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Finland will seek NATO membership immediately (presidentti.fi)
839 points by fsloth 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 1004 comments

There was some discussion on plausible NATO membership of Finland and Sweden. At that point the disucssion was based on guestimates from media.

But now it's official. This is not the NATO membership application, but a statement from the political leadership in Finland that they support and suggest parliament proceeds with the application process with maximum urgency.

The President and Prime Minister of Finland have published their position on NATO membership. This more or less seals Finland joining NATO.

In Finnish system, the Prime Minister has most political power but president is the head of foreign policy. Their common statement was the required signal for the parliament to proceed with the process.

Translation: During the spring, there has been an important discussion about Finland's possible NATO membership. Time has been needed for domestic position formation both in Parliament and in society as a whole. Time has been needed for close international contacts with both NATO and its member countries, as well as with Sweden. We have wanted to give the debate the space it needs.

Now that the time for decision-making is approaching, we also state our own common positions for the information of parliamentary groups and parties. NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance. Finland must apply for NATO membership as a matter of urgency. We hope that the national steps still needed to reach this solution will be taken swiftly in the coming days.

Sauli Niinistö The president of the Republic

Sanna Marin Prime minister

This more or less seals Finland applying for NATO membership. However, adding new members requires unanimous consent from all existing members, so it's not guaranteed to be smooth sailing. Russia is also obviously deeply unhappy about this and will do its best to disrupt the process via direct and indirect pressure.

>However, adding new members requires unanimous consent from all existing members, so it's not guaranteed to be smooth sailing.

I highly doubt that any of NATO's members will veto an application from Finland (or Sweden).

How about Hungary and it's seemingly pro-Russian leader, Orban? They could vote against.

Vetos are somewhat overrated. Agents may have the right to veto, but might not have the power to deal with the consequences.

Russia has a UN veto and uses it, because they can weather the consequences.

Could Hungary piss off all of its allies, trade partners, basically everyone but Russia? Doubtful. Hungary is playing a skillful, if somewhat devious, game of balancing between Russia and the West. But an outright FU to a (clearly) US-sponsored NATO expansion? I can't see them weathering this.

Signalling a veto is often rather a negotiation step.

The hungarian leading party (fidesz) has already declared they will not veto Ukrain's adoption to the EU so I personally really doubt they would veto Finland's entry to the NATO. They are playing a double-game (sorry, this probably doesn't make sense in english, it's a hungarian expression): Orban had a famous quote he said to EU leaders "don't listen to what I say, only to what I do", which in practice means alienating the EU in rhetoric but not so much in practice. Of course this is not so simple as other EU members also care about the rhetoric too but it still summarizes Orban's geopolitics fairly well. This is not unique either, Merkel had similar "two-faced" approach to Russia and even toward Hungary, Orban is just significantly less popular in the west due to his populist anti-democratic tendencies.

To stray from the topic, the double game phrase does make sense to me, possibly because it's also a Hindi phrase

I think the English equivalent is "playing both sides of the fence." Double game makes intuitive sense too though.

And one of the Hindi phrases my mom uses "thali ka baingan" literally translates to "eggplant of the plate" doesn't make any sense in English but I love it xD. Hindi is a pretty beautiful language and people use so many colourful metaphors it's incredible!

Same for me as a Brazilian, jogo duplo means literally double-game and it's a pretty popular expression. Probably in Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries as well.

Same in Romanian, "joc dublu". I suspect it's common in latin based languages or maybe all indoeuropean languages, seeing how it's the same in Hindi.

We don't have that phrase in English but it translates very clearly. Interestingly, your description of Orban's behavior exactly matches a somewhat famous game theoretic analysis of international leaders' behavior called "the two-level game." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-level_game_theory

He's not unique in this regard. Every national leader has to consider the interests and perceptions of their domestic power base when negotiating with international leaders. Very often a mismatch between their rhetoric and actual behavior indicates that they are trying to sell an unpopular but necessary international agreement to the people back home, or that they must accept an international reality that does not match their domestic political framework.

For example, Putin finds himself in a difficult position right now because he has convinced his people that the Russian military is invincible and the Ukrainians are dominated by a small number of Nazis who need to be removed from power. Meaning, his domestically acceptable "win set" only includes scenarios in which Ukraine cedes large swathes of territory and makes at least some notional concessions around governmental reform toward "de-nazification." Anything else admits the political framework he uses to justify his power is premised on falsehoods and risks destabilizing his regime.

These positions are of course not consistent with reality and therefore not within the Ukrainian win set, and so no agreement will be reached until something changes. I suspect that is why Russian journalists/propagandists have recently started recasting the war as a conflict against NATO, because that will make defeat more palatable to the Russian people. Getting beat by NATO doesn't mean the Russian military was horrifically incompetent and their government deeply corrupt, but rather that it was an unfair fight sprung upon them by evil westerners. It feeds their sense of grievance while excusing Putin and his lackeys from any personal responsibility for the widespread military failures.

While you might be right in that there has been a recent shift in emphasis in Russian domestic coverage, in general Ukraine was being branded (and/or perceived) as having mild "NATO/EU/CIA interference" since the mid-2000s when the first serious aspirations to align with the West emerged. This escalated in the 2012-2014 period, with the Maidan movement painted broadly as heavily "NATO/EU/CIA orchestrated". The war in Ukraine has been waged "against the USA and The West" for its entire history.

While the framework of differentiation between intranational and international interests fits, it is certainly not "for the good of the people" in this case. Orban antagonized the EU because it was unlikely that he would be punished for it. This is textbook right wing populism: make an enemy out of some group that is unlikely to hit back and you can appear strong. This is often done against minorities but the EU is perfect for it as it is powerful enough to actually look like a threat but has no means to punish small "violations".

> "don't listen to what I say, only to what I do",

There is a close enough express in English that it translates. "Do what I say, not what I do", is something parents tell kids when the parents want the kids to behave better than the parents do! For example, if a parent smokes, they may tell their kid "don't smoke, do what I say not what I do."

I think the closer expression is "actions speak louder than words."

What would be realistic fallout from vetoing their application?

Well, plenty of potential things. In strictly defence terms, they buy weaponry from US and Germany. Hungarian air force operates Swedish Gripen fighters and thus most likely relies on Sweden at least for spare parts (which military jets need lots of) so here's another pressure point. They are big beneficiaries of EU funding (not a NATO thing but this is all intertwined) and already at odds with EU rules, which could push them towards not getting the funding - there are plenty of reasons to implement that already, just lacking political will right now. They can find themselves sidelined for new EU spending, political nominations, and so on.

The question would of course be if EU/NATO want to do that. It's part of the usual political horse-trading game.

For sure, in the extreme scenario if US/EU/main partners really wanted Finland and Sweden to join and Hungary vetoed, it could be made to pay an unaffordable price.

Didn’t the US/EU take the high moral of self determination for every country, when supporting Ukraine’s actions? So, if Hungary “self determines” to veto access to NATO, which is its right according to NATO’s rules, why punish it and suffer consequences? It would be the same as Russia invading Ukraine to punish it for “self determining” its choice to join NATO or the EU. I don’t care about rhetoric and window dressing. I want to argue the raw facts. I feel most people here are hypocrites. Let’s agree that the US and EU are equal bandits as Russia. Let’s all drop the hypocrisy.

If you consider vetoing another country “self determination”, then you can consider punishing a country for its veto “self determination” too.

I agree. Each one of them is taking actions to self-determine their future. Ethical right and wrong are orthogonal to the issue of self determination.

Sweden not selling them parts would be the end of Sweden selling planes to anyone.

Sweden entering NATO could be the beginning of Sweden selling planes to NATO.

I don't think there is much demand for JAS Gripen in Nato countries at this day. 4th gen fighters do not have much lifetime left in them, and F35 is increasingly taking the role of the current-gen fighter for advanced nations.

But Sweden is already member of the Cuture Combat Air System (FCAS) initiative to create a 6th gen air war system of systems, alongside nato members. And this kind of colaboration will be even more natural when/if they join Nato.

Dunno. If it was something else, I'd be tempted to agree. But Sweden deciding to join NATO, everyone but Hungary agreeing, Sweden stopping parts? Not sure. It's a, well, minor act of military... aggression? Extreme unhelpfulness for sure.

Also the real question would be, would Hungary see it as a credible threat. Were they to go ahead with that, they'd find themselves with no airforce and unhappy allies. That sounds like a raise they couldn't afford to raise.

I don't know if one can be kicked out of NATO?

But even if not, in the most extreme case, everyone else could leave NATO and simultaneously join NATO++, which is just NATO without Hungary, but with Finland.

(And because that kind of process is possible in theory, I would suggest that any organisation with a voluntary exit clause might also want to have a clause that allows the unanimous vote by everyone else to expel one member. Maybe..)

This is all speculation about the most extreme consequences. Other commenters wrote more realistic things about trade in weapons being disrupted.

And, of course, you could set up 'NATO++' as an alliance between US, Finland and other willing nations, without shutting down old NATO. Just like Ukraine receives a lot of assistance from NATO countries these days without being in NATO.

Probably much more severe than that, at least if they were not able to provide a good excuse for the Veto, and this is seen as them forming a 5th column more loyal to Putin than Nato.

In such a case, Nato could in principle invoke Article 60 of the Vienna convention, and if all other members agreed, they could expel Hungary from Nato. Similarly, if their conflicts with the EU continue to escalate, they may be expelled from the EU in a similar fashion.

This would be a catastrophe for Hungary.

Not that I believe that it would ever come to this. Just a hint of this from key Nato/EU countries should be enough to make Hungary back down.

More likely, if Hungary wants to buy some favour from the Kremlin, they would drag out the expansion process by a few months.

> they could expel Hungary from Nato

I don't think anyone wants that big hole on the alliance's border. Hungary might not be as critically positioned as Turkey, but it's still in a pretty awkward place.

But as you say, Orban could drag his feet a bit. Chances are his party enjoyed direct funding from Moscow, like others in their orbit all over Europe.

Maybe I'm biased as someone living much further north, but it seems to me that Sweden and Finland have more strategic geographic importance than Hungary, at least as long as Ukraine doesn't fall completely (ie as long as Russia doesn't get a common border with Hungary).

Without a shared border with Russia, Hungary's usefulness in a conflict would be relatively limited for Russia. On the other hand, for it would be highly dangerous for Hungary to willingly align with Russia, as that would make it likely that a future conflict would be fought on their territory.

As long as Sweden and Finland remain neutral, they are at risk. Putin has shown that he is willing to use military force to grab land. Should he grab Finland and Sweden, he would effectively control the Baltic sea and also have bases that can reach Western Europe much more easily than he can at the moment.

On the other hand, with Finland in the alliance, Nato has a highly defensible (for Nato) shared front with Russia, in the case of a conflict.

Also, keep in mind that Finland + Sweden together has a greater population than Hungary as well as maybe 5x the GDP, and that while Hungary is moving towards totalitarianism, Sweden and Finland both have long democratic traditions, low corruption, etc.

> Sweden and Finland both have long democratic traditions

Very different ones.

Sweden has been independent forever and a democracy since 1921.

Finland was first a part of Sweden, later an autonomous part of Russia. In 1917 it became independent and a democracy. However, a bloody civil war followed. Although it did not last long, consequences in politics and society remained visble for generations. Between 1945 and 1990 there were limitations to the democracy. They would only do what was assumed not to annoy the Soviets too much. Party leaders and prime ministers were chosen according to that principle. Freedom of the press existed only as long it was not too negative about the Soviet Union.

While it changed with the end of the Soviet Union in 1990, they could join EU 1995, applying for NATO marks only the real end of that period that they could not freely determine the direction of their country.

By your definition (ie universal suffrage), the USA has only been democratic since 1965. So that makes Sweden's democracy twice as old as the US democracy.

But that is not what I mean when I say "democratic traditions". Especially for countries that introduce democracy gradually and (mostly) peacefully, I consider the whole transition period to be part of those traditions. A country like Sweden had more than 100 years (1809-1921) of public discussions and political manouvering to build up the institutions, culture and education that provide stability, legitimacy and public support to such a system.

Finland underwent a similar development from the end of the Civil War to 1990, which mean that in 1990 the democratic institutions and traditions had already been built.

Other Warzaw pact countries had varying amounts of democratic traditions at that point. Some (like Hungary) had seen little democracy. Others, such as Czechoslovakia had been mostly democratic in the interwar period, while most had seen some democracy and some authoritarian rule in that period.

I would argue that those traditions from 100 years ago play a part, even today. And in the case of Sweden vs Finland vs Hungary, Sweden and Finland both have very strong traditions for democracy (even if the age of those traditions are different), while for countries like Hungary and Ukraine, those traditions are still shaky.

In the name of democracy the US would attack Hungary economically, and leverage any dependency that other countries have on the US to force them to also attack Hungary economically or to join them as an official enemy.

I could only see a very mild version of this happening.

More realistically, they could just spin up an alternative alliance between US, Finland and any other willing current NATO member (but excluding Hungary). And over time move more and more importance to this new NATO++, and perhaps even eventually drop out of old NATO.

There's no provisions for kicking countries out of NATO. But everyone else leaving the club is equivalent to kicking one country out.

What I don't understand is what Hungary gains from splitting with the rest of the EU and NATO to help Russia. Doesn't seem beneficial to them.

Hungary gets 60% of its oil and 85% of its gas from Russia.

It's not how it benefits Hungary, but what benefits Orban. He's playing the playbook we're all to familiar with lately of antagonizing allies while warming up with Putin. It allows him to solidify his base while attacking the principles of democracy that might threaten his position.

> what benefits Orban

Orban’s party won reëlection. Orban is popular [1]. We can crib about disinformation and this or that, but holding Hungary accountable for his decisions is perfectly acceptable.

[1] https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-viktor-orban-europ...

> reëlection

I love the use of the diaeresis.

They are snooty as hell, and I'll forever associate them with The New Yorker[1]. That said, I love them too! Now, if only we could do the same for awry and other words that trip up voracious readers.

1. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-curse-of-...

They were once coming in English-language publications but now are seen in only The New Yorker, The Economist, and one other. Can anyone recall which?

Interestingly, they seem to survive most in naïve than in words like coöperate.

Co-operate is much more common than na-ive (which I've never seen). But both cooperate and naive seem reasonably well accepted.

It's more about Hungarian domestic politics. The Orban administration has alienated much of the EU leadership, and is (arguably) in violation of the EU treaties. So they're looking to Russia as a backup option, and as an implicit threat to the EU over having their funding cut off.

Hungary is by far a net receiver in the EU budget.

Right, and as I stated above, Hungary can threaten to establish closer ties with Russia if the EU cuts off their funding. This is a way to resist EU demands for internal political reforms and play towards the Fidesz party base.

The very short answer is that Hungary benefits both from membership in the Western block and from being Putin's friend inside it. So they presumably don't want to go as far as leave, but rather use that as a credible threat for leverage.

If hungry tried to veto, Nato could evict them, then they would be facing Putin on their own.

Nobody is Putin's friend. When you join his club he send the military in to make sure it goes his way.

While I appreciate the sentiment, as long as Russia doesn't have a common border with Hungary, he won't be able to send the military. Who's gonna let him through?



And yet Ungary alone is stopping the 6th round of Russia sanctions from the EU. They are not afraid to veto to protect their interests, like any nation should do.

It's not a coincidence that von der leyen wants to change the voting system from hunanimity to majority. They don't like to lose, and the rules are fine only as long as they can do what they want.

So vetoes have more power than you would let us think.

I think it's been convenient to blame Hungary, but the truth is, plenty of countries are unhappy about banning Russian hydrocarbons, with Germany leading the list. They can weather the consequences of their veto, because there isn't much will to make it happen anyway - i.e. there are no consequences.

I can imagine Finland/Sweden being very different. Who benefits/loses from Finland/Sweden joining? These countries are very well-armed, with large, well-trained armies, so they are a welcome addition for most. Baltic states must be delighted. Germany must be realising that hugging Russia for decades hasn't paid off, but it is in a clinch; its army has had decades of peacetime budgets, while they find themselves on the gas/oil hook. Hungary's own immediate neighbours, Romania and Slovakia at least, are quite wary of Russian threat and will welcome at least a diffusion of Russian targets in the area.

Would there be consequences to ruining the plans of US, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia and Romania, and many other countries? No doubt, and beyond what Hungary is prepared to pay.

But then what do I know? I'm an armchair strategist.

> Would there be consequences to ruining the plans of US, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia and Romania, and many other countries? No doubt, and beyond what Hungary is prepared to pay.

You can add Norway and probably Denmark to that list. With Finland and Sweden in Nato, all of Scandinavia becomes significantly more defendable. This would enable all Scandinavian countries to combine their defensive efforts, and would it make it extremely hard for Russia to attack any individual country.

And keep in mind that Stoltenberg is Norwegian....

> plenty of countries are unhappy about banning Russian hydrocarbons

But only one is blocking.

It only takes one party to block and there is shame in blocking, why would another country admit that they would have blocked if not for the vote of that shameless Hungarian?

Simple: there will a lot of focus on persuading that single country to change its position. And once persuaded (or "persuaded") it will be too late (and ridiculous) for the "secret supporters" to voice their opposition.

> why would another country admit that they would have blocked if not for the vote of that shameless Hungarian?

This may be true or not. Doesn’t matter. Those others waited. Hungary didn’t.

It is one thing protecting interest and an other abusing a possibility almost all the time, blackmailing allies and distorting group efforts.

Btw. the ruling party - practically means Orbán himself - is more like protecting personal interest than the contry's, likely (very likely) financial interests of self while the country's interest is completely elsewhere concerning both financial and the big picture.

They can also be kicked out ;)

Edit: Here is some thoughts one it: https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/28337/on-what-g...

AFAIK kicking someone out of NATO is very difficult. Otherwise I suspect that about 5 years ago Turkey would have been at risk of being removed.

NATO has really benefited from having Turkey as a member in this war (which is essentially a proxy war between Russia and NATO)-Turkey exercised its right to close the Bosporus to military ships not based there, which prevents Russia from reinforcing its Black Sea fleet. An ex-NATO Turkey might have taken Russia’s side and left the straits open. Closing them disadvantaged Russia far more than anyone else, since Ukraine really doesn’t have a navy any more, and other major naval powers were never likely to directly intervene on Ukraine’s side.

a proxy war between Russia and NATO

That is not how people of Ukraine see this.

Was the American war of independence in 1776 a proxy war between England and France? Probably.

But it doesn't change the fact that the colonies wanted to be free.

Some people in the colonies wanted to change who's governing them.

> Sixty percent of the colonists either were neutral or opposed to the Revolution.

From https://www.econlib.org/archives/2016/12/bruce_bueno_de.html

> Bueno de Mesquita claims, quite plausibly, that a huge part of George Washington’s motive for fighting the Revolutionary War was to protect his substantial, and critically placed, landholdings in the Ohio Valley.

> An excerpt about GW’s wealth:

>> His last position, just before becoming President, was President of the Patowmack Canal Company–the Potomac Canal, as we know it, from the Potomac River. What that canal did was bring, make it possible to bring produce from the Shenandoah Valley–which George owned–up to the port in Alexandria, which had been built by Lawrence, by the Ohio Valley Company, in which George had a direct interest, and shipped goods out. So it was a very profitable undertaking–or so he thought it would be, in the long run, for him. And that’s what motivated him. Most people think of Washington as–besides a great hero, which he certainly was–as kind of a gentleman farmer. Economists have estimated the worth in real dollars adjusted for inflation, not appreciated, of George Washington’s estate, in contemporary terms; and it’s about $20 billion dollars. He is by far the wealthiest President. He is the 59th wealthiest person in American history. Three of the American founding fathers are in the list of the top 100 wealthiest Americans in all of history: Hancock, who was wealthier than Washington–made his money smuggling; and Ben Franklin, who was not quite as wealthy, who made his money because he had a monopoly on the printing press. These are the folks who led the Revolution. These were not the downtrodden. These were not the oppressed. These were people who stood to lose huge amounts of wealth because of the King’s policies. And so they fought a Revolution. Which was, by the way, not very popular. Sixty percent of the colonists either were neutral or opposed to the Revolution.

Is this surprising? The standard marxist account of nationalist revolution is that they are an attempt by local elites (the national bourgeois) to outmaneuver foreign elites. You see the same thing all over the place (even, perhaps, Ukraine).

I don't hold much stock in Marxism. My country of birth tried that for fourty years. Didn't work so well.

However, public choice theory has a--perhaps similarly--dim view of politics.

I guess there's a traditional division between 'really existing socialism', which is often messy, and marxism as a body of work for understanding society.

One observation I would make is that, for a social revolution to occur, you actually need a lot of people from basically every corner of society to want it to happen: even elites. So when they have occurred, it has generally been because the preceding situation was so awful that basically nobody, even the relatively privileged in it, felt it was tolerable. China and Russia both clearly qualify, but also countries like Haiti, or France. People tend to forget the mess preceding the revolution, and focus on the mess during and after.

The October-Revolution in Russia was more like a coup.

Germany had a revolution that ushered in the Weimar Republic. Both countries had essentially just lost a war at that time.

> I guess there's a traditional division between 'really existing socialism', which is often messy, and marxism as a body of work for understanding society.

Marxisms is pretty useless for that. Useless in the technical sense that knowing just mainstream economics is as effective as knowing mainstream economics plus Marxism.

(Not useless in the more absolute sense of knowing nothing vs knowing Marxism. Basically, wherever Marxism deviates from modern mainstream economics, it's useless.)

Well, the october revolution, even if it was a coup, was a coup against mostly other marxists (actually, the mensheviks were more orthodox).

I think there are two dimensions in which marxism, whatever your politics, will never be useless. First, a lot of it is a body of work authored by people in the midst of extremely bitter social struggles, civil wars, and revolutions. So you tend to get a pretty clear idea of how these things work, from the inside. Second, I think Marx is just a phenomenally clever and insightful thinker. I'm not particularly wedded to the economics (actually, neither was Lenin), but his thoughts on how economic and physical forces shape us as political actors are really good.

I'd add that there is continuum of options to provide support to a party of a war: from zero support to joining the war in full force as an ally. At which point the support amounts to a proxy war is up to a debate.

Also, I think that it does matter who started the war. Those who are fighting, those who provide support or neither of them (that is, the other party of the war).

