Monday, 17 March 2014

7 Things Anti-Interventionists Forgot to Tell Putin

It’s good advice, says Robert Tracinski, only the people who need it aren’t listening.

‘This is the fundamental naiveté of the anti-interventionists. They offer excellent advice, just not to the people who need it. You might call this the paradox of pacifism: the reasonable counsels of peace find their most eager audience among those who least need to hear them, while being ignored by the fanatics and strongmen who actually drive most of the world’s conflicts.
So all of this advice just ends up restraining the good guys and letting the bad guys run wild—until we are forced into a much bigger intervention in the future.’

Read 7 Things Anti-Interventionists Forgot to Tell Putin


  1. 7 things democracy supporters forgot to tell Russians in Ukraine -

    1. Murray McCully ignores referendum results in New Zealand too hahahaha!

    2. Democratic elections only happen in the 'West'

    3. The media in the west can easily shit stir with a wink to their audience - such as "now come on, would you really trust an election result in a wog country where the buggers don't even speak English?" (*wink*)

    4. Therefore several hundred million people in the English speaking world have doubts about the validity of lots of non English speaking foreigners walking...ummmmm.... peacefully into a polling booth and...ummmmm....casting a vote (got to be something 'suspicious' going on)

    5. If you go to polling booths in vast numbers without trouble or violence and cast your votes - not to worry: the media can just hire some actors to go into a studio and be filmed, on a hastily constructed set, causing trouble and then run it as a news story ("Violence Mars Referendum")

    6. Disenfranchising certain types of people in the West is okay (they are usually black skinned so nobody cares) but by god! try that in a wog country and goddammit that is the end of the World! so there!

    7. How dare you buggers decide something for yourselves without $1 billion spent on tv adverts! (what kind of free thinking people are you??)

  2. I'm all in favour of intervening, as long as it's on the right side.

    In this case, the right side is democracy, self-rule, and the rule of law.

    The democratically elected government of Ukraine should be restored. Crimeans (who rightly no longer trust what is happening in Kiev), should be given the right to be part of Russia as they wish. Russia, who wishes in this instance to see both these things happen, should be supported.

    Intervention on the other side should be vehemently opposed.

  3. RT's agitprop obviously gets into people's soft heads.

    Mr Lineberry: A referendum where anyone with a Russian passport can participate, where anyone campaigning against the "yes" vote gets threatened, beaten up and their political material destroyed, or their TV/radio station gets gunmen threatening the staff, where there is no anonymity as you drop your ballot into a clear ballot box while gunmen look on, where requests for independent observers are denied, where any of the authorities of the incumbent administration have been overriden by gunmen supporting "yes" vote, is NOT a referendum remotely related to the likes of South Sudan or any other country that has recently had a genuine referendum on independence. 58% of Crimeans are Russian, but you want to believe over 95% voted yes? Given the Tartar population were murdered and oppressed under Soviet rule, it is unlikely any of them voted, let alone voted yes.

    So YES it is suspicious. It is not about non-English speaking foreigners. There have been ample examples of such plebiscites in non-English speaking parts of the world many times over.

    Now had it been possible to hold campaigns whereby the nationalistic lies about Ukraine's interim government are challenged, that paints a true picture of Russia's kleptocratic nepotistocracy and which allowed demonstrations and a free press, then yes a credible result might occur. It might be yes too.

    Of course those living in Karelia in Russia, which was part of Finland until Stalin annexed it as punishment for Finland being allied to Nazi Germany (which of course he was until Hitler turned on him), and the Japanese in the Kurile Islands, which suffered the same fate, presumably also want plebiscites as to whether they want to secede from Russia. No? So Russia really isn't a liberal democracy with freedom and self determination? Who'd have thought!

    Blair: When has the rule of law meant anything in Ukraine? Seriously. Should every local area of Ukraine be able to secede if it wishes? Do you want to extend this principle globally, and if not, why not? What happens when people who don't belong to the dominant national groups in these territories find themselves fearful of the ethno-nationalist fascist groups that have scrambled for independence? It's ok "democracy" has occurred then, and the majority can just jackboot their will over the rest right? Fuck the Tartars in Ukraine, after all that's what the Russians did and they aren't in the majority.

    I guess the "rule of law" of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the tripartite treaty between Russia, the US and the UK that all would respect this once Ukraine had handed over nuclear weapons to Russia isn't part of this then.

  4. Scott - I was just responding to the pathetic hypocrisy of Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

    By my count he has ignored the results of 6 referendums in NZ during his political career, so it is a bit rich for him to criticise the Ukraine one as well! haha!

