Headlines Russia invades Ukraine

Russia invades Ukraine and China is now taunting Taiwan. Is this the start of World War 3?
No. China isn't going to invade Taiwan any time soon. It's questionable if they can invade Taiwan period and it's unlikely the Pacific nations, especially the US, would sit by without getting involved.

The war in Europe is likely to end in Ukraine as every other nation bordering Russia is part of NATO, or is Moldova or Finland. Putin is also going to deal with sanctions and the difficulty in pacifying Ukrainian resistance.

WW3 isn't going to happen. The West / NATO has overwhelming conventional advantage over Russia / China and everyone knows it, so even Rus/Chi aggression will be limited to avoid direct confrontation.
 
Russia's conflict with Ukraine could still boil over into Moldova if it so chose. The Transnistrians would definitely let them through and seek to expand westward. I'm not saying it's likely, but it's a distinct possibility the longer the conflict goes on. Moscow and Chisinau might have been on better terms than Russia with Ukraine, but Russia's quickly alienating even its own allies in eastern Europe.


I really think people are underestimating what Putin is willing to do. Attacking NATO countries IS on the table for him, because he's done it before in Salisbury and London. He's also willing to conduct vital infrastructure attacks, so it's not a stretch to think he'd wage kinetic offensives against other states
 
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dave

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Splintered this topic into its own thread because this ultimately will have global ramifications

Live updates from CNN
Live updates from the BBC
Live updates from Al Jazeera

Widespread worry currently not necessarily about what Russia might do next, but the “humanitarian consequences” in Ukraine as thousands of people are estimated to have fled to neighboring countries just in the last <24 hours:
Imogen Foulkes said:
The UN Refugee Agency warned today of a rapidly deteriorating situation in Ukraine as people flee their homes looking for safety.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, warned "the humanitarian consequences on civilian populations will be devastating. There are no winners in war but countless lives will be torn apart".

The refugee agency is calling on Ukraine’s neighbours to keep their borders open to those fleeing and says it stands ready to "support efforts by all to respond to any situation of forced displacement".

Meanwhile, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, called on those fighting to respect international law, and to ensure civilians were protected.

The UN had already issued a record appeal for funding in 2022 to relieve crises in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and the drought-ridden Sahel region in Africa. A further major conflict and refugee crisis in the middle of Europe could stretch its resources well beyond their limits.
The United States’ sanctions on Russia according to whitehouse.gov, courtesy of Al Jazeera:

 
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Chou Toshio

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Big Brain analysis: Biden Good. Putin Bad.

Apologies to Ukrainians for the below America-centric view:

Prayers for the Ukrainian people. I think for the sake of avoiding world destruction Biden’s measured approach and continued resistance to calls for greater Hawkish escalation at home is vital— that said while we can send more weapons and increase Sanctions, Ukrainians are paying the greatest cost for future peace with their lives; they’re fighting is the greatest show of cost and consequence to Russia and other powers for imperialism.

Fortunately, it seems the fighting is not going anywhere near as well as Putin needs it to, and the reaction of the market on Russian stocks and currency are devastating.
 
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Theorymon

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Fog of war is in full effect here, so be careful about what you read. Not only is there plenty of misinformation (well-intentioned or not) floating around places like Twitter, but the reality is that getting updates on the status of a war isn't a snappy thing. So even if we have reports such as "Ukraine is putting up more resistance than Russia thought" (Which I think is good if true!), things can change overnight.

Fucking tragic situation though, its awful that Russia can just fuck over Ukraine like this. I realize the politics of the situation are really tricky with Ukraine not being part of NATO (and in fact, Putin may have had Ukraine on his hitlist specifically because he didn't want Ukraine ever joining NATO), but the idealist in me hates that the political calculus for helping out Ukraine outside of sanctions isn't there. I don't mean stuff like say, sending troops in, since Russia being a nuclear power makes that far more precarious, but I wish for example that the EU could yank SWIFT from Russia, that'd be a powerful sanction. If you don't know what SWIFT is, here's a wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWIFT

And of course, a lot of the EU (especially Germany I believe) relies on Russia for energy, so this is going to impact more than just Russia and Ukraine. I doubt this is a World War 3 situation since Ukraine isn't part of NATO, but Russia's aggression is going to have some unpleasant affects worldwide, and I can't imagine how many innocent people are going to be killed, and the atrocities committed by the Russian army. Fucking horrible situation.
 

