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Ukraine: Ongoing…


Ser Scot A Ellison
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45 minutes ago, Secretary of Eumenes said:

Also, China and Russia have no reason not to be friends. 

Russia needs a daddy

China is literally next door. 

Putin's not an idiot. Xi isn't gonna make him grovel. 

Tanks? I don't know. I don't know if China's gonna give those up. But bullets and shells? Why not? The same rationale y'all are making for the supply of Ukraine applies in reverse. 

7.62mm is cheap

Shells are cheap

Russian lives cost China nothing

What's the next Ukraine aid package gonna cost? Or the next one? 

Sleep tight. :kiss:

I don't think China cares about Russia's war enough to do this, and dead Ukrainians don't benefit China the way dead Russians benefit Poland and the Baltics. China and Russia have reason to be friendly and will continue to be friendly but they are not going to be true allies anytime soon. And I don't think China has much reason to support Russia militarily.  

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@Secretary of Eumenes

Have you considered that allowing “internal provences” of a nation-state to hold “referendums” to declare their independence or to join a different nation-state (you know what Russia did with the five Oblasts it has partially overrun) isn’t something China will support militarily… for pretty obvious reasons.  Regardless of how inexpensive 7.62 ammo and shells are to China…

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12 hours ago, Clueless Northman said:

I might be too gloomy because I'm still pissed off - in the first days of 2022, touring the Baltics was basically my plan for summer vacation that year...

And what stopped you, exactly? You seem to think the Baltics are under some kind of siege or something. I actually did a summer tour through the Baltics last year and it was very nice. Vilnius is great, as well as Riga an Tallin, for that matter. No signs of imminent invasion spotted. As a matter of fact everything there is perfectly normal.

Edited by 3CityApache
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46 minutes ago, 3CityApache said:

And what stopped you, exactly? You seem to think the Baltics are under some kind of a siege or something. I actually did a summer tour through the Baltics last year and it was very nice. Vilnius is great, as well as Riga an Tallin, for that matter. No signs of imminent invasion spotted. As a matter of fact everything there is perfectly normal.

Yes,  I can only wish I had an opportunity to go to the Baltics!

10 hours ago, Kalnestk Oblast said:

It is the closest that the Baltics can do to actually shoot Russians in the face. And they know every one that gets killed in Ukraine is one fewer invading their doorstep, all without a single Baltic citizen dying. It's a pretty good move.

Plus, honestly, the Baltic armed forces are small enough that they have two options - they get overrun because NATO doesn't help, or they have NATO help and can fight back. Giving their arms away is a great sign of solidarity that has almost no strategic effect. 

And yes to this too.  Nobody thinks the Baltics are currently at risk of invasion, so why not help Ukraine and push the risk even further into the future.  I'm very surprised that this could be debated!

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8 hours ago, Loge said:

Their main defence is the presence of troops from other NATO countries. Any attack on the Baltic states is an attack on all of NATO because the Russians would be fighting a multinational force.

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_136388.htm

That's the theory.

As Trump showed that being done in practice is much less obvious. 

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OPINION PIECE!!!!!!

Why Do Russians Still Want to Fight?

By Marlene Laruelle and Ivan Grek

Ms. Laruelle is a professor at the George Washington University, where Mr. Grek is deputy director of the Russia Program.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/31/opinion/russia-ukraine-war-soldiers.html

Quote

 

.... First, there’s the money. The federal base salary for a soldier is about $2,500 a month, with payment of $39,000 for wounding and up to $65,000 in the case of death. Compared with a median monthly salary of $545, this is a handsome reward — even more so for the approximately 15.3 million Russians living below the poverty line.

But there’s much more on offer, too. For those coming back from the front, the state promises fast-tracked entry into civil service jobs, health insurance, free public transportation, as well as free university education and free food at school for their children. And for those who were imprisoned and joined the Wagner private military company, the state grants freedom.

Those promises aren’t entirely fulfilled, of course. Many soldiers have not been paid in full and their wives often complain about nonpayment in public forums. Interviews with three wounded soldiers and their families on the anti-Kremlin network TV Rain painted a parlous picture of life at the front: no pay, no training and high casualties. Even so, the interviewees still considered the war just and wanted to return to the front or support the war efforts as volunteers.

Another war provides the reason. Today’s soldiers live in the shadows of the generation that won the war against Nazism. In Russian public culture, no honor is higher than to be a veteran of the “Great Patriotic War,” something the regime has capitalized on by framing today’s war as a kind of historical re-enactment of World War II. The conflation clearly works. As one soldier wrote on Telegram in February, the war confers “a sense of belonging to the great male deed, the deed of defending our Motherland.”

The phrase is revealing. By allowing men to escape the difficulties of everyday life — with its low pay and routine frustrations — the war offers a restoration of male self-worth. These men, at last, matter. (For women, made to suffer the brunt of the war’s fallout, it’s more vexed; but despite the difficulties, many understand and support men’s decision to serve.) Feelings of inferiority, too, are swept aside in the fraternal atmosphere of the front. “It doesn’t matter who you are, how you look,” as one soldier put it. In the communal life of conflict, many of the distinctions of civilian life dissolve. War is an equalizer.

That surely explains its appeal to those from lower social classes. While some of the urban middle and upper classes have expressed their discontent with the war by emigrating, the poorer sections of Russian society see things differently. Mistrust of the rich, belief that sanctions actually strengthen the economy and disdain for émigrés all attest to a class-based experience of the conflict. By participating in the war, millions of Russians at the bottom of the social ladder can emerge as the country’s true heroes, ready for the ultimate sacrifice. The risk may be grave and the financial reward uncertain. But the chance to rise in esteem and respect makes the effort worthwhile.

Such support, of course, is contingent. The longer the war drags on, bringing more casualties, loss and broken promises, the harder it may become to sustain such levels of acceptance. Then again, it may not. Collective emotional turmoil could deepen the feeling that the war must be won, no matter what. In the absence of an alternative vision of the future, Vladimir Putin and his war will continue to hold sway.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kalnestk Oblast said:

That's the theory.

As Trump showed that being done in practice is much less obvious. 

If Trump withdraws the USA from NATO - something that will not fly with many in the Republican Party - and brings back US troops from the Baltics, yes, that is a concern.

If Russia attacks before that happens and US troops die in the first attack, that becomes almost impossible to achieve. NATO forces, including American ones, would already be heavily engaged by land, air and sea and American forces detached to NATO would already be in combat.

Also worth noting that Turkey just approved Finland joining NATO, doubling Russia's border with the alliance.

Edited by Werthead
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A big part of why isolationism is popular in the Republican party is just that the US has fought so many wars that were only tangentially related to true US security that they see defending Europe against Russia as "not our fight".  That argument doesn't fly in Europe, particularly Central/Eastern Europe.  Which is why the current far-right government in Poland is staunchly anti-Russia.

If Russia wants to invade the Baltic states they aren't going to do it without a huge buildup first.  There would be a pretty immense diplomatic effort on the part of the Baltics (and any other anti-Russian European nations) to stand with their NATO allies.  Even if the US has withdrawn completely from NATO, if there were elements of British, French, German, Italian, Polish, etc troops there, then Russia would almost assuredly* not dare attack.  They certainly couldn't win a war against all (or even a meaningful portion) of European nations.  

While it is possible that all or most of Europe just decides that appeasement is better than war, that seems like a VERY unlikely reaction to further Russian aggression. 

* As in, it would be far more foolish than invading Ukraine was, which is a pretty high bar. 

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Sure, it'd be dumb. But it is itself fairly momentous that this is even a talking point, and that's a big win for Russia. Undermining NATO to the point where NATO members have to think about putting pressure to invoke article 5 was absolutely unthinkable 10 years ago. 

Who knows what it'll be like 5 years from now, with added pressures on economies and politics and environments?

My point is that these kinds of deterrence based on treaties and MAD policies are no longer the bedrock they were, and countries which had been relying on them as their sole source of defense need to reevaluate their efficacy and practice defense in depth here.

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14 minutes ago, Kalnestk Oblast said:

Sure, it'd be dumb. But it is itself fairly momentous that this is even a talking point, and that's a big win for Russia. Undermining NATO to the point where NATO members have to think about putting pressure to invoke article 5 was absolutely unthinkable 10 years ago. 

Who knows what it'll be like 5 years from now, with added pressures on economies and politics and environments?

My point is that these kinds of deterrence based on treaties and MAD policies are no longer the bedrock they were, and countries which had been relying on them as their sole source of defense need to reevaluate their efficacy and practice defense in depth here.

I'm pretty sure we were having very close to 100% the exact same conversations on this same board in 2008 when the Russians invaded Georgia. I definitely remember discussions about the Russians overrunning the Baltics in a few days and having to be fought back. A lot of the same arguments against that happening were made, not backed up by Russia's conventional forces being massively weakened elsewhere.

Also, I think the message that NATO has put out there is that it has been stronger, and it's about to get stronger, since the invasion, not weaker. They may - abruptly! - change at the start of 2025, but that's a long way away, at least in terms of this war.

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23 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I'm pretty sure we were having very close to 100% the exact same conversations on this same board in 2008 when the Russians invaded Georgia. I definitely remember discussions about the Russians overrunning the Baltics in a few days and having to be fought back. A lot of the same arguments against that happening were made, not backed up by Russia's conventional forces being massively weakened elsewhere.

 

I would be surprised if we were having the exact same arguments. In that time frame we were seeing the US in Iraq and calling for nato support, which much of Europe was refusing to do. We have almost the opposite issue here.

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30 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Also, I think the message that NATO has put out there is that it has been stronger, and it's about to get stronger, since the invasion, not weaker. They may - abruptly! - change at the start of 2025, but that's a long way away, at least in terms of this war.

The danger of Trump or a Trump-like president to NATO has been apparent since 2016 (if not earlier).  The war in Ukraine has not changed that.  What has changed is that the Russian military has demonstrated itself to be far less formidable than previously estimated.  Unable to perform combined arms or provide modern logistics, and relying on Soviet era tactics/equipment to bludgeon a smaller opponent into submission (thus far unsuccessfully). 

In contrast, much of Europe (Germany most of all) has been shaken out of the pre-2022 midset that trade relationships would ensure that Russia would respect the rules based order in Europe.  Really the Georgia 2008 and Crimea/Donbas 2014 invasions should have been sufficient, but this is the largest, most dramatic demonstration of Russian aggression.  As a result, many countries are ramping up defense spending and learning from the lessons in Ukraine.  Because of that, Europe will be far more capable of defending itself in 2025 onward in the event that the US abandons its NATO obligations.

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11 hours ago, polishgenius said:

 

Well firstly because I'm not sure that China is secure enough in its economy to just eat the sanctions that would come its way, and secondly because a weakened Russia is a useful piece for China but a strong Russia, that's just eaten a hugely valuable piece of grain-producing land etc, might not be so controllable. I'm not an expert, I can't say it would definitely never happen, but it just doesn't seem likely. As soon as China is comfortable taking on that kind of hit, they'd be looking to their own aims, not Russias. 

 

11 hours ago, Darzin said:

I don't think China cares about Russia's war enough to do this, and dead Ukrainians don't benefit China the way dead Russians benefit Poland and the Baltics. China and Russia have reason to be friendly and will continue to be friendly but they are not going to be true allies anytime soon. And I don't think China has much reason to support Russia militarily.  

 

6 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

@Secretary of Eumenes

Have you considered that allowing “internal provences” of a nation-state to hold “referendums” to declare their independence or to join a different nation-state (you know what Russia did with the five Oblasts it has partially overrun) isn’t something China will support militarily… for pretty obvious reasons.  Regardless of how inexpensive 7.62 ammo and shells are to China…

tsk tsk

1)

You think the Chinese will be sanctioned??? And the American people will be ok with that? :lmao:

That's fucking adorable. 

2) 

Prove it. Like, prove that China is making bullets. Go prove that to the Republican party when Donald Trump is all of a sudden saying "we can't lose trade with Ghinaaa, deeep state". As if he's never flip flopped before. 

3)

Russia is playing short game, China is playing long game, America is playing suicide games

Russia is fucked when Putin dies. I don't know what he thought was gonna happen after him, but nobody does. He's a dog caught chasing cars. Ukraine will be his grave or the thing that historians look back on and say "It changed him, and he died a few years later." 

I'm sure he knows this. He just doesn't care. 

4) 

China is smarter than you. Xi isn't stupid because he's not infallible. He's smart because he learns. The party adapts with him. Bye bye Hong Kong. Nice to know you. How long did outrage last over that? What happened with those sanctions eh?  You think old Joe is gonna do... what exactly? To the "news" that some shell casings have Chineseish rightin' on 'em? You think he's gonna put it all on the line. All of it? All of it

Over China doing the exact same thing we're doing? Just imagine what Donald will say on that debate stage. My god, HE'LL BE RIGHT! He'll be right! Again! 

Xi doesn't need to like Donald Trump to do things that will help him. He just needs to like a broken America. :rofl:

5) 

All you care about is money. In a general "western values" kinda sense. Yeah, yeah, democracy or whatever. But c'mon. 

What China gains by Russian war with Ukraine is the STAG GER ING expenditure of western money and resources on a war that they don't have very much to gain from. I mean what do you -get- at the other end of this fight? Ukraine has been ruined for almost the last ten years. Rebuilding is expensive as well. 

Meanwhile China can make a little dough or trade for cheap oil or gas or whatever with Russia (they're literally next door, friends) while aiding their psychopathic dictators' ruining of his country. Like I said. He ain't gotta send troops (which America has in Ukraine atm) and tanks and planes. 

What if he only sends "medical and quality-of-life" equipment? For "humanitarian" reasons? And of course the trucks and whatever else to transport them right? 

