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

Three Lessons from the Melian Dialogue Which Apply Today

In the Melian dialogue, the Athenians have sent a military force to the city of Melos. The Athenians urge the Melians to submit. If they don’t, the men will be killed, the children and women taken for slaves. The Athenians say, “The strong do as they will, and the weak suffer what they must.”

In other words, “Take the deal, or you’ll get even worse.”

This is, in essence, what Putin said to Ukraine, and Ukraine, like the Melians, refused. It is at the heart of most of US interactions with “enemy” nations since WWII, and especially since the end of the Cold War. Even if they didn’t promise destruction, enemies were told, “Resist, and we’ll destroy your economy with sanctions, and millions will suffer or die.”

There are two corollaries to this, however. The first is pointed out by the Melians:

But do you not recognise another danger? For, once more, since you drive us from the plea of justice and press upon us your doctrine of expediency, we must show you what is for our interest, and, if it be for yours also, may hope to convince you: Will you not be making enemies of all who are now neutrals? When they see how you are treating us they will expect you some day to turn against them; and if so, are you not strengthening the enemies whom you already have, and bringing upon you others who, if they could help, would never dream of being your enemies at all?

This is what the US did to many countries — these countries may not have declared their enmity, but they do not consider the US a friend. They view the US as a threat, and when the day comes that they can get their revenge, they will do so.

It is at the heart of what is happening in Europe: Rearmament. By using his military, Putin has convinced other nations, especially Germany, to rearm.

But there is a third side, mentioned by neither the Melians nor the Athenians.

“If the powerful can do this, if I do not do it, I am not powerful.”

A great deal of why Russia is doing what it is, and why it created all the little semi-states around itself, was in reaction to the US. “If the US can violate international law, create Kosovo, and go to war with other nations who are weaker than it, if we don’t, we admit we are not powerful.”

Powerful nations can violate international law. If Russia does not violate international law in the same ways as the US and its favored vassal states does, then Russia is admitting it is weak.

The massive sanctions response is a test. Is the West still strong enough to largely limit massive violations of international law to itself and its vassals, or is Russia capable of withstanding those sanctions, and therefore one of the strong?

This question has yet to be answered. It will take time. In large part, as I have pointed out repeatedly, it depends on China. Probably Russia isn’t strong enough; but China + Russia are.

And notice the key allies who are sitting this out: Israel, three of the four Gulf states, the Saudis, and to a large extent, Turkey.

“There is no difference to us between Ukraine and Iraq or various other violations of international law. We aren’t your allies because we are your friends.”

Meanwhile, the US is asking China, their declared enemy for the past twelve years or so, to undercut Russia, because the real question isn’t about Russia, it is about China.

“The strong do as they will, and the weak suffer what they must.” Who are the strong in our world?



Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 13, 2022


The Superpower of Admitting the Obvious


  1. Astrid

    The Melians were neutral. Ukraine and EU have shown, through their actions in the last 30 years and especially the last 8 years, that they most certainly are not. What Russia is offering is not death and slavery for the Ukrainian populace but de-Nazification and neutrality. The conditions are not in any way comparable to imperial Athens. The Russians aren’t the baddies here (though I wouldn’t be surprised if the isolated atrocities and kangaroo courts did happen), we are. And we never even offered the Melian deal to Iraq or Libya before destroying them.

    The West (“the World”) can’t grok this, but I think peoples outside of this bubble understand quite well. They may feel they must suffer under the foot of the strong, but they’re also looking out for a better deal with more trustworthy and generous powers. We’re long past the Marshall Plan (which was the carrot to the stick of wholesale suppression of European Communist parties). We’re just a bipolar maniac with a big stick.

  2. Z

    Our rulers are punishing China with their rigged financial markets today, trying to “loosen them up” for the upcoming negotiations between the U.S. and China.

    Rigging the financial markets via collusion, often backstopped by the Fed, is a big weapon for our rulers in the economic warfare they routinely deploy against other countries.

    I’d hardly be surprised if the huge nickel short squeeze that recently trapped a large Chinese player wasn’t brought about by our rulers. JP Morgan is very much involved in the nickel market and probably had a good view of the lay of it.


