March 5, 2014

Putin's Secret Plan

Here's an op-ed from the NYT by a Muscovite defense analyst. I don't know how much this is accurate -- Here's Putin's secret genius plan! -- and how much of it is intended to say, Hey, Putin, listen up, I love ya, you big dope, so here's a way out of what you got yourself into.
What Putin Really Wants 
By RUSLAN PUKHOV    MARCH 4, 2014

MOSCOW — The decision of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, to send forces into Crimea provoked a hysterical reaction, but his motives are less ambitious than is commonly assumed. 
Mr. Putin’s aim is not a de jure separation of Crimea from the rest of Ukraine. That would be legally problematic

My current Taki's column discusses how even though the U.S. invades countries all the time, it doesn't annex them. The dominant prejudice since 1945 has been that redrawing borders should be restricted to cases where no country gets bigger -- a view that Israel has chafed under ever since 1967.

This prejudice against legally accepting that a big country can't use military force to get bigger is strong and reasonable, so Russia would have a hard row to hoe to get annexation of the Crimea widely accepted. Right of conquest is occasionally accepted as a reason for reducing the size of an unpopular country (e.g., Yugoslavia had Kosovo taken from it by bombing in 1999), but enlarging via right of conquest is not at all on the table.
and disadvantageous to Moscow in terms of its future influence over Ukrainian politics. The purpose of Russia’s incursion was to obtain the greatest possible autonomy for Crimea while still retaining formal Ukrainian jurisdiction over the peninsula. 
A referendum on March 30 is likely to result in a vote for further autonomy, and it would provide Crimea with such broad freedoms that it would become a de facto Russian protectorate. Moscow would then aim to keep the Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea indefinitely, and remove any limits on its operations, size and replenishment. 
At present, Mr. Putin is seeking to strong-arm the new, weak and unstable government in Kiev into agreeing to full autonomy for Crimea rather than risk a full scale invasion into Ukraine and a partition that chops off the country’s entire south and east. The intimidated government is likely to be compelled to accept this compromise. For its part, in exchange for major Ukrainian concessions, Russia is likely to recognize the new Ukrainian government, withdraw its support for Viktor F. Yanukovych and relinquish the threat of the use of force. ...
That’s because Russia has a strong interest in nominally retaining Crimea as part of Ukraine. From the disintegration of the Soviet Union onward, Crimea, with its traditionally separatist leanings, was always a destabilizing factor. It served as a direct avenue of Russian pressure on Ukraine, and also guaranteed almost a million “pro-Russian” votes in Ukrainian elections, ensuring the dominance of the pro-Russian eastern half of the country over the nationalist western half.

I doubt if the pro-Russian margin coming out of Crimea approaches a million votes, but the directional effect is there. Pro-Western Ukrainian nationalists might well think about trying to sell Crimea to Russia for a lot of money to reduce the number of anti-Western voters in Ukraine.

I was reading about the obscure war in 1919 between Poland and the Soviet Bolsheviks. Poland was the big winner, but the Polish nationalist party in party during the peace negotiations didn't push as hard as they could have for more territorial gains (e.g., Minsk) because they didn't want more non-Poles in their country. Similarly, the U.S. could have taken more of Mexico in 1848 but the American negotiator ignored instructions to grab for more of what is now Mexico because he didn't want America full of Mexicans.
... The final act in Mr. Putin’s calculated gambit is likely to be a return of Yulia V. Tymoshenko to power. It was, after all, Ms. Tymoshenko, not Mr. Yanukovych, who enjoyed Moscow’s de facto support in the Ukrainian elections of 2010; and in later years, Mr. Putin expressed his strong displeasure with her prosecution by Mr. Yanukovych’s government. Although she was released from prison last month, Ms. Tymoshenko was hardly celebrated by the Ukrainian ultranationalists in control of the Maidan. Now it seems that her hour has arrived. 
Mr. Putin’s threat of invading Ukraine makes Ms. Tymoshenko the only national leader with the authority and capability to forge an agreement with Russia.

I have no idea how true that is, but it just goes to show how politics over there are more complicated than we think.

By the way, Ukraine is hardly without resources in this struggle. Much of Crimea's electricity and water comes over the narrow isthmus in the north from Ukraine. Crimea is a summer tourist destination, so politics are bad for business. You probably haven't felt a strong urge to book your August vacation for Yalta over the last week, have you?

