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

What the West and Russia Want in Ukraine & the “Good” Result for Ukraine

There’s a lot of nonsense going around, including talk of Russia losing the war because, less than five days into the war, they haven’t conquered Ukraine.

The German blitz of Poland took five weeks. The conquest of France took six weeks — and people were astonished. Ukraine is the largest country in Europe except for Russia itself.

The sources I respect say that Russia is taking losses, but the war is not in question, and they are advancing about as fast as the US did into Iraq. Russia will win the war, though they may take more damage than they expected (but as we have no idea what they expected, who knows?). Ukraine is a modern equipped army; it isn’t Iraq with obsolete equipment, or Libya, or Afghanistan.

The question is not whether Russia wins the war, it is who wins the peace.

What the US and Europe want is to turn Ukraine into a guerilla quagmire, like Afghanistan in the 80s, or like Iraq and Afghanistan were for the US.

What Russia wants is to turn Ukraine into a guaranteed neutral state and withdraw its troops out of the country, minus Donbas and Luhansk.

The good result for the Ukraine, which most Westerners don’t seem to get, is what the Russians want. Austria was neutral in the Cold War, and that was not horrid. A multi-year guerilla campaign will devastate Ukraine in ways that will take generations from which to recover, because if the Russians have to fight an insurgency, they will be utterly brutal, as they were in Chechnya (successfully).

Moralist yapping about “the right to choose” is off the board. The only good result for Ukraine and Ukrainians is a negotiated settlement. The West egged them on and left them to swing, as the smart people said they would.

This video, predicting this situation in 2015, is pretty much required watching.

As for the economic consequences for Russia due to sanctions, it depends on what they are. If they are stopped from selling oil, natural gas, and wheat to the West, that will hurt. Sanctions less severe than that will be painful, but not crippling.

The problem here is China. For the last six years or so, the US has declared that China is an enemy. They used sanctions to cripple the most important tech company in China, Huawei, and have slapped sanctions and tariffs on China.

Chinese leadership sees a confrontation with the US as inevitable. They had hoped to keep good relations with Europe, but European countries have bowed to US pressure to shut out Huawei based on jingoistic claims that “they’ll spy on you,” which is hilarious. “Instead of us being able to see all your info, the Chinese will!”

China needs Russia’s resources: oil, wheat, and minerals. They know that they can be cut off from most other sources, but because of geography, and because Russia needs China, Russia is a safe supplier. In turn, China can let Russia into their SWIFT equivalent, finance them, and sell that almost every manufactured good they need, with a few exceptions (primarily semiconductor based, but China’s working on that).

Further, to let Russia fall would mean that China would be encircled. The CCP isn’t that stupid.

Basically, the West wants to use sanctions to “choke out” Russia, but China believes the West will then want to use sanctions to choke them out. If they let Russia go down, they’re next (they’re next either way, really, but they can have a major ally or not).

What the US has succeeded in doing is making Europe choose to turn their back not just on Russia, but, inevitably, on China as well.

This is a strong cold war coalition (Cold War is our future, as I have been saying for about four years now), but notice that it is not as strong as the previous cold war, because China is now the primary manufacturing power and the most populous nation, not the US.

Most of Africa, the Middle East, and South America is staying out of this. Even India refused to vote against Russia in the Security Council. Three of the four gulf states refused to vote against Russia, and, in the UN general assembly, the West is struggling to get 50 percent to vote against Russia.

In the West, we have a huge propaganda bubble going on — “Russia is the worst ever, blah, blah, blah.” What they have done is certainly a crime, but no one outside the bubble can take American and European whinging seriously; they remember Iraq, and Libya, and know that the US still occupies Syrian oil fields, while US ally Saudi Arabia bombs the hell out of Yemen, and Israel has annexed land from neighbouring states (supposedly Russia’s great crime).

Russia has done something bad, but this is not about morality. It is about power. Only the US and its allies are supposed to be able to do what Russia is doing, and people outside the Western bubble recognize this hypocrisy.

