The bear is happy to be back

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The bear is happy to be back

Post by Popov on Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:00 pm

Feb 8th 2007 | CAIRO
From The Economist print edition

Clever diplomacy has brought Russia back into the regional power game
David Simonds

AS RUSSIA'S president heads to the Middle East this week, the former KGB lieutenant-colonel may relish the fact that, here at least, his country is recouping some of its cold-war losses. Vladimir Putin's Russia is still less of a player than it was. It no longer has a network of Soviet client states. It does not baldly challenge Western interests by backing revolutionary forces and flexing its own military might. But Mr Putin has exploited the decline in American prestige, brought about by, among other things, the Iraqi morass and the poisonous issue of Israel and Palestine. So he may find it easier to reinsert Russia as a counterweight to the lone superpower.

In some ways, last summer's fight between Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbullah echoed the cold war: a clash between proxy forces that tested armaments and tactics. While Israel's American-supplied gadgetry was far more lethal, Hizbullah's Russian weapons were effective too. Its anti-tank missiles knocked out scores of Israel's armoured vehicles.

Russia is not a direct sponsor of Hizbullah. The Shia militia smuggled its arms via Syria and Iran, states that are now Russia's customers rather than strategic allies. Confronted with evidence of unauthorised “leakage” of arms to Hizbullah, Russia is said to have quietly apologised to Israel and promised to tighten controls. Given that Israel is home to 1m Russian-speakers, the Kremlin is keen to keep on friendly terms with the Jewish state.

Yet it is also content to reap gains from the impression that it opposes America's overweening power. After Russia secured a $7.5 billion deal to supply Algeria with fighter aircraft, tanks and anti-aircraft missiles, its army chief of staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, recently echoed Mr Putin, saying that the American effort to create “a unipolar world” was fomenting crisis. Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, told an Arab newspaper earlier this month that Russia has returned to the world as a strong and confident power. This, he said pointedly, is “an important factor on the path to restoring balance in world affairs and on moving towards ensuring stability and predictability rather than chaos.”

At this week's meeting of the Quartet, a club of Russia, America, the EU and the UN which is meant to push Palestinians and Israelis towards peace, Mr Lavrov publicly sparred with Condoleezza Rice, America's secretary of state. Referring to America's policy of shunning Hamas, the Islamist party that won last year's Palestinian elections, he said it was counterproductive to isolate anybody. He later blamed America for dimming peace prospects by applying a “with us or against us” standard to interlocutors and called Russia's relations with America troubled.

Russia does not have great influence over Arab-Israeli matters. As American officials happily point out, it contributes barely 1% of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority. When Mr Putin last year proposed hosting a Middle East peace conference in Moscow, Israel ignored him. Yet Russian diplomacy has used its clout to great advantage elsewhere in the region.

Take Iran's nuclear ambitions, for instance. By posing as the sole major power to take seriously (at least in public) Iran's protestations that its nuclear programme is innocent, Russia has gained both commercially and diplomatically. Aside from its $800m contract to build a nuclear reactor at Bushehr, Russia has won a commitment to supply six more plants. This props up Russia's own creaking nuclear industry, improves its chances of selling the technology elsewhere, and keeps Iran from criticising Russian policy in Muslim Chechnya.

Yet the commitment, underlined last year by the sale to Iran of anti-aircraft systems that could help defend nuclear installations from cruise missiles, among other threats, has also boosted Russia's role as an arbiter. As Iran has prevaricated in its dealings with the UN Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russian engineers are understood to have slowed completion of the plant at Bushehr, now not expected to come on stream until the autumn. Russia has also declined Iran's requests for fancier anti-aircraft missiles, saying its order books are full.

