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Context: U.S. Strikes Missile Deal With Poland

You think this is a provocation?

Poland and the United States struck a deal Thursday that will strengthen military ties and put an American missile interceptor base in Poland, a plan that has infuriated Moscow and sparked fears in Europe of a new arms race. "We have crossed the Rubicon," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said, referring to U.S. consent to Poland's demands after more than 18 months of negotiations.

U.S. officials also said the timing of the deal was not meant to antagonize Russian leaders at a time when relations already are strained over the recent fighting between Russia and Georgia over the South Ossetia region.

(Emphasis supplied.) We are ruled by lunatics. I can think of no good reason for the United States to have a missile defense system in Poland, EXCEPT to provoke Russia. To ANNOUNCE such a deal NOW, given the situation in the Caucasus, is simply madness.

Speaking for me only

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    Redux. Obviously this is the retaliation... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:12:30 PM EST
    ...for the Georgia situation.

    And, as with the attack on Iraq that took our eyes off Afghanistan, it is a stupid strategic move that targets the wrong country.

    Like I said (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:22:26 PM EST
    Lunatics.

    nah (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by wg on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:14:40 PM EST
    Poland has an obsolete air-defense system, basically old 70s Soviet technology that needs to be replaced. They will need well in excess of 20 units to provide some modicum of protection for their major urban/industrial/military assets (Germany has ~30 Patriot units/1000 rockets in their army).

    The problem was we really did not want to sell them any, it took them 18 months to get a permission to buy one! Also at the going prices they will never be able to afford "Patriots", we wanted $1B for that system when the going prices are 0.3B on average. Poland's  entire budget is $30B for comparison.

    Russians systems on the other hand are well within their means.

    They could have easily gone with modern Russian systems, S-300, S-400. They are apparently fine, Slovakia has one S-300 battery, South Korea an entire battalion of them and they are working with Russians on modifying S-400 for their needs. Also Israel publicly warned Iran they will be attacked if they accept any shipment of S-300s.

    Besides ONE system is irrelevant militarily however you look at it, on top of it Poles will not have access to it, the system will be run by US troops. This is strangely at variance with normal practices everywhere - all Patriot, S-300, S-400 systems out there are operated by their buyers not sellers.

    So Patriots were/are irrelevant here basically, the idea (mostly Polish I understand)  was to  get some American military personnel stationed in a bona-fide US base in Poland on the theory that Russians would not dare to invade any country with US soldiers stationed in it.

    I consider this theory basically nonsense for several reasons.

    a) chances that Russians would invade Poland are probably the same as Poland being invaded by French or Swedes. Yeah it happened before but is basically totally improbable now.

    b) the idea that Russians would be somehow inhibited by a presence of 75 US soldiers in Poland  is preposterous.  Think about Chinese invading  Korea despite massive presence of US troops there, same with North Vietnamese invading South. I don't also think US would hesitate one minute to invade Cuba if Russians kept all those missiles there. So if Russians decide to invade those 75 soldiers will make no difference.

    So all those arguments are bogus, the base will be there for one purpose only, to POKE the bear for the enjoyment of CIA, Cheney and his neocons.

    In the interest of Poland is contributing constructively toward common vibrant European economic house with Russia an integral part of it.  That's were her safety is, not in US bases on her territory or anywhere else.

    Poland (none / 0) (#138)
    by lousy1 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 02:24:20 PM EST
    Is a NATO member. One of the most active ones. One of the prerequisites of NATO member ship is having a high percentage of weapons that are compatible with the systems and logistics of other members.

    The installation of ABM interceptors has been an ongoing effort for at least three years. Although the capabilities of the systems to intercept modern ICBMs with independently target Warheads is under debate ( 10-80%) effectiveness the ability to intercept single Warhead non maneuverable ballistic missiles is high. This capacity is enhanced when the system is augmented by other layers of missile defense.

    These missiles have neither the warhead capacity or the guidance systems to be used as offensive weapons. They, at best, would have the same capacity as a $500 mortar shell.

    Serious analysts project Russian fear of these weapons as a reaction to :

    1. Diminishing the already remote likely hood of a successful Russian Preemptive strike

    2. (More likely) It weakens the utility of Russia's tactical nuclear (SS20) capacity which is remains a key component of Russian planning from Soviet Era doctrine. This capacity should not be ridiculed before some intensive war game scenario projections are analyzed.
     

    Parent
    Why are Americans always at war? (5.00 / 3) (#116)
    by Prabhata on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:11:19 AM EST
    War on poverty, war on drugs, war on terror, war on Christians, war on Christmas, war, war, war.

    Concise. (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 05:52:12 AM EST
    "We are ruled by lunatics".

    Simply put.

    The question I think we should be seriously asking is how we got here.

    At least some of the answer is that we have been tolerating the undisguised corruption of our democratic process.

    We think the best we can do is hold our noses every four years and vote for someone who is not the other guy.

    This is not serving us very well.

    Add to this (4.50 / 2) (#4)
    by standingup on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:09:35 PM EST
    Larry King has Gorbachev on right now talking about a new cold war.  National security is becoming more of an issue again.   Don't have to ask who that benefits.      

    Well... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:15:09 PM EST
    ...the "new Cold War" has been bandied about by pundits who like to recycle their narratives (and pretend it's not laziness but historical allusion) for a long time. Ever since Putin became more pro-active in his foreign policy and followed through with the hollowing out of his domestic opposition, such that it existed.

    Parent
    Amping up foreign dangers tends to benefit Repubs- (none / 0) (#21)
    by jawbone on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:40:09 PM EST
    So, is BushCo trying to kill two birds w/ one stone? Poke the bear AND make voters think about the "security" Daddy Party?

    I put nothing past the minds of Rove and Cheney.

    Parent

    Amping up foreign dangers tends to benefit (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Edger on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:41:52 PM EST
    weapons manufacturers.

    Parent
    The only good thing about Iraq (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ennis on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:05:14 PM EST
    is that it hampered the neocons efforts to stampede us into a major conflict with Russia.

    Cold War lunacy.

    But it doesn't seem to be stopping them. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:43:59 PM EST
    You don't need to engage an army to start a war.  If the Prime Minister of Georgia is to be believed, Bush egged this conflict on and told him that he'd back Georgia up.

    People also forget that if the NeoCons can amp up American paranoia to 2003 levels, they may be able to solve their personnel shortage by convincing enough people that the draft should be reinstated.  I remember when we did not have a volunteer military.  Seems like a lot of people forget that the government can draft our citizens.  They've got the information they need to do it again.

