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Ukraine 15 - Si vis pacem, para bellum


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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Nah. Whatever metric you use for a military invasion, Russia lost a few months ago. Now this is about the West winning - on its own terms too.

So… the Russians have stopped attempting to take territory in Ukraine, have withdrawn their forces from all territory they occupy, have repatriated all Ukrainian citizens they have kidnapped and deported to Russia?  

How, pray tell, do you suggest we persuade Russia to return the people it has kidnapped from Ukraine?  Is asking really nicely too provocative?  Is saying “kidnapping people is wrong” to much of a moral argument that might create an “existential threat” that could provoke the Russians?

Really.  How do you suggest Ukraine get its people home?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison
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6 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

4 or 5 billion was concerning enough. With tens of billions? That's no longer a defensive war, but war, period.

Given that the Ukrainian objectives are purely defensive, what is the distinction you're trying to make here? 

6 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

All the rhetoric about who's bad and who isn't goes to the bin.

Clearly, it doesn't. That rhetoric still continues and it is still correct to say that the Russians are in the wrong and the Ukrainians are not. 

6 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Nah. Whatever metric you use for a military invasion, Russia lost a few months ago.

The metric I would use is, are Russians still occupying Ukrainian territory, refusing to leave, and attempting to conquer more?

6 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

I don't know about the UK, but the over-use of moral language in the US has led Americans to seek a Ukrainian victory. It seems quite clear that Western (and, as a consequence, Ukrainian) objectives have changed, going from merely repelling the Russian invasion to keeping the entire Donbas and even re-conquering Crimea.

Keeping the entire Donbas has been the Ukrainian objective since day 1. 

6 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Even if this is all a tactic to scare Putin and push him toward a cease-fire, it's still insane. And if it's anything else, it's basically starting a conflict that may prove existential for both sides. Which is why people who are experts in foreign policy are so worried: anyone who's spent years studying international politics knows for a fact that you do not want two belligerents to both see a conflict as existential.

This is advice that should be offered to those that made the conflict existential for both sides, which means the Russians. They did that: nobody else did it or was given a choice. 

The problem with this whole line of argument is not only that it removes agency from Ukraine, but also from Russia. You're looking at this through a lens where only 'the West' can make choices, influence events, or end the war. In the end, this war could be over tomorrow, if Russia only decided to lay off. 

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17 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

4 or 5 billion was concerning enough. With tens of billions? That's no longer a defensive war, but war, period. All the rhetoric about who's bad and who isn't goes to the bin. It doesn't exactly matter that the Ukrainians are willing participants, or that the Russians started it: the West is now waging a full-blown proxy war with Russia, that's now fact for the history books.

Is there anyone seriously suggesting Ukraine is going to invade Russia, or that it could credibly do so, even with the weapons provided? 

And why shouldn't Ukraine have the objective of 'reconquering' Donbas? Unless we totally buy the idea that Donbas is desperate to join Russia, which is very debatable. The same with Crimea, even though it sort of accepted that they were happy to be part of Russia, I don't think that is totally clear, certainly the referendum was extremely dodgy and not verified. 

Even buying the idea that Donbas is an independent state is Putin propaganda. 

Even after everything you had said, the only thing you are really saying is ' we need to let Ukraine lose, or Russia will get mad' 

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18 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Even if this is all a tactic to scare Putin and push him toward a cease-fire, it's still insane. And if it's anything else, it's basically starting a conflict that may prove existential for both sides. Which is why people who are experts in foreign policy are so worried: anyone who's spent years studying international politics knows for a fact that you do not want two belligerents to both see a conflict as existential.

The problem, yet again, is that you are giving Putin a cheat code so he can do whatever he likes, whenever he likes, and nobody can stop him.

The utterly indisputable fact of the matter is that there is no existential threat to Russia. Russia is not being realistically threatened by anyone, no matter how much Putin may bleat to the contrary. By allowing Putin to say, despite it being utter horseshit of the highest order, "We must conquer and annex Ukraine for existential reasons," you are giving him licence to say tomorrow, "We must conquer and annex Estonia for existential reasons," then Finland and then whatever. And no doubt when he says that, you will say we have to give him 100% of what he wants or face nuclear war. That story ends with Russia conquering all of Europe. Maybe some people would like that, but I certainly wouldn't.

