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Post By
bd2999 
Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
In Reply To
Late Great Donald Blake 
Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,461
Subj: Re: A legitimate grievance is still a legitimate grievance.
Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2022 at 03:40:48 pm EST (Viewed 142 times)
Reply Subj: A legitimate grievance is still a legitimate grievance.
Posted: Sun Feb 27, 2022 at 10:48:29 am EST (Viewed 140 times)


I am going to say that I do not consider myself a total expert on Russian history or politics but I have read and heard a bit at this point even before the current events. 


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    Please stop assuming I am an uneducated idiot.



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    LGDB: Who said anything about uneducated? lol Jk. I'm really not. I'm just responding to the things you've said.

Your response came off as very condescending. 


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    Sort of. There are very valid reasons for Russia to be concerned with NATO and its existence is both driving force and excuse. I do not think Putin's goals change much in the end.



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    The US has alot of power but coordination would seem to work better to me. At least in terms of sanctions and reacting to a bad actor. It may not specially need to be nato but the effective end result is the same.



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    Russia has done enough to cause that sort of concern. If we want to argue chicken and the egg and what cause led to what effect then fine but to me Russia would have probably started crap even sooner.



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    LGDB: It's a rational and legitimate security concern from the Russian perspective. As neither one of us is a mind reader, we can't say that it's just an excuse. What we can say is if we had disband NATO or at least hadn't continued to expand it incrementally eastward he wouldn't have that reason as a proposed justification. I think it helps to keep in mind that NATO is literally an ANTI-Russian organization. It wasn't just some group of buddy nations, that Putin doesn't like because he hates freedom. It's very essence is about containing what was once the Soviet Union. Its expansion was one of the major precipitating events that led to the invasion, and all that happened quite deliberately. My point is whether or not you think Putin is a bad just, NATO expansion isn't incidental to this war, it's a major cause. And since WE don't have a justification for its existence, then we should take responsibility for commitment to maintaining it.

Sure, but that is a bit of a quibble on my choice of terms. An excuse or justification can be darn near the same thing in many context. Although excuse makes it seem less legit, but I still think that is true. 

Even if the justification is removed I doubt Putin and Russia change their strategy much although their approach may without the same sort of push back. I am not just making that up either. Fiona Hill, something of a Russian expert has indicated that while NATO has been a reason Putin's motivations reach beyond that.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/02/28/world-war-iii-already-there-00012340

“He’s said, repeatedly, that Russian and European borders have changed many times. And in his speeches, he’s gone after various former Russian and Soviet leaders, he’s gone after Lenin and he’s gone after the communists, because in his view they ruptured the Russian empire, they lost Russian lands in the revolution, and yes, Stalin brought some of them back into the fold again, like the Baltic States and some of the lands of Ukraine that had been divided up during World War II, but they were lost again with the dissolution of the USSR. Putin’s view is that borders change, and so the borders of the old Russian imperium are still in play for Moscow to dominate now.”

Now I am not saying this is a NATO existing having no impact at all because it did have a major one but I am of the mind that Putin is very much of the type to restore Russian glory, to me NATO is potentially pushing things that would happen anyway. 

Now, it depends on the conflict in question, but in 2007 when NATO invited Georgia and Ukraine in it did lead to the invasion of Georgia and Ukraine was probably spared because it did not jump in right away. 

Although I would still argue that NATO served a function outside of the fall of the Soviet's. After the fall Russia could not control its own borders or country and had nukes and the like so the probability of a failed state was high. When strong man Putin took over it for sure is a direct conflict but Putin also showed himself to be a strong man bad actor, so that hardly gives the countries united to stand against the Soviets the warm and fuzzies. 

So to me it is logical that it stay together in some form. If Russia was a straight democracy and mostly peaceful than to me NATO would have been dissolved a while ago, but that is not the world we live in. 


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    How is it world domination and restoring the soviet union. Doing one does not lead to another.



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    Putin's outlook is always shaped by his previous experiences and returning things to a power structure. His domestic policy as I understand it is to return to the glorious past. It may not specifically be restore it in every sense but to me it sure seems that way. I am not sure why Belarus proves anything. As it is easy enough to make counter arguments about a piece meal approach



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    LGDB: I'm saying NEITHER are his actual states goals, and outside of fabrication and paranoia there's no evidence or argument (that I'm aware of) to suggest it's true.

I think full restoration of the Soviet Union is probably false but refer to the interview I provided above from a Russian expert. She is pretty sure that Russia see's the various former Soviet countries and their boundaries as fluid. 

Even if that does not mean invasion it means trying to install friendly Russian governments or puppet governments. 


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    My point about Belarus is that Putin hasn't annexed it, and has not apparent plans to, despite it being (at least in terms of its political leadership) a strong alley to Russia. If the argument is that Putin is interested in reestablishing the borders of the Soviet Union or annexation for its own sake, explain Belarus.

No, but he does not have to. If you look it up you will see that Belarus is controlled by a strong man authoritarian who is very friendly to Putin and Russia already. Why bother with annexing it if they are already major allies. 

I think within the last few days their was a push to update their Constitution to allow more aid to Russia and allow their military to move more freely through or something along those lines. 

It meets Putin's objectives either way. So, there is no sense to annex them like you are saying.

In general Putin seems to view the boundries as fluid with other countries and the goal is to take over, create puppet governments or ones that are friendly to Russia in the area. And Belaruz already fits the bill. 


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    Not sure why you keep thinking I am excusing past us actions. I am just more skeptical of trusting excuses from places known to be even worse. It is not hard to make an excuse based in reality to achieve something you were going to do anyway.



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    I think nato has pros and cons but there is a reasons so many countries wanted in on the eastern block and Russia was at least part of it.



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    I do think the US is hardly a golden child of all that is right and in various conflicts, particularly the more recent ones in the middle east, opened itself up to hypocrisy and excuses for Russia to do what it is or china potentially.



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    But I think those countries would do such things anyway. And systems like nato are a deterant. A flawed one but one none the less.



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    LGDB: Because one doesn't necessitate the other. It doesn't matter if Putin has ulterior motives (and it's statecraft so of course he does.) The point is he's RIGHT about NATO. And believe it or not, giving people a justifiable pretext for aggression actually makes their use of aggression easier. Like when we invade Iraq. Clearly we didn't invade on the basis of weapons of mass destruction. That's a matter of the historical record now, but IF they had had WMDs it certainly would have given us cart blanche to invade. DESPITE the fact that it wasn't the actual impetus for our invasion.

Sure, but that is a one sided evaluation of it that ignores concerns that NATO countries would have about Russia's behavior. Russia would view it as a threat regardless of the motivations, but NATO would have incentive to keep on keeping on given historical behavior, the leadership and actions as well. 

If NATO was not there than it could also potentially make things worse as well because coordination may be harder and not already set up. 

I do not think this is totally either or, but just because Russia see's itself as justified does not mean that they totally are in the way they think they are either. As justifications forms are not too hard when one starts quoting national security. 

Hell Putin called the Ukraine government Nazi's to play on the Russian publics fondness and former glory from WW2. 


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    What are the pros of NATO? And it's true many countries did join because they wanted protection against potential Russian aggression. But there was also the carrot that they wanted to be more comfortable trading partners with the US, going where the money was so to speak, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union when Russia was made a kleptocratic pauper state. But the point there is that once you have a "you're either with us, or against us" organization like NATO formed, most of its members states are joining because they literally have a sort of binary choice. And who wouldn't go with the US instead of Russia especially post Soviet collapse? That in no way implies that NATO itself as an organization should exist or that it's not precisely the kind of building up of interlocking, intractable alliances that literally led to the first world war. And keep in mind, through the UN or independent of it, there's nothing stopping an alliance of nations forming to deal with an emergent form of aggression. So if outside of the existence of NATO, Russia initiated aggression against its neighbors the world community would be as equipped to respond to it as they are now.

The United Nations is not the most useful organization when Russia has a veto. 

And I would disagree with a fair bit of this as having a pre-existing military alliance makes it easier to coordinate than starting with a mostly blank slate. Just like there are other non military orgnizations that make coordination easier like the G7 and so on. It is better to have the systems than not. 

And it is not like Russia has been a very good actor to make it's neighbors confident of its good behavior. 


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    And on the issue of record of imperialism, the US isn't just as bad as Russia or China. We are many many times worse. Should we make a list of the various countries that the US has unilaterally invaded and compare that to China or Russia's. Our coups, insurrections, and out right invasions dwarf their combined numbers.

Sure, but does that mean all other countries get a free pass to do as they want? Hypocrisy on the world stage is hardly a new concept. It is still not a justification for new poor actions. 

Despite China and Russia enjoying pointing them out to make excuses for their actions. The US and Europe are hardly perfect and one can argue that China is more pragmatic in some sense in foreign policy. They do what they think is best for China, to Hell with humanitarian concerns. When you start accounting for those and getting involved things get merky and messier. It also makes them easier to make excuses for very bad behavior. 


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    And yes NATO may be a deterrent against certain activity, but I think a better argument can be made that it's far more likely to be an inciting agent, especially now. And especially because it's headed by the US, and how naive would you have to be to think that primarily the US is only or even primarily motivated to create stable conditions on the world stage. And to that end where the deterrent against US? If NATO needs to exists as a deterrent against Russian aggression, by the same logic, shouldn't the rest of the world be setting up a system of deterrence against the US seeing as how we've been far more aggressive historically?

You seem to think so, but I tend to think current action makes more sense than past ones. The US should have been held more accountable for Iraq and Afghanistan but not sure that an organization to punish the US for its treatment of Indigenous people or slavery have much weight despite the weight of the tragedies themselves. 

Russia will use NATO as a justification, but it is also true that they have chosen methods that pretty much point to them continuing to be a risk and needing to be countered as well. Working against democracy most places, backing some terrible regimes and so on. Hardly reason t olet down their guard on them IMO. 

And if there was another agreement with another name it would amount to about the same thing in the end, although perhaps with less teeth as their would not be the common defense aspect, which I will admit could cause another world war but also is a heck of a deterrent if Russia does not want to world coming at it. 

cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake



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