back to article 'Hello, is that the space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'

NASA has cut all ties with Russia's space programme over the crisis in Ukraine, apart from maintaining the International Space Station. The US space agency had repeatedly said that it wouldn't be taking any action over the situation between Ukraine and Russia, but it reversed its decision, saying in a statement overnight that …

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  1. Chris Tierney

    Political Posturing

    Science is always the victim.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Political Posturing

        The cooperation with Roscosmos has historically been about keeping some excellent rocket engineers in a job. It's always been more political than scientific.

        There has been no conflict in Crimea but whether its low key or not may depend upon your geography and history. The annexation is certainly a dangerous political precedent. Europe is only more cautious because it trades more with Russia and has a land border with it: any fallout is likely to fall on both sides.

        If you want an example of politics interfering with science: the recent Swiss referendum on quotas for foreigners is freezing Switzerland out of the next round of EU research projects.

        1. Colin Miller

          Re: Political Posturing

          Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 when Khrushchev donated it to Ukraine.

          It is now populated mainly by descendants of Russian citizens, the native Tartars were sent to the Gulags for supporting Hitler over Stalin.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Political Posturing

            Native Tartars?

            It depends on how you define native. Over 2000 years ago, Greeks set up cities in Crimea - the ruins are there for all to see. The people living there at the time were Scythians - Iranian nomadic tribesmen with really bad PR guys.

            It was then part of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire with incursions by Goths the Rus, Huns, Tartars, Mongols and pretty much anyone travelling between Asia and Europe. In the Middle Ages, even Genoa owned most of the cities of Crimea (the Black Death entering Europe through Feodosiya after an siege of the city by Tartars).

            As for the Tartars being exiled - it was a consequence of collaboration with the SS to conduct a bit of ethnic cleansing and not realising that the records would be captured by the Red Army.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Political Posturing

        trying to cause economic dislocation for the Russians.

        Are you suggesting that there should be no consequences for countries that invade and annex parts of other countries?

        Yes the US and NATO have invaded other countries and toppled governments but they do not illegally annex those countries. They stay and try to rebuild an independent, elected government, infrastructure, etc in the hopes that the people can rule themselves, then they go home.

        Russia never leaves and has a "My way or a trip to prison way". That is the defining difference between the West and Russia.

        We spend money on space programs because, believe it or not, some people find space fascinating and want to understand everything in it.

        1. Grikath

          Re: Political Posturing

          Sorry to burst your bubble...

          But the US invades other sovereign nations ( for reasons which may or may not be politically motivated), the NATO/UN only comes into play after the US has made a mess of things and realises that the people they bring the American Way to may well not be interested at all, and even be outright hostile to those Unwashed Foreigners.

          NATO actions are defensive, and stop right at the border of the member state involved. The US is the only NATO member who has invaded unilaterally, and in that respect is simply the Bully of the classroom.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Political Posturing

            @ Grikath

            You might want to look up the order of actions in Libya. France was the one who called for action in Libya, not the US. Yes the US took part in Libya, but that is not surprising since the US has the most military might of all NATO members.

        2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: Political Posturing

          Do you really think they are comparable?

          Comparing whats gone on in the Crimea to what happened in Iraq and Afganistan - I think I'd rather have Russia annex my country than America (and its allies) "rebuild" it.

          At least me and thousands of others will be alive in a Russian prison than dead in a defacto civil war, or stripped and tortured for shits and giggles by rednecks in uniforms.

          Although being in the UK we've more or less been informally annexed by the Leftpondians anyway.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Political Posturing

            At least me and thousands of others will be alive in a Russian prison than dead in a defacto civil war, or stripped and tortured for shits and giggles by rednecks in uniforms.

            Educate yourself about the Russian invasion of Chechenya before you make comments like this.

            Russia virtually levelled Grozny, the capital city, in taking it / re-taking it. And Russian troops were consistently making money on the side by kinapping locals, and ransoming them back. Plus widespread rape to add to the fun.

