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How should west respond to potential (likely) Russian invasion of Ukraine?

Jayjay

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The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted 368-57 on Tuesday evening to pass a roughly $40 billion bill to deliver aid to Ukraine as it continues to face Russia's brutal assault. All 57 votes in opposition were from Republicans.
The measure will next need to be passed by the Senate before it can go to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier in the day on Tuesday that after the House approved the package, the Senate "will move swiftly" to get the measure passed and sent to Biden's desk.

CNN

The “aid” is primarily weapons. Our tax dollars at work. WTF ?
Dude: where do you get the news!?
CNN, it's right there in the link, Dude.

Of course. The Russians are bombing Ukranian cities and ports. The Ukrainians don't like that. So, they are trying to push the Russian artillery and navy away from Ukranian cities as possible. Asking Russians to stop isn't working. So we're sending military weapons to Ukraine to help push out Russian invaders. Push them back, stop the war, everyone wins!
"Everyone wins"? I'm not quite seeing how giving billions of $ to a war/regional conflict is a win for the citizens of the USA.

Seriously, we're going to be in the weapons business for a long time due to Russia.
A business is usually a for profit endeavor. Is the US taxpayer going to see more money, i.e. profit in return? Seems the only people making a profit would be the arms makers. Is this the business you are talking about?
We need to send tons of defensive weapons to the border countries (Finland, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, and etc. We need to encourage Russia to keep their troops at home.
Doesn't seem to have worked. What's so special about Ukraine for the USA to get this involved?
Those are reasonable arguments. The US tax payers are not immediately affected even if Russia is allowed to fuck with its neighbors and grab more land. Those trillions of aid could be used to provide services, or tax cuts, to American citizens.

But I'd think that morally, it'd be nicer if 44 million people in Ukraine weren't thrown under the bus just because there isn't immediate profit to be made.
 

TSwizzle

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On the other hand, not supporting Ukraine would get us what in Eastern Europe?
Why do "we" (US tax payers) need to get anything in Eastern Europe? Why is meddling in Eastern Europe a good thing but meddling in the Middle East frowned upon? After 20 years in Afghanistan and less than a year after getting out the USA has found something else to throw gobs of US citizens' tax money at.
 

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The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted 368-57 on Tuesday evening to pass a roughly $40 billion bill to deliver aid to Ukraine as it continues to face Russia's brutal assault. All 57 votes in opposition were from Republicans.
The measure will next need to be passed by the Senate before it can go to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier in the day on Tuesday that after the House approved the package, the Senate "will move swiftly" to get the measure passed and sent to Biden's desk.

CNN

The “aid” is primarily weapons. Our tax dollars at work. WTF ?
Dude: where do you get the news!?
CNN, it's right there in the link, Dude.

Of course. The Russians are bombing Ukranian cities and ports. The Ukrainians don't like that. So, they are trying to push the Russian artillery and navy away from Ukranian cities as possible. Asking Russians to stop isn't working. So we're sending military weapons to Ukraine to help push out Russian invaders. Push them back, stop the war, everyone wins!
"Everyone wins"? I'm not quite seeing how giving billions of $ to a war/regional conflict is a win for the citizens of the USA.

Seriously, we're going to be in the weapons business for a long time due to Russia.
A business is usually a for profit endeavor. Is the US taxpayer going to see more money, i.e. profit in return? Seems the only people making a profit would be the arms makers. Is this the business you are talking about?
We need to send tons of defensive weapons to the border countries (Finland, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, and etc. We need to encourage Russia to keep their troops at home.
Doesn't seem to have worked. What's so special about Ukraine for the USA to get this involved?
Those are reasonable arguments. The US tax payers are not immediately affected even if Russia is allowed to fuck with its neighbors and grab more land. Those trillions of aid could be used to provide services, or tax cuts, to American citizens.

But I'd think that morally, it'd be nicer if 44 million people in Ukraine weren't thrown under the bus just because there isn't immediate profit to be made.
Furthermore it’s important for our Allies as well. If we didn’t try to stop Putin in Ukraine he could have decided we wouldn’t in Estonia. Then we could just abandon all of Europe to Russia as well. Last time someone tried to do that we got sucked into it at a much later stage and had to fight our way across North Africa, Italy and northwest Europe.
 

Harry Bosch

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The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted 368-57 on Tuesday evening to pass a roughly $40 billion bill to deliver aid to Ukraine as it continues to face Russia's brutal assault. All 57 votes in opposition were from Republicans.
The measure will next need to be passed by the Senate before it can go to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier in the day on Tuesday that after the House approved the package, the Senate "will move swiftly" to get the measure passed and sent to Biden's desk.

