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Thread: Ukraine (closed; covers till August 2014)

  1. #1201
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Carl,

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Stan:

    I figure the biggest event in the history of humans still has a lot of lessons to teach. I figure too that some people may not want to look at the biggest event in the history of the humans for lessons because what they see may not be what they want to see, especially if it involves doing something more than hoping hard and in a pious manner.
    As a devout Roman Catholic and a witness to the Rwandan Genocide, I not only think we learned a horrific lesson in humanity, we also learned that if we are going to react, it should have been fast, really fast. But, our system is anything but fast with Congress and Senate on vacations, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Let's leave the Teutons out of it for a second. When the Italians went on their adventure in Abyssinia they did it only because the Brits let them. I remember reading if the RN had indicated even a slight willingness to stop them, Benito wouldn't have chanced it and sailed on back. That would have had an effect.
    Didn't that end with a military occupation of Ethiopia ? They would only later be defeated in Africa ? Why would the USA want to replay that in history on my dime ? Maybe I lost your point herein.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    The unfortunate plain truth of the matter is that sometimes, you actually gotta do something. A lot of influential people don't want to hear that.
    Agreed 100%, but should be done with every Tom, Dick and Harry. We should not be running with the ball alone.

    Yep, it will take an enormous amount of time to get the EU and NATO in gear, ever fearful of another Iraq (they didn't agree with that and most still conclude the war as both illegal and illegitimate). In the meantime, the Ukrainians also need to attach some sort of responsibility to their actions instead of spouting words in the press that get Yankee blood boiling.
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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Stan:

    I yield to superior knowledge.

    My point though was a little different. Because the Swiss nation can be as feckless and stupid as the Americans and the Brits nowadays doesn't mean they aren't a nation. They are even though they have four distinct cultures. That was my point to Wm.
    Carl,
    The Swiss are Libertarians. They love their cheese and cowbells, but to say they are a single nation is far from the truth. People in Zurich don't say they are Swiss, rather from Zurich as a small example.

    They are happy in a pile of dung and would prefer we leave them out of this current impasse. They are as screwed up as Americans are.
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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Carl,
    Part of your post is about the myth by which folks justify giving up personal freedom to some government or other. The most common myth is the old social contract. You are right about Rome and the Soci. Rome did not live up to the terms agreed to by everyone. The Swiss are a different story. The land we call Switzerland is a confederacy of regions called cantons, not a single nation. Most of those cantons are geographically isolated due to the terrain. They are more like the ancient Greek leagues than a nation like France or Italy.
    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    A country is a people and a people a country if they figure they are and are willing to fight to back up the point. That's all. If you throw in natives vs recent immigrants you are throwing in an infinitely variable factor which depends solely on personal opinion, eg. my native is your recent immigrant which is somebody else's returned rightful owner.

    One of the main causes of the Social War was the Italian allies were offered Roman citizenship and then the offer was withdrawn. One of the ways the Romans ended that war was by giving the allies Roman citizenship. So the allies fought the Romans for the right to be Roman and lost the war but became Romans. All those different peoples fighting to become part of Rome.

    And Roman citizenship was conferred upon most of the residents of Roman territories in 212 AD. So you had very many different peoples becoming Romans, from Syria to the Atlantic to Sahara to the North Sea. The empire lasted rather a long time after that.

    As far as the Swiss go, they figure they are a nation or a people or whatever and they will fight to back it up. Since there are three languages spoken there which I am guessing represent three different cultures, sort of, and histories but they decided they are Swiss, live in Switzerland and will shoot you in the heart if you mess with that arrangement.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

  4. #1204
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Carl,

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    One of the things we have to realize is that with the utter irrrelevence (sic) of the EU and the uselessness of NATO the concept of those organizations or of "Europe" are meaningless now, or will be unless some backbones are grown lickity split. We are going to go back to individual countries and what they are going to do. That is what will matter. What is Poland going to do? What is Sweden going to do? We will have to think in those terms and act accordingly.
    The EU and to some extent our Neutral Nations are all about equal rights and business. So sensitive a subject that courses include mandatory hours of training to recognize every aspect. If you have to apply that in a wartime scenario (we did), all of these strategies fly out the window.

