Ukraine

phill_nz

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And the first example only worked when the US unleashed nuclear weapons, and did so precisely because the air campaign was otherwise not working . So rather proves the opposite to what you want
correct
even more pointed if you look at the tonnages they dropped and what they were dropping and what they were dropping them on and how easy it was
basically
huge
HE and lots of incendiary
mostly wooden buildings
they had almost freedom of the sky
also old prop bombers could be shuttle run without to much maintenance stoppage unlike new jet propelled

 

dogwatch

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A contrarian view to the mainstream on this thread. Worth at least thinking about why you don't agree with it. Extracts from a long piece.

John Mearsheimer: We’re playing Russian roulette
The West is screwed, says the realist foreign policy scholar

His central argument, that by expanding Nato eastwards and inviting Ukraine to join the bloc, the West (and in particular the United States) created an intolerable situation for Vladimir Putin which would inevitably result in Russia taking action to “wreck” Ukraine, is politically unsayable today. His critics denounce him as a Putin apologist; his supporters, however, believe the invasion was proof that he was right all along.

“The Russians invaded Ukraine with 190,000 troops at the very most,” he replies. “They made no effort to conquer all of Ukraine. They didn’t even come close. There is no way they could have conquered Ukraine with 190,000 troops. And they didn’t have the troops in reserve to do that. When the Germans invaded Poland, in 1939, they invaded with 1.5 million troops. That’s the size army you need to conquer a country like Ukraine, occupy it and then incorporate it into a greater Russia. You need a massive army. This was a limited aim strategy.”

In which case, what was that limited aim?

“What the Russians have said they have wanted from the beginning is a neutral Ukraine. And if they can’t get a neutral Ukraine, what they’re going to do is create a dysfunctional rump state… They’ve taken a huge swath of territory in the East, they’ve annexed those oblasts that are now part of Russia. And at the same time, they’re destroying Ukrainian infrastructure. They’re wrecking the Ukrainian economy. It’s sickening to see what’s happening to Ukraine.”

Bleakly, Mearsheimer now believes that the opportunity for peace has been lost, and that there is no realistic deal that could be reached in Ukraine. Russia will not surrender the gains made in Eastern Ukraine, while the West cannot tolerate their continued occupation; meanwhile, a neutral Ukraine is also impossible, as the only power capable of guaranteeing that neutrality is the US, which would of course be intolerable to Russia. As he puts it, succinctly: “There are no realistic options. We’re screwed.”

He believes that escalation is likely, and the chance of a nuclear event is “non-trivial”.


https://unherd.com/2022/11/john-mearsheimer-were-playing-russian-roulette/


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

Ease the sheet.

ignoring stupid people is easy
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The effect of strategic aerial bombardment is not limited to the impact on the morale of civilians and their political leaders . The objective is to destroy the opposing nations ability to wage war. Yes, by demoralizing civilians but also by demolishing an enemy’s infrastructure—such as the power infrastructure, factories, railways, and refineries—everything that is essential for the production and supply of war materials, the clothing and feeding of troops, the supply of reinforcements and relief at the front line.
If the defender wins the air war, it is much more difficult to invade because advancing troops cannot be supplied.

Campaigns where aerial superiority and/or aerial bombardment played a critical role in victory include:

Japan August 15 1945.
Persian Gulf War 1991
Operation Noble Anvil in Kosovo from March to June 1999



I've given three. But Military History is an evolving discipline and the advent of drones vs air defense systems is writing a new chapter.
Make no mistake, Russia realized it was losing the ground war and has shifted its emphasis to a massive sustained aerial bombardment. If Ukraine can upgrade its air defense and supress the bombardment then Russia will be out of cards. But Ukraine needs to turn this around quickly.
FFS.
No one ever won a war by bombing the shit out of someone else.

It's those fuckers on the ground that win territory and that's what wins wars.
 

Steam Flyer

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A contrarian view to the mainstream on this thread. Worth at least thinking about why you don't agree with it. Extracts from a long piece.

John Mearsheimer: We’re playing Russian roulette
The West is screwed, says the realist foreign policy scholar

His central argument, that by expanding Nato eastwards and inviting Ukraine to join the bloc, the West (and in particular the United States) created an intolerable situation for Vladimir Putin which would inevitably result in Russia taking action to “wreck” Ukraine, is politically unsayable today. His critics denounce him as a Putin apologist; his supporters, however, believe the invasion was proof that he was right all along.

