Patterico's Pontifications

3/9/2023

Garry Kasparov Speaks on Ukraine at UCLA

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:21 am



The other day I had the pleasure of attending the Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture at UCLA. It was given by Garry Kasparov and addressed authoritarianism in general, and Putin and Ukraine specifically. Also in attendance were the lovely Mrs. P. and Dana and her husband, as well as my old friend David A. (David and Dana’s husband are somewhat less lovely on the outside but very lovely on the inside.) I also saw Eugene Volokh and my old neighbor from Marina del Rey. Everybody wanted to be there.

I wanted to highlight two things Kasparov said that I thought were important.

First: the moderator, who is (I believe) a UCLA professor of international relations, asked a question I found to be dopey. The essence of it was: even if you don’t think so, Mr. Kasparov, this war will inevitably end in a negotiated settlement, and shouldn’t Ukraine be willing to trade away some minor territorial concessions? After all, there are a lot of ethnic Russians who speak Russian in Crimea! I felt my blood boiling as the question was asked and at the end I muttered under my breath: Let him have it!

Kasparov let him have it.

Among other things, he pointed out that the borders in question are universally recognized borders that Russia agreed to in 1991. He said: “I understand you have a department here at UCLA that studies international law. Why not just abolish it?” Because if a country can simply invade another peaceable nation and destroy those borders, and have the world tell the victim country they have to accept it, then we have no more international law. As to what concessions Ukraine should make, Kasparov said, he would not presume to advise them because it’s their business. It’s their country being invaded. As for the presence of ethnic Russians in Crimea, he said, well, there were ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland. That did not give Hitler the right to simply annex it.

Second: on the topic of nuclear weapons, Kasparov said that of course we have to be mindful of the possibility of their use, as we always do, but the chances of Putin using a nuclear weapon are very low. (I agree.) In this connection, he made a point that resonated with me: if Putin uses some kind of tactical nuclear weapon, which seems very unlikely, he would use it on Ukraine, not the United States. But it seems that the people most fearful about Putin using a nuclear weapon are people sipping cocktails in Los Angeles or New York, while the people in Ukraine, who are after all the ones who face the real threat, don’t care.

I spontaneously applauded at that line and a number of people in the room followed suit.

It occurred to me that this phenomenon is very similar to the one I discussed here recently, wherein the folks at the British Academy Film Awards disinvited Christo Grozev, the Bellingcat researcher who uncovered evidence that Putin was behind a poisoning plot against Alexei Navalny’s life. The cowards were worried about their own skin, while Grozev didn’t care. As I said:

Christo Grozev is a brilliant researcher who, by taking on Putin, has put his own life at risk. He knew the risks and he acted anyway. Why? Because it was the right thing to do.

Now here are a bunch of artsy ponces — from the nation that made famous the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On,” no less — scurrying in fear at a ridiculous non-threat to the safety of an audience at a self-congratulatory event for the glitterati. Grozev, I’m sure, would have had the courage to attend if he were allowed to. And it’s his neck that was truly at risk, not the audience’s.

Imagine. This crowd could have told themselves they had the COURAGE and BACKBONE to attend an event where, somewhere else in a room, a man sat whom Vladimir Putin would like to kill. They could have applauded him as he won a prize, and congratulated themselves on their incredible courage in being willing to sit in the same room, dressed in fancy tuxedos and dresses, with a man whom Putin wanted dead. And they lived to tell the tale! They could have kept friends spellbound for weeks at their tales of personal bravado.

My, my, perhaps they could even have sent Alexei Navalny a letter in prison telling him how brave they were.

But no. It was not to be. These fancy-clad nobility of the film arts remained safe in their seats, and did not have their safety threatened by the presence of the likes of Grozev.

The people at the British film awards were never in real danger. Grozev was in real danger, and he didn’t care. He would have come. But they had to make it about them.

If you spend your days arguing that we should not help Ukraine resist Putin’s genocidal war, because you are wringing your hands about the remote possibility of Putin using a nuclear weapon, Kasparov and I have a message for you: it’s not about you. You are not in real danger. The people of Ukraine are the ones in real danger.

So drop the narcissism. The universe does not revolve around you. Stop making it all about you. It’s not.

Thanks to Dana for alerting me to the talk and making it possible for myself and my wife to attend.

93 Responses to “Garry Kasparov Speaks on Ukraine at UCLA”

  1. I was all on the side of the debate that we (“we” meaning the West) ought to be careful in case Putin starts using nukes.

    But, I do think it’s a very astute observation… he’s only going to use ’em against Ukraine. We know Putin is crazy, but I doubt he’s crazy enough to use nukes against US/NATO.

    I’m heartened to see the news that the US is trying to uptrain Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. Hopefully that has a quick turnaround time.

    whembly (d116f3)

  2. “Artsy ponces” is a majorly under-utilized phrase.
    More sanctions. More weapons.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  3. I’m so glad you were able to attend, Patterico. And with friends, like Dana and company.

    But gladder at hearing the response to Kasparov’s commentary.

    There is a saying attributed to Stalin that goes something like this: “The West fears that I will not know when to stop. This is not true. I will know.”

    Bullies cannot dictate policy. Not on websites, not in academia, not in politics, and not with regard to international borders. The creeping “shifting goalposts” are worrisome.

    It all comes down to this, and it is something Orwell knew and tried to teach us all: “What do you stand for, or rather, will not stand for? It defines you as a person.”

    Thank you again. And yes, I cringe at the thought of some of the replies that will surely follow your post.

    Simon Jester (ff9c91)

  4. Paul M, I loved the use of the term “ponce” too. As a person keeping their head down in academia until retirement, it made me laugh out loud.

    Simon Jester (ff9c91)

  5. I am forever reminded of all the actors and actresses who would not attend the 2001 Emmys, held a few weeks after 9/1, but were quite happy to wear their Ribbons of Disapproval at the Oscars a few years later to protest the GWoT, and verbally applauded their own “bravery” for doing so.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  6. * 9/11, of course

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  7. Again, I assert that using a nuke against Ukraine is the same thing as declaring war against NATO and the United States. It would be very foolish of Putin, and he is not that.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  8. The F-16 issue is a red herring. Where would the F-16s be based? In Ukraine? They would be destroyed in five minutes by Russian missiles. F-16s need at least 1500-3300 feet of runway to take off. Germany or Poland? Basing F-16s there would dare Russia to attack those bases.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  9. So bummed I couldn’t join you guys, but thanks for the detailed write-up. I hate having late-afternoon businesses conferences.

    And I’m going to have to disagree with you, P. Having met Mr. Dana, I can assure all of your readers that he is indeed a very lovely man on the outside, perhaps has lovely as he is on the inside.

