I want to start with President Zelenskyy’s remarks from earlier today, but not from his nightly address. Rather I want to focus on some of his remarks to The Financial Times. (emphasis mine)
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a stalemate in the war with Russia was “not an option for us” as he once more appealed for western military support to restore his country’s territorial integrity.
“We are inferior in terms of equipment and therefore we are not capable of advancing,” he said. “We are going to suffer more losses and people are my priority.”
Speaking to Financial Times editor Roula Khalaf at the FT’s Global Boardroom conference on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said pushing Russian forces back to positions occupied before the February 24 invasion would amount to a “serious temporary victory” for Ukraine but full sovereignty over its territory remained his ultimate goal.
Zelenskyy said that “victory must be achieved on the battlefield”. But he also insisted he was open to peace talks despite atrocities committed by Russian troops during their 100-day onslaught. Any war should be ended at the negotiating table, he said.
Zelenskyy hit out at what he saw as attempts by some western allies to explore the terms of a ceasefire without involving Kyiv.
“We need abiding interest from the west, western support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. There cannot be talks behind Ukraine’s back anytime.
“How can we achieve a ceasefire on the territory of Ukraine without listening to the position of this country? This is very surprising.”
He said his allies could do more to bring Russia to the negotiating table by supplying Ukraine with arms and by toughening economic sanctions on Moscow, including a complete oil and gas embargo. They should not be mere mediators, he said, but should be ensuring that Moscow ended its hostilities and would honour any ceasefire. They should, he said, be setting the “preconditions” for peace.
“You have influence on the result . . . Apart from words, you should manifest what you can actually do.”
Much, much more at the link!
The reason I wanted to start with President Zelenskyy’s remarks to FT’s conference is to highlight his strategic communication. He’s clearly very aware that positive talk and good intentions by Ukraine’s allies are not enough. That despite Ukraine’s success in the battle for Kyiv and its ongoing ability to hold and attrit the Russian forces along the line of engagement in the east and south of Ukraine, victory will not be easy. And, in fact, it is not certain. While Ukraine is utilizing its advantages, Russian mistakes, and making good use of the weapons it has been and is still being provided, the Russians have more guns and aircraft, bigger guns, and more bodies to throw at the Ukrainians. By speaking plainly and clearly about the reality on the ground he makes both a powerful argument to Ukraine’s allies and supporters as to why they must continue to provide support and reinforces to Ukrainians that he is going to tell them the truth, even if it is unpleasant.
Here’s President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier this evening. The English transcript is after the jump. (emphasis mine)
Good health to you!
A brief report on the past day.
There were many activities – both diplomatic and domestic.
First, the government is setting up a headquarters to prepare for the next heating season. This decision was made as a result of a meeting I held today with both government officials and representatives of our largest state-owned energy companies and regulators.
Prime Minister, Ministers of Energy, Economy, Minister for Communities and Territories Development, heads of Naftogaz, Ukrenergo, Energoatom and the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Utilities. The relevant Deputy Head of the Office of the President was also present.
Whatever the occupiers plan for themselves, we must prepare for the next winter – in our state, on our land, for all citizens.
The issues of purchasing a sufficient amount of gas for the heating season, coal accumulation, and electricity production were discussed today.
In the current situation due to Russia’s aggression, this will indeed be the most difficult winter of all the years of independence. But! Everything is alright. We must go through it so that our people feel the normal work of the state.
At this time, we will not be selling our gas and coal abroad. All domestic production will be directed to the internal needs of our citizens.
At the same time, we are doing everything we can to increase our electricity export capabilities. This will be made possible by the capacities available in Ukraine. And after the historical accession of our country to the unified energy network of Europe, such exports not only allow us to increase our foreign exchange earnings, but also directly influence the stabilization of the energy situation in neighboring countries, which reduce Russian energy consumption.
Another important aspect is the repair program for thermal power plants, combined heat and power plants and boiler houses. In particular, for those who were damaged or completely destroyed by Russian strikes. Implementation of this program in the coming months is one of the top tasks for the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine.
I would like to emphasize that I have set a very specific task for the government to do everything possible to ensure that gas and electricity tariffs do not change in the next heating season. People already face enough difficulties because of the war. This will be provided.
Local authorities are responsible for tariffs for heat and hot water, and the same level of tariffs should be ensured at the local level in the winter of 2022-2023 as well.
