Page 13 of 97 FirstFirst ... 311121314152363 ... LastLast
Results 241 to 260 of 1935

Thread: Ukraine (closed; covers till August 2014)

  1. #241
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    "Turn left at Greenland." - Ringo Starr
    Posts
    965

    Default

    From the Guardian:

    But US efforts to turn the political tide in Ukraine away from Russian influence began much earlier. In 2004, the Bush administration had given $65 million to provide 'democracy training' to opposition leaders and political activists aligned with them, including paying to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet US leaders and help underwrite exit polls indicating he won disputed elections.
    This programme has accelerated under Obama. In a speech at the National Press Club in Washington DC last December as Ukraine's Maidan Square clashes escalated, Nuland confirmed that the US had invested in total "over $5 billion" to "ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine" - she specifically congratulated the "Euromaidan" movement.
    From a realist perspective, there's nothing 'wrong' (in a moral sense) with this practice. And, frankly, from that same perspective, the United States will work to destablize other governments while it has the power to do so. My question is if in the discourse of conflict or in the public discourse this is not taken into account, how can we honestly measure ourselves or our opponents? The faux surprise of Moscow's intervention in Crimea is really another self-imposed example of blowback.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  2. #242
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default Firn:

    Michelle the translator has it right about getting too old for this $hit; but I doubt that she was listening to Radio Moscow in the 50s on this beast:



    Those were simpler times - perhaps.

    JMA:

    Mike, these Russian citizens living in Ukraine, are they Russian expats or Ukrainians of Russian origin?

    I have heard that the Russians are dishing out passports to prove these people are Russian citizens? This to justify their invasion.

    If this is so then you can't be a Russian or a Ukrainian at the same time... if dual citizenship is allowed then the national parliament can - quickly - push a new law through making it impossible for Russian citizens and passport holders to also be citizens of the Ukraine.

    Russian citizens would then be required to apply for residence permits and work permits to live and work in the Ukraine. Pretty standard requirements for citizens of another country.
    Good points and questions all - I don't know the legalisms; but they won't make any difference in the long run. The Cheka Comparative Law department will come up with answers, which by strange coincidence will correspond with the Putin-Ivanov press releases.

    Slap: Thanks for Andy Williams; so, here's Audrey Hepburn for you - Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).

    Regards

    Mike

  3. #243
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    861

    Default

    Worth reading: a piece on the Crimea by Philosophy professor JEH Smith http://www.jehsmith.com/1/2014/03/crimea.html

  4. #244
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    Anybody care to guess when the first of those fraternal liberators are killed by Tatar bombs or bullets and what the fraternal liberators will then do?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  5. #245
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,297

    Default

    A fine perspective from Andrey Kurkov, a reknown Ukrainian novelist living between Kyiv and a small village. I have quoted some but one should really read the whole piece in one go. So click the link and head over!









    Really!

    These days my children go to school with a little more enthusiasm. They have something to discuss and even debate with their classmates. They follow the news closely and earnestly recount how the Ukrainian officer Yuli Mamchur and his soldiers, all unarmed, set out to retake Belbek, a Ukrainian airbase in Sevastopol that had been occupied by armed Russian troops, and how they advanced, singing the Ukrainian national anthem, in spite of the Russian troops' warning shots. The children know all about the Ternopol, a Ukrainian warship whose captain, in reply to a Russian admiral's command to surrender, said, "Russians do not surrender!", going on to explain that he, Captain Emelyanchenko, was ethnically Russian as were half of his crew. The admiral left empty-handed.

    I am also Russian, an ethnic Russian who has lived in Kiev from early childhood. Between 8 and 14 million of Ukraine's 47 million population are ethnic Russians and the word Russian doesn't give rise to any aggression among Ukrainians or spark any glint of hatred in their eyes. My grandfather was the first to arrive on Ukrainian soil. He came in 1943, was killed in the battle to free Kharkiv and is buried in a mass grave at the railway junction of Valki, not far from the city. He died fighting against fascism and now I hear the word fascist used about me because I am against the occupation of my country by Putin's army, because I am against the state of total corruption created by Yanukovich and his clan, because I want the country where I live to be guided by the rule of law. No, I am not a political activist and have never joined any political party and I don't plan to join one. I am simply a citizen of my country.
    This part almost seems allegoric about what I called the 'attraction' of the Western wealth and ideals and the 'push' from power politics and kleptocracy...

