Patterico's Pontifications

2/24/2023

Ukraine Full-Scale Invasion, One Year In: Is the “Spirit of the Army” Flagging?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:28 pm



One year ago today, Russia launched the latest and most shockingly brutal part of its years-long attack on Ukraine. The war began in 2014, so it would not be correct to say that today is the one-year anniversary of “the war,” but it is the one-year anniversary of this phase: a large-scale, massive invasion conducted with the intent of wiping Ukraine off the map and ethnically cleansing its population.

In September, long after it had become evident that the invasion was not the cakewalk for Russia that most of us had expected, I quoted Tolstoy on the issue of the “spirit of the army”:

What explains this shift? It’s a complex problem, and Mencken reminded us that for every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. Still, don’t discount the “spirit of the army” — the fact that Ukraine has a strong reason to fight, and Russian troops have no reason at all to fight.

Leo Tolstoy wrote in War and Peace:

By long years of military experience he knew, and with the wisdom of age understood, that it is impossible for one man to direct hundreds of thousands of others struggling with death, and he knew that the result of a battle is decided not by the orders of a commander in chief, nor the place where the troops are stationed, nor by the number of cannon or of slaughtered men, but by that intangible force called the spirit of the army, and he watched this force and guided it in as far as that was in his power.

Tolstoy elsewhere proposed an equation similar to that describing the relationships between momentum, mass, and velocity:

In military affairs the strength of an army is the product of its mass and some unknown x.

Military science, seeing in history innumerable instances of the fact that the size of any army does not coincide with its strength and that small detachments defeat larger ones, obscurely admits the existence of this unknown factor and tries to discover it—now in a geometric formation, now in the equipment employed, now, and most usually, in the genius of the commanders. But the assignment of these various meanings to the factor does not yield results which accord with the historic facts.

Yet it is only necessary to abandon the false view (adopted to gratify the “heroes”) of the efficacy of the directions issued in wartime by commanders, in order to find this unknown quantity.

That unknown quantity is the spirit of the army, that is to say, the greater or lesser readiness to fight and face danger felt by all the men composing an army, quite independently of whether they are, or are not, fighting under the command of a genius, in two—or three-line formation, with cudgels or with rifles that repeat thirty times a minute. Men who want to fight will always put themselves in the most advantageous conditions for fighting.

The spirit of an army is the factor which multiplied by the mass gives the resulting force.

Having some nice High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems never hurts either.

I recently saw some Trumpist dunderhead trying to explain how Russia kills with cold. They defeated Napoleon and Hitler with the cold, this idiot said. What was lost in that explanation is that, yes, Russia did defeat Napoleon and Hitler . . . but then, they were fighting a defensive battle for their very country. The folks doing that nowadays are the Ukrainians. Today, most Russians fighting Ukraine have no idea why they are fighting. The spirit of the army, at least early on, was a factor that decisively favored the home team: Ukraine.

But today, NPR reports some dispiriting evidence that all-important spirit may be flagging:

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A year ago, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and stunned the world. Most thought Kyiv would fall. Well, that didn’t happen. Ukraine’s forces have upended expectations. And through it all, U.S. military aid has played a key role. Now, the invasion has become a grinding war, and some U.S. lawmakers are raising questions about that support. So how does the year ahead look? We’re going to put that question to three NPR correspondents – Frank Langfitt in Kyiv, Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman and White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez.

And, Frank, I’m going to let you kick us off since you are there. You’re on the ground, and I know you were recently out toward the front lines, in Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, talking with soldiers. What are they saying? What’s the mood?

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Well, I got to say, Mary Louise, it was kind of pessimistic. They were saying that the Russians are building up huge numbers on the front lines. They’re using everything from convicts, which we’ve heard about, of course – the Wagner – the mercenary group – as well as new conscripts. They’re throwing them into the fight. And the Ukrainians that I talked to just didn’t feel like they had the numbers to match the Russians and also not getting the kind of quality of people into the army that they were getting if you go back to the first two months of the war. I was talking to a sergeant named Andriy. He oversees a company of more than 100 reconnaissance soldiers.

ANDRIY: (Non-English language spoken).

LANGFITT: So what he says here is the new people who are coming – the ones who are being mobilized – they’re not that motivated. And the core of our forces – the ones who have been with us since the beginning – they’re coming to an end. And, Mary Louise, what he means by that is they’ve been killed.

KELLY: Oh, it’s just awful to hear. Stay with those new people – with the new conscripts. I keep thinking of them. These are people who were civilians yesterday, and today they’re being sent to the front.

LANGFITT: Yeah, and I’ve met a number of them. And I watched them being trained, and it’s a tall order. Just like Andriy was saying, you know, in the beginning, there were all these highly, highly motivated people. Now, these are people who are sort of being conscripted. Some of them don’t get a lot of training – sometimes a few days, couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months if they’re lucky – before they’re sent to the front. And the ones that I saw seemed quite frightened. And Andriy says some of them – they won’t even shoot in battle because they don’t want to kill anybody.

This is not to say Russia has it in the bag. They are throwing men into the meat grinder by the thousands for, so far, very little gain. It’s not like the Russian army has developed greater skill or motivation. To the contrary.

But as the war drags on, the Ukrainian motivation is taking a hit.

Now, more than ever, sensible people — people whose values have not been warped by partisanship; people who understand the depth of Putin’s evil and the need to support Ukraine — need to do what little we can to shore up the spirit of the Ukrainian people. Call your Congressman and support sending aid to Ukraine. Donate to a charity that provides warmth to those in Ukraine left in the cold. Speak out against the selfish Republican fringe mentality that ignores principle, accepts and repeats Putinesque propaganda, and promotes a self-centered view of the world.

The long-promised weaponry these people need might give a lift to their spirits. Get it to them yesterday.

Glory to Ukraine!

104 Responses to “Ukraine Full-Scale Invasion, One Year In: Is the “Spirit of the Army” Flagging?”

  1. Hello there.

    Patterico (e31108)

  2. It’s been awhile since they’ve a major victory, which was Kherson, and they’ve in a meatgrinder situation in Donbas for the past few months. Another victory, such as reclaiming Melitopol, would be a big help. So would more tanks, artillery, drones, jets, etc.