    Wasn't it US that mounted a purported Color Coup against the Ukrainian government ? Was it not US that invented a Nuclear Rogue State to support our whining ?

    Seems we were doing something.

    Poland is already supporting the situation and Sweden and Finland are stymied by constitutional referendums. To say that Sweden is simple standing by and watching the action is hilarious. Their military equipment and ordnance sales looks like a mad shopping spree at Kmart.... While the remainder of us try and keep up.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    If Vlad's adventure isn't contested the world is going to get very much more complicated and therefore very much more dangerous.
    Agreed. But how ?
    I recommend the African version of an overthrow of the thrown. But, we are civilized as someone told me herein on the 2nd amendment thread, and therefore can't do that.
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Carl,

    As a devout Roman Catholic and a witness to the Rwandan Genocide, I not only think we learned a horrific lesson in humanity, we also learned that if we are going to react, it should have been fast, really fast. But, our system is anything but fast with Congress and Senate on vacations, etc.

    Didn't that end with a military occupation of Ethiopia ? They would only later be defeated in Africa ? Why would the USA want to replay that in history on my dime ? Maybe I lost your point herein.

    Agreed 100%, but should be done with every Tom, Dick and Harry. We should not be running with the ball alone.

    Yep, it will take an enormous amount of time to get the EU and NATO in gear, ever fearful of another Iraq (they didn't agree with that and most still conclude the war as both illegal and illegitimate). In the meantime, the Ukrainians also need to attach some sort of responsibility to their actions instead of spouting words in the press that get Yankee blood boiling.
    Stan:

    Our system is slow enough but slow doesn't have to mean stopped. We are stopped now and that is the fault of the chief executive. He is the one who drives the train to the greatest extent and if he don't say go, it won't.

    Sorry I was unclear about my Abysinnia point. From what I read it was a gamble on the part of Mussolini. He knew he couldn't get there if the RN said no and he was not prepared to fight the RN in order to go. He bluffed the Brits, folded and his adventure was successful. That helped speed things along to WWII. If the Brits hadn't folded, who knows?

    True enough others should be with us, but somebody has to lead the way. That phrase "Follow me." is a very powerful thing.

    Very right the Ukrainians have to move, but I wonder how much of their restraint is at the behest of Washington? No great excuse that is of course but when uncle rich guy says be cool boy, be cool, it does have an effect. Hopefully it won't take them to long before they tell uncle rich guy to go stuff it and help or stay out of the way.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  6. #1206
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Carl,

    Wasn't it US that mounted a purported Color Coup against the Ukrainian government ? Was it not US that invented a Nuclear Rogue State to support our whining ?

    Seems we were doing something.

    Poland is already supporting the situation and Sweden and Finland are stymied by constitutional referendums. To say that Sweden is simple standing by and watching the action is hilarious. Their military equipment and ordnance sales looks like a mad shopping spree at Kmart.... While the remainder of us try and keep up.

    Agreed. But how ?
    I recommend the African version of an overthrow of the thrown. But, we are civilized as someone told me herein on the 2nd amendment thread, and therefore can't do that.
    Stan:

    We have done some things I guess but it seems when things get a little bit tougher, we fold.

    The people who are doing nothing are the in group, so to speak of Euro nations. They are seemingly willing to throw the second class Euro nations to the wolves and as you say those states are doing for themselves, and a good thing that is too. I should have been more clear in that situation will make things a lot more hard to read, therefore unpredictable, therefore dangerous. It was easy when you could sort of just deal with Europe. It is harder when you have to deal with all those front line states state by state. It will get much harder still if, when they start to nuke up.

