The United States(!) of A

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factotum started the topic in Thursday, 27 Aug 2020 at 11:12am

Septic Tanks are going to Septic Tank

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Supafreak Sunday, 15 Jan 2023 at 2:27pm

I think that video is from August 2022 and sachs has being getting slandered ever since . Anyone that speaks against Fauci gets hammered, scientific debate was killed by the authorities early on in the pandemic. Our own Professor Nikoli Pertrovsky had his views on origin and vaccines .

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velocityjohnno Monday, 16 Jan 2023 at 5:08pm

“If you had showed that statute to anyone in the ’hood, they’d have been like, ‘No, absolutely not’.”

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Jelly Flater Thursday, 19 Jan 2023 at 8:10am

‘Do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth or….

Ummmmm…. ;););)

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frog Thursday, 19 Jan 2023 at 9:24am

The "hidden" tributes to the Empire of Peace and Truth we all pay.

In ancient Rome, whether you were male or female, rich or poor, white, brown or black, Christian, Jew, Roman or Barbarian, if you “belonged” to Rome, you had to pay taxes to Rome. It was not popular but was all known and upfront.

These days tributes and protection money to the Empire of Truth and Peace are in plain sight yet sort of hidden.

Here are two:

1. Defence spending where allies must buy predominantly US made weapons and equipment in order to be an approved part of the alliance means decent chunk of the defence spend of 2 to 4% of GDP for many countries goes to the US MIC. A nice little earner year in year out.

2. The reserve currency allows creation of money out of thin air at a massive scale with few short term consequences to the US but acts as a hidden tax on the rest of the world through inflation. Also, if they want they could just print and buy any asset on earth with a few key strokes - sometimes they do.

You start to see why geopolitics and controlling various narratives that keep the tributes flowing with minimal grumbles is such as deadly serious game with massive resources applied to keep things on track.

Trillions of dollars are at stake.

Narratives = media. If the narrative deviates from the desired path it has potentially a trillion dollar consequences.

Do you think they spin just a little bit or .... maybe it is non stop at a furious pace?

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velocityjohnno Thursday, 19 Jan 2023 at 1:23pm

Render unto Caesar.
Morituri te salutant

But what would you prefer? Carthage? The Carthaginian tanks have a habit of blowing their turrets high into the air.

Carthago delenda est

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Jelly Flater Thursday, 19 Jan 2023 at 9:50pm

The only real USA worth watching ;)


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seeds Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 2:03pm

This country is fucked. Are the cops so on edge? Probably! Useless also? Definitely! 5 cops couldn’t sort this civilly against one guy? Couldn’t subdue and cuff him even though it probably wasn’t warranted? Then they flog him and spray him! For what?

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Roadkill Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 2:29pm
seeds wrote:

This country is fucked. Are the cops so on edge? Probably! Useless also? Definitely! 5 cops couldn’t sort this civilly against one guy? Couldn’t subdue and cuff him even though it probably wasn’t warranted? Then they flog him and spray him! For what?

The whole country is delusional and living in past glory…going downhill fast…from the top down the place is fracturing.

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sypkan Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 3:45pm

russia russia russia

nah, not really...

actually, probably not at all

seriously, one has to wonder how much this war is purely a result of domestic US madness!

tds on steroids

a very very dangerous game the democrats have played, pure insanity

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batfink Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 9:24am

Come on syppie, the war in Ukraine is entirely the doings of a madman in Russia.

Twitter wars are so peripheral as not to matter. The Dems hardly caused Russia to invade Ukraine. Twitter wars are as dangerous as tiddlywinks.

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Jelly Flater Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 9:58am

Of course ;)

‘The war in Ukraine is entirely the doings of a madman in Russia’ ;);)

Haha ;) no one else did a thing.

No proxy US government was ever installed, no bombing of the Donbas, no provocation whatsoever $$$$

No one else bombed the gas pipelines or the bridge to further escalate ;);)

Nobody even provided advanced weaponry to Ukraine to the order of billions of dollars ! (When they can’t pay for it)… Nobody green lighted the supply of tanks as a distraction to the ongoing corruption scandal rocking zelensky in regard to the continued investigation of misappropriation of the funds and weaponry being supplied . ;);)

It’s all legit and for our freedom and security … remember that ;);)

Or one could also consider things :


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I focus Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 11:26am

So some one woke up one morning and decided to go next door and kill the neighbors... of course its some one else fault.

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sypkan Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 11:47am
batfink wrote:

Come on syppie, the war in Ukraine is entirely the doings of a madman in Russia.

