April 18, 2014

A potential Crimea-Kosovo deal

Internationally-recognized borders have been relatively stable for quite a few decades now, and that's been, on the whole, a good thing. In particular, redrawing borders by military might has been out of fashion. Thus, Russia's Crimea adventure sets a bad precedent. 

Of course, the Russians immediately point to American-led NATO's Kosovo adventure of 1999 in which NATO detached Kosovo, an internationally-recognized part of Serbia, which, emotionally, is seen by Russians as Russia Jr. (E.g., at the end of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Vronsky goes off to fight in the Serbian revolt against the Turks.) 

Since neither border-redrawing is likely to be re-redrawn, the world could benefit from the redrawing powers retroactively paying a price for their tinkering to deter future adventuring. I've suggested before that Russia negotiate with Ukraine a price to pay Ukraine for Crimea. Simultaneously, NATO should determine a price to pay to Serbia for taking Kosovo away from it. The price for Crime and Kosovo might be equal (say, $25 billion) or linked via some kind of objective formula to the relative size and population of Crimea and Kosovo.

Both Russia and America could then claim that they were willing to pay the prices because national honor demanded their military actions, but that they also recognize that neither action should set a precedent for cost-free redrawing of borders, which they recognize by paying substantial amounts of money to the injured parties. In turn, both Russia and America could promise, now that the two most outstanding issues, have been dealt with, to not use military means to redraw borders in the future.
       

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about if we just trade Crimea for the Kaliningrad Oblast?

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that Steve.

I think the Neocons want to reserve the right to redraw borders when it suits them.

Fake Herzog said...

I nominate Steve Sailer as Secretary of State and when this plan is implemented and ushers in years of stable borders and peace between the major powers (the Third World will still be a mess), Steve will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Sorry, I just woke up from a wonderful dream...

Anonymous said...

The price for Crime and Kosovo might be equal (say, $25 billion) or linked via some kind of objective formula to the relative size and population of Crimea and Kosovo.

I don't think the Serbs or Ukrainians would go for it. If I were a Serb, I would not. Why would they want to put an official seal of approval on that robbery? They've been fighting over that piece of real estate for centuries. They would have kept it this time except for the USAF being enlisted in the service of the muslims.

The time might come again when the Serbs can retake it. It might be sooner, rather than later, when the US and Western Europe are no longer able to prop up the muslims.

I doubt Mexico Norte will have much interest in who runs Kosovo. It will have its hands full keeping Arizona, California and Texas under US rule.

Anonymous said...

"The price for Crime and Kosovo might be equal (say, $25 billion)"

exceptional typo. Freud agrees

Anonymous said...

I dunno, I think these things tend to happen (and both these did) when there are people on the ground who really are willing to fight, and if need be die, for it. Governments, even superpowers, aren't always in control of things. And any government can probably fall, like the Soviets, if the circumstances are right. If enough people really care, to the point where they say "fight about it? Okay", it's often the government that changes, not the people who care.

Anonymous said...

After World War II, Stalin completely redraw the borders of Poland into Germany. But he made sure that there wasn't going to be WWIII over this by the mass expulsion of the Germans. And also that's the reason Germany have no claims over the Sudetenland today. The Russians are already there in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Demography matters.

Anonymous said...

You're getting 'way too rational here, Steve. Reason is tedious and costly. Why resort to reason when the Russians are weak?

Ukrainian women are beautiful, that is enough. Ukrainian men are poor. As an extra bonus, strategic location. We must reject the Russian advance with violence. I know Ukraine because I have played RISK.

Neil Templeton

Anonymous said...

The passage of time makes the situations distinct. Kosovo happened in 1999. The better part of a generation has passed since the borders were withdrawn. The must be a statute of limitations on the ability of the Russians to bring Kosovo to the table. Did the Russians even officially protest the Kosovo partition at the time through the UN or otherwise? Seems a bit late in the day to raise Kosovo as a rationale or a greivance.

Anonymous said...

Kosovo was already not Serbian before Independance despite being the historic birthplace of the Serbian people since it was now full of ethnic Albanians. Like I previously said, demography matters.

Anonymous said...

Internationally-recognized borders have been relatively stable for quite a few decades now

Um, what about Iraq and Afghanistan? Libya, Syria, and Palestine?

When the United States invades or engineers a coup in a sovereign country it effectively redraws that border, expanding the United States into that space.

Anonymous said...

Seems a bit late in the day to raise Kosovo as a rationale or a greivance.

If you live through them, such grievances are timeless. And it's also a thankless game to tell others what are their legitimate grievances. That's not something you can take from anyone, crazy as they might seem. Their life and what they are willing to fight for is their business. If they're willing to fight about it, rationalizations don't really matter. Humans probably aren't very rationale, overall. Maybe good statesmen are able to understand where people are coming from, even if it makes very little sense. I would not like to have such a job.

Anonymous said...

Did the Russians even officially protest the Kosovo partition at the time through the UN or otherwise? Seems a bit late in the day to raise Kosovo as a rationale or a greivance.

Why yes. The Russians have refused to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. In fact China, India and even Ukraine have refused to recognize it. Other than go to war over it, there is really not much they can do except to not recognize it.

Here is a map showing where each nation stands on Kosovo.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
I agree with you totally, but this is completely outside the realm of the realistic.... As we know America is run by an elite that is completely out of sympathy with the general populace. This elite faction determines every policy decision of any import be it foreign or domestic. It will never ever show even a hint of contrition for anything it does. Think of the cost now of military deployment. They're talking about moving warplanes and troops to the region. Ongoing crap like this hits taxpayers hard in the pocket. Think the US government will apologise to the taxpayers for wasting money on this crap that has no taxpayer benefit? Maybe they'll pay the taxpayers back for the wastage. Or perhaps not. Its simply inconceivable. A lot of taxpayers are facing incredible hardship from the taxman this year. (I am basically facing financial ruin due to my unique circumstances, and, yes, I am making a reasonable effort to comply with the law even though we all have more and more cause for disloyalty)
Sorry for the tangent, but just imagine how taxes would go up if a huge war broke out.

Anyway I guess your post was probably just a cynical half-joke. Cynics shouldn't joke to0 much around other cynics. You'll never get a laugh.

Whiskey said...

Steve I love ya but on foreign affairs you are semi autistic. Ukraine and Kosovo are all about who has power. Principles, honor, please. It is power and nothing more. Putin senses the West is weak and rotten. He will take Ukraine, the Baltics, Finland, Poland, and Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, maybe even Britain and Spain.

Obama would limply wave his wrists, and all of Europe has maybe five gay soldiers up against the Russians. So ehy not? Putin is about power. Using it. All that stuff to grab. Better him he thinks than half of Africa who intends to move there.

Anonymous said...

Uh, I don't think Putin is interested in square dealing. He wants to get the old band back together. ("The Soviets Featuring the Czarist Borders", though the band's drummer, Communism, who always had a substance abuse problem, choked to death on their own vomit and is no longer in the picture.) He's going to grab what he can get away with. Given recent American and European spinelessness, that's probably up to and including Brighton Beach.

Ship them a check for Kosovo and next week the tanks will be rolling over Estonia.

Anonymous said...

paging ron unz

http://laschoolreport.com/effort-underway-eliminate-california-schools-english-only-law/

Dave Pinsen said...

And a lot of Ukrainians are in what's now Poland.

Anonymous said...

Putin senses the West is weak and rotten. He will take Ukraine, the Baltics, Finland, Poland, and Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, maybe even Britain and Spain.

You of all people should realize Putin cannot do this. Demographics are not on his side. Russia does not have the manpower, or even the military hardware to invade and conquer any areas that do not want them. Gone are the days of WW2 when they could afford millions of casualties. They no longer have tens of thousands of tanks. They are lucky to assemble a couple thousand. Europe and NATO are more than a match for them.

Even without America, NATO nations have more combined forces, especially when one considers Turkey. Additionally France and the UK are nuclear powers. So how on Earth could you suggest that Putin could take Britain or France?

Putin will only be able to take areas that have large Russian speaking populations that want to join Russia. They took Crimea because they were welcomed by the locals. And maybe that might happen in eastern Ukraine. But there is no way they could take western Ukraine. They do not have the ability to occupy a hostile land and deal with an insurgency.

And that goes double plus for a huge nation like Germany. Even the USA has not been able to deal with the insurgencies in Afghanistan or Iraq. We burned through thousands of lives and a trillion dollars and still never totally pacified those places.

