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Ukraine 20: We’re not bluffing and you can tell we aren’t by how we say we aren’t bluffing…


Ser Scot A Ellison
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Some people have noted that in 2013, Xi Jinping and Viktor Yanukovych signed a treaty which contained a nuclear protection guarantee from China towards Ukraine. China has a kind of boilerplate treaty where it mentions that any country China is doing business with can expect protection by China. However, that treaty seemed to go a bit beyond that and placed Ukraine within "China's nuclear umbrella protection," according to state media, which immediately censored that report and withdrew it.

It looks like Yanukovych's subsequent removal and Ukraine's lean towards the west made China kind of hope to forget about that bit of the treaty, although both sides have abided by it since and Chinese-Ukrainian trade relations have expanded considerably since 2014, with Ukraine replacing the USA as China's biggest importer of corn, which China would presumably prefer not to arrive radioactive.

To what degree Putin would give a shit about any of that is questionable, but this might be behind China's increasing "concerns" that have been expressed behind the scenes to Moscow.

Edited by Werthead
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23 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Some people have noted that in 2013, Xi Jinping and Viktor Yanukovych signed a treaty which contained a nuclear protection guarantee from China towards Ukraine. China has a kind of boilerplate treaty where it mentions that any country China is doing business with can expect protection by China. However, that treaty seemed to go a bit beyond that and placed Ukraine within "China's nuclear umbrella protection," according to state media, which immediately censored that report and withdrew it.

It looks like Yanukovych's subsequent removal and Ukraine's lean towards the west made China kind of hope to forget about that bit of the treaty, although both sides have abided by it since and Chinese-Ukrainian trade relations have expanded considerably since 2014, with Ukraine replacing the USA as China's biggest importer of corn, which China would presumably prefer not to arrive radioactive.

To what degree Putin would give a shit about any of that is questionable, but this might be behind China's increasing "concerns" that have been expressed behind the scenes to Moscow.

My guess is, China's concerns are more practical. Touched on it in the US thread. China must be very nervously looking at outstanding international loans. Now with quite a few of its debtors needing the cash to buy food and energy (we are not talking about spending on infrastructure or white elephants) China really has a vital interest in that shitshow ending rather sooner than later and at least restoring some stability to international markets. High energy and food prices increase the likelihood for defaults on their loans, and that could get very dificult for China. Not even they can write off several hundreds of bilions of dollars. 

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8 hours ago, karaddin said:

James - I think the part I'm not getting is whether you're making a point with respect to what should be done now? I agree the Iraq war was wrong, justified by a lie, supported by a larger percentage of all the allied nations than I'd like, and that it probably contributes to Russia feeling it could get away with this. I'm just confused where the point goes from there.

We can't go back in time to fix that injustice, to bring back all the Iraqis that lost their lives directly and indirectly, we can't undo whatever influence it had on Russia deciding to do this.

None of that changes the situation I said above with respect to how Russia is now behaving, nor does it change the moral (imo) imperative to support Ukraine's attempts to defend itself as long as it continues to want to do that. Or the self interest imperative for the modern world to say "no, we do not annex our neighbors anymore".

If your point is just about the blood on the hands of the west, but that it doesn't change what should be done now then I think that's the disconnect. People are interpreting what you're saying as a call to change our current response to the situation. I certainly don't think "we should not repeat the mistake of invading Iraq" is a controversial take, so if it's just that kind of thing then I agree.

Sorry, karradin, just saw this. You raise good questions. Oh, and first I owe you an apology; earlier when the shots were coming fast and furious and I’d been up all night and was pretty tired, I mistook your ‘evil and deserve to have your ass kicked’ for another one directed my way, and that was why I included ‘evil’ amongst the things I was being called. When I read it after sleeping I immediately got that you were talking about the Russians.

