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Post By
bd2999 
Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
In Reply To
zvelf

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Subj: Re: I'm sorry but I think you're just espousing good old fashioned American chauvinism.  
Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2022 at 08:16:19 am EST (Viewed 137 times)
Reply Subj: Re: I'm sorry but I think you're just espousing good old fashioned American chauvinism.  
Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2022 at 05:26:30 pm EST (Viewed 171 times)

Previous Post

This is a well-written post with several good points, but I’m ultimately not sure how much NATO is to blame simply because we can’t read Putin’s mind so it’s all very speculative. Yes, dissolving NATO and (much more importantly in my mind) instituting a Cold War Marshal Plan would have helped, but would it have prevented a Putin just 13 years later? NATO is anti-Russian but it’s not a threat to the very existence of Russia. In my mind, NATO is at best 10-20% in the contribution to the Russian decision-making process. Invading Ukraine will only reinforce the need for NATO and make it stronger, not weaker. My own speculation is that Putin wants Ukraine’s wealth of tapped and untapped natural resources (lots of rare earth metals and grain).

And in general, I think it is important to examine moral equivalency and indeed U.S. history is replete with atrocities from killing Native American to slavery to segregation to ill-begotten wars to stuff like the Tuskegee study. In terms of this crisis though, I’m not sure how helpful it is. Basically, history shows that concentrations of power frequently turn into atrocity. Hitler and WWII and the Holocaust of course killed tens of millions. Stalin killed millions, probably tens of millions (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excess_mortality_in_the_Soviet_Union_under_Joseph_Stalin). Mao killed millions, probably tens of millions (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Chinese_Famine). Genghis Khan killed millions, probably tens of millions. We have Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge killing millions of Cambodians. Alexander the Great probably killed at least a million (which was a much larger percentage of humanity existing at the time with a world-wide population under 200 million compared to 40 times that today). The Rwandan genocide killed over half a million. You can go on and on (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_genocides_by_death_toll). So humanity does unspeakable things, and the U.S. has done unspeakable things. It becomes too mind-bogglingly abstract to measure who is worse. But at this moment in time, at least the U.S. doesn’t assassinate, jail, or disappear non-violent dissidents like Russia and China do. The U.S. still has a relatively free press. Even our misguided wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan weren’t to take the land there for ourselves. Yes, we’re awful in our support of the Saudis and Israelis. We’re not saints whatsoever, but there is still a distinction even if it’s just that our system puts constraints on our leaders that Putin and Xi don’t have. Like I said, power often turns into atrocity.

In any case, Putin may have overreached here. Even if he takes Ukraine, he may well have destroyed the Russian economy with the world’s response – sanctions, currency devaluation, stopped bank transactions, air spaces closed down, cultural and sporting events cut off. His only hope is that China props Russia up financially by buying its oil. Cancel culture means most of the world has cancelled Russia. Putin may also face a costly insurgency in terms of Russian lives and money within Ukraine for years. How will Russians react to all of that, particularly powerful, wealthy Russians and military leaders? How long can Putin stay in power if the will of his people turn against him?

Much better stated than my word salad. 




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