Only One Side Has Been “Escalating” The “Conflict” In Ukraine…And It’s Not Ukraine
[guest post by Dana]
I’m annoyed by a column I read this morning titled Avoiding the Nightmare Scenario in Ukraine. (To which I must point out the obvious: the nightmare scenario in Ukraine is already happening and has been for nearly a year.) While I disagree with several things in the piece (comparing Ukraine (which borders Russia and is a democratically run state) and Afghanistan (which doesn’t border Russia and is not a democratically run state) – “My nightmare scenario is making our Ukraine experience more like our Afghanistan experience. We babysit, fund, and provide the state capacity to a corrupt government” – underestimating U.S. and NATO forces, etc.), my quibble here is with a portion of the concluding view of the Ukraine-Russia situation. The author writes:
My belief from the beginning of this war remains relatively unchanged. Russia cannot create its desired Ukraine without unsustainable sacrifices. And the U.S. and the West cannot create the Ukraine of its dreams without massive risks (straining NATO to the breaking point, or leaving the Pacific undefended). That is why both sides must avoid escalating this conflict to the point where the players become convinced it can only end with NATO’s total humiliation or a regime change in Russia.
Why is Ukraine included in this warning to avoid escalation of
the conflict Putin’s war in Ukraine for any reason at all? Ukraine did not invade a sovereign nation and wage war upon it. Ukraine is not committing genocide against the Russian people in their homeland. Ukraine is not intentionally targeting civilians. Ukraine has not abducted tens of thousands of Russian children and forcibly resettled them in a place other than their homeland. Ukraine is not being led by a murderous madman. Ukraine is not escalating the war. Ukrainians are defending themselves, their homeland, their sovereignty, and their way of life against an adversary who seeks to destroy the very existence of the nation. The war ends when Russian troops voluntarily leave Ukraine with no territorial claims, or when Ukrainian forces are supplied with all of the weaponry they need and drive the Russians completely out.
But why is the West afraid of the day after Putin anyway? Consider the viewpoint of pro-democracy Russians:
The regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin is living on borrowed time. The tide of history is turning, and everything from Ukraine’s advances on the battlefield to the West’s enduring unity and resolve in the face of Putin’s aggression points to 2023 being a decisive year. If the West holds firm, Putin’s regime will likely collapse in the near future.
Yet some of Ukraine’s key partners continue to resist supplying Kyiv with the weapons it needs to deliver the knockout punch. The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden in particular seems afraid of the chaos that could accompany a decisive Kremlin defeat. It has declined to send the tanks, long-range missile systems, and drones that would allow Ukrainian forces to take the fight to their attackers, reclaim their territory, and end the war. The end of Putin’s tyrannical rule will indeed radically change Russia (and the rest of the world)—but not in the way the White House thinks. Rather than destabilizing Russia and its neighbors, a Ukrainian victory would eliminate a powerful revanchist force and boost the cause of democracy worldwide.
Putin’s effort to restore Russia’s lost empire is destined to fail. The moment is therefore ripe for a transition to democracy and a devolution of power to the regional levels. But for such a political transformation to take place, Putin must be defeated militarily in Ukraine. A decisive loss on the battlefield would pierce Putin’s aura of invincibility and expose him as the architect of a failing state, making his regime vulnerable to challenge from within.
The authors also express concerns that a number of us share:
The West, and above all the United States, is capable of providing the military and financial support to hasten the inevitable and propel Ukraine to a speedy victory. But the Biden administration still hasn’t coalesced around a clear endgame for the war, and some U.S. officials have suggested that Kyiv should consider giving up part of its territory in pursuit of peace—suggestions that are not reassuring. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made it clear that the Ukrainian people will never accept such a deal. Any territorial concessions made to Putin will inevitably lead to another war down the road.
The West must do everything in its power to help prevent this from happening.
Hello.Dana (1225fc) — 1/24/2023 @ 12:06 pm
This is the same schtick that Twitter troll Michael Tracey has pulled, like last September when Ukraine “escalated” the war by reclaiming Kharkiv.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/24/2023 @ 12:17 pm
It’s intellectually dishonest because it fails to recognize the moral standing of the aggressor and aggrieved parties. It’s not an “escalation” for Ukraine to reclaim territory previously conquered by warmongering Putin.
Exactly, Paul. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this is little more than propaganda.Dana (1225fc) — 1/24/2023 @ 12:18 pm
An escalation by Ukraine would be something like conquering a ribbon of Russian territory to create a buffer or demilitarized zone, but their stated mission is to get back what Putin took. Whether that’s realistic or not, we’ll see, but if Ukraine reclaims Melitopol, then the Crimean peninsula has a good chance of falling and there would be momentum from there.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/24/2023 @ 12:24 pm
I’m annoyed the United States is even meddling in this.
Given the tumultuous thousand year history of the Ukraine region w/neighboring countries as well as the multiple kinetic conflicts Europe itself has ignited on their continent in the recent 115 years, this fire is a wholly European problem to manage.
“My nightmare scenario is making our Ukraine experience more like our Afghanistan experience. We babysit, fund, and provide the state capacity to a corrupt government…”
Except it not; it is more like how the United States sank into the quicksand of Vietnam. As the French learned all too well.
First comes financial aid to a corrupt regime [aka South Vietnam,] then light arms and munitions in support– great for Huey chopper contractor Bell aircraft and Dow Chemical makers of that hand-dandy stullf called napalm… then increasingly sophisticated weapons systems too complex for the natives to operate quickly w/out lengthy training– so U.S. boots-on-the-ground are committed to the field as “advisors”… then an ‘incident’- real or faked; possible casualties… and voila, U.S. troops are drawn in and committed to combat in a conflict where no American interest are at risk. [Like there are in Taiwan.]
This is a proxy war designed to keep channeling borrow billions to the Military Industrial Complex. That’s all this is.
Ike was right: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” President D.D. Eisenhower, 1/17/61
The cash flow stopped when the 20-plus years in Afghanistan ended; just as the $ stopped when the multiple Mideast wars waned… just as it did when Vietnam was cut off… and billion in equipment in all, lost or abandoned. Worse, America today is not nearly the robust, wealthy nation it was in the 1960s either– and even then, LBJ was forced to raise taxes to pay for Vietnam and it sparked a decade of 1970s inflation as well… and today the U.S. is a debtor nation[thanks to Ronnie]. An America in decline simply cannot afford to fight other people’s battles in this century just as the last major Western Empire to wane – Great Britain- faced their own decline 100 years ago. America is not the world’s policeman. That is the purview of the United Nations- it is in their charter. If China and Russia have a big picture strategy it is to bleed America even more w/t sucker bait of a proxy war burdening it more debt and accelerating American decline wher not U.S. interest is in play– by using its own MIC against it.
Yes, indeed, Ike was right.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:04 pm
I didn’t bother reading the rest of the comment. This tells me all I need to know.Dana (1225fc) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:10 pm
‘The West, and above all the United States, is capable of providing the military and financial support to hasten the inevitable and propel Ukraine to a speedy victory. But the Biden administration still hasn’t coalesced around a clear endgame for the war, and some U.S. officials have suggested that Kyiv should consider giving up part of its territory in pursuit of peace—suggestions that are not reassuring. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made it clear that the Ukrainian people will never accept such a deal. Any territorial concessions made to Putin will inevitably lead to another war down the road.’
Echoes of LBJ & Westmorland. IT IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF: ‘the Biden administration’ to ‘coalesced around a clear endgame for the war.’ THIS IS NOT AN AMERICAN CONFLICT. IT IS NOT AMERICA’S WAR!!!
The talk today is n ow to give them Abrams tanks. Absolute utter madness. And plays right into the hands of China and Russia.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:20 pm
@6. The comment tells you. Read it.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:21 pm
Everyone who did read it is now dumber for having done so.Patterico (ca7ff5) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:26 pm
Free link.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:32 pm
@9. Which is not an argument for U.S. involvement in another European conflict.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:33 pm
Disinformation. It’s affecting Biden and others.
The idea is coming from Putin. He even has people “egging him on” in public.
If you don’t like that theory, he has others, like that he may soon doe anyway.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:42 pm
I am not going to spend another moment trying to convince DCSCA to face reality.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:46 pm
Stock tips for “dummies”:
The 7 Hottest Defense Stocks to Own for 2023 and Beyond
The market may be volatile but defense stocks are riding high heading into 2023
Defense stocks could see years of outperformance given the world’s turbulent geopolitical situation.
