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Thread: Ukraine (closed; covers till August 2014)

  1. #1921
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    Russian information war media has been interesting to say the least this last six months.

    A Russian titled video started showing up in the last week or so depicting the alleged launch of a Buk shooting at the airliner

    Interesting blogger analysis of the video defining it as a fake "troll" project--- everyone should simply ignore the fake video was his suggestion.

    http://ukraineatwar.blogspot.nl/

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Dayuhan---he can---Russian internal power is built on four legs, 1) the military, 2) the security services, 3) oligarchs, and 4) the Russian mob and over all of this the Russian Orthodox Church---so it really it just a balancing game for Putin.
    Domestic politics are always a balancing act, and the balance points can shift very quickly. Multiple pillars don't always have identical weightings, and there are sub groups within each of these groups with divergent opinions. I doubt that any of us are in a position to accurately evaluate the domestic power balance. The ball is in Putin's court, and we'll see what move he chooses to make.
    “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 AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Dayuhan,

    I think your line of argument opens questions about the long-term consequences for Russia's internal situation. Are sanctions and destabilizing Russia's economy more important than dominating in Ukraine? Is it in the U.S. interest to destablize Russia?
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Dayuhan,

    I think your line of argument opens questions about the long-term consequences for Russia's internal situation. Are sanctions and destabilizing Russia's economy more important than dominating in Ukraine? Is it in the U.S. interest to destablize Russia?
    AP---outside of them holding nuclear weapons and having intercontinental ballistics missiles and outside of being a raw resource provider of two resources and he know how raw resource only countries have in the past developed, we have seen them block the attempts on Syria, blocked the attempts on getting an Iranian agreement, not having fulfilled the OSCE disarmament agreements they signed, and violating the Reagan signed INF, now the Crimea and now eastern Ukraine., and in the past Georgia and Moldavia.

    A provocative question turning around the question---does in fact the world need Russia? If so for what and why?

    It appears from just released polling Russians seem to be content in remaining isolated from the West as they blame the West for everything so why is it necessary to engage?

    The idea of the land of great investments and money to be made has turned out to be just another fig leaf for the Soviet style economy, the lack of a political will to modernize and to restructure the Soviet industry mindset, and companies doing business there seem to see a risk factor now developing.

    So again why the need to engage?

    And yes the EU approached Russia a number of times to discuss Russian association with the EU--no comments came back from Putin and company.

    So again why the need to engage?

  5. #1925
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outlaw
    AP---outside of them holding nuclear weapons and having intercontinental ballistics missiles and outside of being a raw resource provider of two resources and he know how raw resource only countries have in the past developed, we have seen them block the attempts on Syria, blocked the attempts on getting an Iranian agreement, not having fulfilled the OSCE disarmament agreements they signed, and violating the Reagan signed INF, now the Crimea and now eastern Ukraine., and in the past Georgia and Moldavia.
    A basic component in IR theory is the 'spoiler', which is the role Russia is playing given its (increasing) alienation from the West combined with its resurgent capabilities. IR is about relative power, and this is the most effective strategy for Russian to challenge the U.S. Historically what has kept Russia (or the USSR) together was its military power and centralized political control. Quantitatively, Russia is #2 behind the U.S. in military power and #10 economically. For those reasons, I think it's a mistake to ignore or dismiss Russia. And - as you mentioned - it has a large stockpile of nuclear weapons.

    I've made the argument before that I do not think Russia qualifies as a 'traditional' Westphalian nation-state. Instead, I think Russia is better politically defined as an imperial system. In an imperial system, a political center dominates the subordinate peripheries without regard to ethnicity, nationality, etc. Principles of the Westphalian system such as territorial integrity and political sovereignty are not norms within the imperial paradigm. I think that goes a long way in explaining the vastly difference perceptions between Washington and Moscow.

    A provocative question turning around the question---does in fact the world need Russia? If so for what and why?
    What do you mean by "the world"?
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    A basic component in IR theory is the 'spoiler', which is the role Russia is playing given its (increasing) alienation from the West combined with its resurgent capabilities. IR is about relative power, and this is the most effective strategy for Russian to challenge the U.S. Historically what has kept Russia (or the USSR) together was its military power and centralized political control. Quantitatively, Russia is #2 behind the U.S. in military power and #10 economically. For those reasons, I think it's a mistake to ignore or dismiss Russia. And - as you mentioned - it has a large stockpile of nuclear weapons.