    There are no more government sponsored anti-Maidan demonstrations "supported" by state employees and people who just wanted to earn a bit of extra money. About 30 people from our village have now lost that particular source of income. They were paid 250 UAH (£15) a day to stand in Maryinski park, in front of the parliament, with Party of Regions flags and slogans in support of Yanukovich. They were given tea and food, but the menu was poor so they tended to go down to the Maidan, where volunteer cooks from cafes and restaurants all over Kiev served up hot meals made with products donated by other Kievites. Later when the organisers of the anti-Maidan meeting realised what was happening they closed the passage down to the Maidan and threatened not to pay anyone who went down there.
    ....
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  6. #246
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,297

    Default

    Perhaps one of the most important articles on the Crimean economy:



    Currently pre-paid travel packages – a key indicator of expected travel – are down a whopping 90 percent year-on-year, reports Oleksandr Burdonov, director of Kurorty Krymu (Resorts of Crimea), a local tourism industry association.

    Acting Minister for Resorts and Tourism of Crimea Alexander Liev told the Kyiv Post that the flow of tourists to Crimea could drop by 30 percent, or to 4.1 million people, because of the ongoing political crisis. This is the most optimistic prediction for the Crimean vacation season this year.
    Just a slight difference in perception between the party line and the industry...

    Tourism is one of Crimea’s biggest economic sectors, worth an estimated $5 billion annually, according to the Crimean Resorts and Tourism Ministry, and an industry that is especially vulnerable. There are well over 100,000 people employed in tourism-related businesses who rely on four months worth of revenue to cover their yearly income, said Galina Amarando, press secretary of the Resorts and Tourism Ministry. She added that in addition to the 100-odd major hotels and resorts, over 20,000 private flats and cottages, and 4,000 mini-hotels service tourists.

    Yet, the estimated annual value of tourism for Crimea is far less than the true number because of massive underreporting of income and low registration of small businesses, said Armarando. The seizure of power on the peninsula by pro-Russian politicians followed by the military occupation threatens to bring this vital industry to a crashing halt.

    A record six million tourists came to Crimea in 2012 and 5.9 million last year. Russians make up 25 percent of the tourist flow to Crimea, while Ukrainians comprise 70 percent, according to Liev. In a letter to the new Crimean government Burdonov and several other businessmen charge government officials with being “not only incapable of assessing the situation, but also incapable of answering the calls to deal with the issues facing resorts and tourism.”
    As I said before I have a deep trust in the ability of a puppet regime controlled from Moskva to miss-manage an economy. Now that they face what would be a huge challenge for the most capable. We will see what the potentials rivers of money from Russia might achieve in the short and long run.
    Last edited by Firn; 03-07-2014 at 02:01 PM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  7. #247
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Hiding from the Dreaded Burrito Gang
    Posts
    3,096

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    On a different note, I noted for the first time that indeed a lot of the Eastern and Northern FM are quite active twitter users. The Polish one:
    I would suggest that any staff planning officers of small-to-mid sized countries within range of Russian Air Force An-124s start Red Teaming how Putin and his Kremlin crew could Georgia/Crimea them within five days (which looks like the New Red Army standard), along with whatever the triggers would be and maskirovka indicators Russian forces would hide behind. That'd be a prudent exercise.

    For that poor little O3/O4 in the G3 Section out there suddenly tasked with something like this, have a leg-up;

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...62578216,d.dmQ

    https://www.cia.gov/library/center-f...1a02p_0001.htm

    http://books.google.com/books?id=lJ9Gfxo_bxMC&pg

    Powodzenia.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Anybody care to guess when the first of those fraternal liberators are killed by Tatar bombs or bullets and what the fraternal liberators will then do?
    Flanking actions, baby, flanking actions.
    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...127#post153127

    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    BTW the OCSE* storms an Ukrainian shop:
    Nice haircuts.
    Last edited by AdamG; 03-07-2014 at 03:46 PM.
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  8. #248
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,297

    Default

    @jmm99: A member of maternal grandfathers family actually got in trouble because as teen he was listening to Radio Moskva in the 30s. I no longer know why (a price?) he wrote a cost-free letter back, but that one must have earned him a place on some list, as he could gather through an informal channel. Very low down of course, but it did hamper his career.

    @AdamG: The article about the Soviet Deception makes for interesting reading, I will have to take my time on that one.

