What’s at Stake in Ukraine? What’s an Acceptable Outcome and for Whom?

 

What is at stake in Ukraine?

For the Ukrainian State? For the inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine and Crimea?

For the US? For European countries? For Russia? For the rest of us?

I think the answer for each of these would be a bit different — and that would inform what an acceptable outcome to the conflict would be.

So, the surface issues:

Territorial integrity and the agreement that countries cannot invade each other just to change their borders. Post-WWII stability has sort of hung on this principle, though there are some instances of this happening, de facto if not de jure. But still — undermine this principle and you open a Pandora’s Box.

Self-determination.  People should live in a state whose government is representative.  This is harder to argue. There are a lot of non-representative governments around and they aren’t denied diplomatic legitimacy on that basis. It’s also more problematic — what if self-determination for a minority is at odds with the territorial integrity of a state? It’s a relevant question from Donbas to Kashmir (and it’s relevant to the Maidan revolution itself).

Sovereignty. States have the right to join, or not join, any alliance or organisation that they want if it wants them to. Again, sound in principle but less upheld in practice. Ukraine has the legal right to apply to join NATO and the EU. Germany has the legal right to buy oil and gas from Russia. But can they really?

Of course, all of these are mediated, in the real world, by power. The principle is one thing. The practice, the possibility, another. As the conflict has progressed, some murkier issues have come to the fore — and predictably they aren’t about principle but about power:

Which country’s interests will dominate NATO and the EU?  Which country’s interests will be sacrificed?  Based on?  And what does that mean for the future of NATO and the EU?  What will the political/geostrategic outcome from the use of force (overt and covert, imho likely to be internal to countries) to maintain these hierarchies of interests be?

US prosperity depends, in part (how significant?), on the dollar serving as the international reserve currency, in turn, a function of the petrodollar. Russia is bucking the petrodollar by demanding payment for energy exports in Rubles. If this sets a trend and undermines the petrodollar, is that actually a bigger deal for the US than Ukraine and NATO? What about the impact of the US basically confiscating the contents of Russia’s US bank accounts? How will that impact the US dollar’s status as a global reserve, and what impact will that have on US prosperity? Where will capital accumulate in the future?

A big takeaway from this for the Global South is that depending on imported food makes you vulnerable — not least because some of the first exports from Ukraine went to Britain for animal feed rather than Africa to feed people. How will that affect poor countries’ interactions with the World Bank and the IMF, whose development model hinges on industrial development at the expense of agricultural development? How about the allocation of capital in the Global North?

All of these seem to be expressions of whatever you call the version of empire we live in today. And while it is bizarre that Putin, invading Ukraine to annex part of it and to dominate the rest, has something to say about it, it’s still thought-provoking.  From his (rather long) speech on Friday:

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the West decided that the world and all of us would permanently accede to its dictates. In 1991, the West thought that Russia would never rise after such shocks and would fall to pieces on its own. This almost happened. We remember the horrible 1990s, hungry, cold and hopeless. But Russia remained standing, came alive, grew stronger and occupied its rightful place in the world…

The West is ready to cross every line to preserve the neo-colonial system which allows it to live off the world, to plunder it thanks to the domination of the dollar and technology, to collect an actual tribute from humanity, to extract its primary source of unearned prosperity, the rent paid to the hegemon. The preservation of this annuity is their main, real and absolutely self-serving motivation. This is why total de-sovereignisation is in their interest. This explains their aggression towards independent states, traditional values and authentic cultures, their attempts to undermine international and integration processes, new global currencies and technological development centres they cannot control. It is critically important for them to force all countries to surrender their sovereignty to the United States.

Basically: is the war in Ukraine about preserving the West’s, and especially the US’, global domination?

(If it is, I’m really not looking forward to the conflict with China.)

Which question appears pertinent (or crazy) depends on who and where we are.  But the most relevant question to you will also be the one whose answer will lead to what you think is an acceptable outcome in Ukraine (and why).

Ricochet, what are your thoughts on this?

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    In July 2021 Putin wrote an article, widely carried in the Western press, about the relationship between Russia and the countries that before the USSR, constituted the Russian Empire. Much of it was, to put it mildly, taken from Russia’s narrow point of view, but reasonable, claiming something like the Monroe Doctrine for the (now) independent states on the periphery of Russia. 

    He also claims a responsibility towards Russian speakers who were “marooned” in these countries after the fall of the USSR. This is trickier, because the host countries never wanted those people there to begin with; they were imposed on them by Stalin. This sounds like Hitler’s claim that Germans anywhere were part of Germany, allegedly legitimizing his invasion of the Czechs to “free” the Germans of the Sudetenland. The Baltic states, whose languages do not derive much from Russian, would fiercely resist this claim–does the US have an obligation to return Texas and the rest of the southwest to Mexico because we have Spanish speakers here?–but Putin focuses on Ukraine, which has a genuine, complicated thousand year relationship with Russia.

    America and Canada is a very rough analogy. He states, correctly, that Russia has always regarded Ukraine as a part of extended Russia. He conveniently leaves out the fact that Ukraine has never felt that way and doesn’t feel that way now, to say the least, any more than Canadians see themselves as Americans. Nonetheless, at the breakup of the USSR Russia recognized the Soviet republics as independent nations. The West didn’t force them to do that. They had no choice. 

    Putin was on stronger ground with the Monroe Doctrine comparison. The US recognizes the independence of Latin American countries but claims a (let’s face it, illegal) right to place some limits on how they make alliances. This form of imperialism has been increasingly toothless over the years, but it’s still there and still causes resentment. Score a debating point for Putin, but if it’s outdated and hypocritical for us, it is for him as well. 

    NATO expansion was, IMHO, a mistake. Nonetheless, the fact that so many people in eastern and central Europe hated and detested Russia wasn’t our fault but theirs. 

    Still, Ukraine should have been a neutral state. Unfair to the Ukrainians. yes. Neither Russia nor the European Union was content to leave it that way. Putting the toothpaste back in the tube was always going to be a problem. 

    On February 21, when Putin declared that he would recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, he was shrewd. Most of Europe would have been outraged but nothing would have stopped him. On February 24th he became a gambler, an adventurer, and an idiot, tossing away gains that he’ll never see again. 

    • #1
  2. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    He also claims a responsibility towards Russian speakers who were “marooned” in these countries after the fall of the USSR.

    An inbuilt potential for instability in the idea of the linguistic nation state.  I wonder how things would have gone if Ukraine had maintained Ukrainian and Russian as official languages the way Kazakhstan maintained Kazakh and Russian.

    • #2
  3. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    He also claims a responsibility towards Russian speakers who were “marooned” in these countries after the fall of the USSR.

    An inbuilt potential for instability in the idea of the linguistic nation state. I wonder how things would have gone if Ukraine had maintained Ukrainian and Russian as official languages the way Kazakhstan maintained Kazakh and Russian.

    I see a lot of sense in that. If provisions of the Minsk II agreements had been implemented, it might have bled off some of the pressure in the Donbas to secede. Or it might have only encouraged more surly demands from diehard separatists. Hard to tell at this distance. Ireland, Canada–and, if I may say, India–all offer different approaches to this problem.

    Certainly, if the Ukrainians and Europeans of 2008 or 2014 had had a crystal ball, they might have taken more of a looser, federal attitude towards east Ukraine. The Maidan revolt would have been much less of an uncomplicated good vs. evil media event in the West.

    On the other hand, if Russia had that crystal ball in February 2022, they’d have realized that they weren’t going be met with happiness and rose petals by grateful Ukrainians.

    • #3
  4. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    We live in a time, I am convinced, in which one of the world’s dominant powers is not a nation-state, but a world-wide corporate alliance, and because of this unfortunate circumstance the old national distinctions of borders are less and less significant.

    Philosophically the world runs along principles of right and wrong and oratory and persuasion, but practically it runs on might and force, and might has a very loud voice, too.  But more deeply, I think the world runs along cultural standards of historical behavior.  Russia is today largely the Russia of 200 years ago.  Same with the US, and Germany and France.  And everywhere.  (In Australia, and Brazil, and Thailand.  And Costa Rica.  And Cambodia and Burma.  Everywhere.)  They can all put on Western clothes and make modern rifles and drive electric cars, but they retain their historic culture, desires, fundamental social institutions, and ways of thinking and doing things.

    The linguistic state is as much a cultural state, and forcibly changing the language doesn’t change the culture.

     

    • #4
  5. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Flicker (View Comment):

    We live in a time, I am convinced, in which one of the world’s dominant powers is not a nation-state, but a world-wide corporate alliance, and because of this unfortunate circumstance the old national distinctions of borders are less and less significant.

