196 Comments

This situation seems like the overture of the "John Lennon's 'Imagine'" theory of geopolitics that has been fueled by hippie boomer idealism for more than half a century. Putin is the bad guy, and just like in the Marvel movies, the bad guys *don't win*.

As soon as I saw the stories about Lithuania, it became horrifically apparent to me that (if not all, at least enough of) these people *actually believe this sh*t*. They really are that stupid.

God have mercy on us.

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Lithuanians historically absolutely viscerally hate Russians. That kind of emotion can override any rational thought. Especially if you can make yourself believe that you are being backed by a strong ally.

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Inherited attitudes towards Russia appear to be widespread across the West. The medieval crusades against Russia by the Catholic Church (the Teutonic Knights established a remote, colonial, outpost of the Papal states in the Baltic, this was located in East Prussia, now the Kaliningrad oblast) have left a putrid legacy. Much of the West (especially the Germans and Scandinavians) have viewed Russia as a reservoir of natural resources to be plundered/colonised.

Re Lithuania, I'd assume that the local politicos are a class of Quislings desperate to prove their loyalty to NATO no matter what.

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The Baltics have been pushed around by the Poles, Swedes, Russians, and Germans. The latter so long ago that Stockholm syndrome set in centuries ago.

But of those four, the hatred for the Russians is the only grudge that holds. It is not a Western concoction, and it is not concocted.

Heck, the Latvians derive their name from the Lets, and the language of the Lets most prominently left its imprint on the Latvian language. And the Lets were driven out of their homeland by proto-Russians before the Livonian Brotherhood of the Sword ever showed up.

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>The medieval crusades against Russia by the Catholic Church have left a putrid legacy.

That's Russian nationalist rhetoric currently and also in the past employed at the times of war with the West (no moral judgement intended, just statement of fact.) [Here is a salient example: https://infogalactic.com/info/Alexander_Nevsky_(film)#1930s_political_context] I do not fully disagree with it, but in my opinion it's overblown. There are lot of countries and nations that had been enemies in the past, but got over it.

The Baltic states' hatred toward Russia is much more recent and mainly based on what it did do them in 1940 (occupation) and 1941 (deportations), and in some form continued doing it to them until the breakdown of the Soviet Union.

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The Fourth Crusades are a very common gripe tirelessly brought up over and over again by the Orthodox (who also conveniently seem to have perpetual amnesia about the Massacre of the Latins).

Historically speaking everyone has blood on their hands. Some of us just refuse to let it go, especially when its politically useful (as is the case with similar mohammedan propaganda re: Crusades in general).

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This only makes sense if it is irrefutably provable that Alexei Navalny is a tool forged by the west. The reason why I am highlighting him is because the information that "he has dug up" in regards to Putins intentions, does not lean towards "Mother Russia"-nationalism. It leads towards simple intentions that are about boasting petty egomaniacal tendencies. If this tiny string of information is true, then the problem rises in complexity, because the narratives suddenly aren't cancelling each other out; The West's naive "Imagine" perception of the world Vs. Putin is a pro-nationalism fraudster. They can both be true.

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After 100 years of failed Wilsonian liberal imperialism, our intellectual betters in Congress and managerial elite still continue to drink this nonsensical kool aid while cheer leading Ukraine down the primrose path of destruction. Escalation is now oddly synonymous with diplomacy.

But realistically it would take decades for Ukraine to dislodge the Russian Federation from its occupied territories in the East without the assistance of NATO/American boots on the ground. Now the most viable option for Ukraine will to be concede territory to Russia, a notion that Henry Kissinger concedes that this the right thing to do and now even President Biden has said the quiet part out loud as well. But hey, in the mean time, our allies (protectorates) are frothing at the mouth for Joey to whip out his Black Amex card to bankroll a war with a forgone conclusion.

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They need something to take peoples eyes off Ukraine before allowing concessions to happen. That type of policy 180 would snap the necks off the Ukraine-flag-sporting 24 hour news cycle junkies...and some of them might even start asking questions.

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Hopefully our country will hit the ice berg of reality buuuuut I have serious doubts. Plus how fun is it to unfurl your bran-spankin' new Ukrainian flag on your social media profile to show everyone that you're one of the good people who suddenly cares about the robust "democracy"(LOL) of Ukraine and human rights or something.

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Coronavirus Redux?

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What's the over/under that the CCP is cooking up something EXTRA spicy in the Wuhan Lab just in time for the midterms or 2024?

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I’m with you brother, c-19 got Joey elected

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Joey will do as he is told. Good post.

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Just have Jill spoon feed him his mashed oats while he confusingly mumbles as the MSNBC TV propagandists explains that his approval ratings are now below Orange Hitler's

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Orange 45, I love it

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They seem to be doing well. I guess that primrose path is long.

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Outstanding! The US is now undeniably a co-belligerent in a war against Russia and the risk of the war escalating across Europe and beyond is high. Assuming that we are not all consumed in a nuclear exchange, the Ukraine can expect to see the Donbass and the entire Pontic steppe either directly returned to Russia or reorganised as independent territories aligned with Moscow, a buffer between Russia and the West .

The urgent questions are simple: how will the Ukraine remain financially viable without the hydrocarbon reserves (coal and natural gas) now in Russia's hands, who owns the liabilities on the burgeoning debts of Kiev and how long will the European public be able to afford paying premium prices for US-sourced energy once their industries have been rendered uncompetitive by the sanctions? The accelerated deindustrialisation of Europe guarantees the end of social peace and political moderation across the continent.

How soon before the US elite realise that the financial sanctions have dire implications for them too?

The US is setting up a constructed default of the bond market (by attempting to disrupt Russia making payments on its debts) and wrecking contract and property law (by seizing Russian assets without due process).

Biden is not just exposing any number of banks and hedge funds in the West to counter-party risks (with implications for the stability of the financial system in America), he is also setting the stage for the normalisation of asset-confiscation as a standard instrument of US statecraft.

This is useful for dealing with client-states and vassals, but how soon before this is used to settle scores within the US oligarchy itself? If Trump can be targeted as a pawn of Putin for the advantage of the Dems, how soon before other disfavoured or disruptive members of the oligarchy are targeted as commercial partners of the Kremlin? We indeed live in very interesting times.

