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Russia Writes Off 90 Percent of North Korea Debt

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the just-passing-through dept.

Government 234

jones_supa (887896) writes "In Russia, the State Duma (lower house) on Friday ratified a 2012 agreement to write off the bulk of North Korea's debt. It said the total debt stood at $10.96 billion as of Sept. 17, 2012. Russia sees this lucrative in advancing the plans to build a gas pipe and railroad through North to South Korea. The rest of the debt, $1.09 billion, would be redeemed during the next 20 years, to be paid in equal installments every six months. The outstanding debt owed by North Korea will be managed by Russia's state development bank, Vnesheconombank. Moscow has been trying to diversify its energy sales to Asia away from Europe, which, in its turn, wants to cut its dependence on oil and gas from the erstwhile Cold War foe. Russia's state-owned top natural producer Gazprom is dreaming shipping 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually through the Koreas. Russia has written off debts to a number of impoverished Soviet-era allies, including Cuba. North Korea's struggling communist economy is just 2 percent of the size of neighboring South's."

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Will this effect markets? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46794765)

Debt goes poof. What's the result?

One this is for sure. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46794781)

Russia as a nation is 11 billion dollars poorer, and the communist party members that stole the money in the first place are 11 billion dollars richer.

Re:One this is for sure. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46794829)

The "loan" was foreign aid. No one seriously though North Korea could/would ever pay it back. Kind of like the few hundred million Clinton gave them in exchange for something (doesn't matter what they promised in return, everyone knew they would renege).

Re:One this is for sure. (2)

afgam28 (48611) | about 5 months ago | (#46795123)

Maybe the Russians are just writing off their losses? I've got no idea about the terms of the loan, but if someone owed me a ridiculous amount of money that I knew would never be paid back, I'd settle for 10% of it and a commitment to a payment plan.

Re:One this is for sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795443)

You can buy a shitload of churros with 11 billion dollars!

Re:One this is for sure. (3, Informative)

Mondor (704672) | about 5 months ago | (#46795887)

That's Russian tradition of providing a loan to their allies and then write it off in a few years. A price of alliance, or at least a hefty bonus. USSR did the same.

Re:Will this effect markets? (5, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46794891)

In long term, massively. South Korea will get much cheaper gas, and it might have a stabilizing effect and North Korea will likely be even more closely tied to South through the financial benefits of the functioning pipeline, such as transit fees.

The main problem is that North Korea may start behaving like Ukraine with the gas, stealing it from the pipeline and even using it as a weapon against South Korea. But potential of getting gas pipeline in South Korea will likely far outweigh the cons.

Re:Will this effect markets? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#46795045)

i guarantee that at the slightest perceived provocation NK will shut off the gas. KIS is even more of a petulant child than KJI was.

Re:Will this effect markets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795145)

KIS is even more of a petulant child than KJI was.

You likely mean the great successor KJU (Kim Jong Un), since the great leader KIS (Kim Il Sung) has been dead for years. The dear leader KJI (Kim Jong Il) came in between.

North Korea, the only hereditary Stalinist workers' paradise and/or despotic empire: KIS begat KJI who begat KJU.

Re:Will this effect markets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795617)

I guarantee not.
China and Russia won't allow it, DPRK may be on the sociopathic side as a state, but when its big brothers say no, DPRK knows it means no. They'll threaten, Japan and RoK will play along, but they'll all know that it's theatre.

Re:Will this effect markets? (2)

jopsen (885607) | about 5 months ago | (#46795905)

i guarantee that at the slightest perceived provocation NK will shut off the gas. KIS is even more of a petulant child than KJI was.

Well... we'll see it easy for North Korea to be outraged over "the slightest perceived provocation" when they have nothing to loose.
Maybe if we give them something to loose, they think twice before deciding to give it up...

It's not like the impoverishing measures currently in place has much effect.

