It's More Than Sabre Rattling Now

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  • Quite.

    Any day now, he'll be ordering HMS Big Liz to the Belarus/Ukraine border...
  • @Martin54 can you say a bit more about why you think 'Jo fucked up'? In what way is he responsible for the current situation?
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    @Martin54 can you say a bit more about why you think 'Jo fucked up'? In what way is he responsible for the current situation?

    The above Guardian link content has changed. It now contains Putin's minimal moves. My take on the original was that Biden was unintentionally patronizing Putin by using the words slow and steady, which if Putin went along with he'd end up all dressed up and nowhere to go. Putin cannot be seen to be following any US 'lead', capitulating to any US threat. If he is not honoured, respected as at least an equal, he must demonstrate his power until he is. He'll be ready to go within a week. There is inexorable inevitability.
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    @Martin54 can you say a bit more about why you think 'Jo fucked up'? In what way is he responsible for the current situation?

    And, of course, he'd already talked too much.
  • Sorry for multiple posts. It's must have linked wrongly.

    Jo fucked up twice, the link above, and here.
    The US president, Joe Biden, last week said that Putin himself may not know what he plans to do. But the results are either reckless brinkmanship or preparations for a large-scale military operation.

    It gradually dawned on Putin that if he stays on the track of stable and predictable, as Biden indicated, he’s the designated loser,” said Pavel Baev, research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo and a Brookings Institution nonresident fellow. “Something needed to be done. He went for this escalation quite sharply.”
  • I see. So what would be a face-saving way out for Putin now?
  • Good question. It does rather look as though Mr Putin has jumped onto the back of a tiger, and is unlikely to get off without some sort of damage.
  • OTOH, things may be going just the way he wants them to:
    https://theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/25/panic-invasion-ukraine-buildup-troops-moscow

    A wily bird, if ever there was...
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    I see. So what would be a face-saving way out for Putin now?

    I must have linked wrongly.

    When he goes in, from this weekend, we must do nothing at all apart from sanctions, up to, but not including, gas imports of course. Avoid Soviet airspace and territorial waters..

    If we want to guarantee avoiding nuclear war, or just save tens of thousands of lives, we should persuade Ukraine to surrender if he declares war or just attacks. But we won't. Now. But we won't. We've already armed them more.
  • I agree, but I'm sorry to say that IMHO our dear PM would prefer to do as much as he can persuade us, or Our Boys, to do (he won't be on the front line himself, O dear, no).
  • OTOH, things may be going just the way he wants them to:
    https://theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/25/panic-invasion-ukraine-buildup-troops-moscow

    A wily bird, if ever there was...

    Bliss. My God they're so much better at this than we ever will be. But they're crap at making money. At the freedom thing.
  • By arming the Ukrainians and encouraging them to use fire-power against the coming Russian invasion are not we/Europe/the West complicit in the slaughter that will ensue in an un -win-able war?
  • DafydDafyd Hell Host
    How absurd that we are preparing for war because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing?

    The point of arming Ukraine isn't so they can win against Russia. It's so that the cost to the invaders isn't worth the gain and so they can deter Russia.
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    By arming the Ukrainians and encouraging them to use fire-power against the coming Russian invasion are not we/Europe/the West complicit in the slaughter that will ensue in an un -win-able war?

    Yep.
    Dafyd wrote: »
    How absurd that we are preparing for war because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing?

    The point of arming Ukraine isn't so they can win against Russia. It's so that the cost to the invaders isn't worth the gain and so they can deter Russia.

    Nothing could possibly deter Russia. But they are several moves ahead of that feint. Twice I've beaten much better chess players with such, added to the knowledge that they'd underestimated me and overestimated themselves.
  • I don't see that we (UK) have any horse in this race, other than to honour our commitments to NATO.

    What exactly are those commitments?
  • Shouldn't we/Europe/The West go on the offensive, economically? Say that sanctions are starting tomorrow unless Russia starts moving their forces away from the border areas?
    Why wait for hostilities to actually begin? Seems to put too little value on soldiers' (and other's) lives.
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    Shouldn't we/Europe/The West go on the offensive, economically? Say that sanctions are starting tomorrow unless Russia starts moving their forces away from the border areas?
    Why wait for hostilities to actually begin? Seems to put too little value on soldiers' (and other's) lives.

    Don't like the sound of that. They haven't actually done anything and keep saying they won't. And what sanctions? Stop sending us gas this winter?
  • I don't see that we (UK) have any horse in this race, other than to honour our commitments to NATO.

    What exactly are those commitments?

    Mutual defence; "an attack on one is an attack on all".
  • I don't see that we (UK) have any horse in this race, other than to honour our commitments to NATO.

    What exactly are those commitments?

    Mutual defence; "an attack on one is an attack on all".

    I thought it must be something like that, but how does it equate to the number of *Our Boys* being sent into the fray?
  • I don't see that we (UK) have any horse in this race, other than to honour our commitments to NATO.

    What exactly are those commitments?

    Mutual defence; "an attack on one is an attack on all".

    I thought it must be something like that, but how does it equate to the number of *Our Boys* being sent into the fray?

    I'm not sure there's any way of knowing - the clause has been invoked only once, after 9/11, and that was mostly symbolic. The clause was intended to deter Soviet encroachment into West Germany, but like a lot of Cold War plans it's never been used.
  • Let's hope and pray that we don't have to find out!
    :scream:
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    How absurd that we are preparing for war because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing?

    I think some people are hoping that appeasement will actually work this time.
  • There are some news reports which suggest that Mr Putin does not have enough military might in the area to allow him to *successfully* (you know what I mean) invade and occupy Ukraine.

    Whether this bodes well or ill, I know not - I suppose he could at least cross the border and create some havoc.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    How absurd that we are preparing for war because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing?

    I think some people are hoping that appeasement will actually work this time.

    It worked last time. It bought time. Not that there's any counter to this.
    There are some news reports which suggest that Mr Putin does not have enough military might in the area to allow him to *successfully* (you know what I mean) invade and occupy Ukraine.

    Whether this bodes well or ill, I know not - I suppose he could at least cross the border and create some havoc.

    It means he does not want to, and he's signalling that. In plain sight. Crossing the border would incur massive casualties if Ukraine defends itself. The 'lethal aid' is anti-tank missiles. He needs double the troops. If he crosses the border it's to fully occupy Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, take Mariupol, establish a land corridor to the Crimea and make Ukraine coastally irrelevant. Whilst kicking Kyiv's door down to 'negotiate' a peace treaty and put in a puppet government. And I don't think he'll do any of that.
  • Yes, anything other than a full invasion would be unproductive IYSWIM.

  • Quite.
  • what about Putin's need to save face?
  • Yes indeed - how is he going to achieve that? Possibly by mini-invasions, and various other devious ways of making Ukraine's life a misery?
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    edited January 2022
    Dunno. They are such obvious knowing gaslighting lying murdering gangsters they even lie when they are telling the truth. They are not going to invade, but they are going to retaliate - they're language - against the Western armed Ukrainian invasion of Russia, even if that doesn't happen. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Pure grifter Machiavels. With doomsday bombs.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited January 2022
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Merry Vole wrote: »
    @Martin54 can you say a bit more about why you think 'Jo fucked up'? In what way is he responsible for the current situation?

    The above Guardian link content has changed. It now contains Putin's minimal moves. My take on the original was that Biden was unintentionally patronizing Putin by using the words slow and steady, which if Putin went along with he'd end up all dressed up and nowhere to go. Putin cannot be seen to be following any US 'lead', capitulating to any US threat. If he is not honoured, respected as at least an equal, he must demonstrate his power until he is. He'll be ready to go within a week. There is inexorable inevitability.

    I reckon you are underestimating Biden. His genuine unscripted, off the cuff remarks are flashes of anger or impatience. Everything else is extensively workshopped and scripted. What makes him a great politician is his capacity to deliver the script in an off-the-cuff way. People might refer to all those times the White House "clarifies" Biden's "mistakes". He's not making mistakes. I can speculate on what the Administration is achieving by doing this, but I don't know, obviously. Maybe they are trying to inject uncertainty into the minds of their competitors.

    I wonder to what extent the Russian government is able to control the narrative Russians hear. I don't think Putin is so personally motivated by his sense of honor that his decisions are motivated by it. Honor is highly relevant, but as a tool of power. So Putin doesn't so much need to maintain his honor in our eyes, but in the eyes of Russians. That impacts upon what NATO needs to do. The more control of information the Russian Government has, the easier it will be to manufacture an out.

    Because that's the phase we are at in this situation. I agree that war is less and less likely now. NATO is in the process of doing what's needed to stop that. I trust that, as NATO and its member countries are led by very smart people with access to much better information than us, they have already worked out how to give Putin what he needs to pull back.

    The articles people link are good attempts to explain the situation but they are based on limited information and mixed motives. Just as much as governments seek to produce certain responses in us and limit others, media organisations seek to do the same. Hyperbole is an important plank in the business model of modern media.

    I noted some comment that Bad Boris the show pony is placing himself in a leadership position within NATO. You could knock me over with a feather if that is any more credible than the Tories' attempts to seem interested in the concerns of northern Ireland.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    How absurd that we are preparing for war because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing?

    I think I've heard that before.........
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Not that there's any counter to this.

    That's a perfect example of why we need to continue to maintain and improve our own tactical nuclear capability.
  • @Simon Toad, your faith in a 79 year old to keep all those marbles in the air is... touching.

    And Russian control of the narrative is total, yet nobody in Russia believes a word. They trust the government to be sufficiently competent Machiavels, which is a very low bar.

    As you say, honour is subservient to power, and NATO is full of people who are grand masters too, working on giving Putin all the victories he needs without anyone losing.
  • KwesiKwesi Deckhand, Styx
    What the UK thinks about all this doesn't matter a tinker's cuss.

    Who knows what's going on? It eventually transpired that the solution to the Cuban Missile Crisis involved a coup de theatre cooked up by Kennedy and Kruschev.
  • Kwesi wrote: »
    What the UK thinks about all this doesn't matter a tinker's cuss.

    Who knows what's going on? It eventually transpired that the solution to the Cuban Missile Crisis involved a coup de theatre cooked up by Kennedy and Kruschev.

    But it cost Khrushchev his job.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Not that there's any counter to this.

    That's a perfect example of why we need to continue to maintain and improve our own tactical nuclear capability.

    Tactical? We - the UK - have none. And what use are tactical nuclear weapons - including depth charges - against a stealthed doomsday - 100 MT - torpedo drone? Or 30. Which is what they'll have. Although how you pilot the things stealthily I can't imagine.
  • lwilli3lwilli3 Shipmate Posts: 3
    I do not see the value in Russian expansion. Ukraine has a right to exist. In historical hindsight, succession by force is a moral failure. Reference the American history of Native Americans and Mexican-American War. Though Native Americans and Mexico were independently established, the American government did not respect their right to exist. Generations and cultures were destroyed in the name of American expansion. A problem that continues to persist today.
    Dafyd wrote: »
    How absurd that we are preparing for war because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing?

    I think some people are hoping that appeasement will actually work this time.
    Dafyd wrote: »
    How absurd that we are preparing for war because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing?

    The point of arming Ukraine isn't so they can win against Russia. It's so that the cost to the invaders isn't worth the gain and so they can deter Russia.

  • It may well be that Mr Putin believes Ukraine has a right to exist, but under his terms.
  • lwilli3lwilli3 Shipmate Posts: 3
    You're right. Typical autocrat.
    It may well be that Mr Putin believes Ukraine has a right to exist, but under his terms.

  • lwilli3 wrote: »
    I do not see the value in Russian expansion. Ukraine has a right to exist. In historical hindsight, succession by force is a moral failure. Reference the American history of Native Americans and Mexican-American War. Though Native Americans and Mexico were independently established, the American government did not respect their right to exist. Generations and cultures were destroyed in the name of American expansion. A problem that continues to persist today.
    Dafyd wrote: »
    How absurd that we are preparing for war because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing?

    I think some people are hoping that appeasement will actually work this time.
    Dafyd wrote: »
    How absurd that we are preparing for war because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing?

    The point of arming Ukraine isn't so they can win against Russia. It's so that the cost to the invaders isn't worth the gain and so they can deter Russia.

    Moral failure is how the powerful obtain and maintain their power.
  • lwilli3 wrote: »
    You're right. Typical autocrat.
    It may well be that Mr Putin believes Ukraine has a right to exist, but under his terms.

    Typical superpower, really. The US fought many wars and supported many coups to install and support "friendly" governments over the wishes of local populations.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited January 2022
    Martin54 wrote: »
    @Simon Toad, your faith in a 79 year old to keep all those marbles in the air is... touching.

    ...

    I'm sorry you feel it necessary to make such a remark.

    You place too much faith in the media's crisis narrative, and the late night caricatures of Old Joe. Some are reporting Zelensky's calm message to his people like he is some sort of crazy too. Have you seen them amping up a supposed split between Germany and the rest of Europe? It's all mostly guesswork, and bad guesswork. The last thing editors want us to think is that our leaders know what they are doing. Bad for the eyeball count, and it makes talking heads shows even more boring. They'd have to fall back on laughing at Tucker Carlson.

    Biden has lots of hands to help him juggle those marbles. He's always been a consensus politician, always seeking opinions and feedback from around the table. He is no God-Emperor, so shit stupid that he relies on his gut instinct and gets rid of honest counsellors.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Kwesi wrote: »
    What the UK thinks about all this doesn't matter a tinker's cuss.

    Who knows what's going on? It eventually transpired that the solution to the Cuban Missile Crisis involved a coup de theatre cooked up by Kennedy and Kruschev.

    But it cost Khrushchev his job.

    Sure, but would you have faith in a guy who looks like Steve Buscemi?
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    edited January 2022
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    @Simon Toad, your faith in a 79 year old to keep all those marbles in the air is... touching.

    ...

    I'm sorry you feel it necessary to make such a remark.

    You place too much faith in the media's crisis narrative, and the late night caricatures of Old Joe. Some are reporting Zelensky's calm message to his people like he is some sort of crazy too. Have you seen them amping up a supposed split between Germany and the rest of Europe? It's all mostly guesswork, and bad guesswork. The last thing editors want us to think is that our leaders know what they are doing. Bad for the eyeball count, and it makes talking heads shows even more boring. They'd have to fall back on laughing at Tucker Carlson.

    Biden has lots of hands to help him juggle those marbles. He's always been a consensus politician, always seeking opinions and feedback from around the table. He is no God-Emperor, so shit stupid that he relies on his gut instinct and gets rid of honest counsellors.

    I only go with the BBC and the Guardian. I don't doubt the feeding frenzy you report. Even the Guardian partook of that, but the latest link I made was really good I thought.

    I just feel that Jo should have been a lot more circumspect, taciturn. I do love him. Seriously. He's a good man.

    You said,
    I reckon you are underestimating Biden. His genuine unscripted, off the cuff remarks are flashes of anger or impatience. Everything else is extensively workshopped and scripted. What makes him a great politician is his capacity to deliver the script in an off-the-cuff way. People might refer to all those times the White House "clarifies" Biden's "mistakes". He's not making mistakes. I can speculate on what the Administration is achieving by doing this, but I don't know, obviously. Maybe they are trying to inject uncertainty into the minds of their competitors.

    That is... uncritical. Hence my remark. I want it to be so, especially the last line, but I'd like to see the real West Wing episode behind it.
  • From the Financial Times today; 'Russian state television has aggressive presenters who portray Kyiv as being an aggressor backed by the belligerent west who pose a dangerous threat to Russia and are driving Russia unwillingly towards conflict'.
    And in opinion polls in Russia only 4% believe their country is to blame for escalating tensions. 50% blame the US and Nato , and 16% blame Ukraine.
    If Putin feeds on public opinion then he is playing his cards right.
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    From the Financial Times today; 'Russian state television has aggressive presenters who portray Kyiv as being an aggressor backed by the belligerent west who pose a dangerous threat to Russia and are driving Russia unwillingly towards conflict'.
    And in opinion polls in Russia only 4% believe their country is to blame for escalating tensions. 50% blame the US and Nato , and 16% blame Ukraine.
    If Putin feeds on public opinion then he is playing his cards right.