    There are lots of hows. The first pages of this thread are filled with ideas. But actual action, serious action has to occur. Ya gotta actually do something. An example is the to do that was made of individual economic sanctions being taken against numbers of Russians. Then later it turned out that a whopping one guy was sanctioned. Or the MRE thing. The Ukrainians ask for weapons and we give them boxed lunches. And we won't send them via USAF transport, they have to go by truck so as not to upset Ivan. That is worse than doing nothing.

    There are hows but there is not the determination to do. As you said, there is something lacking in us when doing is sniffingly put down as uncivilized. In order to be civilized you got to be alive and if you don't do when history comes calling you will end up dead.

    Funny how time in Africa, even a little like for me, sort of peels away layers of things that don't matter.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Carl,
    Part of your post is about the myth by which folks justify giving up personal freedom to some government or other. The most common myth is the old social contract. You are right about Rome and the Soci. Rome did not live up to the terms agreed to by everyone. The Swiss are a different story. The land we call Switzerland is a confederacy of regions called cantons, not a single nation. Most of those cantons are geographically isolated due to the terrain. They are more like the ancient Greek leagues than a nation like France or Italy.
    The test of that then would be if Switzerland was invaded, would all the Swiss turn out to kill the invaders. Nobody has cared to test them out on that in a very long time. For practical purposes, they are peoples who are one nation. The important thing is, will they fight as one? They will.

    I don't understand which part was a myth.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    The test of that then would be if Switzerland was invaded, would all the Swiss turn out to kill the invaders. Nobody has cared to test them out on that in a very long time. For practical purposes, they are peoples who are one nation. The important thing is, will they fight as one? They will.
    Certainly the Swiss I've met have all remarked that military service is one of the national institutions that unites them and continuing reserve service was strongly supported. If you had not served it tended to be a brake on a number of career paths. IIRC they still have national service aka conscription.

    Back to the Ukraine even if one momentarily disregards the Russian-Ukrainian aspect there are many factors that reduce national cohesion, individually, collectively and nationally. As some of the recent footage has shown the discipline and security of the Ukrainian security forces (police, national guard and military) is fragile to say the least.

    That one army truck, with a load of weapons (RPGs being shown), moving along without an escort and into a roadblock says a lot about the army. Unless the load was sent for a planned delivery. That the police arrived and stood about apparently wasn't good either.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Holding that line took rather a lot of effort, millions of men, tens of thousands of small war machines like tanks and planes and thousands of large ones like ships and fleets of big bombers. It took decades and decades and it took on the part of the West a clear resolve to actually go to war with all those men and machines if the need arose. It also took demonstrations of that resolve through things like the Berlin Airlift, the Berlin Crisis, fielding the Pershing II missile whether the Soviets liked it or not, US and British submarines constantly on the back of Russian boats and on and on and on. It took Ron and Maggie and the Saudis agreeing to increase oil production to break the Soviet economy, Pope John Paul II carrying on after the Russians tried to have him killed, Solidarity and a lot of brave, brave Poles (we still may have those)and on and on again.
    Yes, mostly... except for this:
    It took Ron and Maggie and the Saudis agreeing to increase oil production to break the Soviet economy
    ...which is a complete crock: the reasons behind the oil glut are many and complex, but it was never a deliberate construct targeting the Soviets.

    I think you missed the point, though.

    First, it needs to be stressed that all the talk about how all is lost if the Ukraine is lost is a load of bollocks. There is no reason to suppose that drawing a line will get suddenly more difficult if things continue to go badly in the Ukraine. Arguably the Ukraine is a poor place to draw a line: there's no functional government, the armed forces are in disarray, and there is a very substantial Russian population, much of which really does want reunion. All of that makes enforcing a drawn line a lot more complicated.

    Precisely because drawing a line takes money and will, it's best done when allies (without whom any line-drawing exercise is going to be pretty fluffy in this case) and the domestic audience are really committed to the exercise.

