War, what is it good for?

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Octavious
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#121 Post by Octavious » Sun Mar 13, 2022 9:40 pm

The problem with the "Russia's plans have failed" narrative, ora, is that it relies upon the stupidity of the enemy. And whenever you start by assuming the enemy is stupid, be it in international politics or a game of diplomacy or anywhere in between, you deserve everything you get.

When you start by assuming that the enemy knows what they're doing and apply observations of what we have seen the narrative I have discussed in earlier posts fits. Russia does not have, and has never had, enough troops to hold the entirety of Ukraine, so you either assume that Russia is stupid or that they have no intention of holding Ukraine. More excitable commentators insist on believing both that Russia can't hold Ukraine and that Russia seeks to take over several Eastern European nations at the same time, which is an utterly ludicrous feat of mental gymnastics.

There's a bizarre idea being oft expressed that, because Russia hasn't won a complete victory in a week, that they have failed. I still have no idea where this notion comes from. Russia has spent some time preparing themselves so that they can weather a long period of sanctions. They have agreements with India and China and Pakistan et al which mean they are a very long way from being cut off from the global community. The West continues to buy their gas and oil in massive quantities and, if EU plans are to be believed, this will continue for years to come. Russia can endure. How the West will cope with the cost to their various economies is another question. I dare say several nations will be able and willing to endure a lot. Others... less so. Splinters will inevitably form.

Russia may well have hoped for an easier ride, but they have shown every sign of having planned for the a long haul.
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An alternative view

#122 Post by Octavious » Tue Mar 15, 2022 9:54 am

Sources of news from Russia itself are hard to find these days, with the EU imposing a media blackout on the traditional Russian news channels. As much as these sources are biased, and rather more so than in Western media, they did provide an interesting insight into what the Russians actually believe.

So, in that light, here is the point of view of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. It makes for fascinating reading.


COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AND AROUND UKRAINE
March 14, 2022

There is a war in Ukraine. Outwardly, it looks like an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All political forces, including Left, have spoken out about these events. The range of assessments: from humanistic-emotional (“people are dying, stop the war”) to purely class (“The West is pushing two oligarchic regimes”). In fact, this conflict has deep roots. When analyzing the situation, we must take into account both the national content of the class struggle and the class content of the national struggle.

What is Ukraine? The territory of present-day Ukraine until the middle of the XVII century was a sparsely populated space, contested by neighboring countries. By the beginning of the XX century the lands of present-day Ukraine were divided between Poland, Austria-Hungary and Russia. After 1917 revolution some of these lands temporarily declared independence. However in 1922 they joined the USSR as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. So Ukraine gained statehood, although limited.

Ukraine was an agricultural country. To ensure its development in 1918 at the suggestion of Vladimir Lenin six Russian industrial regions including Donetsk and Lugansk which had never been part of Ukraine were transferred to Ukraine. In 1939 Galicia (Western Ukraine) was annexed to Ukraine, previously part of Poland. The current territory of Ukraine is the result of its entry into the USSR. It consists of disparate pieces: from Galicia (Lviv) with a strong influence of Catholicism to Eastern Ukraine, which strongly gravitates towards Russia.

Socialist Ukraine developed powerfully. Aircraft and rocket building, petrochemistry, electric power industry (4 nuclear power plants) and defense industries were added to the extraction of metal and coal. As part of the USSR Ukraine received not only the bulk of its current territory, but economic potential making it 10th largest economy in Europe. Ukrainian politicians were dominant in the Soviet leadership. N.Khrushev, L.Brezhnev, K.Tchernenko run the USSR from 1953 to 1983/

After the collapse of the USSR in December 1991, Ukraine became an independent state for the first time in its history. But this destroyed centuries-old economic integration with Russia. The “market” model led to the de-industrialization of Ukraine, to sharp drop in the standard of living of the population. On the basis of predatory privatization, an oligarchic class arose.

Now it is the poorest country in Europe. The level of corruption and social differentiation is of the world highest. The manufacturing industry except metallurgy, is practically destroyed. The economy rests on Western loans and money transfers from migrant labour who left for Europe and Russia in search of work. (about 10 million out of 45 million people), basically qualified specialists. The degradation of human capital has reached its limit. The country is on the verge of a national catastrophe.