I also held a meeting on communication with the European Union and with individual EU member states on our application and candidate status.
Diplomatic activity in this direction does not stop even for a day. I hear daily reports, including on the preparation of procedural decisions in the European Union.
The team of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our diplomats, the team of the government in general – all, absolutely all are working to achieve a significant historical decision already in June, which we all expect. For its part, Ukraine has done all, absolutely all the necessary work for this.
As they say in such cases: the ball is in the court of European structures, European countries.
The frontline situation in Ukraine has not changed significantly over the past 24 hours. The absolutely heroic defense of Donbas continues. The hottest spots are the same. First of all, Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna.
It is felt, absolutely felt, that the occupiers did not believe that the resistance of our military would be so strong, and now they are trying to attract additional resources in the Donbas direction. Just as in the Kherson direction – new units are being transferred there to restrain our actions.
But what’s the point for them? The majority of the occupying contingent is already well aware that they have no prospects in Ukraine. We hear this mood in the appropriate interceptions of conversations. This is the prevailing mood in the Russian army. We are free people. We are not your slaves.
More than 31,000 Russian servicemen have already died in Ukraine. Since February 24, Russia has been paying almost 300 lives a day for a completely pointless war against Ukraine. And still the day will come when the number of losses, even for Russia, will exceed the permissible limit.
We are actively working to raise funds to support our army and to rebuild Ukraine after hostilities. In the territories that are already de-occupied, we return electricity, gas, water supply, communications. It’s not easy, but we do it. Of course, much remains to be done.
It is necessary to provide hospitals with equipment, carry out demining. And, of course, rebuild everything destroyed by the occupiers.
One of the tools for this is the state fundraising platform UNITED24. In the first month alone, more than one and a half billion hryvnias have been raised with its help. And I am grateful to everyone who contributed to its creation, to its work.
Today, Elina Svitolina, our famous and very successful tennis player, became the ambassador of UNITED24. Together with Andriy Shevchenko, the first UNITED24 ambassador, Elina will work to attract new support for our country. Everything for Ukraine. This way, working together, each of us will be able to return normal life to all territories to which our military has returned security.
And another piece of news that can be reported now. Next week, a special “Book of Torturers” is planned to be launched – an information system that collects confirmed data on war criminals and criminals from the Russian army.
I have repeatedly stressed that they will all be held accountable. And we are approaching this step by step.
The creation of such an information system has been going on for some time already. These are specific facts about specific people who are guilty of specific violent crimes against Ukrainians. And such a “Book of Torturers” is one of the foundations of the responsibility of not only the direct perpetrators of war crimes – soldiers of the occupying army, but also their commanders. Those who gave orders. Those who made possible everything they did in Ukraine. In Bucha, in Mariupol, in all our cities, in all the communities they have reached.
Everyone will be brought to justice.
Eternal memory to all whose lives were taken by these occupiers!
Eternal glory to everyone who is bringing our victory closer!
Glory to Ukraine!
There is no operational update posted at Ukraine’s MOD for today.
Here’s Britain’s MOD’s assessment for today:
And here’s their updated map for today.
Again, not a lot of movement overall. The lines are relatively stable.
Here’s former NAVDEVGRU Chuck Pfarrer’s updated map for the counterattack in Sievierodonetsk:
SEVERODONTESK /1745 UTC 07 JUN / UKR positions holding after a day of heavy fighting. Sources indicate that RU is continuing to feed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) militia forces into the urban fight. The utility of LPR troops in offensive urban ops is highly questionable. pic.twitter.com/xtfgxgVt4D
— Chuck Pfarrer (@ChuckPfarrer) June 7, 2022
The DOD has still not held a backgrounder on Ukraine since last week.
I want to take a few moments and focus in on why the end of tonight’s post’s title is that the Ukrainians are fighting for us all. I can’t link to them, for the obvious reason that our archives and data are still locked up because of the ransomware attack on someone else’s site and business, but as many of you know – and if you don’t you’ve not been paying attention for shame!!! – I’ve been arguing since 2016 that Russia is at war with us. Us being the US, our EU and NATO allies, and a number of our non-EU and non-NATO allies. And that with some exceptions this war has largely been non-kinetic and non-lethal. Those exceptions include Ukraine, Syria, several different African states, wherever Putin’s wetwork assassins have been able to strike, and wherever he can use his information warfare and psychological operations assets to stir up local proxies to undertake violence even if those local proxies don’t know they’re his local proxies.