With the US alone investing 40 billion dollars in the war, they're simply wrong if they don't see it this way.

As I have always understood the concept of proxy war https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_war there should be another party behind Russia prompting it's actions (since it attacked)

My understanding is that a proxy war requires at least one of the belligerents to be acting through a proxy, not necessarily both. For example, here is a wiki page [0] about the Iran-Israel proxy conflict/war, which is fought between Israeli and Palestinian combatants.

Either way, this is a just a matter of how you choose to define the term.

The important point that I'm trying to make is that, while Ukraine is of course fighting for its own sake (not trying to claim here they are only a puppet or something - as is Palestine in the other example), it's also clear that NATO is massively involved in the conflict, with its own aims for the war which may or may not be entirely aligned with Ukraine's (or Ukrainians') best interests.

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Israel_proxy_co...

This seems like pedantry. One side can be a proxy while the other side isn't, right?

Yes. And one side can fight a war, while the other side is fighting a special military operation.

And, Turkey delivers one of the most useful weapons Ukraine has - Bayraktars.

Btw, just to be clear: Bayraktar drones aren't the best drones by a long shot.

What's special is that they are really good drones for their price.

Bayraktar: Turkish-built UAV (drone)

Turkeye is balancing things. They also closed it for NATO and did it after Russian ships arrived.

Turkey does have some recent history of "balancing" with Russia, but I'm not convinced its decisions on the Straits are an example of that. My understanding is that under the Montreux Convention, Turkey closes it for everybody involved in the war or nobody, I don't believe it allows Turkey to block one side of a conflict's ships but not the other, unless it is a conflict in which Turkey itself is directly involved. (In a direct war between Russia and NATO, Turkey would probably just tear up the Convention anyway–but doing so in peacetime would likely be considered by Russia to be an act of war.)

In practice, however, closing the Straits has a much more negative impact on Russia than NATO, since the major NATO naval powers (US, UK, France) were never likely to send ships near Ukraine anyway, and as non-Black Sea states the Montreux Convention subjects them to special limits to which Black Sea states are not subject. In fact (according to some sources), the Straits are still officially open for the US/UK/French/etc navies, so long as they don't directly join the conflict – although I imagine they'd be rather hesitant to exercise that right at the moment, due to the risk Russia might interpret such an act as hostile.

If it is true they allowed some Russian ships through before closing it–that could have been simply the slowness of government decision making, plus the legal complexities involved, rather than a deliberate "balancing" act.

If anything, I think this conflict has caused Turkey to turn away from the "balancing" and move more firmly into the NATO column. Reminding NATO of their value helps silence the ongoing "can we expel Turkey?" debate, refusing to do so would have given it more steam. Turkey has been selling its TB2 drones to Ukraine, which Ukraine has been using to great effect against Russia – not a very good example of "balancing". Ukraine's successful use of Turkish drones is very helpful to Turkey, because it gives them more information on how they perform in an actual conflict (which they already had to some extent with the Syrian civil war, the KPP, etc, but Russia is a very different kind of adversary from the Syrian government or the Kurds), and also helps attract potential buyers.

I think we reached more or less the same conclusion.

I don't think the Barayktar has such a significant influence, but it could be a smart move from Ukraine to have add some difficulties to the balancing part of Turkeye.

Not sure about the last part though.

The UK did send a warship near Ukraine in 2021 (before the start of the current war), and the Russian military might have fired warning shots at it.


> major NATO naval powers (US, UK, France) were never likely to send ships near Ukraine

Not only they were likely, they actually did that in 2020 and 2021, as a part of joint war games with Ukraine. According to what I read, some 30 ships participated.

What would NATO ships do there? "Balancing" would only make sense if NATO was directly a part of the conflict.

If NATO was directly part of the conflict, Turkey as a NATO member would be expected to be 100% on NATO's side, not "balancing" its allies against their enemy. If it was still trying to "balance" in that situation, it would either stop real fast or else end up expelled from NATO. In an actual shooting Russia-vs-NATO war, nobody would care about the legal niceties over whether NATO members can be expelled – the other members would just agree to do it, and the lawyers can debate the legality of it when the war is over.

> What would NATO ships do there?

Sail an unarmed NATO-flagged vessel to the Azovstal Steel Plant and evacuate troops?

Couldn't Romania do that without involving the Bosporus?

They could. But physical and economic proximity to Russia probably make it a tougher call than someone like the US.

Romania and Bulgaria only have access to the Black Sea. My understanding is that if a Romanian warship goes to a military exercise in the Mediterranean, then it won't be allowed to return, just like Russian ships can't.

Sources are inconsistent on this topic – some say Turkey has closed the Straits to all warships, others say it has only closed the ships to the official parties to the conflict, which is currently only Russia and Ukraine (arguably Belarus too, but that's irrelevant to this, since as a landlocked state they have no navy), and that other naval ships, including Bulgarian and Romanian, are still allowed through, so long as they don't actively join the war. I'm not entirely sure which set of sources are right, but I suspect the sources claiming a narrower closure are more likely to be correct.

Putting that aside, even the official parties to the war are allowed through the straits to return their ships to their home ports (unless Turkey is directly involved in the war, in which case Turkey can block all enemy vessels, even those returning to their home port). Since the only coastline and naval bases of Bulgaria and Romania are on the Black Sea, that rule covers their entire navies. It only really disadvantages Russia, since Russia is the only Black Sea state (other than Turkey) with naval bases outside of the Black Sea. It means Russia can't send reinforcements to the Black Sea from their Pacific, Baltic or Arctic fleets.

In a scenario in which Romania or Bulgaria actively joined the war, it would be a direct Russia-NATO war, including Turkey. In such a dire scenario, Turkey would likely announce the unilateral suspension of the Montreux Convention for the duration of the war, and allow NATO warships unlimited passage. Russia would consider such a unilateral suspension of the Convention to be an act of war, but in such a scenario Turkey and Russia would already be at war anyway.

> In time of war, Turkey not being belligerent, warships shall enjoy complete freedom of transit and navigation through the Straits under the same conditions as those laid down in Articles 10 to 18.

> Vessels of war belonging to belligerent Powers shall not, however, pass through the Straits except in cases arising out of the application of Article 25 of the present Convention [no longer applicable] , and in cases of assistance rendered to a State victim of aggression in virtue of a treaty of mutual assistance binding Turkey, concluded within the framework of the Covenant of the League of Nations, and registered and published in accordance with the provisions of Article 18 of the Covenant. https://timinhonolulu.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/montreaux-...

So basically, if (a) Turkey declares that there's a war and (b) Turkey is not a party to that war, then (c) Turkey is authorized to close the straits to warships of belligerent parties.

There's some exceptions in there about ships returning to their base, but it'd be a pretty big loss of face for the Russians to beg Turkey to agree that a sudden rebasing of ships qualified.

Isn’t there a Danube Convention? Couldn’t Romania retaliate now that USSR is no longer party?

It's complicated. Russia is not part of that convention, as can be seen on the dedicated wiki page [1], but since the occupation of the Snakes Island by the Russians earlier during the war the "exit area" just outside Danube's Delta is, de facto, controlled by the Russian Navy (barring an Ukrainian cruise-missile or two).

I'm Romanian, I live in Romania (Bucharest), so as I'm geographically close to this I've been following this particular Danube issue closer than the others, but the thing is that the situation on the ground is still pretty muddled. For example, just as the war started the Romanian authorities had suspended commercial navigation on the Chilia Danube Delta Branch, the one on which the Romanian-Ukrainian border is situated, for fear of Russian bombs. Presumably the navigation has been allowed to resume, but nothing official has been made public in the Romanian mainstream press, the only related news was something about the Ukrainian authorities being unhappy with us (Romanians) asking for navigation-related customs taxes that were seen as too high, so I assumed that commercial navigation had, in fact, resumed.

There was also our prime-minister meeting with the Bulgarian side (with which we share hundreds of kms of the Danube) and making a statement afterwards about how the Danube should be made easier to navigate (i.e. a strong hint made to the European Union to send us money to do that). If that indeed were to happen (i.e. if the Danube would be made easier to navigate) then the Ukrainians would be able to send a large part of their exports to Central and even Western Europe (via the Danube-Mainz-Rhine canal) via fluvial ships, at a fraction of the cost they now have to pay doing that using rail and road-transport. That's why (among other things) the Russians have set their eyes so strongly on the Budjak region (i.e. the Ukrainian region just North of the Danube's Delta) and that's why they have bombarded this bridge [2] that leads to that region at least three times in the last few weeks.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Commission_for_t...

[2] https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pidyomnyy+Mist/@46.0749075...

Read about Montreux Convention. Ships are allowed to return to their home ports.

> which prevents Russia from reinforcing its Black Sea fleet

After the successful attack on Moskva I'm not even sure it's beneficial to NATO or not. Of course it is in the best interests of Ukrainians to keep these ships at bay, but from NATO's point of view this could be an excellent occasion to make some significant blows at Russian fleet.

> which is essentially a proxy war between Russia and NATO

This is kind of like seeing WW2 pre PH as a proxy war between the USA and Germany....

Ukraine is clearly a part in this war, as they have shown by their heroic ability to resist.

Nato is clearly on Ukraine's side.

You are right that NATO benefits greatly from still having Turkey on the team, though. Also, I think Turkey is not super supportive of Putins's attempts to annext territory by force and/or vassalize their neighbours through invasions.

Next time, they could annex Georgia, and I'm pretty sure that would be seen as a grave threat by Turkey.

Not just difficult, it impossible. There’s no provisions for removal.

The closest thing to kicking someone out of NATO would be all the other countries simultaneously withdrawing and forming NATO 2.0.

There is a big difference between "there are no provisions for removal of a member state" and "removal of a member state is explicitly prohibited."

The EU was on the verge of doing that not too long ago over the Lissabon accords.

The no-Hungaries Alliance.

That would also open the door to make the new alliance less Europe-centric.

It would be a serious problem for NATO if a pro-Russian Hungary could basically act as a fifth column and cripple NATO by vetoing everything. There simply has to be a process to kick out insincere members.

The issue with kicking out members is that it starts a precedent. The idea is that NATO got your back if you're in, you won't get kicked out if your membership starts being inconvenient, and that the other members will act when Article 5 is invoked.

This argument goes both ways though, I suppose. NATO has your back and you have to have NATO's back. If Hungary start dicking about then things wont go well for them, I think.

> idea is that NATO got your back if you're in, you won't get kicked out if your membership starts being inconvenient, and that the other members will act when Article 5 is invoked

None of that is violated by kicking someone out before they are attacked.

Kicking someone out who is really counting on NATO would make them incredibly vulnerable, though.

That's true, but NATO isn't the be-all and end-all of European mutual defence, for example there's also the Northern Group of countries, which even includes Sweden and Finland. NATO is the ultimate fallback defence pact, but being in NATO in no way prevent countries, in or out of it, from forming their own independent defence arrangements. Just this week Britain's prime minister very publicly guaranteed Britain's commitment to defend both Sweden and Finland.

I have to wonder to what extent the development of these alliances might have been influenced by the concern you raise though, you raise a good point.

Nukes from America Treaty Obligation

Article 5 is the shield that drastically decreases the amount of nuclear weapons European nations need to deploy, because USSR / Russian inventories are balanced out by American inventories, if it comes to all-out war.

Consequently, the world as a whole is a lot safer because {flight time Russia-US} >> {flight time Europe-Russia}, which allows for additional fail-safe guarantees on weapons that there wouldn't otherwise be a time budget for.

> Consequently, the world as a whole is a lot safer because {flight time Russia-US} >> {flight time Europe-Russia},

The US stations some of its nukes in Europe, so the flight time is less than you think.

Also, it is widely believed that the US has an “understanding” with certain European countries that in extreme circumstances (aka World War III) the US will hand those nukes over to the host countries, and then the host country governments will decide for themselves what use to make of them. In part, this helps discourage nuclear proliferation-Germany or the Netherlands don’t need to make their own nuclear weapons because they know if they ever really need them, Uncle Sam will help them acquire them real real fast (“here’s the keys to the safe, good luck”)

US nuclear weapons in Europe are in a stored posture, and have substantial procedures required for their release to their host countries' air forces.

As far as I know, the US hasn't stationed M/IRBM or nuclear cruise missiles in Europe since the early-60s Jupiter MRBM [0] and GLCM [1] were withdrawn.

[0] https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/01/the-rea...

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BGM-109G_Ground_Launched_Cru...

Those are all aircraft based, so not the fastest mode of deployment.

You're arguing that it would be sensible to have, and therefore they have it? But not every entity has been created with perfect foresight.

Short of Turkey committing some highly-publicised genocide its NATO membership is secured, the country's geo-strategic position is too important to just let it go to "the enemy's side".


Stranger things have happened in the last five years, but I don't think Orban will be stupid enough to act so openly to Russia's benefit. Plausible deniability seems to be the game so far.

He is certainly not on Russia's side in this conflict.


This is an old article (22/2). Ever since, he has several times refused to back the EU on sanctions and instead adopted a very selfish/nationalist stance. He went as far as to declare Zelensky an opponent after winning the election[0].

Hungary is on the wrong side of the conflict at this point in history.

[0] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-60977917

Hungary has backed all sanctions against Russia except oil, which Hungary relies too heavily on. So far, Hungary has accepted 700,000 refugees from Ukraine. There's really no evidence that he supports Russia's invasion, or that he would veto Finland and Sweden's application to NATO. It really seems like some people here don't like him due to unrelated policy reasons and just want to drum up negative sentiment.

At the same time, Hungary did not allow transfer of military aid to Ukraine thorough or over its territory. Not speaking of providing any military aid of its own.

He is as close to it as politically possible.

Maybe he is just doing his nation interests? Why accept sanctions that would cripple your nation?

so he's not?

Hungary already gave greenlight. I think Turkey is now that might use Veto.

they already said they wouldn't

They also said that russian energy ties are harmful. They also said that Russian energy ties are essential. They also said that they want Euro for the Hungarian economy. They also said that switching to Euro is no good for the Hungarian economy. They said that the EU membership is important to Hungary. They also said that Brussels is the enemy. They stated that liberalism is a core value for them. They also stated that they are illiberal. They said that the rule of law is a core value in Hungary. Thay also said that the definition of rule of law is undetermined.

Mr Orban also said that 'do not listen to what I say, watch only what I'm doing'.

I looked for sources for the last and 'illiberal' quotes. Can you provide them?

Re: illiberalism:


"in this sense, the new state that we are building is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state. It does not deny foundational values of liberalism, as freedom, etc.. But it does not make this ideology a central element of state organization, but applies a specific, national, particular approach in its stead."


"Let us confidently declare that Christian democracy is not liberal. Liberal democracy is liberal, while Christian democracy is, by definition, not liberal: it is, if you like, illiberal." (Orban then stands that up on three pillars: prioritizing Christian culture, being anti-immigration, and the Christian family model.)

(There are almost assuredly more speeches.)

Question: when Orban says “liberal” or “illiberal”, what does he actually mean by those terms?

Worth keeping in mind that Americans and Europeans (especially Continentals/non-Anglophones) may have rather different definitions of “liberal”: “American conservatism, with its Lockean roots, is—from a Continental point of view—not really conservatism, but rather, old-school liberalism.” [0]

Similarly: what’s the difference between a “neoconservative” and a “neoliberal”? The terms have a lot of overlap, many people could be equally described by both: but if a neoconservative can also be a neoliberal, then what’s the difference between “conservative” and “liberal”?

And then I remember that I come from a country whose main “conservative” party is called the “Liberal Party of Australia” (or just “the Liberals” for short). Many of its members and leaders will defend the apparent contradiction by saying “We are conservatives, but we are also classical liberals”-a line I’ve also heard from right-of-centre Americans.

See also “conservative liberalism” [1] - which of course is obviously a very different thing from “liberal conservatism” [2]

Tis all as clear as mud

[0] https://europeanconservative.com/articles/commentary/the-big...

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_liberalism

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_conservatism

liberal in the US sense seems to mean left

whereas in Europe it means anti-authoritarian

Sounds like Hungary doesn’t want Islamic culture coming in and rioting

From HN's guidelines[1]:

"Please don't use Hacker News for political or ideological battle. It tramples curiosity."

"Eschew flamebait."

[1] - https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

For the last one I only have Hungarian references, sorry about that:



Anyway, the point is that he is unrealiable, unpredictable, misleading. Apart from the above obvious ones there are countless further examples when he pretended, lied, mislead, did not do what he told will do. It would take very long time to compile a fairly comprehensive list from throughout the years, these are just rapid and random selections. He is basically communicate and act similar to Putin.

Hungary has said they will not oppose.

Orbán's opinion changes as the wind blows. He can't be trusted with anything.

Hungary has already signaled they won't veto.

Recent events suggest that Turkey will be the major obstacle to Finlands NATO membership.

But with zero reasonable arguments for blocking the membership, Turkeys position doesn't seem to be sustainable.

Orban knows he doesn't have the juice to go all pro-Russia in this environment.

Turkey too

You heard it here first

> I highly doubt that any of NATO's members will veto an application from Finland (or Sweden).

The big questions are over Hungary and Turkey; Hungary because Orbán is somewhat pro-Russian and has opposed some EU and NATO moves already wrt Ukraine, and Erdogan for somewhat similar reasons, and because he has publicly stated that he is not in favor of Sweden and Finland joining.

OTOH, I think the general expectation is that those are surmountable issues.

The Croat president has publicly said he will veto new members if the status of the Croat minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not improved legally.


And almost immediately thereafter the Prime Minister of Croatia said "That's not in the hands of the President, Parliament decides that, and we ain't gonna veto". And presumably he has a majority in Parliament, or he wouldn't have that job. (Sorry, no source -- TV news the same or next day, IIRC.)

I mean, from TFA:

> Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday said he would block the admission of Sweden and Finland at the NATO summit in Madrid if he is the one representing Croatia

If he is representing Croatia, and the country's decisions are made by Parliament (the President "has a say" in foreign policy), then isn't his job there only to re-present what Parliament has decided?

The Croatian president is stupid (as is the Prime Minister, fwiw), with little actual power, and spewing things left and right to make himself more relevant.

Thankfully, Croatia doesn't have any real influence in NATO so nobody will be obliged to listen to that stupidity.

Source: I live in Croatia.

You know what bugs me about Croatia. Everyone complains about how terrible it is, politicians are stupid and corrupt, nepotism everywhere, etc etc and please leave somewhere better as soon as you can, but then when you do the tune changes and now it is the nicest place on Earth with natural beauty and beaches and good life and come back as soon as you can. It's a real conundrum.

Every word of what you've just said is correct.

Croatia really has natural beauty. It has gorgeous beaches. Those beaches are usually overcrowded and in many places turned into concrete slabs. It has good life, unless you can't find a decent job. It has free healthcare, in which you wait a year for an urgent medical examination. It has low taxes (10% capital gains tax! 0% LTCG!) but extensive red tape and extremely inefficient bureaucracy and judicial system.

Corruption is a way of life (ask your grandma if it's decent to visit a doctor without a gift). Politics is a joke to such an extreme Boris Johnson looks like a Stoic philosopher. He partied during COVID restrictions, right? Well, our Minister of Health partied during COVID restrictions he invoked, and nothing, whatsoever, happened.

We're like that country in Tropico (the game), only in real life. Even on a map, if you squint, we look like a banana country.

Still, we've free speech, we're fairly well integrated into the EU (barring some unforseen problem, like, dunno, a war on a doorstep, maybe we'll even adopt the Euro next year), we're pretty safe. Child-care is inexpensive, schools are okay for the most part, public universities are free, and if you work in a well-paid industry (like tech, which is booming), it can be a good life.

So, a banana country with benefits?

> It has low taxes (10% capital gains tax! 0% LTCG!)

Besides capital gains and corporate income, Croatia has some of the heaviest income taxes in the world (up to 45%), and i think the highest VAT tax in EU (25%)

Croatia has lost 9.25% of its population since 2011.

Guessing that's because of Schengen.

Edit: Not Schengen, that is something more specific; but the Treaty of Accession from 2011?

> Croatia doesn't have any real influence in NATO so nobody will be obliged to listen

Unfortunately, same applied when that drone with explosives fell in the middle of Zagreb. Deafening silence from NATO.

What's also strange is that drone flew over a couple of other NATO countries before entering Croatian air space and somehow it wasn't shot down, intercepted, etc. The circumstances around that drone are rather vague and seem to be kept so on purpose.

Yeah. If that happened in Berlin, we'd have WW3 by now.

Given that Russia directly, intentionally, and provably shot down a plane full of Dutch nationals, lied about it, and escaped major sanction let alone active war, I think it's fairly safe to say that an almost surely accidental airspace incursion almost surely caused by a technical error, of unclear national origin, that could have been from a presumptive ally, probably wouldn't have caused WW3 even if it landed in Berlin instead of Zagreb.

I went on a hyperbole there, true.

But: that was then, and this is now.

Russia escaped sanctions for a long time, for many things, because of EU countries giving it the benefit of the doubt, and because of oil and gas.

> Yeah. If that happened in Berlin, we'd have WW3 by now.

Had that happened in any other nation surrounding Ukraine that would have been the case, too; it's odd why they let that slip. Are we really to believe that if Serbia decided to attack again on some absurd notion of Russian loyalty or whatever they wouldn't defend Croatia despite being a NATO member?

In complete agreement with above; same source. Ever since he became a president, he's been spewing crap everywhere, and daily spats with/at prime minister (who's a special kind of "tool" , of course) or whoever would be the flavour of the day, are essentially "his normal" now.

This is coming up a lot lately but folks don't seem to realize (as noted by others) that the Croat president has no power here, it is up to the legislature. I do not understand how so fundamental a point is lost regarding this.

Does that actually mean anything? As the “if he can” in the headline suggests, it doesn’t seem to be up to him.


How can Russia pressure and disrupt the process when NATO members are the ones most afraid of Putin? Finland's doing this only because of Russia's actions.

I can't imagine anybody vetoing Finland's membership. In fact, the more the merrier^Hstronger.

Hungary would be the only I can think of that might veto but they already said they wouldn't.

NATO won't accept members that are entangled in regional conflicts which may turn into wars soon (that's why Ukraine couldn't apply anymore after 2014). So Russia's solution would be to start such a conflict, sooner rather than later.