    For the flow of capital and goods, but they remain extremely significant for the flow of labour. (Really.)

    Philosophically the world runs along principles of right and wrong and oratory and persuasion, but practically it runs on might and force, and might has a very loud voice. But more deeply, I think the world runs along cultural standards of historical behavior. Russia is today largely the Russia of 200 years ago. Same with the US, and Germany and France. And everywhere. (In Australia, and Brazil, and Thailand. And Costa Rica. And Cambodia and Burma. Everywhere.) They can all put on Western clothes and make modern rifles and drive electric cars, but they retain their historic culture, desires, fundamental social institutions, and ways of thinking and doing things.

    Yes, that’s true.  That’s largely how people want it.

    At the end of the day, India (for eg) can get all the good governance and freedom of expression possible – but India will remain India, no matter what language it speaks.  And that’s what India basically wants.

    • #5
  6. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    I see a lot of sense in that. If provisions of the Minsk II agreements had been implemented, it might have bled off some of the pressure in the Donbas to secede. Or it might have only encouraged more surly demands from diehard separatists. Hard to tell at this distance.

    To be honest, I don’t think that Donbas etc. would have gotten off the ground without a lot of help from Russia.

    Russia would have accepted Minsk II – in fact that was Russia’s objective – a federal structure for Ukraine that empowered the regions enough to keep Ukraine from ignoring the Russophile East and joining NATO/EU.

    Fwiw, that would have been an outcome that was acceptable to Russia.  Zelensky was elected on a platform of making peace with Russia, so perhaps it would have been acceptable to Ukrainians as well?

    But Zelensky didn’t govern along those lines, once elected.  So it’s fair to say that it wasn’t an outcome that was acceptable to his backers (let’s broadly say the US).  So what outcome was acceptable to them, and why?

    Ireland, Canada–and, if I may say, India–all offer different approaches to this problem.

    Sure.  We have 15 (and counting) languages in use across the country in different States.  So that’s one issue down there are plenty of others still looming.

    Certainly, if the Ukrainians and Europeans of 2008 or 2014 had had a crystal ball, they might have taken more of a looser, federal attitude towards east Ukraine. The Maidan revolt would have been much less of an uncomplicated good vs. evil media event in the West.

    Depends on their objective.

    On the other hand, if Russia had that crystal ball in February 2022, they’d have realized that they weren’t going be met with happiness and rose petals by grateful Ukrainians.

    Meh.  I think they’re unmoved by unhappy Ukrainians, unfortunately.

    • #6
  7. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    We live in a time, I am convinced, in which one of the world’s dominant powers is not a nation-state, but a world-wide corporate alliance, and because of this unfortunate circumstance the old national distinctions of borders are less and less significant.

    For the flow of capital and goods, but they remain extremely significant for the flow of labour. (Really.)

    Philosophically the world runs along principles of right and wrong and oratory and persuasion, but practically it runs on might and force, and might has a very loud voice. But more deeply, I think the world runs along cultural standards of historical behavior. Russia is today largely the Russia of 200 years ago. Same with the US, and Germany and France. And everywhere. (In Australia, and Brazil, and Thailand. And Costa Rica. And Cambodia and Burma. Everywhere.) They can all put on Western clothes and make modern rifles and drive electric cars, but they retain their historic culture, desires, fundamental social institutions, and ways of thinking and doing things.

    Yes, that’s true. That’s largely how people want it.

    At the end of the day, India (for eg) can get all the good governance and freedom of expression possible – but India will remain India, no matter what language it speaks. And that’s what India basically wants.

    I tend to agree.  I don’t get your point about, I think, labor and borders.  Are you saying that the flow of labor from one country to the next is like goods, or is in itself good, or just inevitable?  Or are you thinking that borders are on balance good, and large scale migration is not good for countries and really needs to be controlled?  Or that it is being conducted for bad reasons?

    And, yes, your second point is, I would say, a matter of course.  And, thanks, I was hoping you’d offer your view of this regarding India.

    • #7
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    There were so many skeptical articles written just after the onset of the second war in Iraq. One blunt title that always stayed with me was “Blind Into Baghdad”. I don’t think it’s unfair to characterize the initial Russian campaign in Ukraine as “Blind Into Kyiv”. For all their professed brotherhood and blood-level unity, Russians in authority made baffling misjudgments because in fact they didn’t understand their “brothers”, how they would react or what motivates them. 

