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> Return of the Tsar?, Putin getting a bit excited?
turnea
post May 15 2005, 12:18 AM
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QUOTE
Georgia asked Saturday for calm negotiations over the withdrawal of two Soviet-era bases as Moscow threatened retaliation if services were cut to the facilities -- something Georgia's parliament threatened to do earlier this year.

A Georgian presidential spokesman said the nation was dropping the threat made by parliament in March to isolate the bases if a deal on a pullout was not reached by Sunday.[...]Georgia and Russia have been sparring over the timetable for withdrawal. Tbilisi wants the troops out within two years, while Moscow insists it needs at least four years and possibly more than a decade to complete the job.

Georgia Seeks to Calm Furor Over Base Plan
QUOTE
Just 17 percent of the world's population lives in countries that enjoy a free press.

If you live in Central Asia, Russia, Afghanistan, or Iran you are not among them. You belong to the 45 percent of the globe's inhabitants that live in countries with media that is rated as "not free."

That's according to a new survey titled "Freedom of Press: A Global Survey of Media Independence" by Freedom House, a U.S. nongovernmental organization.

Freedom House Report Says Global Press Freedom In Decline
Is Russia under president Putin moving towards greater or less respect for human rights and democracy?

Is Russia overstepping its bounds in "negotiating" bases on foreign soil after it has been asked to pull out?

If so, what can the international community do to encourage more responsible policy in Russia?
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English Horn
post May 16 2005, 07:48 PM
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QUOTE(loreng59 @ May 16 2005, 02:20 PM)
QUOTE(turnea @ May 16 2005, 03:04 PM)
...of course the comparison whether it be Hawaii or Puerto Rico is still 100% irrelevant to whether or not Russia should pull out of a country whose government has ordered it out.

Georgia with well with it's sovereign rights to order a pull out and the Russians have no right to maintain bases on their soil.
*

Turnea you are 100% correct and I agree with you.

English Horn was trying to claim that Russia has a special historic relationship that needs to be taken into account. I disagree and feel that the world changed, Imperial Russia needs to change as well. I was merely pointing out that even though the US has a 'special historic relationship' with Puerto Rico. If the residents decided to separate we too would be in the same boat as Russia, and most likely would have to do whatever those residents wanted.
*



lorenq59, just a short while ago you pointed out that even if Hawaiians decide to secede from United States, they'll have absolutely no chance to do that, because there's no provision for that in the U.S. Constitution. I am trying to point out to what you yourself named - a hypocrisy. If I understand your logic correctly, Russians made a blunder by letting Georgia go back in 1991 because now they have to deal with all these issues which wouldn't even be in play if Georgia was still part of Russia. wacko.gif See for yourself: Russians let Georgia go (something that, as you admit, is unthinkable for Hawaii who are in the same boat) and now have to pay a price for it?
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loreng59
post May 16 2005, 08:06 PM
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 16 2005, 03:48 PM)
lorenq59, just a short while ago you pointed out that even if Hawaiians decide to secede from United States, they'll have absolutely no chance to do that, because there's no provision for that in the U.S. Constitution. I am trying to point out to what you yourself named - a hypocrisy. If I understand your logic correctly, Russians made a blunder by letting Georgia go back in 1991 because now they have to deal with all these issues which wouldn't even be in play if Georgia was still part of Russia.  wacko.gif See for yourself: Russians let Georgia go (something that, as you admit, is unthinkable for Hawaii who are in the same boat) and now have to pay a price for it?
*

That and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The point is the Russia did let them go. As of 1991 they were a separate, sovereign country. Kind of like England decided that after the Revolution that they really didn't mean that America was a separate nation. You can not go back and say, 'oh I didn't really mean that you are free'. That kind of thing causes wars.

Russia has no rights in Georgia, nada, nothing, zilch. A sovereign nation is just that sovereign. That means that if they give Russia 24 hours, they had better get out within that time period.
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English Horn
post May 16 2005, 08:21 PM
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QUOTE(loreng59 @ May 16 2005, 03:06 PM)
Russia has no rights in Georgia, nada, nothing, zilch. A sovereign nation is just that sovereign. That means that if they give Russia 24 hours, they had better get out within that time period.
*



Maybe so. However, that means that Russia can cut it's energy supply to Georgia any time it sees fit (not a welcome prospect to Georgians who don't have its own energy sources and depend on Russia and , to lesser degree, Iran to provide the country with energy and electricity).

Nothing like that little favor is to be expected now...
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turnea
post May 16 2005, 10:48 PM
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 16 2005, 03:21 PM)
 
QUOTE(loreng59 @ May 16 2005, 03:06 PM)
Russia has no rights in Georgia, nada, nothing, zilch. A sovereign nation is just that sovereign. That means that if they give Russia 24 hours, they had better get out within that time period. 
*
 


Maybe so. However, that means that Russia can cut it's energy supply to Georgia any time it sees fit (not a welcome prospect to Georgians who don't have its own energy sources and depend on Russia and , to lesser degree, Iran to provide the country with energy and electricity).

Nothing like that little favor is to be expected now...
*


Yes, yes that's very nice and Russia does have every right to throw a hissy fit if asked to comply with a perfectly reasonable demand to withdraw its troops.

Of course Russia is hardly a pillar of self-reliance and other nations have the right to cut their support of Russia in retaliation.

..and Russia would lose influence over Georgia as a result, Georgia borders Turkey, a major center for oil and gas lines.

Georgia is already scheduled to be on pipelines running oil and gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey.

The days of Russian dominance on that country are numbered. Russia would do well to establish normal relations rather than play the bully.
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loreng59
post May 17 2005, 12:55 PM
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I have to agree with turnea and his point. Russia can and will do whatever it wants with their resources. If Russia decides to cut the power cord to Georgia, well there are many countries that are not independently viable.

Maybe if Russia did cut the flow of power other countries with simular problems might find themselves in a situation where they not make it might on their own. Then they will find that co-operation might be required. Is that such a bad thing?

But in the end that is something that Georgia has considered and they still have the right to decide who may or may not be in their country.
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ralou
post May 20 2005, 02:59 AM
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Is Russia under president Putin moving towards greater or less respect for human rights and democracy?

I read something earlier today. I'm still completely enraged. Thought I'd share, as it seems to answer this question:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4563829.stm

QUOTE
Headline:  Troops cleared of Chechen deaths:  A Russian court has found a group of special forces soldiers not guilty of murdering six Chechen civilians.

The soldiers said they made radio contact with headquarters to report their blunder and were told to shoot the survivors to cover up the incident.


See, they did it, but they were ordered to do it, so the Court decided they couldn't be convicted. That is the most blatant violation of human rights I've heard of yet, it even trumps the Bush Administration's torture flights. They're not even trying to pretend to respect human rights. Orders is orders. Yes sir! Riiiight. I see why Gary Kasparov is ready to risk his life trying to get rid of Putin.





Is Russia overstepping its bounds in "negotiating" bases on foreign soil after it has been asked to pull out?


On this one, I tend to think the Hawaii parallel is accurate.



If so, what can the international community do to encourage more responsible policy in Russia?


Deliver Putin to the ICC for war crimes on other issues, then let the Russian people elect someone who knows when it's time to make a graceful exit.
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turnea
post May 20 2005, 03:05 AM
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QUOTE(ralou @ May 19 2005, 09:59 PM)

On this one, I tend to think the Hawaii parallel is accurate. 
*


My response is that the issue transcends concerns about whether the comparison is accurate.

Accurate or not it is thoroughly irrelevant to the question at hand. Georgian sovereignty dictates their government's right to order the departure of foreign soldiers housed on there soil is good order.

Russia is refusing to so so and therefore have clearly overstepped their bounds.
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CruisingRam
post May 20 2005, 10:32 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 19 2005, 06:05 PM)
QUOTE(ralou @ May 19 2005, 09:59 PM)

On this one, I tend to think the Hawaii parallel is accurate.  
*


My response is that the issue transcends concerns about whether the comparison is accurate.

Accurate or not it is thoroughly irrelevant to the question at hand. Georgian sovereignty dictates their government's right to order the departure of foreign soldiers housed on there soil is good order.

Russia is refusing to so so and therefore have clearly overstepped their bounds.
*




What you have here is a "might makes right" type of argument Turnea- if, at anytime right now, Putin decides it is in his countries best interest to return Goergia or any of the "stan" countries back to Russian commonwealth, by force of arms, he could do so, I suppose- but is it right? hmmm.gif

Would any of the world REALLY be able to do anything about it? hmmm.gif

There is no "overstepping their bounds" if you have the nukes and army to back it up- we have set that example with Iraq.

I see Putin as a slightly better leader and human being than GW- with about equal corruption in both.

The biggest difference in our two countries is what the poeple value most of all- we, as a country, basically have some type of amorphous "freedom" we value (though what that entails and how we go about actually having it is a debate, or several debates, in itself) whereas your average Russian wants safety and security. Putin enjoys a massive popularity in his country, far higher than any national level politician here (for years it was over 70%, by any measure) - so he rules with the consent of the poeple. The Russian poeple don't want Uzbeckistan or Goergian style chaos that is occuring there now- they might not like thier massive decrease in living condition since "communism" fell, but they are pretty satisfied with the job Putin is doing. In fact, far more satisfied as a population than we are with our own little dictator! thumbsup.gif
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ralou
post May 21 2005, 12:04 AM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 19 2005, 11:05 PM)
QUOTE(ralou @ May 19 2005, 09:59 PM)

On this one, I tend to think the Hawaii parallel is accurate. 
*


My response is that the issue transcends concerns about whether the comparison is accurate.

Accurate or not it is thoroughly irrelevant to the question at hand. Georgian sovereignty dictates their government's right to order the departure of foreign soldiers housed on there soil is good order.

Russia is refusing to so so and therefore have clearly overstepped their bounds.
*



Oh, sorry if I implied I disagree entirely with your assessment. But IMO, the biggest issue isn't legalities, whether they can be paralleled or not, or historical context, whether this can be paralleled or not.

The biggest issue is: Putin has turned into a deadly and unpredictable dictator, and if I were a citizen of any nation with Russian soldiers or bases on my soil, I'd want them out, too! And that includes Chechnya, where mostly unreported brutality is carried out every day.

But still, I do see the point about Hawaii. If Hawaiins today voted to withdraw from the United States and/or boot every military base off the islands, what would happen?

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turnea
post May 22 2005, 12:44 PM
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QUOTE(ralou @ May 20 2005, 07:04 PM)

But still, I do see the point about Hawaii.  If Hawaiins today voted to withdraw from the United States and/or boot every military base off the islands, what would happen?
*


Seeing as that would never happen, I'm hard pressed to care. Rathe than debate the legality of secession for whatever reason I will simply point out that this kind of smokescreen tactic adds nothing to debate.

I hope we would all refuse to chase after red herrings.


Even if Russian troops were angels Georgia would have every right to order them out, the situation isn't about feelings or public opinion either.

It's about sovereignty.
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English Horn
post May 22 2005, 03:13 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 22 2005, 07:44 AM)
Seeing as that would never happen, I'm hard pressed to care.


It's all about how the question is framed. Would you care more if someone asked you about how native Hawaiians' rights for a independent, sovereign state are trumped by a powerful superempire which occupied their country illegally for 100+ years and doesn't provide any legal means to secede? smile.gif
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ralou
post May 22 2005, 04:44 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 22 2005, 08:44 AM)
QUOTE(ralou @ May 20 2005, 07:04 PM)

But still, I do see the point about Hawaii.  If Hawaiins today voted to withdraw from the United States and/or boot every military base off the islands, what would happen?
*


Seeing as that would never happen, I'm hard pressed to care. Rathe than debate the legality of secession for whatever reason I will simply point out that this kind of smokescreen tactic adds nothing to debate.

I hope we would all refuse to chase after red herrings.


Even if Russian troops were angels Georgia would have every right to order them out, the situation isn't about feelings or public opinion either.

It's about sovereignty.
*



You asked if Russia was overstepping its bounds, Turnea. And there are no hard drawn legal bounds on this matter, so other posters put it in historical and wide context, which, as far as I can see, was the only way to answer your question without merely resorting to personal opinion. After those posters considered it in wider context, I saw their point, but I don't think it's a red herring, even though I also see yours. It's merely considering the matter from all angles.

While it is unlikely Hawaii will ever secede, there is a movement in Hawaii promoting secession, and since it is far more unlikely that Putin will read these threads and be swayed by them that that the Hawaii secession movement will succeed, I don't see the harm in what iffing a little bit.



This post has been edited by ralou: May 22 2005, 04:45 PM
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turnea
post May 22 2005, 05:53 PM
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QUOTE(ralou @ May 22 2005, 11:44 AM)

You asked if Russia was overstepping its bounds, Turnea.  And there are no hard drawn legal bounds on this matter, so other posters put it in historical and wide context, which, as far as I can see, was the only way to answer your question without merely resorting to personal opinion.


"Historical context" to what end?

Even is a an acceptable parallel was found, actions taken in that case would not necessarily be the model for actions taken in the case of Russian troops in Georgia.

History is not an argument, it is an example. As such it cannot answer the question posed and indeed has only served to evade answer in this debate.


QUOTE(ralou)

After those posters considered it in wider context, I saw their point, but I don't think it's a red herring, even though I also see yours.  It's merely considering the matter from all angles. 

While it is unlikely Hawaii will ever secede, there is a movement in Hawaii promoting secession, and since it is far more unlikely that Putin will read these threads and be swayed by them that that the Hawaii secession movement will succeed, I don't see the harm in what iffing a little bit.
*


Harm is in the lack of help, ralou.

After all this consideration you will notice it has not lead those who choose to reference Hawaii to any actual conclusion. rolleyes.gif

That would be because it isn't meant to, that is the point of a red herring.


Finally this is not simply a matter of personal opinion. Russia agreeds to withdraw it's troops back in '98.
1999 OSCE Summit in Istanbul(PDF)

The agreement, referred to in a joint statement by Russian and Georgian authorities, is on the last page.


The Hawaii dodge won't work, if anyone wants to start a thread on that wholly unrelated subject, then by all means do so. dry.gif
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ralou
post May 22 2005, 06:25 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 22 2005, 01:53 PM)
QUOTE(ralou @ May 22 2005, 11:44 AM)

You asked if Russia was overstepping its bounds, Turnea.  And there are no hard drawn legal bounds on this matter, so other posters put it in historical and wide context, which, as far as I can see, was the only way to answer your question without merely resorting to personal opinion.


"Historical context" to what end?

Even is a an acceptable parallel was found, actions taken in that case would not necessarily be the model for actions taken in the case of Russian troops in Georgia.

History is not an argument, it is an example. As such it cannot answer the question posed and indeed has only served to evade answer in this debate.


QUOTE(ralou)

After those posters considered it in wider context, I saw their point, but I don't think it's a red herring, even though I also see yours.  It's merely considering the matter from all angles. 

While it is unlikely Hawaii will ever secede, there is a movement in Hawaii promoting secession, and since it is far more unlikely that Putin will read these threads and be swayed by them that that the Hawaii secession movement will succeed, I don't see the harm in what iffing a little bit.
*


Harm is in the lack of help, ralou.

After all this consideration you will notice it has not lead those who choose to reference Hawaii to any actual conclusion. rolleyes.gif

That would be because it isn't meant to, that is the point of a red herring.


Finally this is not simply a matter of personal opinion. Russia agreeds to withdraw it's troops back in '98.
1999 OSCE Summit in Istanbul(PDF)

The agreement, referred to in a joint statement by Russian and Georgian authorities, is on the last page.


The Hawaii dodge won't work, if anyone wants to start a thread on that wholly unrelated subject, then by all means do so. dry.gif
*




Now I'm puzzled. You asked a question, and the answer was provided, as best it could be, without using personal opinion on what it means to 'overstep'. I concluded from it that legally and historically, Russia is not overstepping its bounds, but I limited this observation only to the matter specifically addressed. I then, in my first post, provided other instances and issues in which Russia is overstepping its bounds. Perhaps I should have posted a concluding summation: Russia's presence in other nations is understandably not wanted, because of the nature of its current leadership.

So now you're starting to talk about "harm in the lack of help". So that is a different question. In fact, it is your third question:


If so, what can the international community do to encourage more responsible policy in Russia?


Here historical and legal matters definately come into play. The Hawaii issue has relevence because Russia can rebuff all attempts by pointing to Hawaii and other territories held by the nations who demand Russia abandon its territory. Russia has too much room to point fingers, unless proponents of its withdrawel can come up with reasons this time is different. Which I already said it is different, but I don't know if you are in agreement with why I think it's different, despite that fact that your first question had to do with human rights.
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turnea
post May 22 2005, 06:56 PM
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QUOTE(ralou @ May 22 2005, 01:25 PM)
Now I'm puzzled.  You asked a question, and the answer was provided, as best it could be, without using personal opinion on what it means to 'overstep'.  I concluded from it that legally and historically, Russia is not overstepping its bounds, but I limited this observation only to the matter specifically addressed.


Not only is that not true, it is in fact impossible. It is clear that Russia is legally overstepping its bounds both from previous agreements and the basic concept of a country's sovereignty.

The concept of "historically" overstepping its bounds has no meaning at all. Pointing to historical examples of similar circumstances can neither support nor condemn Russia's actions.

That is a logical dead-end and thus must have been filled with one's personal opinion.


QUOTE(ralou)

Here historical and legal matters definately come into play.  The Hawaii issue has relevence because Russia can rebuff all attempts by pointing to Hawaii and other territories held by the nations who demand Russia abandon its territory.  Russia has too much room to point fingers, unless proponents of its withdrawel can come up with reasons this time is different.  Which I already said it is different, but I don't know if you are in agreement with why I think it's different, despite that fact that your first question had to do with human rights.
*


Only true if the international community is dense enough to fall for it. The UN can be slow, but they aren't that slow.

It does not matter that his time is similar to actions taken before international law. Correction of such actions is ex post facto (after the fact).

Legal traditions are clear that as such these matters cannot be prosecuted under current laws.

This post has been edited by turnea: May 23 2005, 01:13 AM
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ralou
post May 23 2005, 04:25 AM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 22 2005, 02:56 PM)
QUOTE(ralou @ May 22 2005, 01:25 PM)
Now I'm puzzled.  You asked a question, and the answer was provided, as best it could be, without using personal opinion on what it means to 'overstep'.  I concluded from it that legally and historically, Russia is not overstepping its bounds, but I limited this observation only to the matter specifically addressed.


Not only is that not true, it is in fact impossible. It is clear that Russia is legally overstepping its bounds both from previous agreements and the basic concept of a country's sovereignty.

The concept of "historically" overstepping its bounds has no meaning at all. Pointing to historical examples of similar circumstances can neither support nor condemn Russia's actions.

That is a logical dead-end and thus must have been filled with one's personal opinion.


QUOTE(ralou)

Here historical and legal matters definately come into play.  The Hawaii issue has relevence because Russia can rebuff all attempts by pointing to Hawaii and other territories held by the nations who demand Russia abandon its territory.  Russia has too much room to point fingers, unless proponents of its withdrawel can come up with reasons this time is different.  Which I already said it is different, but I don't know if you are in agreement with why I think it's different, despite that fact that your first question had to do with human rights.
*


Only true if the international community is dense enough to fall for it. The UN can be slow, but they aren't that slow.

It does not matter that his time is similar to actions taken before international law. Correction of such actions is ex post facto (after the fact).

Legal traditions are clear that as such these matters cannot be prosecuted under current laws.
*



I'm not sure Guantanamo Bay is historical, since occupation continues today, despite what Cuba's government and perhaps her people want:



http://www.nsgtmo.navy.mil/history%201a.htm

QUOTE
A 1934 treaty reaffirming the lease granted Cuba and her trading partners free access through the bay, modified the lease payment from $2,000 in gold coins per year, to the 1934 equivalent value of $4,085 U.S. Treasury Dollars, and added a requirement that termination of the lease requires the consent of both the U.S. and Cuba governments, or the abandonment of the base property by the U.S.