            Plus there was going to be a civil war in Iraq anyway, as soon as Sadam died or got toppled internally. A minority had been repressing a majority (plus several other minorities) for years - and this never lasts forever. As for Afghanistan, there was a civil war going on before the US invasion. One of the reasons the Taleban were briefly popular, is that it looked like they were less corrupt than anywone else, and they might actually win. Neither turned out to be true, which is why they were already in trouble before the US decided to help the Northern Alliance - and then put in troops in order to try and build a workable-ish stable-ish, democratic-ish government.

        3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Trollface

          Obama, Lord Protector of Crimea

          Are you suggesting that there should be no consequences for countries that invade and annex parts of other countries?

          Sounds like AC is suggesting that we boycott the US over annexation of Hawaii. The WHOLE of it.

          1. Beachrider

            Annexation of Hawai'i

            Hmmm. The History books are pretty clear on this one. An unpopular Queen (Liliʻuokalan) signed a treaty with the USA to make the republic of Hawai'i a territory of the USA. The USA did use Hawai'i as a staging ground for the Philippines, but it remained a self governing area for 50 years until a majority groundswell moved it to statehood. Hawai'i is an example of adapting a governmental model while keeping overall independence an 'option'. On a similar track, the Philippines took the independence option.

            The USA doesn't have the imperial/colonial depth of many other nations. It wasn't "great" on this one, either. We do appear to have consensus in Hawai'i on this work.

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

              History has now been rewritten by the sugargrower lobby.

              The History books are pretty clear on this one. An unpopular Queen (Liliʻuokalan) signed a treaty with the USA to make the republic of Hawai'i a territory of the USA.

              That sure is one way of seeing it.

              Unfortunately it is add odds with what the Prez himself said. How weird.

              From back when Presidents actually said someone of an intellectual level above the one reserved for purple dinosaurs:

              PRESIDENT of USA GROVER CLEVELAND'S MESSAGE - December 18, 1893

              On Saturday, January 14, 1893, the Queen of Hawaii, who had been contemplating the proclamation of a new constitution, had, in deference to the wishes and remonstrances of her cabinet, renounced the project for the present at least. Taking this relinquished purpose as a basis of action, citizens of Honolulu numbering from fifty to one hundred, mostly resident aliens, met in a private office and selected a so-called Committee of Safety, composed of thirteen persons, seven of whom were foreign subjects, and consisted of five Americans [surely wholly unrelated to the sugar grower lobby], one Englishman, and one German. This committee, though its designs were not revealed, had in view nothing less than annexation to the United States, and between Saturday, the 14th, and the following Monday, the 16th of January - though exactly what action was taken may not be clearly disclosed -they were certainly in communication with the United States Minister. On Monday morning the Queen and her cabinet made public proclamation, with a notice which was specially served upon the representatives of all foreign governments, that any changes in the constitution would be sought only in the methods provided by that instrument. Nevertheless, at the call and under the auspices of the Committee of Safety, a mass meeting of citizens was held on that day to protest against the Queen's alleged illegal and unlawful proceedings and purposes. Even at this meeting the Committee of Safety continued to disguise their real purpose and contented themselves with procuring the passage of a resolution denouncing the Queen and empowering the committee to devise ways and means "to secure the permanent maintenance of law and order and the protection of life, liberty, and property in Hawaii." This meeting adjourned between three and four o'clock in the afternoon. On the same day, and immediately after such adjournment, the committee, unwilling to take further steps without the cooperation of the United States Minister, addressed him a note representing that the public safety was menaced and that lives and property were in danger, and concluded as follows: "We are unable to protect ourselves without aid, and therefore pray for the protection of the United States forces." Whatever may be thought of the other contents of this note, the absolute truth of this latter statement is incontestable. When the note was written and delivered, the committee, so far as it appears, had neither a man or a gun at their command, and after its delivery they became so panic-stricken at their stricken position that they sent some of their number to interview the Minister and request him not to land the United States forces till the next morning. But he replied that the troops had been ordered, and whether the committee were ready or not the landing should take place. And so it happened that on the 16th day of January, 1893, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, a detachment of marines from the United States Steamer Boston, with two pieces of artillery, landed at Honolulu. The men, upwards of 160 in all, were supplied with double cartridge belts filled with ammunition and with haversacks and canteens, and were accompanied by a hospital corps with stretchers and medical supplies. This military demonstration upon the soil of Honolulu was of itself an act of war, unless made either with the consent of the Government of Hawaii or for the bona fide purpose of protecting the imperilled lives and property of citizens of the United States. But there is no pretense of any such consent on the part of the Government of the Queen, which at that time was undisputed and was both the de facto and the de jure government. In point of fact the existing government instead of requesting the presence of an armed force protested against it. There is as little basis for the pretense that such forces were landed for the security of American life and property. If so, they would have been stationed in the vicinity of such property and so as to protect it, instead of at a distance and so as to command the Hawaiian Government building and palace. ...

