Ukraine Crisis

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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1922  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 08, 2022 8:19 pm

Shit is still real in Ukraine. You might be bored with it, but if you've a bent toward international relations and think there's a legitimate debate to be had about the basis of the escalation that started on February 24, this is worth 22 minutes of your time:



It's substantially a response to Mearsheimer's thesis that Russia was provoked by believing that Ukraine was pulled westward by what anti-Westerners consider the usual suspects.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1923  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 14, 2022 5:22 am

A little light humor:

Svetlana walks into a shop in London and says: "I want to buy that white TV in the Shop Window for my boyfriend in Moscow." The man looks at her and answers: "I don't sell to Russians." Disappointed she leaves the shop and starts thinking ... how could he know that I am Russian? She was so angry that she couldn't sleep. Then, in the middle of the night, she remembers that she told him that that she wanted this TV for her boyfriend in Moscow.

The next day Svetlana returns in different clothing, hairstyle and sunglasses. She asks the man: "Please, sell me that white TV." The man replies:

"I don't sell to Russians." Furious she asks him how he knows she is Russian. He replies: "because it is a magnetron."
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1924  Postby Tortured_Genius » Jul 14, 2022 10:49 am

It's all gone a bit WWI with fairly static front lines, advances measured in metres, and massive artillery barrages. So the news is patchy.

Perun's latest is long but gives some interesting perspectives on the artillery war and the implications for logistics:



The concept that 60,000 rounds fired a day, as some Russian commentators are claiming, means at least 15 artillery pieces destroyed a day (just due to wear) is something that hadn't occurred to me.

He also makes clear the importance of accuracy when bombarding dug in troops or armoured vehicles. The numbers really stack up with inaccurate artillery fire wrecking cities and civilian infrastructure whilst only doing limited damage to troops taking cover.

It goes a long way to explaining what's going on. The Soviets Russians have huge quantities of inaccurate firepower whilst the Ukrainians have relatively little (they are outnumbered 10:1), but what they have is accurate. (The increased incidence of exploding Russian arms dumps coinciding with the Ukrainians getting 4 HIMARS systems is amusing, although the claims are a bit sus).

As ever, the whole war is horrible causing unspeakable amounts of misery. It looks like it'll grind on for months at least (if not years) with no end in sight.
None are so hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. - Goethe
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1925  Postby mindhack » Jul 14, 2022 1:49 pm

A talk by a guy I don’t know, but he appears knowledgable. I was certainly intrigued. For context, the video was made just before Putin’s invasion in Februari. Worth a watch imo.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1926  Postby mindhack » Jul 14, 2022 1:52 pm

Hmm. The video doesn’t appear for me, but the link isn’t visible either. Is it only me?

Here’s the link without format:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwU13-4SakE
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1927  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 14, 2022 2:01 pm

Vlad Vexler's commentary is often sharp, but it's basically trying to out-strategize Putin as an alternative to shelling Moscow and full of fear of pressing the nuclear buttons. Nobody wants to out-guess Putin, who's nothing but a schoolyard bully.

Meanwhile, inch by inch, Ukrainian territory is getting pulverized by Russian artillery. Sure, you can hope that Russia's economy will collapse and that Putin will somehow be removed and somebody not-quite-so-nutso will replace him. And Russia will magically go back in its shell and Ukraine's 2004 territory will be restored. Or you can hope that Russia as a state will collapse into the ethnic republics and dictatorships that the Russian empire long-ago absorbed.

I think the Russians will eventually blink and attack NATO territory. If there isn't a disproportionate response to something like that, we might as well cede Europe and anything else they want to the Russians. Fuck that. Nuke 'em, in that case, because the game is over. Ukraine will fight until its people are all dead and its fields are gray. World War 3 is already under way, so I'm not sympathetic to more whining about inflation or Russian fossil fuels.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1928  Postby don't get me started » Jul 14, 2022 3:02 pm

Cito di Pense wrote: World War 3 is already under way, so I'm not sympathetic to more whining about inflation or Russian fossil fuels.


Yeah. Whether we admit it or not, that war is here, now.

Putin has done what Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov and the others did not do...full on, unmitigated, real time, all in, military confrontation with the west. On European soil. In plain sight. No amount of obfuscation can detract from the fact that
an operation Barbarossa was launched by an expansionist totalitarian dictatorship with an agenda of colonial subjugation, ethnic cleansing and absurd historical revisionism against a neighboring state whose very right to exist is denied.

The window for some kind of accommodation is pretty much closed. Even if some kind of pause or halt in hostilities occurs, it is a 1938 Munich agreement bodge. Russia can't back down under its current leadership. The Baltics, Poland and many other nations that have bitter memories of Russian colonial rule cannot countenance any kind of accommodation to their former imperial masters. They have every reason to believe that Russia will act in bad faith and that they will be in the firing line, sooner or later.

