• Isaac
    8k
    it seemed fruitful anyways to contemplate this criticismboethius

    Yes, it was, in the end, but I apologise for the misdirection.

    It's possible all parties are now in a "it has to stop somehow" attitude.boethius

    I think this is one of the oddities in considering modern war. All war is aimed at peace. All wars aim to have peace in which the borders (or political influence) have shifted. The aim is (was) never permanent war. So Russia should always be viewed as trying to gain a better bargaining position in the same power negotiations which preceded the war. As such, it would be insane not to be regularly 'testing the water' to see if they feel they've gained that position yet.

    This position ought be unaffected by whether we're winning or not, since at any time the opposing side might feel they have their best case (either because they've gained the advantage they wanted, or because they fear their current advantage may deteriorate). It's like the concept of mean annual increment in forestry, one wants to fell one's crop, not at the maximum size, but at the point where further increase in size isn't worth the risk and cost of keeping the crop up.

    So we have to ask, I think, why the US are so uninterested in negotiations. That is the interesting question, and one best answered by looking at what they have to gain from a long drawn out war.

    Of equal, if not greater, interest to me are the methods they use to wield public opinion as s tool to this end. Hence the interest in the kinds of pro-US comment collected here.
  • Olivier5
    5.4k
    Which is the only inference that is warranted from Isaac's statement, that he approves of people trying to find peace through pragmatic compromise rather than more bloodshed.boethius

    So he misunderstood my post, because I have no objection to any of that.
  • Christopher
    28

    Thank you lol. I intend not to. Seems a bit heated in here. Or cold. Whichever extremity constitutes a pun here.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    Yes, it was, in the end, but I apologise for the misdirection.Isaac

    No worries at all.

    I think this is one of the oddities in considering modern war. All war is aimed at peace. All wars aim to have peace in which the borders (or political influence) have shifted. The aim is (was) never permanent war. So Russia should always be viewed as trying to gain a better bargaining position in the same power negotiations which preceded the war. As such, it would be insane not to be regularly 'testing the water' to see if they feel they've gained that position yet.Isaac

    Completely agreed. The parties that seemed, maybe still seem, to really want war, the longer the better, are the US, UK and the former Soviet NATO members.

    ... or, indeed, exactly as you say:
    Of equal, if not greater, interest to me are the methods they use to wield public opinion as s tool to this end. Hence the interest in the kinds of pro-US comment collected here.Isaac

    So we have to ask, I think, why the US are so uninterested in negotiations. That is the interesting question, and one best answered by looking at what they have to gain from a long drawn out war.Isaac

    Yes, in a matter of months US went from facing criticism for 2 decades of pointless war followed by letting "allies" fall off their planes hanging on in terror, to the "defenders of the free world".

    This position ought be unaffected by whether we're winning or not, since at any time the opposing side might feel they have their best case (either because they've gained the advantage they wanted, or because they fear their current advantage may deteriorate).Isaac

    Yes, well said. As for the current situation, for me the litmus test of Ukrainian "winning" ability is Kherson. If Ukraine had any significant counter-offensive capability, it would push the Russians the the East bank of the Dnieper river.

    Not only would this be a sure military embarrassment for Russia, but it would radically increase the defensive situation vis-a-vis Odessa (and everything other Westward direction Ukraine), freeing up manpower.

    There is now talk of a Kherson offensive starting ... any day now. If it succeeds then legend of Russian exhaustion, extreme casualties, low moral, inferior equipment, would be finally proven true. If it fails then it would be clear that Ukraine has no counter offensive potential (F-16's would not fix anything).

    Ideally, the current threat against Kherson is for diplomatic purposes that ultimately succeed.
  • jorndoe
    2k
    So, Putin wants to set up a "vote" in the Kherson region. :D

    Mar 31, 2022 Russia to stage independence referendum in Kherson region, says Ukraine
    Apr 28, 2022 Occupied Ukrainian city fears sham Russian referendum plans
    Jun 11, 2022 Russia Moving Forward With 'Referendum' Plans in Occupied Southern Ukraine, Says Kherson Mayor
    Jun 29, 2022 Occupied Kherson Readying for Vote to Join Russia, Official Claims
    Jul 21, 2022 In occupied south Ukraine, some fear a return to Soviet times under Russia


    The city of Kherson is Russia.Kirill Stremousov (reported May 13, 2022)
    We've decided - the people of Kherson region have decided - that we need to hold a referendum and vote to join the Russian Federation.Kirill Stremousov (reported Jul 21, 2022)

    In the rearview mirror, Putin (and team) handling votes and elections ain't exactly trustworthy.
    Of course, the resemblance of democracy is supposed to render legitimacy — theatrics.
    I'm guessing that's why Kyiv seems to focus on retaking the region, though they'd have to be careful, no atrocities, no surplus destruction, don't fuel Putin's propaganda machine, all that.
  • jorndoe
    2k
    Via The Financial Times ...

