• Isaac
    8k
    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.boethius

    I see, thanks for the tip. Easy though it was, the clandestine game of "why don't you find out what I think by some trial of research", seemed ridiculous compared to "I don't think the Ukrainians should fight", or "I do think the Ukrainians should fight, but I haven't said as much yet". Either of which would have been more fluent.

    But then the idea is clearly not fluency, the idea is to avoid having to address the salient points you've made by miring the conversation in some pedantic irrelevancy. We see it too often.
  • SophistiCat
    1.9k
    I'm not sure if Russia has the LNG capacity to export all its gas through all its non-EU pipelines and arctic LNG plantsboethius

    It doesn't. Russia's existing LNG capacity is a minor fraction of its pipeline capacity. Since Russia doesn't have mature LNG technology of its own and its foreign partners have pulled out of expansion projects, it won't be able to ramp up its LNG exports much further.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    It doesn't. Russia's existing LNG capacity is a minor fraction of its pipeline capacity.SophistiCat

    I'm aware of this, that's why I also mentioned the non-EU pipelines (mainly China but there's also some capacity to sell south ... of course so those nations can sell to the EU).

    However, the main point was that oil generates 5 times the revenue than gas.

    So it's simply not a big hit to reduce gas exports, in particular, as I mentioned, if the increase in price offsets the lower volume anyways.

    Russia can also store gas while it builds further export capacity (also leave it in the ground and tap it later) ... maybe where their reserves come into play to just wait to sell later; resource doesn't disappear simply because you don't sell it today.

    There is not logical necessity to export at maximum capacity and no inherent consequence to lowering exports.

    All this to explain why Russia's energy export revenues are up.

    I do agree there is some uncertainty as to the quality of Chinese and Indian capital equipment, but as long as it does function it's not some critical failure point.

    The Western advanced engineering firms do have more efficient equipment, but efficiency isn't so critical in Russia's situation of producing energy.
  • jorndoe
    2k
    Ukrainians should fightboethius

    I thought it was more that the Ukrainians will fight?
    (not so much due to Zelenskyy, more that they're not inclined to hand the keys over to Russia)
    Maybe that's just me.
    I wouldn't mind them repelling the attacker-bomber, make the would-be land-grabber think twice, deter the invader. If they're going to fight? Heck yeah.
  • Olivier5
    5.4k
    ↪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.
    boethius

    Not really, because this comment was made in the context of a discussion with @Tzeentch about NATO and the EU, to whom it pertains.

    This comment of mine did not pertain to the Ukrainians. It's not for me to say if their sacrifice is worth it. They alone can decide on whether or not they should fight, or vie for a truce.

    So I am saying this: given that the Ukrainians have decided to fight rather than surrender, and given their relative success so far in doing so, whatever the EU and US spend in support of the Ukrainian side appears to me well worth the price the EU and US are paying, if it helps humbling the Kremlin's militaristic ambitions for a generation.
  • Isaac
    8k
    given that the Ukrainians have decided to fight rather than surrender, and given their relative success so far in doing so, whatever the EU and US spend in support of the Ukrainian side appears to me well worth the price the EU and US are paying, if it helps humbling the Kremlin's militaristic ambitions for a generation.Olivier5

    So because some Ukrainians have decided to fight, you think subjecting all Ukrainians to prolonged war and decades of financial destitution is a good idea?

    You can't just hide behind some arbitrary number of other people's decisions. You're supporting a course of action which will seriously harm those who had absolutely no say in that decision. That some people have decided they want to fight doesn't absolve you of responsibility for defending your moral support for a course of action that entails massive harms on non-consenting, innocent bystanders... The others. The ones who didn't decide to fight.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    Not really, because this comment was made in the context of a discussion with Tzeentch about NATO and the EU, to whom it pertains.Olivier5

    So NATO should support war with supplying arms ... but that's not a case for war?

    Lot's of wars are considered by nearly all just wars, certainly most people here, there's no problem of principle, from the outset, arguing Ukraine's just war cause or NATO's just war cause.

    The point of my comment was that you clearly genuinely believe your position, obviously our positions are very different (on at least some key points, not everything), debate and exchange of view ensues. What else would people expect from such a controversial and emotional topic as a war.

    If Ukraine achieved a decisive battle field victory, or Russia did collapse and retreat begging for sanctions to be lifted, would you really be hedging your language now? Or would be be running internet victory laps.

    Which, to be clear, I'm not criticising your passion for your cause. That part is noble. And, likewise, willing to submit your passion to scrutiny, which you do address and do reformulate your position (bad faith I only consider when criticism isn't even addressed), is likewise noble.

    Of course, I still think you're wrong.

    But, if you were right and there was some decisive Ukrainian victory or Russian regime collapse (which at the start I thought was a real possibility), for sure, in such a scenario I would be accepting my analysis was simply wrong.

    However, @Isaac has made a more complete retort to the core moral issue, so I'll just repeat it again:

    That some people have decided they want to fight doesn't absolve you of responsibility for defending your moral support for a course of action that entails massive harms on non-consenting, innocent bystanders... The others. The ones who didn't decide to fight.Isaac
  • Olivier5
    5.4k
    So NATO should support war with supplying arms ... but that's not a case for war?boethius

    It's a case for the US and EU to support the Ukrainian war effort, for as long as they need it.

    If Ukraine achieved a decisive battle field victory, or Russia did collapse and retreat begging for sanctions to be lifted, would you really be hedging your language now? Or would be be running internet victory laps.boethius

    Of course I would plead for a rapid end to the sanctions, if Moscow gives adequate assurances that it will mend its ways.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    I thought it was more that the Ukrainians will fight?
    (not so much due to Zelenskyy, more that they're not inclined to hand the keys over to Russia)
    Maybe that's just me.
    I wouldn't mind them repelling the attacker-bomber, make the would-be land-grabber think twice, deter the invader. If they're going to fight? Heck yeah.
    jorndoe

    This seems to me clearly a pro-war position.

    And, at the start of a conflict with Russia as a smaller nation, I would agree with fighting. I have trained for precisely this strategy.

    The whole point of a conventional deterrent against a vastly more powerful force (and Russia's nuclear weapons makes them vastly more powerful), is to make a negotiated peace a better option for the aggressor than a costly and unpredictable fight.

    Being willing to fight (even in a losing situation) is leverage in a negotiation.

    However, if you demonstrate your willingness to fight ... and then don't negotiate, you not only lose your leverage the more you lose but you also motivate your opponent to demand more to compensate the costly fight.

    What has happened in Ukraine is a missed opportunity for a negotiated peace early (or even before) the conflict.

    This missed opportunity is I think very clearly due to a false sense of security provided by NATO (Zelensky seemed to genuinely believe he would get a NATO no-fly zone) while no NATO power did anything to explain to Zelensky the end-game if he refused to negotiate with Russia and accept some concessions (which, had it been explained that social media glory today is gone tomorrow, the weapons may not come forever and may not even be enough, the costs of trying to "win" by force may not be remotely worth it, and it's not at all clear how that's even remotely possible).

    There is only one reason for that: US wanted this war to happen and to drag on as it has, and the EU leaders are basically puppets willing to harm their own people's interest, harm millions of Ukrainians, for US interests to reduce EU leverage to basically zero on the world stage, and have the EU submit as a bumbling and weak diplomatic side-kick and jester. The EU is basically the US' choir at this point.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    It's a case for the US and EU to support the Ukrainian war effort, for as long as the need itOlivier5

    That's clearly pro war. Why call it something different?

    Supporting NATO supporting the Ukrainian war effort ... is clearly supporting the Ukrainian war effort.
  • Isaac
    8k
    It's a case for the US and EU to support the Ukrainian war effort, for as long as the need itOlivier5

    New variant on "guns don't kill people...".

    "I don't support war, I just support supporting war."
  • Olivier5
    5.4k


    Mmmokay. But if the Ukrainians decide to vie for a truce, i'm fine with that.
  • Olivier5
    5.4k
    However, Isaac has made a more complete retort to the core moral issueboethius

    You would do well to take your distance with lower IQ, hit-and-miss posters, such as Isaac. He is only misleading you, here as well as elsewhere. For you see, my argument with Tzeench for EU and US support the Ukrainian war effort was not a moral case at all. I am not saying that the Ukrainians have some sort of moral right to indefinite Western assistance -- such a moral position would be naïve in this particular instance.

