed 1st, 2d, and 3d degree relations of Carter during the campaign and discovered the family was in satisfactory condition financially even during the Depression. Carter also spent the 2d World War - the whole thing - at the Naval Academy.

    There's much to be said for Carter, but there's no doubt one of his shortcomings is vanity. Harry Truman is the closest thing to a humble man in the White House in the years since Pakistan was constituted. If you're looking for 'humble beginnings', the best examples are Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

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  127. @Art Deco
    Yes, of course. Just don’t assume they will decide the way you think.

    They've had ample opportunity over a period of 26 years to make the decision you favor. It hasn't happened, and there's no reason to fancy they'll be more amenable a decade from now.

    Well, there is some reason to think that membership in the EU will become a steadily less attractive prospect.

    The substantial demographic changes sweeping northern and western Europe now will become far larger as (1) new “migration” occurs from Africa and the Middle East and Pakistan into Europe; (2) “family reunification” chain migration goes on endlessly from the same places into Europe; and (3) Muslims continue to dramatically outbreed non-Muslims in Europe.

    (Even if Muslims in Europe drop their total fertility rate to replacement, around 2.1 I think, the non-Muslim Europeans have TFRs like 1.4 and 1.5 and 1.6, the very definition of dying peoples.)

    And that doesn’t even account for the flight of non-Muslims out of Europe as it becomes ever more violent, frightening, chaotic, and impoverished. That flight could become a massive phenomenon. (We have acquaintances in Germany and Austria already mulling over the idea, with great sadness and anger in their hearts.)

    On current trends, what reason is there to think that “Germany” and “France” and “England” and “Sweden” won’t in fact be heavily Islamic / African (and in the case of Germany, Turkish) hellholes in the lifetime of many of us here?

    Granted, Russia has too many Muslims itself, and I don’t know enough to predict whether they will be willing and able to remove the excessive number of Central Asian Muslims (guestworkers or otherwise) from their territory. But Russia is not giving itself away to Muslims at a breakneck pace like the terminally naïve Germans, French, English, and Swedes are doing with their own countries.

    The point is, Belarus and Ukraine won’t be faced with a choice between Russia and the “Europe” that we still envision from the recent past.

    Belarus and Ukraine will likely face a choice between a tenuous independence that they lack the force to maintain, union or close formal affiliation with Russia, or a “Europe” where white Europeans are outnumbered, terrified, massively taxed to pay for their younger and more confident Islamic / African overlords, and ultimately subjugated and killed / inter-bred into nonexistence.

    The Europe that you are positing as an alternative to Russia, already doesn’t quite exist anymore. Soon it won’t exist at all in any recognizable or desirable form. Russia merely needs to be a better alternative than THAT.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Belarus and Ukraine will likely face a choice between a tenuous independence that they lack the force to maintain,

    Just to point out that occasions where a state has had its sovereignty extinguished since 1945 are as follows: East Germany (1990, voluntary), South Yemen (1990, voluntary, but triggering an insurrection), Kuwait (1990, temporary), South VietNam (1975/76, conquered). Not real common. N.B. the Axis rampage in Europe and Asia during the War: the only thing that stuck was Soviet Russia's seizure of the Baltic states.
    , @S3

    flight of non-Muslims out of Europe
     
    I think you mean Western Europe. If Germany's human capital drains to Poland et al in a reversal of the Cold War direction, those countries have a quite bright future. I wonder if any economic predictions have taken this into account yet.
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  128. Art Deco says:
    @RadicalCenter
    Folks in Belarus shouldn't make up their minds about applying to the EU until they speak with regular German, French, English, and Swedish people about the effects of the Islamic / Third World immivasion that the EU has imposed on them. My wife and I speak & correspond with Germans living in Germany frequently, and the real state of affairs for non-elite Germans is getting worse fast, with no good end in sight.

    Anyone who does not desire to die or at best live subjugated under sharia -- and sharia run largely by cruel dimwits from Africa and Arabia -- ought to stay out (or GET out of) the EU.

    Fine. The EU is poorly constructed and a threat to self-government.

    Mr. Felix fancies White Russia is Russia’s property. There’s a constituency in White Russia for re-incorporation into Russia, but it amounts to about 1/4 of the population and is half the proportion it was 20 years ago. Kinda think it really shouldn’t be Mr. Felix’s call, but he doesn’t see it that way.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    We're in agreement on all of that, AD.

    But the EU isn't merely a threat to self-government anymore. It is now actively and intentionally importing people who kill, rape, mug, beat, grope, harass, stalk, and generally disrespect and intimidate "their own" European people. The EU is an active threat to the lives and physical safety of European people. No people with the barest common sense and will to live will stay in the EU as these recent horrific events continue to unfold.
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  129. @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    Agree with much of what you say. With a big exception”: most Europeans ARE pussies who try to appease the Islamic and African aggressors and freeloaders they are importing into their lands at a furious pace. Besonders die Deutschen.

    At least SOME decent portion of Americans are trying to resist the Mexican and Third World takeover of our country. Albeit probably without success.

    Summary: we’re probably screwed, you’re almost certainly screwed worse and faster.

    Keep patting yourself on the back. But grow that beard now and bend over — and beat the rush.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    At least SOME decent portion of Americans are trying to resist the Mexican and Third World takeover of our country.
     
    30 years too late, though I'll readily admit that I was somewhat impressed how normal US citizens managed to kill off amnesty proposals during Bush's 2nd administration by lobbying their congressmen etc. Quite the contrast with what's going on in my own country where people just meekly submit to everything.
    And I've never denied that many Europeans are quite decadent...they should certainly spend more for their own defense, maybe even bring back conscription.
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  130. Art Deco says:
    @RadicalCenter
    Well, there is some reason to think that membership in the EU will become a steadily less attractive prospect.

    The substantial demographic changes sweeping northern and western Europe now will become far larger as (1) new "migration" occurs from Africa and the Middle East and Pakistan into Europe; (2) "family reunification" chain migration goes on endlessly from the same places into Europe; and (3) Muslims continue to dramatically outbreed non-Muslims in Europe.

    (Even if Muslims in Europe drop their total fertility rate to replacement, around 2.1 I think, the non-Muslim Europeans have TFRs like 1.4 and 1.5 and 1.6, the very definition of dying peoples.)

    And that doesn't even account for the flight of non-Muslims out of Europe as it becomes ever more violent, frightening, chaotic, and impoverished. That flight could become a massive phenomenon. (We have acquaintances in Germany and Austria already mulling over the idea, with great sadness and anger in their hearts.)

    On current trends, what reason is there to think that "Germany" and "France" and "England" and "Sweden" won't in fact be heavily Islamic / African (and in the case of Germany, Turkish) hellholes in the lifetime of many of us here?

    Granted, Russia has too many Muslims itself, and I don't know enough to predict whether they will be willing and able to remove the excessive number of Central Asian Muslims (guestworkers or otherwise) from their territory. But Russia is not giving itself away to Muslims at a breakneck pace like the terminally naïve Germans, French, English, and Swedes are doing with their own countries.

    The point is, Belarus and Ukraine won't be faced with a choice between Russia and the "Europe" that we still envision from the recent past.

    Belarus and Ukraine will likely face a choice between a tenuous independence that they lack the force to maintain, union or close formal affiliation with Russia, or a "Europe" where white Europeans are outnumbered, terrified, massively taxed to pay for their younger and more confident Islamic / African overlords, and ultimately subjugated and killed / inter-bred into nonexistence.

    The Europe that you are positing as an alternative to Russia, already doesn't quite exist anymore. Soon it won't exist at all in any recognizable or desirable form. Russia merely needs to be a better alternative than THAT.

    Belarus and Ukraine will likely face a choice between a tenuous independence that they lack the force to maintain,

    Just to point out that occasions where a state has had its sovereignty extinguished since 1945 are as follows: East Germany (1990, voluntary), South Yemen (1990, voluntary, but triggering an insurrection), Kuwait (1990, temporary), South VietNam (1975/76, conquered). Not real common. N.B. the Axis rampage in Europe and Asia during the War: the only thing that stuck was Soviet Russia’s seizure of the Baltic states.

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  131. Mr. Hack says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Again, supporting Maidan doesn't mean you're ready to take up Kalashnikov and go fight. Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It's a fact.

    This is what typical Maidanist Ukrainian youths look like; these people certainly don't look like they have a lot of fight in them:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA4uUZgDi6g

    They remind me of Navalny supporters in Russia. These kind of people can throw a tantrum, but they are fundamentally weak people, who are easily crushed.

    Why don’t you present us a photo of yourself, so that we can see what a true Russian warrior looks like?

    I think I’ve found one of you? :-)

    [MORE]

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  132. @RadicalCenter
    Agree with much of what you say. With a big exception": most Europeans ARE pussies who try to appease the Islamic and African aggressors and freeloaders they are importing into their lands at a furious pace. Besonders die Deutschen.

    At least SOME decent portion of Americans are trying to resist the Mexican and Third World takeover of our country. Albeit probably without success.

    Summary: we're probably screwed, you're almost certainly screwed worse and faster.

    Keep patting yourself on the back. But grow that beard now and bend over -- and beat the rush.

    At least SOME decent portion of Americans are trying to resist the Mexican and Third World takeover of our country.

    30 years too late, though I’ll readily admit that I was somewhat impressed how normal US citizens managed to kill off amnesty proposals during Bush’s 2nd administration by lobbying their congressmen etc. Quite the contrast with what’s going on in my own country where people just meekly submit to everything.
    And I’ve never denied that many Europeans are quite decadent…they should certainly spend more for their own defense, maybe even bring back conscription.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Agree with everything you just wrote. And please understand, I love the Germans and I'm angry at them in the way that you'd be angry at a brother who refuses to stop destroying himself with drugs or whatever.
    , @for-the-record
    they [Germans] should certainly spend more for their own defense, maybe even bring back conscription.

    With all due respect, and making allowance for your relative youth, that is simply rubbish. Defense against whom? Russia? Iran? As your posts make it eminently clear, the real enemy of Germany is within, not without.
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  133. Randal says:
    @Johann Ricke

    Well history has proven them to have been correct and the US regime wrong on Iraq, so that pretty much tells you how far your arrogance will get you outside your own echo chamber.
     
    "History" has proven no such thing. What went wrong in Iraq was principally Bush's underestimate of the number of American casualties and the cost to the US treasury*, for which he and the GOP paid a serious political price. However, it's also clear that the Shiites and Kurds, an 80% majority, have no regrets that Saddam is gone. While both communities seem to think that we should continue to bear a bigger chunk of the price of pacifying Iraq's bellicose Sunni Arabs, it's also obvious that they are not electing Tikritis or even Sunni Arabs to office, as they would if they were nostalgic for Saddam's rule. The big picture, really, is that the scale of the fighting has probably convinced both Shiites and Kurds that they could not have toppled Saddam without the assistance of Uncle Sam. They could certainly not have kept Iraq's revived Sunni Arabs (in the form of ISIS) at bay without American assistance.

    * These costs were larger than projected, but small compared to the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Whether or not Iraq can be secured as an American ally in the decades ahead, both the gamble and the relatively nugatory price paid will, in retrospect, be seen as a reasonable one, given Iraq's strategic location.

    What went wrong in Iraq was principally Bush’s underestimate of the number of American casualties and the cost to the US treasury

    No, what went wrong in Iraq from the pov of any kind of honest assessment of an American national interest was that an unnecessary war was fought justified by lies that have seriously discredited the nation that told them, and that the results of the war were hugely counter to said American national interests: the conversion of a contained and broken former enemy state into a jihadist free fire training and recruitment zone combined with a strong ally of a supposed enemy state, Iran.

    Whether the direct material cost of the war is acceptable or not is rather beside the point. It’s a matter between Bush II and the parents, relatives and friends of those Americans who lost their lives or their health, and between Bush II and American taxpayers. If it had been achieved cost-free it still wouldn’t have been worth it, because it was a defeat.

    But it’s no accident that the costs of the war were “underestimated”. As usual, if the Bush II regime had been honest about the likely costs of their proposed war, there would have been a political outcry against it and they’d have been forced to back down as Obama was over Syria.

    However, it’s also clear that the Shiites and Kurds, an 80% majority, have no regrets that Saddam is gone

    Amusing to see you are currently pretending that what Iraqi Kurds and Shiites feel matters. It’s always entertaining to see just how shameless Americans can be at their game of alternately pretending to care for foreigners’ views (when they need to justify a war) and regarding foreigners with utter contempt and disregard (when said foreigners are saying something Americans don’t like to hear).

    They could certainly not have kept Iraq’s revived Sunni Arabs (in the form of ISIS) at bay without American assistance.

    Well that partly depends upon how much support the US regime allowed its Gulf sunni Arab proxies to funnel to said jihadists, I suppose. But most likely they’d have crushed them in due course with Iranian backing.

    In Iraq, IS were fine as long as they stayed out of the strongly Shiite areas in the south. They’d have quickly been whipped if they’d ventured there. Just as IS were fine in Syria as long as they were taking relatively remote land over from a government and army in desperate straits as a result of a disastrous externally funded civil war, but were soon beaten when the Russians stepped in and started actually fighting them rather than pretending to do so only as long as it didn’t interfere too much with their real goal of overthrowing the Syria government, American-style.

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  134. utu says:
    @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    I see that Art Deco got more active than usual. Seems that the destruction of Iraq is close to his heart. Several days ago Ron Unz had this to say about him:

    http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/time-to-stop-importing-an-immigrant-overclass/#comment-2116171
    Exactly! It’s pretty obvious that this “Art Deco” fellow is just a Jewish-activist type, and given his very extensive posting history, perhaps even an organized “troll.” But he’s certainly one of the most sophisticated ones, with the vast majority of his comments being level-headed, moderate, and very well-informed, generally focusing on all sorts of other topics, perhaps with the deliberate intent of building up his personal credibility for the periodic Jewish matters that actually so agitate him.

    To which I added:

    http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/time-to-stop-importing-an-immigrant-overclass/#comment-2116402
    The quality and wide range of his comments are really impressive. As if it was coming form a super intelligent AI Hal that has access to all kinds of databases at his finger tips. And then there is always the same gradient of his angle: the reality is as it is; reality is as you have been told so far; do not try to keep coming with weird theories and speculations because they are all false; there is nothing interesting to see. His quality and scope are not congruent with his angle. All his knowledge and all his data and he hasn’t found anything interesting that would not conform to what we all read in newspapers. Amazing. If America had its High Office of Doctrine and Faith he could have been its supreme director.

    His overactivity here is somewhat out of character and after reading his comments here I doubt that Ron Unz would call him “one of the most sophisticated ones.” I also would take back the “really impressive” part too. Perhaps some other individuum was assigned to Art Deco handle this Monday.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Art Deco isn't Jewish iirc, but an (Irish?) Catholic from the northeastern US. And I suppose his views aren't even that extreme, but pretty much standard among many US right-wingers (a serious problem imo), so it makes little sense to attack him personally.
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  135. Randal says:

    Speaking of US foreign policy stupidity and arrogance, the response to the latest evidence that Trump will continue the inglorious Clinton/Bush II/Obama tradition of destructive corrupt/incompetent buffoonery:

    US outnumbered 14 to 1 as it vetoes UN vote on status of Jerusalem

    And here’s the profoundly noxious Nikki Haley “lying for her country” (except, bizarrely, it isn’t even really for her own country). Her appointment by Trump certainly was one of the first signs that he was going to seriously let America down:

    The resolution was denounced in furious language by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who described it as “an insult” that would not be forgotten. “The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy,” she said.

    “It’s scandalous to say we are putting back peace efforts,” she added. “The fact that this veto is being done in defence of American sovereignty and in defence of America’s role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the security council.”

    The real nature of the UN resolution the execrable Haley was so faux-offended by:

    The UK and France had indicated in advance that they would would back the text, which demanded that all countries comply with pre-existing UNSC resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the city’s final status be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

    But requiring Israel and its US poodles to act in good faith is surely anti-Semitic, after all. The real beneficiary (he thinks, at least) of Trump’s and Haley’s buffoonery was suitably condescending in his patting of his poodles’ heads:

    The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted: “Thank you, Ambassador Haley. On Hanukkah, you spoke like a Maccabi. You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies. Thank you, President Trump.”

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  136. @utu
    I see that Art Deco got more active than usual. Seems that the destruction of Iraq is close to his heart. Several days ago Ron Unz had this to say about him:

    http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/time-to-stop-importing-an-immigrant-overclass/#comment-2116171
    Exactly! It’s pretty obvious that this “Art Deco” fellow is just a Jewish-activist type, and given his very extensive posting history, perhaps even an organized “troll.” But he’s certainly one of the most sophisticated ones, with the vast majority of his comments being level-headed, moderate, and very well-informed, generally focusing on all sorts of other topics, perhaps with the deliberate intent of building up his personal credibility for the periodic Jewish matters that actually so agitate him.
     
    To which I added:

    http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/time-to-stop-importing-an-immigrant-overclass/#comment-2116402
    The quality and wide range of his comments are really impressive. As if it was coming form a super intelligent AI Hal that has access to all kinds of databases at his finger tips. And then there is always the same gradient of his angle: the reality is as it is; reality is as you have been told so far; do not try to keep coming with weird theories and speculations because they are all false; there is nothing interesting to see. His quality and scope are not congruent with his angle. All his knowledge and all his data and he hasn’t found anything interesting that would not conform to what we all read in newspapers. Amazing. If America had its High Office of Doctrine and Faith he could have been its supreme director.
     
    His overactivity here is somewhat out of character and after reading his comments here I doubt that Ron Unz would call him "one of the most sophisticated ones." I also would take back the "really impressive" part too. Perhaps some other individuum was assigned to Art Deco handle this Monday.

    Art Deco isn’t Jewish iirc, but an (Irish?) Catholic from the northeastern US. And I suppose his views aren’t even that extreme, but pretty much standard among many US right-wingers (a serious problem imo), so it makes little sense to attack him personally.

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    • Replies: @utu
    it makes little sense to attack him personally

    Yes, personal attacks are counterproductive but I can't resit, I just can't help it, so I must to say what I said already several times in the past: you are a cuck. You are a hopeless case.
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  137. utu says:
    @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons

    The fact that Iraq had no WMD was actually critical to making the claims that it had them. If Iraq had them it would officially relinquish them which would take away the ostensive cause for the invasion.

    I am really amazed that now 14 years after the invasion there are some who still argue about the WMD. Iraq was to be destroyed because this was the plan. The plan to reorganize the ME that consisted of destruction of secular and semi-secure states like Iraq and Syria. The WDM was just an excuse that nobody really argued for or against in good faith including Brits or Germans or Turks. Everybody knew the writing on the wall.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    The plan to reorganize the ME that consisted of destruction of secular and semi-secure states like Iraq and Syria.
     
    Has to be admitted though that Iraq became increasingly less secular during the 1990s, with Saddam's regime pushing Islamization as a new source of legitimacy. It's probably no accident that former Baath people and officers of Saddam's army were prominent among the leadership of IS.
    Still hardly sufficient reason for the Iraq war though.
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  138. utu says:
    @German_reader
    Art Deco isn't Jewish iirc, but an (Irish?) Catholic from the northeastern US. And I suppose his views aren't even that extreme, but pretty much standard among many US right-wingers (a serious problem imo), so it makes little sense to attack him personally.

    it makes little sense to attack him personally

    Yes, personal attacks are counterproductive but I can’t resit, I just can’t help it, so I must to say what I said already several times in the past: you are a cuck. You are a hopeless case.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    With all due respect to you and Ron Unz, but the idea that someone like "Art Deco" is an "organized troll" who creates an elaborate fake persona (which he then maintains over multiple years on several different websites - I first encountered him years ago on the American conservative's site) to spread pro-Jewish views seems somewhat paranoid to me.
    I have no reason to doubt he's genuine (as far as that's possible on the internet), his views aren't unusual.
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  139. @utu
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq’s supposedly hidden weapons

    The fact that Iraq had no WMD was actually critical to making the claims that it had them. If Iraq had them it would officially relinquish them which would take away the ostensive cause for the invasion.

    I am really amazed that now 14 years after the invasion there are some who still argue about the WMD. Iraq was to be destroyed because this was the plan. The plan to reorganize the ME that consisted of destruction of secular and semi-secure states like Iraq and Syria. The WDM was just an excuse that nobody really argued for or against in good faith including Brits or Germans or Turks. Everybody knew the writing on the wall.

    The plan to reorganize the ME that consisted of destruction of secular and semi-secure states like Iraq and Syria.

    Has to be admitted though that Iraq became increasingly less secular during the 1990s, with Saddam’s regime pushing Islamization as a new source of legitimacy. It’s probably no accident that former Baath people and officers of Saddam’s army were prominent among the leadership of IS.
    Still hardly sufficient reason for the Iraq war though.

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    • Replies: @utu
    Still hardly sufficient reason for the Iraq war though.

    What do you mean by that? Are you so out of touch? You really do not understand what was the reason behind Iraq 2003 war and then fucking it up when Gen. Garner was recalled and replaced with Paul Bremer who drove Iraq to the ground? Repeat after me: Iraq was destroyed because this was the only objective of 2003 Iraq war. The mission was accomplished 100%.
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  140. @utu
    it makes little sense to attack him personally

    Yes, personal attacks are counterproductive but I can't resit, I just can't help it, so I must to say what I said already several times in the past: you are a cuck. You are a hopeless case.

    With all due respect to you and Ron Unz, but the idea that someone like “Art Deco” is an “organized troll” who creates an elaborate fake persona (which he then maintains over multiple years on several different websites – I first encountered him years ago on the American conservative’s site) to spread pro-Jewish views seems somewhat paranoid to me.
    I have no reason to doubt he’s genuine (as far as that’s possible on the internet), his views aren’t unusual.

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  141. @German_reader

    At least SOME decent portion of Americans are trying to resist the Mexican and Third World takeover of our country.
     
    30 years too late, though I'll readily admit that I was somewhat impressed how normal US citizens managed to kill off amnesty proposals during Bush's 2nd administration by lobbying their congressmen etc. Quite the contrast with what's going on in my own country where people just meekly submit to everything.
    And I've never denied that many Europeans are quite decadent...they should certainly spend more for their own defense, maybe even bring back conscription.

    Agree with everything you just wrote. And please understand, I love the Germans and I’m angry at them in the way that you’d be angry at a brother who refuses to stop destroying himself with drugs or whatever.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Said a dude who invested in an Asian woman.
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  142. @German_reader
    Official justification for the Iraq war was concern about Iraq's supposedly hidden weapons of mass destruction...which didn't exist in 2003. Your statement that this was merely one item "on the list of the concerns" Bush had, amounts to an admission that this was merely a pretext and that the real object of the war was a political reordering of the region according to US preferences (which of course backfired given that the Iraq war increased Iran's power and status).
    Calling me "Eurotrash"...oh well, I get it, US nationalists like you think you're the responsible adults dealing with a dangerous world, while ungrateful European pussies favor appeasement, are free riders on US benevolent hegemony etc. I've heard and read all that a thousand times before, it's all very unoriginal by now.

    The commenter using the name “Art Deco” is NOT an American nationalist.

    He is neocon trash.

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  143. Cato says:
    @Felix Keverich

    You have a large national state.
     
    Correction: Russian Federation is not a nation state. It is a rump state. Its Western borders are artificial, drawn by the Communists in the 20th century, they exclude those parts of Russia, which the Communists decided to incorporate into separate republics of Belarus and Ukraine.

    I don't know of any Russian nationalist, who wants Azerbaijan back, but reclaiming Belarus and Ukraine is absolutely essential to have a country, we could all proudly call 'home' - an actual Russian nation-state. Again, what really matters here is not the size of the country, it's that all the land that's historically Russian should be fully within the borders of this country.

    PS: just because we had trouble holding onto Chechnya doesn't mean that annexing Belarus will be hard. Sure, we can expect blowback in the form of Western sanctions, but I don't anticipate much resistance from inside Belarus.

    Northern Kazakhstan is/was ethnically Russian, since the 1700s. This should have been folded into Russia; the North Caucasus should have been cut loose. My opinion.

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  144. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Again, supporting Maidan doesn't mean you're ready to take up Kalashnikov and go fight. Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It's a fact.

    This is what typical Maidanist Ukrainian youths look like; these people certainly don't look like they have a lot of fight in them:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA4uUZgDi6g

    They remind me of Navalny supporters in Russia. These kind of people can throw a tantrum, but they are fundamentally weak people, who are easily crushed.

    Typical Russian mistakes regarding Ukraine: weak student-types in Russia are the main supporters of Ukraine in Russia, thus the same type must be the main pro-Maidan people in Ukraine. Because Ukraine = Russia. This silly dream of Ukraine being just like Russia leads to ridiculous ideas and hopes.

    As I already said, the Azov battalion grew out of brawling football ultras in Kharkiv. Maidan itself was a cross-section – of students, yes, but also plenty of Afghan war vets, workers, far right brawlers, professionals, etc. It’s wasn’t simply “weak” students, nor was it simply far-right fascists (another claim by Russia) but a mass effort of the western half of the country.

    Here are Afghan war vets at Maidan:

    Look at those weak Maidan people running away from the enemy:

    Azov people in their native Kharkiv:

    Kharkiv kids:

    Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It’s a fact.

    Dodging the draft in order to avoid fighting in Donbas, where you are not wanted by the locals, is very different from dodging the draft to avoid fighting when your own town is being invaded.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @AP
    Summer camp was in Kiev, but there is another outside Kharkiv.

    To be clear, most Ukrainians fighting against Russia are not these unsavory types, though they make for dramatic video. Point is that pro-Maidan types in Ukraine are far from being exclusively liberal student-types.

    , @Felix Keverich
    I like how I got you talking about the Ukronazis, it's kinda funny actually, so let me pose as Ukraine's "defender" here:

    This neo-Nazi scum is not in any way representative of the population of Eastern Ukraine. These are delinquents, criminals, low-lifes. They are despised, looked down upon by the normal people, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian alike. A typical Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper is a business owner, a journalist, an office worker, a student who dodges draft. It's just the way it is.
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  145. AP says:
    @AP
    Typical Russian mistakes regarding Ukraine: weak student-types in Russia are the main supporters of Ukraine in Russia, thus the same type must be the main pro-Maidan people in Ukraine. Because Ukraine = Russia. This silly dream of Ukraine being just like Russia leads to ridiculous ideas and hopes.

    As I already said, the Azov battalion grew out of brawling football ultras in Kharkiv. Maidan itself was a cross-section - of students, yes, but also plenty of Afghan war vets, workers, far right brawlers, professionals, etc. It's wasn't simply "weak" students, nor was it simply far-right fascists (another claim by Russia) but a mass effort of the western half of the country.

    Here are Afghan war vets at Maidan:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFkrOp2tUTo

    Look at those weak Maidan people running away from the enemy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtqQeJ315nw

    Azov people in their native Kharkiv:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPr3goxWm8Q

    Kharkiv kids:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiBXmbkwiSw

    Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It’s a fact.
     
    Dodging the draft in order to avoid fighting in Donbas, where you are not wanted by the locals, is very different from dodging the draft to avoid fighting when your own town is being invaded.

    Summer camp was in Kiev, but there is another outside Kharkiv.

    To be clear, most Ukrainians fighting against Russia are not these unsavory types, though they make for dramatic video. Point is that pro-Maidan types in Ukraine are far from being exclusively liberal student-types.

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  146. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @RadicalCenter
    Agree with everything you just wrote. And please understand, I love the Germans and I'm angry at them in the way that you'd be angry at a brother who refuses to stop destroying himself with drugs or whatever.

    Said a dude who invested in an Asian woman.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Yes, a highly intelligent, hardworking, conservative, Christian Asian woman who loves and appreciates America, is the same as a Muslim African, Arab or Paki whose religion tells him to subjugate or kill us. No drastic difference in genetics or the impact on our culture, language, economy, and security there.

    Moreover, allowing our native-born white citizens to choose spouses from elsewhere is the same as admitting tens of millions of people with little to no screening whatsoever (the latter being admitted in the interest of those who actively seek the most dimwitted, violent, intimidating, slothful, hateful, and incompatible people psosible in order to endanger, impoverish, and dumb down out people and set the stage for us to "need" a police state to manage the chaos and crime they bring).

    Your logic is impeccable, I'll admit.

    How long have you been married, by the way? And how many children are you raising? I just ask because I am sure we can compare notes and I can benefit from your manly experience and expertise.

    Get a consistent handle to use on this site. Then tell us personal details as many of us have done. Then we can have a further friendly chat, big anonymous man who comments on other men's wives.

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  147. utu says:
    @German_reader

    The plan to reorganize the ME that consisted of destruction of secular and semi-secure states like Iraq and Syria.
     
    Has to be admitted though that Iraq became increasingly less secular during the 1990s, with Saddam's regime pushing Islamization as a new source of legitimacy. It's probably no accident that former Baath people and officers of Saddam's army were prominent among the leadership of IS.
    Still hardly sufficient reason for the Iraq war though.

    Still hardly sufficient reason for the Iraq war though.

    What do you mean by that? Are you so out of touch? You really do not understand what was the reason behind Iraq 2003 war and then fucking it up when Gen. Garner was recalled and replaced with Paul Bremer who drove Iraq to the ground? Repeat after me: Iraq was destroyed because this was the only objective of 2003 Iraq war. The mission was accomplished 100%.

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Israel wanted Iraq destroyed, it was.
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  148. A few points:
    - The Russians ALWAYS were Americanophiles – ever since the Revolution. Russia has been an American ally most often explicit but occasionally tacit – in EVERY major American conflict, including the War on Terror and excluding Korea and Vietnam (both not major compared to the Civil War or WW2). The only comparable Great Power US ally is France. Russia and the US are natural allies.
    - Russians are Americanophiles – they like Hollywood movies, American music, American idealism, American video games, American fashion, American inventions, American support in WW2, American can-do-aittude, American badassery and Americana in general.
    - There are two Ukraines. One is essentially a part of Russia, and a chunk of it was repatriated in 2014. The other was historically Polish and Habsburg. It is a strange entity that is not Russian.
    - The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government. Yanukovich was certainly a corrupt scoundrel. But he was a democratically elected corrupt scoundrel. To claim Russian intervention in his election is a joke in light of the CIA-backed 2004 and 2014 coups. Moreover, post-democratic post-Yanukovich Ukraine is clearly inferior to its predecessor. For one thing, under Yanukovich, Sevastopol was still Ukrainian…

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    • Replies: @AP

    The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government
     
    Typical Russian nationalist half-truth about Ukraine.

    To be clear - Yanukovich was democratically elected in 2010, into a position where his powers were limited and where he was faced with a hostile parliament. His post-election accumulation of powers (overthrowing the Opposition parliament, granting himself additional powers, stacking the court with local judges from his hometown) was not democratic. None of these actions enjoyed popular support, none were made through democratic processes such as referendums or popular elections. Had that been the case, he would not have been overthrown in what was a popular mass revolt by half the country.


    There are two Ukraines. One is essentially a part of Russia, and a chunk of it was repatriated in 2014. The other was historically Polish and Habsburg. It is a strange entity that is not Russian.
     
    A bit closer to the truth, but much too simplistic in a way that favors Russian idealism. Crimea (60% Russian) was simply not Ukraine, so lumping it in together with a place such as Kharkiv (oblast 70% Ukrainian) and saying that Russia took one part of this uniformly "Russian Ukraine" is not accurate.

    You are correct that the western half of the country are a non-Russian Polish-but-not Habsburg central Ukraine/Volynia, and Polish-and-Habsburg Galicia.

    But the other half consisted of two parts: ethnic Russian Crimea (60% Russian) and largely ethniuc-Russian urban Donbas (about 45% Russian, 50% Ukrainian), and a heavily Russified but ethnic Ukrainian Kharkiv oblast (70% Ukrainian, 26% Russian), Dnipropetrovsk (80% Ukrainian, 20% Russian), Kherson (82% Ukrainian, 14% Russian), and Odessa oblast (63% Ukrainian, 21% Russian).

    The former group (Crimea definitely, and urban Donbas less strongly) like being part of Russia. The latter group, on the other hand, preferred that Ukraine and Russia have friendly ties, preferred Russian as a legal language, preferred economic union with Russia, but did not favor loss of independence. Think of them as pro-NAFTA American-phile Canadians who would nevertheless be opposed to annexation by the USA and would be angered if the USA grabbed a chunk of Canada. In grabbing a chunk of Ukraine and supporting a rebellion in which Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk kids are being shot by Russian-trained fighters using Russian-supplied bullets, Putin has turned these people off the Russian state.

    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Russia and the US are natural allies.
     
    While geopolitically and historically it is true:

    a)Post-WWII American power elites are both incompetent and arrogant (which is a first derivative of incompetence) to understand that--this is largely the problem with most "Western" elites.

    b) Currently the United States doesn't have enough (if any) geopolitical currency and clout to "buy" Russia. In fact, Russia can take what she needs (and she doesn't have "global" appetites) with or without the US. Plus, China is way more interested in Russia's services that the US, which will continue to increasingly find out more about its own severe military-political limitations.

    c) The United States foreign policy is not designed and is not being conducted to serve real US national interests. In fact, US can not even define those interests beyond the tiresome platitudes about "global interests" and being "exceptional".

    d) Too late...
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    American music
     
    One substantial correction: generation which now is in power and defines most of Russia's dynamics, age group of 40s-50s, was largely influenced by British music, not American one, despite its definite presence in cultural menu in 1960 through 1980s. British music was on the order of magnitude more popular and influential in USSR. The love for American music was rather conditional and very selective. Of course, jazz was and is huge among educated and cultured, but in terms of pop/rock if one discounts immensely popular Eagles (for obvious reason), Donna Summer or something on the order of magnitude of Chicago, British pop-music was a different universe altogether. Beatles, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple or even British Glam were immense in 1970s, not to mention NWBHM in 1980s. One would have more luck hearing Iron Maiden blasting from windows somewhere in Russia than music of Michael Jackson.
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  149. LondonBob says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    US nationalists like you
     
    He is not US "nationalist". Agree with the rest of your post.

    Art Deco is a Zionist, just checkout his reaction when you point out Israel assassinated JFK.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Check out any American's reaction when some random Londoner tells him Israel assassinated JFK.
    , @Art Deco
    Art Deco is a Zionist, just checkout his reaction when you point out Israel assassinated JFK.

    My reaction is that you need to take your risperidal, bathe, and quit pestering people for bits of cash. And make your clinic appointments. They're sick of seeing you at the ED.

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  150. LondonBob says:
    @utu
    Still hardly sufficient reason for the Iraq war though.

    What do you mean by that? Are you so out of touch? You really do not understand what was the reason behind Iraq 2003 war and then fucking it up when Gen. Garner was recalled and replaced with Paul Bremer who drove Iraq to the ground? Repeat after me: Iraq was destroyed because this was the only objective of 2003 Iraq war. The mission was accomplished 100%.

    Israel wanted Iraq destroyed, it was.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Israel wanted Iraq destroyed, it was.

    The actually existing Israeli officialdom advised the Bush administration to give priority to containing Iran.
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  151. @Felix Keverich
    These polls vary greatly from time to time and depending on the group conducting them. These polls are meaningless: most ordinary people go about their daily lives never thinking about that kind of issues, when suddenly prompted by a pollster they give a meaningless answer.

    I'm sure, support for reunification will go up in Belarus, if the Kremlin shows some leadership on this issue. We will find enough people willing to work with us, the rest will just have to accept the new reality and...go about their daily lifes as usual.

    The situation in Ukraine is different, it differs wildly by region and will require us to modify our approach.

    I think this poll is the most relevant for assessing the question, since it covered different regions and used the same methodology.

    Takeaway:

    1. Support for uniting into a single state with Russia at 41% in Crimea at a time when it was becoming quite clear the Yanukovych regime was doomed.

    2. Now translates into ~90% support (according to both Russian and international polls) in Crimea. I.e., a more than a standard deviation shift in “Russophile” sentiment on this matter.

    3. Assuming a similar shift in other regions, Novorossiya would be quite fine being with Russia post facto. Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson (e.g., probably on the scale of Donbass unhappiness with the Ukraine before 2014).

    4. Central and West Ukraine would not be, which is why their reintegration would be far more difficult – and probably best left for sometime in the future.

    5. What we have instead seen is a one standard deviation shift in “Ukrainophile” sentiment within all those regions that remained in the Ukraine. If this change is “deep,” then AP is quite correct that their assimilation into Russia has been made impossible by Putin’s vacillations in 2014.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    3. Assuming a similar shift in other regions, Novorossiya would be quite fine being with Russia post facto. Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson (e.g., probably on the scale of Donbass unhappiness with the Ukraine before 2014).
     
    ‘Asumptions’ like this are what provide Swiss cheese the airy substance that makes it less caloric! Looks like only the retired sovok population in the countryside is up to supporting your mythical ‘NovoRosija’ while the more populated city dwellers would be opposed, even by your own admission (and even this is questionable). I’m surprised that the dutifully loyal and most astute opposition (AP) has let this blooper pass without any comment?…
    , @Felix Keverich
    I think when answering this question, most people simple give what they consider to be the socially acceptable answer, especially in comtemporary Ukraine, where you will go to prison for displaying Russian flag - who wants to be seen as a "separatist"?

    In Crimea it has become more socially acceptable to identify with Russia following the reunification, which is why the number of people who answer this way shot up. The same effect will seen in Belarus and Ukraine - I'm fairly certain of it.


    Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson
     
    Discontent will be limited to educated, affluent, upwardly mobile circles of society. Demographic profile of Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper resembles demographic profile of Navalny supporters in Russia. These people are not fighters. Most of them will react to Russian takeover by self-deporting - they have the money and resources to do it.
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  152. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @LondonBob
    Art Deco is a Zionist, just checkout his reaction when you point out Israel assassinated JFK.

    Check out any American’s reaction when some random Londoner tells him Israel assassinated JFK.

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    • Replies: @utu
    Out of all hypotheses on the JFK assassination the one that Israel was behind it is the strongest. There is no question about it. From the day one when conspiracy theories were floated everything was done to hide how Israel benefited form the assassination.
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  153. @German_reader

    At least SOME decent portion of Americans are trying to resist the Mexican and Third World takeover of our country.
     
    30 years too late, though I'll readily admit that I was somewhat impressed how normal US citizens managed to kill off amnesty proposals during Bush's 2nd administration by lobbying their congressmen etc. Quite the contrast with what's going on in my own country where people just meekly submit to everything.
    And I've never denied that many Europeans are quite decadent...they should certainly spend more for their own defense, maybe even bring back conscription.

    they [Germans] should certainly spend more for their own defense, maybe even bring back conscription.

    With all due respect, and making allowance for your relative youth, that is simply rubbish. Defense against whom? Russia? Iran? As your posts make it eminently clear, the real enemy of Germany is within, not without.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    German and European reliance on US security guarantees is a problem, since it's become pretty clear that the US political system is dysfunctional and US "elites" are dangerous extremists. We need our own security structures to be independent from the US so they can't drag us into their stupid projects or blackmail us anymore...why do you think Merkel didn't react much to the revelations about American spying on Germany? Because we're totally dependent on the Americans in security matters.
    And while I don't believe Russia or Iran are really serious threats to Europe, it would be foolish to have no credible deterrence.
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  154. AP says:
    @jimbojones
    A few points:
    - The Russians ALWAYS were Americanophiles - ever since the Revolution. Russia has been an American ally most often explicit but occasionally tacit - in EVERY major American conflict, including the War on Terror and excluding Korea and Vietnam (both not major compared to the Civil War or WW2). The only comparable Great Power US ally is France. Russia and the US are natural allies.
    - Russians are Americanophiles - they like Hollywood movies, American music, American idealism, American video games, American fashion, American inventions, American support in WW2, American can-do-aittude, American badassery and Americana in general.
    - There are two Ukraines. One is essentially a part of Russia, and a chunk of it was repatriated in 2014. The other was historically Polish and Habsburg. It is a strange entity that is not Russian.
    - The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government. Yanukovich was certainly a corrupt scoundrel. But he was a democratically elected corrupt scoundrel. To claim Russian intervention in his election is a joke in light of the CIA-backed 2004 and 2014 coups. Moreover, post-democratic post-Yanukovich Ukraine is clearly inferior to its predecessor. For one thing, under Yanukovich, Sevastopol was still Ukrainian...

    The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government

    Typical Russian nationalist half-truth about Ukraine.

    To be clear – Yanukovich was democratically elected in 2010, into a position where his powers were limited and where he was faced with a hostile parliament. His post-election accumulation of powers (overthrowing the Opposition parliament, granting himself additional powers, stacking the court with local judges from his hometown) was not democratic. None of these actions enjoyed popular support, none were made through democratic processes such as referendums or popular elections. Had that been the case, he would not have been overthrown in what was a popular mass revolt by half the country.

    There are two Ukraines. One is essentially a part of Russia, and a chunk of it was repatriated in 2014. The other was historically Polish and Habsburg. It is a strange entity that is not Russian.

    A bit closer to the truth, but much too simplistic in a way that favors Russian idealism. Crimea (60% Russian) was simply not Ukraine, so lumping it in together with a place such as Kharkiv (oblast 70% Ukrainian) and saying that Russia took one part of this uniformly “Russian Ukraine” is not accurate.

    You are correct that the western half of the country are a non-Russian Polish-but-not Habsburg central Ukraine/Volynia, and Polish-and-Habsburg Galicia.

    But the other half consisted of two parts: ethnic Russian Crimea (60% Russian) and largely ethniuc-Russian urban Donbas (about 45% Russian, 50% Ukrainian), and a heavily Russified but ethnic Ukrainian Kharkiv oblast (70% Ukrainian, 26% Russian), Dnipropetrovsk (80% Ukrainian, 20% Russian), Kherson (82% Ukrainian, 14% Russian), and Odessa oblast (63% Ukrainian, 21% Russian).

    The former group (Crimea definitely, and urban Donbas less strongly) like being part of Russia. The latter group, on the other hand, preferred that Ukraine and Russia have friendly ties, preferred Russian as a legal language, preferred economic union with Russia, but did not favor loss of independence. Think of them as pro-NAFTA American-phile Canadians who would nevertheless be opposed to annexation by the USA and would be angered if the USA grabbed a chunk of Canada. In grabbing a chunk of Ukraine and supporting a rebellion in which Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk kids are being shot by Russian-trained fighters using Russian-supplied bullets, Putin has turned these people off the Russian state.

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  155. Mr. Hack says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    I think this poll is the most relevant for assessing the question, since it covered different regions and used the same methodology.

    https://i.imgur.com/oU9AXLb.jpg

    Takeaway:

    1. Support for uniting into a single state with Russia at 41% in Crimea at a time when it was becoming quite clear the Yanukovych regime was doomed.

    2. Now translates into ~90% support (according to both Russian and international polls) in Crimea. I.e., a more than a standard deviation shift in "Russophile" sentiment on this matter.

    3. Assuming a similar shift in other regions, Novorossiya would be quite fine being with Russia post facto. Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson (e.g., probably on the scale of Donbass unhappiness with the Ukraine before 2014).

    4. Central and West Ukraine would not be, which is why their reintegration would be far more difficult - and probably best left for sometime in the future.

    5. What we have instead seen is a one standard deviation shift in "Ukrainophile" sentiment within all those regions that remained in the Ukraine. If this change is "deep," then AP is quite correct that their assimilation into Russia has been made impossible by Putin's vacillations in 2014.

    3. Assuming a similar shift in other regions, Novorossiya would be quite fine being with Russia post facto. Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson (e.g., probably on the scale of Donbass unhappiness with the Ukraine before 2014).

    ‘Asumptions’ like this are what provide Swiss cheese the airy substance that makes it less caloric! Looks like only the retired sovok population in the countryside is up to supporting your mythical ‘NovoRosija’ while the more populated city dwellers would be opposed, even by your own admission (and even this is questionable). I’m surprised that the dutifully loyal and most astute opposition (AP) has let this blooper pass without any comment?…

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  156. @Anatoly Karlin
    I think this poll is the most relevant for assessing the question, since it covered different regions and used the same methodology.

    https://i.imgur.com/oU9AXLb.jpg

    Takeaway:

    1. Support for uniting into a single state with Russia at 41% in Crimea at a time when it was becoming quite clear the Yanukovych regime was doomed.

    2. Now translates into ~90% support (according to both Russian and international polls) in Crimea. I.e., a more than a standard deviation shift in "Russophile" sentiment on this matter.

    3. Assuming a similar shift in other regions, Novorossiya would be quite fine being with Russia post facto. Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson (e.g., probably on the scale of Donbass unhappiness with the Ukraine before 2014).

    4. Central and West Ukraine would not be, which is why their reintegration would be far more difficult - and probably best left for sometime in the future.

    5. What we have instead seen is a one standard deviation shift in "Ukrainophile" sentiment within all those regions that remained in the Ukraine. If this change is "deep," then AP is quite correct that their assimilation into Russia has been made impossible by Putin's vacillations in 2014.

    I think when answering this question, most people simple give what they consider to be the socially acceptable answer, especially in comtemporary Ukraine, where you will go to prison for displaying Russian flag – who wants to be seen as a “separatist”?

    In Crimea it has become more socially acceptable to identify with Russia following the reunification, which is why the number of people who answer this way shot up. The same effect will seen in Belarus and Ukraine – I’m fairly certain of it.

    Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson

    Discontent will be limited to educated, affluent, upwardly mobile circles of society. Demographic profile of Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper resembles demographic profile of Navalny supporters in Russia. These people are not fighters. Most of them will react to Russian takeover by self-deporting – they have the money and resources to do it.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    Discontent will be limited to educated, affluent, upwardly mobile circles of society.
     
    So, even by tour own admission, the only folks that would be for unifying with Russia are the uneducated, poor and those with no hopes of ever amounting to much in society. I don't agree with you, but I do see your logic. These are just the type of people that are the most easily manipulated by Russian propoganda - a lot of this went on in the Donbas, and we can see the results of that fiasco to this day.
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  157. AP says:

    Demographic profile of Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper resembles demographic profile of Navalny supporters in Russia. These people are not fighters.

    Repeating your claim over and over again doesn’t make it true.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Battalion

    The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named “Sect 82″ (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] “Sect 82″ was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, “Sect 82″ occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local “self-defense”-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of “Sect 82″ there was formed a volunteer militia called “Eastern Corps”.[18]

    The brawling East Ukrainian nationalists who took the streets of Kharkiv and Odessa were not mostly rich, fey hipsters.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    The way to think about Azov battalion is to treat them like a simple group of delinquents, for whom Ukrainian nationalism has become a path to obtain money, resources, bigger guns and perhaps even political power. Azov is simply a gang. And Russian security services have plenty of experience dealing with gangs, so I don't expect Ukronazis to pose a major challenge.
    , @Gerard2

    The brawling East Ukrainian nationalists who took the streets of Kharkiv and Odessa were not mostly rich, fey hipsters.
     
    errmmm. ...they were losers and thugs funded by Oligarchs, as with Kolomoisky in Dnepropetrovsk you dumb fuckwit....oligarchs, not nationalism are the driving force behind the "Ukrainian" mass crimes against humanity committing---but militarily utterly useless militias you dumb POS. Oligarchs and IMF/US/EU funding,intelligence and blackmail.

    Kharkov,Odessa,Kherson and a few more regions would easily go to Russia you idiot.
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  158. Mr. Hack says:
    @Felix Keverich
    I think when answering this question, most people simple give what they consider to be the socially acceptable answer, especially in comtemporary Ukraine, where you will go to prison for displaying Russian flag - who wants to be seen as a "separatist"?

    In Crimea it has become more socially acceptable to identify with Russia following the reunification, which is why the number of people who answer this way shot up. The same effect will seen in Belarus and Ukraine - I'm fairly certain of it.


    Though there would be significant discontent in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson
     
    Discontent will be limited to educated, affluent, upwardly mobile circles of society. Demographic profile of Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper resembles demographic profile of Navalny supporters in Russia. These people are not fighters. Most of them will react to Russian takeover by self-deporting - they have the money and resources to do it.

    Discontent will be limited to educated, affluent, upwardly mobile circles of society.

    So, even by tour own admission, the only folks that would be for unifying with Russia are the uneducated, poor and those with no hopes of ever amounting to much in society. I don’t agree with you, but I do see your logic. These are just the type of people that are the most easily manipulated by Russian propoganda – a lot of this went on in the Donbas, and we can see the results of that fiasco to this day.

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  159. @jimbojones
    A few points:
    - The Russians ALWAYS were Americanophiles - ever since the Revolution. Russia has been an American ally most often explicit but occasionally tacit - in EVERY major American conflict, including the War on Terror and excluding Korea and Vietnam (both not major compared to the Civil War or WW2). The only comparable Great Power US ally is France. Russia and the US are natural allies.
    - Russians are Americanophiles - they like Hollywood movies, American music, American idealism, American video games, American fashion, American inventions, American support in WW2, American can-do-aittude, American badassery and Americana in general.
    - There are two Ukraines. One is essentially a part of Russia, and a chunk of it was repatriated in 2014. The other was historically Polish and Habsburg. It is a strange entity that is not Russian.
    - The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government. Yanukovich was certainly a corrupt scoundrel. But he was a democratically elected corrupt scoundrel. To claim Russian intervention in his election is a joke in light of the CIA-backed 2004 and 2014 coups. Moreover, post-democratic post-Yanukovich Ukraine is clearly inferior to its predecessor. For one thing, under Yanukovich, Sevastopol was still Ukrainian...

    Russia and the US are natural allies.

    While geopolitically and historically it is true:

    a)Post-WWII American power elites are both incompetent and arrogant (which is a first derivative of incompetence) to understand that–this is largely the problem with most “Western” elites.

    b) Currently the United States doesn’t have enough (if any) geopolitical currency and clout to “buy” Russia. In fact, Russia can take what she needs (and she doesn’t have “global” appetites) with or without the US. Plus, China is way more interested in Russia’s services that the US, which will continue to increasingly find out more about its own severe military-political limitations.

    c) The United States foreign policy is not designed and is not being conducted to serve real US national interests. In fact, US can not even define those interests beyond the tiresome platitudes about “global interests” and being “exceptional”.

    d) Too late…

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  160. @AP
    Typical Russian mistakes regarding Ukraine: weak student-types in Russia are the main supporters of Ukraine in Russia, thus the same type must be the main pro-Maidan people in Ukraine. Because Ukraine = Russia. This silly dream of Ukraine being just like Russia leads to ridiculous ideas and hopes.

    As I already said, the Azov battalion grew out of brawling football ultras in Kharkiv. Maidan itself was a cross-section - of students, yes, but also plenty of Afghan war vets, workers, far right brawlers, professionals, etc. It's wasn't simply "weak" students, nor was it simply far-right fascists (another claim by Russia) but a mass effort of the western half of the country.

    Here are Afghan war vets at Maidan:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFkrOp2tUTo

    Look at those weak Maidan people running away from the enemy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtqQeJ315nw

    Azov people in their native Kharkiv:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPr3goxWm8Q

    Kharkiv kids:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiBXmbkwiSw

    Ukrainian youth is dodging draft en masse. It’s a fact.
     
    Dodging the draft in order to avoid fighting in Donbas, where you are not wanted by the locals, is very different from dodging the draft to avoid fighting when your own town is being invaded.

    I like how I got you talking about the Ukronazis, it’s kinda funny actually, so let me pose as Ukraine’s “defender” here:

    This neo-Nazi scum is not in any way representative of the population of Eastern Ukraine. These are delinquents, criminals, low-lifes. They are despised, looked down upon by the normal people, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian alike. A typical Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper is a business owner, a journalist, an office worker, a student who dodges draft. It’s just the way it is.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I’m not sure about Ukrainian football hooligans, but football hooligans in Hungary are not necessarily “low -lifes, criminals, delinquents”, in fact, the majority of them aren’t. Most groups consist mostly of working class (including a lot of security guards and similar) members, but there are some middle class (I know of a school headmaster, though I think he’s no longer very active in the group) and working class entrepreneur types (e.g. the car mechanic who ended up owning a car dealership) and similar. I think outright criminal types are a small minority. Since it costs money to attend the matches, outright failures (the permanently unemployed and similar ne’er-do-wells) are rarely found in such groups.
    , @AP

    I like how I got you talking about the Ukronazis
     
    I never denied the presence of them.

    This neo-Nazi scum is not in any way representative of the population of Eastern Ukraine.
     
    If by "representative" you mean majority, sure. Neither are artsy students, or Afghan war veterans, or schoolteachers, any other group a majority.

    Also not all of the street fighters turned militias neo-Nazis, as are Azov. Right Sector are not neo-Nazis, they are more fascists.


    These are delinquents, criminals, low-lifes.
     
    As reiner tor correctly pointed out, this movement which grew out of the football ultra community is rather working class but is not lumpens. You fail again.

    A typical Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper is a business owner, a journalist, an office worker, a student who dodges draft
     
    Are there more business owners, students (many of whom do not dodge the draft), office workers combined than there are ultras/far-right brawlers? Probably. 30% of Kharkiv voted for nationalist parties (mostly Tymoshenko's and Klitschko's moderates) in the 2012 parliamentary elections, under Yanukovich. That represents about 900,000 people in that oblast. There aren't 900,000 brawling far-rightists in Kharkiv. So?

    The exteme nationalist Banderist Svoboda party got about 4% of the vote in Kharkiv oblast in 2012. This would make Bandera twice as popular in Kharkiv as the democratic opposition is in Russia.

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  161. @jimbojones
    A few points:
    - The Russians ALWAYS were Americanophiles - ever since the Revolution. Russia has been an American ally most often explicit but occasionally tacit - in EVERY major American conflict, including the War on Terror and excluding Korea and Vietnam (both not major compared to the Civil War or WW2). The only comparable Great Power US ally is France. Russia and the US are natural allies.
    - Russians are Americanophiles - they like Hollywood movies, American music, American idealism, American video games, American fashion, American inventions, American support in WW2, American can-do-aittude, American badassery and Americana in general.
    - There are two Ukraines. One is essentially a part of Russia, and a chunk of it was repatriated in 2014. The other was historically Polish and Habsburg. It is a strange entity that is not Russian.
    - The Maidan was a foreign-backed putsch against a democratically elected government. Yanukovich was certainly a corrupt scoundrel. But he was a democratically elected corrupt scoundrel. To claim Russian intervention in his election is a joke in light of the CIA-backed 2004 and 2014 coups. Moreover, post-democratic post-Yanukovich Ukraine is clearly inferior to its predecessor. For one thing, under Yanukovich, Sevastopol was still Ukrainian...

    American music

    One substantial correction: generation which now is in power and defines most of Russia’s dynamics, age group of 40s-50s, was largely influenced by British music, not American one, despite its definite presence in cultural menu in 1960 through 1980s. British music was on the order of magnitude more popular and influential in USSR. The love for American music was rather conditional and very selective. Of course, jazz was and is huge among educated and cultured, but in terms of pop/rock if one discounts immensely popular Eagles (for obvious reason), Donna Summer or something on the order of magnitude of Chicago, British pop-music was a different universe altogether. Beatles, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple or even British Glam were immense in 1970s, not to mention NWBHM in 1980s. One would have more luck hearing Iron Maiden blasting from windows somewhere in Russia than music of Michael Jackson.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    One would have more luck hearing Iron Maiden blasting from windows somewhere in Russia than music of Michael Jackson.
     
    What about Metallica or Slayer? The famous 1991 Monsters of Rock in Moscow featured I think Metallica in its prime and Pantera right before they became really big (and heavy).
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  162. @AP

    Demographic profile of Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper resembles demographic profile of Navalny supporters in Russia. These people are not fighters.
     
    Repeating your claim over and over again doesn't make it true.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Battalion

    The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named "Sect 82" (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] "Sect 82" was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, "Sect 82" occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local "self-defense"-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of "Sect 82" there was formed a volunteer militia called "Eastern Corps".[18]

    The brawling East Ukrainian nationalists who took the streets of Kharkiv and Odessa were not mostly rich, fey hipsters.

    The way to think about Azov battalion is to treat them like a simple group of delinquents, for whom Ukrainian nationalism has become a path to obtain money, resources, bigger guns and perhaps even political power. Azov is simply a gang. And Russian security services have plenty of experience dealing with gangs, so I don’t expect Ukronazis to pose a major challenge.

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    • Replies: @AP

    The way to think about Azov battalion is to treat them like a simple group of delinquents, for whom Ukrainian nationalism has become a path to obtain money, resources, bigger guns and perhaps even political power
     
    Yes, there are elements of this, but not only. If they were ethnic Russians, as in Donbas, they would have taken a different path, as did the pro-Russian militants in Donbas who are similar to the ethnic Ukrainian Azovites. Young guys who like to brawl and are ethnic Russians or identify s such joined organizations like Oplot and moved to Donbas to fight against Ukraine, similar types who identified as Ukrainians became Azovites or joined similar pro-Ukrainian militias. Also not all of these were delinquents, many were working class, security guards, etc.

    Good that you admit that in Eastern Ukraine nationalism is not limited to student activists and businessmen.


    And Russian security services have plenty of experience dealing with gangs,
     
    They chose to stay away from Kharkiv and limit Russia's action to Donbas, knowing that there would be too much opposition, and not enough support, to Russian rule in Kharkiv to make the effort worthwhile.
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  163. Gerard2 says:
    @AP

    Demographic profile of Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper resembles demographic profile of Navalny supporters in Russia. These people are not fighters.
     
    Repeating your claim over and over again doesn't make it true.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Battalion

    The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named "Sect 82" (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] "Sect 82" was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, "Sect 82" occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local "self-defense"-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of "Sect 82" there was formed a volunteer militia called "Eastern Corps".[18]

    The brawling East Ukrainian nationalists who took the streets of Kharkiv and Odessa were not mostly rich, fey hipsters.

    [MORE]

    The brawling East Ukrainian nationalists who took the streets of Kharkiv and Odessa were not mostly rich, fey hipsters.

    errmmm. …they were losers and thugs funded by Oligarchs, as with Kolomoisky in Dnepropetrovsk you dumb fuckwit….oligarchs, not nationalism are the driving force behind the “Ukrainian” mass crimes against humanity committing—but militarily utterly useless militias you dumb POS. Oligarchs and IMF/US/EU funding,intelligence and blackmail.

    Kharkov,Odessa,Kherson and a few more regions would easily go to Russia you idiot.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    oligarchs, not nationalism are the driving force behind the “Ukrainian” mass crimes against humanity committing—

    http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/63151000/jpg/_63151001_rexfeatures_390890mb.jpg
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  164. @Anon
    Said a dude who invested in an Asian woman.

    Yes, a highly intelligent, hardworking, conservative, Christian Asian woman who loves and appreciates America, is the same as a Muslim African, Arab or Paki whose religion tells him to subjugate or kill us. No drastic difference in genetics or the impact on our culture, language, economy, and security there.

    Moreover, allowing our native-born white citizens to choose spouses from elsewhere is the same as admitting tens of millions of people with little to no screening whatsoever (the latter being admitted in the interest of those who actively seek the most dimwitted, violent, intimidating, slothful, hateful, and incompatible people psosible in order to endanger, impoverish, and dumb down out people and set the stage for us to “need” a police state to manage the chaos and crime they bring).

    Your logic is impeccable, I’ll admit.

    How long have you been married, by the way? And how many children are you raising? I just ask because I am sure we can compare notes and I can benefit from your manly experience and expertise.

    Get a consistent handle to use on this site. Then tell us personal details as many of us have done. Then we can have a further friendly chat, big anonymous man who comments on other men’s wives.

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  165. @Felix Keverich
    I like how I got you talking about the Ukronazis, it's kinda funny actually, so let me pose as Ukraine's "defender" here:

    This neo-Nazi scum is not in any way representative of the population of Eastern Ukraine. These are delinquents, criminals, low-lifes. They are despised, looked down upon by the normal people, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian alike. A typical Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper is a business owner, a journalist, an office worker, a student who dodges draft. It's just the way it is.

    I’m not sure about Ukrainian football hooligans, but football hooligans in Hungary are not necessarily “low -lifes, criminals, delinquents”, in fact, the majority of them aren’t. Most groups consist mostly of working class (including a lot of security guards and similar) members, but there are some middle class (I know of a school headmaster, though I think he’s no longer very active in the group) and working class entrepreneur types (e.g. the car mechanic who ended up owning a car dealership) and similar. I think outright criminal types are a small minority. Since it costs money to attend the matches, outright failures (the permanently unemployed and similar ne’er-do-wells) are rarely found in such groups.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    LOL I classify all football hooligans as low-lifes simply due to the nature of their pastime. Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias have been involved in actual crimes including murder, kidnapping and racketeering. Their criminal activities go unpunished by the regime, because they are considered "heroes" or something.
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  166. @Andrei Martyanov

    American music
     
    One substantial correction: generation which now is in power and defines most of Russia's dynamics, age group of 40s-50s, was largely influenced by British music, not American one, despite its definite presence in cultural menu in 1960 through 1980s. British music was on the order of magnitude more popular and influential in USSR. The love for American music was rather conditional and very selective. Of course, jazz was and is huge among educated and cultured, but in terms of pop/rock if one discounts immensely popular Eagles (for obvious reason), Donna Summer or something on the order of magnitude of Chicago, British pop-music was a different universe altogether. Beatles, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple or even British Glam were immense in 1970s, not to mention NWBHM in 1980s. One would have more luck hearing Iron Maiden blasting from windows somewhere in Russia than music of Michael Jackson.

    One would have more luck hearing Iron Maiden blasting from windows somewhere in Russia than music of Michael Jackson.

    What about Metallica or Slayer? The famous 1991 Monsters of Rock in Moscow featured I think Metallica in its prime and Pantera right before they became really big (and heavy).

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    What about Metallica or Slayer? The famous 1991 Monsters of Rock in Moscow featured I think Metallica in its prime and Pantera right before they became really big (and heavy).
     
    Metallica primarily and AC/DC. Pantera were more of a bonus. Nowhere near massive popularity of AC/DC and Metallica, who were main attraction. Earlier, in 1988, so called Moscow Peace Festival also saw a collection of heavy and glam metal luminaries such as Motley Crue, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, of course, etc. But, of course, Ozzy was met with a thunder by Luzhniki stadium. The only rock royalty who was allowed to give a first ever concert on Red Square was Sir Paul, with Putin being personally present. Speaks volumes. British rock was always dominant in USSR. In the end, every Soviet boy who was starting to play guitar had to know three chords of the House of the Rising Sun. Russians are also very progressive rock oriented and in 1970s Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant etc. were huge. Soviet underground national anthem was Uriah Heep's masterpiece of July Morning. I believe Bulgaria still has July Morning gatherings every year. All of it was British influence. My generation also grew up with British Glam which for us was a pop-music of the day--from Sweet to Slade, to T.Rex. And then there was: QUEEN.
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  167. Art Deco says:
    @LondonBob
    Art Deco is a Zionist, just checkout his reaction when you point out Israel assassinated JFK.

    Art Deco is a Zionist, just checkout his reaction when you point out Israel assassinated JFK.

