Anti-Russian Hysteria

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Ethereal
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Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby Ethereal » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:03 pm

The west is experiencing another bout of anti-Russian hysteria, fueled by warmongering governments and media.

The response of western peoples has been positively Pavlovian in how readily they obey the oligarchy's command to resume their traditional hate and fear of all things Russian.

I almost expect my fellow Americans to begin a "Two Minutes Hate" where they stare at a picture of Putin and seethe with manufactured rage.

Yet what has Russia done to deserve this? Annexed territory that has been in their sphere of influence for centuries and with the overwhelming democratic support of the people living there? How is this an offense to the west or to America specifically? Would Americans or Europeans for that matter even know this had happened if the media hadn't told them about it? Do one percent of westerners even know what Crimea is or where it is located? How can two superpowers be brought into a conflict with one another over something so trivial?

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Re: Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby Adelaide » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:22 pm

Well... it raises some red flags when Putin talks about using nuclear weapons more easily as a SOP (because the rise of lower-yield tactical nukes means less collateral damage, thus less moral consequences), and then has 40 million Russians perform a drill for a nuclear attack.

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Re: Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby MisterD » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:36 pm

I saw your post over at TPF.

"Western countries - the USA, the UK, Germany - have invaded Russia how many times in the past century? At what point does it become entirely rational for Russians to want some kind of a buffer between them and these periodic invaders of their country?"

I think here you run the danger of reversing the simplistic pro-Western position you're criticizing.

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Re: Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby Ethereal » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:40 pm

Adelaide wrote:Well... it raises some red flags when Putin talks about using nuclear weapons more easily as a SOP (because the rise of lower-yield tactical nukes means less collateral damage, thus less moral consequences), and then has 40 million Russians perform a drill for a nuclear attack.


Yes, it does raise red flags, but it's not as if those things happened in a historical and geopolitical vacuum. Those things happened in response to what Russians perceive as western aggression towards their country and I'm inclined to agree with that perception. Just as one notable example, it was understood between the west and Russia that the end of the cold war would be contingent on no further expansion of NATO towards Russia's borders. The west has clearly violated that understanding.

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Re: Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby Ethereal » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:41 pm

MisterD wrote:I saw your post over at TPF.

"Western countries - the USA, the UK, Germany - have invaded Russia how many times in the past century? At what point does it become entirely rational for Russians to want some kind of a buffer between them and these periodic invaders of their country?"

I think here you run the danger of reversing the simplistic pro-Western position you're criticizing.


Apologies, I don't follow.

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Re: Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby MisterD » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:57 pm

Ethereal wrote:
MisterD wrote:I saw your post over at TPF.

"Western countries - the USA, the UK, Germany - have invaded Russia how many times in the past century? At what point does it become entirely rational for Russians to want some kind of a buffer between them and these periodic invaders of their country?"

I think here you run the danger of reversing the simplistic pro-Western position you're criticizing.


Apologies, I don't follow.


What I mean is that Russia is not some innocent victim of Western aggression. She has always had imperial pretensions and has acted upon them. You could also ask how many times has Russia invaded neighboring states in the last century. Basically, you're attacking one imperialism in favor of another.

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Re: Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby Peter1469 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:38 pm

Russia is anti-Central Bankers. That is what makes them the enemy of the West.

NATO is moving closer and closer to Moscow- and if you know history, that is a problem for the Russians.

This is an old post that I made to Polly when she claimed in her blog that we were in a new cold war.

___

This is a follow-up to my previous comments and readers may wish to re-read that post before moving on with this one.

Polly, I point you to your comment:

Quote- Polly: “The memory of the catastrophic WW2 Nazi invasion is no joke or trivial thing in Moscow.”

That describes the core of my position. The Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and today’s Russia based their grand strategy (defensive) on the fact that there are no natural land barriers to invasion. Focusing on the western borders, the Great European Plain has been an historical invasion route from Western Europe into Asia (a well as the reverse). Since there are no natural barriers to invasion, Russia must have depth. In the past Russia achieved this by annexing territory, or otherwise controlling it.

During the Cold War NATO was 1600 kilometers from St. Petersburg. With the end of the Cold War and the accession of the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) to NATO that distance dropped to 160 kilometers. Depth…. That leaves Belarus and Ukraine as buffers (and Belarus is solid pro-Russia). Ukraine is 480 kilometers from Moscow at its closest point. Depth…. Return to Polly’s quote above and you will see what drives Russia today. It isn’t the paranoia that western media blames Putin’s behavior on: it is history and geography. [Hat-tip to STRATFOR for the distances.]

Today, Russia can easier achieve this depth through soft power- i.e. diplomatic pressure, economic treaties, etc. This is why I don’t think that Russia will invade Ukraine (beyond Crimea, I will address that later). If Russia does invade Ukraine it is not to annex it, but rather to use it as a diplomatic pawn to give away for other concessions (and perhaps to end the conflict with public approval on its side).

