Edward Lucas on the Baltics, Trump, Putin, and other matters

Here is one good bit of many:

I think that there are two big dangers from a Trump administration: one is a crisis, either the collapse of NATO or starting a nuclear war with another state, and the other is that he does a “grand bargain”, particularly because things probably won’t go very well for him at home and he will need a foreign policy success: he has an early summit with Putin and comes out with some kind of showy deal, which is very bad for the security of frontline states. So yes, I am worried about that. Putin can offer Trump cooperation on terrorism; he can offer cooperation on Syria. I think both of those are essentially nugatory, and if there was any real willingness to cooperate, they would be cooperating already, so you don’t need a grand bargain to have cooperation on that. But he can offer it; he can also offer some kind of deal on the front line: for example, taking missiles out of Kaliningrad in exchange for America cancelling its missile defence programmes, and possibly also going even further: Russia pulling troops back from its western military district and America pulling its forces out of the frontline. I think that would be absolutely catastrophic. So there are different levels of importance in this grand bargain, any of them bad.

Here is the whole interview.

Comments

" what was humiliating about bringing Russia into the G8? What was humiliating about the NATO-Russia Council? What was humiliating about asking Russia to join the WTO? What was humiliating about asking Russia to join the OECD? What was humiliating about lending Russia hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars from the World Bank?"

This is the sort of point I'm surprised Hillary or Obama didn't try to make in reaction to Putin. Even in a debate with Donald talking up all the deals he would make throwing this stuff out there seems like it would have made for good theater. The impossibility of making good deals, the best deals, the greatest deals you've ever seen as some pretty good deals from Russia's end have already been made and yet they still latch on to these grievances.

I don't even know where to start with this. Well, how about the least important issue, WTO. Russia had to beg for eighteen years before finally being admitted in 2012. Not humiliating at all.

'or starting a nuclear war with another state'

Let's at least wait until he is the commander in chief and see how he acts (and that would include how the military views him as commander in chief) before making such speculations. After all, nuclear war takes two to play - and people able to kills millions at the touch of a switch aren't that common, particularly when those in charge know they are a primary target. Now if what was intended to be said is whether Trump, military neophyte, would use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear armed opponent, well, that is another discussion, with a bit more plausibility.

'Russia pulling troops back from its western military district and America pulling its forces out of the frontline. I think that would be absolutely catastrophic.'

Yeah, de-escalation is always catastrophic. Why, look at all the problems it has caused since the end of the Cold War - the Soviet Empire taking over the Baltics, the world communist conspiracy on the march throughout the rest of the world, etc.

Lots of (right wing) Brazilians assure us the end of the Scviet Union was an intelligent plot of the Communist to lure America in a false sense of security - and victory - and the Communist world domination plan is well on its schedule exactly like Harri Seldon, I mean, Karl Marx planned it to be.

Simpsons did it already.

I know. To be fair, the Americans who inspired Brazilian nutcases did it even firster. They based their account on Golitsyn's work. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoliy_Golitsyn

To be fair, Marxist philosophy is in a comfortable position of power in America - colleges, churches, political parties, journalism. Probably more Marxist true believers here than in Russia at the height of Soviet power.

Well of course there are more true believers of communism in the us than in Russia. No one is a true believer in communism when they are living in it!

There are almost no Marxists on a typical college campus. There are a boatload of people trading in race-class-gender discourse (on the arts and sciences faculty, on the teacher-training faculty, and on the social work faculties). There is another boatload of TWANLOC types who fancy people of their class living abroad, dismiss and despise the domestic wage-earning element, and fancy the world should be governed by public interest lawyers and judges when people like them cannot get the sabbatical time to work in public agencies.

Are you talking about declared Marxists or the people who are aware communism is bad, but socialism, rent controls, wage controls, suppression of rights for equality's sake, and rights to (healthcare, water, food, housing) is ok? Because they are 'on the right side of history' (extremely Hegellian mode of thought)? Particularly if done democratically? Because while the first group are somewhat uncommon, you can't swing a dead cat around without hitting the second. Please enlighten me as to any practical difference.

The difference is that one group describes Marxists, and the other group does not.

Although they overlap in the sense that you disagree with both groups; I think that may be the source of your confusion.

Glad I could help.

I'm referring to people who subscribe to Marxist historiography and sociology. At the institution I know best, you'll find about 2 in arts-and-sciences. Rent controls and wage and price controls concern matters in which the typical faculty member has no investment.

Again, please enlighten me as to any practical difference between the two groups. I am a little rusty on my Solshenetsyn. Someone who claims that someone's need is more important than another person's rights, and is justified by the force of history (again, this is Hegellian AND Marxist thought) and advocates policies I've already listed, AND cites Marx in defense of their beliefs... quacks like a marxist and walks like a marxist. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=cultural+marxism&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=

As a counter-example, I could believe that Ayn Rand was a brilliant thinker, that government and all regulation is evil, and build my personal philosophy on the five pillars of Objectivism,.. you'd be justified in calling me an Objectivist even if I reject the term. So please, tell me how I'm wrong rather than telling me I'm wrong. In my experience in a Midwestern state college, it was not a subtle presence.

So that's it: Marxism is not what Marx wrote about and his followers preach - Marxism is whatever you disgree with. You can as well say Christ was a Muslim -He even believed in an almighty god! Marx wanted total conttrol of the means of production by the state, I mean, the "workers". People who think price controls are good, but don't believe in the morality/usefulness of the state seizing tbe production means may be a statist, but it is not a Marxist. And governments around the world have intervened in the market since much before Marx's birth, so sorry, but you are very wrong unless you think the Church was communist because it opposed usury, i,e. not allowing the market decide the price of money.

