Lavrov: Russia will respond in Ukraine if interests “attacked” … like we did in 2008

posted at 8:41 am on April 23, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Time for another reset button? Sergei Lavrov’s latest warning to Ukraine makes it clear that the first model didn’t do much to change Russia’s ideas of sovereignty in its neighborhood. Speaking on RT, Lavrov said that Moscow will use the same strategy employed in 2008 in their reaction to Georgia’s lurch to the West if Ukraine gets out of hand:

Russia will respond if its interests are attacked in Ukraine, as they were in South Ossetia in 2008 which led to war with Georgia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

“If we are attacked, we would certainly respond,” he told state-controlled RT television in an interview.

“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law.”

Lavrov did not elaborate further on what the response would entail but the reference to Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia strongly hints at the possibility of military action.

That’s not exactly a surprise. Despite the reset button, Russia has never changed its approach to its former Soviet republics. They have barely recognized their sovereignty, especially during the Vladimir Putin era. The 2008 war with Georgia took the blinders off of the Bush administration — belatedly — about the imperial ambitions of Putin and his oligarchical cronies, even if the current administration put them back on until the last few weeks.

The Washington Post also belatedly notes a revival of Soviet nostalgia – and not just nostalgia, either:

Gone these 23 years, the Soviet Union is suddenly alive and well again in the minds of a giddy cohort of the Russian elite. Not the ideology, please — but the gravity, the cold-eyed assertion of power abroad and at home, and the allegiance demanded by the state.

The equinox of Russia’s “Soviet spring” coincided with the appearance of the men in green who took over Crimea for Moscow. It blossomed with a wave of patriotic denunciations of fellow citizens and a torrent of new restrictive legislation.

On Tuesday came another sign: media reports that the Interior Ministry was banning foreign travel by every one of the nation’s police officers. And other law enforcement agencies were said to be following suit, so that as many as 4 million state employees may find themselves unwelcome to leave. And maybe their spouses and children, too.

Easy foreign travel has been the great advantage Russian citizens enjoyed over their Soviet counterparts. About 40 million Russians went abroad last year. But Tuesday’s report, semi-
denied or half-qualified by the authorities, suggested that restrictions are creeping back.

It’s not so much that ordinary Russians sympathize with stranded police officers, but they fear a reintroduction of the old Soviet exit-visa system, which left would-be travelers at the mercy of the bureaucracy.

Is this really news? The Russian Olympics featured a gigantic hammer and sickle during the opening ceremonies, which NBC passed off as a salute to “one of history’s pivotal experiments.” Putin has been lamenting the collapse of the Soviet Union as a terrible mistake ever since taking power. This isn’t new; it’s just that most of the West hasn’t been paying attention.

The only reason Russia hasn’t asserted itself before now is that their economy couldn’t match the demands of imperialism.  And the only way to stop it — at least while Putin and his clique are in charge — is to make sure it can’t in the future, either. That would require the West to stop treating Russian imperialism as strictly nostalgic and get serious about Putin.


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Russia has lost its damn mind. So are Ukrainians just suppose to sit and watch their country fall apart without even trying to hold it together?

They already made mess of Crimea and now they want to make a mess of the rest.

And no we are sending arms John McCain to help start the war.

coolrepublica on April 23, 2014 at 8:51 AM

The 2008 war with Georgia took the blinders off of the Bush administration

Remember how the presidential candidates reacted?
McCain came out immediately & forcefully, demanding that Russia retreat & stop the aggression.
Obama spent a few days polling, & then finally issued a mild statement of disapproval.

itsnotaboutme on April 23, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Expecting Obama to be strong is RAAAAACIST.

ConstantineXI on April 23, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Time for another reset button?
===============================

Me Thinks,……Alarm Bells are ringing!
(sarc)

Das Boot-Alarm!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suY06PVK_bI

canopfor on April 23, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
1h
Almost 200 Russians denied entry into Ukraine daily, Ukrainian State Border Guard Service says – Interfax
end of alert
===============

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
1h
Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz currently importing around 40-60 million cubic meters of Russian gas per day – @itass_en
read more on itar-tass.com

canopfor on April 23, 2014 at 8:57 AM

TDF ‏@TheDailyFreedom 3m

“#Ukraine crisis orchestrated by #US” – #Lavrov says Hope #USA knows that if #Russia invades now, it’s like war against US too

https://twitter.com/TheDailyFreedom

canopfor on April 23, 2014 at 8:58 AM

That would require the West to stop treating Russian imperialism as strictly nostalgic and get serious about Putin.

