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Thread: Twenty Years On...

  1. #271
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  2. #272
    Honestly, that's the most convincing explanation I've come across.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  3. #273
    Many a spy was caught during the cold war because they were travelling with such items as a large US/Soviet flag, a copy of the declaration of independence/the communist manifesto and an A4 sized picture of George Washington/Karl Marx, so I fully believe this.
    The world is dreaming
    Your god is a demon
    And mine is a mountain of souls screaming

  4. #274
    Dumbest motherfucker:

    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  5. #275
    This fake terror plot is just unbelievably sloppy. Could it be something along the lines of "work-to-rule" type of protest within the FSB? Because the only other explanation requires level of incompetence that is simply incompatible with a functioning organization. I mean, if they really operate like this, it should be possible to shut down the entire FSB by slapping the wrong "push/pull" label on the entrance door of their HQ.
    Carthāgō dēlenda est

  6. #276
    There's going to be some interesting stories about what was going on internally during this period in the Russian govt and intelligence community.
    The world is dreaming
    Your god is a demon
    And mine is a mountain of souls screaming

  7. #277
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Don't mock them! I know that I'd want a copy of Sim3 in MY terrorist starter pack. It's quite the multi-tool. Helps desensitize you to inflicting suffering, provides a tool for practice, and also gives you a vehicle for some much-needed recreation when life as a proto-terrorist gets too stressful.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  8. #278
    Major new foreign policy initiative from Putin to stop the flow of foreign arms into Ukraine: he has made a threat. Incredible scenes. Never before seen move.
    The world is dreaming
    Your god is a demon
    And mine is a mountain of souls screaming

  9. #279
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Dumbest motherfucker:

    It's hard to believe that wasn't a deliberate attempt to sabotage.
    Congratulations America

  10. #280
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    The sabre rattling from Russian media about genocide and using nukes is worrying me, to be honest. Probably the latter is posturing, I suppose, but it's not like they've been acting rationally lately.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  11. #281
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    The sabre rattling from Russian media about genocide and using nukes is worrying me, to be honest. Probably the latter is posturing, I suppose, but it's not like they've been acting rationally lately.
    Agreed, I worry it's laying the "groundwork". Then again, the Soviets told their people crazy false shit for years while they were invading Afghanistan and never used nukes.

  12. #282
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Fair enough, though I don't remember that since that's from before my time. It definitely feels line they're justifying genocide though - then again they have to since that's pretty much what they're doing.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  13. #283
    I agree they are laying the ground work to dehumanizing Ukrainians but I get wary of the phrase "genocide". It get thrown around too much.

  14. #284
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    I agree they are laying the ground work to dehumanizing Ukrainians but I get wary of the phrase "genocide". It get thrown around too much.
    Sure, but the combination of dehumanizing, promising destruction, committing war crimes like in Bucha and forced deportations into Russia makes it not so farfetched to describe what they're doing in my opinion.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  15. #285
    Time to kick Turkey out of NATO now that we have a good excuse.
    .

  16. #286
    You know, Steely, I've been re-reading our discussion from March, and I think it's interesting to evaluate in the light of how the invasion has played out since. First off, I was wrong - clearly the problems facing the Russian military are far more serious than I and others had assessed early on in the invasion - even with ample time to regroup/retrench and focus on the Black Sea and Donbas, their ability to advance against relatively weaker Ukrainian defenses has been lackluster at best, and points to a whole host of issues. They continue to face pretty serious losses as they work to secure their near term objectives. (I should note, however, that blaming this all on Russian leadership and troops may be risky.)

    One thing I didn't really bank on was the degree of weaponry that the West was willing to provide to Ukraine, and the speed with which it has been deployed (especially indirect fires) - this has helped to even things out a bit for the current phase of grinding advances/sieges, though Russia still has the advantage. Early on in the war I heard an analyst say something along the lines of 'In a war of attrition between the Russian military industrial complex and the Ukrainian, it's no contest', which continues to be true. But if you pit the manufacturing capabilities of the West - especially the US - against that of Russia, that's a different story entirely. I think we will have to see how long the US/allies are willing to maintain this pace of deliveries - certain munitions and weapons systems are already getting surprising low in Western inventories, and lead times for replacements are long - but Russia is likely to be in much worse shape from this perspective, and will only lose if it comes to a flat out manufacturing effort.

    That being said, I think the asymmetry in manpower will start to tell, though still depending heavily on the degree to which Ukraine and Russia are willing/able to mobilize their populations. I see no sign that Russia is planning to back down, but we'll have to see what that translates into in terms of military power.

    One thing I said in March that I believe continues to be true: there is no path to military victory for Ukraine, provided we define it as evicting Russian forces from Ukrainian territory. The only solution would be some sort of negotiated settlement and will likely involve the loss of some Ukrainian territory. That being said, the ability of Ukraine to keep its government functioning and inflict a punishing stalemate or war of attrition on Russia is looking much better than it was a few months ago. I wouldn't be shocked if Russia slows its advances and works to consolidate its control once they are done reducing remaining pockets in Donbas. We may be looking at a very long, very ugly war with no clear endgame.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  17. #287
    Couple of additional points:

    1) Mobilisation doesn't really help Russia, unless they settle down for a real long war - it takes 6 weeks to do basic training, and then approximately 6 months to learn how to do your job to a basic level of competence, so if they started tomorrow it wouldn't have an effect on the battlefield until next February at the earliest. Even then they just have a load of green troops who likely don't want to be there, and this doesn't solve the equipment issue.
    2) I don't agree there is no path to military victory for Ukraine, but it's not the most likely outcome. I would agree that a long stalemate is more likely, but there is another path to victory for Ukraine which is some kind of political collapse in Russia leading to withdraw.
    The world is dreaming
    Your god is a demon
    And mine is a mountain of souls screaming

  18. #288
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Regarding 1), they have conscription right? Isn't most of the population somewhat trained then?

    Although I read that officers are suffering badly who probably are not easily replaced

    Regarding 2), I think the best thing to hope for now is a stalemate which Russia might not be able to bear - they are losing a lot of equipment, suffering a lot of casualties, and the longer it lasts the bigger the effect sanctions will have. On the other hand, Putin has doubled down on this war, so it's doubtful he'll accept anything that looks like a loss, so I guess a political collapse is the only real way out. I don't really see Ukraine accepting any kind of concession which Russia could claim as a win.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  19. #289
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    Regarding 1), they have conscription right? Isn't most of the population somewhat trained then?
    They are. Also, conscripts are considered fit for active duty in combat zones after 4 months of training in Russia (and there are reports of corpses in Ukraine who've had even less). There's the matter of declaring war on Ukraine before they can draft people from general population, though. So far, they've been telling their people that the "special military operation" is going great; admitting that they need more people so badly that a mobilization is required will probably put a dent or two in that fairy tale. And in the one about "liberating Ukrainian civilians from their illegitimate neo-nazi government". And after so many lies will have collapsed, it might not be exactly the best idea to hand out guns to the general population.
    Carthāgō dēlenda est

  20. #290
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Couple of additional points:

    1) Mobilisation doesn't really help Russia, unless they settle down for a real long war - it takes 6 weeks to do basic training, and then approximately 6 months to learn how to do your job to a basic level of competence, so if they started tomorrow it wouldn't have an effect on the battlefield until next February at the earliest. Even then they just have a load of green troops who likely don't want to be there, and this doesn't solve the equipment issue.
    2) I don't agree there is no path to military victory for Ukraine, but it's not the most likely outcome. I would agree that a long stalemate is more likely, but there is another path to victory for Ukraine which is some kind of political collapse in Russia leading to withdraw.
    I think they are settling in for a long war. Re: equipment, in the Donbas they've been relying much more on long range indirect fires, of which they have no shortage of equipment or ammunition (as opposed to, say, high end MBTs or aircraft or precision fires, which are certainly in short supply). I imagine they can slug it out with Ukrainian troops in the East/South for a rather long period. And we have yet to see if Ukrainian troops, once appropriately reinforced and provided adequate equipment, will be able to carry out sustained offensive operations to clear the Russians from increasingly entrenched positions.

