Some Points

Some points that Americans forget at their own peril:

1. There’s no China as an independent political actor. China is a satellite of Russia and does as it’s told. People who say “our biggest geopolitical threat is China and not Russia” have no idea what’s going on. There’s no “x but not y.” XY are an entity with common goals.

2. The reason why the Russian people hate the US isn’t anything the US did. This hatred isn’t about the NATO, the 1990s or anything of the kind. Consequently, there’s nothing that Americans can do to make themselves less hated.

3. The current invasion of Ukraine by Russia is domestic policy, not foreign. People who keep asking, “but why would Putin do this?” are, again, very unaware of recent history. Putin is doing it because every time he invades somebody, his approval ratings soar. His people are loving it. There’s no cruel dictator forcing an unwilling populace to murder. The populace is willing, happy, and very upset.

4. Americans believe they are the center of the world and everything happens because of something they did or didn’t do. But that’s not true. Its very possible for people to hate you without you doing anything to them. They hate that you exist, period.

I know that the TV says the opposite, so it’s useless to bring all of this up. But I’ve got to try.

68 thoughts on “Some Points

    1. Russia has removed its border with China. There’s no border. Hasn’t been one for years. What does this mean? There’s a gigantic territory that’s administered jointly by China and Russia. Eventually, they will merge completely. This is happening at a very rapid clip. Have you heard any coverage of this major geopolitical development? Probably not.

      This is why there’s no separate China and Russia. They are melding. And it’s not recent. Who’s going to be the leader of this melded entity? It’s not going to be the culture of followers, that’s for sure. It’s going to be the culture of bold, rule-breaking innovators who like to make others work for them. It’s not going to be the culture of sweatshop workers.

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      1. \ It’s not going to be the culture of followers, that’s for sure. It’s going to be the culture of bold, rule-breaking innovators who like to make others work for them.

        The bold innovators are Chinese, right?

        I can believe Russians (would) like to make others work for them and Chinese are “the culture of followers”, but all this description just sounds way off if you see Russians as future rulers.

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        1. No, the Chinese are the followers. Have you noticed how they steal all of the technology from the Americans? The highest IQ on Earth and they can’t innovate worth a darn.

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          1. This is fascinating – about the border between Russia and China. What should I read to learn more about that? I can’t get to this exact aspect of Russia China relations by just googling.

            Is Russia really a culture of bold, rule-breaking innovators? I think you’ve referenced the Chinese not overthrowing their authoritarian government before as a signal that they’re a culture of followers, but the Russians haven’t overthrown theirs either. They’ve allowed themselves to be brainwashed by Putin to support him.

            What technological innovations have come out of Russia in the past few decades?

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            1. That’s precisely the problem. It’s not being reported. I know from people who live in one of the regions close to the border. They started talking about this back in 2005 or whereabouts. Since then, it progressed enormously. This is one of the reasons why Russian nationalists are so against Putin. Or were until they started getting killed. There were massive and bloody protests by Russian nationalists against this in, I believe, 2006-8. Again, no coverage. I know because I saw photos on the blogs. Then it was all censored away. A lot of young people died in those protests. Does anybody know about this? Of course, not.

              As to the Russian people being brainwashed. I’d love to believe that. But I don’t. This was all happening before anybody knew Putin’s name. Putin is a symptom. The disease is from a lot earlier and it goes a lot deeper.

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          2. The Chine’s innovation in technology and AI is second only to the US, and they are catching up fast. They are actually farther ahead in several key areas.

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  1. Can you explain the china point? I would’ve imagined since China is much more powerful than Russia in every dimension, it wouldn’t be taking orders from Russia.

    It’s devastating to see what’s happening in Ukraine. I’m so sorry.

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    1. China is definitely much more powerful than Russian in every regard. All Russia has is a strong military, China has that and everything else.

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        1. “Reckon Taiwan will be next on the invasion list then?”

          Based on the opinion of people around me, chance is greater than 50%. There are 4 military bases within 20 minutes drive of where I am, so there are some people who are well informed. It isn’t guaranteed though, so here’s hoping.

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            1. Hopefully, to the vulnerable domestic nuclear facilities.

              Biden is useless but I’m sure there are some people in the administration who understand the danger even if they don’t talk about it in public. There should be some professionalism still in existence somewhere in Washington.

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      1. “China has that and everything else”

        Chinese military stinks. It is corrupt and incompetent. Their equipment is shockingly bad as well.

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      1. I have not much to add except that I share your concern. I do not think that people living on this continent appreciate the terrifying potential of what has started in Ukraine. If (when?) the conflict escalates beyond the Ukraine borders, it is not staying in Europe. This is not going to be just another war in a distant that you can watch on TV as the Americans are used to. There is still some hope but whoever is not afraid at this point is a fool.

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  2. Isn’t this the same approach Hitler took with Germany? Nationalism and hatred for all others. They truly considered themselves greater, better, smarter, etc. And just look what they accomplished…

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  3. Clarissa, I appreciate your analysis, but Russia is the junior partner to China. China is massive compared to Russia in every regard; Russia is a minion compared to China in regards to everything: economics, military, education, technology, etc. Your idea that China still needs Russian technology is very outdated. That hasn’t been the case for a long time.
    In addition, now that Russia will be shut out of Europe, China has all the leverage.

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    1. China steals US technology, not Russian. What China gets from Russia is the land. The land that’s very rich in natural resources.

      As for the size, we’ve all seen situations where a huge, burly guy is totally dominated by a smaller, weaker friend.

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      1. China stole a lot if IP from the US, but that is increasingly become less of an issue as they develop their own tech. Just look around you to see not only areas where they copied before, but have now improved on. This was the whole issue with Huawei and 5G, where they had/have a lead over Western alternatives.

        Also, not to sound like a commie cheerleader, but the CCP managed to get more people out of poverty than anything else this past century. Basically the exact opposite of what Russia is doing to their own people.

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      2. I disagree with you on China. China is not what it was 20 years ago, when it was just stealing and copying (both Western and Russian tech, by the way, compare Su27 with J11/J15).
        I am not saying it is the other way around (although what you say about land is true), I am saying that at the moment Russia and China have a mutually beneficial relationship. I doubt Xi can forbid anything to Putin, but why should he? Somebody else is conducting an experiment on how far the West would (not) go defending its allies, and carrying all the risks of said experiment… If Putin somehow overextends himself and implodes, it will not be China’s problem – they will just buy Russian exports cheaper. If Putin succeeds, the West will be demoralized and life will be easier for China on many topics, including Taiwan.
        And I am also questioning your choice of Russian sources. Most of my Russian contacts are against the war.

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        1. Have you had a chance to see what our favorite writer has to say on the subject? Nothing is happening. Kiev is completely calm. She’s against the war but there is no war and if there is, Ukraine is waging it. Probably against itself.

          There’s a heavy missile attack on Kiev right now. Not a word of condemnation from our peacenik hippie lady. If I made a mistake when I read her for 20 years, so did you.

          Of course, now everybody else will ask who I’m talking about but who cares? They are all like that.

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          1. I have not read the lady in question for many years. If I left, I left. Her citing THE craziest Russian imperialist in my country as the source of ultimate truth, or claiming that they had to hide her Indian husband from some museum worker grannies in a city full of thousands of tourists of all possible colors was quite enough for me. (And over the years I got disappointed in psychoanalysis too, but it is a different story.)

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            1. Oh, I remember the story about the hiding of the husband. That was really something.

              I haven’t been following either but today I had to go and check. I would have loved to get a good surprise. But. . no surprise at all.

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  4. Regarding point 1, I can say with authority that some highly ranked Chinese are paid to play the part of aggressors towards Western states, against the interests of their own country. The reason for this is because the political class in China operates as much like a criminal syndicate full of profiteers as much as it operates like a group of civil servants, regulators, captains of industry etc.

    Regarding points 2 & 3, from what I know, Russia is behaving according to its own foreign policy since it was promised to Russia in 1990 by the US Secretary of State that NATO would not encroach into states like Ukraine etc since Russia could tolerate that no more than the US could tolerate missiles being positioned in Cuba.

    On that basis, the US and others in Europe would be much more popular in Russia if they honoured that and stopped trying to dominate everything.