The Chinese Embassy in Russia tweeted this:

Indians I follow are noting that Russia has been a firm friend to India since independence, and that the US and Europe have not been.

So the question here is whether or not Russia gets drawn into a guerilla quagmire. If it doesn’t, the question then becomes: How hard will the sanctions hit? In the medium to long term, this leads down the road to two separate economic and political regions and a new cold war, as I have been stating for years.

Despite the hysteria, nothing here is surprising. Russia asked for Ukraine as neutral and security guarantees, and didn’t get them. So they invaded, exactly as I wrote (in advance) was likely. Measheimer predicted this in 2015 (video above), and George Kennan, the architect of the Cold War containment policy, noted that NATO expansion would lead to this back in the 90s.

Russia is not Iraq. It is not Iran. It is not Venezuela. It is not Libya. It cannot be treated as minor state who can be choked out by the West at the West’s whim, especially not when the US has been stupid enough to tell China it is also an enemy.

Even in realpolitik terms, telling both Russia and China they are your enemy, at the same time, is breathtakingly stupid.

If you want the best for Ukraine, hope they negotiate soon. The longer they wait, the weaker their negotiating position. The best case for Ukraine is now (as it was three months ago) an Austrian-style neutrality agreement. There will be overflights and inspections, but that’s just how it’s going to be.

The world, outside the West and some of its closest allies, is not in hysteria about this. They recognize it’s aggressive war, but they do not see that what Russia has done is worse than American and European behavior over the last 20 years. Indeed, at least so far, and unless the US gets its wish for a guerilla quagmire, this is not nearly as bad as Iraq.

So relax and take a deep breath. This is bad, and there is a tiny chance of a miscalculation that will kill us all in nuclear armageddon. But, mostly, this is just geopolitics playing out as anyone with sense knew it would. The US has split Europe from Russia — and soon China and Russia will be strong allies, and a new cold war will occur, though how soon this will be crystal clear to everyone is, well, unclear.



Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – February 27, 2022


Ukraine: The Ethical Dimension & Sanction Decision Making


  1. J Reeves

    Can you expand on why the US and Europe wants Ukraine to be mired in a guerilla quagmire? I don’t doubt it is possible but it’s not immediately obviously to me why?

  2. Ian Welsh

    Quagmires hurt the countries in them, draining their strength. Napoleon called Spain, ” a bleeding ulcer”, without Afghanistan the USSR might not have fallen. Iraq and Afghanistan drained America’s strength, et…

    It’s not that they want Ukraine in a guerilla quagmire, they want Russia in one and are OK with the cost to Ukrainians.

  3. Ché Pasa

    I still maintain wan hope that Zelensky can pull a rabbit out of his hat and engineer some kind of peace agreement. But it can only happen if and when the Ukrainian oligarchs are brought under control, and so far, there is no sign that he or anyone else has been able to do it.

    I’ve come to see the conflict primarily as one of competing, rotten and psychopathic oligarchies angling for power and profit over their rivals, not unlike the the aristocratic rivalries, stupidity and pathology that led step-by-step to WWI and thence to WWII. This is what happens when people who shouldn’t have power are allowed to take or have it anyway.

    What with the nuclear saber rattling going on, it’s not at all clear that this particular conflict can be resolved peacefully — any more than say the Israeli-Palestinian one has been. As for guerrilla resistance, it depends. It looks like the USandNato are eager for it as are some Ukrainians. Russians not so much. As I’ve said, Ukrainians I’ve known are not anti-Russian and they are more inclined to Putin’s “One People” notions than the West’s crazy ideas of ethnic separation and perpetual conflict. Issues with Soviet or Czarist Russian governments are something else altogether. The peoples are one; who rules or should rule and how is another thing.

    Ukraine is under the thrall of some truly vile oligarchs. One of Zelensky’s themes in his television show (where he played an accidental president) and later presidential campaign was bringing them under control — indeed, putting some in jail. There were other positive aspects of how he would proceed as tv-president, and that’s a big part of what got him elected.

