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View Diary: Ukraine crisis: What does the Budapest Memorandum obligate the U.S. to do? (85 comments)

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  •  Russia is a great power with an (0+ / 0-)

    expectation - I hesitate to say "right" because I don't know that any nation, including us, has the "right" to act like a traditional great power - of a sphere of influence.

    The Ukraine is clearly within that sphere.

    However, if you want to be a great power, it requires more than just a big army. That's a lesson dating back to the Romans and the Chinese.

    If Russia's diplomats have failed her in terms of protecting her sphere of influence, that is not necessarily the fault of the West. We are not, as I understand things, required to help them be a great power.

    Resorting to military force when your diplomats fail is something great powers do. The question before us is whether or not the idea of great power is valid in the 21st century. For Russia, and for the United States, and also for China; does China have "rights" wrt Vietnam or Taiwan or the Spratelys because of sphere of influence?

    Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

    by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:51:44 AM PST

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    •  Not the fault of the west? (5+ / 0-)

      Who expanded NATO to the Russian border line?

      "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

      by Paleo on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:56:14 AM PST

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      •  Do you not understand? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, Dr Swig Mcjigger, wu ming

        If China attempted to sign military treaties with Mexico and Canada, we wouldn't invade them. We'd use our diplomats and other influence to prevent the treaties being signed. Note that you don't hear about the Chinese even trying; they are smart enough to know what the odds are.

        If Western diplomats out-negotiate those of Russia, that means it sucks to be them, not that they get carte blanche to start invading people.

        If you want to be a great power, you have to have more than just an army. Russia failed diplomatically. The West moved into the power vacuum they left by failing.

        Russia's diplomatic failure is tied to their corruption and cronyism. Their economy is not as attractive as that of Western Europe, despite their natural resources and close proximity to Eastern Europe, because of those factors, which are orders of magnitude worse than the Western equivalents.

        Putin's Russia is the 21st century Ottoman Empire, but propped up by natural resources. We don't have to respect their weakness economically and diplomatically, and their incompetence does not grant them rights.

        Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

        by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 09:05:30 AM PST

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        •  Are you serious? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell, lordcopper

          The U.S. might not invade Mexico, unlike the other times it has, but when the Germans tried to strike up a military alliance with Mexico in 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany.

          The U.S. tried to invade Cuba and assasinate Castro.  And brought the world to the brink of nuclear war when the Soviet Union shipped missles to Cuba.  Finally, settling on a starve them out tactic.  The U.S. invaded the Dominican Republic and Grenada when it thought they were led by forces sympathetic to the Soviet Union.

          "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

          by Paleo on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 09:14:31 AM PST

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          •  Are you serious? (0+ / 0-)

            Do you honestly think the US declared war on Germany in 1917 only because of the Zimmerman telegram? Or mainly because of it? Or that it even made the top 50 on the list of real reasons (as opposed to those offered for public consumption)? Don't pull my leg, dude.

            What you are saying is that the United States has acted like a great power in the past. And not one of those actions meets with your approval, I'm sure, except perhaps the Cuban Missile business. So therefore you must either wholeheartedly condemn Putin, or must enthusiastically endorse the US acting like a great power, because giving Russia rights you deny us would be silly.

            I think we're actually in violent agreement. Russia wants to be a great power, doesn't have the diplomatic chops, and therefore resorts to military force, which it ought not to do.

            I further argue that the idea of a great power is 19th century and that the US and China, among others, ought to move away from that idea. I suspect you agree.

            Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

            by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 09:22:18 AM PST

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          •  Declaring war on Germany had nothing to do, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue aardvark

            nothing, I say, with the sinking of the Lusitania or Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare, that is, including U.S. civilian ships going to Britain. In this context, Germany's offer of a military alliance to Mexico was understood as preparing further aggression against the U.S.

            This is not to say that the combatants in World War I were divided between the good guys (all good) and the bad guys (all bad). Christopher Clark's important new history, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 puts paid to that notion.

            But context matters. The suggestion that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has anything meaningfully in common with the U.S. declaration of war against Germany in World War I is laughable.

            Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

            by another American on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 09:22:28 AM PST

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        •  Oh, I expect you'd see some gunboat diplomacy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lordcopper

          as well.  The reason such treaties are impossible to imagine isn't just that we're famous for our diplomacy.  

      •  That depends: did the additions to NATO arise from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark

        an invitation by NATO or a request from the nations themselves? To me that makes a difference; I can appreciate that it might not to the Russians.



        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 09:08:41 AM PST

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    •  It's still valid (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lordcopper, blue aardvark

      There are natural great powers and we could argue about which nations they are or maybe have more than one tier but some nations by virtue of size, resources and strategic location can't be wished away.  That's a problem with neo-con ideology.  It assumes we can remake the map and we can only do that around the margins.  This is a problem with misunderstanding the risks of war with Iran too.  

      •  Well, then, if there are tiers they look like this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade

        1) United States
        2) ...
        3) ...
        4) China
        5) ...
        6) ...
        7) Germany, Japan, UK, France
        8) ...
        9) ...
        10) ...
        11) Russia, Italy, Canada
        12) ...
        13) ...
        14) India, Brazil

        Pakistan and Israel may have nukes, but don't make the cut because they don't have economic and diplomatic clout

        Therefore if a great power has "rights" of some sort, we get lots more than anyone else does. Our economic and military power are both unmatched, we occupy a central position in the Western Hemisphere, we have vast natural resources.

        I don't think we want to think this way. It's pretty neo-con.

        Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

        by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 09:51:15 AM PST

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        •  You could put Iran on there someplace (0+ / 0-)

          It's not neo-con because the neo-cons seem to hold two contradictory ideas in their heads 1) every nation is a potential threat, therefore we must be ready to fight any of them even if we imagine they may become a threat in the future 2) no group of two or more nations will ever join together in an alliance against us so nothing we do will ever provoke a response to our aggression.

          Think Machiavelli or Kissinger.  Realpolitik.  The following is true though it's not about rights. It's entirely amoral.  It's all about strategic power relationships.  (Another problem with the zealot neo-cons is that they believe they have God on their side.)  Power A acts and Power B responds or Power B allies with Power C to block further actions by Power A.

          Therefore if a great power has "rights" of some sort, we get lots more than anyone else does. Our economic and military power are both unmatched, we occupy a central position in the Western Hemisphere, we have vast natural resources.
    •  that final sentence (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, shaharazade

      is definitely being asked right now all over southeast and east asia.

      •  Ya think? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        China has quite a few irons in this particular fire for a nation a continent away with no historical ties whatsoever to the region.

        Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

        by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:53:13 AM PST

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        •  well, there are recent historical ties (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark

          being part of the same communist era world of economic and political networks, but china's ties were closer to yugoslavia than ukraine. mao certainly did not have much love for kruschev, though.

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