    I know that this isn’t popular to say but I think that some Ukrainian politicians and other leaders who took money from aggressive states are culpable and should be punished for their actions. The world has enough problems without people allowing themselves to be bribed to set everyone else in the country up for war.

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    1. “NATO would not encroach into states like Ukraine”

      Sorry, but that’s like saying “If Sally hadn’t burned the soup her husband wouldn’t have beaten the crap out of her. Maybe she should have paid more attention in the kitchen.”

      NATO is an excuse to invade another country, something about which most rank and file Russians is a great thing.

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      1. “Sorry, but that’s like saying “If Sally hadn’t burned the soup her husband wouldn’t have beaten the crap out of her. Maybe she should have paid more attention in the kitchen.””

        No it isn’t. The US Secretary of State promised in a public speech that NATO would not expand to the East, to reassure the Russians that they would never be at risk of a first strike that they could not defend against.

        A few decades prior, the US itself went crazy when missiles were to be situated in Cuba, and so knows very well what it means to have first strike capable missiles situated so close to a border.

        The first responsibility of a government (and any human) is to preserve their own life, which in turn makes it absolutely intolerable for the Russian government and Russian people for NATO missiles to be placed in Ukraine.

        The Russians have no choice but to defend against that outcome. Everyone knows this very well and is playing dumb about it.

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        1. “US Secretary of State promised in a public speech that NATO would not expand to the East”

          The only reason Russia doesn’t want Ukraine in NATO is because it wants to eliminate the country. Ukraine’s very existence is felt as an insult to Russian identity.

          Your argument boils down to: Russia invaded Ukraine because it wouldn’t be able to if Ukraine belonged to NATO so NATO (not Russia) is to blame….

          And the US secretary of State was not reckoning with the political will of countries that know Russian aggression all too well (like the one I’m in).

          And Russia signed an agreement to respect Ukrainian territorial integrity… Once they broke that in 2014 any promise about not moving NATO was null and void….

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          1. “The only reason Russia doesn’t want Ukraine in NATO is because it wants to eliminate the country.”

            No, the Russians have been very clear about this, as have many international commentators who wrote or spoke about this exact scenario. The issue is first strike weapons that they cannot defend against, not the existence of a country that has been there for a very long time.

            Regarding the statements of the US Secretary of State promising that there would be no movement of NATO to the East, it is irrelevant what he did or did not think of. A promise was made, without which there might not have been a dissolution of the USSR.

            Regarding territorial integrity, first there is the issue of Ukraine receiving $5 billion to align itself against Russia plus the statements of highly ranked politicians at that time intimating war against Russia.

            Next is the issue that according to international law, Crimea was permitted to hold an election to secede and join Russia if it wanted to. Other nations have done similar things in modern times, with examples including, say, East Timor.

            If I recall correctly, at that time, politicians in Ukraine openly said that there were several million excess people in the East, meaning the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, suggesting that a displacement or genocide was to occur, followed by conducting military operations against them. Those people therefore gained the right to defend themselves by force of arms, while the Russian ethnicity of many of them enabled Russia to give them aid.

            So, the statement “Russia violated territorial integrity” is in dispute imo.

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            1. Putin spoke only two days ago and said openly that he doesn’t recognize Ukraine’s right to exist as a country. It was a long and passionate speech. He has been saying this exact thing for years. He has also said for years that his goal is to restore the USSR.

              Ukraine didn’t need to receive anything to “align itself against Russia.” I grew up there. We hated these people. My Ukrainian Communist war-veteran grandpa had no problem with his daughter marrying a Jew but never got over his other daughter marrying a Russian. This was in the early 1970s. We don’t need money to have a deep aversion to the colonial power that has been torturing us since the 1600s.

              None of this is about what the US and the West did or didn’t do. Ukrainians and Russians historically detest each other. And Russians historically despise the West. The NATO or Obama are a pimple on a huge, diseased body that’s hundreds of years old.

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              1. If someone gave cruise missiles to groups in Palestine that were pre-targeted to hit Jerusalem and that would get through the Iron Dome system, it would be minutes before the IDF bombed the locations of those missiles.