The population of Ukraine is strongly dissatisfied. However this dissatisfaction with pro-Western authorities is manipulated in such a way that each time even more pro-Western forces win the elections. In February 2014, a US and NATO-backed state coup was carried out in Ukraine. The US State Department has publicly stated that it has invested $5 billion in its preparation.

Neo-Nazis came to power. These are, first of all, people from Western Ukraine (Galicia), which for centuries was under the rule of Poland and Austria-Hungary. Extremely nationalistic, anti-Semitic, anti-Polish, Russophobic and anti-Communist sentiments are historically strong there. After Hitler’s invasion of the USSR, German troops were greeted in Western Ukraine with flowers. SS divisions were formed there fought against the Red Army. Local nationalists, led by Hitler’s admirer Stephan Bandera, set about exterminating the Jewish population. In Ukraine about 1.5 million Jews were killed – one fourth of all Holocaust victims. During the “Volyn massacre” in 1944 about 100,000 Poles were brutally murdered in Western Ukraine. Banderas destroyed Soviet guerillas and burned alive the men, women and children in hundreds of villages in Belarus. Ukrainian nationalists who served as guards in German concentration camps became notorious for monstrous cruelty.

After the war from 1945 to 1953, US and UK-supported anti-Communist and anti-Soviet rebels in Western Ukraine unleashed terror against civilian population. During these years Banderas killed about 50 thousand civilians. This is the nature of forces – descendants and followers of fascists – which came to power after the 2014 coup. The traditions of anti-Polish, anti-Semitic and anti-Russian terror are very strong among the neo-Nazis who now really govern Ukraine. 42 opponents of Nazi were burnt alive in the Trade Unions building in Odessa on May, 2, 2014 /

It is an alliance of neo-Nazis with oligarchic capital. Banderas (like the SS stormtroopers in Germany) serve as a shock detachment of big business. The only difference is that Banderas refrain from outright anti-Semitism, having established a class unity with the local oligarchy. Banderas tightly control every move of state power, constantly blackmailing it with the threat of a coup. On the other hand, the policy of Ukraine is determined by the US Embassy in Kyiv.

The nature of the current Ukrainian state is an alliance of big capital and the state bureaucracy, relying on criminal and fascist elements under the full political and financial control of the United States.

After 2014 Nazi ideology is being implanted in Ukraine. Day of Victory over fascism on May 9 has been canceled. Ukrainian fascists – organizers and participants in the atrocities of the war – are officially recognized as national heroes. Every year torch marches are held in honor of fascist criminals. Streets and squares are named after them. The Communist Party of Ukraine operates underground. Intimidation and political assassinations of politicians and journalists became constant. Monuments to Lenin and everything related to the memory of life in the USSR are being destroyed.

At the same time an attempt began to forcibly assimilate the Russian population of Ukraine with the suppression of the Russian language. An attempt to introduce Afrikaans instead of English in South Africa led to the Soweto uprising in 1976. The same thing happened in Ukraine. An attempt to transfer school education from Russian into Ukrainian gave rise to powerful resistance in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. People took up arms. In May 2014 a referendum was held there, in which 87% of citizens voted for independence. This is how the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk people’s republics (LPR) arose. After several unsuccessful attempts to invade the LPR-DPR, the Nazis from Kyiv switched over to terror. During 8 years of shelling from large-caliber guns, more than 13 thousand civilians, including children, women and elderly people were killed in LPR-DPR. With the complete silence of the world community.

The Communists of Russia take an active part in the defense of the LPR-DPR. Hundreds of communists are fighting the Nazis as part of the troops of the people’s republics. Dozens of communists died in this struggle. In 8 years the CPRF sent 93 convoys with humanitarian aid to these republics with a total weight of 13,000 tons, received thousands of children for rest and treatment in Russia. All these years the CPRF headed by Gennady Zyuganov demanded from the leadership of Russia the recognition of the independence of Donbass.