Honestly, I wish the Russians were strong enough to topple the EU and 'liberate' the nations of Europe. But they aren't.

5371 said...

After Kosovo NATO could only impress by power, not by justice. Now the prestige of power is gone as well. There's no deal or payment that could restore either. This is a virginity that has been lost in public, no point in trying to patch it up with surgery.

Steve Sailer said...

Putin signed a deal in 2008 with the Chinese resolving all the border disputes that were fought over in 1969.

Anonymous said...

You have the US Congress as a black hole of idiocy.

Americas would rather spend a trillion on a stupid war than 2.5% of a trillion to settle something.

Putin now has a modern group of elite troops, but the number is small. Which makes all the cold war comparisons stupid for another reason.

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1071.pdf

A more likely approach to a monetary deal is to have the IMF pay the Ukrainian gas bill. Several levels of deniability between the president and congress and the money.

Steve Sailer said...

It was pretty amazing that the Russian military could take over Crimea without killing a hundred people or so, the way they always wound up killing huge numbers of Russian hostages held by Chechens. A decade ago the Onion had a story in which Putin vows to show no mercy to terrorists and their hostages.

Anonymous said...

"I think the Neocons want to reserve the right to redraw borders when it suits them." +++++

Steve you forgot to mention the partition of Sudan. The new proactive Africom is an indication that the US plans to redraw lots of boarders.

Basically Africa is the great White hope. Having been defeated by White people in Afghanistan, Arabs in Iraq and Mediterraneans in the Lebanon war White people are falling back on old faithful, Africa. They might actually be able to do it in Africa. The Boers held out against huge odds in Rhodesia and South Africa and only collapsed when they lost US support. So White nations can probably dominate Africa.

Genital mutilation, persecution or Gays, poor treatment of women, ethnic and religious strife, Africa ticks off every "Casus belli" the typical White progressive can immagine. For Conservative the prospect of easy military victories and military pensions with the secret sauce of religious conversions is more than enough. And for the rationalists Africa does have minerals. As an added bonus large numbers of Africans might support a minimally competent colonial government over what they have.

dearieme said...

There's even a precedent. Didn't the US, after one of its successful smash-and-grab raids on Mexico, pay some minor sum in compensation?

Anonymous said...

"I've suggested before that Russia negotiate with Ukraine a price to pay Ukraine for Crimea. Simultaneously, NATO should determine a price to pay to Serbia for taking Kosovo away from it."

There's no doubt that (with goodwill on both sides) such a deal could be brokered. The assumption of good will is where alas the whole thing falls to the ground. I don't know much about internal Russian politics, but I know there's no goodwill on the side of those who control EUSA foreign policy. They really do want world domination for a globalist agenda.

"He (Putin) will take Ukraine, the Baltics, Finland, Poland, and Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, maybe even Britain and Spain."

I think you're straying into the realms of fantasy there, Whiskey, and not for the first time.

"Basically Africa is the great White hope"

If the English can't hold on to England or Americans to the USA, we're in fantasy territory again here.

DR said...

This post presupposes that Russians are like some sort of Scandinavians that just want a fair deal. Russians only understand one thing: force and intimidation. It's why they make such great mobsters.

When you're dealing with Vladimir Putin, you have to be remember he's a man with the mindset of Tony Soprano. When you start offering Tony concessions, he's like a shark smelling weakness. He'll just keep asking for more until someone pushes back.

Russia need to be periodically humiliated and reminded of their inferiority to keep them in check. They're a poor backwards country and they're forgetting their place. Presumably there's a reason American maintains a $500 billion a year military budget.

A few targeted drone strikes against the pro-Russian militias in Eastern Ukraine would immediately crush the movement. The best time for the West was the 1990s when their was no strong leadership in Moscow. Make Putin lose face in front of his own people, that will weaken his position and torment chaos in the Kremlin. That strengthens America's geo-political position. This is really all Bismarck 101.

Big Bill said...

After World War II, Stalin completely redraw the borders of Poland into Germany. But he made sure that there wasn't going to be WWIII over this by the mass expulsion of the Germans. And also that's the reason Germany have no claims over the Sudetenland today. The Russians are already there in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Demography matters.

"Where there are Germans, there is Germany"

- Adolf Hitler

"Where there are Mexicans, there is Mexico"

-Vincente Fox

Chicago said...