                If someone gave cruise missiles to West Papua that were pre-targeted to hit Jakarta, it would be minutes before the Indonesians bombed the locations of those missiles.

                If someone gave Armenia nukes that were pre-targeted to hit Ankara, it would be minutes before the Turks scrambled jets or drones to destroy the locations of those missiles.

                All of the aforementioned nations/groups snarl at each other incessantly without actually doing anything, yet would be impelled to war as soon as something that threatens the existence of one of them is introduced.

                I understand that there is enormous animosity between Russia and Ukraine, both historically and in living memory post WW2.

                Yet in light of the examples mentioned above as well as the events around the Cuban Missile Crisis I cannot place that historical animosity above the factors that absolutely, every single time, cause immediate conflict, and go along with saying that historical animosity is more determinative than the new weapons/self preservation of one party.

                So I get it, but can’t agree. It is too irrational for me to accept.

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              2. It was the other way round, though. The West took the nukes away from Ukraine in the Budapest agreements. It was done to make Russia feel better. Everything was done to make Russia feel better. Ukraine is not in the NATO and nobody is offering membership even today. The issue of Ukraine ever wanting to join the NATO was completely ludicrous to everybody in Ukraine until Russia started invading.

                The West sides with Russia over Ukraine every single time. Including today. Has Russia been kicked out of SWIFT? Has the oligarch property been confiscated? Obviously, not. So where are these nukes or their equivalent that the NATO placed in Ukraine?

                Curiously, even in Russia nobody is making the argument that you are. The Russians themselves aren’t saying that they are invading over any of this. Putin said 2 days ago that he’s invading to correct the mistakes that Lenin made in 1919.

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              3. “I grew up there. We hated these people.”

                Reading this is a huge surprise to me. It wasn’t like that in my family or with anyone I knew well. I also had a Ukrainian Communist war-veteran grandpa on my mother’s side, from Eastern Ukraine. My mom’s side of the family spoke Russian. My father’s side of the family is from Western Ukraine, from a part that was Poland until WWII. They spoke Ukrainian and my dad pretty much had to switch to Russian when he moved to Kiev.

                Of course I can’t claim to represent all Ukrainians, and I was lucky enough to not have been psychologically impacted by communism at all – the USSR fell apart when I started first grade. But the sense I got was that people hated Communists, not Russians per se.

                I’m definitely not as certain about how other people felt about foreigners, but reading that they were brainwashed into thinking that foreigners were stupid and worse than them was also somewhat surprising. It certainly wasn’t like that in my immediate family.

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              4. When I met my husband, one of the biggest hurdles for us was the dreaded “national question.” He’s Russian, if anybody doesn’t know. He’d make these well-meaning comments that to him were common sense and to me were deeply offensive. I’m not a patient person, so it never ended well. It took years and then some to learn to avoid these pitfalls. I knew he was from a family of anti-Semites and Ukrainian-haters. He isn’t like that. But still, a lifetime of conditioning resulted in these comments. And it was the same with my best friend from college who’s Russian and this was always a huge issue between us. Constant insulting comments that she saw as common sense. My whole life we called them an ethnic slur and they called us an ethnic slur. It comes up within the first ten minutes of a conversation. “Your mother is Ukrainian? Strange. She talks like an educated person. Oh, of course, you like peasant food. Didn’t you say you are Ukrainian?” But it’s not one-sided. We do it, too. How weird, a Russian and not an alcoholic? Here they go again with their pedo Pushkin. They were still in caves while we had a civilization. My grandpa’s favorite stories were about a visit to the Russian in-laws and how dirty and uncultured they were. They don’t use bedding, they don’t eat with a fork. They think we are greedy. We think they are rude and stupid. Don’t tell me you never heard the jokes about Ukrainians’ greed and the Russian women’s dirty underwear. You really never heard the jokes about a Russian and a Ukrainian on a train and a Ukrainian takes out his salo? Or the Russian guy who married a French woman and thinks she must be dirty because she showers every day? Or the Ukrainian dido listening to the Russian radio [a string of ethnic slurs]? It’s hard to feel the temperature of the lava when you are swimming in this but imagine if a white American tells these jokes about an African American. How would you interpret the feeling behind them?