    From what I’ve seen, he’s not anti-Russian, but he is pro-Ukrainian. From what I’ve seen, the Russian people are not anti-Ukrainian, but they are deeply and justifiably anti-Nazi whether in Ukrainian garb or any other. There have been Nazi elements in the Ukrainian government and “security” forces since 2014, and the German and Ukrainian Nazis worked together efficiently in WWII to liquidate communists and other undesirables (Jews, Russians, etc.) something that is as unforgotten as the Holomodor. The fact that Zelensky is Jewish (as are many of the oligarchs) is held up in the West as “proof” that there aren’t Nazis in government or security in Ukraine. There couldn’t be, right? Ha. Well, there are. They’re…. erm… useful to the Ukrainian rulers. As they or their less overt brothers and sisters are to the ruling classes in many places including the United States.

    A good outcome? I don’t know that it can be negotiated. It will take force and imposition. Which may mean Zelensky becomes a sacrifice and a martyr. But key is to disempower the Ukrainian and all the other oligarchies that are pushing and profiting from this and so many other conflicts around the world. They are our mutual problems…

  4. StewartM

    I agree with your sentiment about all the bruhaha on DKos on ‘knocked out Russian tanks!’ (Tanks aren’t invincible, you will lose some–maybe many–but manpower-wise, they’re far cheaper to lose than you commit infantry to the forefront). Richer countries ‘burn’ equipment and munitions and ammo in war, while poor countries burn lives (think: Iran in the 1980s war with Iraq) and to make the point, the Soviets lost a lot of tanks in 1944-45 but their manpower casualties actually fell compared to previous years because they were fighting the war as a “rich” country by then. Photos of knocked-out Russian tanks prove nothing about the course of the war.

    I’ve been thinking that paradoxically, pushing NATO east actually weakened NATO. In 1949, at its beginning, the alliance was more cohesive and thus made sense–say, the Low Countries, France, and Italy, seeing the USSR take out West Germany means you lose a valuable ally and have the Soviets on your borders,. But once NATO was expanded eastward, is that still true? Maybe Germany or France might object to the Russian re-occupation of Poland, but would they really feel threatened if Putin took back the Baltic states? Are the Baltic states worth a potential nuclear war? Czechoslovakia and Hungary proved to be not worth that in the 1950s and 60s.

    By encouraging ethnic groups in the former USSR to break away to form independent states, to pretend they could shape their own futures safe from whatever happened back in Moscow, was a disservice to them. The reality is that if you want good government in Latvia, there had better be good government in Moscow too.

  5. Buzzard

    Well, I posted something in another forum making similar points to the ones made here, cautioning others against premature triumphalism just because Ukraine hasn’t crumbled as quickly as expected, and I got flagged as a “pro-Russia propagandist”.

    It’s going to be a very dark and disappointing day for a lot of geopolitically naive people when the inevitable happens.

  6. bruce wilder

    The weird thing is that a somehow dominant minority faction of Ukrainians also seem to want perpetual conflict to be their national life. My understanding is that Zelensky was elected on a platform of settling the civil war with the Russians so Ukraine could get on with normal economic development instead of stagnating as literally the poorest country in Europe — his Presidency enjoyed strong majority support. But, at every step he has been herded by the Ukrainian Right in an uncompromising direction. Leading pro-Russian politicians have been charged with treason; language laws that deprecate Russian have moved forward. As far as I know (I am not familiar with the details of proposals), the EU and IMF have never offered any kind of deals that would leave the Russians an open door to continued integration with Ukraine’s developing economy.

    There is, or was, a majority in Ukraine for co-existence within national boundaries east-to-west, but a powerful faction inside the country (in Russian parlance, the “neo-Nazi’s”) are in rule-or-ruin mode and get support in the West. Mearsheimer references this, complaining that Washington seems to support devisiveness in a country with deep ethnic and linguistic faultlines.

    The Russians are not popular in several former Soviet or Warsaw Pact states with the native national ethnicities. They have been treated hostilely in the Baltic states generally. Lithuania tried to cut Russia off from their cheese — it can become that petty. Latvia’ s adoption of the Euro was tied to a deflationary policy aimed at dispossessing their Russian population and forcing them to emigrate. Estonia’s leaders deeply resent that their third-largest city is an ex-urb of Leningrad and act like there is some path to a different geography.

    I saw Zelensky make a hail mary play for instant EU accession. That does not make it seem like he has an entirely realistic view of the options or, perhaps, the true value of the options. Offence at being invaded narrows the mind unfortunately.

    I will say again that this war and its economic consequences, even without an occupation, will be unpopular in much of Russia. This will be bad for Putin, who may also lose the confidence of his inner circle of support among both oligarchs (who like their London homes) and the professional bureaucrats, who may not have agreed with his risky play.

  7. Lim

    The West are now sanctioning Russia’s central banks and affecting its ability to utilise reserves, and also banning Russian banks on SWIFT. Putin may have miscalculated Ukraine Army and also the West willingness to sanction (even the Swiss join in).
    Now, China’s support is most critical.

  8. marku52

    The Saker has an article by Hudson, Basically saying that the 3 oligarchies that run the US–the oil and gas, Wall Street, and MIC–want this war, insisted on it.

    I think the headlne was “US defeats Germany for the third time in 100 years”. Because Germany has now signed onto the US’ side in this.

    The war will be bad for everybody except the US’ oligarchies.

  9. Dan Lynch

    Spot on, Ian. This is one of the most level headed summaries of the invasion that I’ve run accoss.

    I haven’t bothered to follow the blow by blow details of the invasion because I just assume Russia has the numerical superiority to prevail. The real question is “what happens next?” The future you have envisioned in this essay seems likely but … Murphy’s Law always applies.

  10. Soredemos

    Western media seems only able to comprehend this as a full invasion for conquest, and is judging it through that lens. Putting aside the fact that this is early days even if that was the goal, Russia has claimed from the start that this was a ‘special military operation’. From the looks of it they’re focusing on destroying Ukrainian heavy equipment and command infrastructure (this has mostly been achieved), bypassing most cities, securing a land link between Crimea and Donbass (they seem to have done this, though Mariupol is under siege. They’ll probably have to send the Chechens in there to clear out the diehard Nazis; it’ll be horrific and ugly), and establishing a massive cauldron in the east to neutralize a significant portion of the Ukrainian military (this also seems to have been achieved).

    I’m inclined to believe the Russian claims that the goal is denazification and demiliterization, while minimizing civilian casualties (or even disruption to civilian life. They haven’t targeted infrastructure or even the internet) and leaving a large part of the Ukrainian grunts intact. For all the hysteria about Russian atrocities, they could have simply sent in 500 aircraft and carpeted every Ukrainian position with MLRS barrages. They haven’t, which makes sense if the goal really is to purge the country, send a message, then mostly leave. I’m sure they’ll keep direct control of the Crimea-Donbass corridor, and territory around both those regions.

  11. Z

    From earlier Russia-Ukraine thread …

    Wouldn’t it be wild if the Chinese announce that they are pegging the ruble’s value to some set amount of Yuan thereby cushioning any currency crises that Russia might be tossed into within our rulers’ rigged financial markets? I don’t know if they can do that, but if so it would be a way of supporting the ruble.

    Being tossed off of SWIFT was something that Russia must have been prepared for though and it’s hard to imagine that China is going to sit around and watch Russia be economically destroyed without intervening in some manner by buying bonds, currency, and/or whatever else is needed to stabilize their economy.

    A lot of folks whose opinions I respect and people who I have agreed with often in the past seem to be believe that Putin has overstepped his bounds in this situation and is going to personally pay for it. Certainly possible, and to be seen, but he’s been pretty wise up to this point and even if his military is having troubles on the ground there’s always the air strikes and missiles, which Russia has not used much thus far. I’d imagine that Putin plans on reminding the Ukraine of that during their talks.

    Many folks have been praising Zelensky on his courageousness and leadership and most of that seems to be centered on his supposed refusal to take up the U.S.’s offer to fly him out of the country for his own personal safety. But, if the U.S. even offered him this and this isn’t some kabuki bullshit (((I thing it is kabuki bullshit))) all it was was an offer for a disgraceful public exit: fleeing the country he is supposed to be leading at the first signs of struggle. Did it really require uncommon bravery for him to stay? Or just some common pride?

    I’m rooting heavily for Ukraine to come to an agreement that it can live with and gives Russia the W over our rulers. I’m rooting for Putin over our corrupt rulers who don’t give a damn about us anyway and are trying to push millions of primarily innocent people into either emigrating on the run, if they can, or living with the fears of missiles and guerilla warfare.

    I’d imagine that our rulers are heavily pressing on Zelensky in various ways to hold out and fight. But if he does that he’s not brave IMO, he’s just a corrupt and vain fool who is willing to sacrifice his people and country for his own personal interests.


  12. Z

    From the CIA’s soon to released hagiography entitled The Making of Zelensky:

    We offered to fly him first class. Told him he could have two wines during the trip with a full meal and snacks on both ends of it. Headrest, pillow, Dolby headphones and a selection of one of five movies. The works. And the man simply would not waver.

    No, he said. I must stay and fight for my country!


  13. Lex

    Ian, this is the most even-handed summary of the situation I’ve read in “western” media so far. I’ll go on the record now that if the US does manage to turn Ukraine into a quagmire it will destabilize all of Europe. For all I know that would suit the Blob just fine.

    I think I’m most shocked by how Europe has utterly failed to consider their own long term security and development. Do they actually believe the US has their interests at heart?

  14. Feral Finster

    A friend of mine, who has a couple of tours in Iraq to his name, comments that the Russians are going remarkably light, at least so far. They haven’t attacked TV stations, radio stations, water and sewage utilities, electrical grids, the usual stuff that invaders take out on Day One.

    My friends in Kiev still have water, electricity, etc..

    In addition, the Russians aren’t trying to blast their way into the center of cities, using artillery, air strikes and multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) the way the United States leveled Fallujah (to name one example), or, for that matter, the way the Russians flattened Grozny., civilian and other casualties be damned.

    That said, the Russians do seem to be trying to trap the bulk of Ukrainian military near Mariupol. This is made easier by the fact that the Ukrainian army and paramilitaries were positioned near the Donbass contact line.

  15. Z

    Though Israel is ostensibly staying neutral in the conflict, IMO no country wants regime change in Russia more than all-blessed Israel. They’re just hiding behind the U.S., UK and other countries that they have bribed and blackmailed their politicians to represent their interests.

    There’s supposedly less than 200K Jews currently in Russia. Larry Summers and Harvard Boyz rigged the post-USSR Russia economy to largely benefit Jewish oligarchs and then Putin tossed most of them out when he took over and restructured the economy so that it no longer preyed on the Russian populace. A lot of those oligarchs got citizenship in Israel along with hundreds of thousands of other Jews who emigrated from the USSR to Israel.

    You think Israel doesn’t want to want to get rid of Putin and possibly get somebody in charge that they have compromised who might let in some of that Russian-Jew oligarch money back in and increase emigration to Russia to overcrowded Israel?

    If Putin wants to play real hard ball he’d threaten to bomb Israel. If he did I’d imagine Zelensky would damn near give him everything he wants and quickly.


  16. Z


    You think Israel doesn’t want to want to get rid of Putin and possibly get somebody in charge that they have compromised who might let in some of that Russian-Jew oligarch money back in and increase emigration to Russia FROM overcrowded Israel?


  17. EGrise

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”

    — Samuel Huntington

  18. someofparts

    Really great post Ian. I copied the link to comments at NC and am, I hope, not being presumptuous to do so. If you would rather I not link to your posts elsewhere please let me know. You made a number of points that no one over there had thought of, particularly the parts about China.

  19. Z

    No worries, if there is a nuclear war the Federal Reserve is poised to come to the rescue with their printing presses to inflate the financial markets to record highs.

    Pro-Tip: Now is a good time for the semi-rich to invest in a McBombShelter.


  20. VietnamVet

    I am much more pessimistic. I have been surprised to see Ukrainian soldiers walking about ambush sites unconcerned about artillery or air counter strikes. Russians are going in light. The propaganda on all sides is astonishing. The Kremlin snapped. Corrupt incompetent oligarchy rule does eliminate common sense.

    The West defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan with the Mujahideen. The Kurds defeated Sunni ISIS. The West is rushing arms into Ukraine. The five-eyes intelligence fiefdom makes its money by inciting ethnic wars. It is almost a guarantee that there will be a guerrilla war in Europe between Neo-Nazis/Freedom Fighters and Ethnic Russians unless a peace agreement is signed today.

    What is frightening is that Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland do not appear to be in a frenzy to construct trenches, tank traps and line of fires on their borders with Ukraine. If the war continues, Russia will have to cut resupply from the West to the guerrillas. Vietnam all over again in reverse. They could well invade their former satellite nations. The only way to stop them is with tactical nuclear weapons which will inevitably escalate and destroy western civilization.

    When I returned from Vietnam, I was served with the Third Calvary. They didn’t have any money for training but the mission was to be reinforcements with prepositioned M-60 tanks to defend the Fulda Gap in Germany against the Soviets in the few days left before being annihilated and perhaps avoid a nuclear war for families at home.

  21. different clue

    To the best of my limited knowledge, Ukranormals far outnumber Ukranazis. That is why the DC FedRegime under President Obama arranged the Ukranazification of the Maidan Protests-then-Riots, in order to bring Ukranazis to a level of power in the Ukraine government they would never have earned in elections.

    I gather the Ukranazis come in two basic flavors, the legacy-nazi banderazis and the neo-nazi azovazis. If Ramzan Kadyrov’s very special Chechens can eliminate in detail every Ukranazi in Ukraine and not kill any Ukranormals in the process, that would be a good outcome. And if a Normal Ukraine emerges with zero NATO links ever into the forever future emerges, that would be good.

    In the widest scope, if these events can shrink dramatically the world economy overall, starting with the Overclass and working down the class ladder, and can abolish and destroy the Free Trade System and the Corporate Globalonial Plantation, that would be another good outcome. It won’t happen by itself, and some of today’s very worst black hat bad actors will try to stage a return to absolute total power and profit.
    For example, the Canadian Petro-Imperialists will try all over again to ram their Colonialist Imperialist Keystone XL pipeline across America’s best farmland and most fragile aquifers all the way to export platforms in Louisiana and Texas in order to realize the full profit potential of the Alberta Tar Sand mines and ship all the Alberta Tar Dreck across America to the furnaces and refineries of an eager world.

    I would note that some Western Leftists appear to take the position that because the West introduced this approach to statecraft in the Yugoslavia and Serbia case, that the RussiaGov attacking Ukraine serves the West right for the West attacking Serbia. But it isn’t the West being served here. It is Ukraine, which unless my memory fails, did not have any part in any actions against Yugoslavia or Serbia. And many smaller-country Govs seem to take the position that US invasions being bad does not make a Russian invasion being better.

  22. Mark Pontin

    Bruce W: ‘I saw Zelensky make a hail mary play for instant EU accession. That does not make it seem like he has an entirely realistic view of his options.’

    To say the least.

    Ian W: “There’s a lot of nonsense going around including talk of Russia losing the war because less than 5 days into the war, they haven’t conquered Ukraine. The German blitz of Poland took 5 weeks. The conquest of France 6 weeks, and people were astonished. Ukraine is the largest country in Europe except for Russia itself.”

