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Ukraine 20: We’re not bluffing and you can tell we aren’t by how we say we aren’t bluffing…


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1 minute ago, Gorn said:

What type of political pressure did you have in mind?

Elections? Russia did not have fair elections since 1993, when its constitutional system was overthrow in a presidential coup (which the West decided not to call a coup since a "good guy" won).

Protests? As long as Rosguardia exists (400 000 well-paid thugs commanded by Putin personally), the only thing they will accomplish is prison time for protestors, with a possible side of torture/rape (see what happened with protests in Belarus two years ago).

The only two forms of political pressure that exist for Russians are mutiny in military units (available only to those who currently serve) and emigrating (available only to those young, healthy, wealthy and unattached enough to do it).

A mutiny by the Russian army wouldn’t be without precident:

https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9781400858699.223/html?lang=en

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UKR compelled the most recent decision point, leaving RUS three workable options including 1) accepting defeat, 2) general mobilization, and 3) nuclear weapons (hahahaha, nah). Obviously, Vladimir declined the first and opted for the second while holding the third in reserve to be used as a form of leverage sometime in the near future.

Given how poorly RUS combat power performed (and the likely inefficiency of the mobilization process), the realistic intent behind option 2) is to mass as much cannon fodder as possible and attempt to stabilize what little occupied territory Vladimir retains. Thence, Vladimir will couple stabilization with the inevitably successful referenda and annexation. This will allow Vladimir to leverage option 3) as a defensive threat, thus "compelling" UKR to willingly accept a de facto ceasefire and establishment of a new normal (at the risk of giving RUS time and space for future operations).

Ultimately, US dominance is assured while RUS becomes genuinely and permanently marginalized, leaving only one remaining competitor, the PRC (unless it goes after Chaiwan; then, the US will have no competitors going into the next decade). After all, we need to get the US-dominated globalization effort back on track; NishWO2030).

***

The doomsday clock is at 100 seconds to midnight (as of 2020, and maintained through 2022). The clock will be officially updated shortly after the new year. At that point, we'll probably be at 90 seconds (at the least).

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12 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I’m curious… how many Russian conscripts have to die before there is real political pressure placed on the Kremlin… by Russians?

A lot more. War weariness usually combines time plus casualties it takes time for war weariness to build.

7 hours ago, Wade1865 said:

Thence, Vladimir will couple stabilization with the inevitably successful referenda and annexation. This will allow Vladimir to leverage option 3) as a defensive threat, thus "compelling" UKR to willingly accept a de facto ceasefire and establishment of a new normal (at the risk of giving RUS time and space for future operations).

 

I'm very skeptical that Putin will be able to rules lawyer his way out of the war. No one will recognize the annexations and the war will continue. 

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15 hours ago, James Arryn said:

Possibly the language was too ambiguous, maybe you thought I meant  ‘nowhere near legitimacy’ and ‘incredible danger to world peace’ in a complimentary way, or possibly you didn’t really read my posts and/or are being a bit knee jerk. 

Lots of things are possible. :)  But nobody forced you to embrace this Iraq War v Ukraine War thing.  If the arguments around it degenerate into exasperation, that shouldn't surprise anyone, since its based on a specious idea.

9 hours ago, Wade1865 said:

This will allow Vladimir to leverage option 3) as a defensive threat, thus "compelling" UKR to willingly accept a de facto ceasefire and establishment of a new normal

Edited to add: That's possibly the "plan" but I don't see how it can work.  If Ukraine is ever compelled to accept Russia's demands, its existence as an independent state is over.  Ukraine knows that.

Edited by Padraig
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15 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Are you familiar with the Tu Quoque fallacy?  Perhaps a more general discussion of modern wars would be a more appropriate venue for criticism of the US over actions in Iraq?  Raising this issue in this venue seems Tu Quoqueish… to me.

Iraq doesn’t get Russia off the hook here.  Tu quoque would be a fair argument if Ukraine had launched a war of aggression against Russia recently.

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5 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Iraq doesn’t get Russia off the hook here.  Tu quoque would be a fair argument if Ukraine had launched a war of aggression against Russia recently.

Tu quoque was used effectively as a defence by Admiral Doenitz against charges of waging aggressive submarine warfare (IMHO the very job of a submarine commander is to be aggressive).

Likewise, no one prosecuted German leaders over aerial bombardment, as to do so would have been quite hypocritical.

I think tu quoque is a legitimate defence when it is referring to conduct that is normative in war, for its time and place.

One gets these arguments over ASOIAF.  Even the most sympathetic leaders in the series violate repeatedly The Hague and Geneva Conventions - but trying to hold them to standards that no one has ever heard of would be absurd.

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3 hours ago, Padraig said:

Lots of things are possible. :)  But nobody forced you to embrace this Iraq War v Ukraine War thing.  If the arguments around it degenerate into exasperation, that shouldn't surprise anyone, since its based on a specious idea.

