Russia may be about to invade Ukraine. {Russia has invaded as of Feb 24-2022}

Yes, and again they have been doing this sort of thing wrt Ukraine for a while. And they have hit the US as well, from time to time. This sounds like a threat to extend that…or, in terms of standard Russian-esque messaging, to not stop the various groups (many of them sponsored or supported by the Russian state) from doing attacks against the west and the US.

As a vodka drinker, I don’t know why anyone would buy Russian vodka anyway. I never buy it myself both as a matter of principle and because there’s no reason to. The best mainstream vodka in my view is Absolut, which is Swedish. Those looking for a fancy upscale vodka might consider Grey Goose, which is French. The most common name in vodka, Smirnoff (not a favourite of mine) is British-owned and produced domestically in a large number of countries. Its original Russian heritage has been irrelevant for a long time.

Of course, this is also true of US sanctions.

Right. But as indicated, the US already has issues with China, and will have even more if they attack Taiwan. So it gets complicated.

I’m in the beverage/restaurant business and from what I’ve seen of late is Tito’s crushing the vodka category. Grey Goose is a favorite as well.

Not to digress too much on the vodka topic, but it should be noted that Tito’s is American, and comes from Texas. It’s available here in Canada but priced a bit higher than most vodkas, and the local listing notes “limited quantities”, so apparently not a big seller here.

I failed to be clear but my post was more to the point that Russian vodka has really fallen in popularity here. Doubtful any reverse sanctions from Putin on it would be noticed by many in the US.

The most effective “sanctions” probably wouldn’t be economic, but rather, NATO-ish: Invite Sweden and Finland to join immediately, and give them fast-track membership. Greatly increase forces in Poland and the Baltic states. Cut off Kaliningrad from everything land-related so it can only resupply by sea and also cut off all NATO airspace to Kaliningrad, forcing airliners to take the long route. Ban Russia from participation in international sports, even under the “ROC” fig leaf. Cut off all airliner flights to and from Russia.

All good starting points. A ban on Russian banks being able to do business of any kind with banks of western nations and seizing the bank accounts of the Russian oligarchs should also be on the table.

I hate Boris Johnson with something of a passion but he did say one thing correctly in the last few days:

If [Putin] thinks he’s going to get less NATO as a result of this, he’s totally wrong. He’s going to get more NATO.

No. One of the few, non-military tools the US has is sanctions, and we’ve used them quite a bit. Arguably, we’ve overused them. WRT China, however, we have very limited and specifically targeted sanctions that are pretty small, relatively speaking. The trade tariffs are a whole 'nothing thing, of course.

I’d say we have more than sanctions issues if the CCP attacks China, though I guess that depends on how Biden et al react. Could be an actual shooting war, though most likely of limited scope, but any shooting war between superpowers is going to be ugly. It will definitely be complicated, and I hope that China does go this route, though I think a lot of that is going to depend on how this plays out in Ukraine.

NATO doesn’t invite in countries, and in both of those cases, there is a good chance that they will ask to join (and be fast-tracked, unlike Ukraine which has been back-burnered since 2014).

The rest of these are good, though not sure how Russia would take flight bans, and those would only be good for flights going to or from countries that will participate. But I’d certainly say a more permanent and stronger NATO force in the Baltics and other Eastern European NATO countries is in order and we should already be thinking in those terms.

You may have misunderstood me.

I said that the Russians could undermine US sanctions on other countries, and you said they are aleady doing this though they could possibly do more (undermining). I responded that this is also true of US sanctions on Russia, meaning that the US already has sanctions in place on Russia and is now just adding to those sanctions. So the Russian actions and US actions would be in tandem, in that sense.

Ah, gotcha. I agree though it seems that there are some third rails wrt sanctions that the US and Europe aren’t going to cross, such as more broad-based sanctions on Russia’s energy sectors. But yes, both are responding and countering in tandem. In fact, Russia is a couple of steps ahead in some ways, as they obviously have been doing the groundwork to set up alternatives for their energy markets by shifting to Asia, especially China. They are also trying to at least mitigate in the medium and long term wrt their dependence on international banking, especially that controlled by the US, as that’s likely to be one of the places they get hurt over this in the short term…assuming the US and the west pulls the trigger on sanctions or actions they have discussed in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.

I’m flashing back to Iraq II, the WMD conversations, Colin Powell at the UN, and – maybe most strongly – “You’re either with us or your with the terrorists.” We’re being sold very hard on this.

It’s sounding more and more like a fait accompli.

I’m struggling mightily with the ‘principled’ position, here – protecting a sovereign democracy from invasion by an external force.

Uh. Okay.

I’m struggling to keep hearing Psaki and the WH, essentially, tell us that we’re all likely to pay a price for the US doing the right thing.

Color me unconvinced. Color me extremely skeptical. Color me wanting a whole lot more concrete information.

We used to be asked to make sacrifices when the nation was at war. In the last generation or two, we have gone to war in order that Americans really don’t have to sacrifice.

Our strategic national interests have virtually been redefined to mean: what’s in it for us.

So far, billions in weapons sales to Ukraine.

If retail energy costs get jacked up, will those costs be purely equal to the costs that the energy sector sees, or will they make profits in excess of their incremental costs ?

But we’re back in the ‘street level sacrifice’ game ?

Follow the money.

Who profits.

If we wanted to “pay for doing the right thing,” we’d crack down on China and start taking human rights abuses more seriously. Instead, we import what % of our consumer goods from them ? They hold what % of our debt ?

We’re living our principles again ? Hm. Idunno.

This has all the markings of a clusterfuck. Why isn’t this one squarely on the shoulders of the EU ? Why must our prints be on this one at all ?

Is Fox virtually running their Chyron in Cyrillic letters ? Yes. But is the WH in full court press sales mode ? Yes to that, too.

Can someone fill me in on who these Russian separatists are? Are they Russian citizens living in Ukraine? Ukrainians who stand to profit if Putin takes over eastern Ukraine?

If the US increases the supply of LNG to Europe to counter any shortfall from Russia, the US gas companies stand to make an awful lot of money. But the spot price will go up and this could mean increases in domestic gas and electricity bills.

So there will be winners in the Oil and Gas sector and losers…that would everyone else. Politically this would be deeply unpopular with the voters. Unless, of course, they had investments in Oil and Gas, in which case they would be crying all the way to the bank.

It’s…complicated. But the short answer is: There is a fairly large ethnic Russian population in Ukraine. The eastern part of Ukraine always had a pro-Russian bent, while the western part was more pro-West. Of course, not all those fighting in this region are Ukrainian ethnic Russian separatists…it’s pretty well established that some of them are the ‘little green men’ from Russia’s Crimean adventure, i.e. Russian soldiers with Russian support who are there on leave, taking their vacation in balmy Ukraine.

They probably would stand to profit if Putin and Russia take eastern Ukraine in the sense that they would be connected to Russian markets and, being ethnic Russians would integrate into the Russian federation fairly easily. Same as Crimea has…in theory.

I find myself thinking a lot about a great song by The Call – The Walls Came Down*.

In particular, the lyric:

I don’t think there are any Russians
And there ain’t no Yanks
Just corporate criminals
Playin’ with tanks

The older I get …

*Honorable mention, of course, to Sting, for Russians:

[/end threadjack]

You could probably ask the people of Ukraine if there are any Russians, and you’d get a different perspective. Cynicism is all well and good, but you seem to be pushing it past the extreme…

The last census took place back in 2001, so data it’s not very up to date, but back then:

  • the only region of Ukraine with an absolute majority of (self identified) ethnic russians was Crimea.
  • in Luhansk and Donetsk about 40% were ethnic Russians. Probably in the areas currently occupied by the self-declared republics the proportion was higher, since they’re right next to the border.

A lot of the people in that area (maybe 30%) have Russian citizenship, granted over the last few years. Some of them even voted in the last round of Russian elections.

What happens now in Ukraine happened before in Georgia (the country in the Caucasus, not the US state :slight_smile: ) : Abkhazia and South Osetia declared independence, locals got evacuated to Russia under the pretext of imminent genocide by the Georgian government, cars of local officials blew up (allegedly due to terrorist activity by forces opposed to the Russian take over - strangely, there were no victims), the Russian parliament recognized the independence of the breakway republic, the Russian army was sent in, war ensued, Georgia was defeated and ended up with two (currently) frozen conflicts on its territory.

Not so original this Putin guy, same thing seem to be happening right now in Ukraine.

Something that was not mentioned so far in this thread: Putin/Russia recognized the republics of Luhansk and Donetsk as comprising the entire regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. Only one third of this area is now under the control of the rebels/Russia, and that’s the area where Russian troops are currently massing. Will they make a push for the rest of Luhansk and Donetsk? If so, will they stop once they occupy the whole area, or they’ll keep going?