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I am not a general…

… and no one has ever accused me of being diplomatic (that’s why we have blogs). But maybe Elon Musk should take the praise and adulation from his Starlink contributions to the Ukrainian government and stop trying to manipulate the market, or whatever, by trolling. By the way, Elon, many of us have seen a significant uptick of the worst of the worst MAGA Republican Congress critters in our Twitter timelines lately. They’re full of insulting talking points and pointless general statements that the emptiness inside of them have grasped like the deflated life vests under their seats. Pathetic. If their purpose is to persuade voters, it’s failing miserably. If it’s just intended to saturate Twitter with troll spam, making themselves irritating, and daily blocking a game of whack-a-mole, mission accomplished. Just wondering how tweaking the algorithm so that rational people are presented with a constant stream of cultish MAGA garbage makes Twitter a better public forum.

There’s some former GOP operative who wrote a book called Why We Did It or something like that who said that the thing that motivates Republicans the most these days is their absolute contempt and hatred for Democrats and their idiotic tweets are proof of this. The one that features Mayra Flores is just creepy, like in a stalker way. She gets close to the camera and tells you she and all other Latino voters are Conservative, like she just annexed southern Texas.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the war on Ukraine. It’s my new obsession since February. I follow Ukrainian and exiled Russian journalists, read Mick Ryan’s 25 part threads, dip into the International Study of War, and listen to former American generals whose analysis stimulates the strategic and logistical elves in my head.

Here’s my conclusions:

  • Russia is going to lose this war. No, really. It went to Ukraine like a tsunami. It threw all of its manpower and firepower at Ukraine upfront, probably thinking that a Blitzkrieg and overwhelming force would quickly subdue the Ukrainians. With this in mind, it had no backup plan. It probably didn’t even think about how it was going to resupply itself because after it had overturned the government in Kyiv and terrorized the civilians, it would just setup an occupying force and go back to cheating, stealing and oppressing it’s own citizens. There would be time to make new tanks and ammunition later.
  • What it didn’t count on was the depth of reservists in Ukraine. They had a surplus of volunteers to go to war and a shortage of supplies. Zelenskyy convincingly got the world behind it. And while the US is supplying arms to the Ukrainians in phases, Ukraine has sent its reservists off to NATO countries to be trained and equipped so it comes back to the front in waves. Not huge tidal waves but more like a constant rising tide with erosion.
  • Whoever is planning out the strategy for breaking the Russian army knows what it’s doing. Illia Ponomarenko, a Ukrainian war journalist says it’s like a game of Jenga. The strategists and logistics people have studied the landscape of this war very carefully and have been pulling out blocks Little by little. There’s a possibility that the whole edifice will collapse suddenly. That looks like it’s happening now in Kherson Oblast. Some generals on the tube have been cautioning the army to not get ahead of itself and distance itself too far from its supply lines. Yes, they are giddy and motivated but they have to be mindful of all the blocks around them that need to be pulled out as well.
  • I have no idea who blew up the Nord gas pipelines but I agree with Julia Ioffe that Russia has more of a motive to do it by cutting off Europe from the possibility of resumption of deliveries if the Russian regime falls. That puts a lot of pressure on European governments just as it goes into winter. There are already protests in the EU. That’s going to get worse as the cold really starts to set in and Germany realizes how stupid it was to decommission so many nuclear power plants.
  • The best way to avert Putin from launching a nuclear device is to pull Ukraine into NATO. That’s my personal opinion. As Gary Kasparov says, Putin won’t deploy one unless he thinks he can get away with it. Right now, Ukraine lacks a nuclear deterrent because we talked them into giving up their nukes. But once it’s under NATO’s umbrella, it gets back it’s nuclear deterrent capability. It’s inevitable. Ukraine will never be neutral after this war. And putin didn’t invade in order to prevent it from joining NATO. It was all about a war of opportunity.
  • Now comes the delicate part of this war. How far does Ukraine have to push Russia out before NATO becomes a reality? I have no idea but instability is growing and bringing this war to a swifter conclusion seems likely. Timing is everything. Dragging it out only destabilizes international markets and makes the financiers impatient. They’re the other set of players in this game and they can be formidable.

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11 Responses

  1. I have a couple of questions- first, I am not on twitter, but isn’t the influx of trolls and/or bits at least partially engineered by Musk to accumulate more evidence to back out of the deal, or has that theory been debunked? Second, I recently started to read Naked Capitalism after not looking at it for at least 10 years. Do you know what is behind their apparent pro-Russian stance on the war? This is particularly obvious in the comments section, which is closely monitored by Yves and the other guy.

    • I’m pretty much a regular on NC, and I too have been puzzled by their utter slack-jawed gullibility where Russia is concerned. I haven’t been able to comment there for about 3 years (Yves says there’s no ban on me and she can’t explain why anything I send disappears into the ether). I certainly appreciate alternative perspectives, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of critical thinking at work where obvious RT propaganda is concerned.

      My view on things is pretty simple: Zelenskyy is probably not a paragon of virtue, but:

      1) He got where he is through a fair contested election with multiple candidates, none of whom fell out of windows or suffered sudden inexplicable bouts of Polonium poisoning

      2) I know whose tanks rolled into whose country

      3) I know whose train stations, civilian housing, and maternity hospitals are being shelled and whose territory is being annexed as a result of referenda conducted at gunpoint

      It’s really pretty simple. If Israel did something like this in the West Bank or Gaza, the NC commentariat would be up in arms.

      Oh, and if Vladimr Vladimirovich were *my* next-door neighbor, I’d want to join NATO, too.

      • Ah, I see the problem. You mentioned Isra3l. There was a nasty period of time when the I-P war carried over here and everybody got dragged into it against their wills. No one could say anything on either side of the issue without triggering international incidents. I figured there were other blogs and social media outlets dedicated to the subject and maybe people interested in it should go there, not here. So I put the country’s name in the moderation list. If the comment isn’t related to the conflict, I approve it. Sorry about that.

    • Musk supposedly is a free speech purist and sees no reason to moderate obnoxious lies from politicians with ill intent. Everyday, one of them pops in to tell me how liberals think. They’re usually the most bizarre and improbable thoughts. Like I say, it’s garbage serving no purpose except to inflame their base. So why has the algorithm been tweaked so that I have to see all this crap in MY timeline while some of the accounts I am following are suddenly muted or I need to seek them out??
      It’s annoying AF.
      If you’re referring to Lambert Strether at Naked Capitalism, I used to read that blog in the beginning. They were interesting. But somewhere along the way they took a hard left absolutist turn. I think it all comes down to how much you want an audience. If your self worth is dependent on how many likes you get, you *will* start tailoring your writing to suit that demographic. It’s almost unavoidable to maintain status.

  2. Bots, not bits

  3. Let me guess: I used the word “propaganda”, right? I hate WordPress.

    • That is weird- I received your response via WordPress through my email, but I didn’t see it here, so was a bit baffled as this Luddite is wont to be. Thanks for the response. Glad I am not alone, but the self-reinforcing trend there is worrisome. It reminds me of trump, always wanting to be contrary. I am concerned about the lack of transparency in re:the invasion and the economic ramifications, but I agree, the horrific sequence of events has been pretty obvious.

      • I’ve learned a lot from NC over the years: how CDOs and other derivatives work, for example. I’m just baffled by the stance they’ve taken in this conflict. I agree that every single “news” outlet on the planet is saturated with one form of prop@g@nd@ (take *that*, WordPress) or another, but there’s a difference between having a healthy level of skepticism and forming a cheering squad for Putin. The level of conformity on this in the NC commenters is bizarre, too.

        • I agree with the bizarreness of it. I have gone on the site a handful of times lately just to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. Some of the players have pretty detailed knowledge of Russian materiel and appear to get off on debating the nuances of weapons. It is very odd. Yves has made it clear that cheering on is not allowed without coupling opinion with citations, but the cheering on seems to only be on the side of Putin and some commenters are referencing him as a victim. It truly is shocking.

    • AFAIK, propaganda is not a moderation queue word. Let me put on my hip waders and go down into the moderation filter to see if I can fish it out.

  4. We11, !’11 ju$t h@ve t0 w0rk extr@ h@rd t0 av0!d anyth!ng th@t m!ght c@u$e my p0$t$ t0 get he1d up.

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