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Should the UK maintain it's anti-Russian policy? Watch

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    I thought i would open this thread in order to ask whether the UK should follow the lead of Trump and attempt to forge a new relationship with Russia or whether we should maintain our sanctions and negative rhetoric.

    My own belief is that Russia cannot be trusted having taken bits of Georgia and Ukraine and i find Trump's beliefs on this matter to be deeply alarming.

    My call would be to rearm and bolster our naval and air forces significantly.
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    It's a tough one; Russia cannot be allowed to occupy territory of another sovereign nation, because this threatens international peace. But at the same time, I don't see what we can realistically do to stop it, short of sending in troops of our own (which would lead to a direct confrontation and hence is not in our national interest). Taking Crimea as an example, how can we dislodge them there? It's going to be even more difficult given a majority of the Crimean citizens actually want to be a part of Russia. The sanctions are therefore more symbolic in my eyes, because I don't see what practical use they serve (since they clearly aren't deterring Russia and are damaging economically for both sides).
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    The russians have blatantly accepted their imperialist agenda, they have troops on the Estonian border and the only thing in the way is NATO troops.

    Putin is being very aggressive to cover up the fact that their GDP per capita is comparable to some of the poorest nations, there is an increase in equality and the people are poor and their economy is heavily reliant on a fluctuating oil price. The economy is literally swaying with the wind.

    Sanctions against Russia is good, it won't be long before they realise that there's no point continuing to try and become a superpower again when they've very bad domestic issues that needs solving. The only reason Putin is power is because the kremlin controls media outlets which have been feeding propaganda to the people and any political opposition is crushed in a hostile and undemocratic manner or conveniently assassinated.
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    (Original post by JRKinder)
    It's a tough one; Russia cannot be allowed to occupy territory of another sovereign nation, because this threatens international peace. But at the same time, I don't see what we can realistically do to stop it, short of sending in troops of our own (which would lead to a direct confrontation and hence is not in our national interest). Taking Crimea as an example, how can we dislodge them there? It's going to be even more difficult given a majority of the Crimean citizens actually want to be a part of Russia. The sanctions are therefore more symbolic in my eyes, because I don't see what practical use they serve (since they clearly aren't deterring Russia and are damaging economically for both sides).
    I certainly agree that we can't dislodge Russia from Crimea but the question is to what extent we should permit their next incursion.

    You say that we cannot risk a confrontation even outside our respective borders so i ask you this, were we wrong to engage Germany when they annexed Poland. What is different today?
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    (Original post by sinatraa)
    The russians have blatantly accepted their imperialist agenda, they have troops on the Estonian border and the only thing in the way is NATO troops.

    Putin is being very aggressive to cover up the fact that their GDP per capita is comparable to some of the poorest nations, there is an increase in equality and the people are poor and their economy is heavily reliant on a fluctuating oil price. The economy is literally swaying with the wind.

    Sanctions against Russia is good, it won't be long before they realise that there's no point continuing to try and become a superpower again when they've very bad domestic issues that needs solving. The only reason Putin is power is because the kremlin controls media outlets which have been feeding propaganda to the people and any political opposition is crushed in a hostile and undemocratic manner or conveniently assassinated.
    I agree that maintaining a strong NATO presence in Estonia and Eastern Europe in general is necessary. However, I do also think that we need to engage in bilateral dialogue (NATO-Russ) to try and defuse the tensions, because they are being needlessly stoked in certain spheres.

    One area of policy that I think it is time to stop opposing Russia on is Syria. Now that Aleppo has (inevitably) fallen, Assad is fairly well shored-up and I don't think the rebels have the power to dislodge him. Even if they could, they themselves are split into a multitude of groups who would inevitably fight for power once the vacuum left by the departure of Assad became realised. Meanwhile, ISIS are still making gains in Syria (they retook Palmyra recently, for example, although the Iraqi army are making good progress now across the border), and they are the biggest threat to Western interests.

    The best way to tackle ISIS would be to build a unified opposition, and try to replicate the newfound success of the Iraqi forces. Only one side can form this opposition, and its increasingly looking like that will be Assad. It may be in the West's interests to therefore end this proxy war with Russia, try to negotiate a settlement between the Syrian government and the rebels (or let the government win if this is not possible), and then tackle ISIS together. After that, Assad can be dealt with as necessary. I don't really see any major issues with Russia having a bit more geopolitical influence in Syria, and ending the war faster will stem the flow of refugees into Europe whilst simultaneously easing down hostilities with Russia. In terms of who is morally preferable to back out of Assad and the rebels, then probably some factions of the rebels, although there are many extremists amongst the rebel coalition as well. Either way, stemming the refugee tide and normalising Russian relations is of greater interests to Europe than moral concerns.
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    Have they officially apologised for the murder of Litvinyenko yet? Until then I think it should be negative.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    You say that we cannot risk a confrontation even outside our respective borders so i ask you this, were we wrong to engage Germany when they annexed Poland. What is different today?
    We were bound by treaty to defend Poland in 1939, and we are bound by treaty to defend any NATO ally. The reason we didn't stop the Russian incursion into Ukraine is that Ukraine is not a NATO member.

