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10 September 2016

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kao_hsien_chih

More fodder to the depressing mixture that is the U.S. presidential politics! If Trump can demonstrate even a slightest shred of competence and seriousness, I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. As it were, events are conspiring very hard to get me to vote for him rather than sit this one out, even if he is a certified lunatic (which, for record, I don't think he is.)

Tyler

"I’d rather not be in the position where I find out exactly where Putin draws that line. I prefer it to remain one of life’s mysteries."

I laughed hard enough at this turn of phrase to startle the dog.

Tyler

Kao,

We get it.

You're so very much more moral and good and virtuous than us deplorables here in this basket who are going to vote for Trump because we recognize that while he's not perfect, he's less likely than Hillary to turn the US into Bangladesh and start a hot war with Russia because of transsexual bathroom privileges.

Prem

Putin will hang fire, at least until the 9th of November. Any reaction before then will be used as a stick with which to beat Trump.

Jack

TTG, Sir

I don't get why the apparatchiks in DC have this bugaboo about Putin. It seems it has now become a badge of honor among the media elites to pin all issues on Russia no matter if there are any hard evidence. In many ways reminiscent of the Mushroom Cloud propaganda. We are treading a dangerous path here trying to push Putin into a corner and then expecting him to capitulate. It is the main reason why I believe the election of the Borg Queen would be an existential threat.

You've been around trying to understand the real intentions of the Bear. What do you think is the break point when they start to retaliate with covert and overt activities against us in earnest?

kao_hsien_chih

You do realize that, by now, your attempts at shaming me about my ambivalence is about the only thing that will keep me from voting for Trump, right?

The Twisted Genius

Jack,

I don't think the Russians have any desire to retaliate against us directly in any real way. However, I do think they may solve their Ukrainian problem one way or another next year. We won't see it coming and we will be left wondering how it happened.

Thirdeye

If Hilly gets elected, Russia would have every incentive to create new "facts on the ground" before she takes office.

rjj

(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*) six out of a possible ten sphincters, Tyler.

Charles Michael

If I may,

Russia is not a threat to USA it is The prize, and Putin having largely stopped the pillage of Russia natural ressources is really a trouble maker from the Chicago Boys point of view.
As the EU is more and more breaking at the seams, you have some noise coming from Germany and France to restart the idea of a European Force, that for Nato and UK is anathema.

In Europe Putin is just biding his time and act mostly in damage limitation, just waiting for the geography and geology to impose reality in the EU geopolitics.

Lemur

After that immigration speech, where everyone thought he'd go soft, I think its safe to say Trump says what he means and means what he says.

Lemur

As the Saker says, Russia is weaker than it looks. Now, contra neocon propaganda, Russia is growing stronger. Look at the vastly improved military performance since the Georgian War. And twenty years ago, Russia was less powerful than Ukraine if you took the nukes out the picture. Putin is playing for time. That answers all the pro-Russian criticism of failing to confront the West. If Russia had an economy like Germany and had completed military modernization, Eastern Ukraine would have been annexed, and armored brigades sent to crush the head choppers in Syria.

In short, Putin just does enough to frustrate substantial changes to the status quo that negatively effects Russian interests. There are very real red lines, but they are all drawn quite close to Russia, or further afield represent the minimum acceptable outcome. Consider Syria. The maximal goal there is a settlement on the whole of Syria favourable to Assad. The red line is the Baathist structure and rule over the Syrian heartland is preserved. Whenever that is threatened, the bear's teeth are bared.

So in a perverted sense the neocons are right - in the future Russia WILL be a major threat to designs based the irrational and imperial templates of the Washington Consensus. They will be shut down with extreme prejudice before they can get off the ground.

LeaNder

what would get him ten? Dropping the victim narrative and approaching matters proactively?

steve

Imho the media herd mentality surrounding Putin exceeds even the "Mushroom Cloud". It reminds me of the mean girls' middle school lunch table: "I hate Mary more than you do", "No, I hate her more."

"Vicious thug" appears to be the requisite baseline.

No context whatsoever is mentioned--no US assisted Ukrainian coup, no Nato expansion, no aid to Syrian jihadis, etc.

sillybill

rjj,
The proper emoticon symbol would be )*(. ;-)

Tyler

Kao,

If being mocked by an internet commenter is keeping you from voting Trump, you were never serious about it anyway and just engaging in more signaling.

Tyler

Rjj,

Pfft, what are you, a judge of Olympic Figure Skating? That's not my best work, but its easily an 8/10.

Tyler

LeaNder,

I thought you were going to stop posting until after the election?

(no longer in) Istanbul Guy

I've heard some chatter that the bear will strike at the end of this month after their elections. Basically gobble up all of Ukraine's southern coast and annex the breakaway region of Moldova.

ex-PFC Chuck

About a month ago I read William Perry’s book “My Journey To The Nuclear Brink,” based on reviews that suggested the book was a coherent plea for a sane policy in Eastern Europe from a man whose experience with nuclear weapons went well back into the 1950s. It was not.

After recounting his career in considerable depth and well before he began covering recent events in depth he made a passing reference to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, saying Putin justified the move with the “lame excuse” that there had been a US instigated coup d’etat in Ukraine. No acknowledgment that the “lame excuse” happened to be true. Nor was there any recognition by Perry that access to the Black Sea had been regarded by the country’s rulers as a strategic imperative since the time of Peter the Great at the turn into the 18th Century, an access that had been achieved during the reign of Catherine the Great coincident with the American Revolution. When Perry got to the contemporary era the book was basically more Borg propaganda. I’ll include the link below but I won’t recommend spending much time on it.

https://www.amazon.com/My-Journey-at-Nuclear-Brink/dp/0804797129/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473610663&sr=1-1&keywords=my+journey+at+the+nuclear+brink

LeaNder

Hmmm, yes true, Tyler. I offered it as a some type of compromise; but babbler that I am also realized it would be a bit of challenge, remember? ;)

EEngineer

Lemur,
That's one of the more concise summaries of the state of play that I've seen. I see the real danger point as the period between when the Russians consider themselves strong enough to resist and the Neocon coming to the same conclusion (and giving up the game). All else is subordinate strategy.

The Chinese are also in the same boat but have the luxury of being the #2 mark.

Babak Makkinejad

TTG:

I agree that Putin has many options and he could exercise them in Ukraine before the Kiev government could react.

I think the disintegration of Ukraine is the most likely course that the Russian Federation would pursue (regardless of Putin) and they would do it sooner rather than later.

Personally, I never believed that Russia - the ancient Prince of Muscovy - could ever accept an independent Ukraine. USG forced their hands; they started their Reconquista earlier than they either had planned or expected in the Kremlin. I think the time for a neutral independent Ukraine is over.

I think that horse has left the barn and there would be war in and over Ukraine until Russia regains control of that territory - minus, perhaps, the Western Oblasts that are primarily Catholic. It could take several decades but Kiev will become, again, a part of the territory of the Prince of Muscovy.


Babak Makkinejad

Likely help usher in the independent state of "Novia Rossiya" as well; during one of those days.

kao_hsien_chih

That there are internet commenters, on both sides, who would mock those who are unsure for being unsure is exactly why I remain unsure. To you, HRC and Trump supporters, everything is obvious and those who don't see it are somehow disingenuous or morally weak. Well, it ain't that obvious to us simpletons, professor. Stop lecturing us.

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