    I've made the argument before that I do not think Russia qualifies as a 'traditional' Westphalian nation-state. Instead, I think Russia is better politically defined as an imperial system. In an imperial system, a political center dominates the subordinate peripheries without regard to ethnicity, nationality, etc. Principles of the Westphalian system such as territorial integrity and political sovereignty are not norms within the imperial paradigm. I think that goes a long way in explaining the vastly difference perceptions between Washington and Moscow.



    What do you mean by "the world"?
    AP--in many ways Russia currently as it stands acts as a criminal rouge state with two raw resources as does as the cartels in Mexico with drugs again only with nuclear weapons. To be a superpower requires three things---economic power, military power, and political power and the power to project all three.

    During the Soviet years they really only had military power and political power evolving out of that military power---they never did have true economic power. With the destruction Yukos they attempted to resolve that problem by using Gasprom now a state not private company to achieve those economic power aims through a series of gas cartels that dictated price and supplies. They even penalize countries and companies for not taking the assigned amounts in the contracts---thus now the EU cartel fines that are coming to the tune of over 10% of their yearly earnings from 2008-2012.

    Putin defines his image of the world, Putin defines his image for his own population, Putin defines the reactions to that image, Putin really does not care what the west thinks as he is as anti west as his hardliners are and he views the west as basically weak and decadent and seriously does not believe in the "values" thing. And he has voiced that a number of times since his return to power.

    So again--what is Russia to the world? Right now Russia is in fact as isolated as never before even during the Soviet days.

    When a rouge country is offered a number of times an off ramp and does not take it then in fact it has decided to remain outside the world community.

    IE---today on Interfax they stated that "see we allowed OSCE observers on our control points so it shows we are trying to deescalate" --but was it not Putin himself on his own national TV who stated that he had given his orders to have "new enhanced secured borders" to both the FSB and the Federated Border Security Service? The only reason he wants them there is the false flag operations that are ongoing-and he needs them to verify the fact that Russia is being shelled. False flag-meaning mercenaries firing into Russia to give Russia the argument ---see it is those "uncontrollable" Ukrainians again so we might need to move into the Ukraine to secure the other side and protect our own citizens.

    Was it not the same Russian government that denied it had and is still firing artillery/rockets into the Ukraine which normally is an "act of war" in most countries these days even when satellite photos are released showing the opposite.

    Is it not the same Russia that has someone "allowed" some of it's more modern weapons that have never been sent to the Ukraine to "somehow" cross that "enhanced secure border"? Again if the border security is "enhanced" why the need for OSCE observers.

    Another tap dance to distract the world. Russia even with the OSCE invite has not allowed the OSCE teams to go to the crossing points nearest the mercenary areas near Donetsk. Why not?

    So again a criminal rouge country--why criminal--the Russian mob is just about as powerful worldwide as some western countries these days especially on the cyper side of the house.
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 07-30-2014 at 06:07 PM.

  7. #1927
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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    AP--in many ways Russia currently as it stands acts as a criminal rouge state with two raw resources as does as the cartels in Mexico with drugs again only with nuclear weapons. To be a superpower requires three things---economic power, military power, and political power and the power to project all three.
    During the Soviet years they really only had military power and political power evolving out of that military power---they never did have true economic power.
    How does a "criminal rouge state" act? What behaviors or characteristics define a "criminal rouge state"?

    That is one definition of superpower - but that's a definition that has a perception of power as absolute. But since it's more important to measure relative power, the status of superpower should be reserved for the state or states that occupy a preeminent position relative to the other states. According to a quantitative study I started, there are in fact four super-powers today (in order): U.S., China, Russia, and Japan. The political, military, and economic capabilities have these states are statisically significant from other states. Russia's strength relies on, as you have noted, their military power, and it still does today.

    The dismantling of the USSR of course severely damaged Russia's economic power, and here is the problem: Russia's economic power has in fact improved significantly between 1991 and 2014. But that's not the metric used by Russia's elite; the reference point is in fact the perception of the height of the USSR's power (early to mid 1980s). And the insecurity created by this dissonance between the ascribed and desired status of Russia in large part defines the framework of the state's foreign policy.