              1. Beachrider

                Did you really write all of that...

                There were certainly more details surrounding the non-approval of the original treaty, but it certainly drove the overall activity. Replacement treaties setup the Hawai'i territory.

                Philippines went for independence. Hawai'i went for statehood. Puerto Rico stayed as a territory with once-a-decade plebecite. The 2012 election shows 61% now want statehood, but the local government found the election inconclusive.

                These are very messy things.

        4. Colin Miller

          Re: Political Posturing

          AC,

          Do you really think that Britain, Russia, or the US left Afghanistan in a better state than they found it?

          All three countries found to their cost (Britain did twice!), that Afghanistan can not be controlled by force.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Political Posturing

            @Colin Miller

            "Do you really think that Britain, Russia, or the US left Afghanistan in a better state than they found it?"

            Afghanistan will hold presidential elections on April 5th, just two days away. There are many people from all over the country campaigning to be president, some even have female running mates (try doing that with the Taliban in power). There are some people who are worried of election fraud but there are reports that as many as 75% of the population has registered to vote in this election.

            I am not qualified to know if that is an improvement over what the country's status was before the US invaded but the people now hold the future of who their leader will be in their hands. IMO, that beats forcing a leader on the people by gun point. I hope the person elected has the best interests of the people at heart and that the election turns out well.

            "Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 when Khrushchev donated it to Ukraine"

            Notice the word donated in the sentence. Maybe in Russia "donated" means something else but around here, once something is donated it is no longer yours.

        5. DrBobMatthews

          Re: Political Posturing

          What a ,load of tosh. So you think that replacing a head of state in Iran (1955) with a US puppet was legal? You consider covert destabilisation of countries by the US so that the US could manufacture an excuse for regime change was legal. Shooting down a civil airliner by an American warship was legal? Lying about weapons of mass destruction so that the US and its little puppy the UK was legal. Take into account the bullying interference, war, the arrogant attitude of the US administration that US law applies to every other country in the world, the manipulation of the worlds resources by the US, the corrupt banking system which benefits from the antics of the military industrial complex that is USA you find that legal and acceptable. Bad news the people of the world think not. You can buy off spineless duplicitous politicians buy not free thinking educated people. The threat to peace comes not from Russia, Syria, Libya, Iran or Venezuela, it comes from a morally and financially bankrupt USA controlled by AIPAC. The free ride for the USA is coming to an end, try replacing your arrogance with humility for a change or remain deservedly despised throughout the world.

          1. FromTheRoot

            Re: Political Posturing

            You hit the nail on the head with every single point - I am surprised this does not have many more upvotes, one up from me!

            That is the current state of the world.

            Conventional news sources such as the BBC News would like to tell you and many others a slightly different story.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Political Posturing

            Whoa! The spittle was really flying there.

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Political Posturing

        >So are ordinary people.

        So we will keep buying $Bnin gas / coal / oil /metals from the Russian government

        We will continue selling them football teams

        But we will kick a couple of PostDoc researchers working on vaccines out to show our wrath.

    2. Uffish

      Re: Political Posturing

      Science is an inanimate object. It can't be a victim.

      Humanity can be a victim and that is a political matter Politicians do what they do. Try to elect the best one's possible in your country and try to influence the ones in other countries, preferably after consultation with your mates. It's not rocket science.

  2. Waspy

    Just give NASA the cash

    and so it goes again...some of the greatest human acheivements will be done through a political and military lens. We only went to the Moon because America felt silly and threatened by Sputnik and Gagarin's flight, and here we go again. I guess we souldn't look a gift horse in the mouth but can't humans for once back the idea of space exploration for its own sake? Just give NASA the cash!

