Complex Reality II

My post last week on Complex Reality did not go over well in some quarters. In fact, only David Strom at Hot Air got it at all, and his twitter thread was a good take. Much appreciated too. Several took me to task for failing to provide good counter-options to the Chamberlin Brigade and the War Brigade.

There are no good options to suggest.

Give me a moment here and let’s review a few things. There are indeed options, but none of them are what I would call good options.

First up, we would not be in the mess except for the fact that we have incompetent leadership. The Biden Regency is corrupt, incompetent, and unswervingly bent on ideological matters (fundamentally transforming America). Our military leadership is equally incompetent and all in on the religious conversion (on the religious aspect, see Glenn’s take here). We are well past the point any remaining competent GOFOs should have been putting stars on the table (and, honestly, even birds and bars). If any have, it’s not made the general run of RUMINT yet. The current lot of GOFOs couldn’t organize a drinking party in a distillery (yes, tempted to use a different analogy but the Pentagon is already one of the largest whorehouses in DC), and actually winning a war is not even on the table. Proper party indoctrination takes time and money, and, who needs a training budget anyway given they see time spent on struggle sessions as being far more important than actual combat training. Before I go on a rant about this and other things, here’s a point to consider: name me one thing of importance our so-called elites have been right about in the past year; the past three years; the past five years; or, the last ten years.

Then again, Russia has its problems too. Oligarchy and a system that puts a very different take on doing in the competition (and extends it to all walks and levels of life) tends to stifle innovation and competition. Corruption at all levels, and in all branches of service, tends to give you a military that can’t live up to the hype.

Add to it a leadership and population who absolutely believe that the West invaded them after the fall of communism and that they are literally at war with the West, and it makes the situation even touchier. This, and other memes, are often dismissed as propaganda by well-educated idiots in said West, but are the real cultural belief of a complex people who are not ‘just like us but speak funny.’ The roots of this really do go back to the Enlightenment, and to the decision to go with the German model rather than the British when the Czars (Czarina) decided to “modernize” Russia a few hundred years back. And, yes, the anti-British/anti-West roots of the modern Slavophile movement do go back that far.

Now, throw in this little ice water douche into the mix. The argument is often made we have no viable reason to support Ukraine as they are not a member of NATO, etc. Back when the Soviet Union fell, Ukraine suddenly found itself the third largest nuclear power in the world. For a number of reasons, pretty much nobody was happy with that, so the United States and other countries and entities stepped up to guarantee Ukraine’s safety if they gave up all those nukes. Now, the fact is we pretty much abrogated our responsibilities under those agreements back in the wake of the first Russian invasion. Yet, they do still bind us as a matter of honor. While honor is in short supply in political and military leadership around the world, it is something a country should be very careful about discarding completely. It takes generations to rebuild the trust that is lost, and as David and I discussed on Twitter, I don’t think we’ve got those generations.

The magic money press the Biden Regency is running flat out is flat out running us into the ground. We literally can’t afford to keep it running as the bills for that magic money are already past due. We also are facing shortages of critical weapons, as I noted last week. Beege Wellborn has been all over this on Twitter, and courtesy of an exchange she had, I suggest you read this and consider the following.

We are talking about years to decades (and if you want to see schedules slip, look at any military procurement schedule) to restock to peacetime levels. Way things are going, we don’t have that much time. We also need to be building up to wartime levels and training/recruiting to fight a two front war, as that is the quickest way to stop any number of aggressions. Right now, the Brits are facing running out of critical supplies in one day (HT Instapundit). I’ve been hearing for a while that we are looking at doing so in three days. I will simply note again (and again and again) that peacetime stocks are a joke, and anyone who tells you they are sufficient is also a joke.

A good solution to the current situation would be to cut spending, use the Defense Production Act for actual military supplies and needs, and supply actual arms to Ukraine with audit and oversight to ensure they don’t end up on the black market. The billions need to stop. At least from us. Oh, and we need to get back to training to win wars, not how to win a drag show.

That radical Jazz Shaw actually proposed something along those lines, with having other NATO members actually step up to their obligations. I think that’s a great idea, and Germany should take the lead. Then again, in some ways I’m a radical too.

Given our leadership, as well as theirs, that’s not going to happen. The Regency is fine with the billions and the money laundering. If you don’t think there is any, you might want to look at Sam the Scam and how many funds went into his crypto operation from Ukraine. Just a hint, but that’s the tip of the iceberg.

Until we can sustain what we are doing, we need to cut back on what is going to Ukraine. We need others to step up and match deeds to words when it comes to supplying arms and funds. Where there are roadblocks to them doing so, we need to remove those roadblocks if we can do so. This is not a good solution, but it is workable — sorta.

The fact is, if Vladimir and Russia are not stopped now, we are going to have a bigger problem later when they go after all the former republics. And, yes, they will do so. And go for even more besides. For all that many here deride Russkiy Mir as a joke, it is not such to the Russians. It is the blueprint for Slavophile redemption, and they will pursue it religiously unless they are unable to do so. I agree with Kamil Galeev that the only way that happens is if the Russian Federation breaks up or is broken up. On the latter, no “safe” way to do that and on the former odds are against it despite certain areas being restive in regards rule by Moscow. For all that China wants certain areas back, and Russia seems to be willing to risk the China trap (and Xi appears to be pulling out the stops to get Ukraine to fall completely into the Chinese Road trap), I wouldn’t count on external factors yet.

Quick aside for Zelensky: be careful, China will offer all sorts of loans and massive rebuilding for a fee. When you can’t pay, they seize and either retain — or sell it to Russian ownership. Just a hint, as even I can see that one coming.

Again, reality is complex and rarely subject to simple or simplistic solutions. There is not a good solution to the problem that is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There are varying degrees of unpalatable solutions, none of which address many of the real if underlying issues at play. Trust me, if I spot what I think might be even a glimmer of a realistic solution to restore peace and prevent the next war, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops. Until then…

Complex Reality

I’ve been watching both the Chamberlin Brigade and War Brigade go at it for the last few weeks, and shaking my head. We are well past the point where adult discussion is needed, but we also appear in no danger of such taking place anytime soon. Instead, there is a whole bunch of reeeeing within the Beltway involving Presidential politics while the American public outside the Beltway is just looking at those inside the beltway like the purple-clothed guy in the meme.

The Chamberlin Brigade is breathlessly touting peace-at-any-price because oh my stars we might have WWIII and it might go nuclear. No shit! Really? That was a possibility from the start, and Vladimir has played it to the hilt because that threat has worked for him on many levels and with far too many leaders. Let’s just say that when one world leader tells another he’s scared to death of nuclear war and will do anything to avoid it, it gives the other a tremendous amount of leverage. Especially when the one with the leverage knows that the other leader is a demented meat puppet who’s Regency is incompetent and more focused on day-to-day venality.