    You’re right, Z, that other Mr. Z was the more peace-with-Russia candidate, and it appears to have been no fake act; the problem was the legislature was not his to control, and he couldn’t sell them Minsk II.

    To be fair, this is a situation common everywhere. One of the basic issues with what’s been dubbed “The Iran Nuclear Deal” is what seems to much of the world like America reneging on a solemn treaty. Americans are surprised when people overseas don’t understand that treaties have to be approved in Congress, or they are not the binding will of the nation. Iran never had a deal with the United States; they knew going in that unratified treaties don’t exist. 

    Obama couldn’t get a treaty through Congress, he didn’t even try. At least Zelensky tried. 

    I’m a Nixon man. I look for deals, even cynical ones, that reflect reality and create balances of interests that are reliable for decades to come. Russia liked dealing on that basis; No human rights lectures, no slide decks about minority entrepreneurship. Just blunt, no-BS probing the limits of each side’s willingness to change their outlook in the cause of a generation of peace. 

    I’m not defending it on the higher plane of morality; this is Godfather stuff, but Nixon was good at it and arguably made a tremendous contribution to world peace. Putin hoped that Trump would be another deal maker.  That’s not a wildly pro-Trump statement; it reflects a Russian belief that an SOB can be trusted more than a Wilsonian idealist. 

    • #8
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I tend to agree.  I don’t get your point about, I think, labor and borders.  Are you saying that the flow of labor from one country to the next is like goods, or is in itself good, or just inevitable?  Or are you thinking that borders are on balance good, and large scale migration is not good for countries and really needs to be controlled?  Or that it is being conducted for bad reasons?

    Sorry for being unclear.  The flow of labour is more constricted than the flow of products and capital. Whether it’s good or not depends.  Being a labour unit that’s migrated twice I can tell you that I think that was good (I’m biased) but that it also took some effort.

    Borders are necessary for sovereignty.  We can relax them – for example US citizens have visa free travel in the Schengen zone – but they have to be there to be relaxed if they aren’t just given up.

    Large scale immigration – hmmmm.  It generally takes place to meet the need for labour, so in that sense it can be good.  It can result in cultural disruption, but you have to look at both aspects before assessing.  Post war Europe needed labour and got human beings.  Now it can complain about the human beings, but where would it be today without their labour?  Not so re-built is where.

    And, yes, your second point is, I would say, a matter of course.  And, thanks, I was hoping you’d offer your view of this regarding India.

    But it’s true of Russia, and Ukraine, and Donbas too.  People like being who they are.

    • #9
  10. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    You’re right, Z, that other Mr. Z was the more peace-with-Russia candidate, and it appears to have been no fake act; the problem was the legislature was not his to control, and he couldn’t sell them Minsk II.

    Fair point.  I tend to start from the position that some sort of a deal is possible, and perhaps that’s not true, and war was inevitable given both parties’ core interests and positions?

    (Wrt the attempt at Kiev – I’d say it was worth a try.  If Kiev folded, great, if not – well there’s Plan B/C/D.)

    • #10
  11. GlenEisenhardt Coolidge
    GlenEisenhardt
    @GlenEisenhardt

    I think George Washington would be sick at this. The idea that US elites get to pretend they’re the saviors of democracy around the world when they don’t defend it here at home is a farce. They don’t want voter ID. They want to stuff the ballot boxes with illegal alien votes. They call their opponents fascists. But they’re the defenders of the right to disagree and vote in Ukraine. It is all a joke. 

    • #11
  12. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):

    I think George Washington would be sick at this. The idea that US elites get to pretend they’re the saviors of democracy around the world when they don’t defend it here at home is a farce. They don’t want voter ID. They want to stuff the ballot boxes with illegal alien votes. They call their opponents fascists. But they’re the defenders of the right to disagree and vote in Ukraine. It is all a joke.

    If that is their motive in Ukraine.

    • #12
  13. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    For me,  an acceptable outcome would be an end to the military operations with Russia keeping what they have grabbed and all pipelines ( gas or oil) out of Russia into Europe or the mid-east permanently sabotaged.   I would prefer the expulsion of Russia from the entire Ukraine ( including Crimea ),  but I think that carries a high risk of nuclear war,   including nuclear attacks on American soil or American military bases.    Would prefer Russia keeping what they have grabbed over nuclear conflict.   I do understand that permanent sabotage  of the pipelines means a commitment to future accidents and maintenance problems.

