Ukraine

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John McKenna
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Re: Ukraine

Post by John McKenna » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:49 pm

Perspicacious Paul McKeown!

Paul McKeown>... Putin wants wealth, personal power and national prestige; he doesn't want his own death. His is a game of testing how much the European democracies and their partners will swallow.<

Hague's latest response to Putin's Russia -

William Hague has warned Russia that it faces long-term "isolation and stagnation" over the crisis in Ukraine.
The foreign secretary said it was time to consider a "new state of relations" different to that of the past 20 years.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said the UK and its European allies would not "run scared".
His comments came amid continuing tensions, with Russian troops taking control of one of the last big military bases in Crimea from the Ukrainians.
At least one person was injured in the assault on Belbek air base, near Sevastopol, according to reports. It is now said to be under Russian control.


Paul McKeown>Next step, given time and opportunity, dismemberment of the Ukrainian state from Kharkiv to Odessa, perhaps, leaving a rump to the west of the Dneiper. Then on to Transnistria with fraternal greetings.< (Posted 8th Mar.)

Russia's response (Putin reading this forum?!) to Paul's prediction is maybe a different move order -

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO's top military commander said on Sunday that Russia had a large force on Ukraine's eastern border and said he was worried it could pose a threat to Moldova's mainly Russian-speaking separatist Transdniestria region.
NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, voiced concern about Moscow using a tactic of snap military exercises to prepare its forces for possible rapid incursions into a neighbouring state, as it had done in the case of Ukraine's Crimea region.
Russia launched a new military exercise, involving 8,500 artillery men, near Ukraine's border 10 days ago.
"The (Russian) force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizeable and very, very ready," Breedlove told an event held by the German Marshall Fund think-tank.


Paul, do tell, what further 'sanctions' can we expect from the US-UK-EU allies against the reborn (actually it never died) axis of evil - Russia-Syria-Iran-N. Korea, with China flexing its increasing military muscles in the wings? Are we going to be constantly caught flat-footed on the back foot or can we get forward and hit them for 6 through some gap in the field? I did suggest that gap could be around Kaliningrad, but is it too risky?

NB: A bit early for the cricket analogy, but the rugby ones would just inflame an already intense situation.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Paul McKeown
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Paul McKeown » Sun Mar 23, 2014 1:49 pm

That post baffles me in its entirety. I would think that no sane person would want any truck with measures against Kaliningrad, military or otherwise. As for the "Axis of Evil", I thought that was just poorly considered nonsense masquerading as philosophy, from the least intelligent and most one-dimensional of US Presidents in many decades.

John McKenna
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Re: Ukraine

Post by John McKenna » Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:37 pm

Hi Paul,

"That post baffles me in its entirety..."

Is it only the bits I wrote that baffle you or the Hague & Breedlove pieces, too?

"I would think that no sane person would want any truck with measures against Kaliningrad, military or otherwise..."

Should reading the links below (found by critical googling) make me mad?

http://eeas.europa.eu/russia/kaliningrad_en.htm
http://eastbook.eu/en/2013/07/material- ... of-russia/
http://www.recep.ru/files/publ/kaliningrad_en.pdf

"As for the 'Axis of Evil', I thought that was just poorly considered nonsense masquerading as philosophy, from the least intelligent and most one-dimensional of US Presidents in many decades."

Now I'm also a bit baffled - I though you a hardened Cold-War warrior, surely you at least supported Dubya's War on Terror and Obama's continuation of the same? In fact, Obama roughly continued George W's foreign policies regarding the 'Evil' & 'Terror' but in a more low-key and hence low-budget fashion.
Then he did come up with his 'pivot to Asia' in response to the threat of China starting their long pushing of the US back to the island of Midway - at least in military terms. What do you think of that?
On the European front it is true that Russia cannot, in the foreseeable future, threaten to push the US offshore like the USSR did. But, you were right about Putin thinking it time to consolidate the external Russian communities in neighbouring new states back into an expanded Motherland after their Prague Spring following Soviet disintegration.

There are in fact a number of remaining unsettled matters and scores that arise from the way WWII ended. These potential problems are stored up as future flashpoints - Crimea and the Russo-Ukranian border being just the current one. The US allowed a number of fudges on matters that should have been resolved in 1945-49 because at the time it was to their advantage - just as they did after WWI. (Although in the aftermath of the First World War the Europeans has much greater say in the way things were ordered, and look what a hash they made of that!)

