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Ukraine: Holding


Ser Scot A Ellison
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8 minutes ago, briantw said:

I can't imagine anyone wants that, which is why all the support to Ukraine is limited to giving them weapons, money, and providing them with intelligence rather than any actual boots on the ground.

An escalation left to NATO short of outright war would be to start "finding" large groups of well-armed, well-trained "volunteers" to join Ukraine's new International Legion.

ETA: "Oh, the entire 82nd Airborne just went AWOL? I wonder where they could possibly be. We'll solve this mystery some day."

Edited by Fez
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My brother asked me the other day why it would be WWIII, pointing out (rightly) that why would China get involved - or much of anyone else on Russia's side.  I suppose it's a fair semantic point, when people say "start WWIII," what they really mean is "start a nuclear war."  That..is hardly a comforting distinction.

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Just now, DMC said:

My brother asked me the other day why it would be WWIII, pointing out (rightly) that why would China get involved - or much of anyone else on Russia's side.  I suppose it's a fair semantic point, when people say "start WWIII," what they really mean is "start a nuclear war."  That..is hardly a comforting distinction.

I don't think China needs to get involved for it to be considered World War III.  I think the US and all the major powers in Europe against Russia is effectively the same thing.

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1 minute ago, briantw said:

I don't think China needs to get involved for it to be considered World War III.  I think the US and all the major powers in Europe against Russia is effectively the same thing.

I don't think it really matters who else is involved if the two states with 90% of the nuclear warheads on the planet start using them against each other.

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2 minutes ago, DMC said:

I don't think it really matters who else is involved if the two states with 90% of the nuclear warheads on the planet start using them against each other.

Pretty much.

And I think China would probably be inclined to stay out of the whole thing right up until nukes start being launched.  Let us all kill each other and everyone that's left will still buy all their shit.

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1 minute ago, briantw said:

And I think China would probably be inclined to stay out of the whole thing right up until nukes start being launched.  Let us all kill each other and everyone that's left will still buy all their shit.

Certainly, China is comfortably in the catbird seat when it comes to this.

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4 hours ago, Clueless Northman said:

What are they talking about? Geneva Conventions are definitely not about use of weapons, they're about treatment of war prisoners and civilians in war zones.

Hague Conventions deal with weapons, but of course merely early 20th century stuff, like dum dum bullets and gas. Then other Protocols and Conventions deal with chemical and biological weapons.
Sadly, thermobaric weapons are quite a recent development, so it looks like they've simply never been regulated. Besides, I'd bet Russia used a few of them on ISIS and other jihadis in Syria at the time, and Allies most probably used some in Afghanistan as well when dealing with those huge AQ cave networks.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/01/what-are-thermobaric-weapons-and-how-do-they-work

 

Russia seems to have used them plenty, including in Chechnya and Donbas. US "relied on them" in Afghanistan

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A great interview on NPR of Krushchev's granddaughter yesterday. She's a Professor at NYC's New School, (hint she thinks rasPutin is a pos:lol:).

Her take on rasPutin's whole de-Nazi thing was signifying he wants to take out the Ukraine leadership (as opposed to a expansive occupation) and this would be what he would claim as his success.

Again ignoring the incredibly inconvenient reality of Zelensky being the grandson of actual holocaust survivors.

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10 hours ago, The Dragon Demands said:

And the war is heavily disrupting global trade that China relies on.


 

Quote

 

Illyrio: "There are troubles in the east. Astapor has fallen, and Meereen. Ghiscari slave cities that were old when the world was young."

Tyrion: "Slaver's Bay is a long way from Pentos."

Illyrio: This is so, but the world is one great web, and a man dare not touch a single strand lest all the others tremble

- ADWD, Tyrion I

 

Things go in both ways. China relies in global trade and we rely in Chinese produced goods. Europe rely in gas from Russia and produce from Ukraine and they rely in finance and tech from the West.

Some western leaders are already softly warning that things will become hard for the average Joe/Hans/Juan/Svensson/Pierre/etc pocket.

I'm starting to see that the reaction of the Western establishment at this crisis is not dissimilar to the early stages (and late too) of the pandemic, going for harsh measures in an attempt to show they are doing something and then we are left to deal with the consequences.

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6 hours ago, DMC said:

Certainly, China is comfortably in the catbird seat when it comes to this.

