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Thread: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

  1. #1
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    Default The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    What chance of Putin's Panzers rolling towards Kiev ? JR.

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    I doubt anything major will happen. Angry declarations will be all. I doubt NATO would allow Russia to invade the Ukraine... That and I doubt the Asian powers would be open to the idea.

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    Tend to agree, Churchill. We are already going through a sort of mini-Ice Age type Cold War; direct intervention on the part of Russia in the Ukraine would turn down the temperature further in a big way. But then ... why would Grand Prince Vlad need to send in the tanks ? His economic hold over the Ukraine is very substantial. All he needs to do is threaten to turn off the gas, and the Ukrainian regime will shout "how high ?". However, it leaves the present Ukrainian government in a pretty pickle. Indications are that if an election were held now, the pro-Brussels factions would win. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

    As for the old idea of constructing a "Eurasian Union" dominated by Russia - Vlad has been pretty open in the past in supporting a revival in such a development. This would clash directly with the aspiration of the European Union's "Central Powers" of expansion to the East; of Turkey's (equally time-honoured) aspiration for a Turcic sphere of influence in what used to be the southern Soviet Union; and perhaps even China's (again, long-held) concerns for its northern border territories. Interesting times in the East ? Not too interesting, I hope ... Best regards, JR.

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    Interesting thoughts. I think one thing that should be mentioned is that The Ukraine is not Georgia, and an armed intervention would be more or less a bloodbath as it wouldn't be a walkover. The Russians cannot even fully pacify Chechnya and the surrounding territories, I think a foray into a nation with one of Europe's more powerful militaries would be a severe mistake on the part of any Russian gov't. It would also be supremely ill-advised with the upcoming Sochi Games already fraught with security controversies...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 01-24-2014 at 10:04 AM.

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    I don't disagree with anything above, but the unfortunate experience of history is that nations routinely do stupid things, as evidenced by my current reading on the Suez catastrophe when Britain and France thought they could knock off Nasser & Co.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I think a foray into a nation with one of Europe's more powerful militaries would be a severe mistake on the part of any Russian gov't...
    Unlike the Soviet (and more recent Western) foray into Afghanistan?

    We have the seeds of another severe mistake building down here, thanks to our idiot and inexperienced Prime Minister thinking that pretending to have big balls and issuing stupid nationalistic bluster is the way to deal with Indonesia, which is starting to respond in equally stupid kind.

    Anything is possible in international relations, largely because the egos of people involved in them are unrestrained and conceited as they play to the idiot class which is influenced by their bullshit.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 01-24-2014 at 10:16 AM.
    ..
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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    One consolation is that the use of nukes at such close quarters is out of the question. Iraq and Afghanistan are hardly encouraging precedents, but one would definitely hope that this already messy situation stops short of panzers. Even without nukes, "direct action" on anybody's part would produce a truly awful mess. As far as I can make out, a large part of the Ukrainian population, especially in western Ukraine, are far from enamored of Russia. These people look towards the European Union (even in some cases towards Poland), while eastern Ukrainians are more likely to be Russophiles. Apart from simple geography, these orientations trace themselves back to divisions created by empires long dead. An "intervention - by anyone - could well produce a situation of civil war piled on top of invasion and resistance - and all in a part of the world very much more sensitive, if one thinks about it, even than the Middle East. Afghanistan might well be put in the ha'penny place. Perhaps it is just as well that Tsar Vlad has his fingers on the gas tap ... at least in this case. Best regards, JR.

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    Was watching a tv documentary about alleged corruption and oppressive practices surrounding the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia. It featured Tsar Vlad at some sort of reception in a magnificent room in the Kremlin, walking down the world's longest red carpet between hordes of groveling sycophants. The Tsars of old would have been green with envy if they could see it. I wonder - has Vlad lost some of his contact with common reality ? Not that I would suggest such a thing, were I in Russia ... Best regards, JR.

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    Was watching a tv documentary about alleged corruption and oppressive practices surrounding the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia. It featured Tsar Vlad at some sort of reception in a magnificent room in the Kremlin, walking down the world's longest red carpet between hordes of groveling sycophants. The Tsars of old would have been green with envy if they could see it. I wonder - has Vlad lost some of his contact with common reality ? Not that I would suggest such a thing, were I in Russia ... Best regards, JR.
    The same could be said of the US President and the Queen of England doing various ceremonial things.

    The difference is the interpretation we place on their and Vlad's conduct, with the knowledge that Vlad is a semi-dictator presiding over a magnificently corrupt system (as distinct from the astonishingly corrupt system in that other jewel in the communist crown, China) where those who fall out of favour can be imprisoned and stripped of wealth on various pretexts.