    My reaction is that you need to take your risperidal, bathe, and quit pestering people for bits of cash. And make your clinic appointments. They’re sick of seeing you at the ED.

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  168. Art Deco says:
    @LondonBob
    Israel wanted Iraq destroyed, it was.

    Israel wanted Iraq destroyed, it was.

    The actually existing Israeli officialdom advised the Bush administration to give priority to containing Iran.

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  169. @reiner Tor
    I’m not sure about Ukrainian football hooligans, but football hooligans in Hungary are not necessarily “low -lifes, criminals, delinquents”, in fact, the majority of them aren’t. Most groups consist mostly of working class (including a lot of security guards and similar) members, but there are some middle class (I know of a school headmaster, though I think he’s no longer very active in the group) and working class entrepreneur types (e.g. the car mechanic who ended up owning a car dealership) and similar. I think outright criminal types are a small minority. Since it costs money to attend the matches, outright failures (the permanently unemployed and similar ne’er-do-wells) are rarely found in such groups.

    LOL I classify all football hooligans as low-lifes simply due to the nature of their pastime. Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias have been involved in actual crimes including murder, kidnapping and racketeering. Their criminal activities go unpunished by the regime, because they are considered “heroes” or something.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    I classify all football hooligans as low-lifes simply due to the nature of their pastime.
     
    They are well integrated into the rest of society, so you can call them low-lifes, but they will still be quite different from ordinary criminals.

    Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias have been involved in actual crimes including murder, kidnapping and racketeering.
     
    But that’s quite different from being professional criminals. Members of the Waffen-SS also committed unspeakable crimes, but they rarely had professional criminal backgrounds, and were, in fact, quite well integrated into German society.
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  170. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich
    I like how I got you talking about the Ukronazis, it's kinda funny actually, so let me pose as Ukraine's "defender" here:

    This neo-Nazi scum is not in any way representative of the population of Eastern Ukraine. These are delinquents, criminals, low-lifes. They are despised, looked down upon by the normal people, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian alike. A typical Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper is a business owner, a journalist, an office worker, a student who dodges draft. It's just the way it is.

    I like how I got you talking about the Ukronazis

    I never denied the presence of them.

    This neo-Nazi scum is not in any way representative of the population of Eastern Ukraine.

    If by “representative” you mean majority, sure. Neither are artsy students, or Afghan war veterans, or schoolteachers, any other group a majority.

    Also not all of the street fighters turned militias neo-Nazis, as are Azov. Right Sector are not neo-Nazis, they are more fascists.

    These are delinquents, criminals, low-lifes.

    As reiner tor correctly pointed out, this movement which grew out of the football ultra community is rather working class but is not lumpens. You fail again.

    A typical Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper is a business owner, a journalist, an office worker, a student who dodges draft

    Are there more business owners, students (many of whom do not dodge the draft), office workers combined than there are ultras/far-right brawlers? Probably. 30% of Kharkiv voted for nationalist parties (mostly Tymoshenko’s and Klitschko’s moderates) in the 2012 parliamentary elections, under Yanukovich. That represents about 900,000 people in that oblast. There aren’t 900,000 brawling far-rightists in Kharkiv. So?

    The exteme nationalist Banderist Svoboda party got about 4% of the vote in Kharkiv oblast in 2012. This would make Bandera twice as popular in Kharkiv as the democratic opposition is in Russia.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    That represents about 900,000 people in that oblast. There aren’t 900,000 brawling far-rightists in Kharkiv. So?
     
    This means these people won't pose a big problem. These folks will take care of themselves either through self-deportation or gradually coming to terms with the new reality in Kharkov, just like their compatriots in Crimea did.

    Even among Svoboda voters, I suspect only a small minority of them are the militant types. We should be to contain them through the use of local proxies. The armies of Donbass republics currently number some 40-60 thousand men according to Cassad blog, which compares with the size of the entire Ukrainian army. We should be able to recruit more local Ukrainian proxies once we're in Kharkov.

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  171. @Felix Keverich
    LOL I classify all football hooligans as low-lifes simply due to the nature of their pastime. Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias have been involved in actual crimes including murder, kidnapping and racketeering. Their criminal activities go unpunished by the regime, because they are considered "heroes" or something.

    I classify all football hooligans as low-lifes simply due to the nature of their pastime.

    They are well integrated into the rest of society, so you can call them low-lifes, but they will still be quite different from ordinary criminals.

    Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias have been involved in actual crimes including murder, kidnapping and racketeering.

    But that’s quite different from being professional criminals. Members of the Waffen-SS also committed unspeakable crimes, but they rarely had professional criminal backgrounds, and were, in fact, quite well integrated into German society.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    I feel that comparing Azov to SS gives it too much credit.

    My point is that this way of life is not something that many people in Ukraine are willing to actively participate in. Most people are not willing to condone it either. AP says that Azov and the like can act like underground insurgency in Eastern cities. But I don't see how this could work - there will a thousand people around them willing to rat them out.

    There is no pro-Ukrainian insurgency in Crimea or inside the republics in Donbass, and it's not due to the lack of local football hooligans.
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  172. Art Deco says:
    @Talha
    Sure, but the ordinary folks liked him - he seemed like a humble man with faith from humble beginnings. Pakistanis could relate to someone like that.
    http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/140926151139-17-jimmy-carter-super-169.jpg

    I was just a wee lad at the time, so I'm only conveying what my dad told me.

    Peace.

    he seemed like a humble man with faith from humble beginnings. Pakistanis could relate to someone like that.

    Carter was an agribusinessman whose personal net worth (not counting his mother’s holdings and siblings’ holdings) was in seven digits in 1976. (His dipso brother managed the family business – passably well – from 1963 until 198?). John Osborne interviewed 1st, 2d, and 3d degree relations of Carter during the campaign and discovered the family was in satisfactory condition financially even during the Depression. Carter also spent the 2d World War – the whole thing – at the Naval Academy.

    There’s much to be said for Carter, but there’s no doubt one of his shortcomings is vanity. Harry Truman is the closest thing to a humble man in the White House in the years since Pakistan was constituted. If you’re looking for ‘humble beginnings’, the best examples are Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Not relevant re humble beginnings but re Pakistan: you've probably heard the famous anecdote about Kennedy and Bhutto:

    K: "You know, you're a bright man. If you were an American I'd have you in my cabinet."
    B: "No, Mr. President; if I were an American you would be in my cabinet."
    , @Talha
    Hey Art Deco (cool name by the way - I love that style of architecture - probably one of the only modern styles I like),

    Well, all I can say is he played it smooth enough to fool a heck of a lot of Pakistanis (not saying that's all that difficult).

    Peace.
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  173. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Art Deco
    he seemed like a humble man with faith from humble beginnings. Pakistanis could relate to someone like that.

    Carter was an agribusinessman whose personal net worth (not counting his mother's holdings and siblings' holdings) was in seven digits in 1976. (His dipso brother managed the family business - passably well - from 1963 until 198?). John Osborne interviewed 1st, 2d, and 3d degree relations of Carter during the campaign and discovered the family was in satisfactory condition financially even during the Depression. Carter also spent the 2d World War - the whole thing - at the Naval Academy.

    There's much to be said for Carter, but there's no doubt one of his shortcomings is vanity. Harry Truman is the closest thing to a humble man in the White House in the years since Pakistan was constituted. If you're looking for 'humble beginnings', the best examples are Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

    Not relevant re humble beginnings but re Pakistan: you’ve probably heard the famous anecdote about Kennedy and Bhutto:

    K: “You know, you’re a bright man. If you were an American I’d have you in my cabinet.”
    B: “No, Mr. President; if I were an American you would be in my cabinet.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    K: “You know, you’re a bright man. If you were an American I’d have you in my cabinet.”
    B: “No, Mr. President; if I were an American you would be in my cabinet.”
     
    The thing about many of these corrupt, worthless and incompetent Third World leaders is they're not lacking in self-esteem. Just ask Karzai. Or Maliki.
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  174. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich
    The way to think about Azov battalion is to treat them like a simple group of delinquents, for whom Ukrainian nationalism has become a path to obtain money, resources, bigger guns and perhaps even political power. Azov is simply a gang. And Russian security services have plenty of experience dealing with gangs, so I don't expect Ukronazis to pose a major challenge.

    The way to think about Azov battalion is to treat them like a simple group of delinquents, for whom Ukrainian nationalism has become a path to obtain money, resources, bigger guns and perhaps even political power

    Yes, there are elements of this, but not only. If they were ethnic Russians, as in Donbas, they would have taken a different path, as did the pro-Russian militants in Donbas who are similar to the ethnic Ukrainian Azovites. Young guys who like to brawl and are ethnic Russians or identify s such joined organizations like Oplot and moved to Donbas to fight against Ukraine, similar types who identified as Ukrainians became Azovites or joined similar pro-Ukrainian militias. Also not all of these were delinquents, many were working class, security guards, etc.

    Good that you admit that in Eastern Ukraine nationalism is not limited to student activists and businessmen.

    And Russian security services have plenty of experience dealing with gangs,

    They chose to stay away from Kharkiv and limit Russia’s action to Donbas, knowing that there would be too much opposition, and not enough support, to Russian rule in Kharkiv to make the effort worthwhile.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    It was a decision that Putin personally made. He wasn't going to move in Crimea either, until Maidanists overthrew his friend...

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn't share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable. And I'm sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn't come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.
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  175. utu says:
    @Anon
    Check out any American's reaction when some random Londoner tells him Israel assassinated JFK.

    Out of all hypotheses on the JFK assassination the one that Israel was behind it is the strongest. There is no question about it. From the day one when conspiracy theories were floated everything was done to hide how Israel benefited form the assassination.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Out of all hypotheses on the JFK assassination the one that Israel was behind it is the strongest. There is no question about it. From the day one when conspiracy theories were floated everything was done to hide how Israel benefited form the assassination.

    Actually, it's completely random and bizarre, but random and bizarre appeals to a certain sort of head case. Oliver Stone's thesis (that the military-industrial complex took down the President by subcontracting the job to a bunch of French Quarter homosexuals) is comparatively lucid.
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  176. @reiner Tor

    I classify all football hooligans as low-lifes simply due to the nature of their pastime.
     
    They are well integrated into the rest of society, so you can call them low-lifes, but they will still be quite different from ordinary criminals.

    Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias have been involved in actual crimes including murder, kidnapping and racketeering.
     
    But that’s quite different from being professional criminals. Members of the Waffen-SS also committed unspeakable crimes, but they rarely had professional criminal backgrounds, and were, in fact, quite well integrated into German society.

    I feel that comparing Azov to SS gives it too much credit.

    My point is that this way of life is not something that many people in Ukraine are willing to actively participate in. Most people are not willing to condone it either. AP says that Azov and the like can act like underground insurgency in Eastern cities. But I don’t see how this could work – there will a thousand people around them willing to rat them out.

    There is no pro-Ukrainian insurgency in Crimea or inside the republics in Donbass, and it’s not due to the lack of local football hooligans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    AP says that Azov and the like can act like underground insurgency in Eastern cities. But I don’t see how this could work – there will a thousand people around them willing to rat them out.
     
    About 1/3 of the population in Eastern Ukrainian regions voted for Ukrainian nationalists in 2012, compared to only 10% in Donbas. Three times as many. Likely after 2014 many of the hardcore pro-Russians left Kharkiv, just as hardcore pro-Ukrainians left Donetsk. Furthermore anti-Russian attitudes have hardened, due to the war, Crimea, etc. So there would be plenty of local support for native insurgents.

    Russians say, correctly, that after Kiev has shelled Donetsk how can the people of Donetsk reconcile themselves with Kiev?

    The time when Russia could have bloodlessly marched into Kharkiv is over. Ukrainian forces have dug in. How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?

    There is no pro-Ukrainian insurgency in Crimea or inside the republics in Donbass, and it’s not due to the lack of local football hooligans.
     
    Crimea was 60% Russian, Donbas Republics territory about 45% Russian; Kharkiv oblast is only 25% Russian.

    With Donbas - there are actually local pro-Ukrainian militants from Donbas, in the Donbas and Aidar battalions.
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  177. @AP

    I like how I got you talking about the Ukronazis
     
    I never denied the presence of them.

    This neo-Nazi scum is not in any way representative of the population of Eastern Ukraine.
     
    If by "representative" you mean majority, sure. Neither are artsy students, or Afghan war veterans, or schoolteachers, any other group a majority.

    Also not all of the street fighters turned militias neo-Nazis, as are Azov. Right Sector are not neo-Nazis, they are more fascists.


    These are delinquents, criminals, low-lifes.
     
    As reiner tor correctly pointed out, this movement which grew out of the football ultra community is rather working class but is not lumpens. You fail again.

    A typical Ukrainian nationalist East of Dnieper is a business owner, a journalist, an office worker, a student who dodges draft
     
    Are there more business owners, students (many of whom do not dodge the draft), office workers combined than there are ultras/far-right brawlers? Probably. 30% of Kharkiv voted for nationalist parties (mostly Tymoshenko's and Klitschko's moderates) in the 2012 parliamentary elections, under Yanukovich. That represents about 900,000 people in that oblast. There aren't 900,000 brawling far-rightists in Kharkiv. So?

    The exteme nationalist Banderist Svoboda party got about 4% of the vote in Kharkiv oblast in 2012. This would make Bandera twice as popular in Kharkiv as the democratic opposition is in Russia.

    That represents about 900,000 people in that oblast. There aren’t 900,000 brawling far-rightists in Kharkiv. So?

    This means these people won’t pose a big problem. These folks will take care of themselves either through self-deportation or gradually coming to terms with the new reality in Kharkov, just like their compatriots in Crimea did.

    Even among Svoboda voters, I suspect only a small minority of them are the militant types. We should be to contain them through the use of local proxies. The armies of Donbass republics currently number some 40-60 thousand men according to Cassad blog, which compares with the size of the entire Ukrainian army. We should be able to recruit more local Ukrainian proxies once we’re in Kharkov.

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    • Replies: @AP

    These folks will take care of themselves either through self-deportation or gradually coming to terms with the new reality in Kharkov, just like their compatriots in Crimea did
     
    The problem with this comparison is that Crimeans were far more in favor of joining Russia that are Kharkivites.

    The armies of Donbass republics currently number some 40-60 thousand men according to Cassad blog, which compares with the size of the entire Ukrainian army.
     
    Ukrainian military has 200,000 - 250,000 active members and about 100,000 reserves. Where did you get your information? The end of 2014?

    We should be able to recruit more local Ukrainian proxies once we’re in Kharkov.
     
    You would be able to recruit some local proxies in Kharkiv. Kiev even did so in Donbas. But given the fact that Ukrainian nationalism was 3 times more popular on Kharkiv than in Donetsk, and that Kharkiv youth were split 50/50 in terms of or versus anti Maidan support (versus 80/20 IIIRC anti-Maidan in Donbas), it would not be so easy. Moreover, by now many of the hardcore anti-Kiev people have already left Kharkiv, while Kharkiv has had some settlement by pro-Ukrainian dissidents from Donbas. So the situation even in 2014 was hard enough that Russia chose to stay away, now it is even worse for the pro-Russians.
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  178. Art Deco says:
    @Gerard2

    The brawling East Ukrainian nationalists who took the streets of Kharkiv and Odessa were not mostly rich, fey hipsters.
     
    errmmm. ...they were losers and thugs funded by Oligarchs, as with Kolomoisky in Dnepropetrovsk you dumb fuckwit....oligarchs, not nationalism are the driving force behind the "Ukrainian" mass crimes against humanity committing---but militarily utterly useless militias you dumb POS. Oligarchs and IMF/US/EU funding,intelligence and blackmail.

    Kharkov,Odessa,Kherson and a few more regions would easily go to Russia you idiot.

    oligarchs, not nationalism are the driving force behind the “Ukrainian” mass crimes against humanity committing—

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    "Clouseau... He killed ... two customers, a Cossack, and a WAITER!!"
    , @RadicalCenter
    You have exquisite taste in movies, sir. Something we can agree on.
    , @Gerard2


    linking a picture to try and be "funny" only shows what a clueless POS idiot troll you are.

    You're too thick to realise that the Ukrainian situation completely transforms if the US controlled international community is NEUTRAL, not even pro-Russian, you muppet...at the time of the illegal US-made coup in February 2014. There was no proper "grassroots" Maidan movement you dipshits...just some USAID funded losers ( look at how many of these Maidan "activists" have US degrees)...and NATO funded scumbag pseudo-nationalists ( unemployed thugs) who had nothing better to do but miraculously stay 4 months in the winter in one site in the poorest country in Europe. Most Ukrainians are humble,pro--Russian, non-"activist" /Bandera fucktards who realised that it is impossible to reject the coup/go for further reintegration with Russia ....when the whole world will sanction it ( imagine how different it would be if this wasn't the case)..that and the fact that the US backs Nazi's/US funded liberal fuckup Ukrainians in key positions in Ukrainian business, SBU,government,police and military..and there is nothing they can do about it.


    Apart from the US backers the simple fact is this Euromaidan "movement" was nothing but an Oligarch-steered,financed and controlled event ( Oligarch and USAID control of the media was a big part of it and the subsequent illegal war on the Donbass people). It's the same for this and the war. Oligarchs like the POS Kolomoisky were instrumental in the war you idiot.

    Despite these factors, millions of Ukrainians have left their country...for Russia, millions of Ukrainians are pissed of at the lunatics in Kiev implementing obstacles on travel between the two countries, millions of Ukrainians are still heavily pro-Russia, millions of Ukrainians don't know what to make of the situation ( but would easily do so iF the Ukrainian media wasn't close to 100% controlled by US-favoured oligarchs spreading anti-Donbass and anti-RF lies ), many Ukrainians have defected to DNR/LNR.

    7% of the ukrop GDP is reliant on remittances from the millions working there and gas transit fees, and of course Russia is still the biggest investor in Ukraine you cretin.

    So it's clear that you dont have a clue what you are talking about you dimwit...and that a huge part of Ukrainians still living in Ukraine are pro-Russian or would be highly favourable to Russia/Donbass movements if the joke power structure in Ukraine was a normal one
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  179. Art Deco says:
    @utu
    Out of all hypotheses on the JFK assassination the one that Israel was behind it is the strongest. There is no question about it. From the day one when conspiracy theories were floated everything was done to hide how Israel benefited form the assassination.

    Out of all hypotheses on the JFK assassination the one that Israel was behind it is the strongest. There is no question about it. From the day one when conspiracy theories were floated everything was done to hide how Israel benefited form the assassination.

    Actually, it’s completely random and bizarre, but random and bizarre appeals to a certain sort of head case. Oliver Stone’s thesis (that the military-industrial complex took down the President by subcontracting the job to a bunch of French Quarter homosexuals) is comparatively lucid.

    Read More
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  180. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich
    I feel that comparing Azov to SS gives it too much credit.

    My point is that this way of life is not something that many people in Ukraine are willing to actively participate in. Most people are not willing to condone it either. AP says that Azov and the like can act like underground insurgency in Eastern cities. But I don't see how this could work - there will a thousand people around them willing to rat them out.

    There is no pro-Ukrainian insurgency in Crimea or inside the republics in Donbass, and it's not due to the lack of local football hooligans.

    AP says that Azov and the like can act like underground insurgency in Eastern cities. But I don’t see how this could work – there will a thousand people around them willing to rat them out.

    About 1/3 of the population in Eastern Ukrainian regions voted for Ukrainian nationalists in 2012, compared to only 10% in Donbas. Three times as many. Likely after 2014 many of the hardcore pro-Russians left Kharkiv, just as hardcore pro-Ukrainians left Donetsk. Furthermore anti-Russian attitudes have hardened, due to the war, Crimea, etc. So there would be plenty of local support for native insurgents.

    Russians say, correctly, that after Kiev has shelled Donetsk how can the people of Donetsk reconcile themselves with Kiev?

    The time when Russia could have bloodlessly marched into Kharkiv is over. Ukrainian forces have dug in. How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?

    There is no pro-Ukrainian insurgency in Crimea or inside the republics in Donbass, and it’s not due to the lack of local football hooligans.

    Crimea was 60% Russian, Donbas Republics territory about 45% Russian; Kharkiv oblast is only 25% Russian.

    With Donbas – there are actually local pro-Ukrainian militants from Donbas, in the Donbas and Aidar battalions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    The time when Russia could have bloodlessly marched into Kharkiv is over. Ukrainian forces have dug in. How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?
     
    The locals will move to disarm Ukrainian forces, who have taken their city hostage, then welcome Russian liberators with open arms, what else they are going to do? lol

    It's just a joke though. In reality there is virtually no Ukrainian forces in city of Kharkov. They don't have the manpower. Ukrainian regime managed to fortify Perekop and the perimeter of the people's republics, but the rest of Ukraine-Russia border remains completely undefended. It's wide open!

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  181. @AP

    The way to think about Azov battalion is to treat them like a simple group of delinquents, for whom Ukrainian nationalism has become a path to obtain money, resources, bigger guns and perhaps even political power
     
    Yes, there are elements of this, but not only. If they were ethnic Russians, as in Donbas, they would have taken a different path, as did the pro-Russian militants in Donbas who are similar to the ethnic Ukrainian Azovites. Young guys who like to brawl and are ethnic Russians or identify s such joined organizations like Oplot and moved to Donbas to fight against Ukraine, similar types who identified as Ukrainians became Azovites or joined similar pro-Ukrainian militias. Also not all of these were delinquents, many were working class, security guards, etc.