    But the Russians are more unmotivated, with a big thanks to their SOP of lying and deceiving the mobiks.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  3. I would also point to this survey, which shows that even if Russia uses a nuclear weapon, the Ukrainian people would not be cowed into surrender.

    Rip Murdock (5e1527)

  4. Russia is thought to be have been planning a major offensive for today, but, if so, hardly anybody noticed. This war’s version of the Battle of the Bulge has been going on for a while, but without a bulge, There was somewhat more bombardment by missiles yesterday.

    The Wager Group is losing favor with Putin, maybe because he realizes that, whatever limited successes it may have, they lose so many men, it;s unsustainable,

    Putin has nt sided with total caution and defense thoough. He’s appointed some people in ccharge who give him som hope of gaining territory.

    Maybe Putin willl decide to try to call this whole war off, lest he lose his entire military capability,

    It

    Sammy Finkelman (77724b)

  5. Lanchester’s square law collapse is interesting. I think the initial 2-24-2022 expectations were based on this without any variables factored in. Ukraine was forecasted to get overwhelmed and collapse. It turned out the long column was like Battle of Thermopylae bottleneck battle in the pass. The risky airfield take over depended on reinforcement, but Ukraine denied reinforcement and made it an equal fight. In those two battles, the Ukrainians stepped into it and leveraged the fight in a way it was their small highly motivated force vs. similar numbers of professionally motivated Russian forces. Russia had many more soldiers than Ukraine but they were stuck like Thermopylae pass in the convoy above Kiev getting drilled by Bayraktar, and circling around in planes waiting for it to be safe to approach. A straight line of tanks forty miles long sounds ominous and it is, but by flooding either side of the road and by fighting the Russians stuck in the bottleneck they built confidence and morale by picking the vehicles off two three at a time. It also helped a lot Zelensky chose to stay in the fight.

    Ukrainians should be proud of themselves. I hope the NPR story is more of the old timer shaking his head about the new green troops. My Dad enlisted in WWII at 17, chose Navy was 18 when he was sent to the Pacific in 1944 and spent the rest of the war on a listening picket line up in the Aleutians. There are plenty of jobs for people during a war

    steveg (dcb823)

  6. Sammy, I think one of the big mistakes Wagner made was the video release of the sledgehammer to the head treatment for the two guys who surrendered. That type of video showed how brutal and barbaric Wagner is, and by extension Russia. Not that Putin would have a problem with the actions, but instead with the release of the video of Wagner showing its butt

    steveg (dcb823)

  7. At Thermopylae, the Persian officers carried whips to drive the levees forward against the Greek phalanx. In WWII, the NKVD used machine guns to drive the conscripts forward through minefields and against German emplacements.

    nk (bb1548)

  8. yes, Russia did defeat Napoleon and Hitler . . . but then, they were fighting a defensive battle for their very country. The folks doing that nowadays are the Ukrainians.

    Also worth remembering is what happened when those mightily pissed-off Russians started pushing the Germans back. There were not a lot of German prisoners taken and once they got to Berlin, woe betide anyone wearing a German uniform.

    There may come a point in this war when the Russian line collapses similarly, and they will reap the whirlwind.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  9. I would also point to this survey, which shows that even if Russia uses a nuclear weapon, the Ukrainian people would not be cowed into surrender.

    But that is not who the Russians be trying to cow.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  10. Prediction: US forces will enter the war in some way, before the second anniversary. Maybe just flying drones, but we are unwilling to see Ukraine defeated.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  11. I hope the Ukrainian sergeant’s take is an outlier, and not indicative of overall Ukrainian morale.

    It doesn’t help that Tuckyo and his ilk are doing their best to undermine support for Ukraine.

    My friend, who said he doesn’t believe he has ever missed an episode of Tucker, repeatedly brings up Ukrainian corruption and the labs in Ukraine. He’s so steeped in Tuckerworld that he might as well be in a cult. He told me “Only Tucker is covering these things.” Cult leaders are indeed often the only ones spouting their ideology! And, just like a cult leader, Tucker knows how to keep his viewers in thrall.

    I think Tucker has replaced Trump as the most dangerous man in America. Tucker is always there, no matter who is President.

    norcal (7345e5)

  12. @13 I like the logical flow of that thread, lurker.

    norcal (7345e5)

  13. @norcal, me too.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  14. @11. Prediction: US forces will enter the war in some way, before the second anniversary. Maybe just flying drones, but we are unwilling to see Ukraine defeated.

    They’re already there:

    ‘In a press briefing on Nov. 1, Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder provided detail on U.S. military personnel in Ukraine. He said “small teams that are comprised of embassy personnel” are conducting “inspections of security assistance delivery” in an effort to “track U.S.-provided capabilities and to prevent the illicit spread throughout Eastern Europe”’ – reuters.com

    The ‘Five O’Clock Follies’ had a shorter name for’em… “advisors.”

    DCSCA (2804b4)

  15. @12 how about tuckyo rose! With MTG as little orphan annie of the kremlin!

    asset (37fdf7)

  16. Tucker is always there, no matter who is President.

    Tucker will be working for OAN or TrumpNews by year-end.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  17. @18 radio/tv moscow perhaps?

    asset (37fdf7)

  18. This is an important post, Patterico, thank you. There are instructive comments and thoughtful contributions on this thread. Especially noteworthy is the analysis by David Frum.Thank you for the re-post, lurker.

    felipe (77b190)

  19. We still refuse Ukraine the weapons they need to take the war to Russia. Until they can have counter-battery fire to stoop the shelling and the missiles, or to shell Russian assembly points, they are not only fighting superior numbers but doing so with an imposed handicap.

    And even though the Russian forces may be less motivated, as Stalin said: quantity has a quality all its own.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  20. WSJ: Ukraine Is the West’s War Now (free link)

    Two days before the Russian invasion of his country, on Feb. 22, 2022, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was welcomed to the White House. As he greeted President Biden and senior administration officials, Mr. Kuleba later recalled, he felt like a patient surrounded by doctors presenting him with a diagnosis of stage-four cancer.

