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Response to reorg (Reply #169)

Fri Aug 29, 2014, 01:51 AM

172. The 'Volunteer' Wheeze Is Very Old, Sir

Russia sent four squadrons of fighters, two of bombers, and a tank regiment plus infantry for local security, to China in the late thirties to fight Japanese; all personnel were officially described as volunteers, in no way formed units of the Russian armed forces, and there was a money out one pocket to another bit of book-keeping to pretend the Chinese purchased the equipment, and claims that anyway, the aircrew were there only to train Chinese. Japan not wanting war with Russia much more than Russia did with Japan, did not treat this as grounds for more than strenuous protest, even though the Russian units were quite effective, and some of their personnel captured. No one was fooled, everyone involved, and all informed un-lookers, understood Russia had sent a sizeable ready-made air force to assist China, and did so because it wanted Japan kept busy away from Siberia and the Maritime Provinces.

It is simply a fact that Russia is now sending formed units of Russian soldiery, with their equipment, into Ukraine. You are free to whinge that this is not 'an invasion' because Russia could surely move several divisions under air cover into Ukraine, rather than something which seems in total about the equivalent of a brigade at present. But that does not mean it is not an act of the Russian government, not a deployment of Russian soldiers and equipment under Russian orders into combat with Ukraine's armed forces. The paper-work does not impress me, and it does not alter the essence of the matter. Russia is waging a war against Ukraine, a low intensity war, but a war all the same, and its purpose in waging this is the seizure of territory from a neighboring state --- in short, an act of imperialist aggression. It is intended to pay, with full control of oil and gas in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov which otherwise would benefit Ukraine, and it is viewed as the first essential step to reconstituting the old Russian land empire, or at least as much of this as can practicably be snarfled up in the present day.

Russia has as much right to try this as anyone else has to employ violence for their own aggrandizement, certainly. The problem I have, and a number of other people have as well, is with people who pretend that Russia is not engaged in imperialist aggression, who couch defense of Russia's aggression in Ukraine in terms of resistance to aggression against Russia, and who give every evidence of believing the shabbiest and most threadbare of lies Russia tells about its actions and purposes, all the while insisting everyone who disagrees is duped by propaganda. I could have some respect for someone who made a case on straight realpolitik grounds, and stated straight out their preferred outcome was that Russia achieve its goals, take as much of Ukraine as it thought best for its interests, and reconstituted its old empire. I could respect someone who viewed the thing as a clash between two imperialisms over who would have the sole exploitation of Ukraine, and preferred it to be Russia who became sole exploiter of Ukraine. But I cannot have the slightest respect for the sort of cant which makes up the overwhelming bulk of the commentary made in support of Russian imperialism here.

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LineLineLineLineLineReply The 'Volunteer' Wheeze Is Very Old, Sir
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