On the east, the Crimean peninsula comes within a few miles of Russia at the 3-mile-wide Strait of Kerch, formerly known as the Cimmerian Bosporus, that connects the Black Sea to the south to the Sea of Azov to the north.

For about a week I've been thinking about the Strait of Kerch and it's lack of a bridge. A bridge would tie Crimea more closely to Russia. There is currently no bridge across the strait, although the Nazis built a sort of ski-lift across in 1943. The Germans started building a bridge, but the Red Army took it away and then tossed up a quick one. But ice floes that winter wrecked it.

In 2010 Ukraine boss Yanukovych and Putin's sock puppet Medvedev signed an agreement to build a bridge, but construction hasn't begun yet.

Apparently, Moscow has been thinking about the lack of a bridge a lot recently, too. Wikipedia now says:
Following the outbreak of the 2014 Crimean crisis the Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a decree on 3 March 2014 to create a subsidiary of Russian Highways (Avtodor) to build a bridge along the Kerch Strait.[6][7] The precise location, or intended timeline have not been publicly discussed.

This might be a positive that could be part of negotiations between Moscow and Kiev -- since the Russians intend to spend billions on a bridge, letting mainland Ukrainian firms have some of the construction contracts would be a gesture toward better relations.

So, a rail and road bridge would be a constructive step to tie Crimea closer to Russia de facto, but Ukraine's de jure right to Crimea could be respected with contracts to Ukrainian construction firms friendly with the new Ukraine government.
    

68 comments:

Art Deco said...

My current Taki's column discusses how even though the U.S. invades countries all the time

It doesn't.

ATBOTL said...

Another obvious silliness in the establishment discourse is that Western Ukraine, Georgia, Saudi Arabia etc, are not really "pro-Western" in the sense they want us to think.

Whiskey said...

Why would Putin care about Western media, opinions, etc? He has them by the gas pipelines. Selling between 35-55% of Euroes gas.

Anonymous said...

"The dominant prejudice since 1945 has been that redrawing borders should be restricted to cases where no country gets bigger -- a view that Israel has chafed under ever since 1967."

Israel is not seeking to "redraw borders," since Israel didn't have a recognized eastern border with Jordan before the 67 war. As you may recall, none of the Arab countries recognized Israel in 1949, when Israel's war of independence ended. The pre-67 "border" with Jordan (back before the Arabs started demanding a Palestinian state) was just the armistice line drawn in 1949, when active hostilities ended. So the "green line" that Obama and Kerry are so insistent be the basis for a "peace agreement" with the PA (and which leaves Israel 9 miles wide close to its major population centers) was never an officially recognzied international frontier.

Bert said...

Russia might as well annex the region and make the whole thing official. It's a better idea than absurdly pretending that it's some kind of independent country ala Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia will have a lot of allies who will back it no matter what it does, so fighting this prejudice is as good a battle as any.

Congo Sam said...

Go tell Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Panama, Grenada...

I'm not going to push the leftwing Hegemonic Imperialist War for Oil story line, but we've invaded a fair number of countries in the last few decades. "All the time", when you're talking about events as rare as invasions, needn't be once a month.

peterike said...

Well, so long liberty.
Let's forget you didn't show,
Not in my time.
But in our sons' and daughters' time
When you get the feeling
Call and you got a room.
Meantime, we're cutting our hands at the ke-bab shop,
In the streets of fear.
Forgetting all out best tai-kwon-do moves
On a barrel of beer.
We trying to get a signal on a Ragga F.M.
Do the D.T.I., bust C.N.N.
Sucking the wine right outta the vine
Spitting it out again.

Anonymous said...

the US stock market has rallied aggressively, especially on Tuesday, signaling the belief that the Ukraine "crisis" poses no major economic threat.......is the market correct?

Steve Sailer said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYZmvurW4Aw

Yalla Yalla

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, about 1999

peterike said...

OT but up your alley. Family o' gypsies in Chicago go on $7M shopping spree.

http://news.yahoo.com/mom-dad-daughter-accused-7m-shoplift-spree-001535947.html

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Steve, you keep making comments suggesting that Putin has somehow managed to get himself into some kind of a mess.

The evidence, however, clearly indicates that Putin is winning round after round. He has Europe by the b*lls, and has managed to make Obama and the US regime look like total fools.

Putin knows at the end of the day that the West will not go to war against him.

Anonymous said...

http://observer.com/2014/03/so-much-for-that-brooklyn-is-now-officially-over/

Anonymous said...

Steve wrote:

Similarly, the U.S. could have taken more of Mexico in 1848 but the American negotiator ignored instructions to grab for more of what is now Mexico because he didn't want America full of Mexicans.

Laugh or cry?

Jason said...

Your homeboy Henry K. just wrote a good article about Ukraine in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/henry-kissinger-to-settle-the-ukraine-crisis-start-at-the-end/2014/03/05/46dad868-a496-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html

Harry Baldwin said...

Similarly, the U.S. could have taken more of Mexico in 1848 but the American negotiator ignored instructions to grab for more of what is now Mexico because he didn't want America full of Mexicans.

John McCain would have straightened him out: "Anyone who is afraid that somehow our culture will be anything but enriched by fresh blood and culture, in my view, has a distorted view of history and has a pessimistic view of our future."

Paulie Boy said...

The Empire has troops in 170 nations of the world.

Reg C├Žsar said...

… a view that Israel has chafed under ever since 1967.

…and Greece since 1453

Dan said...

Looking at that map Ukraine, it looks suspiciously big and contiguous.

It's probably three or four nations attempting to burst out of one.

Anonymous said...

Go tell Chechnya Georgia Ukraine Afghanistan...

Anonymous said...

Get that Steve the at last count six posts you've made shilling for Russia and doing your best Russia Today impression aren't enough for the fogey. I warn to see burns on those knees. Kneel down and think of the dark enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile I see that the US is transferring 6 - SIX - F-15s to a base in Lithuania. Are F-15s that badass? 'Cause it's hard for me to imagine this causing Vladimir to tinkle in his lederhosen (yeah, I know that's really a German thing, but whatever).

Anonymous said...

Get that Steve the at last count six posts you've made shilling for Russia and doing your best Russia Today impression aren't enough for the fogey. I warn to see burns on those knees. Kneel down and think of the dark enlightenment.

OK, so why don't you take advantage of Steve's comment system, and rationally lay out your position. Tell us why it is important that the EU grow by taking in Ukraine. Tell us why it is important that we confront Russia. Tell us our future is threatened by Putin.

Make your case.

5371 said...

Apart from anything else, economic development in the Crimea has been hamstrung by Ukrainian greed and corruption. Their fingers have to be gotten out of the pie before it can be baked.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't.

It does.

Anonymous said...

There's already a railway ferry and rail terminuses on both sides of the Kerch strait, along with the usual car ferries. It wouldn't be a fundamental and ground-breaking improvement in transportation infrastructure to add a bridge. There's already a lot of traffic.

The US diplomat Nicholas Trist either bungled or intentionally sabotaged the treaty negotiations at the end of the Mexican-American war. The US government wanted Baja California, but Trist ignored an order for his recall and negotiated a treaty that left it in Mexican hands. This has deprived American surfers of their right to tasty American waves ever since, and would have formed a more natural border between the US and Mexico to boot. And provided Americans with some nice ocean-front condos in sunny climes. He is possibly America's greatest monster.

Jorn said...

"This prejudice against legally accepting that a big country can't use military force to get bigger is strong and reasonable"

too many negatives

Anonymous said...

Israel is not seeking to "redraw borders," since Israel didn't have a recognized eastern border with Jordan before the 67 war...
Israel does not have borders because it always intended to keep increasing its territory.

dearieme said...

"the obscure war in 1919 between Poland and the Soviet Bolsheviks": obscure = unknown to Americans. That means that, by God, almost every war in history is obscure, eh? "Who was this Napoleon dude, dude?"

Anonymous said...

The truce in 1949 that ended the war after Israel's independence included an agreement where armistice lines were drawn. Israel and the Arabs explicitly wrote in their agreement that the armistice lines were not borders. So Steve, though your view is commonly held, it's wrong. Israel didn't expand its borders in the aftermath of its victory in the Six Day War as they were not borders they were armistice lines. Ultimately, this is a border dispute and it's important to get both the facts and the legalities right.

sunbeam said...