    The consensus among the U.S. and its European allies was that there was nothing they could do to prevent the inevitable. Their intelligence services predicted a Russian takeover of Kyiv and a collapse of the Ukrainian state within days. The U.S. by then had already closed down its embassy and evacuated all American personnel….

    A year later, the war in Ukraine has become, to a large extent, the West’s own. True, no American or NATO soldiers are fighting and dying on Ukrainian soil. But the U.S., its European allies and Canada have now sent some $120 billion in weapons and other aid to Ukraine, with new, more advanced military supplies on the way. If this monumental effort fails to thwart President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions, the setback would not only undermine American credibility on the world stage but also raise difficult questions about the future of the Western alliance.

    “In many ways, we’re all-in, and we’re all-in because the realization has dawned in Europe that showing weakness to President Putin, showing no response to his atrocities, only invites him to go further and further,” said Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, a Dutch politician and member of parliament. “We have also realized that it is not only the safety and security of Ukraine that is at stake but also our own.”

    The Russian military’s mixture of unexpected ineptitude and shocking cruelty has pulled the U.S. and allies deeper and deeper into the conflict. With one self-imposed constraint falling after another, Western goals have gradually moved from preventing the obliteration of Ukraine to supporting its military victory over Russia. It’s a more ambitious commitment that carries much higher risks—but also strategic rewards—for the Western alliance.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  21. A wiser President would have not encouraged Russia to invade (as when Biden said “a little incursion was okay” or words to that effect.
    A stronger President (like the Bad Orange Man) would have discouraged and prevented the invasion merely because he was strong.

    And yet here we are teetering on a much wider conflict. Call this a Biden Own Goal.

    Comanche Voter (a15ae2)

  22. No Trump supporter should be allowed to talk about “own goals.”

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  23. Bold is my characterization.

    A stronger President (like the Bad Orange Man) would have discouraged and prevented the invasion merely because he was strong considered dangerous.

    And yet here we are teetering on a much wider conflict. Call this a Biden Own Goal.
    Comanche Voter (a15ae2) — 2/25/2023 @ 9:35 am

    I agree with you, but I think others would prefer the above characterization.

    felipe (77b190)

  24. Trump would have cut off all aid to Ukraine, provided military intelligence and aid to Russia, ordered NATO to keep away, and would now be clearing away the rubble of the Ukrainian parliament building in Kiev to build a Trump Tower.

    Don’t be telling us what a corrupt criminal traitor would do. We know what corrupt criminal traitors do.

    nk (8f058b)

  25. Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/25/2023 @ 9:42 am

    Ha! No, that would be unfair since they would know of what they speak. Besides, heckling can be part of what makes an otherwise boring game interesting.

    felipe (77b190)

  26. A wiser President would have not encouraged Russia to invade (as when Biden said “a little incursion was okay” or words to that effect.
    A stronger President (like the Bad Orange Man) would have discouraged and prevented the invasion merely because he was strong.

    The “stronger president” who actually praised the illegal and genocidal invasion in the real world . . . would have prevented it in your imaginary world?

    That is instructive, but not in the way you think.

    Patterico (f405c8)

  27. nk (8f058b) — 2/25/2023 @ 9:56 am

    Oh, nk, bee-have!

    felipe (77b190)

  28. Trump would have cut off all aid to Ukraine, provided military intelligence and aid to Russia, ordered NATO to keep away, and would now be clearing away the rubble of the Ukrainian parliament building in Kiev to build a Trump Tower.

    Don’t be telling us what a corrupt criminal traitor would do. We know what corrupt criminal traitors do.

    Where is the like button

    Patterico (f405c8)

  29. nk (8f058b) — 2/25/2023 @ 9:56 am

    thankfully, Trump never served a term as president, otherwise this surely would’ve happened

    but back to the real world, where an invasion and devastation in Ukraine under Biden is just a figment of our imagination

    JF (4e1e5a)

  30. the same people who get indignant if Biden gets any blame for an invasion that happened under his watch have no problem blaming Trump for an invasion that never happened

    JF (4e1e5a)

  31. Ukraine is estimated to have lost 2,000,000 killed in WWII fighting for the Soviets against Germany. They lost 10,000,000 dead civilians. They fought despite Holodomor famine in 1933 that killed nearly 4,000,000 Ukrainians even as the Kremlin continued to export grain. The Ukrainians began to learn the truth of Holodomor in the 1980’s when it was reclassified as a genocidal act. Most Ukrainians now know exactly what Russia is capable of, they are shocked but not surprised at the rape, murder, theft, brutality of the Russian Army. Ukrainians are probably not too shocked that Russians are bad at fighting that requires coordination and discipline beyond pounding frontal assaults. Certain types of operations are hugely difficult even for US/NATO trained troops, for instance Forced Entry Operations like the Russian attempt at Hostomel. The Russians missed with their cruise missiles, they attacked at 11AM (which the US would have done at night) which showed even elite Russian troops were not trusted to fight at night, they could not suppress anti air and artillery and they lost
    Ukrainian spectators began to chant “over rated over rated” at the #2 ranked Neo-Red Army at half time of the first battle, then sang the Bayraktar song at them while blasting their stalled 40 mile column.

    steveg (3c2506)

  32. nk (8f058b) — 2/25/2023 @ 9:56 am

    Agree.

    Putin didn’t need to attack Ukraine whe Trump was President. Trump’s actions in his first term furthered Russia’s goals to discredit and delegitimize Ukraine’s government and to drive a wedge between the US and Europe. Trump wavered in his commitment to supporting Europe under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, and reportedly discussed withdrawing from NATO. He promoted Russian disinformation that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in US elections. And he withheld $400M in exchange for Ukraine opening a bogus investigation to discredit the Bidens.

    Why mess things up by invading Ukraine when your adversary is doing your dirty work for you?

    Rip Murdock (d353df)

  33. thankfully, Trump never served a term as president, otherwise this surely would’ve happened

    but back to the real world, where an invasion and devastation in Ukraine under Biden is just a figment of our imagination

    Other than praising Putin as a genius, what other Trumpian steps would you have Biden take at this point? As a partisan I assume you oppose arming Ukraine, as Trump does. Let’s be honest, you just want to take cheap shots but you don’t want to actually *do* anything.

