Author Topic: Russia in the 21st Century [Superthread]  (Read 276377 times)

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Offline Infantryman2b

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #50 on: March 21, 2014, 12:07:56 »
http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/6/putin-has-transformed-russian-army-into-a-lean-mea/?page=all

Good read on Russia's new military mobility. This talk of how weak Russia's economy and what not isn't valid IMO. For one the Wests economy is crumbling, the US is trillions in debt, American society is filled with violence and crime and corruption also(maybe not as much as Russia, but very close), and the EU isn't strong IMO. Not to mention if we continue aggressive measures on Russia, then I guarantee  China will side with Russia damaging everyones economy. Gas would need to come from somewhere else not to mention all the other resources Europe gets from Russia. The Russian mainland has all the resources and minerals needed to sustain its own war machine for a long time. Underestimating Russian resolve and might are mistakes histories greatest military minds gambled on and lost big time. Its Naive to think the present situation is the basis to which to estimate capabilities.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 12:49:34 by Infantryman2b »

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #51 on: March 21, 2014, 12:36:32 »
http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/6/putin-has-transformed-russian-army-into-a-lean-mea/?page=all

... Underestimating Russian resolve and might are mistakes histories greatest military minds gambled on and lost big time...

I agree with what you said here.

Its Nivea to think the present situation is the basis to which to estimate capabilities.

...But I don't think you meant "Nivea". That is a kind of hand cream.
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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #52 on: March 21, 2014, 15:03:35 »
Russia's project seems more and more like reassembling the USSR, or Imperial Russia:

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/03/21/is-putin-making-moves-in-latin-america-too/

Quote
Is Putin making moves in Latin America too?
posted at 10:41 am on March 21, 2014 by Bruce McQuain

While everyone is focused on the Ukraine and eastern Europe, Vladimir Putin has also been projecting Russian power into our own backyard:
 
Away from the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is quietly seeking a foothold in Latin America, military officials warn.
 
To the alarm of lawmakers and Pentagon officials, Putin has begun sending navy ships and long-range bombers to the region for the first time in years.
 
Russia’s defense minister says the country is planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and just last week, Putin’s national security team met to discuss increasing military ties in the region.
 
“They’re on the march,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.”
 
Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command said there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America.

 “It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” Kelly said at the March 13 hearing.
 
Less obviously, but for a longer time, China too has been establishing a presense in the region:
 

“In Venezuela, a lot of the money that’s been able to prop up President Chavez and now Maduro has been Chinese money,” Kelly said.
 
But the push by Russia has implications which can’t be ignored, especially its attempt to establish bases in its old client states when it was the USSR.
 
Meanwhile, Latin America certainly hasn’t been much of a priority for the US:
 

According to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), there are 10 countries in Latin America that currently have no U.S. ambassador because they either haven’t been nominated yet or confirmed, a sign that the region is seen as a low priority.
 
Another sign of an inept foreign policy. If we don’t move quickly to correct the situation, the outcome is pretty easy to predict:
 

“We will be losing the ability to influence developments in a region that is very important to us because of proximity,” Rabasa said.
 
Indeed.  Likely these warning will be waved off as alarmism until it is too late.  And it will then tally as another failure in a long line of foreign policy failures by this administration.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #53 on: March 21, 2014, 15:16:04 »
...But I don't think you meant "Nivea". That is a kind of hand cream.
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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2014, 19:40:28 »
Вели́кая Оте́чественная война́
Great Patriotic War.  No need to add "of the fatherland", because "patriotic" implies that.
So, there I was....

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2014, 21:57:46 »
Вели́кая Оте́чественная война́
Great Patriotic War.  No need to add "of the fatherland", because "patriotic" implies that.

Спасибо, Господи
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #56 on: March 22, 2014, 13:11:38 »
Putin's upcoming May meeting with Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping should also be something to watch for this year.

Reuters

Quote
Putin looks to Asia as West threatens to isolate Russia

By Timothy Heritage and Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW  Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:09am EDT


(Reuters) - When President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty this week annexing Crimea to great fanfare in the Kremlin and anger in the West, a trusted lieutenant was making his way to Asia to shore up ties with Russia's eastern allies.

Forcing home the symbolism of his trip, Igor Sechin gathered media in Tokyo the next day to warn Western governments that more sanctions over Moscow's seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine would be counter-productive.

The underlying message from the head of Russia's biggest oil company, Rosneft, was clear: If Europe and the United States isolate Russia, Moscow will look East for new business, energy deals, military contracts and political alliances.

The Holy Grail for Moscow is a natural gas supply deal with China that is apparently now close after years of negotiations. If it can be signed when Putin visits China in May, he will be able to hold it up to show that global power has shifted eastwards and he does not need the West.

(...EDITED)

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #57 on: March 22, 2014, 13:23:43 »
Putin's upcoming May meeting with Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping should also be something to watch for this year.

Reuters


Putin/Russia needs to be a bit cautious. China is not Europe. China will not allow Russia to turn off the gas or oil ... not even once.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #58 on: March 22, 2014, 14:16:00 »
Bloomberg:  Does Europe Need Russian Gas?

Putkin may already be in the process of shooting himself in the foot.

Edit to get the link to work
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #59 on: March 22, 2014, 15:48:56 »
An interesting contrast piece; Russia in pre revolutionary times, photographed in colour. the images are very sharp and colour saturated, being photographed using a 3 plate process, details in the article.

The Final Years of Pre-Soviet Russia, Captured in Glorious Color

http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2014/03/prokudin-gorskii-photos-russia
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #60 on: March 23, 2014, 15:28:41 »
Interesting but, I think, because it is designed to convince Americans to change governments, not because it presents a credible case for a Russian turn around.

I remain convinced that Russia is a failing state, not a potential leader of even a rival for any of the America, China or India.


Here is an interesting take on Russia and Putin and neo-Eurasianism in an article that is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/has-putin-bought-into-these-dangerous-ideas/article17610287/#dashboard/follows/
Quote

Has Putin bought into these dangerous ideas?

DOUG SAUNDERS
The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Mar. 22 2014

On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin stood before the Duma and delivered a speech that changed the history of his country, and possibly of the world. The speech opened by declaring that the representatives of Crimea seated before him were “citizens of Russia, residents of Crimea and Sevastopol,” and ended by making this a fact, by signing Crimea into the Russian Federation, and making the world’s largest country slightly larger.

During the intervening hour he uttered 5,000 words that will be studied carefully. They changed the world’s question from “What is Mr. Putin thinking?” to “Does he really believe what he says?” If his language is taken at face value, Mr. Putin has become an ethnic-nationalist menace to his people and region, a Slobodan Milosevic with better weapons. If he is simply drawing on the language of extremism for political gain, then a different response is needed.

Speakers of Russian immediately noticed something different.

As Kimberly Marten, a Russia scholar at Columbia University noted, for the first time Mr. Putin did not refer to Russians as “Rossisskii” – citizens of Russia – but as “Russkii,” ethnic Russians. “Crimea is primordial ‘Russkaya’ land, and Sevastapol is a ‘Russkii’ city,” he said. And he described the Orthodox Church as the institution that “predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilization and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.”

His speech’s blend of Orthodox Christian ethnic-Russian nationalism with conspiratorial anti-Americanism is a major tip of the hat to the movement known as neo-Eurasianism, an ultra-nationalist political philosophy whose explosive language has become either Mr. Putin’s new guiding belief or, more likely, an important rhetorical tool in his political arsenal.

The central figure in this movement is the bearded philosopher Alexander Dugin, who has played an on-and-off advisory role in Mr. Putin’s political party for 14 years and who has frequently spoken to the media on behalf of Kremlin interests during the Ukraine crisis.

In the years after communism collapsed, Mr. Dugin and other activists revived Eurasianism, a pre-communist movement that saw the Russians as a fully independent third “civilization” between East and West. To this he added more Orthodox mysticism, the ideas of Martin Heidegger and of anti-globalization thinkers such as Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, a sprinkling of gender studies and critical theory, and came up with a movement whose declared enemies are liberal democracy, modernism and the Enlightenment, which he sees not as ideas with their own proud and independent history in Russia (which they are) but as tainted Western imports.

In 1992, months after the Soviet Union collapsed, Mr. Dugin wrote proudly that “the Endkampf, the final struggle will burst upon us very soon … the decisive hour is already at hand, the hour of Eurasia. The great war of the continents is approaching.”

It is unlikely (we can hope) that these words are what Mr. Putin has had in mind when his speeches have referred to neo-Eurasian ideas. After all, the President showed little sign of being an ethnic nationalist or Eurasianist during his first two terms in office, or even the beginning of his third; this new language has emerged in recent years, after Russia’s liberal middle class revolted against him and he sought a new political base.

Rather, he seems to be drawing from Mr. Dugin’s 2009 manifesto The Fourth Political Theory, which became a sensation in Moscow circles. The other three political theories to which the title alludes are liberalism, fascism and communism; the first, (economic and political liberalism, including liberal democracy), is to be opposed by all means possible. Fascists and communists, Islamists and “defenders of the spiritual traditions of the pre-modern West” are described as crucial allies in this struggle. He refers to his own ideology, the fourth, not just as neo-Eurasianism but frequently as “National Bolshevism” (a reference to National Socialism – he is an admirer of the Nazi legacy). He describes his ideology as “socialism without materialism, atheism, progressivism and modernism.”

Does Vladimir Putin really believe all of this? It’s unlikely, given his lack of prior interest in such extremes of ethnic nationalism. But he is clearly using this movement, and language, as a tactic with which to cement his power, as a gaudy ornament to his self-aggrandizement. For now, this is how we should see the move on Crimea: As an easily grabbed jewel in an autocrat’s crown, not as the launch of a continental bid. We are right to isolate and shun Mr. Putin as long as he pays favour to such dangerous beliefs; he must be aware of their darkest implications.

Neo-Eurasianism is a strange doctrine that holds that Russia is special and has a special place between liberal, Western Europe and conservative Sinic Asia. It is, in my opinion: fascist and foolish.

Russia is, simply, backwards.

Despite Borodin and Tchaikovsky,  Sholokhov and Solzhenitsyn, Abrikosov and Ginzburg and Ilyushin and Korolev, Russia remains an essentially peasant society stuck, not positioned, between a dynamic, forward looking Europe and an equally dynamic, albeit often inscrutable, Asia.

I think Aleksandr Dugin is charismatic but, fundamentally wrong. He has said, in The Basics of Geopolitics (1997) that: “In principle, Eurasia and our space, the heartland Russia, remain the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution. ... The new Eurasian empire will be constructed on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us. This common civilizational impulse will be the basis of a political and strategic union.” He promotes an alliance between Eurasia and the Arabs.  I think Dugin sees, clearly and correctly, that Russia is surrounded and will, sooner or later, will be chewed up, piece by piece, by the Germans Mittel Europeans and the Chinese. I understand that he and Putin want to fight against that, but ...  :dunno:
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Infantryman2b

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #61 on: March 23, 2014, 16:00:35 »
Some good articles. Hopefully no matter what happens, the worlds powers realize nobody can win an all out nuclear war. I think that if war did come between the west and east, the threat of nuclear war would happen if one of the major players was losing and country was facing a direct invasion. But then again nobody can know for sure. Russia definitely has an agenda as does China, this is definitely some very interesting current events.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2014, 16:16:51 »
Quote
As Kimberly Marten, a Russia scholar at Columbia University noted, for the first time Mr. Putin did not refer to Russians as “Rossisskii” – citizens of Russia – but as “Russkii,” ethnic Russians. “Crimea is primordial ‘Russkaya’ land, and Sevastapol is a ‘Russkii’ city,” he said. And he described the Orthodox Church as the institution that “predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilization and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.”

His speech’s blend of Orthodox Christian ethnic-Russian nationalism with conspiratorial anti-Americanism is a major tip of the hat to the movement known as neo-Eurasianism, an ultra-nationalist political philosophy whose explosive language has become either Mr. Putin’s new guiding belief or, more likely, an important rhetorical tool in his political arsenal.

And in Georgia

Quote
‘No to Theocracy’ Rally and Counter Demo
A week after Orthodox clergy-led crowd violently attacked an attempted anti-homophobia rally, several hundred people gathered on May 24 in downtown Tbilisi park under the slogan ‘No to Theocracy’ to protest against violence and to speak out against what they believe is the Georgian Orthodox Church’s attempts to claim supremacy over the state. In the same park a parallel rally was held by counter-demonstrators, who said they were gathered to protest against “propaganda” of homosexuality on the one hand and on the other to speak out in defense of the Georgian Church and Orthodoxy; some carried banners calling for “ban of propaganda of sexual wrongness and indecency”; one Orthodox priest at counter demo said he was protesting against “LGBTization in Georgia.” There was a heavy police presence in between the two demonstrations.

Way too many coincidences and too much speed.  This is not a spur of the moment response to some demonstrators in Kyiv/Kiev.
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #63 on: March 23, 2014, 16:32:37 »
Quote
In the years after communism collapsed, Mr. Dugin and other activists revived Eurasianism,a pre-communist movement that saw the Russians as a fully independent third “civilization” between East and West. To this he added more Orthodox mysticism, the ideas of Martin Heidegger and of anti-globalization thinkers such as Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, a sprinkling of gender studies and critical theory, and came up with a movement whose declared enemies are liberal democracy, modernism and the Enlightenment, which he sees not as ideas with their own proud and independent history in Russia (which they are) but as tainted Western imports.

In 1992, months after the Soviet Union collapsed, Mr. Dugin wrote proudly that “the Endkampf, the final struggle will burst upon us very soon … the decisive hour is already at hand, the hour of Eurasia. The great war of the continents is approaching.”

With respect to the Third Civilization I offer The Third Rome an ancient doctrine that goes back to the First Bulgar Empire as an alternative to the Western Rome in Italy and the Eastern Rome of Constantinople.

With respect to Orthodox mysticism I offer Rasputin.

And to prove that mysticism is not strictly a Russian problem I offer Jack van Impe on Gog and Magog

Some idiocies are self-fulfilling prophecies.

Russia may be foolish, fascist, backward and all the rest ..... but it is not inactive.
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

Offline pbi

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #64 on: March 24, 2014, 10:56:24 »
As usual, the combination of nationalist, xenophobic politics, ignorance  and fundamentalist religion never produces anything good. I see very little difference between the role of the Orthodox Church in fanning the Serbian nationalist flames in FRY in the early 90s or its antics in Russia now, and the rantings of  the religious right in the US as well as is various political mouthpieces.

If you oppose them, you oppose God.

These movements tend to obscure or demonize rational thinking, drum up the mobs of the ignorant and easily-led, and contribute to an atmosphere of self-righteousness, as to who can be the first to bring on the Apocalypse, or Armageddon, or whatever other mass bloodletting it is that will lead to "God's dominion on earth".

The US Founding Fathers had it right when they spoke about the "Separation of Church and State".
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #65 on: March 25, 2014, 11:08:42 »
Russia, or at leas Vladimr Putin's true goals may be to dismember Liberal Democracy in the States surrounding Russia. Compliant authoratarian States are easier to manage, but also don provide an attractiove alternative to the autocratic model of Russian rule to its own population:

http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/03/19/putins-real-target-democracy-in-russia-and-beyond/

Quote
Putin’s Real Target: Democracy in Russia and Beyond
Arch Puddington, David J. Kramer

Vladimir Putin considers stable, prosperous, rule-of-law democracies along Russia’s border as a threat because of what they represent: the possibility of an alternative to autocratic rule in Russia.
 
Published on March 19, 2014

Vladimir Putin’s brazen invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea are a frontal assault not only on Ukraine’s territorial integrity but also on the very concept of freedom and the ability of people to choose their political destiny.
 
The outcome of the crisis—and the response by the West—may determine the prospects for democracy for Russia’s neighbors and beyond Eurasia.
 
For some time, Putin has resented attempts to build democratic governments on Russia’s periphery. To be sure, Putin has clashed with neighboring autocrats from time-to-time. But when dictators like Alexander Lukashenka of Belarus have been challenged by reform movements, Putin has invariably sided with the forces of despotism. At the same time, he has imposed trade restrictions on Poland, waged cyber warfare against Estonia, incited Russians in Latvia to undermine that country, and occupied Georgian territory. More recently, the Kremlin initiated a campaign of economic sabotage against Moldova after that country decided to join the EU’s Eastern Partnership agreement.
 
Much of the commentary, especially from foreign policy ultra-realists, has spoken blandly of Russia’s desire to exercise “influence” over Ukraine and other states formerly under Soviet control. But to Russia’s leaders, influence means more than proper diplomatic and economic relations with Moscow. Putin’s overarching objective is to control a country’s leadership and political direction. While he is most comfortable if a country has a system similar to Russia’s—a modern authoritarianism with empty trappings of democracy—he has tolerated governments that are somewhat more open but with mediocre, corrupt leaders who are well disposed to Russia, like Ukraine’s recently deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.
 
Russia’s most stable neighbors are the three Baltic states and Poland, democracies rooted in rule of law, and they also are members of the EU and NATO. And yet Putin considers them a threat because of what they represent. Democracy, transparency, rule of law, and respect for human rights are concepts that clash with the corrupt, authoritarian model Putin is intent on creating in Russia and along its borders. Greater democracy in neighboring states, he fears, could generate demand for meaningful freedoms inside Russia itself.
 
To staunch demand for liberalization, Putin has based his presidency on the suppression of the political opposition, and he has achieved this by marginalizing opposition parties and by relentlessly crushing civil society. He has taken special aim at dissident activists because he is aware of the role that civil society has played in promoting change in Ukraine, Georgia, and the Arab world.
 
Early on, Putin masterfully established control over messaging. From the beginning of his rule, command and control of the media have underpinned Putin’s governing strategy, including his takeover of two nationwide, privately held television networks. Russia today approaches the status of a classic propaganda state. Russia’s media focus single-mindedly on portraying the President as the latest in a line of great Russian strongmen, on promoting his policies, and especially on demonizing his opponents.
 
Propaganda is a permanent project for the Kremlin. The Russian media needed no time to prepare once Putin made the decision to annex Crimea and threaten to expand his intervention to eastern Ukraine. The propaganda offensive began immediately. Crimea was cut off from Ukrainian television and exposed to fabricated accounts of the depredations of Ukrainian fascists and the oppression of Crimean Russians. Ethnic Russians who live in Ukraine understand the grim implications of annexation. Some have told Western journalists that, whatever their reservations about the new Ukrainian authorities, they do not want to become citizens of Putin’s Russia. Those views are even more firmly held by ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars (24 and 12 percent of the population, respectively) living in Crimea.
 
Putin publicly blames the United States for the political movements that have overthrown despots in recent years. But behind his assertions is a deep apprehension that a stable democracy next door would threaten the legitimacy of his own repressive model. If he succeeds in grabbing Crimea, he is sure to mobilize his formidable weapons to destabilize the rest of Ukraine, in effect warning off the European Union and NATO, and to impose a new doctrine of limited sovereignty on Russia’s neighbors.
 
Beyond Eurasia, Russia has taken the leading role in a coalition of authoritarian regimes that provide diplomatic, economic, and occasionally military support for beleaguered dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Not surprisingly, Russian officials have made clear their hope that democracy in the Arab world will fail.
 
When Putin assumed the Russian presidency in 2000, prospects for progress toward freedom in Eurasia seemed promising. In the intervening years, political conditions have deteriorated to the point that people living in the post-Soviet sphere face levels of repression as severe as those experienced in the Middle East. Putin is not solely responsible for this. But he is the principal enabler. He has recently gone a step further by arguing that his system—with its political prisoners, anti-gay and anti-immigrant campaigns, and noisy propaganda—is as desirable and legitimate as Western liberal democracy as a model for other countries.
 
Western leaders must recognize that the serious threats posed by Russian expansionism include challenges to freedom of speech, honest elections, the rights of minorities, and a just legal system—the foundational values of liberal society. Accordingly, the response to events in Ukraine must be strong and swift—tough sanctions against Putin and his regime and support for the Ukrainian people. Left unchallenged in a serious way, Putin’s “success” in Ukraine will whet his appetite for further campaigns to expand Russia’s influence at democracy’s expense.

David J. Kramer is president of Freedom House. Arch Puddington is vice president for research at that organization.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #66 on: March 29, 2014, 12:19:52 »
Russia's Declining Influence

Warsaw Pact - Died 1989

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrzgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, East Germany

USSR - Died 1991

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrzgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, East Germany

CIS

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrzgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, East Germany

CSTO 1991

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrzgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, East Germany

SCO 2001 (Competing Organization - Attracts the Stans to Beijing - Belarus only given observer status - also attracts other Asian nations)

China, Mongolia

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrzgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, East Germany

Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkey, ASEAN

Eurasian Union 2010

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrzgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, East Germany

Crimea Supporters 2014

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrzgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, East Germany

How much of that contraction has happened on Vlad's watch?  What has he prevented?  What has he hastened?


Add in the following separatist threats within Russia

Chechenya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Udmurtia, Chuvashia, Prussia, Sakha, Siberia, Tuva (there are others without "official" party organizations)

And Vlad's increasing references to Ethnic Russians as opposed to Civil Russians and you can discern a desperate man, increasingly isolated, struggling to find a means of hanging on to power even as he feels the noose contract.

Times are becoming more interesting for both us (of the broad West) and the Chinese.







Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #67 on: March 29, 2014, 15:01:49 »
Crimean Vote Galvanizes Russian Separatists

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/crimea-vote-galvanizes-separatists-in-russia/496142.html

Russia Movements Towards Sovereignty

http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-11404.html

Particularly interesting is this

Quote
The enormous Republic of Sakha in north-central Siberia, rich in diamonds and other minerals, exemplifies the threat that secession poses to the Russian Federation. Sakha has declared that its local laws supersede those imposed from Moscow and that it will retain all revenues generated by the sale and use of its resources. The republic also has accepted substantial direct development investment from Japan and China. Many members of Sakha's Russian majority have sided with the indigenous population in supporting self-government or full independence. Experts believe that such regions as Sakha, Tatarstan, and Bashkortostan theoretically have sufficient natural wealth to become viable independent entities. According to estimates, these regions' secession from the Russian Federation would deprive Russia of half of its oil, most of its diamonds, and much of its coal, as well as a substantial portion of such industries as automobile manufacturing.

taken together with these





And you clearly see the Ethnic Russians dying and the Non-Russians growing further and further away from Moscow.
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #68 on: March 29, 2014, 15:37:48 »
Considering tht Siberia is overrun with Chinese,Putin better look to the east and restore Russian control over its border.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #69 on: March 30, 2014, 02:32:22 »
What most in the West forget is that Putin has an 80% approval rate. If anything, the Crimean crisis have solidified popular support at home. I don't think his approval ratings ever dipped below 60% in his 10+ or so years in power.

That was in spite of a 10 years insurgency in Chechnya that cost some 7000 casualties amongst Russian troops.

Plenty of dictators hold on to power in spite of bad economic conditions.

E.g. Iranian mullahs, Fidel Castro, Soviet Union, Hugo Chavez,etc. 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 03:06:08 by Hisoyaki »

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #70 on: March 30, 2014, 09:05:08 »
Some good advice, in my opinion anyway, from Prof Stephen Sestanovich (Columbia University), in this opinion piece which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/01/opinion/putins-reckless-gamble.html?_r=0
Quote

Putin’s Reckless Gamble

By STEPHEN SESTANOVICH

MARCH 29, 2014

President Obama’s meetings with European leaders last week made clear how much they hoped Russia, having seized Crimea, would call off any further dismemberment of Ukraine. They may get their wish, whether or not President Vladimir V. Putin’s telephone call Friday to Mr. Obama bears diplomatic fruit. But to assure Ukraine’s survival, the United States and Europe need a more ambitious strategy. To avoid a new Cold War, we must learn the right lessons from the old one.

The best reason to think President Putin is in fact seeking a break in the action is that his policy to date has been one improvisation after another. For weeks, he urged Ukraine’s leaders to crack down on protesters. When doing so brought down the Ukrainian government and created still more disorder in Kiev, Mr. Putin’s original goal — to draw the whole country into his orbit — seemed hopelessly out of reach. His impulsive response — grabbing Crimea, the one piece of Ukraine already under de facto Russian control — has brought him a quick 10 percent jump in popularity at home (and given him a new tool, nationalist hysteria, with which to control dissent). It has also produced the most extreme international isolation Moscow has felt since Leonid I. Brezhnev invaded Afghanistan.

Mr. Putin needs a breather. If he forswears further territorial aims in Ukraine, he will get no early rollback of the sanctions Europe and America have imposed. But he can probably avoid new ones. So much discussion has focused on the risk of a Russian blitzkrieg into eastern Ukraine that, when it doesn’t happen, many Western policy makers will breathe a sigh of relief. Mr. Putin could then work to cool European and American indignation, and get our leaders bickering with one another about the next step. With that, he — and we — might think the worst was over.

Would it be? Russian actions have been so shocking that their impact will certainly linger. Mr. Putin has won himself a reputation as a wrecker of international norms. He’ll have to live with that for a while. Yet the real damage to Russian diplomacy goes far beyond the question of personal trust.

By undermining Ukrainian statehood, Mr. Putin has made it impossible to call off the crisis. Over more than 20 years, Ukraine’s leaders, however corrupt and incompetent, have been extremely responsible about the question of national unity. Despite ethnic resentment and suspicion, they never contemplated breaking up the country. This was the third rail of Ukrainian politics, and very few were willing to touch it. Secession was taboo.

Now Mr. Putin has put the question of a breakup on the national agenda. And it can’t easily be taken off. Fractious nationalism — not invasion — is Ukraine’s real vulnerability. Even without a grand plan to dismember his neighbor, Mr. Putin has recklessly whipped up patriotic sentiment and groups on both sides of the border. Such forces have a life of their own. Moscow may offer separatists in eastern Ukraine active support or mere rhetoric. Either way, the threat is a permanent one. As in Crimea, Mr. Putin can turn the “protection of Russian speakers” into outright aggression almost overnight.

To limit this danger, the United States and Europe have to address Ukraine’s many weaknesses. Economic success is important; American loan guarantees, the International Monetary Fund’s new $18 billion stabilization program and the opening of the European Union’s market will help.

But the problem goes beyond matters of trade, currency or economic growth. It goes beyond even the issues of corruption and the rule of law. Ukraine’s institutions function poorly across the board, from its military to its police and border guards, from local government to political parties. When ethnic resentments were under control, this poor performance didn’t matter. Now it could produce a new crisis.

American policy has rarely excelled at “nation building.” Even the rigors of European Union accession, or of I.M.F. assistance, which demand reform and modernization, offer no surefire solution. In Europe and America, budgets are tight and attention spans short. But unless our policy makers understand the huge scope of the problem, they will someday wake up to discover Ukraine’s viability at risk again.

No one wants to revive the Cold War. But it offers lessons for today. In the 1940s, the authors of “containment” saw nation building as the key to success. They wanted to check Russian power without war, and believed that across Western Europe, once viable societies were so deeply divided that they might not survive. Those nations’ political and economic models, like Ukraine’s today, were broken. They would not hold together without what Dean Acheson called “the added power and energy of America.”

What made “containment” successful was not the infliction of pain on the Soviet Union. The heart of American policy was to revive, stabilize and integrate countries on our side of the line. Yes, we worried that Stalin had been able to bring down the government in Prague. We worried even more that he might do so in Rome and Paris. Successful nation building eventually dispelled those fears. In time, even Eastern Europe got its chance to build successful pluralist societies, but only because years earlier Western Europe had done the same.

A policy that saw the parallels between the dangers of the ’40s and those of today would never — ever — accept the annexation of Crimea. But it would not make reversing it the most urgent goal. Our real challenge is to keep Mr. Putin from any temptation to break up one of the biggest countries in Europe. It may take years, even decades, of effort, just as it did from the 1940s on, to know whether our policy has succeeded. Unless it does, we will face a far more dangerous crisis than the one over Crimea.

----------
Stephen Sestanovich, a professor of international diplomacy at Columbia University, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the United States ambassador at large for the former Soviet Union from 1997 to 2001, is the author of “Maximalist: America in the World From Truman to Obama.”


I think Prof Sestanovich has the big things about right: we don't want, certainly don't need, a new "cold war;" Europe, large parts of it, remains, as it was in the 1940s, weak and disorganized; containment works; and Russia is not anywhere near as powerful nor as capable as we might frighten ourselves into believing.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Online Chris Pook

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2014, 12:41:10 »
Some other graphics to ponder:

The border shared by Kazakhstan, Russia, China and Mongolia on the Altai



Population Density



And below my own contribution.

To the west of aging Moscow is aging Europe.  To the south is the Turko-Scythian insurgency (to include the Uighurs of China's Xinjiang province - and the equally restive Buddhist province of Tibet in China).  To the east is a younger, more ethnically diverse population where even the Russians are not particularly tied to Moscow (forcible relocations, inmates of the Gulag and Gulag guards put some pressures on their patriotism, I am sure). 

Throughout Russia proper are many locations where the authority of Moscow is challenged.   In the far east Japan and China are bypassing Moscow and talking to the locals to make their own investment deals directly.  And in the 90's the direct route to Vladivostock and the Magadan ran through Seattle and past Sarah Palin's backyard.

Vlad may have an 80% approval rating but this is likely concentrated in the same way that Marois's support is concentrated.

One of his problem's is that his strongest support comes from Rus of Moscow and pensioners.   The farther from Moscow the weaker his support - and he is not likely to get large numbers of pensioners to resettle to the East to increase his hold in that territory.

Russia's East is like Joel Garreau's Empty Quarter - resource rich, people poor, and a puzzle to the pensioners of the Blue State cities that suckle from it.

Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #72 on: March 30, 2014, 13:43:23 »
What most in the West forget is that Putin has an 80% approval rate. If anything, the Crimean crisis have solidified popular support at home. I don't think his approval ratings ever dipped below 60% in his 10+ or so years in power.

That was in spite of a 10 years insurgency in Chechnya that cost some 7000 casualties amongst Russian troops.

Plenty of dictators hold on to power in spite of bad economic conditions.

E.g. Iranian mullahs, Fidel Castro, Soviet Union, Hugo Chavez,etc.

If you read history carefully, you will see lots of seemingly invincible dictatorships and authoratarian governments which lasted for a long time, but then suddenly crumbled like dust. The former USSR is, in fact one of these regimes.

The problem is that these regimes are brittle and rigid. So long as the stresses (internal or external) are low enough, or within limits, they can resist much like a structural element in a building or a car. However, like a structural element which is repeatedly stressed, it develops faults or accumulates stress unevenly, which can result in a catastrophic failure later when new or different stressors arise.

They can't even releave the stress through innovation or growth, since these are direct threats to the regime in power and whatever support base it has (think of crony capitalists and then multiply by 10), and generally, htese sorts of regimes cannot reatact quicly to many tipes of events because they are centralized regimes and suffer from the "Local Knowledge Problem" (where local actors can react to fleeting opportunities, while the time it takes to communicate the event, process it, issue directives and take action via central command and control means the opportunity is gone before the action takes place).

So Putin might have solid "approval" ratings, and appear strong, but who knows where the hidden fault line is, or what will trigger it? Very few people predicted the total collapse of the USSR how or when it happened (the event was totally dumbfounding for most), and if/when Putin or Russia go down, it will seem similarly surprising.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #73 on: March 30, 2014, 18:09:42 »
Facta non verba. Russia has a growing birth rate, sits on Europe's supply of gas, has a military that is no paper tiger, and has clout whether we like it or not. 
What they don't have is crippling debt, nor is their GDP less than the little debt they do have.
We can talk about how the rotten structure is about to collapse all we want, but more and more it sounds like what the Germans were saying about the USSR in 1941.
They get and understand force like we do. If we want to contain them, then park a carrier battlegroup in international waters in the Baltic,  in the Arctic near Murmansk, in the Black Sea and one in the Pacific off of Vladivostok.  Then politely ask them to dial down the rhetoric. And by "them", I mean Ukraine.
So, there I was....

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #74 on: March 30, 2014, 19:57:06 »
Russia has a growing birth rate..... but it is in the East and highest amongst the "subject peoples".

Russia sits on Europe's supply of gas .... currently and Europe doesn't like it and China wants it

Russia has a military that is no paper tiger .... but it is not what it used to was

Russia has clout.... stipulated without contention

Russia doesn't have crippling debt .... but it needs cash flow to convert gas into pensions and tanks

Our problems will not be solved by waiting for Russia to collapse.  It will get more dangerous before that happens. 

Equally we are not equipped materially or psychologically to go invading Eurasia.  What happens there will happen and we will adapt, adjust and accomodate - or be silly buggers and go broke.

They do indeed understand force - but only if we actually intend to allow people to start squeezing triggers when "red lines" are crossed. 

No indication of that to date.

And no, I don't propose turning my back on any man or woman that chooses to decide their own fate.  So long as they keep their fist away from my nose.

More thoughts from Sakha:

Quote
With the demise of the Soviet Union, Sakha, like the rest of the vast country, underwent a wrenching transition. The leaders of the Republic tried to take advantage of the confusion to realize their long-standing desire for independence, and therefore declared Yakutia’s sovereignty in 1991. Such a declaration had little significance, but during the rest of the decade Sakha did achieve an unaccustomed degree of political and economic autonomy. By the late 1990s, John Tichotsky could write that, “In the area of regional sovereignty, Sakha is the leader among all of Russia’s political units” (p. 227).

Source: http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/sakha-yakutia-since-the-fall-of-the-soviet-union#ixzz2xUbToM5S

Quote
The post-Soviet transition also brought major economic changes. Industrial production plummeted; according to Tichotsky, of all Soviet regions only Kamchatka experienced a greater decline. Personal income dropped as well, and the average life expectancy slipped by three years. As state farms were broken up and herds privatized, livestock was slaughtered with abandon, temporarily increasing meat consumption. But as Tichotsky also specifies, Sakha experienced a more rapid economic recovery than the other parts of the former Soviet Union. Driven mainly by diamond mining, the republic matched and then surpassed its previous level of economic output. In 1995, almost half of its industrial production derived from diamond mining. Currently, Sakha is considerably richer than Russia as a whole on the basis of per capita GRP (Gross Regional Product), with 2009 figures of $18,955 and $12,339 respectively. But such apparent wealth by no means benefits all the people of Sakha. As is true elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, the end the communist system generated both winners and losers. Pensioners in particular have suffered, as their allotments have failed to keep pace with inflation.

Source: http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/sakha-yakutia-since-the-fall-of-the-soviet-union#ixzz2xUbiLKpN

Quote
The end of the Soviet system also resulted in the demographic transformation of Yakutia. In 1989, the Sakha were a minority within their own republic, accounting for thirty-three percent of the region’s total population, as opposed to the fifty-seven percent constituted by Russians and Ukrainians. As can be seen in the Wikipedia graph posted here, the Russian population dropped sharply after the political transition, as large numbers of Russians abandoned the harsh land of Yakutia in favor of larger cities and milder climes  (interpolation - like Crimea). At the same time, the Sakha  ethnic population continued to grown, due mainly to a relatively high birth rate. This trend continues: according to the 2002 census, the Sakha then numbered 432,290, constituting 45.5 percent of the republic’s population; in 2010, they totaled 466,492, coming in at 49.9 percent. Other indigenous ethnic groups also expanded in the same period; the Evenks, for example, increased from 18,232 to 21,008 and the Yukaghirs from 1,097 to 1,281. Russians, Ukrainians and Tatars, on the other hand, all registered population declines in the republic from 2002 to 2010.

Source: http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/sakha-yakutia-since-the-fall-of-the-soviet-union#ixzz2xUbx26vb

Just as the American Southwest is changing,  and the influence of the Canadian East is diminishing so are Russia's fates changing for exactly the same reasons - Demographics.

As stated earlier - Russia is not yet the Ottoman Empire.  She's not that sick.  And the Ottoman's never had nukes.  Russia is going to be more dangerous than the Ottomans ever were.

But it doesn't strike me as a gesture of strength to be parking IRBMTBMs (Iskanders) in the Orenburg corridor between recently separated and unsupportive Kazakhstan and a bunch of restive oblasts with ethnic connections to the Kazakhs.  That Corridor is the gateway past the Urals to the Far East.

Edit:  My error on the Iskanders - 500 Km with the SS26 - 2000 km when launching P500 cruise missiles.

What are they going to use those missiles on?  Turks on ponies?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 20:10:20 by Kirkhill »
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]