Hey! We deployed Joe Biden to the region. How much more escalation do you want????

If slow Joe and strongly worded letters with bold type and an aggressive font don’t do the job do we really have another option other than launching McCain?

Happy Nomad on April 23, 2014 at 9:01 AM

This is so 19th century…….

Electrongod on April 23, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Hopey is running the show:
(sarc)

Retweeted by TDF
RT ‏@RT_com 2h

Lavrov: Washington is running the show in Ukrainian crisis http://on.rt.com/hal5us pic.twitter.com/XzSEMJq7sq
====================================

https://twitter.com/RT_russian/status/458881052027924480/photo/1

canopfor on April 23, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Hey! We deployed Joe Biden to the region. How much more escalation do you want????

If slow Joe and strongly worded letters with bold type and an aggressive font don’t do the job do we really have another option other than launching McCain?

Happy Nomad on April 23, 2014 at 9:01 AM

“Launch the McCain!”
“Aye, Comrade Captain.”

Steve Eggleston on April 23, 2014 at 9:04 AM

It’s possible the Russians are even more dangerous without the old Soviet “ideology.” The Bear is loose and hungry…

loubkk on April 23, 2014 at 9:05 AM

This is so 19th century…….

Electrongod on April 23, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Not at all ironically, Putin agrees. That’s why he wants Helsinki, Warsaw, Anchorage, Vancouver, and Sonoma back.

Steve Eggleston on April 23, 2014 at 9:05 AM

That would require the West to stop treating Russian imperialism as strictly nostalgic and get serious about Putin.

Problem being, the current US president agrees with Putin and also believes in fascism. “I’ll have more flexibility.”

And Europe is old and tired. Merkel and Cameron might make noise from time to time, but those are harrumphs, not actual threats.

rbj on April 23, 2014 at 9:06 AM

Despite the reset button
==============================

**(Puts on Liberal Hat)**,

If stupid CowBoy Bush didn’t give Russia that idiot gag
of a “Reset Button”,..none of this would be happening!!
(snark)

canopfor on April 23, 2014 at 9:06 AM

“That would require the West to stop treating Russian imperialism as strictly nostalgic and get serious about Putin.”
.
And hence the problem. Putin felt betrayed by the US after America’s involvement in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004. Then in 2008 America/Europe armed Georgia’s Saakashvilli and then stood-by dumbfounded when Saakashvilli moved to wipe out the population of S. Ossetia (which Putin stopped). Putin, in his opinion, is reacting to western imperialism in order to protect Russia’s interest.

higgins1991 on April 23, 2014 at 9:06 AM

Hey! We deployed Joe Biden to the region. How much more escalation do you want????

If slow Joe and strongly worded letters with bold type and an aggressive font don’t do the job do we really have another option other than launching McCain?

Happy Nomad on April 23, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Well whatever you do, don’t send McCain as a special adviser to the Ukrainian Air Force. I think they only have 5 planes to begin with.

HumpBot Salvation on April 23, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Remember how the presidential candidates reacted?
McCain came out immediately & forcefully, demanding that Russia retreat & stop the aggression.
Obama spent a few days polling, & then finally issued a mild statement of disapproval.

itsnotaboutme on April 23, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Just underscores the point of McCain being stupid and Obama being evil. Unlike what the press dutifully led you to believe – they never lied before or after the incident, right? – Russia was not the aggressor there, and I have a few friends on both sides of the border to confirm that. McCain put his idiocy on display by reacting without bothering with the analysis of the situation; the poor guy likely gets instant wood off military actions. Obama, on the other hand, received a correct assessment from his handlers but willingly chose to take Georgia’s side due to political considerations.

Rix on April 23, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Retweeted by NATOSource
Damon M. Wilson ‏@DamonMacWilson 12h

Intelligence Chief: 100 Russian Officers Are Leading Ukraine’s Uprisings http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/intelligence-chief-100-russian-officers-are-in-ukraine-directing-uprisings#.U1cE1upwOZA.twitter
================================

https://twitter.com/NATOSource

canopfor on April 23, 2014 at 9:10 AM

OOPS!!!!