I think the greater reason for hesitating to accept Ukraine up until now would be their still-unstable democracy and high level of corruption.

When the war is over, it may be that the new-found unity caused by the external threat will be enough for them to reinforce their institutions significantly. This could reach a point that could ensure lasting democracy while enabling them to properly fight/eliminate most corruption. At that point, combined with a peace treaty with Russia, they should be able to Join.

NATO has no problems with unstable democracies and high levels of corruption. It was founded by the US...

More likely, Ukraine after the war will be a massively destroyed country, with widespread poverty and a constant need for western powers to pour money into - and that breeds corruption. The only way forward - should they survive as a nationstate - would be some kind of grotesquely enlarged Marshall Plan - they would become in the 21th century that what Germany was between 1946 and 1990: A military bridgehead and designated battlefield should Russia get another taste for war, with modest economic growth.

The level of destruction happening in Ukraine now is, while still terrible, an order of magnitude less severe than what happened in large parts of Europe during WW2. Many countries had around 10% of the population killed, and for those involved in the fighting, a large fraction where men in their most productive age.

Still, most countries had rebuilt their economy to pre-war levels before 1955, and in many cases around 1950.

Given the very small size of Ukraine's economy, reaching their pre-war level will not take very much. Should they, as I predict, come out of the war as a united nation, able to get rid of most of the corruption, they may be able to massively outperform their pre-war gdp fairly quickly.

If they return to pre-war levels of corruption, no amount of economic aid will bring their economy to western levels.

Ukraine can be paid war reparations with the money confiscated from Russia, including Russian reserves. It might actually boost their economy compared to pre-war situation.

Don't worry, that money is gone. It's already in the coffers of western oligarch-equivalents and shareholders. Did you think all that military hardware we've sent them grew on trees?

There’s a lot more money to confiscate from Russia.

US said they protect countries who apply for NATO. So attacking Sweden or Finland would bring the US into the conflict.


Would I, as a Finnish or Swedish lawmaker, trust that promise? The US has not won a war in eighty years, and their shoot first, ask questions later approach may ultimately be more destructive than Russians could ever be.

There is a fundamental difference: US is dangerous to armies, Russia is dangerous to civilians.

Cooome on! the US is also extremely dangerous to civilian population, look at vietnam, afganistan, irak... this is almost obscene.

In Afghanistan an Iraq civilians were collateral damage, they weren't targeted on purpose. Whereas Russia is conducting planned genocide, as evidenced in Bucha and Mariupol.

I think that NATO can't accept new members that are not in control of their own borders; the moment such a new member accedes, NATO would find itself in a state of war.

I'm Finnish, and I'd like to see them try. (and fail (again))

Imagine diverting 50% of Russian troops from Ukraine, where they are already struggling, to another special operation in Finland. Can't see it happening.

They'd have to actually declare war to conscript the whole population and what nonsense could Putin say to sell that to his people at this point?

> In fact, the more the merrier^Hstronger

Umm ... wasn't that what people thought of the alliances and treaties[0] just before the First World War?

[0] https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/what-you-need-to-know-about-p...

Sure it's the same if you ignore literally everything else about the two conflicts.

The problem in WWI was that alliances were made in secret. A secret defensive pact can't deter anyone. NATO is anything but secret.

And they defeated Germany and dismantled the Austro-Hungarian empire. So it worked.

"It worked" is not the phrase that comes to mind when I think of WWI... yes, where was that outcome, but at the cost of tens of millions of deaths[1], years of trench/chemical warfare, exacerbation of the 1918 pandemic.

If we could avoid its equivalent in the 21st century, that would be good.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I

Turkey is a NATO member, but it didn't join the international sanctions.

They're certainly not Russia-aligned. They've never liked each other, and Turkey has been crucial in strengthening Ukraine's defense with their Bayraktars.

AFAIK, one of the closest calls for an outright NATO-Russia war came when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet.


They are not aligned, but they deal with the Ukraine conflict in a very pragmatic way. On the one side they are delivering drones to Ukraine, which have proven to be one of the more effective weapons agains the Russian army, on the other hand they will accept Russian tourists into the country this summer.

IMHO Erdogan still owes Putin a favor for being tipped off on the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt.

Did the coup even exist? It looked like something faked/invented just to get rid of the opposition.

What's the Ukraine conflict?

Do you mean the war that Russia wages against Ukraine?

No way would they oppose Finland and Sweden joining.

I hope not. Just saying that their stance towards Russia is ambivalent.

But they closed the Turkish Straits.

> But they closed the Turkish Straits.

But they didn't. Turkey only upheld the conditions of the Montreux Convention:


Huh? Turkey has the right but not the obligation to close the straits in times of war. And they exercised that right:

> Around February 27–28, Turkey refused permission for 3 of 4 Russian warships to enter the Black Sea, as 3 did not have a home base in the Black Sea.

There's a subtle difference. The straits weren't "closed", one of the Russian ships was allowed passage because its home port was registered as Sevastopol prior to the present conflict.

"pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Turkey cannot block Russian warships based in the Black Sea from returning to their registered base."

I don't understand what point you are trying to make. Are you saying Turkey should have gone against the rules based international order and blocked Black Sea based ships?

Turkey was under no obligation to do anything. Yet they closed the straits to Russian ships to the extent that they possibly could.

Current Croatia's president Zoran Milanović is planning to veto this. Parliament and PM is against veto.

He's against it for sure, but AFAIK doesn't actually have a veto.

What’s his rationale?

To a populistic loudmouth like he is, he doesn't need a good argument. Also he is trying to relativise war in Ukraine with a lot of Russian style propaganda. Don’t think he has any say in it though. At the same time he is in open conflict for months with the prime minister who wields real power. So if one says one thing the other will say the opposite and call the other bad names. Unfortunately the prime minister is corrupted through and through, as the whole party which forms the government. So citizens are just between the rock and a hard place since the war ended in 1995.

It's rather incomprehensible and related to local politics. It's not clear if he can do anything at all so it might be just posturing.


One of the issues of allowing more and more people into NATO, is that potential for fracturing of the alliance increases.

Especially, the original core alliance was very aligned after WWII, politically. However as NATO expands east, the potential for issues down the road grows.

Look at the Ukraine. Let's imagine that this horrible war never happened, Russia never attacked, and that the Ukraine would join NATO in 2023.

Now fast forward to 2030. Russian political games, and influence, has caused the Ukraine to become more aligned with Russia.

What then? Now, the alliance has a detractor of its goals within!

And what of other geopolitical issues? Who will be China's best friend, in 2030?

With the alliance at its original members, it was more tightly aligned.

Now? NATO is becoming far more political.

Perhaps this is apparent to many, but I feel this is not as apparent as it should be. For as NATO becomes stronger physically, with more members, it becomes less strong politically/actively.

An example. If someone attacked Canada or the UK, the original NATO members would have responded instantly.

What about Croatia? Would the response be the same?

> What about Croatia? Would the response be the same?

Yes, without a doubt. Perhaps a little slow, but ultimately the response would be the “same”[1]. The US and UK have existential interest in maintaining NATO.

Croatia and Hungary would be kicked out of NATO before Sweden and Finland would be prevented from joining. At the point of Finland announcing that they will apply, all of the negotiations and box checking are done beforehand. They don’t leave things like this to chance.

Some say “but there is no mechanism for kicking out a member”. It doesn’t matter. The primary NATO members will just have a vote and say you aren’t part of NATO anymore and that would be that.

[1] I’m using “same” here because an attack on the UK or Canada could never be treated as equivalent to an attack on Croatia given the circumstances needed to be attacking those countries and the kinship of the US with those countries. A better way of phrasing would be if Croatia was legitimately attacked and invoked Article 5 of NATO (the mutual defense clause) the U.S. and others would come to Croatia’s defense. There is absolutely no doubt about this.

NATO is a political entity. When you say political, do you mean culture war? Cause how can an alliance not be entirely political in nature?

Does NATO have a process for ejecting a member?

Not sure, this however seems comprehensive, but I have no time to read in full this second:


Considering that NATO is effectively non functional without the US, the process does not need to be written down. The US president can just make it happen as long as his rationale is supported by 90% of NATO. Defense alliances are a trust thing, not a contract thing.

That Finland and Sweden should recognise the Croatian sub-part of Bosnia-Hercegovina as an independent country, IIUC.


Not the parent, but that's true. Was in the news all over in the last weeks here.

The part that isn't mentioned as much is that he doesn't have the power to veto this

He has poured considerable amounts of time and money and other forms of backing into regime change in a number of NATO members; he extensively backed Le Pen and Zemmour, Trump (and enjoys public support from a number of US senators), has close ties to Gerhard Schröder, and of course has extensive networks in the British Conservative Party - sufficient for the current Prime Minister to appoint a Russian as a member of the House of Lords over the objections of British intelligence agencies - and Brexit.

It only takes one of those to pay off at the right time.

I can't speak about other countries but the idea that Russia could use its influence to convince the UK to veto Finland or Sweden's entry into NATO is absurd. The Conservatives may have been happy to take russian money before the invasion but it would be hard to do so now and political suicide to be seen as bowing to russian political interests.

Yep. Anyone doubting that Putin actively funds and influences right wing politicians in the West needs only to look at Putin's state spokesman, Dmitri Peskov's daughter, Elizaveta, is an assistant to far-right French politician Aymeric Chauprade, a French Member of the European Parliament.

They can do a lot of things. None which are good for Russia but their leaders might perceive this as a direct threat to their sovereignty and take extreme measures.

Either they stop this now or it's all over anyway. This is reckless - we need to start a path of de-escalation - give Putin an offramp. Get to back to calm waters.

Then let diplomats do their little dances until there is a hopefully more reasonable people in power on both sides.

Nobody wants war.

If I were living in Finland, I'd feel safer (against external aggression) if the country was in NATO than if it wasn't.

Perhaps, but trying to become a NATO member has a much higher chance of getting you embroiled in a war than not doing that.

This continued escalation can't help but lead to nuclear war, our leaders are playing an extremely dangerous game of chicken.

If anything, Russia's botched invasion of Ukraine should show other countries in the region that there isn't so much to fear from them, and that NATO can be counted for help even without having to risk triggering Article 5 against a nuclear power.

And make no mistake: a hot NATO-Russia war is the worse possible outcome for everyone involved. If it came to that, it would be objectively better to become a vassal of Russia than living through a nuclear war, for the vast majority of the population.

Appeasement worked great with Hitler and Mussolini... Finland is a sovereign nation and has the right to join any defensive union it wants.

Interesting with all the down votes, wonder if Russian bots have reach even on HN? The fact is that this is happening, and Sweden is joining too, and I'm glad we are.

You need some very twisted Russian logic to see sovereign states joining of their own accord, with majority support in the population as a valid excuse for Russia to attack us.

Here is how the US responded to the Solomon Islands military treaty with China (emphasis mine):

> If steps are taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power-projection capabilities, or a military installation, the delegation noted that the United States would then have significant concerns and respond accordingly.

Note that the Solomon Islands is also a sovereign nation, and that it is > 10,000km away from the US border, and >2000km away from the border of the closest US Ally, Australia.

My point is not whataboutism, it is that sovereign nations have an interest in the military alliances of other sovereign nations, and that the security of one state doesn't stop at its borders. Joining hostile military alliances or massing troops at a shared border is logically viewed as a security threat from another nation, and sovereign nations have a right to attempt to prevent such actions.

Of course, doing it by force of arms the way Russia did is entirely illegal and immoral. Even the threat of violence is considered unacceptable by the Geneva convention, though of course that is often ignored. But complaining or seeking diplomatic and even economic ways to prevent such actions is not immoral in my view, and it is certainly not unusual.

I don't know the situation, but if Solomon Islands are doing this of their own accord, and that's what their population wants then I'm not against that. But then again I'm not American. I understand that there are cases, like with the Cuba Crisis, where the fear was warranted. The Soviet's had a history of invading and occupying other nations. China is mainly a threat to Taiwan, and perhaps historically to Vietnam, but unlikely to seek territorial expansion outside of Taiwan. Yes, the US also has blood on its hands, but nobody can argue that the US has tried to invade in order to occupy and integrate foreign territory in modern times.

> I don't know the situation, but if Solomon Islands are doing this of their own accord, and that's what their population wants then I'm not against that.

You may not be against that, but my point was that this is mostly not how world leaders think. Note that it's not just the US - Australia, New Zealand, and I'm sure other countries in the area also came out strongly against this, and similarly explained that it affects their security.

Of course, unlike Russia, they didn't literally illegally and unacceptably invade the Solomon Islands. However, if China were to participate in a revolution-coup combo (as Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine were doing 2 weeks before revolutionaries forced Yanukovich out [0][1]); and then a pro-Chinese leader (even one with popular support) started being armed by the Chinese government, and holding joint military excercises defending from an Australian invasion [2]; then the situation would perhaps change.

It's important to note not just what is morally right and wrong, but also what are the established rules of the world. It's great to fight against those rules as much as you can (and US citizens have more power to change this than any other people on Earth, as the voters in the most powerful country in history which is at least partly democratic), when they are unjust, but that doesn't mean you get to ignore them while they are in place.

[0] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957 (conversation transcript published on 7 feb 2014)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yanukovych#cite_note-2 (forced out by protesters on 21-22 feb 2014)

[2] https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/ukraine-h...

Is it not possible that it would be preferable to both sides, even in a hot NATO-Russian war to stick with conventional weapons?

Russia just wants Lebensraum, which would be ruined by nukes, and NATO would probably not want to seem excessively cruel to Russian civilians when their purpose is supposed to be entirely defensive.

Testing something like this is dangerously close to the brink. It's highly unlikely that the losing side would agree to lose without using their most powerful weapon, and it's highly unlikely that NATO would wait for a Russian first strike, which they would likely believe very possible, especially given all the demonization of Putin and Russia.

Don't forget that there have already been numerous close calls in terms of nuclear war, without anything close to a conventional war as background.

> If I were living in Finland, I'd feel safer (against external aggression) if the country was in NATO than if it wasn't

Finland might feel safer once they're in NATO.

The rest of NATO (and non-NATO states in Western Europe), perhaps not quite so much. Surely the risk of NATO being involved in any conflict only increases as NATO grows?

"Surely the risk of NATO being involved in any conflict only increases as NATO grows?"

No, it diminishes. NATO is a defensive alliance. The more members it has with credible military spending (which Finland has) the higher the cost for Russia to invade.

I should add that Russia desires the Baltics, which are in an awkward position to defend by NATO. Finland has a strong military and its proximity to those countries makes an incursion somewhat less likely.

That was the leading thought before we were shown how ineffective Russian conventional military is.

Indeed they demonstrated that, but don't underestimate the effect an existential crisis like this has. We will almost certainly see heavy changes coming to the Russian military. It could be that in five to ten years their military is actually capable, after both structural and strategical upgrades.

And the lines we now draw between NATO, Russia and China could well be the lines of a WW3 within a decade. Hopefully not though.

They've claimed to be doing those heavy changes for the last ten years and this is what they have to show for it.

Being cut off from nearly all advanced technology and with a terrible economy doesn't sound like a recipe for improving much in that sense either.

The more NATO expands, the higher the risk of that war. Russia joining China wasn't even a foregone conclusion, but our leaders are doing everything they can to push it in that direction.

> No, it diminishes. NATO is a defensive alliance. The more members it has [..]

A similar line of argument about alliances and treaties preventing war was used before the First World War. We all know how that ended.

> similar line of argument about alliances and treaties preventing war was used before the First World War

NATO was formed with that in mind. A single treaty document publicly ratified. No secret pacts. No back-alley alliances.

It's also a bad concept. Defensive alliance is a loaded term, but people use it in arguments as if it was a well defined mathematical object.

> Defensive alliance is a loaded term

It also doesn't appear to be a very accurate description of the things NATO has been getting up to since the end of the Cold War.

"[NATO] has been involved in military operations in the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa"[0]

You don't have to be a spin doctor to realise that what seems like "defence" to one person is another's war of aggression.

German defence minister Peter Struck memorably said in 2004 that "Germany was also [being] defended on the Hindu Kush".[1]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO [1] https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/service/bulletin/rede...

> Defensive alliance is a loaded term, but people use it in arguments as if it was a well defined mathematical object.

Almost like "defensive weapons". Almost, because that's even worse.

How has appeasement worked out in Chechnya, the invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea, Georgia, shooting down a civilian airliner?

What shall we give Russia this time? Then when they come for Poland or Romania, who do you suggest we offer to rape and murder?

Given that Russia couldn't even cleanly occupy Ukraine, it's laughable to suggest they could attack NATO countries such as Poland and Romania.

That doesn't follow. Even though Russia has not been able to occupy most of Ukraine, they've still been able to attack the civilian population. Either through medium range missile strikes, or with occupation forces committing war crimes before being pushed back (to put it mildly). I assume the citizens of Poland and Romania much prefer being able to go to a shopping mall without being subject to missile strikes.

Russia wouldn’t be able to hurt Ukrainian population if the latter had proper Air Force.

Very few countries in the world have "proper" air force.

Only if you assume the risk of conflict in any member country being the same as when they weren't a member.

> Only if you assume the risk of conflict in any member country being the same as when they weren't a member

Let's imagine we're France.

What's the actual risk of us being directly attacked by an enemy country, starting a conflict?

Now imagine we're France, obliged to join in a conflict by NATO's "collective defence" Article 5. This conflict was already started by an enemy attacking any one of the other 29 NATO members. Particularly murky that now NATO claims cyberattacks count for article 5, and since 2001 we know terrorism can count too.

What's the risk of the latter compared to the former?

I don't see Article 5 as the providor of peace that so many appear to assume it is. Now that the Cold War is long-gone, and it's no longer as simple as "NATO vs Warsaw Pact" in which is was fairly easy to see which side you'd want to be on, I also don't think Article 5 is worth the paper it's written on.

For instance, would your country's citizens be happy to join a war over Taiwan?

if everyone followed that logic France would still be under nazi rule

Timing is important - this is maybe not the best time to join.

> give Putin an offramp

Thing is, Putin has boxed himself in; he's said publicly that Ukraine is not a thing, that so-called Ukrainians are in fact Russians, and that he aspires to a Peter-the-Great-style Russian empire stretching from Vladivostok to the Baltic.

The only "off-ramp" I can see being halfway-acceptable to Putin would be for Ukraine to surrender their claims to Donbas and Crimea, in exchange for Russian security "assurances". Even that would make Putin look weak; he's declared that one his goals is to "demilitarise" Ukraine. To do that he would have to conquer the whole of Ukraine.

So any promise by Putin to accept a proffered "off-ramp" would be seen with a very jaundiced eye by Balkan, Central European and Baltic states. And by me, actually.

I'm no warmonger; far from it, I've been mostly a pacifist most of my life. But any "off-ramp" plans would either be unacceptable to Putin, or they would lead to a new war.

I'm afraid it looks pretty bad.

He's racking up war crimes at alarming speed. How many mass murders can we forgive him?

It's interesting to look into what kind of person Peter The Great (Putin's hero) was.

He built the Summer Palace in St. Petersburg in emulation of the European palaces he visited on his tour of Europe. But unlike European palaces, in the Summer Palace he installed a torture chamber, in which he personally tortured then murdered his own wife. He seems to have enjoyed torture and murder.

This is the model that Putin so admires.

I don't know that it's yet possible to ascribe any war-crimes to Putin personally. The crimes that I've heard tell of are of the kind that might be carried out by low-morale troops in any army.

Of course, the Russian army in Ukraine necesssarily have low morale; they've been ordered to attack and kill people that their own leader has said are their "brothers".

Low morale in the Russian armed forces is a persistent problem; in WWII Russian assaults, Russian machine guns were positioned in the rear, to kill any Russians that thought to fall back. It's not surprising that in the fall of Berlin, there was widespread looting and rape by Russian soldiers.

All soldiers behave like this, to a greater or lesser extent. But this Russian army has been engaged in city-flattening, rape and murder to a shocking extent.

Personally, I'm not inclined to forgive. But that's not my call; I'm not Ukrainian.

> Nobody wants war.

Objectively, this is not true. Putin wanted war. Leadership around him wanted war too. They wanted war they will win fast, but even if that succeeded it would be war too.

I'm not convinced of this. One of his leads seems to have trouble getting the 'Da' out: https://youtu.be/MsfUiTJv2lE?t=123

Nobody wants war, but we also don't want to be part of Russia. Putin can de-escalate this anytime and "losing" doesnt make him seem any worse than starting a war, killing tens of thousands and making millions flee their homes.

> Putin can de-escalate this anytime

I wish I believed that. His credibility depends entirely on his ability to threaten (to poison his opponents, to flatten cities). He's a strong man, and he can't afford to be seen to back down.

Here's the only off-ramp I can see working:

"Mr. Putin, you can keep your yachts and your offshore wealth; you won't be pursued for warcrimes. But you must exile yourself from Russia, and never darken the world stage again."

I don't think Putin would accept that deal; he'd rather go down with his ship. He thinks he's Peter The Great.

How about giving off-ramp in the shape of proper prize for Putin’s head?

The exact same arguments used by Chamberlain, etc. Putin has the off-ramp he needs - move out of Ukraine, return all of cupped territories.

Anything less is appeasement.

> Either they stop this now or it's all over anyway. This is reckless - we need to start a path of de-escalation - give Putin an offramp. Get to back to calm waters.

Putin has demonstrated again and again that he will interpret any de-escalating, sensible political moves as weakness. Any attempt at appeasement or compromise will be seen by him as an invitation to dare the next aggressive step.

> How can Russia pressure and disrupt the process when NATO members are the ones most afraid of Putin?

Hungary is also a NATO member and yet its president (Mr. Orban) has been quite chummy with Putin.

Orban is the prime minister not the president. As for being chummy no Hungarian prime minister or president current or former has ever served as board member for Gazprom, nor served as head of shareholders for Nordstream AG, or director of the board for Rosneft the Russian oil company. All these positions were/are held by a former german chancellor Gerhard Schröder whom had put Germany onto the path of closing perfectly working nuclear plants and thus leading to the current dependence on Russian oil and gas:


You are trying to shift the blame, but Germany was not blocking the airspace for weapons delivery to Ukraine or blocking the sanctions. Ration of dependence of Germany on Russian Gas/Oil is way lower then ratio in Hungary.

I'm putting things into perspective. Hungary has 136 km shared border with Ukraine, it also represents only 0.25% of the global GDP, and it is a small country of less than 10 million inhabitants that took in 700'000 Ukrainian refugees. It is okay to disagree with some of their positions, but to put blame one them for the current mess is ridiculous. As for ratio of dependence I have no idea how you did measure it, but it was certainly not per capita gas consumption.

Don't forget Merkel. There are still people that say that Merkel was always against German dependence on Russian gas but could not do anything about it. For 16 years!

There is more "evidence" that Merkel is a long-term Russian intelligence asset, recruited from her youth in East Germany,[1] than that of Trump being the same. One guess on which claim is incessantly repeated by the bien-pensants of the chattering classes.

Bonus: Trump and Stoltenberg argue on camera (<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpwkdmwui3k>). Who turned out to be right? Who turned out to completely, totally, 100% wrong?

[1] Something else never talked about is how her parents moved from West to East Germany when she was a baby

Fair enough. I must imagine there will be intense pressure from NATO members towards Hungary if they're the only ones protesting. Is there a process for booting a member?

Hungary has already stated they will not oppose Finland/Sweden NATO membership, so it is not really relevant.

The process has been going on in unofficial sense since the start of Putler's war, but to minimize risks, the official process is only kicked off now. It was only started after it was verified that there are no internal or external blockers and that Sweden is in lockstep.

Oh, there was little doubt a Finnish application was on the way. From what I can tell from Swedish media, it's more or less decided there aswell.

Both Finland and Sweden signed a defence agreement with the UK yesterday. Norwegian newspapers has claimed Denmark, Iceland and Norway are also going to offer Finland and Sweden military aid in case of Russian shenanigans during the application process. That leaves both Finland and Sweden fairly safe, and the only noteworthy risks would be cyber warfare and Russian psy-ops used to turn public opinion against a NATO membership.

As for the application process itself, Stoltenberg pretty much promised a swift handling in the NATO end of things, but as you mention, it has to be unanimous and there is always a chance someone with power might be in Putin's pocket, or oppose the idea for other reasons.

Actually it is not a contract, because it is not contractually binding. It is more a promise to help. And Churchill promised to help Finland in WW2 and did not keep his promise.

That's not true. Churchill was not Prime Minister when the Soviet Union invaded Finland.

On an international level, there is nothing but promises and sanctions, unless we resort to warfare. Let's hope it won't be neccesary to put those treaties to the test.

Ultimately you are of course right, but this is not a fair characterization for this case.

Some agremeents are made through the normal legislative process for each country, and are enforceable by international courts.

These promises by heads of UK and Finland are not that kind of enforceable agreements, as they have not been approved by the legislature. They are just political statements by heads of state.

How could Britain realistically have helped Finland militarily in WW2?

IIRC, Churchill did try assemble to a force during the Winter war, but there simply wasn't anyway of getting enough men with winter combat experience.

The ship has sailed for Russia already. USA will not tolerate obstruction by Germany, France or Hungary. Recent meeting about Ukraine support was hold in Ramstein and this place was chosen intentionally - to show who is the master of the show and who should sit and listen.

By attacking Ukraine Russia wanted to "push" NATO away from its borders, but it all went backwards - now they will have a new, 1300 km long border with NATO member countries.

Russian fleet in Petersburg can be decommissioned now, as there is no merit to maintain it while Gulf of Finland can be easily blocked and is under traditional artillery control from Estonia and Finland side (it is just 80-100 km wide).

In fact in case of military conflict Petersburg is lost, can be attacked from the West and the North by land and covered by long range rocket artillery like Himmars (it is just 200 km away from Finnish and Estonian borders).

Same story with Murmansk harbor, it will be very difficult for Russia to defend it against attack from Norway and Finland given the very long and fragile supply line - a single E105 route, 1000 km long or train connection that goes along that route. Imagine famous Kiev 60 km convoy multiplied by 10 and attacked not by post-soviet era weapon that Ukraine had but by state of the art equipment.

Russia will have to put a lot of forces over there to be able to protect new attack line that they have opened by themselves. Build hell a lot of new infrastructure, provide logistic support, etc. The costs will be exorbitant.

When countries like Poland, Romania or Baltic countries became NATO members it was clear that they will need to be protected by western armies (although Poland is quickly catching up with its military potential, other countries is developing too). Right now situation is different: two very strong, well equipped, well trained armies are joining the Pact.

Another 300 modern tanks, Sweden by itself has more than 400 modern combat aircrafts of various types, Finland has just contracted 60 F-35 (with loyal wingman option that doubles the potential in future), plus artillery and other best of class equipment.

Indeed, Putin, Gerasimov and Shoygu are master strategists.

> In fact in case of military conflict [St.] Petersburg is lost, can be attacked from the West and the North by land and covered by long range rocket artillery...

Ah...if I recall, the Germans - with a very large, experienced, and well-equipped army, at the time - assumed that St. Petersburg could be taken fairly easily back in 1941. That turned out not to be the case.

Back then Russians had the will to fight. They knew what they were fighting for. Nowadays very few would want to fight for another oligarchs yacht.

Just to make the numbers clear, Leningrad had something like 2.5 million residents in 1941. Depending on who is counting, somewhere between 600 thousand and a million died during the siege of Leningrad (largely from hunger, which is a separate long discussion).

There were also somewhere on the order of 350-400 thousand Soviet soldiers killed in the battles around Leningrad.

It's pretty hard to "take" a multi-million person city if the residents are willing to accept double-digit-percentage fatality rates to prevent it... The big unknown is always whether they will be willing to accept it.

And of course Kyiv is not far from the border, either.

> Sweden by itself has more than 400 modern combat aircrafts of various types

According to Wikipedia [1], the Swedish airforce has only 207 aircraft in total, only 71 of which are combat aircraft (JAS 39 Gripen).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_Air_Force

USA is playing a dangerous game atm, they're not in Europe and don't depend on Russian energies.

They just want Russia to sink and don't really care about the fate of Europe.

Finland and Sweden don't depend on Russian energies either.

Russia just shut down their electricity export to Finland, Finland shrugged and made up the 10% difference with a combo of local production and buying from Sweden.

I think Germany said they will be under protection from NATO as soon as they start the procedure.

UK has also made written guarantees to protect Finland (and Sweden) during the application process.

In practical reality, if Russia were to attack Finland or Sweden now, the answer from NATO would be pretty much the same as if they were already members.

> In practical reality, if Russia were to attack Finland or Sweden now, the answer from NATO would be pretty much the same as if they were already members.

Really? Why is this true of Finland but not Ukraine?

Because NATO has the initiative here. The guarantees, unofficial or not, now function as a deterrent for possible Russian aggression. A promise/threat to join a hypothetical future conflict is very different from joining an existing conflict. One is a deterrent, the other is escalation.

Besides, Finland has been a close NATO ally for a long time, shares NATO values, our military is already 100% NATO compatible, and we are strategically and geopolitically a pretty important piece of the puzzle.

Ukraine hadn't applied, until recently arguably didn't meet the military requirements, and - even before this year - had a border dispute in Donbas.

The latter is important, NATO is not a hired gun. Finland does have a stable border.

> had a border dispute in Donbas

Not to mention Crimea, whose annexation by Russia is accepted by nobody.

Because Ukraine was not in the explicit membership pipeline.

Ukraine was not about to join NATO.

This is turnkey, UKR isn’t

Because that would have been agressive from the NATO standpoint. Russia was not having a "war" with Ukraine, from Putins standpoint they were going into their own country to protect their citisens. That would just have played out Putins way to support his narrative that Russia is under attack from the rest of the world.

Because Ukraine was/is in a state of Civil War.

That's not a "civil war"; Ukraine has been invaded by a foreign army.

Not in 2014 it wasn’t.

Russia most certainly invaded.

"In response to the deteriorating situation in the Donbas, Russia abandoned its hybrid approach, and began a conventional invasion of the region. The first sign of this invasion was 25 August 2014 capture of a group of Russian paratroopers on active service in Ukrainian territory by the Ukrainian security service (SBU)."


What? That's exactly what happened in 2014!

If Sweden got attacked, most Norwegians would want to help them somehow, ending up dragging NATO into the ordeal anyways, is my thought.

Most Poles want to help Ukraine somehow and we didn't drag NATO into the conflict.

Sweden would probably get stronger support for other reasons, like being perceived as an established democratic western country.

That's because NATO can't join the conflict.

Norway would only be able to drag NATO into a war if Norway were attacked on its own soil.

Kinda my thought here. Finland and Sweden in NATO formalizes some stuff but I am highly confident if they were attacked and not in NATO we would probably still show up. They are close allies.

> Russia is also obviously deeply unhappy about this

So what? They only have themselves, or rather Putin, to blame. He's forfeited the right for them to have any meaningful input into the decision.

Think and re-imagination needed.

That is a problem like eu that need to be handled, especially now that turkey is in the way. I think one has to rethink. The key is what are these military alliance is for. For democracy then we can have an alternative one.

A new alliance covering South Korea, japan, Taiwan, Australia, eu, Sweden, Finland, Canada …. Soviet Union is gone.

Turkey is a liability as it is not a democracy. And it is a problem.

That distinction is pretty moot, as no applying country has ever been rejected by NATO.

Adding to this, this also means that it is highly likely that Sweden will apply to join NATO as well, although I would say public opinion is more split in Sweden compared to Finland. However, the political view was always that if one of Finland/Sweden joins NATO it would put the other into an awkward, undesirable position as the only non-NATO Scandinavian country.

Does the NATO membership process have negotiable elements? For example, do different members have different terms, or pay different contributions to costs?

Announcing your firm intention to join before negotiating those parts seems like a good way to be paying over the odds forever...

Every country has a requirement to pay 2% of their GDP on defense. However not all countries actually comply. Germany was repeatedly criticized for skimping on their payments. They didn't start contributing 2% until after Russia invaded.


Yes. Finland has a conscription army, up to ~800 000 people. It is unlikely mums are willing to send their sons to faraway places, or even practical.

Likely must of the activity Finland can do will be around Baltics. Like sharing air space control with Estonia.

As I understand it, NATO is not a cost-sharing arrangement. Everyone pays for their own defense forces.

Sure, that means if some country were to pay nothing for theirs -- i.e. don't have any -- then the others would have to do all the defending of that country, and so "pay indirectly"... If that country were attacked. That's why NATO agreed that members should spend at least two percent of their GDP on defense, and it is many of them not having got up to that level yet that the USA (especially under Trump) has been complaining about.

But still, that's all within each country's own budget. There are no monetary transfers to and from countries such as "membership fees" or "subsidies" within NATO. (At least not any significant ones that I know of. Maybe some smaller stuff like, Idunno, base rentals or port fees?)

There is about 2.5 billion euros in budget used by the organization directly. This includes people employed directly by the organization, costs related to head headquarter buildings, etc, some command and control infrastructure owned by the organization rather than individual members, some things like deployable radar systems owned by the org directly, plus funding for certain operations that members have agreed to fund via cost sharing, rather than by having any participating members finance their own costs.

Remember, NATO is not just a defensive pact, but also command structure set up to enable the member forces to be utilized as a single cohesive force, rather than just a bunch of allied but disjointed forces. That means communication systems, and setting up unified commands to which portion of member forces can be assigned, making sure equipment and communications systems are intercompatible, etc.

This central funding money is pretty negligible compared to the 2% spending on defense commitment of members. Like the whole central funding would be around 6% of Germany's military budget, but would be fraction of a percent of the US budget. However the central funding is shared amongst all the members. Germany's actual share ends up around 1% of its military budget, UK's actually share is about 0.6% of the UK's budget, and the US share might as well be a rounding error, being my my quick calculations less than a tenth of a percent of the overall budget.

It's certainly not nothing, but is is not like we are talking about super significant portions of countries military budgets.

Putin's pan to not let NATO on Russian borders worked out great.

I mean there's that joke that the Apollo missions were the greatest scientific accomplishment by the Soviet Union.

That is rather apt. And mirroring Russian claims to disarm nazis in Ukraine and take over the government in 3 days. Only to get sanctioned into economic doom, and have Ukraine forever supplied with the teeth of all western nations. It did not work out so well. We are all rooting for spinal cancer.

If they did it bit by bit then all nato can be a target. There is a strategy about this as far as yes minster goes about nuclear bomb detention. You just very hard to press the button if the other side just bomb say another country not in nato. And even if … Coalition never easy work especially you do not give them pressure.

Thanks in a dark sense Russia basically sealed the Ukrainian identity and possibly the nato. With Ukrainian blood and theirs.

How can a chess playing nation think so badly. Just bomb others to surrender … Mongolian blood?

> How can a chess playing nation think so badly. Just bomb others to surrender … Mongolian blood?

Yeah, pretty much. The Russian army in Ukraine apparently consists disproportionately of recruits from Dagestan, Tatarstan, Tuva, etc, etc. Ethnic Russians are under-represented.

> There is a strategy about this as far as yes minster goes about nuclear bomb detention

This is the clip about Salami Tactics and the Nuclear Deterrent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o861Ka9TtT4

Salami tactics! Such a good scene.

If there is a nuclear war because of this mess in the near future, then we will all see how did this work out for everyone on this planet. If you pressure a weakened nuclear power into a corner, what will they have left? Western countries operate under a false assumption that oligarchs/rich call the shots in Russia while it's the power/security forces who do, keeping oligarchs on a short leash. From that point of view, it's not only conceivable Finland would be attacked before joining NATO, but that this would escalate to an all-out-war with nukes.

Nobody is pressuring Russia, that's Russian propaganda. They want to paint themselves as attacked and surrounded, but it's them attacking sovereign neighbors and trying to expand beyond their borders. Who would have any interest in invading Russia? China attacking from the east would probably make more sense than NATO attacking from the west, but I've never heard anyone suggesting that as a realistic event.

It's not about how we perceive a threat to them, but how they perceive it. It makes no sense to destroy one's economy for Ukraine, yet here we are, so their calculation considered it more important.

When Russia's perception is out of whack with the actual facts of the world, it seems smarter to adapt Russia's perception to the actual facts.

Russia chose to try the other way. Sooner or later it will end up with them having to adjust their perception anyway.

But that is not Putin’s actual perception. It’s something he’s said to establish a pre-textual justification for an imperial war of aggression

Yeah, his actual perception is the same old defense in depth --> need of buffer zones one Russia has had since the Grand Duchy of Muscovy emerged from its vassalage to the Mongols. Problem with that is, that also clashes with current reality, since it demands a return to the status quo of the Cold War, with Russian satellite states up to about Berlin(1).

Sooo... Which do you think needs adjusting; current geopolitical / geographical reality, or the Russian perception of national security? Are you saying he's right that the status quo ante, up to Feb 23 was an "existential threat" to Russia by NATO? Or even a variant with Ukraine in NATO -- would that have made NATO suddenly much more likely to attack Russia than without it?


(1): But preferably: Paris. Or, better yet, Lisbon.

I think what Putin fears the most was that euromaidan could spread to Moscow. A slavic orthodox country on his doorstep making moves to become a Western style liberal democracy was a threat to the idea of Russia as the centerpiece of the Russian language/culture/religion empire, all headed by a tsar with absolute power.

NATO? For all the propaganda about evil NATO about to attack Russia, the troops that Russia normally has stationed against NATO and Finnish borders are now all in Ukraine getting their asses kicked. The NATO and Finland borders are empty. Ergo, in reality Putin is not (correctly so) afraid of any NATO attack.

“It doesn’t make sense…” yes if you are looking through a liberal western lens. You’re not looking from a Putin or Russia point of view. His reasoning for invading Ukraine are much deeper and different than the things that we consider important.

I though Ezra Klein’s interview with Masha Gressen and some of his other interviews were quite good at helping inform: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ezra-klein-show/id...

Like how the first man in space was an accomplishment by the US?

NATO has been on Russian borders for almost 2 decades (and way longer if you include Norway, but that border is arguably too remote to really count). So what plan, exactly?

Russia has argued that having NATO on its borders is a threat. Talk about missiles within range of Moscow and so on. Obviously these comments make no sense. But Russian domestic politics is always using a narrative of being a victim and having risk of being invaded. The Second World War doesn’t exist in Russian storytelling. The great patriotic war on the other hand, conveniently started in the 40s.

The Finnish border isn’t that much closer to any important parts of Russia than the Baltic states already were. The strategic difference is perhaps mostly in how difficult it might be for Russia to attempt what they did to Ukraine on a Baltic state. The scenario is a swift invasion and an annexation being fait accompli and a threat of Nuclear use if any NATO countries come to their defense under Article 5. That would have been a sticky situation for NATO in the past (at least we thought so until we saw their military performance lately) but will be less so with Finland in the alliance.

RealLifeLore has an excellent analysis of the reasons for Russia's invasion [1], including the military motivations. I highly recommend watching it. In particular the reasoning around gas and oil reserves in the Black Sea have not been given the due attention in the media IMO. He doesn't talk about Finland, but I would imagine the fact that it would broaden the front for a land-based invasion is what motivates Russia's opposition. That and generally having gotten away with being a bully and getting what you want for so long.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If61baWF4GE

There's never been a war that he didn't like, the excitement in his voice when he describes the Chechen or Georgian conflicts or the Chinese annexation of Tibet or Iraq's annexation of Kuwait really skeeves me out.

Good info, but keep is frankly weird perspective in mind.

NATO is a devensive alliance. It is no threat for a peaceful Russia at all. All else is propaganda. A really democratic Russia may even join NATO some day. (As Western Germany did ten years after the Nazis.)

There was actually some talk of Russia joining NATO 20 years ago. But then Putin wanted Russia to be fast-tracked without meeting the requirements while "unimportant countries" would be ignored, and I guess at that moment it became clear he didn't really get what NATO was about.

Putin actually did not mind joining NATO. [0]. It would make a lot of sense. Mind you, this is after Ugoslavia bombings by NATO.


> NATO is a devensive alliance.

I think Serbs may disagree on that. In the end, NATO is the US and it's dependent vassal states. With neighbors like these, I can sympathize with Russia not being too comfortable.

I admit that the NATO operation against Serbia in 1999 was of course not purely devensive with regard to NATO territory (as Kosovo was not a member). Its nature was that of a "humanitarian intervention" in favour of Kosovo; as such it was afterwards acknowledged by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

I personally would have preferred, if the operation had not been carried out under the label of NATO, but instead in the names of the participating countries or something else. Anyway, in later conflicts where NATO was involved it avoided to participate directly under its own name. For instance the operations in Afghanistan, though under offcial NATO leadership, was carried out by an "International Security Assistance Force" (ISAF).

Nevertheless, I still hold that NATO is, at its core, a defensive alliance, since there is no obligation for the members to assist each other in anything else than an unprovoked attack on their territories. Beyond that, NATO structures have been used for various missions, often including non-members -- even Russia itself, as in the NATO-led "Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina" (SFOR) in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Such mission had always been case-by-case decisions, not imposed by the NATO treaty. Furthermore, there have been numerous examples where individual NATO members have been extremely critical of US missions or certain measures. For this reason in particular, I consider the talk of "vassal states" to be quite unobjective.

Serbs had a choice - they could have avoided starting a genocide, for example.

You mean that genocide that UN courts later decided wasn't actually a genocide[1]?

Yeah... I guess if you are convinced you're on the side of the good guys(tm), you really can't do wrong.

[1] https://www.upi.com/Archives/2001/09/07/UN-court-rules-no-ge...

... which was not the reason given for the war of aggression initiated by NATO.

Oh, so now the problem is that NATO stopped the wrong genocide? :-D

The one genocide you mentioned stopped by itself four years earlier.

But, just like with Germany, it would take some "de-Nazification" (de-totalitarianization) first... And I'm not talking of Ukraine here.

It's vital for Russia to put the start of WW2 in 1941, because if they put it in 1939, like everybody else, then the USSR would have been just as much the aggressor as Nazi Germany, with invasions of Poland and Finland in 1939, and the Baltic states in 1940. Fortunately for them, at the time the West didn't care enough about Poland and the Baltics, and somehow cared more about the German invasion of Poland than the Russian one. But now they do care about Ukraine.

> with invasions of Poland and Finland in 1939, and the Baltic states in 1940

And Romania in 1940.

> Talk about missiles within range of Moscow and so on. Obviously these comments make no sense.

Why doesn't it make sense? I'm not for Russia nor for NATO, but what is the purpose of the alliance if not against Russia as a remnant of the cold war?

Wasn't the same kind of reasoning used by the USA for Cuba resulting in its ~blockade~ "quarantine" and almost war/invasion?

It seems to me there's a certain rhetoric meant to cast Putin as a crazy warmongering dictator who foolishly wishes to revive the Soviet Union. In part this may be true, but it seems to me that these arguments are meant to distract our gaze away from the US (and NATO in extension) as the global superpower it is, how historically it has moved against the USSR and Russia and its part in the world stage.

*Obviously Putin/Russia is to blame for invading Ukraine.

edit: Adding a few words because I think I have not been clear. I'm not arguing for Russia or against NATO. I'm arguing that from Putin's perspective it makes sense; an alliance historically against the USSR, now expanding near Russia's borders can be seen as a potential threat.

The rhetoric is "I was watering my garden and some crazy guy attacked me", but that is removing the context. And that context exists even if you believe that NATO=good & Russia=bad.

1) NATO has no territorial desires on Russia. Eastern members do have bad historic experiences with Russia so they joined a defensive alliance

2) Cuba was "allowed" to stay in the Eastern block (but not to host nuclear weapons). Ukraine was not "allowed" to join NATO, by comparison

3) Russia has nuclear/nuclear capable weapons inside NATO (Kaliningrad), not the other way around. EDIT: Kaliningrad is a Russian exclave surrounded by NATO members + bordered by the Baltic

The problem is you’re using your own perspective to imagine how Russia is assessing the situation. That’s the big mistake.

You could run the same analysis for the US involvement in Vietnam.

1) The US was anti colonial after WW2 (the US assumed colonial holdings would foment communist uprisings), and had given the Philippines it independence.

2) The US had no real strategic interest in Vietnam beyond a non-communist aligned country. it had negotiated a neutral policy towards Laos with the communist bloc. It wasn’t interested in resources or territory, at least not in anyway similar to what France had done.

Why on earth would North Vietnam think that US was just replacing France as a colonial power? That’s absurd! No way they think that, it’s just rhetoric!


Of course after decades of being under the colonial yoke of France, Vietnam had a very different perspective. It was clear post-WW2 France was hell bent on restoring the colonial structure. And the only thing France understood was military defeat.

So the North, very reasonably, thought the US was lying about any sort of “neutrality in IndoChina” and that Vietnam would have any sort of independence. So they held to a hardline and were willing to sacrifice 2M+ Vietnamese for the goal of total victory and independence.

Think about it from Russia’s perspective. They had warned in 2015 about their "red line" for NATO expansion.

In what way is 2) or 3) of my points related to a perspective? Those are either historical fact or current situation.

On territory, Russia can have a different view and they are entitled to it - but doesn't change that it is a wrong perception. Not sure, if Russia's perspective should then guide policy "in the West".

I agree 2 and 3 are facts, but the error is you think they are relevant to how Russia see the situation.

I understand you think that perception is wrong, but remember, global geopolitics is not about "who is right", it's about "how do we find the least violent solution to this conflict".

If you read MacNamara's book on Vietnam, he actually goes back and talks through the war with the North Vietnamese leaders at the time. The big takeaway was there were plenty of opportunities to de-escalate the conflict (acknowledged by both sides), but each side was so sure they were right that there was no backing down.

It's a tough pill to swallow to realize you could have gotten the same thing as you have today without killing a few million of your own citizens.

Edit: Your reply "If Russia wants to go nuclear over this, then so be it" is the most horrifying thing I've read in a while. But regardless there is a lot of evidence to show if Hitler had been restrained early in the lead up to WW2, before Germany had rearmed, it could have prevent WW2.

In the end, not sure it really matters how Russia sees the situation to be honest or what Russia thinks is relevant to them now[added]. If Russia wants to go nuclear over this, then so be it - they will go nuclear over something else if not this one if they are so willing to act on perceived threats not realized ones. EDIT: I cannot stop Russia from doing what it wants to do but like in the cold war I am not stopping living my life, either.

Also not sure it is always about "least violent solution", was WWII the least violent solution or what would have been the least violent one and how could it have been reached?

I don't think anyone is disputing that the US was wrong in Vietnam. And in Iraq (the second time at least) for that matter. Yet I often see people use these examples where the US was clearly wrong as reasons why Russia should be permitted to invade Ukraine.

The argument isn't "we should let Russia invade Ukraine".

The argument is "if the US could be so wrong about the best path forward in Vietnam and Iraq, why are we so sure we're right about Ukraine"?

Instead of viewing everything from a US/Western European/NATO lens, take a step back and ask "If I were Russia how would I view this?".

The idea is that if not expanding NATO stops Russia from invading Eastern European countries, then that seems like a good trade off versus what we have now.

Of course the criticism is "Russia would have invaded anyways even if NATO hadn't expanded". And maybe that's right, but we'll never know at this point since that decision was never made.

So do you agree that letting Russia invade Ukraine is wrong?

Like I said, the US was wrong to invade Vietnam and Iraq, and Russia is just as wrong to invade Ukraine.

> take a step back and ask "If I were Russia how would I view this?"

As a big mistake. Russia is not getting anything out of this that's going to help Russia in any way. Russia has made itself the enemy of everybody around them. They've completely alienated all Ukrainians, nearly half of which used to be friendly towards Russia.

> The idea is that if not expanding NATO stops Russia from invading Eastern European countries

"Expanding NATO" is the wrong way to look at this. NATO doesn't expand itself, it accepts new members who apply to join NATO. NATO hasn't conquered anyone. Membership is entirely voluntary.

NATO membership has shown itself to be the best protection against Russian aggression; Georgia and Ukraine have been invaded, but Estonia has not. Refusing membership to Estonia in a faint hope that Russia would not attack is a dangerous game to play with an entire country.

What do you mean “letting Russia”? We didn’t let them do anything, they just did it.

And maybe a better analogy is if your next door neighbor was blasting music at 2am.

They’re wrong but you have a choice:1) call the cops and now you have a pissed of neighbor you get to live with forever or 2) go over and nicely ask them to turn it down.

The neighbor is wrong and your right to call the cops but you may just screw yourself over rather than just nicely asking them to turn it down.

The war in Ukraine was not some neigborly dispute. It is a logical continuation of Russian imperialism which for centuries has used genocide and terror to suppress the masses.

That's how Russia gained it's land area. Pure fucking violence. I have no idea while western colonialism has been judged harshly no-one in the west has spent much effort lamenting the fates of the people subjugated by Russia.

This is not you neighbour blasting music. This is a narcist psycho terrorizing the neighbourhood by wanton burglary and murder. For years. The war in Ukraine is this psycho once again breaking in, shooting your grandmother, raping your son, stealing your washing machine and then telling everyone proudly how rightfull he was to do so.

They went in with the full intent to end Ukrainian identity once and for all. Pure genocide. The last time they tried this was by manufacturing a famine https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor

What's the best analogue to think about this? While Germany was effectively de-nazified after ww2 Russia never de-stalinized or made amends for it's imperial stance. You really have to think of the Russian state you would think about Germany if it was run by third reich institutions.

It's odd that what you got from my analogy was "this is a neighborly dispute".

The statement I was making was "everyone benefits when problems are resolved with minimal bloodshed".

Do you disagree with that?

If "minimal bloodshed" means "the war must end in Ukrainian victory as fast as possible" then I agree. If Ukrainian victory is not as important as swift end to hostilities then I disagree.

I believe Ukraine needs all the weapons and support so the war can end in a clear Ukrainian victory.

My current view is pretty much aligned with PM of Estonia Mrs. Kallas: “I think what everybody has to understand is that peace is not an ultimate goal if it means that the aggression pays off”


Exactly. There's nothing peaceful about rewarding brutal aggression. Peace requires that Putin stops the invasion.

Ukraine will not be victorious.

NATO members are more than willing to "fight Russia to the last Ukrainian", but I guarantee that if things really heat up, they'll throw Ukraine under the bus just like they did South Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria.

The best outcomes for everyone involved is some settlement where Ukraine continues to exist and NATO and Russia both agree to not interfere. See the agreement over Laos in the 1960's - neutrality.

Then there's no victory for anyone, because there's certainly no way Russia is going to win this.

The difference with Vietnam couldn't be bigger: in Vietnam, the US was fighting other people's war, most of whom didn't want it. The US was fighting the local population much of the time. This is pretty much the most generous way to interpret Russia's position in the war. Ukraine is fighting for itself, for their country and their freedom, because they know what will happen if Russia wins.

It's not NATO that's demanding that Ukraine fights; it's Ukrainians themselves who want to fight, because they know they can't afford to lose. And Ukraine has the people, they just need the weapons.

> The best outcomes for everyone involved is some settlement where Ukraine continues to exist and NATO and Russia both agree to not interfere.

That's what everybody thought, but Russian promises not to interfere turned out to be worthless. This agreement existed, but Putin broke it. He wants to control Ukraine, and made that very clear. He denies that Ukraine has any right to determine its own fate.

Asking NATO not to interfere is asking NATO to allow Russia to take over Ukraine.

What do you mean “win”?

Again, you’re making the same mistake nations make when they get into wars.

I guarantee when the shooting stops - 1) Ukraine will have lost strategic territory, 2) Ukraine will not be a part of NATO and 3) NATO will disengage.

That’s a full on win for Russia. That’s exactly what they stated they wanted back in 2015.

How will you guarantee that?

The simple fact is that Russia can't force a victory, and neither can Ukraine. So the issue becomes who can hold out the longest, and with the support it's getting, that's probably Ukraine.

The only way to stop Ukraine from joining NATO, by the way, is to keep the war going. As soon as there's a peace deal, Ukraine will apply to join NATO and will probably be accepted this time. If Russia wants to prevent that, it has to offer security guarantees to Ukraine that are a lot harder than the ones they broke last time, and that will include returning all occupied land. I think that's very unlikely to happen.

Russia will probably keep Crimea, because that's impossible for Ukraine to take back. Even so, they might be stuck with sanctions.

I can guarantee it because NATO and the Western countries are only willing to sacrifice money. Once it escalates beyond that, they will pressure Ukraine to compromise with Russia or simply walk away as they have so many times before.

And I'm not sure why you think Ukraine can outlast Russia? Russia has 10x the GDP and 3x the population. They're also holding oil and gas over Western Europes heads.

Take a look at the exchange rate for the ruble. It's higher than before the war. Russia is forcing people to buy their gas with rubbles. They have way more leverage than you think they do.

I completely agree that it's best to resolve problems with minimal bloodshed. But that ship has sailed. Putin has decided to invade a country and murder its citizens. If you want to minimize bloodshed, then he needs to be stopped.

As I pointed out in my other comment - Russia will get everything it wants.

No NATO country will provide anything more than arms. Hell, Germany had to be pressed to provide anything remotely useful.

Russia will grind it out, and once Ukraine realizes their victory will destroy the country and NATO won’t swoop in to save the day, they’ll compromise.

> Russia will get everything it wants.

Keep dreaming. There's no way Russia can possible get everything it wants. They'll have to compromise, and so will Ukraine.

> why Russia should be permitted to invade Ukraine

That's awkward language. Who gets to grant permission for the invasion of a foreign country?

The question is whether it's legitimate to go to war against the invader. NATO is not a schoolmaster, issuing invasion passes. Unfortunately NATO doesn't have clean hands (Libya, and arguably Iraq).

I guess the UN could pass a resolution to authorize an invasion (though they can't really enforce anything). It's why the US presented their case against Iraq to the UN 20 years ago.

Though in this particular case, the demands Putin made before the invasion, that NATO should promise never to allow Ukraine in, and should abandon eastern Europe entirely, sounded a lot to me like Putin was basically demanding permission to invade those countries.

Because while NATO can't give permission to invade, it can most certainly enforce a denial of that permission by defending the target of the invasion. And that's what Putin was asking from NATO: a promise not to defend Ukraine or any other country in eastern Europe.

> I guess the UN could pass a resolution to authorize an invasion

Could it? Isn't that in direct opposition to the declared purpose of the UN?

Kinda, but if I'm not mistaken, a military intervention can be declared necessary in cases of genocide, for example. It's not clear whether WMDs would count, but that was Bush's case for the invasion of Iraq.

When we argue for you to view things from Russia's perspective we aren't condoning their actions, we're trying to prevent an escalation in response to misinformed policy. No one here has stated that they should be allowed to invade Ukraine. What many are trying to do is tamp down the calls for further military engagement or even all out war with Russia. Diplomacy is the only way we get out of this without piling up more dead bodies on all sides.

I agree. The problem is that Putin is not interested in diplomacy. Putin has made it very clear that he only respects force. So the only way to convince him not to invade a country he wants to invade, is a hard guarantee that NATO will defend that country. That's the only way. And NATO didn't give that promise to Ukraine, which is why Putin felt he could invade it.

NATO is now trying to prevent escalation while still trying to help Ukraine and prevent it from being conquered. The problem is that now there's a violent and bloody stalemate. It needs to stop, but the only way to stop is for Putin to pull his forces out of Ukraine, and he's not going to do that without some very strong arguments.

1) Isn't NATO a product of the cold war, meant to stand as an alliance against the USSR? A defense alliance must be, by definition, against someone, be it Russia or China. And isn't it a tool for the US (mainly) to serve their interests & enforce their will around the world? See Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya.

2) "Allowed" yes, disregarding the sanctions/embargo in place these last 60 years.

3) My geography knowledge is a bit spotty, but isn't Kaliningrad part of the Russian Federation (even if an exclave, between Lithuania & Poland)? Also I don't know if indeed there are nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad.

I am not arguing that NATO is worse, my point is that NATO is the West's/USA's tool and regardless of whether you see it as an instrument for justice/good, historically it very much has been against Russia's interests and arguably still is. You may consider NATO a force for good and Putin/Russia evil, thus giving legitimacy to NATO's existence & operations, that does not mean that Putin/Russia perceiving NATO as a threat "makes no sense".

> but isn't Kaliningrad part of the Russian Federation

It was annexed by Russian in 1945 and had its entire population forcibly moved (a war crime even at the time).

Yes, "annexed" by Russians from Nazi Germany. As in, becoming part of the Soviet Union since the Red Army had taken the city near the end of WWII after the Russians and British had bombed ~90% of the city.

Not sure why used the quotes. Yes, the territory was annexed from Germany.

> A defense alliance must be, by definition, against someone

I'm not sure where you got this idea, but it certainly isn't true.

Then from whom is the alliance defending themselves, if not from those not into the alliance?

For example, a defense alliance that included all nations, would defend against aliens.

I repeat, a defense alliance must be, by definition, protecting the members from external threats. I don't think it's a very difficult concept to grasp.

It is possible to create an alliance against an external threat without defining the threat in advance, as you seem to assume. If Russia wanted to join NATO, they could, and this was an imaginable possibility in the 90s, and could be an imaginable possibility again in the future, in a post-Putin era. A defensive pact is just a pact against anyone who attacks; if the US attacked a NATO country, it would be a pact against the US.

Obviously you are unaware of basic history of how NATO was created to halt the communist/Soviet "threat". Please, look up "History of NATO" on Wikipedia.

So, for NATO there _was_ a _defined threat_ it sought to protect against. In general, all alliances are made against perceived present or future threats, if you are _actually_ aware of an alliance being made with no external threat in mind, please let me know.

If you delve deeper into the history of NATO, you will realize that the threat that was most critical in the mind of some members and a key reason it exists is the threat of...Germany (who was not, initially, a member, even West Germany) becoming resurgent again once the allied occupation inevitably ended. (Which, ironically, ended up taking much longer than anyone would have expected because of the Cold War.)

NATO was flexible for these purposes because it was not defined or structured around any particular threat, but as a general-purpose regional security organization with a mutual defense commitment adaptable to changing threat circumstances.

I'm not entirely sure that that is the case and Germany was the primary reason for NATO forming. It surely was meant to hinder the spread of communism/Soviets.

And yes, a defense alliance can be flexible and change its objectives with the times, that's not counter to the point I was making. I'm not sure how to better express myself, I really think it is obvious that a defense alliance must be defending its members from _external_ threats.

If there is no possible threat (real or perceived, present or future) then no alliance is formed. That is the whole purpose, _the definition_ of a defense alliance.

I don't know how to express this notion with more clarity.

1) Of course, joining NATO is picking a side.

2) But still Cuba was permitted to stay within the Eastern block. Why did Russia not choose to just sanction Ukraine then but allow NATO membership (that would the comparison)

3) Yes, of course, but really surrounded by NATO members. Could you imagine Russia permitting a NATO exclave inside Russia? And Russia certainly makes it sound like they have nuclear weapons there (see their latest drill last? week)

Russia/Russian government is allowed to perceive it any way he wants, but that might not dictate NATO policy.

>Russia/Russian government is allowed to perceive it any way he wants, but that might not dictate NATO policy.

Also, picking this from a comment of yours further below:

>In the end, not sure it really matters how Russia sees the situation to be honest or what Russia thinks is relevant to them in.

Obviously Russia wanted Ukraine under their influence and NATO stood against that. It really _does_ matter how Russia sees things, now there's a war in Ukraine.

2) Probably because Russia sanctioning Ukraine would not be as debilitating for the country as the embargo against Cuba has been for Cuba.

3) You're talking about land that is part of the Russian Federation since 1945, is very close to Moscow and the mainland and is surrounded by NATO members because Poland and Lithuania joined NATO in 1999 & 2004. I'm not sure you're making any sense in this. Also, it's nowhere near the USA, Russia's main adversary.

At the end of the day, yes NATO and the USA may do as they wish, will removing Ukraine from Russia's influence lead to better lives for the Ukrainian people? Will this war that has already caused so many deaths and so much pain, be worth it? I don't know, and I don't think anyone can answer with much certainty.

3) Call it "Russian exclave that hosts missile systems" then, not "Russia has nuclear weapons inside NATO" because someone who's not familiar with European politics, borders might read it as "Russia installed missile systems inside NATO country" which is simply not true. It's quite important to be precise on this.

I clearly state that I am referring to Kaliningrad.

You should drop #3, Poland and Lithuania are former Soviet states and late joiners of NATO '99 and '04 respectively so NATO effectively "annexed" former Soviet territory around part of Russia. Arguing that this somehow means that NATO is more tolerant of having Russian forces "within its borders" is absurd since they were the ones that expanded those borders around Kaliningrad.

> so NATO effectively "annexed" former Soviet territory around part of Russia.

1. NATO isn't a country, and can't annexe anything.

2. Former Soviet states are states that are no longer Soviet. NATO didn't ccoerce Poland and Lithuania into joining.

Your notion of what annexation means is at odds with mine.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scare_quotes

2. I said nothing about coercion.

Care to speak to the point I made, which I'll repeat for clarity:

> Arguing that this somehow means that NATO is more tolerant of having Russian forces "within its borders" is absurd

or would you prefer to find issue with other irrelevant or imagined details?

Please explain "annexed"; your wikipedia link makes it clear that different people intepret scare-quotes in different ways. If you are talking about annexation not involving coercion, then we aren't reading from the same dictionary page.

In the sense that the current government in Russia still perceives its former satellites as part of it or its sphere of influence. The US and Russia are the main players here so I'm not considering the opinions of the people living in those states sorry but that's just realpolitik and its the way both sides think. Russia lost its empire during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the United States has been expanding its empire at their expense. Before you say anything about it not being an empire, I'll just say if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's a duck.

Russian nuclear capabilities now allow complete destruction of any attacking state, even _after_ taking nuclear hit. One just can't invade Russia without complete and utter loss.

This was not yet the case during Cuban missile crisis BTW.

> > Talk about missiles within range of Moscow and so on. Obviously these comments make no sense.

> Why doesn't it make sense?

Because Moscow has been in range of missiles for decades, Baltics and Finland and Ukraine in NATO or not.

So because the USA has advanced weapons and other bases close enough to reach Moscow, it doesn't make sense that Putin/Russia would be concerned by NATO expansion even closer to Moscow, right next to their borders?

> right next to their borders?

Having a state that you don't trust on your borders is not a justification for invasion. Hell, the UK trusts neither France nor Germany; both have attacked the UK, and planned to invade it, in the last 200 years. Lots of countries have neighbours they don't trust, but (on the whole) they don't launch unprovoked wars.

NATO is purely a defensive pact, nowhere in it's charter is there any provision for initiating hostilities and there is zero political support in the west for aggression against Russia or the acquisition of Russian territory. Until February the west was absolutely more than happy to funnel billions into Russia in return for oil and gas, and almost pathologically avoided any thought of taking any action that might affect trade with Russia.

There's one problem with that statement above when I said this:

>zero political support in the west for aggression against Russia or the acquisition of Russian territory

The problem is the west and Russia have very different ideas about what constitutes Russian territory. Putin has been crystal clear, in numerous speeches and written statements, that he considers several other countries 'Russian territory' including Belarus, Georgia, the 'stans' and Ukraine.

Ukraine joining the EU or NATO would forever take it out of the political and economic domination of Russia, and that's what he can't tolerate. In his mind that's a hostile takeover of territory that rightfully belongs to Russia and that's why he went to war. It's why in his opinion he had to go to war. He's not actually lying when he tells Russians that the west forced his hand and this is about the defence of Russia, because in his mind Ukraine is Russian territory in the same way that China considers Taiwan Chinese territory. When he says Russia, he doesn't mean the same thing that NATO leaders say when they use the same word.

So those who say they agree with Putin or agree that NATO forced his hand, are signing up to the same view of the status of Ukraine and therefore the Ukrainian people.

NATO aggressively bombed Serbia over the issue of Kosovo. I don't know how anyone can seriously claim "NATO is purely a defensive pact" with a straight face.

I think that bombing Serbia was probably the rupture that has led us to the terrible situation we have in Ukraine now.

How much credibility would NATO or EU have had with Turkey if a bunch of Muslim Bantustans were permitted to be made?

Being a "defensive pact" does not exclude preventing genocide next to it's borders.

The fact that you call it "the issue of Kosovo" is telling.

What is really telling is your admission that NATO is also an Offensive Alliance, which is exactly the point I was making, and which has led directly to this tragedy.

What tragedy? I don't see any tragedy caused by NATO. The war started before NATO involvement. The same with Yugoslavia. Years of war and attrocities, massive refugee crisis in early 90's, ended in a month by NATO.

Preventing genocide next door is defense, not offense. Just like in Ukraine now. The most Offensive thing here is your defense of genocidal wars of aggression.

>Preventing genocide next door is defense

The problem here is that when you give a defensive alliance a mandate to defend entities that are not covered by it's mandate it becomes a de-facto offensive alliance.

No it does not. They did not initiate the aggression.

There's a question of semantics here of course. We're contrasting aggressive and defensive military action. I don't see how characterising military action in defence of others as aggressive is a useful or meaningful characterisation. It's defensive, just not defensive of yourself.

Also let's look at the objectives. The intention in Kosovo wasn't to invade Serbia but to end ethnic cleansing. The fact it took force to achieve that was a means to and end, not an end in itself. Without the ethnic cleansing there would have been no military action, so it wasn't about territory or aggression.

> Preventing genocide next door is defense, not offense.

If the way you choose to prevent genocide is by marching an army into a foreign country, that's called "offense". Your argument is sophistical.

Yes, but that's what Putler is doing. I was talking about the West helping the victims thereof to defend their homeland.

That's what he wants people to believe he is doing. But he actually started aggressive. Even if you don't take Crimea cause supposedly there was not much blood spilled, the invasion into Ukraine started on April 13, 2014 when Russian special forces killed a group of Ukrainian internal security officers deep into Ukrainian territory. There were no "victims" to defend at that point.

Yeah, bad writing on my part. I meant what he's doing is offense, not "preventing genocide".

> Being a "defensive pact" does not exclude preventing genocide next to it's borders.

Actually, it does. Kosovo and Iraq are clear evidence that NATO is not a defensive pact. Neither attack was preceded by a judicial ruling that genocide was occurring (and genocide is very difficult to prove).

I'm afraid those attacks seriously undermined NATO's moral authority as a "defensive pact".

AFAIK, the Iraq invasion had nothing to do with NATO. It was done by the US with some NATO (and non-NATO) countries joining it. For example, France was strongly opposed.

Nod. Substitute Kosovo/Serbia for Iraq.

Surely you mean the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia? Unless you're implying that was a sham political cover for naked Serbian self interest. Perish the thought.

NATO was defending Kosovo from a war of aggression and ongoing genocide.

>NATO was defending Kosovo from a war of aggression and ongoing genocide.

Except that Kosovo was not a part of NATO so you can't say that NATO is a defensive alliance unless you are going the Roman way of pre-emptive defence[1].

[1] All Roman wars were officially defensive because they believed gods would not support an offensive war

I have addressed this point in more detail across thread. Defending other people is still defence.

> So those who say they agree with Putin or agree that NATO forced his hand, are signing up to the same view of the status of Ukraine and therefore the Ukrainian people.

I don't have to agree with Putin to say that I can understand Russia's issues with Ukraine. Saying that Putin's/Russia's attitude makes sense, does not mean I agree with it. It's in Russia's interests that Ukraine should be under Russia's influence, and in USA's interests that Ukraine be away from this influence and under their own, NATO serving as a tool for this.

Now would the Ukrainian people's lives be better if under the EU's/NATO's influence, instead of Russia's? Maybe. Right now though, there's a war. Would a pro-Russia regime in Ukraine (& not trying to join NATO) have resulted in no war? Is the war worth it? Time will tell.

I don't agree with Putin either, but I also agree that his actions make sense within his own frame of reference.

It's not just about whether the Ukrainian's lives would be better from any observer's opinion. Nor is it a matter of them 'being under ... influence' as though they have no agency and are simply chaff blown in the wind. This conflict is fundamentally not about influence over Ukrainians, but about the Ukrainian people's right to self determination.

This whole situation is often framed as the power and influence of great powers over regional pawns. That is not at all what this is about. Until February this year the USA as a nation barely even registered that Ukraine existed, let alone whether they had any influence over it. Ukraine was a patch of land along the route of a Russian gas pipeline, and that's the only reason it was important at all. The USA couldn't have cared less. It was an addendum to a footnote in their foreign policy, hence the feeble and deliberately ineffectual response to the annexation of Crimea.

What triggered the Russian annexation of Crimea, was it US foreign policy shifts? A buildup of NATO forces? No, it was the Maidan protests in Kyiv bringing down a pro-Kremlin regime, and free and fair elections in Ukraine clearly indicating the Ukrainian people wanted to turn west. It was action by the Ukrainian people that triggered that response, not NATO. They are the ones driving this shift, and that's why all of this is even more maddening for Putin because he sees this as a traitorous betrayal of Russia by Ukrainians, by daring to think that they have any right to do so.

This is why I talked about "signing up to the same view of the status of Ukraine and therefore the Ukrainian people"

I won't pretend to be an expert on the matter, but I do not agree with your view.

For one, I think you are seriously misrepresenting USA's position. It's the biggest military power in the West and possibly the world, a country with military bases and operations all around the world. That the USA does not concern itself with other countries' matters is, sorry to say, laughable.

I also don't agree with your position that this is about the Ukrainian people's right to self determination. I think it's much closer to civil war, with "pro-Russia" Ukrainians, especially in the Donbas region, against "pro-Ukraine" Ukrainians. In 2014 that the pro-Kremlin regime fell, I remember some 50 people were killed in a burning building in Odessa. And the pro-Russia separatists of Donetsk & Luhansk were persecuted by the (corrupt) governments of Yatsenyuk & Poroshenko. Leading among those fighting against the pro-Russia "terrorists" was the Azov battalion, with several ties with neo-Nazis. It received military aid from the US up until 2018. And Ukraine has been receiving significant military aid from the US since 2014.

So to me, what you define as "right to self determination" seems more like nationalism in Ukraine backed by the USA to squash pro-Russia movements and separatists.

Lastly, I don't think that recognizing that big players like the USA, China, Russia can, and do, exert their power and influence to meddle in other countries, means that the peoples of those countries are "regional pawns". But framing it in a way that excludes their influence means you miss the big picture.

This is just a bunch of Russian propaganda bullshit. Starting with completely skewing order of historical events. For starters, Poroshenko was elected a president well after the Russian incursion into Donbas had begun (google for Girkin / Strelkov, Sloviansk).

Either you know shit about Ukraine 2013-2014 or you are just a Russian propaganda tool.

It is true that Ukraine has been historically divided politically between Ukrainian and Russian speakers, but the Russian invasion seems to have pushed that firmly into the past. The are constant, countless Russian speaking Ukrainians speaking out in horror at what is being done - to them! The regions that have suffered worst from shelling of civilian areas and mass murder, mass graves, etc are actually the Russian speaking regions. Putin has initiated a huge demographic shift in Ukrainian population by overwhelmingly massacring Russian speaking Ukrainians, and they are not happy about it.

Social media and the news is full of Russian speaking Ukrainians describing the killing of their family members, destruction of their homes, abuse by Russian troops.

> Putin has been crystal clear, in numerous speeches and written statements, that he considers several other countries 'Russian territory' including Belarus, Georgia, the 'stans' and Ukraine.

Don't know why you've been downvoted; Putin's MO is to openly support dissidents in neighbouring countries; declare that the dissidents are being persecuted or "genocided"; encourage the dissidents to declare a republic; and then move an army in, to defend the bogus republic.

Declaring that Ukraine is part of Russia doesn't make it so.

> Putin's MO is to openly support dissidents in neighbouring countries; declare that the dissidents are being persecuted or "genocided"; encourage them to declare a republic; and then move an army in, to defend the bogus republic.

Is not confined to neighbors. It seems that Putin secretly offered 10.000 soldiers to the crooks in Cataluña to "defend" the new republic after the independence declaration. Has been playing the amoeba game for a long time:

"During his visit (2017), Medoyev drew parallels between Catalonia and pro-Russian, theoretically independent republics such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia"


Puigdemont talked with Russia the day before declaring the independence of Catalonia.



I didn't know that Russia had offered troops to support Catalunya; it doesn't surprise me. Part of his approach has been to interfere anywhere he can, whatever the ideological situation is, to stir up chaos. I think his goal is to create dissent between western peoples and nations, and undermine their unity.

It's not working very well just now. It's having the opposite effect.

I've long thought that his "create as much chaos as possible" approach was childish - like, I don't like school, so I think I'll set fire to it. Or, you don't show me enough respect, so I'll throw stones through your windows.

He wants to be treated as a serious world leader; but he behaves like an 8-year-old having a tantrum. Any parent knows that you don't negotiate with an enraged 8-year-old. It's a waste of time, if not counter-productive.

>Obviously these comments make no sense.

Its not so obvious if you've been paying attention to NATO expansion, as compared to NATO promises.

NATO bases have been being used to launch crimes against humanity and war crimes (with seeming impunity) for decades - the Russians have good reasons to want NATO to stand down.

The West has a long and sordid history of committing war crimes, and then ignoring their war criminals - indeed, leaving them in charge with cart blanche to commit yet more wars.

This fact seems easily ignored by those rooting for NATO's triumph, but for those of us who have been paying attention to the Wests' war crimes - for decades - the argument that 'there is nothing to worry about because NATO are innocent' falls very, very flat.

NATO "expanded" when sovereign, democratic countries CHOSE to apply for NATO-membership, completely voluntarily, because they beleive it was and is the best deterrent for Russia to invade them.

A lot of countries bordering Russia have been invaded in the past 30 years by Russia. Always leaving a trail of warcrimes, poverty, rapes, murdered and tortured civilians etc.

None of these countries were NATO members. No wonder Eastern Europe were eager to join NATO.

NATO is not perfect, neither are the member countries, but compared to Russia, it is pretty much sparkles and rainbows.

(edit: typos)

>completely volutarily

The CIA has entered the chat.

>A lot of countries bordering Russia have been invaded in the past 30 years by Russia.

I assure you, the West has invaded - and left in utter ruin - far more sovereign democratic nations than Russia has. It was only able to do that due to NATO support, from which bases many crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed.

The Russians know this about NATO, even if Americans don't.

>The CIA has entered the chat.

If you are not a Ruzzian troll go to a subrredit for n eastern country and ask the people there what they think about NATO and Russia, like go to r/romania . I assure you we don't need CIA propaganda to understand the danger Russia was and is for our freedom and unfortunetly for our brothers in Moldova that got screwed hard and might get cewed more in future but the Russians.

Though I can understand if you have no idea about the history in Easter Europe and only follow the conflicts where US and their friends get involved you might have a big bias.

I live in Eastern Europe, its why I have a balanced view of the situation.

There are as many states in this region who want to ally against NATO because of its war crimes and crimes against humanity - however I wager those states are not on your radar since you clearly live inside the media bubble created for you by the literal makers of bombs to be dropped by NATO forces in future wars.

Well, why haven't they? Any country is free to form their own alliances.

Living in eastern Europe does not guarantee a balanced view of the situation, though. Russia is a very large part of eastern Europe, and balanced views of the situation will get you thrown in prison.

You were talking about countries not on my radar. Why would do think Russia is not on my radar right now?

The thing is, even within the CIS, Russia is the biggest threat to CIS members, not NATO. That's why Georgia left after it was invaded by Russia.

And this is the big problem with Russia: Russia has always invaded its allies. It also invaded Czechoslovakia and Hungary when they were Russian allies. There's no value in allying with Russia, whereas NATO members don't get invaded.

These countries should be on your radar.

A CIS aligned with the EU would be a superpower even China couldn't match. Imagine that ..

Lol, the only reason CIS is relevant is because of Russias nukes. Their combined GDP is a paltry $1.828 trillion which is below that of each Italy, France and Germany.

And the EU would be open to that if the CIS countries (especially Russia) were democratic, had rule of law, and respected human and civil rights. 20 years ago there was even talk of Russia possibly joining NATO, until Putin made it clear that he wanted special treatment.

It's dictatorships and countries governed by corruption instead of rule of law that will always make the EU jump into bed with the US. If Russia and China want to weaken the relationship between the EU and US, they should embrace democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of information (no censorship) and respect human rights. Once that happens, the EU can afford to be critical of the US' many, many flaws.

I’d question whether American disfunctional democracy (sure you can vote, it just doesn’t make any difference) and terrible human rights record (denying human rights thanks to religious extremists, world’s highest percentage of population in jails, common and unpunished police murders) are really that much better compared to China.

They are. They are far, far from perfect, and very wrong in as lot of terrible ways. The US certainly doesn't have the moral high ground they often love to claim, but they're still much better than China or Russia on issues of democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, etc. A large minority of the US is working hard to change that, but they're not there yet.

I’d say mentioning China and Russia together in the same sentence already shows a massive bias. The only common thing they have is they are both hated by US.

I think that statement shows massive bias. There are massive differences between the two countries, but neither are beacons of freedom and human rights.

China has no elections at all, Russia has elections, but they're not remotely fair; any credible opposition tends to have "accidents". In both countries, criticism of the leader will be punished, though in different ways.

Neither has freedom of speech or a free press. It's much more structural in China, but in Russia you can still go to prison for years simply for calling the war a war. Any attempt at independent media gets harassed in various ways.

The main difference is in corruption and rule of law: Russia is pretty much entirely a mafia state now. Any assets you have are easily stolen by someone with better connections. Any of those rich oligarchs (who generally got wealthy through corruption and connections) who speaks out against Putin, is likely to lose what they have. In China, investments are safer, because China wants to attract business. And China does make real effort to fight corruption.

China's oppression of the Uyghurs is well documented, and is a process to destroy Uyghurs as a people: a form of genocide. I don't think Russia is doing anything remotely like that domestically, but both Putin and Russian state media do argue in various ways for genocide against Ukrainians.

China is a dictatorship through rule of law; they officially deny people their rights, but at least you know what to expect. Russia is a dictatorship through extreme corruption; you might nominally have rights, but you're likely to get an "accident" if you try to exercise those rights.

Russia is (obviously) far more aggressive and expansionist. China is more interested in soft power, expanding their economy, and influencing other countries through their economic expansion; much more in line with how the EU works, for example.

But no matter how you turn it, both really hate modern liberal values like democracy, free speech, free press, and don't care much for human and civil rights.

And sure, the US has a flawed democracy and has had its share of civil and human rights violations, some of which have still not been prosecuted (Guantanamo Bay), but at least nominally they do care about those issues, many of the people care about those issues, and demand improvement on those issues. Admittedly, there's also a very vocal minority that seems to prefer turning the US into an authoritarian dictatorship (more likely Russian-style and China-style), but they're a minority and they failed at their coup.

Like I said, the US is far from perfect, but if the EU needs an ally, the US is still the only real choice. The EU should probably learn to stand on its own feet and become more independent from the US, but it should not be naive about Russia and China (which it absolutely has been).

>China has no elections at all


>China's oppression of the Uyghurs is well documented, and is a process to destroy Uyghurs as a people

It’s easy to demonstrate it’s not true: Uighurs, like other minorities, have certain privileges, like teaching kids their own language, or not being subject to one child policy. The oppression is a way to combat terrorism; essentially China is fighting the same problem US did, but in a more humanitarian fashion instead of bombing and droning.

Have you noticed that just from your description above Russia is much closer to US than to China? From unfair elections, to systemic oppression of racial minorities, to invading other countries.

Have you actually read that link? You're right, there are elections, but only at the local level. There's only a single party, and the national government interferes in local elections.

What China does well, though, is to get capable people in positions of power. I guess that's partially because the people don't get a direct say. Someone like Trump would never have been able to rise to power there.

> Uighurs, like other minorities, have certain privileges, like teaching kids their own language, or not being subject to one child policy.

And also to forced sterilisation and forced labour, I guess. You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uyghur_genocide

> Have you noticed that just from your description above Russia is much closer to US than to China? From unfair elections, to systemic oppression of racial minorities, to invading other countries.

Oh, absolutely. Like I said, the US has more than its fair share of problems. These need to be addressed. But it's not a dictatorship yet, and while there are people who want to end US democracy, there are also a lot of people who want to strengthen it and address its problems. But it's absolutely true that under Trump, the US moved to become closer to Putin and more like Russia. And that is not a good direction to be moving in.

>You're right, there are elections, but only at the local level.

It's called "indirect elections", and is also used in US for presidential elections.

>There's only a single party

Which is fundamentally different from a two party system, right? :->

>And also to forced sterilisation and forced labour

Which also happen in American prisons.

See, here's the problem: I know precisely what you're trying to say, I used to believe it myself. But then I realised that this belief simply isn't backed by facts.

Americans have a chance to change stuff by voting for change , in Russia or China you need to wait for a revolution. Maybe is hard to change stuff in US but you should ask people that live in regimes where one guy is president for life and thinks he is the father of the nation and smartest person in the world if it was ever possible to change something or have the leader admit he is wrong or unwanted and leave.

You do realize that in China they also vote for changes? That’s why the country is changing so fast, as opposed to stagnating like Russia or US. China doesn’t have a president for life, this guy needs to have support or he’ll be voted out.

But this is kind of besides the point. What matters is what “real life” looks like. Are Chinese scared to call an ambulance, because it would bankrupt them? Are random black people being shot on the street?

Putin is also not a president for life in theory, there are "fair elections". As far as I know China elections are the same, same as we had in Romania during Communist party, the same dude always wins the elections, the ones that criticize him got deported or got killed, we had a comedian that made a joke about the president speech problems and he got poisoned so I understand how single party countries work, I am not from US so the black lives matters what about trolling does not work for me.

But for sure Russians should look at China and think something like "WTF we are not like China and we are a dump like North Korea, if Putin screws us at least if we got some better level of living".

Not sure if you are from China, I don't care about who is president there or to impose my country values on your culture, I was just explaining the big dangers of one party one man political system, there is corruption, misreporting, backstabbing, paranoia that eventually screws the population over. If the Chinese people decide freely to support the current political system(one party, no freedom of thinking and expression) then I respect their choice.

Also I don't know as much about China, Russia is here our neighbor so I know more about them, their politics, their mentality and their history so correct me if I got any factual thing wrong.

Here's a random fact about China: remember the Tienanmen massacre (which is being taught about in Chinese schools, btw)? The prime minister at that time spent the rest of his life in house arrest. (You might compare this to Kent State. Nobody got punished there.) But it shows that "the same dude" can be replaced when he screws up. Those aren't fake elections; they actually work.

It looks like that guy was just the fall guy, we had similar election in communist Romania, only 1 party , the president always won, the people with different ideas got sent to prison or suffered "accidents". Is your president term limited or he can be candidate forever?

Let me tell you a joke/story from communist Romania, at a farm a pig gives birth to 2 piglets, the engineer there thinks "shit, this is bad only 2, the local communist party guy will replace me so he writes in the papers 4 piglets and submits the report, his superior seens 4 piblets and thinks is bad and he updats the report to 6, the reports is sent up and up until it reaches Ceausescu - the Romanian for life president, father of the nation and smartest dude in the country in his opinion , he reads the report and sees 12 piglets, so he decides "send 2 to export and 10 will be used to feed out people" . We were super poor, there was not enough food, fuel and stuff ... with the democarcy we get corrupted politicians that we change them and a president can at most stay for 8 years, on top of that ex prime ministers, politicians were put in prison for corruption eventually so things started to work.

China is doing good economically in present but I saying there is a danger of things going wrong if the leadership is not refreshed and some dude ass gets glued to the chair, like why would only 1 dude can be president, can't be that he is the only competent person.

Thanks for chatting, because of the language difference and distance there is not much we can know about China, but remember in this case Ukraine is my neighbor and Russia also was and kind of is our neighbor too (I had to learn Russian in school too) so we the people in East Europe we know and understand things better , there is no CIA or US media that influenced our opinion and for sure "What about USA" arguments won't work on Europeans or especially Easter Europeans. So if you don't trust american media I can provide you links to local papers and maybe Google translate can help you read them, we have many policial parties so there is no excuse that some group controls all the media, and for sure we have our idiots that would prefer not to upset Putin because there are scared of what the mad man will do.

I guess that would be Serbia. But it is a bit pointless to have an alliance with one country.

Belarus also, but they are de facto Russian vassal state at this point.

You live in Serbia? Does Russia has a claim on parts of your territory ?

I am old enough that I have heard direct reports from people that fought in the war and meet the Russian soldiers and people that lived under communist regime , so GTFO with your shity claim that who does not agree with you is an idiot that media corupted his mind not to live Russia.

Let me tell you, I don't love USA and I don't like the shit they done in Afganista,Iraq , I don't like what they did with the nuclear bombs in Japan, I don't like what they are doing with Assange but the fact is Russia is a bigger danger for my country and we were begging to enter NATO not because of love for USA but because we are fucking scared of Russia, and we are scared of them because we know not from media but from our direct experience what they are capable of.

Ok be specific which states?


Neighbours of Russia want to join NATO to prevent Russia invading them. And for good reason. No "mysterious" CIA-manipulation needed.

Do you have a single fact to back up your accusation of CIA meddling with NATO membership?

The truth is, that countries want to join NATO so that Russia does not invade them. That's the sole reason.

Thats the propaganda/PR reason, readily parroted throughout a mainstream media that is literally owned by the people selling bombs to NATO.

You might want to start your journey of enlightenment here:


Do you have a single fact to back up your accusation of CIA meddling with NATO membership? Your link does not prove that.

Also, you have not provided any sources on the dismissal of reasons for joining NATO. Please do link to them if you have any evidence.

As is, it looks like you're parroting anti-NATO propaganda - it seems you're acting in bad faith. Are you paid for by the Russians?

The existence of GLADIO is all the evidence one needs. Its purpose is to ensure any and all impediments to the expansion of NATO are removed.

The "Ma' Russians!" claim is not worth responding to, but I'm an Australian, have lived for decades in the US and in Eastern Europe, and I no longer play the nationalist game. I've been following the Wests' war crimes and crimes against humanity since 9/11, which has led me to the conclusion that yes indeed, we are the bad guys for starting World War 3 in 2003 with the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Nice try though.

That does not prove your accusation that CIA was meddling in countries that willingly asked to join NATO because they did not want to get invaded by Russia.

Also, you're mischaracterizing the purpose of Operation Gladio.

Gladio is literally an organization whose purpose is to ensure the targeted states join NATO or, at least, remain aligned with NATO intentions.

States join NATO in order to participate in NATO's war crimes and crimes against humanity, and to be a part of the refactoring of the sovereign states of the world that NATO is engaged in. It is literally the #1 usurper of sovereign democracy.

Do you have any sources for your current claims? What you're saying in the first paragraph goes against what you linked earlier.

I mean, you've got a lot of studying to do if you're only just now learning about Gladio:


See also:


This is literally a copy of the Wikipedia article you listed earlier and it does not support your accusations.

Do you have any sources that support any of your other claims?

You didn't read it, obviously. Why don't you go and inform yourself about Gladio and what the CIA have been up to in this regard, and then we can discuss things further - you don't seem to know much about it at all. Gladio is really just the tip of the iceberg - you can certainly find more details in the Wikileaks dumps. Just search for "victoria nuland" and check out the first 5 documents ..

I actually read the Wikipedia article you provided, including most relevant references. (for the context, I'm from Russia, and @stoltzmann's accusations of shilling certainly go against the spirit of this forum, they are made in bad faith as well, so I downvoted them).

The statements made in the article is that the CIA worked with their relevant counterparts (direct financing is unconfirmed) to establish a network of stay-behind organizations in Western Europe, that was supposed to resist the potential Warsaw Pact invasion. It peaked in late 60s at the height of the Cold War, has been substantially cut down since 70s and finally dismantled in 1990, being deemed harmful as the weapon caches it made were often plundered by criminals and domestic terrorists. Details differ from country to country but it was similar in principle everywhere.

That organization seems very typical for the Cold War, but I absolutely don't see how it supports your claim that CIA instigated the post-Cold War NATO expansion with this operation, could you please point me at the specific part?

Compare Iraq and Ukraine as countries. Are they remotely comparable as aggressors under international law? Recall both USSR and former SFRY sold weapons by the boatload to Iraq.

> The CIA has entered the chat.

Please leave lazy, youtube-comments-style memes out of HN.

The CIA does not leave any room for voluntary decisions to join NATO.

It actively engages in repressive counter-measures against any politician that calls for NATO war crimes to be investigated.

It has a long, sordid history of defeating sovereign democracies that do not toe the NATO line:


When it looks like Finland and Sweden are going to join NATO soon, you say it is because of CIA manipulation?

I assume you do not recognize the polls in for example Finland, which indicates ~22% support for joining NATO before the Russian invasion of Ukraine - to ~75% now (only 12% against)? This is all CIA manipulation?

So even if NATO completely surrounded Russia, do you think any of said war crimes would actually be committed against Russia directly because if so I want whatever you're smoking. They have 6000 nukes and US + EU combined have 25 times the GDP of Russia. We have everything to lose and practically nothing to gain from attacking Russias worthless economy.

Yes, I do believe that NATO is a war-crime committing, human-rights abusing entity that is bringing much death and destruction and turmoil to the world for the sake of special interests - political and commercial - who stand to gain billions in profit from every single NATO base built.

But, I've been paying attention to NATO's war crimes over the last two decades, as well as the immensely evil crimes against humanity committed by the Wests' 5-eyes nations in their disgusting wars. Why haven't you?

You didn't answer the previous posters question.

I actually am well aware of the crimes committed by NATO members (I would argue that they were not under NATO mandate though, except maybe Serbia, but that's a different argument). BTW the most atrocious crimes go back way more than 20 years. I also know that many western nations have been very nonchalant about violations of international law by their own allies, and I seriously hope that one of the outcomes of this crisis is that the Europeans in particular realize that to be believable you can't close your eyes just because it's your "friends".

All the above is true, but that doesn't change the fact that the motivation of the former eastern block countries is driven by a deep skepticism/fear of Russia and their politics of invading and repressing their neighbors. There is a reason why the Baltic states and Poland are the largest supporters of Ukraine, there is very strong opposition towards the Russian state, despite all countries having large Russian minorities.

Also with the (certainly justified) complaints about the "aggressive west", lets not act like Russia is some sort of innocent victim instead of being wannabe imperialists that are worse by pretty much any standard (and China is a completely different discussion).

The NATO actions happened after a huge number of crimes against humanity committed in former Yugoslavia.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_indicted_in_the... and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_bombing_of_Yugoslavia

It is not as if NATO randomly invaded Serbia.

Yes I am aware, and I didn't meant to equate the bombing of Serbia with Russia's invasion of Ukraine if you understood it this way.

I simply meant it as an example were NATO as an "entity" arguably broke international law. I say "arguably" because there is some debate about this.

I think this is a clear case where war is just very messy. It is easy to come up will all kinds of legal frameworks during peace time. And then a war situation will not be what you expect.

> You didn't answer the previous posters question.

That's how you troll. You reply to everything by pointing out something bad about NATO/USA/The West without answering anything.

Serious people assume good intentions on your part and waste their time with thoughtful replies only creating more opportunities for your drive-by replies.

>You didn't answer the previous posters question.

I, in fact, answered it.

YES, I believe NATO will commit further war crimes and continued crimes against humanity in its lust to demolish Russia. It has a long history of doing so already and shows no signs that it will stop its criminal behaviours in the near future.

You said:

>Yes, I do believe that NATO is a war-crime committing, human-rights abusing entity that is bringing much death and destruction and turmoil to the world for the sake of special interests - political and commercial - who stand to gain billions in profit from every single NATO base built.

>But, I've been paying attention to NATO's war crimes over the last two decades, as well as the immensely evil crimes against humanity committed by the Wests' 5-eyes nations in their disgusting wars. Why haven't you?

So no you did not answer the question.

Now I have a question for you, how did NATO force Russia to invade Ukraine, considering it is somehow part of their plan of "continued crimes against humanity in its lust to demolish Russia".

Second question, do you think what Russia is doing in Ukraine are crimes against humanity? If not why?

The question was:

"do you think any of said war crimes would actually be committed against Russia directly?"

And the answer is YES, because NATO has already set a heinous precedent for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, with seeming impunity, for decades and shows no signs of stopping its criminal war regime.

So yes, I did answer the question. You maybe don't like the answer, though.

>NATO force Russia

NATO brought weapons of mass destruction to Russias borders. Unfortunately, this has now escalated into a war where, indeed, crimes against humanity are being committed. This is not unexpected, given the nature of war as a whole. It is inexcusable whether Russians or Americans are doing it, and that is entirely the point: the worlds' powers have already set a precedent, which Russia is clearly following.

Now here is a question for you: Why is it okay for Americans to support genocide in Yemen yet call for the end of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine?

> "do you think any of said war crimes would actually be committed against Russia directly?"

> And the answer is YES, because NATO has already set a heinous precedent for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, with seeming impunity, for decades and shows no signs of stopping its criminal war regime.

> So yes, I did answer the question. You maybe don't like the answer, though.

You seriously need to work on how you argue, because in every discussion I see here you answer in generalities, instead of specific answers. Yes now you have answered the question, but you definitely did not before.

Regarding your argument, by the same argument I could say that Russia will commit war crimes against NATO, because Russia has already set a heinous precedent for committing ware crimes for decades with no signs of stopping. That's not how this works.

> NATO brought weapons of mass destruction to Russias borders.

Which weapons of mass destruction?

Also you are saying NATO brought weapons of mass destruction to Russias borders. Let's not forget that Russia invaded and annexed Ukrainian territories in direct violation of the Budapest agreement, and that was all done for oil and gas nothing else. That triggered a massive change of public opinion about joining NATO in Ukraine, before there was only 20% support after it was well over 50%.

Also Russia already has weapons of mass destruction on NATO borders, there are already nuclear weapons in Kalingrad.

> Now here is a question for you: Why is it okay for Americans to support genocide in Yemen yet call for the end of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine?

I am neither American nor do I support the war in Yemen. I actually believe the propping up of the regime in Saudi Arabia by western governments is outrageous and one of the primary reasons for instability in the region. That does not mean I defend Russia's invasion in Ukraine, nor their behavior in e.g. Syria.

> yet call for the end of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine

Um, who called for "the end of Russia"?

You know what would be really helpful here? Links to sources to know what the heck you're talking about. Preferably Wikipedia pages or something like that.

And no, "do your own research" is not a valid answer.

> who stand to gain billions in profit from every single NATO base built

Broken window fallacy [0]. That money spent on bases is a cost we'd rather not spend because it could be spent on other things or just saved with reduced taxes giving us citizens more of our money back.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

The fact is, billions and billions in profits have been made by every single NATO base built, and it has not stopped a single damn war. In fact, NATO bases have been used to commit one heinous atrocity after the other for the last 30 years.

I don't think you understand what profit means.

I sure know what it means to Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOG) and Raytheon (RTN).

So do many, many others - thankfully:


All paid for by taxpayers so overall a net cost which is what matters to the average citizen.

Nobody asked about your opinion of NATO, answer the question.

Yes, NATO-aligned states do currently commit war crimes and crimes against humanity at heinous scale - with seeming impunity - and there is nothing to indicate this would change in their battle against Russia. Sanctions - factually, crimes against humanity since they collectively punish an entire nation - are already evidence of the intentions of the West in dealing with Russia: to see its destruction.

> NATO-aligned states

Notice the constant careful weasel-wording.

The Russians are in no position to ask for anything.

They have proved that unless they are invading a much less militarily capable neighbour (being the local bully) they do not have the resources or ability to worry a NATO force. Hence the reason Sweden and Finland will now join.

Only the nuclear threat remains, which would mean the annihilation of Russia to save one mans ego if it was ever used.

> NATO bases have been being used to launch crimes against humanity and war crimes (with seeming impunity) for decades.

Any sources, or hints at what you are referring to? I have no clue what you might be hinting at. Normally (whether I believe that statement or not) I at least have some idea what is being referred to with allegations like this.

> So what plan, exactly?

That's a question on everyone's mind about this whole invasion. I guess I should have said “idiotic justification as portrayed by Russian propaganda” instead of “plan”.

i am not an american, nor russian. i come from a third world country far from this drama. to me, "russian propaganda" is the same as "american propaganda" which demonizes the other and calls their version as the "ultimate truth".

don't americans/west see their media/actions as what it is, propaganda aganinst russia? blocking RT across america/EU is seen as protecting free speech but god forbid if russia reciprocates with banning american companies? then its an action against free speech, again?

Now, your comment format follows a pretty typical pattern utilized by paid Russian trolls, so I'm likely wasting my time here. But anyway:

There is a slight difference between de-platforming Russian propaganda channels in the West, and Russia jailing anybody speaking about the war in any other terms than those approved by Kremlin.

> There is a slight difference between de-platforming Russian propaganda channels in the West, and Russia jailing anybody speaking about the war in any other terms than those approved by Kremlin.

It's worth considering that the former is probably more effective, and certainly makes fewer people upset.

Honest question, how do I know that you saying this is not a typical response from a US-troll farm?

What does US gain from this?

Doesn't the US follow any political or foreign interests? I am sure they gain from stabilizing their dominance in some way.

i literally said i come neither from russia nor america so i am basically more "independent" from you if you are an american citizen or the like.

manning/assange anyone? oh they are terrorists right? for giving sensitive information to enemies but russian or chinese defectors are given "protection" because they do the same for america but if russia/china goes after them, well..... you know

> i literally said i come neither from russia nor america

But that is of course exactly what you'd say if you were a Russian troll.

I noticed the clue "Kashmiri" in your name only after my previous reply to a comment of yours. So, if that means your "third world country far away" is India... Yeah, pretty goddamn Russia-aligned. Maybe consider whether your own "neutral" media environment is really that neutral at all?

> i am not an american, nor russian. i come from a third world country far from this drama. to me, "russian propaganda" is the same as "american propaganda" which demonizes the other and calls their version as the "ultimate truth".

Yeah, third world countries far away have their own perspective, and it's usually at least as weird as the other two. Well, in many it's of course just a copy of he Russian propaganda; don't know about yours.

> don't americans/west see their media/actions as what it is, propaganda aganinst russia?

No. Because it isn't. Because we have free speech, with media of different persuasions all allowed to spread their own versions of the truth.

To people from dictatorships -- like Russia, or many places in the third world -- this seems impossible, because they're not used to it. So when they -- you, apparently -- see that most media in the West on the whole agree on the basic facts, the "obvious" conclusion to them (you) becomes that "This must be just their side's propaganda!". Please try, in Occam's spirit, to consider the simpler explanation: The reason they all seem to more or less agree is that they've all done their own research, and what they're reporting is the truth they've found. You hear the same from them all, because the truth is the same for everyone.

> blocking RT across america/EU is seen as protecting free speech but god forbid if russia reciprocates with banning american companies? then its an action against free speech, again?

Yes, because what the West is blocking is a state-owned and -controlled Russian propaganda channel, and what Russia is blocking are free independent media. (Well, except for the VoA perhaps.)

The blocking of RT across the EU was indeed a stupid move. Not just 'wrong' but also ineffective. It gives the impression that we are afraid of Russian news. Which I think generally we need not be. What seems scarier is Russian-influenced domestic news. Banning RT won't fix the scarier issue.

Also for people who like to mix up their daily propaganda consumption banning RT put it back on the list of sites to check. I am sure their reads skyrocket since the ban.

The RT website and live stream are sill available to at least me in the UK.

I can see it (am spaniard), and there's definitely propaganda. But ultimately it was Russia who invaded Ucraine and the reasons provided are very vague, at best.

The Speech Putin did had some etnonationalism BS and claims of defending the land agains the threat of NATO. In most bordering NATO countries what you have is SAMs (anti-air missiles), and honestly pretty much any NATO country could claim that they feel threatened by Russian nukes.

And there's apprently plenty of gas just about the Dombass region and to the west of Crimea, such a coincidence.

So yeah, propaganda all around, but if you cut through it there isn't much left for russian sympathy.

Right, exactly. It's blatantly obvious that Ukraine is spinning the propaganda machine (and more effectively than Russia when it comes to the international audience, from what I can see), and the US doesn't seem to have any qualms with helping out. Being aware of that that doesn't change the underlying situation though. You can both know that the US is participating in propaganda efforts and also be against Russia's invasion.

i have a problem with one news headline breaking news about "russia massacre in ukraine" where ukraine is the oppressed/underdog and that same news channel half an hour later celebrates how ukranian fighters destroyed X russian tanks and all.

if ukraine is fighting tooth and nail against russia(with or without help) they are equals so non-participants should abstain from taking sides. otherwise they are essentially joining the fight

There is a significant difference between Russian soldiers killing civilian population, and Ukrainian soldiers destroying enemy tanks that are invading their country. One is a despicable war crime, and the other one is a heroic act of defence.

This is the only objectively correct stance. No ifs. No buts. This is a surprisingly clear cut war for modern times with one party (Russia) being the illegal aggressor and Ukraine being the heroic rightful underdog defender.

Every tank Ukrainians blow up is to defend their families for rape, murder and torture.

Nobody forced the Russians to invade. Any claim to such end is a deluded fabrication.

Pacifism is simply not a morally viable stance when a country is invaded by such a brutal force. We should not cheer the loss of life. But we should support 100% Ukrainian heroism and their efforts to defend their country.

Propaganda is one of the theaters of modern war. Ukrainians seem to be quite adept at it. But this does not make their position any more suspect.

> if ukraine is fighting tooth and nail against russia(with or without help) they are equals

Laughable. When an armed robber enters your house and tries to kill you and you hit them back that doesn't make you and the robber equals.

The land they are standing on is Ukrainian, the russian troops standing there have no business being there.

I mean, they are destroying Russian tanks that are invading their country... you can't successfully paint them as equals when Russia started the fight by sending soldiers into Ukraine sovereign territory.

thank you.

i am not sympathizing with anyone for that matter. i am pointing out what i observe....

you know when america invaded iraq for "WMDs" and they turned out to be nothing and literally nothing happened? "strong anger" does not equate to waging a war against america like its being done against russia.

let me ask you, you and me are neither americans nor russians. did the world care when america invaded afghanistan, iraq, libya, syria and razed those nations to the ground? but god forbid russia does the same to ukraine. then its a matter of world peace. last i knew in afghanistan there were many countries whose soldiers fought along americans so all those countries were equally complicit in the crime against citizens of those nations.


Do you really need to ask why? Because Ukraine is on the doorstep of Europe, that's why Europeans care more, and by proxy the US.

As for Iraq, yes people did care, there were large protests in London and Tony Blair is still hated by the general public in the UK. I don't know the real feeling in the US. The UK government didn't listen because Tony wanted his ego boost on the world stage.

The only NATO backed war of that era which had any grounds was in Afghanistan, Bin Laden attacked the US, and the US had to do something. It was executed terribly in the beginning (from what I understand the Afghans wanted to help get rid of Bin Laden) but in the end there was justification.

Iraq was illegal and only gave Russia cover for its actions against it's neighbours rich up until the Ukraine invasion.

> I don't know the real feeling in the US.

About half of us called bullshit the instant "WMDs" were paraded as the reason to go to war.

And I think the other half have, over time, come to see the whole operation as a regretful waste of time, money, and lives.

So, no, I don't think there are any fans of the U.S. invasion of Iraq still around. Some of us are still incensed by the lies that were trotted out though.

>Some of us are still incensed by the lies that were trotted out though.

this is the only point i'm trying to make. suppose tomorrow biden comes up and wants to invade iran for example. will american public lap it up like they have for the last so many decades, thats there but what about the rest of the world community? how many will arm IRAN against USA when they know USA to be the one who is invading? who will fight alongside USA?

USA or for that matter, "Allies" do not have the moral upper hand in the world, no one has. every nation is the same so why not accept that as a reality and move on?

russia may indeed be the bad guy here. heck, putin might be personally responsible for murder of thousands but so is bush and obama so how does that give usa the right ?

one commenter said "after 9/11 usa had to do something" and they invaded a soverign nation, destroyed it because a single person was responsible? its fine when usa takes revenge but russia cant defend its borders?

i am not a troll, i am not a paid/unpaid actor. i just want to point out that there is propaganda on both sides, thats all

> >Some of us are still incensed by the lies that were trotted out though.

> this is the only point i'm trying to make.

And it's a bad one. Because:

> suppose tomorrow biden comes up and wants to invade iran for example. will american public lap it up like they have for the last so many decades,

The very line you quoted told you that many (most?) of them didn't "lap it up" then either.

You're really not very good at this, are you?

> its fine when usa takes revenge but russia cant defend its borders?

Russia ISN'T "defend[ing] its borders"! Holy shit, how often do people have to explain this so you Putin-Versteher will get it?!? NOBODY WAS ABOUT TO ATTACK RUSSIA.

> i am not a troll

Even if you think you aren't, you're walking and quacking like one. Which in the end means you are one.


I think Putin's reasoning is that Ukraine's very independence amounts to seizing Russian sovereign territory.

What I find remarkable is the rarity of reports of Ukrainian attacks behind Russian lines (i.e. in Russian territory). As far as I can tell, they've blown up two fuel dumps and an arms dump. Given the dependence of Russia on what appear to be thin logistics lines, I'd have expected loads of missile attacks on bridges and rail junctions.

Of course, there's propaganda everywhere; perhaps Ukraine has been attacking Russian supply lines, and we're not being told, because that would serve neither Ukraainian nor Russian interests. I guess we'll have to wait until historians get their hands on the records.

Ukraine has only very short range missiles (100km or so). Also, it seems that so far Ukraine tried to avoid Russian civilian casualties.

The Neptune anti-ship missiles that sank the Moskva apparently have a range of 280km. They were invented and are made in Ukraine.

The Baykratar TB-2 drone from Turkey apparently has a 4,000km range. Clearly, Ukraine has the ability to strike behind Russian lines.

If Ukraine is really trying to avoid Russian civilian casualties by declining to attack Russian supply lines, that seems foolish, and I don't believe it. I do believe that they have not deliberately attacked Russian population centres.

Russia will not want to publicise successful attacks by Ukraine on Russian military positions in Russia. They are still pretending that Russia is not at war. And Ukraine will not want to tell the world that they have hit Russian civilians, or even targets in Russia; it's advantageous for Ukraine if everyone believes this is 100% a defensive action.

But you can't defend effectively just by sitting there in your trenches; you have to strike enemy supply lines. And Russia's supply lines are vulnerable. So I assume they are being attacked. We're just not being told about it.

> Because Ukraine is on the doorstep of Europe, that's why Europeans care more, and by proxy the US.

But only since Russia started invading. When news about Ukraine were still all about their corrupt government, breaking human rights, their horrible prisons and more like that nobody thought Ukraine to to 'close' or anything.

It's obvious the whole perception of Ukraine just suddenly changed because Russia is the bad guy.

That isn't true. Many of us worked with Ukrainians before the war, especially in the software industry, such as myself. There was no sudden perceptual change. I observed the fear and anxiety my Ukrainian coworkers experienced directly.

They are European and they did not deserve this invasion and as far as I'm concerned deserve all the help and compassion the rest of us can offer.

> They are European

"European" is a rather loose term. When I was a kid, Europe stopped at the border with East Germany. Later, a bunch of former soviet countries became "european" countries. Then Ukraine. For a while, Russia was acclaimed as a european country (it's still often described that way in the UK press).

Call me an old fogey, but I'm still doubtful that the former East Germany is really european yet. Being "european" is a question of culture, not of political alliances and borders.

Yes, and I say Ukrainians are European in culture and an inspiration to other Europeans in their bravery. Danes recently celebrated the liberation of their country from Nazis. Thousands of us packed the city square to listen to Zelensky speak to our cultural memory of oppression at the hands of invaders.

My Ukrainian coworkers were easy to work with, easy to communicate with, hardworking and an equal to any of us in ability.

Talk of bravery and historic wrongs always makes me feel uncomfortable.

I've never made the acquaintance of a Ukrainian; I'm sure they're lovely (and familiar). I have worked with Russians; they were also charming (and familiar).

> Talk of bravery and historic wrongs always makes me feel uncomfortable.

I'll ask you to clarify because it sounds, to me, like you are saying something I hope you are not.

> I've never made the acquaintance of a Ukrainian; I'm sure they're lovely (and familiar). I have worked with Russians; they were also charming (and familiar).

I'd be more than happy to embrace Russians living, abiding and supporting their nation with their labor as sisters and brothers when their country stops assaulting sovereign nations. Unfortunately, there is no one else who can stop the invasion but its own people.

I have no idea what you hope I am not saying :-)

I dislike jingoistic nationalism. "Historic wrongs" tends to be associated with things like revanchism and irredentism, which are political forces that lead to wars. Talk of "bravery" in warfare is normally about the glorious deeds of "our side". Nobody talks about the bravery of their enemy.

I've heard stories about despicable actions by Russian troops, which I'm inclined to believe - actions not compatible with any claim of bravery. But it seems to me undeniable that Putin, at least, has acted bravely. Perhaps "courageously" would be a better word, in the Sir Humphrey, Yes, Minister sense.

I do not view bravery as you do. I see it as a choice between a virtuous act that puts you at risk and another which puts you in safety to the detriment of others. Defending your child from harm by sacrificing your own life is brave. Throwing your child at the face of the enemy to spare your own life is an act of cowardice.

I think it is brave of Ukrainians to defend their homeland from an invading nation. It was very easy in the beginning to simply run to the nearest EU country and be taken in with open arms. It is brave of Ukrainians to say, "No, we are not yours, we are our own" and to defend that declaration when tested.

When talk of historic wrongs makes you uncomfortable I wonder what you think of Denmark celebrating its liberation from the Nazis and if talk of the historic wrong of the Nazis also makes you uncomfortable i.e. do you believe the historic wrong of enslaving our nation was wrong or do you believe it a blameless act? One can extrapolate this question to other historic wrongs such as the Holodomor.


I can't reply to your comment, so I'll reply to my own.

Bravery as virtue: virtue is a value judgement; your example about throwing children is rather reductionist, and I can't address it. If you want to argue from analogy, it's helpful to choose an analogy that isn't as extreme as throwing your own child at the enemy, and then running away.

Brave Ukrainians defending their homeland: I think most people will defend their homeland against an invader, if they have the capacity. It's normal for invaders to destroy culture, families, and cities. I'm impressed by the Ukrainian resistance; I wasn't expecting it. It's hard to deny that their resistance is brave. My surprise is mainly because I didn't think they had the capacity; after all, they gave no resistance to the invasion of Crimea.

Historic wrongs, and Denmark: I only know a little of Danish history. I am familiar with some of what happened in WWII. I think it's a terrible mistake for someone from country A to get tangled up in the "historic wrongs" committed against country B by country C. More generally, as a peace-lover, my preference is to put the past in the past, and respect current boundaries. If someone is violating current boundaries, I'm against them; but nobody is violating, nor even threatening Denmark's boundaries.

Please bear in mind that Mr. Putin's rationalisation of his invasion of Ukraine is explicitly based on "historic wrongs", specifically what he considers mistakes made by the bolsheviks in setting up the state of Ukraine. If historic wrongs is an OK inspiration for Danish nationalists, then why not for Russian nationalists? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

So I think Putin's invasion is a clear example of why making a stand on "historic wrongs" is likely to lead to misery and destruction.

I am not denying any of this. I only have a minimal idea of how the situation is or was in the Ukraine, and don't claim to know. I hope the best for all of them.

I just struggle with the idea of sending weapons to a country that has a well recorded near history of human right violations. In my opinion the public voice is less about the actual people but about political fears.

> But only since Russia started invading. When news about Ukraine were still all about their corrupt government, breaking human rights, their horrible prisons and more like that nobody thought Ukraine to to 'close' or anything.

But you do realize that a large part of these problems stem from the corruption and the main source of that in Ukraine was (is?) ungodly amounts of money coming in from Putins regime to bribe the shit out of everyone (mainly in the form of selling gas/oil to some local oligarch way under market price and which they then sell at market price). This whole conflict started when the Ukraine people decided to say fuck this and kicked out Putins friend out from power and Russia retaliated by taking over Crimea and give money/weapons to the seperatist in Donetsk and Luhansk.

True. Before there was little common ground but now the populations of countries like the US, Baltics, and Poland have significant common ground and feel much closer to the Ukrainian people because of the common value of freedom and sovereignty, both of which are held very dear. There is nothing strange or hypocritical about that.

It's kinda hypocritical as Ukraine is standing for much but not any of these values in recent history https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Ukraine#Situ... but I totally see your point.

I believe you raise some good questions and I have contemplated many of those myself. I do believe what we are seeing in Ukraine is different though qualitatively and quantitatively. I will give my reasons below.

1. Ukraine is in Europe, now that should not make a difference, but it does. Historically conflicts in Europe (in contrast to other parts of the world) have a much higher tendency to escalate into world-wide conflicts.

2. Ukraine, in contrast to Iraq, Libya and Syria is a reasonably functioning democracy (although with many issues).

3. The rhetoric out of Russia (and this is from Russian TV channels etc. not western propaganda) towards annihilation of Ukrainians is quite different to any of the things being said from the west in the other wars. There is also no evidence that in any of the other conflicts the US or its allies were using rapes as a systematic weapon against the civil population.

I also take issue with a couple of your points, you mention Afghanistan and Syria as being razed by America and its allies, you conveniently forgot the role of Russia in the destruction of those countries (Aleppo was destroyed by Russian mercenaries and Syrian troops for example). You also didn't mention Georgia, or Chechnya, were essentially nobody said anything either although it was Russia who invaded. In fact I believe most of the west was hoping for a quick win for the Russians in Ukraine as well, so they could just go back to "normal".

You say: > does not equate to waging a war against america like its being done against russia.

That is a very weird interpretation of what is going on, no matter if you believe that there is propaganda on both sides, lets not forget Russia invaded Ukraine. It is Russian soldiers fighting Ukrainian soldiers, so far no "Western" soldiers are involved so how is anyone waging war against Russia?

Finally, I find this sort of argument highly suspect. You argue that Iraq, Libya, Syria were unjust and lament the fact that there was not enough being done, but now you argue we should ignore Ukraine because it's Russia who is doing it? Is your argument, as long as the people I like do it it is ok? Were you not the one who were complaining about exactly this earlier?

> i am not sympathizing with anyone for that matter

For someone who is neutral, when Russia is committing war crimes, you spend a lot of your time talking about the US.

I care more because I understand it's happening in european soil, just on EU borders and Ukranians feel as Europeans as Romanians are.

So yes there's a gregarian component to it, yet it also have a huge impact for us. Russia did this because they know we're dependent on their energy and there's little the EU can do without stomaching huge economic losses.

It's not about peace, It's about interests,a power struggle. Russia also invaded Georgia, and Azerbaijan had a war with Armenia yet the EU did almost nothing about it.

I'd really like to have a paceful relationship with Russia, as it's on our best interests, but it seems they don't think the same about us.

America isn’t annexing those countries.

If I go down the street in Baramulla or Bijbehara (assuming no forces around) and ask what people think about Pak getting involved or not involved in Yemen what do you think they would say? Or about what Saudi Arabia doing? More to the point, do they think BD were traitors for leaving Pak in 1971? Or Muslims can never commit war crimes against other Muslims? Afghans never occupied Kashmir?

Luckily this particular war is quite simple to understand morally.

The invasion of Ukraine is an illegal genocidal war.

That puts all the blame on this particular conflict 100% on Moscow, and the treatment of the civilian populations underlines the lack of decency, morals and respect for human life in the Russian institutions.

The genocidal illegal nature of the war immediately bins Russian state to the level of regimes like North-Korea, Pol-Pots cambodia or Nazi-Germany. You simply to do not allow propaganda from such entities to broadcast freely when they are obviously state entities. Free speech from individuals is different.

I am totally with you. There is so much propaganda in this war it's borderline impossible to get anything but a cloudy view on things.

Until recently Ukraine was only in media for their gov breaking human rights and stuff like this, and now it's suddenly the long lost brother we all love so much.

Sure RT was full of bullshit, but so are many local papers, Facebook and everything else.

People taking clear sides when all they know is very filtered propaganda is sadening at least.

> There is so much propaganda in this war it's borderline impossible to get anything but a cloudy view on things.

No, this is incorrect. You can definitely get a pretty good picture. Saying that “you can only get a cloudy view” is a common Russian propaganda tactic aiming to neutralize the target.

Why is everything that is against the main media russian propaganda these days?

> Until recently Ukraine was only in media for their gov breaking human rights and stuff like this, and now it's suddenly the long lost brother we all love so much.

Citation needed.

Kinda broad statement for a direct citation. However feel free to browse the Wikipedia article about the Ukraine many if not most of their recent crimes are listed there.

Surely you can link at least one.

You’re referring to transgressions under Yanukovych? That’s not a great example, since he’s famously a Russian puppet, removed from office in the Maidan Revolution.

> Yanukovych? That’s not a great example, since he’s famously a Russian puppet, removed from office in the Maidan Revolution.

Coup! Coup! Remember, never call it the "Maidan Revolution", it was a coup! Oh, wait, sorry, you're not trying to prove you're a Russian troll, are you? ;-)

But honestly, I've found that's the easiest heuristic, at least on Twitter: Whenever someone talks about the 2014 "coup" (or "Putsch") in Ukraine, they're a Putler RToll (<-- tpyoed that at first, noticed how fitting it was, so capitalised it).

Things didn't really get better since then tho (judging blindly from Wikipedia). I don't know anything about their political figures but whatever started to get downhill 2010 didn't stop under whoever is leading now.

While it is not 1:1 with regards to human rights there was a pivot in the media away from Ukraine's "Problem with far right violence"[1] after the war started[2] into "Azov battalion is only 10% Nazi so there are no Nazis in Ukraine"

[1]Here I am quoting one of the articles in the image [2]https://i.imgur.com/tfJ7PtX.jpg

Calling all citizens to a crazy war to die in pride for their lands and forbidding men to leave to country also is a very nationalist move for a non nationalist country IMO

Forbidding men to leave the country is rather natural, if you think you may have to mobilise or implement conscription (Russia's done it).

I'm always frustrated to see the pervasivness of this type of political interpretation, which constructs a false equivalence between two parties and therefore places the blame on both.

I think this kind of view is the default interpretation for a majority of people, since it is a tempting conclusion to draw for people who aren't well versed in the actual details they're evaluating: to the ignorant, it does look like both sides are just slinging mud at eachother, and it's inherent cynicism seems "realistic".

I think to solve this, we need to educate people on the idea of "false equivalance" (that just because two parties are engaged in conflict, does not mean they are equally to blame) and to force them to state the details of what exactly both parties are doing in order to hopefully push them to recognize there is a meaningful difference between actions.

> They’re as bad (in my opinion) as others, therefore it give them right to do evil things

Are you even trying? You do understand that you aren’t talking to three years old? Anyone with half a brain will understand why this rhetoric is wrong.

> to me, "russian propaganda" is the same as "american propaganda" which demonizes the other and calls their version as the "ultimate truth".

This only means that you're misinformed and haven't really followed the situation.

A coworker once made the (perhaps tired) comment, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" and I had to ask, "Is this man's freedom fighter targeting civilians?"

I dislike bankrupt moral equivalency arguments.

I've never seen or heard anyone complain about Russia banning American companies.

you sure? https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/4/22960739/russia-internet-b...

"Russia says it's blocking Facebook in alarming new censorship push" blocking facebook is censorship but blocking RT is defending free speech? nice

Is the implication that Facebook is also a propaganda outlet? That is sort of funny: RT and Facebook considered similar entities

> That is sort of funny: RT and Facebook considered similar entities

Well... If nothing else, both are huge spreaders of Russian propaganda. But yeah, you're right, it is funny: Maybe both should be banned in the West.

I had never heard of RT until now, apparently it's a Putin-controlled TV network. We're supposed to be "nice" with Russia? What a joke.

Edit: for the record I don't like the government blocking anything, but trying to point out the "hypocrisy" of the West like this isn't really very convincing to me. Looking after your own interests is not hypocrisy. Trolls need better ammo than this for the HN audience I think. You have to convince us that invading other countries and torturing PWOs is okay.

Before Corona made RT looking really weird and one sided they often provided a non westernized view to world events. Just as al jazeera. IMO that's a relevant role when more and more western media is controlled by the same few sources. No solution, but it's all about having perspectives to get a real picture.

RT is not blocked in the US. I read it this morning.

The Norwegian border may look remote on a map, but it's close to Murmansk which is an extremely important seaport. (Not claiming Norway is a legitimate threat to Russia, just pointing out it's not that remote.)

It's really about the extent of the border and it's proximity to the Russian heartland. Adding Finland doubles NATO's border with Russia and brackets St. Petersburg.

If anyone looks back at wars like WW1, Korea War, even the US escalation of the Vietnam War and wonders how the hell it got to that point - wonder no more.

The oneupmanship rarely works out well between major powers.

What part of your comment is the quote? (Or is it the whole comment?)

There is no "application process". NATO is invite only. Best a nation can do is to "start a discussion" with NATO to get invited.

That seems like silly semantics. The "application process" is to express interest and ask for an invite.

> That seems like silly semantics

It adds a lot of nuance actually. They can't say to the public that NATO proactively wants a country to join, as that would sound as an expansionistic move, so what more probably happens is that NATO first reaches out to countries that are considered strategically useful offering them a deal. Then the public is sold the narrative of the free country wanting to join NATO, that generously welcomes them under their protective wing against the evil villains. There is no other way to sell to your electorate joining NATO.

> There is no other way to sell to your electorate joining NATO.

Sure there is. "Look at what happened to Ukraine".

Which is exactly what I described in my comment

>Translation: During the spring, there has been an important discussion about Finland's possible NATO membership

This is a very generous description of what happened.

There has been air of forced consensus in the "discussion" between media, politicians and people on social media. People have been branded as "putinist" or "playing into Putin's hand" for merely suggesting that the decision shouldn't be rushed, and that there needs to be thorough analysis before making a decision.

Media hasn't covered Nato's history as an aggressive force, or the war profiteering. The "risks of Nato membership" have been reduced to a framing of "what will Russia do during the application process", which implies that Finland is going to join Nato anyway.

There have been a few critical voices interviewed in the media, mainly Anna Kontula. The response to this has been between "I see your points, but I don't agree with your conclusions" to "you are playing into Putin's hands" to nitpicking and taking her statements out of context in order to get a "gotcha" on her. Not any real engagement or discussion on the arguments.

Whether you agree with Finland joining Nato or not, I think there are good arguments to be made on either side. But to say that there has been any real discussion is a stretch at best. This process was rushed.

The process was quite fast mainly because most Finns are very pragmatic, clearheaded people and intuitively understood how the rules of the game had changed. You can't game a 76% support for any cause in a few months in a liberal democracy.

The root of the matter is that without NATO membership conscription would have become morally untenable. And hence the backbone of Finnish defence would have collapsed leading to need to kowtow to Moscow for all eternity.

Before invasion of Ukraine the economic costs on top of Finnish defence forces were considered to be sufficient deterrent to Russian agression, on top of the material and personnel costs such an invasion would cause.

Ukraine demonstrated that with political impetus, Russia does not care about either economic costs, nor about materiel or personnel costs in it's mad imperialist fantasies.

IMO The cost of NOT joining NATO would have been de facto loss of sovereignty.

Furthermore, due to the closeness of the Russian border, without NATO membership Finland would likely have been perceived as a not very good target for capital investments, killing the economy. While Finland has advanced technology, it is very capital poor - hence needs healthy injections of capital from the global market.

> IMO The cost of NOT joining NATO would have been de facto loss of sovereignty.

This to me as a Finn is the most important part. The moment your neighbor country says "you can't join alliance X" and you actually take their opinion seriously and don't due to their pressure means you just lost your sovereignty as a nation.

And Finland has experience of that from the years after WW2 under YYA[1]. While we were lucky to not be fully take into the soviet union shit just sucked. Press was heavily censored "voluntarily", got a god king president for decades (this is why the President has 0 power in internal politics now), etc. After the fall of soviet union we got rid of the bullshit of licking Russias ass and are never going back.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finno-Soviet_Treaty_of_1948

>You can't game a 76% support for any cause in a few months in a liberal democracy.

I suggest reading on Manufacturing Consent.

People living in liberal democracies are swayed all the time. It has happened over and over again. Probably the most notable example being USA after 9/11. Bush approval rating spiked from 60% to 92%. When scary things happen, media coverage and politicians can together make drastic changes to public opinion.

There are wars and crises going on in the world all the time, and media's coverage of them or the lack thereof do change peoples minds on whether they matter or what should be done about them.

I love Manufacturing Consent! Even though I don't agree with it's implied worldview I enjoy Chomsky's skill as an eloquent polemiscist.

But Chomsky does not really understand the world outside US.

I am a Finn and I can guarantee Chomsky does not help you in understanding what happened here. We share 1500km border of Russia. We feel the geopolitic shifts in our backbones.

Almost every finnish male regardless of wealth or class would be up in arms as a combatant in the military if Russia was to invade. You can't have more skin in the game than that.

I see this point a lot but I don't understand it. I'm of both Taiwanese and Hong Kong ethnicity. The world has already seen what China did to Hong Kong's autonomy. But Chomsky's essays and lectures have helped me understand my old countries' political issues more clearly than many other sources, even when he isn't directly talking about Asia. So I don't understand the frequent assertion that Chomsky's arguments or his general political views are invalid when it comes to Ukraine or other European countries.

Chomsky starts from the position that the general population is ignorant of history and politics and can be programmed by the elites to what ever worldview.

He does not start from the position that an individual voter would have skin in the game, or understand the consequences of political and economic actions.

Ukrainians feel in their guts their country is being invaded by an genocidal adversary. They are not driven from their homes by US capitalist fed propaganda, but by russain missiles and tanks, they take up arms not because the conscription service ran it's ad targeting the poor and the unemployed, but because their home is invaded.

Chomsky simply does not comprehend a situation where he himself would wake up one morning, take his rifle and go defend his country with the local banker, the baker and the taxi driver.

I.e. he does not understand when masses actually act out of their own volition to do something. Political events to him seem always to be a "nefarious game programmed by US capitalists to oppress the ploretariat" unless it's something directly hurting US corporate interests and then it's always universally good.

In US this view is likely more correct than not as the financial oligarchy is pretty savvy there and does play it's own game. The world and the rules can be quite different outside US.

Then will all respect I must disagree. I said that I am ethnically a Hong Konger. When China broke its UK treaty (effectively, a temporary neutralization treaty that granted autonomy to HK for a period of years), I also felt in my gut how horrible that was: it was cultural genocide, in my eyes. But at no point did I need to dismiss Chomsky's theories or find it invalid in scope. I have no problem pointing out how US and UK foreign policy escalated Chinese actions that harmed HK people's autonomy and oppressed young Hong Kongers' democratic party. And unfortunately I have to point out that if anyone objects to such a comparison, that the similarity is obviously not the same in magnitude compared to an international war, but the moral philosophy and political dynamics is a proper analog, just on different scales the way triangles are similar but have different magnitudes. I know this may not fully explain why I disagree with you in Chomsky's validity, but this is at least to suggest to you that someone in analogous situation may have a valid reason for a different assessment of Chomsky, specifically due to how one interprets his leftist ideas.

I am happy you have found analysis to contextualize the world around yourself in troubled times.

I am in no position to estimate how well Chomskyist analysis is applicable to HK. It's just not very good tool in understanding the war in Ukraine or Finland joining NATO.

There might be some cultural context missing which would make this very hard to communicate.

> Chomsky starts from the position that the general population is ignorant of history and politics and can be programmed by the elites to what ever worldview.

Oh right, that they are a blank slate that one can just write things on? Except that’s a thesis about human beings that he has specifically argued against.

Typical “ignorant masses” projection by some vulgar Marxist interpretation.

Speaking of skin in the game: Chomsky protested against the Vietnam War. A war fought in part by conscripts on the American side. How does that jive with your condescending theory that Americans have no skin in the game?

> So I don't understand the frequent assertion that Chomsky's arguments or his general political views are invalid when it comes to Ukraine or other European countries.

That because those complains come from people who do know about history and politics of countries he talks about. And he has really hard time to admit that something like genocide can happen for reasons that are not caused by Americans. I mean, he has hard time to call genocide the one when it happens (unless done by Americans).

Specifically with Ukraine issue, he is one of those people who cant even hint toward non-Americans having agency or own ideas about future. If you talk about Eastern Europe as if only Russia and America existed, as if no one else was even involved and could not had ability to make own decisions, then you are the one trying to create false worldview ignoring reality.

So you originally made a claim about liberal democracies, which both Finland and the US are. Now after the counter-argument/proposal you change your tune and claim that a book about how the media operates in the US and by a extrapolation similar liberal democracies has got nothing to do with how Finland works. How convenient.

I'm trying to explain how I see the situation from Finland and I don't see anything in Chomsky that would help to understand this situation.

I'm happy we are joining NATO. I'm mostly sure I was not brainwashed into it by media. I just knew intuitively the second Russian tanks crossed Ukrainian border NATO would be the best option in Finland. I can't prove it but I'm guessing lots of finns felt the same. And it was this collective feeling that spread out through the population spontaneously.

There are very few books beyond physics and mathematics with universal truths. And even those need savvy application to real world problems. Problem with chomskyism is that it sees everything through the lense of chomskyism which filters out everything else. It's like a high pass filter attuned to the detection of US human rights violations.

Finnish consent was not manufactured. It was caused by the explicit invasion of Ukraine.

As a people that has always bordered Russia and has been invaded by Russia for centuries we are quite sensitive to things affecting our relationship with it.

You feel it in your bones the weather has changed.

You can point to any change in public sentiment as 'manufactured'. Doesn't mean it actually is. This seems the opposite: aggressive neighbour starts biggest war in Europe since WW2 has influence on public opinion of much smaller and weaker country.

I already gave examples of media/politican manufactured narratives in the parent post regarding the Nato discussion.

>Probably the most notable example being USA after 9/11.Probably the most notable example being USA after 9/11. When scary things happen, media coverage and politicians can together make drastic changes to public opinion.

That's an weird assertion. People genuinly liked his first reaction.

Nobody is denying that. That's literally what I said when I said the approval ratings spiked to 92% (which you cut out from the quote). Consent can be manufactured, and the result is that people genuinely consent to the narratives given by the media.

> Whether you agree with Finland joining Nato or not, I think there are good arguments to be made on either side. But to say that there has been any real discussion is a stretch at best. This process was rushed.

Saying that this process was rushed ignores the 75 years leading up to that decision. Finland has been very careful even during the Cold War to keep the US and the Soviets happy and present themselves as a truly neutral nation between those two powers. Finland already spent all this time “arguing the other side” by not joining and keeping everyone at arms-distance. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and hostile rhetoric toward Finland and other countries are markedly different from the last 75 years in the post-WW2 era. So no, it’s not really rushed. Finland had the debate you are talking about already and has had this debate for 75 years. You just didn’t know that they already had the debate.

You can never please everyone. I grant you that this might have been rushed a bit, but it is silly to say that Finland hasn't considered the pros and cons of joining NATO for a long time and has obviously seen benefits considering all the join military exercises.

People who are against joining NATO won't change their opinion until Russia actually invades and by then it is too late. These people also like to make Finland's neutrality to be some noble stance as if it wasn't imposed on Finland by Russia after the Second World War.

Discussion about the "NATO option" has been part of the Finnish foreign policy discourse for close to three decades already. How much more discussion do you think would have been needed? And what kind of change in circumstances would have been needed to switch from talking to doing if the current invasion of Ukraine isn't enough?

> >Translation: During the spring, there has been an important discussion about Finland's possible NATO membership

> This is a very generous description of what happened.

> There has been air of forced consensus in the "discussion" between media, politicians and people on social media.

I think it's pretty much exactly the other way around: For the last three decades, since the fall of Communism and the end of "Finlandization", there has been air of forced consensus in the "discussion" between media, politicians and people on social media around the holy cow of "Neutrality", perhaps (at least to begin with) out of lingering deference to the memory of Kekkonen. In reality, Finland has always been a "Western" country; the invasion of Ukraine was just the impetus to finally realise it / admit it to themselves / openly admit it.

> People have been branded as "putinist" or "playing into Putin's hand" for merely suggesting that the decision shouldn't be rushed, and that there needs to be thorough analysis before making a decision.

Everybody has been thinking about it for thirty years (in Sweden, for seventy); you wanna take another thirty years, or what? If they aren't done thinking now, they never will be.

[Edit: Added forgotten quote markers. And fixed typpo.]

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