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Political issues and parties in Europe's nation states, the E.U. & Russia.

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#15167970
@Mr Bloke

Large masses of people united in common purpose for or in common purpose against is just one type of power but that in itself might not be enough to overcome the opposing power that it is facing. There is power in numbers but again, that in itself might not be enough. You would need other aspects to power as well if it isn't enough. There are many aspects to power. A bunch of people united against or in favor of something is just one aspect to power but might not be enough to achieve a particular objective. So, even if many Russians are opposed to Putin, that doesn't mean it will be enough to oust him from power. Many Belorussians I am sure are opposed to the regime there but it still isn't enough to oust that particular dictator from power.
#15167999
JohnRawls wrote:Dark clouds are gathering above Europe once again. Clouds that we thought would be impossible but we were wrong.




That is the view from western Europe. But what is the view from Russia?

Russia's dark clouds always hailed from the distant west. The last manifestation was a rival and hostile military alliance called Nato. For decades that dark cloud hovered hundreds of miles away at the borders of W Germany. Then came the geostrategic collapse of 1991 which say the dissolution of USSR the Warsaw Pack, a setback for Russia, which was the driving force behind both.

Then that dark crowd started creeping eastwards, moving closer and closer to Russia, crept up to the Baltics, and swept through the Balkans. Its last folder MAP Membership Action Plan targeted Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. That is until Putin foiled the plans. If that plan had succeeded like its predecessors then on a clear day Putin could see Nato tanks through binoculars from atop Kremlin spires.

That dark cloud that disturbs you so; it is a resurgent Russia under Putin drawing the line. Poaching in Russia's near abroad is no longer cost free.
#15168001
JohnRawls wrote:

1) Well, the best case scenario is severe turmoil in Russia that will not spill in to Europe. Eventually the powderkeg will explode within the Russian society, this is not a question of if anymore but a question of when. This is not a fast process and will highly likely start in the regions and slowly move closer and closer to Moscow and St Petersburg. Violence will eventually erupt and people will die. But there are chances that the Putins cronies will fold straight away and surrender. I do not think that this is very likely though since Putins regime usually tries to fight to the bitter end.

2) A prolonged turmoil when the Putins regime doesn't surrender at all. In this case the violence will cause another migration crisis worse than we had from the middle east and afrika.

3) A full out civil war which is the worst case scenario due to the presence of advanced weapons systems and nuclear arsenal within Russia.





Russia has already gone through that scenario under the leaderships of the naive Gorbachev and the drunk Yeltsin. Lets face facts, Russians have never had good choices, it has been dictatorship or chaos. Gorbachev and Yeltsin never delivered. Both were failures. For better or for worse, that is the Russian experience.

Is there anything in hunger striker Navalny that is likely to convince the bulk of Russians that Russia is better off replacing Putin with Navalny?

It will be nice if Russia can have a flourishing democracy like in the UK or USA; and in all likelihood that is what Russians dream of. But deep down do they believe that the regime change you propose, or foresee is likely to land them among the top echelons of nations, or a repeat of Gorbachev and Yeltsin?
#15168035
Juin wrote:That is the view from western Europe. But what is the view from Russia?

Russia's dark clouds always hailed from the distant west. The last manifestation was a rival and hostile military alliance called Nato. For decades that dark cloud hovered hundreds of miles away at the borders of W Germany. Then came the geostrategic collapse of 1991 which say the dissolution of USSR the Warsaw Pack, a setback for Russia, which was the driving force behind both.

Then that dark crowd started creeping eastwards, moving closer and closer to Russia, crept up to the Baltics, and swept through the Balkans. Its last folder MAP Membership Action Plan targeted Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. That is until Putin foiled the plans. If that plan had succeeded like its predecessors then on a clear day Putin could see Nato tanks through binoculars from atop Kremlin spires.

That dark cloud that disturbs you so; it is a resurgent Russia under Putin drawing the line. Poaching in Russia's near abroad is no longer cost free.


The reason that people are joining NATO is because they are afraid of Russia and want protection that Putin and his croniest regime can't provide because they themselves are a threat and they also do not keep any promises like in cases of recent Armenian conflict has shown.

