LD50's forum posts

#1 Posted by LD50 (415 posts) -

This might be an interesting development:

Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed on Sunday to seek a solution to crisis in Ukraine by pushing for constitutional reforms there, the Russian foreign ministry said.

It did not go into details on the kind of reforms needed except to say they should come "in a generally acceptable form and while taking into the account the interests of all regions of Ukraine".

Source

#2 Posted by LD50 (415 posts) -

I can hardly imagine worse people for the RT to source. I'm actually a little taken aback, because even just a cursory look into them gives the clear picture that these are a who's who of people out to go along with whatever the Russian leadership wants. I'm serious; look up any of them.

Psikorkski is an odd politician who has suggested that Poland should stop being a puppet of the US and step in line with Russia instead(and apparently, according to him, Poland is behind the Ukrainian uprising, go figure). Ewald Stadler is a commonly-noted antisemite who has suggested that Austria was actually better off under Nazi control. Aymeric Chauprade is a conspiracy theorist who believes that the US is plotting to take over Europe and France should ally itself with Iran and Russia to fight them. Tatjana Ždanoka is literally someone who has argued that all of the former Soviet republics should still be part of a large communist Soviet Union. That's her official, proud position. The Serbian observer they cited, Zoran Radoychich, is a man criticized for denying the Holocaust and wanting to get rid of the Jews in Serbia. Srdja Trifkovic is credited as an inspiration for the murderer Anders Breivik, a prominent voice against Muslims in Europe, and a denier of the genocide of Bosnians during the Bosnian War.

RT is the only report giving these people any credibility at all. If these are the ones they found to consider as credible observers, I'm pretty sure this sends the exact opposite message about the vote. Who in their right mind thought citing them was a good idea? Being from another country doesn't suddenly make you a respected international observer. I genuinely find it kind of crazy, but I imagine their statements will go a long way with some folks.

The whole thing is messed up.

Oh I hear ya about RT. It's not really something I'm comfortable citing, but there is very little coverage of this elsewhere. I did find a BBC article and a Guardian article with basically the same information, though the RT article had more quotes from the observers.

I'm not able to find the same information you're using in your post. Is there anyway you can cite the sources? I'm not doubting you but I'd like to see the evidence for myself.

For example, this is all I can find on Aymeric Chauprade:

"He demonstrates his clearly marked sovereignist convictions: "The sovereignism is the nation, and the nation is the enemy of the empire. Of all the imperialisms, American, Islamist, internationalist".

Source

Which is from his Wiki, and there really doesn't seem to be much else to support him being a conspiracy theorist. There is absolutely nothing I can find on Zoran Radoychich. There is hardly anything on Piskorski. Most of the information on Ewald Stadler references YouTube videos which have been removed. Srdja Trifkovic does have some negative attention on his wiki, and he definitely appears to be anti-Islam. While I'm not religious, anyone that's anti-Jewish, anti-Islam, or anti-Christian, or extremist from any of those three category is questionable.

There seems to be 135 observers representing 23 countries. One would think there's an honest person in the bunch, but I haven't heard of any of these people before today. Thanks in advance.

#3 Edited by LD50 (415 posts) -

@manmadegod said:

There should be no defense of this vote. It was called and done in 10 days. There was no open debate or discussion, and Russia had the area under Military control. The vote is a complete sham and the only country in the world that recognizes it as legitimate is Russia.

"135 international observers have arrived from 23 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Poland, Crimean authorities said. Among those monitoring the referendum are members of the EU and national European parliaments, international law experts and human rights activists."

Source

"Ethnic Russians make up 58.5% of the region's population, and many of them were expected to vote for joining Russia."

"One voter, Olga Koziko, told the BBC that she was voting for secession because she did not want to be governed by "those Nazis who came to power in Kiev".

"There are 1.5 million eligible voters and election officials put the turnout in Sunday's vote at more than 80%."

Source

I really don't see how this is a sham. How many days should they have had in advance? It would appear that many international observers do consider it legitimate. On the contrary, the E.U. and the U.S. are the only ones that think it's illegal. They are supporting people who are openly fascist though.

#4 Posted by LD50 (415 posts) -

I see nothing at all suspicious about people surrounded by thousands of armed soldiers apparently voting 95.5% to go along with what those armed soldiers want.

There appears to be international observers on the scene to report on any influence on the voters.

"No violations at the Crimea referendum have been reported by the international observers currently present in the republic.

“It’s all quiet so far,” Mateus Psikorkski, the leader of the European observers’ mission and Polish MP told Itar-Tass. “Our observers have not registered any violations of voting rules.”

Another observer, Ewald Stadler, member of the European Parliament, dispelled the “referendum at gunpoint” myth, by saying he felt people were free to make their choice.

“I haven’t seen anything even resembling pressure,” he said. “People themselves want to have their say.”

Source

Granted, the source is RT. The observers are, in fact, international. To discount the message because of the messenger would be to throw the baby out with the bath water IMO.

#5 Posted by LD50 (415 posts) -

@truthtellah: If you were insulted, it was not meant that way and I apologize. I do disagree with your perspective in some ways, and I addressed them in my post. You are, of course, free to care about anything you want in life. I can see where one of the things I said:

Now, if I understand that comment correctly, it would seem that you feel inaction by the U.S. in the Ukraine is inhumane.

which is me commenting on your position on intervening in the Ukraine. But I think you maybe assuming that I meant military intervention. You made this statement:

Sanctions are definitely going to be important if there is a chance for a long-term peaceful resolution to this.

Which is a form of intervention you support. I'm neutral on trade sanctions in this situation, as I feel free trade with other countries should be supported and preventing it is well within our rights. I'm not interested in political or military intervention, and if I've presented my opinion otherwise it was unintentional. If trade sanctions was your intention also, then I did misunderstand.

My comments were about focusing on action locally to affect change globally. If the U.S. works to repair our situation at home, as the Russian population can and should IMO, then the global landscape will shift. The interested parties can focus on things greater than war and seizing land. So, I was actually pointing out a contrast in our worldviews, though our end goals appear to be the same. Just different areas of focus. Further, while fatalism may be rampant in other countries, much of what I see in America is motivation for improvement by the citizens.

I think it's important to stay abreast of current events globally, and really it's unavoidable because the forums I frequent are populated by people from many different countries. Our conversations often gravitate towards comparing and complimenting each others homelands.

The comment toward the end of my post about intervention, be it militarily or otherwise, was in context to my approach on the solution and not meant as any accusation towards you. The process I was describing seems like a reasonable outcome to an organic process of putting people that care more about peace than macho posturing, in places that matter and can steer our respective countries in that direction. Which would probably allay the things you are concerned about.

Again, if you were offended I did not intend it that way and I apologize.

#6 Posted by LD50 (415 posts) -

Crimea exit poll: Around 93% back Russia union

"There are 1.5 million eligible voters and unconfirmed reports put the turnout in Sunday's vote at 80%."

Source

#7 Edited by LD50 (415 posts) -

@jimbo said:

My position is that there is a pretty massive and still fairly recent historical example which shows that 'everyone staying out of everyone's business' doesn't in fact lead to the world being a better place. It's just idealistic nonsense. It's a nice fantasy which doesn't survive contact with reality.

Who knows what Russia will do once they believe nobody will stop them breaking treaties and annexing territory? They don't exactly have a stellar human rights record. The Crimea crisis so far has strong parallels to the Sudetenland crisis, and the failure to intervene there is considered one of the major turning points which eventually led to WW2. Hitler was emboldened and concluded he would be allowed to do whatever he wanted, so he did. There is a reason that 'Appeasement' became a dirty word in the post-war / Cold War period and why Neville Chamberlain was considered a pariah.

