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In one sense Vova has already lost

Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 76 of the invasion

Day 76, eh? That didn’t work then…..anyone taking bids on Christmas?

31 thoughts on “In one sense Vova has already lost”

  1. It’s extraordinary how Western pundits all “know” Putin’s strategy while ignoring his on the record statements (cf Blinken), ditto “know” his timeline. Natostan does not want a short war. Elensky was making noises in Istanbul that would release the Donbass from its besieging overlords and recognise Crimea then Bojo stepped in to ensure escalation. Obviously not enough expired Cold War ordinance not yet exploded(those generous donations) and lend/lease needs to be signed, you can’t expect the MIC to starve!

  2. “Noises” eh? That’ll be definitive then.

    Zelenskyy has recently been saying that he’ll accept the borders at the start of this year for a ceasefire. So Boris has failed to escalate.

    There’s a rule of thumb that I use. Putin apologists can be recognized by how much agency they give Ukraine. Steve talks about “what if” the Russians do this or “what if” the Russians do that. The Ukrainians apparently unable to do anything by volition.

    So, no, Boris isn’t extending this war. He has no say in it at all. None.

    Zelenskyy makes the decisions. Sure, he wants Western kit, but that’s it.

    The Ukrainians decided eight years ago that they weren’t going to roll over. They made that call, and then sought help to make it possible. That was *well* before anyone else even thought there would be an invasion.

    NATO support Ukraine. They sure as hell don’t run it.

  3. @Chester

    ‘ Zelenskyy makes the decisions. ’

    Did he decide Russia would invade?

    Whether those with Putin Derangement Syndrome and Russophobia like it or not, Putin is driving this, not the addled, old fool in Washington or useless tool BoJo the hut in London nor that Oligarch’s poodle Zelensky.

  4. Ljh – Yarp.

    Natostan does not want a short war

    NATO wants to fight this to the last Ukrainian, and hopefully beyond, but Russia probably did at least hope for a short war, while budgeting for a cheap one. That was wildly and un-Russianly optimistic of them, tho I have a feeling they were half-bluffing until something changed Pooty-poot’s mind in February and they went Leeroy Jenkins.

    Zelensky is all over the shop because he’s a figurehead without any power. NATO doesn’t want peace so it won’t allow him to negotiate one. The Ukranian oligarchs don’t want peace either (they want their Donbass assets back, and they want their share of US/EU money drops) so their nazi thug patrols won’t allow him to negotiate one.

    So talks between the Russians and Ukrainians devolved into a farce (the Ukrainians deciding one of their own negotiators was a “Russian spy”, and murdering him on the spot, probably hasn’t helped. But they’re the Goodies. Slava Ukrania or something).

    Russia would like peace (on their terms, with them as victors, da?) but they’re not going to get it.

    It’s quite the Chinese finger trap the Rooskies have poked. NATO is talking about funding and arming the Ukrainian war for years to come. Despite the mounting economic difficulties of lockdowns and wars, NATO can probably make good on its threats for as long as there are Ukrainians still able to serve as cannon fodder.

    Russia can’t afford to fight this war indefinitely, they’re going to have to unilaterally declare “victory” and somehow secure and defend the Donbass and Crimea before Christmas, tho I’d probably guess wrong if I said which Christmas that might be. After that, we’ll get a Cyprus or Korea style frozen conflict while both sides gear up for the sequel.

    Actual winners of this digusting bullshit: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, China. Losers: everybody else.

    War, children. It’s just a shot away.

  5. Chester – The Ukrainians decided eight years ago that they weren’t going to roll over

    The Ukrainians decided three years ago that they were sick of the oligarchs, sick of the civil war, and sick of being everybody’s bitch. That’s why they voted for Mr Zelensky, a charming Trumpian outsider celebrity candidate who stood on a manifesto of peace, reconciliation and reform. I’ve read his manifesto, it’s a beautiful piece of writing and it is what it sounds like when doves cry*.

    The honeymoon lasted about five minutes until President Zelensky was informed that the Ukrainian military would not obey his orders to disengage from the East and the nazis were going to murder him if he pressed the issue, so he quickly morphed into Poroshenko with better PR because he’s not an idiot and has no intention of being a martyr.

    Immediately before the Russian invasion, the Ukies massively stepped up their bombardment of Donbass, which had killed about 14,000 of their mostly ethnic Russian and Greek compatriots since 2014. That’s not a good reason for the Russian invasion (Putin no more gives a shit about Ukies than anybody else), but it’s what happened. This isn’t a Dee Snider song, it’s one of Radiohead’s more depressing dirges.

    *Doo doo doo; doo doo doo doo

  6. It is amusing to watch Steve lose his s**t while his pal Putin gets trashed.

    NATO wants to fight this to the last Ukrainian

    In SteveWorld (TM) the Ukrainians fight to the death because we tell them to.

    I speak only for myself, but there are very few things I would go to war for. And being told that someone else in another country wants me to fight is not one of the. How many of you would die because someone in another country suggested you should? Bueller? Bueller?

    In the real world, the Ukrainians chose to fight because they don’t want to be Russian. They made that choice well before we showed any interest in the matter at all.

    As I said. You can tell a Putin supporter when Ukraine has no agency. Apparently they are the only country *ever* that does what outsiders want them to do.

    Did he decide Russia would invade?

    Well, yes, in a sense. He could have chosen to appease Russian. That would have avoided invasion.

    Not in a good way, of course. Except to Steve.

  7. Chester – It is amusing to watch Steve lose his s**t

    It’s one of those Dilbert Guy “two movies” things, I spose. If you don’t agree with what the other chap has to say, it’s more comforting to assume he’s raging incoherently, flinging his own poo at a laptop, etc.

    the Ukrainians fight to the death because we tell them to.

    They’re fighting to the death (when not surrendering en masse) because they’ll be shot if they desert. The nazis are definitely spoiling for some kind of slavendammerung, but I don’t think average Ukie regulars are as ideologically committed to this war as you seem to believe.

    Ukrainians chose to fight because they don’t want to be Russian.

    Except the Ukrainians who are ethnically Russian, who’ve been slaughtered on the regular since 2014.

    You can tell a Putin supporter when Ukraine has no agency.

    Their president is a puppet and his regime is now 100% dependent on Bidenbux and guns pouring out of the mouth of Zardoz. Not much agency there, Manchukuo had more independence.

    He could have chosen to appease Russian.

    No, you’re misunderstanding the situation again. He was *elected* to “appease” the Russians, if you want to put it that way. TPTB in Ukraine made sure that wouldn’t happen, over his dead body if necessary.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with appeasement. Compared with 6 million refugees, untold numbers of young men killed or maimed, a wrecked economy, civvies having to collect rainwater to drink, and the tantalising possibility of escalating to WW3, appeasement would have been the good outcome. Give appease a chance.

  8. -Steve
    Immediately before the Russian invasion, the Ukies massively stepped up their bombardment of Donbass . . .

    More Russian agitprop, promoted I think in this case by that Jacques Baud character. I followed his link to the OSCE report and the data indicated the opposite – the uptick in shelling was mostly from the Russian side onto Ukrainian positions on the line-of-contact. Battlefield prep.

    . . . their bombardment of Donbass which had killed about 14,000 of their mostly ethnic Russian and Greek compatriots since 2014.

    This “shelling their own civilians for eight years” bollocks is always a fine indicator of a lazy agenda merchant/victim.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    Putin has been very clear about his goals, he wants to turn the geopolitical clock back to a time that suits him.

    What his strategy and tactics are to achieve those goals he’s having to make up as he goes along and discovers that other people have a say in what happens to the geo political clock. That’s why we don’t know what they are.

  10. -Steve:
    . . . Zelensky was informed that the Ukrainian military would not obey his orders to disengage from the East . . .

    -an hour later Steve:
    They’re fighting to the death (when not surrendering en masse) because they’ll be shot if they desert. The nazis are definitely spoiling for some kind of slavendammerung, but I don’t think average Ukie regulars are as ideologically committed to this war as you seem to believe.

    Pathetic, really. Military won’t disengage, military doesn’t want to fight. It’s whatever convenience fits the narrative now; never mind about five minutes earlier. A job in the msm awaits.

    It’s interesting to look at the units deployed. Tens of thousands of regulars and now volunteers arrayed across the front, some counterattacking and pushing the Russians back toward their border, yet apparently they’re all doing this because they’re terrified of a couple of small Azov units in the south.

    In Mariupol, the regular marine, national guard, police and border patrol units fought their way to join Azov in the steelworks. They could all have surrendered anytime. Some did, but most chose to stand and fight. This seems to cause discomfort in some. Very odd, but very revealing.