If Estonia, Georgia or Ukraine were not afraid of Russia and had guarantees that Russia is a sane power that respect rule of law then NATO would not be needed. But that is not the case. Russia is a threat so the countries on its borders need to join NATO to be safe. It is cause and effect and anybody with a brain understands that Russia threat came first compared to Nato bases on Russian borders.

TLDR: If Russia stops threatening in neighbours militarily and politically then it will have less NATO bases on its borders.

As for Gorbaches, it is complicated about him. Ultimately he failed to reform the Soviet Union so it collapsed. But then again, he was not stupid enough to start genocide like in the Balcans so he wasn't all that bad. He prevented Yugoslavian outcome in the USSR and for that he deserves a lot of credit. The situations were quite similar.

As for Yeltsin, his rule was a failure but his reforms were a success. The growth in Russia from 1998 till around 2008 were based on previous reforms under Yeltsin and then Kasyanov reforms of the late 90s and early 2000s. The problem is that this growth died out after the crysis because Kasyanov reforms weren't finished or more exactly they were not permitted to be finished. A large part of them was to subdivide and privatise monopolies like Gazprom or Rosneft etc to prevent corruption and bad management. Putin didn't allow it. Up to this day, most of Russian oil and gas go through the corrupt company Gunvor that has been laundering money on the side for 20 years now. And this was planned for most government sector companies which have similar problems.

Basically, if Kasyanov reforms were finished then there is a high chance that Russia would be succesful both economically and as a society because private companies would fight like mad dogs against corruption. Which the current monopolies under the protection of FSB are perfectly fine with since it allows people inside those companies to steal money from the state.
#15168039
JohnRawls wrote:Ideals are a filter which we use to have stability of sorts in a society. The West does not kill prisoners of war

:lol: What? :roll: The West imprisons, tortures and yes murders people without a hint of due process at Guantanamo Bay and many other less visible places around the world. The President of America blatantly orders the murder of individuals no where near a war zone.
#15168040
Rich wrote::lol: What? :roll: The West imprisons, tortures and yes murders people without a hint of due process at Guantanamo Bay and many other less visible places around the world. The President of America blatantly orders the murder of individuals no where near a war zone.


Pretty big hyperbole for a rare violation. But do go on....
#15168056
Rich wrote::lol: What? :roll: The West imprisons, tortures and yes murders people without a hint of due process at Guantanamo Bay and many other less visible places around the world. The President of America blatantly orders the murder of individuals no where near a war zone.

You're wasting your time, @Rich. As TS Eliot once put it, "Humankind cannot bear very much reality." Reality is experienced as a trauma, a disruption of the skein of fantasies and delusions which most people think of as 'reality'. They would much rather not experience that trauma.
#15168100
JohnRawls wrote:Ideals are a filter which we use to have stability of sorts in a society. The West does not kill prisoners of war not because it is easy but because it is an example on how it could be done which also happens to be the more correct way to treat people. I am not sure how to put it in words but the ideals give us some kind above-strategic direction and all comes from there.

Right now, there is already a decent amount of people that are unhappy and a decent amount who are happy with Putin and the majority either being scared or not caring. But the trend is downwards and more people getting angry in the last 10 years, actually even before that since 2008 crisis which Russia didn't manage to properly recover from.

I doubt that anything serious will happen to Putin or his regime right now but that is already possibility. But eventually, this is where it is heading with the peaceful transition of power seeming to be almost impossible anymore.


What I don't understand in your argument is the exclusion of peaceful change of power. The age of revolutions in Europe is over. People in all countries are living too well for that.The biggest uprising is taking place in Belarus, but it bears little resemblance to the great French revolution. It is more like a BLM protest in the USA. The pro-Navalny protests in Russia are also similar. Politics binds too few people to such depths anymore. The Ukraine uprising also became a riot only because the weak state reacted very stupidly to the protests and collapsed very quickly when the protesters became more violent as a result of the killings. But Putin is not an idiot and the Russian state is very strong. If there is a change of power in the future, it is very likely to be peaceful.

