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  • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Crime bosses want their monies landered, not traced.
    And blocking Russia from SWIFT is completely off the table anyway, so we'll have to strike that one from the record
    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

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    • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
      What perennial 'border war?' Do you know how Chechnya was solved? Putin put another crime boss, a Chechen crime boss, Kadyrov, in charge. Kadyrov lead the Chechen revolt. He fought and killed Russians and Putin put him in charge. Why? Because Kadyrov is tough enough to stamp out (read disappear) his rivals.
      Eventually, yes that's what happened. But only after years of failure by conventional military strategies. And the casualties those military campaigns produced were deeply resented back home. The fact Russia couldn't successfully impose its will in Chechnya directly was the whole reason Putin eventually switched tactics . But it took years before Kadyrov was put in charge. Lesson learned.

      Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
      Considering how the UKR is runned, Poroshanko put the wanted Georgian criminal Saaskashvili in charge of Odessa and nobody blinked an eye. Putin is not above putting a tough criminal crime boss in charge in Kiev just to meet his own ends, even those who fought against him.

      Again, the modern picture does not paint the options open to Putin but the ancient pictures sure do. Atila was bribed by the Pope not to sack Rome. Gibraltar is militarily indefensible but does Spain have the balls to take it? Even modern day examples show how punitive and effective terms of surrender are without the need to station troops or grab 100s of kms of buffer. Again, I point to Saddam. After Kuwait War, we did not station 100s of 1000s of troops in Kuwait nor Saudi Arabia to watch the still strong Iraqi Army. The threat alone was enough to keep Saddam contained.
      I have no doubt Putin would rush to put a 'hard man' in charge in Kiev have learned his lesson previously. But putting him there and keeping him there without lots of Russian military support on a permanent basis? The population of Chechnya is less than 1.5 million. The population of Odessa region is less than 2.4 million. The population of Ukraine is approximately 40 million people. The bulk of whom give every indication of being fiercely opposed to Russian rule, even if it is by proxy. A population of that size will not be easily pacified except by the more or permanent use of extreme force, very expensive force. And that's the potential long term mess Putin faces if he tries.

      Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
      And I seriously question what sanctions? Name me one thing that would hurt the Russians that the Chinese can't replace?
      I can name two things. gas sales to Europe and access in general to European capitals for Russian Citizens. It would take years for the infrastructure to be put in place for China to totally replace Europe as a customer.

      The key question is how much gas Europe's existing gas ports can handle. Subsidized gas can be delivered by sea, but getting it where it is needed is another thing.
      If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

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      • Originally posted by Monash View Post
        Eventually, yes that's what happened. But only after years of failure by conventional military strategies. And the casualties those military campaigns produced were deeply resented back home. The fact Russia couldn't successfully impose its will in Chechnya directly was the whole reason Putin eventually switched tactics . But it took years before Kadyrov was put in charge. Lesson learned.
        Also lesson learned. Use locals to do your dirty work.

        Originally posted by Monash View Post
        I have no doubt Putin would rush to put a 'hard man' in charge in Kiev have learned his lesson previously. But putting him there and keeping him there without lots of Russian military support on a permanent basis? The population of Chechnya is less than 1.5 million. The population of Odessa region is less than 2.4 million. The population of Ukraine is approximately 40 million people. The bulk of whom give every indication of being fiercely opposed to Russian rule, even if it is by proxy. A population of that size will not be easily pacified except by the more or permanent use of extreme force, very expensive force. And that's the potential long term mess Putin faces if he tries.
        How do crime bosses keep their empires? Putin is not going to have "one" hard man. He's going to have several. Kiev at best would be an Oblast capital. The other oblasts would have their own crime boss strongman. Considering how Poroshenko got Saaskashvilli in -as a governor of Odessa -- RICH ODESSA -, I doubt Putin would be hardpressed to find strongmen who gladly accept his help, maybe even Poroshenko.

        Originally posted by Monash View Post
        I can name two things. gas sales to Europe and access in general to European capitals for Russian Citizens. It would take years for the infrastructure to be put in place for China to totally replace Europe as a customer.
        Easily replaced by Siberian snow, ie Belt and Road Initiative. The point is that the West won't be able to starve Putin into submission. At best, we'll make his life inconvient, not even uncomfortable.