  3. NR

    “The strong do as they will. The weak suffer what they must.”

    Ian, it might be worth doing a post about this because I believe this is less true today than it’s ever been. For example, on a strictly individual level, even if you are very strong, skilled at violence, etc., someone with a gun can still kill you very easily even if they are much weaker than you. You have also pointed this idea out by talking about how drones are a weapon of the weak, etc.

    What’s your take on this saying today?

  4. someofparts

    I bet moving to China is starting to look good these days.

  5. Larry

    Yeah Astrid, say it! That’s the most point-on statement of the truth to this sorry situation as I’ve read in a long time.

  6. Ian Welsh

    I think it’s still true today, just don’t take “strong” as literally meaning “has muscles.” It’s always been about being good at organized violence and drones are a form of organized violence.

  7. edwin

    When we say Russia is not the baddie here, we must say so from the perspective of great power politics. The willingness to resist and die does not make Ukraine a bad country either. Tragic maybe.

    Astrid, I think you heavily downplay and switch moral systems. Great power politics is might makes right. Talking about kangaroo courts and such is international law. From an international law perspective Russia is horrible. My best guess is that if you are captured and you have a Nazi tattoo, you will be tortured and shot. The invasion is aggression. Russia is not a nice country.

    When talking about Nazi problems it might be helpful to think of Greece. I think the Nazi problem is an annoyance, and not a threat. It makes great PR though.

    It’s worth noting that the early patriotic foundations of Canada as a country came from the 1812 invasion of the British colonies. People don’t like to be invaded even when they are treated very poorly by their overlords. That was also a lesson Napoleon also learned the hard way in Spain.

  8. Willy

    This post is about losing the trust of all neutral players, after they observe you screwing over a neutral player. It’s about fool me once shame on you, fool me again shame on me.

    Yet some people seem unable to believe themselves fooled. Or capable of being fooled. Maybe that’s Putin’s current problem, why he appears to have lost in so many ways which nobody else would have intentionally planned for. Maybe this post should be about that.

    Also, there are levels of being controlled which almost everybody is willing to accept. Maybe this is why the USA gets away with what it does, and China, while Putin has a harder time.

  9. Lex

    The US is looking weaker and weaker by the day. Do we have any regional experts and are they ever listened to? Sullivan going on TV and pre-threatening China was rank incompetence. One because he’s not reading the situation accurately, but two because that is not how one approaches China in diplomacy. I suppose we only have ideology left and it does not appear to be a popular flavor.

    I agree that Russian behavior is at least partially motivated by being perceived as strong. I’d only add that some of it stems from having been kicked while it was down. What still manages to amaze me, though I know it shouldn’t, is how completely unprepared the US was. If intelligence really did know a lot about Russia’s intentions in Ukraine, then why was the initial sanction response so disjointed? Shouldn’t there have been a modular plan that could be initiated in various ways depending on circumstances?

    It’s not just that Russia is smacking around the US’s new proxy, though it’s significant because that’s a real army currently being supported by US intelligence. It’s that US and EU leadership looks completely out of its depth to everyone except those leaders and their domestic supporters. Neither Russia nor China are a “force for good” but good doesn’t matter in geopolitics. What everyone else sees is Russian and Chinese leadership that looks competent, rational and collected. You may not agree with them, but they at least seem like adults. And that’s the best the world is likely to ever get.

  10. Astrid


    Tell that to the 13,000+ dead in Donbass, mostly civilians. Banderites might not threaten you personally, but they are a clear and present danger to ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and now anyone else unlucky enough to incur their wrath or are needed as human shields. Not to mention Gypsies and anyone else that they perceive as subhuman. Being supported by Jews speaks more to the Fascistic nature of Zionism than as a rebuttal to their inherent Nazi-ness.

    As for rightness under international law. That’s a dead letter ever since bombing of Belgrade and really since…let’s say death of FDR. Russia has been asking for implemention of the Minsk agreement for 8 years, and Ukraine kept bombarding Donbass. Strict observation of international law in this situation is unilateral disarmament and throwing the ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine to the wolves (as it appears pretty obvious that Ukraine was about to launch a major offensive against the newly declared break away states).

