• jorndoe
    , whip up a new post on that. :up: Discussion-worthy, yes?
  • Changeling
    I've heard that place is a fiction .yebiga

    At least it can actually be expressed.
  • RogueAI
    Now that's a country that respects it's intelligentsia. I wonder why more scientists don't emigrate there.
  • neomac
    Those who could might have already migrated. But it's unlikely that people working on sensitive weapons for the military are that free to move as they please. Anyway until Putin keeps punishing military, intelligence, and weapon developers for his failures, that's good news to me.
  • jorndoe
    He gets around.

    G7 summit: Zelensky accuses some Arab leaders of 'blind eye' to war ahead of Japan trip
    — Tessa Wong, James Gregory · BBC · May 19, 2023

    Zelensky showcases global leadership in G7, Arab League visits - analysis
    — Seth J Frantzman · The Jerusalem Post · May 20, 2023

    Ukraine already has overwhelming support worldwide (humanitarian, arms, the UN), but maybe his efforts prove fruitful.

    Elsewhere... Map of battles over time. Your mileage may vary. Reportedly, their automated data source usage/assessment is a work in progress
  • Tzeentch
    Bakhmut has finally fallen it seems. Both sides more or less confirmed it.

    One thing that popped out to me about the last weeks is the barrage of misinformation from both sides. From an apparent Russian "crisis of command" featuring Prigozhin, to the Ukrainians 'pushing the Russians back', mere days before the final push for the city. In hindsight, it all seems phoney to me - attempts at shaping the information landscape or playing the public.

    The coming period will be interesting, to see if and where the Russians may continue to push for ground.

    My guess is that they will, since there are other Ukrainian cities in precarious positions, like Adviivka. Adviivka is under threat of being encircled, much like Bakhmut was, and has been subjected to Russian attacks for a long time.

    There was also the matter of the Patriot - Kinzhal encounter. Very interesting from a military perspective, since they're both modern missile systems.

    My guess is the Ukrainian forces received either Patriot PAC-2 or PAC-3 , both of which have been designed with the purpose of ballistic (read: hypersonic) missile defense. Therefore, if this weapon system was able to take down Kinzhal missiles it should come as no surprise. In fact, countering Kinzhal probably was the reason Patriot was shipped to Ukraine.

    Typically, when roughly equal missile systems compete, the attacker will seek to saturate the defending missile systems in order to overwhelm it. In this case it seems Kinzhal managed to overwhelm a Patriot battery with some ~six Kinzhal missiles. Five were reportedly shot down. Possibly other types of lower generation missiles were included in this salvo as well, but those are details we cannot access.

    All in all, very interesting but not very shocking.
  • boethius
    Noticed the Russia-bellends have kept schtum in this thread as of late. Ukraine appears to be morphing into an Eastern European version of Israel.Changeling

    You mean we aren't doing victory laps over the capture of Bakhmut because we aren't "Russia-bellends" but view the war as an immense and easily prevented tragedy?

    Or perhaps it's because our analysis is so spot on there's nothing much to add.

    What have been my recent points?

    1. A Ukrainian offensive would have all the problems (just a lot more because Russia has capabilities Ukraine lacks entirely) as do the Russian offensives. The difference being that Russia can attrit the Ukrainians with artillery and standoff munitions.

    2. The latest weapons systems drip fed to Ukraine (aka. Western tanks and Patriot missiles) would fail to deliver any meaningful change on the battlefield and the talk would immediately move on to the next weapons system (aka. the F-16s).

    3. Sanctions continue to not collapse the Russian economy or cause some new Russian capitalist revolution.

    4. For these and many more reasons (such as Russia heavily fortifying their position for an entire year), it is essentially impossible for Ukraine to remove Russian forces from all the previously held Ukrainian territory, and even trying would cost hundreds of thousands of lives and be unlikely to succeed; in the unlikely event it did succeed the war would still not be over and the tragedy would simply continue into the next chapter.

    5. Nuclear blackmail does work, which is what explains NATO not intervening directly or "escalating" with the weapon systems that Ukraine would actually need to win.

    6. Diplomatic resolution is the only remotely possible end to this conflict and continued fighting erodes Ukraine's negotiating position rather than strengthens it.