  5. "Should every local area of Ukraine be able to secede if it wishes?"

    Yes. That's a matter for the locals to decide. For example, if the people in Lvov wanted to secede and join Poland. It is their business and their decision who they want to associate with.

    "Do you want to extend this principle globally?"

    That would be a very good idea.


  6. Mr Lineberry - yes quite.

    Amit - So who sets the rules around having a referendum? Should a group of gunmen come in from a foreign land to support the group seeking secession, threaten and assault those who campaign against it, take over the media and hold a far from secret ballot?

    Or should it be more like Kosovo, Czechoslovakia, South Sudan and Scotland, whereby the incumbent government agrees with the secessionist politicians to hold a referendum, with international observers, counting only those registered on the electoral roll in the territory concerned- with agreement to respect the result and for the individual rights of those who disagree to be respected?

    What happens if four households in a street want to secede and the three households between them don't? What happens if all the people in a territory except one town want to secede, and the people of the seceding territory don't want to grant corridors of access to that town?

    In short - what happens when whoever wants to redraw borders of sovereignty chooses to do so to take any minority into servitude and dictatorship.

    Of course Russia wont hold a referendum in Karelia or the Kurile Islands on the same principle, but I am betting Odessa might look like the next goal.

  7. Mr Lineberry

    "So who sets the rules around having a referendum?"

    The people who want to have a referendum do. It is their business to decide what to do. Secession does not necessarily require referendum though. It may, but it does not have to. Whether there is secession as well as how it occurs and why are the decisions of those directly involved to make, not foreign neocons, foreign gangsters, foreign governments, foreign "observers", foreign media and the like.

    "What happens if four households in a street want to secede and the three households between them don't?"
    That is up to those involved. Those who do secede should be left to so do and those who do not should be left to do as they decide. The arrangements they will develop in order to accommodate each other are a matter for themselves to develop.

    "What happens if all the people in a territory except one town want to secede, and the people of the seceding territory don't want to grant corridors of access to that town?"

    It is a sterile fantastical construct that all the people in a seceding territory would behave like this. More likely you are thinking of a situation where there is the presence of a powerful coercive government pushing that agenda. Fact is there would be connections between the people seceding and those who remained in the town, whether family, business associates/colleagues, trade, culture, sports, financial, romantic, personal and so on. Would all and every one those individuals chose to severe all their connections, relationships and so forth? Would they agree to refuse to allow right of way over their properties? In the case where existing owners of right of way refuse transit, that would immediately result in a demand for access that would be exploited by clever entrepreneurs- you know, them capitalists would be in there exploiting the opportunity for profit! In the end though, the matter of what to do and what decisions to make and what arrangements to make are solely up to the people involved, not foreign neocons, foreign gangsters, foreign governments, foreign "observers", foreign media and the like.

    Borders of sovereignty, which borders do you refer to? Some arbitrary lines on a map? Are those absolute? Can they be altered? Who says where they are and defines them?

    Most important, check your premise about what sovereignty is, how it is derived and who possesses it.

    I hear the people of the city of Venice and the surrounding region seek to secede. Same deal going on in Scotland, the Basque country, Kurdistan,... Would you propose to get involved in all of those? Best advice is to leave the locals to decide what THEY want to do.


  8. Amit

    Sovereignty is derived from individuals, that doesn't include the right to bully your neighbours into being governed by a more authoritarian state than the one you live in.

    Crimeans who wanted to live under the jackboot of Putin could have moved, or if democracy is so precious, could have voted in the upcoming elections for a secessionist party and argued their case.

    Who are "the people" in this case? It appears the "people" that count are Crimeans enamoured by Putin, not Tartars, not those who oppose him - for it was the Putinphiles that organised the referendum, supported by armed goons from Russia, to rubber stamp the conclusion they and the gangsters they had backing them wanted. 58% of the census population of Crimea is ethically Russian. You might believe that more than 85% of Crimean Russians are fans of Putin or that a significant number of non-Russian Crimeans are, but we wont ever know, given the Crimean "authorities" let anyone with a Russian passport vote.

    So yes, go with your secession argument, but don't pretend that what happened in Crimea was all about the people who live there, as there is plenty of evidence that invaders joined in, and those who didn't support the annexation were excluded, unless you think North Korea had a free expression of the popular will lately as well.

  9. You need to understand the Russians.

    They have a very long history of being 'followers', not individualists - even during Tsarist times - and shouldn't be imposing a 'western' view onto them.

    America, New Zealand, Australia etc have a history of rugged individualists creating modern countries out of nothing during the 19th century so it is an easy leap for us to criticise this kind of carry on in Russia, yet I think everybody is jumping the gun.

    During the 1990s Russians were given their freedom and then thought..."what do we do now?"

    What they did was go mad; they engaged in a spending spree (because they could), they engaged in investing (because they could) they engaged in a lot of other behaviour (because they could) unaware that they were sailing very close to the wind.

    I know - because I fell for it too

    My only failed investment (dammit!) was in 1995, buying shares in a company listed on the LSX which traded with Russia; the share price rose from 4 pence to 25 pence then 40 pence as 'profits' from Russia were being reported every six months.

    Then along comes August 1998 and it all goes spectacularly tits up for the Russians as their currency collapses - the result of 6 years of fun, underpinned by nothing - and with it the value of my shares which went from 47 pence to 1 pence in less than a week.

    In short order Russian banks failed, people lost their savings, investments couldn't be given away and the last 18 months of the 20th century was a period of misery for the vast majority of Russians.

    Add to this that every night on television was their 'leader' Boris Yeltsen pissed as a fart, incapable of governing, and presiding over what by the end of 1999 amounted to a 'failed state' and the Russians were screaming out for someone to tell them what to do (like the Tsar, Lenin, Stalin and others had done)

    Enter Putin...

    He takes over, slaps a few people around, sticks a few others in prison (as a warning) and straightens the country out reasonably quickly; a strongman telling everyone what to do in a place where they have 1000 years of quite liking that sort of thing.

    To us it seems bizarre; to libertarians it is unfathomable - but to Russians it was all great stuff.

    We criticise Putin but Russians don't care because Putin -

    1. Gave them order where there was chaos
    2. He made their savings in the bank safe
    3. He put food back on the shop shelves
    4. He got tarts and gangsters off the streets (and sent them to London and Spain)
    5. He had terrorists executed (none of the fair trial rubbish after the buggers had killed innocent people)
    6. He de-spived and de-wankered Russia - for better or worse.

    Last night I was watching the Bill O'Reilly show on Fox News where they were talking to various Russian immigrants on the street; O'Reilly expressed surprise that "they all still support Putin" - but it didn't surprise me in the least.

    Get old newspapers, or watch documentaries on, or read any books you can find - about Russia 1998 - 2000 and you will understand.
    You may not like it, and I certainly do not, but at least I understand why seemingly bizarre things are given wide approval by the average Russian in the street.

  10. Scott

    Sovereignty is possessed by individuals. Initiations of force are its negation. There is no justification for initiations of force against another person. This means that even were it possible for an individual to award their own sovereignty to another person or group of other persons, that grant could not include a power to initiate force against others.

    "Sovereignty is derived from individuals, that doesn't include the right to bully your neighbours into being governed by a more authoritarian state than the one you live in."

    Quite right and that sentiment applies to US neocons, associated war-mongers, as well as US trainers and funders of the assorted "revolutionaries" (such as neo-nazis, anti-semites, ultra-nationalists and all the various political species presently representing themselves as somehow a "legitimate" government upon the Ukraine population).

    "Crimeans who wanted to live under the jackboot of Putin could have moved, or if democracy is so precious, could have voted in the upcoming elections for a secessionist party and argued their case. Who...."

    This is a perfect example of necon speak- emotive, leading and disingenuous. Again, if a Crimean resident wants to secede that's his business and his decision and his right. There is no need for him to move.

    "Who are "the people" in this case?"
    They are the people involved- the ones who live there- the ones whose decision it is to make. Their number does not include you or ANY of your fellows. You are not even in the same hemisphere. It is none of your business- not your decision to make.

    I'm not the one pretending or relying on racist stereotypes, neocon bigotry and lies. You are. You lack a self-consistent position.

    Learn to stay out of other people's business.


  11. Mr Lineberry

    Your argument basically boils down to this, "Russians are not the same as normal people because I lost money on a poor investment I made in securities related to trade with Russia." Really? I ask you, are you serious? I mean, think it through. What did you know about Russia when you blew your load of money? Had you been there? What did you know about the business you invested in? Did you have first hand experience with the people who ran it or who were in key positions within it? What did you actually know first hand?

    I know about the times you speak about first hand. What occurred was not what you have described. You ought to have been more cognisant of what the western financial and banking organisations were doing.

    "America, New Zealand, Australia etc have a history of rugged individualists..."

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah and Russians are all untermenschen!


  12. My argument is that Russians like - and prefer - strong leaders to individualism found in the West; you need to at least understand that if you are wondering why Putin has such large levels of support.

    Regarding the investment, it was 2000 UK pounds and I did understand the business the company was engaging in.
    The problem was that after the collapse of the Ruble their Russian suppliers were paying them an agreed amount of money (Rubles) which was a joke once remitted to Britain (ie: what was a lot of money in July 1998 would have bought you a cup of coffee in London in September 1998)

  13. Mr Lineberry

    So Russians are "different". They are all collectivists (unlike all those individualist Westies) and they prefer "strong leaders" (unlike all those individualist Westies). This sounds most similar to those apologists for Communist barbarism who claimed that Russians needed a strong hand, like what Stalin was giving them. Stalin, he was harsh and some die (tens of millions of them) but Russians need "strong leadership". Mr Lineberry, this is a collectivist bigotry you are repeating.

    "... and I did understand the business the company was engaging in."

    What you thought you understood you actually didn't. No shame in that. Lesson to learn:

    You ought to have been more cognisant of what the western financial and banking organisations were doing. You ought to have known more about Russia (like actually going there to see for yourself).
    You ought to have personal dealings with and first hand experience with the people who run the companies or who ware in key positions within thecompanies you invest in.
    You need to know exactly what is going on, otherwise what you are involved in is not an investment but a bet on a horse.


  14. Amit - I would prefer it if you didn't tell me how to make investments; in this country we have an old saying about teaching your grandmother to suck eggs.

    To the implication that I (or anybody else, for that matter) somehow got right royally shafted, or conned, on the Middlesex Holdings PLC investment is not correct.
    I should point out that nobody, and I do mean nobody, predicted the collapse of the Russian Ruble in 1998; it was just one of those things which bit everybody on the backside.

    The problem is this - let's say you were owed $1 million Australian; that is around $1,065,000 NZD.

    If the Aussie dollar suddenly collapsed you may well get paid your $1 million Aussie dollars, but if it is, say, $200,000 NZD when brought back to New Zealand then you have a massive problem don't you?

  15. Mr Lineberry

    Surely you realise that reality is the final arbiter and that reality does not care what you prefer. Very few people give a squirt what you prefer either.

    Perhaps you were too busy sucking eggs and nuts to pay enough attention to what you were "investing" in and where that was headed. Whatever the case, your "investments", they turned out to be losers. You ought to have done your homework. You had no idea about what you were getting into. Not a clue and so you lost.
    Did you know that losing is for losers? So are excuses. Excuses are for losers who are going to remain losers. Face it, you lost. You lost because you did not know what you were doing.

    There are two lessons.

    1/. Know what you are getting into. That means, in the case of investing in a company, you need to have personal direct dealings with the principals of the company as a very minimum. You need to know them very well. If you are dealing with an overseas "investment" you better have deep familiarity of the place where the actual real function, the real activity, is going to occur. You better have direct knowledge of the transactions, the market in that place, the fundamental activities and occurances you are relying on. If you do not, then you are betting on a horse or worse.

    2/. If you do get it wrong, learn from the experience and amend your approach. Do not make excuses for yourself. Face it. You failed. Now it is up to you to understand why that was and correct the failure at source. Change your ways. Otherwise you are just another whinging loser fool and that loser experience is what you'll end up eventually repeating over again.

    "I should point out that nobody, and I do mean nobody, predicted the collapse of the Russian Ruble in 1998."
    That's not factually correct. Plenty of people saw that coming. I was but one. The counterparty risks were so screaming obvious. Look up "naked short". That is where you ought to have been at. Hopefully you'd have been on the correct side of the trade. It was a good time- so volatile.

    "If the Aussie dollar suddenly collapsed.."
    The question is WHY. Why would it collapse? What would be the cause? You need to do the homework prior to getting in there. These things do not occur in a vacuum. There would be a cause. That cause would take time to generate its consequence. Usually that time is measured in years. Use that lead time wisely and you'll not get the unwelcome surprise you experienced. You do not have to be Asian to know this.

    Regarding the "massive problem", why not look to alternatives? Say, thinking out loud, you used the money to buy assets in Australia, then you could go over there and live there for a few years. There's one approach. A FX movement need not cause you to take a loss. They alter around anyway and you could consider a longer term disaster recovery strategy, rather than a knee-jerk transaction and large loss.



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