    Surely somewhere deep inside you recognize what horseshit this is that you are spouting.

    Patterico (f405c8)

  34. Maybe Biden could blackmail Zelensky for dirt on Trump.

    Patterico (f405c8)

  35. I have a message for the Russian shills here and elsewhere, and it’s expressed well by the Latvian fella in this new post.

    Patterico (f405c8)

  36. @35 I don’t think blaming Trump is doing something. I propose arming Ukraine and pursuing negotiations and, if we’re going to acknowledge reality, that’s exactly what’s going on behind the scenes right now. Maybe that makes me a Russian shill.

    It’s too bad Ukraine has gotten to this point of devastation. Other than as a result of Russia’s complete collapse, which could happen but is unlikely, do you envision an end where Ukraine is a part of NATO? If not, what was the point of pushing that a year ago?

    JF (5b085e)

  37. The Russian Ambassador to the UN isn’t interested in real negotiations:

    Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., Vasily Nebenzya, told the Security Council that Russia was willing to negotiate only on how the goals of its “special operation” in Ukraine would be achieved in a potential peace plan and had no interest in engaging in other proposals.

    Nebenzya said China’s proposal — which does not call for withdrawal of troops or recognizing Ukraine’s territory, and it condemns sanctions — was a good option and the West should accept it.

    Emphasis added.

    Rip Murdock (d353df)

  38. @35 I don’t think blaming Trump is doing something. I propose arming Ukraine and pursuing negotiations and, if we’re going to acknowledge reality, that’s exactly what’s going on behind the scenes right now. Maybe that makes me a Russian shill.

    I agree with the part about arming them and am glad you do too. I don’t think anyone who has paid attention to Putin’s recent speeches, treating this war as an existential moment for Russia, thinks that negotiations can lead to anything acceptable. The only way for negotiations to work is for Ukraine to win first.

    It’s too bad Ukraine has gotten to this point of devastation. Other than as a result of Russia’s complete collapse, which could happen but is unlikely, do you envision an end where Ukraine is a part of NATO? If not, what was the point of pushing that a year ago?

    I don’t see why they would have any less right to pursue membership than any other country, and given the war, they have a greater need for security guarantees than anyone else.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “pushing” it — perhaps you could send me a link. Here’s mine.

    Patterico (f405c8)

  39. It’s too bad Ukraine has gotten to this point of devastation.

    It’s too bad Russia forced Ukraine to this point of devastation.

    Dana (1225fc)

  40. It’s too bad Ukraine has gotten to this point of devastation

    It’s too bad Russia has inflicted this devastation on Ukraine to this point.

    Rip Murdock (51e8b1)

  41. @40 a country can’t just decide to join an alliance like NATO. It has to be let in. Blinken communicated an “open door” policy, knowing full well Ukraine wanted in. Russia may be evil and belligerent, but they aren’t dumb. As for the Biden administration, they were either too dumb to realize how Russia would react, or they knew and cynically had no problem with it cuz proxy war.

    But, if you need a link

    JF (5dcdb1)

  42. It’s too bad Russia has inflicted this devastation on Ukraine to this point.

    It’s too bad we haven’t let Ukraine inflict devastation on Russia’s sanctuaries to this point.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  43. @45. It’s a diplomatic quandary; unfortunately, that would validate Putin’s long stated assertions that NATO is an ‘offensive organization’ maintained to target Russia rather than a European defensive alliance as long advertised. If Russia breaches a NATO border, Article 5 is triggered, hence, he’ll never attack a NATO member– especially now given the disappointing performance of his land forces. But he will nibble around the non-member edges, given his lobg stated dreams of reconstituting a Russian Empire of some sort.

    DCSCA (774d88)

  44. When asked, George W. Bush said the right thing:

    Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, the moderator of the discussion with former Tanzanian President Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, asked Bush for his message to U.S. leaders and critics of American intervention in Africa with AIDS and the Ukraine War.

    “I think we’re a big enough nation to do more than one thing,” Bush said. “And continuing to fight against AIDS on the continent of Africa and supporting the Ukrainian freedom fighters is not going to constrain our capacity to help our own citizens.”

    Of course we are big enough.

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  45. Republican leader Mitch McConnell is saying the right things:

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday urged the United States and its allies to renew their resolve to help Ukraine as it stands up to Russian “thuggery,” tacitly pushing back against members of his own party who have become loudly skeptical of Ukraine’s fight as the conflict passes the one-year mark.

    “America and our friends need to finish waking up from our holiday from history, welcome Finland and Sweden into NATO by this summer, and make significant investments in military modernization and our defense-industrial capacities that are commensurate with the major challenges we face,” McConnell said in a statement, shortly before appearing alongside President Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki to support Finland’s bid to join NATO.

    And saying them in one of the right places.

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  46. Former President George W. Bush pushed back on Republican criticism on U.S. funding going to Ukraine on the anniversary of the eastern European nation’s war with Russia.

    LOL Not so sure Dubya’s a wise ‘go to guy’ on this. Especially after his time, along w/other Western leaders, of kissing Putin’s butt:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCCTf17ZiIs&t=1s

    Twenty Years of Putin Playing the West in 3 Minutes | NYT Opinion

    ‘Vladimir Putin, especially these days, is widely reviled. To some he’s a war criminal, to others he’s a dictator, and to many he’s simply a very bad man.

    But it wasn’t always this way. We trawled through video footage from 20 years of international summits, speeches and news conferences and discovered a man who once basked in high regard: the one who went fishing and dancing with George W. Bush, who fell into warm embraces with Tony Blair and whose jokes had NATO’s leaders rolling on the floor with laughter. As the Opinion Video above starkly reveals, Western leaders once considered Vladimir Putin not just an ally, but also, apparently, a friend.

    Even if they were simply giving him the benefit of the doubt for political purposes, they were taking a naïve gamble of historic proportions: Be nice to Putin, and maybe he would be nice back. It’s true that this brand of personal diplomacy scored some significant security victories. Arms control treaties were signed, and Putin allowed U.S. jets to strike the Taliban from bases in Russia’s satellite states. But as Russian tanks rolled into Georgia in August 2008, Bush learned that his eight-year friendship with the Russian leader had earned him zero leverage over Putin’s territorial ambitions.