    Good that you admit that in Eastern Ukraine nationalism is not limited to student activists and businessmen.


    And Russian security services have plenty of experience dealing with gangs,
     
    They chose to stay away from Kharkiv and limit Russia's action to Donbas, knowing that there would be too much opposition, and not enough support, to Russian rule in Kharkiv to make the effort worthwhile.

    It was a decision that Putin personally made. He wasn’t going to move in Crimea either, until Maidanists overthrew his friend…

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn’t share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable. And I’m sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn’t come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.

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    • Replies: @AP

    And I’m sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn’t come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.
     
    This is rather a symptom of a much wider phenomenon: the population simply doesn't see itself as Russian and doesn't want to be part of Russia. So its hooligan-types go for Ukrainian, not Russian, nationalism as is the case in Russia.
    , @Mr. Hack

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn’t share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable.

     

    Well there you have it. Putin is a much smarter guy than you are Felix (BTW, are you Jewish, all of the Felix’s that I’ve known were Jewish?). Good to see that you’re nothing more than a blackshirted illusionist.*

    *фантазёр

    , @Swedish Family

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn’t share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable.
     
    Agreed, and he happens to be in the right here. Russia actually has a good hand in Ukraine, if only she keeps her cool. More military adventurism is foolish for at least three reasons:

    (1) All the civilian deaths in the Donbass, somewhat perversely, play to Russia's advantage in that they take some of the sting out of the "Ukraine is the victim" narrative. Common people know full well that the Ukrainian troops are hated in the Donbass (I once watched a Ukrainian soldier shock the audience by saying this on Shuster Live), and they know also that Kiev has a blame in all those dead women and children. These are promising conditions for future reconciliation, and they would be squandered overnight if Russian troops moved further westward.

    (2) The geopolitical repercussions would be enormous. As I and others have already written, the present situation is just about what people in elite Western circles can stomach. Any Russian escalation would seriously jeopardize European trade with Russia, among other things.

    (3) There is a good chance that Crimea will eventually be internationally recognized as part of the RF (a British parliamentary report on this matter in 2015, I think it was, made this quite clear). The same might also be true of the Donbass. These "acquisitions," too, would be jeopardized by more military action.
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  182. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    That represents about 900,000 people in that oblast. There aren’t 900,000 brawling far-rightists in Kharkiv. So?
     
    This means these people won't pose a big problem. These folks will take care of themselves either through self-deportation or gradually coming to terms with the new reality in Kharkov, just like their compatriots in Crimea did.

    Even among Svoboda voters, I suspect only a small minority of them are the militant types. We should be to contain them through the use of local proxies. The armies of Donbass republics currently number some 40-60 thousand men according to Cassad blog, which compares with the size of the entire Ukrainian army. We should be able to recruit more local Ukrainian proxies once we're in Kharkov.

    These folks will take care of themselves either through self-deportation or gradually coming to terms with the new reality in Kharkov, just like their compatriots in Crimea did

    The problem with this comparison is that Crimeans were far more in favor of joining Russia that are Kharkivites.

    The armies of Donbass republics currently number some 40-60 thousand men according to Cassad blog, which compares with the size of the entire Ukrainian army.

    Ukrainian military has 200,000 – 250,000 active members and about 100,000 reserves. Where did you get your information? The end of 2014?

    We should be able to recruit more local Ukrainian proxies once we’re in Kharkov.

    You would be able to recruit some local proxies in Kharkiv. Kiev even did so in Donbas. But given the fact that Ukrainian nationalism was 3 times more popular on Kharkiv than in Donetsk, and that Kharkiv youth were split 50/50 in terms of or versus anti Maidan support (versus 80/20 IIIRC anti-Maidan in Donbas), it would not be so easy. Moreover, by now many of the hardcore anti-Kiev people have already left Kharkiv, while Kharkiv has had some settlement by pro-Ukrainian dissidents from Donbas. So the situation even in 2014 was hard enough that Russia chose to stay away, now it is even worse for the pro-Russians.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Ukrainian military has 200,000 – 250,000 active members and about 100,000 reserves. Where did you get your information? The end of 2014?
     
    I read Kassad blog, and he says Ukrainian formations assembled in Donbass number some 50-70 thousands men. The entire Ukrainian army is around 200.000 men, including the navy (LOL), the airforce, but most of it isn't combat ready. Ukraine doesn't just suffer from a lack of manpower, they don't have the resources to feed and clothe their soldiers, which limits their ability field an army.

    By contrast the armies of people's republics have 40-60 thousand men - that's impressive level of mobilisation, and they achieved this without implementing draft.
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  183. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich
    It was a decision that Putin personally made. He wasn't going to move in Crimea either, until Maidanists overthrew his friend...

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn't share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable. And I'm sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn't come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.

    And I’m sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn’t come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.

    This is rather a symptom of a much wider phenomenon: the population simply doesn’t see itself as Russian and doesn’t want to be part of Russia. So its hooligan-types go for Ukrainian, not Russian, nationalism as is the case in Russia.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Honestly, I doubt that this kind of stuff has much impact on Putin's decisionmaking.
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  184. @AP

    AP says that Azov and the like can act like underground insurgency in Eastern cities. But I don’t see how this could work – there will a thousand people around them willing to rat them out.
     
    About 1/3 of the population in Eastern Ukrainian regions voted for Ukrainian nationalists in 2012, compared to only 10% in Donbas. Three times as many. Likely after 2014 many of the hardcore pro-Russians left Kharkiv, just as hardcore pro-Ukrainians left Donetsk. Furthermore anti-Russian attitudes have hardened, due to the war, Crimea, etc. So there would be plenty of local support for native insurgents.

    Russians say, correctly, that after Kiev has shelled Donetsk how can the people of Donetsk reconcile themselves with Kiev?

    The time when Russia could have bloodlessly marched into Kharkiv is over. Ukrainian forces have dug in. How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?

    There is no pro-Ukrainian insurgency in Crimea or inside the republics in Donbass, and it’s not due to the lack of local football hooligans.
     
    Crimea was 60% Russian, Donbas Republics territory about 45% Russian; Kharkiv oblast is only 25% Russian.

    With Donbas - there are actually local pro-Ukrainian militants from Donbas, in the Donbas and Aidar battalions.

    The time when Russia could have bloodlessly marched into Kharkiv is over. Ukrainian forces have dug in. How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?

    The locals will move to disarm Ukrainian forces, who have taken their city hostage, then welcome Russian liberators with open arms, what else they are going to do? lol

    It’s just a joke though. In reality there is virtually no Ukrainian forces in city of Kharkov. They don’t have the manpower. Ukrainian regime managed to fortify Perekop and the perimeter of the people’s republics, but the rest of Ukraine-Russia border remains completely undefended. It’s wide open!

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    • Replies: @AP

    "How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?"

    They will move to disarm ther Ukrainian forces, who have taken their city hostage, then welcome their Russian liberators with open arms, what else they are going to do? lol
     
    While about 1/3 of Kharkiv voted for Ukrainian nationalists, only perhaps 10%-20% of the city would actually like to be part of Russia (and I am being generous to you). So your idea is equivalent to American fantasies of Iraqis greeting their troops with flowers.

    It’s just a joke though. In reality there is virtually no Ukrainian forces in city of Kharkov. They don’t have the manpower. Ukrainian regime managed to fortify Perekop and the perimeter of the people’s republics, but the rest of Ukraine-Russia border remains completely undefended.
     
    Are you living in 2014? Russian nationalists always like to think of Ukraine as if it is 2014-2015. It is comforting for them.

    Ukraine currently has 200,000-250,000 active troops. About 60,000 of them are around Donbas.

    Here is a map of various positions in 2017:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/2017_Ukraine_ZSU.png

    Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses). The map does not include national guard units such as Azov, however, which would add a few thousand troops to Kharkiv's defense.

    It looks like rather than stationing their military in forward positions vs. a possible Russian attack, Ukraine, has put lot of troops in Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kiev and Odessa.
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  185. @AP

    And I’m sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn’t come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.
     
    This is rather a symptom of a much wider phenomenon: the population simply doesn't see itself as Russian and doesn't want to be part of Russia. So its hooligan-types go for Ukrainian, not Russian, nationalism as is the case in Russia.

    Honestly, I doubt that this kind of stuff has much impact on Putin’s decisionmaking.

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  186. Mr. Hack says:
    @Felix Keverich
    It was a decision that Putin personally made. He wasn't going to move in Crimea either, until Maidanists overthrew his friend...

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn't share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable. And I'm sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn't come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn’t share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable.

    Well there you have it. Putin is a much smarter guy than you are Felix (BTW, are you Jewish, all of the Felix’s that I’ve known were Jewish?). Good to see that you’re nothing more than a blackshirted illusionist.*

    *фантазёр

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  187. @for-the-record
    they [Germans] should certainly spend more for their own defense, maybe even bring back conscription.

    With all due respect, and making allowance for your relative youth, that is simply rubbish. Defense against whom? Russia? Iran? As your posts make it eminently clear, the real enemy of Germany is within, not without.

    German and European reliance on US security guarantees is a problem, since it’s become pretty clear that the US political system is dysfunctional and US “elites” are dangerous extremists. We need our own security structures to be independent from the US so they can’t drag us into their stupid projects or blackmail us anymore…why do you think Merkel didn’t react much to the revelations about American spying on Germany? Because we’re totally dependent on the Americans in security matters.
    And while I don’t believe Russia or Iran are really serious threats to Europe, it would be foolish to have no credible deterrence.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    And while I don’t believe Russia or Iran are really serious threats to Europe, it would be foolish to have no credible deterrence.

    What "credible deterrence" are you proposing for Germany? As has been clearly demonstrated, the only credible deterrence against a determined foe (of which Germany has none, at least externally) is nuclear. Is this what you are suggesting?

    Germany has willingly supported the US (presumably in continuing gratitude for US support during the Cold War), it hasn't been "blackmailed" into this. Austria, on the other hand, has survived for more than 60 years without the US "umbrella" to protect it (and with a military strength rated below that of Angola and Chile), so why couldn't Germany? There is no need whatsoever for Germany to build up its military strength; rather, what Germany (sorely) lacks is the desire (and guts) to act independently of the US.
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  188. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    The time when Russia could have bloodlessly marched into Kharkiv is over. Ukrainian forces have dug in. How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?
     
    The locals will move to disarm Ukrainian forces, who have taken their city hostage, then welcome Russian liberators with open arms, what else they are going to do? lol

    It's just a joke though. In reality there is virtually no Ukrainian forces in city of Kharkov. They don't have the manpower. Ukrainian regime managed to fortify Perekop and the perimeter of the people's republics, but the rest of Ukraine-Russia border remains completely undefended. It's wide open!

    “How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?”

    They will move to disarm ther Ukrainian forces, who have taken their city hostage, then welcome their Russian liberators with open arms, what else they are going to do? lol

    While about 1/3 of Kharkiv voted for Ukrainian nationalists, only perhaps 10%-20% of the city would actually like to be part of Russia (and I am being generous to you). So your idea is equivalent to American fantasies of Iraqis greeting their troops with flowers.

    It’s just a joke though. In reality there is virtually no Ukrainian forces in city of Kharkov. They don’t have the manpower. Ukrainian regime managed to fortify Perekop and the perimeter of the people’s republics, but the rest of Ukraine-Russia border remains completely undefended.

    Are you living in 2014? Russian nationalists always like to think of Ukraine as if it is 2014-2015. It is comforting for them.

    Ukraine currently has 200,000-250,000 active troops. About 60,000 of them are around Donbas.

    Here is a map of various positions in 2017:

    Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses). The map does not include national guard units such as Azov, however, which would add a few thousand troops to Kharkiv’s defense.

    It looks like rather than stationing their military in forward positions vs. a possible Russian attack, Ukraine, has put lot of troops in Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kiev and Odessa.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    So your idea is equivalent to American fantasies of Iraqis greeting their troops with flowers.

    The local populations in Iraq were congenial to begin with, at least outside some Sunni centers. It was never an object of American policy to stay in Iraq indefinitely.
    , @Felix Keverich

    Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses).
     
    How many people does this "motorized infantry brigade" have? And more importantly what is its level of combat readiness? Couldn't we just smash this brigade with a termobaric bomb while they are sleeping?

    Ukraine is full of shit. They had 20.000 troops in Crimea, "a lot of air defenses" and it didn't make a iota of difference. Somehow you expect me to believe Ukraine has a completely different army now. Why should I? They don't have the resources to afford a better army, so it is logical to assume that Ukrainian army is still crap.
    , @Gerard2

    While about 1/3 of Kharkiv voted for Ukrainian nationalists, only perhaps 10%-20% of the city would actually like to be part of Russia (and I am being generous to you). So your idea is equivalent to American fantasies of Iraqis greeting their troops with flowers
     
    ahhh....this is further amusing..the clown pretending to have ANY knowledge about Ukrainian politics chatting crap again.

    I do recall a recent previous attention-whoring nonsense by a f**wit as you somehow thinking in Kharkov 2010, that an Armenian nearly beating a Jew for the Mayorship of the main city in an Oblast controlled by a Jew.... was a near victory of Ukrainian-nationalists over '"pro-Russia" !.....even though Avakov's party in Kharkov at that time were becoming considerably less Nationalist but more neutral and slightly pro-Russian on many important issues at their top level... particularly with both sides calling Tymoshenko a Russian agent, not going with the NATO line on South Ossetia/Abhazia, numerous trade deals, the most normal and peaceful gas agreement in 15 years between Ukraine and Russia, cutting out of all this UPA/Bandera/Anti-soviet and going on about the fake Golodomor crap at the top level of Batkivshina....that and the general pro-Russian mood , pro-russian& soviet heritage of most in Kharkov...(the large majority in fact you dipshit)......who easily would have allowed a DNR/LNR type area to form , if this had been seriously attempted and wanted by Russia.....as befits an area in a country where "Ukrainians" and Russian intermarry, prefer in large majority to speak/think/watch russian and has been controlled from Moscow and Saint-Petersburg for centuries with practically nil "resistance" or any consciousness of anything to "resist"....just some cowardly-doubledealing,pig-raping UPA scum who escaped justice and fled to the US/Canada ...injecting fantasies.

    It just sums up what an absurdly thick clown you are
    , @JL

    It looks like rather than stationing their military in forward positions vs. a possible Russian attack, Ukraine, has put lot of troops in Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kiev and Odessa.
     
    Which suggests Kiev is more worried about popular insurrections than the Russian bogeyman.
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  189. @AP

    These folks will take care of themselves either through self-deportation or gradually coming to terms with the new reality in Kharkov, just like their compatriots in Crimea did
     
    The problem with this comparison is that Crimeans were far more in favor of joining Russia that are Kharkivites.

    The armies of Donbass republics currently number some 40-60 thousand men according to Cassad blog, which compares with the size of the entire Ukrainian army.
     
    Ukrainian military has 200,000 - 250,000 active members and about 100,000 reserves. Where did you get your information? The end of 2014?

    We should be able to recruit more local Ukrainian proxies once we’re in Kharkov.
     
    You would be able to recruit some local proxies in Kharkiv. Kiev even did so in Donbas. But given the fact that Ukrainian nationalism was 3 times more popular on Kharkiv than in Donetsk, and that Kharkiv youth were split 50/50 in terms of or versus anti Maidan support (versus 80/20 IIIRC anti-Maidan in Donbas), it would not be so easy. Moreover, by now many of the hardcore anti-Kiev people have already left Kharkiv, while Kharkiv has had some settlement by pro-Ukrainian dissidents from Donbas. So the situation even in 2014 was hard enough that Russia chose to stay away, now it is even worse for the pro-Russians.

    Ukrainian military has 200,000 – 250,000 active members and about 100,000 reserves. Where did you get your information? The end of 2014?

    I read Kassad blog, and he says Ukrainian formations assembled in Donbass number some 50-70 thousands men. The entire Ukrainian army is around 200.000 men, including the navy (LOL), the airforce, but most of it isn’t combat ready. Ukraine doesn’t just suffer from a lack of manpower, they don’t have the resources to feed and clothe their soldiers, which limits their ability field an army.

    By contrast the armies of people’s republics have 40-60 thousand men – that’s impressive level of mobilisation, and they achieved this without implementing draft.

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    • Replies: @AP

    The entire Ukrainian army is around 200.000 men, including the navy (LOL), the airforce, but most of it isn’t combat ready.
     
    250,000. Combat readiness is very different from 2014.

    Ukraine doesn’t just suffer from a lack of manpower, they don’t have the resources to feed and clothe their soldiers, which limits their ability field an army.
     
    Again, it isn't 2014 anymore. Military budget has increased significantly, from 3.2 billion in 2015 to 5.17 billion in 2017. In spite of theft, much more is getting through.

    By contrast the armies of people’s republics have 40-60 thousand men – that’s impressive level of mobilisation, and they achieved this without implementing draft
     
    It's one of the only ways to make any money in the Republics, so draft is unnecessaary.
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  190. Art Deco says:
    @AP

    "How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?"

    They will move to disarm ther Ukrainian forces, who have taken their city hostage, then welcome their Russian liberators with open arms, what else they are going to do? lol
     
    While about 1/3 of Kharkiv voted for Ukrainian nationalists, only perhaps 10%-20% of the city would actually like to be part of Russia (and I am being generous to you). So your idea is equivalent to American fantasies of Iraqis greeting their troops with flowers.

    It’s just a joke though. In reality there is virtually no Ukrainian forces in city of Kharkov. They don’t have the manpower. Ukrainian regime managed to fortify Perekop and the perimeter of the people’s republics, but the rest of Ukraine-Russia border remains completely undefended.
     
    Are you living in 2014? Russian nationalists always like to think of Ukraine as if it is 2014-2015. It is comforting for them.

    Ukraine currently has 200,000-250,000 active troops. About 60,000 of them are around Donbas.

    Here is a map of various positions in 2017:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/2017_Ukraine_ZSU.png

    Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses). The map does not include national guard units such as Azov, however, which would add a few thousand troops to Kharkiv's defense.

    It looks like rather than stationing their military in forward positions vs. a possible Russian attack, Ukraine, has put lot of troops in Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kiev and Odessa.

    So your idea is equivalent to American fantasies of Iraqis greeting their troops with flowers.

    The local populations in Iraq were congenial to begin with, at least outside some Sunni centers. It was never an object of American policy to stay in Iraq indefinitely.

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    • Replies: @AP
    I respectfully disagree with you about the Iraq war (one of the few areas on which I disagree with you).

    I suppose had the West made a massive investment in Iraq, secured its Christian population, loaded it with US troops, and did to it what was done to Japan, over several decades, transforming it into a prosperous democratic US ally, removing Saddam (who deserves no sympathy) might have been a nice thing. It would have been a massive financial drain but having a "Japan", other than Israel, in the heart of the Middle East might have been worth it (I am not a Middle East expert but it seems the Shah's Persia was sort of being groomed for such a role).

    Instead, it ended up being a disaster - 100,000s dead in sectarian massacres, Christian population nearly destroyed, and other than Kurdish areas, an ally either of Iran or of militant anti-American Sunnis. At the cost, to the USA, of dead Americans, lots of money, and loss of soft power. I also suspect that America being stuck and preoccupied in Middle East conflicts gave room for Russia to act. I guess its a tribute to how strong America is, that it is still doing pretty well in spite of the debacle. A lesser power such as the USSR would have been sunk.
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  191. @AP

    "How will Kharkiv people feel towards uninvited Russian invaders shelling their city in order to to take it under their control?"

    They will move to disarm ther Ukrainian forces, who have taken their city hostage, then welcome their Russian liberators with open arms, what else they are going to do? lol
     
    While about 1/3 of Kharkiv voted for Ukrainian nationalists, only perhaps 10%-20% of the city would actually like to be part of Russia (and I am being generous to you). So your idea is equivalent to American fantasies of Iraqis greeting their troops with flowers.

    It’s just a joke though. In reality there is virtually no Ukrainian forces in city of Kharkov. They don’t have the manpower. Ukrainian regime managed to fortify Perekop and the perimeter of the people’s republics, but the rest of Ukraine-Russia border remains completely undefended.
     
    Are you living in 2014? Russian nationalists always like to think of Ukraine as if it is 2014-2015. It is comforting for them.

    Ukraine currently has 200,000-250,000 active troops. About 60,000 of them are around Donbas.

    Here is a map of various positions in 2017:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/2017_Ukraine_ZSU.png

    Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses). The map does not include national guard units such as Azov, however, which would add a few thousand troops to Kharkiv's defense.

    It looks like rather than stationing their military in forward positions vs. a possible Russian attack, Ukraine, has put lot of troops in Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kiev and Odessa.

    Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses).

    How many people does this “motorized infantry brigade” have? And more importantly what is its level of combat readiness? Couldn’t we just smash this brigade with a termobaric bomb while they are sleeping?