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Is there anyone seriously suggesting Ukraine is going to invade Russia, or that it could credibly do so, even with the weapons provided? 

Ukraine has made some interesting noise recently that although the weapons received from the west have been helpful, they have not been game-changing, and in many cases they have enhanced existing Ukrainian capabilities rather than given them totally new ones. For example, almost all of the Russian losses to artillery have been to Ukrainian artillery. About half of Russian tank losses have been to Ukraine's home grown AT systems (and they note that Stingers and NLAWs have been great, but they've been buying them in for years, not just recently). 100% of Russian ship losses so far have been to Ukraine's own Neptune antiship missiles. The quantities of western aid have been useful but have not been high enough to fundamentally shift the balance of combat by themselves.

A good example here is Russia itself: US-UK Lend Lease aid to Russia began not long after the German invasion in June 1941. However, despite convoys and even planes hazardously thrusting as much help as possible into the Soviet Union, the quantities arriving were so small that they played no real material role in Russia's military capabilities for over eighteen months, and almost two years. It was long after Russia's victory at Moscow, and several months after victory at Stalingrad, that the quantities of western equipment became so huge that you could really start seeing a difference on the battlefield. Before that it helped offset Soviet losses a little bit, but didn't really swing things.

Ukraine is really playing a long game here, which is why even some Russian experts are alarmed that the short-term view that they might secure the Donbas, or at least Luhansk, in the coming weeks but their chances of keeping it two or three months from now are going to be significantly challenged without more manpower.

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Posted (edited)

There's a small problem with negotiations - namely, how do you trust the word of a country which in the recent decade has violated (deep breath) 4 out of 5 points of Budapest memo, Minsk 1 Agreement, Minsk 2 Agreement, Helsinki Accords, Belovezh Accords, Black Sea Fleet Partition Treaty, Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty (hah!), and the Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

Military resolution of this conflict is not anyone's preferred solution, it is the only possible solution after all others have failed.

Also, Russia is not interested in negotiating, and Medvedev has already dismissed Italy's "Four-Point Plan" that was circulated.

Edited by Gorn
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8 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Ukraine has made some interesting noise recently that although the weapons received from the west have been helpful, they have not been game-changing, and in many cases they have enhanced existing Ukrainian capabilities rather than given them totally new ones.

Ukraine has a lot of incentive not to be truthful about this.  They are always going to say that they need more of everything, because they're fighting a war for existence.  They would happily take any free military equipment from the west even if it's just going to sit in a warehouse unless needed (which it probably won't be). 

They also have an incentive to say that it was their artillery rather than NATO donated artillery that is inflicting most/all casualties, because it makes them look stronger. 

Ukraine is getting a truly colossal amount of weapons.  It will take time for those weapons to be delivered, to get the crews trained up to use them and to get that equipment integrated into the larger whole of the Ukrainian army.  That will happen gradually.  But the combination of NATO weapons and February recruits finally finishing basic training, the Ukrainian military will look totally different (and much more capable) in July than it did in January. 

The Russians have no good options to counter this, and are just hoping they can secure strong defensive lines prior to the full Ukrainian capabilities coming online. 

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5 minutes ago, Gorn said:

Also, Russia is not interested in negotiating, and Medvedev has already dismissed Italy's "Four-Point Plan" that was circulated.

Not to mention that Russia keeps saying they were making great progress in Turkey, but have shown no inclination to accept the deal on the table in Turkey. So they're not even being consistent about their aims within this conflict. You can see that from how different government officials and generals are still vacillating between a minimal victory (maybe now just the corridor and Luhansk), a larger victory taking all of the Donbas, going for the Novorussia project (linking all the way to Transnistria and invading Moldova afterwards) or a long, drawn-out war to take all of Ukraine.

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Posted (edited)

@Rippounet,

Can you please engage?  You come in every other week saying we’re all crazy warmongers for wanting to see Russia pushed out of Ukraine. Then you disappear for two weeks.  Please address the points we make in response to your comment.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison
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Relax Scot. Rip isn't somebody, who runs away from discussions. Remember we are living in a different time zone from you. So I assume he was/is busy. I am confident he will put together a coherent response later.