    Captured nuclear plant doubles as launch pad for relentless Russian rocket attacks (Jul 22, 2022)

    I suppose, as a strategy, this sort of works.
    A camp by enriched uranium is risky to attack.
    Would the occupiers threaten with (or otherwise perpetrate) a radioactive leak if their position was threatened? (Perhaps a bit like the Kuwaiti oil fires?)
  • SophistiCat
    1.9k
    The fake referendums would not be legitimate even by the Russian law. According to the Russian Constitution, parts of other countries cannot join Russia without those countries' consent. That is why the de facto annexation of Crimea was legally framed as a two-step maneuver: first a "referendum" was staged on Crimea's independence from Ukraine, then the newly sovereign Republic of Crimea asked to become part of Russia. The same calculation was seen behind the official recognition of the breakaway Donbas "republics" shortly before the invasion. Now it looks like they are abandoning even that thin veneer of legitimacy.

    Or at least that's the plan... It's hard to see how they are going to pull it off within the declared time frame. Russia controls just over half of the Donetsk region (which is claimed by one of the self-proclaimed republics), and its advance there has been glacial. And lately the Right-bank part of the Kherson region, including the city of Kherson itself, has been under pressure.
  • jorndoe
    2k
    Sonnenfeld and Tian writes:

    Actually, the Russian Economy Is Imploding (Jul 22, 2022) - archived
    The myth of Putin as world energy czar is running out of gas (Jul 25, 2022)

    Myth 1: Russia can redirect its gas exports and sell to Asia in lieu of Europe.
    Myth 2: Since oil is more fungible than gas, Putin can just sell more to Asia.
    Myth 3: Russia is making up for lost Western businesses and imports by replacing them with imports from Asia.
    Myth 4: Russian domestic consumption and consumer health remain strong.
    Myth 5: Global businesses have not really pulled out of Russia, and business, capital, and talent flight from Russia are overstated.
    Myth 6: Putin is running a budget surplus thanks to high energy prices.
    Myth 7: Putin has hundreds of billions of dollars in rainy day funds, so the Kremlin’s finances are unlikely to be strained anytime soon.
    Myth 8: The ruble is the world’s strongest-performing currency this year.
    Myth 9: The implementation of sanctions and business retreats are now largely done, and no more economic pressure is needed.


    Their language is somewhat loaded/slanted (suspect), perhaps a bit much for some readers. The article is argumentative. In line with their other reports. They've been involved with tracking organizations leaving and staying in Russia.

    Effects of sanctions matter, and the article says they're effective. I'd like to know if/how regular people throughout Russia are impacted; if they can't get a new designer jacket, oh well; if they're starving to death, ...
  • Olivier5
    5.4k
    For what it's worth, a defense of Russian literature from Michael Shishkin, short on specifics (this is the Atlantic, not a literary magazine) but well written:

    Don’t Blame Dostoyevsky
    I understand why people hate all things Russian right now. But our literature did not put Putin in power or cause this war.

    By Mikhail Shishkin

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/07/russian-literature-books-ukraine-war-dostoyevsky-nabokov/670928/?utm_source=feed


    [...] The world is surprised at the quiescence of the Russian people, the lack of opposition to the war. But this has been their survival strategy for generations—as the last line of Pushkin’s Boris Godunov puts it, “The people are silent.” Silence is safer. Whoever is in power is always right, and you have to obey whatever order comes. And whoever disagrees ends up in jail or worse. And as Russians know only too well from bitter historical experience, never say, This is the worst. As the popular adage has it: “One should not wish death on a bad czar.” For who knows what the next one will be like?

    Only words can undo this silence. This is why poetry was always more than poetry in Russia. Former Soviet prisoners are said to have attested that Russian classics saved their lives in the labor camps when they retold the novels of Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky to other inmates. Russian literature could not prevent the Gulags, but it did help prisoners survive them. [...]