From the linked article:

"Mr. Putin’s aim is not a de jure separation of Crimea from the rest of Ukraine. That would be legally problematic"

What does this mean exactly? Why does it matter?

I take it that the penalty of being legally problematic is sanctions or something.

As someone else posted here, what is Western Europe going to do? Not buy natural gas from Russia?

BTW they are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas now, and the best province left in the world for future discovery of this resource. I'd say something about the fracking nuts, but I'm going to let them have their head. I have a definite viewpoint on the matter, and that viewpoint says in five to ten years we are going to have fracked most of the good sites in this country.

Of course what my viewpoint doesn't include is how many areas worldwide could produce good results with fracking. I really don't know the answer to this. I'd wager a guess a lot of them are in Russia, but that is only a guess.

Now to get back to sanctions. I hope they get China to back them, because otherwise what effect are they going to have?

You are used to the Western countries being the "source." That is no longer true, or is in the process of becoming not true.

China is the "source" now. It is anecdotal (and that is not a bad word) but I usually read any report in the media of interesting research. Increasingly I see items coming from sites in mainland China.

I don't know what you guys are looking at, but to my eye it sure looks like China is on the way to being the economic, technical, and scientific heart of the world.

Whether they ever export a lot of movies, fashions, music, tv shows, or other "soft power" things is debatable. But the rest is going to be a big shock to places like Wall Street, the City in London, and Silicon Valley.

Just saying, cutting a country off from sites like this is no longer the threat it once was.

Hunsdon said...

Art Deco said: It doesn't.

Hunsdon said: We have become the Soviet Union, in terms of aggressive foreign meddling. If we limit ourselves to declared, regular boots on the ground type interventions, it's still a staggering number.

Peace dividend, much?

Anonydroid at 7:14 PM said: Israel is not seeking to "redraw borders," since Israel didn't have a recognized eastern border with Jordan before the 67 war.

Hunsdon said: Judea and Samaria, baby!

Our host said: Yalla Yalla.

Hunsdon said: When the Clash split up, I thought Mick Jones had a better read on the future of music with Big Audio Dynamite, but I found Strummer's more traditional work with the Mescaleros to be a better listen.

Hunsdon said...

Laguna Beach Fogey said: Putin knows at the end of the day that the West will not go to war against him.

Hunsdon said: As a child of the Cold War, I find it deeply disturbing that there's a chance we'll get involved in a shooting war over control of the Crimea, or even Ukraine.

Madness. (Not the ska band.)

Anonydroid at 10:08 PM said: Get that Steve the at last count six posts you've made shilling for Russia and doing your best Russia Today impression aren't enough for the fogey.

Hunsdon said: Shilling for Russia? You mean, analysis beyond the Fox News, CNN level? That kind of shilling?

5371 said: Apart from anything else, economic development in the Crimea has been hamstrung by Ukrainian greed and corruption.

Hunsdon said: At his press conference, Putin discussed Ukrainian levels of corruption as shocking even to the Russian conscience.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 11:14 PM said: The US diplomat Nicholas Trist (snip) is possibly America's greatest monster.

Hunsdon said: Only if gnarly waves are the ne plus ultra of the American experience. Dude.

dearieme said: obscure = unknown to Americans.

Hunsdon said: I'm not saying you're wrong.

Anonymous said...

dearime;""the obscure war in 1919 between Poland and the Soviet Bolsheviks": obscure = unknown to Americans. That means that, by God, almost every war in history is obscure, eh? "Who was this Napoleon dude, dude?"

More like obscure to Westerners, dear boy. An informal chat with the rather large Brit contingent in my class the other day revealed a rather appalling ignorance regarding Eastern matters. In contrast, though, they were astonishingly well informed on the sex lives of various UK television performers, so one assume that it is simply a matter of priorities.

Hunsdon said...

When Hillary Clinton compared Putin's actions to Hitler's, I was simply appalled. I understand that playing the Hitler card is a pretty traditional American thing to do---wasn't Noriega Hitler, for a while? And of course Saddam, and Milosevic, and Karadzic, and Saddam again.

