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Ukraine 8


Werthead
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29 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

That feels like Putain deliberately drawing a new Iron Curtain around Russia. Glad my friend has (so far successfully) got out.

I do wonder if Russia feels to hold Ukraine or at least establish new portions of control in it, how many Russias will just flee the country.

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There does seem to be growing alarm over the possibility of overspill. The drone incident in Croatia was a (low-key) sign of how that might happen, and I'm wondering if Russia has taken note of that as well. China seems very concerned about this expanding into a larger crisis which China might be drawn into against its will, and it seems to feel that both Russia and the US/NATO have done things to that end (the argument this morning about Russia asking China for aid, which the Chinese have dismissed as US agitation, is a good example of that).

I think the Russians are not in love with the idea of a mistake happening and them suddenly facing NATO when they were not prepared for that possibility: pushing the envelope right up to the brink, sure, but actually getting into a shooting war with NATO has to be something they are actively trying to avoid until such time as they are fully prepared to risk that (likely not until several years after a successful resolution to the Ukrainian crisis). Hopefully that means the attack on the military base was more symbolic and more to dissuade further intervention than a linear escalation. I might expect them to hit the base again, and start trying to target Lviv to dislodge some of the refugees there into Poland, causing further chaos on the border. However, that's maybe not the best use of their dwindling stocks of PGMs and cruise missiles. Apparently Russian aerial incursions into western Ukraine cost them five fixed-wings yesterday (assuming they were in the Su-35 range, that's a quarter of a billion dollars right there).

Talks continuing today and again surprisingly positive noise from both sides. Zelensky has even said things are at a stage where he is willing to talk to Putin directly. No response from the Russians on that.

1 minute ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

I do wonder if Russia feels to hold Ukraine or at least establish new portions of control in it, how many Russias will just flee the country.

I've seen estimates that to hold all of Ukraine, Russia would need to deploy an occupation army of absolutely no less than 300,000, and that would be vulnerable to insurgency. To clamp down in a draconian fashion would take about a million troops deployed for years on end.

I've seen some concerns that maybe this is the plan: to confront directly NATO later on, Russia will need something like that on the border, preferably with combat experience. However, it's extremely unclear if Russia could afford that before the sanctions, let alone afterwards.

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6 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

I'd heard that NATO already has systems and safeguards in place in the case of 'overspill' or accidental events in their territory, to prevent them being pulled into wars that they weren't meant to be. 

I'm sure if a missile overflies a target in W Ukraine by 10 miles and comes down on an empty field or bit of forest in Poland that harms nobody, NATO would obviously not take that as an Article 5 event. But if someone is killed, or if the missile accidentally lands on a border post and kills large numbers of people, that creates a much more dangerous situation.

Lavrov giving a press conference on Russia-Qatari relations and praising Qatar as a possible mediator (the first time that's come up). He again indicates positive progress on the peace negotiations. Interestingly, he notes the rising possibility of renewed violence in Syria and the need to work with Turkey there.

Very interestingly, Russia is pushing for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and mentions "the Palestinian state" several times. How that factors into their recent talks with Israel is unclear.

Edited by Werthead
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4 hours ago, broken one said:

If you count Poles as Europeans then the last is not completely true.

Belief that somebody belongs to somebody elses zone of influence and it would be best to remain this way is one thing, the objects will is another. People want to belong to west so much not because mccain said something to them.

Also, if Russia's "zone of influence" includes Ukraine, wouldn't USA's include Cuba? Will Putin (and Xi ) stop supporting it or Venezuela?

Not only is hypocritical, also deliberately ignores the fact that Ukraine, unlike those two, is a democratic country whose people want to be closer to developed, democratic countries, and even before Crimea, no one in their right minds would look for the Russian state as an example to be followed. 

The idea they only act that way because the US told them to is itself a form of American exceptionalism- if people in other countries want to be closer to the US and/or it's allies, it's because they have no free will and the CIA or the FBI is manipulating them or something. They are only free if they are against America and everything it likes.

Edited by Winterfell is Burning
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2 minutes ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

Also, if Russia's "zone of influence" includes Ukraine, wouldn't USA's include Cuba? Will Putin (and Xi ) stop supporting it or Venezuela? Not only is hypocritical, also deliberately ignores the fact that Ukraine, unlike those two, is a democratic country whose people want to be closer to developed, democratic countries, and even before Crimea, no one in their right minds would look for the Russian state as an example to be followed.  The idea they only act that way because the US told them to is itself a form of American exceptionalism- if people in other countries want to be closer to the US and/or it's allies, it's because they have no free will and the CIA is manipulating them.

I think the problem is that the right lesson of history is not being listened to here.

If we look at Russia, there is absolutely no logical reason why it should be as poor as it is. It has twice the population of France, it is considerably bigger than all the rest of Europe, several times over, with massive and abundant resources. It enjoyed land and trade borders with both the EU and China, two of the three most important economic blocs on the planet. It has (or had) all the trappings of a late 20th/early 21st Century modern country. But its economy was smaller than Italy's when it should have been more like twice or three times that of Germany, and it had a lot of problems delivering healthcare, education and careers. All the excess wealth of the state was being syphoned off by oligarchs and the Russian Mafia, who are so powerful they can bully and intimidate the army (which is demoralised, under-equipped and inefficient as a result), and there was no real attempt to give Russian institutions teeth. The lesson that Putin seemingly learned from 1990s Russia was "being like the West does not work," not "crushing corruption would make Russia great and rich again."