Ukrainian Air Force plane comes under fire over Sloviansk, no one hurt
Print version
April 22, 2014, 8:57 p.m. | Ukraine
***********************************

http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/ukrainian-air-force-plane-comes-under-fire-over-sloviansk-donetsk-region-no-one-hurt-344644.html

https://twitter.com/KyivPost

canopfor on April 23, 2014 at 9:15 AM

That’s funny. Americans organizing and paying for Ukrainian insurrection in Kiev is good. Russians organizing and paying for Ukrainian insurrection in Donetsk is evil. Are we still at war with Eastasia, folks?

Rix on April 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Isn’t Obama on their side ideologically?

vityas on April 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Euromaidan PR @EuromaidanPR · 60s

Ukraine: US condemns detention of hostages – video http://gu.com/p/3zj95/tw via @guardian with video of slain city adnin |EMPR News

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/apr/23/ukraine-us-hostages-video?CMP=twt_gu

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPR

canopfor on April 23, 2014 at 9:20 AM

I suspect Biden was sent there to paint another strong Obama red line–but with watercolors.

Don L on April 23, 2014 at 9:22 AM

I suspect Biden was sent there to paint another strong Obama red line–but with watercolors.

Don L on April 23, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Hey, with Biden in Europe and the rat-eared wonder on another Asian vacation; who’s minding the store back in DC?

Happy Nomad on April 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Hey, with Biden in Europe and the rat-eared wonder on another Asian vacation; who’s minding the store back in DC?

Happy Nomad on April 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM

If you mean the liquor store, that’d be Boehner. And if you mean Treasury, Harry Reid is in charge.

Rix on April 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Notice how the Russians don’t immediately take any military action off the table like Americans. Imagine that.

rhombus on April 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Americans organizing and paying for Ukrainian insurrection in Kiev is good. Russians organizing and paying for Ukrainian insurrection in Donetsk is evil. Are we still at war with Eastasia, folks?

Rix on April 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Because America and Russians are moral equivalents, right folks? snicker

rhombus on April 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Notice how the Russians don’t immediately take any military action off the table like Americans. Imagine that.

rhombus on April 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

That’s the difference between having an adult in charge and having a petty lazy stupid rat-eared bastard “leading.”

Happy Nomad on April 23, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Tweets All / No replies

The Associated Press ‏@AP 5m

Pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Ukraine say they’re holding American journalist Simon Ostrovsky of Vice News: http://apne.ws/1iKcAgM
================================================================

https://twitter.com/AP

canopfor on April 23, 2014 at 9:37 AM

The dishonest story that it was the fleeing wimp Viktor Yanukovych that ordered the Maidan massacre and not the fascist junta that initiated violence continues to fall apart on German TV.

The narrative the Western mass media are pushing is totally bogus.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Isn’t Obama on their side ideologically?

vityas on April 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM

No: Obama is a cultural Marxist; Putin is opposed to cultural Marxism, the gay agenda and so on.

The Soviet Union is decades over; the era of quasi-commie lefties in the West backing “Russia” out of natural sympathy is long over.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Because America and Russians are moral equivalents, right folks? snicker

rhombus on April 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Specifically in Ukraine in the 21st Century, America and Russia are not morally equivalent because the State Department keeps sponsoring revolutionary anti-democratic forces and wrecking the place, while Russia has been following a policy more like “don’t cr*p where you eat”.

When Ronald Reagan insisted that there was no moral comparison between America and Russia, that was right. “Russia” was actually the Soviet Union, which was a Communist empire and thus naturally tyrannical. America wasn’t the kind of place where you can lose your job if you once objected to homosexual marriage, so it was a lot more plausible as the beacon of freedom. And the “middle” states in issue were places like Poland; Reagan was not all for fighting proxy wars to dispute the right of Russia to protect ethnic Russians from tyranny in Eastern Ukraine.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 9:55 AM

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Whether true or not, it’s irrelevant. The first casualty of war is truth – what matters is what lies win the war.

We would not have got the Graf Spee, were it not for a massive lie.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Not that Obama and his cronies give a damn or have the mental capacity to understand, but maybe what the United States should do is go all in to supply rebels and insurgents in all of the Soviet Union’s, I mean Russian, states with the means to engage in full-scale revolt. That will keep their military busy and drain their resources.

HiJack on April 23, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Whether true or not, it’s irrelevant. The first casualty of war is truth – what matters is what lies win the war.

We would not have got the Graf Spee, were it not for a massive lie.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 9:56 AM

The truth is highly relevant, because the entire narrative the mass media is pushing for this conflict is bogus.

