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Silvanus

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That's pretty simple. I never claimed Yanukovych's government was democratic; I've claimed he was elected. Neither have I said that Zelensky was not elected. They were both elected in nominally fair processes... if you consider the various ways in which an oligarchy maintains power in a society that has elections "fair", and if you disregard the processes which disallow certain candidates from receiving a hearing, manipulate public opinion, and so on. Yanukovych being an arm of Ukrainian oligarchy like Poroshenko and Zelensky after him is not a justification for the United States to help neo-Nazis overthrow him. By your very loose standards, Yanukovych's government was democratic. And by mine, neither his government nor Zelensky's were or are.

Zelensky, notably, was elected after a bunch of political parties were banned and opposition television stations shut down. And he rode to power on the strength of a career in media. That career in media, to put it another way, benefited from the elimination of his competition by government decision. What a bold outsider! lol

Amusingly, everything you say about Zelensky to try to make it seem like I should like him you can also say about Donald fucking Trump. That's when you know you have a strong argument!
Then by both our standards, Yanukovych's 2010 election and Zelensky's in 2019 have equal right to claim a mandate to govern, OK (though Zelensky, of course, never actually tried to outright rig an election as Yanukovych did, but that's by-the-by if we're considering 2004 to be all bygones).

So that begs the question, then: why do you constantly bring up Euromaidan in an effort to delegitimise Zelensky, but don't apply the same standard for Yanukovych?

And I don't really give a shit about whether you like Zelensky; that clearly wasn't the intention of the argument. You would like us to believe that a few hundred thousand dollars of US currency undermines any post-Euromaidan government. It's worth pointing out that that modest amount is dwarfed by the expenditure of the opponent who lost, which indicates it wasn't a decisive factor.

You draw this conclusion without making any real argument for it. It is as if being associated with Russia at all is enough for you. So by the same token, Rojava was an invention of the US State Department. There is your consistency, maybe you'll find it somewhere in the far future.
You've literally cut out the parts that provide the argument, then moaned that there's no argument!

Russia provided massive levels of funding (dwarfing anything the US invested in Euromaidan), as well as enormous amounts of weaponry, and disguised Russian troops fought to establish it.

The leaps in logic that you make might be fascinating were it not for how baldly they seek to downplay western involvement and exaggerate Russian statements about their aims. Given the obviousness of that pattern, they instead are just tedious. "Annexation is the goal" is not "Russia won't be satisfied with neutrality".

It's like you expect people to be impressed by your ability to collapse a situation in your head to a simplistic good guys and bad guys narrative, bulldozing whatever facts might stand in the way. To be fair, there are some that apparently are impressed by the rigidity with which you can hold to a state department line.
The "leap in logic" here being... listening to their own explicit statements about what they intend to do?

And the fact that they literally sent an army to Kyiv with instruction to take the capital and depose the government?

And you got this sense of perspective from listening to western media. Just like you got your idea that the Euromaidan coup would have happened without western involvement even though it wasn't supported by a majority of the people of Ukraine even with western involvement. Maybe I should interpret that as an admission that the will of the people of Ukraine had little to do with the success or failure of Euromaidan. Is that not correct?

This sense of perspective is alloyed by disregarding video evidence of Ukrainian troops using medical infrastructure in a military capacity (ambulances as troop transports live on an Al-Jazeera broadcast), ignorance or dismissal of allegations that the Ukrainian military tried to prevent civilian evacuation from places like Mariupol in order to manufacture the narrative you've decided is your "sense of perspective".

Right, ok, let's have an exercise. So what you've got here is survivor testimony of some really despicable things done by some Ukrainian soldiers. None of which I've disregarded. The Azov Battalion is a neo-Nazi shitstain, and other Ukrainian soldiers have obviously been involved in awful shit. In this case: threats and intimidation, and shelling residential areas. Unsure why you're saying I've "disregarded" this, as I've openly stated it several times now.

And then we also have: mass executions in the street, hands tied, shots to the back of the head; far larger shelling of residential areas, including hospitals and schools; mass rape. All of which is attested to by a huge trove of survivor testimony. On a much larger scale.

But in those instances, you're unable to acknowledge it at all. It's only ever met with dismissal, downplaying, etc etc.


And how does your "sense of perspective" compare what has occurred in Ukraine to what was perpetrated by NATO in Libya or Iraq or Yugoslavia?
Whataboutery, moving on.