The other thing is political ideals. I don't think the majority is seriously interested in that. Some highly educated people have huge debates about ideals, but people are convinced by things like the annexation of Crimea. The power, the success. But I wouldn't call that a political ideal.
#15168173
JohnRawls wrote:
The reason that people are joining NATO is because they are afraid of Russia and want protection that Putin and his croniest regime can't provide because they themselves are a threat and they also do not keep any promises like in cases of recent Armenian conflict has shown.

If Estonia, Georgia or Ukraine were not afraid of Russia and had guarantees that Russia is a sane power that respect rule of law then NATO would not be needed. But that is not the case. Russia is a threat so the countries on its borders need to join NATO to be safe. It is cause and effect and anybody with a brain understands that Russia threat came first compared to Nato bases on Russian borders.

TLDR: If Russia stops threatening in neighbours militarily and politically then it will have less NATO bases on its borders.




Yours is a good case for why nations may wanna join Nato. But there is still a Russian case for why Russia may not want Nato on its borders. When I say Russian, I mean Russian. Putin is not Russia, nor is a given that Putin is not in fact pursuing a foreign policy that is in line with what Russians will like to support.

Are Russians supposed to forget their history? Does once bitten, twice shy not hold anymore? And Russians have been bitten not just once, but many times, by a few notorious pillars of Nato. But, another may say, this is a new Nato: meek, mild and defense only. Is a Russian not well advised to heed the admonition that a tiger cannot change its stripes, nor the leopard its spots?

Let us take a look at a notorious pillar of Nato with a long list of past aggressions on Russia. Deutschland! A notorious aggressor. A first class predator. Another leopard who purpots to have changed its colours, and whom Russians are to let down their guards when it approaches! Last Century alone Germans assaulted Russia twice. Russia was brought down to its knees the first time and collapsed. The second time, Russia did not collapse, but the butcher's bill was huge. Close to some twenty millions.

And what of John Bull? Another notorious Imperialist. A first class predator. John Bull has tangled with someone or other on all shores of the seven seas, as well as on the seas. Russians, except those of extremely short memories, recall that John Bull has tangled with Russians in Crimea, as well as Afghanistan.

And France? Was it not from France that Little Boney sallied forth in a campaign that took him all the way to Moscow?

It may very well be that these predators truly changed their stripes and became lambs in Nato, but is Russia supposed to let its guards down? What if the supposedly meek and mild Nato of today suddenly becomes hostile and aggressive tomorrow? A Russian has to guard against that.

Keeping hostile military alliances far from one's frontiers is a wise policy. It is a policy that has been used in the past by the US in the Monroe doctrine. And if there has been any constant in John Bull's foreign policy over the centuries, it has been to always foil any one nation or military alliance to dominate the continent.

Why should Russians not learn from John Bull and adopt the wise policy of not allowing any one military alliance to dominate the continent?
#15168179
Juin wrote:But there is still a Russian case for why Russia may not want Nato on its borders. When I say Russian, I mean Russian.



NATO is all around Russia anyway. And I doubt it about Russians, one would think they would prefer to live in harmony integrated with the rest of Europe.

But in any case why should anybody care what either Putin or the Russians want in foreign countries? :eh:

Why would anyone in Europe tolerate let alone "understand" this kind of Russian aggression?
#15168201
noemon wrote:NATO is all around Russia anyway. And I doubt it about Russians, one would think they would prefer to live in harmony integrated with the rest of Europe.

But in any case why should anybody care what either Putin or the Russians want in foreign countries? :eh:

Why would anyone in Europe tolerate let alone "understand" this kind of Russian aggression?




Russia and Russians dont answer to Nato. Nato/Eu has its case to make, and Russia has her case to make. And both can be correct, examined from their perspectives. Nato and its members may view themselves as a defensive alliance; and that may be True for today; but there is no guarantee that a military alliance that today is defensive and not predatory may not do an about turn tomorrow and become predatory and offensive. Russia has had its costly wars in the past with certain members of Nato; that suggests for Russians caution; what stops today's peaceful Germany resorting to its historic bellicose self?