Ophion

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What Russia is doing to the citizens of Ukraine is truly disgusting (including attacking civilians unprovoked and bombing hospitals and airports) and should be condemned and punished (even if NATO will never outright fight Russia, which is likely why Putin made that remark of stronger consequences than ever before seen if interference happens). I don't think sanctions generally are going to do a ton to Russia long-term though, likely. NATO put its plans on its sleeve for a while, which let Putin plan for it ahead of time on top of the sanctions not being against himself, his energy distribution, or removal from SWIFT (which NATO knows they can't do easily given how much the EU countries will suffer). Plus, sanctions generally hurt the citizens much more in the long run (Syria is an example, now getting even worse with needing to ration when they have nothing to ration) which may be the point to facilitate an uprising to overthrow the government, but it has never really been fruitful. Do find it weird how people are now backing Ukrainians when people and reporters in the West didn't back or give a single fuck about Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, or Somalia and their citizens and lives when the West did very similar attacks on them though.
 
Fog of war is in full effect here, so be careful about what you read. Not only is there plenty of misinformation (well-intentioned or not) floating around places like Twitter, but the reality is that getting updates on the status of a war isn't a snappy thing. So even if we have reports such as "Ukraine is putting up more resistance than Russia thought" (Which I think is good if true!), things can change overnight.

Fucking tragic situation though, its awful that Russia can just fuck over Ukraine like this. I realize the politics of the situation are really tricky with Ukraine not being part of NATO (and in fact, Putin may have had Ukraine on his hitlist specifically because he didn't want Ukraine ever joining NATO), but the idealist in me hates that the political calculus for helping out Ukraine outside of sanctions isn't there. I don't mean stuff like say, sending troops in, since Russia being a nuclear power makes that far more precarious, but I wish for example that the EU could yank SWIFT from Russia, that'd be a powerful sanction. If you don't know what SWIFT is, here's a wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWIFT

And of course, a lot of the EU (especially Germany I believe) relies on Russia for energy, so this is going to impact more than just Russia and Ukraine. I doubt this is a World War 3 situation since Ukraine isn't part of NATO, but Russia's aggression is going to have some unpleasant affects worldwide, and I can't imagine how many innocent people are going to be killed, and the atrocities committed by the Russian army. Fucking horrible situation.
I did see a video about this today (source). Ultimately, before cutting Russia off from Swift, the US & other countries should prepare for the economic impact that such a decision would cause (as you mentioned in your post).
 

Chou Toshio

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I have seen in other places too people argue the effectiveness of sanctions—only time will tell but I think it’s an overestimation of Russia’s power and Putin’s power.

Putin’s Power— no man rules alone. A man does not own the throne, the throne owns him. A ruler only has power if people obey him so any dictator must retain loyalty from his oligarchy to survive. If the Russian Oligarchy/Military Elite decide Putin is wrong for them and their business then he’s gone. Can you imagine being a bourgeoisie Russian Oligarch and now you’ve lost billions overnight, your nice summer houses abroad are frozen, your cushy vacations to the developed world cancelled, and your money is worthless and your business deals abroad are all cancelled? And not just you but the entire Russian Elite are expected to saddle this for Putin’s blood and soil thirst for territory that cannot possibly recoup the value being lost with cutting off foreign financing, trade, travel? All Dictators have keys to power that they must appease and Putin’s basically strong arming all of them and saying “Fuck you for my glory.” Don’t think it’ll work— especially if things get worse for Russia and they will.

