The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


The Trifecta+ Which Will Make The Next 100 Years Hell


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 21, 2022


  1. bruce wilder

    The Narrative of the Ukraine War showed an unruly seam this week when Ukraine blamed the Russians for shelling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant complex, a complex the Russians have occupied and controlled since early March.

    The implausibility of the Russians shelling their own position shaded quickly into mutual recriminations over the possibility of an imminent false flag incident as well as who had blocked IEAE inspection.

    More subtle in its implications: The plant has continued to supply electricity to Ukraine. But, the Russians may plan to connect the region and the plant to the Russian grid.

    The New York Times has 6000+ words on how Odesa (sic – one “es” is Ukrainian spelling) represents all that is good in the world and that is why Putin is trying to destroy it.

    Most articles I see reported in mainstream “publications” online end in the disclaimer that both U & R defense ministries were asked to comment. Something that rarely happens it seems.

  2. mago

    Nuclear power plants under siege, bombarded. Energy exchanges. Threats and counter threats. Escalating. Lies and deception. Power plays in the macro and the micro.
    All this and more.
    Drama and more drama.
    Destruction and spectacle.
    Funny how no one thinks they’re going to die except when it’s happening and even then. . .
    Hey, no other comments aside from bw so just thought to toss a carrot in the pot, the cauldron, the pressure cooker.
    Along with an onion, garlic ginger and curry powder. Salt. Shiitake mushrooms. Chiles. Tomato. Noodles.
    Add some lamb if you will.
    It’s called a stew.
    Buen provecho

  3. Willy

    Three questions about Russia’s Special Military Operation:

    1. When will Russia run out of cash to fund its war effort?
    2. Will they go into full desperation mode if they do?
    3. Will they have to borrow money from Putin?

  4. bruce wilder

    1. When hell Germany freezes over.
    2. The SMO was Russia’s full desperation mode.
    3. Putin will want his yachts back first.

  5. different clue


    I have read that Russia makes more money selling half as much gas and oil at twice the price now than it did before sanctions. At that rate, Russia will never ever run out of cash.
    Apply that to every other vital and unique commodity Russia sells.

    If Germany freezes over, Russia will simply find other customers to sell its natural resource commodities to. It is already working to wire up its oil and gas and etc. supply chains to the One Ball One Chain Greater Han Chinastan Co-Prosperity Sphere.

    If someon wants to predict which side will win just based on the numbers, they should figure out how many fighting-capable people Ukraine is losing per unit time versus how many fighting-capable people Russia is losing per unit time, how many fighting-capable people Ukraine still has to be able to burn through and lose versus how many fighting-capable people Russia still has to be able to burn through and lose, and do the simple arithmetic to see which side will run entirely out of fighting-capable people to burn through and lose before the other side has run entirely out of fighting-capable people to burn through and lose.

    The side which is left with zero fighting-capable people to burn through and lose first will be the side which stops fighting first.

    Just run the numbers and see which side that is.

  6. Z

    Yeah, Putin, the richest man in the world. Just ask Billy Browder, he’ll tell you.

    Mind you that no stale crumbs from all that bread ever was found during the Panama or Pandora Paper investigations though. And Browder doesn’t have any proof of Putin’s trillions either but he knows somehow and he’s the kind of guy who would know I suppose so we ought to just take his word for it. Seems like an honest fella.

    Kind of odd too though that a man who is that maniacally greedy to become the richest man in the world also happens to be so austere that he doesn’t even buy a saddle for his bear.


  7. bruce wilder

    Calculating the equations of “a war of attrition”, there are several key parameters to consider and variables to estimate. Body count on the battlefield is only one and indeterminate in isolation from a much larger context.

    W e do not know precisely the battlefield losses of either side. We do know that Russia has chosen a war of attrition as a means to its announced objective of de-militarizing Ukraine by destroying its military capacity and existing armed forces. Russia’s tactics have been chosen with this strategic purpose. Ukraine’s has had no apparent ability to make strategic or tactical choices beyond transitory opportunism. They have been deprived of most of their resources for mobility and air attack and defense. They have also lost a significant part of the industrial capacity to support war to Russian occupation. Opportunism has been put to effective use by Ukraine in feeding The Narrative of western propaganda mills, but I am not sure “what signal that sends” about Ukraine’s diminishing capacities to fight (aka apply persuasive force) against Russian ambition.

    The winner in a war of attrition is usually the side — whether their losses are greater or less than that of their opponent — that is able to systematically augment their military capacity despite the losses: add to the base of men and material despite the abrasion of battle. The Russians cannot legally commit their conscript army and mostly have not. They will have to recruit militia support from inside Ukraine — a much tougher sell than the referenda on governance structures. The militias of the Donbas Republics have no doubt suffered fairly heavy losses already.

    The Russian economy has contracted but shows few signs of the collapse predicted by advocates of Western sanctions. The Ukrainian economy has collapsed and a significant fraction of the population (weighted toward those with resources and skills) have fled as refugees.

    The war of attrition prosecuted by the Russians does not have an obvious narrative endpoint. That is a big problem, because it hands a huge advantage to the NATO strategists who want to continue to attrit the Russian military and political capacity “to the last Ukrainian.”

    The Narrative War has multiple theatres of operation, so to speak. Not the least of these is Russia itself where the potential for domestic opposition could balloon in some prolonged end-game scenarios, or almost worse, a right-wing bloodlust of sorts in support of an expanded war of conquest could preclude the kind of settlement that might play well to audiences in Africa or across Asia.

    There are few obvious and convenient “off-ramps” available to any of the players. The “war of attrition” can be won finally only if it can end in a victory in the War of Narratives. Not sure what that look like.

  8. Willy

    As someone who doesn’t cheer for the elites on either side, only the poor souls who are actually doing the fighting, dying, and escaping, I’ll bookmark these predictions so we can revisit this at a later date.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén