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turnea
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
QUOTE(turnea @ May 14 2005, 07:18 PM)
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?

*



Putin gives Russians exactly as much freedom as they need. While he no longer enjoys 70-80 percent popularity ratings that he had 3-4 years ago, he is still quite popular by Western standards. Why? Because "freedom of press", while important, is not a first priority for an average Russian; the state of the economy and the overall stability is. And Russia under Putin made significant strides towards improving a life for an average Joe from the street. The economy is growing; even with the recent slowdown economic recovery since 1998 crisis has been impressive. So impressive that Russia is going to pay back 15 bln. dollars it owes to the West, at face value:

QUOTE
The deal -- the largest ever Paris Club debt redemption -- crowns Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin's drive to use Russia's growing oil wealth to reduce the $43 billion it owes to the Club's other 18 members, comprising the world's leading industrialized nations.
...
Germany, Russia's largest creditor which badly needs a cash injection to help fund its budget deficit, expects to reap $6.4 billion in the deal. Italy, the second biggest creditor, can expect $1.93 billion.
...
That is a far cry from the dark days of 1998, when the $40 billion pyramid scheme that was Russia's domestic government bond market collapsed, bringing the rouble down with it.


Russia had absolute, uncontrolled freedom of press during the mid-late 1990s, the Yeltsin years; I have yet to meet a person in Russia from any social circle who would want to return to those days. My wife's uncle, who owns a successful business in St. Petersburg, remembers those days with horror: "chaos" is the word most often used. Bear in mind, he is not a big fan of Putin; he faults him for the Yukos affair which demonstrated that regardless of your personal wealth, if you break the rules of the game and venture out of business affairs into the politics - you'll be brought down. Yet he moved his family from a Western European country back to Russia since he feels that the country is stable enough and safe enough for them to live there.

As for military bases, Georgia has very weak hand in these negotiations. Quarter of Georgian economy is agriculture, and Russia consumes the balk of their output of citrus fruites, nut, grapes, and tea. More than 55 percent of their GDP comes from tourism, and guess what? 80 percent of tourists going there are Russians. Anybody on this board went to Georgia for vacation recently? wink.gif
Combined with the fact that Georgia has very little in terms of natural and energy resources, Russia effectively controls Georgian economy. Also, Georgia has been part of Russian Empire for a long, long time (for more than hundred years prior to the Revolution of 1917, much longer than Hawaii was part of the United States). While it is indeed a "foreign soil" rolleyes.gif , it's unreasonable to expect Russia to disassemble and pull out everything that took hundreds of years to build in a two-year time frame.

Why there's so much talk about Russia's "occupation" of states such as Georgia when in essence it's not much different from United States' annexation of Hawaii in 1898?


CruisingRam
Very well put EH- and as you know, one of Putin's nicknames is "The good Stalin"-

Being married to a Russian, but having been a cold warrior myself, I am often amazed at how similar Russia can be to America, until you find something very suddenly different.

Russians value stability far more than the American concept of freedom. They are very uptight and conservative in some areas, and then very European in others.

My wife is horrified at American culture almost every day- and when we are able to retire, we too will live there-

the countries that have thier "revolution" will most likely be far worse off than before, and like Russia before them, will probably move back towards the style of goverment they were more used to.

There will be more "western" style freedom, but not the craziness of the Yeltsin years either, when it was basically chaos. There is a siginficant part of the population that remembers that the average standard of living during Breshnev is much higher than now!
turnea
QUOTE(English Horn @ May 14 2005, 09:18 PM)
Putin gives Russians exactly as much freedom as they need. While he no longer enjoys 70-80 percent popularity ratings that he had 3-4 years ago, he is still quite popular by Western standards. Why? Because "freedom of press", while important, is not a first priority for an average Russian; the state of the economy and the overall stability is.

What you describe is giving Russians as much freedom as the majority demands not as much as the entire nation needs. "Tyranny of the Majority" is not an idle phrase.

Come EH and especially CR (Bush is moving the US towards fascism but letting the Russian government crush free press is just fine rolleyes.gif )

None of us just fell off the turnip truck and it would take an impressive measure of gullibility to believe what either of you have said justifies the state of affairs in Russia

Press freedom and economic growth are not at odds (in fact foreign investors would likely feel more comfortable knowing that the KGB isn't breathing down their necks).