    7. The idea sacrificing Ukraine to harm Russia makes the US and/or Europe "safer" is of dubious moral foundation and highly speculative if that's even happening. Historically, winning a war, and in many cases even losing a war, makes a country far stronger militarily, rather than weaker, and there is no evidence this case is an exception.

    The only thing to add to this analysis is:

    A. That not only has Russia conquered Bakhmut but they've done so with mercenaries.

    If the Western narrative is true that Russia uses "waves" of cannon fodder, then that just fixes the other part of the Western narrative that these mercenaries are all psychopathic criminals.

    Whereas the truth is Wagner has proven to be efficient and the people upset about prisoners winning freedom by fighting would likely be far more upset about more people they know dying.

    A lot of these mercenaries are foreigners, who will continue to signup insofar as Russia is winning.

    B. Western equipment has changed nothing and is starting to be destroyed which is a great advertisement for the Russian arms industry, the second major industry in Russia after oil and gas.

    To make things even worse, there's interviews with Ukrainian soldiers describing Russian tanks super difficult to deal with and a major reason for retreating from Bakhmut. We can conclude from this that not only has Russia not run out of tanks (actually has more than that 1 tank on parade) but they've become proficient at the combined arms tactics needed to counter anti-tank missiles, other tanks, mines, APC's and so on.

    C. If anything is some masterful "soviet" propaganda scheme, it would be Prigozhin's v-blogging adventure. And if not Soviet (presumably if Soviet propaganda methods were so effective they'd still be around), a single tank on parade and some mercenary businessman continuously complaining about ammunition is just lifted directly out of an old book popular among war planners:

    Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak. — Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

    I believe even some Western war military academies have copies of this manual.
  • ssu
    Seems a lot of excitement with Bakhmut falling from the usual commentators. Masterful "soviet" propaganda schemes to appear weak... (Comes to my mind the way Trumpists promoted the idea that Trump was always playing 3D chess, that we simply couldn't follow, when fumbling in office.) :smirk:

    It will be interesting to see who made the "Kremlin drone strike", but at least the idea of a false flag seems to be very doubtful (and illogical) and what Ilya Ponomarev stated that it would be dissident groups wanting to curtail the victory parade (but not wanting put people in harms way) seems rather plausible.

    Now with the attack on a border town in Russia by the "Freedom of Russia Legion", it's obvious that these little groups aren't fake news, even if the actions are limited. But it tells how in a country where protests are forbidden what the next level of opposition will be.

    Ukraine can try to distance from the group as much it can, but the March 10th 2022 formed group has been part of the Ukrainian International Legion. Yet it is obvious that Putin has an opposition in his country.

    In the long run, it is totally possible for Russia to have it's next civil war (or times of trouble). The myriad of armed groups and actors is already there. In fact, before Putin rose to power, some of the intelligence networks came to blows at each other and it's a real possibility that after Putin the power struggle can be fought with arms.
  • Tzeentch
    I'm not rooting for any team. I think you are, and that's why you're so eager to project that onto others who post here when things don't go the way you want them to.

    The frustration is palpable, but it is yours.

    Keep it to yourself or express it in a less passive-aggressive way. Don't burden others with your emotion.
  • ssu
    I'm not rooting for any team.Tzeentch
    Well, I just don't like when countries invade others.

    I didn't like it when Bush invaded Iraq or Afghanistan either. Or when Saudi-Arabia attacked Yemen. And Ukraine even didn't have an dictator that attacked it's neighbors like Iraq (which still wasn't a reason to invade it).

    But I guess for some this kind of choosing sides is unacceptable.
  • Manuel

    And who here likes it? Does anybody like invasions or war? Maybe, perhaps, some elements in the military, they are the hammer after all and everything looks like a nail, as the saying goes.

    War is a disgusting indictment of barbarism in the 21st century, of which we have not learned enough, given how many there are.

    But to suggest that those who disagree with your perspective like Russia or Putin, is misleading at best.
  • boethius
    Masterful "soviet" propaganda schemes to appear weak...ssu

    Obviously you didn't get the satire.

    The claim the Russians have a masterful "soviet" propaganda scheme machine going was to support the idea not only did Russia blow up their own pipelines but they went the extra several hundred miles to blow them up right on Denmark's border under NATO's nose ... and also used several tons of explosives for additional emphasis.

