Friday, January 20, 2023

Finally, the question of WHY the mad right (and parts of the left) wage war vs. nerds?

Am I exaggerating when I call this phase of the U.S. Civil War an outright campaign against smart people


Earlier I referred you to when Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, while campaigning for Herschel Walker in Georgia, made this so explicitly by repeatedly taunting kale-eating “high-IQ stupid people.” The same folks who are dissed as “snobs” by Tucker Carlson and his Ivy League colleagues who fake folksy accents on Fox. 


It didn't begin in 2011, when Rush Limbaugh started his crusade against the "Four corners of deceit" (science, media, government, and academia), proclaiming, "Only *I* will tell you the truth." But the jeremiads against all fact-using professions accelerated, after he got away with it.


Today, tsunamis of bile spew at every kind of nerdy people... as well as the very concept of objective reality as the Risen Confederacy foments against every single U.S. profession that heeds things called 'facts.' Science, medicine, law, journalism, teaching, civil service... name ONE exception! Hate toward all Folks Who Know Stuff... 


...now screeching also at intel/FBI/military officer corps who won the Cold War and the War on Terror. 


See my posting: Waging War on Expertise. (Where I also shine light upon the far smaller - but almost equally noxious - fraction of folks on the postmodernist left who follow an eerily similar pattern! But who are presently a microscopically-smaller danger. For now.) And in that posting I asked the obvious question.


Why? 


Why this all-out campaign, that no less than Mark Twain and Robert Heinlein described as an abiding, poisonous current that flows through zones of the American character?


Why? I can only offer theories... some that you may not have seen before. 


First. Culturally, MAGA/confederates are enraged by cities and universities and knowledge professions for a deep, psychic reason that's rooted in an annual trauma! Every year the best and brightest from every high school, in every small town, hug and promise to keep in touch... then head off to bright lights and colleges, then come back changed (if they return at all)


If you squint a bit, it’s amazing how closely this recurring trauma resembles the classic archetype of 'elves stealing your children' that recurred in a very large fraction of past cultures. And it is so sad that no one has studied this.


Second. The fact professions refute almost every meme on the mad right. Certainly 98% of what's said on Fox. Hence, all fact-using professions must be discredited! Yes, even military officers - lest they utter those hated words "Sir, that's just not true."


Above all, the Foxite war against all fact professions is about power


The world oligarchic putsch – aimed at restoring aristocratic rule based upon inherited position and wealth - is resisted foremost by folks who have some power, but who gained it meritocratically, in accountable professions like law and science. People with ability to thwart feudalism's return, who are loyal to the enlightenment experiment: scientists, teachers, civil servants, Law, Medicine, intel, journalism. 


Think about it. All egalitarian, meritocratic professions must be discredited before any lapse back into the 6000 year pattern of inheritance-based feudalism can fully take hold. 


I do not say this to disrespect the victims who suffer most because of confederatism! But do please think about it, asking: what do the uber-powerful have to fear from the powerless? Racism and all that are real and horrible! But to the oligarchs, such dog whistles are just tools to rile up their MAGA grunts. 


Again (and again) this is not zero-sum! The oligarchs' foremost enemies, who they actually fear, those with real power to resist and protect the Enlightenment Experiment...


...are the nerds.



== Oh you poor oligarchs, but even more pitiable Donald ==


If they weren’t the epitome of evil, I’d feel sorry for the oligarch masters of the Republican Party, right now. They're in a tough spot!  


Like the Prussian aristocracy in 1933, they found that their populist rabble-rouser was hard to control, once in power.  Oh, this time it worked much better for the aristos… Trump and McConnell et. al. proved obedient regarding policy matters – delivering tax cuts for the rich and demolishing American politics as a tool for negotiation and adaptation. 


Moreover, the MAGA Confederate mob hasn’t turned on their masters, the way Hitler & co. did.  Not quite. Not yet.


But Trump’s antics and spewings drove nearly all fact people out of the Republican Party, including most members of the U.S. military officer corps, FBI and intel agents and nearly all skilled professionals.  Moreover, grand juries across the nation – composed largely of white retirees – are indicting GOP factotums at staggering rates. Trump personally turned what was to have been a Red Wave midterm election into an embarrassing fizzle…


…and now ol’ Donald seems determined to make continued support for him openly synonymous with outright, explicit treason, with his demand to suspend the Constitution of the United States. 


Moreover, while potentially smoother successors – like DeSantis - are warming up in the bullpen, Trump has made it clear that he will go after any rivals, hammer and tongs, all the way to dukes n’ nukes. If anyone else gets the GOP nomination, he will take his fanatic wing and leave the Party, going rogue. Perhaps violently rogue.

The Oligarchs and their Foxite shills have experimented with having their other dogs repudiate old Two Scoops, but the craven curs always cave. 


See: Trump will go away slowly, then all at once.”    



== Prevent the Howard Beale Option! ==


Hence, the Masters may see only one plausible way out -- a Hail Mary pass! A way to shoot for the win-win. To eliminate their former – now lethally inconvenient – champion while retaining the loyalty of his fervid/frothing base, turning their fury instead against both Democrats and every enlightenment institution.  


Alas, the obvious way to do that was illustrated chillingly in one of the greatest of all movies of all time, Network.


Yes, I refer to the Howard Beale Option.  


Martyrdom. Could anything be more obvious? That is, if they could do it without getting caught. (And hence, we need Henchman Prizes to incentivize whistle blowers, in case that becomes their plan.)


Truly, for the sake of our country and the world – not to mention constitutional enlightenment experiment – we must pray for the continued health of a jibbering-capering, rabid-frothing traitor-madman, and for the continued skill and perseverant guardianship of his Secret Service detail. 


(And yes, with an eye especially on those closest to him!)


We can do our own part, by spreading word that we are wary. That the chief effect of any such martyrdom will be massive whistleblower rewards to lure forth snitching henchmen. And our vow that the words “Howard Beale” will be on everyone’s lips. 


And that the neo-confederacy’s Masters – those Kremlin “ex” commissars and desert murder-princes and casino-mafiosi and hedge lords and inheritance brats and neo-feudalists and Foxite yammerers all know: 


“You made this monster. Now live with what you built.”



== FInal notes ==


“Some of the Kremlin’s blatant falsehoods about the Russian war - aimed at undercutting US aid for Ukraine - are promoted by major figures on the American right, from Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes to ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Fox News star Tucker Carlson….  54 House Republican Freedom Caucus members voted against a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine…”

Don’t tell me it was for budget reasons. Democrats are always effectively more fiscally responsible that Republican administrations.  That’s always. And bet me $$$ on that. (See my posting: Outcomes Matter more than Rhetoric.)


Furthermore, the U.S. and a rapidly strengthening NATO are actually benefiting in certain palpable ways during this conflict, e.g. testing and modernizing technologies and doctrines while brave Ukrainians carry the main burdens, a benefit scarcely visible outside the intel and military officer corps.


(Always recall Trump reacting to Putin's invasion of Ukraine as "Smart, so very smart!" And Michael Flynn and so many other Trumpists openly or covertly lobbying for Moscow.)

Given the spectacular moral imbalance of the two sides and Putin’s dangerous delusionality, there would be more than enough reason to stay staunch in our backing of Zelensky’s brave people. Though in fact, the simmers of pro-Moscow grumbling rising from sectors of the GOP indicate another motive to remain stalwart. 


Their orders from the Kremlin are clear and they dare not disobey for a reason I have asserted for years. Blackmail.



== And... ==


ADDENDUM in the Post – “Casino mogul Steve Wynn's fortune comes not just from Las Vegas but also from gambling hub Macau — making his casino empire there vulnerable to Be-ij-ing's whims. This year, the Department of Justice unsuccessfully attempted to force Wynn to register as a foreign agent due to his ties to that government.” 


Well, he’s not the only gambling mafiosi who is laundering, then channeling funds from the polit bureau directly into the GOP. Look up Sheldon Adelson. In fact ALL gambling czars are huge GOP oligarchs.


...and... finally... in a pair of completely unrelated side notes...


-- December 19 1997… 25 years ago… TITANIC came out, to thunderous success, quickly sinking all competition.  Know what it’s competition was, the same weekend?  THE POSTMAN, of course. In one of the greatest epic fails of release timing ever. Still, Costner’s flick is visually and musically one of the most beautiful ever shot and it’s way big-hearted! I try to look at good qualities and shrug off the rest. And hey, the flick gave me 25 years of something to say to folks in airports.


And RIP my friend, sci fi geek... also pretty darn good musician... David Crosby.


156 comments:

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

“Some of the Kremlin’s blatant falsehoods about the Russian war - aimed at undercutting US aid for Ukraine - are promoted by major figures on the American right, from Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes to ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Fox News star Tucker Carlson...


Don't forget Michael Flynn. And his just-as-evil brother.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post again:

December 19 1997… 25 years ago… TITANIC came out, to thunderous success, quickly sinking all competition.


Ah, so that's why I think of Titanic as coming out in '98. That year began just a few weeks later.

Funny that I do associate The Postman with '97. Maybe I saw trailers.


And RIP my friend, sci fi geek... also pretty darn good musician... David Crosby.


I'm starting to feel the way my grandmother did when everyone she knew kept dying.

Tim H. said...

Another aspect of NATO weaponry in Ukraine, I expect debates on next generation weapons acquisition to include "The Russian Federation has seen our weapons in action, they must now be replaced".

Alan Brooks said...

A classic scene from Network:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=35DSdw7dHjs
——
I want to be nice to Trump, though, in encouraging him to attack Il Duce DeSantis. An alliance with the devil to drive out satan.

Tony Fisk said...

There has been some Ukrainian grumbling that NATO is prolonging the war (eg withholding Leopard 2's) to retain the test environment... (I'd find it frustrating, too!)
Watching the first episode of 'The Last of Us' suggests to me that zombie apocalypses can be taken as an analogy to urban woke corruption in the conservative mind.
The acordyceptic outbreak begins in the centre of that hive of liberal scum and villainy: Austin.
Vaccines are, of course, useless.
(Adding to the silliness, I have suggested that cookies tainted by the baking heat of renewable ovens also play a role.)

Dirtnapninja said...

Nato is not strengthening. In fact its weaker than its ever been due to the amount of its weaponry that has been sent and wasted in an entirely preventable war driven by neocon lunatics. A non-insane USA would have recognised that a Neutral Ukraine is best for all, and for a long time did.

NATO is riven with divisions and growing resentments at American demands that NATO countries send their hard to replace equipment into a pointless sinkhole in Ukraine. NATO is being demilitarised and made even more dependent on the USA

And the despicable act of the USA and its British vassals blowing up the Nordstream pipeline to ensure the Germans did not move towards rapprochment is the economic version of Soviet tanks rolling into Prague to keep them in line.

Your weapons?

The mighty Leopard 2..they did not impress the Turks who lost many of them to goat herders in northern Syria equipped with russian designed Kornet rockets. Most of them will be lost to krasnopols, lancets or just break down from lack of maintenance.

The bradleys? decent vehicle, very good optics. But its tracks are very narrow and it requires an immense amount of maintenance. The chaingun alone has 1000 moving parts. Whose gonna maintain em? And narrow tracks in a country infamous for its mud? really?

They are just more wunderwaffe, like the Javelins, NLAWs, M777s and HIMARS. Gadgets cannot overcome the immense logistical and structural problems faced by Ukraine. And quite frankly, many of them, like the patriot, are actually inferior for the task at hand to what the Ukrainians had before.

NATO weapons were designed to be used in central and western Europe, in highly developed areas with lots of metaled roads and close to their depots to maintain them. They will have none of that in Ukraine.

Ukraine will have a vast careening herd of disparate vehicles and equipment, none of which is interoperable, each of which will require its own logistical train, each of which will need its own dedicated teams to operate. And most of which the Ukrainians will have no training to fix or even operate effectively.

They will have to be towed out of Ukraine to be repaired.

Its a logistical nightmare.

This may give some ukrainians some momentary successes, but in the end you will see Russian t-90s driving around broken down Challenger tanks like the Shermans driving around abandoned king tigers after the battle of the bulge.

And now Russia is advancing everywhere. Soledar fell, and that set the dominos toppling. They still have perhaps 230,000 men who have been training since the fall held in reserve, waiting for whatever Russia has planned.

All this death and carnage for something that could have been resolved with sane diplomacy on the part of the USA. If you had let Ukraine negotiate in March, when they were close to a deal, all this would have been ended long ago.

The best course is to negotiate a realistic peace. You arent holding the winning hand.

David Brin said...

dirtnapper is welcome here. He seems articulate and able to string sentences into an argument! And to show us the blithering insanity of Kremlin rationalizers! I won't "yawn" give him more lifespan than a couple of refutations...

..e.g. that NATO members are all ramping up their defense budgets while increasing drills and putting the assembly lines for their best weapons on 3-shifts instead of one. WHILE sending Ukrain mostly hightly serviced and useful OLDER weapons drom reserve and drawdown stocks. (Such as handing them all ex-Soviet hardware they could use at once, including Mig 29s.)

