Subscriber Mailbag Extravaganza!: Answers - 11/28/23 [Part 1]
Welcome back all, part 1 of the mailbag answers is ready. It’s long enough on its own, so let’s dispense with the pleasantries and get right to it.
Note: these are not in order of posting, so if you don’t see your question, it will be answered in the upcoming Parts later this week.
We begin with some Zelensky questions:
As we are now entering in the last chapters of this war (even if it might prolong till 2025), do you think Zelenksy be allowed to escape by either own military, Russians or NATO?
It’s hard to say for sure, because we still don’t even have a really good bead on the vector by which the war will end. Meaning, there are still open variables as to whether it will result in a military coup or with Russian troops actually fighting through and conquering most of Ukraine, including Kiev, etc.
Each possibility foretells a separate ending for Zelensky. For instance, in a coup scenario, one could potentially see him being killed by the usurpers in order to make certain that he cannot use his influence and connections to reprise them later.
In the other scenario, it’s easy to imagine him escaping because it will take so long for Russia to crawl through the rest of Ukraine, there’ll be ample time for him to create a ‘Government-in-Exile’ in the safety of some other domicile.
Also we have to go on precedent of how similar previous situations developed. We know U.S.’s modus operandi is to preserve such political figures if possible for use in future provocations—Saakashvili being one example. Around the world the various “government-in-exile” puppets have become nearly a meme, with the likes of Guaido, Tikhanovskaya, etc., being kept ‘in the back pocket’ by the U.S. to trot out at opportune moments.
It’s therefore easy to imagine that the West would prefer to preserve Zelensky in some way to keep him as a political wildcard for future use, particularly because he has that youthful exuberance and Hollywood faux-“charisma” and charm—though I cringe at even deigning to call it that—which spellbinds captive Westoid audiences during speeches. In short: he’s a perfectly “trained” asset, and it would be a shame for the West to lose or waste such a one.
Logically speaking, if Russia were to slowly take over Ukraine, Zelensky would have no choice but to flee—even if he decided to put on a strongman act of “heroically staying to the last”, to drink up the visual of himself being detained by Russian troops in his bunker, or something like that. His Western handlers likely wouldn’t allow it, as his capture would mean valuable testimony in Russian hands, unveiling massive Western complicity and crimes during the eventual war crimes tribunal.
Thus it’s only logical that if he wanted to make a show, his handlers would have him “offed” to keep him from singing.
Ultimately I’d say the chances are something like ~25% deposed by coup then broken down into ~12% killed during said process and ~12% allowed to escape; another 25% offed by his Western handlers; another ~25% allowed to “lose” in a presidential election forced on him, which would then allow his clean escape and retirement to Israel, Miami, or perhaps Canada. Then the final ~25% captured by Russian forces because he thinks being “macho” to the last will somehow win him global favor, and fulfill his dream of becoming a messianic martyr, spurring the West to rise up and ‘rescue him.’
It seems things in Ukraine are building towards a coup - or an electoral replacement of Zelenskiyyiyiyiyi, same diff - that everyone assumes will result in a "peace" government that is ready to talk surrender to the Russians. In the February 1917 revolution in Russia the Provisional Government that replaced the Tsar doubled down on the maximalist goals of the previous government. The October revolution that replaced the PG with the Bolsheviks had, if anything, the most maximalist war goals of all: world conquest via revolutionary war. What do you think is the likelihood the government that results of a coup in Ukraine that ousts Zelenskiiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiy being as or more maximalist that it replaces?
And this related question:
There has been much talk about Zelensky being removed in a coup, or if elections are held, being replaced in that process. My question - why would Z want to remain as President? The loot is safely stashed, if he stays on he will be the one to sign the surrender (a death sentence), and the longer he stays the risk that he will be taken out in the Ukrainian/CIA fashion probably increases. Surely the best thing for him, is either to be removed from office in a peaceful palace coup, or better - lose an election. Then he can walk away with minimal risk, have done ‘all he could’ to win the war, having satisfied his sponsors, and having kept Azov et al, sweet. Maybe he really is that churchillian patriot we’ve been sold? 🤔
Well, maybe in a general sense the Bolsheviks had such maximalist goals, but in the immediate sense they had deals with Germany to get Russia out of the war, which is the only reason they were allowed to come to power by German interests who facilitated and funded them for that purpose.
So similarly, I can see a potential coup taking place which is aligned with the Russian side under the auspices of a surrender deal in exchange for mass amnesty for top coup and military leaders.
However, it’s difficult to read the situation for certain. And everything Zaluzhny has openly expressed, particularly in that Economist piece, does show a seemingly maximalist goal equal to or surpassing that of Zelensky. So logically if Zaluzhny was allowed to take power, it would seem to be under the impetus of continuing the war effort, but in a ‘different way’, such as playing it smarter by going on defense, digging in, etc. Recent rumors state he’s already begun doing so, even without Zelensky’s express sanction.
So there does appear to be a chance of that. In that case, the U.S. may have to go against both of them and find a third candidate more amenable to their designs—perhaps Arestovich, who’s proven himself to be far more ‘flexible’ (read: duplicitous and unprincipled) in such matters.
But that being said, Zaluzhny may also be more amenable to the idea of allowing a future forever war after a “brief hiatus”—or at least that’s how it would be sold to him, whereas Zelensky may be completely against even the idea of an ostensibly “brief” ceasefire. Which means that even though the usurper would then be ‘maximalist’ as you said, they may still be more flexible in the timelines for those ‘maximalist goals’, and therefore open to the idea of a ‘temporary ceasefire’ if it’s sold to them in a comforting way: NATO will provide everything and help them rebuild and recharge for round 2.
As to why Zelensky would want to cling on. I agree it would seem the longer he does, the more dangerous it gets for him. I do think he’s “real” to the extent that he retains a sense of youthful, burning idealism which alloys with the sort of solipsism natural to ‘Hollywood’ phonies, forming a concoction of messianic delusion. Someone as young and inexperienced as him likely fell victim to the seductive dream spun by the West and NATO, as he was whisked and coddled through the halls of power in his fever-dream-like propaganda tours, becoming drunk on his seemingly fateful rise to global prominence and savior-status.
It’s likely he fell for that seductive dream, and was convinced that he is fated to be some great historical figure—the first to ever manage what no other figure before him could accomplish:
Zelensky drank the Koolaid and felt all of history converging on his ineffable person.
That being said, remember—the true cracks have only just begun to show. I think next year is when the wheat will be separated from the chaff, and we’ll really glean what he’s made of. Next summer, if he lasts that long, could be a moment of truth and ‘reckoning’.
Could you please reconcile the Atlanticist powers desire for perpetual war and yet their deliberate ruination of the military forces under their command. Eventually, they will run out of proxies to fight their wars and their militaries will end up in a toe-to-toe shooting match with a 1st world power. How do the powers-that-be justify the paper tiger armed forces that the West now fields?
You may have seen the interesting piece by MoA on ‘sub-imperial powers’ a few days ago, which sort of bisects this.
The question is asked: why do imperial powers like the U.S. seemingly take actions that are against their interests, like invading Iraq and other such things that ultimately lead to weakening them. You can read that piece to gain some more context on it, as it’s an interesting discussion.
It is a complex question, and I think there are many facets to it, like the fact that there’s a sort of diminishing returns you start getting when you become such a large empire, because the upkeep on your forces starts being prohibitively costly, ultimately resulting in their decline. For instance, we know that a large swath of the U.S. defense budget is spent just on maintaining the 900+ global military bases and their attendant needs and accoutrements. So this partly explains why much of the money ends up trickling away to things that don’t actually improve the armed forces, leading to the slow degradation thereof.
Another way of looking at it: some have previously proposed that Russia and China’s militaries are able to spend a heavier percentage of their total budgets on R&D (research and development) rather than on simple upkeep.
But ultimately for the U.S. it comes down to the fact that in the post-Soviet “End of History” era, it was considered that the U.S. would never again have to fight another peer conflict, as the entire world had become its oyster, subjugated to its will, requiring only the occasional policing action and counter-insurgency operation to quell the pesky satrapy uprisings.
So everything was tooled toward such actions, including lots of downsizing into the favored rapid deployment forces and smaller unit structures, as well as allowing the deterrence capabilities like the nuclear triad to degrade.
But that was just the first blow—that of the sort of strategic and doctrinal. The second major category was ideological. If you had to ask me what the true sickness corrupting the heart of America’s military, in particular, is, I would deem it to be the complete societal dissolution and demoralization currently ongoing. You’ve likely seen the recent headline making the rounds:
This more or less extends to Europe in general as well.
