Trump has Putin over a barrel (of oil)

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cassowary
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Re: Russian and Chinese contempt for Western posturing.?

Post by cassowary » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:28 am

neverfail wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:34 pm
cassowary wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:49 pm
neverfail wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:43 pm

UMM, Cassowary: how would you feel about the inclusion of Singapore into the Chinese motherland? I have heard a rumour that there are a few people of Chinese ancestry living there. With the (unopposed) recent incorporation of the Spratly reefs and shoals and the Paracel islets where there were no permanent Chinese residents, the bounds of the PRC have crept about 1,000 kilometers closer to Singapore.
I won't be happy about it. Singaporeans are so different from the mainland Chinese after decades of separation. I know some of the older generation take pride of China's rise. But nobody I know wants to unite with China.
I can well understand that Cass.

Unfortunately in Beijing they still still seem to regard people of Chinese ancestry long settled overseas as under a moral obligation to dutifully serve the Chinese motherland (and of course the PRC government along with it). Does China ever truly let go of its own?

At this point you might better comprehend why Chinese minorities throughout south east Asia (not just in Malaysia) are under constant suspicion by the locals. Where do these people's true loyalty lie?
The Chinese leaders have a strong sense of entitlement. They expect the overseas Chinese to serve the interests of the motherland. So when Singapore opposed China's South China Sea grab, they were furious.

neverfail
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Re: Russian and Chinese contempt for Western posturing.?

Post by neverfail » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:22 am

cassowary wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:28 am


The Chinese leaders have a strong sense of entitlement. They expect the overseas Chinese to serve the interests of the motherland. So when Singapore opposed China's South China Sea grab, they were furious.
They probably would have been, Cass.

Thanks for that post. It confirms that an impression I have had but previously based upon circumstantial evidence must be true.

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Sertorio
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About Putin

Post by Sertorio » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:59 am

SteveFoerster wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:53 am

I'm no fan of Putin, but he's no Hitler. Then again, it's not hard to make the argument that Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, Abkhazia, and Transnistria look a lot like lebensraum....
An interesting assessment of Putin and of Russia's foreign policies:
https://southfront.org/professor-stephe ... iew-saker/

(...)

There is a huge difference between being a skilled PGU officer and being the man who rules over Russia. And even if Putin did lose some of his illusions, it would have been primarily because the West itself changed a great deal between the 1980s and the 2010s. But Putin must have indeed always known that to implement Cohen’s points 10-13 he needed the West’s help, or, if that was not possible, at least the West’s minimal interference/resistance. But to believe that a man who had full access to the real information about the two Chechen wars would have any kind of illusions left about the West’s real feelings about Russia is profoundly misguided. In fact, anybody living in Russia in the 1990s would have eventually come to the realization that the West wanted all Russians to be slaves, or, more accurately, and in the words of Senator McCain – “gas station” attendants. Putin himself said so when he declared, speaking about the USA, “they don’t want to humiliate us, they want to subjugate us. They want to solve their problems at our expense, they want to subordinate us to their influence“. Putin then added, “nobody in history has ever succeeded in doing this and nobody will ever succeed“. First, I submit that Putin is absolutely correct in his understanding of the West’s goals. Second, I also submit that he did not suddenly “discover” this in 2014. I think that he knew it all along, but began openly saying so after the US-backed coup in the Ukraine. Furthermore, by 2014, Putin had already accomplished points 9-13 and he did not need the West as much anymore.