In March 2015 at the initiative of Russia (with the participation of Germany and France) the Minsk agreements were concluded, which provided for the special status of the LPR-DPR within Ukraine. However, Ukraine evaded their implementation. With the support of the United States, Kyiv was preparing to crush the LPR-DPR by force of arms. The US, UK and other NATO members provided training for the Ukrainian army. They constructed over 30 major military installation in Ukraine including 15 Pentagon laboratories for the development of bacteriological weapons (cholera, the plague and other deadly diseases). Ukraine with its four nuclear power stations and huge scientific-technical potential is able to construct an A-bomb. This intention was publically declared. There was a danger of deployment of US cruise missiles. The situation in Ukraine increasingly threatened Russia’s security.

In December 2021 Russia proposed to the United States to talk about non-expansion of NATO. The US and NATO ignored the proposal. In January 2022 Russia warned that it would be forced to take additional measures to protect its security. At the same time it became known that Ukraine had concentrated 150,000 servicemen and Nazi battalions in Donbass. Kyiv, backed by the USA was preparing to regain control over Donbass through war this March.

On February 22 President Putin announced the recognition of the independence of the LPR-DPR. On February 25 the Russian Armed Forces operation of began.

Russia is not going to occupy Ukraine. The purpose of the operation is the liberation of Ukraine from the Nazis and its neutrality (refusal to join NATO). The tactics of the Russian troops is, while attacking military facilities, to minimize the casualties among civilian population and Ukrainian military, to avoid destruction of civilian infrastructure. They are brotherly people. We will continue to live together. However, the Bandera Nazis use the most disgusting tactics of the German fascists, using civilians and their houses as human shields. They install artillery and tanks in residential areas, forbid citizens to leave war zones, turning hundreds of thousands of people into hostages.

This nefarious Nazi tactic is not condemned in the West. It is the United States, waging an information war through the media controlled by them (only Russia Today resists), that are interested in the war. The United States strikes not only at Russia but also at Europe. The NATO war against Yugoslavia in 1999 was a means of destabilizing the European Union. Today the US main goal is to prevent Russian gas supplies via the Nord Stream-2 pipeline to force Europe to buy more expensive liquefied gas from the United States, thereby sharply weakening Germany and other EU countries. The volume of trade between Russia and the EU is 260 billion dollars a year. With the US – 23 billion USD . 10 times less. Therefore the sanctions imposed at the request of the United States hit, first of all, Europe. The events in Ukraine are yet another American war for control of the world.

By the way, the claims about global nature of boycott of Russia are false. BRICS countries (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) constituting 43% of the world population did not support sanctions. China is the 1st and India – 3d biggest economies of the world. Sanctions were not supported by Asia (excluding Japan and South Korea with their US military bases), by the Middle East, by the largest countries of Latin America and by the majority of the countries of Africa.

For 30 years I have been one of the most active critics of the domestic and foreign policy of the Russian elite. In its class character, the oligarchic-bureaucratic power in Russia is not much different from the power in Ukraine (except without fascism and full US control). However, in those unfortunately rare cases when the leaders of Russia pursue a line that meets the historical interests of the country and the people, the principle of “automatic” criticism is hardly appropriate.

I have long argued that sanctions will have a beneficial effect on getting rid of Russia’s imposed dependence on the West in various areas of life. The Russian government is already taking the first steps in this direction. The task of the left forces is to vigorously encourage the authorities to change not only foreign policy, but also the socio-economic course, which does not correspond to the interests of the people.

Vyacheslav Tetekin,

Member of the CPRF CC

Doctor of Sciences in History,

Ex – Parliamentarian of the Russian State Duma (2011-2016)

Copyright © 1993-2022 Political party, "Communist Party of the Russian Federation"
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Re: An alternative view

#123 Post by Matticus13 » Tue Mar 15, 2022 1:08 pm

The United States strikes not only at Russia but also at Europe. The NATO war against Yugoslavia in 1999 was a means of destabilizing the European Union.
I kept seeing the Yugoslavia conflict mentioned when reading about Russian perceptions of the current conflict.

NATO's intervention in a Russian political stronghold (Serbia) is still a major sore spot. The Russian Federation was still getting "off the mat" after the dissolution of the USSR.