The financial factor is the other major pillar. The West’s entire highly financialized and hyper-capitalized debt-based service economies have long been in much worse shape than they seem on paper, with their phony inflated GDP figures; in essence, they’re built on a house of cards. And I believe this reflects in their ability to fund key mainstays like the military. Not to mention the de-industrialization in the West and constant conversion to a service economy structure means the defense industries, which are completely reliant on strong industrial/manufacturing backbones, become completely vitiated.
The problem is, there’s a clash between the means and ends of the different layers of power elite. The highest power cartel, which has completely ‘captured’ the Atlanticist West, requires this constant war you speak of, or rather the resource extraction from their colonies which can only come by way of unabating military threat and punishment. But since this cartel operates extra-judicially, there ends up being a sort of divide, or vast discrepancy between the political objectives (ends) and the actual means, which can only be reproduced in a healthy, functioning society—which this power elite cartel completely neglects, like a wilted flower deprived of water. So this great disconnect creates the type of completely contradictory situation you speak of.
It seems tracked that Russia will "win" if they keep proceeding as they are doing... I can't think of any tricks the west can do other then false-flagging a situation to join the war on Ukraines side.
My question. If Russia does "win", as in taking a very favorable deal against Ukraine, or taking all of Ukraine. How would that really affect the western perception and psychology?
The western propaganda machines from high to low, always seem to have an "all in that our side is right absolutely" mentality, and a loss of this magnitude could really cause a lot of terminal damage of which I'm unsure to what extent. I'm sure in the least it would kick America and Europe off the podium they put themselves on, and would probably cause political fracturing as the current world order's wounds are being exposed.
I agree that it feels like this loss would be so monumental, as to be a pivotal and historic turning point, or “point of no return” for the globe.
It’s something I referenced last time, when I wrote that there is a chance this conflict’s end converges with the deafening peak of some grave political turmoil in the U.S., and as if fated, the two events will create an unprecedented, epochal paradigm shift that will change the world forever.
The political turmoil I speak of is obviously related to what stands to be a highly contentious 2024 election, which could make the infamous “J6” look like a Disney World frolic by comparison. That’s because the elites have gone “all in” this time, as they’ve realized how dangerously close they came to losing all their power; now they have no choice but to stop it from happening at all costs.
But given that there’s even greater chance of it happening, vis a vis society’s current sentiments, the entire thing stands to come to an unprecedented collision that could result in anything from the complete dissolution of the U.S. to some type of early civil war precursor.
Now imagine that happening right as the West’s most ambitious project—that of proxy Ukraine toppling Russia—comes to an unimaginable collapse. If the two moments converge in the right way, it would create a symbolic specter, a sort of unforgettable cultural apotheosis that will ring forever in the hearts and minds of the entire global audience as something like “the day the West fell.”
The moment could then be used as a sort of battle flag or rallying cry to spur resistance movements worldwide to rise up and accelerate the shedding of their bonds and shackles, which could result in an avalanche of disruptive events that would have the West reeling like never before.
While it’s not a certainty, there is high chance that given the right optics, and the right “decisive” nature of the victory in Ukraine, Russia stands to potentially unleash a hysteria-causing global collapse of the Western hegemony represented in the last few decades of PNAC ideals and neocon wet-dreams.
In short: a turning point like no other. But it can only happen with the right decisive victory. Russian troops rolling into Kiev, deposing the regime; symbolic optics. Not some flaccid, semi-vague and inconclusive peace accords or ‘compromise.’ The chances of it happening and actually coinciding with all the other upheavals in the right way to effect all that? Maybe 40-60%.
After the war ends, how will Russia rebuild the war devastated area and how will they treat people who lived in new Russian territories but feel like Ukrainians? How will they win them over?
Seems only natural this question is taken next.
The standard precedent to point to is that of Chechnya, or Grozny in particular. It was famously called ‘the most destroyed city on earth’ by the UN:
And it became what is now objectively one of Russia’s most impressive looking centers:
One cannot doubt Russia’s ability to rebuild anything into a viable splendor. And I have every belief that’s precisely what will happen to all the ‘destroyed regions’. It’s already being demonstrated in places like Mariupol, and has been demonstrated in Crimea. Though it wasn’t destroyed, Russia took it up to a whole other notch, with much of Crimean infrastructure now unrecognizable compared to before.
Of course many other cities like Severodonetsk remain seriously deteriorated with little work being done on them, because they remain too close to the frontline. But once it becomes possible, Russia moves in very quickly to restore them. There were rumors about North Korean workers eventually helping out, and things of that nature. Maybe China and others will bring in some heavy duty contracts as well, but rest assured it will be restored to far better status than it was under Ukraine’s stewardship. For better or worse one of the ways they do that is importing a lot of labor from the caucuses. In Mariupol, for instance, a huge percentage of construction workers don’t “resemble” the native population, but they’re getting the job done.
As to your other point, it’s hard to know how people who still feel Ukrainian will be treated. Of course officially there is no difference, as the Russian state doesn’t discriminate on an official basis like Ukraine does, around language and culture, etc. There are many people who would have preferred to stay under ‘Ukraine’ who still live in Crimea and Mariupol, yet they are just fine, besides perhaps grumbling a bit from time to time. Of course they’re the minority and the vast majority prefer being under ‘Russian rule’.
I don’t think the people who “feel Ukrainian” will notice any difference, so they can continue feeling how they feel. The extremely bothered ones will likely move away anyway. In all the regions Russia intends to take, the majority of people prefer to be under Russian rule as evidenced in the referenda held thus far. Of course in any population on earth, there is always some subsect that does not feel at home for a variety of reasons—perennially marginalized communities. You can’t change that, it’s a simple reality of existence. So there will always be some small percentage for whom there is no real solution—they may live under Russian rule and hate it, but it will be due to their own inculcated ideologies, not any overt state-sanctioned discrimination or even social abuse from society at large.
Ultimately I think these people will be ‘won over’ as you suggested because the difference in actual freedom and prosperity will be immediately clear, almost overnight. There were many videos of ex-Ukrainians shocked at the speed with which Russia began improving infrastructure all over Donbass, paving huge amounts of new roads and simply having civil services that didn’t function under Ukrainian rule—like street cleaning, snow and garbage removal, building renovations, new water-pipelines and infrastructure works, etc. Seeing this, most people quickly shift their mental and ideological allegiances, and gain an appreciation for their new governance.
What are the most reliable sources of Russian and Ukrainian casualties. So often I feel I am asked to accept the claims of old hands whom I'm generally inclined to trust but who are obviously not going to jeopardize access to their sources.
You probably know MediaZona which covers Russian casualties very ‘thoroughly’, according to them, using the methodology of a team of researchers gleaning various online obituaries and the like. This is the most extensive project of this sort, but it is very statedly pro-Ukrainian, which is a caveat.
WarTears’ latest has it as follows for Ukrainian casualties:
Note the -100 for last week simply represents them adjusting their extrapolation algorithm, which sometimes results in slight decreases, etc. That’s because their methodology is based on similar obituary culling and such, but also extrapolating it with their own proprietary calculations.
But the most important metric by far that I continue to track is that of POWs because it is the only real metric that was—at one time or another—confirmed by both sides.
The latest findings are very interesting. From Wartears above, they claim the following:
Today, a statement appeared in Ukrainian sources that the number of captured AFU fighters is 4,337 Ukrainians (3,574 military and 763 civilians). This surprised us somewhat because in our database we have name information about 8,141 captured combatants, and we don’t know all of them.
Information on each of these eight thousand can be found in our open data (https://wartears.org/posts/opendata-snapshot/) (tag: "Captured"). Naturally, except for those people whose data was hidden at the request of relatives.
Although, perhaps, from the difference - 4567 fighters - a brigade of the Russian Armed Forces is already being formed?
Firstly, yes, Russian channels have the full name databases of nearly 10,000 Ukrainian captives. One channel even published the full list of names so that Ukrainian families could find their POW husband/son/father and potentially establish contact, or at least verify they’re not dead. Wartears is saying they have 8,141 confirmed names and this does not even equal “all” the POWs, meaning there’s much more.
They suggest that perhaps the reason Ukraine claims there’s only ~4,300 POWs is because Russia may have already formed a brigade of ~5,000 from captured Ukrainians (we know they’ve formed at least a battalion, shown on video recently), and Ukraine perhaps no longer considers those as POWs on paper.
Either way, there was also this statement:
According to the Russian media, about 500 Russian military are in Ukrainian captivity.
