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21 minutes ago, rmgill said:

Or they're a country not constrained by the niceties of the west. The PRC, a nation that's carving dissidents up for spare body parts isn't going to be concerned with the wrong village being bombed or a little bit of humiliation and torture by rogue elements of their Military Police. Heck, Chinese Secret Police were probably reading the details from Abu Graib, taking a note here or there and critiquing technique. 

Do Xi Jinping and Putin strike you as competent or incompetent?

Does Boris, Trudeu and Biden strike competent or incompetent?
 

Correct. He had that crazy that he brought to the table that for competent leadership is forced to be concerned about which is unpredictable. To use a somewhat droll example, he is a bit like Callahan in the Dirty Harry Series. Liquor store standoff with hostages? Give em a car

I wouldn't completely write off the Biden Administration, they are right about something.

I think he would be doing this even if Trump was President.

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1 hour ago, ink said:

However, that does not mean there isn't cause for concern. If Russia were somehow magically to become weakened overnight, there is no reason to think that the West would be kind to it in any way. That scenario has already played out. The Soviet Union collapsed and an army of Western advisors (literally thousands of them) trooped in to help transform Russia into a capitalist economy. The result was the terrible 1990s. Tens of thousands of people lost their lives and hundreds of millions lost their livelihoods and pensions. The scale of the calamity for Russian society is hard to convey and harder to grasp.

Unless that army of advisors was a literal army forcing its way in, holding a gun to the head of the transformees or at least blackmailing them into becoming capitalists, that's a choice Russia made as a nation through whatever political and legal mechanisms it had in place. It wasn't like the USMC or Royal Navy intervened for the sake of bananas or opium, or the West force-building liberal democracy in occupied post-WW II Germany; or for that matter, the USSR introducing its own system in Eastern Europe backed up by the Red Army. This was the result of the Soviet system failing the competition with liberal democratic capitalism. That its breakdown left Russia unprepared to deal with the effects of the latter rapidly filling the void without stringent controls by either the Russian or Western governments is hardly the fault of the latter.

Of course the narrative to that effect is already indicative of a mindset rejecting responsibility for your own fortune, where wrong developments are always some evil outsiders' fault; just like NATO supposedly "encroached" on Eastern Europe rather than those nations chosing to join because of their experiences with the Soviets. At best keeping to seek excuses for your failures like that will never get you on the road to sustained success. At worst it will lead to ever bigger disaster - again see the example of Germany which as a nation couldn't accept it possibly was fairly defeated in WW I and got saddled with most of the blame, rather accused various shifty groups supposedly running the international system, and went to restore its rightful position in the world with catastrophic results, not least for itself.

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https://tass.com/defense/1393411

MOSCOW, January 26. /TASS/. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has lost touch with reality and it is difficult to perceive his statements seriously, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Wednesday, commenting on Stoltenberg’s words about a potential military buildup on the eastern flank.

"You know I have not been giving any consideration to his statements for a long time. In my opinion, he has already lost touch with reality," Lavrov said.

On Monday, the North Atlantic Alliance said that NATO Allies "are putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to NATO deployments in eastern Europe, reinforcing Allied deterrence and defense as Russia continues its military build-up in and around Ukraine." For his part, Stoltenberg argued that the deployments of new Allied forces in Eastern Europe "does not threaten Russia" and that NATO "remains ready to continue dialogue with Russia".

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10 hours ago, Ssnake said:

This doesn't reflect what Putin wants. At least officially, he wants all member states of the Soviet Union to, as a very minimum, guaranteed to remain outside of NATO influence.

 

But this clashes with the Helsinki Agreement of 1975 (of which the Soviet Union was a signatory, and Russia as its official successor state is equally bound by it). To agree on such a "diplomatic settlement" would mean to create two classes of nations, where one can pick their alliances while neighbors of Russia unfortunately can't. Either this would violate the Helsinki Agreement, or signatories involved with the settlement would unilaterally retreat from that agreement (something that Russia could have done long ago, but didn't). It would create an extremely dangerous precedent to violate the principle that nations, in their legal standing, are treated equal.

One might argue that factually they aren't, but I think it's pretty clear that such a solution wouldn't really solve anything to begin with - the fact that Ukrainians are now quite afraid of their northern and eastern "brothers" and seek the protection from an alliance that they see less of a subjugation - and it has the potential to seriously destabilize international relations everywhere.

It appears as if nobody is willing to pay that price for peace in our times.

It would not clash with the Helsinki Accords, as NATO membership is invitation only based on Article 10 of the north Atlantic Treaty.  So NATO agreeing to no invite other countries, does not negatively impact the rights of this countries.

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5 hours ago, ex2cav said:

I think you have touched on the larger problem that has become increasingly apparent in the past 20 years. No country facing the west will ever give up it Nukes or WMD program again. 

Ukraine gave them up in a wave of good feelings and here we are. See Iraq, gave them up (capability anyway), west called them liars and invaded. That scared Libya and Syria, they gave up their nascent WMD programs presuming that would satisfy the west. It did not, and used that weakness to the effect we see today. 

I doubt the Norks will ever give them up. Same with Iran. They likely see them as the only thing holding the west back. 

Before you accuse me of being an apologist for the the Norks and Mullahs. NO. I am just stating that bad western foreign policy (short sighted policy) has taught them this.  

I don't see it as a ruse in the case of Ukraine, many were proclaiming "the end of history!" at that time. 