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The mistake, Curtis, was getting Ukraine to give up its nukes; by making Russia the sole nuclear power among the former Soviet Bloc states, we guaranteed Russia could reconstitute the Soviet Empire at will: Expanding NATO actually mitigated this mistake to some extent, but it would have been better to allow Poland and Ukraine to keep their nukes and form their own anti-Russian defensive bloc. That way, they could deter Russia and keep the US's hands clean---acting as a sort of circuit breaker against total escalation at the increased risk of partial escalation.

The other big mistake was not arming Ukraine before the conflict. If your goal is to deter an invasion, you do that by getting weapons in before. Obviously, this means the deep state wanted the invasion to happen in order to grind down Russia's military capacity.

We must not repeat this later mistake. We must arm Taiwan now. Anyway, Slava Ukraine and Fuck the Russians and the Chicom's now and forever.

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Jun 21, 2022·edited Jun 21, 2022

K, Boomer.

Just because the clock's running out on you, no need to take the rest of us along as burnt offerings ya know.

Jaysus Effing Keister.. Let's all die in nuclear fire for Bubble Tea and Big Boobed Betel Nut Bints on the Road to Keelung as well. How about you stick to being an American? At home. Could be fun. Remember the Alamo!

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K, Zoomer: Why don't you stare at your genitals and try to figure out whether you are a boy or a girl. That seems to be the most important thing to you idiotic kids.

Only a fool would want to live in a world where nuclear brinksmanship pays off and Putin or Xi can do whatever they hell they want as long as they threaten to nuke us. All that will do, like paying off kidnappers, is encourage more nuclear brinksmanship and breaches of the peace. In the long run, you are the one who is leading us towards nuclear war.

Pacificism is a recipe for slavery. And Xi and Putin are the living refutation of every idea this blog advocates for. You cannot have a king because men go crazy and do stupid things. Monarchy is simply not an acceptable model for government. Moldbug likes to say it works in corporate America, but most companies fail in a way states are not allowed to; and companies don't have militaries.

Autocracy can be more efficient. But it can also produce situations like the one we are seeing in Ukraine.

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Jun 21, 2022·edited Jun 21, 2022

Real talk - how can you be a reactionary and also support enlightenment ideas like you do? This isn't a purity test, I'm just fundamentally confused. I thought reactionaries were reacting against the entire current of enlightenment thought. That's why we call them "reactionaries" rather than "far right" because the latter implies some proximity to the Overton window. If you support republican government and traditional values, wouldn't it be more accurate to call yourself far right?

Believe whatever you want, I'm just confused by your chosen label.

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The enlightenment was quite a while ago. I want the world as it was in 1890. Post enlightenment but well before the world started to suck. Check the definition of reactionary.

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I think that the world had already started to suck. The social decay we lament is rooted in enlightenment values.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/470/470-h/470-h.htm#chap14

Ever read any G.K. Chesterton? You should. That chapter alone is deeply moving, and you can see how the problems we face today with "information bubbles" are nothing new - the product of an anti-communal culture. He documented as such in early 1900's London. Fantastic writer all around.

We can't turn back time but we can restructure society to incentivize desired behaviors. This rejuvenation delays the decay.

But in any case, if you told me that you only want to go back a century, my first thought wouldn't be reactionary. I would think standard populist conservative, wanting to return to an era before the administrative state, more functional communities, and a more sacred constitution.

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The United States has a fiduciary duty to its citizens, not to the single most corrupt nation in Europe. Also, arming the socially acceptable "good guys" in any war like the mujahideen in Afghanistan, Vietminh in Vietnam, or Syrian rebels ended with predictable consequences so what's changed now? The bottom line is that we must stop spreading American Imperialism abroad at the expense of US taxpayers by intervening in yet ANOTHER pointless foreign war.

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Thanks for the Mises Institute talking points. Perhaps try coming up with something that isn't cookie cutter.

And how much will protecting Europe cost if Russia is allowed to conquer Ukraine? How much more military spending will be needed to deter a resurgent Russia? If we allow China to sense weakness, how much will it cost the US economy when they invade Taiwan, bringing semiconductor manufacturing to a halt. You understand that China is watching this and judging how great our resolve is.

Nope, not every situation is the Iraq War, dude. By your logic, we should not have done Lend Lease to the UK and should have let Hitler win the war.

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Providing military protection to Europe does not benefit the American people in any tangible way. The best way to cut that cost is simply to cut it, and wish the Europeans the best.

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Yes but the people are not the priority of Washington. NATO keeps the Euroserfs within the empire and the last thing Washington wants is to free up Germany to align with Russia and China. The current round of Eurasian integration is Rapallo-on-steroids. Military protection also provides the brass at the Pentagon with all sorts of perks and postings well out of sight of the US public.

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We are obligated by treaty. And yes, it does provide a benefit. Ever hear of nuclear non-proliferation. Yeah, providing protection to Europe is a key part of that. And if Europe gets invaded by Russia, or blown to smithereens, that will absolutely harm the US economy.

"In any tangible way"---tangible meaning, what, obvious to a Mises Institute type?

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Tangible meaning something that would actually improve the lives of regular Americans. As opposed to e.g. making the world look more like Washington thinks it should.

Go on and explain how Americans would be worse off for Europe being ruled over by Russia.

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Compare Russian GDP to European GDP. Compare Finnish GDP to Russian GDP. There are parts of Finland that got ceded to Russia after the Winter War. Compare the incomes of their residents. It is almost as good an experiment as the separation of Korean into a North and South. The Russian side is poor. The Finnish side is rich.

Russia is bad at economics. Russian rule sucks. Russia makes people poor.

If Europe becomes Russia, the US economy will suffer. This is obvious. Go back and read some more Ron Paul isolationist bullshit.

And if we give up on protecting Europe, European states make a mad dash for more nukes. It will make nuclear proliferation inevitable. While I argued for keeping nukes in the hands of a few big ex-Soviet states, I do not want to see every government having them. Neither should you. We are all worse off if that produces a nuclear war.

