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US/ NATO v. Russia - Misperceptions.

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On 22/10/2016 at 8:48 PM, VladimirTarasov said:

I think of conscripts as capable troops regardless honestly

Looks like Vladimir isn't alone in this:

"Russia's different reality"

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37766688

"Post-modernity shows that every so-called truth is a matter of believing."

That's it! I believe there were T-72s with the GSFG, so that's the truth! :P

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Hmm, I suggest we in the west, should better stop pointing fingers at Russia braggin about our superior morals and objective media because media is a tool in every corner of this world. Lets not forget the Iraq invasion and the manufactured lies of 9/11 ties and non-existent WMDs that convinced people to go to a x100 bloodier war than Ukraine for pretty much nothing. We are not on a white horse. And for once we have to give them credit for doing much more on the war on terror in a few months, whereas the west failed miserably for the last 15 years despite pocessing a huge miltary advantage. I'm not a fan of the obscure way Russia resolves a lot of issues but sometimes we go too far in demonizing them for eveything.  

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On 10/24/2016 at 6:41 PM, kinophile said:

*Checks watch...*

Are we done yet? 

You would think we should be by now.  But just in case... the Russians aren't the only ones who can hack email accounts:

https://medium.com/@DFRLab/breaking-down-the-surkov-leaks-b2feec1423cb#.2pdkg6ixt

For those who don't know, Surkov has long been linked to Russia's plans to destabilize and invade Ukraine.  It will take a while for researches to wade through the 1gb of hacked emails, but they are already showing that Russia was making plans to invade Ukraine months before it actually happened, that Russian government officials have been in direct daily contact with "separatists" since the beginning, and that VDV forces suffered casualties in Ukraine May-June 2014.  I'm sure a lot more will come out, but it's already clear that everything I've been saying for the last 2.5 years has been effectively spot on.

1*2s59lkXt1EosnjDZVFvR6g.jpeg

I'm not sure if this mountain of evidence direct from the Kremlin will help convince people like Vladimir how badly misinformed they are, but one can hope.

Steve

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Just now, panzermartin said:

Hmm, I suggest we in the west, should better stop pointing fingers at Russia braggin about our superior morals and objective media because media is a tool in every corner of this world. Lets not forget the Iraq invasion and the manufactured lies of 9/11 ties and non-existent WMDs that convinced people to go to a x100 bloodier war than Ukraine for pretty much nothing. We are not on a white horse. And for once we have to give them credit for doing much more on the war on terror in a few months, whereas the west failed miserably for the last 15 years despite pocessing a huge miltary advantage. I'm not a fan of the obscure way Russia resolves a lot of issues but sometimes we go too far in demonizing them for eveything.  

Ugh.  This again.  Nobody here is claiming that the West rides on a white horse.  In fact, if you bothered to read anything in any of these related threads you'd see the exact opposite.  People like me are entirely consistent in that we want to talk about things in as truthful a manner as possible.  Be it yellow cake, babies pulled out of incubators, attacks on a ship sitting in a foreign gulf, or Russia invading Ukraine and lying about it.  I've torn into Americans justifying the war in Iraq in 2004 (even got called a "traitor" for my efforts one time) just as I tear into Russians saying Ukraine is a civil war with no significant involvement of the Russian government.  Positions that rely upon fiction should be equally challenged.

The point is that in the West we know we were duped by the Bush admin to get into Iraq.  We are allowed to know this, we are allowed to speak of it, and hardly anybody in the West denies it.  Compare this to a nation where they wouldn't even admit they had troops despite the troops being interviewed saying "I'm from Russia".  There's no comparison in terms of the degree of deceit and the methods to maintain it. Unless you think that one can compare a pot of boiling water to a pot of tepid water and say "there's no difference".  Try drinking some of each and report back if you don't understand the analogy.

Steve

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1 hour ago, panzermartin said:

Hmm, I suggest we in the west, should better stop pointing fingers at Russia braggin about our superior morals and objective media because media is a tool in every corner of this world. Lets not forget the Iraq invasion and the manufactured lies of 9/11 ties and non-existent WMDs that convinced people to go to a x100 bloodier war than Ukraine for pretty much nothing. We are not on a white horse. And for once we have to give them credit for doing much more on the war on terror in a few months, whereas the west failed miserably for the last 15 years despite pocessing a huge miltary advantage. I'm not a fan of the obscure way Russia resolves a lot of issues but sometimes we go too far in demonizing them for eveything.  

Looking at Aleppo and Mosul, I think I'm fairly certain who is doing more to fight the war on terror.  May god have mercy on the Syrians, because Assad and Putin certainly have none.  The only thing Russia is ensuring is an encore in a few decades at the expense of thousands of innocent dead right now.

Not to mention this is a flaming pile of whataboutism.  Russia's actions in the Ukraine are immoral, illegal, and unjustified by any measuring stick that is not manufactured in Moscow.  What happened in Iraq, Poland, Cuba, Babylon, Kathmandu is all deeply and terribly irrelevant to what is happening right now to Ukrainians (and ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine if we're being honest) because Russia is pursuing a war of aggression to achieve no other ambition than denying the right of self determination to its neighbors.  

There's nothing to defend here.  If I steal my neighbor's car, the fact that another poster once tipped over a cow doesn't change the fact I stole a car, and it is bad.   Russia's actions in the Ukraine are immoral, and illegal.  Russia's actions in Syria are immoral and frankly are war crimes that are only kept under wraps because of Russia's place on the UN.  There is nothing to laud, nothing to defend, and the legacy of Putin will be the bloody sacrificial altar to the Assad family's prosperity, and a Russia alone, and ever more isolated from the world it seeks to frighten.

The Russian people both deserve, and do not deserve this, for they are capable of so much more, and yet they seem inclined to follow anyone who will show them tanks in neat orderly lines, and how scary their democratic, militarily downsized, neighbors really are.

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1 hour ago, panzermartin said:

whereas the west failed miserably for the last 15 years despite pocessing a huge miltary advantage. I'm not a fan of the obscure way Russia resolves a lot of issues but sometimes we go too far in demonizing them for eveything.  