Russia’s power— as a self-sustaining economy looking to be an imperial power Russia is not the US. Russia is a teat for a dying gas industry and that’s it. Russia has ample food and medicine production so I don’t think people will starve, but remember folks USSR collapsed ultimately because they failed to sufficiently supply consumer goods and comparable consumer living standards compared to the west— the people revolted and the Empire fell. The current Russia is nothing compared to what the USSR was as an economic engine. That’s the country going to be completely cut off from global finance, their currency’s value useless, etc etc. They can sell gas to China and India for consumer goods but they’ll be totally reliant on that. Will Putin and Russian elite really be happy turning into a Chinese vassal state? Is that something the Russian Elite will accept compared to the situation they had pre-invasion?

And as for the war in Ukraine...

Last year Biden took us out of Afghanistan admitting US defeat by the Taliban after 20 years of war. Afghanistan was a very poor country with no real military when we attacked. For a super power victory can be swift but occupying a hostile people is a totally different matter. Russia is not the US— not in its capabilities and more importantly in its economic robustness— and Ukraine is not Afghanistan. Ukraine is infinitely harder to seize, infinitely better armed, infinitely better trained, and absolutely hostile to the Russian invasion. This will not go well for Putin, and he’s absolutely relying on it going well to not end up in the gulag himself.
 
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Chou Toshio

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It’s actually kind of amazing that this thread is so quiet on Smogon—

For the last month, this has been probably the most heated and contentious political topic online. Though what’s interesting is that instead of the typical Left vs Right I’ve seen waaaay more intra-fighting on this issue (rightist infighting, leftist infighting).

Sure Republicans are insane and everyone has to blame Biden from their own angle, there are both Republicans who say Biden’s too Hawkish and that he provoked this, and ones that blame him for being too Dove-ish and insanely want to march US forces into Kiev. And yeah the Libertarians and Isolationists one one side and Neocons/Colonialists on the other totally unloading on each other as Nationalists debating whether they prefer Western fascism vs Putin fascism.

But all that is nothing compared to the Online Left, where it seems it’s been an entire melt down of choosing Progressive principles vs. Russian Loyalties, American Imperialism Matters vs All Imperialism Matters,
etc etc.

All I got to say is that if we could get past all this warfare and killing each other and instead all geopolitical battle is done in the format of Proxy War between Leftist Debate bros accused of being State Department and Leftist Debate Bros accused of being Putin Puppets— that would be much better and proof that the anti war left had won.

FYI I’ve found myself agreeing more with the State Department Left than the Kremlin Left on this one.

Sadly Comrade Putin was not satisfied with that level of escalation and here we are. Besides the only actually leftist solution to this problem was for Ice Skaters at Peking Olympics playing John Lennon’s Imagine to not censor out the parts about ending war, ending Nation states, ending religion, ending Capital, and having world peace and Sharing the planet as one humanity— but because we live in the worst possible world the CIA and CCP must have collaborated to swap out the tape and now Lennon’s voice has still not lead us to global Socialist Utopia fast enough to save Ukrainians.

Jest aside, I’m happy Smogon seems to be reacting far more soberly, far more maturely, and humbly (because none of us really know what will happen) than the Internet at large.

Would like to share this though:
 
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It’s actually kind of amazing that this thread is so quiet on Smogon—

For the last month, this has been probably the most heated and contentious political topic online. Though what’s interesting is that instead of the typical Left vs Right I’ve seen waaaay more infra-fighting on this issue.

Sure Republicans are insane and everyone has to blame Biden from their own angle, there are both Republicans who say Biden’s too Hawkish and that he provoked this, and ones that blame him for being too Dove-ish and insanely want to march US forces into Kiev. And yeah the Libertarians and Isolationists one one side and Neocons/Colonialists on the other totally unloading on each other as Nationalists debating whether they prefer Western fascism vs Putin fascism.

But all that is nothing compared to the Online Left, where it seems it’s been an entire melt down of choosing Progressive principles vs. Russian Loyalties, American Imperialism Matters vs All Imperialism Matters,
etc etc.