“We” are not fighting for freedom here: the side the EU and America has supported is a fascist junta that has overthrown the democratically elected government and poses a real long-term threat to ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Tough, quite frankly. They could always sod off home.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 10:14 AM

I can’t think of previous cases, I mean previous to the Obama administration, where we have been so dishonorable. America is on the wrong side on Honduras, it behaved dishonorably in attacking Libya (not that Gaddafi was a good guy, but we had accepted his diplomatic surrender and made peace on outstanding issues) and we are on the wrong side on Ukraine.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Tough, quite frankly. They could always sod off home.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 10:14 AM

They are home. Ukraine includes a lot of land that was always full of Russian-speakers.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 10:16 AM

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Not ideologically, they’re not. They want to turn The Ukraine into Russia again. Those days have gone, and people are free to determine their own destiny – even Russians (to some extent). Apparently, an overwhelming number of Crimeans voted to join with Russia, so be it.

When Ukrainians vote in a similar manner, this crisis can be over.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 10:29 AM

It’s more than tactical errors and it’s not just that we are on the wrong side. It’s that under Obama, the entire basis of US foreign policy is massive lies. In Ukraine, the Maidan massacre story was a lie. In Benghazi, the “YouTube video provocation” story was a lie.

The lies are because in this era, what American forces are ordered to do cannot be justified on a basis of truth.

But the lies, and the diplomatic and mass media campaigns that go with them, are an additional evil.

Not even the “Tonkin Gulf Incident” and the “light at the end of the tunnel” narrative for Vietnam were this blatantly dishonest – and we were fighting real Communist bad guys back then.

This is the record for our dishonesty in bad causes. This is the worst and most crooked it’s been. That is really serious.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Ed’s last paragraph is wrong on so many levels:

The only reason Russia hasn’t asserted itself before now is that their economy couldn’t match the demands of imperialism. And the only way to stop it — at least while Putin and his clique are in charge — is to make sure it can’t in the future, either. That would require the West to stop treating Russian imperialism as strictly nostalgic and get serious about Putin.

Of course Russia always had the ability to take over South Ossetia and Crimea and muck around in Ukraine if that was its purpose. Even at its economic nadir, Russia had the ability to do this.

And Russia today is still no economic giant. Its economy is no larger than that of Italy’s, and less than a quarter the size of China’s. Perhaps more to the point, Russia’s economy is less than an eighth the size of the EU’s or the US’s, showing just how real the mismatch is should the EU and US ever get serious about challenging Russia.

Military expenditures? Russia spends less than France and Great Britain combined. Russia’s active military isn’t much bigger than that of South Korea’s active military.

China is a far more formidable foe on every front, and it threatens our interests in places that matter. But businessmen like it, so conservatives here feel the need to be nostalgic about the Cold War.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Russia is in No Economic Shape to Fight a War

But Russia has only a 2.9 percent share of global gross domestic product. This is only 6 percent of NATO’s GDP. In 2012, Russia’s defense expenditures corresponded to one-tenth of NATO’s defense expenditures. A country so economically weak would be well advised not to challenge far wealthier and stronger neighbors. To make matters worse, Russia has few allies.

In particular, Russia is likely to be highly vulnerable to financial sanctions. One month ago, the Western discussion on possible sanctions against Russia focused on whether they could be effective. During the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington April 12 to 13, the question was turned around: Do we really want to destroy Russia that fast? The dominant theme was that geopolitical risk is back, and Russia is seen as the main risk.

Official Russian reactions to the Western threat of sanctions have been that Russia’s state corporations would invest in Russia and that Russia would establish its own payments system, making itself independent of the Western financial system. But none of this is realistic.

In its March report on the Russian economy, the World Bank showed that the country’s total foreign debt at the end of January was $732 billion. The distribution between public and private debt is only available from October last year. Then, state banks had $128 billion and nonfinancial state corporations $164 billion of foreign debt. Adding $80 billion of government foreign debt, Russia’s total public foreign debt was $372 billion, while its international currency reserves are $477 billion, but much of those can be frozen as well.

This makes Russia highly vulnerable to international financial sanctions. In an insightful article in Foreign Affairs magazine on April 10, Robert Kahn argued that “Russia’s relationship to global financial markets — integrated, highly leveraged and opaque — creates vulnerability, which sanctions could exploit to produce a Russian ‘Lehman moment’: a sharp, rapid deleveraging with major consequences for Russia’s ability to trade and invest.”

