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Mon May 12, 2014, 10:47 AM

After the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire

"This idea that the end of the Soviet Union means the end of history is fatuous. Now that they don't have the Soviets to hate, they can go back to hating each other."

- Ed Hart, a commentator on the old FNN network, predecessor to CNBC (from memory, wording may not be exact)

I can't speak for anyone else, but for myself and I'm sure for Europeans who know their history, the thing about Putin's revanchist actions is that they open a can of worms that could blow Europe sky-high. I don't like the EU's penchant for austerity, but the EU is meant to get Europe beyond constantly obsessing over its many and complicated ethnic rivalries and concentrate on prosperity for the entire continent. The implementation may be flawed but the mission is a good one.
So anyway, the thing is there are a lot of old empires that would like to see themselves resurrected. The biggest one, one that dominated central Europe until WWI, was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Probably the biggest issue facing Versailles was what to do about all of the varied nationalities that empire ruled over. Lots and lots of people of course wound up with various parts living as minorities under somebody else.
Among the most scattered was, naturally, the Hungarian nation. Guess what? Hungary's neo-Nazis, the Jobbiks, are looking favorably at what Putin is doing with Ukraine and deciding they'd like a piece of that. The Hungarian gov't, which is right-wing and feeling the pressure from Jobbik, has strengthened its ties to Russia and is also making very friendly noises re what Putin is doing in Ukraine.
So below, an article that details this particular ethnic bomb waiting to explode, this time right smack in the EU. This is what Putin is unleashing, the potential for vast rivers of blood all over Europe. Anyone who still thinks after reading this that Putin is some sort of leftist hero or that what he is doing in Ukraine shouldn't be opposed as vigorously as possible is, frankly, nuts:

Kárpátalja: Europe’s Next Crimea?

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Reply After the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Original post)
Benton D Struckcheon May 2014 OP
The Magistrate May 2014 #1
Benton D Struckcheon May 2014 #2
hobbit709 May 2014 #3
Igel May 2014 #8
Benton D Struckcheon May 2014 #10
The Traveler May 2014 #4
polly7 May 2014 #5
Benton D Struckcheon May 2014 #7
1000words May 2014 #9
malaise May 2014 #12
bemildred May 2014 #6
pampango May 2014 #11

Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Original post)

Mon May 12, 2014, 11:04 AM

1. This Is My Leading Point In The Present Contretempts, Sir

Breaking the present map by force opens a can of particularly wriggling worms....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Mon May 12, 2014, 11:06 AM

2. Yeah, I think the people reading from the RT script have no idea ...

... what demons are being unleashed here.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Mon May 12, 2014, 11:07 AM

3. The rest of Europe may resemble the former Jugoslavia.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #3)

Mon May 12, 2014, 12:50 PM

8. That would have interesting consequences.

Instead of a large bloc, there'd be a bunch of small nation-states or territories, none of which would have much authority or power except perhaps Germany.

It would smash the EU--which is precisely what most of the small far-right parties want. And some of the large ones, as well. Even the Tories in Britain want it weakened (albeit reined in, not utterly smashed, for the most part.)


There are those on the left in the US that have the same kinds of goal. In the fight against capitalism and Western hegemony there is only one evil, sort of spread between the US and the EU. There can be none others because there enemy is the one true enemy.


The downside is that this would leave a strong Russia, never a champion of (a) freedom, (b) human rights, (c) self-determination, (d) non-interference in other countries when it's the one doing the interfering.


The rightists should recognize this. Some unreconstructed leftists, however, are still of the opinion that the USSR was a good and righteous thing, and conflate Russia with the USSR as much as Brezhnev did. Most on that side in the fight, however, can't get over their contempt and disgust for one structure to recognize the flaws in another.

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Response to Igel (Reply #8)

Mon May 12, 2014, 01:15 PM

10. Yeah I read somewhere that Putin's overarching strategy is to weaken the EU,

not for any ideological reason really, he just wants to be able to bargain separately with each one and extract as much money as he can for the oil and gas they sell. He does that now, but also knows that with the EU in place it's much easier for them to get together and bargain as a single unit. That's his nightmare.
So a large part of all this is Putin trying to max his leverage re the EU. For that lofty goal we have people reciting the RT line here. Nutty.

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Original post)

Mon May 12, 2014, 11:42 AM

4. Looks to me like EU and NATO actions helped provoke this

 

The issue seems to have been whether or not Ukraine would tighten relations with the EU and NATO, and implement an austerity program for doing so. Russia offered an alternative deal with the objective of keeping the Ukraine out of the EU orbit. It appears the population was fairly intensely divided by that issue.