I am not calling for any change to the current response, I am both saying that past actions of the US and specifically the fact that they never pay any price for doing things like this contribute to this, at the very least in giving Putin a truth (double standard) upon which to build his whole ‘we’re the victim’ BS, but more, I’m not just looking at the past and the present, I’m looking forward. The same lessons will continue to be taught by the same history. The US’s ability to invade or bomb other sovereign nations with absolute impunity will continue to teach other power players that they can or should be able to act likewise, and they will continue to try…and the US will continue to attack who it wants when it wants regardless of right or world opinion.**
 

Further, if Putin gets out of this with anything but a complete loss*, that will be another chapter in the textbook for how to behave towards lesser nations if you’re powerful/belong to the nuke club: however you like. 
 

I tried to illustrate earlier that for power players in the post ‘with us or against us/WMD’ breakdown of the international diplomatic community era, they are not facing win or lose propositions when they attack lesser powers. They are facing a sliding scale of victories and at the very bottom is status quo ante-bellum. There was literally no way for, say, the US to lose a war with Iraq or Afghanistan…there were just different ways to win, different degrees of winning and different winners and then withdrawal. America itself was never remotely at risk. The military-industrial complex sees Iraq/Afghanistan as a huge win. Dubya himself used the invasion/torture camps/secret prisons to get re-elected and is, thanks to Trump, already starting to be portrayed as a symbol of back when decent men provided steady leadership. 
 

Russia faces slightly greater risks, mostly due to the international community’s response and lesser military industrial complex, but still some of his oligarchs are probably making hay and the worst he can come out of this will be a return to where things stood before. Beyond that his only fears are internal. 
 

Move forward to China. What will they learn if, say, Putin just gets to keep the Crimea and Donbas and faces zero accountability for his crimes. Or, say miracle of miracles, say he is dragged before The Hague and prosecuted for killing tens of thousands of Ukrainians…how will THAT play in the Middle East. 
 

I am saying the US’s complete lack of accountability for countless deaths… ‘over there’, especially where brown skinned people live…for profit or political control or w/e is a cancer eating away at any possibility of achieving some international standard of behaviour, any effective diplomatic agency with any authority to resolve conflicts without resorting to war or face global condemnation, any check on might makes right. Right now that only maybe happens to you if you’re on the wrong side or not powerful enough, and that is the antithesis of accountability. And because of that, things like Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine will keep happening for the foreseeable future because the powerful are given no reason to discontinue their behaviour. 
 

You can say it has always been thus, and in some ways that’s true and untrue, but we have had many chances to change that, many decades of really committed career diplomats and influencers (old school) devoting their lives to achieving that, and we actually got to a point where the greatest threats to world peace were disparate stateless relatively impotent fragmented groups planning small scale operations to express their outrage and zealotry.

That was an incredibly safe time for most of the world, but because THE superpower was attacked and embarrassed by one of these they threw away all that had been achieved and arbitrarily attacked lesser states simply because they needed to take their embarrassment and fear out on someone, and they couldn’t’t kill a mosquito with a smart bomb so they instead chose to kill hundreds of thousands of unrelated brown skinned people with smart bombs to feel better about themselves and reassert their power. And now, here we are, and here we will continue to be, unless someone starts Armageddon. And this is why I say that the US and it’s complete lack of even a whisper of accountability is the greatest threat to world peace, even if I think there are worse actors on the world stage. 
 

*and there is of course the possibility that he goes nuclear if faced with that prospect, another example of how most of the world lives in the shadow of the whims of superpowers. 
 

**unless China rises enough or the US falls enough to reintroduce a bi-polar power structure. 

Edited by James Arryn
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Welcome back to Great Power politics, out in the open again. Hegemony is the only path to peace. 

Peace for your citizens, of course! That's the point of farming out your military capacities to America that Trump was too pants-on-head retarded to understand. Weaken your allies while increasing their dependency. It's just good politics, (and medicine, if you ask the Sacklers).

Kissinger would be stroking himself in his grave... If he'd had the good grace to be dead yet. 

If I can borrow/alter a line from Herr Bismarck: In a world of two, be one.

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14 minutes ago, Firebrand Jace said:

Welcome back to Great Power politics, out in the open again. Hegemony is the only path to peace. 

Peace for your citizens, of course! That's the point of farming out your military capacities to America that Trump was too pants-on-head retarded to understand. Weaken your allies while increasing their dependency. It's just good politics, (and medicine, if you ask the Sacklers).

Kissinger would be stroking himself in his grave... If he'd had the good grace to be dead yet. 

If I can borrow/alter a line from Herr Bismarck: In a world of two, be one.

2 things - 1) That Kissinger line is excellent. 2) Yeah, that's what got me the most when Trump kept railing against the Western military status quo - the US isn't doing any of that shit out of the goodness of your heart, you're doing it because it serves your interests and built the world where the US is THE superpower. Sure, it might also be in the interests of your allies but that's incidental rather than the point even when it's true. 

James - I did mean to acknowledge that the one thing which might help undo some small part of that damage would be prosecuting war crimes by our own forces at least. Not remotely likely to happen at remotely sufficient scale though. I think the biggest issue you'll continue to run up against is that this thread is more being seen as about the ongoing conflict, rather than the international political drivers that caused it. Attempting to focus on that gets interpreted as suggesting assistance to Ukraine should be reduced.

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17 minutes ago, karaddin said:

I think the biggest issue you'll continue to run up against is that this thread is more being seen as about the ongoing conflict, rather than the international political drivers that caused it. Attempting to focus on that gets interpreted as suggesting assistance to Ukraine should be reduced.

Well, I pointed out I think that’s syllogistic, and to again speak personally, I have my self donated thousands to Ukranian relief and my wife went several steps further; her older co-worker’s sick mother was stuck in Lviv and my wife, short version, got her the funds and helped coordinate efforts to get her to Lviv and bring her sick mother home. So people silly-gistocly (sorry for stupid pun, fighting to keep eyes open) interpreting me as advocating reducing aid can go…well, you get my point. 
 

edit: I agree on the Kissinger line. 

Edited by James Arryn
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5 hours ago, Gorn said:

Not sure why you lump Afghanistan with the other two. It was a justified war.

Why? Because of 911?

If the US wanted a fight over that, they really should have invaded Saudi Arabia.

 

Edited by Spockydog
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I disagree. Al Qaida were international criminals, largely distrusted/despised by Afghan local leaders (ETA: And pretty much everyone else). Secure alliances with them, and send "Interpol-SWAT". The rest of Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11.

Oh, and send normal SWAT for Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Powell, Rice, etc.

Edited by lacuna
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The early going in Afghanistan was relatively well-handled. American forces didn't launch a massive ground invasion, instead the US and international partners (including Russia!) provided local anti-Taliban forces with the equipment and air support they needed to boot out the Taliban. There was a reasonable amount of coalition-building going on in Afghanistan.

The mistake was getting sucked into nation building in Afghanistan, which didn't work out, and not acknowledging that the anti-Taliban forces too easily broke into internal fighting and couldn't muster the strength to resist a well-organised Taliban resurgence. Also, the US got too easily distracted from finding and neutralising Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda as their primary objective, to the point where he simply left the country and the USA didn't even know for several years.

It certainly wasn't a completely stupid shitshow from start to finish, as Iraq and now Ukraine are. And invading Saudi Arabia instead would have been nonsensical without cast-iron proof the Saudi government was directly involved and harbouring those responsible.

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29 minutes ago, Werthead said:

invading Saudi Arabia instead would have been nonsensical without cast-iron proof the Saudi government was directly involved and harbouring those responsible.

Most of the hijackers were Saudi nationals. Saudi Arabia were Al Qaeda's biggest financial backers, not to mention the originators and biggest exporters of the repulsive, anti-west, Wahhabism ideology.

But .... oil.

 

Edited by Spockydog
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Kazakhstan reporting that 98,000 Russians have entered the country since the mobilisation order.

Eyewitness reports of hundreds of new recruits have already arrived in Zaporizhzhia Oblast inside Ukraine, which means they've probably had a couple of days of training and have been sent straight to the front.

Ukrainian forces around Bakhmut are reporting a new strategy, with the Russians sending their new inmate-conscripted troops forwards in mass waves. Once they've been softened up, they often surrender en masse, leaving the Ukrainians with hundreds of POWs who have be sent back behind the lines under heavy guard, distracting from the fighting. In this way the Russians have actually made incremental progress around Bakhmut despite the near-total absence of Russian heavy artillery.

Lyman now appears to be encircled on three sides. The Ukrainians were hoping for a faster breakthrough but the Russians have managed to reinforce the position.

9 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

Most of the hijackers were Saudi nationals. Saudi Arabia were Al Qaeda's biggest financial backers, not to mention the biggest exporters of the repulsive, anti-west, Wahhabism ideology.

But .... oil.

Oh yeah, Saudi Arabia should have been held under much greater scrutiny, and if the Saudi government's direct involvement in 9/11 had been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, the US probably would have had no choice but to have acted, and it's likely the oil issue made the Americans maybe less willing to rock the boat there. But the base of Al Qaeda's operations was Afghanistan and the Taliban were their shield and there was a ready-made resistance force (the Northern Alliance) who could do the bulk of the grunt work for them, so that just made vastly more sense.

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1 hour ago, lacuna said:

I disagree. Al Qaida were international criminals, largely distrusted/despised by Afghan local leaders (ETA: And pretty much everyone else). Secure alliances with them, and send "Interpol-SWAT". The rest of Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11.

Oh, and send normal SWAT for Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Powell, Rice, etc.

And the then Government of Afghanistan was going to allow “Interpol-SWAT” to operate in Afghanistan?  Really?

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44 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Ukrainian forces around Bakhmut are reporting a new strategy, with the Russians sending their new inmate-conscripted troops forwards in mass waves. Once they've been softened up, they often surrender en masse, leaving the Ukrainians with hundreds of POWs who have be sent back behind the lines under heavy guard, distracting from the fighting. In this way the Russians have actually made incremental progress around Bakhmut despite the near-total absence of Russian heavy artillery.

Wasn’t this the Iranian method during the Iran-Iraq war?

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8 hours ago, Gorn said:

Not sure why you lump Afghanistan with the other two. It was a justified war.

Because a foreign criminal was hiding in a distant corner there? One about which few in the government and almost none of the civilian population knew about or had any say in?

Killing a bunch of citizens of a country to save them from their oppressive government is a dubious enough moral position with virtually no successful track record. Doing so because a few members of that oppressive government agreed to let a criminal hide there is even worse. 10’s to hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians we know to be oppressed by their government had to die so the US could kill one foreign resident of that oppressive regime? Really? Moreover legally it was a clear violation of international law and the UN charter (which the US signed).

Edited by James Arryn
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5 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

Because a foreign criminal was hiding in a distant corner there? One about which few in the government and almost none of the civilian population knew about or had any say in?

Killing a bunch of citizens of a country to save them from their oppressive government is a dubious enough moral position with virtually no successful track record. Doing so because a few members of that oppressive government agreed to let a criminal hide there is even worse. 10’s to hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians we know to be oppressed by their government had to die so the US could kill one foreign resident of that oppressive regime? Really? Moreover legally it was a clear violation of international law and the UN charter.

Hosting a foreign terrorist movement, and allowing it to carry out an attack on a country with which one is not at war, killing thousands, is about as clear an act of aggression as I can think of.

Edited by SeanF
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Sorry, but...

What has relitigating 9/11 and it's fall-out got to do with Ukraine?

Isn't there another thread where this would be relevant?

 

"Not to derail" was back on page 2, do we really need to keep the derail up for 8 pages and counting? Despite another thread explicitly set up to deal with the derail?

Or does "derail" mean something new these days, and I'm just behind the ttimes I'm not the thread police, but it seems 75% of this thread is off topic, and as someone interested in the actual topic, it's frustrating as hell.

 

Would it be better if, instead of a thread for the derail, we started a new threa for the war in Ukraine, and allowed the derail to continue uninterrupted by pesky On-Topic discussion?

 

 

Edited by Which Tyler
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