Not to pile on here, but did want to address this statement about the west failing miserably in the war on terror.  I don't believe that is an accurate statement though you'd think from listening to Trump over here that we not only have done nothing, we've created the whole dang Daesh thing. 

The middle east is in a bad way.  Popular stable governments are in scary short supply and some of the more stable ones actually provide support for the terrorists/insurgents as long as they attack their enemies (Pakistan, Saudis, Iran etc).  The US is never going to be able to eliminate the radical Islamist threat under these conditions.  Anyone who thinks we are is just deluding themselves.  The only thing that will stop this is stable governments that actually represent their people and make at least a halfhearted effort to improve their lives.  There is no truly effective military response.  N Ireland, Colombia and a host of other situations have proven this over and over again.

As it is the US has been able (without barrel bombing cities or carpet bombing  etc etc) been able to target leadership in these organizations and their infrastructure to limit their effectiveness.  To that end we have actually been pretty effective.  I do not know the actual expected life span once you hit higher echelons in these organizations, but I am pretty certain it is short.

Russia on the other hand has succeeded in their one battle (Chechnya) by simply co-opting the worst guy.  In a way not too dis-similar from their role in Syria.  This used to also be pretty much US policy until it seems it finally dawned on someone that this was terribly ineffective and simply ended up creating an unstable situation that eventually blew up in our face (The Shah, Pinochet, Diem etc).

Edited by sburke

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10 hours ago, sburke said:

This used to also be pretty much US policy until it seems it finally dawned on someone that this was terribly ineffective and simply ended up creating an unstable situation that eventually blew up in our face (The Shah, Pinochet, Diem etc).

Which is a fun thing that critics of the war in Iraq seem to overlook.

When a child makes a mess a good parent says to the child "take responsibility for what you've done and clean it up".  The parent doesn't say "you made the mess, but don't clean it up if it's going to take effort or have an uncertain conclusion".  That's the wrong thing to expect from a child.  It's also the wrong thing to expect from nation states.  And that's one of my major criticisms of generally good people who for many of the right reasons oppose war and international actions.

Let's take Iraq.  The fact is that the US, more than any other single nation (but oh boy did the US have help), created the monster that was Saddam Hussein.  The US also created the spawn of Hell that was his two sadomasochistic sons, who no doubt would have taken over for their father just like Bashar took over for his tyrannical father and turned Iraq into an even worse place and made the Middle East even less stable.

Although the motivations for the US going into Iraq in 2003 were not altruistic in the technical sense of the concept, in a way the US was going in to clean up the mess it made.  Saddam was a murderous tyrant who had nobody's best interests in mind except for his own.  Since the US (and many others) created him, IMHO the US (and many others) had a moral obligation to remove him from power.  The fact that it created a different mess is a totally separate, though not insignificant, discussion to be had.

This is a fairly typical way that the US acts these days.  It goes into a place with a mix of selfish and altruistic goals with a 100% desire to create long term improvements for the people there and the region around them.  Russia, on the other hand, is still completely and totally wedded to the notion that the only way Russia can get ahead in the world is at the expense of others.  Russia, unlike the US, does not enter into any activity with even an ounce of altruism in its mindset.  In Donbas we can see this very clearly because it is painfully clear that in the long tradition of Moscow leaders... they don't give a flying fig who gets hurt in their quest for power and wealth for themselves.

Syria is a place where the US (and others) are genuinely trying to stop the cycle of murder and mayhem.  The US (and others) genuinely want to clamp down on terrorism and its ability to influence local and global activities.  The US (and others) don't have much to gain from this in a direct way, yet they are doing it for (mostly) the right reasons.  Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and the government of Assad absolutely do not fit this description even a tiny bit.  They are using death and destruction, to the point of war crimes, in order for each to get something direct from Syria that in absolutely no way benefits anybody but themselves.  They don't care how many civilians they have to firebomb or gas to make it happen.

Anybody who can not see the difference, or appreciate why it matters, is either ill informed about how the world works or is an utter fool.

Steve

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I supported both the first and second invasions of Iraq.

I believed all that baloney about WMD's etc. and felt like a twat afterwards.

The so called 4th Estate let us all down miserably in my humble opinion.

Everyone takes what RT or Fox News says with a huge pinch of salt but even the BBC and The Guardian were pro invasion.

I am and was a great fan of Tony Blair and even though I believe he was acting altruistically, he must bear a large measure of  responsibility for the appalling aftermath of the 2nd invasion.

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10 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Ugh.  This again.  Nobody here is claiming that the West rides on a white horse.  In fact, if you bothered to read anything in any of these related threads you'd see the exact opposite.  People like me are entirely consistent in that we want to talk about things in as truthful a manner as possible.  Be it yellow cake, babies pulled out of incubators, attacks on a ship sitting in a foreign gulf, or Russia invading Ukraine and lying about it.  I've torn into Americans justifying the war in Iraq in 2004 (even got called a "traitor" for my efforts one time) just as I tear into Russians saying Ukraine is a civil war with no significant involvement of the Russian government.  Positions that rely upon fiction should be equally challenged.

The point is that in the West we know we were duped by the Bush admin to get into Iraq.  We are allowed to know this, we are allowed to speak of it, and hardly anybody in the West denies it.  Compare this to a nation where they wouldn't even admit they had troops despite the troops being interviewed saying "I'm from Russia".  There's no comparison in terms of the degree of deceit and the methods to maintain it. Unless you think that one can compare a pot of boiling water to a pot of tepid water and say "there's no difference".  Try drinking some of each and report back if you don't understand the analogy.

Steve

Sorry, I was mostly reffering to the poster before you and a few others that their posts were on the ironic side. I respect that, because I can remember how heated were the feelings in this forum in 2003 and the solid pro-war front. I have to say America has changed a lot since then and its evident from the thoughtful comments all over the internet that shows people are now better informed about the things happening in the middle east. But Iraq war is still a case that went unpunished and noone was held accountable for. Which is pretty serious considering a death toll that some claim is close to half a million and the side effects that followed in the region. So, talking openely about it, is a great display of democracy but for the rest of the world still isnt enough. And seeing the same scenario could probably repeat in Syria with Assad baptized as another Hussein, it triggers bad memories. 

