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What's going on in the world
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TsarMatt Offline
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What's going on in the world
I thought I'd make a thread where we can all discuss news and current affairs happening in our world today. Post news links, share opinions, etc.

I think Ukraine is one of the biggest talking points at the moment. For those who don't know, Ukraine has been in a state of uprising since Yanukovich declined an EU offer late last year. People in the country (mostly in Western Ukraine which share borders with EU countries) were appalled by such a decision and decided to act on it. The West are supporting the protesters, whereas Russia has accused them as being engineered and orchestrated by Western powers to deliberately topple Yanukovich's presidency and replace the country with a more pro-West, pro-EU government. They say the protesters are radicals and neo-Nazis and do not represent the Ukrainian people, hence the violent and barbaric nature of the uproar. Yanukovich (the democratically elected President) is now wanted over mass killings in Ukraine as the opposition has seized into power.

Live updates here: http://rt.com/news/yanukovich-ukraine-pr...rrant-417/
24-Feb-2014 06:26 PM
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britbox Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
Very complicated. I'm wondering what the pro-EU protestors really expect from the EU. The EU is broke... and most of the people living in it would rather it was a trading block only... not a vehicle to bring in a Federal government through the back door.

The Russian deal was about as good as anything they were likely to get. Rest assured, that deal is dead and buried, so the Ukraine is stuffed.

It wouldn't surprise me to see Russia annex some of the Eastern regions. The Crimea being top of the list.

Things will get a whole lot worse for the Ukranians in the west of the country and it will likely be a case of "be careful what you wish for"... as the west (EU) can't pick up the tab.
25-Feb-2014 02:32 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
I think the EU protesters want more western influence/protection as opposed to the Russian model, which supports electoral corruption and injustice on a mass scale. Just look at Putin's reign. This one is going to get sticky and I've even seen reports that Ukraine might split in two, since there's a strong Russian population in the east.

Russia ran rings around the west over Syria - so imagine what'll happen here, when you have a feeble US president and the EU acting in cahoots. Their strategy will be held up in committee for centuries. I feel for the Ukrainians, they're the latest pawn in a rejuvenated Cold War, one which, unfortunately, Putin is winning...

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25-Feb-2014 08:22 AM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
(25-Feb-2014 08:22 AM)Kieran Wrote:  I think the EU protesters want more western influence/protection as opposed to the Russian model, which supports electoral corruption and injustice on a mass scale. Just look at Putin's reign. This one is going to get sticky and I've even seen reports that Ukraine might split in two, since there's a strong Russian population in the east.

Russia ran rings around the west over Syria - so imagine what'll happen here, when you have a feeble US president and the EU acting in cahoots. Their strategy will be held up in committee for centuries. I feel for the Ukrainians, they're the latest pawn in a rejuvenated Cold War, one which, unfortunately, Putin is winning...

As an American, I actually see it as good that Putin is standing up to the U.S. It was not his fault that the U.S. got hostile with Russia. The Beltway establishment has been like this for well over 10 years. Both the neoconservative right and multilateral left have been all for pestering Russia since at least when Federer and Nadal played their first match.

Putin did not just come out with better appearances in the Syria affair - he was completely right about it. He maintained that it was preposterous to undermine a secular Arab regime in order to empower al-Qaeda militants, something all people with common sense should agree on.

Oh, and remember the Beslan hostage-taking incident in 2004? The retarded Bush administration blamed the incident on Russia's lack of democracy and unwillingness to grant Chechnya independence. Yet, the Bush administration at the same time was talking so tough about "fighting terror". For their Russo-hostility to be so irrational and so great that they couldn't accept the basic reality of how Saudi radicalism had infiltrated many segments of Chechen society was beyond belief, considering that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis.

Then 9 years later, the Russians warned the U.S. about the Tsarnaev brothers, but of course their warnings were blown off because, I guess, you can't talk to people who don't celebrate gay rights parades. Then the Boston bombings happened, and it was Putin who looked smart, while Obama and his sorry team of advisers stood there with pie in their faces.