    • #13
  14. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Zafar (View Comment):

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):

    I think George Washington would be sick at this. The idea that US elites get to pretend they’re the saviors of democracy around the world when they don’t defend it here at home is a farce. They don’t want voter ID. They want to stuff the ballot boxes with illegal alien votes. They call their opponents fascists. But they’re the defenders of the right to disagree and vote in Ukraine. It is all a joke.

    If that is their motive in Ukraine.

    Good points by both.

    • #14
  15. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    That’s not a wildly pro-Trump statement; it reflects a Russian belief that an SOB can be trusted more than a Wilsonian idealist. 

    I have to agree with them.   Even in my personal life I find the SOBs more trustworthy.

    • #15
  16. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    For me, an acceptable outcome would be an end to the military operations with Russia keeping what they have grabbed and all pipelines ( gas or oil) out of Russia into Europe or the mid-east permanently sabotaged. I would prefer the expulsion of Russia from the entire Ukraine ( including Crimea ), but I think that carries a high risk of nuclear war, including nuclear attacks on American soil or American military bases. Would prefer Russia keeping what they have grabbed over nuclear conflict. I do understand that permanent sabotage of the pipelines means a commitment to future accidents and maintenance problems.

    What about it Russia takes more territory in Ukraine?

    What about if Europe keeps buying oil or gas from Russia via Hungary?

    Will contesting that be worth the risk of nuclear war or not?  What’s the red line, for you, and why>?

    • #16
  17. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Zafar:

    What is at stake in Ukraine?

    Territorial integrity – and the agreement that countries cannot invade each other just to change their borders. Post-WWII stability has sort of hung on this principle – though there are some instances of this happening, de facto if not de jure. But still – undermine this principle and you open a Pandora’s Box.

    This is a good general principle.  However, in the case of Rwanda, when people were being killed in the hundreds of thousands, there was a desire, for humanitarian reasons, to violate Rwanda’s territorial integrity.  

    Similarly, today in Haiti, some people want the US or the United Nations to intervene to stop the bloodletting.  I’m not saying intervention in Rwanda would have worked out well or that an intervention in Haiti would work out well.  It’s just that when the people of a country are being slaughtered, the issue of territorial integrity might not be the only consideration.  

    Self-determination. People should live in a state whose government is representative. This is harder to argue – there are a lot of non-representative governments around and they aren’t denied diplomatic legitimacy on that basis. It’s also more problematic – what if self-determination for a minority is at odds with the territorial integrity of a state? It’s a relevant question from Donbas to Kashmir (and it’s relevant to the Maidan revolution itself).

    As a practical matter, one might recognize some Thug-o-crat as the legitimate governor of a country.  But only for pragmatic reasons.  Political leadership built on non-representative government lacks the kind of legitimacy held by political leadership built on representative government, not to mention the ability of citizens to engage in serious debate over public policy issues and the merits of various candidates for political office.

    If anyone who says, “President Schmoe’s economic policy stinks,” ends up in prison, President Schmoe might be recognized as the legitimate leader of his country for pragmatic reasons.  But that’s not the same type of legitimacy as a president who obtains his office in an environment of vigorous debate and a multi-candidate and/or multi-party election contest. 

    Sovereignty. States have the right to join, or not join, any alliance or organisation that they want if it wants them too. Again – sound in principle but less upheld in practice. Ukraine has the legal right to apply to join NATO and the EU. Germany has the legal right to buy oil and gas from Russia. But can they really?

    It takes at least two to tango.  It’s not enough to ask to join NATO.  All of the countries that are currently in NATO would have to agree to let you in.  Finland and Sweden seem to have persuaded all NATO countries except Turkey and Hungary.  

    Which country’s interests will dominate NATO and the EU?

    I think in NATO decisions require unanimity.  In the EU I think there is something called “qualified majority.”  It means that a simple majority isn’t enough to advance a proposal.  

    US prosperity depends, in part (how significant?), on the dollar serving as the international reserve currency, in turn a function of the petrodollar.

    I think the causation is the reverse of this.  The cause of the dollar being a somewhat reliable “store of value” depends quite a bit on US prosperity.  

    This is why total de-sovereignisation is in their interest. This explains their aggression towards independent states, traditional values and authentic cultures, their attempts to undermine international and integration processes, new global currencies and technological development centres they cannot control. It is critically important for them to force all countries to surrender their sovereignty to the United States.