And talking about punishment, I think that explains a lot about West and Russian actions nowadays. West can(or used to) get away waging wars on remote places of the globe with no serious consequneces whatsoever, while Russia will suffer sanctions and isolation every time it pursuits its interests in conflict with western intervention. On Ukraine I am under the impression that green men and unidentified tankers prevented a much uglier situation. I cant imagine Russia officialy declaring a full scale invasion without the conflict escalating to a global one pretty quick. So it might seem realpolitik and cynical but looks it was the least bad of the solutions at the time. And I dont think that anyone could believe Russia would stay neutral observing a violent coup against an elected goverment, the threatening situation that arised for the eastern population, and the complete loss of influence in a land thats almost half russian and has deep historical, ethnical, industrial and military bonds with them. 

30 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

This is a fairly typical way that the US acts these days.  It goes into a place with a mix of selfish and altruistic goals with a 100% desire to create long term improvements for the people there and the region around them.  Russia, on the other hand, is still completely and totally wedded to the notion that the only way Russia can get ahead in the world is at the expense of others.

Syria is a place where the US (and others) are genuinely trying to stop the cycle of murder and mayhem.  The US (and others) genuinely want to clamp down on terrorism and its ability to influence local and global activities.  The US (and others) don't have much to gain from this in a direct way, yet they are doing it for (mostly) the right reasons.  Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and the government of Assad absolutely do not fit this description even a tiny bit.  They are using death and destruction, to the point of war crimes, in order for each to get something direct from Syria that in absolutely no way benefits anybody but themselves.  They don't care how many civilians they have to firebomb or gas to make it happen.

Anybody who can not see the difference, or appreciate why it matters, is either ill informed about how the world works or is an utter fool.

Steve

I think thats a rather romantic approach to US interventions. Maybe there are people in the invasion force that are genuinely interested in making a place better but the wider strategic is not altruistic and most of the times short sighted quite frankly. People are blaming the british, french etc for colonizing Africa and Middle East but almost all of them left serious infrastracture heritage and built a state model from the ground up thats still working today in many of these countries. US on the other side seems like its only good in taking down goverments by force and thats all, as seen in Iraq, Libya etc. No in depth plan, no serious rebuilding and little understanding of foreign cultures. Can you name me a single occasion since WW2 where a US war actually helped create long terms improvements for a nation? Maybe Kosovo?

I dont know how credible Wesley Clark is but the way he describes the "long term" middle east policy makes it look like a hastilly put together plan. The aftermath in all these countries confirm the sad reality I think.

 

  

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7 minutes ago, panzermartin said:

Can you name me a single occasion since WW2 where a US war actually helped create long terms improvements for a nation?

South Korea. One of the largest economies in the world today that exports tons of goods around the world, and is a functioning democracy. Would not have existed without US intervention. 

Dominican Republic 1965. US stops a communist uprising. 

Grenada 1983. US overthrows a communist government and remains there with peace keeping forces until 1985. 

Panama 1989. The US overthrows Noreiga and his drug fueled dictatorship. 

Kuwait 1991. The US and allies drive the invading Iraqis out of the nation of Kuwait. 

Haiti 1994. After the democratically elected president was overthrown in a coup attempt, a soft US invasion restored the president to power. 

Bosnia and Kosovo as you have already mentioned. 

That was just after a quick google search. No, not every intervention had good intentions, and no not all of them went perfectly. But to claim that WWII was the only time the US did anything good in the realm of foreign policy is pure idiocy. Honestly it blows my mind. Everyone gets on ol' Vlads case for believing certain things, and then you read statements like this from someone in the West, where public access to real information is readily available. :unsure:

How about, instead of injecting your world view/politics into everything (The US is just a big bully that does mean things to small countries because it can! Call the whambulance!) you actually look at events objectively. Yeesh

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23 minutes ago, panzermartin said:

the complete loss of influence in a land thats almost half russian and has deep historical, ethnical, industrial and military bonds with them

Russia could have played a cool hand and retained its influence in Ukraine, even quite possibly made a comeback once the promises of the Maidan were not fulfilled (see Yatsenyuk's resignation); it could've even legally gotten away with Crimea in the process. Instead, it now enjoys ZERO influence in most of Ukraine including heavily Russian speaking areas like Odessa and Kharkov, cannot get even China to recognize the annexation of Crimea, is subject to economic sanctions, has to finance rebuilding the breakaway republics and thousands of people are dead.

If I were Russian, I'd be asking some very hard questions about Russia's policy in Ukraine.

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1 hour ago, panzermartin said:

Sorry, I was mostly reffering to the poster before you and a few others that their posts were on the ironic side. I respect that, because I can remember how heated were the feelings in this forum in 2003 and the solid pro-war front. I have to say America has changed a lot since then and its evident from the thoughtful comments all over the internet that shows people are now better informed about the things happening in the middle east. But Iraq war is still a case that went unpunished and noone was held accountable for. Which is pretty serious considering a death toll that some claim is close to half a million and the side effects that followed in the region. So, talking openely about it, is a great display of democracy but for the rest of the world still isnt enough. And seeing the same scenario could probably repeat in Syria with Assad baptized as another Hussein, it triggers bad memories. 

The irony here is that it was the United State's INaction that helped bring about the mess we have now.  Americans got their fingers badly burned by both the politicians requesting expanded military powers by the Bush W admin, but then got them really burned in how incompetently things were handled after.  So Americans, by and large, were happy to let Obama decide to not decide.  Europe's natural aversion to doing pretty much anything, at all, was fine with that.  And so things went from bad to worse.

Which is the thing I've been saying about the world's opinion of the US.  For the most part they do NOT want the US to push it's military weight around.  Unless, of course, they are being victimized or have sympathy for those being victimized.  Then the tone changes to "the US has a responsibility to fix this mess because it's the only one that can".  Then if things go badly it's back to blaming the US for trying and saying they should stay out of things.

There's no position the US can take that doesn't expose itself to this sort of impossible double standard.

Quote

And talking about punishment, I think that explains a lot about West and Russian actions nowadays. West can(or used to) get away waging wars on remote places of the globe with no serious consequneces whatsoever, while Russia will suffer sanctions and isolation every time it pursuits its interests in conflict with western intervention.