Ukraine officially claims they have two major “camps” of Russian POWs that have filled up, forcing them to build a third new camp. The only question is how big are those camps. Recently they actually showed a video of journalists allowed into one of them. They refused to say the full size, but from the footage keen eyes can guess it’s about 200-400 soldiers.
That means two such camps is likely 400-800 at most, and this is consonant with Russia’s claims that only about ~500+ Russian troops are in captivity in Ukraine. By the way, it was said that 30% of these POWs are actually Storm-Z troops, i.e. the Russian ex-convicts that Ukraine considers to be the “expendable fodder” on the Russian side.
This is extremely pertinent. That means Ukraine holds very few actual worthy Russian troops as POWs, while Russia has 10k+, confirmed even by Western MSM sources:
The point is that, POW captures scale evenly with casualties. No matter what the casualty totals actually are, the one thing we do know for a fact is that Russia has a 20x advantage in POWs. So if Russian KIA are, let’s say, 20k, one can expect that Ukraine’s should be 20x that, which would be 400,000. Of course Russian KIAs are likely at least double that figure, which means Ukraine’s losses are quite high indeed. The recent “ticker tape” on Ukrainian TV showed over 1,100,000 dead, after which they were forced to “apologize” to Zelensky’s office:
Of course, I don’t think the POW numbers scale exactly simply because there are some variance and discrepancies in how each side approaches taking captives—for instance Ukraine can be believed to execute far more surrenders and take less captives. So the multiplier may not be as high as 20x, however it’s still likely to be a very high discrepancy—minimum 10x if not more, which is why the 45k dead vs. 450k is quite a plausible current split.
Let’s take question 6 right into the next related one:
Are POW/surrenders the thing to watch for to see if the Ukrainian position is about to give way?
How are they best tracked/ measured?
In #6 I talked about the pure numbers of POWs, but this question refers to using POWs as a bellwether or canary in the coal mines, which I agree is a logical extension.
I believe in the past six months there has definitely been a gigantic uptick in POW captures, particularly due to the advent of the now famous Volga 149.200 frequency. This project was first rolled out in June, on the heels of the big summer counteroffensive, precisely because Russian planners expected an uptick of surrenders.
The claims from Russian frontline sources said that unprecedented numbers of UA troops have availed themselves of this frequency to surrender in a safe and predictable manner, without the fear of being accidentally shot up.
Further surrenders in the future can definitely be a key indicator of when the ship is sinking or things beginning to truly collapse. For instance when we get to the point that entire companies surrender together, that’s when we’ll know the end is nigh. That said, there were at least three separate rumors recently of exactly that.
For instance, here’s just from November 19th in Avdeevka:
Of course it could either be propaganda or simply not as dramatic as it sounds, given the fact that many Ukrainian “companies” are basically 15-20 men—not quite the vision of 120+ being frogmarched.
But given the dramatic increase of such rumors, some of it is bound to be true, so I think the decline is definitely evident. But once we get to really verified large units or formations surrendering en masse, then we’ll know it’s close to the end. For now, there are still many highly motivated units left in the AFU.
What are the current best estimates for the size of the Russian Army? Number of Regiments, Brigades, Divisions, etc? Same for the Ukrainians.~
In the Wartears image I linked earlier, we saw their estimation for Ukraine’s current active force is 367,080:
The Ukrainian side claims Russia has “more than 400k” in theater:
Other sources have given it at around 440,000 for Russia.
I myself have previously calculated Russian forces likewise to be somewhere between 375-450k.
The reason for this is simple: they started with about 70-80k, moved up to 150k+ by late 2022. Then launched the ‘partial mobilization’ to add 300k. However, in that interim, they lost at least 50-70k to various forms of attrition, from casualties to also thousands of the initial contractees not renewing their contract, up until MOD nixed that and forced contract extensions on them.
So 150k - ~70k + 300k = ~380k.
However, they recruited 400k+ new enlistments this year. Though the vast majority of them, for now, are used to form a series of new reserve armies for two new military districts, etc., Shoigu said 40k were used to backfill the front. So we can add about 40k to that ~380k to get somewhere in the 420k range as total troops in theater.
However, I personally believe this number still represents just the total troops participating in the SMO in general, but not what’s actually on the frontlines or even in Ukraine. The reason for that is, if you study the actual reports from troops in each given zone as I have:
You’ll find that their numbers don’t seem to add up to anywhere near 400k+, which leads me to conclude that a huge portion of them are somewhere in the rear training and simply acting as rotation reserves—and by “rear” it can mean outside the theater as well, like in Crimea, Belarus, Rostov, Belgorod, etc.
This finding is backed up by the Pentagon leaks from early this year. The leaks have a page that breaks down each “zone” like the above into frontline troop counts for both sides, and added up they don’t even come close to approaching numbers like 400k.
As an example, the current highest concentration of RF troops is said to be on the Kupyansk-Kharkov-Svatove-Kremennaya front, and is said to have 100-150k there. This is the Zapad (West) and Center (Tsentr) seen above.
Then group South (Yug) consists of the Donetsk front, which includes Avdeevka, etc., and seems to only have 50-70k total. We know this because reports claim Russian forces in Avdeevka are now outnumbered roughly 3:1, and Ukraine is claimed to have upwards of 35-45k troops there now—so RF forces may be as low as 12-15k there.
Dnieper group in Kherson is likewise not huge simply because they’re just passively watching a river, with no real active front other than the small “beachhead” in one tiny village. Their number is likely less than 20-30k.
The Zaporozhye group is the other one with the second largest concentration which could have as high as 75-100k total troops, if not more. If you count all those up you get maybe 250k troops, give or take. This accords with Pentagon leaks and can be explained by a sort of half on, half off rotation, with another 150-200k in the rear.
As for breaking it down into actual units, you can peruse this exhaustive source. Click on where it says “more” under “Ukrainian/Russian unit positions”:
There you can see a list of every single brigade, regiment, etc., and even click on them and have it shown on the map, where they are currently believed to be fighting. From my experience most are accurate, but of course there’ll be some units here and there like a couple I found recently, whose positions have moved and are shown on the wrong front.
Then if you want to really master it, go to this site: https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/Structure_of_the_Russian_Armed_Forces
It has the complete list of all Russian units and histories. So when you check out units on the first link, you can find all their parent formations in this second link.
In general though, the Pentagon leaks gave us a rough assessment as follows:
Ukraine has 34 maneuver brigades, 13 fires units of various types (artillery divisions/regiments/etc), and another 27 territorial defense force brigades.
So 34 actual frontline capable brigades, and 27 patchwork TDFs not really meant for assault and such.
Russia is listed in battalions rather than brigades, perhaps owing to its reliance on BTGs early in the war. According to the Pentagon, at the start of this year Russia had 218 maneuver battalions, 41 reserve battalions, and ~260 auxiliary battalions, for 527 total.
It states specifically that “located inside Ukraine” were 474 of 527. And by the way, if we multiply the average battalion of 800 men by this 527 total, we get exactly 421,600—which once again roughly accords with the earlier total strength I listed. But even they say a good number of them are “outside Ukraine”, in some form of rotation/reserve.
The numbers may have changed a bit since then, and Ukraine is said to have formed many new emergency brigades in that time, but also lost many as well.
Could you explain the difference between a brigade organisation and a regiment-division organisation?
In my education (lying decades back now), up to level regiment was tactics, from division upward was operations. A regiment identified with a service (i.e. infantry, armour, artillery) and could not operate independently, whereas a division was a combined-arms organisation and could operate independently.
In that thumbnail sketch, where does the brigade fit - is it a souped-up regiment, or a slimmed-down division?
This topic’s a bit confusing in regard to Russian forces in particular, given that there’s been a lot of changes not only in recent years, since the infamous Serdyukov reforms, but even in the current SMO.
What you said is fairly accurate.
The general history of it is this:
Russia once used the regiment-division structure much more heavily. But during the infamous Serdyukov reforms of the post-2008 era, they decided to convert everything into mobile brigades as the standard full maneuver unit. However, when Shoigu came to power, he quickly abandoned this due to the fact that the Russian army simply lacked the manpower to fully fill that many ready brigades. So he ushered in the era of BTGs, which are basically just scaled down or miniaturized brigades. The whole point of BTGs was to be able to create units with independence, like brigades, but ones that can actually reach 90-100% readiness in terms of manpower.
However, now Russia has abandoned that again, and is reverting back to brigade, divisions, and regiments once more as they now have the manpower to do so.
From ‘The Russian Way of War’:
However, I’ll be honest with you. In the Russian system it seems like it’s recently been done so ad hoc, that it’s basically nearly arbitrary at this point, which makes it all the more confusing. For instance, in the wake of the reforms, most armor and “special” groups like VDV retained the regiment-divisional structure.