CNN

The “aid” is primarily weapons. Our tax dollars at work. WTF ?
Dude: where do you get the news!?
CNN, it's right there in the link, Dude.

Of course. The Russians are bombing Ukranian cities and ports. The Ukrainians don't like that. So, they are trying to push the Russian artillery and navy away from Ukranian cities as possible. Asking Russians to stop isn't working. So we're sending military weapons to Ukraine to help push out Russian invaders. Push them back, stop the war, everyone wins!
"Everyone wins"? I'm not quite seeing how giving billions of $ to a war/regional conflict is a win for the citizens of the USA.

Seriously, we're going to be in the weapons business for a long time due to Russia.
A business is usually a for profit endeavor. Is the US taxpayer going to see more money, i.e. profit in return? Seems the only people making a profit would be the arms makers. Is this the business you are talking about?
We need to send tons of defensive weapons to the border countries (Finland, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, and etc. We need to encourage Russia to keep their troops at home.
Doesn't seem to have worked. What's so special about Ukraine for the USA to get this involved?
Very good point. You’re right. Actions in Ukraine will only affect Americans who consume food; use gas and oil; or who are impacted by inflation. No effect for anyone else.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Gibberish.
And yet you keep posting it.
This is ultimately a war between fascists and democracy, between the terror that is russian ganster-state rule and freedom. Some people will never get that because their rational faculties have been emotionally short-circuited. The Russian Hitler just kills those who disagree with him whether he poisons them and their children or has them hacked to death or hanged. It's mob violence and intimidation, terrorism at it's most basic. Don't just kill them, kill their families and reduce their lives to rubble. Send a message to those who might also disagree that you will be ruthlessly murdered.

It's unfortunate at best that those living under an umbrella of freedom are unable to appreciate this reality. Kids shit their pants and the adults have to clean up the mess. Some things never change. It's okay. We can only hope that the kids will grow up with a sense of appreciation. That doesn't always happen, however, unfortunately.
 
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Loren Pechtel

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The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted 368-57 on Tuesday evening to pass a roughly $40 billion bill to deliver aid to Ukraine as it continues to face Russia's brutal assault. All 57 votes in opposition were from Republicans.
The measure will next need to be passed by the Senate before it can go to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier in the day on Tuesday that after the House approved the package, the Senate "will move swiftly" to get the measure passed and sent to Biden's desk.

CNN

The “aid” is primarily weapons. Our tax dollars at work. WTF ?
Better to smash the Russian army without taking the damage that would result from war and better to smash it in a way that isn't likely to go WWIII. The Ukrainian conflict is actually very good for us.
 
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Loren Pechtel

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The “aid” is primarily weapons. Our tax dollars at work. WTF ?
I know. It beggars belief that the USA might spend money on weapons. Whatever next?
Those charts are not a meaningful comparison.

1) A lot of Chinese military spending doesn't show up on the books.

2) True military budgets are both dollars and lives. We are seeing that in Ukraine--Russia doesn't have much of the fancy stuff and so their troops are getting slaughtered.
 

bilby

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On the other hand, not supporting Ukraine would get us what in Eastern Europe?
Why do "we" (US tax payers) need to get anything in Eastern Europe? Why is meddling in Eastern Europe a good thing but meddling in the Middle East frowned upon? After 20 years in Afghanistan and less than a year after getting out the USA has found something else to throw gobs of US citizens' tax money at.
The US benefits from 'meddling' in both regions by getting cheap fuel out of it, without being beholden to suppliers who actively and openly despise the USA.

The reason gas prices are high is because Putin invaded Ukraine.

You have made it very clear that you expect the US President (and, even more bizarrely, the Governor of California) to do something about that.

This is the US Government doing something - they are not only putting physical obstacles in the way of the invasion that caused that gas-price hike; They are also sending a clear message to anyone else who might be thinking of starting a war that raises Californian gas prices, that doing so will get you smacked back by US weapons systems.

In short, this is the grownups doing exactly what the infants who have been bawling about high gas prices demanded that they do. That those infants are too simplistic to understand that that's what they wanted is as unsurprising as it is pathetic.
 

Loren Pechtel

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On the other hand, not supporting Ukraine would get us what in Eastern Europe?
Why do "we" (US tax payers) need to get anything in Eastern Europe? Why is meddling in Eastern Europe a good thing but meddling in the Middle East frowned upon? After 20 years in Afghanistan and less than a year after getting out the USA has found something else to throw gobs of US citizens' tax money at.
The Middle East is basically a mix of bad guys--fundamentally, most conflict there is Sunni/Shia. Ukraine is clearly the good guy here, except you're listening to Moscow-friendly sources.
 

bilby

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Those charts are not a meaningful comparison.
They show that the US spends shitloads of money on weapons, both before and after the bill under discussion.