The fact is, Putin is just a smarter and better leader than Bush or Obama. I would trade either of those two buffoons for Putin in a second.
(This post was last modified: 25-Feb-2014 08:58 AM by calitennis127.)
25-Feb-2014 08:56 AM
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britbox (02-25-2014)
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RE: What's going on in the world
I agree Cali, except that while Obama is not a guy I have much time for, his term is up in two years. Putin, unfortunately, is here to stay.

None of this is good for Ukraine, however. I don't know how it'll pan out and it seems too much to ask that they sort out their domestic strife themselves...

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25-Feb-2014 09:01 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
I've got to agree with Cali on a number of points...

There needs to be a counterbalance to the west... whether that comes from Russia, China or both matters not. The Western powers had a great opportunity following the fall of communism in Russia and the break up of the Warsaw pact. They blew it. They reneged on promises not to allow ex-Warsaw pact countries to join NATO and have pretty much encircled Russia with military bases. Who's the real aggressor?

Of course the Russian political system is corrupt. They all are. One thing is for sure, even with the level of corruption in Russia it is widely acknowledged that Putin has a people's mandate. Sure, he's changed the constitution and strengthened his power base, but his mandate still holds firm.

Now look at the European Union... what mandate do Herman Van Rompuy or Josà Manuel Barroso have? None in my book. I never got the opportunity to vote for or against either. I never even got the opportunity to vote to be an European Union... a federal state that made 70% of all laws in the country I grew up in. If they put it to the vote in the UK, we'd be out of the EU tomorrow. Never had that luxury. Most people in Europe don't want a federal European government.

The United States... the land of the free. Owned by corporations. The Fed Reserve is a private corporation and pretty much every senator and congressman are owned by corporates who funded their campaigns in the first place.

Democracy is great though apparently. So great that a democratically elected president in the Ukraine has been overthrown in a Coup d'Etat, tacitly backed by the west. (let's not even go there with Egypt... or the continual propping up friendly dictators in the middle east). Spreading democracy has not been the aim of the west for decades. I figured that out when the US were funding and arming the Contra Rebels in Nicaragua against the democratically elected Sandanistas.

Don't forget also that Putin and the Russians offered the solution where the Ukraine could enter free trade agreements with both the EU and Russia. The EU were the ones who said no... they wouldn't even entertain the idea.

As for the Ukraine joing the EU - they haven't got a hope in hell as it stands with the current entry requirements. Why they'd want to anyway is kind of strange considering what the Germans were proposing in conjunction with the World Bank/IMF as a "starting point". We'll see how the Ukraine get on without being bankrolled buy Russian money and trade... it won't be pretty.

Syria... sorry state of affairs... but I admired the Russian stance. We saw what happened in Libya and Iraq already when the west misuse a UN mandate. Putin isn't stupid - he isn't going to get burned on that one again.
25-Feb-2014 09:34 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
I agree, Britbox, on all the above, except any acceptance of Putin as an example of good governance. The guy is a tyrant, and injustice is rife in Russia.

Now, we can say the same in the west and I have no respect for Obama, who I consider to be an Empty Suit, or the unelected bureaucrats of the EU. The west is where I live, and I find it to be an appalling secularist/liberal mish-mash of misfortunes and quango-led corruptions - but any old opposition just won't do, be it China or Russia, which are both - to my mind - even worse. The danger now is that the west can't correct itself and as you say, it had a great opportunity to set the pace after the collapse of the Wall.

It didn't.

The west was led by Clinton, instead, and has degraded woefully ever since, to such an extent that "democracy" is a word without any meaning or scope. There is no democracy! There never was, in fact, but there was closer to it than what we have now.

The Ukraine is suffering ruptures, but their government aren't blameless. People are rising for a reason. But how can it be helped is the real question, and I don't see how, other than the Ukraine becomes a pawn state in a bigger war...

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25-Feb-2014 09:46 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
Putin is a tyrant, a dictator and a strong man. Just what the doctor ordered for Russia. You have to remember what Putin inherited. He inherited a country in chaos, being financially raped by oligarchs who were close to Yeltsin.

He got rid off the oligarchs (unless they were prepared to play ball - guys like Abromovich etc... were prepared to play ball). Those that weren't ended up either in prison, exile or eating poison-laden sandwiches.