This does not soothe American and Israeli critics, who suspect that Russia has made a devil's bargain with the Islamic Republic. But it does mean that when Russia voted, in December, in favour of a UN Security Council resolution to sanction Iran for proceeding with plans that might let it make nuclear weapons, Iran's leaders sat up abruptly and listened harder. Russia would like to think that the recent slight softening of Iran's public tone and the rising domestic criticism of its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, may owe something to fears of losing its only legitimate outside source of nuclear technology.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by GD2GO on Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:38 pm

Russia has never stopped being the enemy of the civilized world.
We should have backed Hitler on the Eastern Front.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Popov on Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:45 am

iluvfreebeer wrote:Russia has never stopped being the enemy of the civilized world.
We should have backed Hitler on the Eastern Front.

yeah you sort of did, that's why we had to make a pact with him in the first place
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by GD2GO on Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:59 am

Popov wrote:
iluvfreebeer wrote:Russia has never stopped being the enemy of the civilized world.
We should have backed Hitler on the Eastern Front.

yeah you sort of did, that's why we had to make a pact with him in the first place


If we had made a pact, Russia wouldn't exist.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by KSigMason on Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:30 pm

We should not have backed Hitler in any way. Once we went through Germany we should have kept going right into Russia.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Popov on Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:07 pm

iluvfreebeer wrote:
Popov wrote:
iluvfreebeer wrote:Russia has never stopped being the enemy of the civilized world.
We should have backed Hitler on the Eastern Front.

yeah you sort of did, that's why we had to make a pact with him in the first place


If we had made a pact, Russia wouldn't exist.

I can't believe you even went there, especially knowing what we know now about the nazis.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Popov on Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:12 pm

IDARNG_Loki wrote:We should not have backed Hitler in any way. Once we went through Germany we should have kept going right into Russia.

Yeah! That would have worked Rolling Eyes We may have lost 30 million, but in '45 you met a battle hardened army with enough of ammo and weaponry to liberate the whole of Europe albeit at an even greater human cost. May I remind you that Stalin wanted to go on and liberate Spain.

Russia's too vast to conquer, besides, if you were still revved up for more war you should have conquered Japan instead of using terror tactics to wipe out cities.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by KSigMason on Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:13 pm

Popov wrote:Russia's too vast to conquer, besides, if you were still revved up for more war you should have conquered Japan instead of using terror tactics to wipe out cities.
A nuke sure put them in their spot though.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Buzzy on Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:56 pm

30 million people is chump change to an epic mass murderer like Stalin. He killed more people than that just to repress individual freedom of thought among his own people. No, military attack on Russia couldn't have been done but after the USSR's collapse we certainly could have taken steps to make sure it never could come back. Unfortunately Bush 41 wasn't man enough to see the value of that thought and Clinton was a commie from way back in college. By the time Bush 43 came along he thought Putin was a reasonable guy who would help defeat terrorism but little did he know that Putin was only interested in refighting the cold war.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Joahob on Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:59 pm

Britain should have made peace with Hitler after the Battle of Britain. Then the US could have backed the Nazis against the USSR.

Russia was always the real enemy, for both the Western Powers and Nazi Germany. Hitler never wanted a war with Britain, much less the United States.

Not being at war with Germany, the US could have then focused on Japan (rather than lending more support against Germany initially). Japan would have been defeated quicker and the US could have carved out a nice empire for itself in Siberia, while also holding dominant influence in China among the European empires.

Hitler was bad. But let's be honest, Stalin was much more evil. He killed many millions more than Hitler.

Hitler wanted a Greater Germany and an empire in Eastern Europe.
Stalin wanted the world.
Because we didn't preempt him when we had the chance, the USSR did manage to conquer about 1/3rd of the world before Reagan came along.

