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Thread: RUSSIA - Will it be a superpower again?

  1. #1
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    RUSSIA - Will it be a superpower again?

    I thought I started a Russia thread. Maybe I did it wrong. Anyway, I think Russia is fascinating and important, and that we ought to have a thread about it that isn't suffused with Trump drama. Here's a BBC story about the recent botched poisoning attempt on a former Russian spy and his daughter:

    Russian spy: What are Novichok agents and what do they do?

    Intro:

    A former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned by a chemical that is part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said.Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain critically ill after the attempted murder in Salisbury on 4 March.
    The chemical was identified by experts at the defence and science laboratory at Porton Down.
    So what do we know about this group of military-grade nerve agents?


    I suppose the would-be assassin in this case has some 'splaining to do when he gets home to Moscow.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  2. #2
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    DHS and FBI warn Russia is behind cyberattacks on US infrastructure

    Energy, nuclear, aviation and manufacturing sectors are among those affected.

    https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/15/...-cyberattacks/

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  3. #3
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    Russia could bounce up given that there are Trillions of dollars worth of oil being uncovered in the arctic that they are capable of getting at. Plus it seems the US got caught flat footed by this.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/06/russ...ol-arctic.html

    With more than half of all Arctic coastline along its northern shores, Russia has long sought economic and military dominance in part of the world where as much as $35 trillion worth of untapped oil and natural gas could be lurking.
    A look at Russia's icebreaker inventory underscores its commitment to the region; Russia has nearly 40 icebreaker ships in service, with five more under construction and six more planned. Finland, owner of the world's second-largest icebreaker fleet has seven, followed by Canada and Sweden at six apiece. The U.S. has five, only one of which is a so-called heavy icebreaker. Scrambling to update its aging fleet, the U.S. Coast Guard plans to build six more (three heavy and three medium icebreakers), though the first won't be delivered until 2023.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by U-Ute View Post
    Russia could bounce up given that there are Trillions of dollars worth of oil being uncovered in the arctic that they are capable of getting at. Plus it seems the US got caught flat footed by this.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/06/russ...ol-arctic.html
    I say we do this instead:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s_hFTR6qyEo




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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by U-Ute View Post
    Russia could bounce up given that there are Trillions of dollars worth of oil being uncovered in the arctic that they are capable of getting at. Plus it seems the US got caught flat footed by this.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/06/russ...ol-arctic.html
    It would be interesting to know if icebreaker demand is based on historical data, or if warming in the arctic mitigates against the demand. A few weeks ago the North Pole, though shrouded in darkness, was above freezing and warmer than SLC. Then again, wild swings in temperature seem to be on the increase. A place in NY state had a 85F degree swing in a 24 hour period, this winter. (And I thought the Chinook winds in the NW and 50F degree swings were wild.)

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I thought I started a Russia thread. Maybe I did it wrong. Anyway, I think Russia is fascinating and important, and that we ought to have a thread about it that isn't suffused with Trump drama. Here's a BBC story about the recent botched poisoning attempt on a former Russian spy and his daughter:

    Russian spy: What are Novichok agents and what do they do?


    Intro:



    I suppose the would-be assassin in this case has some 'splaining to do when he gets home to Moscow.[/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR]

    Putin views western democracies as weak and vulnerable, and he knows how to exploit internal differences to Russia's advantage.

    With an economy half the size of California's there is a TON of upside in the Russian economy. Even though they've had some pain points against specific oligarchs from sanctions from annexing Crimea & eastern Ukraine, how many western citizens were aware of / remember the Russians shooting down the Malaysian airliner just a few years ago? The news cycle will blow over and 6 months from now the uproar from Russia's chemical attack in another country will be a faded memory. Russia and Putin have a PR problem, but Putin is far more disciplined and ruthless than western democracies can match.

    Even the UK has divided interests on the issue of Russia, as BP has extensive energy investments / exploration in Russia.

    If I had a few hundred $ million to invest speculatively - as many $Billionaires do, investing in Russia might provide a very, very handsome ROI, if you have an in with the right oligarch. General purpose investing in Russia like we're used to doing here is a non-starter, as corruption is rampant. Organized crime is pretty well established there, however. Russian oligarchs have no loyalty to Russia or Russians, but the sanctions hurt, explaining Putin's drive to have them lifted.
    Last edited by Ma'ake; 03-17-2018 at 10:22 AM.

