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View Diary: Anything Russian 'in czarist times' is fair game in Putin's mind (405 comments)

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  •  As a thought experiment, (1+ / 0-)
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    pretend that the U.S. bases its foreign policy on national self-interest.  

    What, then, should be its attitude toward current event in Ukraine?

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    by rhutcheson on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 12:47:15 PM PDT

    •  Simple. Cut a deal with Putin. (1+ / 0-)
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      For example, Putin can have all of Ukraine with zero opposition (no economic sanctions, no diplomatic isolation, etc) if Putin, say, cuts prices on natural gas exports.  

      I'm sure there are better deals that can be made, but that's just off the top of my head.  My main point is that such a deal would be one example of acting purely in self-interest.  Make a deal with Putin that sells out the Ukrainian people and benefits both Putin and the US/West.  I'm not advocating it, I'm just answering your challenge.

      •  The U.S. national interest (0+ / 0-)

        is foremost to avoid an all-or-nothing confrontation with anyone.  Long- or short-term there's no consequence for the U.S. in that way whether Ukraine becomes a loose confederation or even if the eastern portions of Ukraine amalgamate with Russia.  The U.S. has no international obligations with Ukraine which would block portions of that country from voluntarily associating with the Russian Federation.

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        by rhutcheson on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:21:51 PM PDT

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        •  So, you're agreeing with my proposal, right? (1+ / 0-)
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          One way to avoid all-or-noting confrontation (confrontation that nobody is advocating, btw) is to cut a deal with Putin.  The other way is to just let Putin have Ukraine and we get nothing out of it.  It's better, from a self-interest standpoint, to cut a deal with Putin so that he gets Ukraine but we also get something out of it.

          One thing about just letting Putin have Ukraine and not even getting anything out of it by cutting a deal wit him, is that he then takes a long look at Moldova, Belarus (his puppet there is on shaky ground and Putin might want to shore up his position there by just taking it), Kazakhstan, Mongolia, etc.  Then he takes a look at Lithuania, a NATO member, and figures, "They've done nothing to stop my taking all these other countries, let me test their resolve wrt Lithuania, using security of Kaliningrad as my pretext".  Then WWIII begins.  Which is not in the US interest.  That's just a hypothetical scenario, but it might not be the case that just letting Putin have Ukraine is in the long term interest of the US or world in general.

          And screw it, I'm going Godwin: UK and France thought the best thing to do wrt Hitler was to avoid confrontation with him, thus they let him have the Sudetenland.  It led, not to peace, but to war.

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