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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I'd like to see a Camomile Revolution in Russia that gets rids of Putin and his cronies. That country deserves a chance at a true liberal democracy.
    Did it ever occur to you that Russians don't like true liberal democracy? Not when compared to economic security and under Soviet rule they had a welfare state and benefits from cradle to grave. Moreover, something American policymakers called "reform" contributed to a depression in the 1990s far worse then the Great Depression and the impoverishment of the majority of the country as well as the creation of an oligarchic state. Add to this the bombing of parliament by Yeltsin the spread of HIV and AIDs and homelessness and Russians came to the conclusion that if this is democracy "we don't want it". In fact, Putin has brought Russia out of the humiliation and suffering it faced in the 1990s and restored it to respect and dignity. There is no need to get rid of Putin and his cronies - they have approval ratings that Western politicians can only dream of (to be sure they also have control over the main media outlets which helps). Survey polling suggests that Russians want a leader with a strong hand. They have a history that dates back to the tsarist empire where the leader provides and the people obey and people stay out of politics so long as the father protects the children. This has been the Russian tradition. You can't just install a democracy and liberal democracy is only one of many democracies. This was a horribly stupid decision, it would have been much more wise to pursure a substative democracy like Sweden or Canada which still has a strong welfare state as opposed to a liberal democracy. Moreover, there is a perception in Russia that American foreign policy - and democracy being one of its tools - is out to weaken Russia. Who are you to say what Russia should do? This has been the essence of American foreign policy. That is, this idea that we won the Cold War and you lost and now we're going to bully you and tell you how you should go about reform. Well, you can erect a building put the title parliament and go home and the next day it won't be there. The point is democracy =/ legitimacy. But equally important, authoritarianism doesn't equal non-legitimacy. People around the globe, especially American foreign policymakers ought to recognize this reality. Let Russians be Russians.

    To the OP. I think the Bush administration is pursuing an extremely unwise policy in this by opting to provide supplies to Georgians. The United States has no business intervening in Russia's near abroad. They've done enough damage by supporting the pseudo colour revolutions in former warsaw pact countries, expanding NATO bases eastward which now fully encircle Russia, and withdrawing from the ABM treaty. This is nothing new. Analysts have been saying for a long time now that under the surface relations between RUssia and the US are not warm and that we are in a neo-Cold War period. THe US has pursued an unwise policy toward Russia since the end of the Soviet Union which has resulted in a high level of anti-American sentiment and skepticism on behalf of the Russian people.
    But let me get back to why the US should not get involved. Russia has the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the world. The bulk of their arms are on hair-trigger alert which means that within minutes of receiving instructions they can launch their warheads over the North Pole to Washington in about 25 minutes. In 2006, Putin moved his fleet of nuclear submarines to the Arctic where they are undetectable. After the US withdrawed from the ABM treaty Russia started building the Topol M which can penetrate any illusion of nuclear supremacy. This cannot be intercepted by any defense shield in the world because it goes out into space and comes in at a different trajectory. The point is, Russia has a litany of weaponry and is more than capable of making mushroom clouds if provoked. What we also know is that Putin is a tough guy. He's not a Krushchev softy who shows his hand or folds too easily. Any people who have opposed or criticized the Kremlin have been in prisoned, gone missing, or were assinated. Putin does not %^% around. People who have doubted this like Khordorkovsky, Berezovsky, and Gusinsky are now in jail or living in exile. If Bush gets involved, things could possibly escalate. If Bush is doing this to manufacture an enemy so the Republicans win the election with their stupid war mongering policy he may want to rethink this. Russia is no longer hurt and wounded and it emasses an extradinary amount of weaponry and energy that can be turned against the US. Russia also sells arms to Iran and China and if the US pushes Russia too hard on this one we are likely to see Russia move even further from the US and toward these other players which some of which are already hostile toward America.

    This is the situation in my judgement. Bush should simply say RUssia should ceasefire and leave it at that. Once it starts providing aid and supplies it is clearly taking a side and this could be end up escalating into a tragedy on a colossal scale.