-Lockheed Martin (LMT): The defense giant is a diversified blue chip holding.
-Raytheon (RTX): Raytheon is winning new contracts to resupply missiles for Ukraine & other American allies.
-General Dynamics (GD): General Dynamics is a leader in submarines, IT, and other key defense features.
-BWX Technologies (BWXT): The nuclear renaissance is here, and that’s great news for BWX Technologies.
-CAE (CAE): Pilot training will take on heightened importance for both commercial and defense purposes.
-Northrop Grumman (NOC): Northrop has multiple defense programs with large growth prospects.
-AeroVironment (AVAV): The company’s unmanned drones have proved invaluable in the current Ukraine effort.
Golly. Imagine that.
Ike was right.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:51 pm
@13. Reality: Eisenhower was right. Reality check- Ukraine is NOT an American problem Kevin. It’s who,lly a European mess to manage.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:53 pm
Putin’s rise (and the retreat of Russian democrats) was almost entirely due to Boris Yeltsin’s terrible, no good, drunkenly chaotic regime. As an example of democracy is was repellent, so Russia returned to what it knows best: the all-powerful ruler of the all-powerful state.
Before they turn back towards democracy, Russia will have to be broken again.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:56 pm
FWIW, the M1A2 Abrams tank (aka Whispering Death) is the ultimate multi-fuel vehicle, and can run on any grade of petrol, diesel, aviation fuel or kerosene. Unlike other multi-fuel vehicles on the road, it has a 120 mm smoothbore gun (with an effective range in excess of 4 km), coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun, a 7.62 mm machine gun mounted over the gunner’s hatch and 12.7 mm machine gun mounted over commander’s hatch.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/24/2023 @ 1:58 pm
@16. Yeltsin chose Putin to join his fledgling government. And where is an example for a ‘broken Russia’ to follow? Certainly not America; it is broken. Maybe China, eh? 😉DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 2:00 pm
@13. Reality: Eisenhower was right. Reality check- Ukraine is NOT an American problem Kevin. It’s who,lly a European mess to manage.
Maybe you’re just not saying this loud enough. Or, maybe, it’s just not true and no one cares to hear you say it. Either way, repeating the same thing 10,000, expecting different results, is insane.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/24/2023 @ 2:04 pm
@17. “FWIW”– they’re not worth it: they’re expensive land whales w/a costly support chain only a MIC contractor could love:
“The price tag on an M1A2 tank is estimated at around $2 billion.”
Here’s Why The M1 Abrams Tank Program Costs The US Military An Arm And A Leg
The M1 Abrams is a modern military marvel, but with technology as advanced as what it brings to the table, it definitely doesn’t come cheap.
This is why the U.S. military procurement policy is out of control and Ike was right; it’s in the hands of the MIC and the K Street lobbyist fronting and funding for them. U.S. Congress is sorely in need of another Truman Committee:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truman_CommitteeDCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 2:17 pm
@19. So your argument is Ike was insane.
Except he wasn’t.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 2:18 pm
Interesting factoid: The Abrams 120MM smoothbore is manufactured under license in the US from the German company Rheinmetall AG.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/24/2023 @ 2:33 pm
@22. Land whales:
Creeping weight of Abrams tank concerns Pentagon’s chief weapons tester
“The weights of tanks and combat vehicles are of particular concern when looking at challenges in the European theater, especially on the Eastern flank. Roads and bridges have weight limits which make it a challenge to move American combat equipment. As vehicles get heavier, the obstacles also increase. The Army has run exercises on how to get these large armored vehicles around the region in exercises. Should a crisis occur, Armored Brigade Combat Teams would likely have to cover a lot of territory quickly to respond effectively against an adversary like Russia.”
80-Ton Abrams Too Heavy For Support Vehicles, Requiring Costly Upgrades
To replace the Abrams tank, the Army should stick to what it knows
‘This is a very important decision for the Army for two reasons. First, given the Russian war in the Ukraine and the need to stimulate the defense industrial base, the Army cannot afford another decade-long research program for a new build vehicle. Second, the Abrams tank remains the most formidable tank in the entire world, but current Army soldiers are in older version that need to be replaced as rapidly as possible. Fortunately, industry is ahead of the Army and has already produced a prototype of the most modern Abrams ever designed.
‘The Army is expected to make an initial determination on the Abrams’ successor next year. Rather than building an entirely new tank, like the Decisive Lethality Platform, the Army should continue along the Abrams’ iterative design route and purchase the Abrams X with the goal of the first production unit being in the hands of Army soldiers this decade.’
… and the MIC smiled.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 2:52 pm
DCSCA is right. What business was it of ours if Hitler generously wanted to help every German-speaker in Europe return to Germany and take their land with them?lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/24/2023 @ 2:55 pm
@24. Hmmm. You do recall Axis Adolf declared war on the United States, don’tcha.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 2:57 pm
Yes, and your point is that until he did we had no business sending assistance to Britain, France, Poland, etc.lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/24/2023 @ 3:01 pm
@26. No, that’s your point. This is 2023, not 1939; today there is a NATO, a UN, the EU… and given the history of the multiple kinetic conflicts over 115 years on the European continent the U.S. shed blood and treasure on– and the costly, Cold War umbrella it has maintained for 70 years, it is wholly the responsibility of today’ modern, wealthy “Britain, France, Poland, etc.,” to manage the problem on their own continent. Which was the whole point of establishing NATO, the U.N. and having those wealthy modern European nations maintaining modern militaries all their own, w/o the need for U.S. intervention. Unless a NATO nation border is crossed and Article 5 is triggered- this is wholly a European problem to manage.DCSCA (f42b2e) — 1/24/2023 @ 3:10 pm
Russia is bombarding Ukraine with drones guided by U.S.-made technology, and the chips are still flowing
‘They menace Ukraine’s skies, killing hundreds, and scarring millions. But while Moscow’s drones are Russian and Iranian, key technology inside is European and American. The Ukrainian government has also shown CBS News proof that similar components, from some Russian and Russian-modified Iranian drones retrieved by Ukrainian forces within the past four months, were produced by U.S. companies Maxim and Microchip.‘ – https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ukraine-war-russia-iranian-drones-us-made-technology-chips/
… and the MIC $miled.DCSCA (988c7c) — 1/24/2023 @ 4:22 pm
The Wall Street Journal ran a couple of op-ed type articles (shorter than usual) with different points of view headlined t “After Putin” at the start of its Review section in the Saturday/Sunday November 5-6 2022 issue.
The lead article was this:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-putin-11667576491Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/24/2023 @ 4:43 pm
And I thought the nightmare scenario involved nukes.Joe (89b9cf) — 1/24/2023 @ 6:42 pm
An invite for “dummies” … and the MIC $miled:
This DC party invite shows all the money to be made off the Ukraine war
A Ukrainian Embassy reception, sponsored by America’s biggest weapons makers.
The invitation said the quiet part out loud. The Ukrainian Embassy hosted a reception…[December, 2022] in honor of the 31st anniversary of the country’s armed services. Events like this are part of the social calendar of Washington’s smart set, with hobnobbing diplomats, think tankers, journalists, and US officials. Guests took photos with the Ukrainian ambassador. Even Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley showed up.
But there was something so overt it led some observers to laugh out loud at the gathering’s invitation.
The logos of military contractors Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Pratt & Whitney, and Lockheed Martin were emblazoned on the invitation as the event’s sponsors, below the official Ukrainian emblems and elegant blue script that said the Ukrainian ambassador and defense attaché “request the pleasure of your company.”
“It’s really bizarre to me that they would put that on an invitation,” one think tank expert told me. “The fact that they don’t feel sheepish about it, that’s interesting,” explained an academic. (Both spoke on the condition of anonymity and regularly attend embassy events in Washington.)
That Ukraine and those US military contractors have a strong relationship isn’t surprising. America’s allies and partners around the world bought some $50 billion in US weapons last year. These four companies produce some of the most high-profile missile defense systems and anti-tank missiles that President Joe Biden has sent to Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded in February. Neither is it surprising that Ukraine’s government, which says its country has already suffered hundreds of billions of dollars in damage, might not want to deplete its coffers.
But the explicit sponsorship indicates how intimate major military contractors have become with Ukraine, and how much they stand to gain from the war.