It also doesn’t help that quite a bit of the world remembers the guarantees made when Ukraine gave up the nuclear weapons on its soil. Those watching now know exactly what those guarantees were worth, and the quicksand on which current promises are made. Especially when one looks at the divisions within NATO. Particularly the division between those newer members who have been serious about their commitments and readiness, and those older states who have chosen to ignore those commitments and count on the United States to fund (directly and indirectly) their social programs and provide true defense for them. Particularly one member who rather cheerfully bet their whole future, energy and otherwise, on partnerships and other agreements with a known unfriendly power — and who’s companies continue to defy sanctions to provide that unfriendly power with tech and more. In regard that member, this is an interesting read. Of course, they are not alone on that and it is amazing the number of companies around the world cheerfully joining in on that short-sighted effort, including (apparently) some in the U.S.

The Chamberlin Brigade lives in the fantasy that since the U.S. is the major provider for the Ukraine, that it can impose an immediate cease-fire and settlement. That they can force Ukraine to cede territory, stop the fighting, and all will be well. Peace, light, joy, all joining together to sing Kumbaya, and cute fuzzy predators and prey frolicking peacefully together in the fields. This, of course, demands ignoring things starting with 2014 and going backwards. It also demands ignoring most world history of the last 300 or so years, especially the politics of the region.

The fact is, that even before Russkiy Mir, the Baltics, Poland, and others were inclined to look at Russian promises askance, if not flat out disbelief. They know very well what Russian promises of peace, of friendship, and other such things are worth. As it is, they have paid far more attention to the efforts to create the new Russian Empire than the over-educated idiots in DC who are far more focused on internal politics and empire building than in external affairs or even rudimentary competence. The memories of what it means to be a neighbor and then vassal of Russia linger, and the centuries do not dim them. Most have experiences far more recent, and if you want but one example ask an Estonian about the Soviet bombing of Tallinnn during WWII, and the interesting targeting of same. These are people who know in the marrow of their bones what any Russian peace or non-aggression pact or promise is worth.

They are also well aware of current Russian efforts to destabilize their countries. If you think Moldova is the only country where such efforts are underway, again I have a bridge for sale cheap. It even extends beyond the former client states, as seen here. All of the former Soviet-occupied countries are aware of such fifth columns, just as they are all aware of Russian intelligence and sabotage efforts, such as what was just broken up in Poland. This is all a rich tradition that goes back decades, and is far more extensive than many realize. Just look at Soviet involvement with the environmental movement, Greens, Green Party, etc. If it would destabilize the West and undermine the concepts of the Enlightenment, they were and are all-in.

The War Brigade is just as willfully short-sighted in their efforts. They see an “easy” proxy war fought under many of the same rules as Vietnam et al, not accepting that the world has changed a bit since then. Heck, or even since the proxy wars in Central and South America, some of which technically are still going. A good proxy war could last a long, long time and offer all sorts of opportunities for graft, money laundering, and other delights. That assumes that everyone is willing to play by the old rules, and Xi and others haven’t shown a particular desire to do so. Yep, bringing up Winnie the Xi as this is NOT just a regional conflict.

It is already WWIII on many levels, as the players extend far beyond just Russia and Ukraine. It extends well beyond the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia. It includes North Korea, China, Iran, and even a few others. Both the Chamberlin Brigade and the War Brigade are ignoring that reality for all they are worth. Just as they are humming and drumming their feet over the reality on the ground in the region. They are ignoring the fact that the Ukrainian people, not just their leadership, are pissed off and fighting the invasion. They are ignoring that the Baltics and others would rather slag their own countries than return to being any part of the new greater Russian empire. They are ignoring that the last time this was tried we went from less than a million dead to tens of millions dead in less than a generation. They ignore that peace-at-any-price has never worked at any time in history.

What is the answer? I don’t know. The worst long-term outcome is for the Chamberlin Brigade to win, as it guarantees a much worse bloodbath not too far in the future that is likely to include non-limited use of nuclear or other special weapons. The worst short-term outcome is likely to be if the War Brigade gets its way, as things may escalate in ways not anticipated. My take remains that if Vladimir can’t take Ukraine, he will make sure no one gets it via using the destruction of the nuclear plants to render it, and even parts of the Baltics, a wasteland. That it might do so to parts of Western Russia is just the cost of doing business.

Factor in that the U.S. can’t afford to keep sending billions of dollars and tons of weapons to the conflict. Our economy and banking system are a tottering house of cards. We have already sent critical stocks of multiple weapons/systems that will take us years to replace. If we got into a shooting war with a major power (cough, China, cough), we are like NATO in that we will be doing good to have three days of critical supplies. We are well below critical levels in a number of areas, and that fact has indeed been noted by our enemies. While there are some token efforts to boost production, at current levels it will take not years, but decades, to replenish peace-time stocks. Here’s a clue for free: peacetime levels are always massively below wartime needs. In peace, the beancounters rule and why maintain massive stocks when DIE and other nice-to-dos need funding? War requires massive amounts of stocks, unless you are willing to expend troops in place of munitions. Might want to ask the Russians how that’s working out for them. The War Brigade might also want to look at our falling recruitment and retention numbers, and may also want to look at the percentages of same going back a decade or so that involve actual combat troops and leaders.

My personal take remains that I hope Ukraine kicks Vladimir’s ass and gets back ALL their territory. Russkiy Mir needs to be stopped, not encouraged. I also still feel that this is not a fight that needs even one drop of blood from our troops. Our ability to continue to provide funds and war stocks to the Ukraine is already well beyond unsustainable. We can’t fight a one front war under current circumstances, much less a two-front war as called for. What is done and how do we do it? I don’t have an answer. Of those I’ve seen who say they do, reality doesn’t seem to be a factor in those plans.

There is more I wanted to get into today, such as demographics, the role of prison culture in Russian life and high-level politics, the Enlightenment and why Russia hates the British, and other factors, but the above is where my Muse led me. Tomorrow is not likely a day when I get to delve into any of those areas as it is a medical day. Joy.

In this, as in all of life, there are no easy answers. Beware anyone who tells you there are such. The best I can offer for now is to be prepared, be patient, keep your things where you can find them in the dark.

NOTE: If you need anything else to disturb your sleep, read this.

Peace At Any Price

Earlier this week, the always excellent and interesting Baldilocks shared a thread on Twitter dealing with the perceptions and thoughts of a certain class of Russians in regards the war. The thread is well worth reading, as are some of the comments to her tweet and my retweet.

What was reported matches what I am seeing and hearing from that class, and from others. For all that one must support the war in public, or face draconian consequences, even in private it has a lot of support. As in a WAG on my part of better than fifty percent. Yes, there are segments that don’t support and are not thrilled with things, and they tend to fall more on ethnic lines from what I’m seeing. Overall, the war has a surprising strong, wide, and deep level of support within Russia. Not universal, but pretty darn significant.