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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Popov on Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:37 pm

HAH!

you need to read up on your european history

If Hilter only wanted some of Eastern Europe he would've stopped with what he had in '40, let me remind you that he decided to back musso in northern africa, that he dabbled in Greece, and that he launched operation barbarossa. his greater germany might have initially been Germany plus central europe but when he got a taste of victory he decided to upgrade that strategy to include all of europe up to the Ural mountains. Seeing as his war machine starved all of europe for resources, no doubt he would be tempted to integrate more and more forces from conquered nations and keep going south in africa, east in russia, etc if he could.

stalin was an evil MAN, nazi germany was an evil SYSTEM there's a difference. pre-stalin ussr and post-stalin ussr was way different from the josef years.... i gtg, ill finish this later
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by GD2GO on Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:52 pm

The only good russkie is a dead russkie.
And that goes for whales, baby seals, and injuns. pirat


Last edited by on Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by KSigMason on Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:01 pm

What we should have done, what we could have done, what we did do is neither here nor there. What is important is what we do now and what we will do tomorrow to fix the mistakes of yesteryears.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Joahob on Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:05 pm

Popov,

So are you saying that Stalin was an evil man, but communism was a good system?

If you are, then I must empathetically disagree. Communism was an evil system just like Nazi Germany was an evil system.

And don’t give me that crap that communism “in theory” is a good system. They’re both evil. In practice and in theory. It’s all pure eeeevil. All of it. EEEEEVVILLL.

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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Popov on Sun Feb 18, 2007 5:22 pm

Joahob wrote:Popov,

So are you saying that Stalin was an evil man, but communism was a good system?

If you are, then I must empathetically disagree. Communism was an evil system just like Nazi Germany was an evil system.

And don’t give me that crap that communism “in theory” is a good system. They’re both evil. In practice and in theory. It’s all pure eeeevil. All of it. EEEEEVVILLL.

for starters communism never existed, i don't know how many times im gonna have to repeat this on this and on old CL Very Happy

secondly, what i meant was that the socialist system wasn't evil, yes, it had a lot of negative aspects, but it had a lot of good things too - GOOD free health care, GOOD social services, GOOD police, LITTLE OR NO homelessness (at the expense of overcrowded living space), LITTLE OR NO unemployment, GOOD basic education, 100% litteracy etc - stuff like that was all good.

the bad - brutal repression of any and all political opposition to Moscow, little or no freedom of enterprise

you can compare hitler's germany to stalin's russia, but the ussr as a whole differed greatly from stalin's ussr as a singled out unit. under stalin, basically everyone feared for their lives, and knew someone who disappeared in the middle of the night; before stalin and after him, there were never any other periods in soviet history when life was that brutal.

what you have to realize is that you're judging from the outside. of course to you, the soviet system was evil because it represented the one major world power that blocked you from further expansion. deep down, if you look at the two systems, sure, the soviet union was also a little territory-hungry, but for the record - CONTRARILY TO AMERICA AND NAZI GERMANY no Russian gov't at any point in history took and serious steps to expand outside of its' sphere of influence.

We were never truly colonial, we defended our spheres of influence, we fought to gain ports in places that don't freeze in the winter, but no more. Russia has yet to send in the foot soldiers in a far away land in the interest of natural resources, as numerous Western European powers, the United States and Japan have done in the past... and as some of those mentioned continue, ehem, to act in the present.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by GD2GO on Sun Feb 18, 2007 6:31 pm

Popov wrote:

for starters communism never existed,


And the tooth fairy is real.


--------------------------------
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by KSigMason on Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:48 pm

iluvfreebeer wrote:
Popov wrote:

for starters communism never existed,


And the tooth fairy is real.
Was their any doubt!? jocolor

"Communism never existed" lol That's fresh, popov. geek You really should do stand up.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Popov on Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:09 pm

IDARNG_Loki wrote:
iluvfreebeer wrote:
Popov wrote:

for starters communism never existed,


And the tooth fairy is real.
Was their any doubt!? jocolor

"Communism never existed" lol That's fresh, popov. geek You really should do stand up.

under communism there is no gov't - the people govern themselves, there's no central leadership, kind of like a confederation but to a far greater extent
there's nothing funny about it
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by GD2GO on Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:26 am

The russians fucked up communism like the fuck up nearly everything else.
At their heart, it's a thuggish culture of savages.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by old goat on Sat Feb 24, 2007 12:18 am

Actually, Popov, in the pure sense you are are right, there was no true following of communism, simply because it cannot work. However, communism has been defined by the Russian model because that is what they called it and lived by. You can't ignore how things become defined, even though the idealistic definition doesn't match what the real life version ended up being.