I don't want nuclear war. I don't want Russian or Chinese domination of the world either, however. Neither should you.

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i liked the part of your 'Yes, America First Conservative, You Should Care About Ukraine' where you hand wave off the xoxol swastikas as just-funny-ironic-trolling-guys!

as an american the russians pose no threat to me, outside of nuclear war, a game which also needs our elites to be playing. Our elites, and their elite institutions have turned a beautiful nation into a few clusters of mcmansions surrounded by hundreds of millions of humiliated peons. a western defeat in the ukraine would shatter our regime's confidence, the first step in any regime's defeat. and the ukranians? who gives a fuck about the ukranians?

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The Ukraine and the US share some similarities: transparently corrupt governments, social inequality, deindustrialisation and the normalisation of dysfunction. The Ukraine is a supersized version of the US Rust Belt.

The danger is that defeat abroad will see the US oligarchy go into crisis. They are likely to double down on repression. The violence of 2020 may well be a curtain-raiser to much more of the same.

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Banderites are not Nazis. Tell me, can you even tell me what the difference is? And I did not say it was "funny" trolling. I said it was meant to terrify their enemies. It is not merely about humor; it is about FEAR. Not only do you ignore this line in my article, but as true lying rhetoricians do, you failed to mention the part about Jews joining the Asov "Nazi" battalion. You omit things that go against your case because you are an intellectually dishonest person.

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Mossad-assets or not, these guys have a blacksun as their (old) logo and pictures keep popping up where they're tatted up with a funny buddhist peace symbol. If they're not nazis, why was the rebrand even necessary? I suppose 'nazi' is an incorrect term since they aren't part of the NSDAP, Schutzstaffel, or Sturmabteilung, although the way they treat Russians would probably make even Dirlewanger himself smile. 'Wignat' would be a more appropriate way to describe them.

As for the "FEAR" aspect, I don't think these guys inspire much "FEAR" when they keep turning into the Donner party trapped beneath some soviet factories.

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Here at the GM comments we can call a spade a spade. I can tell you're a liberal but you don't have to play the funny word games. The mujahideen were islamic terrorists, but the enemy of an enemy is a friend. I also like how you transliterate it as Asov with an 's' instead of the usual Azov with a 'z'. It reminds me of how Obama would say Pah-key-stan unlike most Americans who say Pack-ist-an.

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Obama was showing off. It appears he spent time in Pakistan when he was a college student (savouring a bit of bacha-bazi most likely as well as the local cannabis). I think his mother was posted there during the late Cold War when she was masquerading as a foreign-aid saviour of the people.

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Yeah, well, you guys put a lot of resources into capturing this "Donner party." And if they aren't so fearsome, if they are so weak, why are they being used as your justification for invasion? Why put so many resources into someone so harmless?

I am a liberal, heh? Very interesting. No need to mince words, I can tell you are a Putin loving (((RUSSIAN))).

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You want to continue the same foreign policy that started with Roosevelt, and I suspect the Democrats from the 40's would be even harsher on todays black criminals than you would. Aside from being an anti-semite how aren't you a liberal?

Its also funny that you accuse me at random of being a Russian because I disagree with you. Yet another liberal trope.

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Nope, I accused you of being a (((RUSSIAN))). Anyway, only a Russian bot would continue this conversation after I said I think you are a filthy (((RUSSIAN))). Get fucked, asshole.

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Poland never had nukes. The Ukraine gave up their arsenal because they lacked the means to maintain it and no-one in Europe or North America has ever been bat-shit crazy enough to want a country as inept, corrupt and unreliable as the Ukraine to have such weapons in the first place.

The US did arm the Ukraine. Since 2014 the US has trained 30 battalions of the Ukrainian army to a standard where they were rated fully interoperable with NATO. Since the defeat of the Ukrainians at the hands of the Peoples' Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (which resulted in the Minsk Accords) the US re-equipped the Ukrainians. The re-armament was paid for by the Ukraine going deeply into debt to the IMF.

The US strategy was twofold. Firstly, ethnically cleanse the Donbass of the Russian population, thereby humiliating Putin, destabilising Russian politics and fostering regime change. Secondly, to prepare the way for NATO to locate strategic weapons on Russia's southern border, thereby fortifying NATO's capacity for a first strike against Moscow.

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It's not a mistake. Grinding down your enemy is the goal.

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Not a mistake, but perhaps a strategic error. A mistake being when you don't achieve your intent, strategic error when you had the wrong intent.

I think the world would be much better off if the invasion of Ukraine had been avoided---in fact, deterred. As that would signal US resolve to China and have kept the economic costs of this war down.

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What if the intent is to degrade your enemies military and reduce their access to advanced weapon components? Perhaps reducing the number of Sarmats coming online over the next few years. If you are saying they are too dumb to have such a plan then I could perhaps agree with you. Nevertheless even a stopped clock is right twice per day. Sometimes we do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

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Jun 22, 2022·edited Jun 22, 2022

Ukraine could neither operate nor utilize the nukes they had. I find it far more plausible that they would have been attacked far earlier if they decided to keep said nukes - for many reasons. Therefore, both Ukraine and our beloved Empire of Good behaved very rationally by performing this transaction.

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Mr Carroll makes sense in a sensible manner.

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I am not a diplomat: I am just a guy who hates communists.

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For now, but am I supposed to trust a man whose goal is to reconstruct the USSR? One could also say, truthfully, that the world's communist governments have never "practiced true communism" because all have made some market concessions out of economic necessity.

If you say you are a communist, I take your word for it. If you wax on with nostalgia over the USSR, I will assume you are a communist.

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Have you by chance, actually read or listened to anything Putin has said? Or is your knowledge of his intentions derived from soundbites published by the media?

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https://www.prlib.ru/en/article-vladimir-putin-historical-unity-russians-and-ukrainians

Yes, I am very familiar with the above essay. Dude, I write a blog: Instead of checking that out and seeing that I have numerous articles citing Putin's writings and speeches, you decide to ask some condescending question. Buzz off. I am guessing you haven't read the above essay. If we are going to continue this conversation, I expect you to read it in full: There will be a quiz at the end.

Maybe you should read it and see that---much as his Peter the Great remark does---it argues that Putin's motives are mostly revanchist and that concern about Nazis and Nato are just an excuse.

You people believe the Nazi and NATO line: Then explain to me why he is threatening Kazakhstan or interfering with Belarus's government? It is about reconstructing the Soviet sphere of influence; it is not about "legitimate security concerns" as if a country with a GDP of 3K per person was going to invade a nuclear power. Nonsense.

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Hey, at least Lithuania is on the right side of history.

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I wouldn't overestimate the State Department influence in this particular case. Lithuania, as well as other Baltic states, has quite a large account to settle by itself, after 50 years of Soviet occupation.

(Also, Putin is not a reactionary. I can't stress this enough. He is a leftist using some reactionary rhetorics, opposite of Hitler, who was a rightist using some progressive rhetorics; future historians will have a very interesting time figuring out why both outcomes were so similar)

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That is a part of the problem...international relations is not (or should not be) about settling accounts. It is about securing the interests of the people. My understanding (which may be wrong) is that the Baltic is a mess...the population (especially in the rural areas) is in free-fall, the local economies are reeling from shock-therapy and predatory lending by Scandinavian banks and the political elite are Quislings managed by naturalised Americans with family origins in the nations they now govern. Hatred of Russia seems pointless and the never-ending obsession of the Balts with over-identifying with the West and stigmatising everything to the East is historically illiterate and racist.

I'd suggest that Putin is neither left nor right. He is a man formed by the Soviet Union, but also by the collapse of the system and the disappointments and disillusionment of the 90s. He is personally Western in his culture and orientation, speaks German fluently, but understands that Russia is bi-continental in both geography and culture. He is a lawyer and he reads a lot. He has also spent some time in the Soviet archives, chasing up the original documentation about the geopolitics of the 1920s and 30s...so he is driven by curiosity. His ideas are probably just a work in progress like the rest of us.

Perhaps he is a taste of what a Yarvinite monarch might look like?

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Jun 22, 2022·edited Jun 22, 2022

None of this can be any farther from truth (I was born in the USSR and lived in Russia until 2014).

Baltic states are in line with other post-Soviet countries of the Eastern Europe. They're not very rich or prosperous, but not "free fall" ones either.

Putin had a second rate KGB position (oversaw some cultural facility in the Eastern Germany, with a little bit of spying). He is not well educated, well read, or proficient in law. His views are driven mostly by a very specific kind of KGB mythology of the era (which romanticized both pre-Revolution Russia & Stalin regime AT THE SAME TIME).

Just like Hitler, he is heavily dependent on the public opinion, and his rationale for the war is a copy/paste of Hitler's Lebensraum, more or less verbatim.

Seeing him as some sort of an influential reactionary figure is beyond delusional.

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You may well be right. I do not speak or read Russian and have never visited it. Ditto the Baltic Republics. All I know about their position is that there has been a major decline in rural population in several of them. As for Eastern Europe, a few years ago there was a survey of people in middle age in Poland. 40% expressed the view that their standard of living had not improved under capitalism...this is telling. I note that the UK and Sweden attract significant numbers of migrant workers from the Baltic, many of whom work at very low wages. Sounds grim to me.

As for Putin, the fact that as a young man he worked in a relatively minor position proves nothing about his ability or, indeed, his real function. Intelligence officers use all kinds of cover. He clearly speaks German to native fluency and native Russian speakers have commented favourably on his use of that language. As for his reading, the fact that he reads at all puts him ahead of quite a few Western politicians. How good his knowledge of law is, I have no idea, but Obama lectured at the University of Chicago law school (specialising in critical race theory) but does not appear to have ever sat for the bar exam in Illinois or anywhere else. I'll happily bet that Putin is vastly more intelligent than Obama and more thoroughly educated.

Putin is nothing like Hitler, not even remotely close. The accusation is grotesque. Russia needs people, not extra acreage. I have no doubt that Putin would never have invaded if Kiev had agreed to neutrality and had they not kept shelling the Donbass.

Finally, when all is said and done, even if Putin is wrong, his critics in the West are shits and they most definitely care nothing about anyone, Russian, Ukrainian, Baltic, whatever. It is as simple as that. If you can judge a man by his enemies, Putin is doing fine. Sorry if we remain on different sides of this argument, but I remain unconvinced. I may well be entirely wrong. I'll change my mind when I see evidence that warrants doing so.

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I recently spent time in the rural part of a Baltic state.

It was worlds more pleasant, stable, and orderly than American dystopian suburbs. It was also obviously suffused with social trust. Poorer than the U.S. and elsewhere in Europe? Yes. A more pleasant place to live than most of the U.S.? Seemed so.

Except in regards to the Russians. Russian neighborhoods are often shitholes and full of violent drunk people. But even THAT is much better than it was 20 years ago.

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I have absolutely no doubt that the rural areas of the Baltic would be charming compared to many parts of the US and that there would be plenty of social trust. But the population there is falling, in large part because of emigration to the West.

As for the Russian neighbourhoods, are these in the rural areas or are they urban? Rust-belts the world over produce unhappy and degrading social conditions. Would like to know more. I suspect that if the Russian neighbourhoods are indeed as bad as you state, it would most likely have something to do with neglect or either poor or malicious governance. Disfavoured minorities develop social dysfunctions over time. If the Baltics have created their own 'Appalachia' then that tells you something about the governments, doesn't it?

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After the fall of the Soviet Union there were two broad classes of people: Those happy about it, and those not. Most of those in the latter category were Russian.

Where I was, the impression seemed to be-- essentially-- it was the Soviet system that broke those people beyond repair.

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You can't judge a man by his enemies (Stalin and Hitler were enemies, and neither was a good guy).

Putin's opposition to the "liberal" oligarchy of the west is a psyop. He's not really opposed to them. He's just unhappy with his share.

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You can indeed judge a man by his enemies. Sometimes this is wise, sometimes not. Whatever works best. In the absence of verifiable evidence, what else can one do?