But in terms of motor rifle groups, there are a few that still retained divisional status seemingly based on their ability to maintain a certain size and readiness. Others were arbitrarily shifted up or down, for instance a division becoming a brigade, and then a regiment, just due to its shrinking size and inability to muster men.
“For much of the 1990s the 1st Guards MRD (Motor Rifle Division) was reduced to a strength of only 4,400 men, but in 2002 was reduced in size again to the 7th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, and, circa 2008-09, to a Separate Motor Rifle Regiment of the Baltic Fleet”
But I think the easiest way to understand all this, is as follows: the standard military structure in the West is there are a few battalions in a brigade, and a few brigades in a division. So a division in the West, is basically a formation of brigades. The U.S. 1st Army Division is comprised of the 4th Brigade, 157th Brigade, 174th, 177th, and 188th Brigades. Simple.
But Russian brigades are basically subordinated directly to a Combined Arms Army HQ, they don’t really operate as part of divisions. In Russia, divisions are units comprised of a bunch of independent regiments and battalions.
A brigade is meant to be independent, and can move around the map anywhere but can be slimmed down to a regiment or beefed up into a division. This makes a regiment basically occupy a sort of half-stop between battalion and brigade somewhere. It’s really a hodgepodge, partly owing to all those constant reforms which repeatedly did then undid certain “improvements.”
But the basic direction seemed to be that divisions were far harder to move around than brigades, and so they went toward the brigade structure to have access to many more ready and independent units that can be transported quickly. This was primarily due to that era’s understanding that the coming conflicts would more resemble the U.S.’s Middle Eastern ventures, i.e. policing actions and such that could be quelled with just a hodge podge of independent ready brigades rather than requiring massive, stodgy old Soviet divisions.
So in short, the brigade was meant to be the smallest fully independent and deployable unit, but even that got downscaled to BTGs as brigades themselves proved too difficult to consistently fill.
But as I said, now it’s slowly all returning. In Shoigu’s recent announcements for the new reserve army he’s constructing with the 400k+ new enlistments from this year, divisions and regiments were amongst the new units to be created from scratch, which includes a motorized rifle division, various regiments, new corps, etc.
Simp feel free to shorten this and it won’t bother me in the least if you don’t answer it at all. It’s a very open ended set of questions. This is a comment from “New Raft.”
More damning proof to support our theory. I think most of us share the idea that NATO/US thought this was going to be a slam dunk (Russia downfall). I have zero doubt that their arrogance led us here. Once Russia was a carcass being picked apart by scavengers the message would be loud and clear to China. Bend the knee or we will turn you into that.
So now what? I assume they had multiple scenarios and after studying these clowns for a several years I am dubious that they even bothered to war game a stronger more unified Russia. Not only within Russia, but stronger with her allies as well. Well here we are.
At the same time certain paradigms are crashing in the US. It’s no longer racist to ask how in hell did we get all these dual citizens into high levels of government leadership positions. Ideally the next candidate I truly support will NOT be afraid to ask this question. That person still has not stepped forward.
It’s pretty clear to me the significantly weaker version of Russia, China, Iran, etc was part of the global/2030 agenda. It would be ideal for when the time came for the bankers to reset the economy. However that doesn’t work so well when you have alternative systems.
The 2030 GA is moving full speed ahead on the domestic front as the US and Europe import migrants at breakneck speed. What’s going to happen if this service economy breaks down for real? I’ll tell you what, all hell is going to break loose, that’s what.
Simplicius, would love to hear you pontificate on this matter and where you think we might be heading based on the latest developments. Gonna like this comment so I can perhaps repost it in your mailbag Q&A.
Well firstly let me say that I addressed a lot of this in the long writeup you may or may not have seen:
That covers a lot of my thoughts on this topic in general, and what prospects I see for 2030.
The general gist though of what’s happening now is that the world is hurtling toward a nexus point, a sort of singularity moment, because the entire 20th century’s worth of hyper-financialized “capitalism” has reached a near-breaking point.
The type of system in the West relies on parasitism and labor theft to keep its own luxurious standards afloat, as well as mediate the endless debt expansion and ever-ballooning inflation. They needed globalism to do this, as globalism allowed a new form of parasitizing the rest of the world by smudging out economic borders between countries and creating a predatory pipeline enabling the “too big to fail” corporations and banks in the West to keep themselves afloat by increasingly robbing the rest of the world via offshoring and other globalist techniques.
The problem is, that too has come to its end, as most developing nations like China have reached a level where it’s no longer profitable to use them for slave labor, and infact they’re in turn becoming so powerful that they threaten to form new economic blocs that could entirely usurp the Western money cabal’s rule of the globe.
One of the ways the West has been kept afloat is via the anchor of the U.S. dollar, which was made possible by secret coercive deals with all vassals to prop it up by way of purchasing U.S. government treasuries and bonds—in short, financing all U.S. debt.
But now that too has reached its limit as China and other traditional purchasers are no longer buying, and are in fact dumping, the treasuries. This is leading to a point of no return, where the entire Western financial system has no way out, no further quick “saves” like before.
In the past, they used several emergency stopgap measures to buy themselves a few more years of time. The financial crash of 2008 was the first crack heralding the end of the system. They pumped trillions upon trillions to keep the system afloat, but by the 2020s it was obvious time was running out and final collapse was again close. So they panicked and rolled out the Covid hoax to save the system one final time. Under cover of the Covid falseflag, they managed to sneak another few massive trillions into the system to get a last few precious years.
But now they’ve run out of options. Only the final tried and true method could save them: instigate some type of global war/conflict, which is mostly why they provoked the Ukrainian conflict at the time they did, after years of it being frozen.
As you said, things are now moving at breakneck speeds and the power elite are hanging by a thread, as they’re being assailed and losing on almost every front: from social media, where they’ve failed to stop the onslaught of ‘truth’ destroying most of their fake “Fact-Checking” fronts and Ministry of Truth attempts (Nina Jankowicz, etc.); to the global geopolitical flashpoints where they’re besieged, from Ukraine to the MidEast; to the Covid and “Climate Change” hoaxes, which are taking a beating in the public forum; the ‘paradigms’ are crashing all around.
Now I believe hyperinflation has truly begun in the U.S. Forget Biden’s cooked numbers, everyone who’s paying attention can see the prices for everything are skyrocketing YoY.
So where is it all leading? I believe the turmoil is only just beginning. Sure, there’s potential for a major culmination to happen by election time, or 2025, but I personally think it will drag out a bit longer both in U.S. and Europe as well.
Large new movements are growing in Europe, we’ve seen the wave of conservative and ‘right wing’ candidates sweeping many countries. The citizens are up in arms and angrier than ever, with major protests getting steadily more violent in France, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, and everywhere in between. Insanely totalitarian new laws are being rolled out everywhere, from the new proposed clampdowns in Ireland, to the crazy anti-free-speech laws in Germany and the EU at large with their DSA.
There’s still far more “room for growth” in terms of the degradation and disaffectation in society. I believe this trajectory will continue for another few years, with A.I. developments adding the final ‘unpredictable’ black swan momentum which could veer everything into untold and unforeseen directions.
That’s why I don’t see a final collapse or major historic ‘events’ happening until closer toward 2030, but it’s very possible it can happen sooner.
In the U.S. in particular, certainly I’m expecting something “major” to happen with the 2024 election. At minimum it can be another contentious J6 scenario, at the worst a fullblown civil war or insurrection. But one thing’s for sure, America in 2025 will likely be unrecognizable for better or worse.
Economic bankruptcy + ammunition bankruptcy + inferior &/or old weapon tech & military quality + limited proxy options = nuclear war. True or false. Likely or unlikely, Simplicious? (Equation refers to the West obviously). P.s. what is the banner picture you use? It is beautiful.
This question seemed related to the preceding, so I’ll take it next.
My feeling is that it’s almost a 50/50 split, in that I believe there are two almost equally strong factions pulling the conflict in separate directions, and it’s impossible to know which one will ultimately gain the upper hand at the most critical moment.
The full-on “absolutist” or maximalist faction represents the highest echelon power elite; these are the Bilderberg cronies representing the ‘Old Families’ or old European Nobility who rule the central banks, financial system, and the world. They need the conflict to continue. They are the minority voice in terms of number, but their power and influence makes them at least equal to the ‘majority’ voices representing more rational thinking. That second group are the lower echelon politicians and apparatchiks, bureaucratic and managerial class nomenklatura.
