US Lend Lease Once Saved Russia; Now it Weakens It

US lend lease is explained in the video below. During WWII, the US kept the USSR afloat so as to weaken Hitler’s Nazi army. Now, US lend lease is instrumental in weakening the Nazis of today — Putin’s Russia.

There is nothing noble about what the US government is doing. To Biden and his gang of pretenders, it is just an excuse to spend a lot of money and to pretend they are the good guys.

Meanwhile in the fantasy world of Russian leadership, minds are being irrevocably twisted in the attempt to rationalize Putin’s decision to go through with his “great Ukrainian adventure.”

Big Fish in a Small Pond: Russia’s Surreal Disconnect

One “achievement” of the barbarian invasion of Ukraine is that no one inside of Russia can feel safe questioning the decision-making coming out of the Kremlin — no matter how ludicrous or suicidal to Russia. The atmosphere there is entirely and irretrievably surreal.

In this atmosphere of complete repression, even political figures who once seemed to offer alternative ideas now echo Putin’s uncompromising words. Former President Dmitry Medvedev has insisted that criticism of the operation amounts to treason. Even Naryshkin, a skeptic in February, has found his war footing and now faithfully parrots the government line. People no longer speak with their own voices; the shadow of Putinist Chekism now covers the entire country.

… The last time the Kremlin built such an all-controlling state, under Andropov’s leadership in the early 1980s, it unraveled when the security forces relaxed their grip and allowed reform. Putin knows that story well and is unlikely to risk the same outcome. And even without him, the system he built would remain in place, sustained by the new security cohort—unless a 1980s Afghanistan-style debacle in Ukraine destroys it all. With this bureaucracy holding tight to power, Moscow’s foreign adventurism might abate. But as long as the structure holds steady, Russia will remain oppressed, isolated, and unfree.

Nina Khrushcheva

Foolish people — total idiots — may think that Putin’s complete control of the idea space in Russia is a sign of strength. That assertion might have some validity if Putin’s decision-making were based on sound reasoning. But what kind of sound reasoning could validate Putin’s decision to invade, and his other war-making decisions so far? In the real world, it is all about the decisions that are made. Sooner or later, actions have consequences.

Putin’s War-Making Calculus: Decisions and Consequences

The bear is snared. After more than two months of war, the Russian campaign in Ukraine has stalled. The stalemate settling across the battlefield has left legions of analysts, strategists, and statesmen bewildered. Some predicted a quagmire from the outset, but most seasoned military observers expected Russia to dominate the battlefield within the opening week of the war. Despite Russia’s claim that its “special military operation” is proceeding according to plan, the signs of a grave military miscalculation are mounting. The UK minister of defence estimates that over fifteen thousand Russian troops have been killed in action since the start of the war, and Russian factories are straining to replace the hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles that have been destroyed. As the battered Russian forces regroup in the Donbas, the Western military commentariat is assiduously assessing how Europe’s largest conventional army became embroiled in a grinding war of attrition against an ostensibly inferior opponent.

Some attribute the morass in Ukraine to megalomania on the part of Vladimir Putin, or the poor planning of the Russian military high command.

Putin’s Terrible Miscalculation

To Putin, his invasion of Ukraine was meant to be pain-free for Russia and for himself. Putin himself likened it to a rape, to an overpowering of a beautiful woman who just didn’t know what was best for her and needed to be shown by a powerful man. Putin’s pre-invasion state of mind is quite clear in its insouciant amorality.

Putin is a stone cold killer, and has been from the earliest days. If you ever thought Putin was a reformist who had the best interest of Russians at heart, please disabuse yourself of that ridiculous notion. Read “Putin’s People” by Catherine Belton for an exhaustively detailed historical look at Putin from early on, until today.

Putin has always been unspeakably vile, a psychopath from infancy if the truth were told.

Since Putin took power, dozens of journalists have been murdered and many of Putin’s most prominent critics have ended up dead. While some, like Alexei Navalny, have been able to remain alive, possibly due to the amount of international media coverage, not everyone has been so lucky. And while some critics, like Navalny, are imprisoned after a sham trial, others, like Alexander Gabyshev, are subjected to enforced psychiatric treatment.

It’s unclear exactly how many of Putin’s enemies have ended up dead in total, but the number continues to rise. And the murders aren’t only in Russia.

A Tiny Fraction of the Total Killed by the Madman

Putin’s Bad Decisions Have Real World Consequences

Political pundits wring their hands over the unlikelihood that Putin will be taken down by a palace coup, now that he has seized so much control over all speech and action inside the Kremlin. But Putin’s malignant decision making has effects that reverberate far beyond his sphere of absolute control. And in the real world, a host of outside actors possess agency and efficacy.

Putin opened Pandora’s box, on a whim. He never dreamed that the beautiful woman he was raping had such sharp nails and teeth. His pattern of vile behavior has always made him untouchable in the past, and he assumed that he would always remain beyond painful repercussion.

Nevertheless, Putin is expected to blunder forward with the full expectation of “success,” however he may be forced to define it, moving goalposts and all. He will try to level Ukraine’s cities and abduct its young people to Russian camps. When his soldiers must retreat, they will leave the landscape littered with corpses, raped females, and landmines, in a scorched Earth pattern reminiscent of every war fought by Russian men through history.

The mental pathology revealed by Russian behaviors in and around Putin’s barbarian invasion, is something that will haunt and impede the human future as long as it is allowed to exist. Unfortunately it exists at top levels of government around the world, where power to control other human beings is valued over better human traits such as the will and ability to create an expansive and abundant human future.

Ukraine Will Fight On

Ukrainians have no interest in negotiating with the Russians because several previous agreements were useless. Russia violated every one of them. Ukrainians will fight on, and do it more effectively and with more attention to the welfare of their troops than the Russians. Putin believes NATO is expecting a coup or revolution in Russia and that’s their motivation for supporting Ukraine. There’s some truth to that as many Russians, Ukrainians and Westerners believe peace will come faster and with less pain if Putin is removed from power, or does the improbable and admits defeat and withdraws from all Ukrainian territory. Putin will also have to return all the Ukrainian civilians sent to Russia and confined to internment camps. Then there are the accusations of war crimes in Ukraine, which Putin will be stuck with no matter whether he keeps fighting or withdraws. One major incentive for withdrawal from Ukraine is that it will end the extensive sanctions that are crippling the Russian economy and risking long-term damage if not lifted soon.

Russia is Not a Credible Negotiator
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Russia Reveals Devastating Weapon at Parade

Image Source

Russia’s only tank manufacturer had been shut down for weeks due to lack of spare parts. There have been rumors that the juggernaut factory that produces the T-14 Armata tank might even be sold to Elon Musk for conversion to a Tesla plant.

Privately, Russian oligarchs have suggested that it might be better to sell Vladimir Putin to Mr. Musk, because if anyone could find a productive use for the broken down old dictator, it would be the inventive revolutionary from South Africa whose latest coup is to save Twitter from itself.

Russia Was Not Prepared for a Real War

Russian forces were “caught by surprise” by the fierce resistance of the Ukrainian army, according to a former mercenary who fought with the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group.

Marat Gabidullin took part in Wagner Group missions on the Kremlin’s behalf in Syria and in a previous conflict in Ukraine, before quitting the group in 2019.

“They were caught completely by surprise that the Ukrainian army resisted so fiercely and that they faced the actual army,” Mr Gabidullin said about Russia’s setbacks in Ukraine.

He said people he spoke to on the Russian side had told him they expected to face rag-tag militias when they invaded Ukraine, not well-drilled regular troops.

“I told them: ‘Guys, that’s a mistake’,” said Mr Gabidullin, who refused a call from a recruiter inviting him to go back to fighting as a mercenary in Ukraine several months before Russia launched its invasion. 

Telegraph Live Blog via Spin Strangeness Charm

With Russian weapons factories shutting down for lack of spare parts, it will take some time for Russia’s war machine to gear up for actual warfare. Perhaps Putin can take out a loan to help with operating capital while getting production built up again.

Russia is not a real country. It is a jigsaw puzzle of republics and ethnic states that is set on constant simmer — just waiting to boil over at the slightest excuse.

Russia’s most productive people — Russia’s future — tend to despise Putin. And the feeling is mutual on Putin’s part. The danger of Russian collapse is not merely demographic. Putin has abused his position for over 20 years, and has cheated his people out of a future. It is time for them to return the favor and shove the abusive dictator’s head into the dirt.

Ukraine War: Former Russian Prime Minister says Putin is ‘losing strength’ – YouTube

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Massive Russian Advantage, Moscow Victory Parade

In a rare public appearance, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an inspirational speech to Moscow attendees at the annual Moscow Victory Parade over WWII Hitler Germany.

“Those who want to split us from the inside have not succeeded. That is our great unwavering strength. We are fighting for the well-being and security of the Homeland. We are protecting Russia’s independence. Those who defeated Nazism have shown us an example of courage for all ages. Glory to our army, to our Russia! For victory!”, Putin concluded his speech.

Moscow Victory Parade

Russia has a massive advantage over Ukraine in numbers of fighting men, armored vehicles and artillery, and military aircraft. The Russian military industrial complex is huge, employing a vast proportion of Russians in its various factories and design bureaus. Due to western sanctions, some Russian factories are finding it difficult to maintain production:

Russian military technology is dependent on imports. Whilst the specifications for Russian warships may be notable on paper, there is no guarantees that without technology and materiel from the West these platforms will function as intended, or that their domestic substitutes produce the same quality. Mission computers, semiconductor components and radars are all areas in which Russia is particularly behind. Rising demand for the precision strike missiles that equip these warships will also face hurdles due to their reliance on western components; fighting in Ukraine will have depleted these stocks already, and it is unclear whether Russia is able to replace these weapons in good time.

Russian Naval Modernization

Russia is attempting closer military ties with China in the attempt to overcome certain technological bottlenecks it is experiencing with multiple weapons systems. Unfortunately for both Russia and China, neither nation is at the forefront of technological innovation for most critical areas of precision engineering and precision manufacturing. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has come at a particularly bad time for China, making its own planned invasion of Taiwan far more complicated and costly than it needed to be.

Mass Layoffs in Russian Defense Factories

Meanwhile, in Russia’s war factories, mass employee layoffs loom — just at a time when production needs to be geared up to compensate for heavy losses in Ukraine.

A Russian facility responsible for the production of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) has been shut down due to import restrictions and Western sanctions. This is because, as noted by employees, “almost nothing Russian” is used during the critical state of production when electronic components are used. 

JP via SpinStrangenessCharm

Employees at shut-down defense factories are encouraged to sign up to fight in Ukraine for the Russian invading force. The alternative is to go on unpaid leave. Across the Russian defense industries, factories are shutting down for lack of foreign technological components that are vital to the function of most weapons systems. This is true not only for electronic components but also for components that require precise machining tolerances.

The surreal world of Kremlin backfighting in the absence of real world information feedback… policies built on fantasies. The depth of corruption is almost unfathomable in its decadent dysfunctionality.

Putin’s Ukrainian Invasion: Tactical Update

Although 75 days have passed since the first Russian troops invaded Ukraine, the Russian Aerospace Forces have failed to achieve air dominance over the battlefield.

According to the Pentagon, the Russian military is now averaging between 200 and 300 combat sorties every day. However, most Russian long-range strikes have taken place outside of Ukrainian air space because of the potent Ukrainian air defenses — which are aided by timely intelligence shared by the U.S. and NATO.

The Ukrainian Air Force, bolstered by shipments of spare parts from friendly countries, is still flying combat sorties despite its numerical and qualitative inferiority compared to its Russian adversaries.

As of Monday, the Ukrainian military is claiming the following:

Source

More:

  • 25,650 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
  • 2,764 armored personnel carriers destroyed
  • 1,970 vehicles and fuel tanks
  • 1,145 tanks
  • 513 artillery pieces
  • 377 unmanned aerial systems
  • 199 fighter, attack, and transport jets
  • 185 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
  • 158 attack and transport helicopters
  • 94 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
  • 83 anti-aircraft batteries
  • 41 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
  • 12 boats and cutters
  • four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
  • Source

The Established Order in Europe Has Been Shaken

Most importantly, the war has shaken the foundations of the established power distribution in Europe, and – pending Ukraine’s victory – may reorder it for decades to come, shifting Europe’s core from the West to the Center of the Continent. A rebuilt and successful Ukraine, with its population of some 44 million and wealth of natural resources and fertile agricultural land would shift the center of Europe’s gravity – regardless of whether or not it joins the EU.  A free and successful Ukraine would all but ensure a rapid implosion of the Lukashenka dictatorship in Belarus and, aligned with Poland, Romania, Finland, and the Baltic States would give the Baltic-Black Sea intermarium unprecedented economic and political influence. With the combined population of some 120 million for the intermarium, this new configuration would fundamentally shift the overall power balance in Europe. Last but not least, it would compel Russia to come to terms with the reality of its post-imperial status. It would force it to address the fundamental question of what the “normal” Russian nation-state should look like.  

A New Europe

Russia comprises a massive land mass, imparting an oversized psychological impact on anyone who contemplates the nation’s huge geographical and cartographic proportions. But Russia is not, in fact, a real country. It is instead a hodgepodge of disparate territories poorly integrated into a corrupt and disjointed “whole.”

After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Russia had the opportunity to become a real country. It had the chance to utilize its massive energy and mineral wealth in underwriting the modernization of the impoverished and backward slap-dash quasi-empire. But former Soviet opportunists never had any intention of allowing Russia to be a real country, with a free people allowed to speak their minds without penalty or with actual justice in the courts and freedom from abuse at the hands of authorities. That was never going to be.

Meanwhile, back in a secure bunker at an undisclosed location, the president of Russia is trying to come up with a combination of plays that will allow him to keep his position and his life, while keeping most of the truth from as many of the Russian people as possible. It doesn’t seem to matter that he himself is being deprived of most of reality just as surely as the average Russian serf.

In other parts of Russia, kidnapped Ukrainians are being transported to cities deep inside Russia in the attempt to permanently instill a Russian identity in place of their natural Ukrainian identity. This is being done in the hopes of at least partially mitigating an ongoing Russian demographic collapse. But not all Russians agree with this demented plan:

…ordinary Russians have formed a vast human chain and are passing people, including Mariupol survivors, from city to city until they reach the border.

It comes as Vladimir Putin prepares to watch Russian military’s annual Victory Parade in Moscow’s Red Square and while his troops continue to make a final push to subdue Mariupol’s last defenders.

A month-long investigation by i has shown that Russia is dispersing Ukrainians along a network of remote camps in former Soviet sanatoriums and other sites stretching along the route of the Trans-Siberian Railway to Vladivostok.

Success for those heading for the border is at the mercy of the Russian guards and depends on their mood, after a journey that can take days and is fraught with impossible obstacles.

i has revealed how a Kremlin decree has ordered regions across the Russian Federation to prepare to accept people from the war zone and how they are being dispersed to camps in Siberia, the Arctic Circle, the North Caucasus and even the Far East, with at least 10 people arriving at the remote Kamchatka Peninsula on Russia’s Pacific coast.

“People around the world are against Russia. It’s sad, but it’s understandable,” one activist in the country said. “But there are good people everywhere and we are doing what we can.”

A Few Good Russians

Russian troops in Ukraine continue to display low morale and poor discipline as fighting in many areas has stalled out against Ukrainian resistance. A senior US defense official claimed that Russian troops in Donbas are failing to obey orders from top generals.[6] Russian forces deployed to the Zaporizhzhia area reportedly are experiencing very low morale and psychological conditions, complain about the ineffectiveness of operations in the area, frequently abuse alcohol, and shoot at their own vehicles in order to avoid going to the frontline.[7] This is consistent with reports made by the Ukrainian General Staff that the extent of Russian losses is having widespread impacts on the willingness of Russian troops to engage in offensive operations.[8]

Understanding War 9 May 22
Posted in Russian Decline, Ukraine | Leave a comment

25,000 Russians Dead; 75,000 Wounded and Captured

Putin lowered his pants and the world only laughed. Now his wounded pride demands full-scale war. But that only risks greater humiliation for Russia and in the end, utter ruin.