Reserve weapons that have proved far more capable than Soviet I mean RF conterparts from the simple fact that they have obviously been superbly maintained.

Whatever Turkey does formally, Sweden and Finland are already de facto total NATO members and Finnish winter gear is pouring into Ukraine.

And letting RF 'have a look" at our weapons will gain them... what? These field trials - which have proved systems like HIMARS to be even better than their max predicted expectations - will be fed into the NEXT generation, simpleton.

I could go on, but there truly is no point. I encourage this fellow to keep coming. Pixels are cheap and I even noticed one of his ravings that I could not easily refut and I shall look into!

"The best course is to negotiate a realistic peace. You arent holding the winning hand."

Oh you wish, Kremlin boy.

Tony Fisk said...

The British sabotaged Nordstream?
I thought it was Greta.
Anyway, at least it is accepted that the Soviet tanks rolled into Prague to keep them in line.

Alan Brooks said...

Dirtnapninja (death mercenary),
you don’t mean peace talks, you mean surrender talks—you mean that Ukraine is to surrender parts of Ukraine that Russia wants.
I still don’t get the logic: Russia is suspicious of NATO and the West, so it invaded Ukraine, killing, maiming, torturing civilians? Are we supposed to simply chalk that up to collateral damage? the way a death mercenary does?

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

Adding to the silliness, I have suggested that cookies tainted by the baking heat of renewable ovens also play a role.)


"Tony's gone bye bye, Egon. What have you got?"

"I'm sorry, Venkman. I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought."

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

The British sabotaged Nordstream?
I thought it was Greta.


Radio host Hal Sparks is pretty convincing with his argument that the Russians themselves sabotaged Nordstream 2 rather than figure out how to safely depressurize it without venting toxic, volatile gas back into their own territory. I've seen no evidence to change that evaluation.

Dirtnapninja said...

"..e.g. that NATO members are all ramping up their defense budgets while increasing drills and putting the assembly lines for their best weapons on 3-shifts instead of one. WHILE sending Ukrain mostly hightly serviced and useful OLDER weapons drom reserve and drawdown stocks. (Such as handing them all ex-Soviet hardware they could use at once, including Mig 29s.)"

The factories you need are those that manufacture missiles, tanks, artillery and ammunition. Most NATO countries do not build missiles. And the factories to manufacture tanks and artillery are largely inactive. It would take many many months to reactivate them, train the workers, get the supply chains functioning.

Russia OTOH has its tank factories fully active. Even before the war russia was building and refitting more tanks per year than the entirety of NATO and 3 times the rockets and missiles. This capacity has only increased.

Missiles like Stingers and Javelins aren't being manufactured ATM and will also take a great deal of time to reactivate. Too long in fact. the war will be over by then.
That leave us with ammunition. You can ramp up ammunition a little more easily, but the current 155mm shell production in the USA is 14,000 a month, and it will 2 years to ramp production to 40,000 a year.

But by then, there wont be any artillery for Ukraine to use. Ukraine is down to 350 artillery pieces, most of them in bad repair. Ukraine needs heavy equipment. Equipment NATO doesn't have to give, and it would take a generation for NATO to rebuild its capacities. Most NATO countries lack the money and the will to do so, and the Americans are quite happy keeping them demilitarised and dependent on the USA.

Here's the truth..the MIC of NATO and the USA is configured for the war on terror. Its not configured for heavy combat against a peer or near peer. Training, doctrine, equipment, logistics, all configured for company level actions supported by mass airpower. Not for mass mechanised combat on the operational level where airpower is nullified and artillery dominates.
Andrei Martyanov has written books on this, trying to warn the west about its structural and technological deficiencies in a serious war.

"And letting RF 'have a look" at our weapons will gain them... what? These field trials - which have proved systems like HIMARS to be even better than their max predicted expectations - will be fed into the NEXT generation, simpleton."


HIMARS is a good system. But you would need to give Ukraine hundreds of launchers and thousands of rockets to make a real difference. And the russians are also making improvements. Russian ECM has dramatically improved which has gone a long way to nullifying Ukrainian drones. As has their ability to counter the HIMARS system.

Time to come to the table and make peace.

Dirtnapninja said...

Alan Brookes:

Imagine if China arranged a coup in Canada, where a democratically elected government was overthrown and replaced by a pro-chinese government. Imagine if this government made preparations to become a full ally of china, that would involve basing chinese naval vessels in Halifax harbour, and Chinese aircraft and missiles in ontario and quebec...minutes away from the midwest and eastern seaboard.

What if part of Canada refused to accept this and rebelled, and appealed to the USA for help?

how would the united states respond?

I think you know as well as I do.

Larry Hart said...

@Dirtnap

I didn't know much about Ukraine before these current hostilities, other than that a Ukrainian was pursuing the same girlfriend that I was back in 1978.

But I'll accept that this guy knows what he's talking about relative to Ukraine's relationships with Russia and with the west.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=philip+ittner


Alan Brooks said...

Dirtnap,
Maidan was a reaction to the threat of a foolish move towards untrustworthy Tsar Vladimir. Justified fear of his giant bully country played a role—I sure wouldn’t go within two thousand miles of Russia.
The unfortunate small nations to the west and north of Ukraine were and are also involved—you are callously ignoring such smaller states’ wishes.
——
And your handle, Death-mercenary: what is it about? Are you a provocateur? An agent? Why should you be trusted when your name, location, and motives are not revealed?

David Brin said...

We should be flattered. This fellow's linguistics show he's a native English speaker with some education, not a kremlin basement dweller. Moreover he answers points we make in a series of related sentences and assertions.

The assertions are mostly false, of course. e.g. ignoring that Ukraine's own arms industry is one of the largest in the world and they are producing drones and APCs and 152mm shells of their own. They need the west (for now) for the 155s. But RF forces have reduced firing artillery for weeks now for lack of shells... and their poorly maintained tubes are failing. There IS one scary bottomless supply source for Putin... North Korea, which may have a billion (rather than feed its people.) But the trans Siberia railway is an archetype soft target.

Oh BTW Finland has piles of made at home stuff, as does Sweden and UK makes the best mann-portable missiles. doof.

"Here's the truth..the MIC of NATO and the USA is configured for the war on terror. Its not configured for heavy combat against a peer or near peer."

Now this has a wee bit of truth, but then, that is dirtnap's styel. In fact, the swing to peer-war capability was alreadery underway, and one reason that Putin saw time no longer on his side, as it had been with an agent in the Oval Office.

The rest is mostly well-parsed utter drivel, of course. But what I'd really love to see is dirtnap's predictions for the war back last January.... then in March 2022... then July and then October. Sure buddy. I guess we'll see.

Alan Brooks said...

Why should Ukraine have wanted to join the EEU? Why would Ukrainians be excessively tied to totalitarian China (which is not that far away) in addition to authoritarian Russia?

Dirtnapninja said...

"The assertions are mostly false, of course. e.g. ignoring that Ukraine's own arms industry is one of the largest in the world and they are producing drones and APCs and 152mm shells of their own. They need the west (for now) for the 155s. But RF forces have reduced firing artillery for weeks now for lack of shells... and their poorly maintained tubes are failing. There IS one scary bottomless supply source for Putin... North Korea, which may have a billion (rather than feed its people.) But the trans Siberia railway is an archetype soft target."

What will you hit the Trans-siberian railway with? Besides rails are quick and easy to fix. Thats why Russia targets electric substations, not track or railyards. Russia literally has an entire army corps dedicated to protecting, maintaining and laying track.

And Ukraine *was* a major arms producer. They aren't producing anything in near enough numbers to make much of a difference.

"Oh BTW Finland has piles of made at home stuff, as does Sweden and UK makes the best mann-portable missiles. doof."

You mean the NLAW? British NLAWS have been in ukraine from the beginning. The UK is running short on them.

Sweden and Finland will be unwilling to give up their equipment in the quantities needed for sustained mechanised warfare. They cant manufacture it in sufficient numbers either.
The Ukrainians be will unable to operate this mishmash efficiently because it takes many months to train on them. And they will be unable to maintain it properly due to lack of training and spare parts.

Logistics, not gadgets is what will decide this. And Russia has the advantage.

This great heterogenous mass of equipment will be suitable for one great push. Likely towards melitopol. Into the teeth of triple lines of fortifications and massed artillery. It will look like the battle of Kursk.

No thunder runs here.

There is an irony to this all. The USA mastered the art of industrial warfare and standardisation in ww2 better than anyone. They seem to have forgotten it. America and its allies now field the Tiger tanks and Panthers and boutique weapons.

"Now this has a wee bit of truth, but then, that is dirtnap's styel. In fact, the swing to peer-war capability was already underway, and one reason that Putin saw time no longer on his side, as it had been with an agent in the Oval Office."

You haven't even begun the switchover. You are still in denial that you have peers. You still think its the 90's and Russia is just a giant Iraq. You have a bad case of DesertStormitis and dont understand that the gulf wars were nothing more than the modern equivalent of victorian era troops mowing down natives with Maxim guns. No actual conclusions can be drawn from them as to how war against a peer level opponent can be conducted.

"The rest is mostly well-parsed utter drivel, of course. But what I'd really love to see is dirtnap's predictions for the war back last January.... then in March 2022... then July and then October. Sure buddy. I guess we'll see."

What is your prediction? Lets lay our cards on the table.

David Brin said...

Oh right! dirty claimed before that the all-out spasm of RF missile attacks against the Ukrainian civilian population was actually against the rail system! Har! I have made enquiries and that hugely redundant network has been functioning flawlessly without pause, delivering western supplies etc. Not even civilian commuters have been slightly inconvenienced, getting home to their ice cold apartnments where -- guess what? -- their homes are heated by volcanic rage at all things Russian.

If there had been the slightest ambiguity about Ukrainian national identity, Putin sealed it forever.

As for equipment shipments, what need have Finland etc for deep war reserves when the ONLY possible foe they had has now stripped the Russo-NATO borders of every man who can walk on two legs? A platoon of Polish cub scouts could walk to Minsk, picking up Belarussian deserters and head straight for Smolensk.

As for the Siberian railway, seriously? Nothing proves dirty's lunacy more than claiming that such a 'line' can be defended from motivated teams with backpack cutting tools. Look up the series of already happened derailments.

I wouldn't do this if it weren't... fun! Sorry about the typoes, but he's not worth editing.

Alan Brooks said...

Is this guy an agent or informant??

Unknown said...

Just an aside/continuation of a prior comment (Santos with Napoleon)

If anyone quotes at you, "no battle plan survives contact with the enemy", just say "Austerlitz".

Pappenheimer

Unknown said...

The dninja is right that the problem with using weapon systems from many nations is the precarious supply chain and repair issues that result. For instance, US Civil War Confederate artillery batteries were often a mix of different cannon types, meaning that ammunition for one cannon might not fit the next piece over. Although I'm glad that many NATO members are stepping up to provide support, I would not want to be in Ukraine's logistical service.

As for most of the rest, it appears to be wishful thinking...

Pappenheimer

Alan Brooks said...

Ukraine will lose eventually, no one knows when, but every combatant fighting for Russia who is KIA or otherwise removed, is one less who can invade another nation.

Unknown said...

Everyone thought Prussia was doomed in the latter stages of the 7 years war, too.

Try the one weird trick! (Have the ruler of Russia die)

Pappenheimer

duncan cairncross said...

Alan Brooks
"Ukraine will lose eventually"

Why and how? -
Ukraine is in the defensive position - the old saw was that you need at least a 3:1 advantage as the attacker

The Russian Federation has barely got that as a population advantage and has less than that as an economic advantage

And that is BEFORE we add the NATO countries help to the mix

If it was just Ukraine and the Russian Federation then the invasion would fail

Alan Brooks said...

If Ukraine were to join NATO fast-like, then it could either win or not lose.
Yet over the course of years, Russia can even possibly use chem/bio weapons to force ‘negotiation’ (surrender).
How many of its buildings can Ukraine afford to have ruined or destroyed if Russia purchases all manner of missiles from other countries?
Is Russia bluffing about using nukes? Dirty bombs, just say. If Russia is bluffing, a bluff called can turn into the real deal.

duncan cairncross said...

Allan Brooks

The Russian economy is shrinking - and it was smaller than Italy before all this started

Russia was short of young men - that was before about a million of them left the country

The longer this war goes on the stronger Ukraine becomes and the weaker Russia becomes

Lena said...

Completely off the current subject, but addressing the title of this thread, I would note that every fascist regime targets the intelligent early on, both with propaganda and physical violence. Mussolini did it, Hitler did it, Franco did it, and America's right wing has ridiculed and denigrated anyone who has enough brains to see through them for many, many decades now. It's one of the key characteristics of fascism.

If anyone is interested, here are some good books on the subject that I have read within the past year or so:
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley
This one is where I would recommend starting. It’s a very good overview, discussing both historical regimes and current trends in Fascism.

American Fascism: How the GOP is Subverting Democracy by Brynn Tanehill
If you want to focus specifically on the Fascist behavior of the Trump Administration, this one is quite good. One especially good thing about it is that it works like an academic paper, with a very extensive set of footnotes, so you can look up and verify everything the author says.

Fascism: A Warning by Madeline Albright
The author grew up in Czechoslovakia and had to leave the country when the Nazis came, then again when the Soviets came, so she’s pretty familiar with totalitarian regimes. It goes into detail about Fascist regimes around the world from the ‘90s up to the Trump Administration.

On Fascism: 12 Lessons in American History by Matthew MacWilliams
This one details the currents of Fascism that have rooted themselves deep in American culture from very early in our history, even before the word was coined.

How to Spot a Fascist by Umberto Eco
Because you have to have Umberto Eco, one of the best writers of our time, and one who grew up during the regime of Benito Mussolini.

Other books that Republicans hate, because they tell the truth:

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
This one has been banned in a number of Red states because it tells people something they don’t want to hear.

The Queen: The Forgotten Life of an American Myth by Josh Levine
The reality behind Reagan’s constant lies about so-called “welfare queens.”

The Myth of Laziness by Mel Levine
A major reality check for those who think that everyone can be blamed for their own misfortunes.

Jesus and John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
This one chronicles the relationship between caveman gender ideals and the Religious Right.

American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World but Failed its People by Jarad Sexton
This one interweaves a lot of themes in terms of where this country has been going for more than a century. I highly recommend this one.

The Man They Wanted Me to Be: Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making by Jarad Sexton
Not as good as American Rule, but a good look at America’s cave man problem from a man’s perspective.

Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present by Ruth Ben Ghiat
This one goes for some of the gory details that really tell you what the stakes are.

PSB

David Brin said...

Which is why I say the crucial element will be awakening a large enough segment of the Russian citizenry. There are unused methods to reach them.

Tony Fisk said...

What's that? Logistics are the way wars are won?
Someone tell the Pentagon, and grandma (and cc the UAF)!

Meanwhile, keep those refurbed T-62s coming.

David Brin said...

Let's see. How did Soviet/RF tanks do in Iraq?

Dirtnapninja said...

"Let's see. How did Soviet/RF tanks do in Iraq?"

Ah yes, DesertStormitis.

Heres the real truth. The majority of iraqs tanks were an upgraded form of chinese type 59s and 69s, chinese knock offs of t54/55 and t62, and largely inferior to both. They lacked optics and modern fire control.

The Republican Guard were equipped with the export version of the t72, the t72m, what the russians referred to as the "monkey model". It was called the Monkey model because it was inferior to the main t72s used by the russians.

It was several tonnes lighter, came with homogenous steel armour instead of composite armour, and used an weaker gun with inferior ammunition

And once again, they did not come with sophisticated fire control.

As I said before, you can draw no conclusions from the iraq war. It was just another colonial slaughter of native tribesmen by a more sophisticated army.

Tony Fisk said...

The 'pop-up toaster' model T-72?

David Brin said...

dirtnapninja I treat your latest with respect. A cogent and informative... if utterly biased... answer. I could reply with scores of videos from the RF tank turret tossing tournament from last year. But more fundamental is the question of why any future customer would ever want to buy RF hardware exports, ever again?

Again, how'd your predictions from March 2022 go?

I recall a Ukrainian general 6 months ago: "Putin assumed a large Soviet Army could defeat a smaller Soviet Army. He was right...

"...We are not a Soviet Army."

Alan Brooks said...

Waiter:

“how would you like your Republican Guard tank crew? well-done or very well-done?”

Alan Brooks said...

One might suppose that if worse came to worst, Ukrainians could go for all-out insurgency, supplied from Poland, etc.
Depends on if Russia is bluffing on WMDs. And, again, bluff can get out of hand.
What I don’t like about this deathninja character is that he appears to be enjoying the war, it’s a sport to him:
“Go Bear!”

Alan Brooks said...

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-64346971.amp

Alfred Differ said...

About the only thing I see Mr Ninja getting right is that it used to be US policy to leave Ukraine as a Russian-controlled puppet state. Obama/Clinton were not inclined to alter that policy, but NGO's don't have to follow official US government policy. I know for a fact that some of us were upset with Obama's hands off policy and they went over there and did something about it. What? They went over there and convinced a lot of locals they didn't have to tolerate a corrupt puppet state.

That NGO actors get labelled as official (if undercover) US government actors is the usual mistake Russian government officials make. They fail to comprehend how the average US citizen can get up off their butt and DO things our government would rather they did not do… and not get thrown from a balcony or served polonium tea.

Well… once the revolution was underway… there wasn't much the US government could do except change policy. It would look really weird to state publicly that Ukraine should be a corrupt puppet state when our own people were over there persuading locals to choose less corruption. We might have gotten away with it last century, but the modern internet changes things. There would have been election consequences IN the US.

———

Our policy change has continued and some of it is now Putin's fault. We've seen what he can and can't do in Ukraine. We've seen what the locals in Ukraine can and can't do. Reality has a wonderfully clarifying effect on plans of all types.

———

The US is a sea and space power that understands well how logistics makes all the difference. Only a fool thinks we've forgotten. Only an idiot fails to notice how we supported combat operations in Afghanistan half a world away for many, many years keeping two of our ten carrier fleets nearby most of the time.

At best, our ninja is a wishful thinker. At worst, he works for Russian masters and hopes to introduce fear and confusion in the ranks of his enemies. Bah! The RF is rapidly reducing itself to a third-rate power and doing it in front of a watching world. If their pre-war rhetoric was believable, they should have crushed Ukraine. They failed at that! Now their neighbors know Russian weakness as evidenced by Finland's recent boldness.

duncan cairncross said...

Russia has gone from
"The second most powerful military in the world"
to
"The second most powerful military in the Ukraine"

Alfred Differ said...

Larry, (from last thread)

But in this day and age, the vast majority of Americans are wage-earners of some sort. And taxes on them are really taxes on the companies who pay their salaries.

Oh… this is so wrong it hurts.

I think the greatest legal sleight of hand ever accomplished by the US Federal government involves hiding how much they tax us by ensuring the number gets shunted to a little box on our pay stub that we fail to associate with 'income'.

For one or two boxes (depending on your state of residence) one type is labelled as a 'withholding' that gets close to being correct. It's an interesting term that leaves one with a possible impression that they'll get some of it back… like a deposit. If they withhold too much, that's exactly what happens and a lot of people like this so much they let it happen year after year.

For one or two more boxes some terms have an acronym name. FICA means what exactly? Oh yah. It's that one where your employer pays half of it… except that's now how employers think of it. As far as they are concerned your total compensation is the sum of burden you represent as an employee. Both parts of FICA are treated as 'What we pay you' even if you don't get your hands on about a third of it.

Toward the bottom of most pay stubs, one might find the word 'tax' in some form. Do you read that far? Most don't. They cut to the chase and look at 'net pay'. Everything else is an illusion!

———

It's not an illusion to those of us who have worked as 1099 contractors or tried to build companies. Taxation realities smack us in the face when we are on both sides of the pay stub.

———

One thing my current employer does is deliver to us occasional statements of the total burden associated with our employment. I get to see itemized entries for what I actually cost them in exchange for work I perform. The typical pay stub has most of the big costs but can't cover them all because there is no slot for their side of medical insurance, office costs, and other bits and pieces.

Seeing the total cost is an eye-opening experience. Seeing that number shows me what I'm actually demanding of them when I work for them. For me… about half of it never reaches me.

Alan Brooks said...

Probably ninja is no agent. He could be more subtle, he could carefully plant memes of doubt concerning our domestic situation being a house divided.
He (we’re presuming ninja is male) might pick a less provocative handle. Or would he? Could be a bluff: wanting us to think he is merely an outspoken non-agent.
Putin is very crafty, he says he’s not bluffing regarding the worst-case scenario of using nukes. Perhaps he isn’t bluffing, but wishes us to think he is—by saying that he is not...
Double-bluff, or triple?

Dirtnapninja said...

"dirtnapninja I treat your latest with respect. A cogent and informative... if utterly biased... answer. I could reply with scores of videos from the RF tank turret tossing tournament from last year. But more fundamental is the question of why any future customer would ever want to buy RF hardware exports, ever again?"

Because Russian equipment works just fine, is cheaper and requires alot less maintenance.

They have the best Surface to air missiles, greatly superior to the Patriot, excellent artillery, good aircraft and decent tanks.

Russian tanks are generally not a match in a slugging match with the latest NATO tanks. But heres the thing..all equipment is designed with the mission in mind, and the design philosophies of western and russian tanks show this. NATO tanks were literally designed as tank destroyers, to kill Russian t-72s on the plains of Europe, while Russian tanks are designed to perform maneuver war.

Keep in mind that tanks mostly engage lighter vehicles and infantry, not other tanks.

The NATO tanks are much much bigger..a t90 will weigh about 45-50 tonnes depending on the model while the latest M1 weighs 66 tonnes. Generation for generation, they have an edge in optics and fire control too.

NATO tanks have better gun depression, allowing them to position themselves hull down exposing as little of themselves as possible.

NATO tanks also have more crew survivability. The Soviets placed little emphasis on this, and it carries over to this day. The experimental t-14 will rectify this issue, but it isnt in mass production yet.

On the downside, they are very expensive, maintenance intensive, their weight makes it harder to move them around and they take longer to train people on. And they use alot more fuel.

To use a ww2 analogy, NATO is building Tiger tanks. Russia is building Shermans.

You can get two of the latest t-90s for every Abram. And the latest mark of t90 is more than a match for the early mark of leopards that poland is sending.

Study some time what happened to Leopard 2s in Syria, the Merkavas in Lebanon and how many export model Abrams have been popped by Houthi tribesmen in Yemen. Western tanks are no less vulnerable than Russian tanks to anti-tank rockets and are alot more expensive to operate.







Alan Brooks said...

As today is Sunday, let us meditate on Patriarch Kirill’s promise to personnel fighting against Ukraine. They travel via the Heaven Express—no stops:
https://spectator.org/vladimir-putins-religious-hypocrisy/

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

"But in this day and age, the vast majority of Americans are wage-earners of some sort. And taxes on them are really taxes on the companies who pay their salaries."

Oh… this is so wrong it hurts.


Knowing that you have spend much of your life as an employer or independent contractor, and that I have not, I defer to your take on such things most of the time.

But after reading your long post after the above, I fail to see how any of it is in disagreement with what I said. You describe (accurately) the cost to the employer of all of the various taxes ostensibly levied on the employee. How is that different (let alone so different it hurts) from "And taxes on them are really taxes on the companies who pay their salaries."?

My point was that if income taxes go down, it saves the employer money, because he can reduce your gross pay without you (probably) noticing it in your net pay. Or he can claim to be giving you a raise by keeping your gross pay constant. If income taxes go up, he can be constrained into giving employees a COLA which somewhat offsets the increase. Again, how is this different from what you retorted?

If you think my point was, "Income tax increases are inconsequential because the only consequence is to the employer, "* I can see why you'd be miffed. But I was going more for something like, "Income taxes, whether on the poor or working class or wealthy ultimately affect employers more than they affect workers."

* From The Simpsons: "And it's a victimless crime. The only victim is Moe!"

David Brin said...

Alfred, Putin deems the Western NGOs to be agents allowing the USG plausible deniability viz aggressive actions, of the sort George Soros used to help undermine all Warsaw Pact regimes. VP thus deems sending mercenaries with no badges across borders to be simple justified retaliation/

No one mentions there are many escalations short of using nukes. We expected VP to launch cyber attacks on the West and he no doubt did! Only to find that our official worries about super-genius Kremlin basement dwellers had been deliberate misinformation drawing them all into futile honeypots. Indeed, the hidden story from Ukraine is how spectacularly well most tested Western systems are working. It suggests that levels of corruption in the US Mil/Industry complex – while problematic – are fairly minimal.

Where I do expect VP to launch sub-nuclear attacks is upon subsea fiber cables (repairable) and maybe blowing up Low Earth Orbit (NOT repairable, more lick Samson pulling down the temple on his head.) Possibly messing up the Bosporus.

Dirty: I’m glad this guy is around!
1. It helps my cred as running non-echo-chamber, fitting my philosophy.
2. He offers interesting factoids, half of which are at least vaguely related to true. Example:

“To use a ww2 analogy, NATO is building Tiger tanks. Russia is building Shermans.”

That’d be a good analogy, if it weren’t that western doctrine calls for very tightly disciplined coordination with mechanized infantry, sub-tnak fighting vehicles and pinpoint accurate artillery. And ahem, where's the Russian Air Force? Anywhere to be seen? Whatever happened to Instant Air Superiority?

And then we get:

“And the latest mark of t90 is more than a match for the early mark of leopards that poland is sending.”

Oh, please.

David Brin said...

Oh, again. Let's see those confident predictions from February-March 2022.

David Brin said...

Kiln People received four SECOND PLACE awards: the 2003 Hugo for Best Novel; the 2003 Locus Award; 2003 Arthur C. Clarke Award; and 2003 John W. Campbell. (I may hold the runner-up record!) Anyway, it's a way fun read and mind-blower... and the ebook AND a fine POD trade paperback are both now back in print with gorgeous new Patrick Farley covers.

Try the first chapter free, here.
http://www.davidbrin.com/kilnpeople.html

You WILL want the sci fi tech that these future folk take for granted! Though be careful what you wish for. And be many!

(Addendum. The Postman came in 2nd for novella, then 2nd for novella the next year... followed by 2nd place for the novel Hugo. Others too! Ah well!)

Guides to Adventures said...

Sounds to me like envy, only the special get to communicate. It's a plea for feudalism.

I say they can suffer; dealing with an Amazon tablet would be about right.

Unknown said...

Dr. Brin,

Read Kiln People (or, as the Brits more aptly spelled it, Kil'n People) long ago...excellent work.

Pappenheimer

P.S. re: Patriarch Kirill - Wiki says he is also a primate. Sorry - Primate. Statements like that remind me of Twain's War Prayer.

Guides to Adventures said...

Anyway, at least we knew how to use shermans.

David Brin said...

Shermans, properly supported by - and supporting - infantry and with immediate artillery support (mobile 105mmm and occasionally 155mm), were (IMHO) by far the best tanks of WWII. But then, I am an ornery contrarian.

Guides to Adventures said...

As I said.

Lorraine said...

I'm envious, but I'm not supportive of feudalism, so that is not an excuse.

Unknown said...

Dr. Brin,

Your opinion on Shermans isn't far from mine*, but...if you were a Sherman crewman and a Tiger rolled into view at six hundred yards, even you could be forgiven for wishing you could switch places with the Tiger crew. Even if the Sherman was more reliable and maneuverable, Tigers shrugged off hits that would have totaled a Sherman, and packed a harder punch over a longer range. "Best tank" for Eisenhower, the division commander, or the repair battalion is not necessarily "best tank" for Sgt Snuffy, the guy in the crosshairs. Please note that the US Army pushed the development of the Pershing heavy tank as a counter to the PZ V/VI as fast as possible, partly because of Sherman tank crew losses. The Pershing was also supposed to replace the TDs that could destroy nearly anything on the other side of the field but were often open-topped and less survivable than true tanks.

Pappenheimer

P.S. standard Wehrmacht tank from @1943 on was the PZ IV, and the survivability of both this and the Sherman seems to have been about equal. I'd probably swap out either for a T-34/85, which had lower ground pressure than the Sherman (narrow Sherman treads), more reliability than the PZIV, and maybe a slight killing/not dying advantage over both. Tigers were actually pretty rare and temperamental beasties - a Tiger crew waiting for spare parts isn't very dangerous.

Unknown said...

Insert "Girls und Panzer" clip here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rkn-xqhSDc

Whatever else you can say about Russia - and I can say PLENTY - about 90% of German WWII military casualties were on the Ostfront. That and (I hate to say this, because I hate civilian targeting) the US daylight bombing campaign sealed the fate of Nazi Germany, because the first destroyed their core of veteran soldiers and the second their core of veteran pilots.

Pappenheimer

Alan Brooks said...

Any number of factors, including facts concerning factories:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3H89Simz_OQ

David Brin said...

Tank vs tank was the 3rd job and least important of common and for that, yes, Shermans counted on numbers and/or infantry + artillery support.

Job #1 was infantry support and it was simply the best there ever was. Job #2 was cavalry breakout exploitation and it did that superbly, as well, ni,ble and numerous and easy to field repair. Sure the Pershing was needed.But Sherman was as big as you could ship easily for fast unload in Europe and still cross most bridges.

Then again, you guys know many ways I am contrarian: e.g. that R. E. Lee was only good at one thingm stabbing at the flanks of a lumbering invading army. When he tried to invade, he was a klutz and there are no scenarios where Gettysburg was even close.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

But after reading your long post after the above, I fail to see how any of it is in disagreement with what I said.

Looks like another case of me talking too much and failing to enforce my point.

Which is...

If your employer is paying 1.X % of your salary (X<1) as their burden for your services then in a world where your government reduces their burden you have a legitimate argument for a raise making up (most of) that gap.

Consider a non-tax example. During the pandemic I worked from home. My employer didn't need to lease the sq ft for my desk, pay for the landline phone, and saw a reduction in their utility bills because I wasn't there using electricity or heat. All things being equal, they could have given those savings to me, no? Reality is a little different of course. My employer was locked in a multi-year lease, so no sq ft savings occurred. They DID get rid of my desk phone and saved on the utilities for an office NO ONE was using. I didn't ask for a fraction of those savings, though, because 1) I was happy to be employed and 2) I know roughly what the numbers are and they were pretty close to peanuts.

Had they been able to duck out of the lease, though, I might have brought it up as a way to compensate employees who chose to set aside rooms at home and treat them as business spaces with the associated depreciation benefits.

This might sound weird for someone who hasn't run an business, but I told much the same tale when I was a 1099 subcontractor working a one month contract for a SF Bay area company. They were going to go through the logistics of setting up a desk for me so I could work in their office. I recommended they let me work from home (Sacramento at the time) and I'd visit every Friday with a status update so they could decide if this arrangement was still working. That way they'd skip the logistics and I'd carry the office equipment burden. That saved me a ton of money and commuting time... and it worked out so well they invited me back for another project a couple months later.

------

I'm talking too much again because this stuff is near and dear to me. In a nutshell, though, every $ your employer spends in exchange for your service is potentially yours if you can figure out a way to wrangle it. Your state and federal governments make it look otherwise, but that's an illusion your employer can see through easily. You cost $$ to them even if you only see $.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

Putin deems the Western NGOs to be agents allowing the USG plausible deniability...

I agree, but I think the misperception is more of a Russian thing than it is a Putin thing. They've failed to understand this about us for quite some time.

This isn't news to you, though. You've pointed out how feudalists don't really understand their opponent... us.



Alan Brooks,

I think you underestimate the chance that he's an agent. We overestimate their skill at influencing us. We overestimate a number of their other skills too. Recall how the end of the Cold War surprised many of us at the time.

They actually aren't all that good at influencing us as a whole, but they are excellent at securing intel useful for blackmail. With that they can get help covering gaps in their skills.

Recent influence they have among Republicans was a stroke of luck that will be countered from our side. We are already hard at work untying that relationship. Give it time.

Unknown said...

Well, when your opposite number (at Gettysburg) says, "He tried our flanks yesterday, so he'll attack the center tomorrow" and is RIGHT, that's...not good. Lee was a good commander - he had his men digging in early in the war, when other Confederates were still stuck in Ivanhoe mode - but he was too aggressive and bled his own army dry. 'Druther have served under Johnston.

The only way I've ever gamed out Gettysburg as Lee and won was to send Pickett up Cemetery Hill straight out of line of march in the dead of night the moment his division arrived. Easier to do with cardboard counters and a fully illuminated battlefield map - though something like this was tried later, in the Wilderness, by a Col. Upton (USA) and did manage to break the Confederate center open and capture its battery redoubt; Lee just threw everything he had into stopping a breakthrough while a new trenchline was dug behind the carnage at the Angle.* I'm not sure that was an option at Gettysburg because of the commanding nature of Cemetery Hill/Ridge. However, it's not a realistic move because Upton briefed his REAL, rested column on exactly what to do before sending them in; there would have been no time to prepare Pickett's troops and they had been on a forced march the entire previous day just to reach the battlefield.

*This has been described as perhaps the worst extended, close-quarters bloodshed in the entire war

Pappenheimer

Tony Fisk said...

Heads up*

Close** rock encounter coming up.

* ... or should that be 'down'?
** as in 9600km min Earth distance (centre or surface?). 8m could leave a small dent.

Dirtnapninja said...


"That’d be a good analogy, if it weren’t that western doctrine calls for very tightly disciplined coordination with mechanized infantry, sub-tnak fighting vehicles and pinpoint accurate artillery. And ahem, where's the Russian Air Force? Anywhere to be seen? Whatever happened to Instant Air Superiority?"

It depends on what you mean by "Air superiority". The Russians have a different role for air power and a different definition of air superiority. They use their air force in a different way.

Firstly, Ukraine has a very formidable SAM threat. Far moreso than any power the USA has confronted in a long long time. Large scale use of strike aircraft is going to result in severe casualties. If the USA was to send their A-10s, there would be no BRRRRRT. Just alot of destroyed A-10s. You'd have to eliminate the SAMs first, and this isnt as easy as it sounds.
That is why the west did not try a no fly zone. Russias SAM net is the most comprehensive and sophisticated on the planet, and NATO knows it. Western airforces would take very considerable casualties.

Western militaries are built around airpower. Russia's military isnt. The purpose of air power in Russia's doctrine is primarily about denial. Thats why the Russians place such an emphasis on SAMs and AA. Ukraine has no airforce to speak of now. Their aircraft get shot down if they come within 100km of the front. Some from SAMS and some, it is rumoured by SU 57's using long range BVR missiles.

The russians dont see a need to emphasize airstrikes, because they have missiles, drones and artillery that can do the job with less risk and more cheaply. Since the Ukrainian air threat is non existent, and the artillery can shoot freely, in the minds of the Russian military they have air superiority.

"And then we get
“And the latest mark of t90 is more than a match for the early mark of leopards that poland is sending.”
Oh, please."

How much do you know about tanks? The Poles are sending 2a4s, an older model of Leopard. The t90m has superior optics, fire control, carries active defenses and superior firepower as compared to the leopard 2a4.

Not that it matters that much..the two are unlikely to encounter each other and most tanks in this conflict are killed by artillery.

Der Oger said...

Russian military doctrine is comprised of two parts:
1) Use artillery and bombardements of civilian infrastructure to make it seem futile to defend a place, weaken morale and destroy civilian industrial capabilities;
2) Send in scores of infantry and secret police officers to kill and rape whoever is left after a place has been turned into rubble, Einsatzgruppen-style.
3) Plunder the country and send toilets and clothing left behind back to their area of origin.

It does not care about combined arms theories, just about squelching opposition with sheer numbers. Which they, to be frank, don't have in that range they would need, at this moment. And beyound "Exterminate the Population", Russia has in no way the resources to deal with the occupation phase, especially when the long-term effects of "special military operation" and the western sanctions kick in.

The Leopard issue is a domestic story in both Germany and Poland. We have elections in three eastern federal states next year (which lean pro Russia, comprising 10% of our current population), and currently, the far-right AfD could well emerge as a victor. (If it is not banned until '24, which is unlikely, but possible.) There are also rumors about kompromat from the 80s (when SPD politicians, including Scholz, were invited by the Kreml and East Berlin) and current events, such as the Cum Ex Banking and Wirecard scandals. Then, there is the wounded pride that the old Ostpolitik has failed. Oh, and then there is the theory - a somewhat childish one - that if Germany would deliver tanks, it would serve as an excuse for Putin to press the red button. (Putin an his fellas hollowed out their own strategy of nuclear intimidation by repeating it again and again without delivering. Because they do fear the reaction.)Maybe it is the fear of an Ukraine winning so decisivly that it would have unforeseeable effects on the Russian Federation.

Poland, governed by the far right Law and Justice party, on the other hand, tries to revive it's feud with Berlin. They proposed to deliver Leopards, even if Germany would interdict the delivery; Vice Chancellor/Minister of Economics Habeck (who would be in the position to authorize that delivery) said publicly he would stand in the way once Poland issued a formal request which they haven't done to this day. And they would only deliver 12 of the older models which they can afford to donate - they will be replaced by the Abrams tanks already bought. It is just posturing in the line of the trillion dollar WWII war reparation demand.

Finally, lets talk about the numbers. Germany has only 300 or so in active service, and assume that one third of them are not in working condition. How many could we really give away without compromising the rest of the country and the alliance? (Personally, my answer would be "As many as we can", gambling that 100-200 of them would suffice to have an decisive impact. And the Ukrainians have proven so far that they are able to use our hardware properly. I believe that if France and Germany would believably stated today that they would support Ukraine as hard and fast as we can, increase production as if we already were at war with Russia, tomorrow they would immediately start peace talks in earnest.)

Alan Brooks said...

Immediately start surrender talks in earnest, ending this war—so Russia can begin to plot its next one.

Der Oger said...

Immediately start surrender talks in earnest, ending this war—so Russia can begin to plot its next one.

Consider the following scenario:
Russia looses in a (for them) humiliating manner, and signs an armistice. They retreat from Ukrainian soil, including territories gained in 2014. In the long run, it would mean the end for Putin, he will be shown the balcony, a wall in the Kremlins cellars or served Polonium tea.

Then, who will replace him?

Russia has no democratic infrastructure or culture. The pretenders to the throne (e.g. Medvedjev, Prighozhin, Kadyrov) will try to oust each other, possibly leading to a civil war (in which the participating parties might have access to nuclear weapons). Areas with a high percentage of casualities (Spoiler: Not those of Russian ethnic origin) might attempt to secede.
China might decide to expand it's territory northwards.

We will see additional waves of refugees, economic disruption, wars, atrocities.

