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Lethaface

New offensive in Donbass?

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Nope I did not. It is in the Russian text. You need to use the wet part of the brain though ;)

Mein Gott does that man speak fast! Well, my German isn't good enough to understand nearly anything he's saying. I'd have to pause it every 5 seconds. Oh well :D After a quick search of the web I can see that I probably am not missing anything important:

 

Das Berliner Stadtmagazin Tip setzte Jebsen auf den dritten Platz der Liste der hundert peinlichsten Hauptstädter 2014 . „Die Trolle aus dem Internet finden in ihm ein Sprachrohr, der Pegida dürfte er zumindest Teile des ungeistigen Bodens bereitet haben“, lautete die Begründung des Magazins.

Ouch!

Steve

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Mein Gott does that man speak fast! Well, my German isn't good enough to understand nearly anything he's saying. I'd have to pause it every 5 seconds. Oh well :D

I assume you were directing people to Vortragsabend der Waldorfschule Überlingen? It certainly is long.

Steve

Lol - close but not quite runtime is 2:41:37

That could get a little tight for sburke if he doesn't get some rain soon...

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By the way Nidan1, the Goethe quote (2nd line) in your sig is apparently not from Goethe: http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth12.htm- and it misses a ".

To be honest though, I had almost reconstructed the German version for you (apparently on basis of false memories). I am still not quite convinced it really does not exist. Something with "Würde" (grace) and "Tat" (the act) I would have assumed Wahlverwandschaften, something from a campaign as embedded journalist with the army in France, or perhaps his science stuff - but so far no luck.

 

In any case it would not be used in the "writing classes" of today's Germany. ;)

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Lol - close but not quite runtime is 2:41:37

That could get a little tight for sburke if he doesn't get some rain soon...

Are we supposed to be watching Krieg oder Frieden in Europa............? Sprechen sie langsamer bitte!, the moderator speaks so fast, I cannot keep up. What was Steve looking at, was it the same video with the same guy who speaks like an auctioneer.

 

Thanks for that bit of information. No wonder I could not find that quote in the original German. I will remove it from my sig, although it is a good phrase anyway if it is not attributed to Goethe it seems wrong for me to do so.

Edited by Nidan1

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Mein Gott does that man speak fast! Well, my German isn't good enough to understand nearly anything he's saying. I'd have to pause it every 5 seconds. Oh well :D After a quick search of the web I can see that I probably am not missing anything important:

 

[Das Berliner Stadtmagazin Tip setzte Jebsen auf den dritten Platz der Liste der hundert peinlichsten Hauptstädter 2014 . „Die Trolle aus dem Internet finden in ihm ein Sprachrohr, der Pegida dürfte er zumindest Teile des ungeistigen Bodens bereitet haben“, lautete die Begründung des Magazins.]

Ouch!

Steve

paraphrasing the German section above: He's crackpot #3 on a list of 100 from Berlin.

 

Indeed, and I am far from being in general agreement with him.

But this fact cuts both ways. (If you assume my evaluation of his position as correct)

And this one guy on the show: Willy Wimmer is not exactly a nobody. You'll need gtranslate for the wiki-entry.

Edited by polterklotz

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Are we supposed to be watching Krieg oder Frieden in Europa............? Sprechen sie langsamer bitte!, the moderator speaks so fast, I cannot keep up. What was Steve looking at, was it the same video with the same guy who speaks like an auctioneer.

 

Thanks for that bit of information. No wonder I could not find that quote in the original German. I will remove it from my sig, although it is a good phrase anyway if it is not attributed to Goethe it seems wrong for me to do so.

 

Yeah, that is the one. There's one where he is considerably worse. I'm afraid there's not much you can do at the moment. You could try to separate the audio track out and play it back more slowly using the VLC player for example. But I am pretty sure you'd better get some German speaker to do the English subs...

Edited by polterklotz

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If the positions here are so "high and mighty", then they should be easy to refute.