Russia is signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights a legally-binding treaty which protects to right to freedom of expression and information. The Russian government may keep the Russian people ignorant to their rights but they (and we) know better.

QUOTE(English Horn)

Also, Georgia has been part of Russian Empire for a long, long time (for more than hundred years prior to the Revolution of 1917, much longer than Hawaii was part of the United States). While it is indeed a "foreign soil"  rolleyes.gif , it's unreasonable to expect Russia to disassemble and pull out everything that took hundreds of years to build in a two-year time frame. 

Why there's so much talk about Russia's "occupation" of states such as Georgia when in essence it's not much different from United States' annexation of Hawaii in 1898?
*


Excuses, excuses....

One, the comparison to Hawaii doesn't help your case, that too was an example of heartless imperialism that never should have happened. If Hawaiians chose to secede on those grounds they should be allowed to.

Secondly, the situation in Georgia is different. Georgia is not part of Russia. Legally and politically it is independent and has every right to add military independence to that list.

Thirdly, it would not take that long for Russians to pull out of Georgia. You will note that the US pulled out of Saudi Arabia in one fell swoop. Syria left Lebanon in months, not years. All you have to do is take the troops home, the Georgians would be happy to assist I'm sure.

The profanity blocker would censor the accurate description of Russia's argument on this not, but I think we all know what to call it. shifty.gif
English Horn
QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 12:20 PM)
Excuses, excuses....

One, the comparison to Hawaii doesn't help your case, that too was an example of heartless imperialism that never should have happened. If Hawaiians chose to secede on those grounds they should be allowed to.

Secondly, the situation in Georgia is different. Georgia is not part of Russia. Legally and politically it is independent and has every right to add military independence to that list.

Thirdly, it would not take that long for Russians to pull out of Georgia. You will note that the US pulled out of Saudi Arabia in one fell swoop. Syria left Lebanon in months, not years. All you have to do is take the troops home, the Georgians would be happy to assist I'm sure.

The profanity blocker would censor the accurate description of Russia's argument on this not, but I think we all know what to call it. shifty.gif


Ah, it should never had happened, but it had happened. Hawaii was annexed (or occupied), and it doesn't matter whether native Hawaiians want to secede or not - it will never happen. For once, United States did exactly what any colonial power would have done - it saturated the island with non-Hawaiians, so any referendum would have a diminished chance of passing. Second, for a state to secede doesn't it require an approval of the rest of the Union? Now who in the right mind on the mainland would let the best vacation spot in the Union go? w00t.gif
Unlike Hawaii, which was part of the Union for mere 50 plus years, and US territory for a mere 100 years, Georgia was part of the Russian Empire for close to 200 years; in fact, in 200 years prior to 1991 Georgia has been independent for measly 2 years - between 1917 and 1919. Despite all that, Russians were fairly nice and let Georgia (and other 13 republics) go in peace - without any bloodshed, any all-Russia referendums, or much fuss otherwise. How many historical equivalents you can find to that? Your example with US pulling out of Saudi Arabia doesn't hold water because SA was never part of the United States. How long it took for U.K. to give up Hong Kong to China? Wasn't it handled over to them as recently as 1999? What about Falkland islands in South Atlantic? All these lands are far away from United Kingdom, yet England was resisting to the last to give up these "strategic places of interest". Think about Corsica in France, Basques in Spain, Northern Ireland in UK... how many of them have a real chance at secession? Georgia is right next to Russia, was part of Russia for 200 years, and all Russia wants is to have some time to maybe build new base on the Georgian border, or re-establish new defence systems, etc. Because Russia learned its lesson with the Baltic states - even though Gorbachev was promised that no NATO bases will be there, look at them now 15 years later... It is in Russia's strategic interests to be ready this time around. Yes, "legally and politically Georgia is independent", but just because in 1991 Russia allowed it to be so. It had a full right to treat Georgia the same way United States treats Hawaii, yet it chose not to. In appreciation, Georgians can be a little patient... thumbsup.gif


Edited to add:
QUOTE
What you describe is giving Russians as much freedom as the majority demands not as much as the entire nation needs. "Tyranny of the Majority" is not an idle phrase.

Press freedom and economic growth are not at odds (in fact foreign investors would likely feel more comfortable knowing that the KGB isn't breathing down their necks).