    Not to mention Putin very much did things by the book by waiting until Lugansk and Donbass formally broke away and asked for Russian assistance, and they were shelled by Ukraine before and after their declaration of independence. So he has legal cover, at least as good as the one used by the US in Kosovo and considerably better than what was used against Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya.

  11. Z

    The first words out of Zelenskyy’s mouth every time Israeli’s PM Bennett calls him to update him on Bennett’s talks with Putin over the Ukraine situation:

    “How’d he look?”


  12. Trinity

    “drones are a form of organized violence.”

    But also a sign of weakness, given that it’s difficult to find anyone who wants to join the military, and even less likely that someone is at a level of fitness to survive boot camp, let alone a war. This has been going on for years, since the rise of computer gaming. The only time I see my neighbors’ teenage boys is when they are walking to the school bus stop.

    I think it’s safe to say that when the media is screaming (yet again) “Russia bad!”, the reality is much more nuanced, and a scapegoat is being served for our consumption. And this is true for pretty much everything that gets repeated. Somebody is making a fortune with all the clickbait headlines targeting the scapegoat du jour. We could call it “gaslighting as a revenue stream”.

    I imagine their desire is to be able to gaslight the rest of the world, but hopefully it’s unlikely they can achieve this. As mentioned, the optics are increasingly bad outside the gaslit zone. Targeting and making an example of journalists who make them look bad/reveal their secrets/announce the emperor has no clothes won’t work forever.

    Interesting article, Ian. I would say there are no true “strong” as we begin to see that what we thought was strong isn’t quite as strong as was thought. Resilience might be a better measure. The Dao would say that strength and weakness go together, as do up and down, front and back. Can’t have one without the other. Eventually, the weak become the strong. Alan Watts would say until we realize we hurt ourselves when we hurt others, this is the way things will be. I guess the Athenians weren’t quite so wise. Golly gee, what a surprise (the problems of western culture).

  13. edwin

    Astrid, I’m not sure what you are getting at. Sorry. Putin is not a madman. He is not Hitler, nor Stalin. Not everything he does is evil.

    This article is not about the US. I’m not sure why you are going on about it. International law does not do comparisons, and does not accept but the US is worse as an excuse. It is what it is, and the judgments are what they are. If it is really necessary for you to hear this, then what the US is doing in Afghanistan by creating a famine, what the US is doing by arming Saudi Arabia to kill people in Yemen are significantly worse that what Putin is currently doing. As to the state of international law that is really getting far off topic.

    I did not say anything about the Nazis not being a danger. I tried to put them in context of another country with a real problem with Nazis – Greece.

    Personally, I find it best to take anything a great power says with a heaping of salt, and Russia is a great power.

    After a brief search:

    From April 2014 to the end of 2018, some 12,800 to 13,000 people were killed in Donbas hostilities, according to the UN Monitoring Mission on Human Rights.

    Approximately 3,300 of the victims were civilians, while 4,000 were Ukrainian military and 5,500 – Russia-backed armed militants, the Mission told dpa news agency on Monday, January 21,

    Other statistics that I saw placed the civilian death toll as 80% Russian speaking

    I’m not at all sure what Jews have to do with this one way or the other. I made absolutely no claim about Jews at all.

  14. bruce wilder

    Most of can barely comprehend one coherent theory of the case; it should not surprise anyone that no one can manage to narrate a conflict of worldviews as deep and fundamental as that on display in the contest for Ukraine.

    On the one hand, we have the neoliberal economic envelopment exemplified by the European Union and opposed to that and deeply fearful of its steady march eastward, Putin’s Russia. We talk sometimes of Russia having the abundant natural resources and therefore commodities that China needs, but Europe needs them, too. It is the political terms of trade associated with the proposed exchange that frightens Putin and his regime. Putin’s first Presidency was successful at raising incomes in European Russia into the same rough range as in Eastern Europe’s EU. But, since then Russia has struggled to emerge from stagnating income levels, despite some major economic achievements (some in direct response to sanctions or other attempts to handicap Russian terms-of-trade). The Russians are frustrated with the deal they have been forced to accept over and over. And, they see the successful political campaigns to install neoliberal regimes by means of “color revolutions” and the straitjacket of EU membership, IMF aid and so on, as a threat to the nationalist regime that Putin has presided over.

    Putin has not been particularly adept at countering the neoliberal blob creeping eastward. I do not like to make too much of an analysis depend on suppositions about Putin’s personality or personal convictions, but I do think his thinking about Great Power politics is antique, honed in part on a reading of WWII history. I imagine he thinks in Ukraine he is taking the kind of pre-emptory action Stalin should have initiated, attacking now, before the game is lost. What the Azeri’s did with Turkish drones to the Armenians must have been very scary. And the stalled Minsk accords, a dead-end.

    Great Power politics, with sovereigns contending over spheres of influence, must seem an appealing game, more appealing certainly than the financialized neoliberal regime of global, multinational institutions governing vast monopolistic business enterprise enveloping peoples and states in its networks of networks.

    The U.S. and its East Asian and Western European allies — the fully developed economies with their networks of supranational neoliberal institutions are not using their “sanctions” as carrot-and-stick conditioned on behavior. They are trying to find a way to prove that they are essential and there can be no alternative to playing their game in their system.

    One of the arguments Ian repeatedly makes is trying to force Russia to accept a subordinate role on terms — including terms-of-trade — that keep France and Germany first-world players in the globalized neoliberal network may fail, either because globalized nets themselves fail or because Russia finds a way to another path.

    Right now, the neoliberal beast is shreiking, its authoritarian character revealed for those who care to look. We will see just how bad Western logistics and governance have become.

  15. Astrid

    Admittedly I’ve barely followed western media coverage on Ukraine, what I see are incidental to my other news reading or what Yahoo or Google decided to aggregate, which are stories that were debunked days before.

    But Ukrainian atrocity stories have the feeling of a 419 scam, in that the stories are too fake too believe for anyone paying attention to the stories, so they suck in only those who really want to believe. For example, the Mariupol maternity hospital story. Others pointed out that the hospital was taken over by Ukrainian combatants days before and no longer operated as a hospital, that the damage is inconsistent with Russian bombardment, that the woman “victim” and her”rescuers” were not covered in ash as would be expected if they just endured such a Russian attack, and of course, the pictures of the woman having successfully given birth in apparent comfort when Yahoo pushed an AP story to me yesterday claiming she died as a result of the experience.

    It almost feels like an intentional attempt to flush out anyone who might still be the least bit skeptical about the official narrative and mark us for future processing. Or maybe just to test how far the western governments can push their lies when they really need to. I don’t know what, but the sheer brazenness and pointlessness of these lies really unnerves me.

  16. Mark Pontin

    @ Astrid —

    If the US are the “baddies,” why do you find it necessary to believe that Russia are the “goodies.” Why on Earth is it necessary to even believe there must be “goodies” and “baddies”?

    It’s all just primate behavior. Sophisticated primate behavior — relative to chimps — so they all have their reasons. But in the end that’s what it is.

    That said ….

    Lex: ‘Sullivan going on TV and pre-threatening China was rank incompetence.’

    I’m used to seeing it by now, but the the incompetence and arrogance of US elites is just extraordinary.

    To so squander and degrade the advantages and position the US had in 1991 in a mere three decades — as they have — seems a feat unequaled by any empire in world history I can think of as a historical comparison, at least off the top of my head. Those who know more of the record of human folly, feel free to educate me.

  17. Mark Pontin

    It’s the GRAUNIAD, but ….

    ‘The US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, laid out the US case against Russia’s invasion in an “intense” seven-hour meeting in Rome with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi ….

    ‘The US delegation in Rome had not expected the Chinese diplomats to negotiate, seeing them as message deliverers to Beijing ….

    ”“It was an intense seven-hour session, reflecting the gravity of the moment, as well as our commitment to maintaining open lines of communication,” a senior administration official said. “This meeting was not about negotiating specific issues or outcomes, but about a candid, direct exchange of views.”

    ‘Asked if it had been successful, the official replied: “I suppose it depends on how you define success, but we believe that it is important to keep open lines of communication between the United States and China, especially on areas where we disagree.”

    ‘However, the Americans walked away from the Rome meeting pessimistic that the Chinese government would change its minds about backing Moscow.

    “The key here is first to get China to recalculate and re-evaluate their position. We see no sign of that re-evaluation,” said another US official familiar with the discussions. “They’ve already decided that they’re going to provide economic and financial support, and they underscored that today. The question really is whether they will go further.”

  18. Ian Welsh

    Attacking me because I don’t let some of your comments thru will not convince me to let your comments thru. Rather the opposite.

    For most of its history this blog had almost no moderation on comments and no pre-aproval, precisely to avoid any bias I have (and also because it’s extra work), but commenters proved that they could not be trusted to police themselves so now you will have to put up with whatever my moderation bias may be.

    As a general rule I allow thru comments I don’t agree with IF they are polite, well-reasoned and not to my mind obviously wrong or in bad faith. I have not let thru comments I agreed with that I thought were ad-homs, impolite or incoherent. This all definitely leaves room for my bias, but that’s unavoidable.

    If you don’t like how I moderate comments, yours or anyone else’s, go somewhere else. If you really think I called it wrong, contact me politely. If you start off rude or insulting, I guarantee I won’t even read the rest of whatever you say, life is too short and I have other things to than engage in optional unpleasant interactions. (If you’re rude at any point to me, in such a communication, the communication is over. It is unlikely I will ever even look at any message from you ever again.)

  19. Ché Pasa

    Good to bring in the Melian Dialogue as a reminder of how Power Players have behaved since dirt was new. Of course Sparta won the Peloponnesian War, didn’t they? Melos wasn’t even a backwater to the main pageant. Yet the argument made by the Melians still resonates…

    And where is Sparta now? Hm.

    I was chatting with a friend the other day, and he brought up The Bloody Sire by Robinson Jeffers, a poem my friend said he remembered from college days before the Vietnam War became a student cause celebre.

    It is not bad. Let them play.
    Let the guns bark and the bombing-plane
    Speak his prodigious blasphemies.
    It is not bad, it is high time,
    Stark violence is still the sire of all the world’s values.

    Melians said they had a right not to take sides; Athens said no. You must do what we say. Now. Or be destroyed. Your men to be slaughtered, your women and children to be sold as slaves. And even as the Melians surrendered after siege, that’s what happened.

    “Stark violence is still the sire of all the world’s values.” If you aren’t prepared and able to engage in “stark violence,” then you really have no say, do you?

    I sometimes wonder if our ruling class sees themselves and their own wretched behavior reflected in the dark mirror of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Does it occur to them that that is precisely the behavior of the USandNato in its incessant aggressive wars in the 21st century not to mention their imperial behavior of the centuries prior? It is who they are, and when they see some upstart Other like Russia do the same thing with perhaps somewhat more justification — though still nothing remotely justifies what they do — do they see themselves? Can they?


    Yet what became of Athens, Melos and Sparta? Who triumphed in the end? No one.

  20. Trinity

    “Yet what became of Athens, Melos and Sparta? Who triumphed in the end? No one.”

    Right now, I would say their sociopathic offspring have triumphed. It is, after all is said and done, a continuing culture that rewards sociopathy. Meaning it will repeat again in the future.

    My question is, how much longer do we/will we keep putting up with this BS? Burn it (this cultural attitude of rewarding sociopaths) down, shove it into the dustbin of forever forgetfulness, and let’s all move on, together, never more to revisit such stupidity.

  21. Willy

    Sociopathy is about playing the game of “might is right”. I knew things were officially screwed when a Christian told me that “Jesus wasn’t nice”. Yeah, he wasn’t a martyr, just another sociopath under the thumb of his megalomaniacal father.

    I’m seeing videos of Russian police hauling away individual protesters for what are objectively ridiculously minor episodes of free speech. If you get caught holding up a small sign that says “No War!”, you could get 15 years in prison. I don’t think I’d want to be conquered by people like that, people who supplicate to a single individual as some kind of know-it-all demigod.

  22. Astrid


    My bad for taking the claims of some pro-Russian commenters without a fact check, presumably because of how they accounted for Donbass male deaths. Nevertheless, I stand by my understanding of the Banderistas. Their recorded conduct since Maidan make clear that their not mostly harmless or easily neutralized. I brought up their financing and support from the Jewish oligarch who also supported Zelensky, because I’ve seen it brought up as argument for why the Banderites are not Nazi.

    As for “goodies”. There are no “goodies” as Russia and China (and Iran and Hezbollah) are all practicing great power politics and much of their international policy is driven by domestic interests. Nevertheless, they appear far more lawful and limited in their foreign interventions compared with the West. And their interests appear to be about securing their borders and interests, rather than imperial expansion, so they do present as “significantly less baddies”.

  23. Purple Library Guy

    I think on the Melians’ point, one of the things that influenced the Russians’ decision to invade was that they had concluded there were no neutrals to be influenced any more–or none that would care about this action, anyway (nobody in Africa would be saying “OMG, the unprecedented violence!”). Russian diplomacy for some time had been trying for some degree of rapprochement with Europe. The acid test was whether Nordstream 2 would go through, or whether Europe would in the end choose to do the US’ bidding and block it even though doing so would cost Europe ridiculous amounts of money.
    Nordstream 2 got blocked, and Russia concluded that Europe was not in any real sense independent but rather a satrapy of the United States for all intents and purposes, so there was little percentage in continuing to court them. So I think they “costed in” the Melian argument, concluding that there was nearly zero cost there.

    I think Putin also had concluded that sanctions would get worse gradually no matter what, much the way they did on Venezuela. The US, once it starts sanctions, almost always gradually “ratchets them up”. And again, the Russians concluded that despite occasional posturings of independence, it had become crystal clear that ultimately the Europeans would go along with this process, as they did with Iran. Putin might actually have concluded that it would be easier to deal with the sanctions if they happened all at once while Russia was on a war/crisis footing that gave plenty of political room for drastic policies, rather than as a gradual drip-drip of deteriorating normality.

    I don’t actually think they are emulating the United States. Putin just concluded that the apparent costs are largely ones that he would pay anyway even if he took no action, and that the security interests involved are worth whatever was left. Note that human lives are nowhere in this calculus, because Putin’s a callous bastard (like nearly all heads of state). But from a realpolitik perspective, I’m not sure his action was irrational or a mistake. Putin has a long history of treating violence as an instrument of politics like any other, but one to be used carefully. This event has made a huge geopolitical splash, so many people think that means he is acting out of character, that he has suddenly become rash, or irrational, acting out of ego and so on. I’m not so sure; this is a big move, but it may well have been made with his usual calculation.

    Putin may also be thinking about larger issues: The specific question of increased security from neutralizing Ukraine was important, but in terms of the contest between Russia/China and the United States, in recent years as the US becomes somewhat exhausted from its repeated occupations, the remaining US weapon of choice has been economic sanctions. Many countries are mindful of this weapon. If Russia can take the sanctions hit without its economy crumbling (as, say, Venezuela’s did), if it can successfully put into practice alternatives to SWIFT and American banks, while achieving its war goals without NATO being able to militarily stop it, much of the world will take note that “The West” is not all-powerful and that it is now possible to do an end-run around their sanctions. From the Russian perspective, such an outcome would be worth greater polarization of Europe, since Europe was already basically polarized against them.

    One thing I think Putin may have left out of his calculations is the oil issue. It seems as if Putin’s actions are precipitating a great acceleration of Europe’s efforts to move away from fossil fuels, adding the new motive of energy self-sufficiency to the old motive of climate change. If they successfully move pretty fast on that, Russia’s economy, tied as it is to selling fossil fuels, could take a very big hit if they don’t diversify fast.

  24. anon y'mouse

    sociopaths can’t be “thrown out”. because (i firmly believe) sociopathy is like a switch we all have that is oriented around the survival and, if necessary, dominance of the self. it’s the biological imperative to continue as an organism on overdrive. we all can adopt this frame of mind if it appears necessary to us, and anyone who tries to cross that instinct will be subject to whatever we can make them subject to in order to regain that survival/dominance.

    also, hard core sociopaths can pretend to not be sociopaths long and well enough to fool the more pro-socially oriented.

    so “throwing them out and moving forward” is not as easy as it appears. i would settle for a society and economic theory not grounded in “greed is a good thing for everyone, therefore we should promote it”. in fact, i bet that a competitive and individualistic society like the U.S. fosters the sociopath in all of us, by necessity if nothing else.