Hence once the conflict gets to that breaking point, where Russia has chosen to continue on and decisively finish off Ukraine rather than give in to Western demands for negotiations and ceasefire, that will be the moment of truth. The ‘inner circle’ power elite will push for escalation, including such actions that could lead to the nuclear exchange scenario you mention, because their masters know that a loss will be a final nail in the coffin for the entire financial system representing generations and centuries of old elite family control of the entire globe. That escalation will be in the form of trying to bring NATO forces into the fray, one way or another.
But the ‘cooler heads’ who aren’t as aware of such broad finalities, and are still somewhat attuned to the needs and fears of the actual constituents they represent, will forcefully push back against this.
Though there’s still a fair chance for the bad option, most likely the second, more numerous group will win out. Total destruction will be averted and the West will have to eat a humiliating capitulation. But like I said, it’s always a sliding scale, and a non-zero chance exists for the suicidal hawks to get their way.
Where has Surovikin gone? I miss him very much and I hope that the high command is preparing him for something big and unexpected. His role in Syria should not be underestimated and, if there is an escalation in that region, he is, in my intuitive opinion, a solid choice.
Unfortunately no one really knows. He appears to be on some form of ‘time out’. There were various rumors about new positions he was said to be taking but they are all unconfirmed.
The only biggest ‘clue’ I’ve seen is the following. He apparently headed an important Russian military delegation meeting in Algeria in September, as you may remember. But the one interesting facet many people missed, was that at this meeting, he was the only member of the Russian delegation to not be wearing official military dress:
This appears to indicate, to me, that he’s been stripped of official military duties, but is allowed to serve as an important attaché or intermediary in a sort of semi-civilian role, perhaps as part of one of the Kremlin’s own new PMC groups. Notice all the other Russian military officers are wearing official dress code.
Given that he did have strong connections via Wagner to various entities in the MidEast, it would seem the MOD reached some form of compromise, where he was punished for perceived transgressions by being stripped of official military duty, but still allowed to function in some informal, adjacent role.
Recall that General Mizintsev was similarly downgraded and allowed to join Wagner in a private capacity.
One can only hope that the Surovikin saga is not yet over, and that he’s serving a temporary reprieve of sorts, to return in an official capacity in the future.
I will try not to act too naïve with this question but here goes anyway. One part of the news media and the blogosphere is pointing out that teenagers, women, and the elderly are being shipped to the Russian Front with very little training and equipment and they are being massacred. There are videos that show individual solders being slaughtered by drones. (None of them teenagers or women.) This kind of video is just an opportunity to gloat, and counter Western MSM assertions.
I don't doubt that this is happening, so my question is along the lines of, "Why is Russia still having a hard time?" Or are they? The coke and chemical plant is an example. The battle for that town (begins with "A") seemed to go on forever. Other places are being ruined and do not seem to be of any immediate use to either side once a victory is declared. The process of holding a dynamic equilibrium is still costing both sides immensely. Is this the Russian plan? To drain every last drop of blood?
I don't think Russia really wants an end to this. They want to see the blood flow. I don't think Putin should agree to a cease fire. There will always be a strip of land, call it Ukraigaza, that will need to be policed between Russia and whatever bounds eastern Europe. Hell, if you are winning then keep punching till your opponent is out cold. All but two of the NATO (EU?) countries are still have wet dreams about plundering Russia's wealth. They will not stop dreaming. So when do we know that it is really over? Do we have to wait for the whole of Europe to be freezing to death in a recession?
This is not going to end until Zelensky's blood is draining and redeeming his fellow citizens. Whatever is left of them.
Part of the answer to this revolves around the inability of the average layman to truly conceptualize the numbers and size of a full-scale military force. There’s a sort of cognitive distortion which prevents people from grasping scales and dimensions, proportionality of numbers to the greater whole.
So while it’s true that there are huge upticks in all the various military deficiencies you speak of, it’s still not enough of a critical mass to really affect the hundreds of thousands of passable and semi-adequate Ukrainian troops operating at the front.
Also, most of us are guilty of underplaying Russia’s own problems, of which there are many, in regard to the adequacy levels of their own troops. Certainly it’s nothing compared to the situation in Ukraine, but some would be surprised at how much ‘variance’ there is in ‘quality’ on the Russian side, even if it’s not officially ‘Russian Army’ proper, but LDPR, volunteer, penal battalions, etc.
The other biggest explanation is this:
If your troops are vastly inferior in quality to your opponent, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be overrun but rather that they will take massively more casualties. By the law of “something’s gotta give” it must necessarily be one or the other. So either the inferior troops (whether that be the old and infirm, the female and young, whatever) have to retreat much more often, in the face of superior forces, or they must hold their ground but suffer huge casualties.
But you’re probably wondering: well, then how are Russian troops not advancing if they’re doling out such disproportionate casualties?
Well, if your military is good at rotating and reinforcement, filling gaps and holes—which the AFU has proven adept at—then you can consistently fill the losses in a timely fashion such that the advancing force can never ‘break through’. The catch is that you will simply be recycling a lot of men and experiencing far more losses. And given that we do know Ukraine is taking vastly more casualties, this is part of the explanation.
Granted, a very skillfully adept and highly trained force should be able to take advantage of disproportionate losses and parlay them into tactical advancement or even breakthrough to the operational depth, by using high level coordination. And the Russian side has often left ‘much to be desired’ in doing this, as commanders are often happy to just keep racking up kills but not converting them to breakthroughs, which takes more coordination than their units have and are often too risky to attempt.
So it’s not that Russia is having a ‘hard time’ per se, at least not in that way, it’s simply that thus far they’ve been satisfied with not being overly ambitious, sitting on their laurels and simply converting their qualitative advantage into a casualty disparity, rather than territory liberation.
Thus it’s all a matter of how you frame it. Russia has chosen to sit back and attrit the AFU this year, while building up their own stockpiles for future offensive action, which will come much easier once the AFU is further attrited. Russia has not yet attempted a true mass-scale offensive—at least not officially—so we can’t even yet definitively say they are having a ‘hard time’. On the current active defense posture, they’re having quite an easy time, all things considered. Shoigu confirmed that the official current posture of the Russian armed forces is active defense with the intent of simply attriting AFU personnel and combat power.
But in Avdeevka, it’s true, they’ve launched an official offensive on that one front. So to answer this specific question, of why they may be having trouble there, it becomes self-evident:
Avdeekva is just one solitary front. Ukraine has sent all its most elite brigades there to defend, like the 47th we’ve talked so much about here. So in terms of the ‘old and infirm’ argument, there are none of those on this front because Ukraine chose to send all its best there. And as I said before, it’s erroneous to over-exaggerate the reports of old and demoralized troops into thinking the entire AFU is like that. Sure, there’s a far higher proportion of the low quality troops than in the Russian force, but there are still many quality brigades, with high motivation, top notch gear, and killer morale.
In general though, as I said in one of the last reports, it’s incorrect to now completely write-off the AFU. Some conflate offensive with defensive potential. Yes, offensively, I don’t think the AFU poses much more threat to Russia anymore. But on defense they are still very dangerous because it’s simply far easier to defend from prepared positions, than it is to go on highly coordinated offensives.
So my ultimate answer is exactly that:
The AFU remains an extremely difficult nut to crack defensively, despite all the problems you listed. But offensively, they pose almost no further danger in terms of broad scale conquests of mass territories. I differentiate that from small offensive actions like sabotage or DRG actions, they can still carry out such things successfully. But they’ll never again gain any sort of significant offensive victory, like capturing a major town, population center, strategic objective, etc.
That all being said, I think some day in the future, when the conflict is over and the true figures for everything are published, many people will be surprised at the scale of losses the AFU actually incurred. And those who wondered about how ‘hard of a time’ Russia was having will have their questions answered definitively. They’ll see what it truly means to have put an army of demoralized, old and infirm up against the RF because the final revealed numbers will likely shock you.
As for your second part, I mostly don’t think Russia actually wants to drag out the conflict, however there’s certainly some consideration as to the deleterious effects it’s all having on the West which could figure into their calculations for at least ‘taking their time’ somewhat.
As a generality though, I think Putin is simply trying to find a balance between a healthy growing economy and a simultaneous war, and doing so necessitates that the war be treated in a lower intensity manner, like keeping a pot at simmer rather than allowing it to boil over.
What practical steps can dissident Americans take to free ourselves from the Global American Empire and to lay the groundwork for a sane society? I almost said “return to a sane society,” but I’m increasingly convinced that the American project was always doomed to failure.