I agree that believing the state owning the means of production is, in itself, insufficient grounds to become a Marxist, but Marxists are contained in that venn diagram. When you add in other things such as the Force of History and equality of outcome, that circle grows smaller. Everything I've listed seems like it's shrunk that particular Venn Diagram to not have a lot of wiggle room. If the term you prefer is Socialist instead of Marxist, fine, whatever, but I'm not seeing the practical difference. I've provided an array of modes of thought here. What term would you prefer for this ideology/ideology branch (held in extremely similar forms by a large number of people), if Marxist makes you uncomfortable?

And for heaven's sake, drop it with the 'lol marx is wut u no liek' nonsense. I also don't like pure Objectivism, ethno-nationalism, globalism, scientism, feudalism, monarchy, and a bevy of other ideas. Somehow I keep them distinct from each other, because they recommend different things. Because they are different things. If you can demonstrate that the output of all these principles and attitudes and policies is even moderately different than what the Soviets or Venezuelans or so forth produced, that's all I'll need to retract my statement. Condescension only hurts your case.

Again, sorry, but Marixism is not simply throwing some rules or taxing people a little more. There is little difference, according to your position between say Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini, the three of them, felt they were at the right side of History, the three of them believed economic consideration and human rights consideratipns had to yield to the "common good" and the three of them interfered the works of the market - so did the Catholic Church as lo g ad it had power to be so. Again,if you can tell Torquemada from Stalin from Hitler, your political classification probbly is not that good.

See? Someone who can make a point. I don't feel it's a big categorization failure to put Hitler and Stalin in the same ideological boat - they really weren't that different, but we also never really got to see Nazi Germany in any extended peacetime footing. Spanish Inquisition would fit in well with radical Islam, but not well with the socialist authoritarians, that would be a big categorization failure.

In any case, there's a lot more traits of the cultural marxists than I've described, and it does indeed narrow it down to cultural Marxists. I didn't know I needed to define it for the forum, and I was trying to say they're way more common than Deco thinks.

Whyput radical Islam and Marxism together? Both are totalitarian, aspire to world control and oppose free market and "borgeois democracy".

* Why not put

Sam,

It was called Fabian socialism.

I call the new kind Regulatory Socialism- there is no 5 year plan or state ownership, but control by regulators is a facsimile.

He is a senior editor in The Economist, so dont give him much credit, that magazine is a trump ;)

"The British journalist Edward Lucas is currently a senior editor at The Economist": so he's infallible.

Reading his C.V. (spent time in the Baltic states) seems he's anti-Russian, which is understandable, and "Deception: Spies, Lies and How Russia Dupes the West" is to me old news: the Russians are good negotiators and have been duping the West since the days of Lenin. Nothing Mr. Lucas says IMO is 'new' or 'news', just an opinion, one of many... As for me, on the other hand, stuff I've said here (on patents) has never even seen the light of day (though mentioned in small circles off the grid). Consider yourself lucky you are reading Ray!

Michael Kinsley once wrote that the style favored by his British counterparts was radically different than what's done in American opinion journalism. Brits don't furrow their brow. "The following three steps must be taken immediately..." is something you see in their commentary. Kinsley: "I like to think the writer decided there should be 3 steps before he decided what they were, or even what problem they were meant to address".

I can see a very viable way in which the US and China would use nukes on each other (China as a last ditch effort when faced with a certain naval loss, not as sure about the US afterwards...) in the South China sea as a prelude to Taiwan takeover by China. It would be purely military use, but it could easily happen.

/// "Let’s at least wait until he {Trump} is the commander in chief and see how he acts..."

...no, no, no The point here and in the MSM ... is to hammer Trump at every opportunity; details and truth are unimportant to that prime objective of hammering.

There's constant media 'speculation' (fake news/facts) on the Danger-of-Trump to almost every aspect of governance and life. The objective now is to neuter Trump before he even takes office. It is unique in Presidential history.

Interesting that you see being kept to what is sane as being neutered.

How about they are trying to beat him with a straw man? They are attacking Trump for things they are making up. Remember Romney was going to put blacks back into chains?

This is how liberals work. They are horrible, horrible humans and now they are in charge of everything but commerce and government, and they are very very upset.

Alain has an extremely liberal name.

Its.......'French'

No, i think we have a name for that in Russia: Propaganda.

I doubt Republicans would ever allow Mr. Trump to "cancel its missile defence programmes, and possibly also going even further". Mr. Trump may even be a Quisling, but he will have to be a subtle one, like Mr. Philby when he headed the counter-spionage service. As for making a deal, a reasonable, honorable one, with the Kremlin, it may be the only way out for a spent country to keep the metropolitan regime from being swept away by the winds of change that threaten to make the American colonial enterprise to wreck.

It may the only way left to pay the necessary respects to Mr. Leonard Cohen advice: "Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on"

If trump really is a russian agent, you have to wonder what the hell are the NSA/FBI/CIA doing. They are not worth one penny, in case thats true. So i think its not true. But, on the other hand there seems to be some in fighting in the establishment (FBI vs CIA, neocons vs ??? , etc. . I wonder if Trump means, that PNAC (project for new american century) is over...

Last I heard portions of the US intel establishment were publicizing Russia having stuff on Trump, which has had Trump fuming and complaining that this makes the US like Nazi Germany. Just exactly what else can they do? The man has been legally elected president by the electoral college, even if he lost pretty decisively in the popular vote and is coming into the presidency as the least popular person in a very long time. There is not much more they can do, and he may well punish them severely when he gets in. Heads are definitely going to roll.

"even if he lost pretty decisively in the popular vote": except it's not decisive, is it?

