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  1. user_157053 Member
    user_157053
    @DavidKnights

    The time it lasts will be measured in hours.  48 is my bet.

    • #1
  2. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    It will last until after the EU meets and discusses further sanctions against Russia. Then it will begin again.

    Has anyone also died from the amazing contradiction that Putin is negotiating a cease fire for “rebels” he has nothing to do with? Does anyone in the EU media bother to point this out?

    • #2
  3. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BalticSnowTiger

    @ David – Not unlikely, in the short term it all boils down in the short term as to whether Debaltseve / Дебальцево as the crucial railway crossing between the two rebel sectors is handed over by the encircled Ukrainian army corps or not. Putin this afternoon in Russian media stated, that ‘… of course, the [separatists/rebels/proxies] expected the Ukrainian groups to lay down their weapons …’

    There is a severe lack of deterrence to go hand in hand with exhaustive negotiation efforts such as Mrs. Merkel’s. Could someone please find a way to create a larger audience in the U.S. for what Lt. Gen Frederick Hodges as commander of the now only 30,000 strong U.S. Army Europe noted, i.e. that there are [at least] eight battalions of the Regular Russian army, well prepared allocated along the Ukrainian border. That there are signs that the Russian army although stretched today is mobilising to be ready for proper conflict in a few years. Time flies.  

    Without a willingness to commit and deter all current sanctions ring hollow. Putin and his troupe have though about this chess game for a long time and even in the fog of war, when mistakes are made, they still have options as they planned ahead. Even if you, e.g. pull the trigger on proper sanctions and suspend Russian institutions from S.W.I.F.T. which they will consider and employ in their P.R. as an act of war we still have to be able and willing to back-up whoever will have to commit troops and have a solution at hand for the highly likely massive expropriation of western corporates/assets in Russia.

    It is a complex mess we are in, the only simple thing to state is that once more, we shortsighted plonkers in the West simply did not prepare. We left it to and facilitated, aided, abetted and allowed the leftist parties of all sorts to mollycoddle  the electorate, ‘cash in (non existent) peace dividends’ because we do not understand the long game or simply cannot communicate this amongst ourselves so that it cannot be forgotten.

    @ Valiuth:

    First and foremost, as you will appreciate there really is no ‘EU media’. If your German is good enough may I recommend FAZ.net, the decent online presence of Germany’s leading conservative and business daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. They do have a rather large and dedicated proprietary correspondent network in the region, surpassing that of U.S. newsprint media altogether. They have substantial and wide coverage of the matter. Besides the official channels many German, Austrian, Swiss corporates in the region invested in the whole region and their trade chambers feed them additional input. We may not like the somewhat dovish, non militarily deterrent nature of German foreign policy vis a vis Russia, but then that has its history. At least no one can say that the core of German media itself does not have the data and a rather clear and somber view.

    Yesterday, prior to the meetings Minsk, a rather well know former German general and subsequent adviser to successive governments and parliamentarian committee provided a guest article highlighting the need for spine, posture and steadfastness in meetings with Russian counterparts. His anecdotes from the OSCE tours and de-armamanent meetings during the nineties across Germany, Poland and Russia should be helpful to anyone who has not faced such adversaries or ‘partners’. You have to muster strength, courage, and you cannot ever blink. However, outrageous a comment from the other side might seem, remaining cool and collected is key. Decline/reject the counterpart’s statement, rebuke him cooly if needed and request a return to the topic or break away to a pause if that seems necessary. Come to think of it, simple stuff, but always forgotten and certainly not heeded by most. All-in key German news outlets do not consider Putin anything less than the existential threat he is.

    I will leave it to Claire to recommend you something French if that suits you better. It seems that the likes of Figaro and Liberation are at the moment still more occupied with recent events at home as well as DSK and their national coach. If all you require is English language, then for daily news you will by now be forced to rely on the Financial Times, all others on the island have ultimately reached a light touch when it comes to regional know how. The BBC whilst having its specific colour and continuously providing beautiful maps (with onerous, manifold errors) as pretext for not having to spell out the consequences of the facts on the ground (this could be construed as having an opinion  …) is then more complimentary.

    We all know that Putin’s inconsistencies are part of the program and propaganda of a skilled player. We need to sober up, think, strategise, prepare and act. But we have very little time.

    • #3
  4. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Well it is good to know that there is some hope that in Germany someone is urging their government to have a spine. I fear though that no one seems to have quite come to the realization that we need to prepare for some sort of war with Russia. As scary as that sounds, and we should be frightened, I don’t see how any of this does not end up in a conflict at some point on down the line, barring some sort of massive military build up and deployment by NATO nations. Enough to convince Putin that we will not be messed around with.

    Again Europe will find itself trying to trade land to an aggressive dictator to buy time to rearm. I hope we do actually use this time to rearm and prepare.

    • #4
  5. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    First and foremost, as you will appreciate there really is no ‘EU media’.

    This is correct. I read most of the major UK dailies and often find best reporting in FT and Telegraph, although I give credit to the Guardian for high-quality copy-editing; if I have to read them, at least I don’t have to go mad with fury about their carelessness with punctuation, grammar and usage; so my rage can just be pure and ideological. For other English-language sources, try

    The Interpreter

    VOA

    Open Democracy

    Foreign Policy Russian Blogs

    Russia Watcher

    Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces

    The Kremlin Stooge

    The Jamestown Federation on Russia

    In Moscow’s Shadows

    Window on Eurasia 

    RFE/FL

    I will leave it to Claire to recommend you something French if that suits you better. It seems that the likes of Figaro and Liberation are at the moment still more occupied with recent events at home as well as DSK and their national coach.

    They are. Don’t bother.

    • #5
  6. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BalticSnowTiger

    For the sake of good order, apologies for the lacklustre copy editing and errors on my part. The text should have been reviewed once more prior to posting.

    • #6
  7. Michael Collins Member
    Michael Collins
    @MichaelCollins

    Since 48 hours is taken, I will go with 96 hours.   Originally I wanted the 72 hours slot, but decided that if the cease-fire breaks down anytime after 72 hours I will be closer to guessing the actual resumption of hostilities than David Knight, and thus will win the bet.   As no one has yet laid a bet for anytime after 96 hours I have currently pre-empted the rest of the week too.   Before some smart-aleck bets on 96 hours and one minute they should bear in mind that they will then be at risk to have someone bet on 96 hours and two minutes.  Effectively the remaining hours of the week will go to the person who bets after you. You will have to be awfully lucky to have the cease fire break down in your two minute time slot.   Strategically it is better to “space out” the bets so as to maximize the size of your own time slot.

    • #7
  8. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    You don’t mass tanks, missile systems, and armored vehicles on a border so you can give them a nice wash and wax job in the sun. 8 months ago when the satellite images of Putin’s build up on Ukraine’s eastern border were available to all, I called for 50 A10s to be flown to the Kiev airport and parked there. This less than subtle signal would have made it clear that crossing the border meant that the tanks and armored carriers would be torn to shreds immediately. Believe me Putin would have understood this and a real negotiation would have ensued. He is annexing eastern Ukraine into “New Russia” as we speak.

    When the pony tailed Russian journalist barked I would have roared at him. Never bring a pekingese to a lion fight.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
  9. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    James, might have worked, but the A-10s would have been vulnerable to Russian MiGs, so a fighter CAP would have been necessary, which would have probably meant U.S. fighters. Do you really want to set up a scenario where a mistake or miscalculation could start a shooting war between the U.S. and Russia while Barack Obama is president – that would surely be a recipe for some kind of disaster.

    Obama unilaterally surrendered all U.S. backed deterrence, hard to see any way that Obama could reestablish any sort of credible deterrence at this point.

    • #9
  10. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    jetstream:James, might have worked, but the A-10s would have been vulnerable to Russian MiGs, so a fighter CAP would have been necessary, which would have probably meant U.S. fighters. Do you really want to set up a scenario where a mistake or miscalculation could start a shooting war between the U.S. and Russia while Barack Obama is president – that would surely be a recipe for some kind of disaster.

    Obama unilaterally surrendered all U.S. backed deterrence, hard to see anyway that Obama could reestablish any sort of credible deterrence at this point.

    Jet,

    Truly it is hard to even think about foreign policy while Obama is President. I was speaking objectively. As we all know this has little effect on BHO’s outlook.