    Russian literature owes the world another great novel. I sometimes imagine a young man who is now in a trench and has no idea that he is a writer, but who asks himself: “What am I doing here? Why has my government lied to me and betrayed me? Why should we kill and die here? Why are we, Russians, fascists and murderers?” [...]
  • ssu
    6k
    The old formula seems to be used (from Georgia, Ukraine etc.) again and again:

    The authorities of unrecognized Transnistria once again reminded of their plans to secede from Moldova and join Russia. The so-called Foreign Minister of Transnistria, Vitaly Ignatiev, said on July 22 that Tiraspol’s external vector remains unchanged.

    The Moldovan Bureau of Reintegration noted that international partners and constitutional authorities are in favor of a peaceful settlement of the conflict with respect for the territorial integrity of Moldova. That is, the main goal is the reintegration of the occupied region into a single country.

    Moldova also called the stay of the Russian military contingent in Transnistria illegal and demanded its withdrawal.

    “We have only one answer to this: everyone must respect the borders of the Republic of Moldova. The conflict must be resolved peacefully… We have heard a lot of declarations, and they all have approximately the same meaning. We hope that one day such statements will no longer be possible,” said President Maia Sandu.

    You know it's a frozen conflict from there existing a Bureau of Reintegration... :wink:

    How did I get embroiled in this conversation?Christopher
    Sorry, I referred to the wrong person, Jamal already noticed.

    And yes, quite well to stay away from a dumpster fire like this thread.
  • jorndoe
    2k
    The plot thickens ...

    The Enemy Within (Jul 28, 2022)

    Five people with knowledge of the Kremlin’s preparations said war planners around President Vladimir Putin believed that, aided by these agents, Russia would require only a small military force and a few days to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s administration to quit, flee or capitulate.

    Old modus operandi. Vague echoes in Transnistria and Donbas.
  • Olivier5
    5.4k
    Some details on the grain trade deal from Al Jazeera:

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/29/zelenskyy-visits-port-as-ukraine-prepares-to-ship-out-grain

    [...] The security concerns and complexities of the agreements have set off a slow, cautious start, with no grains having yet left Ukrainian ports. The sides are facing a ticking clock — the deal is only good for 120 days.

    The goal over the next four months is to get some 20 million tonnes of grain out of three Ukrainian sea ports blocked since the February 24 invasion. That provides time for about four to five large bulk carriers per day [...]

    Getting the grain out is also critical to farmers in Ukraine, who are running out of storage capacity amid a new harvest.

    “We are ready,” Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, told reporters at the port of Odesa on Friday.

    He said that 17 trapped vessels were already loaded with grain, and another was now being loaded.

    He hoped the first vessels would start leaving port by the end of this week.

    “After the signing of the grain initiative in Istanbul, the Ukrainian side has made all the necessary preparations for … the navigation of the Black Sea, to start exporting our grain products from our ports,” Kubrakov said.

    But he said Ukraine is waiting on the UN to confirm the safe corridors that will be used by ships.

    ‘Logistical issues’
    Martin Griffiths, the UN official who mediated the deals, cautioned that work was still being done to finalise the exact coordinates of the safest routes, saying this must be “absolutely nailed down”.

    Lloyd’s List, a global publisher of shipping news, noted that while UN officials are pushing for the initial voyage this week to show progress in the deal, continued uncertainty on key details would likely prevent an immediate ramping-up of shipments.

    “Until those logistical issues and detailed outlines of safeguarding procedures are disseminated, charters will not be agreed and insurers will not be underwriting shipments,” wrote Bridget Diakun and Richard Meade of Lloyd’s List.

    They noted, however, that UN agencies, such as the World Food Programme, have already arranged to charter much of the grain for urgent humanitarian needs.

    Shipping companies have not rushed in since the deal was signed a week ago because explosive mines are drifting in the waters, ship owners are assessing the risks and many still have questions over how the agreement will unfold.

    Ukraine, Turkey and the UN are trying to show they are acting on the deal. Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar told Al Jazeera on Thursday that “the deal has started in practice” and that the first ship leaving Ukraine with grain was expected to depart “very soon”.

    Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed similar optimism in a news briefing, framing the deal as a significant step forward between the warring sides.

    “This is not just a step being taken to lift the hurdles in front of the export of food. If implemented successfully, it will be a serious confidence-building measure for both sides,” he said.

    The deal stipulated that Russia and Ukraine provide “maximum assurances” for ships that brave the journey to the Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.

    Smaller Ukrainian pilot boats will guide the vessels through approved corridors. The entire operation will be overseen by a Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul staffed by officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations.

    Once ships reach port, they will be loaded with grain before departing back to the Bosphorus Strait, where they will be boarded to inspect for weapons. There will likely be inspections for ships embarking to Ukraine, as well.
  • SophistiCat
    1.9k
    You know it's a frozen conflict from there existing a Bureau of Reintegration...ssu

    Yeah, and no one appears to be keen on reigniting it. Russia has its hands full with its present war, which it doesn't know how to end without losing face. It doesn't have a common border with Moldova. For an invasion it would need to establish a land corridor through southern Ukraine, which now appears to be a remote possibility.

    Moldovan army is pretty much non-existent. They know that in the (unlikely) event of a full-scale conflict with Russia they would be crushed like a bug.

    Transnistria is the least interested in upsetting the status quo. All these years they've been left alone, enjoying generous subsidies from Russia in the form of virtually free gas and a share of the Trans-Balkan pipeline. On the other side Transnistrians can travel freely to mainland Moldova (and from there visa-free to the EU), since most Transnistrians have Moldovan passports. While in theory, people there are staunchly pro-Russian, having been fed a steady diet of Russian TV, they like things to stay just as they are.

    All this sabre-rattling is nothing more than a halfhearted diversionary maneuver from Russia, I think.
  • ssu
    6k
    Yeah, and no one appears to be keen on reigniting it. Russia has its hands full with its present war, which it doesn't know how to end without losing face. It doesn't have a common border with Moldova. For an invasion it would need to establish a land corridor through southern Ukraine, which now appears to be a remote possibility.SophistiCat
    For the time being, yes.

    But this unfortunately is likely to be a long war. Even if I hope I'm wrong here.

    Transnistria is the least interested in upsetting the status quo. All these years they've been left alone, enjoying generous subsidies from Russia in the form of virtually free gas and a share of the Trans-Balkan pipeline. On the other side Transnistrians can travel freely to mainland Moldova (and from there visa-free to the EU), since most Transnistrians have Moldovan passports. While in theory, people there are staunchly pro-Russian, having been fed a steady diet of Russian TV, they like things to stay just as they are.SophistiCat

    Ask yourself, @SophistiCat, does Russia or anybody really listen to the Transnistrians when deciding on these matters?

    In fact before February 24th for a long time things in the Donbas were rather similar to what you stated above from Transnistria: people could move back and forth to Ukraine and Ukraine even paid pensions to people in the Donbas People's Republics. I'm sure the people that actually supported Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics back in 2014 aren't so enthusiastic about how things are going now.
  • SophistiCat
    1.9k
    Ask yourself, SophistiCat, does Russia or anybody really listen to the Transnistrians when deciding on these matters?

    In fact before February 24th for a long time things in the Donbas were rather similar to what you stated above from Transnistria: people could move back and forth to Ukraine and Ukraine even paid pensions to people in the Donbas People's Republics. I'm sure the people that actually supported Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics back in 2014 aren't so enthusiastic about how things are going now.
    ssu

    It's not a fair comparison: life in Donbas was pretty miserable even before the invasion. And among those remaining there, quite a few did want to be absorbed into Russia already, instead of remaining in limbo, as it were. Or else they didn't much care one way or another. And even now there are those on both sides of the front line who are convinced, despite everything they've had to go through, that Russia did the right thing (and should have done it much sooner).

    But I take your point: of course Transnistrians will not have a say if Putin decides to "liberate" them next. But neither will they do anything to help. All that "remind[ing] of their plans to secede from Moldova and join Russia" is only because they believe that they are safe for now.
  • ssu
    6k
    It's not a fair comparison: life in Donbas was pretty miserable even before the invasion.SophistiCat
    Yes. Although there was the Transnistrian war in 1990-1992, which was rather similar (as the war in Donbas 2014-2022).

    The bigger player here that is and hopefully will stay inactive is of course Belarus. There are Belarussian fighters fighting in the lines of Ukraine, questionable support for the current leadership (after the massive demonstrations put down with violence) and basically no reason for Belarus to attack it's southern neighbor. Hence it's likely that the current situation will prevail with Belarus giving Russian forces a ground to operate, but won't join themselves the fighting.

    Even the Ukrainians have observed this:
    (30th July, 2022) The situation has not undergone significant changes in the Volyn and Polissia directions. There have been no signs of the formation of offensive groups by the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said this in its morning report published on Facebook, Ukrinform reports.