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Just give NASA the cash

      Like Tony Benn MP (RIP) said in one of his many speeches, a country can always find the cash to go to war. None of them ever say "Oh we'd love to invade you today, but we will have to put it off by a week as we don't have the cash for tanks at the moment". The cash can always be found, no matter what country it is. And I think you will find as this Ukraine situation rumbles on, NASA will mysteriously find the cash needed to put America "back on top" of the world.

  3. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Pragmatism over principles

    We do not want anything to do with war mongering despots! (err, would you mind giving us a lift to the ISS if you are not too busy)

  4. Oliver Mayes

    Tense relations between the US and Russia, a mixed-nationality crew in space trying to get their job done despite the politics. Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

    1. malle-herbert Silver badge
      Happy

      Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

      Except for the monolith and an artificially intelligent computer gone crazy... yes... yes it is...

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

        The trouble was in South America: ships and other planes flying round each other like angry hornets. Very bad.

        Now, it is getting chilling here and that is very bad for my asthma. I have enjoyed our little chat. You are a smart man, you will know what to do.

      2. Andrew Newstead

        Re: Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

        Yes for the film, in Clarke's original book they were friends.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

        Well they have recently upgraded their computers.....

  5. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Wow. Didn't see *that* coming, Congressman.

  6. Faye B

    Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

    It looks like NASA may have to do a quick conversion job on its X-37B Space Planes then. Though I suspect the option of carrying stranded astronauts has long been in the pipeline.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

      Ariane5 is pretty close to man-rated due to the original frogs-in-space/hermes project.

      Should be easy enough to put a capsule on that and then the Americans can ask the French 'pretty please can we get a lift' - that seems like a win all-round.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

        Heretofore, "French fries" served in the Capitol Hill canteenrestaurant will be renamed to "Ariane fries".

        Not to be confused with Aryan fries. Nor to be served with Steak Tartare. Or with anything à la putinesca.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

          "Heretofore, "French fries" served in the Capitol Hill canteenrestaurant will be renamed to "Ariane fries"."

          Think you may be a bit late with this one... didn't they already rename them as 'Freedom Fries' several years ago?

      2. GettinSadda

        Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

        My understanding is that the SpaceX rockets are already basically man-rated, but the capsule isn't yet. The main thing it needs is proof that the new side-mounted thrusters can be used to abort a take-off by lifting the capsule off a failing rocket.

        1. Faye B

          Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

          It only needs to be 'man-rated' for the return journey as a rescue mission. The difficulty will be in docking with the ISS for the transfer, though it may even be possible to do an extra-vehicular jump from one to the other in space suits (a la Gravity).

      3. Colin Miller

        Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

        Hermes and Hopper have been cancelled; Hermes was developed at the same time as Ariane5, so the latter is human-rated. The current developmental human-rated module for Ariane5 is IXV, but I'm not sure what state it is in.

      4. MrXavia

        Re: Ariane5

        Its not so much man rating the launcher, its that the capsules we have are not designed to return, actually the Dragon capsule has proven itself and is most likely to be practical in the short term, the ESA is like NASA, they take their time....

  7. LordHighFixer
    Trollface

    Just put the wall back up.

    Bring back the USSR. I guess parts of Europe might have an issue with that, but wasn't it a lot more fun back then? Then this whole "internal matter" would not be an issue.

  8. tenfor

    In response the Russians should tell NASA that they will no longer give rides to the Space Station to NASA astronauts. The Russians should tell NASA to find their own way to and from the Space Station.

    1. Beachrider

      So Russia's word with the UK & USA in 1994 doesn't matter?

      The Budapest memorandum stated that the UK/USA would NOT try to get the Ukraine into NATO and that Russia wouldn't violate the Ukraine's borders. It was to disarm the nuclear arsenal that the USSR had deployed in Ukraine.

      It would appear that Russia has ceased to follow this agreement. The USA will do something to show "why Russia shouldn't have done that". It will likely involve pushing Russia away economically and militarily, without returning to Stalinist isolation.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: So Russia's word with the UK & USA in 1994 doesn't matter?

        The Budapest memorandum stated that the UK/USA would NOT try to get the Ukraine into NATO

        So what happened to that part?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So Russia's word with the UK & USA in 1994 doesn't matter?