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3 minutes ago, mormont said:

Also, a periodic reminder: nobody owes you a reply or to engage. If people want to come in, make a post every two weeks and then do something else with their time than respond to your reply, that's fine. 

Fair enough.  
 

@Rippounet

My apologies.  

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1 hour ago, Rippounet said:

Provided at least 64,5 billion euros to Ukraine (one of the latest numbers I've seen, from the German Kiel Institute).
I think many people will not perceive the magnitude of this number.

4 or 5 billion was concerning enough. With tens of billions? That's no longer a defensive war, but war, period. All the rhetoric about who's bad and who isn't goes to the bin. It doesn't exactly matter that the Ukrainians are willing participants, or that the Russians started it: the West is now waging a full-blown proxy war with Russia, that's now fact for the history books.
It's time to wake up to this reality and try understanding what it means.

It's no accident if people who have spent their whole life studying international politics (albeit on different "sides") are equally worried. They understand that such wars can be difficult to stop, and providing that much weaponry to Ukrainians is so irresponsible it borders on lunacy.
The US never learns, but Europe at least should now stop providing weapons.

Nah. Whatever metric you use for a military invasion, Russia lost a few months ago. Now this is about the West winning - on its own terms too.

I don't know about the UK, but the over-use of moral language in the US has led Americans to seek a Ukrainian victory. It seems quite clear that Western (and, as a consequence, Ukrainian) objectives have changed, going from merely repelling the Russian invasion to keeping the entire Donbas and even re-conquering Crimea.
I don't think this kind of rhetoric really became dominant here in France. The media basically sought to respect the government's positions (which was all about negotiating), thus making the coverage of the conflict more nuanced. And there's been experts on minor media outlets that even present a far more nuanced picture.

Even if this is all a tactic to scare Putin and push him toward a cease-fire, it's still insane. And if it's anything else, it's basically starting a conflict that may prove existential for both sides. Which is why people who are experts in foreign policy are so worried: anyone who's spent years studying international politics knows for a fact that you do not want two belligerents to both see a conflict as existential.
It doesn't matter if it's "moral" to threaten Russia as it threatened Ukraine. It doesn't matter if it's "moral" for Russia to lose its military capabilities. The fact remains that you're creating a conflict with no foreseeable end, with the potential to either last indefinitely, or escalate.
No one in their right mind is supposed to want this.

I think the odds of Russia using nuclear weapons are now fairly high and rising. The question on my mind is now: what will happen next? What happens after the logic of the current events is taken to its logical conclusion? I have no clue.
 

A Ukrainian victory is an entirely legitimate objective for democratic governments to pursue.

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Look at this map. Or this one.
These maps were everywhere in the media from the start here.
 

7 minutes ago, Werthead said:

The problem, yet again, is that you are giving Putin a cheat code so he can do whatever he likes, whenever he likes, and nobody can stop him.

This is why I barely come here anymore.

*I* do not give Putin anything. If we're talking Russia being 3 times more populated than Ukraine (possibly 4 or 5 times more if we don't count Ukrainian Russian-speakers :rolleyes:), I'm not the one who made it so. If we're talking Russia having thousands of nukes, I'm not the one who gave it to them. And if we're talking about Ukraine being a divided nation, I'm not the one who wrote the history and geography.

It is infuriating and depressing to see any argument in favor of de-escalation turned into an apology of Putin, and it has become impossible for me to respect anyone who uses this kind of insulting, underhanded rhetorical tactic.
 

23 minutes ago, Werthead said:

The utterly indisputable fact of the matter is that there is no existential threat to Russia.

I totally dispute it. Ukraine is now an actual threat to Russia: there is absolutely no way to be certain that the Ukrainians will not, now or at a later date, seek revenge against the Russian people. Unless Ukraine is crushed right now.
See? The same logic that y'all use to support your proxy war against Russia can be used against Ukraine.
It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.
That's how war propaganda works. As long as you don't recognize that the other side can use the exact same reasoning as you do (i.e. that they are actually human), you will remain locked in conflict.