  11. PJF – More Russian agitprop, promoted I think in this case by that Jacques Baud character. I followed his link to the OSCE report and the data indicated the opposite – the uptick in shelling was mostly from the Russian side onto Ukrainian positions on the line-of-contact. Battlefield prep.

    Hmm. The OSCE reports aren’t easy to break down into a neat tabulation of blame (there’s plenty of that going around), they’re dry stats on reported / observed / heard explosions by observers, with some guesswork about the direction they were coming from.

    Here’s a flavour of what was going on prior to the invasion:

    Ukraine crisis: New explosions shake rebel-held Donetsk as Russian invasion fears intensify

    A series of explosions have been heard in rebel-held Donetsk region for the second day running.

    Multiple explosions were heard in the centre of the separatist-controlled city late on Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday morning, following similar blasts on Saturday morning.

    Several instances of shelling in Donetsk and neighbouring Luhansk – now a hotbed for tensions between Russia and the West – have been registered by monitoring authorities.

    This “shelling their own civilians for eight years” bollocks is always a fine indicator of a lazy agenda merchant/victim.

    I’m sure the relatives of those 14,000 dead will be relieved to know their grief is “bollocks”.

    Pathetic, really. Military won’t disengage, military doesn’t want to fight. It’s whatever convenience fits the narrative now; never mind about five minutes earlier. A job in the msm awaits.

    Are you genuinely reading comprehension challenged, or would it be easier if I set up a Straw Steve account so you could win an argument with him (for a change)?

    Ljh – we are to ignore the 2014-2016 OSCE report and the 2014-21 UNHCR reports on atrocities in the Donbass?

    Candidly, yes. Anybody who raises inconvenient hatefacts about our new Greatest Ally or is insufficiently bloodthirsty for more Russian / Ukrainian corpses is a PUTIN (more like Poo Tin amirite)

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    What happened in the Donbass may or may not have been the excuse, but it wasn’t the reason.

    If he’d wanted to secure the Donbass why not just go straight in there with your best troops? Oh wait, it was a feint. Yeah, right, and that bridge is still for sale. And what’s the excuse for not securing the Donbass now? Is it another feint?

    And even if you could stretch the limits of casus belli to justify an attack on Kiev and the whole country, any sympathy for that evaporated as soon as we saw the barbaric way the Russian troops treated Ukrainian civilians.

    And I for one am now convinced that if he had succeeded in Kiev the Baltic states would be next on the list and that’s another reason why he must be thrown out of Ukraine.

    And before anyone childishly refutes what I say with another ad hominem attack that I watch the BBC or have been taken in by them, I’ll repeat that I don’t and haven’t.

  13. Hard to know who the hell to believe when it comes to this whole debacle–including the Ukrainian government, but 76 days of invasion and no clear victory is a pretty good sign that Putin hasn’t handled this very well. Not really possible at this point to say, “No, this is right where he wants them.”

    If this is at all going to plan for the Kremlin, it most likely has nothing to do with Ukraine itself. Even though I’m sure the Russian government would love to annex Ukraine and has their historical rivalry to back them up and garner some support for their cause, it could be that the main goal was something more large-scale than defeating a smaller country.

    Going back to first principles (Putin’s need for power and Russian influence), and also Jung’s method for finding motive (if you can’t figure out someone’s motivation, look at the results of their behavior), if this invasion is still fulfilling any objective, it’s simply a way to demonstrate Russia’s power grab on much of Europe, the threat it poses to NATO and the weakness that Biden exacerbated in the U.S. Putin, much like Xi, just wants to cause chaos and confusion in the West, and used Ukraine as a pawn (regardless of how many innocent people die, and regardless of whether he even “wins” the war) in order to obtain that end. Which would make all of this death and destruction even more shamelessly petty. It would also explain why Putin was willing to risk his own safety (he might only be able to safely travel to a handful of countries going forward), if his KGB-inspired fantasy is this all-encompassing.

    Again, that’s if he didn’t simply feel entitled to Ukraine for nationalistic reasons.

  14. I don’t have quite the dog in the fight that Chester and PJF seem to have, but I will just highlight a response to me from the former on the earlier thread. (I do so here because I doubt people will now revisit that thread.)

    I suggested that Russia might have some reason to be at least aggrieved because NATO had promised not to expand post 1989, to which Chester replied, “Another myth stuck in peoples minds as fact. This has already been addressed in these comments threads and shown to be false.”

    ‘Addressed in these comments and shown to be false’? Chester is Richard Murphy and I claim my £5.

    As I pointed out in my reply, there is a lot of revisionism going on.

    True, if you search on google now you get lots of stuff from ‘fact checkers’ saying it didn’t happen, BUT if you put in a search on google with date parameters *pre 2020* it’s rather a different story.

    Eg
    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-shifrinson-russia-us-nato-deal–20160530-snap-story.html

    “[The Russians] claim the United States has failed to uphold a promise that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe, a deal made during the 1990 negotiations between the West and the Soviet Union over German unification. In this view, Russia is being forced to forestall NATO’s eastward march as a matter of self-defense.

    The West has vigorously protested that no such deal was ever struck. However, hundreds of memos, meeting minutes and transcripts from U.S. archives indicate otherwise.”

    ‘Hundreds of memos, meeting minutes and transcripts from U.S. archives’ suggest it is in fact the case that NATO promised not to expand, but it is of course possible that Chester Drawers’ assertions in the comments section of the Tim Worstall blog carry more weight.

  15. Like many problems in the world it starts from the US replacing Bush the Elder by Slick Willie; an adult replaced by a perpetual adolescent.

  16. Hmm. The OSCE reports aren’t easy to break down into a neat tabulation of blame (there’s plenty of that going around), they’re dry stats on reported / observed / heard explosions by observers, with some guesswork about the direction they were coming from.

    So where does the information about the “increased Ukrainian shelling” come from then? We can’t technically allocate blame but it’s the Ukrainians because.

    Here’s a flavour of what was going on prior to the invasion:

    Well, it was tedious having to search your linkless headlines, but I did it for England. And, no surprise, they’re based on the very OSCE report that Jacques Baud misrepresented. Looks like the lie travelled far, well at least as far as the lazy media and its lazy consumers.

    “Multiple explosions were heard in the centre of the separatist-controlled city late on Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday morning, following similar blasts on Saturday morning.”

    Sounds terrible. But when the OSCE say “explosion” they just mean a bang. Their primary descriptors are “impact”, “outgoing” and “undetermined”. And in the case of Donetsk city centre there were 91 outgoing bangs in 8 instances, and 78 undetermined bangs in 6 instances. There were no known impact bangs.

    Page 25 to save you searching:
    https://www.osce.org/files/2022-02-20-21%20Daily%20Report_ENG.pdf

    It’s easy to make “multiple explosions heard in separatist city centre” seem like nasty nazi Ukrainians if you leave out the fact that most if not all of the explosions were outgoing fire. Easy but cuntishly evil. That’s Jacques Baud for ya.

  17. -Interested
    ‘Hundreds of memos, meeting minutes and transcripts from U.S. archives’ suggest it is in fact the case that NATO promised not to expand . . .

    And the LA Times opinion piece (by guy selling book) can’t label or link a single one of those hundreds so that readers can check the source. We just have to take book-selling-guy’s word for it. It’s impeccable.

    An original source, from 2014
    Mikhail Gorbachev:
    “The topic of “NATO expansion” was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a singe Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either. Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces from the alliance would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement, mentioned in your question, was made in that context. Kohl and [German Vice Chancellor Hans-Dietrich] Genscher talked about it.

    Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled. The agreement on a final settlement with Germany said that no new military structures would be created in the eastern part of the country; no additional troops would be deployed; no weapons of mass destruction would be placed there. It has been observed all these years. So don’t portray Gorbachev and the then-Soviet authorities as naïve people who were wrapped around the West’s finger. If there was naïveté, it was later, when the issue arose. Russia at first did not object.”

    https://www.rbth.com/international/2014/10/16/mikhail_gorbachev_i_am_against_all_walls_40673.html

    So,
    Gorbie, leader of the Soviet Union, who was there and made the actual agreements
    vs
    LA Times opinion piece with book selling agenda but not a shred of evidence.

    Chester’s error was in saying the agreements about East German territory were limited to nukes. I’m sure he offers his apologies.

  18. – Ljh
    . . . so we are to ignore the 2014-2016 OSCE report and the 2014-21 UNHCR reports on atrocities in the Donbass?

    How about links to the reports instead of YouTube videos editorialising them? I’ll bet Interested’s £5 that those reports don’t paint the separatists in a good light.

  19. – Steve
    I’m sure the relatives of those 14,000 dead will be relieved to know their grief is “bollocks”.

    What is bollocks is the misrepresentation of an entire conflict as just Ukrainians bombarding their own citizens.

    Why not mention the hell and shit coming from the separatist side?
    Answer: Nazi Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis Nazis.