    Whereas in America and Britain the systems are only semi-corrupt and those who fall out of favour are rarely stripped of their ill-gotten gains, let alone imprisoned, because in the West the free market is free of the arbitrary dictatorial and semi-dictatorial constraints, confiscations and penalties imposed by authoritarian regimes.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 01-31-2014 at 08:45 AM.
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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    What now, I wonder ? Russia humiliates the EU and appears to have won the diplomatic battle for hegemony over the Ukraine, but the whole thing is thrown back into the balance by a popular uprising in western Ukraine, followed by what can only be described as a coup d'état (it remains at this point to emerge who is actually pulling the strings). And the Russian Ambassador called back to Moscow for consultations. A bit like the "good old days" ? Not that this is a real victory for the EU - it leaves Brussels with the prospect of having to supply a very large amount of money to save the Ukrainian economy from collapse. Oh well, I suppose Mr Draghi and his fellows at the ECB will have to print a few zillion more Euros of funny money up in Frankfurt ...

    Of course, Vlad will not just drop this one. Hegemony over the Ukraine is seen by the Russians as an essential strategic objective, and a cornerstone of Vlad's Eurasion project. Also, a substantial proportion, at least, of the population of eastern Ukraine might be open to the suggestion that they should stage their own uprising in favour of the Russian option. Sounds a bit like the Kosovo situation writ large. Could develop into quite a mess ... Best regards, JR.

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    I only saw the headline, but apparently there is an arrest warrant for the the president, Yanukovych, who fled to the east of the country...

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    If I were Yanukovych, I would find a way to Moscow asap. On known form in these situations, the best he can expect if captured is a long and uncomfortable stay in prison; the worst is, well, a lot worse. The timeline of this coup is interesting. One day, the bumbling European Union seems to have brokered a cessation of hostilities between the insurgents and the government involving the existing regime, albeit weakened, staying in place for the time being. Hardly 12 hours later, the police and Interior Ministry militia seem simply to have vanished from Kiev, along with (in spite of regime denials) most of the central civil service of the State. Power appears to fall into the hands of parliament (always in itself a pretty ineffective instrument to assume presidential powers in a state with a strong presidential system - or even otherwise) and an interim government, with uncertain authority, emerges, promising to form a "government of the people" with European Union orientation. How did this happen ?

    Well, it is not really clear yet, but a not unreasonable speculation would be that elements of the Ukrainian Army - the ultimate basis of power (if not legal authority) in the State - made it clear behind the scenes that it had withdrawn its support from the government, and suggested politely to the police and militia that they do so too. The Yanukovych regime promptly, if quietly, collapsed, producing a situation in which the President went from Head of State to fugitive within a few hours, along with many of his officials and local oligarch supporters. The original insurgents seem confused and suddenly irrelevant. Behind the scenes, the generals grasp the reins of real power. There are many precedents for this sort of process, but the one that occurs most immediately to mind is Romania. No wonder Yanukovych is on the run.

    This may be what happened - but it is certainly not the end of the story. For example - while (for all I know) the Ukrainian Army is dominated by ethnic Ukrainians, there is no guarantee that the whole army is in agreement with this course. One must assume that there is a substantial ethnic Russian element in the Army and, even if there is not a single ethnic Russian general, clever young lieutenants can become very significant in such circumstances. Bearing in mind that Vlad is likely already to have been fostering pro-Russian sentiment in eastern Ukraine and the Crimea, and that this is likely to have had some influence at least on elements in the Army, examples like Kosovo and, more generally, the breakup of former Yugoslavia, rear their heads. I really hope that somebody does have a grip (even an authoritarian one) on this situation, even if it is not apparent (yet). If not, the prospects could be bleak ... Yours from Kharkov, on the back of a T-34, JR.
    Last edited by JR*; 02-24-2014 at 07:51 AM.

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    I agree and also suspect that Yanukovych's rapid collapse had to do the the security forces themselves, then magnified with the question of the Army's potential involvement in the crackdown. I think the security forces and the Army were increasing unwilling the enforce and Iranian style crackdown used to suppress the Green Revolution, and the tactic of using to snipers to shoot down civil rioters was already tenuous at best. I suspect he was vaguely threatened by "the generals" perhaps. There's an article today that basically states that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was instrumental in convincing him to flee to avoid bloodshed...

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    Things have gone suspiciously quiet. It is, however, not insignificant that the interim Ukrainian prime minister has expressed fears about threats to the integrity of Ukrainian territory - threats that would include secessionism in east Ukraine and the Crimea; a possible split in the army, with some elements supporting secession of these territories; and the intervention of Russia in support of the "threatened" rights of ethnic Russians. There is also the huge potential problem of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at Sebastopol in the ethnically Russian Crimea, a difficulty that, unless it is solved diplomatically, could result in Vlad's legions intervening. And this is not to mention the Russian-Tatar issues within the Crimea ... Mess, mess, mess ... JR.

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    Default Re: The next EU (Eurasian Union).

    I heart Putty ordered a combat readiness survey of all Russian forces in the area this morning. I also heard a fairly belligerent Ukrainian general stating that the Ukraine would fight, and defeat, any Russian incursion...

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