"The Risks Are Enormous"

"The Risks Are Enormous"

There are 326 comments on the Slate Magazine story from Apr 18, 2014, titled "The Risks Are Enormous". In it, Slate Magazine reports that:

WARSAW, Poland - Poland's foreign minister, Radoslaw "Radek" Sikorski, has been intimately involved in the Ukraine crisis, including in the negotiation of an agreement in February that then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovycha walked away from, further fueling the Maidan protest.

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Clear Dharma

Bridgend, UK

#1 Apr 19, 2014
I am in total agreement with Sikorski on the Ukrainian situation - except, and it's a big except - his strong urge to involve the USA militarily in the region. That is a big mistake.
The responsibility and the risk, as well as the gains, should lie within Europe - quite possibly a European led- NATO mission.

The terms of cooperation between USA and Europe need to me rapidly reviewed, as Ukraine changes everything and the last thing we need is to step back in time to a Soviet/ Neocon Cold War.

I appreciate that we're talking about a Washington Post interview here. But Sikorski need to step back and away from that umbilical to America.
Clear Dharma

Bridgend, UK

#2 Apr 19, 2014
The rest though is good:

<<Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski on Putin’s reckless course.
By Lally Weymouth
(Continued from Page 1)

Do you think Putin will next go to the Baltic states? Does he have a strategy?

I think he is honest in what he says. The [Crimea] annexation speech was his bold and, I think, genuine statement of his new foreign policy. I think he is going to be strategically bold but tactically flexible, in response to what others do. You know, where there is resistance, he will draw back.

Do you think Putin's plan is to annex eastern Ukraine or just to destabilize it and make the government in Kiev irrelevant?

If I were to guess, and this is what the Russian side is telling us, they would be satisfied with a federal arrangement for Ukraine. By federalism they do not mean U.S.-style federalism, they mean Bosnia-style federalism. In other words, having an overwhelming influence over a part, which can then paralyze the whole. And preventing Ukraine from reforming and becoming successful that way without having to invade.

So Russia sends agents to towns in eastern Ukraine, and they then hold the towns?

They are sending [military intelligence] operatives and spending a lot of money on these separatists, and there does not seem to be much public enthusiasm for it. I do not think that the Ukrainian government is in the mood to lose control and to be partitioned politically.

People have been surprised by the passive response of the Ukrainians—the Russians walked into Crimea, and nobody lifted a finger.

Remember that on that Russian-Ukrainian border, people's identities are not as strong as we are used to in Europe. They were ploughed through by decades of Sovietism. They reflect Ukraine’s failure over the last 20 years and Ukraine's stagnant standards of living. You know, when you are a Ukrainian miner or soldier, and you earn half or a third of what your colleagues just across the border in Russia earn, that questions your identity.&#8232;But at the same time, look at what happened on the Maidan. In the middle of winter, people stood for weeks in the cold, sometimes reaching minus 30 degrees, because they wanted to associate their country with the European Union and to get rid of a corrupt leader.

Do you think the whole post-Cold War order has changed now?

Russia has declared itself to be a revisionist power, unhappy and ready to break the political and legal consensus [established] after World War II and after the Cold War. That is why everybody is so concerned. The people who should be most worried by what they have heard from the Kremlin are the countries that have large concentrated Russian minorities. That is Kazakhstan, Belarus, and indeed, Latvia. But the first thing we should do is to take stock of where we are in terms of security in Europe and abandon postmodernist illusions that conflict is unthinkable.

Somebody told me that you heard Putin talking out loud about dividing Ukraine awhile ago. Is that true?

Oh yes, President Putin made a speech at the Bucharest NATO summit in 2008, at which he spoke about Ukraine as an artificial country put together from bits of other countries. And yes, we have received a letter from the deputy speaker of the Russian Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, proposing that Poland take five provinces of Ukraine. He sent similar letters to Hungary and Romania, also making territorial proposals to them.

When?

It was a month ago. We told him we were not doing it.>>
Clear Dharma

Bridgend, UK

#3 Apr 19, 2014
<<Europe has enormous business relationships with Russia and is dependent on Russian gas.

Poland's relationship is bigger than most. We trade with Russia as much as the United States does. But our economy is smaller, so you can imagine that it is a bigger part of our economy. Seven percent of our exports go to Russia. That is why we are reluctant to impose sanctions on Russia. We would rather Russia stop doing what is giving rise to the need for sanctions.&#8232;We should do the energy union in response to these events. Remember, the European Union started as the union of coal and steel, which were the strategic commodities in the 1950s. Today’s strategic commodity in Europe is gas, and we take about 30 percent of our gas from Russia, as does Europe. But we overpay because Russia has managed to create monopolistic arrangements.