The only places we've recently seen the population rise and demand democracy is in the middle east, wealth, internet, computer, etc. is required to facilitate this..
Right now, most North Koreans are probably more concern with securing their next meal, than fighting their oppressive government.
A don't think a new approach on North Korea can hurt, it's not like the current one works :)

Re:Will this effect markets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46796051)

I've spammed to much here to be able to moderate. But if I could both your and GGP's post deserved a bunch =P /aliquis

Re:Will this effect markets? (2)

backslashdot (95548) | about 5 months ago | (#46795609)

Umm, do you think Putin will sit back while NK messes with his pipeline? I suspect that if NK went that route, something mysterious will happen to Kim Jong-un.

yep (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 5 months ago | (#46795879)

...except it might not be too mysterious. Potential win for everyone, if they half way behave themselves...

I don't think so (4, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 5 months ago | (#46794921)

It's $11 Billion. I know that sounds like a lot, but it's not really. Not on a Global scale. It might help stabilize North Korea a bit though. They're a poor enough nation to notice it.

Re:I don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795195)

What effect did Russia's debt default in 1998 [wikipedia.org] have? Apparently, it got stronger.

Re:I don't think so (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 months ago | (#46795909)

They're a poor enough nation to notice it.

...which in turn gives them enough elbow-room to become a bit more belligerent, which in turn de-stabilizes the region. This in turn causes the US and Japan to have to spend their time doing something about it (China couldn't really give a frig, to be honest).

Speculative end result? Putin can take the rest of the Ukraine and any of the other former Soviet states with less attention being paid to it.

Re:I don't think so (3)

Tough Love (215404) | about 5 months ago | (#46795925)

It's $11 Billion. I know that sounds like a lot, but it's not really. Not on a Global scale...

It's .5% of Russia's GDP. Sounds like a lot to me.

Re:I don't think so (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 5 months ago | (#46796057)

True, I do sometime forget how small and poor Russia really is. Sorry, American here, and we've been told for 60 years the big bad Russians are coming for us any day now...

Re:I don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46796135)

Loans are just an expansion of the balance sheet. Writing it off is eliminating money that was created out of thin air. So what was lost? Virtual money that never existed. Just create another loan or asset if you want your balance sheet to expand again.

Re:Will this effect markets? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 5 months ago | (#46795375)

*affect

Re:Will this effect markets? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46796039)

Doubt it's a default if Russia voluntarily decides to do it, regardless it wouldn't matter what western financial institutes said.

The US bankers will want higher interest rate when they loan money to North Korea?

The loan is more or less nothing to begin with. Even less than just 10% remain.

THROUGH North Korea?! (4, Insightful)

MisterSquid (231834) | about 5 months ago | (#46794775)

Russia sees this lucrative in advancing the plans to build a gas pipe and railroad through North to South Korea

Seriously? Lay critical crucial infrastructure through North Korea to South Korea?

There's no way Pyongyang would manipulate those rails and pipes in a fit of political pique that seems to happen, oh, once every eight months. Absolutely now way.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (3, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about 5 months ago | (#46794809)

They wouldn't want to offend Russia, because Russia would stop the flow of gas they're siphoning off.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 5 months ago | (#46794821)

north korea is the westboro baptist church of countries

they want to offend

like an internet troll, every negative reaction is positive reinforcement

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46794901)

China and Russia are its traditional allies, and are treated very differently.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795035)

China and Russia are its traditional allies, and are treated very differently.

Even China is getting fed up with them. If Russia is trying to split the world's powers again, I don't think South Korea would side with them, neither would China. I see this as more of them trying to make a puppet state out of North Korea to do their crazier plans.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795755)

China has already sided with Russia, as has India.
This whole thing is a result of a BRICS summit, the purpose of which was to move Russian energy exports eastwards in the face of potential sanctions. China has also partnered up with Russia regarding the energy exchange (meaning the petroruble and petroyuan as an attack on the petrodollar).

RoK, being economically dependent on it, will side with China, and in extension, Russia.