Then, humiliations tend to nurture future armed conflicts. The Franco-Prussian War of 1871 led to WWI which in turn helped the Nazi Party to rise. Only if you utterly defeat and destroy the power structures and cultural narratives, and create a generational trauma with the right kind of cultural aversions (against War, Charismatic Leaders etc), and allow the culture to redevelop in new lanes, welcoming it back into the international society of civilized people, you can hope that, one day, the nation will have made the transition from a belligerent, imperialistic to a peaceful, cooperative culture.

But the degree of force needed to destroy those power structures cannot be done without massive direct engagements - and invading Russia and bringing it's leadership to trial won't work. It remains to be seen if ousting Russia from the international markets and letting it bleed dry on people in the 18-30 bracket will achieve the same result - societal collapse.

Dirtnapninja said...

"Russian military doctrine is comprised of two parts:
1) Use artillery and bombardements of civilian infrastructure to make it seem futile to defend a place, weaken morale and destroy civilian industrial capabilities;
2) Send in scores of infantry and secret police officers to kill and rape whoever is left after a place has been turned into rubble, Einsatzgruppen-style.
3) Plunder the country and send toilets and clothing left behind back to their area of origin."


Russia prefers maneuver war. The call it Deep Operations. Its what allowed them to overrun Manchuria and 500,000 japanese troops in 11 days. Its what allowed them, to annihilate an entire German Army Corps and recapture much of belarus and poland in 2 months.

The current war began with deep operations, with Russia striking out in four fronts that stretched the length of london to berlin, destroying most of Ukraines airforce, overrunning 1/3 of Ukraine and operationally encircling much of Ukraines military in a few weeks. And this with only 150,000 men.

The current war became a war of attrition only after the initial operation failed to force Kiev to the table, leading to the withdrawal of Russian forces from Kiev and initiating the battle of donbass. Donbass has always been very difficult to take. Its a maze of fortified cities and trenches flanked by Kharkhov.

David Brin said...

Pappenheimer, interesting re Upton.

My reason that Gettysburg was hopeless was strategic. Even if Lee punched through in any of 3 places, Culp’s Hill, L. Round Top or the center, Meade had tons of reserves to throw in. And even if the Blue line broke, everyone knew they had a fallback line, even better, already prepared a couple miles back, at Pipe Creek. Lee could not advance on DC or Harrisburg with the whole Army of Potomac at his back. He could only go home. And he could only do that if both armies were so exhausted that pursuit was impossible. Which he accomplished.

While the flick Gettysburg was superg as a movie depicting the reality of events, the strategic murmurings of Buford and longstreet were baloney. Lee was crippled from the beginning and knew it.

------
Ol’ dirty: Oh lordy, the SAM excuse for RF failure to get the predicted air superiority in the first day – or ever after – is so pathetic! It is very well parsed and expressed and rationalized.... absurdity!

If RF were a modern power, it would know where the AFU SAM batteries are and target them. A platform sitting in a known position has no chance against one that can launch equivalent-tech from a random strike pattern, even in fog and from a distance.

This drooling nonsense is as awful a rationalization as "we aren't hurling missiles at civilians but the railroads!"

The rest is such drivel! Again, let’s see those March 2022 predictions.

====
Der Oger, Russia is experiencing a brain drain that is similar to what small town America has , for more than a century. The resulting resentment and anti-modernity is truly worth contemplating, as is the basic ROMANTIC Russian character, which enables the rise and power of strongmen. Seizure of Siberia by the Rising Power could be a major factor to come.

One bright – if unlikely – model would be Estonia’s e-stonia model of lean, efficient mixed economy with utter transparency to eliminate the vast corruption that became so rife in Russia that almost none of their vaunted weapon systems work.

I do know that the Enlightenment West needs one thing. An end to the KGB and its 150 years (in varied names) of relentless efforts to destabilize a West they hate with volcanic fury. That would include getting our hands on the blackmail files they have on hundreds of western leaders in government and commerce. If we can ream out that nefarious and by-any-standard evil cluster of spite and its tendrils to hurt us, then humanity as a whole can get so rich that we can help Russians prosper enough to find their own path to the light.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I'm talking too much again because this stuff is near and dear to me.


I don't disagree with anything you've said. We're just having slightly different conversations. You're speaking to the economics as an employer and as a very savvy employee/contractor. I'm speaking to the politics with the understanding that most employees don't dig as deeply into the details as you do.

Remember that time during the W Bush years when they wanted to stimulate the economy by reducing the withholding amount from each paycheck? Not even reducing the actual tax burden--every dollar not withheld would show up as being owed on the next April 15? It was a very cynical tactic to make people feel better because their net pay was a few dollars more than it was. That was the politicians' way of playing to the idea I was describing--that most working class stiffs think in terms of what their net pay is regardless of how that gets calculated.


In a nutshell, though, every $ your employer spends in exchange for your service is potentially yours if you can figure out a way to wrangle it. Your state and federal governments make it look otherwise, but that's an illusion your employer can see through easily. You cost $$ to them even if you only see $.


If you're willing to play hardball, or to work to convince the employer that increasing your pay by a non-100 percentage of their savings is a win-win, then you could possibly get away with that, on an individual basis. If you are a valued enough employee that they're willing to take affirmative steps to keep you.

With most cogs in the machine, the employer probably says, "Hey, you were willing to work for a net pay of X before, so why wouldn't we expect you to work for that same net pay now? Take it or walk." Actually, for most cogs in the machine, that dynamic probably happens without even talking about it.

Now, suppose the Freedom Caucasians somehow (probably accidentally) manage to pass their plan to eliminate income tax altogether and make up for it with a 30% national sales tax. If the employee's net income is kept what it was before, that saves the employer a good deal of money per employee, though their operating costs also increase when they buy stuff. I don't know enough business math to say whether that is a net positive or a net negative for the employer.

From the employee's POV, I would be hard pressed to accept that deal without an increase in my net pay which approximates the 30% extra that everything I buy will cost me. Again, I haven't worked out all the math, but given that it is Republican donors who want such a plan passed, I have to presume that they perceive it as a positive for corporations who employ people and (therefore) a negative for their employees.

Tim H. said...

On tanks, the Sherman worked because we could build a LOT of them, industrial productivity, as much as anything won WW2. Given the fashion that globalization was implemented* it would be excessively interesting if the (Sort of) United States alienated the governments of the various nations industrial capacity was dispersed to, a good argument for electing "Beige" candidates.

*My idea was free trade with peers, tariffs reduced as trading partners improved human rights, cleaned up their environment & etc.

Darrell E said...

Der Oger said:

"Only if you utterly defeat and destroy the power structures and cultural narratives, and create a generational trauma with the right kind of cultural aversions (against War, Charismatic Leaders etc), and allow the culture to redevelop in new lanes, welcoming it back into the international society of civilized people, you can hope that, one day, the nation will have made the transition from a belligerent, imperialistic to a peaceful, cooperative culture."

That is something I've often thought of with respect to Russia and that I rarely, if ever, hear or read other's mention. Russian culture has yet to evolve beyond barbarism. At least compared to much of the rest of the world. They are a throwback to an older age. Machoism, casual brutality and a low value of life (lives) are still dominant in their culture.

Sure, these things are still evident in all human societies today, but no opposing attitudes have yet taken root in Russian culture to curb these old patterns as they have in many other societies. It's a matter of degrees, and degrees matter. It's like Game of Thrones vs Wallandar. Until some cultural attitudes that curb barbarism become a significant influence in Russian culture it will remain barbaric no matter who gains power. Casual brutality, murder, rape, the strong taking what they want will be the expected norm.

Alan Brooks said...

Futile society? The skinny is: we might say that all society is ‘futile’ (though not hopeless) yet not all society is feudal.
An interviewer asked Sakharov what Soviet Russia was on about, and he replied “it’s an extreme form of capitalism”, or he could have termed it anything one might wish to describe it as. Genghis Khan with an atom bomb.
——
An obvious linkage with the ante bellum Confederacy: the Confederacy said it wanted to be ‘left alone’, when being left alone meant grabbing as much of the territories as possible. And fugitive slaves.
Russia and China wish to be ‘left alone’ by glomming territory as well. Thus their accusations of us as The imperialists are unconvincing. They might hint that they’re playing the same game we are—but since they have different rules, it isn’t the Same Game.
That’s the skinny I’m going to utilize in dialogues (actually two-way monologues) with fat leftists and rightists.

Alan Brooks said...

...meant far leftists and rightists, but many today are fat!

Larry Hart said...

Alan Brooks:

the Confederacy said it wanted to be ‘left alone’, when being left alone meant grabbing as much of the territories as possible. And fugitive slaves.


It's the same with today's white Christian nationalists. They want "freedom of religion", which to them means that their religion is free to force others to conform to their particular dictates.

To me, "freedom of religion" means the exact opposite of that, but what do I know?

Lena said...

Larry,

What you wrote about the right-wing (a.k.a. fascist) interpretation of "freedom of religion" is spot on. Ditto when they talk about state's rights. It's their way of saying "Leave us alone so we can commit atrocities you don't allow in your states." Here's a quote from Reagan's top advisor, from an interview where he accidentally said the quiet part out loud. Naturally the interview was buried until after he died.

Reagan advisor Lee Atwater:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

PSB

Guides to Adventures said...

Larry,

They have to be special, a futile society is what they are working towards.

David Brin said...

Though... PSB... forced bussing was the archetype proof that the left can go sanctimoniously and self-destructively insane.

Alan Brooks said...

LH,
No disagreement. The impression is that the far-rightists I deal with want to be known by their enemies, want to be disliked. They wish to be ‘left alone’ to do their Thing, and stomping on people is doing their Thing—in the name of hierarchy and orderliness. They’ve got it covered.
This rightist writer, the main workhorse at the magazine, is a piece of work:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/what-was-the-woke-tipping-point/

But don’t fall for the bio at the bottom of the article; he doesn’t live in Baton Rouge. He left his wife and children—to become a rootless Catholic cosmopolitan in Europe. Gnarlier and gnarlier we go.

DP said...

Tim - couple of things about the Sherman.

It was a damn fine all around tank capable of easily taking on the vast majority of German tanks on the western front (mostly Mark IVs).

The up gunned Sherman "firefly" (a combination of American and British engineering - like the Mustang fighter) was able to take on and beat Panthers and even Tiger tanks. Typical tank battalions included a company of fireflies. See Battle of Arracourt to see how American tanks beat German Tanks.

We could have easily built the American equivalent of 50 ton Panthers and 60 ton Tigers instead of the 30 ton Sherman but we had to ship them across the Atlantic. Not even American shipping was infinite and a tank twice as heavy would have resulted in half as many tanks being shipped to the fighting (which also meant half as many tank divisions for Patton).

Also American port facilities on the east coast couldn't handle anything much bigger than 30 tons when loading onto transport ships.

So we relied on airpower to counter heavy panzers. And it worked. Those tank busters at the end of "Saving Private Ryan"? Very real and very deadly. Airpower turned the Falaise Pocket into a charnel house. Airpower smash the German Ardennes offensive (the Battle of the Bulge). When it cam to combined ground and air operations it was the Americans, who did it best.

The Sherman was simple and mechanically reliable. The Panther and Tiger broke down constantly and literally spent more time in the shop than on the Battle field.

So it wasn't just numbers, we had quality as well quantity and a perfectly balance combined arms team that even the best German field formation could not match.

David Brin said...

Among my many polemical points no dem ever picks up is the relative rates of turpitude in red-run states (except Utah) vs blue-run ones, including former 'sins' like gambling and divorce and tax dependency on the rest of the nation. I find demanding wagers on those things to be very effective, as they have no answer and always flee.

David Brin said...

Also, when the Sherman arrived before 2nd El Alamein, it was by far the best tank deployed in the world, even tank-to-tank.

6 months later, they met tigers in Tunisia and the call went out urgently for fresh tactics.

Lena said...

Dr. Brin ,

Sure, and I can think of other ways they demonstrate stupidity, but the whole bussing thing is history. The states rights excuse is still very much alive and well in the minds of the gullible who have fallen for their hate-aganda and the propagandizers themselves. Ditto budget cuts, yet the Dems never seem to be able to point out the foolishness of the Republican government-shrinkage program, nor the fact that the Republicans never actually do it. Power is too useful for Republicans to give up, but they can budget cut safe drinking water from a Democratic-leaning city, no problem! If they want to show what happens when government is weak, they should be talking about Somalia, and pointing out that the Republican claims to believe in "law and order" is completely contrary to their claim that all government is bad, since it is government that enforces law and order, not nutbags with AR-15s.

Ever wonder why the Fascist Party is so concerned about their version of the Second Amendment, but would dump the whole rest of the Constitution any time it gets in their way? Ask yourself, how did Mussolini and Hitler come to power? It had a lot to do with armed thugs, Mussolini's Black Shirts and Hitler's Brown Shirts.



PSB

David Brin said...

