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Ukraine 31: Icarus Edition


The Wondering Wolf
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8 hours ago, Ran said:

I think by "major war", Isaacson is referring to the idea that Russia might have responded with nuclear weapons or targeted Ukrainian allies if Ukraine has destroyed a good portion of the Russian fleet in the early stages of the war. 

For a starter, Musk wasn't exactly keen at seeing if Russia could actually shoot down or disable a sizable part of Starlink's fleet.

Of course, this also goes to show that no country and no sane US agency should've allowed Starlink or similar project to be put in motion. Sending 40.000 satellites in orbit just so people can stream porn is pure madness, considering it was already quite crowded in some places with less than 15% of that in space. It's like some fucking psycho actually wants to see Gravity happen for real, and ensure we won't be able to send outer-Earth-orbit missions for the rest of the century.

 

Then, considering that there's plenty of reports of Ukrainian soldiers stating that Starlink was a major help and was a key element in 2022 in resisting then pushing back Russian army, allowing them to coordinate and to share intel with US-based analysts in real-time, then getting advices on what to target, it's quite a bit ridiculous of Ukrainian leadership to shit on Musk - Starlink didn't single-handedly saved them last year, but it was a very important element in their very survival.

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11 hours ago, Ran said:

He can decide how the service he was giving to Ukraine can be used.

He can also have whatever personal opinion he wants to have on Crimea, even if it's a wrong one.

I mean, of course he can Ran.

Which doesn't indemnify him from judgment, scorn, or, frankly, even [gasp] speculation, since none of us here are dialed in. 

He's a divisive figure on his own; way I see it, putting his awkward thumb on the scale in this conflict because Putin's side-eye gives him a bad case of the dribble shits is deserving of whatever invective anyone wants to send his way. 

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I actually find it more than a little fascinating/telling that Governments are handling this techno putz with soft paws, particularly the US, but Canada is also a little foolish in this regard. Of course SpaceX and Starlink are open to military application [lol] got to wonder how much the doink pays whoever dresses him in the morning

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9 hours ago, Ran said:

I think by "major war", Isaacson is referring to the idea that Russia might have responded with nuclear weapons or targeted Ukrainian allies if Ukraine has destroyed a good portion of the Russian fleet in the early stages of the war. 

Was this feasible? Hard to say how Putin would have responded to such a massive reversal.

I think there is zero chance that Russia would nuke Ukraine, no matter what happens on the front.

1) Nuking Ukraine would trigger the nuclear security guarantees that it has from USA, UK, and China. While there is no certainty that all or any of them would honor their promises, there is no certainty they wouldn't either. Especially for USA, failing to respond would make their promises to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan worthless.

2) It is not impossible that Ukraine has a secret nuclear program of it's own, and that they would respond in kind. They were (briefly) a nuclear power, they have the knowledge and the reactors, and they have the actual veterans of the Soviet nuclear program among them. Even if they don't have one, they could easily and quickly build dirty bombs out of waste from their power plants.

3) Finally, considering the amount of investment needed to keep nukes operational, and the crappy maintenance and corruption in the Russian military, there is a very real chance that the nuke launched at Ukraine would turn out to be a dud and fail to explode. Which would instantly destroy Russia's nuclear deterrence.

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1 hour ago, Gorn said:

...It is not impossible that Ukraine has a secret nuclear program of it's own, and that they would respond in kind. They were (briefly) a nuclear power, they have the knowledge and the reactors, and they have the actual veterans of the Soviet nuclear program among them...

That is a good point.

If they didn't before, I bet they do now.

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2 hours ago, Wilbur said:

That is a good point.

If they didn't before, I bet they do now.

This is good time to recall that when the former Soviet Union broke apart Ukraine had a sizeable nuclear arsenal.

The IAEA, the U.S. and much of the rest of the World pressured Ukraine to give up its nukes to ensure everyones security and so no nukes would fall into the hands of terrorists or some failed state that could either use them or blackmail others.

Ukraine was reluctant to disarm.........BUT ONLY AFTER THE WEST PLEDGED TO  PROVIDE SECURITY AND PROTECTION TO UKRAINE THAT THEY WOULD PROTECT THEM FROM RUSSIAN AGRESSION ONCE THEY DISARMED......ONLY THEN DID UKRAINE ACQUIESCE AND AGREE TO DISARM.

 

WE MADE THE PROMISE, WE  ARE OBLIGATED TO KEEP IT. OTHERWISE WE HAD NO STANDING TO INFLUENCE UKRAINE TO DISARM AND MAKE THEMSELVES AT THE MERCY OF ENEMY FORCES.

