It's More Than Sabre Rattling Now

13468956

Comments

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited February 2022
    I have been wondering lately how our botched withdrawal from Afghanistan plays a role in Putin's expected invasion of Ukraine. After all, it was not pretty how we left the Afghanis.

    What is America's role in Ukraine? Lots, IMHO. We are dedicated to growing democracies. We have thousands of residents and citizens who claim roots in Ukraine. There is the matter of maintaining open sea routes. Ukraine intrudes into NATO, almost like the tip of an arrow, just to name a few.

    When will Russia invade? When the ground is sufficiently frozen. But Putin better hurry up because Spring is just around the corner.

    If I were a betting man, I think the Ukrainians can hold their own. After all, they are much more committed to holding their own land, than the typical Russian soldier is to taking it. With all the anti tank weaponry the UK, USA, and France has been sending to Ukraine, I think it can easily provide a porcupine defense of the country. I know if I were a crew member of a Russian tank, I would be terrified of what we might find just over the crest of the next hill.

  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    edited February 2022
    I think Putin has made a probably erroneous judgment call on Biden: that he will not enter into an overseas war under any circumstances. Therefore Putin thinks now is the time to have a war, while Biden is still President.

    I think the idea that Ukraine can hold off Russia is optimistic in the extreme. They weren't able to prevent the rapid annexation of Crimea, which involved a relatively small Russian force, or the separatist activity in Donbas. I imagine Russia has pretty overwhelming air superiority too.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    After all, it was not pretty how we left the Afghanis.

    I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but 'Afghanis' are multiples of the Afghani - or in US terms dollars are the multiple of dollar.

    People from Afghanistan are Afghan, and in my experience find being continually confused with their currency offensive. As one of them was fond of saying - 'we don't have much, we're not banknotes'
  • I think Putin has made a probably erroneous judgment call on Biden: that he will not enter into an overseas war under any circumstances. Therefore Putin thinks now is the time to have a war, while Biden is still President.

    I think the idea that Ukraine can hold off Russia is optimistic in the extreme. They weren't able to prevent the rapid annexation of Crimea, which involved a relatively small Russian force, or the separatist activity in Donbas. I imagine Russia has pretty overwhelming air superiority too.

    In the circumstance of a Russian or Belarusian attack on European NATO, Biden has no choice as his forces are committed and could easily be under that attack.

    Agreed on Ukrainian defense. Particularly without mines.
  • Mr Lavrov is formally urging Mr Putin to continue with diplomatic efforts to avert war, which may suggest that Russia (except perhaps for Mr Putin himself) is not too keen on the idea of invasion...
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    edited February 2022
    I don't think it really suggests anything. Of course Lavrov would say that. Putin probably asked him to say that. "Oh woes we are the peaceful ones ready to go yea the extra mile if there is any chance that the evil warmongers will concede to our perfectly reasonable demands"
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited February 2022
    I don't think it really suggests anything. Of course Lavrov would say that. Putin probably asked him to say that.

    I wondered if such might be the case.

    Wednesday? We shall have to wait and see, but I don't envy the people of Ukraine, who must be going through agonies of apprehension...
  • Mr Lavrov is formally urging Mr Putin to continue with diplomatic efforts to avert war, which may suggest that Russia (except perhaps for Mr Putin himself) is not too keen on the idea of invasion...

    The incursion into Crimea was not particularly popular in Russia - in part because it resulted in higher real taxes. AFAICT Russian state media has down played the possibility of an invasion throughout the last few months.
  • It's hard to know what the person in the Moscow trolleybus thinks about it all. I suppose they might be somewhat averse to an invasion, if they have family in the forces (or in Ukraine).
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    I have been wondering lately how our botched withdrawal from Afghanistan plays a role in Putin's expected invasion of Ukraine. After all, it was not pretty how we left the Afghanis.

    Probably not much. If anything, the fact that America's most combat-ready troops aren't deployed somewhere else has to count as a slight negative in Putin's estimation. And yes, there is no "pretty" way to lose a war. The twenty pointless years that came before the withdrawal weren't that pretty either.
    I think the idea that Ukraine can hold off Russia is optimistic in the extreme. They weren't able to prevent the rapid annexation of Crimea, which involved a relatively small Russian force, or the separatist activity in Donbas. I imagine Russia has pretty overwhelming air superiority too.