    JVW (92f7d2)

  10. Basing F-16s there would dare Russia to attack those bases.

    Maybe that should be the point.

    JVW (d1812d)

  11. @7. K, it’s 2023, not 1962. They’re never going to irradiate territory they want to absorb- especially w/Chernobyl as a glowing example of a dead zone right on Russia’s doorstep in Ukraine itself; the physical damage alone, along w/t long term damage– centuries- to the environment- ground water, agricultures etc., fallout not to mention health issues to future generations, cancers and so forth simply void any use. OTOH, Russia apparently has their own, non-nuclear, thermal FOAB- similar to the U.S. MOAB; w/near equal but non-radioactive contaminants, created to replace low-yield nuclear weapons in the Russian inventory:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_of_All_Bombs

    Current Russian defense policy lets Vlad rattle the nuke cage for propaganda purposes should the borders of Mother Russia be breached– it’s SOP w/Russia, and weenies in the West get their knickers in a twist- particularly in the media- for 48/72 hour news cycles whenever he rattles that cage; it’s cable news chatter. And inevitably, any adversary w/nukes reminds the U.S. that it is the only nation to have detonated nuclear weapons over populated territory. They’re strategic pieces on a global chess board used to provoke or deter, not to be actually used.

    ‘Course he could overtly deploy land-based nukes, to annoy if not elicit or provoke an American response in this hemisphere, in ‘allied’ Central America nations a la Nikita in ’62; Russia’s leading allies are Nicaragua and El Salvador. But why bother escalating w/establishing a fixed target- as it is now, Russian submarines armed with nukes are cruising off the U.S. coastlines– so where’s the worry at coastal cocktail parties over that ‘clear and present danger’ to the U.S. and NATO:

    Russia’s Nuclear Submarines ‘Critical Challenge’ to the U.S. Right Now

    ‘United States commanders and military observers have been sounding the alarm about the activity of Russia’s submarine fleet off the U.S. coast as the war in Ukraine rages on… The Russian Navy commands one of the most diverse submarine fleets in the world. Some are capable of carrying ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads, which Moscow considers key to its strategic deterrent.’

    https://www.newsweek.com/russia-nuclear-submarines-critical-challenge-united-states-1786658

    We just live with it– and watch it.

    DCSCA (88456e)

  12. Basing F-16s there would dare Russia to attack those bases.

    Maybe that should be the point.

    JVW (d1812d) — 3/9/2023 @ 10:35 am

    It would certainly present a conundrum to the Russian military. Do they pre-emptively destroy the F-16s on the ground, risking a direct NATO confrontation, or does Russia try to shoot them down over Ukraine?

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  13. Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 3/9/2023 @ 11:14 am

    The F-16s become bait.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  14. The F-16s become bait.

    Exactly. Up until now Ukraine’s allies have tried to have it both ways (as Kasparov noted), showing support for the nation while absolutely avoiding “provoking” Putin. But we’re already actively training their military and their pilots, so at this point allowing Ukraine to use NATO bases should be a logical next step.

    JVW (22e69e)

  15. It would certainly present a conundrum to the Russian military. Do they pre-emptively destroy the F-16s on the ground, risking a direct NATO confrontation, or does Russia try to shoot them down over Ukraine?

    Since their airbases in Russia are “off limits” to Ukrainian strikes, they would be hypocritical to complain that German bases were “in bounds.”

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  16. @12/13. OTOH, doesn’t that fuel Putin’s propaganda machine – particularly for home consumption to feed to the Russian people- by assisting validation to Vlad’s long held contention that NATO is not merely a defensive alliance but an offensive organization which expanded eastward, post-Soviet dissolution, to “destroy” Russia. That, along w/t need to ‘clean’ proprietary technologies from any possible F-16s deployed, may be why the U.S. is being cautious. And, of course, some of the finest fighter aircraft in the world already are on the European continent, in European military inventories as it is.

    DCSCA (88456e)

  17. The 7 Best European Fighter Jets

    1. Dassault Mirage III
    2. SEPECAT Jaguar
    3. Panavia Tornado
    4. Dassault Mirage 2000
    5. Dassault Rafale
    6. Saab JAS 39 Gripen
    7. Eurofighter Typhoon

    https://aerocorner.com/blog/european-fighter-jets/

    DCSCA (88456e)

  18. So drop the narcissism. The universe does not revolve around you. Stop making it all about you. It’s not.

    it’s about American interests. Full stop

    Stop making it about “making it about me”

    JF (b94148)

  19. Interesting summary of the speech, enjoyed the read and agree that we should do more to oppose Russia’s war of conquest.

    Time123 (d948f2)

  20. Our esteemed host used a line that he has previously used to criticize my position:

    If you spend your days arguing that we should not help Ukraine resist Putin’s genocidal war, because you are wringing your hands about the remote possibility of Putin using a nuclear weapon, Kasparov and I have a message for you: it’s not about you. You are not in real danger. The people of Ukraine are the ones in real danger.

    So drop the narcissism. The universe does not revolve around you. Stop making it all about you. It’s not.

    Emphases in the original.

    That the nuclear threshold might someday be crossed, and that no one could know what the consequences of that might be has been a worry among strategists long predating the invasion of Ukraine. It’s been an issue every time India and Pakistan have one of their frequent clashes. It’s been an issue which underlies all of the worry about Iran getting atomic bombs.

    Is the possibility that Vladimir Putin will use tactical or battlefield nukes against Ukraine “remote”? If Russia is winning, yes, the probabilities are vanishingly small. If the war is essentially a stalemate, the probabilities remain remote. But if Ukraine has a surge that puts them close to actually winning, which is the entire point of Western assistance to Ukraine, the probabilities increase. The one outcome that Mr Putin absolutely cannot afford is a Russian loss. That gets him thrown out of power, and perhaps even sent to The Hague for a war crimes trial. More, he knows that he doesn’t have to actually lose, but a serious threat of losing increases the probability that he’ll be deposed even before a Russian loss.

    And our host definitely wants Russia to lose:

    First: the moderator, who is (I believe) a UCLA professor of international relations, asked a question I found to be dopey. The essence of it was: even if you don’t think so, Mr. Kasparov, this war will inevitably end in a negotiated settlement, and shouldn’t Ukraine be willing to trade away some minor territorial concessions? After all, there are a lot of ethnic Russians who speak Russian in Crimea! I felt my blood boiling as the question was asked and at the end I muttered under my breath: Let him have it!

    I recognize that I am a rather lonely voice here, and one which will go into automatic moderation; I have not pleased our host very much. But he has advocated precisely the conditions which increase that “remote” chance that that nuclear threshold will be crossed. Once crossed, who can say what will happen?