 

For a specious idea, it sure gets a ton of mileage; what lessons is China going to learn from Russia’s unimpeded invasion of Ukraine/learned from Russia’s failing invasion of Ukraine? What lessons did the US take/not take from the USSR’s failed invasion of Afghanistan? Will George W. Bush’s destruction of the international diplomatic community (with us or against us) lead to superpowers increasingly ignoring global opinion and just grabbing what they want? In fact the entire field of international conflict & resolution is studying the actions and repercussions of past ~ similar actions to learn and apply them to future actions. I will be sure to inform my colleagues that Padraig has determined we are all just wasting our time. 
 

But, point taken, I should have reserved my comments on someone else’s comments* for the ‘List of repercussions the US has been forced to suffer for repeatedly fucking up lesser nations and their peoples’ thread**, though since the list is

1) ?
2)…

…it might not be a terribly instructive discussion. 

*which, as they were raised in agreement with your take on their relevance, received no pushback at all. Almost makes you wonder if sheer relevance is secondary to stance when it comes to generating exasperation.

**edit2: shocker, turns out there is no such thread, probably because there’s literally nothing to talk about in isolation. 

Edited by James Arryn
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In the unlikely scenario/crackpot theory world.

Putin announces the results of the referendum and the occupied territories reject to be part of Russia. Thus he has built himself an offramp and he can pull out without losing too much face.

 

Ofc, that amount of 4d chess seems to be beyond the Russian political apparatus. But still an amusing thought.

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1 hour ago, James Arryn said:

For a specious idea, it sure gets a ton of mileage; what lessons is China going to learn from Russia’s unimpeded invasion of Ukraine/learned from Russia’s failing invasion of Ukraine? What lessons did the US take/not take from the USSR’s failed invasion of Afghanistan? Will George W. Bush’s destruction of the international diplomatic community (with us or against us) lead to superpowers increasingly ignoring global opinion and just grabbing what they want? In fact the entire field of international conflict & resolution is studying the actions and repercussions of past ~ similar actions to learn and apply them to future actions.

That's all very interesting. :)

Only tangentially related to what you were arguing before (i.e., the ranking of wars, see below) but sure, continue if you must (or start a new thread).

Quote

I can easily make the argument that the US invasion of Iraq was based on even less legitimate/historically accepted and more ludicrous/specious grounds and that the US population which supported it in the face of overwhelming international condemnation have more to be ashamed of than do the Russian population at present. 

 

Edited by Padraig
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Saw a brief blurb today claiming Putin has fled to a wilderness vacation property to hide from anti-war protests sweeping Russian cities. Probably nothing to it, but if true, it might mean he is a tad nervous...

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1 hour ago, James Arryn said:

**edit2: shocker, turns out there is no such thread, probably because there’s literally nothing to talk about in isolation. 

I was suggesting you start such a thread instead of clogging up this thread with irrelevant discussion of US actions in Iraq. 

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4 hours ago, Darzin said:

I'm very skeptical that Putin will be able to rules lawyer his way out of the war. No one will recognize the annexations and the war will continue. 

Darzin -- correct, lawyering (i.e., referenda and annexation; and unrealized recognition) alone wouldn't achieve a ceasefire and eventual peace against a UKR with the will and capacity to recover all post-2014 territory. This scenario requires an adequate degree of force, which explains why Vladimir opted for a gradual -- subject to developing social and political resistance -- general mobilization.

Reinforced with enough cannon fodder, winter conditions, and defensive positional warfare, Vladimir may be able to retain enough (annexed) territory to effectively use option 3) via the threat of nuclear weapons in the defense. Although UKR wouldn't be "compelled" by RUS -- I think we all know Vladimir is more likely to blink than resort to nuclear weapons -- but political pressure from the US and allies could press UKR to accept a less than ideal form of peace to avoid any risk of nuclear escalation.

3 hours ago, Padraig said:

Edited to add: That's possibly the "plan" but I don't see how it can work.  If Ukraine is ever compelled to accept Russia's demands, its existence as an independent state is over.  Ukraine knows that.

Padraig -- yes, just a plan; which I see as Vladimir's most likely course of action. Of course, I'm just speculating; the chances of RUS success in this scenario is still minimal given what we've seen the past half year or so. See my response above on how the plan could work, however remote.

I don't think appeasing RUS with some post-2014 territory is the death of the state, though; many states have survived and even thrived following the loss of territory (e.g., West Germany vs East Germany; North Korea vs South Korea; Israel vs the Ummah; PRC vs ROC; et al. Notable in each example is the key role the US played in securing a divided, yet relatively peaceful condition. If Vladimir is successful in the scenario I laid out, UKR will fall into this dynamic.