There seems to be this idea out there that the US owns the planet. The Ukraine and Balkans certainly never were a part of this country, yet all the hyperventilating warhawks act as if something of ours is being taken . We're not even located in Europe, we're on another continent altogether. It's the US that is the interloper in Europe. It would be best for the Europeans, all of them from west to east, to start flexing their sense of independence and find ways to ease the US out of their countries and off their continent. Europe for Europeans.

Big Bill said...

[Okay, okay. Hitler didn't say that. Fox did. but it was a nice parallel.]

Anonymous said...

"Russians only understand one thing: force and intimidation."

Projection. DR is really talking about the neocons.

Tom-in-VA said...

I wonder if Putin is aware of the Cliven Bundy/BLM fiasco, and what he makes of the USG's inability to collect some grazing fees.

Big Bill said...

DR: "Russia need to be periodically humiliated and reminded of their inferiority to keep them in check. They're a poor backwards country and they're forgetting their place. Presumably there's a reason American maintains a $500 billion a year military budget. "

My goodness! You are very fierce, aren't you! Is your family American? By nationality?

Anonymous said...

http://www.filmcomment.com/article/auteur-theory-auteurism

Anonymous said...

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3154/how-did-autism-become-the-latest-fad-disorder

Anonymous said...

How about the United States pay the Jews to move out of Palestine? In tandem, they can set up a national homeland for Jews by carving out a piece of territory from the United States.

Anonymous said...

dearieme:"There's even a precedent. Didn't the US, after one of its successful smash-and-grab raids on Mexico, pay some minor sum in compensation?"

19th century rules. The last period when that kind of thing could be done as a routine matter of state (cf Britain grabbing New Zealand, the Boer Republics, etc). As Steve has noted, the post-'45 consensus assumes different norms.

Anonymous said...

Re: Kosovo,

Not quite sure that it offers a good parallel with Crimea. It's quite possible to see the whole Yugoslavia mess as a belated WW1-WW2 border adjustment.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/india-to-suggest-renaming-of-internet-as-equinet/article5916877.ece

New word for spelling bee

Anonymous said...

"A few targeted drone strikes against the pro-Russian militias in Eastern Ukraine would immediately crush the movement. "

This is idiotic. Drones are effective in places where the U.S. controls the airspace (Afghanistan) but Russia has a semi-competent air force.

Anonymous said...

How about if we just trade Crimea for the Kaliningrad Oblast?

Now that the hostilities against Russia are very much in her face, I think Russia likes Eastern Prussia more than ever (it even deployed SS-26/Iskander missiles there to underscore the point). Plus, there are no Germans left there.

Anonymous said...

What *used to be* Poland.

Freman said...

... and then, both parts of the money involved in the compensations, will be converted into vodka, and it will be properly drunk. I suggest a round of hugs and kisses at that moment. Slavs are very prone to kissing other Slavs, and even some Chinese from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Serbia, which, emotionally, is seen by Russians as Russia Jr.

During WWII, Serbia and Russia were the only countries that freed themselves from German occupation without external military help on the ground. Kind of symbolic and not a coincidence, probably.

Sean said...

But that would leave it open for Ukraine to continue aligning itself ever more firmly with NATO. In the present situation the Ukraine is being taught, via pressure from its separatist Eastern ethnic Russians, to not align itself with the west. Russia can accept Ukraine becoming a neutral buffer state, but that is as far as they are willing to let it go. Hence they need to keep Crimea as a wedge to show the Ukraine that the east of Ukraine could go the way of Crimea, if they get any funny ideas about looking to the west. Selling Crimea back would completely defeat the object of all this, and Kosovo is not in any sense historically or ethnically Russian, so their would be no equivalence in a swap sale.

Basically the West is the soft power megapower; everyone wants to be in LA and no one wants to be anywhere in Russia. Because the dispute is in their backyard Russia has the hard power (military) whip hand; so why on earth would they nullify their only advantage by agreeing to not use military force?

Anonymous said...

The best time for the West was the 1990s when their was no strong leadership in Moscow. Make Putin lose face in front of his own people, that will weaken his position and torment chaos in the Kremlin. That strengthens America's geo-political position. This is really all Bismarck 101.

Well said Victoria Nuland. It was the best time, and I am sure you really do miss the 1990s and Boris Yeltsin, when the prize of Russia and her resources was dangling before your eyes.