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              5. I particularly remember when N referred to me as “a person from the periphery” in the early stages of our relationship. He’s from a tiny Russian town that had a single school. I’m from the second -largest city in Ukraine.

                “The periphery of what?” I asked.

                “You know,” he said.

                “No, I don’t,” I answered. He was sincerely surprised that I didn’t see myself as a provincial. I’ll leave to everybody’s imagination to envision what ensued after these comments.

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              6. My Ukrainian, Russian-speaking mom feels this way about Western Ukrainians. She is particularly upset about the government pushing Ukrainian onto Russian-speaking Ukrainians. She says there is nothing comparable to Tolstoy or Chekhov in Ukrainian.

                I know the jokes about Ukrainians being greedy. Have you heard the one about people of different nationalities finding a bushel of apples and being asked what they will do with it? I don’t remember the nationalities other than the Ukrainian and there wasn’t anything stereotypical (give them to family, give them to friends). Well, the Ukraine said “Як не з’їм, то хоч понадкусую” – if I won’t manage to eat them all, I’ll at least take a bite out of each one.

                I will admit I find that joke pretty hilarious in principle, as a joke about a greedy person. I don’t know any of the jokes you mentioned about Russians, although I’m aware of the stereotype of them all being alcoholics, which has some truth to it, and I say that with the greatest compassion. They have plenty of causes to turn to alcohol to self-medicate.

                I completely agree that your interactions with Russians show how they stereotyped Ukrainians. I was just lucky enough not to experienced anything like that. I lived in a community with lots of Polish, Ukrainian, and some Russian immigrants in Toronto, and the teens in my high school that I knew were from Russia didn’t treat us, Ukrainians (Russian- or Ukrainian-speaking) any differently. I haven’t heard a single slur about Ukrainians dropped casually in conversation by a Russian. Perhaps I was remarkably clueless, but it just didn’t happen. There were groups of friends that included Russians and Ukrainians, and the Russians from Russia basically learned to understand Ukrainian as they spoke to each other in these two languages.

                That was in a neighborhood in the Western part of Toronto. A different neighborhood had a higher concentration of Russian speakers (which could have been Ukrainians for all I know), but not many people who spoke Ukrainian. Perhaps my experience would have been different had I gone to high school there.

                Studying computer science in a pretty good school (which I’m deeply thankful to the Canadian government for making affordable), naturally, there were a few Russian speakers in my class. At some point I lived with 4 other Russian-speaking girls – 2 Russian and 2 Ukrainian, I believe. I haven’t heard a single negative things or stereotype or joke about Ukrainians from any of the Russian speakers I’ve interacted with in university. Perhaps it would have been different had Ukrainian been my first language.

                By the way, I just have a completely different perception of the Chinese from you. It’s all emotional and based on personal experience, and of course one could say that there’s a big cultural difference between immigrants from China and those who stay there (although it’s also a matter of opportunity). I had lots of Chinese people in my class in university, many with strong accents, and I just had such a great time in university in terms of finding like-minded people and having friends.

                I’ve spent long days and weekends in computer labs with my Chinese classmates, some of them working side by side, and some together on group projects. At those times I strongly felt I had a lot more in common with my classmates, regardless of background, than with anyone in other majors. As you can guess half of my class was of Asian background, from both East Asia and South Asia. The Middle East was quite well represented as well.

                I’m sorry about rambling. I even logged into Facebook today.

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              7. No, please, rant as much as you need. I loved reading your comment and I’m very grateful because it gives me something to think about and distract myself.

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              8. @Clarissa: “It was the other way round, though. The West took the nukes away from Ukraine in the Budapest agreements. It was done to make Russia feel better. Everything was done to make Russia feel better.”

                I would submit that nothing was done to make Russia feel better, but rather that Ukraine was lied to and betrayed. Ukraine never should have been dependent on either the West or Russia for security.

                In my opinion, what really happened was that Ukraine was made dependent and toothless so that it could be both a buffer zone, and incapable of forming a military bloc with Russia against the West.

                It all looks like the same strategy used by the British any time they left a place that they had colonised. What they do is to split the country into two separate entities that fight against each other, so that no one ever comes chasing after them.