    Ukraine is full of shit. They had 20.000 troops in Crimea, “a lot of air defenses” and it didn’t make a iota of difference. Somehow you expect me to believe Ukraine has a completely different army now. Why should I? They don’t have the resources to afford a better army, so it is logical to assume that Ukrainian army is still crap.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Sorry to prickle your little fantasy world once again tovarishch, but according to current CIA statistics Ukraine has 182,000 active personnel, and 1,000,000 reservists! For a complete rundown of Ukraine's military strength, read this and weep:

    https://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.asp?country_id=ukraine

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Unfortunately, the Ukraine has been spending 5%* of its GDP on the military since c.2015 (versus close to 1% before 2014).

    Doesn't really matter if tons of money continues to be stolen, or even the recession - with that kind of raw increase, a major enhancement in capabilities is inevitable.

    As I was already writing in 2016:

    Like it or not, but outright war with Maidanist Ukraine has been ruled out from the beginning, as the more perceptive analysts like Rostislav Ischenko have long recognized. If there was a time and a place for it, it was either in April 2014, or August 2014 at the very latest. Since then, the Ukrainian Army has gotten much stronger. It has been purged of its “Russophile” elements, and even though it has lost a substantial percentage of its remnant Soviet-era military capital in the war of attrition with the LDNR, it has more than made up for it with wartime XP gain and the banal fact of a quintupling in military spending as a percentage of GDP from 1% to 5%. This translates to an effective quadrupling in absolute military spending, even when accounting for Ukraine’s post-Maidan economic collapse. Russia can still crush Ukraine in a full-scale conventional conflict, and that will remain the case for the foreseeable future, but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.
     
    * There's a report that says actual Ukrainian military spending remained rather more modest at 2.5% of GDP (https://www.osw.waw.pl/sites/default/files/prace_66_ang_best_army_ukraine_net.pdf); even so, that still translates to huge improvements over 2014.
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  192. @German_reader
    German and European reliance on US security guarantees is a problem, since it's become pretty clear that the US political system is dysfunctional and US "elites" are dangerous extremists. We need our own security structures to be independent from the US so they can't drag us into their stupid projects or blackmail us anymore...why do you think Merkel didn't react much to the revelations about American spying on Germany? Because we're totally dependent on the Americans in security matters.
    And while I don't believe Russia or Iran are really serious threats to Europe, it would be foolish to have no credible deterrence.

    And while I don’t believe Russia or Iran are really serious threats to Europe, it would be foolish to have no credible deterrence.

    What “credible deterrence” are you proposing for Germany? As has been clearly demonstrated, the only credible deterrence against a determined foe (of which Germany has none, at least externally) is nuclear. Is this what you are suggesting?

    Germany has willingly supported the US (presumably in continuing gratitude for US support during the Cold War), it hasn’t been “blackmailed” into this. Austria, on the other hand, has survived for more than 60 years without the US “umbrella” to protect it (and with a military strength rated below that of Angola and Chile), so why couldn’t Germany? There is no need whatsoever for Germany to build up its military strength; rather, what Germany (sorely) lacks is the desire (and guts) to act independently of the US.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Austria, on the other hand, has survived for more than 60 years without the US “umbrella” to protect it (and with a military strength rated below that of Angola and Chile), so why couldn’t Germany?

    Austria hasn't been absorbed by Germany or Italy therefore Germany doesn't have a use for security guarantees or an armed force. Do I render your argument correctly?
    , @German_reader

    Germany has willingly supported the US
     
    Not completely true, Germany didn't participate in the Iraq war and in the bombing of Libya.
    I'm hardly an expert on military matters, but it would seem just common sense to me that a state needs sufficient armed forces to protect its own territory...if you don't have that, you risk becoming a passive object whose fate is decided by other powers. Doesn't mean Germany should have a monstrously bloated military budget like the US, just sufficient forces to protect its own territory and that of neighbouring allies (which is what the German army should be for...instead of participating in futile counter-insurgency projects in places like Afghanistan). Potential for conflict in Europe is obviously greatest regarding Russia...it's still quite low imo, and I want good relations with Russia and disagree vehemently with such insanely provocative ideas as NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, but it would be stupid not to have credible deterrence (whose point it is to prevent hostilities after all). I don't think that's an anti-Russian position, it's just realistic.
    Apart from that Germany doesn't probably need much in the way of military capabilities...maybe some naval forces for participation in international anti-piracy missions.
    Regarding nuclear weapons, that's obviously something Germany can't or shouldn't do on its own (probably wouldn't be tolerated anyway given 20th century history), so it would have to be in some form of common European project. Hard to tell now if something like this could eventually become possible or necessary.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Yes, Germany would be wise to acquire at least a small nuclear deterrent, just as France and the UK and Israel have.
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  193. Art Deco says:

    Russian nationalists always like to think of Ukraine as if it is 2014-2015. It is comforting for them.

    Betwixt and between all the trash talking, they’ve forgotten that the last occasion on which one country attempted to conquer an absorb another country with a population anywhere near 30% of its own was during the 2d World War. Didn’t work out so well for Germany and Japan.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    How so? Poland and France (together around equal to Germany's population) worked out perfectly for Nazi Germany.

    And Japan could have kept China subjugated indefinitely without the American intervention.

    Not of course to otherwise entertain your completely false and misleading comparison.
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  194. @reiner Tor

    One would have more luck hearing Iron Maiden blasting from windows somewhere in Russia than music of Michael Jackson.
     
    What about Metallica or Slayer? The famous 1991 Monsters of Rock in Moscow featured I think Metallica in its prime and Pantera right before they became really big (and heavy).

    What about Metallica or Slayer? The famous 1991 Monsters of Rock in Moscow featured I think Metallica in its prime and Pantera right before they became really big (and heavy).

    Metallica primarily and AC/DC. Pantera were more of a bonus. Nowhere near massive popularity of AC/DC and Metallica, who were main attraction. Earlier, in 1988, so called Moscow Peace Festival also saw a collection of heavy and glam metal luminaries such as Motley Crue, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, of course, etc. But, of course, Ozzy was met with a thunder by Luzhniki stadium. The only rock royalty who was allowed to give a first ever concert on Red Square was Sir Paul, with Putin being personally present. Speaks volumes. British rock was always dominant in USSR. In the end, every Soviet boy who was starting to play guitar had to know three chords of the House of the Rising Sun. Russians are also very progressive rock oriented and in 1970s Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant etc. were huge. Soviet underground national anthem was Uriah Heep’s masterpiece of July Morning. I believe Bulgaria still has July Morning gatherings every year. All of it was British influence. My generation also grew up with British Glam which for us was a pop-music of the day–from Sweet to Slade, to T.Rex. And then there was: QUEEN.

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  195. Art Deco says:
    @for-the-record
    And while I don’t believe Russia or Iran are really serious threats to Europe, it would be foolish to have no credible deterrence.

    What "credible deterrence" are you proposing for Germany? As has been clearly demonstrated, the only credible deterrence against a determined foe (of which Germany has none, at least externally) is nuclear. Is this what you are suggesting?

    Germany has willingly supported the US (presumably in continuing gratitude for US support during the Cold War), it hasn't been "blackmailed" into this. Austria, on the other hand, has survived for more than 60 years without the US "umbrella" to protect it (and with a military strength rated below that of Angola and Chile), so why couldn't Germany? There is no need whatsoever for Germany to build up its military strength; rather, what Germany (sorely) lacks is the desire (and guts) to act independently of the US.

    Austria, on the other hand, has survived for more than 60 years without the US “umbrella” to protect it (and with a military strength rated below that of Angola and Chile), so why couldn’t Germany?

    Austria hasn’t been absorbed by Germany or Italy therefore Germany doesn’t have a use for security guarantees or an armed force. Do I render your argument correctly?

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Austria hasn’t been absorbed by Germany or Italy therefore Germany doesn’t have a use for security guarantees or an armed force. Do I render your argument correctly?

    That's about right, yes. Except I didn't say that Germany should have no military capability, only that there is no sense in increasing current military expenditure. A military capability can be useful for dealing with emergencies, such as tornadoes and hurricanes.
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  196. @for-the-record
    And while I don’t believe Russia or Iran are really serious threats to Europe, it would be foolish to have no credible deterrence.

    What "credible deterrence" are you proposing for Germany? As has been clearly demonstrated, the only credible deterrence against a determined foe (of which Germany has none, at least externally) is nuclear. Is this what you are suggesting?

    Germany has willingly supported the US (presumably in continuing gratitude for US support during the Cold War), it hasn't been "blackmailed" into this. Austria, on the other hand, has survived for more than 60 years without the US "umbrella" to protect it (and with a military strength rated below that of Angola and Chile), so why couldn't Germany? There is no need whatsoever for Germany to build up its military strength; rather, what Germany (sorely) lacks is the desire (and guts) to act independently of the US.

    Germany has willingly supported the US

    Not completely true, Germany didn’t participate in the Iraq war and in the bombing of Libya.
    I’m hardly an expert on military matters, but it would seem just common sense to me that a state needs sufficient armed forces to protect its own territory…if you don’t have that, you risk becoming a passive object whose fate is decided by other powers. Doesn’t mean Germany should have a monstrously bloated military budget like the US, just sufficient forces to protect its own territory and that of neighbouring allies (which is what the German army should be for…instead of participating in futile counter-insurgency projects in places like Afghanistan). Potential for conflict in Europe is obviously greatest regarding Russia…it’s still quite low imo, and I want good relations with Russia and disagree vehemently with such insanely provocative ideas as NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, but it would be stupid not to have credible deterrence (whose point it is to prevent hostilities after all). I don’t think that’s an anti-Russian position, it’s just realistic.
    Apart from that Germany doesn’t probably need much in the way of military capabilities…maybe some naval forces for participation in international anti-piracy missions.
    Regarding nuclear weapons, that’s obviously something Germany can’t or shouldn’t do on its own (probably wouldn’t be tolerated anyway given 20th century history), so it would have to be in some form of common European project. Hard to tell now if something like this could eventually become possible or necessary.

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  197. Mr. Hack says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses).
     
    How many people does this "motorized infantry brigade" have? And more importantly what is its level of combat readiness? Couldn't we just smash this brigade with a termobaric bomb while they are sleeping?

    Ukraine is full of shit. They had 20.000 troops in Crimea, "a lot of air defenses" and it didn't make a iota of difference. Somehow you expect me to believe Ukraine has a completely different army now. Why should I? They don't have the resources to afford a better army, so it is logical to assume that Ukrainian army is still crap.

    Sorry to prickle your little fantasy world once again tovarishch, but according to current CIA statistics Ukraine has 182,000 active personnel, and 1,000,000 reservists! For a complete rundown of Ukraine’s military strength, read this and weep:

    https://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.asp?country_id=ukraine

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  198. @Art Deco
    oligarchs, not nationalism are the driving force behind the “Ukrainian” mass crimes against humanity committing—

    http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/63151000/jpg/_63151001_rexfeatures_390890mb.jpg

    “Clouseau… He killed … two customers, a Cossack, and a WAITER!!”

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  199. Sean says:
    @Art Deco
    The share of value-added in industry as a share of global product has been declining for over 50 years. In the EU, industry accounts for 24.5% of value added. In Britain, the figure is 20.2%. Not seeing why that animates you.

    A lot of what used to be manufacturing, such as engineering design, is now put under the category of services. Manufacturing companies want to be listed as engaged in services because manufacturing is perceived as not profitable. Britain is alone among comparable countries in having lost significant amounts of productive capacity.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Manufacturing companies want to be listed as engaged in services because manufacturing is perceived as not profitable.

    Inventive parry. Not buying.
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  200. @Art Deco
    oligarchs, not nationalism are the driving force behind the “Ukrainian” mass crimes against humanity committing—

    http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/63151000/jpg/_63151001_rexfeatures_390890mb.jpg

    You have exquisite taste in movies, sir. Something we can agree on.

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  201. @Anon
    Not relevant re humble beginnings but re Pakistan: you've probably heard the famous anecdote about Kennedy and Bhutto:

    K: "You know, you're a bright man. If you were an American I'd have you in my cabinet."
    B: "No, Mr. President; if I were an American you would be in my cabinet."

    K: “You know, you’re a bright man. If you were an American I’d have you in my cabinet.”
    B: “No, Mr. President; if I were an American you would be in my cabinet.”

    The thing about many of these corrupt, worthless and incompetent Third World leaders is they’re not lacking in self-esteem. Just ask Karzai. Or Maliki.

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  202. Sean says:
    @Art Deco
    Received wisdom in the US keeps expecting China’s economic growth to slow down but it isn’t going to happen. When it becomes clear that the US is going to be overtaken, America will try and slow down China’s economic growth, that will be Russia’s opportunity.


    https://www.amazon.com/MITI-Japanese-Miracle-Industrial-1925-1975/dp/0804712069

    Whatever.

    The potential power of China is an order of magnitude greater than Japan. After WW2 Japan, and to a lesser extent Germany, were too small to be a threat. Don’t you believe all that Robert Kagan ‘the US solved the problems that caused WW1 and 2′ stuff. China is a real hegemon in the making and they will take a run at it, unless they are contained by military pressure on their borders.

    Modern Japan is more like Singapore than China. China has economies of scale, they have a single integrated factory complex making laptops with has more workers than the British army. China will have a huge home market, like America. So by the time it dawns on America that China’s growing power must be checked, economic measures will be ineffective.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Modern Japan is more like Singapore than China.

    There are 120 million people living in Japan, settlements of every size, and agricultural land sufficient for Japan to supply demand for rice from domestic production. So, no.
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  203. @Art Deco
    Austria, on the other hand, has survived for more than 60 years without the US “umbrella” to protect it (and with a military strength rated below that of Angola and Chile), so why couldn’t Germany?

    Austria hasn't been absorbed by Germany or Italy therefore Germany doesn't have a use for security guarantees or an armed force. Do I render your argument correctly?

    Austria hasn’t been absorbed by Germany or Italy therefore Germany doesn’t have a use for security guarantees or an armed force. Do I render your argument correctly?

    That’s about right, yes. Except I didn’t say that Germany should have no military capability, only that there is no sense in increasing current military expenditure. A military capability can be useful for dealing with emergencies, such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    That’s about right, yes.

    You said that, not me.
    , @RadicalCenter
    That is terribly naïve.

    I've been all over the comment boards calling for my country (the USA) to take a less belligerent, more honest, friendlier approach to Russia, and I've largely taken the side of Russia in the Ukraine and Syria controversies.

    I also don't think Russia has any current designs on the territory of its western neighbors, or the desire for the dire consequences that would likely follow as the US and others react to such a move.

    But that doesn't mean that it's prudent for Germany (or any other smaller, less populous country near Russia) to simply trust that Russia will never use military force against them in the future.

    Nor should Germany assume that China will not ultimately find it worthwhile to take their territory or resources for its own massive, overcrowded, ambitious population.

    Germany's military forces are grossly inadequate. Same for France. Same for the UK. None of them should purport to predict well into the future that Russia, China, and others (Turkey) will never be both willing and able to invade them. Nor should Germany et al. assume that the USA will always be in a position to jump in to defend Europeans in the absence of serious European militaries.

    In fact, the western Europeans' glaring military weakness (and their obvious loss of the will to defend their people, their land, and their way of life) could serve to encourage physical aggression by, e.g., Turkey or Russia. Betting that you need a military merely "for dealing with emergencies, such as tornadoes and hurricanes" is a potentially fatal bet, with irreversible consequences.

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  204. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon
    Well, this Americanophobia plays well for Americans, who afford a new arms race. Yes, you may think that America is deep in debt, but its creditors see it as an investment. When the Exxons of the West will milk the Siberian mineral riches, America will pay everything back. The alternative, a world where they would invest in Rosneft in order to get a share of the plunder of, idk, Gulf of Mexico, is silly. As we saw in the 80's, the best form of war against Russia is not to bomb and starve Moscow. That won't scare the locals. Let Kremlin do it instead.

    If Putin is not careful, if he doesn't go low tech, low cost, the Americans will win the long game.

    t. le 56% face.

    America’s national IQ will be below 90 in a few decades so I really doubt that.

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  205. inertial says:
    @Art Deco
    Yes, of course. Just don’t assume they will decide the way you think.

    They've had ample opportunity over a period of 26 years to make the decision you favor. It hasn't happened, and there's no reason to fancy they'll be more amenable a decade from now.

    They’ve had ample opportunity over a period of 26 years to make the decision you favor. It hasn’t happened, and there’s no reason to fancy they’ll be more amenable a decade from now.

    Yes, these people had been sold a vision. If only they leave behind the backward, Asiatic, mongoloid Russia, they will instantly Join Europe. They will have all of the good stuff: European level of prosperity, rule of law, international approval, and so on; and none of the bad stuff that they associated with Russia, like poverty, corruption, and civil strife.

    Official Ukrainian propaganda worked overtime, and still works today, to hammer this into people’s heads. And it’s an attractive vision. An office dweller in Kiev wants to live in a shiny European capital, not in a bleak provincial city of a corrupt Asian empire. The problem is, it’s ain’t working. For a while Ukraine managed to get Russia to subsidize Ukrainian European dream. Now this is over. The vision is starting to fail even harder.

    The experience of Communism shows that it may take decades but eventually people notice that the state ideology is a lie. Once they do, they change their mind about things rather quickly.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    1. You fancy they're bamboozled and you're not. Cute.

    2. You also fancy your interlocutors are economic illiterates and that they'll buy into the notion that the solution to the Ukraine's economic problems is to be forcibly incorporated into Russia. Such a change in political boundaries addresses no economic problems.

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  206. Art Deco says:
    @Sean
    A lot of what used to be manufacturing, such as engineering design, is now put under the category of services. Manufacturing companies want to be listed as engaged in services because manufacturing is perceived as not profitable. Britain is alone among comparable countries in having lost significant amounts of productive capacity.

    Manufacturing companies want to be listed as engaged in services because manufacturing is perceived as not profitable.

    Inventive parry. Not buying.

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    • Replies: @Sean
    When calculated with constant pricing share of manufacturing in GDP in Germany, Italy and France is not very much, It has actually risen in Switzerland and the US, and risen greatly in Sweden, they are buying, people who think like you are selling out.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/18/making-things-matter-britain-forgot-manufacturing-brexit

    [...]All of those supposedly knowledge-intensive services sell mostly to manufacturing firms, so their success depends on manufacturing success. It is not because the Americans invented superior financial techniques that the world’s financial centre moved from London to New York in the mid-20th century. It is because the US became the leading industrial nation.

    The weakness of manufacturing is at the heart of the UK’s economic problems. Reversing three and a half decades of neglect will not be easy but, unless the country provides its industrial sector with more capital, stronger public support for R&D and better-trained workers, it will not be able to build the balanced and sustainable economy that it so desperately needs.
     
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  207. Art Deco says:
    @Sean
    The potential power of China is an order of magnitude greater than Japan. After WW2 Japan, and to a lesser extent Germany, were too small to be a threat. Don't you believe all that Robert Kagan 'the US solved the problems that caused WW1 and 2' stuff. China is a real hegemon in the making and they will take a run at it, unless they are contained by military pressure on their borders.

    Modern Japan is more like Singapore than China. China has economies of scale, they have a single integrated factory complex making laptops with has more workers than the British army. China will have a huge home market, like America. So by the time it dawns on America that China's growing power must be checked, economic measures will be ineffective.

    Modern Japan is more like Singapore than China.

    There are 120 million people living in Japan, settlements of every size, and agricultural land sufficient for Japan to supply demand for rice from domestic production. So, no.

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  208. Art Deco says:
    @for-the-record
    Austria hasn’t been absorbed by Germany or Italy therefore Germany doesn’t have a use for security guarantees or an armed force. Do I render your argument correctly?

    That's about right, yes. Except I didn't say that Germany should have no military capability, only that there is no sense in increasing current military expenditure. A military capability can be useful for dealing with emergencies, such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

    That’s about right, yes.

    You said that, not me.

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  209. @Felix Keverich
    It was a decision that Putin personally made. He wasn't going to move in Crimea either, until Maidanists overthrew his friend...

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn't share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable. And I'm sure the restraint Putin has shown on Ukraine doesn't come from him being intimidated by Azov militia.

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn’t share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable.

    Agreed, and he happens to be in the right here. Russia actually has a good hand in Ukraine, if only she keeps her cool. More military adventurism is foolish for at least three reasons:

    (1) All the civilian deaths in the Donbass, somewhat perversely, play to Russia’s advantage in that they take some of the sting out of the “Ukraine is the victim” narrative. Common people know full well that the Ukrainian troops are hated in the Donbass (I once watched a Ukrainian soldier shock the audience by saying this on Shuster Live), and they know also that Kiev has a blame in all those dead women and children. These are promising conditions for future reconciliation, and they would be squandered overnight if Russian troops moved further westward.

    (2) The geopolitical repercussions would be enormous. As I and others have already written, the present situation is just about what people in elite Western circles can stomach. Any Russian escalation would seriously jeopardize European trade with Russia, among other things.

    (3) There is a good chance that Crimea will eventually be internationally recognized as part of the RF (a British parliamentary report on this matter in 2015, I think it was, made this quite clear). The same might also be true of the Donbass. These “acquisitions,” too, would be jeopardized by more military action.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    (1) All the civilian deaths in the Donbass, somewhat perversely, play to Russia’s advantage in that they take some of the sting out of the “Ukraine is the victim” narrative.