Well, assuming you mean specifically in the ‘stay and fight’ mode, rather than fleeing to greener pastures. Obviously moving to somewhere like Russia is one of the better options, particularly with all the new initiatives on the Russian side to welcome such Westerners in exactly this purpose, and the flowering of new expat run communities made specifically for English-speaking expats, like those of Tim Kirby and several others.
But apart from that, if you mean strictly within America itself, I’m not sure how much can be done. There’s the standard adage about trying to take control of all the astro-turfed grassroots level institutions, precisely where Soros and co. have highjacked America the most; school community boards and such. But in reality, as long as the Western financial and central bank system is in place, I don’t think the country can ever be freed or truly saved. One of the reasons is that the endless money spigot gives the enemy infinite funding to do whatever it takes to control all politicians and thus all policy.
So barring escaping, there’s no easy answer. I do think there’s a lot of good momentum now toward some beneficial outcomes, which will depend a lot on what happens in the next election, but it will have to be a long term outlook. There’s no panacea or quick silver-bullet solution. I think the people just have to keep getting angrier, allowing the pot to boil over more and more, until something breaks. America has built up a big enough nest egg of luxury that collapse happens very slowly, as people don’t really feel the situation going ‘critical’ since they still have that silken padding of goodies and first world amenities.
The only thing I can say is that dissident Americans should continue unplugging from the system as much as possible. If the collapse to reality is going to take a long time, then don’t throw your life away waiting for it: move out of “progressive” cities, take care of yourself and your family, homeschool your kids and keep as much of the modern culture poison away from them as possible, and basically just focus on yourself and your life without letting ‘the struggle’ eat away or destroy you. The best one can do is raise a new generation of children that are not brainwashed and propagandized by the elites’ agenda and corporate programming. The more people that do that, the more of the future you steal away from these elites, their plans, and their own scions.
Of course, if you bury your head in the sand too much, you may one day wake up with the ‘problem’ at your door, with no more room to escape or run away to a new refuge. In that case, you may have no choice but to bail and move to a better country. Sometimes a ship is simply not worth saving or is impossible to save, if the rot is too far advanced.
But ultimately, raising a new generation of the ‘enlightened’ is the most reasonable and pragmatic thing one can do, it’s the only real way to push back against the darkness.
How do you see the Israel/resistance block battle developing given Israel is under extreme economic pressure?
May I introduce a corollary to your question? For Simplicius.
1. There has been claims there never was a Palestinian People, nor a "country" "state" of Palestine. I've heard much discussion. Wherein is the historical truth?
2. Other than Israel's support from the U.S. War Machine, has any other country the size of Israel survived long term, nestled inside the geography of hostile neighbors?
In the short to medium term, they’re likely to continue the status quo of their campaign, though political pressures will keep increasing as consequence of the economic pressures.
The war with Hamas is costing 🇮🇱 #Israel at least $269 million a day and is expected to hit the country’s economy harder than previous conflicts, ratings agency Moody’s has said in a report based on Israeli Finance Ministry estimates.
The overall cost of the war could reach as much as 200 billion shekels ($53.5 billion), nearly 10% of GDP, threatening Israel’s economic future, the Moody’s report revealed this week, citing data from the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).
Eventually it feels to me like Israel will be forced to find some sort of compromise, not able to attain their full maximalist goals, which would be the total expulsion of Palestinians and complete takeover of Gaza.
It seems like that this may go on so long and cause such societal stresses, that by the time they do manage to cleanse the south of Gaza, or come close to it, the pressures for some compromise from the international community will likely be too high. Israel at that point may be forced to ‘save face’ by calling it a “victory” and letting some international peacekeeping force in. If that happens, the whole thing will prove to be a Pyrrhic victory for Israel that will have no real long term benefit, but rather simply further alienate all Israel’s neighbors, leading to major problems down the road.
In short, this would be a similar outcome to their 2002 ‘Defensive Shield’ operation, which ultimately proved to have almost no effect whatsoever, and was just a huge waste of resources and lives. That’s probably how I see this going. All those messianic dreams and Third Temple eschatologies will likely have to be rolled back and delayed ever more, and Israel will simply find itself emerging from the conflict more despised by the whole world, with more division on the subject in the West.
Down the line at the longer term end, I don’t see how Israel survives given the correct precedent the second question references—which is that no small nation in history has survived in such unique circumstances, surrounded by antagonized and hostile enemies. This will come into relief as the West weakens and potentially loses the last of their influence in the Middle East. Israel will be left out in the cold without the only thing that has allowed them to survive this far, which is the West’s military and financial support.
The last wildcard they have are the nukes, but Iran will likely eventually get their own as well, plus there’s rumor the Saudis have secret ones also, given them by Pakistan long ago.
There’s a chance Israel survives long term but probably only after major internal paradigm shifts, like the complete uprooting of Zionism and the establishment of a new non-genocidal political class. But these are more long term projections for decades out. Also, I fully acknowledge there’s still the chance of a much larger regional war breaking out in the near future if something sparks Hezbollah and Iran, or even Egypt, Turkey, etc., to somehow get involved, but for now I still think the chance of that not happening is slightly better, like 65/35.
As to the last question I didn’t answer regarding the truth of Palestine’s historic existence.
As you can imagine it’s a highly contentious, controversial, and debated topic. One side believes that the Jews were exiled from Judea by the Romans around 70AD, which is what created the Jewish diaspora in Europe and elsewhere, and “their land” was later repopulated by some wandering Arabs. This theory is used to justify modern Zionism, as it appears to support the idea that Israel was always the land of the Jews.
The far more realistic theory, which has also been espoused by famous Jewish historians, is that there was no actual main exile of this sort. And that the Jews filtered out over the centuries in spurts, and many remained in that land. The ones who remained there continued to live there from that time period til now. They are now called “Palestinians.”
Of course in the intervening centuries, Arab conquests like that of the Umayyad Caliphate swept into those lands from the east and Arabized/Muslimized them. But that doesn’t change the fact that there were people living in that land since the beginning, who continue to live there now.
With that said, it’s not as clear cut as the Jews coming to steal the Palestinians’ land out of the blue, either. It’s far more complex and nuanced. Eventually the Ottomans conquered that land and in that time Jerusalem was populated by Muslims, Christians, and Jews, as many Jews had trickled back in over the centuries.
From wikipedia, you can see this chart showing the demographics of Jerusalem:
Note how in the 1500s, Muslims represented 75% while Jews had already gotten to about 25% and more by the 1800s.
That’s to say it wasn’t that there were no Jews at all in Palestine at the time of the 20th century.
As for a ‘country’ of Palestine, once more it’s complicated. The area and region was long called Palestine informally, but like Ukraine it was never its own official state. Under the Ottomans people could refer to the general region as Palestine, but officially the region was broken up into other names.
After the Ottoman empire was dismantled in WW1, the League of Nations granted Britain the right to custodianship of that land, calling it the British ‘Mandate for Palestine’ or just ‘Mandatory Palestine.’ Some people use this to argue that no country called ‘Palestine’ ever existed. While it’s somewhat true, it’s a bit of a semantic game as well, because the word ‘mandate’ pretty much was created by colonialist powers specifically to alienate and disenfranchise their conquered colonies by not calling them a ‘country’, so that their rights could be withheld.
As to the name, some argue “Palestine” never existed. But it’s like arguing there’s no country called China, but it’s rather called ‘The People’s Republic’ (instead of the People’s Republic of China).
In fact, though it was called the ‘Mandate for Palestine’, no one on the planet ever referred to it as ‘The British Mandate’ and everyone simply called it ‘Palestine’, including official maps and paperwork of the era. Here’s National Geographic from the 1940s:
And here’s Golda Meir acknowledging she was a “Palestinian” with Palestinian paperwork, long before Israel came to be:
Prime Minister Shimon Peres applying for his Palestinian citizenship long before he became head of Israel:
Notice it doesn’t say ‘Government of British Mandate.’
Some say, well this doesn’t mean Palestine was ever a country, because it was under control of the British. But so too were, and are, the Commonwealths of Britain like Australia and Jamaica—is there anyone that will claim Jamaica is not a country?
Here’s what Wikipedia says about Jamaica:
As a Commonwealth realm, with Charles III as its king, the appointed representative of the Crown is the Governor-General of Jamaica, an office held by Patrick Allen since 2009.
Believe it or not, Jamaica’s “King” is Charles and Jamaican paper currency have the Queen of England’s image on them.
The other final argument is that, no matter what the situation with Palestine, the fact is people lived there—it was inhabited, so that doesn’t give other people the right to come in and steal their land.
