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Thread: Opinions on the threat from Russia

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    L'Etranger Senior Member Banquo's Ghost's Avatar
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    Default Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Since no-one felt motivated to post about the sabre-rattling by President Putin over the US missile deployments, I guess the Backroom is sanguine about the escalating rhetoric from Russia.

    This piece, an open letter from a well-known journalist who has sought asylum in the UK, is strident, a trifle dramatic but chilling. Chilling, for me at least, because it reflects quite accurately the concerns voiced by my friends and relatives still in Russia - most of whom are the western-leaning intelligensia that Putin so hates.

    My own view is that Putin is making such a fuss more for internal consumption at present. There are moves in the Duma to amend the constitution to extend the president's term from four to seven years - as well as the more well-known removal of term limits. Putin continually denies he is seeking an extension or a new term, but it is unlikely he is going to be able to resist the calls from the worshipping populace (see Richard III, Act 3 Scene 7 for precedent and style) to stay and protect them from the evil Western powers encroaching on their traditions and rights.

    But what might follow from such an acclamation to power? Is Tregubova right to be so militant in urging us to recognise the pitfalls of appeasement? Have we taken our eye off the ball? And what should we be doing about it, if anything?

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    Yelena Tregubova: Why I fled Putin's Russia. And why the West must appease him no longer

    An open letter to the G8 from the best-selling author and prominent critic of the Putin regime
    Published: 05 June 2007


    I have personal experience of Vladimir Putin's regime and the way the Russian President operates. I have been forced to seek asylum in Britain for criticising the Kremlin as an independent journalist. I have come to realise that to return to my homeland would be suicidal for me.

    But this letter is not about me. I am writing to you because I fear that a tragedy is befalling Russia, with the restrictions on political and personal freedoms worsening every day. Having done away with the domestic opposition, Putin, on the eve of the G8 summit, has now decided to deal with the external "enemies".

    He has threatened to aim Russian missiles at targets in Europe once again, just like in the Cold War, and has warned of a nuclear arms race. It is now clear that the escalation of aggression by Kremlin is the direct result of the policy of appeasement pursued by Western leaders who, during the seven years of Putin's rule, have turned a blind eye to his lynching of the opposition, the press, NGOs and all democratic institutions in Russia.

    There has been no single example in history of a dictator who, sooner or later, did not become a danger to both his close and distant neighbours.

    The goal is not the "revival of Russia" or the "revival of the national pride of the Russians", as Putin and the Kremlin's propaganda are trying to present it. It is a full-scale revenge by the secret services and the authoritarian regime with all their old methods and tricks.

    Putin has shut all independent TV channels, introduced harsh censorship, blocked access to the press for the democratic opposition, accused Russian human rights activists and NGOs of being Western spies, and split up the country's biggest oil company, Yukos, among his friends from the special services.

    Encouraged by your non-resistance, Putin's regime has become so strong and impudent that is now directly threatening its close neighbours, Poland and the Czech Republic, former colonies of the Soviet Union, trying to speak to them as if they were its vassals. In recent months, three ambassadors - Estonian, Swedish, and British - have been affected by the actions of extremist organisations controlled by the Kremlin.

    And now events have taken a logical new turn: the Kremlin is threatening the West, by missile-rattling. The critical difference between this and the Soviet era lies in the fact that then you knew exactly which side of the barricades you stood on, when you provided moral support to the opponents of dictatorship. But nowadays due to the favourable situation in oil and gas markets, Putin has the resources to buy your indulgence and silence.

    You even kept silent even when Putin signed a law authorising the murder of all Russia's enemies abroad last summer. Anyone who dares to criticise Putin is put on the enemies' list.

    You have started to protest now that you have suddenly realised that it will not be too easy to get off the oil and gas hook Putin forced you to swallow. The Kremlin doesn't give a damn about your words. The only thing it does give a damn about is your money.

