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 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”

Russia-Ukraine: Putin announces his presence from inside the OODA loop

Fastest OODA Act on the planet? Or just faster than Biden and NATO?

UPDATE: See latest-breaking move by Putin at the bottom.

There’s nothing more tedious than listening to an interpreter translate Vladimir Putin talking for 45 minutes about Russian history and Ukraine.

But after the lengthy intro, Putin moved to the briskly-paced Act Four an hour and change later, signing decrees recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk (Donbas) as “People’s Republics,” and concluding Russian cooperation agreements with them.

The “presidents” of the so-called independent Donetsk and Luhansk were present for the event, albeit at the other end of the football field. Continue reading “Russia-Ukraine: Putin announces his presence from inside the OODA loop”

Kazakhstan, we’ve gotten to know ye a little better

Say, whose cover-up is this, anyway?

Technically, what we’ve gotten to know better is the interaction of outside players with systemic Kazakh corruption, especially as it relates to Spygate in the U.S.  But work with me, people.

Most recently, the January 2022 flare-up in Kazakhstan brought to the fore a piece of information reported by the Daily Mail and NY Post in October 2020:  that Hunter Biden had business dealings with Kazakh oligarchs while his father was vice president, and the Big Guy was photographed being in on it. Continue reading “Kazakhstan, we’ve gotten to know ye a little better”