          Ukraine was not invited to join NATO, it was invited to have closer trade ties with the EU. Ex-President Yanukovych decided to go with Russia and that is when the snowball started rolling at high speed.

  9. tenfor

    In response the Russians should tell NASA that they will no longer give rides to the Space Station to NASA astronauts. The Russians should tell NASA to find their own way to and from the Space Station. And that should start today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps

      they could annex the station to protect the crew.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Perhaps

        I actually wouldn't put it past Putin. It'd have to be bloodless for PR purposes, but if he could wrangle things so there was a point when no non-Russian astronauts were on board... easily done. Just need to get them to disconnect any cables permitting remote service access to station systems, and that shouldn't be too hard as the station itsself has only very limited computing capability.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Perhaps

          Hell yeah. Russian Space Spetznaz like in a Greg Bear novel.

          FUND IT!

      2. mcgeeky

        Re: Perhaps

        > they could annex the station to protect the crew

        or claim they are hiding weapons of mass destruction then invade the US half

  10. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    Nose duly cut sir

    No report from the face yet.

  11. Chad H.

    It's a shame that science is the victim, but hopefully this will help the more "patriotic" in congress realise that space flight shouldn't involve a connecting flight to Kazakhstan and thus find the agency properly.

    1. Vector

      You're making the rash assumption that those congressional refuseniks want a space program at all.

      "If God wanted man to go to space, he'd have given him gills...er, something."

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        "If God wanted man to go to space, he'd have given him gills...er, something."

        I'm sure man would have preferred gilts instead...

  12. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Good news for SpaceX

    I think they may find that there's some extra cash to get them to speed things up a tad so they can do manned flights sooner rather than later.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russia and the US - they are like little kids in a playground aren't they; the people whom you 'govern' and 'work' for are so proud of you.

    1. Beachrider

      As long as it doesn't matter to YOU...

      @AC, perhaps this doesn't look important to Britain's people today. We will see...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: As long as it doesn't matter to YOU...

        @AC, perhaps this doesn't look important to Britain's people today. We will see...

        Woah gramps, 1950 is calling and wants your arse back.

        1. WeeGordy

          Re: As long as it doesn't matter to YOU...

          Um. Maybe 1950 is calling, but lessons need to be learned from history. We let bad people do bad things, and bad things happen. I'm damned if I can remember the poem, but it goes something like "When they came for the Jews, I said nothing, and they took away the Jews" etc. Eventually, they come for you. So maybe this doesn't look important to the UK now, but let this fester and grow, and boy, will it matter to us when we have to deploy troops to stem a Russian advance.

          I'm no warmonger, but the thought of the annexing of land without protest scares the living daylights out of me. The Sudetenland was a start, then Austria. I'll give you Crimea, then where?

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: As long as it doesn't matter to YOU...

            The Sudetenland was a start, then Austria. I'll give you Crimea, then where?

            Utter bullshit based on "history I heard about in the newspapers". Link something to HITLER and MUNICH and you are on a roll, right? Because "we" need to keep the "status quo" at all costs, it has become a pavlovian reflex.

            Well, if Austria had been SOOO important for stability, maybe the UK should have buddied up with Mussolini who was sweating his pants off because of his northern neighbours. Unfortunately the UK couldshouldered him because of some desert action in Eritrea. Go figure...

          2. DrBobMatthews

            Re: As long as it doesn't matter to YOU...

            I am more worried by a belligerent USA and Israel creating war and havoc, the USA providing the weapons and Israel pulling the strings. Have you learned nothing over the last 60 years, have you been conveniently blind to the manipulation, deceit, regime change, invasion, war and theft of sovereign countries wealth by the USA using the argument of so called US democracy. Time you faced up to what is really happening in the world courtesy of the corrupt bullying military industrila complex that is the USA.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: As long as it doesn't matter to YOU...

              Check out the map here to see how far NATO has expanded to the East since 1991, when President George H W Bush promised Gorbachev, in the full glare of global publicity, that NATO would not expand "a single inch" to the East of Germany.

              http://rt.com/news/nato-anniversary-expansion-europe-129/

              Since then NATO has added 12 - count them 12 - nations to the East, including Turkey, bringing it right to the frontiers of Russia.