Putin's relationship to the oligarchs of the West would have its complexities. The Western press are pretty coy about the relationships between our oligarchs and the Russian state and the Russian or Ukrainian oligarchs. Bits of the picture emerge from time to time, yet never get included in the conventional narrative. We are not being told the truth.

Putin's reputed wealth is attested vigorously by journalists who are undoubtedly intelligence assets themselves. If Putin's struggle with the West is a mafia-feud over sharing the spoils, so be it...what is important to me personally is that the oligarchs and mafiosi who preside over my society should not get any more powerful than they already are. If Putin stands in the way of the further empowerment of the likes of the Clintons, the Bushes, Obama and the vast network of thieves, sociopaths, sadists and parasites who are wrecking the lives of ordinary people then that is just fine by me. Casually and thoughtlessly extending loyalty to such people on the urging of the media and the 'experts' strikes me as insane.

I fully appreciate the valid reasons people in the former USSR may have for disliking Putin, but these have no relevance to me and the exhortations to hold Putin in contempt by the Western establishment make me suspicious.

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I read someone (a smart someone) who said we all secretly believe we live at the end of time, the end of history, the end of the world. I have a certain morbid curiosity, hum!

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Such is our sense of entitlement. The miracle of simply being alive is not enough. We feel that we deserve illumination via apocalypse.

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Not just illumination but transcendence! :)

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I like!

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I'm an American living in Brussels - I've had several awkward dinner party conversations with standard pro-EU/western/liberal Belgians and French where I ask them straight out if they are willing to send Belgian troops to their death defending Baltic soil - they are quite sour about the idea and are sour on US running NATO but withdraw from NATO or change the relationship with the US - they can't conceptualize it...

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Then they can die on their knees like the vassals they truly are and under the nato, eu and pride flag. Americans will now fight to make sure we don't die "defending" an outdated, fascist and tyrannical people that infest the current western bureaucracies.

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Let's not get too carried away shall we?

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Jun 21, 2022·edited Jun 22, 2022

The Europeans don't share my values. They are totalitarian censorship happy conformist fools, living under the auspices of technocrats. They forced a failed injection and covid passports on their fellow citizens much like the dc, nyc, cali scum and the rest of the commonwealth shits. They've proven their nothing but subjects and serfs, to dc and Brussels and I'm suppose to fight for their the bs. Honestly, for all i care they can go back to what Europeans are good at...killing each other over bs ideologies and monarchs and leavr the rest of the world alone.

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Good for you and three cheers for sanity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Americas were settled by the Europeans who had had enough with bowing and scraping and taking shit from thugs. One of my favourite passages in Gibbon's THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE concerns America. Gibbon speculated about what would happen if barbarians over-ran Europe again. He stated that in that case people would get in boats and head for the New World. He got that one right. The best of Europe lives on (bruised, put upon and sometimes uncertain) in America and Canada but what is left of Europe is a geopolitical sheltered workshop for Greta Thunberg, Klaus Schwab etc. As for the pro-EU Belgians, as they said in the movie: "have you checked on the children?"

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I applaud your direct line of questioning and dinner party style!

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Speaking from experience, fighting for your life in a war teaches you that, before the war there were alternatives. Once the war starts, there are only outcomes. Taking the bell off the tiger becomes much harder when the war starts.

Putin and Russia do diplomacy Solzhenitsyn style which is the current war. They escalate to de-escalate. This is what Russia does and the US and Western governments have never understood the Russian mindset so they spent decades demonizing Russia and Putin. This proxy war will end like all other proxy wars: when the US and West get tired of throwing billions at the problem and walk away.

They are making the same mistake with China. Have they put the bell on the wrong tiger?

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We have a way to go before Russia de-escalates. Grassroots Russian opinion is enraged by the depth of the hostility and contempt directed at Russians by the US and the Europeans. Sanctions against Putin have convinced Russians that Putin does not have any money hidden abroad and he is becoming more popular than ever. Previously moderate and pro-Western politicians (like Dmitry Medvedev) have become militantly patriotic, if not nationalistic.

Washington assumed that cutting off rich Russians from shopping for Western luxuries would bring about regime change. This is what you get when you have seriously dumb people from very sheltered backgrounds making policy!

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western bureaucrats seemed to think that the russians wouldn't be able to handle poverty and an authoritarian government (lol)

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Well, they would think that wouldn't they? The thing is that the hardships of the sanctions are minimal: Russia is self-sufficient in food, energy, medicine, weapons. Housing, education and health-care are vastly cheaper than in the West. Expectations of comfort are different. Consumer preferences are distinct too: ordinary Russians are used to buying consumer goods from Turkey etc. Most importantly, family structures are stronger, making people more resilient. And the Russians are utterly without self-pity and can cope with frustrations and hardships without melting down - psychic qualities no longer visible in any Western population.

As for authoritarianism, Putin is nothing like the Soviets or the Tsars. The only people getting into trouble politically are those on the payroll of the West. Local dissidents without any links to foreign intelligence agencies get hassled, but are let off very lightly. Putin is tough by Western standards. but is a moderate by Russian ones. He is also pretty patient and respectful towards his critics. The West has swallowed its own propaganda...never a good idea.

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What is difference between “moderate pro-Western” politician and “militantly patriotic” / “nationalistic”? It seems like these phrases just mean “good guy” vs “bad guy”. I think it would be easier to understand the our meanings if we simplified our language. Like, before the war, Dmitry was good guy- then war broke out and he became bad guy :).

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It all depends on quarterly earnings and the willingness to pay protection money. The names and faces change, never the story.

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I'm not unduly concerned. Putin is a monkey but he isn't that braindead. Besides, I'm prepared.

Honestly I wish the Ukrainians the best of luck. I don't have a problem selling them guns or Marshall planning them. Those are to our economic benefit, and to the detriment of geopolitical rivals - groups who will be our rivals no matter who is in charge.

Ultimately, there's no point in worrying. God or whatever else will deliver to us the future. Nuclear armageddon is a pathway to nature's freedom, in all its terrifying splendor. There's very little worth preserving in this society of last men. Being sent back to the bronze age isn't the end of the world.

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Moral concerns about profiting off weapons of war aside, there are also some serious downsides to pumping our newest toys into Ukraine.

Russia is learning firsthand how to fight against an army with 21st century technology - something we don't have any experience doing (notice how we get really mad when Russia sells S400s to its friends in the region). As has been the case since the beginning of warfare, tactics and technologies will *always* eventually be hard countered.

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Raytheon and Northrop executives have been too busy spraying each-other in celebratory Dom Pérignon to notice any iota of moral concerns. If the game is to "defend human rights" then the Military Industrial Complex will let the tomahawk cruise missiles do the talking.

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Russia is learning how to target its own advanced hypersonic ballistics on Western-trained troops. The war is an advertisement for Russian weapons and weapons-systems, including air-defence. Rest assured that potential buyers from North Africa, the Middle East and Asia are paying very close attention.

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I'd be more concerned about them being stolen.

Russian government isn't stable. The moment their military becomes competent, they risk a coup. Moreover, if Russia had NCO's, if Russia offered it's commanders more autonomy, if they had adequate communications between the different branches of their military, if they were capable of developing and launching a GPS system for their PGM's - I would be worried. But many of their operational failures are so basic that I'm not concerned, and most aren't easy to fix in any relevant timeframe. You don't get NCO's overnight. Corruption is a culture issue, and you don't root out corruption in the military without rooting it out of the state in general. There's also the matter of individuals needing to survive in order for institutional knowledge to survive. Many of their crack units, VDV and various spetznaz units, were decimated in the opening stages of the war. Did sending 1980's Soviet tanks into a wall of 1980's NATO surplus specifically designed to destroy those tanks prove effective? Did having inadequate logistics beyond rail help keep their troops fed? Did performing unsupported combat drops leave the survivors with any new insights into how such an operation ought to be conducted? Everyone already knows that's a terrible idea, except their commanders apparently.

My point is that the mistakes they've been making are too basic and they've been hamstrung by shitty equipment with poor maintenance - you'll note how rarely they leave the roads due to their $200 Chinese tires that they never maintained. I think the only real insights that Russia can glean is that they need serious reform and that they don't have the economic or military muscle to fight a protracted proxy war with NATO. Specific lessons about 21st century warfare will be too difficult to suss out between their own failings. Yes, Russia has taken territory, but their "feints" are getting weaker and that land was purchased with calamitous loss of men and material, looking just at visually confirmed losses.

In other circumstances I think you would have a fair point. But Russia is achieving limited success in spite of all these things.

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Considering that T-90s and Javelins were definitely not being fielded in 1980s, this is not a surplus war, both sides are fielding their top tech as far as outside observers can see.

I am curious where you are getting all of this detailed information around casualties? Given Russia's "mixed" successes in the past with offensive campaigns (often due to, as you suggested, poor organization and logistics), I would not be surprised at some of that, but this sounds far too much like the triumphalism that you hear daily from the MSM.

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Good call on the javelins. The T-90 is just a moderately upgraded version of one of the older Soviet tanks If I'm not mistaken? I'm not a tank guy.

NATO wasn't using new tech initially, instead using older stockpiles. This probably doesn't apply to whatever they were using for intelligence sharing. The losses so far have caused Russia to dip into older stockpiles. I don't think Russia has brought out the Armata's but definitely has brought out the Pantsirs - I believe that's their most modern AA system.

Oryx is a good source for visually confirmed casualties. We can also find obituaries, especially for officers on VK, and that offers insight into where units were and what they were doing. We can also listen into Russian comms chatter because they're using Baofengs lol, and that can tell us a thing or two. Perun on YouTube is obviously pro Ukrainian but he's in military procurement and does a good job of synthesizing this stuff and separating his personal biases from military realities. If you wanna watch hour long power points then it's your kind of content.

I don't trust the MSM, I only trust OSINT, because they go to autistic lengths to publicly vet their data. Right now it doesn't paint a pretty picture for the long-term feasibility of this operation. Believe me, the MSM says much more outlandish shit - like there will be a popular revolution any day now.

All I'm saying is that Russia doesn't have the manufacturing base, budget, or tech edge to fight the 10 ton gorilla that is NATO in a prolonged slugging match. That, and they're struggling with their own failings, making the match even less fair.

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Fascinating stuff. I am utterly unable to assess military performance or the value of weapons or weapons systems, but I have relied very heavily on Andrei Martyanov (a former Soviet-era naval officer with a very strong background in STEM who is a naturalised US citizen). Martyanov is blunt, perhaps even aggressive, and he is convinced that NATO is a joke and that the Russians have effectively won the latest arms race. I find Martyanov convincing, but then that is just me. I'd be interested in what anyone on this comment thread has to say in response to Martyanov, especially veterans.

Martyanov blogs at https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/ and

posts youtube videos at https://youtu.be/yXmavAD9KFQ

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Just skimming his blog, I would be very skeptical of what he's saying. Here's one example.

>[Russia] is fully capable to disrupt NATO's C4ISR and has air defense which is simply the best and most advanced in the world.

This isn't true. Russia was supposed to have air superiority on day one. It didn't. We know it didn't because we have the footage to prove it. If you scroll back far enough in the twitter timelines of various OSINT accounts or war footage compilers, you can find footage of Ukranian aircraft flying, and you can listen to comms of poor Russian conscripts shitting their pants fearing that a drone is overhead. I got a new job so I haven't been reviewing the battlefield footage over the past month, but I can't imagine things are looking too much better, especially since the Ukrainians started launching from Polish airfields a while ago. If Russian air defense is "the best in the world," how was the UAF still flying visually confirmed sorties as of a month ago? Why are BUKs and Pantsirs - dedicated AA platforms - getting popped by the Bayraktar - an EXTREMELY affordable Turkish drone? How did two Ukrainian hinds manage to get over the Russian border and hit an oil depot?

I'm not sure what he means by "won the latest arms race." If he's referring to hypersonic missiles, the Kinzhal is just a booster from an old soviet missile, the Iskander, which puts the pedal to the metal. It brute forces hypersonic speeds using old tech, which is a result of limited manufacturing capabilities and limited budget. If I'm not mistaken, the number of Kinzhals they have in inventory is in single digits. These things are touted as a panacea for carrier strike groups, but this glosses over real design issues. For starters, flying that fast creates a plasma sheath around the nose of the missile - which is where your guidance instruments go. You could use inertial navigation, but it needs to be DAMN precise because flying that fast, even the slightest deviation can land you off target, and at those speeds you're not going to bank a turn to correct for error. Plus, they will definitely see you coming, and could take evasive action. This is less of a problem for static targets, but more of a problem if you're dealing with anything mobile.

The point is that the technology has limitations that need to be overcome, and can be exploited. Don't get me wrong, they still have a place on the battlefield, but they're not some sort of wunderwaffen. In general, Russia has a bad habit of spending large volumes of money on R&D, but never building these new technologies - or not building them in relevant quantities (Su-57 and T-14 are good examples of this). Russia aint the Soviet Union anymore, and they don't have the budget to be a global superpower, and if they had just focused that budget on building a kickass army, a good enough airforce, and had *enough* nuclear weapons, they might have the logistics they need to project force to the degree required for total domination of Ukraine. The problem is that they have a very limited budget in comparison to the US and NATO in general, and a very limited industrial capacity (a lot of their military aviation and hardware in general requires western components). They don't have the ability to have a massive well furnished nuclear arsenal, bleeding edge R&D, a large well furnished army, a large air force, and a navy. They can try and do all of them with their limited means, but they won't do any of them well. This is excluding all the other structural issues with the Russian military and how it does things (e.g. conscripts have very little incentive to get shit done).

If you want a different perspective from Martyanov, I think the most accessible one is Perun, on youtube, for reasons I mentioned in another comment. He does a good job of synthesizing the output from various OSINT sources into a fairly reasonable analysis. While being pro-ukrainian, I think his military analysis is fairly objective given the data we have. Nobody is perfect, but he does well enough. Here's his first video on the subject, where he talks about some of the stuff I just mentioned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJkmcNjh_bg

If you want some real sense of the destruction, here are two resources for comparing visually confirmed equipment losses, from the same group of autistic guys. It's important to keep in mind this sample is colored by the fact that Russia isn't (visually) documenting Ukrainian losses as closely - there aren't millions of Russian civilians ogling every burnt out enemy vehicle they see.

Russian equipment losses

https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-equipment.html

Ukrainian equipment losses

https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-ukrainian.html

Jomini of the West does a good job piecing together the realities of various fronts and battlefields from combat footage, satellite data, and social media posts.

https://twitter.com/JominiW

This guy is very pro-ukrainian but has a good drip of the actual footage coming out of the conflict. Looks like an ammo dump just got blown up.

https://twitter.com/Osinttechnical

Here's the real rub though. For anything like a war, I don't trust what anybody tells me. Not even Curtis. Certainly not the MSM. I only trust what I can see with my own eyes. Anyone who wants to inform me first has to PROVE to me that I should listen. OSINT guys work hard to prove the veracity of their data. Perun has proven to me that he knows what he's talking about, and he lays out his case every single time, allowing us to evaluate the reasoning behind his conclusions.

Now, to be perfectly clear, I hate our government, and I wouldn't shed a tear if they were all abducted by aliens or some other wonderful fantasy. It would be great if they came out of this hurting. But if that happens, I very much doubt it will be for *military* failures - it will be for *political ones*. Because the US military industrial complex is not a joke. It's not a pushover. The sociopaths in DC run the world because they have deep pockets and a very, very big stick. It's more likely that they will misuse the stick than the stick will fail to work. That's my thinking, anyway. I also don't really weep for Russia, because I know Russians, and I know how terrible their oligarchs are. They make our oligarchs look cuddly.

An ideal outcome would be that Russia walks away from this as a pariah state, undergoes the serious reforms it needs to, and can levy its enormous natural resources to build a new empire with better governance capable of challenging the west both morally and militarily. They have horrible brain drain and a shrinking population, but they still have great educational institutions. They have a chance, if someone would just get their nobles to stop robbing their people blind and actually LEAD. But for the moment at least, Putin is no Peter the Great, and it shows. Ultimately, there are no good guys in this fight.

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Interesting, I'll have to check that channel out.

Tbh this scenario concerns me even more. If Russia starts losing badly, NATO and/or Ukrainian hawks might smell blood in the water and start behaving irrationally. Big difference between a humiliated bear and one that is backed into a corner.

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It's totally a fair point. One guy I read was very concerned that the "political jellyfish" in charge of our country would underreact and then public outcry would pressure them to be seen as "doing something" like establishing a no fly zone or something similarly retarded. For this operation we need to return to cold war methodologies that focus on deniability.

Here's some other stuff I should have mentioned.

If you want to know more about the Russian logistics situation, here's an extremely prescient article written before this war kicked off. https://warontherocks.com/2021/11/feeding-the-bear-a-closer-look-at-russian-army-logistics/

Kamil Galeev on twitter is a good source for Russian history and cultural analysis but you have to remember he's just one man. He is from a minority population and has an axe to grind with Moscow. His military analysis isn't fantastic but his analysis of the operating structure of the Russian state is good and his cultural analysis is solid. If you want to anticipate Russian domestic politics, read some of his stuff.

The FSB letters - the first three of them, at least - seem legit and offer some insight into the workings of the Kremlin at the moment. While they haven't been vetted to my satisfaction, a lot of what they say makes sense. Consider them as data but don't trust them without additional evidence.

The specific claims about the VDV were drawn from their repeated unsupported combat drops (indicating failure), officer obituaries, and some units that I believe the Russian government stated were dissolved, pulled, or merged - it's been a few months of constant information drip so please forgive me for it being fuzzy. I THINK Perun covers this in his first or second video, though it might have been covered in a different one.

If there's anything else you're curious about, ask away. I'll get back to you once I'm done with my hike.

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The US is lending the Ukrainians the money to buy those weapons. The US 'aid' is a lend-lease deal. The US defence contractors clean-up, but the loan is going to be difficult to repay because the Ukraine's greatest resources (coal and natural gas) are in those areas where the Russians and Russian-speaking minorities live. Most of the premium grade land is in the east and the south too, so Bayer-Monsanto and all of the rest of the US and Euro agribusiness crowd are out of luck. The Ukraine is going to end up a land-locked basket-case exporting nothing but cheap labour and military surplus.

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I think you overestimate Russia's ability to sieze and hold that territory, given the realities of their logistics.

Luhansk and Donetsk are scraping the bottom of the barrel for men. They declared general mobilization and increased recruitment age to 60. Even assuming that the unaccountable rule of Russian warlords has been popular, they're effectively dead cultures at this point. Their means of resistance has been exhausted.

If this becomes a protracted conflict, Russia simply can't win against the entirety of the western military and economic order.

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It looks to me as if the Pentagon, Treasury, Democrat pollsters, and thus most of the Biden admin want to close this thing down and dump it on the Europeans. State (i.e. the Kagan Extended Family), most of Congress, and nearly all media want the US to do whatever it takes--including a "winnable" nuclear exchange--to avoid the perception of giving in to Putin. My guess is that the money people and the Obama faction will prove stronger than the neolib/neocon world remakers. The former will simply have to convince the latter that the big prize is China--and that Mr. Xi is at least as despicable as Mr. Putin if only they'll give him a chance.

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The crazies and misfits at State are simply clown-world bit-players. Obama and his network are not in rivalry with the neoliberals and neocons...these factions can be controlled very easily by the powers that be in the military/industrial complex. The expectations of the Dem base complicate things...looking weak towards Putin enrages the rusted-on Dem followers. Appearances must be maintained.

Obama and those behind him have other agendas, the most important is domestic. Obama wants to prepare the way for the next crisis in the financial sector. This will be fuelled in part by the wave of inflation (a supply side problem created by the covid lock-downs and exacerbated by the sanctions and the spike in energy prices). Obama wants to use the inflation to reduce the value of the debts owed by Blue States, pauperise Boomer retires who will sell assets at fire-sale prices, constrain/demoralise the middle and working classes and consolidate and enrich an emerging class of crony capitalist POC entrepreneurs who have access to preferential contracting thanks to diversity policies..

Internationally, Obama and co realise that the US is a declining power. They do not care, so long as the right elements of the US oligarchy are securely in place. Obama still thinks that the US oligarchy and Deep State can leverage a good deal for themselves with China.

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I think Obama is just enjoying his time in the shade - you think he or any past president is literally scheming in domestic party power plays and games? Lol. These guys don’t even believe in this shit when in office- only the “voters” do. I know first hand.

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Believe what you like. Obama is the first president in history to retain a residence in Washington itself after leaving office. The chief official within the Administration for domestic policy is Susan Rice, who despises Biden (whom she frequently and loudly rubbished all through the Obama administration). Rice is Obama's woman. Biden is implementing stuff that Obama does not want to take personal responsibility for (most importantly the changes to the mandate of the Federal Reserve). Obama is being guided by the usual suspects, his handlers within the intelligence community, but he and Michelle have political ambitions.

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Further to my previous response, neither personal belief nor sincerity is the issue. Age and opportunity are. Obama is much younger than any previous president in many generations. Hormones and neurotransmitters play a great role in politics, as they do in all human affairs. Power is way more than a mere aphrodisiac...it is akin to the elixir of youth for those who have had it. An ignorant, shallow, narcissist like Obama is not going to be satisfied with delivering speeches, he longs to reprise his role as world-ruler or god-emperor. Obama lacks the insight, or fully-developed alternative interests, to make a clean break.

The current administration is also readily available for infiltration/manipulation because of the neurocognitive infirmity of the incumbent and his indubitable corruption which has left him compromised in so many ways that it is difficult to count.

The moment is ripe for Obama. He craves more than a meagre legacy. The republic is failing, a new one forms as we write and those responsible for this will enjoy the benefit of it for as long as they live, likewise their children after them. Obama calls the shots, or at least some of them, within the Biden Administration and will do so until the Fates intervene.

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And yet you ask me if a decentralized oligarchy not entirely controlled by the likes of Obama, fink and Zuckerberg wouldn't be better for American citizens? It'd better than these alien monopolist shits who are turning America into a bust out operation by their foreign bs as well as their egs whoreshit.

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Just about anything would be better than the current situation, which is dangerous in the extreme. and getting more so by the day. The best situation would involve a degree of diversity: regional oligarchies in some areas, interspersed with Yarvinite monarchies in others, with variations in both in regards to political form and the agenda or content of policy. Whatever works on the ground for the locals. Autonomy is always essential.

The key things are securing social peace, maintaining economic opportunity, law and order, securing the conditions under which real people can thrive according to their own beliefs. An oligarchy constrained by fear of the people is better than a monarchy fronting for corporate interests or the intelligence services. What truly worries me is that whatever comes next will contain herds of Trojan horses, filled with gangsters recruited from the present elite. Hope that this explains where I am coming from.

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Xi is too colorful to be a proper supervillain. And his English language propaganda attacks America in a way that soothes the ears of our elites (racism, class inequality, etc.).

Putin looks the part, and seems to have banked on currying the favor of western dissidents. Making him a perfect enemy for the GAE.

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I think this is one of those areas where our regime’s general decline in ability and competence since the days of FDR is actually a good thing. It’s more insane in some ways but at the same time I think their general inability to organize a Machiavellian plot to draw Russia into a trap will be the saving grace, fingers crossed

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Trivia: Kaliningrad is what was formerly known as Königsberg in East Prussia. The city of Kant and Hilbert. There must be some deep irony there.

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In that vast warren of rodent and cockroach infested offices down at Foggy Bottom is there perchance a Danzig Corridor?

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No, but there would be a BDSM dungeon and a porn archive that would send Caligula into a state of shock.

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This bit of polemic by a cynical Jewish poet reminds me of a work by another cynical Jewish poet, which seems increasingly relevant:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=frAEmhqdLFs

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Strange how there was none of this panic when soviet pilots were flying in Vietnam.

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