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Putin, Ukraine, and Air Raid Drills (Page 3)
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OreoCookie
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Sep 15, 2022, 08:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I see the possibility of a von-Stauffenberg scenario, where his generals might be plotting to remove him — not to undo the madness, but to decisively end it with more effective military strategy.
That's plausible. At the very least the leader of the putsch needs buy-in from significant shares of the Russian military.

Whether they will opt to intensify the war depends on when that will take place. It seems to me that Russia is running out of material: they are unable to reinforce their fleet in the Black Sea. Their troops leave a lot of valuable equipment behind, and you can't make new equipment very quickly even in the best of circumstances. And the Russian military seems depleted of trained troops. Those realities would strongly constrain the options of a hypothetical new Russian leadership.

Another corner where new Russian leadership could spring from is the class of oligarchs, i. e. people for whom the economy plays a much bigger role. For example, up until 2014, Russia was a leading exporter of e. g. military ships. But then they invaded Crimea, and that stopped, in part, because it depended on imports from, you guessed it, Ukraine. (E. g. the sunk flagship Moskva was built in Ukraine.)
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Sep 15, 2022, 09:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I see the possibility of a von-Stauffenberg scenario, where his generals might be plotting to remove him — not to undo the madness, but to decisively end it with more effective military strategy.

IOW, clear out Putin, nuke Ukraine into victory, save face.

Or some such horror.
Russians are too practical to risk nuclear armageddon to save face. Apart from that their internal propaganda is about "liberating" Ukraine from Nazis. Good guys don't start nuclear wars. Not against their own people which is the narrative/endgame.

Best case for Russia at this point is to heap all the blame onto Putin and hope they can hold on to military access to Crimea/Black Sea. Its hard to see how they don't end up paying hundreds of billions towards the damage they've done in Ukraine. Maybe if they can find Putin's personal stashes of money they can use that.
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OreoCookie
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Sep 16, 2022, 01:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Russians are too practical to risk nuclear armageddon to save face. Apart from that their internal propaganda is about "liberating" Ukraine from Nazis. Good guys don't start nuclear wars. Not against their own people which is the narrative/endgame.
Your argument is logical. But so was the case for not escalating the war in Ukraine by trying to take over the country. That's why up until 2 days or so before the invasion started, I thought Putin wouldn't be so stupid and actually invade.
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Best case for Russia at this point is to heap all the blame onto Putin and hope they can hold on to military access to Crimea/Black Sea. Its hard to see how they don't end up paying hundreds of billions towards the damage they've done in Ukraine. Maybe if they can find Putin's personal stashes of money they can use that.
Legendary podcast historian Dan Carlin once explained that at the beginning of a war, the side who initiated the war has lots of options. But over time, especially if the war takes a turn for the worse, the options narrow until both sides feel they have no choice at all.

As I see it, Ukraine likely won't accept the loss of any formerly Ukrainian territory. And Russia wants to see something out of all that blood, sweat and tears (although it is important to keep in mind that most of the blood, sweat and tears is Ukrainian). Perhaps Ukraine might accept the loss of Crimea, but even that does not seem plausible, especially now. If some ultranationalist takes over, I don't think they can accept a complete loss without actually losing the war.

The really tricky bit is that any armistice should not look like the Versailles Treaty. It is tempting to exploit Russia's current weakness.
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Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Sep 16, 2022, 09:16 AM
 
The invasion was never about logic but hubris. Putin thought he had done enough groundwork and had clearly convinced a lot of Russians that this was a righteous campaign, but as with all cons the veil is slipping faster and faster.
Regardless of the sense behind it, the conclusion was considered foregone but it turns out there was more cons in play. Russia conned the world about their military might and the Russian army appears to have conned its own government about the same.
That foregone conclusion meant that the lack of logic behind the invasion carried no risk of severe consequences. As it turned out, the conclusion is anything but foregone and now Russia is in danger of losing a conventional war, they look considerably weaker to the world and while Putin's options are narrowing to surrender or armageddon, his comrades have at least one extra choice.
I agree that Ukraine will not want to concede Donbas or any of Crimea. The loss of this and likely a huge bill for damages, plus the handing over of Putin (or at least his removal from power) would seem like as much of a settle meant as is likely to be achievable. Maybe their will be an easing of economic sanctions against Russia included so they feel like they've gotten something out of it.
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Sep 18, 2022, 08:18 PM
 
