How To Spy On The Russians

More years ago than I care to think about, I was a guest at DragonCon and one of my panels was “How To Spy On The Soviets.” It was a fun thing, and I managed to piss off a couple of Navy Intel people, and get a few points across. This was the DragonCon where Tom Clancy and Larry Bond were guests, and I spent several evenings in Tom’s suite having/listening to very interesting conversations with a number of interesting people. For example, Tom had brought as a guest the former MIG pilot who had defected along with his then newest and greatest MIG in the Soviet arsenal. To say that our intel people had been glad to get both of them is an understatement.

I think it is time to update that panel a bit, as the situation has changed. Not the least, as I noted to John Ringo on Twitter yesterday, is that we are living in what is almost a post-OPSEC world.

If you are interested in a country, for whatever reason, you don’t have to be telepathic or a distance reader, or even have covert and overt sources there. If you do have overt or covert contacts, great, but keep in mind that HUMINT can be a very chancy thing.

Instead, it is amazing what you can find in open publications. This was true then, and is even more true now. Back then, you had to depend primarily on printed magazines, newspapers, press releases, etc. Today, you have the internet and if the counter-intel people were driven crazy back then trying to keep things out of print, I can’t imagine how they are handling today when pretty much everyone is posting videos and commentary across dozens of platforms.

I can’t vouch for today, but back then I found Western press releases (of which I wrote a few) tended to be restrained. They were accurate, but not necessarily precise as you needed people to know some basics, but you also didn’t want to tell anyone unfriendly the full capabilities of a given item or system. On the other hand, Soviet press releases tended to be a bit over the top. Capabilities were overstated because of the Soviet inferiority complex. Every system had to beat the public data on capabilities of Western items/systems by a large factor, while providing soft-serve ice cream and other aid to the operator, user, pilot, etc. Okay, little hyperbole there but not much…

These days, you can find online policy debates that once would have been hard to find or even classified. As but one example, you can find information on the “Escalate to De-Escalate” policy online as people in and out of government debate it. You can also find out who supports it and who doesn’t the same way.

It’s called research, a concept lost on the terminally stupid, but a thing that can be used by those truly interested in a topic/country/etc. to gather a huge amount of information. As John Ringo pointed out yesterday, in WWII (and even after) we were lucky to have any information on individual officers or the leadership of a given unit. Today, you can find the table of organization for pretty much any unit, along with details about its leadership, on their web site. Want to know the conditions and morale in a unit? Read what the enlisted have to say on various social media platforms. The amount of data that is available today is almost overwhelming.

It still won’t let you read a mind, but it can help you determine patterns in thinking of various leaders, which can give a clue towards intentions. It can show you weaknesses, problems, and more. Given that a lot of intel analysis is all about pattern recognition, the data field for such is amazing.

Which reminds me that I think I agreed to say a bit about how I got into being a Soviet Watcher. While I was in college, I wrote professionally for newspapers, magazines, and pretty much anyone who would pay me. At SpaceWorld magazine, I was a Correspondent-at-Large and gleefully covered space exploration around the world. Having been embarrassed a few year before at how little I knew about Soviet space efforts, I had dug in and learned all I could. In the course of that, I noticed a pattern in the data around Soviet launch failures. I wrote it up, noting that if the pattern held, the next launch was likely to have problems. It was published, and I moved on.

Low and behold, the next launch failed, rather spectacularly. The next thing I knew, my phone was (badly) tapped and I was approached by someone offering to share information on Soviet efforts if I would share open info with him. Long story short, all the antics ended up pissing me off and that’s when I really dug into things. I declined the offer and reported it to the FBI, and got rid of the bug by calling and reporting it from the tapped phone. I think it was gone in less than an hour.

A few years later, my Master’s thesis was entitled “The Soviet Watchers: A Directory of Western Observers of Soviet Space Efforts.” Yes, I wrote an open spook directory of people who could talk to the press and (mostly) offer some good info. I was very happy that one person declined to be in it (believing that such would hurt me and my effort), as I respected neither then nor their work. I was disappointed that I could not include one person, as the person who declined had helped drive them back to Langley.

I stepped away from detailed Soviet/Russian watching for a while, keeping up with just a few things to do with leadership. Some of the policy debates had caught my eye, for example. The last couple of months have been a crash course on getting back into the details on things at all levels. There are people far better than I at observing and explaining individual actions and campaigns, and there are yet others who are covering logistics and other important topics.