 

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5 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

This is good time to recall that when the former Soviet Union broke apart Ukraine had a sizeable nuclear arsenal.

The IAEA, the U.S. and much of the rest of the World pressured Ukraine to give up its nukes to ensure everyones security and so no nukes would fall into the hands of terrorists or some failed state that could either use them or blackmail others.

Ukraine was reluctant to disarm.........BUT ONLY AFTER THE WEST PLEDGED TO  PROVIDE SECURITY AND PROTECTION TO UKRAINE THAT THEY WOULD PROTECT THEM FROM RUSSIAN AGRESSION ONCE THEY DISARMED......ONLY THEN DID UKRAINE ACQUIESCE AND AGREE TO DISARM.

 

WE MADE THE PROMISE, WE  ARE OBLIGATED TO KEEP IT. OTHERWISE WE HAD NO STANDING TO INFLUENCE UKRAINE TO DISARM AND MAKE THEMSELVES AT THE MERCY OF ENEMY FORCES.

 

To be fair, the Budapest Memorandum only provides nuclear security guarantees, not conventional ones. USA, UK, and Russia promised they wouldn't attack Ukraine themselves, and that they would come to its aid if someone nukes it, that's it. Only Russia has violated it so far.

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I would hope that the majority of countries would aid a nuked country, treaty or no, just as youd see with any disaster.

I also do not believe Ukraine disarmed on its own without assurances whether back channel or in black and white. Theres also the security strategy of stopping countries that want to exercise a naked territory grab unchecked.

A host of reasons why helping Ukraine is the correct response. Putiin has shown he will not stop if he is not confronted.

Who would be next, now Ukraine, next Finland, Poland, Sweden? Then China feels its okay to swallow Taiwan, or the Philippines or maybe even Singapore?

If we give up the burden of this fight theres a worsening set of problems to follow imo.

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I find the idea that Russia would invade a NATO country completely implausible.
 

Yes I also though the same thing about Ukraine, but they invaded Ukraine mainly because it wasn’t a NATO country and seemed to assume the West would do nothing about it simply for that reason. 
 

Add to the fact that Russia has shown itself to be militarily, well, less than competent.. it doesn’t seem likely at all.

The words of some mouthy general don’t really change my mind. 

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If Russia secures Ukraine, I think it will be looking for an easy, low-risk, fast victory elsewhere, which puts both Georgia and Moldova squarely in the firing line. Lots of Russian politicians really want to take out Kazakhstan for some reason, but I doubt that will be viable because of Chinese opposition.

I think Russia is now prepared to risk more than it was when the conflict started, and a direct attack on a NATO country, although still unlikely, cannot be ruled out. My main concern would be Russia and China collaborating on a timescale where China invades Taiwan and Russia attacks say Poland simultaneously, reasoning that the US will not be willing to fight a war on two fronts and allow China to defeat the US without other NATO interference, and for Russia to overrun eastern Europe without US interference.

I don't think that's a particularly realistic gambit, but some Russian politicians and generals have been living in cloud cuckoo land since this whole thing started, so maybe they believe it could be viable without triggering a nuclear war.

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23 minutes ago, Wilbur said:

Keep in mind that Putin and his generals are planning to swallow all of Eastern Europe.

Russian General Admits Ukraine Just a 'Stepping Stone' to Invade Europe (newsweek.com)

Ya, HOI had a good read on it.  This stuff is 99% meant for domestic consumption; get the statement into the Russian media, have some pro-nationalist bloggers repeat it on Telegram and remind the populace for what they're ostensibly supporting the war.

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2 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

I also do not believe Ukraine disarmed on its own without assurances whether back channel or in black and white. Theres also the security strategy of stopping countries that want to exercise a naked territory grab unchecked.

To be fair, at the beginning of the war I had seen an interview with the first president of Ukraine and he quite succinctly stated that there was simply no practical way for Ukraine to keep the nukes even if they wanted to. Russia had their codes and Russia was the one with the facilities to maintain them. The treaty was as much about convenience as it was about guarantees.

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Thing is, it's not about whether Russia could conquer Poland or any other NATO country tomorrow. It's about the fact that there seems to be a genuine mindset among the senior echelons in Russia that this is a desirable goal.

Victory in Ukraine cements that mindset and those people in power. If they achieve that, they will start to believe they can do more. And even the attempt would be catastrophic. We, meaning NATO countries, would directly be at war with Russia. Every drawback of the current conflict to us, every economic and political impact, would scale up massively.

If this is genuinely what the Kremlin wants to do, it's absolutely vital to NATO countries that Ukraine wins, and wins definitively.

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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

I find the idea that Russia would invade a NATO country completely implausible.
 

That really depends on NATO itself. An alliance is as strong as its determination to fight.

Russia cannot defeat NATO militarily, but it can undermined it politically. It's enough to have 1-2 traitors like Trump or Le Pen elected in some key NATO countries and we will be looking at a completely different strategic picture.

Also, you need to consider that totalitarian regimes have a tendency to overestimate their strength and underestimate their enemies (especially democratic countries, since they regard their unwillingness to execute political opponents as weakness).

Hitler thought it was a good idea to take on Britain, the Soviet Union and the US at the same time, because, in his mind, one "Herrenvolk" with a rifle was stronger than 100 "Untermenschen" with tanks.

Japan also thought it was a good idea to take on China, Britain and the US at the same time, on the reasoning that US would cry uncle after the first battle and the Chinese don't count, anyway.

In more recent history, Saddam also thought he could face off America and its allies, on grounds that the US would pull out Vietnam-style after the first 2-3 thousands of casualties.

And it does not have to be another full-scale invasion like in February 2022. I don't think that will happen no matter how deluded the Kremlin has become, because they would realize the international consequences of such an action. The real danger is that they would try to stir up shit at the borders of the Baltics, Poland or Romania, in a repeat of the situation from Osetia, Abhazia or Transnistria. As long as the Russians won't try to march on Vilnius, Warsaw or Bucharest, there would be enough appeasers in the NATO countries urging Poland/Romania/Baltics to "negotiate".

Edited by Celestial
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Yeah, the idea that you should ignore Russian rhetoric about their desire to invade Poland or Finland or the baltics because it would be a stupid move is counterbalanced by that being the same fucking argument  leading up to Ukraine. When someone tells you who they are, believe them.

Another way to say it is that people who are unwilling to listen to reality will not suddenly become more willing to later. If people tell putin that invading Lithuania is impossible or suicide, his response will be to find people who tell him something different. 

Edited by Kalnak the Magnificent
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Well I do think it’s different to Ukraine actually for a variety of reasons. Even though invading Ukraine at all seems insane and implausible, there were a number of factors which made it more likely.

Putin banking on Western inaction, a lack of will to stand up to him was pretty rational given how weak their response was previously  and I think we are all surprised about how much the West took his invasion seriously.

Putin also being under the impression the invasion would be easy and over in days, by which time the West could do nothing.  Again not totally irrational, some western government said the same thing , he just underestimated how well Ukraine would defend and how badly Russia would be logistically. 
 

Russia invading a NATO country will lead to out and out war with the west and Putin knows he cannot win that, and won’t be under any illusions that he can quickly get away with it with no response, as he did with Ukraine.

Edited by Heartofice
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2 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Well I do think it’s different to Ukraine actually for a variety of reasons. Even though invading Ukraine at all seems insane and implausible, there were a number of factors which made it more likely.

Putin banking on Western inaction, a lack of will to stand up to him was pretty rational given how weak their response was previously  and I think we are all surprised about how much the West took his invasion seriously.

Putin also being under the impression the invasion would be easy and over in days, by which time the West could do nothing.  Again not totally irrational, he just underestimated how well Ukraine would defend and how badly Russia would be logistically. 
 

Russia invading a NATO country will lead to out and out war with the west and Putin knows he cannot win that, and won’t be under any illusions that he can quickly get away with it with no response, as he did with Ukraine.

HoI,

Were you listening to pundits and experts in the lead up to the full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine?

The vast majority of them, including people here, claimed the Russians were bluffing… right until the invasion started.

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2 hours ago, Toth said:

To be fair, at the beginning of the war I had seen an interview with the first president of Ukraine and he quite succinctly stated that there was simply no practical way for Ukraine to keep the nukes even if they wanted to. Russia had their codes and Russia was the one with the facilities to maintain them. The treaty was as much about convenience as it was about guarantees.

Indeed. Ukraine (just like Belarus and Kazakhstan) didn't control the nukes. They couldn't use them. They hadn't the codes. The nukes were just stationed there, but were still wholly under Moscow's control.

Besides, the West would've let Russia take back its nukes even without the Budapest Memorandum, even without the guarantees. The guarantees weren't there to convince the West that Moscow was the only able to control the nukes, it was to make it easier for the 3 former Soviet republics to let go of nukes they couldn't use.

Still, goes to show that Russia is just as bad as the USA when it comes to respecting a treaty, when it doesn't suit them anymore.

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