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Fallout from the Ukraine invasion


Spekulatius
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I found this interview with James Acton (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) quite instructive.  The main points can be summarised as follows:

Putin's request to "increase the alert level of Russia's deterrent forces" can be interpreted in several of ways which makes it quite difficult to understand precisely the messaging (purposeful ambiguity?), 

  1. Directed at the US to stay out this conflict, do not intervene directly
  2. An attempt to get the US and its allies to back off from sanctions, stop supplying equipment to UK
  3. Targeted at Ukraine an instil fear to improve his negotiating position

James' big concern is just how unclear  what Putin is trying to achieve through the announcement.

Hisorically this kind of announcement hasn't been witnessed in 50 years.  Risk = Probability x Consequence. 

Hyperpoble perhaps, but definitely the stakes have been raised. James advises that it is important Western nations: 

  1. Stay the course in terms of their miliatary posture and not increase their own alert levels
  2. GIve Putan an "off-ramp". Ukraine in the end must negotiate otherwise they risk a levelling of their cities.  What sanctions would the West be willing to lift?

Putan faces a number of unattractive options

  1. Accepting a ceasefire thnat preserves Ukraine as an independent state
  2. Fighting a protracted war with 10K's of dead russian soliders
  3. Use of nuclear weapons

All options open to Putan are bad but give him the option of a negotiated ceasefire as the least worst outcome.  It is not unfamiliar territory for a leader to have a war go a lot less successfully than they had hoped.  At the end of the day most wars end in a negotiated process.   Each side will have to make compromises they deeply dislike.   Let's just get to the end game as quickly as possible.

Where all this turns to absolute custard is that Putan is left figthing an absolute blood bath of a long conventional war.  Russian economy is trashed. lots of Russian body bags and Putan starts to panic about his position on the home front.  Low probability but not zero.

The next few days may well give some insight into the thinking.  So far there has been no observable changes to Russia's nuclear posture.  

 

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The alert level raise is definitely  posture. It doesn’t mean much, because there are 4 levels and he would have 3 levels to raise, the last one would be to make the nuclear weapons hot and then of course fire them. It is definitely a signal to the US/ NATO to stay out.

 

I do think there is a possibility that if Putin hits the cities hard enough and creates a mass genocides situation especially with air power, that the NATO is going to provide an air umbrella / no fly zone to the Ukraine. That would put NATO forces directly against Russian forces and would be an significant escalation. I think Putin understands this and that’s why he hasn’t used his Air Force all that much.

 

Think about how a Blitzkrieg works, it’s coordinated attack, the Air Force provides cover and a path of destruction with bombing, armored forces and tank punch through the line, encircle the enemy and then the army comes and mops the whole thing up. Nothing of this sort has happened, the Russian air force isn’t really out all that much, the first Russian wave is stuck and now the second wave of heavy armored forces (siege army) is stuck and lined up on a 60 km long treck on a highway and barely moving because they apparently have no fuel.

 

Just I image for a while what would happen to this siege army treck if US air power were present.

 

As for an off ramp out of this mess, I think the only way is out is Putins removal as @meiroy has indicated.

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It's still not clear whether Ukraine or Russia will "win" this conflict. The question is going to be...how does the everyone deal with Ukraine if it's being occupied by Russia and has a puppet government? All of a sudden call it a day and leave their citizens high and dry? 

Two Options

You either get involved and make sure that doesn't happen (seems unlikely at this point)....or NATO has to bite its tongue once all the dust settles and workout deals. You've got a lot of people stuck between a rock and a hard place. Let's be honest....the EU and US are no strangers to doing deals with murdering dictators. 

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Blitzkrieng would have been (in my mind) a column of Russian motorized/armored units, closely supported by their air force and logistics, bypassing all major urban areas, dashing behind enemy lines and cutting off their lines. But for that to happen, there has to be an Ukrainian army in the first place, so that they (Russian) could outflank it.

Where is the ukrainian army, beside the partisans and soldeirs holded in the cities ?

So in abcense of an Ukrainian army (which was not mobilized ?) Russia skippd that step & went straight for the capital, using their draftees as the first wave, to "encourage" the Ukranian to overthrow their own government. The plan must have looked good on PowerPoint when it was first presented to Putin. 

That large convoy reminds me of a medieval siege train, heading for Constantinpole. Will this be Grozny 2.0.

The Russian nukes are tactical low-yield nukes, which is part of their doctrine. We are not talking ICBMs here. Not that it makes a difference.