    Western Europe definitely needs the security that NATO gives as a deterrence to Russian aggression.
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    (Original post by JRKinder)
    I agree that maintaining a strong NATO presence in Estonia and Eastern Europe in general is necessary. However, I do also think that we need to engage in bilateral dialogue (NATO-Russ) to try and defuse the tensions, because they are being needlessly stoked in in certain spheres.

    One area of policy that I think it is time to stop opposing Russia on is Syria. Now that Alleppo has (inevitably) fallen, Assad is fairly well shores-up and I don't think the rebels have the power to dislodge him. Even if they could, they themselves are split into a multitude of groups which would inevitably fight for power once the vacuum left by the departure of Assad became realised. Meanwhile, ISIS are still making gains in Syria (they retook Palmyra recently, for example, although the Iraqi army are making good progress now across the border), and they are ostensibly the biggest threat to Western interests.

    The best way to tackle ISIS would be to build a unified opposition, and try to replicate the newfound success of the Iraqi forces. Only one side can form this opposition, and its increasingly looking like that will be Assad. It may be in the West's interests to therefore end this proxy war with Russia, try to negotiate a settlement between the Syrian government and the rebels (or let the government win if this is not possible), and then tackle ISIS together. After that, Assad can be dealt with as necessary. I don't really see any major issues with Russia having a bit more geopolitical influence in Syria, and ending the war faster will stem the flow of refugees into Europe whilst simultaneously easing down hostilities with Russia. In terms of who is morally preferable to back out of Assad and the rebels, then probably some factions of the rebels, although there are many extremists amongst the rebel coalition as well. Either way, stemming the refugee tide and normalising Russian relations is of greater interests to Europe than moral concerns.
    I'll admit that i'm not well versed with Russian intervention in Syria but I honestly cannot see what Russia has gained from this most unusual alliance. Assad has nothing but his country which has completely collapsed as a result of a brutal civil war. Russia have pretty much engaged in a psychological war and I wouldn't be surprised if they foresaw the refugee crisis and used it as a method of destabilising Europe.

    I don't see Russia losing ties with Syria. It's the one nation which America hasn't managed to spread it's influence over from at least an authoritative prospective. Their manipulation of the elections and getting Trump into power also allows for Russia to have free reign over the middle east.
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    (Original post by sinatraa)
    I honestly cannot see what Russia has gained from this most unusual alliance.
    That is simple: influence in the Middle East and, for the future, perhaps, military bases.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    I certainly agree that we can't dislodge Russia from Crimea but the question is to what extent we should permit their next incursion.

    You say that we cannot risk a confrontation even outside our respective borders so i ask you this, were we wrong to engage Germany when they annexed Poland. What is different today?
    As a part of the European Union we absolutely must defend the Baltic states, because even though we will be leaving the EU soon they (and America) will remain our greatest allies. I'm unsure on whether it would be worth risking confrontation in Georgia, although there are some vague discussions of potential EU accession for them as well at an unspecified point in the future, so perhaps (to be honest, I'm not massively informed about that business, so would need to do some more research).

    In the case of Nazi Germany, they weren't a nuclear power. Direct confrontation with Russia today could be utterly disastrous. I'm hoping common sense would prevail, but there is still a risk of tactical nuclear weapons being used. Nazi Germany also presented a continental and ideological threat, Russia only really threatens the eastern sphere and isn't driven by a deep-set ideology (unless you count lamenting about the revival of the Russian Empire).
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    My own belief is that Russia cannot be trusted having taken bits of Georgia
    Which "bits of Georgia" have Russia "taken"?
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    That is simple: influence in the Middle East and, for the future, perhaps, military bases.
    Yeah I was thinking that too. But I just can't fathom it. The russians seriously need to take a step back and deal with domestic problems first. They can't really go on controlling public opinion and manipulation as a tool for winning elections. And im saying this for their own sake.

    Where do they even get the money from?!

    It'd be interesting to see how Trump reacts though.
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    Between a rock and a hard place but I think we should maintain the status quo with Russia, perhaps taking a more harder line if need be. We just cannot legitimise the annexation of parts of a sovereign country.