Russia’s most “elite” units have been devastated by Putin’s big mistake, and Russia’s dead and maimed are just a small price the corrupt old country must pay.

Donbas Resists Russian Onslaught; Black Sea Fleet Falters

Despite 72 days of war, the Russian Aerospace Forces have failed to achieve air dominance over Ukraine. And the Ukrainian military is starting to incorporate the new weapon systems the U.S. and NATO have been sending. The M-777 155mm Howitzer, in particular, and counter-artillery radars will allow the Ukrainian military to conduct better counterattacks. According to the Pentagon, 80 M-777 155mm Howitzers are already in Ukraine with the rest 10 on their way to the eastern European country. __ Daily Tactical

Russia’s faltering offensive on Donbas stumbles; Ukraine arms up… Every day brings more advanced weapons and training in their use to the defenders of Ukraine. And every day brings more bloodshed to Russian forces and greater demoralization in the ranks of the bewildered invaders.

Why did Russia go to war against a peaceful neighbor, against a people with strong ethnic and cultural ties to Russia? When it is clear that Ukrainians reject Russian overtures and just want Russians to leave, why do Russians persist? When every action of the Russian invaders magnifies the growing hatred of Ukraine toward Russia, why do the Russian people support the unprovoked bloodshed? Are Russians merely serfs and automatons who can only do what their corrupt leaders tell them?

Ukraine getting pounded by Russian artillery

Perhaps this anti-battery radar system will help to hit back against Russian guns and rockets

Germany and Netherlands send advanced long-range howitzers

US sends several dozen ultra-light howitzers

France sends dozen advanced Caesar self-propelled howitzers

More on Netherlands howitzers

Czechs send advanced weaponry, heavy and light

Even more assistance is going to Ukraine from the UK, Sweden, Norway, and dozens of other nations around the world. Weapons, aid, food, cash, intelligence — whatever may help to repel the barbarian invaders.

Putin screwed the pooch, and Russia itself may be the cost of his utter folly. Russia cannot afford all the losses it is suffering — land, sea, and air — from Putin’s huge miscalculation.

Putin always believed that Russia’s oil & gas gave him an unlimited pocketbook that would last forever. He himself is too stupid and too terminal to learn better, but the brighter Russians of those left behind in the gulag nation are beginning to comprehend the limitations of the petrostate model.

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We Beat that Old Man to Death with Batons

A Russian Tale, Mother and Son

A Mother’s Love

He says: “We beat that old man to death, just with batons. To death. Can you imagine? How many times, how long it should take to kill a person just with a baton?”

When Konstantin admits that he enjoyed mentally and physically torturing the old man, his mother makes her own admission.

She tells her son that if she was in Ukraine she “would enjoy it too”, adding: “We are so alike, you and me.”

[After I murdered over 20 people, he told her, I calmed down.]

Like Mother Like Son

Russians inside Russia tend to feel no sympathy for anyone outside their family, and tend to celebrate the misfortunes of others. In the news story above, the Russian mother and son go on to imagine torturing the soldier’s father — the mother’s husband. They both laugh at the image with great humor. It is a culture fitting for Putin and his followers.

It is tempting to say that Russians are cruel and sadistic. But some of the kindest people I know are Russians who have left Russia and live elsewhere. Growing up in Russia and absorbing that culture tends to make one callous and indifferent to others. The best Russians are able to get away from that environment and resist the dehumanizing effect. They will naturally hate Putin if they turn to the good.

Russia’s forces rape and sexually torture Ukrainians in over 400 incidents | Ukraine News | NewsRme – YouTube

When Russophiles publicly admire rape, torture, murder, looting, and open unabashed war against civilians, it is clear that for them, Putin has accomplished his goal of dehumanization.

Putin is pure evil. No human being will cry over Putin’s dead body, but they will happily piss on it. Merely as a gesture of completion, and moving on.

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When Dictators Die

Rumors of impending death… and rumors of expedited death. Either way, if a man believes he is likely to die anyway, he is less likely to be concerned about any number of deaths that may occur incidental to his own. Nuclear war? No skin off his teeth!

Russian Veterans of Ukraine Invasion Will Return to Russia in Darknesss

Suppressing the anger of families who lost sons in a foreign war does not end well, as Russia learned in the 1980s when the Soviet Union still existed and there were similar laws regarding notification of families and criticism of the war in Afghanistan. Russia lost 15,000 dead during the eight years of Afghan fighting back then and it is common knowledge that more than that have been lost during two months in Ukraine.

The Russian government no longer speaks of “liberating” all of Ukraine but a senior Russian general has announced that Donbas and the Ukrainian Black Sea coast will be taken. That better happen soon because more and more veterans of the Ukrainian war are returning home. Many of them were badly wounded and released from service with warnings to keep quiet about what happened. For most veterans silence is not an option and the strict Soviet-era rules and all-powerful KGB no longer exist. These veterans were born after the Soviet Union collapsed and have no nostalgia for the lost empire, especially after facing those “fascist” Ukrainians and discovering that the Russian liberators were considered the Nazi invaders by Ukrainians who were not fighting for NATO but to maintain their independence. Not all the Russian veterans agreed with that but they could not deny what they encountered and it was news that finds more and more believers inside Russia.

Chickens Come Home to Roost

Every direction Russia looks, trouble looms. Economically, politically, demographically, militarily, and especially morally, Russia is on a rapid decline thanks to the choices that have been made by an ailing Putin.

We should not be surprised to see Russian soldiers looting everything of value they can find inside Ukraine. Looting is better than raping, murdering, arson, and wholesale destruction. Besides, looting and thieving can be considered cultural traits in Russia. If you criticize this behavior, you are being a racist.

Russia’s top leadership is all Soviet-era born and raised. Their thinking was shaped by a Soviet miasma that left a permanent warping. But the younger generations have no such shapings. Instinctively, they have no loyalty to the fever dreams of former KGB agents who temporarily rule Russia today. When given a chance, they will mutiny If forced to do so, they will actively rebel. They will not be thinking the consequences through to the end, but while the insurrection lasts it will be sufficiently hot to burn the established order.

Perhaps Putin knows he is dying, and is grasping at a last chance for some grand legacy he imagines can last through the inevitable devastation that Russia faces. He is old, yes. He is ill, yes. He may even be somewhat demented by now. The misery he brings in his wake is just as real.

Weak minds grasp onto the megalomaniacs in public view, as a strong anchor for their world views. Putin attracts a wide range of weaklings in his coterie and his fan clubs around the world. By latching onto the dictator they can imagine themselves as strong somehow. Just like fans of Hitler imagined. But dictators die. And weaklings remain weak, as they always were.

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My Soldiers Don’t Want to Fight; I Have to Shoot Them

Exhausted soldiers are now being pressed into a new Kremlin offensive in Ukraine’s eastern territories, as Putin eyes capturing the entire Donbas region.

However, troop morale appears to have hit rock bottom with soldiers increasingly refusing to fight.

A recently intercepted telephone conversation between a Russian officer and his wife revealed the desperation of Putin’s frontline commanders as they try to motivate their soldiers.

The officer said: “My soldiers don’t want to fight. I even shoot them – but it’s no use.”

Army Morale Just Gets Worse

Russian Officers Refuse to Carry Out Orders

No matter how hard Putin tries to restrict information about Russia’s losses in Ukraine, total control of information flow is impossible. Military organizations always have multiple parallel formal and informal channels for sending messages, which makes Putin’s job of information control so much harder. And as the troops back in Russia continue to learn the shoddy way that Putin is using Russia’s army in Ukraine, some of them are expressing their unhappiness in unconventional ways.

The Russian military analyst, called Andrey Shipilov, posted in his Telegram channel, “in the Russian army, in any case, in those parts that are on the territory of Russia, a mass strike of the middle command level began. And above all staff. All work is sabotaged, all orders from superiors are put on brakes.”

Refusing the Dictator’s Call

Call it Genocide if You Want

A Creeping Weakness Penetrates to the Bones

  • Russia’s military is falling short in Ukraine, with reports describing low morale and elite troop losses.

The invasion of Ukraine has made Russia’s military “significantly weaker” despite its defense budget doubling in the past 20 years, the UK said Tuesday.

“Russia’s military is now significantly weakened, both materially and conceptually, as a result of its invasion of Ukraine,” the British Ministry of Defence tweeted in its daily intelligence report on Russia’s invasion.

Source

Putin is displaying multiple signs of serious illness. Putin has already outlived most of his male cohorts, and is showing signs of physical deterioration more commonly seen in men ten years older in the west. In Russia, he is old.

Putin is not the man he once was:

Will Russia allow Putin to drag the whole country down with him, as he enters his terminal decline? And how long will Russia’s military and security apparatus continue to carry out Putin’s orders as it becomes clear that Russia may never recover from the damage that Putin is doing?

Russia has great potential to contribute to a positive future, if it only had a better leadership. The current leaders all had ties to the old USSR intelligence, security, and military apparatus. The mindset of these corrupt old men is stuck in another era, long past. Their thinking is fossilized in ways that makes them unfit to lead their nation into a cooperative future of world nations. The USSR is gone. The old Russian Empire is gone. Neither will ever return. The more effort Russia puts into recreating those lost empires, the more certain it is that Russia itself will disintegrate.

Russia has a bright future, as long as it does not become mired in its blurry recollections of a fabled past.

More:

An interesting look at Russia’s nuclear posturing in the face of conventional weapons failure:

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All of Russia is Now a Fair Target for Ukraine

Explosions and Fires Emerge Across Russia: Oil depots, ammunition dumps, top-secret research labs, and other sensitive Russian targets have suffered mysterious fires and explosions recently.

The mysterious blazes in Russia have led to intense speculation that Ukraine has struck back against Moscow, with media reports suggesting that Ukrainian drones have been behind recent fires at two oil depots and a ‘top-secret’ defence facility in Russia.

Source

Moscow erupted in flames as a possible result of Russian insurgency. A Russian military camp in Belgorod, Russia, was rocked by multiple explosions. Sabotage by disaffected Russian forces is not out of the question, in line with multiple mutinies by Russian troops in this conflict to date.

Ukraine moves to adapt to the Donbas battlefield terrain

UPS guided artillery helps make Ukraine most capable army in Europe

Russian Weakness Continues to Emerge In Putin’s War

Russia’s defence budget, of over $250bn at purchasing power, is about three times that of Britain or France, but much of it is squandered or stolen. Mr Putin and his top commanders kept their invasion plans from senior officers, reflecting a crippling lack of trust. Disaffected troops, fed on out-of-date rations, have deserted their vehicles. Units have tortured, raped and murdered only to be honoured by the Kremlin. Russia has failed to win control of the skies or combine air power with tanks, artillery and infantry. Wallowing in corruption, unable to foster initiative or learn from their mistakes, its frustrated generals abandoned advanced military doctrine and fell back on flattening cities and terrorising civilians.

Rotten Little Man’s Rotten Army

Core of Putin’s Weakness

A Long War of Attrition With Unpredictable Outcome

Reconstituting Ukraine’s Navy to Rule the Black Sea

China Caught Off Balance By War’s Turnings

Putin’s vanity war in Ukraine threatens the global food supply and is likely to strain the world’s energy supply. China is vulnerable to both of these supply threats. But the Putin war also threatens to unbalance world trade and manufacturing, which compounds the previous two threats to the Middle Kingdom.

Putin’s smug descent into war must vex China’s Xi immensely. As long as Russia and China pretended to be civilized, their intended victims could lull themselves to sleep believing that they were safe from invasion for now. But Russia was never civilized, and now the world sees what should have been obvious all along. By association, China is now seen as uncivilized. This will make Taiwan double its preparations to repel China’s coming invasion. China must resent this inconvenience.

As for Russia, it is stuck with a long war of attrition, where embarrassing losses pile up to the point of genuine and undeniable pain. Putin has stuck his foot in it now, and NATO looks likely to be twice the greater presence on Russian borders than it was before. Every nation must now bolster its defenses against Moscow, including China.

Russia can save itself only by disposing of Putin.

More:

A historical look at Ukraine’s weapons production role inside the old USSR provides insight into Russia’s current and future problems with weapons systems. Russia has still not caught up in the fields of precision engineering and precision manufacturing. This backwardness is revealed in the problems Russia has with its ships, helicopters, planes, tanks, and any weapons systems relying on high tech components and precision manufactured parts.

Almost half of Russian military spending is lost to corruption involving siloviki and high ranking officers and defense officials. Putin encourages this kind of graft (see Putin’s People and The New Nobility), in fact he demands it. He doesn’t trust anyone who doesn’t use his position to cheat, steal, and sometimes kill.

If Putin cannot own the world, he means to blow it up. Russia’s absolute existential necessity is to make sure Putin cannot use them. A madman who uses the threat of nuclear war to coerce the world into bowing to him, is a man who has forfeited the right to exist.

Posted in China, Russia, Ukraine | 2 Comments

Ukraine-Built Missiles are Destroying Putin’s Tanks

In the video above you can see the rapid destruction of four of Putin’s battle tanks in the Donbass region by a single squad using the Ukrainian-made Stugna P anti-tank guided missile system. This is the homemade version of the Javelin or the NLAW.

Ukrainian Stugna P ATGM

Another way that Ukrainian fighters are destroying Russian tanks is by simply hitting the ammunition stored inside the turret, using armor piercing rounds. Here’s more on that tactic:

Russian tanks store their ammunition in the turret, where most of the crew—usually two men—stand. If the tank is hit by shelling [Ed: Or armor piercing incendiary rounds] during action, storing the ammunition in the turret makes it very likely to explode, blasting the turret and those inside it into the air, killing all inside.

A Deadly Design Flaw in Putin’s Tanks

Russia has lost thousands of armored vehicles in Ukraine, and is likely to lose thousands more as Putin throws more poorly designed tanks into the battle. Ukraine is now moving highly accurate howitzer artillery onto the battlefield, paired with counter-battery radar. The losses are just beginning to mount for Putin’s unfortunate cannon fodder — from general down to private.

Ukraine already has possession of over half of US howitzers promised

For Ukraine, the artillery, in combination with counter-radar capabilities and drones, will be a “pretty significant addition to the Ukrainian capacity to fight,” said Brian McKiernan, a retired major general and former commandant of the Army’s field artillery school. He currently works as a consultant with Cypress International.

The Pentagon is planning to send enough howitzers to equip five battalions, Kirby said Thursday. 

Ukrainian forces have had great success using Javelin missiles against Russian tanks within their line of sight. But long-range artillery like howitzers would allow Ukrainians to fire on those tanks, their supply lines, and other Russian military targets from a distance.

Death in a Foreign Land

When Putin expanded his war in Ukraine on February 24 of this year, analysts expected the country to fall in days. The world assumed that Russian military supremacy would be affirmed. It was then expected that China would soon follow Russia’s success in Ukraine with its own successful invasion of Taiwan, in a solid demonstration of China’s regional supremacy. Finally, it was assumed that NATO would run yelping home with its tail between its legs, whining to Putin to “please don’t cut off my oil & gas, Mr. Putin sir.”

Putin is NATO’s Best Salesman

NATO is set to become even bigger. Finland and Sweden, two Nordic nations with a decades-long policy of military neutrality between the West and Russia, will very likely submit their own membership bids as early as next month. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, neither power was especially interested in becoming full-fledged members. But the war has prompted a dramatic shift in Swedish and Finnish public opinion on this question.

