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March 25, 2022 10:50 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • 30 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

“I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.”

–William F. Buckley, Jr.

Comments

30 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

    1. My guess is that Buck is proud of most of those highlights, and will use a substantial amount of that content in his campaign advertising. Too bad the majority of people in the 4th don't aspire to better representation.

      1. Sadly, the majority of the 4th think he’s an apt representative.  They prefer grievances over good governance. Just keep those billions in ag welfare checks coming and everything else works itself out. 

  1. We’ve given Ukraine what they need to not lose. Now the question is, will we give them what they need to win? Because that requires a lot more, and over an extended period of time.

    I also worry that at present it’s Biden leading with most everyone in Congress following. Because that means if Biden is not all in, or when (not if) he makes mistakes, there’s no guardrails. It’ll be mostly “yes sir Mr. President.”

    LBJ as a Congressman flew in combat. You would think by now we’d have some in Congress go Kyiv, or at least Lviv. Have congressional hearings on what we’re doing to help, and what else we should consider. In some way be an active part of the solution.

    Crow and to a lesser degree Bennet are doing something. The rest of you are disappointing.

  2. Ukraine status:

    It’s presently in a stalemate. In the North Ukraine is regaining ground. In the SouthEast Russia is slowly taking Mariupol. And they’re talking about advancing in the East.

    ‘Now the big question is will the West give Ukraine what they need to hold Russia, regain ground opportunistically, and shoot down any Russian aircraft and missiles.

    And and and… keep destroying the Russian economy until they retreat out of all of Ukraine. Because winning the war will not be on the ground, it’ll be in the economy.

    1. I'm hoping and wishing, too. Not being a military expert, I can't claim to know what it would be best to do, aside from continuing assistance as you have said. I agree that the brain-drain and economic collapse are going to hurt over the next few years.

      The best long-term solution would be for Putin to be overthrown, but I don't know how to encourage or accomplish that.

      The best short term solution would be for the Russian army to collapse in on itself due to supply chain disruptions and morale failures.

      I do believe that NATO has been training and supplying UKR intensively ever since Russia's 2014 actions. The effectiveness of UKR drones is not something they just figured out last month. Probably there is a lot of intelligence flowing from satellites and long-range observer posts, or maybe even integrated with UKR imagery. 

      It can't be accidental that so many Russian generals or brigade leaders have been killed. I've seen the assertion that they have ended up on the front lines due to morale or communications problems. But, how do the UKR forces know where they are? Just chance on the battlefield?

      1. I think in some cases the Generals are being geo-located by the U.S. and that's being passed on to Ukraine real-time.

        And it's letting the generals know that if they get into a shooting war with NATO, not only will they lose, but they'll be dead. Good lesson.

      2. Russian communications have been “intercepted” in a variety of ways, as the encrypted system apparently is not functional in most of Ukraine. 

        Zelenskyy said something about a special group of his intelligence service dedicated to identifying Russian leaders of the invading forces and forwarding actionable intelligence to military units. 

        The comparison I saw is that Russian has lost more general officers in a month than Soviet forces did in the entirety of a decade in Afghanistan. 

  3. My wild-ass suggestions for the war today.

    First, give Ukraine a single cruise missile that can make it as far as Putin’s Palace. Ukraine destroying part of his favorite toy would bring the war home to Putin in a very emotional way.

    Second, offer immediate refugee status and a pathway to citizenship here to any Russian with a degree in engineering, the sciences, or medicine that will move permanently here with their family. If we can get the best 10% of these people, that has direct benefit to us and will be horribly destructive to their economy for the next 20 years.

    1. Ummmm . . . 
       

      give Ukraine a single cruise missile that can make it as far as Putin’s Palace. Ukraine destroying part of his favorite toy would bring the war home to Putin in a very emotional way.

      . . . You maybe forgot the part about painting a Chinese flag on it?  So that when Putin responds “in a very emotional way,” he’ll be totally confused about where to send his thousands of missiles in retaliation??

      1. You mean as opposed to every time Ukraine lights up a tank or helicopter with a Javelin and Putin has no idea where Ukraine got those?

        Russia is not going to attack NATO with conventional weapons because Ukraine has already made it clear the the Russian army can't even stand up to Ukraine, much less NATO.

        As to nuclear, that is a concern. But if we let that stop us from helping Ukraine, then Russia will keep advancing everywhere. So we have to take the risk.

        1. No. I’m thinking more about the increased levels of his missile retaliation that would provoke against Ukraine.

          Also, clearly right now Ukraine has the all moral high ground worldwide against Russia, even among Russia’s citizenry and non-combatant supporter states. I imagine that would be changed, significantly and not to Ukraine’s advantage, by any kind of Ukrainian attack on Russian soil?

          (Personally, I think many of my third-grade class members probably had much better and more thoughtful strategic battle plans scribbled in their Big Chief tablets . . .)

        2. A close friend of mine who is a Lebanese-American working in the region shared this today. It’s worthy of a ‘share’:

          Not long after Putin’s heinous and illegal invasion of Ukraine—the first major war on European soil since WWII—an American business executive publicly admonished those sharing social media content about topics other than Ukraine. 