I agree with most of that, PSB, except that vastly MORE attention needs to be pressed onto the catastrophe of Forced School Bussing, which demolished the last of the Rooseveltean coalition. It was worse than today's far left excesses ONLY by magnitude, not b kind. And the same spirit of patronizing and massively stupid arrogance simmers all across the woke-o-sphere.

Guides to Adventures said...

I agree with Dave, you can't make people like you, you can only say "Hello."

duncan cairncross said...

Dr Brin

I would agree about "forced bussing" - a damn stupid idea

But today you are still shooting yourself in the foot

The working Americans get very very few "tax perks" - but by railing against the very few that they do get - because they don't help the very poor - you just alienate the voters that you need

Somebody - some working somebody - who has managed to get to a nice lifestyle is not your enemy and should be your biggest supporter

I'm not sure if you need to "reward" such people - but I am sure you do not need to "punish" them

David Brin said...

Duncan no one is talking 'punishing' the middle class. In fact, my tax simplification scheme is "No Losers" in order to reduce the middle class's need for accountants while keeping their net burdens the same,

Tony Fisk said...

The dirty nappy chappie seems to be quoting from the official Pravda, and could be paraphrased as 'if only the enemy hadn't done something unexpected...'.
I don't recall the Ukrainian air force being reported as annihilated (although it's operations have been circumspect).
As for ground forces, I saw these 'deep operations' culminate outside Brovary (the columns having having made several jabs in random directions), when lead tank elements rolled into an ambush. My impression was the poor sods barely knew how to change gear. This is what happens when you don't value troops as assets: you don't value any expenditure (like training) on them.

The Sherman debate seems to have been going on since they were introduced. I know they were generally referred to as 'Ronsons' (never failed to light). I looked it up and found this interesting rebuttal (Sherman's were also known as 'tommy cookers', but not for the reasons you might think!)

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

If the feds lower income tax rates and your employer reduces your net income, you should probably team up with your coworker and sue them. You are paid the gross amount listed on the stub and they withhold some so you don't have to come up with kilobucks next April. Federal income tax reduction would reduce your employer's withholding requirement. *

The attempt to switch to a national sales tax is theater. You'd think you got a raise when your next paycheck arrived and discover over time that a 30% sales tax is actually larger (most likely) than what you currently pay. Your 'wheel cogs' might not bother to add up the numbers, but if any of you are paying 30% of your gross income to the feds you should hire a tax consultant one year to get suggestions you use for many years.

I don't pay 30% of my gross income to the feds, so their proposition would raise my taxes and lead to an avoidance strategy that resulted in me buying less thus reducing the velocity of money passing through my hands.

------

* The least dangerous way for them to rake back this money involves changing their contribution to your health insurance next year assuming you work at a place big enough to afford that benefit. They'd invent some plausible excuse for reducing your benefit and point out that your take-home pay is large enough to cope.

Utter BS of course. Health insurance inflation has other causes.

Dirtnapninja said...

'Ol’ dirty: Oh lordy, the SAM excuse for RF failure to get the predicted air superiority in the first day – or ever after – is so pathetic! It is very well parsed and expressed and rationalized.... absurdity!

If RF were a modern power, it would know where the AFU SAM batteries are and target them. A platform sitting in a known position has no chance against one that can launch equivalent-tech from a random strike pattern, even in fog and from a distance.'

Wow! The Russians never thought of that one.

In 1999 you bombed Serbia for over 2 months. With complete coverage of the sky, and your comprehensive network of satellites, you could not and did not suppress their SAMS, and in fact lost 2 stealth fighters to 1960's vintage SAMs and Radars. SAMs are mobile, move around constantly and are often well hidden. In fact, according to NATO definitions, you did not even have air superiority as your aircraft were often forced to fly at suboptimal altitudes to avoid the SAM threat.

You used over 700 HARMS and could only confirm the destruction of 3 SAMS.

Ukraines SAM net is vastly superior and more mobile that Serbias, and has much better emission control as well. Ukraine also uses soviet style control systems, where the SAMs use linkages to send information to each other, so one SAM can provide data to other SAMs if it has acquired targets or is under attack.

"This drooling nonsense is as awful a rationalization as "we aren't hurling missiles at civilians but the railroads!"

No..they are targetting infrastructure, esp electrical infrastructure. Electrical substations are important and difficult to replace infrastructure.

A KH-22 missile weighs 12,000 pounds, moves at mach 4.6 when it is in its terminal dive, carries 2000 pounds of explosive and is designed to break an aircraft carrier in half. The idea they would use such an expensive piece of equipment to strike a small apartment building of no importance is laughable.

"The rest is such drivel! Again, let’s see those March 2022 predictions."

I predicted a quick victory for Russia, like everyone else. Now my cards are the table....lets see yours. What is your prediction for 6 months from now?

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

If the feds lower income tax rates and your employer reduces your net income, you should probably team up with your coworker and sue them.


We're at the point of not really disagreeing so much as pointing out different things. The only nit I want to pick here is that I wasn't suggesting that the employer would reduce my net income. I suggested that they might try to reduce my gross income because the tax withholding would also be reduced, thus essentially leaving the size of my paycheck as is. I think you may have known that, and mistakenly typed "net" instead of "gross".

I could see the above working as long as the only thing happening was an income tax reduction. After all, if I'm willing to work for a certain amount of take-home pay, why would that change? The kicker would be that I'm knowledgeable enough to understand that if the income tax reduction was accompanied by a 30% sales tax on everything, then I would need even more take home pay just to stay even.

And we both agree that even if my employer left my gross pay alone so my paycheck became larger after income tax was removed, the difference probably would not be enough to cover a 30% sakes tax increase in the price of everything.


You are paid the gross amount listed on the stub and they withhold some so you don't have to come up with kilobucks next April. Federal income tax reduction would reduce your employer's withholding requirement.


Just so you know, when I say I am willing to work for a certain amount of "net income", I'm including any tax owed on April 15 as a debit. The way I budget for the year (which I admit is atypical), it doesn't matter how much the employer withholds. I sock away the rest of what I'm going to owe in a metaphorical lock box.

Der Oger said...

A KH-22 missile weighs 12,000 pounds, moves at mach 4.6 when it is in its terminal dive, carries 2000 pounds of explosive and is designed to break an aircraft carrier in half. The idea they would use such an expensive piece of equipment to strike a small apartment building of no importance is laughable.

Unless you have no other systems available, and/or terror/cruelty against civilians is the point. In a morbid way, Russia cannot or does not want to target military targets ... so they squander what little they might have left.

What is your prediction for 6 months from now?

No matter if they succeed at actually defeating the Ukraine militarily, Russia will still have lost the war.

Rearmament of Western Nations & increased unity.
Finnland part of NATO. Maybe even Sweden.
Switzerland questioning it's neutrality.
Corrupted officials in western nations - a major success of bygone years of the Russian intelligence community - on the verge of being chased out of office or imprisoned.
Economy in shambles. Inflation at 20%. Unpaid workers. Restricted access to modern goods. Inability to export goods.
Russia ousted as a pariah. Russians branded as brigants, murderers, rapists wherever they go.
Millions young Russians - mostly of the 18-30 bracket and with advanced education - fled, exiled, in prison, crippled or dead. Note that some countries might profit from the influx of skilled labour.
The West transforming their energy sector away from the dependency of fossile fuels.
Crime rate expected to skyrocket in Russia during the next 5-20 years.
A rift between the intelligence community, military and political leadership clearly visible.
China on the verge of annexing the Far East.
Ethnic minorities (who have been hit hardest by the war) contemplating secession and bids for independence.

And we will not even start about the toll the occupation will have on Russia should they succeed. Conservative estimates requires an occupying force of at least 5% the number of inhabitants for a decade or so, which would mean 2 million soldiers and security agents. And, like the US, Russia might be able to bring war to a country, but it cannot bring peace. Except that of a graveyard.

Russia will still have lost the war.

Guides to Adventures said...

Off topic:

Tasmanian devil and domestication syndrome; what do you know? Can't really say more thanks to user hostile equipment (tablet).

Unknown said...

Oger

If you're suggesting Russia lost the war the moment it initiated the assault - botched or not - I'd tend to agree. Rulers keep grasping for "short victorious wars". I suspect Putin didn't put much planning into the occupation, so even a successful overrun of Ukraine would just have been the start of a grinding unconventional war. The difference is that Ukraine would now be suffering far more civilian casualties.

DNinja,

Please acknowledge that our host did NOT initially predict a quick victory for Russia, but a failed grasp at Kyiv - which was in fact what happened, though there is room for argument about why. The moment I learned that the airborne units committed to seizing Kyiv's airfields had been in large part destroyed, I became a convert. That one fact suggested planning as lousy as Market-Garden, and what happened to the mechanized relief force confirmed it.

Pappenheimer

Larry Hart said...

Pappenheimer:

I suspect Putin didn't put much planning into the occupation, so even a successful overrun of Ukraine would just have been the start of a grinding unconventional war. The difference is that Ukraine would now be suffering far more civilian casualties.


One big difference would be that Russia could then claim Ukraine as sovereign Russian territory, and that retaliation for Western aid to insurgency would be dealt with as attacks on Russian soil would be.

Dirtnapninja said...

"DNinja,

Please acknowledge that our host did NOT initially predict a quick victory for Russia, but a failed grasp at Kyiv - which was in fact what happened, though there is room for argument about why. The moment I learned that the airborne units committed to seizing Kyiv's airfields had been in large part destroyed, I became a convert. That one fact suggested planning as lousy as Market-Garden, and what happened to the mechanized relief force confirmed it."

I will grant that, though I wasnt really around that far back.

I will tell you though what I think happened. The Russians made extensive use of bribes and collaborators in their advance, especially in the south. I think the Russians had thought they had bribed certain people in the Ukrainian govt and military to keep the Kievan Garrison in the barracks.

On the day of the attack, the VDV was to seize hostemel, use it as an airbridge to bring in airmobile, then quickly rush into the capital and hold it until the mechanised forces arrived. Then they would dictate a peace and it would all be over.

But either bribes were never delivered, or the people they bribed didnt stay bribed. This may explain why the head of the FSB was arrested.

Thats my opinion anyways.

scidata said...

Ooh. Awkward. Classified docs found at Mike Pence's home. I'm sure the GQP will demand an immediate investigation.

Andy said...

Jumping in on the Alfred/Larry discussion...

"But in this day and age, the vast majority of Americans are wage-earners of some sort. And taxes on them are really taxes on the companies who pay their salaries."

This appears to make sense at first blush, but, follow the logic chain. You could similarly argue that companies have to charge their customers more -> so they can pay their employees more -> in order to make up for income taxes their employees must pay. So the income tax isn't a tax on wage-earners, nor a tax on companies: it's a tax on the customers of companies. Who are the customers of companies? Well... different companies have different customer bases, but basically... EVERYONE is a customer of various companies.

That's why I think saying that "a tax on wage-earners is really a tax on the company" isn't a good way to think about it. Because the economy is a big jumble of money moving from person to person, company to company, and person to company. At various "checkpoints" in this cycle, there are taxes, which take a percent of the flow through that checkpoint and re-inject it somewhere else. Through that lens, a tax anywhere is a tax on the entire system. But for simplicity you might as well think of taxes at face value: the income tax is a tax on the employee.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

reduces your net income

Sorry for the confusion. I did indeed mean reduce your gross income to ensure your net income held steady. That would be lawsuit fodder. You wouldn't have to do much except coordinate with coworkers and wait for the vulture lawyers to call you. 8)

I sock away the rest of what I'm going to owe in a metaphorical lock box.

From what I've seen, that is (as you said) unusual.

Now imagine a time when no withholding occurs and your lock box has to be emptied each April. The $$ amount might hit you a little different? Those $$ might amount to enough that they'd earn some interest during the year? I don't need to know how many $$, though, to know that most people feel different when we compare writing small and large checks.

The way things are rigged right now, most people use withholding as their lock box and then over withhold. This results in them getting money back in April and feeling good about it. They never see the big check. That's the sleight of hand we pretend isn't happening. Someday, I'd like to know who dreamed that up and included it in federal law. I'd like to go stand on their grave and gripe at them.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

That's the sleight of hand we pretend isn't happening. Someday, I'd like to know who dreamed that up and included it in federal law.


From what I understand, paycheck withholding for taxes (maybe for anything) began with Social Security in 1935 or whenever.

At that time, the income tax was such that it was only levied on large earners who (as I understand) just paid in full at the appropriate time. When the US entered WWII, the threshold was lowered so that pretty much everyone had their income taxed in order to pay for the war effort. My understanding was that when the time came in early 1943 to pay the 1942 income tax, most regular joes didn't have the cash they owed.

Thus came the only time in history when the income tax (for 1942) was forgiven. However, at that same time, withholding on the same model as Social Security was implemented for the current year, so that every wage earner was pre-paying their 1943 income tax with each paycheck.


I'd like to go stand on their grave and gripe at them.


I can see how you--someone who at least somewhat believes taxation is theft--would feel that way.