You can say it was noble to  encourage these "rogue nations" to give up their WMD to make them more weak and vulnerable (and "safer for their neighbors" I can remember the arguments). But you can't tell me we did it for noble reasons. Those ME countries were functioning in a sense, and now they are lawless war zones. Include A-stan in that. So let's not say in any of those case, or even Ukraine, "we did it for the people".

Man I've become a cynic.

Cynicism is the correct attitude. Genuine and consistent humanitarian concerns have never been a part of foreign policy, they are only feigned.

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29 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

It negative impacts on anyone in NATO not having to live by Russian decisions, which is the reason Eastern Europe joined in the first place.

So Macedonia was negatively impacted in its rights because it could not join NATO due to Greece blocking it until they changed their name to North Macedonia?

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1 minute ago, seahawk said:

So Macedonia was negatively impacted in its rights because it could not join NATO due to Greece blocking it until they changed their name to North Macedonia?

Yes, but as Greece is a member, and Russia is not, there is something of a huge difference there. You are instead suggesting a potential adversary should have a veto over NATO policy, which is absurd.

If Russia wanted to boss NATO around, they should have joined. The door was always open.

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2 hours ago, Josh said:

To fair, once the focus was on the Kurds and abandoned all the other jihadis, it worked splendidly well.

True, and in no small part because the Kurds are careful to be on very good terms with the Russians.

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3 hours ago, rmgill said:

Or they're a country not constrained by the niceties of the west. The PRC, a nation that's carving dissidents up for spare body parts isn't going to be concerned with the wrong village being bombed or a little bit of humiliation and torture by rogue elements of their Military Police. Heck, Chinese Secret Police were probably reading the details from Abu Graib, taking a note here or there and critiquing technique.

The Chinese are actually quite restrained on their doctrine of not occupying power vacuums - they keep their troops at home.  The Russians are more adventurous, but too are careful, sending forces abroad only when they are certain of having a friendly local population base to operate within, (one reason why I doubt an invasion of Ukraine is imminent).  The Americans, in turn, seem never to learn anything.  They move from war to war, always in places they can't win against foes that have all the time in the world. 

Why will the outcome in Ukraine be any different that Iraq or Afghanistan?

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<Trump> had that crazy that he brought to the table that for competent leadership is forced to be concerned about which is unpredictable. To use a somewhat droll example, he is a bit like Callahan in the Dirty Harry Series. Liquor store standoff with hostages? Give em a car.

Pompeo was Fox last Sunday and he said the reason why Trump did not have a confrontation with Putin was because the Trump administration had respect the Russians.   The implication being, Biden has no respect and will drift into a disastrous confrontation because he's too stupid not to.


 

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"The Americans, in turn, seem never to learn anything.  They move from war to war, always in places they can't win against foes that have all the time in the world. "                                                                                                                                                              Because we can. The first George got a bunch right. Define victory before going in. Do not "build nations" that have no fundamental ability to comply.....that includes almost every nation.                                                                                                  The waste of our best peoples lives is criminal and negates the valor and sacrifice of so many. 

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I think Russia badly needs to import politicians from Israel – they know how to deal with terrorists. Seems like our local ones are only able to cover up cases of foreign-based attacks.

On August 12, 2021, at 21.11, an explosion occurred at the Plekhanovskaya public transport stop inside the PAZ bus following route 10 "A". There were 35 people in the cabin. Two of them died, most of the passengers received various injuries.

Investigators have opened a criminal case on the fact of improper provision of passenger transportation services. On behalf of the chairman of the TFR Alexander Bastrykin, it was transferred to the central office of the department. Operational support is provided by the FSB.

As the informed interlocutor explained, the versions of the explosion of a gas cylinder in the cabin and the war between competing carrier companies are no longer considered. According to our data, the case is nothing but a diversion, which was staged by immigrants from Ukraine. The explosion was most likely committed with the aim of destabilizing the situation in the region.

According to the source, all the suspects have been identified: they came to Russia and left the country using their foreign passports. At the same time, as the interlocutor notes, the local special services were warned by the competent authorities about the possible activity of the sabotage group in advance, and the FSB leadership has questions about the work of colleagues.

Yandex-translation from https://www.mk.ru/incident/2022/01/26/istochnik-prichinoy-vzryva-avtobusa-v-voronezhe-byla-ukrainskaya-diversiya.html?fbclid=IwAR1k6NnqsKOxV4JTXJYsBNQke7St4ugNli9dSvIOA0muOyuqXfarCN382z0

 

 

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https://www.westernjournal.com/exclusive-gen-flynn-biden-might-get-hundreds-millions-killed-ukraine/

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The rhetoric about the Ukraine conflict is out of control. President Joe Biden threatens that Russia would “pay a heavy price” for any incursion into Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warns of “massive consequences” for Russia. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, “We don’t rule out first-use nuclear action.” First-use nuclear action rhetoric is not only extremely dangerous, but these types of nonsensical remarks also threaten the stability of the entire world.

Policy wonks throw around the phrase “failure of imagination” when it comes to intelligence community failures. The entire Biden administration, along with the neocon defense and foreign policy thinks tanks in Washington, are failing to imagine the consequences of the dangers lurking in Eastern Europe currently.

 

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6 hours ago, rmgill said:

Do you buy temporary peace or permanent peace? What's the price? We bought permanent peace with Japan, Germany and Italy in the 1940s but that was a high cost. Did we buy permanent peace with North Korea and china in the 1950s? 

Land wars in Asia are not, generally speaking, famous for causing world peace.

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