The invitation is a clear expression of how the war in Ukraine has been good for business. As Ukraine fights a defensive war against Russia’s brutal invasion, Ukrainians in Washington have been pushing for the US to send Ukraine more weapons. So far, President Joe Biden’s administration has committed a substantial $19.3 billion of military assistance since February.
That aid has been integral to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield; their armed forces first repelled Russia’s advances and then launched counteroffensives that have retaken much of the territory Russia initially claimed.
No one wanted to talk about the party invite, however. A senior official from the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington confirmed that the companies’ logos appeared on the invitation but declined to speak on the record. They directed me to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, which did not immediately respond. Lockheed declined to officially comment and deferred to Ukraine House, an embassy-linked entity that was also listed on the invitation. Raytheon also declined to comment. Emails to Northrop Grumman and Pratt & Whitney were not returned.
Even some US supporters of Ukraine say the overt sponsorship is a bad look. “Sustaining American popular support is absolutely essential for Ukraine’s continued defense,” Matt Duss, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace fellow who previously advised Sen. Bernie Sanders, told me. “So Ukrainian diplomats should probably think harder about how it looks for them to be throwing parties with the defense contractors who are making bank off of this horrible war.”
$19.3 billion of US security assistance to Ukraine, briefly explained
The Biden administration has ramped up military aid to Ukraine to an unprecedented degree. It’s had an undeniable effect on the battlefield. It’s also been good business for US defense contractors. Among the biggest winners are Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman. Each of their stocks has climbed since Russia’s invasion, with Lockheed up about 38 percent this year.
Contractors have accelerated production to backfill the weapons the US has been sending to Ukraine. The Javelin missile, for example, has become a meme in Ukraine. It’s so in-demand that Lockheed said it will go from manufacturing 2,100 a year to 4,000. The Biden administration has been using what’s called a presidential drawdown authority to quickly source high-end weapons from American stocks and get them into Ukraine, and then use congressional funding to replenish those.
“You’re making it possible for the Ukrainian people to defend themselves without us having to risk getting in a third world war by sending in American soldiers fighting Russian soldiers,” Biden told employees at Lockheed’s Troy, Alabama, factory in May. “And every worker in this facility and every American taxpayer is directly contributing to the case for freedom.” [Joe kissing MIC ass.]
Lockheed also produces the high-tech defensive systems that protect Ukrainian cities under Russian’s aerial bombardment. In appeals to Washington, Ukraine has sought Lockheed’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). The US has sent Ukraine 20 of the missile defense systems and is working to produce another 18, which will cost about $1.1 billion, according to Defense News. Lockheed also makes another precision missile system that has been sent to Ukraine; last month, the US Army awarded Lockheed $521 million of contracts to refill its own supplies, which had been sent to Ukraine.
“We are confident in long-term growth as domestic and international demand for a wide range of our products and services remain strong,” CEO James Taiclet said on the company’s October earnings call.
Raytheon, for its part, just won a $1.2 billion contract for six surface-to-air-missile systems. The company co-produces Javelin missiles and also makes Stinger missiles, which the US awarded a $624 million contract for in May — the first in two decades, according to the Financial Times. “Over the first 10 months of the war, Ukraine has consumed as many Stinger anti-air missiles as Raytheon makes in 13 years,” the trade publication Breaking Defense noted. Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace company whose logo also appeared on the embassy invitation, is one of Raytheon’s subsidiaries.
In its most recent earnings call, Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes described a “significant global demand for advanced air defense systems, especially in Eastern Europe, as the Russians and Ukraine conflict, unfortunately, continues.”
The entire military industrial base has been facing supply chain issues resulting from the Covid pandemic and microchip shortages. But Northrop Grumman, a leading producer of ammunition, could stand to gain long-term from the ongoing war in Ukraine. “One is the growth that we’re seeing in munitions and particularly that demand which we expect to grow even more with the conflict in Ukraine,” CEO Kathy Warden said on an earnings call.
Arming Ukraine is a good narrative for these companies, especially after coming under intensive criticism for selling bombs to countries like Saudi Arabia, which have reportedly been used to kill civilians in Yemen. And an embassy event for Ukraine is an opportunity for military contractors to show that they support the so-called arsenal of democracy.
Military contractors support many research institutions and nonprofits in Washington, but that sponsorship tends to be more subtle. Their names appear in donor rolls or on the final page of a report — not on an invite below an ambassador’s name.
“I’ve never quite seen this kind of public embrace of a country and the weapons contractors as is happening with Ukraine,” Bill Hartung, a researcher at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, told me. “I can’t imagine another situation where the contractors would sponsor an event for a country that they’re arming in the middle of a war.”
“It’s one thing to support Ukraine to defend itself, which I think is certainly legitimate,” he added. “But I think the companies want to go beyond that. They want to cash in on this reputationally.” –
The link has an image of the actual invitation.
Ike was right: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” President D.D. Eisenhower, 1/17/61DCSCA (b5a5bf) — 1/24/2023 @ 6:43 pm
We all know what this is about, right?
A certain segment of the US right is infatuated with (what they see as) an authoritarian white, christian ethnostate with a leader who bares his chest in goofy calendars. They like that, and weren’t shy of saying so until the Russian military demonstrated how weak they are. (Think about that – atrocities are fine, but looking weak is the real sin.)
So they’re back to hiding their shameful crush – no more “gosh look at those rippling muscles on those manly Russian soldiers” Tucker videos for a while – while trying to sabotage support for Ukraine specifically and democracy abroad more generally.
Wonder how many of them (especially the men under 50 or so – there’s no maximum age for “mobilization”) would feel that way if they were Russian right now…john (d2ae14) — 1/24/2023 @ 7:01 pm
“And I thought the nightmare scenario involved nukes.”
No, the nightmare scenario is DCCCP set loose on a Ukraine post. It’s like the Tazmanian Devil…except on crack.AJ_Liberty (f7230d) — 1/24/2023 @ 7:02 pm
@33. The Tazmanian Devil is a Warner Bros., property, AJ- not Castle Rock & Columbia Pictures; but thank you all the same… Colonel Jessup:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMzd40i8TfADCSCA (bd28b5) — 1/24/2023 @ 7:28 pm
We all know what this is about, right?
… and the MIC $miled.DCSCA (bd28b5) — 1/24/2023 @ 7:38 pm
Dana,steveg (46e979) — 1/24/2023 @ 8:30 pm
Thanks for the post for discussion, Lets remember first that these pro-democracy Russians cited are ex-pats.
The people that live in Russia are not free to say much without repercussions. Most are also extremely patriotic about “Mother Russia greatest country, greatest people on earth” and they are backed by warrior class people from the hinterlands that begin at the Urals and finish off in Vladivostok. A recent memorial in Moscow to the dead from the conflict was destroyed and shut down by “security forces”. In the USA, people would come back every night in greater numbers and impose their will on the state. In Russia it fizzled out within two days. Lets also not forget that Russian propaganda paints this as Russia vs US led NATO
When war gaming Putin’s potential successors, we have to consider someone worse than Putin. Even if someone better emerges from the mess, the interim will be full of danger.
I’m happy to be wrong, but right now I have it at 50-50 good vs bad filling Putins spot with worst being the oligarch who owns Wagner Group and I also give the “good” result about 5 days before he or she falls out a window
The contrast between Dana’s clear-eyed and well-written post and DCSCA’s dreadful pro-Russian propagandistic drivel could not be more stark. I am as proud to have Dana posting here as I am ashamed to have DCSCA’s rot in the comments.Patterico (356246) — 1/24/2023 @ 8:30 pm
This is not really complicated. Dana and I (and others) are on the side of the good guys. DCSCA is cheering for the bad guys. It’s as simple as it gets.Patterico (356246) — 1/24/2023 @ 8:33 pm
You had me thinking you were talking about UKR. Glad you cleared that up.frosty (6e4f45) — 1/24/2023 @ 8:36 pm
There are reasons to support UKR but it’s rarely as simple as good guys and bad guys.frosty (6e4f45) — 1/24/2023 @ 8:39 pm
No, Putin really is a bad guy, who invaded a sovereign state for illegitimate reason.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/24/2023 @ 8:44 pm
You could probably convince me that there were some Jews in the death camps who were jerks and some SS guys who loved their wives and were nice to their children. Don’t care. There were good guys and bad guys in that situation. The Nazis were the bad guys. The Jews were the good guys. Period, end of story; yes, it was really that simple. This is the same. Pretending something that is morally clear is morally ambiguous is not intelligent, clever, or particularly moral.Patterico (356246) — 1/24/2023 @ 8:58 pm
“but it’s rarely as simple as good guys and bad guys.”