Twitter wars are so peripheral as not to matter. The Dems hardly caused Russia to invade Ukraine. Twitter wars are as dangerous as tiddlywinks.

dude, the whole news cycle for the last 6 years has been based on lies and fabrication. blatant lies and fabrication to compensate for the pathetic shortcomings of the democrats, and to discredit one man - not putin!

from collusion to interference, from kompramat to indebted to russian banks ...pee tapes, prostitutes, dodgy business connections, enabling an oligachy, corruption of the highest order... apparently...

most of that list should be attributed to one man - and it ain't trump!

twitter is the expose - not the war

the war has played out in the supposedly reputeable news sources, like nyt, wa-po, nbc, msnbc, cnn etc. and right down to state media and independents like abc and npr

all lies and fabrication, 6 years of it - with no correction of record!

yes seeded by twitter... (and fake accounts run by podesta and co.) ...but dangerous lies and 'misinformation' none the less...

keep turning a blind eye mate, keep making excuses... life is easier that way...

it truly is

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sypkan Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 11:39am

and what jelly flater said...

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frog Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023 at 8:28am

Bread crumb trails to war, ooops sorry, peace......

RAND Corp has the delightful role of, in their words, "helping make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous". A prosperous MIC is high on the list of priorities (and therefore so is more war). That may seem disturbing but to "think tankers" that is just a misconception of the ignorant.

To make us safer in 2019 it wrote and released the influential paper;

"Overextending and Unbalancing Russia"

AKA "How to really f$@k with the ruskies"

The Empire of Peace and Truth has followed the plan very closely and thankfully Europe is now much safer and more secure. And, of course, any bad stuff is all Mr Nasty's fault.

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sypkan Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023 at 11:16am

<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>


reminds me of a certain ideologically blindman on here

almost overnight started accusimg everyone of being a 'russian bot'

fell for it, hook line and sinker

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sypkan Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023 at 11:21am

"...Simply in terms of volume, Taibbi estimates that Hamilton 68 “may go down as the single greatest case of media fabulism in American history. Virtually every major news organization in America is implicated, including NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Mother Jones alone did at least fourteen stories pegged to the group’s ‘research.’ Even fact-checking sites like Politifact and Snopes cited Hamilton 68 as a source.”

But what is Hamilton 68? It is, Taibbi writes, a “computerized ‘dashboard’ designed to be used by reporters and academics to measure ‘Russian disinformation.’” But what it really measured was politically tendentious and utterly baseless allegations of Russian disinformation in order to discredit people and opinions that the people running Hamilton 68 didn’t like. Taibbi identifies it as a “neoliberal think tank” supposedly devoted to uncovering the nefarious influences of the Russkies on — well, everything. But especially — tell me you are not surprised — anything that involves Donald Trump or anyone or has to do with Trump.

Who is behind this gigantic exercise in journalistic malfeasance and deception? Well, wouldn’t you know it, at the center of the operation is our old friend Bill Kristol, patron saint of NeverTrumpery, along with John Podesta, former Hillary Clinton apparatchik, and Michael McFaul, academic anti-Trumper par excellence. As a story in the New York Post put it, “Hamilton 68’s pronouncements were used to allege a hidden Russian hand in US politics from hundreds, and possibly thousands, of news stories during the Trump years.”

But it was fake, all fake — or, as a frustrated Twitter employee put it, it was “bullshit.” indeed..."

"Taibbi identifies it as a “neoliberal think tank” supposedly devoted to..."


in the truest sense of the word

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frog Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023 at 1:21pm

Narratives disconnection from truth in politics, investment promotion, religion, fear narratives and even war narratives can matter little for a long long time. If you write the history or if it is really just opinions with few clear, tangible outcomes it might never matter.

Truth and facts do not always win.

But in some aspects of life one day there can be consequences for endless spin.
- sport - you lose
- media - steady ratings decline
- politics - voted out of office or worse
- markets - losses from "unexpected" stock market falls "no-one" could have predicted
- war - slow or even a sudden defeat of "great" powers (Afghanistan).

To paraphrase John Lennon "All we are saying is give truth a chance". Not always easy to know what truth is but at least attempting to find it is good a starting point.

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batfink Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023 at 2:37pm

6 years of Twitter wars, mostly with the democrats losing.

50+ years of Koch brothers propaganda flooding the US and by extension the rest of the world giving us the neoliberal ‘experiment. The lines that the Koch brothers started back in the 70s are now being spouted on the forums of swellnet by the likes of Sypkan, Jelly Flater etc. May as we’ll be bots.

For the record, the ‘left’ has been totally pwned in the propaganda stakes. It was going for 30 years before the ‘left’ even knew it was happening. I recommend ‘Dark Money’ by Jane Mayer.

Meanwhile, an actual sovereign country was invaded by Russia. No?

Jelly Flater is aptly named, as easily led as pouring the jelly mix into a mould and waiting for it to set.

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sypkan Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023 at 2:56pm

"6 years of Twitter wars, mostly with the democrats losing..."

you're very generous...

more like flat out lying, fabricating, and fabulating

did you miss this bit...

"Taibbi identifies it as a “neoliberal think tank” supposedly devoted to..."

the democrats ARE now the establishment, ...with all that that brings... controlling ALL the levels of influence...

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sypkan Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023 at 2:55pm

and doing untold damage...

if zerohedge is too 'right wing' for you... you can check out the 'In no less a liberal rag than Newsweek' version...

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Jelly Flater Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023 at 5:03pm

Batfink :

‘Meanwhile, an actual sovereign country was invaded by Russia. No?’

- ummmm



The list goes on…
We never invaded sovereign countries ;)
Yet we can call others out on it ?

Shut the fark up hypocrite.

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velocityjohnno Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023 at 8:14pm


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Jelly Flater Thursday, 2 Feb 2023 at 10:40am


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Jelly Flater Thursday, 2 Feb 2023 at 10:52am

Not a fan of the messenger…
But… considering the message ;)



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Supafreak Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 7:37am

@sypkan not sure what forum you mentioned why hasn’t the US shot the balloon down but here’s an update .

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frog Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 8:33am

A balloon, a balloon OMG a balloon .. national frenzy.

Spy satellites forgotten.


Always an agenda to such media and political frenzies.

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gsco Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 8:50am

thank god for the US, humanity is now safe from the Chinese spy balloon. here's the Pentagon inside footage of it being shot down:

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andy-mac Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 11:19am
gsco wrote:

thank god for the US, humanity is now safe from the Chinese spy balloon. here's the Pentagon inside footage of it being shot down:


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gsco Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 11:34am

It was a close call, a touch and go situation for freedom and democracy, which were under grave threat from the Chinese weather...whoops I mean spy...balloon.

Western civilisation as we know it was on the brink of collapse and destruction.

It was good vs evil, freedom vs despotism, Western Christendom vs pagan infidels, barbarians. The Holy Roman Catholic Church shuddered at the imminent threat of Chinese Confucianism.

The US and its democratic allies launched a highly risky, secret, covert operation out of the sight and scrutiny of the public and mainstream media. The US leaders displayed next level diplomacy and tact in order to not upset the Chinese aggressors.

The survival of Western civilisation, democracy, freedom, capitalism, Christendom, liberalism, science and reason, once again came down to the selfless, heroic effort of a single US fighter pilot.

God bless America.

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etarip Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 1:23pm

Who’s upset about the balloon?

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velocityjohnno Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 3:37pm

"That's my airforce right there, buddy!"

sort of related:

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Jelly Flater Sunday, 5 Feb 2023 at 7:42pm

In the age of stats… and data…
- more US taxpayer funded adventure ;)


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sypkan Monday, 6 Feb 2023 at 1:23pm

couldn't agree any more with the chick in the first five minutes of that vid...

not many people claiming vlad ain't the bad guy

and, not many claiming the west shouldn't have done anything

it's the tone and absolute lacking of debate that is concerning, the no plan... or 'the plan' that has well extended past it's once strict parameters...

the extreme 'mission creep'

with no debate, no consideration of alternatives, strict media control and shameless outright propaganda...

we've been here before, very recently, and look how that turned out

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sypkan Monday, 6 Feb 2023 at 1:30pm

offensive missiles, tanks, a changing of the boundaries we're willing to 'defend'...

what happens next? ...when the grinder is low on meat?

local recruitment is going well...

<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

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truebluebasher Monday, 6 Feb 2023 at 2:58pm

Both da Prez are lookin' to start a war over a couple of Pies in the Sky...
UAP Unidentified Aerial Phenonema
2022 = 366 UAP > 163 ( Balloon Types ) that never make the news.
2019/2020 Swarms of Drones over Defence Missiles @ Colorado / Nebraska / Arizona
One US (Montana) Balloon was seen over India / Japan + Philippines
As again now Balloon Farms in Canada / South America / US...

News : Prez just exempted Vax & Covid Tests for Chinese Scenic Flights over US.
Djokovic wasted no time booking tickets for the US Open.
Prez : "We may need to take a parting shot if yer flying out overseas!" Ouch!

PS: Is that a cloud of Chinese Covid or Local Anthrax dusting the US population...(Cough!)

CDC : "Nah! Just a new Avian Flu Killer Strain, so we're mandating another dose...of Vax & Virus!"

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Stuart Lickspittler Monday, 6 Feb 2023 at 3:21pm
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etarip Monday, 6 Feb 2023 at 3:41pm

I know Cam Leckie. Great bloke. I haven’t seen him for years though.

What a load of drivel.

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Stuart Lickspittler Monday, 6 Feb 2023 at 4:08pm

I'm guessing he's outside the tent these days. Your tent?

As an aside, how's this from a corporate media outlet in 2014...

Times have radically changed?

Tunes most definitely have...

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etarip Monday, 6 Feb 2023 at 4:26pm

The tent?

Dunno what you’re talking about. I just haven’t seen him for years. Y’know, like when you go to uni with someone and play footy together and drink beers occasionally and then you both get jobs and have families and move around and just don’t cross paths again?

I’d gladly sit down and have a beer with him and talk about all this stuff. I’m pretty sure he’s probably of the same mind. Maybe he isn’t.

Oh, the MSM? But you hate those guys. Right? And from 2014? It’s a useful snapshot of views and perspectives at a point in time, particularly when it comes to EU membership and the like? What do you think is behind the changes in public sentiment in Ukraine between 2014 and Feb 2022? And then the changes in sentiment on the same issue between Feb 2022 and now? Any guesses?

What do you reckon about the last paragraph of that article?

“Only Ukrainians can overcome this crisis. Continuing outside interference is both provocative and dangerous.”

I guess it’s provocative if you subscribe to the view that Ukrainians aren’t really Ukrainians at all, but rather ‘little Russians’. Which is the only basis upon which you can regard the Russian invasion as anything but ‘outside interference’….? Right?

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gsco Thursday, 9 Feb 2023 at 2:54pm

Interesting stuff being reported by ZeroHedge (and others): Nord Stream Sabotage Was CIA, US Navy Covert Op: Seymour Hersh Bombshell Prompts White House Response.

Seymour Hersh is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist.

It's even in the Daily mail:

Here's the full substack: How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline.

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GreenJam Thursday, 9 Feb 2023 at 3:44pm

no surprises there gsco

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Jelly Flater Thursday, 9 Feb 2023 at 3:53pm

C’mon maaaaan !
We’re the good guys ;)


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gsco Thursday, 9 Feb 2023 at 6:35pm

Gday etarip, was hoping for your perspective: how is this going to end in Ukraine?

I don’t see Russia ever backing down. Providing Ukraine with tanks and planes etc will just drag it on forever?

What’s the West’s plan here? Right now it’s just continued escalation.

Even if Russia started to lose a conventional military war, they’ll just use nukes?

I don’t see where anyone is going with this.

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etarip Thursday, 9 Feb 2023 at 7:57pm

Flip those questions and think about it from the other side.

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etarip Thursday, 9 Feb 2023 at 9:05pm

BLUF: I don’t know, but I don’t think appeasement is the answer. Which is what some people are proposing. Give up territory for cessation of military action, based on the assumption that nuclear armed powers don’t / can’t / won’t lose… or not win (which is clearly false anyway - US Korea and Vietnam, USSR Afghanistan).

I’ll ask a couple of questions back, because they’re important. This is a long post, probably with a few typos and a lack of flow because I’m writing on my phone while I’m waiting for kids to go to sleep.

You’ve framed this in terms of Western escalation. What are, in order, the most escalatory events or actions that have occurred in this war since December 2021? Because I don’t see supply of conventional weapons as being inherently ‘escalatory’. Historically, was the USSR’s supply of weapons, and even active participation (although not admitted) in the Korean and Vietnam Wars escalatory? No. Because the war wasn’t existential for the US then, and I don’t think victory in Ukraine is existential for Russia either. Which leads to the next question. What is victory for Russia? A cessation of fighting along current lines? Agreement by Ukraine to cede ALL Russian claimed territory (a significant % of which which Russia doesn’t control right now)

Do you think the will and capacity of Russia to continue this war is greater than the will and capacity of Ukraine to do so? I’m not sure that it is, so there is certainly an element of brinkmanship here by Russia.

Is the ‘cost’ to the ‘West’ greater than they’re willing to bear? It’s *a* financial impost yes, but that’s largely sunk cost imo. They’re not giving them the newest or the most expensive equipment. Far from it. And that cost is, again imo, probably something that western policy makers (ie, not the military itself because they don’t own the budget) are prepared to absorb while Russia commits itself to a strategy of attrition. I think it’s the Estonians or Latvians that have basically given the Ukrainians half their annual defence budget. Cheap way to degrade your most likely threat.