    Basically: is the war in Ukraine about preserving the West’s, and especially the US’, global domination?

    I think this war is, to some extent, about Putin’s resistance to the West’s and the US’s European domination.  

    Putin looks back with nostalgia to those times when Eastern Europe was under the Soviet Union’s “guidance” and the Berlin Wall was keeping East Berliners “in their place.” 

    When one takes a long view of history, representative government is advancing in fits and starts (and stops and occasional reverses).  This is a bit unnerving to dictators, who don’t want their pesky little subjects to get crazy ideas about representative government.  

    • #17
  18. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    US prosperity depends, in part (how significant?), on the dollar serving as the international reserve currency, in turn a function of the petrodollar.

    I think the causation is the reverse of this.  The cause of the dollar being a somewhat reliable “store of value” depends quite a bit on US prosperity.  

    It depends on demand for the dollar. To buy US goods and services.  Or to buy oil from Saudi etc.

    Basically: is the war in Ukraine about preserving the West’s, and especially the US’, global domination?

    I think this war is, to some extent, about Putin’s resistance to the West’s and the US’s European domination.  

    Yup.

    When one takes a long view of history, representative government is advancing in fits and starts (and stops and occasional reverses).  This is a bit unnerving to dictators, who don’t want their pesky little subjects to get crazy ideas about representative government.

    And to empires.  We’re in for an interesting ride.

     

    • #18
  19. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Zafar (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    US prosperity depends, in part (how significant?), on the dollar serving as the international reserve currency, in turn a function of the petrodollar.

    I think the causation is the reverse of this. The cause of the dollar being a somewhat reliable “store of value” depends quite a bit on US prosperity.

    It depends on demand for the dollar. To buy US goods and services. Or to buy oil from Saudi etc.

    If the US economy were unable to generate lots and lots of goods and services, then the US dollar’s value would likely decline significantly.  

    There’s nothing magical about a piece of paper with George Washington’s image on it.  What matters is the goods and services generated by the US economy.  

    Same for the Euro by the way.  

    Basically: is the war in Ukraine about preserving the West’s, and especially the US’, global domination?

    I think this war is, to some extent, about Putin’s resistance to the West’s and the US’s European domination.

    Yup.

    When one takes a long view of history, representative government is advancing in fits and starts (and stops and occasional reverses). This is a bit unnerving to dictators, who don’t want their pesky little subjects to get crazy ideas about representative government.

    And to empires. We’re in for an interesting ride.

     

    At this point it looks like this interesting ride is making Putin a bit unwell.  It’s not working out like he had hoped.  NATO is more united than it has been in decades.  (France’s Macron called NATO “brain-dead.”)  And Putin’s military is getting shredded.  The Russian people are heading for the exits.  

    Putin started this gambit in the hopes of toppling Zelensky, but Putin himself looks more likely to be toppled at this point.  

    Putin’s war seems to have had a boomerang effect.  

    • #19
  20. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    The only acceptable outcome for Ukraine is for Russia to return all invaded territory, including Crimea.  Then they can discuss reparations and war crime trials for RuZZian atrocities.  

    • #20
  21. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    US prosperity depends, in part (how significant?), on the dollar serving as the international reserve currency, in turn a function of the petrodollar.

    I think the causation is the reverse of this. The cause of the dollar being a somewhat reliable “store of value” depends quite a bit on US prosperity.

    It depends on demand for the dollar. To buy US goods and services. Or to buy oil from Saudi etc.

    If the US economy were unable to generate lots and lots of goods and services, then the US dollar’s value would likely decline significantly.

    There’s nothing magical about a piece of paper with George Washington’s image on it. What matters is the goods and services generated by the US economy.

    Same for the Euro by the way.

    Basically: is the war in Ukraine about preserving the West’s, and especially the US’, global domination?

    I think this war is, to some extent, about Putin’s resistance to the West’s and the US’s European domination.

    Yup.

    When one takes a long view of history, representative government is advancing in fits and starts (and stops and occasional reverses). This is a bit unnerving to dictators, who don’t want their pesky little subjects to get crazy ideas about representative government.

    And to empires. We’re in for an interesting ride.

     

    At this point it looks like this interesting ride is making Putin a bit unwell. It’s not working out like he had hoped. NATO is more united than it has been in decades. (France’s Macron called NATO “brain-dead.”) And Putin’s military is getting shredded. The Russian people are heading for the exits.