    Depends on what you mean by "hold off". If that means "win a series of large formation set-piece battles", almost certainly not. On the other hand Ukraine has a lot of nostalgic legends about heroic Ukrainian resistance fighters standing up to the Nazis. (Leave aside for the moment that the reality was a lot more complicated, with collaboration almost as common as resistance. What matters is the story that exists in the popular imagination nearly eighty years later.) If Russian victory is defined as occupying Ukraine then that victory is achievable. On the other hand the "prize" Russia likely wins with that victory is having to fight a brutal counterinsurgency war for the next several decades. The lessons Russia may be taking from the American war in Afganistan and its end may be different than the ones @Gramps49 suggests.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited February 2022
    Some commentators here in the UK are wondering if Mr Putin is dragging this out as long as he can, so that it is the West that looks stupid (after all the diplomatic scurrying around, and the scaremongering about an imminent invasion) when he calmly pulls back.

    Quite what he thinks he might achieve by this, I don't know, but he's a wily bird.
  • betjemaniacbetjemaniac Shipmate
    edited February 2022
    Crœsos wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I have been wondering lately how our botched withdrawal from Afghanistan plays a role in Putin's expected invasion of Ukraine. After all, it was not pretty how we left the Afghanis.

    Probably not much. If anything, the fact that America's most combat-ready troops aren't deployed somewhere else has to count as a slight negative in Putin's estimation. And yes, there is no "pretty" way to lose a war. The twenty pointless years that came before the withdrawal weren't that pretty either.
    I think the idea that Ukraine can hold off Russia is optimistic in the extreme. They weren't able to prevent the rapid annexation of Crimea, which involved a relatively small Russian force, or the separatist activity in Donbas. I imagine Russia has pretty overwhelming air superiority too.

    Depends on what you mean by "hold off". If that means "win a series of large formation set-piece battles", almost certainly not. On the other hand Ukraine has a lot of nostalgic legends about heroic Ukrainian resistance fighters standing up to the Nazis. (Leave aside for the moment that the reality was a lot more complicated, with collaboration almost as common as resistance. What matters is the story that exists in the popular imagination nearly eighty years later.) If Russian victory is defined as occupying Ukraine then that victory is achievable. On the other hand the "prize" Russia likely wins with that victory is having to fight a brutal counterinsurgency war for the next several decades. The lessons Russia may be taking from the American war in Afganistan and its end may be different than the ones @Gramps49 suggests.

    Exactly. Ukraine cannot keep the Russians out if they decide to cross the border.

    On the other hand, they can make it pretty unpleasant for them on an ongoing basis. It is not a quick conquest and back home for tea and medals in the remotest likelihood. More an ongoing procession of conscripts in bodybags. The same will be true for Ukraine's forces of course, but they're the home side.

  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    I would suggest that Russia would be content to install a pro-Russian government in Ukraine with a not-very-subtle subtext of "make sure you continue to be pro-Russian or ... something might happen... again...." rather than an actual occupation. Then any insurgency is the problem of the client government.
  • Chechnya.
  • I would suggest that Russia would be content to install a pro-Russian government in Ukraine with a not-very-subtle subtext of "make sure you continue to be pro-Russian or ... something might happen... again...." rather than an actual occupation. Then any insurgency is the problem of the client government.

    I would suggest that given the way the population has been mobilised (literally) an installed puppet regime would last about two seconds without Russian troops backing it, and the Russian troops will remain target #1. Russia's writ will run in the bits it actually occupies, and will continue to be fought even there.

    The whole thing is madness.
  • Yes, "any insurgency" is a joke. More like urban and rural warfare, Chechnya on steroids. Is this what Putin wants?
  • <snip>

    The whole thing is madness.

    Absolutely.

    Is Mr Putin insane? I think not, but who knows?

  • Putin is a megalomaniac but Zelenskyy will solve the problem by withdrawing Ukraine's application to join NATO.
  • Hopefully, some sensible accommodation will be reached (if you - generic you - think that not being in NATO is sensible).

    A megalomaniac is defined as someone who has an obsessive desire for power, which I suppose may be true of Mr Putin - although he surely wields a great deal of power already.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited February 2022
    Agreed on Ukrainian defense. Particularly without mines.

    The main mode of the invasion will be Russian Tanks. Landmines are not very effective against them. JAVALANs, NLAWs, and MMPs are quite effective, though. That is why I refer to the porcupine defense the Ukrainians have set up. The Russians were forced out of Afghanistan because of the STINGER ground to air missile. They seem to have forgotten that lesson.

    Fixed quoting code. BroJames, Purgatory Host
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited February 2022
    Will a Purgatory Host fix the above post? The quote is not Martin's. It is mine.

    Fixed. Please use the ‘Preview’ function to check your post before posting it. BroJames, Purgatory Host
  • Hopefully, some sensible accommodation will be reached (if you - generic you - think that not being in NATO is sensible).

    Is there any assurance Russia will accept that future Ukrainian governments will abide by an agreement reached by the current Ukrainian government under extreme threat? Or that future!NATO will feel bound by the agreement of present!NATO? I'm not seeing how such a guarantee can be considered plausible in perpetuity.
  • And we can see the end of end of the woods. But these trails do zig and zag and it could be just a beguiling clearing, as I've found round the Goose and Cuckoo.
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    Putin is a megalomaniac but Zelenskyy will solve the problem by withdrawing Ukraine's application to join NATO.

    Why should Ukraine do that? I can see a compromise where Ukraine joins NATO but (to pacify Putin) with an agreement that NATO troops won't be permanently based there - only called in when there are rumblings from the East.
  • Martin54Martin54 Suspended
    edited February 2022
    Merry Vole wrote: »
    Putin is a megalomaniac but Zelenskyy will solve the problem by withdrawing Ukraine's application to join NATO.

    Why should Ukraine do that? I can see a compromise where Ukraine joins NATO but (to pacify Putin) with an agreement that NATO troops won't be permanently based there - only called in when there are rumblings from the East.

    I can't see such a compromise. And I can't see Ukraine joining NATO: my anecdotal understanding is that a state in a territorial dispute cannot join NATO, three Ukrainian provinces are occupied or 'protected' by Russia. Ukraine would have to write them off first and there would have to be borders agreed by all parties, It would therefore be in Russia's interests, if I'm right, never to agree.
  • It's Wednesday.

    What is happening? Ukraine seems to have disappeared from the front page of at least some UK news websites...

    I hope this is because much diplomatic jaw-jaw is going on, so that there will be no war-war.
  • It's Wednesday.

    What is happening? Ukraine seems to have disappeared from the front page of at least some UK news websites...

    Well, at least since they put a programme run by the Azov Battalion onto the front page of (afaict) The Times, The Telegraph and The Mail.

    Meanwhile the head of Zelensky's party is criticising Western media for their overblown coverage: https://twitter.com/ChristopherJM/status/1493939541710974982
  • It's all a bit vague at the moment (much to Mr Putin's satisfaction, no doubt!), but the coverage here has been rather overblown, I agree.

    I expect that, in England at least, this is partly due to Johnson, Truss & Co puffing themselves up, rather underwhelmingly, as *world leaders*...
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    Given that President Biden, President Macron and Chancellor Scholz have all made personal interventions in this crisis and have treated it with the utmost seriousness I completely disagree that this a case of BoJo "bigging things up". If anything it is bizarre to me that it was kept off the front pages for so long.
  • Eh?

    The coverage has been quite full, IYSWIM, but with a lot of emphasis on how wonderful it is that Global Britain (in the persons of Johnson, Truss, Wallace etc.) is in the vanguard of Saving The World™.

    That's what I meant by *bigging things up*, which I edited to *puffing themselves up*.
  • Eh?

    The coverage has been quite full, IYSWIM, but with a lot of emphasis on how wonderful it is that Global Britain (in the persons of Johnson, Truss, Wallace etc.) is in the vanguard of Saving The World™.

    That's what I meant by *bigging things up*, which I edited to *puffing themselves up*.

    I think though that the coverage in France has been all about France being in the vanguard of saving the world, in Germany Germany, in the US the US, etc.

    Basically an outbreak of 'domestic press plays to domestic audience - shock'
  • also, much as it pains me to say it, it does appear from the various newswires and government statements that the UK's stock has risen in the capitals of the eastern EU member states (because London's support has been tangible and forthcoming - never mind forthright), and Germany/France's has fallen, because their's hasn't.
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    It is interesting though how Zelensky has been at pains to say "we're not so very worried in Ukraine... everything is more-or-less fine... let's not get too excited here..."

    Perhaps he wants to avoid giving Putin the opportunity to paint him as a warmonger. Perhaps he's thinking "in any case we have to live long-term with this guy as a neighbour, no sense in riling him unnecessarily..." Perhaps he just wants Ukrainians to keep calm and not panic...
  • All those things, I suspect.

    I know it could be argued that he wanted the job as President, but I don't envy him.
  • Merry VoleMerry Vole Shipmate
    edited February 2022
    Interesting opinion in the i paper today: Putin has long had a vision of Novorossiya (New Russia), a 'Slavic, Orthodox Christian and socially conservative transnational empire' and is allied in this with the Orthodox church.
    He believes the Russians and Ukrainians are one people.

    So maybe he doesn't want a bloodbath and can afford to play a very long game.
    Destabilising Ukraine economically as well as politically would suit his ends very well.
    At the moment foreign investment in Ukraine is badly affected by the current crisis. So Zelensky may have to appease Putin in some way to protect the status quo within Ukraine.
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    As an aside, it's astonishing to reflect that this champion of nationalism, Orthodoxy and social conservatism was once head of the Soviet KGB...
  • Perhaps the leopard can change his spots?

    I think that, as @Merry Vole says, he's capable of playing a very long game.
  • Perhaps the leopard can change his spots?

