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Surprise! No not really. Russia attacking the Ukrainians directly

The evidence that confirms what anyone paying attention suspected has been released: Russian artillery is firing on Ukrainian forces across the border from inside Russia. And the PutinBots in the comment sections of the world’s media are out in force saying “nothing to see here, move along”.

The only surprising thing about this is that anyone is surprised. World War 3 is not at hand, but it is definitely time to pay more attention and point more guns eastward.

45 comments to Surprise! No not really. Russia attacking the Ukrainians directly

  • Don’t worry, Merkel is on the case:

    Angela Merkel told President Vladimir Putin by phone on Wednesday that reports of a new Russian military incursion into Ukrainian territory had to be cleared up, a spokesman for the chancellor said in a statement.

    “The latest reports of the presence of Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory must be explained,” said Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert. “She emphasised Russia’s major responsibility for de-escalation and watching over its own frontiers.”

    That’ll send Putin and his pals scampering back over the border!

  • dlr

    The point everyone is ignoring is that they had a referendum. The people in that area VOTED to join Russia. One may question their good judgement, but they have the right of self determination as much as the people in Scotland or Catalonia do. I don’t like Putin, or what he is doing in Russia, but in this instance it seems like he’s the white knight and the west is the bully.

    I’ve heard some criticism in the press of the referendum, that the question was unclear or confusing. If so, why aren’t world leaders stumping around urging a truce to allow a re-vote, maybe under UN supervision? As far as I can see the only reason is that they know the second vote would have the same result as the first vote: join Russia.

  • The point everyone is ignoring is that they had a referendum.

    They had a referendum in Crimea, which took place *after* Russian troops took over the place: there was never a referendum in east Ukraine.

  • There has been a full scale war going on in Eastern Ukraine for a number of months. The Russians have done a fine job of blurring the news as to what is actually going on for people looking in from outside the country. Go across the border into Ukraine, though, and it has been instantly obvious.

  • Maggie K.

    The people in that area VOTED to join Russia.

    By a 106% majority I imagine, right?

  • Mr Ed

    This war won’t stop unless a few US Warthogs turn up and start busting Russian armour, or Ukraine surrenders.

  • This war won’t stop unless a few US Warthogs turn up and start busting Russian armour

    I’ve thought helping destroy one or two of these Russian tanks would be a good idea. Start by asking Russia point-blank if they have any tanks operating in Ukraine. When they say “No” respond with “Okay, then you won’t mind if we destroy any that we see, then!”

    We should start handing out anti-tank weaponry to the Ukrainians.

  • I don’t like Putin, or what he is doing in Russia, but…

    And so as a result of not liking Putin or what he is doing in Russia, you want some of the Ukraine to become part of Russia.

    “…in this instance it seems like he’s the white knight and the west is the bully.

    Seriously? So you disapprove of those bullies in the west wanting to keep the Ukraine out of the orbit of Putin (who you say you don’t like) and the things he does in Russia (which you say you don’t like), but think Putin is a White Knight for moving into the Eastern Ukraine, where he will no doubt do the things you say you don’t like. Ok.

  • Personally I think if Putin wants to take Eastern Ukraine, he cannot be stopped. But Ukraine should get arms from the west to defend what is left and Russia should pay the long term price politically and economically (which is going to happen regardless now, which is my I suspect they have decided to just go in as the damage is already done).

  • c777

    The deal was done last week between Germany and Russia, Putin gets the ethnic Russian parts of Ukraine.
    If he crosses the line though, the Yanks get involved.

    Merkel told Poroshenko what to do, but leaves the Ukraine with a free hand to defend that territory if they wish.
    A token gesture that’s really futility for Ukraine.
    They can’t stop Russia, Russia will stop along the agreed line, wherever that is.

    Its my interpretation by the way, but I reckon about right.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2b0b440c-2ac8-11e4-811d-00144feabdc0.html

  • That is possible c777, or at least some variation on that.