    Putin started this gambit in the hopes of toppling Zelensky, but Putin himself looks more likely to be toppled at this point.

    Putin’s war seems to have had a boomerang effect.

    Putins mistake was sending slaves to fight a free people.

    • #21
  22. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    We haven’t won yet Elrond.

    • #22
  23. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The only acceptable solution is for the US to get out of it.  This is a regional, Ukraine/ Russia / EU issue.  Stop sending my tax dollar to the corrupt black hole so they can come back and line Democrat cronies pockets.

    • #23
  24. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    There are three western counties in Maryland that want to join West Virginia.  Should I care?  On the map below you can see the counties are like an island of land inside the state of West Virginia.  Culturally, politically, and economically those counties are akin to West Virginia and have a hostile relationship with the eastern part of Maryland.   Is it just for the people of eastern Maryland to retain sovereignty over people that they dislike and actively force their culture upon them, when if given a choice, those people would prefer to be part of another state that would gladly have them?

    https://c.neevacdn.net/image/fetch/s--YUkZNIJG--/https%3A//tse1.mm.bing.net/th%3Fid%3DOIP.8D_0Xru1ROXc2r5BFb5N3gHaEw%26pid%3DApi?savepath=th

    • #24
  25. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    There are three western counties in Maryland that want to join West Virginia. Should I care? On the map below you can see the counties are like an island of land inside the state of West Virginia. Culturally, politically, and economically those counties are akin to West Virginia and have a hostile relationship with the eastern part of Maryland. Is it just for the people of eastern Maryland to retain sovereignty over people that they dislike and actively force their culture upon them, when if given a choice, those people would prefer to be part of another state that would gladly have them?

    https://c.neevacdn.net/image/fetch/s--YUkZNIJG--/https%3A//tse1.mm.bing.net/th%3Fid%3DOIP.8D_0Xru1ROXc2r5BFb5N3gHaEw%26pid%3DApi?savepath=th

    Sure, let them switch.  Borders mean nothing in the US anymore anyway.  Beside what is basically being fought is that Maryland want those tax dollars to be used against those peoples desires 

    • #25
  26. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    There are three western counties in Maryland that want to join West Virginia. Should I care? On the map below you can see the counties are like an island of land inside the state of West Virginia. Culturally, politically, and economically those counties are akin to West Virginia and have a hostile relationship with the eastern part of Maryland. Is it just for the people of eastern Maryland to retain sovereignty over people that they dislike and actively force their culture upon them, when if given a choice, those people would prefer to be part of another state that would gladly have them?

    https://c.neevacdn.net/image/fetch/s--YUkZNIJG--/https%3A//tse1.mm.bing.net/th%3Fid%3DOIP.8D_0Xru1ROXc2r5BFb5N3gHaEw%26pid%3DApi?savepath=th

    I think there is some provision in the US Constitution that deals with this issue.  I think both states and Congress would have to consent to the change.  But I’ll have to read up on it. 

    • #26
  27. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Who’s gonna rule, nationalists or corporatists?

    Corporatists say nationalism is what causes wars. They also say when we have one world government you won’t own anything and you will like it.

    The people like nationalism. They elect their governing representatives, sometimes.

    Corporatists like to rule by wealth and are not chosen by the people.

    I see this as the two major forces in this play and unless traditional means (compromise and negotiated settlement) are the source of the resolution in Ukraine , freedom of choice and opportunity for all individuals in the world is at risk of disappearing.

    • #27
  28. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Who’s gonna rule, nationalists or corporatists?

    That’s sort of like saying, “What are you going to have for dinner?  Sand or cement?”

    • #28
  29. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Who’s gonna rule, nationalists or corporatists?

    That’s sort of like saying, “What are you going to have for dinner? Sand or cement?”

    I think it is more like saying do you want to work to earn your way or do you want to steal from others who have earned it. We see that in the nationalist approach, a problem to work towards solving.  I can’t even imagine what the corporate approach yields for the people in the end.

    • #29
  30. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Is this a Biden gaffe or did I dream this up: “We don’t have nuclear weapons anymore.  There hasn’t been any uranium in our warheads since 1989.  That’s no joke.  What’s the point of maintaining nuclear missiles if we’re never going use them?  Come on, man. — I’m hearing that I shouldn’t have said that.  I suppose they’re right.

    • #30
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