In Finland, more than two thirds now support NATO membership. Sweden’s governing Social Democratic Party, skeptical of NATO membership in the past, is now actively deliberating whether such a move is needed in light of the current geopolitical environment. In Europe, February 24, the date of Russia’s invasion, is increasingly seen as the beginning of a new era, a date as monumental as the November 9, 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the December 26, 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

For Russian President Vladimir Putin, Finland’s and Sweden’s moves toward NATO membership are yet another unintended consequence of what has turned out to be a bloody morass in Ukraine. Those costs include an economy hemorrhaging foreign capital, a brain-drain of young, educated talent, Russia’s long-time gas buyers searching for alternative energy sources and a recession the likes of which the Kremlin hasn’t seen since the early days of Boris Yeltsin’s tenure. Practically speaking, Putin’s gamble in Ukraine has been a strategic dumpster fire.

Putin-Induced NATO Expansion to Russia’s Borders

Russia is well and truly mired in the quagmire of southeast Ukraine, and its already-huge losses in men and materiel just keep mounting. The world has seen the barbaric war crimes that occur when Russian forces occupy foreign countries. And the determination that Russia must pay for its crimes will only build with each passing day that Putin remains in power and continues his reign of terror and destruction on Russia’s more civilized and more cultured neighbor.

Russia itself is now a legitimate target for Ukrainian special forces, including fuel and ammunition depots and rail assets. As the Russian army is destroyed, the objectives will move toward Russian infrastructure — to answer for the Russian total destruction of Ukrainian cities, and the rape and murder of Ukrainian civilians.

A moon-faced heavily medicated Putin suffers from tremors and dyskinetic movement disorders. There is nothing inspirational about this vile man’s terminal decline. Rumors of cancer and Parkinson’s disease are rife, as are expert suggestions that Putin is suffering from a lifetime of heavy medication use for unspecified chronic conditions.

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Russia Crying Wolf: Exhausting the Alarm?

US allies from around the world — including NATO nations but also many others from Asia, Africa, and beyond — are openly discussing how best to strengthen Ukraine to resist Russian aggression and to throw the invaders back to original borders. This tougher attitude comes in spite of recent multiple Russian threats to trigger a global thermonuclear war if it is not allowed to annex any country it decides to take over.

The congregation of so many countries – not only from NATO allies, but also partners based in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East – on Tuesday sends “a powerful signal,” Austin continued. Several nations, including Germany and Canada, announced new heavy weapons shipments to Ukraine over the course of the event.

Meeting Every Month Until Russia Driven Out

The aim is to render Russia incapable of doing to any other country what it has attempted to do to Ukraine. 40 nations met in Germany with a common goal of putting an end to international Russian barbarism for the foreseeable future.

U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, rear center, delivers a speech as he hosts the meeting of the Ukraine Security Consultative Group at Ramstein Air Base in Ramstein, Germany, Tuesday, April 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

[US SecDef] Austin earlier met with his counterparts and other defense officials to discuss aid for Ukraine, the progress of the conflict, as well as Kyiv’s postwar military needs. 

He said allies will now meet monthly to discuss Ukraine’s self-defense and “continue to build on our progress,” with gatherings to be in person, virtual or mixed. 

Austin also said officials are coming away from the meeting determined to help Ukraine win the war and build strength for future conflicts, noting that Germany earlier on Tuesday pledged 50 Cheetah anti-aircraft armored vehicles and Canada the same day announced it would also send armored vehicles.

International Consultative Group of 40 Nations

Germany prepares to send 100 armored infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine

Is it Time to De-Nazify Russia?

If there is any country in the world reminiscent of Nazi Germany these days — besides communist China — it would surely be Putin’s Russia. While Putin is distracted by his attempts to de-Nazify Ukraine — a country that he says does not really exist — it is more obvious every day that the country that truly needs de-Nazification is Russia. Starting in the Kremlin and working outward, winnowing the elites without mercy, scrub the Nazism out of the empire.

If Russia were to cleanse itself of Nazism, there would be a lot less work for the war crimes tribunal — a Nuremberg like international court — that will take up where internal de-Nazification leaves off.

Russian Forces Go Deeper In the Quicksand

Russia’s military forces have been losing 1,000 casualties daily, on average, since the expanded invasion began in late February of this year. Dead and wounded, roughly 60,000 Russian personnel have been rendered incapable of combat, and several hundreds join them every day. As Ukrainians become more proficient with a wider range of weapons, those numbers could go up steeply. Particularly as Russians mass their forces in the open.

The Kremlin and the Russian high command do not seem to have any brilliant new tactics or strategy — just more pounding of civilian infrastructure in the attempt to make Ukraine unlivable and unworkable as a going concern. But it is a stupid strategy to give your opponent no choice other than total destruction. Every Ukrainian understands what happens to those who surrender to Russia. “Filtration,” rape, murder, and transport to the neo-gulags.

….. over 20,000 people are deported to Russia every day, and Ukrainians are in 35 regions of the Russian Federation. Denisova said this fact was confirmed by the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia, Tatiana Moskalkova.

“Currently, there is a filtration camp in the Donetsk region, where more than 10,000 of our citizens are staying. These are filtration camps in which they force our citizens to cooperate. Learn about their interests and their support for Ukraine or Russia. They will find out if there are acquaintances of law enforcement officers, and then they will be arrested and tortured, and possibly destroyed in this way,” Denisova added.

Filtration Camps

There is a growing mass of wrongs to be avenged, the longer Russia rampages outside of its boundaries. It would be best for Russia’s current leadership to die off, allowing Russians to choose a less destructive path to oblivion, earning less vengeance from those it has wronged than is likely to be the case if Russia continues along its current path.

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Putin: Not Parkinson’s; Tardive Dyskinesia

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a disorder that results in involuntary, repetitive body movements, which may include grimacing, sticking out the tongue, or smacking the lips.[1] Additionally, there may be rapid jerking movements or slow writhing movements.[1] In about 20% of people with TD, the disorder interferes with daily functioning.[3]

Wikipedia Tardive Dyskinesia

Video Shows Russian President Biting Lips and Making Unusual Gestures

Footage of the event showed the nervous-looking Russian President chewing up his lips. Putin’s unusual gestures endorsed speculations that he is physically unwell and these could be signs of Parkinson’s disease.

Sticking Out His Tongue

Drugs that cause tardive dyskinesia

Two Old Men with Old Brains

In the US, the president shakes hands with invisible people. In Russia, the president makes unusual gestures and raves about Nazi slime and traitors who disagree with him. Two countries. Two presidents who owe their positions to election fraud. Two huge nuclear arsenals waiting for permission to set the world on fire.

Russia Divided on Question of Genocidal War Against Ukraine

Young Russians who follow a broad range of news sources, tend to oppose Putin’s chaotic bloodshed in Ukraine. Those who can find work outside of the country have already left or are making plans to get out. The ones who must stay behind are preparing for a level of hardship unseen since the 1990s in Russia.

But for many Russians, that hardship is already here:

…hand-to-mouth living, no savings at all; still using the outhouse and relying on firewood to keep warm — both 20-25% of the Russian population — really. They are often employed, the “working poor,” living below the poverty line despite having a job. $150 is considered a decent monthly salary in the low places. Life expectancy and pension age are about the same for Russian males, so it’s a close race between death and a couple years’ retirement.

This is Russia beyond the big cities, in localities like Biysk or Porkhov. It’s all those townlets with a grey-on-grey color scheme and roads like they’ve just been bombed. Born there? Your alcoholic father has quite possibly been beating up your granny for her $150 pension, and junkies were doing salt in the back of your class in the eighth grade. Collection of scrap metal was an honorable alternative to petty theft, though the metal had to be stolen anyway. Your social circle was all sporting Adidas tracksuits, a third had done jail time. Chances are, you knew someone who killed someone. You sure knew someone who drank themselves to death (maybe it was your dad). And in lieu of the older generation to look up to, you got dames with permed hair, bloated from their cheap macaroni diet, hunched and dead-eyed before they turn 40. Somewhere, people were driving Ferraris, but you stood as much chance of becoming them as hitching a ride on the SpaceX Dragon. Not that you know what it is.

It’s the young men from these low places who comprise a disproportionate percentage of the Russian invading force in Ukraine. Coupled with the simple fact that war breeds atrocity, especially a retro war like this one, is there any wonder that so many Russian soldiers, especially rank-and-file — but also some commanders from the same world — have turned to unspeakable crimes? Unspeakable to you and me, maybe; to them, it was just another Thursday — even in peacetime. The few who somehow picked up the importance of morals in spite of everything bailed out and never looked back. Or are dead. Morals are not conducive to survival in Biysk and Porkhov.

A Russia Divided

The misery is spreading across the land like a massive oil spill, inundating a shrinking mass of people who would rather be drunk and oblivious — anything rather than facing a reality of an incompetent leadership in the face of a self-created disaster.

Speaking of an oil spill:

Russia is not the only country that is experiencing capital flight and human flight. Russia’s totalitarian partner in crime — China — is beginning to experience fallout on multiple fronts from its decision to support Putin’s genocidal war in Ukraine.

China witnessed $17.5 billion worth of portfoliooutflows last month, an all-time high, according to most recent data from the Institute of International Finance (IIF). The US-based trade association called this capital flight by overseas investors “unprecedented,” especially as there were no similar outflows from other emerging markets during this period. The outflows included $11.2 billion in bonds, while the rest were equities.

Data from the Chinese government also showed a record bond-market retreat by foreign investors in recent months. Overseas investors offloaded a net 35 billion yuan ($5.5 billion) of Chinese government bonds in February, thelargest monthly reduction on record, according to China Central Depository and Clearing. The sell-off accelerated in March, hitting a new high of 52 billion yuan ($8.1 billion).

“China’s support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine was clearly the catalyst for capital to leave China,” said George Magnus, an associate at the China Centre at Oxford University and former chief economist for UBS.

China Shaken: The Early Stages

Putin has united Ukraine against Russia, and has strengthened the NATO partnership — to the point of helping to extend NATO along Russia’s borders. A stream of advanced NATO weapons is growing into a river, with heavier and more advanced weapons joining the flow.

When combined with advanced anti-battery radar and advanced surveillance drones, these new ultra-modern German self-propelled howitzers will help change the balance of power across the Donbas. Ukraine’s military command structure provides greater decision making at the unit level — unlike the Russian command which is always top-down. Expect ever more Russian generals and colonels to suffer the ultimate penalty for Putin’s failure to modernize a Russian military still mired in the Stalin era.

Germany may not be willing to send heavy weapons directly to Ukraine. But the roundabout route can be equally effective. Ukraine does not need to match Russia weapon for weapon or man for man. It only has to fight better with what it has.

More: Germany is sending advanced anti-aircraft armored vehicles

US F-22A Raptor Stealth Fighter’s Makeover/Downsizing

The US Air Force plans to retire 33 out of 186 F-22A Raptors to leave it with only about 150 of the world’s most dreaded and fully proven stealth fighter planes. Even stranger is the plans that the USAF has for those 150 remaining Raptors:

…the F-22 is being used as something of a test surrogate for technologies that are being developed under the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, as well as adopting technologies that have been designed for NGAD, but can be fielded early on the F-22 to meet emerging threats.

NGAD is much more than a ‘new fighter.’ In fact, calling anything it produces a fighter probably isn’t even that accurate. It is a broad initiative that aims to create a ‘system of systems’ that will ensure U.S. tactical air dominance for the decades to come. It includes a highly adaptable and optionally manned platform that possesses substantial range, enhanced survivability, and next-generation modular sensor capabilities. It also supposedly developing companion unmanned aircraft and weapons, as well as a high-end networking architecture to connect them all together. Beyond these top-end items, NGAD includes a series of studies and development efforts needed to substantiate and bring to life the technologies required to underpin the NGAD entire ecosystem. Some sort of demonstrator for NGAD has been flying for some time now, although what exactly it includes remains a mystery.

Between Worlds

While both Russia and China still struggle to attain a fraction of the capabilities of the F22 Raptor, the USAF has decided that the 1990s era warplane is expensive overkill for the current global air combat environment. After watching the fumbling efforts of China and Russia, US planners seem to have decided that the F-35 combined with upgraded F/A 18s, upgraded F-15s, upgraded F-16s, and advanced semi-autonomous drones working in concert with piloted fighters, can manage US global air defense obligations At least until this stealthy drone mother-ship takes to the skies.

The world has watched Russia’s brutal bumbling in Ukraine, as its army rapes and murders its way through the rubble that Putin calls military victories. It is clear that Russia has a limited learning curve up to its apex tactic of warfare — the scorched Earth tactic, which blends roughly into Russia’s apex strategy of warfare — the scorched Earth strategy.

Ukraine, on the other hand, has a long way to climb to achieve its cruising altitude of warfighting. Inside the USSR, Ukraine was the expert builder of jet turbine engines, rocket guidance systems, and other high level technologies of weapons systems. Russia has still not recovered from the loss of Ukrainian turbine engines in building its own ships, jets, and helicopters. An inept China tried to buy Ukrainian technology outright, only to be turned away at the last minute.

Due to residual USSR-era corruption within Ukraine, the country failed to use its technological prowess to prepare for a serious defense against Russian invasion. But Ukraine’s impromptu last-minute defense served to deflect Russia from Kyiv, and get the Russian army bogged down in a war of attrition in the Donbas.

As Ukraine acquires heavier weapons and more advanced technologies from the west, its savvy engineers, builders, and commanders will be improvising night and day to develop innovative tactics and strategies to counter the all-too-predictable Russian blunderbuss.

The Russian people were always serfs, always children. They were never allowed the freedom to grow into themselves or to develop autonomous thinking skills outside of their elite high level controlling authorities. This has been true from the days of the Mongolian Empire.

Perhaps with the death of Putin and his KGB cohorts, the ugly mind control of governments and elites over the Russian people can be broken.

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India Economic Enclave Grills Peter Zeihan

This is Peter Zeihan’s third consecutive annual appearance at the India Economic Enclave. They keep inviting him back because his predictions keep coming true.

One of Peter Zeihan’s recent predictions which is now coming true, is his prediction that Russia wants to march across southern Ukraine all the way to Moldova. A Kremlin spokesman is now confirming that this is indeed the plan of the Russian military. Zeihan’s prediction goes further to say that Putin wants to also threaten Romania — a former Warsaw pact nation.

But the Russian aspirations aren’t limited to south Ukraine alone. According to the Russian flag officer, the Kremlin wants to reach Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway province in Moldova, in order to “free” the Russian-speaking population that is being “oppressed.”

To achieve that, however, the Russian military would have to capture Odesa, Ukraine’s third-largest city and its biggest port. For the past two months, Odesa has been preparing for a Russian attack. Judging by the performance of the Russian military thus far, it is highly doubtful that it would be able to capture such a major and well-defended urban center.

Sandboxx

Russia has still not taken total control of Mariupol, after eight years of trying — and two months of all-out attempts to eradicate Ukrainian military presence in the port city. That, plus Putin’s defeat in the Kyiv attacks, suggests that whatever the Kremlin plans is not the same as what the Kremlin will ultimately achieve.

Ukraine is slowly acquiring more fighter aircraft, more tanks, more artillery, and more effective weapons against Russian ships, planes, and artillery.

Ukraine is taking Russian armor away from Putin’s army

Loitering munitions in Ukraine

Creative uses for claymore antipersonnel mines

Ukrainians are first-rate weapons builders, unlike the Russians who are lost without outside help. As Ukrainians learn to use, maintain, repair, and improve on a growing river of NATO weapons systems, we are likely to see entirely new uses for old weapons — and entirely new variants of old NATO systems.

Putin is Pruning the Russian Oligarch Tree (Fatal Purges)

Putin murders oligarchs and their families — just call it “murder suicide”. Sure it is. The world will celebrate the day of Putin’s death, and beat a path to his grave to empty their bladders.

Most likely scenario for these oligarch-family violent deaths:

…the entire family was murdered and the crime scene was later stage to appear like a murder-suicide.

Putin’s Murder List Grows Ever Longer

Putin only rules by fear at this point. The rewards that he can hand out are growing scarce and puny. The old Imperial spiel is leaving a sick feeling in Russians’ minds, as the coffins flow back home on a river of blood.