    Putin feeds on public opinion, but he also feeds it. It's a recursive loop.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited January 2022
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    @Simon Toad, your faith in a 79 year old to keep all those marbles in the air is... touching.

    ...

    I'm sorry you feel it necessary to make such a remark.

    You place too much faith in the media's crisis narrative, and the late night caricatures of Old Joe. Some are reporting Zelensky's calm message to his people like he is some sort of crazy too. Have you seen them amping up a supposed split between Germany and the rest of Europe? It's all mostly guesswork, and bad guesswork. The last thing editors want us to think is that our leaders know what they are doing. Bad for the eyeball count, and it makes talking heads shows even more boring. They'd have to fall back on laughing at Tucker Carlson.

    Biden has lots of hands to help him juggle those marbles. He's always been a consensus politician, always seeking opinions and feedback from around the table. He is no God-Emperor, so shit stupid that he relies on his gut instinct and gets rid of honest counsellors.

    I only go with the BBC and the Guardian. I don't doubt the feeding frenzy you report. Even the Guardian partook of that, but the latest link I made was really good I thought.

    I just feel that Jo should have been a lot more circumspect, taciturn. I do love him. Seriously. He's a good man.

    You said,
    I reckon you are underestimating Biden. His genuine unscripted, off the cuff remarks are flashes of anger or impatience. Everything else is extensively workshopped and scripted. What makes him a great politician is his capacity to deliver the script in an off-the-cuff way. People might refer to all those times the White House "clarifies" Biden's "mistakes". He's not making mistakes. I can speculate on what the Administration is achieving by doing this, but I don't know, obviously. Maybe they are trying to inject uncertainty into the minds of their competitors.

    That is... uncritical. Hence my remark. I want it to be so, especially the last line, but I'd like to see the real West Wing episode behind it.

    I just reckon that a bloke who has been in politics all his adult life and has survived the marathon American political process to win the Presidency as a Democrat is likely to be very good at his job. He's unlikely to make decisions on his own, right down to what off the cuff remarks he makes. If you look at some memoirs of former G-men, military officers and Administration officials, it will give you some insight into how good Presidents function. I found John Brennan's recent memoir particularly enlightening on how information gets to the President and the process of Presidential decision-making in different Administrations. The book is on Audible. Brennan hates long and deeply, but he narrates his book in such a gentle way.

    I'm not critical because I judge Biden to be trustworthy and see no reason to criticise him. In 20 years time, when all the books have been written about his Presidency, I might find grounds. But right now I'm trying to be humble and arrogant at the same time: humble in recognising I don't have the necessary information to judge Biden, and arrogant in writing this message.
  • lwilli3lwilli3 Shipmate Posts: 3
    Good point!
    lwilli3 wrote: »
    You're right. Typical autocrat.
    It may well be that Mr Putin believes Ukraine has a right to exist, but under his terms.

    Typical superpower, really. The US fought many wars and supported many coups to install and support "friendly" governments over the wishes of local populations.

  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    edited January 2022
    @Simon Toad - you and he are a couple uh nice guys Simon. Who's Jo's Reagan era Richard Perle? Aka Prince of Darkness.
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    From the Financial Times today; 'Russian state television has aggressive presenters who portray Kyiv as being an aggressor backed by the belligerent west who pose a dangerous threat to Russia and are driving Russia unwillingly towards conflict'.
    And in opinion polls in Russia only 4% believe their country is to blame for escalating tensions. 50% blame the US and Nato , and 16% blame Ukraine.
    If Putin feeds on public opinion then he is playing his cards right.

    Aye. I was wrong here:
    And Russian control of the narrative is total, yet nobody in Russia believes a word. They trust the government to be sufficiently competent Machiavels, which is a very low bar.

    I want to believe they're more cynical than they appear to be. But nope.
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