        Originally posted by Monash View Post
        The key question is how much gas Europe's existing gas ports can handle. Subsidized gas can be delivered by sea, but getting it where it is needed is another thing.
        Not Putin's problem.
        Chimo

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        • No, Putin's problem is watching 30% of Russia's GDP go down the toilet until he such time as he can start replacing lost European sales with Chinese ones. Doable but not for years. The rest? He still has 40 million people to control, doesn't much matter how he slices up the pie. That number won't change, nor does the cost of trying. In both rubles and blood. Iraq and Afghanistan come to mind, albeit in fairness that last is an extreme example given it wasn't a real nation to begin with.
          If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Monash View Post
            No, Putin's problem is watching 30% of Russia's GDP go down the toilet until he such time as he can start replacing lost European sales with Chinese ones.
            Won't go that way for several reasons. If it were that easy, it would have been done the first time Russia invaded. I have no doubt that some gas would be reduced but when Germans have a hard time heating their homes while losing jobs because their industries can't do without cheap Russian gas, Berlin is going to have a tough time sticking it out.

            Originally posted by Monash View Post
            He still has 40 million people to control, doesn't much matter how he slices up the pie. That number won't change, nor does the cost of trying. In both rubles and blood. Iraq and Afghanistan come to mind, albeit in fairness that last is an extreme example given it wasn't a real nation to begin with.
            It ain't 40 million, it's 36 million. Putin has 8 million Russian speaking Ukrainians on his side. And that will tell you exactly what kind of war this will be. There is zero insurgency in the DNR, LNR, and the Crimea. Aside from that, there are pro-Russian Ukrainian speakers and let's not forget those who will side with the biggest money bags. It won't be Russian against Ukrainian. It will be Ukrainian against Ukrainian and Putin has absolutely zero trouble funding Ukrainian speaking Ukrainians against Russian speaking Ukrainians if it gets rid of a crime boss who stands against him.

            You forget the Chechen example. It wasn't the Russians who suppressed the Chechens. It was a Chechen who terrorized Chechnya into submission being paid by Putin. Poroshenko has already shown what kind of man he is when he put Saaskashvilli in. He was the one doing the buying back then. It also shows that he himself can be bought.

            I've been saying from day 1 that this is a Civil War. No doubt Russia pushed it and forment it but there is zero insurgency for a reason.
            Chimo

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            • Assuming the figures you quoted are right (and I'm sure they are BTW) that's 8 million Russians vs 32 million Ukis. And most of the ethnic Russians are concentrated along the eastern border not anywhere near the center of the country. On top of that your assuming all 8 million Russians want to follow Putin's lead and from anecdotal reports I've seen that's simply not the case, many, perhaps the majority don't want a forced merger with Russia. Not at the expense of potential benefits to be had from opening up and connecting with the EU. Would you in their shoes?
              If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

              Comment


              • Who said anything about a merger? Chechnya is a defacto independent country with massive bribes from Moscow. DNR and LNR are not absorbed into Russia and still fly their own flags. I'm not assuming 8 million Ukrainians want to follow Putin. I'm stating that 8 million Russian speaking Ukrainians don't want to live under Kiev's thumb. With the likes of Poroshenko and now Zelensky, Kiev is proving their views extremely correct.

                This part is my fault in not explaining this well enough. A Civil War is the worst kind of war you can get. The thing about brother-against-brother and families divided has become just a saying with zero narrative impact on the reader. It has become too abstract. However, UNPROFOR has seen grandmothers throwing out their grand-daughters just because the in-laws are from a different group. Can you understand the level of self convincing you have to do to get to that point where you want to throw out your own grand-daughter just because the son-in-law or daughter-in-law is from another group? Riches from the West cannot compare to the justifications you need to do in order throw out your own grand-daugher ... and killing your own brother.

                There will be a high price in blood alrirght but Russia will not be the one doing most of the bleeding. It will be Ukrainian blood and it will be done in 1s and 2s, maybe upto a few hundred. Anything more than that would be smashed by Russian firepower.