Meanwhile Back in Ukraine

The logistical and communication nightmares still exist and Russian commanders have been forced to communicate via unsecured cellphones which leaves them vulnerable to artillery strikes.  

And rather than redeploy, regroup, and re-arming its units that have suffered heavy casualties, they’ve thrown them back into the fray as they try to gain a large battlefield victory prior to the May 9, Victory Day parade in Moscow, where the Russians celebrate the surrender of the Germans during “The Great Patriotic War” which is how they characterize World War II. 

19Fortyfive

Today, Russia is the Nazi army invading a peaceful neighbor without just cause. There is no fate too bad for Putin to suffer now, and the longer the Russians take to eliminate the dictator, the deeper the hole they are digging for themselves.

Putin’s War Accelerates Russia’s Demographic Collapse

Russian population is melting at a dizzying pace, and the war will only accentuate the trend. This explains why the army is looking for its recruits further and further away, in the peripheral republics. In the long run, the brain drain, especially of young graduates, will weaken the country’s ability to innovate, especially since it is occurring on an unprecedented scale, say many observers, claiming that Vladimir Putin is shooting himself in the foot.

A Shrinking Russia in a Ruinous War

Putin’s gamble in Ukraine has failed. The Ukrainian government didn’t fall, and the Ukrainian people are now united against the Russian invaders. Meanwhile, NATO is stronger than ever and is looking to add two new members, Sweden and Finland, which for decades had been non-aligned. __ Source

Russia has benefited from 20 million ethnic Russians moving from the former USSR republics to Russia, over the past 20-30 years. But that ship has sailed, and we are now seeing an absolute yearly reduction of population in Russia — despite a new influx of non-Russian third world muslims into Russia.

Putin will try to use NBC weapons of mass destruction… but will his command structure carry out his orders now that his incompetence is exposed for all to see?

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The Stockpiles of War: NATO Comes to Ukraine

Why Ukraine will have to start using NATO military weapons systems:

Putin is forcing Ukraine to join NATO in the sense of fighting with mostly NATO weapons systems, cooperating with NATO defense forces at the highest levels. If Putin meant to keep NATO out of Ukraine, he took a very stupid path in the attempt to achieve that goal.

Eventually, Ukraine will be flying F-16s or Eurofighter Typhoons, and fighting with NATO armored vehicles and advanced drones and long range antiaircraft batteries. Ukraine is already receiving 155 mm howitzers with ammunition stockpiles.

Another $800 million in security assistance is headed to Ukraine, the Pentagon announced yesterday. This is the 8th drawdown package announced, which is gear pulled from existing U.S. military stock. Included in this package are 72 155 mm howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, 121 Phoenix Ghost unmanned aerial systems and vehicles with which to tow the howitzers.

The Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial System, said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby, is a system developed by the Air Force in response to Ukrainian requirements.

“Phoenix Ghost is a tactical, unmanned aerial system … [it] provides similar capabilities to the Switchblade series of unmanned systems — similar capabilities, but not exact,” said Kirby. At this time he was not willing to elaborate further on the capabilities of the Phoenix Ghost.

The Phoenix Ghost system, he said, will likely require minimal training for Ukrainian users who are already experienced in operating other UASs.

“We’re going to be working through those training requirements directly with the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” he said.

Last week the U.S. announced it would ship 18 howitzers to Ukraine, along with 40,000 artillery shells to go with them. The U.S. will now ship 72 additional howitzers to Ukraine and 144,000 additional shells. That brings the total number of howitzers to 90.

“These additional 72 howitzers will help basically fit out five more … artillery battalions for the Ukrainians,” Kirby said. “This was … very much in keeping with their needs, specifically in the Donbas, and the kind of fighting that has already started there and we expect to continue over days and weeks ahead.”

The latest security assistance package also includes 72 tactical vehicles which can be used to tow the howitzers.

A Necessary Transition to NATO Weapons Systems

Russian Weapons Performance in Ukraine Reflects Badly

Cynically speaking, wars are advertisements for the weapons systems in use by the different sides in the conflict. Russian weapons systems have not performed well against NATO nations’ weapons systems over the past few decades, but Russian weapons are cheap! Nations such as India or Iran tend to focus on cost, for various reasons including corruption and economic limitations.

Ukraine is not a wealthy nation and cannot really afford large quantities of NATO level weapons, but it is worth it to NATO nations to supply Ukraine with firepower if it means that Putin’s imperial dreams of conquest can be contained and limited — and eventually thrown back in his face.

Deadly Drones in Ukraine: Impact on Russia

The Russians believed that the war would be over in short order and that their forces would quickly sweep the Ukrainians aside. Therefore, they foolishly didn’t bring many air assets to bear. Once they began to bog down due to much stiffer Ukrainian resistance, they tried to bring their air defense units and logistical support up on roads that were jammed packed with vehicles. They proved to be easy pickings for Ukrainian drones that took many of them out before they could be used by Russian front-line units. 

There have been reports that the Ukrainians used a TB2 drone as a decoy that helped them sink the Russian cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea. It appears that the TB2 was used as a spotter to help target the Moskva with Neptune anti-ship missiles

Drones in Ukraine

Attack drones have been used for surveillance, for coordinating artillery attacks, and as attack weapons themselves. As more and more advanced drones are brought to the front on the side of Ukrainian forces, new uses will be found for them.

Black Sea Must Be Cleared of Russian Ships

Both the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov must be cleared of Russian ships to allow for better resupply of NATO weapons systems to Ukrainian troops in the southern ports. Drones alone will not be sufficient to accomplish this, but the combination of capable attack drones with advanced anti-ship missiles from Norway should accomplish much of this necessary task. Likewise, Russian oil shipments from Black Sea Ports will be stopped using various unconventional means, in a tit for tat manner in response to Russian scorched Earth genocide in Ukraine.

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Peter Zeihan: Russia Without Choices

Russians Do Not Make Choices: Elites Make Choices for Them

Putin Now Sending Young Teens to Fight and Die

In the midst of a dark demographic disaster, Vladimir Putin is sending early teens to Ukraine to fight and die — in a vain attempt to retain power in the Kremlin.

‘They have been doing military training and there have been deaths among these teenagers [in Ukraine].

‘Now they are promoting the entry into the army of civilians, including children in the temporarily occupied territories.

‘In doing so, the Russian Federation has violated the laws and customs of war provided by the 1949 Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians… and the rights of children.

‘The recruitment of children is a violation of international law.’

Children as Cannon Fodder

Why is Putin reduced to sending children and old men to fight his vile genocidal war in Ukraine? Because he did not have enough men of normal fighting age to send. Too many of them have already been killed or disabled as a result of Putin’s miscalclulations.

Most of the combat units sent into Ukraine were composed of contract troops who were killed in large numbers. When the survivors got back to Russia, either because of wounds or because many combat battalions returned because of heavy losses, there was a sudden shortage of contract soldiers. That was because most contract troops were near the end of their two-to-three-year contracts and refused to renew. The army had signed up many soldiers for the new (since 2016) short term (six to twelve month) contracts for former soldiers or conscripts willing to try it and found that there were far fewer vets willing to sign these short contracts because so few recent short-term contract soldiers had survived service in Ukraine.

Mistakes Mount

Low Skills, Low Quality Equipment

More than 40% of funds allocated to the military were stolen outright by siloviki and high ranking officers. That is not counting all the functioning equipment that was stolen, leaving mostly low quality equipment for the troops. Training for the troops is even worse than the low quality of equipment.

There are skills that are important to an army’s fighting ability but are difficult to test. For example, how accurately on average fighters shoot. In the Russian – and before that in the Soviet – army, cheating was very common, so that there were excellent reports of the troops’ ability to shoot accurately. But in fact, those targets were being hit by snipers who were sitting somewhere else out there. This practice still lives. We talk to soldiers, and they tell us about specific examples of how they organize all this to get a normal result at the inspections. But in reality, no one knows how to do anything. 

Institutional corruption is also to blame. Corruption [in the army] manifests itself not only in money but also in all sorts of ranks. That is, military exercises and trips to Syria are all for service stars, and medals because they raise your salary and provide other benefits. During military maneuvers, there is no goal to really work everything out to the last detail and learn. Instead, it is all about getting a higher rank or a monetary bonus.

Russian soldiers’ first-aid kits are from the 1970s; they contain bandages, painkillers, and that’s it. This is because a modern first-aid kit costs a lot of money, and the Soviet first-aid kit is already in stock, there is no need to buy it, the army was not planning to fight anyway. Such a first-aid kit is not useless, but it is much worse than the ones the Ukrainians have. As a result, the killed-to-wounded ratio is about one to three…

…soldiers in the Russian army were not sufficiently motivated. Before February 24, the army thought it was just a training exercise and they were about to go home. In the first days, they realized that the war had started, but they thought that after all, the Russian army was big and powerful, “we will take a quick ride, and the victory will be ours”. In reality that was not the case: there were no supplies, no communications, the artillery was tearing things apart, everything was bad.

A Stinking Decay that Grows Worse

Why have most Russian troops always been so brutal and undisciplined? For the same reason so many Russian men become so brutal and cruel with time. It is just how things are in Russia.

25 girls and women, ranging from 14 to 24 years old, were locked in a basement and gang-raped repeatedly in Bucha, a city near the capital of Kyiv. Nine of the victims are now pregnant. “Russian soldiers told them they would rape them to the point where they wouldn’t want sexual contact with any man, to prevent them from having Ukrainian children,” __ Source

Russian troops forced to use civilian vehicles co-opted from civilian fleet. Truck drivers also being conscripted from civilian population. Backlogs and shortages ahead. Yet more hardships coming as Russians pay for Putin’s mistakes.

Meanwhile, Ukraine considers how to organize its civilian populations into active defense forces, militias, and trained reserve forces. In Russia, top down dictates of corrupt elites control society. In Ukraine, the people actually have a stake in the outcome, which is reflected in better morale and greater voluntarism.

Covert Special Ops Drones From US to Ukraine

Phoenix Ghost provides similar, “but not [the] exact,” capabilities as the AeroVironment Switchblade tube-launched loitering munition, Kirby said during a call with reporters on April 21, the 57th day of Russia’s war on Ukraine. There are differences “in the scope of capability for the Phoenix Ghost,” but what those differences are is unclear. It will be useful against different types of targets, he said.

Phoenix Ghost Loitering Suicide Drones

Brand new classified drone systems for land and sea are going to the fight against Russian tyranny in Ukraine. Very little is known about the capabilities of these drones, but it is likely that they are meant to be used against Russian armor in the Donbas and Russian ships in the Azov.

More:

Russia cannot produce its own oil:

Posted in Peter Zeihan, Putin, Russian Decline, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Russia at the Vanishing Point

A Fatal Innovation Gap

Putin’s latest invasion of Ukraine makes it clear that Russia can’t innovate. In war, this can be fatal.

Though the Russia defence sector yields billions for its state coffers, it only spends 1 per cent on R&D. The majority of Russian factories and equipment are outdated and this constricts how much they can make. A recent push for modernisation from Putin has propelled the sector to make progress on AI, hypersonic tech and unmanned military drones. But it’s not enough to close the gap left by the UK and the US. The quality of products from China doesn’t match the goods they were used to receiving from Ukraine or the West. Ultimately this could lead to breakdown in machinery and an added cost in servicing weapons down the line. There are also falling standards in STEM education and the sector has amassed such heft debts that the Deputy Prime Minister Yuki Borisov once said it was living “hand to mouth” and unable to innovate.

Russian Backwardness and Corruption; Tech Stagnation

Russia is exhausting its stocks of missiles, according to the April 16 “War Bulletin” produced by the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and shared with The War Zone. “Its military-industrial complex has to work 24/7 to replenish them.”

That issue of the War Bulletin claimed “over 20 Russian military enterprises were forced to suspend their activities in whole or in part due to shortage of parts and components, as well as rising prices due to sanctions.” Those companies include the research and production enterprise Vimpel, which produces aircraft missiles, and the onlyRussian company that makes tanks, Uralvagonzavod, the largest such firm in the world.

Russia Losing Weapons Arsenal Stockpile; Cannot Replace

Failure on an Awesome Scale

Finland’s Innovation Should Scare Russia

Russian Military Smoke and Mirrors

Russia’s Technological Crisis is Worsening

Russia’s Artificial Intelligence Dead On Arrival

…the effects of the invasion will be felt in the AI ecosystem for a long time, especially with so many IT workers leaving the country, either because of the massive impact on the high-tech economy, or because they disagree with the war, or both.

One of the most-felt sanctions aftereffects has been the severing of international cooperation on AI among Russian universities and research instructions, which earlier was enshrined as one of the most important drivers for domestic AI R&D, and reinforced by support from the Kremlin. For most high-tech institutions around the world, the impact of civilian destruction across Ukraine by the Russian military greatly outweighs the need to engage Russia on AI. At the same time, much of the Russian military AI R&D took place in a siloed environment—in many cases behind a classified firewall and without significant public-private cooperation—so it’s hard to estimate just how sanctions will affect Russian military AI efforts. 

While many in Russia now look to China as a substitute for departed global commercial relationships and products, it’s not clear if Beijing could fully replace the software and hardware products and services that left Russian markets at this point. 

Recent events may not stop Russian civilians and military experts from discussing how AI influences the conduct of war and peace—but the practical implementation of these deliberations may become increasingly more difficult for a country under global high-tech isolation.

Artificial Intelligence in Russia: What Might Have Been

Russia is feeling the sting of international sanctions and corporate withdrawals across a broad range of industries and technologies. The loss of cooperation between Exxon, BP, Shell, and other international oil companies means that many of Russia’s most technically challenging oil fields will be shut in for years or lost entirely. Russia’s ability to produce petroleum at the high levels of the past 10 to 15 years is being lost for reasons both upstream and downstream. If Russia ever recovers from this setback, it will take many years. Losing its cash cow will hurt.

Russia at the Vanishing Point

The people of Russia are slowly becoming aware of how isolated they have become. Not so much from other nations and peoples of the world, but from each other. Russia is a huge country, and its people are widely separated geographically. That is not a problem as long as there is cohesion of meaning and purpose. But as the bloody war to the west drags on bringing fearsome personal losses and a worsening of suffering, schisms between Russians with diverging personal and family fortunes can only grow worse.

Faced with looming economic catastrophe, the state seems likely to aim its efforts at those Russians who can be relied on to support the regime provided they are offered enough cash and other basic rewards to do so. These are the broad masses whose loyalty must be bought with social payments and salaries in the state-dependent sectors and who must be fed a steady diet of propaganda in order to stay in line. Yet as the growing effects of sanctions set in, this project has become far more expensive and the resources for supporting these people may begin to dry up. This will be especially true if Russia loses the ability to sell oil and gas.

Over time, the accumulating effects of the war could erode public trust in Putin. As the military campaign and the immense propaganda machine that has gone with it continue to operate at full tilt, social cohesion will begin to break down, and the forces that have traditionally sustained the economy will no longer function.

Putin has hit a dead end, and Ukraine, along with the rest of the world, is suffering as a result. But in the long term, it is a disaster for the Russian people, too. The nation that contributed so much to world culture—that produced so many great novelists and thinkers and three Nobel Peace Prize winners—will now also be for a long time associated with Vladimir Putin. The West has to understand that, as banal as it sounds, Putin’s system and the Russian nation are not one and the same. And this understanding will be crucial for building a post-Putin Russia. Otherwise, the country will continue to be regarded as a hostile enclave, to be shunned by the world.

Russia at War With Itself

In Russia’s near-abroad, Putin’s worst nightmares are coming true. He wanted to push NATO back and destroy NATO’s cohesiveness. Instead, Putin is helping to change the minds of two local nations that had been rejecting NATO membership. Sweden and Finland are each more innovative and disciplined than Russia. They are bad enemies for Putin to make.