    This has already been clearly described by many including people like Vlad Vexler, focusing on the shift from Soviet propaganda before the wall fell to Russian propaganda today.Christoffer

    And if you don't believe this wild conspiracy theory of Russian and essentially perfect, one may say masterful, covert opps and 5 dimensional propaganda move:

    Bombing the pipeline while Germany is already dismantling their need for it has no function. Russia however, just as with their propaganda strategies, aims to split the west into conflicts with each other so as to not have a united front against Russia. That's their aim and it's well established. So, what does a bombing of Nordstream at this time? Russia directly pointed blame against Ukraine, then the west, then the US, just as they already do with other propaganda strategies. The intention is to seed doubt so that the west starts to blame each other. And you are among the ones who they play like a fiddle in order to spread this doubt.Christoffer

    Then you are the one who:

    the one who's making a fool out of himself. You don't even understand the conspiracy rabbit hole you're stuck in.Christoffer

    Now, as for the single tank on parade. That's just common sense. Had they paraded their whole inventory the same Western talking heads laughing at a single tank would be going on about how insane it is to parade your entire inventory during a war (which it is ... and maybe why the Russians didn't do that).

    However, what could actually be staged is Prigozhin's midnight comedy blowout theatre show, and when I point that out suddenly the idea Russia has some propaganda tricks up their sleeve is ludicrous and certainly the Russians couldn't put together a simple plan of telling the enemy what they want to hear so that their own propaganda networks seed your message for you and your enemy basically "trusts" one of your commanders and take everything he says at face value.

    And if that's not the case, why is he still alive?

    Nothing easier than arranging an "accident" in a war zone. When it started, maybe he had gone rogue or something, but it's been going on for months so at some point it's difficult to interpret people's actions that are on the same team as something other than team work.
  • ssu
    But to suggest that those who disagree with your perspective like Russia or Putin, is misleading at best.Manuel
    Like Russia or Putin?

    Well, that I don't think the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th Century. But Putin does.

    And obviously through his actions, he is trying to form the empire back. Not perhaps with the Marxist-Leninist ideology, but with traditional imperialism. And I disagree with that.

    So what's misleading about that?
  • Manuel

    That those of us who think it was the West's fault for Russian aggression must agree or like Putin or his government, it doesn't follow at all.

    I don't recall anyone here say that they wanted the USSR back, so I don't know why you're bringing it up.
  • ssu
    If you write...
    but to suggest that those who disagree with your perspective like Russia or PutinManuel
    ...then I thought you were referring to Russia and Putin.
  • yebiga

    The solitary antidote to sin and folly lies in the resolute abandonment of censorship. A democracy, poised on the precipice of descent into oligarchy and tyranny, can be salvaged solely through the steadfast rejection of the censor. Since the renaissance, every stride towards human advancement has hinged upon the unrestrained dissemination of thought. Conversely, every regression, genocide, and unspeakable atrocity has sprouted from the seeds of suppression. Absent the heavy veil of censorship, the specters of Hitler and Stalin would wither in obscurity. Neither criminal enterprise nor corruption can thrive sans censorship, for their sustenance emanates from its very shackles. The price exacted for human progress is the ardent tolerance of unpalatable discourse, however offensive, however jarring.

    In our era, a solitary tragedy unfolds, wherein we, the unified West, bear the mantle of champions for this notion of free expression. It stands as the bedrock of our triumph, yet we find ourselves mired in the depths of treachery. While we espouse the virtues of tolerance, our shared culture has transmuted into an abhorrent bastion of insufferable intolerance.

    Since 1945, the USA has initiated armed conflicts in over 120 countries. If we add to this record the various contrived regime change operations, the funding of separatists, colour revolutions, covert operations and economic sanctions and there is hardly a country in the world that has not directly experienced US aggression.

    A generous interpretation might be something like the old idea of the white man's burden. To be fair not every war, uprising or regime change since 1945 can be attributed to US foreign intervention. It is even possible that this bellicose foreign policy has prevented the emergence of other conflicts.

    But this now unmentionable narrative overshadows the global zeitgeist. Sadly, since the end of the cold war and the advent of unipolarity this topic is verboten. Our media has become incapable of challenging the official collective western foreign policy, the ensuing absence of critical analysis has so elevated the baseline level of corruption and incompetence that it has now reached a velocity that escapes the gravitational pull of reality. Our entire political class and our culture - across the collective west - is literally, technically and undeniably insane.

    The Ukraine war coverage is a succession of choreographed stunts and ghost stories. Russia or Putin's demise is always weeks away. The Russians are short of ammunition. their economy is just about to tank. Any day now, there will be a coup or a spontaneous something. Each successive self serving claim is replaced and memory holed with the fresh promise that this time it really is true.

    The non-western world is no longer buying it. They've had it with our compassion for human rights. They've had 70 years of empty rhetoric of democracy and human rights. They see the freedom of the press that Julian Assange enjoys. They've seen one self serving suspect crisis after another evaporate conveniently: wars on drugs, wars on terror, wars on viruses. wars on climate... They are no longer buying it.

    Western media has not reported Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missiles destroyed 5 Patriot Systems in Kiev last week or that a Russian Missile destroyed a large cache of depleted Uranium shells sent by the UK to the Ukraine - in Khmelnytsky. They can't even concede that Bakhmut is entirely in Russian hands. Any day now there will be great Ukraine counter-offensive that will crush Russia. Watch out F16s are coming.

    For 15 months, we have watched Zelensky and the Ukraine military kick Russian butt. The rest of the is watching something else. They cheer Russia as it deflects and depletes US/NATO military and economic power. 11 rounds of NATO led sanctions have not only failed to hurt the Russian economy, but the signs are that decoupling from the west, reinvesting in its own industry and realigning with the rest of world is elevating Russia towards becoming an economic powerhouse.

    No number of successive disastrous economic or military escapades can dampen Western Supremacy. Not only has the recent US humiliation in Afghanistan already been forgotten - the defeat of the US project in Syria is barely acknowledged. Yet, Syria, with Assad still at the helm, has this week been welcomed back into the Arab League. The entire middle east (excluding Israel) is in rapprochement with Iran! - These are historic events.

    The non-western world understand the central role that Russian military played in Syria. Russia's decision to intervene in Syria against the USA occurred in 2015 - shortly after the Ukraine Maiden colour revolution. The slow but successful Russian approach deployed in Syria is the same approach now evident in the Ukraine. War is not a board game, but if it is to be compared to a board game, then it is much less the kind of poker game or crab shoot the USA likes to play, and much more the chess game that Russians thrive at.

    World War 3 Production and Supply

    Our more extravagant profit based, just in time, agile, globally distributed production models work extremely well in meeting consumer demand for Smart Phones. It is perhaps an optimal model when there is peace and co-operation between countries. But it doesn't seem to possess the necessary volume grunt required to win a war.

    To state the bleeding obvious - the USA is not the manufacturing powerhouse that helped win WW1 and WW2. That is China. Today, China's manufacturing capacity exceeds that of the US, the UE and japan combined. Yet, the USA chooses to goad China over Taiwan when it is at war with Russia?

    Whilst the US remains addicted to bombing countries and running trillion dollar ponzi schemes, China is busying building bridges, dams, and cities all around the world. China capacity to rapidly gear up to produce billions of any kind of goods is unprecedented. Now add to China's manufacturing capacity and population, Russia's resources and military prowess. Russia who since 2015 has revived its soviet military production capacity anticipating just this conflict. The soviets never had focus groups, and so could never satisfy consumer needs. But this vertically integrated command based model arguably does suit the demands of war. It is a model that doesn't suffer from pesky efficiency requirements to deliver shareholder value. No lengthy plans and contract negotiations with disparate globally dispersed suppliers. For both Russia and China there is no profit based war industry bleeding the public purse. Production of tanks, missiles and ammunitions is determined by national needs not profits.

    The relative rise of China and the rest of the non-western world is a good thing. The regression of the Western World towards delusion and tyranny is a catastrophe of biblical proportions.

    Those familiar with Plato and Aristotle should not be surprised that democracy can become so corrupted. At least we know the cure, even if we aren't quite ready to take our medicine.

  • jorndoe

    ↪yebiga, whip up a new post on that. :up: Discussion-worthy, yes?May 18, 2023
  • ssu
    An eloquent comment, yet I would think that the generalization of the "non-western countries" goes a bit too far off as these are individual states making there decisions specifically from their own unique situation. Their relationship to the "West" differs a lot. In fact, even "The West" doesn't seem so unified when you look at the countries themselves. You can see obvious differences between Poland, Hungary, the UK or Italy when it comes to war in Ukraine. And these countries are part of NATO.

    The entire middle east (excluding Israel) is in rapprochement with Iran! - These are historic events.yebiga
    Here the important issue is Saudi-Arabia and Iran restoring diplomatic ties, thanks to China. But how harmonious these relations still are is questionable, it's more about reducing the possibility of a regional conflict.
  • Tzeentch
    A recent talk by John Mearsheimer on the Ukraine war, in which he delves into quite a bit of detail:

    Some interesting points he makes:

    - Mearsheimer believes the Russians will aim to (eventually) annex a little under 50% of Ukraine, including Odessa and large parts east of the Dnieper river.

    - The war has turned out to be a classic war of attrition, that the Russians stand to win due to factors of population and artillery imbalance. Mearsheimer estimates casualty exchange ratios to be roughly 2:1 in favor of the Russians. This is likely a conservative estimate as he also cites sources stating 3:1 or even 4:1 (in favor of the Russians). The 7:1 exchange ratio in favor of the Ukrainians that is regularly cited in news media he considers a bogus claim, considering Russia holds between a 5-10:1 artillery advantage. (Artillery being the primary factor in a war of attrition.)

    - In the Q&A Mearsheimer explains the role of the Biden administration in the outbreak of the war, pointing out that Biden was in charge of the Ukraine portfolio when vice-president under Obama, and was notoriously hawkish. He also notes that upon his election Biden likely took this view in relation to Ukraine further, 'doubled down', causing the increase in tensions shortly after his election in 2021.

    I personally think 'the Daltons': Biden, Sullivan, Blinken and Nuland, are the individuals who bear the primary responsibility for the outbreak of this conflict. They have been involved in Ukraine (and with each other) and sown the seeds for conflict for over a decade.

    I would add to Mearsheimer's second point that it's somewhat clear why the war turned into a war of attrition during this stage. Russia is not looking to take large chunks of territory while the occupied areas are still being pacified, and thus with more or less stationary fronts attrition is the way the Russians can still erode the Ukrainian fighting strength, which they seem to have been successful at.
  • ssu
    I would add to Mearsheimer's second point that it's somewhat clear why the war turned into a war of attrition during this stage. Russia is not looking to take large chunks of territory while the occupied areas are still being pacified, and thus with more or less stationary frontsTzeentch
    Because of pacification of the held areas, Russia isn't advancing?

    How about the simple fact that neither side has the capability for large-scale maneuver warfare as they simply lack the reserves of fully equipped brigades/divisions, to "take large chunks of territory" and hence the only action seen has been in a very limited areas, like in Bakhmut?

    How did that Russian winter offensive go? Ah, they got Bakhmut! Well, that's actually not much. It will take time for Russia to transform into a wartime economy, yet likely it will do that. But it doesn't happen instantly. The longer this conflict goes on, the better for Russia.

    And what is likely that neither Ukraine will make huge gains as earlier, likely their summer offensive will be quite local operations. The assistance Ukraine has gotten isn't anywhere close what would be needed for create large scale maneuvers and to cut the land bridge to Crimea. If that would happen, then I guess the Ukraine armed forces would have transformed quite a lot. Furthermore, the Dnipro river is quite an obstacle, especially in the time of accurate weapons that can destroy laid bridges.

    There are many similarities with this the Iran-Iraq war. The offensives were far in between in that war and it became bogged down too.

    attrition is the way the Russians can still erode the Ukrainian fighting strength, which they seem to have been successful at.Tzeentch
    What the Russians have eroded is the air defence missiles of Ukraine by attacking with cruise missiles and rockets Ukrainian cities. And as those Ukrainian air defence systems have been mainly from Cold War stocks and the factories for additional missiles lie in Russia, Ukraine is urging for fighters and seems that the US obviously has noticed this problem and will start to give those fighters.
  • ssu
    (Reuters, 24th May 2023) Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group, warned that Russia could face a revolution similar to those of 1917 and lose the conflict in Ukraine unless the elite got serious about fighting the war. - If ordinary Russians continued getting their children back in zinc coffins while the children of the elite "shook their arses" in the sun, he said, Russia would face turmoil along the lines of the 1917 revolutions that ushered in a civil war.

    "This divide can end as in 1917 with a revolution," he said.

    "First the soldiers will stand up, and after that - their loved ones will rise up," he said. "There are already tens of thousands of them - relatives of those killed. And there will probably be hundreds of thousands - we cannot avoid that."

    Quite a populist remark referring to the elites, but it's noticeable that he's talking about a possibility of similar events as in 1917.
  • frank

    Will relations between Europe/US and Russia ever be normalized while Putin is in control?
  • yebiga

    True! The non-western world is not a monolithic entity, and you rightly observe, even within the Western NATO bloc, dissension infiltrates the ranks. Nevertheless, there are discernible patterns and tendencies.

    The nucleus of the Collective West may be identified as the USA, UK, Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and NZ. Though occasional ripples may emanate from the psyche of Macron, all these nations move in unison with Washington.

    Adjacent to them, South Korea and Japan, though resolute adherents of the collective West, grapple with the gravitational pull of geography position, traditions, and economic self-interest, which inexorably draw them closer to the embrace of China and Russia.

    Poland, with fervour is anti-Russian, but its more orthodox family and Christian principles do not seamlessly integrate with core contemporary Western thinking. Nonetheless, Poland derives solace from its membership within the EU, providing scant reason to anticipate a serious deviation.

    Hungary and Turkey wield the Damocles sword .

    Hungary, is a nation that strives to march in step with the collective West, but does not the bear enmity towards Russia. Its resolute commitment to family and Christian traditions mirrors those evident in Poland. Countless attempts by Brussels to undermine the indomitable Orban have come to naught, failing to quell his popularity or his penchant for publicly censuring both NATO and EU policies. Hungary pursues a policy of nonalignment with this anti-Russian crusade, it advocates peace, abjuring further provision of armaments, whilst venturing to explore alternative avenues that foster the expansion of energy imports from Russia.

    From Turkey, the enigmatic Svengali Erdogan, dances the intricate web of self-interest, pitting one side against the other. An ill-fitting member of NATO, a restless aspirant to the EU, Turkey straddles both Europe and Asia. Its western edges brush against Europe, its inner core is quintessentially Eastern. Erdogan will gift weapons upon the Ukraine whilst simultaneously inking pipeline and MIR Card contracts and welcoming surging Russian tourism. When Sweden and Finland wish to enter NATO, Turkey asks, "What profits shall I reap?" The Turkish populace harbour resentment for Erdogan's indifferent domestic policies, but they revel in his audacious foreign strutting.

    Turkey, is the underbelly of NATO, it is a prize the West can not relinquish, and Erdogan, along with all of Turkey knows it. The seductive call of the BRICs and SCO beckon. If China's Road and Belt project is half successful, Turkey's destiny is pre-ordained but for now it is happy teasing all suitors.
  • yebiga
    Which part: the decline of Western Culture? US over-reach? China's rise?
    Or all of the above?
  • ssu
    Will relations between Europe/US and Russia ever be normalized while Putin is in control?frank

    I cannot see it happening.
  • ssu
    There's one thing I should point out here about Europe: West European countries that belong to NATO have really based their security around the defense pact and it serves them from their own terms. One shouldn't forget this. The US can be (and has been) frustrated that countries in it's alliance won't go the way it wants them to go (and help in invading some country they want to invade), but one shouldn't underestimate how successful the pact has been. And this is the part which people shouldn't get confused about: NATO countries don't follow slavishly the US in every US incursion, but the countries not going along in certain policies doesn't undermine the defense pact itself.

    It's like the EU. Remember American commentators have said for decades that the EU will collapse, because the integration doesn't work. Well, the EU surely won't become an European United States, but the fate of UK has really shut the mouths of EU sceptics in member countries and has shown just how important the integration is. The EU won't collapse as member states breaking off from the union has truly damaging effects.

    NATO is similar. What people often forget is how important actually Article 1 is, which I've stated here again and again. Just compare NATO with the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) that actually did go to war to liberate Kuwait, but later the countries have been close to going to war with each other and Saudi-Arabia has deployed forces to quell demonstrations in one member country (something what basically the Warsaw Pact actually did). The idea that NATO would be used to put down an uprising in a member country seems quite remote.

    And then there are the examples of the failed American treaty organizations, SEATO and CENTO. Their failure simply comes from the fact that these countries didn't have much in common. The security threats of Pakistan and the Phillippines are quite different. There was minimal military integration among the former member states. And then you had the revolutions in Iraq and Iran, which made former allies to become part of the "Axis of evil" in American eyes. In short, the member states didn't view SEATO and CENTO membership as important and were just fine with bilateral agreements with the US.

    Hence NATO members can have their disagreements, yet for a country like Hungary to resign from the organization would be as detrimental as the country opting out from the EU. In fact the only country that can wreck NATO is the US itself, if the US under Trump or someone decides to opt out of the treaty. This would simply instantly force to create the defense pact within EU, where Ireland and Austria wouldn't create a problem.

    And if the US would severe the Atlantic link, it simply would cease to be a Superpower in the way it is now. Suddenly the US would be listened to in Europe as much as it's allies in the Middle East listen to it.
  • boethius

    It's nice to see that you see point of view.

    I'm far less optimistic all these geopolitical changes won't end in disaster, but I agree with summary of what is actually happening.

    I'm not sure he's arguing NATO will fall apart, such as Hungary or anyone leaving, just pointing out the fact Hungary's position right now is at odds with the US.

    As you aptly observe:

    NATO countries don't follow slavishly the US in every US incursion, but the countries not going along in certain policies doesn't undermine the defense pact itself.ssu

    Which, with failure in Ukraine, it this opting-out of US wars or US sanctions that would be likely to increase.

    The defensive aspect of NATO is one thing, which I don't see anyone arguing Russia or China would actually attack NATO anyways.

    What is at stake in this war in Ukraine is the imperialistic aspect of NATO, serving US interests. If countries weren't really forced to participate before it doesn't necessarily take much for them to start opting out in larger numbers.

    If the US's geopolitical position is significantly eroded by this war then both costs and risks of participating in US intervention increase while benefits decrease.

    Worse, as long as the war is "on" (not to mention the tensions in the South China Sea) the US cannot credibly say they will cause much trouble for other countries that get out of line. There is a window in which countries can radically shift geopolitical positions without much fear of being bombed by the US.

    But worst of all, the sanctions have not only failed but created a parallel global economy absorbing everyone already under sanction (in particular Iran), but which any country (mostly in Asia but elsewhere too) can leverage in international relations both directly vis-a-vis the US (they "can go elsewhere") as well as in increasing collaboration with foes of the US (aka. China and Russia) knowing US retaliation is significantly blunted.

    And this is not in anyway a new idea, but basically sanctions 101:

    In a time when U.S. consistency and reliability is openly questioned by some of America’s closest allies, threats of permanent sanctions will draw more attention to the risks of being dependent on the U.S. financial system. America’s importance as an international financial hub will not disappear overnight, and neither will the reach of U.S. sanctions. If the U.S. comes to be seen as an untrustworthy custodian, there will be a slow and inexorable erosion of America’s role and influence.

    Sanctions compare favorably with any other tool the U.S. has—and certainly very favorably to military action. Sanctions can help address real problems in the world, which is why the U.S. should not fritter them away.
    Misusing U.S. Sanctions Will Sap Their Power, Blanc, 2017

    Or even more prophetic:

    A one-size-fits-all approach to foreign policy is bound to fail. But the trend is no less clear. While there will be those instances in which sanctions can help, either alone or more likely in conjunction with other tools, recent history strongly suggests that the potential of sanctions to contribute to American foreign policy will be modest—and that asking more of them than that promises to be counterproductive.Economic Sanctions: Too Much of a Bad Thing, Haas, 1998

    Yet not more than 18 months ago, US talking heads would regularly refer to sanctions as "the nuclear option" ... anyone calling them that now?

    Likewise, anyone actually believe today that the US may bomb or invade them any moment if they crossed any US foreign policy lines?

    Of course, it's possible the large majority of the world stays square in the US sphere of influence because they are so likeable, but if they don't then it definitely seems to me the US has invested their main imperial tools in Ukraine.

    And for what? To (maybe) damage Russia enough so that Russia can't bully around neighbouring countries?

    Ukraine is the tree in the US' imperial forest, and the way things are going they aren't even happy in their new tree house.
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Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.