    Controlling Putin will of course be a lot easier than controlling the Soviet Union was: this is not Cold War 2.0. Still it will require will on the domestic front and cooperation in Europe. If we don't have those, it's a bad time to start a confrontation.

    I don't see any of this as a function of who's in the White House. I don't think any administration in recent memory would have responded much differently.

    It is very true that the analyst community missed a great deal here. The Maidan revolution was seen as an unqualified good, a way of sticking it to Putin without risk, and the regional watchers were too busy gloating and trying to figure out how to spread the joy to Belarus that they failed to see that the same revolution was opening the door wide for a Russian move. There's a lesson to be learned there, and I'm not sure it has been.

    One obvious takeaway from all this is that Putin is an opportunist. If you give him a break, he'll take it. Among all the talk of deterrence and sanctions, one thing that's being missed is that when you're facing an opportunist, it's best not to give him opportunities. I certainly hope that the other frontline states are watching their borders carefully, monitoring pro-Russian groups, and keeping close tabs on any efforts to kick up a fuss. A few Russian provocateurs arrested and paraded before the media before being kicked unceremoniously back across the border will be a useful thing.

    Putin is not Stalin. He wants an excuse, a lever, a justification, no matter how thin. Denying him those opportunities is as important and a whole lot less expensive than the big chest-thumping displays that so many are demanding. A lot of fuss gets made, for example, about how the withdrawal of US armor in Europe opened the door for the Ukraine move. I don't think that meant squat: whatever assets you have nearby mean nothing if you aren't going to use them, and I expect Putin would have reasoned (correctly, and again not specific to this administration) that the US wasn't going to go to war over the Ukraine, and rolled right ahead.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    In short it took the West actually doing something and continuing to do something for a very long and expensive time. The reason we did all this was that we realized appeasement doesn't work. Appeasing just means you will have a much harder struggle on your hands later if you don't do what is needed to be done now.
    You could argue that in the case of the Cold War in Eastern Europe, appeasement did work. Space was traded for time, an enforceable line was found, and the opponent was effectively contained. The argument that the struggle was harder than it would have been if initiated earlier is not being logically supported here. How does recognizing that we're in a poor position to draw a line at the Ukraine make the defense of Poland more difficult?

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Those are real live breathing people with families and friends and goofy hobbies. Real live people that backs may be turned to when they ask for help. That means something.
    Yes, the world is a ####ty place. All over the world, real live breathing people with families and friends and hobbies are getting smacked around. Many of them you don't know or care about: I've yet to hear you demand US action to protect, say, the Rohingya, who are getting it from people who make Putin look like Mother Teresa.

    This is where you say "so because we can't help everyone, we shouldn't help anyone?" and I reply "no, because we can't help everyone, we have to decide who to help and when based on our own interests, capabilities, and needs".
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Despite all the calls for direct action now least the West be seen as emboldening Putin or appeasing him, I think that is misreading the situation. Putin's aspiration are clear to those that can see things through the his eyes, but they are nominal ... limited.

    Of course, the Russian empire and the Soviet Union were not harmonious multicultural paradises, nor is the Russian Federation, but the ideal is still an influence in Russian thinking and policy. At the same time, Putin contradicts this simple vision in worrisome ways. A good example is how he wavers in his March speech between defining Ukrainians as a separate “people” (narod, which also means “nation”) or as part of a larger Russian nation. Until the twentieth century, very few Russians believed that Ukrainians were a nation with their own history and language, and many still question this. Putin works both sides of this argument. On the one hand, he expresses great respect for the “fraternal Ukrainian people [narod],” their “national feelings,” and “the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state.” On the other hand, he argues that what has been happening in Ukraine “pains our hearts” because “we are not simply close neighbors but, as I have said many times already, we are truly one people [narod]. Kiev is the mother of Russian [russkie] cities. Ancient Rus is our common source and we cannot live without each other.”