    --------------

    Quite early in this thread I questioned the wisdom of Putins invasion into the Crimea. Vladimir Putin is losing the battle for Ukraine by Alex Massie puts some of my ideas in far better words:

    It is always tempting, in the field of foreign affairs, to suppose we are led by dupes and fools while our opponents enjoy – or endure – leaders of boundless cunning. We are over-matched; they are playing three-dimensional chess. We are weak, they are strong. We are easily distracted, they are single-minded. We compromise, they are implacable. It is easy to over-estimate the opposition while under-estimating our own capabilities.
    This attitude and it's consequences were already picked up by Clausewitz as one of the reasons why wars often moved so slowly and carefully. The difficulties and the frictions are all too plain on your side while those of your opponent are hidden. But I disgress:

    Moscow, assisted by the blundering Yanukovych, has over-reached itself and in so doing is losing the prize it coveted in the first place. No government in Kiev can submit to Moscow now. Putin has pushed his near abroad further abroad. Russia is forcing Ukraine to make a choice it might prefer not to make. Should Kiev look east or west? By invading the Crimea and threatening eastern Ukraine Putin makes that choice for Kiev. It cannot return to Moscow centre. It must instead, albeit with some trepidation, look west.

    That is, Putin is losing hearts and souls. Ukraine may remain a divided country but Russia is helping legitimise the new Ukrainian government. Helping, too, Ukrainians make up their minds. If they were conflicted a few weeks ago they are a little less conflicted now.
    Almost nothing is certain, but there is no doubt that Putin has so far undermined the support for Russia of 40+ million Ukrainians to secure so far a bit over a million Russian speakers and the Crimea. It will be highly interesting to see how it plays out.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  9. #249
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,297

    Default

    Some of the stuff coming out of the occupied Ukraine and Russia is amazing, but it is hard to beat the 'icebreaker of peace' in Sochi 2014.

    'Took a wrong turn', '.. and sunk in the Sevastapol harbour' are just a couple of the sarcastic comments.

    I found the twitter side refreshing, usually I'm more the article and reports type of guy.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  10. #250
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    "Turn left at Greenland." - Ringo Starr
    Posts
    965

    Default

    Firn,

    I agree in part about the assessment of the current administration in Kiev's willingness to negotiate with Moscow being affected by the Crimean intervention. But that's not Moscow's angle in my opinion.

    (1) When Yanukovych fled, Moscow lost their horse in the race. But now in Crimea, they able to exert influence on the political outcome.That outcome is as much determined by Washington and Brussels as it is by Kiev and now Moscow. By escalating/inventing a dispute with Ukraine, Moscow has created political leverage. Now Moscow does not need to lean on its man on the inside because it is the man on the inside.

    (2) The administration in Kiev as it is organized now is likely to be short-lived (here's Yatsenuk's statement on coming to power: “To be in this government is to commit political suicide." There will be elections in the summer that may or may not return the same individuals to power depending on circumstances between now and then. The economic crisis remains unresolved and the new administration, already viewed with skepticism by the actual street protesters, will have to find a way to survive the coming hardships with the IMF-imposed austerity program.

    (3) Whatever the internal problems and injustices in Russia, it's economic and military size does not subject it to the same pressures of smaller powers when faced with Western pressure. The approach by Washington does not recognize this -- though the inability to dislodge Russia from Crimea makes it painfully obvious. Eventually relations between Washington, Brussels, and Moscow will have to normalize regardless of what happens in Crimea. And by the fact of occupation, that works to the advantage of the Russians.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  11. #251
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    1,007

    Default

    Some videos and thoughts form Ukraine.

    1. Finnish military mag's "Suome sotilas" comment about Krimea parliament attack. Author suspects taht according to weapons list it's GRU.

    http://www.suomensotilas.fi/fi/artik...sjoukkojen-tyt

    2. Ukrainan special unit in the morning of 20.02. Street Institutskaja near Maidan.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B4OgynH-7Is

    3. Video from other side. Same day, same street, only minutes later. This is my speculation according to chronology of events.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JVc1hzi_r_Q

    4. Russian blogger tries to prove that new Russian SOC is in Krimea. With the help of Russian Facebook.

    http://dm-dobriy.livejournal.com/175247.html

    5. From what unit are Russian "Tigers" in Krimea.

    http://irek-murtazin.livejournal.com/1149525.html

  12. #252
    Council Member mirhond's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    372

    Default

    to carl

    Your judgement is clouded by strong emotions against something I don't care, sorry for bothering you.

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Carl and Firn,

    The point is that with or without Russian intervention, Ukraine would still be facing this same economic dilemma. And the problem isn't is "West better than East?" Because that's a false dichtonomy. Ukraine's integration into the Washington Concensus will unleash a very painful program on the Ukrainian people that will benefit a few small class of investors and financiers. Whatever his motivations and faults, Yanukovych rejected this program. His government was in an impossible situation given the immense pressure from both Washington and Moscow. A considerable of the portion of the population is in favor of this course of action - another considerable portion is in favor of achieving the status of a Russian protectate. The narrative of a spontaneous freedom-thirsty pro-West Ukrainian revolution is a myth.
    You just took the words from my mouth! (Anyway, it'd take me several hours to put the words and thoughts into the right shape, no thanks to my inferior English)

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Mike, these Russian citizens living in Ukraine, are they Russian expats or Ukrainians of Russian origin?

    I have heard that the Russians are dishing out passports to prove these people are Russian citizens? This to justify their invasion.

    If this is so then you can't be a Russian or a Ukrainian at the same time... if dual citizenship is allowed then the national parliament can - quickly - push a new law through making it impossible for Russian citizens and passport holders to also be citizens of the Ukraine.

    Russian citizens would then be required to apply for residence permits and work permits to live and work in the Ukraine. Pretty standard requirements for citizens of another country.
    Well, I dare say the current international borders of the Ukraine is of Russian/Soviet origin origin, same rule applies to population. There are hundreds of thousands pensionaries in Ukraine who are not Ukranian, not Russian, but actually Soviet, some of them were smart enough to keep the Russian citisenship in order to have a larger pension.
    Those who are still in the workforce may have dual identities and dual heritage but one passport - Ukrainean, because AFAIK, dual citizenship with Ukraine isn't allowed. They are often work seasonally in Russia on unskilled jobs, and I hardly can imagine a situation when Russian residents would seek jobs in Ukraine, usually it's directly opposite.
    But we have dual citizenship with Tajikistan - the major source of slave labor. Russian capital just dont need that much Ukrainians running around, because they are Russian-speaking, culturally close and harder to exploit. I'd like to gun down all of this capitalists for greater justice, but my sentiment is irrelevant
    ps. Is anyone here ever mentioned "Shrugging off the Soviet legacy for good?" If yes, this person must be happy - now Russia is doing it right away by reshaping Soviet borders and kicking ass of may be not too friendly but historically and culturally close nation.
    Last edited by mirhond; 03-08-2014 at 05:13 AM.

  13. #253
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Hiding from the Dreaded Burrito Gang
    Posts
    3,096

    Default

    OSINT in action.

    On Monday, a freelancer photographer called Steve Back snapped a photograph of a document being carried cavalierly in the open by British officials entering Downing Street. The document was a list of suggested countermoves by Westminster to play against the Kremlin for Russia’s recent invasion of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Some of the items tracked with what other European and American counterparts were thinking. Let’s not fuel up the NATO jets quite just yet; let’s send a monitoring team from the UN and/or OSCE to Crimea (Robert Serry, a UN envoy was nearly kidnapped earlier this week by armed gunmen in Simferopol); let’s draw up financial and energy contingency plans to help the embryonic new government in Kiev. But one item stuck out above the rest: “Not support, for now, trade sanctions… or close London’s financial centre to Russians.”
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...gar-daddy.html
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  14. #254
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Yes, it is known how the British and the Germans have been ethically, morally and financially compromised in their dealings Russia and the criminals who direct the affairs of that state. It is assumed that the story of France is much the same.

    It is more interesting to learn how the US has been either caught asleep at the wheel or sucked into similar dealings as the Europeans have. All will no doubt be revealed in due course.


    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG View Post

  15. #255
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mirhond View Post
    Is anyone here ever mentioned "Shrugging off the Soviet legacy for good?" If yes, this person must be happy - now Russia is doing it right away by reshaping Soviet borders and kicking ass of may be not too friendly but historically and culturally close nation.
    Yes, though there were many warning signs after the collapse of communism Russia was allowed to evolve into a criminal state. We now see the result of appeasement as the criminals flex their nationalistic muscles.