He's rebuilt a lot of the infrastructure, brought Russia's vast natural resources (gas, oil etc..) under state control... is rebuilding the army and navy and re-established Russia as a major player on the world stage. This all in 15 years... Sure he rules with an iron fist, but he's a patriot and without a strong man like Putin (who to me comes across as a very pragmatic leader, albeit a despot) - Russia would be in a far weaker position at home and abroad. So I'd say it's good governance.

Democracy etc. doesn't work (for most countries) - you can't impose a western model on a lot of countries... and the western model is broken in many respects anyway.
25-Feb-2014 09:56 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
(25-Feb-2014 09:56 AM)britbox Wrote:  Putin is a tyrant, a dictator and a strong man. Just what the doctor ordered for Russia. You have to remember what Putin inherited. He inherited a country in chaos, being financially raped by oligarchs who were close to Yeltsin.

He got rid off the oligarchs (unless they were prepared to play ball - guys like Abromovich etc... were prepared to play ball). Those that weren't ended up either in prison, exile or eating poison-laden sandwiches.

It's the definition of "play ball" that's scary. His treatment of Khodokorvski was little more than a mafia-style shakedown. I agree that Putin is what the Russians want, but needing a tyrant is often like a woman staying with an abusive husband. It's not a sign of love, but dependance.

(25-Feb-2014 09:56 AM)britbox Wrote:  He's rebuilt a lot of the infrastructure, brought Russia's vast natural resources (gas, oil etc..) under state control... is rebuilding the army and navy and re-established Russia as a major player on the world stage. This all in 15 years... Sure he rules with an iron fist, but he's a patriot and without a strong man like Putin (who to me comes across as a very pragmatic leader, albeit a despot) - Russia would be in a far weaker position at home and abroad. So I'd say it's good governance.

There have been previous tyrants who practiced similarly "good governance" and history has rightly seen them for what they really were. I totally agree that democracy isn't working and nor can it be enforced on nations, a bizarre habit if I ever heard one. It either spontaneously arises out of a need, or it doesn't. It can't be transplanted, and certainly not the capitalist western version, which is in no sense a democracy at all. But still, I think the west and the US is generally a better version than the tyrants of the east: but not much better, if the EU/US model is to continue...

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25-Feb-2014 10:04 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
To be honest mate - some of those oligarchs were little more than mafia godfathers themselves. They raped and pillaged Russia... It need a strong man of Putins's ilk to bring them to heel.
25-Feb-2014 10:14 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
(25-Feb-2014 10:14 AM)britbox Wrote:  To be honest mate - some of those oligarchs were little more than mafia godfathers themselves. They raped and pillaged Russia... It need a strong man of Putins's ilk to bring them to heel.

He did to them what they did to others? Who'll do to him what he did to them?

What do you think will happen in Ukraine? To be honest, the west is all over the place, poking its intrusive and ill-informed nose in everywhere like a blustery overweight schoolmarm, toothless and righteous and far too loud. Leaving them to sort it out themselves seems to be an option that's off the table...

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25-Feb-2014 10:41 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
I've no idea what will happen in the Ukraine to be honest. It's a big state with 46 million people and not something the west can afford to fund long term. They might install a transitional government but the Ukraine has little future without Russia having some involvement. They are the biggest trading partners. The EU can't fill that void on it's own and can't fund the Ukraine other than in the short term. I'm guessing a transitional government and then a lot more turbulence further down the line.

From the Russian point of view - they will want to secure the Crimea. It was traditionally part of the Russian Empire and houses the Black Naval fleet. Most of the population of the Crimea would regard themselves as Russians. You might see a similar situation to South Ossetia where the Russians reclaimed part of Georgia and brought it under direct control under the premise of "protecting" a large native Russian demographic.

If the Russians walk away with the Crimea they will be happy as their influence in the Eastern part of of the Ukraine will ensure they have a seat at the table in influencing the Ukraine in years to come anyway. Likely, plenty of pain in the interim though.
25-Feb-2014 10:57 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
See how this is now escalating to the next stage....

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26-Feb-2014 02:51 PM
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britbox Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
"Unnamed" gunmen have seized the Crimean government buildings.

