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  1. #66
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Tidewater's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by MattinBama View Post
    Words are wind.
    True, but there is not much more they could do to stop the transaction. Russia has declared itself on a war footing already.

    I just think some facts exist independently of Donald Trump.

  2. #67
    BamaNation Hall of Fame MattinBama's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by Tidewater View Post
    Did Russia pressure Trump into expanding and toughening economic sanctions against Russian oligarchs last spring? A former Obama Administration sanctions official characterized them as "fairly muscular."
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/03/01...united-states/

    First, the administration did not even acknowledge what the sanctions are for: Russia’s interference in U.S. democracy. The White House’s statement announcing its decision did not make reference to Russia’s interference in the United States, citing only Russia’s “aggression in Ukraine, interference in other nations’ domestic affairs and abuses of human rights.” Ignoring this is a flagrant disregard for the clearly outlined intention of the legislation.

    Second, the administration did not impose a single sanction. Law required the government to meet a deadline on Jan. 31 imposing sanctions related to the Russian defense and intelligence sectors. Rather than comply, the State Department decided not to impose any, instead releasing a statement saying that sanctions “will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent.”

    To be clear, implementing sanctions, particularly on defense-related sectors, is a complicated and delicate matter, and the agencies responsible should be granted a degree of flexibility. For example, the legislation enables the United States to sanction “persons” doing business with the Russian defense industry, which would include Eastern European NATO members. While no one expects the U.S. government to levy sanctions against the defense officials of NATO allies, the administration should be ratcheting up the pressure to deter countries, including allies, from considering buying Russian equipment.

    But none of this appears to have happened. In fact, since the sanctions have gone into place, a series of large agreements to purchase Russian weapons — including by U.S. allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar — have taken place. Clearly they are not deterred.

    Third, the Trump administration made a mockery of an important report on Russian oligarchs — either intentionally or out of sheer incompetence. The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act requires the administration to deliver a report mapping out the network of Russian oligarchs and regime insiders, collectively known as the “Kremlin list,” specifically identifying people by “their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.” Those placed on this list could face potential sanctions, having their visas banned, and assets frozen.

    But what the Trump administration delivered was laughable. Despite serious work by career officials to develop a list as required, the administration instead released an all-inclusive list that appears, quite literally, to be a copy-and-paste job from the Forbes ranking of the wealthiest Russians and Russian government websites. This makes the list pointless: If everybody is on the list, then in effect, nobody is on it. What’s worse is that someone high up in the government reportedly replaced the list at the last minute.

    Before the deadline, Russia’s oligarchs were aflutter with apprehension, hiring lobbyists, hiding assets, conducting private diplomacy, and even stress-testing their businesses as they braced for impact. After its release, they met it with laughter and mockery. It all seemed to be a big joke. No oligarchs could now seriously think this administration will sanction them.
    In case anyone is curious at how hard they've fought to avoid implementing sanctions and wants to understand that they basically had to be pulled kicking and screaming to impose anything.

    Also they started easing sanctions within the same month for at least some of them:

    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/...tom&gtm=bottom

    Fortunately for Moscow, it now appears that the sanctions against Rusal may never actually take effect. On Monday, the Treasury Department extended the sanctions’ “wind down” period — a window in which U.S. and foreign entities could complete their unfinished business with Rusal without facing any penalty — by six months, while expressing openness to lifting the sanctions entirely.

  3. #68
    BamaNation Hall of Fame MattinBama's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by Tidewater View Post
    I just think some facts exist independently of Donald Trump.
    I don't necessarily disagree. But to ignore that Putin has Trump by the short hairs is to ignore reality.

  4. #69
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Regardless of what Trump or Obama did, neither of them have done enough per our agreement with Ukraine. They literally disarmed themselves BECAUSE OF US. With the understanding that if they need protection we will offer it. Any discussion about whether we should be over there helping them or not has already been answered by our agreement. The only question now should be about strategy of how to help them reclaim their land and keep it without costing too many lives.

  5. #70
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Displaced Bama Fan's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    In other news, Russia's creeping imperialism is living large in Belarus as the "mighty" Russian Bear attempts to persuade Belarus to become part of the "family" again. Something tells me Belarus' president will accidentally ingest some radioactive particles.

  6. #71
    BamaNation Hall of Fame MattinBama's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by Displaced Bama Fan View Post
    In other news, Russia's creeping imperialism is living large in Belarus as the "mighty" Russian Bear attempts to persuade Belarus to become part of the "family" again. Something tells me Belarus' president will accidentally ingest some radioactive particles.
    They don't really need to kill someone as high up as Presidents. They can just run their active measures playbook for the next election and push them out - then harass them with the incoming Russia friendly administration. It has worked repeatedly for them already.

  7. #72
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Tidewater's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by MattinBama View Post
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/03/01...united-states/



    In case anyone is curious at how hard they've fought to avoid implementing sanctions and wants to understand that they basically had to be pulled kicking and screaming to impose anything.
    That was published by the Center for American Progress employees (maybe not the most objective source for critiques of Trump) on March 1, 2018.

    The next day, the Trump Administration extended economic sanction by one year.

    March 15, 2018, the United States made first use of CATSAA law to impose sanctions on 19 Russians, including 13 indicted in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election and Internet Research LLC, commonly known as the Russian “troll factory.”

    March 26, 2018, the Trump administration ordered sixty Russian diplomats expelled from the United States and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.

    April 6, 2018, the United States bans visas for 38 Russian businessmen and freezes their assets to punish Russian “malign activity” worldwide.

    August 27, 2018, the United States imposes a ban on arms sales, arms-sales financing, U.S. government credit or other financial assistance, exports of national-security-sensitive goods, and most foreign assistance to Russia under the terms of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Elimination Act.
    September 7, 2018, the Trump administration announced it will increase U.S. Army troop strength in Europe by 1,500, by moving an artillery brigade headquarters, two Multiple Launch Rocket System battalions, a short range air defense battalion and some support troops to Bavaria. (This is on top of the 1,000 troops stationed in Poland on a rotational basis.)



    Looks to me like Putin should be asking for a refund on whatever he has given the guy or remind him of whatever negative thing he is holding over him, because it does not seem to be working too well. I do not like being in the position of appearing to defend the guy, but his administration is certainly not acting like he has been bought and paid for.

  8. #73
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Tidewater's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    no idea why we quit the IMF, haven't followed it closely.
    Honestly, it was because the Russians were cheating, deploying a missile that violates the INF.
    Novator 9M729: The Russian Missile that Broke INF Treaty's Back?
    The Russians have also deployed Iskander-M missile launchers which seem capable of launching the 9M279, in the Kaliningrad exclave, and that puts a lot of western Europe within range and thus subject to Russian intimidation.


    As for Obama's direction to Ukraine not to fire back at the "little green men" in Crimea, there is a perfectly believable and innocuous explanation. No one knew for sure at the time that the "little green men" were Russian soldiers, local ethnic Russians or whatever (they have since been proven to have been regular Russian soldiers with their insignia removed). The major turning point in the Maidan protests in Kyiv came when the Yanukovich administration ordered snipers (probably Russian snipers loaned by Putin) to start shooting protestors. At that moment, the Yanukovich administrative became unacceptable to most Ukrainians. Obama was probably concerned that if someone started shooting in Crimea, the Kyiv government could lose control of the situation there as well. Not shooting was seen as the prudent policy (like not shooting at the freeloading ranchers in Nevada). The problem was that by not resisting by force the invasion of Crimea at its start, Ukraine lost whatever chance it had to hang onto its territory. But that is hindsight. My point is that if you start with a narrative ("Obama is pro-Russian or at least criminally incompetent vis-a-vis Russia"), then these two datapoints support that narrative. If, on the other hand, you step back and examine his actions as objectively as you can, you can see that Obama was not pro-Russian, he just saw the world the way he wanted it to be, not as it was.

    It may be that the Mueller probe may produce something that unambiguously demonstrates that Putin owns Trump somehow, but I have not seen it yet and I'm willing to wait and see what Mueller produces.

  9. #74
    BamaNation Hall of Fame MattinBama's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by Tidewater View Post
    Looks to me like Putin should be asking for a refund on whatever he has given the guy or remind him of whatever negative thing he is holding over him, because it does not seem to be working too well. I do not like being in the position of appearing to defend the guy, but his administration is certainly not acting like he has been bought and paid for.
    Looks to me like you're taking actions that Trump has in some ways been politically compelled to do as a sign that he is "tough on Russia" because it's something he wanted to do when all signs indicate that he has done everything he can to avoid those things for as long as possible or tried to lessen them.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/16/here...backed-do.html

    Also in March, following the poisoning of former KGB agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K., the Trump administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S., although reports indicated he was not happy with the move.

    In early July, Trump seemed to challenge the long-held U.S. policy of refusing to recognize Moscow’s Crimea annexation, saying only in response to questions on the issue: “We’ll see.” He also reportedly argued to officials at June’s G-7 summit that Crimea should belong to Russia because “everyone there speaks Russian.”

    ...

    Washington's UN ambassador Nikki Haley promptly promised further sanctions against Russia for its refusal to condemn the chemical attack — only to be left hanging when Trump walked back his threat and no new sanctions were imposed.
    I'm guessing we're also going to ignore everything that Trump has done that would advance the geopolitical goals of Russia:

    Wanting Russia back in the G-7, eroding our soft power in various ways (Paris Accord, other agreements, leaving positions unfilled), refusing to affirm article 5 with NATO, refusing to acknowledge their role in subverting elections, legitimizing statements like Putin's idea to have a joint cyber defense plan with the country doing the cyber attacks, openly considering handing over US citizens to them, and so on. There are legitimately too many things for me to even remember all of them.

  10. #75
    BamaNation Hall of Fame MattinBama's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by Tidewater View Post
    It may be that the Mueller probe may produce something that unambiguously demonstrates that Putin owns Trump somehow, but I have not seen it yet.
    Should have paid attention to the Helsinki conference. Not that there aren't lots of other dots connected outside of that as well.

  11. #76
    BamaNation Hall of Fame 92tide's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by MattinBama View Post
    Looks to me like you're taking actions that Trump has in some ways been politically compelled to do as a sign that he is "tough on Russia" because it's something he wanted to do when all signs indicate that he has done everything he can to avoid those things for as long as possible or tried to lessen them.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/16/here...backed-do.html



    I'm guessing we're also going to ignore everything that Trump has done that would advance the geopolitical goals of Russia:

    Wanting Russia back in the G-7, eroding our soft power in various ways (Paris Accord, other agreements, leaving positions unfilled), refusing to affirm article 5 with NATO, refusing to acknowledge their role in subverting elections, legitimizing statements like Putin's idea to have a joint cyber defense plan with the country doing the cyber attacks, openly considering handing over US citizens to them, and so on. There are legitimately too many things for me to even remember all of them.
    changing the gop platform on russia/ukraine
    The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.

    - George Orwell

    If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.

    — Thomas Pynchon

  12. #77
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Tidewater's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Sorry. I was out doing some medical things yesterday.
    Quote Originally Posted by MattinBama View Post
    Looks to me like you're taking actions that Trump has in some ways been politically compelled to do as a sign that he is "tough on Russia" because it's something he wanted to do when all signs indicate that he has done everything he can to avoid those things for as long as possible or tried to lessen them.
    No. I look at the totality and examine concrete actions and others and as objectively as possible judge whether they were explainable as the actions of a Putin puppet or some other explanation works better.
    Nobody compelled Trump to deploy U.S. troops to Poland (concrete action that really ticked Putin off) or to hold exercises in the Baltic States (which also ticked Putin off) or to proceedings with the Aegis Ashore site to Romania (which really ticks Putin off).
    He has in fact, expanded sanctions against Russia. The international urge is to turn sanctions off because a lot of people would like to make money trading with Russia, and keeping them in place is a task all by itself. (This is why I was appalled that the Obama Administration demolished the sanctions regime against Iran. I do not believe Obama was a puppet of Iran. I think he honestly believed that if you treat Iran like a normal country, they will act like one and Obama wanted to be the guy that opened to Iran to the world. It has not panned out, but re-erecting that sanctions regime now would be impossible.) There are all kinds of people in Europe that would love to demolish the sanctions regime against Russia and Trump could appear to be the "good cop" and lead the charge on taking them down saying "They haven't worked, let's be pragmatic and re-engage Russia"), but he hasn't.
    Anonymous "reports" in today's media climate I find unconvincing. If he was not happy, why not call State and tell them not to expel the Russians? He could have settled for a strongly-worded condemnation of the Skripal poisoning and left it at that.
    I'm guessing we're also going to ignore everything that Trump has done that would advance the geopolitical goals of Russia:

    Wanting Russia back in the G-7, eroding our soft power in various ways (Paris Accord, other agreements, leaving positions unfilled), refusing to affirm article 5 with NATO, refusing to acknowledge their role in subverting elections, legitimizing statements like Putin's idea to have a joint cyber defense plan with the country doing the cyber attacks, openly considering handing over US citizens to them, and so on. There are legitimately too many things for me to even remember all of them.
    As for the soft power stuff, if you believe the Paris Accord is a bad policy, getting out of it is not pro-Putin, it is pro-American. It appears Macron is reconsidering his decision to opt in, but no one that I know of seriously argues that Macron's backpeddling is a pro-Putin policy. It is more of a "I don't want any more riots in Paris" policy.
    Refusing to affirm Article 5 I saw as a bargaining strategy to get Europeans to live up to their defense spending commitments (2% of GDP, which most NATO members do not honor).
    Trump refused to acknowledge Russian election interference for purely self-interested reasons. He is not going to undermine whatever legitimacy he has by endorsing that narrative. Russia's involvement in the 2016 election was (a) illegally gaining access to John Podesta's email account and disclosing its contents. (b) spreading pro-Russia, pro-Trump and anti-Hillary "news" via social media.

    So taking into account the concrete actions and the rhetorical bits, I do not see Trump as Putin's puppet. Not yet, any way. The Mueller report could change that view, however.

  13. #78
    BamaNation Hall of Fame MattinBama's Avatar
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    Re: Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships

    Quote Originally Posted by Tidewater View Post
    Russia's involvement in the 2016 election was (a) illegally gaining access to John Podesta's email account and disclosing its contents. (b) spreading pro-Russia, pro-Trump and anti-Hillary "news" via social media.

    So taking into account the concrete actions and the rhetorical bits, I do not see Trump as Putin's puppet. Not yet, any way. The Mueller report could change that view, however.
    I don’t really have the time available to keep digging up articles & news stories especially with how much tonnage of things pop up when searching anything Trump/Russia related.

    I will just say that Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election went well beyond just your a & b. There is tons of information out there about it. Much of it linked or mentioned here previously (although not all of it).

    I kind of doubt Mueller’s report will convince you if the amount of available information hasn’t already done so but maybe it will. Either way I do appreciate the links & discussion. Far more than is available from the actual Trump supporters out there.

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