It's here, now and it's probably going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
Last edited by don't get me started on Jul 15, 2022 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1929  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 14, 2022 4:10 pm

mindhack wrote:A talk by a guy I don’t know,...


I've been watching this guy for years - I really like how the chap's brain works.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1930  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 14, 2022 4:11 pm

don't get me started wrote:
It's here, now and it's probably going to get a lot worse before it gets better.


The real problem is the soft underbelly of democracy - frequently changing leadership.

Who knows what state the USA is going to be in after the next presidential election. We might see totalitarian o'clock. China and Russia probably have as much ability to impact the outcome of that election as the entire American public.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1931  Postby mindhack » Jul 14, 2022 5:52 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:Vlad Vexler's commentary is often sharp, but it's basically trying to out-strategize Putin as an alternative to shelling Moscow and full of fear of pressing the nuclear buttons. Nobody wants to out-guess Putin, who's nothing but a schoolyard bully.

I don’t quite see how he’s trying to out-strategize Putin as an alternative to shelling Moscow. From what I’ve seen he offers plenty more than only Putin. About Russian history, statehood, power and Russian citizenship, which is lacking. There was a lot to think about and explore for me. I feel he offers insight which was not only lacking in me, but broader, in the west as a whole too. Because if you need to fight an enemy you better understand it as well as possible.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1932  Postby mindhack » Jul 14, 2022 5:54 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
mindhack wrote:A talk by a guy I don’t know,...


I've been watching this guy for years - I really like how the chap's brain works.

Great thanks. I needed some quick feedback on his character. I’ll be watching a lot more of him I’m sure now. :)
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1933  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 14, 2022 5:59 pm

mindhack wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
mindhack wrote:A talk by a guy I don’t know,...


I've been watching this guy for years - I really like how the chap's brain works.

Great thanks. I needed some quick feedback on his character. I’ll be watching a lot more of him I’m sure now. :)



In the past, his focus was more on music and art... and post-modernism, which is how I ended up watching him. But his insights into Russia as an entity are always interesting. It's a country I've never visited, and I've rarely had Russian acquaintances, so I have no real world window into ethnic Russian... cultural ontology? Their view of how shit is and works.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1934  Postby mindhack » Jul 14, 2022 6:06 pm

don't get me started wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote: World War 3 is already under way, so I'm not sympathetic to more whining about inflation or Russian fossil fuels.


Yeah. Whether we admit it or not, that war is here, now.

Putin has done what Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov and the others did not do...full on, unmitigated, real time, all in, military confrontation with the west. On European soil. In plain sight. No amount of obfuscation can detract from the fact that
an operation Barbarossa was launched by an expansionist totalitarian dictatorship with an agenda of colonial subjugation, ethnic cleansing and absurd historical revisionism against a neighboring state whose very right to exist is denied.

The widow for some kind of accommodation is pretty much closed. Even if some kind of pause or halt in hostilities occurs, it is a 1938 Munich agreement bodge. Russia can't back down under its current leadership. The Baltics, Poland and many other nations that have bitter memories of Russian colonial rule cannot countenance any kind of accommodation to their former imperial masters. They have every reason to believe that Russia will act in bad faith and that they will be in the firing line, sooner or later.

It's here, now and it's probably going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Your point above is exactly what people in the west should better understand imo. There’s no nice and easy way out of this. A clear enemy has presented itself. Now we must act to contain it. And we’re not doing enough because why? Because many people still have funny ideas about poor Putin and his Russia.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1935  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 14, 2022 6:45 pm

mindhack wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:Vlad Vexler's commentary is often sharp, but it's basically trying to out-strategize Putin as an alternative to shelling Moscow and full of fear of pressing the nuclear buttons. Nobody wants to out-guess Putin, who's nothing but a schoolyard bully.

I don’t quite see how he’s trying to out-strategize Putin as an alternative to shelling Moscow. From what I’ve seen he offers plenty more than only Putin. About Russian history, statehood, power and Russian citizenship, which is lacking. There was a lot to think about and explore for me. I feel he offers insight which was not only lacking in me, but broader, in the west as a whole too. Because if you need to fight an enemy you better understand it as well as possible.


Instead of focusing on theorists and commentators with sophisticated takes on Russian statehood and culture, I consume a lot of blogs from several Russian and a handful of Ukrainian youtubers. I do like the take I think I gleaned from listening to Vexler, which is that Russians are largely just a population living on the territory of the Russian state. There is nothing to redeem this population. When they had a chance after the 90s, they opted for trying to have stuff and didn't concern themselves enough with statecraft while the state created its oligarchy. In the major cities, they were happy just to be doing better than it had been in the USSR. A substantial proportion of the rural population of Russia to this day do not even have flushing toilets!