There're such things as cultural differences. It doesn't matter how democratic Afganistan eventually may become, you'll never see Afgani women participating in international Cheerleading competition. It doesn't matter how much freedom may eventually come to Saudi Arabia or Iran, some things which are normal and customary to Western women, you'll never see women from the Middle East do, even if they were free to do it. Same applies to Russia.
Back in early 18th century when Peter the Great visited the Western Europe (Portsmouth England to be exact) he wished to see scaffolding, a punishment for sailors at the time. To Peter's astonishment, he was refused: there was nobody who deserved such punishment at the time (hardly enough reason for Peter). When he offered one of his own sailors, he was refused again: since he was in England, his sailors were under protection of the British Law.
I offer this historical anecdote to you as an example how different cultural differences may be. What we may perceive a lack of free press in Russia can be perceived as perfectly normal for an average Joe. And if people are happy, why change?
turnea
QUOTE(English Horn @ May 15 2005, 01:06 PM)

Unlike Hawaii, which was part of the Union for mere 50 plus years, and US territory for a mere 100 years, Georgia was part of the Russian Empire for close to 200 years; in fact, in 200 years prior to 1991 Georgia has been independent for measly 2 years - between 1917 and 1919. Despite all that, Russians were fairly nice and let Georgia (and other 13 republics) go in peace - without any bloodshed, any all-Russia referendums, or much fuss otherwise.

..and much like the Hawaii red herring this is all irrelevant to any practical concerns of a russian pullout. History is just that, history. Moving troops is the same virtually anywhere. Pack 'em up.... ship 'em out.

Pointing to historical examples of other imperialistic behavior does not aid your case. One cannot justify a wrong by pointing out other wrongs.

QUOTE(English Horn)
It is in Russia's strategic interests to be ready this time around. Yes, "legally and politically Georgia is independent", but just because in 1991 Russia allowed it to be so. It had a full right to treat Georgia the same way United States treats Hawaii, yet it chose not to. In appreciation, Georgians can be a little patient...  thumbsup.gif

Absolutely not, for if Georgians have to be patient with Russian extraterritorial demands then the independence is is not complete and there is nothing to be appreciative about.

Freedom to pace in one's cage is no freedom worth applauding.

QUOTE(English Horn)

There're such things as cultural differences. It doesn't matter how democratic Afganistan eventually may become, you'll never see Afgani women participating in international Cheerleading competition. It doesn't matter how much freedom may eventually come to Saudi Arabia or Iran, some things which are normal and customary to Western women, you'll never see women from the Middle East do, even if they were free to do it.  Same applies to Russia.

Again with the red herring.

1. I would hope you would not contend that free press suppression is somehow an integral part of Russian culture, that would be silly.

2. In all examples you posed you have missed the point. Whether or not a culture chooses to participate in an activity (free press.... cheerleading... same difference rolleyes.gif )

can be legitimately prescribed to cultural differences. For those who do chose to participate in such behavior the government has no right to prevent them from doing so. Culture has no bearing on fundamental human rights.
QUOTE(English Horn)

Back in early 18th century when Peter the Great visited the Western Europe (Portsmouth England to be exact) he wished to see scaffolding, a punishment for sailors at the time. To Peter's astonishment, he was refused: there was nobody who deserved such punishment at the time (hardly enough reason for Peter). When he offered one of his own sailors, he was refused again: since he was in England, his sailors were under protection of the British Law.
I offer this historical anecdote to you as an example how different cultural differences may be. What we may perceive a lack of free press in Russia can be perceived as perfectly normal for an average Joe. And if people are happy, why change?
*


Again, not all the people are happy. The journalists who are kidnapped and beaten or killed are certainly not happy. The people who value civic participation and want to be free to know the truth are not happy.

Heck, people were darn happy about slavery....

Except the slaves ermm.gif
Edited to Add:
To make it clea that I'm not fixated on press freedom it goes much deeper than that

Russians have no free elections. Observers condemn Russia election

Russian candidate 'was kidnapped'

If they are unhappy, they have no sure method of showing it...
English Horn
QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 04:46 PM)
..and much like the Hawaii red herring this is all irrelevant to any practical concerns of a russian pullout. History is just that, history. Moving troops is the same virtually anywhere. Pack 'em up.... ship 'em out. 
Pointing to historical examples of other imperialistic behavior does not aid your case. One cannot justify a wrong by pointing out other wrongs.