  16. #256
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    1,007

    Default

    Former EU COM delegation head Michael Emerson has published couple interesting papers about Ukraine. Maybe Firn can comment the economical aspects of those association agreements and DCFTA. Emerson says that it all started as trade war and for deescalation all sides must solve that issue.

    http://www.ceps.be/ceps/dld/8820/pdf

    http://www.ceps.be/ceps/dld/8973/pdf

    Ukraine is really devided country as those graphics in previous pages have showed. Here is surevey about EU AA/DCFTA and Customs union.

    http://www.dw.de/ukrainian-support-f...nes/a-17189085

    Next "interesting" place will be Moldova (where Russia has same kind of levers like in Ukraine) and their EU AA agreement.

    http://www.cepolicy.org/news/eu-acce...mong-moldovans

    One more interesting poll.

    Integration with Russia into a single state is supported by 12% of respondents in Ukraine, and during recent years this number has decreased from 20% to 9%, but after Maidan – increased by 3%. The main part of supporters of this idea of unification with Russia is in the East (26%) and South (19%), while the smallest part is in the Center (5%) and West (1%) of Ukraine. By regions majority of integration with Russia in one state is in Crimea (41%), Donetsk district (33%), Lugansk district (24%), Odessa district (24%), Zaporizhzhya (17%) and Kharkiv (15%) districts, but even there support to the current status of relations with Russia - as two independent and friendly states – prevails

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=eng&cat=news&id=237&page=1
    Last edited by kaur; 03-08-2014 at 12:05 PM.

  17. #257
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,356

    Default

    I have quickly read the SWJ exchanges on the Crimea, plus today's interview, but the writing of Professor John Schindler IMHO is always worth reading:http://20committee.com/2014/03/07/un...crimea-crisis/

    Leaving aside the diplomatic reaction, the reluctance in Europe, especially the UK, to respond with any economic / financial sanctions makes one wonder if NATO can move beyond the symbolic. John's column today:http://20committee.com/2014/03/08/de...-putin-part-i/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-08-2014 at 08:14 PM. Reason: Add 2nd link
    davidbfpo

  18. #258
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default John Schindler's Special War

    The events in the next few weeks will evidence whether EU-NATO can be "reinvigorated" as Schindler suggests in today's blog, Deterring Putin, Part I. His article from yesterday, Understanding the Crimea Crisis, is more interesting for a number of reasons.

    The first is:

    As I write, the Ukrainian region of Crimea is being absorbed by Russia, more or less openly. This represents a blatant challenge to the post-1991 European order, make no mistake, and so far Vladimir Putin is winning. After a sudden increase in Russian military personnel on the sensitive peninsula, more than 6,000 troops, mostly Special Operations Forces (SOF), Moscow has pulled out all the stops in waging what I have termed Special War: provocations, espionage, black and white propaganda, and the use of deniable SOF, often under false flag. None of this is new to the Russians, indeed it’s second-nature to the Kremlin, and Crimea today can best be viewed as one huge operation by Moscow’s powerful military intelligence, the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which controls not just defense espionage matters but SOF too, what the Russians term SPETSNAZ.
    One should then read Schindler's, The Coming Age of Special War (September 20, 2013); and also his reference to Wiki's Active Measures, as one facet of the SW diamond. What he says is not new (he doesn't claim it is); and can be found in these samplings of the literature: Qiao Liang & Wang Xiangsui, Unrestricted Warfare; Beaufre - e.g., Introduction to Strategy and Deterrence and Strategy; Liddell-Hart, Strategy: the indirect approach; and Luttwak, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace.

    Schindler's conclusion is pessimistic on US capability to enter the SW lists:

    Special war works when competently handled. It’s very cheap compared to any conventional military operations, and if executed properly it offers states a degree of plausible deniability while achieving state interests without fighting. The United States at present is not ready – organizationally, legally, politically, or culturally – to compete in special war. But getting proficient in special war will soon not be a choice, but a necessity. We’re already losing at it, whether we realize it or not, and the current trajectory is worrying. Over 2,500 years ago Sun Tzu, an early advocate of special war, argued that the acme of skill is not winning battles, rather subduing your enemy without actually fighting. It’s about time the Pentagon caught on.
    --------------------------------

    The second point is EU-NATO (laid out in more detail in today's article linked in the opening paragraph), whose direction (up or down) will be determined by its actions and/or inactions in the near future. Schindler may be right about what the US and EU nations will do to deter Putin; but I'll wait until the check is in the mailbox.