The dissidents whine that the West didn't help enough. Yes, Vexler understands the post-truth view of the rest of human civilization taken by the architects of the Russian "state". The rest of what those steeped in political and critical theory can offer on this subject is a lot of verbiage to show how much they've read, and that passes for "understanding", I guess. Explore this maze as much as you like. If you have anything cogent to add after contemplating it, I will be glad to read it. Yes, it's important to be able to take a position on Russian aggression, and I've reached the point that I've seen enough.

Here's a Ukrainian commentator I have come to respect and appreciate as a source of insight; in the following video, she asks the musical question, "What does Putin know?" It's less than ten minutes and is packed with sharp observation which contrasts with Vexler's erudite lecturing which sometimes likes too much the sound of its own lecturing.

mindhack wrote:And we’re not doing enough because why? Because many people still have funny ideas about poor Putin and his Russia.


Interestingly, in the following, Anna speaks directly to the problem of "funny ideas":

Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1936  Postby tuco » Jul 14, 2022 9:32 pm

Let me comment on 2 things from Vlad's Vexler vid.

1. (obsession with) Nuclear Strike/(alleged) Putin's paranoia

While it could be close to reality, assuming NATO/USA is the most significant military threat for Russia, not as a potential aggressor but as the strongest opponent in a hypothetical future conflict, Russia has been consistent with its "(anti)missile policy" for some time now. To my knowledge at least since 2007 when the US wanted to install "missile shield" in the Czech Republic and Poland. So when Putin says it takes 15min for a missile to reach Moscow and 7min from Ukraine, it's just how it works.

2. Soviet-Afghan war as a contributing factor to the dissolution of the Soviet Union

is cited by some scholars indeed. On the other hand, we have yet to see the effect of body bags arriving back home in this conflict. After all, Russia is a big country, and 14k casualties in the Soviet-Afghan war, cited by the wiki, is not an astronomic number in the context of casualties of the communist regime in the past 100 years.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1937  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 15, 2022 3:36 am

tuco wrote:Let me comment on 2 things from Vlad's Vexler vid.

1. (obsession with) Nuclear Strike/(alleged) Putin's paranoia


Yes, that's right. As for your second point, we don't yet know what kind of effort the Russian economy is capable of. Militarily, I think they are living off conventional weapons stockpiles they have had in storage for 30, 40, 50 years or more. That's enough to raze Ukraine, and some significant part of Germany or France, the latter two cowering in their political hidey-holes, but I don't think that will cause the Ukrainians to capitulate, ever. They say: Слава Україні! Героям слава! Do we?

Vexler advises to stop insulting Putin via journalistic or political press releases, and firmly 'reassure' Putin that further escalation will be met with a proportional response while at the same time increasing military aid to Ukraine. If Putin appears to his inner circle to have to admit a loss, he is finished as a dictator, and as a living human being. If it begins to appear that "Russki Mir" is not even possible, at such terrible cost to Russia, no one will want the cartoon face of "Russki Mir" around for very long.

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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1938  Postby Nicko » Jul 22, 2022 1:17 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
It's substantially a response to Mearsheimer's thesis that Russia was provoked by believing that Ukraine was pulled westward by what anti-Westerners consider the usual suspects.


It certainly claims to be a response. Can't agree with the "substantially" bit. Mostly due to the fact that he refrains from addressing any of Mearsheimer's actual points.

May I give you some words from 1999?

We soothingly reassure Moscow that NATO's expansion is benign. But if the Russians gave war guarantees to Mexico and began arming and training Mexican troops, would any Russian assurance diminish our determination to run them out of our hemisphere? If rising resentment in Russia leads to Yeltsin's replacement with an anti-American nationalist, full blame must rest squarely with a haughty U.S. elite that has done its best to humiliate Russia.


You know who that was? Pat Buchanan. Again, that's from 1999. It seems to me that there are two options:

1. Pat Buchanan is a genius.

2. The rise of someone like Putin was - given the way the US was treating Russia - completely obvious to anyone even slightly paying attention.

Ukraine doesn't get to join NATO in much the same way that Cuba didn't get to have Soviet missiles in 1962 and Taiwan doesn't get to have US bases today. Does Ukraine as a sovereign nation have the "right" to do what they like? So did Cuba. So does Taiwan.

Putin is not trying to conquer Ukraine. Putin is trying to make an example of Ukraine (Mearshiemer has used the word "wreck") and I'm not sure he's failing.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1939  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 24, 2022 3:57 am

These folks are representative of those living in the present, rather than in the past:



Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

#1940  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 01, 2022 4:44 am

Here's one that doesn't require too much translation:

Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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