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Free Northman Reborn

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Posts posted by Free Northman Reborn

  1. 26 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

    I have a terrible thought.  Do we have any idea of the preconceived notions regarding the level of quality of the Russian troop formations sent across the Ukrainian border?  

    What if Putin wants us to sympathize with Ukraine?  What if he wants us to see the Russian army as inept?  What if he wants public pressure to intervene and support Ukraine militarily?  What if he’s holding back… on purpose?

    Come on man. Putin’s not omniscient. He is making a play with the hand he is dealt.

    Things won’t go according to plan. But what he is good at is adapting to the latest realities on the fly, and extracting what he can from it.

  2. 14 minutes ago, Chaircat Meow said:

    Angela Merkel said something like this - before this current crisis. Putin was a Nineteenth-Century politician in the Twenty-First Century, according to her. The trouble is I think the jury is basically out on whether Putin's old fashioned techniques are going to work or not. Maybe the Twenty-First Century will operate in a similar way to previous centuries, in the relevant respects? 

    He is going to be isolated but Russia is fairly well equipped to weather sanctions and China has an interest in seeing they don't collapse. He will strengthen NATO a bit but not sure that changes things too much. I think it is bit early to say whether the Russian forces have been shown to be weaker than supposed - if they have it is reminiscent of the Winter War where Stalin eventually beat Finland but lowered his prestige at a significant time.

    The big risk for him is Ukraine turns into a quagmire like Iraq (supposing Russia wins this phase of the war) and ultimately weakens him. 

    Yep. It’s a risk, with ultimate outcome unknown.

    The question is, if he waits, does his position get stronger or weaker? If Ukraine joins NATO it’s over. Similarly, if a more aggressive US  president (with all his mental faculties still intact) takes over, things might be more difficult.

    Merkel just left, so Germany is temporarily less sure of itself.

    And does the military balance of power between Russia and Ukraine improve or deteriorate from Russia’s point of view as every year goes by?

    After Covid, is the world desperate to just get on with life rather than engage in a conflict with Russia?

    Is China’s Xi’s aggressive geopolitical stance guaranteed to continue with his eventual successor? Are tensions around Taiwan working in Russia’s favour right now?

    Is Putin worried that his own inevitable ageing will make him less capable each year to lead this big push?

    All things considered, the timing might well be better now than it ever wil be again.

  3. 1 minute ago, DaveSumm said:

    This is ultimately the question I’m asking myself most; does your list outweigh @Free Northman Reborn ‘s list. You get very different answers to that depending where you look. I’m clinging to the idea that Russia will be worse off, significantly so, such that once the dust settles on this (and I of course hope it does so swiftly), it can be used as a lesson from other nations and maybe future Russian leaders, that this isn’t the way to go. That Putin truly is living half a century too late and that the world just doesn’t operate like this anymore, that people don’t care about Empires, that by and large, everyone’s happy to leave each other be.

    That ignores China, who very much believes in Empire today, to the extent that they view the last few hundred years as just a temporary interval in their status as the pre-eminent world power.

  4. 2 minutes ago, Lightning Lord said:

    Ah, but you definitely do. I am sure you have much in common with him. Long history of work in espionage, killing off your enemies, palling around with fellow dictators... yep, you certainly understand him.

    I understand the concepts you've listed just fine. The only issue is I understand them from the side being invaded by the murderous thug you understand so well.

    If Putin cared about Russia, he'd be a little less keen to murder and jail dissidents. He wouldn't need to - he's already got a chokehold on power. So he could allow them to say what they want, as it wouldn't matter. He wouldn't be imprisoning protesters. He's already winning the war, he shouldn't care if people speak out against it.

    He does those things because he needs to be seen to be powerful and unchallenged.

    You can disagree all you want, but you're still wrong and a self-righteous prick.

    Good day to you too.