“The Russians invaded Ukraine with 190,000 troops at the very most,” he replies. “They made no effort to conquer all of Ukraine. They didn’t even come close. There is no way they could have conquered Ukraine with 190,000 troops. And they didn’t have the troops in reserve to do that. When the Germans invaded Poland, in 1939, they invaded with 1.5 million troops. That’s the size army you need to conquer a country like Ukraine, occupy it and then incorporate it into a greater Russia. You need a massive army. This was a limited aim strategy.”

In which case, what was that limited aim?

“What the Russians have said they have wanted from the beginning is a neutral Ukraine. And if they can’t get a neutral Ukraine, what they’re going to do is create a dysfunctional rump state… They’ve taken a huge swath of territory in the East, they’ve annexed those oblasts that are now part of Russia. And at the same time, they’re destroying Ukrainian infrastructure. They’re wrecking the Ukrainian economy. It’s sickening to see what’s happening to Ukraine.”

Bleakly, Mearsheimer now believes that the opportunity for peace has been lost, and that there is no realistic deal that could be reached in Ukraine. Russia will not surrender the gains made in Eastern Ukraine, while the West cannot tolerate their continued occupation; meanwhile, a neutral Ukraine is also impossible, as the only power capable of guaranteeing that neutrality is the US, which would of course be intolerable to Russia. As he puts it, succinctly: “There are no realistic options. We’re screwed.”

He believes that escalation is likely, and the chance of a nuclear event is “non-trivial”.


https://unherd.com/2022/11/john-mearsheimer-were-playing-russian-roulette/


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

I think this is a good article, good insight... passes too quickly over one point, Russia didn't intend to forcibly occupy Ukraine. They apparently thought that once Zelensky and his anti-Russian gov't had been chased out, the Ukrainians would be glad to re-join the old USSR.

Failing that, yes they can and are in the process of rendering Ukraine unable to function as a country. Hard to gage how much progress they're making toward this goal, judging by the standard set in history's other wars of massive bombardment, they are only a couple of percentage points along the way. Still a campaign open to doubt which way it's going.

This essay ignores the obvious, too: -something- is going to happen and this war is going to end. There -will- be some post-bellum status for Europe, Ukraine, all. Will be a nuclear wasteland? That's possible, so let's take steps to avoid that. It's likely that Ukraine will be suffer economically for years... decades... to come.
 

enigmatically2

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What @Steam Flyer said largely.
Did NATO expansion cause this conflict? It certainly made Russia feel enclosed so more likely to do something like this. But within international law, countries can decide for themselves, so Russia is still wrong.

They were utterly deluded and believed zelensky would run and Kyiv fall at the feet. Hence why they could use so few troops (though the number quoted in the article is too low).
As has been said, eventually peace will happen. We need to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons being used whilst trying to restore Ukraine for when that happens. So far a tightrope that NATO have been negotiating fairly well
 

estarzinger

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from my colleagues in Ukr, the missile attacks the past couple of weeks, have had a very hard effect. Two of them put their families on trains to Poland this morning (after sticking it out this far together). And two more have moved out of urban areas and moved in with relatives in the country (where the power situation is a little better, and they have running water, and have some of their own food). I have not asked, I'm not sure if they guys are not leaving with their families because they cannot (they are military-age) or because they will not. The guy who was in Odessa has left the country (he is disabled, not military capable), did not want to do so but just was finding it hard to survive. There is zero talk of negotiation, they are very angry and want to and believe they will 'win' (whatever that means). But this infrastructure attack has had a significant impact on the population.
 

pusslicker

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That article doesn't really make much sense. What modern late 20th to 21st century invasion has used 1.5 million soldiers? This invasion seemed like a miscalculation on as many levels as the US invasion of Iraq. I also don't remember NATO expansion being a real possibility until after the invasion.
 

Zonker

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that by expanding Nato eastwards and inviting Ukraine to join the bloc, the West (and in particular the United States) created an intolerable situation for Vladimir Putin which would inevitably result in Russia taking action to “wreck” Ukraine, is politically unsayable today.
It's only intolerable if you're paranoid and believe the West will invade you.

If Ukraine just sits there as a member of NATO (like Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia who also border Russia) without invading how is it "intolerable"?
 