    Just for the sake of nostalgia, I can remember when people in this country talked like this. A long, long time ago.

    There is a price we will not pay…

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
  11. Capt. Aubrey Inactive
    Capt. Aubrey
    @CaptAubrey

    Indeed, it is probably more fruitful to speculate on the magnitude of the foreign and domestic mess the President will leave us than on any particular thing he might do between now and next year. I feel sorry for the people of Eastern Europe. Someone told meet the Greek bailout plan is to extort BHO by threatening to give ports to Russia and China. I’m sure he will bargain as brilliantly over that as he has everything else.

    • #11
  12. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Without a willingness to commit and deter all current sanctions ring hollow

    A collapsing economy doesn’t sound hallow to me.

    My question for war-hawks here is: what’s with the fascination and longing for WW3?

    Do you really think that US military…intervention…against Russia is the solution here? Or even conceivable in any serious person’s mind?

    As or Ukraine: look, they’re clearly a bunch of idiots. All of them. This is the third time when they get encircled because they are total idiots. Their commanders order them to stand their ground, even when its clear that its an indefensible position and that they are being encircled.

    And now, they have 5,000+ Ukrainian soldiers encircled in a pocket which should have been abandoned months ago. Total idiots.

    Sorry, but this isn’t our fight. And our best weapon is crushing Russia’s economy. Which we’re doing…quite successfully.

    • #12
  13. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    AIG:A collapsing economy doesn’t sound hallow to me.

    My question for war-hawks here is: what’s with the fascination and longing for WW3?

    Do you really think that US military…intervention…against Russia is the solution here? Or even conceivable in any serious person’s mind?

    As or Ukraine: look, they’re clearly a bunch of idiots. All of them. This is the third time when they get encircled because they are total idiots. Their commanders order them to stand their ground, even when its clear that its an indefensible position and that they are being encircled.

    And now, they have 5,000+ Ukrainian soldiers encircled in a pocket which should have been abandoned months ago. Total idiots.

    Sorry, but this isn’t our fight. And our best weapon is crushing Russia’s economy. Which we’re doing…quite successfully.

    AIG,

    They are under the illusion that they are defending their sovereign country. Hey which way are you going here. I thought according to you the Ukrainians weren’t willing to fight for themselves, now they are just too gung ho and get themselves into trouble.

    The Russian Army has crossed a border in force and all you can do is smear the victim.  Did they make the mistake when they breathed in or was it when they breathed out.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
  14. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Gawron:

    I thought according to you the Ukrainians weren’t willing to fight for themselves, now they are just too gung ho and get themselves into trouble.

    They aren’t willing to fight since they aren’t willing to commit most of their army.

    They’re also too stupid to fight, since what they do deploy, ends up getting encircled over and over again because they have no strategy at all other than “hold your ground”.

    The Russian Army has crossed a border in force and all you can do is smear the victim. 

    Stupid is stupid. Victim or not.

    At least I’m not advocating for WW3

    • #14
  15. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BalticSnowTiger

    This is not a hawk vs dove issue at all. Reality is harsh. We are currently based in the Baltics just 350 km or four hours away from the base of the ‘green men’, crack airborne from Pskov who switched Crimea.
    Please advise as to where you get such information from. Debaltseve is the key to both connecting the two otherwise logistically separated areas controlled by the rather thuggish proxies (you should find a way to simply watch them talk and have someone translate the twisted, crude gibberish of theirs) and troop logistics as it is a railway junction of prime importance for regional control and distribution of assets and supplies. For all its subpar flag officers and trundling commanders there is a reason why approx. 7,200 troops are currently on site, yet locked up also due to a complete lack of air support, anti-tank guns, proper tanks and armoured vehicles to move troops quickly. This junction matters.
    We failed to provide them and train them with such assets. More importantly, unless people in the West and far apart finally invest a moment to understand Russian authoritarian thinking, behaviour, strategy and the effect deterrence has all of this is moot.
    This is a longstanding conflict. It has hot phases. We simply have to take it seriously enough and man-up.

    Liked the Reagan clip of our colleague.

    • #15
  16. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    BalticSnowTiger:This is not a hawk vs dove issue at all. Reality is harsh. We are currently based in the Baltics just 350 km or four hours away from the base of the ‘green men’, crack airborne from Pskov who switched Crimea.

    I know you are. I’m not the one suggesting the US…hasn’t…responded by increasing troop deployment and exercises in the Baltics and E.Europe.

    It’s the rest of the people here who think that…nothing…is going on.

    Debaltseve is the key to both connecting the two otherwise logistically separated areas controlled by the rather thuggish proxies (you should find a way to simply watch them talk and have someone translate the twisted, crude gibberish of theirs) and troop logistics as it is a railway junction of prime importance for regional control and distribution of assets and supplies. For all its subpar flag officers and trundling commanders there is a reason why approx. 7,200 troops are currently on site, yet locked up also due to a complete lack of air support, anti-tank guns, proper tanks and armoured vehicles to move troops quickly. This junction matters.

    Sacrificing 5,000+ (or 7,000+) troops in an indefensible position for the dubious benefit of cutting off a rail line between two cities which have nothing to transport, other than what comes from Russia (and which can reach both places directly from Russian rails), and which can be moved by road as well…isn’t anything but stupid.

    They did the same thing Ilovaisk and at the Southern border with Russia. Thousands of troops surrounded, hundreds killed and captured, all in clearly indefensible positions.

    If they don’t have anything to defend themselves with, then they shouldn’t have put themselves in a position there in the first place.

    We failed to provide them and train them with such assets. 

    When would we have had the time to arm and train them with weapons?

    More importantly, unless people in the West and far apart finally invest a moment to understand Russian authoritarian thinking, behaviour, strategy and the effect deterrence has all of this is moot.

    People do understand this. What people don’t, is in thinking that somehow us providing weapons to Ukraine will change anything. Short of an actual US military involvement, it won’t.

    What will change things, is crushing Russia’s economy. Which we have been doing.

    • #16
  17. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    If Mitt Romney had won the election in 2012, the A-10s and the MiG CAP should be flying over Ukraine. Then, if the Russians don’t want to get their MiGs shot down and their equipment destroyed, they could just stay out of the Ukraine.

    Of course, if Romney had won the election in 2012, none of this would be necessary – credible deterrence matters. Through some mega cosmic error, the U.S. elected a 45 pound weakling as Commander-in-Chief.

    ISIS is 13 miles from a marine base in Iraq. The marines at the Yemen embassy were ordered by the State Department to turn their weapons over to the Yemenis, friggin’ unbelievable.

    If we some how make it through to January 20, 2017, it will be empirical proof that miracles do happen.

    • #17
  18. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    jetstream:If Mitt Romney had won the election in 2012, the A-10s and the MiG CAP should be flying over Ukraine. Then, if the Russians don’t want to get their MiGs shot down and their equipment destroyed, they could just stay out of the Ukraine.

    Of course, if Romney had won the election in 2012, none of this would be necessary – credible deterrence matters.

    Right. WW3 is a great idea. And I guess a collapsing economy is no deterrence at all.

    • #18
  19. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    AIG:

    jetstream:If Mitt Romney had won the election in 2012, the A-10s and the MiG CAP should be flying over Ukraine. Then, if the Russians don’t want to get their MiGs shot down and their equipment destroyed, they could just stay out of the Ukraine.

    Of course, if Romney had won the election in 2012, none of this would be necessary – credible deterrence matters.

    Right. WW3 is a great idea. And I guess a collapsing economy is no deterrence at all.

    If Romney had been elected president and F-15s  had started flying CAP over Ukraine, there would be no Russian incursion.

    • #19
  20. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    jetstream:

    If Romney had been elected president and F-15s had started flying CAP over Ukraine, there would be no Russian incursion.

    Really? So you’re saying Romney can predict the future, and therefore he would have predicted a Russian invasion, and send the US military in…before…they did so.

    I know Romney was an awesome guy, but pretty sure even he can’t predict the future.

    • #20
  21. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    AIG:

    jetstream:

    If Romney had been elected president and F-15s had started flying CAP over Ukraine, there would be no Russian incursion.

    Really? So you’re saying Romney can predict the future, and therefore he would have predicted a Russian invasion, and send the US military in…before…they did so.

    I know Romney was an awesome guy, but pretty sure even he can’t predict the future.

