Evening folks. Long time no chat as usual, but much like the pandemic, sometimes fuckery of untold proportion unfolds which forces me away from the repetitive rigours of normal life to hammer away at my keyboard.
So here we are.
Unless you have been living under a rock, Russia has invaded Ukraine and is in the process of chewing up as much territory as possible.
Right off the bat, please kindly fuck off if you want to get into a drawn out discussion regarding peacekeeping force and special conflict vs outright war technical hair splitting.
This is a straight up invasion and I have zero interest in sugar coating the reality on the ground. We leave that to the politicians or draft dodging former presidents.
The response thus so far has been unbelievably muted from our esteemed leaders. The EU has lit up institution buildings in a statement of support for Ukraine and consequently I am sure little Putin is terrified and will promptly cease and desist from trampling the Minsk agreement and bathing Ukraine’s territorial integrity in blood.
I and many of my fellow Europeans are beyond disgusted with the meek response from Europe and her allies. Banking sanctions are one thing but we need to swiftly cut them off from SWIFT. As in now. Right fucking now.
Sanctions have to hurt from the get go. You cannot commit to useless hand-wringing and threats of economic carnage in the distant future. The wishy washy approach from our weasels in suits is beyond the pale and Germany in particular should forever remember their actions (or lack thereof) with subdued shame.
As for the girl and I, we live in Europe, albeit Portugal, thusly we don’t expect to feel much if any consequences regardless of escalation. Nonetheless, my stockpiles are in fantastic shape and I am not particularly concerned for myself.
This is a dark time for the old world and its easy to whitewash the current events with help from the media and their never ending barrage of word vomit.
It’s one thing to talk about disputed borders, national identity, treaty rights or any other word of the day, but families in Ukraine are evacuating in the midst of winter, navigating treacherous terrain to get their families somewhere safe.
Poland has opened their border and suspended all visa requirements for Ukrainians. These people are the lucky ones. Many are stuck in their homes, huddling in fear as ordinance bombards their neighbours, their towns, their homes.
Real people with real worries facing a real existential threat. We, the privileged West, cannot lose sight of this as we get bogged down in sanction rhetoric and how many billions have been frozen or if the Russian stock market took a giant shit.
Does it help? Yes. Undoubtedly. But to the humans huddled together looking for respite let alone safety, it is not enough.
As a kid, I remember watching Hollywood movies and being enamoured with the “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” rhetoric. A symbolic red line was immortalised and a legend was born.
Where is this rhetoric now? Why are we virtue signalling superficial actions that offer vague hope and unrealized promises?
The West has the power, it just to locate its balls and fucking use it.
Gary Gough says
A year into the Ukraine invasion. Horrendous to an extent that I doubt many saw coming. Just watched a POW executed by machine gun by Russian troops and posted on Telegram, a war crime to add to the list.
While it looked like Russia was confronting an edifice of jello ( mostly the west), or at least that was what they expected, that was dispelled in the first few days. “I don’t need a ride. I need ammunition.”
The usual players are out, politicians griping about spending money. ( by sending every bit of former Soviet gear and recently decommissioned western artillery to Ukraine, sounds like a bargain to me. )
Can always donate to the IRCRC if in doubt.
My take, if Russia had been allowed to take Ukraine with minimal resistance, the war would be in the Baltic states and Poland by now and we might well be exchanging nukes.
The best analysis that I have run across is Perun on YouTube. Highly recommend his three episodes on “How corruption destroys an army” and greed and politics.
He was calling alot of the problems in advance. If you can spare four hours definitely worth listening.
I have no problem if you want to be classified as a squirrel either however, in the Combat Arms job fields in the Army, USMC, Navy, USAF, the mission is to protect our country but also be trained properly to do it. My point was instead of concentrating on far right liberal philosophy using valuable training time we should be concentrating on our Combat skills in these job fields. If you’ve never served you can’t understand the dynamics. Mandatory classroom training on woke issues does a soldier no good if they can’t qualify on basic Warcraft/Combat skills such as marksmanship, map reading, patrolling, call for fire etc.
