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      05-23-2014, 10:43 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
But you and many biased media outlets are keen on making everyone believe that half of the Ukraine was always Russian and that the international world shouldn't worry about any violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.

I do agree peace and reconciliation needs to happen in the Ukraine, but there is little chance of that happening with Russian forces occupying Crimea and fueling the tensions and violence in the east. Russia needs to step back from Ukraine if peace is to be achieved.
You misunderstand. I in no way support what Russia is doing. I agree that it is tearing Ukraine further and further apart. I also don't think the fact that Ukraine was previously part of anything justifies anything. I don't think the ousted President was a good guy.

I do think you underestimate the degree of political division in Ukraine. I do think that, if Putin is willing to live with some economic sanctions, there is no way we can fix things. Europe is too dependent on Russian fossil fuels to do anything more serious. Ukraine is too divided to fight Putin.

You've gone on and on about how Russia is militarily weak. Compared to us, I assume. Are you seriously contemplating that we should engage them militarily over Ukraine?

I think that idea is seriously crazy. And I think our best hope is that Putin realizes that, now that he has Crimea, the rest of Ukraine would be more trouble than it's worth. Not pleasant, but surely reality.

We simply can't do much here. We can't mold the world to our liking, we've done precious little to change the Middle East, where we've tried at enormous cost to do so. Iraq is a mess. Libya is a mess. It looks like Egyptian democracy won't last very long. Another recommended book, by a very experienced and knowledgeable general/historian.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Limits-Pow.../dp/0805090169

"Writing with knowledge born of experience, conservative historian and former military officer Andrew J. Bacevich argues that if the nation is to solve its predicament, it will need the revival of a distinctly American approach: the neglected tradition of realism."

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      05-24-2014, 12:34 AM   #68
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@128Convertibleguy, all the issues that you brought up have been addressed in my earlier posts, you simply refuse to acknowledge my points.

I showed how it is feasible for the EU and US to sanction Russia and cripple its economy, which would effectively weaken Russia's bargaining power.
I showed that Europe has plenty of other options for fossil fuel sources, though they might have to pay a bit more for it.
I did state that war shouldn't be an option. The only reason I brought up Russia's military strength was to disprove @Kolyan2k's earlier claims.


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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
You misunderstand. I in no way support what Russia is doing. I agree that it is tearing Ukraine further and further apart. I also don't think the fact that Ukraine was previously part of anything justifies anything. I don't think the ousted President was a good guy.

I do think you underestimate the degree of political division in Ukraine.
This is the first time, in all our back-and-forth, that I have seen you acknowledge that Russia's actions are illegal and the root cause of this entire incident. This is the first time I have seen you acknowledge that the previous Ukrainian president wasn't a good guy.

I have acknowledged all along that the Ukraine has political and ethnic differences within its borders. My main problem with the way these differences have been addressed in the media and this thread is that they were used to justify or apologize for Russia's actions, while at the same time the Ukraine's right to exist as a country was marginalized.

Up until this point, you have been so intent on trying to paint the Ukraine as a lost cause that you forgot to mention, either intentionally or unintentionally, that a sovereign nation is currently trying to figure out how to prevent a foreign military from attacking it further.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
We simply can't do much here. We can't mold the world to our liking, we've done precious little to change the Middle East, where we've tried at enormous cost to do so. Iraq is a mess. Libya is a mess. It looks like Egyptian democracy won't last very long.
Realistically speaking we have neither the political will nor the money to go into every 3rd world crap hole and "transform" it into a democracy. But we certainly owe all of our efforts, short of war, to the Ukrainian people: ie full sanctions of Russia and further isolation. So far no one either in Europe or the US has been willing to take those steps, and until that happens, Russia is perfectly willing and able to continue its occupation of Crimea and destabilization of the Eastern Ukraine.

The precedent that is set if we standby and do nothing, will set the stage for additional interventions by other aggressive nations. Go look at what China is doing in international waters near Vietnam and the Philippines.

Rigorous sanctions aren't a panacea to this problem, but they are a good first step. Obama, Merkel, and the rest of Europe have cold feet or are too concerned about the $ issue, so the Ukraine's autonomy will be on the backburner for the immediate future it seems.

Last edited by Patronus86; 05-24-2014 at 12:42 AM.
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      05-24-2014, 12:40 AM   #69
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^ I am Russian.
That explains a lot.
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      05-24-2014, 10:46 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
I have acknowledged all along that the Ukraine has political and ethnic differences within its borders. My main problem with the way these differences have been addressed in the media and this thread is that they were used to justify or apologize for Russia's actions, while at the same time the Ukraine's right to exist as a country was marginalized.
Let me be clear. The political divisions in Ukraine justify nothing. They do mean that Putin, also not a nice guy, can exploit them. They do mean trying to fix this from outside is a fool's errand.
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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
So far no one either in Europe or the US has been willing to take those steps, and until that happens, Russia is perfectly willing and able to continue its occupation of Crimea and destabilization of the Eastern Ukraine.
Bingo. And the idea that Europe will spend billions, by forgoing Russian fossil fuels, on a fool's errand in Ukraine, is not realistic. Nor is the idea that the US can do much more while that is Europe's position.

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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
The precedent that is set if we standby and do nothing, will set the stage for additional interventions by other aggressive nations. Go look at what China is doing in international waters near Vietnam and the Philippines.
So? What do you think we can or should do about that? Before we went to war against North Vietnam concerned that they would spread communism in the area. We lost, and they didn't. So now the right cause is to intervene to help them? Over a few largely uninhabited islands? There are more holes in the dike than we have fingers for, and mostly the holes are bigger than our fingers.

