Tuesday 1 March 2022

Mr Putin: What Are You Like?

Some folks around here suggested that mention of the Sudetenland was in bad taste.  I can't think why; the analogy seems pretty clear (in that excellent podcast we were referred to yesterday BTL, Starkey essentially agrees) and as with any analogy, it's there to be considered for its heuristic value.

Nothing daunted, I'm going to suggest another similarity between the two little dictators:  both seem to believe in their own abilities as military strategists and tacticians, with little compelling justification.

We've read in several places that Putin has proceeded very cleverly in strategic terms, "laid a trap for the West", built up substantial financial reserves, squared China away, allowed Germany to become hooked on his gas etc etc, and perhaps there's a decent argument along those lines - right up until he fired the starting-pistol.  But where's the shock-and-awe sudden victory?  Or, conversely, what's the merit in allowing the military stuff to unfold as messily as it is?  I can suggest only one, and a heavily qualified one at that.  Maybe he wants to occupy a really big chunk in perpetuity, and doesn't want to damage the infrastructure too much, or piss off the inhabitants.

Well.  That would have depended upon a very quick rolling-over by the defenders; or the spontaneous anti-government uprising he called for; or for the West to pull the rug.  As things stand, none of these being self-evidently just around the corner, it looks as though he'll need to contemplate something considerably less than ideal - (a) stepping up the destruction in a big way (which can always "succeed" in its own terms, but hardly glorious);  (b) continuing to look stupid in public (and pathetic to the Chinese);  or (c) settling for some near-term outcome that is rather lame-looking against the apocalyptic circumstances and his extraordinary rhetoric. 

On (c), it was widely suggested that Putin has available to him a fruitful strategy of "bloody a few noses, seize 50km, freeze the new border, wait for the waters to close over, rinse and repeat, from Tbilisi to Tallinn".  In other words, that's not to be characterised as I just did, as a less-than-ideal outcome: it's maybe what he wanted all along.

I'd be interested to know if any of our BTL-ers who espoused this view still reckon it flies.  He certainly has his 50km if he finds that satisfactory (though at the time of writing I'm not sure Odessa is in the bag).  IMHO, the flaw would seem to be: just how long is it that the professional Russian military etc is willing to be humiliated by the distinctly unfunny pantomime they're being made to participate in?  (Then again, people probably said that about the Wehrmacht in 1942.)   Additionally, the whole of NATO - including Germany! - has been royally stirred up; and Tallinn might be feeling a bit more secure than it did three months ago (for now, at least).  The "50km" strategy starts to look a bit, well, glacial: I ask again, how long has he got? 

*   *   *   *   *   *

In my view, then, Putin is guilty of Adolf-style micro-managing the military (the ever-tempting sin I've frequently lauded George Bush Snr for avoiding):  I'm not quite as ready as Starkey to attribute strategic prowess to L'il Volodya, at least in the purely military sphere (nor the 'hero' status in the non-Western world that Starkey confers upon him).

So what would have been the outcome if the Russian military professionals had been given proper delegated authority?  Even more destruction?  No.  [Caveat: I'm working off the 1970-80's Red Army playbook which used to be my concern.  But then again, so (probably) will the current generation of Russian generals.]

The first thing is that speed is always of the essence, and for that, you advance across a wide front avoiding towns, forests, mountains and bogs etc like the plague.  Even if they harbour forces of resistance, you bypass and (de facto) encircle them, to be mopped up at leisure if they are to form part of what you decide, eventually, to hold.  Otherwise they simply impose delay.

Exactly the same principle applies to any enemy strong-points you encounter along the way: you "fix" them and bypass.  Surrounded, they will be bludgeoned by second-echelon forces in due course.  By these clear-sighted and decisive means you aim to make maximum penetration along as wide a continuous front as possible in the least time.  Some kind of finish-line will have been given in advance, or you may decide on a different halt-line based on unfolding circumstances.  Back-filling to this new line is easy because you have the numbers to do so (in second- and third-echelon units): and the firepower in the first wave, coupled with air power and long range artillery, is sufficient to set up formidable defences along the line you have reached.  Maybe you won't hold it all, but that's your choice, to be dictated by a combination of politics, the terrain, and what the enemy is doing in front of you.  All in all, a fairly desirable outcome: and a lot quicker than what's going on today.

