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Jotari

So, uh, the Ukraine-Russian situation

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So it's a bit late in the day to be making a thread, but some serious stuff is going down on the Russian Ukrainian border. At least I hope it's a bit late in the day to be making a thread about it. The other alternative is that things are about to get super fucking nasty super quick. I'm pretty sure Putin isn't stupid enough to invade, but he's already pushing things far further than anyone should be comfortable with, and I say that as someone who would be slightly more pro-Putin than average.

Edited by Jotari

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2 hours ago, Jotari said:

I'm pretty sure Putin isn't stupid enough to invade

Perhaps initially but he's getting at a point where he can't really back down either. Authoritarian leaders can't really afford to look weak and backing down after making such heavy demands would make him look weak. And I'm not sure the Russian populations would like the fact that millions of rubbles were spend during an economic downturn without anything to show for it, even if they too don't seem to like an invasion.

Kind of a big blow to Putin's reputation as a ''fearsome'' or ''calculating'' leader since he got himself into a situation with only bad options. He can trigger a war even his own country doesn't support or he can lose face by backing down after betting on reforming the entire security order and this very much not happening. 

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I'm not sure he'd really lose face by backing down. It's not like he declared he was going to attack and then didn't. He has been repeatedly saying "I'm not going to attack." So then he can dismiss the troops and say "See, I didn't attack, but I stared down the west and they were powerless to do anything about it, meaning I could attack if I wanted to." Threatening to start World War III is a bit of a power move even if you don't actually start the war.

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Spun in a certain, imperialistic way, it's a little pathetic Mr. Ex-KGB has to resort to this. He has wasted years on a neighboring country that culturally and historically has had strong connections to his own, and only now is on the verge of reducing its government to a pliant puppet. Sure, his other cultural-historical vassal Belarus is firmly under his thumb, and he did score a victory in Syria I think. And let us not ignore his hacking into and massive contributions to the anti-democratization and internecine conflict within his rival the US -to the point of installing his favorite court jester- as a tremendous victory. But it's a little amazing Ukraine didn't fall sooner. Is there really a new Russian empire, or is the Eurasian bear merely the world's biggest troll with a pinch of conquest? (I suppose he'll also seize control of the Arctic Ocean as climate change makes it much more navigable for commercial shipping, not sure how much can be done to counter him there.)

My sympathies to the people of Ukraine of course.

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7 hours ago, Jotari said:

I'm not sure he'd really lose face by backing down. It's not like he declared he was going to attack and then didn't. He has been repeatedly saying "I'm not going to attack." So then he can dismiss the troops and say "See, I didn't attack, but I stared down the west and they were powerless to do anything about it, meaning I could attack if I wanted to." Threatening to start World War III is a bit of a power move even if you don't actually start the war.

He might said he didn't want to attack but he also made some very strong demands that don't seem to be met in any way. You can't demand nothing short of the dismantling of the European security order and then proclaim victory when you get nothing. 

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I think the best option right now is for everyone to just scream at each other, but do nothing beyond screaming. That way, no one is seen as backing down, but nothing bad is happening either, kind of like what is happening in Korea for the past half century where both sides just throw verbal shit at each other, but no one tried to actually cross the border. And once the world is starting to tune out the screaming on both sides in Europe, then both sides can scream less and less until it just fizzles out.

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3 hours ago, Etrurian emperor said:

He might said he didn't want to attack but he also made some very strong demands that don't seem to be met in any way. You can't demand nothing short of the dismantling of the European security order and then proclaim victory when you get nothing. 

Of course you can. Declaring a victory when there is none is entirely what spin is.

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Well uh....this escalated quickly. Putin recognizing his little bandit Republics and raving about how Russia's former victims should never have been allowed independence. 

I'm sure that's gonna cool off tensions 🙄

Considering those clowns couldn't even handle a gun without accidentally shooting down a Dutch passenger plane I'm not exactly impressed that they're going to pretend they're real countries. 

Edited by Etrurian emperor

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8 minutes ago, Etrurian emperor said:

Well uh....this escalated quickly. Putin recognizing his little bandit Republics and raving about how Russia's former victims should never have been allowed independence. 

I'm sure that's gonna cool off tensions 🙄

Not sure whether it's "let me win a little at time, by first chipping off the east and later invading and puppeting the rest", or if Putin is actually satisfied with taking the ethnically Russian eastern regions. Or if a full-fledged invasion will actually happen and this is just a verbal escalation leading to that. The slow and steady approach has worked for him, first he took the Crimea and followed by supporting rebels in the east without effective deterrence, now he formalizes his stance on the rebels and there is a very real chance he will get away with it.

Interesting to see territorial imperialism in action and how it progresses in real time. There isn't a lot of conquest and annexation in the age of nuclear weapons, it's mostly cyber warfare and domination by economics and spheres of economic influence. -Though I pity the imperialized all the same.

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21 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Not sure whether it's "let me win a little at time, by first chipping off the east and later invading and puppeting the rest", or if Putin is actually satisfied with taking the ethnically Russian eastern regions. Or if a full-fledged invasion will actually happen and this is just a verbal escalation leading to that. The slow and steady approach has worked for him, first he took the Crimea and followed by supporting rebels in the east without effective deterrence, now he formalizes his stance on the rebels and there is a very real chance he will get away with it.

Interesting to see territorial imperialism in action and how it progresses in real time. There isn't a lot of conquest and annexation in the age of nuclear weapons, it's mostly cyber warfare and domination by economics and spheres of economic influence. -Though I pity the imperialized all the same.

Personally, I doubt Putin will stop with just those separatist regions. Ukraine is just too valuable for him to let it become part of the "West." More warm water ports, more fertile land. He seeks that to be under Russia's control again. If not him, you can bet his successor will pick up where he left off.

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2 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Interesting to see territorial imperialism in action and how it progresses in real time. There isn't a lot of conquest and annexation in the age of nuclear weapons, it's mostly cyber warfare and domination by economics and spheres of economic influence. -Though I pity the imperialized all the same.

Well, provided you discount the past 20 years of the US in the middle east.

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Looks like it's happening:

https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2022/2/21/us-warns-of-possible-targeted-killings-by-russia-live-news

Russian troops ordered to enter the regions in turmoil.

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russia-now-has-right-build-military-bases-eastern-ukraine-agreement-2022-02-21/

Deal made with the Separatist Leaders.

Edited by Acacia Sgt

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Hm... Maybe now is the best time for Ukraine to fight Russia and retake the eastern provinces and maybe even Crimea? While Ukraine has only one third the population of Russia's (which I also assume has a third of the military personnel), they are fighting on home turf and are defending a much smaller area of land. Maybe they could also coordinate with Georgia and allow them to retake their territories too. A two front war will make it harder for Russia's logistics to keep up.

If Ukraine succeeds in retaking their territory, I think their first course of action is to join NATO immediately right after to resecure their border.

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1 hour ago, XRay said:

Hm... Maybe now is the best time for Ukraine to fight Russia and retake the eastern provinces and maybe even Crimea? While Ukraine has only one third the population of Russia's (which I also assume has a third of the military personnel), they are fighting on home turf and are defending a much smaller area of land. Maybe they could also coordinate with Georgia and allow them to retake their territories too. A two front war will make it harder for Russia's logistics to keep up.

It's not really home turf. They're areas in open rebellion against Ukraine. If they want to keep them they'll definitely have to mobilize, but it won't be easy.

Quote

If Ukraine succeeds in retaking their territory, I think their first course of action is to join NATO immediately right after to resecure their border.

That assumes NATO actually wants Ukraine, which I'm pretty sure they don't. It's way too risky having Ukraine as a member as that obligates them to go to war, and start a pretty massive one, if Russia invades. NATO doesn't really get anything by having Ukraine join as Ukraine will already let in western troops if NATO wants to push back against Russia there. Obviously NATO can't accept Russia's demands of declaring Ukraine will never join, but that doesn't mean they actually want Ukraine. It's too much of a libaility where a buffer state is more preferrable.

Edited by Jotari

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4 hours ago, Jotari said:

That assumes NATO actually wants Ukraine, which I'm pretty sure they don't. It's way too risky having Ukraine as a member as that obligates them to go to war, and start a pretty massive one, if Russia invades. NATO doesn't really get anything by having Ukraine join as Ukraine will already let in western troops if NATO wants to push back against Russia there. Obviously NATO can't accept Russia's demands of declaring Ukraine will never join, but that doesn't mean they actually want Ukraine. It's too much of a libaility where a buffer state is more preferrable.

We accepted the Baltic nations and most likely would not mind Sweden and Finland joining either, so if Ukraine succeds in repelling Russia and territorial integrity is no longer an issue, we could accept Ukraine in without having to trigger Article 5. The only reason we do not want them in now is because they are actively being attacked and Crimea is being occupied, so Article 5 will trigger immediately if they join.

NATO absolutely gains a lot by having Ukraine join. NATO's main purpose is safeguarding democracy in Europe and repelling authoritarianism from the USSR/Russia. Not only has democracy slowly spread eastward over the decades, by having more land borders with Russia, it will be easier for democracy to spread to Russia itself, getting rid of NATO's chief security concern in the process. If Russia turns democratic and joins NATO or even just the EU, Europe will basically be completely secure, and the United States will gain another major nuclear power as an ally, and have a massive counterweight in Asia against China.

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1 hour ago, XRay said:

We accepted the Baltic nations and most likely would not mind Sweden and Finland joining either, so if Ukraine succeds in repelling Russia and territorial integrity is no longer an issue, we could accept Ukraine in without having to trigger Article 5. The only reason we do not want them in now is because they are actively being attacked and Crimea is being occupied, so Article 5 will trigger immediately if they join.

NATO absolutely gains a lot by having Ukraine join. NATO's main purpose is safeguarding democracy in Europe and repelling authoritarianism from the USSR/Russia. Not only has democracy slowly spread eastward over the decades, by having more land borders with Russia, it will be easier for democracy to spread to Russia itself, getting rid of NATO's chief security concern in the process. If Russia turns democratic and joins NATO or even just the EU, Europe will basically be completely secure, and the United States will gain another major nuclear power as an ally, and have a massive counterweight in Asia against China.

Russia has made multiple offers to join NATO and has been refused every time. NATO has always been the anti Russian club, it's not about safe guarding democracy. If it were, then fascist Portugal wouldn't have been a founding member. Turkey has also been in NATO for seventy years and currently has a democracy that is pretty much on par with Russia.

Edited by Jotari

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48 minutes ago, Jotari said:

Russia has made multiple offers to join NATO and has been refused every time. NATO has always been the anti Russian club, it's not about safe guarding democracy. If it were, then fascist Portugal wouldn't have been a founding member. Turkey has also been in NATO for seventy years and currently has a democracy that is pretty much on par with Russia.

I am pretty sure it was the other way around. NATO never allowed the USSR to join, but I am pretty sure NATO invited Russia to join at one point after the USSR collapsed but Russia did not. Having an anti Russian alliance does not make sense when making them part of the alliance means more stable democracies as a counterweight to rising authoritarianism and better energy security.

Edited by XRay

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Really worried for the population of the Donbass region - especially the ethnic Ukrainians. Conversely, I can't imagine now to be a comfortable time for ethnic Russians and/or Russian-speakers in the rest of Ukraine. Inflaming ethnic tensions helps no one, except perhaps politicians and oligarchs.

I doubt Putin will launch a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, beyond the two breakaway "republics". We've seen this before: in Abkhazia, in South Ossetia, and in Crimea. Putin's too smart to try to overtake a whole nation - rather, he'll use salami tactics to eat up the areas that are content to exist as a sattelite of Moscow. Frankly, the Ukrainian government's failure to reassert its control in the Donbass region made this just a matter of time. Not that it excuses what Putin's doing, of course.

Ukraine joining NATO, at this point, just creates a headache. Would its NATO allies be obligated to help it reclaim Crimea and Donbass, or would those not count, because they broke away before it joined? Does Putin take this as a signal to back off, or does he up the ante by invading what's left of Ukraine? Who's honestly gonna be comfortable being remembered for starting World War III? It may be in Ukraine's best interest to join NATO, but it's not within NATO's best interest to let them in right now.

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30 minutes ago, Excellen Browning said:

Just a heads up, it looks like Russia just invaded Ukraine

Putin: “it’s pronounced Mykraine”

But I think so far it’s just the rebel Republics rather than Ukraine as a whole. For now at least.

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Considering the rebels only control only close to half of their claimed territories currently, naturally this is going to come to blows with Ukraine... and considering all those troops across the border and in Belarus, it would be unlikely they'd only drive through the Donbass. They'd force Ukraine to rescind them by attacking the rest of the country as well, if needed.