Which is all they were intended to do.

I apologise if you thought I was making a completely different point that I didn't mention in any way. :rolleyesa:
 

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On the other hand, not supporting Ukraine would get us what in Eastern Europe?
Why do "we" (US tax payers) need to get anything in Eastern Europe? Why is meddling in Eastern Europe a good thing but meddling in the Middle East frowned upon? After 20 years in Afghanistan and less than a year after getting out the USA has found something else to throw gobs of US citizens' tax money at.

We don't "need" to get anything. We will get
A reconstituted Soviet Union by time Trump runs for office again in 2024? Halfhearted sanctions knowing the US was not going to throw in with Ukraine. And a Russia with all of Ukraine’s economic output at its disposal.
if we don't help.

Is it not enough we have to spend billions on military security against China. You want to let Putin strengthen Russia's military on the backs of the Eastern European nations he absorbs?
Or is it your assumption if we let our military wither, China and Russia would not bully the rest of the world?
 

steve_bank

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I have been watching a series on the history Rome.

Putin fits the mold of Roman leaders. To gain fame prosecute what you think is an easy war. The 'barberians' provided a convenient foil for centuries. If it goes badly send more troops to fight in endless conflict. Not unlike our endless conflict to get those pesky terrorists.

Roman leaders could never accept failure, it would be their end. Same for the generals.

Putin can never back down and will probably accept catastrophic failure and death before yielding.
 

TSwizzle

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On the other hand, not supporting Ukraine would get us what in Eastern Europe?
Why do "we" (US tax payers) need to get anything in Eastern Europe? Why is meddling in Eastern Europe a good thing but meddling in the Middle East frowned upon? After 20 years in Afghanistan and less than a year after getting out the USA has found something else to throw gobs of US citizens' tax money at.

We don't "need" to get anything. We will get
A reconstituted Soviet Union by time Trump runs for office again in 2024? Halfhearted sanctions knowing the US was not going to throw in with Ukraine. And a Russia with all of Ukraine’s economic output at its disposal.
if we don't help.

Is it not enough we have to spend billions on military security against China. You want to let Putin strengthen Russia's military on the backs of the Eastern European nations he absorbs?
Or is it your assumption if we let our military wither, China and Russia would not bully the rest of the world?
I guess the USA never tires of getting involved in regional conflicts and lobbing gobs of tax payer $ at it. I really don't see what benefit to the US citizen there is in getting involved in yet another foreign adventure. For all intents and purposes the USA has been dragged into another proxy war with Russia in Ukraine similar to Afghanistan and Syria. And weirdly, a lot of people are getting a proper hard on for it.
 
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Elixir

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On the other hand, not supporting Ukraine would get us what in Eastern Europe?
Why do "we" (US tax payers) need to get anything in Eastern Europe? Why is meddling in Eastern Europe a good thing but meddling in the Middle East frowned upon? After 20 years in Afghanistan and less than a year after getting out the USA has found something else to throw gobs of US citizens' tax money at.

We don't "need" to get anything. We will get
A reconstituted Soviet Union by time Trump runs for office again in 2024? Halfhearted sanctions knowing the US was not going to throw in with Ukraine. And a Russia with all of Ukraine’s economic output at its disposal.
if we don't help.

Is it not enough we have to spend billions on military security against China. You want to let Putin strengthen Russia's military on the backs of the Eastern European nations he absorbs?
Or is it your assumption if we let our military wither, China and Russia would not bully the rest of the world?
The utter blindness of isolationists arguing that we have nothing to do with Ukraine (or anyone else) is astonishing to me. It's like they have never traveled off the tourist track in any other Country, if they've traveled at all, and have zero awareness of how the daily lives of unnamed people in say, Bangladesh, impacts their own blinkered existence. I suspect that such people nests are sufficiently feathered that they think they don't have to worry about what happens to anyone else. In the short term, that would probably be correct, but here's to hoping that wiser heads prevail before those very nests are raided by the less-well-feathered and all hell breaks loose.
 

Loren Pechtel

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Those charts are not a meaningful comparison.
They show that the US spends shitloads of money on weapons, both before and after the bill under discussion.

Which is all they were intended to do.

I apologise if you thought I was making a completely different point that I didn't mention in any way. :rolleyesa:
The point is that it's telling only part of the story--which you conveniently clipped out of the quote.
 

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Besides oil, the price of grain is skyrocketing because of the war. Most of Ukraine's supply is bottled up by Russia's blockade of Ukraine's ports. American isolationists will be glad to hear that Russia is working hard to alleviate the problem. They are trying to dump stolen Ukrainian grain back onto the world market. Unfortunately for the free marketers, some Mediterranean ports are turning away Russian ships with the stolen grain, but there is a workable solution. The Russians can ship it to their client regime in Syria, which can then smuggle it to other countries without specifying where they got it from. Doubtless, Putin will get his cut of the profits, along with the oligarchs involved in the scheme.