No one even remembers the Kosovo dust up here in the US; lost between the Iraq (2) and Afghanistan Wars.
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End Game

#124 Post by Octavious » Wed Mar 16, 2022 7:06 am

So, we're getting into the nitty gritty of the negotiations now, and the end of the war is hopefully not far off. Zelenskyy has conceded that Ukraine will never join NATO, so that's a key Russian demand ticked off and a step in the right direction. So what else needs doing? It's worth having a look at the remaining key factors and seeing if there's any wriggle room.

Ukrainian neutrality is an interesting issue NATO has been sorted, but what about the EU? Realistically, unless the EU ignore their own rules again, Ukrainian membership is a long way off. The country is too corrupt, its economy currently incompatible. Could Russia agree to allow Ukraine to start the application process on the understanding that nothing will happen for many years, and if Ukraine agree to a Denmark style opt out of the Common Security and Defence policy? On the face of it a major concession, but one that Russia might be able to swallow.

What of the Eastern breakaway regions? Impossible to imagine Russia letting them rejoin Ukraine, but their political status may be something that can be bargained over. Also the size of them. At the start of the Russian invasion the area that Russia recognised as belonging to the breakaway regions was expanded considerably past the territory they actually held. How enthusiastically will Russia insist on them keeping this expanded territory?

And, of course, money can change hands. Whether it's called aid or reparations or a trade agreement the ability of money to plug the holes in otherwise unconvincing peace agreements is not to be underestimated.

Will be interested in hearing your thoughts :-)
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Re: End Game

#125 Post by Jamiet99uk » Wed Mar 16, 2022 4:31 pm

Octavious wrote:
Wed Mar 16, 2022 7:06 am
So, we're getting into the nitty gritty of the negotiations now, and the end of the war is hopefully not far off.
I very much hope you are right. People are dying.

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Re: End Game

#126 Post by Octavious » Wed Mar 16, 2022 6:43 pm

There are no guarantees, but the signs are all pointing to it. The BBC's John Simpson was saying today how he reckoned that the reason behind Zelensky's constant pushing for a no fly zone was not to actually get one (as he knows full well that it's impossible), but instead so that he use the refusal to help him portray the likes of NATO as not worth joining in the first place which makes it politically easier to give up.

I'm not entirely sure I'm convinced by that, but it does fit the jigsaw and adds to the feeling that we're near the end of the war.
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Re: End Game

#127 Post by Matticus13 » Thu Mar 17, 2022 1:07 am

Perhaps the most realistic ceasefire solution resembles a modified version of the Minsk agreements? Ukraine formally ceding territory, especially the lines drawn by Russia in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, is unlikely.

Establishing new lines of control and buffer zones is achievable. Sign a formal agreement. Russia can claim whatever it wants back home via foreign media blackout.

Both sides are prepared to keep going for now.

Russia is drawing in more manpower. It's unclear how/when/if/which sanctions will be lifted when an agreement is struck. Those sanctioning Russia haven't publicly (maybe they have privately) given Putin an attractive off-ramp. Russia prepared for a drawn out campaign.

Ukraine has been preparing a counter insurgency for years. The US/NATO is pledging more and more lethal aid, including Switchblade 300/600 single use drones. The population doesn't appear ready to concede. Their already $500 billion in damage + thousands of lives lost into it.

NATO is gathering valuable intelligence on Russian capabilities (newly discovered anti-aircraft decoy capabilities on Russian cruise missles), and effective methods of counter attack in conventional and asymmetrical engagements. There's little incentive to end a conflict draining Russia of military/economic resources.

At what point are y'all taking the under? A week? Two? Another month? I'm not optimistic any of those bets pay...
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#128 Post by Octavious » Thu Mar 17, 2022 4:46 am

My guess is within a couple of weeks. Hopefully well within. If it goes on much beyond that you start to leave behind the window where both sides can strike a deal that they can sell as a win, and move instead to a scenario where one side will be have to concede defeat. Which means a lot more war, a lot more death, a lot more destruction, and at least one regime change.