Now let’s look at points 6 (Putin’s view of the Soviet period), 12 (consensual history) and 14 (Russia as a great power but not a super-power). And again, let’s consider the fact that officers of the PGU had total access to any history books, secret archives, memoirs, etc. and that they were very free to speak in pragmatic analytical terms on all historical subjects with their teachers and colleagues. Here I submit that Putin had no more illusions about the Soviet past then he had about the West. The fact that he referred to the breakup of the Soviet Union (which, let’s remember, happened in a totally undemocratic way!) as a “catastrophe” which was “completely unnecessary” does in no way imply that he was not acutely aware of all the horrors, tragedies, waste, corruption, degradation and general evil of the Soviet regime. All this shows is that he is also aware of the immense victories, achievements, and successes which also are part of the historical record of the Soviet era. Finally, and most importantly, it shows that he realizes what absolute disaster, a cataclysm of truly cosmic proportions the break-up of the Soviet Union represented for all the people of the former USSR and what an absolute nightmare it was for Russia to live a full decade as a subservient colony of Uncle Sam. I am certain that Putin studied enough Hegel to understand that the horrors of the 1990s were the result of the internal contradictions of the Soviet era just as the Soviet era was the result of the internal contradictions of Czarist Russia. In plain English, this means that he fully understood the inherent dangers of empire and that he decided, along with the vast majority of Russians, that Russia ought to never become an empire again. A strong, respected and sovereign country? Yes. But an empire? Never again. No way!

This fundamental conclusion is also the key to Putin’s foreign policy: it is “reactive” by nature simply because it only acts in response to when (and what) something affects Russia. You could say that all “normal” nations are “reactive” because they have no business doing otherwise. Getting involved everywhere, in every fight or conflict, is what empires based on messianic ideologies do, not normal countries regardless of how big or powerful they are. For all the sick and paranoid hallucinations of Western Russophobes about a “resurgent Russia” the reality is that Russian diplomats have often mentioned what the goals of Russian foreign policies truly are: to turn enemies into neutrals, neutrals into partners, partners into friends and friends into allies. And this is why Professor Cohen is absolutely correct, Putin is no isolationist at all – he wants a new, multi-polar, international order of sovereign countries; not because he is a naïve wide-eyed idealist, but because this is what is pragmatically good for Russia and her people. You could say that Putin is a patriotic internationalist.

(...)
But I guess I am wasting my time...

neverfail
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Re: About Putin

Post by neverfail » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:33 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:59 am
In fact, anybody living in Russia in the 1990s would have eventually come to the realization that the West wanted all Russians to be slaves, or, more accurately, and in the words of Senator McCain – “gas station” attendants. Putin himself said so when he declared, speaking about the USA, “they don’t want to humiliate us, they want to subjugate us. They want to solve their problems at our expense, they want to subordinate us to their influence“. Putin then added, “nobody in history has ever succeeded in doing this and nobody will ever succeed“. First, I submit that Putin is absolutely correct in his understanding of the West’s goals.
Great Russian paranoia, I think; reflecting a misplaced sense of importance.

Yes, the United States made a hash of its handling of Russia: post collapse of Communism. But I would contend that it was not due to any protracted conspiracy detrimental to the then fledgling Russian Federation but for another, totally unrelated reason. Very poor political leadership in the United States.

The downing of the Berlin Wall and the unravelling of the Soviet Empire coincided with the presidencies of George Bush senior and Bill Clinton. Both were in their different ways moral pygmies. BG was an utter disappointment who earned himself the reputation for timidity in making big decisions (the wimp?) and therefore suffered a one-term presidency unusual for an incumbent in this office. As for Clinton, the less said the better.

In the late 1980's as events overseas unfolded: recalling how the USA extended Marshall Plan Aid in the late 1940's into the early 1950's to former Fascist adversaries to help these rebuild, I seriously anticipated that the US, in collaboration with other Western powers, would do much the same for Russia. But apart from a program of funding to Boris Yeltsin's government to help destroy nukes inherited from the former USSR (in America's best interests) I was not aware of any significant aid reaching Russia at this time (or since).

Unfortunately, I had swallowed the myth that the USA in the aftermath of WW2 was motivated by generosity, altruism to its former wartime adversaries. The contrast between this and the ungenerous way that this country treated post-Communist Russia disillusioned me of the myth of American altruism. It looks to me now that in the aftermath of the USSR's collapse at least two successive US administrations looked for low-cost, low risk ways to disable the potential of Russia to rebuild itself into a power big enough to ever challenge the USA again.