    We have seen an ironic reversal of NATO strategic thinking here. For decades, it was thought that the American nuclear arsenal, including shorter range nuclear weapons, would be necessary to counter the huge conventional strategic advantage in tanks, artillery, and other military equipment the Red Army had, should the Soviets invade NATO Europe.

    Now, Russia has proven that the Армия России are not the powerful juggernaut so long feared. But that reverses the equation: if NATO provide the equipment, supplies, and possibly soldiers, to defeat the Russian Army in a conventional war, it becomes the Russian nuclear weapons which could be counted on to reverse such a defeat.

    Our host has spoken about courage, specifically referencing Christo Grozev. But what does courage actually mean when we are talking about a possible nuclear war? The idea that brave men are fighting and holding the line against tyranny, to protect their wives and children back home, is the stuff of books and magazines and blogs, but the fact is that our potential opponent has the ability to fire over the heads of those brave soldiers and strike the cities and towns in which their wives and children back home live.

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (53cee2)

  21. Mr M wrote:

    Again, I assert that using a nuke against Ukraine is the same thing as declaring war against NATO and the United States. It would be very foolish of Putin, and he is not that.

    It appears, at least in hindsight, that invading Ukraine was a very foolish thing to do, yet Mr Putin did so.

    Under the North Atlantic Treaty, using a nuke against a NATO member is the same thing as declaring war on all of NATO, but Ukraine is not a NATO member, and, in fact, rejected NATO membership in 2010. Would President Biden and the other NATO heads of state agree that “using a nuke against Ukraine is the same thing as declaring war against NATO and the United States,” or would they be defecating in their drawers if such a thing happened?

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (53cee2)

  22. OTOH, doesn’t that fuel Putin’s propaganda machine – particularly for home consumption to feed to the Russian people- by assisting validation to Vlad’s long held contention that NATO is not merely a defensive alliance but an offensive organization which expanded eastward, post-Soviet dissolution, to “destroy” Russia.

    The biggest mistake we made in the Global War on Terror is obsessing over how our actions might feed enemy propaganda. Some things you have no control over, but the good news is that in the Information Age it is much easier for the Russian people to see past Putin’s lies than it has ever been.

    JVW (b0a75d)

  23. But that reverses the equation: if NATO provide the equipment, supplies, and possibly soldiers, to defeat the Russian Army in a conventional war, it becomes the Russian nuclear weapons which could be counted on to reverse such a defeat.

    But here’s what I think you’re overlooking: to Ukraine, “defeat” is having Russia annex a sizable chunk of their territory. To Russia, “defeat” is being forced to retreat back across the original borders (and then probably having Ukraine brought into NATO, which would be the appropriate punishment for Russia’s deeds). There is no scenario here where Ukraine marches into Moscow, so “defeat” for Russia is simply a return to the status quo ante.

    Granted, that is still a humiliation for Putin, but are there really enough Putin loyalists embedded within the Russian state to allow a nuclear exchange just to appease Putin’s humiliation? Perhaps there are, but I think it’s a risk worth taking in order to defend the concept that big states don’t get to overrun their smaller neighbors.

    JVW (b3ebe0)

  24. JVW wrote:

    are there really enough Putin loyalists embedded within the Russian state to allow a nuclear exchange just to appease Putin’s humiliation? Perhaps there are, but I think it’s a risk worth taking in order to defend the concept that big states don’t get to overrun their smaller neighbors.

    Emphasis mine.

    I will admit that I have never before seen anyone say that “a nuclear exchange” is “a risk worth taking”. A nuclear “exchange” has always been seen as the ultimate deterrent, and something never to be used absent an existential threat. Is the defeat of Ukraine an existential threat?

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (53cee2)

  25. I will admit that I have never before seen anyone say that “a nuclear exchange” is “a risk worth taking”.

    Of course we have. During the Cold War we took plenty of risks that could have triggered a nuclear exchange. The U2 spy planes being an example, the Cuban blockade during the missile crisis being another. Somehow back then we understood that a global bully can’t use the fear of nuclear war to force us to accept his criminal actions. Have we really gone this soft since the fall of the Berlin Wall?

    JVW (27a07d)

  26. The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (53cee2) — 3/9/2023 @ 2:14 pm

    Is the defeat of Ukraine an existential threat?

    There’s an argument it is, especially one brought about by the use of a nuclear weapon. And there’s an argument that (false?) triumph by Ukraine could lead Putin to drop a nuclear bomb, after which NATO would have to make sure he loses, and that it then could end in who know what.

    But Putin is not that crazy. Or most of his military.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  27. There are millions of ethnic Mexican people (what ever that means) in pockets through out the US and some (most) are very close to the border and the US used to have quite a few retired US ethnic people (whatever that means) in Rosarito Beach. Point being, we’d resist if the Mexican Army invaded on its citizens behalf and the Mexican government would resist if we invaded Baja California on our citizens behalf. This wouldn’t happen except in some very extreme scenario. Because despite our individual shortcomings, we can talk about it, and regularly do so. Peaceful border in Russian-speak is Russian “peacekeeping” troops on both sides of said border with vassal states

    steveg (b792af)

  28. Random points:

    1. Bravo for Kasparov, who for years has been speaking out courageously against Putin and the thugs who support him.
    2. I don’t agree with the defeatist premise of the professor’s question, but it wasn’t dopey. Unfortunately there are times when a conflict ends in a way that at least partially leaves the aggressor rewarded, and leaves no one satisfied. Korea is a prime example. By all rights there should not even be a North Korea, but the aggressors of 1950 were able to keep some of their gains thanks to their Soviet and Chinese sponsors. It is totally unjust that the people of the north have had to live under a noxious dictatorship that seems to combine the worst aspects of Marxism and monarchical succession, but the bad guys have gotten away with it for more than 70 years now.
    3. Putin is unlikely to use nuclear weapons for the same reasons that no one else has since 1945 — you can’t predict for sure what will happen once nukes are used, or if or how far the conflict might spread. On some level in his evil reptilian brain Putin has got to realize that use of a “tactical” nuke against Ukraine could directly to the incineration of Moscow and other Russian cities, or at least he can’t be sure that it wouldn’t.
    4. I agree much more with Patterico and JVW on these issues than with Libertarian Dana, but don’t question his motives or consider him narcissistic for having these concerns. I’m sure everyone who comments here hates to see innocent lives lost even if they differ about methods.
    5. Hopefully the US and other nations can give Ukraine what it needs (and ramp up sanctions, too) so that this war ends justly. The minimum just outcome would be Russia expelled from Ukraine and forced to pay reparations, but if Ukraine could get more than that, or Putin could be deposed, that would be great too.