              How would the USA have felt if the Warsaw Pact had recruited Canada, Mexico, and all of Central and South America and loaded them up with the kind of missiles whose attempted delivery triggered the Cuban missile crisis?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad call...

    It was a bad call to allow the Russian government any association with the international space station as they are unscrupulous on every level.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      And does this level extend to LEO?

      [citation needed] as I remember that they didn't complain too loudly when the US decided ten years ago to take a little 3-trillion dustbath mainly to make the Middle East safe for Israel and oil exports.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: Bad call...

      vs the USA which is wholesome and pure?

      I know which country I don't trust out of the two...

      (hint: its the one with red white and blue in the flag)

  15. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Shortage of braincells ...

    ... outbreak in West

    Tell you what.

    Why don't we find a nice nation full of potential with lots of nuclear waste knocking about.

    Make sure it borders Russia directly and polarise national, local and world opinion about how great we are and how important democracy is while we snatch at their natural resources, human resources and grants for new infrastructure stuff just like we did in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, ...

    But what about Chernobyl, nuclear waste, Russian supremacy, assassination of nationalist rightwing leader by the nations police?

    Can it be that in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Shortage of braincells ...

      Do not forget to send the wife of Robert Kagan, neocon extraordinaire and one of the PNAC founders, in a totally innocent mission to speed the democratization process along. She just happens to be a career officer in the Foreign Service and is also known as "Victoria Nuland",

  16. Don Jefe

    Partner Incentive Programs

    Before everybody gets clicky, hear me out. I understand a country saying 'it's going to be very difficult to justify sending you guys 2 billion diapers while you've still got the McBaby sandwich (made from 100% genuine infant Humans) on the menu'. Or even something more atrocious. I get how it can not be cool for a certain county to support, or not, another while the other is engaged in things your country's society doesn't approve of. Ok, I'm fine with that. The concept is good.

    But the implementation always really fucking sucks, always. 'Cut all ties with (county) except (stuff)' never, ever means 'cut all ties with (country) except (stuff)', it means 'cut all ties with (country) except (stuff) and anything they specifically request'.

    The media often provides a less than accurate portrayal of international diplomacy. They make it seen like you just call down to the 'Russian Desk' and have them put everything outbound on hold. No single agreement ever covers all the intergovernmental interactions that take place so everything gets (more) stupid.

    Agreement A says we can't do (x) with you right now, but Agreement C says we have to do (x) with you unless you've done (q), and it doesn't appear you've done that, so here you go.

    Thing is, (more) stupid is not just the norm, it's the expected behavior. Everything would fall apart if sanity and organization were involved.

    Inevitably, without fail, situations like this evolve into really, really bizarre things that change the future for generations. Something incredibly stupid happens and everything just goes to shit and some agency chief is put on the spot:

    'Mr. Bureaucrat, we have received multiple reports that the sinking of a US registered refrigerated cargo ship is the first instance of the US military actively tracking and destroying a US vessel belonging to a US company. Reports say 160, the entire crew, have perished. Can you explain?'

    'Certainly. That ship was sailing in direct opposition to cut all ties with Russia not related to the ISS. The Captain chose to ignore the order and his crew was complicit as they failed to mutiny'.

    'Uhhhh, OK. I guess. Can you explain the voyage recorder from the bridge where the Captain is explaining there is nothing illegal about their voyage and his reading off the customs clearance codes and giving you the mobile phone of Naval the yard that loaded the vessel. It's just all so strange, see, in this picture, that's you, yesterday, shaking hands with the Russian military cabinet and toasting to the continued success of the program to provide Russia with highly enriched uranium and 70 Osprey VTOL infantry transports. How does this make sense?'

    'It's not complicated. The Russians told us they needed the fissile material for pest management, food meant for white collar professional families was being devoured by pests. They carry disease you know. The Osprey aircraft are easily explained as well. Russia had asked for them because it's simply ineffective to poison pests with radioactive material if you're stuck on the ground'.