    While it’s debatable whether Western governments could have foreseen the bloody horizon of Putin’s vision, let’s now be clear about one thing: Personal diplomacy doesn’t work when you need it most.’

    “I found him [Putin] to be very straightforward, and trustworthy. I was able to get a sense of his soul. I wouldn’t have invited him to my ranch if I didn’t trust him.” – George W. Bush

    DCSCA (2a33dc)

  47. Thank you for the re-post, lurker.

    felipe (77b190) — 2/25/2023 @ 5:13 am

    You’re more than welcome, felipe.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  48. Unlike DCCCP, George W. Bush figured out what kind of man Putin is. And shared his knowledge with Obama.

    Newly declassified memos from former President George W. Bush and then-incoming President Barack Obama revealed that while W touted the “soul” of the Russian president, he acknowledged that the relationship had “soured” and they were looking to go after Ukraine.

    “Russia attempts to challenge the territorial integrity of Ukraine, particularly in Crimea, which is 59 percent ethnically Russian and is home to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet, must be prevented,” the memo said.

    It went on to say, “Russia will exploit Europe’s dependence on Russian energy” and use political means “to drive wedges between the United States and Europe.”

    Thirteen years later, it’s precisely what has happened.

    (There’s a link in the story to a New York Times article. Those who want to see the memos themselves can buy the book.)

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  49. Here’s one thing I’d like to see Trump do but never will, for selfish reasons, and that’s for him to call a press conference and demand that Putin stop his invasion and get the f-ck out of Ukraine. Such an unequivocal statement would change Trumpist GOP opinion on a dime and perhaps alleviate the “flagging” spirit of the Ukrainian combatants.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  50. Such an unequivocal statement would change Trumpist GOP opinion on a dime

    That, in itself, is a demonstration of the terrible power Trump has over his cult. Orwell would understand.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  51. George W. Bush figured out what kind of man Putin is.

    ROFLMAOPIP Except when it mattered, he didn’t:

    “I found him [Putin] to be very straightforward, and trustworthy. I was able to get a sense of his soul. I wouldn’t have invited him to my ranch if I didn’t trust him.” – George W. Bush

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCCTf17ZiIs&t=1s

    Let’s go to the videotape…’ Warner Wolf

    DCSCA (b167d5)

  52. We need to work harder at getting the truth to Russians. That’s the tentative conclusion I draw from this Gallup poll:

    What Happened: Two-thirds, or 66%, of Russians approved of Putin’s leadership in 2022, an increase from 50% in 2021, a survey by U.S. analytics and consultancy firm Gallup showed. Only about 21% disapproved of his leadership.

    The organization noted that Putin experienced a similar spike in approval back in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea, which is central to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Support for Putin has been remarkably higher in Southern Russia and the Northern Caucasus – two regions close to the fighting along the eastern border of Ukraine, Gallup’s survey found.

    And that means using everything from leaflets fired to front-line soldiers, to using the internet, to the extent that’s possible.

    (Why tentative? Two reasons. We have to have some skepticism about a poll in a nation where the controls over the citizens are so strong, and we should remember that these “rally ’round the flag” popularity boosts are usually temporary. But putting a little effort into telling Russians the truth is still, almost certainly, worth doing.)

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  53. Trump is in enough trouble already with Putin for bungling the election and flubbing the coup. When was he last in a high rise building?

    nk (8f058b)

  54. Not much of this going on, either:

    Dollar-A-Year-Man

    ‘A number of top executives in large businesses and governments have worked for a one-dollar salary. One-dollar salaries are used in situations where an executive wishes to work without direct compensation, but for legal reasons must receive a payment above zero, so as to distinguish them from a volunteer. The concept first emerged in the early 1900s, where various leaders of industry in the United States offered their services to the government during times of war. Later, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, many business executives began accepting one-dollar salaries—often in the case of struggling companies or startups—with the potential for further indirect earnings as the result of their ownership of stock.

    Some recent one-dollar salary earners worked in government as well, most notably former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. After promising to take only a dollar a year in November 2016, former U.S. President Donald Trump donated the first three months of his salary to the National Park Service and stated plans to donate all of his salary during the term. Since then, President Trump donated his salary to various Federal Departments, fulfilling his campaign promise to do so.

    It’s an interesting list beyond Trump, Romney, Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg…

    Among Some Notable one-dollar salary earners

    Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Lee Iacocca, several high tech CEOs over time like Dorsey, Schmidt, Filo, Yang, Zuckerberg, Jobs… and ‘Evil’ Elon Musk.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-dollar_salary

    DCSCA (b167d5)

  55. Russia targets Netherlands’ North Sea infrastructure, says Dutch intelligence agency
    …………
    A Russian ship has been detected at an offshore wind farm in the North Sea as it tried to map out energy infrastructure, MIVD (Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service) head General Jan Swillens said at a news conference.

    The vessel was escorted out of the North Sea by Dutch marine and coast guard ships before any sabotage effort could become successful, he added.
    …………
    Dutch intelligence agencies MIVD and AIVD )General Intelligence and Security Service) in a joint report published on Monday, said critical offshore infrastructure such as internet cables, gas pipes and windmill farms had become the target of Russian sabotage activities.