The citizens of the US were strongly opposed to US intervention in the war, that's true, but Roosevelt wasn't, because he had to foresight to see what was coming. History eventually proved those citizens wrong and Roosevelt right. Roosevelt understood that to ignore the casual breaking of international treaties and agreements somewhere was a danger to everywhere, because it spreads, and because once we lose the integrity of signed treaties then the only thing left that means anything is force. War was eventually forced on the US whether it wanted it or not.

Churchill shaming the US into joining the (European) war had little to do with it; Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Germany (Japan's ally) declared war on the US, which really didn't leave them much choice in the matter. The lesson from all of this -which was supposed to never be forgotten and which formed the basis of US / Allied foreign policy for 60+ years after WW2- was that had the (eventually) Allied nations been collectively stronger in their response much earlier, then it's likely that the whole war may have been avoided, or at least much easier to win. The whole point is that you don't just leave it to 'the interested parties' and sit back and watch, because that's how things really spiral out of control. You don't want troublemakers met in dribs and drabs by an equal or lesser force; you want them met by such an overwhelming and collective display of strength that they know whatever trouble they had in mind simply isn't worth it.

Forgive me for being blunt, but 'everyone staying out of everyone's business' is exactly what is needed IMO. "Making the world a better place" by meddling in the affairs of foreign nations seems "idealistic" to me.

If Putin wishes to wage war in the Ukraine, and by your understanding attempt to take over the world, then the citizens of Russia need to handle their business at home. I'm sure the majority of Russians do not want a war, as evidenced by their peace protests. They are not powerless in this situation, and having the U.S. step in to correct it does not restore their dignity or confidence, nor does it empower them to act, which they must do, to stand up to power hungry leaders. Having yet another entity tell them how to think or live will not help them.

To assume they are powerless in this arena is to do them a great disservice, and assuming the U.S. has the authority to tell them what's right or wrong is not only presumptuous, but also hinges on the hope that our government will do the right thing once they are in control of Russia. At this point, I wouldn't trust our politicians to watch my cat.

In closing, just as the U.S. citizens have to be brave and make the necessary changes in our government to correct corruption, so do the Russian citizens need to take responsibility for the actions of their leaders and the direction of their country. The average person does not want war in my experience, and would love nothing better than peace with all people. Correcting the our respective governments will set the course for that goal. At that point everyone can stay out of everyone's business and enjoy the peace we so richly deserve.

Thank you.

#8 Edited by LD50 (415 posts) -

@truthtellah said:

I appreciate this comment, dudeglove. I may disagree and hold some different views regarding this situation, but I like your personal perspective. We both seem to be thinking about the context and history with all of this, and it oddly gives me a bit of hope.

I share your concern regarding the weird kind of fatalism that seems to have become entrenched in many hearts. I've certainly seen it in many post-Soviet Russians, but then, I've also seen it in many Europeans in the waning days of the twentieth century. And in its own strange way, a more global perspective in the Internet age seems to either push people further into fatalism or ardent activism. Yet both seem to struggle with hope. Often I hear, "what's the point?"

Frankly, even when people don't outright say it, I feel like a great deal of Internet comments can almost be boiled down to "what's the point?" Russians and many in the former Soviet states have plenty of reason to feel that way. To maintain the union, there has to be some level of belief in that union. Belief in the dream of what can be done together. When that dream falls or even just the facade of it finally gives way, what are you left with?

One of the defining factors of a kind of "American" ideal is the personal dream above the collective dream, and that is surprisingly resilient to shifts in the world. Because if you fail your dream, there's still the next one. And your failure won't as often drag down the dreams of others. And so, while it hinders larger collective dreams, individual hope still endures. But if you have no basis for that, then all you're left with is a failure and a feeling of weakness. The ideology of "Alone we are weak, but together we are strong" is amazing in mobilizing people, but when those big hopes fail and people get more and more divided, then it's people left alone, only with reminders of the past that they are powerless.

