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softwareNerd

Ukraine

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 The real reason why the UK wants to withdraw from the EU is xenophobia. The far right don't like it that EU nationals have the right to work and live in the UK as per EU rules.

Ok. That makes sense. Part of the EU provisions make it more like the US then, in that belonging to the EU gives greater freedom in moving to where opportunities exist. 

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Ok. That makes sense. Part of the EU provisions make it more like the US then, ...

One key strength of the EU is the "common market" underlying it. It cuts the costs of international trade within the EU, and allows businesses to scale up and specialize.  

 

... in that belonging to the EU gives greater freedom in moving to where opportunities exist.

That too. And, with it comes the xenophobia. Since EU countries have different levels of welfare payments, the right-wing parties stress the evils of "welfare shopping" just as the right-wing does w.r.t. Hispanics coming to the U.S.

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And with this, welfare shopping aside, Russia becomes potentially a less desired trading partner for Ukraine, and puts Ukraine as an ally with the EU when sanctions directed toward the Russians are on the table.

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And with this, welfare shopping aside, Russia becomes potentially a less desired trading partner for Ukraine, and puts Ukraine as an ally with the EU when sanctions directed toward the Russians are on the table.

Public opinion inside Ukraine seems split along pro-Russian and pro-EU lines. If the two sides can come to a working arrangement (which means Russia has to agree as well), the future looks good for Ukraine. It's not clear if such compromise will happen though. (i.e. the country might stay in a state of civil war for years.) Edited by softwareNerd

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And with this, welfare shopping aside, Russia becomes potentially a less desired trading partner for Ukraine.

This was a deal signed between the EU and three countries: Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Russia is responding with threats, including to raise tariffs on imports from the three countries (it also banned wine imports from Moldova).

It's that behavior that makes Russia a less desired trading partner, not the EU deal. Of course businesses will stop dealing with Russian partners, and create EU partnerships instead, if the EU has no tariffs, while Russia not only has them, but shifts them around and threatens bans on imports, for political reasons.

Plus, this does indeed put the three countries on a path to potential EU membership. But there is no timeline or definitive commitment, by either side. For now, it's a free trade agreement with some strings attached. The three countries can set their own pace in changing their regulatory environments to meet EU standards.

I assume they won't be in any hurry, since there's not much to gain from it. Membership is pretty unlikely right now - there's no way right wingers in the EU would agree to it, because it would mean opening up their labor markets to Ukraine's huge population. Hopefully, Ukraine's economy does well enough that, eventually, there won't be a danger of its workers flooding Western Europe in search of better opportunities if they join.

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Rights of Crimean Russians being violated by folk from the rest of Ukraine is a Russian bogeyman. There are nationalist elements among the anti-Russian political parties, but they do not define the anti-Russian forces/opinion. As far as I know, the one thing they did -- enact that Russian would no longer be an official language -- was un-done. Crimea already had a fair degree of autonomy within Ukraine. There was no real fear of their rights being ursurped any more than for the average Ukrainian.

 

 

Your characterization of the situation, and the parties involved, is plain false.

In reality the Ukrainian opposition behind the Orange Revolution and subsequent resistance, is mostly democratic and liberal.

Meanwhile Russia and pro-Russian elements have been using electoral fraud, assassinations (including the poisoning of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko), political imprisonment and finally the open, deliberate shooting murder of protesters in the streets, to suppress the opposition (murders that Putin's propaganda machine has been attempting to cover up ever since, making him an accomplice).

When all those efforts to circumvent freedom and democracy in the Ukraine failed, Putin finally used the Russian military to take over an economically and strategically significant area of Ukraine under false pretenses.

 

Hey guys,

 

thanks for your replies.

 

I'm sorry for not having answered earlier, but after looking more closely at the practical situation in Russia and having better identified some core criteria by which to evaluate the legitimacy of a country, it seems to me that - given Russia's absence of free speech - Ukraine has a stronger legitimacy - at least for the time being.

 

I say for the time being, because, looking at things like these (start - if you like at the 19th/20th minute)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbDn-srzGIA

 

make me rather skeptical about Ukraine's status in the future. Given - again - the fact that such activities or movements as in the video would be dealt with completely differently in Western Europe, the fact that there isn't more resistance against it in the Ukraine , I find it hard to classify Ukraine as "good" in a way that equals any Western European country.

 

Now I'm not saying that the woman in the video is right about her conspiracist views about the situation - after all this LPAC organisation that published the video is full of unprovable conspiracies and completely wrong with its socialist agenda - but there seems to be some truth to the impact or potential of the fascist element in the Ukraine.

 

But - as for my question, as I have said - the Ukrainian state still has more legitimacy than Russia, hence a Russian takeover of Crimea was illegitimate.

Edited by DiscoveryJoy

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excerpts from:

Army plans to shift 3,000 troops to Europe

More than 150 tanks and fighting vehicles will go to Germany and other countries in Europe as part of the Army’s plan to bolster its presence on the continent.

 

The move is also meant to reassure European allies worried about Russia, which has tanks positioned on the eastern border of Ukraine.

 

Luke Coffey, the Margaret Thatcher fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said the plan was an attempt to “try to right a wrong” of cutting brigades, but argued that rotating the troops was not enough to deter Moscow from further aggressive moves.

 

Rotating troops. See the world. It's not just a job (of ongoing attempts to become familiar with one is dealing with), it's an adventure (of not knowing just what to expect in the new environment.)

It used to be the local police walked a beat. An assigned area was claimed to be beneficial to the police officer and the residents who got to know one another - like The Andy Griffith Show and Maybury R.F.D.

 

Perhaps Intel has experts that stay on in areas for extended durations, allowing for crucial differences to be observed in a given location. Fresh blood in any given location can really only notice something that obviously looks out of place.

 

It's been pretty quiet here since Sept 2014, as had been in the middle east related news, before the Charlie Hebdo assassination. - Just sayin' . . .

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Putin appears to have had two objectives: take Crimea and keep the rest of Ukraine from joining the EU. He got the first, and that's wrapped up pretty neatly. On the second, Ukraine did make a deal with the EU, but -- in deference to Russian -- delayed implementation until 2016. Since Eastern Ukraine is still in turmoil, Putin still has a way to turn up the pressure. He would prefer a fractious but united Ukraine that did not have a special deal with the EU, but if he does not get that he'll have to settle for getting the East to break away.

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An article on the effect of sanctions on Russia. I don't really know how accurate it is:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defense/putins-way/whats-been-the-effect-of-western-sanctions-on-russia/

Some excerpts:
 

 

Which round of sanctions do you think really had an effect on the Russian economy? How would you measure that?

The sanctions the U.S. imposed came in two big chunks. The first concerned Crimea, and they were only personal sanctions for Crimean and Russian leaders involved in the Crimean drama.

Then, the important sanctions were imposed on July 16, which are called sectoral sanctions.

We can see that no money has been going into Russia after July. No financial institutions dared to provide Russia with any financing more than a month after that. And that we know from talking to banks. …

The point is that the [July] financial sanctions have worked out as far more severe in their effect than anyone seems to have believed.

.....

 

And this of course will hit the GDP. My guess is we’ll see a decline in the order of 10 percent this year.

 

.....
Are further sanctions possible? What would next steps look like?

My view is that the sanctions are so severe that it’s simply not necessary to reinforce them further. It’s also easier to keep the Western front together. The U.S. has, in this case, been very careful to keep a united front with the whole of the European Union. The administration has thought that it’s more important to keep unity with the E.U. than impose even more severe sanctions. I think that policy has borne fruit now.

Have sanctions been seen as a success from the U.S. government’s perspective?

I would think that one could strongly argue that, because what’s happened is that Russia cannot get international financing from any source. Russian international reserves declined last year by $135 billion. We haven’t gotten the final number, but that’s the order. There has been a huge outflow of reserves from Russia. And of course, the Russian economy is now in a serious financial crisis, which is, to a considerable extent, caused by the financial sanctions.

Are Russians trying to get around the sanctions? Is that even possible?

They clearly are trying to get around it. They’ve been trying to get money from China. But it’s very striking that the Chinese are not providing financing for Russia, because like everyone else they’re afraid of the American financial regulators.

 

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Well, Putin "agreed" to a ceasefire in his war against Ukraine. It seems he might have decided on a second pause (the first being around Christmas) to consolidate their gains. The U.S. won't send weapons to Ukraine, and Putin knows that Western Europe won't do much if he takes Ukraine -- just not too blatantly, and not in one bite.

 

The Russians are already saying they expect France to send them the Mistral ships that were delayed. Sarkozy is suggesting the west should recognize Crimea as a part of Russia. If Putin gets the sanctions to relax a little bit, then its even better for him. He's in no hurry as long as he can insist that the west not arm Ukraine. He can afford to pause, declare victory, and then launch the next operation -- probably a push across land to Crimea -- on his own timetable.

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According to Andrew Stravers,  Russia is not likely to be a resurgent power, at least, not on a global scale. Shifting the focus back to the bigger picture, the West will triumph in the long run. With the decline in oil prices, it could culminate and couple with a decline in oil production becoming a serious threat to Russian government’s ability to properly equip its large military and project power in any meaningful way.

Edited by dream_weaver

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According to Andrew Stravers,  Russia is not likely to be a resurgent power, at least, not on a global scale.

Good article. Russia has lots of nukes, and some of them might be operational. So, there's that. But, apart from that wildcard, I agree. The folks who really have to fear Russia are the Ukrainians and the other countries on Russia's border.

It's pretty sad, the way Russia has gone. In a sense, it is the curse of natural resources. Like the Saudis, or Chavez (or the fictional thugs who took over Francisco's mines)... hoodlums find it easier to take a cut from mines and wells. Given that the Soviet Union did educate its people, and laid the ground for so scientists, professors and programmers -- many of whom emigrated -- their economy ought not to have been so heavily based on oil and gas. Russian citizens who think Putin has crafted a good deal, are looking at what is, and not at what could have been.

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This line from a Bloomberg article might be true and significant:

The National Defense Academy of Latvia,... concluded that Russia's ultimate aim is to introduce "a state of permanent war as a natural condition in national life."

 

Every tyrant creates an enemy and asks his citizens to rally against the enemy. A bad economy can be blamed on this enemy, even if it last for decades, as in Cuba. The rights of citizens can more easily be revoked with the excuse that the nation is at war. 

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In a rather lengthy contribution by Paul Coyer, it is wrapped up with:

Ukraine has had a history of religious diversity, yet the political polarization within Ukraine has been mirrored by an increasing religious polarization.

 

The cultural impulses that are driving the revival of state-based religious fervor from within Russia are deeply enough ensconced within Russian society that a mere change of Russian leadership at some future point is unlikely to address the issue. Rather than building a new Orthodox empire, however, Putin

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I could understand if NATO majorities did not want to fight for Ukraine, but to say they should not assist a NATO ally is to say NATO should not exist. 

However, in that same PEW survey, those European countries still had majorities saying that the U.S. would come to their aid. So, they do not see NATO as joint European defense, but as a pact between them and the U.S.... mostly as a promise from the U.S., to enforce Pax Americana. 

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.

Eastern Ukraine Combat Resumes

“The US and EU imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its actions in eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied backing the rebels.

“The renewed violence coincided with President Donald Trump’s first phone-call with Russian President Vladimir Putin since he took office.”

Putin wins.

Edited by Boydstun

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On 3/4/2014 at 8:19 AM, softwareNerd said:

... I  hope that NATO's border states  -- Poland and the Baltics -- would be slightly more worried. As an outsider, it seems crazy that so many European countries rely on Russian imports for over 50% of their natural gas. Some, like Lithuania, get 100% from Russia! It seems that energy resources are Russia's main source of power, and that is where the west needs to focus its efforts.

There's a long term (by 2025) plan for the Baltics to switch their electrci grid from being connected to Russia to being connected to the West.

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