JohnRawls wrote:
The reason that people are joining NATO is because they are afraid of Russia and want protection that Putin and his croniest regime can't provide because they themselves are a threat and they also do not keep any promises like in cases of recent Armenian conflict has shown.

If Estonia, Georgia or Ukraine were not afraid of Russia and had guarantees that Russia is a sane power that respect rule of law then NATO would not be needed. But that is not the case. Russia is a threat so the countries on its borders need to join NATO to be safe. It is cause and effect and anybody with a brain understands that Russia threat came first compared to Nato bases on Russian borders.

TLDR: If Russia stops threatening in neighbours militarily and politically then it will have less NATO bases on its borders.






I will also like to point out that that play is an old one, going back to antiquity. It is Imperialism 101. The ancient Romans mastered that particular play. John Bull as well. Usually an expanding power on arriving on a new territory will set about cutting deals. Offering trade deals, alliances, protection to who will take it. More often than not it will be the underdogs in that area who will accept such deals. But that area in all likelihood had some top dog who lorded it over the underdogs. This top dog naturally views this new arrival cutting deals around it as an encroachment into their preserves. The inevitable happens, the top dog tries to assert its dominance over the underdogs as in the past; the underdogs appeal then to Rome, or to the British, as the case may be. The Imperialist then rallies a coalition of the underdogs, and under its leadership, takes down the top dog of that area. The Imperialist then picks up the pieces.

It is all right there in Imperialism 101

JohnRawls wrote:
As for Gorbaches, it is complicated about him. Ultimately he failed to reform the Soviet Union so it collapsed. But then again, he was not stupid enough to start genocide like in the Balcans so he wasn't all that bad. He prevented Yugoslavian outcome in the USSR and for that he deserves a lot of credit. The situations were quite similar.




It is tricky reforming a country that had for decades been under a tyranny as absolute as the Communist Party. New freedoms can quickly lead to chaos instead of progress. So what exactly was Gorbachev trying to reform? Was he trying to transition to capitalism? Was he trying to transition into a Jeffersonian democracy? Maybe the Chinese leadership handled transition better than Gorbachev.

It will seem to me like the Chinese leadership saw a distinction between transitioning from Communism to capitalism, and transitioning from authoritarianism to Jeffersonian democracy. Wisely the Chinese leadership focussed on transitioning from communism to capitalism, while maintaining a lid on things by holding onto the authoritarianism.

I bet if the Chinese had chosen to open up both the economy and the freedoms China would have wound up like Gorbachev's Soviet Union.

I bet Putin wished he had been the one that had succeeded Konstantin Chernenko as General Secretary of the Communist Party. My suspicion is he would have held tightly unto the dictatorship while overseeing the opening up of the economy to free market systems.
#15168257
Juin wrote:Russia and Russians dont answer to Nato. Nato/Eu has its case to make, and Russia has her case to make. And both can be correct, examined from their perspectives. Nato and its members may view themselves as a defensive alliance; and that may be True for today; but there is no guarantee that a military alliance that today is defensive and not predatory may not do an about turn tomorrow and become predatory and offensive. Russia has had its costly wars in the past with certain members of Nato; that suggests for Russians caution; what stops today's peaceful Germany resorting to its historic bellicose self?


You are avoiding my question. Why should anyone in Europe care about Russian imperialism in foreign countries?

Why should anyone in the west "recognise" Russia's invasions in foreign countries? :eh:

Juin wrote:It is all right there in Imperialism 101


It is Russian imperialism 101, indeed.

Juin wrote:I bet Putin wished he had been the one that had succeeded Konstantin Chernenko as General Secretary of the Communist Party. My suspicion is he would have held tightly unto the dictatorship while overseeing the opening up of the economy to free market systems.


Putin has held on tightly onto the dictatorship.
#15168264
OMG! Another @JohnRawls thread and another claim of regime change right around the corner. What are we now? 0/4? :lol:

I don't see anywhere near the numbers in Russia for revolution. Rumour has it Navalny has days to live and unlike when he returned to Russia, I don't hear anything about protests on the streets like I did back then for his release within the Western Media which means those protests went nowhere. Besides, no sanctions will make any difference to the Russian economy now and what little trade we do with them is because it is in our interests to retain it (uh hum gas). Russia has now entered into the Asian Market and has contracts with Singapore to produce Sputnik V. That have virtually no debt. Apart from standard of living which has always been weak for the ordinary Russian, I think their economy is doing very well actually given the West has done all it can to destabilise it. And during that time no revolution. So why do you think now is the tipping point when I can see Russia doing rather well in Asia in the future? If anything I worry more about our future given we have got used to a high standard of living, moved our economy out of our shores and just increased national debt in some cases to over 200%. What do you think is going to happen to the West if a depression hits along with inflation and the dollar goes into hyperinflation, a real possibility given the times?
#15168270
The Guardian wrote:
Russian police have arrested key supporters of Alexei Navalny and begun closing down central squares in Moscow and other cities before demonstrations planned for Wednesday evening in support of the jailed opposition leader.

One of Navalny’s top aides, Lyubov Sobol, was dragged from a taxi by uniformed police on Wednesday morning, her lawyer said. A press aide to Navalny, Kira Yarmysh, was also arrested by police outside her apartment.

The Kremlin critic’s regional headquarters have also been raided as police seek to disrupt, and eventually liquidate, his political organisation across Russia.

Tensions have grown between Moscow and western capitals over concerns about Navalny’s health in prison, as well as Russia’s military build-up on the border with Ukraine, and accusations of aggressive Russian intelligence operations including a fatal explosion at a Czech ammunition dump in 2014.

With ample hype and suspense, Vladimir Putin is to deliver an annual televised address at midday, stoking speculation that Russia could send more troops into Ukraine or move to consolidate greater control over Belarus, its neighbour and ally.

The state-of-the-nation-style address has served as a platform for Putin to announce key initiatives before, including the 2020 constitutional referendum that ultimately allows him to retain the presidency until 2036.

The Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, who put down mass protests stemming from fraudulent elections last year, is expected to arrive in Moscow on Thursday to meet Putin. The Federation Council, the Russian law-making body that approves foreign policy initiatives, plans to convene on Friday.

Many in Belarus would see greater integration with Russia as a loss of the country’s sovereignty. Video from the capital, Minsk, on Wednesday showed riot police in the city centre, despite the lack of large protests planned . Meanwhile, in Russia, pro-Navalny demonstrations have been called in more than 100 cities, with the largest expected in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Before the speech, the Ukrainian president gave a televised address, saying that the country did not want war and calling on Putin in Russian to meet for talks. “

Mr Putin: I am ready to go even further and invite you to meet anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass, where there is a war,” Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

Putin has blamed Ukraine for the rise in tensions in the Donbas region, while sending tens of thousands of troops, along with tanks, missile artillery and short-range ballistic missiles to the region bordering Ukraine.

It is also possible that Putin could announce Russia’s departure from the International Space Station, launched in 1998 with the US, after Moscow revealed plans to launch its own space station by 2025.
#15168296
@Juin

So here is a question I have. How would you or Russia feel if it's neighbors, instead of joining NATO got their own nuclear weapons arsenal to defend themselves? NATO is no longer at their border and Russia no longer can use NATO as a boogeyman to justify invading other countries. The other countries could also launch their nuclear weapons at Russia if Russia tries to invade their countries. This would deter the Russians from invading and the Russians don't have to worry about being invaded ever because NATO is not there border. All sides have their security assured, right?

If the Russians aren't a threat to their neighbors and are just invading their neighbors because of NATO, this alternative solution would make Russia happy then and their neighbors happy because then everybody would have their security assured, right? They will just have a bunch of nuclear armed states with those weapons pointed at them to ensure they don't get invaded. Everybody's happy then.