Russian ships carrying stolen Ukrainian grain turned away from Mediterranean ports – but not all of them

 

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Russia's top propagandist, Vladimir Solovyov, calls for an end to the Special Military Operation in Ukraine... and for it to be replaced by a Turbo Military Operation. :rolleyes:

 

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WTF is a "turbo military operation"? Is he saying the Russian military has been holding back?

I'm not sure what he meant, but this is clearly a guy who knows his stuff. He seems to think that Putin is holding people back from rushing to complete the operation. Putin should consider making him a general and sending him right to the front immediately. The troops there are waiting to be led and will cheer him forward. I suggest putting him in the lead tank at the head of a large column. Ukrainians are waiting to welcome their liberators. Enthusiasm of that magnitude deserves to be rewarded.
 

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WTF is a "turbo military operation"? Is he saying the Russian military has been holding back?

I'm not sure what he meant, but this is clearly a guy who knows his stuff. He seems to think that Putin is holding people back from rushing to complete the operation. Putin should consider making him a general and sending him right to the front immediately. The troops there are waiting to be led and will cheer him forward. I suggest putting him in the lead tank at the head of a large column. Ukrainians are waiting to welcome their liberators. Enthusiasm of that magnitude deserves to be rewarded.
Technically, it is a kind of crack in the support. This person is saying Putin isn't doing it right.
 

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WTF is a "turbo military operation"? Is he saying the Russian military has been holding back?

I'm not sure what he meant, but this is clearly a guy who knows his stuff. He seems to think that Putin is holding people back from rushing to complete the operation. Putin should consider making him a general and sending him right to the front immediately. The troops there are waiting to be led and will cheer him forward. I suggest putting him in the lead tank at the head of a large column. Ukrainians are waiting to welcome their liberators. Enthusiasm of that magnitude deserves to be rewarded.
Belgorod might be a good staging area for them. They'll be in artillery range soon.
 

Copernicus

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WTF is a "turbo military operation"? Is he saying the Russian military has been holding back?

I'm not sure what he meant, but this is clearly a guy who knows his stuff. He seems to think that Putin is holding people back from rushing to complete the operation. Putin should consider making him a general and sending him right to the front immediately. The troops there are waiting to be led and will cheer him forward. I suggest putting him in the lead tank at the head of a large column. Ukrainians are waiting to welcome their liberators. Enthusiasm of that magnitude deserves to be rewarded.
Technically, it is a kind of crack in the support. This person is saying Putin isn't doing it right.

I think that Putin is willing to take constructive criticism. He probably didn't believe that a "turbo operation" was needed, but Solovyov made such a convincing argument. Putin himself would probably lead the troops personally, but there are reports that he suffers from bone spurs.
 

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I guess the USA never tires of getting involved in regional conflicts and lobbing gobs of tax payer $ at it. I really don't see what benefit to the US citizen there is in getting involved in yet another foreign adventure. For all intents and purposes the USA has been dragged into another proxy war with Russia in Ukraine similar to Afghanistan and Syria. And weirdly, a lot of people are getting a proper hard on for it.
It's amazing how these attitudes only come out when a Demonrat is President. Shut the fuck up and only come back when Trump is re-elected. I'd love to see your stance on foreign policy then.
 

bilby

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Those charts are not a meaningful comparison.
They show that the US spends shitloads of money on weapons, both before and after the bill under discussion.

Which is all they were intended to do.

I apologise if you thought I was making a completely different point that I didn't mention in any way. :rolleyesa:
The point is that it's telling only part of the story--which you conveniently clipped out of the quote.
What, the parts that talked about China, Russia, and Ukraine?

I conveniently clipped those because they have nothing to do with my point, which in its entirety, was that the USA already spends a crapton of money on weapons. A fact that is completely independent of those nations. I wasn't making any 'comparison', so your objection is completely unfounded.

The charts make that point. That's the only 'story' I am discussing.

Again, I apologise for not making a bunch of points unrelated to my actual point, that you feel I should or could have been making; But sadly, I am not required to only make the rhetorical points you bizarrely imagine me to be making, despite the clear text of my post indicating exactly what point I am actually making.

Did you even read the post to which you objected, or was your response a knee-jerk reaction to the graphs? Perhaps they are something you have seen before in a different context, and you are arguing against that context of which I am completely unaware? Certainly your claim that they are "not a meaningful comparison" makes zero sense in the context of my actual post:

I know. It beggars belief that the USA might spend money on weapons. Whatever next?