                India, for example, was split into India and Pakistan. Both were oppressed by the British, yet spend all of their time fighting each other. Elsewhere, Korea became North and South Korea. Vietnam became North and South Vietnam.

                It is very obvious to me that Ukraine is to Russia what South Vietnam was to North Vietnam. Ukraine (South Vietnam) is to be backed by the West to fight against the evil North Vietnamese (Russia), with Western bullets in the air and slavic blood on the ground.

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    2. Re NATO, if Putin worried re that, invading Ukraine would’ve been the last thing he would do:

      // Finish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Thursday said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will change the debate around NATO membership within her country.

      “Finland is not currently facing an immediate military threat, but it is also now clear that the debate on NATO membership in Finland will change,” Marin said, YLE News reported.

      Finland and Sweden, who are both not officially members of NATO, will be at a summit the alliance will host Friday.

      https://thehill.com/policy/international/595656-finland-says-debate-on-nato-membership-will-change-after-russian

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      1. I’ve made this point for 8 years but it’s useless. People have grown so attached to the NATO explanation that there’s no prying them away from it. It’s a comforting, easy and pleasing explanation. I don’t blame people for choosing the sweet fairy tale over an unpleasant, dark reality. I want to believe in cute bunnies and butterflies, too.

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        1. “It’s a comforting, easy and pleasing explanation. I don’t blame people for choosing the sweet fairy tale over an unpleasant, dark reality.”

          Respectfully, I remember reading a few years ago that Hillary Clinton herself said that a “limited nuclear war” with Russia was “acceptable”. She wasn’t alone.

          When senior politicians say things like that, it isn’t so unreasonable to think that NATO would be utilised toward that end.

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            1. Hang on a second. The US deploys nukes on its own soil and in other countries. China has nuclear armed submarines roaming the oceans. The Indians deploy nukes on their soil, as do the Pakistanis, as does the UK etc. Australia recently ordered nuclear powered submarines from the US. North Korea openly threatens to nuke other nations so as to beg for aid.

              So having nukes deployed on your own soil isn’t the issue at all. The issue here isn’t who has nukes, but rather who is justifiably scared that nukes will be used on them.

              It is more than obvious that all of this has come about because of the desires of a few warmongering US politicians plus their weapon selling friends who bribed susceptible traitorous bastards in Ukraine so that normal people in both Ukraine and Russia who aren’t involved in any of this are the ones in harms way.

              None of this should be happening at all. NATO is supposed to stop wars from happening not be an instrument that starts it. There aren’t words for how stupid and bad all of this is.

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              1. George, you started from some reasonable talk, but you lost me when you mentioned “traitorous bastards in Ukraine”. Being anti-Russian is a default setting for the majority in Eastern Europe. The West does not need to pay people there to be anti-Russian. Many will pay the West for the privilege. Even if they are corrupt in some other aspects.

                But majority is not everybody. And Russia exploited that fact. Again, for the people Russia exploited, being pro-Russian was a default setting, so Russia in turn did not have to pay them much… One could argue that various Stalinist / imperial demographic and cultural policies were successful, in the sense that they prevented formation of a united Ukrainian nation (if we define nation as a group of people that share not just “high culture” or language, but values, prejudices, myths, common understanding of history, etc)

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              2. Exactly, valter07. On all counts. I have a heavily pregnant cousin hiding in the cellar in Donetsk because we’ve begged her to leave for 8 years, offered money, housing, anything, but the poor idiot stayed because she wants to be Russian.

                OK, she’s stupid, whatever. But it’s impossible not to feel the horror of what she’s experiencing. We are quite literally on different sides of the front lines but I don’t want her to pay for it.

                Nobody paid her to be this way and nobody paid me. Same family, opposite dearly held beliefs. This isn’t about the West at all.

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              3. @valter07: “George, you started from some reasonable talk, but you lost me when you mentioned “traitorous bastards in Ukraine””

                I know that Chinese officials are being bribed to foment war against their own nation. They are paid to make either decisions or public statements that warmongers want them to make, so that their nation is led into a war, or starts one. I have never seen this information published, and only know about it because of a certain closeness to politics.