  7. #7
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Really interesting interview here, probably behind the Wall Street Journal paywall. I'll post some excerpts.

    Will Putin Ever Leave? Could He if He Wanted?


    Russia votes on March 18 in a presidential election that is, let’s agree, lacking in any competitive tension. In fact, says Stephen Kotkin, Vladimir Putin’s re-election is “preordained, a superfluous, if vivid, additional signal of Russia’s debilitating stagnation.”

    Few Americans understand Russia better than Mr. Kotkin, who late last year published “ Stalin : Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941,” the second of an intended three-volume biography of the Soviet dictator Mr. Kotkin describes as “the person in world history who accumulated more power than anyone else.”

    President Putin, by comparison, is a dictatorial lightweight. “We wouldn’t want to equate Putin with Stalin,” Mr. Kotkin says. The Soviet Union—which Stalin ruled for three hair-raising decades, until his death in 1953—had “one-sixth of the world’s land mass under its control, plus satellites in Eastern Europe and Northeast Asia.” There were also communist parties in scores of countries, which did Russia’s bidding. “We talk about how Russia interferes in our elections today,” says Mr. Kotkin, “but Stalin had a substantial Communist Party in France, and in Italy, inside the Parliament. And when Stalin gave instructions to them, they followed his orders.”


    The Soviet economy, at its peak in the 1980s, reached about a third of the size of the U.S. economy. Russia’s economy today, Mr. Kotkin points out, “is one-15th the size of America’s. Russia is very weak, and getting weaker.” Not long ago, Russia was the eighth-largest economy in the world. Today, Mr. Kotkin says, “you’re lucky to get it at 12th or 13th, depending on how you measure things. Another two terms of Putin, and Russia will be out of the top 20.”

    But don’t be reassured by Russia’s feebleness. Mr. Kotkin says this weakness is what makes Mr. Putin such a threat to the West....

    Attracted to history, and away from literature, Mr. Kotkin ended up at the University of California, Berkeley for his doctorate, specializing in Russia. “I started learning the Russian language in the third year of my Ph.D., and then four years later I was assistant professor of Russian history at Princeton.” That was 1988, Mr. Kotkin was 29, and the Soviet state was withering away. There couldn’t have been a better time, one imagines, for a historian of Russia to find a wide and hungry audience.

    Mr. Kotkin was drawn to Stalin because “the history of Stalin was a history of the world.” He was also “the gold standard of dictatorship.” With Soviet nostalgia sweeping Russia today alongside a revival of Stalin as a paragon, Mr. Kotkin welcomes my asking him how much of Stalin we should see in Mr. Putin today—and how much of Stalin Mr. Putin sees in himself.


    Old-school historian that he is, Mr. Kotkin responds with a narrative. “The way you have to begin with this is with Russia’s place in the world. How do you get a figure like Stalin or Putin in the first place?” The answer lies in Russia’s aspiration “to have a special mission in the world—something that most people attribute to its Byzantine heritage.” Russia, in Russian eyes, is “not a regular country, it’s a providential power that’s ordained by God.”


    This is where the threat from Mr. Putin springs. It’s very difficult to manage the proposition of Russian power in the world, says Mr. Kotkin, when the “capacities of the Russian state today, like the Soviet state before, are not always of the first rank.” They’re economically modest and technologically mediocre, so they “look for ways to compensate,” and subversion of competitors is an obvious, low-cost strategy.


    Mr. Kotkin invites us to ponder Mr. Putin’s options. “We have a situation where a desire for a special mission in the world is the overriding organizational framework of Russian national culture, and the Putin regime is the inheritor of this.” Mr. Putin couldn’t possibly abandon Russia’s self-image and decide that his is going to be “just another country,” the way France and Britain did, and Germany and Japan were forced to do. Among major world powers today, Mr. Kotkin says, “those countries that feel they’re destined under God to be special are really only the U.S., China and Russia.”


    Russia, it would seem, is providential yet impotent. “That’s why the Russians love the U.N.,” Mr. Kotkin says. “They have a veto on the Security Council.” It is also why Russia today retains a state-led economy: “You use the state to beat your people up, and the state also picks the winners and losers in the marketplace.” Russia is beggaring itself, Mr. Kotkin believes, in relation to China, but it’s staying afloat strategically “vis-à-vis the West because the West itself is in disarray in a way that China is not. The United States is in a period you can describe any way you wish, but it’s not one of vigorous global leadership.”