    --------------------------------

    The third point includes the USG foreign affairs mindset (which goes beyond this event, in matters large and small), which often stumbles over its own feet (links to two other Schindler articles, link1 and link2; the first being about my "buddy" Samantha Power); and, as proponents of more delicate matters:

    ... they have quite literally nothing to say when old-school conventional threats emerge and enemies – yes, enemies: not rivals or merely misunderstood would-be partners – emerge from the darkness with conquest and killing on their minds.
    but also, the third point goes to the urbane Worldview held by many people in the US (people from EU states can judge whether it applies to their countries or not):

    In the present-day West, it’s commonplace to have a laugh at Vladimir Putin’s weirdly macho (and more than a little homoerotic) posturings, and I’ve done it too – how not, among the panoply of martial arts, bears, and countless shirtless adventures before the cameras? Yet in Russia they love this stuff, without a laugh-track. They are not yet as post-modern as we are, and they find reassurance in an old-school leader who talks about – and more importantly demonstrates – strength in a dangerous world.
    To these folks of refined delicacy, "Suvarov's" love of the infantry spade would be too remote to seriously contemplate:

    The spade is not only a tool and a measure. It is also a guarantee of the steadfastness of the infantry in the most difficult situations. If the infantry have a few hours to dig themselves in, it could take years to get them out of their holes and trenches, whatever modern weapons are used against them.
    ...
    This is a book about people who throw spades and about soldiers who work with spades more surely and more accurately than they do with spoons at a table. They do, of course, have other weapons besides their spades.
    One should ask himself, Am I an Athenian or a Spartan in Thucydidean terms ?

    Regards

    Mike

  19. #259
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    Mike:

    I don't understand the Athenian vs Spartan reference.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  20. #260
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default Carl:

    A good question. First, let me first answer it in my own terms. A long, long time ago (a bit more than 60 years), I had the opportunity to do a lot of reading - and a mother who was willing to supply the books and teach the kid.

    Since my interest ran to military history, I soon got into Athenians, Spartans, Persians and Macedonians. I came to realize that art, academics, historians, philosophers, etc., were mostly on the Athenian side - and that they were not bad in a fight either. So, as I recall, the Athenians seemed my path at first.

    The Spartans were not bad in a fight either (a rank understatement); but they were a remote, rural bunch far removed from the more refined Athenians, who were as likely to classify the Spartans not as "Greeks", but as "Barbarians". Moreover, one could not easily judge the Spartans on words alone; they certainly were not verbose, and so "laconic". They tended to be blunt; without lofty rhetoric about their philosophical virtues, which was so much a staple of Athenian rhetoric.

    As time went on in their war, the Athenians found it necessary to "refine" their philosophical virtues (such as "justice") to apply to reality - especially as the Athenian military position worsened. The Melian Dialogue is a traditional example of what I came to consider Athenian doubletalk.

    My end choice (way back when) was to vote for being a non-bull$hitting Spartan - and not an Athenian hypocrite; that choice being based on the high school and college level history texts I was reading then (Thucydides came much later).

    Any number of academic references to what I consider Athenian hypocrisy could be cited. I rather like this short (7 pdf pages) 1998 paper by Seth Delong, The Price of Power: Honor and Self-Interest in Thucydidean Realism.

    He sources and sums up the dichotomy between earlier Athenian lofty rhetoric and later Athenian actions:

    ..."In times of peace and prosperity cities and individuals alike follow higher standards, because they are not forced into a situation where they have to do what they do not want to do." ... (3.82)
    ...
    "To fit in with the change of events words too had to change their meanings. What used to be described as thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a party member." ... (3.82)
    ...
    "Love of power, operating through greed and through personal ambition, was the cause of all these evils. . . Here they were deterred neither by the claims of justice nor by the interests of the state; their one standard was the pleasure of their own party at that particular moment."[10] ... (3.82)
    ...
    "... there was a general deterioration of character throughout the Greek world. The simple way of looking at things, which is so much the mark of a noble nature, war regarded as a ridiculous quality and soon ceased to exist." ... (3.83)
    At this point honor, virtue (arete), and all the noble ideals of Athenian democracy evaporated from firm social institutions into thin air. This is exactly what happened and it was this loss Thucydides lamented more than anything else. As one scholar asserted, "The humane side of Thucydides is centered primarily around his notion of an ethical community as a high human achievement, and he deplores the outcome of Athenian realism as a destruction of this achievement." Forde, Steven. International Realism and the Science of Politics: Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Neorealism. International Studies Quarterly, June 1995. pg. 154.