I suspect this will be a local militia operating with unofficial Russian backing.
27-Feb-2014 03:25 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
Yeah, hoisted the Russian flag, apparently. No No

Now, the west have been rattling bin heads the last few days, basically telling Russia, Don't mess with me, sonny. But you can't drone strike Europe, can you? That sneaky dirty yella-belly stuff barely works in the Middle East - using a broad stroke all-inclusive definition of the word "works."

So Russia are committed to defending their sphere of influence and they'll do it directly and indirectly, and with a show of great force. Again, the same question remains, what'll happen? Couldn't be a "temporary" land grab by Russia is next, is it? Just a temporary one, you understand, until order is restored. To stabilise the region. Be gone from there in a few years. Following precedents set recently by the west, in the Middle East...

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27-Feb-2014 06:05 AM
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JesuslookslikeBorg Offline
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Sad RE: What's going on in the world
...anyone up for a bit of Global Thermonuclear War ?. Huh Angry Speechless

knowing me alan partridge, knowing you tennis frontier..ah ha.
01-Mar-2014 08:07 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
Yeah, the Russians have made their move. Obama has warned them. In other words, Ukraine is defenceless, or reliant upon their own resources. Tough guy Barry doesn't pick on strong men. The video-game murders he perpetrates against the defenceless in Pakistan won't stack up against a bare-chested Putin. I think this one will end in Ukraine being divided, but some of the talk from even usually sensible politicians sound increasingly like the same kind of justifications for allowing Hitler to make land-grabs in the 30's...

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01-Mar-2014 08:18 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
(01-Mar-2014 08:07 AM)JesuslookslikeBorg. Wrote:  ...anyone up for a bit of Global Thermonuclear War ?. Huh Angry Speechless

Won't happen here. Not enough in it for the west.

Russia will take the Crimea one way or another. They are in the box seat already. They've got the naval base at Sevastopol. It's their warm water dock - no way will that be relinquished under any circumstances.

They have a navy in the Crimea and boots already on the ground. No way the west would even contemplate trying to push them out by force. They'll just fund the opposition to be a thorn in the side.

If the Russians push out into other regions then it might be game changer, but Putin won't be interested in Kiev or the western regions. He picks battles he knows he can win... Crimea is low hanging fruit.
01-Mar-2014 08:36 AM
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JesuslookslikeBorg Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
(01-Mar-2014 08:36 AM)britbox Wrote:  
(01-Mar-2014 08:07 AM)JesuslookslikeBorg. Wrote:  ...anyone up for a bit of Global Thermonuclear War ?. Huh Angry Speechless

Won't happen here. Not enough in it for the west.

Russia will take the Crimea one way or another. They are in the box seat already. They've got the naval base at Sevastopol. It's their warm water dock - no way will that be relinquished under any circumstances.

They have a navy in the Crimea and boots already on the ground. No way the west would even contemplate trying to push them out by force. They'll just fund the opposition to be a thorn in the side.

If the Russians push out into other regions then it might be game changer, but Putin won't be interested in Kiev or the western regions. He picks battles he knows he can win... Crimea is low hanging fruit.
does he stop there ? hitler didn't with Germany in 1936 with sudetanland (??) didn't stop there though did it, then it was "oh look..a lot of Austrians are german speaking so lets have austria under the Nazi wing as well" and then...

why stop with crimea ?..Russia could take the rest of Ukraine, and Russia have already invaded crimea and the west has done nothing..oh wait though, Obama was thinking about boycotting a g20 summit in Russia in june Lolz No No (oh nice one barak, that should bring putin to heel)

what can the west do apart from wittering on with feeble meaningless statements ?, all they have got is.....nuclear missiles.

we do nothing or what ?, do we say withdraw from Ukraine or we will.................Emperor

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01-Mar-2014 09:28 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: What's going on in the world
^^ I agree with this. It's increasingly looking old-fashioned, but not in an uncle Albert sepia-toned way. This is black and white stark: a superior war machine taking land that doesn't belong to it.

I'm all for spheres of influence and so forth, but where Ukraine is going, it's not going to end good, no matter what way we spin it...

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