Image Source
A backward Russia is isolating itself from the more advanced free world and its affluent and innovative markets. China has huge problems of its own, and cannot come close to filling the gap that Russia is left with. Until Putin is gone, Russians will suffer in their deluded isolation and backwardness. Particularly if they continue to conduct genocidal wars against more civilized neighbors.

Parallels Between the Defense of Ukraine and Taiwan

Both Taiwan and Ukraine face existential threats from tyrannical dictatorships in neighboring lands. But Ukraine is physically connected to Russia and to Russia’s current puppet Belarus. Stepping over the border between countries was convenient for Putin’s forces. Taiwan is roughly 100 miles across the Taiwan Strait from mainland communist China. This changes the battle plan of defense considerably.

Watching Russia falter in Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping may conclude that if he decides to invade Taiwan, he cannot hope to achieve victory with little or limited fighting. The risk is that this will lead him to prepare a much bigger assault, deploying far heavier and more concentrated firepower to batter the island into submission.

In response to this possibility, a number of recent assessments have called for Taiwan to pursue an “asymmetric” dragon-choking “porcupine strategy” prioritizing “a large number of small things” for its defense. In short, turn the anti-access/area denial issue on its head and present People’s Liberation Army forces with multiple, numerous, hard-to-counter defenses that specifically target key Chinese military weaknesses. Drawing on Ukraine’s experience, there are eight concrete areas where the United States and Taiwan should now invest to make the island tougher to invade, even harder to subdue, and harder still to occupy and govern: ballistic missile defense, air defense, sea-denial fires, shore-denial fires, mine warfare, information warfare, civil defense, and the resilience of critical infrastructure.

Taiwan’s Existential Challenge
  • Ballistic Missile Defense
  • Air Defense
  • Sea-Denial Fire Power
  • Shore Denial Fire Power
  • Mine Warfare
  • Information Warfare
  • Civil Defense
  • Critical Infrastructure Resilience

Looking at the list above, it is easy to see the parallels between Ukraine’s defense needs and Taiwan’s defense needs. While Taiwan can be invaded mainly by sea, China is a wealthier and presumably more capable invader than Russia has proven to be. Taiwan will have its hands full. But it is likely to be better prepared than Ukraine was.

China’s Innovation Crisis: China Has to Steal Technology

Posted in Russia, Ukraine | 2 Comments

Imagine There’s No Putin; Easy if You Try

Putin Believes Collapse of USSR Greatest Tragedy

Putin Has a Problem

He has been stymied in his latest national acquisition, and he is having a tantrum. Now Putin wants to use artillery to pound Ukraine into dust. The civilian population of Ukraine is the real target of Putin’s unprovoked war of terror and genocide.

But little by little, Ukraine is acquiring the systems it needs to neutralize Russian artillery.

After failing in the first phase of the war, Russian forces seem intent on using artillery and air-delivered munitions to create a zone of destruction in the Donbas. While Ukraine has extensive Soviet-era field and air defense artillery, augmented by shoulder-launched capabilities from NATO member states, it lacks the logistical resilience and range necessary to stand toe-to-toe with Russia in this next phase of the war. The integration of air-defense artillery with surface-to-surface artillery would enable Ukrainian forces to take out the most effective remaining weaponry in Russia’s arsenal: artillery.

As the war settles in for a longer-term artillery duel, more appropriate and sustainable weapons systems should be brought to bear. The training to use those systems is not overly complex and can be accomplished in neighboring NATO countries in relatively brief periods of time. The maintenance and other tasks above the operator level can be performed by contracted logistics support in the operational environment as well as in neighboring countries for depot-level maintenance. Most importantly, the precision, lethality, and efficiency to be successful against Russian artillery systems is best provided by the more sophisticated capabilities available from NATO.

A Slowly Growing Stream

NATO member states are beginning to ship tanks and artillery to Ukraine for use against Putin’s scorched Earth war machine. They are giving the country anti-ship missiles, anti-artillery systems, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, and a wide range of drone systems. Russian rape, murder, and total destruction against a peaceful neighbor deserves to be answered with deadly force.

… by mid-April, NATO armor and artillery first began trickling and then pouring in to reinforce Ukraine’s war effort. At least 200 tanks and infantry fighting vehicles have been delivered so far, a number which may rise in the coming weeks.

While T-64s and T-80s are scarce abroad, NATO member states happen to have hundreds of T-72s in service and storage which may mysteriously find their way into Ukrainian hands.

The Czechs led the pack furnishing “up to 40” or “dozens” of export-model T-72M1s early in April,  out of 66 T-72M1s it held in storage.

But the big news is confirmation that Poland has dispatched at least 100 of its T-72M1s too, including some upgraded T-72M1Rs…

Bulgaria in particular has hundreds of Soviet tanks and BMPs in storage it could contribute. Turkey has a huge back inventory of hundreds of dated Western tanks which have been modernized to varying degrees, including M48 and M60 Pattons and Leopard 1s.

Armor and Artillery for Ukraine

And don’t forget all the Russian army tanks that are abandoned and surrendered by Russian conscripts inside Ukraine. These are all useful additions to the Ukrainian resistance against Putin’s dark invasion.

Putin is Constitutionally Incapable of Telling the Truth

Half of missile cruiser Moskva’s crew killed or wounded when ship was hit and sunk

In the Kyiv area, Ukrainians are finding numerous booby traps of all kinds in areas liberated from Russian occupation, with jury-rigged hand grenades, improvised explosives, and anti-personnel mines in homes and neighborhoods. 

Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams are working to clear these areas not only of traps but also unexploded ordnance (UXO) from the weeks of fighting. Those efforts likely won’t be unique to Kyiv with the use of cluster munitions, mines, and heavy fighting in eastern and southern Ukraine as well. 

As if the war had not been destructive, traumatic, and unbelievable enough for noncombatants in Ukraine, there is now an added terror of watching their every step upon returning home.

Putin Tries to Destroy Anything In His Way

The west is slowly coming to understand that Putin is not a leader who can be trusted in any way. His goal is to take over all nations of the former USSR and the former Warsaw Pact. It is crucial to the future of the world not to allow this to happen. Ukraine is the best place to stop Putin.

The U.S., the U.K., and other Western countries have been sharing intelligence with the Ukrainian government and security services for months now. As the first indications that Russian President Vladimir Putin was preparing an attack on Ukraine became apparent last fall, the U.S. intelligence community stepped up intelligence sharing with its Ukrainian counterparts.

In addition, the U.S. and the U.K. assumed an aggressive intelligence declassifying campaign to shame Moscow and warn the world about Putin’s plans. ___ Source

Russian cannot mass produce high tech weapons systems, without massive foreign assistance. This weakness can be fatal in war when it comes to critical weapons systems, such as high performance gas turbine engines. All of the problems pointed out in the article excerpted below, emerge directly from low quality Putin actions.

Russia was reliant on Ukrainian manufacturers like Motor Sich and Zorya-Mashproekt for marine and aircraft engines. These companies not only provided key inputs for Russia’s own military capabilities, but also for those systems that Russia exported to other nations.

Russia’s attempts to substitute domestic production for previously imported technologies have been delayed and in many cases have fallen short. The main problem with Russia’s import substitution program is its inability to acquire high-tech machine tools (PDF) from Western suppliers for industrial production.

Subsidiaries of Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC) pursued development of advanced marine engines to replace those previously imported from Zorya-Mashproekt but have faced various difficulties. Many of these issues are symptoms of larger problems in the Russian military-industrial complex. For example, Moscow made the decision to write-off debt held by UEC, United Aircraft Corporation, and United Shipbuilding Corporation as a result of years of financial issues and mismanagement. The extent to which the Russian government can continue to prop up the defense industrial base is not clear. Putin has stated recently that renationalization of the industry is one possible path the government could pursue.

What is clear is that the termination of the Russian defense industrial relationship with Ukraine has had cascading effects for Russia’s arms exports. Russia was negotiating deals with both India and Vietnam to export naval vessels, but both prospective sales have encountered problems. In the case of Vietnam, negotiations are currently stalled for lack of engines. India, in contrast, had to acquire marine engines directly from Ukraine in early 2021, separate from Russia, for installation on the vessels. India has separately pursued joint production of marine turbine engines with Rolls-Royce. These workarounds do not bode well for future Russian arms sales.

Russia’s Demographic and Educational Crises Foretell Doom for Russian Manufacturing

Ukraine’s industrial weapons production has been a thorn in the side of Putin ever since he invaded Crimea and Donbas. Putin deprived Russia of Ukrainian engines and other precision weapons systems in 2014, and Russia was not ready for the loss. It has still not recovered. Russia is falling further and further behind in every area requiring precision engineering and manufacturing.

The world would not have been convinced of Russia’s little problem if Putin had not expanded on the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now this embarrassment cannot be hidden, not even from big buyer’s of Russian weapons. Russia is exposed as a backward and barbarian mob and Putin is revealed as first thug among lesser thugs.

The world will remember the way the vile criminal leaders of Russia went to war against civilians in Ukraine with no other strategy than to kill as many women, children, and men as possible.

Many more Russian ships, planes, helicopters, and tanks will be destroyed before regime change comes to Russia. Many more Russian generals and colonels will die. Eventually, the war will move into Russia itself, and the Russian people will get a taste of what their silence has unleashed upon the people of Eastern Europe.

More:

Mariupol has been under attack for 8 years. The port city has been under particularly fierce attack since the latest escalation of Putin’s 8 year war against Ukraine, with civilians particularly targeted by Russian thugs.

Russian atrocities will live in the minds of Ukrainians forever.

Posted in Military, Russia, Ukraine, Weapons | Leave a comment

Special Ops and Military Information Support Ops

For eight years, multinational forces — including those of the US — have been training Ukrainian military forces to resist overt and covert incursions by Russian agents. US special ops [SOCOM] personnel have likewise worked with Ukrainian forces to prepare them to resist a Russian invasion. Part of the preparations include Military Information Support Operations (MISO).

Russia is famous for its multi-level interleaved propaganda and information warfare, constantly practiced since even before KGB days. In fact, sophisticated Russian propaganda agencies date back to the days of the Tsars. Covering up Moscow’s bloody-handed mischief has always been a full time job.

Belatedly, the free world has come to understand that brutal totalitarian tyrannies like Russia and China have to be held in check by any means at hand.

SOCOM teams had been training Ukraine Special Forces for eight years, beginning in the Obama administration after Putin’s forces seized Crimea and territory in the Donbas area in eastern Ukraine. He emphasized that it was a “multinational training effort,” with Special Operation Forces (SOF) from NATO and other European countries joining the U.S. effort.

Clarke reminded the legislators, “We currently have over five thousand SOF deployed to over 80 countries. Our National Guard SOF [in 2021] supported wide-ranging operations globally in over 30 countries.” For a decade or more, he said, SOCOM has dealt with what he described as “Russia’s destabilizing activities” by working with allied SOF throughout Europe.

“We had a dedicated team that was in Ukraine for eight years providing — everything from billboards to print to using Internet-based capabilities along with civil affairs teams that were working with them.”

“We see today the resistance the Ukraine forces have held, and the training they were given, I think, has directly contributed to the success on the battlefield,” Clarke said.

When it came to what SOCOM was doing in Taiwan, Clarke was more restrained, saying “I would prefer to talk about Taiwan in a closed setting.”

Cipherbrief

Outer Space Threats

Space is the military high ground. Whoever achieves “space dominance” and “space supremacy” occupies the high ground, and can dictate terms on many issues of international power in various sectors. China and Russia would dictate one set of terms if they had control. The US would dictate a qualitatively different set of terms, similar to the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944. Under a US defense umbrella, freedom of trade and freedom of the seas was guaranteed for many decades. This allowed China to grow to its position of affluence and power, and would have allowed Russia to similarly grow economically — if it were not such a corrupt mafia state.

China’s activities in space are worrisome, as many of its technological pursuits are aimed at countering the United States, Dickinson said. Space is at the center of Chinese military doctrine and strategy.

The goal of the Chinese military is to “blind and deafen” the enemy by crippling reconnaissance, communications, navigation and early warning satellites, said Dickinson. “Shijian-17 and Shijian-21, which are satellites with robotic arm technology, could be used in a future system for grappling and disabling other satellites.”

He noted that a Chinese spaceplane “could carry a payload designed to disable or capture a satellite while in orbit.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s “unsafe and irresponsible behavior in space” reinforces the need for adequate space domain awareness capabilities, said Dickinson, citing the November antisatellite missile strike that destroyed a defunct Russian spacecraft, dispersing nearly 1,500 pieces of trackable debris in low Earth orbit.

Shadowy Threats from Space

As the US military shrinks, and as the US military presence necessarily withdraws from its previous role as guardian of the seaways and protector of world trade, the nations that grew rich from guaranteed world trade will be faced by deadly challenges which they are unlikely to surmount. This withdrawal will take time — and depends upon whether Russia and China provoke western interests by invading sovereign countries.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine slows this shrinkage and withdrawal of US defense forces — as would a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

The only thing necessary to guarantee a US withdrawal from its foreign bases, is for Russia and China to adopt a peaceful form of interaction with outside countries, without violence and coercion. Until those countries are capable of maintaining a meaningfully peaceful posture, the US is likely to continue to attempt to maintain strategic and tactical superiority around the world.

US Technical Dominance Translates to Other Forms of Dominance

The US discovers and invents — Russia and China copy and steal. But it takes time for Russia and China to copy and steal, which allows the US a certain lead time in technological dominance. The US has not always taken advantage of this lead time — as when the US was the sole possessor of an arsenal of nuclear bombs, but did not use them after the end of WWII.

Communist China, like its Soviet predecessor, has hit the innovation roadblock. In his 1968 essay directed to his country’s leadership, the premier Soviet nuclear scientist Andrei Sakharov warned “that a society that restricts intellectual freedom and prevents the free exchange of ideas would be unable to compete with societies that unleash the creative potential of their people.” He went on to compare the race between the US and the USSR to one between two cross country skiers traversing deep snow. If the dictatorships seem to be catching up fast, it is only because they follow in the tracks already smoothed out by democracies. Lack of freedom consigns “fear societies” to the role of followers, never leaders since “a fear society must parasitically feed off the resources of others to recharge its batteries.”

If Chinese military buildup is moving faster than some expected, it is because “European nations have been selling China hundreds of millions of dollars worth of dual use military equipment each year, but as long as the embargo is in force, explicitly military gear can only be sold under the table and smuggled in.” In “China’s Secret War,” Patrick Devenny, lays out the variety of ways China goes about acquiring the technologies it needs but cannot produce.

The degree to which the continued existence of the Chinese totalitarian system depends on continued democratic aid comes into particularly sharp focus in the following Washington Post report:“Web Censors In China Find Success”:

Chinese authorities perform these tasks largely using U.S. hardware and software. For example, Cisco Systems Inc. routers, machines that move Internet traffic around, are capable of recognizing individual portions of data, a technology that helps battle worms and viruses. That same technology can be used to distinguish certain content.

Companies such as Cisco and Google Inc. have been accused of aiding China’s censorship by tailoring their products to suit the government’s needs. The study did not confirm those allegations, which the companies have denied.

According to the Economist, the Chinese problem even extends to the economic sphere as an article entitled “China’s people problem” reveals: “The particular shortages mentioned most often are of creativity, of an aptitude for risk-taking and, above all, of an ability to manage—in everything from human resources and accounting to sales, distribution, branding and project-management.” Interestingly, just as the Soviet leadership was more aware of the problem than its Western counterparts, so is the Chinese leadership. Thus, Hu Jintau, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, identified “increasing the capabilities of innovation in science development” and rural development as the two central challenges facing China.

China Has to Steal Technology

We can hope that the following never happens, but it is an example of how technological leadership can translate to military leadership:

What is Starship?