    Russia appears to have resigned itself to China’s inexorable rise. It has therefore turned its competitive focus entirely on the West. “Russia’s grand strategy,” says Mr. Kotkin, “is Western collapse. Just wait it out. If the European Union breaks up, if the U.S. withdraws into itself and gives up all of its alliances around the world, Russia has many fewer problems, and its relative-power gap can narrow substantially.”


    Mr. Putin’s modus operandi, Mr. Kotkin suggests, is to “enhance the process of Western collapse. You can try to interfere in Western elections and support disarray in the West, but ultimately only the West can destroy itself.”


    Mr. Putin did not “hijack the U.S. election,” Mr. Kotkin says. “He hijacked American public discourse.” Moscow conducted an intelligence operation to discredit Hillary Clinton and U.S. democracy by obtaining compromising material, “of which there was plenty.” This evolved into “an operation to obtain compromising material on Donald Trump as well, with the aim of getting sanctions lifted and a whole lot more.”


    Mrs. Clinton and her campaign were, says Mr. Kotkin, “unwilling victims; Trump and his campaign were willing ones.” As a result, “America’s counterintelligence investigation of Russia’s intelligence activities morphed into a criminal investigation of the Trump campaign. And then, sadly, into an attempted manipulation to derail that investigation.” Russia’s actions, Mr. Kotkin says, “failed to decide the election, or to have the sanctions against Russia removed, but succeeded in stealing America’s attention.”


    As Mr. Putin bets on Russia’s survival at the expense of the West, one wonders what his own ideology is beyond an obvious belief in Russian exceptionalism. “He is a Russian patriot in his own way,” says Mr. Kotkin, “but I don’t think his version of Russian patriotism is enhancing the long-term interests of that country.” Like other authoritarian rulers, Mr. Putin believes that “the survival of his personal regime and the survival of his country as a great power in the world are the same question.”


    That conflation has put Russia “in a downward spiral,” and Mr. Kotkin lists several measures that show how poorly Russia has fared under Mr. Putin. Most striking is the “hemorrhage” of Russia’s human capital. “It’s hard to measure,” as “there’s no census,” says Mr. Kotkin, “but anywhere between five and 10 million Russians are now living beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union.” The brain-drained Russians average about 20% above the mean income in the countries where they live, “which tells you that they’re a talented group, an educated, entrepreneurial, dynamic population. We have them at Princeton University—in our laboratories, our math department. You name it, they’re all over the place.”


    With Mr. Putin a shoo-in for re-election, one wonders if he may, like Stalin, have a job for life in the Kremlin. Mr. Kotkin says he has “self-assigned tenure, meaning he can be there as long as he wants unless he’s assassinated in a palace coup.”


    He may not have any choice in the matter: “It’s not clear he can leave if he wants to leave, because of the fact that he has narrowed the regime so considerably.” Authoritarian regimes tend to become victims of their own success. “The better they get at surveillance and suppression of dissent,” Mr. Kotkin says, “the less they know about their own society and what the people really think.” When authoritarian rulers first come to power, “they’re kind of like umpires. There are many different powerful groups that have disputes among themselves, and they turn to the leader to adjudicate.”


    About to enter his fourth term as president, Mr. Putin is no longer the arbiter over a “scrum of competing interests, but is, instead, the leader of a single faction that controls all the power and all the wealth,” Mr. Kotkin says. This faction needs its protector to stick around so it can stay rich—and stay alive. “There’s really no way for Putin to retire peacefully.”




    Last edited by LA Ute; 03-17-2018 at 10:07 AM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=LA Ute;111542]Really interesting interview here, probably behind the Wall Street Journal paywall. I'll post some excerpts.

    Will Putin Ever Leave? Could He if He Wanted?


    [COLOR=#111111][FONT=Verdana]

    Without a doubt, Russia's economy has declined since the Soviet peak, but does it matter? Who is there to hold Putin accountable?

    Putin's primary constituency are the oligarchs who were handed the relics of the soviet economy as gifts. Autocrats aren't particularly concerned about the well being of the people they preside over, as long as they and their families become enriched, along with their cronies, and they have a solid hold on political power.

