Okay peaceniks, let's talk about what's going on in the Ukraine

Things are happening fast, so perhaps my description will be out of date by the time you read this. The Ukraine underwent a relatively peaceful* revolution, chasing the pro-Russia president out of the country and establishing an interim revolutionary pro-West government. 

One house of Russia's national legislature just authorized the use of military force to protect what it sees as Russian interests and to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the Crimea region.

Peaceniks chant "What if they gave a war and nobody came?" Well, then of course you wouldn't have a war, but a war isn't a party you can just not go to if it's being brought to you.

I'm not going to get more specific. I'm just inviting a discussion of the situation going on in the Ukraine. What should be done? What COULD be done?

* People have died, but it's nothing like some of the other conflicts going on now or happening in recent years around the world (Egypt, Syria, etc.)..

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I think Putin is perfectly content with Crimea as it contains he's naval base and most of the offshore oil+gas fields. If Ukraine thinks it actually wants to start a shooting match with Putin they should just see how much that helped Georgia.

I certainly hope the government is thinking about a response in case Putin wants to reconstruct the old USSR. You'd better believe that the Poles, the Czechs, the Hungarians, Slovaks and the rest are really sweating. 

I don't think we want to go to war with Russia but clearly Putin is willing to take short-term setbacks in exchange for long-term gains, which would make him a pretty good investor in stocks.

What, exactly, would the U.S. be willing to do, and is it already too late? 

I know the Peaceniks will ask "Why should we care? We don't live there. It's their problem, not ours." But don't forget China is watching all of this and would love to add Taiwan, the Koreas, and Japan to its sphere of influence.

If both Russia and China decided to expand like that, Eurasia would be lost for all practical purposes. One can even envision China taking over India to take advantage of its vast low-wage labor force, which would allow the Chinese populace to become more affluent at the expense of Indians. It would then be the new Chinese "citizens" in India making electronics at near slave wages, not the Chinese.

What, exactly, would the U.S. be willing to do, and is it already too late?

Too late for what, exactly?

But don't forget China is watching all of this and would love to add Taiwan, the Koreas, and Japan to its sphere of influence.

A Chinese North Korea would certainly be better than the current North Korea. Would war with China be justifiable, for the "protection" of NK?

Then SK and/or Japan falling? In the big picture, the fear of world domination by the Chinese isn't justified by history, or at least not to the extent of (say) the history western imperialism.

This sounds too much to me like the old paranoic Domino Theory of our past, or more recently, fear of the power of Saddam Hussein. Why can't we focus on making ourselves better, first, and raise the visibility of our cultural success out there to be envied by repressed cultures, instead of despised?

Too late to do something other than stand back and wring our hands.

We are bound by treaty to defend NATO nations, which includes most of the former USSR). The Ukraine never joined NATO, but most of the neighboring states did.

The problem with the Koreas is that, if China is going to the bother of taking the poor Korea, why wouldn't it just keep rolling into the relatively less militarily prepared prosperous southern half of Korea? I don't think China would even want the disaster that's N. Korea, but it'd just make a good stepping stone/staging area for grabbing S. Korea.

Nothing is really keeping China from expanding into areas that would expand its economic power other than the threat of a U.S. retaliation under our treaties.

By raising the specter of the "domino theory" you seem to be forgetting that the old USSR didn't incorporate Eastern Europe through a popular vote. 

As for China, they CLAIM Mongolia and Tibet are historically parts of China and use that as justification for taking them over. Their claim is actually better when it comes to Taiwan and they can claim the Koreas and Japan as necessary for their security.

We are bound by treaty to defend NATO nations, which includes most of the former USSR).

I don't believe that's entirely correct.  NATO now includes most of the nations formerly in the Warsaw Pact, but I believe it only includes 3 of the 15 former Soviet republics (the three baltic states that were conquered by the USSR during WWII--Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.  NATO also includes parts of the former Yugoslavia (Slovenia and Croatia) and Albania.

Too late to do something other than stand back and wring our hands.

Ok. The more pertinent question's what can we do now besides impose economic sanctions, or do something more aggressive that destabilizes the country to rid it of "evil" (ala Iraq wrt Saddam). I won't press anyone on this (except perhaps @Arcus (: ), because I don't expect there's any kind of easy answer.

But I"ll still maintain that fears of dominoes falling (because of, say, China's lust for South Korea) are largely unfounded and irrelevant to the current topic. China's hegemony in Mongolia and Tibet still don't compare equally to historical, western imperialism.

Back more on topic... Putin's apparently still building up forces and supply lines along the east Ukranian border.

the Democrats agreed to the Republican proposal to shrink the US military to pre-World War II levels, cutting benefits and eliminating new weapons systems.

This is the first I have heard of Republicans (and I am assuming here you meant the Republican mainstream) being behind the recent proposals to shrink the military.  (It certainly goes against the stereotype of Republicans wanting a big military, and what I have been hearing from the left since 1979 has been incessant complaining about how much money we spend on that sort of thing.  You are literally the first person on the left I have heard, in my lifetime, complain that the military is too small!)  Do you have a source for this?  Or are you referencing some other proposal?  Now there was a bipartisan sequester agreement to shrink both the military and domestic spending, but the military shrinkage was a Republican concession to get the Democrats to agree to the domestic cuts.

So what is it you are referencing here?

I read some suggestion that a flotilla of US warships should be sent to the Black Sea.  No more provocative act can be imagined.  What if  Russia sent a flotilla of warships to the Gulf of Mexico?  We would demand that they be withdrawn and threaten military action.  Exactly the same thing would happen in the Black Sea.

The US and the west have almost no options in this situation in the Ukraine.  We are deluding ourselves if we think we do.  Putin is going to do as he pleases and tell the rest of the world to f---k off.

I think Putin's intention is to annex Crimea (a territory within the Ukraine) in order to secure his only warm water port. I doubt if he will end up annexing the Ukraine in its entirety. The West will probably accept that as a compromise. There really are NO military options because nobody wants WW3. 

There is a bit of a joke going  around that whoever annexes the last piece of Ukraine will have to pay for it.

No peaceniks? I wonder why...

Probably because a US military strike is even not viewed as a real option like it is in Syria right now. If a war breaks out we may end up supporting a UN peace-keeping force when it cools down, like in Bosnia.

Looking how the Taliban is making a comeback makes one wonder if all the huge sacrifices made by our military in Afghanistan over the past 14 years were worth it. When we leave will it just reset back to square one? Are we training and arming our next enemy? Should we stay another 100 years? Things are also going backward in Iraq lately. I'd wager that Sadam would have been a casualty of his own people by now anyways. These ancient ethnic and religious issues are a waste of time for us to try to fix by military means.

If we want to promote our form of government and way of life all over the world, we should focus on making that better and it will sell itself. A functioning government and a viable middle class would be a great start.


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