  25. Z

    The Ukrainian-Israeli-Cypriot oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi who bankrolled Zelenskyy, Ukrainian’s president who some claim is now a billionaire, also paid Hunter Biden $50K/month to breath for Burisma.


  26. KT Chong

    Except Russia may actually LOSE the war and be forced to give up. How? Russia is about a week from running out of ammunition, manpower and resources to continue the invasion. Shocking, I know.

  27. someofparts

    “Fundamentally, what the Western powers are planning is a form of neo-colonialism borne out of the desperate need to arrest the decline of their economies through a massive transfer of wealth from the rest of the world inhabited by 88 percent of mankind — Asia, in particular. ”

  28. Astrid


    Is there a missing /s at the end of your comment? I assume you don’t believe Russians are in danger of losing. They haven’t even fielded their best troops and equipment yet and are handily winning with their second stringers with an assist from Chechens for hard urban combat. Do you really think they wouldn’t equip their military with enough munition and logistics for a longer than 30 days campaign?

    The speculation about the source of the Russians are desperate narrative is that it’s giving Ukraine the opportunity for false flag chem/bio attacks. I don’t know either ways, but it seems more convincing than to believe that Russians are running out of bullets.

    I personally like the thought of the Israelis and Russians agreeing to resettle Palestinians in central and western Ukraine, for humanitarian purposes. It would be some cosmic justice for Palestinians, who have been brutally punished for a European Holocaust that they were in no way responsible for, to take over the Banderite homeland.

  29. different clue

    @KT Chong,

    Beau of the Fifth Column and Colonel Lang at Turcopolier Blog both raise the possibility of a Russian defeat, in different ways and for different reasons.

    All I know is that various narratives are being put through very severe Darwinian stress tests, bent until they crack and then until they break unless they are strong enough to handle the stress. The Stressor is reality itself, and at the end or the long-tail dwindle-down of this war process, reality itself will reveal which narrative describes that reality a little better or not.

    I will venture this guess . . . . that Ukraine will become more and more like Palestine. The harder the Israelis try to beat the nation out of Palestinians, the more strongly nation-minded they become. And the harder the Russians try to beat the nation out of Ukrainians, the more strongly nation-minded they become. And if the Ukrainians decide like the Palestinians have that defeat delayed long enough may be defeat denied, and that defeat does not start till the last fighting stops, the Ukrainians may offer a future of decades of resistance or at least obstruction to the RussiaGov’s determined efforts to turn all of East Ukraine into a series of ” Illegal Russian Settlements” and ” Illegal Russian Occupation” on the East Bank of the Dnieper River.

  30. Astrid

    Interesting that the Americans are threatening severe sanctions on China for staying neutral. Let’s hope they don’t plan on an invasion, though it’s known that if nuclear war starts, the US will likely target the Chinese just for the heck of it.

  31. Ken Cox


    Go ahead and call it a 419 scam or fake or whatever your current flavour of the day is. I’m not completely sure what to believe these days but this looks pretty real to me.

  32. Astrid

    There’s been innumerable instances where the Ukrainian government made a statement or published images that were quickly debunked as false. Starting with Snake Island and ghost of Kiev, the pregnant woman in the Mariupol maternity hospital that was taken over by the military days before the alleged Russian bombing, the many pictures of destroyed “Russian tanks” and buildings that were sources from ME conflicts.

    The Russians said that they didn’t fly a bomber over the area of the theater that day and nobody provided evidence to contradict their claim. For the hospital, the reporters went there days after the fact and were embedded with Ukrainian soldiers. Even if they were entirely truthful in reporting what they saw, there’s nothing in their reporting that verified the story they were told as truthful.

    Russians have no reason to commit atrocities or target civilians. They’ve gone out of their way to minimize civilians casualties and infrastructure damage. It’s not that they couldn’t have done it accidentally or trickily, but the burden of proof should be on the teller, in this case the credulous reporters here, to give substantial evidence that Russians did it and intentionally inflicted civilian casualties.

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