Putin isn’t doing this because he suddenly found Russia’s economy was in good enough shape to embark on a new imperialism. He’s doing it because he feels Russians have been pushed around to the point they have to push back. Hs moves in both Georgia and Ukraine were reactive, not strategic.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Not ideologically, they’re not. They want to turn The Ukraine into Russia again. Those days have gone, and people are free to determine their own destiny – even Russians (to some extent). Apparently, an overwhelming number of Crimeans voted to join with Russia, so be it.

When Ukrainians vote in a similar manner, this crisis can be over.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 10:29 AM

East Ukrainians already won the election twice, and both time the results were set aside by unconstitutional action backed by the US: the first time it was the Orange Revolution, and the second time it was this. (And what Eastern Ukrainians wanted back then was not union with Russia, but Ukraine as an independent country that would be sympathetic to Russia, and where they would be safe.)

The junta is already at work rigging the upcoming elections, beating up opposition leaders, burning opposition party buildings to the ground across the country, and so on.

What is happening is not a victory for democracy but the destruction of democracy. And it is being justified by big lies.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Wow!

Looks like he suspects something besides milk was put in his Post Toasties this morning.

avagreen on April 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM

IMO Putin wants to reorganize a Soviet-style sphere of influence, if not an actual empire.

If the US was serious about challenging him, it would be fairly easy IMO:

-Unleash our energy potential. Drill, frack, do whatever we can (responsibly) to enrich our own nation by extracting and selling our energy resources. If more people give us $ for energy, there will be fewer giving $ to Russia (and Middle Easterners as well). An increased supply should also ease prices- gasoline in the $2-$2.50 range is a very real possibility. Our economy would boom.

-Spend $ on military. Challenge Russia to an “arms race,” unless they are wise enough to decline. Deploy resources in Europe (missile defense shield, etc.) Yes it would cost money- but we would reassert the US as the lone superpower, we would continue to be the economic “engine” of the globe, etc.

Will it happen between now and 2017 at the earliest?

Not a chance…

cs89 on April 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM

What is happening is not a victory for democracy but the destruction of democracy. And it is being justified by big lies.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Actually, democracy stinks, as far as I’m concerned – look where it got the West. My concern is that the Russian Empire does not come to fruition again. Whatever it takes.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 11:04 AM

cs89 on April 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM

You forgot the bonus – should it happen. Ecoheads would explode all over the world. Now, wouldn’t that be nice? :)

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 11:06 AM

…Smart Power!

KOOLAID2 on April 23, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Actually, democracy stinks, as far as I’m concerned – look where it got the West. My concern is that the Russian Empire does not come to fruition again. Whatever it takes.

You should be worried about other, more important stuff.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 11:21 AM

IMO Putin wants to reorganize a Soviet-style sphere of influence, if not an actual empire.

If the US was serious about challenging him, it would be fairly easy IMO:

-Unleash our energy potential. Drill, frack, do whatever we can (responsibly) to enrich our own nation by extracting and selling our energy resources. If more people give us $ for energy, there will be fewer giving $ to Russia (and Middle Easterners as well). An increased supply should also ease prices- gasoline in the $2-$2.50 range is a very real possibility. Our economy would boom.

-Spend $ on military. Challenge Russia to an “arms race,” unless they are wise enough to decline. Deploy resources in Europe (missile defense shield, etc.) Yes it would cost money- but we would reassert the US as the lone superpower, we would continue to be the economic “engine” of the globe, etc.

Will it happen between now and 2017 at the earliest?

You articulate, in very detailed terms, just why the Republican Party struggles at the polls every presidential election.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 11:23 AM

You should be worried about other, more important stuff.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 11:21 AM

That, too – I live too close to China.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Sad reflection upon the current generation of Americans.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM

You articulate, in very detailed terms, just why the Republican Party struggles at the polls every presidential election.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 11:23 AM

That and the fact that they inherently cannot please the million-plus highly liberal and massively non-white immigrants (both legal and illegal) that America absorbs every year – with Republican approval.

A party that supports abolishing its own base cannot win in the long run, and doesn’t deserve to.

A party that goes along with the mass immigration invasion of its own nation is not “strong on defense” no matter how many fights it picks in far distant lands.

If the GOP was more concerned with America’s borders than Ukraine’s it would be better off and it would deserve to be better off.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 11:35 AM

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 11:35 AM

I cannot agree more.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Old English,

That, too – I live too close to China.

You can’t take on everything. You have to make choices. You must have priorities. You can’t write, “Whatever it takes,” in response to some minor threat to some nonexistent interest, and then expect other people to take you seriously when you say you’re for taking on what they perceive as threats, too.

