Friday night topic: Are y’all pumped for World War III?

I’ve been keeping track of the situation in Ukraine since the start of the Euromaidan protests last November. Lately, things seem to have gotten much uglier than anyone could have predicted.

Under the pretext of aiding Ukraine’s Russian-speaking minority, Russia has effectively invaded and occupied large swaths of Ukrainian territory, using both unmarked troops and local, pro-Russian militia. The government in Kiev has admitted that it’s lost control of the occupied regions. The United States and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia in order to precipitate a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, but Russia has, thus far, persevered.

Today, Ukrainian forces launched a counterattack on some of the occupiers, allegedly killing and arresting many. Pro-Western and pro-Russian protesters clashed in the city of Odessa, leading to even more deaths. And Barack Obama and Angela Merkel held a joint press conference to threaten further, wider-ranging sanctions.

So, yeah. A hundred years on from the outbreak of World War I, it’s hard not to feel some trepidation about these developments. It’s equally hard to imagine how things may shake out.

I think there’s little doubt that NATO would prevail if it were to intervene militarily. NATO outspends Russia by a factor of almost 12:1, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has garnered no outside support to speak of. A full-scale ground war would spill a lot of blood, though, and I think neither the U.S. nor the EU want things to get to that point.

Economic sanctions are a less deadly alternative. However, they’re slow to take effect—and if taken to the extreme, they might destabilize Russia. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to destabilize the nation with the world’s largest nuclear stockpiles.

In the end, we may simply end up with a geographically enlarged but geopolitically isolated Russian Federation. Or we may end up with an even uglier situation.

What do you guys think? Discuss.

Comments closed
    • PenGun
    • 5 years ago

    It’s on:

    [url<]http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/05/obamas-bloodbath-in-odessa/[/url<]

    • cphite
    • 5 years ago

    There are obviously some pretty wide variances in how what is happening is perceived, between us here in the west and folks who are actually there. As far as I’m concerned, I just hope for the best that both sides see reason and keep the bloodshed to a minimum.

    That being said, it’s really going to come down to Russia and Ukraine… as far as the international game goes, Russia holds all the cards:

    1. The USA isn’t interested in another war and Putin knows it.
    2. NATO isn’t going to get involved in a war without the USA being directly involved – period.
    3. NATO isn’t going to get involved in a war anyway, because Europe is far too dependent on Russian gas, and war would disrupt that.
    4. Europe isn’t going to go along with any serious sanctions because, again, of their dependency on Russian gas, and because the EU Economy is already fragile. So all of the sanctions are going to be symbolic at best.

    • Anonymous Hamster
    • 5 years ago

    I’m hoping the next war will be won on the cyber front. Some black op cyber soldiers will manage to infect Putin’s computer with a virus that puts up ads that convince him he needs to buy Super Extenz Viaglis growth pills, whereupon consuming them results in overproduction and meltdown of testosterone production, upon recovering from which he decides that Russia is already too big as it is, and decides to split it into six more countries before he retires by the end of the year.

    At least, it wouldn’t be any crazier than what’s already going on.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 5 years ago

    Anyone thinking call of duty right now? More specifically the thematic overture of Kevin Spacey’s monologue from the new trailer for the newest game.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 5 years ago

    I think putin is testing the resolve of his opposition. I think that russia, nukes aside is not a threat to western sovernty but I do believe their neighbor, china, has more cause, resources, and predisposition to do something similar.

    My concern isn’t Russia, its what China will do if a weak Russia can get what it wants so easily.

    • entropy13
    • 5 years ago

    Here’s a spanner in the works for most people out there:

    The Jewish Congress of Ukraine have expressed support for the Kiev government.

    So now the Pro-Russians are crying that the “Jewish Nazis” are responsible for all of the problems.

    And there is some propaganda spreading across Russian blogosphere and social media that the Ukrainian PM is Jewish, and is thus part of the Jewish cabal looking to destroy Russia.

    In other news, it seems that the leader of the Tatars in Crimea (you know, the other ethnic group in there) still cannot reenter Crimea. Tatars have barricaded checkpoints to allow him entry, but “Crimean authorities” with more numbers and guns dispersed them and sent the leader (Cemilev) back to Kiev.

    Prompted Poklonskaya to threaten “Crimean extremists” with harsh sanctions, including a possible liquidation of their Parliament.

      • albundy
      • 5 years ago

      like i said before, all the worlds leaders are fidiots. the ukraine authorities should have deported the pro-russians to their own russia and should have secured their own borders, which begs the question, why are the pro-russians still in the ukraine? committing treason by terrorizing its people and destabilizing that nation should be a capital offense like it is in this country. the ukraine is not making a stance/example of these offenders. treason is treason.

        • entropy13
        • 5 years ago

        As I said in my earlier comments…you cannot commit treason to Ukraine if you are from Russia (several of the dead “Pro-Russians” were from Russian cities, or from one of the Russian satellite countries like Transnistria and Abkhazia)…

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 5 years ago

    It *is* one of my favorite D.O.A. songs.

    RIP Dave Gregg.

    • danny e.
    • 5 years ago

    I like pizza.

      • PenGun
      • 5 years ago

      Not me. Just a few more.

      • sweatshopking
      • 5 years ago

      WHAT KIND OF PIZZA IS YOUR FAVORITE? I LOVE HAWAIIAN, BUT I ALSO LOVE FANCY ONES WITH SPINACH AND ARTICHOKES AND ALL THE MEAT.

    • NeelyCam
    • 5 years ago

    Almost 300 comments = a sign of a successful Friday Night Topic

      • Voldenuit
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Almost 300 comments = a sign of a successful Friday Night Topic[/quote<] Or we could just invite Peter Bright to write feature articles here.

        • Scrotos
        • 5 years ago

        Oh god no. If people want to hate, they already got that fox guy who talks about apple sometimes.

        I got no beef with him but he garners similar comments as that loser at ars.

        • sweatshopking
        • 5 years ago

        I don’t mind bright. we talk on twitter. we’re pretty much getting married.

    • USAFTW
    • 5 years ago

    I wonder if some crazy people are waiting for full-on war to test their military capabilities. Maybe even gamers, to see if years of “competitive” COD and Battlefield multiplayer gaming works out in favor of them in a real-world fight.

    • awakeningcry
    • 5 years ago

    Sorry for arriving late to the party, but wasn’t the DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED president of Egypt overthrown last year? Oh, but because he was the “Muslim Brotherhood”, it’s a good thing. Everyone’s happy about it.

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      But Morsi and 500 of his supporters are criminal terrorists, and need to die. The court said so, so it is true.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 5 years ago

      It is a hard thing to promote democracy when the people constantly vote in tyrants who run on a platform of anti democracy…

    • awakeningcry
    • 5 years ago

    Sorry for arriving late to the party, but wasn’t the DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED president of Egypt overthrown last year? Oh, but because he was the “Muslim Brotherhood”, it’s a good thing. Everyone’s happy about it.

    • entropy13
    • 5 years ago

    More information about those burned to death…

    [i<]IA Ministry says the reason why the TUH (in Odessa) burnt down was "Molotov cocktails thrown down from above" - i.e. pro-Russians were the guilty ones. I won't make a judgment here, but a niggling question - the building itself is huge - why only three or four rooms burned down, and why were people unable to escape the mostly local fire and smoke? I was in a very similar situation in the TUH in Kyiv, and - smoke does not spread fast in that type of building. There was enough time to make three trips back to evacuate people before it became dangerous. And the fire there was far bigger and stronger. Or - why didn't the building sprinkler system work? [/i<]

    • odizzido
    • 5 years ago

    After reading the comments, listening to some(not a lot) of “news”, and hearing other people’s opinions IRL I am forced to conclude that I have no idea what should be done. We should probably ask the people living in the Ukraine.

    Of course if war does break out, we should send all the people who are “pumped” for it to die first.

    • FireGryphon
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]Economic sanctions are a less deadly alternative.[/quote<] Economic sanctions are a tempting form of nonviolent coercion, but Germany was losing more civilians to starvation than soldiers in battle at the end of WWI, and some say that the American blockade of Japan in 1945 caused more deaths via supply shortages than were killed by the atomic bombs. Economic sanctions essentially bring an entire country under siege for an extended period. It's the modern equivalent of camping your foot soldiers around a city and seeing who can last the longest. So I wouldn't call Economic sanctions less deadly. People are still going to starve to death, live without proper healthcare, education, etc. We're just not shooting people in the head directly.

      • BIF
      • 5 years ago

      They worked in those cases because they were ENFORCED by force.

      These so-called sanctions we do are as porous as a pasta colander.

        • FireGryphon
        • 5 years ago

        Economic sanctions have a strong effect even in more recent years. Our sanctions of Iraq were very effective and killed, by some estimates, hundreds of thousands of people. It didn’t make the government cave, as was the intended result, rather it made the government horde resources for the upper class while the peasants starved to death.

        Sanctions are deadly, but they seem more attractive to us than traditional war because they are an indirect way of killing.

          • Voldenuit
          • 5 years ago

          [quote<]Sanctions are deadly, but they seem more attractive to us than traditional war because they are an indirect way of killing.[/quote<] Truth. The sad part is that sanctions against Russia will kill more people in Eastern Europe who will freeze to death in the winter without Gazprom than it will directly harm Russia. At this point we might just have to accept the Crimean annexation/secession (depending on your point of view) as a [i<]fait accompli[/i<] and work on shoring up defences against future incursions. Poland's working on a 21st century main battle tank, gee, I wonder why?

      • entropy13
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]but Germany was losing more civilians to starvation than soldiers in battle at the end of WWI,[/quote<] Hmmm, probably because the war ended already? LOL Anyway, to put things in perspective, the war had a bigger effect on France's and Belgium's economy than on Germany, but the sanctions that came after obviously hurt only the Central Powers. However, the scale of the effect on Germany is decidedly less because at least the Weimar Republic is no longer gearing for war, but specifically gearing for adapting to the sanctions. In the case of the two Allied Powers whose country was being ravaged during the war, they can't do anything about their own territory (and economy) in the long-term because they were still at war, so after the war ended they were still in the recovery phase, which Germany didn't have to do. [quote<]and some say that the American blockade of Japan in 1945 caused more deaths via supply shortages than were killed by the atomic bombs.[/quote<] It's more of a case of Imperial Japan f**king it up with regards to supplies. They'd rather have minimally trained for combat, but starving citizens rather than citizens not starving but not trained to fight. Once the war in the Pacific ended the USA stepped in with the needed supplies (and eventually led to making bread - wheat/flour was the biggest contribution of the USA - as popular as rice in Japan).

        • FireGryphon
        • 5 years ago

        [quote<]Hmmm, probably because the war ended already? LOL[/quote<] Funny, but it misses the point, and your take on history in the next paragraph is inaccurate. At any rate, explaining other circumstances is great, but the key here is that sanctions in various forms kill people just as effectively as traditional war, just without the guilt associated with actually shooting people.

    • Laykun
    • 5 years ago

    I think this comments section is now the complete embodiment of TL;DR.

    • itachi
    • 5 years ago

    look this corbertreport from youtube: [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wv6lgyOUGk[/url<] Banksters and military industrial complex, oil (and gas in that case..) cartels always benefits from wars While the innocent civilians sacrifice themselves, enough of that, people need to wake up. Do you know that Ukraine is the main place where the Gas pipeline goes through from Russia ? and that all the western "oil globalists" aren't very happy with that, but yea that's only the tip of the iceberg, it's not just about oil too.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]Under the pretext of aiding Ukraine's Russian-speaking minority, Russia has effectively invaded and occupied large swaths of Ukrainian territory, using both unmarked troops and local, pro-Russian militia.[/quote<] Well, i know another country that uses similar pretexts to the the same things in the middle east and other parts of the world. Honestly, the last people who should be talking about sanctions etc. because "oh look Russia is invading another country! BAD RUSSIA" are Americans. Personal opinion about the USA in general, no offence intended towards any Americans on this site. Not everyone wants war there, i get it.

    • Meadows
    • 5 years ago

    Nothing but Fallout game ads under this news post. Now that’s just dark.

      • Voldenuit
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Nothing but Fallout game ads under this news post. Now that's just dark.[/quote<] War. War never changes.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 5 years ago

    When Russia started making its moves into the Ukraine with its “unmarked” soldiers, I thought, “This is likely another Cold War starting.”

    But having thought on it more, I doubt it. The Cold War happened because the West essentially turned against the Soviet bloc and said, “They are a non-entity that we will not work with.”

    What’s the EU doing? Looking for ANY way imaginable to get out of this without risking their precious energy arrangements with Russia. They’re not taking any action that might imperil their energy agreements and they’re certainly not going after any of Putin’s cronies with much zeal. The US is, but that’s because the US has much less to lose in wanting to show Putin what for.

    Meanwhile, if you look at this from Putin’s perspective, you see the real reason he’s doing this. Maybe he wants to have his own USSR, but that’s not the primary goal right now. The primary goal is to secure that naval base.

    What happened during the Arab Spring? The US was all, “Go, go, topple them regimes!” Except where?

    Qatar. Why was that? Our military base.

    Say what you will about motivations, but securing a crucial naval base that holds a large part of the world for a nation is rather important and any threat to that naval base in Crimea–especially the threat of NATO securing it eventually in the long run if the Ukraine continued down the “NATO fan club” route they’d been travelling when they dumped Russia for the EU’s deal–was going to inevitably risk that naval base’s security.

    It’s no surprise then that Putin didn’t mention that base at first, but he DID finally mention it recently. That base is the reason he did what he did in the short term. He can’t let it go and he won’t let it go.

    Now as for the rest, I suspect that Putin does have a, “Russia owns the Ukraine, they should be lucky we bother to own them, and how dare they throw off our shackles” mindset. I’m sure he is more than annoyed that his puppet was ousted and he’s a little worried that someday his own people will realize the game he’s playing with them and they might try the same thing closer to home.

    But right now? Mostly, it’s that naval base and keeping things vague, unclear enough to keep anyone from taking action. As long as they keep saying it’s “local defense forces” and denying it’s really them going in and taking real military action, there’ll be enough people saying, “Wait, try for peace, don’t go in, don’t attack, it’s only the Ukraine, nobody cares, let it go, we can’t be sure,” for long enough that Russia “unmarked” military can do enough damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure to make it so they can go in and “help” them get on their feet.

    In time, the EU will be tempted by cheap energy enough they’ll return to the bargaining table. In time, the US will, too. Mostly for nuclear proliferation and other random things.

    And Putin will sit in his giant throne that towers over everyone else, shirtless and content. For once more nothing and no one is really going to punish him in any meaningful way. Every sanction only hurts the economy, which plays into the “The West picks on Russia for wanting to be Russian” narrative. If you do nothing, Putin can act with impunity. And if you attack them outright, what do you get but the threat of nuclear retaliation? No one will risk that.

    Russia set this up for the last ten years by “working” with Europe to get them cheap energy and seeming to be cooperative and a peacemaker. Now they can cash those in to keep Europe off their backs, leaving only the US to pester them. Unfortunately, the US drained its economy on two wars (plus poorly timed and planned tax cuts) that left the US vulnerable to financial meltdown. The Bush years eroded our credibility AND our credit, which leaves the US the weakest it’s ever been.

    Putin doesn’t want a war. Putin wants to get what he needs. Right now, it’s that military base in Crimea and to send a message to the former Soviet countries that he’s coming for them eventually, so don’t get too cozy with their new EU friends.

    “Because look what happened in the Ukraine. They talk and talk about supporting you, but when the chips are down… only Russia is going to show up in your backyard. Whether you want us there or not. You better start really liking us there.”

    He doesn’t have to make his own USSR. He just has to make those countries think Russia’s the only future they’ll ever have.

    By the way, isn’t it the BIGGEST coincidence that a year or so before Russia starts getting very imperialistic an ex-CIA then-NSA agent flees the US with already-vaguely-known information so explosive about only the NSA, not the CIA, that there was no way he could ever be suspected of spying on his new host nation?

    I think about what I’ve read about the CIA and it always comes back to, “Once CIA, always CIA.” The CIA doesn’t like the NSA much, do they? Would the CIA pass up an opportunity to smear the NSA (and its whizz-bang Prism project that might have outmoded CIA informants) if it meant getting someone in place in Russia ahead of a known Russian change in attitude?

    I wonder…

      • Meadows
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]"By the way, isn't it the BIGGEST coincidence that a year or so before Russia starts getting very imperialistic an ex-CIA then-NSA agent flees the US with already-vaguely-known information so explosive about only the NSA, not the CIA, that there was no way he could ever be suspected of spying on his new host nation? I think about what I've read about the CIA and it always comes back to, "Once CIA, always CIA." The CIA doesn't like the NSA much, do they? Would the CIA pass up an opportunity to smear the NSA (and its whizz-bang Prism project that might have outmoded CIA informants) if it meant getting someone in place in Russia ahead of a known Russian change in attitude?"[/quote<] As far as conspiracy theories go, this is my favourite so far. Well done! (I mean it. It sounds credible.)

        • NovusBogus
        • 5 years ago

        “Once KGB, always KGB” also applies–the chances of Snowden learning even remotely interesting information over there are near nil. He’ll spend a few years as a political plaything, then disappear once he’s outlived his usefulness.

          • puppetworx
          • 5 years ago

          Let’s not forget “Once you go black you never go back”.

    • fantastic
    • 5 years ago

    I have a solution, but it’s way too late to implement. Population control (births) would reduce all of these problems down to imperceptible levels. If we only had 3 billion people on the planet, we’d only need half the resources and space.

    People need to stop breeding so much. Sex doesn’t matter, as long as there are less births.

    More people in the same limited area going after the same limited resources just makes things too intense. Either expand to other planets or use some kind of birth control.

    Traffic on the way to work thick and hairy? Imagine half of those cars gone. Neighbors annoying you for hours? Imagine their house twice as far away.

    I cannot believe we’re (USA) still giving tax incentives for breeding. Cut those gradually and offer tax incentives for sterilization and free birth control.

    “I don’t want the world; I just want your half” TMBG

    Also, we need more moderates in politics. Elect moderates. Stop voting for radicals.
    </end crazy old codger rant>

    Putin should be reigned in by the Russian government and people. If they see things escalating, they should be asking why? Who’s escalating things?

    This has nothing to do with the USA although we should be watching it, but not at all participating in any way. Sanctions are participating.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 5 years ago

      US Birthrates [url=http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/06/news/economy/birth-rate-low/<]are declining yo[/url<]. The Birthrate has fallen from 1.27% of women / year to 0.6% of women / year.

        • Billstevens
        • 5 years ago

        US birthrates aren’t the problem, but forced population control is controversial and probably borderline evil. I think we need world wide population reduction and control but there is no entity qualified to make those decisions. There probably never will be….

      • puppetworx
      • 5 years ago

      During WW1 and WW2 there were less than 3 Billion people on the planet. Today’s people also have much larger consumption habits than we used to. Your maths doesn’t add up.

      • Ringofett
      • 5 years ago

      I say Malthusian’s and Marxist-leaning environmentalists should put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. Want population reduction? Make examples of yourselves!

      The rest of us adults can then sit back to consider peacefully the real world, where China’s leaders admit their demographic catastrophe keeps them awake at night, not knowing how society will handle it when the country can’t support its rapidly growing number of elderly, or Japan, which may not be able to sustain itself as a functional country in a centuries time with current birth rates.

        • fantastic
        • 5 years ago

        If you’re suggesting I should use birth control or surgery, I’m way ahead of you. If you’re suggesting suicide, that’s probably one of those things that gets you in trouble with the mods.

          • Ringofett
          • 5 years ago

          So you can pretend to know whats best for people and advocate for government control of reproduction, which can lead to wonderful things like demographic-induced economic collapse (don’t believe me? you don’t pay attention to long run analysis, China’s worried for good reason) and the mass abortion of female fetuses (proof: China’s gender imbalance), but I can’t suggest the people that advocate that authoritarian BS make themselves the leading examples of their cause? I’m just countering nonsense with nonsense.

          At the root of it, I’m taking a libertarian view. If you want to reduce the population, then you have two options, one of which being contraceptives, the other being removing yourself from the equation. Taking control of others peoples lives with your own misguided notions, that should not be an option.

            • fantastic
            • 5 years ago

            Suggesting that someone kill themselves (however vaguely you do it) because you don’t like their ideas, is just not cool and probably illegal in some areas.

            I suggested removing tax breaks for breeding and increasing tax breaks for birth control and sterilization. You want to kill people, not me. You’re the extremist.

            I’m abandoning this. Feel free to talk to yourself.

      • Crackhead Johny
      • 5 years ago

      Sit back, grab a beer and a comfy chair and just watch.

      Talking about responsible breeding will get you no where. 62 million people die each year. So with a world population of ~7.2 billion, if everyone quit having babies for 20 freaking years the world population would be ~6 billion. 30 years gets you to ~5.3 billion. At that point people who are born now would still be able to reproduce so this wouldn’t cause human extinction. No chance the average “I WANT BABBYS!” person would go for this plan.

      With oil projected to run out in 2038-42 you will get the population reduction you are looking for. Scientists estimate that it will only take ~100 years after that to come up with something as good as oil. Of course most people believe a magic pony will show up and allow people to keep breeding at the rate they are. “”Science” will make everything OK.! I can do what I want!”

      Most people are emotional responders and not critical thinkers. They have a lot of emotional capital invested in imaginary people. They do no weighing of “Should I be breeding” before they go and do it. So everyone should have babies because those imaginary people are going to be awesome! Funny when it will all come at the expense of real people who exist now.

      Do not get near the scared cow of “I WANT BABBYS!”, it will not go well for you. They will form lynch mob and come after you.

      People will tell you that the US birthrate is down. They of course do not tell you our population is increasing or that the US is just one country in the fish bowl.

      For fun take a irresponsible breeder and ask them “if an asteroid is going to hit the planet how to pick the 10,000 people a secret space ship can save?” They will go for a drawing or lottery or something like that rather than saving the best and the brightest. Then ask them that if world population has to be controlled how to pick the people who get to have kids. They will go with a similar answer. Now ask them if it would be OK to use that same method to draft the players for their favorite sports team. You will find they care a lot more about their sports team than they do about their species.

      So give up, grab a beer, and enjoy.