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    (Original post by sinatraa)
    I'll admit that i'm not well versed with Russian intervention in Syria but I honestly cannot see what Russia has gained from this most unusual alliance. Assad has nothing but his country which has completely collapsed as a result of a brutal civil war. Russia have pretty much engaged in a psychological war and I wouldn't be surprised if they foresaw the refugee crisis and used it as a method of destabilising Europe.

    I don't see Russia losing ties with Syria. It's the one nation which America hasn't managed to spread it's influence over from at least an authoritative prospective. Their manipulation of the elections and getting Trump into power also allows for Russia to have free reign over the middle east.
    As the other user said: influence and potential military bases. However, I think this is something worth conceding to end the refugee crisis and reduce the likelihood of a military confrontation. I'm sure Putin is secretly happy about the refugee crisis, whether he intended to engineer it or not, so he of course may find the status quo preferable. Perhaps if we could tempt him with lifting a few of the sanctions, he may change his mind, in return for him actually directing air strikes towards ISIS, rather than just the rebels.
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    (Original post by JRKinder)
    As the other user said: influence and potential military bases. However, I think this is something worth conceding to end the refugee crisis and reduce the likelihood of a military confrontation. I'm sure Putin is secretly happy about the refugee crisis, whether he intended to engineer it or not, so he of course may find the status quo preferable. Perhaps if we could tempt him with lifting a few of the sanctions, he may change his mind, in return for him actually directing air strikes towards ISIS, rather than just the rebels.
    Russia are dangerous. We cannot be forgiving to a nation that stages terrorist attacks and kills journalists and even one of our own MI6 agents in order to stay in power. They are ruthless and Putin's government will do anything to make sure their power is not undermined. The refugee crisis is nothing compared to the threat Russia is.
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    A couple of reasons why it is different:
    Great Britain promised to prevent the invasion of Poland. No such defence agreement has been made with Ukraine as it is neither a member of NATO or the EU, which is a policy designed to avoid provoking the Russians
    Also you have to factor in how attitudes to war have transformed over the past century. It was previously the case that populations often supported war as a means of asserting national identity, now war is predominately seen as a means of promoting instability
    Another point is that it is undesirable for any nation to go to war with a highly influental state due how globalised the international economy has become
    Finally, nukes. Probably not a good idea to openly declare war. The Cold War was bad enough.
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    (Original post by sinatraa)
    Russia are dangerous. We cannot be forgiving to a nation that stages terrorist attacks and kills journalists and even one of our own MI6 agents in order to stay in power. They are ruthless and Putin's government will do anything to make sure their power is not undermined. The refugee crisis is nothing compared to the threat Russia is.
    But what do we have to gain by artificially propping up the rebels in Syria? It's a losing battle, and half of them are bordering on extremism anyway. If/when Assad wins, Russia gains a bit of influence (that it already has) in that region, and maybe a new airbase or two (which again, they already have). I don't see how letting Putin have his way in Syria represents a significant boost to Russian strength, because if anything it's just costing them a heck of an amount of roubles that they can't sustainably continue for years on end.

    Excluding the use of nuclear weapons, I don't see how Russia is posing a particular threat to us in Britain, or Western Europe in general, anyway. Eastern Europe is definitely under threat, which is why a strong NATO presence is vital. But there's no point in unnecessarily antagonising them over issues like Syria that really don't matter an enormous amount to us. Instead, we should use the sanctions as leverage. We should encourage them to reform, improve their civil rights and end economic corruption. In return, some sanctions get lifted. Maybe if this starts to go well we sign a trade deal; make it in both of our interests to cooperate. Obviously this won't happen overnight, and Putin himself represents a significant hurdle to normalising relations due to his blatant imperialist agenda. But as a long-term policy option, things like this should definitely be considered. In the meantime, we should intervene militarily when our allies or interests are directly threatened, but I see no use in going to war over a desert being fought over by factions of angry fundamentalists. Our role in Syria should be mainly humanitarian and fighting ISIS.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    We were bound by treaty to defend Poland in 1939, and we are bound by treaty to defend any NATO ally. The reason we didn't stop the Russian incursion into Ukraine is that Ukraine is not a NATO member.

    Western Europe definitely needs the security that NATO gives as a deterrence to Russian aggression.
    Given that the eastern regions of Ukraine could be absorbed into Russia at any time (brining the Russian border closer to our allies) i question whether it's right to make that distinction.

    Given that Russian expansion is generally not in our self interest, should we really sit back and do nothing wherever they expand.