He didnt lose, he won. Sorry but you have to admit it, TRUMP WON. (I am not a supporter, but i am an adult...)

As I noted, V.P. and dearieme, he won the electoral college, which makes him president, but a 2 percent popular vote margin is pretty solid, not all that close, and he lost that. He does not have a popular mandate, especially given the weirdly asymmetric intervention by FBI Director Comey shortly before the election that damaged Clinton over something that was a big nothing while not also reporting that Trump was being investigated for all his Russian ties and shenanigans, which he was.

There is a good reason his inauguration will be an embarrassing and poorly attended bust. He is very unpopular and for very good reasons.

"He does not have a popular mandate"

How do you know that? Trump may not have tallied the most votes in total but that's irrelevant. Constitutionally, he was the winner. Since not every eligible voter actually cast a ballot we don't know, in fact, what his actual level of popularity was on Nov. 8 or even now. The same pollsters that said he couldn't possibly win are now remarking on his remarkable unpopularity. His actual popularity can't be measured by the intensity and insanity of the reaction of his opponents.

Here's one reason the inauguration will be a shitshow: the lineup of musicians...

The "'Make America Great Again!' Welcome Celebration" will take place Thursday, January 19th and will be broadcast live to the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It will feature historic remarks from President-elect Trump and special appearances from Toby Keith, Jon Voight, Jennifer Holliday, DJ Ravidrums, The Piano Guys, Tim Rushlow ("Little Texas"), Larry Stewart ("Restless Heart"), Marty Roe ("Diamond Rio"), Lee Greenwood, and 3 Doors Down

That is quite literally the worst collection of performers for a major national event in history. Literally, not figuratively.

The inauguration could be worse if the black masked, violent, "Anti-fascist" Hillary supporters succeed in their plans to sabotage that. Have you seen this news on CNN or MSNBC?

I don't think our intelligence apparatus should be involved in trying to discredit or bring down an American President, but that's just me. I'm not a big fan of coups generally.

Unless they are Russian-backed?

Trump's victory was a Russian-backed coup?

The Russian made Clinton have a private server and not visit Wisconsin, it is known.

The Soviets also apparently interfered with her personality development to make her so un-likeable.

His victory was a Russian-backed coup to the exact same extent that our intelligence apparatus is trying to bring down an American President. That extent of course being zilch.

I can only imagine what Republicans would say if, say, Iranians or Cubans had invaded the Republican Party server.

msgkings,
"Last I heard portions of the US intel establishment were publicizing Russia having stuff on Trump, which has had Trump fuming and complaining that this makes the US like Nazi Germany. Just exactly what else can they do?"

I was responding to this. What is their goal in publicizing that Russia has stuff on Trump? Help him be the best President he can be?

I wonder how many foreign intelligence services got access to the two candidates' emails. I suspect the answer is greater than one.

I hesitate to place much blame on the West for sowing the seeds of Putinism--Russia is ultimately responsible for Russia--but this is it at least partially true:

"We were kind of naïve – we colluded with the Yeltsin regime in election-rigging, we allowed corruption to become rampant in Russia. Corruption in Russia would never have got anywhere if they hadn’t been able to put the money in the West and so we opened our financial system to corrupt Russian officials in the ‘90s, thereby discrediting everything we came to stand for. We took our eye off the ball as far as Russian espionage was concerned and sacked a lot of people who understood Russia all over government. So I think we bear huge responsibility; our Russia policy in the 1990s was incredibly naïve – naïve and cynical and optimistic all at the same time."

But after the last few weeks why would anyone ever again take seriously a journalist from the Economist, the NYT, the WaPo, the WSJ, and so on?
They've fouled their nests.

Not sure. All I read is RT now.

Whether you're joking or not, you've got a point. I saw a bit of al Jazeera a few years ago, when it seemed pretty good. How is it nowadays?

You do have a point. If I want to find out what Russia thinks, I would read (or listen to) RT. If I want to learn what all the "Brilliant Minds(tm)" think, I read the Economist.

If I want to find out what is really going on, I read both, ignore most of it and read everything else.

If there is a constant that could be applied to Russia, it is that everyone who should know better get them wrong.

Hey, The Russian Times is less reliable than The New York Times. Well probably. It certainly has a better cross word puzzle, in any case.

Oh, and what do you take seriously, dearieme? Breitbart and sites claiming Hillary was involved with a child porno ring in a pizzeria in DC?

He listens to middling college professors riding on their father's name who try each day to inflame anti-Trump hatred that may results in violence.

Stop blaming yourself, scrap the WE. Russian corruption is Made In Russia by Russian officials and harms mostly Russian citizens. Foreigners can help fighting it but without internal enforcers it will not end, if you want to end/diminish corruption in a country reform your justice system, corruption is the child of impunity.

We cannot think that everything bad that happens in this world is Made In America, corrupts leaders around the world are not a band of puppets of a Western financial conspiracy.

The big question here is indeed that of nuclear war, and unfortunately a crucial part of the focal point of no first use of nuclear weapons that was long advocated by Tyler's now late major professor, Thomas Schelling, that this agreement not to do so be essentially tacit, has been broken. Furthermore, it was the Russians who broke it, with Putin media guy, Dmitry Kidelyov talking about how Russia could turn the US "into radioactive dust," at the time that the US led the imposition of economic sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea. Anybody who thinks the US reaction was illegitimate should realize that when Ukraine gave up its own nuclear weapons in 1994, this was accompanied by the Budapest Accord, signed by Russia, Ukraine, US, and UK, in which the territorial integrity of Ukraine was to be respected. Russia violated that accord, and imposing economic sanctions seems like about the least sort of response the US and UK could come up with to punish Russia for doing so.

Now we have on the US side Trump making lots of loose talk as well about nuclear weapons, along the lines of "Why can't we just use them when we want to?" along with his talk of withdrawing the nuclear shield for Japan and South Korea and how they ought to get their own nukes, gosh darn it. Now maybe he has been talked out of some of this stuff, and he did apparently have a good meeting with Shinzo Abe of Japan. So maybe he is prepared to be more careful and sensible about nuclear weapons and nuclear war policy. But the hard fact is that there has been a breakdown of old norms. Russia has been openly violating the last nuclear agreement wiht the US made several years ago, quite aside from all the loose talk by various people. Maybe we shall have a lovey dovey period between Putin and Trump, while Trump picks a fight with China. Who knows? But the hard fact is that it looks like the danger of some sort of nuclear conflict is a lot higher than it was just a few years ago, with a lot of this worsening coming from the Russian side.

Kiselyov, not "Kidelyov." And when he made those remarks he was not repriimanded or rebuked by Putin. Far from it. He got a promotion, and he has not been the only figure in Russia since to engage in such loose talk, with a couple of military officers also shooting off their mouths on it, at least for awhile. About the only thing that can be said is that Putin himself has not engaged in such talk, at least not in any dramatic way, although he has certainly overseen and approved the numerous not wideliy reported violations of the nuclear agreement Obama made with Medvedev just before Putin took power again a few years ago. This was actually one of the more difficult and admirable foreign policy achievements of Obama, but it now lies more or less in the dust. Is that his fault or that of Vladimir P., the real one and only?

I think the important question here is, can a nuclear war be decisively fought and won? Under which circumstances? What does victory ever means in such a case?

Does anyone seriously believe that Obama would have launched a nuclear strike if Russia had run it's tanks through the borders into Europe? Or if the Russian or Chinese fleet had taken one of the northern islands of Japan? Or if North Korea had lobbed one into southern Japan?

I don't.

Everything you describe is what Obama did. He backed away from the Ukraine deal, and that made it very clear to everyone that when push comes to shove the US is not going to guarantee anyone's territorial integrity.

Trump is inheriting a collapsed post WW2 world order. He isn't even president yet and everything is his fault.

I believe ANY American president would defend Japan if it were under Rusain oe Chnese attack. The Japa ese think so,this is the only reasonthere are still American soldiers occupying Japan and Japanese schooll girls and it is the only reason Japan has not sought yet nuclear weapons. If America is really ready to sold Japan to the highest bidder than Amdrica is an even more morally bankrupted country then have ever thought it was.

Yeah, very soon after the Japanese government become convinced we *won't* use nuclear weapons to protect or avenge them, as needed, they'll unveil their own nuclear arsenal.

If you believe Trump will kill millions of people unjustifiably, then surely he must be stopped. Do you encourage your students to make attempts to stop him?

Do you think Trump told Putin that he'd have more flexibility after the election?

Trump has not spoken with Putin, but his NSC guy Flynn was on the phone four times with somebody in Moscow on Christmas Day after Obama announced the sanctions against Russia for its hacking. Doubtful he was telling them the sanctions would be tightened unless they cleaned up their act.

Whoosh. That reference went over Professor Barkley's head.

"Obama tells Russia's Medvedev more flexibility after election"

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nuclear-summit-obama-medvedev-idUSBRE82P0JI20120326

"starting a nuclear war with another state,"

Oh dear. Really? Trump is going to start a nuclear war with another state?

Is not this overwrought? I think Trump is actually talking about culling nukes in coordination with Russia. And better relations, not a nuke showdown.

Trump is unorthodox, bombastic, opinionated. Not a DC'er.

"Russia pulling troops back from its western military district and America pulling its forces out of the frontline. I think that would be absolutely catastrophic."

"Absolutely catastrophic?" Yes, Chicago would be in flames,Miami flooded, and NYC topped over. Europe a Russian vassal, their women in Moscow brothels.

Does Ed Lucas get out much?

and prior test 2 must be one smart dude….

Yeah, this is hilarious. The idea that Trump is more likely to start a war than the ham-fisted belligerent foreign policies of Clinton is ridiculous. Clinton has a track record we can observe.

And I note that the big buzz in strategic policy is about replacing old and potentially unreliable weapons and whether we can safely remove our ICBMs from service. It's not exactly a sign of gearing up for war...

Ask the Chinese which candidate they think is more belligerent.

Trump is going to start a nuclear war with another state, and it will be the state which got him elected/he is an agent of. This is the current story line.

"Trump is going to start a nuclear war with another state, and it will be the state which got him elected/he is an agent of. This is the current story line."

Trump is actually a Russian agent. It's a clever ploy by the Russian intelligence service to secretly get a Manchurian candidate elected to the Presidency of the US and then have him ... nuke Russia.

Trump has not spoken with Putin, but his NSC guy Flynn was on the phone four times with somebody in Moscow on Christmas Day after Obama announced the sanctions against Russia for its hacking. Doubtful he was telling them the sanctions would be tightened unless they cleaned up their act.

Maybe he was hwishing a friend a Merry Christmas.

And, B.C., Trump has basically been utterly incoherent about nuclear weapons policy. Maybe he will be wise enough not to start a nuclear war, but he has said a lot of irresponsible and stupid things about nuclear weapons.

Actually, my biggest fear is that he is so egomaniacal and thin-skinned, that the first time Putin does something he does not like, he may blow up and go off half-cocked in the middle of the night. Now as long as it just a bunch of insane tweets,fine. But he will have his finger on the nuclear buttion, and I see no evidence whatsoever of any sense or judgment on this matter. He is without doubt the worst human being ever elected president of the United States by a long shot.

Actually, my biggest fear is that he is so egomaniacal and thin-skinned,

I suspect you'd feel much better if you started on that new prescription Dr. Alderfer wrote for you. You might quit projecting.

There's nothing in Trump's history that suggests he's suicidal, which he'd have to be to launch nukes at Russia or China on a whim. To my mind, the scary thing about Trump and nukes is the possibility that he will stumble into a nuclear confrontation unintentionally. That's exactly the sort of thing you could see happening with a guy with no foreign policy experience, after he cleans house and brings a bunch of outsiders in to run his foreign policy.

I doubt there will be major purges of the Foreign Service. As for the bureau chiefs, those cycle in and out every administration.

"he is so egomaniacal and thin-skinned"

But at least he doesn't post on petty forums, in his own name, linking to his middling college, in an attempt to stroke his ego and argue from authority he doesn't have.

Thomas, you seem to be fixated. What is your problem and what do you do? Are you worth paying any attention to and why? I at least am author of the world's most respected comparative economics textbook. I actually do know a lot about Russia and the Baltics, almost certainly more than you do and most of the other commenters here..

Wow, in between educating classes of progressive women, you have the time to be a respected expert! What crafted my opinion of you is your participation here, which is derogatory, condescending, and embarrassing to your University. A private business would have canned you, but because of tenure you get to embarrass the best school in the Tidewater region! Carry on, Barks, it's not like you would be doing research if you weren't posting here. I'd rather have you here than selling lies to vulnerable students who may act out in violence as a result.

He's in the Valley. The Tidewater has Old Dominion, Christopher Newport, Norfolk State, and William and Mary.

Those courageous Brits, ever willing to fight to the last drop of American blood. Sorry folks. We are broke and our own cities are generating battlefield-type statistics. There is no national consensus and no rational means to protect the cultural and territorial integrity of a few ethnic micro-states most of us don't know exist. The Pax Americana is winding down and Europe will just have to wake up from its social democratic slumber. If they deem the cultural and territorial integrity of the Baltic states worthy of protection, then they can bloody well fight for them. Hasn't Europe just received a large influx of fighting age men? Sign them up for your magnificent, democratic rainbow warrior army, stupid bastards. There's just one human race after all. Enough with this xenophobic talk about borders.

"most of us don’t know exist"
Let me guess: a failing educational system is part of this "we are broke and our own cities are generating battlefield-like statistics" situation.

The US is a lot like Brazil in the bad ways.

But it is not like Brazil in the good ways. I don't think Ihave ever talked to a Brazilian who didn't know what the Baltics are. Also we wouldn't ever talk about selling out our friends.

Who are your friends?

Seriously: Who would you fight for?

Anyone the Brazilian state considers a friend. Make no mistake, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend and oppose any foe. We fought five long years against the Paraguayan aggressor to save Argentina and the so-called Uruguay from foreign domination. We wouldn't ever allow our allies to be conquered by foreign enemies.

+100 We don't need to worry about wars abroad when there are wars at home. Specifically the Bathroom Wars. I myself am raising a company of loyal volunteers the 81st Bathroom Warriors are mustering in my home town of Shitholeville, Upstate New York to fight against the far leftists in the Bathroom Wars of South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Heed the call of the nation join up with me Col. Art Deco and my 81st Bathroom Warriors today!

The Balkins and Putin are only two of the "ticking time bombs" that Obama and company have inflicted on us. "Fundamental transformation" translated complete destruction.

And, they're already blaming Trump. Real Americans (the ones that elected The Donald) blame Obama.

You forgot Iran. We're funding their quest for nukes and they may be the only country that might actually use them.

Iran is not our enemy.

Better tell them. Hard to hear the buddy talk over 'Death to America'.

Sure, TMC, better to have left them enriching uranium than to stop doing it.

We didn't stop them, and provided funds for them to continue. I like the part where they are their own monitors. Sounds like it'll work.

"Iran is not our enemy."

BS.

Our Embassy hostages and the dead Marines in Beruit say otherwise.

We have been at war with them since 1979 and sooner or later we will settle the score.

I suspect the actuarial tables will settle the score in the best case scenario. Ali Khamenei has a life expectancy of about 10 years. The $64 question is whether he acquires a nuke in that time and drops it on Tel Aviv. If we're lucky, he has a stroke a la Antonio Salazar in the next couple of years and spends 8 of those 10 years holed up in a nursing home. He got the job to begin with because Ayatollah Khomeini did not trust Ayatollah Montazeri to keep up the hate-work. What's the real constituency for pointless truculence in the Iranian clergy?

Sorry, TMC,. Iran has been keeping its part of the deal. Or maybe you do not know that. You seem to be completely delusional.

"Real Americans (the ones that elected The Donald) blame Obama."

Nice to know that only 63 million or so of us are "Real Americans".

This all reminds me very much of those glorious days directly following the Iraq invasion
when then too, only Conservatives were "Real Americans."

It was Bush who saw Putin's soul and said he was a nice guy - then sold Georgia out to the Russians.

He said he could work with him, as Putin is pragmatic. Georgia was lost and cost of getting it back was too high. He did defend Poland though.

And Russia got....a territory with 55,000 people in it accessible by one mountain pass. The people who live there are Ossetes, not Georgians.

Grow up. We are not going to war with Russia over some ethnic micro-state at the ass end of Europe. Nor are we going to war with China over Taiwan.

"The people who live there are Ossetes, not Georgians."
It is like saying people living in Crimea are Crimeans, not Ukrainians.

"Nor are we going to war with China over Taiwan."
No one wants to die for Danzig, right?

Truth is, Americans are yellow.

The majority of the population in the Crimea is Great Russian, not Ukrainian. Ossetes are an ethnic group distinct from Georgians and most lived in Russia in 2008.

