Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
My reading is that Putin is barely aware of the rest of Russia and has no interest whatsoever in what's happening outside of his own immediate circle. As long as there's food on the big table, important people keep turning up to meetings, and he can't hear shooting or sirens, it's all good.

He's high on his Dugin-inspired fantasy of a glorious new empire stretching from Ireland to India, and he's playing with toy soldiers towards that goal. It's more of a LARP based on a Dugin's Geopolitics than a real campaign for him.

As for what the West should do - No Fly signs are too weakly defensive while simultaneously being too confrontational. It's probably too late for this, but sneaking them some conventional cruise missiles across one of the Southern borders and Ukraine ("Look what we had in reserve!") using them to halt his Epic Show Convoy would very possibly do the job.

Morale and organisation are terrible, and most of the Russian army very much doesn't want to be there. It's all very fragile, and a good counterpush might be all it takes to pry it apart.

Of course the West shouldn't have done Iraq etc. And certainly been more defensive about Russian mafia money and info-ops.

Now we have monkey see, monkey do, and a mad dictator with atrocity envy saying "If you can, why can't I?"

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 01:12:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Atrocity envy" is a new concept for me. Dugin's Geopolitics does seem to be the textbook Putin is following, as it calls for the elimination of Ukraine as an independent state:


Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness, its certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics". Ukraine should not be allowed to remain independent, unless it is cordon sanitaire, which would be inadmissible.[9]

I particularly liked its description of the UK as "an "extraterritorial floating base of the U.S." [which] "should be cut off from Europe". The Tory Brexiteers, like Trump, seem to be Putin's greatest allies.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 01:48:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few points:
No fly zones aren't a thing. It's what you call your wars for domestic consumption if wars are unpopular, but it's not going to trick the party that gets its air defense destroyed.
I wouldn't be too sure about the Russian army doing terrible. The regulars on both sides seem to have learned the lesson of artiCalcDroid and left their phones at home. So most of the video content comes from Ukrainian irregulars and civilians, then gets signal boosted. There was a similar effect in the recent war in Armenia where the more sympathetic side also seemed to do a lot better than they did. We'll see in a few days.
Finally, not sure what Russian info ops are supposed to have contributed. Sure, I didn't believe the Americans about the Russian invasion, but that's hardly an effect of Russian disinfo, unless the Russians tricked US intelligence into claiming a Cuban beam weapon that causes hangovers and sounds like cicadas was hunting their agents across the globe. Zelensky certainly didn't seem to believe them.
by generic on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 05:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant Brexit and the co-opting of the GOP in the US. Also the Q cult and the anti-vaxxers spreading chaos.

Absolutely bonkers, all of it, but impossible without Russian info-logistics and local collaboration.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 05:50:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure what kind of training would be needed to use our cruise missiles, but I'd be fine with sneaking them over the border.  We've made it plain that we'll give them weapons to defend themselves even if we won't get into a hot war with Russia unless they cross the NATO line.  (Which is kind of an absurd stance, of course, but then war generally is absurd.)

I do think the various powers that be are right to reject the no-fly zone.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 3rd, 2022 at 01:18:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A couple of months ago, Turkey has shipped a number of TB2 drones; the same that have been used to devastating effect by the Azeris against Armenian forces last year.

Also, I understand that Javelin anti-tank shoulder mounted missiles have been used to destroy a number of Russian tanks. Not independently verified, of course, fog of war and all that.

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Mar 3rd, 2022 at 09:23:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This led to the Ukrainian meme: "Russia's Z, Ukraine's Ctrl-Z":

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Mar 13th, 2022 at 10:12:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cracks in the wall
https://aod-rfi.akamaized.net/rfi/francais/audio/journaux/r001/journal_international_07h00_-_07h12_g mt_20220313.mp3

At 1'40, we learn that the "Centre national de sécurité et de maintien de la paix" which is 30 km from Poland and was targeted early today is in fact a huge military basis where US special forces have been training very intensively some Ukrainian units since 2015.

by Tom2 on Sun Mar 13th, 2022 at 11:01:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I used to respect Maître Eloas, but...
by Tom2 on Sun Mar 13th, 2022 at 11:33:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha. So we have Twitter references in common. I respect Maître Eolas.

When someone I respect reaches diametrically different conclusions to my own, I try to understand why; and it's not unknown that I change my view (it's all part of growing up / not growing old)

You appear to respect Tass more. Bonne route, camarade.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Mar 13th, 2022 at 11:56:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A reason for the democracy crisis we live through is the difficulty for the elites to understand the difference between a reliable source and one which is not. In this case, Tass has more journalists in the countries mentioned in the despatch than any other. And it is not as if Western Europe had no interest and various businesses with the mentioned countries (remember Hollande and his chapka?). In addition to that, there is a context: China has been asking the US to come clean about covid since the beginning. Many countries have asked for an enquiry in China, in what happened to be a very international laboratory (https://www.franceculture.fr/sciences/le-laboratoire-p4-de-wuhan-une-histoire-francaise) which included, as you know, some fishy US business.
Eloas is a lawyer who builds his reputation on the quest for truth. But Twitter has never been about that, and posting cheap pictures to bark with the crowd does not help anyone.
Again, the debate about being for or against any war should be left to the people who are actually fighting it (and possibly to their parents), and to no one else.
by Tom2 on Sun Mar 13th, 2022 at 01:42:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I absolutely agree that one of the fundamental problems with democracy (and it's far from being a recent one!) is the difficulty for everyone ("elites" or not) to understand difference between a reliable source and one which is not.

In reality, there is no such thing as a reliable source. Every source is pushing its own interests to some degree.  A fundamental problem is that people are not trained in critical thinking from an early age; it's a fundamental requirement if a society is to move in the direction of effective democracy.

In the "old days" (I'm taking France as an example, as the "media market" I best understand), people who wished to be informed would choose a newspaper and stick to it (they were generally aware of the political orientation of the paper, which informed their choice).
In the TV age, people got standard government-sanctioned information. Then private TV broadened (arguably) the offering, but subjected information to commercial interests (those of the owners and/or advertisers).

In the internet age, people in general without critical thinking skills quickly fall into tribal or herd behaviour, ready to believe anything if they believe it comes from their tribe...

To come back to Maître Eolas and Tass...

I'm not sure what to make of your Tass link : meeting of Soviet-bloc countries (which the current war is intended by its author to enlarge to include the Ukraine) in order to form a special unit for defense against chemical and biological weapons. It's undoubtedly factual, but lacks the context and interpretation to be useful.

It seems that there are biolabs in Ukraine, US funded, which it is claimed are researching biological warfare. I won't look for factual information about this on Tass (nor in the NY times); I am at a loss to find an informed view of the subject.

As for Eolas, he expresses opinions on a range of subjects outside his domain of competence (notably, about this weekend's rugby). If you intend to boycott him in the future, that's your call.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Mar 13th, 2022 at 02:37:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not about a meeting but about "joint (military?) exercises". From the Tass despatch, it is easy to check the local newspapers of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan in the coming days to see what is going on. That was the only reason of my posting.

As to the biolabs, I think that Oui has posted a whole shelf of literature in the past days.

by Tom2 on Sun Mar 13th, 2022 at 02:43:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From today in the American Conservative
by Tom2 on Sun Mar 13th, 2022 at 03:19:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]

We could also do a lot of good by getting every bus we can lay our hands on in there and getting as many civilians out as possible ahead of the seige.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 3rd, 2022 at 01:27:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's frankly the best thing we could do right now. Not really sure about shipping weapons, though of course I have no say in this. It's certainly possible that the Russian advance is as shambolic as Twitter makes it out to be and the Ukrainian army has a fighting chance of stabilizing the frontlines and the supply line over the western border is enough to force the Russians to offer terms that Kiev can accept, but cheering civilians on while they take potshots at Russian tanks until the fuel-air bombs start flying is not the next best solution. Neither is a twenty year insurgency that leaves the country in ruins and two generations decimated, no matter who wins in the end.
by generic on Thu Mar 3rd, 2022 at 05:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears that civilian casualties are still only in triple digits. Putin knows full well that he can't declare victory over cities reduced to bloody rubble; but it has perhaps started to seep in that he's not going to win very many hearts and minds by starving cities into submission, either.

So we're back to where we were a week ago : what's the endgame?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 3rd, 2022 at 05:39:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing about drones, anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles is that they are relatively small, can be snook over the border, and can be operated by trained individuals without much logistical support and create absolute havoc for an occupying army.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 3rd, 2022 at 06:41:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, guess that'd cut off a few years from the 42 Afghanistan took to throw out all foreign invaders or tag on a few to the ten that it took the Syrian government to take back most of it's territory. Still leaves the country in rubble and every family missing cousins and uncles.
by generic on Thu Mar 3rd, 2022 at 09:32:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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