Have a nice day! :D
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:01 pm

John McKenna wrote:Now I'm also a bit baffled - I thought you a hardened Cold-War warrior
As my mum used to like saying to me when I was a lad - "you know what 'thought' did" :)
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

John McKenna
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Re: Ukraine

Post by John McKenna » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:43 pm

No, Matt, I don't know "what 'thought' did", because my momma never told me.

I do think that Paul may say he is by no means a Cold-War warrior but may well admit he is an anti-fascist.
The problem with that is - both the Ukraine and Russia have fascist leanings, as has Israel and certain Arab states for that matter, they all learned something from their exposure to it in the last century.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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Re: Ukraine

Post by PeterTurland » Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:33 pm

I will add to this, even though, anything I add to anything, will probally vanish due to pollitical correctness.

There is a difference between wisdom and intelligence.

Intelligence to my collosal ignorance, appears to be about how, whilst to my cosmic ignorance, wisdom appears to be about WHY?

John McKenna
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Re: Ukraine

Post by John McKenna » Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:35 pm

Peter, you have probably tried reading philosophy and come up full and empty.
Have you tried reading Solaris by Lem?
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Paul McKeown
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Paul McKeown » Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:07 pm

John McKenna wrote:"As for the 'Axis of Evil', I thought that was just poorly considered nonsense masquerading as philosophy, from the least intelligent and most one-dimensional of US Presidents in many decades."

Now I'm also a bit baffled - I though you a hardened Cold-War warrior, surely you at least supported Dubya's War on Terror and Obama's continuation of the same?
You thought wrong. I remember the run up to the 2000 US Presidential election very clearly. The question that GW Bush was most frequently asked was whether or not he was intending to go to war against Iraq. He continually denied any such intention. His denial seemed to placate a lot of people. The truth was that he blamed Saddam Hussein for an assassination attempt on his father, an assassination attempt which had no basis in reality. The tragedy of the 11th of September, 2001, provided a ready excuse for GW Bush to fulfil his undeclared campaign pledge of a war in Iraq, thus guaranteeing that the man who had murdered 2500 of Bush's fellow citizens was able to escape justice for a decade, and the eminently justifiable war in Afghanistan was under-resourced. At the time of the Second Gulf War, I worked for an American company. My immediate superior's brother was a Navy SEAL, apparently. My career prospects were severely impaired when I told my boss that the desire to depose Saddam Hussein was poorly timed (it should have been carried out in 1991 or not at all), hypocritical (given the strong links between Bush senior and Hussein), that the idea that Saddam's erstwhile WMD programme could have survived the crippling sanctions that the UN had imposed was risible, and that the war would be a quick success, but that the mission would thereafter be a clusterfuck due to the presence of a sniper on every roof-top. I was wrong in one detail, it was improvised explosives which made the peace unwinnable, not snipers. When the war did break out, my hope was that the war-fighting would be overwhelming and mercifully quick (which it was), but also that the US would commit sufficient troops to keep the peace effectively and would concentrate on rebuilding Iraqi civil society and its economy. I hoped in vain, as the morons surrounding that imbecile, GW Bush, preached a doctrine of "light war" and they were ideologically opposed to society, never mind the concept of rebuilding one. I lasted barely a further year with that company.

As for Obama, I agree with much of what he has achieved in terms of GW Bush's wars. He removed the US military presence from Iraq, as being a pointless waste of human lives and money, whilst he had Osama bin Laden dispatched in brutal fashion as a warning to the world what would happen to anyone else contemplating the mass murder of US citizens.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Paul McKeown » Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:21 pm

As for the Ukraine, it seems to me that there is a clear threat posed by Russia to its eastern and southern oblasts, and a longer term threat to other countries with a large Russian population, particularly Estonia and Latvia. Russia should be dissuaded from making real its threats, and that requires NATO to demonstrate a strong resolve. Ultimately if the Ukraine becomes a functioning liberal democracy with a transparent political and economic system, then it should be offered NATO membership.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Paul McKeown » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:48 am