It's pretty clear this isn't what's happening.  Why?  I'm not sure inadequate numbers explains it (and if it does, so much for the brilliant strategy).  As noted here several days ago, the forces we've seen deployed are using fairly ancient kit - but then again, it should be adequate for the task.  Nor is it squeamishness - or even due caution - over the amount of destruction caused: the second-echelon "mopping-up" of bypassed towns mentioned above is entirely optional (less dramatic alternatives are available); and in the meantime the engagements will only be with the enemy's own military units, plus a little collateral damage to infrastructure.

I am left with my analogy with the other little guy who told his generals what to do in amateurish, self-defeating detail.  No, not Napoleon - (who knew exactly what he was doing): the other one.  



Anonymous said...

"his extraordinary rhetoric"

Be fair. If rhetoric was a weapon, the EU would be approaching Moscow.

"But where's the shock-and-awe sudden victory? "

The US started hammering Baghdad with s-and-awe on March 21. Baghdad fell on April 5. So about two weeks.

But ... there were no pictures on Western TV of bloodied or dead little Iraqi kids, as we watched what looked like a giant firework display. I'm pretty sure the same thing happening to Kiev would provoke outrage.

E-K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJK said...

Pat Lang compares the Russians to the Nazis and finds the Russians are doing fairly well:

Scot Ritter has some pertinent questions about Nato getting sucked in:

As to how it ends, I do not know. The best hope, I think, is that the Russian-Ukranian peace talks lead to some kind of ceasefire. I imagine the Americans are pushing the Ukranians to fight on though (fight till the last Ukranian is left standing).

E-K said...

I'm not saying this isn't amateur. But in the long term Shock and Awe was a DISASTER in Iraq and resulted in a high US body count and a wrecked country, replete with refugee crisis, the EU nations opened like a tin of beans and a recruiting sergeant for terror.

It's only acceptable when the West does it to brown people in a nation that does not actually border their own. Oh. And no WMDs. How amateur is that ?

I agree though. Militarily the West does these things better because they are not run by dictators.

Anonymous said...

The US economist Michael Hudson says (correctly imho) that this is Germany's third big defeat (by the US) in a century. With cheap Russian gas, German manufacturing can continue to do its successful thing.

Fertiliser costs are going to go up. Energy costs insane, yet house prices still rise. Is this the start of the Great Reset?

DJK said...

Anon: On that note, I see that the Treasury/BoE have found some more fuel to throw on the house price fire, removing the requirement for mortgage lenders to look at affordability for borrowers. Oh, and the 100,000 Ukranian refugees we're being allocated will stoke up demand.

E-K said...

PS, The British stance (BBC/MSM at least and a good many ex military MPs) is that Putin is about to storm through Europe.

"If we do not stand up to Putin now he will end up taking us all."

This is patent nonsense and is being proven to be so. We are being drawn into this conflict on falsehoods.

Nick Drew said...

@ BBC ... "If we do not stand up to Putin now he will end up taking us all"

To be fair - so does Starkey! (more or less)

Sobers said...

" As noted here several days ago, the forces we've seen deployed are using fairly ancient kit "

Which implies that the forces being committed are not the front line ones. Which in turn implies the front line ones are sat somewhere else, waiting, for something.

Could it be that he is holding the best troops/kit in reserve in case NATO tries anything? No point invading a country that has 2nd or 3rd rate forces with your best, if the first rate neighbour may come steaming in unexpectedly. Better to send your lower grade troops in first, the operation may take longer but you shield your back far better. It was after all the Russian tactic in WW2 - low grade troops in first, generally degrade the defenders even if you don't make any breakthroughs, then send in the real forces to exploit the pre-weakened defences.

Bill Quango MP said...

Scott Ritter from DJK link above.

It took Army Group South six weeks to reach Kiev (August 7) and another seven weeks to secure its surrender (26 September 1941). There was no holding back. Cities and civilian strongholds were bombed mercilessly.

“I think this is an interesting benchmark for comparing Putin’s progress in defanging the Ukrainian military. In contrast to the Nazis of 1941, the Putin’s forces are focused on hitting military targets. Yes, they have killed and wounded some civilians. But Putin has not authorized a massive attack on civilians“

A few problems with the timeline comparison.

The Wehrmacht invaded on an 1800 mile front line. They were mostly horse drawn. The German army going into Russia would not look so out of place in 1918.
The Soviet defence region was Ukraine. Specifically the Donets basin. Most Soviet armour was stationed here. The counterattacks came on the flanks of army group centre.