I think their leadership actually knows that we live on one planet. They have also started protecting the environment more in recent years.

Nobody rational wants a nuclear war even if it is just a "limited" one and only NATO countries and Russia are nuked. Edit: The French and British arsenal is "small" I guess but at least the French one is rather modern afaik and the UKs subs are a significant threat too. When I read about it years ago it was suggested that France is better armed on the nuclear side than China and can probably launch nearly all of it's nukes unlike most other countries that have huge stockpiles of warheads that are not ready to launch (and maybe not even viable anymore in some cases).

You won't enjoy your seat when 4 nuclear powers start launching even if you are in New Zealand...

Also Russia borders China it is not like you can nuke bases in the far east without scaring the shit out of the Chinese. It is difficult to predict where a warhead will land especially if a lot of decoys are involved.

I do believe China would prefer that the hostilities end immediately but it is not going to pick side but I feel they will regret that if the worst happens. An economically crushed Russia is certainly better for China than a nuclear war.

Edit: It does feel like both Russia and China are surprised how well handheld weapons manufactured in the West are working and how extreme the EU, Canada and the USA are responding. Russian and Chinese tech had far less success against NATO air forces and tanks in the last 30 years from what I read.

Edited by Luzifer's right hand
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Apparently Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia are going to hand over 70 Mig-29 and Su-25 fighters to Ukraine, after dissasembling NATO equipment from them. The point is to give them the planes Ukrainian pilots can fly, and all three countries still have those post-soviet fighters in their air-force, just like Ukraine. Polish government confirmed they're going to hand over planes, though denied they could operate from Polish airports.

Bulgaria is handing over 16 Mig-29 and 14 Su-25 planes, Poland 28 Mig-29 planes and Slovakia 12 Mig-29 planes.

Also

https://twitter.com/ElinaSvitolina/status/1498351682668965891?s=20&t=CnIhBh_XSZaY5eP3l-Ri8A

Edited by 3CityApache
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1 hour ago, Luzifer's right hand said:

Nobody rational wants a nuclear war even if it is just a "limited" one and only NATO countries and Russia are nuked.

To be clear, I wasn't suggesting China (nor anyone else for that matter) did.

1 hour ago, Luzifer's right hand said:

Edit: The French and British arsenal is "small" I guess but at least the French one is rather modern afaik and the UKs subs are a significant threat too. When I read about it years ago it was suggested that France is better armed on the nuclear side than China and can probably launch nearly all of it's nukes unlike most other countries that have huge stockpiles of warheads that are not ready to launch (and maybe not even viable anymore in some cases).

It's true that nearly all of France's arsenal are deployed to ensure second strike capability, whereas in comparison only 120 of the UK's 225 weapons are operationally available and only 40 of which are deployed at a time.  China, meanwhile, doesn't technically have any deployed as a matter of policy.

1 hour ago, Luzifer's right hand said:

It does feel like both Russia and China are surprised how well handheld weapons manufactured in the West are working and how extreme the EU, Canada and the USA are responding.

Yes, inasmuch as this conflict was an opportunity for China to observe and test the west for complacency, apathy, dissension, etc., I'd say the west has passed with flying colors thus far.

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1 hour ago, Luzifer's right hand said:

I think their leadership actually knows that we live on one planet. They have also started protecting the environment more in recent years.

Nobody rational wants a nuclear war even if it is just a "limited" one and only NATO countries and Russia are nuked. Edit: The French and British arsenal is "small" I guess but at least the French one is rather modern afaik and the UKs subs are a significant threat too. When I read about it years ago it was suggested that France is better armed on the nuclear side than China and can probably launch nearly all of it's nukes unlike most other countries that have huge stockpiles of warheads that are not ready to launch (and maybe not even viable anymore in some cases).

You won't enjoy your seat when 4 nuclear powers start launching even if you are in New Zealand...

Also Russia borders China it is not like you can nuke bases in the far east without scaring the shit out of the Chinese. It is difficult to predict where a warhead will land especially if a lot of decoys are involved.

I do believe China would prefer that the hostilities end immediately but it is not going to pick side but I feel they will regret that if the worst happens. An economically crushed Russia is certainly better for China than a nuclear war.

Edit: It does feel like both Russia and China are surprised how well handheld weapons manufactured in the West are working and how extreme the EU, Canada and the USA are responding. Russian and Chinese tech had far less success against NATO air forces and tanks in the last 30 years from what I read.

