Ukraine Crisis

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iambiguous
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by iambiguous »

'President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia accelerated his war effort in Ukraine on Wednesday, announcing a new campaign that would call up roughly 300,000 reservists to the military while also directly challenging the West over its support for Ukraine with a veiled threat of using nuclear weapons.

In a rare videotaped address to the nation, Mr. Putin stopped short of declaring a full, national draft but instead called for a “partial mobilization” of people with military experience. Though Moscow’s troops have recently suffered humiliating losses on the battlefield, he said that Russia’s goals in Ukraine had not changed and that the move was “necessary and urgent” because the West had “crossed all lines” by providing sophisticated weapons to Ukraine.'
NYT

Yo, Biden! What say you?!!

Oh, to be inside the heads of these two men. With their proverbial fingers on the proverbial buttons. How far will they go?

Or, philosophically, how far are they obligated to go? Two "Kingdoms of Ends" as it were. With nuclear means.

Edit:

'Analysis: Russia pushes the panic button and raises risk of nuclear war' WP.
iambiguous
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by iambiguous »

It's back!

The big bold headline:

Biden Asks U.N. to Hold Russia Accountable as Putin Digs In
NYT

Biden or Putin? We know which one is scarier. But which one is the least altogether mentally?















Or, sure, is it still all more about boosting circulation?
iambiguous
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by iambiguous »

Max Boot at the WP

'With defeat looming, Putin is trotting out a new strategy: He will annex Ukrainian territory and then threaten to use nuclear weapons if the Ukrainians and their allies in the West don’t let him get away with it. If the West were to give in to his nuclear blackmail, what would stop him from announcing tomorrow that Kyiv is also Russian territory (which he clearly believes)? Or Tallinn? Or Tbilisi? Or even Warsaw or Helsinki? We cannot live in a world where an evil dictator can redraw international borders at will with threats of nuclear annihilation. And we don’t have to.

'Before we panic over Putin’s reckless threats, let’s remember that we have nearly as many nuclear weapons as Russia and that this is hardly the first time that Putin has threatened to go nuclear. At the very beginning of the war, on Feb. 24, he said that any country that interfered with his invasion would suffer consequences “such as you have never seen in your entire history.” Well, the West has supplied Ukraine with weapons that have killed or wounded at least 70,000 Russian soldiers, and Putin still has not made any nuclear move. Nor has he gone nuclear over Ukrainian attacks on Crimea, which he annexed in 2014. He is not suicidal or crazy.


Sure, this argument may well be closer to the way this will all play out than mine.

Mine is that no one really knows how crazy Putin in. And no one really knows if, a la Dr. Strangelove, Putin has a contingency plan to survive a nuclear war.

Again, given that I don't believe in an afterlife and that, living about 35 miles from Washington D.C., which might possibly be nuked out of existence, I'm all for accepting that Putin is interested only in recreating the U.S.S.R....and is not another Hitler out to gobble up the entire planet.

But that's all "existential" isn't it? I'm sure some here can provide us with the most rational assessment and the most imperative moral obligation for all truly virtuous men and women.
promethean75
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by promethean75 »

well you better be ready because Baltimore is close to prime real estate for Putin's missles. you know he's gonna launch on Washington DC. the whole state of Maryland will be fractured and fragmented by the time that bloody Cossack wanker is done.
iambiguous
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by iambiguous »

Paul Sonne and John Hudson at the Washington Post

'U.S. has sent private warnings to Russia against using a nuclear weapon

'The United States for several months has been sending private communications to Moscow warning Russia’s leadership of the grave consequences that would follow the use of a nuclear weapon, according to U.S. officials, who said the messages underscore what President Biden and his aides have articulated publicly.

'The Biden administration generally has decided to keep warnings about the consequences of a nuclear strike deliberately vague, so the Kremlin worries about how Washington might respond, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive deliberations.

'The attempt by the White House to cultivate what’s known in the nuclear deterrence world as “strategic ambiguity” comes as Russia continues to escalate its rhetoric about possible nuclear weapons use amid a domestic mobilization aimed at stanching Russian military losses in eastern Ukraine.'


So, the narrative shifts from how far will Putin go to how far will Biden go if Putin goes too far.

Of course, we all know that this "private communication" goes on all the time around the globe. But we don't know ourselves how far it does go here.

Like back in Vietnam with Nixon and Kissinger going back and forth with North Vietnam...trying to secure the least humiliating exit strategy for Goliath.

Is that what's going on here? Giving this new Goliath a way to save face?

