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Thread: Twenty Years On...

  1. #31
    Well, the UK is 'freezing the assets' of people who already have so much money they couldn't spend it several life-times. That'll show 'em. They're gonna give up their dreams of empire because they can't sell the house they brought in London to slowly appreciate in value over decades because they had nothing better to do with some huge pile of liquidity they had hanging around.
    The world is dreaming
    Your god is a demon
    And mine is a mountain of souls screaming

  2. #32
    Gotta hand it to the Russians though, their assessment of the weaknesses of the western democracies has been spot on so far. They've really got us figured out.
    The world is dreaming
    Your god is a demon
    And mine is a mountain of souls screaming

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Gotta hand it to the Russians though, their assessment of the weaknesses of the western democracies has been spot on so far. They've really got us figured out.
    Honestly, Steely, what do you think we should do? I don't think anyone is interested in a military confrontation, and even a full-on embargo a la Cuba - if such a fanciful notion would even be possible to coordinate - would be singularly ineffective.
    "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)

  4. #34
    Not much we can do now. Perhaps being more aggressive about weening Europe of Russian natural gas, aggressively going after Russian dirty money in London and in the political systems in the UK and US the last time they started feeling expansionist might have given us a bit more leverage.
    The world is dreaming
    Your god is a demon
    And mine is a mountain of souls screaming

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Sanctions really aren't going to do anything unless they're substantially more aggressive than what we've seen before. The Russian government has clearly accounted for the possibility of sanctions in response to their activities in Ukraine and decided they can take it on the chin.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    Yeah, I'm not confident the sanctions announced so far are going to be enough, but I guess we'll see. I hope Biden is serious about continuing to ratchet up the sanctions, and it shouldn't just be reactive - we need harsher sanctions to keep rolling in until Putin withdraws. Potentially, we could get away with using weaker sanctions than we'd otherwise need if we can generate a plausible threat of them continuing to build up as long as Russian aggression continues.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Well, the UK is 'freezing the assets' of people who already have so much money they couldn't spend it several life-times. That'll show 'em. They're gonna give up their dreams of empire because they can't sell the house they brought in London to slowly appreciate in value over decades because they had nothing better to do with some huge pile of liquidity they had hanging around.
    Think the most interesting aspect of the sanctions is the targeting of not only Putin's allies but also their families. I don't think all that big a share of powerful Russians are ideologues. Lot more pressure left to apply on these contingent allies.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    I don't see it as a choice. We can't allow imperial ambitions to lead to the conquest of peaceful democratic nations. Appeasement never works - they already took the Sudetenland and now they want the rest of Czechoslovakia, and then it's on to Poland the new "almost guaranteed hostile next door neighbor".
    While Poland would certainly be the most appropriate historical mirror, I'd expect some more southern action and the Baltic States to be targeted first.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    I think it's abundantly clear - and has been since 2014 - that the West cares not one whit about Ukrainian territorial integrity. It is folly to believe that we will be able to muster enough political and economic pressure to cause a withdrawal, or to believe that Russia is in any way responsive to Western pressure on this issue. The current action by Russia is just a formalization of the existing status quo, and the world seemed quite content to let them get away with it for the last 8 years. I'm not sure why now will be any different.

    I do think that action to capture Kiev would get people's attention, but mostly because of concerns of neighboring NATO members, not any actual concern about Ukrainian sovereignty. And even there it's highly probably that we'll have short lived disapproval and ineffective economic sanctions rather than anything effective. I'm not really proposing we should do more - Ukraine is frankly not worth risking a war with Russia over - but I think we should be clear-headed about how much we're really willing to do and how effective it's likely to be.

    I have to add one note. This is Europe's back door. The European community has been insisting they're full grown-ups at the global table for a number of decades now. This is or should be their show. If the EU et al are not willing/able to effectively respond when a literal neighbor is undermined for years and literally invaded now, when will they be?
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    I have to add one note. This is Europe's back door. The European community has been insisting they're full grown-ups at the global table for a number of decades now. This is or should be their show. If the EU et al are not willing/able to effectively respond when a literal neighbor is undermined for years and literally invaded now, when will they be?
    Military/security aspects of Russia policy in the region has traditionally been the purview of NATO. The EU is designed to facilitate economic, social, and political integration—which it has continued to do, and which represents a major concern for Putin's regime. The 21 NATO member states in the EU already have a forum (NATO) for addressing the threat posed by Russia—they should prioritize that forum for that issue instead of wasting energy on trying to make the EU fulfill functions it isn't suited to fulfill. NATO has a long and substantial partnership with Ukraine, and Russia's military actions against Ukraine have a much clearer relevance to NATO's interests and indeed its raison d'être. If NATO isn't able to effectively respond when an important partner is undermined for years, invaded, annexed, and then invaded again, when will it be?