    You mean Putin mercs kill more Ukrainian civilians and we 'take some of the sting out of the 'Ukraine is a victim narrative'? Sounds like a plan.



    There is a good chance that Crimea will eventually be internationally recognized as part of the RF (a British parliamentary report on this matter in 2015, I think it was, made this quite clear). The same might also be true of the Donbass. T

    Did you cc the folks in Ramallah and Jerusalem about that?
    , @Randal

    Agreed, and he happens to be in the right here. Russia actually has a good hand in Ukraine, if only she keeps her cool. More military adventurism is foolish for at least three reasons:
     
    Yes, this is my view also. I think Russia was never in a position to do much more than it has, and those who talk about more vigorous military interference are just naïve, or engaging in wishful thinking, about the consequences. I think Putin played a very bad hand as well as could reasonably be expected in Ukraine and Crimea. No doubt mistakes were made, and perhaps more support at the key moment for the separatists (assassinations of some of the key oligarchs who chose the Ukrainian side and employed thugs to suppress the separatists in eastern cities, perhaps) could have resulted in a better situation now with much more of the eastern part of Ukraine separated, but if Russians want someone to blame for the situation in Ukraine apart from their enemies, they should look at Yanukovich, not Putin.

    In the long run, it seems likely the appeal of NATO and the EU (assuming both still even exist in their current forms in a few years time) is probably peaking, but strategic patience and only limited covert and economic interference is advisable.

    The return of Crimea to Russia alone has been a dramatic improvement in the inherent stability of the region. A proper division of the territory currently forming the Ukraine into a genuine Ukrainian nation in the west and an eastern half returned to Russia would be the ideal long term outcome, but Russia can surely live with a neutralised Ukraine.
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  210. Art Deco says:
    @inertial
    They’ve had ample opportunity over a period of 26 years to make the decision you favor. It hasn’t happened, and there’s no reason to fancy they’ll be more amenable a decade from now.

    Yes, these people had been sold a vision. If only they leave behind the backward, Asiatic, mongoloid Russia, they will instantly Join Europe. They will have all of the good stuff: European level of prosperity, rule of law, international approval, and so on; and none of the bad stuff that they associated with Russia, like poverty, corruption, and civil strife.

    Official Ukrainian propaganda worked overtime, and still works today, to hammer this into people's heads. And it's an attractive vision. An office dweller in Kiev wants to live in a shiny European capital, not in a bleak provincial city of a corrupt Asian empire. The problem is, it's ain't working. For a while Ukraine managed to get Russia to subsidize Ukrainian European dream. Now this is over. The vision is starting to fail even harder.

    The experience of Communism shows that it may take decades but eventually people notice that the state ideology is a lie. Once they do, they change their mind about things rather quickly.

    1. You fancy they’re bamboozled and you’re not. Cute.

    2. You also fancy your interlocutors are economic illiterates and that they’ll buy into the notion that the solution to the Ukraine’s economic problems is to be forcibly incorporated into Russia. Such a change in political boundaries addresses no economic problems.

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    • Agree: AP
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  211. Art Deco says:
    @Swedish Family

    It goes without saying that Putin doesn’t share my nationalist approach to Ukraine problem: he does not see the destruction of Ukrainian project as necessary or even desirable.
     
    Agreed, and he happens to be in the right here. Russia actually has a good hand in Ukraine, if only she keeps her cool. More military adventurism is foolish for at least three reasons:

    (1) All the civilian deaths in the Donbass, somewhat perversely, play to Russia's advantage in that they take some of the sting out of the "Ukraine is the victim" narrative. Common people know full well that the Ukrainian troops are hated in the Donbass (I once watched a Ukrainian soldier shock the audience by saying this on Shuster Live), and they know also that Kiev has a blame in all those dead women and children. These are promising conditions for future reconciliation, and they would be squandered overnight if Russian troops moved further westward.

    (2) The geopolitical repercussions would be enormous. As I and others have already written, the present situation is just about what people in elite Western circles can stomach. Any Russian escalation would seriously jeopardize European trade with Russia, among other things.

    (3) There is a good chance that Crimea will eventually be internationally recognized as part of the RF (a British parliamentary report on this matter in 2015, I think it was, made this quite clear). The same might also be true of the Donbass. These "acquisitions," too, would be jeopardized by more military action.

    (1) All the civilian deaths in the Donbass, somewhat perversely, play to Russia’s advantage in that they take some of the sting out of the “Ukraine is the victim” narrative.

    You mean Putin mercs kill more Ukrainian civilians and we ‘take some of the sting out of the ‘Ukraine is a victim narrative’? Sounds like a plan.

    There is a good chance that Crimea will eventually be internationally recognized as part of the RF (a British parliamentary report on this matter in 2015, I think it was, made this quite clear). The same might also be true of the Donbass. T

    Did you cc the folks in Ramallah and Jerusalem about that?

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    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    You mean Putin mercs kill more Ukrainian civilians and we ‘take some of the sting out of the ‘Ukraine is a victim narrative’? Sounds like a plan.
     
    No, I wrote that those civilians are already gone and that both sides had a hand in their deaths, which will help the peace process since no side can claim sole victimhood.

    And your assumption that the separatists are mercenaries is groundless speculation. Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.


    Did you cc the folks in Ramallah and Jerusalem about that?
     
    Risible comparison. Theirs is a conflict involving three major religions and the survival of the Israeli state at stake. On the Crimean question, we have already heard influential Westerners voice the possibility that it might one day be accepted as Russian, and if you read between the lines, many Ukrainians are of a similiar mind.
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  212. @for-the-record
    Austria hasn’t been absorbed by Germany or Italy therefore Germany doesn’t have a use for security guarantees or an armed force. Do I render your argument correctly?

    That's about right, yes. Except I didn't say that Germany should have no military capability, only that there is no sense in increasing current military expenditure. A military capability can be useful for dealing with emergencies, such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

    That is terribly naïve.

    I’ve been all over the comment boards calling for my country (the USA) to take a less belligerent, more honest, friendlier approach to Russia, and I’ve largely taken the side of Russia in the Ukraine and Syria controversies.

    I also don’t think Russia has any current designs on the territory of its western neighbors, or the desire for the dire consequences that would likely follow as the US and others react to such a move.

    But that doesn’t mean that it’s prudent for Germany (or any other smaller, less populous country near Russia) to simply trust that Russia will never use military force against them in the future.

    Nor should Germany assume that China will not ultimately find it worthwhile to take their territory or resources for its own massive, overcrowded, ambitious population.

    Germany’s military forces are grossly inadequate. Same for France. Same for the UK. None of them should purport to predict well into the future that Russia, China, and others (Turkey) will never be both willing and able to invade them. Nor should Germany et al. assume that the USA will always be in a position to jump in to defend Europeans in the absence of serious European militaries.

    In fact, the western Europeans’ glaring military weakness (and their obvious loss of the will to defend their people, their land, and their way of life) could serve to encourage physical aggression by, e.g., Turkey or Russia. Betting that you need a military merely “for dealing with emergencies, such as tornadoes and hurricanes” is a potentially fatal bet, with irreversible consequences.

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    • Agree: melanf
    • Replies: @Randal

    Germany’s military forces are grossly inadequate. Same for France. Same for the UK.
     
    Grossly inadequate for what purpose?

    What matters about military strength is its relation to neighbours' and potential enemies' strengths. Germany's military spending currently ranks number nine in the world (using the SIPRI figures per Wikipedia for simplicity), which when you consider they are located in the middle of one of the safest continents (militarily speaking) in the world, surrounded by allies with whom military conflict is currently pretty much inconceivable, is quite impressive. Above them are only its European allies UK and France, the grossly bloated US and Saudi Arabian budgets, Russia and China, and Japan and India. Apart from South Korea who come next, Germany spends half as much again as the next on the list (Italy).

    Germany's military shortcomings can in no plausible degree be attributed to not spending enough, unless you think Germany should be remilitarising for a potential war with Russia. Basically, Germany's military is toothless mostly because nobody in Germany really thinks it matters, nobody expects to be involved in a war, and such spending as it has is mostly purposed to suit a Germany integrated into NATO and the EU rather than an independent state. If there's a problem it's not down to insufficient spending but to how the money is currently spent.

    Like you I'm a general believer in having a strong military, and in "si vis pacem, para bellum". But it's hard to see how Germany could really benefit from increased military spending. If they were to feel genuinely threatened, nuclear weapons would make much more sense (along with a radical reorganisation of the current spending and conventional military establishment).

    There's a lot of American nonsense talked about European states underspending on their military, but the reality is that the US grossly overspends to serve its own global interventionist purposes. There's no reason why European states should spend to serve those purposes, which is what in reality increased European spending in the current context would be used for.

    What we might see in some potential circumstances is increased German (and European in general) military spending in order to give them the confidence to break away from NATO and US control, and build the long trailed "European Defence Force". That looks a lot more likely after Brexit and in the context of the Trump presidency than it did a few years ago, but it's still something of a distant possibility. In that case, though, the increases would be mainly for morale building and transitional spending purposes, given that the combined EU military budget is already second in the world, behind only the ludicrous US.
    , @for-the-record
    Nor should Germany assume that China will not ultimately find it worthwhile to take their territory or resources for its own massive, overcrowded, ambitious population.

    This is really a case of misplaced priorities.

    Germany is in the process of losing its national identity built up over 2,000 years or so, and it has nothing to do with the Chinese (or the Russians either, for that matter). And China certainly doesn't need its military to successfully export its "massive, overcrowded, ambitious population" overseas (cf. Western Canada, Australia).

    Focusing on the (non-existent, in my opinion) need for Germany to increase its current (already high) level of military expenditures will do nothing to preserve Germany as a European nation.
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  213. @for-the-record
    And while I don’t believe Russia or Iran are really serious threats to Europe, it would be foolish to have no credible deterrence.

    What "credible deterrence" are you proposing for Germany? As has been clearly demonstrated, the only credible deterrence against a determined foe (of which Germany has none, at least externally) is nuclear. Is this what you are suggesting?

    Germany has willingly supported the US (presumably in continuing gratitude for US support during the Cold War), it hasn't been "blackmailed" into this. Austria, on the other hand, has survived for more than 60 years without the US "umbrella" to protect it (and with a military strength rated below that of Angola and Chile), so why couldn't Germany? There is no need whatsoever for Germany to build up its military strength; rather, what Germany (sorely) lacks is the desire (and guts) to act independently of the US.

    Yes, Germany would be wise to acquire at least a small nuclear deterrent, just as France and the UK and Israel have.

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  214. @Johann Ricke

    Well history has proven them to have been correct and the US regime wrong on Iraq, so that pretty much tells you how far your arrogance will get you outside your own echo chamber.
     
    "History" has proven no such thing. What went wrong in Iraq was principally Bush's underestimate of the number of American casualties and the cost to the US treasury*, for which he and the GOP paid a serious political price. However, it's also clear that the Shiites and Kurds, an 80% majority, have no regrets that Saddam is gone. While both communities seem to think that we should continue to bear a bigger chunk of the price of pacifying Iraq's bellicose Sunni Arabs, it's also obvious that they are not electing Tikritis or even Sunni Arabs to office, as they would if they were nostalgic for Saddam's rule. The big picture, really, is that the scale of the fighting has probably convinced both Shiites and Kurds that they could not have toppled Saddam without the assistance of Uncle Sam. They could certainly not have kept Iraq's revived Sunni Arabs (in the form of ISIS) at bay without American assistance.

    * These costs were larger than projected, but small compared to the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Whether or not Iraq can be secured as an American ally in the decades ahead, both the gamble and the relatively nugatory price paid will, in retrospect, be seen as a reasonable one, given Iraq's strategic location.

    So the costs of the US invasion/occupation/”reconstruction” of Iraq were (allegedly) less than the costs of the equally unnecessary and non-defensive US wars in Korea and Vietnam? Heck of an argument.

    How about this: we should have refrained from all three wars.

    We should be using our resources to secure our own borders, to police the international waters and vital shipping lanes / chokepoints (fighting pirates and terrorists as necessary to those ends), and to actually defend our land and our people and deter aggression. That’s it.

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    • Agree: Talha
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Talha, you agreed with me again? I must be slipping ;)

    Merry Christmas, buddy -
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  215. Randal says:
    @RadicalCenter
    That is terribly naïve.

    I've been all over the comment boards calling for my country (the USA) to take a less belligerent, more honest, friendlier approach to Russia, and I've largely taken the side of Russia in the Ukraine and Syria controversies.

    I also don't think Russia has any current designs on the territory of its western neighbors, or the desire for the dire consequences that would likely follow as the US and others react to such a move.

    But that doesn't mean that it's prudent for Germany (or any other smaller, less populous country near Russia) to simply trust that Russia will never use military force against them in the future.

    Nor should Germany assume that China will not ultimately find it worthwhile to take their territory or resources for its own massive, overcrowded, ambitious population.

    Germany's military forces are grossly inadequate. Same for France. Same for the UK. None of them should purport to predict well into the future that Russia, China, and others (Turkey) will never be both willing and able to invade them. Nor should Germany et al. assume that the USA will always be in a position to jump in to defend Europeans in the absence of serious European militaries.

    In fact, the western Europeans' glaring military weakness (and their obvious loss of the will to defend their people, their land, and their way of life) could serve to encourage physical aggression by, e.g., Turkey or Russia. Betting that you need a military merely "for dealing with emergencies, such as tornadoes and hurricanes" is a potentially fatal bet, with irreversible consequences.

    Germany’s military forces are grossly inadequate. Same for France. Same for the UK.

    Grossly inadequate for what purpose?

    What matters about military strength is its relation to neighbours’ and potential enemies’ strengths. Germany’s military spending currently ranks number nine in the world (using the SIPRI figures per Wikipedia for simplicity), which when you consider they are located in the middle of one of the safest continents (militarily speaking) in the world, surrounded by allies with whom military conflict is currently pretty much inconceivable, is quite impressive. Above them are only its European allies UK and France, the grossly bloated US and Saudi Arabian budgets, Russia and China, and Japan and India. Apart from South Korea who come next, Germany spends half as much again as the next on the list (Italy).

    Germany’s military shortcomings can in no plausible degree be attributed to not spending enough, unless you think Germany should be remilitarising for a potential war with Russia. Basically, Germany’s military is toothless mostly because nobody in Germany really thinks it matters, nobody expects to be involved in a war, and such spending as it has is mostly purposed to suit a Germany integrated into NATO and the EU rather than an independent state. If there’s a problem it’s not down to insufficient spending but to how the money is currently spent.

    Like you I’m a general believer in having a strong military, and in “si vis pacem, para bellum”. But it’s hard to see how Germany could really benefit from increased military spending. If they were to feel genuinely threatened, nuclear weapons would make much more sense (along with a radical reorganisation of the current spending and conventional military establishment).

    There’s a lot of American nonsense talked about European states underspending on their military, but the reality is that the US grossly overspends to serve its own global interventionist purposes. There’s no reason why European states should spend to serve those purposes, which is what in reality increased European spending in the current context would be used for.

    What we might see in some potential circumstances is increased German (and European in general) military spending in order to give them the confidence to break away from NATO and US control, and build the long trailed “European Defence Force”. That looks a lot more likely after Brexit and in the context of the Trump presidency than it did a few years ago, but it’s still something of a distant possibility. In that case, though, the increases would be mainly for morale building and transitional spending purposes, given that the combined EU military budget is already second in the world, behind only the ludicrous US.

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  216. Talha says:
    @Art Deco
    he seemed like a humble man with faith from humble beginnings. Pakistanis could relate to someone like that.

    Carter was an agribusinessman whose personal net worth (not counting his mother's holdings and siblings' holdings) was in seven digits in 1976. (His dipso brother managed the family business - passably well - from 1963 until 198?). John Osborne interviewed 1st, 2d, and 3d degree relations of Carter during the campaign and discovered the family was in satisfactory condition financially even during the Depression. Carter also spent the 2d World War - the whole thing - at the Naval Academy.

    There's much to be said for Carter, but there's no doubt one of his shortcomings is vanity. Harry Truman is the closest thing to a humble man in the White House in the years since Pakistan was constituted. If you're looking for 'humble beginnings', the best examples are Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

    Hey Art Deco (cool name by the way – I love that style of architecture – probably one of the only modern styles I like),

    Well, all I can say is he played it smooth enough to fool a heck of a lot of Pakistanis (not saying that’s all that difficult).

    Peace.

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  217. @Art Deco
    (1) All the civilian deaths in the Donbass, somewhat perversely, play to Russia’s advantage in that they take some of the sting out of the “Ukraine is the victim” narrative.

    You mean Putin mercs kill more Ukrainian civilians and we 'take some of the sting out of the 'Ukraine is a victim narrative'? Sounds like a plan.



    There is a good chance that Crimea will eventually be internationally recognized as part of the RF (a British parliamentary report on this matter in 2015, I think it was, made this quite clear). The same might also be true of the Donbass. T

    Did you cc the folks in Ramallah and Jerusalem about that?

    You mean Putin mercs kill more Ukrainian civilians and we ‘take some of the sting out of the ‘Ukraine is a victim narrative’? Sounds like a plan.

    No, I wrote that those civilians are already gone and that both sides had a hand in their deaths, which will help the peace process since no side can claim sole victimhood.

    And your assumption that the separatists are mercenaries is groundless speculation. Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.

    Did you cc the folks in Ramallah and Jerusalem about that?

    Risible comparison. Theirs is a conflict involving three major religions and the survival of the Israeli state at stake. On the Crimean question, we have already heard influential Westerners voice the possibility that it might one day be accepted as Russian, and if you read between the lines, many Ukrainians are of a similiar mind.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.
     
    80% are natives. Perhaps as much as 90%. However, often it a way to make a meager salary in those territories, so there is a mercenary aspect to it. Lots of unemployed workers go into the Republic military.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.
     
    80% in 2014-15, to be precise; another 10% from the Kuban; 10% from Russia, the Russian world, and the world at large.

    NAF salaries are good by post-2014 Donbass standards, but a massive cut for Russians - no Russian went there to get rich.

    That said, I strongly doubt there will ever be international recognition of Crimea, let alone Donbass. Israel has by far the world's most influential ethnic lobby. Even NATO member Turkey hasn't gotten Northern Cyprus internationally recognized, so what exactly are the chances of the international community (read: The West) recognizing the claims of Russia, which is fast becoming established in Western minds as the arch-enemy of civilization?
    , @melanf

    Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine
     
    much more than half

    Donbass rebels: soldiers of the detachment of "Sparta". Data published by Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine:

    https://imgur.com/a/Gh8zx
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  218. @Art Deco
    Fine. The EU is poorly constructed and a threat to self-government.

    Mr. Felix fancies White Russia is Russia's property. There's a constituency in White Russia for re-incorporation into Russia, but it amounts to about 1/4 of the population and is half the proportion it was 20 years ago. Kinda think it really shouldn't be Mr. Felix's call, but he doesn't see it that way.

    We’re in agreement on all of that, AD.

    But the EU isn’t merely a threat to self-government anymore. It is now actively and intentionally importing people who kill, rape, mug, beat, grope, harass, stalk, and generally disrespect and intimidate “their own” European people. The EU is an active threat to the lives and physical safety of European people. No people with the barest common sense and will to live will stay in the EU as these recent horrific events continue to unfold.

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  219. @RadicalCenter
    That is terribly naïve.

    I've been all over the comment boards calling for my country (the USA) to take a less belligerent, more honest, friendlier approach to Russia, and I've largely taken the side of Russia in the Ukraine and Syria controversies.

    I also don't think Russia has any current designs on the territory of its western neighbors, or the desire for the dire consequences that would likely follow as the US and others react to such a move.

    But that doesn't mean that it's prudent for Germany (or any other smaller, less populous country near Russia) to simply trust that Russia will never use military force against them in the future.

    Nor should Germany assume that China will not ultimately find it worthwhile to take their territory or resources for its own massive, overcrowded, ambitious population.

    Germany's military forces are grossly inadequate. Same for France. Same for the UK. None of them should purport to predict well into the future that Russia, China, and others (Turkey) will never be both willing and able to invade them. Nor should Germany et al. assume that the USA will always be in a position to jump in to defend Europeans in the absence of serious European militaries.

    In fact, the western Europeans' glaring military weakness (and their obvious loss of the will to defend their people, their land, and their way of life) could serve to encourage physical aggression by, e.g., Turkey or Russia. Betting that you need a military merely "for dealing with emergencies, such as tornadoes and hurricanes" is a potentially fatal bet, with irreversible consequences.

    Nor should Germany assume that China will not ultimately find it worthwhile to take their territory or resources for its own massive, overcrowded, ambitious population.

    This is really a case of misplaced priorities.

    Germany is in the process of losing its national identity built up over 2,000 years or so, and it has nothing to do with the Chinese (or the Russians either, for that matter). And China certainly doesn’t need its military to successfully export its “massive, overcrowded, ambitious population” overseas (cf. Western Canada, Australia).

    Focusing on the (non-existent, in my opinion) need for Germany to increase its current (already high) level of military expenditures will do nothing to preserve Germany as a European nation.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Take a look at my other comments. You'll see that I wholeheartedly agree with you about the moral sickness, cowardice, misplaced guilty, and terminal naivete of the Germans leading them to surrender their land, their property, their way of life, and their very lives to the Muslim and African savages they are importing.