    It is evident we have complied with our humanitarian commitments. Even when we disagree with a government we never lose sight of the fact that actual real Humans are involved. We will always support such causes. But under no circumstances, ever, will we allow US companies to ignore our sanctions and profit from the misery of others. While you may see the lives lost in the affair as a great waste, nothing could be further from the truth. They will serve as examples for other US companies to follow. You see nothing more than 9 million Snickers brand candy bars going to waste on the sea floor, we see 9 million lives saved by preventing the candy from giving even more power to an unacceptable government'.

  17. saif

    Ruskies annexe the ISS next

    If the only folks that can maintain the ISS with people, fuel and equipment...they could claim squatter's rights...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Ruskies annexe the ISS next

      But can one do a gopnik squat in space?

  18. voshkin

    Errr...

    Frankly I have expected better of supposedly educated IT crowd.

    On the Russia / Ukraine situation, did you all forget the pretext to Russian rampant evilness?

    A) The Nuland-Pyatt conversation (confirmed authentic)

    B) The Ashton-Paet conversation (confirmed authentic)

    C) The footage of fascists throwing Molotov cocktails at UNARMED police in Kiev, and UNARMED policemen being shot -all on youtube.

    D) The Democratically elected president (yes, democratically, confirmed by international monitors) overthrown, despite assurances by EU foreign ministers and opposition who signed documents in front of the cameras and everything.

    E) The first thing the junta does once in power is remove Russian language as a (second) official language in Ukraine, despite the fact that the majority of the population speak Russian on a daily basis (including the junta, only off camera)

    F) The leader of the openly fascist party (the right sector) is ON VIDEO saying that he will send a train to Crimea with armed nationalists to "explain" to the locals that they should abandon talk on the referendum - remember, this is ON VIDEO

    G) AFTER the aforementioned video, and AFTER certain other expressions of "goodwill" by the junta to ethnic Russians the Crimea forms defence forces (YES, consisting of the Russian army that were stationed in Crimea)

    H) The locals vote in a referendum (no "under the barrel of guns" comments please, the press was there, including the BBC, reports are online.)

    I) The locals vote to REjoin Russia - and here is the thing, anyone that have actually ever been in Crimea will tell you that the majority are Russian, and they have always expressed a desire to go back.

    What is extremely annoying is the bias of the media on this. For example, the BBC report; a group of 5 or so ethnic Ukrainians are waving banners "Putin go home" - just around a corner a demonstration of 10,000 are waving Russian flags. BBC chose not to show that for some reason.

    Or how about a BBC report of 20 Ukrainian soldiers singing the Ukrainian anthem, their manly tears trickling down their uniform whilst they are packing to go to the Ukrainian mainland. Absolutely no mention of the fact that more than half of Ukrainian soldiers and officers have defected to the Russian side, including the General. THIS IS ALL IN THE NEWS, just not the mainstream news.

    So people, please, before you comment on something, do some bloody research first, watch Kremlin's propaganda machine that is RT - and make up your own mind. They do not have the CGI budget yet to make digital crowds waving Russian flags, and enjoying fireworks. With guns pointed at them. Naturally.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Errr...

      And it is also extremely clear that Russia was bound to act to keep its military base. An evolving situation that smells like it has been engineered by a semi-friendly nation that puts missile defense infrastructure in the near abroad to "defend against missiles from Iran" is bad news to anyone in charge.

      In the same way, it will have to act once McCain manages to schedule the signature to let Georgia join NATO. Before the signature has been made. Then the howling about HITLER and MUNICH will start anew.

      Sadly, Ukraine may well see some pro cleaning in a not-too distant future, so watch out for 180 degree turns of the punditry and the assorted newsclowns.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Errr...

      The nice thing about producing propaganda in modern times is that, while, in conflicts, bad stuff always happened on all sides, right now virtually everything is recorded for posterity. So, to produce propaganda, you don't really have to make up stuff anymore.

      What suffices is to present solely the transgressions of the side you are the opponent of - just like you did, voshkin.

      Of course, you couldn't stop yourself from making your intent transparent by including a few loaded words - a "junta" (obviously Klichko, Yacenko and Yarosh are all generals) running the show, the population of Stalin-resettled Russians being "ethnic", and of course anyone having a dissenting view not being "educated".