Now, Russia and cost. And hypocrisy. Russia (and by extension those that parrot its narrative) seem to forget a couple of things about the Great Patriotic War. First, the USSR sided with the Nazis from 1939 until 1941, invaded Poland. Then after WW2 annexed the Baltic states. That central / Eastern European bloc have not forgotten. They’ll back Ukraine to the hilt. Poland is on track to become the largest European army. That’s not because they’re worried about Germany btw.
Secondly, Russia was itself reliant on Western material aid throughout the war. In spite of having a far greater industrial capacity than it does now. I’m not sure that the Russian arsenal of tanks is as deep as we might suspect. And I don’t think production of new tanks is keeping up with attrition. There’s a couple of historical similes here - UK / US aid kept Russia in the war in 1941-43 until Germany exhausted itself. Secondly, Soviet supply of weapons, intelligence and expertise enabled North Korea and Vietnam to meet the US on more even terms in those wars. This is where sanctions play a significant role. Doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got if you can’t buy what you need.
Third point about the Great Patriotic War goes to the idea that this points to the superior will of the Russian people to prevail. It’s easy to forget that the “USSR” won, not “Russia”. Ukraine (which was a separate “SSR” until it became independent in 1991) lost between 8 and 14 million dead in WW2. The USSR somewhere around 25 in total.

The relevance of this? Perhaps we’re underestimating the capacity of the Ukrainians to bear the cost of resistance. I don’t see that there is much appetite for giving up right now. Polls in Ukraine are showing the opposite.

You’ve asked a question about the West’s strategy in this. I’ll ask you right back. What’s Russia’s strategy? What’s their aim, what does the end of the war look like. Does their way of reaching that end line up? And do their means even allow them to do that. Because whatever they take, at whatever cost, they’re going to have to hold. I think this is, and I posted this in March (ish) last year, an example of committing to a war without working out what type of war you want to fight. I don’t know what Russia’s aims are (de-Nazification?), and I don’t know what their strategy is. But they’re going ‘all-in’ right now because they’re probably looking at their own balance sheets and projected Ukrainian capabilities in April / May and figure that this is their best shot to achieve a. Increased territorial control and b. Disruption of Ukr preparation for counter-offensives to retake territory in late spring / early autumn.

What’s the Wests strategy? If I could sum it up? Don’t let Russia win. As long as Ukraine is willing to fight, keep them in the fight.

I think Ukraines aims are clear - restoration of pre- 24/02/22 borders, and I think Crimea is something that they might negotiate on.

Long post. Sorry. Haven’t even touched the sides.

By the way JF. I don’t give a fk what you think or what YouTube clip you post.

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etarip Thursday, 9 Feb 2023 at 9:15pm

As far as use of nuclear weapons goes, I’m not sure that it’s a credible threat, either tactically or as a strategic option. I posted a piece on Russian nuclear deterrence doctrine a few months back. Russia has been hyping (then walking back) nuclear threats since March last year.

The only case I can see that they *might* consider tactically it would be if there was a complete collapse of the front and risk of catastrophic failure. But I can’t see the Ukrainians achieving that type of success in the short term.

Would Russia use a low-yield nuke as a demonstration, in the Black Sea? It’s conceivable, but (aside from the significant collateral to their own interests) where does it leave you if it doesn’t work?

Would Russia nuke Kyiv? Do you think so?

I was chatting to a mate yesterday who’s worked a lot on nuclear security and non-proliferation issues at a technical and academic level. This scenario has really exposed the limitations of existing nuclear deterrence / coercion / compellence theory.

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gsco Thursday, 9 Feb 2023 at 9:37pm

Thanks for the responses, much appreciated.

I'd be interested to hear your view on a seemingly heartfelt essay penned just yesterday by the Russian ambassador to Canada, Oleg Stepanov, if you get some time to read it: The Ukrainian Dilemma and the Unavoidable (also below).

Personally I don't know what to think about it all but I try to keep an open mind. My worry is things significantly expanding outside of Ukraine, due to no one being willing to back down, negotiate or appease on anything at all.

Oleg Stepanov wrote:

For Russian diplomats these days, it is challenging to get through the Western media mainstream. But we will give it a try. And maybe someone will read and give it a thought.

Appearing last November in the Power Play talk show on CTV News channel I expressed an opinion that the Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine at some point had become unavoidable. Despite Moscow until the very last day believed that it could have been avoided. But the following discussion (as the previous interactions between my colleagues and the media) indicated that either there was no desire to get to the bottom of the current crisis, or there was not enough knowledge, or both.