The Sino-Soviet split is a thing of the past, with Russia no longer communist, the ideological rift between the two no longer exists, and that's in large part why we're back in a cold war, Russia has Europe by the balls with energy dependence, China has the US by the balls via debt, as long as the two remain allied, NATO is powerless against either.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46795529)

"Our great leader has been holding two sticks providing the energy output of 20 western built nuclear plants!"

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795639)

China are not "allies" of North Korea. They traditionally try not to upset North Korea because what they really don't want is for North Korea to collapse and all those NK citizens to flood across the border into China looking for food and/or work.

North Korea also gives them a nice little anchor as a regional power; they keep North Korea on a short leash (or at least as short as they can) which means that if anyone needs anything done about North Korea, you have to go to the Chinese. It's a handy counterweight to the rhetoric over Tiawan.

China know, rationally, that a reconciled Korea would be a great trading partner; they already do billions of dollars of trade with South Korea. North Korea joining South Korea only makes the market larger (and think of the construction contracts!) Politically though, North Korea is a handy tool in regional & global politics.

As far as I'm aware Russia couldn't give two shits about North Korea other than it's in the way of a gas pipeline they want to build and they share a tiny little land border near Vladivostok.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795009)

They wouldn't want to offend Russia, because Russia would stop the flow of gas they're siphoning off.

That assumes rationality - but N Korea has shown itself many times to be to be bat-shit crazy...

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (5, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46795397)

To *be* bat-shit crazy, or to *appear* bat-shit crazy? Appearing insane can be an excellent military strategy, especially if you're in an extremely week tactical position such as North Korea is in. It makes your enemies extremely hesitant to provoke you because you may quite possibly engage in a completely disproportional and/or unexpected response. Of course keeping up the appearance requires that you do occasionally actually engage in insane behavior, but a sane commander using such tactics will be extremely canny in employing such behavior only when a studied analysis of the enemy suggests that he can get away with it with minimal real costs. The fact that North Korea is not only still standing, but has managed to repeatedly milk the western world for lucrative concessions despite the apparent insanity of its leaders, strongly suggests that that is the case.

Of course the beauty of such a strategy is that your enemy can never be completely sure exactly how much is an act, and must moderate their own behavior in the face of that uncertainty. Would North Korea launch an all-out attack on our regional allies in response to some moderate provocation, knowing full well that they would be completely obliterated in response? Certainly not. Probably. We hope.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 5 months ago | (#46795973)

They wouldn't want to offend Russia, because Russia would stop the flow of gas they're siphoning off.

You're making the mistake of presuming rational behavior.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 5 months ago | (#46794815)

came here to say this

that pipeline is going to be shut off once a year in march or april, until running capitalist dogs pay attention to the psychotic state and pay a ransom

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46794905)

Against Russia's will? Unlikely. You have to remember, this isn't going to be just about the South Korea, and North Korea is completely dependent on China and Russia due to its isolation.

That and they really like hard currency they'll be getting as transit fees in the North Korea.

I wouldn't be too sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795037)

Against Russia's will? Unlikely. You have to remember, this isn't going to be just about the South Korea, and North Korea is completely dependent on China and Russia due to its isolation.

Yeah, it's not like they've ever pissed off China, or do provocative things against Beijing's will ... oh wait.

I'm sure you're right that Russia's political calculus is exactly what you say: North Korea would never want to anger them just to get at the south. However, I suspect they (and you) are very mistaken. Remember, we're not dealing with an entirely rational entity here. We're dealing with a paranoid regime, whose behavior has on more than one occasion come close to batshit crazy. They've thumbed their noses at China's instructions on more than one occasion...I wouldn't rule out interrupting gas supplies to their "arch enemy" to the south if they don't feel they're getting enough attention that week, just because it would piss off the Russians (what are the Russians really going to do about it?).

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795071)

"Liberate" the "Russian Speaking Majority" of part of North Korea.

Re:Anonymous Coward (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#46795277)

Unlike the situation with Ukraine, the West might see that as an improvement. China, on the other hand, might disagree...

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795197)

If I were South Korea, I'd build gas storage facilities to hold enough gas to tide over any interruption. North Korea simply isn't a reliable partner.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46794913)

It is all for glory benefit of Dear Reader! Ret's ray pipe for Kim Jong Un!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f37K0hIv3zk

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 5 months ago | (#46795203)

N. Korea wouldn't last two days under war against Russia, that would be the end of chubby-spoiled boy's reign

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795365)

N. Korea wouldn't last two days under war against Russia, that would be the end of chubby-spoiled boy's reign

You sure? The fourth largest army (North Korea, active personnel) wouldn't last more than two days against the fifth largest? Not to mention that NK's is by far the largest in the world in terms of reservists. I'm not saying that NK wouldn't be defeated eventually but you seem to think it would be a walk in the park. NK's official policy is "military first" and thus their military actually is very powerful even though the country - as a consequence of that very policy - is piss poor and there's a shortage of practically everything.

However, this plan seems absurd to me. South Korea would never buy gas that way since (1) they don't want NK to get hard currency and (2) it's not possible to rely on something as critical as gas when the supply can be shut off by a madman at any time. The only thing the rest of the world knows for sure about NK is that their behavior is unpredictable so no matter what pressure Russia could put on NK it wouldn't be any guarantee that NK does what Russia wants them to. NK practically thrives on diplomatic crises. It's almost like a hobby for them. Whenever they feel irrelevant on the world stage, they increase tensions on the peninsula.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (2)

aevan (903814) | about 5 months ago | (#46795685)

Previous Korean conflict you had the south and its allies against the north and a shared 'border' as it were: you had friendlies to worry about.. All the NK weapons aim south pretty much, and the Americans wanted to appear moral.

A power just wanting to raze the entire area, uncaring of fallout, could employ much more...effective tactics. The very fact that North Korea claims so much as part of its military just makes them that much more fair game. Russia could slaughter North Korea, it's just a matter of how much political fallout they are willing to endure for those tactics.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795729)

Does not matter how many, Russians have the red buttons.

Journalistic Style (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46794825)

"Russia has written off debts to a number of impoverished Soviet-era allies, including Cuba"

Is the number... "one"?

Re:Journalistic Style (3, Interesting)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | about 5 months ago | (#46794883)

[Unfortunately?] No. Though I can't think of any post soviet ally that has actually benefitted or gotten ahead from having debt written off. It also occurs to me that many of those states with debt were basically given the debt - Russia gave them things like gas and lumber at particularly low rates but didn't take payment or only took partial payment. So once the debt built up they'd use it as sort of a threat to not go against them. Case in point: Ukraine just got a huge gas bill from Russia http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c211... [ft.com] .

How could this be? (0)

Kohath (38547) | about 5 months ago | (#46794931)

Cuba is a huge tropical island with a well educated population. North Korea is strategically located between the vibrant state of South Korea and China, soon to be the world's largest economy. Both Cuba and North Korea are in prime locations for international trade and commerce.

In addition to all that, they have the most progressive socialist governments in the world. While the rest of the world has been wasting their time with free enterprise and capitalism, these guys took the progressive, enlightened approach.

So why can't they pay their bills?

Re:How could this be? (4, Informative)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 5 months ago | (#46794949)

Compared to North Korea, Cuba is a beacon of democracy and human rights. They're just a banana republic that pissed off the wrong people.

Re:How could this be? (4, Insightful)

gatkinso (15975) | about 5 months ago | (#46795075)

The irony is that most of the people they pissed off are long dead, and half of Cuba now lives in Miami.

Re:How could this be? (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 5 months ago | (#46795447)

For some reason, the grudge lives on. It wasn't that great a pissing off either, just your average banana republic tactics.