    AIG, I’m sure you know as well as I that the U.S. military knew from the beginning that Russia was staging along Ukraine’s eastern border. The obvious first response would be to put a serious CAP in place over Ukraine, which I believe would have been sufficient to cause Russia to stand down. If not additional measures could have been initiated. Either way, I think Russia would have stood down .. if Mitt Romney were president.

    • #21
  22. M1919A4 Member
    M1919A4
    @M1919A4

    AIG:

    jetstream:If Mitt Romney had won the election in 2012, the A-10s and the MiG CAP should be flying over Ukraine. Then, if the Russians don’t want to get their MiGs shot down and their equipment destroyed, they could just stay out of the Ukraine.

    Of course, if Romney had won the election in 2012, none of this would be necessary – credible deterrence matters.

    Right. WW3 is a great idea. And I guess a collapsing economy is no deterrence at all.

    Might not a “collapsing economy” be a reason for Putin’s making further incursions into the Ukraine in order to divert his countrymen’s attention from their economic woes?  That seems to me at least as likely as that even a very severe economic squeeze will cause him to stop and draw back.

    BUT, that doesn’t mean that the militant alternative, moving troops, airplanes, and armor into threatening positions, is the correct one.  Doing so will pose a challenge to the Russians, and nobody who is current in world events believes that Putin will resist taking it up or that our president will carry through on the threat.  I think that Putin can safely risk calling Obama’s bluff and take whatever he wants.  Unless something were to go awry and our forces were to be directly attacked by mistake, I expect that Putin’s gamble would be successful.

    Words are no substitute for power and will.

    • #22
  23. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BalticSnowTiger

    AIG:

    BalticSnowTiger:This is not a hawk vs dove issue at all. Reality is harsh. We are currently based in the Baltics just 350 km or four hours away from the base of the ‘green men’, crack airborne from Pskov who switched Crimea.

    I know you are. I’m not the one suggesting the US…hasn’t…responded by increasing troop deployment and exercises in the Baltics and E.Europe.

    It’s the rest of the people here who think that…nothing…is going on.

    Sacrificing 5,000+ (or 7,000+) troops in an indefensible position for the dubious benefit of cutting off a rail line between two cities which have nothing to transport, other than what comes from Russia (and which can reach both places directly from Russian rails), and which can be moved by road as well…isn’t anything but stupid.

    They did the same thing Ilovaisk and at the Southern border with Russia. Thousands of troops surrounded, hundreds killed and captured, all in clearly indefensible positions.

    If they don’t have anything to defend themselves with, then they shouldn’t have put themselves in a position there in the first place.

    When would we have had the time to arm and train them with weapons?

    People do understand this. What people don’t, is in thinking that somehow us providing weapons to Ukraine will change anything. Short of an actual US military involvement, it won’t.

    What will change things, is crushing Russia’s economy. Which we have been doing.

    Glad you picked that up. Welcome to Tallinn. We do not actually disagree too much, so briefly and in a different order a few notes:

    – Yes, more than just a bit of training in May U.S. leadership is required now and an expeditionary force at the ready to support some OSCE helmets on the new/old demarcation line being taken a tad more seriously. One issue is the border control being deferred till after hell freezes over, but that can be addressed by the same blue helmets in the meantime to at least document the infringements other than through classified satellites. But the way, a little more declassification and geo-location may go along way in the propaganda war.

    One thought which comes back to me all the time is that we should consider having certain of NATO’s troops play a role under the Partnership for Peace which we could skilfully expand to include rotating troop presence as ‘training, support, and joint task force planning and manoeuvre’. Both Romanian and Polish troop contingents come to mind. The former have been trained heavily with their boarder guards in regard to the EU boarder control programs. The latter certainly have neither a lack of motivation nor of quality. Their infantry is rumoured to be rather decent. Their airforce could assist the Ukrainian counterparts with reconnaissance and supervision flights. Both governments would rise to that. Obviously, beyond that neighbour Orban needs to be called up by friends in Washington before considering the well trained Hungarian KMZ and paratroopers.

    Further, the OSCE could solicit both Norwegians and Finns as to support for the OSCE border monitoring. And lest we forget the Dutch with their quality, own brand of soberness and new found sensitivity to Grad rockets would now play certainly a better role than in Srebrenica. Playing this in tandem but with lots of rotating forces from various nations could actually make this work, spread the burden and gain overarching support. – Yes, hope over realism, probably not going to happen given the current constraints.

