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Thread: Dateline: Ukraine

  1. #31
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post



    Ask yourself why Russia wanted a buffer zone? You can't blame them for looking forward to it. Look at the frictions at the moment. Is it OK for Ukrainians?
    I too have always pondered that question. Looking back over history all I can see is that Russia has had this fixation, indeed paranoia, about the West from the Tsars up to today. I think the Russians need a good psychiatrist.

  2. #32
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    I too have always pondered that question. Looking back over history all I can see is that Russia has had this fixation, indeed paranoia, about the West from the Tsars up to today. I think the Russians need a good psychiatrist.
    I don't justify them, but I think I can understand their view. Look how many times foreign armies marched to Moscow.
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  3. #33

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    "Look how many times foreign armies marched to Moscow."

    Probably a lot less than those that have marched on Paris. Or Vienna. As example.

    It happens. Brits marched on and burned Washington.

    Did us a favor on that one.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
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  4. #34

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    "IIRC, we gladly accepted to be a buffer zone between Soviets and the West..."

    Don't remember it quite that way. Moscow hated Tito and Yugoslavia certainly didn't sit astride some high-speed avenue of approach to Moscow. He survived by distance, terrain and a rousing display of resistance against the Germans. That's it. The rest of eastern Europe doesn't possess such a rosy picture of a buffer life behind the iron curtain.

    "So, in essence you blame them for taking a word from a high official from a NATO country and then when that word was broken they feel played and become paranoid and now don't believe anything?"

    Ummm..."...them..."? Thought that was strictly between Genscher and Shevardnadze?

    Here's how it works- Kennedy and Khrushchev reach agreement and learn to live with it because-

    1.) They're the leaders and,
    2.) There's no time left
    3.) If they don't there'll be war. Nuclear war. Global thermonuclear war.

    Time available to firm up this statement from Genscher, check to see whether it's a trial balloon or a product of consensus among NATO and seek codification if real. Yet none of that. At all. From the Foreign Minister Of The Soviet Union.

    Not binding but a great example of Shevardnadze failing to pin Genscher to the carpet. Looks like he got sold a lemon by a used Mercedes salesman. Of course, such an agreement should stand the collapse of the Soviet Union because...?

    ...the Russia government emerging to replace the Soviet Union would appear soooo similar in practical application?

    Dok, you're all about reasoned forebearance. It's great. Really, but it would seem that some reasoned forebearance might be relevant to Russia if the Ukraine really is soooo damned important to them- high tech weaponry, Black Sea ports, yada yada. All that suggests entreaties and enticements that are real and tangible. Also suggest loosening the ol' zero-sum mentality because the Ukrainians should enjoy the ability to leverage their assets where and when most beneficial to them.

    Instead, Russia has smacked them in the face and ORDERED them back in line.

    That's just really, really rude.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minskaya View Post


    If Putin decides to invade mainland Ukraine, he may as well go for all of his objectives. An invasion is an invasion and the international condemnation/retribution will be the same whether he invades one oblast or many. According to this rationale then, his objectives will be the industrial eastern oblasts that are critical to the Russian military and the southern oblasts with their Black Sea coastlines and warm water ports. The territory he would seek to grab is comparable to the area labeled 'Novorossiya' in map above. This is a very large area and unlike the bloodless coup Crimea, there would be conventional and then partisan warfare. The Black Sea Fleet could easily bottle up the ports and Russian forces could probably enter the oblast capital cities. What I don't quite understand is how he plans to occupy all of this territory with only 40-60,000 troops. And what about the tens of thousands of refugees that will cross the border to escape hostilities? How could he afford occupation? Crippling sector sanctions would be imposed. Russia would now be responsible for the well-being of tens of millions of Ukrainians in addition to the new load of 2 million Crimeans it can barely afford. Russia is already on the verge of recession/inflation and the central bank is artificially propping up the ruble. Foreign investment is fleeing faster than a speeding bullet. Russian citizens and corporations are already exchanging rubles for dollars and euros because they understand the ruble will be worthless if Putin follows through with his threats.

    I just don't see how Putin can pull this off militarily and economically without ruining Russia. Your thoughts?
    There are several constraints on a Russian invasion.

    Firstly, it would come at an expensive cost to Russia's economy due to sanctions, capital flight, a weakened ruble etc. it was only a few years ago Russia was seeking to modernise its economy. Secondly, it would be costly to maintain a sizeable military force and logistics for such operations. Thirdly, every country sharing Russia's border stretching from Norway to China would recalculate their strategic relationship. Fourthly, if a Ukrainian guerrilla resistance emerged (in the aftermath of an invasion it is always uncertain what may precipitate next) it could potentially drain Moscow's resources and extend its expensive military presence in those regions. Fifthly, in the long term this could come at a high economic cost and be domestically unpopular for Putin.

    While it may seem like an achievable annexation on paper, Putin does not want to find himself bogged down in another quasi-Afghanistan-type, resource draining theatre of operations. Annexing the southern and eastern regions will not be as easy as annexing Crimea. The real threat is not Kyiv's military, but its resistive population to pacify. Not all these regions populations are solely pro-Russian, and not all pro-Russian Ukrainians want their land part of Russia.

    As Minskayla thoughtfully mentioned earlier, the federalisation of Ukraine is Moscow's cheapest and most effective option. Putin is using instability and the threat of war as a tool to assert pressure for such an agreement to emerge. If the government in Kyiv resists, he will destabilise the crisis a bit more, until they either are brought to the negotiating table or Ukraine fragments into pieces whereby they are permanently unable to be put back together again, which will be just as Putin wanted.

  6. #36
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    A point of view that cuts through the smokescreen Russia works so hard to create, but takes Russia's side. This was in Sunday's Moscow Times, published in English in Moscow. The author, Andrei Tsygankov is Russian-born and teaches political science and post-Soviet studies at San Francisco State University. It's a fairly decent analysis from the Russian POV, without the usual vitriol common in the Russian media. Tsygankov has written extensively on the current crisis in Ukraine.





    Ukraine Is Putin's Last Stand

    By Andrei Tsygankov
    Apr. 27 2014 19:42
    Last edited 19:43


    Russia's Crimea annexation has led to many absurd accusations against President Vladimir Putin as a revisionist thinker bent on building a neo-Soviet empire. Western governments, especially the U.S., are now acting on this theory by trying to "contain Putin's revisionism" through tough sanctions, ultimatums and displays of military force on Russia's borders.

    Despite these accusations, Putin remains a defensive thinker aiming to protect Russia's international interests by available means. His reasoning is that after the Cold War, the U.S. violated the existing power boundaries by interfering in Yugoslavia, Eurasia and elsewhere. They have split those states that put up a resistance to the West's power ambitions by then recognizing independence of new states that were compliant to the West.

    The West has repeatedly suggested that Russia should mind its own business and accept its status as a diminished "regional power."

    What's more, through the tactics of "color revolutions," the West removed from power those rulers who were close to Russia by replacing them with nationalist and Russophobic ones. Every time Russia raised objections, it was told to forget about 19th-century geopolitics and think like a 21st-century power.

    Accompanied by calls to be on "the right side of history," the West has repeatedly suggested in one way or another that Russia should mind its own business and accept its post-Soviet status as a diminished "regional power." To Putin, the West's fundamental approach to Russia was insulting.

    Nonetheless, Putin tried to explain Russia's position and interests, but his words fell on deaf ears. The attempt to build ties between U.S. President Barack Obama and then-President Dmitry Medvedev did not stop the U.S. from deploying elements of a missile defense system in Europe and continuing expansion into Eurasia. The February revolution in Ukraine in violation of the agreement reached by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition meant the end of all hopes to normalize relations with the Obama administration.

    Under the conditions of Western revisionism, Putin had to rely on unorthodox and asymmetrical tools to stand his ground and preserve the balance of power in Ukraine. One tool that was used was the annexation of Crimea. By doing so, Putin secured the future of the Black Sea Fleet and strengthened the country's geopolitical position. Never again will Russia have to negotiate leases with potentially unfriendly Ukrainian governments.

    The other tool that Moscow is currently using is military deterrence aimed at Kiev. By amassing troops on the Ukrainian border, Putin seeks to achieve two objectives. First, he wants to prevent Kiev from using force against protesters in southeastern Ukraine. This strategy has been successful. For example, Kiev already announced that it was changing the terms of its "anti-terrorist operation" and would now blockade Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine instead of storming it. If Kiev had tried to take the city by force, it would likely have been tantamount to Georgia's shelling of South Ossetia's Tskhinvali in August 2008, which resulted in large civilian casualties. Russia then would have then had to cross the Ukrainian border to protect ethnic Russians in Slovyansk and other cities in the Donbass region.

    Second, Putin wants to keep the military on the Ukrainian border as political leverage in negotiating better conditions with Kiev. Otherwise Ukraine's nationalists, emboldened by frequent trips of the U.S. vice president and CIA director, might think it can issue demands to Russia and interpret the Geneva agreement as it sees fit. The Kremlin does not want a military invasion of Ukraine, but future negotiations between Kiev and eastern provinces may just be more effective with Russia's proven deterrent capacity.

    In the geopolitical competition with far more powerful Western countries, Russia must rely on asymmetrical tools — particularly if Moscow has any chance of preserving its influence in Eurasia. As the governor of the Caucasus, Prince Alexander Baryatinsky once noted: "England displays its power with gold. Russia, which is poor in gold, has to compete with force of arms."

    Despite its weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Russia continues to hold major advantages in Eurasia. It is useless trying to change the Kremlin's mind through sanctions, lecturing and public posturing. Ukraine is Putin's last stand. He will play the game of power competition to the end. To prevent bloodshed in Ukraine, the West must discourage Kiev from using force and encourage it to negotiate in earnest with the east and south of the country.

    Andrei Tsygankov is professor of international relations and political science at San Francisco State University.
    Ukraine Is Putin's Last Stand | Opinion | The Moscow Times
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  7. #37
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    How time flies. Just a little over 4 months ago...President of Russia
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  8. #38

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    JAD,

    Couldn't even begin imagining where to start with Mr. Tsygankov. Reading his commentary made me very, very tired. If his view of Moscow's perspective is correct then there is no hope of reconciliation. The disconnect in values appears severe.

    Only California would use taxpayers dollars to disseminate this convoluted spew-

    "...His reasoning is that after the Cold War, the U.S. violated the existing power boundaries by interfering in Yugoslavia, Eurasia and elsewhere. They have split those states that put up a resistance to the West's power ambitions by then recognizing independence of new states that were compliant to the West."

    Gosh, I guess we could have chosen NOT to recognize the newly-formed post Soviet governments across eastern Europe. My sense was that those nations really didn't wish to "...put up a resistance to the West's power ambitions..." any longer. In fact, they yearned for some of the same.

    Silly us. We could (should? OBLIGATED?) have chosen "no way!!" and left eastern Europe to the tender ministrations of Yeltsin and Putin. Right and proper according to Mr. Tsygankov.

    I'd suggest following the cold war that "...existing power boundaries..." ceased existing-along with the governments to which those boundaries were attached. Out with the old. In with the new. Sorta goes hand n' hand with defunct ideologies and please pardon those whom you led by the nose into a dead-end alley if they'd prefer something new.

    Anything but more of the same.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minskaya View Post
    Ukrainian media report that at Slavyansk, the SBU commander (a female Colonel btw) has decided to surround and blockade the city rather than assault and risk civilian casualties. No one leaves, and no reinforcements enter.
    There's good reason for this; if we go in we may certainly encounter a 'human shield' element. We know the 'authorities' in Slovyansk have already been rounding up ethnic Roma. Secondly while Ukrainian forces are under an obligation not to hurt the civilian population the armed 'separatists' and 'little green men' are under no such obligation, indeed a massacre of the civilian population is exactly what they want as it would provide a pretext for Russian intervention. There is nothing to stop the 'separatists' turning their weapons on the local civilian population and we know from last weeks operation that they would have no hesitation in doing so.


    "The February revolution in Ukraine in violation of the agreement reached by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition meant the end of all hopes to normalize relations with the Obama administration."

    This piece of propaganda presented as 'fact' is total rubbish. First the US was nothing to do with the Feb 21st agreement. It wasn't a party to it nor was any US representative present at the negotiations, though the foreign ministers of Poland, France and Germany were present. Therefore how this has any bearing on Russian - US relations it is impossible to say; it was nothing to do with Russia or the US; the Russian representative even refused to witness the agreement unlike the other European representative.

    Secondly the Russians continue to fraudulently insist that the Opposition broke this agreement. They did not. Yanukovych broke it himself when he absented himself and therefore could not sign the re-adoption of the 2004 Constitution within the agreed 48hrs after the Rada voting it through. Believe me nobody at the time thought Yanukovych was going to up and run; it was not something we expected though there is now some evidence to suggest that his departure was planned and prompted by Moscow.

  10. #40
    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    Nevertheless, the memorandum stands as clear testimony to Russia's disregard for promises it made to Ukraine, starting with annexing Crimea
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by S2 View Post
    You could advise me to the extent that word is valued in Russian. I don't know but am concluding it's found under the Maskirovka verbiage. Seems that English-speaking signatories have fully respected The Ukraine's territorial integrity.
    I would speculate that the US, UK, and Russia were each and all satisfied with the wording. I fault Kuchima for near-sightedness. He did indeed do away with the immediate problem - a vast nuclear arsenal on Ukraine soil - but at the cost of inheriting the future problems that confront us today.

  11. #41
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2 View Post
    JAD,

    The disconnect in values appears severe.
    Yes Sir,it is.The problem however lies with the West not understanding this basic fact.
    Asked in a poll about their views on the Russian society of 50 years from now,most Russian considered their country as equal of the West in economic and technological fields,while completely different in societal values.
    Them being Russians,you won't detter them an economic slap on the wrist.
    They see themselves as part of an ideological and cultural war,imposed on them by the West.That Westerners may not see themselves as aggressors is also true,but irrelevant.Sheer Western might provokes collateral damage.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  12. #42

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    Minnie,

    "I would speculate that the US, UK, and Russia were each and all satisfied with the wording."

    Yeah, but from what stems satisfaction for each? In any case whatever guarantee was rendered by this agreement has been clearly broken by Mother Russia without any justifiable pretext.

    "...I fault Kuchima for near-sightedness."

    Dizzying times. I'm uncertain anybody really had a complete handle on matters as they unfolded so quickly. Policy was in complete upheaval everywhere. That said, could you really suggest that you'd be comfortable with a nuclear arsenal under the auspices of Ukrainian guard these days? Further, do you really believe that such would render null what's presently unfolding?

    IMV, Russia's current methodology would be perfect against a nuclear opponent possessing weak (and possibly unreliable) conventional combat and police forces. Subversion from within makes nuclear targeting a real bytch.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  13. #43

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    Mihais,

    Yes Sir,it is.The problem however lies with the West not understanding this basic fact..."

    Many have long suspected as much but that didn't preclude our obligation to shine a light into the darkness. Their leaders simply prefer cultivating mushrooms. That needed confirmation and we sadly now have it unambiguously.

    "...Asked in a poll about their views on the Russian society of 50 years from now,most Russian considered their country as equal of the West in economic and technological fields,while completely different in societal values..."

    Most in the west would suggest they've no chance at the former without thoroughly redressing the latter.

    "...Them being Russians,you won't detter them an economic slap on the wrist...".

    Probably not. Those will come, though. And they'll hurt. And they'll symbolize that we live under no illusion regarding what their government chooses to stand for. That'll do while we get back to lining our pockets with gold and they get back to stewing in their very bitter juices.

    "...They see themselves as part of an ideological and cultural war,imposed on them by the West...Sheer Western might provokes collateral damage."

    Yup. Just an accident of fate that we were born on the correct side of the globe. Evidently nothing about that "...Sheer Western might..." that's a product from our way of life and worthy of emulation. Bit more to it, though, than simply learning that 2+2=4 to become an economic power. Care to invest in a Russian corporation? I don't. Rather opaque quality to their management style that generates unusual risk for most western investors.

    Oh well. I'm sure there's more than one way to those streets paved in gold.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minskaya View Post

    I just don't see how Putin can pull this off militarily and economically without ruining Russia. Your thoughts?
    That's simple.
    No Russian invasion is needed.
    The Ukrainians in the East and South will form their own people's army and liberate Ukraine off the nationalists and neofascists that seized Kiev.
    The Russian army on the border is just a sign of Russian solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

  15. #45
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2 View Post
    JAD,

    Couldn't even begin imagining where to start with Mr. Tsygankov. Reading his commentary made me very, very tired. If his view of Moscow's perspective is correct then there is no hope of reconciliation. The disconnect in values appears severe.

    Only California would use taxpayers dollars to disseminate this convoluted spew-

    "...His reasoning is that after the Cold War, the U.S. violated the existing power boundaries by interfering in Yugoslavia, Eurasia and elsewhere. They have split those states that put up a resistance to the West's power ambitions by then recognizing independence of new states that were compliant to the West."

    Gosh, I guess we could have chosen NOT to recognize the newly-formed post Soviet governments across eastern Europe. My sense was that those nations really didn't wish to "...put up a resistance to the West's power ambitions..." any longer. In fact, they yearned for some of the same.
    It's an attempt to describe Putin's mindset, which may be just as convoluted as the author's attempt to describe it.

    It contributes to our understanding of the other side's view, an essential element in dismantling its reasoning.

    Putin brings to mind the famous Dylan Thomas poem:

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


    - See more at: Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas- Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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