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  • On the academic subject of Democracies, Diasporas and nation building attempts via international elite institutions and connections:

    Posted by onparkstreet on April 10th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Again, in a hurry so a bunch of comments I posted on Small Wars Journal blog. Various wealthy Ukranian businessmen have deep connections with the democracy promotion foreign relations bureaucracy and leadership. I have also found a whole set of academic literature on the nature of the eastern European immigrant vote and its supposed importance in swing states. An interesting area of scholarship.

    Mr. Pinchuk, 53, is one of Ukraine’s only oligarchs to have deep ties to Washington. Many of the country’s richest businessmen are suspected of having links to organized crime and do not have visas to the United States, much less a relationship with a former and potentially future American president.
    Still, Mr. Pinchuk’s image is not without blemish: His father-in-law is Leonid Kuchma, who was president of Ukraine from 1994 to 2005 and led a government criticized for corruption, nepotism and the murder of dissident journalists. As president, Mr. Kuchma privatized a huge state steel factory and sold it to Mr. Pinchuk’s consortium for about $800 million, which competitors said was a laughably low price.
    Since 2006, Mr. Pinchuk has donated roughly $13.1 million to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Mr. Clinton attends Mr. Pinchuk’s annual conferences in the resort city of Yalta, Ukraine, and Mr. Pinchuk attended the former president’s 65th birthday party in Los Angeles.
    He was first introduced to Mr. Clinton in 2004 by Mr. Schoen, a New York-based pollster who has advised both Clintons. Mr. Pinchuk immediately began building a friendship with the former president and enthusiastically donating to Mr. Clinton’s causes, including an H.I.V. program that was later expanded into Ukraine.

    Trade Dispute Centers on Ukrainian Executive With Ties to Clintons

    So how and where do we start? Successfully linking military engagements within diplomatic realms means less books by George Patton and more by Henry Kissinger. Currently, you won’t find too many Kissinger books in military curricula. Conversely, you’ll find fewer books on special operations in diplomatic circles. A new operational art will require closing the cognitive gap between engagements and strategy within military and diplomatic practice and culture. This doesn’t require resources. It simply requires will.

    Peace, Art and … Special Operations by Brian S. Petit

    If one were to take unconventional warfare doctrine and look at in two ways (Russian toward Ukraine, and the US/EU toward Ukraine), what would one find and how could various narratives be developed, regardless of whether you support one or the other?

    The military doesn’t control policy but I am intrigued by the “First, Do Harm” attitudes of our foreign policy and how it affects military activity. It’s the strangest thing. It’s also strangely destabilizing and dangerous business and it seems our Western and American traditional bureaucracies are making a messy, multipolar situation worse, IMO. The creation of chaos and disorder in reality; nation building and stability on paper. Very Council on Foreign Relations.

    This “test of the West” must be met with “political and economic sanctions” if Russia proceeds in annexing Crimea, Mr. Durbin said. But he did not elaborate and did not hint at support for any U.S. military action.
    The trip is set to last just two days. Mr. Durbin is scheduled to be back in town by March 16, when he is set to meet with — who else? — local Ukrainian community leaders (and voters) here.
    It’s worth noting that Mr. Durbin has been a longtime backer of democracy movements in Ukraine and visited there in 2012. He also is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and serves on its Subcommittee on European Affairs.

    Dick Durbin heads to Ukraine

    Now, do the same for various constituencies in Russia and European countries, the UK, etc.

    What now is the context within which you would consider some of the military-centric discussion taking place? How well does a focus only on American capabilites reflect reality?

    Great power competition via proxy. If you keep meddling, you may provoke a response you don’t want. And the meddling is by ALL parties. All parties:

    There’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who seems to be on every other panel over the two-day event, and is accompanied by a youthful looking French woman, who sports thigh-high leather boots that match her (also leather) miniskirt perfectly. DSK’s date is not being paid by the hour, another conference attendee confides, she’s a high-level French TV executive.
    He speaks in a gentle, almost incomprehensible voice and calls upon political leaders to show some courage to reform governmental institutions. When one attendee asks which world politician might be able to do that, DSK looks around the room and shrugs his shoulders. It’s not attainable, he admits, but it doesn’t stop him from repeating that tired line and others.
    “Globalization is a war,” says the man who would now be president of France, if not for allegations that he attempted to rape a New York City hotel maid. “A new kind of war. One that very few parties, especially in the EU, are prepared to fight.” He’s a man of many deep thoughts.
    There’s also Gen. David Petraeus, the war hero and former CIA director, who tells me to bug off when I ask for an interview, and at a more gentle moment admits that he’s suffering from a hamstring injury that’s keeping him from running his morning miles. He, too, is hoping to say nothing worthy of being quoted. And he succeeds.
    Larry Summers is here, too, in his first public appearance since withdrawing from being considered by President Barack Obama to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. I move in to ask about his withdrawal—was he pushed out by Obama, or did he willingly remove himself from consideration for a job he badly wanted? “I said no,” he screams at the reporter beside me who beats me to the Fed question. “I said no. I said no. I said no. No.”

    Another Yalta Conference


    12 Responses to “On the academic subject of Democracies, Diasporas and nation building attempts via international elite institutions and connections:”

    1. dearieme Says:

      “calls upon political leaders to show some courage to reform governmental institutions”: remember the wisdom of the Luxembourg PM, Juncker -“We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it.”

    2. PenGun Says:

      Very nice. This is why I don’t have a ‘side’. Accurate, revealing of important issues, and well written.

    3. Grurray Says:

      “but I am intrigued by the “First, Do Harm” attitudes of our foreign policy”

      Remember Reagan’s nine most terrifying words in the English language. Without a grand strategy, it applies to foreign policy these days also.

      “If one were to take unconventional warfare doctrine and look at in two ways (Russian toward Ukraine, and the US/EU toward Ukraine), what would one find and how could various narratives be developed, regardless of whether you support one or the other?”

      Here’s the American narrative you present: Chicago politicians (don’t forget Hillary is from Chicago originally), with a rich history of nepotism, take money from like-minded nepotistic rulers (with ties to Chicago, of course) and propose useless economic sanctions.
      So exploiting local tensions to further Near Power.

      Here’s the Russian narrative: expand military and economic buffer zone by using the pretense of defending Russian ethnic cultural enclaves. The Russian language now has an army behind it. This is a blueprint expand into the entire former Warsaw Pact.
      So exploiting local tensions to further Far Power.

      As for that Yalta Conference, the guest list sounds like a consolation prize for fallen and disgraced bureaucrats. I’m sure Mr. Pinchuk has probably done all the bad things the New York Times implies people of his particular carriage do, but I’m finding it hard to get worked up about HIV programs and C list conferences.

    4. dearieme Says:

      Anent Summers: I was impressed that the academics at Harvard had the sense to seize the pretext of Summers’ unPC remarks about sex and mathematics to get rid of him as their boss.

    5. East Anglian Says:

      Summers’ unPC remarks about sex and mathematics

      His remarks would’ve been acceptable in ex-KGB agent Putin’s neoSoviet Russia. It is only in the freedom-loving West (ie the US/EU bloc) where the truth of his words is inconvenient enough to get him fired.

    6. onparkstreet Says:

      I can’t fix this post for some reason. I’ve asked Jonathan for help. I can’t figure out why I can’t get the links to work?

      The expansion of NATO wasn’t really well thought out and part of the expansion was simply domestic political pandering and raising money for campaigns. Politicians seek to raise money and gain allies in many ways. Powerful people supporting politicians is a big help. The Yalta conferences are Davos level in terms of some of the so-called movers and shakers. Influence agents seeking influence.

      It wasn’t simply domestic programs for Ukranians–this all came with action plans for NATO membership. Given the presence of nuclear weapons in Russia and the United States, this was malpractice for the US and is potentially dangerous. We gained a number of unstable client states and what exactly are the red lines that may or may not lead to escalation?

      Why would we want to recreate the Line of Control between India and Pakistan in Eastern Europe?

      And the big three (UK, Germany, France) will continue to trade with Russia. There will be no big sanctions for complicated reasons. And Russia is connected to non-Western economies too. They have a lot more leeway than they once did. The UK in particular is eager for bank business, London being a money laundering capital.

      The West today is different today. And it’s not true that there were options to NATO, options that might work for protecting Eastern European states. Because of the incompetence of leaders in many capitals–including and especially Ukraine–this did not happen.

    7. Grurray Says:

      “We gained a number of unstable client states and what exactly are the red lines that may or may not lead to escalation?”

      NATO article five is the red line. The catch is all parties must agree to take action. If Russia sends troops into Estonia, will Germany agree to “take action”? I’m not even sure if a majority of Estonians will agree to it. They see Russia not oppressing its neighbors, but standing up to the United States.

      The purpose of NATO expansion east was to create a military and political buffer zone for Europe as it expanded the EU.
      Specifically, Germany needs those weak client states in order to keep its bond rates low and provide a nearby duty free export market. Without them the German export driven economy would collapse.

      It turns out that this has now blown up in Europe’s face. Looking for excuses and scapegoats, they are blaming the United States.
      However, the current Ukraine crisis did not start because Ukraine was going to join NATO. It did not start because Ukraine was going to become the 51st state.
      It started because Ukraine was going to join the EU. It started because Germany needs Ukraine to join the EU to feed its economy, especially since the southern countries are going through austerity and can’t buy German goods anymore.

    8. MikeK Says:

      “It started because Germany needs Ukraine to join the EU to feed its economy, especially since the southern countries are going through austerity and can’t buy German goods anymore.”

      A lot of oil and gas pipelines run through Ukraine.

    9. Grurray Says:

      Mike, I caught that chart on Zerohedge, and it definitely seems a big part of the story. On the other hand though, Germany and Russia have been working on alternate routes. If Ukraine is so important to Russia, why were they trying so hard to bypass it? Were they conceding it and then changed course after the revolt?

      Madhu, I think you have a valid point about émigrés and ethnic groups influencing policy and, in some cases, military action. It’s a big part of contemporary American politics A few examples that come to mind are:
      sanctions against Castro advocated by Cuban-Americans;
      sending Marines to be sitting ducks in Beirut in ’83, spearheaded by super diplo Philip Habib;
      and, of course, everybody’s favorite foreign lobby, AIPAC.

      I just don’t think these Slavic oligarchs really have enough power and influence to get anything done. Their money will get them on the guest lists, but without critical mass they are swimming against the tide. If we were talking about some other part of the world then they probably would be strong behind-the-scenes players, but in Europe there are greater forces at work.
      Personally, I’m more concerned about Soros. In European matters I think his money opens more doors amongst our policy makers, but even he has limits.

    10. MikeK Says:

      Grurray, I think Putin was trying to get alternate routes and events forced his hand.

      I’m waiting to see what happens when Obama tries to evacuate Afghanistan, speaking of limited routes. Everything goes through Pakistan or Russia and the “Stans” or Iran, of course. The last months and weeks will look like 1975 Saigon. Democrats are good at that.

    11. MikeK Says:

      “Who do you believe, me or your lying eyes ?”

      From Belmont Club, .

      ” A Radio Free Europe story demonstrates that such logical somersaults are not only conceivable but normal today. Recently a NATO official said “the alliance does not expect the use of Russian territory to transport supplies used by Western forces in Afghanistan to be affected by NATO’s suspension of cooperation with Moscow.” Of course not.

    12. Empire Four Kingdoms cheat wood Says:

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      Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring
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      and I think we could greatly benefit from each
      other. If you might be interested feel free to send me an email.
      I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!

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