    Moving on from that tangent, I think the Biden admin's successful marshaling of support from eg. Japan and Taiwan will prove to be significant.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Military/security aspects of Russia policy in the region has traditionally been the purview of NATO. The EU is designed to facilitate economic, social, and political integration—which it has continued to do, and which represents a major concern for Putin's regime. The 21 NATO member states in the EU already have a forum (NATO) for addressing the threat posed by Russia—they should prioritize that forum for that issue instead of wasting energy on trying to make the EU fulfill functions it isn't suited to fulfill. NATO has a long and substantial partnership with Ukraine, and Russia's military actions against Ukraine have a much clearer relevance to NATO's interests and indeed its raison d'être. If NATO isn't able to effectively respond when an important partner is undermined for years, invaded, annexed, and then invaded again, when will it be?

    Moving on from that tangent, I think the Biden admin's successful marshaling of support from eg. Japan and Taiwan will prove to be significant.
    Yeah, right, keep it in NATO so Sweden can stay neutered, er, I mean, neutral.
    .

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    Yeah, right, keep it in NATO so Sweden can stay neutered, er, I mean, neutral.
    Much as I agree that Russian aggression in Ukraine is a problem that should concentrate minds in Europe irrespective of NATO membership, it's really easy for you to criticize Swedish neutrality (at least theoretical neutrality) from the comfort of the US. It's a lot harder when you're in a country whose airspace and territorial waters are routinely violated by a much larger and aggressive neighbor. In such a circumstance official neutrality may look more wise than craven.
    "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)

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    Much as I agree that Russian aggression in Ukraine is a problem that should concentrate minds in Europe irrespective of NATO membership, it's really easy for you to criticize Swedish neutrality (at least theoretical neutrality) from the comfort of the US. It's a lot harder when you're in a country whose airspace and territorial waters are routinely violated by a much larger and aggressive neighbor. In such a circumstance official neutrality may look more wise than craven.
    Have you ever heard of a place in the USA called Alaska? It actually shares more border with Russia than Sweden even has borders (maybe, looks like it on the maps anyway). If it comes down to it I'd prefer to trade Sweden to Russia in return for Ukraine. We'd have them surrounded in Sweden, never have that in Ukraine.
    .

  12. #42
    Also, your response above is more indicative of why Ukraine should claim neutrality, more so than Sweden. Ukraine actually shares a border with Russia. If Swedes don't want to piss off Russia by joining NATO why should we expect Ukrainians to join NATO and piss Russia off?
    .

  13. #43
    Also, reference Kingsman: Secret Service...
    .

  14. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Think the most interesting aspect of the sanctions is the targeting of not only Putin's allies but also their families. I don't think all that big a share of powerful Russians are ideologues. Lot more pressure left to apply on these contingent allies.
    That's the only way that sanctions would work. Putin doesn't give a shit about Russian citizens, but when all the people keeping him in power start getting pissy about all the money they're losing, that'll be what gets him to pull back.

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    While Poland would certainly be the most appropriate historical mirror, I'd expect some more southern action and the Baltic States to be targeted first.
    Yeah, I just like drawing the historical parallels. Putin's been trying to break NATO so that he can annex the Baltic states that are part of it, so they're clearly high on his priority list of conquests. Without Trump I don't think he has much chance of ending NATO, so I'd expect him to focus on trying to annex or puppet non-NATO states after Ukraine. Maybe Moldova since they can reuse a lot of the same justifications they invented for Ukraine, and they'll probably be looking pretty vulnerable without an independent Ukraine.

  15. #45
    For those of you who want an update on NATO's relationship with Sweden in 2022—decades after the end of the Cold War—this is a good place to start:

    https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_52535.htm

    Sweden is not "neutral" v-a-v Russia. Although Swedish discourse wrt Russia and NATO differs somewhat from that of Finland, there is no policy of "neutrality" wrt war or comparable crises involving eg. Russian aggression against states that Sweden is committed to support; instead, there is an official policy of solidarity, which includes military support. In several respects, NATO-Sweden relations are similar to—but deeper and more well-established than—NATO-Ukraine relations.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  16. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    I think it's abundantly clear - and has been since 2014 - that the West cares not one whit about Ukrainian territorial integrity. It is folly to believe that we will be able to muster enough political and economic pressure to cause a withdrawal, or to believe that Russia is in any way responsive to Western pressure on this issue. The current action by Russia is just a formalization of the existing status quo, and the world seemed quite content to let them get away with it for the last 8 years. I'm not sure why now will be any different.