EYESAILOR

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Air wars can end in stalemate. The attacks Russia are making on civilian centres is not making any impact on UKr militarily. Nor did the blitz on UK. The Ukrainian people are and will resist this, they will just get more determined not less.
That comment needs refining historically. First, the reason that the UK did not succumb to German bombing is that Britain won the air war. The Battle of Britain was entirely an air war. Britain was not invaded, Operation Sea Lion failed and Britain did not accept Germany's invitation to a generous...ahem..negotiated settlement because the RAF and the Fleet air arm defeated the Luftwaffe.
Secondly, the Luftwaffe were not entirely stupid. The initial target of the bombing was to weaken the RAF so it was focused on airfields and aircraft production. The second phase when they (wrongly ) assumed they were close to air superiority was to extend bombing to military and economic targets extending up to the Midlands. What British folklore attribute as the beginning of the Blitz on British cities including London was in German minds the second phase of the Battle of Britain. The Germans called the attack on London, Operation Loge. The targets were defined as communications, power stations, armaments works and the docks in the Port of London. They were initially constrained because Hitler had forbidden the bombing of civilians in London (still hoping for his amicable peace treaty) and when bombing the Port you are going to hit East End residential areas. Hitler removed this constraint when the RAF dropped bombs on civilian areas in Berlin.
Ultimately the second phase was premature and a mistake. The RAF had not been defeated, the breathing space to rebuild and repair was helpful...and the German bombers flying beyond the sustained fuel range of their fighter protection were sitting ducks.

There is lots of fascinating stuff to be learnt from the Battle of Britain....one of the most significant air wars in history.

But perhaps one pertinent lesson for the current situation is how important propaganda was during the Battle of Britain and how incredibly skilled the British were at this. So much so that the cult movie (and well worth watching) made in 1969 absorbed some of the propaganda despite a determination to be historically accurate. History is written by the victors.

When the Luftwaffe were raiding airfields and air defenses, the British press reported the destruction of a school in Cornwall. (Sound familiar?). When a Dornier bomber was taken down over Victoria Rail station (by an incredibly brave British pilot) , the press reported a narrow escape for Buckingham Palace. When the bombs were falling on London's docks the British propaganda created the image of determined cockney East Enders defiant against German raids cheering Winston Churchill. The MOD produced a pamphlet called the "Battle of Britian" that even Goebbels admired as a masterpiece.

In military terms, neither sides air power is making much impact. Except in terms of drones for minor targeting and large scale reconnaissance. There UKr are clearly winning.

Forgive me for being a touch skeptical. Even Ukraine is admitting that their power infrastructure is taking significant damage.

I expect both sides to realize the importance of managing the news flow (aka propaganda)

In the end this will be won by troops on the ground, in particular the PBI who have to hold the ground. Just like every other war.
Good friends can agree to disagree.
And there, UkR are winning, helped by those drones.
I agree that Ukraine is demonstrably winning the ground war.

I also happen to think that Russia faces some significant potential disadvantages in the air war, that can be exploited with the support of modern air defense systems that could be supplied by NATO.

In a straightforward battle between the latest Western air defense systems and the Russian aerial bombardment currently being deployed in Ukraine.......Russia loses.
But.....and a very significant BUT ........we are not supplying Ukraine with our latest systems. For me, the question is why not?
 
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Sailbydate

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It's only intolerable if you're paranoid and believe the West will invade you.

If Ukraine just sits there as a member of NATO (like Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia who also border Russia) without invading how is it "intolerable"?
What is 'intolerable' for Putin (and his enablers) is that Russian imperialism is no longer a thing and that they are rapidly losing influence on the world. The more Putin tries to halt this, the faster the slide over the irrelevance abyss.
 

dogwatch

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It's only intolerable if you're paranoid and believe the West will invade you.

If Ukraine just sits there as a member of NATO (like Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia who also border Russia) without invading how is it "intolerable"?

Through the Cold War the west believed the USSR would stream over Iron Curtain given half a chance. Were we paranoid? Possibly.

It could be argued that the Baltic States were "permitted" by Russia to join NATO at a specific and regrettable moment of weakness, from a Russian perspective. However the apparent equanimity with which Putin has accepted the planned NATO membership of Finland and Sweden suggests something else; that he really regards Ukraine as a historical part of Russia, as he has been saying for years. To that extent, I disagree with John Mearsheimer's analysis. Possibly.
 

EYESAILOR

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A contrarian view to the mainstream on this thread. Worth at least thinking about why you don't agree with it. Extracts from a long piece.