    Putin defines his image of the world, Putin defines his image for his own population, Putin defines the reactions to that image, Putin really does not care what the west thinks as he is as anti west as his hardliners are and he views the west as basically weak and decadent and seriously does not believe in the "values" thing. And he has voiced that a number of times since his return to power.
    And that's an interesting evolution in Putin's policy: remember, he virtually inherited the presidency from the liberal faction when Yeltsin handed him the keys to power and for a time, he continued Yeltsin's approach with the West. Putin pushed for closer relationships with the West and championed Russia's inclusion into the World Trade Organization. In the opening phases of the War on Terrorism, he also offered to join the campaign since Russia has its own internal problems with Islamist terrorism. But what happened between 2001 and 2014? Bulgaria, Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia all joined NATO. The Bush administration pushed for missile defense in Europe and abandoned its arms control agreement with Moscow. That was the start of the breach, and it was promptly widened further by other factors like the Iraq War, the war in Georgia, and so on.

    Of course Putin is "anti-West". The U.S. is the preeminient power in the world tody. In the context of Russia's internal politics, with the aching for a restoration of Russia's power, defining oneself in opposition to the U.S. is sure to be political gold. The U.S. and Russia share responsibility in the collapse of bilateral relations; it's been a cycle of escalation for many years now. The question is how this development in the dyadic relationship will impact the international system and subsequently, international security. At what point was Russian intervention in Ukraine inevitable and what chain of events got us to that point?

    The only example of complete Russian capitulation to the demands of a foreign power was World War I - and that was the Provisional Government after the failure of a military campaign in the midst of a domestic revolution. The U.S. may "win" Ukraine, and it may strengthen its political credibility among its European allies, but I doubt that will dissuade or deter Russia from pursuing actions contrary to U.S. interests. Sanctions and deploying U.S. troops to eastern Europe will serve as a signal that the U.S.-Russia conflict is now institutionalized, and it will facilitate further confrontation in the future when Russia responds in kind (and they will).
    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

  8. #1928
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outlaw
    So again--what is Russia to the world? Right now Russia is in fact as isolated as never before even during the Soviet days.
    This is why I asked you what you meant by "the world"? Is Russia relatively more isolated from the handful of countries that make up "The West"? Yes. In a narrow political definition, you could define "The West" as "the world" insofar that the West is largely responsible for the construction and maintenance of the current international system.

    But the international system is always in flux. Russia is not isolated from the absolute majority of states - and it is not isolated from contenders for international power outside of the West, including China and India (and to a smaller extent, Iran and some South American states). Statistically speaking, Russia is a major economy (ranked #8 in the world), and after the U.S., has the largest capability for military power projection. And, since 1991, its track record in conflicts has been comparable to the U.S. (approximately 70% ending in favor). So why is Russia perceived as a failed or second-rate state?

    Is it because the U.S. 'won' the Cold War? If so, that conflict ended more than 20 years ago; that's an increasingly irrelevant reference point in measuring Russia's current capabilities. That's not to say that Russia does not have its own vulnerabilities - it still has a number of political stability issues to sort out, as well as weaknesses in the structure of its economy. Between the late 1940s and 1980s, the USSR was one of the leading industrial and scientific states after the U.S. That potential still exists in Russia but that might require giving the technocrats more power in government (not sure if that's political feasible given the state of affairs).

    The conflict in Ukraine must be analyzed in this context, and it must also further be analyzed with the long-view in mind about what U.S. interests are towards a Russia that is increasing in its capabilities, confidence, and disenchantment with its international status.
    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

  9. #1929
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Additionally: many of the trends today give credence to the argument that the international system is approaching a possible paradigm shift in global power. What do I mean by paradigm shift in global power? I mean the difference between pre- and post- Congress of Vienna; pre- and post- World War II. Pre- and post- Soviet collapse. Perceptions of relative power often drive the events that lead to the paradigm shift (more often than not, it's sealed by blood through war).

    So if the perception is that U.S. relative power is in retrenchment, and Russian (or Chinese) power is increasing, how does that affect state behavior? In my previous posts, I discussed how Russia's historical references points about its past status frames its current decision-making (as opposed to current conditions framing the decisions); so if the U.S. is in retrenchment, and it perceives the power of other states to be increasing, will the U.S. be more or less likely to escalate conflict? As time progresses, the window for the U.S. to act to protect its status closes as other states approach parity. And for the contenders, time works to their advantage. The Russians may be perceiving that this is an opportune time for them to increase their power.

    Now, how the U.S.-Russian dyadic unfolds within the context of a U.S. led international system is one thing. But how it affects U.S. interests after a paradigm shift is harder to calculate. For one thing, the triggering mechanism is difficult to assess - it could be the outcome of a major conflict (Napoleonic Wars, World War I, World War II), or it could be a significant political (Great Britain) or economic event (Soviet Union). That's because all of the norms and perceptions taken for granted become irrelevant. That's why it's important to take the long view of the Ukraine conflict - are we setting the conditions for future challenges to U.S. power?
    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

  10. #1930
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    How does a "criminal rouge state" act? What behaviors or characteristics define a "criminal rouge state"?