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One thing that's very worthy of concern is that Ukraine is not a unique situation. Just about every argument Putin gives to justify his invasions of Ukraine such as Russian minorities that require ''protecting'' a shared history with Russia(Russia often having conquered and tormented them), and the supposed ''betrayal'' of them joining the west over Russia also exist within all of Russia's neighbors. Those factors also apply to the Baltic countries, they apply to Poland and Hungary. All countries that were formerly subjugated by Russia, have Russians within their borders and which have rejected Russia in favor of the west.

The one difference is that those countries are members of NATO, but that just means that the safety of all Russia's neighbors is conditional. It means that if Russia has a chance to seize those countries they'll take it, it means that should NATO weaken, fracture or break up then Russia can use the exact same arguments it uses in Ukraine to justify interventions in Poland or Estonia. 

Edited by Etrurian emperor

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1 hour ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I doubt Putin will launch a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, beyond the two breakaway "republics". We've seen this before: in Abkhazia, in South Ossetia, and in Crimea. Putin's too smart to try to overtake a whole nation - rather, he'll use salami tactics to eat up the areas that are content to exist as a sattelite of Moscow.

That's what I'm counting on, but he's also going much further than I ever thought he would. I thought if he ever did take over it would be much swifter like it was in Crimea. What I am worried about is the guy who'll come after Putin that wants to make a name for himself.

37 minutes ago, Etrurian emperor said:

The one difference is that those countries are members of NATO, but that just means that the safety of all Russia's neighbors is conditional. It means that if Russia has a chance to seize those countries they'll take it, it means that should NATO weaken, fracture or break up then Russia can use the exact same arguments it uses in Ukraine to justify interventions in Poland or Estonia. 

What could bite Russia in the ass by normalizing that behaviour is the increasing number of ethnic Chinese in east Russia. Vladivistok is still primarily populated by Russians, but the Chinese numbers are growing and it is on historic Chinese land. So China could pull the exact same gambit on them in future decades.

Edited by Jotari

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I do not think Putin is going to stop at the rebel regions of Ukraine, and I think he will try to conquer a land route along the coast to better connect and secure Crimea. Does not really make sense to do things half way at this point, as the longer Putin waits, the stronger Ukraine becomes to mount a more effective military response. In the worst case scenario for us, Putin will probably want occupy lands up to the Dnieper River for a more defensible buffer as soon as possible and divide Ukraine in half, so that way, he will fight an easier defensive war when Ukraine mobilizes later.

Since military personnel is out of the question, the least we can do is to send Ukraine more heavy armaments. I think long range artillery and missiles, along with anti air defense, would give the most bang for buck. Long range firepower can be used to reduce Sevastopol to rubble, or at least threaten to, to make Russia think twice about the cost of further invasion.

1 hour ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I doubt Putin will launch a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, beyond the two breakaway "republics". We've seen this before: in Abkhazia, in South Ossetia, and in Crimea. Putin's too smart to try to overtake a whole nation - rather, he'll use salami tactics to eat up the areas that are content to exist as a sattelite of Moscow. Frankly, the Ukrainian government's failure to reassert its control in the Donbass region made this just a matter of time. Not that it excuses what Putin's doing, of course.

Ukraine joining NATO, at this point, just creates a headache. Would its NATO allies be obligated to help it reclaim Crimea and Donbass, or would those not count, because they broke away before it joined? Does Putin take this as a signal to back off, or does he up the ante by invading what's left of Ukraine? Who's honestly gonna be comfortable being remembered for starting World War III? It may be in Ukraine's best interest to join NATO, but it's not within NATO's best interest to let them in right now.

I do not think Russia can occupy all of Ukraine, but I think they do have the capability to occupy maybe half of it up to the Dnieper River. In my opinion, I do not think it makes sense for Putin to invade just the rebel held areas, as that will just net him the negatives of invasion without the positives.

There is no hope nor point in Ukraine joining NATO since 2014, as the Crimean occupation would drag NATO into a war. The only way for Ukraine to join NATO at this point is to make territorial integrity a non issue first, and that can be accomplished by ceding Crimea and the rebel held areas to Russia and immediately join NATO afterwards to safeguard further areas from invasion, or Ukraine can fight a war to try to restore territorial integrity, kick Russia out, and then join NATO. The former seems easiest and quickest to do, as well as the most humiliating, but the latter option might be the more palatable and ideal option while morale is still high right now, even though it could be really costly in lives.

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