I’m tempted to say except it is. There’s no real justification for the invasion. There’s no real justification for purposefully bombing civilians. There’s no faulting Ukraine for fighting for its territory and not submitting to tyranny. There’s no faulting NATO for opposing naked aggression and supporting Ukraine’s autonomy. This is no time to go flaccid in the face of evil. It’s no time to shovel Russian propaganda. Literally this is good guys and bad guys.AJ_Liberty (f7230d) — 1/24/2023 @ 9:00 pm
This is an excellent rebuttal of the terribly misguided NR piece by MBD. Straightforward, with moral clarity. Solid job Dana.HCI (10b869) — 1/24/2023 @ 9:01 pm
I was feeling low about humanity, and was checking on various sites I use to lift my mood or inform.
Good Lord above.
Thank you, Dana, for your post.
Thank you, Patterico, for saying what needs to be said.
There is only one person posting like a troll around here, and it just makes me sad.
The non-trolls here, I salute you all.Simon Jester (f66ca7) — 1/24/2023 @ 9:06 pm
@24. Hmmm. You do recall Axis Adolf declared war on the United States, don’tcha.
So they say. It made no difference.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/24/2023 @ 10:17 pm
Correct. Rarely. But it does happen. And this is one of those times.lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/24/2023 @ 10:33 pm
@37/38. Baited, emotional drivel.
See #31. It doesn’t get much more blatant than that. The argument opposing American meddling in what is a 21st century European problem to manage is clear. Especially to any American who clamors for sane ‘fiscal conservativism’ for a debt and inflation-riddled USA. There are no U.S. interests at risk in this conflict as opposed to clear, definitive risks looming in Taiwan.
You seem unable to accept that wealthy, modern, 21st century Europe has the economic resources, strong, capable militaries with vibrant ground and air assets– and regional political institutions in place as well as the responsibility to manage this mess on their continent; all institutions created after the Second World War to address such issues and conflicts without the need for direct U.S. intervention yet again. NATO, the EU… the U.N.
And after the blood and treasure spent by America aiding Europe in two world wars, a Marshall Plan and the costly 70 years of protection of with the Cold War umbrella, they do not require U.S. help– only the courage to take responsibility for their own decisions– albeit poor ones- and manage this themselves. America is not the world’s policeman nor can it keep being Europe’s crutch. Conflicts in the general Ukraine region have flared up for a thousand years and European powers managed them- long before there ever was a USA.
You want the United States to aide corrupt Ukraine with billions in financial and military aid; fine: so prod Congress to SELL UKRANIAN FREEDOM FIGHTER WAR BONDS to finance the effort– and to fill the coffers of the America’s MIC. But borrowing billions from our chief 21st century adversary to finance this policy folly only aids the global adversary in the long run. Golden handcuffs. And if you can’t see that, then you don’t know who ‘the bad guys’ really are.
… and the MIC $miled.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/24/2023 @ 10:38 pm
it’s rarely as simple as good guys and bad guys But it does happen. And this is one of those times…
Except it’s not.
It’s corrupt bad guy Moran vs. corrupt bad guy Capone with the Treasury boys freely supplying the tommy guns– and charging the cost to Uncle Sam’s credit card who then has to borrow from the Chinese loan sharks to pay for them. Guess who is winning in the end.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/24/2023 @ 10:44 pm
Hmm. Patterico wrote drivel, huh?
I really hope he gives that the response it merits.Simon Jester (f66ca7) — 1/24/2023 @ 10:48 pm
@50, Baited, emotional drivel; calmly and rationally responded to in #48, supplemented w/#31.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/24/2023 @ 10:56 pm
You keep saying that as if the US wasn’t a leading member of two of those three institutions.lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/24/2023 @ 11:01 pm
@52. And you keep ignoring that the problem is a regional issue for Europe to manage. And the 21st century European powers are very well financed with well equipped militaries to manage it– some of the finest munitions, aircraft and armor in the world.
The U.N. of which these nations are members- is chartered to address peacekeeping issues as well and the EU has the direct regional economic and political elements to manage this. It is not a 21st American problem to address. Europe owes it to itself to assume the responsibilities of it.
European Military Strength (2023)
https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing-europe.phpDCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/24/2023 @ 11:14 pm
Non-responsive as usual.lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/24/2023 @ 11:53 pm
@54. Completely responsive- you just won’t accept the fact it is not a U.S. problem to manage nor, apparently, want Europe to accept responsibility for putting out a fire in their own backyard when they’re festooned w/t equipment to do so. It’s either a matter of risk aversion on their part for poor decisions… or suckering yet again a debt-ridden America to ‘pick up the check.’
So push Congress– even the EU– to sell Ukrainian Freedom Fighter War Bonds. America sold war bonds in WW1 & WW2 to finance the war effort. The day Uncle Sam says no to this policy folly is the day Europe suddenly grows a pair and rises to the occasion. Their militaries are an easy match to the once over estimated Russians– especially after the losses they’ve incurred. Which speaks to the issue of what may be deliberately misleading intel of their actual capabilities- pushed by the intel community and the MIC they serve. Too bad Ukraine isn’t perched on top of an oil field- like Iran when the CIA backed the coup to overthrow their democratic elected government to install the Shah in ’53.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:12 am
Do you know what non-responsive means? You said we should stay of Russia-Ukraine because Europe has institutions to deal with problems like that, and you mentioned three of them. I pointed out that we play key roles in two of those three, and you said, but it’s not our problem. That’s not just non-responsive. It’s hands-over-eyes, fingers-in-ears, “la la la la la la” non-responsive.
Go ahead, say “except it is.”lurker (cd7cd4) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:55 am
Lest any ‘fiscal conservatives’ forget, the meddling, deeply-in-debt-U.S. is freely giving borrowed billions in financial and military aid to the second most corrupt country in Europe: Ukraine. The most corrupt: Russia.
Utter madness.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:56 am
@56. You just can’t- or won’t- accept that it is a regional problem for Europe to manage– and they are fully capable of doing so. And who says the U.S. play ‘key roles’ in managing these organizations particularly when it comes to meddling in European affairs… you? I’m sure that wouldn’t go over too well behind closed doors in those European governments- unless it’s to stick America w/picking up the check for something. If a NATO nation border is breached, Article 5 kicks in. None have been breached. And all those same European nations are UN members- nothing is preventing them from taking the initiative to manage their own problems via the UN charter. It’s not up to America to do it. One can pull up plenty of global conflicts and hot spots these same nations- and the U.S.- avoid involvement in– and aren’t on your TV and gadget screens 24/7:
Wanna meddle in Myanmar? Howzabout Hong Kong? Ethiopia? Maybe go back to Afghanistan?? How about a few years in Syria? Yemen?? Somelia?? Pick your poison. America is not the world’s policeman– and w/respect to Europe, they’re quite capable on managing this problem on their own in the 21st century w/o the U.S. involved.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/25/2023 @ 1:18 am
You know a thread has gone to sh-t when one particular commenter has made 41% of the comments, 100% of it repetitive drivel.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/25/2023 @ 3:07 am
@59. In other words, you cannot present a cogent, viable argument as to why the deeply in debt United States should funnel billions and billions of borrowed dollars in financial and military aid to the second most corrupt country in Europe when the wealthy, modern nations of 21st century Europe, in immediate close proximity to that corrupt region, on the same continent no less, each with their own vibrant economies, modern militaries and political institutions set in place post-WW2 to confront regional problems, should not manage the issues of war and peace themselves. Other than crying, ‘Putin is bad.’ As if France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Belgium, etc., etc., do not say, ‘Putin is bad’ too…
Got it.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/25/2023 @ 3:26 am
Is there a “moral obligation “ for us to actually help Ukraine? If so does that extend to every conflict out there?
I don’t think we should get involved since we don’t have a very good record at regime change.Joe (c6cfe0) — 1/25/2023 @ 5:54 am
I’m more concerned about our southern border.
@59 Paul, clearly he’s trolling for attention and to provoke a response. He’s been given compelling counter-arguments over and over throughout the year. He chooses to not address them substantively and just repeat his pro-Russian talking points ad nauseum because he knows it’s irritating and that it distracts from actually calling Russia out. Personally, in fairness to Dana, I would like to talk about her post rather than chase a troll around the playground yet again because he lacks a life. The answer, in my opinion, is a week ban to compel better behavior. If he returns to highjacking threads, make the ban a month. Alternatively, if possible, limit his contribution to each thread to 3 posts. That gives him his say but prevents a highjack. By not being penalized at all, he’s being given de facto site editorial discretion as to what thread will crash and burn. That’s unfortunate.AJ_Liberty (f7230d) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:17 am
Is there a “moral obligation “ for us to actually help Ukraine?