The result of all of this has been a marked, year on year, steady increase in low intensity political violence/warfare (guerilla warfare) intended to set the conditions by fragmenting, fraying, and degrading civic norms, social cohesion, and liberal democracy in the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and a number of our other EU, NATO, non-EU, and non-NATO allies.
Right now everyone is paying attention, largely in horror, as Putin attempts to create a global food crisis and several regional famines by destroying and stealing Ukraine’s agricultural stocks. By doing so he intends to completely destabilize the Sahel, the Levant, and other parts of Africa and the Middle East. Such destabilization would force the US and a number of our allies to take action, which from Putin’s point of view should translate into a reduction of support for Ukraine.
But Putin’s information warfare and psychological operations assets are also amplifying the reactionary, fascist, Christian supremacist extremism that has moved from the extreme to the mainstream of the conservative movement, white evangelical Christianity, and the Republican Party over the past eight years. The extremism was always there, but a number of Putin’s assets and catspaws created larger openings for it to move through. Some of these assets are the Russians, as well as other nationals who may not even know who they are ultimately working for, who have worked tirelessly to amplify the extremism across every social media platform. Some of these assets are elites and notables in the US and other countries. This is where the cult of Trump and his surrogates in the GOP, the conservative movement, and conservative news media come in. And their equivalents in other countries. It is also where large organizations like the NRA, CPAC, the Federalist Society come into play. As well as businesses like Facebook/Meta and Twitter who are ostensibly only seeking profit, but, as a result, are easily manipulated.
The overt threats, and those making them aren’t even trying to veil them or dog whistle them any more, that are being made against LGBTQ Americans are a direct result of Putin’s war. The overt calls for Christian nationalism are too. As well as the overt racism directed at Blacks, AAPI Americans, and some Hispanic/Latino Americans. All of this is because of the need to foment ever more violence – political or otherwise – to demoralize Americans who don’t want the US to regress politically and socially and to encourage those who do in order to make it easy for an authoritarian demagogue, or a party and political movement of them, to come to power under the assertion that they can make all the insanity stop.
Right now the only people actively – as in putting their lives on the line every day in a war zone – to defeat Putin’s war on everyone who won’t capitulate to his vision for the world and Russia’s place in it are the Ukrainians. If Ukraine is able to not just resist Putin’s re-invasion, but do so in a way that breaks his power by achieving such a clear battlefield victory that it sets the conditions to secure the post war peace, then they will not only have saved themselves and their homes and their countries, they will have saved us too!
Until that happens we need to increase our vigilance at home. LGBTQ Americans, ethnic, racial, and religious minorities in America all need us to step it up otherwise the revolutionary warfare they are waging against the United States and their fellow Americans is going to succeed.
We also will need to decide what more and else we can do to help the Ukrainians. We will have to decide if we are willing to let them us fight for us as well as for themselves because we refuse to recognize that the war we are afraid of has been waged against us for over eight years.
That’s enough for tonight.
Check out new work on my @Behance profile: "Patron Ukrainian Dog" https://t.co/snxOlEtINe
— Pavlo Rudakov (@PavloRudakov) June 7, 2022
Many, many more pictures of this Patron sculpture by Ukrainian artist Pasha Rudakov at this link!
And here’s some more of Patron romping around!
Ґілті плеже #патрон #патрондснс #песпатрон #рек #джекрасселтерьер #patron #jackrussellterrier #україна
♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey
He’s clearly very aware that positive talk and good intentions by Ukraine’s allies are not enough.
I suspect he’s also clearly aware that — even apart from the corrosive influence of Moscow Mitch, Volodya’s BFF Donald Trump, and a host of other American Nazis — American support for Ukraine will fade, as people decide it’s boring and old and change the channel.
I trust Biden et al. mostly to stick it out, and the rest of NATO even more so, but Russia’s war of attrition is being waged in more than just a military sense.
So many rules and norms have already been broken, it’s getting difficult to understand why the allies even bother. They should hack the hell out of every Russian system and see to it that VVP’s days are numbered. Then deal with all his syncophants.
This is a serious worry for me
What allies are exploring a ceasefire while not including Ukraine?
AJ formerly of the Mustard Search and Rescue team
Adam thank you for again putting the Ukraine hot war in context with all the info ops and undermining of democracy. It cannot be overstated imo.
I remain so awe-struck by the indefatigable determination and drive of the Ukrainian people and their leader. With everything they’re up against, it’s a stunning display of tenacity and mettle. And I appreciate Zelenskyy’s ability to be honest about what they’re facing without every showing a shred of doubt in his people.
And I appreciate Patron romping about.
Thank you as always, Adam.
Isn’t there a big change in the map around Kherson? The contested line was right up to Kherson. Now Kherson is entirely in RU control. There is also a large increase in RU territory north of Nova Kakhovka, which was previously contested. I was surprised when I saw it this morning. The eastern side has not changed much.
The point about the struggle with Putin is having started well before 2022 and extending far beyond Ukraine is well-made and worth re-emphasizing over and over. Those people calling for a limited, negotiated end to the war over the objections of the Ukrainian government didn’t understand what they were seeing on January 6 2021 (in the US), or what could have happened in the French Presidential election just a couple of months ago, and why.
The West cannot live with Putinism. That is the beginning and the end of the story. Putin overreached in Ukraine, and in so doing created an opportunity to finally put his corrupt, illiberal menace in a box. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have some reasonably well-founded hopes that we are transitioning now to the phase where the sanctions bite down hard both on military resupply and, more importantly, on economic supply-chain supports key to civil society survival.
At a minimum I expect that more and more Russian oil revenue will be dedicated to social benefits, to soften to the greatest extent possible the popular discontent that the government is clearly very sensitive to (several military officers were tried for sending conscripts into combat this week). That will leave fewer and fewer resources available for the war.
But beyond such palliatives, I believe the Russians are screwed. The simply have no tradition of competent, technocratic economic management, and that is what they are going to need above anything else within the next few months. How are they going to manage a war economy? They can’t even do it as well as the fucking Soviets did it at this point. They don’t have the organizational structures that they need, they don’t have the logistics, and every cash flow has officials taking rakeoffs parked on each end.
I think we’re looking at collapse of the war effort and of Russian society, by Fall.
@kalakal: i suspect that next year there will be zero dollars of aid from the US to Ukraine.
I hope that one more round of aid is passed before what will likely be a huge Republican majority takes over.
Zelenskyy is the leader we all dream of. His communications are inspirational beyond belief in the face of unimaginable adversity. Thank you for the insights about the latent impacts of Russian aggression on our own country and globally, Adam. I am with you on your assessment entirely.
@Carlo Graziani: I’m not an expert, but has a nuclear power ever fully collapsed? If I recall, the USSR disintegrated slowly enough that the satellite states with nukes were able to negotiate their decomm or return them to Russia. Russia collapsing into what? seems terrifying.
We’ve been seeing reports like this for a while now. At first, I thought the Russians were conscripting men from the newly occupied territories like Mariupol, but this reads like it’s men from towns that Russia took over in 2014. Doesn’t this kind of abuse risk a huge backlash against the Russian occupation? Seems like they need some people willing to work with them to keep control.
You would think a career Chekist like Putin would know to keep those people out of the fight. The manpower situation or his own delusions might say otherwise, though; I don’t know what the situation is in that regard.
Click thru for the the laugh
Hi Adam: on another topic, I had saved a post written by you in February 2021 titled, “We have reached the point where the parody has become the reality: the GOP has become the JAM” which I found enjoyable on some different levels – as an introduction to the militias in the Middle East for me, and as an essay about the GOP turning into an armed insurgency unwilling and incapable of really leading – and I had bookmarked it. That post disappeared when the site crashed. Is there any hope of restoring it? Thanks.
Grumpy Old Railroader
I.wait.every.single.day for your report. Thanks man
Adam L. Silverman
@jlowe: Good question. It is possible I emailed it to someone using text reader. Send me an email using the contact a front pager tool and remind me to look and see if it’s in a sent mail folder somewhere.
Adam L. Silverman
@Grumpy Old Railroader: Thanks for the kind words and you are quite welcome.
West of the Rockies
I hope you are correct! But more than hope, you present a not unreasonable perspective.
As of a few days ago reports were that Chechen units were also heavily engaged in the Sieverodonets street fighting. This probably significant about the dire state of the Russian Ground Forces manpower. I doubt that they are so respectful of Russian soldier’s lives that they would be attempting to husband them at the expense of provincial or Russophonic Ukrainian allies.
Doing what? Shooting insufficiently enthusiastic DNR/LNR “volunteers” in the back ? /s
Actually, that would be my guess.
If the videos of LPR POWs I’ve seen are legit, they’re sent in with ancient rifles, no gear and no body armor. They might need some motivation from behind to keep moving forward.
It is interesting that Putin’s strategy of destabilization runs counter to Chinese strategic interests. CHina may not mind some bush fires in the Sahel, Levant & other parts of Africa & the Middle East, if they serve to divert attention & occupy bandwidth for the US & the EU, but they must be confined to specific countries or specific regions of countries, & not become a general state of collapse & anarchy, which may be what Putin is aiming for.
Russian & China share interest to seeing the dominance of the current international order by the US & allies drastically reduced, but China & the US share interest in seeing some form of order maintained while Putin seeks disorder. There are confluences of interests between China & the US & potential scope for some kind of coordination or collaboration, but unfortunately there currently lacks the strategic trust & domestic political space on both sides to actually pursue them, which gives more space for Putin to try to stir up sh*t.
@Jinchi: I’ve read such units are called “barrier troops”.
If you get that post back, you can use the browser’s PRINT function to save a copy to your computer.
@jlowe: I think Bill in Glendale said he had an archive of 5-6GB of scraped posts? You might ask him if you can get access to it? The post you seek might be in there …..
@Benw: The Soviet Union didn’t really gradually disintegrate: it was summarily overthrown in a putsch by Russia, led by Yeltsin. It didn’t look that way at the time, because the GKChP gang that overthrew Gorbachev appeared from the outside to have mastery of the situation, but this was an illusion, as modern accounts of the August 1993 coup show.
I guess I would say this: we need a different Russia from the one we have now. Not one made over in our own image, not even necessarily a Western-style democracy, but this Putinist illiberal challenge to our democratic norms definitely has to go. We want to live safely in a democratic world of laws, and clearly that aspiration is impossible while Putin is in control of Russia.
So there is no possible compromise here. We do not take our foot off Russia’s throat, and we do not ease off the pressure, until we are sure that the threat is either gone or down to a manageable level.
And in truth, the best potential outcome is that the Russians free themselves of a corrupt parasitic infestation on their body politic, and maybe even learn to finally be Europeans. The Germans did, after all, and a lot of people and no hope for them in 1945.
@guachi: My dark suspicion is that Macron’s advisors are already looking ahead in this way to the GOP obstruction of funding Ukraine efforts, and thinking “Oh, no, France isn’t footing that much more of the bill after Nov ’22.” It was good that Gen. Milley was making connections between D Day and the current Ukraine war. Keep the French as on board as possible, one hopes.
Adam L. Silverman
@Carlo Graziani: The Chechens are being used to prevent the Russians and the “separatist” troops from Donetsk and Luhansk from deserting or refusing to fight.
Adam L. Silverman
@Chetan Murthy: That’s correct! Please see Anne Laurie on the mezzanine level to collect your prize!
Reading the reports of 24/7 artillery barrages has me wondering just how much damn artillery RU has, either stockpiled or resupplied?
And Adam: Thank you so much for this, and for all the posts you’ve done on this subject!
@guachi: I don’t understand the updated Lend-Lease law as well as I should. From the vague contours of it that I’ve read, it should allow Biden the authority to keep at least some aid flowing. Obviously not as much, or they wouldn’t still be passing aid packages in addition. The thing I’d like to know more about is how much it authorizes Biden to transfer US military equipment. It would be kind of ironic if he could take advantage of Republicans’ compulsion to keep increasing military spending whether we need it or not.
@Adam L. Silverman:
We never seem to hear of Ramzan Kadyrov’s “fighters” being involved in actual combat against Ukrainian forces, let alone winning anything, do we? It seems they’re good at terrorising civilians and young conscripts, and not much else.
Adam L. Silverman
@JWR: I seem to remember reporting from a week or two ago that Russia had expended 60% of its artillery munitions so far. However, it was unclear if that was 60% that had been allocated to the re-invasion or overall.
You’re quite welcome.
@debbie: A family friend who has apparently been snookered by really awful pro-Putin propaganda blogs (he’s anti-war, and they claim to be the only real anti-war voices, and he doesn’t read critically) recently tried to convince me that literally no one is trying to suggest negotiations of any kind– that it’s just US warmongers forcing their Ukrainian puppets to fight and no one’s suggesting anything other than fighting forever, etc. etc., infuriating faux-left fantasies. I soon got too angry with this garbage to speak coherently, but I did at least manage to suggest that his “alternative journalism” sources might not be very well informed if they’re unaware of 1. Ukraine constantly offering negotiations that Putin is uninterested in and 2. France constantly offering negotiations that Putin is uninterested in (and that IMO would be a travesty due to ignoring Ukraine’s wishes and agency, which seems to be what this person wants to happen… but Putin’s not interested anyway). Got no response of course; he no longer believes any facts reported by any mainstream news source, so who’s to say France even exists.
Adam L. Silverman
@Amir Khalid: That’s basically what they do. They’re feral.
@Adam L. Silverman: Thanks! Assuming RU has 40% of its artillery left, all we can do is hope and pray that the Ukrainians can outlast RU’s hopefully dwindling supplies. Jeebus, what a nightmare!
@JWR: Note that the Russians have been attempting, without success, to take out a highway bridge across the Siversky Donlets river into Sieverodonetsk so as to interdict Ukrainian supply. In their place, it would take a random NATO Army a day to accomplish this feat using precision munitions. Russia has basically exhausted its supply of such munitions.
@Carlo Graziani: While the Russian have a plethora of precision guided artillery & air dropped munitions designed & in production, it probably never built up a large stockpile of such munitions due to limited budged & perceived lack of need. Not to mention some of the stockpile was used in Syria. Now w/ the sanctions cutting Russia off from supply of semiconductors, either finished products or materials necessary for domestic production, it is not likely to be able to replenish the depleted stock.
Nevertheless, even using conventional artillery & dumb munitions, the Russians should be able to drop a highway bridge close to the front.
Gin & Tonic
To those wondering about Ukrainian tenacity, I have heard this described as “Day 104 of an 8-year war that has gone on for centuries.”
@Grumpy Old Railroader: I wait every night as well. Thank you.
J R in WV
I’m fortunate in that most of our friends are intelligent enough and experienced enough that we have all wound up in similar places about local and national politics. Several of our oldest friends are Ukrainian just 2 generations ago, and Mike’s wife is all Polish
My most anti-war friend is a USAF vet, and my age ( 72ish ) but if he was just a little healthier and younger he would have tix to Central Europe already, as russian kidnapping tens of thousands of little kids touched one of the more sensitive nerves!
Even the local home health care personnel who have been treating Wife recently are strongly pro Ukrainian, a good thing as Wife is not accustomed to holding her tongue about geopolitical b.s.
And now I’m going to try to go back to sleep.
I wonder if Macron’s dealing with an electorate that’s about 60/40 against supporting Ukraine. In the Presidential election’s first round, he beat Le Pen by about 1 point (thus the runoff), but beat Mélenchon by only 3 points. So, in Sunday’s National Assembly elections, he’s facing the same political headwinds he faced last month. He would need to cobble together a majority with much smaller parties to pass anything for Ukraine, if he wants to. If he can’t, I expect he’ll sacrifice Ukraine to get Le Pen’s support for his mostly conservative reforms.
Disclaimer: this is all speculation on my part.
@Gin & Tonic: Isn’t Ukraine v Russia about a thousand years old?
One of these days, the cops are going to have to storm the classroom and kill the shooter.
I have been interpreting the European/American unity that Russia didn’t expect as arising out of all the countries awareness of the deniable but real Russian attacks on them the last oh, 15 years. The cyber attacks, the funded social organization attacks undermining social cohesion, the bribery and corruption that comes from Russia, etc. we are at war but most of the populations don’t perceive it and political leader know they can’t get enough support to say openly go to war with Russia, but they can so far get support for this proxy war. Honestly, Russia has done things that if they were more widely understood, would result in actual war declarations such as interfering with elections. But they are a nuclear power and traditional war is a problem. Of course this is also why they aren’t going to do a traditional war with us too.
People should probably expect more of this, not just from Russia. Nukes exist. This is the Cold War again. Proxy wars. I think I prefer China trying to buy influence with gifts, but that also is a permanent consequence of nukes. Both tactics will be used by other countries than those two.
I also thought Ben Ladins terrorism was a consequence of the US nukes and air superiority being so hopeless for a little group to fight. There will be more.
Macron’s too arrogant to want to please his electorate. This is all his doing.
Buying influence w/ gifts has been standard tool of statecraft since beginning of recorded history. Remember the Marshall Plan?
We, as in USA NATO look weak. Just like the Uvaldi cops. We spend a Trillion a year and have the best arsenal in the world, but are afraid to use it because Putin has an AR 15. We watch them kill the children because we are afraid.
@Winston: We look like cowards and Putin knows it.
@Winston: On this, the anniversary of DDay it’s good to note that there were those amongst us, that were not cowards. But it’s not us today.
@YY_Sima Qian: I also wondered about the Russian inability to drop that bridge using artillery strikes, but on reflection it’s not that surprising. From a civil engineering standpoint it is a lot harder to damage the structure of a bridge by raining explosives on its deck than by firing a few carefully-aimed munitions at its supports. The Russians aren’t close enough to do that with guns, and the lost the ability to do so with cruise missiles sometime in April.
@Winston: This is senseless. I don’t know whether you were alive and/or politically aware during the Cold War — I rather suspect not — but the world lives under the same potential threat of thermonuclear annihilation today that it did 40 years ago. We just got used to not thinking about it, because the risk has seemed less in recent decades,but it used to keep a lot of us up at night.
If you are a grown-up, you don’t screw around with that kind of risk. We are very fortunate to have grown-ups running the US executive at the moment — that was not at all a safe bet, given our recent history.The Biden administration has moved mindfully but forcefully, starting last November, when they first became aware of Russian invasion plans. They have steadily been ratcheting up the pressure on Russia, and the pressure is going to continue to grow in the months to come.
If it doesn’t look like a Hollywood action war movie, that’s because in the real world those don’t end well.
@Carlo Graziani: You sound like Greg Abbot. While the cops in Uvalde were cowering in the hallway, afraid to confront the shooter in the classroom, because the perp has a weapon.
I was born in 1947 and went through all the wars since. Me, my father and uncles, my brother and cousins all confronted the enemy on his ground. That includes WWII, Korean, and Vietnam This is obviously your first. The USA has never backed down like we are doing now. Maybe there is a place for you on the Uvalde police force.
@Winston: The arming of teachers and students is not the way you put an end to war.
@Carlo Graziani: That makes sense. Also further evidence of the RuAF’s weaknesss. They should have heavy arial bombs to collapse the bridge.
@Carlo Graziani: I grew up in school when we practiced nuclear bomb duck and cover threats. Did you?
@Winston: Uh, yeah. Let’s try to keep the personal insults out of this discussion. That’s not how we roll here.
If you were indeed alive and paying attention during the Cold War, you will undoubtedly have noted that the US and NATO never did, in fact “confront” the Soviets directly in Europe. That’s why the conflict was referred to as a “Cold” war. The United States went to extreme lengths to avoid situations that could result in a direct military conflict between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces, and did so as a continuous policy consensus that stretched from Truman’s administration to that of Bush I, including such luminaries as Reagan and Nixon.
The reason was precisely the same as the reason to be cautious about seeking a NATO-Russia confrontation today: the risks of a runaway nuclear war. If you dismiss those risks as not worth considering, you are taking a dangerously simplistic view, as well as an anachronistic one that distorts your memory of the Cold War.
@Carlo Graziani: You are a gentleman and a scholar, sir. FYI Winston is a jackass troll who you should ignore.
@Carlo Graziani: When I was in school in the early 60s we were very aware of the risk. The consensus view in my class was why don’t we hit them first? If we had done that then we wouldn’t be having this conversation now. Ifwe do it now our grandchildren won’t be having this conversation in 30 years. Think of the children.
@Winston: That was Curtis Lemay’s view, and shared by much of USAF’s brass in that era. It was famously lampooned as the views of generals Jack D. Ripper and Buck Turgidson in Dr Strangelove.
The fact of the matter is that after about 1950 the chances of megadeath Western (including Europe) civilian casualties were already reckoned too great to risk. And reckoned strictly in moral terms, I would say that killing millions of Russian civilians by pre-emptively annihilating Soviet cities prior to 1950 would have been a despicable war crime. After all, we only had to wait 41 years for them to fall over by themselves.
@Winston: Again I come back to why the Ukraine invasion is any different than some shooter yahoo invading a classroom with AR 15 and a despot invading a country with the threat of the nuking the world?