    I do think that action to capture Kiev would get people's attention, but mostly because of concerns of neighboring NATO members, not any actual concern about Ukrainian sovereignty. And even there it's highly probably that we'll have short lived disapproval and ineffective economic sanctions rather than anything effective. I'm not really proposing we should do more - Ukraine is frankly not worth risking a war with Russia over - but I think we should be clear-headed about how much we're really willing to do and how effective it's likely to be.
    I disagree. We guaranteed their security and independence, and after all of Trump's fuckery with them, we need to do this to ensure that our guarantees and treaties mean anything. We'll lose a lot more than Ukraine if we don't do whatever we can to keep our word and put a stop to Russian imperialism. Insert Taiwan mention here. Russia will not go to war with NATO, Putin will only take what he thinks he can get without a war with NATO. He's just trying to get us to back away while he advances, and all we have to do is not back away to stop him.

    Have you been listening to that pinko soviet sympathizer Tucker Carlson?

  17. #47
    There's a broad range of escalatory measures short of war Russia can accept that most NATO-members simply do not have the stomach for—not when it comes to a country that isn't a member. I don't think Putin will go to war with NATO either—because NATO currently seems extremely unwilling to put itself in a position where Putin can go to war with NATO. Putin will secure the Donbas and harrass the rest of Ukraine for years, and NATO will offer support carefully calculated to avoid escalation to the point of war.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  18. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    For those of you who want an update on NATO's relationship with Sweden in 2022—decades after the end of the Cold War—this is a good place to start:

    https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_52535.htm

    Sweden is not "neutral" v-a-v Russia. Although Swedish discourse wrt Russia and NATO differs somewhat from that of Finland, there is no policy of "neutrality" wrt war or comparable crises involving eg. Russian aggression against states that Sweden is committed to support; instead, there is an official policy of solidarity, which includes military support. In several respects, NATO-Sweden relations are similar to—but deeper and more well-established than—NATO-Ukraine relations.
    That's one sided,

    https://ecfr.eu/article/how-the-russ...curity-policy/

    So, at a time when Russia seems poised to invade Ukraine, why shouldn’t Sweden join NATO if it already cooperates with the alliance so closely? Opponents of Swedish accession to NATO argue that such a move could increase tensions in the Baltic region, that non-membership will provide Sweden with greater strategic flexibility in the long term, that NATO’s nuclear policy would undermine the country’s long-standing commitment to nuclear disarmament, and that it would be unwise to join an alliance that offers security guarantees to Turkey.
    Sweden wants it both ways.

    “The boys can stay outside”, said Finnish president Tarja Halonen in 2002 when Swedish prime minister Göran Persson visited Helsinki. She was referring to their security policy advisers, who had to wait in the lounge while the two leaders agreed only to apply for NATO membership after consulting each other. There are good reasons for this “strongbox agreement”, which still seems to be in force. If one of the countries moved alone, this would put the other in a difficult position. So far, during the current crisis, both the Finnish and Swedish governments have made clear that they have no intention of applying for NATO membership.

    But Finland and Sweden disagree on some security issues, such as defence cooperation within the EU. As Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto observes: “Finland is close to the French position and believes in more military cooperation within the EU.”

    Former Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh advocated a more autonomous EU in security policy 20 years ago. But, in recent years, Sweden has opposed significant steps towards stronger European military capabilities. Last year, Sweden was one of several countries that objected to proposals for an EU rapid reaction force.
    Nonetheless, it is unlikely but not impossible that the populist Sweden Democrats will begin to call for NATO membership as part of a compromise with the centre-right. Were this to happen, there would suddenly be a parliamentary majority for accession to the alliance.
    .

  19. #49


    When the EU has to sanction Anatoly Karpov
    The world is dreaming
    Your god is a demon
    And mine is a mountain of souls screaming

  20. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    Have you ever heard of a place in the USA called Alaska? It actually shares more border with Russia than Sweden even has borders (maybe, looks like it on the maps anyway). If it comes down to it I'd prefer to trade Sweden to Russia in return for Ukraine. We'd have them surrounded in Sweden, never have that in Ukraine.
    Thank you, Ms. Palin.

    I don't think it should be difficult for you to understand the relative positions of the US and Sweden vis a vis a confrontation with Russia. What Sweden might gain in collective security and firepower by being part of NATO might be of little comfort if they were facing Russian hybrid warfare on their doorstep. The US is largely insulated from such immediate and pressing security concerns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    Also, your response above is more indicative of why Ukraine should claim neutrality, more so than Sweden. Ukraine actually shares a border with Russia. If Swedes don't want to piss off Russia by joining NATO why should we expect Ukrainians to join NATO and piss Russia off?
    I think a very good argument can be made in favor of Ukraine maintaining a 'friends but not members' status with NATO akin to the existing Partnership for Peace arrangement. I was not suggesting otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    I disagree. We guaranteed their security and independence, and after all of Trump's fuckery with them, we need to do this to ensure that our guarantees and treaties mean anything. We'll lose a lot more than Ukraine if we don't do whatever we can to keep our word and put a stop to Russian imperialism. Insert Taiwan mention here. Russia will not go to war with NATO, Putin will only take what he thinks he can get without a war with NATO. He's just trying to get us to back away while he advances, and all we have to do is not back away to stop him.

    Have you been listening to that pinko soviet sympathizer Tucker Carlson?
    Perhaps I should clarify my position. My point was not that the general apathy of the West toward continued Russian encroachment on the sovereignty of its neighbors (Ukraine is hardly unique in this regard - just look at Georgia) is good or acceptable. I was just saying that it exists, and any fantasies people might have that this time is different seem to fly in the face of history and reality. I have yet to see a sanctions package that would even make Putin pause, and I doubt the West can stomach anything more stringent (economic, political, or military) given that the current outrage perpetrated by Putin is just a minor extension of the existing status quo. You're behaving as if we haven't already broken our word to Ukraine, and we haven't already failed to put a stop to Russian imperialism.

    We (meaning the West as a whole) are frankly not willing to endure any substantial hardship in order to support Ukrainian territorial integrity or sovereignty. And now that you bring up Taiwan, I have my doubts the US would do much other than tut-tut if China pursued a similar policy on Taiwan.

    What would I want to do, in a fantasy world where my opinion mattered and the West was really willing to confront authoritarian dictatorships encroaching on their democratic neighbors? Sure, I'd work to sever any economic dependency on the offender (somewhere between difficult and impossible in both the cases of Russia and China, but moves towards such independence would get attention). I'd respond to military provocation with a greatly enhanced force posture in the regions the offender is most concerned about - e.g. moving divisions of allied troops into Poland and the Baltics (or Japan and S. Korea) and scale up investment in defensive infrastructure. I'd reach out to their traditional partners with sweetened deals for increased political and economic ties and go on a charm offensive to disrupt their sphere of influence. And I'd make it clear that additional provocations would be met with further encroachment.

    But all of these options are expensive and unpopular, and it's doubtful that a consensus could be reached among Western nations to pursue such a course. So, in the absence of such a consensus, I think we need to be clear-eyed about what's actually going to happen.
    "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. #51

  22. #52
    As did Trump.

    Hope is the denial of reality

  23. #53
    Poland and the Baltic states appear to have triggered art. 4 to bring about an emergency consultation. Incursions of Russian troops from both north, south, and east, attacks on Ukrainian sites all over the country.
    Last edited by Aimless; 02-24-2022 at 09:54 AM.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  24. #54
    Sounds like all the same sanctions as we used against Russia for their election interference. Isn't there a valve on the EU side of Nordstream 1 ???
    .

  25. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    Perhaps I should clarify my position. My point was not that the general apathy of the West toward continued Russian encroachment on the sovereignty of its neighbors (Ukraine is hardly unique in this regard - just look at Georgia) is good or acceptable. I was just saying that it exists, and any fantasies people might have that this time is different seem to fly in the face of history and reality. I have yet to see a sanctions package that would even make Putin pause, and I doubt the West can stomach anything more stringent (economic, political, or military) given that the current outrage perpetrated by Putin is just a minor extension of the existing status quo. You're behaving as if we haven't already broken our word to Ukraine, and we haven't already failed to put a stop to Russian imperialism.
    We have been failing, and we've already screwed Ukraine pretty bad, but it wasn't too late to fix past mistakes until about 12ish hours ago. In other words, no significant disagreement then.

    We (meaning the West as a whole) are frankly not willing to endure any substantial hardship in order to support Ukrainian territorial integrity or sovereignty. And now that you bring up Taiwan, I have my doubts the US would do much other than tut-tut if China pursued a similar policy on Taiwan.