John Mearsheimer: We’re playing Russian roulette
The West is screwed, says the realist foreign policy scholar
John Mearsheimer is one of the most respected academics and authors on International Relations in the US. I have his book "Why Leaders Lie" on my bookshelf. I have never read but I look forward to reading his book "The Great Delusion".

One ignores his prognosis and alternate opinions at one's own peril.

He was spot on with his forecast for how the first Gulf war would play out

You can watch his lecture on You Tube explaining how American policy based on the assumption that democracy and capitalism will always win out , does not play well in regions of the world where Real Politik and the "Balance of Power" are a real thing. It is good stuff and he was quoted very early in this thread. I shall certainly read the article that Dog recommends.

Mearsheimer's record on Ukraine has been prescient thus far:
  • In 1993, he wrote that the West was making a mistake encouraging Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons. He forecast that without a nuclear deterrent, Ukraine would be under the permanent threat of Russian aggression. He wrote "The United States and its European allies have been pressuring Ukraine to transfer all of the nuclear weapons on its territory to the Russians, who naturally think this is an excellent idea. President Clinton is wrong. The conventional wisdom is wrong. ....A nuclear Ukraine makes sense for two reasons. First it is an imperative ..to ensure that the Russians who have a history of bad relations with Ukraine do not move to reconquer it. ....If the US aims to enhance stability in Europe, the case against a nuclear-armed Ukraine is unpersuasive"
  • In 2008 he warned that the statement issued following a NATO summit saying that Ukraine and Georgia could be considered for NATO membership was ill considered and created an existentialist threat to Russia
  • The EuroMaidan protests in 2013/14 would be seen as Western provocation whatever the reality. In Russian eyes, the pro-Russian president of Ukraine did not lose an election (which is true)....but was overthrown by a coup (a misleading simplification)
  • That the invasion of Crimea and Russian assistance to separatists in the Eastern provinces was completely predictable. He asks us to consider our previous response to Russian missiles in Cuba and our likely response if Canada proposed a military alliance with China.
  • In 2015, he delivered a lecture titled "Why is Ukraine the West's Fault?" and that "the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked"
  • "If you really want to wreck Russia, what you should do is to encourage it to try to conquer Ukraine"
Where I, as a humble layperson, respectfully disagree with Mearsheimer is that I and Mearsheimer underestimated the Ukrainian people's desire to be a Western democracy and part of Europe. M's theory is that the West and Russia should have agreed that Ukraine should have been an inviolate, independent "buffer state". No threat to Russia but not assimilated by Russia.
The problem is that Ukrainians did not want to be a buffer state, they wanted to be European. That is the lesson from Maidan. I dont think chocolate cookies could have persuaded the Ukraine to join Europe or stay out of Europe. They had made up their own minds , and it was a passionate national desire. You dont charge armed special forces with trash can lids and golf clubs unless you are pretty worked up on the topic.

This is what Mearsheimer underestimated and what Russia has clearly underestimated.

However, whatever M has to say in 2022 about what he sees happening next is going to be pretty compulsive reading.
 

EYESAILOR

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However the apparent equanimity with which Putin has accepted the planned NATO membership of Finland and Sweden suggests something else; that he really regards Ukraine as a historical part of Russia, as he has been saying for years. To that extent, I disagree with John Mearsheimer's analysis. Possibly.
Only except has Sweden done any serious fighting since 1809? They produce excellent sailors but you dont read many articles about Swedish mercenaries. I dont think Sweden is seen as quite the same level of threat as Ukraine .

I do agree, it is inconsistent........but when has Putin worried about consistency.

1669921675974.png


However I agree with you that Putin has more ulterior motives than M' gives him credit for.

I also dont think it matters a whole lot what the West could of or should have done between 1993 and 2021. Where we are now is that Russia has endeavored to invade a major sovereign state in Europe.

That precedent needs to be nipped in the bud.

It also needs to be ended quickly because China is rubbing its hands in glee as it watches its greatest enemy (USA) in conflict with China's Northern neighbor (Russia) with at least one of them, maybe both emerging weaker.
As Mearsheimer points out, by far the greater threat to wolrd peace and to the USAis China and China's unequivocal ambitions in the South China Sea.
Taiwan and Japan are much more important to the Western economies that Ukraine will ever be. All those chips and microprocesors that the Russian miliray is so short of? Ours are made in Taiwan.
 

Kiwing

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Invasion news blackout is usually a good thing. When it ends Ukraine has made big advances and we all cheer them on. I hope it is the case when this news black out ends.