    I think that, as @Merry Vole says, he's capable of playing a very long game.

    Sounds like so much orientalism to me.
  • Can you say more?
  • As an aside, it's astonishing to reflect that this champion of nationalism, Orthodoxy and social conservatism was once head of the Soviet KGB...

    In fairness the USSR was pretty socially conservative, and repeatedly used nationalism when it suited ("Great Patriotic War"; "Socialism in one country" etc). The KGB, surely more than any part of the USSR, knew what the Soviet Union was really about. Putin was, of course, not head of the Soviet-era KGB but the post-Soviet FSB (it is instructive to consider the continuity of function and methods between the FSB, KGB, and the old Tsarist secret police, the Okrana).
  • As an aside, it's astonishing to reflect that this champion of nationalism, Orthodoxy and social conservatism was once head of the Soviet KGB...

    Social conservatism is the least astonishing aspect. Nationalism, likewise, is no surprise, as the Soviet celebration of its multicultural union ebbed and flowed as the current served, or required. Putin's nation is less multicultural than the USSR, so emphasis on a cohesive Russian identity is no surprise. Orthodoxy might raise an eyebrow, except that Orthodoxy never left the stage. During WWII the restrictions on the church were loosened to a considerable degree. Remember, also, that Gorbachev admitted to having been secretly baptised. The identification of Russianness and Orthodoxy is age old, seen in the almost synonymy of "peasant" and "Christian". Putin, probably cynically, is drawing on an ancient well. He has been called a tsar, and to my eye he resembles none so much as Nicholas I whose administration was characterised by his Minister of Education (Urusov?) as Autocracy, the People, Orthodoxy. The which sounds rather Putinesque.
  • I cross posted with Arethosemyfeet.

    The thing to look for in Russian history is the tension between continuity and disruption, and it's always thematic continuity that wins. Arethosemyfeet's drawing a line from the Okrana to the FSB is dead on the mark. One could draw it further back to the Preobrazhensky Regiment or, given the current complexion of Russian society, the Oprichnina.
  • Russia has purportedly been showing units returning to their bases. Which is interesting since the units are garrisoned near the border anyway.
  • Perhaps the leopard can change his spots?

    I think that, as @Merry Vole says, he's capable of playing a very long game.

    Sounds like so much orientalism to me.

    I am interested to understand what this means
  • Merry Vole wrote: »
    Perhaps the leopard can change his spots?

    I think that, as @Merry Vole says, he's capable of playing a very long game.

    Sounds like so much orientalism to me.

    I am interested to understand what this means

    Well, the piece itself was a bit of a hack job by a columnist (and Tory activist) with no particular expertise in Russia who uses it as an excuse to kick left (Ukraine bans entry to people for all kinds of reasons: https://twitter.com/TheErimtanAngle/status/1313880132084469762 )

    In reality, it's possible to explain Russia's moves in prosaically conventional terms without invoking stereotypes about the 'wily East', but playing to it is fairly popular among a certain tendencies in the West.
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    As an aside, it's astonishing to reflect that this champion of nationalism, Orthodoxy and social conservatism was once head of the Soviet KGB...

    In fairness the USSR was pretty socially conservative, and repeatedly used nationalism when it suited ("Great Patriotic War"; "Socialism in one country" etc). The KGB, surely more than any part of the USSR, knew what the Soviet Union was really about. Putin was, of course, not head of the Soviet-era KGB but the post-Soviet FSB (it is instructive to consider the continuity of function and methods between the FSB, KGB, and the old Tsarist secret police, the Okrana).

    Ah yes, apologies I got that wrong. He was a fairly senior KGB officer in Soviet times though according to Wikipedia.
  • As an aside, it's astonishing to reflect that this champion of nationalism, Orthodoxy and social conservatism was once head of the Soviet KGB...

    In fairness the USSR was pretty socially conservative, and repeatedly used nationalism when it suited ("Great Patriotic War"; "Socialism in one country" etc). The KGB, surely more than any part of the USSR, knew what the Soviet Union was really about. Putin was, of course, not head of the Soviet-era KGB but the post-Soviet FSB (it is instructive to consider the continuity of function and methods between the FSB, KGB, and the old Tsarist secret police, the Okrana).

    Ah yes, apologies I got that wrong. He was a fairly senior KGB officer in Soviet times though according to Wikipedia.

    Indeed. I think it's "distinction without a difference" territory in a lot of ways.
  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Kerygmania Host
    Huh. Things do not look super-promising at the moment. Tension seems at least as high as on the 14th.
  • Huh. Things do not look super-promising at the moment. Tension seems at least as high as on the 14th.

    If the Trilateral Agreement between Britain, Poland and Ukraine is real - which I'm struggling to believe - then that's just put the tin lid on it.

Sign In or Register to comment.