    I agree with the basic point, Ian; and, as we’re doing the historical comparisons with WWII, the Germans took twelve (12) weeks to get through Ukraine then . But I do quibble with what’s kind of an an apples-and-oranges type comparison, as that was a era when even the lightning-fast German blitzkrieg was still carried out by a German army substantially dependent on horse and donkey-drawn transport, believe it or not. Just a different time.

    A better comparison would be, yeah, the US in Iraq.

    For those who haven’t, the Michael Hudson piece should be read and is on his website here —

  23. Ian Welsh

    Iraq was a modern army against an outdated army. Ukraine is outnumbered, but they have modern gear.

  24. Ken Cox

    “What Russia wants is to turn Ukraine into a guaranteed neutral state and withdraw its troops out of the country, minus Donbas and Luhans”

    That’s it? That’s all that Russia/Putin wants?

    I don’t believe that for a second.

  25. Synoptocon

    One can’t choke out a nuclear power, but Russian performance to date hasn’t filled anyone with awe about their conventional performance. Operations don’t look to be terrifically co-ordinated or mutually supporting, their use of precision fires has been curiously limited, logistics seem moderately upgefukt and EW has been far from the picture of full-spectrum dominance we were sold. If they were operating in a less permissive environment, the butcher’s bill inflicted on the logistics train would be considerable. More than anything, I find myself wondering what sort of staff depth they have.

  26. ptb

    Mariupol is special. Wealthiest Ukr. Oligarch’s hometown. Seems like they’re sending in the Chechens to go thru it with light weapons in order to not damage the real estate… and of course get personal with the SS-badges-sewn-on-the-shoulders part of the Ukr army (who themselves were sent there of all places because the profound distrust the nationalist factions in Kiev/Kyiv have for the local population). With the overall situation escalated way past most people’s expectations, military favors to oligarchs might not hold up, but I still wouldn’t be surprised if the city remains untouched to the end.

  27. someofparts

    Just wanted to stop by to share a couple of interesting takes on the Ukraine business.

    The first is from Matt Taibbi. The site is paywalled, so if you are not a subscriber it may not be possible to read the whole piece. But for anyone here who has subscribed to Taibbi’s substack, it is exceedingly worthwhile.

    Taibbi was in Russia when Putin came to power. In this piece he provides a good history on who Putin really is against a background of the actual historical circumstances underway in Russia when he came to power.

    The second link, blessedly not paywalled, is from The American Conservative. I am no conservative myself, at least I don’t identify as such, but TAC sometimes has solid thinking from a fresh perspective that I don’t find anywhere else. This is one of those times.

    What the author means about how not to think about Ukraine is, to use his own words,

    “Just when sobriety, responsibility, probity, and diplomatic skill are most needful, our pundits and policymakers offer the opposite: trembling emotion, cheap propaganda, wild fantasies, a refusal to dialogue and de-escalate. And the worst part is: It’s all so damned familiar. Once more, we are falling—or rather, being driven—into structural information traps that hamper sound decision-making and force policy choices we might regret dearly when it’s too late.”

    He then spends the rest of the piece talking about the information traps we fall into and how to pull ourselves out of them.

    Finally, not a link but a response to something upthread – Daily Kos is appalling – an utter fetid swamp. Those people went all the way off the rails when Trump won the election, but their response to the Ukraine mess marks a new low I did not think possible. The only value I see in the site at this point is that one day in the future some enterprising student of propaganda with a strong stomach will find the site a gold mine for the study of how propaganda can descend into deeply unpleasant unfathomable depths.

  28. Feral Finster

    Our host wrote “Iraq was a modern army against an outdated army. Ukraine is outnumbered, but they have modern gear.”

    Axtually, the Ukrainian Army is slightly larger than the total number of troops Russia can commit to the invasion force, and considerably larger than the number that have been committed so far.

  29. ptb

    re: Mariupol …. looks like they’re out of luck. city likely to get wrecked by the fighting

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén