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Lihu

What's happening in the Ukraine?

52 posts in this topic

Does anyone know what's going on there? Why is it news? Why is the US involved when everything is happening right next to Russia? Shouldn't they be dealing with it?

Okay, I've been busy working on robots, taking care of my family, manipulating golf balls and blogging about golf.

I have no idea why the people around me are so excited about today's current events, especially ones like this one.

IDK, maybe I should just spend any free time working on my swing. . .

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Russia is dealing with it, that's the issue. They have sent in troops to occupy a portion of the (supposedly) sovereign nation of Ukraine. US should just stay out of it; there's nothing to be gained and a whole lot to lose.

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From what I gather: Ukraine is mostly ethnic Ukrainian, but a minority Russian population. Ukrainians rose up and revolted against their president who was Russian. Now Russia wants to protect the Russian population there (how much is pretext of protection vs outright aggression is debatable), because the Russian president was ousted. I think the Ukrainian/Russian ethnic tension is somewhat high after the USSR period (gulags, etc). As background, when the USSR disbanded, Russia agreed to give up the Ukraine territory but only if they got the USSR nukes back. The US promised to some degree to protect Ukraine if they gave up their nukes. So nuclear disarmament is an issue, because other countries might conclude that giving up nukes is not smart. If they had nukes, Russia might not have sent in troops. Countries may feel like the international community will not protect their borders, so they need nukes to do it themselves. Anyway, I'm no expert but I think this is more than just the minor ethnic squabble that can be ignored. I think the issues above with the nuke agreements contribute to the jittery markets. Putin calmed things down over the weekend with his words, so stocks are rebounding nicely.

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A lot has to do with the future of Ukraine. The western (Ukrainian) population wants to be more aligned with Europe. The eastern (Russian) population wants to stay aligned with Russia. Certainly the overthrow of the Ukraine president causes worry in Moscow, as they have a huge military presence in the Crimea. They wouldn't want to lose access to Sevastopol, the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

http://www.stripes.com/news/analysts-black-sea-port-in-ukraine-still-key-to-russia-s-naval-interests-1.270904

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Russia also exports huge amounts of natural gas through Ukraine - 80% of Russia's total exports, according to this 2011 Bloomberg article. t's obviously in their interests that Ukraine be at least friendly to Russia. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-28/russian-gas-takes-route-in-the-baltic-sea.html

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A lot has to do with the future of Ukraine. The western (Ukrainian) population wants to be more aligned with Europe. The eastern (Russian) population wants to stay aligned with Russia. Certainly the overthrow of the Ukraine president causes worry in Moscow, as they have a huge military presence in the Crimea. They wouldn't want to lose access to Sevastopol, the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

http://www.stripes.com/news/analysts-black-sea-port-in-ukraine-still-key-to-russia-s-naval-interests-1.270904


This, plus Ukraine is a major conduit for Russian oil and gas into Europe...http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-04/it-begins-gazprom-warns-european-gas-supply-disruptions-possible (argh, jamo beat me to this)

tbh, this is just one big clusterf***. Also remember Russia supporting Syria's current leader. Putin is playing a very strategic game of  geopolitical chess. Obama is busily trying to get his checkers together in the hopes he can play too....

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I served on nuclear submarines as the USSR fell, so nuke issues are near and dear to me. I agree this is likely more to do with energy and strategic power plays than with nukes. In any case, big consequences in Ukraine on lots of fronts.

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Russia is dealing with it, that's the issue. They have sent in troops to occupy a portion of the (supposedly) sovereign nation of Ukraine.

Also, Russia denies sending any troops. There are thousand of soldiers in uniform with no insignias who refuse to identify themselves. Everyone knows they are Russian, they just refuse to acknowledge it.

http://www.vice.com/vice-news/russian-roulette-the-invasion-of-ukraine-part-1

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All I know is we're sending them 1 billion smackers...because clearly, we have a ton of excess money to toss around...

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All I know is we're sending them 1 billion smackers...because clearly, we have a ton of excess money to toss around...


Shouldn't this go to a vote?

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tbh, this is just one big clusterf***. Also remember Russia supporting Syria's current leader. Putin is playing a very strategic game of  geopolitical chess. Obama is busily trying to get his checkers together in the hopes he can play too....

