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(War on the Rocks)   Putin is playing chess in Crimea... and losing   (warontherocks.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, Vladimir Putin, Crimean, Black Sea Fleet, al Assad, satellite state, Warsaw Pact, Cold War, Russian Bear  
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13240 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Mar 2014 at 10:23 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-19 11:38:14 AM  

SpaceButler: Laobaojun: Tactical success =/= strategic success.

Hypothetically, we park a carrier strike group in the Black Sea (despite the practical issues there) and the Russian Federation forces return to the numbers under the treaty or even a complete withdrawal. The ethnic Russians in Crimea go full court on the oppression allegations against the Ukrainians, and in a few years we look like asshats for supporting thugs. Again.
Putin still ends up with a measure of success. But since he is not leaving, NATO is still dithering, and the UN hasn't really given a rat's rear end, this is all trivia next to the simple truth that Putin out thought us, and the US is the victim of its own failure to think past the next election or next Fox news cast.

How did Russia out-think you?

It seems to me that Russia used to have all the influence it wanted over the Ukraine, including full use of the port at Sevastopol.  Now it needs to use military force just to maintain that, and is taking an economical and political beating for it.  What advantage has Russia gained out of all this?


Putin gets to yell harsh things at the West while taking his shirt off. That's all right-wingers care about.
 
2014-03-19 11:38:40 AM  

Peter von Nostrand: He has legions of Republicans as fans, so he always has that going for him. Hell, I'm surprised he didn't win the last cpac straw poll


I'm still trying to figure out where the Fark Liberals* came up with 'Republicans are fans of Putin'.

*Fark Liberals and real Liberals are not the same creatures.
 
2014-03-19 11:38:59 AM  
Rwa2play:  Also:  Wouldn't be surprised if Obama is coordinating with the EU on a plan to make up for a potential loss of NG from Russia.

The fracking industry has already begun a campaign that NG-from-fracking is now necessary in order to help Europe free itself from its dependency on Russian fuel.  It's only in the fine print that they admit it will take several years-- best case scenario-- to drill enough and set up enough infrastructure to begin meeting the demand.  By which time, of course, the press will be running "whatever happened to Crimea" stories and Russian expansionism will-- one way or the other-- be over.

Long-term environmental consequences like triggering earthquakes and poisoning freshwater be damned, there's an immediate and uncertain need we have to be prepared to meet five years from now!
 
2014-03-19 11:40:17 AM  

SpaceButler: Laobaojun: Tactical success =/= strategic success.

Hypothetically, we park a carrier strike group in the Black Sea (despite the practical issues there) and the Russian Federation forces return to the numbers under the treaty or even a complete withdrawal. The ethnic Russians in Crimea go full court on the oppression allegations against the Ukrainians, and in a few years we look like asshats for supporting thugs. Again.
Putin still ends up with a measure of success. But since he is not leaving, NATO is still dithering, and the UN hasn't really given a rat's rear end, this is all trivia next to the simple truth that Putin out thought us, and the US is the victim of its own failure to think past the next election or next Fox news cast.

How did Russia out-think you?

It seems to me that Russia used to have all the influence it wanted over the Ukraine, including full use of the port at Sevastopol.  Now it needs to use military force just to maintain that, and is taking an economical and political beating for it.  What advantage has Russia gained out of all this?


More importantly other than preventing atrocities to the people of Crimea what the fark does the US care who rules in that 2nd world shiat hole? Seriously people why the hell is the whole world supposed to be policed by the US. As long as Russia does not attempt to cross into Poland, who is part of NATO and our ally where Ukraine is not, what the fark do we care?

Oh wait I know why we care, because Republitards never pass up an opportunity to go to war and masturbate with the blood of dead children.
 
2014-03-19 11:40:46 AM  

Slaves2Darkness: Dr Dreidel: LordJiro: Russia's economy cannot handle serious sanctions from the EU/US, let alone a world war. Why should Obama do anything while Putin throws money down a hole just to wave his dick around? Never interrupt your enemy while he's making a mistake.

Slaves2Darkness: Yes. The whole reason he invaded Crimea is that Russia can't have NATO so dam close. Essentially the same reason that the US has punished Cuba for 60 years is the reason that Russia is invading Crimea. Secondly Russia's economy is taking a beating. If the US turns up the economic pressure on Russia all it will take is time before Putin folds or is replaced.

Isn't the monkeywrench in all that the fact that Putin/Russia basically control the European continent's natural gas supply?

So we can sanction Russia, and risk them either jacking up the price on or simply stopping the NG supply altogether. It's my understanding (admittedly thin) that it'd take the US several weeks to a month at least to make up that lost supply.

The problem Russia has with stopping the NG supply is once you do it there is no going back. Your European customers have to find some other source of heating fuel and while it may cost more they will never trust Russia to supply them again. Stopping the NG also will increase the economic loss as people who are not receiving product don't tend to pay for said product.


Norway's already said that they can and will be able to cover short-term oil needs.  Germany, likewise, has made talk about kicking their nuclear reactors back online as needed.

Between the two, especially since winter is just about over, if Russia cuts off the fuel, Europe will be okay and Russia will have cut off their largest supply of foreign currency.  Their economy would melt down.
 
2014-03-19 11:41:31 AM  

FLMountainMan: Livinglush: I'm sure you aren't talking about the US economy, which is stronger than it has been since the Clinton years, and has record stock market pushes monthly.  Surely you must be thinking of somewhere else.

Yes, surging stock markets, huge bonuses for Wall Street, and high unemployment, record numbers on Food Stamps, and ever-increasing income inequality, especially in blue states.

Seriously, the Obama Administration has been an oligarch's wet dream.  But I know it's all the fault of those damned House Rethuglikkkans and the Koch Bros.!


I didn't say it was better for average Americans, but the economy is doing great for businesses, and for the wealthy, and for the Koch Bros.
 
2014-03-19 11:41:51 AM  

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: Peter von Nostrand: He has legions of Republicans as fans, so he always has that going for him. Hell, I'm surprised he didn't win the last cpac straw poll

I'm still trying to figure out where the Fark Liberals* came up with 'Republicans are fans of Putin'.

*Fark Liberals and real Liberals are not the same creatures.


It started with Giuliani saying he was a great leader and Palin saying he was a bad-ass bare-chested bear rassler. The praise sounds like something fans would say.
 
2014-03-19 11:42:13 AM  

naptapper: Losing? Really?


Because reasons.

/and because David Brooks, and "tides of history" and other cliches
//cold war is over, send in the next war
 
2014-03-19 11:43:04 AM  
Russia is a kleptocracy with a capitalist economy. Hit the money men where it hurts with sanctions and they'll remove Putin and go back to playing nice because to them being billionaires is way more important that their puppet having a place to play with his boats.

Start yanking the money and Putin will retire due to health reasons.
 
2014-03-19 11:43:50 AM  

Infernalist: plcow: LordJiro: brandent: JK47: LordJiro:

Russia's economy cannot handle serious sanctions from the EU/US, let alone a world war. Why should Obama do anything while Putin throws money down a hole just to wave his dick around? Never interrupt your enemy while he's making a mistake.


Yeah, comprehensive trade sanctions against Russia would flatten their economy.  Natural Gas exports alone comprise nearly half of the Russian GDP.

Yes yes. By all means Europe should threaten to stop buying gas. I wonder why Europe hasn't already fixed this obvious oversight. They should get right on it. I mean really. You would think they would have already done such a simple thing.

Yes. Russia is the only exporter of oil/gas on the planet.

As far as Europe is concerned, it's them and Norway.  They don't have the import facilities to accept gas from anywhere else.

Oil can sort of be found elsewhere.  It's not actually fungible like everyone thinks it is.  And Russia is a MAJOR exporter of oil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_oil_exports) good luck absorbing that supply shortage with prices alone.  They will go through the roof.

Refusing to purchase Russia's Oil & Gas would be so devastating as to not even really consider it an option.  Energy is their Queen.  Not Crimea like the article would like people to believe.  They have most of Europe, and especially Ukraine by the nut sack.  Ukraine has almost no production of their own and for the last couple of years keeps boycotting anyone who tries to drill on their bland wasteland.

Ukraine doesn't 'need' oil production.  They're one of the top producers and suppliers of agricultural goods in the world.  Just behind Canada and the US.

And Russia is still a net importer of food stuffs.  And no, Russia does not have Europe by the short and curlies.  The winter is ending and they're already arranged for alternate fuel supplies by way of Norway's oil and Germany's nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, in America, we're franti ...


1) How are they going to farm with fuel for their equipment? How are they going to heat their houses?
2) Norway's oil is already in the equation, are you thinking they can magically create more out of their ass?
3) It take YEARS to build/convert over an export facility.  We are moving as fast as we can, but the economics are shaky, regulatory issues abound, and what we have moving forward right now is a drop in the bucket in terms of international trade.
4) A natural gas pipeline across the pacific?  lol.  we can't even get Keystone built.  That would take 10+ years.  What I am talking about is what is going to happen this summer and next winter.
 
2014-03-19 11:44:27 AM  

Ghastly: Russia is a kleptocracy with a capitalist economy. Hit the money men where it hurts with sanctions and they'll remove Putin and go back to playing nice because to them being billionaires is way more important that their puppet having a place to play with his boats.

Start yanking the money and Putin will retire due to health reasons.


It's a game to see who runs out of money first.  The West or Russia's oligarchs.
 
2014-03-19 11:44:47 AM  

Slaves2Darkness: The problem Russia has with stopping the NG supply is once you do it there is no going back. Your European customers have to find some other source of heating fuel and while it may cost more they will never trust Russia to supply them again. Stopping the NG also will increase the economic loss as people who are not receiving product don't tend to pay for said product.


Makes sense in theory, but that still doesn't account for:
-what Europe does in the interim. They can't make up the Russian supply quickly or easily, and it's still winter for a month (or more. Shiat's weird this year). I've heard that the US/Canadian supply is strong, but the infrastructure to get it across the Atlantic Ocean is not, and that's not the kind of thing you can spin up in a day. It's not a military prison on a tropical island.
-you underestimate the business of geopolitics. If Europe cuts off the Russian NG supply, they'll be back on it within a decade after the current conflict ends (assuming a new one doesn't come up in the interim). Russia might/probably wouldn't get back to being the top supplier to Europe, but they'd still get that cheddar.
-Russia might be willing to forego short-term profits in favor of long-term Crimea-holding.
 
2014-03-19 11:45:40 AM  
We embargo Russia. In combo with China, this helps them move over to a new non-U.S. dollar exchange. Europe receives the expected oil embargo, escalating already inflationary economics there. Several third world nations that still receives Russian funding get even closer to total collapse and revolutionary activity. The possibilities for interesting times this decade seems to be pretty open, but my actual expectations will be that little calamity will ensue. With little probability of war and the exceptions that are being thrown around for the embargo, Russia won't have a serious enough reason to change anything.
 
2014-03-19 11:46:27 AM  

Ghastly: Russia is a kleptocracy with a capitalist economy. Hit the money men where it hurts with sanctions and they'll remove Putin and go back to playing nice because to them being billionaires is way more important that their puppet having a place to play with his boats.

Start yanking the money and Putin will retire due to health reasons.


This.  All you need to know about Vladimir Putin is that he's a lifelong government bureaucrat with a net worth of $70 billion.
 
2014-03-19 11:46:49 AM  

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: Peter von Nostrand: He has legions of Republicans as fans, so he always has that going for him. Hell, I'm surprised he didn't win the last cpac straw poll

I'm still trying to figure out where the Fark Liberals* came up with 'Republicans are fans of Putin'.

*Fark Liberals and real Liberals are not the same creatures.


Yeah, no republican every had a bromance for Pooty-poot.
 
2014-03-19 11:46:56 AM  
Okay, so I did some reading just to be clear on this.  This is what I see...

Crimea is in dispute because the Ukraine says it's theirs, and so does Russia.
The people in Crimea, and their gov't say they want to be Russian.  So does Russia.

The only people that seem upset about this are the Ukranians, who will lose the territory, and the entire western world, for no real good reason that I can understand.

I can, at least, see why Ukraine is upset about losing Crimea.  Where would they put their navy if they lost all that coastline?
But that's about the only thing that seems to make any sense.
 