Yes, Putin is a strong leader and has proven to be not as cooperative in allowing your ilk to exploit Russian resources. It must hurt knowing you have now actually enhanced his image in front of his people by handing him Crimea. Would you like to continue meddling and give him eastern Ukraine too?

I don't think that was part of Bismarck's game plan.

Speaking of the good old 1990s, I don't think Bismarck would have pushed Germany into offloading its manufacturing base to a potential enemy, or demographically transforming Germany into......but I digress....

Russia need to be periodically humiliated and reminded of their inferiority to keep them in check.

I am sorry for what you think Russia has done to your people historically. But using the US government to extract revenge on behalf of your people doesn't sit well with most Americans. We had an opportunity to repair our relations with Russia after the Cold War, but now find ourselves heading towards a new one. All because your people can't let it go.

A strong Russia, embraced and welcomed by the West, would have been a great asset to hedge against a rising China and third world. Instead you have us wasting precious resources against Russia at precisely the time in history when Europe and European peoples are in decline and being overrun.

Anonymous said...

"Russians only understand one thing: force and intimidation."

Which makes them different from Americans and other people, how, exactly?

Anonymous said...

In particular, redrawing borders by military might has been out of fashion.


Right. We ourselves redrew them by military might after WWII, and that's supposed to be the last time it ever is allowed to happen.

Even a casual perusal of history shows that great powers rise and fall. The current freezing of borders in place is a feature of America's temporary role as "king of the castle" and won't outlast our inevitable decline and fall.

Anonymous said...

Russia need to be periodically humiliated and reminded of their inferiority to keep them in check. They're a poor backwards country and they're forgetting their place.

You know, I think I have seen you spewing this shit before. You are a one-trick wonder, aren't you.

Russia is a poor backward country that helps the US put its military satellites in orbit and maintains a fleet of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

I don't see Israel doing either of those things.

Presumably there's a reason American maintains a $500 billion a year military budget.

Yeah, so some industrialists can grab a lot of public money.

Anonymous said...

Make Putin lose face in front of his own people, that will weaken his position and torment chaos in the Kremlin. That strengthens America's geo-political position.


It arguably strengthens the position of the pack of knaves and jackals in DC. It doesn't do squat for "America" properly understood. Personally I'd rather see Putin weaken the position of our own rulers.

Andrew said...

The Russians are already there in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Demography matters.

To populate is to govern. That is why borders will never be sacrosanct like you propose. People who find themselves on the wrong side of a nation-state border will always be agitating to come home and take their land with them.

The land belongs to those who use it and are willing to defend it with force.

And I don't know why the break up of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union, the annexation of the Northern Marianas, the creation of Bangladesh, South Sudan, Eritrea, and East Timor, the cession of Walvis Bay, the merger of Germany and Yemen, and the non-existence of Palestine and Western Sahara don't count as recent border redrawing exercises.

ATBOTL said...

Serbia will got Kosovo back. It's a widely supported cause on the "far right" across Europe.

Ken Hoop said...

DR

Didn't realize Sailer allows Russophobia here.
The best thing for real American conservatives, and Pat Buchanan might well agree, is that Putin
and Dugin's Eurasianism succeeds and the US can come home and take care of its problems here.

Pointedly this means a Russian-German axis of solidarity from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

Luke Lea said...

Europe solved its Jewish problem by giving someone else's land away. Aren't the Palestinians deserving of some compensation for their losses? Back during the Oslo negotiations they asked for $500 billion, but that was never reported in the mainstream press (except in Israel).

Not that $500 billion or even twice that would settle the conflict by itself. I've come to the conclusion that the other half of Palestine -- the part the British carelessly turned over to the Hashemites -- needs to be split in two (the population is already more than half Palestinian) in order for the Palestinian people to have enough lebensraum for a two state solution.

This Jordanian option was batted around in Israel a generation ago but never went anywhere. But times change. A civil war in Jordan might not be such a bad thing in the long-run. Maybe we could buy off the Hashemite ruling clan with an offer to restore their control of the holy sites of Islam, which they did (and in a much more moderate way) before the Saudis took over.

Redrawing of borders and large-scale population movements may not be a thing of the past after all. Doing it peacefully, via internationally supervised negotiations, would be better than through war. Maybe Wilson's vision of national self-determination deserves another look. Good fences make good neighbors. So does have a territory you can call your own.

