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The Putin Presidency

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Peter B:

--- Quote ---Apparently Putin does have 100% support from the people around him because he's limited himself to being surrounded by sycophants and has shut everyone else out, in part because of COVID-induced paranoia.  Not that he's had it, but because he's terrified that he will.  Hence all those Really Big Tables.
--- End quote ---

At some point he's going to be having contact with his generals, and they may not want to be his friends...

Anyway, speaking of the Really Big Tables, I saw a meme somewhere recently which played with the image of Putin and French President Macron at opposite ends of one of those RBTs - turning it into a giant see-saw.

This is going to end with someone close to Putin poisoning his tea with Polonium-210 or putting a bullet through his head. He has cost his oligarch "friends" a lot of money and now he is probably sleeping with one eye open.

I know a lot of people want NATO or the UN to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine, but I believe that is exactly what Putin wants. He wants NATO jets to bomb anti-aircraft missile launchers and radar stations so that he can use it as an excuse to escalate this into WW3.

But yeah, I would sure love to see a squadron of A-10 Thunderbolts strafe that convoy of Russian vehicles.

Sad how some voices start to say those are Europeans with blue eyes and not Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Shame on this journalism that calls itself professional.

Peter B:
One thing that worries me about this war is the parallels I see with a couple of other wars - the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939, and the recent Sri Lankan civil war of 1983-2009.

Finland: a country that had been part of the Russian empire until 20 years previously; a manufactured excuse to attack Finland; a poorly armed but highly motivated defender; a large invading army with modern military technology expecting a walkover victory, and being brought to an unexpected halt; and final victory only being achieved after a prolonged halt to regroup, followed by a second attack supported by massive firepower.

Obviously there are differences, given that the USSR wasn't interested in conquering Finland, merely pushing its border with Finland away from Leningrad. But it points to a way the current war might progress.

Sri Lanka: both sides saw themselves as a threatened minority - the Tamils as a minority within Sri Lanka, and the Sinhalese as a minority when compared with Tamils in Sri and India.

The comparison here is that the Ukrainians see themselves as the obviously weaker party compared to Russia, but the Russians also see themselves as threatened and "surrounded" by NATO.

The danger here is that it lends both sides the desperation generated by the belief that defeat equals extinction, meaning that neither side is motivated to negotiate a peace deal which involves much in the way of concessions.

What concerns me is that Ukraine is likely to want peace to involve a return to pre-war borders, including the breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. Given that the people there almost universally want to be part of Russia, it's hard to see how they could ever be reconciled to life as part of Ukraine; on the other hand it would set a dangerous precedent to allow Russia to emerge from the war with additional territory.

No, it's not a situation with a good exit. And given that Putin, apparently, just doubled down on his original position in a discussion with Macron today ("he's determined to press on to the end"), it's clear there's no budging on that side.

Oh, and the Russians are now apparently shelling a nuclear reactor:

The talks between the sides, on the other hand, have apparently agreed that there should be safe exit corridors for civilians. Whether those will actually appear is a different question...


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