    RL formerly in Glendale (7a2d64)

  29. Is the defeat of Ukraine an existential threat?

    It is to Ukraine.

    It’s not to Alina Kabaeva.

    nk (df21c2)

  30. Somehow back then we understood that a global bully can’t use the fear of nuclear war to force us to accept his criminal actions.

    Which, for example, would be news to Czechoslovakia when Soviet tanks rolled into Prague, circa August, 1968. You underestimate the ‘my country, right or wrong’ syndrome; it doesn’t just apply to vocal zealots in the United States. Lots of global bullies– some even sponsored and protected by the good guys– out of strategic necessity– or for profit [the Shah of Iran comes to mind]. Certainly bully Kaddafi was tolerated for decades to keep oil flowing and offered deals to lift sanctions in exchange for Libya to give up away it nuke/WMD programs- something which VP Cheney was quite proud of. The Saudis aren’t exactly good buddies, either. Egypt’s bully Mubarek was tolerated as well to maintain stability in the region. President Nixon, long a rabid anti-communist- opened relations w/bully Mao– who sent troops into North Korea attacking U.S./UN troops in 1950– as a strategic move to check against Brezhnev’s USSR to cool any Eurasian alliance developing then. [And what he feared then has materialized now- w/t PRC the weightier partner.] Current ‘MAD’ policy has been modified and layered w/multiple off-ramps and measured response protocols. It’s proliferation that’s the worrisome threat and checking development via surrogates w/upstart or unstable regimes such as NorKo and Iran is the chief concern.

    DCSCA (5d6e8d)

  31. Hi Rip

    The F16’s would probably be taking off and landing via long straight stretches of roads. The Ukrainians have been good at pop up airfields so far. The also have done well hiding their HIMARS which has to be difficult. Point is, the Ukrainians have been very resourceful and successful at hiding valuable system when measured against the strength of the opponent. Some people have noted that the Ukraine has pop up airfields on roadways and dummy pop up airfields on roadways. Command and control widely dispersed. Constantly on the move to avoid becoming a fixed target.

    Russia has not achieved air superiority over all of Ukraine and is not likely to. Russia will not likely be able to stop NATO built planes from launching stand off munitions, because they can’t stop Ukrainian planes from doing it now.

    Russian missiles have gotten fewer and fewer. The technology of the Russian missiles and their capabilities are mixed. 60% of Russian guided missiles that land in the West of Ukraine miss by survivable distances, most are shot down. This means that Russia will inevitably hit all fixed location targets. For example Russia has down well at hitting fixed infrastructure targets with missiles. The key to success would be to never give Russia more than a very short term fixed target

    Not sure how the friend or foe ID will go. Certainly will make it easier for both sides and maybe Russia will be able to stop shooting down its own planes, although they’ve shot down their own planes 50 miles inside Russia so that isn’t likely to end

    steveg (b792af)

  32. Saudi’s are closer to US than ever because Iran/Yemen. Are they still untrustworthy but rich bastards? Yes. Are they going to buy much if any Russian equipment after seeing its performance? No. Saudi’s buying our war machines makes them dependent on the US when the inevitable skirmish erupts between Iran and the Saudis

    steveg (b792af)

  33. Thing is, chess players are strategic opportunists; they can play either side of game board, black or white, to win or lose. By coincidence, 40 years ago this week, Ronald Reagan delivered his ‘Evil Empire’ speech to the world. The next year, in 1984, per his wiki bio, Kasparov joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and was elected to the Central Committee of Komsomol in 1987– whether to survive or just ‘play the game’ is debatable. He chose the moves to what ultimately became the losing side. After the dissolution of the USSR, and that game ended in ’89– by 1990, he left the party- and shifted to pro democracy activism- a move to the then the growing trend, and with a fresh board, pieces reset, he backed Yeltsin… who in turn, brought Putin into his government and who he has opposed since. If the pieces had been moved differently– by Gorby or by Yeltsin– he’d likely still be inside Russia.

    DCSCA (5d6e8d)

  34. Which, for example, would be news to Czechoslovakia when Soviet tanks rolled into Prague, circa August, 1968.

    For better or worse, Czechoslovakia was already part of the Warsaw Pact in 1968. No way the West was going to take up arms on behalf of the poor Czechs and Slovaks under those circumstances. But you already knew that. And your Nixon/Mao comparison? Are you suggesting that having hostilities with a country in 1953 somehow precludes you from trying for a rapprochement twenty years later?

    And Kaddafi, Murabak, and the House of Saud are very much junior varsity bullies, but I certainly don’t recall any of those three trying to expand their nation’s borders at the expense of another, even if they were indeed meddling where they shouldn’t have been.

    JVW (db3e5d)

  35. @32. Saudi’s buying our war machines makes them dependent on the US when the inevitable skirmish erupts between Iran and the Saudis

    That’s similar leverage being used by the U.S. toward NATO Turkey when they began purchasing Russia arms and defernse systems:

    Turkey’s Russian air defence systems and U.S. response

    https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/turkeys-russian-air-defence-systems-us-response-2021-10-01/

    The old adage, ‘with friends like this, who needs enemies’ comes to mind.

    DCSCA (5d6e8d)

  36. @34. You brought up tolerating bullies… it’s just that it is not so simple in a complicagted world; the point is ‘bullies’ are “used” tolerated or reviled for a plethora of economic and political interests.

    DCSCA (5d6e8d)

  37. And Kaddafi, Mubarak, and the House of Saud are very much junior varsity bullies

    That depends on your metric for bullies; the Saudis have bloody history and more recently, murdered a WaPo reporter and chopped up his remains; Kaddafi blew up PanAm 103, to name just one bully move and Mubarak ‘ruled Egypt with an iron fist, nicknamed “the pharaoh” by ordinary Egyptians after the ancient, all-powerful monarchs.

    DCSCA (5d6e8d)

  38. But it seems that the people most fearful about Putin using a nuclear weapon are people sipping cocktails in Los Angeles or New York, while the people in Ukraine, who are after all the ones who face the real threat, don’t care.

    You could reword this slightly with:

    But it seems that the people most fearful about Putin using a nuclear weapon are people living in Kentucky, while people in Los Angeles and New York, who are after all the ones who would face the threat first, don’t care.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  39. JVW (db3e5d) — 3/9/2023 @ 4:00 pm

    And Kaddafi, Murabak, and the House of Saud are very much junior varsity bullies, but I certainly don’t recall any of those three trying to expand their nation’s borders at the expense of another, any of those three trying to expand their nation’s borders at the expense of another, even if they were indeed meddling where they shouldn’t have been

    Earlier they did.

    Egypt attacked Israel in 1948, and the House of Saud conquered a founding member of the League of Nations, the Kingdom of Hedjaz, in 1925…..they destroyed Mohammed’s house and came close to destroying his grave as well, I think. Nejd, as it was called then (until 1932) was not a member of the League of Nations.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  40. To some, opposing territorial aggression by a nuclear power is so dangerous it should never be contemplated. At what point do you do so anyway? At the first step of aggression? Or at some later step after the beast has had the taste of conquest?

    If not Ukraine, why should anyone believe our promises to NATO? Or to Taiwan? Or to Alaska?

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  41. Point being, we’d resist if the Mexican Army invaded on its citizens behalf and the Mexican government would resist if we invaded Baja California on our citizens behalf. This wouldn’t happen except in some very extreme scenario.

    Not to move us to a tangent, but a U.S. military incursion into Mexico isn’t totally a nonstarter these days, and should the GOP return to full power, well, watch out. Maybe we’ll have the same debate then about whether the U.S. is a bully or just protecting its own citizens, and maybe, should a certain disgraced President return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we’ll hear loose talk of using a tactical nuke.

    JVW (061960)

  42. Now, Russia has proven that the Армия России are not the powerful juggernaut so long feared. But that reverses the equation: if NATO provide the equipment, supplies, and possibly soldiers, to defeat the Russian Army in a conventional war, it becomes the Russian nuclear weapons which could be counted on to reverse such a defeat.

    Uh, no. You equate the aggressors with the defenders.

    NATO never aimed to invade Russia, and it’s consideration of a nuclear response was in DEFENDING Europe against a Russian onslaught.

    That is not the same with the instigator of war — the criminal seeking to conquer — reaching for nuclear weapons when his first aggression is repulsed.

    The West is not seeking territory. It has never sought territory. To equate the use of nuclear weapons as an aid to conquest with using them to defend one’s own land, is repulsive, ugly and, imho, cowardly.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  43. NYT Wednesday had a story about the blowing up of the Nordstream pipeline.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/07/us/politics/nord-stream-pipeline-sabotage-ukraine.html

    My only conclusion is that there must be some unknown outside force involved.

    Maybe Belarus?

    https://carnegieendowment.org/politika/88317

    The current agenda of Belarus-Russia relations appears to be dominated by a single question: Will the Kremlin manage to drag the Belarusian armed forces into military action against Ukraine? It would seem that nothing less than the survival of Belarus as a sovereign state rests on this question right now.

    Belarus’s veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko, with his unmatched lust for power, may yet find a way to extricate himself and his country from the predicament, dodging Russian pressure as he has done on so many occasions in the past three decades….

    This would be a real double cross.

    But Belarus needs Russia to be weaker.

    Or some split-away faction in Ukraine or Russia?

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  44. Not to move us to a tangent, but a U.S. military incursion into Mexico isn’t totally a nonstarter these days

    It would be far far cheaper to BUY Baja than to take it by force. After all, we still have a pen and a checkbook.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  45. I doubt that the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia on Ukrainian territory will result in a “nuclear exchange” between Russia and the US. Russia has threatened the use of nuclear weapons throughout the war, yet failed to follow through, which makes them look weaker than if they did use them.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  46. @41. The ‘moves’ don’t necessarily have to be big, noisy and made public, either. Certainly not a major, secret ‘incursion-into-Cambodia-to-wipe-out-the-VC-strongholds’ type move. Perhaps special ops teams on the QT; etc., a la Bin Laden. Basic policing isn’t working. Problem, too, is there are Mexican government officials in cahoots w/t cartels; payoffs, etc.

    DCSCA (5d6e8d)

  47. Point being, we’d resist if the Mexican Army invaded on its citizens behalf and the Mexican government would resist if we invaded Baja California on our citizens behalf. This wouldn’t happen except in some very extreme scenario.

    This may be more possible than you think:

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/former-ag-bill-barr-calls-u-s-military-fight-narco-terrorist-cartels-mexico-isis

    …Barr advocated for a resolution introduced by Reps. Crenshaw and Waltz that would grant the president authority to attack the cartels in Mexico…

    Former Attorney General William Barr penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Thursday advocating for the use of the U.S. military to attack Mexican drug cartels within Mexico’s borders.

    Barr argued that the Mexican government has allowed fentanyl and other deadly drugs to be shipped into the United States and that, under such circumstances, the U.S. has the right to defend itself.

    The article, titled, “The U.S. Must Defeat Mexico’s Drug Cartels”, contended that the cartels are a national security threat “more like ISIS than the American mafia” and “America can no longer tolerate narco-terrorist cartels.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-us-must-defeat-mexicos-drug-cartels-narco-terrorism-amlo-el-chapo-crenshaw-military-law-enforcement-b8fac731

    ….Mexican cartels have flourished because Mexican administrations haven’t been willing to take them on. The exception was President Felipe Calderón (2006-12) who wanted to go full bore against the cartels, but American priorities were elsewhere at the time. Today, the cartels’ chief enabler is President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO. When he came to power at the end of 2018, he announced the switch to a policy of “hugs, not bullets” and shut down counternarcotics cooperation with the U.S. Under strong pressure from President Trump, he occasionally engaged in a high-profile operation to create the illusion of cooperation, but these were smoke screens. In reality, AMLO is unwilling to take action that would seriously challenge the cartels. He shields them by consistently invoking Mexico’s sovereignty to block the U.S. from taking effective action.

    This posture should anger Americans. Under international law, a government has a duty to ensure that lawless groups don’t use its territory to carry out predations against its neighbors. If a government is unwilling or unable to do so, then the country being harmed has the right to take direct action to eliminate the threat, with or without the host country’s approval.

    Even if AMLO were willing to move against the cartels, Mexico can’t do the job itself. Its criminal-justice system is dysfunctional: 95% of all violent crimes go unpunished. Pervasive corruption at every level of Mexico’s government makes it almost impossible to mount effective law-enforcement or military operations without the cartels being tipped off in advance. The big cartels have become potent paramilitary forces, with heavily armed mobile units able to stand their ground against the Mexican military….

    Now, Barr probably figures that, when put on the spot. Mexico will cave, like Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf did in 2001.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  48. The F16’s would probably be taking off and landing via long straight stretches of roads.

    F-16s are not designed to take off from makeshift airfields.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  49. After all, we still have a pen and a checkbook.

    That would be a bargain a la Alaska. These days, though, they might ask if the check is any good; or worse, say, ‘in God we trust; all others, strictly cash.’

    DCSCA (5d6e8d)

  50. Would President Biden and the other NATO heads of state agree that “using a nuke against Ukraine is the same thing as declaring war against NATO and the United States,” or would they be defecating in their drawers if such a thing happened?

    They have discussed it already. They have a plan. It involves direct use of NATO forces against Russia in Ukraine. Anything less than that would mean that Russia’s use of a nuclear weapons achieved Russia’s goal. And THAT would make the risk of nuclear warfare infinitely more likely within your lifetime (inclusive).

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  51. So far the cartels have not engaged in terrorism in the United States.

    If directly attacked, who knows, unless they are offered some kind of a settlement.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  52. It makes a difference also what kind of a government a country has. Today, Russia attacked civilians in Lviv.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  53. That would be a bargain a la Alaska. These days, though, they might ask if the check is any good; or worse, say, ‘in God we trust; all others, strictly cash.’

    US debt is what backs the world financial system. If you thought the failure of mortgage-backed securities was a problem, imagine the failure of US debt.

    But if they insist, we can pay in pesos.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  54. F-16s are not designed to take off from makeshift airfields.

    Another reason I suggested A-10s.

    Wikipedia:

    The A-10 is designed to be refueled, rearmed, and serviced with minimal equipment. Its simple design enables maintenance at forward bases with limited facilities. An unusual feature is that many of the aircraft’s parts are interchangeable between the left and right sides, including the engines, main landing gear, and vertical stabilizers. The sturdy landing gear, low-pressure tires and large, straight wings allow operation from short rough strips even with a heavy aircraft ordnance load, allowing the aircraft to operate from damaged airbases, flying from taxiways, or even straight roadway sections

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  55. The F16’s would probably be taking off and landing via long straight stretches of roads.

    F-16s are not designed to take off from makeshift airfields.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 3/9/2023 @ 4:42 pm

    Which no doubt would be cratered by Russian missiles and drones.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  56. Kevin M (1ea396) — 3/9/2023 @ 4:47 pm</blockquote

    >

    The only A-10s are in National Guard units and unavailable (at least for Ukrainians to fly). And those that aren’t are in the boneyard on cinder blocks.

    “We had done our homework,” (krainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov) added. The Ukrainian government had concluded that there were 100 surplus Warthogs available based on publicly available information, according to the story. The information in question could well be the official inventory of aircraft the U.S. military has in storage at the boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

    As of November, there were 100 Warthogs – 49 A-10As and 51 A-10Cs – at the boneyard. However, many of those aircraft, especially the older A variants, are in a non-flyable state, having been heavily cannibalized for spare parts over the years. The U.S. Air Force has another 281 A-10Cs in service, assigned to active-duty squadrons and units in the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. The Warthog has been out of production since 1984.

    (SECDEF) Austin shot down the Ukrainian request for Warthogs saying that it was “impossible” and “made no sense,” and that the jets would be a “squeaky target” for Russian air defense assets, according to Reznikov.

    “This was understandable to me,” Reznikov said. “It was reasonable. I said okay.”
    ……..
    …….Yuriy Sak, an advisor to Reznikov, had also said that the Ukrainian Air Force needed higher performance and more multi-role combat jets, such as U.S.-made F-16 Viper fighters, rather than any A-10s. He explicitly said that Warthogs “will not close our sky, they will not stop bombers and missiles” and “will be a target for Russian jet fighters and anti-aircraft defense.”
    ………

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  57. @53. Pesos… LOL If only! ‘Empires’ come and go: ‘The United Kingdom’s pound sterling was the primary reserve currency of much of the world in the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. That status ended when the UK almost bankrupted itself fighting World War I and World War II and its place was taken by the United States dollar.’ – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reserve_currency-

    China is on deck.

    DCSCA (5d6e8d)

  58. Mr M wrote:

    But it seems that the people most fearful about Putin using a nuclear weapon are people sipping cocktails in Los Angeles or New York, while the people in Ukraine, who are after all the ones who face the real threat, don’t care.

    You could reword this slightly with:

    But it seems that the people most fearful about Putin using a nuclear weapon are people living in Kentucky, while people in Los Angeles and New York, who are after all the ones who would face the threat first, don’t care.

    There are a whole lot of people in Los Angeles and New York; are you sure that none of them care?

    My farm is downwind of St Louis, Louisville, and Lexington, and it’s at least arguable that the Russians wouldn’t waste a nuclear bomb on them; I’m probably in less danger from a nuke than most people in the country. That being the case, other than my daughter, who is due back from the sandbox within a month, our family has the least about which to worry, personally, yet I seem to be the one visiting this fine site the most concerned about a nuclear war. Would that not indicate that I am more concerned for other people than many people here seem to be?

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (53cee2)

  59. All you need is a shotgun, a rifle, and a four-wheel drive,
    And a country boy can survive.

    nk (df21c2)

  60. But he has advocated precisely the conditions which increase that “remote” chance that that nuclear threshold will be crossed.

    How could you know that? What advantage does Putin gain, tactically or strategically, for dropping a nuke on “Russia”?

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  61. Dana from Kentucky, your daughter is as likely to be poisoned by someone going after Christo Grozev in the UK as she is to be nuked by Vladimir Putin because we are sending arms to Ukraine. It’s not about her any more than it’s about you.

    Comparing the danger to her to the danger faced by Ukrainians is like comparing the moments caught on video on January that appear relatively calm (that is, to Fox News pundits and viewers sitting comfortably on their asses watching a silent scrap of carefully curated video footage) to the moments of chaos. Is the former a complete null set? I suppose not, entirely. But is it worth talking about, in context? Hell no! Only to wild-eyed partisans like you who cheerfully admit (as you have told me on many, many occasions) that you would lie and cheat to accomplish your partisan ends.

    So why would any sane person credit anything you say?

    I also don’t credit you with any sincerity on this issue because you admit you lie to promote the political right. You also believe that might made Hitler right, so you’ll do anything to make your side the one with the most might.

    So forgive me — or don’t; I don’t care — for not taking you seriously about, well, literally anything. You are exactly the sort of narcissist I target in this post and whom Kasparov targeted in his remarks. You are selfish and unreasonably so. Your arguments appeal to crazed partisans and to precisely nobody else.

    Patterico (752405)

  62. Mr M asked a very important question:

    To some, opposing territorial aggression by a nuclear power is so dangerous it should never be contemplated. At what point do you do so anyway? At the first step of aggression? Or at some later step after the beast has had the taste of conquest?

    If not Ukraine, why should anyone believe our promises to NATO? Or to Taiwan? Or to Alaska?

    I don’t believe our promises to NATO, or to Taiwan.

    If the Russians roll into Riga, who here seriously believes that we would go directly to war with Russia, precipitating what could well be World War III, and nuclear “exchanges” with Russia? Soviet Russian tanks in Talinn seems to me to be a weak reason to risk New York or Boston, and, if actually put to that test, even Joe Biden might decide to think twice.

    Taiwan? Let’s face facts here: Taiwan is 100 miles from mainland China, but 7,000 miles from the United States. How are we going to get more than a small number of American troops to Taiwan before the Chinese could have 100,000 soldiers there? Even if we got a good number of American troops to Taiwan, we’d still be looking at 7,000 mile long supply lines.

    For all of our military might, we couldn’t defeat the Vietnamese Communists, or the Iraqi rebels, or the Taliban. We would probably have better luck against an enemy with a traditional front line, but there’s still that 7,000 mile long supply line.

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (53cee2)

  63. I noticed you whining about your comments being in moderation. Well, you earned that when you said might made Hitler right. Ever since, and going forward until you retract that horrid statement and convincingly show remorse and contrition for having made it, your comments get moderated.

    Some get released, but many don’t, I guess. I am a busy person and have other things to do.

    Patterico (752405)

  64. 4. I agree much more with Patterico and JVW on these issues than with Libertarian Dana, but don’t question his motives or consider him narcissistic for having these concerns. I’m sure everyone who comments here hates to see innocent lives lost even if they differ about methods.

    I question his motives, and always have, because of his longstanding position that it is correct behavior to lie and cheat in order to achieve one’s political ends. If one is ever going to question another’s motives, I contend that perhaps this is the most logical time to do so.

    I can imagine someone in the abstract having genuine concerns about nuclear weapons being used in this conflict, but for every such person there are 1000 hyperpartisan America First narcissists who spout the Tucker Carlson line because they’re intellectually lazy, and/or ignorant, and/or not terribly bright. Often “and” is the appropriate conjunction. Half the people in the world have below average intelligence, and I suspect a majority of them who have an opinion on the matter are pro-Putin.

    Patterico (752405)

  65. Sometimes, RL in Glendale, people are just stupid and terrible.

    Patterico (752405)

  66. Everyone who joins volunteers for the military should assume (along with their families) that one day they may be put in harms way, and in a conflict they may disagree with. Certainly if they are in a branch that directly supports the troops.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  67. For all of our military might, we couldn’t defeat the Vietnamese Communists, or the Iraqi rebels, or the Taliban. We would probably have better luck against an enemy with a traditional front line, but there’s still that 7,000 mile long supply line.

    Be that as it may, we still cannot pick our enemies. We cannot just choose to fight only the homeless, transgenders, and vaccine proponents. As much as we may wish. Because they don’t have nuclear weapons.

    Reagan’s Evil Empire is still out there. Under a new guise and a new leader. But it’s still a threat to us. A threat to all the world. As we’re seeing right now.

    If we let Russia loot, pillage, rape, and burn in Ukraine, what the f*** are we good for? Gettng Cheetos Doordashed to us within fifteen minutes when watching a ball game? And how long will that last?

    nk (df21c2)

  68. Our esteemed host wrote:

    So forgive me — or don’t; I don’t care — for not taking you seriously about, well, literally anything. You are exactly the sort of narcissist I target in this post and whom Kasparov targeted in his remarks. You are selfish and unreasonably so. Your arguments appeal to crazed partisans and to precisely nobody else.

    From PBS, not exactly an evil reich-wing source:

    48% say they favor the US providing weapons to Ukraine, with 29% opposed, and 22% neither in favor nor opposed. Americans are evenly divided on sending government funds directly to Ukraine, with 37% in favor, 38% opposed, and 23% saying neither. (Not a direct quote, because the site is set up to prevent copy-and-paste.)

    Right now, a plurality are supporting American aid, but their numbers have faded and opposition has grown. Perhaps the opposition are all “crazed partisans and . . . precisely nobody else”, but, if so, that’s a whole lot of crazed partisans.

    Americans were united on December 8, 1941, and there was, if I recall correctly, only one vote in Congress against declaring war on Japan. But the public grew very disenchanted over the war in Vietnam, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drew substantial opposition.

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (53cee2)

  69. Right now, a plurality are supporting American aid, but their numbers have faded and opposition has grown.

    As I (more than) implied in my previous comment we are becoming a smaller people less worthy of having great enemies. But that’s not a good thing.

    nk (df21c2)

  70. Here is my statement about might making Hitler right:

    Might has always made right, because the winners determine how history will be written. The might of the Nazis in pushing their propaganda and their education made it right for millions of German citizens to expose and turn in the Jews, and it was only the greater might of the Allies which changed that.

    Does anyone really dispute that, for the Germans in 1933 through 1939, the might of the Nazis, in controlling the media in all forms, in controlling the educational system, got the citizenry to vilify, expose, and turn in the Jews? Some were probably acting out of fear, but a significant number of Germans though that they were doing the right thing. Anti-Semitism is an old, old European bacillus, and the Germans were ready enough to accept the Nazis’ statements and policies. Had the Third Reich won the war, that kind of stuff would have continued for many years; it was only the might of the Allies, which destroyed the Nazis, which changed that.

    General Curtis LeMay, who ran our bombing campaign against Japan, once said that if Japan had won the war, he’d have been the one facing a war crimes trial. It was the German and Japanese leaders who faced war crimes trials, because our might made right.

    It can be argued that I made my previous statement inartfully; certainly our host took it that way. But while there is a right and wrong determined by God, not subject to mortal whims, there has always been a right and wrong established by armed force, and that is to what I referred.

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (53cee2)

  71. Assuming you’re not lying to make your point (which you believe to be moral) then you have a different definition of “right” than the rational portion of the world. You might want to find a different word. But then, maybe you’re lying. You don’t deny boasting that you think it’s right to lie to achieve your political ends, do you?

    Patterico (752405)

  72. “I will admit that I have never before seen anyone say that “a nuclear exchange” is “a risk worth taking”. A nuclear “exchange” has always been seen as the ultimate deterrent, and something never to be used absent an existential threat.”

    I agree, except… IIRC, General Curtis Lemay was a proponent of this “acceptable risk” strategy when dealing with our enemies. He had his detractors…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  73. The Windy City barrister wrote:

    Right now, a plurality are supporting American aid, but their numbers have faded and opposition has grown.

    As I (more than) implied in my previous comment we are becoming a smaller people less worthy of having great enemies. But that’s not a good thing.

    There’s a kind of romanticism in seeing great nations with great enemies, but even for a great nation, having great enemies can get the great nation’s people killed. We like small enemies, as in Panama or Grenada, quick in, kick butt, and quick out. Outside of sports, the last kind of fight you want to get in is a fair fight.