  • Laird

    @ Tim N: They had a referendum in Crimea, which took place *after* Russian troops took over the place: there was never a referendum in east Ukraine.

    The first part of that sentence has some merit: it’s certainly possible that the referendum was “influenced” by the presence of Russian troops. The solution would be, as dlr has suggested, a re-vote under international supervision. But the second part makes no sense. It’s the Crimeans who were seeking to secede; why on earth would they give the rest of Ukraine a say in that? In 1860, when the southern US states decided to secede from the Union, they voted separately, as independent entities. They didn’t ask the North for permission (and ultimately were forceably denied it). Scotland is shortly to have its referendum on independence; I don’t see that the rest of the UK is getting a vote on the matter.

    If Crimea wants to leave Ukraine and join Russia, or to become an independent nation for that matter, that should be solely their decision. It’s none of our business.

  • But the second part makes no sense.

    On the contrary, it is a statement of fact: there was never a referendum in east Ukraine. I said that in response to the commenter who said:

    The point everyone is ignoring is that they had a referendum.

    in the context of the Russian separatists in east Ukraine. The situation with Crimea and their referendum is quite separate.

    If Crimea wants to leave Ukraine and join Russia, or to become an independent nation for that matter, that should be solely their decision.

    Okay, but why didn’t the same rights apply to Chechnya? I don’t have an objection in principle to a region voting to join another country, but it must be universal and not only to areas which Russia wants to annex. So let’s have a referendum in Sakhalin to see if they want to join Japan, or Karelia to revert back to Finland. Is Russia going to accept this? Of course not. And that’s my problem.

  • Stuck-Record

    At the end of the day is any European (French, German, Greek, Italian) prepared to die to stop Eastern Ukraine voluntarily joining Russia?

    If not, then everything else is nonsense.

  • Not so convinced it is as ‘voluntary’ as you think. But yes, I have said before it is crazy to go to war with Russia over the eastern Ukraine. It gets less crazy the farther west they go and it makes no sense whatsoever to do substantive business with them or treat them like a ‘normal’ nation (but then it never did).

  • Laird

    Tim, it is indeed a “statement of fact” but as an argument it makes no sense. I think my meaning was pretty apparent from the context. The French got no vote in that referendum, and neither did I; so what?

    I’m fine with the rest of your comment. People should be free to leave one country to join another or form a new one if they wish. (Of course, my state tried that once, with unfortunate consequences.) Whether Russia (or any other nation) accepts that proposition is quite another discussion.

  • Michael Jennings (London)

    At the end of the day is any European (French, German, Greek, Italian) prepared to die to stop Eastern Ukraine voluntarily joining Russia?

    If not, then everything else is nonsense.

    An awful lot of Ukrainians are fighting and many are dying to try to prevent this, though. Russia walked into Crimea, and nobody stopped them, mainly because many of the people there saw themselves as Russian rather than Ukrainian. Upon trying to do the same thing in the East, the Russians have found a great deal of resistance, and there has been a nasty war going on there for four or five months. (It’s not “separatism”. It’s not “terrorism”. It’s an invasion). In recent weeks, the Ukrainians have been regaining territory. The escalation from Russia’s side over the last couple of days is a response to the fact that the Russians have been losing. The war is about to enter another nastier, bloodier phase. I don’t know how this is going to end, but it’s it’s ultimately about what happens on the ground.

  • Paul Marks

    No doubt the “libertarian” left and the “Nationalist Right” will explain all this as evil Western aggression against nice Mr Putin.

    Both sorts of Black Flagger support Putin in the Ukraine.

    A good reason to be on the other side.

  • Darryl

    We all know all of it is utter lies, blurred so effectively by Putin’s propaganda machine. The fact that the world’s most effective opposition to Communist thuggery is laying there like a paid whore boggles my cold war mind.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    I’m glad we’re living at the end of History, where Liberal Democracies reign supreme, and power politics has no part, and nasty empires are things of the past. Who else likes living in such wonderful war-free times?