If you do decide to become a X-Watcher, especially a Russia Watcher, do take some basic precautions. Add an extra firewall to your computer, along with anti-malware software. Use VPN and Tor if you make forays into that country’s data nets. It may not completely protect you, but make them work for it. Be safe, have fun, and keep in mind how good you have it today.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

Going Nuclear

By Dawns Early Light…

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

By Dawn’s Early…

First, some homework. While I would love for you to read everything I’ve written on Russia/Ukraine and Vladimir, reality says you are probably just going to skim this post. For those who truly want to understand what I’m going to write today, please take the time to read this update, this post, and this post. It’s not complete, but it does give you enough background for a foundation to today’s post.

Second, I’m going to do something no author or pundit is ever supposed to admit: I hope I’m wrong. Not a little bit, not a lot, but run away and hide in shame wrong. Mercilessly mocked wrong.

Now, let’s get started. The planned victory celebrations on May 9 for Czar Vladimir I aren’t going to happen. As noted before, the Ukrainians dared fight back, and won great victories. Vladimir shifted to take the East and South, but even there things are not going to plan. Not only are the Ukrainians taking a certain delight in offing Russian generals, they have apparently hit targets in Russia. I say apparently because I suspect the R&D fire was typical ineptitude (there’s a bit of history of such, particularly when R&D and production are combined); if the chemical plant was the Ukraine, my hats off to them; and, finally, some of the events are possibly false flag with both sides denying responsibility.

Why the false flag ops? Simple, Vladimir has to show that Russia has been attacked. He has been being extremely legalistic (by Russian standards) throughout, starting with declaring that there was a Nazi menace in the Ukraine. He has continued that even into the nuclear threats, and as he builds the case for a war. I had wondered a bit at why special weapons had not already been used as the Russian military has hit situations that called for such use per doctrine. However, since it’s officially not a war…

Vladimir very much needs to make this a war. With a formal war declared, he can keep his conscript and contract troops for the duration. With a formal war declared he can mobilize reserves and more. With a formal war declared, he can take the gloves off.

The question is, will the Ukraine be the sole target of his war? There are very interesting rumors that it will not be limited to the Ukraine. As I noted a while back, we are seeing an increasing emphasis on being at war with NATO and certain non-NATO countries that are providing assistance to the Ukraine have also felt Vladimir’s verbal ire. If those rumors and reports are true, at the very least, the declaration of war will directly or indirectly include NATO and other countries.

No, that’s not weasle-wording. Despite being a despot, Vladimir does not operate in a complete vacuum. There are arguments, let’s say, for and against naming one and all. A strong argument can be made (cough) for not listing but rather using a phrase like ‘and countries supporting the Ukraine or the attacking of Russian targets on Russian soil’ as it gives you a lot more flexibility. Keep in mind how legalistic he is being, and keep in mind his audience for this is not primarily the West (with caveat to come) but rather the internal Russian audience.

Vladimir is a true believer in the Russkiy Mir plan and a staunch Russian nationalist. Vladimir is of the school that sees communism as having been a poison for Russia because it was a non-Slavic philosophy forced onto Slavs. He also believes in the idea of ‘Escalate to De-Escalate’ as I’ve noted multiple times.

Right now, two options have caught my attention. In the first option, after a declaration of war gives him the troops and legal use of the full might of the Russian military, he can then use conventional weapons against targets outside of the Ukraine per the declaration of war. If he hits targets in the UK, Europe, or in route to the Ukraine, he then has a legal defense that he can present to Russia and the world for such, even as he threatens to use his nuclear arsenal if there is any retaliation. And, trust me, anything and everything will be a retaliation. Option two is much the same, but chemical, biological, or nuclear (tactical/small strategic) are used.

Vladimir is already well aware that Biden is terrified of a nuclear exchange or starting WWIII. For all that the dementia-ridden meat puppet told him that in talks a while back, there is the matter of Biden’s well-known anger issues. If anyone can name a single thing the so-called Biden administration has gotten right, please do let me know. Every effort to find or even build an off-ramp that might have worked (not sure Vladimir will take one even if offered) has been blasted out of existence by the Biden administration. It’s almost as if some of them want WWIII. The administration has proven Obama right when he said ‘Never underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.’ Yeah, single quote as I’m not sure it’s an exact quote.