So Russia’s goal is for Ukraine to remain an independent state, although with deep internal divisions that render it neutral in the West – East debate (Polly’s new Cold War). Even better, Ukraine would elect another pro-Russian government. But what Russia will not allow is a strong pro-Western government, and most certainly not a government which seeks NATO membership. That, to Russia, is an existential threat and a casus belli for war.
About Crimea: Russia still feels disrespected by the West. Russia didn’t need Crimea to secure its Black Sea Fleet; Russia has a long-term lease securing that base. The Crimean people and government are very pro-Russian, so Russia didn’t need to annex it. Russia did it for Russian pride. It was a calculated risk that the west wouldn’t go to war over Crimea (historically Crimea is Russian anyway). I don’t think that Russia will take that same risk with Ukraine; although the west is unlikely to respond militarily, Russia doesn’t want to have to rule over the pro-western portions of Ukraine. And as I argue above, they don’t need to.

So, no, I don’t think that the Cold War has started again. I think that Russia is looking for her depth.

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Re: Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby Ethereal » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:54 pm

MisterD wrote:
Ethereal wrote:
MisterD wrote:I saw your post over at TPF.

"Western countries - the USA, the UK, Germany - have invaded Russia how many times in the past century? At what point does it become entirely rational for Russians to want some kind of a buffer between them and these periodic invaders of their country?"

I think here you run the danger of reversing the simplistic pro-Western position you're criticizing.


Apologies, I don't follow.


What I mean is that Russia is not some innocent victim of Western aggression. She has always had imperial pretensions and has acted upon them. You could also ask how many times has Russia invaded neighboring states in the last century. Basically, you're attacking one imperialism in favor of another.


No doubt, Russia, like all large nation-states, is predicated upon some measure of imperial ambition, but does that imply an equivalence in terms of degree between western and Russian imperialism? Does that mean both sides are equal in terms of their aggression and expansionism? Granted, that is theoretically possible, but I believe there is ample historical evidence to support the contention that there is a significant asymmetry between western and Russian imperialism, especially since the end of the cold war.

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Re: Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby Ethereal » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:03 pm

Peter1469 wrote:Russia is anti-Central Bankers. That is what makes them the enemy of the West.

NATO is moving closer and closer to Moscow- and if you know history, that is a problem for the Russians.

This is an old post that I made to Polly when she claimed in her blog that we were in a new cold war.

___

This is a follow-up to my previous comments and readers may wish to re-read that post before moving on with this one.

Polly, I point you to your comment:

Quote- Polly: “The memory of the catastrophic WW2 Nazi invasion is no joke or trivial thing in Moscow.”

That describes the core of my position. The Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and today’s Russia based their grand strategy (defensive) on the fact that there are no natural land barriers to invasion. Focusing on the western borders, the Great European Plain has been an historical invasion route from Western Europe into Asia (a well as the reverse). Since there are no natural barriers to invasion, Russia must have depth. In the past Russia achieved this by annexing territory, or otherwise controlling it.

During the Cold War NATO was 1600 kilometers from St. Petersburg. With the end of the Cold War and the accession of the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) to NATO that distance dropped to 160 kilometers. Depth…. That leaves Belarus and Ukraine as buffers (and Belarus is solid pro-Russia). Ukraine is 480 kilometers from Moscow at its closest point. Depth…. Return to Polly’s quote above and you will see what drives Russia today. It isn’t the paranoia that western media blames Putin’s behavior on: it is history and geography. [Hat-tip to STRATFOR for the distances.]

Today, Russia can easier achieve this depth through soft power- i.e. diplomatic pressure, economic treaties, etc. This is why I don’t think that Russia will invade Ukraine (beyond Crimea, I will address that later). If Russia does invade Ukraine it is not to annex it, but rather to use it as a diplomatic pawn to give away for other concessions (and perhaps to end the conflict with public approval on its side).

So Russia’s goal is for Ukraine to remain an independent state, although with deep internal divisions that render it neutral in the West – East debate (Polly’s new Cold War). Even better, Ukraine would elect another pro-Russian government. But what Russia will not allow is a strong pro-Western government, and most certainly not a government which seeks NATO membership. That, to Russia, is an existential threat and a casus belli for war.
About Crimea: Russia still feels disrespected by the West. Russia didn’t need Crimea to secure its Black Sea Fleet; Russia has a long-term lease securing that base. The Crimean people and government are very pro-Russian, so Russia didn’t need to annex it. Russia did it for Russian pride. It was a calculated risk that the west wouldn’t go to war over Crimea (historically Crimea is Russian anyway). I don’t think that Russia will take that same risk with Ukraine; although the west is unlikely to respond militarily, Russia doesn’t want to have to rule over the pro-western portions of Ukraine. And as I argue above, they don’t need to.

So, no, I don’t think that the Cold War has started again. I think that Russia is looking for her depth.


This is something that many Americans simply cannot fathom because they've never experienced an invasion of such magnitude on their own territory. The memory of a Nazi invasion is burned into the collective psyche of the Russian people, to say nothing of the joint Anglo-American invasion of Russia in 1918. Attempting to create a buffer between Russia and these sporadic invaders is entirely rational from their perspective. That does not necessarily imply that the west should countenance any and all attempts by Russia to expand its sphere of influence in central Eurasia, but it should place those actions in a historical perspective that aids in understanding the Russian nation.

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Re: Anti-Russian Hysteria

Postby Peter1469 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:07 pm

The claims that any understanding of the Russian position is un-American is an uneducated position.


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