    There’s also the question of what you meant. I read it as one pushing a Western civilization ethic, and enforcing it even on those who do not share Western values, in the broadest way. We tried to impose American values on Afghanistan, and, after twenty years, the Taliban are back, doing the same things they were doing in 2001. We did impose Amemican values on Germany and Japan, but only after we had killed or wounded the majority of their fighting-aged men and destroyed their infrastructure and ability to fight any longer. Is that what you want?

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (53cee2)

  74. What a truly odd and amoral world view.

    Time123 (7512e0)

  75. Whoops, just read #70…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  76. There’s also the question of what you meant. I read it as one pushing a Western civilization ethic,

    Absolutely.

    and enforcing it even on those who do not share Western values, in the broadest way.

    To the extent that we can. And we can do a lot. Our conquistadores failed in Afghanistan but our missionaries are still at work. We can do more than two cents’ worth of sanctions on Russia to help Ukraine. And we should. For that reason alone. Because we can.

    nk (df21c2)

  77. “Various open-source outlets reported how Rosatom is providing highly enriched uranium for Chinese fast breeder reactors, said a U.S official during a posture hearing today at the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

    Rosatom is a Russian state corporation that specializes in nuclear energy.”

    “It’s very troubling to see Russia and China cooperating on this,” John F. Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy, replied.

    “They may have talking points around it, but there’s no getting around the fact that breeder reactors are plutonium, and plutonium is for weapons. So I think the [Defense] Department is concerned. And of course, it matches our concerns about China’s increased expansion of its nuclear forces as well, because you need more plutonium for more weapons

    steveg (6d37da)

  78. #65

    I would like to say instead, sometimes people do stupid and terrible things. But all of us have souls, and as a Christian I believe that all of us (well, me at least) need forgiveness and it’s not for me to judge anyone else’s soul so, despite often failing to meet this standard, I try not to say another person *is* evil or terrible or whatever, as opposed to having acted that way. Maybe that’s a dumb, rose-colored-glasses distinction. I don’t run a blog but have a been a lurker here long enough to start to get an idea of the headaches, abuse and actual threats you have endured in doing so. I read the “might makes Hitler right” link and found it very troubling, not because of the history-is-written-by-the-winners sentiment, which is almost a cliche, but by the lack of any recognition that some things are never right, Hitler’s actions being about as stark an example as there could be. Hopefully there’s a more charitable interpretation of that comment, but if so it escapes me; had I written such a thing, I would deserve to be in moderation. Anyway, even with all that, I disagreed with his recent comments but thought they were expressed civilly and enjoyed the debates between him and Kevin M., JVW, and others.

    RL formerly in Glendale (7a2d64)

  79. Just because the bullies and autocrats and tyrants of the past used their might, still don’t make it right.
    Putin is basically just another version of Ivan the Terrible, trying to expand a sh-thole country that’s been a sh-thole country from its inception.

    Also, let’s not pretend that Putin is some geopolitical chess master. Garry Kasparov himself has said (and I agree with him) that Putin doesn’t play chess, he plays poker, and he clearly bluffs too much for his own good.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  80. Far fetched as it is, I would not be shocked to see nuclear war by Russian proxy. When I look into Putins eyes, for some reason my nose smells the bouquet of death

    steveg (6d37da)

  81. I like the Ivan the Terrible comparison.

    Like Ivan, Putin is a murderous paranoid who was vested with authority by the nation’s institutions. A third generation apparatchik. Unlike Stalin, also a murderous paranoid but one who clawed his way up from the Czar’s gulags.

    Not that I know how to make anything of it.

    nk (df21c2)

  82. R.I.H. Robert Blake

    Icy (41658a)

  83. R.I.H. Robert Blake

    Icy (41658a) — 3/9/2023 @ 7:47 pm

    Agreed.

    Rip Murdock (a0d2e4)

  84. @82/@83. ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time…’

    DCSCA (11550b)

  85. “China published an official map of Russia with the new toponymic designations, changing Russian names of the Far East cities and territories to the Chinese names. This publication states that the names of these cities [e.g. Vladivostok is Hǎishēnwǎi], lakes and mountains were changed in accordance with the “historical records” (China has lost some of its territories to the Russian Empire), resembling a Chinese territorial claim on the Russian Far East territories during the time when Russia is weak and losing the war.”

    steveg (6d37da)

  86. I should note that although true that the Chinese are indeed using the old Chinese names again, the source I quoted was a gloating Ukrainian who could also be seen as a bit of a propagandist

    steveg (6d37da)

  87. The only A-10s are in National Guard units and unavailable (at least for Ukrainians to fly). And those that aren’t are in the boneyard on cinder blocks.

    We’ve had this discussion before and I previously proved this was utter bulklsh1t. Do I really have to do it again?

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  88. I don’t believe our promises to NATO, or to Taiwan.

    Or, rather, you would make the same pussillanimous argument you make now.

    I notice you don’t argue that we’d defend Alaska either.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  89. Right now, a plurality are supporting American aid, but their numbers have faded and opposition has grown.

    We love our lives so much we are willing to throw others (and their wives and children) into the volcano, if the monsters will just leave us alone.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  90. R.I.H. Robert Blake

    I wonder if OJ will attend the service.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  91. The only A-10s are in National Guard units and unavailable

    Where do you suppose those HIMARS, M1A1s and other equipment came from? Every last weapons system we sent Ukraine came from US stocks. Why can’t A10s from the Guard be sent? Do you think those F-16s are from the boneyard?

    This whole argument makes no sense — it’s the argument of a person who refuses to admit he’s wrong.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  92. @ 91

    It may “political”, there are many in the AF that would love for the A-10 to just go away, its not sexy enough. Although its likely the next acquisition cycle will be pilotless.

    I wish Mr. Patterco would evaluate/pontificate this situation as more in a “continuum” of history. I have not seen any analysis of what this is costing the Ukrainians. At some point it will be cheaper to negotiate a settlement. They are still loosing. Is there a hard limit to US support? Would it be faster/better to give them a couple of nukes of there own? (slightly sarcastic with last sentence)

    I would also prefer the president to go to congress before he starts to involve US troops.

    WRT 70 & 71…
    I am not sure what is so objectionable to the phrase :”Might has always made right” It seems rather self evident. I am not the best student of history but those with hard or soft power have generally made the rules. Not sure what the exception would be. And while everyone has to say “Hitler was bad” he was only #3 in the mass murder index of last century.

    Thank you

    Joe (978bb7)

  93. Hey, look on the bright side… we’re 2-0 in world wars. So we’ve got that going for us!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1238 secs.