@Waragainstsleep
I’m not sure it is right to call it a con job, maybe I am splitting hairs, but I’d call it self-delusion. On paper Russia’s army is very powerful, but that assumes its forces being used wisely acting to implement a sound strategy, each branch supporting each other and keeping its soldiers well-trained. One of the crucial ingredients is accurate intelligence. Plus, you need to keep an eye on morale.

I’d call it self-delusion rather than a con job, because a con job implies deception of others while you were completely understanding that reality is different. The most likely scenario is that just like in many dictatorships, people advanced in ranks by telling higher-ups what they wanted to hear. Yes, the invasion will be a piece of cake, a huge share of the Ukrainian population is on our side anyway. And our military is in fantastic shape. Yes, and the proposed plan having a long tank column on one road during mud season is excellent. The Ukrainian leadership will just up and leave the country.

Overall, the big question mark is what will happen now. We shouldn’t get overly optimistic or overly pessimistic. It is true that the Ukrainians have the initiative now, but I reckon that their advance will stop once the mud season starts. It seems true that Russia is in an objectively worse situation, but we should not forget how stubborn countries can be. The West stayed in Afghanistan for two decades. Yes, we had more resources to invest and a larger pool of resources to draw from, but still. I think Ukraine’s Western allies are less likely to withdraw support from someone who might be winning the war, especially when Western weapons systems played a pivotal role in the last offensive.

And I don’t know how the residents of Donbas feel about them being back under Ukrainian control. If I had to guess, most of the pro-Ukrainians likely have fled, leaving people who were/are pro-Russian. Whoever remains must be quite uneasy, having fought on the wrong side. Many of those who were left actively worked against Ukraine, something Ukrainians will likely not forget. So even if they get these territories back, it’ll be curious to see what will happen. One option is that pro-Russian citizens simply emigrate to Russia.
( Last edited by OreoCookie; Sep 19, 2022 at 01:31 AM. )
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Sep 18, 2022, 08:47 PM
 
Crap! Wrong thread!
( Last edited by subego; Sep 18, 2022 at 10:36 PM. )
     
Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Sep 19, 2022, 08:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
@Waragainstsleep
I’m not sure it is right to call it a con job
Its a whole series of cons. Putin conned the people into supporting his foolish war. His generals conned him into thinking it would be an easy win, the spies conned them into thinking the same. The lower ranks and logistics folks conned their superiors into thinking they were properly maintaining and updating equipment when instead they were likely falsifying records and spending the spare parts budgets on vodka. Ultimately the world was conned into thinking the Russian army was an enormous and formidably equipped fighting force and it has been shown to be anything but. A paper tiger of previously unseen scale. Its a whole series of cons within cons. Russian nesting cons, if you will.
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Sep 19, 2022, 09:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Its a whole series of cons. Putin conned the people into supporting his foolish war. His generals conned him into thinking it would be an easy win, the spies conned them into thinking the same.
Ultimately, I think we are probably just saying the same thing. I think your insistence that it is a con is because ultimately, it is Putin's responsibility, and you are 100 % right about that, Putin is to blame.

I'm just saying the state and conditions he created are working against him at the moment. He seems to have no one who dared to say “Vladimir, this is a bad idea, don't do it!” Or even the information. He made the population apolitical, but that now means that the majority isn't working against the government for as long as they aren't involved directly. It is not unusual for despots and autocrats to become delusional if their system is in place long enough and there is no other power center than themselves.
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Its a whole series of cons within cons. Russian nesting cons, if you will.
A Matroshka of cons. I like that analogy.

Out of curiosity, what do you think will happen over the next few months?
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Sep 20, 2022, 09:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The Ukrainian leadership will just up and leave the country.
It struck me, reading your post, how crucial this misjudgement may have been — and how easy to make.