@Carlo Graziani: After all, we only had to wait 41 years for them to fall over by themselves.
Yeah, so our timetable was off and here we are and they didn’t fall over and here we are. Them shooting up classrooms and schools and cities. And we are seen as cowards.
@Winston: The difference is that as horrible, despicable, and painful the actions of a school shooter are, measured in deaths, the consequences of a school shooting differ from those of a thermonuclear war by a factor of at least million.
It’s a significant difference that necessarily requires a significantly different moral calculus in the two cases. That seems rather obvious to me.
That was me. I have a fairly complete archive of the site’s posts and comments. (Just html; no images). That post referenced above is included.
It would be straightforward to convert to a static archive in the same tree structure as previously, so that reference links continue to work (and maybe google search result page links). Just needs additions of yearly/monthly/daily index htmls in the same format as previously (format or maybe even working index.htmls can be obtained from web.archive.org). Somebody (won’t give the name in case they don’t want to share it) was attempting to script conversion of the text archive into wordpress format, which would be better than a static archive.
Also, web.archive.org can be fed urls, and will have it if the post was archived.
Anyway, that archive is on google drive. I think it’s missing a few days in summer 2021 (but I have that gap covered in another archive). 7GB unpacks to about 30GB, tarball (tgz). mac os probably can unpack it on a command prompt with “tar -xvzf”, or linux any flavor. That might be a hint to Adam. :-)
When unpacked, if you point a browser at the full path to the index.html file for the post, it will render in a browser. Ugly, but all the text is there. (That’s at least with firefox plus various blockers.)
@Carlo Graziani: Then why don’t we just abandon Ukraine and let Russia invade the rest of Europe? It’s a sooner or later thing, you know.
@Carlo Graziani: I get it. You’re the cop who waited in the hall.
The consensus view in your class was the consensus of ignorant innumerate schoolchildren attempting to map from the personal (bloodying the nose of a bully, etc) to the global (death of billions of humans, to destroy a “bullying” country).
You have no clue how destructive thermonuclear weapons are. Have you ever empathized with billions of individual humans? At 1 second per you can serially do a billion every 31.5 years if you work at it 24/7/365(366).
I entirely agree (and have long agreed, especially after the first-priority DJT’s removal from power) with Adam and Carlo and others on the need for Imperial Russia to lose most of it’s power and influence.
Global thermonuclear war is not an optimal way to achieve this, unless one finds the side effect of knocking out human-caused greenhouse gas emissions for at least (worst case is loss of technological civilization) many decades worth while.
Very roughly, the prompt (over a decade) loss of a few billions (1B min) of human lives (plus possible collapse of civilization) vs the slower but possibly more severe loss of human (and other species) lives caused by emissions as usual (with various possible paths to significant emissions reductions). (I might have done the back-of-the-envelope estimates/probabilities/error bars; will not talk about them here.)
Winston is a troll. The way to handle trolls is to starve them for attention. Do not feed the troll! If you feed them they will take over the board (spacewise).
I know. My comment was in part for certain lurkers.
So many Jackals here can’t stand the truth
@Winston: “why don’t we hit them first? If we had done that then we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.”
This “wouldn’t be” is true in a specific sense. But not at all in the way Winston thinks
And with that, I think a slice of pie is in order. Bye, now, winnie.
From the OP:
I agree with this. A lot. But I think it would be useful to discuss how regular old citizens can do this effectively without adding to the conflict. Probably no way to avoid it, but the additional conflict plays into Putin’s hands.
Then, as others here suggest, why in the Wide Wide World of Sports aren’t we (and others) hacking the heck out of Russian systems? It should be clear to all Western leaders, at this point, that it doesn’t matter whether Putin will whine. It doesn’t matter that more Russians will feel that the world is against them. Putin and the Russians have been marinating in that stew of paranoia for a long, long time.
The answer, of course (to me), is that Russia developed a lot of business relationships over the decades. If Russia is brought to it’s knees by hacking all of its power and communications networks, French, German, Italian, etc. businesses will be immediately and directly harmed. Even if the US, as relative non-players, in these relationships were to do the hacking, there would be blowback on us as those European businesses undergo stress and do what it takes to have their political leaders hit back at the US. This would further disrupt Western alliances.
Yes, we wouldn’t be having this discussion because Western civilization wouldn’t exist.
Those alive would be more concerned about finding food.