    Otherwise if Belarus would be involved the clusterfuck would start to resemble the Russia Civil War.
  • jorndoe
    2k
    After Mariupol had been bombed back to medieval ages, largely destroyed, thousands killed, I was a bit taken aback by Denis Pushilin's statements:

    The task is to make Mariupol a resort city, which has not been possible beforeTASS (May 9, 2022)
    if Azovstal is not restored, then we will make a resort townTASS (May 9, 2022)

    Vacation-spot to-be for the rich and Russian oligarchs I guess, if he can find the funds? Looking around two/three months later, it seems accountability may be forgotten soon enough?
  • boethius
    1.5k
    And yes, quite well to stay away from a dumpster fire like this thread.ssu

    Are you talking about your own comments?

    I don't see why people would be surprised that the subject of an ongoing war isn't in the framework of the usual academic decorum, hedged language, and polite patting on the back for everyone participating in an obscure, unimportant, and zero-stakes intellectual masterbation session.

    I think it's entirely healthy posters like @Olivier5 are passionate about their case for war, as much as other posters are passionate about their case for peace.

    If you want a dumpster fire, go to some place like https://old.reddit.com/r/worldnews/ and you'll see people huddling and warming themselves around their modern day book burning (aka. deleting and banning any dissenting opinion whatsoever).

    A space where actual opposing views can meet and discuss and disagree is not a dumpster fire. It's called "debate". If people care about the subject, it's called: "people care".
  • ssu
    6k
    Are you talking about your own comments?boethius
    Hopefully not. :roll:

    But this thread is now going to be 300 pages and some have this fixation that the most important issue talked about should be the US tells something.

    I don't see why people would be surprised that the subject of an ongoing war isn't in the framework of the usual academic decorum, hedged language, and polite patting on the back for everyone participating in an obscure, unimportant, and zero-stakes intellectual masterbation session.boethius
    Usually they are like that... as people really don't get heated up about various armed groups fighting in a civil war in a country that they have problem finding on a map.

    Well, as I'm now writing an answer to you from just a bit over 9 kilometers from the border of one participant in this war, yeah, for me it's more important than let's say the war in Ethiopia. Which itself is also interesting (and important) as peace might finally be found there.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    But this thread is now going to be 300 pages and some have this fixation that the most important issue talked about should be the US tells something.ssu

    What is the something that it tells?

    Usually they are like that... as people really don't get heated up about various armed groups fighting in a civil war in a country that they have problem finding on a map.ssu

    Sure, many people don't care about any war, participated in discussing this one to jump on the social media virtue signalling band-waggon before hopping off.

    I'm not sure if you're saying that discussion between the people disinterested would be higher quality? Or what?

    As for the current state of the war, counter offensive against Kershon does not seem to be working.

    I would guess that the second last batch of weapons was predicated on the promise of holding out in Dombas, and now the latest batch of weapons is predicated on a promise of counter offensive in Kershon.

    If this counter-offensive fails, "allies" will continue to wind-down their arms shipments to Ukraine, continue to deescalate with Russia, and forget about Ukraine.

    People and politicians will go back to same-old-same-old':

    Usually they are like that... as people really don't get heated up about various armed groups fighting in a civil war in a country that they have problem finding on a map.ssu

    Indeed, the "usual".
  • ssu
    6k
    What is the something that it tells?boethius
    Just from where the most participants are from (mainly from the Anglosphere). Which is quite natural as we use English.

    Sure, many people don't care about any war, participated in discussing this one to jump on the social media virtue signalling band-waggon before hopping off.boethius
    Well, let's hope participating on a Philosophy forum isn't virtue signalling.

    As for the current state of the war, counter offensive against Kershon does not seem to be working.

    I would guess that the second last batch of weapons was predicated on the promise of holding out in Dombas, and now the latest batch of weapons is predicated on a promise of counter offensive in Kershon.

    If this counter-offensive fails, "allies" will continue to wind-down their arms shipments to Ukraine, continue to deescalate with Russia, and forget about Ukraine.
    boethius
    This is a real possibility, I agree.

    It seems that already Russia has signaled that it will take a break. And likely Ukraine doesn't have the ability to muster a large counterattack. There is the possibility that the war does what it did after 2014-2015: become a stalemate. Or at least for the time being until Russia simply can train new batches of conscripts and add up the needed materiel.

    On the economic "sanctions"-front, I think that Russia has played it's cards very well. It simply is just such a large supplier of natural resources that the World cannot simply disregard it. The logical way for the West to counter this would be to try a push the price of oil and gas down by increasing production, but that would go against what has been set as goal to curb climate change. German energy policy of having relied to Russian energy with closing down nuclear plants and now having to open coal plants show how clueless the West actually is here.

    Ukraine is still just one issue among others and Putin knows that.
  • Olivier5
    5.4k
    Olivier5 are passionate about their case for war,boethius

    i don't think I have argued the case of war, i have just observed that the call for peace negotiations is part of the war. Posters whining here that there are no peace negociations are only repeating uncritically the propaganda of the Kremlin.
  • SophistiCat
    1.9k
    Yes. Although there was the Transnistrian war in 1990-1992, which was rather similar (as the war in Donbas 2014-2022).ssu

    The "Transnistrian war" was hardly a war: the scale and the forces involved were tiny compared to Donbas. There were, I think, a few old Soviet tanks that were rolled out at one point to intimidate the Moldovan forces - and that proved to be enough. There wasn't much will or ability to fight on the Moldovan side.

    The bigger player here that is and hopefully will stay inactive is of course Belarus. There are Belarussian fighters fighting in the lines of Ukraine, questionable support for the current leadership (after the massive demonstrations put down with violence) and basically no reason for Belarus to attack it's southern neighbor. Hence it's likely that the current situation will prevail with Belarus giving Russian forces a ground to operate, but won't join themselves the fighting.ssu

    Even from what little can be gathered inside Belarus, it is clear that people there are dead-set against their country entering this war - even those who take the pro-Russian position. Of course, if push comes to shove, no one will ask Belorussians what they want, just as no one asked the Russians. The difference is quiet opposition on one side and quiet acquiescence on the other side of the border. And, as you noted, Lukashenko is sitting on bayonets as it is; dragging his people into Russia's war against their will is the last thing he wants.

    So far, Kremlin has been accommodating, but one wonders: how long will Putin tolerate this wily, self-willed and treacherous vassal? Will he at some point decide that it would be so much more convenient to have a loyal silovik in charge? Of course, taking over a personalistic, top-down security and patronage system from a man who has been at the helm even longer than Putin would not be easy and smooth. But does Putin realize this? His delusional ideas of how easily he would take over Ukraine do not instill confidence in his judgement.

    On the other hand, what could Belarus bring to the table if it was forced to enter the war right now? Perhaps 20 thousand of poorly armed and unwilling conscripts. Would it be worth the trouble?
  • SophistiCat
    1.9k
    On the economic "sanctions"-front, I think that Russia has played it's cards very well. It simply is just such a large supplier of natural resources that the World cannot simply disregard it. The logical way for the West to counter this would be to try a push the price of oil and gas down by increasing production, but that would go against what has been set as goal to curb climate change. German energy policy of having relied to Russian energy with closing down nuclear plants and now having to open coal plants show how clueless the West actually is here.ssu

    If Europe goes through with its divestment from Russian energy, then Russia's game doesn't look so good in the medium term. Oil and gas are not like gold: moving them takes a lot of specialized infrastructure that simply does not exist today and won't come into existence any time soon. And Asia's appetite for Russian energy isn't bottomless either: they'll take what they can if the discount is big enough, but they have other supplies as well.

    Besides, energy isn't everything, and the rest of Russian economy looks pretty dismal. It will survive, but it needs more than mere survival in order to continue to support long and bloody wars of aggression.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    Just from where the most participants are from (mainly from the Anglosphere). Which is quite natural as we use English.ssu

    Sure that's true.

    Well, let's hope participating on a Philosophy forum isn't virtue signalling.ssu

    I was referring to facebook, twitter et. al.

    People who virtue signal here don't seem to stick around; they go back to fishing for likes elsewhere I'm afraid.

    This is a real possibility, I agree.ssu

    Yes we're in agreement there.

    I'm sure we also agree that this would not be a morally acceptable outcome, same as abandoning allies in Afghanistan.

    It seems that already Russia has signaled that it will take a break. And likely Ukraine doesn't have the ability to muster a large counterattack. There is the possibility that the war does what it did after 2014-2015: become a stalemate. Or at least for the time being until Russia simply can train new batches of conscripts and add up the needed materiel.ssu

    This is definitely one possibility, and definitely a Ukraine counter attack would be a big surprise to me.

    However, Ukraine's ability to continue to defend is also highly uncertain. We simply don't know the relative force capabilities on each side at the moment. Damage to Russia's army only matters if there's not equal or greater damage to Ukraine's army.

    Every example of damage against the Russians, or then various problems, generally is safe to assume is as bad or worse for the Ukrainians.

    On the economic "sanctions"-front, I think that Russia has played it's cards very well. It simply is just such a large supplier of natural resources that the World cannot simply disregard it. The logical way for the West to counter this would be to try a push the price of oil and gas down by increasing production, but that would go against what has been set as goal to curb climate change. German energy policy of having relied to Russian energy with closing down nuclear plants and now having to open coal plants show how clueless the West actually is here.

    Ukraine is still just one issue among others and Putin knows that.
    ssu

    I definitely agree with your assessment here, and disagree with:

    If Europe goes through with its divestment from Russian energy, then Russia's game doesn't look so good in the medium term. Oil and gas are not like gold: moving them takes a lot of specialized infrastructure that simply does not exist today and won't come into existence any time soon.SophistiCat

    Although true that Oil and gas take specialized infrastructure ...

    Russia spent the last decade building some 24 nuclear ice breakers, LNG compression stations, and all the piping and port facilities necessary to export oil and gas directly out of the arctic (how it has been supplying China and India with oil, although the ice breakers will only be needed in winter).

    This video is literally titled "Why Russia is building an Arctic Silk Road":



    And Asia's appetite for Russian energy isn't bottomless either: they'll take what they can if the discount is big enough, but they have other supplies as well.SophistiCat

    If it's cheaper, they buy basically all of it. Middle-east then shifts to supplying Europe. Once oil is at sea it is very fungible and essentially dissolves into the global oil market. Barrels may trade multiple times while still in the ground, while in storage, while at sea, and the oil that gets delivered from a supplier is not necessarily even oil from that supplier. Insofar as Russia can trade oil to the BRICS, then it's just a game of musical chairs shifting oil around.

    I'm not sure if Russia has the LNG capacity to export all its gas through all its non-EU pipelines and arctic LNG plants, but there's not some logical necessity to export at maximum capacity. Indeed, not only does increase gas prices easily make-up for decreased volume, but natural gas is only a fifth the revenue of oil.

    Oil is easy to export in vast quantities as long as there's port access, which Russia has secured with the nuclear ice breakers (and also only economic due to the disappearance of multi-year ice in the arctic, leaving ice easy to break through).

    As for other economic sectors of the Russian economy, their biggest "other" industry is arms and they are basically the only supplier available for non-NATO aligned countries, so they have a captured market.

    Computer chips are definitely an inconvenience, likely some missiles have washing machine chips in them to get around sanctions ... or then maybe that was just the best and cheapest chip for the job. I doubt they actually scavenged them from actual washing machines.

    However, I don't think computing is such a big deal simply because there's so many ways around sanctions, there's so many chips in the world and they're small (it's far from being some difficult to acquire thing such as in the cold war), and Russia can produce its own chips (not cutting edge but good enough for most industrial processes and military purposes).

    Precise manufacturing can be sourced from China.

    Certainly results in an ersatz economy with a lot of copies of Western equipments, but as long as it all still works, doesn't seem there's any critical failure points for the Russian economy writ large.

    Supplying massive quantities of what people "need": energy, food, fertiliser, minerals, arms is not a weak economic position.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    i don't think I have argued the case of war, i have just observed that the call for peace negotiations is part of the war.Olivier5

    You've clearly argued that Ukrainians should fight, which is the case for war. Without Ukrainians fighting there is no war.

    Of course, you can blame the Russians for starting it, but it takes two sides to have a war.

    Posters whining here that there are no peace negociations are only repeating uncritically the propaganda of the Kremlin.Olivier5

    It is not the propaganda of the Kremlin, US, NATO and EU literally came out and said they will not negotiate; negotiation must be directly with Ukraine. You can say that's how it should be, but you can't also at the same time say lack of serious negotiation throughout the war is Kremlin propaganda.

    You could claim Russia would anyways break any agreement, but you can't say there was a negotiation ... even though there wasn't because it was assumed Russia wouldn't abide by any agreement so there was no attempt to negotiate.

    Furthermore, even in the absence of serious negotiations of the powers involved and have the leverage (the powers with the money and the weapons and dictating Ukrainian policy), Russia nevertheless made a public offer of: independent Donbas, recognising Crimea, neutral Ukraine, and if accepted all troops would withdraw from Ukrainian territory.

    The main criticism is that Ukraine did not accept this public offer, which was clearly the minimum Russia would ever offer, the only alternative to accepting the offer would be to wage a war that was clearly un-winnable, and even if Ukraine could take back the whole of just the Donbas, not to mention Crimea, it would be at the cost of tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands dead Ukrainians (which is not a reasonable cost to "keep" two ethnically Russian regions).