    “Russia is secretly charting this infrastructure and is undertaking activities which indicate preparations for disruption and sabotage”, the agencies said.
    …………

    Rip Murdock (d353df)

  56. Putin fought a war in Ukraine in 2014 when Obama was President. Putin did not invade Ukraine while Trump was President. Putin did invade Ukraine after Biden had time to get up to speed. US intelligence correctly (this time) read the tea leaves correctly. Biden spoke out and Putin ignored.
    If Trump was a Putin Stooge, the best time to move would have been 2016-17. We can argue about why Putin did not invade when Trump was President, but the only fact we know is Putin did not. We do know that Putin chose to invade during Bidens Presidency. We can argue about why but the only fact we know is that Putin invaded during Biden’s Presidency. The ineptitude of the Russian army bought Biden space. If Russia had rolled Kyiv, I believe Biden would have acquiesced, in fact the intelligence community has us primed to do so, fait accompli as it were… I believe Trump likely would have let it go too, but probably out of his view that Europe should handle/pay for European problems. I share that view somewhat. Why can’t Germany, France etc get it together without the US having to drag (Germany and France) along and kick in billions of $$ and equipment drawdowns? The Poles are the only major European partner to carry its own weight and more

    steveg (ffa693)

  57. Putin liked what Trump was doing (speaking well of Putin and Xi, undermining NATO, seeing no moral difference between Russian intelligence and U.S. intelligence, etc.) when Trump was President, and may have correctly assumed that if Trump lost in 2020, he’d have an ex-President ally who would be his fifth column in the U.S.

    Somebody who, instead of using his influence to oppose the Russian invasion, would praise it as “genius”.

    norcal (7345e5)

  58. #60. Putin’s Trump-era policies can be summed up as “never interrupt an enemy who’s destroying himself.”

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  59. Putin was at war against Ukraine during Trump’s entire single term.
    I’d say Putin not only miscalculated by invading Ukraine during Biden’s term, he also miscalculated by not invading the country when Trump was president. After all, Trump already took Putin’s word over the Americans in our intelligence community, Americans who swore an oath to defend and uphold our Constitution.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  60. steveg (ffa693) — 2/25/2023 @ 5:42 pm

    As outlined in my post above and here , Trump was actively supporting Putin and against Ukraine while President, hence Putin’s goals were being met. There was no reason to invade Ukraine. When the Capitol insurrection failed to restore Trump to power, Putin went to Plan B.

    Rip Murdock (d353df)

  61. Figure 5: Bilateral commitments to Ukraine in percent of donor country GDP

    Estonia 1.07
    Latvia 0.98
    Lithuania. 0.65
    Poland 0.63
    United States 0.37
    Bulgaria 0.36
    Norway 0.36
    UK. 0.32
    Canada 0.26
    Czech Republic 0.24
    Slovakia 0.22
    Portugal 0.21
    Denmark 0.21
    Germany 0.17

    Notes:

    This database lists and quantifies military, financial and humanitarian aid transferred by governments to Ukraine since the end of diplomatic relations between Russia and Ukraine on January 24, 2022. The tank deliveries of European countries and the US announced after the NATO-Ukraine Contact Group meeting in Ramstein on January 20 are not included in the update of the Ukraine Support Tracker.

    Source: Christoph Trebesch, Arianna Antezza, Katelyn Bushnell, Andre Frank, Pascal Frank, Lukas Franz, Ivan Kharitonov, Bharath Kumar, Ekaterina Rebinskaya & Stefan Schramm (2023). “The Ukraine Support Tracker: Which countries help Ukraine and how?” Kiel Working Paper No. 2218

    Rip Murdock (d353df)

  62. Clearly Putins goals were not being met or he would not have invaded. A Putin stooge would not have encouraged NATO nations to raise their defense budgets and abilities to handle European problems with European actions. The two countries most responsible for emboldening Russian action in Ukraine are France and Germany. For god sakes the Nordic countries led by Norway Denmark took a harder line than France and Germany did. I think the misjudgement by Putin was that Biden would roll. The mis step came because Putin the autocrat strongman didn’t understand that the USA can function pretty damn well even with a dementia patient or a Trump at Executive

    steveg (98f4b7)

  63. @40 a country can’t just decide to join an alliance like NATO. It has to be let in. Blinken communicated an “open door” policy, knowing full well Ukraine wanted in. Russia may be evil and belligerent, but they aren’t dumb. As for the Biden administration, they were either too dumb to realize how Russia would react, or they knew and cynically had no problem with it cuz proxy war.

    Use of the term “proxy war” disqualifies you from being taken seriously. Sorry. Read Timothy Snyder for an explanation of why. I wrote about this myself, before:

    By the way, Snyder is very good at sticking a pin in the balloon of these phrases that people consistently use, and making them pop before our eyes. One such phrase is “proxy war.” Snyder asks, who are the proxies? Russia is the one who started the war. They are not a proxy for someone else. Russia itself invaded Ukraine. As for Ukraine being a proxy, in what sense? Again: it is a sovereign nation that was invaded. Yes, we are supplying them arms, but what non-insane person sees that as aggressive rather than an aid to the defense of a sovereign nation invaded without justification? Snyder reminds us not to use these lazy phrases as a substitute for analytical thinking.

    Take the hint.

    As for your link:

    How America’s NATO expansion obsession plays into the Ukraine crisis

    For a proper reaction to the description of the invasion of Ukraine as a “crisis,” see the post quoting the Latvian minister to the UN. It ain’t a crisis. It’s a war. Russian warship and Russian shills, go fuck yourself.

    Patterico (3cd597)

  64. If Russia actually feared invasion by NATO, I wonder why they diverted almost all their troops away from their borders with NATO countries.

    [whispers:] It’s because Russia never actually feared NATO. They just wanted to do a genocide on Ukraine, with moral support from useful idiots like those we see in this thread.

    I guarantee you people that you would have made excuses for Hitler too. That’s what I think about you.

    Patterico (3cd597)

  65. I don’t think I should talk to Putin defenders here. It’s the same reason I backed away from Twitter. It’s not good for my mental health to engage with people for whom I feel such deep contempt.

    Patterico (3cd597)

  66. Let’s say Russia and China banded together and declared that if the USA invaded Mexico, they would band together and defend Mexico.

    Just imagine.

    We would have no choice but to invade Mexico, rape its women, torture its civilians, bomb its hospitals, apartment buildings, and schools, and kidnap its children.

    It would be Russia and China’s fault, due to their aggression in announcing their willingness to defend Mexico.

    That is the supremely retarded level of logic we are dealing with here. I don’t intend to show any respect to anyone who spouts such nonsense.

    Patterico (3cd597)

  67. If we had rolled nukes into Ukraine in January 2022, y’all would have a point.

    That is not remotely what happened, so you have no point. None.