All I got to say is that if we could get past all this warfare and killing each other and instead all geopolitical battle is done in the format of Proxy War between Leftist Debate bros accused of being State Department and Leftist Debate Bros accused of being Putin Puppets— that would be much better and proof that the anti war left had won.

FYI I’ve found myself agreeing more with the State Department Left than the Kremlin Left on this one.

Sadly Comrade Putin was not satisfied with that level of escalation and here we are. Besides the only actually leftist solution to this problem was for Ice Skaters at Peking Olympics playing John Lennon’s Imagine to not censor out the parts about ending war, ending Nation states, ending religion, ending Capital, and having world peace and Sharing the planet as one humanity— but because we live in the worst possible world the CIA and CCP must have collaborated to swap out the tape and now Lennon’s voice has still not lead us to global Socialist Utopia fast enough to save Ukrainians.

Jest aside, I’m happy Smogon seems to be reacting far more soberly, far more maturely, and humbly (because none of us really know what will happen) than the Internet at large.

Would like to share this though:
Weirdly I've seen both sides of US politics more or less agree in being pro Ukraine. Generally both sides are pro assistance to Ukraine both economically and in terms or military aid but are in opposition to uhh, WW3 via direct war with Russia.

Yeah there's a minority on both sides that don't agree but generally I've seen everyone agree that Vladdy P needs to go fuck himself.
 

Chou Toshio

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Weirdly I've seen both sides of US politics more or less agree in being pro Ukraine. Generally both sides are pro assistance to Ukraine both economically and in terms or military aid but are in opposition to uhh, WW3 via direct war with Russia.

Yeah there's a minority on both sides that don't agree but generally I've seen everyone agree that Vladdy P needs to go fuck himself.
I’d say now that the war has started people’s heads are screwing on, but I’m still hearing about Tankie vids suggesting how this is all Biden’s fault and that Zelensky (who’s a Jew) is a Nazi US plant. :psygrump:

Right before and during the Olympics there was a lot more contentious online drama; and like I said it was mostly not partisan (if anything you saw both sides of the issue with right-left agreements) but instead ideological infighting that’s dying down now that there’s no more room to argue who the aggressor is.
 
I’d say now that the war has started people’s heads are screwing on, but I’m still hearing about Tankie vids suggesting how this is all Biden’s fault and that Zelensky (who’s a Jew) is a Nazi US plant. :psygrump:

Right before and during the Olympics there was a lot more contentious online drama; and like I said it was mostly not partisan (if anything you saw both sides of the issue with right-left agreements) but instead ideological infighting that’s dying down now that there’s no more room to argue who the aggressor is.
Best to just ignore these online discussions. A lot of people do not see the nuances behind certain people or individuals perspectives and instead just assume that people hold the same views with no regard towards things such as generational differences and other factors. Additionally people (even on this forum) just view certain beliefs as a static binary rather than a spectrum that is constantly shifting(I am unfortunately sometimes guilty of this as well).

I took a class on the Holocaust in college last semester and became more informed on some of the history between Ukraine, Russia, and Ukraine's involvement in the Holocaust. I am speaking off the top of my head, so I apologize if I get the details wrong. However, from what I remember, after the Nazi's invaded the Soviet controlled Ukraine during World War II, some in Ukraine viewed the Nazis as liberators from the Soviet occupiers and aided them in persecuting the Jews. I do not condone these people actions in the slightest. However, there is a bit of a stigma regarding comparisons between Soviet occupation and Nazi occupation, where some in Ukraine believe that the Soviet occupation was worse than the Nazi occupation. While I'm not fond of comparisons like these, if the people had problems with the Soviet occupation of Ukraine, then I believe they have the right to speak out about it. The Ukraine today is not the same as it was during World War II and the reasons for the disdain for the Soviet occupation have shifted, but many people fail to see that.

Also, I believe your post earlier about dictatorships and protest is correct. During World War II, Hitler authorized the killing of the impaired. Howevr, after protests and public denunciations from influencial figures such as Bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen, he revoked the program.
 