    It's a fairly simple model that folds well with nationalism, but does anyone seriously think Putin cares about economic statistics?

  9. #9
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    Without a doubt, Russia's economy has declined since the Soviet peak, but does it matter? Who is there to hold Putin accountable?

    Putin's primary constituency are the oligarchs who were handed the relics of the soviet economy as gifts. Autocrats aren't particularly concerned about the well being of the people they preside over, as long as they and their families become enriched, along with their cronies, and they have a solid hold on political power.

    It's a fairly simple model that folds well with nationalism, but does anyone seriously think Putin cares about economic statistics?
    I think your right. It looks like he cares only about his own power and Russia's standing in the world. I loved it when, several years after GWB foolishly said something about how he could look into Putin's eyes and see something positive, McCain said "I looked into Putin's eyes and saw three letters: K-G-B."


    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  10. #10
    I think you should have titled this thread, “Russia: The 80s called and wants their thread back.”

    One wonders how Obama could have been so naive or inept about Russia.


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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocker Ute View Post
    I think you should have titled this thread, “Russia: The 80s called and wants their thread back.”

    One wonders how Obama could have been so naive or inept about Russia.
    Obama is an idealist. I think he really believed he could do a "reset" with Putin. Obviously, an error.

    Mitt was right about that point in the 2012 campaign, and that's probably why Mitt as Secretary of State never went far.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    Obama is an idealist. I think he really believed he could do a "reset" with Putin. Obviously, an error.

    Mitt was right about that point in the 2012 campaign, and that's probably why Mitt as Secretary of State never went far.
    What should Obama have done that he didnt do? He imposed sanctions and took other actions after Crimea and Ukraine. He imposed sanctions for election meddling last December. Counter the Russians more aggressively and directly in Syria? Provide arms to the Ukranians? You think Romney or George Bush would have done those things? What would they have done differently?

  13. #13
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Better Off Than Their Parents: Why Russia’s Youth Are Backing Putin

    Young people across Russia are poised to vote on Sunday for the only leader they have ever known


    Probably behind a pay wall. Excerpt:

    Nikita Ivlev doesn’t really follow politics. But the high-school student says he is sure that only President Vladimir Putin can manage a country as big as Russia. Anastasia Kuklina, who is studying law, values the “peace and stability” of Mr. Putin’s rule and is thrilled with new shopping malls in her hometown. Darya Yershova says Russian life is better and freer than in the past. “When we talk with our parents, they are sometimes shocked by the numerous opportunities we have today,” she says.

    The three young people, like all Russians of their generation, have known no leader other than the former KGB colonel, who is on track to win another six-year term in presidential elections on Sunday.

    Over the course of their lives, Mr. Putin has transformed Russia from an at-times chaotic democracy to an authoritarian state. He has written a new social contract that offers citizens far better living standards and restored swagger on the world stage, while limiting political freedoms. Polls, sociological research and interviews with more than a dozen young Russians in four cities reveal a generation largely at ease with that trade-off, though there are some browbeaten but committed dissenters....


    It's a long piece.



    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    What should Obama have done that he didnt do? He imposed sanctions and took other actions after Crimea and Ukraine. He imposed sanctions for election meddling last December. Counter the Russians more aggressively and directly in Syria? Provide arms to the Ukranians? You think Romney or George Bush would have done those things? What would they have done differently?

    You might argue that a significant part of US foreign policy is showing rather than doing. What I mean is sometimes you need to show your strength and even state a willingness to be more aggressive in situations, even if you don't really intend to. Obama was probably well liked by other countries around the globe, but not feared by our enemies. His line in the sand remarks and others made him not the least bit intimidating to people like Putin. His blunders like saying he wouldn't put boots on the ground in the middle east was foolish because he told his enemies exactly how far he was really willing to go. Truthfully, I doubt Russia would have tried to do what they did with Crimea were HRC president because I doubt she would have stood for it.

    He also waited on those election sanctions until after the election and as he was walking out the door handing over the keys to a man who is currently being investigated for colluding with Russia and likely (and didn't) enforce the sanctions.