    Mine is a pragmatist, real politics-based position. I am saying that it makes perfect strategic sense for the US and EU to weaken expansionist Russia, if the Ukrainians are willing to fight. I trust you will agree to that, even if you may try, tactically here, to paint this proxy war approach in negative moral terms, and to wax some ethical veneer on your own cynicism.
  • boethius
    1.5k
    Mine is a pragmatist, real politics-based position.Olivier5

    Again, supporting NATO supporting Ukraine's war effort, is supporting Ukraine's war effort.

    Support is support, regardless of the justification and regardless of whether it's indefinite support or not.

    If I support a political candidate, doesn't mean I'm committed to support indefinitely nor that if I reevaluate my support somehow that retroactively removes the support I provided in the past.

    Your position is obviously support to Ukraine's war effort since starting on this thread.

    Yes, please, explain your reasons for it, that's the purpose of discussing, and obviously many, many people in the West support Ukraine's war effort, so it's good for the purposes of discussion that someone represents that position.

    Furthermore, realist, pragmatic and strategic decisions are still for the purposes of some moral objective.

    None of these are amoral things, just analytical frameworks on how best to achieve moral objectives in the real, messy world where nothing is ideal and compromise is always necessary (simply limited resources forces us to compromise on what moral objectives are practical to pursue).

    Realism, pragmatism and strategy are analytical tools to try to understand what the actual consequences of different actions are likely to be. Actual likely consequences are clearly relevant to decision making.

    However, real consequences in a complex world, don't somehow make the moral objectives irrelevant, just bring to the for difficult decisions.

    For example, in WWII, the allies broke Enigma and so could know when ships would be attacked, when and where.

    Many ships were not warned or told to change course because it would risk statistically tipping off the Nazi's that enigma had been broken and they may do a full reset of all the code books, change wheels and so on.

    Obviously the goal was to save lives, but a realistic, pragmatic, and strategic analysis concluded some lives needed to be knowingly sacrificed to optimise the covert information advantage over the longest possible time frame.

    Someone could have spoken up for the fact it's the Germans that are morally responsible for the attacks and the deaths, they're duty is to save lives and so they must warn everyone they can, and if the German's change their codes and then kill more people it's their moral issue and doesn't matter.

    The difference between such a naive fool and the mathematicians that worked out a formula of who to save and who let die, is simply the time frame under consideration. What achieves the goal (saving lives) in the short term may be counterproductive to the same goal over the long term.
  • 180 Proof
    9.3k
    A simplified distillation of Vlad's pizdets debacle on the home front (and implied prospects for his regime):

    Maybe this long thread has covered the salient points raised in this video but I haven't read the last 150-200 posts, so someone tell me what this presentation gets wrong. Jives well with my (simplified) reckoning of Russia's accelerating insolvancy. :victory: :smirk:
  • ssu
    6k
    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.SophistiCat
    Yes, but do note Transnistria is also tiny compared to the Donbas. Transnistria has a population of 347000 people, perhaps earlier half a million. The breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk have 3,7 million people in them (even if many have left the region).

    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.SophistiCat
    Totally agree with you and this looks quite evident now.

    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.SophistiCat
    I think Putin and Russian's understand that toppling Lukashenko can make things even worse. The last thing Russia would want is to handle political turmoil or at worse, an insurgency in Belarus. That basically Russia can use the territory of Belarus without fears that Ukraine attacking it is enough for now.

    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.SophistiCat
    Your correct to talk about the medium term: Germany can build LNG ports, steer away from Russian gas, but not before it has to endure next winter. Creating new infrastructure simply takes time and if peace-time development speed is used (with all NIMBYs complaining to courts about the construction) it will take several years.

    A real possibility is that today's globalization will morph to a world with competing economic axis: the West and Russia-China opposing each other.

    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.SophistiCat
    Russia won't collapse, it will survive, but it won't collapse. Iran and it's sanctions is a good example of this.
  • ssu
    6k
    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.
    boethius
    Ukraine is economically absolutely devastated. But then it's fighting for it's survival. Economic hardships don't matter so much, when your facing even greater danger (which Ukrainians can see from the actions of Russians in the occupied territories).

    Yet apart from a Crimea-like victorious sudden invasion (which didn't go through), Russia has not the manpower to occupy totally a country as large as Ukraine. Basically what it could do is to gain the area of "Novorossiya", which it is largely holding apart from Odessa and the Western coastline of Ukraine. The inability of Ukraine to contain Russia forces in the Crimean Peninsula has been one of Ukraine's failures in this war.
  • ssu
    6k
    Maybe this long thread has covered the salient points raised in this video but I haven't read the last 150-200 posts, so someone tell me what this presentation gets wrong.180 Proof
    Good question. I'll take a try.

    When the documentary is saying "sanctions are working", first think what sanctions working would really mean?

    Would Russia really stop the fighting and accept a peace favorable to Ukraine? I think not, yet "sanctions working" obviously would have to do that.

    The last time sanctions did work was with South Africa: the country finally accepted to stop it's Apartheid-policies and give power to the black majority. Yet South Africa didn't view the West as an existential threat the way Iran, Venezuela and Cuba see the West and especially the US. North Korea basically is still at war with the US as there is only an armstice between the countries. Economic sanctions are just the new normal (or even the old normal) for them. South Africa was basically on the side of the US during the Cold War.

    Yeah, Russians are now missing many things that earlier came from the West. They have now all kinds of problems and do feel the sanctions. Yet how will this work? Why would Putin submit when he sees the West as an existential threat to himself (and for Russia). As Russia is quite totalitarian and there are now far more political prisoners than in the end of the Soviet Union, it can endure these sanctions.

    In fact just think what Ukraine is enduring now. More than every tenth Ukrainian is now a refugee. The GDP of Ukraine has fallen 45%. It basically cannot export it's produce. And it's losing a terrifying number of men daily and the death toll from this war (that started in 2014) will be very high. So wouldn't those kind of effects put Ukrainians into the negotiating table? No, because they see the war literally as an existential threat. And when people feel that they are facing an existential threat, ordinary issues like the standard of living doesn't matter.
  • Olivier5
    5.4k
    Your position is obviously support to Ukraine's war effort since starting on this thread.boethius

    Fair enough. And what has been your position then, if not support to Russia's war effort?
  • jorndoe
    2k
    Some say that NATO threatens Russia, like sovereignty or even existential.
    Some say that NATO defends members together against Russia, constraining free rein.

    Might not be an "exclusive or"; we can consider both. I'm guessing markedly more people are interested in Russia not rolling over others, than rolling over Russia. For that matter, I'm guessing markedly more people are interested in good relations, building trust, reliability, trade, than posturing and hostilities. Putin + team could be a different matter.

    Ukraine sought membership, now canceled, ☢ threats stand out. Sweden and Finland seek membership, now under way, the defense thing above. Unfair if you will; at least Ukrainians haven't been left on their own.

    Peace would mean the attacker stops attacking (a defender can't just declare peace :grin:), i.e. Putin's Russia.

    What might Zelenskyy capitulating entail, jus post bellum? We can only guess, check history, Russia, ... Meanwhile the Ukrainians are fighting :fire: for their sovereignty and such; a capitulation would not end fighting, but tune it down, and render it "illegal". Surrendering to evil is a wretched pseudo-peace, we have examples where this is worse than resistance/war, or where fighting is just. (I'll abstain from a quote-spam, Plato, Tacitus, Burke, Mill, Niemöller, Wiesel.) Peace ☮ is the goal, not bad peace.

    So, ehh anyway, NATO, a threat to and/or defense against Putin's Russia?

    Ukraine | Médecins Sans Frontières medical and humanitarian aid; • List of foreign aid to Ukraine during the Russo-Ukrainian War
    Antebellum South; • Auschwitz; • North Korea; • Uyghur; • Russia: Authorities launch witch-hunt to catch anyone sharing anti-war views
    World Development Report 2011 : Conflict, Security, and Development; • In the aftermath of Genocide: Guatemala’s failed reconciliation (worthwhile read)


    EDIT:
    Should have mentioned that ...
    Some say that NATO threatens Russia, like sovereignty or even existential.jorndoe
    ... has been commented on quite a bit in the thread (re-repeats).
  • SophistiCat
    1.9k
    When the documentary is saying "sanctions are working", first think what sanctions working would really mean?

    Would Russia really stop the fighting and accept a peace favorable to Ukraine? I think not, yet "sanctions working" obviously would have to do that.
    ssu

    If we are talking about sanctions as a tool to influence immediate decision-making, such as starting or escalating hostilities, then it is the threat of sanctions that sometimes works (and it does sometimes work). When deterrence fails, sanctions still have to be levied in order to maintain their future credibility, but they will almost never force a reversal. That is where we are now: sanctions, as you say, will not force Russia to stop its aggression and return the territory it has seized.

    That said, success or failure can be hard to attribute for counterfactual events. You will know when sanctions fail. But, for example, if Putin did not order the attack when he did, would that be attributable to the threat of sanctions? How would we know? Even now we don't know for sure whether sanctions or the threat of further sanctions have deterred Russia from doing something it could have done (like deploying chemical weapons - not likely in any event, in my opinion, but just as an example).

    Sanctions can have other effects than influencing decisions here and now. The most obvious effect of the present sanctions is in degrading Russia's war potential. That effect will be mostly delayed, but some of it is arguably felt even now. Russia has spent much of its high-precision munition stocks, and rebuilding will be challenging, partly due to sanctions. They are now reduced to lobbing dated anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles at ground structures, which is far from optimal. They also have a shortage of drones, NVGs, navigation, communication and other high-tech equipment - same problem here.

    Other sanctions seem like pointless virtue-signalling, punishing people and organizations that have no power to influence events. It could be that even those sanctions will have an indirect effect by provoking disaffection, social tensions, brain drain (that last one is very evident), and thus gradually weakening the regime. This is a highly uncertain territory though, as the effect can be, and likely is, precisely the opposite.
  • ssu
    6k
    Sanctions can have other effects than influencing decisions here and now. The most obvious effect of the present sanctions is in degrading Russia's war potential. That effect will be mostly delayed, but some of it is arguably felt even now. Russia has spent much of its high-precision munition stocks, and rebuilding will be challenging, partly due to sanctions. They are now reduced to lobbing dated anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles at ground structures, which is far from optimal. They also have a shortage of drones, NVGs, navigation, communication and other high-tech equipment - same problem here.SophistiCat
    This is true, but when there is a will, there will be a way. At least with time. Sanctions are a way to hinder the ability, but when you have the ability to make the needed components, even if inferior, then with time you will overcome the problems caused by sanctions and embargoes.

    One of the best examples are the Iranian Grumman F-14 Tomcats, top-of-the-line fighters bought by the Shah of Iran just before the Islamic Revolution in the 1970's. After the revolution happened all supplies and parts to the fighters were stopped by the US. Yet not only did the Iranian F-14 fighters perform well in the Iran-Iraq war (with the only Tomcat aces being now Iranian pilots), but the aircraft are still after 40 years still flying.

    article_5ce4615f4a0c79_00132782.jpg

    When a country basically puts it entire army to attack a neighboring country, then obviously it's such a major "policy initiative" that simply the threat of sanctions will not change. Sanctions will be seen as a minor issue. Hence in fact sanctions and embargoes work when they are initiated by some action or policy that in importance is similar to international trade and/or international relations. Yet when one country commits to such an enormous task or feels that it's facing an existential risk, then sanctions are a side issue.

    Putin has shown many times that he doesn't care about stock market prices, relations with the West and international trade relations etc. when he has initiated his wars.
  • ssu
    6k
    Peter Zeihan putting the problem with the grain exports from Ukraine into context:



    Higher World prices coming in the future...even if prices were rising before the war in Ukraine.
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