    As a recent book by a German politician put it, "Deutschland schafft sich ab", or "Germany does away with itself."

    But what has that to do with Germany also refusing to maintain a serious military defense force to deter potential threats from state actors such as Russia, Turkey, and China? Any nation worth its salt must both secure / guard its orders AND keep a military ready to fight external forces. Germany can and should do both, and right now it's doing neither.
    , @RadicalCenter
    As for China in particular: of course China is glad to export millions of its people to settle and become citizens in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the rest of the former "West."

    They are thereby en route to acquiring real social influence, and ultimately some direct political power, in those places (especially Australia and the provinces of "British" Columbia and Alberta, owing to the very small white populations of those places compared to the immigration onslaught).

    I lived part-time in Richmond and Vancouver, BC, and know just how quickly that region is becoming an alien culture -- Chinese more than anything, but also Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh. (Look up the career of crooked "Canadian" former pol and now radio-host Kash Heed, among many other examples.) I would expect that Mandarin will eventually become a co-equal official language of government (and public schools) in BC, with no effective opposition by those ever-"tolerant" Canadians ("We're not like those racist Americans, you know!").

    But the people who have emigrated from China thus far are a drop in the bucket. China is still terribly overcrowded and lacks both land and natural resources needed to sustain its population. Actually outright TAKING swathes of Europe or, say, Africa, would help them a lot more than immigration. When the time is right -- say, after the US dollar loses its world reserve status and/or the US is beset by widespread racial conflict and riots -- China may well make its move in that regard. I hope not, and I don't think it will be very soon, but a wise country needs a strong military in the face of China and other threats.

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  220. @for-the-record
    Nor should Germany assume that China will not ultimately find it worthwhile to take their territory or resources for its own massive, overcrowded, ambitious population.

    This is really a case of misplaced priorities.

    Germany is in the process of losing its national identity built up over 2,000 years or so, and it has nothing to do with the Chinese (or the Russians either, for that matter). And China certainly doesn't need its military to successfully export its "massive, overcrowded, ambitious population" overseas (cf. Western Canada, Australia).

    Focusing on the (non-existent, in my opinion) need for Germany to increase its current (already high) level of military expenditures will do nothing to preserve Germany as a European nation.

    Take a look at my other comments. You’ll see that I wholeheartedly agree with you about the moral sickness, cowardice, misplaced guilty, and terminal naivete of the Germans leading them to surrender their land, their property, their way of life, and their very lives to the Muslim and African savages they are importing.

    As a recent book by a German politician put it, “Deutschland schafft sich ab”, or “Germany does away with itself.”

    But what has that to do with Germany also refusing to maintain a serious military defense force to deter potential threats from state actors such as Russia, Turkey, and China? Any nation worth its salt must both secure / guard its orders AND keep a military ready to fight external forces. Germany can and should do both, and right now it’s doing neither.

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    • Agree: German_reader
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  221. @for-the-record
    Nor should Germany assume that China will not ultimately find it worthwhile to take their territory or resources for its own massive, overcrowded, ambitious population.

    This is really a case of misplaced priorities.

    Germany is in the process of losing its national identity built up over 2,000 years or so, and it has nothing to do with the Chinese (or the Russians either, for that matter). And China certainly doesn't need its military to successfully export its "massive, overcrowded, ambitious population" overseas (cf. Western Canada, Australia).

    Focusing on the (non-existent, in my opinion) need for Germany to increase its current (already high) level of military expenditures will do nothing to preserve Germany as a European nation.

    As for China in particular: of course China is glad to export millions of its people to settle and become citizens in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the rest of the former “West.”

    They are thereby en route to acquiring real social influence, and ultimately some direct political power, in those places (especially Australia and the provinces of “British” Columbia and Alberta, owing to the very small white populations of those places compared to the immigration onslaught).

    I lived part-time in Richmond and Vancouver, BC, and know just how quickly that region is becoming an alien culture — Chinese more than anything, but also Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh. (Look up the career of crooked “Canadian” former pol and now radio-host Kash Heed, among many other examples.) I would expect that Mandarin will eventually become a co-equal official language of government (and public schools) in BC, with no effective opposition by those ever-”tolerant” Canadians (“We’re not like those racist Americans, you know!”).

    But the people who have emigrated from China thus far are a drop in the bucket. China is still terribly overcrowded and lacks both land and natural resources needed to sustain its population. Actually outright TAKING swathes of Europe or, say, Africa, would help them a lot more than immigration. When the time is right — say, after the US dollar loses its world reserve status and/or the US is beset by widespread racial conflict and riots — China may well make its move in that regard. I hope not, and I don’t think it will be very soon, but a wise country needs a strong military in the face of China and other threats.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    But the people who have emigrated from China thus far are a drop in the bucket. China is still terribly overcrowded and lacks both land and natural resources needed to sustain its population.

    As we speak, about 8.5% of the value-added in China's economy is attributable to agriculture and about 27% of the workforce is employed in agriculture. Industry and services are not land-intensive activities.

    About 1/2 of China's land area consists of arid or alpine climates suitable for only light settlement. As for the rest, China's entire non-agricultural population could be settled at American suburban densities on about 23% of the whole.

    You don't need 'natural resources' on site to 'sustain your population'. Imports of oil and minerals will do. As for foodstuffs, China's been a net importer since 2004. However, its food-trade deficit is currently about $35 bn, a single-digit fraction of China's total food consumption.
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  222. @RadicalCenter
    So the costs of the US invasion/occupation/"reconstruction" of Iraq were (allegedly) less than the costs of the equally unnecessary and non-defensive US wars in Korea and Vietnam? Heck of an argument.

    How about this: we should have refrained from all three wars.

    We should be using our resources to secure our own borders, to police the international waters and vital shipping lanes / chokepoints (fighting pirates and terrorists as necessary to those ends), and to actually defend our land and our people and deter aggression. That's it.

    Talha, you agreed with me again? I must be slipping ;)

    Merry Christmas, buddy -

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey man - when you’re right, you’re right - that one was spot on.

    If we can end the nonsense wars, we can at least solve a good chunk of the immigration crisis. It’s all related.

    Hope your family has a safe holiday and a good New Years.

    Peace.
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  223. @Felix Keverich

    Kharkiv does appear to be lightly defended, though not undefended (it has a motorized infantry brigade and a lot of air defenses).
     
    How many people does this "motorized infantry brigade" have? And more importantly what is its level of combat readiness? Couldn't we just smash this brigade with a termobaric bomb while they are sleeping?

    Ukraine is full of shit. They had 20.000 troops in Crimea, "a lot of air defenses" and it didn't make a iota of difference. Somehow you expect me to believe Ukraine has a completely different army now. Why should I? They don't have the resources to afford a better army, so it is logical to assume that Ukrainian army is still crap.

    Unfortunately, the Ukraine has been spending 5%* of its GDP on the military since c.2015 (versus close to 1% before 2014).

    Doesn’t really matter if tons of money continues to be stolen, or even the recession – with that kind of raw increase, a major enhancement in capabilities is inevitable.

    As I was already writing in 2016:

    Like it or not, but outright war with Maidanist Ukraine has been ruled out from the beginning, as the more perceptive analysts like Rostislav Ischenko have long recognized. If there was a time and a place for it, it was either in April 2014, or August 2014 at the very latest. Since then, the Ukrainian Army has gotten much stronger. It has been purged of its “Russophile” elements, and even though it has lost a substantial percentage of its remnant Soviet-era military capital in the war of attrition with the LDNR, it has more than made up for it with wartime XP gain and the banal fact of a quintupling in military spending as a percentage of GDP from 1% to 5%. This translates to an effective quadrupling in absolute military spending, even when accounting for Ukraine’s post-Maidan economic collapse. Russia can still crush Ukraine in a full-scale conventional conflict, and that will remain the case for the foreseeable future, but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.

    * There’s a report that says actual Ukrainian military spending remained rather more modest at 2.5% of GDP (https://www.osw.waw.pl/sites/default/files/prace_66_ang_best_army_ukraine_net.pdf); even so, that still translates to huge improvements over 2014.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Fascinating link. The numbers for the military budget are a lot lower than reported elsewhere.

    Mobilization percentages by region:

    "Among the leaders of the fourth and fifth wave of partial mobilisation were the Khmelnitsky,
    Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsia, Kirovohrad and Zaporizhia regions, as well as the city
    of Kyiv, whose mobilisation plan was fulfilled 80-100% (the record was Vinnytsia oblast,
    which achieved 100% mobilisation). At the opposite extreme are the Kharkiv, Chernivtsi,
    Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lugansk, Sumy, Ternopil and Transcarpathian regions, where
    the results of the mobilisation varied from 25 to 60%."

    Summary:

    2014:

    The true face of the Ukrainian armed forces was revealed by the Russian annexation of Crimea and the first weeks of the war in the Donbas – they were nothing more than a fossilised structure, unfit for any effective function upon even a minimum engagement with the enemy, during which a significant part of the troops only realised whom they were representing in the course of the conflict... and more than once, from the perspective of service in one of the post-Soviet military districts, they chose to serve in the Russian army
     
    2017:

    The war in the Donbas shaped the Ukrainian army. It gave awareness and motivation to the soldiers, and forced the leadership of the Defence Ministry and the government of the state to adapt the army’s structure – for the first time since its creation – to real operational needs, and also to bear the costs of halting the collapses in the fields of training and equipment, at least to such an extent which would allow the army to fight a close battle with the pro-Russian separatists. Despite all these problems, the Ukrainian armed forces of the year 2017 now number 200,000, most of whom have come under fire, and are seasoned in battle. They have a trained reserve ready for mobilisation in the event of a larger conflict*; their weapons are not the latest or the most modern, but the vast majority of them now work properly; and they are ready for the defence of the vital interests of the state (even if some of the personnel still care primarily about their own vested interests). They have no chance of winning a potential military clash with Russia, but they have a reason to fight. The Ukrainian armed forces of the year 2014, in a situation where their home territory was occupied by foreign troops, were incapable of mounting an adequate response. The changes since the Donbas war started mean that Ukraine now has the best army it has ever had in its history.

    * The Ukrainian armed forces have an operational reserve of 130,000 men, relatively well trained and with real combat experience, who since 2016 have been moulded out of veterans of the Donbas (as well as from formations subordinate to the Interior Ministry). It must be stressed, however, that those counted in the reserve represent only half of the veterans of the anti-terrorist operation (by October 2016, 280,000 Ukrainians had served in the Donbas in all formations subordinate to the government in Kyiv, with 266,000 reservists gaining combat status; at the beginning of February 2017, 193,400 reservists were in the armed forces). Thanks to that, at least in terms of the human factor, it should be possible in a relatively short period of time to increase the Ukrainian army’s degree of combat readiness, as well as to fight a relatively close battle with a comparable opponent, something the Ukrainian armed forces were not capable of doing at the beginning of 2014.
     
    , @Felix Keverich

    There’s a report that says actual Ukrainian military spending remained rather more modest at 2.5% of GDP (https://www.osw.waw.pl/sites/default/files/prace_66_ang_best_army_ukraine_net.pdf); even so, that still translates to huge improvements over 2014.
     
    You realise that Ukraine's GDP declined in dollar terms by a factor of 2-3 times, right? A bigger share of a smaller economy translates into the same paltry sum. It is still under $5 billion.

    Futhermore an army that's actively deployed and engaged in fighting spends more money than during peacetime. A lot of this money goes to fuel, repairs, providing for soldiers and their wages rather than qualitatively impoving capabilities of the army.

    The bottomline is Ukraine spent the last 3,5 years preparing to fight a war against the People's Republic of Donetsk. I'll admit Ukrainian army can hold its own against the People's Republic of Donetsk. Yet it remains hopelessly outmatched in a potential clash with Russia. A short, but brutal bombing campaign can whipe out Ukrainian command and control, will make it impossible to mount any kind of effective defence. Ukrainian conscripts have no experience in urban warfare, and their national loyalties are unclear.

    AP predicts that the cities of Kharkov, Dniepropetrovsk will be reduced to something akin to Aleppo. But it has taken 3 years of constant shelling to cause the damage in Aleppo. A more likely outcome is that Ukrainian soldiers will promptly ditch their uniforms, once they realise the Russian are coming and their command is gone.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.
     
    Anatoly, please, don't write on things you have no qualification on writing. You can not even grasp the generational (that is qualitative) abyss which separates two armed forces. The question will not be in this:

    but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.
     
    By the time the "cruising" would commence there will be no Ukrainian Army as an organized formation or even units left--anything larger than platoon will be hunted down and annihilated. It is really painful to read this, honestly. The question is not in Russian "ambition" or rah-rah but in the fact that Ukraine's armed forces do not posses ANY C4ISR capability which is crucial for a dynamics of a modern war. None. Mopping up in the East would still be much easier than it would be in Central, let alone, Western Ukraine but Russia has no business there anyway. More complex issues were under consideration than merely probable losses of Russian Army when it was decided (rightly so) not to invade. I will open some "secret"--nations DO bear collective responsibility and always were subjected to collective punishment--latest example being Germany in both WWs--the bacillus of Ukrainian "nationalism" is more effectively addressed by letting those moyahataskainikam experience all "privileges" of it. In the end, Russia's resources were used way better than paying for mentally ill country. 2019 is approaching fast.

    P.S. In all of your military "analysis" on Ukraine one thing is missing leaving a gaping hole--Russian Armed Forces themselves which since 2014 were increasing combat potential exponentially. Ukies? Not so much--some patches here and there. Russian Armed Forces of 2018 are not those of 2013. Just for shits and giggles check how many Ratnik sets have been delivered to Russian Army since 2011. That may explain to you why timing in war and politics is everything.
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  224. @Art Deco
    Russian nationalists always like to think of Ukraine as if it is 2014-2015. It is comforting for them.

    Betwixt and between all the trash talking, they've forgotten that the last occasion on which one country attempted to conquer an absorb another country with a population anywhere near 30% of its own was during the 2d World War. Didn't work out so well for Germany and Japan.

    How so? Poland and France (together around equal to Germany’s population) worked out perfectly for Nazi Germany.

    And Japan could have kept China subjugated indefinitely without the American intervention.

    Not of course to otherwise entertain your completely false and misleading comparison.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    How so? Poland and France (together around equal to Germany’s population) worked out perfectly for Nazi Germany.

    You're forgetting a few things. In the United States, about 1/3 of the country's productive capacity was devoted to the war effort during the period running from 1940 to 1946. I'll wager you it was higher than that in Britain and continental Europe. That's what Germany was drawing on to attempt to sustain its holdings for just the 4-5 year period in which they occupied France and Poland. (Russia currently devotes 4% of its productive capacity to the military). Germany had to be exceedingly coercive as well. They were facing escalating partisan resistance that whole time (especially in the Balkans).

    Someone whose decisions matter is going to ask the question of whether it's really worth the candle.
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  225. AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Ukrainian military has 200,000 – 250,000 active members and about 100,000 reserves. Where did you get your information? The end of 2014?
     
    I read Kassad blog, and he says Ukrainian formations assembled in Donbass number some 50-70 thousands men. The entire Ukrainian army is around 200.000 men, including the navy (LOL), the airforce, but most of it isn't combat ready. Ukraine doesn't just suffer from a lack of manpower, they don't have the resources to feed and clothe their soldiers, which limits their ability field an army.

    By contrast the armies of people's republics have 40-60 thousand men - that's impressive level of mobilisation, and they achieved this without implementing draft.

    The entire Ukrainian army is around 200.000 men, including the navy (LOL), the airforce, but most of it isn’t combat ready.

    250,000. Combat readiness is very different from 2014.

    Ukraine doesn’t just suffer from a lack of manpower, they don’t have the resources to feed and clothe their soldiers, which limits their ability field an army.

    Again, it isn’t 2014 anymore. Military budget has increased significantly, from 3.2 billion in 2015 to 5.17 billion in 2017. In spite of theft, much more is getting through.

    By contrast the armies of people’s republics have 40-60 thousand men – that’s impressive level of mobilisation, and they achieved this without implementing draft

    It’s one of the only ways to make any money in the Republics, so draft is unnecessaary.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    It’s one of the only ways to make any money in the Republics, so draft is unnecessaary.
     
    It's not like the regime-controlled parts of the country are doing much better! LOL

    My point is that this bodes well for our ability to recruit proxies in Ukraine, don't you think? We could easily assemble another 50.000-strong local army, once we're in Kharkov. That's the approach I would use in Ukraine: strip away parts of it piece by piece, create local proxies, use them to maintain control and absorb casualties in the fighting on the ground.

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  226. AP says:
    @Swedish Family

    You mean Putin mercs kill more Ukrainian civilians and we ‘take some of the sting out of the ‘Ukraine is a victim narrative’? Sounds like a plan.
     
    No, I wrote that those civilians are already gone and that both sides had a hand in their deaths, which will help the peace process since no side can claim sole victimhood.

    And your assumption that the separatists are mercenaries is groundless speculation. Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.


    Did you cc the folks in Ramallah and Jerusalem about that?
     
    Risible comparison. Theirs is a conflict involving three major religions and the survival of the Israeli state at stake. On the Crimean question, we have already heard influential Westerners voice the possibility that it might one day be accepted as Russian, and if you read between the lines, many Ukrainians are of a similiar mind.

    Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.

    80% are natives. Perhaps as much as 90%. However, often it a way to make a meager salary in those territories, so there is a mercenary aspect to it. Lots of unemployed workers go into the Republic military.

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  227. @Swedish Family

    You mean Putin mercs kill more Ukrainian civilians and we ‘take some of the sting out of the ‘Ukraine is a victim narrative’? Sounds like a plan.
     
    No, I wrote that those civilians are already gone and that both sides had a hand in their deaths, which will help the peace process since no side can claim sole victimhood.

    And your assumption that the separatists are mercenaries is groundless speculation. Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.


    Did you cc the folks in Ramallah and Jerusalem about that?
     
    Risible comparison. Theirs is a conflict involving three major religions and the survival of the Israeli state at stake. On the Crimean question, we have already heard influential Westerners voice the possibility that it might one day be accepted as Russian, and if you read between the lines, many Ukrainians are of a similiar mind.

    Estimations are that well over half of the separatists are born and bred in Ukraine, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are fighting for the love of money.

    80% in 2014-15, to be precise; another 10% from the Kuban; 10% from Russia, the Russian world, and the world at large.

    NAF salaries are good by post-2014 Donbass standards, but a massive cut for Russians – no Russian went there to get rich.

    That said, I strongly doubt there will ever be international recognition of Crimea, let alone Donbass. Israel has by far the world’s most influential ethnic lobby. Even NATO member Turkey hasn’t gotten Northern Cyprus internationally recognized, so what exactly are the chances of the international community (read: The West) recognizing the claims of Russia, which is fast becoming established in Western minds as the arch-enemy of civilization?

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    • Replies: @AP

    NAF salaries are good by post-2014 Donbass standards, but a massive cut for Russians – no Russian went there to get rich.
     
    Which further points to the critical role played by Russians. Many of the local volunteers are participating because doing so offers a salary, which is very important in a wrecked, sanctioned Donbas. The Russian 10%-20% are motivated, often Chechen combat vets. They are more important than their % indicates.
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  228. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Unfortunately, the Ukraine has been spending 5%* of its GDP on the military since c.2015 (versus close to 1% before 2014).

    Doesn't really matter if tons of money continues to be stolen, or even the recession - with that kind of raw increase, a major enhancement in capabilities is inevitable.

    As I was already writing in 2016:

    Like it or not, but outright war with Maidanist Ukraine has been ruled out from the beginning, as the more perceptive analysts like Rostislav Ischenko have long recognized. If there was a time and a place for it, it was either in April 2014, or August 2014 at the very latest. Since then, the Ukrainian Army has gotten much stronger. It has been purged of its “Russophile” elements, and even though it has lost a substantial percentage of its remnant Soviet-era military capital in the war of attrition with the LDNR, it has more than made up for it with wartime XP gain and the banal fact of a quintupling in military spending as a percentage of GDP from 1% to 5%. This translates to an effective quadrupling in absolute military spending, even when accounting for Ukraine’s post-Maidan economic collapse. Russia can still crush Ukraine in a full-scale conventional conflict, and that will remain the case for the foreseeable future, but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.
     
    * There's a report that says actual Ukrainian military spending remained rather more modest at 2.5% of GDP (https://www.osw.waw.pl/sites/default/files/prace_66_ang_best_army_ukraine_net.pdf); even so, that still translates to huge improvements over 2014.

    Fascinating link. The numbers for the military budget are a lot lower than reported elsewhere.

    Mobilization percentages by region:

    “Among the leaders of the fourth and fifth wave of partial mobilisation were the Khmelnitsky,
    Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsia, Kirovohrad and Zaporizhia regions, as well as the city
    of Kyiv, whose mobilisation plan was fulfilled 80-100% (the record was Vinnytsia oblast,
    which achieved 100% mobilisation). At the opposite extreme are the Kharkiv, Chernivtsi,
    Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lugansk, Sumy, Ternopil and Transcarpathian regions, where
    the r