    Parent

    There will never be a draft (none / 0) (#64)
    by Valhalla on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:03:01 PM EST
    that's just fearmongering in itself.

    Republicans know that the one thing that would turn the U.S. population against them regardless of who the enemy is or how previously successful their jingoistic patriotism has been, is a draft.

    And I daresay, few people have forgotten that the govt can draft people.  Certainly not the male half of the population, who have to register for it when they turn 18, or anyone who remembers Vietnam, or Korea, or WWII, or, for that matter, anyone who has ever seen an episode of M.A.S.H.

    There are so many real things to condemn Republicans for, why go looking for fake ones?

    Parent

    I'm over "it will never happen" (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:06:29 PM EST
    attitudes.  Plenty of insanity that was never supposed to happen in this country has happened in the past seven and a half years.  To say that there will never be a draft is to be ahistorical in my opinion.

    Parent
    These past seven years? (none / 0) (#112)
    by Prabhata on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 12:48:20 AM EST
    You've never read anything about the Mexican-American or the Spanish War.

    Parent
    I really didn't think it was necessary (none / 0) (#126)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 10:35:21 AM EST
    to go any farther back in time given the all too numerous examples of things that "would never happen" but did anyway just in the last seven plus years.

    Not for nothin' we are also dealing with the exact same miscreants now as we have been over the past seven years as well as the same spineless Dem leadership who seem intent on allowing the miscreants to have their way.

    Parent

    The prime minister of Georgia (none / 0) (#91)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:21:42 PM EST
    is lying through his teeth about lots of stuff.  He may be telling the truth about this, but I wouldn't trust it.  He's knocking himself out to manipulate the old U.S. reflexes against the Soviet Union to get the U.S. public behind him.  He obviously can't even conceive of the fact that the U.S. public doesn't give a rat's * about Georgia.

    Parent
    Someone please explain (none / 0) (#3)
    by BernieO on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:09:25 PM EST
    To the best of my knowledge the missile defense system we want to put in there has never worked. From discussions I have heard about this topic, actual rocket scientists who work on US systems (so are not biased against such things)have said they can never work. As far as I know that assessment has not changed. Our tests haven't shown them to work, unless you want to count the ones where they put a GPS beacon on the incoming missile, or where they tested on small part of the system.
    So why are the Russians so opposed? The only explanation I can think of is that they believe we could easily turn these installations into offensive missile sites. Anyone know? Have we figured out how to make this system work? I find this very confusing.

    It doesn't work as a DEFENSIVE system-- missiles (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by jawbone on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:41:11 PM EST
    can function perfectly well offensively.


    Parent
    First because it's a flagrant (none / 0) (#93)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:24:47 PM EST
    insult.  Wasn't the U.S. getting hysterical recently about some rumor Russia was going to put missiles in Cuba again?

    But more important, I think, is your guess, that the Russians have no reason to trust the U.S., especially under Bush.  We would not tolerate any kind of Russian military installation on our borders.

    Parent

    I have never understood (none / 0) (#6)
    by bocajeff on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:14:44 PM EST
    The opposition to a defensive system...If you have no plans on attacking then what do you care if your neighbor is protecting itself?

    Not to mention that Poland is an ally and part of NATO.

    Well... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:18:31 PM EST
    Wikipedia:

    On December 13, 2001, George W. Bush gave Russia notice of the United States' withdrawal from the [Antiballistic Missle] treaty, in accordance with the clause that requires six months notice before terminating the pact. This was the first time in recent history the United States has withdrawn from a major international arms treaty. This led to the eventual creation of the Missile Defense Agency.

    It was, and remains, a domestic symbol (in Russia) of how America didn't care about treaties and pacts with Russia when Russia's chips were down.

    Parent

    That is like saying that I should not oppose (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:19:26 PM EST
    illegal wire tapping and such just cause I have nothing to hide.

    Parent
    NO (none / 0) (#47)
    by bocajeff on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:17:21 PM EST
    It's like complaining that your neighbor is locking their doors at night. Since I have no reason to enter the home uninvited why should I care if they lock their doors or not!

    Parent
    Except this is not a lock (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:39:17 PM EST
    The so called defensive missiles can be used offensively.  So if my neighbor puts a gun on the fence between both houses I am going to worry.  Please don't be simplistic with you examples.

    Parent
    IF, (none / 0) (#68)
    by bocajeff on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:20:43 PM EST
    a missile interceptor is an offensive weapon then I am wrong and in agreement with you. My understanding is that it is not, but I could be wrong.

    Parent
    Any missile that can be launched can be (none / 0) (#74)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:27:56 PM EST
    used offensively,  the targeting is done by software wether it be a moving object in the air, a submarine underwater or ship on water, as well as any land based target.   An old example is anti-aircraft weapons, despite its name, if aimed horizontally it can be used for land based targets.

    Parent
    So you'd be OK with the Russians (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:25:57 PM EST
    putting something similar of their own in, say, Cuba?

    Parent
    Like I said . . . (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:23:01 PM EST
    Lunatics.

    Parent
    It's like this (4.00 / 1) (#56)
    by coigue on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:38:40 PM EST
    If your neighbor is belligerent, and the only thing YOU believe is keeping your neighbor from attacking is that your neighbor is afraid of you...then your neighbor buys something that protects him from your offenses.

    That leaves you vulnerable because your neighbor can attack without fear of retaliation.

    It messes with the MAD model (mutually assured destruction = peace)

    Parent

    The lies are the biggest problem (none / 0) (#25)
    by BrianJ on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:49:00 PM EST
    The proposed Polish and Czech anti-missile systems are supposedly for defense against missiles from Iran.  But they're more than twice as far from Iran as the longest range of any Iranian missile (the Shahab-3).  They're quite obviously meant to be pokes in Russia's eye.

    Which brings up the question of what the hell the Poles and Czechs are thinking.  Both their nations, and most of the rest of Europe, are dependent on Russian petroleum and natural gas.  It is insane to bite the hand you're begging from.

    The only question is exactly how Russia will choose to remind them of this.  Hopefully, it won't be something that causes people to die-  and cutting off those oil and natgas supplies will cause people to freeze all over Europe this fall and winter.

    Parent

    Well, that makes sense (none / 0) (#95)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:28:59 PM EST
    We all know the Iranians are dead set on annexing Poland and the Czech republic, right?

    What utter garbage!


    Parent

    If the system had the potential to evolve (none / 0) (#122)
    by JoeA on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 07:35:05 AM EST
    into one that would neutralise your own armory then it is a problem.  It removes any potential deterrent that Russia's arsenal would have and would  . . .  in the minds of the paranoid,  make them vulnerable to a Nucler first strike.  Thats the Russian argument,  and presumably it would be exactly the same argument that Cheney et al. would be making if Russia were installing a Ballistic Missile Defence system on Cuba.

    Parent
    I wonder what (none / 0) (#9)
    by lilburro on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:17:08 PM EST
    amazing thing Pelosi has to say about this.

    Why impeach when you can overreach.

    I'm sure she's working on a sternly worded (none / 0) (#75)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:29:06 PM EST
    letter as we type. Either that or a symbolic show of support for the President during this time of crisis(that he managed to create as a diversion from the fact that our economy is in the crapper due to his bumbling ineptness.)

    Parent
    The Bush Administration (none / 0) (#10)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:17:24 PM EST
    And the Republican Party exist for conflict. If there isn't one, they'll create it. They've belittled the UN and tried to destroy it. They managed to alienate most of So. America. They have made their feeling towards Europe very clear.

    Until the American public realizes we can't bomb are way to peace, the Republican's will keep at it. It been a winning ticket for them for years.

    Albright did say that (none / 0) (#61)
    by coigue on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:43:49 PM EST
    this has been brewing for months. She gave a pretty good smackdown in her way on the Newshour last night.

    Parent
    maybe (none / 0) (#13)
    by wg on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:21:17 PM EST
    I've followed this issue quite closely for some time already, the connotations wee/are manifold, but in the final count I think  Poles made a mistake here, but hey that's their problem not ours. For this country that base was always militarily totally irrelevant, its significance is purely geo-political.

    One not so minor  problem is  this.

    Russians will be now able to negotiate with Cuba (or Venezuela for that matter) for their own missile base/radar site here and if they do I wanna see what Cheney and his neocons will do about it?

    Poland (none / 0) (#77)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:40:59 PM EST
    My cousin and I travelled to Poland in June--we had always wanted to go for many reasons, not the least of which is our maternal grandparents immigrated from Poland.  As a good Polish (&Slovenian) girl, I inherited from birth...my membership in the Democratic Party. During the Russian occupation there and contemporaneous comments in the 1970s and 80s, I wondered why so many of the newer immigrants from Poland seemed to be decidedly more "conservative" than my Pennsylvania relatives. Well, the Poland trip brought out some real history about how the Soviet Union governed as the occupier during those years. The stories, the monuments, the reflections, even the acerbic humor helped me understand what seemed only now a part of history. Without writing a tome, I do believe that the scars borne still by Poland explain a lot about why the country would opt for the "deal" of defensive missiles in the wake of Russia's incursion into Georgia. Accepting the missile system (which they had resisted earlier) may well have been a mistake. But from the Polish perspective--and, I understand, in the view of the Ukraine and other former SSRs--it is about a lot more than our misbegotten foreign policy directions. It is visceral for Poland.

    Parent
    i wonder how much money (none / 0) (#79)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:45:15 PM EST
    we're giving them to allow the missile site. I feel pretty confident they are not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. I wonder what we are promising them.

    Parent
    visceral (none / 0) (#81)
    by wg on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:49:12 PM EST
    unfortunately visceral is just about it, no grey matter here. I sympathize with it, I kind of understand it, but rational this is not. Sorry.

    Parent
    Yes, well, I was in (none / 0) (#97)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:32:09 PM EST
    Hungary and Czechoslovakia and East Germany during the depths of the Soviet occupation in the '60s, and I think their experience is something you don't get over.

    Parent
    Good points..... (none / 0) (#124)
    by Jjc2008 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 09:12:12 AM EST
    it's why international relations are so complex.  Unlike what some governments would like (think 1984), people have memories.  Think Cuban Americans.  There is a reason why the first generation has leaned so conservative.  For the Cubans, in American communism meant the loss of their homes thus, the anti communist rhetoric of the cold war fit.  For the Poles so long under the thumb of Communist rule, same thing.  

    On the other hand, countries like Italy for so long feared the "fascist" return, they adapted to socialism more readily.

    And the USA of the last 60 years was willing to capitalize on the fears that grew out of those years.
    There are people here in American who lived their entire lives under the notion of MAD.  Seeing Russia invade brings back the old times.  Back then, we as citizens relied on our government for the "facts."  Now we all know. We were fed spin back then.  I think the one thing that has changed is that finally more people worldwide understand that their governments lies.

    Parent

    not only that (none / 0) (#16)
    by Turkana on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:25:44 PM EST
    but the thing doesn't even work. it makes a lot of money for a lot of powerful people, but the technology isn't there, and never will be.

    That's "Big Science" talking (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by coigue on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:44:39 PM EST
    (snark).

    Parent
    It may not work defensively (none / 0) (#114)
    by Prabhata on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 12:56:59 AM EST
    but i think it works as it's supposed to work, offensively.

    Parent
    I kind of think... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:27:49 PM EST
    ... that we ought to draw a line somewhere with Russia. Poland is not a bad choice. I think dealing with Putin's ambitions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Belarus is more problematic.

    Heh (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:31:04 PM EST
    Yes, let's draw lines. That's the ticket.

    For the record, to date, Russia has toppled ZERO governments in this decade, the US has toppled 2.

    So where do we draw the line on the US?

    Parent

    Feel free to differ... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:47:16 PM EST
    ...but I do think there's a difference between the US's efforts, which I do think are ill-advised, but which I don't see as imperialist in intent, and those of Russia, which is literaly saying "forget any previous ideas of territorial integrity - we are keeping this". People who equate Putin to Hitler or Mussolini are overreacting, of course, but we should be seeing Putin's Russia as an expansionist, basically fascist nation. We should be dealing with it in a hard-nosed but reasonable way.

    Parent
    so going into a sovereign country and (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:50:39 PM EST
    and taking it over with troops is not imperialistic?  Is that just because it was us and not them?  hmmm

    Parent
    How are you defining "imperialist?" (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:52:00 PM EST
    I would say there is a difference, and it's not completely negligible, that while Russia undermines (admittedly flawed) Democracy the United States has in recent history targeted mostly dictatorships. But we also target (again, admittedly flawed) democracies, notably in South America.

    So while I see a difference between the two, I think it makes much more sense to target the things wrong in BOTH countries' foreign policies as opposed to calling one imperialist and the other not and acting like that labelling is conclusive and acts as a res ipsa loquitur argument.

    Parent

    I disagree (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:01:57 PM EST
    I believe we should be arguing for the US to act in its OWN best interests and to understand that other countries do the same.

    I am so sick of all the MORAL authority crap.

    Here's a serious question for you - do you believe anyone seriously believes Russia plans to take over Georgia? Latvia? Estonia? Ukraine? POLAND? REALLY? Do they?

    I do not. It is obvious to a blind man that it is not in their national interest to do so.

    But they are not happy that the US is pushing forward into their defensive sphere of influence - as we were not when missiles were deployed in Cuba in 1962.

    The provocateurs here are the West, and for no good reason.

    I can understna Poland's apprehension, Georgia's fears and desires - all of that. But we do not act in the interests of Poland and Georgia - we act in the interests of the United States. And the actions of THIS Administration are simply mind boggling idiotic.

    Parent

    I believe... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:08:35 PM EST
    ... in the pragmatist view of foreign policy. I can deal with Russia taking these particular, Russian-heavy, semi-autonomous provinces. But I also think a lack of push-back will, in fact, embolden Putin to try to seize more territory, at least in part because the Russian people want to feel good about themselves, and will back him in it. If he's not given a reason not to, I think he'll continue to seek expansion.

    Parent
    Hmm (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:13:19 PM EST
    My own view of Putin is he is a ruthless shrewd Russian nationalist who sees his country prospering by doing business with the West.

    He will act for the defense of his country but will not seek to expand it for no good reason. My own view is this is less about South Ossetia and Abzakhia for Putin and more about the expansion of NATO to a virtual encirclement of Russia.

    After all, Bush has proven that the US is very capable of its own expansionism and aggressive behavior. To be quite frank, viewed objectively, the US has much more to be questioned about in this decade than Russia in the realm of international expansionism.

    Parent

    motivations (none / 0) (#85)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:02:59 PM EST
    Eventually, we'll have more info on the real motivations. And--of course--even then different people will emphasize different aspects. The NATO encirclement angle does appear to have pushed it in the Russian face (so to speak). Probably humiliating and provocative. Nevertheless, there were obvious reasons for any payback perceived there. For me, Russian history is telling. As I recall, Russia has always engaged in an on-again off-again relationship with Europe, in general EurAsia and all that. And, as I remember, the drive to seaports and satellite expansion is pervasive in the past few hundred years of Russian history. I abhor what the neocons here have done with foreign policy--our very own sashaying expansionists. BUT, after years of studying Russian history, culture, and language, it is my belief that Russia stands at the ready to repeat its expansionist history. "Soft talk" "soft power" does not work in that context. Please realize, tho, that there are avenues and steps available in terms of pressure points. Triangulation, for example, is not a bad concept in many international arrangements--theres a lot of power persuasion without war. To wish it away, on the other hand, might increase militaristic responses.

    Parent
    From what I have read (none / 0) (#88)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:15:29 PM EST
    It was Georgia provoking Russia not the other way around. That doesn't sound expansionist on Russia's part. It sounds like Georgia may have been looking to expand.

    Parent
    If you studied Russian history (none / 0) (#99)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:38:44 PM EST
    then you also know that Russia suffered mightily over many centuries by invasion and takeovers by neighboring countries, Poland being a major one of them, before it became the Soviet Union.  So they have their own cultural paranoia to deal with.

    Russia is now ruled by pragmatists.  They have neither the means nor the will to take over any other now independent former satellites.  That's just a fact.  But they absolutely will resist to the utmost attemps to put their neighboring former satellites into the orbit of the U.S. and Europe militarily.  Can't say that I blame them.  Look how we reacted to Cuba's ties to the old Soviet Union.

    Parent

    I'm not sure how that connects... (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:09:58 PM EST
    ...with what I wrote.

    My meaning was that we should argue against the symptoms of imperialism no matter which country they're found in. And that this was a far better tact to take than choosing to apologize for Russia or apologize for the USA.

    As far as the sphere of influence argument, obviously that's their problem with US foreign policy. I don't see any argument about that.

    See above for my feelings about what I think the worst case scenario for Russia's control over the former Warsaw Pact states would be. I don't know to what degree you disagree with that and so I don't know how to respond to your "serious question."

    Parent

    Review what you wrote and try thinking on this (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:18:12 PM EST
    " I think it makes much more sense to target the things wrong in BOTH countries' foreign policies"

    My disagreement is with the view that "We" should be focused on anything beyond American interests in formulating our foreign policy. I am of the view that OUR interests coincide with a more free, prosperous and democratic world, but how we go about ENCOURAGING the existence of such a world is critical.

    Invading countries to "spread democracy" IS never a good policy. Provoking Russia for no good reason is NEVER a good policy.

    Denying what Russia's actual intentions likely are is NEVER good thinking.

    Your focus on the MORAL sounds moral, but it really is not imo. IT is a fake conceit having little to do with effective foreign policy.  

    Parent

    Uh... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:24:10 PM EST
    ...your calling my opinion a "fake conceit" notwithstanding:
    My disagreement is with the view that "We" should be focused on anything beyond American interests in formulating our foreign policy. I am of the view that OUR interests coincide with a more free, prosperous and democratic world, but how we go about ENCOURAGING the existence of such a world is critical.

    Invading countries to "spread democracy" IS never a good policy. Provoking Russia for no good reason is NEVER a good policy.

    Denying what Russia's actual intentions likely are is NEVER good thinking.

    I don't disagree with any of that, except that I would say that I am perhaps a bit more in favor than of taking a hit on national interest in the short-term to build a more just and free world (that would benefit us in the long-term). But that's basically what you were saying with a time dimension to it.

    So I'm further confused about the particulars of what we're arguing about.

    Parent

    You're arguing about the how (none / 0) (#67)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:19:33 PM EST
    at least that is what it appears from where I'm sitting.

    BTD has it right. We can't really take the moral high ground when we are complicit in stuff like the installation of the Shah or actively looking to unseat democratically elected people simply because their interests contradict our own(like in Venezuala). Our foreign policy is FUBAR and calling Russia out would be like the pot calling the kettle black.

    Parent

    Huh? (none / 0) (#71)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:26:55 PM EST
    BTD has it right. We can't really take the moral high ground when we are complicit in stuff like the installation of the Shah or actively looking to unseat democratically elected people simply because their interests contradict our own(like in Venezuala). Our foreign policy is FUBAR and calling Russia out would be like the pot calling the kettle black.

    You realize you're making MY point as well, right? Where in my comments about targeting the symptoms of imperialism in both Russia and the USA did I defend the installation of the Shah, etc.? So what are you talking about?

    To the extent that I'm arguing about the "how," I again am forced to reject this reflexive demand that not saying "it's not our problem" is somehow coterminous with arguing for Bush's foreign policy. There are more than two choices.

    Parent

    I'm talking about this (none / 0) (#76)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:40:14 PM EST
    idea that we can somehow force Russia to do the right thing by force or threat which seems to be the jist of why BTD is calling the folks in charge lunatics and doing so by claiming a false moral high ground(tra la la la we're doing it because we support democracy so take that Russia) seems the height of hypocrisy. Instead of working on fixing Russia's foreign policy perhaps we should call this what it is, a diversion. The economy is tanking under our watch so let's create a boogeyman and hope the electorate is stoopid enuff to fall for the "national security" stuff again.  

    Parent
    Well, as I see it... (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:59:17 PM EST
    ... the Russians intend to keep the territory they have seized in Georgia permanently. I think it is hard to claim that Bush ever intended to keep Iraq as a permanent US territory.

    Parent
    Hmmm... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:05:44 PM EST
    ...I don't think most knowledgeable observers think that Russia plans on Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, the Baltic States, etc. being folded into the state known as "Russia." I really haven't seen that anywhere in the debate.

    Among Russophobic experts the greatest fear seems to be that Russia will undermine those nations' governments and eventually control them from a distance as puppet states, and will control their foreign and domestic policy toward Russian ends.

    I think that it is VERY easy to claim that this is what Bush would like out of Iraq (and, more to the point, would still like out of Iraq even though it's now in the ranks of flawed democracy). In fact, given how manufactured the WMD explanation was, I think it may be easily inferred that this was the purpose of the Iraq War, to control a country in the Arab mideast.

    Parent

    More likely (5.00 / 6) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:09:39 PM EST
    Russia wants to avoid being surrounded by hostile states aligned with a defense organization whose creation was expressly created to fight against it.

    If we can just step away from our Amero-centric views for a moment, one might have some sympathy for that view. Heck, the Monroe Doctrine predates this by some 125 years.

    Parent

    And... (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:13:44 PM EST
    ...then there's the view of the satellite states -- substantially undermined by the USA's powerlessness in Georgia -- that they'd rather not share a border with hostile Russia right now without some backup.

    Parent
    Harsh words from me (none / 0) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:20:36 PM EST
    but, that is THEIR problem, not ours.

    Parent
    I think maybe... (none / 0) (#55)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:28:15 PM EST
    ...our disagreement is founded on the degree to which their problem is or will become our problem.

    Or, to put it positivistically, that their people's gain will become our people's gain through trade, education, prosperity, culture, and shared ideas of society.

    Parent

    Heh (none / 0) (#69)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:21:19 PM EST
    because we've done such a craptacular job with exporting democracy to places like Afghanistan right?

    Parent
    See above... (none / 0) (#73)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:27:44 PM EST
    ...the "you disagree with me therefore I assume you're totally for Bush's foreign policy and tactics" game is tired and pathetic.

    Parent
    Call it what you will (none / 0) (#86)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:04:33 PM EST
    You ARE defending Bush's tactics in this instance. The administration was wrong on Iraq and they are wrong now. Furthermore, what you are defending is an attempt to create a manufactured threat(just as the WMDs were a manufactured threat). The GOP is going to play the national security card. It's the only card in the deck they manage to get anywhere with. How convemient that it occurs now when the Democrats have the upper hand because of the economy and how curious that they'd use it against a candidate without national security credentials. Color me shocked.

    Parent
    What? (none / 0) (#87)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:09:00 PM EST
    You ARE defending Bush's tactics in this instance. The administration was wrong on Iraq and they are wrong now. Furthermore, what you are defending is an attempt to create a manufactured threat(just as the WMDs were a manufactured threat).

    How, specifically, am I defending Bush's tactics?

    I know the administration was wrong on Iraq. Why do you even bring that up since (a) I agree with that statement and (b) it is not germane to what I was talking about?

    What attempt, specifically, am I defending?

    You're not replying to any points I made. You're pulling out strawmen. It's annoying.

    Parent

    Correct me then if I am mistaken (none / 0) (#92)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:23:21 PM EST
    From where I am sitting it appears that you believe that we have the authority to dictate to Russia. You support interfering in it's attempts to maintain a region they presently control to import democracy since it boundaries Georgia(our ally). Am I misreading you or is the jist of what I am saying right?

    Parent
    asdf (none / 0) (#96)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:31:46 PM EST
    From where I am sitting it appears that you believe that we have the authority to dictate to Russia.

    If you mean "dictate" as "control," it's obvious beyond stating that no, we have neither the authority nor the ability to control them.

    If you mean "dictate" in terms of trying to get what we want for our own interests, then yes, again, obvious beyond words. Of course our national interests are not necessarily what Bush sees our interest as being. So there's that wrinkle in that while we have the right to pursue our own interests, there are different views on what our interests might be.

    You support interfering in it's attempts to maintain a region they presently control to import democracy since it boundaries Georgia(our ally)?

    I don't see any point in the United States interfering with Russia's de facto control of South Ossetia or Abkhazia.

    Parent

    What do you see as our interest (none / 0) (#100)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:43:27 PM EST
    in this particular instance? I might see this differently if it were Russia that initiated hostility with Georgia but that was not the case.

    Furthermore, how can you not see this as a poke in the eye of Russia when it basically smacks of a policy of pre emption. We're putting missiles there as a deterrance even though you've done nothing to provoke us?

    I see BTD's point. I'm trying to figure out where I'm missing yours.

    Parent

    Our interest... (none / 0) (#101)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:47:49 PM EST
    ...when have I defended the missile deal with Poland? When have I stated it was a good idea? When did that happen?

    This conversation is done. I'm done dealing with you lying about what I said and feigning confusion.

    Parent

    I'm not feigning anything (none / 0) (#107)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:59:21 PM EST
    Feel free to discontinue the coversation but I'd walk back the accusation of lying.

    I asked what interest you felt was represented? I agree with BTD because I do not see any US interest. What I see is the GOP playing a game to serve their own interest(which is manufacturing a threat and playing the national security cared AGAIN).

    Parent

    We want them in our orbit (none / 0) (#82)
    by andgarden on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:53:47 PM EST
    but getting there has consequences.

    Parent
    There's nothing in this situation (none / 0) (#102)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:48:49 PM EST
    that even REMOTELY threatens trade, education, prosperity, culture and shared ideas of society.

    What are you talking about?


    Parent

    At that point BTD and I were talking abstractly... (none / 0) (#105)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:54:17 PM EST
    ...about foreign policy in general. That was so clear that to miss it seems incredible to me. And since you seem as intent as distorting my comments and taking them out of context (and putting them in your own) as others on this thread, that's all I have to say.

    Parent
    Addison (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by cawaltz on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 12:03:04 AM EST
    If multiple people seem to be unable to understand where you are coming from could it possibly be that we are talking past each other rather than attempting to distort what you are trying to say?

    Seriously, take a step back.

    Parent

    Which Georgian territory is that? (4.50 / 2) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:03:12 PM EST
    The ones that they basically already held in South Ossetia and Abzakhia for the past 17 years?

    Do you NOT know that Georgia provoked this incident?

    Parent

    My gawd, what cac.

    Parent
    Do you support.... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:01:42 PM EST
    ... the Russians' ability to annex those territories? And does it not trouble you at all in terms of what they may intend for other former Soviet republics?

    Parent
    I support (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:07:26 PM EST
    whaty is in the best interests of the United States, which has no vital interests in either.

    As for the "annexation" you fear, you are 17 years too late?

    The "breakaway" region of Georgia (it did break away you know) lost South Ossetia and Abzakhia 17 years ago and was trying to win it back against the wishes of the peoples of those regions.

    Should Georgia be allowed to force these people to be Georgians against their desires? They did not want to break away from Russia and fought against in in 1992.

    Why should Tbilisi dictate what happens in South Ossetia and Abzekhia any more than Moscow should dictate what happens in Tbilisi?

    Think it through. Take your time.

    Parent

    I am almost always.... (none / 0) (#45)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:13:33 PM EST
    ... opposed to breakaway republics. I thought the US support for Kossovo independence was a bad idea for that reason (one of the things that antagonized this issue). Also the Basques in Spain, the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, and a number of other peoples. Once you open that door it is hard to close.

    Parent
    Then you think (none / 0) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:21:31 PM EST
    Georgia and the Ukraine should be a part of the Soviet Union by that thinking.

    Parent
    Please (none / 0) (#139)
    by lousy1 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 02:33:43 PM EST
    Direct me to any claims that show legitimize recognition of the independence of these two regions .

    I will be glad to find the relevant UN declarations recognizing these two territories as part of the fully recognized and independent Republic of Georgia

    Parent

    Do you have the remotest clue (none / 0) (#103)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:50:33 PM EST
    about South Ossetia and Abkhazia and what they want?


    Parent
    The ambitions Putin had in Belarus... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:29:13 PM EST
    ...are by now basically fulfilled.

    Parent
    Putin... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Addison on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:27:54 PM EST
    ...is neither a fascist, nor a communist, nor Muslim.

    They're just the three boogiemen you're conditioned to spit out. Just as you're conditioned to think that people are either for war with Russia or for Putin's owning the former USSR. That it's a binary choice between the two.

    It's not. They two are not only not opposites, but in fact war with Russia would likely lead to Russian domination of the area (they have the positioning and their people would have the dedication, forced or otherwise) if such a war didn't lead, eventually, to the destruction of the Earth.

    The President of Georgia's appeal (none / 0) (#59)
    by coigue on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:42:49 PM EST
    to McCain was such an obvious attempt to provoke the US (and Mccain) into action. When he talked about how the Russian unexploded missiles were scribbled with phrases like "for America" and "this one's for Bush", it reminded me of 1992 when Kuwait was complaining about how Iraqi soldiers were dumping out incubators.

    He is treating us like we are angry bulls and he can wave a red cape for use to join the fight.

    Parent

    Saakashvili (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:19:10 PM EST
    is trying to make the U.S. public think Georgia is Hungary in 1956.  He is totally shameless.  From his point of view, he has reason to feel aggrieved, but so does Russia.

    Parent
    Here's an interesting review (none / 0) (#22)
    by rjarnold on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:41:04 PM EST
    of McCain and Obama's responses on the Russia-Georgia conflict. It seems like McCain is even more scary than Bush is with Russia.

    Reasons (none / 0) (#28)
    by jarober on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:53:30 PM EST
    The problem here is that everyone - across the political spectrum - is looking at this as a series of one-offs.  It's not: it's a long chain of historical consequences.

    Look back to August of 1914 - why did Russia go into WWI?  It was to back up the Serbs against Austria-Hungary.  Skip forward to the 1990's, after the Soviet Empire collapsed.  The Balkans collapsed into tribal violence, and NATO got involved to protect the Kosovar Muslims from Serbia.  The Russians were very angry about that whole thing, and protested a lot, but they were powerless to affect things then.

    Now skip forward to this year, when the US (and a few European nations) recognized Kosovo's independence.  To understand how serious the Serbs thought that was, you have to realize how they feel about the lost battle of 1389 against the Ottoman Empire.  None of this excuses what the Serbs did during the 1990's war, but the Russians took the entire process that liberated Kosovo as an insult.

    So skip forward to now - the Russians have had their noses rubbed in their weakness over Serbia and Kosovo (repeatedly to their way of thinking).  They've lost the "near abroad" provinces (like Georgia).  Many of those new countries are leaning towards the West and the US.  Add in historic Russian paranoia, and you have a perfect spot for Russia to take some revenge: a US leaning nation in their backyard.

    The problem is that no one puts all these pieces together - not on the left, not on the right.  

    We've been talking to Poland about this pact for awhile - and one could easily connect it to the fact that the West (Britain and France) gave Poland guarantees in 1939 that were not fulfilled - and the US is, 70 years later, living up to that.  The Russians won't see it that way, but there it is.  

    Sheesh (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:56:13 PM EST
    Yes, no one put it together until you.

    You gotta be kidding.

    Parent

    nice sarcasm (none / 0) (#35)
    by jarober on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:03:12 PM EST
    If you have an actual take down of my comment, have at it.

    And btw, I'm not saying I'm the only one who sees this - but in reading across the blogosphere, I haven't seen anyone try to put these events into historical context.  I've seen right wing guys talking about "a return to the cold war", and I've seen left wing guys blaming the victim (Georgia).  I've seen very little in the way of analytic investigation

    Parent

    It takes itself down (none / 0) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:22:06 PM EST
    You were fine up until (none / 0) (#104)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:53:16 PM EST
    the invocation of a 1939 treaty.