    This approach to warfare boggles my mind, mostly because Western countries have a very low threshold of pain that they're willing to endure to achieve a set of military objectives. We haven't had a real knock-down, drag-out fight against a near-peer competitor in a very long time, where raw industrial output and manpower become key determinants of success. Is Russia prepared to endure this kind of slog? It's unclear. Is Ukraine? Possibly more so (at least vis a vis morale), but their economy is going to be in deep trouble if this isn't resolved quickly, while Russia can limp along (despite sanctions) for much longer. Infusions of cash/aid/military equipment may help tip the balance, though, because keeping Ukraine more or less functional and fed is relatively cheap for the Western world, especially if Western Ukraine can be kept relatively safe.

    Re: political collapse, to me it's all Kremlinology. I have very little understanding of the dynamics of power around Putin or the likelihood of such an event. Based on pre-invasion assessments, it sounded like he had a pretty darned strong grip on power. Whether that assessment was accurate, or whether circumstances has changed, is very difficult for me to tell. I certainly wouldn't mind if Putin was pushed out of office, but banking on that seems unwise and a relatively remote possibility atm.


    One interesting side effect of this whole thing is that Western militaries are taking a long hard look at their own equipment/ammunition stockpiles and supply chains and starting to think about what an extended high intensity conflict might look like for their own prospects. I think we're going to see a lot more insurance built into the system moving forward.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  21. #291
    There have been multiple explosions/fires in the Russian-controlled Crimea lately, somewhat harming the illusion of safety the local residents enjoyed. And now, another incident, even closer to home:

    A car bomb has taken out Alexander Dugin's daughter
    , it is likely that he was the actual target.

    His death would have purely symbolic meaning, if any, but still, the message "even Moscow is not really a safe distance away from the front" should be clear.
    Carthāgō dēlenda est

  22. #292
    My guess the attempted Dugin assassination was by a rival nationalist. Ukrainians have much better targets to go after.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  23. #293
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    My guess the attempted Dugin assassination was by a rival nationalist. Ukrainians have much better targets to go after.
    Likely, but it doesn't really matter, as far as the safety (or feeling safe, at least) of anyone of any significance in Moscow is concerned.

    Two claims have been made so far. FSB claims that it was a hit organized by Ukrainians (probably not true, but that's the accusation they're going with). And Ilya Ponomarev claims that a group "National Republican Army", whose main goal is overthrowing Putin and his regime, is responsible.

    First of all, both claims are tied to Russian invasion of Ukraine.
    And secondly, it means that either FSB is going to try to pin any high-profile assassination on Ukraine instead of conducting a proper investigation - which means somewhat lowered risk of getting caught for going after one's rivals in Moscow - or that there is an actual partisan group that is willing and able to eliminate those believed to be responsible for initiating the war. Neither sounds comforting for that particular crowd.
    Carthāgō dēlenda est

  24. #294
    Yes, this incentivizes behavior that Putin probably doesn't want to incentivize.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  25. #295
    Lots of chatter that Putin might be about to announce full mobilisation, but then

    The world is dreaming
    Your god is a demon
    And mine is a mountain of souls screaming

  26. #296
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    It all looks excessively weak. But that also makes me feel it's highly unstable and dangerous.
    Congratulations America

  27. #297
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    So a partial mobilization. Won't that make their army even less effective, and still have the same problems?
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  28. #298
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    So a partial mobilization. Won't that make their army even less effective, and still have the same problems?
    He said "partial mobilization" in his speech, but the documents he signed and the orders he issued said "full mobilization". There's no defined limit to how many people can be drafted. So many people are trying to flee the country that they had to make it illegal for any man aged 18 to 65 to leave Russia without permission from the Ministry of Defense.

    It's going to be a meat grinder. They're sending these people into Ukraine with whatever cold war equipment remnants they can find that they haven't used already, and they're doing it in winter.

    Also, more oligarchs have fallen down stairs and out of windows.

  29. #299
    I wonder how many of Putin's food testers have died recently.
    .

  30. #300
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Apparently the two British guys who were sentenced to death in a show trial are included in a prisoner swap
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

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