                Further more, the only chance the Ukrainian speakers have against the Russians is to outbleed them and they can't. Not only does actual Russia outman the entire UKR but Kadyrov would turn even the AZOV Bn into scared little girls and he already offered an entire Chechen division to Putin.

                Oh, Ukrainian popuation is 44 million (8 million Russian speakers and 36 million Ukrainian speakers).
                Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 16 Feb 22,, 08:38.
                Chimo

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                • And just to be clear, Kiev is a target for a very good military reason. It's on the Dnieper. A natural barrier against any further advance. Except for Odessa, I cannot see the Russians going beyond the Dnieper. They will have to rebuild their supplies across the Dnieper before they can move on. Not that they couldn't but after Kiev, what's the point?
                  Chimo

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                    Who said anything about a merger? Chechnya is a defacto independent country with massive bribes from Moscow. DNR and LNR are not absorbed into Russia and still fly their own flags. I'm not assuming 8 million Ukrainians want to follow Putin. I'm stating that 8 million Russian speaking Ukrainians don't want to live under Kiev's thumb. With the likes of Poroshenko and now Zelensky, Kiev is proving their views extremely correct.
                    Sorry but to me that argument smacks of hair splitting. For 8 million Russians to suddenly seek independence from 32 million Ukrainians they'd ALL as a population have to effectively coordinate their actions in lock step . Along the border with Russia where they form the majority? Possibly. Everywhere else in Ukraine where they don't its not going to work. Especially as there's no evidence that I'm aware of, as I noted previously that the majority of Ukrainian based Russians actually want an independent state (or statelets). Some will, some won't.

                    For the rest I'm well aware of the special horrors civil war entails. My agency had to go boots on the ground in several failed states. And as far as 'out-breeding' goes both ethic Russians and Ukranians are in an identicle boat. Russia's population is also in what appears to be terminal decline. The Ukrainian birth rate is just over 9 per 1000 people. Russia's is about 9.8 . That's hardly a seismic advantage.

                    If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                      And just to be clear, Kiev is a target for a very good military reason. It's on the Dnieper. A natural barrier against any further advance. Except for Odessa, I cannot see the Russians going beyond the Dnieper. They will have to rebuild their supplies across the Dnieper before they can move on. Not that they couldn't but after Kiev, what's the point?
                      I think your assuming the worst possible case scenario. Even if Russia were to do as you say they would still be mired in conflict and for months. Its once thing to draw nice, neat little lines on a map and say 'this part of Ukraine is not an independent State or part of Russia or whatever. It's an entirely different thing to make those States a reality in the aftermath of an invasion and stop them from falling over again once you do.
                      If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Monash View Post
                        NATO and the EU & their sovereign member nation states simply can't afford to be seen idly sitting by while a hostile power makes large scale land grabs from a friendly neighbor with impunity. Not only would it set a disastrous example for the future it would undermine each and every members claim to defending the sovereignty of their own territory. A few square kilometers of territory along the border they may be able to stomach and sell to Ukraine in return for a lasting peace. Something like 10-20% of the country. Never in a million years.
                        Russia in 2008 by fact took a third of the territory of the state of Georgia away (Abkhazia, South Ossetia) in a brief conflict, they did nothing. Russia annexed Crimea bloodlessly in 2014, they did nothing. That was followed up with an eastern oblast rebellion to "secede" from Ukraine that's still going on, they did nothing. In Syria, the idea it's a sovereign state with control of its borders is a fantasy. There's land controlled by Hezbollah as an Iranian-backed vassal and there's land controlled by rebels as a Saudi-backed vassal. The Assad government only controls half the land. They famously did nothing in spite of wanting regime change and it blew up in their face. In fact, a NATO country has even taken over administration of the northern territory of the country. Although they've not been gauche enough to say they've annexed it, in real world practical terms, they have: they're putting in place their mayors, they're funding the costs of government administration.

                        The post-World War II era of geopolitics of borders are sacrosanct/we don't do wars for territory is dead. The fact no one in this crisis has even mentioned the United Nations to pay their Charter simple lip service is telling. I'm just waiting for China and other states (the Turkeys, Pakistans, Indonesias, etc. of the world) to get in on the game the Russians are doing. We already had this low-level territory conflict in 2020 in Artsakh done by Azerbaijan that most of the polite world ignored because they don't officially recognize Artsakh, they recognize that land as Azerbaijani, meaning they can't say anything about what the Azerbaijanis did other than "we wish for peace and continued collaboration between the two sides".
                        Last edited by rj1; 16 Feb 22,, 13:59.