Not accurate.  More accurate is that all big nations generally get away with behaving badly.  Sometimes they take a lump or two for whatever they did, but that's it.  And yes, the US suffered quite a lot for the farce reasons to invade Iraq.  Very badly damaged international relations and increased anti-Americanism does come at a cost to the United States.  That was something the Bush W admin never understood.

As for Russia, it has gotten away with everything it's done since 1991.  Including killing hundreds of thousands of its own people and invading several countries, then taking their land away from their control.  Which is exactly why Russia thought it would get away with invading Ukraine.  But for the first time ever, it did not.

Quote

On Ukraine I am under the impression that green men and unidentified tankers prevented a much uglier situation. I cant imagine Russia officialy declaring a full scale invasion without the conflict escalating to a global one pretty quick. So it might seem realpolitik and cynical but looks it was the least bad of the solutions at the time. And I dont think that anyone could believe Russia would stay neutral observing a violent coup against an elected goverment, the threatening situation that arised for the eastern population, and the complete loss of influence in a land thats almost half russian and has deep historical, ethnical, industrial and military bonds with them. 

Nobody thought Russia would stay neutral.  I certainly didn't, since I was one of the guys putting together the backstory for CMBS.  We presumed Russia would do EXACTLY what it in fact did.  That's because Russia has no ability nor desire to woo countries to stay within it's orbit when they are tired of being exploited.  When it senses it is losing control, it goes right to the military option.  Russia has no concept of soft power, only hard power.

Quote

I think thats a rather romantic approach to US interventions. Maybe there are people in the invasion force that are genuinely interested in making a place better but the wider strategic is not altruistic and most of the times short sighted quite frankly.

I said it was a mix of selfishness and altruism, which by definition means I'm not saying that the US is purely altruistic.  That would be stupid to argue.  However, it is true that the US has turned a corner in that it understands that setting up petty, thug regimes does not work long term.  Instead, the US tries to set up governments which are superior to the ones that came before them.  That in turn betters the lives of the people compared to what was before.  The fact that the US sucks at making that vision happen is a totally separate point that has totally separate reasons from the motives for intervention. 

Again, contrast this with Russia's approach which has no altruism at all.  Not even a tiny bit.  The war in Donbas is 100% designed to serve Russian state and its corrupt officials' interests.  There is no regard for the civilians' best interests at all.   Which is the same attitude that has Russian planes dropping cluster and incendiary munitions on civilian areas.  The US got out of that mindset after Vietnam.

Steve

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51 minutes ago, Machor said:

Russia could have played a cool hand and retained its influence in Ukraine, even quite possibly made a comeback once the promises of the Maidan were not fulfilled (see Yatsenyuk's resignation); it could've even legally gotten away with Crimea in the process. Instead, it now enjoys ZERO influence in most of Ukraine including heavily Russian speaking areas like Odessa and Kharkov, cannot get even China to recognize the annexation of Crimea, is subject to economic sanctions, has to finance rebuilding the breakaway republics and thousands of people are dead.

If I were Russian, I'd be asking some very hard questions about Russia's policy in Ukraine.

Exactly that.  The problem is this isn't realistic.  The Russian government is full of people going for the quick buck.  There's very little, if any, real strategic vision for the Russian state other than making the military more powerful.  Those in power are stealing as much as they can as fast as they can from everybody they can.  That mindset does not lend itself to patience or empathy.  And in my opinion, not even a good sense of self preservation long term.

It's pretty clear that Russia realized that Maidan was different than the previous revolutions.  That this time there was a very good chance that Ukraine would improve enough that it would slip out of Russia's near exclusive orbit much sooner than later.  It is very obvious that Russia felt it could not compete with the West's economic/social/political offerings, which makes sense because Russia's established pattern of abuse isn't appealing by comparison.  As a result Russia had a choice between watching Ukraine mature and reject Russian control/exploitation, or trying to crush it with various forms of warfare.  If you put yourself in the heads of the Russian leadership and understand how they think, it's obvious why they chose warfare.

Steve

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Well said Steve and thank you for taking the time to provide us with this condense information that would otherwise take a lot of reading to reach. Panzermartin shares the same views about this topic as my dad does. I am trying hard explaining him why he's mistaken but he is slow to change his perceptions no matter how much  common sense I throw at him.

Saw a TV report from one Slovenian journalist made last year that was basically a pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian propaganda. Contacted her and was labelled a "brainwashed couch specialist" cheering for the Ukraine side. She's otherwise a good journalist with lots of balls but started her journey in Moscow and this made her totally fog her common sense. If she would enter the combat zone from the Ukraine side I'm sure things would be way different. Russia was doing an amazing job back then getting journalists on her side that's for sure.  

Edit: BTW, this journalist used the photoshopped photo of one Ukrainian combat team where they sport nazi flag. Can someone plese direct me to the original photo? I know it was posted in this forum but it's hard to dig through more then hundred of pages of posts... Thank you. 

Edited by Hister

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2 hours ago, Hister said:

Well said Steve and thank you for taking the time to provide us with this condense information that would otherwise take a lot of reading to reach. Panzermartin shares the same views about this topic as my dad does. I am trying hard explaining him why he's mistaken but he is slow to change his perceptions no matter how much  common sense I throw at him.

There's many psychologists who can explain why this is the case.  When someone has built up a world around themselves to support their own fears or hopes, it takes a lot to tear it down.

2 hours ago, Hister said:

Saw a TV report from one Slovenian journalist made last year that was basically a pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian propaganda. Contacted her and was labelled a "brainwashed couch specialist" cheering for the Ukraine side. She's otherwise a good journalist with lots of balls but started her journey in Moscow and this made her totally fog her common sense. If she would enter the combat zone from the Ukraine side I'm sure things would be way different. Russia was doing an amazing job back then getting journalists on her side that's for sure.  

Edit: BTW, this journalist used the photoshopped photo of one Ukrainian combat team where they sport nazi flag. Can someone plese direct me to the original photo? I know it was posted in this forum but it's hard to dig through more then hundred of pages of posts... Thank you. 

Which one?  There's so many faked "Ukrainian Nazi" pictures out there.

The thing is that there absolutely are right wing, Ukrainian neo-Nazis fighting against the Russians.  There are also lots of right wing, neo-Nazi Russians (and other nationalities) fighting against Ukrainians.  Some of the DPR's early leadership included:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavel_Gubarev

Maidan-26-Apr-gubarev-and-wife-nazis.jpg

But on both sides these right wing nuts are a very small amount of the total fighting force and are less influential now than when the war began.  Trying to characterize either the Ukrainians or the Russians fighting in this war as "Nazis" is totally unjustified.

Steve

 

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2 hours ago, Hister said:

Edit: BTW, this journalist used the photoshopped photo of one Ukrainian combat team where they sport nazi flag. Can someone plese direct me to the original photo? I know it was posted in this forum but it's hard to dig through more then hundred of pages of posts... Thank you. 

These ones? https://hoaxeye.com/2014/12/22/nazi-flags-in-ukraine/

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Great, I come to BF forums to have a chat on politics after a decade or so only to find out I need to go the shrink.  And that casinos, drug dealers and bordellos in dominican republic are safe from commies since 1965.:P

 

4 hours ago, Machor said:

Russia could have played a cool hand and retained its influence in Ukraine, even quite possibly made a comeback once the promises of the Maidan were not fulfilled (see Yatsenyuk's resignation); it could've even legally gotten away with Crimea in the process. Instead, it now enjoys ZERO influence in most of Ukraine including heavily Russian speaking areas like Odessa and Kharkov, cannot get even China to recognize the annexation of Crimea, is subject to economic sanctions, has to finance rebuilding the breakaway republics and thousands of people are dead.

If I were Russian, I'd be asking some very hard questions about Russia's policy in Ukraine.

Thats a good point I admit. But the risk especially with Crimea was too high to ignore and hope for a political comeback and solution. The final outcome is yet to be decided in the rest of eastern Ukraine and seems like everything is in pause waiting the next turn to unfold.

 

4 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

The irony here is that it was the United State's INaction that helped bring about the mess we have now.  Americans got their fingers badly burned by both the politicians requesting expanded military powers by the Bush W admin, but then got them really burned in how incompetently things were handled after.  So Americans, by and large, were happy to let Obama decide to not decide.  Europe's natural aversion to doing pretty much anything, at all, was fine with that.  And so things went from bad to worse.

Which is the thing I've been saying about the world's opinion of the US.  For the most part they do NOT want the US to push it's military weight around.  Unless, of course, they are being victimized or have sympathy for those being victimized.  Then the tone changes to "the US has a responsibility to fix this mess because it's the only one that can".  Then if things go badly it's back to blaming the US for trying and saying they should stay out of things.

There's no position the US can take that doesn't expose itself to this sort of impossible double standard.

Not accurate.  More accurate is that all big nations generally get away with behaving badly.  Sometimes they take a lump or two for whatever they did, but that's it.  And yes, the US suffered quite a lot for the farce reasons to invade Iraq.  Very badly damaged international relations and increased anti-Americanism does come at a cost to the United States.  That was something the Bush W admin never understood.

As for Russia, it has gotten away with everything it's done since 1991.  Including killing hundreds of thousands of its own people and invading several countries, then taking their land away from their control.  Which is exactly why Russia thought it would get away with invading Ukraine.  But for the first time ever, it did not.

Nobody thought Russia would stay neutral.  I certainly didn't, since I was one of the guys putting together the backstory for CMBS.  We presumed Russia would do EXACTLY what it in fact did.  That's because Russia has no ability nor desire to woo countries to stay within it's orbit when they are tired of being exploited.  When it senses it is losing control, it goes right to the military option.  Russia has no concept of soft power, only hard power.

I said it was a mix of selfishness and altruism, which by definition means I'm not saying that the US is purely altruistic.  That would be stupid to argue.  However, it is true that the US has turned a corner in that it understands that setting up petty, thug regimes does not work long term.  Instead, the US tries to set up governments which are superior to the ones that came before them.  That in turn betters the lives of the people compared to what was before.  The fact that the US sucks at making that vision happen is a totally separate point that has totally separate reasons from the motives for intervention. 

Again, contrast this with Russia's approach which has no altruism at all.  Not even a tiny bit.  The war in Donbas is 100% designed to serve Russian state and its corrupt officials' interests.  There is no regard for the civilians' best interests at all.   Which is the same attitude that has Russian planes dropping cluster and incendiary munitions on civilian areas.  The US got out of that mindset after Vietnam.

Steve

On Syria, I'm not sure any direct US action against Assad would have brought something good given the previous examples in Libya and Iraq. And the presence of the russians already in the area made things much trickier from the start of the civil war. Siding with moderate islamists backfired because of the loose distinction between all these rebel groups. I dont think there was ever a solid rebel front one could rely his hopes on to bring change to the country. 

As I said I'm not fan of Russia dealing with things either. They are certainly a lot cruder with use of force. But in the case of Syria, there is no turning back imo. West should accept the outcome and let the syrian army put an end to this slaughterhouse, as for the first time in ages it seems that one side is severely weakened and ready to collapse. Unless we want to see a reset of the conflict fom the start.

Lastly. Do we happen to know people in Russia or Donbas and their everyday lives there? I know the soviet era was more of what you describe but its strange to see so much people there that support their country despite all this. I can't believe russians are so stupid. Especially this generation that has travelled and seen a lot of things, the fall of the iron curtain, the first breakthrough to the West,  more american leading leaders like Yeltsin and its mostly well educated with more or less unrestricted access to the internet. Its certainly no North Korea. Putin must be doing some serious magic invading Ukraine, bombing Syria and keeping his people happy while also being comparably popular to Clinton and Trump among US citizens.       

 

 

 

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Re: American intervention

Lets also not forget several decades of deterring Soviet aggression against western Europe, participation in several major peacekeeping operations, the massive logistical outpourings in support of same and humanitarian operations, and other military operations over the decades that have been low visibility, but high efficiency.

It's one thing to raise questions about certain actions, or chortle that so much is history, but simply hand waving it all as a certain poster has done shows a positively shallow understanding of geopolitics and world affairs.

Re: Let the Syrian Army finish the job!