SpaceX’s long-term vision is to create technologies that allow Mars colonization. At the top of the “need” list is a dramatic reduction in launch cost to orbit. The Starship launch system fulfills that goal in several ways:

  1. It is fully reusable. All previous rockets expend expensive pieces of hardware.
  2. It has an extreme flight rate. The plan is for each booster to launch every few hours. Flight rate is key for fixed cost absorption.
  3. The rocket itself is cheap. Made of materials like stainless steel, Starship would be one of the most cost-effective rockets even if it wasn’t reusable.
  4. It uses cheap fuel. Methane and oxygen are very affordable and available fuels.

The goal is for the marginal cost of launch to be as low as $10/kg. That is a low cost compared to the previous launch vehicles – over two orders of magnitude in improvement. What to do with cheap launch becomes an ongoing question.

There is a decent probability that Starship’s first orbital flight will happen in 2022.

Space-Based Kinetic Weapons

Rods from God

Objects falling from orbit carry incredible levels of kinetic energy. Weapons utilizing this principle are popular in sci-fi, famously appearing in “The Moon is Harsh Mistress” and “The Expanse.”

In the 1950s, a Boeing engineer envisioned dropping telephone pole-sized tungsten rods onto targets from orbit. The impact would be equivalent to over ten tons of TNT, and the rod could penetrate hundreds of feet underground to destroy bunkers.

The US has considered developing this weapon several times but elected not to because nuclear-tipped ICBMs or conventional bombs were more capable at a lower cost. Each tungsten rod would weigh almost ten tons and cost a fortune to loft into orbit.

Rethinking Kinetic Weapons

Since orbital launch costs were high, only a few rods would be in orbit. Tungsten was a natural choice because its high melting point allows it to survive reentry and its high density maximizes kinetic energy.

The crazy low cost of Starship changes the logic. B-52s flying from Barksdale AFB to complete a mission in East Asia incur a marginal cost of $50/kg to deliver bombs. Starships cost is cheaper and can put weapons on target in less than thirty minutes. Each Starship launch has the same payload as three B-52s. The world only produces around 70,000 tons of tungsten per year, and 90% of that comes from China. That is only enough for 700 Starship bombing runs, plus tungsten costs around $30/kg.

Source for Starship article above

Elon Musk is not an alien, but he is a remarkably energetic and creative man who lives in an environment which gives him the freedom to innovate in multiple directions at the same time.

SpaceX’s Starship is expected to be able to deliver 100 tons of cargo anywhere in the world in under 1 hour. It is planned to have a launch capacity of one launch every few hours, and to be fully reusable. Starship is civilian technology, designed to benefit mankind in multiple ways. It is not meant as a military weapon. We hope it is never used as one.

Russia and China are brutal tyrannies in demographic decline. Their current level of sophistication and power depends upon the inventions and technologies of the US and other western nations, along with the East Asian nations of Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Singapore.

The two criminal dictatorships cannot even build reliable jet turbine engines with decent power and durability that can hold up to the rigors of hard combat. After decades of trying! No wonder they must steal their advanced technologies, when it is withheld from them for bad behavior.

Can Russia and China Work Nicely With Others?

Only for a short time, and only on the surface. Beneath the surface, they are constantly plotting to achieve a master/slave hegemony over the world. Genocide is just one of the many tools in both dictatorships’ toolbox. China practices genocide and makes a profit at it! Russia has not been so clever, to this point.

Better for the world if both vile dictatorships were to vanish from the planet, and hope that the populations that remain can find a peaceful way to coexist with their neighbors and the larger world.

Posted in Military, Russia, Ukraine | 4 Comments

Moskva “Pride of Russian Navy” Suffers Curse of Snake Island: “Go Fuck Yourself,” They Told the Missile Cruiser

Moskva featured in one of the landmark early exchanges of the war, when Ukrainian border guards on Snake Island, a small outcrop in the Black Sea, told the ship to “Go fuck yourself” after it demanded they surrender.

Russian Flagship Sunk After Mysterious Explosion Onboard

No one told the Russian Captain of the Moskva not to test the spirit of Snake Island nor provoke its curse. He and his crew must now suffer the consequences.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is Now at Risk

For weeks, the Russian Black Sea fleet has bombarded Ukraine from offshore, using mostly long range missiles. With few exceptions, the Ukrainian shore defenses have been unable to respond effectively to this bombardment. But times are changing, as the Ukrainians begin fielding more anti-ship missiles, including the homemade Neptune, Harpoons from the UK, and more advanced missiles from Norway with longer range.

Ukraine has been developing its own anti-ship cruise missile, the Neptune, since 2013.  It began testing in 2018 and has since tested successfully repeatedly

.  The system has a range of 174-180 miles (280-300 km) and operates as a sea-skimmer, flying low and close to the water to make it almost undetectable until just before it hits its target.  It was scheduled to be deployed this month with a full division of six launchers, seventy-two cruise missiles (more than three for each remaining major Russian surface vessel), and accompanying radar systems. But Russia’s seems to have derailed this timetable, and it is unclear when it will be able to safely deploy its system and have it and its crews be operational.  Details are few and far between as Ukraine obviously would want to keep Russia guessing.

This must have been part of the discussion over the past month between Ukraine and NATO nations, and taking into account the issues with the Neptunes, NATO has been working to arm Ukraine with anti-ship missiles for weeks.  Reports from early April indicated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been keen to arm Ukraine with anti-ship missiles, that these would most likely be truck-mounted versions of its U.S.-supplied Harpoon missiles, its version having a range of  80 miles (128 km) and also capable of hitting land targets

Russian Black Sea Fleet Faces Threat

Ukrainian-built Neptune missile is based on an old Soviet design, and would be unable to sink a cruiser of the size of the Moskva, without a bit of luck.

The Neptune anti-ship missile was developed by the Luch design bureau. It uses R-360 anti-ship cruise missile. First announced in 2013, the anti-ship missile completed its first operational tests three years later. In 2019, the Ukrainian military completed the development of the Neptune and ordered the first batches.

At over 5 meters, the Neptune carries a 320-pound High Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead that can sink vessels up to 5,000 tonnes, for example, destroyers and frigates. The fact that it might have sunk the Moskva means that the Ukrainians either fired more than missiles or that it struck a magazine.

Ukraine Can Make Missiles Too

The Moskva was apparently not sunk. It was only damaged badly enough to make it unusable — and probably not repairable. Update: It was sunk, after all. Call it a lucky shot.

As Ukraine builds its stock of anti-ship missiles of various sizes and ranges, the Russian Black Sea Fleet will find it harder to accomplish its mission of destroying civilian infrastructure — without great risk to itself. If Ukraine adds a fleet of small fast missile throwers and stealthy drone missile boats, Russia may have to fall back on its diesel-powered submarine fleet and its cruise missiles.

Ukraine will probably find an answer to the Russian submarines eventually, but only after more hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings have been destroyed.

Putin’s war against the peaceful and sovereign nation of Ukraine can go in three ways. Russia’s offensive in the Donbas may be successful in grabbing total control of the region, or Ukraine may push Russian troops back to the original pre-war lines of control or beyond, or the war will continue in a back and forth see-saw manner of stalemate and attrition, with horrific losses on both sides. More

Russia threw three-quarters of its ground-combat forces into Ukraine, where they were driven from one theater and severely handled in the others, and now has no real reserves on which to draw.

Putin will order offensives that, if confronted by a well-resourced Ukrainian foe, can effectively destroy his own army. The challenge for the West is to ensure that this is its fate.

A Pivotal Moment in Putin’s Unprovoked War

It is in no one’s interests (except for China and weapons manufacturers) for this war to drag on indefinitely. And it is certainly not in the western world’s interests for Russia to successfully grab all or part of Ukraine to use as a staging ground for further conquests. The best option for the free world is to help Ukraine, the original nation of the Rus, to repel the eastern barbarians in convincing fashion.

Putin has been counting on being able to finance his war through continuing sales of petroleum products to outside nations. But more countries are reducing their purchases of Russian petroleum, and even China and India are finding it almost impossible to ship Russian oil — for a variety of reasons:

…a “buyers’ strike” in Europe with many majors refusing to deal with Russian spot cargoes is forcing Russian crude to make much longer and complicated voyages to reach willing buyers in Asia. While China and India are not shying away from Russian crude—which sells at hefty discounts attracting price-sensitive buyers—the logistics of shipping oil from Russia’s Black Sea and Baltic ports to Asia and the scarce tanker availability, bank guarantees, and insurance for Russian cargoes would limit the amount of oil that Asia could take and compensate for lost barrels that are no longer going to Europe, analysts say.  

Due to major shifts in global trade routes to accommodate more Russian oil going to Asia, the world’s top-importing crude region will not be able to accommodate all the oil Europe is shunning. 

Russia is Losing Sales of Crude Oil to China and India

Putin’s poorly planned war against its parent nation to the west is costing Russia dearly in blood and in international respect. Russian demography looks even worse now than it did before the invasion of Ukraine. Living inside Russia grows more unpleasant by the day.

If the fates turn against the Russian invaders — as the spirit of Snake Island seems to have done — Putin may feel compelled to resort to NBC weapons of mass destruction. That would not be good for anyone concerned. A better scenario would be for Russian actors to remove Putin from his place at the table — a position that the aging dictator has abused to the harm of Russia and Russians. Best for the Kremlin not to let things get much worse.

More than 30% of Russia’s original battle groups have been rendered unfit for combat since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began. The Kremlin has had to scramble to find replacement troops and war materiel.

Moscow’s incursion, the biggest attack on a European state since 1945, has seen more than 4.6 million people flee abroad, killed or wounded thousands and left Russia increasingly isolated on the world stage.

Western-led sanctions have triggered the worst economic crisis in Russia since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, say analysts. More than 600 companies, including McDonalds, have announced their withdrawal from Russia, which will directly cause the loss of about 1 million jobs.

Overall, 2.6 million people may fall below Russia’s official poverty line this year, the World Bank estimates.

The conflict has also galvanized NATO and prompted Russia’s neighbors Sweden and Finland to discuss joining the Western military alliance.

Is This What Vlad Had In Mind?

More: Should Putin Have Started His Grand Crusade With Lithuania?

In truth, Russia was sitting in a dominant position in Europe before Vlad’s invasion and genocide in Ukraine. The Kremlin’s vaunted war machine was feared by mainstream media consumers the world around. Putin’s war has pulled the veil from the eyes of the world.

All of Russia’s neighbors should take note of Ukraine’s experience on the battlefield against Russian troops and weapons. Especially if they are not members of NATO. They are all hoping that Ukraine destroys as much of Russia’s war-making capacity as possible.

Posted in Military, Russia, Ukraine, Weapons | 4 Comments

Tanks and Anti-Ship Missiles to Ukraine

Germany and the Czech Republic are sending tanks to Ukraine for its coming battles with Russian invaders in the Donbas region. But the biggest donor of tanks to Ukraine is Russia:

Russia Gives Tanks to Ukraine

Slovakia is donating Mig-29s to Ukraine. Other NATO countries are also willing to donate Mig fighters to Ukraine under certain conditions. Ukrainian pilots are vastly superior to Russian pilots, even using older and less capable aircraft.

Ukraine will be receiving anti-ship missiles from the UK, and eventually from Norway.

Mig-29s From Egypt

Egypt recently procured 46 MiG-29Ms of the latest Russian standard, along with a compliment of R-77 active radar-guided missiles which Ukraine has repeatedly requested. Egypt has also ordered Su-35s, but when these were flown against Egypt’s French-built Rafales, their inferiority became starkly apparent. In consequence, it is probable the Egyptian Air Force would welcome a one-for-one replacement of its MiG-29Ms with U.S.-made F-16s. Egypt already flies a substantial number of F-16s, and it already has the infrastructure for an expansion of its F-16 fleet. There are no concerns about U.S. capabilities being compromised with the transfer of advanced F-16s to Egypt: The U.S. government has expressed willingness to export F-16s to Turkey — in spite of Russian-made S-400s being present on Turkish soil — as well as to Taiwan.

In the first month of the war in Ukraine there was insufficient time to explore such options. Arranging such a complicated deal requires considerable diplomatic legwork, and few expected Ukraine to withstand the initial assault. Now that the conflict is protracted, however, such options are viable — indeed vital. The MiG-29M, while an effective air-defense fighter, lacks the range to contest the air over the Donbas, especially in the face of an expanding Russian air-defense presence. But it would offer protection for western Ukraine. The delivery of Switchblade-600 loitering munitions, meanwhile, should give the Ukrainian forces a tool for harassing Russian air defenses, potentially creating windows of opportunity for more aggressive air operations from all Ukrainian aircraft and aviation.

A Long War Will Unfold In Stages

The US will be supplying Ukraine with advanced laser-guided rockets for use with Turkish drones and with homemade Ukrainian drones.

Ukraine is slated to receive other, more secret weapons systems which are meant to come as a surprise to Russian forces on the battlefield.

Reaper drones to Ukraine?

Russian war crimes in Ukraine against civilians continue to accumulate. As the details of Russia’s ongoing brutality emerges into the global limelight, western politicians will have less and less reluctance to approve increasingly lethal assistance to Ukrainian forces.

The Ukrainian People Respond Unequivocally to Putin

Ukraine has its own history of changing religions, borders, and peoples that goes back more than a thousand years. Its capital, Kyiv, officially celebrates its founding year as 482 and was already a major city while Moscow was still a small village. Kyiv’s legendary and eponymous founder Kyi, along with his brothers Shchek and Khoryv, and sister, Lybid, are often depicted as arriving on a Viking-style longboat. But soon after Putin’s accusations of Lenin creating Ukraine, Ukrainian Facebook users shared photoshopped images of Lenin at the head of this legendary longboat. This satirical picture illustrates how the Ukrainian sense of nationhood, going back to at least the medieval period, is deeply at odds with Putin’s notions of a modern date of origin.

Of course, what is even more impactful is that they are at war. And war and violence can craft mutually constitutive identities among both sides of a conflict. The Euromaidan Revolution, also known as the Revolution of Dignity, and past Russian threats and aggressions have already done much to strengthen Ukrainian state identity. Olga Onuch, who has been part of several studies gauging Ukrainian identity and political attitudes, says that the data following Euromaidan demonstrated that already, “civic identity or state attachment was extremely strong amongst Ukrainians,” but adds that “[a]s the conflict escalated, so did support for the Ukrainian state.”

Back then, Ukrainians of diverse origins collectively stood against the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych, as they now resist Russia’s brutal efforts to reimpose direct influence over the nation. Onuch, along with colleagues Henry E. Hale and Gwendolyn Sasse note that there are signs that in Ukraine, “civic identity is gaining ground at the expense of ethno-nationalist identity.” So, although Ukrainians in the south and east largely favored pro-Russian presidential candidates from 2004 to 2014, that support evaporated by 2019. In 2015, 56 percent of Ukrainians considered the various nationalities of Ukraine as constituting a Ukrainian nation, compared to just 39 percent in 2007.

Ukrainians Can Think for Themselves

Putin has solidified Ukrainian identity and their resistance to Russian oppression. He has solidified NATO resistance to Russian expansion. He has pushed Sweden and Finland into the arms of NATO. And he has made Russia the most hated country in the world. Sadly, he is making the people of Ukraine and his own people of Russia suffer unnecessarily — merely in an attempt to boost his own ego.

Putin is boosting Germany’s defenses against Russia

Putin is unintentionally boosting Australian defenses against China

It is not a coincidence that Taiwan is urgently tightening its defensive posture against China at this time. Vietnam and other regional antagonists of China are likely to similarly take this opportunity to tighten defenses and to prepare to fight an insurgency against China if necessary.

China Unravels in Shanghai

Children are being taken from parents, the pets of people with a positive test are being shot, people are screaming from skyscrapers, and food is rotting in warehouses even as people report to be starving. There are videos online of stores being ransacked. There is talk of revolution in the air.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trillion Dollar Space Economy Tempts Entrepreneurs

Elon Musk’s Starlink internet satellite system is expected to earn SpaceX roughly $5 billion per year by 2030. By comparison, the Internet of Things economy is expected to hit about $10 trillion/yr by 2030 and the Metaverse is expected to be worth just over $10 trillion annually by the same year.

