Changing Geopolitics

The Russian Army has lost substantial amounts of irreplaceable (on any short term) equipment and a large number of irreplaceable professional soldiers during Putin’s adventure in Ukraine. As the war continues, the Russians will have to move more of their remaining cadre of professionals from around the country to the active war zone, and that will require staffing other garrisons with inexperienced, poorly trained conscripts.

If I were a senior commander in the Peoples’ Liberation Army, the view to the North across the Amur River might become more tempting than the view to the East across the Taiwan Strait.

Don’t Know Much About History

Drone footage shows that the Russians set up a field camp and dug trenches in the Red Forest near Chernobyl. The forest got its name when the trees there turned from green to red as they died from radiation poisoning. They were bulldozed, a layer of sand spread over them, and new trees planted. After more than 35 years, the place is still so radioactive that the Ukrainians stay away.

It appears that the young Russians were unaware of what had happened at Chernobyl in 1986. It’s not something that fits into approved State History in Russia. (You’ve got to be carefully taught.)

Of course, the senior military leaders who were alive in 1986 would have known, but they didn’t tell the men under their command—yet another leadership failure.

Keeping Warm and Fed

One of the reasons the Russian advance had gone more slowly than Putin expected is that the Russians are having trouble getting food, fuel, and other support to their troops.They clearly lack the assets to maintain a reliable supply train. Poorly maintained trucks running on cheap, unreliable Chinese tires may be the undoing of their campaign. While the Russians may not be able to keep their soldiers fed, the Ukrainians are helping them stay warm by the fires of vehicles set alight by Javelins and Molotov cocktails.

Of course, the Russians may still pull off a costly win via overwhelming numbers, but the war in Ukraine shows the truth of the principle that amateurs study tactics and professionals study logistics.

Biden, Putin, Burisma, and Ukraine

I’m seeing reports that the Ukrainian government is unhappy with Joe Biden’s remarks about “minor incursions” and the like during his press conference this evening. Of course, now that Hunter is off the board at Burisma, the Bidens probably have no real assets worth protecting in Ukraine.

It’s been suggested that some folks would be useful to have the records of certain investigations disappear, which could happen in the tumult of a war. OTOH, having them fall into the hands of the ФСБ, …

It may be that certain people haven’t considered all the angles.

Hmmmm.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Kimberlin’s empr dot media website continues to muddle along, but almost all of the news stories seem to relate to the quasi-war between Ukraine and Russia and COVID in Ukraine. Both are reasonable stories to be tracking, but … well, I’ll need to do a bit more research before I say more.

Sanctioning America’s Allies

Last week, the Xiden Administration threatened to impose sanctions against Germany and India. Germany has been a key NATO ally for decades, and India is a member of the Quad (with America, Australia, and Japan) seeking to constraint Chinese aggressiveness in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Why?

It seems that the Germans are on the verge of completing a natural gas pipeline from Russia that will provide 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year, mostly at the expense of the 87 billion cubic meters now flowing through a Ukrainian pipeline.

India is planning to purchase a Russian S400 air defense system which would increase its ability to defend against Pakistani or Chinese aircraft.

Now, a reasonable argument can be made for opposing those deals because of their benefits to Russia. OTOH, another common denominator between them is their potential adverse effects on Xiden family allies—Ukraine and China.

Hmmm.

An Unlikely Ally

The Nation has a post up titled The Mueller Indictments Still Don’t Add Up to Collusion. Normally, one wouldn’t expect The Nation to be supportive of Donald Trump, and it may be that they’re really not in this case. The magazine has a history of … how shall I phrase this … favorable reporting … yeah, that’s the ticket … favorable reporting on Russia. So any aid they give to the President may only be a by product of their real intention.

The January 2017 intelligence report begat an endless cycle of innuendo and unverified claims, inculcating the public with fears of a massive Russian interference operation and suspicions of the Trump campaign’s complicity. The evidence to date casts doubt on the merits of this national preoccupation, and with it, the judgment of the intelligence, political, and media figures who have elevated it to such prominence.

Read the whole thing anyway.

Who’s Next?

So Little Rocket Man may be giving up his nukes. We’ll see how that works out.

If it does, it will be an interesting precedent for other countries with weak economies that can’t carry the load of paying simultaneously for weapons development and economic development. Iran has a bigger economy than North Korea, but the mullahs have stunted their civil economies growth. Pakistan has lots of nukes and rampant poverty. The collapse of the Soviet Union was driven in large part by that country’s inability to pay for guns and butter. The Russians changed leaders, got a modestly improved economy, and kept their nukes. Will Kim preserve his hold on power by giving up his nukes for economic development? Will anyone else?

Stay tuned.

Proxy Warfare

Tyrants would rather not go to war, especially if they can get someone else to do their dirty work. For example, Hitler and Stalin fought a proxy war in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War. J. E. Dyer takes a look at the latest proxy war, the “civil war” in Syria. On the surface it looks like the Sunnis (Turkey and the Saudis) against the Shia (Iran), but it’s more complicated. Russia, Israel, and Greece have common interests that favor neither the Sunnis nor the Shia.  And America isn’t looking after our interests.

None of this would be foreordained if the US took an active role in fostering the best future for Syria. It is important for Americans to understand that the more we recuse ourselves from the conflict in Syria, the more its outcome is guaranteed to be determined by a foreign power at the expense of the Syrian people. We have just about reached the stage at which what’s going on in Syria is not a “Syrian civil war,” but a proxy war between regional powers, whose objectives will frustrate, and in some cases even defeat outright, every single one of the US interests in the Syrian crisis.

Civil war; children and old people mowed down like animals; arms and paramilitary troops flooding into the country; ruthless power struggles between corrupt despots on third-party territory – this is your world, when American power isn’t being exercised.

Read the whole thing.

Depends on the Source …

Ed Morrissey asks if the OWSers have reached the point of hitting the reset button or whether the game over lights are flashing. After quoting some news coverage of the reoccupation of Zuccotti Park, he concludes that the slant of the information one receives is source-dependent.

That’s true. It’s also true that the occupiers are trying to hit their reset button, and they seem to be having difficulty. Could this also be a sourcing problem? Perhaps they got their reset button from the same place that Hillary Clinton got the reset button for our relations with Russia–the one labeled “overload” in Russian.

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