This is no joke.  The highlighted part in the quote above is so close to correct it isn't even funny..   The stage for this was set over Syria.   When Putin backed Obama down on that deal, he lowered Obama's worldwide clout and raised own his at the same time.    So he knows Obama's threats are hollow.     Let us not forget just who Putin is..   First off, he is the former Lt. Colonel in the KGB and a man who called the break up of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitcal disaster of the last century.   Secondly, he has been Russia's defacto leader since 1999.  When Putin became the leader of Russia, Obama was still five years away from becoming a US Senator.   So Putin has a big advantage in experience dealing with politics on the world stage.   Not to mention the kind of

"diplomacy" (and I use that word very loosely since what he basically does is make demands) Obama uses when trying to deal with a disfunctional American congress will not work when dealing with world leaders.  Especially those who happen to have nukes.

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I don't think Americans have the stomach for another war. We also don't have the money, Putin knows this. There are 4 ways to deal with another country , it's called DIME. You can do it thru diplomacy, information, military actions, economic sanctions. Let's deal with this without military action for once. Tired of being the world police.

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I don't think Americans have the stomach for another war. We also don't have the money, Putin knows this. There are 4 ways to deal with another country , it's called DIME. You can do it thru diplomacy, information, military actions, economic sanctions. Let's deal with this without military action for once. Tired of being the world police.


We are not going to war with Russia...Even hawks wouldn't advocate that.

Putin is flexing his muscles because he knows he can and nothing will be done about it. Sanctions from a coalition could make him think twice but not a chance the European countries are going to risk cutting off their oil supplies.

Only real question now is how greedy Putin will get, how far he'll go, and whether he will ever cross the obscure line where the rest of the world would say to Hell with the oil and that's enough.

I doubt if Ukraine is going to move the needle very much, other than some rhetoric.

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This is no joke.  The highlighted part in the quote above is so close to correct it isn't even funny..   The stage for this was set over Syria.   When Putin backed Obama down on that deal, he lowered Obama's worldwide clout and raised own his at the same time.    So he knows Obama's threats are hollow.     Let us not forget just who Putin is..   First off, he is the former Lt. Colonel in the KGB and a man who called the break up of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitcal disaster of the last century.   Secondly, he has been Russia's defacto leader since 1999.  When Putin became the leader of Russia, Obama was still five years away from becoming a US Senator.   So Putin has a big advantage in experience dealing with politics on the world stage.   Not to mention the kind of

"diplomacy" (and I use that word very loosely since what he basically does is make demands) Obama uses when trying to deal with a disfunctional American congress will not work when dealing with world leaders.  Especially those who happen to have nukes.

I'd guess we strongly disagree on lots of political issues, but I agree with you that there's at least a good argument to be made that Obama's played Russia poorly.  The only question I'd ask is, what should Obama do instead?  Putin's willing to invade at least parts of a neighboring country under very flimsy pretext.  On Syria, Obama made moves to carry through on his threats and to start aerial support (missiles, bombing) for the rebels, or at least as punishment for the regime for using chemical weapons, and he got massive push back from both left and right in congress.  It looked like he was going to lose the vote in congress until Putin bailed him out and the vote was canceled.  And there is a 0% chance we as Americans would stand for entering into a war with Russia over this, or even something close, like, say, moving troops from Germany to Kiev to commit us to war if Putin invades past Crimea.

So Obama can bluster or make threats all he wants, but the fact is that we as a polity won't let him follow through on threats to anywhere near the degree that Putin is willing and able to, so no matter how deft Obama was, in the end any threats he makes are going to be empty.  What threats can he actually follow through on?  If you invade, I'll make condemning speeches.  If you invade, the US will unilaterally enact sanctions, but Europe won't join in because they get all their energy from you and don't want to tank their economy, so it will have almost zero effect on you.  If you invade, we'll spend a few more million dollars supporting opposition parties in Russia whom you already very successfully suppress just enough to keep powerless.  What else?  I'm assuming of course that you don't actually support getting into a land war with Russia in the Ukraine.  That seems like the only threat that would actually move Putin but he knows that we (not Obama, we) sure as hell aren't going to do that, so?

And I'll not go much into your comment on domestic stuff other than to say if you think the source of dysfunction in DC is Obama and the Democratic leadership making extreme demands and refusing ever to compromise or negotiate, you've lost touch with reality.

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We are not going to war with Russia...Even hawks wouldn't advocate that.

Putin is flexing his muscles because he knows he can and nothing will be done about it. Sanctions from a coalition could make him think twice but not a chance the European countries are going to risk cutting off their oil supplies.

Only real question now is how greedy Putin will get, how far he'll go, and whether he will ever cross the obscure line where the rest of the world would say to Hell with the oil and that's enough.

I doubt if Ukraine is going to move the needle very much, other than some rhetoric.