And to be clear about the Second Gulf War. I was never a Stop the War Crusty, nor have I ever been a bearded Trot of any variety. War is sometimes justified; the Western democracies are generally hypocritical and certainly self-interested, however, the world's autocracies and despotisms are usually much worse. Saddam Hussein was a brutal mass murderer, who cowed his people with their own blood, by torture, rape, a merciless police state and the use of chemical weapons. I certainly wept no tear when he died with the hangman's taunts in his ears. I say this, yet am a strong opponent of the death penalty. The thing is, though, if you kill a million or more of your own people, and steal all your country's wealth, you can't expect anything else from them, when you lose the whip hand. It was certainly possible for the US to carry out a successful regime change in Iraq; one must only remember the crowds giving his statue a good shoeing when they knew he could no longer hurt them. But it was never possible for such a war to be successfully carried out under the leadership of GWB: he didn't have a realistic understanding of what was necessary, and he didn't have the intellectual curiosity to ask questions of the professionals in the US armed forces or in the State Department who might have given him hard answers, either. He would have needed the commitment of something like half a million men at arms to keep peace for a decade, and a multi-trillion dollar Marshall fund. But he was never going to accept any such advice regarding the real cost of war; any professional who gave him such advice was simply sidelined or retired.

And given the circumstances of 9/11, the idea of a war in Iraq was simply ridiculous. The US had suffered a devastating attack from overseas, yet rather than seriously attempt to bring the perpetrators to justice decided to go to war with a third party, Iraq, which had had absolutely nothing to do with it. As far as I can see, GWB betrayed his own country.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by John McKenna » Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:09 am

Thank you for the explanations about your own position vis-a-vis the Bush foreign policy doctrine, etc. I have already said above, in reply to Matt Mackenzie, words to the effect that I do not think you are a Neo-Con (nor an old-fashioned McCarthyite). I will sleep on it and reply in due course. I bid you goodnight.
Last edited by John McKenna on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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Re: Ukraine

Post by John McKenna » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:42 am

I am still digesting and cogitating about Paul's responses, above.

Meanwhile...

Ex-Army Chief Lord Dannatt's response on the BBC -

The UK should recruit more soldiers in light of the Ukraine and Syria crises and retain 3,000 troops in Germany, the former head of the Army has said...

He told the BBC's Today Programme: "What I'm saying is the strategic circumstances in the world have changed. And perhaps we should consider a pause in reducing our armed services and our capability, and make a small increase...

"It sends a message that actually we take our defence and security seriously and that he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] should think twice before he considers any further expeditions and expansion."...

There has been a British army presence in Germany for nearly 70 years, and Lord Dannatt called upon the government to "rethink" its plans to end this.
Under the 2010 strategic defence review, the government announced it wanted to withdraw all 20,000 troops in Germany, plus their families, by 2020.
And current plans for cuts to the Army will see personnel numbers reduced from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2018. The number of part-time soldiers will double, from 15,000 to 30,000.
Lord Dannatt told the BBC: "It's very hard to predict the future; if our defence capability is weak then at some point in the future, we may find that we have wrong-footed ourselves...

Lord Dannatt made his comments ahead of a meeting between President Barack Obama and other world leaders in the Netherlands later, where the crisis in Crimea and Ukraine will be discussed.


This would make some sense to me if I were a citizen of ancient Rome - instead of reducing the strength of legions in Germania from 20,000 to zero we will leave a token force of a legion or two, just in case. Trouble is these days 20,000 is a token force and 3,000 is a detachment.

The answer may be found in the comments to the news article -

Look at the map of Europe. There are about 40 countries between the UK and Russia/Ukraine. The question is what are they doing to defend themselves against the Russian threat, especially Poland, Germany and Romania. They should be taking the defence and it's associated costs a lot more seriously than us.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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Peter D Williams
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Peter D Williams » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:42 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:
Putin wants wealth, personal power and national prestige; he doesn't want his own death. His is a game of testing how much the European democracies and their partners will swallow.
Just like our politicans who only want wealth and power.

Pork chops tonight :D
when you are successful many losers bark at you.

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Re: Ukraine

Post by Paul McKeown » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:27 pm

The Dull Dietitian strikes again with his razor sharp analysis.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Ukraine

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:37 pm

Dietician, surely? Is dietitian a US spelling?

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