  • dlr

    Yes, the Crimean had a referendum, but so did the Eastern Ukrainians, back in May. Here’s a link, to an article about it in the Washington Post, or just google ‘eastern Ukraine vote‘.

    The vote was criticized in the west because it didn’t have any international monitors, and because the wording of the referendum was deemed confusing,

    “asking whether voters favored self-determination rather than outright independence or joining Russia. That meant some of those voting yes wanted more autonomy but not necessarily to split from Ukraine.”

    Nevertheless, something like three quarters of voters were said to have voted, with something like 90% reportedly voting yes.

    Maybe there was massive ballot box stuffing, or maybe most of the Eastern Ukrainian’s voting actually wanted “more autonomy” rather than independence or to join with Russia, who knows?

    My point was, that if Western leaders had believed the referendum was fraudulent, they would have urged a re-vote, with international monitors and a more clearly worded set of questions, and the whole nine yards. The fact that the western leaders didn’t urge a re-vote, or anything of the sort, says to me that they thought that a re-vote would reveal, very clearly, that the large majority of the inhabitants of eastern Ukraine want independence, or union with Russia.

    That being the case, I say again, in this instance, Russia is the good guy, and Kiev is the bully, trying to retain the breakaway districts, by military force against their will.

  • Mr Ed

    if Western leaders had believed the referendum was fraudulent, they would have urged a re-vote, with international monitors and a more clearly worded set of questions, and the whole nine yards.

    Ah, would that be like the Irish referendum on the EU when they voted ‘No’, they were asked to vote again and say ‘Yes’.

  • That being the case, I say again, in this instance, Russia is the good guy, and Kiev is the bully, trying to retain the breakaway districts, by military force against their will.

    Okay, fine. There was never any doubt that some parts of ex-Soviet countries would like to join Russia, and I am sure there are villages in Estonia which wish they were part of the Russian Federation. But if we’re going to allow regions, towns, and villages to hold referenda to join any country of their choosing and redraw international boundaries in line with the result then it needs to be consistent, and the country which has proven most resistant to this notion has been Russia. They flattened an entire city (twice!) in order to “preserve Russia’s territorial integrity” when Chechnya wanted to break away. And would Putin happily go along with Kaliningrad if they decided they’d rather revert to being German rather than Russian? No.

    Ironically, I think long-term Russia is going to find itself more of a victim of this new method of territorial acquisition than a beneficiary. As Russia inevitable slides into economic stagnation, smarter border regions will look to join with their more prosperous and less fuckwitted neighbours, invoking Putin’s Crimean gambit as a precedent.

  • Paul Marks

    dlr proves my point.

    As for the “referendum” – the one in the Crimea was a farce. As for the votes in certain eastern parts of the Ukraine……..

    dlr – please stop extracting the urine, or go off the website of the person-in-Kent where Paul Craig Roberts will tell you that Barack Obama and Erik Holder are involved in a Republican plot to frame noble Democrats – organised (of course) by (boo-hiss) “Karl Rove”.

    Actually the drunken thugs, dancing round statues of Lenin, who took over parts of eastern Ukraine have engaged in an orgy of murder and looting.

    It would not take you five minutes to find this out dlr – so if you really do not know, I can only assume that you do not want to know.

  • That being the case, I say again, in this instance, Russia is the good guy, and Kiev is the bully, trying to retain the breakaway districts, by military force against their will.

    So you would argue the same for the Anschluss presumably, nice mister H. rolling in and reuniting the volk?

  • dlr

    Well, no one that I know of claims that the referendum in Austria in 1938 was fraudulent. The vast majority of the population voted in favor of joining the 3rd Reich. In that instance, H. was not an invader, or a bully. It wasn’t rape, it was consensual.

