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

Ukraine Update Feb 6, 2024

The bottom line here is that Ukraine appears to be running out of both infantry and ammunition and Russia has plenty of both, plus air superiority. Ukraine is now bringing in more women, and is trying to convince EU countries to return Ukrainian refugee men so they can be conscripted.

There isn’t much map movement, but that doesn’t matter, what will happen is that the Russians will keep depleting Ukrainian forces until there simply aren’t enough, then they will leap forward and take a vast amount of terrain unless Ukraine gives them what they wants before then.

With the Ukrainian military broken, and the Russian army able to advance as it pleases, Russia will be able to dictate surrender terms, and that is what they will be. At the least: all Russian speaking areas, the coast, Crimea and the land bridge and Austrian style neutrality.

It should be pointed out that unless NATO is willing to declare war, the US has no leverage.

There’s nothing America (the EU will just do what the US tells it to) can give Russia that matters: Russia doesn’t need sanctions relief and is better off without it: their economy is doing better because of the sanctions forcing internal development than it did before the sanctions. (Yes, folks, despite what you’ve been told all you lives, free trade with everyone is stupid and always has been.)

Russia is winning, Russia will win, this was always obviously going to be the case.

May 16, 2022 I wrote who would win and lose from the Ukraine war. Re-read the article. For all intents and purposes I got everything right, except that Russia has benefited even more economically and my “marginal victory” was wrong: Russia is winning a significant victory, strategically speaking.

Sanctions will force more import substitution and help overcome the “resource curse”, making it cost-effective to make more things in Russia

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  1. Tallifer

    “Aurë entuluva!”

  2. Purple Library Guy

    Yes, well, nobody’s ever going to listen to you if you go around being right–ESPECIALLY if you go around being right before it’s allowed. Look at the 2008 financial crisis; none of the folks who were right ever got asked on TV, while all the people who were properly wrong kept on being listened to like they were the automated Call to Prayer.

  3. Feral Finster

    Press-ganging your freedom fighters and obtaining their deportation from foreign countries is sure to be a winner!

    Now, pretend that Russia or any other country that the United States doesn’t like were doing something similar. The global howls of outrage would be deafening.

    But since Ukraine is an American pet….*crickets*

  4. DMC

    How do you say “volkstrum” in Ukrainian? All the pledged aid won’t do any good if it’s going to be 18 months to manufacture and transport if the war is concluded in 6 months. The Banderites are starting to turn on each other and the AFU is running out of officers. Even the foreign mercenaries are quitting, after being repeatedly cheated out of their pay and being treated as cannon fodder. And it’s been a rude awakening for NATO that the Russians didn’t just fold after a few months and that the whole NeoCon play has spectacularly backfired.

  5. mago

    I’m no fortune teller—although I used to read palms—but it seems to me that Russia is likely to contain the geography mentioned with its primarily Russian population and culture.

    However, those pesky pockets of resistance will persist.
    Donbas will be bombed, drones will do that drone thing. Intra city conflicts. It’ll keep going like a burning underground coal seam.
    Genie out of the bottle now, bro, and it ain’t never going back.

  6. bruce wilder

    Purple Library Guy is right (as he usually is) — being right is accorded no honor in our decadent political culture.

    The wags had it immediately: the willingness to “fight Russia to the last Ukrainian” was the essence of the neocon/neoliberal “plan”.

    The immorality was matched by the sheer stupidity.

    I followed an Australian tiktoker who was absolutely uncanny in his ability to channel the self-righteous self-confidence of the “rules-based international order” that was ever so certain that Ukraine should by absolute right be able to “freely choose” the EU & NATO over Russia. (How dare you suggest that two color revolutions might be western exacerbations of internal Ukrainian tensions better dampened. Will of the People! Pay no attention to the fool in the bandera scarf. Pay no attention to the Nazi. Pay no attention to the predatory oligarch.)

    I admire Ian’s ability to prophesy, but as with the Biblical Prophets it is more about a reliable moral compass than the mechanics of politics and elections, or military technology and strategy, if it comes to that.

    American foreign policy was hijacked long ago (~1945) who had no understanding of or faith in the interests or ideological commitments of the United States. These have not been decent human beings for a very long time and their “mistakes” betray their true moral nature, which is evil. That they can be called out on their bullshit by an authoritarian conservative like Putin is a measure of how extreme the situation has become. But, as I am wont to observe, revolutions are made by conservatives.

    Graham Greene for those with long memories or an historical sense. It is all there in Vietnam.

    I ran across a factoid in Wikipedia which is telling. The Sultan of Morocco was left alone with FDR at Casablanca, the first time the Sultan — any Sultan — had met another head of state without French or Spanish minders. FDR expressed support for post-war independence for Morocco. FDR required France and Britain to commit to decolonization as a condition of the Atlantic Charter of war aims before the U.S. fully entered WWII. Of course that was conveniently forgotten by the Dulles brothers.

    I suppose I am an idealist, but the consequences of evil are manifest. Why do you vote for it? Why do you encourage others to vote for it? Why aren’t scandals more scandalous?

    I have no problem with realists like John Mearsheimer. I have a problem with Genocide Joe and no-deal-ever Tony Blinken. I have a problem with murderers like Obama and war criminals like George W Bush. I have a problem with Victoria Nuland and her bio-weapons labs.

    You back evil and you get evil. That is not hard to predict. But I do not think enough people care about predictive accuracy to care about moral acuity.

    Sorry for the rant. I am slightly drunk.

  7. GrimJim

    So far I’ve seen no reason to change my map…

  8. Jorge

    “Postcolonialism” was merely a new kind of colonial imperialism: the US developed military transportation and communications to such an extent that instead of parking troops in every country, it was cheaper to park troops in a region, place the most psychotic local elites in charge, and occasionally shake a saber at them.

    C.f. Col. Noriega of Panama for an example of the saber-shaking.

  9. Jorge

    A quid pro quo: Romania, Hungary and Poland get to grab their coveted chunk of Ukraine in exchange for leaving NATO.

  10. Curt Kastens

    But how could the Russians really ever know that these countries do not secretly remain part of NATO, under US damnation?

  11. Altandmain

    Russia has indeed won a major victory. It’s contributed to the rejuvenation of their nation’s industrial and technological base. As for Putin, he will go down in history as one of the world’s great leaders.

    Echoing my comments from the previous article, Europe is in grave trouble The EU and Europe are rapidly de-industrializing, as energy costs make European industry un-competitive. The other big issue is the decline of Germany’s chemical industry. The chemical industry feeds so much of the other industries in manufacturing that it will have huge secondary effects.

    Another is that the chemical industry feeds a lot of fertilizer and by extension, European agriculture. Food prices are going to be higher at a time when incomes from good paying middle class manufacturing jobs are gone and high inflation is going to remain a big problem. Europe doesn’t have much natural resources – that’s partly why the EU wanted to work with the US to loot Russia’s natural resources. Now they have neither.

    Indeed, this may very well be the end of the credibility of NATO. NATO’s weaponry and industrial base have been much weaker than previously expected. NATO will continue to exist in name, but not as feared as it was.

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