Army group north, facing far fewer Soviet forces, took the Baltic states and hurried on to Leningrad ahead of schedule.

The Nazi assault was a stunning, and unexpectedly rapid success. The main reason for the success is as Mr Drew very
Carefully explains.

Go for the objective. Don’t got bogged down. Bypass strongpoints and leave for the second wave. Keep momentum. Destroy the air and anti air defences. Cut off enemy armies in encirclements.
The same tactics that almost got them out of jail in WW1, 1918.
And were successfully adopted by the Allies for the counteroffensive when it didn’t.

The Nazis had plenty of tanks. And men. And supplies, horses, etc. But on a man / mile front they were far weaker than 1940. To create the number of divisions they needed to go wide, they reduced the size and strength of them. The air transport was decimated by the Crete attack. Bombers by the England offensive. Transport planes and pilots were pulled from training squadrons. Usually the precursor to a later strategic defeat. ( kamikazes are a thing because the skill required to bomb a uS warship was simply no longer available.) The German parachutists had no role in Barbarossa.

Should Putin’s army be doing better than Hitler’s? Moving faster?
He has whole airmobile units. The latest Russian tank is Better, yes, if it’s as good as it seems, it is Better, than the USA main battle tank, the current world leader. He has mobile battlefield artillery far superior to the Germans in 1941. Has not many miles to go to end the war.On his own terms.
So I don’t think it’s a particularly valid comparison except in the abstract.

The Soviet 1944 offensive, Bagration, might be a better focus. That attack shattered the German army, forever. That operation, with overwhelming forces, lasted two months, and meant the war was lost for Germany. No way back. Especially with the allies recently ashore in Normandy. More German loses then, than even at Stalingrad, in a shorter timescale.

Putin must have that red army operational folder in his folders?

E-K said...

I suspect long term economic attrition rather than nuclear annihilation is his plan - similar to what we did to the USSR. This is what I think Prof Starkey meant in his excellent video.

May we have the former rather than the latter, please, Nick ?

We have the choice.

It seems the Red Meat craving Conservatives in our midst are in Red or Dead mode when we are well and truly Red already !

All rather pointless really.

Is Vlad Mad ? Let's hope not but all indications out of the Ukraine actions thus far say so.

The Starkey video highlights what a vulnerable military position the West is in.

Delia Smith on R2 this morning was spouting all sorts of One World bollocks which is at least as dangerous as the gung ho Take-Out-Putin rhetoric - all of it of coming from a formerly rich and powerful civilisation which is yet to receive its wake-up call.

(Rouble Rubble - but they are mineral and military hardware rich.)

andrew said...

I'd be interested to know if any of our BTL-ers who espoused this view still reckon it flies.

Not me .
I thought he was going to start from the east and work west to the river as fast as possible.
Then justify the lebensraum, declare victory, give his mini me something to do in 2032 or so.

Most of the ukraine is 'just a bunch of fields' to a western European urban dweller.
Blowing up a field, looks kind of fun
Blowing up a city, looks kind of like home. Different.

dearieme said...

The "trust the professional soldiers" argument didn't stand up well in 1914. The Schlieffen plan proved a dud and so the French and British could chase The Bosch back to the north.

I suppose you could argue that the Charge of the Light Brigade was a professional soldier's cock-up too. On the other hand that rank amateur Oliver Cromwell proved a successful general.

I propose "Trust the professional soldier if he is Arthur Wellesley." Or more recently Bill Slim.

Anonymous said...

" air transport was decimated by the Crete attack"

As was their only parachute division. As Churchill said "these were the very troops required to overrun large areas where little organised resistance could be expected. The troops expended in Crete could have given him Syria, Iraq, even Persia."

DJK said...

So many things happening...

Putin seems like a man in a hurry --- possible a sick man in a hurry. So I'm not sure that pushing him too far is a great idea. Maybe he'll be deposed and we can all sing a round of kumbaya with his successor, or maybe he'll lash out instead.

The EU is talking about sending fighter aircraft to Ukraine. So where are the airfields they will they fly from, Poland? Nato is talking about protecting Ukraine as a Nato allay So as Scott Ritter points out, what happens when the Russians attack a convoy carrying Western supplied arms inside Ukraine?

And then there's the financial sanctions. AEP says we need to cut off all Russian gas supplies, impose a 55mph speed limit and ration aircraft flights to cope with the fuel shortage. I don't see how there can not be blowback from the financial sanctions that hits us as well. And this all supposes that sanctions force the Russians to back down instead of attacking us instead.