      By the way, since you're a fan of Russia Today it's kind of weird you missed not one, but two reporters taking a "slightly" dim view of Russia's stance. But hey, to quote yourself, it's all on YouTube!

      Now, as a Pole I'm not a supporter of some of the stuff going around with the Euromaidan movement, like the Bandera fans. But that does not distract me from the big picture, and the big picture is that a large neighbor of my home country has now dropped all the pretense of not being imperialistic in its aspirations, and is actively, not only invading, but ANNEXING, sovereign territory to further its own interests.

  19. voshkin

    Freedom

    Oh yes, completely forgot:

    In true display of freedom and democracy the junta banned Russian TV stations in Ukraine.

    That's right. Banned. All of them.

    So people are not free to see different media sources, people are not free to compare versions of events.

    Naturally, the EU's commissioner on freedom of speech said that "it's OK, under special circumstances"

    So, to anyone who thinks that Russia is evil, think twice. Russia is far from cuddly, but EVIDENCE of ACTIONS clearly shows the evil side in this conflict.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I blame it on George W,. Bush.

    This is his mess and he is no longer around to fix it. He abrogated the ABM treaty while at one and the same time changing our no first stirike policy. Reagan pronmised the Russians that there would be no expansion of NATO to the Russian borders. The EU and President Obama did nothing to change that, save that Obama refused to ship the ABM batteries to Poland. The EU and the US have been spending billions of dollars paying for the protests in Ukraine.

    Is Vlad the Putin a bad man? Yes, but he is also a competent leader which is not something that one may say for G.W. Bush and B.H. Obama. Oh, and both of Bush and Obama are not bargains in the morals department either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I blame it on George W,. Bush.

      "Is Vlad the Putin a bad man?"

      All national leaders are bad people, otherwise they wouldn't have risen to the positions of power they hold. Anyone who doesn't realize this is going to have some very strange ideas about international politics.

  21. Passing Through

    NATO

    Three comments for now cos it's late.

    Perhaps NATO should have been abolished when the USSR ceased trading.

    I watched Putins speech on RT and you could see his point, Obama on the other hand said that "people should be free to choose who governs them" or something like that, unless they live in Crimea apparently.

    George Galloway and Nigel Farage have both picked up on the sneaky expansionism of EU /NATO/USA/The West/

    The shuttle was I suppose 'man rated' and failed twice, personally I'd rather risk unrated than die on ISS

    Scotland is having a referendum, perhaps they will join Russia

    Three?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NATO

      "Obama on the other hand said that "people should be free to choose who governs them" or something like that, unless they live in Crimea apparently".

      Or the Confederate States of America.

    2. MrXavia
      Trollface

      Re: NATO

      Well they won't be joining the EU.... And they won't be keeping the pound...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet they are regretting banning China from the ISS now, they could have hitched a lift with them...

    I am assuming the EU/ESA will not sever ties? but if they do, then I would suggest a deal with China, the USA has become a pain to work with over the past few years, pulling out of projects, cutting budgets, its time we partnered with a more reliable country for manned & unmanned spaceflight..

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Top priorities ain't what they used to be...

    "This [creating American space vehicles] has been a top priority of the Obama Administration’s for the past five years..."

    Funny how relative "top priorities" can be. Eight years after President Kennedy declared it a top priority to put men on the Moon, Project Apollo had put men on the Moon. Do you think NASA will have a launch vehicle or two by 2017?

  24. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Hello, America

    Da fuck you did that fo?

  25. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Joke

    To paraphrase the king of the swamp castle in the Holy Grail

    Let's not bicker about who invaded who!

    A pointless exercise, as every nation that has ever thought of itself as or has aspired to be a Power (capital P mandatory) has behaved pretty badly during its history

    Indeed, as the late, lamented Douglas Adams stated succinctly in his summary of the summary of the summary:

    People are a problem

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: To paraphrase the king of the swamp castle in the Holy Grail

      In all seriousness, I do not know enough about everything that has happened in the Ukraine to take any side. Various sources contradict each other, and I am left with the cynical baseline thought that I trust no politicians. There are evidently thugs on either side, there are people with little or no regard for what "the people" really want jockeying for power on either side, and many, if not most ordinary people get squeezed in the middle. A summary of the politics of power struggles that holds true all too often.

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