War, what is it good for?

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orathaic
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#181 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 08, 2022 7:02 am

Kremlin admits large numbers of casualties - probably because they can't hide those boys not coming home to their families indefinitely (though the number admitted is lower than some estimates by an order of magnitude).

Russian people more pro-Russia than before the war (and pro-Putin) though it is hard to measure as saying anti-Russia things is punishable by years in prison...

Russian Oligarchs not turning against Putin as sanctions have forced them to rely on him more and more?

Still, if this war is lost, and Russians believe that, it will provoke a negative reaction afterwards. Putin seems to be pushing for something he can sell as a win at home (control of the full Donbas region) but is still calling for the elimination of Ukrainians? (The end of the ethnic group, and Russifying them? Or murdering them? Unclear how else to end Ukrainians). This political end seems further and further from being possible.

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#182 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 08, 2022 11:52 am

orathaic wrote:
Fri Apr 08, 2022 7:02 am
Kremlin admits large numbers of casualties - probably because they can't hide those boys not coming home to their families indefinitely (though the number admitted is lower than some estimates by an order of magnitude).
Ukraine's estimates tend to be as daft as the Russian ones. It seems to be traditional in that part of the world to lie by default, and consider the truth as a last resort. US estimates are potentially the most reliable, with the massive asterisk that they are observing from a long way off so the margin for honest error is rather high. One recalls the appallingly bad job they made of estimating Serbian losses in their bombing campaign a few years back when they counted every strike against something that looked vaguely like a tank as a destroyed tank.
orathaic wrote:
Fri Apr 08, 2022 7:02 am
Russian people more pro-Russia than before the war (and pro-Putin) though it is hard to measure as saying anti-Russia things is punishable by years in prison...
True, although you'd imagine external polling agencies would have some mitigation against this and they seem to back up internal Russian polling
orathaic wrote:
Fri Apr 08, 2022 7:02 am
Russian Oligarchs not turning against Putin as sanctions have forced them to rely on him more and more?
Maybe they genuinely support him and the current action? The idea that the Oligarchs are little more than playboys with their fingers on large purse strings has never rung true with me. I dare say a lot, if not all, are true believers. Otherwise they could easily have been disposed of.
orathaic wrote:
Fri Apr 08, 2022 7:02 am
Still, if this war is lost, and Russians believe that, it will provoke a negative reaction afterwards. Putin seems to be pushing for something he can sell as a win at home (control of the full Donbas region) but is still calling for the elimination of Ukrainians? (The end of the ethnic group, and Russifying them? Or murdering them? Unclear how else to end Ukrainians). This political end seems further and further from being possible.
The war is nowhere near being lost. Russia has nearly taken the Donbas and land corridor to Crimea. All that remains to be seen is how much of Ukraine they want to take before calling a halt and ceasefire.
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#183 Post by orathaic » Wed Apr 13, 2022 9:06 pm

https://youtu.be/UB2Ten79LKY?t=1775

Has anyone got an answer to this question? How do western powers prevent Putin from using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine?

The scenario presented being that the Russian army fails to win a significant military victory in Eastern Ukraine and Putin only knows how to escalate, so he kills ~300,000 more Ukrainians by hitting Lviv with a tactical nuclear weapons.

Or more to the point, that he sees this as his only option to salvage his reputation (and hence his life/safety/wealth).

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#184 Post by orathaic » Wed Apr 13, 2022 9:58 pm

Though according to this, the position of the Russian army is a lot worse than anything i have heard predicted by Western (or even Ukrainian) sources:

https://twitter.com/TrentTelenko/status ... L1qwsvB47A

Mostly based on this:
https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htwin ... 1.aspx#foo

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#185 Post by Octavious » Thu Apr 14, 2022 8:06 am

Russia has some interesting demographic issues, but it still has a fighting age population larger than the entire population of the UK in the Great War, so I find the idea that they're short of potential recruits a difficult one to swallow.
orathaic wrote:
Wed Apr 13, 2022 9:06 pm
Has anyone got an answer to this question? How do western powers prevent Putin from using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine?