The thing you have to understand, though, is that for Russia, Hitler is a pretty big deal.

For most of the 20th century, Russia pretty much got handed the dirty end of the stick. Collapse of empire, that whole Soviet thing, the civil war that made us look like pikers. But the fight against the fascists, they could stand up and be proud of that.

They took the Wehrmacht's best punch, and kept standing . . . and then they hit back.

Maybe one American in a hundred could tell you when VE Day is. Every Russian can tell you when Victory Day is.

Playing the Hitler card was stupid, provocative and pointlessly inflammatory.

Anonymous said...

"...think of the dark enlightenment."

I associate "dark enlightenment" with moldbuggery. This is HBD-land. Steve is the author of the term HBD. He's also sometimes used the term Stevosphere.

David M. said...

""the obscure war in 1919 between Poland and the Soviet Bolsheviks": obscure = unknown to Americans. That means that, by God, almost every war in history is obscure, eh? "Who was this Napoleon dude, dude?""

In 6th grade I had to explain to my history teacher that the inspiration for the 1812 Overture was Napoleon's invasion of Russia, not the War of 1812. She was quite skeptical, but eventually came around.

Ironically she was one of my better history teachers.

Anonymous said...

"Israel does not have borders because it always intended to keep increasing its territory."

Ummm ... I seem to recall Israel giving all of the Sinai back to Egypt in the 1970s, which is more territory than all of the rest of the area under Israeli control. More recently, Israel got out of Gaza, not that it's received any credit for that. Israel also spent decades trying to reach an agreement with Syria to give back the Golan Heights. For reasons that should now be obvious, the Assad regime was never really interested.

Dan said...

My grandfather was up in Murmansk after getting demobbed in 1918. He tugging hated it.

HA said...

... The final act in Mr. Putin’s calculated gambit is likely to be a return of Yulia V. Tymoshenko to power.

It is my understanding that Ms. Nuland's key man, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is himself an ally of Tymoshenko. If both Putin and Nuland are pushing for pro-Tymoshenko rule, then I'm not sure what the fuss is all about. As it is, I'm guessing something has been omitted, or else the theory hasn't been fully worked through to the end, or else someone is trying to pull a fast one (or is willing to write anything just to get an op-ed in the NYT).

Bill said...

Steve said . . .
I doubt if the pro-Russian margin coming out of Crimea approaches a million votes,

Population of Crimea is about 2 million. It went for Yanukovych by about 80%. So, the delta is 60% (80%-20%). Not everyone votes, of course, so I don't know how closely 60% of the vote approaches one million.

Steve again . . .
By the way, Ukraine is hardly without resources in this struggle. Much of Crimea's electricity and water comes over the narrow isthmus in the north from Ukraine.

The part of Ukraine directly north of Crimea went for Yanukovych by 60%. Putin does not have to stop with Crimea. In fact, if he is going to take Crimea, he may want to take all of South and East Ukraine---those parts are already making noises in that direction, though not as loud as the noises Crimea is making.

Anonymous said...

"The US diplomat Nicholas Trist either bungled or intentionally sabotaged the treaty negotiations at the end of the Mexican-American war. The US government wanted Baja California, but Trist ignored an order for his recall and negotiated a treaty that left it in Mexican hands. This has deprived American surfers of their right to tasty American waves ever since, and would have formed a more natural border between the US and Mexico to boot. And provided Americans with some nice ocean-front condos in sunny climes. He is possibly America's greatest monster"

You jest, but it's actually a good thing. Because the peninsula juts so jar south relative to mainland Mexico, we would have the problem of swarms of boat people crossing the narrow Sea of Cortez to get to the US. The current land border between CA and Baja is much more defensible.

Art Deco said...

Israel does not have borders because it always intended to keep increasing its territory.

Nice try. Israel controls less territory than it did in 1967 and some of what it has in its possession it retains because the PLO tore up a draft agreement in 2000 and started the 2d Intifada.

Art Deco said...

Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Panama, Grenada...

We had a brief peacekeeping mission in Somalia which hardly occupied any territory. Our time spent in Panama and Grenada was measured in weeks, and favored by the majority in one locus and nearly unanimously in another; Afghanistan was responsible for a bizarre casus belli; and we had been in a state of belligerency with Iraq for 12 years. I cannot figure why four countries in 68 years counts as 'all the time', most particularly when two of them had been invaded by others and a third was asking for it without question.