Anonymous said...

The passage of time makes the situations distinct. Kosovo happened in 1999. The better part of a generation has passed since the borders were withdrawn. The must be a statute of limitations on the ability of the Russians to bring Kosovo to the table. Did the Russians even officially protest the Kosovo partition at the time through the UN or otherwise? Seems a bit late in the day to raise Kosovo as a rationale or a greivance.

During the entire Cold War, maps of Europe published in the United States often had notice reading something like "The U.S. State Department does not recognize the incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia in the Soviet Union in 1940."

Did this mean anything? Did it have any effect? Well, it wasn't vastly important, but it did mean something and did eventually have some effect.

Anonymous said...

Putin senses the West is weak and rotten. He will take Ukraine, the Baltics, Finland, Poland, and Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, maybe even Britain and Spain.

You're right that foreign policy is not Steve's strong point, but compared to you, he's Talleyrand.

Anonymous said...

"The best time for the West was the 1990s when their was no strong leadership in Moscow."

I don't know about "the West", but the 1990s were certainly a terrible time for the average Russian. And talk of "the West" implies that there's some community of interest between the leaders of Western nations and the people who they (in theory) represent. I'm not at all sure that there is.

Felix said...

DR wrote:
"A few targeted drone strikes against the pro-Russian militias in Eastern Ukraine would immediately crush the movement. The best time for the Jewish Elite was the 1990s when their was no strong leadership in Moscow. Make Putin lose face in front of his own people, that will weaken his position and torment chaos in the Kremlin. That strengthens the Jewish Elite's geo-political position. This is really all Bismarck 101.


That's all fine and good, my dear boy. But why should we wish to strengthen the Jewish Elite's geo-political position? That is a question your eloquent stratagem did not address, so please, do go on and enlighten us!

PS: One does not "torment" dissent, my dear boy.

Anonymous said...

This could also be used by land-hungry powers as a sort of indulgence for taking over nearby states. I'm sure the Chinese would gladly cough up 1$T for Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

Why yes. The Russians have refused to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. In fact China, India and even Ukraine have refused to recognize it. Other than go to war over it, there is really not much they can do except to not recognize it.

No country with a restive province filled with an ethnic or religious minority (India: Kashmir, China: Xinjiang/Tibet) that is itching to secede would support the breakaway of Kosovo from Serbia. Now, some Muslim countries also fall into that category but they voted on the basis of Pan-Islamic solidarity.

Anonymous said...

A few targeted drone strikes against the pro-Russian militias in Eastern Ukraine would immediately crush the movement.

What are you smoking? Instead of crushing the movement, this would start World War 3. The Russians have enough conventional firepower to overrun more than half of Europe, NATO or no NATO, and they are brutal enough to make such an attempt if provoked.

RS said...

What should the US pay to Russia for trying to kick, I mean help it when it was down, with the magic of cronyism - uh, capitalism - causing a total mess and massive excess mortality?

Or for making a deal not to expand NATO, then expanding NATO to the Russian border?

Or for taking part (I'm guessing - don't really know) in ruining their client Syria? I could go on.

Maybe it would be better if the entire world winds up ruled by China or the US. Who can say? But my theory is, no. Ergo I like a strong Russia. The balance of these three powers seems more important than official borders of supposed sovereigns which are really mostly clients. The borders of NATO seem more important than those of alleged sovereigns.

I'm not saying Poles or Lithuanians should renounce NATO and return to Russian clienthood. I actually think that is best for them, but I'm not them and I won't demand that they listen to some jerk, me. Anyway, needless to say it would be quite extraordinary for them to be allowed to leave NATO under anything like present circumstances, whatever some piece of paper may say about it.

Anonymous said...

How do you get to be a Lt Col in the GRU?

Do you smoke lots of dope in high school?

Do you rely on mommies or daddies influence?

Do you rely on affirmative action?

Do you become a community organizer for the Chechens?

This is an important question.

RS said...

> When you're dealing with Vladimir Putin, you have to be remember he's a man with the mindset of Tony Soprano. When you start offering Tony concessions, he's like a shark smelling weakness. He'll just keep asking for more until someone pushes back.

Right, the US is super-concessory angels, with such concessions as expanding NATO to the border of Russia.

> Russia need to be periodically humiliated and reminded of their inferiority to keep them in check. They're a poor backwards country and they're forgetting their place. Presumably there's a reason American maintains a $500 billion a year military budget.

> Make Putin lose face in front of his own people, that will weaken his position and torment chaos in the Kremlin. That strengthens America's geo-political position. This is really all Bismarck 101.

You are right that they are conventionally weak, though not as sorry as they were just after we exploited them in the 90s like a bunch of Tony Sopranos. I guess you didn't know, though, that their avowed doctrine is to use nukes against military targets if the state is existentially threatened. Still feel like crushing the Kremlin like the gay anthill it is?

Aren't you the guy who recently told us we should be grateful to those who built the most sophisticated financial system in history?

Anonymous said...

Didn't the US, after one of its successful smash-and-grab raids on Mexico, pay some minor sum in compensation?

As part of that deal the US pledged to stop all the Comanche and Apache smash-and-grab raids on Mexico (though they tried they were not successful for quite awhile). Not everyone abides by the lines on the map. Come to think of it, the US borders provide a good lesson in that.

RS said...

> It was pretty amazing that the Russian military could take over Crimea without killing a hundred people or so, the way they always wound up killing huge numbers of Russian hostages held by Chechens. A decade ago the Onion had a story in which Putin vows to show no mercy to terrorists and their hostages.

This really is the only rational thing to do if you look at the big picture, including the precedent & incentives you are setting or not setting for the future. Who really thinks the Gilad Shalit deal was smart? As an arguer in good faith, I must acknowledge that that deal was a particularly extreme one, probably the most extreme one in history. There could be a reasonable middle ground, I guess - maybe - but it has to lie much closer to Putin's behavior than to the Shalit trade.

As far as I've always understood, we have the same basic position : we don't negotiate with terrorists or hostage-takers. At least we claim not to, though I guess that's not what actually happened in Iran.

Anonymous said...

"Basically Africa is the great White hope."

I assume you're joking. No matter how sodomitephobic Africans are, they are BLACK, so no way would Uncle Samantha attack them -- that would be racist, which is still The Worst Thing Ever, and is at least equally bad as sodomitephobia.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Here's another fair trade to consider: the Israelis withdraw from the Delaware-size territories they're occupying, and, in turn, the Arabs withdraw from the Canada-size territory they're occupying.

A demographer once claimed the world's population could fit in the buildings of Lower Manhattan. If true, then all the Arabs--8% of the world-- could fit in the blooming skyscrapers of their peninsular homeland.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer said...
It was pretty amazing that the Russian military could take over Crimea without killing a hundred people or so, the way they always wound up killing huge numbers of Russian hostages held by Chechens. A decade ago the Onion had a story in which Putin vows to show no mercy to terrorists and their hostages.


How die the U.S. Government do its hostage rescue on its own soil against religious fanatics not afraid to die? Most children (and adults) died. But alas, the FBI has moved on from domestic ops to being regulars on nighttime raids kicking in doors and killing anything that moves in Afghanistan, Somolia, Iraq, and elsewhere. The FBI and is now tied at the hip with JSOC (or, as Col. Patrick Lang calls them, "Murder Inc."). Here's the article from The Washington Post.

Anonymous said...

Because the dispute is in their backyard Russia has the hard power (military) whip hand; so why on earth would they nullify their only advantage by agreeing to not use military force?

The shit gets real when we see them organizing logistically to support the sharp end.

When the Russians start accumulating diesel, gasoline, munitions etc near the border with Ukraine, we know that things are going to happen.

The US is a long way from Ukraine ...

Anonymous said...

"This post presupposes that Russians are like some sort of Scandinavians that just want a fair deal. Russians only understand one thing: force and intimidation."

The Russians, Germans, French, Poles and the British, are all some mix of Scandinavians and the local population, so it is kind of funny how you think one mix is better than the other.

For the record, none of you understand that force and intimidation mean that you are supposed to give up, so doing this, means a war, just like in the old countries.

It might be true that the only reason Scandinavians are peaceful today, is because of massive anti-war propaganda, and that the natural state of constant war would come back, if the propaganda changed, since you get nothing but war and weapons, if you look at Scandinavian archeology.

What is today called the Viking age, was not really anything new i Scandinavia, since the difference was mainly that you could attack targets outside Scandinavia for the first time, so that the infighting cooled down for a couple of centuries, as shown from the decreased rate new fortifications were being build, compared with the milennia before and after.

Anonymous said...

"Putin now has a modern group of elite troops, but the number is small."

The article this poster linked has some info on the war in Georgia that Steve has written about before:

"Military Modernization and the Russian Ground Forces", Rod Thornton, June 2011, (Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College):

"... The Russian armed forces were just not ready to fight: the initiation of the conflict took both politicians and military by surprise. The response to the Georgian attack on South Ossetia—and on the Russian peacekeeping troops there—was slow. This was partly due to the fact that neither civilian nor military decisionmakers were available in the August holiday...

... there was little excuse for the slow reaction of elements of the ground forces’ 58th Army. The 135th and 693rd Motor Rifle Regiments of the 19th Division were based just over the border from South Ossetia and yet were so slow to come to action that troops from the airborne forces, flying in from hundreds of kilometers away and acting as basic infantry, still managed to be the first Russian combat forces to cross the border into South Ossetia itself. ...the war ...exposed ...Russian military inadequacies. ...

...Poor communications in theatre... command and control problems. Interservice cooperation was minimal, particularly air-to-ground. The commander of the ...Military District seemingly had no control of what the air force was doing in his theater... Air assets were controlled... remote from the battlefield. ...failure of the air force to provide effective close air support to ground units. Basic tactical communications were also woeful. ...

...the war was saved for Russia by what Medvedev called the “professional, independent operations of battalions.”"


The point of this article is that the war in Georgia allowed Russian efforts to reform the military to go forward, though modernization (such as shifting to western brigade-style armies, downsizing the military, and going to a professional force) is happening considerably slower than desired.

Anonymous said...

Presumably there's a reason American maintains a $500 billion a year military budget.

Yes, to enrich contractors and their congressional compatriots. That's the reason. And to maintain the illusion of effectiveness. Actual effectiveness is far down the list of concerns.

ogunsiron said...

If one looks at the map of the kosovo recognizing countries, even among muslims there are pretty important countries that haven't recognized it. Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Syria, Iraq and Morocco among others haven't.

Anonymous said...

To keep the US off balance in matters to do with the Ukraine, Putin could release all the GRU knows about 911 and when bin Laden actually died.

Paulie Boy said...

@DR, you are cute. All it takes is a few drones to bring Russia to it's knees? Why hasn't Washington's mercenaries been able to defeat a couple of thousand stone age guerillas? As Eric Margolis once said, "The u.s. is mike Tyson in the air and at sea, one land, a GLASS JAW.

CJ said...

How do you get to be a Lt Col in the GRU?

Do you smoke lots of dope in high school?

Do you rely on mommies or daddies influence?

Do you rely on affirmative action?

Do you become a community organizer for the Chechens?

This is an important question.


LOL good post. If anyone is interested in reading an account of life inside the GRU, there's good read here:

The Aquarium by Viktor Suvorov

Anonymous said...

> Internationally-recognized borders have been relatively stable for quite a few decades now

>Um, what about Iraq and Afghanistan? Libya, Syria, and Palestine?



where ==are== these too-young-to-collect-Social-Security folks who can remember when Jordan occupied (and it WAS an occupation, sovereignty not recognized by anyone except UK and Pakistan) Judea & Samaria?

Anonymous said...

>>During WWII, Serbia and Russia were the only countries that freed themselves from German occupation without external military help on the ground


When Israel successfully defends itself; the haters say that it's only because of US taxpayer-funded aid.

When Russia defended itself, the haters had a black hole where they put the souls of the sacrificed American mariners who performed the Murmansk Runs. And the taxmoney spent on the show.


Anonymous said...

>> Europe solved its Jewish problem by giving someone else's land away

We, the indigenous ethnic-Hebrew people of Judea, will CONSIDER making a deal with the occupying Arabic-speakers..... the day AFTER the Swedes return the Saami homeland they stole.

reiner Tor said...

the Swedes return the Saami homeland they stole

Of course it does matter when you stole that land. The Swedes seem to have stolen it so long ago that is totally forgotten, so actually it's not known whether the Same have lived in Southern Sweden for example.

The Swedes are busy dismantling their nation-state, though, but because there's not enough Sami around, they are letting Kurds and Somalis and other Africans in.