It looks to me as though this old treaty, created between the US and a government that no longer exists, could crumble to dust today, and that the US has been and continues to overstep its bounds by remaining at Guantanamo despite numerous assassination attempts on Castro and an invasion of Cuba!


Do you have a quote on the international law that sanctioning a country for refusing to leave can be based on? I'm going to know a lot about international law soon (I hope, since it's the field I intend to work in!), but I don't yet.

Also, when is it "overstepping the bounds" for a country to keep troops in another nation? When and only when that nation's government demands it leave? When its government accepts the troops' presence but its people demand they leave? Or only when both a nation's government and citizens demand troops leave? If Russia overthrows Georgia's government and installs one that says it wants the bases to remain, what then? Is it then legal for Russia to stay?

And what exactly do you propose the world's nations do about this matter? Are you suggesting censure in the form of angry speeches and exposure of Russia's abysmal human rights record? I certainly agree with those measures.

Are you suggesting trade sanctions? I'm not sure how effective it would be against Russia, but it's worth a try.

You aren't suggesting the UN invade Russia, are you? I don't think that would be a particularly bright idea, as much as I'd love to see Putin ousted.

This post has been edited by ralou: May 23 2005, 04:36 AM
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CruisingRam
post May 23 2005, 06:05 AM
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I think, as pointed out by ralou and others, that America want it both ways once again, doesn't mind or ignores it's own illegal behavior, and whines when others do the same thing- I think , if I am not mistaken, is the gist of the argument-

we have violated hundreds of our own treaties, etc, such as pointed out with gitmo, the illegal invasion of Iraq etc- so what right do we have to point fingers at Russia- and even worse, we helped topple the regime in Uzbeckistan, and once again, installed something worse (will we EVER learn? hmmm.gif ) How long until we have a Saddam in Ukraine, Uzbeckistan, Azerbijan or Goergia? Remember, we did the same thing in Iraq once!

Russia and Goergia will come to thier own agreements in thier own time, and it is not our place to but in, again, quite frankly, because if we do, as usual, we will muck it up!

From a link I found right here at AD:


http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php...popup_delayed=1

The burgeoning nationalism and desire to escape Russian domination in Central and Eastern Europe impelled these states in the direction of NATO and the European Union, enabling their governments to push through deeply unpopular economic and political reforms. In the Soviet Union—with the exception of the formerly independent Baltic states—the historical, economic, and cultural background was very different. Placed in the context of most former Soviet republics, Russia looks better than average in terms of both development and democracy.

It is not just the burden of history that makes hope for a rapid transformation in Russia illusory. The country’s dreadful economic decline, social and moral chaos, and rampant corruption in the 1990s shattered the image of economic reform and democracy for the bulk of the population. By 1996, long before the accession of Putin, the combined vote of the liberal parties was already below 12 percent. Russia’s first taste of democracy was bitter, and fairly or unfairly, those who championed it have been held responsible for policies that created misery for tens of millions while grotesquely enriching a favored few.




In the West, hostility toward Russian President Vladimir Putin stems from two beliefs: that Russia should move quickly toward Western-style democracy and that there is a strong, popular, liberal opposition ready to lead such a transformation. The first is mistaken, the second, pure fantasy. It will take at least a generation for Russia to build the foundation for a modern market economy and democracy. It’s an uncomfortable reality, but, for the foreseeable future, only a semiauthoritarian government such as Putin’s can keep Russia moving in the right direction. If Putin weren’t there, we’d soon miss him.


This post has been edited by CruisingRam: May 23 2005, 06:08 AM
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ralou
post May 23 2005, 07:25 AM
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QUOTE(CruisingRam @ May 23 2005, 02:05 AM)
I think, as pointed out by ralou and others, that America want it both ways once again, doesn't mind or ignores it's own illegal behavior, and whines when others do the same thing- I think , if I am not mistaken, is the gist of the argument-

we have violated hundreds of our own treaties, etc, such as pointed out with gitmo, the illegal invasion of Iraq etc- so what right do we have to point fingers at Russia- and even worse, we helped topple the regime in Uzbeckistan, and once again, installed something worse (will we EVER learn?  hmmm.gif ) How long until we have a Saddam in Ukraine, Uzbeckistan, Azerbijan or Goergia? Remember, we did the same thing in Iraq once!