  5. 9 minutes ago, Lightning Lord said:

    Ah that, to me, is him caring about himself. He doesn't care about Russia, he cares about himself heading Russia and bringing it to greater strength/place in history. More importantly, he wants to be seen and noticed as the one doing that.

    Too many people today have no concept of nationalism, patriotism and belonging to something greater then yourself, pride in your ancestors and ambition for the future of your people to be great long after you are gone.

    To these types, such concepts are utterly alien. No wonder you don’t understand Putin.

  6. 8 minutes ago, polishgenius said:


    I don't think anyone is viewing Putin as irrational and stupid, and that's what has made this particular conflict a lot more worrying, coz whatever you think his goal ultimately is it's a much rasher, riskier action with less clear end goals than anything he's done in the past.

    Overall goals?

    Shoring up Russia’s western front. Expanding the Russian Federation from 145m to maybe 170-180 million people. Expanding the Russian Federation’s GDP and Industrial base by whatever is currently generated by Ukraine.

    Solidifying land access to Crimea and coast of the Black Sea to the West.

    Emboldening China to also oppose the West.

    Putting the West on notice that he is bite in addition to bark.

    Bolstering Russian pride and Nationalism.

    Why are all of these goals so difficult to grasp. They are quite logical.

    I note the hysterical headlines in the Guardian and other papers that Putin has lost his reputation as a pragmatist, or that he has gone mad etc.

    That’s a  ridiculous view. You just need to divorce yourself from your pre-conceived ideals and notions and view the world as a chess board, no more, no less.

  7. 3 minutes ago, Lightning Lord said:

    The Guardian has been pretty good about specifying what is and is not verified. Like any news, it's not free from bias and I keep that in mind.

    Putin isn't dumb. He's an evil, cold-hearted bastard who cares nothing for anyone or anything but himself and his own power. But he's not stupid.

    I also disagree that all of this is about Putin’s own power. He genuinely wants Russia as a nation to be a Great Power. Into perpetuity.

    If he only cared about himself, he need not take any of these immense risks. 

  8. Given the overwhelmingly anti-Russian attitude of pretty much everyone reporting the news, coupled with Zelensky’s obviously image savvy, social media driven propaganda campaign, I would take pretty much every report on Russian losses, tactical incompetence and setbacks with an Everest sized pinch of salt.

    People are also prone to viewing Putin as irrational and stupid, when he is in fact highly intelligent and quite rational, within the parameters of his overall aims and ambitions.

    He wants to protect and restore Russian power in their sphere of influence. That means he does not want to destroy Ukraine. He wants to bring it into the fold.

    So that means limiting Ukrainian casualties to the absolute minimum. Even at the obvious expense of faster military progress.

    That is not limited to civilians. He would even want to limit Ukrainian military deaths where possible. We aren’t seeing carpet bombing, cluster bombing or anything close to the full might of the type of mass destruction Russia can unleash if they wanted to.

    Anyway, my take on his ultimate goal? Remove the government. Allow the most vehemently anti-Russian citizens to flee to neighbouring countries, maybe permanently. Predictions were that 1-5 million refugees could ultimately stream from the country. Take away those 5 million, and the voting outcomes in Ukraine might be somewhat different.

    Maybe split Ukraine in two - Eastern Ukraine under Russian control, Western Ukraine aligned to the West.

    Install a puppet government in the Eastern half and settle down to turn that into the long term reality on the ground.

    So that’s quite rational, within the over arching goal of solidifying and restoring Russian power in its sphere of influence.

  9. What nonsense is this? Everyone has been horrific to everyone, forever. Europeans just happened to be on top when the Industrial Revolution happened.

    If China, India or Africa got there first, the same or worse would have happened, just in the opposite direction.

    Who are these hippies who think everyone would have been loving brothers if not for the evil Europeans?

    Have you read what Shaka did to other black tribes in Southern Africa to build his Zulu kingdom? He “genocided”whole areas.

    Are you aware of what the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs did to neighbouring tribes?