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53 minutes ago, Gregmal said:

I hope for the sake of the Iranian people this gets resolved peacefully. What a total idiot you guys elected. Cant even get a rehearsed and scripted SOTU correct. 

Holy shit !

i thought i heard that !!! hahaha

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A lot of people have been invested emotionally in this struggle. Great credit goes to Zelensky. But I hear a lot of comment about 'demanding Putin to step down' etc. If the West was foolish enough to ignore the consequances of NATO eastward expansion (right or wrong, doesn't matter), we ought to not ignore the consequence of pushing them into a corner without an off-ramp. Kremlin/Putin has also been saying for years:   

 

if there is no Russia, why do we need the planet? No one paid any attention. 

Why do we need a world without Russia in it?

Ukraine invasion: Would Putin press the nuclear button? - BBC News

 

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Posted (edited)

Another thought is with all these refuges and these demographically challenged countries in Europe that this is a golden opportunity to  get really get some quality emigration. The last crisis with Syria a couple years ago caused about 1 million people to emigrate legally or illegally in Germany alone and they are hard to integrate. These Ukrainian folks however  are fairly well educated and for sure are hard workers (as are Russians). Sadly I think a lot of these refuges will never go back - the Ukraine will get depopulated as a result of this Invasion.

Edited by Spekulatius
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Dniper River would be the new border between a Western Ukraine and the occupied/annexed Ukraine in the East. Behind the curtain an isolated and angry Russia, who will more than happy to do whatever it wants to poke West, since the West already did its worse, so who cares. Everything else is upside from here, gloves are coming off. Choking off a country economically, it is an act of war and attack on its sovereignty. 

Beijiing, the gentleman on the rise to the East, now embrassed by its association with Russia, will only compound Russia' isolation.

The oligarch class as a specie will disppear and I can finally buy my penthouse in London.

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8 minutes ago, Xerxes said:

 Choking off a country economically, it is an act of war and attack on its sovereignty. 

The United States still doesn't understand this even after the lesson Japan taught them at Pearl Harbor in that 'unprovoked' attack.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ERICOPOLY said:

The United States still doesn't understand this even after the lesson Japan taught them at Pearl Harbor in that 'unprovoked' attack.

 

Yep, financial weapon of mass destruction is what I call them. Fight a war where the enemy can't fight because their relative economy is tiny. I still think it's the right strategy - what is the alternative? Do nothing and let them go lose or fight a real war  with American soldiers lives om the line? Nobody seems to have the stomach for the latter.

 

Everything that is done here, has some negative consequences, that is not in question. However, we also know that doing nothing can be worse (and likely is in this case).

Edited by Spekulatius
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Posted (edited)

I think the sanction will create much more damage than what we have seen so far in Russia. They felt the earth quake, but the real damage is going to come later. Russias hard currency hoard is mostly unusable, so they can only get new hard currencies it from oil exports  and maybe some trade with the Chinese.

Nothing remotely to do with high tech comes will in from the West, Think iPhones, planes, computer, semis, chemicals software,electronics, materials, cars, services etc. No VISA, Mastercard, UPS, Fedex. Existing high tech equipment will not get spare parts or service. Banks will probably ration cash and not give out hard currency at all.

I guess the Russians can get  some of this from the Chinese but they are going to have to pay up, won’t get everything and the Chinese business that also do business in the west will think twice I’d this worth to break sanctions and getting slapped. I don’t see how they can get out of this without a major depression and hyperinflation. Stores will be empty in a a few weeks and there is going to be rationing. It will be interesting if they can even keep their war machinery going.

Edited by Spekulatius
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Looks at these brave souls joining the war in Ukraine.

There is a old man at the age of 60 in the video ! he is happy that he is just below the limit age so that he can join,

 

 

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The very best of us are often called cowards. For years Gorbachev was berated as a coward for what he did.

"stepping down was my victory" he says

That is why integrity at the very top is so important.

 

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12 hours ago, Xerxes said:

The very best of us are often called cowards. For years Gorbachev was berated as a coward for what he did.

"stepping down was my victory" he says

That is why integrity at the very top is so important.

 

A lot of people in the US think it was Reagan who was responsible to take down the iron curtain, but when you saw things close up in Europe, it is clear that Gorbachev played a much larger role. He is derided at home as a traitor who let the Soviet union fall apart, but I think he absolutely did the right using some common sense and gave the satellite countries the freedom to chose their own path. Once things got going, he totally lost control of the narrative but still. Imagine someone like Putin being at the helm at that time and what could have unfolded then.