    On the other hand, what Putin did in Chechnya was rape; he forcibly retained Chechnya in Russia, against it’s will — just like what Kiev is trying to do to Eastern Ukraine.

    As far as I can tell, the eastern Ukrainians don’t want to be part of Ukraine. They either want to be a independent republic, or part of Russia. And I say, they have as much right to break away from western Ukraine, as Scotland has to break away from England. Or that Catalonia has to break away from the rest of Spain; or the Basques to do likewise; or that the Kurds have to break away from Baghdad (and Turkey and Syria and Iran). People have the right to choose their own form of government. Preventing them from doing so by force of arms is conquest and oppression.

    It is Kiev we should be condemning for rolling in with tanks to hold onto Eastern Ukraine by force, not Russia.

    .

  • bob sykes

    There are no rights or wrongs in international affairs, there is only power. Ukraine is not worth a pan-European war; it’s not even worth sanctions. And personally, I would not fight even if Russia reestablished the Tsarist empire.

    ISIS is another matter. But even there the issue is oil.

  • NickM

    I have relatives living in Southern Poland. They are not happy about this. Will NATO defend Poland if it comes to that? We need to. If Poot steps over the border it is an Article 5 and that means war. To use the Geordie, “He needs to be telt”. It is that simple. Russia is descending into it’s usual mix of anarchy and tyranny. If it wants to attempt to drag the rest of central Europe into the maelstrom of horror then we ought to stop it. Yes, that means you Dave, and Angie and whatever passes for government in France these days.

    Putin needs to be be told that the SU is over. He has 1/6 of the planet’s land surface and natural resources to die for. Is this not enough for him?

    If that means arming Ukraine then so be it. We sell weapons to Qatar after all. I wouldn’t sell them a water-pistol but that is past. Why BAE, MBDA, Lockheed etc haven’t been mooching around Kiev is beyond me.

    There is no replacement in the offing for the venerable Warthog. The USAF hate it Always have done. Which is why they are stuck with the dreadful F-35 until I’m dead. I’m 40.

  • dlr, you do know the initial March 1938 plebiscite was suspended due to Hitler’s invasion and only actually held after the Germans marched in, right? And of course it then succeeded with a 99.7% of the vote naturally. Presumably you think Saddam Hussain’s election were also perfectly reasonable?

    “I don’t like Putin, or what he is doing in Russia, but… “

    Uh huh.

  • As far as I can tell, the eastern Ukrainians don’t want to be part of Ukraine. They either want to be a independent republic, or part of Russia. And I say, they have as much right to break away from western Ukraine, as Scotland has to break away from England.

    Okay, but there are ways of going about that which do not involve asking Russian tanks to cross the border in support and shooting down passenger jets. Last I looked, Scotland wasn’t fighting English soldiers in the streets, parading captured Englishmen through the streets of Aberdeen, and handing out weapons to Glasgow Celtic fans willy-nilly. I’d not have any problem if East Ukraine had attempted peaceful means of seceding from Kiev, but they haven’t: it’s been thuggish violence from the outset.

  • James Waterton

    As far as I can tell, the eastern Ukrainians don’t want to be part of Ukraine. They either want to be a independent republic, or part of Russia. And I say, they have as much right to break away from western Ukraine, as Scotland has to break away from England. Or that Catalonia has to break away from the rest of Spain; or the Basques to do likewise; or that the Kurds have to break away from Baghdad (and Turkey and Syria and Iran). People have the right to choose their own form of government. Preventing them from doing so by force of arms is conquest and oppression.

    It’s not as simple as that. Eastern Ukrainians do not necessarily want to become a part of Russia or break away from Ukraine. However, they vehemently oppose the cultural alignment with Europe that Ukrainians west of the Dnieper tend to favour. This cultural cleavage is centuries old and is attributable to the west of modern Ukraine being a part of what was the Polish empire, and the east belonging to imperial Russia.