    Since the US has taken on the role of the world's police, unfortunately it doesn't allow us to just be Andy Griffith in Mayberry, which is really the ideal Obama was hoping for. In a way I admire the notion that foreign policy could be dictated by diplomacy first, but unfortunately I don't think that is how many parts of the world work.

    His zinger against Romney regarding Russia helped get him reelected but underscored his lack of understanding of what was really happening in that part of the world.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocker Ute View Post
    You might argue that a significant part of US foreign policy is showing rather than doing. What I mean is sometimes you need to show your strength and even state a willingness to be more aggressive in situations, even if you don't really intend to. Obama was probably well liked by other countries around the globe, but not feared by our enemies. His line in the sand remarks and others made him not the least bit intimidating to people like Putin. His blunders like saying he wouldn't put boots on the ground in the middle east was foolish because he told his enemies exactly how far he was really willing to go. Truthfully, I doubt Russia would have tried to do what they did with Crimea were HRC president because I doubt she would have stood for it.

    He also waited on those election sanctions until after the election and as he was walking out the door handing over the keys to a man who is currently being investigated for colluding with Russia and likely (and didn't) enforce the sanctions.

    Since the US has taken on the role of the world's police, unfortunately it doesn't allow us to just be Andy Griffith in Mayberry, which is really the ideal Obama was hoping for. In a way I admire the notion that foreign policy could be dictated by diplomacy first, but unfortunately I don't think that is how many parts of the world work.

    His zinger against Romney regarding Russia helped get him reelected but underscored his lack of understanding of what was really happening in that part of the world.
    I disagree there. Putin would have invaded crimea if Obama, hrc, Romney, Bush or even reagan were president, Because he considered it in his vital interests and knew we couldn't do anything about it. Same with Ukraine. He invaded Georgia when Bush was president and Russia invaded afganistan when Bush senior was president. You can argue he was late with sanctions, but the wikileaks dump was late October, and there was a lot of back and forth about a joint Statement from repubs and dems. The better question is whether he should have been more confrontational in Syria.

  16. #16
    Hindsight is 20/20.

    Ukraine would never have given up their soviet era nuclear weapons if they knew what Putin was going to do to the eastern part of their nation. That was a colossal error.

    Bush II probably would have used military force in Georgia, and Obama might have sunk their pathetic carrier, the Admiral Kuznetzov, had he known how brutally they were to prop up the Assad regime in Syria, and what they were going to do to our nation, using asymmetric warfare.

    Seriously, if we'd known then what we know now, a volley of cruise missiles into Russia should have been the response to them shooting down the Malaysian airliner, even if they mistakenly thought it was a Ukrainian cargo jet.

    The big question is just how crazy is Putin? What is the nuclear threshold, for him? That's probably the one aspect that has caused US presidents to hesitate and emphasize diplomacy, sanctions, etc.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    I disagree there. Putin would have invaded crimea if Obama, hrc, Romney, Bush or even reagan were president, Because he considered it in his vital interests and knew we couldn't do anything about it. Same with Ukraine. He invaded Georgia when Bush was president and Russia invaded afganistan when Bush senior was president. You can argue he was late with sanctions, but the wikileaks dump was late October, and there was a lot of back and forth about a joint Statement from repubs and dems. The better question is whether he should have been more confrontational in Syria.
    It will probably be argued through the next few decades about Obama’s effectiveness in foreign policy, I give his overall policy a C- and it might drop lower depending on how a lot of issues shake out with Russia, Iran and North Korea. But it is kind of hard to argue foreign policy was a strength of his presidency.

    Of course being contrasted next to Donald Trump makes him look like a rockstar.


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  18. #18
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    RUSSIA - Will it be a superpower again?

    RUSSIA SAYS U.S. NO LONGER RULES THE WORLD AS TENSIONS MOUNT IN MIDDLE EAST, EUROPE AND SPACE

    http://www.newsweek.com/russia-says-...e-space-847097

    These guys sound like the old Soviets did.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    RUSSIA SAYS U.S. NO LONGER RULES THE WORLD AS TENSIONS MOUNT IN MIDDLE EAST, EUROPE AND SPACE

    http://www.newsweek.com/russia-says-...e-space-847097

    These guys sound like the old Soviets did.
    Ease up there, McCarthy.

    My weak attempt at levity aside, I fully admit I think Obama was (very) wrong on Russia, and Romney was correct.

