TOC Ready Room 28 March 2022: Russia-Ukraine and the breakup of NATO; Biolabs and viruses

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Two main points for this post regarding Russia and Ukraine.  One is that, as most readers will be aware, Russia has declared a new phase of operations, which according to the Russian video brief is to concentrate on consolidating Russia’s territorial gains in Donbas.

This is being presented by Western media as evidence that the invasion so far has been an unmitigated disaster for Moscow.  That’s obviously not true.  An unmitigated disaster would be one in which Russia, after suffering some apparently significant personnel and equipment losses (I remain wary of going with either side’s numbers on that), had no territorial gains to consolidate. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 28 March 2022: Russia-Ukraine and the breakup of NATO; Biolabs and viruses”

TOC Ready Room 10 March 2022: NFZs, convoys, and Iran follies, oh my

What’s wrong and right with the world; Russia-, Ukraine-, and Iran-wise.

Keeping it short and sweet for now, as things keep updating on the long-running Phase II of the “IT in Russiagate” topic.  The first subject in today’s Ready Room grab-bag is the no-fly zone proposal for Ukraine.

It’s a bad idea.  All I will do here is copy in an email sent earlier with my reflections on the matter.  They were forwarded in response to a piece by former Senator Joe Lieberman in the Wall Street Journal (apologies for the paywall).

The email text: Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 10 March 2022: NFZs, convoys, and Iran follies, oh my”

TOC Ready Room 24 Feb 2022: Putin in Ukraine, “C’mon man” Thursday edition

C’mon man.

We now proceed to wait-and-see mode on practically everything, as the intelligence coming out of the combat theater will be uniformly unreliable at this point.  We can at least say with some confidence that Kyiv has not fallen, and it doesn’t appear that Russia has established full control of the Odessa environs, much less the entire southern coast.

Various unrealistic claims have been made about the number of Russian weapon systems destroyed, shot down, etc. by the Ukrainian armed forces, and there’s no point in overloading on salt to go with them.  I wouldn’t assert that the Ukrainian defense minister is deliberately lying, but the chaos of combat is probably clouding the vision of battle damage assessors.  Some of the numbers don’t seem to add up because there’s been no evidence of the kind of combat that would produce such losses – but there are big chunks of Ukraine into which we have little visibility, at least in real time.

As others have mentioned, watching activity around Lviv, in the west, will be informative. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 Feb 2022: Putin in Ukraine, “C’mon man” Thursday edition”

TOC Ready Room 24 Feb 2022: Putin makes his move

Putin judge his man.

This will be rough and ready, fast and furious, and who knows what else.  Readers will be aware that Putin has just invaded Ukraine.  I include a few interesting tweets below, but for me the significant point is that we can now judge better what Putin’s intentions are.

We’ve always been able to assess with certainty that he wants to subjugate Ukraine.  The question was really what the timeline would be, and how much he was willing to breach the shaky semblance of order we still had left.

I wasn’t unprepared to see him move in something of a blitzkrieg style, but he’s being more emphatic and even “in your face” than I expected.  He’s apparently ready for a full, no-holds-barred breach, and will be counting on no residual conditions of stability to simplify his campaign. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 Feb 2022: Putin makes his move”

TOC Ready Room 8 Feb 2022: Domestic terror alert results “changing quickly,” says Google

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Just a short update for Tuesday, as sites across the Web take note of a new National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin published on 7 February 2022.

The bulletin is not hard to interpret.  It says the following in the first paragraph:  “The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors. These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence.”

The bulletin goes on to say, Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 8 Feb 2022: Domestic terror alert results “changing quickly,” says Google”