So if you are dependent on Russia for energy …

Not very much, no, no. One-third, and remember, gas can be exchanged for other forms of energy. We only extract about a third of what we consume in Poland, but that is enough for all our households. Russia needs our money more than we need its gas.

But meanwhile you have German and American businessmen going to Moscow to make deals.

Which is understandable. People want to make money.

But it is hard to put a lot of pressure on Mr. Putin in that circumstance, is it not?

I think Russia will realize that she is far more interdependent with the rest of the world than they've realized so far.... Genius is knowing where to stop. Russia probably has enough resources to digest Crimea. I think all of eastern and southern Ukraine might give them indigestion.

What are your other concerns about the Ukraine situation?

What I think has changed is that many people assumed that Russia was on a convergence path with the West. They joined the [World Trade Organization], we were helping them to join the [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development], they were already a member of the Council of Europe, and actually the Russians were the country with the most cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights. So it looked like Russia was rejoining the real world after the Soviet detour. This has now been questioned....&#8232;The question is whether or not the Russians will invade in force in response to Ukraine trying to regain control over their own territory.

That could lead to the Russians saying: Aha, we warned you.

Yeah, but it is an unacceptable type of warning.>>
George

Red Deer, Canada

#4 Apr 19, 2014
Russia needs to back off, send the troops back to their barracks and let countries like Poland and Georgia help Ukraine get back on her feet. It took 20 years of bad management to screw the country up and will take 20 years to get it back but Ukraine has a strong enough population that can pull it together and succeed.

Russia is finding itself going down the same path with all the sanctions coming its way. It will find itself with all the oil and gas and no one to buy it. Countries like Romania are refusing to let Russia put pipes through their lands to bypass Ukraine and now all of EU is refusing, not sure what Russia is going to do with he excess but I guess now they will put in the pipelines to China that they have been avoiding

Since: Aug 09

Saint Louis, MO

#5 Apr 19, 2014
Clear Dharma wrote:
The rest though is good:
<<Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski on Putin’s reckless course.
By Lally Weymouth
(Continued from Page 1)
Do you think Putin will next go to the Baltic states? Does he have a strategy?
I think he is honest in what he says. The [Crimea] annexation speech was his bold and, I think, genuine statement of his new foreign policy. I think he is going to be strategically bold but tactically flexible, in response to what others do. You know, where there is resistance, he will draw back.
Do you think Putin's plan is to annex eastern Ukraine or just to destabilize it and make the government in Kiev irrelevant?
If I were to guess, and this is what the Russian side is telling us, they would be satisfied with a federal arrangement for Ukraine. By federalism they do not mean U.S.-style federalism, they mean Bosnia-style federalism. In other words, having an overwhelming influence over a part, which can then paralyze the whole. And preventing Ukraine from reforming and becoming successful that way without having to invade.
So Russia sends agents to towns in eastern Ukraine, and they then hold the towns?
They are sending [military intelligence] operatives and spending a lot of money on these separatists, and there does not seem to be much public enthusiasm for it. I do not think that the Ukrainian government is in the mood to lose control and to be partitioned politically.
People have been surprised by the passive response of the Ukrainians—the Russians walked into Crimea, and nobody lifted a finger.
Remember that on that Russian-Ukrainian border, people's identities are not as strong as we are used to in Europe. They were ploughed through by decades of Sovietism. They reflect Ukraine’s failure over the last 20 years and Ukraine's stagnant standards of living. You know, when you are a Ukrainian miner or soldier, and you earn half or a third of what your colleagues just across the border in Russia earn, that questions your identity.&#8232;But at the same time, look at what happened on the Maidan. In the middle of winter, people stood for weeks in the cold, sometimes reaching minus 30 degrees, because they wanted to associate their country with the European Union and to get rid of a corrupt leader.
Stop right there. I would stand out in the cold too for $5 billion: http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statemen...
Clear Dharma wrote:
Do you think the whole post-Cold War order has changed now?
Russia has declared itself to be a revisionist power, unhappy and ready to break the political and legal consensus [established] after World War II and after the Cold War. That is why everybody is so concerned. The people who should be most worried by what they have heard from the Kremlin are the countries that have large concentrated Russian minorities. That is Kazakhstan, Belarus, and indeed, Latvia. But the first thing we should do is to take stock of where we are in terms of security in Europe and abandon postmodernist illusions that conflict is unthinkable.
You talk like one of that Obama neo-liberals.
Clear Dharma wrote:
Somebody told me that you heard Putin talking out loud about dividing Ukraine awhile ago. Is that true?
Oh yes, President Putin made a speech at the Bucharest NATO summit in 2008, at which he spoke about Ukraine as an artificial country put together from bits of other countries. And yes, we have received a letter from the deputy speaker of the Russian Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, proposing that Poland take five provinces of Ukraine. He sent similar letters to Hungary and Romania, also making territorial proposals to them.
When?
It was a month ago. We told him we were not doing it.>>
Ukraine is finished. That much is sure.

Since: Aug 09

Saint Louis, MO

#6 Apr 19, 2014
Clear Dharma wrote:
The rest though is good:
<<Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski on Putin’s reckless course.
By Lally Weymouth
(Continued from Page 1)
Do you think Putin will next go to the Baltic states? Does he have a strategy?
I think he is honest in what he says. The [Crimea] annexation speech was his bold and, I think, genuine statement of his new foreign policy. I think he is going to be strategically bold but tactically flexible, in response to what others do. You know, where there is resistance, he will draw back.
Do you think Putin's plan is to annex eastern Ukraine or just to destabilize it and make the government in Kiev irrelevant?
If I were to guess, and this is what the Russian side is telling us, they would be satisfied with a federal arrangement for Ukraine. By federalism they do not mean U.S.-style federalism, they mean Bosnia-style federalism. In other words, having an overwhelming influence over a part, which can then paralyze the whole. And preventing Ukraine from reforming and becoming successful that way without having to invade.
So Russia sends agents to towns in eastern Ukraine, and they then hold the towns?
They are sending [military intelligence] operatives and spending a lot of money on these separatists, and there does not seem to be much public enthusiasm for it. I do not think that the Ukrainian government is in the mood to lose control and to be partitioned politically.
People have been surprised by the passive response of the Ukrainians—the Russians walked into Crimea, and nobody lifted a finger.
Remember that on that Russian-Ukrainian border, people's identities are not as strong as we are used to in Europe. They were ploughed through by decades of Sovietism. They reflect Ukraine’s failure over the last 20 years and Ukraine's stagnant standards of living. You know, when you are a Ukrainian miner or soldier, and you earn half or a third of what your colleagues just across the border in Russia earn, that questions your identity.&#8232;But at the same time, look at what happened on the Maidan. In the middle of winter, people stood for weeks in the cold, sometimes reaching minus 30 degrees, because they wanted to associate their country with the European Union and to get rid of a corrupt leader.
Stop right there. I would stand out in the cold too for $5 billion: http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statemen...
Clear Dharma wrote:
Do you think the whole post-Cold War order has changed now?
Russia has declared itself to be a revisionist power, unhappy and ready to break the political and legal consensus [established] after World War II and after the Cold War. That is why everybody is so concerned. The people who should be most worried by what they have heard from the Kremlin are the countries that have large concentrated Russian minorities. That is Kazakhstan, Belarus, and indeed, Latvia. But the first thing we should do is to take stock of where we are in terms of security in Europe and abandon postmodernist illusions that conflict is unthinkable.
You talk like one of that Obama neo-liberal idiots.
Clear Dharma wrote:
Somebody told me that you heard Putin talking out loud about dividing Ukraine awhile ago. Is that true?
Oh yes, President Putin made a speech at the Bucharest NATO summit in 2008, at which he spoke about Ukraine as an artificial country put together from bits of other countries. And yes, we have received a letter from the deputy speaker of the Russian Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, proposing that Poland take five provinces of Ukraine. He sent similar letters to Hungary and Romania, also making territorial proposals to them.
When?
It was a month ago. We told him we were not doing it.>>
Ukraine is finished. That much is sure.
David

Ottawa, Canada

#7 Apr 19, 2014
I actually agree that the US needs to get militarily involved, but there are deeper reasons for that:

http://guardianlv.com/2014/04/ukraine-crisis-...

Morally speaking, doing anything other than acting would be criminal. Logically speaking, as the Slate Magazine article outlines, it would be absurd not to act now. And legally speaking, the Budapest Memorandum is ample reason to necessitate the support of Ukraine.
men in white coats

United States

#8 Apr 19, 2014
David wrote:
Morally speaking, doing anything other than acting would be criminal.
What nonsense you speak.

We've already acted and acted criminally. We effectively overthrew a democratically elected leader and installed a ruling junta. We have subverted democracy in the name of democracy and it has led to bloodshed and may lead to more.

That blood is on America's hands. All subsequent events are the fruit of the poisoned tree we planted by subverting the democratic process in Ukraine.

So, take a hike with your self-serving sophistry.
Observer

United States

#9 Apr 19, 2014
George wrote:
Russia needs to back off
Those f**g neo-nazis in svoboda and the right sector need to back off, bubba.

Then you'll see things turn around, and right quick.
Observer

United States

#10 Apr 19, 2014
Don't know about you but THIS American ain't standing next to a neo-nazi on the podium without throwing him off, with prejudice.

Since: Aug 09

Saint Louis, MO

#11 Apr 19, 2014
This mess should have never developed to this point. It is obvious that the CIA (similar to what they did in Syria with al-Qaida) financed those Nazis to take over in Ukraine. They should have had at least enough foresight to know that civilized people would not align ourselves with Nazis. Instead, they actually through money at them. The same in Syria. They spend decades telling us that al-Qaida are the bad guys. Then they go and finance al-Qaida, give them arms and supplies and expect "we the people" to be dumb enough to not see what is going on. The USA has officially just become La-la Land.
USA Today

Kenosha, WI

#12 Apr 19, 2014
Logically, the U.S.A. will do nothing about Ukraine. And we Americans are not interested in taking sides in any ones civil war, no matter who instigates it. The next best alternative is a Ukrainian referendum by area. But for certain, we are in no position to determine who should win. Also Europe must understand, the greatest threat to America is radical Islamic terrorism, and ultimately we need joint cooporation with Russia in combatting that threat. In short, America needs Russia as an ally.
Prince George

Toronto, Canada

#13 Apr 19, 2014
USA Today wrote:
Also Europe must understand, the greatest threat to America is radical Islamic terrorism, and ultimately we need joint cooporation with Russia in combatting that threat. In short, America needs Russia as an ally.
Damn right there.

Russia has several centuries of experience in fighting muslim extremists. The Russians have been battling muslims since the days of Ivan the Terrible.

On the other hand, America finds itself hopelessly outmaneuvered by Islamic nut-jobs both within it's own borders and outside of it as well.

Ironically it was America itself that nurtured the nut-jobs who became Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Pro Ukraine

Southam, UK

#14 Apr 20, 2014
Abdurratln wrote:
<quoted text>
Stop right there. I would stand out in the cold too for $5 billion: http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statemen...
<quoted text>
You talk like one of that Obama neo-liberals.
<quoted text>
Ukraine is finished. That much is sure.
You're an idiot, none of the protestors were paid, I know people who were at Euromaidan and they went there for political reasons, not for financial gain, they didn't receive a cent.
Ukrainians aren't sheep like Russians, they don't believe everything their cortupt government tells them, you only need to look at that pathetic Putin love in on TV where the gullible fools lapped up every bit of propaganda the evil despot told them.
Pro Ukraine

UK

#15 Apr 20, 2014
men in white coats wrote:
<quoted text>
What nonsense you speak.
We've already acted and acted criminally. We effectively overthrew a democratically elected leader and installed a ruling junta. We have subverted democracy in the name of democracy and it has led to bloodshed and may lead to more.
That blood is on America's hands. All subsequent events are the fruit of the poisoned tree we planted by subverting the democratic process in Ukraine.
So, take a hike with your self-serving sophistry.
STFU LFOD you idiot. Leave that sort of nonsensical propaganda to RT.
Clear Dharma

Chichester, UK

#16 Apr 20, 2014
Have a Happy Easter Day today.

May the sun smile everywhere, especially on an independent and united Ukraine free of corruption and greed.

Since: Mar 14

Location hidden

#17 Apr 20, 2014
George wrote:
Russia needs to back off, send the troops back to their barracks and let countries like Poland and Georgia help Ukraine get back on her feet. It took 20 years of bad management to screw the country up and will take 20 years to get it back but Ukraine has a strong enough population that can pull it together and succeed.
Russia is finding itself going down the same path with all the sanctions coming its way. It will find itself with all the oil and gas and no one to buy it. Countries like Romania are refusing to let Russia put pipes through their lands to bypass Ukraine and now all of EU is refusing, not sure what Russia is going to do with he excess but I guess now they will put in the pipelines to China that they have been avoiding
And you need to fuck off and find a brain cell!
NO sanctions coming Russia's way as .....
UK North Sea is running out. There is NO other gas supply, other than from Russia.
The US don't have enough, no transportation link and don't do sharing.
China can't get enough of it and import mainly from Russian Federation.
Azeri plan a Euro pipeline, but it is another 10 years in the making, if at all.
Europe do not have alternatives and can never wean itself of Russia. Particularly UK and Germany.
The pipeline is already into China via Uzbek. I was one of it's chief architects. Good money and good folks those Chinese, certainly know how to do a deal!!
Bottom line, Russia currently has it ALL and it IS the cheapest on the market, dumb fuck!
If Putin turns off the tap, Europe plunges into darkness. Ukraine, what's left of it, will freeze and starve
Energy prices soar, inflation rises, industry goes into another recession and the masses are out of work, drawing state benefits, if their state has any money left, so get used to it!
The good old US you caused this shit storm in the first place, self sufficient and look on having a right good laugh at the dumb ass Europeans. However, the even dumber black chimp gets hurt with the knock on effect, as the global economy nose dives yet again! China calls in it's loans, the Germans request back their gold, which has been well spent by the US and the black chimp and his cohorts are hanged for treason for being total dumbasses and selling out the US!

Since: Mar 14

Location hidden

#18 Apr 20, 2014
Pro Ukraine wrote:
<quoted text>You're an idiot, none of the protestors were paid, I know people who were at Euromaidan and they went there for political reasons, not for financial gain, they didn't receive a cent.
Ukrainians aren't sheep like Russians, they don't believe everything their cortupt government tells them, you only need to look at that pathetic Putin love in on TV where the gullible fools lapped up every bit of propaganda the evil despot told them.
After another of the black chimp's fuck up, he's wanting his money back. The US and Europe haven't a pot to piss in and the only people to suffer will be Ukranians.
Remember, after murdering hunrdeds of thousands of innocent Iraqi's, the US hoovered up billions of dollars of oil, paid billions to US contractors who built absolutely fuck all. Left the country in chaos and the innocent citizens had to pay the bill and more!!
That is the cut of that particular chimp! Remember, everything on the planet belongs to the US. Didn't you know, dumb fuck?!
Whilst on the other side, President Putin, quietly and professionally went about business, strategically making new friends, doing mammoth new trade deals, building infrastructure that was sustainable for the greater good of mother Russia.
You can only use force as a strong arm tactic when one doesn't have the brain power to think strategically. Unless you can carry it through, It is short term in effect, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Egypt have proven. The gun has just exploded in the chimp's face. You don't fuck with Vlad and come off a winner! He is the prodigy of Sun Tzu indeed!
So, I suggest you either live with it, or do hari kiri, as your life will remain a tormented. We feel your pain.
Clear Dharma

Chichester, UK

#19 Apr 20, 2014
billyboy169 wrote:
<quoted text>
And you need to fuck off and find a brain cell!
NO sanctions coming Russia's way as .....
UK North Sea is running out. There is NO other gas supply, other than from Russia.......
The North Sea is over the peak oil hump but a long way from running out.

Also refer to Sikorski's interview - the oil and gas dependance on Russia is far less than people suppose - plus there is still the untapped potential of shale gas.

<<

Europe has enormous business relationships with Russia and is dependent on Russian gas.

Poland's relationship is bigger than most. We trade with Russia as much as the United States does. But our economy is smaller, so you can imagine that it is a bigger part of our economy. Seven percent of our exports go to Russia. That is why we are reluctant to impose sanctions on Russia. We would rather Russia stop doing what is giving rise to the need for sanctions.&#8232;We should do the energy union in response to these events. Remember, the European Union started as the union of coal and steel, which were the strategic commodities in the 1950s. Today’s strategic commodity in Europe is gas, and we take about 30 percent of our gas from Russia, as does Europe. But we overpay because Russia has managed to create monopolistic arrangements.

So if you are dependent on Russia for energy …

Not very much, no, no. One-third, and remember, gas can be exchanged for other forms of energy. We only extract about a third of what we consume in Poland, but that is enough for all our households. Russia needs our money more than we need its gas.>>
Clear Dharma

Chichester, UK

#20 Apr 20, 2014
billyboy169 wrote:
... He is the prodigy of Sun Tzu indeed!....
He's a long way from Sun Tzu. The Taoists would never direct their country to self destruction - that is exactly what Putin's ego is telling him to do.

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