    The big question is what do we do now? Is the current path the right way to facilitate US ideals and our power (military and soft-power) around the world? I think we need some strong action, and a Gettysburg address.
    Last edited by Ma'ake; 03-18-2018 at 12:29 PM.

  20. #20
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    Ease up there, McCarthy.

    My weak attempt at levity aside, I fully admit I think Obama was (very) wrong on Russia, and Romney was correct.

    The big question is what do we do now? Is the current path the right way to facilitate US ideals and our power (military and soft-power) around the world? I think we need some strong action, and a Gettysburg address.
    I know you will agree with me here — one of my biggest problems with Trump is how reluctant he is to criticize Putin, or anything Putin does. I don’t believe he is in Putin‘s pocket, although he may well be, but his soft approach to the man doesn’t help with that perception.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    Ease up there, McCarthy.

    My weak attempt at levity aside, I fully admit I think Obama was (very) wrong on Russia, and Romney was correct.

    The big question is what do we do now? Is the current path the right way to facilitate US ideals and our power (military and soft-power) around the world? I think we need some strong action, and a Gettysburg address.
    What do we do now is the question of the day... clearly we have a president who is happy to do nothing. Best case scenario is we take Trump at face value on what he has said about Putin and realize we have a president who admires our enemy. Worst case is we have a president who is a puppet to him.

    I’ll say this, Trump displays all the characteristics of the fraud triangle. He has debt held by the Russians, he had opportunities to get info from them and he has the rationale of winning at all costs and narcissism.

    I still believe the useful idiot theory but wouldn’t be surprised if something criminal does come of all of this.


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  22. #22
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I know you will agree with me here — one of my biggest problems with Trump is how reluctant he is to criticize Putin, or anything Putin does. I don’t believe he is in Putin‘s pocket, although he may well be, but his soft approach to the man doesn’t help with that perception.


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    I don't think Trump is in Putin's pocket either. I think we're seeing Trump's lack of a spine with regards to Putin.

    Trump is a classic all talk bully who knows Putin would punch him in the face if Trump looks at him sideways.

    Trump wants no part of Putin.

  23. #23
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    It’s Time to Attack Putin’s Soft Underbelly


    Thoughts from John Fund, a conservative pundit (but not a Breitbart guy, concerned, so leave me alone!).

    Excerpt:

    The incredible flow of assets out of Russia into Western safe havens is a clear vulnerability in Putin’s authoritarian system. At a minimum, the West should prohibit law firms from acting as banks and also prohibit real-estate entities from effectively acting as banks for the oligarchs. Anonymous purchasers should no longer be able to hide their activities. It is only through moves like this that the West will get the attention of Putin and his cronies. The only thing a dictator such as Putin respects is strength, and it’s time those who oppose his loathsome values acted as if they understood that.
    Last edited by LA Ute; 03-21-2018 at 05:25 PM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    It’s Time to Attack Putin’s Soft Underbelly


    Thoughts from John Fund, a conservative pundit (but not a Breitbart guy, concerned, so leave me alone!).

    Excerpt:
    If i had to guess this flow of assets has kept the Trump businesses afloat and djt doesnt want to risk turning off the spigot, which is why he wont criticize Putin or impose greater sanctions. My $.02.

  25. #25
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    If i had to guess this flow of assets has kept the Trump businesses afloat and djt doesnt want to risk turning off the spigot, which is why he wont criticize Putin or impose greater sanctions. My $.02.
    It’s that Mother Jones influence again.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  26. #26
    There are some interesting parallels between Russia in the post-Soviet era and some things we're seeing here.

    One stat that caught my eye a couple of years ago was the declining life expectancy we're seeing, which is attributed to the Opiod crisis, which is nearly unprecedented... the other time a decline in life expectancy occurred was just after the fall of the Soviet Union, as a lot Russians
    (presumably)
    drank themselves to death.

    This article is a little over the top on the alarmism, but it captures a lot of things we're just sort of ignoring our way through: https://eand.co/why-were-underestima...e-be04d9e55235

    (Of note to LA and myself, Costa Rica, with fairly new socialized medicine, has passed the US in life expectancy.)

  27. #27
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    (Of note to LA and myself, Costa Rica, with fairly new socialized medicine, has passed the US in life expectancy.)
    I do envy Costa Rica's success, as well as that of Switzerland, in running a healthcare system that works for them. To me this is a non-ideological issue, although maximizing individual freedom of choice is important to me. What I've learned is that when comparing health care systems among different countries we have to keep in mind (a) differences in culture and demographics and (b) the correlation-cause distinction. In terms of (a), Costa Rica and Switzerland are much smaller than the USA, both geographically and population-wise; and both are less complex societies than the USA. Culturally, a serious individual mandate is accepted in Switzerland, and is rigorously enforced (you don't get coverage, you pay serious money). Americans don't see to be ready to accept that. I am pro-individual mandate, by the way, at least at the state level. Tough to administer for 300 million people, though.

    In terms of (b), the financing of a health system is not necessarily the reason for better outcomes or life expectancy. At least that's what I've seen. So if one is going to argue, "Let's have singe payer/socialized medicine and we'll all be healthier and live longer," that claim requires some intellectual and analytical leaps, IMO. EDIT: It might be true. We just don't know yet.
    Last edited by LA Ute; 03-22-2018 at 04:46 PM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    There are some interesting parallels between Russia in the post-Soviet era and some things we're seeing here.

    One stat that caught my eye a couple of years ago was the declining life expectancy we're seeing, which is attributed to the Opiod crisis, which is nearly unprecedented... the other time a decline in life expectancy occurred was just after the fall of the Soviet Union, as a lot Russians
    (presumably)
    drank themselves to death.

    This article is a little over the top on the alarmism, but it captures a lot of things we're just sort of ignoring our way through: https://eand.co/why-were-underestima...e-be04d9e55235

    (Of note to LA and myself, Costa Rica, with fairly new socialized medicine, has passed the US in life expectancy.)
    Now you are comparing the fall of communist Soviet Union with current USA? You are losing some serious credibility.

    Economics destroyed the Soviet Union. Come back off the ledge.

    I'm not sure which is more frightening--that the article is being read and even being considered credible or that you are reading it and reposting it. People have been getting shot in America for decades and decades

    You want to really worry about something? Worry about this trade war completely screwing the worlds stock markets thx to our idiot President.
    Last edited by Two Utes; 03-22-2018 at 04:18 PM.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Two Utes View Post
    Now you are comparing the fall of communist Soviet Union with current USA? You are losing some serious credibility.

    Economics destroyed the Soviet Union. Come back off the ledge.

    I'm not sure which is more frightening--that the article is being read and even being considered credible or that you are reading it and reposting it.
    Uhhhh... I'm not comparing the two economic situations, I'm just noting the parallels that epidemiologists have found.

    We have the most powerful economy on Earth. But as the D-News points out, there is a great deal of "desperation" that is hitting America pretty hard: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/...-can-help.html

    In the immediate post-Soviet era, there was a sense of loss and acute anxiety among many citizens in Russia because everything they'd been taught to believe collapsed before their eyes.

    The Medium article is talking about an American "collapse" (a term I think is exaggerated) because we're desensitized to school shootings, cynicism is rampant, etc. From an economic-epidemiology standpoint, stress-related medical conditions are epidemic (obesity, pre-diabetic syndrome, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, substance abuses, etc). Disappearing middle class, loss of manufacturing jobs, millennials concluding there's no way they'll do as well as their parents, etc.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    Uhhhh... I'm not comparing the two economic situations, I'm just noting the parallels that epidemiologists have found.

    We have the most powerful economy on Earth. But as the D-News points out, there is a great deal of "desperation" that is hitting America pretty hard: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/...-can-help.html

    In the immediate post-Soviet era, there was a sense of loss and acute anxiety among many citizens in Russia because everything they'd been taught to believe collapsed before their eyes.

    The Medium article is talking about an American "collapse" (a term I think is exaggerated) because we're desensitized to school shootings, cynicism is rampant, etc. From an economic-epidemiology standpoint, stress-related medical conditions are epidemic (obesity, pre-diabetic syndrome, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, substance abuses, etc). Disappearing middle class, loss of manufacturing jobs, millennials concluding there's no way they'll do as well as their parents, etc.
    Use a few different words and you could be talking about the 60s and 70s.


    Can you imagine if we resurrected old old folks and told them we don't have a problem with starvation in this country or not enough food. We have an "epidemic" problem because people are too fat.

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