Author Topic: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?  (Read 107485 times)

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #315 on: August 24, 2008, 11:35:39 AM »
Elisabeth, you are not giving enough due consideration to how the Russian invasion of Georgia looks to Russia's erstwhile vassal states of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Ukraine, and so forth.  This is the reason the EU and the U.S. are reacting with such strong rhetoric.  Do you know how many ethnic Russians live in Ukraine?  How about Estonia?  What would you say if these people started agitating to again become part of Russia?  What's your position on the Crimea?

If you want to talk realpolitik, let's do it.  The EU will never allow Russia to regain it's lost empire in Europe.  And the response you are seeing to what happened in Georgia is evidence of that.  Perhaps Georgia is the exception, but for the rest of them, the borders have been settled once and for all.  You don't see Germany attempt to reclaim most of Poland, do you?  I mean, most of western Poland was once part of Germany, with Germans living there.  Not anymore. 

It is Russia, not the West, that has to rethink it's attitude here. 

Rich, I honestly think you and the western media are being far too simplistic. As far as I can see, Russia does not have designs on Georgia itself, much less the Baltic States (please be reasonable, Russians are a distinct minority there as in the Ukraine!). Russia probably wants to absorb South Ossetia, yes - but South Ossetia is a willing partner in this. The vast majority of the population hate Georgia and want to be rejoined with North Ossetia, which has been part of  Russia since Soviet times. There is no ethnic difference between the North and South Ossetians. This was an arbitrary distinction dreamed up by Stalin, when he divided Ossetia into north and south, giving the former to the Russian republic of the USSR, and the latter to the Georgian republic of same.

I certainly do fail to understand why my fellow Western liberals, so keen to see Bosnia-Herzegovina break away from the Yugoslav Republic, as was the Bosnians' wish, - and so keen to support the Albanian Kosovars' fight for independence - why now these same liberals cannot see or comprehend or for that matter even acknowledge that South Ossetia wants to rejoin with North Ossetia, even if it means rejoining Russia. Why don't you get this simple fact, that North and South Ossetia are one and the same entity, forcibly separated from each other by Stalin's arbitrary decrees, and now still separated because of Georgian nationalism and hatred of Ossetians? It seems to me a fairly simple equation.




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Offline RichC

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #316 on: August 24, 2008, 12:16:00 PM »
Elisabeth, you are not giving enough due consideration to how the Russian invasion of Georgia looks to Russia's erstwhile vassal states of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Ukraine, and so forth.  This is the reason the EU and the U.S. are reacting with such strong rhetoric.  Do you know how many ethnic Russians live in Ukraine?  How about Estonia?  What would you say if these people started agitating to again become part of Russia?  What's your position on the Crimea?

If you want to talk realpolitik, let's do it.  The EU will never allow Russia to regain it's lost empire in Europe.  And the response you are seeing to what happened in Georgia is evidence of that.  Perhaps Georgia is the exception, but for the rest of them, the borders have been settled once and for all.  You don't see Germany attempt to reclaim most of Poland, do you?  I mean, most of western Poland was once part of Germany, with Germans living there.  Not anymore. 

It is Russia, not the West, that has to rethink it's attitude here. 

Rich, I honestly think you and the western media are being far too simplistic. As far as I can see, Russia does not have designs on Georgia itself, much less the Baltic States (please be reasonable, Russians are a distinct minority there as in the Ukraine!). Russia probably wants to absorb South Ossetia, yes - but South Ossetia is a willing partner in this. The vast majority of the population hate Georgia and want to be rejoined with North Ossetia, which has been part of  Russia since Soviet times. There is no ethnic difference between the North and South Ossetians. This was an arbitrary distinction dreamed up by Stalin, when he divided Ossetia into north and south, giving the former to the Russian republic of the USSR, and the latter to the Georgian republic of same.

I certainly do fail to understand why my fellow Western liberals, so keen to see Bosnia-Herzegovina break away from the Yugoslav Republic, as was the Bosnians' wish, - and so keen to support the Albanian Kosovars' fight for independence - why now these same liberals cannot see or comprehend or for that matter even acknowledge that South Ossetia wants to rejoin with North Ossetia, even if it means rejoining Russia. Why don't you get this simple fact, that North and South Ossetia are one and the same entity, forcibly separated from each other by Stalin's arbitrary decrees, and now still separated because of Georgian nationalism and hatred of Ossetians? It seems to me a fairly simple equation.


I said in my earlier post that "perhaps Georgia is an exception". 

Anyway, why you refuse to see how what is happening would make Russia's other neighbors nervous is beyond me. 

Offline StevenL

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #317 on: August 24, 2008, 12:27:46 PM »
Excuse me for saying so, Steven, but you can't seem to confront the question of Kosovo, and what it has meant for the world political paradigm. I've asked this question twice in a row now, in two different posts, and you still haven't answered. I think it's because you're honestly stumped. You can't answer, because if you answered, you'd have to admit that South Ossetia, like Kosovo, has the inherent right to go its own way - even if that means, in South Ossetia's case, rejoining Russia!

Do you ever stop to observe yourself? Yet again, you imagine and then ascribe attitudes and positions to me -- and continue to put words in my mouth --even regarding a subject I have not at all discussed on this thread. You have such an amazingly out-of-control imagination that you can even "paraphrase" and decide upon the meaning of my silence. This behavior is both irrational and unsettling, and certainly it is a deterrent to meaningful discussion.