Yes, we do, to ourselves and our posterity. Russia is an existential threat to America and we cannot let them rampage unchecked.nk (bb1548) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:22 am
we cannot let them rampage unchecked.
a year later, after they’ve captured nothing, I see we’re still using “rampage” with a straight face and making ridiculous Hitler comparisonsJF (b16645) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:33 am
There’s no real justification for the invasion. There’s no real justification for purposefully bombing civilians.
Except that’s not how the conversation normally goes. What normally happens is someone says we need to do X because we’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys. Then someone says X doesn’t make sense in this case. The response is then generally that the person is a Putin puppet, etc.
Turning a discussion over specifics into accusations of justifying bombing civilians isn’t much of a discussion.
The good/bad framing isn’t productive either. I’m not a bad guy or on the side of Putin for thinking Abrams aren’t really going to help UKR. Or that DE sending two tiger tanks is ridiculous.
I also noticed that in a discussion about how we shouldn’t be the one’s worried about escalation no one is actually advocating we escalate. Did I miss it? I think in all of these discussions I’ve been the only one who’s mentioned actually escalating as a means to end the war sooner and I remember getting told we couldn’t escalate.frosty (6a171a) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:35 am
I’ve got to hand it to you, JF. You don’t often argue, but when you do it’s always dishonestly.
“Unchecked” is the operative word, compadre. Ukraine checked them with the West’s help. And it’s still checking them and suffering greatly for it, and it still needs our help.nk (bb1548) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:48 am
Yes, we do, to ourselves and our posterity. Russia is an existential threat to America and we cannot let them rampage unchecked.
I keep hearing that and seeing less and less evidence. I also don’t see them rampaging unchecked. They seem fairly well checked.
I guess a better question is which propaganda are we supposed to believe? On the one hand UKR stopped them and has decimated the RU army. On the other RU is rampaging around Europe poised to gobble up NATO allies. Both of those can’t be true at the same time.
Then there’s the question of how stopping, or not stopping, them in UKR changes whether they’re an existential threat to the US. There are some versions of stopping them that make that problem worse.frosty (6a171a) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:50 am
If we’re talking about honest argument; can you point to a single example of anyone here who has ever argued that RU should be allowed to rampage unchecked?frosty (6a171a) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:53 am
I’ve visited Russia overnight on a cruise.
The only way they are any threat is with their nuclear missles.
What we are thinking of doing does not help with that threat.Joe (d6f330) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:54 am
In the Post WWII world, there really is a global norm that you don’t get to invade your neighboring country without serious consequences. (See Kuwait — Gulf War I) Russia has been testing that norm for around 10-12 years. It was time to push back or discard the norm for good and all. That would have consequences, as Russia would sure like to swallow Finland and the Baltics again. I find it hard to imagine that smething like this does not “matter” or is a mere local problem.
Really, though, the point is that Ukraine fought. If they had flaked out, like the Biden administration originally expected, Europe and the USA would have lived with it and convinced themselves they could deal with the shattering of the post-WWII cold war order. Instead, we have the opportunity to keep the post Cold War order going — and that order has served the United States well, overall.Appalled (b53ed0) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:59 am
nk (bb1548) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:48 am
we’re seeing the Russia we’ve always seen through hundreds of years of history, both militarily and culturally
but your Russia is a military juggernaut yearning for democracy, if only there was regime change
Yes thanks for your honesty, nkJF (f4ab60) — 1/25/2023 @ 7:00 am
When I was young and I always had a book open, I read Robert A. Heinlein. Thankfully, I remember only one quotable part: “It’s my hillbilly nature. You can’t fix the roof when it’s raining, and when it’s not raining you don’t need to fix it.”
And when have I even hinted that I think “Russia is yearning for democracy, if only there was regime change”? I think Russia is flesh-eating bacteria in the swimming pool of Western Civilization.nk (bb1548) — 1/25/2023 @ 7:14 am
I noticed you limited the global norm to not invading neighboring countries. I think the norm would be better stated as no one but the US can invade other countries without consequences. A possibility better version still is no one gets to consolidate real estate anymore.frosty (6a171a) — 1/25/2023 @ 7:21 am
I would concede the point that Iraq War II was fundamentially wrong and hurt us in many ways. Our Afghanistan incursion was a response to an attack.
What do you have in mind (from 1991 onwards)?Appalled (b53ed0) — 1/25/2023 @ 7:30 am
Very good news: Germany has just announced they will be sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, and it is expected that the U.S. will be announcing that we will be sending Abrams tanks as well.Dana (1225fc) — 1/25/2023 @ 7:38 am
Libya. The color revolutions that we sometimes pretend we don’t have anything to do with.
The ongoing WOT had us active in a number of countries in a way that we’re defining as not invasions but if another country were doing the same to us we’d very much call it invasion.
We actively worked to overthrow one of the UKR governments correct?
This is why I say the better formulation is no one gets more land. We define invasions as bad and then work to define everything we’re doing as not invasions.
And I’m not saying I’ve got any issues with it. My original point was just that the good/bad guy narratives are oversimplifications.frosty (6a171a) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:09 am
Why do you think that’s good news? Two tanks aren’t going to be effective. If this is good news because it unlocks the US Abrams have you considered what it would mean for UKR to field two Tiger tanks along side US Abrams?frosty (6a171a) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:15 am
Two tank battalions consist of 56 tanks each for a total of 112.nk (bb1548) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:18 am
But who is this Leopard to whom they’re sending the 2, right, Miss Emily Litella?nk (bb1548) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:20 am
From the report linked above:Dana (1225fc) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:21 am
I don’t buy that the “color” revolutions were the result of US meddling. In any event, US troops were not involved in any of that. I am not prepared to go down the rabbit hole on this — we will just agree to our separate positions.
I had forgotten about Libya and “leading from behind”. If I remember right, a lot of that was the Europeans were insisting something be done because they were aggrivated by swarms of immigrants, so we supported our allies in a humanitarian mission.
I take your point on oversimplification. Ukraine’s interests aren’t going to be US interests. As I have noted, WW III would be much worse for everyone except Ukraine (provided nukes weren’t used). Which means Ukraine has every reason to try to drag us deeper in, and the Ukranian president would not be doing his job if he weren’t trying to do that.Appalled (b53ed0) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:24 am
@75. Yes and no.
Yes, good news for Europe’s Germany to finally get it’s ‘tanks’ in gear.
No, it is not good news w/respect to committing thirty 80 ton, $2 billion each U.S. Abrams– except to the MIC. Another Irish-Catholic POTUS made a similar and ultimately costly mistake with a simnilar American escalation on another slippery slope; history rhymes:
‘Kennedy advisors Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U.S. troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers. Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. In April 1962, John Kenneth Galbraith warned Kennedy of the “danger we shall replace the French as a colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did.” Eisenhower’s put 900 advisors in Vietnam, and by November 1963, Kennedy had put 16,000 American military personnel in Vietnam.’
What followed… is history.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:25 am
Appalled: “I would concede the point that Iraq War II was fundamentially wrong and hurt us in many ways.”
Saddam failed to abide by 17 UN resolutions, much of which was related to the negotiated truce from Iraq War I which no one disputes was a justifiable use of force. Arguably Saddam felt he could not come clean on inspections or else he would show his hand to Iran and any internal dissidents looking for leverage. Saddam committed serial human rights abuses against his people and was a regional irritant, intentionally creating conflicts. The intelligence conclusions saw what the leadership wanted to see. It was spectacularly wrong, as was the plan to stabilize the country after the inevitable one-sided military engagement. But, was there a persuasive moral argument for regime change even if the political argument for war was flawed? Should Saddam’s regime paid a justifiably bigger cost for his Kuwait invasion and that that failure of accountability lingered?
There’s no such argument about Ukraine. One could point to political corruption which pales in terms of human rights abuses by Saddam. And Russia is in no position to make a moral claim.AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:27 am
We established in another thread that it is pointless to try to have a reasoned discussion with DCSCA on this issue. (Indeed it’s hard to find *anyone* with such a warped mindset who is willing to discuss things rationally; if they were willing to be rational they would not have the warped mindset). I will not be sucked in again but will merely point out that DCSCA is drawing an equivalence between the victim of immoral monsters and the immoral monsters themselves. In so doing, he propagandizes for, and aligns himself with, the immoral monsters. It is sad to watch but everyone here knows he is for the bad guys and we react accordingly.
”If the Nazis take over Austria, I have no doubt, Herr Zeller, that you will be the entire trumpet section.” — Captain von Trapp, “The Sound of Music” (1965)Patterico (05ccd9) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:37 am
Sigh. I fully expect a spirited “nu-huh,” Pee-Wee Herman style, but thank you for writing this, Patterico.
I think that all of us need to define what are beliefs are, and where those beliefs take us. It is sometimes not a pleasant journey, but it is important.Simon Jester (c8876d) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:51 am
Once the Germans and the US send a bunch of main battle tanks and it still doesn’t end the war, what is the next step we should take?
Where does it end if that doesn’t work?kaf (d60e58) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:51 am
@84. Which is not a calm, rational argument justifying why the deeply in debt United States of 2023 should freely funnel billions and billions of borrowed dollars in financial and military aid–dollars borrowed from its chief 21st century adversary- to the second most corrupt country in Europe when the wealthy, modern nations of 21st century Europe, in immediate close proximity to that corrupt region; each with their own vibrant economies, modern militaries and political institutions set in place post- the ‘Nazi/VonTrapp’ WW2 era to confront such regional issues, should not manage the matters of war and peace themselves. If you want to aid Ukraine, pay for it: cajole Congress and the EU to sell Ukrainian Freedom Fighter War Bonds to finance the effort.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:56 am
Senators eye Social Security reforms as some in House GOP consider cuts
So Congress may penalize American citizens; taxpayers w/possible cut backs while freely giving billions to non-taxpaying, non-citizens in corrupt Ukraine.
Utter madness.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/25/2023 @ 9:10 am
Where does it end if that doesn’t work?
Daddy will take us all to Disneyland?
Who said this will be a knockout punch? The Ukrainians are freezing, starving, getting bombed daily, murdered, tortured, raped, looted, but they’ve hunkered down for the long haul to save themselves and their country. It will end when they say.nk (bb1548) — 1/25/2023 @ 9:11 am
Once the Germans and the US send a bunch of main battle tanks and it still doesn’t end the war, what is the next step we should take?
Kill Putin? It’s my first choice. People who threaten the world with nuclear destruction are probably not the people you want to have around.
Failing that, give Ukraine missiles that can hit any Russian base capable of hitting Ukraine, Predator drones, etc. Allowing an enemy a refuge that they can attack you from is madness.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/25/2023 @ 9:19 am
@90. He’s a dead man walking on multiple levels. He’s ill as it is– and politically will eventually suffer the banished fate of Khrushchev after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Russians will see to that. Ponder how to deal w/a post-Putin Russia.DCSCA (c10d4b) — 1/25/2023 @ 9:23 am
Even if Russia achieves some sort of partial victory in Ukraine, it will be clear to even the densest Russian that getting into a war with NATO would be a terrible mistake. They’re being beat by outdated weapons in the hands of surrogate troops. God help them if they piss off the varsity.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/25/2023 @ 9:24 am
Ponder how to deal w/a post-Putin Russia.
Nice doggy want another bowl of kibbles?Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/25/2023 @ 9:25 am
Why do you think Ukraine is winning?
While we don’t know their causalities, it’s not to far to say that this war is killing the men of the country, and it won’t be able to rebuild to pre war levels for a couple of decades.
This does sort of satisfy Russia’s desire to neutralize Ukraine.
Please don’t assume I’m rooting for Russia, I’m not. I just don’t want us involved.Joe (d6f330) — 1/25/2023 @ 10:01 am
The Abrams tanks being sent to Ukraine won’t arrive for years:Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 10:33 am
The U.S. [Abrams] tanks — to be purchased [they cost $2 billion each] from manufacturers rather than transferred from existing American military stockpiles — will not arrive for months, if not years. Administration officials have emphasized that the M1s are part of long-range planning for Ukraine’s armed forces rather than weapons that will be put to immediate use.
… and the MIC $miled.DCSCA (68e7cc) — 1/25/2023 @ 10:41 am
The US Army has approximately 8,000 Abrams tanks, of which 4,400 are in the active force (the Marines recently disestablished their armored brigades). Current tank production is geared toward foreign military sales and upgrading current US tanks. If current inventory tanks were sent to Ukraine, classified systems that need to be substituted, including the armor.
The unit cost of an Abrams tank currently is $10.9 million in FY 1999 inflation adjusted dollars.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 10:51 am
“It’s their war. It’s our job to see that it is prosecuted successfully.” -John Kirby, WH briefing, 1/25/23
WTF? No. It’s not “our job” to do that. It is not an American conflict.DCSCA (68e7cc) — 1/25/2023 @ 10:55 am
@97. “The price tag on an M1A2 [Abrams] tank is estimated at around $2 billion.”
https://builderlens.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-an-abrams-tank/DCSCA (68e7cc) — 1/25/2023 @ 10:57 am
While I’m against getting involved, I don’t understand why they can’t give them x number of old tanks. I don’t think Ukraine is going to have the logistics to support them anyway.
It’s perplexingJoe (c6cfe0) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:06 am
@100. They don’t. The Abrams is such a big, heavy beast- a land whale- it requires a significant support system just to move it around and service it; the info is pretty much all here on them:
https://builderlens.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-an-abrams-tank/DCSCA (68e7cc) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:11 am
I would love to see their math. At that cost, Poland’s purchase of 250 of the latest version of the Abrams should cost $500B instead of $1.148B (a unit cost of $4.5M).
That’s one heck of a discount.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:31 am
Technically those two statements aren’t inconsistent. The real question is when will they be effective? There’s so much left out of both press releases.
I think the real good news in the press release is that UKR will get training from DE while the RU is still getting training from RU.frosty (0485c2) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:35 am
Also your link doesn’t provide a source for that number.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:45 am
@102. Maybe with six, you get eggroll. 😉 You know how the DoD and contractors play w/ final cost figures sans the out year operational costs and associated support systems. Regardless, ordering new tanks [30 plus] is yet another windfall for the MIC contractor[s] and associated sub-contractors. And suggests protracted planning by the Pentagon to assure the $ keeps flowing for several years to the key MIC contractors as well. And even if a contract is cancelled, there’s a penalty cost for sure. But if you’ve got a portfolio full of defense manufacturer stocks, you’re in the green.DCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:50 am
Joe (c6cfe0) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:06 am
I think we’ve already agreed to send them Bradley’s which are probably a better choice than Abrams. Eventually they’ve have Bradley’s, Abrams, Leopards, etc. It’ll be parking lot of different weapons platforms for them to operate, maintain, and pay for.
It’s starting to seem like some version of kitchen sink and just throwing money at the problem.
If it’s true that we’re currently giving them money to fight the current conflict with RU and they’re going to use that money to buy Abrams at some time removed from this current conflict then we’re just playing word games. That’s not “the good guys fighting the good fight” at all.
If we’re just playing word games I’m not sure why we can’t train some UKR drone pilots and let them pull the trigger on RU from Vegas.frosty (0485c2) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:51 am
The $858 billion defense appropriation has a section that more than replenishes what we’ve provided in aid, and this…
I’m sure that Xi is aware of it, too.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:55 am
According to builderlens.com disclaimer:
Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 11:59 am
@106. Given the time factor- training and so forth- and the plan is not to tap existing inventory it’s likely just Joey leverage to get the Germans to cut loose w/their tanks now and okay the options w/other nations that have them- like Poland and so on. Unless there’s some proprietary gadgetry specialized for U.S. ops on the inventoried tanks that the Pentagon does not want risk falling into Russian hands should they be captured, it is odd not to tap older Abrams for use from existing inventory — unless they’re configured for ‘prairie’ or desert ops rather than runs though the European mud. There’s a lot of support and servicing that goes along w/these land whales.DCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:03 pm
As far as I can tell, when Putin is losing we get far more comments here from his supporter. So think of those comments as an indicator.Jim Miller (f29931) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:14 pm
I think you are exactly right. Biden promised the Abrams for the long term defense of Ukraine, not the upcoming spring offensives. In August the US committed $2.98B in long-term contracts to deliver weapon systems over a period of years.