You beat me to it, and much more pithily!  I'd guess Putin would have to get much greedier to push Europe even to join massive sanctions and tank their own economy, much less support what essentially would have to be a war with Russia. Maybe if he fully invades and takes over all of the Ukraine, including the very anti-Russia west (including Kiev)?  But I'd bet even extending the shadowy takeover he's done in Crimea to eastern Ukraine wouldn't push the needle over the line even for heavy coalition sanctions.

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Also I heard one random interesting factoid.  Putin's rhetoric has been about defending Russian speakers.  Apparently the breakdown of pro- and anti-Russian factions in the Ukraine doesn't map all that well onto language.  For instance, both Klitschko and one of the other primary anti-Russian political leaders both speak much better Russian the Ukrainian.

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I'd guess we strongly disagree on lots of political issues, but I agree with you that there's at least a good argument to be made that Obama's played Russia poorly.  The only question I'd ask is, what should Obama do instead?  Putin's willing to invade at least parts of a neighboring country under very flimsy pretext.  On Syria, Obama made moves to carry through on his threats and to start aerial support (missiles, bombing) for the rebels, or at least as punishment for the regime for using chemical weapons, and he got massive push back from both left and right in congress.  It looked like he was going to lose the vote in congress until Putin bailed him out and the vote was canceled.  And there is a 0% chance we as Americans would stand for entering into a war with Russia over this, or even something close, like, say, moving troops from Germany to Kiev to commit us to war if Putin invades past Crimea.

So Obama can bluster or make threats all he wants, but the fact is that we as a polity won't let him follow through on threats to anywhere near the degree that Putin is willing and able to, so no matter how deft Obama was, in the end any threats he makes are going to be empty.  What threats can he actually follow through on?  If you invade, I'll make condemning speeches.  If you invade, the US will unilaterally enact sanctions, but Europe won't join in because they get all their energy from you and don't want to tank their economy, so it will have almost zero effect on you.  If you invade, we'll spend a few more million dollars supporting opposition parties in Russia whom you already very successfully suppress just enough to keep powerless.  What else?  I'm assuming of course that you don't actually support getting into a land war with Russia in the Ukraine.  That seems like the only threat that would actually move Putin but he knows that we (not Obama, we) sure as hell aren't going to do that, so?

And I'll not go much into your comment on domestic stuff other than to say if you think the source of dysfunction in DC is Obama and the Democratic leadership making extreme demands and refusing ever to compromise or negotiate, you've lost touch with reality.


If you can't or won't back up your threats, don't make them.  Simple as that.  Obama should have made sure he had the backing of congress before he made those comments and he didn't.     It made him look foolish and weak, not only here but especially to other world leaders.   So he should have just buttoned his lips until he knew where he stood with congress and the American people.

It is very clear we disagree on domestic politics so it is probably best to not discuss this much further but I will say that if you think all of the problems in Washington fall on the Republicans, you are living in a dream world of your own.  Certainly, they bear much responsibility but politics is the art of compromise and when one side prefaces their comments with, "I will not..." there will be no compromising and negotiation is out of the question as well.   Guess which side has been saying that a whole lot...   It ain't Republicans.....

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We are not going to war with Russia...Even hawks wouldn't advocate that.

Putin is flexing his muscles because he knows he can and nothing will be done about it. Sanctions from a coalition could make him think twice but not a chance the European countries are going to risk cutting off their oil supplies.

Only real question now is how greedy Putin will get, how far he'll go, and whether he will ever cross the obscure line where the rest of the world would say to Hell with the oil and that's enough.

I doubt if Ukraine is going to move the needle very much, other than some rhetoric.

I wouldn't be so quick to blame Obama.  Putin invaded Georgia in 2008 and Bush did nothing.  They still have troops in parts of Georgia today.

We are not going to war with Russia...Even hawks wouldn't advocate that.

Putin is flexing his muscles because he knows he can and nothing will be done about it. Sanctions from a coalition could make him think twice but not a chance the European countries are going to risk cutting off their oil supplies.

Only real question now is how greedy Putin will get, how far he'll go, and whether he will ever cross the obscure line where the rest of the world would say to Hell with the oil and that's enough.

I doubt if Ukraine is going to move the needle very much, other than some rhetoric.

I agree with this completely.

The fact of the matter is that the US has no leverage.  We aren't a major trading partner, so economic sanctions won't do anything.  Only the EU has leverage, since they are Russia's #1 trade partner.  But it turns into a game of chicken.  The way its supposed to work is that if Putin invades another country, the EU cuts off trade.  But if they don't do that, and Putin knows it, then it has the opposite effect--Putin can do whatever he wants because the EU won't punish him.

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