You think the American economy, it's corporate masters, are gonna let you ruin their profits to stop the "alleviation of Russian suffering"? 

THEY'RE COMMUNISTS

 

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11 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

The danger of Trump or a Trump-like president to NATO has been apparent since 2016 (if not earlier).  The war in Ukraine has not changed that.

Yeah.  I feel bad you've had to hold the water for any rationality in this thread.  First and foremost, I agree with @polishgenius that looking at this from an entirely American perspective is absurd and even jingoistic.  The Europeans are entirely capable of uniting without the US -- and if Putin started invading actual NATO states, they undoubtedly would.  It's as if many of you forgot the pretense of this war -- that Putin thought it wouldn't result in reaction from the west precisely because Ukraine is not a NATO member.

Anyway, while I hate all these US-centric responses, I do feel the need to respond to all these US-centric responses because most of you have a fundamental misunderstanding of US politics.  And consequently, seems like the whole damn thread is operating under the assumption that if Trump or DeSantis or insert-GOP-nominee-here wins the presidency in November 2024, that necessarily means US support for the Ukraine effort will evaporate.  This is a comically naive assumption.

The Senate just voted to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs.  THIS is comical - that the United States Senate just figured out the Iraq War is over.  But the vote is revealing.  It was 66-30, but that means 30 Republican Senators voted against it.  Mitch McConnell would have as well if he was able to be there.  This repeal of AUMFs that have obviously been out of date for at least a decade now turns to the House.  Speaker McCarthy knows if he puts it on the floor, it'd get unanimous Democratic support, but he's STILL worried it doesn't have majority support within his own caucus.  So, we'll see how that goes.

The reason I mention this is because even after twenty fucking years, a majority of the GOP Senate can't let go of the Iraq War.  You think the hawkish attitude that informs this is going to magically change because Trump or DeSantis or whomever is elected president?  Trump has always - since before he was elected - railed against NATO rhetorically.  Frankly, his point about European countries paying more into their fair share was a somewhat valid point. 

But what did he actually DO when he was president to confront NATO?  ....I'd wait for answers but I have to finish this post.  Entirely unsurprisingly, when Trump was president he didn't actually do anything in spite of his anti-war - which appeals to populist conservatives as anti-globalists - rhetoric.  The closest he came was making a deal to pull troops out of Afghanistan....And then he delayed it....And then he delayed it again....And then again, to the point is was up to Biden to actually have the balls to carry it out.

What we're talking about here is a Republican president not only confronting the opposition, not only confronting a significant portion of his own party in Congress, but also the goddamned US military industrial complex.  Not sure if y'all are aware of that, but even presidents have had a very hard time taking it on.  Dwight D. Eisenhower couldn't do it and he was credited by the American public as the general that won the most awesomeist war ever.  I have a very hard time imaging Trump, DeSantis, or the likes of Glenn Youngkin are in any way up to the task.

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Yes, it is obviously beyond bizarre that a president would do something like require Ukraine to do illegal favors for that potus in exchange for aid against the wishes of their legislature

Just crazy to think that

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57 minutes ago, Kalnestk Oblast said:

Yes, it is obviously beyond bizarre that a president would do something like require Ukraine to do illegal favors for that potus in exchange for aid against the wishes of their legislature

Just crazy to think that

LOL at you acting like this is pwn.  Trump's attempt to do so was 1.) absurd on its face, 2.) didn't work, and 3.) resulted in the fastest impeachment in American history...until his next impeachment.  So, yeah, really not worried about that as long as Zelenskyy lives.

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5 minutes ago, DMC said:

LOL at you acting like this is pwn.  Trump's attempt to do so was 1.) absurd on its face, 2.) didn't work, and 3.) resulted in the fastest impeachment in American history...until his next impeachment.  So, yeah, really not worried about that as long as Zelenskyy lives.

You're the one who declared that it wouldn't or couldn't possibly happen, when we have evidence that exactly that sort of thing did, actually, happen.

And shockingly the lesson you learn is not "next time they'll do it better" but instead "it didn't quite work so I'm sure they'll stop".

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4 minutes ago, Kalnestk Oblast said:

You're the one who declared that it wouldn't or couldn't possibly happen, when we have evidence that exactly that sort of thing did, actually, happen.

Nope.  Didn't say that at all.  It's really sad you think I did.  I was referring to funding for Ukraine, obviously.  Not clandestine threats made by the president that are rather immediately revealed to the public because the entire Foreign Service - let alone the overall State Department, intelligence community, and NSC - will be apprised of such attempts.

In other words, your example proves my point.  If you still don't understand why, take my class.  Knowledge is Power!

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