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Tender Peaches

WWIII

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So... Is it happening or not?

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/ukraine-airmen-engage-in-test-of-wills-with-russian-troops/2014/03/04/41990a30-a3ad-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html

 

Canada's PM just compared Russia to Nazi Germany so we've got that going for us.

 

Also, what the fuck is up with linking URLs in the "new" forums? It's super unpractical, there's no way (that I know of) to easily replace the link with text without having to fuck around for 5 minutes to get the formatting right. Is there any other way to do it?

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Russia forgot to mention that Ukraine had WMDs in Crimea. That's a big no-no for americans.

 

I'm having a hard time finding non-biased articles about this. As much as I prefer western views over russian views, I think Europe greatly mishandled this and pretty much forced Russia to react.

 

But yeah let's fuck with Russia with economic sanctions which will probably hurt Europe more while they go ahead and strengthen ties with China.

 

If war happened I think the most affected countries would probably be Iran and Israel. I mean, with the United States distracted in Europe you just know one of them will bomb the other.

 

You're free to take everything I just said in a serious but tongue-in-cheek way, which is contradictory enough to prove the point without stating it.

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Russia's main dealings are with Europe. Also, 40% of Europe's natural gas comes from Russia.

Economic sanctions? Naaaaah.

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And now Gazprom is going to raise gas prices in Ukraine while also demanding payment for what they're owed.

 

Of course this is just coincidence.

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Whatever happens down there will afterwards only be considered a war by the losers. The rest of the world will call it a clarification of uncertainty about some irrelevant state's borders.

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Ukraine gave up their nukes in the 90's to enter a defensive pact with the serious countries in Europe/America/Russia. Bet they regret that.

 

And as much as I wish there was an easy to win WW3 to spur technology, create new markets, and make me rich (The USA alone could in fact stomp Russia. Previous wars the USA have been in involved not pounding everything to dirt. A war in Russia would hopefully involve that), it's not going to happen for a long time. Remember though, We have suitcase nukes stashed in Russia, and they have them stashed in the USA. Granted, suitcase nukes have a small payload with lots of radiation, so just get some potassium iodide and some disposable hazmat/air suits in the house and you're good to go.

 

This sums it up.

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Ukraine does not regret giving up it's nukes because maintaining them was economically unfeasible and they would have just turned into expensive paperweights any way.  At least they were able to generate goodwill by getting rid of them.  As to war with Russia... not going to happen.  The West will stomp their collective feet and pundits will pontificate but conventional war between nuclear armed states(real ones) is just not something that anyone will start.  My prediction is that Crimea will soon be Russian and they will fall back in to the international bad actor club for a few decades --> then have beaches and ports that they currently have to visit with a passport.

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Ukraine does not regret giving up it's nukes because maintaining them was economically unfeasible and they would have just turned into expensive paperweights any way. 

 

 

  conventional war between nuclear armed states(real ones) is just not something that anyone will start.

 

Well worth the investment.

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Ukraine's PM agrees with me. http://rt.com/news/tymoshenko-calls-destroy-russia-917/

 

"We should hit them with an atomic weapon," 

 

Also Ashavir: Ukraine used to own the third most nuclear weapons in the world in the 90's. Pretty strong army, as well. So they WERE a "real" country, because they  had the ability to turn 80% of Russia into Nuclear ash. Then they disarmed. 

 

Just the threat of that would have prevented this issue. Especially considering if Ukraine nuked Russia, Perimeter/dead hand would trigger causing Russia to automatically nuke Europe/USA. Because of that threat, the USA/Europe would be forced to support the Ukraine in a conventional attack.

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I have read a fair amount about this, and the other day a former Congressman who used to be on the foreign relations committee in the House came to my class and gave his take.

 

Basically, he thinks it is our fault, and traces the genesis of it back to Russia's 1998 default.

 

In 1998, Russia fell into economic difficulty (our ever-present favorite bankers Goldman Sachs had a fair amount to do with it, I will also add). Russia sought advice on how to deal with their problems, and the US / IMF provided it. It was shitty advice, and Russia defaulted. At the time, US politicians (most notably Dick Cheney) came out and said various things to the effect of "we should finish them off while they're down," which led to the more paranoid of Russians (Putin) to conclude that the US had purposefully sabotaged Russia, keeping them from their rightful place in the world.

 

This paranoia mixed in with American ignorance of Russian viewpoints. Russia has traditionally viewed geography as its primary defense - both Hitler and Napoleon exhausted themselves by having to conquer vast amounts of territory before getting to anything that mattered, thinning their strength and rendering them weak until they were defeated. As part of this defensive plan, Russia has traditionally included the countries to its west in the former USSR as buffer zones between it and its enemies. Beginning in the 1990s but accelerating quickly thereafter, NATO began expanding into areas that were traditionally dominated by Russia - the Baltic states especially, but also around the Black Sea. 

 

In short, before the Ukranian situation, Russia already thought that the West was gunning for it both economically and via NATO / the EU.

Ukraine, in turn, is a uniquely important country in the Russian psyche. Ukraine and Russia have long shared similar culture and traditions. Stalin was from Ukraine, as was Kruschev. The Crimea was part of Russia for several hundred years until Kruschev turned it over to Ukraine in an administrative reshuffling in 1954. Ukraine is vast, and was the breadbasket of the USSR. It also sits very close to Moscow, and other important parts of Southern Russia. It is far, far more important to Russia than it is to the West, which is why they reacted so severely when it seemed likely that Ukraine would join the West's sphere of influence.

So, when Ukraine underwent revolution, there were fears by Russia that Ukraine would slip into the zone of influence in the West, making Russia even more vulnerable. The former PM was very pro-Russian, and when the revolutionaries kicked him out, they made a few key mistakes. Among other things, they proposed banning Russian as a second official language (when a large majority of Eastern Ukraine only speaks Russian in daily life). This led to those people wanting out of Ukraine, which provided the justification for Russia to enter.

 

If we had paid more attention to how Russia thinks, we would have known that expanding NATO closer and closer to Russia becomes more and more threatening to them. A lack of diplomacy, along with the rapid expansion of the EU and NATO eastward, made the situation worse. Then Ukraine revolted and put them under even more threat. Add in the dynamics of how Russia is ruled by Putin - economic growth has stalled, corruption is on the rise, and the only thing he really has left to justify his hold on power is rising prestige due to international affairs - and you have what happened in Crimea.

 

Personally I think how things are is how they're going to stay. Ukraine has mobilized since the Crimea annexation, so the costs of further invasion have increased for Russia. Ukraine was in complete turmoil and didn't have a government when the first Russian troops walked into Crimea unopposed; they will not be that lucky next time. Furthermore, the threat of significant sanctions has now been raised as punishment for future aggression, and given how some 30-40% of Russian GDP is based on exports of natural gas and oil, they have a lot to lose on that front too.

The other thing I'd like to add is an understanding of how Putin's hold on Russia works. After the USSR collapse, Russia was overrun by newly-minted oligarchs, who were typically former managers of USSR-era steel and oil extraction firms. They kept control of their companies, then took advantage of the economic chaos and regulatory arbitrage to make themselves ridiculously wealthy in a very short period of time. Yeltsin was in bed with these oligarchs, who provided him the money required to win elections. Putin came to power after Yeltsin appointed him to President in 1999; by then the corruption was endemic and being widely reported, creating populist outrage. Putin, as part of his political calculus, claimed to be fighting corruption but really wasn't. He's just as corrupt as anyone who preceded them. A safe rule to assume is that any billionaire Russian has deep and intricate ties to Putin.

 

Continuing bravely on. Russia had great economic growth thanks to rising prices of natural gas and oil during the 2000s, so Putin could claim that as a reason for his continued hold on power. But economic growth has stalled since 2010. Domestically, Putin's failure to adequately combat corruption made it necessary for him to censor the press and dominate media outlets - it's cheaper to do that than it is to bite the hand that feeds him (the oligarchs). The main thing Putin has left going for him, in terms of popular support, is his culture war against anti-religious and pro-gay activists [say, that sounds familiar], along with foreign affairs. If he let Ukraine fall into the EU / NATO without a fight, then he would appear weak and would have much less to justify his hold on power. So, mixed in with the foreign affairs / security fear angle, Putin himself basically had to do what he did to keep himself in power. He basically didn't have a choice.

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In case you guys haven't been following this, another Ukrainian town is trying to defect from Russia. Russia warned Ukraine not to interfere, and the right sector went there anyway, and shot up some pro-Russian security checkpoint.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/world/europe/ukraine-forces-and-pro-russian-militants-battle-over-local-police-station.html?hpw&rref=world

 

Here's a livestream because the news tends to whitewash everything.

 

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/06242-com-ua-live

 

Stream might be NSFW. Live on air they dragged the police chief out, clubbed him to death, and blew his head off with a shotgun.

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A Boeing 777 from Malaysian Airlines (what a shitty year it's been for these guys) just crashed near Donetsk. It's still technically unconfirmed at this point, but reports are pointing toward a ground-to-air missile launched by a pro-Russian faction. All 295 passengers on board are assumed dead.

 

If there was one moment that could trigger a massive fan-hitting shitstorm, my guess is this would be it.

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It's hard to guess what could come out of this, but if it is proven that it was the rebels using a ground-air missile which possibly required some form of russian military help... then it wouldn't be far-fetched to think the US and a lot of EU countries will join up to muzzle up the threat.

 

I think 150+ were from Netherlands, and there was one american. So that's enough for the US and EU to get involved.

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Russia will reduce the arms it is shipping to separatists (which it has already basically given up on anyway, Ukraine has been quietly winning the war for Eastern Ukraine for about a month now) and, other than that, nothing will happen. Ukraine will re-occupy everything except Crimea. The best case for the fallout of this disaster is Putin admitting that the pro-russian separatists did it, but don't expect that to happen, especially since Moscow has the black box.

 

Also, the remarkable strengthening of US (and soon to follow EU) sanctions against select Russian businesses and people will have a tremendous, tremendous effect. Those sanctions were announced just before the airline got shot down, and they will have more of an impact, guaranteed. Rosneft, which basically functions as the primary means for Putin to profit from and pay off various oligarchs, was added to the Treasury's list of companies forbidden from transacting any business in dollars, anywhere. That's a $80 billion company, doing business everywhere around the world, which suddenly can't even convert rubles to dollars, issue more bonds in dollars (and who wants anything else?), make payments on bonds it has already issued in the US, or buy dollar-denominated hedges against currency fluctuations. That is fucking gigantic, and I cannot express that strongly enough. When the EU joins the sanctions - and all signs are that they will - expect things to come to a rapid conclusion, or expect Russia to start having some pretty severe currency problems come winter, when Rosneft shipments to Europe are (hopefully, and depending on the agreement between EU and US) stopped.

 

The thing keeping Russia afloat right now is oil and natural gas money. Those sources lubricate the corruption endemic to power in Russia - Putin is at the top of that pyramid - and if those sources dry up or drop in value, Putin's hold on power goes away. If he can't pay off competing domestic political powers or antagonistic oligarchs, he's finished.

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