Of course one can. I do. smile.gif Seriously, though, I am not pointing "wrongs", I am just pointing to how things are done. Why should United States, United Kingdom, France, or anyone else demand something from Russia when they themselves didn't do the same thing?


QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 04:46 PM)
Again, not all the people are happy. The journalists who are kidnapped and beaten or killed are certainly not happy. The people who value civic participation and want to be free to know the truth are not happy.


What you would consider "free press"? If I post to you several links to Russian papers critisizing Putin, would it qualify as "free press"? While there definitely has been a tightening of screws lately, Russian press is much more free than the Western media is trying to portray.

QUOTE
To make it clea that I'm not fixated on press freedom it goes much deeper than that

Russians have no free elections. Observers condemn Russia election.


Observers always condemn something. It's their job.

Observers condemn elections in United States.

Edited to add: I offer the link above not to "point to other wrong" but to say that even in United States which considers itself the model of democracy, voting irregularities happen, and international observers are quick to point them out. This is in the oldest democracy in the world. What do you expect in a country where democracy is 13 years old?
turnea
QUOTE(English Horn @ May 15 2005, 05:05 PM)

Of course one can. I do.  smile.gif  Seriously, though, I am not pointing "wrongs", I am just pointing to how things are done. Why should United States, United Kingdom, France, or anyone else demand something from Russia when they themselves didn't do the same thing?

Perhaps because they have learned something from the centuries of strife these actions have engendered, a respect for human right and dignity.

I ask too much I know... dry.gif

Even if such tortured logic held and the west has no right to criticize, the UN as a whole does.

QUOTE

What you would consider "free press"? If I post to you several links to Russian papers critisizing Putin, would it qualify as "free press"? While there definitely has been a tightening of screws lately, Russian press is much more free than the Western media is trying to portray.

Freedom House is hardly and agent of the "Western Media." They have criticized the US on a number of fronts as well, as they should. This is nothing compared to Russia however.
QUOTE(English Horn)

QUOTE
Culture has no bearing on fundamental human rights. 


I don't think "free press" qualifies as fundamental human right.
*


Without free press (or to use the wider term "freedom of information") there is no way to point out violations of the other rights.

It is the "lynchpin of freedom" to borrow a phrase. When Russia signed the Declaration of Human Rights someone should have read it. rolleyes.gif


English Horn
QUOTE
Russian candidate 'was kidnapped'


Why would Putin's cronies kidnap and drug a candidate which is expected to grab less than 2 percent of the vote? Even in the article you mentioned it says "Mr Rybkin is not seen as a serious contender for the Russian presidency." That would be an equivalent of Bush or Kerry worrying about the impact of Dennis Kucinich....

I see this as a guy who desperately trying to get some attention and makes up a story nobody can prove (or disprove)...
turnea
QUOTE(English Horn @ May 15 2005, 05:24 PM)
QUOTE
Russian candidate 'was kidnapped'


Why would Putin's cronies kidnap and drug a candidate which is expected to grab less than 2 percent of the vote? Even in the article you mentioned it says "Mr Rybkin is not seen as a serious contender for the Russian presidency." That would be an equivalent of Bush or Kerry worrying about the impact of Dennis Kucinich....

I see this as a guy who desperately trying to get some attention and makes up a story nobody can prove (or disprove)...
*


Perhaps, perhaps not... not that the Russian people will ever know considering the press situation.

In any case the Russian people are still without any means on accessing there countries stautus or doing much about it is they find it to be unsatisfactoy. Even if the majority are happy the unhappy minortiy has the legal and moral right to be protected.

The country has poltical freedom on par with Egypt, that is something to be met only with shame.
Google
English Horn
QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 05:36 PM)
Perhaps, perhaps not... not that the Russian people will ever know considering the press situation.


Like I said previously, you seem to overdramatize the situation, IMHO. Th Rybkin's case was played out in Russian media endlessly.

QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 05:36 PM)
In any case the Russian people are still without any means on accessing there countries stautus or doing much about it is they find it to be unsatisfactoy. Even if the majority are happy the unhappy minortiy has the legal and moral right to be protected.
The country has poltical freedom on par with Egypt, that is something to be met only with shame.


I agree with you, and I do like to see Russia's press to have more freedoms, Russian bureaucracy to be less corrupt, and Russia's government to be less centralized. What I don't agree with is your question 3:

What can the international community do to encourage more responsible policy in Russia?

And the answer should be nothing. The problems that I listed are the problems for Russians themselves to fix, and for noone else. The more international community will meddle in Russia's internal affairs, the more support Putin will have for his policies because they'll be viewed as "standing up to outside pressure".
CruisingRam
I watch Russian news (channel one and two) daily- I have a sattelite to recieve it- and they are no worse or better than the US propaganda machine. Possibly only the BBC is completely free compared to the rest of the world- but I watch both, in both native languages, and I don't see them being any less or more free than the US.

Here is a for instance I saw very clearly- during the chechnyan terrorist school children hostage situation- the large anti-terrorist demonstrations by muslims in
Grozny were not televised in America.
turnea
QUOTE(CruisingRam @ May 16 2005, 09:37 AM)
 
I watch Russian news (channel one and two) daily- I have a sattelite to recieve it- and they are no worse or better than the US propaganda machine. Possibly only the BBC is completely free compared to the rest of the world- but I watch both, in both native languages, and I don't see them being any less or more free than the US. 
 
Here is a for instance I saw very clearly- during the chechnyan terrorist school children hostage situation- the large anti-terrorist demonstrations by muslims in 
Grozny were not televised in America. 
*
 

Of course, such a thing would be beneficial to Putin's government. I'll bet Saudi media covered it too. rolleyes.gif
The fact remains that international observers and watchdog groups has been pointing out for quite a while that Russia has one of if not the most repressive regimes in the west.
freedom House Russia Overview.

You do know both of Russia's major news channels are government-run right?


Interestingly, according to Freedom House's rankings the US ranks slightly higher in press freedom than the UK.

Apparently the gold standards are Finland, Iceland, and Sweden. Scandinavia scored high in general.

QUOTE(English Horn)
And the answer should be nothing. The problems that I listed are the problems for Russians themselves to fix, and for noone else. The more international community will meddle in Russia's internal affairs, the more support Putin will have for his policies because they'll be viewed as "standing up to outside pressure".

Perhaps, such a thing should be considered in any plan. However, efforts in Kyrgystan certainly payed off and I don't see any problem with the UN being straight with Russia about repression and human rights.

I don't believe we should leave the Russian people to suffer it out alone, right now those who value freedom are in dire straights.

The international community should make it clear that Russia and it's government should not be taken seriously in it's current state.

If the elections in 2008 do not live up to democratic standards, the "new" government should not be officially recognized. That should send a clear message and is perfectly within our rights.
English Horn
QUOTE(turnea @ May 16 2005, 09:55 AM)
I don't believe we should leave the Russian people to suffer it out alone, right now those who value freedom are in dire straights. 
 
The international community should make it clear that Russia and it's government should not be taken seriously in it's current state. 
 
If the elections in 2008 do not live up to democratic standards, the "new" government should not be officially recognized. That should send a clear message and is perfectly within our rights.


I guess I still don't understand... if you make a poll and ask Russians about their problems, only a fairly small minority will put "freedom of press" on the list (I am not saying that it proves that there's a freedom of press in Russia, it just proves that the majority doesn't care.) So given a fact that the majority of Russians are satisfied with the current situation, how can you say that "we should not leave the Russian people to suffer it out alone"? It just doesn't seem that they're suffering...
You mentioned "Tyranny of the Majority" earlier... but any government's policy satisfies only a part of the population, never the whole.
loreng59
QUOTE(English Horn @ May 15 2005, 06:05 PM)
QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 04:46 PM)
..and much like the Hawaii red herring this is all irrelevant to any practical concerns of a russian pullout. History is just that, history. Moving troops is the same virtually anywhere. Pack 'em up.... ship 'em out. 
Pointing to historical examples of other imperialistic behavior does not aid your case. One cannot justify a wrong by pointing out other wrongs.


Of course one can. I do. smile.gif Seriously, though, I am not pointing "wrongs", I am just pointing to how things are done. Why should United States, United Kingdom, France, or anyone else demand something from Russia when they themselves didn't do the same thing?


QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 04:46 PM)
Again, not all the people are happy. The journalists who are kidnapped and beaten or killed are certainly not happy. The people who value civic participation and want to be free to know the truth are not happy.
English Horn - I would like to make a more fair comparison that of say Puerto Rico. Currently it is a US Territory, if they voted for independence, which may happen. The US would abide by the results and yes we do have several bases in PR. We would have to negotiate with their new government for basing rights and if refused the US would leave.