It’s actually kind of amazing that this thread is so quiet on Smogon—

For the last month, this has been probably the most heated and contentious political topic online. Though what’s interesting is that instead of the typical Left vs Right I’ve seen waaaay more intra-fighting on this issue (rightist infighting, leftist infighting).
I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in Canada, the news here for the last month (until late Wednesday night when Putin made his invasion speech) was dominated by the anti-vaxx protestors and the resultant political shitstorm that ensued from it.

Which if you ask me, is actually what Putin wanted.
 

Myzozoa

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recommend the 2 most recent articles, with this as supplementation: https://time.com/6144109/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-viktor-medvedchuk/

This author, Yudin, provides the best explaination of the behavior of the russian regime that I've seen so far.

The problem with the 'Putin is crazy man' thesis is that if you believe it, you're almost approving of the consensus analysis before the invasion, which was something like "It is not in Putin's medium and long-term interests, as the autocrat of the regime, to invade Ukraine, therefore no invasion will occur". According to the 'Putin=crazy' idea, the Russian invasion cannot be explained by appeal to rational analysis of competing interests within the Russian regime because the invasion was irrational. The 'no invasion' predictors were right then, about the interests of the regime, and Putin is a nutter who went against all rational advice in starting his war.

But the general error, that most of us that made predictions against an invasion made, was assuming that the medium and long-term interests of the russian state and the immediate and long-term interests of Putin are somehow identical. Or we said that the short term risk of military confrontation with the West isn't worth risking the ascendency Russia can expect in the medium or long-term if its pre-invasion tactics continue proving effective against its competitors. Regardless, the "Putin would not invade Ukraine, because the West is busy collapsing in on itself and if Russia just avoids a military confrontation it's position improves as the West declines" hypothesis, or something to that effect at least, is not useful for predicting the behavior of the regime according to Yudin.

The hypothesis is wrong, Yudin explains, because the Russian regime structure cannot maintain its domestic arrangements without using this Ukraine crisis as a moment to consolidate internally.

Anyway something to think about if u like thinking about these things.
 
Day 3 and Russia seems to be plagued by logistical issues and low morale. Their advance has been halted while Ukrainians are in high spirits. Civilians have been volunteering by the thousands to defend their home. Russian casualties appear to be significant and they haven't even entered a major city yet.

Meanwhile, encouraged by Ukrainian fighting spirit, the West has finally pushed ahead with sanctions and military aid. Russia is to be cut off from the SWIFT banking system on top of specific sanctions targeting important Russians. Multiple countries have also cut off Russian civilian flights. Arms are pouring in from dozens of nations including, finally, Germany.

Pressure on Russia is enormous. Their current tactics aren't working. Ukraine is still the underdog but they have been doing much better than even the most optimistic estimates would have thought.

Of course on the other hand we're mostly just getting the Western / Ukrainian side of the news. It's possible Russia's lack of progress was simply them regrouping and preparing another push. Maybe Ukrainian losses are equally heavy and unlike Russia they don't have endless reserves of tanks to replace them. Maybe Russia is about to completely gain air superiority and the war is going to take a different turn. Fog of war is very real and propaganda thickens it.

Or maybe post Soviet Union Russian armed forces are an incompetent shell of their predecessor and Ukraine has a fighting chance.
 

Chou Toshio

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https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/author/grigory-yudin/

recommend the 2 most recent articles, with this as supplementation: https://time.com/6144109/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-viktor-medvedchuk/

This author, Yudin, provides the best explaination of the behavior of the russian regime that I've seen so far.

The problem with the 'Putin is crazy man' thesis is that if you believe it, you're almost approving of the consensus analysis before the invasion, which was something like "It is not in Putin's medium and long-term interests, as the autocrat of the regime, to invade Ukraine, therefore no invasion will occur". According to the 'Putin=crazy' idea, the Russian invasion cannot be explained by appeal to rational analysis of competing interests within the Russian regime because the invasion was irrational. The 'no invasion' predictors were right then, about the interests of the regime, and Putin is a nutter who went against all rational advice in starting his war.

