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February 24, 2024

Ukraine Open Thread 2024-059

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Ukraine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 16:13 UTC | Comments (47)

Trump Wants NATO To Be The Same Racket That It Has Always Been

There is this weird claim in librul media that Donald Trump, should he be reelected as president, would shun NATO.

Fears of a NATO Withdrawal Rise as Trump Seeks a Return to Power - NY Times, Dec 9 2023

I have found no evidence that would justify the headline. In fact the authors remark:

Yet as he runs to regain the White House, Mr. Trump has said precious little about his intentions. His campaign website contains a single cryptic sentence: “We have to finish the process we began under my administration of fundamentally re-evaluating NATO’s purpose and NATO’s mission.” He and his team refuse to elaborate.
---

Trump’s incendiary NATO remarks send very real shudders through Europe - CNN, Feb 12 2024

What causes the actual 'shudders' is that Trump attempts to use NATO to blackmail member countries into buying more U.S. produced weapons:

[W]hen the former president suggested on Saturday that he would let Russia do “whatever the hell they want” to any NATO member that doesn’t meet spending guidelines, the impact was acute.

He recalled what he said was a conversation with a “large” NATO ally – it was unclear who he was referring to or when the conversation took place – which, according to his telling, had declined to spend the 2% recommended equivalent of their GDP on defense, but nevertheless wanted assurances from the US that they would be protected if Russia attacked. Trump said he would not give such an assurance, as the ally was “delinquent,” and Russian President Vladimir Putin should feel free to have his way.

---

Trump’s NATO Threat Reflects a Wider Shift on America’s Place in the World - NY Times, Feb 15 2024

This 'threat' was again purely about blackmailing other countries to spend more money on defense:

Cont. reading: Trump Wants NATO To Be The Same Racket That It Has Always Been

Posted by b at 16:09 UTC | Comments (96)

February 23, 2024

Palestine Open Thread 2024-058

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Palestine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 16:13 UTC | Comments (110)

Ukraine Can No Longer Win - It In Fact Never Had A Chance To Win

A former U.S. Colonel opines in The Hill:

Ukraine can no longer win - The Hill, Feb 22 2024

 Welcome to the club, I'd say, but its nearly two years to late for that. Ukraine lost the war on February 24 2022, the day the Special Military operation had started.

There never was a chance for Ukraine to win.

I will first let the Colonel recap the established narrative to then add my observations to it:

Two years ago, the Ukrainian Armed Forces defied expectations immediately. Days before Russia’s massive combined arms incursion, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke for the U.S. military when he predicted to Congress that Kyiv would fall within 72 hours.

Many military analysts similarly predicted the Russian Armed Forces would quickly rout the overmatched Ukrainians. American leaders encouraged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to leave the country, lest Russian troops assassinate him.

These projections of immediate success for Russia misread the progress Ukraine had made in capability and readiness since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. They also overestimated the Russian forces’ readiness, air superiority, and command cohesion.

That is all - somewhat - true.

There were expectations that the Russian forces would quickly conquer Kiev and overthrow the sitting government. However, the Russians never applied the necessary manpower to do so. Pacifying and holding an enemy city in modern times generally requires abound 1 soldier per 40 inhabitants. When the war started Kiev had about 3 million inhabitants. Taking and holding the city would have required some 75,000 troops. But the Russian forces never deployed more than 40,000 troops into the general direction of Kiev.

Thus the military aim was not to take the city. It was to apply pressure to achieve a political aim.

Cont. reading: Ukraine Can No Longer Win - It In Fact Never Had A Chance To Win

Posted by b at 16:05 UTC | Comments (427)

February 22, 2024

Palestine Open Thread 2024-057

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Palestine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 13:42 UTC | Comments (270)

Ukraine Open Thread 2024-056

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Ukraine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 13:42 UTC | Comments (245)

Open (Neither Ukraine Nor Palestine) Thread 2024-055

News & views (not related to the wars in the Ukraine and Palestine) ...

