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”

A downpayment on “Kazakhstan” and the coming perturbations

Interesting times.

There’s a better-than-even chance that the developments in Kazakhstan will have repercussions well beyond any that are currently imagined – and probably beyond the intentions of any outside actors who have been involved, as some evidence indicates.

This is not primarily because of Kazakhstan as a security issue for Russia, though that’s a factor.  It’s because there is no Pax Americana anymore; there’s been none since about 2011; the U.S. under Biden is not and will not be the guardian of stability that we’ve been since 1945; and actors like Russia, China, and Iran see now as the time to take maximum advantage of that.

The short version is that they perceive they can get away with things, and they’re going to do them.

Starting with Kazakhstan Continue reading “A downpayment on “Kazakhstan” and the coming perturbations”

December 2021: Russia making major strategic moves

Russia busting some big moves.

This will not by any means be a comprehensive treatment.  Time is a big factor right now, and it’s more important to enlarge the landscape image of what’s going on by presenting recent developments together.

In the latest TOC Ready Room, we looked at Russia’s announcement about being “forced” to deploy intermediate-range missiles to Europe, which would be an overt violation of the terms of the now-defunct 1987 INF Treaty.

That in itself is a major move; “tectonic,” we might say, using the adjective deployed by Dmitry Medvedev in 2011 about the Arab Spring.

As discussed on 15 December, I assess Russia’s move to be as much about a shifting orientation vis-à-vis China as about Russia’s relations with NATO Europe.  But it’s definitely about NATO Europe (and North America) as well. Continue reading “December 2021: Russia making major strategic moves”

Cuba: Rewarding bad behavior

Peace in our time.

BFFs Vlad and Raul, Havana, July 2014.  (Image: Alaksey Nikolski, Reuters/RIA Novosti, via Moscow Times)
BFFs Vlad and Raul, Havana, July 2014. (Image: Alaksey Nikolski, Reuters/RIA Novosti, via Moscow Times)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!