So, I suspect any diplomatic effort out the current administration will simply strengthen Vladimir’s resolve. The contempt Vladimir feels towards most ministers and other government officials has been massively on display with Macron. He’s also very pissed off with the British right now (Russia/British relations are a large topic for another day, as a lot of it dates back hundreds of years). That leaves Xi, who has seen his alliance with Russia go sideways on multiple levels. Outside of those leaders, I’m not sure who could step up, have Vladimir actually listen to them, and find a good diplomatic solution. There are, of course, many bad diplomatic solutions most of which revolve around the world abandoning the Ukraine to its fate.

Now, let’s complicate things just a bit further. A while back, I noted that I had seen a change in Vladimir’s thinking that indicated a rather strong personal shock. The kind of thing where you realize your mortality, your country’s mortality, or otherwise had some type of Road to Damascus moment. While I noticed it a couple of years ago, whatever happened could have taken place as far back as five years ago. I’m not sure if the reported upcoming cancer surgery is related to it, but since I believe this report to be true you have to also accept that it is a factor in his thinking and planning. When I used the word Gotterdammerung the other day, I wasn’t joking.

If Vladimir and his clique have an ounce of sense, they will keep any and all attacks conventional. I’m not confident enough to place a bet they will. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on tactical use of special weapons. Under normal circumstances (whatever they may be), I would not see things escalating to a strategic exchange. With the situation as it exists now, I won’t bet against it.

If it were up to me, I would be looking hard for someone or several someones to try to find a diplomatic solution. I would be reaching out to Vladimir, I would be reaching out to Abramovich, I would be reaching out to the dog lounging at the Kremlin gates. It would be quiet, but it would be done along with trying to say the right things in public (something our administration has yet to do).

At the same time, I would be making sure a number of scheduled, “scheduled,” and unscheduled drills take place. I would be dispersing our nuclear forces and weapons. The Air Force would be testing plans to disperse fighters, bombers, tankers, and other aircraft to auxiliary fields. The Army would be doing much the same, so that one bomb doesn’t really take out a whole base. Every sub that can sail, would sail. The troops taking part in NATO drills or to bolster the defense of NATO allies? They need to practice dispersion and/or digging in, so do it. I would have as many in the line of succession off on business trips, junkets, etc. as possible. You better believe I would be making sure the E4Bs and E6Bs were flying. This can be done without officially raising our alert level, and I would be starting to do it NOW. Yes the Russians would see much of this. They are supposed to. It’s called deterrence. Right now, Vladimir believes Western leadership is too weak to respond. This at least helps diminish the strategic threat.

Edited to add: Patriot, Iron Dome, and any other ABM defense systems we have or can get is put out with the troops. Anything that can be activated CONUS should be activated, even if it’s been in orbit for a decade or two. Bring it all online.

What little influence I may have ever had in DC went away about the time Reagan left office. So, all I can do is look at stepping up my personal preparedness levels a bit more, and really really wish enough would come in to the fundraiser so that I could move now, now, now. I would suggest to you, my reader, that you up your preparedness levels a bit too. Given inflation and the growing amount of problems with the food chain, it can’t hurt to have food you normally use laid in.

I also will suggest prayer. The prayers offered up for me since I was hit by lightning last year have made a difference. Right now, I think our best hope is with the Devine.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

Going Nuclear

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

What’s It Like To Be Hit By Lightning?

I’ve been getting this a lot lately, so I thought I would talk a little about what happened and what is happening now. I’m glad to say that a lot of good things are going on, including cognitive therapy.

Last June 30, I went out on the front porch to drink my coffee and read the news at about 0430 hours. There was a thunderstorm about a mile off, moving away from my location, that was putting on a light show. I had checked the weather radar before going out to see what it was doing. For those interested, I was seated facing West, and watched the light show through the brick arches to my right (North).

At approximately 0445 hours, I think I had just finished reading Instapundit when my world went white, then black. I realized as it flashed white that lightning had hit to my right. I thought I was clenching up in fear, but it turns out I was locked up. There was a roaring sensation, not sound, in my head and I remember every hair on the right side of my body standing straight up and those on the left trying to do the same. I also remember as everything went black that I thought we were having a power outage, instead of just a me outage.

I really don’t know how long things stayed black, but it was long enough for me to wonder what I was going to see when the lights came back on: heaven, hell, or something else. When vision returned/lights came back on, I was relieved to find myself still on the porch and intact. At least no chunks were missing. I got up, went inside, and gave thanks to God and the Blessed Mother that the lightning had missed me. Me being me, I got a shower and went to work completely missing that I had indeed been hit. I spent a lot of the day talking about the near miss, even though I was starting not to feel good.