    Now, if Ukraine accepted the offer and then Russia reneged and continued the war anyways, that would be a different scenario. But future crime does not exist; you cannot accuse someone of not abiding by an agreement that has not been made.

    And this good-faith, bad-faith game is important, as Russia needs to maintain other international relations who are open to consider Russia's point of view and decide accordingly. If Russia can point out a public offer that was clearly the minimum it could ever make, and obviously more reasonable than more war, and Ukraine refused, this is extremely weighty in diplomatic relations with non-NATO countries.

    It doesn't matter to Western media, they'll just ignore it or say it was bad faith future crime or whatever, but it does matter to non-Western countries and media, many who are also authoritarian regimes of one form or another and don't have any prima facie "Russia is evil" starting point.

    Without support of non-NATO countries in maintaining trade relations, Russia would very possibly collapse, so these diplomatically relevant (but irrelevant to Western media) good-faith-bad-faith arguments are also important to understand the geo-political situation.

    Russia and China really are creating an alternative global economic system to challenge American Empire. Not only is "who's more reasonable" a critical point (as you can't wage war with everyone so do actually have to go and convince people to deal with you at some point) in these international relations, but it's important to keep in mind that most of these non-Wester nations are authoritarian and default to empathy with Russia and not Western "values" (and also love pointing out hypocrisy in those as much as they possibly can).

    Indeed, there's even examples within NATO.

    Erdogan is far closer ideologically to Putin than to any Western leader.

    Russia''s motivation and justifications to deal with a pesky neighbour Ukraine by force is very close to Turkey's (aka. Türkiye's) view of Syria, Kurds, everyone.

    So, a lot of the non-Western states are ideologically far closer to Russia than the West and don't need much evidence to essentially side with Russia.

    Nevertheless, if Russia was clearly in the wrong (their offer was accepted, and then they continued fighting) diplomatic relations would immediately change as all these other states don't actually want the war, it affects them in energy and food costs, so if Russia was continuing it in bad faith that would be quickly intolerable to them.

    Russia's narrative that they've made offers, super minimal, neutral Ukraine would have been enough (which then NATO accepts Ukraine will never join NATO ... but after the war, super good offers were made, Russia doesn't want war, but we have security interests same as you etc.) is completely essential to Russia's maintaining trading relations with the rest of the world, which is completely essential to its war effort.

    All this to say that these diplomatic positions, that seem so small and irrelevant in the West's kindergarten analytical framework of erratic moral positions and expectation that some authority figure will "punish" the bad boy, seemingly small things such as publicly accepting rather than publicly rejecting a reasonable offer, has real consequences. It may feel good to declare Russia liars and you can't deal with them and they'll never abide by an agreement ... but the alternative is indefinite warfare.
  • Olivier5
    5.4k
    You've clearly argued that Ukrainians should fightboethius

    Where did I do so?
  • Isaac
    8k


    Rather than asking @boethius to trawl through 300 pages of posts to find an exact quote to cover the very obvious support you show for continued war, perhaps you could help progress past this unnecessary sticking point by simply telling us if you don't think the Ukrainians should fight. Then we'll know, @boethius can correct the misunderstanding and we can all move on.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    You've clearly argued that Ukrainians should fight
    — boethius

    Where did I do so?
    Olivier5

    By an essentially random search through your comments, in literally 1 minute:

    ↪Tzeentch Taking care of the Russian threat for a generation is well worth the price.Olivier5

    Seems pretty strong support for the war ... and that it's well worth the price of the dead so far.

    Which, maybe when you made that comment, had Ukraine used its leverage, and willing to fight is leverage, to negotiate peace terms maybe it would be worth the price, and maybe now it doesn't seem so clear.

    And, to be clear, had Ukraine "fought hard" and then negotiated a peace, I wouldn't be critical of their strategy and diplomacy. It's clearly better than total capitulation from the outset.

    However, total capitulation is better than an indefinite un-winnable war.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    Rather than asking boethius to trawl through 300 pages of posts to find an exact quote to cover the very obvious support you show for continued war.Isaac

    Already done.

    Fortunately, it's not so inconvenient as trawling through 300 pages.

    You can click on a posters name, then click on "comments" and get their most recent comments, scroll down and you can click more and then a number will appear in the URL of what comment to start at, which you can then change to jump around.
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