And I have to ask, do you think those smaller countries on Russia's borders deserve to live in security and to choose their own destiny without coercion or influence from anybody like Russia for example? This alternative solution would satisfy you and if not what would be your alternative solution to satisfy all parties involved and their security needs?
#15168321
@Juin

If I was a general, serving a non NATO member state that shared a border with Russia, I would probably recommend to my civilian authorities to begin a secret covert nuclear program and keep it very secret with as few people knowing about it as possible given Russia's recent actions. That's what any self respecting general serving in the armed forces of a non-NATO border state to Russia would recommend to his government. They have a duty to ensure that deterrence prevails and the security of their country is assured. It's either that or taking a very big risk of being occupied, dominated and controlled by the Russians for a very long time. Some of these non-NATO states already are dominated by the Russians.
#15168327
@Politics_Observer, a couple of weeks now and Russia haven't crossed the border. Ignoring the obvious problem that Ukraine would have to develop nuclear weapons which doesn't take days I might add and more importantly would require Russia not to bomb the sites if they tried, Ukraine would have a better chance trying to get into NATO in any case given America already have more bombs then they need. That won't happen of course as it wouldn't be in America's interest especially for them to join but I would say it is Ukraines only move today except of course diplomacy if they want a resolution. And if they don't do that then the other option is not to give Russia an excuse to cross the border (the current course of action). They don't have any other options. Stop making out Ukraine can do anything except what they are doing. :roll:
#15168329
@B0ycey

There is always other options. Where there is a will there is a way. It might not take as long for Ukraine to re-acquire nuclear weapons given that many of their people were involved in the Soviet nuclear weapons program. Plus they can do so secretly and covertly. Ukraine had nuclear weapons before shortly after their independence and many of their people contributed to the Soviet nuclear weapons program. The Ukrainians actually had the 3rd largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world shortly after independence. So, you don't know for sure how long it would take the Ukrainians to re-acquire nuclear weapons if they choose to do so. It might not take them as long as it normally does. Besides, I figured you would be supportive of the rights of other countries to live free and independent. Or do you want Russia to dominate these other countries on their border like it once did?
#15168331
@B0ycey

I mean, I would like for you to explain to a general of a non NATO member state general chief of staff why he should risk his country being occupied by the Russians by not acquiring nuclear weapons secretly. I don't think that would go over very well with him. It wouldn't go over very well with me. He has a duty to protect his country and ensure it's security. You are asking him to put Russia's interests first before the interests of his own country. What kind of general would he be if he did that? Would you want that kind of general advising you if you were a political head of state in charge of running a country (a general who puts the interests of other countries first before the interests of the country he is charged with serving)? I mean, it's not rocket science here.
#15168345
Politics_Observer wrote:@B0ycey

There is always other options. Where there is a will there is a way. It might not take as long for Ukraine to re-acquire nuclear weapons given that many of their people were involved in the Soviet nuclear weapons program. Plus they can do so secretly and covertly. Ukraine had nuclear weapons before shortly after their independence and many of their people contributed to the Soviet nuclear weapons program. The Ukrainians actually had the 3rd largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world shortly after independence. So, you don't know for sure how long it would take the Ukrainians to re-acquire nuclear weapons if they choose to do so. It might not take them as long as it normally does. Besides, I figured you would be supportive of the rights of other countries to live free and independent. Or do you want Russia to dominate these other countries on their border like it once did?


This is kinda like saying you cannot see why Fiji can't reach the Moon next month. Ukraine is in civil war. It doesn't have the money nor the program to start building nuclear weapons today regardless if they have people who have some experience in building nuclear weapons. Couple that with the need to build facilities to build these weapons, time needed to enrich Uranium, smuggling in materials to build all these things covertly, building silos, building a guiding system and all the other things I cannot think of just now that are also required and that it is important that these site must not be bombed by Russia to make this nuclear deterrent even a possibility, it would just be far easier for Ukraine to just join NATO and use your bombs in every single scenario I can think of.

As for telling Ukraine generals not wanting Russia to invade them that building a nuclear program isn't an option, that would be quite easy to explain given that building nuclear bombs is a costly time consuming program which they would understand given they have more than two brain cells. I would also just explain to them that we should just listen to Russia and not break the ceasefire by trying to gain more ground in Donbass and as such not given them an excuse to invade. That and I would also be doing what Ukraine are doing and that is pushing NATO membership in Americas face everytime they discuss the civil war with the president.
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