Anonymous said...

"A border has been breached thousands of miles away!
We must send fighter jets!
All borders are sacrosanct!
This must not be allowed!"

wow. just. wow.

Art Deco said...

. Putin does not have to stop with Crimea. In fact, if he is going to take Crimea, he may want to take all of South and East Ukraine---those parts are already making noises in that direction, though not as loud as the noises Crimea is making.

You do realize that the conventional terms "Southern Ukraine" and "Eastern Ukraine" (less the Crimea) comprehend areas with a population of 21 million? Rather a tall order to occupy and subjugate. That area x takes one side of an intramural political dispute is not an indication they will happily accede to being annexed by a neighboring state.

Anonymous said...

Playing the Hitler card was stupid, provocative and pointlessly inflammatory.


Playing the Hitler card was stupid. There are other things she could have said to make her point. To play the Hitler card against a Russian President is as distasteful as playing it against an Israeli PM.

Hunsdon said...

Art Deco said: I cannot figure why four countries in 68 years counts as 'all the time', most particularly when two of them had been invaded by others and a third was asking for it without question.

Hunsdon said: Can I use your calculator when it's time to pay my taxes? Four countries in the last sixty-eight years?

And as far as Somalia goes, we may not have occupied much territory, but we sure filled plenty of six by two plots down that way.

Simon in London said...

"The dominant prejudice since 1945 has been that redrawing borders should be restricted to cases where no country gets bigger"

I did not actually realise this, until you put it in so many words. This explains a lot - many thanks.

So,
1. Countries can
(a) split apart violently - Yugoslavia, Serbia/Kosovo, Sudan/South Sudan and can
(b) merge peacefully - east Germany/West Germany

2. Countries cannot
(a) conquer and absorb other countries - Iraq/Kuwait - I knew that one - or
(b) Redraw disputed boundaries through force to their benefit - Israel, Russia, etc

I didn't appreciate 2(b) or its implications. Eg: 2(b) means Albania cannot fight a war with Serbia and prise off a chunk. But 1(a) allows Kosovo to be violently split off from Serbia. And 1(b) allows the independent nation of Kosovo to peacefully merge with Albania.
1(a) + 1(b) can get the same eventual result as if 2(b) were not the case, but it requires a civil war not an interstate war, so usually a lot more people die. I'm not sure this is progress. 2(b) also explains the 'decline of the State' as per 4th Generation War theory.

Thanks again.

Art Deco said...

Hunsdon said: Can I use your calculator when it's time to pay my taxes? Four countries in the last sixty-eight years?

Yes, four countries. South Korea (invaded by North Korea), South VietNam (mix of subversion by North VietNam and invasion), Afghanistan (casus belli), Iraq (1991 on Kuwaiti territory, and again in 2003, after 12 years in a state of belligerency).

Your all fixated on small things. Grenada had a population of about 110,000 and we left in short order. In the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, and Somalia, we were only in the capital and were there anticipating patrols, not combat. Panama was on a larger scale than Grenada, but we only there a matter of weeks.

--

I know it sounds clever to say 'invade the world, invite the world'. The trouble is, it's not true. We invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, which last time I checked comprehended about < 1% of the world's population and a smaller share of the world's domestic product. Both countries had ample opportunities to get out of harm's way, opportunities they squandered.

Steve Sailer said...

Simon:

Right, I overlooked the Big One: German reunification.

But that was hugely controversial in the inner circles at the time as the argument between Mrs. Thatcher and General Odom I watched, agog, a decade later attested. And it required pledges from Kohl and Baker to Gorbachev to not extend NATO eastward.

Putin probably figures taking back Crimea is revenge for German unification and the violation of the NATO pledges.

Anonymous said...

Hunsdon:"The thing you have to understand, though, is that for Russia, Hitler is a pretty big deal.

For most of the 20th century, Russia pretty much got handed the dirty end of the stick. Collapse of empire, that whole Soviet thing, the civil war that made us look like pikers. But the fight against the fascists, they could stand up and be proud of that."

