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World's Top Arms Exporters Visualized (insightfulinteraction.com)
105 points by imb 971 days ago | hide | past | web | 120 comments | favorite




The importer data is way more provocative to me than the exporter data, which met my expectations.


True. I have noticed that we in Sweden give away a rather substantial portion of our national gross product in order to fight poverty in other countries. Most of those countries - including India are in this list. The outcome seems to be that we give away money to cater for their poor, while they happily exploit their own workers to out-compete us on every market, while maintaining huge military budgets that they apparently spend on buying things from our most aggressive neighbor. Excellent.


If you think Sweden gives India any kind of substantial money to reduce poverty, you're seriously mistaken.


India gets huge amounts of arms import and otherwise support to act as a geopolitical counterweight to China. Both USA and Russia are interested in limiting Chinese influence in South East Asia, and assisting India is a natural way to do so.

Oh, also, you should probably think through what the actual goal of foreign support is. Aside from short term humanitarian aid, the stated goal of these funds is to allow systemic uplift. The actual goal is more likely to combination of domestic feel goodism, and permanently crippling the recipient country's ability to uplift on their own will.


Wow, top 6 importers were surprising: India UAE Saudi Arabia China Pakistan Azerbaijan


Hi my name is Natalia, and I'm the creator of this visualization. I want to thank the person who posted it here, and everyone for the discussion. I'd love to hear topics/ideas you are interested in for the future visualizations.


Thank you for the great visualizations! Here some ideas:

Personally, I would be interested in sensitivities instead of absolute values to capture trends. Say,

    * the rate of change of CO2 production per country
    * ...sensitivities of your given interactions
or

    * money invested in reforestation
    * change of healthcare expenses per country over time...
    * expenses for "bio" products vs. "discount"/fast food
Thanks again, and have fun! :-)


WOW, thank you for this - brilliant ideas - and I personally love the topics which means a lot of inspiration while creating for me. Thanks again. Cheers, Natalia


Hi.

Nice! I think it would be nice to be able to group and cluster the countries, rather than just sort them by name. Either geopolitical clusters based on the data, or just by region might make it easier to spot some interesting connections.


Thanks - it's a great idea. I'm not sure about geopolitical connections, but geographical clusters would make sense.


Hi Natalia. Where did you get the data? Bulgaria's export shows 6m, but a quick google search shows 300m euros for 2014, up from 260 in 2011.


Data source is SIPRI Arms Transfers Database http://www.sipri.org/databases/armstransfers (the link for the data source is always given below all data visualizations). The latest data available is for the year 2013.

Accoutring to SIPRI exports from Bulgaria in 2013 was US$ 6M, you can check it here http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/values.php.

Please keep in mind that figures are expressed in US$ m. at constant (1990) prices.


Wow. I always knew the US exported arms, so I kind of expected that we were the worst offenders. But whoa! Look at Russia. The country must be depending on weapon exports to keep their economy going, which is simply not diversified enough to weather through the down times.


The data is actually sales not exports, the US also exports a significant amount under military aid which doesn't seem to be included here.

For example (and not to make a political point), the graph lists exports to Israel as $35m, but military aid was $2.8b in 2010

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/spc/multimedia/military-spending...


I don't think those values can be interpreted like that.

They are some type of "trend indicator values" that "do not represent real financial flows but are a crude instrument to estimate volumes of arms transfers, regardless of the contracted prices, which can be as low as zero in the case of military aid".

I'm pretty sure the US exports for sale dollar amounts much much more than anyone else does.

There is also the question of the graphed "value" of small arms vs larger systems.


I agree with you, I don't think this graphic (or at least the underlying data) is very useful as an indicator of international military relationships. Of course it doesn't claim to be either.

As a single example, I recently decided that I don't know enough about US-Israel relations and started reading more on the topic. A report[1] I found linked from Wikipedia states that the US has provided Israel with $121 billion dollars (non-inflation-adjusted) since WWII, almost all of it military aid. The graphic shows $35 million in exports to Israel for 2013, the report lists $2.9 billion dollars in military aid in 2013.

If those figures didn't make it onto the graphic, there are probably many others which also don't.

[1] http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf


"worst offender" = "arsenal of democracy", at least to Franklin Roosevelt.


I wonder how much of this is AK-47s. It is arguably the most successful arm.


>It is arguably the most successful arm.

depends on the definition of "success" :) I'd say that no number of AKs would have protected the Assad regime the way the S-300/400 has done so far. The Su-27 platform has been kind of AK of multi-purpose fighter planes.


Not very much.

They licensed it to China, what was the Eastern block, etc. And, light arms are cheap, relative to other armament; they're not going to make a dent into those kinds of numbers.


Well they haven't made -47s since 1959 so probably 0.


"The country must be depending on weapon exports to keep their economy going" = keeping wars going is good for sales


What about the fact that (before Russia invaded Ukraine) global death rates from conflict go down nearly every year? Could their be an argument made that prevalence of weapons systems reduce outbreaks of conflict, in effect making arms providers 'peace manufacturers'? Not my perspective, just wondering.


This was an interesting way to visualise the arms database.

Some patterns are interesting:

What appears to be almost 50% of Russia's exports go to India, while what appears to be almost 90% of China's exports go to the countries surrounding India (Pakistan, Bangladesh, and a Myanmar).


Yeah, what's up with that? I know India and Pakistan aren't exactly best friends (Kashmir and all that), but they're not at full scale war with each other are they? Why the need for all the arms? India's arms imports in particular are shockingly high, especially for a country with so much need for investment in infrastructure and poverty alleviation.

No idea where Bangladesh and Myanmar stand in relation to all this.


"India's arms imports in particular are shockingly high"

If you are a country with China for a neighbour, and have experience of having already fought (and lost) a war with China, I bet you would import a lot of arms. India is (among other things) importing arms to defend against China, not Pakistan.


Patriotism in India is a favorite device of persons with something to sell; A true patriot honors all nations;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scandals_in_India


No surprise with Russia topping the list. Since 1990 the country's entire economic output has been exploiting what's left of soviet infrastructure and selling natural resources.


Any countries with totally new economies in the last 25 years?

China comes to mind, along with other east asia. But it's natural to exploit what you've already got.

And most of Russia's non-military industries turned out not competitive.


Well non-competitive isn't quite correct. Certain industries indeed were non-competitive (i.e. automotive, which btw boomed domestically post 1990), but as a whole they were torn apart by privatization and corruption.

One reason being that the way these business and industries transferred into private holdings was always somewhat dubious (and hence the very real risk of losing these holdings with the next change in political winds e.g. Khodorkovsky). Anyone that got their hands on a piece of the soviet-pie tried to get as much out of it putting as little as possible into it.


With as popular as Glock is, you'd think Austria would be bigger than a basically insignificant sliver.

I suppose if it was scaled by units sold instead of dollar values that may swing it towards inexpensive small arms like Glock pistols. Actually, that may be why USA and Russia are so enormous as exporters: they make expensive heavy arms like tanks, artillery, warplanes, ships, machine guns, bombs, while lots of places "gun guys" (which I sort of am) would think may show up (like Austria) won't because they only make relatively cheap small arms.

All of my arms are made in Russia or USA, if that means anything.

EDIT: Some other commenters have mentioned the stats don't include firearms and crew-served machine guns. Again, it's all the big stuff.


> All of my arms are made in Russia or USA, if that means anything.

As an Australian, I found this statement difficult to parse. The idea of owning a gun is so foreign to me, let alone multiple.


As an Australian, I remember when guns were not something to be feared, but rather used if you need to .. my grandmothers 410 was used to dispatch snakes (dangerous) and rabbits (vermin) on a regular basis, and I remember fondly the bush trips with my uncles and cousins to eradicate invasive swine in the region.