Re:How could this be? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795073)

I don't know about Korea, but some nation of obese tv-lovin' asshats decided to embargo international trade in...farm machinery, food, medicine and other important things. "Ya, let's starve the shit outta their children. That'll teach 'em good."

Did you know that most of the "evil commies" of yesteryear are dead and gone? The US believes that making sure children starve and die is okay foreign policy. That's just fucked up.

Re:How could this be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795131)

Very good, Anonymous Comrade.
The gloriuos and eternal leader and juche is proud of your contribution to the wellbeing of the fatherland.

That doesn't really explain it (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 5 months ago | (#46795239)

So the US won't trade with them. Ok, but while the US is a large nation, it isn't the be-all, end-all. Canada, the EU, China, Russia, they are all perfectly ok to trade with Cuba. So Cuba has access to most of the world for trade goods. Yet, they still have an extremely low standard of living.

Sorry, but the US boogeyman thing doesn't play, not in this day and age. Cuba has a large responsibility for the problems in Cuba.

Re:That doesn't really explain it (4, Informative)

Kohath (38547) | about 5 months ago | (#46795435)

That's not the enlightened view. Everything that goes wrong is always someone else's fault. It's the #1 Truth of progressive thinking. Poor people are poor because someone else made them poor. If socialist policies don't fix everything, it's because someone else interfered. If all the someone elses could just be burned or imprisoned or gassed or reeducated, society's problems could finally be solved and progressive paradise would be achieved.

Re:That doesn't really explain it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795465)

Uhhhhh...the US tells the other countries what is and isn't allowed to be traded with Cuba. There is no excuse for what USA has done to that country. Well, unless you think hurting children for the "crimes" of their parents is okay.

Uhhhh... no (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 5 months ago | (#46796145)

Go to Canada some time, one of the US's closest allies. You'll find that you can travel to Cuba freely, buy Cuban goods (cigars being the most prominently advertised as being of Cuban origin) and so on.

The US is the only country that clings to an embargo and it is purely a face-saving maneuver, not wanting to admit it was a bad idea and hasn't worked to unseat Castro.

However for all that, Cuba is still poor... So sorry, you can't blame the big, bad 'ole US for this. Their policy is not helpful, but it isn't why Cuba is impoverished. That lies at the feet of their own government.

Re:How could this be? (4, Interesting)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 5 months ago | (#46795151)

Compare Cuba to Domincan Republic. Both are quite similar except for the politics - Dominican Republic had an US sponsored coup and is very much capitalist because of that. Still Cuba has a higher GDP and a higher HDI. Or take Jamaica. A capitalist constitutional monarchy and a commonwealth realm with close ties to the Brits. Still, same here, Cuba has a higher GDP and a higher HDI.

Funny thing though. North Korea used to have a milder form of government than South Korea and the people were also better off - up to the early 1970ies. Then the former went downwards, while the latter shot upwards.

I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days... (0)

bogaboga (793279) | about 5 months ago | (#46794951)

I must say I am impressed with how Russia is standing up to the bullies and all those governments who are percieved as the, "we know it all" people.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (0, Troll)

gatkinso (15975) | about 5 months ago | (#46795097)

Putin, for all of his shortcomings, knows a weakling when he sees one. And that a vastly superior military (that would be the US military) means nothing when headed by a weakling.

He also knows that North Korea wasn't going to repay those debts anyway, so why not try to make some lemonade out of those lemons.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (2)

bogaboga (793279) | about 5 months ago | (#46795177)

You must be joking right? Powerful armies can and have been defeated many times. Remember the USA and Vietnam?

On the other hand, I believe Russia has the [military] hardware to deliver serious havoc on the US should America take the unwise route.

What would the USA's most powerful president have done in the circumstances anyway?

