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War in Ukraine


Saul
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My father comes from a Russian town named  Churavitch; it is(was) located very near the Ukranian border -- slightly north of the second largest city in Ukraine, Charkiv (or Charkov, as it's pronounced in Russian).  My mother came from Byelorous (where Levtuschenko is the current dictator).  Russia, Ukraine and Byelorous, and much more, were then ruled by the Czar.  (My parents left the Russian Empire for the US, during the Russian Revolution -- while Lenin was the ruler).

Just about anyone with Eastern European roots -- very definitely, including Russians -- are disgusted by Vladimir Putin's genocide in Ukraine.  I have no doubt that that is the same for the overwhelming majority of Russians currently living in Russia.

  --  Saul

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I find the events which are presently unfolding fascinating, in their horrific aspects. An example of the recurring cycles of history, as in the theories of various philosophers, in example Giambattista Vico.

First, the Russian dictator, a cunning, capable stateman who has been able so far to be always ahead of the geopolitical game. Suddenly, he did something which nobody expected, with foreseeable disastrous outcomes. What happened? Brain cells senescence? Or the hubris which overwhelms many dictators after years or decades of successful ruling (example: Benito Mussolini). Or perhaps the conviction to have become the anointed, the one with the sacred mission to reunite the Soviet empire, Mother Russia? Or maybe a gross miscalculation, which implies anyway a deterioration of rational thoughts which have been so far at the base of his ruling. Weird, fascinating. 

The US intelligence foresaw it all. The gathering of many troops, the invasion, the willingness to rule and annex Ukraine to the mother country, even by the mere substitution of the president with a puppet president. But few heeded to US intelligence, so preposterous was the hypothesis.

It was clear that the present geopolitical setup was: if thou commit to aggressive war, thous shalt be isolated, financially and politically. Maybe the new Czar underestimated this rule of the game. Maybe he believed the sanctions would have been relatively small ones like they happened in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. 

Now, catastrophe is hitting his lovely empire. Inflation is rampant, the Ruble is plunging and lost so far 20% with respect to the US dollar (I expected more, actually). Moscow stock market has been close for one week and the opening is expected to be doom. IT has become very difficult to go abroad and to return from foreign countries since flights to most western countries have been ceased. A colossal economic embargo has been undertaken and financial measures will make it difficult to finance the war and the industries. Russia has a lot of basic resources, but few manufacturing plants. Russia has become the pariah country of the world, sports events are being canceled, cultural events as well. Properties and money of Russian oligarchs are being seized, even the properties of the great Czar himself, who may be will face a charge of war crimes from the Hague tribunal, will be no more able to travel in western countries. And who is reportedly living in a bunker, in fear of being killed or dethroned.

The answer of the Czar whose mental health is understandably in question is to hint at the nuclear arsenal at his disposal, to hint at the button that he can press to distribute doom to those who would like his ruin. In the meanwhile, cities like Mariupol are under siege and the air force is bombarding civilian targets. The population has no more water, little food, no electricity. We have gone back to WW2 airstrikes in big cities, with the sound of sirens, the underground refuges.

Other consequences: there is no more free press in Russia. Those who call the special military operation a war of  invasion may be charged with up to 15 years of detention. 

In the meanwhile, the Ukrainian population is under terror, but even Russian troops live in terror, since they may be hit at any moment by the Ukrainian resistance, which is vast since the whole male population has taken arms. Even in tanks, there is the risk of being hit by a Javelin missile, even in choppers there is the risk of a Stinger missile destroying the vehicle. Weapons are courtesy of Europe and NATO alliance. 

I don't see many scenes of war since communications are poor, but some are eloquent. 

As a lover of history  and military operations I'm fascinated, as a citizen of the world in 2022 I'm horrified.

 

Edited by mccoy
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The history unfolded more like the plot of an epic novel. Ukrainian president Zelenski, a former comedian, rose to the rank of national hero, refusing to fly away from the country, He allegedly escaped from 3 assassination attempts from death squads sent by the Russian government and is concealing in various hideouts in the capital.

Putin has already lost in this regard, If Zelenski will be successfully terminated, he will further rise from the rank of national hero to the rank of national martyr and the population will be ever more united in the defense of Ukraine.

Reports are that various special troops, among which the navy seals, have prepared an escape strategy to ensure a safe government seat for Zelenski and his minister outside Ukraine, out of danger. President Zelenski is still refusing to leave his country, inspiring hundreds of thousands of countrymen to fight the enemy.

 

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The consequences for the economy are serious not just in Russia, but elsewhere as well. Stock markets are plunging. The Milan stock exchange lost 10% in the latest week.

Germany and Italy are depending on Russian natural gas for 40% of the total needs. Fuel costs are rising. Prices of cereals and byproducts are taking off.

Today Moody's has rated Russia as Ca, which means on the brink of bankruptcy. An interesting article from Reuters:

https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/moodys-cuts-russia-rating-ca-rise-default-risk-2022-03-06/

Quote

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - Moody's cut Russia's credit rating to Ca on Sunday, the second-lowest rung of its ratings ladder, citing central bank capital controls that are likely to restrict payments on the country's foreign debt and lead to default.

 

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This is the exceptional scene of a Russian helicopter hit by a stinger (or similar) missile.  Russian troops are not without their concerns, even if overwhelming by numbers and means. I don't know about the reliability of the source. where has the scene been shot from?

 

 

Edited by mccoy
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2 minutes ago, Saul said:

The fact that we have such a spineless head of state here in the US, I'm sure, is what encouraged Putin. 

Europe also has its share of responsibilities. Basically been doing nothing since 2014, the annexation of Crimea. But again, Putin has been a very cunning ruler, until now.

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Most of the press coverage of this war disgusts me just as much as the press coverage of every war of my adult life.  Though here's an article I find largely agreeable despite it appearing in a somewhat tawdry publication:

PETER HITCHENS: One glorious day in Sevastopol 12 years ago, I saw what was coming. That's why I won't join this carnival of hypocrisy

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On 3/6/2022 at 4:29 AM, mccoy said:

First, the Russian dictator, a cunning, capable stateman who has been able so far to be always ahead of the geopolitical game. Suddenly, he did something which nobody expected, with foreseeable disastrous outcomes. What happened? Brain cells senescence? Or the hubris which overwhelms many dictators after years or decades of successful ruling (example: Benito Mussolini). Or perhaps the conviction to have become the anointed, the one with the sacred mission to reunite the Soviet empire, Mother Russia? Or maybe a gross miscalculation, which implies anyway a deterioration of rational thoughts which have been so far at the base of his ruling. Weird, fascinating. 

I think you underestimate Putin.  He's a cunning autocrat.  His calculation, I think, is based on his (correct) belief that the main upholder of the Western alliance is the US.  And when it's leader is both spineless and demented, the west is close to paralyzed.  IMO, the next autocrat to take advantage of an effectively leaderless America will be the Chinese dictator.

The only hope now to prevent successive autocratic territorial grabs is an assertive Europe -- the US is, unfortunately, out of it, for the next 3 years, until after the 2024 presidential election

 

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Saul, I'm less certain than you, Putin would sure need a lesson, but the possible outcome of a nuclear conflict hardly seems the best solution. Sure we are beholding the absolute failure of diplomacy. We laymen by hindsight can reason that the Ukrainian issue deserved much more diplomatic effort and measures. But the professionals of diplomacy knew that in advance, it was their job, they simply failed, underestimated Putin's paranoia and aggressivity, overestimated his wisdom, underestimated Ukraninaina's nationalism.

We now see clearly that Russia suffered and suffers from an encirclement syndrome, absolutely intolerant of bordering countries joining NATO. This should have been considered, for example.

Now trouble rules supreme, in Europe, especially Italy, the rise of fuels and electricity will be a most serious issue. The only luck is that springtime is approaching.

Edited by mccoy
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The ruble keeps plummeting. Reminiscent of South American currencies in the '80s. Russian government will allow the debts to be payed in rubles with a fixed exchange= large losses for foreign creditors. Many western supply chains closed their outlets in Russia, like Ikea, Apple and so on. Many foreign banks which financed Russian business are in trouble, among them a few Italian banks. The war ain't nice to both sides.

1886707479_ScreenshotRuble.jpg.180bae4dfaf8ea59fc5699480b88d8b5.jpg

Edited by mccoy
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3 hours ago, Saul said:

IMO, you underestimate Putin.  He's a lot smarter than Joe Biden.  Biden is spineless; peace at any price.  He is no match for Putin, much less Shejinping.

  --  Saul

Biden is spineless, but he's a dragon compared to Canadian Prime Minister Turdeau (possible bastard child of Fidel Castro), which also doesn't help matters; when a clown is put on the thrown, he does not become a king, the kingdom becomes a circus.

Turdeau literally ran and hid when we had peaceful protestors (trucking convoy) in our nation's capital just weeks ago - one can only imagine his reaction if he faced violent protests .... or gasp ... armed conflict.  These are the types of situations that encourage a man, a corrupt man to be sure, but a man with a spine like Putin that he will not be opposed.

Putin invaded Russia as calm as calm could be with a democrat US president and liberal prime minister in Canada.

Rather than face any sort of response from Canada, if history is any indication, Putin will likely end up with praise and admiration from Canada's prime minister.  Justin Turdeau upon his biological father's the dictator Fidel Castro's death had the following to say:

"It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.

“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. ... On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader"

 

Good luck Ukraine!!  The Canadian Artic will be next!!

 

 

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I completely agree with you Clinton.

Both NA countries have worthless leaders.

The burden of protecting the Western alliance, unfortunately, falls on Europe -- North America is ruled by incompetents (spineless in the US, socialist in Canada).  I wish I believed that Boris Johnson, Macron, and the German Chancellor will actually do something.

The only good news about Putin's invasion of Ukraine -- is that it will (hopefully) drive most of free Europe to join NATO (a pity that Ukraine hasn't done that yet).

  --  Saul

 

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2 hours ago, Clinton said:

Turdeau literally ran and hid when we had peaceful protestors (trucking convoy) in our nation's capital just weeks ago - one can only imagine his reaction if he faced violent protests .... or gasp ... armed conflict.  These are the types of situations that encourage a man, a corrupt man to be sure, but a man with a spine like Putin that he will not be opposed.

The only turd in your message is yours. 

Many Trucker's Convoy protesters were not peaceful.  Blocking the border crossings and holding Ottawa hostage was criminal and Trudeau ended the activities while quite a few leading opposition Conservative Party of Canada Members of Parliament egged them on initially. 

What Canada does has trivial affect on what happens in the Ukraine and to suggest it gave Putin impetus to invade Ukraine borders on ludicrous. 

 

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Al, the truckers illegally parked on the streets/blockaded the area - I'll repeat it: it was illegal - but it was not violent and a man in his position with any leadership ability or ANY balls at all would have personally addressed the situation and media INSTEAD of delegating the response to an aid and certainly not ran or hid.  And yes, Canada's lack of leadership likely is a very small factor in any decision of Putin's, but as I said "it didn't help", and it didn't.

Edited by Clinton
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This is from 2015 but PBS just put it up on YouTube 6 days ago and it already has almost 4 million views:

 

If you publicly challenge Putin in Russia you may end up poisoned, but challengers have a hard time getting traction anyway in countries with state controlled media, where protesters are stopped with police force, and all candidates in elections are fake.  Its sad that in 2022 we still have countries operating like this where citizens don't have basic freedoms including free press, free assembly, free protest and pervasive corruption that keeps people in power (and rich).  Not sure war is the answer, I'd like to see rising internal disgust and revolution.  Hopefully the internet allows enough people to see what is really going on in these countries.  And to be fair, Ukraine is also steeped in corruption and has issues with basic freedoms.

 

Edited by Gordo
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A friend sent me this 4 hour interview the other day and it's worth watching to understand Putin. All 4 parts are available on YT and easy to find.

 

Also some interesting video from Vlad Vexer

 

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13 hours ago, AlanPater said:

Many Trucker's Convoy protesters were not peaceful.  Blocking the border crossings and holding Ottawa hostage was criminal and Trudeau ended the activities while quite a few leading opposition Conservative Party of Canada Members of Parliament egged them on initially. 

Hi Al!

True, that this subject has little to do with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, so the post is misclassified -- it nevertheless makes an important point:  in the US -- and I hope in Canada -- one has the right to refuse vaccines.  But Trudeau made this essentially impossible for the anti-vaxxer truckers.  Many of the truckers were not anti-vaxxers -- they just wanted the right to be an anti-vaxxer. (Very few of the truckers were not peaceful -- in comparison with what we call "peaceful" for some of our left wing protests, this was angelic.)

Also, Trudeau declared a "Nathinal State of Emergency" -- something that has never been done previously in the history of Canada.

This is extremely anti-anti-vaxxer stuff -- IMO, it would be illegal in the US.  I'm hoping that, whatever plays the roll of "Supreme Court" in Canada, will find this move unconstitutional.

And I hope that this results in defeat of the Trudeau government in the next election.  Hopefully, Trudeau will not even be renominated by his own party.

    --  Saul

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2 hours ago, Saul said:

Also, Trudeau declared a "Nathinal State of Emergency" -- something that has never been done previously in the history of Canada.

Precisely.  If THAT trucker demonstration was a 'state of National Emergency' ... can you just imagine how horrifying it would have been  if they parked illegally AND at the SAME TIME had a cracked windshield or missing tail-light?? ... martial law I expect and leaders fleeing to cold-war bomb shelters.

Regardless of how benign that protest was - even if they were marching up and down the streets with pitchforks, the place for the leader to be is front and center (not running and hiding) and personally addressing the matter (not delegating the public response to an aid or delegate).  The leader of Ukraine gets top marks in how he is doing this; Turdeau - take notes!

I am not and was not anti-vaxx.  I am personally double vaxxed - but adamant that it remain a personal decision:  For Vaccines, Against Vaccine Mandates.

 

Edited by Clinton
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