The U.S. is unfocused and overextended. Russia could’ve been useful to us for both Iran and China. But now we’re making an enemy of it.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 11:58 AM

And Russia today is still no economic giant. Its economy is no larger than that of Italy’s, and less than a quarter the size of China’s. Perhaps more to the point, Russia’s economy is less than an eighth the size of the EU’s or the US’s, showing just how real the mismatch is should the EU and US ever get serious about challenging Russia.

Military expenditures? Russia spends less than France and Great Britain combined. Russia’s active military isn’t much bigger than that of South Korea’s active military.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 10:34 AM

You’re right that the Russian “threat” is greatly exaggerated.

However, when Russia’s GDP and military budget are adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity (which is much less volatile than comparisons based on exchange rates), its GDP is actually about the size of Germany’s, or one fifth that of the USA and EU, and military budget slightly more than France and UK combined.

Jon0815 on April 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Old English,

Sad reflection upon the current generation of Americans.

No, it’s a sad reflection on you and other dunderhead conservatives.

I’m old enough to remember when the GOP was considered the competent and sober-minded political party that took on real threats, both domestic and foreign. In the eighties and nineties, Republicans helped win the fight against stagflation, overregulation and overtaxation at home, while beating the Soviets in the Cold War and then waging the most successful large-scale war in US history against Saddam.

But if I had come of age in the last fifteen years, my perception of Republicans would be quite different. It wouldn’t be shaped by any of those success stories. Instead, Republicans come across like a bunch of narcissistic and hypocritical ninnies who can’t admit when they’re wrong. The younger generation today doesn’t remember Reagan. They remember the WMD that weren’t there. They remember “Mission Accomplished.” They remember the financial meltdown. They remember seeing big government programs pushed by the party that pretended to be for less government. They remember failure.

That the younger generation sees this recent past clearly is not a sad reflection on them, but a poor reflection on your ability to stop living in a past that no longer exists.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 12:10 PM

However, when Russia’s GDP and military budget are adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity (which is much less volatile than comparisons based on exchange rates), its GDP is actually about the size of Germany’s, or one fifth that of the USA and EU, and military budget slightly more than France and UK combined.

Even adjusted for PPP, it’s still nothing.

Such comparisons also neglect that Russia doesn’t have a competitive industrial base and is economically dependent on resource prices that can fluctuate with stunning volatility.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 12:15 PM

All the NATO countries combined have about 6 times Russia’s population, about 16 times the nominal GDP, and about 6 times the nominal military sending. Adjusted for PPP, NATO countries have about 12 times Russia’s GDP, and about 5 times the military spending.

Jon0815 on April 23, 2014 at 12:24 PM

That would require the West to stop treating Russian imperialism as strictly nostalgic and get serious about Putin.

The west has got a plank in it’s own eye.

And why the hell should any reasonable American want to “get serious” about Putin? How about getting serious about our internal not so Little Hitler

VorDaj on April 23, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Cue the useful idiots again. Putin wanted an ice free port and land access to it and he is using an old, well proven strategy to get it. He wants hegemony over the Ukraine and he is using an an old, well proven strategy to get it.

“We” are not fighting for freedom here: the side the EU and America has supported is a fascist junta that has overthrown the democratically elected government and poses a real long-term threat to ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine.

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

The Russians want their own “fascist junta” and have been pushing for it since the last evil empire collapsed. These “ethnic Russians” in the Ukraine… you mean the Spetnaz who are taking over government buildings as a provocation for invasion?

V7_Sport on April 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM

David Blue on April 23, 2014 at 11:35 AM

I cannot agree more.

Pincher Martin on April 23, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Weren’t you just telling me that Putin was too old to be throwing his weight around (at age 61)… “a young mans game, like math” or something?

“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond…”

….Give us what we want and no one gets hurt.

V7_Sport on April 23, 2014 at 5:15 PM

The Russians want their own “fascist junta” and have been pushing for it since the last evil empire collapsed.

V7_Sport on April 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Not true. Before the coup, Putin was doing nothing but matching every EU bribe to Kiev with an equal or better bribe. That’s not aggression.

These “ethnic Russians” in the Ukraine… you mean the Spetnaz who are taking over government buildings as a provocation for invasion?

V7_Sport on April 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM

No, the people who actually live there – people that the Victoria Nulands of the State Department think don’t matter, and people that the fascist of the Maidan junta would like to ethnically cleanse.

David Blue on April 24, 2014 at 4:33 AM