This is where the real damage of Iraq has really come home: it allows people to excuse the behaviour of any country, no matter how much more brutal and obviously horrific (and there is no excusing the horrific things the US did in Iraq), because another country did something that was also bad a few years earlier.

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Huh. Apparently the FSB spent billions of dollars on buying assets in Ukraine, sending in undercover agents and trying to buy people to betray the government and that money vanished into nowhere. Sounds like some Ukrainian "double agents" simply took the money and did nothing (if not betrayed their paymasters to the Ukrainian government).

Meanwhile, Francis Fukuyama has a very optimistic prediction for the end of the operation. I fear this is far too sunny (and I very much doubt right now that there is sufficient anti-Putin feeling in Russia, either at large or in specific bodies, to remove him; the oligarchs may be tempted but their power is more limited than previously thought), but the prediction of a total Russian military collapse once they hit a certain threshold is interesting, providing Russia is incapable of solving its supply line problems. I think a very costly, long-winded Russian victory or a bloody stalemate grinding out for years are possibly equally tenable. It depends on the Russian ability to pivot.

An interesting possibility is that Russia wins the war because it allows daring and free-thinking military officers to rise to the top and gives them operational freedom. This is how the USSR won the war against Hitler despite starting off in 1941 with the exact same problems as now (their only motivating factor being they were defending the motherland itself from attack), with an even more paranoid leader, but Stalin had the brains to take his chokehold off the army and allow them to innovate. He was extremely helped by Zhukov not having political ambitions. The question is if Putin would even dare putting a capable officer in charge (or even recognising their abilities) when his domestic position is shakier than it has been before (if not as shaky as it could or should be).

Edited by Werthead
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20 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Huh. Apparently the FSB spent billions of dollars on buying assets in Ukraine, sending in undercover agents and trying to buy people to betray the government and that money vanished into nowhere. Sounds like some Ukrainian "double agents" simply took the money and did nothing (if not betrayed their paymasters to the Ukrainian government).

Meanwhile, Francis Fukuyama has a very optimistic prediction for the end of the operation. I fear this is far too sunny (and I very much doubt right now that there is sufficient anti-Putin feeling in Russia, either at large or in specific bodies, to remove him; the oligarchs may be tempted but their power is more limited than previously thought), but the prediction of a total Russian military collapse once they hit a certain threshold is interesting, providing Russia is incapable of solving its supply line problems. I think a very costly, long-winded Russian victory or a bloody stalemate grinding out for years are possibly equally tenable. It depends on the Russian ability to pivot.

Fukuyama is… always far too optimistic.  His horrible thesis from the early 90’s completely ignores realpolitik.  

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Just now, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Fukuyama is… always far too optimistic.  His horrible thesis from the early 90’s completely ignores realpolitik.  

I think hes probably aware of that by now.. seeing as it's brought up in almost every conversation about modern geopolitics.

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48 minutes ago, Werthead said:

The lesson that Putin seemingly learned from 1990s Russia was "being like the West does not work," not "crushing corruption would make Russia great and rich again."

But that sounds inconvenient and allows for the possibility of someone other than Putin being in control.

Easier to just embrace Christian nationalism and not worry about improving the lives of the majority of Russians.

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1 minute ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Then why does he keep arguing a terrible position?

He rescinded his position years ago and now usually acknowledges the flaws of his argument.

A very, very long thread which presents the danger of giving Putin a victorious-seeming off-ramp.

I'm seeing a lot of similar talking points from retired generals, political historians and other people with a similar view: giving Putin "a win" in anything but the most nominal form would be extremely dangerous and could be the Munich 1938 to a later Poland 1939. Ukraine needs to outlast the Russians and win an outright victory so that the subsequent peace deal can be given on Ukraine's terms, and Putin's ability to spin it would be limited to internal audiences, and only the most fervent of them.

The problem with this is that it might entail a catastrophic loss of civilian lives in Ukraine. And if Ukraine tries to go for an outright win and fails, its capitulation could be far harsher and more catastrophic than a negotiated settlement that Putin can sell as any kind real victory.

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This just breaking: a missile attack in Donetsk that has killed some civilians. It is unclear if the attack happened or if Ukraine carried it out. Possible false flag to justify escalation?

Putin's spokesman sounding quite hawkish, saying the original plan for the operation was cutting cities off and negotiating a settlement, but Russia may now feel it has no choice but to take over "population centres." He blames the US and EU for pushing Ukraine into this position.

Nobody's seeing this flood of tens of thousands of Syrian reinforcements into Ukraine and Belarus is still recycling its formations on the border, so where the reinforcements for this operation are coming from is unclear. If they don't have any, then that's ridiculous.

The Ukrainians will be looking at this thinking it might be what they need: a massed Russian assault on heavily defended positions. As long as Russia does not escalate by using chemical weapons, that might give them the moment to break the back of the Russian attack.

ETA: Israel and Australia have joined the sanctions party.

Edited by Werthead
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48 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Does he still think his 'end of history' thesis is correct? 

He has long since retcon-ed his thesis. Now he argues that what he meant was that the end of the Cold War proves that liberal democracy will win in the end, not that it has already won and we are in a post-conflict world. Of course, since we conveniently are not and never will be at "the end", he now can never actually be disproven.

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2 minutes ago, Fez said:

He has long since retcon-ed his thesis. Now he argues that what he meant was that the end of the Cold War proves that liberal democracy will win in the end, not that it has already won and we are in a post-conflict world. Of course, since we conveniently are not and never will be at "the end", he now can never actually be disproven.

I expect that one day, the executioner and torture chamber will return to some places that are now liberal democracies. 

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