    The Kremlin, as it has already openly shown, will use brute force against peaceful demonstrators with the sole goal of preventing next year's election from being held on a free and fair basis. Putin and his close supporters are planning to restore in Russia a clan-like dictatorship resembling the former Soviet Politburo. We are reaching the point of no return.

    If, following the Heiligendamm summit, you continue to shake hands with Putin as if nothing has happened, you will further strengthen Putin's feeling of complete impunity. Putin should be faced with a stark choice: either the Kremlin restores democratic freedoms, or Russia will be expelled from the G8 and other international clubs.

    All free-thinking Russians are ashamed by what Putin is doing.

    You must decide whether you want to sacrifice freedom in Russia on the altar of gas and oil.

    About the author

    Yelena Tregubova is a former member of the Kremlin press corps. Her book, Tales of a Kremlin Digger, published in 2003, accused Vladimir Putin of stifling political and press freedoms in Russia. As a result, she lost her job and was blacklisted from the Russian media. In February 2004, a bomb exploded outside her apartment, moments before she opened the door. Tregubova, 34, has now applied for asylum in Britain.
    Last edited by Banquo's Ghost; 06-05-2007 at 10:58. Reason: Apparently I can't spell.
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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Overly dramatic, but it's pretty accurate. Putin always did remind me of Stalin.
    #Hillary4prism

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    Poll Smoker Senior Member CountArach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Wow. While I can see the ideas behind this, and I can see that there is a potential for a threat, the invasion of Chechnya shows us just how sad a state the Russian military is in. Yes, they may threaten their neighbours, but honestly I don't think much will come of it. I doubt that this will come to a Nuclear Arms Race (And if it does, the US will absolutely crush Russia in terms of technology).

    This sort of reminds me of North Korea. They are a state trying to get back the attention and power they once enjoyed, and to try to get back into the limelight. Just sabre rattling.

    As to him wanting to become Dictator, it will probably happen, but the people will probably start to retaliate.
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    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    There has been no single example in history of a dictator who, sooner or later, did not become a danger to both his close and distant neighbours
    Franco? Tito? Metaxas?

    The thing I found alarming in Putin's rhetoric, is that he seems still to be thinking in terms of MAD as a guarantor of the peace. This seems so odd that it suggests (unless this is just magic thinking on my part) that it has to be play acting for the benefit of the home audience. After all, who knows where Russian missiles are in fact targeted.

    But then, who can understand the Russian mind? I was genuinely surprised (and alarmed) when it came out that the Soviet leaders really did think they were under military threat from the west. It seemed so obvious to me that it was the other way around. I can't imagine Putin really thinks the US would engage Russia, but an aggressive defence of his own version of the Monroe doctrine as regards the former Warsaw pact seems easier to understand.
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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by CountArach
    but the people will probably start to retaliate.
    Stalin had the terror, Putin (an ex-KGB man) will know exactly how to reinstitute such measures.
    #Hillary4prism

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    Filthy Rich Member Odin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Intresting piece, whats most telling are the inferences to the energy supplies Russia sells to Europe.

    there in lies the new lever of Russian influence (for now) he literally has Europe by the balls on energy and pointing missles at them isnt really anything new.

    We have assurred mutual destruction through out the cold war and it still exsists, we just didnt unsheath it like he has, but I think he knows that its an oldy but a goody.

    the russian democracy expirement is still fairly new, you have plenty of old school communists running around like Putin and it should come as no surprise that as thier sphere of influence, not only evaporates but becomes nato allies, and bases for the U.S. that they would rattle a few sabre's before laying down.

    However the lever of energy is still there, and you watch, pretty soon the energy issue will become alarming all over the EU as he nationalises more oil fields and the energy sector as a whole.
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Russia...Russia...where did it all go wrong? They were supposed to become a liberal, free democracy...

    I don't know what to make of Russia and Putin. Is this simply a return of 'eternal Russia', the country that according to Engels can only be ruled by the bayonet and the knout? Or are we witnessing something far worse, have the nineties been Russia's Weimar Republik - a brief interlude only serving to estrange the populace from liberal democracy?




    For too long has the West misunderstood developments in Putinist Russia, underestimated the danger. And has it been so hungry for Russian gas that it now depends on it.

    Germany has of course a complicated relationship with central and Eastern Europe, of which Schröder had to take notice in his dealings with Russia. But there is a fine line between being emphathy and identification. Schröder's personal relationship with Putin was outstanding. His foreign policy beneficial to the strategic interests needs of Russia and it's gas and oil industry. So beneficial to Russia in fact, that they offered Schröder a position at Gazprom immediately following his chancellorship, which he eagerly accepted.
    This, the more cynically inclined would describe as a German chancellor apparantly having been on Russia's payroll.

    Then there's Bush, who naively classified Chechnya as a part of a global war on terror.

    And Chirac, who followed the ancient Gaullist reflex of a 'Europe of nations, from the Atlantic to the Ural', in dealing with Russia. Gah! All those little get-togethers between Chirac, Schröder and Putin were becoming increasingly embarrassing.

    The EU has not been able to formulate a common policy towards Russia. The various member states have each dealt with Russia seperately, almost to the point of Russia being able to play divide and rule, with its natural recources acting as both a stick and carrot.


    On the upside, Europe and the West at long last seem to be awakening to the danger. Merkel and Barosso finally stood up to Putain at the last EU/Russia summit. Sarkozy has an altogether different foreign perpective than Chirac, and the new foreign minister, Kouchner is a human rights champion. The UK, I recently learned, is in a shock not pussyfooting around mode over that polonium murder case.

    Here's hoping America keeps a firm stance about placing its missile shield in sovereign central European allied countries, and that the EU takes a unified, strong stance against Russia too.
    Last edited by Louis VI the Fat; 06-05-2007 at 14:02.
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    Filthy Rich Member Odin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis VI the Fat
    Here's hoping America keeps a firm stance about placing its missile shield in sovereign central European allied countries, and that the EU takes a unified, strong stance against Russia too.
    hi Louis, nice post.

    this part I think will stick as long as the allied countries allow it. The paradox is that Bush is so disliked that any plan he might push is unpopular, even if it has the unintended effect of unifying a EU/U.S. stance on Russia.

    Intresting dynamic on the discussion really, the love hate relationship the U.S. and EU have would have to be put aside for the a greater good, and in reality a reenstatement of old coldwar theories of mutual defence.

    Can that be achieved in the last days of the Bush admin?
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    Oni Member Samurai Waki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    I remember a few years back that Putin had said some things about subjugating Finland, to which the Finnish President Replied "I don't know. Russia is an awefully big place to conquer."

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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Odin
    hi Louis, nice post.

    this part I think will stick as long as the allied countries allow it. The paradox is that Bush is so disliked that any plan he might push is unpopular, even if it has the unintended effect of unifying a EU/U.S. stance on Russia.

    Intresting dynamic on the discussion really, the love hate relationship the U.S. and EU have would have to be put aside for the a greater good, and in reality a reenstatement of old coldwar theories of mutual defence.

    Can that be achieved in the last days of the Bush admin?
    Indeed, the missile defense shield is under serious criticism here within the United States. Much is made that it's actually a provocative move and antagonizing Russia and China, and we're apparently willing to give them a pass on anything Hu or Putin decide to do to retaliate, shifting the blame for their actions to Bush himself. The real reason people oppose it? It's Bush's baby and anything he wants cannot be good...
    Last edited by Don Corleone; 06-05-2007 at 17:09.
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    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    How can you say anything bad about Putin? Lest we forget:
    I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul. He's a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that's the beginning of a very constructive relationship.
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Hmmm.... Missiles pointing at Europe, Gorbachov on the radio denouncing the imperialistic evils of the US, Fidel recovering, Chavez seizing power.... Before you notice Poland will disappear from the map...

    And they said the Cold War was over!

    On a less funny note, if Europe and the US don't treat this whole issue carefully, they could be pushing Iran and Russia together, and there are many advantages for both in such a relationship.

    Firstly, the US wouldn't be able to afford a war.

    Secondly, the russians could point their missiles to Iraq too (or Iran could do it for them).

    Thirdly, the UN wouldn't be able to impose sanctions on Iran since Russia has veto power.

    Fourthly, for the US it'd be a kick in the balls, and a serious loss of international prestige.

    Fifthly, Russia would get to the Iranian oilfields, thus beating the US to it.

    Sixthly, Russia might even get a say in Afghanistan and Iraq policy.

    Seventhly, the US will have no alternative but to build the damn missile system if they don't want to lose even more international face, which of course will escalate anti-american and anti-russian tensions in the affected countries and will lead those European countries in presidency to suck up to Russia to release the tension, which of course will give Russia more cards to play.

    Eightly, and finally, the conclusion to all this, is that unless China does something (which I doubt) it would put Russia and Iran in a position of power that approximately cuts the world in half (and controls the route of the silk, by the way, if anyone is interested). Which is handy.
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    Amphibious Trebuchet Salesman Member Whacker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    Indeed, the missile defense shield is under serious criticism here within the United States. Much is made that it's actually a provocative move and antagonizing Russia and China, and we're apparently willing to give them a pass on anything Hu or Putin decide to do to retaliate, shifting the blame for their actions to Bush himself. The real reason people oppose it? It's Bush's baby and anything he wants cannot be good...
    In concept, I think it's a great idea and am all for it. However, I think we blew it because Bush and crew put it directly center stage to flaunt in front of the rest of the world, "Hurf durf lookit our pretty new anti pwnage toy u cant touch us now lol!!!" Yeah... could have been handled much, much better, and been done with nary a whisper, though given Bush's administration's history for antagonizing the rest of the world that was highly unlikely at best.

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    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    At no point did Putin say "imma bomb europe". All of his statements were is responce to that nifty little "missle defence shield" placed ever so close to Russia's borders. But hey, I guess it's fair. You know, like that Cuban missle defence shield. No one made a complaint or threatened military action over that little episode.
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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER
    At no point did Putin say "imma bomb europe". All of his statements were is responce to that nifty little "missle defence shield" placed ever so close to Russia's borders. But hey, I guess it's fair. You know, like that Cuban missle defence shield. No one made a complaint or threatened military action over that little episode.
    I'm afraid I'm not familiar with any defensive missile shields being constructed in Cuba. I am familiar with the placement of a battery of medium range nuclear missiles in Cuba, followed by Krushchev's not so thinly veiled threats that he was ready and willing to use them. I guess that equates to a defensive missile shield in your book?
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    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    I'm afraid I'm not familiar with any defensive missile shields being constructed in Cuba. I am familiar with the placement of a battery of medium range nuclear missiles in Cuba, followed by Krushchev's not so thinly veiled threats that he was ready and willing to use them. I guess that equates to a defensive missile shield in your book?
    The placement of those weapons destabalized MAD in the same way. The shield was originally to be concentrated to southeastern Europe, away from blocking Russian ICBMs. Also, it was planned to have only specific capabilities, namely those that could counter Iran and little more. For some reason, it moved its way upward and got an upgrade along the way. That's what's causing the problems.
    Last edited by CrossLOPER; 06-05-2007 at 18:01.
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Russia was never a democracy. They've always had a strong (usually) despotic leader. They're returning to what they know.

    I find that the worry about missiles is purely for (Russian) home consumption. The very real threat of turning off gas is a far more graduated, subtle weapon than missiles can ever be.

    OK, some of the Eastern countries are scared. Does it really matter what they think either way? Little Economic power and no military power. Radars in Eastern Europe or Britain are not going to make that much of a difference in reality.

    America is free to be all strong and tough as they're not the ones dependant on Russia for energy.

    Europe needs to get its act together: wind, wave, biofuels, solar - whatever - just stop relying on a very alien state to keen running smoothly.

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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER
    The placement of those weapons destabalized MAD in the same way. The shield was originally to be concentrated to southeastern Europe, away from blocking Russian ICBMs. Also, it was planned to have only specific capabilities, namely those that could counter Iran and little more. For some reason, it moved its way upward and got an upgrade along the way. That's what's causing the problems.
    There's still no way it's a serious threat to Russia's nuclear arsenal. They have too many missiles and the warheads are too advanced. The best we could hope for is that it would be effective against it's intended target. A single missile from a rogue nation.

    I have to wonder if part of Putin's rage isn't because he's worried that it will hurt their arms/missile technology sales...

    As to the article, Yelena had better start being careful about what she eats...
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou
    I have to wonder if part of Putin's rage isn't because he's worried that it will hurt their arms/missile technology sales...

    As to the article, Yelena had better start being careful about what she eats...
    Hurt? It'll massively increase the demand for the latest greatest models - and now they're needed thanks to America's White Elephant.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Putin's rage has more to do with the loss of face. Poland and the Czech Republic are supposed to be his footmen. Having them off the ranch was bad enough, but openly deploying weapons systems with "Made in USA" on them is just too much for Putin to swallow.

    Interestingly, I heard that the system deployment is deeply unpopular in the Czech Republic. If that's the case, how well do its democratically elected leaders represent the will of its people? In Poland at least, the people are behind it. If the Czechs are really that opposed, we should hold off installing them. We're getting them into a fight they don't even want to be in...
    Last edited by Don Corleone; 06-05-2007 at 19:32.
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    Filthy Rich Member Odin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    Putin's rage has more to do with the loss of face. Poland and the Czech Republic are supposed to be his footmen. Having them off the ranch was bad enough, but openly deploying weapons systems with "Made in USA" on them is just too much for Putin to swallow.
    Yeah, I think thats pretty much it in a nutshell, of course we could throw the Ukraine and the baltics in there too but we already have one stick in his eye.
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    Thread killer Member Rodion Romanovich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    The entire idea of pointing nukes at each others is really childish and not useful to anyone. USA has no need to point nukes at Russia, and Russia has no need to point nukes at Europe. Childish ridiculous play act from both parts, I'd say remove the nukes on both sides before we have a new cold war - or worse: a nuclear war.
    Last edited by Rodion Romanovich; 06-05-2007 at 19:24.
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Ah, so THAT's what this thread is about!...
    When I saw the subject, I thought "Damn, BG got in trouble with the missus!"...

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    Thread killer Member Rodion Romanovich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Blodrast
    Ah, so THAT's what this thread is about!...
    When I saw the subject, I thought "Damn, BG got in trouble with the missus!"...

    Under construction...

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  25. #25
    Dragonslayer Emeritus Senior Member Sigurd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Oh there is a threat from Russia alright...
    Status Emeritus

  26. #26
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Interesting article Sigurd, now why is it so hard to put these rods somewhere else? Does Russia want them to explode or do they just not care or what? Guess they'll just wait until everything explodes, say "ooops, we're sorry, but life goes on..." and that's it.


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  27. #27
    Amphibious Trebuchet Salesman Member Whacker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Nothin' wrong with a little 'power excursion' once in awhile to wake up the neighbors! Gah, that is scary as hell. You guys also do know that for the longest time Russia was dumping nuclear waste into the Barents Sea? They'd send out a ship periodically that would have 'engineering problems', and circle for awhile as it dumped the waste directly into the water.

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  28. #28
    Member Member Yun Dog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd Fafnesbane
    Oh there is a threat from Russia alright...
    I think Sigurd is on the money here

    the russians are losing personal freedom - nothing they are not used to, and maybe its more confortable for them

    the russians are pointing nukes at Europe and the UK - erm you mean to say at some point in time they werent!!?? The real worry was the place deteriorating to a level where some nutter with nothing to lose decides to take the planet with him - this is not Puttin he is an opportunist and there are so many opportunities in todays world for one who is unscrupulous.

    He can sell arms to the Koreans and Middle east (who will pay top dollar), he can hold Europe to ransom for gas supplies - making enough bluster to cause artificially inflate prices - why shouldnt he be as rich as OPEC - at the same time maintaining a nervous tension at a low simmer over his ability to turn off the tap in themiddle of winter - Let them hate us, as long as they fear us - Caligula

    The real looming spectre is the environmental catastrophy on a planetary scale that is happening in russia - huge inland seas have dried into salt pans, radioactive waste is lying exposed on the road side and by the river bank leaking toxic waste into the water and air, nuclear materials are 'lost' and sold no questions asked, the siberian permafrost is melting creating a chainreaction of greehouse gas release which would make Bush proud. The industry is 50-100 years behind most of the world in its emissions, huge clouds of poisonous air drift like mustard gas across the steppes.

    The fallout from the enivironmental collapse of Russia will march over Europe like the red army into berlin.

    The crops will fail, the people will starve, a mass of humanity will horde across the landscape, and as this collapse takes place, someone will sit with his fingers on a nuclear arsenal and think - the world I knew is ended - why not
    Quote Originally Posted by pevergreen View Post
    its pevergeren.

  29. #29
    Horse Archer Senior Member Sarmatian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou
    There's still no way it's a serious threat to Russia's nuclear arsenal. They have too many missiles and the warheads are too advanced. The best we could hope for is that it would be effective against it's intended target. A single missile from a rogue nation.

    I have to wonder if part of Putin's rage isn't because he's worried that it will hurt their arms/missile technology sales...

    As to the article, Yelena had better start being careful about what she eats...
    And what about the next advancement? And one after that? Building a shield upsets the delicate balance of power. Iy's a fact. The only way Russia is able to respond is by improving their missiles or by building more of them. I'm personaly glad Russia is responding accordingly.

    And for someone who is choosing to ignore the facts for the oh, so popular "Evil Russia" view; during hailed-by-the-west, democratic Yeltsin's time in the office more journalist were killed (30) than during Putin's time in the office (15).
    Last edited by Sarmatian; 06-06-2007 at 04:36.

  30. #30
    Member Member KafirChobee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opinions on the threat from Russia

    Back during the height of the Cold War (70's) I attended a dinner party. A professor I admired made a statement to the affect that there was more likely hood of the USA attacking the USSR (with missles) than vice versa, because the Russian people wouldn't tolerate another war (losing 20M in WWII will do that to a people). As it turns out, their war in Afghanistan was the straw that put the cracks in the foundation of the USSR that led to the Russia we have today. [an over simplification, but Afghanistan did have the effect of putting a million mothers in the streets protesting the war]

    Today, Russians may yearn for their days of being a superpower - when they were feared more than the US. [I mean, the Bushys scare the bejesus out of me - they're not quite right in the head when it comes to world diplomacy] No doubt there are an abundance of polls about how the Russian people feel towards all this hooplah about Putin wanting to become the next Czar (we had an opening here - he shoulda taken it). Are things that good in Russia for Putin to convince the people to give up their present freedoms and go back to the good old Gulag days? Personally, I'm totally ignorant about about it - other than seeing Putin's "Brown shirts" (Nashi) and other militant youth groups the Kremlin is funding.

    Personally, the US is an easy target to make an adversary (real or imagined) for any government in the world today that needs (wants) to unify its people - for the purpose of subverting its peoples personal freedom, or to make them forget they have none (Iran).

    This missle defense system is a joke. Even if it did work (out of 5 tests, 2 failed out right, 1 was marginal - and all knew where the target was), can you imagine how many missles it would take to be effective against China or Russia? It's ludicrous that even Putin would seriously be upset by it. However, it sure makes for a great patriotic sound bite - and nothing more.

    What we do not need is appeasement, but allowing any form of confrontation would play into Putin's hand. Send a Democrat over to Russia to remind them - only 17 months to go. Then the US becomes somewhat normal again (hopefully).
    To forgive bad deeds is Christian; to reward them is Republican. 'MC' Rove
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