The internet is the open door to wealth and Elon Musk was smart to jump on the internet bus. If all goes well, Starlink will be a rich source of income for decades to come.

But there is a lot more to the future of space enterprise than internet and satellite communications:

  • Space Tourism. The business of flying people to and from space in Disneyland-like rides – and building an ecosystem including hotels and theme parks in space – will be a high-demand, high-volume, and high-margin business one day.
  • Geospatial Imagery. Satellite orbiting the Earth can dynamically capture high-resolution images that can be uniquely applied in a number of value-additive ways, including national defense, asset tracking, crop monitoring, and more.
  • Weather forecasting. Some satellites sent into space will have the ability to collect GPS radio occultation data, which is radio signal data that leverages space-based atmospheric density readings to improve weather forecasting.
  • Asteroid mining. Asteroids contain many nonrenewable resources – including water and rare minerals – which could prove very useful to mine and transport back to Earth.
  • Space manufacturing. The lack of gravity is space makes it much easier to manufacture certain objects – like satellites – in space than on Earth. Therefore, we believe in-orbit satellite manufacturing represents a huge economic opportunity in the coming years.
  • Renewable energy generation. Space is a lot closer to the sun than Earth. It also never has clouds. Therefore, there exists huge potential to generate enormous amounts of renewable solar energy in space and transport that energy back to Earth. We believe space-based solar energy generation could solve the world’s climate crisis.
  • Source: Investorplace.com

The space economy will soon be worth $trillions per year. The opportunities for future $trillionaires in space are just beginning to be apparent.

Brian Wang looks at how SpaceX will achieve domination of Satellite communication and air cargo in the video below:

Within 10 years, SpaceX could grow to be a multi-trillion dollar a year business. That is real income, and not the mere paper “wealth” that Tesla mostly represents.

SpaceX has a good rocket in the Falcon 9 with its reusable Merlin engines. But the company is working hard to transition to the new Starship rocket with more powerful Raptor 2 engines. That is where the true breakthrough in mission flexibility, economy, and payload will appear.

Global competition in the space launch industry is already being blown away by the Falcon 9. But when SpaceX starts launching commercial flights and missions to the moon and Mars using the Starship, the world of space launch will never be the same.

Cost of Space Launch

SpaceX amazing new Raptor 2 engine

The powerful new Raptor 2 engine will allow the launch of 100 ton payloads for missions to the moon, missions to Mars, and missions to the other side of the Earth for military logistics and for humanitarian aid missions.

Sea launch & landing platforms will allow orbital and suborbital operations from anywhere on the planet with a sea or ocean.

Elon Musk plans to use SpaceX to build a space civilization on Mars (and beyond), to provide rapid high bandwidth internet to anywhere on Earth, to ship 100 tons of cargo to anywhere on Earth in under 1 hour, to build a wide range of infrastructure in cis-lunar orbit, to take NASA back to the moon, and to perform normal orbital launch operations for a large number of customers, both private and governmental.

If Musk’s company can make the transition to a multi-trillion dollar a year enterprise, it will become an economic power to reckon with — and not just for Twitter. Musk has already foiled Putin’s plans to isolate Ukraine from the world, by providing thousands of Starlink terminals to the besieged country. He has suggested that he can save the International Space Station, even after Putin declared that he will destroy it. Musk’s ability to assert his his philosophy of freedom and triumph over despotism, will only grow with his one good company — SpaceX.

Meanwhile back on Earth:

Using income from its fossil fuels exports, Russia continues on a world wide rampage to rape and destroy. On the other side of the world, competent dreamers of the free world try to move the world in the direction of a cleaner, happier, more prosperous future for all.

Posted in Elon Musk, Future, Space Future | Leave a comment

Russian Barbarism Forces Sweden and Finland to Join

Watching Russia brutalize Ukraine from ring-side seats, Sweden and Finland are getting a good idea what Russia would like to be able to do to them. No matter how strongly Putin threatens Sweden and Finland to stay out of NATO, his actions are giving them no choice except to join.

Finland and Sweden are poised to join NATO as early as this summer, a move that a US official said stemmed from Russia’s “massive strategic blunder” of invading Ukraine, according to a report published Monday. ​​

Membership of the two Nordic countries in the Atlantic alliance was a “topic of conversation and multiple sessions” last week during meetings of NATO foreign ministers that were attended by representatives from Stockholm and Helsinki, the Times of London reported. 

Finland is expected to submit an application in June, with Sweden following soon after, the report said. 

The addition of Sweden and Finland would increase the alliance membership to 32 countries — and extend its border with Russia by hundreds of miles.

Putin Brings NATO to Russia’s Borders

Finland already trains its citizens to kill the Russian occupier. But by coordinating with NATO Finland will be poised at the edge of its totalitarian neighbor, fully armed for lethal impact for the indefinite future. Sweden can learn from both NATO and Finland, to resist and attack the backward barbarians to the east.

Finland on the Front Lines

Is It Time For a Total Embargo on Russian Fossil Fuels?

The best way to cripple the ability of Putin’s backward tyranny to butcher its weaker neighbors who do not belong to NATO, is to remove Russia’s cash flow from exports.

Replacing energy from a dirty country

NATO is Drawing Russia to Commit in the Donbas

It looks as if Putin is committing much of the balance of Russia’s total conventional forces to the consolidation of control over the part of Ukraine known as the Donbas. Russia has already lost massive numbers of elite troops and commanders, to say nothing of all the aircraft and armored vehicles destroyed and abandoned in the northern part of Ukraine.

Putin appears to be “doubling down” on Donbas. Using the same Soviet-era war tactics that led to defeat in northern Ukraine — but with a new commander — battered and rebellious Russian troops are being pushed toward a much bloodier confrontation than they have ever seen.

Ukrainian troops will be at a disadvantage in terms of numbers of weapons and munitions, but will have the motivation advantage of defending the freedom and self determination of their thirty year separation from the tyranny and depravity of Moscow. The Russian army is a slave army and an army of brutal mercenaries being used to terrorize civilians.

Meanwhile, Putin has provoked NATO into expanding ever closer to the borders of Russia — something the coalition would have foregone if Putin had behaved in a more restrained and civilized manner. NATO is preparing for a devastating attack on Russian forces over the entire theater of battle.

NATO Will Bring a Futuristic Swarm to Russia’s Ancient Weapons

Multiple simultaneous NATO exercises are being conducted around the world to coordinate the actions of the various international units that may need to act in concert.

… if a German squad leader needs an emergency call for fire, you know, how do we do that in an effective manner in a fast, agile manner, back into the 82nd [Airborne Division] BCTs’ [brigade combat teams] TAK [tactical assault kit]  and TOC [tactical operations center],” Rugen told reporters during a media roundtable.

The EDGE venue will also host a drone swarm of around 30 Air Launched Effects, essentially mini-drones that can carry different payloads, which will demonstrate both classified and unclassified behaviors, Rugen told reporters.

Among the unclassified behaviors, the ALEs perform autonomous detect and identify of targets, communication in denied environments, provide lethal targeting and complete battle damage assessment. The two-star’s presentation at the conference showed that the ALEs would also carry electronic warfare capabilities and enable cooperative search.

“We’re just creatively working with what is the swarm need to do to be better than maybe what some of the cheap swarms that our adversaries are putting together,” Rugen said.

Drawing the Adversary into the Swarm

Russia is grinding itself to a nub on the sovereign territory of Ukraine, depleting many of its best units, losing large numbers of some of its best young men. Meanwhile NATO watches and analyzes, helping Ukraine where it can, but watching Putin take the bait and waiting for Russia to make a fatal mistake that triggers Putin’s downfall.

Peter Zeihan on Russian Gold & the Coming Ban on Russian Hydrocarbons

Due to a rapidly growing awareness of Russian war crimes, pipelines for Russian gas are to be cut off. Maritime transport of Russian oil under growing threat because insurance companies, ship captains, and dock workers are balking. The Chinese infrastructure for hydrocarbon imports cannot possibly compensate for Russia’s loss of European customers. Putin’s cash flow is under growing threat — the worse the war crimes the worse the threat to Putin. And Russia has lost the international expertise that is necessary for a huge part of its hydrocarbon extraction enterprise east of the Urals. Watch the video for more.

Posted in Putin, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia’s Military Meltdown Predicted 10 Years Ago

Published in 2010, The Next 100 Years by George Friedman predicted the meltdown of the Russian military in the early to middle 2020s. In the following video, Peter Zeihan explains why this is happening now, and why Putin was unable to stop himself from triggering this meltdown.

Broken Russia on the Verge

In the video above, Zeihan discusses how Putin wants to plug all the historical “invasion gaps” leading from the outside into the Russian heartland. He also discusses why Putin felt compelled to start this “gap plugging” now, before Russia’s demographic collapse had gone too far.

Putin was provoked into invading Ukraine by multiple factors. His own advancing age was one major provocation. Ukraine’s slow but steady movement away from Soviet-era corruption and Russian control, was another factor — particularly as Ukraine was moving toward EU membership. Russia’s demographic collapse — and the promise of folding Ukraine’s 50 million people into the “Russian population” was another enticement for Putin. But the strongest provocation moving Putin toward his invasion was the apparent weakness of Ukraine and the apparent weakness of the EU, and the US under Joe Biden. A sense of weakness in the victim will provoke Putin every time, as with any violent rapist.

How Russia Disintegrates — One Republic at a Time

Russian Republics via World Atlas

When the USSR disintegrated in 1991, it happened almost all at one time. When the Russian Federation disintegrates, it is likely to be slower but no less dramatic. Russian nuclear forces are scattered across the autonomous republics, but the republics are in no position to take up the responsibility of world nuclear powers. The threat of nuclear proliferation in a hundred different unsavory directions is quite real over the coming years and decades, thanks to Putin’s impulsive compulsion to international violence.

It is not only Russia’s nukes that are dispersed across the vast land mass. Russia’s wealth is based upon natural resources, which are spread across dozens of autonomous republics. Moscow is resource poor, on its own. It must rob and strip the hinterland republics for its ill gotten gains.

Top Russian Exports

If Moscow loses the ability to steal from the republics, the Kremlin will no longer be able to pay for all the mischief it commits around the world. That would be a good thing in the long run for Russia’s people and for the people of the world. But it would be unfortunate if all of Russia’s nuclear, chemical, biological, and other weapons of mass murder were released haphazardly for the highest bidder. By the same token, Russia’s nuclear power reactors and other nuclear reactors, have the potential to do tremendous damage if control over them is lost.

Russia is Now Targeting Ukraine’s Russian Speakers

Meanwhile in the year 2022 back in Ukraine, Russian forces are recoiling from a major setback in the north of Ukraine, and attempting to instigate a complete takeover of the Donbas. Most of the Ukrainians in this region are Russian speakers, and until recently many of them had strong pro-Russian sympathies. But after Putin’s botched Ukraine invasion, almost no one in Ukraine — no matter the primary language spoken — has any positive feelings for Russia or Putin whatsoever.

Who could get away with this level of bloody hypocrisy? Only a dictator on the scale of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or . . . Putin. Killing Russian speaking ethnic Russians to save Russia! Wrap your mind around that pretzel logic.

The people of Russia are in a tight spot, living in the wind-down of the Putin years. Putin cannot survive out of power — there is no one who can guarantee his survival if he leaves the poker table.

Putin does not care about losing specific chips as he has lost so many (Russian soldiers and money) already, but he is terrified of losing his seat at the table (i.e. his life or his position in the Kremlin). In fact, faced with a conventional escalation where Russian forces become overmatched, Putin might conclude he is simply drawing dead—which in poker terms means that there are no possible future communal cards that could help him make a winning hand.

When players fear they might be drawing dead, there are only three ways the hand can end: continue to bluff even though you presume you are losing, hoping the opponent will misread your actual position and fold; give up immediately to avoid further losses; or play the hand to its conclusion, risking yet more chips along the way hoping your opponent’s hand turns out to be weaker than you estimated.

FP

Putin believed that his opponent’s hand was unutterably weak. He was surprised when this was not the case. But he has not yet discovered just how weak his own hand is turning out to be. This could be his fatal mistake.

For many years, both George Friedman and Peter Zeihan have predicted the disintegration of Russia some time between 2025 and 2045. This is not guaranteed, and if it happens most of the ways it can happen will be very unpleasant for a lot of people.

Putin clearly does not believe it could happen. Although Russia was at least 30 – 50 years away from any military invasion — most likely from China — Putin impulsively invaded a weak and non-threatening nation with long ethnic and spiritual ties to Russia.

Was it NATO’s fault? Only if you give Putin slave-holder rights over the people of Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Slovakia, etc. Everywhere that Putin calls Russia’s “sphere of influence” has to be ceded to Putin’s total control, under threat of nuclear war. If you can accept Putin’s claim for total control of all of Eastern and Central Europe, then you may be stupid enough to believe it is all NATO’s fault. Perhaps you should move to Russia and open your brain directly to Russian state media for a mainline infusion, 24 hours a day. You may not be up for much else.

But if your brain can handle the reality that nuclear weapons will be around forever — and thanks to Biden are expanding to Iran and other enemies of countries that embrace personal freedoms — then you have to pull yourself together and understand what Europe and the Anglosphere have been confronting ever since the USSR stole nuclear weapons technology in the 1940s. Watch the Stanley Kubrick movie Dr. Strangelove if you still don’t get that this impossible impasse has been all too real for all too long.

Russia has a bad hand in terms of its conventional military, its demographics, and its industrial economy. But it has a lot of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Putin has always believed that he could use these weapons to get whatever he wanted from Europe and the Anglosphere — if push came to shove. If Joe Biden were the only person he had to bluff, he would probably be right. Xi, at least, has Biden wrapped around his little finger.

Posted in Russia, Ukraine | 4 Comments

Good News for Russian Women!

It is now possible for women to experience satisfying pleasure with their minds alone.

Why is this important for Russian women? Russian women are facing a shortage of good men. This critical shortage makes it difficult for Russia to field a strong and competent army. It is also becoming impossible for most Russian women to find a good man for purposes of companionship and family.

By learning to experience sexual pleasure with her mind alone — anywhere and at any time — a Russian woman can compensate for the shortage of good men, at least to some degree.

The idea of thinking yourself to orgasm is not new. In the early 1970’s, the Masters and Johnson research team documented the strong connection between sexuality and thought.

The connection is particularly strong in women, says Dr. Ian Kerner, author and sex therapist. “The brain is the most powerful sex organ,” he says. Men, he adds, have a much harder time making themselves climax without any touch whatsoever, but there are documented cases in women.

“I would encourage people to try to use breath work, concentration and fantasy, but more to enhance their sex life, and less as a means to an end,” says Kerner.

Mind Power
Thinking Makes It So

More women are learning how to think themselves to pleasure without any physical stimulation whatsoever. ASMR can help:

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) involves learning how to use your mind to totally absorb yourself into ordinary sensory experience. When you apply ASMR to sexual pleasure, you are practicing ASMR sex..

ASMR sex doesn’t involve any specific positions or new moves, but rather, it’s all about finding a trigger that turns you on, says sex psychologist Caroline West, PhD, a lecturer in sexuality studies at Dublin City University and host of the Glow West podcast. That could be anything from a soft whisper to the sensation of someone running their hands over your skin. “It’s a trial and error process,” she says.

But when you find the right trigger, it can seriously ramp up your sexual experience, West says.

ASMR Sex

Everyone can benefit from a deeper awareness of his own profound responses to ordinary sensations in which he is continuously immersed. It is just a short jump from feeling the “tingle” or feeling of weightlessness of ASMR to entering the ramping vortex of sexual experience.

Note: There is a profound difference between learning to be aware of ordinary sensations in a deep way, and what you see in most “ASMR” videos that merely simulate that deeper awareness which individuals can cultivate on their own.