    Putin’s frequent use of the ethno-national term russkii for “Russian,” rather than the more political term rossiiskii, which includes everyone and anything under the Russian state, is important. Even more ominous are Putin’s suggestions about where such an understanding of history should lead. Reminding “Europeans, and especially Germans,” about how Russia “unequivocally supported the sincere, inexorable aspirations of the Germans for national unity,” he expects the West to “support the aspirations of the Russian [russkii] world, of historical Russia, to restore unity.” This suggests a vision, shaped by views of history, that goes beyond protecting minority Russian speakers in the “near-abroad.”

    Putinism often tries to blend contradictory ideals—freedom and order, individual rights and the needs of state, multiethnic diversity and national unity. Dismissing these complexities as cynical masks does not help us develop reasoned responses to Putin.
    While the author views this statement as an ominous threat to Germany, I could read it as an attempt to get Westerners to understand his mostly ethnic motivations. In the earlier paragraph he refers to the Ukrainians as a separate, people. This could be a ruse, but I see it more as a view into how he thinks. As the rest of the statement says, he expects Westerners to understand what he sees as an ethnic minority/majority seeking to join their brethren. Just as Westerners feel the need to help fledgling democracies, he feels the need to help repressed Russians. Our SF are designed to go in and help freedom fighters; his are doing the same.

    From that perspective the best tact might be to pursue stabilization and self determination. Agree to the peacekeepers and establish elections. If Putin is confident then he will agree (but hedge his bets by keeping his spetsnaz in place). Still, it creates a defacto line. If he does not agree than it is an indication of more to come (beyond the obvious ethnic enclaves in places like Estonia).
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 04-22-2014 at 02:55 AM.
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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    ...he expects Westerners to understand what he sees as an ethnic minority/majority seeking to join their brethren. Just as Westerners feel the need to help fledgling democracies, he feels the need to help repressed Russians. Our SF are designed to go in and help freedom fighters; his are doing the same.
    There has been some discussion on SWC over the years of the possibility that borders are often irrationally drawn and need not be sacrosanct, especially when they are poorly aligned with ethnic, tribal, or cultural reality on the ground. What I find interesting is that the reaction to this possibility is generally quite accommodating when the discussion is about Africa, and very much less so when the discussion is about Europe!
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    There has been some discussion on SWC over the years of the possibility that borders are often irrationally drawn and need not be sacrosanct, especially when they are poorly aligned with ethnic, tribal, or cultural reality on the ground. What I find interesting is that the reaction to this possibility is generally quite accommodating when the discussion is about Africa, and very much less so when the discussion is about Europe!
    Dayuhan---I would go a step further and state a vast majority of African and ME borders were drawn in the interests of the colonial powers and decisions made in 1919 as to who was responsible for what under the post WW1 decisions and League of Nations decisions.

    The current problem for Europe is vastly more complex---the SU before is dissolution was in fact comprised of over 136 different language and ethnic groupings held together by Stalin.

    Then the breakup---which followed the more traditional method of if it existed in 1994 then so be it and no attempt was made to correct the boundaries nor were Europeans and Russians of a mindset to actually change them.

    Then came along the OCSE (with 53 members) and the INF (US/Russia)coupled with the small thing called the Treaty of Westphalia (the former European colonial powers) which tended to treat borders as final---then along came Kosovo which the Russians now use as their premier example of how the West violated all of the above.

    Now we have the Putin doctrine which states that is a single country "feels" that it's cultural, ethnicity, and language brothers in a neighboring country are being "mistreated" well then we as the defenders of the defined faith (as we define it) have with emphasis on the have the ultimate right to acquire our fellow brothers and annex them into the "motherland".

    That is a serious change of the entire European area as it calls into question the concept of relative peace/economic development since 1989/1994 as seen by many Europeans.

    Now what is really interesting is that the Ukraine threw in the face of Russia ie Putin that he should take care of his own "ethnic" minority rights issues as Russia has the same exact problems within her borders as say the Ukraine.

