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Thread: Russia Surrounded

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    this young boy with a russian wife.

    lol

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    like i said im not getting involved man.
    TOO LATE

    Edit: Dan, learn to recognise an obvious wind-up! Sheesh.
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  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    TOO LATE

    Edit: Dan, learn to recognise an obvious wind-up! Sheesh.
    Yeah I know. But I thought it needed saying, still.

    The bit I quoted made me laugh a bit though - "the beleaguered innocent"

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    I guess it's easy enough to say that if you don't live there!



    Which is not to say they wouldn't dearly love to - witness the cyber-attacks on Estonia a decade ago, the annexation of eastern Ukraine, threats against Poland and potential ramifications of a Russian-Turkish rapprochement for Armenia. Russia has never not been an imperial power.

    I hear you about the limited usefulness of describing the USA as "evil". I mean, it certainly has done, and still does, terrible things - as does Russia. Each country is an imperialist state with a vast military and the means to destroy the world many times over, controlled to a greater or lesser degree by self-interested plutocrats and with an interest in projecting its power around the world. But a vast asymmetry between them is apparent when you consider that millions of people in America, and in the West more generally, despise their own government to the extent that they're willing to lend a sympathetic ear to Russia, even while Russian jets bomb Syrian hospitals: where are their Russian equivalents? As far as I can tell they simply don't exist - or if they do exist, they are small in number and keep their heads down, with good reason. Can you find me a Russian, in Russia, giving a talk like the guy in the video above, about the USA's "justified paranoia" over Soviet missiles in Cuba? I suspect anyone brave enough to do that would not be long for this world.
    Unsurprisingly, I agree with this. I think it's a false equivalence to compare the two, just because of the super-power status. Russia is a much more oppressive state by pretty much any metric - journalistic freedom in Russia is non-existent, and the heads of any organised opposition that looks like gaining any purchase tend to end up in jail if not killed - look at the fortunes of Alexi Navalny for an example. I kinda forget that not everyone has read up on the post-modern nature of Russian power projection - trolling as state policy, basically - as well as the endemic corruption and state-sanctioned violence - so threads like this always surprise me somewhat. A world with increased Russian power is one on a rapid downhill slide to fascism in my view. We can see what this looks like in practice in Syria right now.
    Last edited by DannyL; 15-03-2018 at 04:41 PM.

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  6. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    Are we rolling with the assessment that Russia was responsible then? I mean it seems likely but I'm reluctant to take anything like this at face value, particularly post-Iraq. It's worked out pretty nicely for May given she now has an external enemy less contentious than the EU to unite the people against and if she handles it well it'll give her image a big boost.

    The assassination attempt itself seems remarkably sloppy, particularly in comparison to Litvinenko and the other rumoured killings.
    Short answer: for me, that's the overwhelming likelihood, but I wouldn't want to say yes for certain. But surely it's clear by now that cultivating uncertainty is a Russian aim in itself? I wouldn't go as far as to assert that the sloppiness of the attack was intentional, precisely in order to sow doubt about Russian culpability, but even that can't be discounted with certainty.

    And while it is of course true that Blair lied about WMD to provide a false justification for the Iraq invasion, it's also true that many people openly doubted the claim as soon as he'd made it and an official investigation eventually proved them right. So Blair's conspiracy, such as it was - and bear in mind it involved only words, not actions (such as attempted murder) - may have helped enable his short-term aim but it unravelled with a fairly pathetic rapidity. It also didn't really involve anyone but him and his spin team, whereas you can imagine the complexity of pulling off a false-flag double poisoning using an ultra-toxic Russian nerve agent in arguably the most intensely surveilled country in the world. (Or maybe you can't - I'm not sure if I can.)
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 15-03-2018 at 09:41 PM.
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  7. #21
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    Good thread on Skirpal for those who've not seen it - https://twitter.com/deadlyvices/stat...71484787822592

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woebot View Post
    think this through from the opposite perspective too
    always useful, ofc. there was a similar thing w/Iran at the height of the Iraq/Afghan wars. Americans on both sides combined w/deeply paranoid regime.

    it can be, is, true at the same time that the current Russian regime is super fucked up and that its fears of encirclement kind of make sense, even without the paranoia. it's a pretty old, traditional narrative too in Russia, no? Definitely it was on Stalin's mind, the USSR in general. Russian rulers have been obsessed with things like access to warm water ports for centuries. folk memories of centuries paying tribute to the Mongols etc. + so on. doesn't excuse any of the fucked up things but you can understand the thought process.

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  10. #23
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    I read Tim Marshall's book "Prisoners of Geography" last year sometime. He puts down Russian paranoia to fears centring on the North East European Plain which is an arrangement of flat land which spreads from Russia throughout Europe, part of which is a direct corridor from Moscow to Poland. It'd be very hard to defend across it's breadth. He says the Russians have fought wars on or around this plain every 30 years since Napoleon's invasion in 1812. What screwed him was length of supply lines. It's an interesting argument (that I'm not doing justice to) - he also mentions NATO encirclement as well IIRC.

  11. #24

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    Forgetting about morality for a second and taking a strictly realist view, I think it's obvious why Russia feels threatened - because they are threatened.

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  13. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    Forgetting about morality for a second and taking a strictly realist view, I think it's obvious why Russia feels threatened - because they are threatened.
    I suppose that is true, as far as it goes.
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  14. #26
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    how far do you think it goes?
    it was the point we started the thread at after all.

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    not that im going to get involved in this thread btw that just slipped out accidentally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    how far do you think it goes?
    it was the point we started the thread at after all.
    Well as vim said, it's a political but not a moral observation. It carries with it the implication that the USA and Russia each need their own 'back yard', and that the only way for Russia not to feel threatened (and not to feel that it constantly has to engage in 'offensive defence') is for Western powers to concede that eastern Europe and central Asia essentially belong to Russia, just as they did in the Soviet era.
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  17. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    taking a strictly realist view, I think it's obvious why Russia feels threatened - because they are threatened.
    a concise version of what I was saying, minus the historical context

    always more useful to view geopolitics thru realpolitik lens. regimes act in what they perceive to be their self-interest. those actions may/not be morally objectionable.

    do think historical context is important here. Russian rulers have always been concerned w/access to year-round ports, Central Asia (Great Game etc), influence in E Europe, etc. add inherent paranoia of siloviki ruling class, post-Cold War tension lingering resentment over American/W European role in absolute mess of 90s Russia, to traditional Russian fears and losing my edge worries over diminished global role. easy to forget Putin was (still is to some extent? idk) v popular when he came to power, stabilizing things, restoring Russian pride killing many, many Chechens. I'm sure many Russians, even some opponents, appreciate him standing up to the West, if perhaps not the repressive state security apparatus, murdered journalists, corruption, etc. + obv no one should be surprised that a regime of ex-KGB guys is totally into disinformation and information warfare.

  18. #30
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    has to be said also U.S. has also played some pretty bad hands, Georgia esp, Ukraine. Syria too tho that's a trickier one, the Georgia thing was just so fucking dumb.

    more generally like virtually every major U.S. setback of the last 15+ years it's deeply tied into imperial overreach. Putin should thank OBL at least once every day.

    he should also thank Lawrence Summers et al for midwifing the brutal shock adjustment to a market economy + allowing Putin to swoop in as a savior reining in the chaos

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