The world is a tumultuous place, and, as the book two posts above details, we have not the power to change that. Bacevitch clearly demonstrates that our attempts to do so throughout US history have by and large been bad ideas. Certainly for the last 50 years. The two outstanding exceptions have been the World Wars. The small stuff hasn't gone so well.

We're not "setting the stage" for anything. The world is a tough place. The notion that somehow bad guys will refrain from attempting whatever because the US runs around doing this and that, to little effect, is laughable. We went all out in Iraq, and it certainly bought us no respect. When we clearly are acting in support of actions of a large and committed coalition (the World Wars, splitting up Yugoslavia) we can accomplish something. Ukraine does not remotely qualify.

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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
Rigorous sanctions aren't a panacea to this problem, but they are a good first step. Obama, Merkel, and the rest of Europe have cold feet or are too concerned about the $ issue, so the Ukraine's autonomy will be on the backburner for the immediate future it seems.
I'd put it slightly differently. No national leaders think Ukraine is a cause worthy of great sacrifice in making an attempt, with so little idea about what a long term solution to their internal strife could be. I think the EU have made a valid foreign policy decision, although they certainly should learn a lesson, and move away from dependence on Russian fossil fuel. Not to fix Ukraine, but because there's too much risk involved, and it limits their flexibility. Just as we need to move away from dependence on Mideast fossil fuel, same reasons.

I don't think Obama has cold feet, he's just being calm and realistic. As we want our President to be. The days of the cowboy Presidents are over. There's tragedy here, but we can't stop tragedy everywhere in the world today.

Last edited by 128Convertibleguy; 05-24-2014 at 11:15 AM.
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      05-24-2014, 12:23 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
And the idea that Europe will spend billions, by forgoing Russian fossil fuels, on a fool's errand in Ukraine, is not realistic. Nor is the idea that the US can do much more while that is Europe's position.
It is both realistic and feasible for Europe to get its fossil fuels from sources other than Russia. Germany and much of western Europe have the capital to do so, it's really a matter of them not wanting to spend the money. That and Germany is still somewhat guilty of its involvement in 2 previous world wars and is reluctant to get into a confrontation with Russia.



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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
So? What do you think we can or should do about that? Before we went to war against North Vietnam concerned that they would spread communism in the area. We lost, and they didn't. So now the right cause is to intervene to help them? Over a few largely uninhabited islands? There are more holes in the dike than we have fingers for, and mostly the holes are bigger than our fingers.
I think many historians, including myself, would disagree with your statement that the US "lost" Vietnam. We withdrew because we were war weary, but that's different from being forced to surrender or leave a conflict because of battlefield defeats.

Also, if you were to pay attention to our involvement in southeast Asia during the last 10 years, you would realize that countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines, are eager to increase their relationship with the US because they are very wary of a vastly powerful China. The Vietnam war was horrible for both sides of that conflict, but Vietnam, among others, is putting that past behind it and being practical about its foreign policy.

And we have no "right" to intervene for the sake of being powerful. We do have an obligation to help protect our allies and helpless nations from aggressor states. China is seizing fishing lanes and oil wells that are closer to Vietnam and the Philippines than its own coastline. It has unilaterally put up an air exclusion zone over international airspace. Vietnam, Philippines and even Japan are mostly powerless to stop those acts, that's why an increased US presences is needed there (and our presence is in fact being requested by nations like Vietnam and Japan). These areas may seem unimportant to you, but they are very important to the people who live there.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
The world is a tumultuous place, and, as the book two posts above details, we have not the power to change that. Bacevitch clearly demonstrates that our attempts to do so throughout US history have by and large been bad ideas. Certainly for the last 50 years. The two outstanding exceptions have been the World Wars. The small stuff hasn't gone so well.
There have been a lot of miscalculated policies and interventions by the US in the last 50 years. But that does not give the US a free card to stand on the sidelines while China and Russia, two of the most aggressive and undemocratic states in the world, carve up international or foreign lands and waters for their own use. There are UN rulings against such actions, but unfortunately China and Russia have veto authority to block any resolutions they view as unfavorable.

In the past simply sending a carrier battlegroup into disputed areas was enough to keep this kind of aggression at bay...sanctions have worked as well. But no one has the stomach for that kind of gunboat diplomacy anymore.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
We're not "setting the stage" for anything. The world is a tough place. The notion that somehow bad guys will refrain from attempting whatever because the US runs around doing this and that, to little effect, is laughable. We went all out in Iraq, and it certainly bought us no respect. When we clearly are acting in support of actions of a large and committed coalition (the World Wars, splitting up Yugoslavia) we can accomplish something. Ukraine does not remotely qualify.
The world is a tough and harsh place, I agree with you. But believe it or not, some parts of the world do look to democratic powers like the US and certain NATO nations (UK, France) to provide some measure of stability in times of chaos or war. The Ukraine is looking to us for help, because they are powerless to do anything with Russia' military lingering within its border. Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, to name a few, are anxious to see an increased US presence in southeast Asia because China is unilaterally and illegally staking out a claim of international lands and waters.

The US can apply its influence and support to help confront these illegal actions or it can let these actions go unchecked...and if unchecked, countries like China and Russia, will have no problem continuing their actions and policies.

Iraq was a bad decision, no arguments from me on that one. But as to whether that country devolves into a crumbling pile of sectarian strife or it turns into a multi-ethnic democracy remains to be seen.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
I don't think Obama has cold feet, he's just being calm and realistic. As we want our President to be. The days of the cowboy Presidents are over. There's tragedy here, but we can't stop tragedy everywhere in the world today.
Obama is being calm, but his foreign policy has been extremely amateurish. He gave multiple red-lines with military repercussions to Al Assad in Syria but backed down on all of his threats. He did largely nothing to support the Arab Spring (not talking about military efforts but diplomatic and public gestures were lacking). He has negotiated a shaky deal with Iran that has given them all sorts of economic relief while in return they have done nothing to dismantle their nuclear program. He helped overthrow Ghadaffi in Libya but has done nothing to help stabilize the resulting chaos in that country nor has he done anything to bring in the terrorists who sacked our consulate in Benghazi.