Elby the Beserk said...

Handy timeline of the Ukraine/Russia scenario


The first entry is perhaps the most pertinent, and it seems, oft forgotten...

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, multiple Western leaders give both written and spoken assurances to then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, that NATO does not plan to increase its territory eastwards.

To quote US Secretary of State James Baker:

"not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”

Anonymous said...

This guy had the right idea just over 200 years ago. JQ Adams:

"She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit...."

Anonymous said...

ND, I can't see Russia attacking a NATO member, so the Baltics are off the list. Be fair, Russia has put up with a lot over the last 30 years.

A question - who's more afraid of stopping the current non-sanctioned trade in Russian oil and gas at the moment - or who's got most to lose? Are the US (who still run the show) going to wait for warm weather to pull the plug? Or might Russia do it?

jim said...

TBH I can't see why Putin bothered to go on this expedition. Sure, he might have been uneasy about Ukraine joining NATO but that was something for the diplomats to fudge. Perhaps he fancied himself in Catherine mode securing a big food supply - but food is not a big problem for him. As per my previous comment, I can only suggest boredom - Russia has no role in the world apart from being a gas station with atom bombs.

So what else might have encouraged Putin? Internal rivalries perhaps - hard to see who, Putin is likely pretty feared but not to the Stalin level. His top military are leading a cushy life with plenty of toys and jollies abroad, why rock the boat.

Which leaves China. Now the industrial success of China might just p^&s Putin off. He can see Russia being knocked off the top slot among the non-western countries. Sure, he sells military stuff to China, but for how much longer. That aspect of the global power balance might worry him - but why take over Ukraine - what does that buy him apart from aggravation. Which begs the question how is Russia to compete with China for top dog slot. Grabbing a bit of farmland is not going to cut it - unless this global warming really is a thing and gas will not be the go to asset any more. But that all looks a bit like long term thinking.

Which leaves what next. I am puzzled.

Anonymous said...

Why did America attack Iraq?

No one really knows.
Not even the people who decided to do it.

Don Cox said...

"Why did America attack Iraq?"

See the book "War and Decision" by Douglas Feith. He was close to Bush at the time.


Anonymous said...

jim - "he might have been uneasy about Ukraine joining NATO but that was something for the diplomats to fudge"

They can't fudge it. Once Ukraine is in NATO they can do what they like. Russia has said in capital letters that Ukraine in NATO is a red line, unacceptable. That's entirely what this is about - NATO (i.e. US) pushing for NATO expansion towards Russia in the full knowledge that Russia had said "thus far and no further".

I too used to read the Guardian and Telegraph and Times, even the long articles, and listen to R4 and read the FT - and I used to think that all that reading made me well informed, may God forgive me.

E-K said...

...however... in an act of geo-political genius Putin has struck when the West is depleted by its reaction to a virus, prostrated itself on energy, debased its currencies and has the worst Prime Minister and US President in history on the same watch.

E-K said...

Off topic...

Rail bosses telling us they can't provide Tues Weds Thurs only long distance commuter trains without huge price hikes and more crowded trains because of historic debts on developments designed for exponential passenger growth.

Who'da thunk ?

Well... me actually.

Don Cox said...

"Blowing up a field, looks kind of fun
Blowing up a city, looks kind of like home. Different."

Judging from his campaign in Syria, Putin much prefers blowing up cities, and especially hospitals.

Don Cox

DJK said...

jim said: " I can't see why Putin bothered to go on this expedition". You could start by following his speeches. Putin grew up listening to tales of the siege of Leningrad and the 27m USSR dead in the "great patriotic war". For him, anything that threatens a repeat has to be stopped. Having NATO practice offensive manoeuvres right on the border of Russia is just plain bonkers. Why oh why didn't we make friends with Russia when we had the chance?

Anonymous said...

Munich orchestra sacks a Russian conductor for failure to condemn Russia. Didn't this sort of thing use to be called McCarthyism?


"Munich mayor Dieter Reiter issued an ultimatum, saying Gergiev would be dismissed if he failed to condemn Putin’s actions by Monday. After the deadline passed, Reiter terminated the musician’s contract. “With immediate effect, there will be no further concerts by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under his direction,” said the mayor in a statement.

Gergiev’s failure to denounce the invasion of Ukraine has left his career in tatters.

Over the weekend, the conductor was dropped by his management, dismissed from major festivals and had several upcoming concerts cancelled. On Monday, the Edinburgh International Festival – of which he was honorary president – asked for, and accepted, his resignation.”

Anonymous said...

And Boris offers 200,000 Ukrainians asylum, because we have such a surplus of housing here.

Not only is energy going up, food is too, and the fertiliser to produce it. The US is playing Europe like a maestro plays a priceless Strad.

From todays Guardian business live

Even after the recent escalation of Western sanctions, the direct impact of the conflict on the US economy is still likely to be negligible. While rising food inflation may weigh further on household purchasing power, the US is a net exporter of agricultural commodities, particularly wheat, corn and soybeans. It’s also worth noting that, while European natural gas prices have surged, the US market has been unaffected.

But in Europe and the UK, it'll be a choice between staying warm and eating for tens of millions.

Anomalous Cowshed said...

More than a fair few oddities knocking around in all this at the moment - fog of war and all that.

Still, there's a couple of things in the timeline.

28 January - Western governments are making a lot of noise about citizens leaving Ukraine, pulling out diplomatic staff, invasion imminent, etc etc.

Zelensky pops up - nope, it's business as usual from the Russians, they do this sort of thing, they're not going to invade.

21 February - recognition of the separatists in the East, Russian troops move in as, er, guarantors of internal security - or whatever.

24 February - Russian troops move into Ukraine proper.

Why the three day wait? Given that delay - how come the Russian forces are apparently performing poorly? The boy Cowen flagged up an article from RUSI in his daily links, where the Russian airforce hasn't attempted to support the ground forces after the first few hours.

Here's a theory - Putin got suckered into doing something he wasn't fully prepared for, but may have needed or desired to do anyway - invading Ukraine proper - and ended up having to go with what he had available at the time.

Western and Ukrainian intelligence services play up Putin's assumptions about Ukraine and Zelensky. Putin is the strong Russian leader who gets photographed riding horses bare-backed and wrestling bears naked. Zelensky is a bloody TV comedian who's been in power for three years.

That Tooze article wot I posted a link to about a week ago - in 2019, the Ukrainians started land reform. Prompted by the IMF. For that to work, the courts have to be independent from the political sphere. It's an anti-corruption drive, if you like, and a step away from the oligarchs or the kleptocracy.

So, what are the links between the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs? How would strong independent courts backing up land reform affect business as usual?

Further, how secure is Putin's position within Russia? How much control over the oligarchy does he actually have, or what sort of deals got struck fifteen or twenty years ago? How much of an eye do the senior Russian military commanders have on a potential change of control in Russia?

Buggered if I know.

Oh, and apparently Lukashenko's stuck his oar in, according to Reuters earlier today. Dunno what Erdogan's up to. Or the Iranians.

Bill Quango MP said...

That Tooze article was great, I signed up to it.
He knows all about economics and history. Has that way of examining all the data to see the patterns.

Thud said...

T90 tanks abandoned on twitter, guards armoured dead and captured, their paras too, not sure what else counts as their best, buggered if I know whats going on.

DJK said...

Just to add on the 200,000 asylum places for Ukraine, I've already seen it argued that what is good for blue-eyed white people should apply to brown skinned asylum applicants too. That's the kind of argument that will resonate with the modern Conservative party.

Anonymous said...

It has to be said this is all a triumph for US foreign policy. Americans still have cheap gas for homes and industry, thanks to fracking.

Europeans freeze and fight (and blame) each other, industry pays through the nose for energy.

They've completely wrecked the chances of Russo-German co-operation, which was what they feared most. Masterly really.

But the US seem to have forgotten about China. They haven't gone away, you know.

Anomalous Cowshed said...

BQ - yeah, I picked up Wages Of Destruction and then Great Deluge, having found that Deluge needed to be read first. Needless to say, there's a great wodge of emails from SubStack that I haven't got around to reading yet.

Seems an odd (egotistical?) thing to say - but I'm not sure about Crash, I don't yet know what his blind spots might be.

May be historians need a bit of distance (time) to spot the patterns. May be. Don't know.

lilith said...

My shares in Russian oil aren't doing well :D

Elby the Beserk said...

E-K said...
...however... in an act of geo-political genius Putin has struck when the West is depleted by its reaction to a virus, prostrated itself on energy, debased its currencies and has the worst Prime Minister and US President in history on the same watch.

7:33 pm
Prostrated itself on energy - quite so, and none more so than the Germans, who seem always to go fanatical on the next big thing. Result? Fuel poverty on a massive scale.


"“Inflation is like toothpaste. Once it’s out, you can hardly get it back in again.” – Karl Otto Pöhl, German economist, former President of the Bundesbank.

Late last year when it became clear to everyone else that inflation was taking off, German leaders and media insisted that it would only be a temporary phenomenon. But then last December inflation roared to 5.3%, the highest level in close to 30 years. In January, 2022, it eased slightly to 4.9%. But last month’s provisional figures show that it rose again to 5.1%. The inflation toothpaste is out to stay.

All this was well in the works – long before the Russian attack on Ukraine, which incompetent policymakers are desperate to use as a scapegoat. The bitter conflict is certain to make everything even worse. An economic nightmare threatens Germany and Europe."

And the Prime Idiot goes on about the UK "being addicted to Russian Gas". Why would that be? Well, shutting down gas extraction and massively shrinking our gas reserves might just have had something to do with that, maybe?

I'm beyond sick of these people.

Tooze? Yes. Read the Great Deluge just recently - excellent "modern" history. Must read the other one. Local library is shut for 8 weeks for building work. Borrowed 13 books to see me through. Just finishing the last one*, with another 4 weeks to go :-(

Marc Morris - "The Normans". Another excellent "modern" historian (by "modern" I mean, using a narrative approach.

jim said...

God is generally on the side of the big battalions. On that logic Putin will probably prevail in Ukraine (sort of) but there is the pyrrhic victory to consider. To start may have been a stupid idea but he can't easily back down now. There may be a market for ladders.

As was said 'any fool can get to Baghdad, but what do you do when you get there'. Definitely looks like a tar pit.

Anonymous said...


Thread of Americans and others who considered extending NATO to Russian borders to be "the most profound strategic blunder, [encouraging] a chain of events that could produce the most serious security threat [...] since the Soviet Union collapsed".

George Kennan, Kissinger, US Ambassador to SU, Clinton Defence Secretary William Perry, UN Deputy Sec-Gen Pino Arlacchi, CIA Director Bill Burns, Aussie PMs Fraser and Keating, US Defence Sec Robert Gates, British Ambassador to Russia Sir Roderic Lyne, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, John Mearsheimer, economist Jeffrey Sachs (""NATO enlargement is utterly misguided and risky. True friends of Ukraine, and of global peace, should be calling for a US and NATO compromise with Russia.""), as well as people like Chomsky.

Anonymous said...

Five minutes of BBC was enough this morn, some Canadian academic on the resemblances with the 1930s. Not heard that anaology before, other than the 300,000 other examples.

First 21 stories in online Guardian. Only first 15 in the Mail.

Anonymous said...

In that thread a former Brit Ambassador to Russia Sir Roderic Lyne, last year.

“[pushing] Ukraine into NATO […] is stupid on every level.”

“if you want to start a war with Russia, that’s the best way of doing it.”

Did senior NATO people take on all those warnings and decide "yes, that's actually what we want" ?

Anonymous said...

"'Putin may circle Kiev with tanks, but he'll never gain the hearts and souls of the Iranian people,' Biden said. Just after he finishes saying 'Iranian,' Vice President Kamala Harris can be seen behind Biden mouthing the correct word, 'Ukrainian.' "

Freudian slip?

Anonymous said...

The 1820's quotation from John Quincy Adams above: "She (the United States) has respected the independence of other nations...etc." is mendacious American propaganda. Only a few years before it was uttered, America attacked and invaded Canada, and burned the public buildings of Toronto (then called York). Britain invaded the United States and burned the White House in response.
American warships also raided the British West Indies, and were destroyed or driven off by the Royal Navy.
Beaten in the North and in the Caribbean, American expansionists turned west and southwest, seizing the land from its native inhabitants, who were largely exterminated, and then grabbing half of the Republic of Mexico.
The United States is a settler colony, or if you prefer, "an immigrant society". It was founded by traitorous secessionists, backed by the French and Spanish Empires. Its claims to moral superiority are risible.

Anonymous said...

comment at Guidos:

UK Government since the 2019 election :-

20,000 Afghans rehomed.

100,000 Ukrainian's invited.

3,000,000 Hong Kong Chinese offered visas

50,000 @ylum seekers at Dover. Number unconfirmed.

Not quite what I was expecting when I voted Tory in 2019.