Geopolitics (Too "Whataboutery" for Other Threads).

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Mciahel Goodman

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Just making sure we remember who asked who for help, and why.
Kyiv asked for help. The majority of Ukraine was represented there. No arguments. It's also true that Luhansk and Donetsk asked for help. Those requests aren't always without ambiguity.
 

rpitroda

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Didn't say that. I said they bear some responsibility for the events prior to the Russian invasion. And as was just pointed out you can say their position was in response to Russian action and just keep going back.
Wrong. You did say that.

You (quote): “ But I do agree that Ukrainians are the victims, and, insofar as the invasion goes, that Putin is the primary aggressor.”

Me (quote): “ Primary aggressor? Who are the others?”

You (quote): “NATO.”
 

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Kyiv asked for help. The majority of Ukraine was represented there. No arguments. It's also true that Luhansk and Donetsk asked for help. Those requests aren't always without ambiguity.
If you’re talking about the weeks leading up to Russia’s invasion, then that sounds an awful lot like South Carolina “asking for help” because the US government fought back against their separatism.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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NATO. That's the entire point I've been making. Russia is responsible for invading. NATO bears some responsibility for its militarization of Ukraine and the actions in the Donbass region.

Russia should have settled it, or tried to, via international diplomacy. Instead it invaded. After that, you can blame Putin all day. Before that, there's a legitimate series of events that have more than one actor.
So NATO is an aggressor in the invasion of Ukraine?
Bold. And it speaks of events prior to the invasion.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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If you’re talking about the weeks leading up to Russia’s invasion, then that sounds an awful lot like South Carolina “asking for help” because the US government fought back against their separatism.
Well, it was a civil war scenario. 14k dead and eight years of conflict.
 

Carolina Red

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Well, it was a civil war scenario. 14k dead and eight years of conflict.
Yeah, but as a South Carolinian let me tell you, we weren’t justified in our separatism and we weren’t justified in asking other southern states for help, making the war bigger. Comparing that request by Luhansk and Donetsk to Ukraine’s request for help after a foreign power unjustifiably seized their land is ridiculous.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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Yeah, but as a South Carolinian let me tell you, we weren’t justified in our separatism and we weren’t justified in asking other southern states for help, making the war bigger. Comparing that request by Luhansk and Donetsk to Ukraine’s request for help after a foreign power unjustifiably seized their land is ridiculous.
I'm giving you what seems to be their point of view. The separatists have split irrevocably from Ukraine and don't seem to favour rejoining. Russia will always exploit that if it can. But the ethnic differences and demographic constitution of Ukraine is not something Russia manufactured. Might not be right, but that's their position. Remains to be seen if that position holds post-invasion. Maybe support for separation will dwindle.
 

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Clearly NATO should have told Ukraine to kick rocks when it asked for training support after having part of its country occupied by Russia.
This whole discussion is so roundabout. But I can’t seem to disengage. My mind is telling me noooooo, but my body, my body is telling me yeeeeees.

This whole debate started because I made the point that nothing justifies the invasion. Mciahel commented that doesn’t justify it but Russia was provoked. I firstly don’t understand that. The argument is you can’t solely blame Russia for the lead up to the war but you can after they invaded. I mean, wtf does that mean? The invasion only happened because of something which means the two are linked. Please tell me if I’m being stupid but how can you say NATO bares responsibility for provoking Russia but then say Russia can only be blamed post invasion? And in both cases the invasion isn’t justified? I just don’t get it.

Anyway, the argument I already don’t get moved then on the understanding what provoking means. Which we seem to have established is Ukraine seeking NATO membership (somehow NATO provoking) and NATO militarisation of Ukraine (which was a result of Ukraine’s choice to want to join NATO). We’ve also established Russia is concerned about nukes in Ukraine (but hang on, there’s already nukes on its border by other NATO countries, no guarantee NATO would put nukes in Ukraine, and the whole debate is superfluous anyway because having a nuke in Ukraine would not make Russia any more unsafe than it already is - unless we try and frame it in 1960 nuclear technology). And finally, we talk about spheres of influence and that’s why Russia cares, because that makes it somehow better and more appropriate for them to invade Ukraine.

All in all, a total mess. All to somehow frame NATO and the US as “partially responsible” for this invasion.

Help me understand. Please.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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This whole debate started because I made the point that nothing justifies the invasion. Mciahel commented that doesn’t justify it but Russia was provoked. I firstly don’t understand that. The argument is you can’t solely blame Russia for the lead up to the war but you can after they invaded. I mean, wtf does that mean? The invasion only happened because of something which means the two are linked. Please tell me if I’m being stupid but how can you say NATO bares responsibility for provoking Russia but then say Russia can only be blamed post invasion? And in both cases the invasion isn’t justified? I just don’t get it.
NATO provoked Russia. Russia's response was disproportionate. That's why you can blame Russia absolutely for the invasion while not forgetting NATO action in Ukraine prior to that, as well as understanding self-awareness on the part of NATO regarding likely Russian response. The position of the Director of the CIA in 2016, aptly summarized on the previous page.
 

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I'm giving you what seems to be their point of view. The separatists have split irrevocably from Ukraine and don't seem to favour rejoining. Russia will always exploit that if it can. But the ethnic differences and demographic constitution of Ukraine is not something Russia manufactured. Might not be right, but that's their position. Remains to be seen if that position holds post-invasion. Maybe support for separation will dwindle.
I don’t need you to give me their point of view and I don’t think that’s what anyone in this discussion is asking of you.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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Wrong. You did say that.

You (quote): “ But I do agree that Ukrainians are the victims, and, insofar as the invasion goes, that Putin is the primary aggressor.”

Me (quote): “ Primary aggressor? Who are the others?”

You (quote): “NATO.”
Bold. And it speaks of events prior to the invasion.
Irrelevant. Not the post or sentence or even discussion I quoted.
I think it is the same post?
 

Mciahel Goodman

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I don’t need you to give me their point of view and I don’t think that’s what anyone in this discussion is asking of you.
You discount their point of view. That's your business. My point of view was summarized a page ago.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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All in all, a total mess. All to somehow frame NATO and the US as “partially responsible” for this invasion.
Because they knew what their actions would lead to. That's partial responsibility. That's been understood for a long time. Even the pro-war NYT ran an op-ed from Friedman outlining this. It's not that controversial. It's basic stuff.
 

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US interventions that @Mciahel Goodman supports:

1. Bay of Pigs (sphere of influence)
2. Mexican-American war (Texas requesting US annexation)

:p
 

nickm

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All in all, a total mess. All to somehow frame NATO and the US as “partially responsible” for this invasion.

Help me understand. Please.
OK. Ukraine, who'd been invaded and defeated by Russia, provocatively went to the world's best military defence organisation and got advice on how to reorganise its army in line with how the world's best military defence organisation does things, rather than the old way that caused it to get beaten. This provoked Russia to invade Ukraine again, in response.

(However the good news is the world's best military defence organisation's advice and support does actually work, and Russia won't be invading a third time, no matter how provoked.)
 

Mciahel Goodman

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US interventions that @Mciahel Goodman supports:

1. Bay of Pigs (sphere of influence)
2. Mexican-American war (Texas requesting US annexation)

:p
Yet to say I support the validity of "sphere of influence" (morally) but whether I support it or not doesn't matter because that's how it was perceived and that's what led to the material conditions you see today.

In fact, I think I made a brief defense of NATO/Ukraine on the previous page for the precise reason that sphere of influence is not legitimate, but did not pretend that NATO's encroachment within Ukraine was not a self-conscious provocation, only that you could argue the justness of that provocation if you take Ukrainian autonomy into account.
 

RedDevilQuebecois

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The Kurdish groups.
I hope Western European nations will happily remind Turkey on how many times they harbored jihadists who ended up committing violent acts in the aforementioned countries.

Can’t we just throw out Turkey and let in Sweden and Finland then? Seems like a good trade, and if I remember correctly NATO does have humans rights and democracy requirements, which Turkey could be violating.
That would be a very good trade to me. Turkey have been flirting with Russia for years under Erdogan, so let them go.
 

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This whole discussion is so roundabout. But I can’t seem to disengage. My mind is telling me noooooo, but my body, my body is telling me yeeeeees.

This whole debate started because I made the point that nothing justifies the invasion. Mciahel commented that doesn’t justify it but Russia was provoked. I firstly don’t understand that. The argument is you can’t solely blame Russia for the lead up to the war but you can after they invaded. I mean, wtf does that mean? The invasion only happened because of something which means the two are linked. Please tell me if I’m being stupid but how can you say NATO bares responsibility for provoking Russia but then say Russia can only be blamed post invasion? And in both cases the invasion isn’t justified? I just don’t get it.

Anyway, the argument I already don’t get moved then on the understanding what provoking means. Which we seem to have established is Ukraine seeking NATO membership (somehow NATO provoking) and NATO militarisation of Ukraine (which was a result of Ukraine’s choice to want to join NATO). We’ve also established Russia is concerned about nukes in Ukraine (but hang on, there’s already nukes on its border by other NATO countries, no guarantee NATO would put nukes in Ukraine, and the whole debate is superfluous anyway because having a nuke in Ukraine would not make Russia any more unsafe than it already is - unless we try and frame it in 1960 nuclear technology). And finally, we talk about spheres of influence and that’s why Russia cares, because that makes it somehow better and more appropriate for them to invade Ukraine.

All in all, a total mess. All to somehow frame NATO and the US as “partially responsible” for this invasion.

Help me understand. Please.
I think that some folks just want to find a reason for it to be at least partially NATO’s (read: America’s) fault, because things in the past have been and that makes folks have a certain view of NATO’s (read: America’s) foreign policy.

Sometimes it is “our” fault and sometimes “we” are wrong… but I don’t think it’s this time.
 

rpitroda

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OK. Ukraine, who'd been invaded and defeated by Russia, provocatively went to the world's best military defence organisation and got advice on how to reorganise its army in line with how the world's best military defence organisation does things, rather than the old way that caused it to get beaten. This provoked Russia to invade Ukraine again, in response.

(However the good news is the world's best military defence organisation's advice and support does actually work, and Russia won't be invading a third time, no matter how provoked.)
So what you’re saying is, if I got a new girlfriend a decade after I left my old girlfriend, my new girlfriend is a provocateur and is partially responsible for my unjustified death at the hand of my ex girlfriend? And each date I went on before I formally became boyfriend and girlfriend with my new girlfriend is provocative?
 

rpitroda

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I think that some folks just want to find a reason for it to be at least partially NATO’s (read: America’s) fault, because things in the past have been and that makes folks have a certain view of NATO’s (read: America’s) foreign policy.

Sometimes it is “our” fault and sometimes “we” are wrong… but I don’t think it’s this time.
It’s not.
 

Carolina Red

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You discount their point of view. That's your business. My point of view was summarized a page ago.
If by “discount” you mean “think they’re full of it”, then yes, yes I do. Ditto that for Putin… but I already thought that because I have already read up on what their viewpoint is. We are here because (once again) you’ve gone down a line of discussion where folks think you’re giving your opinion, not the proxy opinion of Donbas and Russia.
 

rpitroda

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NATO provoked Russia. Russia's response was disproportionate. That's why you can blame Russia absolutely for the invasion while not forgetting NATO action in Ukraine prior to that, as well as understanding self-awareness on the part of NATO regarding likely Russian response. The position of the Director of the CIA in 2016, aptly summarized on the previous page.
The first sentence in this post is what is and has been rebutted.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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The first sentence in this post is what is and has been rebutted.
Everyone basically admitted that Russia viewed NATO's action as a provocation (one page ago). NATO have admitted that such would be seen as a provocation. I don't see any refutation of that at all.
If by “discount” you mean “think they’re full of it”, then yes, yes I do. Ditto that for Putin… but I already thought that because I have already read up on what their viewpoint is. We are here because (once again) you’ve gone down a line of discussion where folks think you’re giving your opinion, not the proxy opinion of Donbas and Russia.
I don't think they are full of it. I think it's probably more complicated. But we were never going to agree.
 

Carolina Red

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They should've politely declined NATO cooperation so Putin could one day invade and actually win.
Ha! Reminds me of the Ben Franklin line from HBO’s John Adams…

“Don’t they know they’ve violated the first fundamental rule of warfare? Which is to always let the [Russians] win!?!?”
 

Mciahel Goodman

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You think there’s merit to the pile of shit that is the Russian justification for war?
Or the justification of American Imperialism (ominous music). Can go either way.

Gave my position already, basically mirrors the summary of that article dealing with Burns' opinion.
 

rpitroda

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Everyone basically admitted that Russia viewed NATO's action as a provocation (one page ago). NATO have admitted that such would be seen as a provocation. I don't see any refutation of that at all.

I don't think they are full of it. I think it's probably more complicated. But we were never going to agree.
I’m not talking about what RUSSIA thought of it. I’m talking about what YOU thought of it. And more importantly, whether it was really provocation or not.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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A repost


the current head of the CIA made his views known on the issue:

Back to Bill Burns. To hear the Biden administration tell it, the Ukraine crisis is the product of one man: Vladimir Putin. Putin fears that if Ukraine joins NATO and becomes a pro-Western democracy, Russians will want the same for themselves and thus rise up against his tyrannical rule. The idea that Russians genuinely think NATO poses a security threat is transparent bunk.

The Biden narrative isn’t entirely false. Putin surely does fear that a democratic, pro-Western Ukraine could inspire popular uprisings in his country. But it is partially false because it suggests that were Putin not in power, Russia’s government would have no problem with Ukraine joining NATO. And it implies that the US bears no responsibility for the current standoff. According to Bill Burns, Biden’s own CIA Director, neither of those claims are true.

Two years ago, Burns wrote a memoir entitled, The Back Channel. It directly contradicts the argument being proffered by the administration he now serves. In his book, Burns says over and over that Russians of all ideological stripes—not just Putin—loathed and feared NATO expansion. He quotes a memo he wrote while serving as counselor for political affairs at the US embassy in Moscow in 1995. ‘Hostility to early NATO expansion,” it declares, “is almost universally felt across the domestic political spectrum here.” On the question of extending NATO membership to Ukraine, Burns’ warnings about the breadth of Russian opposition are even more emphatic. “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin),” he wrote in a 2008 memo to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.”

While the Biden administration claims that Putin bears all the blame for the current Ukraine crisis, Burns makes clear that the US helped lay its foundations. By taking advantage of Russian weakness, he argues, Washington fueled the nationalist resentment that Putin exploits today. Burns calls the Clinton administration’s decision to expand NATO to include Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic “premature at best, and needlessly provocative at worst.” And he describes the appetite for revenge it fostered among many in Moscow during Boris Yeltsin’s final years as Russia’s president. “As Russians stewed in their grievance and sense of disadvantage,” Burns writes, “a gathering storm of ‘stab in the back’ theories slowly swirled, leaving a mark on Russia’s relations with the West that would linger for decades.”

As the Bush administration moved toward opening NATO’s doors to Ukraine, Burns’ warnings about a Russian backlash grew even starker. He told Rice it was “hard to overstate the strategic consequences” of offering NATO membership to Ukraine and predicted that “it will create fertile soil for Russian meddling in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.” Although Burns couldn’t have predicted the specific kind of meddling Putin would employ—either in 2014 when he seized Crimea and fomented a rebellion in Ukraine’s east or today—he warned that the US was helping set in motion the kind of crisis that America faces today. Promise Ukraine membership in NATO, he wrote, and “There could be no doubt that Putin would fight back hard.”

Were a reporter to read Burns’ quotes to White House press secretary Jen Psaki today, she’d likely accuse them of “parroting Russian talking points.” But Burns is hardly alone. From inside the US government, many officials warned that US policy toward Russia might bring disaster. William Perry, Bill Clinton’s Defense Secretary from 1994 to 1997, almost resigned because of his opposition to NATO expansion. He has since declared that because of its policies in the 1990s, “the United States deserves much of the blame” for the deterioration in relations with Moscow. Steven Pifer, who from 1998 to 2000 served as US ambassador to Ukraine, has called Bush’s 2008 decision to declare that Ukraine would eventually join NATO “a real mistake.” Fiona Hill, who gained fame during the Trump impeachment saga, says that as national intelligence officers for Russia and Eurasia she and her colleagues “warned” Bush that “Putin would view steps to bring Ukraine and Georgia closer to NATO as a provocative move that would likely provoke pre-emptive Russian military action.”

Burns’ criticisms of past US policy toward Russia and Ukraine don’t mean he opposes Biden’s policy today. He may believe that while pushing NATO expansion helped bring about the current standoff, it would be a mistake to pull back from it now—at the point of a Russian gun.
With the part in bold being my primary point. You can understand the idea of provocation without also saying that Russia was justified in its invasion, and that's the broader point made by almost every academic source cited in this thread. I don't think it's controversial or that it implies a mutually exclusive premise.
 

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I’m not talking about what RUSSIA thought of it. I’m talking about what YOU thought of it. And more importantly, whether it was really provocation or not.
I thought it was a provocation and that it was understood as such.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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Can you not just give a straight answer? This isn’t a college classroom.
That is my answer :lol:

I think it's complex and I also don't think I or anyone here fully understand(s) it. But inasmuch as I do, my position is that outline above, "that you can understand the idea of provocation without also saying that Russia was justified in its invasion...".
 

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I hope Western European nations will happily remind Turkey on how many times they harbored jihadists who ended up committing violent acts in the aforementioned countries.

That would be a very good trade to me. Turkey have been flirting with Russia for years under Erdogan, so let them go.
This is actually for the geopolitics thread (@Raoul/@Carolina Red), since it has no direct bearing on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But while it's still here: other countries can say whatever they want, but NATO membership requires agreement from all current members and there is little others can do to just force Turkey into that position. The Turks aren't idiots though and won't stop this forever; they will just need some concessions in turn. Sweden and Finland are unlikely to start represssing Kurdish organizations, so there will probably be something about economic collaboration or more help for Turkey with the many refugees it's harbouring.
 

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That is my answer :lol:

I think it's complex and I also don't think I or anyone here fully understand(s) it. But inasmuch as I do, my position is that outline above, "that you can understand the idea of provocation without also saying that Russia was justified in its invasion...".
So you think NATO should have declined requests for help so as not to “provoke”?
 

Mciahel Goodman

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So you think NATO should have declined requests for help so as not to “provoke”?
I don't think NATO accepted the request for altruistic reasons. But I don't think they should have declined, no. Sort of what I meant by not being sure there was a way around it in an earlier post, or that things could have been done differently.
 

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The separatists have split irrevocably from Ukraine and don't seem to favour rejoining
As they're essentially (or rather literally) puppet states of a dictatorship, it's impossible for us to know what the people in the "republics" really want at this point. But calling the split "irrevocable" seems like a very bold prediction.
 

Mciahel Goodman

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As they're essentially (or rather literally) puppet states of a dictatorship, it's impossible for us to know what the people in the "republics" really want at this point. But calling the split "irrevocable" seems like a very bold prediction.
Maybe. Ukraine would have to take them back by force, I think, which is possible but who knows.