Support for Vladimir remains quite high. This varies as one goes through demographics and ethnicities, but overall strong. Two areas where this may not be true are in what I call the political oligarchia: the politicians, power brokers, oligarchs, and wanna-be oligarchs who make up the upper levels of power. The old nomenklatura concept is dead and gone. In public, this upper level is very pro-Vladimir. In private, well, it’s still not clear to me if some of what is going on behind the scenes is simply preparation for his retirement or death, or if there is something more active going on. To be fair, there are days I’m not sure those playing the great game in Russia truly know themselves. The other area is the bottom of the demographics pile, which tends to be ‘yeah, support, whatever; none of them give a damn about us.’ That may be as close to a universal concept across cultures as anything.

An important point within this is the response of that educated class to the pushback by Ukraine, NATO, and others. Note the surprise, shock even, that Europe and others not only opposed the invasion, but that they are helping Ukraine (most of whom are sadly misled and should be welcoming the return of Russia) resist. That they would potentially gut their economies to do so. This is seen as bigotry and ignorance by that class of Russians. And by others within Russia, to be honest.

That plays almost perfectly into the great Russian paranoia that everyone is out to get them. That has been a hallmark of Rus/Slav psychology going back into ancient times. They have always been treacherously set upon by others, even as they were peacefully raping, murdering, and pillaging those that set upon them. Now, Russia does have a few legitimate times when they weren’t doing something like that at the time they were attacked, but I am overall reminded of a certain criminal class here in the U.S. that was never ‘doing nothing’ when “attacked” by those they were robbing, etc.

It also brings to the fore a concept that seems to continue to elude far too many: outside reactions and considerations were not and are not a factor of consideration. The war was not started with Western or other reaction in mind, other than that it was felt that the Biden Regency and others would just go along with it and not do anything of significance against it. Token reparations maybe, but that was it. Given that the Regency and the Meat Puppet seemed to be egging it on at one point, I can see how they thought that. But, that was only a fleeting thought to them and not even a serious point of consideration.

The dynamics that drove the decision to invade are almost entirely internal. They are based in culture, politics, and other areas that create the internal dynamics that are not understood and not even being considered by far too many outside of Russia. There is no path to peace without taking those dynamics, and the overwhelming support for the war and for creating a new Russkiy Mir, into consideration.

Therein lies the problem. Outside opinions and even responses do not matter to the large majority of the population of the Russian Federation. At best, such are seen as bigotry and an attack. At worst, they were not even a consideration. That holds true for the leadership as well. For all intents and purposes, the people of the Russian Federation live in a bubble, and the upper leadership lives in an even more dense and impenetrable bubble.

Stephen Green, who does some truly great coverage I do recommend reading, has two (sadly VIP) posts up, here and here, on “Putin’s Stupid and Unnecessary War.” By our standards, completely true and valid statements. The war is stupid, unnecessary, and even foolish. From a Russian societal perspective, however, it is extremely necessary and even overdue. Stephen asks a good question that I can see before it hits the paywall, about the military leadership should have known the military was not ready and should have prevented the war as a result.

Again, by our standards and culture, an obvious point. By the standards of Russian culture, however, invalid. Keep in mind the two bubbles already mentioned, as there are more. Vladimir sacked a lot of real generals a while back so that various apparatchiks, oligarchs, and wanna-be oligarchs could get in on the fun of what we would see as outright corruption. Russians today just see it as how business is done. Those that were smart cut officers in on the take, and smart officers made sure the men didn’t starve. As it was, the troops often looted items to sell on the black so they got pay, food, etc. Gundecking reports has a long and honorable tradition in Russia going back almost to the very earliest days. Yet more bubbles, and people who needed to know things didn’t. Given the lack of esteem given to the military these days, the general public and leadership really didn’t care if they starved or not, or what was happening to them. Or what would happen if they had to go to war.

It was only when war came, and some people got a cold douche of reality, that anything began to change. Part of that change was that a number of people in demographics and ethnicity that meant they would be called up to fight decided to beat feet. Quite a few citizens of the Russian Federation, and not just the government, consider them traitors to be dealt with later and who should never ever think of returning to the Rodina. Understand, your average citizen of the Russian Federation has no problem with people dying for the war and the cause of Russkiy Mir — so long as it’s not them. Marginalized groups or ethnicities? Who cares, it will improve the gene pool.

Nuclear war? Go for it. Our mighty Russian military will protect us while devastating our enemies. We have far more bombs and missiles than they do. We have far greater, more powerful, and more accurate defenses against missiles and other attacks.

That their nuclear and nuclear defense forces might be in a shape similar to their other weapons and stockpiles has penetrated few if any bubbles as far as I can tell. How many will work (on either side)? Who knows, and I’d really rather not find out. That said, I’m in the camp of 20 percent, i.e. an 80 percent failure rate. In light of this, I also highly recommend reading this from Sgt. Mom. Our own military is in many ways in no better shape. We are not capable of fighting a one front war for more than a few days (if that), much less a two-front war as we are supposed to be able to do.

Which leads us, finally, to the growing “peace at any price crowd.” I’m seeing it a lot on social media these days, and from some surprising quarters. As I noted in posts before, putting in place a cease fire or a forced peace as things stand will only guarantee a far worse war with far worse consequences later. Even one that gives Ukraine the Donbas and Russia the Crimea will result in the same. See this post and this post for some of the previous discussion on outcomes.

Right now, I do not see any easy, good outcomes. Far too much of what is being discussed and pushed is not in touch with the reality of Russian culture and internal dynamics, much less that of Ukraine. Anything that does not take such into consideration will fail. Spectacularly. Creating something viable, or at least make each step suck the least, requires strong, informed, and capable leadership. Looking at the Biden Regency, Castreaux, Macaroon, Charles/Sunak, Shultz, Vladimir, etc., yeah, right.

Prepare, pray, and hope for the best. It’s about all we truly can do right now.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

The Termites Are In The Woodwork

I’ve waited to write about the Chinese balloons for several reasons, including the fact that I really didn’t want to post a mass of invective in place of reasoned thought. The invective is still there, but I have it on a leash for now. Sort of.

I will start by saying that right now I don’t believe a word of what is being said by any branch, part, or employee of the Federal government — nor should you. Until it is confirmed by a reliable and reputable source, don’t trust it or them.

Have balloons been used for intelligence work before? Yes, pretty much since those wacky French brothers got things going on this side of the world. Did the Chinese float three across the U.S. under Trump? No. That story is deflating fast, but not fast enough.

Are balloons being researched for a range of options including aimed delivery of precision weapons, drones, or even chemical/biological payloads? Smart money says yes. Are they the optimal platform for such? Magic Eight Ball says maybe. There are a host of factors that go into such an assessment, and for a number of reasons I will just stick with maybe for now.

Anyone telling you that balloons are no different that satellites and it’s no big deal is a liar and a complete and total idiot to boot. Satellites are moving, and moving fast. There are limits to what they can observe, when they can observe, and on the data they collect. A balloon can be a remarkably steady platform, especially if it can be steered and controlled. Using modern optics, hyperspectral and multispectral imaging, and other sensing systems (and you can pack a lot on a truss that size), you would be amazed at the data that can be collected. Especially if you have nuclear thermocouples or other systems for the real power hogs so that solar can go to other systems including steering.

An amazing amount of data. Data that was collected and transmitted back to China.

Notice also that corporate media, and far too many others, have pretty much dropped coverage of the fact that there was at least one other balloon acknowledged. If you can find any coverage, go back and note just how carefully the government didn’t say where it had been, much less exactly where it was located at that time other than Latin America — which could be anywhere from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego. There were “unconfirmed” reports from non-governmental sources that indicate it was possible that balloon had travelled down the West Coast. You know, where all the military bases that would be responding to actions by China are located.

As it is, the government and corporate media are dropping like a hot potato any mention that the balloon we did finally shoot down may have spent three days loitering over Malmstrom AFB, which happens to house the majority of our Minuteman missiles. Among other things. Look at all the bases and such along the flight path of the balloon. Want to place a bet that if the data is not already being shared with Moscow, it soon will be?

And let’s not forget that the balloon(s) were allegedly not picked up before they were over the Aleutian Islands. If that is true, that would indicate that multiple systems failed in their job. No one, not two, but multiple systems. Also, note that neither was shot down right then either over ocean or in a remote area, despite the violation of American airspace and international law. Instead, they were allowed to continue on and complete their mission.

Dereliction of Duty is the politest term I can use for what has happened. This applies to our military and our civilian leadership. The alleged reason for trying to cover up the incursion is beyond belief in terms of competent, professional, and honest leadership. For the Biden Regency, par for the course. Hey, this is an unprecedented and catastrophic intelligence breach, but better that than embarrassing the Chinese. You know how sensitive they are.

There are no good words to describe how bad the damage is to our military and national defense. As bad as we think it is, I suspect it is even worse than we realize at this time.

The military leadership that failed to detect or take action to prevent the unprecedented overflight should all suck-start their sidearms and apologize to their ancestors in person. The civil leadership that did the same should also go apologize to theirs in person as well.

That said, if the key people involved in this had been acting in the best interest of the United States of America, in full honor of the oath sworn to the Constitution and the Republic, this would not have happened. That it did happen makes it rather clear that one or more people in positions of power were not working for or in the best interest of the United States. If they are not working for us, then for whom are they working? The answer seems pretty clear to me.

The termites are in the woodwork, and the cockroaches are in the walls. The gates all open from the inside, and we have allowed the horse inside the walls.

Ukraine: Outcomes Pt 2

Yesterday provided a synopsis of the overview of the background to what is going on today. Given the reports that the Biden Regency offered Vladimir twenty percent of Ukraine (which isn’t really theirs to offer or give) in exchange for peace, we need to look at some of the possible outcomes.

I want to take these from worst-case to best-case. In every case, there are ways for things to go very well, or to go catastrophically wrong. On all sides, what happens is not only up to senior leadership, but your mid- and even low-level leaders will have their chance at glory or infamy. When it comes to war, David Drake has long pointed out that what does or doesn’t happen often boils down to one scared private. If you don’t want that scared private being the one who decides war/no-war, nuke/no-nuke, don’t put them in that position. That, however, requires competent leadership…

I’ve argued with myself over the order of the first two items, but for now, I think the absolute worst case scenario is the well-meaning imposition of peace based on current lines or claims. Exactly what the Biden Regency, and a host of well-meaning but poorly informed people, have called for.

Neither side is going to buy it. Russkiy Mir demands the return of Ukraine (along with a host of other independent countries) to the fold, willing or not. Ukraine wants its independence and all its territory. The only things such a “peace” will buy is a far more devastating war in the near future.

Both sides are going to arm, train, fortify, and prepare. Given that I’m reasonably sure there are those in Ukraine who are lamenting ever giving up the nukes, there will be efforts to develop or obtain special weapons of some type or types. It may be clandestine, but it will take place. Meantime, Russia — despite the corruption — can buy or produce weapons to replace the rusted/deteriorated junk in various stockpiles despite sanctions. Guarantee a number of Western companies and/or governments will get rich off it too, as they’ve been doing all along sanctions or no.

When the two sides resume, and they will, it is quite likely to set new standards for fast, brutal, and horrific. Each will be going at it to win, to eliminate the threat posed by the other, and in the end both are quite likely to die. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at military history through the ages. Troy and Carthage are not the norm, because the norm is that the tribes on both sides involved were so damaged that they literally either didn’t have the people to go on, or were so weakened that others came in and took them out.

If you think that various levels of civil and military leadership in both Ukraine and Russia are not aware of this, you are mistaken. So, when the war resumes, there will be planning on both sides for the Gotterdammerung. In the case of Ukraine, I see whatever is done as directed at Russia, along the lines of “from Hell’s heart I stab at thee” type thing. The worst case is going to come from Russia, which if it sees the illusion of ever creating Russkiy Mir and retaining status in the world slipping, is quite likely to try to level the new playing field, or at least to ensure they don’t go down alone.

If you want to guarantee a truly horrific war in the near-term, and one quite likely to turn into a full-scale world war with nuclear and other special arms being used, decree an unjust peace. All that bit of self-satisfied virtue signaling will do is to guarantee true horrors within ten years of its imposition.

The second worst outcome is the status quo. As in some form of near-constant combat with no truly decisive action. This could literally go on for years, as the Russians have a lot of people they can feed into the meat grinder and Ukraine has a will, training, and a growing stream of weapons to offset Russian numbers. The devastation that will result from such is almost impossible for most to imagine.

The loss of troops will be one thing; but, the losses in the civilian population will rise exponentially. The continuing and even expanded torture, rape, and murder of civilians when the Russians take an area will have repercussions far beyond the battlefield and on levels many have yet to consider. Never mind that it will generate a generational implacable hatred between the Ukrainians and the Russians, it will have a fundamental negative effect on Russian cultural life. It will also change how Russians, citizens and those who have fled, are treated around the world.

On top of that, you will have massive losses of infrastructure, nor will it be limited to Ukraine. As the damage mounts, Ukraine will hit back and will seek to make points in so doing. As with anyone who fights back, Russia will declare this an outrage and escalation, which will lead to a series of escalations.

Environmental damage? Take a look at France, where there are still trenches from WWI (and WWII), areas full of unexploded ordnance, and even no-go areas because of the use of war gasses and UXD from a century ago. What you see there is nothing to what will become of potentially large areas of Ukraine. Then again, part of the plan for Russia all along has been to eliminate Ukraine as a source of food and fertilizer to the world. Vladimir really doesn’t care if the Middle East and Africa starve, so long as Ukraine starves and capitulates.

There is more, and even worse, but what it boils down to is the longer this drags out, the more likely it is that someone will do something stupid in terms of either special weapons or attacking the nuclear power plants in the Ukraine. Someone, somewhere, is going to see a chance to break things open by the use of chemical, nuclear, or other special weapons. I would give good odds that it will be at a mid- to low-level, and I simply note that chemical weapons rarely have PAL and other controls. If they are available, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make them usable.

Given internal politics in Russia, which is all Vladimir and the other leadership care about, the push to do something will hit one or more truly frightening points. Note that Vladimir has already set the stage for the following scenario by shelling on or near nuclear plants, and has planted the lie with the Russian public that it was Ukraine. Again, please understand that Vladimir et al don’t care if the Biden Regency, you, me, or anyone else believes the lie. They don’t. It only matters if it has traction internally. Pressure mounts, and the nuclear power plants get hit.

Whatever else happens, Ukraine as a functioning country is destroyed. This will impact farming, mining, everything. Imagine Vladimir in a dirty and stained wife-beater, waving a Makarov around drunkenly, and screaming to the police that only if that bitch hadn’t fought back she wouldn’t be dead. That’s exactly the same mentality going on in regards Ukraine and Russkiy Mir.

Next up, a Russian success. Let’s say they seize Donbas and more. It won’t matter who declares a truce or peace, if you think the fighting will magically stop, again, I have that bridge for sale. Within occupied areas, insurrection and covert operations will abound. There will also be atrocities, as Russian doctrine calls for examples to be made. This will backfire, and whatever is left of Ukrainian armed forces and government, in what’s left or in exile, will both make the most of it and find interesting and creative ways to extract revenge.

Which again could lead to the use of special weapons by either side. Please do keep in mind that special is not just nuclear, but chemical, biological, radiological, thermobaric (according to some), etc. Ukraine has shown itself to be intelligent, imaginative, and delightfully devious when it comes to improvising or developing new weapons.

A Russian success will become a meatgrinder, mostly for them. Civilians will suffer and die, but I’d be willing to bet that Russian military and civilian losses in trying to occupy any or all of Ukraine will make the losses so far seem pale. You are already seeing a taste of this in Donbas and elsewhere. Problem is, this is exactly the scenario of Russia can’t win but Ukraine can lose. This is also, despite the fact that Russia will make a lot of threats towards anyone they even remotely suspect might be helping Ukrainian partisans or military, the scenario that I see as least likely to lead to any truly global war of any type. Nasty and heartbreaking, yes. A world ender, no.

Also, for reasons political and demographic, I don’t think the Russians will be able to hold. It may be weeks or it may be a decade, but they will not hold. When they withdraw, unless otherwise prevented, they will go scorched Earth and do as much damage as possible. Again, the mentality of ‘the bitch resisted’ is already evident and will only get worse.

The next case is Ukrainian victories. This offers in some ways the best chance to end the war, but also the highest likelihood of the use of special weapons by Russia.

Let’s say that Ukraine has spent the winter gathering supplies, getting logistics repaired and expanded, making plans and contingencies, and integrating and exploiting troops that have been being trained abroad. Keep in mind one of the things smart militaries do with such trained people is have them share that training as often and as quickly as they can. They also practice via simulations in the field and electronic before heading out for real. So far, the Ukrainian military appears to be fighting smart, so…

The more they retake, the more desperate the Russians will get. Which leads to three potential scenarios and outcomes.

In the first, military success prompts someone to use some form of special weapon to stop the advance. Net result is the offensive stalls, and both sides settle down behind current lines to lick their wounds. A temporary truce of shock, exhaustion and retrenchment takes place. It is quite possible that a peace may can be brokered, but I would give odds that it would be along the lines noted above and used as a time to prepare.

In the second, the use of one or more special weapons creates a crisis for Russian leadership, one that causes a fight for succession to break out. Another variant of this is for Vladimir to become medically or otherwise incapacitated, a fight for succession breaks out, and Ukraine smartly and adroitly exploits it. Keep in mind, there are multiple variants for each of the scenarios I’m providing. In any event, given losses, restiveness in various areas far from Moscow, and even covert actions by China and others, the Russian Federation starts to come apart. In this case, it does lead to execution of Russia’s version of Case Zulu, and things go south for the world. Shall we not play that game please?

The third, final, and absolute best case I can see is also the one I think is least likely to happen though it is the absolute best case for the world. In that case, Case Zulu is avoided, and smart leadership world-wide steps in to not just engineer a soft landing for the various sections of the Russian Federation and Russia itself, but works hard to help them thrive and grow, while eliminating as much of the nuclear threat as possible. China might well do it in more than one area out of self-interest, and Japan might also see opportunities in paying forward their part of reconstruction in Kamchatka and other far east regions. Get the islands back, secure a flank, and create some enormous economic opportunities for all parties.

The best path I see not just out of this war, but to prevent any number of future conflicts and to greatly reduce the threat of a global nuclear war, is for Russia to break up as peacefully as possible. That third scenario really will require the good fairy to wave her wand, as we’ve not really done it successfully so far. For all that the USSR broke up surprisingly softly, that was as much luck as competent leadership, nor did parties around the world truly work towards success. If they had, we would not now have Russkiy Mir and other delights of the current Russian Federation.

As I’ve noted before, do keep in mind that the current top crop of potential successors to Vladimir are all more hardline than he is in terms of Ukraine and Russkiy Mir. They are all of the Slavophile camp, and detest the West and those who feel the West has anything to offer Russia, Greater Russia, or the Slavic people. There are no members of the Western Thought Club anywhere near top or even mid-level leadership positions in Russia.

The fact is, there are far more opportunities for things to go south than to end in a peaceful, equitable, and just peace. That said, with even median leadership, we have a good chance to prevent the use of special weapons, or to at least limit the use so that things don’t lead to a full exchange on the nuclear level. With our current leadership around the world? Well… If we find good leadership and get it in positions to do good? That would be great, but it is not the way to bet.

The best we can do is work towards the best possible outcomes as we can, to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

As a final note, China is the potential wrench in the gears. Xi is in trouble, and as such is pushing as hard and fast as he can at Taiwan and the U.S. His actions are not those of a strong and stable leader, but one weak and unstable internally. That said, China has a military that would appear to be able to do more than hold its own. It is a very serious threat to the U.S., and to Russia as well. The fractals that come from including China in various scenarios related to Ukraine as well as nuclear war are somewhat overwhelming.

Keep in mind that there are parties involved world-wide. What allies on both sides do, when they do it, and how they do it, will truly determine the course of the war, and its expansion or end. It is a complex situation with multiple scenarios at each point. In other words, it’s the real world as opposed to the happy shiny world of simplistic platitudes and virtue signaling. Simple would be nice, I admit. I just don’t see it anywhere in the real world. I wish I did.

Final thought: The fighting will resume and soon. I fully expect to see some Russian victories and some Ukrainian victories. Which side seizes the momentum and makes the most of it will depend on logistics, morale, and training. Wait. Watch. Pray.

Ukraine: Outcomes Pt 1

To be honest, a lot of the ‘oh my goodness this needs to happen or we’re all going to diiiieeeeeee’ reeeeing I’m seeing is annoying. To be polite. It’s almost all about emotions and using emotions for partisan political near-term advantage. There is almost nothing long-term being considered in the hysteria. There is almost no basis in fact, history, etc. being presented. So, let’s take a minute or ten, and take a look at the situation as it exists, possible outcomes, and the dangers of each.

As I’ve said before, history rarely truly repeats itself but it sure does seem to like to rhyme. There are a lot of people trying to push a 1930s/Nazi-era take on things, particularly a Chamberlin/Churchill analogy with Vladimir as Hitler. Facile, but it does have elements of truth to it. Though it would have held up better if not for Vladimir’s effective annexation of Georgia and previous invasion of elements of Ukraine.

Though one can find some parallels going back to the Greek/Asia Minor wars, some far better analogies can be found in both sieges of Vienna (and what led to them) and the 30-Years War. That said, I think the best analogy to the current situation lies in the 1912-1914 timeframe and what led into World War I. The web of secret and open treaties, alliances, partnerships, economic networks, ambition, corruption, and out-of-touch and incompetent leadership class focused on maintaining the lucrative status-quo (for them) is a far better framework for understanding today. There are books to be written on the topic, but for now we hit just some high points.

Russia, aka the Russian Federation, is a huge territory rich with resources, and without the ability to effectively extract or process them. That this is a self-inflicted wound is not acknowledged by the Russian government or people. The system is corrupt beyond the belief of most of those in the West, leadership or general public. The inability to grasp that the Russians are not ‘just like us but speak funny’ extends pretty much to every segment of leadership not just in the West, but the world IMO.

Russia is allied with Belarus, which has a number of historic implications. For all that they are allies, there is a lot of contention given that at one point the leader of Belarus was, according to some, considered as the supreme Russian leader so as to fully integrate Belarus with the new Greater Russia, aka Russkiy Mir. Geography also makes this important to Russia in regards re-absorbing the Baltics and Ukraine into the new Greater Russia.

The next most important ally for Russia right now is Iran. Two pariah states, they are linking banking and other systems as they don’t have anyone else to lean upon. Both have ties to Syria and other countries, but only Iran has the arms and manufacturing (and ports and a few other things) that Russia needs. That Iran, like Russia, is heavily dependent upon technology from the U.S. and Europe that just happens to conveniently get by sanctions (cough, cough) is a point worth noting.

The third most important ally right now is, of course, China. China is not first because whatever Xi the Pooh may wish for, neither Vladimir nor others in leadership are stupid enough to fully trust or become dependent upon China. They are closer to that than they like as it is. Not being stupid, they know very good and well that if China sees them go down or get weak, there is a lot of disputed and not-disputed resource-rich territory China would love to have. Territory that it can be argued that Russia only nominally controls.

The fourth is India. India is a wild card in many respects, but do not underestimate the ties that have been cultivated by both sides. India has needs with which Russia can help, including an escalating border dispute with China. Again, this is just the high points and you can write a book or books on this situation and each of the alliances.

While not an ally per se, you have North Korea in the mix. While reports of weapons sales to Russia may or may not be accurate, they have supported Russia and to an extent Vladimir. Wild card, but a most interesting one given both nuclear and missile capabilities.

Now, those are the open and acknowledged things. If you think there are not clandestine treaties, agreements, and alliances in place, again I have that bridge for sale. For purposes of this exercise, treat them as a given. Treat it also as a given as that some are going to be a surprise when and if they come out.

Now, let’s look at Ukraine to get a better idea of some of the players involved on that side. I think it worth noting that there is a difference between the concept of “The West,” NATO, and those supporting Ukraine in its resistance to being invaded. In fact, I would treat NATO as a fractured entity at this point. In fact, there is a pretty large schism between those who were a part of the USSR at gunpoint and the original NATO members. The newer NATO members have a very different take on things, to be polite.

Now, keep in mind that when Ukraine became independent again, it agreed to give up the nuclear weapons on its soil as the U.S. and others agreed to safeguard and defend them. Such guarantees were given.

It is worth noting at this point that all prior Russian invasions, of Georgia and Ukraine, occurred under the Obama/Biden administration. The response of EU leadership to those is worth noting as well.

Now, the primary ally of Ukraine is the United States. The U.S. provided security guarantees and more, and has been a trading partner. U.S. and Ukraine business and other interests are heavily entwined, to be polite. There are a number of impolite things I would like to say, but we will leave things here for now.

While NATO and the EU are allies (de facto or de jure) of Ukraine, it is worth noting that such is not evenly reflected by the position of major member countries. The United Kingdom has been a good ally on many fronts, as have a number of the former USSR countries. France has been middle of the road, and for some reason the word opportunistic pops to mind. Germany has not been a good ally, but given how German leadership (corporate and political) climbed into bed with Putin and Russia on energy and other topics (cough, techtransfer, cough), it is not surprising. Again, I could say a number of impolite things, but will not do so at this time.

The web of alliances, treaties, agreements, and such — open and covert — put those of 1914 to shame. They cover not just Europe, Scandinavia and such, but most of the world. Keep in mind that economic alliances are likely to be much more cohesive and strong than military or political ones.

Now, don’t forget the Asia/Pacific area. While not necessarily allies to Ukraine, Japan, Korea, and other countries have been following things with a very close eye. They not only have Russia as a neighbor, and an interesting history, but they also have China, who is being very aggressive militarily and otherwise. They have North Korea who is aggressive (to be polite). The levels of aggression are such that Japan has taken steps to boost its defense capabilities and alliances. Nor is Japan alone in doing so. Again, open and covert treaties, agreements, and alliances throughout the region.

To close out today’s post, let’s take a quick look at so-called key leadership around the world. Remember, preventing war depends on stable, informed, and intelligent leadership.

In the U.S. we have the Biden Regency and the demented meat puppet. A regency that is shedding some interesting members. In Canada, we have PM Castreaux (nee Trudeau). The United Kingdom has Charles and Sunak. Germany has Scholz, France Macaroon, and the EU is a mess of bureaucrats. Russia has Vladimir who is having medical and political challenges. China has Xi, who faces serious challenges from within and without. Japan has Kishida, and frankly he may be the most stable politically of them all. Korea has Yoon Suk-yeol. North Korea of course has Kim.

Stable, competent, reasoned, intelligent leadership. Lord, your mercy on us all.

The above is an honest prayer. For we do need mercy and guidance now and in the days ahead. Where we are now makes 1912-1914 seem simplistic. Tomorrow, more on outcomes and risks.

UPDATE: Thanks to Rich Lowe for pointing me towards this excellent examination of Biden and the Biden Regency as Carlos II. Robert Oscar Lopez does a masterful job of comparing the two, and the comparison is far more apt than many will care for. The War of Spanish Succession had far-reaching consequences, and what is happening now will have far-reaching consequences for the Republic and the world as well.