    Patterico (3cd597)

  68. Game, set, and match, Patterico.

    Well done.

    norcal (7345e5)

  69. If Xi does supply munitions to Putin to benefit his invasion, then you could say that this is a proxy war between the US and China, which meets the definition*, but still not a proxy war between the US and Russia.

    * a war fought between groups or smaller countries that each represent the interests of other larger powers, and may have help and support from these

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  70. Hi Patterico:

    A couple questions that are more vexing. Does our support of Ukraine have a limiting principle? Is it even a good idea to talk about that?

    I’d actually like your thoughts on that. An fu at the UN is fine. 500 billion flung at a war in Ukraine may not be. Given Putin, I think he’ll try appear like he’ll never give up. But he also never fully commits to calling up his entire military age population.

    Appalled (9d0969)

  71. @66 the article I linked was written over a year ago when, yes, it was a crisis not a war

    it’s too bad we can’t discuss differences without being accused of being a Putin defender, a Russian shill and making excuses for Hitler

    JF (7437e0)

  72. Along those lines, which of these would be “too far”, even if they seemed necessary to avoid a Ukrainian defeat?

    * US piloted drone strikes on Russian positions inside Ukraine
    * US piloted drone strikes on Russian positions outside Ukraine
    * US piloted air strikes on Russian positions inside or outside Ukraine
    * NATO intervention

    Additionally, which of these would be acceptable if Russia used a nuke?

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  73. @66 the article I linked was written over a year ago when, yes, it was a crisis not a war

    It has been a war since 2014.

    And yes, blaming Biden for this invasion makes anyone advancing that argument an addled Russian shill.

    Patterico (7e54d1)

  74. Hi Patterico:

    A couple questions that are more vexing. Does our support of Ukraine have a limiting principle? Is it even a good idea to talk about that

    I think it’s too difficult (and yes, unwise) to talk about limiting principles when we don’t know what will happen next. It depends on what Putin does.

    I think it’s right for Biden to be concerned about getting us involved, although I think he has been too concerned. We should be sending planes and tanks and ammo pronto and should have done so earlier. That said, what we do depends on what the mad genocidal dictator does.

    If he announces that Russia would help defend Mexico in case of a U.S. invasion, for example, the only logical response would be to bomb Mexican hospitals and apartment buildings, rape Mexican women, torture Mexican civilians, and kidnap Mexican children.

    Such is the logic of those who (like JF) blame NATO for Putin’s illegal, brutal, and genocidal invasion.

    So the answer is: what we should do, depends.

    Patterico (8f8c6e)

  75. it’s too bad we can’t discuss differences without being accused of being a Putin defender, a Russian shill and making excuses for Hitler

    The real victim here is you.

    I am just attacking you because of NATO aggression tho so it’s OK

    Patterico (8f8c6e)

  76. It’s also too bad that Putin is doing a genocide but you care more about insults that you deserve than Ukrainians being tortured and raped.

    Patterico (8f8c6e)

  77. Which brings forth your condemnation, Putin’s actions or my rhetoric? Which will get the “of course it’s bad” shrug and which will get the real passion? I think we all know the answer.

    Patterico (8f8c6e)

  78. @76 the thread devolved into blaming Trump and Trumpers for an invasion that never happened, which is the context in which “blaming Biden” was the response

    not going to get into word games about what a war and a crisis means

    and not going to respond in kind

    JF (7437e0)

  79. @76 the thread devolved into blaming Trump and Trumpers for an invasion that never happened, which is the context in which “blaming Biden” was the response

    No! A Sancho Pancho up the thread tried to tell us how this was a “Biden own goal” and how Don Trumphote would have saved the day.

    You know, the Don Trumphote whom the Great Georgia Grand Jury totally exonerated, and whose strong and powerful body Ronny Jackson could not stop looking at. It’s really amazing how Trumpers make Trump’s grandiose delusions their own reality, and then they lecture us about the “real world”. Amazing and annoying.

    nk (bb1548)

  80. A couple questions that are more vexing. Does our support of Ukraine have a limiting principle? Is it even a good idea to talk about that

    “Ukraine free and Putin dead” sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    nk (bb1548)

  81. Yes, nk. I remember someone explaining about how it actually happened under Biden and sarcastically noting that Trump had never been president. The implication was: Trump would have prevented this.

    not going to get into word games about what a war and a crisis means

    Too late; you already did.

    Patterico (52f65b)

  82. I should acknowledge that my analogy with Mexico is not very good. The true analogy would be if Russia and China only considered pledging to defend Mexico, and not if they actually did pledge to defend Mexico.

    Patterico (8f3872)

  83. @85, Patterico, we agreed to defend UKE in 1994. It was part of why they gave up their Nuclear weapons.

    It was a while ago, but I think a record of keep our treaties WRT WMD is in our long term interests.

    Time123 (945258)

  84. Patterico, we agreed to defend UKE in 1994

    We agreed to offer them security assurances, not guarantees, and it wasn’t a treaty. Still, we made commitments and we’re right for honoring them.

    What was a treaty was the 1997 agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, where the latter guaranteed Ukrainian sovereignty. But ever since his 2008 Bucharest pronouncement, he has been deliberately at odds with the West, and it also signaled that he would welsh on the deals that he Russian Federation made, including Budapest and Minsk and Geneva and treaties that don’t suit Putin’s hegemonic agenda.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  85. Here’s how I see Putin and the rest of the Russian nomenklatura including Tucker Carlson. None of them are suffering including Tucker Carlson. Some are even profiting including Tucker Carlson.

    Russian soldiers are being killed and maimed but Putin and the nomenklatura including Tucker Carlson are out of harm’s way. Russia’s economy may be taking a double hit from expense of the war and from the economic sanctions but Putin and the nomenklatura including Tucker Carlson still have their wealth and all their comforts.

    Sociopathy is a great insulator and until the war is brought home to Putin and the nomenklatura including Tucker Carlson personally, the way Lenin brought it home to the Romanovs in 1917, they will continue to see themselves as losing nothing and standing only to gain.

    nk (bb1548)

  86. Paul, you’re correct, it wasn’t a firm guarantee

    Time123 (945258)

  87. Wish I had more time to layout my thoughts, but in bullet point form

    -the US and Russia promised UKE security in exchange for disarmament.
    -the agreement doesn’t commit us to boots on the ground.
    -security concerns are likely to be part of any future disarmament negotiations.
    -clearly and visibly keeping our commitments here maintains future credibility and is in our long term interest.