The scenario presented being that the Russian army fails to win a significant military victory in Eastern Ukraine and Putin only knows how to escalate, so he kills ~300,000 more Ukrainians by hitting Lviv with a tactical nuclear weapons.
Have we not already gone over this? Matticus is of the opinion that both a tactical nuclear strike or massive conventional weapons strike (FOABs, for example) on a Ukrainian city is highly unlikely. I agree with him regarding nuclear, but think that a massive conventional strike is a distinct possibility as it could devastate Ukraine's ability to maintain its war effort.

In terms of what we do to stop it, our options are a negotiated peace settlement or nothing. All of our options in terms of political leverage have been exhausted other than an instant switch off of European purchases of Russian energy, and they have been found largely ineffective
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#186 Post by Randomizer » Thu Apr 14, 2022 3:23 pm

There is a difference between a potential recruit and a trained soldier capable of being an effective fighter. You are seeing it with the reported conscripted soldiers not maintaining weapons and supplies so they are failing to take cities.

There are unconfirmed reports that Russia is using treaty banned cluster bombs. So using other non-nuclear weapons is extremely likely. Going nuclear is going too far and will trigger more countries to oppose Russia. It's why the Pentagon talked Trump down from that option .

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#187 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 15, 2022 9:11 am

There are unconfirmed reports that Russia is using treaty banned cluster bombs. So using other non-nuclear weapons is extremely likely. Going nuclear is going too far and will trigger more countries to oppose Russia. It's why the Pentagon talked Trump down from that option
This seems likes a mistake (not talking Trump down), the idea is that once Putin's back is against the wall he will not care that other countries will oppose him.

So the logic would he, you must not put his back against the wall, you should instead let him win in Ukraine.

I don't see letting more Ukrainians die as a moral option in this case.

(I admit i am talking about this one American's fear, and assuming it is valid)
In terms of what we do to stop it, our options are a negotiated peace settlement or nothing. All of our options in terms of political leverage have been exhausted other than an instant switch off of European purchases of Russian energy, and they have been found largely ineffective
I disagree. But mainly i think the phrase 'war is a continuation of politics by other means'... If we assume Putin thinks the west is weak, he will act as if the western powers will back down when/if he threatens to escalate (which they always have). So the solution is to convince him otherwise.

So far unified economic sanctions, and military aid to Ukraine has done a lot. But not demonstrated a willingness to use military force.

If i wanted Putin to listen, i would he massing troops on his border.

German troops around Kaliningrad
Swedish and Finnish troops aiming for Karelia
Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and US troops readying an attack on saint Petersburg
Polish and US troops aiming for Minsk
Japanese forces ready to take the Kuril island and Sakhalin
US navy forces , with Turkish and Greek allies to sink the black sea fleet
British and French naval forces to sink the Baltic fleet.
Georgian to take Ossetia and Abkhavia

Then either leak the plans tohat 'if Russia uses nukes in Ukraine these forces will attack' - possibly through China, having offered them the far east/Siberia

Or publically state that this is the plan and troops are in position to retaliate in case Russia escalates (with Nuclear, Chemical, or biological weapons, avoid using red lines perhaps... )

But make sure Putin knows the plan and sees intelligence saying troops are in position.

Then negotiation. Because even if the negotiations come to nothing, you force Putin to staff every person he can to defend, push equipment and personnel current aimed at Ukraine to every bit of border Russia wants to defend, and actually give Ukraine some much needed breathing room.

Negotiate from a position of strength, Putin has not taken anything western leaders have said seriously. Only a show of force will change that. (Aka 'Escalate to de-escalate' aka fight fire with fire, aka the only language Putin understands).

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#188 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 15, 2022 9:11 am

There are unconfirmed reports that Russia is using treaty banned cluster bombs. So using other non-nuclear weapons is extremely likely. Going nuclear is going too far and will trigger more countries to oppose Russia. It's why the Pentagon talked Trump down from that option
This seems likes a mistake (not talking Trump down), the idea is that once Putin's back is against the wall he will not care that other countries will oppose him.