    (Original post by sinatraa)
    I'll admit that i'm not well versed with Russian intervention in Syria but I honestly cannot see what Russia has gained from this most unusual alliance. Assad has nothing but his country which has completely collapsed as a result of a brutal civil war. Russia have pretty much engaged in a psychological war and I wouldn't be surprised if they foresaw the refugee crisis and used it as a method of destabilising Europe.

    I don't see Russia losing ties with Syria. It's the one nation which America hasn't managed to spread it's influence over from at least an authoritative prospective. Their manipulation of the elections and getting Trump into power also allows for Russia to have free reign over the middle east.
    Geography is what Russia gains. Not only does Russia have a naval base in the Med but Syria shares a border with Iran on the other side (Russia's much more important ally).

    (Original post by JRKinder)
    As a part of the European Union we absolutely must defend the Baltic states, because even though we will be leaving the EU soon they (and America) will remain our greatest allies. I'm unsure on whether it would be worth risking confrontation in Georgia, although there are some vague discussions of potential EU accession for them as well at an unspecified point in the future, so perhaps (to be honest, I'm not massively informed about that business, so would need to do some more research).

    In the case of Nazi Germany, they weren't a nuclear power. Direct confrontation with Russia today could be utterly disastrous. I'm hoping common sense would prevail, but there is still a risk of tactical nuclear weapons being used. Nazi Germany also presented a continental and ideological threat, Russia only really threatens the eastern sphere and isn't driven by a deep-set ideology (unless you count lamenting about the revival of the Russian Empire).
    The thinking that we should leave Russia to it because they are a nuclear power is a common line of thinking today however given that Korea and Vietnam never turned 'hot' i question why we should fear that outcome. Is Putin really nuttier than the Soviets.

    The unwritten rule in the Cold War (though did it ever really end) was that so long as the war is not fought inside your own border, there was no real nuclear threat.

    (Original post by Wigaz)
    A couple of reasons why it is different:
    Great Britain promised to prevent the invasion of Poland. No such defence agreement has been made with Ukraine as it is neither a member of NATO or the EU, which is a policy designed to avoid provoking the Russians
    Also you have to factor in how attitudes to war have transformed over the past century. It was previously the case that populations often supported war as a means of asserting national identity, now war is predominately seen as a means of promoting instability
    Another point is that it is undesirable for any nation to go to war with a highly influental state due how globalised the international economy has become
    Finally, nukes. Probably not a good idea to openly declare war. The Cold War was bad enough.
    Technically the UK, US and Russia all agreed to protect Ukraine in 94 when it agreed to give up its nukes (clearly the worst decision they ever made). Clearly the agreement was not worth the paper it was written on.

    (Original post by JRKinder)
    As the other user said: influence and potential military bases. However, I think this is something worth conceding to end the refugee crisis and reduce the likelihood of a military confrontation. I'm sure Putin is secretly happy about the refugee crisis, whether he intended to engineer it or not, so he of course may find the status quo preferable. Perhaps if we could tempt him with lifting a few of the sanctions, he may change his mind, in return for him actually directing air strikes towards ISIS, rather than just the rebels.
    A substantial portion of refugees do not come from Syria and given the state of the country there's no guarantee that people would even go back. Ending the refugee crisis is not that simple.

    (Original post by Mistletoe)
    Have they officially apologised for the murder of Litvinyenko yet? Until then I think it should be negative.
    No they have not.
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    I think its clear that being at odds with Russia is helping no one.

    As much as some of you want to drum some lost sense of Jingoism and go to war with Russia, I personally don't. Putin is many things, but he is not aiming for world domination and to pretend otherwise is absurd. His movements into the middle-east and the Black Sea is purely as a response/defence to being surrounded by NATO since the end of the cold war.

    Russia isn't some big bad enemy we need to unite to fight against, its a faded power that is at odds against most of the world, and most importantly is a useful enemy to direct anger against when you need to drum up a bit of nationalism. There is a reason Obama and others are so happy to criticise Russia openly, but adamantly impress the importance of keeping the One China policy to not annoy the Chinese.

    There needs to be an olive branch extended to Russia, to say we are willing to work together to at least some degree. Perhaps then we will take a few more steps towards a more peaceful world (without proxy wars in the middle-east), and perhaps move the clock a few minutes further from midnight.
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    Not sure it has an anti Russian policy. They have been more neutal in recent times, but we should remain cautious of them. It was beginning to be on relatively cordial terms until they showed the Russia of old in Crimea. They could stop sending nuclear bombers to test our air defences. It is boring and counter productive.
 
 
 
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