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Sad to say I think Putin's agenda is now clear. He doesn't give a shit about global opprobrium and sanctions, we're all pissing into the wind. His aim is to recreate the glory days of the USSR and if that means the New USSR is a global pariah with closed borders, captive subjugated population and almost zero external trade then so be it. That's what the old USSR felt like, and Putin was a happy bunny then. USSR vs Rest of World, it worked then, in his mind it could work now and would be better for Russia, and Russia has a good stockpile of nukes.

Only question in my mind is which state is next on his list if he succeeds in reclaiming Ukraine. Obviously can't reclaim those which have since joined NATO without getting into a very big fight, but all the adjacent ex-Soviet non-NATO states are probably in play to create the largest bloc he can.

I think the best hope is that he is assassinated by his own people, his control of Russia is nothing like as strong or extensive as the old Politburo used to have.

Just my 2d. Utterly depressing.

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7 minutes ago, craggy_steve said:


I think the best hope is that he is assassinated by his own people, his control of Russia is nothing like as strong or extensive as the old Politburo used to have.

 

Seriously, this is it. Put up a bounty, $50m no questions asked.

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I'd have a small bet on China settling this. They know this could get out of hand and may see the long game to support NATO and Europe. Do they want to deal with a clapped out Russia under Putin, or the wealthy West, which they largely control already through their massive exports. China's future is surely in the markets of the Western World... 

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16 hours ago, Freggyragh said:

Putin is not our fault.

Of course he isn’t, and there is no excuse for the barbarism being played out by the present despotic regime all the way up to Putin. This doesn’t mean that the West is blameless in its whole approach to the geopolitical situation in Europe, however. We haven't exactly covered ourselves in glory.

Having skimmed through this thread I am surprised that the lack of foresight by the US and NATO has not been raised and discussed. The fundamentals that have culminated in this situation go back decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, particularly in the early 90s, there were many signs of openness and democracy trying to take root in Russia. There was a nascent positive future there that the West could have latched on to and encouraged. People were looking for help, aid, assistance and advice having emerged from a 70 year repressive nightmare. In the event a promising hand was played very badly indeed, and Russia was effectively snubbed as irrelevant to the modern world and at the same time regarded with suspicion.

Then, despite the West saying that NATO would not expand to the East, it did so anyway. Instead of embracing the fledgling post-Soviet Russia as an equal to be respected, at a time when nobody was threatening anybody, we parked tanks and missiles on their lawn. Had different decisions been made by the US and the West, might we have seen a different Russia emerge, with the likes of Putin and his unreconstructed KGB henchmen a million miles away from power, and consigned to the dustbin of history?

This is an interesting piece. There's a certain amount of rewriting history involved, but I believe the thrust of it stands up. It really didn't have to turn out the way it looks today.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/28/nato-expansion-war-russia-ukraine

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Nice to see you posting Woolley but that's the usual Guardian bollocks. NATO didn't so much expand eastwards, as the post-Soviet states moved towards the safety of the West and liberal democracy. It's given them some protection and who could blame them. Would you have left them like Ukraine, sitting ducks at the mercy of Putin anytime he fancied taking back control ? Appeasement hasn't worked out too well has it. We'll see even more countries (Finland, Sweden etc) moving towards the NATO umbrella after this. Would you deny them  ? 

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1 hour ago, woolley said:

Of course he isn’t, and there is no excuse for the barbarism being played out by the present despotic regime all the way up to Putin. This doesn’t mean that the West is blameless in its whole approach to the geopolitical situation in Europe, however. We haven't exactly covered ourselves in glory.

Having skimmed through this thread I am surprised that the lack of foresight by the US and NATO has not been raised and discussed. The fundamentals that have culminated in this situation go back decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, particularly in the early 90s, there were many signs of openness and democracy trying to take root in Russia. There was a nascent positive future there that the West could have latched on to and encouraged. People were looking for help, aid, assistance and advice having emerged from a 70 year repressive nightmare. In the event a promising hand was played very badly indeed, and Russia was effectively snubbed as irrelevant to the modern world and at the same time regarded with suspicion.

Then, despite the West saying that NATO would not expand to the East, it did so anyway. Instead of embracing the fledgling post-Soviet Russia as an equal to be respected, at a time when nobody was threatening anybody, we parked tanks and missiles on their lawn. Had different decisions been made by the US and the West, might we have seen a different Russia emerge, with the likes of Putin and his unreconstructed KGB henchmen a million miles away from power, and consigned to the dustbin of history?

This is an interesting piece. There's a certain amount of rewriting history involved, but I believe the thrust of it stands up. It really didn't have to turn out the way it looks today.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/28/nato-expansion-war-russia-ukraine

Thank you for posting this interesting opinion piece published in The Guardian – I tend to devour the Guardian’s articles. However, on this occasion, I disagree with some of the conclusions.

Such as:

The Warsaw Pact was not ‘disbanded’ – it disintegrated when the erstwhile Soviet satellites left the orbit and chose to move to the West. It was the various populations who consciously decided to align themselves with western democracies, and away from Russia. NATO did not ‘add’ the Baltic states by force; the Baltics applied for the NATO membership, eagerly and willingly. Unlike Ukraine, Russia has never let go of its nukes, in fact, it has modernised and diversified them, so now some of them are ‘battlefield ready’. Unsurprisingly, Russia’s neighbours feel the need to protect themselves. The unfolding human tragedy in Ukraine has proven that they were right to be concerned about Russia’s growing military might.

The Russian assaults on Georgia and Chechnya were provocations based on deception and fabrication – Anna Politkovskaya and many other brave Russian journalists paid with their lives for trying to expose the Kremlin’s lies.

Ukrainians do not want to be subsumed within the realms of the old Russian Empire as much as The Irish Republic does not wish to re-join the British Empire. The desire for their own national freedoms; to be able to rule themselves are the main reasons why Ukrainians (Ukrainian speakers and Russian speakers alike) are not rolling out the proverbial red carpet to their Russian invaders, but are greeting them with Molotov cocktails.

All the West has ever done about Putin and his kleptocrats’ money is to open the welcome door and shake their hands, and by doing that ‘we’ eroded our own democratic values and principles - our craven leaders undermined our future security for short-term financial gains.

I recommend an article (also published in The Guardian) that explains why the West can never ever do honest business with the Kremlin’s tyrant and why his intentions were always to play the West for the fools we are, while he pursued the never-ending growth of another tyrannical Russian Empire.  

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/27/vladimir-putin-russia-ukraine-power

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1 hour ago, woolley said:

Russia was effectively snubbed as irrelevant to the modern world and at the same time regarded with suspicion.

The phrase I remember is “Upper Volta with rockets”

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One question to people - how distracted have you been by all this.  Do you think it has affected your productivity at work?

Definitely I've spent too much time on it at the expense of work.

A further question - is that reasonable?

Trying to answer that - in some ways yes; this issue is creating literally world endangering tensions, but in some ways no; there is very little we can do and 99.99% of twitter commentators etc are ignorant and not worth listening to and 1/2 the videos that claim to be Russian things on fire/blowing up, are likely to be Ukrainian things on fire/blowing up.

 

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4 minutes ago, ManxTaxPayer said:

It's funny how the most rabid Brexiteers seem to be the most eager to blame Nato for all this. 

Yes, I've noticed this.

I'm back to the Kenyan and Singaporean ambassadors and their speeches at the UN - I've linked to them in the various threads.  What they say, is what was concerning the former Soviet satellites and countries.

These countries had agency, they wanted to join, and did so with some reluctance of the existing members. Why did they want to join - because they felt the Russians were bad actors in the international environment.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania etc etc are mightily relieved they did join tonight.

To have left them to be re-absorbed into Putin's sphere of influence would have been disastrous for their prosperity and human flourishing.

I oppose the totalitarian mindset which cannot comprehend or allow people to think differently. It is self-evident that this supresses and stifles and when it cannot control its only solution is violence.

I am glad our stick is big enough to keep them out, but worry we are getting to the stage where stick waving could be getting out of hand.

These are genuinely dangerous times. 

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