Let’s take a history lesson. We all know from studying books about the humankind from ancient Greece and Rome to the modern days that every conflict has its causes. No matter how objective or subjective, imaginary or real they may be, they exist. And Ukraine is no exception.

In the late 1980s, due to various reasons the Soviet Union began to crumble with centrifugal tendencies. The multinational state collapsed with a series of ethnic conflicts (in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, Central Asia, etc.). But, in general, while opinions may differ, everything ended in Belovezhskaya Pushcha with an almost civilized divorce as it seemed then.

Russia took upon itself the burden of international debt of the former USSR and decided to proceed to civilized divorce with other Soviet republics along the borders, as they had been determined by Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, somewhere reflecting, but somewhere not, the historic “Russian proper”.

My country set on the path of building a federal multi-ethnic state with a Russian majority, but with respect for the rights, culture, interests of all nationalities that inhabited this land where everyone could enjoy democratic rights – freely learning the language, choosing religion and traditions of family upbringing. So that in all our regions people could speak not only Russian, but also their native tongue, be it in the North Caucasus, Tatarstan, Yakutia or elsewhere. As well as giving the same rights and freedoms to vibrant communities of diasporas (Armenian, Azeri, Georgian, etc.).

We hoped that the same approach would prevail with our neighbors. And here Ukraine comes to the fore. What was happening there during the same period?

Part of Ukraine was historically under Poland, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, another part was populated by Russians. The Bolsheviks played with the lands and their borders, including by adding to what is now called Ukraine, regions such as Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Crimea and others that historically had been Russian proper but were later incorporated into Ukraine by politicians.

Anyway, independent Ukraine, as we know it now, appeared three decades ago in that composition. We were looking at it as a sister state where half of the population was historically Russian. We hoped it should become the new Switzerland, Canada, or Belgium in terms of adherence to democratic and human rights norms. A democratic state where all peoples, languages and ethnicities peacefully live side by side and build common future. It was 1992.

It’s 2023 now. More than 30 years have passed. Presidents changed in Ukraine. There was former communist leader Kravchuk, Soviet administrator Kuchma, nationalist Yushchenko, and then Yanukovich (who was called pro-Russian, but continued Ukrainization in the same accelerated pace). Despite the difference in their publicly expressed views, they were all disastrous in the internal agenda. Regardless of political affiliation, each leader repeated the same fatal error – they acted from ultranationalist Western Ukrainian positions trying to create a mono-ethnic state.

Instead of uniting Western Ukraine and the Russian East, Cosmopolitan Centre and South they all failed to find courage to say that Ukrainians are larger than one ethnic group, but one nation aimed at common future.

There were regions that did not want to be separatists, never thought of seceding, but wanted to enjoy dignified democratic equality. To simply watch TV and read newspapers, receive education and public services, etc. in their native language (and we remember that in Ukraine besides Russians there are still those who speak Hungarian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Slovak, Moldavian, Romanian, etc. – and they should all be equal too).

I am now in Canada and observe first-hand how this country managed to find the strength to build a democratic society where the people speaks two official languages and where Indigenous languages are respectfully cherished. An English speaker who comes from Oakville entitled to the same service in Montreal or Quebec City as the French speaker from Papineau or Ahunstic-Cartierville somewhere in Vancouver. Canada, given its strong Ukrainian community and connections, invested heavily in building a new Ukrainian state, but inexplicably failed to share its experience of bilingualism. Had it shared, maybe there would be no current conflict.

But, we got too carried away with the narrative. The next important milestone was the year 2014. As a result of political pressure in the aftermath of the anti-Constitutional rebellion in Kiev, in February there was reached the Agreement on the settlement of the political crisis in Ukraine, initialed by representatives of the three European powers – Germany, France and Poland, witnessed by Russia, with the U.S. present but refusing to put its signature. In few months, the country was to hold snap elections. And everyone knew that incumbent president Yanukovich would not win. Even he himself knew that. But those perspectives that could have allowed Ukraine to survive through the crisis with at least semblance of democratic decency were trampled on at the behest of Washington.

Democratically elected Yanukovich was illegally deprived of power and moved to Kharkov (but did not flee the country as Western politicum forces the public to believe). And here it comes. Please, pay attention. In the past decades there have also been coups in other parts of the world. The U.S., EU and the West in general always say they never accept the overthrow of democratically elected leaders. But it turns out that in this regard Ukraine was treated as a second-rate country. There the democratically elected, congratulated and recognized president (whether he became unpopular or not) was forcefully kicked out of the office with the West dead silent.