I remain optimistic that they will choose the earlier peace, as no one walks away from the later peace better off than they'd be now.
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#129 Post by Octavious » Thu Mar 17, 2022 7:43 am

In terms of Russian capability, we've seen bad Russia but not yet evil and desperate Russia. There are an impressive array of options that Russia have so far refrained from using.

We know (or as close to knowing as anyone ever gets) , for example, that Russia has an extremely effective cyber warfare capability. Yet we have seen little evidence of it thus far. The likely reason being that Russia has a great many cyber tricks ready to use against the West, and that if it were to use them against Ukraine it would allow NATO to get a far better feel for what they are and how to counter them.

You also have the old style Russian dark arts tactics. Agents to eliminate key figures from the other side, poison caches next to reservoirs that can be activated to cause maximum panic and terror within populations, that sort of thing. Russia does not want to remind the West that these exist, and would not want to use them against Ukraine regardless as they still consider themselves to be the good guys...

.. But if the war goes on and they get desperate...

Things like tactical nukes and chemical weapons have already, I think, been well discussed.
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#130 Post by orathaic » Thu Mar 17, 2022 9:12 am

making no judgments on what you have currently presented
What i am presenting is entirely questionable. But the counter is nothing. No evidence whatsoever.
. And whenever you start by assuming the enemy is stupid, be it in international politics or a game of diplomacy or anywhere in between, you deserve everything you get.
Interesting take, but if you go back gar enough you will find that i was originally wrong. I stated the troops were probably just a show of force to get Ukraine to back down and recognise the independent Oblasts+Crimea. That was when i assumed they were competent.

And secondly poor take because i don't assume they are stupid, the FSB letter clearly states they weren't told that an actual invasion was coming, so their analysis was based on a hypothetical and their intelligence agency suffers from punishing the messenger - where negative reports about Russia result in getting given out to for not being positive enough .. they knew exactly what they we're doing (inside the FSB).

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#131 Post by orathaic » Thu Mar 17, 2022 9:22 am

Best plan I've seen for ending the war now is to defeat Putin, giving him an attractive off ramp is not an option. So A) offer Russian troops surrendering an attractive off ramp - small amount of money, Visa to a warm country, easy exit from the war. For destroying equipment and/or turning it over to the Ukrainian military - large amount of money, plus the aforementioned exit from the war.

B) Similarly provide visas for Russians fleeing the country. There is currently a brain drain, make it easier, provide jobs in the countries they are fleeing to (currently Georgia, and central Asia). Destabilise Russia economically and continue current sanctions.

C) And encourage higher ranking Russians to defect/surrender.

All pretty cheap options compared to what is already being spent on weapons. Giving Putin appeasement is not an option.

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#132 Post by Octavious » Thu Mar 17, 2022 12:35 pm

Funny how the world works, isn't it? Only a few months ago you were randomly accusingly me of being an imperialist, and yet now we find ourselves with you calling for a Western sponsored regime change in the Russian Federation :shock:
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#133 Post by orathaic » Thu Mar 17, 2022 2:08 pm

Funny how you put words into mouth. No wait, tiresome, not funny.

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#134 Post by Octavious » Thu Mar 17, 2022 5:08 pm

What words do you find unfair? I won't insult your intelligence by pretending you don't know that a defeat for Putin in this will make his position untenable and mark the end of the Putin regime. The "Western sponsored" bit seems to be exactly what you're describing, so you can't object to that. What do you disagree with?
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Russian public opinion

#135 Post by Octavious » Fri Mar 18, 2022 4:25 pm

It's all going swimmingly!

Well, not quite, but not far off. There is a widespread belief that sanctions will make life harder, but more Russians than not believe that it's worth it. A few headline figures.

Russians who see themselves as liberators: 69% (13% as aggressors)

Putin's approval rating: 66% (16% disapprove)

Russian military approval rating 71%

Is Russia going in the right direction? 57% yes (22% no)

Is the Special Military Operation going well? 52% yes, 14% badly

Funnily enough, more Russians than not describe the action as a war regardless of state efforts to call it a special military operation.