I would side with Georgia, they have given 24 years for the Russians to go home, more than enough time has passed.

What you would consider "free press"? If I post to you several links to Russian papers critisizing Putin, would it qualify as "free press"? While there definitely has been a tightening of screws lately, Russian press is much more free than the Western media is trying to portray.

QUOTE
To make it clea that I'm not fixated on press freedom it goes much deeper than that

Russians have no free elections. Observers condemn Russia election.


Observers always condemn something. It's their job.

Observers condemn elections in United States.

Edited to add: I offer the link above not to "point to other wrong" but to say that even in United States which considers itself the model of democracy, voting irregularities happen, and international observers are quick to point them out. This is in the oldest democracy in the world. What do you expect in a country where democracy is 13 years old?
*


turnea
QUOTE(English Horn @ May 16 2005, 10:20 AM)
I guess I still don't understand... if you make a poll and ask Russians about their problems, only a fairly small minority will put "freedom of press" on the list (I am not saying that it proves that there's a freedom of press in Russia, it just proves that the majority doesn't care.) So given a fact that the majority of Russians are satisfied with the current situation, how can you say that "we should not leave the Russian people to suffer it out alone"? It just doesn't seem that they're suffering...
You mentioned "Tyranny of the Majority" earlier... but any government's policy satisfies only a part of the population, never the whole.
*


A people can suffer without knowing it. That is especially true with regards to information. An african village which has never experienced decent education may not know what it is missing. They may well be more concerned with the scant harvest or the rising violence in their land.

Ignorance is a tricky menace, it is self-concealing.

Just because the people are more concerned with crushing poverty than democratic institutions doesn't mean both aren't worth fighting or.

A government only has to choose between satisfying a majority o minority when the demands of the two groups are at odds. Economic progress is not at odds with (and it indeed linked to) greater democratization.

This is not and either or situation. According to Nationmaster Russians are some of the lest happy people in the west. Ghanians are happier about their lives than Russians.

All is not well and everyone but the Russians seem to know it.
English Horn
QUOTE(loreng59 @ May 16 2005, 10:54 AM)
English Horn - I would like to make a more fair comparison that of say Puerto Rico. Currently it is a US Territory, if they voted for independence, which may happen. The US would abide by the results and yes we do have several bases in PR. We would have to negotiate with their new government for basing rights and if refused the US would leave.

I would side with Georgia, they have given 24 years for the Russians to go home, more than enough time has passed.


Why do you feel that PR is more fair comparison? Puerto Ricans don't have representation in DC, they don't pay federal taxes; they are not part of the Union. Georgia had representation, paid taxes, enjoyed military protection, was a full-fledged and integral part of the Russian Empire and USSR. I still feel that Hawaii is in a very similar situation (and it's not even connected to a mainland, like Georgia).
So do Hawaiians have a chance to secede from the Union if they decide to do so? Not in a million years. I am not even sure if there's a provision in the Constitution on the subject. Wasn't the Civil War about Southern States' desire to secede?
loreng59
QUOTE(English Horn @ May 16 2005, 02:33 PM)
Why do you feel that PR is more fair comparison? Puerto Ricans don't have representation in DC, they don't pay federal taxes; they are not part of the Union. Georgia had representation, paid taxes, enjoyed military protection, was a full-fledged and integral part of the Russian Empire and USSR. I still feel that Hawaii is in a very similar situation (and it's not even connected to a mainland, like Georgia).
So do Hawaiians have a chance to secede from the Union if they decide to do so? Not in a million years. I am not even sure if there's a provision in the Constitution on the subject. Wasn't the Civil War about Southern States' desire to secede?
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Yes the Civil War was about secession. Hawaii is not going to be able to to do so since the US government does not concede the possibility to member states.
Hypocrisy, heck yes, but when has that stopped the government?

I feel the Puerto Rico situation is more fitting. As you pointed out Puerto Rico is not a member state, does not have representation, and doesn't pay taxes.