    Russia’s involvement in Ukraine is indefensible no matter how you slice it. In 1994, Russia and Ukraine signed a treaty – Ukraine would hand Russia its share of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal, and in return Russia would guarantee Ukrainian territorial integrity. Russia has broken the treaty it concluded with Ukraine, regardless of the aspirations of eastern Ukrainians, and there should be serious consequences for Russia as a result.

    Personally, I don’t think that post-USSR Ukraine is a viable nation-state due to the divergent cultural aspirations within the country. However, Russia doesn’t get to inherit the east – they renounced any claim to it (and Crimea) in 1994. The best way to deal with the issue would be for Russia to write a very, very, very, very large cheque to Kiev and purchase eastern Ukraine. If it’s not willing to fairly compensate* Ukraine for violating the treaty the two countries signed in 1994, then Russia deserves to be punished harshly.

    *and we’re talking an awful lot of money – some factors to be considered would be the value of the nuclear deterrent Ukraine gave away, plus the fact that much of Ukraine’s industrial base lies in the east

  • Gene

    dlr, what do you propose as the proper chain of events that should surround a region of one country that votes in favor of becoming part of the country next door? Doesn’t it seem like step one should be an orderly and organized process of debate, discussion, etc., between the two halves of the country to (a) clarify exactly what it is those people have voted for and then (b) come up with an orderly and peaceful schedule and plan for making the alleged split, assuming that the national discussion ended with a confirmation that the people in the breakaway region were really serious about making the change and that their countrymen were amenable to it? Doesn’t it seem likely that the whole process, which of course would also involve lots of discussion with the country next door, would be something that would take quite a long time, most likely a period of years and would need to occur in an orderly and peaceful fashion?

    Doesn’t it seem like a VERY DANGEROUS IDEA for the country next door, desirous of making this quite substantial change, to attempt to accelerate the process by force of arms only a matter of months after the original vote? Doesn’t the fact that the next-door country would even consider that course of action, rather than wait patiently for the first country’s split to occur in a peaceful fashion, call into question the “independence” of the original referendum in the country to be subdivided?

  • NickM

    I’m with Tim here. There have been some awesomely dull debates over Scotland but no tanks. There is a difference. If I wish to set-up the People’s Democratic Republic of East Cheshire then I have every right to pontificate from a soap-box ’till people are bored witless but using heavy metal weapons – no!

    And James is right. The Ukrainians gave-up their nukes too cheaply. They had the Russian Bear over a barrel and they failed to capitalize. And that is why we in the UK should never give-up nukes, ever.

    Personally, I’d go with fitting nuclear warheads to Storm Shadow and equipping Tornado, Typhoon and Type 45 (of which I would buy many more of and fully equip them*) with them. The French have the capacity to launch their version of Storm Shadow (SCALP-EG) from their ships with SYLVER launchers. It is very do-able. We could also launch from attack subs like the wankered Astute class.

    We gotta make Pooty and the Iranians sh’ite themselves. We spend 1.7% of GDP on foreign aid, mainly to the sort of cunts you’d walk across the road to avoid giving 50p for a “cup of tea” to. iDave loves this. It means he gets pictured cradling some baby with AIDS with his shirt-sleeves rolled-up (natch). It makes him look like he is doing good when he is basically to all intents and porpoises a well upholstered twat bugle of the first water.

    I shall now de-rant.

    *4 of the 6 (!) are only now being retrofitted with Harpoon missiles. It is piss-poor. No torpedoes though and no capacity to accommodate a Merlin ‘copter. And they only cost GBP700m a throw. Piss me something dreadful.

  • dlr

    Perry de Haviland — no, actually I didn’t realize that Hitler marched in before the vote. That sort of makes hash of my analogy doesn’t it? Sorry about that.