    Time123 (945258)

  88. Ukrainian presidents have been Russian allies except for a brief period in 2014 after the Ukrainian Revolutation, when the Ukrainian President fled the country, and after 2019 when Zelensky was elected President. At first, there was speculation that Zelensky would support Russia, but he did not.

    Russia invaded both times that Ukrainian leaders were not pro-Russia and pro-Putin. IMO the US President had very little to do with it.

    DRJ (e7de3a)

  89. Remember, also, that Ttump withheld aid from Ukraine during the run up to the Russian invasion.

    DRJ (e7de3a)

  90. Yesterday, February 26, was the 30th anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, after which everyone knew the WTC was a target.

    Sammy Finkelman (785dcf)

  91. DRJ (e7de3a) — 2/26/2023 @ 11:06 am

    Remember, also, that Ttump withheld aid from Ukraine during the run up to the Russian invasion.

    Not during the run up, unless you count all 8 years as the run up. The run up stated about August, 2019.

    In 2019, for 55 days, until Congressman Adam Schiff caused the “hold” to leak.

    Trump had kept this hold (on the aid voted by Congress) secret. And he didn’t even tell the Ukrainians.

    The Ukrainians knew but didn’t want the U.S. government to know that they knew because they would have been suspected of spying.

    About 40 days in, Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sundland told the Ukrainians, and he tried to work out a deal whereby Ukraine would start an investigation or announce the start of an investigation into the claim (which came from Putin through Russian agents and then Giuliani) that Joe Biden as vice president had single-handedly caused the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to stop an investigation – an assertion buttressed by a false claim that Biden had made to being instrumental in the firing of the prosecutor except that he didn’t say it was to stop an investigation.

    But Trump would have none of this proposed deal every time it was brouht up to him (both by Gordon Sundland and by Senator Ron Johnson) . He thought the Ukrainians should start this investigation on their own without being asked. Then, the Ukrainian government would meet with his approval.

    Despite the protest from Trump, Sundland forged ahead anyway.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  92. * He thought the Ukrainians should start this investigation on their own without being asked to do it in exchange for something else..

    Then he’d know they were sincere.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  93. I don’t understand your comments, Sammy.

    Putin wants a return to the Soviet Union. Taking Ukraine is part of that goal.

    If anything contributed to the timing of Putin’s invasion, other than Putin’s personality, it was the distraction of the EU leaders that made Putin think no one would help Ukraine. America is always distracted and isolationist, until it isn’t.

    DRJ (fea4b5)

  94. DRJ (fea4b5) — 2/28/2023 @ 9:47 am

    I don’t understand your comments, Sammy.

    I m not sure what you are referring to.

    Putin wants a return to the Soviet Union.

    And more. Eastern Europe.

    Taking Ukraine is part of that goal.

    yes. But this was on the back burner.

    I think Putin also had amore urgent reason for not liking the way Ukraine was going. Because of its similarity to Russia, and its history as part of it, it was a “bad” example.

    He wanted to make it a puppet state. Failing that, he now wants to destroy it, it seems.

    If anything contributed to the timing of Putin’s invasion, other than Putin’s personality, it was the distraction of the EU leaders that made Putin think no one would help Ukraine. America is always distracted and isolationist, until it isn’t.

    I think he considered only America essential and important, and he rated the probability of America helping or not according to lives lost, not strategic importance, and when he saw that President Biden abandoned Afghanistan, even though it was costing virtually no American lives, he thought that, in the end, America would leave him to deal alone with Ukraine too.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  95. when he saw that President Biden abandoned Afghanistan, even though it was costing virtually no American lives, he thought that, in the end, America would leave him to deal alone with Ukraine too

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 2/28/2023 @ 4:44 pm

    Good point, Sammy. Biden was eager to spike the football on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

    We should have left after the first year or two of kicking a$$ in Afghanistan, and let the Northern Alliance take over–democratic or not–but we didn’t. Because of that, we “bought” Afghanistan, and we should have stayed until it was fixed.

    norcal (7345e5)

  96. when he saw that President Biden abandoned Afghanistan, even though it was costing virtually no American lives, he thought that, in the end, America would leave him to deal alone with Ukraine too

    If that is what motivated Putin, then Trump is to blame and not Biden. Trump is the one that negotiated the withdrawal.

    I think Putin wanted Crimea, Ukraine, etc. for decades, and his goal has always been to restore Russia to its former borders and power. He was always going to do this.

    DRJ (192a97)

  97. I think Putin wanted Crimea, Ukraine, etc. for decades, and his goal has always been to restore Russia to its former borders and power. He was always going to do this.

    Yes.

    Where Putin fell short was that neither his information people nor his operation people were up to the job.

    Was it because he, himself, is not a soldier who assesses a situation, formulates a strategy, and executes it with the appropriate personnel and resources? But, instead, a KGB thug used to riding roughshod over any opposition? I think so.

    nk (bb1548)

  98. I don’t know what permits four or more links. Maybe the amount of other text.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  99. DRJ (192a97) — 2/28/2023 @ 7:01 pm

    If that is what motivated Putin, then Trump is to blame and not Biden. Trump is the one that negotiated the withdrawal.

    But not quite so abjectly. (Trump is now claiming he would have kept the airbase – maybe for last? he’s just saying things. But Trump didn’t follow through.

    I think Putin wanted Crimea, Ukraine, etc. for decades, and his goal has always been to restore Russia to its former borders and power. He was always going to do this.

    Then why did he wait till 2014 and then to 2022? He was deterred, but then the deterrence failed.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  100. One reason some Afghan soldiers accepted a safe conduct out of Afghanistan from the Taliban was that with the U.S. gone they weren’t even sure they’d be paid.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  101. a KGB thug used to riding roughshod over any opposition?

    The NKVD political officers were big on the “or else.”

    Kevin M (1ea396)


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