    That is one definition of superpower - but that's a definition that has a perception of power as absolute. But since it's more important to measure relative power, the status of superpower should be reserved for the state or states that occupy a preeminent position relative to the other states. According to a quantitative study I started, there are in fact four super-powers today (in order): U.S., China, Russia, and Japan. The political, military, and economic capabilities have these states are statisically significant from other states. Russia's strength relies on, as you have noted, their military power, and it still does today.

    The dismantling of the USSR of course severely damaged Russia's economic power, and here is the problem: Russia's economic power has in fact improved significantly between 1991 and 2014. But that's not the metric used by Russia's elite; the reference point is in fact the perception of the height of the USSR's power (early to mid 1980s). And the insecurity created by this dissonance between the ascribed and desired status of Russia in large part defines the framework of the state's foreign policy.



    And that's an interesting evolution in Putin's policy: remember, he virtually inherited the presidency from the liberal faction when Yeltsin handed him the keys to power and for a time, he continued Yeltsin's approach with the West. Putin pushed for closer relationships with the West and championed Russia's inclusion into the World Trade Organization. In the opening phases of the War on Terrorism, he also offered to join the campaign since Russia has its own internal problems with Islamist terrorism. But what happened between 2001 and 2014? Bulgaria, Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia all joined NATO. The Bush administration pushed for missile defense in Europe and abandoned its arms control agreement with Moscow. That was the start of the breach, and it was promptly widened further by other factors like the Iraq War, the war in Georgia, and so on.

    Of course Putin is "anti-West". The U.S. is the preeminient power in the world tody. In the context of Russia's internal politics, with the aching for a restoration of Russia's power, defining oneself in opposition to the U.S. is sure to be political gold. The U.S. and Russia share responsibility in the collapse of bilateral relations; it's been a cycle of escalation for many years now. The question is how this development in the dyadic relationship will impact the international system and subsequently, international security. At what point was Russian intervention in Ukraine inevitable and what chain of events got us to that point?

    The only example of complete Russian capitulation to the demands of a foreign power was World War I - and that was the Provisional Government after the failure of a military campaign in the midst of a domestic revolution. The U.S. may "win" Ukraine, and it may strengthen its political credibility among its European allies, but I doubt that will dissuade or deter Russia from pursuing actions contrary to U.S. interests. Sanctions and deploying U.S. troops to eastern Europe will serve as a signal that the U.S.-Russia conflict is now institutionalized, and it will facilitate further confrontation in the future when Russia responds in kind (and they will).
    AP--would actually argue that the Soviet Union of the 70/80s was not an economic power--was there in 72 for over six weeks camping throughout the SU--if that was economic power then those in the Smokey Mountains were living in luxury.

    The reason the SU collapsed as well as the GDR was in fact due to the failure of their economic systems---actually failures created by the Communist Party and the Soviet style of economical measurements of economic success--metric tons, feet of rolled steel, number of ships built and tons of grain produced etc.

    The producing elements lied to the next higher and they lied to the highest and that misled the ruling elite to think they were succeeding beyond their wildest dreams. A total Ponzi scheme that started falling apart in the early 80s and even the citizens of the GDR and the SU knew it in the streets--the ruling elite did not though.

    Do not forget for a moment that it was Putin as a KGB COL that recruited GDR citizens to potentially take over the GDR in a coup because he and other KGB officers in Dresden felt that Honecker was going weak. Notice the continence of thoughts and actions 38 years later?

    Putin's anti west has been around for a really long time not just now.

    Right now Russia is in fact a rouge country regardless of how one wants to define rouge.

    Putin has his own doctrine now the Putin Doctrine which defines Russian territory to include any territory where Russians reside regardless if in another country---Russians as defined by ethnicity, culture, and language.

    Based on that definition Mexico could claim to want to "represent " all "Spanish speakers" in San Antonia, TX based on Putin's definition, smuggle in irregulars and arms--- they would be in fact just be following Putin's led.

    So with roughly 300 hotspots around the globe especially in Africa when language/ethnicity are now in play and border poorly drawn- the Putin Doctrine will raise it's head all over again and others will point to him and say he did it so can we.