    • joyzbuzz
    • 5 years ago

    Down with Borg U.S.A.!!!

    Who’s with me???

    • sweatshopking
    • 5 years ago

    YOU GUYS ARE MISSING THE LARGER ISSUE. WHY DOES IT SAY “Y’ALL” IN THE TITLE OF THIS?!??!!? WTF GUYS?!!?!?

      • NovusBogus
      • 5 years ago

      Because there’s secession involved.

      • joyzbuzz
      • 5 years ago

      Y’all need to calm down, take a deep breath and blast 100 rounds into a basket of kittens or something.

      • Meadows
      • 5 years ago

      Because he’s impersonating Applejack.

        • sweatshopking
        • 5 years ago

        Noooooooooooooo

          • Meadows
          • 5 years ago

          Yes.

      • BIF
      • 5 years ago

      Relax. In the South, we say “All y’all”, so yeah…maybe he didn’t go far enough!

      • albundy
      • 5 years ago

      cuz the confederacy still is Boomhauer-ebonically challenged. get’r dun!

        • Airmantharp
        • 5 years ago

        Y’all is grammatically correct, unlike the north’s ‘yous guys’ :-p

      • bfar
      • 5 years ago

      Heck y’all.

    • Suspenders
    • 5 years ago

    Sorry Cyril, but your narrative on the Ukrainian crisis is incomplete and veers too closely to the narrative that the US is propagandizing. And as the run-up to the Iraq war showed us all, what the media spins and feeds us is mostly BS in support of whatever foreign policy goal is the order of the day – which in this case was regime change in Ukraine to something more pro-western.

    This article [url<]http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/27/the-danger-of-false-narrative/[/url<] , and the authors follow up [url<]http://consortiumnews.com/2014/04/08/when-is-a-putsch-a-putsch/[/url<] is for all of you that are interested in a far more accurate run down of what's been happening in Ukraine, and it's far more complex than the simple "good guy, bad guy" routine we're being told by our media and governments. Forgive the long excerpt, but it sums things up quite well: [quote<]So, the factual narrative suggests that the Ukrainian crisis was stoked by elements of the U.S. government, both in the State Department and in Congress, encouraging and exploiting popular resentments in western Ukraine. The goal was to pull Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and put it into the EU’s gravitational pull. When Yanukovych balked at IMF’s demands, a process of “regime change” was put in motion with the U.S. and EU even turning their backs on the Feb. 21 agreement in which Yanukovych made a series of concessions negotiated by European countries. The deal was cast aside in a matter of hours with no attempt by the West to uphold its terms. Meanwhile, Putin, who was tied up with the Sochi Olympics and obsessed over fears that it would be targeted by Islamist terrorists, appears to have been caught off-guard by the events in Ukraine. He then reacted to the alarming developments on Russia’s border, including the emergence of neo-Nazis as prominent figures in the coup regime in Kiev. In other words, a logical – and indeed realistic – way to see the Ukraine-Crimea crisis is that Putin was largely responding to events that were outside his control. And that is important to understand, because that would mean that Putin was not the aggressor spoiling for a fight. If there was premeditation, it was coming from the West and particularly from the neocons who remain highly influential in Official Washington. The neocons also had motive to go after Putin, since he helped Obama use diplomacy to quiet down dangerous crises with Syria and Iran while the neocons were pushing for more confrontation and U.S. military strikes. But how did the U.S. news media present the Ukraine story to the American people? First, there was the simplistic and misleading depiction of the pro-EU demonstrations as “democratic” when they mostly reflected the discontent of the pro-European population of western Ukraine, not the views of the more pro-Russian Ukrainians in the east and south who had pushed Yanukovych to victory in the 2010 election. Last time I checked, “democracy” referred to rule by the majority, not mob rule. Then, despite the newsworthiness of the neo-Nazi role in the protests, the U.S. news media blacked-out these brown shirts because that ugly reality undercut the pleasing good-guys-vs.-bad-guys storyline. Then, when the snipers opened fire on protesters and policemen, the U.S. news media jumped to the conclusion that the killers were working for Yanukovych because that, too, fit with the desired narrative. The violent overthrow of the democratically elected Yanukovych was hailed as an expression of “democracy,” again with the crucial role of the neo-Nazi militias largely airbrushed from the picture. The unanimous and near unanimous parliamentary votes that followed – as storm troopers patrolled the halls of government buildings – were further cited as evidence of “democracy” and “reform.” The anger and fear of Ukrainians in the east and south were dismissed as Russian “propaganda” and Crimea’s move to extract itself from this political chaos was denounced as Russian “aggression.” U.S. news outlets casually denounced Putin as a “thug.” Washington Post columnist George F. Will called Putin “Stalin’s spawn.” [/quote<] Now lets try and look at things from the Russian perspective. The Ron Paul institute has a nice little summary of how things look like from Moscow: [url<]http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/february/09/victoria-nulands-ukraine-gate-deceptions.aspx[/url<] [quote<]NATO has expanded to central Europe, despite US assurances in the 1980s that it would not do so. The US rolled over Russia in its deceptive manipulation of a UN Security Council resolution on Libya to initiate an invasion. The US continues to arm jihadists seeking to overthrow the secular Assad government in Russia-allied Syria. The US and EU have absorbed the Baltics, leaving their large ethnic Russian populations to dangle in non-person limbo. The US and EU had all but absorbed Georgia. Now the US is clearly in the process of absorbing Ukraine, with its strategic importance to Russia, its proximity, and its nearly 10 million ethnic Russian minority. Surely there is a point to where Russia will take steps to concretely limit its losses. [/quote<] It looks from the Russian perspective that the US and the NATO powers are working overtime trying their best to encircle Russia with NATO bases and hostile governments. Throw in a ham-fisted attempt at directly harming Russian strategic interests by supporting a coup in a country (Ukraine) which hosts a significant portion of the Russian Navy (the Crimean port of Sevastopol), and honestly, is there any wonder that the Russians have acted the way they have? In fact, they've been decidedly lenient in their response so far. Would you tolerate a basket-case country on your borders, recently destabilized with the help of hostile foreign powers, that held vital strategic interests to you and hosts a sizable minority of your ethnicity? What if they threatened getting nuclear weapons? [url<]http://intellihub.com/ukraine-leader-threatens-russia-nuclear-weapons/[/url<] What if they were talking about joining NATO, a military alliance directed entirely at you? Russia should have invaded the whole country by now, to make sure that never happens - the fact that they haven't shows that they are exercising restraint, more so anyway than the hysterics and hypocrisy our side is propagating around the world right now.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 5 years ago

      I can believe this, because all what you’ve written is pretty much how the US behaves every time something like this happens.

      When the US attacks and invades, it’s heroism, propaganda, what the right side chooses to do.

      When it’s an adversary of the US, it’s “VIOLATION OF [i<]DEMOCRACY![/i<]". The second para is also stuff I've heard independently, so yeah. I can believe this. Most of the shit that goes on in the world consists of CIA experiments gone wrong. I hope our* new government realigns itself with the Russians... *India

        • entropy13
        • 5 years ago

        [quote<]I hope our* new government realigns itself with the Russians... *India[/quote<] Well, good luck with Pakistan and China then. So that's two of the biggest countries in Asia (India and China) distancing themselves from the rest of the continent...

          • Ninjitsu
          • 5 years ago

          WTF? The US has helped Pakistan since their independence to 2001. They still play a double game, though post 9/11 Pakistan backed “freedom fighters” are now correctly recognized as insurgents\militants\terrorists.

          When i say “realigns” i actually meant “reaffirm our ties”, because Russia has always been a far more reliable ally than the US. As such India is non-aligned.

          Also WTF is that about distancing from the continent? You don’t know much about this stuff do you?

            • entropy13
            • 5 years ago

            [quote<]WTF? The US has helped Pakistan since their independence to 2001. They still play a double game, though post 9/11 Pakistan backed "freedom fighters" are now correctly recognized as insurgents\militants\terrorists.[/quote<] The USA is no longer the biggest "backer" of Pakistan in recent years. It's now the big country just across the mountains which your country also happen to share a border with, China. When certain analysts from the USA consider "helping Pakistan" a worse option than "helping Afghanistan", you know just how big of a clusterf**k your neighbor is (although both 'stans are considered "failed states" by some, one of them have nuclear weapons...). [quote<]Also WTF is that about distancing from the continent?[/quote<] Reaffirming your ties with Russia is all well and good...except it would most probably not be taken "kindly" by those to your west (like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar) and to your east (like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia). Well at least Iran will like you a bit more, as well as Syria (in its current state under Assad). Still though, at least it's not China, Russian-Asia ties are still a bit...stale right now, unlike the very cautious and scrambling looks China gets from its neighbors. Some Asian countries didn't like how welcoming the Indian government was to the Chinese top brass during some "military exercises" recently though. And they're also a bit flabbergasted with regards to why India lets Chinese ships pass through their territorial waters regularly even though #1: those ships aren't part of the anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean, #2: "survey ships" have as much, perhaps even less, fighting capabilities than the cargo ships and oil tankers the pirates target.

        • PadawanTrainer
        • 5 years ago

        I wanted to become a gold subscriber to downvote this comment even more…

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      Long, but read it anyway. And it was worth it – good stuff!

      • Ringofett
      • 5 years ago

      [q]What if they were talking about joining NATO, a military alliance directed entirely at you?[/q]

      Ever stop to think exactly that type of behavior is why countries seek out NATO in the first place?

        • Ninjitsu
        • 5 years ago

        It’s “quote” and not “q”.

        Anyway, it’s not those countries seeking out NATO, but the other way around.

          • Ringofett
          • 5 years ago

          What universe do you live in? Eastern European NATO members are its most staunch supporters, and have been clamoring for the US to send some more troops as a show of support. Furthermore, many had direct referendums, all had to ratify the treaty.

          If NATO has any half-hearted members, it’s the more Western ones, like France that can’t decide if its in or if it is out, and more recently America itself, with many like me wondering why we spend money helping such ungrateful trolls in the first place.

          Not interested in wasting too much time on your empty troll, I hit up Estonia, which came aboard in one of the waves of former Warsaw pact member expansions, to see how they felt. According to polls commissioned by their ministry of defense.. “Estonia’s membership in NATO is supported by a total of 71% of residents, of whom 36% completely supports it and 35% mostly supports it. A total of 17% oppose membership in NATO.” Then it says 89% of non-Estonians support Estonia’s NATO membership. What exactly that means I think must’ve been lost in translation, but whatever. Any politician or policy measure would love to have 71% support.

          • dWind
          • 5 years ago

          LOL NO NO NO
          As a citizen of former soviet republic (Lithuania) I can tell you its crap like this that we desperately tried to join NATO.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Sorry Cyril, but your narrative on the Ukrainian crisis is incomplete and veers too closely to the narrative that the US is propagandizing. And as the run-up to the Iraq war showed us all, what the media spins and feeds us is mostly BS in support of whatever foreign policy goal is the order of the day - which in this case was regime change in Ukraine to something more pro-western.[/quote<] I can't accept the argument that the US or EU or NATO set out for regime change, or the argument (which you didn't make, but anyway) that the current pro-Russian movement is in any way the mirror image of the anti-Russian movement. A lot of Ukrainians spent a lot of time, risked serious injuries, and in many cases died during their protest. Not even the snipers at the end sent those people home. Thats damned hardcore. And they weren't professional soldiers in unmarked uniforms, few even had guns. Those people didn't want Russia in a [i<]really really serious way[/i<]. No western populace has shown that kind of bravery or dedication for decades. Additionally, it seems to me that the US/EU/NATO has enough to do with Iran and Syria, and they would have liked to have Russian support for it. All this stuff in Ukraine is inconvenient.

      • dWind
      • 5 years ago

      Lol .. I love it when you twist it so that annexing a part of foreign country is not aggression.

      “It looks from the Russian perspective that the US and the NATO powers are working overtime trying their best to encircle Russia with NATO bases and hostile governments. Throw in a ham-fisted attempt at directly harming Russian strategic interests by supporting a coup in a country (Ukraine) which hosts a significant portion of the Russian Navy (the Crimean port of Sevastopol), and honestly, is there any wonder that the Russians have acted the way they have?

      In fact, they’ve been decidedly lenient in their response so far. Would you tolerate a basket-case country on your borders, recently destabilized with the help of hostile foreign powers, that held vital strategic interests to you and hosts a sizable minority of your ethnicity? What if they threatened getting nuclear weapons? [url<]http://intellihub.com/ukraine-leader-threatens-russia-nuclear-weapons/[/url<] What if they were talking about joining NATO, a military alliance directed entirely at you? Russia should have invaded the whole country by now, to make sure that never happens - the fact that they haven't shows that they are exercising restraint, more so anyway than the hysterics and hypocrisy our side is propagating around the world right now." Im speachless ... do you know what sovereign state means? its crap like this that easter europe is flocking to NATO.

    • Bensam123
    • 5 years ago

    Stuff like this make it hilarious when you think about how the US always steps in as big brother for other tiny countries ‘in their interest’, but as soon as another big country does it… they look for alternatives besides landing their forces there. This is coming from someone who lives in the US too. Honestly I don’t believe the US should have their dick in any other part of the world unless it turns major anyway.

    I think when push comes to shove, Russia isn’t nearly as dependent on us and vice versa, as say… China when it comes to economics. They could definitely live isolated and be perfectly fine. They’re big enough and the quality of life over there isn’t outstanding to begin with.

    This may just be Russia testing waters though. They may start gobbling up their close neighbors again, like they used to before they split off. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. Countries and borders have changed hands a lot over the past century, since when was it the US’s problem to always step in? Are required to step in? Is this a pre-requisite for spending so much money on our military budget?

    I highly doubt if Ukraine went to war with Russia they’d actually stand a chance. As far as the UN goes, they never agree on anything. Ukraine would probably be better off surrendering, depending on how much they want to keep their country and how many dead they want.

    If the US is hell bent on doing stuff like this, perhaps it’s time we consider alternatives… like adopting countries as states. Those whose populace wants to become part of the US may do so through a vote and become a new state with all that entails. The old government is stripped out, new state government is instated, infrastructure is made, representatives elected, police and social services become default. We bring their country up to speed with the rest of ours, build industry, offer incentives for companies to open up business there. We do half this stuff anyway and then ‘give it back’.

    I’m sure a lot of people would think this is ludicrous, but I really don’t think so. A bunch of small countries will always be a problem, adopting them and effectively assimilating them into ourselves is inevitable. If a bunch of rebels pop up, you just send the national guard over to squash it. You can establish permanent bases and stabilize them, in the end they end up benefiting us as well and make our country stronger.

    If we want to play big brother, we should make them a part of the family. Not get pissed when someone else makes them part of theirs.

    • BIF
    • 5 years ago

    Since when have economic sanctions EVER caused a change in behavior of any country? Is there any historical evidence?

    Economic sanctions never work. Never! Saddam Hussein went years without being hurt by sanctions. He could have gone a lot longer!

    No no no, sanctions do nothing but allow the “sanctionee” opportunity to bond with his friends who will circumvent the sanctions for him, while all along, the “sanctioner” gets a false sense of his own power and security, amplified by his self-righteous hubris.

    Foolish humans!

    As to the question about War… I say that now War is more than 50% likely. I think an attack is coming, and will probably be something along the lines of a first-strike nuclear attempt. And I fear that the attacker will probably be the one who has NOT been disarming himself for the last few decades.

      • mcnabney
      • 5 years ago

      The breakup of the Soviet Union
      The elimination of Apartheid
      Containment of Iraq (he would have united the Arab nations otherwise)
      North Korea

      Sanctions do work. Failures like Cuba are caused by much of world not joining in.

        • BIF
        • 5 years ago

        I don’t agree that your examples portray successful outcomes. Unless you define success as perpetuation of the status quo.

        The breakup of the Soviet Union? What was the sanction that you say caused it?
        Elimination of Apartheid? Again, what sanction caused it?

        North Korea an example? No success there, the people are starving and the country is a black hole. And yet Dennis Rodman gets to visit. And then we let him come home after that? WTF? And that’s my point, what sanctions? These sanctions are nothing but feel-good nonsense easily perforated by “Dear Leader’s” friends, including those in the US!

        There are no sanctions if enforcement by force is not part of it. We have (barely) maintained the status quo for decades, but I see no measurable success there; no measurable improvement in conditions or in world security.

        And your example of Cuba is also helping to make my point, same as North Korea. Today’s sanctions are imposed with strong words and chests puffed out, but when they go unenforced they show us as weak. “Paper Tiger” is the term I’ve heard.

          • Ringofett
          • 5 years ago

          Actually I think the apartheid/South Africa example is pretty sound, and it has helped to contain countries behavior as well. That said, I think you’re mostly right. Sanctions primarily hurt the common people of countries, while merely being annoying to its leaders. Especially in Russia’s case. I don’t understand at all why people think Russia’s oligarchs will be moved to action by sanctions — they’re billionaires! So they can’t send their petulant wives to London to go shopping? Hell, they’re build their own private shopping malls. Because, why not? They’re billionaires!

        • UnfriendlyFire
        • 5 years ago

        Nobody sanctioned the Soviet Union. In fact, they often traded with their “enemies”. They broke up due to sheer bureaucracy inefficiency, especially for the satellite countries (Poland, East Germany, Hungary, etc).

        Sanctions only work when the rest of the world can do without the sanctioned country. South Africa, Iran, and North Korea had a lot to lose but the rest of the world only took a little pain.

        Sanctioning a major gas/oil supplier? Um… Good luck with that. People like warm homes, hot food, and cars.

          • mcnabney
          • 5 years ago

          And just what would you suggest Mr Chamberlain to prevent the continued military expansion of Russia?

    • NeelyCam
    • 5 years ago

    Crimea overwhelmingly voted to be part of Russia. Let them. If there are other separatist regions, let them join Russia too.

    Sending military forces to enforce a constitution that’s clearly not in everyone’s favor is not a good idea.

      • BIF
      • 5 years ago

      Well, once the word is out on how to vote “correctly”, then voting in Russia is usually overwhelmingly on one side.

      Because if you don’t you end up disappearing without a trace.

        • dragontamer5788
        • 5 years ago

        I don’t deny that some suspicious things were going on in Crimea before the vote (wtf happened to Oleksiy Gritsenko??)… but with an exit-poll of some 95%+ in favor of succession, I’m having to bet that the over-handed Russian play had little to do with the public’s opinion.

        Besides, the Ukrainian Government isn’t so innocent either. Look at [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmytro_Bulatov<]Dmytro Bulatov[/url<] for details. Remember: the Iraqi and Afghanistan constitutions were drafted under a US/NATO Occupation. The US Military Presence at Afghanistan's elections was probably far more imposing than the unmarked Russian Troop's presence.

        • Suspenders
        • 5 years ago

        Getting out of a Ukraine that will be “Greecefied” by the IMF’s austerity plans is for that country makes perfect sense for everyone in the Ukraine. Unless you like having your gas bill go up by 50%+, your pension cut by 50%, and the country you’re living in bankrupted by foreign loans and looting oligarchs. [url<]http://www.globalresearch.ca/austerity-and-imf-economic-medicine-the-looting-of-ukraine-has-begun/5372274[/url<] Frankly it's insane to want to stay in Ukraine.

          • Ringofett
          • 5 years ago

          Yeah, I know, the audacity of the international community expecting countries to honor their debts and pay their bills, etc. People should lend money to countries and never expect repayment!

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            People and financial institutions should do due diligence when they lend money, and not lend massive amounts of cash to governments that are unable to pay them back. And if they do, they should lose it, as investors did in Argentina, because it’s risky and the bet didn’t pay off. But of course, we don’t live in a world where certain rich investors and banks have to worry about actually losing money on risky investments, do they? They can count on being bailed out regardless of whatever stupid place they shovel money into. And they can count on morons like you always supporting them regardless of how damaging their bad bets are for the rest of us.

            Bankers just can’t lose, no matter what happens [url<]http://www.businessinsider.com/goldman-sachs-shorted-greek-debt-after-it-arranged-those-shady-swaps-2010-2#!IUGKD[/url<] , [url<]http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-06/goldman-secret-greece-loan-shows-two-sinners-as-client-unravels.html[/url<] So you'll forgive me if I don't shed any tears for those poor, hard working billionaire crooks. Additionally, the economic deal Ukraine got from Russia was far, far better than the one they're getting from the West and IMF, and it's relevant to note that for those who wonder wonder why Russia seems to have the amount of support in Ukraine that it does. Also, IMF style austerity doesn't work, so not only is it stupid to impose on countries you wish to influence, it's actively destructive and causes needless suffering and deaths. See: Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, etc for relevant examples. But then, austerity was never about fixing economies, it's been an exercise in elite looting from the start (in which case, it's actually working brilliantly and as intended).

      • Deanjo
      • 5 years ago

      As someone of Ukrainian heritage and with a lot of family in Ukraine, I can’t help but wonder if the situation was involved in another part of the world would the view change. Say mexico dropped troops in California to “protect Hispanic US citizens” or if France dropped troops in Quebec to “protect Francophone Canadians”. Let’s be clear here, the Ukrainians were not practicing genocide against Russian speaking Ukrainians so the situation is very different than what is happening in Syria and what occurred in Kosovo.

        • puppetworx
        • 5 years ago

        If the US or Canada was in disarray and their governments were overthrown? In that context, which is what happened in Ukraine, foreign intervention may be welcomed by many in those countries.

        I dislike this argument about secession only being legal after attempted genocide too. That’s a pretty terrible position to put people in. It’s like saying you can only try and escape a kidnapper after they’ve tried to kill you.

          • Deanjo
          • 5 years ago

          [quote<]If the US or Canada was in disarray and their governments were overthrown?[/quote<] You might want to read up on Quebec history and the FLQ.

            • cynan
            • 5 years ago

            Really? A local terrorist group got a bit out of hand in Montreal and the Prime Minister being perhaps a bit too ready to invoke marshal law is the same thing as a state being torn by genocide? No government was overthrown at the time either. Certainly a big crisis relative to the rest of Canadian recent history. But hardly comparable.

            • Deanjo
            • 5 years ago

            There isn’t any genocide going on in Ukraine. There was and still is a very large faction in Quebec that wishes to return to falling under the rule of France (or independence). There was/is genocide happening in Syria and Kosovo. The PLO was an extremist group for sure but much of the sentiment remains in Quebec. Every few years there is a separatist movement and that has been the case pretty much since Quebec has been around.