    – As to your other items, Ukrainian strategy and command structures are certainly impaired. Training could have started April/May 2014 based on existing planning and considerations . Both the U.S. Army and NATO have excellent visibility and planning capacity. As always this is a lack of political will, tenaciousness, and possibly skill to forcefully and militarily complement the extraordinary impact of cratering oil prices, and sanctions as well as the rather valiant and tireless efforts by Mrs. Merkel. However, I am in no position to opine on this better than those who currently hold applicable positions. My argument remains based on my personal analysis and principles. I prefer an early show of force and continuous deterrence to go alongside economic and diplomatic efforts. No force, no bargaining position versus the counterpart’s strategy and brinkmanship.

    – Whilst you are correct that is has become so and that other positions must be considered indefensible and useless, Debaltseve was not ‘indefensible’ when occupied and secured by the Ukrainian army. Operational command seems to have lost its forward reconnaissance, failed to secure logistics support and swift redeployment (too few APCs), resulting in a complete failure to defend the corridor as seen by the cut-off or near-cut off for a second layer pocket by way of taking Myronivka (that added more encircled troops) and then there is this overall ever more astonishing lack of defensive strength (troop motivation & platoon leadership). Now, I disagree with the notion of it being valueless as an empty junction. If the Russian proxies hold it it will not be empty. Having it blocked is a value if and when the corridor holds and is well defended. As stated earlier the point is now moot and there are certainly more important targets.

    – As to the notion of not ‘having anything to defend themselves’, this is the more intriguing part. The inner workings or the amateurish, stressed, sleepless and disorganised seeming political administration and command remain ever more arcane and intransigent. Why are substantial troops held back west remain garrisoned? Neither Poland nor Hungary will invade. Why is there no effective general mobilisation (the cafés and restaurants in Kiev are rather lively again)? Other than that stretched groups of newly empowered politicians, managers, and officers, general clannishness and a somewhat sheepish passivity, and disorganisation I fail to have a coherent answer to this puzzling display.

    • #23
  24. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    AIG:

    James Gawron:

    I thought according to you the Ukrainians weren’t willing to fight for themselves, now they are just too gung ho and get themselves into trouble.

    They aren’t willing to fight since they aren’t willing to commit most of their army.

    They’re also too stupid to fight, since what they do deploy, ends up getting encircled over and over again because they have no strategy at all other than “hold your ground”.

    Stupid is stupid. Victim or not.

    At least I’m not advocating for WW3

    AIG,

    As far as strategy, you need enough motorized forces to use them to encircle an enemy. They don’t have enough tanks and probably lack training with what they do have. They must be really stupid that they didn’t have a huge defense appropriation from congress and a few years to train up their forces. Gosh that never happened in the history of warfare. You know where you’ve got to improvise with what you got.

    What a great idea your have about WW3! You know just like MacArthur in Korea, Jack Kennedy in the Cuban Missile Crisis, x number of armored divisions we kept in Europe against the Soviet threat, the NATO alliance, Strategic Bombers, Nuclear Submarine Fleet, and, of course, MAD itself our strategic Nuclear Missile System. Any one of these deterrents could have resulted in WW3. Luckily, in your oh so special 20/20 hindsight we didn’t need to do any of them.

    As for economic sanctions and collapsing their economy, ..well..this might work. On the other hand there could be unintended consequences.

    As you can see the Sultan is still after my head.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #24
  25. M1919A4 Member
    M1919A4
    @M1919A4

    An interesting defense of the position taken by AIG appeared on 10 February in The Wall Street Journal,  found here:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/roger-altman-stopping-putin-without-firing-a-shot-1423613561?KEYWORDS=Altman

    Stopping Putin Without Firing a Shot
    There is a point at which a currency or banking collapse will prevent any major nation from functioning.

    By
    ROGER C. ALTMAN

    Feb. 10, 2015 7:12 p.m. ET

    This seems to me to be the key premise:

    financial markets are now the most powerful force on earth. Far stronger than any army or store of weapons—and capable of inducing changes that diplomacy or arms could never achieve“.

    If Mr. Altman and our brother AIG are correct, a bloodless victory can be had, if, but only if, effective sanctions are promptly applied and enforced.  In other words, no more talk and threats, just action.  If tighter sanctions are tried, it will be interesting to see whether they work and heartening if they do.

    • #25
  26. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BalticSnowTiger

    M1919A4:An interesting defense of the position taken by AIG appeared on 10 February in The Wall Street Journal, found here:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/roger-altman-stopping-putin-without-firing-a-shot-1423613561?KEYWORDS=Altman

    Stopping Putin Without Firing a Shot There is a point at which a currency or banking collapse will prevent any major nation from functioning.

    By ROGER C. ALTMAN

    Feb. 10, 2015 7:12 p.m. ET

    This seems to me to be the key premise:

    financial markets are now the most powerful force on earth. Far stronger than any army or store of weapons—and capable of inducing changes that diplomacy or arms could never achieve“.

    If Mr. Altman and our brother AIG are correct, a bloodless victory can be had, if, but only if, effective sanctions are promptly applied and enforced. In other words, no more talk and threats, just action. If tighter sanctions are tried, it will be interesting to see whether they work and heartening if they do.

    As noted: S.W.I.FT. – however, anything that effective will be most likely be employed as a ‘casus belli’. Anyway, reverting to Debaltseve and the last few hours.  It is deplorable that there is no action on our part. The utterances of the distorted proxy Zakharchenko are adding insult to injury and fit the intense Russian troop build-up and supplies brought into Ukraine during the past few days.

    As Kyiv Post and AFP noted this afternoon:

    ‘In the meantime, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Oleksandr Zakharchenko said that his troops would keep on fighting around Debaltseve because it was not a part of the Minsk peace deal

    Moreover, the separatist leader dismissed the Minsk peace deal as too vague and not good enough for his so-called republic.

    “All we see so far is vague formulations and various interpretations. If there is no constructive document, it won’t lead to anything good,” Zakharchenko was quoted by Interfax-Uktaine news agency as saying.’

    The standard Soviet propaganda approach lives on.

    • #26
  27. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    BalticSnowTiger:The standard Soviet propaganda approach lives on.

    I wish. Don’t you see how much more sophisticated it has become?

    • #27
  28. M1919A4 Member
    M1919A4
    @M1919A4

    BalticSnowTiger:

    M1919A4:An interesting defense of the position taken by AIG appeared on 10 February in The Wall Street Journal, found here:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/roger-altman-stopping-putin-without-firing-a-shot-1423613561?KEYWORDS=Altman

    Stopping Putin Without Firing a Shot There is a point at which a currency or banking collapse will prevent any major nation from functioning.

    By ROGER C. ALTMAN

    Feb. 10, 2015 7:12 p.m. ET

    This seems to me to be the key premise:

    financial markets are now the most powerful force on earth. Far stronger than any army or store of weapons—and capable of inducing changes that diplomacy or arms could never achieve“.

    If Mr. Altman and our brother AIG are correct, a bloodless victory can be had, if, but only if, effective sanctions are promptly applied and enforced. In other words, no more talk and threats, just action. If tighter sanctions are tried, it will be interesting to see whether they work and heartening if they do.

    As noted: S.W.I.FT. – however, anything that effective will be most likely be employed as a ‘casus belli’. Anyway, reverting to Debaltseve and the last few hours. It is deplorable that there is no action on our part. The utterances of the distorted proxy Zakharchenko are adding insult to injury and fit the intense Russian troop build-up and supplies brought into Ukraine during the past few days.

    As Kyiv Post and AFP noted this afternoon:

    ‘In the meantime, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Oleksandr Zakharchenko said that his troops would keep on fighting around Debaltseve because it was not a part of the Minsk peace deal . . . 

    Not only is it SOP Russian propaganda, it also echos eerily Konrad Heinlein, the Nazi puppet in the Sudetenland during the Munich crisis.  Maybe it is 1938 again and I am only nine months old!

    • #28
  29. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    jetstream:

    AIG, I’m sure you know as well as I that the U.S. military knew from the beginning that Russia was staging along Ukraine’s eastern border. The obvious first response would be to put a serious CAP in place over Ukraine, which I believe would have been sufficient to cause Russia to stand down. If not additional measures could have been initiated. Either way, I think Russia would have stood down .. if Mitt Romney were president.