There are no 'comparisons' being made here. The USA spends a shitload of money on weapons. It's a fact, and not one that even you appear to dispute; So my question is, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ON ABOUT??
 

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WTF is a "turbo military operation"? Is he saying the Russian military has been holding back?
I think the idea of mobilization is being floated so that the public will be more accepting of it when it happens.

For regular Russian, declaring war probably wouldn't make a huge difference. But it would give legal power for Russian army to force its contract soldiers to fight in Ukraine (or face jailtime), use conscripts, and selectively replenish their troops from reservists. I think Putin will be forced to do it sooner or later, and I hope it's later because the later it happens the less effective it will be.

EDIT: Declaring martial law would also put a plug on the brain drain of young professionals leaving the country.
 

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Declaring martial law would also put a plug on the brain drain of young professionals leaving the country.
Does he even have to do that? Why not just compile a list and issue an order?
 

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Declaring martial law would also put a plug on the brain drain of young professionals leaving the country.
Does he even have to do that? Why not just compile a list and issue an order?
Obviously martial law would be an overkill to keep IT nerds in the country. And probably too late anyway. But it's a bonus.
 

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Weep, Vladdie, weep.
Finland’s Leaders Urge NATO Membership ‘Without Delay’ - The New York Times
President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

Sweden is not as far along in debating joining NATO as Finland, but the two countries could apply together.

In the war itself, Ukraine is pushing northward from Kharkiv, pushing the Russian forces back to the border. Elsewhere, very little progress by either side.

S.3522 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Was signed into law by President Biden on Monday, May 9.

H.R.7691 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
The vote on that bill
D: Y 219, nv 2
R: Y 149, N 57, nv 3
ttl: Y 368, N 57, nv 5

It was all Republicans who voted against it, including Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Madison Cawthorn, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, MTG, Jim Jordan, and Thomas Massie. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy voted for it.

Senator Rand Paul single-handedly holds up $40bn US aid for Ukraine | US Senate | The Guardian - "Democratic and Republican Senate leaders both supported package but Paul objected to scale of spending"
The top Democrat and Republican in the US Senate joined forces in a rare moment of unity on Thursday in an attempt to pass $40bn in aid for Ukraine, only to be stymied by a single Republican lawmaker: the Kentucky libertarian Rand Paul.

Faced with the prospect of an extended delay for the package that passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, sought to move forward on the aid package only to be blocked by Paul, a fiscal hawk who objects to the amount of spending proposed.

The stalemate delayed passage of the measure into next week.
The Senate had a voice vote on the bill, something that requires unanimity to pass. RP obstructed that procedure with his "no" vote.

Rand Paul on Twitter: "My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation. ..." / Twitter
My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation. Congress is trying yet again to ram through a spending bill – one that I doubt anyone has actually read – and there’s no oversight included into how the money is being spent. All I requested is an amendment to be included in the final bill that allows for the Inspector General to oversee how funds are spent. Anyone who is opposed to this is irresponsible. While I sympathize with the people of Ukraine, and commend their fight against Putin, we cannot continue to spend money we don’t have. Passing this bill brings the total we’ve sent to Ukraine to nearly $54 billion over the course of two months. It’s threatening our own national security, and it’s frankly a slap in the face to millions of taxpayers who are struggling to buy gas, groceries, and find baby formula.
 

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Crenshaw, Greene clash on Twitter: ‘Still going after that slot on Russia Today’ | The Hill
Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Dan Crenshaw (Texas) feuded on Twitter on Wednesday over the passage of an Ukrainian aid bill that cost $40 billion.

...
When responding to criticism of his vote in favor of the bill on Twitter, Crenshaw said the bill was a “good idea.”

“Yeah, because investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military, without losing a single American troop, strikes me as a good idea. You should feel the same,” Crenshaw wrote.

Greene chimed in, saying Crenshaw is funding a “proxy war with Russia.”

“So you think we are funding a proxy war with Russia? You speak as if Ukrainian lives should be thrown away, as if they have no value. Just used and thrown away,” Greene wrote. “For your proxy war? How does that help Americans? How does any of this help?”

“Still going after that slot on Russia Today huh?” Crenshaw fired back.
Rumble rumble.
 

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Both US defense department and German chancellor Scholz have contacted Russia and are asking for a ceasefire.

I wonder, is that what Ukraine wants also? Because a ceasefire essentially solidifies the border of currently occupied territory. Either Ukraine has realized it's peaked and can't do any better, which would be a good place to start negotiations, or US and Germany have lost faith and and are acting on their own.
 

lpetrich

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After 200 Years of Neutrality, Sweden Weighs Joining NATO - The New York Times
On Sunday, after discussions with members from all 26 of the country’s districts, the Social Democrats will announce their decision, said Kenneth G. Forslund, a member of the party executive and chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Relations. The consensus is that the party will reluctantly back joining NATO alongside Finland.

“We and the Finns belong together,” said Carl Bildt, a former prime minister. “If we were outside on our own, we would be a 1960s nostalgia museum.”

Few analysts in either country doubt that the two countries will apply jointly, and that NATO will rapidly accept. Both Washington and London — Washington quietly, London loudly — have provided bilateral security assurances to both countries while their applications are ratified.
 

Swammerdami

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I read that both Dems and Reps in Congress want to pass a package containing substantial aid to Ukraine.

But Rand Paul says no; the aid package must be delayed; and NATO and Ukrainian plans must be put on hold. Even if support among Senators is 99-1, Rand Paul — named after his family idol Ayn Rand — says No.

Why doesn't the Senate come to its senses and change the rules? The rule MIGHT have made sense in olden times when Senators tended to be people of intelligence and integrity . . . but Rand Paul ?? Rules can be changed with a 50-50 vote if Kamala Harris is presiding.

Or is this another deal where Joe Manchin needs a few more million in his campaign coffers before he can help out?
 

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After 200 Years of Neutrality, Sweden Weighs Joining NATO - The New York Times
On Sunday, after discussions with members from all 26 of the country’s districts, the Social Democrats will announce their decision, said Kenneth G. Forslund, a member of the party executive and chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Relations. The consensus is that the party will reluctantly back joining NATO alongside Finland.

“We and the Finns belong together,” said Carl Bildt, a former prime minister. “If we were outside on our own, we would be a 1960s nostalgia museum.”

Few analysts in either country doubt that the two countries will apply jointly, and that NATO will rapidly accept. Both Washington and London — Washington quietly, London loudly — have provided bilateral security assurances to both countries while their applications are ratified.

Well, Turkey seems to be playing the Rand Paul card in NATO right now. I expected it to be Hungary, which may still step up to block any quick acceptance of Finland and/or Sweden into NATO as full members. Erdogan seems to be using this as an opportunity to try to get help with his struggles against Kurdish separatists and the humiliation of everyone pretty much now acknowledging that Turkey committed genocide against Armenians many decades ago.
 

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But Rand Paul says no; the aid package must be delayed; and NATO and Ukrainian plans must be put on hold. Even if support among Senators is 99-1, Rand Paul — named after his family idol Ayn Rand — says No.
Sounds like he needs another visit from his neighbor.
 

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ISW seems to think that Russia is going to annex the occupied Ukrainian territories to justify use of nuclear weapons (or deterrence):

Key Takeaway: Russian President Vladimir Putin likely intends to annex occupied southern and eastern Ukraine directly into the Russian Federation in the coming months. He will likely then state, directly or obliquely, that Russian doctrine permitting the use of nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory applies to those newly annexed territories. Such actions would threaten Ukraine and its partners with nuclear attack if Ukrainian counteroffensives to liberate Russian-occupied territory continue. Putin may believe that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would restore Russian deterrence after his disastrous invasion shattered Russia's conventional deterrent capabilities.

Putin’s timeline for annexation is likely contingent on the extent to which he understands the degraded state of the Russian military in Ukraine. The Russian military has not yet achieved Putin’s stated territorial objectives of securing all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and is unlikely to do so. If Putin understands his military weakness, he will likely rush annexation and introduce the nuclear deterrent quickly in an attempt to retain control of the Ukrainian territory that Russia currently occupies. If Putin believes that Russian forces are capable of additional advances, he will likely delay the annexation in hopes of covering more territory with it. In that case, his poor leadership and Ukrainian counteroffensives could drive the Russian military toward a state of collapse. Putin could also attempt to maintain Russian attacks while mobilizing additional forces. He might delay announcing annexation for far longer in this case, waiting until reinforcements could arrive to gain more territory to annex.

Ukraine and its Western partners likely have a narrow window of opportunity to support a Ukrainian counteroffensive into occupied Ukrainian territory before the Kremlin annexes that territory. Ukraine and the West must also develop a coherent plan for responding to any annexation and to the threat of nuclear attack that might follow it. The political and ethical consequences of a longstanding Russian occupation of southeastern Ukraine would be devastating to the long-term viability of the Ukrainian state. Vital Ukrainian and Western national interests require urgent Western support for an immediate Ukrainian counteroffensive.
 

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Both US defense department and German chancellor Scholz have contacted Russia and are asking for a ceasefire.