The first settlers in America had tried communism... the TRUE deal. It was a miserable failure. Once they went to a form of capitolism they thrived. No matter what the means, socialism, communism, (just reinvented forms of each other by todays meaning of the words) will fail. It goes against human nature, the only being that could make it work is God. And even He disapproves of that system.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Popov on Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:13 am

For starters let me dissuade any notions that you might have of me backing or believing in communism, and just to reply to what you said goat, it was called the USSR for a reason - union of soviet SOCIALIST republics. While the Communist party was the only party and thus the ruling one, nobody within Russia referred to the state as a communist one, so the definition of Russia as a communist state was a false label put forth by the west and in particular by America.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Buzzy on Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:22 pm

Name tags such as communist or socialist (or any other for that matter) are useful only as viewed in the light of history with each manifestation further defining the term. Republican used to mean conservative but since Bush41 it means Democrat Lite. Until 2000 (and Al Gore) I was a Democrat by party membership but still an unashamed conservative.

Although the German Nazi party had the term "socialist" in its title it was a fascist party. The NoK's have the term Democratic (as do many other totalitarian nations) in its title but no elections have been held there and the people hold zero political power.

No, the USSR wasn't textbook practice of Karl Marx's communist manifesto but the USSR did define communism as a type of brutal totalitarian socialism.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by old goat on Sat Feb 24, 2007 6:36 pm

That was what I was trying (poorly) to say. Popov, despite you being a bit to the left with regard to some of your ideas, I really don't think of you as being communist, (what it has come to mean, not the ideal definition), but you have some socialist leanings. All those on the left do, where they think that the government is the answer to their woes. Medicine, welfare, minimum wage, reduction of religion in all public spheres are the rallying cry of the left, they are the drains on society where no matter how much money and resources you throw at it there will NEVER be a solution. It is designed to make the people beholden to the government rather than their own efforts.

Communism and socialism are two sides of the same basic coin. It wasn't Americans who defined Russia under Stalin as communists though, it came from the "communists" themselves. They were in Germany at the time of the Nazis, and the Nazis got into power in part because of the fear of the communists making Germany into a clone of Russia. Communists of that era were really socialists more than anything else.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by Popov on Sat Feb 24, 2007 7:31 pm

Buzzy wrote:Name tags such as communist or socialist (or any other for that matter) are useful only as viewed in the light of history with each manifestation further defining the term. Republican used to mean conservative but since Bush41 it means Democrat Lite. Until 2000 (and Al Gore) I was a Democrat by party membership but still an unashamed conservative.

Although the German Nazi party had the term "socialist" in its title it was a fascist party. The NoK's have the term Democratic (as do many other totalitarian nations) in its title but no elections have been held there and the people hold zero political power.

No, the USSR wasn't textbook practice of Karl Marx's communist manifesto but the USSR did define communism as a type of brutal totalitarian socialism.

the ussr under stalin, and at some other points, sure, but saying that during almost 80 years we had the same system and same brutality is just plain ignorant - i can agree that the ussr under stalin is a typical form of brutal totalitarian socialism, but the rest of it was different - and you can't use a system that changed over time to define something, if you know what i mean - just like you can't say america under reagan and america under clinton was the same thing.
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Re: The bear is happy to be back

Post by old goat on Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:28 pm

Of course you can. Under Stalin, under Breshnev, under any of the old party Russia was still the same basic country. Just as under Reagan or Klinton America was the same basic country, the direction of the country was changed as far as National policies but underlying principles don't change swiftly.

Russia is still trying to deal with the massive blow that it took to its economy including the loss of all those "states" under its dictatorship. It has the outward appearance of being changed, but the people in power still grew up so to speak under the old system. Putin sure seems to be quite the little Stalin, though all the deaths surrounding him are only coincidental. Rolling Eyes
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