Posted by b at 13:41 UTC | Comments (218)

February 21, 2024

"A Final Solution"

The Wikipedia entry for 'final solution':

The Final Solution (German: die Endlösung, pronounced [diː ˈʔɛntˌløːzʊŋ]) or the Final Solution to the Jewish Question (German: Endlösung der Judenfrage, pronounced [ˈɛntˌløːzʊŋ deːɐ̯ ˈjuːdn̩ˌfʁaːɡə]) was a Nazi plan for the genocide of individuals they defined as Jews during World War II. The "Final Solution to the Jewish question" was the official code name for the murder of all Jews within reach, which was not restricted to the European continent. This policy of deliberate and systematic genocide starting across German-occupied Europe was formulated in procedural and geopolitical terms by Nazi leadership in January 1942 at the Wannsee Conference held near Berlin, and culminated in the Holocaust, which saw the murder of 90% of Polish Jews, and two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.
---

Yesterday the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution which demanded an unconditional ceasefire in Gaza. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, flouted her own resolution which, for lack of support, was not put to a vote.

At the press stake-out after the vote Thomas-Greenfield remarked:

Good afternoon, everyone.

You just heard me make the case for a resolution that I believe all of us can agree to. In fact, the points in the proposed resolution have all been articulated by the other 14 members of this Council.
...
The draft we’ve presented is a forward leaning resolution. And it is one that we intend to work on in good faith with other Council members to ensure it gets over the finish line.
...
We are eager to continue working with the Council on this proposal: One that would see a temporary ceasefire as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released. And one that would get aid into the hands of those Palestinians who so desperately need it.

All told, we intend to do this the right way, so that we can create the right conditions for a safer, more peaceful future. And we will continue to actively engage in the hard work of direct diplomacy on the ground until we reach a final solution.

A final solution - one way or the other ...

Posted by b at 13:36 UTC | Comments (440)

February 20, 2024

Screw The Facts - Europe Commits Itself To Further Escalation

International relations professor Andrew Latham opined in a recent piece that the idea of total Ukrainian victory is delusional.

Unfortunately some people, predominantly in Europe, still stick to the delusional idea:

In professional journals, on influential websites and across the full spectrum of media outlets, observers, analysts and pundits alike continue to inform us that, yes, there is a way for Ukraine to prevail over Russia, expelling the latter from all of its territory, including Crimea.
...
[That's nonsense.]
...
In short, Russia is winning the war and there is little to suggest that any foreseeable political, economic, tactical or technological developments are likely to alter that fundamental reality. So why are we seeing arguments about an ultimate Ukrainian battlefield triumph, in the face of all the devastatingly contradictory evidence?

Well, applying Occam’s razor — the principle that “other things being equal, simpler explanations are generally better than more complex ones” — I would suggest that the delusional belief that there is a pathway to total victory for Ukraine is based less on evolving military or geopolitical realities than on a simple psychological dynamic, one best summed up in the concept of “commitment escalation.”

According to this concept, individuals or groups sometimes exhibit a tendency to persist with a failing argument, even as that argument becomes increasingly untenable in light of the facts. This behavior is marked above all by an adherence to prior commitments — sunk costs, as the economists might put it — regardless of their present plausibility or rationality. It is a psychological dysfunction.

The German government under chancellor Scholz is one group which has stuck to the fallen argument. There is no way the Ukraine can win or that Russia could lose that war and any additional price paid for attempts to invalidate that is just wasted.

Since the start of the war the EU's and Germany's reaction to it have been on the wrong path.

As I wrote on February 28 2022:

Cont. reading: Screw The Facts - Europe Commits Itself To Further Escalation

Posted by b at 16:11 UTC | Comments (476)

February 18, 2024

Palestine Open Thread 2024-054

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Palestine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 13:54 UTC | Comments (411)