As someone who accepts taxation as a cost of civilized society, I think that a process which makes it as painless as possible is a good thing. I will concede that it also makes wasteful taxation more possible. Not saying it is an unqualified good--just that I see the good in it.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Guys

The American way with a "withholding" that is dubious at best is NOT the way that other countries do things
Here (NZ) and in the UK we do "Pay as you earn" - which is all that 90% of people ever need to do - I'm one of the 10% - I get money from overseas - so I have to "do my taxes" every year - which takes about 40 minutes and is done on-line

As far as employers are concerned they pay "gross" - so the employees tax rate is completely irrelevant
And a reduction or increase in tax rate makes no difference to them

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

The American way with a "withholding" that is dubious at best is NOT the way that other countries do things
Here (NZ) and in the UK we do "Pay as you earn"


Not sure I see the difference.


so I have to "do my taxes" every year - which takes about 40 minutes and is done on-line


Now, THAT is way different from our way. :(


As far as employers are concerned they pay "gross" - so the employees tax rate is completely irrelevant
And a reduction or increase in tax rate makes no difference to them


It makes a difference as to how much gross they need to pay to recruit and retain employees.

* * *

Alfred Differ redux:

The way things are rigged right now, most people use withholding as their lock box and then over withhold. This results in them getting money back in April and feeling good about it. They never see the big check. That's the sleight of hand we pretend isn't happening.


That same sleight of hand allowed wage-earners to buy houses with the advent of the 20-year mortgage (in my dad's day), now more commonly the 30-year mortgage. And though it's been years since I bought a car and decades since I bought a NEW car, I see that car advertisements don't even mention actual prices these days, just the monthly payment, which can stretch out as long as seven years. So the private sector is doing the same thing.

Guides to Adventures said...

Don't forget that an H. Sapiens is an adolescent H. Erectus, which should explain much of the previous thread.

Paradoctor said...

Guides to Adventures:
Oh dear, imagine a future hominin species that's an adolescent us.

Alan Brooks said...

Eloi.

Tony Fisk said...

Oh dear, imagine a future hominin species that's an adolescent us.

The kids are alright

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

That same sleight of hand allowed wage-earners to buy houses with the advent of the 20-year mortgage (in my dad's day), now more commonly the 30-year mortgage.

Except for two important issues...

a) I'm not renting government money when they withhold taxes. They are renting mine at no cost to themselves.
b) I can choose not to buy a home and sign a mortgage.

------

I'd go for Duncan's NZ method if our system were simplified, but we should probably do it quarterly like businesses do. We'd set up savings accounts we controlled (your lock box) and use auto-deposit and auto-transfer rules. On April 15 a summary statement would be calculated and submitted with that quarter that dealt with gaps like undocumented income during the previous year.

I won't go for more sleight of hand. I want voters to see how their choices impact their obligations. If I lose an election where they up the amount they steal from me, I won't feel as bad as long as they can see the impact to themselves too.

I should also mention that I've actually voted to raise taxes on myself. Local roads and schools have to be maintained and built. I've voted for propositions that do that in such a way that they bind property owners in the area fully aware that I was binding the next person who bought my house from me.

I AM willing to share the costs of maintaining our civilization, but I despise non-transparent ways of doing it. Hiding it all invites roaches, rats, and golf-buddy boffins to do things in the dark.

David Brin said...

Poor dirtnapper

“I predicted a quick victory for Russia, like everyone else.” Utter baloney. But at least you admit your failure, not mine.

I did expect RF forces to get a wee bit farther before being hammered by quasi partisan swarm tactics from all sides. Maybe it would have been better that way. Entire RF divisions would have dissolved and evaporated. But the AFU professionals and reserves proved too strong to let RF jerks put their heads in that noose.Pity.

The interpretation of Serbia is insane. Bill Clinton is a DEMOCRAT. That means he will try surgical force first and only ramp up very cautiously. And I agreed. Give the Serbians chances to back out of Bosnia… they refused so things ramped up, at very little US cost.

How Democrats and Republicans Wage War - http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-democrats-and-republicans-wage-war.html

SAMS did Saddam no good whatsoever. Your excuse that Ira got the bad stuff is lame since it means no one will ever purchase RF weapons, ever again.

And the drivel INSANITY of interpreting the war crime attacks on Ukraine civilians as aimed at the rail system… which appears to have been completely unimpeded and WON’T EVER BE IMPEDED because portable generators will be prioritized there… is so drooling crazy that even you ought to be embarrassed.

The jibbering masturbatory theory that a civilian population will fold because you made a few temporary BLACKOUTS? When – angered by neighbors who were killed – those civilians mostly still have roofs and food… after civilians in London, Guernica, Berlin and Tokyo carried on despite far worse… is simply proof that Vputin is a lunatic.

Der Oger, whatever Erdogan does, Sweden and Finland are already deFacto full NATO members. Vigorous ones, too.

You left out of your list:
Almost all of RF’s violent criminals and murderers released from prison… many dying as cannon fodder but others escaping back into the general population.

What impresses me though is how many lies Putin raved that HE MADE COME TRUE!

NATO was NOT arming heavily on the RF border, but is doing so now
Europe was laggard about cutting down on RF carbons, but is now doing so at incredible speed.

Failed predictions:
Ukrainian ‘nazis’ – untrue then and untrue now.
RF genius hackers collapsing the west with cybr attacks. Um…. Waiting?

Guides to Adventures said...

Weapon use requires skill, even a club. Even a curse.

Lena said...

Dr. Brin,

There might actually be a tiny grain of truth to the Ukrainian Nazi thing. In WW II many Ukrainians saw Germany as their liberators from the Soviet Union - sounds like six of one, half a dozen of the other to me. I saw a news report just after the invasion that purported to show members of a Ukrainian army unit posing with a swastika, though I have no way of confirming its veracity. Anybody here know what I am talking about?

PSB

Guides to Adventures said...

I'd comment, but my tablet says I can't.

Guides to Adventures said...

I need a MacBook.

Larry Hart said...

Guides to Adventures:


I'd comment, but my tablet says I can't.


???

I don't get it.

Larry Hart said...

PSB:

I saw a news report just after the invasion that purported to show members of a Ukrainian army unit posing with a swastika, though I have no way of confirming its veracity. Anybody here know what I am talking about?


You're talking about the Azov brigade. Philip Ittner has pretty well debunked this excuse on Hal Sparks's radio show, although he acknowledges the germ of reality that spawns it.

This is a pretty long article, but the excerpt has the important part:

https://www.factcheck.org/2022/03/the-facts-on-de-nazifying-ukraine/

...
“The primary reason that the Kremlin is doing this is because the defeat of the Nazis is the high point of modern Russian history,” Umland said. “It is a major reference point for the Russian national identity. ‘We secured the victory over Hitler’ — is a principal source of Russian pride.”

Putin’s propaganda cherry-picks the problematic parts of Ukrainian civil society and government, Umland said.

“Far right extremists do exist in Ukraine,” he said. “The Ukrainians are not a nation of angels.” But Russian propaganda “gives the altogether minor Ukrainian right-wing extremist groups a disproportionate political relevance as an allegedly dominant phenomenon. In principle, you can do something like that with any country, make minor problematic aspects look salient and demonize every country of the world.”

“It’s a fairly obvious and rather successful political-psychological trick to justify the war among ordinary Russians,” Umland said.
...

Tony Fisk said...

@Lena when the Nazis invaded Russia, they overran the Ukraine quite rapidly. This, together with the 120,000 Russians who defected to the German side (don't know what proportion was Ukrainian) probably form the basis of the Ukrainian 'nazi' myth.

Understand, also, that Russians suffered horribly from that war, are still traumatised by it, and venerate the Red Army as saviours.

As was laid out in an episode of Gaslit Nation that went to air just before Russia invaded* (at 13:00): Putin is a racist: he views Ukrainians as inferior, so why not tar them with everything you can project?

* Another good predictor hand!

Guides to Adventures said...

Larry, it's a Fire 6, and I'm a klutz.

David Brin said...

Were there nazi poseurs in the Azov Brigade? Sure. Male putzes will sometimes style swastika cuts and tatoos in EVERY nation. Um, USA bikers?

The thing Biden didn't do but shoulda is demand "Make your case via a neutral commission!" The fact that Russians take Putin's word for that insane narrative is evidence of nationwide IQ poisoning from industrial chemicals.

Alan Brooks said...

A decade ago, Russian agent told me on Facebook that Russia is “upset” about WW2 especially, but also going back to Napoleon’s invasion. Which was 210 yrs ago.

Alfred Differ said...

Alan Brooks,

That's not an unfair position for them to take. They have a history of being invaded from every compass direction. Their historical defense was to return the favor so the next wave of invaders had to travel further.

The last group to take them and hold them for a long period were the Mongols. That later Tsar's took lands to the east of the Muscovy core makes sense in context.

Alan Brooks said...

Also a pretext to kill, injure, and torment Ukrainian civilians. A Turk who moved to Britain tells me over ‘n over that collateral damage is to be expected.
Meaning what? A hunting license for young sadists?
The Turk never stops reiterating how Western imperialism has made such nations engage in what you’ve described above; and in the hurly-burly of battle, civilians are in the way—and expendable. It’s fun to kill and torture.

duncan cairncross said...

WW2 - and Russia

Remember that when Hitler attacked Poland from the North - Stalin attacked Poland from the South
If Stalin had not attacked then Poland would have held out long enough for France and Britain to help
WW2 would have been much much smaller and shorter

And Stalin then massacred 22,000 Polish officers and citizens

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre

Russia is "upset" about WW2

Pardon me if I have no sympathy at all !!!

Tony Fisk said...

Pardon granted. Russia's run of sociopathic leaders is well known.
What we are trying to understand is how ordinary Russians can go along with this self-inflicted carnage. Their casualties* are on track to equal the original invading force by Feb 24! Zombie apocalypses are bad enough.

* mostly dead: they don't recover the fallen.

Alan Brooks said...

They are used to life being cheap. The Ostfront was a war between two absolute monarchies, who thought of people as Hitchcock said he regarded actors: “treat them like cattle.”
He was joking—they weren’t.

Larry Hart said...

Guides to Adventures:

Larry, it's a Fire 6, and I'm a klutz


And yet, here you are, posting about how you can't post.

Guides to Adventures said...

Not at length.

Unknown said...

"treat them like cattle."

There's a story about Hitler's private luxury train passing by a sidelined train loaded with wounded Wehrmacht soldiers mid-to-late WWII. Hitler had been a frontsoldat himself. He had his servants shut the windows. I doubt Stalin would even have bothered to have the windows shut.

Pappenheimer

P.S. "If Stalin had not attacked then Poland would have held out long enough for France and Britain to help" - sorry, not likely. Polish forces iirc were badly deployed and technologically outclassed; they were also attacked across the Czech border, and western forces had no way to deploy in assistance of Poland except for attacking directly into Germany from France, which neither France no England were at the time ready to do. They were still hoping to avoid another world war. Hitler had judged his enemies correctly, except that by provoking a declaration of war from a naval power (England) he was no longer able to turn the war off when he'd gotten what he wanted. Remember that even as late as Dunkirk he was still hoping he could negotiate a separate peace. With Churchill. Ha.

Tim H. said...

GTA, if shopping for a MacBook, be aware that the resale value of Intel MacBooks is dropping in anticipation of end of support. Be aware of that when shopping.

Larry Hart said...

Pappenheimer:

Remember that even as late as Dunkirk he [Hitler] was still hoping he could negotiate a separate peace. With Churchill. Ha.


Well, he had done that with Chamberlain a year earlier. What did he expect after he broke that one?

Guides to Adventures said...

It's jealousy in my opinion, going back to Dave's original subject, jealousy and fear. Fear of losing control of their "lessers". They are just not comfortable with universal equality.

Lena said...

Dr. Brin,

Sure, in any human group that consists of millions, there will be saints and sinners, fools and wise people, and anything else you can imagine. That's the problem with the tendency to put people into boxes - the boxes mask more than they explain. Toxic people everywhere have glommed onto the image of Hitler because he is so hated by the mainstream everywhere. US bikers, though? I have never seen one display a swastika - lots of Maltese crosses, though.

When I was an undergrad, a couple of my fellow students tried to recruit me to the American Nazi Party. I was far too polite to punch them in their faces, so I made a point of asking them questions. One question I asked was: given that their candidates will never get elected, who do you actually vote for? The answer: Republicans, of course. They're just like us, but won't go far enough, and Democrats are all a bunch of communists.

When I bring this up on Facepalm, the Trumptards tell me that this is proof that Democrats are Nazis, as are all people who go to college.

Lena said...

Tony Fisk,

You keep referring to me as Lena, which in all fairness is unsurprising, since that's how my computer insists on labelling me when I visit this site. Just to clarify, though, Lena is my wife's "English" name. I'm Paul.

PSB

Lena said...

A note on the relationship between Hitler and the West, Hitler apparently said that he never wanted a war with Britain and the US just before putting a bullet through his head. His intention all along was to take on the Soviet union, because communists were worse than even Jews in his view. In fact, he was quite enamored of the US, especially the Confederate states. He got a whole lot of ideas from the American Eugenics Movement, and many of the laws he signed were based on Jim Crow laws. Ironically, Hitler and his lawyers decided that Southern miscegenation laws were too extreme, so their miscegenation law allowed a person to have a Jewish grandparent and still count as Aryan. Yes, American laws were too extreme for Hitler.

Hitler greatly admired Henry Ford, who he saw as the greatest Industrialist of all time, and kept a photo of Ford in his office. He also adopted some of Ford's tactics, including sending thugs to beat up labor leaders. So much for the idea that Hitler was a socialist.

PSB

Larry Hart said...

PSB:

When I bring this up on Facepalm, the Trumptards tell me that this is proof that Democrats are Nazis, as are all people who go to college.


I just heard someone replayed on the Stephanie Miller show--I think it was Marjorie Taylor Greene, but I'm not sure--saying that Antifa are not really anti-fascist, but are in fact the real fascists.* **

* I'm reminded of an old 1980s internet meme (before they were called that) concerning funny excerpts from high school History papers. One of them was, "Homer was not written by Homer, but by someone else of that name."

** Marjorie Taylor-Greene once said at a press conference that we shouldn't arm Ukraine because the weapons might be going to Nazis. The electoral-vote.com site commented that it would have been interesting to hear her response had someone asked her what was wrong with arming Nazis.

scidata said...

Injecting disinfectant, defending Fort McHenry's airports against Canadian invaders, and fearing the Gazpacho. Centuries from now, people won't believe that such imbeciles once rose to power.

Guides to Adventures said...

Lena,
I was once called a liberal, what sort of Nazi does that make me?

Alan Brooks said...

In the ‘90s Homer morphed into Homer Simpson.
Now to return to our latest exercise in Godwin’s Law: Hitler wanted war a few years after ‘39. But the Poles proved reluctant to cough up Danzig and the Corridor; Hitler was enraged at their stubbornness; Ribbentrop’s dislike of the Brits was a factor.
But neither expected war to come so soon.

Guides to Adventures said...

Scidata,

Centuries from now people will be claiming that Hitler got Nazism wrong.

Lena said...

scidata,

I SO hope you're right...


PSB

Lena said...

GTA,

It depends on who you ask. And being called a liberal by a conservative only means that you're not a conservative. I've been called both by both. What you are (and what I am) is a human.

Given the extremely limited understanding of what the H-man was up to among our fellows, we are nearly to that point already.

PSB

Lena said...

Alan Brooks,

Godwin himself said that it is sometimes appropriate to draw comparisons to Hitler. Check this out:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/08/14/the-creator-of-godwins-law-explains-why-some-nazi-comparisons-dont-break-his-famous-internet-rule/


PSB

Alfred Differ said...

Alan Brooks,

Also a pretext to kill, injure, and torment Ukrainian civilians.

Agreed. Conquest is one of the traditional four horsemen of the Apocalypse. His armor is composed of rationalizations with the breastplate being "I'm getting them back!"

Your Turk should look further back into history. That's not a Western Imperialism thing. It's far more ancient. The West has actually been pulling away from that excuse as our horizons of inclusion broaden.

Alfred Differ said...

PSB,

Given the extremely limited understanding of what the H-man was up to among our fellows, we are nearly to that point already.

Yup. I take Godwin's Law to mean that there isn't much point making comparisons to him unless one has sufficient academic background to know the actual history. For me, I don't care to learn more about him than I think I already know.

When I bring this up on Facepalm, the Trumptards tell me that this is proof that Democrats are Nazis, as are all people who go to college.

Heh. When I went to college, my politics ranged across the spectrum depending on the issue. When it came to education expenses, I was inclined to be a socialist like my mother. When it came to being told what to think I was much more a classical liberal like my father with an extra dose of 'punch them in the nose' from my mother. Communist never quite applied, but only that variety of communist we were fighting in the Cold War at the time. They were more properly described as somewhere between fascists and autocrats.

Years later my politics settled a bit. It wasn't until I was earning an income and had a family, though. Life events have big impacts on one's worldview.

Unknown said...

I still remember Reagan's Kirkpatrick critter distinguishing between "Authoritarian" regimes that America gleefully supported and "Totalitarian" regimes that were to be overthrown. As if the the car batteries attached to the dissident's important bits came in Authoritarian and Totalitarian models, one applying nicer, friendlier voltage.

Pappenheimer

P.S. Ran into several older guys in the US military who argued that the US intervened on the wrong side in WWII, on the basis that anyone opposing the USSR were automatically 'Good Guys."

Unknown said...

Finland supped with the devil during WWII, but managed to bring a long spoon. Ukraine...was stuck right in the middle. The book Babi Yar gave some idea of how Kyivans tried to survive while Jews were being butchered right next door, aware of German brutality but dreading Stalin's return. It also noted that the Gestapo took over the same building that the GRU had evacuated.

Pappenheimer

Guides to Adventures said...

Dr., your email is broken, and what are you up

Larry Hart said...

Pappenheimer:

I still remember Reagan's Kirkpatrick critter distinguishing between "Authoritarian" regimes that America gleefully supported and "Totalitarian" regimes that were to be overthrown.


Me too.


Ran into several older guys in the US military who argued that the US intervened on the wrong side in WWII, on the basis that anyone opposing the USSR were automatically 'Good Guys."


How do those same older guys justify their opposition to Ukraine against someone who wants to reestablish the old Soviet Union?

I'm making a big assumption asking the question that way, but I'll be I'm not mistaken.

Alfred Differ said...

There was no need for us to side against the Soviets as long as a strong Germany stood in the middle. There was no need for us to side against Germany as long as they had opponents on both sides as with WWI.

The geopolitical motive for the US to get involved in any of those wars was to prevent someone from running the table between the Atlantic coast of France and the Urals. A single nation owning all that and finding a way to pacify the unruly tribes who live there would be a serious challenge to the US.

A single nation located there with all those people and industry would wind up dominating Europe and Asia across land paths the US couldn't really impact. The US is a sea power and such a nation would be a land power. The world would have been split between us.

We got involved in those wars for a variety of reasons people think are applicable, but from a geopolitical perspective... only national interests matter. The only issue at stake from such a US perspective was 'which empires would survive'.

Unknown said...

Ran into several older guys in the US military who argued that the US intervened on the wrong side in WWII, on the basis that anyone opposing the USSR were automatically 'Good Guys."

The 2/3 of my family that died in the camps would disagree with that.

Guides to Adventures said...

Alfred Differ has no real understanding of Adolf Hitler. In fact, I rather doubt he even wants one

Alfred Differ said...

GTA,

I have more of one than I want, but that's not the point I was making. Nations have motives separate from the individuals if you believe the theory underlying geopolitics. If you apply theory, they do most of what they do independent of who leads them. In fact, the argument is that leaders often find they aren't as free to lead as we think they are.

Imagine looking at a nation as if it was an organism. What motivates it in the biological sense? What prime urges does it have?

In Germany's case, they have essentially indefensible borders to the east and west AND tribes across those borders who don't trust them further than they can spit. What to do, hmm?

------

Hitler was both a screw up (his ability to comprehend those different from him was poor enough to matter) and a symptom of an old disease present in much of Europe at the time... and through several centuries before him. Together these added to kill tens of millions of people.

He wasn't alone, though. The 20th century has a number of men roughly like him who when combined killed a couple hundred million... or more if we knew where all the bodies went.

------

I don't want to think much about these men. I'll admit that. I'd rather just shoot them and move on.

David Brin said...

Alfred there were a few places where you expressed yourself poorly, I believe.

Isolationism after WWI was immense, yet it had almost been ground away and Leand Lease was huge... as was sympathy for China and bombarded Britain... to the point where most USAans saw participation as inevitable on purely moral grounds,

In any event, the massive geographical feature that dragged the US fully into WWII was not Eurasia but the Pacific Ocean.

Guides to Adventures said...

Nations don't run themselves.

Lena said...

Alfred,

It pays to think about these men to know who is taking their place, using the same tactics and propaganda. If you want to shoot people like that, you have to know where to aim. The more I read about fascism, the more obvious it becomes where a whole lot of the world is going.

But it also helps to examine the demographics. After WW I, both Germany and Italy had a huge youth bulge coming of age, and that almost always leads to turmoil. The US had that youth bulge in the '60s and '70s, and though we avoided a major war, we did undergo some major turmoil. Right now these places have inverted population structures, and no one is sure what that will bring about, though I have heard it suggested that Russia's recent aggression is essentially a last dying gasp of that old demographic transition. The places that have the huge youth bulges today are mostly in Africa. If the Western countries don't accommodate them through migration, the consequences could be dire.

PSB

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Alfred Differ said...

David,

That could very well be. Discussions around geopolitics usually require context few people have. Lots of us think of our nations as the people in them with some territory, but the practitioners go beyond that.

Isolationism is an old inclination still alive today. I argue that it even has a geopolitical motive. Once we secured the Greater Mississippi River Basin we became a de facto sea power. We expanded west to the Pacific because of another old inclination (Manifest Destiny) and the fact that no one could stop us. The US doesn't really need to secure the pacific coast, though. It's a nice-to-have that works into us being a sea power because we secured shorter supply lines to a Pacific fleet.

Isolationism competes for mindshare among us much like the "Are we a Republic/Empire?" debate does. Are we a single nation or a federation of nations? Isolationism is strong, but doesn't win out against the geopolitical necessities of the "single nation".

FDR understood the necessity for Lend/Lease. Wilson comprehended our need for peace between nations. Lincoln grokked the existential threat posed by the CSA. Whether any of them would have phrased their patient explanations in terms of geopolitics is debatable, but TR's action in Panama to secure the canal demonstrated his understanding too.

US isolationism makes darn good sense in that it keeps us out of the usual mistakes of past empires. There's a limit, though, and we turned away from it a few times.

It still has a place today... but not in Ukraine. I'd very much like to live to see Russia lose their Black Sea fleet and access to the Caspian. I suspect those will happen, but I might be dust by then.

------

In the broadest sense, I see US geopolitical objectives as largely met. The only remaining task for us is to ensure no opponent organizes an entity large enough to be actual competition on the global scale. We can tolerate regional competitors... as long as they don't unite against us. We've mostly accomplished this, but the task is never-ending.

Alfred Differ said...

oops. Onward indeed.

David Brin said...

Alfred our sole geopolitical objective now is to prevent the Enlightenment Experiment from being sabotaged.

If it lasts, the Hollywood will ensure accomplishment of our mission. An era of tolerance, individual rambunctiousness, accountability, curiosity and light.


onward

onward

Dirtnapninja said...

Mr. Brin:

"The interpretation of Serbia is insane. Bill Clinton is a DEMOCRAT. That means he will try surgical force first and only ramp up very cautiously. And I agreed. Give the Serbians chances to back out of Bosnia… they refused so things ramped up, at very little US cost."

what a load of bollocks lol. You deliberately targetted civilian infrastructure and openly stated so.

Never forget It was a democrat that firebombed Japan and dropped an atom bomb. Surgical force indeed.

"How Democrats and Republicans Wage War - http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-democrats-and-republicans-wage-war.html"

Nonsense lol. American military doctrine is based in a vast array of infrastructure and theory and training and did not change in a moment due to the party in power. I think i'll refer your article To Andrei Martyanov for a good chuckle. You are a scientist and an fine writer mr. brin, but you really dont know much about military stuff and your own background naturally biases you towards focusing on what is called the war porn..the gadgets and technical specs.

"SAMS did Saddam no good whatsoever. Your excuse that Ira got the bad stuff is lame since it means no one will ever purchase RF weapons, ever again."

Again, Desertstormitis. Iraq relied on SAM and radar systems designed in the 50s and 60s and had poor training and an extremely constrained command and control system. They certainly didnt have the data sharing systems and effective emissions control the Ukrainians have. You were clubbing seals.

If you based your evaluation of the Abrams on its performance in Yemen, where many have been lost to camel herders equipped with rpgs and kornet rockets, you might conclude its not good. But it is a good tank. Just not in the hands of poorly trained Saudi tankers.


"And the drivel INSANITY of interpreting the war crime attacks on Ukraine civilians as aimed at the rail system… which appears to have been completely unimpeded and WON’T EVER BE IMPEDED because portable generators will be prioritized there… is so drooling crazy that even you ought to be embarrassed.

The jibbering masturbatory theory that a civilian population will fold because you made a few temporary BLACKOUTS? When – angered by neighbors who were killed – those civilians mostly still have roofs and food… after civilians in London, Guernica, Berlin and Tokyo carried on despite far worse… is simply proof that Vputin is a lunatic"

You are thinking like an American. Please note...this is actually the first strategic bombing campaign in Russias history. Russia does not place an emphasis on strategic air power and never did. They did not mass firebomb cities during ww2..that little bit of insanity was left to the western liberal democracies.

Russia is not trying to make the civilian population fold. Thats a western conceit based on Western theories of air power. Russia is attacking infrastructure, with a particular emphasis on power systems to hinder the Ukrainian economy and transportation. Take a look at the target selection in the most recent attacks, which included 4 substations in the odessa region.