Sorry, sometimes in this world things can be boiled down to right and wrong. What Russia is doing to Ukraine is wrong. Plain and simple. Which is why there's not been a single argument made that even tries to justify Russia's actions that hasn't fallen apart very quickly.

Steve

 

Negatory, it's like arguing the Ukrainian side on Russian forums. In terms of right and wrong, what Russia is doing in Ukraine is hard power because soft power has failed over the course of the last 25 years. I do not view my country's actions to protect it's sphere of influence as wrong. Methods - questionable in their effectiveness. Reasons? Not so much. Like I said almost immediately after joining this forum, to me, and perhaps to a lot of my countrymen, this is a natural repetition of 1653, 1919, 1939 and 1944.

Edited by BTR

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Huh, you have a natural right to force the Ukrainians to do what Russia wants? No wonder you have a hard time feeling this is one sided. Cause you are on the wrong side of history.

Anyway the point of this thread was to discuss a possible new offensive, not to spend time worrying about bruised Russian feelings about pursuing politics with the ham fisted tactics of the last century. I am afraid you won't find much sympathy here.

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The wrong side of this forum, that's for sure, but then again, everything these days seems to be divided by a fence. I've tried arguing the Ukrainian side on Russian forums and got the same response :) . Oh well, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote it best, "and so it goes".

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Love Vonnegut

Question though - how do you "argue the Ukrainian side" on Russian forums if you feel Russia has a right to undermine Ukrainian right to self determination?

Unfortunately some times there isn't a middle ground and you have to chose sides. For example and no I am not characterizing your position, it is just an example, as the Nazis came to power one couldn't argue a middle position between human and political rights for Jews and a Nazi argument for whatever it is they would argue. One would have to chose one as right and the other as wrong.

For many of us, the situation is similar. The fundamental question is does Ukraine have a right to determine it's own future? Russian govt obfuscating BS aside, that is what this is about. Ukrainians chose and Moscow's traditional methods (as you termed it - soft power) no longer worked. That soft power was bribery and corruption. It was no more legitimate than what Russia is doing now, but at least there was some plausible deniability. Now it is simply criminal. There is no legitimate Russian position. Have other people done some similar stuff, sure. That however doesn't make it right and is not an argument for allowing it. So Russia is just gonna have to sooner or later accept than this isn't gonna fly and get the hell out before NATO stomps their military. Because at some point folks will get fed up enough and shred that half assed excuse of an army

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What Sburke said. Sometimes there is no middle ground. "Is it OK to rape your neighbor?" doesn't find much middle ground either.

While I perfectly understand Russia's actions in the context of Russia's history and a particular type of "might makes right" historical perspective, that doesn't excuse it. You won't find me trying to justify the Reagan Admin's breach of the US Constitution to illegally fund the nun-murdering Contras either. Yes, I understand the arguments for the decisions that were made, and the necessity to lie about it after, but I don't excuse it. And I don't excuse Fox News for putting a traitor on staff just because he got Presidential Pardon in exchange for him not telling the full story.

Sometimes there is a right and a wrong position to take. In Russia's case, beating up on Ukraine because it doesn't want to be a slave state to it any more doesn't leave me much choice. I can't even have any respect for Russia's policy since it is lying through its teeth about it and everything else surrounding it. Not to mention reminding me that there's more than one unstable regime armed with nuclear weapons perhaps crazy enough to use them.

Steve

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Mein Gott does that man speak fast! Well, my German isn't good enough to understand nearly anything he's saying. I'd have to pause it every 5 seconds. Oh well :D After a quick search of the web I can see that I probably am not missing anything important:

 

I watched Vortragsabend der Waldorfschule Überlingen and it' s really bad. This man is badly informed and/or intentionally deceiving is audience. He argues against strawmen most of time and seems to have a love for inaccurate analogys and metaphores. In a nutshell, he says that the german government is conspiring with the mainstream media to control the people, that democracy doesnt work because it brings people to power who have an opinion different from his, that everybody is so evil and immoral, and in particular the US and Israel. On the german Wikipedia it says that he, in other media, claims that 9/11 was an inside job and that the world is controlled by a zionist conspiracy.

 

In german, there is a word for what i felt while i watched the video, it' s Fremdschämen. The english language lacks a compareable word, but the dictionary of my choice translates Fremdschämen as follows: The feeling of shame for someone else who has done something embarrassing.

Edited by agusto

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There's a sort of logical fallacy assuming that because there's two sides to a debate (or more!) that those viewpoints have equal weight.

 

The Russian argument for the various republics it carved off of Georgia, and is trying to carve off of the Ukraine doesn't hold water.  There might even be legitimate Russian concerns....but they do not excuse or warrant the conflict Russia started (again, there's no practical denial there, Russia started the current crisis, and it sustains it).  

 

Which is inherently why I find some claims of being unbiased to be dishonest.  You either think there's enough of a justification for Russian behavior, or you don't at this point.  There's no middle ground of "Russia deserves SOME of what it's trying to carve off, but not all!"

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The funny thing is... before reading the Wikipedia page on him or any of the text on his YouTube Channel, I watched and listened to him for a few minutes and strongly suspected him to be a "whack job". Speech patterns, body language, the setting, the audience, etc. all led me to guess what he was saying without being able to understand it. Yet another example of me not being able to understand a language and yet still understand what's being said :D

Steve

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Love Vonnegut

Question though - how do you "argue the Ukrainian side" on Russian forums if you feel Russia has a right to undermine Ukrainian right to self determination?

 

Oh, it's simple. Present Russian involvement is against international law and destabilizes the region as well as detrimental to short and medium term economics for Ukraine. War in the Donbass region is hurting not just that region, but the whole 35m country that is right next to us. Arguing that despite US support for the changing of UKr government, it was the Russian side that initiated armed confrontation is also golden and really gets people going. To understand both sides, you must be able to argue both sides equally, at least something like that. Regardless of whichever side has more weight in the argument. 

 

The rest, is like I said, not going to argue three or more people simultaneously as it is mostly futile and very time consuming. Oh, Wiki mentions that the term "soft power" was coined by Joshep Nye in the 80's, but I'm almost confident my geopolitics professor back in the day mentioned that it was a rephrase of an even older term. Which one though, eludes me. 

Edited by BTR

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yeah I have heard the term softpower before, just I think in this context it constitutes very particular things.  In other scenarios it could mean something else entirely, but always non military ways of influencing someone towards your line of thinking etc.

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U.S. concentration on the Middle East and the war on terror in general, has given Putin some impetus to think that he can do what he wants to former Soviet Republics, because NATO and the U.S. specifically are too busy fighting jihadists and are too overwhelmed to counter his aggression with real military solutions. As far as being willing to nuke people at the drop of a hat, this to me sounds like a lot of hot air and empty threats. There would be no future for Russia to seriously damage countries with economies that are the only thing propping the Russian one up at the moment.

 

 

It wouldn't be at a drop of a hat. Those Cold War-esqe overflights are basically the saber-rattling, directed towards the NATO-bloc to say, "We're still here and we still have nukes." At any rate, they don't have to actually do it, they just have to suggest they will and given that NATO no-sold any intervention in the Ukraine close to a year ago, I think the threat was taken seriously enough. Maybe the Russians are bluffing, sure, but nobody wants to risk it over the Ukraine. Meanwhile, with a slow-burn insurgency ongoing, Ukraine is never, ever, ever getting into NATO, which was the Russian's goal right from the start.

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No Russia's goal was to keep Ukraine in it's area of influence.  They lost that big time, Ukraine will be a long time gone before it ever considers friendship with Russia again.  NATO is just a military alliance that was looking for a reason to exist and was largely ineffective due to downsizing anyway.  That was never the real threat.  The real threat to Russia is a democratic Ukraine with political, legal and economic transparency.  That will happen in no small part thanks to Russia.