Because of its dreary climate and its violent origins, Russia has always been a brutal place. Women in particular have suffered in the harsh wastelands, with very little compensation. As the quality and quantity of Russian men declines in a most precipitous manner, it is hoped that those women who remain in Russia can learn a variety of ways to convert their universe of stark and mundane sensations into a more pleasurable everyday experience.

More:

Putin’s whimsical sacrifice of young Russian lives draws Russian outrage

Regiment of elite Russian airborne troops sacrificed by Putin

Another regiment of elite young paras sent to their deaths by Putin

Even in peacetime, young Russian men die at inordinate rates from alcohol, drugs, violence, HIV, TB, suicide, and from other preventable causes. Until recently, male mortality rates had been improving in Russia. Now, Putin has sent the numbers tumbling again.

Posted in Russia, Sex | Leave a comment

Half Putin’s Brain Tied Behind His Back

Moving under a dark cloud of war crimes, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is redirecting toward the eastern part of the country, to the area known as the Donbas. This is what the Kremlin now says is the main objective of Russia’s invasion and war. Everything in the war so far has happened by design, and the invasion plan is on schedule.

Battlefield Heats Up

This means that instead of losing the war so far, the Russian invaders are actually winning. This must come as a huge relief to supporters of Putin back in Moscow. A lot of western propaganda has been hinting that Russia may be losing the war in Ukraine. But since the Kremlin says clearly that Russia is actually winning, we know that this western propaganda is not true.

No, Really: Who Is Winning? An Objective Analysis

Perun is a no-bullshit analyst who has no dog in the fight. As a result, his analysis is more objective than most of what you can find on YouTube:

Who is Winning, Really?

There can be no doubt that Russian troops have been committing war crimes in areas they have occupied inside Ukraine. But that can be considered in the way of “recreation” for Russian troops throughout history, dating back to the Mongolian Empire.

By focusing on the Donbas and on the Black Sea coast of Ukraine, the Russian military is in position to do a significant amount of damage to the sovereign nation which is the original birthplace of the Rus. Still, an open supply corridor through Poland will allow western nations to continue to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft, anti-tank, and anti-ship missiles and drones.

One cannot assess who is the winner and who is the loser in an armed conflict, merely by counting destroyed vehicles and aircraft shot down. Russia had a lot more vehicles and aircraft to lose, so you cannot judge winners and losers by that metric. In fact, you could say that losing a lot of planes and tanks is good for Russia’s economy, since the act of building more tanks and planes will help to boost Russia’s GDP. The same cannot be said for the loss of Russia’s fighting men, of course. Russia is finding it more and more difficult to replace those, and not quickly.

Clearly Putin has been fighting this war with one side of his brain tied behind his back. This was probably done to make the Ukrainians and their western backers over-confident. At least that is the message coming from the Kremlin. So why are people like George Friedman saying that Putin miscalculated and is getting weaker? For example:

Putin’s war plan is shattered. The resistance has been effective and his troops need a relief he cannot provide. Putin will feint in other directions – perhaps in the Baltics or Moldova – but he lacks the force to fight on another front. He can’t sustain this war easily, especially in the face of NATO soldiers who have so far stayed out of the fray.

Even so, I cannot predict what a leader will do in the end. But for now, it’s clear to me that Putin will cling to power and blame everyone around him. But every day the war goes on, Putin gets weaker.

How Will it End?

Russians are certainly paying a steep price for whatever it is that Putin is trying to do. The Russian financial system is using all of its resources trying to prop up the rouble, an impossible task in the long run. Stores are running out of goods, unemployment is skyrocketing, psychiatric medications are running out despite record demand. A nation that was already sick and impoverished is getting worse.

Prior to this invasion, there was still much fraternal feeling between many Ukrainians and many Russians. Now, that is gone. It may never come back, even after several generations. The people of that part of the world do not forgive easily.

Russia’s reputation in the free world has taken a deep face plant, although in the third world and in the world of totalitarian nations, Russia is not so much condemned as it is increasingly seen as a loser. But of course, that isn’t true, since the Kremlin says that Russia is winning.

Russia Faces Challenges Finding Enough Soldiers to Fight

This is a long term demographic challenge for Russia that is getting worse. Replacing destroyed and abandoned materiel is also proving a problem. This is how the Institute for the Study of War describes the current difficulties:

Russian efforts to generate replacement forces and produce new military equipment continue to face challenges. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on April 7 that the Russian military began recruiting conscripts who have been discharged from military service since 2012 and is summoning them for a special three-month training period before deployment to active units.[2] The General Staff additionally reported that Russian units withdrawn from northeastern Ukraine are currently residing in tent camps and face declining morale.[3] Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on April 7 that Russian military enterprises are unable to fulfill military orders due to inflation and supply chain issues, which it attributed to the effects of western sanctions.[4] The GUR claimed it intercepted a Kremlin report on the inability of several companies to complete state contracts and discontent over the Russian Ministry of Defense forcing companies to produce orders at a loss.

ISW

Russia is a huge country, with rich natural resources. In a smoothly functioning world economy with harmonious ties to the outside world, Russia would have a bountiful income sufficient to give its citizens a rich life. Unfortunately, Mr. Putin has tied half of his brain behind is back over the past several decades, and the result is that the people of Russia are sick and impoverished, with short lifespans and low birthrates. The income of Russian enterprises is a fraction of what it should be due to neglect and corruption. What should have gone to the country’s physical infrastructure and to the people, has instead gone to insiders and their families and friends. Only in China might one find corruption and cruelty on this scale.

Chinese surgeons have been cutting out prisoners’ hearts while they’re still alive in a horror organ harvesting scheme, a study has claimed.

Times via NYP

The biggest advantage that the half-brained Putin enjoys is the utter stupidity of western governments when dealing with energy and climate issues. As long as western countries such as Germany and Canada choose to cripple themselves under delusional beliefs regarding energy and climate, even a corrupt, neglectful, and incompetent Russia can always find a foothold.

It is much worse than described in the video. Even if the massive quantity of materials was cheaply and readily available in an environmentally clean way, the energy produced by wind & solar is intermittent/unreliable. You cannot run an industrial country such as Germany, China, or parts of the USA, on unreliable and intermittent low quality energy. You must have the reliable and high quality electric power that comes from nuclear power plants, coal power plants, natural gas power plants, or hydroelectric power plants. Wind and solar are just good enough to get your country ruined. And their environmental effects are catastrophic.

This energy/climate stupidity so prominent in western societies, is the only thing that allows Putin to go on a bloody rampage across Europe — half brained or not.

It is not necessarily a contest between good guys and bad guys, nor is it a contest between smart guys and stupid guys. There is plenty of stupidity and unsavoriness to go around. Unfortunately for Putin, even with all the resource advantages that Russia possesses, the thoroughly corrupt and criminal nature of the Russian government creates levels of incompetence and inefficiency that make it difficult for the country to accomplish anything on a large scale — particularly when in competition with other nations that do not labor under the same degree of criminality and corruption at the highest levels.

More Peter Zeihan on the Russian worldview and how it has failed to adjust to a changing world:

The Russian people are not under pressure from a world that contains NATO and other independent peoples who do not want to be under the Russian slave yoke. But the mythical “Russian Empire” certainly is. The world is full of populations suffering from “empire nostalgia” who long for lost empires that will never exist again. Most of them never existed in the first place, at least not in the form that the lost souls of lost empire seem to believe. It is long past time for the mostly empty lands, the ethnically diverse lands of the former Russian empire, to go their separate ways.

Putin claims a “sphere of influence” based upon the history of the lost Russian empire and the lost USSR. But the world has changed — and is further changing at light speed. Ancient empires do not get to resurrect themselves and their former power just on the basis of claims of historical influence in certain lands. The neighborhoods have changed and the world around them. By pressing his case in blood, Putin is alone responsible for the catastrophes to come.

More:

More on China’s massive organ harvesting/murder scandal

25 million people trapped by invading Chinese soldiers

Chinese oil demand drops not because of pandemic but because of Xi’s overreaction to new variant

Xi wants dominion over everything, even the Chinese atypical coronavirus made in Wuhan. But the degree of control Xi wants, is impossible. On the other hand, global economic activity is suppressed by Putin’s war in Ukraine, so this may be a good time for many of China’s factories to shut down for maintenance and retooling.

Posted in Military, Russia, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Putin’s Slav vs. Slav War Could Last Years

Putin’s War Will Destroy Russia by Nina Krushcheva … By attacking another European country, Putin crossed a line drawn after World War II – and changed the world. But he also changed Russia, from a functioning autocracy into a Stalinesque dictatorship, a country characterized by violent repression, inscrutable arbitrariness, and a massive brain drain. While the fortunes of Ukraine, Europe, and the rest of the world after the shooting stops remain to be seen, the outcome for Russia is all too obvious: a future as dark as its darkest past. __ Nina Krushcheva, Great Granddaughter of Nikita Krushchev

Putin has no intention of stopping with the genocidal destruction of Ukraine. He wants to sweep across all of eastern Europe. But how much time does he have left, and will his backers let him take it to the limit?

75 percent of young Russians (aged 23-25) are against the war, but this attitude shifts with age. In the middle-age group, for example, only 35 percent are against the war, and among those over 60, the figure is 22 percent. To put this in context, young people (aged 15 to 30) constitute roughly a 20-percent share of the country’s population of 146 million, so the overall attitude tilts toward older and usually more conservative groups. Within the same vein, a February 28 survey conducted by the marketing research firm Russian Field and political activist Maxim Katz showed that almost 59 percent of respondents supported the “special military operation,” but the level of support was lower among younger people (18-29)—slightly over 40 percent—and higher among the older ones (60+)—over 70 percent. __ Why Russians Long for War in Ukraine

Of course, Russia is a multi-ethnic empire rather than a unified country. Getting reliable information about political opinions from the distant empire far from Moscow, is virtually impossible.

Ukrainians Do Not Want to Be Serfs and Slaves

Credible War Games Suggest Putin’s War Could Easily Last Years

Ultimately, both sides lack the forces to achieve their ideal outcomes. Without a political compromise, we predicted the military aspects of this conflict will be characterized by stalemate, limited advances, high casualties, and massive equipment attrition on both sides over the next twelve months. Given Putin’s political position, the Russian army will be under heavy pressure to achieve success, which may lead to desperate employment of chemical weapons and/or tactical nuclear weapons to end the battlefield stalemate. However, players assessed that resorting to such tactics invites a United States and NATO response that would be cataclysmic for Russian hopes of ultimate success.

Reluctance on behalf of the United States and NATO to intervene hampers the development of logistics infrastructure needed to provide humanitarian assistance. The wargame indicated a growing demand for some international intervention to address the humanitarian crisis. The wargame also indicated that there are opportunities to conduct limited interventions to preserve and protect humanitarian concerns without presenting a direct challenge to Putin’s political and military operations. A bias toward avoiding the risk of escalation should not prevent consideration of intervention scenarios, such as humanitarian corridors or the establishment of safe havens within Ukraine.

The wargame allowed for differing levels of force generation under several scenarios. The establishment of a force generation capacity to train and equip shattered or new Ukrainian formations, outside of Ukrainian territory, had a marked positive impact in Ukraine’s ability to sustain its defensive positions. Similarly, anything that can be done to interfere with Russian force regeneration further limited its capacity to conduct further assaults. Still, without a sustained flow of munitions and equipment, Ukraine will be challenged to maintain its defensive positions.

As for Russia, the game indicated that it will soon lack sufficient trained infantry to capture any major Ukrainian city after Mariupol falls, and will be unable to capture, nor even threaten the defensive viability of, Kyiv or Odesa. Kharkiv remained at risk of becoming isolated. But the wargamers assessed Russia lacks the combat power to quickly seize the city. Kharkiv may be able to hold out until year’s end and beyond unless the Russians halt all other operations to mass combat power around the city. Even then, such an assault will be an extremely costly operation, leaving Russia scant resources to do much else, while opening other areas to Ukrainian counterattack.

Modern War Institute

It is not clear how long Russia can maintain its ability to sell fossil fuels to Europe in a war that could easily spread to destroy Russian infrastructure. Oil storage is limited, and much of Russia’s oil production will have to be shut in — probably for years. If more Russian oil depots and shipping points are destroyed in the vicinity of the Black Sea — which seems very likely — a high proportion of Russian oil production may be shut in.

Russian expansionism has always existed, for many centuries. This is nothing new. It has always been under authoritarian control — whether political/criminal dictatorship or monarchy. Its people have always been serfs in reality, if not in name.

The video above suggests some of the reasons why Russia can never have a stable country with property rights and rule of law, as long as Putin remains the major force in the Russian power structure.

By 2050, The Old Soviet Generation Will be Dead

Russia does not have a civil society, nor does it have a strong common moral code. Civil society is a threat to the criminal government of Russia. There is no cohesive force holding contemporary Russia together other than the fevered dreams of empire that Putin feeds the people to cover over the many crimes of himself and his cronies. After the disruptive discontinuity of the Soviet era followed by the turbulence of the 1990’s, Russia has no backbone or coherent vision. Only propaganda and the many state police and security agencies. Just as the USSR disintegrated in 1991, the Russian “Federation” will decompose itself as Putin and his ex-Soviet cohorts die off and as what remains behind is no longer strong enough to contain all the stress and strain.

A long war in Ukraine will continue to bring out the totalitarian fascism inherent in Putinism, which will totally eradicate any vestiges or nascent traces of civil society. This long war will further isolate Russia from any ties with the free world, and will cement its suicidal ties to China.

By 2040 or 2050, as Russia’s population crashes and only Chinese influences remain strong, Russia will exist only as a much diminished provider of natural resources to China. China has no need to invade or threaten Russia. Thanks to Putin, the entire land mass will be rolled out like a red carpet, and no one will see China as anything but rightful owner. That is Russia’s ghost of Christmas future, as the long inter-Slavic war winds on.

Putin May Choose the Nuclear Option

It is what he wants. But he is afraid of making Xi nervous, and he needs Xi to back his play. He can escalate beyond a certain point only if he first clears the action with his padrone. Putin is now comfortable making Russia a vassal state of China.

So how much destruction does Xi want Europe and Russia to suffer before he pulls the plug on Putin? He wants to make sure that no impediments remain to prevent him from getting what he wants.

Can Putin pull back and claim victory out of all the smoke, rubble, and dead bodies?

[Putin] can reach a genuine cease-fire, but if he does, he’s finished. Not being able to defeat the Ukrainians, and held in contempt by others, destroys the myth of his power. Continuing the war endlessly reveals the same thing. As this goes on, Putin’s primary task is to pretend that the defeat is not happening because anything less than victory is a defeat. Every agreement must end in betrayal, and as it happens with guerrillas, they get stronger the longer the war drags out.

…every day the war goes on, Putin gets weaker. Ukraine should not be able to resist, NATO should not be united, American economic warfare should not be so powerful. Putin is growing more desperate. He has mumbled about nuclear weapons, the sign of utmost desperation. But he knows he and anyone he may love will die in a nuclear exchange. Even if he is prepared to commit suicide rather than capitulate, he knows that the order to launch must go through several hands, and each of those hands knows that the counterstrike will kill their loved ones. Therein lies the weakness of nuclear war: Retaliating is one thing, initiating another. Putin trusts few people, and he doesn’t know how reliable anyone would be in this situation – nor what the Americans might do if they saw preparation for a Russian launch.

Geopolitical Futures

In Putin’s mind, he is already at war with NATO and America

China had best learn its lessons from Putin’s mistakes

The losses for Putin continue to mount

Rumbles of mutiny across Russian front lines

How the mafia state of Russia begins to irrevocably lose support of the people

China has many choices now. Its best choice is probably to egg Putin on until he is so deeply wedged into a crevice that he cannot move without Xi’s okay. Russia’s nest egg of nukes and delivery systems would make a fine trophy for Xi.

Bonus Feature: Peter Zeihan Says John Mearsheimer is full of horseshit!

Russia is long overdue for a very serious downsizing. China wants its piece of flesh, but there are plenty of others standing in line for payback.

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