But we digress again. There was a coup. Frenzied opposition nationalists, who violated the agreements reached with the mediation of the West, seized power and said that they would ‘take care’ of the Russian Ukrainians. Their first draft legislation was aimed at excluding the Russian language from Ukraine. It didn’t become law, however, the intent of the new authorities was a warning to the half of the population that it would soon be discriminated against in terms of language and culture.

(This opposition, in fact, consisted of fascists glorifying Shukhevich and Bandera, who immediately sent militants to Crimea and tried to seize power in the Autonomous Republic that was ethnically predominantly Russian, but voluntaristically “transferred” by Khrushchev from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to Soviet Ukraine in 1957).

Of course, after this first attempt to discriminate against the Russian language and Russians, significant part of the Ukraine’s population realized that the new “government” would bring hardship and, perhaps, even death. That was why Crimea and Donbass rebelled. The West, instead of suppressing the nationalistic sentiment in Kiev, began to play along with them, thereby igniting the conflict.

One of the indications the West has never been pro-Ukrainian, but always anti-Russian in order to drag us into the conflict.

Crimea unequivocally decided to return to Russia. And I am glad to see that in spite of trying to question the legitimacy of the relevant referendum the West no longer denies that Crimea could not remain in Ukraine in that situation. The population only benefited from returning to Russia. Russian, Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar languages are equally recognized and respected, education guaranteed, and paperwork administered in their language of choice. And speaking of Crimean Tatars, as an ethnic group they gained more after returning to Russia than during the period under Ukraine, including all the rights and freedoms granted by our Constitution (social, cultural, religious, linguistic, educational, labour, property, etc.). The development of the peninsula has proved that all peoples there live in harmony and prosperity. Any Western politician who has been to Crimea can confirm this.

Then came the civil war in Donbass. An inter-Ukrainian conflict between the nationalists and the regions that were ready to stay in Ukraine if their rights were respected. But the Kiev regime (first headed by Poroshenko, and now by Zelenskiy) denied them this. Denied the very same rights of being bilingual enjoyed in Canada, but refused in Ukraine. And Trudeau’s cabinet has been silent about this, as was silent Harper’s government in 2014-2015.

With great effort the civil war in Donbass was halted (at least for the time) by the Minsk agreements. President Vladimir Putin personally was constantly trying to convince the leadership in Kiev that the conflict would be settled once everything that had been signed was implemented.

Though, as it turns out now, the West wanted not a win-win situation, but a zero-sum game, in order to achieve not a consensus, but the defeat of Russia within a broader geopolitical game at the expense of the Russians living in Ukraine. In their recent candid remarks, European politicians, including German ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and previous French President Francois Oland were pretty frank about that, as well as about the real purpose of the Minsk agreements aimed at deceiving Russia and give Kiev time to accumulate forces for striking Donbass and Crimea.

For seven years, Russia had been honestly trying to reach a settlement with Ukraine and the West. At the very end of 2021, we even came up with draft security guarantee agreements, a new deal between the West and Russia that would respect the rights of buffer states and ensure peace in the Euro-Atlantic. But our offers were haughtily rejected.

Some accused Russia of lying that there would not be military operation. Forgetting that at the same time we reminded: there would be no need for employing military if there was no provocation. Only if Kiev did not decide to arrange a blitzkrieg against Donbass. For years we have been telling our partners that any such attempt would be a disaster, primarily for Ukraine and the European security. But no one listened or heard.

Between November 2021 and January 2022, there was a lot of talk in the Western media that Russia was amassing 125,000 troops on the border. Meanwhile, everyone in the West knew, and was silent that Ukraine through 2021 was concentrating close to 300,000 troops for a lightning strike against Donetsk and Lugansk. To take over the republics, reach the borders of Russia, enlist NATO support, and put us before this fact.

That is why our special military operation became inevitable. We recognized the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk republics and after the when we saw that Kiev’s offensive against the Russian population of Donbass was imminent, we could not act otherwise and preemptively applied article 51 of the UN Charter. The tragedy of this situation is that anti-popular regime in Kiev guided by the West has been mobilizing more and more men and women for senseless slaughter in a bluff doomed to failure.

Russia reaffirms the goals of the special military operation. And they all will be achieved. Ukrainians will live in a federal, multilingual, multicultural, democratic, stable, prosperous country free from internal conflict where every citizen feels free and safe. And Russia will provide it.

This is the only finale for the current crisis. Whether it will be achieved by diplomatic or military means largely depends on the West.

If the West continues to supply the regime in Kiev with weapons, equipment, and expertise, this conflict will be protracted with more blood and suffering.

And the result will be the same – for Ukraine and the geopolitical balance. The longer the West continues ignoring the will of its constituents and proceeds with its irresponsible policies, the greater the risks to global stability. Until it’s too late, the West and Europe in particular must realize – there is a way out of the crisis. Kiev shall announce that it ceases hostilities, orders its troops and nationalistic units to lay down arms, voluntarily subjects itself to demilitarization and denazification. This is the only way to build a healthy society in Ukraine in accordance with the interests of its people.

This is the future. But right now we are to the south of ending the kinetic conflict. No matter what, it will be definitely settled. Russia will not retreat from ensuring its interests, whether someone likes it or not. We are realists and proceed from the interests of our own citizens, our own security, and economic well-being. So, are our Western counterparts ready to meet the interests of their citizens? This is the question for their governments and voters.

And, a separate, but crucial thought.

Ukrainian conflict is not the thing-in-itself core issue. It’s just a symptom, a sign of ailment the current world order is striving to survive.

Western leaders and thinkers have to pay utmost attention to the ontological differences in how Russia and the West look at the crisis. We comprehend it through spiritual optics, they – in a very materialistic manner. One shall not disregard as mere words President Putin’s October 2018 statement at Valdai Club meeting that “we as martyrs would go to paradise while they will simply perish”. For Russia, the resolution of the crisis will have been based not only on balance of powers and interests, but also with the traditional values-based multiplier in the equation. For the West to believe it is all only about territories, borders, military balance in Europe would be a shortsighted error.

I tried to convey my message as frankly as possible as a diplomat, an analyst, and a Russian citizen who thanks to historical and family ties knows from the inside about the situation in Ukraine both today and yesterday.

etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip Thursday, 9 Feb 2023 at 10:39pm

Negotiations are ongoing. I’m sure of that.
Compromise is possible, but that’s up to the Ukrainians to decide on what they are willing to compromise. I’d suggest that there isn’t much.
Appeasement is a policy of failure.

I think while heartfelt, that account is neither objective nor truthful. It portrays ‘Russia’ as both benevolent and a martyr, neither of which are true. The Russian ‘federation’ is a colonial enterprise but it doesn’t get to dictate / determine what happens outside its borders, no matter how much it wants to or convinces itself that it deserves to. The entire letter is entirely absent of any reflection of Russia’s own history, weaknesses, failures and missteps.

The perspective of Ukraine in particular is entirely emotive. Who the hell are the Russians to lecture anyone on democratic process, mistreatment of minorities. Who the hell are they to demand that a country should ‘demilitarise’ on the say so of the former colonial power?

As a start point, how about Russia gets the hell out of Ukraine, back to the borders of Feb 2022 as a start point. There was no military threat to the borders of Russia coming from a Ukrainian victory in Donbas. What were they going to do? Invade a nuclear state? March on Moscow?

Is the pursuit of victory in Ukraine (whatever that means - demilitarised and denazified??? Define that?) worth the cost that Russia has paid and will continue to pay.

If the aims of the SMO merely involved ‘protection of Russian speaking peoples’, why has Russia annexed 4 oblasts - subsumed them into Russia. If this is about protecting Donbas, why are they forcing residents of Donetsk and Luhansk to fight for Russian territorial gains in Kherson and Zaporizhia?

It’s just a smokescreen. All of this is. Apart from the ‘vibe’ of NATO being a threat, I’ve never seen anything credible that justified a resort to this invasion. Biolabs? Secret cyborgs?

Crimea… it’s an interesting case that seems to be built on unilaterally litigating a decision that was made by a former President of the USSR in 1957 to make Crimea part of Ukraine. And that’s reinforced by the fact that there is a Russian speaking majority. Would you be as supportive of Britain seeking to redress Irish independence if Sunak decided that he thought the decisions of 1922 and 1949 were erroneous? I mean, they speak English (mostly).

I don’t think the Russians have the capacity to extend to another front, at least conventionally. They’ve got significant capacity and form for other forms of action such as assassinations and covert action.

This war has undermined Russian security interests, not enhanced them. I think there is far greater internal tension than previously. There are numerous examples of regional political discontent and in some cases defiance of Kremlin direction. There is a shifting balance of power in the Kremlin, perhaps not imminent but going to play out if Putin is actually sick. And the west is more unified in opposition to Russia than before. They’re alive to the risks of energy dependency. And NATO is likely to grow to include Finland and Sweden.

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Optimist Friday, 10 Feb 2023 at 5:52am

A very interesting read GSCO thanks for that.