Drunk Vladimir

Actually, I suspect that he is drinking on top of medication, but… Check out this interesting video from Dmitri on Twitter (who does some excellent work BTW).

Notice the typical, well they did it first excuse. Remember, Russia is never at fault and never did anything to deserve being attacked, maligned, etc. It’s the thing that has me keeping an eye on events given yet more recent nuclear saber rattling in the guise of talking about how they won’t be first but also won’t be second.

I agree with the ISW that there is no current sign that they are contemplating the use of nuclear weapons, and that the talk is just that. As I noted the other day, if it is true they have removed nuclear warheads from ALCMs to use them with conventional warheads against Ukraine it is a huge story. No confirmation yet, but am looking into it. Meantime, we do know they have a shortage of precision weapons. Modern war uses up supplies at rates well above beancounter plans, as in ten months of war has used up years-worth of MANPADs, Javelins, etc.

More as it develops

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Russia Update 9 Nov

If the site is slow loading or you’ve had trouble getting through, my apologies. We are experiencing growing pains as I move from regular blog to high-traffic blog. Working on it, feel free to hit the tip jar to help me keep going and upgrade the site. Your gifts truly do make the difference. Working on adding a mail-in option, others; if interested in mail-in for now drop me a line.

There really isn’t a lot new to update. The only change from the previous is that there are more signs that Vladimir is facing some serious opposition, but nothing (yet) that could take him out of power. The jousting for position continues, and it is hard to tell what is simply securing the best position possible versus trying to get in position to make changes.

Remember, if it doesn’t happen in Moscow, it doesn’t mean a thing. There is the St. Petersburg caveat, but…

The one thing that has come up is a reminder from Kamil Galeev that the invasion of Ukraine and all that is going on has little to do with international relations from Russia’s point of view. The invasion stems from domestic politics, not international. It’s very true, and is something to keep in mind in the days ahead as international takes are going to have to deal with domestic realities when dealing with Vladimir and Russia.

If the military situation shifts in the occupied territories, then I expect to see some more open shifts within Russian domestic politics. Absent that, I expect to see things continue to bubble away under the surface as no one yet wants to make a true public move.

I will note that Vladimir and company have continued to go low-key on the nuclear rhetoric. Not sure if this is because of internal pressures, external pressures, or that secret talks are giving him what he wants. I reiterate that giving in to nuclear blackmail will have worse long-term consequences.

Meantime, if you want a fun little read, this article on Moscow shelters is actually quite enjoyable. Don’t laugh at the fact that one former shelter is now a tourist attraction, as we’ve done the same with at least one of ours. My thanks to Robert Hopkins on Twitter for the link.

Oh, yes, no sign of shelters being stocked outside of Moscow, which seems mostly for show. Same as before. Also, yes, Stalin had the subways put deep for a reason. He also had portions made truly beautiful and while they are no longer good shelter, at least the last time I was there they were still quite beautiful.

Frankly, since our national leadership is not going to step up to the task, I wish more state and local leaders would take steps to bring their shelters back online or build new ones. The threat of nuclear issues (war, deliberate meltdown, etc.) is but one of the reasons having those shelters available is a good idea. They can be useful in a variety of non-nuclear situations as well. Having them available also serves as a deterrent to those thinking nuclear war, terrorism, etc.


If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

A Most Interesting Speech

If the site is slow loading or you’ve had trouble getting through, my apologies. We are experiencing growing pains as I move from regular blog to high-traffic blog. Working on it, feel free to hit the tip jar to help me keep going and upgrade the site. Your gifts truly do make the difference. Working on adding a mail-in option, GabPay, others; if interested in mail-in for now drop me a line.

As I noted yesterday, I spent some time listening to Vladimir’s speech and digesting it. To be honest, I also was looking for/waiting for some other things I suspected might be coming.

Meantime, it was also amusing to watch some of the very predictable coverage of the speech. The alarmists/click-baiters fastened onto his comment about this being the most dangerous decade since the end of WWII, predictably. More on that topic in a moment. Those who missed a lot of message and context referred to the speech as “boring” or “deluded.”

On the surface, the speech was predicable, plodding in some respects though it appeared Vladimir went off-script in a few places (interesting in it’s own right) based on the translator’s reactions. On the surface, yet another recitation of the justifications for Russkiy Mir and the subsequent invasion. I’d say that at least 95% of the canned speech was aimed at the internal audience, though if it reached useful idiots abroad, great. I’d say less than 5% was aimed at the non-Russian audience.

From an outside viewpoint, the majority of the speech could be described as delusional. In fact, after a couple of points, I noted on social media that I could have sworn that I saw his nose grow. Yet, in terms of his intended audience, it was not delusional though it might be aimed in part at encouraging delusion on their part.

Between it and the parts of the Q&A I got to hear, the speech was a reminder of all that led to the creation of Russkiy Mir. Russia has always faced enemies, Russia and the Russian people have been done wrong time and time again, with outsiders (particularly the west and noticeably emphasized in the speech was Great Britain) treating both like Crystal Gale was done in so many of her songs. Russia has always been the victim, never the aggressor. Vladimir, that offspring of the working class, scion and defender of the Church, faith, and all that is good and right (note all the discussion of transgenderism, wokeness, and related), has been elevated not merely to defend Russia but to save and advance it.

Keep in mind the memetics of this (as well as the work of Gramsci and the huge amount of Gramscian damage in the West). Russia is a very different culture from our own. Always has been. To better understand that and the historical roots of same, please read Kamil Galeev on Twitter or the Threadreader App. Keep in mind that within that culture there is an ongoing fight between those who are Slavophile versus those who feel Russia should look to the West and adopt Western ideals. Right now, the Slavophile element is in control, and the last full leader of the Western view (such as he was), Gorbachev, is now dead and buried.

Logic and reason have a place in Russia, but not the pride of place it (allegedly) has here in the West. Mythology, if you will, can and does matter more in swaying public opinion. Just look at the recent assassination of the daughter of “Putin’s brain” or philosopher. That it was most likely (IMO) an FSB operation that really was intended to get him and her, but just getting her worked too within the politics of the day. Yet, it immediately became the tale of the virtuous Russian maiden, slain by treachery and deceit by a vile female Ukrainian Nazi. Full state funeral to emphasize the tale. How did it work? Outside of Russia, only a few useful idiots bought in. Inside Russia? Not as well as they would have liked. Reality, in the form of casualties and costs, limited the effect of the myth.

Which brings us back to the speech and the Q&A. Note how Vladimir started the speech, with discussion on ecology which he emphasized by noting that many might be surprised he started with it. That was something aimed at internal and external audiences, and many missed it. Instead of the normal lashing out at the West, Vladimir talked the need to conserve, preserve, and improve the environment large, and called out the small as well. In the entire speech, look at what was not said, not just what was said and in what order. The subtext to the speech was intended for several audiences, and I hope they were paying attention.