As I have repeated said elsewhere, it is fruitless for you and I to discuss certain matters due to our conflicting fundamental values. You may read whatever you want into my silence on what I personally view as (1) a totally unrelated topic and (2) an example of another matter that is pointless to debate with you. Over and over, the motives, words and attitudes you ascribe to me are mostly from your hot-headed imagination. Please understand I'm not buying into your "Soviet mindset-sensitive world-view," nor am I buying into your insistence that Kosova is fundamental to this discussion. Personally I find it is wiser to work to narrow the focus in an area of vehement disagreement, not expand it. Else, soon we will be fruitlessly discussing Iraq, Basque separatism and East Timor.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 12:39:06 PM by StevenL »

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #318 on: August 24, 2008, 12:34:52 PM »
Jeez, Rich, of course it makes them nervous. I'm not disputing that. I agree with you, they have every right to be nervous. Russia is one scary customer. But what I am saying is, in this case if in no other Russia was well within its rights to respond as it did. If it hadn't responded as it did, it would have appeared weak and ineffectual in the region, which is the last thing it wants. This is why Saakashvili has come across as so incredibly incompetent and stupid in the last several weeks. He played right into Russian hands by bombing South Ossetia. I can't imagine Ukraine or any of the Baltic states behaving in such an idiotically provocative manner. (I am hoping they have more competent leadership, and as far as I know, they do.)

And I honestly don't think Putin - or Medvedev's - Russia has designs on taking over all the countries of the former Soviet bloc. Yes, Russia wants to expand its geopolitical influence in the region - and it does this, for example, by withholding or supplying oil to a particular country or countries, depending on how the countries in question meet Russia's current demands. But I think that's probably the extent of the Russians' bullying. They don't have the best army, they're overextended in Chechnya (a war crime, if ever I saw one), they realize they're no longer a superpower. I think for the most part they limit their bullying to economic blackmail, which in and of itself is highly effective.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 12:38:22 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline RichC

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #319 on: August 24, 2008, 12:50:38 PM »
Jeez, Rich, of course it makes them nervous. I'm not disputing that. I agree with you, they have every right to be nervous. Russia is one scary customer.


Elisabeth, all I'm saying is this is the reason for the rhetoric on the American/EU side. 

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #320 on: August 24, 2008, 01:04:57 PM »
Jeez, Rich, of course it makes them nervous. I'm not disputing that. I agree with you, they have every right to be nervous. Russia is one scary customer.


Elisabeth, all I'm saying is this is the reason for the rhetoric on the American/EU side. 

Fine, Rich, I understand the reason, you are perfectly right. But in this particular instance they need to tone down the rhetoric. Russia is hardly going to abide by any ceasefire agreement if it thinks the West is still hostile towards it. The Russians will be expecting a stab in the back. That's the way they think. I think.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 01:07:51 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline TimM

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #321 on: January 22, 2011, 12:07:46 AM »
I remember when this was going on.  John McCain, then the Republican ticket for President said something like "In the 21st Century, countries don't invade other countries."  Of course, everyone pounced on that one.  Hello?  Iraq? (or Bush's Blunder as I have come to call it).  An invasion that McCain himself endorsed.  What a hypocrite!
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #322 on: August 21, 2011, 04:06:16 AM »
I remember when this was going on.  John McCain, then the Republican ticket for President said something like "In the 21st Century, countries don't invade other countries."  Of course, everyone pounced on that one.  Hello?  Iraq? (or Bush's Blunder as I have come to call it).  An invasion that McCain himself endorsed.  What a hypocrite!

In retrospect, I don't think that either of the male presidential candidates in 2008 were entirely hip to foreign policy -- neither McCain nor Obama. Probably the last American president who was really good at foreign policy was George Bush Senior... I now regret supporting Obama as the Democratic party presidential nominee, largely of course because hindsight is 20/20, but also because during these last several years I have seen Hillary Clinton coming into her own as Secretary of State. She wears power well. She's a formidable presence, is she not, without being too forbidding? She projects a much stronger and at the same time diplomatically more subtle and intelligent image than Obama -- who despite his own high intelligence can be relied on to send Joe Biden on various diplomatic missions in which the vice president continues to put his foot in his mouth at regular intervals and cause major political embarrassments for the United States. I do not understand this. I sincerely hope that Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to run for president at some point in the near future.
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Offline Petr

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #323 on: August 22, 2011, 01:22:48 PM »
I now regret supporting Obama as the Democratic party presidential nominee, largely of course because hindsight is 20/20, but also because during these last several years I have seen Hillary Clinton coming into her own as Secretary of State.

Me too.  I voted for Obama because McCain (who I like) picked that woman for his Vice Presidential Candidate. But as a life long Republican I simply cannot understand what's happened to my party and I'm not a Rino. On the contrary, when I consider Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Earl Warren, Taft, Everett Dirksen, Arthur Vandenburg, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, and even Nixon (apart from Watergate and his paranoia), I think Bachman et. al. are the Rinos (and pygmies as well).  It's as if the inmates have taken over the asylum. The fact that one believes in fiscal conservatism does not excuse calling the Chairman of the Fed a traitor or believing in secession. The fact that one believes in smaller government does not mean that we should eliminate the social safety net for those who truly merit or earned it. The fact that one believes in a strong military does not mean that  you maintain a huge military capability best suited to fight World War II.  Both political parties should talk to each other rather than talking at each other. I must also say that while I detested Hilary (particualrly in Bill's first term and her tendency to become somewhat strident) I think she has changed for the better and in comparison to the remaining members of the Obama Administration has exhibited a level of intelligence, stature and practical moderation that does her credit.  By the way, I understand that the Iowa straw poll voters thought they were voting for Batman.

Petr   
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