                The ones who take money to do this have committed treason, while the ones who fail to report it have committed misprison of treason. Either way, they are traitors.

                It has been my experience that the kinds of people who pay officials off insist that the ones in power accept money from them so as to be in thrall. People who refuse money are most often targeted and removed.

                Obama bragged about $5 billion being spent into Ukraine so as to stir things up, which means that there are many people in Ukraine who are guilty of outright treason, or misprison of treason, which is effectively the same thing.

                I personally will not accept that Ukrainian officials have blundered their way into conflict through some kind of endless default hatred. Based on my experience, this kind of thing does not happen by accident or mere blundering. It most often happens because people get something out of it, which is usually money.

                That is why I used the term “traitorous bastards”.

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      2. “Re NATO, if Putin worried re that, invading Ukraine would’ve been the last thing he would do:”

        I don’t think so. Look at what happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Missiles in Cuba and missiles in Ukraine aren’t so different.

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  5. “On that basis, the US and others in Europe would be much more popular in Russia if they honoured that and stopped trying to dominate everything.”

    If they’d honored that, Russia would probably already be in Poland and the Baltics. They clearly want to reform the Soviet Union.

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    1. “If they’d honored that, Russia would probably already be in Poland and the Baltics. They clearly want to reform the Soviet Union.”

      What evidence is there of that. From what I can see, Russia has more land than it can handle, or even defend properly. It has demographic problems because of an ageing population, economic problems due to things like its non-integration or limited integration into the Western financial system, and political problems due to the same, along with historical enmity with Europe (and now the US).

      I remember Obama practically boasting that $5 billion US had been spent into Ukraine so as to align it against Russia, and remember sanctions being applied against Russia for what seemed like made up reasons.

      What I see is not Russian expansionism but rather a reaction to Western aggression.

      By the way, I am from a Western nation that is quite removed from all of this, which means that I am not speaking from any prejudice. If anything I would like everyone to calm back down and go about building things up not tearing them down like idiots.

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      1. “What I see is not Russian expansionism but rather a reaction to Western aggression.”

        Ukraine: Exists

        Russia: Oh my god can you believe how aggressive they are! We have to invade!!!!!

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        1. “Russia: Oh my god can you believe how aggressive they are! We have to invade!!!!!”

          Obama bragged that $5 billion had been spent into Ukraine to destabilise the country at the same time Hillary Clinton said that a limited nuclear war with Russia was acceptable, in the context of it being promised in 1990 that no such eastward expansion of NATO would occur.

          The US doesn’t exactly have a good reputation when it comes to reasoning for fighting wars, particularly after the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that didn’t exist, plus invading a whole country to catch Osama Bin Laden, plus baiting Iraq into attacking Kuwait followed by war, plus invading Libya to butcher Gaddafi causing Libya to become a failed state in which slaves are openly sold.

          Seeing the same people who did all of that bribe Ukrainian politicians with $5 billion plus renege on a 1990 promise not to expand eastward with NATO plus talk about a limited nuclear war with Russia being acceptable is unsurprisingly going to cause concern for the average Russian politician imo.

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          1. What you aren’t taking into account is that they hated the West long before any of this. In the early 1990s, the US sent food to Russia by the plane full. People ate the food and hated the giver with a vengeance. Just imagine what it must feel like to be told throughout the Cold War that you live so much better than the West and then discovering it’s not true. And then the very people you you and the several generations before you thought were losers are in the position to feed you out of pity. Imagine building your entire sense of self on superiority and then discovering you are inferior. How can one live with it and not try to make oneself feel better?

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            1. “What you aren’t taking into account is that they hated the West long before any of this.”

              “How can one live with it and not try to make oneself feel better?”

              I do not see how any of these things are relevant to the issue, which is that forces in the West are openly talking about limited nuclear war against Russia while they renege on decades old agreements not to move NATO to the East, and while they brag about spending billions to subvert the government of Ukraine.

              All of this didn’t come about because some Russians had low self esteem. It has come about because an election happened in the US to elect a president who is backed by neoconservative warmongers. They switched sides away from the Republicans when Trump wouldn’t go along with it.

              In my opinion, the important thing to do is stop the conflict immediately through the international community actually talking about these nuclear weapons, and then systems should be built to stop it from ever happening again.