For one thing, the Abrams armor is classified.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:16 pm
Off topic: My apolgies to Dana, but I think this story deserves some attention:
Some will find that appalling, others amusing, and some, like me, both.Jim Miller (f29931) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:19 pm
M1 Abrams Tanks In U.S. Inventory Have Armor Too Secret To Send To Ukraine
‘Though it’s not yet clear what specific variant of the Abrams Ukraine’s military is set to receive, the tanks will have to be in a unique export configuration. This is largely due to the highly classified armor packages found specifically on U.S. military versions, which contain depleted uranium, and that are not readily exportable even to major allies. In other words, the U.S. can’t just send its M1s to Ukraine.’ – thedrive.comDCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:20 pm
@111. Seems so… see 113.DCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:21 pm
@111. Rip- here’s the link on the Abrams and the ‘options’ available… [no white walls ;-)] and why they can’t just pull them from existing inventory.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/m1-abrams-tanks-in-u-s-inventory-have-armor-too-secret-to-send-to-ukraineDCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:25 pm
I know, I posted that link here.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:30 pm
@111. PS- Kirby just confirmed [in a Fox News interview] that they’re going to put ‘pen to paper’ and contract for new ones configured for ‘export’ to Ukraine so no Abrams will reach Ukraine for immediate combat use anytime soon– they literally have to be built– so the Pentagon must be planning for a protracted conflict– beyond Joey’s first term and out year post-conflict security issues.DCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:30 pm
So essentially, for all practical purposes in the near term, the Abrams announcement today was a Biden bluff -misleading to Americans- and just fig leaf leverage to get the Germans to commit their tanks.DCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:36 pm
I also posted that link here.Rip Murdock (364a93) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:38 pm
I would say he misled the Germans.Rip Murdock (364a93) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:39 pm
Which Americans-those in the streets protesting in favor of “Tanks to Ukraine” or those protesting in streets against “Tanks to Ukraine”?Rip Murdock (364a93) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:45 pm
Here’s the conclusion of Michael McFaul’s opinion piece in the Washington Post:
Note that, though the first sentence is tentative, the sentences that follow are not.Jim Miller (f29931) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:47 pm
@120. Really? Seems average Americans were misled- likely Ukraine as well… the German government isn’t that ignorant on how proprietary technologies have to be protected- they’re dealing w/it themselves; especially as in the past Germany has purchased a lot of U.S. military hardware, aircraft and so forth, configured for export to them. Suspect they know the drill on this better than the average American man in the street– and possibly Zelinsky’s Ukraine as well. Biden made a PR point of these tanks being gifted on Z’s birthday today in his presser– but opening the birthday box, Z will find it is empty.DCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:51 pm
@120. Could be Z was just ‘light sabered’ by Joey; it’s like those Kenner Star Wars toys back in ’77/’78. Kids got a box a Christmas, opened it and there was no toy- just a certificate telling them it’s on order and to mail the chit in to get it at a later date.DCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:55 pm
Which Americans-those in the streets protesting in favor of “Tanks to Ukraine” or those protesting in streets against “Tanks to Ukraine”?
Yes. 😉DCSCA (335484) — 1/25/2023 @ 12:57 pm
I don’t think the average American cares.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 1:26 pm
Biden agreed to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine because Germany said it would not sendLeopard tanks or allow others to send Leopard tanks unless the U.S. sent abrams tanks.
Biden probably thinks the war could be over by the time the tanks get turned over to the Ukrainians.Sammy Finkelman (a3950e) — 1/25/2023 @ 1:38 pm
Remember the days when BO/JB didn’t want to give UKR lethal weapons and the aid packages were in the tens of millions?frosty (0485c2) — 1/25/2023 @ 1:51 pm
You mean when Russia wasn’t conducting a full scale invasion?Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 1:55 pm
RIP Marshall Tucker (99). Founded The Marshall Tucker Band.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:04 pm
What do you call Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the eastern Ukrainian borders?whembly (d116f3) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:13 pm
Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:15 pm
There are certainly no prospects for “entering the diplomatic path” as long as Putin maintains his maximalist goals against Ukraine.
A mistake of the Obama Administration not to confront the Russians at that point.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:16 pm
Pay yourself first! The last I heard the MIC were Americans not aliens from different planets. And with the end of the cold war, the MIC went from dozens contractors down to a few. So if it is this evil overlord controlling everything (spoiler, it isn’t), how did it contract so readily? Military contracting must always be eyed carefully, but the view here is silly. It’s difficult to plan platforms that must last 30 years. You want your people to leverage advancing technology so no fight is fair. You need technology sectors to occasionally build systems so you keep expertise in place. I don’t trust howling jackals that have no vision of national defense deciding what platforms we do or don’t need.AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:17 pm
RIP Anthony ‘Top’ Topham (75). Yardbirds guitarist replaced by Eric Clapton; later played with Christine McVie and Peter Green.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:19 pm
Thing is, Biden pulled a PR stunt that is literally an empty gesture in the short term for Ukraine…
The Pentagon has to order these tanks and have GD build them from scratch then configure them w/t technologies suitable for export to Ukraine. It’s going to take months to assemble 31 of them and get them field tested and shipped to Ukraine:
“Putting together a battle tank is no small feat. It takes five months to produce a single Abrams. The plant [in Lima, Ohio] currently completes eight of them a month. A few years ago, only one was coming off the line just to keep it warm… In 2019, the JSMC is widely known as the last remaining tank manufacturer in the country. It’s the only facility that has produced the M1 Abrams, the Army’s main battle tank since it debuted in 1980. “Every Abrams tank in Army inventory started its life in Lima, Ohio. No exceptions,” said the plant director’s Hank Kennedy… The JSMC also has bipartisan support from northwest Ohio’s congressional delegation, including Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Urbana Rep. Jim Jordan, whose district includes Lima.’
So even w/an expanded assembly line these 31 Abrams won’t likely get to Ukraine until late summer at best, if then.
It’s just like those Star Wars toys in ’77/’78– Zelinsky was given an empty box on his birthday w/a coupon inside to mail in for the toy.DCSCA (c49e5d) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:21 pm
And I said a “full scale” invasion. Russia did not try to occupy the rest of Ukraine and seize Kyiv, etc. like they are doing now. It only occupied Russian speaking areas of Ukraine (though Crimea and the Donbas are still sovereign Ukrainian territories).Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:26 pm
@134: The last I heard the MIC were Americans not aliens from different planets.
Just different countries, not different planets- though the UK and Germany may seem alien and a world away… so don’t be so certain of that- especially w/items procured that have a long shelf life which may still have components originated from the PRC:
Military equipment inventories and acquisitions
The US military’s inventory is comprised almost entirely of domestically-produced weapons systems (some assembled with foreign components) along with a smaller mix of imported equipment from a variety of Western countries; since 2010, Germany and the UK have been the leading suppliers of military hardware; the US defense industry is capable of designing, developing, maintaining, and producing the full spectrum of weapons systems; the US is the world’s leading arms exporter (2021)
Study: US military too reliant on foreign-made equipment
The U.S. military’s reliance on foreign-made products, including telecommunications equipment and semiconductors, is putting the nation’s security at risk by exposing agencies to faulty parts and to the possibility that producing nations will stop selling vital items, according to a new report from the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
https://www.pcworld.com/article/451743/study-us-military-too-reliant-on-foreignmade-equipment.htmlDCSCA (c49e5d) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:35 pm
Dana, the “escalating” part first caught my attention, but “the conflict” part does merit equal rebuke. Dr. Snyder phrased it this way…
While I was going looking through his feed, I noticed he had an informative thread on former FBI SAC McGonigal and the bribes he took from Deripaska. Just to add a little more perspective, Deripaska is one of Putin’s closest pet oligarchs, so it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that McGonigal was a one-degree-removed asset/agent for Putin. It’s damn close to treason.