But will it finish the job?  This isn't the first major uprising Syria has faced.  And the systems of oppression and rule that caused that first one, drum roll please, are the same that caused this last one.  And without addressing those systems, it will simply lay the roots for the next generation of revolutionaries, who will certainly be armed in turn by Syria's neighbors again because again nothing has changed about that situation either.

Fighting and winning against an insurgency broadly requires two parallel efforts:

a. A military effort to suppress and prevent the insurgent from being able to militarily control the situation.  This one is easy.  But it is not decisive or going to bring a conclusion.

b. Defeating the insurgency as an ideological-political movement.  This one is not easy.  This is however, the decisive part of winning a COIN fight.

The military means of the insurgent are very modest.  If it was strictly a matter of warheads on foreheads, we wouldn't have ISIS, or even the historical Afghan resistance of the 1980's.  The problem is you need to remove the will or need for the population to resist or reject the legitimacy of the government.  

This again, sounds easy, because of COURSE the Syrian rebels will see the sheer might of Russia-Syrian forces murdering everyone and know the battle is lost!

But that, however is again missing the point.  It isn't the acceptance that right now fighting back is a bad idea that you're looking for, it's that the government is legitmate to rule.  And while you may make armed resistance doubtful for the short term, without changing the factors that feed the resistance, you are just laying the atrocities that will be used to recruit the next wave of insurgents.

It's basically that old cliche about the definition of insanity.  We've already done killing thousands of Sunnis and ruling over same with a corrupt, murderous dynastic rule.  It got us to where we are sitting now.  Why will continuing the chain of repression and illegitimate government suddenly be different this time?  And what sort of Syrian state, now soaked in the blood of the innocent be able to command it's children home to rebuild on the bones of their families?

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15 minutes ago, panzermartin said:

But the risk especially with Crimea was too high to ignore and hope for a political comeback and solution.

With all the Russian troops who were already there, I don't see Kiev posing any threat to the locals at all. If Kiev had been so stupid as to crack down on any dissent with military force, Russia could have intervened immediately and held the moral high ground. This was exactly what happened in South Ossetia.

20 minutes ago, panzermartin said:

The final outcome is yet to be decided in the rest of eastern Ukraine and seems like everything is in pause waiting the next turn to unfold.

I would contend that it was in Russia's interests to keep eastern Ukraine a part of Ukraine precisely as an instrument of Russian influence. We're obviously past that now.

24 minutes ago, panzermartin said:

let the syrian army put an end to this slaughterhouse

The only way this scenario can work is to talk Turkey into opening its border, and then accept all the rebels as refugees. Are you game?

 

30 minutes ago, panzermartin said:

I can't believe russians are so stupid.

They're not, but they're in a position where their only options are to choose between Putin and the West. The last time they chose the latter, Yeltsin sent tanks to shell their legally elected deputies at the Russian parliament, and the West watched.

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4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

Thats a good point I admit. But the risk especially with Crimea was too high to ignore and hope for a political comeback and solution. The final outcome is yet to be decided in the rest of eastern Ukraine and seems like everything is in pause waiting the next turn to unfold.

You seem to not understand the fundamental dynamics.  A big chunk of Crimea has always looked to Russia as their home, and concentrated and prolonged Russian interference (media, politics, etc.) has greatly reinforced it.  The bases the Russians were leasing were unlikely going to go away at all.  Crimea was not under any threat short term, so Russia could have waited.  But that's not how Russia behaves towards its neighbors, so the invasion was completely expected.  And as the Surkov emails confirm, Russia was actively planning the invasion long before February 20.  They were just waiting for the right moment which, evidence suggests, Russia created by having it's people start shooting on the Maidan.

As for eastern Ukraine being in flux, that's because Russia wishes to keep it that way until Ukraine surrenders its sovereignty.  Since that doesn't look like it's going to happen, Russia is left with little choice but to either keep killing people there or (in effect) surrendering.  Hence no end in sight for the Donbas war.

4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

On Syria, I'm not sure any direct US action against Assad would have brought something good given the previous examples in Libya and Iraq. And the presence of the russians already in the area made things much trickier from the start of the civil war. Siding with moderate islamists backfired because of the loose distinction between all these rebel groups. I dont think there was ever a solid rebel front one could rely his hopes on to bring change to the country. 

There was a small window of opportunity, as risky as it might have been, and it was blown.  As for some form of earlier intervention being worse than the 5 years of murder and mayhem that's followed... we'll never know, but I doubt it would have been this bad.  Non-interventionists tend to have a naive view of geopolitics, internal conflict, and cause/effect in general. 

4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

As I said I'm not fan of Russia dealing with things either. They are certainly a lot cruder with use of force. But in the case of Syria, there is no turning back imo.

Wrong.  This mentality presumes that history is on a singular, predictable, linear course of events with a definitive start and a definitive end.  That's nonsense.  It's just as bad a way of thinking about such things as the interventionist thinking that a military defeat ends conflicts.  In fact, you are advocating that way of thinking because you are hopeful that a tyrant can militarily settle the matter.  Oh boy.

4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

West should accept the outcome and let the syrian army put an end to this slaughterhouse, as for the first time in ages it seems that one side is severely weakened and ready to collapse. Unless we want to see a reset of the conflict fom the start.

As said above, we will see a reset of the conflict no matter what.  If Assad falls and the rebels take over, there will be continued conflict.  If Assad fights the rebels successfully, there will be continued conflict.  Why?  Because Syria inherently is an untenable state, just as Iraq and Libya are.

The best course of action is to let the conflict burn itself out for a time.  Hopefully have the country effectively partitioned in a way that produces less chance of internal conflict within the divisions, then work on trying to prevent conflict between the former chunks of the Syrian state.  And even that hope of mine presumes lots of fighting and death as inevitable.

4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

Lastly. Do we happen to know people in Russia or Donbas and their everyday lives there? I know the soviet era was more of what you describe but its strange to see so much people there that support their country despite all this.

No, it's completely and totally logical.  If you understood the history of Russian specifically, the Soviet Union more generally, and the way societies sub divide themselves you'd know what I'm talking about.  Russia is doomed to decades of exploitative leadership and lower standards of living than the resources of Russia can theoretically provide.  Why?  Because the leaders like it that way and the majority of the population accepts it.

4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

I can't believe russians are so stupid. 

Intelligence has little to do with it.  Russians were pretty smart throughout the Soviet era, as were the Europeans living in Soviet dominated countries.

4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

Especially this generation that has travelled and seen a lot of things, the fall of the iron curtain, the first breakthrough to the West,  more american leading leaders like Yeltsin and its mostly well educated with more or less unrestricted access to the internet. Its certainly no North Korea.

That was the West's hope, but it's not turned out that way.  Those who realize what Russia is and that it's not likely to change have left.

russian-emigration-by-destination-countr

Which is extremely unfortunate for Russia.  While Putin's regime benefits from having the most likely opponents leaving the country, Russia suffers because those who are leaving tend to be the cream of Russia's demographics.  Young, energetic, smart, and often very well trained.

4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

Putin must be doing some serious magic invading Ukraine, bombing Syria and keeping his people happy while also being comparably popular to Clinton and Trump among US citizens.

Statements like yours indicate you lack a fundamental understanding of the Russian people and the long term wounds of totalitarianism when it's left untreated (i.e. Russia did not go through de-Sovietification like Eastern Europe did).  There's certainly nothing magical about what Putin is doing and there is nothing unexpected about the people's willingness to be mistreated.  If you don't understand that, then you're obviously not going to understand a lot of other things related to it.

Now, that said... long term Putin can't keep this up forever precisely because what he's doing isn't magical.  Even if he doesn't die in office of natural causes, there's a chance that someone will depose him at some point.  Not likely someone much better, unfortunately.  But beyond that, the Russian people are not infinitely patient with incompetence and exploitation, though by Western standards they sure do seem that way.  Russians have risen up against their rulers a number of times in the last 120 or so years, and twice they deposed the powers that were.  There will come a time again when they get pushed too far and react unkindly towards their autocratic rulers.  Sadly, the odds are that it will be another autocratic system put in place.  We can only hope that it is less overtly aggressive than the one we are dealing with now.

Having just read this book, I can fully recommend it:

https://www.amazon.com/Putin-Country-Journey-into-Russia/dp/0374247722

It's a long term look at how Russia and Russians have moved from the end of Communism to today.  It's written from first hand interviews and lengthy exposure to the same people in the same place over the whole period.  It is a fascinating and rather easy read.

Steve

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Let me sum up the problem I have with people arguing against intervention.  Especially US intervention.

If the US had intervened early in the Syrian war it is possible that Assad would have fallen or at least sued for peace.  From that would have come a massive internal collapse of even cursory rule of law, ISIS would have risen out of that, moved into Iraq, and we'd have a pretty big mess on our hands.

If the US had not intervened (as it in fact did not) there would be a massive collapse of even cursory rule of law, ISIS would have risen out of that, moved into Iraq, and we'd have a pretty big mess on our hands.

In one case the collapse of civility and the rise of ISIS would be blamed on the US actions and in the other case the collapse of civility and the rise of ISIS would be blamed on US inaction.  In neither case would the people of Syria be living decent lives, and in neither cases would the US be kept out of the blame game.

That's the problem the US faces... it is always damned if it does or damned if it doesn't.  Therefore, the US foreign policy should be as enlightened as possible, but also pragmatic.  Many people, myself included, feel that the US could have and should have done more earlier in Syria.  Would it have made much of a difference for the Syrian people?  Probably not, but as I've stated that was not realistic possibility anyway.  However, there would be more chance of it than what actually happened.  Plus, from the pragmatic side maybe if the US had acted sooner things would have come to a head quicker and/or Russia would not be calling the shots as it is now.  Since Russia is even less of a stabilizing force than the US is, the region's near future chances of peace and stability have gotten worse.

The only possibility that all this bloodshed could have been avoided is if Iran and Russia had acted in the best interests of the Syrian people and forced Assad to negotiate with the protesters instead of killing them.  But Iran and Russia never have, nor never will have, the best interests of the Syrian people on their agendas.

Steve

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10 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

There's many psychologists who can explain why this is the case.  When someone has built up a world around themselves to support their own fears or hopes, it takes a lot to tear it down.

Which one?  There's so many faked "Ukrainian Nazi" pictures out there.

The thing is that there absolutely are right wing, Ukrainian neo-Nazis fighting against the Russians.  There are also lots of right wing, neo-Nazi Russians (and other nationalities) fighting against Ukrainians.  Some of the DPR's early leadership included:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavel_Gubarev

Maidan-26-Apr-gubarev-and-wife-nazis.jpg

But on both sides these right wing nuts are a very small amount of the total fighting force and are less influential now than when the war began.  Trying to characterize either the Ukrainians or the Russians fighting in this war as "Nazis" is totally unjustified.

Steve

 

Thank you for the clarification Steve.

 

@Wicky, yes, she used the second photo on that link that you provided, thanx. 

Funnily enough I showed it to my dad and he asked me how would one know if the original nazi flag wasn't photoshopped with the Ukrainian one. He he. 

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4 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

You seem to not understand the fundamental dynamics.  A big chunk of Crimea has always looked to Russia as their home, and concentrated and prolonged Russian interference (media, politics, etc.) has greatly reinforced it.  The bases the Russians were leasing were unlikely going to go away at all.  Crimea was not under any threat short term, so Russia could have waited.  But that's not how Russia behaves towards its neighbors, so the invasion was completely expected.  And as the Surkov emails confirm, Russia was actively planning the invasion long before February 20.  They were just waiting for the right moment which, evidence suggests, Russia created by having it's people start shooting on the Maidan.

As for eastern Ukraine being in flux, that's because Russia wishes to keep it that way until Ukraine surrenders its sovereignty.  Since that doesn't look like it's going to happen, Russia is left with little choice but to either keep killing people there or (in effect) surrendering.  Hence no end in sight for the Donbas war.

There was a small window of opportunity, as risky as it might have been, and it was blown.  As for some form of earlier intervention being worse than the 5 years of murder and mayhem that's followed... we'll never know, but I doubt it would have been this bad.  Non-interventionists tend to have a naive view of geopolitics, internal conflict, and cause/effect in general. 