But the general error, that most of us that made predictions against an invasion made, was assuming that the medium and long-term interests of the russian state and the immediate and long-term interests of Putin are somehow identical. Or we said that the short term risk of military confrontation with the West isn't worth risking the ascendency Russia can expect in the medium or long-term if its pre-invasion tactics continue proving effective against its competitors. Regardless, the "Putin would not invade Ukraine, because the West is busy collapsing in on itself and if Russia just avoids a military confrontation it's position improves as the West declines" hypothesis, or something to that effect at least, is not useful for predicting the behavior of the regime according to Yudin.

The hypothesis is wrong, Yudin explains, because the Russian regime structure cannot maintain its domestic arrangements without using this Ukraine crisis as a moment to consolidate internally.

Anyway something to think about if u like thinking about these things.
These seem like really insightful articles!
 
This is just more of the cat-and-mouse game between the US and Russia, and we are all going to get dragged into it. The current situation is particularly similar to the Cuban missile crisis in the 60s, this time with reversed roles. Moscow’s concerns about NATO expansion is similar to Khrushchev’s willingness to consider Kennedy’s fears about Moscow’s missile deployment in Cuba, such decision was made in response to not only the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, but also because of the presence of US ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey. It is disturbing to think that, after 60 years, history repeats itself and we are once again in the midst of a new cold war that could lead us to a third world war between two major nuclear-weapon states.

Now, it's been said that this is all due to Russia's imperialism, but it turns out that the US is the least qualified to call out any other country on this considering what has been done in terms of supposedly ensuring American interests and security thousands of kilometers away from its national territory, apparently people and reporters in the West seem to forget how the Middle East was completely turned into a hotbed for international terrorism. NATO hasn't done any better than the US or Russia either, so it is impossible to understand its rhetoric of war at this point. If you are going to point guns at some country, you would at least expect for said country to answer back, wouldn't you? I wonder what would happen if it were the other way around and Russia placed its missiles on the US border between Canada and Mexico, because it would certainly be even worse than what is happening right now, so not sure what's about all this "we aim for freedom" and "we want no war" that those who now back up Ukraine rely on in the West. A situation so complex as to look for someone to blame on rather than take responsibility for your own actions, it seems.

Also, sanctions have proven to be useless, they will not change the situation in any way, you could not mention any country that has been sanctioned and has had positive changes regarding its political situation, not even for its people. This time the EU will be the most affected in grains, oil, and also in the gas market as it gets nearly 40% of its natural gas from Russia, so it is likely to be walloped with higher heating bills and such, in that way they are pretty much Russian-dependent. On top of that, making some country go into economic default thanks to sanctions for a regime change, even if it has a big impact on innocent people, will not affect those who are in government positions. 60 years of practice in having it as the default US response to every international crisis clearly hasn't been of any help whatsoever, it's been made a default policy option at this point.
 

Chou Toshio

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Really really good video. With this and after reading the blogs from Myzozoa, I think the issue with my previous posts is I didn’t have a full grasp of JUST how bad it is for Russia. Not that this war isn’t a terrible option for Putin, but that doing nothing could reasonably be seen as much worse.

We’re seeing in this war that Russia really lacks the economic power to feed and man military power, and that position would only get worse as it faces more population decline, more global move away from fossil fuels, more costs of shipping Water ineffiently from Russia to Crimea, and potentially the Westernization of Ukraine reborn as a huge rival, a second European exporter of Natural Gas when given access to Western investment/technology.

If not just Putin but the entire Russian Oligarchy sees this conflict as existential than indeed no level of sanctions will work.

That said, I don’t think that the concessions anywhere near the table could breath enough life into the Russian economy to change its downward trajectory without massive reforms (ie. Probably requiring Western liberalization).

It’s not really clear if there’s any good policy route for the West to pursue that secures lasting peace while also securing lasting continuation of the current Russian Oligarchy. It’s not clear that any concessions we make wouldn’t just kick this eventuality down the road temporarily. It’s bigger than just Putin.
 
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Day 4 and somehow Russia has managed to complete pretty much none of their goals. The rest of the world has unified against Putin, with the exception of piece of shit China, and financial sanctions are beginning to kick in. There are anti war protests in Russia despite threats of imprisonment and even elements in Putin's own government are showing concern. Things are so bad for Russia that peace talks are now taking place. Dumb ass Putin is so desperate that he even put his

Despite this fighting continues in Kyiv suburbs with Russians taking terrific losses from anti-tank rockets. Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, was penetrated by light troops. However they were all killed, captured, or repelled. Hacking has taken place attacking railways and for propaganda purposes such as displaying Ukrainian combat footage on Moscow TV. Additionally global reactions are forcing policy making in a different direction. Germany has announced they will spend more than 2% on defense and policies to become energy independent (from Russia). Finland and Sweden are having discussions about joining NATO. The EU is even going to supply Ukraine with fighter jets.

As time goes on it becomes more and more likely that Russia's military is flat out plagued by incompetence. Maybe they've just been flat out lying about the operational status of their post Soviet forces, as the relatively lightly equipped Ukraine is tearing them to pieces. Russian plans stated air superiority should be achieved in the first 12 hours with the government forced into exile within 2 days. As we move into the 5th day it is clear that slow Russian progress isn't a fluke. They really are having difficulties.

Even if things finally go south and Russia takes some cities all they're going to do is face 5x the equipment losses fighting off the most well armed and supported insurgents in human history.

To the surprise of damn near everyone, Ukraine might just come out of this in one piece.
 

Bughouse

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“We have very close cooperation on the energy grid, for example. So many topics where we work very closely together and indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in.”
-Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission (effectively, President of the EU)

The EU was at the very least reasonably supportive of Ukraine's original intentions to join back in the early 2010s before then-Ukraine president Yanukovych nixed it (who then got ousted by revolution as a result). Since then, Ukraine has amended its constitution to better align with EU goals and they have directly stated that they intended to apply for EU membership in the next few years.

Given the turmoil last time Ukraine was going to join and the position of Russia on the matter (always known, but surely laid bare now), I'm not sure I've heard the EU be quite so vocally supportive of Ukraine's future membership as what von der Leyen just said. They've kept their cards a bit closer to the vest in the past few years. You can be damned sure now, though, that if the EU wants Ukraine to join, it's going to be doing its damnedest to keep it well supplied and reinforced. And as we've clearly seen these past few days, provided they can remain supplied, there is more than ample determination and bravery on the part of Ukrainians to see this through.

I fully agree with the notion that there's a fog of war and all that and also that at the end of the day, the opponent here is an increasingly erratic autocrat with a cult of personality and nukes... but at this point in time I have to imagine that Ukraine will prevail. And what I'm far more uncertain about are the domestic consequences in Russia of such a failure.
 
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I would like to tip my hat to my Ukrainian brothers, I have a respect for their straight spine that I cannot express in words. The same is true for Russian people manifesting against war and getting arrested by the thousands.

Here in Italy your community is 280.000 strong and a lot of your people work in home nursing and caring, included the woman that assisted both my grandfather and my grandmother. I have a couch and a voice I can offer, it is the least I could do.

That being said, the situation is really unfortunate. I understand the tension that both sides fueled in East Ukraine that led to both claiming ownership and a de-facto guerrilla area since 2014, but the moment things escalated the tables turned for worse and Putin worst side was crystal clear. Russia and Urkaine have a troublesome history but this is straight out of hell, and if you believe in it, somebody will pay in hell for this.

I would like to take this gruesome situation to reflect on something we probably took for granted for too long.