    My point was, that the eastern Ukrainians did vote for independence — and they voted for it before the western Ukrainians marched in, let alone the Russians. The Ukrainian referendum may or may not have been an exercise in ballot box stuffing — I don’t know. But I personally didn’t find it hard to believe that it was an honest vote. Many, perhaps most of the eastern Ukrainians are ethnic Russians. So they no doubt feel a lot more ethnic solidarity with the Russians across the boarder than with the ethnic Ukrainians further west.

    That being the case, a fair man would reserve judgement as to whether it was the western Ukraine, or Russia that was the bully/attempted rapist, and which one was trying to rescue the maiden fair. In fact, before he made up his mind about it, he would try to ascertain EXACTLY WHAT THE EASTERN UKRAINIANS wanted. But, neither Obama, or Merkel, or any other western leader seems to feel any interest in discovering the preferences of the eastern Ukrainians. Which, sort of leads me to believe that they would prefer not to know. Because it would be so inconvenient (for them) if the eastern Ukrainians actually didn’t want to be part of the Ukraine.

    I think Obama and Merkel et al are pretty stupid and short sighted to take that approach, even if Russia wasn’t in the picture at all. A small group of angry patriots/fanatics can do any amount of damage to a modern industrialized state. The Ukraine is just full of juicy targets. Like, say, all those pipelines supplying Europe with gas and oil. If western Ukraine prevails militarily over the rebels, probably the rebels next move will be to take the war to enemy and start blowing up stuff in western Ukraine. In fact, I’m sort of surprised they haven’t starting doing that already.

    Putin is a bad guy. There is no doubt about it. If I lived in the Ukraine, I would vote 100 times out of a hundred to remain a part of the Ukraine rather than join Russia. But, I’m from the west, and I’m not an As I understand it, a large percentage of the population in eastern Ukraine are ethnic Russians.

  • My point was, that the eastern Ukrainians did vote for independence — and they voted for it before the western Ukrainians marched in, let alone the Russians. The Ukrainian referendum may or may not have been an exercise in ballot box stuffing — I don’t know.

    The Moscow directed paramilitaries were already there, so take a guess if it was an exercise in ballot box stuffing.

    But I personally didn’t find it hard to believe that it was an honest vote.

    Well then I think you are unwise to believe that. It *is* possible they could possibly have won a free and fair vote in some areas, but there was never going to be one once the Russia paramilitary presence was in place. If they were so sure they could win a vote, then there would presumably have been no reason to have NOT demanded a genuine internationally supervised vote before they started patrolling the streets with armed men.

    Treating Russia as a disinterested party who acts in good faith is to completely misunderstand the nature of the beast.

  • James Waterton

    Putin is a bad guy. There is no doubt about it. If I lived in the Ukraine, I would vote 100 times out of a hundred to remain a part of the Ukraine rather than join Russia. But, I’m from the west, and I’m not an As I understand it, a large percentage of the population in eastern Ukraine are ethnic Russians.

    If I recall correctly, something like 18% of the Ukrainian population is ethnically Russian – and that number includes Crimea, where something like 90% of the population is ethnically Russian. So the proportion of ethnic Russians in Ukraine minus Crimea is even smaller. What this means is that, even if most of the ethnic Russians of Ukraine live in the east (which they do), the population of east Ukraine is still majority Ukrainian.

    It’s not correct to assume that eastern Ukrainians are dead keen to be annexed by Russia (although the ethnic Russians probably would be in favour of this). That being said, the easterners clearly don’t like the direction that the government in Kiev wants to take the country. Let them go their own way. I don’t understand this obsession with maintaining the territorial integrity of nation-states that clearly aren’t viable. It’s time for a bit of nation wrecking. In the long run, western Ukraine will be better off without the east – although if Russia wants to be a party to the dismantling of Ukraine (which they clearly do), then they need to compensate Kiev for breaking the treaty they entered into in 1994.

  • Laird

    “If they were so sure they could win a vote, then there would presumably have been no reason to have demanded a genuine internationally supervised vote to have happened before they started patrolling the streets with armed men.”

    A poorly crafted sentence fixed, but I think what you’re saying is that if the Russians were certain of winning the Crimean vote they wouldn’t have preemptively installed their paramilitary forces, but would simply called for an internationally-monitored free election. Fair enough, I suppose, but as dlr said the same is true today: if Obama, Merkel, et al truly believed that the Crimeans do not really favor aligning with Russia they’d be calling for such a vote now. They’re not, and I suspect the reasons are (a) they doubt they would win, and (b) statists (such as Obama and Merkel) never support the breakup of other states (not even the theoretical concept of breakup, let alone its actuality) unless they’re mortal enemies. They can’t countenance separatist or independence movements because the same might happen in their own countries. These types always stick together; they identify far more with each other than with the common people.

    Frankly, I can’t see that there are any good guys here. Putin may be more bad, but Obama is no white (sic!) knight. I’m with James Waterton on this: let them go their own way. And by all means, the US needs to stay out of it.

  • And by all means, the US needs to stay out of it.

    Who says otherwise? Arm them maybe, train them certainly (ideally set up a local staff college), but station an armoured corps outside Kiev? Not a good idea at this juncture.

    All that needs to be made clear is that the farther west he goes, the more ‘un-normalised’ Russia gets politically and economically. In the long run, although it is a shame about the eastern Ukraine, it is hard not to see the upside of making widespread fracking and a return to coal an absolute certainly regardless of what the Greenies want. Moreover I think it will do wonders for the politics of eastern and central Europe.

  • Paul Marks

    dlr – if you really believe in these “votes” in eastern areas of Ukraine, you are an idiot.

    Bob Sykes.

    “There is no right and wrong in international affairs – there is only power”.

    That is the philosophy of a Dalek – not a human being.

  • Laird

    Paul, it may be a “Dalek” philosophy, but it is also an acknowledgement of practical reality. Ignoring reality is not conducive to long-term success in any endeavor.

  • I am not sure that is all there is to ‘reality’ though Laird. If that were true, the USA would indeed be a true empire rather than what it is (which ain’t pretty, but compared to the likes of Russia…).

    It also suggests that domestic political opinion in what passes for liberal democracies these days means nothing to foreign policy. No, I am with Paul on this one. One needs to be realistic, but it is not just about ‘power’, it is rather more complicated I think.

  • Laird

    No, what you’re speaking to is merely what one chooses to do with that power. That’s very much a subsidiary issue.

  • Well no it is entirely the issue. It only matters what you can do in reality, not what you can do in theory, and that reality depends on the humans vs. dalek ratio in a given society.

    The USA can theoretically compel a great many states to do a great many things by force, but in reality that is politically impossible, due to a viable (albeit diminishing) number of humans vs. daleks in the USA. If Russia had the relative superiority of military and economic power available to the USA vis a vis the rest of the world, we would live in a very very different world, because Russia is indeed run by daleks. Russia is limited primarily by power, the USA is limited primarily by the politics that come from having enough people who are not daleks :-D

    Perhaps Paul Marks has the perfect analogue here and we can rate states as having a 1-10 Daleks rating, with a 10 being North Korea.

  • No, what you’re speaking to is merely what one chooses to do with that power. That’s very much a subsidiary issue.

    You could also say that about individuals and interactions thereof, Laird. And it would be true more or less to the same extent that it is true when said about states and their interactions.

  • James Waterton

    An interesting medium term development will be what steps Ukraine decides to take to keep the big bear at bay in future. It’s a country that is well-versed in the nuclear cycle and has the infrastructure to match, and it’s also no slouch when it comes to rocketry and aviation engineering. Hm what kind of force multiplying strategic capacity might Ukraine seek to develop in response to Russian aggression, I wonder.

    Also, I think it was someone here who floated a scenario whereby the Ukrainians managed to stash away a nuclear device or two in spite of the 1994 deal. Not entirely unthinkable.