Do me a favor, do a inventory of items you own and see how many are Made in China. I’d imagine quite a majority are. I don’t think as intertwined as we are economically sanctions would work against the PRC.
Any agreement we’ve made with our friends and allies I would take with a grain of salt. I doubt if we’d come running to defend Taiwan if Chins invaded. Sanctions and thoughts and prayers is about all we do based on our recent compliance with agreements.
Joseph Fallon says
My thoughts, based on the news we all get and a bit of history.
Putin is playing chicken with NATO and the US, using the nuclear card. He made his play for Ukraine with the knowledge that neither NATO or the US would put boots on the ground to stop him, and we didn’t get enough weapons in there to make a real difference in the outcome so far.
This is round two for the US, the first round went to Russia when they interfered with our elections with no obvious consequences.
Round two will probably go to Russia in the immediate future, as his forces take immediate land possession, whereas money penalties will take time, and may never allow for the recovery of the land lost due to this invasion by a power hungry Putin. He’s operating by his own rules.
Putin has taken the measure of the leaders in the West and is not impressed, obviously, at least not up to this point. It seems like we’re playing checkers and he’s playing chess.
We are in a hot/cold war, with no end in sight. Remember Russia lost 20 million plus people in WWII. Putin may be thinking way outside of our comprehension about how many people he is willing to lose to gain his end goal, when compared to how many the West is willing to lose in opposing him.
This is another stare down like the Cuban missile crisis, only worse, since the shooting has started already. The nuclear clock is closer to 12.
One misstep over there and the clock may strike 12.
Bill Swirkowski says
This pisses me off. We all knew Russia and China were posturing well in advance: Taiwan’s next. Here, we have unvetted afghans peppered around our country (blue states) along with illegal aliens, a pussified administration, shades of civil war and we somehow sit by and watch all of this unfold. Denial never won any wars,.nor has a pacifist government. What makes U.S. string is it’s sportsmen and women. An unjustified, all out war on a peaceful, independent country ought not be tolorat, ” in any country”! It will hit home in every country. Moen Labe. I could go on, but not enough room to write what I feel and think. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.
Thomas Xavier says
Its always interesting to me to read Americans talk about illegal aliens, in light that you are all for the most part immigrants. ;) Regarding the administration, its infuriating to see Russia push its weight around without much pushback. The reality is we need to seize our current economic dominance and use it to full effect. We have to sanction even to the detriment of our own margins. We are giving so much leverage to Russia and China without considering that a blockade would hurt them more than it hurts us. Our standard of living would be impacted but not to the extent theirs would be. The West is still the dominant economic and technological force in the world and to keep feeding countries that seemingly counter to our own countries ideological bedrock seems like madness to me.
Completely agree regarding Taiwan, China is taking notes as to our response and if it becomes apparent that the sanctions would be palatable- they will likely go for it. I understand the red line of NATO>Others but this doesn’t help Ukraine and certainly doesn’t help the perception of the West across the globe.
one rebuke of your response. And, thank you for providing a rational dialogue.
We are all immigrants? I am 2nd generation, so yes, my grandparents were immagrants. But, they also came over via boat, stood in line to be processed, were not given housing, handouts, welfare, etc.
I am not going to elabory further or write a dissertation. The murder and crime (especially sexual assaults, incl.rape) was not a way of thanking a country allowing citizenship after going through the proper standards expected of everyone: think I’m kidding? We continually see this on a weekly basis, most recent yesterday. So, no, the same standards are not held today.
Now, I’m being presumptuous, but my guess is your familiar with other countries’ qualifications requiring citizenship, e.g. Iceland.
And,. sanctions, ha, too little too late (and I hate cliches) will not work. There are innocent lives being taken while the weak rule and try to come up with some passive solution. As long as those in charge are guarded, remain myopic, wine and dine behind security gates, life “does not affect them personally” outside of jaded gates, they just don’t give a damn about their serfs. Going to leave you with this this tid-bit. A mouse does not know the meaning of death until it has been in the mouth of a cat. Some of us know all too well the meaning. And, making a conscious decision in taking a life is not easy, but sometimes, necessary.