          “Read the room,” he reprimanded.

          No doubt, what’s happening in Ukraine is shocking. It’s particularly outrageous because we’re not accustomed to witnessing such vicious fighting on the European continent, at least not in the last seven decades. But, of course, peace was not always the default status of the European community. From the gradual collapse of Pax Romana to the post-WWII peace, Europe was rife with skullduggery and brutal warfare of every sort imaginable: local, territorial, civil, royal, imperial, and not in the least, religious and sectarian. Hundred Years War, anyone? Indeed, those pacific European borders did not come about swimmingly.

          People of a decent and honorable disposition are demonstrating solidarity with the good people of Ukraine. That’s how it should be: Russian atrocities cannot go unmet, unchallenged, unresisted. 

          Some in the so-called room are calling for a no-fly zone. Most, I suspect, do not appreciate the gravity of the term. It sounds so simple, almost childlike, like instructions given by a kindergarten teacher to children. Alas, a no-fly zone is no child’s play. And, some in the room understand full well what it means:

          A no-fly zone means shooting down Russian airplanes out of the sky. It means a shooting war with a nuclear-armed Russia—a war that would impact every single human on Earth, not just NATO’s vulnerable eastern flank.

          So, let us be honest and let us be clear: some people are calling for WWIII on behalf of Ukraine.

          Russia is doing wicked things and should be taught a harsh lesson. Every country should take decisive action to push back against it. Putin must fail miserably in his grand adventure to recover past national glory by blood and bombs.

          But as I read the room, I can’t help but wonder:  

          Did these people call for WWIII when Russia was bombing civilian hospitals in Syria?

          Will these people call for WWIII the next time a country in the Middle East is being torn apart? Will they implore others to read the room?

          Will these people call for WWIII if Russia invaded Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan? 

          Will these people exhibit such sharp moral clarity if the same travesty unfolded in, say, Africa? South America? The Middle East? Central Asia?

          These are not rhetorical questions because I’ll answer them:
          No.
          No. No. 
          No.
          No. No. No. No.

          Without a doubt, Ukraine, given its size and geopolitical disposition, demands an off-scale reaction from the international community. What’s head-scratching to many (many) people is the qualitative difference in the response (the massive scale is not an issue); and the extent to which some people are willing to go, to include potential nuclear war, on behalf of Ukraine that would be off the table elsewhere. 

          Much of today’s continental Europe is what the Romans, who, along with the Greeks, I deeply admire, referred to as barbarian lands. The world has come a long way since legions and tunics. Yet, in some ways, it remains delicately divided between the civilized and the uncivilized. Death in the former is a tragedy; in the latter, a statistic.

          Hence, an immoral war against the good people of Ukraine necessitates worldwide action. An immoral war in my native Middle East is business as usual.

    2. "single missile….." Why stop with just one? Give them enough to sink every Russian warship, amphibious landing ship, and supply ship in the Black Sea.

      And don't forget those four amphibious landing ships on their way from Vladivostok. Put pressure on Turkey not to allow them through the straits into the Black Sea.  

    3. Two informative military observers on the Ukraine-Russian war are Markos Moulitsis and Phillips OBrien.

      Markos is very readable and informative about military affairs for a non-technical audience, like me. The above link describes the importance of rivers. OBrien is a "Schmee" on military strategy.

      Regarding the broader picture in Russia, see Kamil Galeev. He talks a lot about the corruption in Russian society that permeates all levels, political, industrial, military. It's a frickin' mafia top to bottom. I like his idea that corruption is an algorithm. You have to be at a certain educational level to understand how to hack the algorithm. Only the poor and ignorant end up as cannon fodder. In Russia, this means that a large percentage of the army comes from non-Russian ethnic populations.  (Who knew that Ukrainians are the largest minority group in the Ural region, and also parts of the far East?)

      Galeev's latest thread notes that all major insurrections in Russia came from Cossacks or aristocracy whose lands had been seized. Popular uprisings and food riots have always been squashed. Look to the regional police who have sufficient status and means to pull off any rebellion.

      The likely breaking points are not so much ethnic divisions, but political regions. Sugar hoarding and the black market for sugar is collapsing the supply chain. (Almost as bad as the great toilet roll famine at the start of Covid.) Regional governors are hoarding sugar supplies, and will attempt to maintain control of economic resources at the cost of neighboring regions.

    1. I love his cri de cœur.

      I despise the political sphere for attacking him.

      Just remember. The incoherent, inarticulate, incompetent, incontinent, morbidly obese, narcissistic psychopath said: "what's the point of having nuclear weapons if you can't use them?"

    1. Boulder Emergency Operations map is here

      Big evacuation area … fire is limited, but obviously still a threat.  Boulder Camera said about a half hour ago "Blaze at 0% containment, but no structure damage reported so far"

      Paragraph written just before 9 pm "A wildfire near the National Center for Atmospheric Research crept within a few hundred yards of homes and forced almost 20,000 evacuations in the south Boulder area Saturday afternoon, but officials said they hope to re-examine evacuation orders as the fire burns south and away from the city."

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