    Parent
    I don't see a problem with it. (none / 0) (#136)
    by pmj6 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:38:51 PM EST
    What happened in 1939 is still relevant in today's Poland. Polish foreign policy since the end of the Cold War has been driven by the need to find a strong ally to  guarantee its security and to prevent another carve-up of its territory, as happened in 1939 when both Nazi Germany and USSR invaded, and later at Yalta when the Great Powers "trimmed" its borders and in effect consigned it to Soviet occupation. The pro-US orientation of every Polish government since independence is driven by that security need. At some point the EU might be up to that task, but for now only NATO (in other words, the US) can fulfill it.

    Parent
    No, he's not kidding (none / 0) (#37)
    by Dadler on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:03:35 PM EST
    That's the frightening thing.  And not a mention of the established and overwhelming fact that these two Georgian areas, like Kosovo wanted nothing to do with Serbia, want nothing to do with Georgia.  I swear, Tent, he has to believe the exact opposite of reality.

    Phucking unbelievable.

    Parent

    Irrelevant (none / 0) (#43)
    by jarober on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:13:07 PM EST
    I'm not justifying or complaining about either thing - our support of Kosovo, or the Russian support of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  All I'm pointing out is that our actions in Kosovo now, and during the 1990's, are related to the Georgian action.  

    My main point is that these things are not isolated events.

    Parent

    Irrelevant? (none / 0) (#54)
    by Dadler on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:25:10 PM EST
    Amazing.  We bombed Belgrad (and the Chinese embassy by mistake) for what they did in Kosovo.  By that logic, we should be bombing Georgia.  That's the connection.  Our utter and dumb-as-bricks hypocrisy which is leading to events good for no one.

    Parent
    Hypocrisy is the cornerstone (none / 0) (#70)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:24:10 PM EST
    of our foreign policy. We're against dictators unless they serve our purpose. We're for democracy unless the democratically elected leader opposes what is in our interest. We're all over the board.

    Parent
    No, we are very consistent. (none / 0) (#134)
    by pmj6 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:32:47 PM EST
    The US pursues its national interests, as seen by whichever administration happens to be in office at the time. Now, it may be subject to debate whether certain actions actually serve the US national interest, but that's a separate question.

    Parent
    If anyone thinks that Eastern Europeans (none / 0) (#84)
    by jccamp on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:02:02 PM EST
    have forgotten that they were enslaved by an empire controlled by ethnic Russians for half of the 20th century, then you're nuts. of course, all of this is not occurring in a vacuum, but in a historical context that we sometimes forget - perhaps like the religious differences in iraq that we forgot about until after we won the war with Hussein.

    If the people of, say, the Ukraine are mildly paranoid about now, that might be because they're next. Or not, But who really knows where Russia will decide to stop trying to re-create client states subject to Russian control. As long as they sell all that fuel and gas to Western Europe and the U S, they may not be too intimidated by Patriot systems in Poland.  

    I think jarober makes a valid point. Even if one disagrees, no need to be so sarcastic.

    Parent

    That's exactly right. (none / 0) (#133)
    by pmj6 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:23:27 PM EST
    Let's just say that in Eastern Europe and on most of Russia's periphery it is not the United States that is viewed as the arrogant, imperialistic superpower.  

    Parent
    The latest iteration of the Patriot system (none / 0) (#31)
    by jccamp on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:57:11 PM EST
    is apparently somewhat effective against less sophisticated short and medium range ballistic missiles, of the type one might expect from Iran - but perhaps ineffective against Russia missiles. What the Russians may really object to is the Patriot's very effective radar. Also, the Patriot is very good at shooting down aircraft.  

    Poland has been demanding Patriot batteries from the U S for 18 months (link HERE).
    Poland has a historical basis for fearing a resurgent Russia. Remember, WWII started when Germany invaded Poland, and Russia immediately invaded the eastern half of Poland, along the way executing 22,000 Polish army officers, lawyers, police, professors, journalists, priests and government officials.

    If the latest Russia invasion of an independent country resurrected those Polish fears, well, who can blame the Poles?

    Whether the U S approval of the Polish demands is a rash provocation, or a legitimate attempt to demonstrate to the Russians that their invasion of Georgia has consequences, only time will tell.

    I think the much more significant event was that the U S has just guaranteed Polish sovereignty, independent of NATO obligations. Compared to the Patriot missiles, I'd consider that a huge step up.  

    Yes (5.00 / 0) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:23:27 PM EST
    If I were Poland, I might see it that way. We are NOT Poland. We should act in our interests, not Poland's interests.

    Parent
    I agree completely. (none / 0) (#80)
    by jccamp on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:47:33 PM EST
    And I believe that one can make a reasonable argument that maintaining a ring of free democracies around Russia, or alternatively, preventing another Russian dominated Eastern Europe of puppet dictatorship states to be a valid U S strategic interest. (unlike defending South Ossieta).

    Whether Patriots in Poland at this particular time is a well considered decision is another (different) question.

    Parent

    Again (none / 0) (#98)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:37:36 PM EST
    I keep seeing this idea that Russia was the one making a power grab. Reports I have read state that Georgia instigated NOT Russia. Russia was just attempting to maintain control of an area  they already controlled. Does anyone have a different account?

    Parent
    One more time (none / 0) (#106)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:56:19 PM EST
    Modern Russia is not even REMOTELY capable of dominating Eastern Europe or establishing puppet dictatorships.  That's just nuts.

    Parent
    Maybe not in former Warsaw Pact countries ... (none / 0) (#110)
    by OrangeFur on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 12:08:24 AM EST
    ... but Putin has certainly tried in former Soviet republics.

    Parent
    I might understand this (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by cawaltz on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 12:35:33 AM EST
    viewpoint if Russia had been the provocateur. It wasn't though. Georgia was the provoker, Russia was just protecting an area that they already controlled instead of allowing Georgia to expand. Faulting Russia for protecting it's interest seems counterproductive and it seems exceedingly counterproductive to then conveniently announce we are intending on relocating missles outside of their borders in Poland after the fact.

    Parent
    I understand there are arguments... (none / 0) (#113)
    by OrangeFur on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 12:51:54 AM EST
    ... about who "started" it. Obviously it's a situation that has been festering for some time. I'd only say that it may not be accurate to say that Georgia was trying to expand. South Ossetia lies in Georgian territory, though it's been autonomous for a while now. No country, including Russia, recognizes the independence of South Ossetia. And Russia has since gone far beyond these separatist areas and is basically occupying big parts of Georgia proper right now.

    It seems that Russia/Putin wants to undermine the current pro-Western government of Georgia. Whether Georgia stupidly provoked this attack or not, it's clear that it's something Russia has wanted to do.

    Parent

    The areas in question (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by cawaltz on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:09:00 AM EST
    appeared to voluntarily have official ties to Russia. It wasn't like Russia was there without the consent of the separatist region if what I've read is accurate. I'd see this as different if Russia was seen as launching an offensive against Georgia but that doesn't seem to be the case. Russian soldiers were there with the permission of the region and while Georgia may not have been happy about that, it certainly seems to have jumped the gun by acting as an agressor.

    Parent
    This conflict did not start last week. (none / 0) (#132)
    by pmj6 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:20:28 PM EST
    It goes back to the early 1990s. These separatist provinces had considerable "unofficial" and "deniable" Russian military support, which allowed them to successfully defeat the Georgian military. Shamil Basayev (the terrorist dude) led a battalion fighting on the side of the separatists at the time, though it is not clear to what extent his activities were sponsored/supported by Russia.

    The problem is that there are elements in the Russian leadership that have not quite reconciled themselves to the demise of the Soviet Union. Georgia is at fault here in the sense that it wants to exist as an independent state, rather than a Moscow puppet.

    Parent

    Poland happens to be a NATO ally (none / 0) (#131)
    by pmj6 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:14:46 PM EST
    By virtue of a common alliance membership, the interests of US and Poland are intertwined to a considerable extent.

    Parent
    So what? (none / 0) (#135)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:37:04 PM EST
    We are not "all Poles now" because of NATO.

    Parent
    It depends on the circumstances (none / 0) (#137)
    by pmj6 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:43:21 PM EST
    If Russia were to launch military action against Poland, our NATO membership would obligate us to "all become Poles".

    Parent
    actually, yes (none / 0) (#58)
    by coigue on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:39:51 PM EST
    better than McCain in any case.

    What is up with Condi Rice...isn't she a USSR-Russia expert fer Chrissakes?

    And she plays the piano, too (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by Dadler on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:43:25 PM EST
    Which, at this point, is more likely to help matters.  

    Parent
    Funny (none / 0) (#72)
    by cawaltz on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 10:26:59 PM EST
    I don't really remember us being all fired up about protecting Taiwan from China. Hmmmmmmm I wonder why?

    Cold War, Iraq War, Vietnam War (none / 0) (#83)
    by Prabhata on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:01:57 PM EST
    Panama invasion, Gulf War, Grenada invasion, Indian wars, Korean War.  Different presidents, same people.  The government is made up of Americans and their mindset is reflected in all policies.  It just doesn't matter.

    Don't be ridiculous (none / 0) (#89)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 11:17:01 PM EST
    Do you know anything at all, anything at all, about Russia and Georgia and South Ossetia and what's going on here?  You're parroting ignorant right-wing propaganda.

    Russia whacking Georgia is roughly what the U.S. would do if Mexico suddenly decided to attack Texas and take it back from the U.S.

    It's not pretty, but if anybody's making an imperialist power grab here, it's Georgia.  Russia has neither the means nor the least desire to take over Georgia again.

    Good God.

    Remember the Ukraine in 2004 (none / 0) (#109)
    by OrangeFur on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 12:03:39 AM EST
    The Western-leaning Yushchenko was matched up against the pro-Russian prime minister Yanukovych. It was thought that Yushchenko wanted to bring Ukraine into the EU and NATO, while Yanukovych wanted close ties with Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), made up mostly of former Soviet republics.

    The first election was widely seen as fraudulent by everyone except the CIS, many of whose leaders, including Putin, congratulated Yanukovych before the election results were announced. After a popular outbreak of protest (the Orange Revolution), a second election was held, in which Yushchenko won. In the midst of all was the infamous incident in which Yushchenko was poisoned with high concentrations of dioxin.

    All of this stuff (none / 0) (#117)
    by Grace on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 02:01:55 AM EST
    is going to kill Obama in the debates.  These are going to be issues because the debates aren't that far off.  Is Obama going to seem tough enough to be US President?  

    Unfortunately... (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 05:47:37 AM EST
    Obama has been talking somewhat tough re: Russia.
    In his unmemorable speech in Berlin, at the foot of the monument placed there by Albert Speer, he spoke creepily about how we had won the "battle of ideas" against Communism. What tripe.
    And it is just what we don't need now - a nostalgic glimpse into the 1950's cold war.

    Obama is also not far (if at all) from McCain with respect to Iran.
    Read this:

     "The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat." And: "Let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel. Sometimes there are no alternatives to confrontation."

    Like we need this.

    Obama is going after "tough" when he should be going after brains.

    Parent

    What Is Really Lunatic (none / 0) (#118)
    by bob h on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 05:35:05 AM EST
    is that the missile defense system will not work in a real shooting war.  It only occasionally works in carefully controlled tests.  But it fulfills the Republican catechism.

    Yeah, cos clearly Putin and Russia (none / 0) (#121)
    by JoeA on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 07:32:31 AM EST
    want to invade and take over the whole of Eastern Europe.

    Did you go into a coma during the Cuban Missile Crisis and wake up yesterday?

    I seem to recall (none / 0) (#123)
    by magisterludi on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 08:57:40 AM EST
    the US got pretty upset when the USSR wanted missile bases in Cuba.

    Only the most jingoistic boobs cannot see the hypocrisy.

    Before you know it, Putin will be bringing his... (none / 0) (#125)
    by BronxFem on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 09:26:19 AM EST
    missiles into Havana!

    Of course (none / 0) (#127)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 11:14:38 AM EST
    Poland remembers its occupation by the Soviets for fifty years.  

    And, of course (none / 0) (#128)
    by magisterludi on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 11:34:30 AM EST
    our mucking about all over the world has had an impact.

    Expansionism is expansionism, whether influence or territory, East or West, and the world is covered with its scars.

    Parent

    Poland would (none / 0) (#129)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 12:08:16 PM EST
    be thinking of the bear next door.  You can go over there and tell them they need to also think about US mucking about the world.  They should be ashamed to only think of their occupation by the Soviets and National Socialists!  How dare they!

    Parent
    Ahem... (none / 0) (#130)
    by pmj6 on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 01:09:28 PM EST
    I don't see what the situation in Georgia has to do with Poland. Russia has been encroaching on Georgia's sovereignty long before anyone so much as mentioned US ABM system components in Poland. I mean, is anyone seriously suggesting that, if it weren't for these discussions with Poland, Russia would not have invaded Georgia? These are only very loosely related issues, which have more to do with the belligerence of the current Russian leadership (they have their own Dick Cheney-equivalents, possessed of a paranoid world view and an utter disregard for international law, human rights, and civil liberties--just look at their conduct in Chechnya) than with anything the US has done or failed to do.