    How about the history of China or the Middle East?

    Give me a break.

  10. 36 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

    Obviously. But there is the understandable fear/worry that if nothing substantial is done against Russia (not necessarily military action) then Putin may just be brazen enough to do more than take Ukraine. Plenty of people feel that a bully like Putin needs to get his nose bloodied hard to get him to go back to his spot.

    There is zero risk of Putin attacking any NATO member state. So all the talk of this being the equivalent of Hitler invading Poland is nonsense. 

  11. Just now, DMC said:

    While I generally agree that having multiple hegemons/great powers is better than only having one, one clear downside of MAD during the Cold War is it precipitated plenty of proxy wars that were very bad for a lot of people and states.

    Yep. There ain’t no perfect solution.

  12. 5 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

    Its a great idea, having a bunch of large powerful empires competing with each other means that there could never be war! We know that from history, because it's never happened before. :huh:

    Yes, Bismark set up such an alliance based world order that guaranteed relative peace that lasted until WW1. But now all the large players have nuclear weapons. No one wins in such a war. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but we could face nuclear war at the drop of a hat anyway.

    I think this multi polar setup buys us 50-100 years. After which we will be expanding off planet anyway, and the whole dynamic changes again.

  13. 3 minutes ago, SeanF said:

    I don’t.  That’s a recipe for war between rival hegemons, and the enslavement of people who don’t wish to be ruled by them.

    You’re getting China and India as regional superpowers whether you want it or not. Russia actually provides a nice counterpoint to China’s north.

    As for enslavement. You can’t save every country, but you can stabilize these borders pretty well through alliances. China can’t invade Australia, Japan or South Korea if they are allied with the US.

    Similarly, Russia can’t expand beyond Eastern Europe into NATO countries.

    This actually makes for a fairly stable alliance based geopolitical order.

    Neither China nor Russia wants to rule the entire world. But they want to dominate their areas of influence. And in this way, they will have it.

  14. 8 minutes ago, SeanF said:

    There need to be very stringent economic sanctions.  Cutting Russia off from SWIFT would hurt them.  It would hurt Russia's trading partners too, but our economies are stronger.

    Then, arm the Baltic States to the teeth, and put in thousands of NATO troops.

    Or. Let Russia have Ukraine and become the dominant power in Eastern Europe.

    Let China be the dominant power in East Asia.

    Let India be the dominant power in South Asia.

    Let the EU be the West European Power.

    And the US will continue to be the preeminent power amongst multiple other great powers. Continue to strengthen the alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia.

    Then we have a relatively stable, multi polar world, where a one world government never arises to erase nation states.

    I like that multi polar future more than the alternative.

  15. 59 minutes ago, maarsen said:

    The satellites fuck with astronomers, amateur and professional, when trying to observe the night sky. Dark skies are hard enough to find without the added annoyance of these bright satellites ruining visual and electronic exposures.

    To clarify, that’s (some) astronomers having issues, not Starlink having issues. And they are working with astronomers on mitigation measures of course.

    The future sky WILL be filled with tens of thousands of satellites. It’s just a question of whether they will all belong to China or whether companies from democratic nations will stake their claims first.

  16. 3 hours ago, polishgenius said:

    Well, the problem is that it's not that unpredictable. They knew it was coming before they launched, and launched anyway, assuming that their 'safe mode' line-up would keep the satelites in orbit when the atmosphere expanded, which it (mostly) didn't. 

    But then Starlink has all sorts of problems anyway, and this is just the latest symptom of the slapdash, don't-consider-anyone-else-using-space attitude of the whole project. 

    This betrays a severe lack of understanding of what has made SpaceX so successful. From upstart laughing stock to the most dominant space player (including national governments) in the world, in 20 years.

    Failure is an option. They embrace it and it allows them to iterate and innovate faster than anyone else.

    They are not 10 years ahead of the competition. More like 15 years ahead. And still accelerating.

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