Russia and Goergia will come to thier own agreements in thier own time, and it is not our place to but in, again, quite frankly, because if we do, as usual, we will muck it up!

From a link I found right here at AD:


http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php...popup_delayed=1

The burgeoning nationalism and desire to escape Russian domination in Central and Eastern Europe impelled these states in the direction of NATO and the European Union, enabling their governments to push through deeply unpopular economic and political reforms. In the Soviet Union—with the exception of the formerly independent Baltic states—the historical, economic, and cultural background was very different. Placed in the context of most former Soviet republics, Russia looks better than average in terms of both development and democracy.

It is not just the burden of history that makes hope for a rapid transformation in Russia illusory. The country’s dreadful economic decline, social and moral chaos, and rampant corruption in the 1990s shattered the image of economic reform and democracy for the bulk of the population. By 1996, long before the accession of Putin, the combined vote of the liberal parties was already below 12 percent. Russia’s first taste of democracy was bitter, and fairly or unfairly, those who championed it have been held responsible for policies that created misery for tens of millions while grotesquely enriching a favored few.




In the West, hostility toward Russian President Vladimir Putin stems from two beliefs: that Russia should move quickly toward Western-style democracy and that there is a strong, popular, liberal opposition ready to lead such a transformation. The first is mistaken, the second, pure fantasy. It will take at least a generation for Russia to build the foundation for a modern market economy and democracy. It’s an uncomfortable reality, but, for the foreseeable future, only a semiauthoritarian government such as Putin’s can keep Russia moving in the right direction. If Putin weren’t there, we’d soon miss him.
*




While I do think the US is a raging hypocrite, you have it wrong if you think I point this out because I want Putin to keep ruling Russia. He is a dictatorial war criminal and he needs to be ousted and jailed as soon as possible, by any means (short of a counter-productive armageddon or other ridiculous action, such as replacing his dictatorship with a US-friendly one). I'm not just against the dictators and war criminals aligned with our disgusting regime. I want them all to go. Murderers don't belong in office, they belong in prison. That includes Putin.

This post has been edited by ralou: May 23 2005, 07:26 AM
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CruisingRam
post May 23 2005, 01:49 PM
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You have a real debate here though ralou in reality vs utopia when it comes to politicians- I would love to see all the bad guys in jail and out of power in the world- but it ain't gonna happen, I would LOVE to see GW and Putin sitting side by side in jail, but it ain't gonna happen.


If so, what can the international community do to encourage more responsible policy in Russia?

The answer is pretty much ALWAYS nothing, until they truly turn outside thier borders and IMMINENTLY threaten the rest of the world, and then it is even iffy then.

Putin enjoys enormous popularity, much higher than our own leaders right now in our own borders, any kind of interference, as pointed out in the article, would have no support, and would probably backfire badly.
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English Horn
post May 23 2005, 01:54 PM
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QUOTE(CruisingRam @ May 23 2005, 01:05 AM)
From a link I found right here at AD:
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php...popup_delayed=1

In the West, hostility toward Russian President Vladimir Putin stems from two beliefs: that Russia should move quickly toward Western-style democracy and that there is a strong, popular, liberal opposition ready to lead such a transformation. The first is mistaken, the second, pure fantasy. It will take at least a generation for Russia to build the foundation for a modern market economy and democracy. It’s an uncomfortable reality, but, for the foreseeable future, only a semiauthoritarian government such as Putin’s can keep Russia moving in the right direction. If Putin weren’t there, we’d soon miss him.


I haven't seen a better quote and a better summation of the situation in a long, long time. There's no true leader in the liberal opposition right now (as sadly as it sounds for a 140-million country) and not because Putin jailed them all; he didn't have to. It's unpopular to be a liberal democrat right now just because the first taste of democracy has been bitter for many. Putin may be bad, but he is far, far from the worst.
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