In more recent times, the Internet feeds a similar conflict in people. People want to stand on their own and do something, but in the big picture of an overwhelming Internet and a world so distant yet undeniably in one's face 24/7, how can you do anything? I understand the fatalism, because especially for a young person in their teens or early twenties, they've had the Internet almost all their lives. And with it, the world feels smaller than ever before. Smaller, but still all too distant. I may be able to talk to someone across the globe, and they can literally show me the very real wounds that they have. But no matter one's empathy, it is so easy to notice and dwell upon our frustrating powerlessness. It's like you're in a hotel room and next door someone cries for help but all you can do is shout in the hopes that anyone with the power to do so can make it stop. The natural fatalism of weakness may make us callous to the world, but I do believe there is still some value in pursuing action even in the face of hopelessness.

My distance or weakness does not make any distant cries less chilling or concerns less pressing. As you explained, the greatest failing of fatalism is how it weakens us from taking advantage of the real opportunities that are there. Just because we can't see an opportunity as clear as crystal does not mean it isn't there, and across one of the rivers, there may indeed be something meaningful. I care about what's happening in Ukraine not because the news is in a tizzy or it's the hottest topic, but because these aren't just faces on a screen. They aren't just distant concepts I can write off. This is impacting real people, and I'll be damned if I let apparent powerlessness rob me of my humanity. A Ukrainian or Russian is not some foreign entity; they are people like you and me stuck in their own crazy situation. Even if we can do little here, we still have every reason to care about what is happening in Ukraine.

I hope you are right about the state of affairs in Russia, and I have had a similar impression. Russia is not a monolith; it's a country like any other. And there are plenty of Russians who see through the madness of all this. Putin will not have everyone on board, especially if this is only just a sign of what's to come. There used to be years and years of media telling Russians and Americans to hate and stereotype one another, but the reality is, people are people first. And I've seen enough goodness and sense from Russians in my own life to be confident that many Russians will not stand for this. The systematic challenges of post-Soviet fatalism aside, sensible people will find a way to cut through the bullshit.

This is perhaps more of a personal sentiment here than just about Ukraine, but a lot of this speaks to a bigger context of history and the present we know face. We do not have to accept the all too common fatalism which endures and grows today. In those here and elsewhere, I continue to be given greater hope in the face of powerlessness, frustration, and all that may seem at first to be distant and insurmountable.

"Even if we can do little here, we still have every reason to care about what is happening in Ukraine."

As I read in your post, people are suffering from fatalism, powerlessness, weakness, frustration, and hopelessness. You also believe that the negative aspects are unaffected by the Internet, and possibly exasperated. You stated that it is through your understanding of "context and history" you have come to this conclusion.

"This is impacting real people, and I'll be damned if I let apparent powerlessness rob me of my humanity."

Now, if I understand that comment correctly, it would seem that you feel inaction by the U.S. in the Ukraine is inhumane. Of course, that is your personal perspective, you are entitled to it, and I respect it. Please allow me to share my perspective.

In the wake of 9/11 the U.S. invaded Iraq. This was after the hijackers were identified as Saudi nationals. Of course we purchase much of our oil from Saudi Arabia, so any confrontation on that front threatens our economy. Why should the U.S. invade Iraq? Because they have Weapons of Mass Destruction they are planning on using on the U.S., and after the first act of war on domestic soil since Pearl Harbor Americans were obviously nervous about further attacks. Only there weren't WMDs.

We also are waging a military campaign in Afghanistan, though they haven't made an direct threats to America. This campaign fell under the umbrella of our new "War on Terror" and was presented to us as Muslim terrorists posing a potential threat to the States. BTW, these "Taliban terrorists" had successfully halted Poppy farming in that area, which is the overwhelming source of the world's heroin production, but that topic is beyond the scope of this post. Russia, however, was in the area fighting "terrorists" and they don't call Afghanistan the "Graveyard of Empires" for no reason. So in goes the U.S. paying the high cost of war with it's currency...human lives.

I could go on about the Patriot Act, but I think you can see my point. Governments benefited from that situation more than the interests of any American citizens.

Cut to the bank bailouts, where billions and billions of dollars were given to private companies that had effectively mismanaged their business. Insult to injury, we find that many of those involved received ridiculous bonuses for their actions that led to the bailouts. Some may try to justify that situation with any number of pedantic arguments, but the truth is people got paid for screwing up. This includes the housing market crash that led to numerous people being evicted from their homes and tossed out on the street like garbage.

We find rampant conflicts of interest as our politicians influence industry regulations, while serving as employees of corporations that are involved in those industries.

We find that the NSA, charged with the duty of protecting American citizens, have actually been collecting our data (in totality) in direct conflict with our rights protected by the Constitution. The same rights Dianne Feinstein is now evoking as it appears the CIA was snooping in their computers, evidently regarding the use of (unethical at best and illegal at worst) torture on prisoners in places like Guantanamo Bay.

So, yes we have some frustrations.

I can only speak to my time on the Internet but it has, in fact, taught me that the world does not approve of much of our nation building and meddling in foreign affairs. An example of this is the CIA staging a coup in Iran, deposing the leader, and installing the Shah of Iran. A black mark on their, and our, record that will last forever considering the unspeakable travesties the Shah inflicted on the citizens of Iran. A situation in which a much deserved apology from America is way overdue. But I digress. The position of the foreigners I spoke to was a slap in the face, as the American media would have us believe the rest of the world loves us. However, the criticism did not go ignored. I can only assume that many of my fellow Americans have received similar feedback from foreigners. So the Internet has given me a more diverse global perspective of my countries place in the world. In additions to the corruption I already knew about, outlined above.

"We do not have to accept the all too common fatalism which endures and grows today. In those here and elsewhere, I continue to be given greater hope in the face of powerlessness, frustration, and all that may seem at first to be distant and insurmountable."

I can assure you that positive change does not seem distant, nor insurmountable, to me. On the contrary, I have in fact become laser focused on the immediate issue of correcting the corruption in my government. Yes, I am hesitant to get involved in the Ukraine. Given the track record of my government regarding recent conflicts, I'm not taking them at their word anymore. I know that before I can reach out a helping hand, in any way, I must clean house here first. Call that inhumane if you must, but I see it as the exact opposite.

Again, thank you for participating in this thread, and I value your perspective.

#9 Edited by LD50 (415 posts) -

@blackout62: Did you have a comment on the OP, besides the critique of my introduction?

#10 Edited by LD50 (415 posts) -

@jimbo said:
@topcat88 said:

If everyone stayed out of everyone else's business the world would be a better place. I am firmly against ALL military activity anywhere except of when actively defending you're own borders. In WW2 it was essential for the UK to defend itself against the Nazi threat. Same goes for the Falklands. We should have stayed out of the Middle East and we should stay well out of Ukraine/Russia/Crimea.

Go tell that to the Jews, or the Poles, or the French, or the rest of Europe, or the Russians... all of whom your foreign policy has just condemned to a life (or more likely rape and/or death) under Nazi occupation.

The UK wasn't directly defending itself at the beginning of WW2. Hitler didn't even want war with Britain and believed the two nations to be natural allies. Don't forget that it was Britain and France which declared war on Germany, when they invaded Poland. The only regret is that the US wasn't with us from the start and that we didn't collectively stand up to Hitler sooner. The whole thing could have been avoided if we had been stronger earlier - that is supposed to be the lesson which we learned from WW2. It's the lesson which saw us safely through the Cold War and it's the lesson which we are apparently now on the verge of forgetting.

So your position is that Russia will be creating a holocaust in the near future? There have been several bloody, near genocidal if not completely genocidal, campaigns in the recent past that the U.S. did nothing about. I'm not sure if I understand why this situation is different, in that it has more gravity than the aforementioned tragedies. You are referring to "us" as "the West", but the European Union is the main entity involved in this confrontation. If any people should get involved, should it not be the interested parties?

We got involved in WW2 because we were attacked by Japan. The citizens of the U.S. were strongly opposed to intervening prior to that. Churchill, who was chomping at the bit to get the U.S. involved, declared war on Japan immediately following that attack if for no other reason than to shame the U.S. into the war.