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795265)

Perhaps, stop the nonsense going on in Syria, as was threatened with a "red line", to prevent thugs from learning that they are free to do as they please until at least 2016, like annexing part of a neighbor? (That would be Crimea.) That's what the USA's most powerful President would have done. Or any of the other Presidents besides this one, actually.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (2)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 5 months ago | (#46795433)

Invading Syria would have worked as well as invading Afghanistan and Iraq did....

Everyone's all PO'ed at Obama for using diplomacy instead of War.

It's diplomacy that has Iran giving up their enriched uranium. It's (accidental) diplomacy that got Syria to give up their chemical weapons. Diplomacy works. War? Afghanistan and Iraq aren't going too well for us. There's no infrastructure, no democracy, tons of opium, and the Taliban are stronger now than they used to be.

There are other measures of strength besides blowing shit up.

That being said, Obama IS a weak president. :D

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46795991)

That being said, Obama IS a weak president. :D

Make Bill Gates president.

Seriously. Maybe he have some ideas about how to do what's good for companies while also having an interest in making the world better.

I doubt other world leaders would be very upset at Bill Gates either? For what? Their XP service being discontinued?

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46796163)

Gates's "interest in making the world better" consists of writing checks (on accounts swelled by monopoly business practices) to big drug companies so they can experiment on people without their knowledge or consent.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46796243)

Gates's "interest in making the world better" consists of writing checks (on accounts swelled by monopoly business practices) to big drug companies so they can experiment on people without their knowledge or consent.

Yeah he should write them to Get-a-freaking-clue Foundation, Science Whaa' and Paranoid Inc. instead.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795505)

Do you really think the US President should play chicken with Putin? Russia is annexing Crimea on its own instead of supporting a ally in such an endeavor as was the case with all the proxy wars the US and USSR fought, The same applied then as does now - both leaders know that if their respective armies ever end up fighting each other, it will be a Pandora's box that neither of them wants to open since among other things the box contains nukes. So since Russia is already there, the US cannot intervene too much. During the cold war, the motivations were ideological but now Russia is going for territory so do you really think the US should escalate the situation? It really sucks for Ukraine and what Russia is doing is absolutely wrong but from a broader (i.e. global) perspective, there isn't much the US can do without making things worse.

Syria was and is a gigantic clusterfuck since there isn't really any side that should preferably win. More or less crazy groups of Islamic fundamentalists and militants and a dictator are fighting each other so whom would you support? The US (and its allies) have, however, successfully pressured them to abstain from using chemical weapons, which I think is the best result achievable through any intervention. Now the West can - and should - only wait and see if any moderate group emerges in Syria and then consider supporting them but at the moment waiting might be the least bad option.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 5 months ago | (#46795405)

You must be joking right?

Joking about what? Did you actually *read* the post you're bitching about?

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46795971)

Joking about the US actually able to threaten Russia military I suppose?

While US is spread all over the world I assume Russia isn't all that much so you may have to bring the war to their side.

Even if they wasn't somewhat equal simply fighting in someone else home court likely bring disadvantages, also again people defending their home country relative people who.. Well. I don't know. ... but I've been told?

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (1)

aevan (903814) | about 5 months ago | (#46795711)

Didn't you just prove his point? Power military that was handicapped by policy...lost a war (i.e. Vietnam).

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46796185)

What caused Russia to lose in Afghanistan?

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (2, Interesting)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 5 months ago | (#46795467)

That weakling got Osama, has Iran giving up it's highly enriched Uranium to lift the sanctions, and cut a deal that got Syria to give up their chemical weapons. There are other measures of strength than blowing shit up. Diplomacy works.

Now, as a dirty lib, I do believe he is a weak president on the homefront. Dude hasn't even TRIED to fulfill his campaign promises and keeps trying to cut deals with the Republicans who clearly aren't going to give him squadoo even though he gives them 90% of what they wanted anyway. Sigh....

If you're going to hate on Obama, hate on him for real reasons. His foreign policy had strengthened us, not weakened us. Bush is the one that took us from having the whole world supporting us to having everyone revile us. Again....