Well, minus the little part where they made an alliance with the Nazis (cf the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact)and split Poland between them....And during said alliance with the Nazis, the Russians committed their fair share of brutal acts against the Poles (cf Katyn Massacre)....

Hunsdon:"They took the Wehrmacht's best punch, and kept standing . . . and then they hit back."

And ended up with a massive Empire in Eastern and Central Europe. In 1945, Stalin boasted about having won for Russia an empire greater than it had known under the Tsars.

Hunsdon:"Maybe one American in a hundred could tell you when VE Day is. Every Russian can tell you when Victory Day is.

Playing the Hitler card was stupid, provocative and pointlessly inflammatory."

Sure, it was silly. But, then again, Putin's boys have been quite keen on painting their enemies in Ukraine as Nazis....

Anonymous said...

Very embarrassing set of predictions there from Mr Pukhov.

.

"the US stock market has rallied aggressively, especially on Tuesday, signaling the belief that the Ukraine "crisis" poses no major economic threat.......is the market correct?"

Yes. They realise Putin is going to win and win in a way that doesn't rock the boat much.

.

"Invite the World"

The neocons had a plan to take out seven countries in five years. The reason it didn't pan out was because they suck so bad and got bogged down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

Hunsdon said...

Art Deco said: Yes, four countries. South Korea (invaded by North Korea), South VietNam (mix of subversion by North VietNam and invasion), Afghanistan (casus belli), Iraq (1991 on Kuwaiti territory, and again in 2003, after 12 years in a state of belligerency).

Hunsdon said: So you hand-wave away Granada and Somalia. Would we, I wonder, apply the same fine distinctions with the British in the War of 1812? They were only in the capital for a short while, after all.

Granada, Somalia, Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Haiti, Nicaragua (hey, mining of harbors does count, right?), El Salvador (but only "advisors"----like in VietNam, amirite?). By what standards, I wonder, does the US "intervention" in Yugoslavia get a pass? What was it, 78 days of strategic bombing on Belgrade? Does Camp Bondsteel ring any bells for you? Panama?

None of those count? Explain, please.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 3:21 PM said: Well, minus the little part where they made an alliance with the Nazis (cf the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact)and split Poland between them....And during said alliance with the Nazis, the Russians committed their fair share of brutal acts against the Poles (cf Katyn Massacre)....

Hunsdon said: Yep! That's right. I grew up an aggressive Cold Warrior; you want me to cheer on what the Soviet Union did back then?

Same anonydroid: Putin's boys have been quite keen on painting their enemies in Ukraine as Nazis.

Hunsdon said: If the jackboot fits . . . . Say, you have watched some of those Pravii Sector videos, right? Olexander Muzychko?

I don't throw around the word fascist, since it's mostly just become a term of opprobrium. But damn.

Hunsdon said...

Our host said: Putin probably figures taking back Crimea is revenge for German unification and the violation of the NATO pledges.

Hunsdon said: And Kosovo.

Art Deco said...

Granada, Somalia, Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Haiti, Nicaragua (hey, mining of harbors does count, right?), El Salvador (but only "advisors"----like in VietNam, amirite?). By what standards, I wonder, does the US "intervention" in Yugoslavia get a pass? What was it, 78 days of strategic bombing on Belgrade? Does Camp Bondsteel ring any bells for you? Panama?

None of those count? Explain, please.


None of them count, for reasons already explained, but I will repeat myself and hope your reading comprehension has improved in recent hours.

We never occupied the Dominican Republic or Somalia or Lebanon. We merely had some troops in their capital. They were not, in the Somali case and the Lebanese cases, even intended for combat initially. (Somalia had no functioning government at all and Lebanon's government in 1983 had little or nothing in the way of an armed force).

No, mining someone's harbors is not occupying them. Neither is sending 55 military advisors to a country which has armed forces of 70,000 men and a population of 5.4 million.

No, the United States did not invade Kosovo or any other component of Yugoslavia. They did have a bombing campaign against the Serb government. The campaign was pretty effective (and that government had been asking for it).

Yes, the United States occupied Haiti for a period of 18 months. There was no military resistance to this nor any objection to it on the part of that country's legitimate government. That occupation was co-incident with the dissolution of that country's military.


I mentioned both Panama and Grenada. American troops were universally welcomed in the latter country and stayed only a matter of weeks. They were generally welcomed in the former and stayed only a matter of weeks.


Art Deco said...

The Empire has troops in 170 nations of the world.

What you do not mention is that they are usually in single digit dribs and drabs as part of the defense attache program. The Southern Command had all of 2,000 billets the last time I checked, nearly half of them at Guantanamo Bay. There were all of 5,500 troops in all of Tropical Africa, and so forth. Most American troops abroad in recent years have been in one of five countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Germany, and Japan). No, we do not have a pro-consular relationship with either Germany or Japan.

Art Deco said...

And it required pledges from Kohl and Baker to Gorbachev to not extend NATO eastward.

You do recall that the Soviet Union dissolved less than two years later?

Anonymous said...

You jest, but it's actually a good thing. Because the peninsula juts so jar south relative to mainland Mexico, we would have the problem of swarms of boat people crossing the narrow Sea of Cortez to get to the US. The current land border between CA and Baja is much more defensible.

I disagree. If the US had picked up Chihuahua and Sonora (roughly from Big Bend west), and the Baja peninsula it would have shortened the border by a few hundred miles. The border would still have run across sparsely populated mostly-desert to the Sea of Cortez, only shorter. Fifty miles of salt water is a better border than dry land. And possession of the mouth of the Colorado River would have simplified water rights.

And don't forget the surf and condo-fodder beaches.

Anonymous said...

No, the United States did not invade Kosovo or any other component of Yugoslavia. They did have a bombing campaign against the Serb government. The campaign was pretty effective (and that government had been asking for it).

The US troops have been in Kosovo since 1999, see Camp Bondsteel.

BTW, how did the government ask for the bombing?

Peter the Shark said...

"the obscure war in 1919 between Poland and the Soviet Bolsheviks"

It's the second most discussed event in Polish history, after WWII. Everyone in Poland knows about the miracle on the Vistula, and there was an epic style movie treatment that was a popular movie in Poland two years ago. I agree it is very obscure in Russia - Russians don't talk about wars they lose.

The war is obscure in the West because the idea that the Soviet Bolsheviks were actually nasty imperialists intent on restoring the 1913 borders of the Russian empire was not something leftists in the West wanted to discuss.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 12:43 AM asked:
BTW, how did the government ask for the bombing?

Hunsdon said: I'll bet DR would say by being dirty Slavic Serbs, that's how they did it.

I'm willing to engage anyone in good faith argument, but DR's assertion that "none of those count" simply boggles the mind. I've seen the battle honors for some of them, but DR's opinion is apparently dispositive of the issue, not the US military's.

Hunsdon said...

DR said: I will repeat myself and hope your reading comprehension has improved in recent hours.

Hunsdon said: I've got this funny little standard I use. It's called, "If they did it to us, what would we call it?"

Hunsdon said...

Art Deco: I'm terribly sorry, I think I confused you with DR. My apologies. I'm only half a cup of coffee to the good so far.

Bill said...


I said . . .
Putin does not have to stop with Crimea. In fact, if he is going to take Crimea, he may want to take all of South and East Ukraine---those parts are already making noises in that direction, though not as loud as the noises Crimea is making.

Art Deco said . . .
You do realize that the conventional terms "Southern Ukraine" and "Eastern Ukraine" (less the Crimea) comprehend areas with a population of 21 million? Rather a tall order to occupy and subjugate.

Subjugate? The fact that the clowns over at National Review are fantasizing about some Red Dawn scenario in Eastern Ukraine does not mean that such a scenario is likely to occur. Given their track record, quite the opposite. In the far east of Ukraine at least, there is significant sentiment to join Russia.

Why would they not want to join Russia? It is a hell of a lot better off than Ukraine, and the people in Eastern Ukraine are more likely to consider themselves Russian rather than Ukrainian.

Anonymous said...

"It's the second most discussed event in Polish history, after WWII."

Do they discuss in Poland the fact that Poland started that war because Pilsudski decided it was time to grab some land in the East? Speaking of nasty imperialists.

Anonymous said...

BTW the US had another crack at Baja, Chihuahua, and Sonora a few years later during the Gadsden purchase. The Mexicans were considering selling it to the French to repair their treasury.

The US diplomats muffed it that time, too.