No! I do not get the impression that the US ever wanted to reduce the Russian people to servitude - Russians have quite a long history of doing that to each other. Only to permanently disable Russia as a future geopolitical and military power potent enough to challenge the United States.

Whereas the likes of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and even Eisenhower were arguably visionaries; real leaders: George Bush Senior, Ronald reagan's former vice-president and running mate, seems typical of the sort of "yes" men who seem to prosper in the shadows of the mighty. When elevated into the high offices previously occupied by their bosses, they are usually a letdown in terms of the authority they have the capacity to wield.

The US sowed the wind in its dealings with Russia post-Communism so it should not surprise anyone that this country now reaps the whirlwind of Russian suspicious mindedness and ill will.

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cassowary
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Re: About Putin

Post by cassowary » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:17 pm

neverfail wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:33 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:59 am
In fact, anybody living in Russia in the 1990s would have eventually come to the realization that the West wanted all Russians to be slaves, or, more accurately, and in the words of Senator McCain – “gas station” attendants. Putin himself said so when he declared, speaking about the USA, “they don’t want to humiliate us, they want to subjugate us. They want to solve their problems at our expense, they want to subordinate us to their influence“. Putin then added, “nobody in history has ever succeeded in doing this and nobody will ever succeed“. First, I submit that Putin is absolutely correct in his understanding of the West’s goals.
Great Russian paranoia, I think; reflecting a misplaced sense of importance.

Yes, the United States made a hash of its handling of Russia: post collapse of Communism. But I would contend that it was not due to any protracted conspiracy detrimental to the then fledgling Russian Federation but for another, totally unrelated reason. Very poor political leadership in the United States.

The downing of the Berlin Wall and the unravelling of the Soviet Empire coincided with the presidencies of George Bush senior and Bill Clinton. Both were in their different ways moral pygmies. BG was an utter disappointment who earned himself the reputation for timidity in making big decisions (the wimp?) and therefore suffered a one-term presidency unusual for an incumbent in this office. As for Clinton, the less said the better.

In the late 1980's as events overseas unfolded: recalling how the USA extended Marshall Plan Aid in the late 1940's into the early 1950's to former Fascist adversaries to help these rebuild, I seriously anticipated that the US, in collaboration with other Western powers, would do much the same for Russia. But apart from a program of funding to Boris Yeltsin's government to help destroy nukes inherited from the former USSR (in America's best interests) I was not aware of any significant aid reaching Russia at this time (or since).

Unfortunately, I had swallowed the myth that the USA in the aftermath of WW2 was motivated by generosity, altruism to its former wartime adversaries. The contrast between this and the ungenerous way that this country treated post-Communist Russia disillusioned me of the myth of American altruism. It looks to me now that in the aftermath of the USSR's collapse at least two successive US administrations looked for low-cost, low risk ways to disable the potential of Russia to rebuild itself into a power big enough to ever challenge the USA again.

No! I do not get the impression that the US ever wanted to reduce the Russian people to servitude - Russians have quite a long history of doing that to each other. Only to permanently disable Russia as a future geopolitical and military power potent enough to challenge the United States.

Whereas the likes of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and even Eisenhower were arguably visionaries; real leaders: George Bush Senior, Ronald reagan's former vice-president and running mate, seems typical of the sort of "yes" men who seem to prosper in the shadows of the mighty. When elevated into the high offices previously occupied by their bosses, they are usually a letdown in terms of the authority they have the capacity to wield.

The US sowed the wind in its dealings with Russia post-Communism so it should not surprise anyone that this country now reaps the whirlwind of Russian suspicious mindedness and ill will.
Firstly, there was no need for a Marshall Plan for Russia. Unlike Europe after WWII, Russia was not devastated by a war. Secondly, it must be pointed out that Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, former USSR republics have gone on to become benign prosperous democracies without a Marshall Plan.

This leads to my third point. Monetary aid can only do so much. You can build infrastructure with that. But the cultural infrastructure is really up to you. After WWII, Europe recovered very fast with the Marshall Plan. But billions of dollars of foreign aid went to Africa with poor result. Why?