    Now super surprisingly Putin announces today that the Russian government needs to pass laws protecting the rights of ethnic minorities ie Germans, Poles, Tartars or any other minority living inside Russia.

    Now the question tap tap do I hear a woodpecker in the forest meaning did Putin realize that his own ethnic nationalism driving what I call the Putin doctrine can come back to haunt him in the far eastern regions of Russian which has a high Chinese Russian speaking/Chinese speaking ethnic majorities in some areas that say China could in theory using the Putin doctrine actually "claim" for China?

    But if I am "protecting" them via laws then China cannot claim "protection rights".

    Following the Putin doctrine in fact opens the gates to border changes in over 300 current hot spots many of them in Asia and Africa.

    That is way Europe is up tight.

    By the way an interesting small article from the Moscow Times on ethnicity and language and how Putin is misusing the two.

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinio...rs/498581.html
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 04-22-2014 at 12:26 PM.

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Seems like the Russians are getting what David Maxwell on the blog side calls UW and political warfare.

    Title taken from today’s' NYTs

    Military Analysis Russia Displays a New Military Prowess in Ukraine’s East

    By MICHAEL R. GORDON

    Russian forces skillfully employed 21st-century tactics that combined cyberwarfare, an energetic information campaign and the use of highly trained special operation troops in its annexation of Crimea.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/22/wo...etType=nyt_now
    They are, and I applaud their use of UW where appropriate, but I think the article makes a number of mistakes imputing Putin's reasoning based on our reaction.

    For its intervention in Crimea, the Russians used a so-called snap military exercise to distract attention and hide their preparations.
    Was that really a faint, or was it the back-up plan in case additional assistance was required?

    While the Kremlin retains the option of mounting a large-scale intervention in eastern Ukraine, the immediate purposes of the air and ground forces massed near Ukraine appears to be to deter the Ukrainian military from cracking down in the east and to dissuade the United States from providing substantial military support.
    I believe that is imputing motivation based on the results.

    We tend to see what we think is there rather than what is there.

    My second point is that, while the UW strategy used was effective, it has limited utility outside of this situation. It would not work in locations without a substantial sympathetic population. The artilce both makes that point and avoids it.

    Admiral Stavridis agreed that Russia’s strategy would be most effective when employed against a nation with a large number of sympathizers. But he said that Russia’s deft use of cyberwarfare, special forces and conventional troops was a development that NATO needed to study and factor into its planning.

    “In all of those areas they have raised their game, and they have integrated them quite capably,” he said. “And I think that has utility no matter where you are operating in the world.”
    UW is a tactic that requires some depth of knowledge about the human domain. So, without an accurate assessment of the sentiment of the local population, something we are not good at, UW should probably not be seen as a magic bullet. That said, it is a very powerful tactic in the right situation.
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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    My second point is that, while the UW strategy used was effective, it has limited utility outside of this situation. It would not work in locations without a substantial sympathetic population. The artilce both makes that point and avoids it.
    Is it not also the case that the revolution in the Ukraine provided an exceptional opportunity to put a plan like this into operation? I have no doubt that the Russians have long considered the possibility of agitating ethnic Russians in neighboring countries as an excuse for intervention; that's too obvious a ploy to overlook... but the general breakdown in order and government capability certainly provided an exceptional opportunity to move.

    It struck me the other day that if the Ukrainian government believes that a substantial majority in the east wants to remain part of the Ukraine, wouldn't it make sense to preempt the Russians by having their own referendum, with international observers (including Russians) and a real effort to assure that only Ukrainian citizens vote? Obviously the would have to be confidence in the outcome, but if you have the confidence, it could be a useful proactive step.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    It struck me the other day that if the Ukrainian government believes that a substantial majority in the east wants to remain part of the Ukraine, wouldn't it make sense to preempt the Russians by having their own referendum, with international observers (including Russians) and a real effort to assure that only Ukrainian citizens vote? Obviously the would have to be confidence in the outcome, but if you have the confidence, it could be a useful proactive step.
    It would, which makes me feel that they are not confident of the outcome.