I wonder, is that what Ukraine wants also? Because a ceasefire essentially solidifies the border of currently occupied territory. Either Ukraine has realized it's peaked and can't do any better, which would be a good place to start negotiations, or US and Germany have lost faith and and are acting on their own.
Or it's simply political, they feel the need to be "for" peace but know Ukraine isn't going to accept a cease-fire while winning.
 

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Both US defense department and German chancellor Scholz have contacted Russia and are asking for a ceasefire.

I wonder, is that what Ukraine wants also? Because a ceasefire essentially solidifies the border of currently occupied territory. Either Ukraine has realized it's peaked and can't do any better, which would be a good place to start negotiations, or US and Germany have lost faith and and are acting on their own.
Or it's simply political, they feel the need to be "for" peace but know Ukraine isn't going to accept a cease-fire while winning.
Under current climate I'd say that backing Ukraine by calling for withdrawal of Russian troops rather than a ceasefire would be politically more popular.
 

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I suspect that the US and Europeans do not think Putin will call a ceasefire because they urge one, and he even more certainly won't withdraw from areas taken. This is now a blood feud between Ukraine and Russia, so public calls don't stand much of a chance of being workable, but they do have propaganda value for domestic consumption. They remind the public that diplomacy is still ultimately the only way to end the war. Both sides have to feel that they can stop fighting and save face in some way. The ultimate solution will likely please no one, but it will be less objectionable than all the alternatives. Ideally, I suppose, there would be some kind of surgical coup in Russia to remove the kleptocratic tumor called Vladimir Putin, but the patient (Russia) may be inoperable. And that is just wishful thinking.
 

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Russian battalion wiped out trying to cross river of death | News | The Times - Thursday May 12 2022, 2.45pm BST, The Times
More than 70 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles were estimated to have been destroyed and possibly 1,000 soldiers killed in a single set of strikes by Ukrainian forces.

In what has been described as some of the heaviest fighting of the war, artillery bombardments and air strikes devastated the battalion as it used a pontoon bridge to try to cross the Siverskyi Donets River on Sunday.
With success like that and like just north of Kharkiv, Ukraine is not likely to agree to a ceasefire.
 

Copernicus

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Russian battalion wiped out trying to cross river of death | News | The Times - Thursday May 12 2022, 2.45pm BST, The Times
More than 70 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles were estimated to have been destroyed and possibly 1,000 soldiers killed in a single set of strikes by Ukrainian forces.

In what has been described as some of the heaviest fighting of the war, artillery bombardments and air strikes devastated the battalion as it used a pontoon bridge to try to cross the Siverskyi Donets River on Sunday.
With success like that and like just north of Kharkiv, Ukraine is not likely to agree to a ceasefire.

Reportedly, hundreds--maybe around a thousand--Russian soldiers perished in the operation. That is the tragedy of war. Putin has brought suffering to so many Ukrainian families, but every one of those dead Russian soldiers also had families. He has created a torrent of mass human suffering in order to carry out revenge for the humiliation and angst he felt over the collapse of the Russian-dominated Soviet empire.
 

lpetrich

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After 200 Years of Neutrality, Sweden Weighs Joining NATO - The New York Times
On Sunday, after discussions with members from all 26 of the country’s districts, the Social Democrats will announce their decision, said Kenneth G. Forslund, a member of the party executive and chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Relations. The consensus is that the party will reluctantly back joining NATO alongside Finland.

“We and the Finns belong together,” said Carl Bildt, a former prime minister. “If we were outside on our own, we would be a 1960s nostalgia museum.”

Few analysts in either country doubt that the two countries will apply jointly, and that NATO will rapidly accept. Both Washington and London — Washington quietly, London loudly — have provided bilateral security assurances to both countries while their applications are ratified.
 

lpetrich

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However,
Erdoğan says Turkey does not support Finland and Sweden joining NATO
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
What they're saying: "We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion," Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul, according to AP.
  • Erdoğan said Turkey would not repeat the same "mistake" it made by allowing Greece to rejoin NATO's military wing in 1980, arguing that Athens has used the alliance against Turkey in the two countries' maritime dispute.
  • "Furthermore, Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations," Erdoğan said, according to Reuters. "They are even members of the parliament in some countries. It is not possible for us to be in favor."
Turkey's leader opposes letting Finland, Sweden join NATO | AP News
The Turkish leader explained his opposition by citing Sweden and other Scandinavian countries’ alleged support for Kurdish militants and others whom Turkey considers to be terrorists.

He said he also did not want to repeat Turkey’s past “mistake” from when it agreed to readmit Greece into NATO’s military wing in 1980. He claimed the action had allowed Greece “to take an attitude against Turkey” with NATO’s backing.
Erdogan says Turkey not supportive of Finland, Sweden joining NATO | Reuters

Ro RTE wants to be the Joe Manchin of NATO?
 