Furthermore, at the time of the UN mandated partition plan of 1947, it was specifically decreed that both Israel and Palestine would become their own separate and independently governed states. That means, the UN itself literally motioned to create the Arab state of Palestine, yet the proto-Israelis quickly revolted, created their own state and then carried out a series of terrorist attacks to sink all further development of the Palestinian state, forever trapping it in a stasis as a sort of non-entity with the express purpose of dominating, oppressing, and ultimately fully absorbing it.
Is reconstituting the multi-ethnic Soviet Union in a new form an actual goal of the Russian state? It appears Russia would be stronger if the 'stans and some of the Caucasus nations were once again a part of the country. I always thought letting the old SSRs spawn off into new nations was a geopolitical error, an unforeseen consequence of Soviet policy.
I believe it’s a goal of all ‘civilization-state’ nations to always seek toward their totality, which some might slight as revanchism/irredentism.
So yes, I think Turkey’s goal is to win back the lands of the Ottoman empire—it’s the only reason Erdogan clutches pearls at the Gaza tragedy, because he wants to eventually re-establish control there. The same goes for the Levant in general, which is the main reason Turkey sponsored ISIS, Al-Nusra, FSA, etc., in trying to destroy Assad.
Same goes for Poland, as it’s slowly creeping toward its perceived destiny of a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and greater intermarium, etc.
Russia’s destiny likewise lies in the reunification with its historical lands. Doubly so given the fact that the vast majority of citizens of the USSR voted to keep it in place, a fact completely ignored and now memory-holed to history. The famous 1991 Soviet referendum can still be seen here:
A referendum on the future of the Soviet Union was held on 17 March 1991 across the Soviet Union. It was the only national referendum in the history of the Soviet Union, although it was boycotted by authorities in six of the fifteen Soviet republics.
The question put to most voters was:
Do you consider necessary the preservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which the rights and freedom of an individual of any ethnicity will be fully guaranteed?
A whopping near 80% of all citizens voted to preserve the USSR. Ironically, the absolute highest percentage was in the ‘stans you speak of, all over 95% or so.
So if it’s something the people themselves really wanted, why deprive them?
Of course I’m sure sentiments have shifted over time, however in Russia at least, there’s been new findings that there’s now an uptick in pro-Soviet sentiment. Meaning more people, including the youth, are beginning to identify with the Soviet period over modernity.
So that’s all to say that things are trending toward an eventual inevitability in this direction.
As you may know, Russia and Belarus already have a deal called the ‘Union State’ which is meant to completely unify the nations in the medium term future. Lukashenko may be waiting until his time is up, but the general idea is that they will become one, and Belarus will likely eventually just be an independent federalized republic of Russia like DPR/LPR.
This same scheme will eventually be applied to other nations. After Ukraine, the West is likely to trigger provocations between Russia and the Baltics and I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up getting inadvertently “absorbed” down the line as well.
The scheme for the other nations will be the continued deepening of the CSTO and CIS—which is really the unofficial continuation of the USSR.
In 20 years’ time, Belarus and Ukraine will both likely be returned home as part of greater Russia, in one form or another, and 50 years down the line several of the others will likely somehow be reincorporated as well.
Now that Russia is finally using one of their many cluster bombs what was the hold up? Putin's slow roll high etiquette Marquess of Queensberry Rules is for suckers IMO not to mention gets more Russians killed.. Don't you think?
Reminds me of that Azov plant deal. Shoulda pumped that place full of nerve gas instead of losing so many with small arms capture.
Firstly, it’s difficult to know the real details of the cluster use because there are so many different variants, and the recent reactions appear to have been to one particular type, the RBK-500. In reality, there’s no real confirmation of that apart from two undated photos of an Su-34 with RBK-500s loaded.
But Russia has dozens of other cluster variants, particularly for firing from MLRS systems like the Tornado-S/Smerch, and there were many previous videos that appeared to show cluster use by the Russian side in the wake of Ukraine getting the American DPICMs.
It may simply be that the RBK-500 is far deadlier, as it’s a huge bomb compared to a simple MLRS rocket. So the resulting casualties are far more serious, causing a bigger hubbub. Or it may be that Russia found a more accurate way to deliver them, like putting UMPK glide kits on the bombs, rather than inaccurate MLRS fire, and so it’s getting more notice just now.
The other issue is, cluster munitions are actually really bad and ineffective for 90% of purposes. They’re only good, basically, against exposed infantry. The problem is, competent or well-supplied infantry is rarely exposed.
That means much earlier in the war, when Ukraine had far more armor and equipment, cluster munitions would not have been an ideal tool. It’s only semi recently this year that they’ve begun to really double down into ‘meat assaults’, once their armor began to run low after the disastrous summer offensive. So now wide-scale use of clusters makes sense against them, and this is likely part of the explanation to your question.
All that said, I fully agree the adherence to Queensberry rules, as you call it, is quite frustrating in a general sense. We just don’t know which actions are some sort of deliberate ‘velvet glove’ approach, and which are a consequence of actual insurmountable limitations or other issues.
Beyond cluster munitions, certainly there are many areas where we know the ‘kid glove’ approach is intentional.
It’s a topic I’ve covered extensively before and one of the main conclusions is that the majority of what people think is “deliberate” is actually owed to real limitations or unfeasible operations. For instance, one of my earliest articles crunched the numbers on what it would take to actually take out every single of the 45+ bridges across the Dnieper. Most people believe Putin has refused to hit them due to being “lenient”, but I found the numbers say otherwise. It may simply be prohibitively costly as you would need hundreds of missiles, which would blow through most of Russia’s stock. Putin later appeared to corroborate this as he was said to have stated “it can’t be done” logistically in an interview.
No, the majority of shortcomings are not Queensberry rules but simple shortcomings of the Russian armed forces, which they’re trying to overcome slowly but surely. For instance, the inability to interdict Western arms shipments is not because Putin is “giving leeway” to the West or something like that—it’s Russia’s inability to do so due to a lack of long range drone capabilities, amongst other issues; it’s really that simple.
So yes, more Russians have to die because of this, but it’s not all or even mostly due to deliberate leniency but simply to the natural limitations of Russia’s capabilities. But as always I have to qualify such statements: these limitations would be likewise experienced by any other major military, more or less, given the same peer-level, high intensity conflict scenario.
Will Crimea and Donbass stay as Russian states after the unconditional surrender? What about Odesa?
Who do you see as the next Russian installed president of Ukraine? Will Russia allow elections quickly?
How does Russia insure Ukraine never again becomes a pawn of the west? Can they proclaim Ukraine never joins NATO?
And this other related question:
Will Russia take the whole of the Black Sea coast including Odessa?
Yes, Crimea and Donbass will never return to Ukraine ever again, that’s absolute, unequivocal, non-negotiable fact. At the minimum, the other regions likewise already signed into law by Putin will stay Russian, i.e. Kherson and Zaporozhye.
Odessa of course is tricky because despite how close it seems ‘as the crow flies’, in a straight line from Crimea, to capture it in fact would likely require going all the way down from Kiev and capturing most of western Ukraine first, as it’s simply not plausible to cross the Dnieper in some kind of D-Day amphibious assault. Russia already played the river game and was forced to retreat in Kherson because of that very threat of having severed supply and logistics lines.
That being said, it’s imperative for Russia to take Odessa in order to landlock Ukraine and not give NATO any ‘funny ideas’. I’ve written before about how the UK was already building a multi-billionaire dollar naval base in the Odessa region and in general, NATO had long term plans to basically turn that region into a new NATO naval outpost to completely dominate Russia in the Black Sea, shutting it out from various other geostrategic areas like the Mediterranean. Thus, it’s critical that Russia take Odessa. Various Russian political figures have openly stated this is a goal, including just today. Vladimir Saldo, the Russian governor of Kherson region, stated he spoke with Putin who conveyed to him that Kherson will in fact be retaken, and also seemed to hint that Odessa and Nikolayev too are on the menu:
I still view it as 70% likely that it will be taken. There are simply issues in regard to the fact that Odessa is much closer and more reachable by NATO forces than Russian ones. And the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne have been training in Romania precisely to seize it with a small several-hour-long drive.
As for the president, many people pointed to Medvedchuk who appeared a likely candidate on paper. Beyond him I can’t think of anyone else with a big name that they might consider.
I’ve outlined my vision before in how I believe Russia would ensure the rump-state Ukraine’s neutrality: it would have to involve a sort of perpetual occupation in the same way that U.S. troops occupy Germany, Japan and many other places. Russia will have peacekeepers, perhaps from a somewhat ‘international’ force, i.e. friendly CSTO countries. Those troops will be stationed at key junctions, particularly Ukraine’s western border, to ensure that no illicit NATO/Gladio supplies and weapons can be transited into the country.