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795589)

That weakling got Osama, has Iran giving up it's highly enriched Uranium to lift the sanctions,

They say they'll give up their Uranium. They've made various broken promises before.

and cut a deal that got Syria to give up their chemical weapons.

Which was originally suggested by Putin.

His foreign policy had strengthened us, not weakened us.

Seriously? Because of him, Egypt and Libya are in turmoil. Israel is laughing at us.

We're cutting back our military, and ultimately foreign policy is based on military power. Nobody takes us seriously.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (2)

olau (314197) | about 5 months ago | (#46796175)

... and ultimately foreign policy is based on military power. Nobody takes us seriously.

I wonder why. Do you respect the father who beats his child?

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (2)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46795953)

Is the US vastly superior?

Globalfirepower rank them about the same, though they include a lot of factors, but shouldn't all those be included?

Sure the US have twice as many people and earn more money (but it's much more unevenly spread and less end up in the government coffins) and spend more money on the military (then again I don't know whatever Russia pay them and if so I guess they pay less and that more production may be government owned or at least be bought for cheaper.)

US seem to have bigger navy and air force and Russia bigger army. Who got the best missile defence? Anti-air?

Even if US is better what are their odds at Russian soil? Because if we are speaking fear of the bully I guess that's where it would be thought?

Many of the US project seem to deliver so-so and cost way more than what was originally planned.

I know lots of people say Russia got old gear but how much truth is there in that? Even if they do how much is newer? How much is newer in the US?

Do F-35 really beat the better models from Russia? Is F-22 clearly superior? I assume the F-15, F-16 and F-18 maybe is more cost effective?

I don't know whatever the SM-2, SM-3 and the S-300, S-400 and S-500 gear/systems is of similar scale but how are they really performing against each others?

I don't really know the composition of either sides nuclear weapons.

How hard is it to sink a carrier? How efficient is the total anti-missile and possibly torpedo defence in a carrier group?

Who win on the ground?
http://www.globalfirepower.com... [globalfirepower.com]

I assume the US may rely on missiles from ships and air-force and sure air-plane vs artillery may be a battle with an advantage to the air-plane but this being Russia how many missiles will actually hit and how well would the planes do? Throw in a bunch of submarines in the equation too.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795115)

Yeah like Ukrainian and Georgia

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (2)

BradMajors (995624) | about 5 months ago | (#46795121)

Rather... I am impressed as to how well Putin is acting in Russia's best interests. I can't say the same for Obama.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795227)

Obama should approve the XL pipeline, because it would be in Russia's best interest if Americans died.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about 5 months ago | (#46796001)

Rather... I am impressed as to how well Putin is acting in Russia's best interests...

Is it in Russia's best interest to become isolated as an international pariah and have its economy shrink?

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795321)

How much is FSB paying you to shill?

I ask wanting to know if my rate from the NSA is competitive.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (3, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 5 months ago | (#46795445)

I'm really weirded out by all the people who give accolades to Putin lately. Russia's a shithole man. It's an oligarchy, flat out. He's not standing up to anyone. Standing up would be helping people and NOT debt slaving them with the IMF. How is invading the Ukraine when it's down in any way brave or good?

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795483)

Perhaps you should start reading those comments as coming from paid shills, because that's likely what they are.

Poke in the eye (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about 5 months ago | (#46795137)

This is just Putin's latest dumb parlour trick to stir up trouble and poke the West in the eye. He's just acting out.

Re:Poke in the eye (1)

X.25 (255792) | about 5 months ago | (#46795737)

This is just Putin's latest dumb parlour trick to stir up trouble and poke the West in the eye. He's just acting out.

You are a textbook example of how propaganda works and affects people.

I really wish you would at least became aware of it, at some point.

Stop with the Random beta crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795169)

Getting tired of being randomly popped into beta mode. It's trash, I don't want it, make it go away.