Turns out, burns and blast injuries are not the most frequent result of a hit. Rather, it’s concussion symptoms and I soon had those in spades, along with a spike in blood pressure that had me well above stroke range. Finally got to the point I went to the ER, and that’s when we started putting things together. It’s also when I found a small black hole in the ball of my right foot, and evidence of a corresponding melt hole in the shoe I was wearing.

Right now, the best guess (and it is a guess) is that the main bolt hit a tree that is roughly ten feet (or less) from the porch where I was sitting. There is debate on mechanisms, but some part of it came over to say hello and while we don’t know exactly where/how it went into my upper body, we know where it came out. It is also worth noting that the radio in my car, which was parked not too far from the tree apparently got fried at the same time.

Things continued to deteriorate on the cardiac side, and in October I ended up having open heart surgery to: replace some arteries in one section of my heart that had gotten so inflamed that they were not letting any blood through; zap seven spots on my heart to stop the atrial fibrillation I was experiencing; and, to put a clip on the back of my heart to block off an area to prevent blood clots and strokes. We are still working on BP issues, but things are much better than they were.

Testing found that I’ve lost all the high frequency hearing in my right ear and that the nerves are dead. There is also an increase in my tinnitus. Holding off on a hearing aid for now, plan is to track and see what happens.

Which leads to the neurological side of things. God’s own stun gun got fired into the motherboard of the most powerful bio-electric computer currently known, the human brain. My brain. The good news there is that there was no physical damage found. Cognitive testing has me clocking out very well in most areas, but there is an area where even though I do well on the test, we know there are problems.

One way I’ve described part of it is like saying ‘Oh, I need that and it’s over here in this filing cabinet drawer’ and discovering the thing and/or the drawer aren’t there. Another part is that short-term memory can be really short. The more mental and physical distractions, the harder it is to keep up. It’s as if some of the data in my brain is scrambled. Actually, some of it may be gone. Some of it is just not where it used to be. I’m told that it will be about three years before everything settles down.

So, the cognitive therapy has provided me with some things to do to help exercise the area of the brain/cognition that took the worst hit, and to develop mechanisms to cope with the issues. One of the things I do is make extensive use of lists to be sure I get everything done I need to in a day. This includes sub-lists on each task. I will note for the record that it helps not to leave the lists at home when you head out for appointments and errands.

It can be odd what does pop up in my head on occasion, and equally odd what doesn’t pop up. For one example, I may see a face and hear a voice in my memory, but I can’t match it to a name or anything else. More often, I can associate it with some things, but not with major things. If I stumble, mispronounce, or have another issue, just be patient.

In so many ways, I am blessed. I am alive. I survived the open heart surgery. My brain is clocking along above average in most areas, and there are ways to compensate for where it is not operating at peak efficiency. The support I’ve gotten medically, financially, and otherwise has been overwhelming. I’ve still got a ways to go, and it does bite to have been out of work so long. But, with continued support and prayers, I will hang on, I will recover as fully as possible, and I hope to move out West soon.

Thank you all who have prayed for me, donated, and otherwise encouraged me. Your gifts have made the difference. Thank you.

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Going Nuclear

I’m not even going to try for any humor at the start today. Rather, I’m going to start with expressing yet again my amazement at the complete and total clusterfuck that is Russia and the Russian military. I’ve said it before, but if you had told me in January that a majority of equipment was not fully usable, that almost every unit was at least 25 percent understrength, that they were using such interesting (cough, choke, wheeze) com gear and were heavily dependent on using the Ukrainian cell phone network, and all the other things we’ve seen, I would have laughed at you.

In many respects, Russia is fucked. From demographics, from corruption, from a system that can’t manufacture shit, from continuing to build and operate the ‘one big plant’ because of paranoia, and I could go on. The invasion of the Ukraine was an effort to keep things rolling rather than collapse in the next few years. It was supposed to be the start of Russkiy Mir, and the new, bigger, better, Russian empire. It was to cement Vladimir’s hold on power, and ensure that the oligarchs would have money to siphon off for years to come.

Which brings me back to Wednesday’s post. The Russian’s have indeed seen the attacks inside Russia not as a legitimate response to their unprovoked invasion, but as an escalation. Not unexpected, particularly given the bully mentality of Vladimir and the leadership. They do see NATO and others arming the Ukraine, training troops, etc. as attacking them and stopping them from their liberation of the Ukraine (and inevitably Moldova, Georgia, the Baltics…). They see it not just as a proxy war, but as a direct attack on Russia by each and every one of those countries.

Now, when you read/hear/etc. things like this and this, keep in mind three important points:

First, they are not bluffs as we understand bluffs. They are warnings, and if we let the Wookie win, that is all they will be. If we don’t let the Wookie win, then they are a legal and full justification for the use of special weapons. These things are aimed not so much at the West, but at the Russian people to demonstrate that they did all they could to prevent use of special weapons. They were the upright, caring leaders who tried to prevent things, and the West were the corrupt thugs.

Second, they also function as a part of Vladimir’s “Escalate to De-escalate” campaign. Remember, he believes that he can use tactical and/or small strategic weapons in a way that will prevent a response because to respond will start a full nuclear exchange. They believe Western leaders are too weak and cowardly to risk it. On that score, I’m not sure he’s wrong, but I also think anyone who believes in this strategy is mental. That said, the abortion that was MAD always had us at the mercy of the least stable leader with a nuke. Vladimir is making the stakes clear, that he will go for a full exchange if pushed. The thing is, I think he’s serious and that if we retaliate to his use of special weapons, in kind or otherwise, he will do it. If reports are true, Vladimir and several of his inner circle are ready for a Gotterdammerung moment because if they fail at the invasion, they are out of power, and out of power means they die.

Third, for all they emphasize strategic, they also indicate that at least initially it would be a limited strike. Note the emphasis on taking out this or that city, of eliminating military bases. If nukes are used in the Ukraine, I suspect that Kyiv or wherever Zelenskyy may be at the time, or large military headquarters, will be the targets. In the field, the troops are dispersed and agile. However, I am increasingly of the opinion that Vladimir will attack targets in NATO and elsewhere with conventional and special weapons. The take will be that he has used tactical weapons on bases that are attacking Russia and killing Russians, and that if we retaliate in any way, he will go strategic.

Again, May 9 is the key date. Originally, Vladimir was set to be the conquering hero who was restoring Russia to greatness and a lot of theatrics were planned. Then, the Ukrainians dared fight back, and most of the rest of the world rallied to support them. Outrageous! How dare they! An affront like this to Vladimir is an affront to Russia!

Things have gone seriously awry. Sweden and Finland are considering joining NATO. The poor performance of the Russian military has countries that were terrified of them rolling their eyes at Russian threats. Even the smallest countries on the Russkiy Mir list are now willing to fight because they realize that they could win. Oh, and let’s not forget that Russia has depleted a number of crucial stockpiles, and is now facing the loss of chemicals and lubricants from the chemical plant fire.

Yes, Vladimir could do a full call-up and have a large number of troops to use — maybe. The ability to get them where needed is limited. Almost every depot has seen critical items looted, which means all the pre-positioned stockpiles will require extensive maintenance to make combat ready. That’s assuming they have the equipment anywhere to replace what was stolen and sold. Add to that troops can’t be pulled from multiple areas because the unrest there would turn to open rebellion as soon as those troops leave. As I and others have noted before, they could use sheer numbers to take the Ukraine (and possibly Moldova at the same time). They don’t have the numbers to hold it.

The only thing that Vladimir can count on right now are the special weapons. Even there, however, questions arise. Given that the SATAN-II is more than two years behind schedule in deployment, one wonders what problems it has been having. There are other issues with both strategic and tactical systems, from weapons to control. My hope and prayer is that we don’t find out what problems do or don’t exist because a small desperate creature did something stupid.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

I was going to do a play on the increase in nuclear threats, rather than a cute old movie, but frankly that’s now pretty much every day ending in Y. I’m going to get to Moldova in a moment, but we need to have yet another discussion on mores and bluffs that really aren’t bluffs.

More and more people in the Russian government are now warning that WWIII is imminent. Before dismissing it as yet more bluff and bluster out of the Kremlin, let’s go back and refresh our understanding of mores (More Azzzz). Mores are the cultural blinders we all wear, often unknowingly. Far too many dismissing this as all bluff fail to grasp that while there are elements that can be seen as a bluff, there are elements to it that are not.