    I disagree--right now Putin needs the Euros/USDs as much as the west needs energy---the problem is this adventure of his will in fact damage an already struggling economy, modernization will be pushed aside, privatization which means really more oligarchs will be delayed if not pushed aside, and new technologies badly needed will not come in. So while the rest of the world develops Russia is going backwards after 1994 and even further backwards now with the sanctions.

    On top of this to rebuild the abilities that the Russians have been getting cheap military equipment from the Ukrainians will cost a massive amount and years to replicate as well as a number of other technologies the Ukrainians have been providing at cheap rates much as they did under the SU days.

    In some aspects the drive to rebuild the empire that Putin foresees is really the rebuilding of the economic imperialism of the SU where the satellites provided cheap products to the mothership.

    You see the inability of Russia/Putin to answer the west sanctions outside of a threat to raise the gas prices and stop fruit and vegetables. Yes they can import the fruit and vegetables from China or other countries but not as cheap as they have been getting it from the EU, raise the gas prices and the EU cartel hammer comes down and the prices for EU goods going into Russia will be higher. And Putin runs the risk that the really hard sanctions on gas come into being driving even further his economy backwards.
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 07-30-2014 at 07:41 PM.

  11. #1931
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Outlaw,

    Lastly, a spoiler in IR is not strong enough to dictate its terms unilaterally except in localized conditions but it is strong enough to obstruct the interests of other states. That's why Russia is relevant to U.S. and international security. It's perceived status is much greater than its ascribed status, and that generates insecurity, leading to confrontational and spoiling strategies. Russia already does not benefit significantly from the current balance of power, and increasing its isolation from the West will only reinforce the incentive to act as a spoiler.

    In the long-term, what does a spoiler mean for the U.S.? For one thing, it means that while the U.S. is expending more resources and commiting more capabilities than what would otherwise be necessary, it creates opportunities for other states to exploit U.S. vulnerabilities. This takes us back to power transitions in international systems. The U.S. - Russian conflict benefits Russia to a small extent because it strengthens the domestic credibility of the regime and denies the U.S. increases in its relative gains compared to Russia. But it benefits China the most who will face less U.S. challenges to its interests. So - that is why I have asked (repeatedly), to what extent is Ukraine worth breaking the U.S.-Russian relationship? What good does it do long-term U.S. interests elsewhere? How does it affect the international system, which currently favors the U.S.? So, I'm skeptical of the utility of destroying or significantly destabilizing Russia.
    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

  12. #1932
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outlaw
    Right now Russia is in fact a rouge country regardless of how one wants to define rouge.
    If you don't have a definition, how can you use the label?
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    If you don't have a definition, how can you use the label?
    AP--once a rouge country starts down a particular path it tends to repeat it often and over a long period.

    Remember how the Georgia event started---via a demand by Russia to bring in peacekeepers which for Russia is a oxymoron since Georgia.

    Let's see the path of this rouge country---first Georgia, then Moldavia, the Crimea, and now eastern Ukraine or the "New Russia" and along the way several small regions with no official recognition and Russian troops in these countries so does that strike you as a country willing to play the internal game of rule of law or t is a rouge country marching to it's on drumbeat as it defines that drumbeat. Then let's look at the current small scale insurgencies they are dealing with----- as ethnic Russians have a hard time recognizing other ethnic minorities

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/07/3...es-in-ukraine/
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 07-30-2014 at 08:00 PM.

  14. #1934
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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    AP--once a rouge country starts down a particular path it tends to repeat it often and over a long period.

    Remember how the Georgia event started---via a demand by Russia to bring in peacekeepers which for Russia is a oxymoron.

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/07/3...es-in-ukraine/
    So - duplicity is a trait of a rogue state?
    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

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    Default Thread closed and new ones started

    Below was the plan, but on reflection I have decided to:


    1. Close this the existing main Ukraine (catch all) thread (1991 replies and 99k views)
    2. Create two threads for current matters
    3. First the fighting and military aspects
    4. Secondly the wider non-military context (diplomacy, politicis, economics etc)
    5. The Russian Info Ops thread is now in the Europe arena


    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I have been asked by regular poster to reorganise the threads on the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. This should keep it more accessible and organized.

    My plan:

    1. move all the Ukr threads into Europe arena
    2. start all the new threads, 1st August next weekend?
    3. Ukr international diplomacy
    4. Ukr military
    5. Ukr pol-econ
    6. leave alone the Info Ops thread, but move to the Europe arena
    7. close the existing threads

    How does that sound? It would be good to get feedback from other users.
    davidbfpo

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