Oh well (1)

Bob768 (2670995) | about 5 months ago | (#46795173)

Give it another 10 years and oil and gas will have much less demand.

You all miss the obvious reason NK agreed to this (3, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#46795179)

Why would NK ever agree to do anything to help South Korea? They didn't care about paying bak the money anyway, so it's not that.

No, the real reason NK agreed to have a pipeline built through the country is they plan to insert NK frogmen spies into the pipeline to infiltrate the south. The beauty of the plan is, they cannot be spied upon the other way due to the pipe flow!

Masterful.

Re:You all miss the obvious reason NK agreed to th (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#46795293)

  1. Step 1: become a NK frogman spy
  2. Step 2: ???
  3. Step 3: Profit!

(Hint: Step 2 is "defect to SK.")

North Korea is not a communist state (4, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 5 months ago | (#46795189)

It was founded by Kim Il-Sung, who had communist ideals, yes. However it has ventured far, far, away from those ideals. Indeed the present day US is vastly closer to being an ideal free-market state than North Korea is to being anything that can be approximated as being close to actual communism.

Saving Face (2)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 5 months ago | (#46795255)

Obviously N.Korea is a communist economic horror story. Russia has zero chance of getting paid back anyway. This method of presentation saves face for the Russian government as it was foolish to loan money to N.Korea in the first place and it also saves face for the concept of communism. This can be pushed as an image of one wonderful communist nation doing a good thing for another communist nation. N.Korea is an open sewer deserving the disrespect of all people, everywhere. And most wonderful fat, midget, leader, with really bad hair cut, is the icing on the cake.

Re:Saving Face (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795323)

While I agree this is a nice face-save because Russia had zero chance of getting paid back anyway, it should be pointed out that neither country is communist. Russia is pretty ultra-capitalist today, and North Korea has their own Juche ideology (North Korea has even wiped out all mentions of communism from their history).

Re:Saving Face (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795545)

Russia could only have been said to be communist between 1917 and 1924, and that's in a very, very big stretch of the terminology. That's where the 'soviet system' came from. It was highly democratic at the time. A soviet is a governing council comprised of the area's workers. This existed in name only beyond 1924, after the formal formation of the USSR, when they re-embraced capitalism. North Korea were never communist in the first place.

Methinks you should open a history book sometime, and stop using 'communist' as a synonym for 'random dictatorship I don't like'

Re:Saving Face (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#46795703)

You say that still more people cried at his dads funereal when will for say Obama ;)

Re:Saving Face (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795793)

the sad thing is it isn't the communist command economy that killed DPRK's economy. GDP-wise it was neck-to-neck with the south until the 70s or 80s when Japan got pissed off and campaigned the world to boycott trade with DPRK, DPRK never recovered.

This can be pushed as an image of one wonderful communist nation doing a good thing for another communist nation

How do you figure? Russia hasn't been communist for 23 years. China's the one that's still communist. You'd have to be retarded to push this as a communist bromance.

Re:Saving Face (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 5 months ago | (#46795927)

Also, it's only 10B... talking about foreign debt this is peanuts...

That said, getting debt paid off helps them make new debt and buy things from Russia or China...

TuACO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795319)

copy a 17 Meg file task. R3search

Good for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795329)

Finally some slack for Kim :)

China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46795487)

What does China think of this? Will they check their records and realize they have have claim to Posyet Bay and surrounding territory?

Why is this "News For Nerds" (1)

hax4bux (209237) | about 5 months ago | (#46795865)

Do you know where Vladivostok is? Russia not need Korea to ship gas.

We give twice that to Israel every year... (1)

Davoid (5734) | about 5 months ago | (#46796157)

If you figure in the amounts given in foreign aid (military and development) as well as loans that are simply "forgiven" each year which amounts to $15-$20 billion in total each year. Directly it is $3.11 billion (and increasing) per year. In other words... $10 billion (give or take a few) of its total accumulated debt is chicken feed in the grand scheme of things.

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