Also, Snyder referenced his piece on 15 reasons why the world needs a Ukrainian win, and I don’t disagree with any of them.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:46 pm
@134. Then there as the famed Harrier ‘Jump Jets’ the USMC flew…
Manufacturer: Hawker Siddeley; British Aerospace/McDonnell Douglas-Boeing/BAE Systems
Of British origin, it was quite an aviation breakthrough and a big deal when it made its debut w/t RAF back ’69, when living in the Britain. They were quite proud of it and licensed manufacturing to Boeing/McDonnell Douglas for the U.S. Marines to use.DCSCA (c49e5d) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:47 pm
The Marines still do.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 4:24 pm
@141. They’re still pretty amazing to watch in operation- especially w/a skilled pilot at the controls. The annual Miramar Air Show usually presents a performance demo for spectators. Recall back in ’69 when it became operational w/t RAF, it was such huge news for the Brits, along w/t success of the Concorde getting up- the prototype flew over our flat toward Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s BD– as British aviation was competing for attention against America’s moon bound Apollos. Then the first Pan Am 747 in from NYC stole the thunder as it lumbered across the London sky toward Heathrow to land; it literally got people to stop in the street and look up– it appeared so huge at the time, compared to the 707s.DCSCA (66d237) — 1/25/2023 @ 5:00 pm
Great link, Paul. Thanks.Dana (1225fc) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:17 pm
Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:26 pm
Sounds like you do remember. So, you’d be ok if Putin was only after Russian speaking parts of UKR?frosty (0000a5) — 1/25/2023 @ 6:20 pm
Also, Snyder referenced his piece on 15 reasons why the world needs a Ukrainian win, and I don’t disagree with any of them.
I quibble with a few. Democracy in Russia is a hard thing to promote. Their only example of “democracy” was Yeltsin’s kleptostate, where everyone who was not an FoB got screwed. Putin, for all his many faults, had a government that worked, at least until a few years ago.
I also quibble with the idea that Russia losing would be the best way to defuse nuclear threats. For example, North Korea or Iran paying a steep steep price for gaming the NNPT would be better. Maybe that’s water under the bridge, but Bill Clinton almost reduced North Korea’s infrastructure to rubble in the late 90’s. Alas Jimmy brought back peace in our time once again. The gift that keeps on giving.
But yeah, Russia losing would be a good thing. Putin hanging by his heels in Red Square would be even better.Kevin M (1ea396) — 1/25/2023 @ 10:00 pm
Marlène Laruelle, Research Professor at The George Washington University, accused Snyder of “distortions, inaccuracies, and selective interpretations.” She wrote:
‘Contrary to [his] claims, the Kremlin does not live in an ideological world inspired by Nazi Germany, but in one in which the Yalta decades, the Gorbachev-Yeltsin years, and the collapse of the Soviet Union still constitute the main historical referents and traumas.’
According to Snyder, “Trump’s campaign for president of the United States was basically a Russian operation…” In January 2021, Snyder published a New York Times essay on the future of the GOP in response to the siege of the United States Capitol, blaming Trump and his “enablers”, Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley.’ – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_D._Snyder
ROFLMAOPIP. The Republican Party is a Russian operation.
And the righties beloved Texas Tedtoo is to blame, too?
LOLDCSCA (790ba0) — 1/25/2023 @ 10:41 pm
There’s been some recent resignations in UKR. Something about high level corruption? I was told things like this wouldn’t happen because reasons.
It sounds like they’re getting to retire to a safer part of Europe? I’d pick Spain. It’s a nice country with a decent cost of living. All of the graft stashed in Swiss banks would spend well there.frosty (6a171a) — 1/26/2023 @ 6:13 am
No. I think had the Obama and Trump Administrations supported Ukraine recapturing Crimea and the Donbas then with some of the same heavy weapon systems that we are providing now, Russia may not have not invaded last year.Rip Murdock (364a93) — 1/26/2023 @ 6:20 am
AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 1/25/2023 @ 8:27 am
I don’t believe that. I think Saddam Hussein believed he could not come clean to George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld or else he would be invaded, but if he tried too convince Bush (but nobody else) that he still had chemical weapons, he would not be invaded.
Because Bush was planning on the basis of Saddam having chemical weapons, with U,S, troops in chem warfare gear, which could not be worn in the heat (open source and secret intelligence told him) which meant that the invasion could not start past the beginning of April and Bush, for diplomatic or whatever reasons was planning to wait until the last minute — and his plans included an invasion from Turkey.
Saddam’s ace in the hole was that he had bribed members of the Turkish Parliament so that Turkey would back out at the last minute and force George Bush to cancel his invasion plans.
Only it didn;t, because involving Turkey was more for diplomatic reasons than military ones,
Saddam Hussein did not believe that WMD were George Bush’s real reasons for wanting to invade Iraq, but it was maybe revenge fr=or trying to kill his father, or an attempt to correct his father’s mistake of not pursuing Saddam Hussein to the end and allowing him to continue killing people.
GHWB treated him like a conic book villain – and in comics, you don’t finish him off, but keep him alive, so you can bring him back for more adventures in further issues.
When Cheney tried to check one story out, they instead sent Joe Wilson to Niger to make an inconclusive report rather than admit their intelligence was faulty. (and probably Iraqi disinformation, because if Saddam Hussein tried (and failed!) to import uranium in 1998, it meant he had no highly enriched uranium left.
The plan to stabilize was spectacularly wrong because it did not account for the fact that neighboring dictatorships (and al Qaeda) would plot to make it fail.
For several years, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld thought the attacks were coming from “bitter enders”
I think Saddam believed that and that Bush’s talk of weapons of mass destruction was a pretext and that if he could convince Bush that he had them, he would NOT invade, at least if Bush was going to wait until April, 2003.Sammy Finkelman (50e39d) — 1/26/2023 @ 6:42 am
* comic book villain.Sammy Finkelman (50e39d) — 1/26/2023 @ 6:44 am
Who told you there was no corruption in Ukraine? I have not seen anything indicating it’s impacting the current war effort, but most folks who are serious on this issue have acknowledged Ukraine’s long history of corruption.Appalled (cb56df) — 1/26/2023 @ 6:47 am
It was mentioned here when the subject of auditing the money we sent to UKR came up. I think it was Kevin M who said something to the effect that no one would dare pilfer these funds.
Do you think you would see anything indicating that it’s impacting the current effort?frosty (0485c2) — 1/26/2023 @ 8:13 am
DCSCA would dig them up if they existed.Appalled (fcdc32) — 1/26/2023 @ 9:57 am
Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 1/25/2023 @ 2:46 pm
He took money from Deripaska both while he was an agent for the FBI, aabd after he retired. Technically, the money he got after leaving was not a bribe – he was indicted for something that sounds like not registering with the Attorney General as a foreign agent.
He also took bribes while he head of counterintelligence in DC.
It sounds like he might have retired in 2018 to cut short aan investigation and keep his pension as well.Sammy Finkelman (50e39d) — 1/26/2023 @ 10:08 am
@151/152/153. Even Pompeo, currently on a media book tour, conceded a percentage of aid going to UKR has, is and will be ripped off. And it’s not as if the thieves are leaving receipts and have accountants conducting bookkeeping.DCSCA (67d082) — 1/26/2023 @ 10:36 am
I’d like to see the Ukraine corruption isssue get more press, because this is something Ukraine needs to address as the war goes forward.
There is this:
https://fox23maine.com/news/local/senator-angus-king-touts-importance-defense-funding-ukraine-visit-russia-war-president-volodymyr-zelenskyyAppalled (fcdc32) — 1/26/2023 @ 11:00 am
Here is more on the stories frosty was alluding to earlier. (The Kyiv Post has a portion of its newspaper dedicated to “Corruption Watch”. I doubt Russian papers have the same thing these days.)
Sme of these would fall into my definition of affecting the war effort.Appalled (fcdc32) — 1/26/2023 @ 11:08 am
@156. It’s part of their daily, transactional society; they’ve even made movies about it; it has been ‘corrupt’ for ages and they have it down to a ‘business’… particularly given their history of ties w/corrupt Russia, before ‘the troubles.’ They’re certainly not going to police themselves or get much help from Interpol either. Nor the Biden gang, which has red flags of rat hole corruption all around it.
Our government can’t even keep track of classified papers nor SCOTUS case files so trying to keep track of the billions of goodies freely given to corrupt Ukraine isn’t promising. Yet Amazon and FedEx, even the USPS can keep track of things… even animal shelters have microchips used to trace lost pets.DCSCA (67d082) — 1/26/2023 @ 11:33 am
There was corruption in the US> Civil War. Lincoln had to fire his Secretary of War.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 1/26/2023 @ 4:43 pm
Simon Cameron was known to be corrupt before Lincoln appointed him. The reason he was fired was that he was using his power to damage the B&O Railroad and this was affecting the war effort — supplies could not get to Washington and northern farmers had difficulty getting their goods to market.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_CameronKevin M (1ea396) — 1/27/2023 @ 8:53 am