UKR is already no longer independent; it's a client state of the US, conveniently gifted to Her by Vladimir. If the US tells UKR to accept a peace, it will; if the US allows UKR to continue fighting, it will. The real question is how far the US is willing to go (via UKR) to remove the world of another hostile competitor before She is ready to resume global dominance through globalization.

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28 minutes ago, Padraig said:

That's all very interesting. :)

Only tangentially related to what you were arguing before (i.e., the ranking of wars, see below) but sure, continue if you must (or start a new thread).

 

The ‘tangential’ connections are many. Let us reflect on just one:

Say for argument’s sake you and I believe that the US’s free pass on even more specious invasion claims played no role in Putin’s rationale…we of course have no way of knowing this, but let’s for fun suppose you and I think he would have found some other response to criticisms of his lack of real c.b. And let’s forget for a moment how many foreign powers were given pause by the lack of real answer to ‘why was the U.S. allowed to X?’ Let’s throw all of that away and straying from the hypothetical to the true, let’s also agree that past actions give Putin no real justification for this invasion. Ok?

But let’s concentrate instead on one single group of people. The one group who we all know clutter almost every Ukraine discussion across the internet, one group whom polling shows really, truly DO think the lack of real answer to why the US can do what Russia cannot is indicative of bias/conspiracy/propaganda…the Russians themselves. You know, the group upon whose at least grudging acceptance Putin’s capacity to wage war depends. Suppose without that unanswered question the Russian people are a lot slower to support/quicker to protest this invasion, or possibly even be so unreliable that Putin chooses a lesser path. Because when you are the people who are being globally condemned for doing something similar to what you know your historic antagonist did without any global munitions supply or lasting cost at all, really, then the whole ‘that’s just ‘whattaboutism’ rings a bit more hollow and your government’s propaganda that you are the persecuted party rings a little bit truer.
 

And the less credible that antagonist’s c.b. was, and the more popularly supported at home that ridiculous call to war was, the easier it is for you to be persuaded that you are the real victim and that the west does ultimately wish you harm. And as we know, every modern war is one between two sides believing themselves to be the victim or acting on behalf of the victim. Many geo-strategists think it’s virtually impossible for any remotely responsive government to wage war without establishing that position. And propaganda-wise, once you get your audience to swallow the first bite of what you’re serving, the easier it gets to control their diet. 

So…just that. As a for-instance. 
 

 

Edited by James Arryn
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17 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I was suggesting you start such a thread instead of clogging up this thread with irrelevant discussion of US actions in Iraq. 

See my last post re: relevance. 
 

edit: plus, scot, the fact that there is no such thread, nor ever has been, was kinda part of my point. As is the fact that if you force false isolation on international actions, then of course the conclusion will be that nothing anyone does affects how anyone else behaves. This regardless of the fact that I’m almost certain I’ve seen you involved in conversations about what lessons China will or will not take from Russia’s current actions. 

Edited by James Arryn
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2 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

See my last post re: relevance. 

US actions in Iraq are not relevant to Russian actions in Ukraine in anything but the most tangentially sense and I don’t appreciate the attempt to turn discussion from the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine to the more than a decade past US invasion of Iraq.

Thanks.

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1 minute ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

US actions in Iraq are not relevant to Russian actions in Ukraine in anything but the most tangentially sense and I don’t appreciate the attempt to turn discussion from the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine to the more than a decade past US invasion of Iraq.

Thanks.

Thanks for giving my post the proper read and reflection before making up your mind, Scot. Much appreciated. 

Edited by James Arryn
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9 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

See my last post re: relevance. 

“Well the US got to invade Iraq…” is among the most stupid, childish, and Tankie repeated justification for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  It is not worthy of credence or discussion.

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1 minute ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

“Well the US got to invade Iraq…” is among the most stupid, childish, and Tankie repeated justification for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  It is not worthy of credence or discussion.

Scot, if you don’t even have enough respect for me or my field to read a single post that might, just might, give you a different perspective, than this exchange has at least informed me as to that. And while I have you here, am I correct in remembering your involvement in conversations about what lessons China might or might not take from Russia’s current actions?

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2 hours ago, James Arryn said:

**edit2: shocker, turns out there is no such thread, probably because there’s literally nothing to talk about in isolation. 

There is now: https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/161107-the-morality-of-war-mans-inhumanity-to-man/

 

 

So, if we can please move past the bickering - does anyone know what's been going on in Ukraine this weekend?

 

From what little I can tell (I'm no werthead), it looks like Ukraine have started expanding their beachheads at Dvorichna, Kupyansk and Oskill, and have either cut Lyman off from the North. Or very nearly got there.

A couple of good days for Ukrainian anti-aircraft defences too.

 

Looks like Russia finally captured a street in Bahkmut, and a couple of empty fields just South of Spirne (which may yet turn into much more if rumours that Wagner are making that offensive).

Edited by Which Tyler
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