In neurological terms, I believe recent research tells us that you're using your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or DLPFC, in order to refuse what you perceive as injustice. The problem being that refusing injustice may also lead you to refuse reality.
The reality is that if Ukraine becomes big enough, militarily speaking, to fight with Russia on equal terms (and we're getting there fast), then Russia will nuke it. Well, unless Putin is actually wise and meek :rolleyes:.
Just because a course of action is morally right does not mean it is the best. Sometimes it is better to compromise with morality in order to guarantee a satisfying outcome. Conversely, it is not rational to take great risks in the name of morality alone.

23 minutes ago, Werthead said:

That story ends with Russia conquering all of Europe.

Of course it does. :rolleyes:

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Look at this map. Or this one.
These maps were everywhere in the media from the start here.

Are all Russian speaking Ukrainians supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine?  Are most Russian speaking Ukrainians supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison
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https://www.thedailybeast.com/russian-state-television-betrays-donald-trump-in-crazed-defense-of-putins-war-in-ukraine?

Infuriated by an article labeling Russia as a fascist nation, a top Putin loyalist known for his admiration of Donald Trump seems to have turned on the former U.S. president.

This is in response to Timothy Snyder's essay in the NY Times Magazine last month.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/22/magazine/ruscism-ukraine-russia-war.html?searchResultPosition=4

What is both hilarious and terrifying, is the Russian TV guy, frothing at the mouth, lays out all the points of what is a fascist to prove that Trump is one, though somehow, that Putin shares these characteristics, means he's not a fascist.

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11 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Look at this map. Or this one.
These maps were everywhere in the media from the start here.
 

This is why I barely come here anymore.

*I* do not give Putin anything. If we're talking Russia being 3 times more populated than Ukraine (possibly 4 or 5 times more if we don't count Ukrainian Russian-speakers :rolleyes:), I'm not the one who made it so. If we're talking Russia having thousands of nukes, I'm not the one who gave it to them. And if we're talking about Ukraine being a divided nation, I'm not the one who wrote the history and geography.

It is infuriating and depressing to see any argument in favor of de-escalation turned into an apology of Putin, and it has become impossible for me to respect anyone who uses this kind of insulting, underhanded rhetorical tactic.
 

I totally dispute it. Ukraine is now an actual threat to Russia: there is absolutely no way to be certain that the Ukrainians will not, now or at a later date, seek revenge against the Russian people. Unless Ukraine is crushed right now.
See? The same logic that y'all use to support your proxy war against Russia can be used against Ukraine.
It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.
That's how war propaganda works. As long as you don't recognize that the other side can use the exact same reasoning as you do (i.e. that they are actually human), you will remain locked in conflict.

In neurological terms, I believe recent research tells us that you're using your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or DLPFC, in order to refuse what you perceive as injustice. The problem being that refusing injustice may also lead you to refuse reality.
The reality is that if Ukraine becomes big enough, militarily speaking, to fight with Russia on equal terms (and we're getting there fast), then Russia will nuke it. Well, unless Putin is actually wise and meek :rolleyes:.
Just because a course of action is morally right does not mean it is the best. Sometimes it is better to compromise with morality in order to guarantee a satisfying outcome. Conversely, it is not rational to take great risks in the name of morality alone.

Of course it does. :rolleyes:

This entire post makes no mention of the fact that Russia invaded Ukraine, not the other way around. 

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Rip you are saying that Ukraine must stand down and be annexed by Russia for your peace of mind.  Which then leaves Russia more confident and willing to annex by military force more territory.

And somehow, it is the fault of Ukraine and its supporters.

You keep not making sense.

 

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15 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

The reality is that if Ukraine becomes big enough, militarily speaking, to fight with Russia on equal terms (and we're getting there fast), then Russia will nuke it. Well, unless Putin is actually wise and meek :rolleyes:.

Do you think Ukrainians are unaware of this risk? That they lack the mental capacity to make such decisions for themselves, and thus the option to do so should be removed from them?

Do you think that Putin's "wisdom and meekness" is the only thing preventing him from using nukes?

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