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”

Ukraine, election legitimacy, and Trump’s big day of validation

Expressing U.S. interests. Or, rather, not.

There’s commentary below on the Ukraine issue, but first, the meta-message of President Biden’s press conference on Wednesday:  Trump can be un-impeached any time now.  The two things he was impeached for have become U.S. policy under Joe Biden.

The first impeachment of Trump was over Trump’s handling of arms shipments to Ukraine.  Democrats in Congress charged that Trump improperly delayed them and showed inadequate support for Ukraine’s security, allegedly as an extortion move against the Ukrainian government in a quest to get Kyiv to attack Joe Biden.

Now showing inadequate support for Ukraine’s security is Biden’s U.S. national policy.

The second impeachment of Trump Continue reading “Ukraine, election legitimacy, and Trump’s big day of validation”

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”

Peace in our time: Russia, NATO approach Black Sea flashpoint without CFE

No trust, less verify.

Russian military convoy near Ukrainian border, late 2014. (Image: CNN)
Russian military convoy near Ukrainian border, late 2014. (Image: CNN)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!