Lost Cause Roundtable

Our political sciences department is going to hold a roundtable on Ukraine under an unofficial name “it’s not about the NATO, stupid.” Because the idea that Russia has been invading Ukraine (for over 300 years, no less) because of the NATO is bizarrely idiotic.

It’s absolutely impossible to persuade Americans that anything on this planet isn’t about them, though, so it’s a lost cause.

12 thoughts on “Lost Cause Roundtable

  1. “it’s not about the NATO, stupid.”

    Actually it is.

    Putin has always wanted to rebuild the old Soviet Union, but he wouldn’t be massing at the Ukrainian border right now if he wasn’t afraid that it might fall forever into an alliance (read: NATO) with democratic Western Europe.

    Once under NATO protection, Ukraine would be beyond his reach without a regional (or worse) war with the United States.

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    1. “Actually it is.”

      Nope. Russia would be aggressive and expansionist even if NATO had never existed. NATO is a convenient excuse (and many fall for it).

      Almost no one believes that NATO would do anything if Russia entered the territory of Latvia or Estonia to ‘protect’ ethnic Russians living there (whether or not Russians living there would want this is irrelevant to Russia). It’s repeatedly floated the idea of a ‘corridor’ through Lithuania and/or Poland to the Kaliningrad enclave and if it actively worked to start creating one… people would make excuses and not do anything.

      NATO is a magical unicorn that only works as long as everybody believes and lots of people no longer believe….

      And Germany, thanks to Angela Merkel (in office at least 6 years too long), is now completely dependent on Russian resources and will strongly oppose any action that would jeopardize the flow – which is what Nordstream2 is about, Russia reassuring Germany a supply of gas when/if it starts meddling around in other countries as long as Germany doesn’t get too lippy….

      And… now that we’re here, it’s not entirely clear to me that Putin wants to rebuild the old CCCP exactly (a massive ongoing boondoggle of a country that can’t be made viable, even on paper) but it’s clear that a large percentage of the Russian public absolutely wants that and so he does things in public that hold out that hope for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s exactly how it is. Putin invades when his ratings fall. The moment a war begins, his ratings skyrocket. He simply gives people what they want.

        As for NATO, it’s an illusion. If Russia starts bombing Tallinn tomorrow, nobody will do anything. Some silly narrative will be concocted that will justify doing nothing. NATO is dead. Time to move on.

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    2. Yes, he absolutely would be trying to invade if NATO never existed.

      This NATO talking point is a lie, a fantasy concocted for propaganda purposes in the US. Putin invaded back in 2014 when, as I said before, there was zero interest in Ukraine in joining the NATO.

      Please, people, don’t believe these talking points you hear on TV. It’s all propaganda.

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  2. Well, the Russians have been invading Poland for around 200 years. Does that mean it is okay to invade Poland as well? What is the time limit? Frankly, I don’t want the US to get in a war with a nuclear armed Russia over the Ukraine but sadly, the whole Ukraine is Russia argument simply won’t hunt. Let’s face it Stalin didn’t even believe it as he sent in ethnic Russians to control the Ukraine. Probably, Putin needs to deal rather with the demographic collapse that is going on in Russia. Maybe, he hopes invading the Ukraine will make Russians want to reproduce. I hope so.

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  3. “Russia would be aggressive and expansionist even if NATO had never existed…Almost no one believes that NATO would do anything if Russia entered the territory of Latvia or Estonia…”

    “As for NATO, it’s an illusion. If Russia starts bombing Tallinn tomorrow, nobody will do anything. Some silly narrative will be concocted that will justify doing nothing. NATO is dead.”

    NATO is very much misunderstood on this website! Yes, Putin would be expansionist even if there were no NATO, but he has NEVER threatened a NATO country militarily — and won’t, because he knows that the NATO alliance, including the United States, would be obligated to go to full-scale regional war if attacked. And Putin knows that they would actually do so. He knows it’s no illusion.

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  4. “NATO is very much misunderstood on this website! Yes, Putin would be expansionist even if there were no NATO, but…”

    It’s not so much misunderstanding as it is wishful thinking – wishing to banish the stark realities of international power politics in order to accommodate nationalist sentiment.

    Imagine that Mexico – a weak, corrupt, internally fractured state that has for centuries endured the misfortune of sharing a land border with a Great Power – decided enter into a full military alliance with Russia or China. All the vainglorious blabber in the world about its “rights” to national sovereignty wouldn’t spare Mexico from the inevitable consequences.

    (Btw a list of Mexican misfortunes in the face of its Great Power neighbour might begin with the historical loss of half its territory to said neighbour and its contemporary constitution as a low-wage anarcho-narco enclave within the American economy.)

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    1. Poor Mexico, so far from heaven and so close to the United States!

      I don’t think the US would do absolutely anything whatsoever even if Mexico decided to integrate into China as a Chinese province. The people in power in the US have already moved to the neoliberal future where nations are irrelevant and there’s zero actual meaning to clusters of sounds “China” or “US” or anything else.

      The post-nation state is extremely profitable to the Pfizers and Amazons of the world but very unprofitable to the rest of us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The corporations have been hit very badly by the recent supply chain problems. I think the CEOs are talking very seriously about the advantages of manufacturing in nice US protectorates like Mexico compared to unreliable China.

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      2. “The people in power in the US have already moved to the neoliberal future where nations are irrelevant…”

        If “nations are irrelevant” and the rules of the international system no longer apply, then why are all of the weak states that border Russia so very anxious to underwrite their sovereignty with an alliance with an offshore Great Power that they think can check and balance the bordering Great Power they fear?

        Can you really think that the U.S. wouldn’t mind if China or Russia stationed its conventional and/or nuclear forces in Mexico to protect the Mexicans from any future American violations of Mexico’s national sovereignty?

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      3. “The people in power in the US have already moved to the neoliberal future where nations are irrelevant…”

        If “nations are irrelevant” and the rules of the international system no longer apply, then why are all of the weak states that border Russia so very anxious to underwrite their sovereignty with an alliance with an offshore Great Power that they hope will check and balance the bordering Great Power they fear?

        Can you really think that the U.S. wouldn’t mind if China or Russia stationed its conventional and/or nuclear forces in Mexico to protect the Mexicans from any future American violations of Mexico’s national sovereignty?

        Like

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