2014-03-19 11:48:51 AM  

Mentat: TedDalton: If Ukraine still had nukes, would they still have Crimea? Would we let Russia take Crimea if they didn't have nuclear weapons? Having nuclear weapons matter. That is the realpolitik lesson in all this. Would be nuclear states like Iran and Best Korea are taking note I'm sure.

Do you guys really believe that the situation would be better if a small, corrupt nation who just overthrew their President and was on the verge of a civil war had access to 20 year old nukes?


Of course not.  I prefer weapons of mass destruction never existed.  But realistically, some countries will deduce that Ukraine has lost territory to Russia because they gave up their nukes back in 1994.  Further, why give up nukes if no one will defend you from those who do?

Bottom line, the West has been isolating Russia one by one, slowly but surely since 1992, with the expansion of NATO and the EU, this Crimea mess is a small bite back by Russia but in the long run, doesn't matter.  The focus should be on how to bring Russia into the fold of a true G8 country (rule of law for property rights, freedom of press, limited corruption, etc.) without pushing so hard that Russia feels trapped and does something truly desperate.
 
2014-03-19 11:49:12 AM  

pkellmey: We embargo Russia. In combo with China, this helps them move over to a new non-U.S. dollar exchange. Europe receives the expected oil embargo, escalating already inflationary economics there. Several third world nations that still receives Russian funding get even closer to total collapse and revolutionary activity. The possibilities for interesting times this decade seems to be pretty open, but my actual expectations will be that little calamity will ensue. With little probability of war and the exceptions that are being thrown around for the embargo, Russia won't have a serious enough reason to change anything.


Awesome fantasy, bro.
 
2014-03-19 11:50:48 AM  
Why Russia will lose:

1. This pushes all the old Russian ex-client states into the western sphere of influence. He just alienated tons of countries that were on neutral ground.

2. This pushed almost all of Ukraine into Europe's hands.  Russia got Crimea, an area that was mostly Russian anyway.

3. Foreign investment, something Russia really needs will dry up. Why they hell would you put your money into a crazy mans state.

4. Europe will now at least try to get away from Russian energy. Something Putin is holding over them.

5. Most likely get them kicked out of the G-8. That is a big thing. Everyone's economy is interlinked unlike the cold war.

6. You will most likely have a low grade insurgence in Crimea. As the U.S knows this is expensive and difficult to deal with.

7. Negated all the good will they just got from their billion dollar Olympics.

8. The eye of sauron (China) will now look to the west. We can finally get the ring into Beijing.

9. Maybe the EU will have to actually get together and solve their own problems without the U.S.

Bad for us.........

1. We didn't go all warmonger on their ass. So certain four year old jingoistic politicians will have a talking point for the next couple of years.

2. Old politicians will be screaming cold war into the microphone for the next five years. Because they honestly deep down miss it.

3. The west lost Crimea which was really under Russian control anyway.

4. This will effect Syria and Iran negotiations in a bad way.
 
2014-03-19 11:52:25 AM  

FLMountainMan: FlashHarry: Peter von Nostrand: He has legions of Republicans as fans, so he always has that going for him. Hell, I'm surprised he didn't win the last cpac straw poll

i wonder what reagan would say if you told him that republicans were praising a russian dictator while attacking our president at the same time.

He'd ask why there were so many strawmen in front of him.


He'd say "zzzzzzzzzzz..."
 
2014-03-19 11:52:43 AM  
I think I light be reading different news than some of you guys. It looks to me that Putin's winning here. And looking at how the people living in Crimea (read: Russians) are reacting, I'm pretty sure Putin's going to keep on winning.

I can't help but wonder if we're trying to put a western spin on this. I mean, the people there sound like they don't want to be part of Ukraine.
 
2014-03-19 11:53:52 AM  

cameroncrazy1984: Putin gets to yell harsh things at the West while taking his shirt off.


Is that all this is about?  It's 2014, we have web sites for that.  Maybe he'll leave Ukraine alone if we give him a webcam and agree to watch all his YouTube videos.
 
2014-03-19 11:54:34 AM  

busy chillin': [www.tzona.org image 600x405]
Chessmate, Libbos


img.fark.net

If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.
 
2014-03-19 11:55:25 AM  

FLMountainMan: Livinglush: I'm sure you aren't talking about the US economy, which is stronger than it has been since the Clinton years, and has record stock market pushes monthly.  Surely you must be thinking of somewhere else.