    Sorry for such a long post.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    Did it ever occur to you that Russians don't like true liberal democracy? Not when compared to economic security and under Soviet rule they had a welfare state and benefits from cradle to grave. Moreover, something American policymakers called "reform" contributed to a depression in the 1990s far worse then the Great Depression and the impoverishment of the majority of the country as well as the creation of an oligarchic state. Add to this the bombing of parliament by Yeltsin the spread of HIV and AIDs and homelessness and Russians came to the conclusion that if this is democracy "we don't want it". In fact, Putin has brought Russia out of the humiliation and suffering it faced in the 1990s and restored it to respect and dignity. There is no need to get rid of Putin and his cronies - they have approval ratings that Western politicians can only dream of (to be sure they also have control over the main media outlets which helps). Survey polling suggests that Russians want a leader with a strong hand. They have a history that dates back to the tsarist empire where the leader provides and the people obey and people stay out of politics so long as the father protects the children. This has been the Russian tradition. You can't just install a democracy and liberal democracy is only one of many democracies. This was a horribly stupid decision, it would have been much more wise to pursure a substative democracy like Sweden or Canada which still has a strong welfare state as opposed to a liberal democracy. Moreover, there is a perception in Russia that American foreign policy - and democracy being one of its tools - is out to weaken Russia. Who are you to say what Russia should do? This has been the essence of American foreign policy. That is, this idea that we won the Cold War and you lost and now we're going to bully you and tell you how you should go about reform. Well, you can erect a building put the title parliament and go home and the next day it won't be there. The point is democracy =/ legitimacy. But equally important, authoritarianism doesn't equal non-legitimacy. People around the globe, especially American foreign policymakers ought to recognize this reality. Let Russians be Russians.
    I give the Russian people more credit than that. That country was a fucking nightmare under the Soviets, and Putin is cut from their cloth. I hope it does not stay that way. You may be right that democracy does not equate with legitimacy (I am a frequent critic of the fetishization of democracy on these boards), but authoritarianism DOES equate with illegitimacy. Authoritarians can and should be put against the wall.

    Also, I have every right to criticize whomever I want, including the governments of any country on Earth. Don't be childish.
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  3. #43
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    Of course Russians don't like liberal democracy. So what? They aren't the only ones.
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post

    Also, I have every right to criticize whomever I want, including the governments of any country on Earth. Don't be childish.
    Fair enough. When I said "you" I meant more or less American policymakers and IMF advisors telling Russia how they should run their country (i.e. things like shock therapy and rollback of the state) so don't take that personally. I just think Western "advisory" and the pushing for liberal democracy and runaway capitalism not only crippled Russia in the 1990s but created a huge anti-American backlash in Russia. Now, there is this sense of nostalgia and people are starting to wear USSR t-shirts and accept Stalin not as a genocidal maniac but as a genius leader. This is a potentially worrying thing because RUssia has all the raw ingredients for a superpower. It is the largest territorial country in the world with a teasure chest of natural resources and every conceivable weapon of mass destruction and a large population. I'm here to tell you that America has helped push Russia in its current direction through it's policy, breaking promises, expanding NATO after promising not to, withdrawing from ABM, treating Russia like a defeated nation, etc. If I beat you and rob you and steal your wife and burn your house and you're weak - you may take it meekly, but the resentment accumulates and it burns and it festers and one day when you're stronger or you have the opportunity to get me - you will. Americans advisors have already done enough damage by contributing to the unleashing of this pitbull. And getting involved in Georgia only agitates the pitbull. And this pitbull doesn't *&*& around which is why I think Bush and his advisors have taken an unwise stance in getting involved in Russia's near abroad.

  5. #45
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    To be sure, I have as big of hopes as anyone that Russia becomes a democracy. I think Gorbachev was the true reformer and began the process of democratization. Then Yeltsin began the process of rolling back democracy through the privatizations and rigged auctions were state assets were sold to robber barrons for next to nothing and essentially created an oligarchic system. Russians had worked to build up and preserve this wealth of the country for decades and suddenly it was being looted by god damn crooks who became millionaires over night. When the great wealth of the country (the people's property) was auctioned off any chances for democracy were finished. Indeed, 75% of Russians were living below the subsistence level and Russia was in the worst depression of the century. The upshot was a tremendous amount of chaos and instability in Russia. Putin would inherit all these problems from Yeltsin and try to restore order in Russia but things were so bad that you must do it by ruling with a strong hand. You can't have democracy with that much poverty in the country. I admire Putin because he restored Russia to diginity and brought it out of the humiliation it suffered in the 90s.

    Here's something else to think about. Khordorkovsky himself claimed, "Putin is not liberal or democrat but he is more liberal and more democratic than 70% of the population". Putin enjoyed great approval ratings and brought Russia out of economic collapse and struck against some of the unpopular oligarchs that amassed an extraordinary amount of wealth in the 1990s. In my judgement, Putin restored Russia albeit at the cost of undermining democratic institutions. But democracy doesn't carry the same weight in Russia as it does in the US. Russians want their leader to deliver the goods and Putin delivered the goods.

  6. #46
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    Ditto. Whether or not Putin really wants to throw down with America or not, all it takes is one WMD in the wrong hands slid under the table to Iran and we have a much bigger problem.

    Ego contests on a global scale are NOT good. If you want to have a pissing contest, don't involve half a billion people please.
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  7. #47
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    FWIW, I think the USA needs to calm its ass down for once in its life and just let things happen. Sheesh. Intervention has not worked - so let's try shutting the hell up.
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by IlyaK1986 View Post
    Ditto. Whether or not Putin really wants to throw down with America or not, all it takes is one WMD in the wrong hands slid under the table to Iran and we have a much bigger problem.

    Ego contests on a global scale are NOT good. If you want to have a pissing contest, don't involve half a billion people please.
    Dude, that's what I meant. If these people (on both sides) don't calm the ferk down, we are headed toward a world war. Seriously folks - don't wake a sleeping dog.
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Linguist View Post
    FWIW, I think the USA needs to calm its ass down for once in its life and just let things happen. Sheesh. Intervention has not worked - so let's try shutting the hell up.
    Indeed. Just keep Israel safe (since apparently the rest of the free world doesn't care enough to), and let things happen. Withdraw all of our foreign aid funding from all nations not called Israel (once again, they're keeping a lot of bad people in check), and let the world run itself. And if all of the developing nations get overrun by some evil genocidal maniac or whatnot, that's not our concern.
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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by IlyaK1986 View Post
    Indeed. Just keep Israel safe (since apparently the rest of the free world doesn't care enough to), and let things happen. Withdraw all of our foreign aid funding from all nations not called Israel (once again, they're keeping a lot of bad people in check), and let the world run itself. And if all of the developing nations get overrun by some evil genocidal maniac or whatnot, that's not our concern.
    No NOT keep Israel safe, damn it - that's what started all this shit to begin with. If they wanna kill each other, they will - so just let 'em damn it. The only thing that can happen is that we get dragged into a third world war because the damn Americans think it's a great idea to "save the world." Screw it - I say! Grrrr.....

    I mean, okay you can argue - BLAH BLAH BLAH - people need us, and we need to save people. Shit, that's what America said in the 80s when we went into Afghanistan. Well that was cool beans until they realized Americans were "heathen capitalist bastards" and basically declared war on their asses. Yeah, once the soviet threat was over, America was number one on their shitlist.

    When is America going to realize that by invading, helping, interfering, or whatever you wanna call it that only terrible things will ensue!? MAN!

    Sorry, folks, really - but this kind of stuff really gets my goat because NO ONE - NO ONE learns from history. And it just makes me wanna blow chunks of nuclear radioactive waste into windmills, ya know?!??!
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