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Why the world should be paying attention to Putin’s plans for Belarus

Rogue Valley

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Why the world should be paying attention to Putin’s plans for Belarus

HCM47DQQJAI6TCJYLCMK3QUPUI.jpg

Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin

1/4/19
While Belarus essentially stays the same, its large eastern neighbor is changing. In particular, the ambitions of Lukashenko’s fellow de facto dictator, Russian President Vladimir Putin, are growing. With his economy still weak and his popularity wavering, Putin has acquired a need for spectacular foreign policy successes. The warm glow that followed his occupation of Crimea has faded, his intervention in Syria is complicated, and it would take a real military effort to occupy more of Ukraine. Though he may eventually decide to make that effort, it’s also possible, in the meantime, that Russia will swallow Belarus. The two countries are already, theoretically, part of something called the “Union State of Belarus and Russia,” and the two countries conduct joint military exercises. But in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, Lukashenko has sought to protect his independence and project a different image, occasionally defying Russian requests, pursuing a somewhat independent foreign policy and even, as a gesture toward the West, releasing his political opponents from jail, though they still get detained on the way to demonstrations.

Now Moscow seems intent on removing the fig leaf. In the past few weeks, Lukashenko and Putin have met at least twice. The Russian finance minister has announced the “further integration” of the two countries. The Belarusian defense minister has declared that U.S. troops in Poland could perhaps constitute a “military threat,” which is not language that Lukashenko’s government has used before. The Russian government has raised energy prices in Belarus. There is talk of Russia taking over a whole suite of Belarusian government operations, including customs, visas, and monetary and tax policies. And that’s the “moderate” takeover model: A more extreme version could include the declaration of a new political entity, ruled by a single president, presumably one whose first name starts with a “V.” Lukashenko has already publicly dismissed Russian pressure as “blackmail,” and a Belarusian dissident told me that independent economists there believe Belarus could hold out, even if Russia uses its gas pipelines as a form of pressure. But she also agreed that a future Russian-Belarusian state can’t be ruled out: Lukashenko has stayed in power all of these decades because he is good at understanding which way the wind is blowing. If Russia makes him an offer he can’t refuse, then he won’t resist.

An incorporation of Belarus into the Russian Federation would provide Moscow with an unbroken land-bridge from Russia proper to the Baltic Sea.

A strategic coup that Putin would certainly utilize to destabilize the Baltic States, and create a massive military problem for NATO.
 

DaveFagan

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The reference to Poland already indicts NATO as the root cause of this matter. Not Putin. Lessee Now. Lukashenko dictator. Putin elected. NATO is the problem.
/
 

Common Sense 1

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What did the world do when Russia illegally invaded Crimea?

Some silly sanctions? Belarus has been a puppet of Russia for a number of years.
 

Xelor

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Harshaw

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washunut

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You are correct that both both China and Russia have an advantage in strategic thinking. It is called a dictator. America not only doesn't have one of these we also lurch from party to party in governing.

I will gladly continue to live with this malady. Many Russians wish they had that choice.
 

TheParser

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There are independent countries, and then there are independent countries.

Little or weak "independent" countries are, in reality, little brothers.

In this case, they have to be respectful of Russia, the Big Brother. That's just how the cookie crumbles.


*****


That's why we have been so angry with Cuba. We even tried several times to, uh, terminate Fidel Castro. He had refused to acknowledge our guidance as Cuba's Big Brother.

And we still are somewhat indignant that Canada and Mexico sometimes do not show enough respect to their Big Brother.


*****


China is currently in the process of "reminding" her neighbors that it is the Big Brother in that neighborhood.
 
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Fledermaus

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The reference to Poland already indicts NATO as the root cause of this matter. Not Putin. Lessee Now. Lukashenko dictator. Putin elected. NATO is the problem.
/

NATO caused Putin to act as he did....

Wow.

Is that what RT.com told you?

And Lukashenko is just a "Soviet Lite" pro-Russia dictator you should be loving him.
 