Reminds of an exchange between Stalin and Mao. Mao wanted help from the socialist big brothers (I'll leave it to historians to consider the irony of China now being the big brother) for their nuclear program and the  development of nukes. So the two also discussed the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, why they never should be used. It ended up with Stalin (!) considering Mao utterly insane. Stalin pointed out, that there'd be milions and milions of deaths if nuclear weapons were ever to be used in a conflict, and Mao just shrugged it off with somethingn along the lines. So what there are a billion of us Chinese. Needless to say, Stalin didn't provide any assistance on their nuclear program after that.

Xi is obviously not Mao, and appears to be following a rather rational course of action. But so was Putin maybe ten years ago.

 

Edited by A Horse Named Stranger
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Saw some interesting speculation about why Russians in the early days of the war (six days or 322 years, it feels like) were deliberately driving some vehicles off-road, when the roads are not mined (with even civilian traffic driving along it). That uses up much more fuel, with speculation that either some of the vehicle drivers were not trained to account for that, or they deliberately exhausted their fuel stores so as to have an excuse not to fight.

Video purportedly showing Ukrainian civilians chasing Russian forces out of Kupiansk, a town on the Oskil River, east of Kharkiv and near the border with Luhansk Oblast. However, apparent confirmation that Kherson now appears to be firmly in Russian hands.

Quote

 

WWIII? Who'd be joining Putin to help him make that a reality? Would attempting to enforce a no-fly zone really cause Russia to try to invade a bunch of other borderlands, and start lobbing missiles onto EU countries and Send ICMBs to North America?

I'm not saying Biden should declare a NFZ that the US would actually try to enforce, but it feels like unless there are substantial allies that are going to join Russia, any talk of WWIII is a bit of an exaggeration. 

 

There are several modes of thought on this. One is the assumption that anything that happens outside of NATO or Russian territory is "fair game" and will not lead to nuclear war, no matter the rhetoric. Russians will not press that button unless Russian territory itself comes under attack, and in fact Russian nuclear doctrine suggests that Russia will not press the button in a conventional war that affects Russian home soil unless their nuclear silos are targeted directly (although "don't touch Russian home soil" seems a very wise precaution in that sense).

However, Putin seems to be regard Ukraine as historical Russian territory. So would he consider Ukraine to be "Russian soil"? Or is it a case that he will say he does and threaten nuclear retaliation, but really wouldn't? That's the kind of ambiguity Putin excels in.

There's also a very bald calculation here: in any conventional-only war between NATO and Russia, Russia loses (no matter how painful they can make things in the bordering countries). Russia does not want to lose, so will at some point use its nuclear weapons, or the threat of them. Nobody is keen to test where that point is.

Edited by Werthead
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Huge amounts of confusion regarding Belarus. Ukrainians reporting that Belarusian forces have deployed near Chernihiv, Lukashenko is (very) angrily denying that and saying that Belarusian forces will not fight.
 
The Regional Administration Building in Kharkiv is still standing after a massive rocket attack. The rocket landed right next to it and seems to have caused significant damage, but it remains mostly intact.
 
Scenes of chaos at Kyiv station, with some fearing today might be the last day that trains can leave the city. The current assessment is that around 1.5 million people are still in Kyiv, about 50% of the pre-conflict population. The rest have fled.
 
Scenes of chaos at airports around Moscow as expats and some locals have decided to leave. Most are trying to get on flights to Dubai or Istanbul, which are still open. Absolutely massive queues outside banks in Moscow. The actual disconnection of Russia's major banks from SWIFT is now apparently complete (though it was kicking in over the weekend as people abruptly found their card and phone payments stopping).
 
Moscow has said the offensive will continue until its "goals are achieved." Of course, a diplomatic solution could achieve those goals. In this case, Putin's vagueness about his objectives is helpful: at any point he can declare victory and tell Russian forces to leave.

From the same source, a video apparently of a drive-by molotoving of a Russian armoured car by civilians, which nearly goes wrong (fortunately they put the fire inside the vehicle out).

Edited by Werthead
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Whats up with the UK refugee rules? I just saw in the news that they are now really proud because they will let in family members of in UK setteled Ukrainains? Is this a joke? The EU will grant every Ukrainian entry for 3 years. Meaning Viktor Orban is MUCH more gracious about this than Boris Johnson??

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