    The dissolution of honor was reflected both on the individual and interstate levels. Early in The History, in the first book, the Athenian envoys to Sparta describe why the Athenians sought to maintain their hegemony, even though the Persians had ceased to pose any foreseeable threat to the Greek city-states. The envoys state on behalf of the Athenians that they would not appease Sparta by dismantling the empire since "security, honor and self-interest" prevented them from doing so. (1.76)

    They still considered their empire to be honorable because they treated their colonies as a stern, albeit protective father would treat his sons. Though unnecessary, their paternalistic treatment was allegedly honorable and humane, since Athens was so powerful that it could easily rule with an iron fist instead. But it did not and this is precisely what spurs the envoys to declare "we are worthy of our power." (1.76)

    They go on to boast:

    "Those who really deserve praise are the people who, while human enough to enjoy power, nevertheless pay more attention to justice than they are compelled to do by their situation. . . No one bothers to inquire why this reproach is not made against other imperial Powers, who treat their subjects much more harshly than we do; the fact being, of course, that where force can be used there is no need to bring in the law." (1.77)
    What is so significant about this passage is that the Athenians obviously prided themselves on their sense of honor and the imperial consequent of that sense, namely, treating the colonies more humanely and justly than they had to. Later, however, as the ominous eclipse of raw power covers the sun of the once noble empire, the Athenians completely change their motives for maintaining their imperial position. In contrast to the motives of the Athenians at Sparta the Athenian representatives at Melos openly and unflinchingly asserted that justice and honor have absolutely no place in the calculus of a foreign policy.

    Towards the end of the war the Athenians proposed to the inhabitants the island of Melos that they accept their role as a subject colony else they would be destroyed. The Melians appealed to the gods and abstract notions of justice and honor in order to protect themselves against the might of the Athenians. After the Melians finally declared they would not voluntarily succumb to Athenians domination the Athenians promptly killed the male citizens and sold the women and children into slavery. (Delong comment)
    Power became so glorified as an end in itself that the Athenians could declare to the Melians:

    "the standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel and that in fact the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept. You seem to forget that if one follows one's self-interest one wants to be safe, whereas the path of justice and honour involves one in danger. Do not be led astray by a false sense of honour - a thing which often brings men to ruin..." (5.89, 5.107, 5.111)
    How strikingly different from the Athenian assertion of their honour and "worthiness" as a noble empire just seventeen years ago at Sparta!
    No doubt that the Spartans, besides conventional tactics and a willingness to die to the last man, would lie, cheat and steal in order to defeat an enemy. But, the enemy knew, or should have known that. The Spartans also were less than admirable in their treatment of the Helots (perhaps short-sighted when one compares the Romans' treatment of co-operative Italians).

    What did the Spartans do in response to Athens' initial demand ? They went to war based on the logic of Sthenelaidas:

    "The long speech of the Athenians I do not pretend to understand. They said a good deal in praise of themselves, but nowhere denied that they are injuring our allies and Peloponnese. And yet if they behaved well against the Mede then, but ill towards us now, they deserve double punishment for having ceased to be good and for having become bad.

    We meanwhile are the same then and now, and shall not, if we are wise, disregard the wrongs of our allies, or put off till to-morrow the duty of assisting those who must suffer to-day.

    Others have much money and ships and horses, but we have good allies whom we must not give up to the Athenians, nor by lawsuits and words decide the matter, as it is anything but in word that we are harmed, but render instant and powerful help.

    And let us not be told that it is fitting for us to deliberate under injustice; long deliberation is rather fitting for those who have injustice in contemplation.

    Vote therefore, Lacedaemonians, for war, as the honour of Sparta demands, and neither allow the further aggrandizement of Athens, nor betray our allies to ruin, but with the gods let us advance against the aggressors." (1.86)
    After Sparta finally won the long war, it restored Melos to the Melian survivors - thus, as the Athenian said: "the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept."

    Regards

    Mike

    PS: I classify the USGs of the "New World Order" (Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama) as "Athenian" - the Beltway is "Athenian". Beware the "Athenians" and their "Sicilian Campaigns".
    Last edited by jmm99; 03-09-2014 at 03:23 AM.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 457
    Last Post: 12-31-2015, 11:56 PM
  2. Replies: 4772
    Last Post: 06-14-2015, 04:41 PM
  3. Shot down over the Ukraine: MH17
    By JMA in forum Europe
    Replies: 253
    Last Post: 08-04-2014, 08:14 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •