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"As for who started or not, if Germany's recognition of Croatia's and Slovenia1s unilateral declaration of independence should count as starting the war,"

So it shouldn't?

And the dissolution wars of Yugoslavia did start in Yugoslavia by its inhabitants?

by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:52:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've got it. Now, can we progress the second part of my argument towards redstar?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:04:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not the right person here. My impression of american hard power gaining positive results for american policy in the last, say forty years isn't that high. To much had "we had to destroy the city to save it" results. The one big success - dissolution of the eastern block - is very much the result of soft power.

This whole discussion - The EU this, the US that creates a false dichotomy anyway. Apart from Iraq most foreign policy is a common enterprise anyway.    

by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:50:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US doesn't do foreign policy - the US does domestic policy in foreigns way.

The primary aim of US domestic policy is Wall St profit.

If that means starting a war of fifteen or subverting popular democracies around the world, that's considered business as normal.

This makes the US seem more like a military failure than it actually is. The US does not use military force to maintain its empire. It uses military force as an excuse for domestic military profit, and as a misdirection from less overt forms of political manipulation.

The primary difference between the US and the Soviet Union is that the US mastered two very important arts - overt international lifestyle propaganda, used to define imperial values as self-determining high-status markers, and covert indirect repression.

The USSR never understood the value of either. Putin doesn't seem to have learned that lesson. He's still doing the 'You know we have nukes and soliders, so you'd better take us seriously' thing in the Ukraine.

It may work there, for a while, but - unless those nukes are used - it may dent US hegemony, but it won't destroy it.

China is the only country which has more military leverage and longer experience of building empire through careful status management and media control. Post-communist China isn't there yet, but it has certainly has the potential to win a narrative war against the US.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess Putin is aware of the power of the Western propaganda, that being the reason he does not even try to compete there. He does not particularly resist the painted image of himself, and relies on "reality based" measures to hold onto what he can. And surely, Putin is opportunistic with the freedom from appearances.

The US-led indirect repression has increased risks with worse global economy and energy resource limits in sight (as Greece exemplifies). Russia and China might just reasonably expect to wait for the "reality" to hit harder.

by das monde on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 10:07:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh. Do you remember RT exists? I'd rather say this is one of the cases where he doesn't particularly object to the picture painted.

Similar to ISIS in some  ways. They're propaganda strategy is to show everyone what badass motherfuckers they are and how the West is shitting its collective pants. The NATO strategy is to show what terrible murderers they are and building up hysteria to get more funding and make those surveillance, torture and bombed wedding scandals go away. Which is the same strategy minus the coarse language.

by generic on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:24:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't come across RT that often. Is it really addressed in any measure towards a dialogue recognizable to "convertible" Westerners?

All this ISIS, Putin, Hebdo, North Korea circus is to make otherwise smart people keep  wondering what is happening.

by das monde on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:38:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
Is it really addressed in any measure towards a dialogue recognizable to "convertible" Westerners?

Yes, precisely. In English, German, and French.

Putin personally supervised a shake-up of Russian communications with the rest of the world. RIA Novosti in English (rather a good news agency) was merged with Voice of Russia to make the surprising Sputnik News. Russia Today in English was boosted with more means, now more languages.

das monde:

the power of the Western propaganda, that being the reason he does not even try to compete there.

He is most definitely trying to compete, and with some success.

das monde:

Putin is opportunistic with the freedom from appearances.

Really?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:17:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the international stage, I expected some participation in the Western media, adressing damning implications, a more complete narrative. But apparently I am clueless about what appeals to fellow (?!) human brains, or how to do mass propaganda.
by das monde on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 06:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, one way to appeal to human brains is to plant stories which are picked up by other media and enthusiastic conspiracy theorists and thus get read by people critical of their governments but uncritical of their alternative news sources, to which you gave us an involuntary demonstration.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 07:47:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If that is so massively significant... The advantage for Russia is that it does not need much deliberte effort to appeal to quite a few kinds of analytical, unorthodox, certain justice or truth seeking brains - if only because the West is consistently leaving vast vacuum here and there. In that particular case of "involuntary demonstration", you don't need TASS or BBC to have a heretic question about the ATC records - still undisclosed (apart from a few bits) and not under discussion.
by das monde on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, yes, we know your conspiracy theories don't require evidence, or even plausible stories from creditable third parties.

Troll-rated for promulgation of MH 17 troof.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 18th, 2015 at 12:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All I am telling for that tangent (brought up by DoDo) is that the offical troof theory does require that existing (and often decisive) evidence to be brought up to the public. That is an interesting fact... But let me just get away from this - troll rate what you want with your undisputable authority.
by das monde on Wed Feb 18th, 2015 at 02:26:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I highlighted is your selective propaganda blindness, which is quite on-topic regarding your claim that Russia supposedly doesn't do effective propaganda. The subject of the linked example is immaterial, your treatment of information is. Someone who can't be bothered to distinguish who in a story is a "single anonymous source", "Interfax", and "BBC", and can't distinguish between a fact-checked article and live-blogging, shouldn't kid himself about having an analytical mind. The right word is "paranoid".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 18th, 2015 at 01:10:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you are telling, the Kremlin issued that isolated "propaganda" bit of TASS info, and then never tried anything better? That absent propaganda from Russia is what I am talking about in this thread.

Leonard Cohen sings:
   There is a crack in everything
   That's how the light gets in.

I had some education in crack sensing in the last Soviet years. That TASS/BBC blip -- a deviation from the eventual presented makeup - is what I recognize as a crack. That's all.

by das monde on Thu Feb 19th, 2015 at 03:09:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My impression of american hard power gaining positive results for american policy in the last, say forty years isn't that high.

Then we are actually in agreement!

This sub-thread was started by redstar with the premise that a successful foreign policy needs military power, claiming the Kohl government's independence recognitions as evidence. Be it due to passion for controversy or a bout of Germanophobia to externalise his justified despair over the state of the French Left, he couldn't refrain from stating it with a distracting hyperbole that spun the narrative of pro-Serbia apologists even further (Kohl and Genscher's move quite arguably only aggravated the conflict, but that's a far cry from starting it). However, the greater problem of his argument was that recent examples of imperial foreign policy backed with military power weren't exactly successful. Redstar tried to explain this away by denying US agency in the conflict in Kosovo, although the support for the KLA was a quite significant move (aggravating the situation much more than the independence recognitions): it not only led to the escalation of rebel and Serb police/military violence before and especially during NATO's bombing campaign, but virtually ensured that independent Kosovo become the mafia state it is now. (And yes, the Kosovo conflict didn't begin with the US support for the KLA, either.)

Apart from Iraq most foreign policy is a common enterprise anyway.

But with increasing disagreements and running-apart strategies, see Ukraine again.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 07:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...recent examples of imperial foreign policy backed with military power weren't exactly successful...
...the support for the KLA... virtually ensured that independent Kosovo become the mafia state...

On the other hand, one can argue that Kosovo as a mafia state is a foreign policy success for the USA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 07:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
O come on. Russia has a South Ossetia too. That is only fair!
by IM on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:28:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IM:
To much had "we had to destroy the city to save it" results. The one big success - dissolution of the eastern block - is very much the result of soft power.

Couldn't agree more. This is why I think it was folly to push Ukraine to the brink. The only way to imagine that February 2014 would stand was if Russia respected the distinction between soft and hard power. Russia may be trying, even with some success, to do soft power, but it never bought the 'military power is obsolete' or that it is 'uncivilized', etc.

The only sensible approach was to have left Yanukovich in power and not to have gotten involved in November '13. But that would imply that foreign policy is based on national interests. Here I agree with TBG. I think it is, but only in the sense that national interests, so far as they extend to the nation and people as a whole, have been hijacked and conflated with the interests of the elite wealth extraction crowd to whom the importance of maintaining their control over the domestic population far exceeds any other concern. This is true about the USA, Great Britain, Germany and France if in differing degrees.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 12:18:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This concern with appearances has led easily to a 'politics begins at the border' approach to foreign policy issues, where they become important mostly for the way they can be used to manipulate the population. In the USA this  goes back to the 'who lost China' nonsense which was instrumental in JFK's initial steps in Vietnam and, especially, in LBJ's escalation. I hated it then and hate it now.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 12:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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