So the logic would he, you must not put his back against the wall, you should instead let him win in Ukraine.

I don't see letting more Ukrainians die as a moral option in this case.

(I admit i am talking about this one American's fear, and assuming it is valid)
In terms of what we do to stop it, our options are a negotiated peace settlement or nothing. All of our options in terms of political leverage have been exhausted other than an instant switch off of European purchases of Russian energy, and they have been found largely ineffective
I disagree. But mainly i think the phrase 'war is a continuation of politics by other means'... If we assume Putin thinks the west is weak, he will act as if the western powers will back down when/if he threatens to escalate (which they always have). So the solution is to convince him otherwise.

So far unified economic sanctions, and military aid to Ukraine has done a lot. But not demonstrated a willingness to use military force.

If i wanted Putin to listen, i would he massing troops on his border.

German troops around Kaliningrad
Swedish and Finnish troops aiming for Karelia
Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and US troops readying an attack on saint Petersburg
Polish and US troops aiming for Minsk
Japanese forces ready to take the Kuril island and Sakhalin
US navy forces , with Turkish and Greek allies to sink the black sea fleet
British and French naval forces to sink the Baltic fleet.
Georgian to take Ossetia and Abkhavia

Then either leak the plans tohat 'if Russia uses nukes in Ukraine these forces will attack' - possibly through China, having offered them the far east/Siberia

Or publically state that this is the plan and troops are in position to retaliate in case Russia escalates (with Nuclear, Chemical, or biological weapons, avoid using red lines perhaps... )

But make sure Putin knows the plan and sees intelligence saying troops are in position.

Then negotiation. Because even if the negotiations come to nothing, you force Putin to staff every person he can to defend, push equipment and personnel current aimed at Ukraine to every bit of border Russia wants to defend, and actually give Ukraine some much needed breathing room.

Negotiate from a position of strength, Putin has not taken anything western leaders have said seriously. Only a show of force will change that. (Aka 'Escalate to de-escalate' aka fight fire with fire, aka the only language Putin understands).

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#189 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 15, 2022 9:19 am

In terms of what conscripted or contract troops Putin has available, i have seen multiple takes on this.

One factor is 'human capital flight' ( like this: https://youtu.be/vp2h_32lgZE )

Here is some strategic level analysis plus more demographics https://youtu.be/7nKvym5jmj8

(Incidentally, China is not looking great demographically: https://youtu.be/F2C42p_8XfI )

Second more demographics and internal migration: https://twitter.com/kamilkazani/status/ ... 7JefpsuHrQ

Then lastly, a thread about how Russian armed forces recruit:
https://twitter.com/TrentTelenko/status ... 7JefpsuHrQ

Or at least what has happened in the past few years...

Now, i admit, human capital flight' doesn't affect numbers of conscripts. Just that when you lose your brightest and wealthiest, your economy is not going to thrive... But they we're always going to avoid a staff...

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#190 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 15, 2022 10:42 am

You're really doing yourself no favours as far as your argument against accusations of imperialism and bloodlust go ;)
orathaic wrote:
Fri Apr 15, 2022 9:11 am
So far unified economic sanctions, and military aid to Ukraine has done a lot.
Military aid has, certainly. The sanctions, aside from causing considerable hardship to the more vulnerable members of Russian and European society, don't seem to have done anything. Certainly nothing to help prevent death and destruction.
orathaic wrote:
Fri Apr 15, 2022 9:11 am
If i wanted Putin to listen, i would he massing troops on his border.

German troops around Kaliningrad
Swedish and Finnish troops aiming for Karelia
Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and US troops readying an attack on saint Petersburg
Polish and US troops aiming for Minsk
Japanese forces ready to take the Kuril island and Sakhalin
US navy forces , with Turkish and Greek allies to sink the black sea fleet
British and French naval forces to sink the Baltic fleet.
Georgian to take Ossetia and Abkhavia
Would this be a NATO led exercise, a EU led alliance with other willing nations, or a coalition of willing individual nations?

Not that it matters. The idea is as crazy as it is unworkable. There's very little chance of Russia preemptively using a nuclear strike on Ukraine as things stand. If you mass Western troops on Russia's border the risk of nuclear strikes jumps considerably. If you combine that with a couple of Western fleets sailing aggressively towards Russia and presenting Putin with an attractive target that he can nuke with zero risk of civilian casualties or hurting a single blade of grass, then the risk of nuclear strike becomes really quite high. Such a provocation would be utterly mad and irresponsible in the extreme.

Russia has one of the most comprehensive nuclear arsenals ever assembled. We cannot invade or defeat Russia. Putin knows this, and no amount of imperialist sabre rattling will change this fundamental reality. All we would achieve by pursuing such an action, aside from increasing the risk of nuclear war, is to make ourselves look foolish and weak. This will not help negotiations.
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#191 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 15, 2022 12:58 pm

Certainly nothing to help prevent death and destruction.


The main function of sanctions to cut off the import of technology to Russia will not shut things down immediately, but as things break and Russia can't get replacement parts or manufacture them, their war machine will grind to a halt.

No smart bombs, guided missiles, functioning aviation industry...

At least until they can pivot to China -which may be multiple years by some estimates, and who knows, China may actually value its economic relationship with the US more than it does value the cheap ass natural resources it can grab from Russia...
There's very little chance of Russia preemptively using a nuclear strike on Ukraine as things stand.
Not really relevant to the question i asked, which is how do you STOP a tactical nuclear strike on Ukraine...
If you mass Western troops on Russia's border the risk of nuclear strikes jumps considerably.
That is a valid point, the question becomes moot if we are assuming a strike. But foregoing that, i would still argue that a show of force is the only thing Putin will respond to.

According to the strategic analysis, Russia is only safe if it controls all the land attack vectors, and Putin has been ploughing them up one by one for ~15 years. If this is correct it means two things. Putin does not feel Russia is safe and secure, therefore he fears invasion along these routes. And he will not stop with Ukraine.

Thus if NATO is proven weak (in not taking military actions to support Ukraine - which any collection of NATO members can do without the alliannce's permission - then Putin will be moving on Eastern Europe next (believing NATO is weak). And that actually increases the risk of nuclear war.

So again, speak the language Putin understands, and that will force him to the negotiation table.
Russia has one of the most comprehensive nuclear arsenals ever assembled.
Yeah, about that. Putin will certainly say so, because that is what he believes. But how many of those missiles actually work? How much of the money going to run them has been siphpned off due to corruption? The same applies to every part of the Russian military, and is a factor in their poor performance on the battlefield.

If the nukes were never actual going to be used, then nobody will notice when they aren't kept in working order. Look at the US problems with the same (under funding, parts broken, pizza delivery guys just walking in, doors held open with spanners...) Which we know about because the US has a lot more press freedom. Now magnify the issue at least an order of magnitude in Russia - which has a culture of stealing stuff (mostly Putin stealing stuff from the people).
Putin knows this, and no amount of imperialist sabre rattling will change this fundamental reality. All we would achieve by pursuing such an action, aside from increasing the risk of nuclear war, is to make ourselves look foolish and weak. This will not help negotiations
What Putin knows is only what his intelligence briefings tell him. And they do infact lie to make Russia look bad. He believed Russia was strong militarily (Ukraine has demonstrated that was wrong) and that the West was weak and easily divided (he was wrong about the latter part, likely still see this as weakness).

I suppose the alternative is to hit Russia fuel and ammo dumps (in Russia) with cruise missiles, blow up train junctions on the Ukrainian borders, directly affect his ability to wage war in Ukraine as a show of strength.

Much more direct, and risky imo, but still directly helps the war effort and doesn't require a bluff.