You have a showman/comedian/tv star elected as president. Who on earth would expect him to stand his ground and use his media skills and connections to such formidable effect instead?

It's not the least bit surprising that Russian leadership didn't expect to be taking him seriously.
     
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Sep 20, 2022, 12:41 PM
 
Think of what might of happened had his co-star been a chimpanzee.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 20, 2022, 06:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
It struck me, reading your post, how crucial this misjudgement may have been — and how easy to make.
That’s a good point. I never thought about that from Putin’s perspective, but it makes sense. The initial operation, stupid as it may have been strategically, looked very much like shock-and-awe. Two (?) Russian special ops teams were caught who were apparently tasked with killing Zelensky.

Also either just before or just after the invasion started Linder (leader of the FDP = libertarian party) in a butthole move, told the then-Ukrainian ambassador that Ukraine will fall very quickly.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
You have a showman/comedian/tv star elected as president. Who on earth would expect him to stand his ground and use his media skills and connections to such formidable effect instead?
I’m genuinely surprised how well Zelensky is doing his job. I have heard that he leaves military matters to generals and is working hard on the communications aspect. He comes across as genuine, and he is an excellent communicator. I don’t want to use the word propaganda, because it implies a lack of substance. And e. g. when he is claimed to have said “I need weapons, not a ride.”, he really did stay in the capital even as the Russian troops advanced up until a few km to the gates of the city.

It is really disturbing watching his TV series, and then watch the news, it completely mixes fiction and reality.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
It's not the least bit surprising that Russian leadership didn't expect to be taking him seriously.
Yes, although I’d say that there are other traditional politicians that likely would have taken over.
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Sep 20, 2022, 07:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
That’s a good point. I never thought about that from Putin’s perspective, but it makes sense. The initial operation, stupid as it may have been strategically, looked very much like shock-and-awe.
Well, “shock” save for the months of building-up troops at the Ukrainian border, and constant hyping of reasons Russia needed to “intervene” in Ukraine. Putin gave Zelensky & co. All the time they needed to prepare and plan. The only people who seemed shocked were the invading troops when they ran headlong into resistance.
     
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Sep 20, 2022, 11:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Out of curiosity, what do you think will happen over the next few months?
Maybe I'm naive, or maybe I'm an optimist. The way I see it, whether its because Putin is dying from Cancer or Parkinsons or both or neither, this war and his stubbornness means his days in charge are numbered. He won't want to back down from Ukraine, and he won't want to retire due to illness which means the only way out for Putin is death or removal by someone else. At least one of his circle will be waiting to take over. They probably prefer to take less risk and wait for him to die but they will have red lines in mind that will prompt them to remove him one way or another. Mostly the other Forcing him into a dignified retirement will leave the risk of his getting revenge and he was squirrelled away the resources to do it by all accounts.

Those red lines as I see them are too much disruption and disapproval at home in Russia (a revolution could see the whole circle removed with him), or Putin trying to fire a nuke at Ukraine. Or anywhere else. A nuclear war again leads his successor with a mess they won't want to deal with whether its diplomatic issues or radioactive armageddon.
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Sep 21, 2022, 12:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Maybe I'm naive, or maybe I'm an optimist. The way I see it, whether its because Putin is dying from Cancer or Parkinsons or both or neither, this war and his stubbornness means his days in charge are numbered.
I see that as the most likely scenario, too. But I am worried that the other scenarios have non-zero probability, and I can't really judge because the rational actor theory does not work very well. Logically, deploying nukes makes no sense, but Putin's decision to invade Ukraine also didn't make much logical sense (to me and most of the people I was aware of, save for exceptions like Kasparov).
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
He won't want to back down from Ukraine, and he won't want to retire due to illness which means the only way out for Putin is death or removal by someone else. At least one of his circle will be waiting to take over.
I'm not plugged into the Russian oligarchy, so I wouldn't even know who might have enough political clout to take over. They are all very rich*, but with the big (indicated) asterisk “for as long as Putin is in power”.
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
They probably prefer to take less risk and wait for him to die but they will have red lines in mind that will prompt them to remove him one way or another.
Nobody wants to be the first, and usually the head of the first person is cut off. But then there is a watershed. Game theory at play.
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Those red lines as I see them are too much disruption and disapproval at home in Russia (a revolution could see the whole circle removed with him), or Putin trying to fire a nuke at Ukraine. Or anywhere else. A nuclear war again leads his successor with a mess they won't want to deal with whether its diplomatic issues or radioactive armageddon.
Once nuclear weapons are deployed, I reckon all bets are off. Then any false move by Russia could end in armageddon.
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Well, “shock” save for the months of building-up troops at the Ukrainian border, and constant hyping of reasons Russia needed to “intervene” in Ukraine. Putin gave Zelensky & co. All the time they needed to prepare and plan.
Sure, it gave them time, but Putin probably didn't expect such vigorous resistance and that Zelensky would be a capable president in times of war. The latter is a bit of a surprise to a lot of people, not just Putin.
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
The only people who seemed shocked were the invading troops when they ran headlong into resistance.
I think a lot of outsiders were shocked. I only began to serious consider the possibility of an invasion maybe two days before it actually launched. Even with the benefit of hindsight, I still don't see the logic behind an actual invasion.
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Sep 21, 2022, 07:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think a lot of outsiders were shocked. I only began to serious consider the possibility of an invasion maybe two days before it actually launched. Even with the benefit of hindsight, I still don't see the logic behind an actual invasion.
I think most outsiders were more on the “will he/won’t he” seesaw. They saw the massive build-up and heard the pontificating and bluster, and deep-down knew this all meant an invasion, but kept telling themselves, “nahhhh. He’s not stupid. That’s crazy!”

Once you take into consideration Putin’s long-term goal/desire to re-build the imperial Russian empire, the “logic” makes a bit more sense. His effort started with gobbling-up Georgia (2008) and Crimea (2014) which went down relatively easily, with little more than pearl-clutching and economic sanctions by world leaders, which definitely led to his lack of preparation in Ukraine.

There was a Russian-choreographed snap-vote by separatist governments in the regions still held by Russia, yesterday, to allow them to formally become part of Russia. This kind of throws a spanner into Ukraine’s drive to take-back those regions. If the regions (however illegitimately) formally join Russia, this could put the brakes on Ukraine’s offensive, as Ukraine has consciously avoided directly attacking Russian territory, so as to not allow Putin to play the victim card. Western powers have also had an agreement with Ukraine that none of the more sophisticated weaponry being provided would be used to attack Russian territory.

It’s a pretty good move by Putin. However illegitimate the west may see the “vote” by the occupied territories, the move draws a big bright line across Ukraine. Crossing it invites Putin to claim being invaded and throw everything (or whatever he has left) at Ukraine “in defense”. But, if Ukraine stops at the line, it would be defacto acknowledging the regions as being Russian territory. This could also allow an opening to settle the war, if Ukraine is willing to let the “annexed” regions go.

Putin also mobilized 300,000 reservists today. He specifically called-up people with some military experience, which technically allowed him to dodge the call-up being seen as a conscription of civilians. It will be interesting to see if there’s any resistance to this.
     
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Sep 21, 2022, 12:57 PM
 
Re: conscription.

Wiki claims all Russian males serve one year. It’s two in the poke for dodging.
     
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Sep 21, 2022, 01:58 PM
 
The sham referenda are scheduled for Sept 23-26 (Fri-Mon). Ukraine says those will make no difference - they can already use advanced western weapons anywhere within the internationally-recognized borders of Ukraine. Including within Crimea. Russia trying to redraw the map doesn't change that.

Military experts (retired generals, etc) claim mobilization has come too late. That it should have been announced when Russia was beaten back from Kiev (one month into the war). It will take weeks at least, more likely months for new troops to arrive in Ukraine. Time for letters to go out, for people to report in, and training. Reservists who have been out of the military for years will need refresher training.

Regardless of what Putin announces, the force balance in Ukraine will be unaffected for an extended time. Russian lines could even collapse before then. Also, new troops need weapons, vehicles, and supplies. All in short supply. Tanks for example - Russia probably has only ~500 operational tanks left that haven't been sent somewhere already. That's why replacement tanks sent to Ukraine have dropped to a trickle in recent months. They have ~3,000 more tanks in need of refit, but that takes months or years. Assuming they have the parts.
     
Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Sep 21, 2022, 05:11 PM
 
I assume Kasparov sees logic in the invasion simply because he knows Putin better than we do. I admit I have no idea what he's actually said on the subject though.

I was under the impression that Ukraine had fired some missiles or such into Russian territory already. Perhaps I'm mistaken.

Since Russia has 900k troops in service who aren't reserves, I wonder why they aren't deploying more of those in Ukraine. Do they expect someone else to take advantage and attack if they remove skilled troops from permanent deployments?
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Sep 21, 2022, 05:17 PM
 
Yes.

They’re afraid of it because it’s precisely what they’d do if the shoe were on the other foot.
     
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Sep 21, 2022, 05:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I was under the impression that Ukraine had fired some missiles or such into Russian territory already. Perhaps I'm mistaken.
Ukraine has done a few helicopter-based attacks across the border, and there's artillery dueling. But no HIMARS or other advanced western weapons. I'm not sure about western howitzers. Ukraine has plenty of Soviet-era howitzers, so it's not an issue.
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Since Russia has 900k troops in service who aren't reserves, I wonder why they aren't deploying more of those in Ukraine.
Truck drivers, base guards, vehicle service, medical, etc. Those bases still have to be manned, and sending non-combat troops into Ukraine just destroys skills. Naval and Nuclear (Strategic Rocket Forces) personnel aren't valid for Ukraine service. Russia is out of ground combat troops - all are already committed to Ukraine or other places (Syria, Georgia, Moldova).
     
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Sep 21, 2022, 10:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
The sham referenda are scheduled for Sept 23-26 (Fri-Mon). Ukraine says those will make no difference - they can already use advanced western weapons anywhere within the internationally-recognized borders of Ukraine. Including within Crimea. Russia trying to redraw the map doesn't change that.
Yup. Although, I think Ukraine has bombed infrastructure on (proper) Russian territory to cut off power and services to occupied territory. This was the first time I heard of Ukrainians attacking Russian infrastructure on Russian soil.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Regardless of what Putin announces, the force balance in Ukraine will be unaffected for an extended time. Russian lines could even collapse before then.
Perhaps Putin is counting on having positional warfare during the mud season and winter. (I surely don't want to be a Russian soldier in Ukraine during mud season and winter, that ended badly for Napoleon, it ended very badly for the Nazis and at best it will be highly unpleasant for Russian soldiers in the region.)
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Also, new troops need weapons, vehicles, and supplies. All in short supply. Tanks for example - Russia probably has only ~500 operational tanks left that haven't been sent somewhere already. That's why replacement tanks sent to Ukraine have dropped to a trickle in recent months.
And don't forget the most important bit, training! One of the units that has had a lot of (materiel) losses was one of Russia's most elite tank units, which did not just have the best equipment, but also were the best-trained.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
They have ~3,000 more tanks in need of refit, but that takes months or years. Assuming they have the parts.
It isn't just parts, it is (trained) people that they are lacking. It isn't easy to scale up a workshop that used to see a few tens of tanks a month to hundreds. People aren't cogs.
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Sep 22, 2022, 12:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Ukraine has done a few helicopter-based attacks across the border, and there's artillery dueling. But no HIMARS or other advanced western weapons. I'm not sure about western howitzers. Ukraine has plenty of Soviet-era howitzers, so it's not an issue.
From my understanding, it seems a condition for getting modern weapons is that they do not strike Russian territory with them. Although to be fair, that was only something I have heard in passing with no official confirmation.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Truck drivers, base guards, vehicle service, medical, etc. Those bases still have to be manned, and sending non-combat troops into Ukraine just destroys skills. Naval and Nuclear (Strategic Rocket Forces) personnel aren't valid for Ukraine service. Russia is out of ground combat troops - all are already committed to Ukraine or other places (Syria, Georgia, Moldova).
Spot on.
Russia is recruiting soldiers from prisons, etc., whereas Ukraine recruits/has volunteers from all layers of society. If you are a car mechanic in regular life, maybe you get to repair tanks or retrofit vehicles with weapons. The other thing is training: Ukraine has had a steady influx of recruits and volunteers to its military and ancillary forces, and these have had several months to train. Plus, some of these people are veterans now, having repelled the attack on Kyiv. Russia is only starting that process now, and it'll take several months to see results.

There are many efforts within Ukraine to arm society. Yesterday, I watched a video of Forgotten Weapons (a popular firearms Youtube channel) and the host reviewed a Ukrainian assault rifle (or several if you want to count models for different calibers and barrel lengths as separate weapons). It is a bullpop derived from the AK74 — a bit quirky, but interesting choice.
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Nov 14, 2022, 03:31 AM
 
Maybe some interesting anecdata: a colleague of mine is Russian, and we had a discussion about Russia's invasion. While he is against it, he does have some surprising stances.

- He seemed to view this from a bipolar America-vs.-Russia perspective, saying that this was akin to Russia meddling with Mexico. I reminded him that Europe exists, and that Poland, Romania, Hungary and Moldova are sharing a border with Ukraine.

- Self-determination of Ukrainians did not play much of a role. They have sort of been historically fucked as a piece of land that shifted between the powers-that-were.

- He seemed quite open to conspiracies. I don't think the US went into Afghanistan to get the CIA to profit from the Taliban's the drug trade.

For reference, this is a highly educated man who under normal circumstances is reasonable. I try not to make the mistake to think that all Russian expats think like him. But still, it is surprising how stuck some people are in the past and in fantasies.
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Spheric Harlot
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Nov 14, 2022, 04:53 AM
 
That sounds surprisingly similar to a friend of mine, also a highly educated man.

He sees the eventual return of Ukraine to the fold as an inevitability, and merely disagrees with the violent and rushed means of accomplishing what should have been a natural process.
     
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Nov 14, 2022, 06:24 AM
 
Yup, I caught the same vibe: he was sad that the invasion made a reunification impossible for a generation or two. I had to explain to him that sharing a language and a border is not enough to conclude that these places have the same culture. Even if there are deep connections over centuries and we speak the same language. I gave Austria and Germany as an example. I should have included Switzerland, too.
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subego
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Nov 14, 2022, 10:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
- He seemed quite open to conspiracies. I don't think the US went into Afghanistan to get the CIA to profit from the Taliban's the drug trade.
I thought we did it to kill Russians.

That said, we didn’t not make lots of opium money.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Nov 14, 2022, 11:57 AM
 
I love that the US invaded to profit from drug trade — but the Russians somehow didn’t.

I mean, heroin wasn’t a thing in the 80s now, was it.
     
subego
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Nov 14, 2022, 12:21 PM
 
I honestly never understood why the Soviets went into Afghanistan. Despite what American propaganda said about the Soviets, they weren’t imperialists, and almost everything they did was playing defense.

Except for Afghanistan.
     
OreoCookie
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Nov 15, 2022, 03:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I honestly never understood why the Soviets went into Afghanistan.
Weirdly enough, I don't know much about that. I know that it happened, but I think it was too recent to be included in my history lessons and too long ago for me to have experienced it.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Despite what American propaganda said about the Soviets, they weren’t imperialists, and almost everything they did was playing defense.
I do think there were quite a few instances when the Soviet Union/GUS/Russia has been very aggressive: Eastern Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the two wars in Chechnia (1994–2009 at various levels of intensity). Not to speak of the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and Russia's involvement in Syria.

Or do you mean that they did not want to expand, but keep what they thought was theirs?
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I love that the US invaded to profit from drug trade — but the Russians somehow didn’t.

I mean, heroin wasn’t a thing in the 80s now, was it.
Just think in terms of orders of magnitude of money: is it easier for the CIA to run a drug cartel or just ask Congress for another few billions? As far as I understand, it was more that the US decided to leave some drug operations in place and/or focus on other targets.
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Nov 15, 2022, 08:26 AM
 
It was kind of pragmatic to keep the drug trade going in Afghanistan. Opium/heroin was a not-insubstantial part of the economy outside the cities, and outright eliminating it (probably by killing the poppy fields) would have significantly hurt the Afghan economy and created trouble for its government. I’m not saying it was a good policy, mind you. Just that sometimes you have to be pragmatic about stuff.
     
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Nov 15, 2022, 09:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
It was kind of pragmatic to keep the drug trade going in Afghanistan. Opium/heroin was a not-insubstantial part of the economy outside the cities, and outright eliminating it (probably by killing the poppy fields) would have significantly hurt the Afghan economy and created trouble for its government. I’m not saying it was a good policy, mind you. Just that sometimes you have to be pragmatic about stuff.
Right. And I think there is a difficult argument to be made: likely drugs would be substituted, i. e. if the US closed the Afghan drug spigot, demand wouldn’t magically vanish at home. In addition, they’d have to deal with insurrections by now completely impoverished poppy farmers without an income stream.

It is not something I feel great about, but that is worlds apart from “the CIA profits from Afghan drug trade”.
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subego
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Nov 15, 2022, 10:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Or do you mean that they did not want to expand, but keep what they thought was theirs?
I’m not sure they considered Eastern Europe “theirs” so much as they were terrified of invasion by the West to the extent they felt their survival was dependent upon collecting as many buffer states as possible.

They never pushed further than that, and AFAIK, they never intended to push further except as retaliation for a Western first strike.
     
subego
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Nov 15, 2022, 11:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Just think in terms of orders of magnitude of money: is it easier for the CIA to run a drug cartel or just ask Congress for another few billions?
There’s a fairly significant difference in accountability with these respective money-making schemes.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Nov 15, 2022, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I’m not sure they considered Eastern Europe “theirs” so much as they were terrified of invasion by the West to the extent they felt their survival was dependent upon collecting as many buffer states as possible.

They never pushed further than that, and AFAIK, they never intended to push further except as retaliation for a Western first strike.
Which Western states did Chechnya and Syria act as buffer states against?

In the case of Armenia, whose invasion by Azerbaidjan Russia help instigate and finance, you could argue that neighbouring Turkey is a NATO member, but that's like three countries over to the West.
     
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Nov 15, 2022, 12:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Right. And I think there is a difficult argument to be made: likely drugs would be substituted, i. e. if the US closed the Afghan drug spigot, demand wouldn’t magically vanish at home. In addition, they’d have to deal with insurrections by now completely impoverished poppy farmers without an income stream.

It is not something I feel great about, but that is worlds apart from “the CIA profits from Afghan drug trade”.
This seems like an opportune moment to mention Oliver North.
     
subego
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Nov 15, 2022, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Which Western states did Chechnya and Syria act as buffer states against?
My comment was about the Soviets.
     
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Nov 15, 2022, 07:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I’m not sure they considered Eastern Europe “theirs” so much as they were terrified of invasion by the West to the extent they felt their survival was dependent upon collecting as many buffer states as possible.
I think they did consider every country in their sphere of influence theirs. To be fair, the West, the US in particular, did the same. As was the justification: we gotta keep e. g. Italy in our sphere of influence.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
They never pushed further than that, and AFAIK, they never intended to push further except as retaliation for a Western first strike.
They did of course push further than that, they supported friendly forces in proxy wars just like the US did, e. g. in South America. However, in most places the borders were fixed and NATO also did not push to support Eastern Bloc countries for the same reason that the Soviet Union did not: nuclear WW3. I don’t think the Soviet Union was any more benign than the US.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
This seems like an opportune moment to mention Oliver North.
That’s a fair point. However, I think the point of my colleague was that the US as a state was profiting from drug trade, and that this was one of their main motivations to invade Afghanistan. That’s different from rogue factions entering drug trade to have money off the books.
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Nov 15, 2022, 09:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I’m not sure they considered Eastern Europe “theirs”...
Point of fact, Putin has stated in the past his desire to rebuild the Russian Empire. That is to say, pre-1919 Russia.
     
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Nov 15, 2022, 09:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Point of fact, Putin has stated in the past his desire to rebuild the Russian Empire. That is to say, pre-1919 Russia.
Let me also add that there have been numerous “resettlement programs”, Crim tartars were forcefully relocated to Siberia, Poland was “shifted westwards”, etc.
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Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Nov 15, 2022, 09:53 PM
 
A missile has landed in Poland and killed two people near the border. Russia denies its theirs, some have suggested its a Ukrainian air defence missile, nothing confirmed. Media is making a fuss because it landed in NATO territory.
WW3 incoming...
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
OreoCookie
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Nov 15, 2022, 11:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
A missile has landed in Poland and killed two people near the border. Russia denies its theirs, some have suggested its a Ukrainian air defence missile, nothing confirmed. Media is making a fuss because it landed in NATO territory.
WW3 incoming...
I think a more likely reaction is that Poland/NATO activates a few missile batteries near its border with Ukraine and makes sure that nothing comes even close to its border. If that helps out Ukrainians in the process, so be it.
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subego
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Nov 16, 2022, 01:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think they did consider every country in their sphere of influence theirs. To be fair, the West, the US in particular, did the same. As was the justification: we gotta keep e. g. Italy in our sphere of influence.

They did of course push further than that, they supported friendly forces in proxy wars just like the US did, e. g. in South America. However, in most places the borders were fixed and NATO also did not push to support Eastern Bloc countries for the same reason that the Soviet Union did not: nuclear WW3. I don’t think the Soviet Union was any more benign than the US.
Read what I posted as the Soviets never pushed further [into Western Europe] and never intended to push further [into Western Europe]. Sorry that wasn’t clear. My point is the latter is in stark contrast to what American propaganda of the era would have you believe.

As for the Soviets considering countries in their sphere of influence to be theirs, I’m making that the chicken which comes after the egg of the Soviets desiring a defensive array of buffer states. They’d likely have been less interested in (literally) dominating their sphere of influence if they weren’t so terrified of invasion.
     
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Nov 16, 2022, 02:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Read what I posted as the Soviets never pushed further [into Western Europe] and never intended to push further [into Western Europe]. Sorry that wasn’t clear. My point is the latter is in stark contrast to what American propaganda of the era would have you believe.
Yes, but I guess this was simply because the alternative was WW3. Just to be clear I don't see it as a positive or a negative, just something both sides came to accept after the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Apparently, Russians call it the Caribbean Crisis.)
Originally Posted by subego View Post
As for the Soviets considering countries in their sphere of influence to be theirs, I’m making that the chicken which comes after the egg of the Soviets desiring a defensive array of buffer states. They’d likely have been less interested in (literally) dominating their sphere of influence if they weren’t so terrified of invasion.
Sure, but isn't that what all colonial power think in the end? Russia has decided that a country is in their sphere of influence, so it has to remain there no matter what the population thinks?
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subego
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Nov 17, 2022, 09:15 AM
 


Jesus, Joe. Get a hanky or something.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Nov 17, 2022, 12:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think a more likely reaction is that Poland/NATO activates a few missile batteries near its border with Ukraine and makes sure that nothing comes even close to its border. If that helps out Ukrainians in the process, so be it.
Thankfully this seems to be close to the actual response. Public story is that it was a Ukrainian air defense missile that accidentally dropped on Polish territory.
     
Laminar
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Nov 17, 2022, 01:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Jesus, Joe. Get a hanky or something.
Is the implication that he's picking his nose? We don't let the internet tell us what movements are happening during a still image, right?

https://www.washingtonian.com/2021/0...dministration/
     
subego
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Nov 17, 2022, 01:55 PM
 
You lost me.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Nov 17, 2022, 06:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
You lost me.
What was the hanky reference supposed to mean?
     
subego
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Nov 17, 2022, 07:18 PM
 
Laminar got it right… it looks like he’s picking his nose.

I don’t get what follows about the Internet and the Fauci story.
     
OreoCookie
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Nov 17, 2022, 07:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Laminar got it right… it looks like he’s picking his nose.
So he’s human. How’s that a story?
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I don’t get what follows about the Internet and the Fauci story.
Me neither. Is there some meme I am not aware of?
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