  20. Those complaining about the Ukrainians in the DonBas still don’t answer what country in the world *accepts” a militant break-away state.

    There were many deaths as Britain fought to hold Northern Ireland. Committing some atrocities on the way, I might add.

    The Russians killed goodness knows how many in Chechnya. Basically one atrocity from start to finish.

    The Spanish have killed to prevent a Basque country.

    The US fought a massive civil war about it.

    It’s literally what *everyone* does. Why when Ukraine does it, does it suddenly become a problem? No country can afford to let bits just keep breaking off.

    If you are not prepared to fight to hold your borders, you soon won’t have any.

  21. @dearieme

    Like many problems in the world it starts from the US replacing Bush the Elder by Slick Willie; an adult replaced by a perpetual adolescent.

    Oh, it goes back wellllllllll before that. Ever hear of Nixon? Kennedy? Truman? Teddy Roosevelt? McKinley?

    Basically any time from 1776 to 2016, and from 2021 onward. Manifest Destiny, globalism and world policing like nobody’s business. When shithole countries cried “The world is watching!” we used to take that shit seriously and crank it to 11.

    My theory is that, in addition to power corrupting governments, there’s also a strange sense of guilt that turns into a feeling of responsibility to “help” the little guy. That’s also the reason why Hollywood actors get all cunty. I wish governments could get back to acting purely in their own self interests, within reason. If a country is going to start invading and/or annexing, I want to hear them say “We’re doing this because we can,” not “We’re doing this because we’re akshually the good guys.” At least then we could judge based on actions instead of empty platitudinous speeches.

    The shitstorm we have now involves Biden giving Ukraine yet another $40 billion of our tax dollars, while we have self-inflicted inflation and upcoming fuel shortages, not to mention every social problem imaginable in our cities to deal with.

    All so he can get his shitty biopic film and presidential library when he dies. All of this shit for a movie that maybe 500 people will stream for $2.99.–a feat he could’ve accomplished by simply starting a nonprofit or something.

    I’m upset.

  22. I’m learning so much. Apparently NATO wanted this war, after its European members spent the previous years running down their military capabilities and putting themselves over the Russian energy dependence barrel. It’s like getting a lesson in grand strategy from Von Clausewitz himself.

  23. @PJF

    So,
    Gorbie, leader of the Soviet Union, who was there and made the actual agreements
    vs
    LA Times opinion piece with book selling agenda but not a shred of evidence.

    Whose ‘book-selling agenda’? The writer isn’t selling a book (as far as I can see), he’s writing a piece based on a column he wrote in International Security, which is a little more prestigious than the LA Times. You can see the column (which was widely praised in the worlds of international security and diplomacy) at the link below, in all its heavily sourced and footnoted glory. His ‘agenda’ seems to be to show that NATO countries assured the Russians that there’d be no eastward expansion, and then reneged on that assurance.

    You and Chester may think this is absurd, and that we would never lie about something like that, but it’s easy to see how and why it might have happened.

    Gorbachev was basically begging for help. He needed to sell this internally. A major part of that was to seek and receive assurances that NATO wouldn’t expand.

    I very much doubt that it wasn’t even discussed, as he later claimed. Gorbachev never really recovered his reputation in Russia – it wouldn’t be amazing if he was also guilty of a little of that revisionism I mentioned, would it?

    Who knows? I don’t have your (to me) strange certainty on this issue.

    Here’s the NSA archive on the matter (dealing with materials declassified three years after your Gorbachev quotes):

    Washington D.C., December 12, 2017 – U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University

    https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early

    Here’s the Itzkowitz Shifrinson piece which is (as I say) very heavily sourced:

    Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion:
    https://watermark.silverchair.com/isec_a_00236.pdf?token=AQECAHi208BE49Ooan9kkhW_Ercy7Dm3ZL_9Cf3qfKAc485ysgAAAp0wggKZBgkqhkiG9w0BBwagggKKMIIChgIBADCCAn8GCSqGSIb3DQEHATAeBglghkgBZQMEAS4wEQQMx3Sl-5iTICo7KbF5AgEQgIICUAXOGlhjwAB5OBanX_B325pQjUkT9yqiRKiQ24vtlIkX3OR1qELYmWpDLVPBW5R78zEzcCjsCePl2VrSlH8622h7G6OO0OLT6DeeE1-eyn-nu4NbCXbCUm3eefr-18LRM_GIbouUuNerI_IoiqJMuWO_tf2w6Dd4YjiFDzpIGB8Om_z3SyFRF1Yx2JNLDZgmmD5T1U2FwAgXjlRr0N5uBcg_3aTrEI7Vq8L4ozxTthSGhAhdMQgx6G3LYvxqKgQgOj1gmHdK1ekVIgvsRzL4ZCH1EpkY_-ABP99o2BBjjFwTvOiWbjGr0gs1U5tHM0MA5fhjaKCWy2fcfgap07S23TmW30sz7Z8PkYBPMQTlfaiX9-_Y09r7DOJW7-Oi8v1Z-m5bDL2C-QuL60X38gb0gYa-Jd6Fo7taOfCZytUXD7mQQ9GXjacviFh2Xtv3O8RI_l_e-nZAYf9ETOow-y6s6k3EKfm0sSn9mvbUv49pLZ_QzeE4FEHhFeCy2lKAAvALK6bfGntT-Rij76-eLe1fnTjOoNRuES79IDd91-dJripNujqP9yOZsOg45r64zZ_oH4qgRTWc-_WB-KCWA6aWuJmnySPM00mGKJxZIApN5pCCre7btiEa-Fwdqa7FilIyZMMRik0FyeS5a67AWgUF3zoz65xIOLVroCUPzd3rT_exInNYwV1Vvb4w4cYFZOD8bC547_7RTaAA5mpbM62_rT49i-tyNKlY555ZiMmMg1ciT5_whv0YFI1oF0-R6v3oc8V_vis11sumsQX70v_JHRU

  24. @Chester

    Those complaining about the Ukrainians in the DonBas still don’t answer what country in the world *accepts” a militant break-away state.
    There were many deaths as Britain fought to hold Northern Ireland. Committing some atrocities on the way, I might add.
    The Russians killed goodness knows how many in Chechnya. Basically one atrocity from start to finish.
    The Spanish have killed to prevent a Basque country.
    The US fought a massive civil war about it.
    It’s literally what *everyone* does. Why when Ukraine does it, does it suddenly become a problem? No country can afford to let bits just keep breaking off.

    I don’t know if I am lumped in as a complainer but if so that’s because I haven’t made myself clear. I’m not complaining about Ukraine fighting not to be part of Russia, I understand that completely – I would definitely be among those fighting to retain my borders.

    Of course, the fact that this is what usually happens doesn’t automatically mean it’s the sensible approach to take if it means you retain the x% of your country you were fighting over but at the cost of much of the rest of the country being ruined and generational hatreds being amplified inside your borders. Some wars of secession are shortish and end reasonably well eg Bangladesh and Pakistan, but it’s probably a case by case thing.

    The problem isn’t (for me) the actions of Ukraine, or even Russia (much as I deplore them); the problem, and perhaps it’s a luxury problem to have, is as I have said that I cannot understand what is so special about this war that half the leaders of the world, all the media, most of social media and Bono have made up their minds, seen black and white, and chosen a side, overnight.

    Even today, the Yanks and NATO could end this simply by saying, ‘We recognise that Russia sees us as threat, even though we don’t think we are one, so we’ll drop all plans to incorporate Ukraine and treat it as a neutral buffer.’

    Instead we are pouring billions of dollars-worth of arms into the powder keg, and trying to push Russia’s buttons even harder by taunting them on the world stage and talking about expanding NATO even beyond the Ukraine.

    Whatever the history, whatever the rights and wrongs, this makes no sense to me.

  25. @wat dabney

    I assume you’re being sarcastic, but to be fair you’re only occupying the same position I myself occupied for many years, including during the early and middle parts of our Middle Eastern adventures – I have some experience of the Middle East myself, and tended to believe the official line(s).

    Even when I was dubious and considered the possibility that we really were going in to steal Saddam’s oil I could rationalise this quite happily by saying that we would be better custodians of that oil, which after all was keeping our world turning, than a megalomaniac.

    Turns out that I was wrong. I fully expect the next war over oil to be fought to shut down the wells, not exploit them.

    That’s a long way of saying: yep, it sounds nuts, but then they fucking ARE nuts.

  26. @oadjfoiadjf

    It’s been a while since I was in the States (I used to go very often) and unless they change the rules on vaccination I shan’t go again, but I understand from friends over there and from my own observations that it really is fucked.

    Biden’s grandiosity and self importance are legendary, but it doesn’t seem likely to me that he’s actually in charge.

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