Yes, surging stock markets, huge bonuses for Wall Street, and high unemployment, record numbers on Food Stamps, and ever-increasing income inequality, especially in blue states.

Seriously, the Obama Administration has been an oligarch's wet dream.  But I know it's all the fault of those damned House Rethuglikkkans and the Koch Bros.!


It's been Republicans that have fought, tooth-and-nail, against anything that would speed up the recovery for the lower classes or shrink unemployment, such as minimum wage increases which would do both. It was the GOP that watered down the stimulus, which economists said should have been significantly bigger. It was Republicans and Republican-lite Blue Dogs who turned the ACA from a fiscally responsible public option into an insurance company handout. And it was Republican policy that skullfarked the economy in the first place.

Anyone who tells you Republicans are fiscally responsible are liars.
 
2014-03-19 11:56:04 AM  

FlashHarry: Peter von Nostrand: He has legions of Republicans as fans, so he always has that going for him. Hell, I'm surprised he didn't win the last cpac straw poll

i wonder what reagan would say if you told him that republicans were praising a russian dictator while attacking our president at the same time.


I am pretty sure the gipper would have a heart attack to see a black man in the white house who was not serving drinks.
 
2014-03-19 11:57:59 AM  

Peter von Nostrand: He has legions of Republicans as fans, so he always has that going for him. Hell, I'm surprised he didn't win the last cpac straw poll


ts3.mm.bing.net
Including this guy who almost became President.
 
2014-03-19 11:58:30 AM  

BalugaJoe: [i1.ytimg.com image 480x360]


i get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine.
 
2014-03-19 11:58:45 AM  

durbnpoisn: The people in Crimea, and their gov't say they want to be Russian. So does Russia.


No.  The vote was not legitimate.  The question on the ballot was basically "Do you want to join Russia, or declare independence?" with no option for remaining part of the Ukraine.

This lead to widespread boycotting of the vote.  It should also be noted that the vote was conducted with Russian soldier marching through the streets, and under the supervision of pro-Russian election observers.

To top it all off, the result was about 97% in favor of joining Russia.  In a region that is about 12% Tartar, an ethnic group that has a long history of oppression at the hands of Russia, and today tend to be extremely anti-Russian.

So, in summation, the vote was a total sham, just meant to provide a visible pretext for a land grab.
 
2014-03-19 12:00:40 PM  

stuffy: Peter von Nostrand: He has legions of Republicans as fans, so he always has that going for him. Hell, I'm surprised he didn't win the last cpac straw poll

[ts3.mm.bing.net image 198x180]
Including this guy who almost became President.


"almost"
"47%"
"Corporations are people"
"I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. "

etc.
 
2014-03-19 12:00:49 PM  

udhq: In a region that is about 12% Tartar, an ethnic group that has a long history of oppression at the hands of Russia, and today tend to be extremely anti-Russian.

So, in summation, the vote was a total sham, just meant to provide a visible pretext for a land grab.


something was definitely fishy.
 
2014-03-19 12:01:20 PM  

Cerebral Ballsy: It looks to me that Putin's winning here.


Losing most of Ukraine is a win?
 
2014-03-19 12:01:44 PM  

durbnpoisn: Okay, so I did some reading just to be clear on this.  This is what I see...

Crimea is in dispute because the Ukraine says it's theirs, and so does Russia.
The people in Crimea, and their gov't say they want to be Russian.  So does Russia.

The only people that seem upset about this are the Ukranians, who will lose the territory, and the entire western world, for no real good reason that I can understand.

I can, at least, see why Ukraine is upset about losing Crimea.  Where would they put their navy if they lost all that coastline?
But that's about the only thing that seems to make any sense.

you may want to look up a map of Ukraine.

 
2014-03-19 12:01:51 PM  
Laobaojun: "Even if we "win", the US and NATO looks ineffective and like a poor choice as an ally because Ukraine was "invaded" in the first place."

Yeah, no.  Firstly, the Ukraine wasn't part of the EU/NATO before this started.  Russia was their close ally. Being invaded by your supposed ally isn't a black mark against a third party.  It's a giant warning sign to anyone else who might be torn between the two suitors, that they need to factor in what an alliance with Russia is likely to *mean*.