Or, instead, will Biden just end up pissing Putin off. Pissing him off to the point that Putin uses nukes as a way in which to tell Biden to go fuck himself.

And most of the rest of us when it all gets out of hand.
iambiguous
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by iambiguous »

promethean75 wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:41 pm well you better be ready because Baltimore is close to prime real estate for Putin's missles. you know he's gonna launch on Washington DC. the whole state of Maryland will be fractured and fragmented by the time that bloody Cossack wanker is done.
It doesn't look good...

https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/
iambiguous
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by iambiguous »

Fareed Zakaria at the Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... tastrophe/

'Putin has just made the world a far more dangerous place...

Let’s not play down what has happened this week. The leader of the world’s largest nuclear power publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons. In an address in Moscow on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin declared that Russia would use “all weapon systems available to us” to defend the country. He emphasized, “This is not a bluff.”

'It might be. Putin’s threat is at odds with traditional Soviet military doctrine, which once ruled out “first use.” Under his leadership, the Russian military now contemplates scenarios in which it could use nuclear weapons. But Putin knows that the West has powerful nuclear weapons of its own; and he knows that the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” has prevented any power from deploying them since 1945. Moreover, these kinds of threats must rattle China, India and all those countries that have been trying to steer a course between Russia and the West.'


Back to this: policy embedded "deeper down" in the state and policy embedded existentially in the mind of any particular leader of the state. What will Putin do? What will those embedded in Russia's own rendition of the military industrial complex permit him to do? Fail safe there under Putin and fail safe here under Biden.

In other words, "mutually assured destruction" vs. “strategic ambiguity”.

'It is still hard to see how, even if he loses this war, anyone in Moscow could dislodge him. More than perhaps any major nation in the world, Russia is now ruled by one man. There are no institutions — no Politburo, no Central Committee, no monarchy. Nothing. The largest country in the world, with the most nuclear weapons, is ruled by one man. It is, as he once described it, a “vertical of power.” And that vertical looks more unstable than ever.

All of this suggests that we have entered one of the most dangerous periods in international relations in our lifetimes.'


Uh, stayed tuned?
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Sculptor
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by Sculptor »

Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Feb 01, 2022 5:43 pm
henry quirk wrote: Tue Feb 01, 2022 5:29 pm if certain folks here in the states weren't desperate to turn attention away from their own failings, ukraine wouldn't be in the news: it's all misdirection and diversion...well, gee, we sure screwed things up here at home! let's scare the citizens with the threat of sendin' their sons and daughters off to war! we'll get their attention focused over there while we mop up the mess we made here
Exactly right. The first ruse of every failed domestic despot is to start an overseas war.
Like most American presidents
iambiguous
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by iambiguous »

David Brooks at the NYT

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/23/opin ... putin.html

'I’m told that somewhere between 80,000 and 110,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in the past seven months. Russia has lost 50 percent of its prewar military tanks. It’s lost 20 percent to 30 percent of its infantry fighting vehicles and a tenth of its advanced fighter planes. The Russians have also burned through huge amounts of precision munitions. Morale is awful. Over the past weeks, most Russian forces have been on the defensive, or falling back.

'This terrible situation has induced not humility in Putin but audacity. In his speech to the Russian people this week, he portrayed the operation in Ukraine as a defensive measure against Western forces that want to divide and destroy Russia. He signaled that he considers Crimea part of Russia and will regard eastern Ukraine as part of Russia too. He’ll view attacks in those regions as attacks on Russia itself, especially if they are made by Ukrainian forces using American weapons. The crucial passage in his speech was this: “In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.”

'American officials are now preparing for all the ways Putin could escalate the war, if he pretends Russia itself is being invaded. He could lob missiles onto American installations in Poland and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. He could escalate in space by destroying satellites. He could launch a missile strike against a NATO ally. And of course he could use a tactical nuclear weapon — perhaps on a Ukrainian town, on a Ukrainian military unit or just in an open field to show he means business.

'The intent would be to intimidate the West into ceasing all support for Ukraine.

'American officials don’t seem to know whether Putin will or won’t use nukes, but they are taking the possibility quite seriously. In their communications with the Russians, they are trying to convey that any use of nuclear weapons would put the world in a very different place. They are not talking about what their contingency plans are in such a circumstance, but they imply they are grave.'


One more attempt to get inside Putin's head. To assume that he either is or he is not bluffing.

The fate of the entire planet, perhaps, hanging in the balance?

'My parting thought is that too much of Western strategic thinking ignores the Ukrainians themselves — what they desire. They are winning, passionate and filled with righteous indignation, and seem to be thirsting for the kind of maximalist victory that they apparently feel is within their grasp — including getting Crimea back. Why should the heroes of this conflict settle for a tepid, incremental approach and a partial win, and what happens if they won’t?

'The Ukrainians’ efforts have demonstrated that liberal democracy and human dignity are causes people are still willing to fight and die for. They are showing that these ideas have great power. Unfortunately, tyrants are sometimes more dangerous when they are losing.'


Each of us here of course will weigh in on how far we believe the West should go in supplying the Ukrainians with all that they need in order to satisfy their desires.

To hell with the possible consequences?
popeye1945
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by popeye1945 »

This war isn't between Russia and Ukraine, it between America on the border of Russia with Ukrainians as cannon fodder.
iambiguous
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by iambiguous »

My point exactly:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/24/opin ... ussia.html

Ross Douthat at the NYT

'Across almost eight decades the possibility of nuclear war has been linked to complex strategic calculations, embedded in command-and-control systems, subject to exhaustive war games. Yet every analysis comes down to unknowable human elements as well: Come the crisis, the awful moment, how does a decisive human actor choose?

'This problem is worth pondering because the world is probably now closer to the use of nuclear weapons than at any point in decades — and just how close may depend on the unknowable mental states of the Russian dictator.'


For all we know Putin may literally be mentally unbalanced. "In the moment" -- a moment of frustration and outrage -- he may just go right over the edge. And decide to take as many if us with him that he can.

'And the mobilization speech was explicit in its promise that a full collapse simply would not be permitted, even if that required the use of nuclear arms. By announcing referendums in ‌‌occupied regions of Ukraine, Putin was essentially declaring that Russia intended to absorb them into its own territory. By promising to defend Russian territory ‌‌with‌ “all the means at our disposal” he was pledging to defend the conquests with, at the very least, tactical nuclear strikes.'

Thus, if the West continues to provide Ukraine with sophisticated weapon systems that the Ukrainian army uses to attack those "absorbed" regions, Putin can claim it is an attack on Russia itself.

And who really knows for certain what is now percolating inside Biden's head?

'This creates an unusually perilous dynamic. We are not in a traditional balance-of-terror situation, where nuclear superpowers are threatening one another with massive retaliation and the greatest danger is the sort of miscalculation or simple accident that brought us close to the precipice a few times in the past.

Instead, we have an active conflict, a hot war, where a non-nuclear power is trying to win a victory with conventional forces and the other side is attempting to draw a red line past which nukes will be deployed — meaning that if the war continues on its current trajectory, that side’s bluff will be called, and it will face an immediate choice between the nuclear option and defeat.'


Pick a variable and try to pin down the likelihood of it leading to a nuclear exchange.

'This doesn’t mean that we should expect Putin to use nuclear weapons (and it’s unclear from the Russian chain of command just how singular the decision would be). The world-historical recklessness of such a decision would carry its own potentially regime-destroying consequences — the possibility of escalation to outright war with NATO, the total abandonment of Russia by its remaining quasi-friends and the full collapse of its economy. It’s a reasonable-enough bet that even facing defeat, he or his regime would blink.'

Meanwhile over at the Doomsday Clock...

"It is 100 seconds to midnight"
popeye1945
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by popeye1945 »

Ask yourself on this world stage, what is Putin reacting to. Most of the people posting in this thread tow the party line, America is wearing the white hat and Russia is wearing the black hat, so simple, no thinking involved.
Belinda
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by Belinda »

popeye1945 wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 9:47 pm Ask yourself on this world stage, what is Putin reacting to. Most of the people posting in this thread tow the party line, America is wearing the white hat and Russia is wearing the black hat, so simple, no thinking involved.
Nationalism is evil when it causes Pyrrhic victory let alone actual defeat.
Gary Childress
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by Gary Childress »

popeye1945 wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 9:47 pm Ask yourself on this world stage, what is Putin reacting to. Most of the people posting in this thread tow the party line, America is wearing the white hat and Russia is wearing the black hat, so simple, no thinking involved.
I don't know. I haven't seen too much in the way of blind support on here for the US supplying a defender to stop an invader. I think I've mostly seen criticism of it. But maybe you're right. Maybe the US should stop supplying Ukraine. I shudder to think what might happen to its people at this point in terms of Russian retaliation, though. But perhaps the three parties could sit down and agree to end the war with Ukraine remaining neutral. Certainly, Ukraine joining NATO would probably be the worst thing that could happen.
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phyllo
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Re: Ukraine Crisis

Post by phyllo »

Do you let your neighbors decide which organizations you are allowed to join?
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