He is a hero of mine.

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1 hour ago, Spekulatius said:

 Imagine someone like Putin being at the helm at that time and what could have unfolded then.

He is a hero of mine.

We have a case study and i dont mean 2022 Russia. Syria with Bashar but at a much larger scale. He refused to let go. Often time though, while we talk about the person on the top, we forget there is an security establishment underneath him, fully vested in the program and statues quo. It is true in Syria and as well as today' Russia: the Silovki, whose stars rose as those of the oligarches fell as power moved to the state.

But also it doesnt always work out :

Iran would have been another Syria (circa 2011-2019), if the Shah of Iran was less Ghobachovi and more Putini in 1978-79. Had he had the iron will, Iran would have been a close U.S. ally in the 1980s but an absolute police state. i.e. the revolution would have been supressed but the invetible could only be delayed. The bill always come due. Not that the current historical timeline is any better, with the theologist taking helm.

 

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Russian Oligarchs?

Excuse my ignorance on the situation but aren't these people just private Russian citizens? There is a lot of praise around seizing and freezing their assets (ex. Yachts) all over social media. My question is...is it warranted? And how does the US and other countries have the ability to take private assets of private individuals? 

Assuming they are somehow tied to the state or organized crime?  And I'm completely disregarding their ruthless probably shady business tactics post USSR to horde wealth from the massive transition to "private" entities. 

Perhaps this is all justified but I can't help but see that as one scary precedent if they truly are just private citizens who own private assets. 

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7 hours ago, Castanza said:

Russian Oligarchs?

Excuse my ignorance on the situation but aren't these people just private Russian citizens? There is a lot of praise around seizing and freezing their assets (ex. Yachts) all over social media. My question is...is it warranted? And how does the US and other countries have the ability to take private assets of private individuals? 

Assuming they are somehow tied to the state or organized crime?  And I'm completely disregarding their ruthless probably shady business tactics post USSR to horde wealth from the massive transition to "private" entities. 

Perhaps this is all justified but I can't help but see that as one scary precedent if they truly are just private citizens who own private assets. 

“In times of war, all laws fall silent” ~ a Romulan proverb

i agree that the oligarchs have more or less lost power and influence in the past 15 years. It is the security establishment  that has the power in Russia. But the West (as usual) is a few decades late on the narrative and changing landscape. So let’s go get those filthy oligarchs because it feels good. 

 

there is also a lot support on social media for Ukraine (and rightly so), but what if Ukraine was based in Africa ? What if Ukraine was based in Europe but their people had dark skin color ?

social media is social media. That herd like mass mentality can only be explained by Hari Sledon’s psychohistory 

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@Castanzasounds like there is some sympathy for Russian Oligarch which I don’t share. These Oligarch belong to Putins inner circle and the money is tied to Putin, directly or indirectly. if you don’t believe, it just check out how they made their money. None of them is just an entrepreneur, they got formerly state owned assets for Pennys with the help of the government and who knows exactly how the financial links work. These are not Jeff Bezos that build an empire out of nothing.

Just look at Abramovich, the Chelsea football club owner. Lives in Britain, but hasn’t said peep bout Putin or the invasion. He rather lets the club go than breaking away from Putin. this tells you all you need to know, Other Oligarchs are way worse and I bet most have some dead bodies in their closets.

As for the sanctions, it is important to keep in mind that we have only seen the effect of the financial part yet. The effects of the technology and trade part will become evident in a month or two, when consumables, spare parts etc run out in Russia all over the place. Then many things will just stop working and while the Russian are good at improvising, I think it will cause a total collapse, which hopefully will affect their army as well


I would not be surprised if in a month or two we see pictures of Russian soldiers abandoning their equipment and take a bus or walk home.

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Appreciate the Kasparov Video.  I saw him interviewed recently in Australia.

Key Points

- Sanctions don’t stop tanks

- Putin looking for a fight, not a chess player but a poker player.  Good at bluffing even thought he has a weak hand

-Doesn’t care about isolation.  22 years in power makes you delusional, especially when you surround yourself with “yes men”

- The shrinking circle of advisers has not helped

- Reference to Mein Kampf.  The world has seen Putin as a local populist leader “but he would never do that”  The list of what Putin “would have never done” is now too long

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