They are a source for the wider western mainstream media landscape to launder US propaganda through a nominally independent mouthpiece. That's not the same thing. Also, just as a matter of method, a list of high profile hits isn't a measure of reliability. What you're really showing here is that they have an anti-Russian orientation. Wow, great. So reliable.
None of this is actually a rebuttal. It's instant dismissal because the outlet got some money from somewhere. None of this addresses the substance of the charge, which is backed up by fucking metadata and isn't under dispute.

I mean, Christ! When you yourself chose to post that drivel from Nixon's far-right rag, which is drenched in US corporate finance, I pointed out how unreliable that made it and.... gasp! You whined that I shouldn't just dismiss the substance because of the outlet reporting it! And yet here you are, uhrm... doing the exact same thing. Except your article had no good track record on the subject, and didn't have verified data to back it up. Rank hypocrisy again.
 
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Silvanus

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Anyway, yeah, I'm not a process liberal. Go figure.
In short: violence is acceptable and fine when Russia or puppet separatists do it, because Ukraine hasn't had much experience of democracy, the liberal process don't matter.

Violence is utterly unacceptable if Ukraine does it, even against those same separatists and Russian invaders in self-defence, cos that's undemocratic.
 
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Agema

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Anyway, yeah, I'm not a process liberal. Go figure.
Really? That's funny, because all that rhetoric about a 2014 "coup" against the democratically elected president of Ukraine is precisely what I'd expect from a "process liberal".

And herein lies the problem. I don't really have a problem with whether people believe in process or not. What I do care about is mixing and matching all sorts of arguments about process and ethics and so on in inconsistent ways, with the only consistency being gratifying the actions of the Russian dictator, up to and including apologising for him invading a sovereign nation (three times), slaughtering, raping and looting its civilians, and proposing a resolution that rewards his aggression.

You're not running into trouble here because everyone's a US stooge. You're running into trouble because of the gross hypocrisy and abandonment of values you have otherwise claimed to hold in defence of a truly appalling repressive autocrat, which is obvious to everyone... except, tragically, you.
 

Silvanus

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Survivor testimonies from civilian victims of torture at the hands of Russian soldiers.
 

The Rogue Wolf

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Survivor testimonies from civilian victims of torture at the hands of Russian soldiers.
I'm sure our usual apologists will tell us how this is all just propaganda, and how all those dead people shot and then buried themselves just to make Russia look bad.
 

Hawki

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Seanchaidh

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Really? That's funny, because all that rhetoric about a 2014 "coup" against the democratically elected president of Ukraine is precisely what I'd expect from a "process liberal".

And herein lies the problem. I don't really have a problem with whether people believe in process or not. What I do care about is mixing and matching all sorts of arguments about process and ethics and so on in inconsistent ways, with the only consistency being gratifying the actions of the Russian dictator, up to and including apologising for him invading a sovereign nation (three times), slaughtering, raping and looting its civilians, and proposing a resolution that rewards his aggression.

You're not running into trouble here because everyone's a US stooge. You're running into trouble because of the gross hypocrisy and abandonment of values you have otherwise claimed to hold in defence of a truly appalling repressive autocrat, which is obvious to everyone... except, tragically, you.
A comical reach. But OK, we can retread what has been obvious for centuries of Enlightenment and even Classical political philosophy.

Notable Process Liberal and Secessionist Rebel Thomas Jefferson said:
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
Famous Process Liberal and Crosser of Rubicon Julius Caesar said:
If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.
Strangely, coups can be bad without hidebound devotion to process above all. Sometimes noting that there was a coup is a process argument only, but it certainly can go well beyond that. Sometimes it is shorthand to describe a longer or more detailed list of nefarious actions. It would be immensely silly to describe condemnations of the United States's long list of overthrowing governments around the world as arguments that are primarily concerned with disrespect for established processes. Do you actually believe that..? A seizure of power raises a lot of questions in any case. Sometimes those questions can be answered convincingly; such as when a coalition of workers and peasants seize power to the purpose of building a more just economic order in which they are no longer exploited by those who own land and capital. Other times it's just the United States using fascism to protect capitalism while claiming they are defending democracy from communism. Or more often these days, using fascism to protect the narrow interests of the ruling class of the United States (and some other countries) while claiming they are defending democracy from whatever bugbear is nearest.

As I already said with slightly different phrasing, processes can have instrumental utility-- and I'll add now, especially compared to an alternative. We're not talking about a democratic mandate which just happened to conflict with the constitutional order; the Euromaidan was not supported by a majority of the people even by the end according to the Washington Post and, even if it had been, that doesn't justify the manipulation of public opinion in order to inflame ethnic tensions and promote a violent nationalism or, indeed, to coax Ukraine into being the spearhead of NATO threats toward Russia-- it would still be wrong if the financial backing and other support and planning were all domestic oligarchs or crowdfunded by less wealthy Ukrainian fascists, but it was also foreign and thus more clearly in service of a US imperialist agenda. I'm no great lover of Kant, but I do see some wisdom in the idea that rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else-- especially in the most extreme cases, such as treating Ukraine and its people as a sacrifice to weaken Russia. This is extremely obvious in its depravity (and for reasons which don't necessarily depend on Kant's ethics), whereas something like for example going on a date with someone to make someone else jealous is not as clearly a moral wrong, never mind a serious one.

To brass tacks:

Yanukovych suffered protests and then a coup for the grave crime of not signing an agreement which would have subjected the people of Ukraine to price increases on various things including the fuel used to heat their homes. This coup was driven by a popular though not majoritary-approved protest and arguably much more important neo-Nazi street violence and false flag attacks, and then threats made against the life of Yanukovych by those same neo-Nazis. But of course the MOST important thing for good process liberals, is that the final vote to remove Yanukovych from office after he had fled the country in fear for his life, is that the parliament was around ten (iirc) short of the number constitutionally necessary for that removal. But again, John Kerry smiled and said it was fine, so no worries!

Do you really think this is primarily a process argument? If so, I'll clarify. It is not so much that the established process wasn't followed; that could be forgiven for sufficient cause. It is that the process was interrupted for so light a reason to empower so grotesque an opposition, and both anti-Russian and anti-democratic ("decommunization") measures taken in the resulting coup government. There is a pattern of western involvement in coups, assassinations, death squads, and so forth, the first of those at least which could theoretically be justified if it was a matter of Trotskyist permanent revolution against capitalism or some shit. Because that could at least theoretically if not necessarily in practice deliver power to the people; institutions are not sacred especially if they are a means for an exploitative minority to rule over the mass of people. But the history of coups are more often of, by, and for the powerful, not the people. And that's the real problem with them even if, superficially, the objection sounds like a process argument. No, it's just that the text that there is a coup here with the subtext that it lacks sufficient justification (and provide it if you please if you claim otherwise) is short, understandable, and absolutely clear to those not suffering from liberal brain.

And then there's the Donbass: do people there have sufficient cause to separate from Ukraine? Do they need a majority of some arbitrarily defined pre-existing region in order to justify that separation? And does Russia have a justification to help them, and does the scale of that support matter?

On the first point, all that should really be required is a wish to separate. But at the very least, people in the Donbass who opposed Euromaidan had plenty of motivation to at the very least question their relationship with Ukraine; there was just a hostile coup there and protests which had murdered people on their side-- literally burned alive trapped in a building in Odessa-- with no recourse, I might add. (A side note, but neither was there any recourse for the murders of the cops and protestors in Kiev.)

So to the second point: should these people in the Donbass be required to submit themselves to rule by the Ukrainian coup and subsequent governments if they are outnumbered by neighbors which don't want to separate? That's not clear. You can argue that it's not democratic for them to separate in that hypothetical case, and I'd agree in that hypothetical case, but forcing them to remain in Ukraine is not necessarily the right course there either; a better idea might be to adjust the borders of a new state such that it does have a majority of people that want separation.

And does Russia have a justification to help the Donbass republics? Given Ukraine's military response to the separatists, it seems there was such a justification. You can argue about how self-interested it was, how honest some of the claims about Ukrainian atrocities are, and so on, but there is clearly something there and with arguments that mirror US and NATO arguments about their right or even obligation to help Ukraine defend itself.

Does the scale of Russian support for the Donbass republics matter? Why should it, exactly? The people represented by the DPR and LPR either have the right to self-determination or they do not. They either have the right to form diplomatic relationships and receive support in their struggle or they do not. There can be quibbling about what the final borders of these new states should be given the value of trying to satisfy the rights to self-determination of everyone involved-- or indeed any other considerations among a list of other potential outcomes such as the application of the Minsk agreement. And this quibbling can take into account that these separatist governments are under violent threat from and invasion by the Ukrainian state-- literally they are/were under siege and bombardment-- so maybe be a little patient with them when it comes to tranquil questions of protocol while they are at war.
 