Further, Putin's move pushed western Ukraine into the arms of the EU/NATO so strongly that they can't be *allowed* to fail.
And as Western money continues to pour into the Ukraine to prop it up, it's going to be West Germany/East Germany redux.
Which is only going to further-weaken Russia's pitch to any other countries.

And Putin knows this. But he didn't have a choice.

Putin grabbed Crimea because he *had to*.  If it was a move of strength Russia wouldn't have sent troops without markings, nor spent weeks denying it.
Putin did *that*, because he was still hoping the 'revolution' would fail, Yanukovich could be reinstalled and could use the unrest as an excuse to side more-strongly with Russia.

It was only when it became obvious the 'revolution' was not going to fail, that Putin admitted the Russian presence and dropped the charade that Yanukovich was legitimate. 
None of that is consistent with a Russian move of strength.
 
2014-03-19 12:02:04 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: pkellmey: We embargo Russia. In combo with China, this helps them move over to a new non-U.S. dollar exchange. Europe receives the expected oil embargo, escalating already inflationary economics there. Several third world nations that still receives Russian funding get even closer to total collapse and revolutionary activity. The possibilities for interesting times this decade seems to be pretty open, but my actual expectations will be that little calamity will ensue. With little probability of war and the exceptions that are being thrown around for the embargo, Russia won't have a serious enough reason to change anything.

Awesome fantasy, bro.


It's not that far from reality.  Russia, who made good early strides during the 90's towards becoming westernized, is currently pushing itself backwards.  They're attempting to use old ways in the modern world.  But since opening up their economy, they're slowly realizing "oh shiat, we actually have to play ball from time to time, or our economy dries up, and we collapse again."

If they continue on their current course, their only real method to continue will be to economically tie themselves to China, and become isolationist with regards to the west.  It's a really, really poor course, and will only result in their continued zombie economy and a slowly eroding set of border states, but it's an option.
 
2014-03-19 12:02:18 PM  

bigsteve3OOO: So I see things this way:
The world has 2 options
1  Let putin have whatever portion of Ukraine he wants
2  Do not let him have it

Putin has 2 options:
1  Give it back
2  keep it

If both pick #2 we are going to shoot it out.

I will be investing in defense stocks.  Anyone know the ticker symbol for Halliburton?


Owned by Kellogg, Brown, and Root; Halliburton is under the auspices of the KBR ticker symbol, traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

It has mostly fallen over the last 2 months, though not precipitously.
 
2014-03-19 12:02:33 PM  
I don't particularly want Russia to take over Crimea. If the Crimeans want to be Russian, then I guess that's fine. Whatever.

But either way, it's not worth a single American life to me. Period.
 
2014-03-19 12:02:59 PM  

busy chillin': udhq: In a region that is about 12% Tartar, an ethnic group that has a long history of oppression at the hands of Russia, and today tend to be extremely anti-Russian.

So, in summation, the vote was a total sham, just meant to provide a visible pretext for a land grab.

something was definitely fishy.


What's your beef? I'd steak my life on the fact that this was from a raw news feed.
 
2014-03-19 12:03:34 PM  
Amish Tech Support:
7. Negated all the good will they just got from their 50 billion dollar Olympics.
 
2014-03-19 12:04:22 PM  

durbnpoisn: Okay, so I did some reading just to be clear on this.  This is what I see...

Crimea is in dispute because the Ukraine says it's theirs, and so does Russia.
The people in Crimea, and their gov't say they want to be Russian.  So does Russia.

The only people that seem upset about this are the Ukranians, who will lose the territory, and the entire western world, for no real good reason that I can understand.

I can, at least, see why Ukraine is upset about losing Crimea.  Where would they put their navy if they lost all that coastline?
But that's about the only thing that seems to make any sense.


I believe you want to understand what's going on better; here might be a place to start:

When the USSR collapsed the Russians literally lost control of their nuclear arsenal. Parts of it were in other, now independent, countries. Ukraine was one of them. Russia agreed to respect Ukraine territorial independence, in return for Ukraine giving up it's nuclear arsenal. Russia has now unilaterally violated that agreement.
Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances
The part of all of this that will cost Russia the most is violating this agreement and what that means in terms of trust and trade. For instance: Russia spent years gaining entry to the G-8 trade group. Now it's the G-7 again. It will take more years (after Putin is gone) to regain that membership.
 