Fortunately, Australia is yet to be invaded (unless you count our own ancestors heinous actions against the native owners of the land), or you would perhaps have a different perspective on just how foreign gun ownership can impact your life .. the time may well come, in our lifetimes or shortly thereafter, when Australians are even more subservient to a foreign power than they currently are ..


Many nations in which guns are commonplace amongst the citizenry have been invaded, many times. The armies fought, the occupation happened, the vast majority of citizens did not pick up whatever weapon they had to hand to fight the invading army. The prevalence of weaponry amongst the citizenry of the countries involved has no bearing that I can see.


America lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the prevalence of arms among the population ..


Can you explain what you mean by 'lost'? What would you define as 'winning'? IMO those labels are subjective. To assess them, one should state the goals of the operations and the achievement thereof.


How much money was bled out of the American economy to support those wars? What state are those countries in now? How much debt did the American people incur as a result? What sort of resources were returned to the American people?

All of the answers to these questions are a total loss. Did it make the world a safer place? No. It made the situation in the middle east far worse that things were 15 years ago and its still not looking like its going to get better any time soon.


You are laboring under a raft of assumptions.

Does it serve US policy to have a stable Iraq capable of teaming up with Iran?

Does the US stand to gain or lose if security is lessened worldwide?

Does the debt matter when the currency is artificial and the countries that rely on it are bolstered by a very effective and very experienced security apparatus?

Are resources only defined as raw materials?

There is no such thing as a total loss unless one is annihilated.

Do not mistake me; the Iraq conflict was a terrible waste and IMO an unnecessary diversion. But i think you should remember that policy is not formulated and followed to please citizens and academia.

There is a long game here. Consider the development and placement of nuclear weapons, specifically mobile systems, in the European Theater during the Cold War [sic]. The point was not MAD. USSR had a 5:1 ratio in terms of tanks. Not USSR v. USA; USSR v. NATO. People [read civilian critics] pay altogether too much attention to the big, scary strategic nukes. Tactical nukes are the real game changer in a conflict. TacNukes can be used for so much more than StratNukes. yet all i ever hear people talk about are the big ones.

What i am trying to say is that today's losses might be tomorrows gains. The US may have wasted a couple hundred billion, 4000 drones [that word means more than what it is typically used for these days], and a fuck ton of civilians. But the US now has the most experienced army in the world in terms of urban conflict. China is big, India is growing, Russia is heavily armed... but which country has the most JG and NonCom officers with battle experience? Which country has built a private military apparatus in parallel with its State Military apparatus?

Again, this shit destroys me on the inside. From an objective point of view... remember Red Alert, the RTS game? Do you remember Einstein's comment at the end of the intro movie?

"...only time vill tell."


Commonplace =/= prevalent. What wars are you thinkint of? No snark, just curious.

In terms of prevalence, I don't think there is an apt comparison in the historical narrative for the US. I heard, but cannot confirm, that we blow off more rounds for target practice than the active conflicts around the globe use in combat. Even if that statement is incorrect, I can think of no other nation with an equivalent saturation of small arms.


Target practice plus bird hunting, which can use a lot of shotshells with little to show for it if you're not so good at it like me ^_^. I don't think most other forms of hunting use that very many rounds.

US civilian production is between 13-14 billion rounds per year (military production at Lake City, I don't know, but we get sold canceled orders and lots that fail milspec tests but are otherwise good ammo). Rimfire production alone is 3 billion. For some time a lot of that has been getting stored for ... a rainy day. And if you do the math that's only a bit more than 40 rounds/person/year.

But the number is still very very large. Heck, in one high school academic year on the JROTC rifle team I probably shot over 2,000 rounds of .22 LR (for every morning of practice, 3 sighting in shots plus 10 rounds each in two positions).

As for "saturation", yeah. In the last three years, the number of Missouri state issued concealed carry licenses (note any state's is good, and many are cheaper) in my county has almost doubled, to the point where 5% of the age eligible adults have one. And the 19-20 age range has only been eligible for about a year, while those getting them are largely the older, age and less ability to defend yourself + the Baby Boomers entering retirement age is a major driver.

42-3 states have "shall issue" concealed carry regimes, and California and Hawaii look to be following soon (it's being litigated, but some large population counties have already thrown in the towel); the Supremes could extend that to all states. In the last 4 years, Chicago went from nobody but the anointed being allowed to own handguns to shall issue concealed carry and more than a few incidents of legal self-defense with them.... Etc. etc.


Point being that if it ever goes Red Dawn whoever is doing the invading is going to have a rough time of it. We ['muricans] shoot a lot. We even hit stuff occasionally :|


Indeed; per the misattributed Yamamoto Isoroku quote, "You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."


What wars are you thinkint of? No snark, just curious.

I was thinking of the invasion of Western European countries during the second world war, but those are just the first ones that came to mind. Weaponry easy enough to come by (especially during an actual shooting war), but civil uprising and rebellion relatively sparse.


I think there is a difference between the weapons technology available today v. what was available in the 1930's. Many regulars went into battle with WWI era weaponry. The civilian arms complement was even older in many cases.

An interesting example of a 'heavily' armed society in WWII would be the Balkans region. Germany was smart; short of paras and specialist, they left the chekist and partisans to slaughter each other [sewing the seeds of the 90s conflict] as well as their Jewish populations.

To date, i can think of no example of a well/heavily armed society being invaded. There really aren't that many to pick from.


Interesting that Ukraine has higher arms export numbers than Sweden, Netherlands and Spain. I never knew Ukraine was an arms exporter at all.


The USSR based a LOT of stuff in the Ukraine, both in terms of operational units, and supporting industry. Most of which was inherited by Ukraine when the USSR was dissolved. While many of the operational units were also dissolved, or traded back to Russia (for example, some Tu-160 strategic bombers), arms export is a pretty sweet way (relatively) for a new country to get some nice cashflow. Wiki says that Ukraine received about 30% of the USSR's arms industry... which is a lot.


>arms export is a pretty sweet way (relatively) for a new country to get some nice cashflow.

Ukraine was delivering relatively modern tanks - T-84 - to Thailand about the time when they outlawed Russian language while its army still had the old T-64. Historic lesson - putting your army on modern tanks should be the first step while outlawing a language of a major minority - second - and not otherwise :)


> when they outlawed Russian language

How do you mean? Half of Kiev (Ukrainian capital) speaks Russian as their first language. Half of the Ukrainian army and National Guard (including the volunteers) speak Russian as their fist language. Outlawed, eh?


they made it illegal (outlawed) to have schools in Russian, various government proceedings, etc... - all the achievements of the "Law of the Language", the results of the multi-year completely democratic and lawful process, were scrapped right in a first second by the junta right after the Maidan coup and thus among others sending a clear message of no more democracy for the ethnic Russians.


> they made it illegal (outlawed) to have schools in Russian

This is not true.

> various government proceedings

Always been like that. But the officials could always talk in Russian if they felt like it.

The rest is just propaganda.


>The rest is just propaganda.

ok. Then please do tell us what was so important about the language law that it was the very first order of business of the Kiev's junta on the very first moment it came to power.


What's interesting is that a lot Ukrainian arms exports are to Russia with which it is now at war.


That's one of the reasons for the civil war in Ukraine, an attempt(successful) to dismantle the left-over military industrial complex in Eastern Ukraine that was inherited from Soviet Union (competes with US's military industrial complex). They didn't want to do it peacefully(The EU-Ukraine association pact required shutting down these factories) , Yanukovich refused(his support base came from the East) now all of it lies in ruins (thanks to the US installed junta)


In what world is the democratically elected government of Mr. Poroshenko, a "US-installed junta"?


>democratically elected government of Mr. Poroshenko

interesting how democratically elected Poroshenko is ok while democratically voted separation of Crimea isn't. Democracy is supposed to be a principle not a substitute for the "i like the outcome" label :)


What part of the helicopter assault and naval blockade of Crimea is comparable to the Kosovo settlement? Which previous war with a genocide chaser primed the put-upon citizens of Crimea to form an army, gov't., etc? There is no comparison between Crimea and Kosovo in terms of extra-national interference. Please keep in mind that preping an assault force of Hinds and thousands of unmarked soldiers takes quite a while. The moment the Yanukovich ceded power, Russia began to act.

A better example of western tampering after a 'legitimate' election is in Gaza.


> Which previous war with a genocide chaser primed the put-upon citizens of Crimea to form an army, gov't., etc?

why wait for the genocide to actually happen? The new government in Kiev was completely clear with their very first action being the outlawing of Russian language. The international law, UN, recognize the right for self-determination without requirement of a genocide happening beforehand. Crimea used that right. They were just lucky that Putin's interests were aligned with theirs. The people of Donetsk weren't that lucky - the Kiev's "pacifier" operation (manned by the volunteers from Western Ukraine hating the ethnic Russians with their gut) in Donetsk region had gone into full swing and been really succeeding by the August of 2014 and would definitely succeeded if not for the direct Russia's intervention back then when finally Putin recognized that letting the ethnic cleansing happen in Donbass wouldn't be good for his regime.

Or lets try it from other side - how many ethnic Russians should have been killed by the Kiev pacifiers before you'd recognize right for self-determination for Donetsk (or Crimea if Russia did let the pacification to happen in Crimea) ?


> why wait for the genocide to actually happen?

The "South-East of Ukraine", which Russia claims is threatened by "genocide", is 9 regions in addition to Donbass and Crimea. None of the 9 regions have seen any ethnic conflict, let alone genocide happening since the hostilities in Donbass began. The hostilities in Donbass have only been possible because of the Russian covert military involvement, as Girkin has confessed on multiple occasions.

Let me ask you a question. Are the Russians living in Nikolaev somehow different to Kiev than the Russians living in Crimea? Why isn't there a genocide going on right now? Or why is that the Donbass cities which are under central government control are not being ethnically cleansed and live in peace, just as the rest of Ukraine does?

Moreover, half of the Ukrainian Army and National Guard (including the volunteers) speak Russian as their first language, and many of them are ethnic Russians from Donbass and the rest of Ukraine.

> The people of Donetsk weren't that lucky - the Kiev's "pacifier" operation

The people of eastern Donbass weren't lucky because that's where Girkin and his merry band decided to "stir things up" after being inserted from Russia. Hadn't it been for them, Donbass would be as peaceful and prosperous as the rest of Ukraine. Girkin has confessed as much himself.

> manned by the volunteers from Western Ukraine hating the ethnic Russians with their gut

This is simply not true. Look up the videos filmed by the Ukrainian soldiers, check the names of the wounded and killed on the Ukrainian side - plenty of them are ethnic Russians.

> Or lets try it from other side - how many ethnic Russians should have been killed by the Kiev

Let's try another one: how many people in eastern Donbass would have died if Girkin and his people hadn't appeared in Slavyansk prompting a covert military invasion from Russia? (hint: consider the rest of Donbass and the South-East of Ukraine).


>Are the Russians living in Nikolaev somehow different to Kiev than the Russians living in Crimea? Why isn't there a genocide going on right now?

because it has been made clear by Crimea and Donbass that if Ukraine tries it openly, the Russian tanks will come to Kiev, and Ukraine will lose even more territory. The massive shelling of cities, mainly and primarily Donetsk, by the Ukrainian forces (in many cases using cluster warheads on unguided missiles fired from multiple rocket launcher systems like "Smerch" and "Uragan" into the purely residential high-density districts located far from the actual battle lines) is the genocide and ethnic cleansing being performed under the cover of military action.

>Let's try another one: how many people in eastern Donbass would have died if Girkin and his people hadn't appeared in Slavyansk prompting a covert military invasion from Russia? (hint: consider the rest of Donbass and the South-East of Ukraine).

Girkin provided the focus point for the nationalists forces who had been doing "buses and trains of friendship" across all those regions and thus his incursion stopped the escalation of violence in those regions. It was like a lightning rod taking the hit away from other places. The message was clear - you either continue beating up and burning pro-Russian protesters in Kharkov, Odessa, etc... while Girkin takes the territory or you come and fight the Girkin thus leaving other people alone until Girkin problem is solved. As i was saying back at the time - until Ukraine understands that violence and oppression wouldn't provide the solution, Ukraine will be losing the territories and losing in other domains too.


> because it has been made clear by Crimea and Donbass...

I'm sorry, but all of this is pure Kremlin propaganda. You can't blame nazism on a nation that has people of various ethnicities (including Russian) fighting in its Army and the National Guard, and has people of various ethnicities (including Russian) in positions of power, including the elected officials (Poroshenko himself is of mixed origin, as well as Yatsenyuk). Why, even some of the protesters who died on the Maidan ("Nebesnaya Sotnya") were not ethnic Ukrainians (they were Russian and Armenian). The whole nazi scare is just propagandistic nonsense.

> Girkin provided the focus point for the nationalists forces....

Please watch his interviews. He's literally saying that if it wasn't for his involvement, there would be peace all over Donbass. "I started the war which is still raging on."

I'm sorry, but the rest of your posts is just propaganda, which I'm not going to even try to refute. If you really believe in what you're saying, consider visiting Kiev and seeing for yourself that there's absolutely no ethnic tension. In fact, there's unity: Ukrainians, Russians, Tatars, Armenians, Georgians - you name it - all consider themselves Ukrainians trying to fight off a military aggression as one nation.


I have to agree with @geoka9. Your post is utter tripe when taken in context. I would ask you to explain the rape of Chechnya, but i fear i would piss myself with laughter.

Russia will get away with these monkeyshines as long as America has a domestically focused President. Russia will sit on its ass economically as long as Europe is addicted to petroleum.

There is a clock on the wall counting down for both of those things.


>I would ask you to explain the rape of Chechnya

what to explain here? Everything is well known. Chechnya wanted independence and it was bloodily squashed. Pretty typical story. Russia isn't a modern Britain where you can have an independence referendum. Russia is a very autocratic imperially ambitious state. Just publicly talking about separation (check the recent set of laws incl. the "public mass media" law) will most probably lead you to jail.

Of course, like pretty much any other power, the Russia uses double standards - one internally and another externally. So right of self-determination of Crimea has existed only until it actually joined Russia :)


>why wait for the genocide to actually happen?

What Russia is doing/has done in Chechnya is ethnic cleansing. They [Chechens] have been fighting for self determination for 30+ years. Your rhetoric, much like my own country's, falls flat in the face of facts.

>Crimea used that right.

The prevalence of this melarke is astounding. The chronology is a matter of public record. The 'vote' was nearly a month after the invasion.

>Kiev's "pacifier" operation

I have no knowledge of this. I do remember that Ukrainian paras and LEOs cracked down on extreme [Ukrainian] nationalist in the Western Ukraine before they began the fight against the Cossack invasion.

>Putin recognized

...10 years ago that the Ultra-Nationalists in Russia would tear the country apart. He is backed into a corner, ruling a nation controlled by thugs with very little to offer the global economy outside of shit tier weapons and petroleum products.

>...before you'd recognize right for self-determination for Donetsk

Do you support Palestinians, Tamils, Uyghurs, Kosovars right to self determination? I am not an advocate for mass slaughter. I firmly believe in equal representation. Partitioning countries by ethnic division is the fast track to both.

It seems very clear to me that Russia is backed into a corner. They have a dwindling, ignorant population obsessed with decadence. The have a poor geographical position. They have severe cultural divisions. The invasion of Ukraine as well as the impending invasions of Georgia, Bosnia/Croatia, and the Baltic States are a large gambit. Hilariously, it seems to be working so far.

The only thing that stands in the way of Russian Gangster Ascendancy is a German Army with U.S. equipment. Putin knows this. I have no faith in my Nation's wherewithal and resolve. 4000+ KIA in 10 years has nearly broken our military; how can those weaklings go up against a country more willing to slaughter their children and burn their livelihoods instead of retreat? Bully tactics work on the US and most of Europe. Germany and Scandinavia, less so.


>>Crimea used that right.

>The prevalence of this melarke is astounding. The chronology is a matter of public record. The 'vote' was nearly a month after the invasion.

of course. Without Russian military presence any attempt at the vote would be bloodily squashed by the [Western] Ukrainian volunteer battalions.

>>Kiev's "pacifier" operation

>I have no knowledge of this.

It is what officially called "Anti-Terrorist Operation" that is happening in the Donbass.

>I do remember that Ukrainian paras and LEOs cracked down on extreme [Ukrainian] nationalist in the Western Ukraine before they began the fight against the Cossack invasion

A creature of Hell - Sashko Bilyy - was killed in pretty strange situation. Even Ukrainian nationalists finally decided to stop being publicly associated with the river of blood and torture he was leaving in his wake.

>>Do you support Palestinians, Tamils, Uyghurs, Kosovars right to self determination? I am not an advocate for mass slaughter. I firmly believe in equal representation. Partitioning countries by ethnic division is the fast track to both.

yes, i do. As Eltsyn said in 1991 when USSR was breaking up - "Take all the sovereignty you're able to carry away." Unfortunately, this short period of bloodless (or low-bloodness)independence getting was more of exception in the world rather than rule.

>It seems very clear to me that Russia is backed into a corner. They have a dwindling, ignorant population obsessed with decadence. The have a poor geographical position. They have severe cultural divisions.

it is pretty typical situation for Russia.

>Hilariously, it seems to be working so far.

will see. Falling of oil prices was a nice punch that Russia still need to live through. Last time it happened - mid-198x - the USSR went down like in boxing knock-down.

>The only thing that stands in the way of Russian Gangster Ascendancy is a German Army with U.S. equipment. Putin knows this. I have no faith in my Nation's wherewithal and resolve. 4000+ KIA in 10 years has nearly broken our military; how can those weaklings go up against a country more willing to slaughter their children and burn their livelihoods instead of retreat? Bully tactics work on the US and most of Europe. Germany and Scandinavia, less so.

If you look at the actual fighting in Donbass you'd notice that Russian military isn't very effective as a whole system. Of course, having nuclear ICBMs Russia thus willn't be made subject to "pacifying" invasion from NATO, yet Russian military also in no condition to effectively fight a high-tech force of NATO. Bully tactics works because NATO doesn't want any war, successful or unsuccessful, because peaceful life is that much better and cost effective. Putin's regime on the other side is under huge stress, economical and political, and "small victorius war" would seem like a miracle medicine for it. Like with other similar regimes in similar situations such war somehow just doesn't materialize (Falkland war comes to mind). Nevertheless, when Ukrainian nationalists took power in the coup and couldn't force themselves to work through the main course - buildup of economy and army - and instead went straight for the desert - solving "issue" of ethnic Russians - it was an opening Putin couldn't resist. It was his wet dream come true. The bloodless takeover of Crimea (with full support by the majority of the Crimea population, technical/procedural issues with the referendum be damned :) shot his approval rating into stratosphere ... Well, despite it looking like a "miracle medicine", such actions have only short-term effect of opiatic pain-killer with real problems staying unsolved and only going worse... So, more pain-killer is in order...


The U.S. by some accounts set a bad international precedent with Kosovo. Crimea is not objectively any different from the former.

Even the civil war in Ukraine, which is absolutely criminal has international precedent (vis a vis Syria).


...Russia provided troops and equipment for the peacekeeping force in the Balkans. Also, that operation was planned and executed by NATO ( their first, I believe). Whatever the case, I believe the Kosovo/Serb cold conflict will be the next excuse for Russian expansionism. Either there, or as well as there, in Dagestan/Ossetia/Georgia regions.


There was no "democratically voted separation of Crimea", it was a farce.


It was free voting by the majority of people on that territory. Can you explain why such a thing can be called a farce? As the only reason i see to call such thing a farce is because one doesn't like the results.


> Can you explain why such a thing can be called a farce?

Mostly because people were to choose between two options both of which meant that Crimea would secede from Ukraine (the first one meant outright separation, the second a disguised one).

But there are other things which made it a farce: an armed occupation of the parliament building and forcing of the MPs to vote for the referendum[1][2], the haste with which the referendum was held (two weeks notice, not allowing for the sides to prepare arguments for and against the cessation), lack of public debates discussing pros and cons of the cessation, the fact that the "referendum" was not approved by the Ukrainian parliament, growing evidence that the outcome of the "referendum" had already been decided elsewhere[1][3].

I could go on, but if you're really interested in an example of a cessation referendum which was not a farce, consider the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 and compare its particulars with the Crimean one, side by side.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcCqrzctxH4

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUH-A3IF3h0

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medal_%22For_the_Return_of_Crim...


ok, so non-following of the full set of details of a full-fledged democratic process makes the will of the people illegitimate. Are you kidding me? A coup of nationalist forces has just overthrown the legitimately fully democratically bells-and-whistles elected president, and now this new nationalist regime that took power through the coup is unsatisfied with the quality of democratic process a minority (primarily targeted by the new regime) used to run away from the coup. You can't be serious.

This is exactly the double standard i was talking about.


> ok, so non-following of the full set of details of a full-fledged democratic process makes the will of the people illegitimate.

It makes the referendum illegitimate and its results questionable.

> Are you kidding me?

No, I'm not. For what it's worth, I'm not opposed to the idea of referendum at all, as long as it is done legally. I'm sure that if Moscow was so bent on having Crimea, they could have come to a political agreement with Kiev, and it would be legal and Crimea wouldn't have all those problems it's having now (e.g. lack of water, power, food price surges, crippled transport connections with the mainland, etc.). And Russia would have spent a lot less compared to what it's spending now on the war, maintaining a semblance of normal life in Crimea, and the sanctions.

The problem is that was not the goal of the folks in Moscow. They wanted to create a political crisis so they seized Crimea by force. When it didn't work, they inserted Girkin in Donbass. If Ukraine had given up Donbass just like it did Crimea, the next insertion would probably be Kharkov. And so on. It's not Crimea or Donbass the Kremlin is after, it's all of Ukraine - it's practically written on the wall. The nazi scares and the rest of the Russian propaganda are just an effort to garner sympathy from abroad for the military invasion.


>> ok, so non-following of the full set of details of a full-fledged democratic process makes the will of the people illegitimate.

>It makes the referendum illegitimate and its results questionable.

by what standards? By the standards of democracy for Britain - i'd agree that you have a good case to challenge the Crimea referendum on serious technicalities. But it wasn't Britain, it was Ukraine. According to the standards of Ukraine's "democracy" a coup overthrowing a democratically elected president is a legitimate transfer of power. The Crimea separation did met and exceed very much (compare coup vs. referendum, even a flawed one) those legitimacy standards of the Ukraine democracy.

The forces that currently have power in Kiev had a choice back then - violent coup vs. fully democratic impeachment of the democratically elected president. They chose the coup and thus flushed down the toilet the democracy contract of the Ukrainian state. Their claims that Crimea separation from them wasn't fully democratic are just laughable.


> The forces that currently have power in Kiev had a choice back then - violent coup vs. fully democratic impeachment of the democratically elected president.

I don't buy the argument that it was a coup. It was a mass protest which spiralled into a political crisis when Yanukovich disappeared, which could only be resolved by appointing an acting head of state and calling new elections.

The officials who are now in power (Poroshenko/cabinet and the MPs), were elected afterwards. They weren't in power before the elections, so they couldn't impeach anybody.


>I don't buy the argument that it was a coup. It was a mass protest which spiralled into a political crisis when Yanukovich disappeared, which could only be resolved by appointing an acting head of state and calling new elections.

thanks, the best spin i've seen. Yanukovich just decided to leave. At his own will. End of story.


In the world where the February 21st deal to keep Yanukovych in power until end of term [1] was reneged on with support by Voice of America and funding and training to Euromaiden groups from the West, prior US knowledge of the ouster and discussions about a suitable replacement [2], and a world where US policy makers suggest covert arming of the Ukraine [3]. It's also important to keep the broader context - that the nine former Warsaw Pact nations have in the past decade joined the EU of NATO and that the very aggressive terms and a near NATO deal with the Ukraine caused the original crisis that led up to the Feb deal. That the West and US armed other conflicts in the region (Moldova and Georgia). That US anti-ballistic missile battery systems have been installed along the Baltic that denies Russia it's anti-nuclear interception capabilities and directly violates Cold War treaties. Russia, too, plays dirty. But we can't pretend the West doesn't.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/21/agreement-on-th...

[2] http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/20/a_new_cold_war_ukraine... (25:00)

[3] http://csis.org/files/publication/150129_Mankoff_RussiaUkrai...


> the February 21st deal to keep Yanukovych in power... was reneged

It wasn't. The annexation of Crimea started before the deal was signed (Feb. 20) and Yanukovich decided to close shop and flee soon afterwards[1].

> and a world where US policy makers suggest covert arming of the Ukraine

With Ukraine undergoing a not-so-covert invasion, and Russian leadership having already laid a claim to half of Ukraine, no less[2], defensive weapons to help stop the aggression are hardly too much to ask.

> and a near NATO deal with the Ukraine caused the original crisis

European association agreement is hardly a "near NATO deal" and Ukraine had laws that precluded it from becoming a NATO member - so that wasn't even in the plans. The people took to the streets when Yanukovich abruptly reneged on his promise to sign the association agreement after visiting Moscow.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/world/europe/ukraine-leade...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novorossiya


AFAICT we don't disagree on any points. Regarding support for Yunukovych, the deal was signed and not followed up on. It's true his authority was fading fast - these things are not mutually exclusive. The Feb 21 deal was struck to resolve the standoff discussed in your linked NYT article - can you point to where it says that annexation began before Feb 21st (the earliest I can find it mention is March)?

Similarly with covert armaments - the discussion of 'too much to ask' or 'right or wrong' is orthagonal to whether the West takes covert action in the Baltic to achieve policy objectives. My claim is merely that it is done - not that it is wrong.

And similarly wrt the association agreement - it has to do with the context of EU and NATO encroachment and Western action in the Baltic (I would have to admit that it was EU membership, not NATO, in this case).

The grandparent may have anti-European or -NATO sentiments. I don't. But I will defend the idea that the West, having heavily polled Ukraine and called for its own elections, and having discussed options for replacing the leadership, and training and funding groups in the Ukraine, and having controlled the election process in Kiev (calling afoul when Russia performed the same in the Crimea) absolutely is not above influencing its own support. Again I am not calling this bad.


> the deal was signed and not followed up on.

Yanukovich left the country (illegally, BTW), before the deal could even be followed upon. There wasn't anything for the parliament to do, but appoint an acting president and call for new elections.

> can you point to where it says that annexation began before Feb 21st (the earliest I can find it mention is March)?

Not in the article, no. But there are plenty of sources showing that. The Girkin interviews[1] or the Crimean annexation medal[2], among others.

> I would have to admit that it was EU membership, not NATO, in this case.

This is a big difference. Finland and Austria are both EU countries, but they've never been NATO members. EU is a political and economic union, not a military one. Russia's claim that Ukraine becoming a EU member poses a military threat to them is dishonest at best.

> and training and funding groups in the Ukraine, and having controlled the election process in Kiev (calling afoul when Russia performed the same in the Crimea)

What groups? There wasn't any paramilitary training or funding, contrary to what Russia would like us to believe. The West may have supported some NGOs, but that was perfectly legal (and acceptable) way of trying to sway the public opinion, as opposed to capturing the Crimean parliament building with commandos and herding the MPs into it in the middle of the night to force them to vote for a farce referendum[3][1].

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcCqrzctxH4

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medal_%22For_the_Return_of_Crim...

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUH-A3IF3h0


There were other options like keeping the current administration solvent - Yanokovych himself said that he was still wanting to fulfill his duties - and the parliament didn't have enough votes to remove him from office (it was done anyway).

All of the sources I can find including Girkin's own testimony put him in Ukraine in April at the earliest. Can you point to something specific?

Certainly there is a big difference between NATO and the EU. The point stands that several former Warsaw nations HAVE joined NATO. The Ukraine was only set to join the EU under extremely hostile conditions to Russia (the deal with the EU would have precluded close economic ties with Russia).

Russia's claim was that the threat was to national security - and this is true - especially if they were to lose the port accesses in the Crimea. Furthermore the Ukraine controls the pipelines that deliver gas and oil from Russia. This powers 70% of Europe and is the main export and national income of Russia. The EU deal would have severely undercut Russia's ability to negotiate oil prices, which absolutely poses a national security problem. This is common among nations; for example The United States considers the Trans-Pacific Partnership key for national security concerns and interests in the Pacific region and into the future. The TPP is not a military deal.

Academi (Blackwater) was in Ukraine as early as January (this can be confirmed with Google image searches). The NGOs you mentioned made up large numbers of the Euromaiden protestors that occupied Central Square - it's also important to name names: the support of these NGOs included the CIA's USAID. Legality is questionably relevant - at least to this conversation where we are discussing whether or not it was done. Acceptable to us, yes. Not to Russia.

Russia definitely responded with direct military force. We aren't talking about that though. We're talking about installing juntas and influencing politics. As I mentioned in an earlier comment I'm not interested in whether this was right or good or bad. Merely that it was done. It was done.


> and the parliament didn't have enough votes to remove him from office (it was done anyway).

It would be kind of irresponsible not to appoint an acting president, considering that the incumbent one has just been removed from the country by the military of a country that's just invaded a region of yours, don't you think? I mean, even if the Ukrainian parliament accepted Yanukovich's escape as reasonable, it would have to assume that he was being held hostage by the aggressor?

> All of the sources I can find including Girkin's own testimony put him in Ukraine in April at the earliest. Can you point to something specific?

Sure, straight from the horse's mouth: Girkin himself tells the date of his arrival in Crimea: February 21 (his interview I posted above).

> The United States considers the Trans-Pacific Partnership key for national security concerns

Well, the US does not go around invading the countries that refuse to sign the deal. They negotiate politically and economically, and Russia should have done the same.

> Academi (Blackwater) was in Ukraine as early as January...

Can you point to a source? Also, in what capacity? For the most part, the protesters were unarmed, and those that were had wooden shields, clubs, and hardhats - hardly a Blackwater style operation?

> The NGOs you mentioned made up large numbers of the Euromaiden protestors that occupied Central Square.

Again, can you point to the source? It's not an abstract thing for me, as some of my friends were actually on that square.

> We're talking about installing juntas

Poroshenko's cabinet is not a junta, by any stretch of imagination (or the meaning of the word). And he hasn't been "installed".

> ... and influencing politics.

That's perfectly acceptable, as long as it's legal (which it has been, AFAICT).


> It would be kind of irresponsible...

I'm not sure they would need to assume that he was being held hostage (his communications would not imply this). I mean, it was clear which direction he leaned which solutions and state partnerships he preferred - this was known before the agreement not to hold an election to replace him. You can see how it would be considered 'irresponsible' to remove him from office (without enough votes from the parliament to actually do so) one day after finalizing a ceasefire conditioned on the agreement not to.

Yanukovych was going to be replaced and Russia knew this. He was going to be replaced with someone more friendly to the West. (I'm not saying any of this is bad.) Russia made the ceasefire conditional on his not being replaced immediately, so it would have time to explore options to protect its interests including those of the non-military variety. She got the agreement but not the promise. Yanukovych, under pressure from a Western supported uprising, was replaced during Western supervised and organized elections by a Western sympathetic administration outside the regular legal framework of the government. [If you believed that the uprising was Western supported] you can see Russia's point.

> Girkin himself tells the date of his arrival in Crimea

First, the original claim was that he was there before the 21st. Second, Girkin was in Simferopol on the 21st. Simferopol is in the Crimea, but it in the part of the Crimea that is not part of the Ukraine (its national membership is disputed). Ukrainian intelligence has him entering the Crimea within the Ukraine on the 26th (the day the Ukrainian parliament was seized).

> US does not go around invading the countries that refuse to sign the deal

If you are talking about invasions regarding stability, national security purposes and territory... The Philippines, Cuba, (cough originally all of North America, but we don't have to count that cough), Hawaii, Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Haiti, ... and if you mean in a larger context the US most certainly invades other countries...

But I won't quibble. I understand what you mean to imply - the US uses justified force and invasion while the Russians do not. I'm afraid I see this as a matter of perspective. It's difficult for me, colored by being a patriot of America, to determine 'right' and 'wrong'.

But the larger point being made here that I think you missed was that trade and membership deals ARE considered around the world by all nations matters of national security. I just used the TPP as an example from the US.

> Can you point to a source? Also, in what capacity?

The reports are of their role in training small civilian brigades (TASS says "marksmanship, operations by assault groups in urban conditions, ... combat, and logistics support for the battalion.") and for a show of muscle. The Russian news firm TASS reported planned Blackwater involvement in late December [1], you can see Russian citizens discussing Blackwater (aggressively) in a comment section here (January 22nd) [2], German political consultant Luders discuss Blackwater presence in Ukraine (January 20th) here [3], videos (March) of US regalia carrying US weaponry (someone shouts "Blackwater!") [4], (April) official Foreign Affairs Office with a formal complaint about Greystone (Blackwater) [5], (May) pictures posted on RT [6], and original December estimates agreeing with a Der Speigel report in May [7].

> Poroshenko's cabinet is not a junta

I would agree with this. I used the term in reference to the top comment that originally launched the discussion of whether the US and allies use covert means to install its own policy objectives. You must understand though that Russia, a historically extremely xenophobic nation, with an extremely complicated and sour relationship with Germany does not react well to a German led union taking half its sphere of influence and battalions like Azov fighting on the behalf of Ukraine under SS and Nazi heraldry. And when the loan packages that fund Kiev's side of the war come from organizations headquartered in Washington DC and Europe... to them, a junta (not Ukraine, but the West) isn't farfetched. That is, it is the European encroachment that informs the sense of nationalistic military political control. It misses the point to think about Poroshenko's cabinet. Russia isn't worried about Poroshenko.

> That's perfectly acceptable, as long as it's legal

I prefer when things are legal, so long as they are acceptable. Were Russia to fund, inform and train the members of Occupy Wall Street or the Tea Party what do you think Washington would do? Would they think, hmm, that's technically legal so I guess it's okay? Or what if Russia convinced Cuba to turn it's politics against the US?

Anyway, I'm not trying to make a 'good' or 'bad' point here. I'm trying to make a point about consistency. Law is a finicky thing. For a long time slavery was legal. Plus, I'm not a lawyer (are you?), and this seems like an awfully complicated area of international law. So I'd rather not discuss legality in favor of more grounded and informative deliberation.

> Again, can you point to the source? It's not an abstract thing for me, as some of my friends were actually on that square.

Here's an offhand (pro-Ukraine/America) mention in early 2014 [8]. I could enumerate a number of sources (I don't have a compiled list on hand.)

It's getting quite late - perhaps we can follow up if you deem it necessary with the best enumeration of groups that we can find along with their associations. I will link in the meantime to USAID documents itself... "The primary goal “to strengthen and assist leading pro-reform Ukrainian [CSOs] to sustain and consolidate democratic gains” was difficult to achieve, and, even if realized, the results may not be directly attributed to the project.", "Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and established diplomatic relations with the United States. U.S. policy has focused on helping Ukraine become a democratic state “more closely integrated into the Europe and Euro-Atlantic structures.” Since 2007, the European Union (EU) and Ukraine have negotiated agreements designed to support reforms for political association and economic integration. The negotiations ended in 2012, and the EU established requirements that Ukraine was to follow so the agreements could be signed during the third Eastern Partnership summit in November 2013.3 However, days before the summit began, the Ukrainian Government announced that it would suspend plans for agreements with the EU and instead pursue closer ties with Russia. Protests and civil unrest ensued. Civil society organizations (CSOs) have taken part in some of the recent protests. These organizations play an important role in keeping government accountable, citizens engaged, and democratic reforms on track. USAID/Ukraine’s Strengthening Civil Society in Ukraine (SCSU) project’s5 primary goal is to “strengthen and assist leading pro-reform Ukrainian nongovernmental organizations to sustain and consolidate democratic gains.” To accomplish this, it aims to work with local partners as equals in implementing all project activities" [9] [10] [11]

USAID is known for toppling governments and causing and supporting revolts and revolutions. It spent $5 billion dollars supporting Ukraine and NGOs over the past 20 years.

George Soros is known for using networks of NGOs to "open up" countries (his words), particularly in Eastern Europe. Soro heavily funded and supported Spilna Sprava, for example. (You can also see the Open Society Foundation listed along with other groups that heavily participated in the revolts and their organization on the UNITER partners page.) Anyway, to be continued.

[1] http://tass.ru/en/world/770048

[2] http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-22/its-just-tactical-w...

[3] http://www.neopresse.com/politik/der-ukraine-kaempfen-blackw...

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2uVyaKTQoU, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2uVyaKTQoU

[5] http://mid.ru/bdomp/brp_4.nsf/e78a48070f128a7b43256999005bcb...

[6] http://rt.com/news/158212-academi-blackwater-ukraine-militar...

[7] http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/ukraine-krise-400-us-s...

[8] http://wrongkindofgreen.org/tag/euromaidan/

[9] http://oig.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/audit-reports/9-121...

[10] http://uniter.org.ua/eng/about.html

[11] http://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1863/USAI...


> You can see how it would be considered 'irresponsible' to remove him from office

Again, the country was in a political crisis. The president has just been snatched by the military of the aggressor who was invading the country at that moment. The country seemed to be falling apart. I don't see how the parliament could have done anything differently.

> First, the original claim was that he was there before the 21st.

No, the original claim was that annexation started before the 21st.

> Second, Girkin was in Simferopol on the 21st. Simferopol is in the Crimea, but it in the part of the Crimea that is not part of the Ukraine (its national membership is disputed).

At that moment it wasn't disputed even by the Kremlin. The "disputing" would come a bit later.

> tass.ru, mid.ru, rt.com

Come on, man. TASS and RT would claim that the Ukrainian military is crucifying infants in Donbass and drinking their blood for breakfast. I'm sorry, I can't trust anything that comes from them about Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (mid.ru) is just a propaganda front for the Kremlin.

I've seen the video with commandos in Donetsk. To me they looked like an SBU (Ukrainian Security Office) counter-terrorist unit. They do seem to have Western equipment, but that's plausible because Ukraine does not produce that type of weapons/equipment locally (of course, I'm just speculating, and may be wrong here. I highly doubt that the Ukrainian authorities would send foreign mercs to clear a local government building when they have a number of world class CT units in the SBU).

> Civil society organizations (CSOs) have taken part in some of the recent protests.

I'm sorry but that's beside the point. I was doubting your claim of "The NGOs you mentioned made up large numbers of Euromaidan protesters". I don't see any evidence of "large numbers". And from my personal (subjective) experience, it was not the case.


> No, the original claim was that annexation started before the 21st.

Sorry. Yes. The original claim was that the annexation started before the 21st. Girkin's presence in the Crimea before the 21st (which didn't happen) was supposed to be evidence of that. Much of how to interpret the dates depends to some understanding of territorial sovereignty, and also of course whether Girkin et al should count as active military personnel (we agree yes only on the second).

The other evidence was the metal for the return of the Crimea, but I can not find any source indicated it awarded or existed before February 21st (can you?).

> At that moment it wasn't disputed even by the Kremlin. The "disputing" would come a bit later.

It's status has been disputed in modern history since at least 1991 when Crimea declared itself an independent autonomous state. I would agree that if you believed that the Crimea was not an autonomous state that it was an invasion of Ukraine. Named "Autonomous Republic of Crimea" and recognizing its history it's hard to argue that - and it fact it was the Crimean Parliament (not the Ukrainian Parliament) that was seized. But the issue is of course incredibly complicated and obviously closely guarded and considered by both the Russian Federation and the Ukraine. The jury ("international community"), unfortunately, is one that is led by powers with a direct interest in a result that benefits their objectives.

Bubbling up, though, I want to mention again that while this is an interesting area of international law, it contributes only little to the main deliberation.

> Come on, man. TASS and RT would claim that the Ukrainian military is crucifying infants in Donbass and drinking their blood for breakfast. I'm sorry, I can't trust anything that comes from them about Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (mid.ru) is just a propaganda front for the Kremlin.

Could you expound on how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [1] is a propaganda front for the Kremlin, while the State Department is not a propaganda front for the Executive Branch? (If you were to agree that the State Department was, in fact, a propaganda front - something we could have a very serious and evidenced conversation about - I could understand what you mean. Or maybe I don't understand how the institutions are different [school me]). Similar to what I will write below, propaganda outlets almost always tell some form of the truth (just truth that is beneficial). There's tons of propaganda on both sides. Maybe we could find some nonpartisan criteria for entering in information from sources that have been known to propagandize?

Can you show where TASS or RT have claimed such ridiculous things - the danger here would be putting words into a straw man's mouth. I totally get that TASS and RT run stories that directly benefit Russia and that, like many Western news organizations, spin news for their people. I get that you may not trust it for this reason. But this would be a reason too not to trust many sources I bet you would be willing to enter into the web of evidence to find consistent evidences narratives from.

Regarding RT/TASS: like any good propaganda outlet it needs to use almost exclusively white propaganda - you'll get the same from the Washington Post and Voice of America. In any case, for this particular story its numbers match funding and deployment numbers confirmed later by sources you do trust almost exactly - it would be a kind of strange coincidence for something like that to happen. There's also still the other reporting, for instance from Luders, which you haven't replied to I think need to be called out again lest they disappear into the ASCII tide.

> I'm sorry but that's beside the point. (regarding CSOs)

UNITED and USAID (and Soros, etc) are NOT besides the point and made up the vast majority of the content here. Please do not reply only to the CSO section. The documents all speak quite a bit about funding and cooperation of NGOs. You may consider CSOs another (sister) point that is evidence of Western support of political coup that needs a response of their own, not evidence about NGOs.

The enumeration of NGOs seems to be of interest to you. As I specified in the previous post this would take some time, and may even be a doomed project. Perhaps you would like to help in an enumeration?

[[Because I'm sure the conversation needs this at this point]]

The meta argument (all the way at the top) being made here is whether the West played any significant role in encouraging political disruption and installing leadership that benefited its policy decisions. It may be interesting for both of us to review the branches of argumentation therein and include important pieces of the argument that were silently dropped by the other, and to reform and submit larger arguments where the details have reached a consensus.

I do think the answer is most assuredly yes. I think you may too - though you'll specify that the way it was done was legal or primarily nonviolent. If this is the case, please let me know whether you would still like to continue discussing details and controversial topics, as I am willing to.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Foreign_Affairs_(R...


I apologize in advance since I'm a bit short for time at the moment and I'll just post a short(-ish) reply to the questions I can answer from the top of my head (more or less).

> Girkin's presence in the Crimea before the 21st (which didn't happen) was supposed to be evidence of that.

The medal forged by the Russian Govt. itself is the most damning evidence[0] (it's basically a confession).

> Much of how to interpret the dates depends to some understanding of territorial sovereignty

There's nothing to interpret: at that time Crimea was recognized as part of Ukraine even by Russia (see below).

>> At that moment it wasn't disputed even by the Kremlin. The "disputing" would come a bit later.

> It's status has been disputed in modern history since at least 1991 when Crimea declared itself an independent autonomous state.

In 1997 Russia and Ukraine signed a Treaty in which Russia accepted Ukraine's sovereignty over Crimea.[1]

> Could you expound on how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs... is a propaganda front for the Kremlin

Many of its statements are effectively regurgitated Russian state media news pieces, many of which are outright lies, while others are twisted to further a propagandistic agenda. It is amazing that a Foreign Office would base its official statements (and arguments used in international negotiations) on outright propaganda (made up or twisted stories the sole purpose of which is to incite hatred towards Ukraine within Russia).

> Can you show where TASS or RT have claimed such ridiculous things

Sure, but first: most of the well-known media outlets in Russia are state-owned or controlled/censored. Because of this there's practically no difference between them with respect to the journalistic integrity (or lack thereof) in their reporting.

"Channel One", the biggest Russian TV channel, ran a story[2] of a woman (allegedly from Slavyansk) who claimed that some Ukranian soldiers have crucified a child in front of his mother. Then they proceeded to tie the mother to a tank and drag her around the square (and she claimed to have seen it with her own eyes). Needless to say, this turned out to be a lie[3], but the story was circulated by many Russian news outlets without batting an eye.

As for ITAR-TASS and RT, you can read about some of their exploits here[4] and here[5][6][7].

[0] http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/25/putin-s-cri...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Crimea#Autonomous_R...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1TJLNcc5DY

[3] http://www.stopfake.org/en/lies-crucifixion-on-channel-one/

[4] http://www.stopfake.org/en/tag/rt/

[5] http://www.stopfake.org/en/exclusive-german-professor-for-it...

[6] http://www.stopfake.org/en/itar-tass-lies-pro-ukrainian-radi...

[7] http://www.stopfake.org/en/china-did-not-declare-its-support... of-russian-annexation-of-crimea/


> I apologize in advance since I'm a bit short for time at the moment and I'll just post a short(-ish) reply to the questions I can answer from the top of my head (more or less).

That's okay. Totally get that. Same boat. Thanks for status.

> The medal forged by the Russian Govt. itself is the most damning evidence

Couple thoughts.

The article you link to concludes that the 2/20 date makes sense for being dates that snipers became active.

It's also easy to explain the 2/20 date as a day that contingency planning and deployment started, and the reason the medal exists is because the contigency plan needed to be executed.

Finally I checked the source of the Crimean medal story. I am not able to find (although it has been very difficult to search because I do not speak Russian) any statement made by Russia regarding the medal or it being a mistake, as claimed by Radio Free Europe. Also, provided that RFE is a propaganda outlet, and we're trying to exclude them as sources, how do you feel about this? In particular there's this interesting blog post about how the British propaganda effort made up a fake German medal in analogous circumstances [1].

Finally, I do believe that the medal is real and the 2/20 date is real. But I'm not sure how to interpret the 2/20 day other than as the beginning of contingency planning. It's 100% true that Russia wanted to annex Crimea and designed plans to do it. There's no debate from me there.

> Many of its statements are effectively regurgitated Russian state media news pieces, many of which are lies, while others are twisted to further a propagandistic agenda.

It does sound quite a lot like the State Department. Of course Russia's propaganda has always been a bit more crass. So are we at a point where no official statements can be trusted? If so we're really limiting our sources. Is there a department of Russia that you trust? It's sort of hard to cite material if anything from any source in Russia is knocked out of consideration.

Anyway, there are non-Russian sources that were presented. It would still be difficult to explain the Der Speigel numbers matching the RT numbers so closely, etc. I don't mind if you can't or don't have time to pursue this line any more - Academi/Greystone/Blackwater presence is a side conversation to the main discussion.

> Sure, but first: most of the well-known media outlets in Russia are state-owned or controlled/censored. Because of this there's practically no difference between them with respect to the journalistic integrity (or lack thereof) in their reporting.

Yes.

I meant a source for the drinking the blood of babies thing. But the crucifixion one is pretty good. That's pretty silly, Russia...

I do not know what to make of the stopfake website (it's the first time I have run into it.) Here's a neat one for the US news, in case it is useful to you [2]. Regarding fake news in the United States, there has been similar coverage. Of course first comes the reports of WMDs in Iraq, the DoD Analyst Program and then media blackout [3], and plenty of other examples of media manipulation from the US government [4]. I totally get that Russia and RT are more crass.

Anyway, there are other sources listed. If you don't want to use RT that's fine with me, but we should probably avoid a bunch of different news outlets in that case and be sure to reply to the non-RT ones.

[[Back to what was mentioned before...]]

We should consider consolidating the conversation. There are lots of interesting things to be said, but there's a lot that hasn't been addressed and there is significant danger of too much rat-holing. I think you agree with the thesis that the US has been pushing politics, activists, demonstrators and interest groups in the Ukraine toward Europe through the use of CSOs and their funding of NGOs, and organizing a replacement to Yan evidenced by the leaked tapes on DemocracyNow and by the USAID documents that clearly state US Foreign Policy objectives and procedures. (Interesting aside: Secretary of State Kerry's son is has recently become a major stakeholder in Ukraine oil)...

I think we differ about how okay that is - you'll say that it's legal or acceptable. Can you correct me if I'm wrong about your agreeing that both covert and overt action have been and are taken in Ukraine and other states by the US to pursue policy objectives?

[1] https://ersjdamoo.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/mystery-of-the-cr...

[2] http://www.emergent.info/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_military_analyst_prog...

[4] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8933443


> Is there a department of Russia that you trust?

If you mean any department within the Government, then no, there isn't. If you mean "mass media", there are a couple that I trust (not unreservedly, though, but I consider them to have some standards of journalistic integrity):

http://www.novayagazeta.ru/

http://tvrain.ru/

Other than those there are pretty much no news outlets in Russia when it comes to Ukraine; the rest of the saner sources of information are blogs and opinion pieces.

> Can you correct me if I'm wrong about your agreeing that both covert and overt action have been and are taken in Ukraine and other states by the US to pursue policy objectives?

No, you're not wrong, of course they do.

> I think we differ about how okay that is - you'll say that it's legal or acceptable.

As I said, I think it's acceptable as long as it is legal. I don't mind the Russians meddling in Ukrainian politics (although I'd love them not to, but that's my personal preference) by lobbying, supporting NGOs and even propagandizing (provided it's not fighting wars against Ukraine).


Cannot everything you are saying about The West[sic] be applied to what Russia has done/is doing in E.Ukraine as well as Dagestan/Ossetia?


Yes.

It is not good versus evil nor is noble versus savage. It is power versus power.


What about Dagestan? Maybe you mean Abkhasia?


in addition to, yes, but upon review of a map, i mean Dagestan.


Okay, but what's with it? It's a kind of problematic region but not in the warfare sense.


Yes and No. I was referring to the Chechen conflicts as well as the mini-war between Georgia and the South Ossetian separatists. Russia's involvement in the region specifically. But yes, you are correct in that there is no open warfare there... currently.


The world is mostly in "there is no open warfare there... currently" state, as Donbass and Paris taught us in the last year.


12 dead is in no way near to war. From a plethora of potential regions to reference [CAR, San Pedro Sula in Honduras, Myanmar, Sonora and Chihuahua in Mexico, Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Niger, Libya, Punjabi region, Western Province of Pakistan, Colombia] i am surprised you picked Paris.

Regardless, you make my point: everything is cool until it is not. So who stands to gain by making shit fall apart?

My money is on a country overstocked with weapon systems, an abundance of ultra nationalists, and a near mono-economy.


Probably because just coming right out and claiming it's a "Zionist plot" doesn't fly very well around here.

/s


In the same world where the US' own military junta was installed (Bush) with ease, under the cover of 'democracy'.


Democratic? When they barred the Party of Regions from participating and didn't let the east vote?


The Party of Regions basically rebranded itself as "Opposition Block" and got 29 seats in the Parliament.

All of the country voted (including the Eastern regions). A smaller part of the Donbass region couldn't vote because the insurgents didn't let the Ukrainian polling stations to operate.


when one third of the country is under constant bombardment (by both sides) and not allowed to vote, the other third are refugees living in neighbouring countries, what you sadly have is not an election but a farce.


One third of the country? Please get your facts straight. It's not even one third of the Donbass region that's affected by the hostilities, and Donbass is only 2 of the 24 regions ("oblasts") of Ukraine.


I think showing the types of arms exported by country would be considerably more meaningful. I'd be interested to know if the reason the dollar amounts for certain countries is so high is that they're selling very expensive defense systems and not just a high volume of small arms. And from the source data, it looks like the value is expressed in constant 1990 dollars.


Visualizations like this are always awesome, but it would also be interesting to see the inverse of this chart.

Where do countries import arms from?


When you hover over a chord you can see both exports and imports for each pair of countries. The arms imports visualization is here: http://insightfulinteraction.com/armsimport.html


Hovering over a country shows where they import arms from.


As cool as it looks, its almost impossible to get the finer details with these kinds of visualizations.

For example, India apparently exports 10m worth of arms. To find out which countries buy from India is nearly impossible because of the relative scale of the visualization.


Below is a link to an image from the SIPRI db about countries India exports to. The database they used is pretty easy to use if you want to go more in depth.

http://i.imgur.com/qx03P4W.png


You can always google specific information, but visualisations like these help to tell the whole story.


What are major conventional weapons? Does that include rifles and pistols?

Phillipines apparently has less than $1M in exports, yet it's home to Armscor / Rock Island Armory, which sells quite a bit into the US.


Does not appear to include firearms, or even some classes of crew served weapons. The source db is here: http://www.sipri.org/databases/armstransfers you can get 'get everything' query and take a peak at the categories yourself. From a quick skim, its basically every possible type of actual weapon (as in actually kills things) except firearms and crew served machine guns... and I guess grenade launchers. Portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons are on the list. A lot of aircraft and naval avionics is on the list as well.


Germany's largest importer is Israel. What an interesting world.


...Protecting Israel's security is "part of my country's raison d'être," Merkel said in a March 2008 speech to the Israeli Knesset. "For me as German chancellor," she continued, "Israel's security will never be open to negotiation."

Partly as a result, Israel gets nuclear-capable submarines from the Germans, as well as any other weapons it wants. This time the Israelis wanted more modern launchers for rocket-propelled grenades and anti-armor weapons, made by Dynamit Nobel Defence near the western German town of Siegen.[0]

[0] http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-weapons-e...


new century, new alliances, new enemies.


It's not necessarily surprising as Germany gives huge discounts on these equipments to Israel. I don't have figures for all deals, but it seems usual for German taxpayers to pay for about a third of the costs.

Example:

> In 2006, the deal for 2 Dolphin AIP boats was finalized at a total of $1.27 billion, with the German government picking up 1/3 of the cost.

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/germany-may-sell-2-more-...


>with the German government picking up 1/3 of the cost.

probably cheaper than having these people unemployed.



Surprised by the fact that India buys and keeps it. And looks like China buys and give to all the Indian border countries. *Indian here


I notice there is no US-russia trade. Is this due to trade sanctions?


It may be a factor, but the US and Russia have very few imports overall. They don't need to, because they already produce almost everything they need at home.

The graph is difficult to read, but it appears that most countries either have a significant arms industry (and mostly supply themselves and sell to others) or don't (and mostly buy from others). I don't see any countries that have significant amounts of both imports and exports.


China both imports and exports if I read correctly.




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