In recent years we have internal divide, people becoming ever more detached from one another, extremisms gaining ground on moderate dialogues all over Europe and the US. We forgot how united we stand and the values we share, all to the favor of divisiveness and internal struggle, window dressing, political gain and finger-pointing. In this era of social network one line news and lies, we (myself included and foremost) were quick to jump at each other's throats, misinformed and distracted from what was going on.

In this self-induced uncertainty, Putin continued to have its web woven. This is a reminder that we should require a minimum of dignity and constraint out of everybody, included half of my fucking political leaders and a former German chancellor sitting quietly in Gazprom's BoD. I regret speaking in this terms, but we were blinded while the enemy (I am sorry, but this is what it has become) moved, and some of our leaders straight out flirted with it.

Also, for all the shit the current US administration is getting, kudos to the intelligence and the brass for always being adamant about the risk of an invasion way ahead of time, while some loud mouths insisted it was all a fantasy (like if doing "training" there on the border, in full Winter, was something logical). I suspect Kyiv was in close contact with WS and the invasion was not a total surprise, judging from the first days of conflict.

Fog of war clouds everything but according to on field pieces of news from war reporters, Urkainian are behaving exceptionally well, given the circumstances. However, only yesterday Putin went all out so it remains to be seen how it will go. Talks are undergoing right now but the fact that Moscow send Medinsky, who is a fucking nutjob, to the table, reeks of preemptive justification for getting no as an answer and continue fighting.

Russia has clearly power advantage but to me something was badly miscalculated. Plan 1A was probably to invade and create such a fear that Ukraine will immediately throw the towel. Plan 1B probably was that, in the event of some moderate resistance both on the field and in the negotiations, Moscow would dethrone Zelensky via some friend placed high in the Ukrainian military hierarchy (some war experts have corroborated this). Both options' odds were miscalculated, and as everyone that has had the fortune to meet some of them, Urkainian are fucking tough people. No surprise: when you think you are above everybody else and that you can do everything you want, you sink in your own arrogance. Arrogance is the mother of all defeats for the arrogant one does not see his own flaws objectively.

The longer it goes, the worse the optics, and the more expensive it gets. Ukraine is huge and keeping troops on the ground while under guerrilla tactics will prove disastrous. Putin showed utter disregard for international law, foreign sovereignty, basic human rights, and also sent his own man to die in hundreds. A blitzkrieg is one thing, a war of attraction is many times worse.

I am also glad that for once the EU showed a steady hand and moved swiftly with the sanctions. Also, props to Germany for their firm deliberation out of the parliament yesterday. Some ATM runs are taking place in major Russian cities. The Russian Central Bank has increased its rates dramatically to encourage deposits, meaning they are indeed scared.

EDIT: I would also caution against proclaiming a swift entrance of Ukraine into the NATO or the EU. Let's help financially and on the field, keep up with the sanctions, and make him boil in his own blood. Reform of international treaties would be looked at as an escalation and it is exactly what he is looking for, another bland excuse to keep behaving like a dictator gone nuts.

I could go on forever, but to me, may this be a lesson that we should always remember that we have a common ground, and that the enemy preys on our own uncertainties and divide.
 
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My personal opinion is that all the “trying to understand the Russian position” is apologist BS. NATO is a defensive alliance and has never shown any inkling of offensive posturing towards an invasion of Russia. People suggesting such are just echoing Kremlin talking points. To Russia’s credit they have done a masterful job at infecting the internet, the US Republican Party, and other Western far-right political parties with their propaganda. Putin is a clown show. The only shred of credibility he has is in his rumored nuclear stockpile and his oil.

The world needs to transition off oil ASAP. This is rediculous. We have the technology to not need to base entire economies off oil and kowtow to a dictator just because he has it.

I have mixed feelings about Ukraine. I am heartened and inspired by their moxie. However, as a black man I’m disgusted (but not surprised) at how they’re treating the black and brown immigrants. It begs the broader question - had Russia invaded a brown Muslim country or an African country, would the rest of the world even give a damn? Does nationality even matter in 2022 or is race more important? I see right-wing Americans showing more empathy towards Putin than towards our own (Vice) President.
 
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