Yes, there is a bit of “Let the Wookie win” in these statements. In other words, stop providing the Ukraine with the means to defend itself, stop the sanctions, etc. , or else… The grocery list of things where the Wookie, er, Vladimir, should be allowed to win grows longer every day, and there is an element of flinging excrement against the wall to it. If something sticks or smears, it’s intel on where they could or should push. If nothing sticks, the other aspect of this comes into play.

Buried within all the bluff and bluster is a real effort to set the stage for the use of special weapons. ‘We warned you…’ is an integral part of it for both maskirova and diplomatic purposes. It is also a warning that NATO countries could find themselves targets for conventional weapons as well as special. Look at the fact that all of the people warning that there will be WWIII if NATO and others don’t back off and let the Vladimir win are making the flat declaration that Russia is ALREADY at war with NATO. That they have taken the high road and not responded — yet.

Every day the war drags on, the more likely it is that Vladimir will, as Mark Tapscott puts it at Instapundit, go for door number three. By the way, if you are not reading Stephen Green’s and Sarah A. Hoyt’s regular updates at Instapundit, you should be.

There are already signs that he’s headed that way, and that he plans to make Moldova a part of that operation. Moldova has long been on Vladmir’s (and Russkiy Mir’s) list. If he can take and hold the South, he has a clear shot at it and using it to change the strategic (and tactical) balance.

I expect to see a growing number of false flag operations, and not just in the Ukraine or Moldova. In fact, here’s one from Russia, which has to be the most inept and incompetent false flag in quite some time.

The other thing I expect to see is an increase in the “Russia is at war with NATO” stance. As I’ve said before, they are not wrong — it is a proxy war. Ironically that is something they are familiar with given the number of proxy wars they and/or the Soviet Union have started over the years.

What is going to open the floodgates on this is the fact that the Ukraine has begun hitting targets inside Russia. That was something Vladimir et cie never expected or planned for, and in true sociopathic fashion they are proclaiming in private and in public that they are the true victims here. The decision to cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria is not just a currency issue, it is an economic hit (and warning) at NATO.

While the Ukraine has done a limited amount in Russia before, Vladimir is going to see this as an escalation by NATO, not the Ukraine. The Ukraine are just Nazi dupes, remember? As the tempo increases and as he fails to get a needed major victory, I’m afraid that this author is correct on the need to start training troops now.

It’s been discussed here several times, but keep in mind that Vladimir rolled the dice in the initial invasion. It had to succeed, as his continued rule and life depend on it. So, yet again let me say, I expect him to continue to roll the dice in hopes that something breaks his way. I really wish that so much internal had not (apparently) been linked to May 9. The new Nazi’s were to be crushed and killed, Ukraine restored to Russia to the joy of its citizens, and more than likely Moldova would be restored as well.

Hasn’t worked out that way so far. If the Ukraine can keep hitting Russian logistics in the Donbas and inside Russia, as well as fight successfully against the Russian troops and proxies, it won’t happen. The best I see short-term is that Vladimir does not let May 9 drive him, and either goes for long-term efforts (that I don’t think will be as long term as he would like, thoughts for another day) or for control of the East and South. I don’t think he’s going to get either, but let’s get past May 9 and go from there.

If he does let May 9 drive things, expect to see a large number of false flag ops. They are a crucial part to Soviet/Russian nuclear use plans. From all reports, Vladimir does believe in the “Escalate to Deescalate” doctrine, and given what he regards as a war with NATO plus his troops being largely unable to succeed on the battlefield, he is quite likely to use special weapons. I can see chemical in some areas (as noted before Mariupol and the steel works), and I can see tactical nukes against either obstacles or more likely strategic command centers. Note the recent threat from Russia that they reserved the right to hit a command post in Kyiv even if members of NATO were present. Also note that Vladimir himself has now said that military sites in Britain and other NATO members are on the table because of their support of the Ukraine (and unsaid the support of hitting targets inside Russia).

Back on 24 March in this post, I stated “While I do not yet endorse his recommendations, I also don’t disagree with them.” in regards this article. I think we are at a point where a dispersal of our nuclear forces is in order, along with an enhanced deterrent alert with Britain. As I noted earlier in this post, we really should be training our troops for CBN operations and making sure they have MOPP gear and related supplies. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to disperse our conventional forces in Europe and/or Scandinavia, and even do some training on trenches and bunkers. Time for some drills.

For something a little less earth shattering, read this post from Trent Telenko and this reply from John Ringo. Mr. Telenko also makes a very good point that far too many so-called experts miss, namely the need to explore fault trees. Going for the easy shiny blinds you to reality. He also has a good post on how logistics should be done, courtesy of our own Air Force.

Kamil Galeev has two interesting threads going. In the first, he posts some videos and links to his new Telegram channel where he will be doing a more thorough job on video posting than he can do on Twitter. He also has an interesting post that not only looks at why the heck there is still trade with Belarus, but also offers a very different take on Lukashenko than you get most places. Given how uniformly our intelligence operations have failed, we may just want to revisit the conventional view of the strongman. Have to admit it is making me step back to think a bit.

Now, homework for the day. First, if you are interested in Russia and its relations with others, you may be interested in what has and is going on in Georgia (country, not the state). If so, I get a newsletter twice a week from civil.ge that is informative, interesting, and quite often written with a sense of humor. Second, courtesy of Sarah A. Hoyt at Insty, comes this history of Russia and the Ukraine. Unlike the books I linked the other day, this one goes back to medieval times as a starting point. Excellent read!

Finally, to try to end a very hard post with a laugh, I will say I don’t expect Vladimir to end the world. I think this may beat him to the punch. Did you not watch any of the movies? Don’t open the mysterious sarcophagus! Even if you have Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser right there with you ready to go.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

*****

If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Going To War With The Underwear You Got On

Versus the bulletproof/blastproof underwear you want. Go read Sarah’s post, and if you are not reading her every day, what the everliving is your major malfunction?

*****

If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Health Update

Sorry for the lack of free ice cream, but this is a week of doctors, with today wrapping up a series of visits. The good news out of all of them is that things are doing as well as they can be doing. I’ve been told to work on my triglycerides, and plan to do so.

The good news is that these visits also incorporated some regular cancer screens and those were all negative. I strongly recommend ignoring the Obama-era recommendations to not get certain tests done, especially a PSA test if you are male. The earlier you catch things, the better.

In addition to a recurrent rash I seem to have picked up in Iraq many years ago, I have a couple of new things to deal with. Neither bad, just annoying. Stamina is still an issue, but getting back to regular exercise should help.

Because of the diverticulitis, I get to have another colonoscopy here soon. Working on that, hopefully same doctor and location as last time. Best such I’ve ever had, and appreciated the care and professionalism. Especially as the doctor previous to them came closer to killing me than I care for.

Things are going well enough that I don’t have to see the cardiologist for six months, unless something comes up. BP still an issue, but we can work it via weekly reports and more blood work.

Starting back into regular exercise, have gotten in some good walks the last few days, though the body is quick to let me know when I push too hard and that I’ve not been doing this in a while. Have even been cleared to use the inversion table.

All in all, a fairly decent set of visits. Have more cognitive therapy sessions to come, and am looking forward to them. Again, I highly suggest not getting hit by lightning.

*****

If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Three Times Is…

When it comes to all the natural gas/energy oligarchs going all in on murder/suicide, well, things stink. As I noted Thursday, the very precise wording of some of the Russian coverage speaks volumes.

Then we get to the fires. Not just the huge forest fires in Siberia, but at a defense research and production facility and, at a huge chemical plant near Moscow. While the defense facility may impact war operations, the chemical plant is likely to have a fast and massive effect on the war effort as well as the civilian economy. This excellent thread explains why.

Homework for the weekend. Yes, I’m one of those a******s who gives out homework assignments to do over the weekend. Read this thread on the history of Mariupol from Kamil Galeev. Then, if you want to learn more about the history of Imperial Russia, check out the books in this thread.

Trent Telenko has some interesting threads here, here, and here. If the Ukrainians can continue to go after Russian logistics, and effectively go after Russian artillery, it’s going to get very interesting for the Russians.

As for the comments made that Russia wants the East and South at a minimum, well, Duh. That’s been a topic of discussion here and at other blogs pretty much from the start. That they will also go into Moldova per the same comments: not a surprise. Moldova, Georgia, the Baltics — they are all on the Russkiy Mir list. The only bit of surprise I have is that they seem to think they can do it and get away with it. Right now, with having to conscript 16-year-olds and grandfathers to replace losses, logistics delivery problems, materials shortages, and all the other problems they have (including units in all but open mutiny), they might want to thinking a touch more realistically.

Have a great weekend!

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

*****

If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.