2014-03-19 12:05:09 PM  

ringersol: Laobaojun: "Even if we "win", the US and NATO looks ineffective and like a poor choice as an ally because Ukraine was "invaded" in the first place."

Yeah, no.  Firstly, the Ukraine wasn't part of the EU/NATO before this started.  Russia was their close ally. Being invaded by your supposed ally isn't a black mark against a third party.  It's a giant warning sign to anyone else who might be torn between the two suitors, that they need to factor in what an alliance with Russia is likely to *mean*.

Further, Putin's move pushed western Ukraine into the arms of the EU/NATO so strongly that they can't be *allowed* to fail.
And as Western money continues to pour into the Ukraine to prop it up, it's going to be West Germany/East Germany redux.
Which is only going to further-weaken Russia's pitch to any other countries.

And Putin knows this. But he didn't have a choice.

Putin grabbed Crimea because he *had to*.  If it was a move of strength Russia wouldn't have sent troops without markings, nor spent weeks denying it.
Putin did *that*, because he was still hoping the 'revolution' would fail, Yanukovich could be reinstalled and could use the unrest as an excuse to side more-strongly with Russia.

It was only when it became obvious the 'revolution' was not going to fail, that Putin admitted the Russian presence and dropped the charade that Yanukovich was legitimate. 
None of that is consistent with a Russian move of strength.


Basically if you're winning the game, you wouldn't need to keep throwing Hail Marys.

/Maries?
 
2014-03-19 12:08:02 PM  

durbnpoisn: Okay, so I did some reading just to be clear on this.  This is what I see...

Crimea is in dispute because the Ukraine says it's theirs, and so does Russia.
The people in Crimea, and their gov't say they want to be Russian.  So does Russia.

The only people that seem upset about this are the Ukranians, who will lose the territory, and the entire western world, for no real good reason that I can understand.

I can, at least, see why Ukraine is upset about losing Crimea.  Where would they put their navy if they lost all that coastline?
But that's about the only thing that seems to make any sense.


By my understanding:
Crimea was formally made part of Ukraine during the Soviet era, but it was kept by Ukraine when the USSR fell, though Russia retained its Black Sea fleet and that fleet's deepwater port at Sevastopol.  Ever since that deal was worked out, I'm not aware of any serious debate about the fact that Crimea was Ukrainian territory.
The western world is upset about Russia annexing Crimea mainly because of how it's happened.  It wasn't initiated by the people of Crimea; it was initiated by Russia using insignia-free military troops and crony politicians, in response to the people of the Ukraine in general making it clear through mass protests that they wanted to join the EU and not be a de facto Russian vassal.  If this had all started with a domestic referendum in Crimea, I doubt the west would be doing much more than shrugging, or maybe grumbling a little.
 
2014-03-19 12:09:33 PM  

Cerebral Ballsy: I can't help but wonder if we're trying to put a western spin on this. I mean, the people there sound like they don't want to be part of Ukraine.


That's because the people who want to stay with Ukraine are already moving away or get beaten up by thugs until they stop complaining.
 
2014-03-19 12:10:54 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Slaves2Darkness: The problem Russia has with stopping the NG supply is once you do it there is no going back. Your European customers have to find some other source of heating fuel and while it may cost more they will never trust Russia to supply them again. Stopping the NG also will increase the economic loss as people who are not receiving product don't tend to pay for said product.

Makes sense in theory, but that still doesn't account for:
-what Europe does in the interim. They can't make up the Russian supply quickly or easily, and it's still winter for a month (or more. Shiat's weird this year). I've heard that the US/Canadian supply is strong, but the infrastructure to get it across the Atlantic Ocean is not, and that's not the kind of thing you can spin up in a day. It's not a military prison on a tropical island.
-you underestimate the business of geopolitics. If Europe cuts off the Russian NG supply, they'll be back on it within a decade after the current conflict ends (assuming a new one doesn't come up in the interim). Russia might/probably wouldn't get back to being the top supplier to Europe, but they'd still get that cheddar.
-Russia might be willing to forego short-term profits in favor of long-term Crimea-holding.