I do not fault him for not being a war-monger. I fault him because his talk and gestures have no credibility on the international scene...and everyone including China and Russia realizes that, which only emboldens their aggression. I fault him because he refuses to take action of any sort (not just military, but economic and diplomatic measures as well).

@128Convertibleguy, you see every international incident as a potential pitfall or Vietnam-like quagmire if the US were to get involved. I agree that international conflict should be avoided at all costs, and that the US doesn't want or need to get involved in another costly war...so however we act, we must act thoughtfully and deliberately.

But I tell you that every incident that we walk away from leaves an opening for another state or non-state actor to get involved. And as egregious as our past mistakes have been, I can assure you that other countries and international groups are capable and willing to do much worse for the sake of personal gain.

Last edited by Patronus86; 05-24-2014 at 02:16 PM. Reason: typo
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      05-24-2014, 03:12 PM   #72
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It is both realistic and feasible for Europe to get its fossil fuels from sources other than Russia.

I think many historians, including myself, would disagree with your statement that the US "lost" Vietnam. We withdrew because we were war weary, but that's different from being forced to surrender or leave a conflict because of battlefield defeats.

Also, if you were to pay attention to our involvement in southeast Asia during the last 10 years, you would realize that countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines, are eager to increase their relationship with the US because they are very wary of a vastly powerful China. The Vietnam war was horrible for both sides of that conflict, but Vietnam, among others, is putting that past behind it and being practical about its foreign policy.

And we have no "right" to intervene for the sake of being powerful. We do have an obligation to help protect our allies and helpless nations from aggressor states. China is seizing fishing lanes and oil wells that are closer to Vietnam and the Philippines than its own coastline. It has unilaterally put up an air exclusion zone over international airspace. Vietnam, Philippines and even Japan are mostly powerless to stop those acts, that's why an increased US presences is needed there (and our presence is in fact being requested by nations like Vietnam and Japan). These areas may seem unimportant to you, but they are very important to the people who live there.

There have been a lot of miscalculated policies and interventions by the US in the last 50 years. But that does not give the US a free card to stand on the sidelines while China and Russia, two of the most aggressive and undemocratic states in the world, carve up international or foreign lands and waters for their own use. There are UN rulings against such actions, but unfortunately China and Russia have veto authority to block any resolutions they view as unfavorable.

In the past simply sending a carrier battlegroup into disputed areas was enough to keep this kind of aggression at bay...sanctions have worked as well. But no one has the stomach for that kind of gunboat diplomacy anymore.

The world is a tough and harsh place, I agree with you. But believe it or not, some parts of the world do look to democratic powers like the US and certain NATO nations (UK, France) to provide some measure of stability in times of chaos or war. The Ukraine is looking to us for help, because they are powerless to do anything with Russia' military lingering within its border. Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, to name a few, are anxious to see an increased US presence in southeast Asia because China is unilaterally and illegally staking out a claim of international lands and waters.

The US can apply its influence and support to help confront these illegal actions or it can let these actions go unchecked...and if unchecked, countries like China and Russia, will have no problem continuing their actions and policies.

Iraq was a bad decision, no arguments from me on that one. But as to whether that country devolves into a crumbling pile of sectarian strife or it turns into a multi-ethnic democracy remains to be seen.

Obama is being calm, but his foreign policy has been extremely amateurish. He gave multiple red-lines with military repercussions to Al Assad in Syria but backed down on all of his threats. He did largely nothing to support the Arab Spring (not talking about military efforts but diplomatic and public gestures were lacking). He has negotiated a shaky deal with Iran that has given them all sorts of economic relief while in return they have done nothing to dismantle their nuclear program. He helped overthrow Ghadaffi in Libya but has done nothing to help stabilize the resulting chaos in that country nor has he done anything to bring in the terrorists who sacked our consulate in Benghazi.

I do not fault him for not being a war-monger. I fault him because his talk and gestures have no credibility on the international scene...and everyone including China and Russia realizes that, which only emboldens their aggression. I fault him because he refuses to take action of any sort (not just military, but economic and diplomatic measures as well).

@128Convertibleguy, you see every international incident as a potential pitfall or Vietnam-like quagmire if the US were to get involved. I agree that international conflict should be avoided at all costs, and that the US doesn't want or need to get involved in another costly war...so however we act, we must act thoughtfully and deliberately.

But I tell you that every incident that we walk away from leaves an opening for another state or non-state actor to get involved. And as egregious as our past mistakes have been, I can assure you that other countries and international groups are capable and willing to do much worse for the sake of personal gain.
I think we've gotten to a much better place. You're more interventionist than me. But to some degree, it's understandable.

I lived through Vietnam. If you prefer we can say North Vietnam won. Regardless of how or why it happened, they achieved their objective, which was to take over Vietnam. It never was to spread communism elsewhere, that's right up there with weapons of mass destruction as a flat out lie.

In some way I admire your optimism that we can affect the course of the world as much as you think. But I do think you'd do well to read Bacevitch, a guy whose knowledge, expertise, and perspective, make us look like the small stuff we are. My judgments about what is achievable come more from pros like him, than from my own in depth knowledge (the phrase is intended to be humorous). I think optimism about a multicultural democratic Iraq might be noble, but it's just not on. The fact that it was never a real nation, but a forced grouping by Britain, is important. As is the fact that the various sectarian groups seem to want to hate each other far more than they want to progress together. There's no move toward compromise at all, something that threatens our country also.

I just don't think we're that scary any more, regardless of who is President, or their policy. Iraq and Afghanistan have shown clearly our military might is not enough. The fact that there are many places in either country that we dare not walk speaks volumes. Benghazi is simply the latest in a long string of successful attacks on our diplomatic outposts, under a variety of Presidents. It's far from the worst, either in numbers of fatalities or competence, and pretty much all the culprits have gone unpunished.

Our best bet lies in forming strong alliances with other nations, particularly Europe. NATO. The UN (however flawed). When we speak as one voice we can do much. When we're just the Americans on another misadventure, nothing much will come of it. It's not that not one has any taste for gunboat diplomacy any more, it's that it doesn't work any more.

Above all else we need to strengthen our diplomacy and our alliances. The genius who thought it was a great idea to tap Merkel's phone needs to find another line of work. Having the best weapons just doesn't mean what it used to. The Ukraine may look to us for help, but there's just not much we can do. Vietnam may look to us for help with China, but there's even less for us to do there.

One more olive branch. You get annoyed when someone doesn't acknowledge the mistakes by their guys. Obama's dealings with Syria has been absurdly bad. You don't make threats you're not prepared to execute, and he should have been more cognizant of the limits of our power there. Unlike you I also think he's done a lot right.

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      05-24-2014, 05:23 PM   #73
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I have only a few comments that are off-topic, and then I'll agree that you and I have different opinions on this issue and leave it at that.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
If you prefer we can say North Vietnam won. Regardless of how or why it happened, they achieved their objective, which was to take over Vietnam. It never was to spread communism elsewhere, that's right up there with weapons of mass destruction as a flat out lie.
Though I believe both the Vietnam War and the Invasion of Iraq were big mistakes, I do not believe those wars were started for false reasons...miscalculated or inaccurate reasons, but not false.

Back in the 50's and 60's the US and much of Europe truly believed that the USSR had a global agenda to spread communism. And in southeast Asia, many countries, besides the US, were afraid of a domino effect of countries falling to communism...and there was some degree of truth to that if you look at how Laos, Cambodia and Thailand fared during those years.

In hindsight, the theory of a global communist agenda and a domino theory was somewhat exaggerated and inaccurate...but that's the value of hindsight everything is 20/20 or at least much more clear. We had no idea of how independent from the communist flock Vietnam would end up becoming, even to the point of warring with China in the 70's. No one just made this stuff up out of thin air...they were formulated and educated assessments about the USSR and its communist allies that turned out to be inacccurate.

The same applies to Iraq. The US and every other major European power believed that Saddam had at least some weapons of mass destruction and a capability to produce more. The UN inspectors were not able to conduct unhindered reviews of Saddam's weapons and facilities and thus couldn't prove anything one way or another.

The US, and most of Europe, made an assessment based on the intelligence at hand...and that assessment turned out to be wrong. And despite many conspiracy theories and journalistic endeavors over the last 10 years, no one in the international community or the US has been able to prove that the intelligence was fabricated.


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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
I just don't think we're that scary any more, regardless of who is President, or their policy. Iraq and Afghanistan have shown clearly our military might is not enough. The fact that there are many places in either country that we dare not walk speaks volumes. Benghazi is simply the latest in a long string of successful attacks on our diplomatic outposts, under a variety of Presidents.
No one, including me, thinks the US needs to be 'scary.' But in order to have respect and credibility on the international scene, the leader of any country needs to mean what he says and be prepared to back up his talk with actions (again I refer to a spectrum of actions from economic measures, diplomatic gestures and military/humanitarian operations).

And as bad as Iraq was, America under GW Bush certainly carried a lot more credibility than it currently does now. One of the few good things that came out of Iraq was that Ghaddafi gave up his chemical/biological weapons program when he saw what happened to Saddam. When Bush said something or committed to a cause, the world knew he was going to follow through. Everyone views Obama as good speaker, but they don't give his words much credibility because he has rarely followed through on his threats/promises and has refused to take decisive action on any of the major incidents that have occurred during his tenure.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Our best bet lies in forming strong alliances with other nations, particularly Europe. NATO. The UN (however flawed). When we speak as one voice we can do much. When we're just the Americans on another misadventure, nothing much will come of it. It's not that not one has any taste for gunboat diplomacy any more, it's that it doesn't work any more.
Forming strong alliances you say...like allying with and helping small struggling countries that are facing unprovoked aggression from regional powers? Those kinds of alliances?

In this day and age, NATO as a whole or even as individual countries (see France's operations in Mali) are more likely to act on their own because the UN is extremely flawed and corrupt, however noble its purpose for existence may be. China and Russia have security council veto powers which means the UN rarely if ever provides timely responses to genocides or humanitarian disasters. The EU and NATO have developed their own quick reaction forces in the wake of the Bosnian and Kosovo conflict and the Rawandan genocide because of how slow and incapable the UN's response was.

The UN has countries like Pakistan and Venezuela (countries with horrible human rights records) telling the rest of the world which nations warrant condemnation.

You say the US should only act when the UN "legalizes" said actions...I say that the US shouldn't restrict its actions based on the illegitimate concerns of corrupt and undemocratic nations.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Obama's dealings with Syria has been absurdly bad. You don't make threats you're not prepared to execute, and he should have been more cognizant of the limits of our power there. Unlike you I also think he's done a lot right.
What has Obama done right in the international scene?

I appreciate your attempt to "make peace" on this argument...but you and I have two very different views of where the world has been and where it is going. I think it would do you some good if you read some actual historical literature in order to form your own opinions instead of regurgitating other people's opinions.

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      05-24-2014, 06:44 PM   #74
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Forming strong alliances you say...like allying with and helping small struggling countries that are facing unprovoked aggression from regional powers? Those kinds of alliances?
No, not those kind of alliances. As morally pleasing as they might be, they just aren't what we need right now. Ukraine is clearly a loser, because of its internal problems, our practical lack of power over Putin, and Europe's inability to do without Russia's fossil fuels, at least in the short run. Getting in between Vietnam and China would be idiotic.

I mean pragmatic alliances with the big boys that carry clout. Realism.
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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
You say the US should only act when the UN "legalizes" said actions...I say that the US shouldn't restrict its actions based on the illegitimate concerns of corrupt and undemocratic nations.
Please don't say I said something I didn't. The UN is simply one tool of many in our toolbox. We should use it when it will work.

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I think it would do you some good if you read some actual historical literature in order to form your own opinions instead of regurgitating other people's opinions.
I won't get into an argument with you over who's read more actual historical literature. Even though I'd win. Read much Thucydides lately? David McCullough's biography of Theodore Roosevelt?<grin> But Bacevitch's book is historical analysis, by a brilliant general and historian, who knows far more about American militarism than either you or me. I think reading it would help you form better opinions.

Thanks for the shot, though. It had me reading about people's favorite history books. Got a few new ones to try.

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      05-24-2014, 07:46 PM   #75
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I mean pragmatic alliances with the big boys that carry clout. Realism.
I have no idea what you mean by that..we are already allied with all of the major European powers (via NATO) and have an explicit defense pact with Japan. So who are the big boys who carry clout that we need to build alliances with?

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Please don't say I said something I didn't. The UN is simply one tool of many in our toolbox. We should use it when it will work.
Fine, I misspoke. I was referring to people of your mentality..not you specifically.


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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
I won't get into an argument with you over who's read more actual historical literature. Even though I'd win. Read much Thucydides lately? David McCullough's biography of Theodore Roosevelt?<grin> But Bacevitch's book is historical analysis, by a brilliant general and historian, who knows far more about American militarism than either you or me. I think reading it would help you form better opinions.
So name dropping automatically makes you a more knowledgeable historian? Because if that is all it takes, I can google a whole bunch of names, just like you probably did for your response...and can prove myself to be the better historian....

Or you and I can debate the merits' of each others' arguments with facts and logic...it's your call.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Thanks for the shot, though. It had me reading about people's favorite history books. Got a few new ones to try.
When you read history books, you need to be aware of the historiography that is involved (the history of how history is told). Everyone has their own opinions, and debates still rage about things as old as what the founding fathers intended in their writing of the Constitution.

But in all seriousness, you don't sound like someone who is truly interested in learning about history...If you believe blatant falsehoods like that half of the Ukraine is Russian, or that some suit-and-tie in DC fabricated a communist threat in order to get the US into Vietnam....you obviously don't have your head in the history books.

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      05-24-2014, 07:48 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
What has Obama done right in the international scene?
@128Convertibleguy, I find it particularly amusing that I still haven't gotten an answer from you on this. But that seems to be your way...you never address those parts of my arguments that you find inconvenient.

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      05-24-2014, 11:26 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
@128Convertibleguy, I find it particularly amusing that I still haven't gotten an answer from you on this. But that seems to be your way...you never address those parts of my arguments that you find inconvenient.
Sigh, just when we were starting to actually communicate.

I didn't respond, because it was clear that this was going to be the a most pointless debate. Did so. Did not. But if you insist.

He got us out of Iraq. And is getting us out of Afghanistan. Not fast enough for my taste, but not bad.

Gave the Libyan rebels a chance, at minimal cost. What they do with it is up to them, of course.

Made substantial progress in cutting nuclear weapons here and in Russia by about 50%.

Caused serious damage to Al Qaeda's top level organizational structure, changing it from a centralized and organized force to isolated splinter groups.

Got international support for strong sanctions against Iran. Including support from Russia and China, which had looked to be pretty much impossible. Iran is a tough nut to crack, but they're definitely much more isolated.

Has walked a difficult line re Israel, balancing strong support for their military with applying diplomatic pressure to negotiate with the Palestinians.

There have been no organized terror attacks on the US mainland. Several have been thwarted.

Provided a highly organized effort to aid Haiti after the earthquakes.

You can quibble about any of these, and I'm sure you will, but Obama's foreign policy respect from the American people was key to his trouncing Romney. He pretty much killed Romney in the foreign policy part of the 3rd debate.

He's clearly working on managing the relationship with China. It's a difficult task, and only time will tell if he is successful.

Not as good a record as I had hoped (or, no doubt, as he had hoped), not bad for someone who had been attacked in 2008 as totally unqualified for the office.

Have at it, but I'm done with this one. No point to it at all.

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      05-25-2014, 01:11 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Sigh, just when we were starting to actually communicate.

I didn't respond, because it was clear that this was going to be the a most pointless debate. Did so. Did not. But if you insist.

He got us out of Iraq. And is getting us out of Afghanistan. Not fast enough for my taste, but not bad.

Gave the Libyan rebels a chance, at minimal cost. What they do with it is up to them, of course.

Made substantial progress in cutting nuclear weapons here and in Russia by about 50%.

Caused serious damage to Al Qaeda's top level organizational structure, changing it from a centralized and organized force to isolated splinter groups.

Got international support for strong sanctions against Iran. Including support from Russia and China, which had looked to be pretty much impossible. Iran is a tough nut to crack, but they're definitely much more isolated.

Has walked a difficult line re Israel, balancing strong support for their military with applying diplomatic pressure to negotiate with the Palestinians.

There have been no organized terror attacks on the US mainland. Several have been thwarted.

Provided a highly organized effort to aid Haiti after the earthquakes.

You can quibble about any of these, and I'm sure you will, but Obama's foreign policy respect from the American people was key to his trouncing Romney. He pretty much killed Romney in the foreign policy part of the 3rd debate.

He's clearly working on managing the relationship with China. It's a difficult task, and only time will tell if he is successful.

Not as good a record as I had hoped (or, no doubt, as he had hoped), not bad for someone who had been attacked in 2008 as totally unqualified for the office.

Have at it, but I'm done with this one. No point to it at all.
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      05-25-2014, 04:16 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
He got us out of Iraq. And is getting us out of Afghanistan. Not fast enough for my taste, but not bad.
You are quick to label Iraq a failure because of sectarian strife, and yet you have no inclination to mention that Obama refused to negotiate a status of forces agreement in order to maintain US training/assistance for the Iraqi army.

Also Obama has maintained status quo in Afghanistan from the Bush years. He executed a surge that most politicians didn't want and that most generals thought was too little. He has given the US military no updated intent or guidance since 2009 and has left the military with an unclear and vague mission. Feel free to ask me how I know that bit.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Gave the Libyan rebels a chance, at minimal cost. What they do with it is up to them, of course.
He decided to launch airstrikes and possibly armed certain rebel groups. But just like Bush did in Iraq, he gave little thought to the aftermath of Ghaddafi falling from power and now Libya is on the verge of becoming another Syria....I see little accomplishment there.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Made substantial progress in cutting nuclear weapons here and in Russia by about 50%.
You're joking right? The US may be reducing its nukes, but you're living in another universe if you think Russia is doing the same, especially in light of recent events.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Caused serious damage to Al Qaeda's top level organizational structure, changing it from a centralized and organized force to isolated splinter groups.
Essentially Obama continued the same operations and programs that Bush started, and yet Bush got a lot more flack for these events then Obama has so far (Guantanamo, drone strikes, ect.)

Also it is very debatable that Al Qaeda was every truly a centralized terrorist group to begin with. But on the note of terrorism, we now have many more numerous terrorist groups (Al-Qaeda affiliates and others) who operating much more extensively in Northern/Central Africa and Asia than we did under Bush...and we have Syria and Libya on the verge of becoming terrorist havens. Where is the achievement there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Got international support for strong sanctions against Iran. Including support from Russia and China, which had looked to be pretty much impossible. Iran is a tough nut to crack, but they're definitely much more isolated.
Evidently Iran wasn't a tough nut...it turns out if you sanction them, they actually want to negotiate. But when you partially lift sanctions, like Obama did, they begin to stall for time and procrastinate their efforts to dismantle their nuke program.

@128Convertibleguy, show me one thing that Iran has done so far to reduce its nuclear program. Obama's grand plan hasn't done anything to stop Iran's efforts, which is why China and Russia supported the plan to begin with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Has walked a difficult line re Israel, balancing strong support for their military with applying diplomatic pressure to negotiate with the Palestinians.
Complete BS. Palestine and Israel have the same issues that they had 8 years ago. Every US president says he is going to do something about the problem, but never end up changing a thing.

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
There have been no organized terror attacks on the US mainland. Several have been thwarted.
So that's an accomplishment? Doing his job as President and safeguarding his country his an accomplishment? Do mailmen get rewarded for delivering their packages on time?


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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
He pretty much killed Romney in the foreign policy part of the 3rd debate.
Their foreign policy ideas were noted to be extremely similar.

Again, it's funny how I earlier brought up all sorts of foreign policy problems Obama is experiencing, and yet you refuse to try and address or disprove any of those.

Have fun not replying to this post.
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      05-26-2014, 01:58 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
You are quick to label Iraq a failure because of sectarian strife, and yet you have no inclination to mention that Obama refused to negotiate a status of forces agreement in order to maintain US training/assistance for the Iraqi army.

Also Obama has maintained status quo in Afghanistan from the Bush years. He executed a surge that most politicians didn't want and that most generals thought was too little. He has given the US military no updated intent or guidance since 2009 and has left the military with an unclear and vague mission. Feel free to ask me how I know that bit.



He decided to launch airstrikes and possibly armed certain rebel groups. But just like Bush did in Iraq, he gave little thought to the aftermath of Ghaddafi falling from power and now Libya is on the verge of becoming another Syria....I see little accomplishment there.



You're joking right? The US may be reducing its nukes, but you're living in another universe if you think Russia is doing the same, especially in light of recent events.



Essentially Obama continued the same operations and programs that Bush started, and yet Bush got a lot more flack for these events then Obama has so far (Guantanamo, drone strikes, ect.)

Also it is very debatable that Al Qaeda was every truly a centralized terrorist group to begin with. But on the note of terrorism, we now have many more numerous terrorist groups (Al-Qaeda affiliates and others) who operating much more extensively in Northern/Central Africa and Asia than we did under Bush...and we have Syria and Libya on the verge of becoming terrorist havens. Where is the achievement there?



Evidently Iran wasn't a tough nut...it turns out if you sanction them, they actually want to negotiate. But when you partially lift sanctions, like Obama did, they begin to stall for time and procrastinate their efforts to dismantle their nuke program.

@128Convertibleguy, show me one thing that Iran has done so far to reduce its nuclear program. Obama's grand plan hasn't done anything to stop Iran's efforts, which is why China and Russia supported the plan to begin with.



Complete BS. Palestine and Israel have the same issues that they had 8 years ago. Every US president says he is going to do something about the problem, but never end up changing a thing.



So that's an accomplishment? Doing his job as President and safeguarding his country his an accomplishment? Do mailmen get rewarded for delivering their packages on time?



Their foreign policy ideas were noted to be extremely similar.

Again, it's funny how I earlier brought up all sorts of foreign policy problems Obama is experiencing, and yet you refuse to try and address or disprove any of those.

Have fun not replying to this post.
You cannot change a far left liberal ideological entrenched believer like 128convertibleguy. Common sense and logic aren't part of his abilities. He simply believes what he is told, without question, from the current admin, the lame stream media and far left progressive nut jobs - which is exactly how they want it. His answer for solving all of our nations problems is BIG government along with never ending borrow and spending with ZERO accountability. He embraces failed European Socialism and hates individual freedom and the ability for one to achieve their own financial independence and success. His mantra is, The Government Can Do Better For You Than You Can Do For Yourself.

As you and I have consistently observed and made note of, he will never acknowledge or try to dispute or disprove anything that contradicts his unfounded bogus ideology.

Instead, he will always change the subject, blame Bush, claim racism, blame Fox News, blame republicans, flat out lie, use bogus data or compare historical bad behavior to the current issue at hand as a means of validation to support his far left liberal ideology.
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      05-27-2014, 11:01 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by Patronus86 View Post
You're joking right? The US may be reducing its nukes, but you're living in another universe if you think Russia is doing the same, especially in light of recent events.

Have fun not replying to this post.
Most of your post is the kind of opinion that I knew was not worth debating. But, since you asked, again, I'll correct this error of fact.

I assumed you'd be aware of foreign policy events, so I kept this one short. I wasn't referring to some unilateral action on our part. We have a new START treaty with Russia, with new verification procedures, which are ongoing. It was drafted by Obama in 2009, agreed to by Russia, ratified by the Senate in 2010 (over the objections of half the Republicans, only, all the Democrats and the two Independents voted yes), and formally went into effect February 5, 2011.

"Under the terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half."

"Verification and Transparency: The Treaty has a verification regime that combines appropriate elements of the 1991 START Treaty with new elements tailored to the limitations and structure of this Treaty. Verification measures under the Treaty include on-site inspections and exhibitions, data exchanges and notifications related to strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, and provisions to facilitate the use of national technical means for treaty monitoring. To increase confidence and transparency, the Treaty also provides for an annual exchange of telemetry on an agreed number of ICBM and SLBM launches."

"The New START Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year. "

This treaty replaced Reagan's START 1, signed in 1991. It represented the end of 15 years of failure, by Presidents of both parties, to get a new agreement to replace that one, and its verification procedures, which expired in 2009. The Russians wanted us to agree to limit any new missile defenses in this treaty. They didn't get that.

Not exactly a joke.

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      05-27-2014, 06:41 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Most of your post is the kind of opinion that I knew was not worth debating. But, since you asked, again, I'll correct this error of fact.

I assumed you'd be aware of foreign policy events, so I kept this one short. I wasn't referring to some unilateral action on our part. We have a new START treaty with Russia, with new verification procedures, which are ongoing. It was drafted by Obama in 2009, agreed to by Russia, ratified by the Senate in 2010 (over the objections of half the Republicans, only, all the Democrats and the two Independents voted yes), and formally went into effect February 5, 2011.

"Under the terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half."

"Verification and Transparency: The Treaty has a verification regime that combines appropriate elements of the 1991 START Treaty with new elements tailored to the limitations and structure of this Treaty. Verification measures under the Treaty include on-site inspections and exhibitions, data exchanges and notifications related to strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, and provisions to facilitate the use of national technical means for treaty monitoring. To increase confidence and transparency, the Treaty also provides for an annual exchange of telemetry on an agreed number of ICBM and SLBM launches."

"The New START Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year. "

This treaty replaced Reagan's START 1, signed in 1991. It represented the end of 15 years of failure, by Presidents of both parties, to get a new agreement to replace that one, and its verification procedures, which expired in 2009. The Russians wanted us to agree to limit any new missile defenses in this treaty. They didn't get that.

Not exactly a joke.
Except... that Russia is violating the original 1987 treaty by test firing a whole new class of weapons, and refusing to be accountable for it. And Obama doesn't want to press the issue with them, because it calls into question the wisdom of his 2009 treaty. And on top of limiting the number of weapons to 1,500 each, Obama said in berlin that he intends to reduce the US number to about 1,100, without a corresponding commitment from the Russians.

http://www.startribune.com/politics/...260723551.html

Obama has won Senate ratification of the New START treaty, the most significant arms control pact in nearly two decades. The treaty, which took effect in February 2011, requires the U.S. and Russia to reduce the number of their strategic nuclear weapons to no more than 1,550 by February 2018.

Last June, Obama announced in Berlin that he wants to cut the number of U.S. nuclear arms by another third, which would shrink the total to between 1,000 and 1,100 weapons for bombers and land- and sea-based missiles. He said he intends to "seek negotiated cuts" with Russia something Congress would be unlikely to approve if Russia is found in violation of the 1987 INF treaty.


This is why Obama looks weak, and why our historical Allies feel they can't trust him. And then there was that whole "tell Vladimir that I will have more flexibility after my next election" thing - just exactly what was that about?
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      05-28-2014, 12:24 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Most of your post is the kind of opinion that I knew was not worth debating. But, since you asked, again, I'll correct this error of fact.

I assumed you'd be aware of foreign policy events, so I kept this one short. I wasn't referring to some unilateral action on our part. We have a new START treaty with Russia, with new verification procedures, which are ongoing. It was drafted by Obama in 2009, agreed to by Russia, ratified by the Senate in 2010 (over the objections of half the Republicans, only, all the Democrats and the two Independents voted yes), and formally went into effect February 5, 2011.

"Under the terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half."

"Verification and Transparency: The Treaty has a verification regime that combines appropriate elements of the 1991 START Treaty with new elements tailored to the limitations and structure of this Treaty. Verification measures under the Treaty include on-site inspections and exhibitions, data exchanges and notifications related to strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, and provisions to facilitate the use of national technical means for treaty monitoring. To increase confidence and transparency, the Treaty also provides for an annual exchange of telemetry on an agreed number of ICBM and SLBM launches."

"The New START Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year. "

This treaty replaced Reagan's START 1, signed in 1991. It represented the end of 15 years of failure, by Presidents of both parties, to get a new agreement to replace that one, and its verification procedures, which expired in 2009. The Russians wanted us to agree to limit any new missile defenses in this treaty. They didn't get that.

Not exactly a joke.
It looks like someone else already beat me to the punch on this, but I'll ask anyway: so where is the proof that that Russia is actually honoring its agreement by dismantling nukes?

I'm impressed that you can copy and paste the content of the START treaty, but you haven't backed up your argument.

Better yet, don't answer that. You're probably going to copy and paste some very relevant quote from some well-known historian (but no one I would know because I'm not as good as a historian as you). And then I'll bring up a whole bunch of counter-points which you won't address.

I know your mad that President Obama's foreign policy has been one amateurish fumble after another, but no amount of word-smithing is going to change that. I've seen some common sense in a few things you've said, but you've largely abandoned making reasonable arguments. And I think it's because you are so enamored with Obama, and you want his presidency to be the one that saved us from his "crazy cowboy" predecessor, that you will literally try to turn any of his blunders into a success or achievement.

No response required, but we'll see if you can let your man go undefended.
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      05-28-2014, 11:18 AM   #84
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so where is the proof that that Russia is actually honoring its agreement by dismantling nukes?
Proof. From the above post.

"The New START Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year."

Which we've been doing for 3+ years now. 60 inspections in all, so far. No doubt you think the inspections consisted of our guys sitting down in a Moscow restaurant, drinking vodka with their Russian counterparts, and chatting. I don't. I'll leave it to you to find and read the reports.

I know. They're building more secretly. And Saddam really had weapons of mass destruction. The whole thing is a vast conspiracy.

Proof?

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Proof. From the above post.

"The New START Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year."

Which we've been doing for 3+ years now. 60 inspections in all, so far. No doubt you think the inspections consisted of our guys sitting down in a Moscow restaurant, drinking vodka with their Russian counterparts, and chatting. I don't. I'll leave it to you to find and read the reports.
Again where is the proof that Russia is actually honoring this agreement. Is there a document from an international inspector that confirms Russia's compliance?

Also, why are they still building weapons in violation of the 1987 INF treaty?

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gop-pres...ing-by-russia/

And why is President Obama not addressing this issue?

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      05-28-2014, 05:22 PM   #86
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Again where is the proof that Russia is actually honoring this agreement. Is there a document from an international inspector that confirms Russia's compliance?
Now I know you're not even bothering to read my posts. Here's a repost.

"Proof. From the above post.

"The New START Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year."

Which we've been doing for 3+ years now. (not international inspectors, us personally) 60 inspections in all, so far. No doubt you think the inspections consisted of our guys sitting down in a Moscow restaurant, drinking vodka with their Russian counterparts, and chatting. I don't. I'll leave it to you to find and read the reports.

I know. They're building more secretly. And Saddam really had weapons of mass destruction. The whole thing is a vast conspiracy.

Proof?"

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Now I know you're not even bothering to read my posts. Here's a repost.

"Proof. From the above post.

"The New START Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year."

Which we've been doing for 3+ years now. (not international inspectors, us personally) 60 inspections in all, so far. No doubt you think the inspections consisted of our guys sitting down in a Moscow restaurant, drinking vodka with their Russian counterparts, and chatting. I don't. I'll leave it to you to find and read the reports.

I know. They're building more secretly. And Saddam really had weapons of mass destruction. The whole thing is a vast conspiracy.

Proof?"
We've been doing inspections for 3+ years...that is your proof that Russia has in fact honoring the new Start treaty? UN inspectors spent 10 years trying to determine Saddam Hussein's WMD capabilities and were unable to prove his threat potential, or lack thereof. What did those inspections end up proving?

1) What about the possibility, and I know I'm going out on a limb here, of Russia hiding certain nuclear weapons or misleading inspectors? I know it's far fetched, especially for someone naive like you. There is no chance that they are doing that?

The US government actually acknowledged that Russian cheating was possible when drafting the New START treaty but dismissed the consequences.

"On July 20, 2010, Principal Deputy Under Sec*retary of Defense for Policy James N. Miller asserted in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russian cheating or breakout under the treaty would have little effect because of the U.S. second-strike strategic nuclear capability."

2) Also what about the fact that the new START treaty negotiated by Obama, unlike the previous one, does not allow us to confirm reductions in Submarine-launched ballistic missiles or mobile ballistic missiles?


Issues 1 and 2 were noted in:
http://www.heritage.org/research/rep...fficult-to-fix

3) Also what about the fact that Russia is currently in violation of another Nuclear treaty, the 1987 INF treaty, which banned land-based intermediate-range nuclear ballistic and cruise missiles?

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gop-pres...ing-by-russia/

Surely, this is just an isolated incident. Just because Russia is violating one nuclear arms treaty doesn't mean that they'd violate another, right?

Sarcasm aside, if you can address those 3 concerns, you might have a chance of proving your point.
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Doesn't matter. Funny thing is everyone talks about sanctions, but back in the day of invading Iraq no one said something about sanctions.
So the 10+ years of embargos and economic sanctions imposed on Iraq in the wake of the 1st Gulf War didn't count as "sanctions." I know I'm digging up an old post, but really?

I guess you forgot about those sanctions and the fact that Iraq had to exchange oil for food and medicine because of how rigorous said sanctions were.
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