So far Putin has relied on the West backing down every time he escalates (ég the US offer to evac Zelensky from Kyiv). Because they can't risk a nuclear war. So take his exact strategy, escalate knowing Russia can't afford a nuclear war. Strike first and break his ability to project military force (taking out rail lines and fuel depots). Show him that you will not be pushed around.

Then see if he wants to negotiate.

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#192 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 15, 2022 1:06 pm

On the number of troops Russia can mobilise.

First, demographics shows one thing. Actual weapons available are another. Paper brigades which aren't in fighting order (where commanding officers have been taking wages of troops who don't exist) is another.

But just take the demographics, and subtract all those smart enough to dodge a draft, all those with wealth, power, connections to get out of Russia, or pull strings to get themselves excluded. Ok that might he a small percent, but now you have to remove the drug and alcohol addicts, the number gets smaller and smaller.

You are left with only the dumbest, poorest, least effective part of the population. Especially when troops returning from Ukraine who have seen half their battalions killed are telling anyone who will listen not to join up (which matters for contract troops, but they are supposed to be better motivated and able than conscripts).

And that is before you arm them, pull weapons out of storage (hoping they haven't been looted, vechiles with no radios, engines that don't work...).

Unless Russia is threatened and a full draft of all military aged men is brought in (unlikely at the moment) then contract troops will continue to dissapear. And if there was a wider draft, they still hit a limit on training and equipmen and poor morale

Long story short, Russia is not looking strong right now.

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#193 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 15, 2022 2:01 pm

I was going to look at the use of nuclear weapons against submarines, but this is the first thing i came across
. By adopting dispersed formations, and designing their ships to minimize the effects of a near-miss, it would be possible to limit losses to a single ship, or even avoid them altogether if the weapon wasn’t placed properly.
https://www.navalgazing.net/Nuclear-Wea ... ea-Effects

I don't know the source, but there it is.

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#194 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 15, 2022 2:04 pm

Scratch that.

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#195 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 15, 2022 2:34 pm

orathaic wrote:
Fri Apr 15, 2022 12:58 pm
eah, about that. Putin will certainly say so, because that is what he believes. But how many of those missiles actually work? How much of the money going to run them has been siphpned off due to corruption? The same applies to every part of the Russian military, and is a factor in their poor performance on the battlefield.
Fair point. Since the nuclear testing ban came in it has been relatively easy for nations to claim large numbers of nukes without providing any real evidence that they exist. It is entirely possible that we live in a world in which the only genuine nuclear power is North Korea, and what a fun world that would be if they ever found out.

The trouble is, though, that it doesn't matter. Not one iota. We have to assume that Putin's nuclear weapons both exist and are in good working order because to assume otherwise is to gamble with the complete destruction of humanity. That is not a viable strategy.
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#196 Post by taylor4 » Fri Apr 15, 2022 7:43 pm

This just in:
“War is God’s way of teaching us Americans about geography.” – Ambrose Bierce
1

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#197 Post by MajorMitchell » Fri Apr 29, 2022 3:17 pm

Arms sales, little else.

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#198 Post by orathaic » Wed May 04, 2022 6:58 pm

Any opinions on how likely a 'mass mobilisation' as part of the V day celebrations (May 9th) are?

Could we do a poll?

https://twitter.com/kamilkazani/status/ ... PoyvdxXZ1w

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Re: War, what is it good for?

#199 Post by Octavious » Wed May 04, 2022 10:10 pm

It's possible, but my bet is not. I guess a lot depends on what Russia's long term goals are. If Putin wants the war to drag out and for Europe to feel the bite of the sanctions into next winter then the current situation works fine. If he just wants to take the south and east of Ukraine then it depends on whether he believes he can achieve that with his current set up, and it looks likely that he can. Especially with the supply of Western anti tank and anti aircraft missiles starting to dry up
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Re: War, what is it good for?

#200 Post by Octavious » Tue May 10, 2022 6:59 am

Well, as predicted by webDip that was very much a non event. Why the media were so obsessed with it I have no idea.
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