Yeah nothing says Russia has to cut off all NG exports. If they cut it any appreciably amount and start raising the price, that's going to wreak enough havoc as is. They can charge more for oil too, though OPEC can head that off to a certain extent. I'm not entirely certain they would though.
 
2014-03-19 12:10:58 PM  

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: Peter von Nostrand: He has legions of Republicans as fans, so he always has that going for him. Hell, I'm surprised he didn't win the last cpac straw poll

I'm still trying to figure out where the Fark Liberals* came up with 'Republicans are fans of Putin'.


Then pay attention. There's a series of links up thread of conservative commentators praising Putin.
 
2014-03-19 12:12:39 PM  

tinyarena: When the USSR collapsed the Russians literally lost control of their nuclear arsenal.


Literally!
 
2014-03-19 12:12:55 PM  

kbronsito: durbnpoisn: Okay, so I did some reading just to be clear on this.  This is what I see...

Crimea is in dispute because the Ukraine says it's theirs, and so does Russia.
The people in Crimea, and their gov't say they want to be Russian.  So does Russia.

The only people that seem upset about this are the Ukranians, who will lose the territory, and the entire western world, for no real good reason that I can understand.

I can, at least, see why Ukraine is upset about losing Crimea.  Where would they put their navy if they lost all that coastline?
But that's about the only thing that seems to make any sense.

you may want to look up a map of Ukraine.


Yes, look at the map.  They not only lost the entire Crimean coastline, but the Sea of Azov is effectively closed to them now.  For all intents and purposes, Ukraine just lost 75% of its Black Sea coastline and most of its major ports.
 
2014-03-19 12:13:24 PM  
The joke to me is the persistent myth that any individual (such as a president) or even nation (such as the US) can police the entire world effectively, on the off chance a miscalculation is NOT made. This simplistic thinking will eventually be proven ludicrous to anyone who cares to study it.

Just like the economy (regional, global) - things just happen, and no one party can do much about it.  Proof? This recession began in 2008 and the BEST efforts of dozens of nations has not made a dent. It will just run its course.

In the not too distant future... when another dozen countries become nuclear, it will become obvious how little control certain interests actually have over the behavior of other countries, or other interested parties.

Worse, the US, whose economy lurches from doom to doom, will have to contend with a rotting nuclear quagmire (as will Russia), and will find itself petering out while China and India step forward, due to simple inevitability of countries with a behemothic middle class are wont to do.

Most of us will live to see this.
 
2014-03-19 12:13:43 PM  
If that's true, Putin needs to let Kasparov know all is forgiven and to pretty please come back, because Putin sucks at chess.

Hell, in Putin's shoes Kasparov would have resigned (in every sense of the word) a long time ago, just out of good manners. You know the worst possible way to insult a chess player? Dragging out a game you know you're bound to lose hoping he'll do something really idiotic.

If he won't stoop to calling Kasparov, he might try Gorbachev. He had reasons for writing off the Warsaw Pact in the first place. Oh, and Afghanistan. Most Russians never forgave Gorbachev for selling the family farm, but after enough bad harvests there sometimes isn't a choice.
 
2014-03-19 12:16:53 PM  
QUESTION:

1. Brazil's economy is bigger than Russia's. And China isn't in the G8 either. Why not give Russia's spot to either of those guys?

2. Russia has a World Cup coming up. I'm sure the U.S, UK, or Spain/Portugal would be happy to host it instead. (If the Russian team boycott's... who the fark cares. They can't even qualify unless they host anyways. One more spot for a team someone may actually want to watch).
 
2014-03-19 12:17:13 PM  
What interests me most about this conflict is how it plays out on some websites. For example, The Telegraph site is never a place to go for sensible, reasoned arguments but oh boy has it gone full tilt crazy over the Ukraine. There is a marked increase in pro-Russian shills and marked increase in anti-EU loons and somehow they have formed a loose alliance of EU hate. Never mind that it's Russia which has annexed a region, no it's the pro-facist EU's fault. It's futile to even offer a reasonable point of view because it will be shouted down but this stupidity.
 
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