Seanchaidh

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So that begs the question, then: why do you constantly bring up Euromaidan in an effort to delegitimise Zelensky, but don't apply the same standard for Yanukovych?
Literally what the fuck are you talking about?
 

Satinavian

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Does the scale of Russian support for the Donbass republics matter? Why should it, exactly?
Because the "support" was big enough that the whole movement was basically supplied by Russia. The people there might have voted Yanukovych once, but they didn't show any intention of actually wanting a secession. And after the Russians were there, the people never got a real chance to voice their opinion anymore. The Russian control in those "republics" is tighter than in Russia proper.


There had never been the time for a genuine secession movement to grow. It takes years after years of slights, compromises and ever mounting disappointments until population is ready to see secession as a better option. Take a look at Scotland or Catalonia or Tigray or all the others. In the eastern Ukraine there wasn't much of a separatist movement to support yet and it is far from uncertain one would have naturally grown relevant.
 
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Agema

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A comical reach.
You have been on this forum for over 10 years telling us about your vision of socialism, democracy, human rights and all that. And that's all fine. And then, suddenly, you sell out a country of over 40 million people to a repressive dictator's imperialist ambitions... why?

Why is Yanokovych's corruption, betrayal of his electoral promises to his people (under Russian pressure) and ownership by (often Russian) oligarchs forgivable, but the sins of any other Ukrainian leader not? Why are you so concerned with Ukrainian "Nazis" who don't hold electoral power, but not the Russian state which has overtly embraced their own? Why have you spent so long criticising myriad malign actions against other countries and peoples, but then are tolerant of Russia's?

I read all your long-winded justifications, and all I see is someone trying to magic up clever excuses to avoid addressing the fact that Russia is and always has been every bit as invested in murky global power games as the West, with all the same amorality of interference, deception, abuse and brute force, except at core Russia is more corrupt, authoritarian, dictatorial, abusive, and disinterested in human welfare. Given that core nature of Russia, to effectively support it is to condemn millions of people to worse outcomes, and if you think that is a win... then you do not really hold those values of socialism, democracy and human rights. You just hate the West.
 
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Hawki

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Why is Yanokovych's corruption, betrayal of his electoral promises to his people (under Russian pressure) and ownership by (often Russian) oligarchs forgivable, but the sins of any other Ukrainian leader not? Why are you so concerned with Ukrainian "Nazis" who don't hold electoral power, but not the Russian state which has overtly embraced their own? Why have you spent so long criticising myriad malign actions against other countries and people's, but then are tolerant of Russia's?
I'm not disagreeing with anything you wrote, but I'd like to posit the following questions also, for those who defend Russia here:

-Has Ukraine ever threatened Russia?

-Is Ukraine an existential threat to Russia?

-Has Ukraine annexed any Russian territory within the last decade (or, ever)?

-Has Ukraine funded separatist movements inside Russia?

-Has Ukraine declared the belief that Russia shouldn't exist, that it isn't a real country, and needs to be "de-Nazified" (or "de-communized," or whatever fits)?

-Has Ukraine committed war crimes against Russian citizens, including, but not limited to, starvation via siege, transportation of Russian civilians into Ukrainian territory, and systemic rape?

If this conflict was just confined to Crimea and the breakway regions, I think there'd be far more moral ambiguity (that citizens have died from Ukrainian shelling is true, though the reverse is also true) involved, but but as the conflict exists, here, now? It's not like I haven't seen wars launched on flimsy pretenses within my lifetime (*cough*Iraq*cough) but this is probably as black and white a conflict I've seen since...well, ISIS, to be honest. Anyone remember them? :(

It's part of why I don't buy the idea that Ukraine's getting unwarranted extra attention compared to other conflicts, in that:

a) The conflict's been going on since 2014, attention paid to it was competing with Syria, and later, ISIS. It's only recently that the surge in attention occurred.

b) Of all the conflicts I can name off my head in the world (Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia/Tigray, etc.), most are intercine conflicts, whereas this is blatant territorial annexation.

c) Russia has nuclear weapons, and there's a high risk that it'll use them. Terrible as Assad is for instance, he at least doesn't have that capability.

So, yeah. Sorry, just wanted that off my chest.
 

Silvanus

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Literally what the fuck are you talking about?
Exactly the question as stated.

You constantly harp on about Euromaidan, and the paltry sum of US finance involved in it, to insinuate that the governments that followed it don't have a proper mandate or legitimacy.

You apply none of the same standards to Yanukovych or the false-flag-waving puppets in DPR and LPR, even though they're completely awash in foreign finance, weaponry, and foreign troops. Quite the opposite: you want to reward those puppets with massive chunks of land for which they've never earned a democratic mandate.

So: minor foreign involvement from one direction (in the form of currency) is unacceptable. Major foreign involvement from the other direction (in the form of much more currency, but also weaponry and troops) is fine and dandy. I'm asking why, although I know the answer.

Does the scale of Russian support for the Donbass republics matter? Why should it, exactly?
It probably matters because that Russian "support" established them with force of arms and continues to decide their policy.

It also matters because you yourself want to discount the legitimacy of post-Euromaidan governments on the basis of a much smaller scale of US support.

The people represented by the DPR and LPR either have the right to self-determination or they do not. They either have the right to form diplomatic relationships and receive support in their struggle or they do not.
This is why we tend to ask people, in the form of a referendum.

It is not justification for a foreign power to march in, take control with force-of-arms without ever asking them, and then just insist that's what the people want.
 
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Thaluikhain

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Yeah, it's sorta weird, we've got quite a fair few different viewpoints on the forum, we can't even get everyone to agree that the GOP are hostile to LGBT+ people, but on this one issue we almost have a total consensus.
 

tstorm823

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You just hate the West.
That makes it sound like a petty, emotional stance, but I don't think that's it. I think Sean's much colder than that, I think it's a calculation, I think it's "western hegemony has the most power in the world, and I'd like nobody to have the most power, so anything that knocks down the west is a net good." There are many who would largely agree with that logic, just very few who would actually accept the slaughter of innocents as a means to that end.
 

PsychedelicDiamond

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That makes it sound like a petty, emotional stance, but I don't think that's it. I think Sean's much colder than that, I think it's a calculation, I think it's "western hegemony has the most power in the world, and I'd like nobody to have the most power, so anything that knocks down the west is a net good." There are many who would largely agree with that logic, just very few who would actually accept the slaughter of innocents as a means to that end.
Frankly, I think America, Russia and China all represent a very similar toxic cocktail of fanatical nationalism, shameless imperialism, pedantic social conservativism and cutthroat capitalism. What I want for my little corner of Europe or, really, Europe in general, is minimal interference from any of these so called superpowers.
 

Hawki

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Frankly, I think America, Russia and China all represent a very similar toxic cocktail of fanatical nationalism, shameless imperialism, pedantic social conservativism and cutthroat capitalism. What I want for my little corner of Europe or, really, Europe in general, is minimal interference from any of these so called superpowers.
Um...

Sorry, isn't that a bit hypocritical? Europe's struggling with "toxic nationalism" in a number of areas (e.g. France), has a history of imperialism, and I think it's reasonable to call the EU a superpower of sorts.

Being fair, I don't think the EU really falls into the same realms of those other countries at this point in time, but I don't think Europe's free of those blights either.
 

PsychedelicDiamond

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Um...

Sorry, isn't that a bit hypocritical? Europe's struggling with "toxic nationalism" in a number of areas (e.g. France), has a history of imperialism, and I think it's reasonable to call the EU a superpower of sorts.

Being fair, I don't think the EU really falls into the same realms of those other countries at this point in time, but I don't think Europe's free of those blights either.
No, I'd never claim it was, but i do think currently most of Europe is a better place to live than all those countries.
 

Agema

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...and I think it's reasonable to call the EU a superpower of sorts.
Given the stock US complaint that the EU is grotesquely hard to get to take action and often ineffective when it does, and likewise Russia's general lack of interest in what the EU says and does, I think it makes a pretty benign superpower in global terms.

And there's some truth in that: the EU is (relative to other powers) very inward-looking. It would be. It is a supranational organisation which is effectively all about how its constituent members interact with each other, not about how its members interact with anywhere else in the world - much of which is left to those members' own independent foreign policies. Other superpowers are unitary, without the same internal distractions.