    The only way this could work is with a third party (i.e. UN) presence to ensure that the vote is fair (unlike the vote in the Crimea). Still, it is the kind of thing that could buy time and cool down passions … at least until the votes are counted and someone loses.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
    ---

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    The test of that then would be if Switzerland was invaded, would all the Swiss turn out to kill the invaders. Nobody has cared to test them out on that in a very long time. For practical purposes, they are peoples who are one nation. The important thing is, will they fight as one? They will.

    I don't understand which part was a myth.
    The myth I meant is the myth of the social contract, that all the citizens of a country somehow agreed to be part of that country and be bound by its laws. Did you every make such an agreement?
    BTW what in Switzerland would be worth the trouble of invading the place?
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    There has been some discussion on SWC over the years of the possibility that borders are often irrationally drawn and need not be sacrosanct, especially when they are poorly aligned with ethnic, tribal, or cultural reality on the ground. What I find interesting is that the reaction to this possibility is generally quite accommodating when the discussion is about Africa, and very much less so when the discussion is about Europe!
    The first part of this post goes to point I made recently about the difference between nations and peoples.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaur View Post
    Outlaw cited NYT.



    I'm not very educated in history, but to me Crimea operations reminds this operation in much less favourable environment.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1924_Es...%A9tat_attempt

    Back then the Soviets used communist parties to make trouble, today it seems that they are using Russian nationalist narrative to do the same.

    This book seems to be interesting. Price starts from 100 USD!?! :-0

    http://books.google.be/books?id=buS6...vedupr&f=false
    kaur---by the way you were correct in finding the Russian special ops guy with the beard whose picture was also released by the Ukrainians as having been in the Crimea as well as in Georgia in 2008.

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    Outlaw, if you look at the beard then you see that those beards are different. GRU Chechen Vostok guy has read beard, Slavyansk guy has grey/black. IMHO this Slavyansk guy is Crimea cossack. During first day they even had cossack hats. Today the specific hats are gone.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-ukraine-slips

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    I have mentioned here a number of times and used a number of times the term ethnic nationalist which seemed to not be well liked by mirhond.

    I have also used the concept that Russia foreign policy is really composed of four legs 1) the military, 2) the security services, 3) the oligarchs and 4) the Russian mafia and related gangs.

    This weekend I had an opportunity of meeting a number of French think tank guys working in Strasbourg (who had a number of years in both Russia and the Ukraine and were fluent in Russian) that opened my eyes to an overriding layer that sits on top of the four groups.

    Namely the Russian Orthodox Church which they claim has far more influence/input that many in the West fully understand especially if one understands the relationship between the Church and Stalin in the dark days as Germany raced towards Moscow---there was an alliance recreated that allowed the Church to grow and actually survive nicely all the years under so called Communist control.

    Then today this comes up in a Foreign Policy article that goes in the same direction that the think tank guys were talking about--namely the influence of the Church on Putin and the Russian population in general--they even indicated that one must do a thorough review of the Church and it's relationship to the Soviet Communist Party and how it actually grew in power during those times when the West felt it had been oppressed.

    "The Russian Orthodox Church thus comes increasingly to the fore as a symbol and bastion of these traditional values and all that they mean for the new imperialism. Russian Orthodoxy was never an especially evangelical faith, concentrating on survival and purity over expansion, and much the same could be said of Putin's worldview. In Putin's previous presidency, the church was supportive, but just one of many of his allies. Now, though, from the pulpit to television news programs, the church is one of the most consistent and visible supporters of Putin's state-building project. When interviewed on the subject of Crimea, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, one of Putin's cassocked cheerleaders, asserted that the church has long believed that "the Russian people are a divided nation on its historical territory, which has the right to be reunited in a single public body."

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...ia_geopolitics
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 04-22-2014 at 04:39 PM.

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