            • cynan
            • 5 years ago

            There are always extreme sentiments. The difference is that, since 1970, there hasn’t been much (if any) IRA-style terrorism that has come of it.

            And the level of marshal law that culminated from the 1970 FLQ crisis doesn’t seem to be of significantly greater extent or consequence than the police force that was mustered to patrol Toronto during the G20 summit that took place there a couple of years ago.

            • puppetworx
            • 5 years ago

            You seem to have confused and with or.

        • Suspenders
        • 5 years ago

        They aren’t practicing genocide, no, but there are legitimate fears that the Russian speaking population has. When the coup government’s first act was revoking the law that mandated the use of the Russian language in Ukraine, as well as banning Russian media in the country, what conclusions exactly would you expect the russian speaking citizens in the east to have? [url<]http://my.firedoglake.com/fairleft/2014/02/25/ukraine-decides-to-fight-the-russian-language/[/url<] [url<]http://rt.com/news/ukraine-language-lavrov-asselborn-627/[/url<] I certainly wouldn't be feeling all warm and fuzzy about them, or frankly about my future in the country. Would you? If you were a Ukrainian Russian speaker, would you feel comfortable about the new Kiev government offering fascists and neo-nazis like these [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SBo0akeDMY[/url<] important cabinet posts and ministries?

      • joyzbuzz
      • 5 years ago

      Let’s start with Texas.

        • BIF
        • 5 years ago

        Well, to me Texas seems to be one of the last places where you might have a chance at having liberty for you and your children.

          • dragontamer5788
          • 5 years ago

          You guys don’t even have the Liberty to buy a Tesla.

          Texans have one of the most democratic systems in the country. Fix your problems yo!

            • Ringofett
            • 5 years ago

            Is that the only thing the technorati see these days? Texas is FAR from the only state with laws that protect dealerships as middle men, and every state has a multitude of industries that’ve wormed their way in to being protected, from taxi drivers to dry cleaners.

            All I see is bitterness as Texas’ economic model extends the distance between itself and California.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 5 years ago

            True dat. But unlike Texas, they don’t pretend to be super-hardcore “Free Market” enthusiasts. On the contrary, coastal cities can have borderline communist (see San Francisco) or authoritarian (New York’s NYPD is HUGE) tenancies.

            For example… I don’t complain about New Jersey’s Tesla ban… because New Jersey recognizes itself for what it is. For goodness sake, its illegal to fill up your own gas in New Jersey, because they are protecting the gas-filler union there. At least the culture of New Jersey is [b<]consistent[/b<] damn it. But Texas has been running commercials about how awesome it is to have a Free Market economy. Of all the states that have banned the sale of Tesla cars, Texas is the most obnoxiously "laissez faire Free Market" in America... at least it pretends to be. It is deeply ironic that Texas has instead protected big-money interests and effectively banned the sale of Teslas. [url<]http://www.texaswideopenforbusiness.com/expansion-relocation/ad-campaigns/ca/index.php[/url<] "California Regulates", but Texas bans the stuff they see threatening. I'm not even from California and I find the anti-California ads funded by Texas absolutely disgusting.

            • Ringofett
            • 5 years ago

            It doesn’t pretend to be — as far as large states go, it simply is. I find the nit-picking of a single aspect of a single industry to be an irrational act to make non-Texan’s feel better about the failed policies of other states. Texas could own to having poor regulation of its automotive sales sector, and still have a thousand others lightyears better then California.

            And not just in Texas but also every other state, Tesla’s are not banned. Tesla simply declines to sell them due to the distribution method required. They could put them in dealerships tomorrow if they wanted. So it’s a little bit of a stretch to say they’re banned, since the product itself isn’t.

            And in what state do you think Tesla would have a better chance of dismantling the dealership requirement? Texas, a state that leans towards free markets, or New Jersey, who as you point out still doesn’t dare let you pump your own gas?

            Anyway, as for ads in general, lots of states do that. Florida has a big campaign. North Dakota, instead of seeking businesses, sends delegates to mostly high unemployment (blue) states to try to convince the unemployed to go work their oil fields. Jesus, even Ireland runs TV commercials on CNBC all the time. It’s fair game. Competition scares only the weak and the corrupt.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 5 years ago

            [quote<]Texas could own to having poor regulation of its automotive sales sector, and still have a thousand others lightyears better then California.[/quote<] I don't live in California, and I don't really care. California has communist tendencies, of course Texas is going to have better regulatory environment. Them Californians are concerned with other issues (equidistribution of wealth, etc. etc.) [quote<] And in what state do you think Tesla would have a better chance of dismantling the dealership requirement? Texas, a state that leans towards free markets, or New Jersey, who as you point out still doesn't dare let you pump your own gas?[/quote<] Which State? How about the 47 other states in the Union which [b<]don't[/b<] have the silly requirement. The fact that you're even comparing Texas to New Jersey (one of the worst states with regards to regulation) and California (the closest state to communism) means you're already in a losing argument. [quote<]And not just in Texas but also every other state, Tesla's are not banned. Tesla simply declines to sell them due to the distribution method required. They could put them in dealerships tomorrow if they wanted. So it's a little bit of a stretch to say they're banned, since the product itself isn't.[/quote<] Tesla has innovated a new way of selling cars. Three states (Arizona, Texas, and New Jersey) then banned the methodology. In doing so, those three states have labeled themselves as anti-innovation states. And no matter how you cut it, those pro-distributor laws are [b<]clearly[/b<] illogical regulations that Texas "prides" itself in not having. But what can I expect from the state that fears Thomas Jefferson?

            • Ringofett
            • 5 years ago

            [quote<]Why don't you let your precious "Texas" open its schools to the free market?[/quote<] You mean school choice? Why yes, Texas has no problem with charter schools. As for whats taught in them, they have choice there too -- they teach whatever the voters require them to. Voters have a choice, then, every 2 years -- or with their feet every day. Considering people generally move in to Texas, not out, well... Anyway, you can nitpick over Tesla and their situation all you want. I don't live in Texas either, I've only driven through it and visited San Antonio a few times. I just recognize that in the aggregate, when it comes to business, it's probably the best, easiest state to operate in, with universities that pump out plenty of talent and a government that, in comparison to almost every other state, tries its best not to get in your way. And at the last minute, I came across this, which only supports my point: Rick Perry, it's governor, and many in its legislature are trying their best to remove this laws that so deeply offend your sensibilities. [url<]http://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogowsky/2014/03/26/tesla-thaw-suddenly-states-are-moving-on-laws-favoring-the-companys-stores/[/url<]

            • dragontamer5788
            • 5 years ago

            [quote<] You mean school choice? Why yes, Texas has no problem with charter schools. As for whats taught in them, they have choice there too -- they teach whatever the voters require them to. Voters have a choice, then, every 2 years -- or with their feet every day. Considering people generally move in to Texas, not out, well...[/quote<] Yes, I'm fully aware of the ridiculously democratic system that Texas has. (Judges are voted on in Texas... so it is possible in an election year to elect your judge in an upcoming case >_< ). Unfortunately, I also believe that full democracies (like Texas) are destined to failure. In fact, one of the other "ridiculously democratic" states is California. [quote<] And at the last minute, I came across this, which only supports my point: Rick Perry, it's governor, and many in its legislature are trying their best to remove this laws that so deeply offend your sensibilities.[/quote<] Many, but not most. The Texas bill to [url=http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/abj-at-the-capitol/2013/05/pro-tesla-motors-bill-dies-in-texas.html<]rewrite the law died last year[/url<]. Which tells you where Texas's true colors are. Don't believe the marketing hype, if they can't figure out this issue, they clearly aren't as "free market" as they'd like you to believe.

      • dWind
      • 5 years ago

      Lol you do understand what a referendum is and how it works?
      There is the Uk style referendum on Scotlands independence.
      And then there is the referendum under foreign machine guns organized in 1 week after those machine guns move in. This is not referendum this is what we call a military occupation and annexation.
      Sure it was a great military operation but it was not a free and fair referendum.
      Grant you if Crimea would have had a chance for a free and fair referendum they might have said yes .. 52% is ethnically russian after all (thats very iffy IMHO), but that does not matter because that did not happen. What did happen under international law is a military takeover.

      Then there’s also the little paper thingie called [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Memorandum_on_Security_Assurances[/url<].

        • puppetworx
        • 5 years ago

        Russia acted with a semblance of legitimacy, at least give them that. The 25’000 troops came from the units they legally had stationed at the naval base in the region. There was no evidence of those troops engaging civilians nor was there any visible protest to those troops roaming the streets (unlike the protests we’ve seen in Eastern Ukraine when Ukrainian troops showed up). They disarmed the majority of the Ukrainian military in the region via peaceful methods, with very little resistance. We haven’t seen any civil unrest from there since the referendum.

        Compare that with the violence and protests still ongoing seen in other parts of Ukraine, including Kiev.

        It shouldn’t be a surprise that Crimeans were happy to join Russia. Crimeans, just like those in Eastern Ukraine, were major supporters of the Party of Regions of which Yanukovich was head. They obviously wanted closer ties with Russia.

        It may not have been strictly legal, but it certainly was what most Crimeans wanted – that’s a far better standard.

          • dWind
          • 5 years ago

          “Russia acted with a semblance of legitimacy”
          WTF are you talking about. Yes it was a neat little operation those little green men with no insignias carried out, but there was nothing LEGITIMATE about it. Legitimacy does not stem from how good your spec forces are.
          “Compare that with the violence and protests still ongoing seen in other parts of Ukraine, including Kiev.” WTF is wrong with you – do you realize you are comparing special forces with unarmed protesters? The ones that are being picked of by snipers? Or are you referring to the pro-russian thugs.

          And finally i will repeat myself – LEGITIMATE referendums are not carried out under machineguns with as little as 1 week notice. That may be that majority wanted to join russia (~120% of crimea population voted in that referendum /facepalm) but that is completely irrelevant since it was conducted under armed military occupation and there fore illegitimate. Its a honest to god anexatioon.

      • sschaem
      • 5 years ago

      What if bunch of town near the German border, in France, Poland or Czech republic voted to join Germany, and germany is ok with it , should the border of those country be redefined just because the people in those town decided so? Of course not.. what happen to Crimea is a farce.

      So no, It wasn’t Crimea, under Russian military control at the time, that was supposed to vote. But the entire country of Ukraine & Russia, under stable conditions to accept this redefinition of country borders.
      This also has huge military implication, as Crimea is a naval strategic point… Most of it supported by the entirety of the Ukraine population and is now under Russian control.

      BTW, the crook that was in control of Ukraine was in Puttin’s pocket… When he was discovered, what was the first place he went to? to Daddy Puttin.

    • hasseb64
    • 5 years ago

    Many good constructive opions here.
    Many weeks after the crisis begun I was thinking what is the DRIVER?? And yes it came!!!
    Out goes Russian gas, in comes LIQUID GAS, you know from were
    That and the other normal drivers such as global economy ala New York, war machinery, demolition/rebuild economics, must have “world bad guys politics”

    • Deanjo
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]I think there's little doubt that NATO would prevail if it were to intervene militarily.[/quote<] Only fools would think that. Without going full scale nuclear war, Russia is simply too large in both land mass and population to even think that they can control the Bear, logistically it is nearly impossible. Both the Nazi's and Napoleon learned that lesson the hard way. The US and allies had a hard enough time corralling Iraq despite superior firepower, technology and military force and that was with a population and land mass far smaller to deal with than they would face with Russia.

      • Suspenders
      • 5 years ago

      Agreed. The idea is utterly laughable, but I fear how widespread this sentiment is among our foreign policy establishment.

        • Deanjo
        • 5 years ago

        I’m just waiting for the Russians to announce that the US can no longer catch a ride to the ISS and make it a Russian space station.

          • BIF
          • 5 years ago

          They’ve already alluded to this. The space shuttle program should not have been ended without first implementing a proper replacement.

            • Deanjo
            • 5 years ago

            You can thank Obama for that.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 5 years ago

            And Benghazi.

          • Suspenders
          • 5 years ago

          Hahaha, I’m waiting for that also. The hubris of the US, thinking they can just bitch slap Russia around is breathtaking to behold.

      • ryan345
      • 5 years ago

      It sounds like you’re arguing that NATO would have a tough time invading and conquering Russia… which I don’t think anyone has suggested. I assume the intervention of choice would be to try assist the Ukraine government to re-take and hold Ukraine.

        • Deanjo
        • 5 years ago

        Even with that they would have a very hard time with. We are not talking about a country that is stuck in the 1950’s technology wise. It is not like the Russians have to move their forces 1/2 way across the world. Their home turf is just a hop skip and a jump from Ukraine.

          • Airmantharp
          • 5 years ago

          It’s not like US/NATO forces have to move around the world either- and the US/NATO could easily subdue Russian forces in Ukraine should the need arise. Russia isn’t 50 years behind the ‘West’, but they aren’t up to date either.

    • Suspenders
    • 5 years ago

    After all the crap we were fed during the run-up to Iraq, one would have hoped that folks would be a lot more skeptical of their lying medias and lying governments.

    A forlorn hope, it would seem.

      • Airmantharp
      • 5 years ago

      All the ‘crap’ we were fed up to the Iraq war was true at the time, including the fact that we really didn’t have a grasp on what we’d need to do to keep the country stable once we got there.

      • entropy13
      • 5 years ago

      All that “crap” is true, except the WMDs.

      And simply because there weren’t any nuclear weapons found in Iraqi hands doesn’t mean that suddenly there is no Sunni-Shiite divide in the country, there is no significant Kurdistan minority in the north (although right now Iraqi Kurdistan is the most peaceful area in Iraq…while Turkish Kurdistan is one with the fighting going on) struggling against Saddam’s regime, Saddam isn’t a dictator…

      Although of course, if you say that [b<]all[/b<] that crap are lies, then you can equally say that the following statement is [b<]all[/b<] full of lies: 1+1 = 3, the color red is present in the French flag, salt is NaCl, the Earth has one moon, the current pope is Pope Francis, and New York is the capital of the USA.

        • Airmantharp
        • 5 years ago

        There were plenty of chemical weapons, that were moved out of the country- and those were the ‘WMDs’. It’s a broad term, also incorporating biological weapons, like NBC does.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 5 years ago

      I don’t see any reason in this case to seriously question the “mainstream western” description of events.

    • Ushio01
    • 5 years ago

    “I’ve been keeping track of the situation in Ukraine since the start of the Euromaidan protests last November.”

    Protests? call it what is was an western backed illegal coup against the democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych because he didn’t bow down to the western governments.

    The protests were in basically Kiev and a few of the larger cities only the majority of the population who do not live in the capital did not support this coup which is why it’s escalated.

    The people of the Ukraine are currently ruled by a western backed dictatorship.

    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    Eastern Europe has never been stable, not for as long as I’ve been old enough to learn the constantly-shifting borders and country-names.

    There are two regions that are always unstable: The first is to the right of the Poland-Greece line via either the Ukraine or sea border. It’s all a mess and it’s always in the news for rebellion, corruption, civil war and general petty infighting that should have died out in the civilised world.

    The second is a region that is shouldered between the top of Italy and Greece, places like Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Albania. These aren’t in the news as much anymore but this conflict was (just like Israel/Syria a religious spat between muslim/non-muslim communities getting all fighty and thinking that killing off the “other” religion will do the trick.

    As you can probably tell, I’m atheist and from an atheist perspective almost all major wars to date are based on religion, where people get riled enough to throw out reason/logic and kill for a belief. I don’t think the polical instability around the Crimean conflict is driven by religion. Sure, the Euromaidan movement is muti-ethnic, but it’s not religion causing the violence, it’s people rebelling against non-elected government and fighting for a better quality of life.

    Disclaimer:
    This topic is obviosly R&P since all wars are based on one or both of those things. Can we please leave which (if any) religion you support out of it.

    • joyzbuzz
    • 5 years ago

    The United States has become the embodiment of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse leaving wide spectrum poison and destruction in it’s wake as it drives to create a worldwide financial and military hegemony. One can only hope that drive is finally broken on the rack of an Ukrainian overreach.

      • joyzbuzz
      • 5 years ago

      Immediately after installment of a puppet government were reports of Ukraine’s gold being shipped to New York for ‘safe keeping’. The Ukraine can kiss that goodbye.

      • Suspenders
      • 5 years ago

      It might be, if the BRIC countries get serious about dethroning the US dollar as global reserve currency. [url<]http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_04_04/Russia-prepares-to-attack-the-petrodollar-2335/[/url<] That's the only thing that would break the back of the modern economic system, outside of outright war or environmental collapse.

        • joyzbuzz
        • 5 years ago

        Appears to me the BRICS are sufficiently serious, and sufficiently positioned, to take the U.S. dollar down within five years.

        China is stockpiling Renminbi reserves around the world, will soon have sufficient gold stockpiled to fully back it up as a reserve currency and either has, or shortly will, replace the U.S. as the worlds largest economy. There’s been a massive flow of gold bullion from the west to the east.

        The demise of the U.S. dollar as pre-eminent reserve currency is much closer than it appears in the rear view mirror.

        The American people will shortly be finding out why that extensive legal loop holed orwelllian police state structure has been constructed.

      • sweatshopking
      • 5 years ago

      DON’T FORGET IT’S RUN BY LIZARD PEOPLE

        • joyzbuzz
        • 5 years ago

        … … ☞ Benghazi squirrel ☞ !!!

    • credible
    • 5 years ago

    I have been saying this for a little bit now, before this crisis and it had more to do with the growing partnership between Russia and China as evidenced by the huge oil deal, nvm how China acts on the world stage, Russia has seen how China gets away with it and now they to are pulling the same crap.

    It sure does not help to have the worlds only superpower being led by a pacifist.

    Much more to say on the topic but I have sick feeling in my gut that it is coming and that is WW#, it will pit Canada, Britain, USA and many many other western countries against a revitalized Russia, ty to China’s investment, along with China and I would not be the least bit surprised to see a million man army from North Korea involved as well.

    • My Johnson
    • 5 years ago

    Wat? Wake me when someone invades Kansas. Otherwise it’s crazy talk.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 5 years ago

      [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Rocket_Forces[/url<] That's all the Russian invasion force that you'll see in Kansas.

    • yogibbear
    • 5 years ago

    No. Never ‘pumped’ for any wars anywhere, at anytime for any reason. It will always result in tragedy affecting someone. Sure there might be some very good reasons for going to war, but I would hope that this is the very last option considered and that it is only executed when done for the right reasons and in an attempt to minimise the tragedies affecting people, rather than proliferate them.

    • albundy
    • 5 years ago

    dangit, firefox changed it’s look again in the 29 update.

    • albundy
    • 5 years ago

    hah, i really am pumped! our world leaders are complete and utter dip$hits. it’s inevitable that they will eventually destroy this world…not like it holds any shock value these days. If there is a dubya dubya tres, I’ll probably sneak on the next shuttle flight to some space station before the $hit hits the fan and live up there for a little bit. ya’ll can blow yourselves up for all i care. dont worry, when everyone is gone, I’ll post a picture of some flowers (not the expensive kind, cuz that would be rude) on my facebook page from space. happy warring!

    • JohnC
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<] What do you guys think? [/quote<] Well, if you really want to know... Reading a highly uninformed Western audience's comments (including yours) is always amusing, same goes for a mass online (as well as in ALL of Russian-sourced news agencies, online or offline) propaganda campaign started by Russian government... The latter is perhaps less amusing and becoming more annoying since ALL of the popular Russian language "entertainment" sites (like yaplakal.ru) are overfilled with this garbage to the point of being almost repulsive to read, same goes for their news sources, especially on TV. And now YOU posted this garbage "bait" topic which already attracted comments from both of these type of people... You REALLY have no other, less depressing and less inflammatory topic to discuss??? This is still a "PC Hardware Explored" site, right?

    • marvelous
    • 5 years ago

    US and Nato playing a game. Russia is not.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 5 years ago

      Dunno, I think the west would rather not be playing this one. There is/was enough to do with Syria and Iran, if western leaders were so inclined.

        • Ninjitsu
        • 5 years ago

        Western leaders have a history of playing games without the actual capability to win or finish them.

          • Airmantharp
          • 5 years ago

          They’ve had the capability, not the will- at least on the face of the conflicts, i.e. Korea and Vietnam. They chose not to win the smaller conflicts, lest they prod other superpowers into instigating a larger conflict that every side would lose.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 5 years ago

          These western leaders have the inconvenience of [i<]voters[/i<] who want to live comfortable lives, not give up everything for some war.

    • puppetworx
    • 5 years ago

    [quote=”Cyril”<]pumped for World War III[/quote<] [url=http://www.newsweek.com/2014/04/18/cold-war-russia-vulnerable-energy-248103.html<]I see what you did there.[/url<] Gas seems to play a big role in this East-West tug of war over Ukraine. We're not going to see war, Russia is too smart and cautious for that. America and NATO are trying to puff themselves up to scare off The Bear after being caught with their pants down over Crimea. It seems like everyone saw that coming except our leaders and frankly that makes them look bad. The propaganda machines on both sides are running full speed and I find it pretty amusing to watch. I feel bad for Ukrainians though, their country is bankrupt and things are only going to get worse for them. The West is desperately trying to blame the internal problems of Ukraine on Russia, the Western public will buy it but anyone with the slightest idea about Ukraine's history, cultures, peoples and current economy knows that it's a stretch to say Russia is causing all of the disruption. The country is Balkanizing down religious, ethnic and linguistic divides, that will only increase as the quality of living drops and the national government becomes ever more impotent. The coup government failed to quell secession in Crimea, it's failing in the East Ukraine and now the West also. Russia will wait for it's moment and pick up the scraps of Ukraine's implosion. They don't need to their own boots on the ground to maintain quasi-dominion as they've proven in Transnistria, South Ossetia and Abkhazia - where Russian people live outside of it's borders due to the hasty breakup of the Soviet Union. Watching the Western media these last few months has shown me how much Western governments rely on people's ignorance about the world. Democracy strikes again.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Watching the Western media these last few months has shown me how much Western governments rely on people's ignorance about the world. Democracy strikes again.[/quote<] I'll be interested to hear you name a country where there is not massive ignorance.

        • puppetworx
        • 5 years ago

        There isn’t one. My point is that democratic governments are leaning on the ignorance of the masses rather than educating them, because it suits their cause. That type of behavior has led to some pretty despicable things happening in the past. In my opinion, democracy can’t really be held in such high regard when it resorts to a reliance on ignorance.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 5 years ago

          [quote<]In my opinion, democracy can't really be held in such high regard when it resorts to a reliance on ignorance.[/quote<] I would argue that most people prefer to be ignorant of most things. Daily life is busy enough when the only objective is to jockey for status in society.

            • puppetworx
            • 5 years ago

            [quote<]I would argue that most people prefer to be ignorant of most things. Daily life is busy enough when the only objective is to jockey for status in society.[/quote<] I'm not saying that people aren't part of the problem, but they at least aspire to be enlightened and to live in a system where they aren't constantly being deceived, even if they behave rather (in)differently. Few people want to go to war based on a deceit for example, though it happens rather frequently. I don't consider democracy to be the be all and end all. It's got problems and they need to be pointed out when they crop up if humanity is ever going to grow up.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 5 years ago

            [quote<]I don't consider democracy to be the be all and end all. It's got problems and they need to be pointed out when they crop up if humanity is ever going to grow up.[/quote<] I rather like what I've heard about the Swiss system. Sounds like it can keep people paying attention.

    • CMF04k
    • 5 years ago

    Forget the Ukraine or Russia. My money is on Beijing to do something incredibly stupid! If fact I’m hoping they do. They need a lesson in humility. These are the same folks we helped out during the second world war only for them to turn around and murder not only thy’re own civilians, but those in Tibet. I have however noticed that it is fashionable to ignore such deeds from China, and praise them instead. The Ukraine will survive, But those under China’a radar will not.

      • NovusBogus
      • 5 years ago

      America is too addicted to cheap Chinese goods to do anything. Of course, since communism has proven itself an economic black hole wholly incapable of sustaining itself, Beijing can’t survive without rich decadent gwailo so any move they’d make would be very measured and cautious.

        • Bensam123
        • 5 years ago

        China is too addicted to Americas money to do anything stupid.

        • Kaleid
        • 5 years ago

        Communism has never on paper been nationalistic, in fact, it’s the opposite.

        And as Orwell pointed out, USSR turned down Marxism quite quickly, and it was really no different from other places in which the ruling class had no interest in liberating anyone.

      • Crackhead Johny
      • 5 years ago

      China plays the long game. They are not interested in world conquest. As the old Chinese saying goes “Invade us if you want, in 2 generations you will be us.”. It is stupid that we keep trying to puff them up into a threat so we can be scared.

      We have a fire hose of cash pointed at them. Do you think they want that to stop?

      China is a wish machine and the US will not give that up. You want high tech mountain bikes and laptops? China can do that. You want insanely cheap Walmart junk, China can do that instead.

      Once they have all the money we will give them and all the jobs that we will outsource to them, then they will simply become us.

        • CMF04k
        • 5 years ago

        Then perhaps people just haven’t been paying attention lately. All the claims they have been making on territory that does not belong to them (And no. I’m not just talking about some tiny islands.) Attempting to expand it’s ADIZ, and not to mention pissing and moaning every damn time someone in japan visits a shrine. A SHRINE!

        Here’s a clue. No one comes over to they’re country telling them how, and when to do things. So who the hell are they to say anything to anyone especially in the morality department? I think they are bold enough to try. Win or lose.

    • wierdo
    • 5 years ago

    Russia is a major nuclear superpower, it’s not about tanks and planes anymore, it’s about nuclear holocausts, that’s why wars between world powers are done in proxy. I doubt this will start WWIII, but a cold war may be likely.

    • NeoForever
    • 5 years ago

    As long as Dice and Activision get some inspiration for their next game…

    • dragontamer5788
    • 5 years ago

    The US and NATO cannot intervene in Ukraine. Look at cappa84’s posts, his opinion reflects the general opinion of the locale. IMO, he’s crazy, but represents the thoughts of Eastern-Europeans that I’ve talked to online. (State-backed newspapers. Lulz. As if the CIA want the Washington Post to release Snowden’s documents…)

    Nevertheless, you must listen and understand their perspective. They believe in US-led conspiracies against their countries (which historically, isn’t too far off the truth anyway). Any military action on behalf of NATO or the US will be seen as the US extending its influence into the Ukraine. Sanctions are the most we can do without drawing too much criticism from the area… and even those draw strong criticism from the locals.

    There is no “war to be won” in the Ukraine. We will cede Ukraine to the Russians without a fight, although we’ll use sanctions to show Russia that we still sorta-care about their actions. Anyway, Putin chose this path because it was a good move for his country, and little repercussions would occur after the fact.

    Besides, the Russian claim to Crimea is about military bases. Russia has a very strong need to keep Crimea stable and under their control, and they clearly believe that the current Ukraine government is too weak for that. There is a tinge of legitimacy here, although the Russian actions are a bit heavy handed.

    The US is drawing the line at Poland: the old border of the USSR. But without popular support, it will be impossible for the US or NATO to really enter Ukraine. (especially because the goal would be to stabilize Ukraine. Any intervention however, would appear to be a US-backed coup by people like cappa84).

      • windwalker
      • 5 years ago

      He’s not crazy, he’s just indoctrinated by the other side, a mirror image of yourself.
      You both sound fairly reasonable and as well informed as can be expected.

      Trying to argue about “who is right” will only prolong the tension and uncertainty that can bring up escalation.
      Both sides are right and wrong but that is completely irrelevant anyway.
      The realities on the ground must come first over the whims and wishes of the two sides.
      War is just too expensive for everyone involved and the people of Ukraine, regardless of their ethnicity, have the most to lose.

        • dragontamer5788
        • 5 years ago

        The difference between him and me is that I don’t presume to create conspiracies out of the Russian Government. There is an [b<]obvious[/b<] military need for Russia to invade Crimea. Where as his opinion assume a cross-media / government conspiracy happening within the USA, mine only requires a basic understanding of the US's Foreign Policy. Besides, the US and Russia have cooperated in Afghanistan. Both sides have shown a strong interest in stabilizing the region, and the US has even borrowed Russian space for supplies (ie: the Northern Distribution Network). This isn't the Cold War anymore, the US and Russia have pressing need to cooperate militarily in Afghanistan. The fact of the matter is, the Russian-owned [url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/national-security/a-logistics-miracle/2011/07/02/AGZDwnvH_graphic.html<]Northern Distribution Network[/url<] remains open for the US. The real reason why things are complicated, is because the US and Russia are cooperating with each other. Obama cannot risk losing the Northern Distribution Network... and the Ukraine really is not worth much to NATO / US.

          • windwalker
          • 5 years ago

          The conspiracy part does make him sound more loony but that is just a small detail he does not understand.

          As an outside observer, he notices the tone and content of the media discourse and assumes a similar straight and direct connection that exists between state and media in other countries.
          He knows that it can’t be outright subordination so he assumes a straightforward but hidden partnership.

          We know how the media works and why it reacts as it does but it is interesting to note that sometimes the end results are hardly distinguishable from those a subordinated media would produce.

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      What also interests me in this is what it all means to Finland. As a self-proclaimed policy expert, do you think I should be worried?

      P.S. I found and interesting bug. I was writing the second sentence above, and the word “you” was on the right edge of first line in the text window (so the word “think” would appear on the next line). However, regardless of how many times I pressed the space bar after typing “you”, the webpage/browser/OS wouldn’t accept a space between “you” and “think”. As soon as I started writing “think”, I got “youthink” on the next line.

      The only way to.get around this was to let the phone type “youthink” and after that insert a space in between “u” and “t”. Have you guys noticed this before? Android on GS3, default android browser, basic android keyboard

        • dragontamer5788
        • 5 years ago

        [quote<]What also interests me in this is what it all means to Finland. As a self-proclaimed policy expert, do you think I should be worried?[/quote<] Ironic, because most of what I know about foreign policy in the region is due to debate and discussion (on another forum) with a pretty smart Finnish dude. I'd say you guys are the experts in the area :-p. Its hard to be a real expert when I'm half-a-world away from the situation. My understanding of the issue, is that this was an opportunistic grab by Russia. The Crimea peninsula has strong pro-Russian support, and the greater country of Ukraine was on a quick-path to civil war. (and now has finally destabilized... Civil War is truly beginning). The history of Crimea and the Ukraine (in particular, the annexation of the Ukraine into the USSR), keep a strong connection of the Ukrainians and the Russians together. In contrast, Finland was always a neutral country between NATO/US and Warsaw / USSR. It will not be easy for Russia to invade Finland. Again, compare the Ukrainian situation with Finland. Finland is very stable, has no historical connection to the USSR or Warsaw Pact, and doesn't have a giant navy base that the Russians are interested in protecting. Just as NATO troops cannot really enter the Ukraine without causing a major international crisis... Russian troops cannot really enter Finland without causing a major international crisis.

          • NeelyCam
          • 5 years ago

          Hmm…

          [quote<]Ironic, because most of what I know about foreign policy in the region is due to debate and discussion (on another forum) with a pretty smart Finnish dude.[/quote<] Can you tell me if he thinks I should be worried...? [quote<]Finland is very stable, has no historical connection to the USSR or Warsaw Pact,[/quote<] Stable now, yes, but plenty of historical connection to Russia, including the civil war of early 20th century, and the whole thing about being part of Russia in the past. Even after the 2nd World War (which included the wars between Finland and USSR), there were plenty of Russia/USSR 'sympathizers' - most of that was driven underground after the war, though. But even in the 80's they still had meetings and such (which I know about only because my father was part of the movement). Mm... maybe that's why I'm such a socialist creep? Because it's in the genes? EDIT: Wait - someone's knocking on my door. Let me go see who it is..

          • dWind
          • 5 years ago

          Not really ‘on a quickpath to civil war’ ( though russia is definetly trying to make it seem that way). its just that there was no functioning goverment. Janucovitch fled to russia and therefore the Maidan guys were trying to form some sort of temporary goverment that needed time to reestablish control over greater country.

        • NovusBogus
        • 5 years ago

        I’d be worried if I was you, given that as you note Russia has invaded Finland before and Putin isn’t stupid enough to execute all the good officers. That being said, Finland isn’t nearly as hoplophobic as most of Europe so the specter of a massive insurgency will likely drive the bear toward softer targets for the time being. If it was me I’d pick off some of the smaller SSRs while continuing to stick the NATO whale full of Arabian harpoons and give Finland and Poland an ultimatum once the Eurozone collapses.

      • dWind
      • 5 years ago

      cappa84 is not the norm. He is a crazy indoctrinated MOFO and he is LOUD. But take it from me at least people in my circles are joking about russian propoganda 😉 Apparently we are all neo nazis that sent ‘specialy trained forces’ to maidan square 🙂 we are also apparently all russians, we just dont want to admit it.
      Ah yes also the jokes about little green men and the peacefull protesters in eastern ukraine that dont carry assault rifles, dont take hostages and dont shoot down military helicopters – those are rather popular also.
      Though there is a large portion that say that we should keep our heads down and dont attract russian ire. Or the older generation is scared that this will become another WW (they did not like WW2 apparently).
      Because we are in nato we dont really fear an imminent russian invasion but they sure can fuck us up economically … thou on the other hand they had been constantly harrasing our buisnesses for quite some time to the point that there is an offical request to remove Russia from internation TIR system. So it cant get that much worse.

    • Derfer
    • 5 years ago

    You mean Cold War II

      • Krogoth
      • 5 years ago

      It is setting the second act of the resource wars. The opening act was USA hegemony trying to reassert its influence in Middle East via “War on Terror” campaign. The world is starting to run of the “easy” hydrocarbons and demand continues to escalate.

      I’ll not be surprised if things start to go warm/hot in the 2020s….

    • Krogoth
    • 5 years ago

    Begun the resource war has…..

    This is all about EU and Russia trying to secure access to their remaining hydrocarbon deposits. Russian is trying to get the upper hand in this affair.

    It also the death knell of USA’s post-WWII hegemony. The previous decade from “War of Terror” has stretch USA’s military resources thin and morale is down the toilet. Domestic USA economic is still weak and vundernale to another bubble bursting (it is likely the college loan bubble this time around).

    • Laykun
    • 5 years ago

    From my far far away point of view this seems like an old Russia still coming to surface. As I understand it the regions they are taking back are strategic in putting a buffer zone between them and the EU as an insurance policy. But the need for an insurance policy against your neighbours just shows how bad the relations are in the first place, probably a result of Russia’s paranoid old leadership and their reputation as a nation from the 80’s. From my point of view it also goes to show how unwilling, or how little work the west has put into integrating Russia into western society as a whole.

    I imagine that once they have the Ukraine back in their grasp they’ll stop there. The Ukraine is a mater of pride, fixing past mistakes and providing protection to the nation, I just hope the west doesn’t over-react to the situation.

    I may be completely utterly wrong because I don’t really follow European politics and I only get bits of information from here and there. That’s what I get from being on the opposite side of the world.

    BTW I’m not Russian and I am a westerner.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]From my point of view it also goes to show how unwilling, or how little work the west has put into integrating Russia into western society as a whole. [/quote<] [i<]Wait...[/i<] the western world has to work on integrating a huge and powerful country full of smart people with good educations? They even have oil wealth, what else could they need? Perhaps Russia needed western help to achieve [i<]regime change[/i<].

        • Laykun
        • 5 years ago

        It’s called friendship and making another country feel welcome and not hostile. They might have a wealth of resources and smart people but they’re not exactly rich. If foreign policy is always conducted by keeping all nations at arms length then you just breed hostility, paranoia and fear. If you try to change their way of thinking then you just get the same results.

        What else do they need? They need to feel like they live in the same world as us, that there is a partnership with other countries that actually holds some value. When it comes to Russian foreign policy, do you really think they respect their relations with other nations? No, because nobody worked to keep those relations worthwhile or respectable. When it comes to all the variables that influenced Russia into invading the Ukraine, foreign relations would have been one of them, and by the looks of what happened it seems they really just don’t care and feel like they don’t carry any weight and are thus expendable.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 5 years ago

          [quote<]It's called friendship and making another country feel welcome and not hostile.[/quote<] If the country wasn't a corrupt mafia state they might find it works out better with the west. Failing that, they can be useful. If they are neither similar nor useful, I can't see any reason for [i<]warm fuzzy feelings[/i<] and I would not support any politician that felt that way.

      • peaceandflowers
      • 5 years ago

      Well, to be fair, Russia has quite a number of things to be paranoid about. First and foremost, NATO promised to keep a buffer zone between it and Russia – a promise broken, as they allowed more and more countries to join, up to the point that they nowshare a border with Russia. Secondly, the missile shield is getting up their nerves – if Russia would lose part of its deterrence whereas the west would keep theirs (in their view, at least), leading them to feel insecure.

      Finally, it’s no secret that US neoconservatives have been meddling with Ukrainian politics for some years now, Ukraine being one of the countries left that used to be in Russia’s sphere of influence. Here’s a good artivle on that: [url<]http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/03/reckless-kiev-neocons-putin-ukr-201431053846277945.html[/url<] So, from Russia's point of view, NATO (or more specifically, the US) actually has been steadily deteriorating Russia's power for years now. The coup in Ukraine (again their view, but it can be argued for) was probably the point where they figured that soft power just doesn't cut it, and they felt like they had to make a stand. In all I can understand Russia's point of view - though it does come with the notion that Russia probably felt that US had no right to influence eastern European countries. I'm not sure if that's true, but I do wonder why the US would want that. To me it feels like neoconservatives are on a bit of a cruisade, to expand US influence as much as possible. With this it seems the interests of the countries they operate in only play a secondary role at best, which feels wry. That said, the same would go for Russian influence. Finally I should note that, due to this view of NATO expanding more and more, other "powers" be damned, Russia doesn't want to be integrated in western society one bit. In fact, they seem to pride themselves in being free from US / western influence, in sharp contrast to pretty much all of Europe, which I presume they view as the US' puppets. While I don't see it being that extreme obviously, the US is rather all over the place here (we get news from US agencies, for example, and there's lobbying regarding weapons purchases and so on) - to the delight of some, to the dismay of others. I guess what they want is to be left alone and to be given some space, which the west doesn't quite seem to offer.

    • Buzzard44
    • 5 years ago

    I think the most interesting thing here is the ratio of net upvoted to net downvoted comments on this article.

    Generally I’d say tech-centric articles on TR have a vastly positive net vote, with the exception of a few of the usual suspects and trolls. We venture onto this topic, and I see much more red than green…

    I bet the TR guys could generate some interesting data by doing some database queries and analyzing which topics are most favorable to discuss, and which ones are least favorable. Perhaps this data could be used to develop relations…

    Of course, I’m sure there’s tons of researchers who already do this, but it’d still be cool to crunch the TR-specific numbers.

    • Kougar
    • 5 years ago

    Given how the political support is playing out, I still don’t see the US or NATO deciding to engage in any kind of direct war against Russia.

    In 2008 when Russia/Putin sent tanks into Georgia to claim the separatist region of that country and fold it back into Russia, they got away with it. I’m sure that only emboldened Putin to go after what he really wanted, and given current European politics it seems like there isn’t strong enough unilateral support against direct action this time around either. Even Pres Obama specifically said the US won’t target Putin directly with any sort of sanctions, only the people networked with him.

    I’m a little surprised China doesn’t appear to be taking a stronger role in what is going on however. For such a major geopolitical issue in their back yard I’d think they would want to exert their considerable influence to attempt to stabilize the situation… That they are not doing so worries me a little, are they watching Russia’s slow invasion of Ukraine to see how it will play out? Because if Russia gets away with stealing parts or most of Ukraine, then China could decide to adopt similar, or at least much more aggressive tactics against Taiwan… a country they have always maintained to be still be “theirs”, or a part of China.

    I’d pose a question back, is it possible recent events could be giving China similar ideas they would act on? Because if NATO did intervene militarily, it certainly couldn’t even pretend it could handle two conflicts at once, let alone China’s military by itself if they went after Taiwan at the same time.

      • StuffMaster
      • 5 years ago

      What’s funny is that China will insist on non-intervention for everything, saying that countries’ internal affairs should be left alone, no matter what’s going on. Except when Russia is doing the invading.

      • windwalker
      • 5 years ago

      If you think Ukraine is in China’s back yard you need a geography lesson.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 5 years ago

    When I need a good laugh I come directly to FNTs to listen to the resident Geopolitical experts and the other various experts on everything. Thanks for the entertainment, fellas.

    • anotherengineer
    • 5 years ago

    “Friday night topic: Are y’all pumped for World War III?”

    Nah……..

    I’m pumped for the Canadian NDP non confidence vote against Ontario’s provincial Liberals, and a possible upcoming vote this summer. I would like to see them get crushed even worse than the Federal Liberals did with Michael Ignatieff.

    • entropy13
    • 5 years ago

    And with the clashes in Odessa, that’s two of the top 3 biggest cities becoming…”unsafe”, to put it mildly.

    Kiev itself is still safe, and apparently the 4th biggest is safe too, Dnipropetrovsk, situated along the major geographical feature that essentially splits the country.

    • NovusBogus
    • 5 years ago

    Don’t be silly, Obama isn’t going to do anything. He’ll wag his finger and pout like a frustrated professor, but he lacks the force of will to actually do something about it when the world isn’t following his lectures. As the EU loves to flaunt at every opportunity, it spends its money on socialism instead of military hardware so it couldn’t do something even if it desperately had to. And master troll Putin knows all this, which is why he moved on Ukraine in the first place.

    • entropy13
    • 5 years ago

    And now I will be channeling the spirits that have…descended upon some of the other posters.

    A lot of casualties in Odessa between NATO puppet forces (Kiev gov’t) and “Pro-Russian” militias that are actually also NATO puppet forces. This is a sign that NATO is not able to do what it really wants to do, because Odessa is decidedly in the “Ukrainian heartlands” and is one of the three major cities of the country, the other two being Kiev (the capital) and the major city of the east which is Donetsk.

    Oh well seriously I fail at this “channeling” thing.

    Anyway, there were casualties in Odessa between Ukrainian forces and Pro-Russian militias, some of which are equipped with modern and high-tech weaponry that are of Russian-manufacture…

    And still unconfirmed, but the “local” Pro-Russian militias seem to have Russian/Transnistrian passports only…

    • Meadows
    • 5 years ago

    Putin has no idea how far he can go but he has balls, while his polar opposite, Kim Jong-Un knows just how far he can go and has no balls to speak of.

    If only these two boys would unite, they could create one big glorious red country that doesn’t act like an idiot, diplomatically speaking.

    • mcnabney
    • 5 years ago

    The fact that the Right in the US sides with Putin on almost everything is fairly telling. The simple fact of the matter is that the US and NATO have no treaties with Ukraine. We might help them get some loans, but we aren’t sending in troops. All that is going to happen is that the other SSRs are going to run screaming into the arms of the West and the Ukraine will turn into Chechnya 2. A Republican president wouldn’t do anything different. This is far more of a European mess anyway.

      • FightingScallion
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]The simple fact of the matter is that the US and NATO have no treaties with Ukraine.[/quote<] Not a treaty, but a decent agreement. As does Russia. [url<]http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ukraine._Memorandum_on_Security_Assurances[/url<] But, hey...who needs to worry about that?

    • blastdoor
    • 5 years ago

    The Russians are like the Centauri, but without the shadows backing them.

    There will be no war. Russia will just wither and die. The west just needs to be patient.

      • Delphis
      • 5 years ago

      That would explain the accents ..

      • Krogoth
      • 5 years ago

      *nitpick, 21st Century USA = Centauri Republic in B5 franchise. 😉

      Russian Federation = Narm Regime (pre-Shadow War).

    • south side sammy
    • 5 years ago

    question 1 for Obama……….. how’s it feel to have the shoe on the other foot?

    and 2, does anybody find it a bit odd that a very short time after Obama said he was going to cut defense spending Russia goes and pulls this?……………. gotta follow the $$$$.

    the only thing that matters is gas, oil and the defense industry. $$$$$

      • Meadows
      • 5 years ago

      Don’t worry about US spending.

      Last I read (before any recent cuts), the US military spending was literally an order of magnitude greater than that of the rest of the world combined. One could easily argue that that’s… paranoid.

        • bthylafh
        • 5 years ago

        The losing candidate in the last presidential election argued for increasing the size of our military yet more, and he had a lot of supporters for that idea. The USA has a lot of crazy to go around.

        • just brew it!
        • 5 years ago

        According to [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures<]this Wikipedia article[/url<] the US is indeed the top military spender, but nowhere near "an order of magnitude greater than the rest of the world combined". More like 37% of the global total. Which is still a *lot*.

          • Meadows
          • 5 years ago

          Those numbers look more reasonable. Still, one can’t justifiably say that by bringing military expenditures in line with the country’s actual needs, national security would suffer in any term.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 5 years ago

            ‘The country’s actual needs’ are to assert either stability if you want to look at it optimistically, or threat of force if you want to be cynical, in order to further U.S. economic interests. The U.S. military is just the last and most overt tool that advances U.S. capitalist agendas throughout the world. (I know this sounds like a bunch of demagoguery, but at face value it’s basically true.)

            • Meadows
            • 5 years ago

            Sure, but judging by the ever increasing debt ceiling and the general discontentment, the status quo is less than sustainable.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 5 years ago

            Defense spending has shrunk but entitlements have soared much more. The current administration has pushed the national debt to dizzying levels.

        • NovusBogus
        • 5 years ago

        I want to say that the Western world’s response to any security crisis being begging Uncle Sam to bail them out is justification enough, but a lot of military projects are pretty wasteful and do little to enhance our ability to crush the skulls of anyone dumb enough to tempt the eagle’s talons. I could do a lot more with a lot less, of course people like me never get budgeting or strategic authority because we spend all our time solving problems instead of making friends in high places.

      • Kougar
      • 5 years ago

      Oh yeah, because moderate cuts of the still sizable sum of US defense spending is the main, or even partial factor in the decisions of political leaders of the world.

      I’d like to think the successful invasion of Georgia by Russia in 2008 that allowed them to forcibly annex former USSR territory was a big factor.

      Then there was Russia’s direct involvement and support of Syria’s regime, in what is soon to be a protracted 3-year and still ongoing conflict. If the world couldn’t unite to form enough pressure to stop Russia/Syria then, that only went to prove Russia could get away with plenty more. Now they are simply doing so.

        • south side sammy
        • 5 years ago

        Russia/Geogia…………….. you are aware of what WE’ve been doing in the past 20 years alone, right? if you’re going to look you have to look from both angles. And just because you/we might be Americans, you can’t assume that everything OUR government does is right.

          • Kougar
          • 5 years ago

          Who says I do?

          I don’t condone much of US political decisions nor do I see anything in my post about “assuming everything the US government does is right”. That’s a completely different topic to wade into. I certainly don’t condone the invasion of Iraq, the Bay of Pigs incident which created the Cuba we are stuck with today, and certainly not Operation Ajax which created the Iran we all know and love (and might possible, just maybe, explain why they hate us passionately). The cold war era of toppling governments is over and nobody has a right to do it, yet Russia is going to do it again with Ukraine…

          The United States doesn’t have a god given right to meddle in the affairs of the world nor pretend the world is it’s personal sandbox, to build and destroy other people’s castles as they please. But that said there’s a line somewhere where we should start meddling, Syria certainly deserved to have its airspace locked down if nothing else. Dumping oil barrels filled with gas and nails out of helicopters onto helpless civilians kind of crosses the line, we call those incendiary pipe bombs. What Russia is doing in the Ukraine sure as hell crosses the line, it’s an outright invasion right back to the good old cold war era of politics… see something you want and grab it.

        • Suspenders
        • 5 years ago

        You’re deluded.

        Firstly, Georgia was the instigator of the war with Russia. Look it up.

        Secondly, Russia’s involvement with the Syrian goverment is tame compared to Uncle Sam’s outright support of some of the worst Jihadi’s and fanatical terrorists out there.

        hmmm, wait a minute, aren’t we supposed to be fighting global terrorism or some such now? Or are we fighting East Asia again, I forget?

          • Ringofett
          • 5 years ago

          Georgia instigated that war? By doing what, having the audacity to respond to separatists artillery strikes? If a foreign intelligence agent wanted to post nonsense but didn’t care about being completely obvious, they would look just like your posts.

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            Audacity? Don’t you mean insanity? North Korea provokes the South all the time, and yet it hasn’t led to war. Neither did any provocations in the Georgian war. The Georgians picked a fight that they didn’t need to and couldn’t win.

            And as I replied to dWind, the Georgian’s begun the war with a large military attack against South Ossetia, which the Russians then responded to and defeated. OSCE observers, NATO, and western intelligence agencies agree with this assessment of events.

            From Spiegel: [url<]http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/did-saakashvili-lie-the-west-begins-to-doubt-georgian-leader-a-578273.html[/url<] [quote<] As SPIEGEL has learned, NATO had already hazarded a far more definitive conclusion at the time. Its International Military Staff (IMS), which does the preparatory work for the Military Committee, the highest-ranking military body in the alliance, quickly evaluated the existing material. The Military Committee includes officers from all 26 member states....One thing was already clear to the officers at NATO headquarters in Brussels: They thought that the Georgians had started the conflict and that their actions were more calculated than pure self-defense or a response to Russian provocation. In fact, the NATO officers believed that the Georgian attack was a calculated offensive against South Ossetian positions to create the facts on the ground, and they coolly treated the exchanges of fire in the preceding days as minor events. Even more clearly, NATO officials believed, looking back, that by no means could these skirmishes be seen as justification for Georgian war preparations. [/quote<] more [quote<] The details that Western intelligence agencies extracted from their signal intelligence agree with NATO's assessments. According to this intelligence information, the Georgians amassed roughly 12,000 troops on the border with South Ossetia on the morning of Aug. 7. Seventy-five tanks and armored personnel carriers -- a third of the Georgian military's arsenal -- were assembled near Gori. Saakashvili's plan, apparently, was to advance to the Roki Tunnel in a 15-hour blitzkrieg and close the eye of the needle between the northern and southern Caucasus regions, effectively cutting off South Ossetia from Russia. [/quote<] [quote<] .....Russian troops from North Ossetia did not begin marching through the Roki Tunnel until roughly 11 a.m. This sequence of events is now seen as evidence that Moscow did not act offensively, but merely reacted. Additional SS-21s were later moved to the south. The Russians deployed 5,500 troops to Gori and 7,000 to the border between Georgia and its second separatist region, Abkhazia. [/quote<] Then there's the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (which was done at the behest of the European Union), which also agrees on this assessment of who launched the conflict in Georgia: [url<]http://www.ceiig.ch/pdf/IIFFMCG_Volume_I.pdf[/url<] [quote<]The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia, yet it was only the culminating point of a long period of increasing tensions, provocations and incidents. [/quote<] [quote<]Open hostilities began with a large-scale Georgian military operation against the town of Tskhinvali and the surrounding areas, launched in the night of 7 to 8 August 2008. Operations started with a massive Georgian artillery attack. At the very outset of the operation the Commander of the Georgian contingent to the Joint Peacekeeping Forces (JPKF), Brigadier General Mamuka Kurashvili, stated that the operation was aimed at restoring the constitutional order in the territory of South Ossetia. Somewhat later the Georgian side refuted Mamuka Kurashvili’s statement as unauthorised and invoked the countering of an alleged Russian invasion as justification of the operation[/quote<] Ohh, and kudos to your lovely ad-hominem attack. Keep them coming; I take spurious personal attacks as a sign that I'm in the right and you're wrong, since you have nothing better to argue at me with than some piss-poor rhetoric.

          • dWind
          • 5 years ago

          that made me laugh 🙂 Georgia instigated war with Russia? talk about delusional … What planet are you from anyway?
          OK .. Please explain HOW georgia did it? For what purpose?
          Also:
          “Russia’s involvement with the Syrian goverment is tame compared to Uncle Sam’s outright support of some of the worst Jihadi’s and fanatical terrorists out there.”
          again HOW, in what way? russia gives Assad weapons right now … US gave (1 time) syria freedom army or whatever it was called (the protesters and defected army units not the ISIS and simmilar jihadi groups) some comunications equipment and lots of pretty words.

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            I’m from the planet that uses facts to try and come to reasonable conclusions. I hear, though, that it’s a lot more comfy on planet Ideology, but you’d probably know more about that than me.

            The Georgian’s begun the war with a large military attack against South Ossetia, which the Russians then responded to and defeated. OSCE observers, NATO, and western intelligence agencies agree with this assessment of events.

            From Spiegel: [url<]http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/did-saakashvili-lie-the-west-begins-to-doubt-georgian-leader-a-578273.html[/url<] [quote<] As SPIEGEL has learned, NATO had already hazarded a far more definitive conclusion at the time. Its International Military Staff (IMS), which does the preparatory work for the Military Committee, the highest-ranking military body in the alliance, quickly evaluated the existing material. The Military Committee includes officers from all 26 member states....One thing was already clear to the officers at NATO headquarters in Brussels: They thought that the Georgians had started the conflict and that their actions were more calculated than pure self-defense or a response to Russian provocation. In fact, the NATO officers believed that the Georgian attack was a calculated offensive against South Ossetian positions to create the facts on the ground, and they coolly treated the exchanges of fire in the preceding days as minor events. Even more clearly, NATO officials believed, looking back, that by no means could these skirmishes be seen as justification for Georgian war preparations. [/quote<] more [quote<] The details that Western intelligence agencies extracted from their signal intelligence agree with NATO's assessments. According to this intelligence information, the Georgians amassed roughly 12,000 troops on the border with South Ossetia on the morning of Aug. 7. Seventy-five tanks and armored personnel carriers -- a third of the Georgian military's arsenal -- were assembled near Gori. Saakashvili's plan, apparently, was to advance to the Roki Tunnel in a 15-hour blitzkrieg and close the eye of the needle between the northern and southern Caucasus regions, effectively cutting off South Ossetia from Russia. [/quote<] [quote<] .....Russian troops from North Ossetia did not begin marching through the Roki Tunnel until roughly 11 a.m. This sequence of events is now seen as evidence that Moscow did not act offensively, but merely reacted. Additional SS-21s were later moved to the south. The Russians deployed 5,500 troops to Gori and 7,000 to the border between Georgia and its second separatist region, Abkhazia. [/quote<] Then there's the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (which was done at the behest of the European Union), which also agrees on this assessment of who launched the conflict in Georgia: [url<]http://www.ceiig.ch/pdf/IIFFMCG_Volume_I.pdf[/url<] [quote<]The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia, yet it was only the culminating point of a long period of increasing tensions, provocations and incidents. [/quote<] [quote<]Open hostilities began with a large-scale Georgian military operation against the town of Tskhinvali and the surrounding areas, launched in the night of 7 to 8 August 2008. Operations started with a massive Georgian artillery attack. At the very outset of the operation the Commander of the Georgian contingent to the Joint Peacekeeping Forces (JPKF), Brigadier General Mamuka Kurashvili, stated that the operation was aimed at restoring the constitutional order in the territory of South Ossetia. Somewhat later the Georgian side refuted Mamuka Kurashvili’s statement as unauthorised and invoked the countering of an alleged Russian invasion as justification of the operation[/quote<] I await your reasoned reply. (when you're done laughing that is) As to your utterly ludicrous claim WRT Syria; "one time" only help? What a ludicrous assertion, as any simple google search will reveal for you. Did you even take 5 seconds to take a look before you posted that tripe? [url<]http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/27/us-usa-syria-rebels-idUSBREA0Q1S320140127[/url<] Not to mention all the help the various rebel factions have been getting from US allies Turkey, Qatar, and that beacon of freedom Saudi Arabia.

            • dWind
            • 5 years ago

            I’m not denying that georgians started militarry operations. The question is Georgia instigated war with russia? Did they attack russia? NO. They were trying to take back control of part of their teritory. A territory that russians were trying to destabilize. Do you know what a sovereign state means? in the good old days such stunts as russia is pulling to her neibourghs would be called an act of war. Unfortunately a formal war declaration spells doom for most russian neiborghs so we get such farce were russians are interfering in neiboring countries like its their god given right and ppl of those countries cant do anything about it.
            YOU apparently dont live next to this drunken bear… or you are its citizen.

            On US small arms support to Syria liberation army your right I I forgot that one episode (its old news after all) but the way I see its not some plot for world domination by US but a desperate and futile attempt to help ideological friends and .. because they had no other options. What you are forgetting when speaking about Russian support of Assad is that even when there was confirmed that chemical warfare is taking place in syria mainly agaisnt civilians. I would not call it modest support. We might have been able to nip it in the bud when protesters were being mass murdered on the streets. But no longer – like you said there are a lot of diferent groups fighting in syria and they are supported by diferent players (the ones that are biggest, most effective and nastiest, like you said, are supported NOT by US and EU so your point is kinda moot).
            And this is because Russia blocked any international efforts to resolve the crysis while providing millitary support to Assad. im not saying that UN/NATO efforts would have helped much (but dont really see how it could be worse) but the fact is russia stoped it and all in the in the name of ‘sovereign state’ and whats more ridiculus that at the same time in Ukraine and Georgia the term ‘sovereign state’ means absolutely nothing to Russia.
            If you think that indiscriminate gassing of civilians in cities is a OK, but taking back control parts of your own country from armed rebels that want to cede from the main country and just so happens to join the neibourghing one. Well there is a term for that – hypocricy. You might say that then the west are also the same but there is a diferent betwean gassing of civlilians and fighting armed millitas that carry foreign passports (yes – russia is giving away russian passports left and right in Ossetia and all other ‘contested regions’).
            Edit: typos, gramar

            • dWind
            • 5 years ago

            Edit: Double post (stupid work router/proxy)

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]I think there's little doubt that NATO would prevail if it were to intervene militarily.[/quote<] Like it prevailed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya? [quote<]Economic sanctions are a less deadly alternative.[/quote<] I'm sorry, weren't you just talking specifically about avoiding world war? Boy, the sanctions against Japan did a great job of avoiding World War II! Sanctions ARE an act of war. You can't decree that people starve and claim it wasn't justified or predictable when the blowback comes. The outcome is 100% expected, which is why politicians always follow this order of operations. Look at how many wars there were in the mercantilist era between 1500 to 1900. The liberalization of global trade is the only thing that ever stopped it. Want to avoid war? Trade with them. Europe won't sanction Russia because it would ruin Europe, and thank gourd for that.

      • cappa84
      • 5 years ago

      I absolutely agree with OneArmedScissor.

      First, sanctions are an act of war. Over ONE MILLION Iraqis died to US imposed sanctions on Iraq between August 1990 to May 2003 – because, according to the US government, things like antibiotics could be used by Iraqis to create “chemical weapons”. This resulted in not only the death of one million Iraqis, but of that one million, 567,000 were children (according to the British medical journal “The Lancet”).

      Second, Europe wont sanction Russia, their economies are to intertwined in the private sector. Let alone Europe’s dependency on Russian natural energy.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 5 years ago

      Russia is a symmetrical opponent to the US, and it’s the type of enemy the US military is actually designed to fight. Despite the trend over the last decade plus toward asymmetrical tactics, the US military can easily turn back to the decades of preparation for regular warfare.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Like it prevailed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya?[/quote<] All identifiable targets were destroyed by western forces. Thats the kind of thing that wins conventional wars. [quote<]Look at how many wars there were in the mercantilist era between 1500 to 1900. The liberalization of global trade is the only thing that ever stopped it.[/quote<] Or else education and lives worth living for the general populace. [quote<]Want to avoid war? Trade with them. Europe won't sanction Russia because it would ruin Europe, and thank gourd for that.[/quote<] People were trading with Russia plenty, just look at the amount of money that is currently fleeing the country. Turns out that Putin would rather play cold war than roll around in mountains of gold. (And the EU has sanctioned Russia.)

    • windwalker
    • 5 years ago

    Only Putin is both able and willing to fight.
    The idea that Merkel or Obama can afford to threaten or order an invasion is laughable.

    So is the comparison of military budgets. How did that military budget comparison help in Iraq and Afganistan?
    Money solves trivial problems. For solving hard problems, money is a small part of the solution.

    There will never be another full scale world war because we’re not dumb enough to bomb each other into extinction.

    Ukraine will have to be divided.
    EU leaders should help the leaders of Ukraine come to terms with this.
    A referendum can be used to determine a new border based on the allegiance of the inhabitants.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Only Putin is both able and willing to fight. The idea that Merkel or Obama can afford to threaten or order an invasion is laughable.[/quote<] The only barrier is being democratically elected. There is no public interest in fighting with Russia, and Putin is a smart man. [quote<]So is the comparison of military budgets. How did that military budget comparison help in Iraq and Afganistan?[/quote<] The NATO/US forces performed fine... the societies in which those wars happened have the structural integrity of sand castles.

        • windwalker
        • 5 years ago

        Being democratically elected is actually a huge barrier.
        A dictator can go to war at the drop of a hat.
        Democracies are much slower and more hesitant.
        Putin knows it and plays it as such.

        You are definitinely American if you can’t see how stupid it is to blame the structural integrity of the thing you just shattered for the failure of your endeavour.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 5 years ago

          Well I didn’t defend anything except the fighting capability of NATO/US forces.

            • windwalker
            • 5 years ago

            Nobody sane would doubt the fighting capability of NATO/US forces.
            What I’m doubting is their capability of delivering a swift victory in the case of an invasion and their leaders’ ability to obtain the political support needed for such an invasion.

            • PenGun
            • 5 years ago

            They have fought no one in their league.

            It’s like me taking my level 21 witch into the low level areas in ESO and just walking around trashing the place. No real opposition and if I get hurt I was a fool.

            Now Vlad is VR10 and the US/NATO will have a very different experience with him.

            • Airmantharp
            • 5 years ago

            The US never stops equipping and training to fight the full spectrum of Russia’s and China’s military capabilities. Any advantage that they may have on the battlefield will be very quickly erased.

            So yeah, we could dislodge Russian forces from Ukraine if need be.

    • cappa84
    • 5 years ago

    NATO is the aggressor here. What people don’t realise is that NATO (when I say NATO, I also mean the US government) has been slowly creeping towards Russia’s Western border by building new bases and missile-shields at a ridiculous rate ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. The “government” occupying Kiev is nothing more than a bunch of puppets hand-picked by NATO. NATO doesn’t care for “democracy” or “human-rights” (they’ve been bombing the s**t out of Afghanistan, under the false pretext of promoting “democracy” – when in truth it’s about securing Afghanistan’s untapped and and yet to be mined gas and natural minerals, estimated to be worth $10Trillion USD, not to mention the absolute massacre air-bombing campaign that NATO conducted on Libya, and the raping of Libya’s natural oil and gas supplies – by getting the puppets they installed post-Gaddafi to sign oil and gas deals with companies controlled by NATO countries/banks).

    Now imagine the rolls were reversed; imagine Russia was building military-bases and missile-shields in Mexico, Cuba, Central-America. How would the USA react?

    Further-more, the puppets in Kiev have a large right-wing/fascist element that the Western media seems to never report about. But who’s surprised by that? The Western media lost legitimacy a long time ago, and these days, is nothing more than the PR-wing for the US State Department.

    Why is this happening in Ukraine all of a sudden? Syria. The US government, and its various allies in NATO and the Gulf (who are the most undemocratic nations on earth, by the way), failed to install a puppet-regime in Syria by means of their proxy-Jihadist fighters (that Western media parades as “democracy loving freedom fighters). So they picked a new target – one that is, like Syria, sympathetic towards Russia – Ukraine. Though I can guarantee that, like Syria, NATO will fail in Ukraine also.

    You know, I usually never tell anyone about my background, but I will now, just for the sake of a reality check. I come from Syria (though I live in Sydney, Australia now). The part of Syria that I come from in Syria is called “The Valley of the Christians”. Many people, even in my own village, trace their lineage back to the first Christians that escaped Palestine after the death of Jesus. Syrian Christians, like me, only make up 10% of Syria’s population. I’ve lost quite a few family members in the last four-years due to sniper-fire, mortar bombing, and random attacks conducted on my village by Western backed “rebels”. Western media does, like it did to Iraq, like it did to Libya, attempt to paint an inhuman picture of the Syrian Army, and champion the “rebels” that Western governments back. But I’ll tell you what, if it wasn’t for the Syrian Army, if it wasn’t for the support of Russia, my village, and all my relatives, and every other Christian in Syria, would have been wiped out long ago had the Western backed “rebels” had their way.

    And Cyril, I suggest you look into the Russian S300/S400, Iskander Missile, SU27, SU30 and SU24. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Hell, to those in the know, the S300/S400 alone virtually neutralises NATO’s entire air-force.

    Don’t believe mainstream Western media. Shame on anyone that does. Have you forgotten the way they championed the lies of “WMD’s in Iraq” already?

    Wake up.

      • bthylafh
      • 5 years ago

      WAKE UP SHEEPLE.

      • sschaem
      • 5 years ago

      Russia shouldn’t be concern about NATO air command… But about its own economic status.

      The ruble already dropped 10%. That mean that russian need to make 10% more money to buy anything not made in russia, and most russian made good use imports.

      Have you EVER seen a “made in russia” sticker on anything?
      And the weapons they sell around the world to contry like siria can go so far…

      Now, the energy they export can be provided by the US and other country.
      And this will greatly boost the rest of the world energy sector.

      If/When the EU/ US put the full blockade in place… it will be the worse time to live in Puttin controlled russia since the WW2 era. I feel sorry for the people there, because I dont think he will leave his throne peacefully.

        • cappa84
        • 5 years ago

        There will be no all-out NATO vs Russia war. Perhaps a proxy-war on Ukraine, but not an all-out WWIII war. All the European countries in NATO are far too dependent on Russian gas. One of the reasons NATO agreed to invade and occupy Afghanistan, and why NATO bombed and raped Libya, was to free NATO countries from Russian gas and oil dependency, though that plan doesn’t seem to be going so well for NATO it seems – with the Taliban still causing immense amounts of instability in Afghanistan, and with many Libyan rebels realising they’ve been duped by NATO and are now sabotaging oil and gas pipelines and whatnot (not to mention the constant assassinations and kidnaps of NATO installed government members in Libya).

        If NATO/Europe do have it in them to cut all gas and oil contracts in Russia, the Russians will simply redirect it towards India and China.

        From what I am hearing, supposedly England and Germany are against major sanctions on Russia due to heavy Russian investment in both England and Germany’s private sector. And as we all know, it’s the private-sector of Western nations that truly control their governments and foreign-policy.

        • Suspenders
        • 5 years ago

        You must live in neocon fantasy land.

        Russia’s best ally is China, and they can get everything they can’t produce themselves from them. Like the rest of the world. The only thing the west produces is hypocrisy, ponzi finance and worthless financial paper; hardly anything vital to Russian interests.

        Russia’s energy sector cannot be replaced by any surge in production by the US. Full stop. Anyone who’s looked at the decline rates on fracking wells can tell you that. There’s also the small problem of the transport infrastructure you need to transport American natural gas to Europe, ie: it doesn’t exist. So this “solution” is pure fantasy, unless you expect your European allies (you know, the ones you spy on all the time) to freeze in the dark for a few winters and slit their own economic throats to “punish” Russia.

        You *cannot* blockade Russia. Anyone who seriously thinks this is an idiot. If the US tries to force the issue, all that will happen is the hastening demise of the US dollar’s reserve currency status, which is almost certainly going to happen anyway as the folks running Russia and China quickly see that it’s less and less in their interests to keep it that way, especially with the US acting as hostile as it is.

        [url<]http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_04_04/Russia-prepares-to-attack-the-petrodollar-2335/[/url<]

          • Ringofett
          • 5 years ago

          Best ally? That hasn’t been true since about 1960. Russia actively fears that its own decline in demographics will eventually mean Chinese annexation of its vast Eastern lands, with the valuable resources therein.

            • entropy13
            • 5 years ago

            Actually, he’s correct. China is technically his best ally, in a sense that China is not NATO, and not close to the US (like for example, South Korea and Japan, both of which are obviously not NATO). Other countries that could be considered “Russian allies” are Venezuela, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Syria, and maybe Uganda and some of the other smaller African countries, and to a certain extent Pakistan and North Korea (although those two are decidedly closer to China that to Russia).

            • Ringofett
            • 5 years ago

            Okay, if ‘best ally’ means “I wont invade you today, I’ll just wait for your demographic collapse and then zerg your territory.” If that’s what Russia thinks is even a moderately decent ally, much less “best ally,” then Russia must be seriously lonely.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 5 years ago

            Agree’d. WTF with this Chinese / Russia alliance going on here?

            The [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Soviet_border_conflict<]Sino-Soviet[/url<] border dispute was kind of a thing for like... 30 years. And that didn't really end until 1991, after the collapse of the USSR.

            • entropy13
            • 5 years ago

            Russia is seriously lonely, seeing every NATO action (and I do mean EVERY) as a “hostile” action targeting specifically Russia. Transnistria, Abkhazia, and others are actually the closer ones to Russia than China is, but for all intents and purposes they’re just puppets and “doesn’t count”, while China counts as a Russian ally simply because they aren’t an “enemy” right now and is more likely to be an “enemy” of Russia’s “enemies” too.

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            A lot happens in 50 years:
            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Sino-Soviet_Border_Agreement[/url<] [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Sino-Russian_Treaty_of_Friendship[/url<] [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Cooperation_Organisation[/url<] And Russian demographics, while poor, are not as dire as they were [url<]http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/08/03/russian-demography-and-the-difficulty-of-prediction/[/url<] Chalk it up to another case of things that are "not so simple".

      • zenlessyank
      • 5 years ago

      I tried to undo the down votes from the idiots here. They have been spoon fed the horse manure since birth and they believe it.

      This country feeds off of war. About the only thing we manufacture is weaponry and useless space junk that helps no one here on earth in reality.

      The United States and Russia have never fought. In fact they were comrades against the Germans twice. The Cold War was a charade to keep both populations in fear so their leaders could do what they wanted…Make weapons and sell them to other countries.
      This is just more bullshit to keep the populations tricked. We like carrots dangled in front of us. We like weapons and the cash flow it creates.

      coal subscriber.

        • cappa84
        • 5 years ago

        Thanks zenlessyank, it’s refreshing to know that there are people like you out there 🙂

        And you’re correct; the USA’s military industrial complex plays a HUGE role, if not the biggest role, in the economy of the USA. And I can guarantee this; with the US governments engineered chaos in Ukraine, the NATO and European allies are buying US arms at a bigger rate than ever.

        And for those that still, even after Iraq, even after Afghanistan, even after Libya, think the US government is some sort of “champion of democracy and human-rights”, take a look at the 2010 sale the Obama administration conducted to Saudi Arabia (the most inhumane and undemocratic country on Earth) – it was the biggest arms-sale in US history – $60Billion, with a further $31Billion to come in future purchases by Saudi Arabia from the US.

        [url<]http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/10/20/us-usa-saudi-arms-idUSTRE69J4ML20101020[/url<] [url<]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8000747/US-secures-record-60-billion-arms-sale-to-Saudi-Arabia.html[/url<]

          • just brew it!
          • 5 years ago

          I think Wall Street pulls more strings in Washington these days than the defense sector does. I could be wrong though…

      • entropy13
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]has been slowly creeping towards Russia's Western border by building new bases and missile-shields at a ridiculous rate ever since the fall of the Soviet Union.[/quote<] False. There's barely any NATO presence near Russian borders during the 1990s. Take note as well that Russia actually cooperated with NATO in the Balkans (Serbia/Yugoslavia/Croatia) during the 1990s too. Then something changed in Russia...a certain guy named Putin came into power...and they "decry" NATO actions in the Balkans (i.e. Kosovo). For the 2000s/2010s there's still barely any of those new "missile shields" as well. Putin protested about those missile shields, so the US never placed them in Poland and Romania. Of course, Putin conveniently ignores that those missile shields doesn't have the capability of even protecting the respective countries where they are positioned in from even 5% of Russia's working missiles...but they are quite capable of neutralizing any possible missile or two (or three) from Iran. [quote<]The "government" occupying Kiev is nothing more than a bunch of puppets hand-picked by NATO.[/quote<] So which is it really? Russian media says that "Ukrainian fascist elements" are the puppetmasters of the Kiev government, not NATO. And that those "Ukrainian fascist elements" are merely using NATO to their advantage as well. [quote<] (they've been bombing the s**t out of Afghanistan, under the false pretext of promoting "democracy"[/quote<] Eh? They've stopped "bombing the s**t out of Afghanistan" for more than a decade now. [quote<]- when in truth it's about securing Afghanistan's untapped and and yet to be mined gas and natural minerals, estimated to be worth $10Trillion USD, [/quote<] Exactly. That's why once NATO forces have completely left Afghanistan by next year all of those gas and minerals will be mined within 2-3 years (2015-2017) through the infrastructure, mining complexes, workers, etc. that will be there...even though they won't because the capabilities of the industries to be able to operate there is still frankly non-existent in the country, even after perhaps 2-3 years more (2017-2020). [quote<]and the raping of Libya's natural oil and gas supplies - by getting the puppets they installed post-Gaddafi to sign oil and gas deals with companies controlled by NATO countries/banks).[/quote<] Which are weirdly the very same deals Gaddafi had. The only difference of then and now was that Gaddafi was able to pocket "some" of the...funds, unlike now. [quote<]Further-more, the puppets in Kiev have a large right-wing/fascist element that the Western media seems to never report about.[/quote<] A Ukrainian from another forum I'm a regular of (TVTropes' forums, actually) said that focusing on those ultra-fascist elements of Ukraine is like making a documentary about the United States in general and just focusing on the Tea Party and the "Bible Belt" of the US...and then in the end say, "and this is the United States of America!!!" [quote<]Why is this happening in Ukraine all of a sudden? Syria. The US government, and its various allies in NATO and the Gulf (who are the most undemocratic nations on earth, by the way), failed to install a puppet-regime in Syria by means of their proxy-Jihadist fighters (that Western media parades as "democracy loving freedom fighters). So they picked a new target - one that is, like Syria, sympathetic towards Russia - Ukraine. Though I can guarantee that, like Syria, NATO will fail in Ukraine also.[/quote<] Uh, no. Ukraine has nothing to do with Syria. At all. This portion of your comment really took the cake so to speak. I'll stop there now, I'll just do a double facepalm for now.

        • cappa84
        • 5 years ago

        Take that double face-palm and apply it to yourself.

        NATO has been encroaching on Russia’s borders more and more. Read this – in its entirety:

        [url<]http://www.globalresearch.ca/encircling-russia-us-nato-military-bases-in-eastern-europe/15824[/url<] As for the fascist elements in Kiev, they're the muscle of the puppet regime. They're equivalent to the US governments use of hired militias (like Academi/Blackwater) in Iraq. They do the dirty work so Kiev can keep its hands clean. For example - today they set fire to a building where 40 pro-Russian Ukrainians were hiding from Ukraine's military and helicopters. 31 of those 40 pro-Russian Ukrainians were burnt to death. You're so wrong about Afghanistan, it's ridiculous. Who's going to mine Afghanistan? You think the Afghans are? With what tools? What infrastructure? What industry? Afghanistan will be mined by corporations from the NATO bloc nations. If you think otherwise, you're severely deluded. You think NATO occupied Afghanistan and fought the Taliban for the sake morality? For the sake of "democracy"? For "human-rights"? Give me a break. This isn't Hollywood, mate. No. It's not what "Gaddafi had". Gaddafi had contracts with Russia, and a few with France and other NATO nations. But his contracts with Russia dwarfed the deals he'd struck with the NATO bloc. I bet you didn't know Libyans under Gaddafi had a higher living standard the many Americans? Before Gaddafi, literacy in Libya was only 10%. Since Gaddafi’s leadership, literacy rose to 90%. Under Gaddafi, undernourishment in Libya was at 2% – a figure lower than that of the world center of "democracy", the United States of America. Education from grade school through to college was free in Libya. Healthcare was free and Libyan pharmacies and hospitals were comparable to high-quality European facilities. Libya ranked No. 53 on the United Nations Index of Human Development. Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa - in 1969, before Gaddafi, it was the lowest in the world at just $60 per year income. Under Gaddafi, Libya gave free land and seeds to anyone that wanted to farm the land. There was virtually no homelessness in Libya as everyone was given a home. Women in Libya had equal rights, not only as a philosophy, but in practice (unlike the USA's much loved Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia in particular). Under Gaddafi’s oil-revenue-sharing program, each Libyan was given $500USD (US Dollars) a month which was deposited into his or her bank account. Under Gaddafi, for any medical care, operations, or health treatments that were unavailable in Libya, the citizen was given full expenses for travel, treatment and accommodation abroad to wherever it was required for the treatment to be given. Under Gaddafi, on marriage, each couple was gifted $60,000 to do with as they please; furnish their home, take a holiday, honeymoon, buy car, etc. Under Gaddafi, Libyans had a direct participatory democracy based on People’s Conferences that puts other “democracies” to shame. You think the US is "democratic"? The US isn't a democracy. It's controlled by corporations that purchase candidates. The average cost of a Presidential campaign in the US has surpassed $1Billion USD. You think that's "democracy"? The USA isn't a democracy. Nor are it's Presidents moral or humane, as Hollywood and talk-shows would like one to believe. The "democracy" in the US is an illusion; the illusion of choice. And Ukraine has EVERYTHING to do with Syria. It's the same war - simply a different front. If you can't see that, you're severely deluded. Keep those face-palms over your eyes, mate. Other wise the light of the truth might blind you.

          • entropy13
          • 5 years ago

          [quote<]As for the fascist elements in Kiev, they're the muscle of the puppet regime. [/quote<] How can they be the muscle of the puppet regime when #1) they also clash with the regime that supposedly controls them and #2) the great majority of Ukrainians see them as "annoying nuisances" at best, and "just as bad as the Russians" at worst, which therefore puts those very elements FAR from a position of being even an important factor in the general political arena of the country; they're still relevant though, but not really a MAJOR actor. [quote<]They're equivalent to the US governments use of hired militias (like Academi/Blackwater) in Iraq. [/quote<] No, they're not. [i<]That's one of the biggest problems. Both of the sides - pro-Maydan and anti-Maydan - operate on a very strict Black and White Morality. The pro-Maydan side's argument is "this is big tragedy, but you can't blame patriots trying to defend their city and being killed". The anti-Maydan's argument is "you burned these people alive because you are all Complete Monsters that should be eliminated". [/i<] Here's a relevant statement from the Ukrainian guy. Which also echoes my sentiment with regards to Russia's political outlook: they look at things in a zero-sum way, and in a decidedly black and white shade too. [quote<]They do the dirty work so Kiev can keep its hands clean. For example - today they set fire to a building where 40 pro-Russian Ukrainians were hiding from Ukraine's military and helicopters. 31 of those 40 pro-Russian Ukrainians were burnt to death.[/quote<] I've mentioned this in a previous comment already as "unconfirmed", but now his contacts have confirmation. The guy from Dnipropetrovsk said that some of those burnt to death are as "Ukrainian" as Putin is. Most of the dead in Odessa were born in Moscow, Krasnodar, and Novosibirsk, all three of which are Ukrainian cities, and they have Russian/Transnistrian issued passports...oh, wait. [quote<]You're so wrong about Afghanistan, it's ridiculous. Who's going to mine Afghanistan? You think the Afghans are? With what tools? What infrastructure? What industry? Afghanistan will be mined by corporations from the NATO bloc nations. If you think otherwise, you're severely deluded. You think NATO occupied Afghanistan and fought the Taliban for the sake morality? For the sake of "democracy"? For "human-rights"? Give me a break. This isn't Hollywood, mate.[/quote<] Afghanistan will not be mined by anyone in the near future (I said, even perhaps not until 2020). It's essentially a fruitless endeavor. Right now potential ROI is non-existent. And I never even mentioned "morality", "democracy", or "human rights" in my earlier comment at all, so why bring it up? [quote<]I bet you didn't know Libyans under Gaddafi had a higher living standard the many Americans? <snip>[/quote<] So essentially what Libya experienced during the 70s-90s under Gaddafi is what China is experiencing ever since Deng Xiaoping came to power. The difference between the two, and thus made the possibility for NATO to act, is their size both geographically and economically. Libya never had democratic elections because the candidates are all the same anyway, just like in China. Local government officials are also elected in China too, and there is "competition", but just like in Libya where they all have to be under Gaddafi, in China all of the candidates all have to be under the Chinese Communist Party. The USA is not really democratic (although it operates under a system that is supposed to be such), but saying Gaddafi's Libya is democratic is worse, and much farther from the truth. In simpler terms, if USA is 5 km away from real democracy, Libya is 7km away from real democracy. But that discussion is neither here nor there. [quote<]You think the US is "democratic"? The US isn't a democracy. It's controlled by corporations that purchase candidates. The average cost of a Presidential campaign in the US has surpassed $1Billion USD. You think that's "democracy"? The USA isn't a democracy. Nor are it's Presidents moral or humane, as Hollywood and talk-shows would like one to believe. The "democracy" in the US is an illusion; the illusion of choice.[/quote<] I live in a Third World country that is only democratic on paper, and my undergraduate studies is political science so unless you have both the academic background AND personal experience of being under a more extreme example of lacking democracy despite the democratic system in place... [quote<]And Ukraine has EVERYTHING to do with Syria. It's the same war - simply a different front. If you can't see that, you're severely deluded.[/quote<] It's not the same war. Although it looks like the same war. But they're decidedly different. There are no conservative Orthodox militias fighting against liberal Orthodox militias in Ukraine. The militias fighting against the Ukrainian gov't are not representing a different faction within the country, they're actually representing a different country altogether (hence "Pro-Russia"...the ones fighting against the Assad gov't aren't even called "Pro-West", they're "Anti-Assad"; in Ukraine it's either "Pro-Ukraine" or "Pro-Russia).

        • cappa84
        • 5 years ago

        Here are some more facts about Gaddafi you can entertain yourself with:

        • There was no electricity bills in Libya; electricity is free … for all its citizens.
        • There was no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
        • If a Libyan is unable to find employment after graduation, the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
        • Should Libyans want to take up a farming career, they receive farm land, a house, equipment, seed and livestock to kick start their farms –this was all for free.
        • Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.
        • A home was considered a human right in Libya. (In Qaddafi’s Green Book it states: “The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.”)
        • All newlyweds in Libya would receive 60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start a family.
        • A portion of Libyan oil sales is or was credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
        • A mother who gives birth to a child would receive US $5,000.
        • When a Libyan buys a car, the government would subsidizes 50% of the price.
        • The price of petrol in Libya was $0.14 per liter.
        • For $ 0.15, a Libyan local could purchase 40 loaves of bread.
        • Education and medical treatments was all free in Libya. Libya can boast one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African World. All people have access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of charge.
        • If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government would fund them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US $2,300/month accommodation and car allowance.
        • 25% of Libyans have a university degree. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans were literate. Today the figure is 87%.
        • Libya had no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – though much of this is now frozen globally.

          • zenlessyank
          • 5 years ago

          You are whispering at a Slayer concert, cappa84!!!

          The craniums on Americans are 3x the hardness of adamantium.

          These fools still think the North won the civil war!!! The South won and as a consideration for the ‘good’ of the country they enacted the minimum wage law to enslave the whole f*cking population.
          If we could pay you less we would!!!

          I can’t believe we haven’t just spontaneously combusted from the pressure from all the LIES!!!

          Last time I checked NONE of us got to choose what color we wanted to be, or what sex we wanted to be, or what country we wanted to be in. It was all decided for us. To judge each other and hate each other cuz ‘my country is the best’ is f*cking retarded.

          Peace to you, my Brother.

            • cappa84
            • 5 years ago

            Haha, whispering at a Slayer concert – that’s the truth – the awful truth!

            The guys voting me down are the same lot that don’t like to discuss the war-crimes of the US government, nor the horrific crimes the US and NATO commit in order to further their hegemony over poorer nations (in particular the resource-rich nations). Patriotism really does keep one blind, deaf and dumb. Oscar Wilde was right; patriotism truly is the virtue of the vicious.

            You know, I’ve recently been researching civilians deaths from US drone attacks in Pakistan. The numbers are truly, truly staggering. In 2010, 957 civilians have been killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan, 168 of those 957 were under the age of 12. Since 2004, US drone-strikes in Pakistan have killed 2283 civilians.

            Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? If it was Pakistan flying drone-strikes on the US? UK? France? Australia? And killed 168 children? Can you imagine the out-cry?

            It’s truly sickening what constitutes as “terrorism” and what constitutes as “surgical strikes” in Western politics and media.

            Iraq is an even more sickening story. Not only did the US and UK use tonnes and tonnes of depleted Uranium on Iraqis (mainly in Fallujah – here: [url<]http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-s-fallujah-legacy-white-phosphorous-depleted-uranium-the-fate-of-iraq-s-children/30372[/url<] and here: [url<]http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255312/Birth-defects-Fallujah-rise-U-S-operation.html),[/url<] which are still causing the most horrific birth-defects, but in 2006, John Hopkins University and the British medical-journal, The Lancet, concluded that around 657,000 Iraqi civilians had died as a result of the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq since 2003. God only knows what the figure is now... The most dangerous thing about living in these times isn't Cyril's hypothetical WWIII, nor the threat on nuclear-war, but it's ignorance - the ignorance that those in the West don't realise just how much murder and terrorism is committed in their name...it's the saddest story never told.

            • Ninjitsu
            • 5 years ago

            Don’t forget drone attacks in Yemen, which backfired and encouraged MORE anti-US sentiments there and helped the Taliban get more recruits.

            • Airmantharp
            • 5 years ago

            You do realize that nearly all of the civilian deaths in Iraq were caused by Iraqi’s, right?

            They murdered each other, and continue to do so.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 5 years ago

          But now they can have democracy AND capitalism! What good is a resource if it can’t be exploited for privatized gains!?

          • Ringofett
          • 5 years ago

          [quote<]There was no electricity bills in Libya; electricity is free … for all its citizens.[/quote<] First rule of economics: There aint no such thing as a free lunch.

      • faramir
      • 5 years ago

      Not sure why you got rated down but (like few other posts) this is a very good assessment of the situation.

      Those who actually fell for pro-fascist propaganda really need a reality check and to draw some parallels they need to go no further back than a decade or two (I didn’t see anybody bring up Kosovo yet – it is fine for people of certain ethnic alignment to secede in one country but not in some other country ? hypocrisy at its best).

      The majority of inhabitants of Crimea decided to secede, the very definition of democracy. Some may not like it (because of vested interest in that region), but hey, it happened and it can be peddled by the PR departments as “democracy” much easier than an invasion of a sovereign country(ies) has been 🙂

        • entropy13
        • 5 years ago

        Oh most Ukrainians actually doesn’t mind that Crimea “leaves” the Ukraine. It’s actually the only region in their country with a significant ethnic Russian population (unlike the Donbass for example).

        It’s the “how” part that they’re mad at.

        Why the sudden appearance of well-armed “Crimean self-defense forces”, arriving in Russian APCs from across the border, with Russian equipment?

        Why should the Ukrainian soldiers either defect to the other side or surrender to “Crimeans” that came from across the border?

        Why have two options in a referendum, either “leave Ukraine” or “join Russia”, which essentially means the same?

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 5 years ago

      You’re probably right. The problem is that the America’s corporate sellout media lies to the public to drum up support for the war effort, and they do too good of a job. Nobody who watches the media without doing independent research will believe you, especially when the news plays more on emotion than actual facts. (*cough* Kinda like “Hope and Change” *cough*) That right there is a dead giveaway that we’re being lied to, but not everybody watches news subjectively like I do.

        • Suspenders
        • 5 years ago

        This is true, it’s sickening to see the amount of propaganda and lies being spewed by our so called “media” about this whole issue.

      • LovermanOwens
      • 5 years ago

      Well Said.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 5 years ago

      Brilliant, this is pretty much correlates to what I’ve been hearing/reading here in India. Excellent post, if i could give you a +3 i would.

      • SeJoWa
      • 5 years ago

      You must know yourself that you’re stringing along falsehoods.

      The world is imperfect, Democracy is imperfect, but when it comes to your projections, the “monolithic” NATO countries have it all figured out.

      First of all, what a horrible insult to all the people who died and suffered for opposing those regimes you can’t laud enough. Yes, where were those opposition newspapers, parties, and people in Lybia, Syria, Afghanistan under the Taliban?

      Oil can be bought. No need to send anyone to the wells. The Italians were quite happy to pay Ghaddafi for the stuff. Just as Saddam got paid for it. The Norwegians too! They must be living in constant fear of invasion.

      And why should NATO protection have been withheld from countries who had suffered quite enough from foreign oppression. It’s not like the people in Eastern Europe are clamoring to be cast off from that dangerous alliance… definitely not. Furthermore, no heavy units have been stationed East of the original members, in accordance with the relevant treaty with Russia. There is good reason to change that now.

      I’m truly sorry you’ve lost family members in Syria. But you do know who is supporting the fanatic rebels. And the reason peaceful demonstrations against Assad devolved into war is because the regime mercilessly pursued poets and singers and people just wanting to be free of endless dictatorship. I mean, they accused Assad of being an American agent… isn’t it a bit boring to export every sorry trope?

      Would it be so hard to claim your liberty and use the privilege of free speech responsibly?

      • Ringofett
      • 5 years ago

      Ah, so you think Assad is really a nice guy, just misunderstood. Right.

        • Ninjitsu
        • 5 years ago

        No. But it’s pretty well known that the US is helping the same people in Syria that they’re fighting in Afghanistan.

      • dWind
      • 5 years ago

      Emm no – as someone who lives in Lithuania (East Europe) I can tell you exactly WHY Nato expanded .. because people here have been fucked by russia for generations and were prepared to do anything to get away from them. We were tired of tiptoeing around bears sencitivities. Russia is constantly playing its energy card (we pay one of the highest gas prices in europe – hopefully our LPG terminal will come online this year), Our businesses are constantly harassed for one nonsesncial reason or another. Each year its something. So FUCK them. We dont have problem with other neibourghs just Russian and its not just us. Russia doesnt have normal countries as friends. Cuba, Venezuela, Syria … nice company.
      If you think US is somehow involved.

      And your:
      “Why is this happening in Ukraine all of a sudden? Syria. The US government, and its various allies in NATO and the Gulf (who are the most undemocratic nations on earth, by the way), failed to install a puppet-regime in Syria by means of their proxy-Jihadist fighters (that Western media parades as “democracy loving freedom fighters). So they picked a new target – one that is, like Syria, sympathetic towards Russia – Ukraine. Though I can guarantee that, like Syria, NATO will fail in Ukraine also.”
      What are you smoking? Ukrainians had very bad governance since the fall of comunism, the sort that has the bears paw prints all over it. We (Soviet states) all started more or less on the same abysmall footing after the Soviet colapse in 1990s but now there are huge differences betvean our nations, and guess what? The ones that manafged to joine NATO and EU are doing much better than those that were taped by the bear. And compared to ours Ukraine is rich in natural resources.
      When EU-Ukraine negotiations began Ukrainians were hopefull that finally they would have a better future and would instill some order in their oligarchy, but Janukovich said FU to the reform requirements imposed by EU (EU naturally did not want to finance another Janukoviches Palace complex) and ran to Russia for financial aid which russia gave (hey they were getting that money back anyway). So the people went to the streets demanding change. Sure there are nationalists joined them but this was an issue straight up the nationalists alley. Its a nationalistic theme not wanting to be fucked over by other countries. But when you repeat Russians propaganda that kiev is held by neonazis … well … according to russia we are all neonazis here…. Hail “russia fuck off”.
      In the ensuing chaos russia saw a weakness and exploted it. Fuck international law. Fuck Budapest memorandum (you know the bit of paper that said Uk, US and Russia guarantied Ukraines teritorial integrity and sovereignty for thousands of nukes Ukraine gave up). Fuck the perception that Ukraine is a long time Russian friend – russia has no need for one of those.
      Crimea is theirs and they are doing everything short of war to prevent an anti russian goverment to take over and to force a ‘federalization’ that would make it impossible to rule the country.
      In the good old days Budapest memorandum would have meant UK/US has to go to war. Now its just finger waging and vapor sanctions (though indirect economic fallout I must say is much more impressive).
      I’m just disgusted it with the whole affair. But also very glad that we are in NATO. If Russia did that sort of stunt to its ‘friend’ – well … Lithuania was never very friendly with Russia to begin with.

        • entropy13
        • 5 years ago

        [quote<] We were tired of tiptoeing around bears sencitivities[/quote<] lol suddenly remembered Estonian gov't websites being DDoS'd by Russian IPs because some Soviet Union statue or something was being removed in some plaza somewhere in that country.

          • dWind
          • 5 years ago

          well yea those are the high points on western TV. What you don’t see is the constant ‘banned product of the month’ games. Or “lets start one shakedown or another at the border” initiative. … It’s just so petty.

      • Kaleid
      • 5 years ago

      You make many good points. Of course Russia reacts to US dominance plans.

      2005: China, Russia warn of world domination
      [url<]http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-07-01-russia-china_x.htm[/url<] Leaked Tape Suggests U.S. Was Plotting Coup in Ukraine [url<]http://www.maxkeiser.com/2014/02/stephen-f-cohen-leaked-tape-suggests-u-s-was-plotting-coup-in-ukraine/[/url<] We also know through leaks that USA has been supporting the opposition in Syria since 2005, started under Bush but continued under Obama.

    • PenGun
    • 5 years ago

    “I think there’s little doubt that NATO would prevail if it were to intervene militarily.”

    You have no idea, Do you?

    It would take liberal use of tactical nuclear weapons to keep Russia from just overrunning Europe.

    Nice use of direct ads. I never see em’ otherwise, you are so thoughtful.

      • nanoflower
      • 5 years ago

      Sadly I’m afraid that while you are wrong, you seem to think much like Putin. Let’s just hope that the people around him are a bit wiser and keep him from going too far.

      • Machupo
      • 5 years ago

      They may be able to push through the former republics pretty easily simply due to their operational initiative advantage (theater opening takes a bit of time and the reforger plans probably have a good inch or two of dust on them), but beyond their first couple tanks of gas (24-48 hours for the T-90’s depending on tempo) they’ll outrun their horrendous logistical system and culminate.

      Not to mention, Germany has a fair number of Leo II’s and are pretty good at using them.

      There was an interesting article in foreign policy this week concerning the national-strategic issue of [i<]framing[/i<]. I don't know how many of the folks here study chess, but if you continue to accept the premise of your opponent's attack (or strategy) then it is significantly more difficult to gain the initiative. That's the larger issue, IMHO -- we're still looking at Putin wanting the Ukraine (but he neeeeeeds a warm-water port... pah) when I think that we should actually be looking at a Russian attempt to fracture NATO into a couple tiers (a core group and a periphery) by underlining the unwillingness (or inability) of the coalition to mount a coherent whole-of-government defense (to include info ops). There are few things more dangerous than the wounded pride/ego of a Russian male.

    • jokinin
    • 5 years ago

    I think that first, violence and russian occupation should cease, then, let people vote region by region, to know if they want to become an european country, or a region of Russia.

      • mcnabney
      • 5 years ago

      Will the people of Chechnya get the same option to leave Russia?

      • entropy13
      • 5 years ago

      There was already a referendum held in the Crimea, and the two options were “should the Crimea leave the Ukraine” and “should the Crimea join the Russian Federation”.

        • bthylafh
        • 5 years ago

        As I recall those were the two options, i.e. you could pick one or the other, not that you could say yes or no to either.

    • PenGun
    • 5 years ago

    Oh well. The west, the US, France the UK and bits of the EU have proactively engaged in regime change in quite a few countries now. None of this has gone well. Leaving aside Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, the latest and most blatant attempt has been the overthrow of the fairly elected government in the Ukraine. It was well monitored by international observers.

    We have the “fuck the EU” recording from Victoria Nueland, Kagan’s wife and we know the putsch was organized and financed by western interests after the EU was rejected. The people used were right wing thugs and really it’s amazing this stuff still works. Media control is a big part of it.

    Anyhoo Putin seems to have had it with this crap. The Crimea was surgically excised, the rest of what he considers the Russian Ukraine, will not be left to the pleasure of the present quasi fascist government in Kiev. I don’t see him backing down. Obama is an idiot.

      • entropy13
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]The Crimea was surgically excised[/quote<] Yeah, in the same vein that "Chinese volunteers" have MiGs in the Korean peninsula in the early 1950s... [quote<]the present quasi fascist government in Kiev. [/quote<] The current government in Kiev is as fascist as the Federal Republic of Germany during the 1920s is, i.e. the actual fascist elements are still trying to force their way into the government. Or to make it a bit more obvious, that's like saying that the US is now a very liberal country when it comes to such topics as marijuana...

        • PenGun
        • 5 years ago

        Lets put it another way.

        A legally and fairly elected leader of a modern country was deposed because Obama said it was OK.

          • bthylafh
          • 5 years ago

          and not at all because he was corrupt and his people’d had enough of him. He’d already been kicked out of office once before during another popular revolution in 2005.

          You’re better than that; don’t pass along conspiracy theories.

            • PenGun
            • 5 years ago

            Sweetie I don’t believe your media. It’s full of lies, and as I pointed out, this is how they get this crap to fly. You are a dupe … eh’.

            He was elected fairly by a majority. You should keep that in mind when you decide what those people wanted.

            • entropy13
            • 5 years ago

            He wasn’t elected [b<]fairly[/b<]. Elections in Russia are the same, if not worse, than the elections that we get here in the "Third World".

            • Ninjitsu
            • 5 years ago

            Well, my “corner” of the Third World pulls of elections pretty well, and has been doing so since 1947.

            • PenGun
            • 5 years ago

            The election in the Ukraine, not Russia, was closely monitored by international observers, as many have been lately. They declared it a fair election.

            The fact that a lot of the eastern part of the Ukraine is rebelling against Kiev, just supports the fact that the election was very probably fair.

            Your own convoluted system is amenable to all kinds of spin and distortion, but don’t you worry your pretty head over that. It’s far too late.

            • entropy13
            • 5 years ago

            Ah so you’re talking about Ukraine.

            Well as a Ukrainian itself said, you know your own gov’t is f**ked when the richest man in the Donbass (the eastern region) is actually the “best” possible leader for the country. And that richest man got rich through…unconventional means. Although right now he actually has more power than the elected officials there…

            • dWind
            • 5 years ago

            Yes the only truth is in russian media …

            • sweatshopking
            • 5 years ago

            pengun and l33t are homies. they both find me annoying. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!?!?!?
            A MINUS!?!?!? BUT IT’S TRUEEEEEEEEEE

            • PenGun
            • 5 years ago

            A couple of clicks and I won’t find you ever again. Hmmmm.

            • sweatshopking
            • 5 years ago

            I don’t even know what that means.

            • PenGun
            • 5 years ago

            Ahh, well any phpBB “foe” is ignored. I’d hate to go that far.

        • bthylafh
        • 5 years ago

        Fah. If anything it’s Russia that’s turned into a fascist country. This fellow has a list of the defining characteristics of fascism:

        [url<]http://www.rense.com/general37/char.htm[/url<] Most of them seem a good match. Not sure about #10 "Labor Power is Suppressed" and #11 "Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts", though, I don't know enough about the situation WRT those. It's both ironic and good propaganda that the Russian media decries its enemies as fascist, to the point that they sound like they're regurgitating leftover Soviet propaganda from the '40s.

          • cappa84
          • 5 years ago

          Ahh, if anything, it’s the USA that fits the “Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism”.

          Here’s a good example: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y93AfZEFiDs[/url<]

            • bthylafh
            • 5 years ago

            I can’t argue with that, but that’s beside the point.

        • awakeningcry
        • 5 years ago

        The only issue I have with Crimea voting to be part of Russia is that according to the Ukrainian constitution, any vote like that had to be nationwide. So naturally the results were skewed. And why did Russian troops move into Crimea (read: Ukraine) in the first place? I’m all up for overthrowing a democratically elected government, as the people have spoken. But I’m having serious issues about the Russians’ behaviour.

          • Airmantharp
          • 5 years ago

          We have the same rules in the US (per Abraham Lincoln), and we fought a civil war over it. Unfortunately, Ukraine didn’t stand a chance against a large scale mobilization of Russian SOF that no one expected to happen.

      • LovermanOwens
      • 5 years ago

      You Are Correct Sir!

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 5 years ago

    Take a look at the Russian economic statistics. They make the US’s weak economy look decent.

    Last year, their economy grew by about 1.8%. And that’s according to the Russian government, who probably had interests in inflating the result.

    Putin is using a classic textbook example of how to deal with a bad economy.

    Patriotism. Lots of it.

    By helping to extend the conflict (not entirely Putin’s fault), he can distract the Russian citizens from the very weak economy. And that’s essential if he wants to stay in office, even if it means curbstomping Ukraine.

    China is also doing the same thing, to a lesser extent. Their economy is slowing down, and the government had their 50 Cent Party drum up patriotism, which ended up playing a role in causing anti-Japanese riots not too long ago.

    Not to mention the Chinese government also has a history of annoying their neighbors, ranging from India to Philippines to Korea, over insignificant territories and islands.

    panem et circenses, except in the Russian situation, no bread, only a potentially expensive (and bloody) circus. Oh, and lots of cheap vodka.

    EDIT: It’s also quite possible that Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union, or at least its authoritarian style of government. Last month or so, his administration allowed the display of Soviet Union flags.

    EDIT2: As for the Chinese government, I believe they’re annoying their neighbors to drum up patriotism. I have family members across the Pacific Ocean to testify to that, though they won’t because the Chinese government might be monitoring.

      • just brew it!
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]It's also quite possible that Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union, or at least its authoritarian style of government. Last month or so, his administration allowed the display of Soviet Union flags.[/quote<] I think that's pretty much a given. Probably longing for the good ol' days with the KGB.

        • UnfriendlyFire
        • 5 years ago

        I also almost forgot that he said that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the “worst geo-politics” disaster.

        Although he does rub shoulders with some major business tycoons. The ends justify the means I guess. He can always erase them from the history books decades from now.

          • NovusBogus
          • 5 years ago

          Communism isn’t terribly anti-wealth-concentration, it just counts it in political favors instead of dollar bills. Many of Russia’s oligarchs were high-ranking USSR party men before the fall, and would do just fine if it came back.

          • LovermanOwens
          • 5 years ago

          Putin’s Quote That You Are Referring To Was Taken Out Of Context. He Didn’t Mean It Like That.

          • StuffMaster
          • 5 years ago

          >I also almost forgot that he said that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the “worst geo-politics” disaster.

          Well it was, really. Chaos, anarchy, social and economic collapse. Add in population decline and it’s a disaster. I’m sure anyone who lived through it would think so.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 5 years ago

            [quote<]Well it was, really. Chaos, anarchy, social and economic collapse. Add in population decline and it's a disaster[/quote<] The collapse of the USSR didn't [i<]cause[/i<] all those things, the unsustainability of the the USSR caused all those things.

            • Ringofett
            • 5 years ago

            Reminds me of Mark Twain. Bankruptcy happens gradually, then suddenly.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 5 years ago

    I blame Obama and Benghazi.

    • rechicero
    • 5 years ago

    Actually I’d say Puttin is getting even for Kosovo. The thing is you can’t defend the self determination of Kosovo and deny the same right to Russian folks in Crimea (specially when Crimea was Russia from 1783 to 1954).

    Anyway, it’s just chess. NATO gained a pawn with Kosovo and after the events in Ukraine, probably scary of another NATO win with Ukraine, Puttin chose to counterattack. Russia never liked NATO wooing old Soviet Republics. And, in this case, the main port of Russian Navy in the Mediterranean (and the other one I’d say is Tartus, Siria (and that’s why they won’t let Asad to fall)). And we should remember that the Government that fell after Maidan protest was the Government voted by the Russian minority (majority in some provinces).

    PS: I’m not saying Puttin is right. I’m just saying it’s pretty complex.

    PS2: Most of Central Europe, including Ukraine depends on the Russian Gas. That’s why economic sanctions won’t work. The good thing here is Winter just ended.

    PS3: It won’t be WWIII. Right now, Europe needs the Russian gas. Period. Just see what happened in 2006 and 2009.

    PS4: It does feel like the Sudetes and Alsacia-Lorena invasion in the 30’s.

      • Yeats
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Actually I'd say Puttin is getting even for Kosovo.[/quote<] I think you're over-thinking it. Vlady saw that Crimea was easy pickins with their gov't in disarray, and anyway he wanted a new summer vacation home. And maybe he has a little of that Ronnie Reagan lets-invade-Grenada thing going on.

        • rechicero
        • 5 years ago

        I wasn’t overthinking:

        [url<]http://rt.com/news/putin-address-parliament-crimea-562/[/url<]

    • crabjokeman
    • 5 years ago

    I think Putin is afraid his army will aid in a rebellion against him (or stand idly by like Egypt’s did), so he’s drumming up a war. That way, he can justify more military spending, say he “created jobs” for military contractors, and keep his military busy and well fed.

    Of course, the U.S. miltary/industrial complex would love some more war too, because if you have too many idle/unemployed/disgruntled young men, it’s a recipe for revolt.

    The funny thing is, I have visions of NATO and Russia agreeing to fight a war, but not use nuclear weapons. The pretenses just get flimsier…

      • rechicero
      • 5 years ago

      Dont’ forget that these movements will help the agenda of those who want to export LNG from the States. Europe needs Gas and most of it comes from Rusia and Northern Africa (not the most stable zone of the World).

        • crabjokeman
        • 5 years ago

        Yes, I live in fracking Pennsylvania, so how could I forget about natural gas politics?

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 5 years ago

    1. Obama is a bent over bitch in regards to foreign relations. Putin is puttin’ it right into his ass; Obama’s sanctions are a called bluff.

    2. Putin is buff and sexy.

      • Yeats
      • 5 years ago

      Obama’s mom had “foreign relations”.

      • Billstevens
      • 5 years ago

      lol

      • dmitriylm
      • 5 years ago

      I don’t know if a man with a “little buddha” should be talking about someone putting anything anywhere.

    • just brew it!
    • 5 years ago

    1. Sanctions will not work.

    2. It is unlikely that this will escalate into an all-out ground war.

    3. We could be witnessing the first steps in the re-opening the Cold War though.

      • Billstevens
      • 5 years ago

      I am no historian, but bad things tend to cascade from events like these. Leaders push the boundaries of what neighboring nations are willing to tolerate, until they become bold enough or garner enough support from their nation to go too far.

      Sanctions are about all we can do because no Western nation is going to step in and defend Ukrainian citizens and start a war. Russia is a country that you don’t want to back into a corner.

      I don’t expect Russian leadership to ever have Western ideals or be our best friends but it would be nice if they didn’t become an outright political adversary again. We all have enough political turmoil to deal with without having another nuclear power with mysterious ambitions and intentions.

      It seems like that road though is now inevitable as it is unlikely Russia will not finish bringing Ukraine back into the fold at the cost of Ukraine’s citizens. We are just going to have to sit and watch it happen though and Putin knows it, or he wouldn’t be going down this path.

        • Ninjitsu
        • 5 years ago

        The only nuclear power with mysterious ambitions and intentions is the USA.

          • just brew it!
          • 5 years ago

          Are they really all that mysterious? They seem pretty transparent to me. As do those of Russia, China, India, etc…

      • ericfulmer
      • 5 years ago

      Sanctions will work when they start to put pressure on the oligarchs who have gotten rich off of Putin’s largesse start to see what it costs them. I read that the cost of currency devaluation on Day 1 of the Crimea thing was $20B to the Russian economy. Small beans, but that was Day 1.

      And when the costs of western culture and other commodities start to skyrocket, then maybe the people in the cities won’t have the same positive feelings they are currently nursing after the Olympic Games.

        • Deanjo
        • 5 years ago

        [quote<]Sanctions will work when they start to put pressure on the oligarchs who have gotten rich off of Putin's largesse start to see what it costs them. [/quote<] Putin can play that card as well. Should he get China to impose sanctions against the US, many US companies would face very hard times.

          • bthylafh
          • 5 years ago

          That’d hurt the Chinese at least as much as it’d hurt us. Don’t think there’s much danger of them being that stupid; besides, there’s no love lost between them and Russia.

          • ericfulmer
          • 5 years ago

          China’s economy is large, but not alone enough to compare to USA and western Europe. Plus, their economy is inextricably tired to the USA. Besides, Putin shares along border with them. They don’t want to get on his bad side, but they don’t want him to feel invincible, either.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 5 years ago

          The Chinese leadership is extremely fearful of a popular uprising. Any major trade embargoes between the US and China, beyond the minor in-spirit anti-WTO stuff that already goes on, would cause major social issues in China.

            • Deanjo
            • 5 years ago

            The Chinese have dealt with uprisings for centuries. That is nothing new to them. The Americans on the other hand would be hard pressed without their “Made in China” products.

            • Krogoth
            • 5 years ago

            That isn’t really the largest problem that comes out of that.

            There will be a massive price shock that will throw the USA’s already fragile economy unto the deep abyss. That allow may cause the balkanization of the USA when Federal and State governments (which are depended heavily on the constant loans that Chinese are paying for) to collapse.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 5 years ago

            And China relies on us to keep lending them money, because Chinese Investors would rather take a 2% interest rate from the US for 10 years than anything else. China funding our loans plays to the Chinese game of lowering the Yuan and making cheaper workers.

            The Chinese / USA loan structure is one of the greatest economic cooperations ever. Cheap Chinese goods won’t exist without a weak Yuan. Chinese factories would not exist without a weak Yuan.

            Besides, 72% of the US’s Debt is held within the US (either owned by the US Government… such as the $2.7 Trillion owned by the Social Security Trust Fund), or the Trillions owned by private investors in 401k plans. The remaining 28% is split between China, Japan, Taiwan, the UK, Switzerland and Russia.

            China owns at most… ~7% of our debt. I don’t really understand the obsession over this figure.

            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_of_the_United_States[/url<]

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            Your problem is thinking that money is what actually matters. What actually matters is the means of production; the factories, technology, capital and know-how that US and Western elites/banksters have kindly given away to China.

            The only thing preventing Chinese companies from simply making and selling the products themselves without the western corporation middleman is patent laws. Once they have a stake in every key industrial sector, there’s nothing stopping them literally flipping us the finger and breaking those patents, and simply building and selling all these goods themselves. And what are you gonna do about it?

            • dragontamer5788
            • 5 years ago

            They’re already flipping us the finger and breaking patent laws. After all, the US Patent system doesn’t exist in China, and there are Billions of people that consume those goods. Frankly, I’m for reducing the value of the US Dollar to counter-act Chinese pressure. A weaker dollar means less imports into the US, leading to more domestic manufacturing. Unfortunately, the political environment of the US is against any policy that weakens the dollar despite the obvious benefits.

            So really man, you’re preaching to the choir.

            Its not quite as bad as you put it however. Corruption is widespread in China. [b<]THAT[/b<] is the reason why investors don't like Chinese companies. Without investors, China will be at a disadvantage in innovation. The US Economy has moved away from basic factories and manufacturing... and instead turning into an innovation / design country. True, more engineers and more people in China puts us at a disadvantage. But until the Chinese get their state-wide corruption issues under control, it is unlikely that they'll solve the innovation crisis on their own. Besides, the export of low-paying jobs to China helps China and lowers the costs of goods in the US. It grows the Chinese Middle Class who are increasingly pro-American values and anti-authoritarian. In a couple of decades, one possible scenario is that China will become a great American partner if we play our diplomatic cards correctly.

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            Yeah, but the idea that you can be an “innovation and design” country is flawed, as innovation and design go hand in hand with factory know-how. Andy Grove, former Intel CEO says as much [url<]http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_28/b4186048358596.htm[/url<] [url<]http://www.technologyreview.com/qa/425125/andy-grove/[/url<] Design and know how is happening in the places that manufacture the products. Samsung is maybe the best example of that. Because of this I don't put much faith in that belief as a sound one for the future of the US economy, or it's position in the world as the leading design/innovation country.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 5 years ago

            US has [b<]plenty[/b<] of manufacturing. It just doesn't have very many manufacturing jobs. US Manufacturing looks like [url=http://youtu.be/yNYJG3WFPak?t=41s<]this[/url<] or [url=http://youtu.be/AO7JYGNqRxM?t=2m19s<]this[/url<]. Chinese Manufacturing looks like this: [url<]http://youtu.be/zRBRdatmQhI?t=3m8s[/url<] The problem with the US is that we have increasing numbers of robots automating away the jobs. Even [url=http://www.lely.com/en/milking/robotic-milkingsystem/astronaut-a4<]milking a cow[/url<] has turned into a robotic job. The US is losing manufacturing jobs while our overall production is going up. As a result, we have a job problem... not a manufacturing problem. (Granted, the number of jobs is less obvious in the Cola plant. But you've got FDA inspections ensuring every machine is safe, food engineers who spent years designing safe machines and so forth. But at the end result, you mostly have automated robots doing the vast majority of the work). In the US, we're concerned with building better robots and better factories. Things that require less maintenance, or perhaps re-tweaking older robots to fit new regulations. IE: Automated Payroll systems that keep up with local tax laws.

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            I didn’t mean to imply that the US dosen’t do manufacturing anymore, obviously they do. But the fall in manufacturing numbers isn’t due to just robotics, but to the shifiting of entire industries away from America to China. Witness this in finding consumer goods that aren’t made in China.

            This is a problem, because along with the industry you lose a lot of know-how and technology that went with it (in addition to the jobs). Another thing you lose is the industrial supply chain that goes with having those industries and interrelated ones. Just having the robots isn’t enough, if you can’t get the parts the robots need to make things. The Chinese can get robots as well, but they have the added benefit of also having nearby supply chains to pracitcally every part you can imagine to make stuff. So where do you imagine a lot of manufacturing will still end up in the future of robotic manufacture?

            I’m sure you’ll find this article interesting, so I’ll leave this here [url<]http://www.gltaac.org/US-China-scrap-top-export[/url<] Scrap and waste apparently is your biggest export item to China (as of 2012). [quote<]However – scrap and waste now being our top export to China is indicative and emblematic of our overall trade relationship. It clearly illustrates how uneven and unhealthy the situation is for the U.S. China sells the U.S. computers, phones and TVs (the top 3 import commodities from China in 2011 – toys were only #4), while we sell scrap, soybeans and aircraft to them. This is a problem. This is not a mix of goods one expects to see being traded between the two biggest economies in the world. It does not look like trade between economic equals. And it certainly doesn’t look like the flow of goods we have with our other major trade partners.[/quote<]

            • dragontamer5788
            • 5 years ago

            Dumb manufacturing jobs can be outsourced to any cheaper environment. The real problem with China is that they’re facing renewed competition from India.

            Why hire a bunch of Chinese, when you can hire Indians who can speak English and cost even cheaper?

            The part of manufacturing which has left the US is the weakest part of the supply chain. In this global marketplace, we need to work on remaining on the top of the food chain. And believe me, skirting child labor laws and building 14-hour shifts for manual assembly line labor is [b<]not[/b<] the solution for the future. Beyond that, China has a good advantage on natural resources. The US is unwilling to take advantage of its natural resources due to environmental concerns. But "rare earth metals" do exist across the world. China [b<]tried[/b<] to flex is supply-chain muscle with rare earth metals just two years ago... and what happened? [url=http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/india-benefits-china-begins-to-lose-manufacturing-edge/1/203040.html<]Venusuela, Columbia, and Russia began to mine rare earth metals[/url<]. The Chinese edge on manufacturing and production is built on top of the US's unwillingness to mine and destroy our own natural resources. We got Eco-groups to please over here... they don't. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing either.

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            I think China’s biggest problems are going to do with the extensive environmental degradation industrialization has brought them (things like extensive soil contamination [url<]http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-27076645[/url<] ), and dealing with the economic crash that is inevitably ahead of them. Economic growth and the amount of investment that they're going at has historically always resulted in large bubbles, and bubbles eventually pop. Think Japan in the 80's. It remains to be seen how well they navigate the coming mess.

            • Voldenuit
            • 5 years ago

            [quote<]Corruption is widespread in China. THAT is the reason why investors don't like Chinese companies.[/quote<] Hey, corruption is prevalent here, too. We just call it "lobbying".

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            Indeed, we’re swimming in corruption ourselves. It’s best to remember that when we compare how our system is working with others.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 5 years ago

            I know its hip and all to hate on your own country, but seriously.

            Chinese culture of corruption is far deeper than it is in the US. Proof is in the pudding. From [url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10132391/Riot-after-Chinese-teachers-try-to-stop-pupils-cheating.html<]education[/url<], to [url=http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-21/china-s-bribery-culture-poses-risks-for-multinationals.html<]bribes[/url<] and you can easily see that its worse in China. The US has minor corruption tricks that try and avoid the IRS and FBI. ([url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Irish_arrangement#Dutch_sandwich<]Double-Irish Dutch Sandwich anyone??[/url<]). But Chinese have [url=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/055e48f8-7371-11e3-a0c0-00144feabdc0.html<]similar tricks[/url<], in addition to blatantly obvious public bribes and a fundamental cheating culture. The Chinese have multiple advantages against the US. However, the US has institutionalized programs that fight corruption, common whistleblowers and an independent media. It is far harder to run a large bribery campaign in the US than China, if only because the paparazzi and FBI Agents who will catch you. Comparing corruption in the US to corruption in China isn't even a fair fight. China is significantly more corrupt... at every level of government.

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            You just aren’t looking hard enough man. Our societies in the west, not just the US, are utterly corrupt. The financial crisis should have shown everyone the fantastic levels of corruption in the west. The fact that not one banker has gone to jail after trillions of dollars of losses? When a much smaller crash like the savings and loans crisis can put away thousands of crooks, explain to me why the most recent crash cannot? What other term would you use other than corrupt?

            [url<]http://billmoyers.com/2013/09/17/hundreds-of-wall-street-execs-went-to-prison-during-the-last-fraud-fueled-bank-crisis/[/url<] [url<]http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2014/04/refusing-put-fraudulent-banks-receivership-help-economy.html[/url<] If a bunch of bankers in China lost a trillion dollars, they would have been shot. Here they give them a bonus. You gotta love modern-style "enforcement", aka pay a "cost of doing business" fine. What a fucking joke! HSBC drug/terrorist money laundering [url<]http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-02/hsbc-judge-approves-1-9b-drug-money-laundering-accord.html[/url<] [url<]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marni-halasa/is-anybody-listening-hsbc_b_3831412.html[/url<] Standard Chatered laundering $250 billion dollars for Iran in direct contravention of the law (obviously) [url<]http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/business/standard-chartered-settles-with-new-york-for-340-million.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0[/url<] UBS pays a measly fine for epic LIBOR interest-rate fixing scandal, no one goes to jail [url<]http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/leniency-denied-ubs-unit-admits-guilt-in-rate-case/?hp[/url<] The robo-signing scandal (in which multiple banks and mortgage agencies literally fabricated documentation on title to the messy mortgages they wrote after the fact, sometimes leading to foreclosures on homes THAT HAD NO MORTGAGES) [url<]http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/false-affidavits-foreclosures-what-robo-34185.html[/url<] [quote<] In 2010, it was revealed that several large banks routinely used affidavits signed by employees who did not personally review the documents and had no basis for believing that the homeowner was in default or that the bank owned the loan. Employees for financial giants like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and GMAC have all testified that they signed many thousands of affidavits a month, spending about 30 seconds on each affidavit, and that they didn't have a clue regarding the veracity of the affidavit or the documents in question -- hence the name "robosigners." [/quote<] [url<]http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-12/mortgage-fraud-whistle-blower-lynn-szymoniak-exposed-robosignings-sins[/url<] That's all just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on all day with stories like the judge in Pennsylvania who threw teenagers in jail in return for kickbacks from privately run for-profit jails [url<]http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/us/13judge.html?pagewanted=all[/url<] Or how about, if you're a rich child rapist? No problem, the law doesn't apply to you! [url<]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/30/robert-richards-rape_n_5060386.html[/url<] etc etc If you don't see the epic levels of corruption in our society, it's because you aren't looking for it. Our society is just as, or more, corrupt than the third world, the only difference is here small time functionaries are usually fairly honest (like local police), but our system is literally rotten to the core. The other difference is probably that we're a lot richer, so it's not as noticeable, and also that our media does it best to cover up a lot of the worst excesses by being stenographers for the corrupt.

            • Ringofett
            • 5 years ago

            [url<]http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/results/[/url<] I also note some of those links are self defeating. Yeah, Standard Charter tried to sidestep US sanctions on Iran, but unless you read from a different dictionary (not impossible, I think crazies and leftists do have a special one they dont share with the rest of us), that's not corruption. No one was bought off. They got caught, and smacked with 340 million in fines. Also, trying to do something for a client isn't corruption, it's the obligation of every business that wants to stay in business. Standard Chartered, as investigations revealed, simply let anti-American hate guide a decision to push too far in trying to dodge sanctions. As for the housing bust and its fall-out, people would do well to remember that prior to government diktat the subprime mortgage market did not exist at all in the US. We created it through regulatory fiat to try to boost home ownership. It's dumb, but not corruption, to let a monster you create grow out of control. And what would you have the country do, anyway? Punish the banks so severely it only prolongs the recession? How does that make sense? As for the housing bust in general, it appears to of been a monetary phenomenon, as Europe had similarly, perhaps, too easy monetary policy and saw a similar boom/bust. Just ask Spain. Again, not corruption -- just stupid monetary policy. Beyond it all, I've never once paid a bribe through my years of education and business, except to get a good table at a restaurant a couple times. Bribes are daily occurrences in China and other places. I think the story came out of Ethiopia earlier this year, parents upset because they have to pay bribes in various forms just to get their kids in to "public" schools. You don't understand at all the lightyears separating the West from, well, the rest. Anyway, Transparency International lays it out pretty well I think, if you care about facts.

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            How is what Standard Chartered did not a form of corruption? They broke the law to personally enrich themselves, and they used their (and the bankster classes) extensive ties to government and regulators to get away with it with a slap on the wrist fine (whereas money laundering for the rest of society would almost certainly have led to jail time).

            And again, $340 million in fines for $250 billion in money laundering that they admitted to (and there’s probably a lot more that they didn’t admit to) qualifies in and of itself as corruption, a form of systemic corruption where our legal authorities aren’t willing to go after the crimes that our elites perpetrate and in a way that is consistent with the rule of law. This happens again and again, and the extent of it was what I was illustrating.

            We live in societies that pays out taxpayer funded bonuses to people who drove their firms into the ground and had to have governments bail them out [url<]http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/feb/27/rbs-bonuses-loss-pay-market-rate[/url<] In what world is this not corruption? If this was happening in a third world country it would be obvious to us all, but because it happens here we try and tiptoe around the obvious so we don't blight our tender sensibilities about the truth. You haven't paid any small-time bribes in your years of school and business, but you, as a taxpayer, paid the bill to bail out the rich and the well-connected. And the cost has been massive, to say the least; vast amounts of money that rivals the corruption in any third world country. We all pay for it every day as an actual decrease in wealth and earnings for the majority of the population. I don't have much to say about Transparency International's index on corruption, other than I'd note that there are significant problems with their index. Mainly their index doesn't actually measure corruption per-se, but rather "perceptions of corruption", which they take to correlate well to actual levels of corruption (I don't agree). As such, it's value as a good arbiter on corruption levels between countries is, in my view, far more limited than the authoritative take you believe it to be. Moving on, your accounting of the financial crisis is, unsurprisingly, lacking, and again unsurprisingly is the bankster-approved version of events. It totally omits even the chance of fraud being a key element in understanding what happened, much less massive systemic fraud which is a far better explanation than your simplistic narrative allows for. Instead you go for the idiotic "ohh look, the gubment made us create all these fraudulent and toxic financial products and made the ratings agencies give all our toxic crap tripleA ratings which we were then forced to sell at handsome profits to ourselves and expensive losses to society!". The idea that trillions of dollars can go poof while these criminals made billions of dollars, and that there was no fraud here no siree, is the epitome of naive (or purposefully obtuse to hide the truth, which is what I think you are being here). I'll leave it to William K. Black, former bank regulator one of Americas foremost experts on financial fraud, to explain how control fraud works and how corrupt our system is today: [url<]http://youtu.be/i9JfmzUtlWM[/url<] [quote<] Fraud is both a civil wrong and a crime and it's when I get you to trust me and then I betray your trust in order to steal from you. As a result, there’s no more effective acid against trust than fraud and, in particular, elite fraud, which causes people to no longer trust folks, economies break down, families break down, political systems break down and such if you don’t have that kind of trust. So that’s what fraud is. But what my work focuses on is: what kind of frauds are the most devastating? And it turns out that the most kind of problems that we’re seeing, systemic problems and such, arise when we have, what we call in criminology, control fraud. And control fraud simply means when you have a seemingly legitimate entity and the person who controls it uses it as a weapon to defraud others. And so in the financial sphere the weapon of choice is accounting and the losses from these kinds of control frauds exceed the financial losses from all other forms of property crime combined. So for example, in the current crisis, as with the prior ones, if you’re a lender there’s an easy recipe for maximizing fake accounting income. And it goes like this. You need four ingredients: 1: grow like crazy 2: by making really, really crappy loans but at a premium yield (yield just means 'interest rate') 3: while employing extreme leverage, and 4: while setting aside only the most trivial reserves or allowances for the inevitable losses this kind of behavior produces. George Akerlof and Paul Romer wrote the classic article in economics about this in 1993. And their title really says it all in terms of the dynamic: Looting the Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit. The idea is you have a seemingly legitimate entity, the person at the top is looting it. They loot it by destroying it but they walk away wealthy. Of course, in the modern era we don’t necessarily, we may bail out the entity. So it may not even fail in that sense. But here’s what Akerlof and Romer also said that was so critical as an understanding. They said these four steps, these four ingredients: it's just math. It is – and I’m quoting them now “a sure thing.” So you’re mathematically guaranteed if you do these four things to report, not just substantial income, but record levels of income. The big thing about the seemingly legitimate entity when the CEO is the crook is, first, everybody reports to the CEO ultimately, right? So the CEO is the point failure mechanism where if he or she goes bad, almost everything may go bad as well. So all those things that we call internal and external controls, all report to the CEO and the CEO therefore can, as I’ll describe, use compensation, hiring, firing, praise, and such to produce the environment that will commit, create allies for his fraud. Now, note that what I’m saying. The CEO, the art of this is not to defeat your controls. The elegant solution as in mathematics is to suborn the controls and turn them into your most valuable allies. And therefore, for example, when you’re running accounting control fraud where your weapon of fraud is accounting and that weapon of choice in finance is accounting. You’re going to want to hire the most prestigious accountants as your outside auditors because it is precisely their reputation that is most valuable when you can suborn them. And, they give you that clean opinion that you just described that will help you deceive other shareholders. So one enormous advantage is internal and external controls come to the CEO level. A second incredible advantage is the CEO can optimize the firm as a weapon of fraud. And the CEO can do that. Basically, this falls into two big categories. One, you can put it in assets that have no readily verifiable market value because then it's a lot easier to inflate asset valuations and to hide real losses. And the second thing you do is grow like crazy. And, of course, that is the essence of something your listeners have all heard about, and that is a Ponzi scheme. And so these accounting control frauds have strong Ponzi-scheme like elements, which is why they tend to cause such catastrophic losses. [/quote<] [url<]http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/william-k-black-phd[/url<] more links to his great articles for those interested

            • Ringofett
            • 5 years ago

            People like Suspenders have no interest in the truth. We can link international rankings of corruption but it doesn’t matter. I know where some ideas come from, like the zero-sum view of economics that environmentalists have is just a hand-me-down combo-concoction from Malthus and Marx, but where this “The US is corrupt as China” propaganda has originated from, both in terms of the cultural susceptibility to the lie and the effort itself, I don’t know.

            Might be paranoia, but a lot of news from the past year has shown modern intelligence agencies have been active in social media, covertly, for years. Everyone from South Korea to Saudi Arabia has active social media propaganda efforts. I think Suspenders and those repeating those hollow lines may well be the pawns of Chinese intelligence agents — possibly even a savvy Islamic group. I tip my hat to whoever is behind it, though, ’cause it’s sure widespread on the internet, and when people like him repeat a lie enough times the average Joe does tend to believe it.

            • Suspenders
            • 5 years ago

            Some people see trillions of dollars go “poof”, along with a certain class of “masters of the universe” become obscenely wealthy at the same time, all while riding their firms into the ground and feeding at the trough of the largest government bailouts in history. We see rampant abuses and outright criminal behaviour by these same people get little more than a cursory glance by law enforcement. Following all of this we see an actual decrease in wealth and earnings for the majority of the population.

            Vast conspiracy by Islamists, Marxists, Chinese intelligence agents, Joseph McCarthy’s zombified corpse, etc etc (whatever other bogeyman you want to implicate)? Or I don’t know, maybe try connecting the fucking large and obvious dots, will you?

            • MadManOriginal
            • 5 years ago

            Just because it’s been dealt with and isn’t new doesn’t mean it is not a major concern – and if you want to go back centuries there are numerous examples which caused complete government change. That is culturally ingrained and has an impact on all decisions by leadership, no matter who it is.

        • NovusBogus
        • 5 years ago

        The problem with this approach is that the oligarchs keep most of their money over there, and the one sanction that would totally rape Russia’s economy–an energy embargo–would also make the Eurozone implode even faster than it already is, which the aristocracy over there would never stand for. Basically Europe is trying to have its cake and eat it too, and Russia is laughing at the world.

      • Krogoth
      • 5 years ago

      1.) Agree

      2.) Not in the near-future, but a decade or two things might get hot when global hydrocarbons start to run low.

      3.) Not a cold war, resource wars that will begin to crop up in the painful transitional period that is ahead of human civilization.

    • fredsnotdead
    • 5 years ago

    A dangerous and disturbing situation. If Putin succeeds, what will he do next? How far is NATO willing to go to oppose him? It feels more like Czechoslovakia (1938) than Serbia (1914) to me.

    • jdaven
    • 5 years ago

    “Are y’all pumped for World War III?”

    Is this what America has come to? Joking about WWIII?

      • Cyril
      • 5 years ago

      My tasteless dark humor is 100% non-American.

        • hbarnwheeler
        • 5 years ago

        Shouldn’t that be ‘humour’?

          • Cyril
          • 5 years ago

          Not if I want to get paid.

            • hbarnwheeler
            • 5 years ago

            Her Majesty will not be pleased.

            • sweatshopking
            • 5 years ago

            HE’S FRENCH, YO

            • anotherengineer
            • 5 years ago

            I think Kowaliski is Polish.

        • keltor
        • 5 years ago

        You need to hang around with different Americans. 🙂

        • Concupiscence
        • 5 years ago

        Gallows Humor Without Borders™

      • Yeats
      • 5 years ago

      You never heard of “gallows humor”?

      • ludi
      • 5 years ago

      Lucky for us, you’re a Very Serious Person.

      • greenmystik
      • 5 years ago

      sorry debbie downer

      • Laykun
      • 5 years ago

      Since when was Techreport an american website?

        • Krogoth
        • 5 years ago

        Because its owner lives in the USA……..

          • Laykun
          • 5 years ago

          Oh I see, I was under the impression that a lot of the writers and the servers were in the EU, my bad.

            • Cyril
            • 5 years ago

            Nope. We’re a U.S. site, and our editorial staff and servers are all in North America.

            • anotherengineer
            • 5 years ago

            Depends on your definition of North America.
            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_America[/url<]

            • Airmantharp
            • 5 years ago

            Was there any other definition?!?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 5 years ago

            Cyril used to live in France, IIRC, so maybe that’s where you got the idea.

      • sunner
      • 5 years ago

      Agreed.
      Lets us Americans, keep our noses out of Crimea.
      I’ve served my country twice in uniform; in the AF and in the Army.
      We’re not dealing with another helpless 3rd world country; this is Russia.
      One step will lead to another, and it will grow….
      I have no desire to see a tiny nuclear sun light-up my beloved city.
      You children who want to fight, go buy another computer game.

      • BIF
      • 5 years ago

      I don’t know how you take that quote as “joking”. This topic is a timely one and the question must be asked. Better to ask before War breaks out, yes?

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