Wrong.  This mentality presumes that history is on a singular, predictable, linear course of events with a definitive start and a definitive end.  That's nonsense.  It's just as bad a way of thinking about such things as the interventionist thinking that a military defeat ends conflicts.  In fact, you are advocating that way of thinking because you are hopeful that a tyrant can militarily settle the matter.  Oh boy.

As said above, we will see a reset of the conflict no matter what.  If Assad falls and the rebels take over, there will be continued conflict.  If Assad fights the rebels successfully, there will be continued conflict.  Why?  Because Syria inherently is an untenable state, just as Iraq and Libya are.

The best course of action is to let the conflict burn itself out for a time.  Hopefully have the country effectively partitioned in a way that produces less chance of internal conflict within the divisions, then work on trying to prevent conflict between the former chunks of the Syrian state.  And even that hope of mine presumes lots of fighting and death as inevitable.

No, it's completely and totally logical.  If you understood the history of Russian specifically, the Soviet Union more generally, and the way societies sub divide themselves you'd know what I'm talking about.  Russia is doomed to decades of exploitative leadership and lower standards of living than the resources of Russia can theoretically provide.  Why?  Because the leaders like it that way and the majority of the population accepts it.

Intelligence has little to do with it.  Russians were pretty smart throughout the Soviet era, as were the Europeans living in Soviet dominated countries.

That was the West's hope, but it's not turned out that way.  Those who realize what Russia is and that it's not likely to change have left.

russian-emigration-by-destination-countr

Which is extremely unfortunate for Russia.  While Putin's regime benefits from having the most likely opponents leaving the country, Russia suffers because those who are leaving tend to be the cream of Russia's demographics.  Young, energetic, smart, and often very well trained.

Statements like yours indicate you lack a fundamental understanding of the Russian people and the long term wounds of totalitarianism when it's left untreated (i.e. Russia did not go through de-Sovietification like Eastern Europe did).  There's certainly nothing magical about what Putin is doing and there is nothing unexpected about the people's willingness to be mistreated.  If you don't understand that, then you're obviously not going to understand a lot of other things related to it.

Now, that said... long term Putin can't keep this up forever precisely because what he's doing isn't magical.  Even if he doesn't die in office of natural causes, there's a chance that someone will depose him at some point.  Not likely someone much better, unfortunately.  But beyond that, the Russian people are not infinitely patient with incompetence and exploitation, though by Western standards they sure do seem that way.  Russians have risen up against their rulers a number of times in the last 120 or so years, and twice they deposed the powers that were.  There will come a time again when they get pushed too far and react unkindly towards their autocratic rulers.  Sadly, the odds are that it will be another autocratic system put in place.  We can only hope that it is less overtly aggressive than the one we are dealing with now.

Having just read this book, I can fully recommend it:

https://www.amazon.com/Putin-Country-Journey-into-Russia/dp/0374247722

It's a long term look at how Russia and Russians have moved from the end of Communism to today.  It's written from first hand interviews and lengthy exposure to the same people in the same place over the whole period.  It is a fascinating and rather easy read.

Steve

Although you are painting Russia in a very negative tone, I know and understand those differences in the more primitive nature of their nation. Thanks for the insight and reccomendation though looks like an interesting read. I used to think that their centuries long OligarchTsar rule has more to do with this than the communist system. Russia didnt have its own class revolution early enough like France for instance that created the french democracy and the middle class in late 18th century. The 1917 revolt was a necessary "evil". A violent turn that came to close the huge cap between oligarchs and common people that till then were by large extremely poor illiterate peasants stuck in the middle ages and badly paid workers. Russians as you say indeed have a strangely prolonged patience going through exploitation and mistreatment. There were some undeniable benefits from the communist system, like access to health care and high quality education for everyone that improved the living standards of the average russian. Corruption was already a common sign from the tsarist era but probably grew even more with the monolithic soviet state. But anyway I'm not going to defend communism here, we know the system turned very soon into another tyranny with party members/associates being the new oligarchs-with an ideology this time. 

They are certainly people in russia with a very cruel, cynical and selfish approach to wealth with complete disregard for the society around them. (Its not a russian exclusive though). The thing is that the attempted rushed transition to capitalism in the Yeltsin years has a lot to do with todays situation(a quick from wiki):  

"He vowed to transform Russia's socialist economy into a capitalist market economy and implemented economic shock therapy, price liberalization and nationwide privatization. Due to the sudden total economic shift, a majority of the national property and wealth fell into the hands of a small number of oligarchs.[3] The well-off millionaire and billionaire oligarchs likened themselves to 19th century robber barons. Rather than creating new enterprises, Yeltsin's democratization led to international monopolies hijacking the former Soviet markets, arbitraging the huge difference between old domestic prices for Russian commodities and the prices prevailing on the world market.[4]

Much of the Yeltsin era was marked by widespread corruption, and as a result of persistent low oil and commodity prices during the 1990s, Russia suffered inflation, economic collapse and enormous political and social problems that affected Russia and the other former states of the USSR. Within a few years of his presidency, many of Yeltsin's initial supporters had started to criticize his leadership, and Vice President Alexander Rutskoy even denounced the reforms as "economic genocide".[5]

So seems like the russian people had a very traumatic period of moving to a more open economy which probably explains the gradual retreat to the "safety" of old soviet practices and the distrust towards the West. The sad truth is that the West nowadays isnt as attractive as it used to be, looking at the crisis in the EU. Politcians lacking vision and behaving like puppets of interests bigger than the country they serve and stronger countries exploiting weaker economies inside the zone. All this and the islamophobia caused by the turmoil from middle east, has led to a worrying rise of right wing old fashioned nationalism. Which is partly a reason why so many westerners are quick to look up to Putin as a "great leader" nowadays.

On Syria, frankly its hard to tell what will follow after all this carnage. Assad wont be that popular among bombed people, even if he wins he might have to step down and put a fresh face (of his trust obviously) up front as a sign of good will, to ease tensions with opposition and the West. I guess a lot here (and Ukraine) will depend on the direction of the new US president as well. Clinton looks to have a more aggressive agenda but little support from what seems like, at best, divided public in the states.    

 

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12 hours ago, Machor said:

 The last time they chose the latter, Yeltsin sent tanks to shell their legally elected deputies at the Russian parliament, and the West watched.

What are you referring to here? The attempted coup against Gorbachev? 

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