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Xelor

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Let me be clear: transformational vs. transactional is evaluated on a continuum, not a binarily. Leaders -- POTUSes, Congress members, organization executives and principals, etc. -- must adroitly and with studied acumen possess and exhibit both types of leadership, and doing so requires they:

  • Recognize the critical need for a vision and purpose with values
  • Establish an environment of excellence, which, in turn, inspires trust and overcomes reticence
  • Effect change from within -- not without, in rejection of -- traditional and historical structures of culture
  • Apply both transactional and transformational leadership practices to overcome pecuniary constraints
  • Possess (1) deep subject matter knowledge developed from a multidisciplinary perspective, (2) leadership skills, and (3) technical expertise
Careful analysis of everything Trump does and wants to achieve accrues from transactional goals in much the same way, albeit on a different scale, that some, lo many, folks cannot distinguish tactics from strategies -- such people identify, see or conjure tactics and think them strategies.
 

OrphanSlug

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An incorporation of Belarus into the Russian Federation would provide Moscow with an unbroken land-bridge from Russia proper to the Baltic Sea.

A strategic coup that Putin would certainly utilize to destabilize the Baltic States, and create a massive military problem for NATO.

And do what about it?

Belarus has had plenty of ties to Russia recently and we should not be all that surprised that Russia wants to park military resources near Poland, it is more or less counter to all NATO does to part military resources near Russia.

The UN is worthless in all this.

The difficult truth here is plenty in the west wanted a renewed Cold War with Russia. Well, now we have one.
 

Rogue Valley

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And do what about it?

Much like with Ukraine, there's not much that can be done about it directly.

But we can recognize Putin's political/military aggressiveness towards his neighbors and begin being proactive rather than reactive.

Instead of waiting for the Belarus Anschluss, consider it a foregone conclusion and begin moving NATO pieces now to constrain/crimp Moscow's future reckless options.
 

Harshaw

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Let me be clear: transformational vs. transactional is evaluated on a continuum, not a binarily.

Sure it is. So why are you trying to make it binary?

I'm referring to the continuum. Which is why it was appropriate say . . . again.
 

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Why the world should be paying attention to Putin’s plans for Belarus

HCM47DQQJAI6TCJYLCMK3QUPUI.jpg

Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin



An incorporation of Belarus into the Russian Federation would provide Moscow with an unbroken land-bridge from Russia proper to the Baltic Sea.

A strategic coup that Putin would certainly utilize to destabilize the Baltic States, and create a massive military problem for NATO.

Rogue Valley:

Russia already has direct access to the Baltic Sea from Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg and from the Russian ports on the Western Karelian Peninsula through the Gulf of Finnland. The real danger of an absorption of Belarus is that Russian troops would be on the Polish frontier and better able to influence or strike at the Baltic States; if Putin was mad enough to attack four NATO member states. It is worth noting that Ms. Applebaum has close personal connections to both Poland and Belarus and that these allegiances may be colouring her analysis.

Cheers.
Evilroddy.
 

Evilroddy

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Much like with Ukraine, there's not much that can be done about it directly.

But we can recognize Putin's political/military aggressiveness towards his neighbors and begin being proactive rather than reactive.

Instead of waiting for the Belarus Anschluss, consider it a foregone conclusion and begin moving NATO pieces now to constrain/crimp Moscow's future reckless options.

Rogue Valley:

Short of direct military confrontation, with all the existential hazards which that entails, how do you propose that the West or NATO constrain and contain Putin's Russia? Putin is going to do what Putin does and there is not a whole lot that the West, NATO, the UN, America or Belarus can do to stop him, short of a military confrontation; there is no appetite in the West for such a confrontation to rescue one dictator's regime from another's grasp. So what measures do you propose either pre or post reabsorption of Belarus by Putin's macro-Amoeba to curb the pseudopods of a resurgent Russia from extending further?