Figures from an online Survation poll of 1137 people, published 17/03/22 using data gathered on the 16th and 17th of March
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#136 Post by Matticus13 » Sun Mar 20, 2022 5:20 am

A couple news nuggets:

Russia claims to have used a hypersonic missle for the first time in Ukraine.

Ukraine claims to have killed a 5th Russian general in an air strike.

And a question:

What did everyone think of NATO's deterrence strategy pre-invasion? Personally, I've never seen the US so open with its intelligence... Had many of the diehard right-wingers screaming *false flag!*

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#137 Post by Octavious » Sun Mar 20, 2022 7:05 am

Matticus13 wrote:
Sun Mar 20, 2022 5:20 am
Russia claims to have used a hypersonic missle for the first time in Ukraine.
Bully for Russia. I'm not entirely sure why we're meant to find this newsworthy. Russia have been trying to remind us of their nuclear capability pretty much every day since even before the war started. I don't think we ever doubted that their hypersonic missiles would work.
Matticus13 wrote:
Sun Mar 20, 2022 5:20 am
Ukraine claims to have killed a 5th Russian general in an air strike.
Mixed feelings about this. On the one hand it's great to hear Ukraine still have air strike capability. On the other general hunting during this war has typically been spearheaded by the genuinely Nazi Azov volunteer battalion, who are a nasty bunch of war criminals who did more than anyone else to provide Russia with a reason to start the war in the first place. Reminders of them are problematic.
Matticus13 wrote:
Sun Mar 20, 2022 5:20 am
What did everyone think of NATO's deterrence strategy pre-invasion?
Deterrence of what? If deterrence of attacking NATO, very effective. If deterrence of attacking Ukraine, woefully inadequate. A combination of a complete failure to present a united front and Biden's lack of credibility after his cowardice and imcompitence over Afghanistan led to Russia concluding that the Western response would likely be somewhat lighter. It's always disappointing in Diplomacy when your lies aren't believed, but it's a poor show indeed when your opponents don't believe your truths.
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#138 Post by Matticus13 » Sun Mar 20, 2022 8:29 am

It was a half-hearted effort, but perhaps the Biden Administration played it that way, knowing a Russian was inevitable. Germany's U-turn on defense spending/Nord 2, a more cooperative EU, and a spike in approval ratings back home (despite increasingly worsening inflation) are all positive diplomatic developments. The oil situation may breathe new life into the renewable energy push in time for midterms stateside as well.
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#139 Post by Octavious » Sun Mar 20, 2022 10:10 am

I'm always cautious when it comes to German U-turns as they have a remarkable habit of continuing onwards with what they were doing before and then, a few years later, looking confused when the subject is brought up and claiming that their position was misunderstood. Now, for example, some weeks after the major German U-turn on supplying arms to war zones, Ukraine has yet to receive anything significant from Germany other than a few hundred Soviet block missiles from East German storage depots that are so old they no longer work properly.

Has Biden's approval gone up? Interest in US politics always falls off a cliff in the UK whenever something interesting is happening elsewhere in the world. I've not seen much of anything on mainstream media about America, and just a few snippets of speeches from dubious Twitter sources showing the usual truly dire stuff . One from Pelosi who sounded like she'd downed a bottle of gin an hour before, one from Harris sounding like she was giving a briefing on the war to the under 5s, and a couple from Biden sounding very old, confusing Ukraine and Iran, and (somewhat bizarrely) making a quip about the Irish being stupid.
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#140 Post by Octavious » Sun Mar 20, 2022 9:27 pm

An import interview with Zelensky by CNN:

"I'm ready for negotiations with him. I was ready for the last two years. And I think that without negotiations we cannot end this war," he told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

"I think that we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating, possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third World War," he added.


What I take from this is that Zelensky is going to make a deal, and he's going to concede more than people expect. But his excuse, which he's getting in nice and early, is that he's doing it in order to prevent a third world war.

Thus the narrative becomes that Ukraine has sacrificed itself (or at least the eastern regions) in order to save the world. In other words, Ukraine believes it deserves the rest of the world expressing gratitude in the form of grants to rebuild what remains of Ukraine. Which, regardless of whether or not you believe that nonsense about world war 3, is probably fair enough.
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