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                        • About the clearest assessment of Russia's position that i've heard to date. Fyodor Lukyanov is a name i will remember.

                          This interview came out two weeks ago.



                          The Russians are not tactically deployed. This is just a demonstration. Why ?

                          Nobody listens to Russia so this is Putin's way of getting the world's attention.

                          This guy isn't even a military commentator and he's called it already. He comes to this conclusion from politics.


                          What i find interesting is his take on how Putin views Biden

                          Putin intuitively senses an opportunity given the state of affairs in the world

                          16:39 Why this intensification of Russian policy came about just now i think many elements came together.

                          The west is not in the best shape now neither United States nor European union for different reasons.

                          Two concrete events recently played a role

                          First of all, Afghanistan. I don't mean that American fiasco so to say encouraged Putin. I mean something else, I mean that president Biden in case of Afghanistan demonstrated a very interesting trait.

                          He is ready to disregard anything if he believes that this step should be done. So he made this withdrawal. Delivered enormous harm to American reputation actually moral and political but Biden believed firmly that it was absolutely necessary. He did it and he demonstrated very clear commitment.


                          Second event, AUKUS. This creation of anglo-saxon grouping in the pacific without even informing other allies I think that demonstrated that if the American administration & Biden personally believe that they need to do something in American interest they don't think about their allies, they don't think about NATO they do what they believe is correct.

                          So these two combined gives Putin and the Russian leadership the impression that in real terms, not in rhetoric but in real terms, NATO is not that important anymore and eastern Europe and Russia certainly are less important for Biden than east Asia and China.

                          And this is the window for opportunity because Biden probably is interested not to eliminate this problem, not to get rid of Ukraine completely of course but to decrease the importance of this issue which is in Russian interest actually.

                          This is an interesting calculation.

                          After the two meetings he had with Biden, Putin gets an intuition of what Biden stands for.
                          That bolded bit is not what i figured from reports I read but its striking.
                          Last edited by Double Edge; 16 Feb 22,, 14:45.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                            Access to SWIFT?
                            Also as oil & gas are traded in American dollars cutting off that access can hurt...really bad.
                            “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                            Mark Twain

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Monash View Post
                              Certainly European demographics are bleak. But the thing is the EU States have to put up barriers to keep would be immigrants out. Russia' has no such 'problem'.
                              That's the EU. I'm not talking about the EU. I'm talking about individual states in eastern Europe, some of which are EU members. An immigrant is not coming to Europe to live in Lithuania when young aspirational Lithuanians are leaving Lithuania en masse to have careers in France, Germany, etc. The law allows them to do this, they have Schengen passports. So you have the natural demographic decline of Europe plus your best-educated youth that should be the leaders of the future are leaving for elsewhere. And unlike people leaving third-world countries for somewhere better, they don't have birthrate to make up the difference. Sure, Russia has the same problem, but they don't have Schengen passports exacerbating it and they're much larger than all the countries to their west that they can weather it.

                              The future of the Baltic states demographically-speaking is a fascinating topic. I'm not sure what the precedent is in world history. Maybe out of necessity due to demographic decline 40 years down the road we see the creation of the Federal State of Baltica.
                              Last edited by rj1; 16 Feb 22,, 15:12.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Monash View Post
                                I think your assuming the worst possible case scenario. Even if Russia were to do as you say they would still be mired in conflict and for months. Its once thing to draw nice, neat little lines on a map and say 'this part of Ukraine is not an independent State or part of Russia or whatever. It's an entirely different thing to make those States a reality in the aftermath of an invasion and stop them from falling over again once you do.
                                That's the part you're missing. Putin's goal isn't to turn Ukraine part of Russia again. Putin's goal is to deny NATO access to Ukraine. A wrecked and divided Ukraine into petty warlord oblasts would do that just nicely. He didn't conquer Georgia but Georgia is no longer capable of joining NATO.

                                Chimo

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