Ignoring some of the expected and predictable memetics, I will say Vladimir was not wrong about this being the most dangerous decade since WWII. We are entering a period that has the potential to make the Cuban Missile Crisis and other close calls of the Cold War look like child’s play. The old order, and old major powers, are failing. The Ukraine has ended Russia’s hold on the status of major military power, and exposed the rotten core within. China’s desperation may yet lead it to try to invade Taiwan, but even as it prepares to do so, it too is stumbling. In the West, the so-called rule of experts that hit its peak after WWII is falling. Anyone who thinks any power, or those who have wielded power for so long, are going to give that up easily and willfully is deluded. Given nuclear weapons and more, I’d say the case can be made that we are entering the most dangerous decade in the known history of humanity. It is not going to be a fun or easy ride, no matter what.

Again, note what he didn’t say in the speech. There was effectively no bluff, no threats, even almost an avoidance of direct talk of the war. It was not truly brought up until the Q&A. Now that got interesting, and again much of this was aimed internal, not external (save to useful idiots). The idea that Vladimir and Russia have NEVER threatened use, only hinted, was part of a well-laid campaign. Note how he brought up the threats from the British, which is going to play well in some quarters. The Slavophile dislike of the Brits showed through, just as it has throughout the invasion. Worth noting that they’ve gone after Great Britain more than they have the U.S. by a good margin. Leaving aside the hapless Truss, Vladimir was almost gentle in pointing out the threats of Biden. Which, given that the demented meat puppet and his incompetent Regency have chewed their shoes with their feet still in them almost continuously, is something.

Not sure what it says that I laughed along with Vladimir at the Khruschev comparison, but again note what wasn’t said along with what was said. No direct threats, though he invited all to read Russian doctrine on nukes. An emphasis on the threats incoming. The dirty bomb and nuclear plant discussions were interesting. Much wasn’t said, and how it wasn’t said was interesting indeed.

Which is why I was unsurprised to read this. Is it an opening? Maybe. Between the speech and a variety of reports I suspect that if a graceful way can be found to take the nuclear serpent off the table, though not out of the room, there would be interest in so doing. The question is if what it would take to do so is something everyone would be willing to do. It also depends on various leaders having the sense and counsel to realize an opening is there and not suffer the usual hoof and mouth disease.

Are we in any way, shape, or form out of the woods? Fuck no! At best we might have an opening to start discussing finding a way out of the woods. Are the Russians continuing with their pathetic (by outside standards) attempts at maskirova via dirty bomb? Yes. The fact that no one outside of Russia is really buying it doesn’t matter, that is aimed internal far more than external. Is the use of nukes, chemical, and other still a part of Russian doctrine, the same doctrine Vladimir invited one and all to read? Yes. Which means it is still very much on the table.

The key on all for now is the Donbas. Vladimir made that very plain yesterday. From historical claims on up, the Donbas now is at the heart of the issue. Which is why I say that what Vladimir wants may not be acceptable to all. What is needed for “peace” was made very clear by Vladimir yesterday. Which means that on the one hand we may have an opening to standing down the nuclear viper, and conversely we are in even greater danger than before. Now we know for sure the physical location of the schwerpunkt, and have a better idea of the philosophical schwerpunkts in play.

And yes, despite yesterday’s speech I still think that if Vladimir can’t have the Donbas (and the whole Ukraine), he’s perfectly willing to ensure no one can. Formally, for all he seems to have provided an opening, no option was truly removed from the table.

Before I close, be sure to watch his hands and legs during the speech. Telling. It seemed to take more out of him that he wanted to let on. Excellent make up job, even better than normal. Hmmmm.

Between this and the diesel situation (along with others) here, if you can, redouble your preparations, particularly food. Please hit my fundraiser so I can pay bills and do so as well. Stock up, hunker down, and let’s pray for the best.


If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo or drop me a line to discuss other methods. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Cover Versus Concealment

If the site is slow loading or you’ve had trouble getting through, my apologies. We are experiencing growing pains as I move from regular blog to high-traffic blog. Working on it, feel free to hit the tip jar to help me keep going and upgrade the site. Your gifts truly do make the difference. Working on adding a mail-in option, GabPay, others; if interested in mail-in for now drop me a line.

In this post the other day, I brought up two topics for future discussion. Lifeboat Rules was the topic yesterday, and I really do urge people to share it and think about it. If we have a major disaster, not just a nuclear war, we will have a new and different form of “lost generation.”

Today, I want to talk briefly about the difference between cover and concealment. I want to do this because many of the posts of late have been aimed at those late to the concepts of preparedness and nuclear war. Many such have no connection to, or participation in, old Scouting (my thoughts on modern Scouting another day) or the military. While this discussion is only partially germane to immediate nuclear survival, it’s some useful information to have both in general and for later.

Concealment is simply avoiding observation. It can be as simple as putting objects between you and potential observers, or as complex as camouflage. When I say objects, I mean everything from ridges and buildings to trees and shrubs. When I say camouflage, I mean anything from a ghillie suits and/or face paint to large camouflage nets or more.

Now then, there are good reasons to use concealment, if possible, after a nuclear strike. First, you may want to hide that your home or other shelter is both useable and in use. It’s the quick and clean way to avoid those not-nice folks as well as others that even if nice will push your shelter over capacity. When and if you go out, you may want to use it to both avoid any not-nice people in the area and to avoid advertising where you are located. Depending on where you are located, it may be a moot point — or it may make the difference between staying relatively peaceful and secure or having to defend yourself.

Cover is something that protects you from incoming fire. It may also conceal you, but the main point of cover is the protection. Cover is everything from piling dirt or sandbags in front of basement windows before the blast, to putting solid objects in place to bar unauthorized entry to your shelter. Putting up items to block radiation is also technically cover.

Thing is, you want and need both. Concealment means you can be overlooked or missed by the not-nice no matter the disaster. Cover can help protect you from the disaster itself, as well as give you a secure position after. For a quick example, sandbags can help prevent flooding in floods or damage in a nuclear blast, and then help protect you and yours, as well as the structure involved, after.

It’s never too late to start thinking about such, and about what you have around you that you can use to improvise cover and concealment inside and out. Just one idea: books can and do act as cover from radiation and a variety of small arms rounds. Of course, if you shoot my books be happy if just shoot you and make it quick.

Further discussions are the advanced courses, though I will note that for individuals, between clothing and paint, the idea is to break up your outline so that the brain doesn’t recognize it as human. Again, advanced discussion for another day, but a bit of knowledge that may prove useful.

BTW, don’t know who did the meme above originally, but my hat is off to them. It’s been used in this context, for political memes, and probably more. It’s also true. Race really may have been the first to teach me that. 🙂


If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo or drop me a line to discuss other methods. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.