    What would I want to do, in a fantasy world where my opinion mattered and the West was really willing to confront authoritarian dictatorships encroaching on their democratic neighbors? Sure, I'd work to sever any economic dependency on the offender (somewhere between difficult and impossible in both the cases of Russia and China, but moves towards such independence would get attention). I'd respond to military provocation with a greatly enhanced force posture in the regions the offender is most concerned about - e.g. moving divisions of allied troops into Poland and the Baltics (or Japan and S. Korea) and scale up investment in defensive infrastructure. I'd reach out to their traditional partners with sweetened deals for increased political and economic ties and go on a charm offensive to disrupt their sphere of influence. And I'd make it clear that additional provocations would be met with further encroachment.

    But all of these options are expensive and unpopular, and it's doubtful that a consensus could be reached among Western nations to pursue such a course. So, in the absence of such a consensus, I think we need to be clear-eyed about what's actually going to happen.
    Well, if we're what-iffing, I was disappointed when Biden said we weren't going to deploy any troops in Ukraine. IMO, what we should have done (with Ukraine's permission) is station troops in as much of the country as we could. We couldn't have put anyone in the eastern regions (Donetsk & Luhansk), but we could have had people in most of the rest. They wouldn't even need to be at fighting strength - Russia wasn't going to fire a shot that might hit NATO troops, and our refusal to put boots in Ukraine was taken as permission for the full invasion. I don't think there was a way to prevent the annexation of Donetsk and Luhansk without changing things from years ago or a NATO/Russia war, but the rest of Ukraine could have been protected.

    Now since that ship has sailed, what we need to do is exactly what you said - fortify Poland and the Baltics. Possibly Taiwan too just out of nervousness that China might be getting ideas.

  26. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    As did Trump.

    Meanwhile, your hero Tucker Carlson is busy attacking Ukraine and NATO.
    Nobody licks Putin's dick like Trump & Tuck. They're really going to town on it.

  27. #57
    Lotta talk everywhere about measures that must be taken urgently, ranging from sanctions to specific military support. Missing from that conversation is info about whether or not those measures have already been planned, so that they're ready to be implemented now rather than in 3 weeks' time. Military measures already catastrophically delayed. Sanctions pressure must be increased tonight.

    Interesting to see all the traitors in the US puffing up their chests and bringing out the big rhetorical guns. Feel like anyone who stood behind Trump as recently as last night should be treated as a goat-fucker whenever they comment on any aspect of this invasion.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  28. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    ...Feel like anyone who stood behind Trump as recently as last night should be treated as a goat-fucker whenever they comment on any aspect of this invasion.
    Really dude, come on....we do sheep in this country...goats are wierd.
    .

  29. #59
    Persuading Germany, Italy, Hungary and (lol) Cyprus to kick Russia out of SWIFT will be a major test for the Biden admin. No indication right now as to whether or not they have a path forward on that. The measure itself might not be time-sensitive wrt its economic effects, but it's politically crucial that they follow through, now that they've publicly endorsed it.

    Meanwhile, videos of anti-war protests in Russia all over social media. Ukrainian authorities have announced that a Russian platoon surrendered, allegedly because they didn't want to fight this war—obv. impossible to verify the veracity of this claim.

    Ukraine's legal action at the UN—trying to challenge Russia's claim to the USSR's position on the security council—is interesting. A threat to that unearned and frequently abused authority—however miniscule—may significantly up the stakes.
    Last edited by Aimless; 02-24-2022 at 05:57 PM.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  30. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    We have been failing, and we've already screwed Ukraine pretty bad, but it wasn't too late to fix past mistakes until about 12ish hours ago. In other words, no significant disagreement then.


    Well, if we're what-iffing, I was disappointed when Biden said we weren't going to deploy any troops in Ukraine. IMO, what we should have done (with Ukraine's permission) is station troops in as much of the country as we could. We couldn't have put anyone in the eastern regions (Donetsk & Luhansk), but we could have had people in most of the rest. They wouldn't even need to be at fighting strength - Russia wasn't going to fire a shot that might hit NATO troops, and our refusal to put boots in Ukraine was taken as permission for the full invasion. I don't think there was a way to prevent the annexation of Donetsk and Luhansk without changing things from years ago or a NATO/Russia war, but the rest of Ukraine could have been protected.
    You mean like the Dutch peacekeepers were able to protect Srebenica from the Serbs? No, you don't deploy troops like that. It's way too dangerous. If you're not willing to go in with fighting strength and actually fight if necessary then you have no business sending your troops in at all. They are not pawns to bluff with.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

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