On Georgia is not a member state of Russia, they do not have representation in Moscow, they do not pay Russian taxes. How are they different? Georgia may have had all of the above once so did Ukraine and are no longer, so what?

turnea
...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 is well with it's sovereign rights to order a pull out and the Russians have no right to maintain bases on their soil.
loreng59
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.
English Horn
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?
loreng59
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.
English Horn
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...
turnea
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.
loreng59
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.
ralou
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.
turnea
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.
CruisingRam
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
ralou
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?

turnea
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.
English Horn
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
ralou
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.

turnea
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
ralou
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.
turnea
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.
ralou
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.
CruisingRam
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.
ralou
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.
CruisingRam
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.
English Horn
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.
lordhelmet
QUOTE(ralou @ May 23 2005, 03:25 AM)

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.
*




Those are pretty strong charges. Yet, you posted zero evidence to back up your inflammatory claims. What specifically leads you to believe that (1) Putin is a dictatorial war criminal and (2) our regime is "disgusting"?
turnea
QUOTE(ralou @ May 22 2005, 11:25 PM)
 
 
 
I'm not sure Guantanamo Bay is historical, since occupation continues today, despite what Cuba's government and perhaps her people want:


Ooookay...

Let me make sure we are all familiar with what a red herring is: Definition

We have an excellent case study in this thread, I have never seen so many red herrings in a single argument. ermm.gif

Both the comparisons to Cuba and Hawaii are totally irrelevant.

Even if one can determine that the US has (or is) perpetrating similar actions to Russia that cast no light on whether the action is right.

Therefore the cast no judgement of whether russia's actions are correct either. This is like a thief protesting his conviction because another robber across the street got away. rolleyes.gif



QUOTE(ralou)
 
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.

I have already produced the agreement between Russia and Georgia stating Russia was to have pulled out four years ago.

To my knowledge their is not held international law defining such a basic concept as national sovereignty. Is is referenced in many basic law documents (such as the UN charter) but not defined because the concept should be obvious.

If a country cannot force a foreign military to leave it's soil (provided the country in question has not breached the law) it has not sovereignty over it's land.

Loss of this concept legalizes imperialism.

QUOTE(ralou)
 
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?

It would be illegal for Russia to overthrow Georgia's government in the first place. Any benefits from illegal actions are themselves illegal.

QUOTE(ralou)
 
 
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. 
*
 

Whatever measures the international community thinks prudent are on the table. That's why I asked this in form of a question.

A question I have answered in previous posts, economic and diplomatic sanction are option. Recall ambassadors, raise tariffs if necessary.
English Horn
QUOTE(turnea @ May 23 2005, 09:28 AM)
I have already produced the agreement between Russia and Georgia stating Russia was to have pulled out four years ago.


Correct me if I am wrong, but in the document you referenced Russia was supposed to pull out only from specific bases mentioned in the document? As far as I know Russia did pull out from these bases; these are not the bases in question. I haven't seen in the document where Russia said it agrees to pull out all its troops from Georgia. Have you?

QUOTE
Therefore the cast no judgement of whether russia's actions are correct either. This is like a thief protesting his conviction because another robber across the street got away.


No, it's more like a thief protesting his conviction rendered by the other thiefs.
ralou
QUOTE(lordhelmet @ May 23 2005, 09:58 AM)
QUOTE(ralou @ May 23 2005, 03:25 AM)

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.
*




Those are pretty strong charges. Yet, you posted zero evidence to back up your inflammatory claims. What specifically leads you to believe that (1) Putin is a dictatorial war criminal and (2) our regime is "disgusting"?
*




I guess disgusting is subjective. How about I simplify it: Both our regime and Russia's can be tried for war crimes under international law.

Putin's: Soldiers told to kill innocent Chechen civilians to cover up a crime. Soldiers were tried later, the judge refused to convict because soldiers were 'following orders'. I believe Russia is signatory to the Geneva Conventions, correct? There are many more examples, but this one will do.

Bush's: Extraordinary rendition (torture flights to places like Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia). There are other examples, but this one will do, and beyond a doubt goes straight to the top.



Turnea:

I misunderstood your argument. I had already agreed with you that Russia should get out of Georgia, that it was 'right' for Russia to leave, and 'right' for Georgia to want them to. But some of your questions seemed to pertain to international law, and at that point, what others in the international community can and can't get away with is perfectly relevent, since precedent is what we must go on, unless you are right and English Horn is wrong about the agreement having been fulfilled already. And even on the topic of mere right and wrong, and not lawful and unlawful, if Russia is singled out for punishment for doing what others get away with doing, isn't there an element of wrong in that, too? Unless you can explain why it's different for America than for Russia, of course.
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