              If NATO is to exist then it should be independent so that it cannot be used as an instrument of aggression, while the agreement made in 1990 which effectively stopped war for 3 decades should be upheld.

              After that the media needs to be cleaned out because based on what I am seeing, not a single one has mentioned 1990s agreements or the movement of first strike missiles into Ukraine. Everything is 100% anti-Russia which imo is going to produce exactly the wrong outcome.

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              1. I very respectfully and pretty much completely disagree with you on all of this (and agree with Clarissa and cliff arroyo).

                But what exactly do you mean by “If NATO is to exist then it should be independent”?

                Independent from whom? An alliance is by definition the opposite of independent.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. @MT: “I very respectfully and pretty much completely disagree with you on all of this (and agree with Clarissa and cliff arroyo).

                But what exactly do you mean by “If NATO is to exist then it should be independent”?”

                I do not know how you can disagree with statements like “forces in the West are openly talking about limited nuclear war against Russia while they renege on decades old agreements not to move NATO to the East, and while they brag about spending billions to subvert the government of Ukraine” since those things are facts, but okay.

                To answer your question, what I mean by NATO being independent is that it should be totally free of influence from any government in its function. So, it would have to be funded and furnished with soldiers etc from each participating nation, and have clearly defined rules, regulations, tasks etc about which it functions.

                In its present form, NATO is practically a mercenary force that is under the direction of, mainly, the US, closely followed by EU leadership, which means Germany.

                If it were not, NATO might never have pushed so far East, which in turn would mean that Russia might not be attacking the already tormented people of Ukraine.

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    1. Honestly, I’m avoiding the updates because I don’t have the strength to know the details. I was on the verge of a stroke yesterday, for real. I haven’t turned on the TV and haven’t read anything online. I just can’t. I’m very worried about my father because if anything happens to the Ukrainian president, I seriously fear for my father’s health. I’m begging him to take a break from the news updates but it’s useless.

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      1. The only thing I did on social media is scroll through the posts by people from Russia I follow and delete everybody who is being a piece of shit. That’s 100% of them as of now. Two people haven’t posted anything yet, so we’ll see.

        My mother ended 3 friendships today because people were being total bastards. You’ve got to wonder what has to happen to a person to be nasty to a friend who’s going through something like this. My cousin in Donetsk is 35 weeks pregnant. Everybody knows this. How hard is it to say, “gosh, I’m so sorry. How are you holding up?”

        Thankfully, I don’t personally know anybody like this myself but then I have zero Russian friends.

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      2. The Ukrainian president is awesome. I also really hope nothing happens to him. He seems like that type of person who history just thrust in the middle of world changing events and is able to deal with them better than expected.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. “Crimea was permitted to hold an election to secede and join Russia”

    Tell me you don’t know anything about Eastern Europe without telling me you don’t know anything about Eastern Europe….

    Everything you’re saying about Russia and its motivations are straight from English speaking mainstream media and very much at odds with what actually happened.
    People who are from or who live in the area have much different takes (often based on material that’s hard to find or simply not available in English).

    Russia is invading because it wants to invade.

    If you want an insider opinion from a Russian (not so moral, but…. that’s not the style these days) then look at this:

    https://akarlin.substack.com/p/regathering-of-the-russian-lands?utm_source=url

    Notice he explicitly cites Putin’s NATO demands as impossible and dsicounts them as the reason for the invasion (part of a neo-imperial project).

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    1. @cliff arroyo: ““Crimea was permitted to hold an election to secede and join Russia”

      Tell me you don’t know anything about Eastern Europe without telling me you don’t know anything about Eastern Europe….”

      I didn’t say that Crimea was permitted to hold an election to secede and join Russia. I said “according to international law, Crimea was permitted to hold an election to secede and join Russia if it wanted to” which carries a completely different meaning.

      I know that laws in Russia/E.E are mostly for show, with international laws only quoted when it serves someone’s purpose. But that isn’t the point. The point is that the Russians put on an election for the eyes and can argue from the moral high ground in the West, which is the only place the propaganda matters anyway.

      Thanks for the link, I’ll look shortly 🙂

      Like

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