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Think it's a little between sburke and Apocal's perspective.  The Russians wanted a lot more out of the Ukraine than simply not-in-NATO.  That's where this whole conflict kicked off, closer ties to Russia via the not-really good at representing Ukrainians government.  The results of the follow-on repression by the Russian friendly government, and the "insurgents" totally undermined ANY likely future cooperation between the Ukraine and it'll likely be decades before you see anything resembling a Russian-friendly* political stance in the larger Ukraine (which is a contrast to the previous sort of trying to exist in both the east and the west stance).  On the other hand Russia had clearly gunned for what it assumes it can get through limited conventional warfare and walk away with.  It has succeeded in some ways, taking the Crimea, and having successfully sustained the rebels, but what they've clearly sought in terms of more solid land connections to the Crimea, or more leverage against Kiev has not panned out.

 

In effect the Russians had to succeed a lot faster and use the time in which the Ukrainian forces were very poorly equipped, lead and trained.  Russia has reached the extent of what they can do short of putting large scale ground forces into theater, and that much is doubtful at the moment.  The provocations that were relied upon to justify sending in "peacekeepers" frankly have not borne fruit, and the situation on the ground is now known enough that fait accompli "trust us the Ukrainians were eating Russian babies!" inspired invasion just is not going to wash.

 

Which brings us to now, where more investment is unlikely, but progress is doubtful without said investment.  

 

Re: Soft Power

 

The odd thing about Soft Power is you really need to be a carrot sort of person to make it work.  US loans, aid, guarantees and Chinese business investment both are great examples of those carrots.  The problem is the Russian economic soft power is very tightly tied to oil....which isn't worth so much and comes with less strings from elsewhere.  In terms of non-financial means, Russia hasn't really been a good partner to anyone so outside of folks with literally no one else to turn to (like a certain Syrian guy) it's not going to win friends.

 

Which therein makes hard power a more reasonable choice to "solve" Russia's problems.  Which THEN makes soft power even less viable (even the US suffered greatly in terms of soft power resulting from the War on Terror, and that's something that had SOME appeal overseas, as opposed to the Russian route which really only resonates with the anti-US/EU circles as a middle finger to the west of sorts).

 

*This also assumes Russian policy that's conciliatory or at the least, less of how Russia has treated its neighbors since the Czars.  

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To understand both sides, you must be able to argue both sides equally, at least something like that. Regardless of whichever side has more weight in the argument.

On this point I agree. I can fully argue Russia's point from either the false propaganda perspective (Kiev is a bunch of Western backed Nazis) or from the government's "hidden" Realpolitik perspective (if Ukraine becomes a less corrupt government than ours, we're in deep doo-doo). Oversimplification by a massive amount, but I assure you I can flesh it out in great detail. Therefore, I definitely understand the Russian government perspective just as I can the neo-Nazi/white power point of view, the ISIS point of view, Global Warming deniers, and a number of other points of view. Being able to do this doesn't mean I am unable to judge them, rather it means that when I judge them I do so with a greater understanding of why.

 

The rest, is like I said, not going to argue three or more people simultaneously as it is mostly futile and very time consuming. Oh, Wiki mentions that the term "soft power" was coined by Joshep Nye in the 80's, but I'm almost confident my geopolitics professor back in the day mentioned that it was a rephrase of an even older term. Which one though, eludes me.

Russia's soft power failed, so it turned to hard power. That too is failing. One lesson that Russia apparently didn't learn from the collapse of its previous empire... you can only subjugate an unwilling people for only so long before it backfires.

BTW, what is it specifically that you are arguing against? I'm not really sure what it is unless you think Russia is either not doing what it is doing (denial) or that it is excusable (apologist). Are you really trying to argue one or the other of these two points? If so, I am curious to know what your line of argument is.

Steve

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The provocations that were relied upon to justify sending in "peacekeepers" frankly have not borne fruit,

Not only that... look at the reaction of the Russian government to the mere suggestion of having real Peace Keepers present in Ukraine vs. Russia's traditional Piece Keepers (i.e. keep a piece of whatever country they occupy). Lavrov, Putin, Churkin, etc. all bristle BIG TIME at the notion of having forces in place that do not answer directly to Moscow. Why? Because that would be the end of the conflict. And at the present time, Russia clearly does not want it to end.

 

The problem is the Russian economic soft power is very tightly tied to oil....which isn't worth so much and comes with less strings from elsewhere.

Partly because Russia has economized its resources and tried to shortcut support by bribing (for that is what it amounts to) individuals and small groups rather than entire peoples. This sort of thing only works as long as those individuals and small groups remain in power. For the most part the US learned this lesson the hard way and has, in large part, moved away from it. There are definite exceptions, of course, but when talking about the US' world wide soft power it's pretty obvious that the majority of its efforts are broader base. Sesame Street and iPhone, for example.

 

In terms of non-financial means, Russia hasn't really been a good partner to anyone so outside of folks with literally no one else to turn to (like a certain Syrian guy) it's not going to win friends.

A point I have repeatedly made and as of yet not seen a well thought out challenge.

 

Which therein makes hard power a more reasonable choice to "solve" Russia's problems.  Which THEN makes soft power even less viable (even the US suffered greatly in terms of soft power resulting from the War on Terror, and that's something that had SOME appeal overseas, as opposed to the Russian route which really only resonates with the anti-US/EU circles as a middle finger to the west of sorts).

Yup. And the thing that concerns Russia very much is that circle is getting smaller and less relevant every year. For sure the Russian ruling elite knows this. I think they are doing what many rulers in decline do... try to drag out the consequences for themselves, the rest be damned.

Steve

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Back to the military aspects of what is going on lately and where it might head.

So, the separatists launched a significant offensive and was soundly defeated. From the little that's known it appears Russia's direct participation with ground forces was negligible. Seems it was mostly limited to Command and Control, electronic warfare, and general security (in particular air defenses). The SBU initially suggested that 4 GRU soldiers were killed in the clash, so it's possible there were small Russian Army special forces units involved. Most likely in recon or advisory capacity, not line infantry.

From Ukrainian accounts the separatists hit them with vastly superior numbers, but their attack stalled out fairly quickly. Soon after Ukrainian artillery hit the attacker's positions and they began to withdraw in an orderly fashion. While in the process of this they were hit by much larger concentrations of Ukrainian artillery. From one report I read, it appears this is when the separatists took the bulk of their casualties.

I think it's pretty clear that this was a limited, though significant, action designed to both test Ukraine's defenses as well as DPR's ability to fight without major support from the Russian Army (as it was forced into for Debaltseve, the airport, and of course August/Sept). The more tangible goal was to creep the buffer from Donetsk to the west as it did with the airport to the north. It was probably timed to be right before a major Minsk 2 negotiation since that is consistent with previous behavior.

The big question is what will come next. Personally, I do not think there's anything major in the works for the immediate (1-2 week) period. Neither from Russia nor from Ukraine. I think Ukraine is still fine with letting time work against Russia, I think Russia got most of what it needed out of this limited action for now.

The even bigger question is to what degree the DPR's poor performance was expected/suspected by Russian planners. They spent 4+ months working on improving the DPR forces after their miserable performance last summer and inadequate performance in both the Donetsk airport and Debaltseve battles. Significant improvement hasn't appeared to have happened, so either Russia will implement a new plan (smart, but difficult) or double down on the existing one (dumb, but easier).

On the other hand, they may have suspected Ukraine would come out on top. If so, then the failure of the attack would reinforce some sort of proposed shift in strategy that was already in mind. It has the same effect as what I wrote above, but the mindset in this case would tend to suggest a change in strategy rather than the continuation of the existing one. If one puts a current plan to a test that is it is expected to fail, that's usually an indication that a change in plan was already contemplated as being necessary. Not for sure, of course.

Either way, I think we'll see hints of some sort of new direction (even if it is "doubling down on failure") in the next few weeks.

Steve

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