The above discussion is very interesting and makes me want to read more.
 

enigmatically2

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@EYESAILOR you write that the Germans mistakenly thought the RAF finished and attacked civilian targets wrongly. That is half true, but also very similar to the present situation where RU started attacking cities without destroying air defence or all air capability. The point remains that Britain did not give in, when cities were damaged far more than Ukranian cities have been (or are likely to be).

There are a number of reasons why NATO has not given all the latest weapons. Amongst the more obvious are that NATO don't want to deplete their own weapons whilst they ramp up production, and because they don't want Russia finding their secrets if that can be avoided
 

Mark_K

Super Anarchist
What @Steam Flyer said largely.
Did NATO expansion cause this conflict? It certainly made Russia feel enclosed so more likely to do something like this. But within international law, countries can decide for themselves, so Russia is still wrong.

They were utterly deluded and believed zelensky would run and Kyiv fall at the feet. Hence why they could use so few troops (though the number quoted in the article is too low).
As has been said, eventually peace will happen. We need to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons being used whilst trying to restore Ukraine for when that happens. So far a tightrope that NATO have been negotiating fairly well

Set the stage, but it's more that a bit of a stretch to say it "caused" it.

https://www.euronews.com/2022/11/29...ne-of-one-of-its-most-controversial-decisions

Have to bear in mind that NATO was created and structured to fight one and only one threat, the USSR.
 

motorbike

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In a straightforward battle between the latest Western air defense systems and the Russian aerial bombardment currently being deployed in Ukraine.......Russia loses.
But.....and a very significant BUT ........we are not supplying Ukraine with our latest systems. For me, the question is why not?

NATO isnt interested in a fight because its not prepared for one, as I previously said if there was anytime since 1945 that justified NATO's military intervention in Europe, this is it and they are doing nothing.
There are a number of reasons why NATO has not given all the latest weapons. Amongst the more obvious are that NATO don't want to deplete their own weapons whilst they ramp up production, and because they don't want Russia finding their secrets if that can be avoided

Rank stupidity is saying NATO is standing by while UKR burns because it doesnt want to use weapons designed to prevent said burning...and they also dont want to use those same weapons because Russia might find out they have weapons.

A good discussion to have is why is it standing by, why doesnt it get involved. Ive given my opinion which may well be proven wrong but the point I am making is the main players have interests that are mostly obscured by the narrative. No one is seriously interested in declaring a full on war with Russia because thats putting out fire with gasoline.
 
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P Flados

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A good discussion to have is why is it standing by, why doesnt it get involved.
This is real simple. NATO is a defensive alliance for members. Ukraine is not a member.

Now if you question is why are the individual Western Nations (that are mostly members of NATO) standing by, that is mostly a similar situation. No nation is obligated to send in troops or aircraft. With no obligation, any nation that does declares it intends to send in troops or aircraft is in effect voluntarily declaring war on Russia. Such an action would risk retaliatory action by Russia. Use of Russian naval assets (with cruise missiles) would be "on the table" more than likely. And the big worry would be that Putin may come up with some way to justify to himself that there is an acceptable benefit vs risk for a limited nuclear response toward this third party nation.

Now you may really be asking why an "alliance of nations" made up of NATO members is "just standing by". If the process was even started for forming such an alliance, the probability for Putin to completely loose it and feel justified in "going nuke" is drastically increased.

From a self serving and self protecting aspect, the smart (but ugly and I would say immoral) approach for the West is to just slowly ramp up material support for Ukraine as needed to push Russia back to a point where Ukraine can eventually decide it is ok to stop. The slow ramp up of weapons quantity and capability minimizes a sudden gross escalation (nukes or similar) by Russia.

The West is not going to let Ukraine fall apart due to cruise missile and drone attacks on civilian targets. Similar to military support, the West will do "just enough".

As far as the air war, the real aspect that matters is at the front lines and the support network for the front lines. Ukraine with help from the West is pushing to achieve adequate "air power" (mostly drone surveillance & weaponized drones) along with AD (EW, etc. to limit effective Russian use of drones) to support ground advances. This is very much a "work in progress" but the Western "military industrial complex" sees huge potential for profit. The longer this thing goes on, the more Western money will get dumped into this technology. With the obvious profit opportunity, I see the "state of the art" advancing rapidly. I seriously doubt that Russia will be able to prevent the West from winning the "drone war" piece of the puzzle.
 

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