"The majority of the population in the Crimea is Great Russian, no".

So that's it. Sudetenland all over again. Trump will give Americans Peace in their time.

"“Nor are we going to war with China over Taiwan.” No one wants to die for Danzig, right?

Truth is, Americans are yellow."

So, does that mean Brazilians are going to step up and defend Taiwan to the death?

No, but Taiwan is not our ally. We were never so cozy with you Fascist friend Chiang Kai-shek as you were.

My worries begin and end with the wholesale refusal of anyone to spend any time with me in any setting.

The only friend I have is the guy with the BBC who entertains me by letting me watch him go to town on my dear wife.

Art Deco,

The question is not what Ali Khamenei will do. He is obviously not going to nuke Israel, despite your delusions to the contrary,and, yes, he is keeping to the agreement, which means Iran is very far from building nuke weapons, despite the severe delusions of a whole lot of hopeless fools here.

The real question is his successor, and if Trump dumps the nuclear peace deal, then we should expect his successor to be someone like who you fantasize Khamenei to be. Get real, Art Deco, get very real on this one. This is indeed one area where Trump can really seriously mess things up in a very bad way, and deluded fools like you do not help the situation.

This is silly.

The guy you call an expert, Ed Lucas, is a journalist.

Maybe you should post something from Mika Brzezinski.

This is absutely ridiculous analysis.

Imagine the catastrophe if the US agreed to remove nukes from Turkey in exchange for the Ruskies removing nukes from Cuba! Global thermonuclear war!

It was not an exchange. Coincidentally, Americans romoved their nukes from Turkey after the Soviets removed their nukes from Cuba.

It was part of the deal.

Not a 'coincidence'

There is no proof of that whatsoever.

No, my son, it is the truth.

'proof'?

You need to read more.

Brazilians are 'literate', correct?

Didn't the Ruskies occupy a portion of a frontline State during the Obama Administration? But this concern is suddenly reaching the forefront now? Seems like a bunch of terrible mood affiliation to me. And Tyler, a Russia hawk because he grew up during the Cold War, mood affiliates like mad on the issue

Boy, I can spot that internal contradiction a mile away.

Russia invaded a frontline state, so lets blame Obama (and Tyler) who foolishly fear Russian aggression.

Why is the Russia-hawkishness reaching the forefront now, and the concerns being aimed at a not-yet-President, when the threat we supposedly fear came to the fore years ago under Obama?

Don't blame me if you only wake up now.

You are the one just waking up. Obama ridiculed Romney 4 years ago about his concern over Russia. Obama only cared after his side lost the election.

God, is fucking up the timeline a rightist tradition or what?

4 years ago = 2012

Russian invasion of Crimea = 2014

And now you want to pretend no invasion and do another Obama style reset? Who actually blew that reset and how?

So this Russia-hawkishness has been a constant feature of the past 3+ years from the Democratic camp? It is just completely independent of a desire to lash out at Trump>

I'm not worried about Russia. The U.S. has conquered more sovereign states in the past 15 years than the Russians, and regularly exercises its military might across many more.

anon,
Didn't Russia invade Georgia on the very-near-eve of Obama's Presidency?

Why did Obama/Clinton want to hit the reset button immediately following that action, and why are you okay with it?

I love it when someone just hands over the argument like that.

You are reduced to saying that responding to Russias proxy invasion of Ukraine is "hawkishness" on our part.

God, Trump trained you fast.

The obsession with Russia and the threat it poses is greater now than at any point in the Obama Presidency. It is entirely related to a partisan desire to discredit Trump.

You're amazingly pathetic with the "Trump fan" shit. I voted for Gary Johnson. Go fuck yourself you partisan hack.

Depending on your state, a vote for Johnson was a vote for Trump. This became clear in the final days. It was far too close in swing states for protest votes.

If your state was solidly blue, Thats fine.

Gary Johnson was the closest candidate to my actual preferred policies. A vote for Johnson was a vote for Johnson anywhere. The idea that we must pick between the Red and Blue team cements both of those parties into a cozy political duopoly of corruption, inefficiency, and truth-destroying partisanship.

I have never and will never vote for a Clinton or a Bush with any relationship to the Bush and Clinton dynasties. I don't believe in aristocracy.

I vote in NY. My vote is meaningless.

"4 years ago = 2012 Russian invasion of Crimea = 2014"

So Romney was right. Thanks.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-confronts-putin-as-ukraine-crisis-escalates/

Ran his mouth when forced to react, and then followed up with nothing. Typical prescription from Dr. O.

You are not reading that very critically. The key is that the "pro-Russian forces" ploy worked. What could any President do, what would you have done, when the official Russian position was "wasn't us?"

Would you have started a shooting war with Russia anyway?

It didn't "work" to actually make people believe that Russia wasn't involved. It "worked" as providing Obama and co. a convenient out to not have to take a harder stance.

I absolutely think Obama took the right tact on Ukraine. I think Obama/Clinton were right to try to improve relations with Russia following Obama's election. I think Romney was an idiot for calling Russia our greatest threat in 2012, and I think anyone who thinks likewise in 2017 is an idiot.

You are working very hard to sweep authentic wars of aggression under the rug.

You are sweeping Georgia under the rug. Were Obama/Clinton wrong to attempt a reset of relations with Russia (in 2009) immediately following Russian aggression in 2008? Why did you support someone involved in that attempt at a reset?

I think you are making my case now. The Obama team thought that Russia might be misunderstood, just need territorial security and respect .. until Russia continued wars of aggression.

This adds up to you that Russia is not bellicose and not a concern?

Russia's aggressive forays into its neighboring states are no more a threat to the U.S. than a U.S. incursion into Haiti (or even Iraq) is to Russia. It is not in our national interest to try to play games in foreign lands, backing various rebel groups, civil factions etc. in short-term attempts to achieve some strategic goal. We have failed repeatedly to predict the long-term ramifications of our interventionism. We should avoid it. So I guess I do fault Obama on Ukraine - if anything he went further than I think was best for the U.S. Backing factions in civil wars should be avoided unless there is a potential direct threat to the U.S. territory from those wars. I might be inclined to take sides in a Mexican or Canadian civil war - though even then, if we're wrong we've likely bought their enmity for decades.

If Europe considers Russia to be a threat to Europe, it has many times the population and economic might, and can easily display this belief. Its revealed preferences are that Russia isn't much of a threat. This is not the Cold War. The relative balance between Russia and Europe is far, far different than the old balance between the Soviet Union and non-Soviet Europe. The hawkishness I see on Russia sounds like people imagining a balance of power more like the 1950s than actually exists today.

"the Obama team thought that Russia might be misunderstood, just need territorial security and respect"

I don't know why Trump couldn't still think the same thing, with as much reasonableness as Obama and Clinton. The Ukranian foray directly followed the potentially U.S./Western-backed exit of a Russia-favoring Ukranian leader from power in favor of one aligned with the West, right? I don't think it's unreasonable for Russia to be worried about its territorial integrity. NATO exists as primarily an anti-Russian alliance, and is many, many times more powerful than Russia. West-aligned leader, potentially directly supported by the West, takes over in a neighboring state. You wouldn't be concerned?

I have little doubt that you and your fellow race traitors will be blaming Trump for whatever Putin does.

That's funny on two levels of course.

Have you already decided that Putin will get away with something?

My read on Ukraine is that the shadow war stayed below western pperception until it was too late. The Russian army rolling across the border would have been one thing, but "pro-Russian forces" provided just enough of a deniability.

My memory is that many in the West said Russia was behind the "pro-Russian forces" from very early in the conflict.

Was the Ukranian incursion such a smashing success that the Russians are likely to try for sequels? There is still a conflict zone under a ceasefire agreement.

Western perception = Obama finally figured it out.

What "many in the West" said was a little late.

In the end though, the US decided on a little old fashioned proxy war and aided Ukraine, forcing the incursion to a standstill.

Saying "what can we do" would have accomplished much less.

"The Russian army rolling across the border would have been one thing, but “pro-Russian forces” provided just enough of a deniability."

It's easy to fool people who purposely close their eyes and put their fingers in the ears.

When has Trump grown up, if he has at all?

"if there was any real willingness to cooperate, they would be cooperating already..."

What an idiot this man is.

People who are (still) fans of Trump are fans of randomness, random change to the established order. Rolls of the dice.

What exactly will Trump do to trade with Mexico? Nobody knows, hurray. And repeated hurrahs for all the glorious unknowns.

That said, WWIII doesn't seem like what you get from random change at the margin. More likely it will be stuff like local cable companies freed to extort a Netflix surcharge. Schools encouraged toward vouchers, while freed from performance testing. The widescale empowerement of corporate grifters.

Oh oh.

News of a big grift here:

https://twitter.com/fordm/status/822093436920725504

So when are Republicans going to put 2 and 2 together and realize the Russians also hacked their primaries?

Relevant Statistics:

United States:
Population - 324 million (July 2016 estimate)
GDP - $18.56 trillion (PPP - 2015)
Military Expenditures - 4.35% of GDP in 2012
Military Expenditures PPP Estimate using this data - $18.56 trillion * .0435 = about $807 billion

European Union:
Population - 515 million (July 2016 estimate)
GDP - $18.64 trillion (PPP - 2015 estimate)
Military Expenditures - 1.65% of GDP in 2012
Military Expenditures PPP Estimate using this data - $18.64 trillion * .0165 = about $307 billion

Russia:
Population - 142 million (July 2016 estimate)
GDP - $3.77 trillion (PPP - 2015 estimate)
Military Expenditures - 2.92% of GDP in 2012
Military Expenditures PPP Estimate using this data - $3.77 trillion * .0292 = about $110 billion

Ladies and Gentlemen, the greatest threat to the West.

A Yuuuge portion of that of those military spending in Western Europe is for fancy CI toys that will be next to useless on a conventional, Russia vs. EU battlefield. Also, the EU pays their soldiers a lot more. Even in a purely conventional war, Russian would crush the EU.

Don't get me wrong, that's never going to happen.

I'd bet there's some waste in that Russian military budget. It is not regarded as a corruption-free country. I don't think its conscripts have had a great record in its forays into interventionism.

The Russian ability to conquer Europe has been overrated for many decades, going back into the Cold War, because of a huge American military-industrial complex that benefits from imagining the Russians as far stronger and more competent than they actually are.

They can nuke Europe. That I believe.

The Soviet's had a significant capability to conquer Europe via conventional means during the early 1980's. Nearly all the War gamed scenarios showed a likely Soviet win unless NATO responded with tactical nuclear weapons. And the Soviets had stated that a use of tactical nuclear weapons would likely lead to a response by 1 or more strategic nuclear weapons on their part.

Granted, the rebuilding of the American military in Europe in the 1980's (morale and quality improvements) meant that the window was probably gone by the end of the decade. But the West didn't have any reliable way to know that until years later.

"Even in a purely conventional war, Russian would crush the EU."

Only because EU armies are jokes. Unionized, too small.

As Turkey points out, they could create actual do a lot more and not be crushed so easily.

You overestimate the Russians though.

They can always ask all those proud new Europeans from Africa and the Middle East to enlist.

I doubt the British or the French military qualify as 'jokes'.

"I doubt the British or the French military qualify as ‘jokes’."

They don't, nor do the Germans for that matter.

"if there was any real willingness to cooperate, they would be cooperating already"

Proof that this guy is a promoter of state department fairy tails. The adults in Syria are the Russians and Assad. The screw ups are U.S.G. handing support to rebels who rather dependably turn out to be terrorists.

If you don't like rebels or despots what do you do?

What we did.

There are no "adults" in Syria. Assad is an incompetent tin pot dictator and the Russians are only good for dropping bombs on civilians.

Ah, the attack of the tv watching Bob. Assad was elected. Did not use chemical weapons. Does not have barrel bombs. Has actual military grade bombs, which are much stronger than anything you can pack into a barrel, but somehow rates as less threatening.
Russia happens to have coherent policies. They see terrorists leaving places like Chechnya, and they say to themselves, hey, we can destroy them over in Syria, instead of waiting for them to come back over here.

You probably could find a few Syria civilians in your hometown and ask them what's what. Much better than tv.

Liberals are amazingly butt hurt over this election, and are showing their true colors. Hopefully the public remembers and doesn't allow them into power for a generation.

Further, lets erode the power base of liberalism. Defund all liberal arts, further no government backed loans as well to liberal arts. Slowly drain the swamp of liberalism.

So let me see if I understand this putative grand bargain correctly. So Russia has to de-facto demilitarize, or at least agree to limit the movements of its army within its own sovereign territory. And in exchange America will pull its troops a little further away from the Russian border.

Have you thought about how this looks from the Russian perspective? This is a kind of deal you impose on a power defeated in a war. No sovereign nation worth its salt will ever accept it. And yet, for Lucas, even this deal is too horrible to contemplate. This tells you all you need to know about the future of the Russian-Western relations.

"This is a kind of deal you impose on a power defeated in a war."

Russia was defeated in the so called Cold War.

Our mistake was not forcing Russia to surrender its nukes. Without nukes, Russia is weaker than Poland.

"Russia was defeated in the so called Cold War."

Yes, that's what the triumphalist propaganda says but it's not true. The sooner they realize it in the West the better.

They won't realize it though.

Well, you lose all your client states and slide into an economic depression. Sounds like a defeat, but that's just me.

So when USA went through the period of Civil War followed by the economic depression, did that mean that it was defeated by the Russian Empire?

The US was not competing with the Russian Empire, or, indeed, anyone. The only extra-Hemispheric powers with influence were Britain (with whom we co-operated congenially from 1846 onward) and France (who were run off the premises in 1869).

They're not weaker than Poland. I doubt we could have forced them.

Bob:

How would we have forced the Russian military to surrender its nukes? Winning the cold war meant that the Soviet Union dissolved because its subjects and rulers no longer believed it made any sense. We weren't occupying Moscow.

Don't provoke him.

He saw it in a video game.

I just hope peace. Get a good deal or something.

I wonder conflict is more likely if more people talk conflicts, any research on this?

Who is Edward Lucas. Oh. British journalist. To the roundfile.

China has a gdp 5.6x that of Russia, stole the personnel files of all federal employees, stomps all over Tibet, and fancies they own Taiwan and the South China Sea, so clearly we need to be in a pissing match with Russia.

+1

Trump wants to calm the situation with Russia so he can confront China.

"stole the personnel files of all federal employees"

Who cares about those people. The Russians hurt Hillary!

In my lifetime, US foreign policy switched from realistic, even famously cynical ("our sonuvabitch") to ideological. Everybody knows the only three elephants in the room are the US, Russia and China and, as in any tripartite dynamic, the sides constantly jockey to play off one against the other. Nixon went to China. Reagan went to Reykjavik. That's when the grownups were in charge. Hopefully they will be again. I'm getting tired of all these handwringing philosophy majors.

It's never been all that ideological. It simply had some different aims during the interlude running from 1963 to 1977 than it had before or after. The period running from 1977 to 1996 in Latin America was generally successful.

interesting article. Thank you.

Those goddamn Russians putting their country right next to our military exercises. Let's nuke them!!!

If Taiwan (et cetera) is a trading chip, then every US ally had better get out of the sinking ship while they can. These are nations, not Miss Universe props or playthings.

Regarding the matter of Obama disagreeing with Romney that Russia is/was our biggest enemy and now being upset about Russian hacking and other interventions in the US election, etc., there is no contradiction or hypocrisy here. Our biggest enemy then and now was and is not Russia, it is radical Islamic terror groups like Daesh, aka ISIS, etc. We did and continue to share a common interest with Russia in opposing such groups, and we have at times so cooperated, although in the case of Syria there are several such groups and the situation was and is very complicated. I would note that Obama worked with Putin and the Chinese and the EU and others to achieve the excellent Iran nuclear deal, which Trump now threatens to overturn, something Putin will not like at all.

So, anybody here defending the Russian aggression against its neighbors and its bullying of the Baltic states, and then getting on Obama for disagreeing with Romney's claim that Russia was our biggest enemy really should look themselves in the mirror for their hypocrisy. Russia is a rival and a threat, especially in Europe, but it is also a nation that the US can and does work with on various issues. Whether Trump will do a better job of that with all his palsy walsyness with Putin will remain to be seen.

"Our biggest enemy then and now was and is not Russia, it is radical Islamic terror groups like Daesh, aka ISIS, etc".

I would even dispute that those groups are our "real enemies." They are certainly a threat to those regions but what specific threat do they pose to the U.S.? I think people really understate the effect to which not being landlocked with any of these of these hostile powers limits the threat they pose. The biggest threat to the U.S. was arguably al-Qaeda, but the hawks prefer to arm them to fight Assad.

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