Greatly appreciate your work. Thank you for the opportunity of open dialogue.
Without the profanity:
1. “economic sanctions” never hurt warlords or dictators. They hurt the man in the street and the poor. Time and again, the few warlords who are turned out of control manage to flee with a significant portion of their wealth.
2. There has never been any discussion that the fight was generated by a dispute over the implementation of the Minsk2 Protocols. Whether you are a diehard pro-Russian a diehard pro-western Ukrainian, you have been played.
3. The reality is that there will always be someone who wants what you have and is willing to hurt you for your possessions, your beliefs, your color, your religion. You are on your own in this world.
4. Russia is no more than a collection of geographical warlords. If it were not, the Russians would have been able to quell the armed civil uprisings in Chechnya and Dagestan without turning over control to local warlords. The end result will be an internal weakening of Russian security and having to support an area of the former Soviet Union that has gone downhill for the past 30 years – eastern Ukraine – which used to be a center of manufacturing.
Thomas Xavier says
Hey mate! I was looking forward to seeing your name pop up, as always you don’t disappoint with forcing me to think of where I really stand on things!
1) I never said they did, I don’t care to hurt warlords or dictator, those individuals are effectively supported by the apathy of their citizens. The Nuremberg defence is not a thing. over 100 million Russians could have forced change but instead we have a tinpot dictator invading a European country, I have zero problems with economic sanctions breaking the country to the ground- “bystanders” included. Likewise I care very little for the civilians who died during the raid for Osama* etc. You cannot deflect responsibility by citing apathy.
2) My point (with profanity) was that I have zero interest in discussing the technical reasoning behind it. I have not been played because I am not engaging with said rhetoric. I care about the people of Ukraine. Since they didn’t invade or attack Russia, I fail to see how Russia can justify an armed invasion. I will leave the nuance to politicans- personally, Moscovites may not approve of their governments actions but its Ukrainians who are huddling in fear.
3) Couldn’t agree with you more, hence the necessity for tribes, countries, unions etc. My point of contention is the response from our union not that people who want what you have will try to take it.
4) Not sure how to respond to that as it reads as quite hyperbolic. All countries are a collection of tribes and their warlords, some are just more sophisticated than others. Its hardly relevant to the situation at hand. Timmy was bad and I expect my leaders to spank the fucker. I understand the political nuance, what concerns me is that we often forget the human cost when it comes to these discussions and the rhetoric involved. I refuse to be intimidated by Russia and I fear that if we placate him or get bogged down in technicalities and bureaucracy, the West as a loose identity will fall. Dramatic I know but this is my blog and I don’t pretend to write with an unbiased frame of mind.
I am always happy to see you crop up mate, honestly if it wasn’t for you and a handful of others, I wouldn’t have much of a reason to return to MTJS. Life is hectic with real world work & google has been levying penalty after penalty against MTJS due to the nature of my content (and I am unapologetic about this) but the community even if it doesn’t agree with me is fucking phenomenal. How have you been?
1. all of my relatives in a small Ukrainian farming village were killed by either the Germans/German affiliates or the Soviets during WW2.
2. economic sanctions do not work. They did not work against Japan in 1941, against Cuba, against Iran. The current big threat is against Mr. Putin personally who had his $100 million yacht in Germany for repairs and took it back to Russia two months ago, but no sanctions that will possibly hurt the political party in charge of the American presidency.
3. the beneficiaries are as follows:
a. companies that sell munitions to eastern European countries;
b. companies that compete against Ukrainian and Russian companies and governmental enterprises.
c. military opponents of Russia who will have an opportunity to observe the functioning of equipment and tactics
d. Mr. Putin who will continue to rule Russia for a while.
e. local geographical warlords associated with Mr. Putin’s Russia who will sense an opportunity to expand their personal controls in their geographical areas as Mr. Putin expends national resources elsewhere.
4. The losers are those who suffer financial losses, family losses in this unnecessary conflict.
The Soviet Union suffered over 300,000 casualties in the last 6 weeks of WW2. The Chinese suffered over 30,000 casualties teaching the Vietnamese a lesson after the end of the Vietnam War. If the Ukrainians do fight and if this time the US provides the Ukranian military with real time satellite information (denied in 2014), Mr Putin will not last long in power.
L M B says
What is the difference between a warlord and a politician? None, except one is elected.
Julian Povey says
Agreed, the responses to Russia’s crimes have been gutless.
Not sure how devastating loss of SWIFT would be to Russia, since it’s been developing its own system for years now. Inconvenient yes, devastating no.
Biden has been offered cyber attack options for use on Russia, and drawn the line regarding any Russian incursions into surrounding NATO member countries.
Boris Johnson said earlier today that after exhausting all other methods of persuasion, Ukrainian sovereignty would ultimately be defended militarily… In which case God help us all, because Europe will be at war with Russia….and potentially China, depending on how much China values its relationship with Russia…
No one wants to hang Ukraine out to dry….and no one wants world war III either.
Thomas Xavier says
SWIFT being denied will hurt the broader GDP and primarily hurt smaller businesses and individuals. If those apathetic individuals start to feel the pain, I hope they will start to question their leadership. If they don’t then we should do all we can to North Korea them. I am surprisingly happy with Biden’s response, and further frustrated (consequently) by my own leaders meek rhetoric. 2022, when I am jealous of American leadership. What a fucking year.
Jesus, I’m pissed at my Country (USA) and NATO. You know Ukraine supplied troops to Afghanistan to support us and NATO. Plus they’ve participated in several other NATO International Ops. Once again we let a friend down. The Yards in Vietnam and Laos, The Kurds in Iraq, the Afghans, now Ukraine!
I spent 5 years in West Germany 1976-79, 1981-83 defending against Commie bastards and the Warsaw Pact. I wasn’t a desk jockey, I was a Combat Arms Indirect Fire Infantryman (Mortars.) I spent months on the Fulda Gap where our life expectancy was hours if the Russians attacked. Regardless we were hard charging patriotic Americans who truly believed we could and would win and that our Country had our backs along with our NATO partners.
Now, we can barely field 2 Armor Divisions and only have a few Infantry divisions on active duty. Germany can’t field but a brigade or two, the UK maybe a division, the rest of our Allie’s except for France and Poland are weak. Putin knows this and is licking his lips……
Now I must say in the US Army we’ve become pussies more interested in inclusiveness, gay rights, etc., not our primary function to meet with and kill the enemy. Our military and NATO is a shell of what they once were. If Russia decides to take back the Baltic states, and other parts of Eastern Europe at this point in time they can. Sanctions be dammed. Thoughts and prayers are bullshit when your getting bombarded by grad rockets or close air support. Ukraine is screwed plain and simple. Putin smells weakness and he will act on it.
Thomas Xavier says
The U.S Army isn’t led by soldiers, but by elected officials like every other democracy, I have zero problems with gay rights, inclusiveness etc. by American standards I am a bleeding heart liberal (pro socialised healthcare, free education etc.) but by European standards I am frequently sidelined as far right in some cases.
Tolerance means tolerating ideologies and beliefs we don’t agree with nor understand. It doesn’t mean you need to be on their side. I tolerate the westboro baptist church hate filled rhetoric, that doesn’t mean I condone it.
The issue with partisan rhetoric is it implies a forced homogeneity within the framework of a nation, as democracies this is naturally impossible. I consider myself tolerant of anything, if people want to identify as squirrels that is their business. Freedom of identity and freedom of expression is absolute until it hits my nose. ;) In short; Coercion is wrong but expression is not.
I believe that anyone can believe what they want- regarding invective rhetoric like “primary function to meet with and kill the enemy.”- I cannot agree with this. Our nations military exist to protect our countries from external threats and support our foreign policy when needed. Regarding Ukraine, they are our allies and we should support them. The actions of Russia (militarily) and China (Economically and Ideologically) put them at odds with us and consequently we should cease and desist from any support- domestic or otherwise. We have zero legal, ethical or social obligation to fund (directly or indirectly) bad faith actors and that is my position. If China invades Taiwan we should honour our security guarantees and respond in kind, in the meantime our economic policy should reflect the attitude of the countries we are trading with.