Harry Bosch

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Russian battalion wiped out trying to cross river of death | News | The Times - Thursday May 12 2022, 2.45pm BST, The Times
More than 70 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles were estimated to have been destroyed and possibly 1,000 soldiers killed in a single set of strikes by Ukrainian forces.

In what has been described as some of the heaviest fighting of the war, artillery bombardments and air strikes devastated the battalion as it used a pontoon bridge to try to cross the Siverskyi Donets River on Sunday.
With success like that and like just north of Kharkiv, Ukraine is not likely to agree to a ceasefire.
It sometimes makes me sick to my stomach to watch soldiers being killed on the battlefield via the drone videos. And this attack was quite striking. However, the Russians are in a country that did not welcome them. They are stealing land, blowing up buildings and hospitals, killing people, killing civilians, shooting them in the back of the head while being bound, and stealing everything that they can get their hands on. Sadly, this war isn't going to end until the invaders are pushed out.
 

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Russian battalion wiped out trying to cross river of death | News | The Times - Thursday May 12 2022, 2.45pm BST, The Times
More than 70 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles were estimated to have been destroyed and possibly 1,000 soldiers killed in a single set of strikes by Ukrainian forces.

In what has been described as some of the heaviest fighting of the war, artillery bombardments and air strikes devastated the battalion as it used a pontoon bridge to try to cross the Siverskyi Donets River on Sunday.
With success like that and like just north of Kharkiv, Ukraine is not likely to agree to a ceasefire.
It sometimes makes me sick to my stomach to watch soldiers being killed on the battlefield via the drone videos. And this attack was quite striking. However, the Russians are in a country that did not welcome them. They are stealing land, blowing up buildings and hospitals, killing people, killing civilians, shooting them in the back of the head while being bound, and stealing everything that they can get their hands on. Sadly, this war isn't going to end until the invaders are pushed out.
In this case, the attacks were repelled. But Russia kept trying, I think three times if not more, to cross that river and establish a bridge head on the other side.

Until Ukraine has capability to launch their own offensives (which may take months), it has to succeed to defeat the attackers every time, Russia only has to succeed once. And while this was going on, Russia took Popasna and maybe another village North of it, and is moving artillery in range to reach Zaporizhzhia. It's not going well.

I think this will end with either Russia annexing large swaths of Ukraine, or a nuclear exchange.
 

Harry Bosch

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Russian battalion wiped out trying to cross river of death | News | The Times - Thursday May 12 2022, 2.45pm BST, The Times
More than 70 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles were estimated to have been destroyed and possibly 1,000 soldiers killed in a single set of strikes by Ukrainian forces.

In what has been described as some of the heaviest fighting of the war, artillery bombardments and air strikes devastated the battalion as it used a pontoon bridge to try to cross the Siverskyi Donets River on Sunday.
With success like that and like just north of Kharkiv, Ukraine is not likely to agree to a ceasefire.
It sometimes makes me sick to my stomach to watch soldiers being killed on the battlefield via the drone videos. And this attack was quite striking. However, the Russians are in a country that did not welcome them. They are stealing land, blowing up buildings and hospitals, killing people, killing civilians, shooting them in the back of the head while being bound, and stealing everything that they can get their hands on. Sadly, this war isn't going to end until the invaders are pushed out.
In this case, the attacks were repelled. But Russia kept trying, I think three times if not more, to cross that river and establish a bridge head on the other side.

Until Ukraine has capability to launch their own offensives (which may take months), it has to succeed to defeat the attackers every time, Russia only has to succeed once. And while this was going on, Russia took Popasna and maybe another village North of it, and is moving artillery in range to reach Zaporizhzhia. It's not going well.

I think this will end with either Russia annexing large swaths of Ukraine, or a nuclear exchange.
You are a little more pessimistic than me my friend. The Ukrainians had primarily defensive weapons. They had to wait until the Russians were within their range, then they launched, and then ran away. Very effective against an ineffective uninspired army lead by imbeciles. However, Russians are finally getting smarter and are lagging back, relying on their long range artillery which are very effective long range. Ukrainians didn't have long range weapons (drones, and most battlefield missiles are not long range.) But the west has been sending in long range artillery to the front lines in the south. The US made Howitzers are going to start chewing up the Russian artillery. Once that's more balanced, their motivated troops will counter attack more effectively. Ironically, Ukraine has more in reserves (civilians training to join the fight) and more arms entering the country. The Ukrainians are motivated, backs to the wall, with nothing to lose. Could be my imagination, but it seems to me that Russia is starting to crack up. There are cracks showing. China is tiring of the war. It's starting to tilt towards Ukraine. Let's see...
 
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