    The answer to that is a clear and obvious no. That would have been an escalation that would have invited full Russian involvement, not just “covert” one.

    And CAP would mean nothing. The Russian’s weren’t flying into Ukraine.

    BalticSnowTiger:

    – As to your other items, Ukrainian strategy and command structures are certainly impaired. Training could have started April/May 2014 based on existing planning and considerations .

    The actual “war” in Donbass lasted about 3 months. June-July-August. Prior to that it was a stalemate, and after that it was total Ukrainian defeat.

    The question again remains as to who would be trained? Most of the fighting was done by “volunteer battalions” which were in essence the “armed wings” of various political parties in Ukraine. Are those the guys we want to “train and arm”?

    So who to “train”? When? To train in what? By whom?

    – Whilst you are correct that is has become so and that other positions must be considered indefensible and useless, Debaltseve was not ‘indefensible’ when occupied and secured by the Ukrainian army. Operational command seems to have lost its forward reconnaissance, failed to secure logistics support and swift redeployment (too few APCs), resulting in a complete failure to defend the corridor as seen by the cut-off or near-cut off for a second layer pocket by way of taking Myronivka (that added more encircled troops) and then there is this overall ever more astonishing lack of defensive strength (troop motivation & platoon leadership). Now, I disagree with the notion of it being valueless as an empty junction. If the Russian proxies hold it it will not be empty. Having it blocked is a value if and when the corridor holds and is well defended. As stated earlier the point is now moot and there are certainly more important targets.

    It was an indefensible position because there was only 1 road leading out of the pocket, and this road, as was shown, was easy enough to cut off.

    Debaltseve originally was not a pocket. But once Horlivka was lost, it become a pocket which could not be defended, and would eventually be surrounded.

    Instead of evacuating the area of civilians and military personnel, Ukraine did the opposite. It poured even more troops inside the pocket, making it an obvious point for the Russians to surround.

    – As to the notion of not ‘having anything to defend themselves’, this is the more intriguing part. The inner workings or the amateurish, stressed, sleepless and disorganised seeming political administration and command remain ever more arcane and intransigent. Why are substantial troops held back west remain garrisoned? Neither Poland nor Hungary will invade. Why is there no effective general mobilisation (the cafés and restaurants in Kiev are rather lively again)? Other than that stretched groups of newly empowered politicians, managers, and officers, general clannishness and a somewhat sheepish passivity, and disorganisation I fail to have a coherent answer to this puzzling display.

    The answer to that question, I think, is about Ukrainian politics.

    The general will of the population to fight isn’t there. Only about half of Ukrainians want to continue the war. Mobilization is opposed by the people who are supposed to be mobilized.

    And furthermore, the Ukrainian leadership knows that

    1) It cannot and will not win. Nor is there anything to gain by trying to win. Why would they want to recover Donetsk and Lughanks when the population there is clearly hostile to them?

    2) The volunteer battalions are just as much a threat to Kiev as they are to the Russians (more so, likely). They are armed groups of the opposition parties in Ukraine. Once they are done in Donbass, where will they go with all their weapons?

    So the Ukrainian leadership thinks that sending them to die and keep busy in Donbass is preferable to having them come home as “heroes”. Which won’t happen, anyway.

    • #29
  30. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Gawron:

    AIG,

    As far as strategy, you need enough motorized forces to use them to encircle an enemy. They don’t have enough tanks and probably lack training with what they do have.

    They have plenty of tanks and weapons. Their factories are running 3 shifts 7 days a week bringing tanks back into operation from mothball.

    They have no idea how to deploy them, or how to fight, however.

    What a great idea your have about WW3! You know just like MacArthur in Korea, Jack Kennedy in the Cuban Missile Crisis, x number of armored divisions we kept in Europe against the Soviet threat, the NATO alliance, Strategic Bombers, Nuclear Submarine Fleet, and, of course, MAD itself our strategic Nuclear Missile System. Any one of these deterrents could have resulted in WW3. Luckily, in your oh so special 20/20 hindsight we didn’t need to do any of them.

    Or…Vietnam, Iraq etc.

    Your examples are totally irrelevant to the issue of Ukraine.

    • #30

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