Other occupation authorities will likely establish some sort of audit of the Ukrainian armed forces to weed out dangerous ideologies like the erstwhile Nazism and nationalism, etc., as well as the clandestine Gladio embeds that allow Ukraine to be a pawn of the West through subversive operations.
However, to be honest, I often feel quite uncomfortable so blithely talking about all of these post-war scenarios as if they’re already predetermined. I believe that there is still a long way before we even begin to approach such scenarios, despite how badly off Ukraine seems to be at the moment. Sure, I would love to be proven wrong, and for Ukraine to magically collapse in the “near future,” but my experience tells me that’s not usually how it goes, and sometimes the wider commentariat can overblow things to reach convenient premature conclusions on Ukraine’s perceived end.
It may very well be, but we’re still discounting the myriad ways the West/NATO can prevent the most idealized outcomes from reaching fruition. So I’m not “counting my chickens” quite yet. We’ve talked many times before about how both sides have shown when they go on the offensive, they typically take large losses. Russia has not yet demonstrated an ability for truly decisive offensive actions over a heavily dug in enemy. So while I still believe the type of victory we discussed will come, it’s not absolute, more like a percentage that I’d give 70-75% to at this point, but not 100%.
However, this is all assuming Ukraine continues to get at least a stabilizing form of funding from the West, which doesn’t appear certain yet. If the military aid happens to completely dry up, then Ukraine may collapse very precipitously within the next few months. But, as always, I simply err on the side of caution in assuming a base minimum of military aid will continue flowing.
There are far too many variables that can still happen. For instance Ukraine is set to launch a huge new mobilization. It may fail, or what if it succeeds in calling up hundreds of thousands of new semi-able bodies. We can laugh at their poor training, etc., but it would potentially add years to the conflict, if they are utilized semi-capably in dug-in defensive postures.
I still think victory will come, but as a very sensitively-attuned realist, I’m hesitant to declare the end just yet.
In an all out war between the big three powers usa Russia China. What tactics and methods jwould be deployed to destroy the other using NON kinetic military tactics? Since the world is a digitally debt balance sheet , someone owes someone else something , you don’t need to blow up your enemy’s factories , you just blow up there credibility and markets ,Then you take over with all assets still there. , that would be an Interesting discussion to flesh out
I had mentioned earlier that China has been one of the largest holders of U.S. treasuries, which in essence are the building blocks of U.S. debt. In recent years China has been slowly dumping them, and now there’s a huge issue of very few foreign investors buying them up at all.
In such a scenario as you describe China could potentially dump them all, sending global markets crashing. The only thing is, “dumping” them would in practice mean just selling them to another country or 3rd party. Which means the treasuries would still be active, it’s not like China can just completely cancel them and collapse the U.S. system overnight. The biggest thing it can do is wait until the ones it currently has reach maturity and then not renew or buy any new ones, which would shrink U.S. ability to finance its debt—but that’s precisely what China has already been doing.
The problem is treasuries run in time scales of 5 years, 10 years, etc. So China is already slowly collapsing the U.S. by letting the treasuries run out, but it takes years to do this. An immediate “collapse” in a non-kinetic way during some type of conflict would likely be difficult to do.
The only other way of course is by messing up global trade, i.e. stopping all important exports/imports to targeted countries. Of course you can do this much faster kinetically by blowing up ships, otherwise the process is slower. The problem is, the U.S. and China have already been slowly decoupling economically, in many ways. So by the time that some hypothetical war goes down, there may be little left to even decouple further, and cause non-kinetic damage of that sort.
Apart from this, the biggest thing that both Russia and China have in common, and that they could both use to hurt the U.S. non-kinetically, is their monopoly on various precious metal and rare earth minerals. Most people don’t know but the U.S.—including its military—is highly dependent on rare earths and precious metals from both Russia and China, which are mining powerhouses.
Just a quick snapshot:
From the above article for instance:
WASHINGTON — The United States has relied almost entirely on China — and to a lesser extent Russia — in recent years to procure a critical mineral that is vital to producing ammunition.
So yes, the biggest weapon Russia-China likely have is their ability to completely cut off the U.S. from these minerals, which would greatly impact U.S. military production, including semiconductors and various electronics. This includes noble gases like krypton, neon, zenon, etc.
During this Thanksgiving I'm grateful for you Simp, and I wish you much success against the dreaded churn!
I forget how long ago it was, but the Chinese-India hand-to-hand combat standoff in contested territory in the Himalayas was engrossing and fascinating. Recently I heard Kerry Lutz say that China had taken back an island/islands, and/or other contested lands from Russia. In sarcasm he said NATO doesn't have to Balkanize Russia, we can just let China do it for us!
I'm completely ignorant of the history of the boarder disputes between China-Russia, and China-India. So I'm please requesting a geography lesson on this issue, whatever encompassing history you can spare the time or wish to provide, and any quick worthy resources for further study. Thank you!
Thanks for the message.
For those that don’t know, he’s referring to the infamous video from last year when Chinese and Indian troops battled with “non-lethal weapons,” i.e. sticks, on the disputed Himalayan border near India’s Arunachal Pradesh.
The issue with China ‘retaking’ Russian islands is mostly an MSM hoax and completely overblown as usual by the frenzied Western press in a desperate attempt to use any little quibble as a thorn in the side of Russian-Chinese relations.
When we think of “disputed islands” we think of major, economically viable island chains like the Kuril Islands disputed with Japan, where many people live and are in general large in size and number. But the so-called “disputed island” with China, is literally one tiny piece of marshy headland in the middle of no where, measuring a few kilometers in size and not inhabited by anyone.
However, the deeper reason for mentioning it is because that island does play into the original Sino-Soviet clashes in the 60s, which you asked about. The origins of the conflict are far too complex to get into in depth, as they span hundreds of years of various treaties between everything from the Qing Dynasty and Russian Empire, to the Kuomintang and USSR revolving around the exact demarcating line of some land in the northeastern part of China.
But the general gist is that it was in some ways a sensitive area to China vis a vis their ‘century of humiliation’, where they felt they took on many ‘unequal treaties’ with Western states, including Russia. During China’s weak point in the 1800s, Russian settlers took over some of those Manchurian areas, and so as it began to grow powerful in the 1960s, China felt the desire to be treated as an equal and get some concessions from the USSR regarding this as a form of respect.
Of course tensions were fanned by Americans to destabilize Chinese/Russian relations as always, but there were also ideological differences between the two superpowers, with China for instance fearing the new Brezhnev doctrine which called for overthrowing any other communist state if their government veers away from original principles. This doctrine was used to invade and overthrow Czechoslovakia in 1968, and China heavily criticized this, leading to more tensions between the two.
The conflict had both grass roots and military dimensions. For instance Chinese and Russian fishermen would clash and ram boats into each other on the Amur and Ussuri rivers near the disputed zones. Militaries would scuffle in the same way as the Indian fight earlier—beating each other with actual sticks.
The main portion of the conflict basically revolved around who controls a bunch of small islands on the rivers which separate China and Russia. China did seem to have a rightful claim, in my opinion, as the way the USSR demarcated some of the islands on those rivers was non-standard as per international law, which states that a line goes down the middle of the river, and if a small island is on your side of the line then it belongs to you.
The most significant island in question, then called Damansky and now Zhenbao, you can see below:
Notice how it’s closer to China’s side, but at the time, the USSR controlled it with a military presence and refused to give it up.
So China finally launched a large assault on this island, which was the heaviest clash of the ‘border war’, resulting in dozens of dead on both sides. It was a far heavier ‘clash’ than the ones seen between China and India now. Russia had entire artillery divisions firing at Chinese positions—one report claims 10,000 artillery rounds were fired in a matter of hours.
Additionally Russia went on nuclear alert, which to this day fuels sensationalist claims that the world “came close to nuclear disaster.”
One of the famous episodes from these clashes I remember reading years ago is that the USSR was considering deploying nuclear land mines on the border. That’s because they feared China’s manpower and ability to send unstoppable hordes so much that they felt the only way to stop such a land invasion would be with nukes.
Anyway, as you can see from the map above, China now controls the island because Russia finally reasonably handed it over in 1991 via a new treaty, as well as a bunch of other tiny disputed islands.
However, Ussuriysky or “Bear” island remains one of the only previously-disputed ones that Russia still controls part of, and this is what the recent ‘controversy’ was about—that some map on Chinese TV showed China controlling the full island.
But it’s safe to say that Russia and China’s current relationship is such that no tiny island of the sort will be allowed to create further friction.
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