A note about the author of the cited author, Anne Applebaum. She is a Polish citizen by choice in addition to being an American citizen by birth. She is also of Belarussian heritage and she is a hawkish conservative and a former member of the American Enterprise Institute think-tank many members of which played a key role in the formation and implementation of the Bush Doctrine and the Iraq War of 2003 to the present. So readers should be aware of the author's history when evaluating what she has to say.

Cheers.
Evilroddy.
 

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Rogue Valley

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Rogue Valley:

Russia already has direct access to the Baltic Sea from Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg and from the Russian ports on the Western Karelian Peninsula through the Gulf of Finnland.

I am not really in need of a geography lesson. Kaliningrad Oblast is separated from Russia proper. An annexation of Belarus remedies this separation.
 

Rogue Valley

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Rogue Valley:

Short of direct military confrontation, with all the existential hazards which that entails, how do you propose that the West or NATO constrain and contain Putin's Russia? Putin is going to do what Putin does and there is not a whole lot that the West, NATO, the UN, America or Belarus can do to stop him, short of a military confrontation; there is no appetite in the West for such a confrontation to rescue one dictator's regime from another's grasp. So what measures do you propose either pre or post reabsorption of Belarus by Putin's macro-Amoeba to curb the pseudopods of a resurgent Russia from extending further?

A note about the author of the cited author, Anne Applebaum. She is a Polish citizen by choice in addition to being an American citizen by birth. She is also of Belarussian heritage and she is a hawkish conservative and a former member of the American Enterprise Institute think-tank many members of which played a key role in the formation and implementation of the Bush Doctrine and the Iraq War of 2003 to the present. So readers should be aware of the author's history when evaluating what she has to say.

Cheers.
Evilroddy.
Don't you read at all? I clearly stated in Post #11 that nothing can be done about a Belarus Anschluss directly.

However, NATO can preposition supply assets and beef up naval, air, and land assets in Poland and the three Baltic States.

It would also behoove all NATO countries to cease cooperation with Moscow regarding NordStream 2. It makes no sense to enrich/empower a nation preparing to wage war on you.
 

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Full-Range-Leadership-Continuum.png



"Again" is a word indicating a temporal quality of something's incidence, and it's inherently binary. The noted continuum has no temporal dimension.

Yes, it refers to the temporal quality of the character of the Presidency and the continuity between administrations as to where it resides on that continuum (though you were unclear on the "continuum" you were referring to).

Thus . . . again.

Not sure how you think that's "binary," though.
 
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Xelor

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Yes, it refers to the temporal quality of the character of the Presidency and the continuity between administrations as to where it resides on that continuum (though you were unclear on the "continuum" you were referring to).

Thus . . . again.

Not sure how you think that's "binary," though.

Red:
You just keep thinking that....
 

Harshaw

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Red:
You just keep thinking that....

I'm absolutely sure of what the word "again" refers to, as I am the one who used it.

There is very little discontinuity between the reactionary and transactional nature of foreign policy of the previous administration to the current one. The only minor difference is in priority.
 

Harshaw

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It's fairly pointless engaging with Harshaw. His circular modus operandi is well known.

. . . "known" among a group of about 6 highly-partisan whiners . . .
 

Xelor

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I'm absolutely sure of what the word "again" refers to, as I am the one who used it.

There is very little discontinuity between the reactionary and transactional nature of foreign policy of the previous administration to the current one. The only minor difference is in priority.

ROTFL -- The fact of your using the word doesn't at all demonstrate you have any idea of what it means.
 

Harshaw

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ROTFL -- The fact of your using the word doesn't at all demonstrate you have any idea of what it means.

I'm not sure you get how words work. When I say "again," it refers to something specific, something I've already explained twice. That you would prefer it "referred" to something else is unfortunate for you, but it doesn't change my intent in using it, and it doesn't mean I don't know what I intended, because I do.

Now, are you going to respond to me substantively, or are you going to continue on this bizarre, ill-advised attempt to insist that I didn't mean what I actually meant?

I repeat: the reactionary and transactional nature of this administration's foreign policy is of a piece with the previous administration's foreign policy. Hence my saying . . . "again."
 
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