I don't claim to understand what happened next ... there is considerable fog. What was the involvement of the west in stirring up the pro-EU protests? What role did extreme right wingers and neo-Nazis play? How much of the unrest was due to Russian agitators? Claims. Counter claims. Factual inaccuracies detected in the statements of all sides. Fog of war. But it's hard not to describe it as a coup ... the elected government was forcibly deposed.

But, unlike the Ukraine, Russia was not divided. Consistently over the years, they have held the west to agreements which were intended to limit NATO expansion eastward. And that position accurately mirrored deeply held attitudes of the Russian people. Perhaps the Russians are being paranoid, but you do have to admit that they have had trouble with aggression from west of their borders from time to time. (And not all of that originated from western Europe itself ...)

Rightly or wrongly, the west crossed a line which everyone knew was there, plain in the sand.

Now, if it was clear that a majority of Ukrainians wanted that alignment with the EU, one could argue that going forward was the right thing to do. A country should be able to make those decisions for itself, regardless of Russian sensitivity. (Wonder what would happen if Mexico aligned with China right now, on popular demand? Would we do the right thing and acquiesce?)

But that is far from clear. By pushing the issue (and we did) we crossed that line, and we did so without adequate popular support in Ukraine.

So I guess my take on it is that both sides need to calm down, and find a way to step back from the line of fire. The Russian military is not inept nor under armed. They have been quietly upgrading the on board systems of old but capable air frames, and it would be unwise to underestimate their air power. Their tactical nuke capabilities remain impressive ... and down that road lies madness.

Just my take on it ... but even filtering out all the accusations and counter accusations, it was stupid to think Putin would not respond to what Russians perceive as encroachment. It was a geo political blunder, that reeks with the arrogance of those who, on the collapse of the Soviet Union, proclaimed "the end of history", and a new world order based on a global economy as the final, conclusive victor.

Trav

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Response to The Traveler (Reply #4)

Mon May 12, 2014, 11:49 AM

5. +1000. nt.

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Response to The Traveler (Reply #4)

Mon May 12, 2014, 12:34 PM

7. Got no problems with that POV.

I think NATO expansion was stupid, and on Twitter I had a, shall we say, vigorous discussion with someone who was trying to make the case that it wasn't. But Ukraine gets to decide who rules there, no matter how distasteful that choice may be to us or anyone else, not Russia. I don't buy that we had so much influence there that it would outweigh what the FSB could covertly do. That's just implausible.
That's number one. Secondly, if the Russians are paranoid about their borders, restarting all the old ethnic divisions by asserting their "historical" connection to Crimea was not the way to go. Down that path lies far more madness than I think they're really prepared to have to deal with, especially given they still have so many minorities in their own country.
Had they taken their case to the court of world opinion, I think they had a very strong case to make. Publicly asserting their very strong interest in keeping Sevastopol was something well within their rights; naval exercises to make that point; bringing up the above re NATO expansion and sternly asserting their displeasure with that; economic pressure on Ukraine re their gas bills; all would have made their case without reopening this can of worms. Even their growing ties with Hungary were a way of very plainly making their point without resorting to outright annexation. But the act of annexation was what threatens to now unleash all the old ethnic demons. Now you have the far right in all kinds of different countries around Europe sitting up and saying to their leaders what Jobbik is saying to Hungary's: why aren't you more like Putin?
This is very dangerous.

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Response to The Traveler (Reply #4)

Mon May 12, 2014, 12:50 PM

9. Good post

 

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Response to The Traveler (Reply #4)

Mon May 12, 2014, 02:02 PM

12. +1,000

It was a geo political blunder, that reeks with the arrogance of those who, on the collapse of the Soviet Union, proclaimed "the end of history", and a new world order based on a global economy as the final, conclusive victor.

------------------
i made the same point in a thread last week

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Original post)

Mon May 12, 2014, 11:53 AM

6. Sounds like a real headache, all right. nt

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Original post)

Mon May 12, 2014, 01:54 PM

11. Jobbik, Hungary's far-right party, is supporting Putin on Ukraine and wants

Jobbik's Greater Hungarian irredentist claims can be found in pleas for cross-border ethnic self-determination. For example, the party demands "territorial autonomy" for the Székely Land in Romania and desires to make Transcarpathian Ukraine an independent Hungarian district.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobbik#Platform_and_ideology

Hungary’s Jobbik and Greece’s Golden Dawn are both invited to the Russian National Forum organised by a group with close ties to Putin to be held later this year.

http://euobserver.com/eu-elections/123887

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