It is because the Europeans have the cultural capital for success. What was needed was money to rebuild the physical capital. They already have the cultural capital.

Why is it that the Baltics are doing well, while Russia is not? Both were part of the USSR. Is there something missing in the Russian cultural infrastructure?

neverfail
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Re: About Putin

Post by neverfail » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:13 am

cassowary wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:17 pm


Firstly, there was no need for a Marshall Plan for Russia. Unlike Europe after WWII, Russia was not devastated by a war. Secondly, it must be pointed out that Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, former USSR republics have gone on to become benign prosperous democracies without a Marshall Plan.

This leads to my third point. Monetary aid can only do so much. You can build infrastructure with that. But the cultural infrastructure is really up to you. After WWII, Europe recovered very fast with the Marshall Plan. But billions of dollars of foreign aid went to Africa with poor result. Why?

It is because the Europeans have the cultural capital for success. What was needed was money to rebuild the physical capital. They already have the cultural capital.

Why is it that the Baltics are doing well, while Russia is not? Both were part of the USSR. Is there something missing in the Russian cultural infrastructure?
Good point, well made Cass.

However, apart from the fact that post-Communist Russia, in turmoil, likely did not look like a good credit risk (Marshall Plan aid, do not forget, came in the form of soft loans that had to be repaid by the recipients - not in the form of cash grants or gifts) - the point I made above was not so much that the US failed to provide timely recovery aid but that its treatment of Russia was low level unfriendly enough to arouse suspicion in Russian minds that the USA was out to get them.

Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

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Sertorio
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Re: About Putin

Post by Sertorio » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:00 am

cassowary wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:17 pm

Why is it that the Baltics are doing well, while Russia is not? Both were part of the USSR. Is there something missing in the Russian cultural infrastructure?
Russia is doing much, much better than the USSR ever did. Having inherited a totally nationalized and centraly planned economy, Russia has done amazingly well in building a competitive economy, even if still too dependent on natural resources. You may be sure that in the coming decades Russia's economy will become more diversified and prosperous, based on its natural wealth and great science and technology. And sanctions against Russia will give a great contribute to that success... :D

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Sertorio
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Re: About Putin

Post by Sertorio » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:03 am

neverfail wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:13 am
(Marshall Plan aid, do not forget, came in the form of soft loans that had to be repaid by the recipients - not in the form of cash grants or gifts)
Speaking from memory, I believe those "loans" were never meant to be repaid. And the interest charged was only sufficient to cover the expenses of running the Marshall Plan. But I may be wrong...

[From Wikipedia: The proportion of Marshall Plan loans versus Marshall Plan grants was roughly 15% to 85% for both the UK and France.]

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SteveFoerster
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Re: About Putin

Post by SteveFoerster » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:55 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:00 am
cassowary wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:17 pm

Why is it that the Baltics are doing well, while Russia is not? Both were part of the USSR. Is there something missing in the Russian cultural infrastructure?
Russia is doing much, much better than the USSR ever did. Having inherited a totally nationalized and centraly planned economy, Russia has done amazingly well in building a competitive economy, even if still too dependent on natural resources. You may be sure that in the coming decades Russia's economy will become more diversified and prosperous, based on its natural wealth and great science and technology. And sanctions against Russia will give a great contribute to that success... :D
You didn't answer the question.
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neverfail
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Re: About Putin

Post by neverfail » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:31 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:03 am
neverfail wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:13 am
(Marshall Plan aid, do not forget, came in the form of soft loans that had to be repaid by the recipients - not in the form of cash grants or gifts)
Speaking from memory, I believe those "loans" were never meant to be repaid. And the interest charged was only sufficient to cover the expenses of running the Marshall Plan. But I may be wrong...

[From Wikipedia: The proportion of Marshall Plan loans versus Marshall Plan grants was roughly 15% to 85% for both the UK and France.]
Considering that the USA ended the Second World war with a national debt equal to around 120% of GDP and must have been teetering on insolvency itself; I would humbly suggest that it was in no position in the years that followed to hand out money as grants like that hand over fist, Sertorio.

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